October 3, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has issued a statewide advisory to inform well drillers, local enforcing agency staff and others against using bentonite slurries as a sealing material for well construction.
October 3, 2015 (El Cajon) – Neighbors helped an elderly man out of his home after a garage caught fire in the 2300 block of Charles Way before firefighters arrived Friday afternoon.
Heartland Fire and Rescue crews from El Cajon and La Mesa, assisted by the Santee and San Diego Fire Departments, were dispatched to the blaze. The first engine company arrived within four minutes to find a two-story detached garage with heavy fire and smoke.
September 30, 2015 (La Mesa)-- Heartland Fire & Rescue crews from La Mesa and Lemon Grove, with assistance from San Diego Fire, responded to a house fire in the 4100 block of E. Arrieta Circle in La Mesa this morning.
The first Chief Officer arrived within five minutes to report a single story, single family dwelling with heavy smoke coming from the house. Firefighters quickly attacked the fire from the interior, while simultaneously cutting a hole in the roof to alleviate smoke and hot gases from inside the structure, said Sonny Saghera, public information officer for Heartland.
September 30, 2015 (San Diego)—The Federal government’s Western Regional Climate Center is predicting with 92% certainty a strong El Niño from December to February. Additionally, forecasters say there is a 50% chance that winter precipitation totals will be in the top 33% of historic values across Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico.
September 30, 2015 (San Diego)—Utility ratepayer attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson have filed a federal appeal in the Ninth District court on behalf of Citizens Oversight. The suit challenges the power of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which it accuses of “utility bill hijacking.”
A press release issued by Aguirre and Severson states the Governor Jerry Brown has appointed “powerful utility lobbyists to run the Commission. Working together with utility executives, these appointees have hijacked the long-standing practice of holding public rate-setting hearings in favor of secret rate-setting meetings with top utility executives.”
San Diego Lifesaving Association Raising Funds for Lifeguard Injured On Duty
September 30, 2015 (San Diego)-- After completing a routine rescue at Windansea beach in La Jolla on August 15th, San Diego Lifeguard Gareth “Chappy” Chapman was struck by a large wave in shallow water and driven headfirst into the ground. The resulting impact left Gareth with several broken vertebrae in his neck and back, but fortunately did not cause any permanent damage to his spinal cord or nervous system.
September 30, 2015 (Sacramento)—Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 8 into law. The measure will create “yellow alerts” to display descriptions of vehicles involved in hit-and-run collisions on digital freeway signs. The alerts, set to start January 1st, will be similar to Amber Alerts used for kidnapped children.
Currently, California drivers who want to challenge a ticket in court have to pay a fine or fee first, in many jurisdictions. But Senate Bill 405, now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s approval, would give motorists the right to fight tickets without paying a fine or fee unless they are found guilty.
The U.S. justice system is supposed to presume innocence until someone is found guilty. But traffic fines and add-on fees amount to hundreds of dollars in some cases. The American Civil Liberties Union has argued that those fees block access to the justice system for the poor.
September 30, 2015 (Sacramento) – If you’re a California driver with an overdue traffic ticket fine, you may be eligible for a limited amnesty program starting this week under Senate Bill 85, which was signed into law by Governor Brown.
Under the program, all fines due on or before January 1, 2013 will be reduced by 50 to 80 percent. In addition, all penalties added for late fees will be cancelled. You can also make payments to pay off the balance, based on your income. In addition, if you lost your license for failing to pay a fine or appear in court, you can apply to get your license restored.
Two meetings set on rate hikes Sept. 30 and Oct. 7
East County News Service
September 29, 2015 (La Mesa) — Helix Water District’s Board has voted unanimously to rescind a 10 percent penalty assessed on its highest tier water users. The change comes after customers cut water use 28 percent, enabling the district to meet the 20 percent cuts mandated by the state. Board member Kathleen Hedberg asked for those penalized to receive rebates, but instead the funds will be used for water conservation outreach, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
But the district is moving forward on hefty water rate hikes for water users. The Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association (GMIA) opposes what it describes as a 70% rate hike over five years. The GMIA invites the public to a community forum on the rate hike on Wednesday, September 30th at 7 p.m. at Murdock Elementary School (4354 Conrad Drive in La Mesa).
September 28, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Western Blend horse feed, manufactured by Western Milling, has been linked to deaths of three horses and illness of dozens more. The feed contains monensin, an ionophore that is used to put weight on cattle but that is toxic to horses. There is no antidote for the poisoning.
On Sunday, the company announced a recall of Western Blend sold in 50 pound bags in California and Arizona, with the lot number 5251. ABC news reports the deaths occurred in Fresno.
September 27, 2015 (El Cajon)- At the Ronald Reagan Community Center in El Cajon last Wednesday, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob hosted a ‘Don’t Get Hooked’ event, geared towards seniors and caregivers. Seniors learned the common types of fraud/scams and how not to get reeled in. They also heard some real life stories of how some elderly people got caught in a scam and the results.
Jacob teamed up with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to organize this event and bring more attention to this issue as well as offer advice. Seniors are most targeted because they are trusting.
September 25, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Magazine Editor Miriam Raftery was injured Wednesday when an F-150 pickup truck driver pulled out in front of her Toyota Camry on Avocado in El Cajon. Raftery's vehicle was totaled and she was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.
"I am grateful to be alive and appreciate the kind wishes sent by many in our community," said Raftery, who asked for patience as our staff works to catch up on a backload of articles, story ideas and e-mails recently submitted. "I also thank the El Cajon Police and Heartland Fire & Rescue for their prompt response to the accident scene," she added.
