DONATE TO ILLUMINATE: HOW YOUR EYEGLASSES CAN LIGHT UP LIVES

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

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

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

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

ALEGRIA RESIGNS FROM CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

PROTECT SANTEE INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO IMPROVE FIRE PROTECTION

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

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

BUYING A USED CAR? BEWARE OF FLOOD DAMAGED VEHICLES

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

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

LISTERIA OUTBREAK LINKED TO QUESO FRESCO AND COTIJA CHEESE: MANY PRODUCTS RECALLED

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Photo: Examples of some recalled products.

Español (Spanish)

February 12, 2024 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert warning consumers about a deadly Listeria outbreak tied to queso fresco and cotija cheese products. The outbreak has resulted in 26 illnesses in 11 states, including 8 cases in California, 23 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths.

The cheeses, which have been recalled, include numerous product names and brands. The products include solid and grated cheeses,mealkits,salad dressing, dips, yogurts, saladkits, enchiladas, taco kits, and many more. View a full list of the recalled cheese products:  alert.

SUSPECT WHO RAMMED RAMONA SHERIFF’S STATION ARRESTED FOR FELONY VANDALISM

East County News Service

February 12, 2024 (Ramona) – Jorge Aguilar, 21, has been arrested for felony vandalism after reportedly ramming his pickup truck into the back gate of the San Diego County Sheriff’s substation in Ramona on Saturday, says Detective Thomas Sutton.

FAMILY THAT HELPED SAVE NEIGHBORS NEEDS HELP AFTER MAJOR FLOOD DAMAGE

By Miriam Raftery

February 11, 2024 (San Diego) – More than 1,200 San Diegans remain displaced from homes damaged in the Jan. 22 flood, including Beba Zarate, a teacher, and her two sons. The Zarate family helped get neighbors to safety amid rising floodwaters when emergency agencies were overwhelmed. But they had no flood insurance at the time, and lost nearly everything. They have put up a GoFundMe page, but so far only a few hundred dollars has been raised.

“We are hardly getting any help from the county or from the city,” say Zarate, whose home on Osborn Street in San Diego’s Shelltown neighborhood had water four feet deep rush in when a nearby creek flooded. “The only help was cleaning stuff, cleaning the street.  They removed all the trash and furniture.”

Nonprofits provided basic essentials such as clothes, shoes and cleaning supplies. But so far, neither FEMA nor state or local governments have stepped up with the major financial resources needed to help the family rebuild their home and lives.

Their one-story home needs major repairs and nearly all of the family’s belongings need to be replaced, including Zarate’s computer and teaching materials, kitchen appliances, furnishings and more. They also lost items of sentimental value, including family photos damaged by floodwaters that reached four feet deep.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: WATERFALL AT MISSION TRAILS

East County News Service

February 11, 2024 (San Diego) -- January's heavy rains created waterfalls in many rocky areas across East County.  Rod Lagace sent in this beautiful photo of a waterfall that formed at Mission Trails Regional Park after the storm.

75TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT PRIMARY FEATURES CROWDED FIELD: ECM PROFILES THE SIX CONTENDERS

By Mike Allen

Photo, top left to lower right:  Carl DeMaio, Andrew Hayes, Kevin Juza, Jack Fernandes, Joy Frew, Christie Dougherty

February 10, 2024 (Santee) -- Politics makes strange bedfellows. This is certainly proving true in the 75th Assembly race, which has attracted a field of six candidates, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.  Incumbent Marie Waldron is termed out this year, making this an open seat.

In the last few weeks, television viewers have seen ads for the most recognizable and funded candidate, Republican Carl DeMaio, at his most combative, railing about the mess at the southwest border. It closes with pictures of him alongside one of Democrat Kevin Juza, who has the endorsement of the state’s Democratic party and big labor backing.

“I have no connection to (the ad) at all,” Juza said. “He’s chosen me to run against in the primary….As my grandmother always said, ‘Watch out what you wish for.’”

