DEPUTY ARRESTED FOR DRUGS FOUND IN VEHICLE AT COUNTY JAIL FACILITY

SHERIFF UNVEILS SWEEPING CHANGES TO REDUCE JAIL DEATHS, IMPROVE HEALTH AND SAFETY IN COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS FEB. 10-FEB. 28

GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY HELD FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMPLEX IN DOWNTOWN LA MESA

GIMME SHELTER: MTS NOW MAPPING PLANS FOR SHELTERED BUS STOPS IN EAST COUNTY

JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP PUSHES BACK ON COUNTY DECARBONIZATION FRAMEWORK AND SANDAG REPRESENTATION

CALIFORNIA, OTHER STATES REACH IMPASSE OVER COLORADO RIVER

PILOT PROGRAM FOR OLDER ADULTS OFFERS RENTAL SUBSIDY

NEW MOON FISHING AT LAKE JENNINGS FEBRURY 18

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY: LAKE JENNINGS OFFERS FREE BOAT LAUNCHES

HOUSE REPUBLICANS BLOCK RAISING U.S. DEBT LIMIT, SEEK CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

BLACK HISTORY MONTH KICKS OFF WITH WOMEN OF COLOR ROAR CELEBRATION OF BLACK WOMEN

News

DEPUTY ARRESTED FOR DRUGS FOUND IN VEHICLE AT COUNTY JAIL FACILITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 4. 2023 (San Diego) -- Detectives from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department conducted an investigation and arrested Deputy Allen Wereski for bringing drugs onto jail property, after suspected cocaine was located inside his vehicle. He has been booked into the Central Jail.

Wereski has been suspended without pay from the Sheriff's Department. It is unclear what prompted the seasrch of his vehicle, and whether the suspected drug stash was for Wereski’s personal use, illicit sale or smuggling into the jail.


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SHERIFF UNVEILS SWEEPING CHANGES TO REDUCE JAIL DEATHS, IMPROVE HEALTH AND SAFETY IN COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES

East County News Service

February 4, 2023 (San Diego) -- San Diego County jails have in recent years had the highest number of jail deaths of any major county in California. Many of those deaths have been due to drug overdoses, including Fentanyl. That’s prompted an investigation by the state auditor and calls for reforms from politicians.

Now, newly elected Sheriff Kelly Martinez (photo) has announced numerous changes aimed at improvement the health and safety of people in custody.  Those changes include:


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GIMME SHELTER: MTS NOW MAPPING PLANS FOR SHELTERED BUS STOPS IN EAST COUNTY

By J.W. August

 

Photo: covered bus stop on Balboa Ave. in San Diego by Tolar Shelter

 

February 2, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) -- Whether it's a downpour or the burning sun, covered bus benches are a respite for bus riders -- and hopefully the impetus to get more people to use public transit.


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PINE VALLEY MOTORCYCLIST DIES IN BORREGO CRASH

East County News Service

February 2, 2023 (Borrego Springs) – A Pine Valley man, 68, died January 25 in a crash that occurred around 3 p.m. in Borrego Springs.

He was driving a 2015 Indian Roadmaster motorcycle south on Great Overland Stage Route north of Agua Caliente Springs Road when he missed a curve and crossed over the double yellow lines, then onto a field on the opposite side of the roadway.


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PINE VALLEY FATALITY ROLLOVER CRASH

East County News Service

February 2, 2023 (Pine Valley) – A 27-year-old man from Anaheim died at the scene of a solo vehicle crash in Pine Valley on January 26.

According to Officer Jared Grieshaber with the California Highway Patrol, around 220 p.m. the victim was driving a 2019 white Ford F-350 Super Duty westbound on Old Highway 80 west of Buckman Springs when “for reasons still under investigation, the driver made an unsafe turning movement to the right as the roadway curved to the left.”  As a result, the vehicle went off the roadway, struck a tree and overturned.