September 26, 2015 (San Diego) – An investigation by KNSD-TV Channel 7 , the NBC affiliate in San Diego, has dropped a bombshell regarding efforts to cover-up lax handling of nuclear waste and radiation leaks at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations. Get the full report and the confidential documents here.
NBC’s investigation found high radiation levels endangered Southern California employees in trailers, including radiation levels so alarming that Nuclear Regulatory inspectors at times refused to perform routine radiation surveys. A contaminated steam generator taken from a reactor exposed workers for 10 days, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report form 1981 revealed.
Hundreds of pieces of contaminated radioactive equipment were stored on both sides of Interstate 5, which bisects the San Onofre nuclear waste dump now under construction following shut-down of the facilities. Some were openly exposed to weather.
September 26, 2015 (San Diego)--September is Truck and Heavy Equipment Fire Prevention Month at Waste Management and Waste Management of Southern California is extending its prevention efforts by reminding residents to properly dispose of barbecue coals to help prevent heat related cart and collection truck fires.
September 25, 2015 (San Diego)--Bob Estabrook walked into the back of his RV to clean up one afternoon last fall. He and his wife, Sally, were staying at a campground near Julian. Within 15 minutes, Sally, who was 75 years old and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, had disappeared.
September 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Do-it-yourselfers in Fallbrook, Lakeside, Ramona and Spring Valley can score a free new oil filter for their car Saturday, Sept. 26 just by turning in a used one, thanks to the County of San Diego’s Department of Public Works and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
September 23, 2015 (La Mesa)--The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will present “Health Fair Saturday,” the East County region’s largest annual free community-wide health fair, from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, near the movie theaters at the mall.
Driver, Don Godfrey of Lakeside, seriously injured
East County News Service
September 24, 2015 (El Cajon) – A red Ford F-250 pickup truck was struck by a trolley at 12:40 p.m. today in El Cajon and has sustained life-threatening injuries, Lt. Randy Soulard with the El Cajon Police Department reports.
Police officers and Heartland Fire Department paramedics responded to the collision at Marshall Avenye and Billy Mitchell. The pickup was traveling east on Billy Mitchell and the trolley was traveling north, paralleling Marshall. Preliminary evidence and witness statements at the scene indicate the driver of the pick-up truck may have traversed the railroad crossing arms and entered the path of the trolley. 10 News reports the truck was dragged about 50 feet.
Pope Francis met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday, then delivered an address on the White House lawn to a crowd of over 11,000 people, CNN reports.
The Pope called on Christians to be responsible stewards of the earth. "Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation," he said. "When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change."
September 22, 2015 (San Francisco)—The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a victory to Stephanie Lenz, a mom who posted a 29-second video of her toddler dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” music.
Prince’s publisher, Universal Music, demanded that she take down the video, claiming copyright infringement. She sued, and on Monday, the appellate court ruled her case can go to trial. The judges also ruled that copyright holders must consider fair use before asking services such as YouTube to remove videos.
“What if the next touch and go crash takes out a school in session?" – a resident’s letter to Supervisor Dianne Jacob
East County News Service
September 21, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --After a plane crashed into a Santee home on September 3rd, killing the pilot and a flight student near Gillespie Field, Advocates for Safe Airport Policies or “ASAP” is calling for action to protect community members. ASAP has made many complaints to officials before this crash, which is the latest in a string of crashes and serious mishaps involving planes at Gillespie. But recently residents have warned of frequent and low flights over homes due to an increase in flight school training of students at Gillespie Field.
Now ASAP is holding a meeting for concerned airport neighbors. The event will be held September 30th at a private home in Fletcher Hills. To RSVP and get the addresss contact email@example.com.
September 21, 2015 (San Diego)—On Sunday, as many as 90,000 SDG&E customers in San Diego County were without power for up to two hours. As we reported, SDG&E tweeted that the outage was due to the California Independent Systems Organization ( CAISO) ordering SDG&E to “drop 150 MW of load in our service territory at around 1:15 p.m.”
Today, CAISIO spokesman Steven Greenlee told East County Magazine that the problem originated locally. “About 11:53 a.m. a generator in the San Diego area tripped offline,” he said. With hot temperatures already raising demand for power, he said, “that generator overloaded the lines in the area. That threatened to spread to other communities.” As a result, the ISO, which is above CAISIO and coordinates the entire western U.S. grid, serving as reliability coordinator, stepped in to protect the nation's power grid stability.
September 21, 2015 (San Diego) – An estimated 90,000 San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) customers lost power for several hours on Sunday afternoon. SDG&E tweeted at 2:02 p.m. Sunday that the California Independent Systems Organization known as CAISO ordered it to “drop 150 MW of load in our service territory at around 1:15 p.m.” CAISO, a nonprofit, is responsible for maintaining the statewide power grid- in other words, keeping the lights on.
September 19, 2015 (San Diego)--San Diego County officials today launched a new type of community alert to help find seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and others who are reported missing and in danger.
The Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies can now directly notify the public via email and cell phone text message when a person with dementia or other cognitive impairment, or with a developmental disability, goes missing in the region.
September 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the U.S. will raise its cap on refugees from the current level of 70,000 to accept 85,000 next year and 100,000 in 2017. The news comes in response to a growing refugee crisis of people fleeing ISIS in Syria and Iraq, including Christians and other minorities as well as Muslims.
That came as welcome news in El Cajon, where Iraqi-American Christians are celebrating at the Chaldean Festival.