WANT POWER DURING OUTAGES? LEARN HOW TO BUY A GENERATOR DEC. 20 AT THE ALPINE LIBRARY

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS PAINTS POSITIVE PICTURE IN STATE OF CITY ADDRESS

CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTER STATIONED AT DULZURA DIES IN THOMAS FIRE

JULIAN FIRE RECALL AND NO CONFIDENCE VOTE RAISE FIERY ISSUES IN MOUNTAIN TOWN

JOIN US AT EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE'S "FEASTING AND MERRYMAKING" HOLIDAY PARTY DEC. 17

SDG&E RESTORES POWER AFTER PROLONGED OUTAGES; RESIDENTS WHO SUFFERED STRESS AND LOSS WANT CHANGES FOR FUTURE

CHARITABLE AND BUSINESS DEDUCTIONS TAKEN AWAY IN TAX BILL

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

OUT OF THE ASHES A COMMUNITY IS REBUILT: DEERHORN VALLEY COMES TOGETHER 10 YEARS AFTER THE HARRIS FIRE

FIRE WEATHER RETURNS

DEMOCRAT DOUG JONES WINS ALABAMA SENATE SEAT OVER ROY MOORE, NARROWING REPUBLICANS CONTROL OF U.S. SENATE

LAKE JENNINGS TIPI CAMPING PROVIDES FUN GETAWAY

News

NEW YEAR, NEW STATE FEE AT THE COUNTY RECORDER’S OFFICE

 

By Valerie Watts

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) -- County Recorder’s Office personnel are bracing themselves for effects of a new fee imposed by the State of California.  Beginning January 1, 2018, certain recordable documents will be charged a fee in addition to the usual recording fees to support the Building Homes and Jobs Act, SB 2 - Atkins.

GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY OVER LILAC FIRE IN NORTH COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

Update December 8, 2017 8:45 a.m.:  Cal Fire reports the fire has burned 65 structures but remains at 4,100 acres. Evacuation orders now extend west to Camp Pendleton.  Four civilian injuries and two firefighter injuries have occurred. 

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency declaration over the Lilac Hills Fire, which has scorched over 4,100 acres in the Fallbrook-Bonsall area. The County has also declared an emergency.

The devastating blaze is burning southwest and is still zero percent contained.  It started at 11:15 a.m. west of I-15 and north of Lilac Road on the Pala Mesa.

By this evening, at least 20 homes have burned, County Emergency Services reports. That includes numerous residences in the Rancho Manserate Country Club community.  An estimated 5,000 more residences are threatened.  Two people suffered burns and have been taken to a hospital.

Dozens of horses have died including many at the San Luis Rey training center, Times of San Diego reports. In Bonsall, numerous horses were let loose, running wildly through billowing smoke, a photo posted by Horses so Fine on Instagram states, adding, “Pray for them.”  Community volunteers have come forward to help save many horses and the Del Mar Fairgrounds has opened facilities for livestock including horses.

WINDS TOPPLE TREES, TIP OVER TRUCKS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) -- High winds roaring through San Diego County today have wreaked havoc. 

In Carlsbad, a tree fell onto an elderly man and killed him.  Santa Ana winds knocked a semi-truck and trailer onto their sides on I-8 east, shortly before high winds forced closure of I-8 east of Alpine.  A sign truck was nearly blown off the towering Pine Valley Bridge.  In Lakeside the community Christmas tree toppled over; Lakeside's Chamber of Commerce posted a photo on Facebook, vowing to restore it after the winds die down.

Strong winds also led SDG&E to shut off power to thousands of homes in communities across the region, with some slated to be without power for days.

LILAC FIRE IN FALLBROOK-BONSALL AREA

 

 

Update 4 p.m.  The fire is now 2,000 acres and still 0 percent contained, per Cal Fire. New evacuation orders: South of Hwy 76 West of I-15 Freeway North of Gopher Canyon Rd, East of East Village Way & Mission Rd.

Update 3 p.m.:  Lilac Fire is now 500 acres and 0 percent contained. County Emergency Services warns of "dangerous fires" in North County. EW evacuation warnings are in effect: North of Pala Rd., South of Reche  Rd., West of I-15 Freeway, East of Green Canyon Rd. & W. Mission Rd.  Cal Fire is excercising its option to get military helicopters as well as San Diego Fire & Rescue night-flying helicopters.

For highway closure info check here:  https://www.sigalert.com/map.asp?lat=33.31155&lon=-117.34502&z=1

Three temporary evacaution shelters have been set up at Fallbrook High School, Pechanga Casino and Pala Casino. The Del Mar Fairgrounds is accepting large animals.