PETS BRING TRUE LOVE BEYOND VALENTINE'S DAY

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

February 9, 2024 (Bonita) -- February is Valentine’s season and if you’re looking for true love, the San Diego County Department of Animal Services has lots of cuddly and cute contenders for your heart.

In the department’s “You Make My Heart Spin” campaign, you just let love take the wheel! Spin the department’s Wheel of Love to discover your adoption fee at the Bonita and Carlsbad shelters from now through Wednesday, Feb. 14. All adoptions are $20 or less.

EL CAJON'S YOUTH OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS SOUGHT

East County News Service

February 9, 2024 (El Cajon) -- The City of El Cajon's Teen Coalition is now accepting nominations for the “Youth of the Year” award. This accolade is aimed at recognizing exceptional middle and high school students who have shown an extraordinary commitment to serving their community within the City of El Cajon. 

CITY OF EL CAJON ATTEMPTS WORLD RECORD "MOST DOGS TO ATTEND A FILM SCREENING" FEB. 24

East County News Service

 

February 9, 2024 (El Cajon) -- The City of El Cajon aims to break the world record for the “Most Dogs to Attend a Film Screening.” A family-friendly screening of the movie “Beethoven” will take place at Wells Park, located at 1153 East Madison Avenue, on Saturday, February 24. Dog owners and their furry friends are invited to be part of this historic attempt .

 

To participate in this record-setting endeavor, dog owners are required to arrive for check-in at 1:00 PM, with the movie screening to commence shortly after. The current record stands at 219 dogs, and El Cajon is eager to surpass this number. This event is not only a chance to make history but also an opportunity for the community and their dogs to enjoy an afternoon full of entertainment and fun.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: CREATIVE EVENTS COMING UP

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) —Comedy shows, Fido Fest, film showings, wolf tours, a plein air desert art show, Valentine teas, and an attempt to break a world record for most dogs viewing an outdoor moving are among the festivities coming up across San Diego’s East County.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY SUMMER STEPHAN HONORED WITH U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL MERITORIOUS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

East County News Service

February 9, 2024 (Washington, D.C.) -- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan was honored at a ceremony Wednesday with the United States Attorney General's Award for Meritorious Public Service - the top public service award granted by the U.S. Department of Justice. It is designed to recognize the most significant contributions of citizens and organizations in support of justice.

JURY ACQUITS NURSE OF MANSLAUGHTER IN DEATH OF INMATE AT LAS COLINAS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News: Elisa Serna’s supporters want to know why so many deaths have occurred in San Diego jails.

February 9, 2024 (San Diego) – A jury has acquitted Danalee Pascua, a nurse accused of involuntary manslaughter in the November 2019 death of Elisa Serna, a pregnant inmate at the Las Colinas Detention Center in Santee.  Charges against a second defendant, Dr. Friederike Von Lintig, resulted in a hung jury, with 9 jurors voting for acquittal and 3 against. A hearing next  Wednesday will determine whether prosecutors will seek to retry his case.

FIVE MARINES CONFIRMED KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH IN PINE VALLEY

East County News Service

Update February 9, 2024:  The Marine Corps has identified those who died in the helicopter crash as Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, Capt. Jack Casey, Sgt. Alec Langen, Capt. Benjamin Moulton, and Capt. Miguel Nava, all in their 20s, with the 3rdMarine Aircraft Wing.

February 8, 2024 (Pine Valley) – The U.S. Marine Corps has confirmed that all five Marines aboard yesterday’s crash of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in Pine Valley during Tuesday night’s storm have died.

BROKEN YOLK CAFÉ DEBUTS “BERRIES & BUBBLY” IN FEBRUARY

East County News Service 

Photo by Teresa Jenkins, Broken Yolk Cafe

 

February 9, 2024 (San Diego) -- Broken Yolk Cafe offers two seasonal specials to celebrate Valentine's Day. The raspberry swirl pancake is made with the restaurant's sweet buttercreambatter with a twist of raspberriesa drizzle of cream cheese frosting andpowdered sugar all topped with fresh raspberries.