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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP PUSHES BACK ON COUNTY DECARBONIZATION FRAMEWORK AND SANDAG REPRESENTATION

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Watch the meeting

Photo, left: Chairman Preston Brown

February 2, 2023 (Jamul) – Multiple agenda items on the Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group meeting on January 24 shared a common theme: lack of empowerment of backcountry communities over decisions ranging from big energy projects to transportation and major land use projects. One planner commented, “We’re getting used to being treated like a forgotten stepchild” by the County.


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CALIFORNIA, OTHER STATES REACH IMPASSE OVER COLORADO RIVER

By Alastair Bland, CalMatters

Photo:  Colorado River, courtesy of Arizona Dept. of Water Resources

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

February 1, 2023 (Sacramento) - California and other Western states that import water from the parched Colorado River failed to reach an agreement today on how to cut their use despite a deadline from federal officials.


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PILOT PROGRAM FOR OLDER ADULTS OFFERS RENTAL SUBSIDY

By Cassie Klapp, County of San Diego Communications Office

February 1, 2023 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities is launching a pilot program to provide 222 seniors at risk of experiencing homelessness a rental subsidy. 


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HOUSE REPUBLICANS BLOCK RAISING U.S. DEBT LIMIT, SEEK CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

Poll finds only 9% of voters support such cuts, including just 15% of Republican voters.

By Raquel Damus

January 31, 2023 (Washington D.C.) --After the U.S surpassed its debt limit, lawmakers are calling for important decisions to be made so that the government can continue paying bills already authorized by Congress.  


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SNOW AT LOW LEVELS IN MOUNTAINS; RAIN, WINDS AND COLD WEATHER FORECAST ACROSS COUNTY

East County News Service

File photo: Snow at Pine Valley bridge, by Julie Salmons

January 29, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy snow is forecast in East County’s mountain areas today through Tuesday morning, dropping as low as 3,500 feet in elevation by Monday morning.  Strong winds, particularly in mountain and desert areas, are also predicted through Monday, along with widespread rain at lower elevations over the next two days.

The National Weather Service predicts the following snow levels in San Diego County mountains:


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STOLEN DOCUMENTARY REVEALS SAN DIEGO CHILD TRAFFICKING EPIDEMIC

Story and photos by Shiloh Ireland and Miriam Raftery 

View video by Douglas Quaid including event highlights and ECM interviews with Monica Dean (photo, left) and Dr. Rhonda Taylor

 

January 28, 2023 (Lakeside) Sex trafficking of children inSan Diego is happening in every single school district inSan Diego County, NBC San Diego investigative reporter Monica Dean (photo, left) told parents and teachers during a showing othe documentary film Stolen at El Capitan High School in Lakeside on January 19.

 

That shocking evidence was found during NBC San Diegoaward-winning investigative reporting series on which the film is based. Dean, a mother of three young children, hopes to raise awareness to protect vulnerable children and teens in the community from exploitation by traffickers. We all have to stand up against them, she says of traffickers. We all have a role to play.

 

San Diego is one of the country’s hotspots for trafficking of adults and children – the FBI has ranked San Diego as one of the 13 worst regions in the United States with up to 8,000 victims per year.


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NAKED DISPLAY OF TRANSGENDER ANIMUS AT SANTEE COUNCIL AS YMCA ALLIES DECRY LIES

 

Story and photos by Ken Stone,Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

January 28, 2023 (Santee) - Former Miss California Carrie Prejean Boller took the lectern at Wednesday’s Santee City Council meeting and declared that she “identified” as Christynne Wood — and thus deserved the same three minutes of public comment time.

Boller, in her mid-30s, followed the real Wood — the 66-year-old transgender woman whose Santee YMCA presence “terrified” a 17-year-old girl in the women’s locker room.
 
So despite all other speakers being limited to two minutes, Boller ignored her time cutoff and rebuffed efforts by two other women to move her away.
 
