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

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

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

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

News

FOUR EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE REPORTERS WIN AWARDS FROM SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 15, 2017 (San Diego’s East County Magazine) – Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego has released the list of winners in its 2017 journalist competition.  Four East County Magazine journalists are among the award winners:   Jonathan Goetz, Rachel Williams, Rebecca Jefferis Williamson, and editor Miriam Raftery.

ACLU AND MINORITY HUMANITIES FOUNDATION FILE FEDERAL LAWSUIT SUPPORTING DETAINED IRAQIS

 

 

“President Trump has placed a death sentence for the Christians that currently face deportation to Iraq.” – Mark Arabo, President, Minority Humanitarian Foundation, San Diego

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery:  Iraqis Chaldeans and Assyrian Christians at Santa Sophia's Church in Spring Valley held a mass to mourn the murder of  Iraqi Christians  in a Baghdad church in 2010.

June 15, 2017 (San Diego) -- A class action lawsuit has been filed against the federal government in Michigan seeking to halt deportation of Iraqi refugees to Iraq. The suit seeks protections for over 100 Chaldean Christian detainees,  as well as other religious minorities including Shiite Muslims, Kurds, and Yezidis who would could face persecution, torture or death at the hands of ISIS if returned to war-torn Iraq.

“Not only is it immoral to send people to a country where they are likely to be violently persecuted, it expressly violates United States and international law and treaties,” said Kary Moss, Executive Director for the ACLU of Michigan, in a statement on the ACLU website. “We are hoping that the courts will recognize the extreme danger that deportation to Iraq would pose for these individuals. Our immigration policy shouldn’t amount to a death sentence for anyone.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS DENIES COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA, REFUSES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON CONVERSATIONS WITH TRUMP

 

View full testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on C-Span.

By Miriam Raftery

June 15, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee June 13th , calling any suggestion of  Trump campaign team’s collusion with Russia to rig the U.S. presidential election “a contemptible lie.” 

 Sessions also denied any “inappropriate” meetings with Russians but repeatedly claimed fuzzy memory. He said he could not recall meeting Russia’s ambassador during a reception at the Mayflower hotel.  After his testimony, the Week published a photo of Sessions speaking with the Russian ambassador at the Mayflower.

He refused to answer any questions about conversations with President Donald Trump about the investigation or possible discussion of pardons, citing a department policy. But Sessions was unable to name that policy, whether it exists in writing, or whether he reviewed it before testifying when grilled by California Senator Kamala Harris. (View Senator Harris questioning Sessions.) 

EXTREME HEAT WAVE HITS FRIDAY

 

East County News Service

June 14, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - A long duration heat wave is forecast to develop across the deserts in southern California beginning Friday and lasting through much of next week.  How hot could it get?  Temperatures could reach 114 degrees in Palm Springs.  Here in San Diego County, Borrego Springs could hit 108 degrees, Ramona 96 degrees and Alpine 94 degrees.

VOTE FOR WINNERS IN OUR PHOTO CONTEST!

 

East County Magazine

June 3, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Thanks to all who entered our East County photo contest!    There were many great entries , making it tough to narrow it down to semi-finalists. We added extra categories to give more people a chance to be winners!  Please vote for your favorites in each category/

For directions click "read more" and scroll down:

HELIX WATER TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETING ON BUDGET AND RATES TONIGHT

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (La Mesa)—Helix Water District’s board will hold a special meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the district headquarters (7811 University Avenue, La Mesa) to consider the proposed fiscal year 2017-18 budget of $88,282,730. Click to view the complete board package.  Scroll down for details on a proposed rate increase, most due to a hike in rates from the County Water Authority:

HELIX RESCINDS DROUGHT LEVEL 1 DECLARATION, BUT LEAVES WATER EFFICIENCY RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (La Mesa) – In light of Governor Brown declaring an end to the statewide drought due to record rainfall, the Helix Water Board voted last week to rescind its drought level 1 declaration.