SIT-IN HELD AT REP. LEVIN’S OFFICE TO ASK SUPPORT FOR CEASE FIRE IN ISRAEL-GAZA WAR

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2024 (Oceanside) - A dozen constituents of Congressmember Mike Levin (CA-49) staged a sit-in at his Oceanside office this morning, demanding that he call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an end to U.S. military funding to Israel. The action comes three days after Levin voted for an additional $17.6 billion in military funding to Israel in a measure that ultimately failed to pass the house. 

GRANTS ANNOUNCED TO HELP LOCAL TRIBES BUILD STRONGER FOOD SYSTEMS

East County News Service

Photo: Indigenous Regeneration

San Diego Women’s Foundation, San Diego Foundation & Avila Fund Award $60,000 in Grants to Help Local Tribes Build Stronger Food Systems

February 8, 2024 (San Diego) – San Diego Foundation (SDF), the San Diego Women’s Foundation and the Avila Fund announced today four $15,000 grants, totaling $60,000, to organizations supporting local tribal communities in building healthy, sustainable and culturally relevant food systems.

“San Diego County has the largest number of tribal governments and reservations in the United States with 18 tribal reservations and four tribal nations - the Kumeyaay, Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla - represented across the region,” said Pamela Gray Payton, VP, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer of SDF. “These grants represent a collaborative investment in fighting food insecurity, poverty and diet-related diseases in our local tribal communities.”

FREE LECTURE ON FIRE-WISE LANDSCAPING AT THE WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN

East County News Service

February 8, 2024 (El Cajon) -- California's landscape will always be characterized by wildfires, making homes and properties vulnerable to their impacts. A key component of wildfire preparedness involves proper placement and maintenance of the vegetation surrounding the home. Understanding how fires approach a house and potential vulnerabilities is critical for designing fire-resilient landscapes.

In this presentation, Tuesday, February 13 at 10 a.m., there will be discussion on the key concepts of defensible space and home hardening strategies necessary to create a fire-resilient but aesthetically pleasing landscape. 

RURAL RESIDENTS OPPOSE AT&T PROPOSAL TO PULL PLUG ON LAND LINES, SAY ACTION COULD COST LIVES: HEARING MARCH 19

By Miriam Raftery

Image: CC via Bing

February 8, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – AT&T has filed an application asking the California Public Utilities Commission to end AT&T’s obligation to serve as a carrier of last resort (COLR) and cease maintaining land line telephone service. A map indicates this would include the entire San Diego region. If the CPUC approves the request,  land line service could end as early as six months later.

There are no in-person hearings in San Diego County, but you can voice your opinion in a virtual hearing March 19 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. or post online comments here.  

"If approved by the CPUC, over 580,000 affected AT&T customers would be left with fewer options in terms of choice, quality, and affordability," warns the Rural County Representatives of California. "Alternative services, such as VoIP and wireless, have no obligation to serve a customer or to provide equivalent services to AT&T landline customers, including no obligation to provide reliable access to 911 or Lifeline program discounts."

The proposal has drawn strong opposition from rural residents in East County and elsewhere in California, as well as consumer advocates who warn that ending land lines would leave many in rural or remote locations with no reliable phone service at all, since Internet VOIP phone service is not widely available in many places and some areas also lack cell phone connectivity. Even for those with cell service, land lines have proven life-saving options when cell towers have burned down during wildfires in places such as rural Potrero.

DOGS RETURNED TO OWNER AFTER FLOOD AND MEDICAL CRISIS

Humane Society’s Foster team enabled temporary care dogs and heartwarming reunion

 

Source: San Diego Humane Society

February 8,2024 (San Diego) -- In a heartwarming tale of resilience, three small dogs have been reunited with their owner following the challenging aftermath of the Jan. 22nd flooding in San Diego.

LOVE YOUR HEART WEEK FEBRUARY 14-28

East County News Service

February 7, 2024 (San Diego)—Love your Heart events are slated across our region from February 14 through 29. In honor of Valentine’s Day, healthcare organizations are teaming up to offer you free blood pressure screenings and heart-health information.

