News

ICE ISSUES RESPONSE ON IRAQI DETAINEES AT OTAY: 5 ORDERED DEPORTED, 1 FACES CHARGES OVER FALSE PAPERS, 22 REMAIN BEHIND BARS

 

Congresswoman Davis wants to speak with family members of detained Chaldeans

By Miriam Raftery

August 3, 2015 (Otay) –After our story  yesterday on efforts by local Chaldeans to free more than 20 Iraqi Chaldean Christians detained for months at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)/Homeland Security facility in Otay Mesa, we received a response from Lauren Mack, public affairs officer for ICE in San Diego. 

Mack advised us via e-mail, “There are currently 28 Iraqi nationals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego. One of those individuals was criminally charged this week in federal court with providing false information on an immigration application. Five others in the group have now been ordered removed (i.e., deported) by an immigration judge.”

Asked if these six individuals are Chaldean Christians or not, Mack declined to reveal the religion of these detainees. However she did provide a copy of the criminal complaint filed against Reta Morrogi (a.k.a. Zina Hormes Oraha Delli. It states that Morrogo communicated through an interpreter in the Chaldean dialect. She is charged with failing to disclose time spent in Germany on her flight from Iraq to the U.S.

CALIFORNIA PROPOSES CENTRAL BANK FOR MARIJUANA BUSINESSES

 

By Leon Thompson

Photo: www.JesseCalifornia.com

August 3, 2015 (Sacramento)--The California tax board officials Friday announced their interest in forming a state-run bank that would allow legal marijuana business operators to transition from what has traditionally been a cash only business to legitimate banking.

EAST COUNTY CHALDEANS PLEA FOR RELEASE OF CHRISTIANS DETAINED BY HOMELAND SECURITY AT OTAY

 

Detentions shine spotlight on U.S. policies that critics say is harshest system in the world for asylum seekers

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 2, 2015 (El Cajon) – Over three dozen Iraqi Chaldean Christians from El Cajon held a prayer vigil and protest outside the prison walls at the Homeland Security detention facility at Otay Mesa on Thursday, calling for the release of their family members and friends who fled ISIS only to be imprisoned when they arrived in America seeking asylum.  Over two dozen have been held in indefinite detention for over four months, some up to seven months, with no hearing date set for release. 

The detainees include a woman who pleaded for release to see her mother, who died Thursday at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Father Noel from St. Peter’s Cathedral in El Cajon told East County Magazine that all of the detained Christians have family in El Cajon who vouch for their identities and are willing to take them in. 

The situation is far different than for Iraqi Chaldeans who came here a decade ago seeking asylum.  “Ten years ago, they were held just a couple of days and they were not in a jail,” he told East County Magazine.  “Today, they are fleeing ISIS," escaping genocide in their homeland, only to arrive and be imprisoned in the U.S.

4 INJURED IN OFF-ROAD VEHICLE ROLL-OVER IN SANTEE

 

East County News Service

August 2, 2015 (Santee) – Nathan Smoltz, 31, has been arrested for felony drunk driving after the Ford Explorer he was driving plunged off a steep embankment and rolled over several times, ending up in a ravine in harsh terrain northwest of Summit Avenue in Santee.  Four people were injured, including two in serious condition and one who sustained critical injuries.

PEDESTRIAN SUFFERS FATAL INJURIES IN CRASH

August 2, 1015 (La Mesa) -- Yesterday at approximately 8:42 p.m., the La Mesa Police Department received a report of a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle in the 7500 block of El Cajon Boulevard. 

The pedestrian/victim (61 year old male) was walking across westbound lanes of traffic when he was struck by a 2-door sedan. The driver of the sedan remained at the scene and was cooperative with the investigation. Alcohol was not a factor in the collision.

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE WINS 3 AWARDS FROM SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS

 

 

East County News Service

July 31, 2015 (San Diego) – East County Magazine picked up three more awards from the Society for Professional Journalists San Diego pro chapter last night during the annual awards banquet at the Bali Hai restaurant.   Two of the awards honor coverage on our East County Magazine Show on KNSJ Radio while the third is for an investigative report at our online news site (www.EastCountyMagazine.org), bringing our total awards to 83 since our founding in 2008.

Last night’s honors, all second place awards presented to Miriam Raftery (photo, left), include our radio interview series with local Chaldeans’ efforts to halt genocide in Iraq, a radio interview with a Kurdish woman about her family’s ordeal fleeing ISIS, and an online investigative report on a San Diego company’s failure to disclose negative impacts of a proposed energy project.