But the board left in place its policy 4.9 water efficiency measures, which ratepayers are still required to follow.  The following uses are still prohibited, except as noted:

EAST COUNTY CHALDEAN CHAMBER LOSES TRADEMARK; DETROIT-BASED CHALDEAN CHAMBER OPENS OFFICES HERE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (El Cajon ) -- The U.S.  Patent and Trademark Office has issued an order cancelling Ben Kalasho’s trademark for the San Diego-East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce name.  The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held that the trademark caused confusion with the Chaldean  American Chamber of Commerce based in Detroit, which has been using the name since 2001. 

The board held that the trademarks were similar and that the local group used the entirety of the Detroit group’s name in its branding.

Kalasho founded and served as President of the local Chamber before stepping down earlier this year to avoid conflcts of interest after his election to the El Cajon City Council.  Kalasho’s wife, Jessica, currently serves as President.

CALIF. RANKS 37TH IN NATION FOR CHILD WELL-BEING

 

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

June 13, 2017 (Los Angeles) -- California has made major strides in getting kids insured, but still ranks only 37th in the nation for overall child well-being due to persistent pockets of poverty, according to the latest KIDS COUNT Data Book, out today from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER THREE IDEAS TO HELP THE HOMELESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (San Diego) -- The Board of Supervisors will look at ideas next week designed to help get the homeless into homes.  County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Dianne Jacob unveiled the three initiatives to spur the building, renovation and acquisition of affordable housing and stem the growing tide of homelessness.

SECOND APPEALS COURT BLOCKS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN, BUT ON DIFFERENT GROUNDS

 

 

Ruling also affirms block on refugee ban, but allows review of vetting procedures

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (San Francisco) --  A second federal appeals court has blocked nearly all of President Donald Trump’s executive order  that included a 90-day travel ban from six mainly Muslim nations, though the two courts found different rationales for their rulings, the New York Times reports.

COMEY TESTIFIES TRUMP STATEMENTS ON FBI WERE “LIES, PLAIN AND SIMPLE”

 

By Miriam Raftery

View James Comey’s introductory remarks and full testimony.  

June 8, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – In riveting testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee today,  fired FBI director James Comey confirmed that President Donald Trump  asked him in person and in phone calls to back off the investigation of National Security advisor Michael Flynn’s Russian ties. 

Trump fired Comey after he refused to back off the investigation or swear a loyalty oath, promising "honesty" instead. Comey said Trump  then“chose to defame me—and more importantly, the FBI by saying the organization was in disarray and that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.”

Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe backed Comey in his recent testimony , stating,“Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,” adding that Russia probe is “significant.”

ARBITRATION ABOUT-FACE: FEDS SIDE WITH CORPORATE INTERESTS OVER VULNERABLE NURSING HOME RESIDENTS

 

East County News Service

June 8, 2017 (San Francisco) – In what a patient advocacy group calls a ”devastating turn," the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to not only terminate its short-lived ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes but to endorse their use as a condition to receiving vital care and services.

DETHRONED BEAUTY PAGEANT QUEEN FILES FRAUD AND DEFAMATION SUIT; COUNCILMAN KALASHO DENIES ALLEGATIONS

 

 

 

Kalasho provides documents to bolster his defense, though this isn't first time he has faced claims of fraud or ethics questions

By Miriam Raftery

Updated with comments from Tawfiq's attorney

June 7, 2017 (El Cajon) – A lawsuit has been filed against the Miss Middle East Beauty pageant  USA Inc. and Ben (Bessmon) Kalasho, organizer of the pageant and an El Cajon City Councilman.

The suit, filed by pageant winner Zhala Tawfiq, claims the pageant is fraudulent, that prize money was not paid, and that after she objected to giving up passwords to her social media accounts, photos of her face photoshopped onto someone else’s nude body were posted on  an Instagram page named “Zhala_Tawfiq_Fanpage” with a  post reading, “Leaked images of Miss Middle East Beauty Queen.”  Soon after she was removed as pageant winner and the title was given to the runner-up.

Asked if he posted the photos, Kalasho told East County Magazine, “Absolutely not." He indicated Tawfiz was replaced due to not fulfilling terms of her contract.

