December 2015 Articles

SNOWPACK IN SIERRAS NOW ABOVE NORMAL –WITH EL NIÑO YET TO COME

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 31, 2015 (Sacramento)—Yesterday the California Department of Water Resources held the first snow survey of the season in the Sierra Nevada mountains. After four years of drought, the snowpack is above normal and state officials are cautiously optimistic, though reservoir levels remain below normal.

The survey found snow depth of 54.7 inches – 16 inches more than the average since 1965.  The water content is 136 percent of average for this time of year at the station ( 90 miles east of Sacramento at an elevation of 6,800 feet).  In addition, electronic readings of 99 stations throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains found water content of the snowpack is 108 percent of average for the date over multiple decades.

CHIRP, ORGANIZER OF ALPINE’S SAGE & SONGBIRDS GARDEN TOURS, CLOSES DOORS

 

East County News Service

December 30, 2015 (Alpine) –After 19 years of working to create gardens friendly to birds, butterflies and other creatures, the nonprofit Center to Instill Respect and Preservation for Garden Wildlife, or CHIRP, is coming to an end.

The board of directors voted in November to dissolve the nonprofit after financial challenges, as many nonprofits have faced in recent tough times.  “I feel it is time for me, the founder and executive director, to move on,” Maureen Austin wrote in a letter published on the Alpine Community Network.

CHIRP, a garden club known for organizing the popular Sage & Songbirds garden tour each year, gained national fame for Alpine after helping the community become first in the nation to receive a Community Wildlife Habitat designation from the National Wildlife Federation.  Austin voiced hope that Alpine will continue to nurture habitats for wildlife to retain the designation, adding that she will happily help transfer NWF’s annual status report to another organization or individual.

UCSD CONFERENCE OFFERS PERSPECTIVES ON REFUGEE SITUATION WORLDWIDE

 

 

By Victiashea Matthews

 

December 30, 2015 (La Jolla)  - The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) and Eleanor Roosevelt College at the University of California, San Diego hosted an event called the “Comparative Responses to Asylum Seeking in Europe, Australia, the U.S., and Middle East” on November 30th,  

 

What drives international migration?  Why are some countries more hostile and others more accepting?  Those are some of the compelling questions posed by David FitzGerald, Co-Director of CCIS and Professor of Sociology. These are fascinating questions to consider when unpacking the asylum-seeking diaspora. Here are some highlights from the event.

ATTORNEY GENERAL PROBE WEIGHS POSSIBLE CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST EX-CPUC PRESIDENT PEEVEY

By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2015 (San Diego) –California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office may file criminal charges against Michael Peevey,  former president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), over back-room dealings concerning a settlement deal over the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear facility.

A sworn affidavit by Specia Agent Reye Diaz with the Attorney General’s office in late September and recently unsealed reveals  that Diaz found “probable cause to believe” that Peevey and Southern California Edison vice president Stephen Pickett  “conspired to obstruct justice” by knowingly engaging in illegal private communications to craft a shut-down deal advantageous to Edison, but  disadvantageous to other interested parties.

MORE SNOW MAY FALL ON MOUNT LAGUNA

 

East County News Service

Photo: Mt. Laguna on December 29, 2015, courtesy UCSD's HP WRen webcam

December 30, 2015 (Mt. Laguna)--Visitors flocked to Mount Laguna yesterday after a light snowfall left just enough for sledders to enjoy some winter fun.  A frost advisory is in effect for much of our region tonight through Thursday, with clear skies forecast for New Year’s Eve.

Though warmer weather this weekend is expected to melt away those patches of snow remaining, a new storm expected to hit Wednesday and Thursday of next week could bring more snow to the region, including Julian as well as Mt. Laguna—so keep those snow boots and sleds handy.

COUNTY PLANNERS TO VISIT JULIAN TOWN HALL MEETING JAN. 12 TO DISCUSS HOSKINGS RANCH HOUSING PROPOSAL

 

 

By  Kiki Skagen Munshi

December 30, 2015 (Julian)--The Hoskings Ranch development will be discussed with staff from the Country Planning Commission and the developers at the Julian Town Hall on January 12, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.  The public is encouraged to attend.