You can read and hear our award-winning entries here:

TRUCK HAULING BACKHOE HITS BRIDGE OVER HIGHWAY 163: FORCES LONG-TERM LANE CLOSURES

 

 

Source: CalTrans

July 31, 2015 (San Diego)-Long-term lane closures will be needed to repair the Clairemont Mesa Boulevard overcrossing above southbound State Route 163 (SR-163), according to Caltrans.

The announcement was made after structural engineers assessed the damage following a hit on the bridge this morning by a backhoe carried by a semitrailer traveling southbound on SR-163.  The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, which closed the right lane on southbound SR-163 and the left lane on westbound Clairemont Mesa Boulevard during the morning commute.

EDISON SIGNS POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENT FOR TULE WIND, CPUC APPROVAL STILL NEEDED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: McCain Valley, site of planned 14,000 acre wind project

Photo, right: Blades being hoisted onto wind turbine in Ocotillo

Updated July 31, 2015 10 p.m. to include comments from SDG&E and from Howard Cook, former Jacumba Sponsor Group Chair.

July 30, 2015 (McCain Valley)—Southern California Edison has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to buy electricity from the Tule Wind project planned in McCain Valley near Boulevard.

“We are still actively opposing Tule Wind and hope it never gets built,” Donna Tisdale told East County Magazine. Tisdale and the citizens’ group Backcountry Against Dumps have two legal challenges pending. Tisdale also chairs the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which voted against the project but was overruled by the San Diego County Supervisors, with Supervisor Dianne Jacob voting no and four other Supervisors voting for the project.

The agreement covers the first phase of the 14,000-acre project, which includes 67 turbines on federal Bureau of Land Management property at the gateway to the McCain Valley federal recreation area, as well as on privately-owned Rough Acres Ranch.

DOG FOOD RECALLED BY NATURE'S VARIETY

 

East County News Service

July 28, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—Nature’s Variety has announced a voluntary recall of its Instinct Raw Chicken Formula food for dogs due to salmonella contamination.  The products, which were distributed in California including San Diego and East County, pose a health risk to pets and people.

TOWN HALL MEETING IN PINE VALLEY AUG. 2 OVER WATER DISTRICT'S MURKY ACTIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 28, 2015 (Pine Valley)—Angered by the inflammatory and possibly unlawful actions of Pine Valley Municipal Water Company’s chairman Flip Boerman and board, Pine Valley residents/shareholders will convene a town hall meeting on August 2nd at 3 p.m. in the Pine Valley Community Center.

EMERGENCY CENTER OPENS IN RAMONA

 

July 28, 2015 (Ramona) - If you suffered damage from flooding, mudslides and heavy rain during the storm July 18 and 19, the County has set up a Local Assistance Center at the Ramona Library, located at 1275 Main Street in Ramona. It will remain open through August 1st to provide recovery information for residents and business owners in need of help.

COUNTY OFFERS PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FOR STORM VICTIMS

 

East County News Service

July 27, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - If you suffered property damage from the storms July 17 or 18 generated by Hurricane Dolores, you can request a reassessment of your property and a reduction in your taxes until the property is repaired or rebuilt, City News Service reports.

DRIVER SOUGHT WHO HIT FIRE HYDRANT, CAUSED DAMAGE

 

July 27, 2015 (El Cajon ) – El Cajon Police are looking for the driver of a black Mercedes sedan who fled the scene after striking a fire hydrant near the intersection of Ballantyne Street and Madison Avenue in El Cajon on Monday.  The collision caused a 40-foot-high water geyser that damaged several trees nearby, but did not damage homes.

PARK STATION DEVELOPER PUTS LA MESA HIGHRISE PROJECT ON HOLD

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2015 (La Mesa)—The City of La Mesa announced July 15th that the applicant for the Park Station Specific Plan has requested that the proposal not go forward to the City Council at this time. “The project is currently on hold,” the City’s public notice stated. 

HEARTLAND FIRE & RESCUE RESERVE FIREFIGHTER ACADEMY NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

 

July 26, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Heartland Fire & Rescue, serving the Cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, is currently accepting applications for the reserve portion of the Heartland Fire Academy through August 7, 2015. Applications will be accepted between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at 100 E. Lexington Avenue in El Cajon.

VISIONARY THEATRE GROUP SEEKS HELP TO MOVE – AND GIVE STUDIO SPACE TO EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2015 (La Mesa) –Visionary Dance Theatre and Visionary School for the Performing Arts is asking for help to move to a safer, more family-friendly location.  Visionary specializes in helping to keep the arts accessible and affordable to students regardless of income and also make the arts accessible to the community.

