MURDER VICTIM DESCRIBED BY RABBIS AS "SWEET" AND "EXTREMELY SPIRITUAL"

GROWING TOGETHER: SDG&E SPONSORS TREE PLANTING EVENT AT JULIAN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

VICTIM KILLED BY SHOOTER AT EL CAJON DENTAL CLINIC WAS JEWISH; FBI JOINS INVESTIGATION

SAN DIEGO FLOOD RESPONSE FUND RAISES AND GRANTS MORE THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO ASSIST FLOOD SURVIVORS

ACTIVE SHOOTING SUSPECT IN EL CAJON ARRESTED: 1 DEAD, 2 INJURED

SDSU STUDENT NEEDS HELP FOR INJURIES, LOSS OF VEHICLE DUE TO HELPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM

IRS EXTENDS TAX FILING DEADLINES FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY SEVERE STORMS

'WE'LL DO IT AGAIN': REPUBLICAN ACTIVISTS BACK FIFTH ATTEMPT TO RECALL GOV. NEWSOM

INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO TEACH ONE MILLION SAN DIEGANS HANDS-ONLY CPR

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS TODAY; JPA TO TAKEOVER OPERATIONS

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY I'M AN INDEPENDENT FOR CONGRESS VS. SARA JACOBS AND BILL WELLS

A TSUNAMI OF EVIDENCE: SDPD'S SIX MILLION VIDEOS

AZTEC SOFTBALL FALLS TO OKLAHOMA

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 24, 2024 (Cathedral City, Calif.) - The San Diego State softball team dropped a 7-0 decision to three-time defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Oklahoma in its final game of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Saturday in Cathedral City, California. The Aztecs (8-6) finished 3-1 for the tournament with wins over previously unbeaten No. 11/13 Missouri and Nebraska.

FAMILY OF TODDLER CRITICALLY INJURED BY WRONG-WAY DRIVER IN EL CAJON NEEDS HELP TO PAY MEDICAL BILLS

By Miriam Raftery

February 24, 2024 (El Cajon) – The family of Akeel Robinson, a 17-month-old toddler critically injured by flying concrete in a crash caused by a wrong-way driver Jan. 28 in El Cajon have launched a GoFundMe drive to help pay medical expenses. The boy remains hospitalized with serious head and neck injuries.Donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/medical-expenses-for-baby-akeel?utm_campaign=...

Akeel’s father, Anthony Robinson, was stopped at a traffic light in El Cajon with his three children in the family’s SUV, including Akeel, who was asleep in a car seat. Then a woman driving  a pickup truck the wrong-way on I-8 crashed into a concrete guardrail and plunged off the overpass.  It struck a wall below and burst into flames next to Robinson’s SUV. The wrong-way driver, Katy Frausto Aguilar, died at the scene.

Robinson was able to help his two older children out of the vehicle, but Akeel was slumped over, his head bleeding. He was rushed to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery for a fractured skull. To reduce brain swelling, he was put into a medically induced coma with part of his skull temporarily removed.

Ashleigh Jarrell, a cousin of Akeel’s mother, Kayte Blocker, has organized the GoFundMe page as the family’s medical bills mount.

DONATE TO ILLUMINATE: HOW YOUR EYEGLASSES CAN LIGHT UP LIVES

East County News Service

 

February 23, 2024 (Lemon Grove) -- The Lemon Grove Lions Club is always actively collecting gently used reusable eyeglasses for the Lions Club International Recycle for Sight Program.

 

Refractive errors can be easily corrected with eyeglasses, yet millions of people living in low and middle-income areas lack access to basic eye care services. The Lions Club recognizes the urgent need for corrective lenses and collects usable eyeglasses in their communities. The lack of eyeglasses denies children and adults opportunities for education, employment, and a better quality of life. 

 

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING WITH CHILD IN STROLLER

East County News Service
 
February 23, 2024 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police arrested a young mother on February 1st  for allegedly stealing merchandise from Dick’s Sporting Goods in Parkway and removing anti-theft sensors—all while pushing her young child around the store in a stroller.

SBA OPENS BUSINESS RECOVERY CENTER TO HELP BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS IMPACTED BY SEVERE STORM AND FLOODING

February 23, 2024 (San Diego) -- The U.S. Small Business Administration will open an SBA Business Recovery Center in National City on Monday, Feb. 26, to provide a wide range of services to businesses countywide impacted by the severe storm and flooding that occurred Jan. 21 - 23.

No appointment is necessary. All services are provided free of charge. The Business Recovery Center will be located at :

Southwestern College, Higher Education Center National City

First Floor, Room 7100 - Center for Business Advancement

880 National City Blvd., National City, CA  91950

It will be open starting Monday, Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. and thereafter Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m.. to 5 p.m.

