FIND YOUR INNER COWBOY AT THE COUNTY FAIR

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS JUNE 25 - JULY 29

CA GROUPS: SENATE HEALTH BILL "MORE DRACONIAN" THAN HOUSE VERSION

NATIONAL HOUSING EXPERT HIRED AS CEO OF NEW REGIONAL TASK FORCE ON HOMELESS: WALKER LED EFFORTS THAT REDUCED CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS 90% IN UTAH

TRAVEL + LEISURE CHOOSES RAMONA WINERY VINEYARD GRANT JAMES AS #2 WINERY IN U.S. TO VISIT

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES IN EAST COUNTY

HOTTEST DAY EVER IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

NONPROFIT TEACHING SWIMMING TO REFUGEES: SEEKS DONATIONS FOR VAN

TRÉS BIEN! FABRISON’S COUNTRY FRENCH RESTAURANT IN JAMUL

SUPREME COURT RULES TOP BUSH OFFICIALS IMMUNE FROM PROSECUTION FOR DETENTION AND ALLEGED ABUSE OF MUSLIMS AFTER SEPT. 11 TERROR ATTACK

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS TO HOST VETERANS TOWN HALL SATURDAY IN EL CAJON

HELIX WATER RECEIVES $8 MILLION FINAL PAYMENT FOR EL MONTE LAND SALE ON SITE PROPOSED FOR SAND MINING

News

ROBERT BRANCH, WHO VIDEOTAPED CHOKEHOLD AND FILED SUIT AGAINST SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, IS ACQUITTED ON ALL CHARGES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2017 (San Diego) – A security officer  charged with criminal offenses after he filed a civil rights lawsuit against the San Diego Sheriff’s Department alleging excessive use of force has been acquitted of all charges.  Branch’s evidence included a cell phone video he took as off-duty Sheriff’s detective Paul Ward choked him into unconsciousness in Del Cerro.

The security guard, Robert Branch, who is African-American, has said Ward swerved to block him from passing on an onramp, forcing him onto the shoulder, then pursued him for 10 miles before Branch pulled off I-8 in Del Cerro, where the confrontation occurred. Ward claimed Branch passed him on I-8 and nearly struck his vehicle.

SDG&E ANNOUNCES PLANNED OVERNIGHT OUTAGE MONDAY IN SHELTER VALLEY AND PORTIONS OF JULIAN

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

June 23, 2017 (Julian-Shelter Valley) –  A planned power outage is scheduled  starting at 9 p.m. on Monday night,  June 26 through  6 a.m. on Tuesday morning, June 27 in the Shelter Valley area on the outskirts of Julian, majority of the customers are in the eastern Julian area surrounding Banner Grade, SDG&E has announced.  Julian’s downtown historic district will not be affected.

The outage is needed to replace older power lines and equipment to make the system more weather- and fire-resilient. 

Below is the notice from SDG&E with full details for customers in the affected areas:

CA GROUPS: SENATE HEALTH BILL "MORE DRACONIAN" THAN HOUSE VERSION

 

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

June 23, 2017 (Sacramento) --  Health advocates warn the Senate GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare would cause millions of Californians to lose their healthcare - by phasing out the Medicaid expansion and then capping the program altogether.

The "Better Care Reconciliation Act" or BCRA, lifts the government mandate for people to have insurance, and lets states allow insurance policies that exclude services like maternity and mental-health care.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit Health Access California, says the bill would harm many different groups.  "It still eliminates the Medicaid expansion that 4 million Californians depend on," he says. "But it also has a harsher cap on the entire program, which 14 million Californians depend on - including a third of the state, half of all children, and two-thirds of all nursing-home residents."

The Senate bill also lets insurance companies charge Americans ages 50 to 64 five times what younger people pay, compared to the current limit of three times. And it lifts a ban on charging much higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions.

NATIONAL HOUSING EXPERT HIRED AS CEO OF NEW REGIONAL TASK FORCE ON HOMELESS: WALKER LED EFFORTS THAT REDUCED CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS 90% IN UTAH

 

Gordon D. Walker will direct agency charged with overseeing regional homeless planning and local distribution of federal homeless and affordable housing dollars       

Source: County News Service

June 22, 2017 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) has selected Gordon D. Walker as its new chief executive officer. Walker most recently served as director of Utah’s Division of Housing and Community Development where he gained national attention for his efforts to reduce homelessness.

The Los Angeles Times reports in an article today that Utah has reduced its chronic homeless population by 91 percent.  From 2oo5, when Utah state officials began placing people in permanent housing, there were 1,932 chronically homeless people. Today, nearly all of those are housed, with only 178 chronically homeless people in the entire state of Utah – and officials have their sights set on soon bringing that number down to zero through an approach that is compassionate, not punitive.

EX-LEMON GROVE MAYOR’S DAUGHTER ARRESTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Former Mayor Mary Sessoms

June 22, 2017 (Lemon Grove) – The U.S. Attorney’s office has revealed that Mary Sessoms Baker, 30, the woman charged in a fentanyl drug trafficking case, is the daughter of former Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessoms, the San Diego Reader reports.