On a night when dozens of friends and allies supported Wood — many with hand-painted signs reading “We (HEART) Chrissy” — the extremes of the issue were on naked display.

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CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS AND FAMILY OF TYRE NICHOLS URGE CALM AS VIDEO OF POLICE KILLING SET FOR RELEASE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos via Nichols family: Tyre Nichols, before the deadly altercation and in hospital, where he died of injuries sustained.

January 27, 2023 (San Diego) – Police departments across the nation are gearing up for potential protests with a video due for release tonight showing the killing of Tyre Nichols, a Black man, by five Memphis police officers, who are also Black. The officers have all been charged with second degree murder as well as aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. All five officers have been fired and were booked into jail on Thursday.

Civil rights leaders and Nichols’ family are urging that protests stay peaceful as they seek justice following their son’s death.


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EL CAJON PBID SETTLES SUIT OVER PUBLIC ACCESS: CITY COUNCIL HEARS PLANS FOR EXPANDED FESTIVALS, HELP FOR HOMELESS AND MORE

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: Rich Riel announced settlement in lawsuit over violations of open government laws by Downtown El Cajon Business Partners

January 25, 2023 (El Cajon) – Downtown El Cajon Business Partner is settling a lawsuit over Brown Act violations, according to testimony presented at Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting. But complaints remain over no-bid contracts for downtown events.  The City Council also heard plans to bring back Foodie Fest during the America on Main festival, expand a tiny homes program for the homeless, and build a veterans’ memorial.


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STORM DESTROYS FISHING FLOAT AT LOVELAND RESERVOIR – AFTER SWEETWATER AUTHORITY DRAINED WATER TO HISTORIC LOW

Updated January 25, 2023 at 6 p.m.: Sweetwater Water Authority has advised ECM late today that it has reopened its meetings for the public to attend in-person, will update its website to provide more information on its January 11 meeting,  has enhanced audio of the January 11 meeting, and provided insurance valuation on the damaged dock.

By Miriam Raftery

January 25, 2023 (Alpine) – When Sweetwater Water Authority authorized draining Loveland Reservoir down to dead pool status over public objections, it left an L-shaped floating fishing dock paid for by taxpayers through a federal HUD grant perched on dry land.

 

Then came the deluge of rainfall in mid-January, which ripped apart the fishing dock.


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FIRE DESTROYS MANZANITA DINER

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Deborah Jean Peck via Backcountry Community Bulletin Board on Facebook

January 24, 2023 (Boulevard) – An early morning fire on January 17 has destroyed the Manzanita Diner in Boulevard. Long a popular stop for motorists traveling along historic Old Highway 80, the building has housed a pizzeria and Italian restaurant as well as an earlier Basque restaurant. The diner had also been a gathering place for community events through the years.


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FALSE ALARM REPORTING SCHOOL SCHOOTER TRIGGERS HEAVY POLICE RESPONSE AT LEMON GROVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

By Miriam Raftery

January 24, 2023 (La Mesa) – Neighbors near Lemon Avenue Elementary School reporting seeing 15-20 police cars and a SWAT team late this afternoon.  The La Mesa Police Department sent a Nixle warning of police activity near Lemon Ave. and Glen, but at 4:19 posted this message on Facebook:  “La Mesa PD received a call of an active shooter at Lemon Avenue Elementary. It was a FALSE ALARM. Officers are still on scene but there are no injuries and no active threat to the community.


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500 GATHER AT SANTEE YMCA OVER LOCKER ROOM CONTROVERSY

 

By Shiloh Ireland

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Photo, left: Conservative activist Carl DeMaio speaks at rally

January 23, 2023 (Santee) -- On a rain-soaked, muddy field at the Santee YMCA, around 500 peaceful rally goers and counter protesters turned out on January 18th. Organizers staged a rally supporting women and girls’ rights over concerns regarding a transgender person in the women’s locker room, while counter protesters turned out in support of transgender rights.