Update 1:30 p.m.  The Lilac Fire is now 175 acres, Cal Fire reports.  Two structures have been burned.

December 7, 2017 (Fallbrook) -- The Lilac Fire is burning in North County near the Interstate 15 and State Route 76 junction in the Fallbrook-Bonsall area.  Several southbound lanes on I-15 are shut down due to the fast-moving blaze fueled by 30-40 mph winds.

 
A mobile home park and Sullivan School west of highway 395 have been evacuated.  
 

RED CROSS OPENS EMERGENCY SHELTERS DUE TO POWER OUTAGES

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) -- The American Red Cross is opening two emergency shelters this morning at 9:00 a.m. in support of residents impacted by power outages. The shelters are in El Cajon and Escondido. ECM has contacted the County to ask why shelters have not been opened in mountain and rural areas, where many of the outages have occurred and ratepayers have been advised power could remain off for up to five days due to the high winds and extreme fire danger.

At this time, SDG&E reports more than 5,000 customers are without power. Extreme fire weather continues in San Diego County today.

Per County Emergency Services, here are the shelter locations:

SDG&E SHUTS POWER OFF TO 1,326 CUSTOMERS: MAY BE DOWN FOR DAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Tonight SDG&E has shut off power due many areas across East County and North County due to “an extreme weather event with high winds and dry conditions,” according to SDG&E’s website, which warns, “Current conditions indicate that power may remain out for several days before it can be safely restored. If your power is out, please be sure you have adequate emergency supplies on hand for an extended period of time and check here for the most current information on expected restoration times.”

The action comes just days after the California Public Utilities Commission ruled that SDG&E cannot bill ratepayers for its uninsured losses from the 2007 firestorms, when state regulators found its power lines responsible for three major fires.

SDGE WARNS 170,000 TO BE PREPARED FOR POWER OUTAGES AS HIGH WINDS HIT AREA

Public urged to use caution to avoid infernos like those scorching Los Angeles and Ventura

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Thirdiphoto: Skirball Fire created hellacious conditions that shut down the 405 freeway today near the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – High winds fueling devastating fires in Los Angeles are set to hit San Diego County tomorrow, with gusts of 70 mph or more in some areas. Currently no fires are burning in San Diego County, though smoke from a fire in Mexico is visible near the border.  But the situation could turn perilous quickly if new fires start.  National Weather Forecaster Alex Tardy says Santa Ana winds could blow a fire in the inland area all the way to the coast.

WELLS FARGO FACES INSURANCE LICENSE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION

 

Source: California Insurance Commissioner

December 6, 2017 (Sacramento) -- Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Insurance, Inc., have been served with an accusation by the California Department of Insurance seeking to suspend or revoke its licenses for alleged improper insurance sales practices related to the company's online insurance referral program, which resulted in insurance products being purchased and paid for by consumers without their knowledge.

NAVY TO COASTAL COMMISSION: “YOU HAVE NO JURISDICTION” TO DUMP NUCLEAR WASTE AT BEACH

 

East County News Service

December 6, 2017 (San Diego) — New research by Public Watchdogs reveals that the Navy warned the California Coastal Commission four days prior to its vote on October 6, 2015  that  the Commission "lacked the jurisdiction" to grant Southern California Edison a permit to bury nuclear waste just 108 feet from the beach at San Onofre State Beach Park.

RED FLAG WARNING EXTENDED THROUGH SATURDAY AS FIRES SCORCH SEVERAL COUNTIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – With wind gusts forecast up to 90 miles an hour in San Diego’s mountains and valleys, along with low humidity, the National Weather Service is warning of the potential for explosive wildfires.  A red flag warning has been extended to Saturday evening.

Adding to the danger, many firefighters statewide are deployed to fight major fires burning in Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernadino Counties, so mutual aide resources could be stretched thin if major fires develop in San Diego County.

BE PREPARED FOR POWER OUTAGES, SDG&E WARNS

 

By Miriam Raftery


December 6, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E is warning East County residents of potential power outages this week due to high fire danger. On Tuesday, the utility did shut off power to the Descanso and Cuyamaca areas for several hours during gusty Santa winds, after initially warning that power could remain off until Friday to prevention ignition of power lines.

It’s important to be prepared for outages.  During wildfires in Northern California last month, several people died because they were unable to evacuate. After the power went out, some elderly residents could not disconnect automatic garage door openers or lift heavy garage doors, so they were unable to get their vehicles out.

SMART BAG RESTRICTIONS ANNOUNCED BY AIRLINES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2017 (San Diego) -- If a smart bag is on your gift list this holiday season, you’d better check twice before you go shopping. 

Multiple major airlines including American, Delta, Alaska, United, Continental and Southwest have announced plans to ban many smart luggage pieces due to the risk of explosions caused by lithium ion batteries, 10 News reports.