Baker is accused of acting as a courier to transport narcotics in three separate trips.  Federal agents stopped her in a rented vehicle and found 15 kilograms of fentanyl, then found 30 more kilograms at her home. The Department of Justice has described the bust as one of the largest seizures of fentanyl  ever nationwide, as ECM previously reported

COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY WINS APPEAL IN CASE AGAINST METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT OVER RATES

 

 

 

Petition for California Supreme Court review anticipated

East County News Servic

Updated with statement from MWD

June 21, 2017 (San Diego) – The 1st District Court of Appeal today issued a ruling in favor of the San Diego County Water Authority on key points in its lawsuits against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.  The County Water Authority has charged that MWD rates charged are illegal. The case is expected to be appealed to the California Supreme Court, where if upheld it would mean a big win for San Diego County ratepayers.

JOURNALISTS’ GROUP OPPOSES SCHOOL DISTRICT’S PLAN TO DELETE EMAILS

 

Source: Society of Professional Journalists

June 21, 2017 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Unified School District recently announced it will start deleting emails older than six months effective July 1, a change the district describes as a cost-saving measure. The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is concerned this policy will significantly hamper access to important public information at a time when the public and the media already have problems obtaining information and records from the district.

CAMPO LAKE MORENA PLANNING AGENDA JUNE 26 INCLUDES FILLING VACANCY, AGRICULTURAL CLEARING AND NAVY HELICOPTERS REPORT

 

East County News Service

June 21, 2017 (Campo-Lake Morena) – The Campo Lake Morena Community Planning Group’s agenda for its June 26th meeting includes appointing a new planning group member, a proposed agricultural clearing permit on Buckman Springs Road, and an update on Navy helicopter flight issues, among other topics.  View the full agenda below.

A HOT DAY IN FIREFIGHTERS’ BOOTS: HEARTLAND FIRE OPS 101

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

June 21, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Run up three flights of stairs in heavy firefighter boots--in the heat wave.  To walk in someone else’s shoes, or firefighter’s boots, can be eye opening and “deepen” your respect for what these men and women firefighters are required to do.  The opportunity to learn what Heartland Fire & Rescue does on a routine basis was extended via their first-ever Fire Ops 101 class held Saturday, June 17th, at their Thomas H. Owen Sr.  training facility in El Cajon. 

WHAT’S BREWING IN LEMON GROVE? COUNCIL APPROVES BREWERIES, WINERIES AND DISTILLERIES ORDINANCE, ALSO FILLS VACANCIES ON COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMISSION

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: City Commissioners Angeles Nelson (with flowers) and Yajaira Preciado

June 21, 2017 (Lemon Grove) – Breweries may soon be opening up their doors in Lemon Grove, based on action taken at yesterday’s city council meeting. In addition, Angeles Nelson, Yajaira Preciado and James Davis were appointed to the Lemon Grove Community Advisory Commission along with alternates Tom Clabby and Walter Oliwa.

SUPREME COURT RULES TOP BUSH OFFICIALS IMMUNE FROM PROSECUTION FOR DETENTION AND ALLEGED ABUSE OF MUSLIMS AFTER SEPT. 11 TERROR ATTACK

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The US. Supreme Court has ruled that former Bush administration officials cannot be sued for allegedly violating Constitutional rights protecting against illegal search and seizures.  The case, Ziglar v. Abbasi, was filed by Muslim immigrants who allege that they were profiled based on their religion, arrested and detained in harsh conditions after the September 11th terrorism attacks.  

RISING TEMPS ROUST RATTLESNAKES

 

As the weather heats up, County Animal Services says you may see more rattlesnakes out and about. The department has already received 656 rattlesnake calls since the beginning of the year, 100 more than last year at this time. Some 30 calls came in since last Wednesday.

HELIX WATER RECEIVES $8 MILLION FINAL PAYMENT FOR EL MONTE LAND SALE ON SITE PROPOSED FOR SAND MINING

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County News Service

June 16, 2017 (Lakeside)-- Helix Water District (HWD) received a long-anticipated $8 million check on June 16th, officially marking the end of a six-year legal dispute over a 460-acre parcel of land the water agency owned in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley. The land sale is the result of a 2014 court settlement between Helix Water District and the El Capitan Golf Club (now known as El Monte Nature Preserve LLC). 

The payment is good news for customers of the Helix Water District, where hefty rate hikes to balance budgets led to a ratepayer revolt and ouster of two incumbent board members last election.  But the final payment dashes hopes of El Monte Valley residents and Lakeside community planners opposed to El Monte Nature Preserve’s proposed   sand mining operation to extract 18 million tons of sand over 15 years from the El Monte Valley on the site.

MYLAR BALLOON HITS POWER LINES, CAUSING BRUSH FIRE AND POWER OUTAGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2017 (Del Cerro) – Residents in parts of Del Cerro, La Mesa and the College area around San Diego State University area were left without power for around two hours in blistering heat this morning after a Mylar balloon struck power lines.