NETWORKS TO CARRY COMEY TESTIMONY LIVE THURSDAY MORNING

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County ) – Major TV networks including CBS, NBC  and ABC will be interrupting regular programming tomorrow morning  to broadcast live testimony by fired FBI director James Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee slated to start at 7 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

A copy of Comey's pre-prepared statement has been released and can be read here. Comey confirms "inappropriate" actions by President Donald Trump including demanding loyalty and pressuring him to drop the investigation into former National Security Director Michael Flynn.  Comey's statement directly contradicts Trump's denial that he asked Comey to drop the investigation.  After Comey refused,  and also refused to swear a loyalty oath to Trump, Trump fired him.

 Comey’s testimony under questioning by Senators tomorrow could provide evidence for special prosecutor James Mueller, who is heading up an investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The stakes have ratcheted up after the Intercept published  excerpts of a leaked top-secret National Security Administration report detailing that Russian military intelligence sent phishing messages to at least 100 U.S. election officials days before the 2016 presidential election and earlier executed a cyber attack on at least one voting software supplier.

HELIX WATER BOARD TO WEIGH PERMANENT DROUGHT EFFICIENCY MEASURES FOR RATEPAYERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2017 (La Mesa)—Helix Water District’s Board meets Wednesday, June 7 at 6 p.m. (7811 University Ave., La Mesa.  View board package

Items of interest include a presentation by the County Water Authority un its lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District, a proposal to adopt a resolution declaring an end to drought level 1 restrictions but keeping in place other permanent water use restrictions.  The board will also consider spending funds on a customer satisfaction survey.

Below are notes received from Board member Kathleen Hedberg with additional comments on these items.

GUHSD APPOINTS LOU RUSSO, CRITIC OF ALPINE LAWSUIT AGAINST GUHSD, TO CITIZENS BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

 

By Julie Pendray

Photo via Twitter

June 6, 2017 (Alpine)--Lou Russo, who ran unsuccessfully three times for Alpine Union School District’s board, has been appointed to Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee.

“I am honored to announce that I have been unanimously selected by the Grossmont Union High governing board to be a member of the Citizen Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC),” Russo wrote in an email to news media in early May. “Although I am the representative at large, I will bring Alpine's perspective to the Bond Oversight processes.”

VEHICLE STRIKES TWO STOPPED MOTORCYCLES IN LAKESIDE, CAUSING FATAL INJURIES

 

East County News Service

June 5, 2017 (Lakeside) – A 37-year-old woman has died after she and a second motorcyclist parked on the shoulder of Winter Gardens Boulevard south of Creekford Road in Lakeside were struck by a Ford Taurus Monday at 8:52 p.m.

COUNTY OFFERS INCENTIVES TO LANDLORDS WHO RENT TO HOMELESS

 

East County News Service

June 4, 2017 (San Diego) – If you’re a landlord looking for tenants, the County is offering bonuses of up to $500 if you’ll rent to a homeless family, veteran or other homeless person who has a rental assistance subsidy from the County of San Diego Housing Authority. 

OTAY WATER SUES CITY OF SAN DIEGO FOR OVERCHARGES ON RECLAIMED WATER SERVICES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – The Otay Water District filed a lawsuit in Superior Court on May 30th against the City of San Diego alleging breach of contract, overcharges on recycled water rates and lack of transparency.  The suit accuses San Diego of becoming “unjustly enriched at Otay’s expense,” according to Mark Robak, president of the Otay Water District, and asks the court to rescind a January 2016 rate hike and repay that money to the district.

The Otay district provides water for residents in Spring Valley, Jamul, Rancho San Diego, La Prensa, eastern Otay Mesa and eastern Chula Vista.  

TRUMP WITHDRAWAL FROM PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD DRAWS CONDEMNATION FROM WORLD LEADERS; WEST COAST STATES FORM THEIR OWN ALLIANCE TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: NASA satellite:  Arctic ice reached an all-time record low in March, due to record temperatures.

June 2, 2017 (San Diego)—President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord  means the U.S. joins Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as the only other world leader who does not believe climate change is a serious threat to the planet.   Every nation on earth signed the Paris agreement calling for aggressive action to combat climate change, except for Syria and Nicaragua, but Nicaragua wanted even stronger actions to protect planet Earth.