MAJOR FIRES IN VENTURA, LOS ANGELES, RIVERSIDE AND SAN BERNADINO COUNTIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesty Ventura County Fire Department

December 5, 2017 (San Diego) – At least 150 families have lost their homes just weeks before the holidays, due to fast moving brush fires fueled by Santa Winds across southern California. 

Most devastating is the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, which has scorched 50,000 acres and forced 30,000 people to evacuate; the blaze is 50% contained.  In Los Angeles County, the Creek Fire has burned 11,000 acres with no containment thus far;  the Rye Fire charred 5,000 acres and is 50% contained. 

In San Bernadino County, the Meyers Fire forced shut down of Highway 15 and Highway 215 though most lanes are now reopened.  It charred 35 acres and is 50% contained.

SWEETWATER PLACE ON SUPERVISORS’ AGENDA DEC. 6

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (Spring Valley) – San Diego Supervisors’ agenda for this Wednesday, December 6th includes a public hearing on Sweetwater Place,  a 122-unit condominium project and public park proposed by MasterCraft Homes on 18 acres in Spring Valley.

The project site is on the land formerly occupied by Evergreen Nursery, north of Jamacha Blvd. at Sweetwater Springs Blvd in the Spring Valley Community Plan area. It aims to help fill the need for housing in the Spring Valley-Rancho San Diego area.

Lora Lowes, Chair of the Spring Valley Community Planning Group, (SVCPG) has sent a letter to Supervisors voicing concerns about the proposal, and urges the public to attend and speak at the meeting. Read her letter (in 2 parts) here and here.

BURNED OUT? ROBBED? ACCIDENT VICTIM? TAX BILL TAKES AWAY DEDUCTIONS FOR PERSONAL CASUALTY LOSSES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (San Diego) – If you lose your home or personal property in a natural disaster such as a wildfire or earthquake, or suffer theft, accident or vandalism, you won’t be able to deduct those property losses off your taxes after December. That’s because both the Senate and House versions of the Republicans’ tax bill eliminates these tax breaks.

SENATE APPROVES TAX BILL WITH DEEP, PERMANENT CUTS FOR CORPORATIONS BUT ONLY SMALL, SHORT-TERM CUTS FOR OTHERS

 

Loss of deductions and undercutting Affordable Care Act could eliminate savings for many middle class and low-income families and individuals

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (Washington D.C.) --By a narrow 51 to 49 vote, the Senate has approved a sweeping tax overhaul bill that marks the first significant legislative victory for President Donald Trump.  The Tax Cut and Jobs Act is broad, providing major long-term cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals plus short-term tax cuts for millions of other Americans.

But many of the savings for ordinary Americans will be negated, since the bill also takes away numerous tax deductions and eliminates a key provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act Act, meaning premiums will rise and many will lose healthcare, the Washington Post, Forbes and New York Times report. 

A Washington Post analysis finds that 62 percent of Americans will get a tax cut of at least $100 in 2019, but 38 percent will get no tax cuts. Less than half (44 percent) would have cuts of $500 or more—and most of those are wealthy, not middle class or low income families. By 2027, only 16 percent of individuals will still have tax cuts; 84 percent of Americans will have none.  But the cuts for corporations are permanent.

RED FLAG WARNING: CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Updated December 4, 2017

December 2, 2017 (San Diego) – The National Weather Service in San Diego is warning of prolonged, critical fire conditions in all areas of our county starting Monday morning through the end of the week. 

A red flag alert is in effect for coastal, mountain and valley areas through Thursday due to low humidity, above average temperatures and strong offshore winds.  A high wind warning has also been issued, with Santa Ana winds at 20 to 30 miles per hour and gusts up to 55 miles an hour forecast.

53 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PRESS FOR DISASTER AID FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE SURVIVIVORS, INCLUDING ALL SAN DIEGO MEMBERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Smouldering remains of a mobile home park burned in the Tubbs Fire in October 2017;  CC by ATS

December 2, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Yesterday, 53 members of Congress including all five San Diego-area representatives signed a letter sent to House Appropriations Committee leaders urging that $4.4 billion to aid California wildfire survivors be added to a disaster relief fund. 

The action comes after President Donald Trump previously ignored pleas from California legislators and Governor Jerry Brown, sending a measure to Congress that included funds for hurricane survivors in Texas and Florida, but not a penny to help those who lost homes, businesses or family members in the October California firestorms.

PET SAFETY TIPS TO KEEP THE BAH, HUMBUG OUT OF HOLIDAYS

 

‘Tis the season to put up holiday decorations. And while you’re busy making your home shiny and bright, keep an eye on Fido and Kitty. Some festive holiday trimmings can make them sick or send them to a veterinary hospital.