TODAY IS LAST DAY TO APPLY FOR TEMPORARY HOUSING THROUGH COUNTY AFTER FLOOD; FEDERAL HELP ALSO AVAILABLE

 

Source: County News Service

February 23, 2024 (San Diego) -- The new County program to provide lodging to families who had their homes damaged in the Jan. 22 flood is now providing safe and secure lodging for more than 400 families from across the County. The application process for the County’s Emergency Temporary Lodging Program ends at 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 23. Flood victims who previously applied and have not yet been placed in a room may still be offered temporary accommodations.

The Emergency Temporary Lodging Program is a 30-day program initiated on Feb. 10. The program provides support to households who were sheltered by community-based organizations immediately after the storm.The County contacted more than 1,400 households who indicated they had damage to their homes and needed assistance.  Most were identified for the program because they spoke to workers at one of two Local Assistance Centers or filled out a damage assessment survey.

Separately, this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a Major Disaster Declaration for San Diego County. Anyone impacted by the Jan.22 flooding is encouraged to register for FEMA assistance by visiting disasterassistance.gov or by calling the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362. A deadline has not yet been announced for the federal program.

LEMON GROVE RESIDENTS FILL COUNCIL CHAMBER TO EXPRESS DISSATISFACTION OVER FLOODING RESPONSE

City refuses to put storm drain problems on the agenda

By Jessyka Heredia

 

Watch the video here:

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

February 22, 2024 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove residents showed up at the City Council meeting on February 6 and again on February 20 to deliver public comments voicing disappointment in the city’s response to major losses experienced by many residents and businesses from flooding on January 22.

A group of residents organized a series of clean-ups after the flood, because the city had none planned and residents were afraid if the debris was left to clog the drains further, they might see more damage. The same group created a video showing damage experienced by numerous residents and posted it online. The video shows Chollas Creek filled with palm and eucalyptus trees around the Toyota dealership.

SPRING VALLEY RESIDENTS UNITE TO SUPPORT FLOODED NEIGHBORS: DONATION SITE OPENS FEB. 24 THROUGH APRIL 15

Source: Spring Valley Community Alliance

February 22, 2024 (Spring Valley, CA) -- Spring Valley residents applaud Tuesday's approval of FEMA aid for those affected by the January 22 rainstorm, but the community is already taking action to support recovery efforts. A coalition of area churches, community organizations, and residents led by the Spring Valley Community Alliance have partnered to open a site at Spring Valley Community Church to collect and distribute donations for those affected. 

A donation site located at 3310 Bancroft Drive, Spring Valley will open Saturday February 24 from 10am to Noon. The site's regular hours will be Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to Noon.

While the waters receded quickly from the thousand-year flood, more than 200 Spring Valley homes were left badly impacted. Cars, furniture, appliances, and other essential belongings were left severely damaged or destroyed.  

"Many Spring Valley residents were left with the clothes on their backs and the items they could grab as they attempted to escape the rising waters," said Chris Pierce, Vice President of the Spring Valley Community Alliance. "There are physical needs that our neighbors have beyond what the County Resource Center set up at the Spring Valley Library could provide."

MIKE AGUIRRE FILES CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY ON BEHALF OF FLOOD VICTIMS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Flooding in Encanto, via mayoral candidate Genevieve Jones-Wright

February 22, 2024 (San Diego) – Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre and civil rights leader Shane Harris with People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA) held a press conference Feb. 12 to announce a lawsuit against the city of San Diego on behalf of homeowners who suffered “preventable” damages from the January 22 flooding.

Harris cited a 2018 audit of the city’s storm water system as well as an unsuccessful 2022 effort to pass a ballot measure to fund infrastructure as evidence that city officials knew of flood risks from its storm drains, but failed to resolve them. The report specifically mentioned Chollas Creek  issues that caused flooding across southeastern San Diego. 

“This was an act of man, not an act of God,” Harris said, adding that city officials could have prevented January’s flood damages had it prioritized needed upgrades after the audit more than four years earlier.

Over 1,000 residents in Southeast San Diego have been displaced and hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed, according to PAJA, including Southcrest, Mountain View, Shelltown and Encanto neighborhoods.

SDSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL EARNS 73-63 WIN OVER AIR FORCE

The Aztecs finished the game on a 20-4 run and have won seven of their last nine games

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 21, 2024 (San Diego) - The San Diego State women’s basketball team (18-10, 9-6) beat Air Force (12-16, 5-10) 73-63 inside Viejas Arena Wednesday night for their seventh win in the last nine games.

SANTA YSABEL COLLISION KILLS GIRL, 11

East County News Service

February 21, 2024 (Santa Ysabel, CA) – An 11-year-old girl has died as a result of a two-vehicle collision that occurred in Santa  Ysabel on February 17 around 2:40 p.m.

