DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JUNE 30 - JULY 29

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS CALIFORNIA’S CONCEALED CARRY HANDGUN LIMITS

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER KILLS SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE IN CALIFORNIA FOR THIS YEAR

ALPINE RESIDENTS SEEK HELP TO FIND SUSPECTS CAUGHT ON TAPE PLANTING FIRECRACKER UNDER CHILD’S WINDOW

FIRE NEAR MESA GRANDE RESERVATION THREATENS HOMES

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: MORGAN COOK, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST, ON HER INVESTIGATION INTO REP. HUNTER

FIND YOUR INNER COWBOY AT THE COUNTY FAIR

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

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

News

LAKESIDE POLICE SEEK MAN IN SILVER CAR WHO TRIED TO  LURE 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL INTO VEHICLE

Mitsubishi Eclipse with spoiler, vehicle possibly driven
by suspect.

January
15, 2009 (Lakeside) —
Lakeside deputies responded to a radio
call of a possible kidnapping at 10133 Maine Avenue in Lakeside shortly before
7 a.m.  Upon
arrival, deputies contacted the victim, a 15-year-old ninth grade female who
attends El Capitan High School. The victim reported an unknown male had followed
her as she walked to school from the intersection of Channel Road and Industry
Way (near Highway 67). The male suspect made several attempts to lure the female
into his vehicle by offering her a ride, and eventually stopped his vehicle
on Mapleview Street just west of Highway 67. As the victim attempted to walk
past the vehicle, the suspect got out of his vehicle and walked toward the
victim. The suspect placed his hand on the victim's shoulder and she fled the
scene to the 7-11 store at 10133 Main Avenue where she called the Sheriff's
Department.

MARCH 17 HEARING SET IN SAN DIEGO ON SDG&E PLAN TO SHUT OFF POWER ON DRY, WINDY DAYS

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2009 (San Diego) -- An administrative law judge has issued orders requiring the California Public Utilities commission to hold three public hearings on SDG&E's proposed shut-off of power to back country communities during high-wind events with low humidity.

2 FEDERAL AGENCIES APPROVE POWERLINK; SCHWARZENEGGER ASKS U.S. FOREST SERVICE TO EXPEDITE OK TO BUILD POWERLINK THROUGH CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

By Miriam Raftery January 24, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--In the last days of the Bush administration, two federal agencies gave a parting gift to Sempra Energy. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission designated a vast swath of San Diego's East County as a federal energy corridor, paving the way for the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to approve Sempra's controversial Sunrise Powerlink project one day before George W. Bush left office. For construction to commence, however, the U.S. Forest Service (a division of the U.S.

Congressman Hunter Bill Would Prevent Transfer of Guantanamo Prisoners to Camp Pendleton

January 21, 2009 (Washington D.C.)-- On his first day in office, President Barack Obama ordered that the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay be closed down within a year. Closure of the now-infamous detention facility could result in some of the 245 prisoners held there being transferred to Camp Pendleton in San Diego, according to a Pentagon study. Newly elected Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) has introduced a bill, coauthored by San Diego Republican Congressmen Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray, to block transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to Pendleton.

POLICE SEEK ROBBER WHO ATTACKED CLERK WITH HAMMER AT LA MESA SHELL STATION

January
21, 2009 (La Mesa) —
A man attempted to rob the Shell Gas Station at 5302 Lake
Murray Boulevard, La Mesa at 6:32 this morning by threatening the clerk there
with a hammer.  The suspect entered the business and demanded money.  The
suspect threatened to hit the clerk, 28, with a ten-inch-long sheet rock hammer.  A
struggle ensued over the hammer and the clerk was finally able to wrestle the
hammer from the suspect.  The suspect punched the clerk at least once
during the fight. 

STATE OF THE STATE: "CALIFORNIA FACES INSOLVENCY WITHIN WEEKS," GOVERNOR WARNS

January 15, 2009 (Sacramento)--Governor Arnold chwarzenegger refused to deliver a traditional state-of-the-state address today "because the reality is that our state is incapacitated until we resolve the budget crisis," he said during today's address in Sacramento. (Video of speech: http://msmedia.dot.ca.gov/governor/20090115_state.asf;
text of speech: http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/capitolalertlatest/018621.html)

2 BILLS TO STOP PAY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN PASS HOUSE; DAVIS & FILNER VOTE "YES"; BILBRAY, HUNTER & ISSA VOTE "NO"

January 11, 2009 (San Diego) — Two landmark bills aimed at helping women employees achieve equal pay for equal work and obtain judgments against employers who violate the law have passed the House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate. San Diego County's Congressional delegation split down party lines, with Democrats Susan Davis and Bob Filner voting yes, while Republicans Brian Bilbray, Duncan D. Hunter and Darrell Issa voted no on both bills.

The bills were introduced in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Lilly Ledbetter (see photo), who worked nearly 20 years at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company plant in Alabama. Ledbetter filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination immediately after she found out that she was the lowest paid supervisor at the plant, even though she had more experience than her male colleagues. A jury ruled in favor of Ledbetter.