THIRD INMATE THIS YEAR DIES IN SAN DIEGO SHERIFF’S CUSTODY

East County News Service
 
February 7, 2024 (San Diego) – A man presumed to be homeless was arrested by San Diego Police for felony vandalism last June. On February 4, Liutoa Vitale Vili, 54, died in a hospital while still in custody.
 
A deputy and a nurse handing out medications in a housing unit at the Central Jail when they found Vili in need of medical evaluation. While being taken for that evaluation, he became unresponsive and rescue efforts were immediately administered, according to the Sheriff’s department.

JAMUL CASINO CELEBRATED LUNAR NEW YEAR WITH TRADITIONAL DANCE AND EYE-DOTTING CEREMONY TO HONOR YEAR OF THE DRAGON

Jamul Casino gifts new dragon to Southern Sea Dragon and Lion Dance

 Source:  Jamul Casino

February 7, 2024 (Jamul) -- On Saturday, Feb. 3, Jamul Casino celebrated Lunar New Year with a traditional dance and procession through the casino floor, along with a special gift to further honor the tradition of lion and dragon dancing. President and General Manager Mary Cheeks kicked off the evening’s festivities by presenting a new dragon costume to Southern Sea Dragon and Lion Dance, one of San Diego’s most reputable Southern lion dancing groups, at JIVe Lounge. 

FAMILY ASKS HELP TO FIND MAN MISSING AT RISK: LAST SEEN IN ENCANTO JAN. 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 7, 2024 (San Diego) – Joseph “Joe” Mackey, 37, went missing from an independent living facility in Encanto on January 25.  He is considered high risk and needs medical attention.

His sister, Wendy Hayes, says her brother is "the biggest sweetheart you will ever meet." She told ECM that he was stable for 10 years with a mental health condition, but recently went off medications. On January 25, she says, “he apparently walked out because he was told that his house was closing and he was going to have to move...Now we are just beside ourselves...He had been missing for two weeks before we heard about it.”

Mackey is 5 ft. 11 inches tall, weighs around 150-160 pounds and has lost weight since the photos on this flyer were taken.  He has tattoos including a Chargers emblem on his left shoulder, a clown with gun on his right shoulder, Lil Kim on his back and bones on his left forearm.  He  may  no longer have facial hair and may not be wearing his glasses. He may be wearing shorts and a T-shirt with pieces of cut or torn clothing wrapped around his waist, neck or arms.

Hayes says the family is "beside ourselves" with concern and that family members gave been out daily searching for her brother. 

STANDALONE ISRAEL AID BILL FAILS TO REACH 2/3 THRESHOLD, MIXED SUPPORT FROM SAN DIEGO DELEGATION

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: CC-By-SA via Bing

February 7, 2024 (Washington, D.C.) -- A standalone bill to provide $17.6 billion in emergency aid to Israel amid its fight with Hamas failed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, with mixed support from the San Diego Delegation.

Democrats Sara Jacobs and Scott Peters opposed it, while Democrats Mike Levin and Juan Vargas joined Republic Darrell Issa in voting for it.

COLLIER PARK REOPENING THIS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10

East County News Service

February 7, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The Collier Park renovation is almost complete with the reopening/ribbon cutting celebration on February 10, 2024!

Join the City of La Mesa for interactive activities, presentations, and resources while you enjoy the new park, playground, fitness equipment, walking trails, courts, and more.

GUESS WHO IS AT THE MAGNOLIA THIS FRIDAY FEB. 9

East County News Service

February 7, 2024 (El Cajon) -- Guess Who is at The Magnolia this Friday? The Guess Who! A few tickets to the 6:30 p.m. show are still available and start at $55.

The Guess Who is a legendary Canadian band that enjoyed chart-topping hits in the late '60s and early '70s with an impressive catalog of songs including “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” and “No Time.” During the course of its career, the band has released 11 studio albums and charted 14 Top 40 hit singles, 2 of which went to number one in the United States. The Guess Who is best known internationally for its 1970 album, American Woman, which hit number one in Canada and number nine in the United States, with five other albums also hitting the top ten in Canada.