According to Officer Jared Grieshaber with the California Highway Patrol, an Escondido woman,27, was driving a 2020 Honda Accord with three passengers. She was headed east on State Route 76 and stopped at the intersection with State  Route 79, then pulled out in front of a 2022 Ford F-150 pickup truck that was heading south on  State Route 79.

ALEGRIA RESIGNS FROM CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

 

Updated  February 22, 2024

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2024 (El Cajon)— A resignation letter from  Trustee Jo Alegria dated February 15 was read aloud this week at the Cajon Valley Union School District board meeting by board president Jim Miller. 

The County Office of Education has now confirmed that the  Superinendent of Education has received a formal resignation letter from  Alegria, who has represented seat 3, making the effective date February 21.. The office’s chief of staff, Music Watson, says that within 60 days of a vacancy occurring, a district’s governing board must either order an election or make a provisional appointment to fill the vacancy.  View full procedures here.  See map of district seats,below right.

Alegria has served on the CVUSD board for nearly a decade.  Elected in November 2014,  she has also served as board president. Her resignation follows her missing the past two board meetings, and comes after critics posted negative remarks on social media.

In her resignation letter, Alegria said it has been an “honor and a privilege to serve on the board, adding that she believes “passionately in the importance of public education and public service...”

PROTECT SANTEE INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO IMPROVE FIRE PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2024 (Santee) – The Santee Firefighters Association (SFA) is sponsoring the “Protect Santee” ballot initiative aimed at improving fire protection. The city’s fire department resources have not kept pace with growth in the community, a problem so severe that firefighters and emergency medical first responders are not able to meet national safety response time standards, multiple reports confirm.

“With just 17 on-call firefighters and two outdated fire stations, the fire department’s response times are often DOUBLE the crucial 4-minute National Fire Safety Response Standard, as AP Triton reported in its 2023 Santee Community Risk Assessment,” a press release from  the SFA states.

The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) was hired by the SFA to provide a report on the fire department’s capabilities. It found that most fire engines are staffed by  three firefighters, not the minimum of four required by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Moreover, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that two firefighters cannot enter a burning building or other dangerous situation unless at least two more fighters are outside. So Santee’s three-person crews must wait until another crew arrives before they can enter a burning home, for example.

 

The study also found most area roads are not currently served  within the safe time frames outlined in the report.  “As such, it results in an increased risk of death or injury to firefighters and the citizens of Santee, as well as increased risk for considerable property loss of housing units and businesses throughout the City,” the report concludes.

PRESIDENT BIDEN CANCELS STUDENT DEBT FOR OVER 150,000 STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

East County News Service

February 21, 2024 (Washington D.C.) -- President Joe Biden today announced the approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 153,000 borrowers currently enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education, or SAVE, repayment plan.

The borrowers receiving relief are the first to benefit from a SAVE plan policy that provides debt forgiveness to borrowers who have been in repayment after as little as 10 years and took out $12,000 or less in student loans. Originally planned for July, the Biden-Harris Administration implemented this provision of SAVE and is providing relief to borrowers nearly six months ahead of schedule.

The Biden-Harris Administration has now approved nearly $138 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 3.9 million borrowers through more than two dozen executive actions.

TWO SAN DIEGO REPRESENTATIVES NAMED TO HOUSE TASK FORCE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: cc via Bing

February 21, 2024 (San Diego)—San Diego will be well represented on the House of Representatives’ new Task Force on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The bipartisan task force’s 24 members include two from San Diego—Democrat Sara Jacobs and Republican Darrell Issa.

The goals of the task force are to explore how Congress can drive innovation and maintain American leadership in AI, assure fair usage of the technology across numerous industries, and safeguard against current and emerging threats.

BUYING A USED CAR? BEWARE OF FLOOD DAMAGED VEHICLES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Flooded cars, City of La Mesa, January 22, 2024

February 20, 2024 (San Diego) – Water damaged vehicles may be flooded the market after the severe January storms submerged many vehicles. Flooded vehicles are apt to have permanent damage to electrical systems including airbags, putting lives at risk. But some water damage can take months or even years to appear.

Most insurers will declare a flooded vehicle a total loss, which means it should be issued a salvage or flood title. It is then sent to auction, where it may be stripped for parts, or sold to unscrupulous buyers who may resell it.

 So how can you protect yourself from buying a flood-damaged vehicle? Here are some tips,compiled from Consumer Reports and NBC news.

PRESIDENT BIDEN ISSUES DISASTER DECLARATION TO BRING FEDERAL AID FOR FLOOD VICTIMS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

February 20, 2024 (San Diego) President Joe Biden yesterday declared a major disaster in California, making federal funding available to help those who suffered flood damages from January 21-23 in San Diego County, including residents and businesses. 

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service. 