SHOOTING RANGE FIRES, POWERLINK MITIGATION MONEY AMONG HOT ITEMS AT JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP MEETING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Michael Johnson volunteered to lead cleanup efforts to keep shooting range open on public land.

June 16, 2017 (Jamul) -- A fire alarm going off at the Oak Grove Middle School, where the Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group held its June 13th meeting, provided a jarring start to the session at which fire danger was top of mind for many present. 

TWO SAILORS KILLED IN NAVY DESTROYER COLLISION WERE FROM SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2017 (San Diego) – The Department of Defense has released the names of seven sailors who were reported missing but have since been confirmed dead after the Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel from the Philippines on Sunday, June 18th at 2:30 a.m.

RESIDENTS URGED TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS IN EXCESSIVE HEAT

 

With high temperatures expected to hover around 120 degrees in eastern San Diego County desert areas through the middle of next week, County health officials are reminding the public to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses and pay extra attention to children, elderly and pets.

SHERIFF RESCUES 8 HIKERS AT THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

June 18, 2017 (Cleveland National Forest) – Days after the Sheriff’s department issued an advisory urging hikers to avoid the Three Sisters Falls and Cedar Creek Falls trails during the current excessive heat warning, the department had to rescue eight hikers in distress on the Three Sisters Falls trail in Cleveland National Forest Saturday afternoon.

SHERIFF WARNS AGAINST HIKING TWO POPULAR TRAILS DURING EXTREME HEAT

 

Source:  San Diego County Sheriff's Department

June 17, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - An excessive heat watch is in effect for the desert areas of San Diego County.  With temperatures soaring to dangerous levels, the Sheriff's Department is reminding the public to take precautions when doing outdoor activities.  

ALCOHOL, MARIJUANA LAW TO DEBUT IN LEMON GROVE PARKS

 

New law goes into effect July 7; summer concerts and movies in parks to begin soon

Source:  East County Community Change Project

June 17, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Alcohol and marijuana are about to be prohibited at Lemon Grove’s eight city parks, just in time for summer family fun, according to city officials. The city council voted unanimously in May to take local control and make parks off limits to the use of marijuana in any form and all alcohol. While California’s new law under Prop. 64 makes recreational marijuana use legal for adults over 21, it is not legal to do so in public places. The council thought it was important enough to include it in the law.

LEMON GROVE EXPLORING NEW REVENUE OPTIONS: BUDGET IS ON TUESDAY’S AGENDA

 

By Jonathan Goetz

June 17, 2017 (Lemon Grove) - The Lemon Grove City Council is expected to approve a 1% or $139,990 increase to a general fund of $13,153,490 for the 2017-18 fiscal year this Tuesday, June 20. As last year’s tax revenue was lower than anticipated, the actual increase, if projections are accurate, is $704,000 or 6%.

TRUMP IS NOW UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

 

By Frank Gormlie; reprinted with permission from the OBRag

 

June 15, 2017 (San Diego) --Major news organizations – including the Washington Post – have announced that President Donald Trump is now under investigation for possible obstruction of justice by special prosecution, Robert Mueller.

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS TO HOLD TOWN HALL MEETING MONDAY AT SDSU

 

 

East County News Service

June 17, 2017 (San Diego) – “I understand how concerned all of you are by the challenges facing our country, and so I look forward to another opportunity to hear from you,” says Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), who will hold her next town hall meeting on Monday, June 19th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at San Diego State University’s Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union (6075 Aztec Circle Drive, San Diego).  Her district encompasses San Diego and parts of East County including La Mesa, Spring Valley and parts of El Cajon.

No RSVP is needed; the event will be first-come, first-served. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event will also be live-streamed; you will be able to view it here: https://www.facebook.com/RepSusanDavis/

AIRBORNE DRIVER LANDS IN RIVER BED IN SANTEE, SUSTAINS SERIOUS INJURIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  File photo, Mission Gorge Road along San Diego River bed in vicinity of where the crash occurred.

June 16, 2017 (Santee) – A driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol has sustained serious injuries in a freak accident at 2:45 a.m.   The woman, 28, drove her Toyota Yaris sedan north on State Route 125 and went straight through a T-intersection at Mission Gorge Road, becoming airborne.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPROVES AID FOR EMERGENCY SHELTER AND CONSIDERS PROPOSALS TO HELP HOMELESS; RESIDENTS EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT COUNCILMEMBER’S BEHAVIOR

 

By Paul Kruze

June 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Aiding El Cajon’s homeless population, disruption of a neighborhood by occupants of a house allegedly inhabited by drug users, and licensing of a new adult daycare center near El Cajon’s city center were the main topics discussed by the El Cajon City Council at its bi-monthly hearings on June 13th.  In addition, a budget workshop was held earlier  to consider El Cajon’s fiscal 2017-2018 preliminary annual budget.  Councilmember’s Ben Kalasho’s concept to draw down El Cajon’s sales tax to 7.75% drew strong broad opposition, with critics arguing it would devastate law enforcement and fire protection in the city.

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