Development plans for the Hoskings Ranch, which extends south and west from the junction of Pine Hills Road and Highways 78/79, include 24 lots each of which may have up to two houses and various other buildings and facilities.  Local residents are concerned about the impact of this upscale subdivision on water resources, local roads, and the rural character of the area.  Plans were originally scheduled to be presented to the Planning Commission for approval on December 11, 2015, but the hearing was postponed to February 5 to allow time for the public to review the planning documents.

STATE DEPT. ISSUES TRAVEL WARNING FOR ISRAEL, GAZA AND WEST BANK

East County News Service

December 30, 2015 (Washington D.C.) — The U .S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Israel, Gaza and the West Bank due to heightened political tensions and violence that has resulted in injuries and deaths of U.S. citizens. 

 

ACCUSED RAMONA CARJACKER/KIDNAPPER ARRESTED AFTER BIZARRE STRING OF CRIMES

Suspect Ira Stringer, courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

Slideshow image credit: courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

 

Victims fought back, escaped kidnapper

By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2015 (Ramona) -- A man who kidnapped a baseball coach and teen player, then later carjacked a second vehicle with a Ramona grandmother inside has been arrested.  Ira Stringer was taken into custody in Riverside on Sunday after a 45-mile police chase and a two-hour SWAT stand-off, the Ramona Sentinel reports.

SOON YOU MAY BE BARRED FROM FLYING WITH A CA DRIVER’S LICENSE

 

 

Update December 30, 2015 - Homeland Security has granted California an extension until Oct. 10, 2016 to fully comply with the Real ID law, recognizing progress made in making driver's licenses more secure.

By Miriam Raftery

December 29, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re planning to fly in 2016, you find yourself grounded.  The Department of Homeland Security is cracking down on states that have failed to comply with the Real ID law passed 10 years ago by Congress. That could mean denying boarding on airplanes to anyone with driver’s licenses from states that haven’t complied, including California, unless you have another valid form of ID.

 

EAST COUNTY NEWSMAKERS OF THE YEAR

 

 

East County News Service

December 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – A diverse group of people and organizations topped our headlines this year.  Some made a positive difference in our communities. Others sparked controversy.  Still others have been fighting for changes in our East County region.

These are our top newsmakers of the year in categories that include animal protection, business, the Chaldean community, education, elected officials and candidates, the environment, health, land use controversies, law enforcement, music, Native Americans, philanthropy, and watchdogs of democracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MISSING MAN : LAST KNOWN TO BE IN DULZURA-CAMPO-JAMUL AREA

 

East County News Service

Update:  John "Arias" Harrington has been found in Tecate, Mexico and is now back in the U.S. in a hospital receiving medical treatment, a family friend informed ECM today.

View or print missing flyer

December 29, 2015 (Dulzura)—John Sebastian “Arias” Harrington, 25, has been missing since Christmas Eve.   His family is very concerned for his safety.  He was last seen driving a friend’s red F-150 truck with CA license 7U32923. He was last seen wearing a red windbreaker jacket, jeans and a black watch.

Harrington dropped off friends  at the San Diego Airport on on Dec. 24.  He is from Oceanside, but GPS indicates his last known location was in the Campo-Dulzura area at 10 p.m. that night.  A caretaker for disabled individuals, most recently he was working for a person in Jamul. His mother, Deb Meacham, told ECM that police  said his employer received a text message from him a day or so later. He has not been heard from since then.  There are indications he may be confused due to missing medication, his mother said.

EAST COUNTY STORIES OF THE YEAR 2015

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

December 24, 2015 (San Diego's East County) --It’s been a tumultuous year around the world and also here in San Diego’s East County. 