The President ordered federal assistance to supplement state tribal, and local recovery efforts from the severe storm.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

The federal disaster declaration comes three weeks after it was requested by both Governor Gavin Newsom and San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacob.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

VIEW VIDEO OF 79TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT FORUM AND READ CANDIDATE PROFILES

 

Update February 19, 2024-- Video of this candidate forum is now posted.  View the forum here:  79th State Assembly Forum 2/3/2024 (youtube.com)

By Jessyka Heredia 

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Photo, left to right:  Mayor Racquel Vasquez, Councilman Colin Parent, and County Office of Education Community Engagement Specialist LaShea Sharp-Collins.

January 31, 2024 (East County) --Three Democrats are running for the 79th District State Assembly seat on March 5th . Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez, La Mesa City Councilmember Colin Parent and Dr. LaShae Sharp- Collins. There are no Republicans in this race.

All three candidates will be attending a public forum being held Saturday February 3rd, 2024 at the Lemon Grove Library at  2 p.m. The library is located at 3001 School Ln, Lemon Grove, CA 91945

With three strong names in the same party competing, it may be hard for voters to decipher the differences. ECM breaks down their experience, accomplishments, the goals they have outlined in their campaigned, and key endorsements.

WORLD BOOK DAY: FEBRUARY 23

By Jonathan Goetz

February 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- World Book Day is an annual event organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. The main purpose of World Book Day is to encourage people of all ages to discover the joy of books and reading. It also aims to support authors and publishers by raising awareness of their work and protecting their rights, according to Bing's Copilot. It is celebrated on February 23 in many countries around the world, including the United States.

The San Diego County Library offers a wide variety of books, as well as e-books and Kindle books, all free to readers.  Or find a list of top-rated San Diego County bookstores here:  visitcalifornia.com/bookstores-san-diego/
 

EASTERN SAN DIEGO COUNTY JUNIOR FAIR AND BBQ MARCH 17 IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

February 19, 2024 (Lakeside) — Here’s an event to squeal about! A tradition since 1947, the Eastern San Diego County Junior Fair will be held on Sunday, March 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds (12584 Mapleview St., Lakeside). 

4TH FRIDAY COMEDY AT SPACEBAR CAFE AND WINE BISTRO

By Jonathan Goetz

February 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Comedians Gene Levin and Carol Johnson are the dynamic duo behind the 4th Friday Comedy show, held every month at SpaceBar Cafe & Wine Bistro. This delightful event has become one of the longest-running free comedy shows in our region, drawing laughter-loving audiences from near and far.

Event Details:

Venue: SpaceBar Cafe & Wine Bistro

Address: 7454 University Avenue, Suite A, La Mesa, CA 91942

Date: February 23, 2024

Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

February 19, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:

LOCAL

STATE

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

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

February 19, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a 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.

LA MESA SEEKS ARTISTS FOR WALKWAY OF THE STARS: DEADLINE MARCH 8

East County News Service

February 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa is seeking proposals for the La Mesa “Walkway of the Stars” Mural Project in downtown La Mesa. The “Walkway of the Stars” is a pedestrian walkway located between the Allison Avenue municipal parking lot and La Mesa Boulevard that was transformed into an urban park in downtown La Mesa in 2003.

The walkway features decorative stone stars with the names of volunteers who have given 10,000 hours or more of service to the City of La Mesa and eight (8) community murals painted in 2003 depicting volunteerism in the City. This project will create up to eight new murals along the walls of the walkway. 

DOG PARK OPENS IN ALLIED GARDENS

East County News Service

 

Photo: New Allied Gardens Off-Leash Dog Park; screen shot, @AGGCcouncil via Facebook 

February 19, 2024 (Allied Gardens) – A new dog park opened last weekend in San Diego’s Allied Gardens neighborhood for pet owners to bring their dogs to frolic off-leash. The new park, next to the Allied Gardens Pool at 6707 Glenroy Street in San Diego, is larger than most other local dog parks.

SEX OFFENDER FOUND GUILTY OF SEX ACTS WITH MINOR IN EL CAJON MOTEL

By Miriam Raftery

February 19, 2024 (El Cajon) – A convicted sex offender, Michael Inman, was convicted Wednesday on four felony sex offenses including sex with a 16-year-old girl at a Motel 6 on Montrose Court in El Cajon. His co-defendant, Larry Cantrell, pleaded guilty last month to several sexual offenses.

SDSU SOFTBALL RALLIES PAST LMU 8-5 IN CAMPBELL/CARTIER CLASSIC FINALE

SDSU scores seven runs over final two innings for comeback victory

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 18, 2024 (San Diego) - San Diego State scored the final seven runs to rally for an 8-5 victory over LMU in the final game of the 33rd annual Campbell/Cartier Classic Sunday at SDSU Softball Stadium.

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