Newflash! Visionary also hopes to find space large enough to include East County Magazine’s office and recording studio at its new location – at a minimal cost or ultimately, free for our nonprofit! (Our rent where w are has gone up, and we need to move, too.)  We're looking at space in or near La Mesa - with your help.

We think this is a perfect partnership, enabling us to support local arts and theatre while also providing the affordable space we need to grow!  Donations can be made at http://GoFundMe.com/MovinOnOut. Please help - every dollar counts!

PETITION LAUNCHED TO SAVE LAND PHONE LINES IN CA AND ACROSS THE U.S.

 

East County News Service

July 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – AT&T wants to phase out landline phone service by 2020.  But as many San Diego County residents have learned during firestorms that burned cell phone towers and a multi-state blackout that crippled cell service, land lines are critical during such emergencies. Land lines also make it easier for people with disabilities such as the visually impaired or anyone who has suffered injury to easily access a land line to call for help.

STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED FOR SAN DIEGO AND FOUR OTHER COUNTIES DUE TO STORM DAMAGE

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Today, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency for five southern California counties including San Diego due to damage from severe storms starting July 18 that caused “flash flooding, mudslides, and fires ignited by lightning strikes, resulting in damage to roads, highways, and other infrastructure and the evacuation of residents.” (Read the proclamation: http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19049 )

The emergency declaration applies to Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernadino and San Diego Counties. 

REPORT FINDS CA 38TH IN CHILD WELL-BEING NATIONWIDE

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

July 24, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - California is ranked 38th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to the Kids Count Data Book, released today by the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation.

SENATOR ANDERSON DEFENDS ALEC AS THOUSANDS PROTEST OUTSIDE

 

 

 

 

 

  East County News Service

 

 

July 23, 2015 (San Diego ) – While thousands of people protested yesterday outside the American Legislative Exchange Council’s national convention in San Diego, State Senator Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), California chair of ALEC, told Times of San Diego that is “proud” to have San Diego post ALEC’s national convention where legislators exchange ideas, adding, “ALEC takes on difficult, complicated issues and takes on free market solutions.” (View video, top of story)

As for the thousands of protesters, he said derisively, “There’s a naysayer in every crowd,” adding that the protesters “don’t like the free market.” As for criticisms of secret dealings behind closed doors, Anderson retorted, “We can’t respond to every wack-job” and insisted the process is not secretive, as critics claim. Reporter Ken Stone with Times of San Diego pressed Anderson, pointing out that he had been denied access to cover some key sessions.

The protesters included a  prominent local business organization as well as labor, environmental, human rights and political reform organizations. They contend that secretive actions conducted behind closed doors by ALEC result in laws that hurt small businesses in America and weaken protections for workers, the environment, and civil rights.

CLASS ACTION SUIT FILED AGAINST OTAY AND OTHER WATER AGENCIES OVER TIERED WATER RATES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2015 (San Diego)—A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Otay Water District, San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District. Mark Coziahr filed the suit July 14 in Superior Court seeking an injunction to stop enforcement of tiered water rates. A similar suit has also been filed by ratepayers in Marin County.

GET OUR FREE WARNINGS OF FIRES, FLOODS & OTHER EMERGENCIES

 

July 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- Stay safe and informed!  East County Magazine's free wildfire and emergency alert service has been busy lately warning people here about flash floods, wildfires, roadway hazards and severe weather.

Our regional emergency alerts come via email, so you can get them even if phone lines burn down. You can also get alerts on your cell phone. Plus you can receive our free weekly newsletter with top news stories in our region.

Sign up today! It's FREE.  Click here.

BOIL WATER ORDER ISSUED FOR INDIAN HILLS CAMP WATER SYSTEM IN JAMUL

Test Result Shows Total Coliform Bacteria Present in Drinking Water Supply

July 22, 2015 (Jamul)--The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for the Indian Hills Camp located at 15763 Lyons Valley Road, Jamul, CA 91935, effective immediately.  The water system serves 9 mobile homes, 15 recreational vehicle spaces, 2 dorms, 15 camp sites, 4 public restrooms with showers, 2 swimming pools, a kitchen and office building.

NEW FEDERAL RULE TAKES AIM AT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION, TARGETS LOCAL ZONING

 

East County News Service

July 21, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Last week, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced  finalization of a new rule, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, that requires communities to remove zoning laws and other barriers to integration in neighborhoods at all income levels, or lose federal HUD funds.

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