County Animal Services has nine tips on how to protect your pets so you can keep the happy in your holidays.

FATAL FIRE IN LAKESIDE

 

 

Upate December 4, 2017: The victim has been identified as Kenneth Owens, 76.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Lakeside Fire Chief Don Butz, on Facebook

December 1, 2017 (Lakeside) – A fire shortly after 4 a.m. this morning ruptured oxygen tanks, swiftly engulfing a home in the 9700 block of Emerald Hill Lane in Lakeside.  A 76-year-old man died in the fire after suffering second and third degree burns, but three other family members escaped, Patch.com reports. 

Fire crews from Lakeside, Santee, and Heartland Fire and Rescue responded to the fire, pulling out the victim who was declared dead at the scene, 10 News reports.  The blaze took a half hour to bring under control.

FLYNN PLEADS GUILTY OF LYING TO FBI, CUTS DEAL WITH PROSECUTORS IN TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2017 (Washington D.C.)—Former National Security  Advisor and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn pled guilty today to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about his back-channel talks with Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump taking office in efforts to influence U.S. policies on sanctions against Russia and more.

 In court, federal authorities indicated Flynn is cooperating with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign ties to the Kremlin to potentially influence the U.S. presidential race outcome.  Court records indicate Flynn has admitted he was directed by Donald Trump’s transition team officials to contact Russia’s ambassador, the Washington Post reports. 

CA COUNTIES: SENATE TAX BILL WILL FORCE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO RAISE FEES, TAXES

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

November 30, 2017 (Sacramento) - The people who run many of California's counties are speaking out against the tax bill that is about to go up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. They say they're worried it will eliminate important deductions and force local governments to cut services or raise taxes or fees to compensate.

SDSU REVEALS STADIUM DETAILS FOR MISSION VALLEY LOCATION

 

Proposed stadium to seat 35,000 spectators

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo and video courtesy goaztecs.com

November 30, 2017 (San Diego) -  San Diego State University has revealed its development plans for a 35,000-seat multi-use stadium at the 166 acre site in Mission Valley currently occupied by SDCCU Stadium and its surrounding parking lot. Today’s announcement comes one day after the University released its detail plan for the entire Mission Valley site. 

CPUC BURNS SDG&E EFFORT TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR 2007 WILDFIRES

 

 

“We will vigorously pursue all available avenues to overturn this decision.“ -- Lee Schavrien, SDG&E senior vice president and regulatory officer

By Miriam Raftery

 

 November 30, 2017 (San Diego) – Ten years after the 2007 firestorms, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ruled today that San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) cannot charge ratepayers $379 million for the utility’s uninsured losses due to damages in the 2007 firestorms.  By a unanimous decision, the CPUC ruled that SDG&E did not reasonably manage and operate its equipment, which Cal Fire found caused or contributed to the Witch, Guejito and Rice fires.

GAS TAX REPEAL EFFORT LAUNCHED

 

 

East County News Service


November 29, 2017 (San Diego) — A statewide gas tax hike that took effect November 1st under Senate Bill 1 raised gas excise taxes by 12 cents a gallon, also hiking up diesel fuel rates. An increase in vehicle registration fees is also slated to go into effect in January. The money is to be used to fix roads, highways and bridges as well as improving public transit.

LIBRARY PRIVATIZATION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST ESCONDIDO

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 29, 2017 (Escondido) -- Libraries are vital sources of information for students, researchers, and the public.  But now, the city of Escondido has voted to privatize its public library on Kalmia Street by hiring Library Systems, a Maryland-based company, over the objections of the library’s trustees. The city claims it could save $400,000 a year through private operation of the library.

VINEYARD HACIENDA OWNERS SWEPT OVER WATERFALL IN HAWAII

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 29, 2017 (Spring Valley) -- Tragedy has struck a Spring Valley family after George and Gladys Novinger were swept over the towering Rainbow Falls in Hilo, Hawaii over the weekend.  Gladys was found unconscious and taken to a hospital, where she died.  Her husband is presumed dead, though his body has not yet been recovered and may have been washed out to sea, according to Hawaii authorities.

GROWING GREEN AT COUNTY’S ONLY LEGAL MEDICAL CANNABIS DISPENSARY

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 27, 2017 (El Cajon) – As cities grapple with how to regulate marijuana-based businesses, Outliers Collective, the county’s only legally licensed medical cannabis dispensary provides evidence of the advantages of licensing and regulating facilities to provide product safety testing for consumers, security for employees, and avoid problems caused by illegal pot shops such as crime, fire hazards, and products contaminated with pesticides.

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