At the flash point of the controversy, 17-year-old Rebecca Phillips told YMCA staff and the Santee City Council that she saw a “naked man” in the locker room earlier this month as Phillips emerged from the shower. The teen had testified that she was traumatized and voiced concern for her younger sister who attends camps at the center.

The person Phillips saw was Christynne Lili Wrene Wood (photo, right), a transgender person who has indicated she has undergone gender-change surgery and considers herself a woman.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL APPROVES PALM AVE. APARTMENTS AND SWEARS IN A NEW FIRE CHIEF

By Christianne McCormick

Photo: Project approved for 4757 Palm Ave. in La Mesa’s downtown village, courtesy City of La Mesa

January 23, 2023 (La Mesa) -- On January 10, La Mesa’s City Council ratified the Design Review Board’s approval of the Palm Avenue Apartments, which are slated to be built at the same site where the historic Randall Lamb building burned down during the 2020 George Floyd riots. The vote was 4-0, with Councilmember Laura Lothian abstaining because her office is close to the site.  

The development has brought about much debate among La Mesa residents. The five-story building would house 64 rental units, with only 29 parking spaces – less than one for each unit.  There will also be room for at least one business in the building, where apartment rents are expected to start at around $1,000 for units designated as affordable and run from $2,100 to $2,900 for other units, per the developer, Palm Street Ventures LLC.


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NEW COUNTY STUDY ADVANCES WAYS TO CLOSE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN UNINCORPORATED AREA

By Donna Durckel, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 22, 2023 (San Diego's East County) - A recent analysis of census data as part of the County Comprehensive Broadband Plan showed that approximately 37,000 households in the unincorporated area of San Diego don’t have a broadband internet subscription. This places them at a disadvantage when it comes to things such as online education, healthcare services or emergency notifications.


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MISSING SANTEE TEEN

Source:  San Diego County Sheriff

January 20, 2023 (Santee) - The San Diego County Sheriff's Department wants the public's help in locating a missing girl in the East County.

16-year-old Veronica Moreno was last seen at her home in Santee on January 6. She ran away after an argument with her parents, according to the Sheriff’s Department.


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SLAMMED IN SANTEE, TRANSGENDER WOMAN REVEALS HERSELF AFTER HARSH YMCA RALLY

 

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

January 19, 2023 (Santee) - Speaker after speaker in front of the Santee YMCA invoked right and wrong, “what is true and what is good,” as they denounced policies that allowed “grown men to parade around naked in women’s showers and locker rooms.”


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COUNTY ASKING HELP TO DETERMINE STORM DAMAGES

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 18, 2023 (San Diego) - The County Office of Emergency Services is asking for your help to estimate the flooding and rain damage in our region caused by the recent series of storms.


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SUSPECT IN ALVARADO AREA PHARMACY STABBING IS FATALLY SHOT BY SAN DIEGO POLICE OFFICER IN CREST

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Viktoria Voragen

 

Update January 20, 2023: The victim has been identified as Mary Ellen Carter, 66, of Lakeside. The shooting suspect was Frank Bower, pharmacist.   The officers involved in the shooting were  Officers Salvador Laurel-Torres and Robert Raynor.  Officers Laurel-Torres and Raynor have been employed with the San Diego Police Department for seven years. Both officers are currently assigned to Eastern Division. As in all officer-involved shootings, the officers in this case are currently on administrative assignment until cleared to return to full duty.

January 18, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – A man suspected of fatally stabbing a woman at a pharmacy in the College area was shot and killed by San Diego Police at a home in Crest yesterday.


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TENSIONS ESCALATE AT SANTEE YMCA

YMCA closes early due to rallies today, apologizes to teen; Santee School district pledges review of YMCA policies before approving future field trips for students

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Shiloh Ireland

January 18, 2023 (Santee) The Santee YMCA branch announced it will close early today to protect staff members after an announced rally and counter-protest over a teen girl’s complaint of a transgender person she described as a “naked man.”