These ranged from water woes to lawsuits over education and transportation.  East County residents rallied for refugees and protested land use projects ranging from a sand mine to a shooting range, as well as a casino, solar farms, a hotel highrise, and safety concerns after a plane crash near Gillespie Field.  Our coverage helped clean up illegal dumping in Cleveland National Forest and save free speech outside Supervisors' meeting place.  Other hot stories touched on fire safety, terrorism, police scandals, and winery regulations,  There was also some good news--Lake Jennings was spared, a new habitat for bears opened, local police stepped up efforts to protect pedestrians, and Supervisor Dianne Jacob led efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer's. 

Here are the stories and issues that captured the attention of our East County readers in 2015:

JANUARY 2016 IS SANTEE HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Free & discounted services at over 30 Santee health, fitness & wellness organizations in January

By Steve Lauria

 December 29, 2015 (Santee)--The City of Santee is a growing community in East County, and a great place to live and raise a family. Along with the rest of the country, it has a growing problem with obesity, chronic disease, and other health related problems.

 California Health Network is a nonprofit organization that was founded in Santee in 2012. Some of its efforts include East County’s first health and fitness expo, the East County Live Well Expo, and obesity prevention presentations to more than 60 local high school classes.

To help increase community awareness, California Health Network is promoting “Santee Health Awareness Month” in January of 2016, with the help of local officials and health related organizations.

SNOW, ICY ROADWAYS IN MOUNTAINS

 

East County News Service

File photo: Snow in Cuyamacas by Grace Schleiser

December 28, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – A winter storm is bringing snow, ice and fog to our mountain regions.

Chains are required due to icy/snowy conditions on the Julian-Sunrise Highway from State Route 79 to Old Highway 80, according to the County Department of Public Works. Caltrans reports icy conditions on I-8 at Mountain Pass as well as on State Route 76 at Palomar Mountain.

The Laguna Mountain Lodge reports on its Facebook page that snow is falling on Mt.Laguna.  Residents across East County report snow in the Lake Cuyamaca area, an iced over pond in Descanso and cold conditions across our inland region.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS DEC. 31, 2015-JAN. 20, 2016

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --This week’s Destination East County includes New Year’s celebrations across our region, from swanky soirees to a masquarade party. Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, including some activities to start off the New Year, from a guided mountain bike ride with a ranger at Mission Trails to the opening of trout season at Santee Lakes, as well as live music featuring some hot local talent.

So stay tuned (and scroll down) for all of these events and more.

YOUNG TEACHER DIES IN FIRE AT HOME OWNED BY FOR ASSEMBLYWOMAN HORTON

East County News Service

December 28, 2015 (Bonita) - Vanessa DeLaCruz, a preschool teacher, died inside a burned home in Bonita that is owned by former Assemblywoman Shirley Horton.  Four other people were taken to UCSD Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation.

 

TAX THE RICH TO HELP THE POOR: BALLOT INITIATIVE GAINS GROUND

 Photo credit:  Sanfranman59 on Wikipedia

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2015 (Sacramento) – Nonprofit groups that help the poor are working to qualify the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act for the November 2016 ballot.  The Legislative Analyst has estimated that the measure could raise up to $7 billion by adding a property tax surcharge on properties worth $3 million or more.

 

ALPINE HEART ATTACK SURVIVOR TO APPEAR IN ROSE PARADE ON NEW YEAR’S DAY

 

East County News Service

December 28, 2015 (Alpine) – Heart attack survivor Randy Truax of Alpine has been selected to appear in the 2016 Rose Parade in Pasadena on January 1st. He will be riding on the “Union of Hearts” float for the American Heart Association and Union Bank. 

 

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

December 28, 2015 (San Diego's East County)-- East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

For excerpts and links to full stories, click”read more” and scroll down.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

December 28, 2015 (San Diego's East County)-- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

HEALTH

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

CALIFORNIA SPENDING FAR TOO LITTLE TO COMBAT SMOKING

 

 

 

A new report says California is shortchanging tobacco cessation programs.

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

December 28, 2015 (Sacramento) -- Anti-smoking advocates are pressing for a $2 a pack tobacco tax in the wake a recent report that says California is seriously shortchanging smoking cessation programs.

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