WOMAN STRUCK ON I-8 HAS MULTIPLE SURGERIES; HIT-AND-RUN DRIVERS STILL AT LARGE

 

CHP seeks a lifted F-250 or F-350 diesel pickup similar to one in photo that struck woman and sped off. A motor home that may have witnesses is also sought.

By Jordan Damond and Miriam Raftery

June 1, 2017 (Lakeside) – It’s a mystery how a San Diego woman wound up standing on westbound Interstate 8 just west of the Lake Jennings exit in Lakeside at 4:45 a.m. on Monday, where she was struck by two vehicles that both fled the scene.

BORREGO BIGHORN SHEEP COUNT NEEDS VOLUNTEERS AND HELP RESTORING MAILING LIST AFTER DEATH OF RANGER BIER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Daren Sefcik

June 1, 2017 (Borrego Springs) – The 47th annual Anza Borrego bighorn sheep count is set for  June 29th through July 1st,  with a mandatory orientation on June 17th for all new counters and recommended for those who participated in the past.   The count will go on despite the death of its long-time leader, Ranger Steve Bier. 

“We were unable to find the master sheep count mailing list,”  states a letter from Anza Borrego Desert State Park Superintendent Kathy Dice and volunteer Sheep County Coordinator Mark Jorgensen, who are organizing a new sheep counting team. If you know of counters,  please forward their contact information to AB.Sheepcount@parks.ca.gov.

HUNTER AND ISSA VOTE TO SELL YOUR ONLINE PRIVACY AFTER TAKING BIG MONEY FROM TELECOM INDUSTRY; TRUMP SIGNS MEASURE INTO LAW

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2017 (San Diego) – Your Internet provider can now legally sell your browsing history and your email address, without your consent—thanks to legislation signed into law by President Trump.   The measure passed the Senate by just 2 votes and the House by 10 votes. San Diego Republican Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa both voted for the measure – after taking $19,000 and $66,275 from the telecommunications industry respectively. 

EL CAJON COUNCIL MOVES TOWARD MORE HELP FOR HOMELESS, APPROVES PUBLIC HEARINGS ON ADDING AGENDA ITEMS AND CELEBRATES SUCCESS OF AMERICA ON MAIN STREET

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

May 30, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council had a packed agenda Wednesday at its 3 p.m. meeting, taking actions including:

  • Voting 5-0 to put an item on an upcoming agenda to have staff prepare a report on feasibility of hiring a Crisis House “homeless navigator” expert to match unique needs of homeless people with private and public programs to help house the homeless;  
  • Voting 4-1 to hold two town hall meetings annually to allow residents to propose agenda items and for Council to set agenda priorities;
  • Heard a report from the County Water Authority claiming Metropolitan Water has been squandering funds and overcharging ratepayers;
  • Honoring participants and supporters of America on Main Street;
  • Presented awards to local youths and Friends of East County Arts contest winners
  • Praised a resident for using a drone to get evidence of an illegal marijuana dispensary.

UBER VEHICLE PLUNGES INTO SINKHOLE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

May 30, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – An Uber driver and passenger had an unexpectedly rough ride when a broken water main shortly before dawn caused a sinkhole to open up on Pecan  Park Lane at Olde Highway 80 in unincorporated El Cajon, just east of Lake Jennings Park Road. 

According to 10 News, crews responding to a report of the broken water main found  the vehicle in a huge sink hole that had formed.

A MEMORIAL DAY TO REMEMBER

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  Norm Case examines Civil War drum played at the Battle of Shiloh  (photo, left) by his ancestor, Philo L. Case (photo, right)

 

May 28, 2017 (Ramona)--Philo Case, a drummer in the Union Army, played the long roll that called troops to arms during the battle of Shiloh, one of the bloodiest conflicts in the Civil War.  This Memorial Day weekend, his drum is on display at Hatfield Creek Winery in Ramona at 2 p.m. each day. 

Norm Case, Philo's descendent, shared the amazing history handed down through his family -- a tale that includes not only Civil War stories, but also a mystery involving another branch of his family tree that includes the niece of John Wilkes Booth.  Case says she's told him her family has kept a secret for generations--claiming her uncle came to Yakima, Washington and asked that his presence be kept secret -- after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Pages