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department issued a statement indicated it is aware of the planned protest, adding, “We support the public's right to free speech and assembly. We encourage the peaceful gathering of people. We respect your right to be heard.”

The statement added, “The Sheriff's Department does not condone any acts of violence or intolerance in our communities. We are a county that is welcoming of people from all backgrounds. Our job is to enforce the law. As long as people express themselves in a peaceful and lawful manner, we do not have any lawful authority to intervene.”


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE

East County News Service

Photo, left, by Alex Tardy, National Weather Service: car is swept away by floodwaters beneath overpass in Fashion Valley, where the river topped flood stage at 13 feet yesterday morning.

January 17, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Torrential rains that doused our region caused roadway flooding and rockslides, filled reservoirs, and resulted in multiple rescues.  Here are photos, provided by our readers, social media users, and public agencies.


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MOUNTAIN-AREA SCHOOL DISTRICTS CLOSED TUESDAY

East County News Service

January 17, 2023 (San Diego's East County) -- Due to the winter storm, the Julian Union Elementary School District, Julian Union High School District, Mountain Empire Unified School District, Spencer Valley School District and Warner Unified School District will all be closed today, according to the San Diego County Office of Education.


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PARENTS TO RALLY JANUARY 18 AT SANTEE YMCA OVER TEEN GIRL COMPLAINT OF NAKED TRANSGENDER PERSON IN LOCKER ROOM

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2023 (Santee) – A group called SanteeParents4Choice is planning a “rally for women’s and girls’ rights”  at the Santee YMCA (10123 Riverwalk Drive, Santee) on January 18 at 6 p.m.  Organizers have pledged to hold a non-violent rally to highlight parents' concerns over protecting privacy.

The action is in response to a teen girl who says she became frightened while showering at the YMCA, when she saw a naked trangender person in the women’s locker room. At last week’s Santee City Council meeting, a tearful Rebecca Phillips, 17, testified that two weeks earlier, “As I was showering after my workout, I saw a naked male in the women’s locker room. I immediately went back into the shower, terrified, and hid behind their flimsy excuse for a curtain until he was gone.”


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EVENTS ACROSS CA, U.S. TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL DAY OF RACIAL HEALING

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

January 16, 2023 (San Diego) -- Tomorrow is the 7th Annual National Day of Racial Healing, which is commemorated every year, always on the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation created the National Day of Racial Healing to promote the idea the journey to racial equity begins with taking steps toward racial healing.


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FLOODING, MUDSLIDES, AND HIGH WINDS ROCK COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Flood watches and warnings are in effect across San Diego County this morning.

Multiple roadways across our region are flooded, with others blocked by mudslides, rocks and debris:

  • Wildcat Canyon Rd. in Lakeside is blocked by a mudslide/rockslide in the 3000 block. Avoid area.
  • Lower Honey Springs Rd. in Jamul is flooded at the dip. Do not attempt to cross.
  • Highway 94 from 188 to Barrett lake road was closed due to a large bolder blocking both lanes. It's now reopened at 188, with opening at Barrett and near Otay Lakes pending.
  • A boulder and debris are blocking Fuerte Drive at Lemon Ave. on Mt. Helix.
  • Rock slides are blocking State Route 78 at Wynola Rd. near Julian.
  • Boulders are across the roadway at State Route 78 and Chihuhua Rd. near Warner Springs.
  • A wind advisory has been issued on I-8 east of Tavern Rd. in Alpine to the Imperial County line.
  • The National Weather Service warns to avoid the San Diego River area through Mission Valley and Fashion Valley, which surpassed flood stage this morning as 12.8 feet and is forecast to reach 13.2 feet this afternoon. Roads to avoid include Fashion Valley Rd., Avenida Del Rio, Camio Del Este, Camino Del La Reina and Mission Center Rd. Fashion Valley transit center is closed.
  • A swiftwater rescue was conducted this morning along Otay Lakes Rd. due to flooding.

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