Their fan base spans multiple generations. Very few bands have survived numerous member changes — let alone having smash hits with each lineup — but The Guess Who’s motto is “the music is the message.”

FIVE CANDIDATES LOOK TO UNSEAT ISSA IN THE 48TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

By Michael Howard

 

February 7, 2024 (San Diego, CA) - The 2024 California March Primaries ballot are in the mailboxes of many voters, including the residents of the 48th Congressional District, where the Republican incumbent Darrell Issa is vying for his second term.

 

Issa has been in San Diego politics since 1998 when he ran for the U.S. Senate and lost to Matt Fong during the primaries. In 2000, he won the District 49 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and has also served in the same capacity for districts 48 and 50 in the ensuing years.

 

As the incumbent for District 48, Issa votes primarily along conservative lines, achieving a minimum of 82% or higher with most conservative political organizations such as the American Conservative Union, Christian Action Network, and Heritage Action for America. Conversely, his votes received zero to only 13% ratings with liberal organizations such as Americans for Democratic Action, Freedom Democrats, and Radical Middle. 

 

Issa faces five candidates across the political spectrum this election, including four Democrats and a no-party-preference candidate. Three of the five are candidates he beat in the 2022 election for his current seat, the other two are first-time contenders. The top two in the March 5 primary will advance to a November runoff race.

 

Stephen Houlahan (D) was the closest contender in 2022, whom Issa beat in the general election by a 20% margin. Matthew Rascon (D) lost to Issa during the primaries with 9.1% of the votes along with the no-party-preference candidate Lucinda KWH Jahn with only 1.6% of the votes. Two new contenders this year are Mike Simon (D) and Whitney Shanahan (D).

 

Photo:  The four candidates who participated in our questionnaire; top left to lower right, Democrats Stephen Houlahan,Mike Simonand Whiney Shanahan, and decline-to-state party candidates Lucinda KWH Jahn.

 

East County Magazine reached out to all candidates asking them to answer questions about the economy, immigration, healthcare, democracy, the Israel-Hammas and Russia-Ukraine wars, social security, and more. Four of the six candidates submitted their answers, which we have included in this article. Phone calls and emails to Congressman Issa and Matthew Rascon were not successful in obtaining answers to these questions. 

 

Here are the questions and answers from the candidates:

MAN, 26, DIES AFTER BEING SHOT IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

February 7, 2024 (Lakeside)—San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call reporting gunshots and a man lying in the street in the 9700 block of Cactus Street in Lakeside yesterday at 3:10 p.m. 

Deputies found a man suffering from a gunshot wound. Deputies provided medical aid until they were relieved by Fire Department personnel and paramedics. Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at 3:25 p.m., says Lieutenant Joseph Jarjura with the Sheriff’s homicide unit.

The victim has been identified as 26-year-old Michael Anthony Johnson.

THEFT SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER INJURING WORKER AT PARKWAY PLAZA

East County News Service

 

February 7, 2024 (El Cajon) – Yesterday afternoon, a man entered Big 5 Sporting Goods on Fletcher Parkway, selected merchandise, and then exited the store without paying. A store employee attempted to stop the man from stealing. 

 

According to El Cajon Police, the man swung a plastic bag containing a small metal propane bottle at the employee and struck her in the forehead, causing pain and minor injury. The employee was able to use her cell phone to photograph the man as he fled the area toward the trolley.  

SAN DIEGO PUBLISHER SUES SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT TO FORCE PUBLIC RELEASE OF BOOKING PHOTOS

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: Sheriff’s Department booking photos are sought for Andrea and Jesus Cardenas (inset) by La Prensa San Diego publisher. Times of San Diego photo illustration

February 7, 2024 (Chula Vista) -- We’ve all seen booking photos of Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and even sports figures like O.J. Simpson and soccer star Hope Solo.

But who has viewed the mug shots of arrestees Jesus Cardenas and his Chula Vista councilwoman sister Andrea Cardenas?

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