FALLBROOK PARAPLEGIC STUDENT ASPIRES TO JOIN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

By Miriam Raftery

 

Hermes
Castro with Sir Robert Swan, polar explorer who has invited Castro on his
Antarctic expedition
Antarctica

January 7, 2008 (Fallbrook) — Invited by a famous polar explorer to join
an Antarctic expedition in March, Hermes Castro and his fellow students
at Mesa College are raising funds for transportation and special equipment
to help him fulfill his dream. But Castro has already come a long way
since September 2006, when he was struck head-on by a drunk-driver in Bonsall
while riding his bicycle to work in Fallbrook--tragedy that left him paralyzed
from the waist down.

EAST COUNTY ROUND-UP -- DECEMBER

Links to top stories in other publications on East County issues

East County Roundup Logo

STATE TO SHUT DOWN FIRST AND THIRD FRIDAYS EACH MONTH

Sacramento Bee (January 9, 2009) — California will
close most state offices on the first and third Fridays each month starting
in February, padlocking DMV outlets and other services while reducing state
worker pay to help survive a massive budget problem, according to a state Department
of Personnel Administration memo.

 

SANTEE SCHOOL DISTRICT FACES $4.5 MILLION STATE FUNDING SHORTAGE

Union-Tribune (January 8, 2009) — The Santee School District will dip
into its savings to help offset the possible reduction of $4.5 million in state
funding reductions over the next 18 months.

The board Tuesday voted unanimously to use $904,102 from the district's reserves
to help mitigate the impact of the projected state funding loss.

 

GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT RELEASES REVIEW OF ALPINE AREA SITES
FOR NEW SCHOOL

Union-Tribune (January 8, 2009 ) — The Grossmont Union High School District
has released for public viewing a state-required review of three sites in Alpine
and Blossom Valley for the construction of a new high school.

The disrict has posted the 650-page Environmental Impact Report on its web
site, www.guhsd.net,
under Prop H construction news. Public comment will be received through Feb.
23. The Grossmont board plans to hold a public hearing in May or June when
it could decide on a site.

HIGH WINDS PREDICTED TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY: CAL-FIRE BEEFS UP PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

San Diego's East County (January 9, 2009) — Cal Fire has dramatically increased fire protection staffing in anticipation of wind gusts of 40 mph or higher predicted starting tonight through this weekend.

"We will have 18 engines with three- person staffing, 19 hand crews, three bulldozers, and the two Sheriffs helicopters," Cal Fire Captain Nick Schuler advised East County Magazine. In addition, he said, Cal Fire has moved a helicopter down from Northern California into Fallbrook.

MICHAEL'S CRAFT STORE ROBBED AT GUNPOINT IN LA MESA: $1,000 REWARD OFFERED BY CRIMESTOPPERS

January 5, 2009 (La Mesa) — On January 5, 2009, at 3:12 PM, two masked
men entered the Michael's Craft Store at 9108 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa and
robbed customers and the store employees at gunpoint.

The suspects entered the store and ordered employees and customers to the
floor while they each waved a handgun around.  The suspects took money
and jewelry from several customers and also took an undisclosed amount of money
from the store's cash registers.  The suspects fled the scene in an unknown
type white sedan.  No one was injured during the robbery. 

GROSSMONT & CUYAMACA COLLEGES GO SMOKE-FREE CAMPUSES STARTING JANUARY 1

January 1, 2009 (El Cajon) — Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
becomes the first multi-campus district in California to ban smoking starting
New Year's Day.

"In the long run, we have done something very valuable for this district,"
said governor board president Bill Garrett.

Deanne Weeks said the district has a responsibility to "be ahead of the curve." 

Trustee Rick Alexander agreed.  "It's up to us to take the lead." 

SHOULD PRESIDENT BUSH PARDON BORDER PATROL AGENTS RAMOS AND COMPEAN?

Border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean

January 5, 2008 (San Diego's East County) — Assemblyman Joel Anderson has written a letter to President George W. Bush requesting a pardon for Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compeon.  Both are currently in prison, serving 11 and 12 year sentences after being convicted by a jury of shooting the unarmed Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the rear, then attempting to cover up their actions.  Davila was later sentenced to two years for marijuana smuggling.

"The sentencing and imprisonment of Ramos and Compean and the severe impact on their families has demoralized the rest of the U.S. Border Patrol which is the nation's first line of defense against the massive influx of illegal aliens into the U.S.," Anderson wrote, noting that the East County Assembly district that he represents is significantly impacted by illegal immigration.  "These men have already served nearly two years in prison, subjecting their wives and children to extreme emotional and financial hardship."

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE'S 2008 NEWSMAKERS OF THE YEAR

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--For better or worse, these are the East County people who made headlines in 2008.  Some are famous--elected officials and sports stars.  Others are unsung heroes and ordinary citizens who found themselves in extraordinary situations, battling foes ranging from cancer to large-scale developments in their communities.  Some have aspired to amazing feats, such as a young paraplegic athlete striving to join an Antarctic expedition.  We've included heroes with heartwarming tales--and a few local leaders who made headlines for less-than-heroic deeds. 

2008 NEWSMAKERS OF THE YEAR: HONORABLE MENTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Each of these individuals has attained remarkable achievements.  Some have sparked controversy for their views or actions.  Many are working to make our community, our nation, or our world a better place.  Our list includes people who triumphed over disabilities, animal protection advocates, artists and musicians, business leaders, citizen watchdogs, educators, fire heroes, healthcare reformers, humanitarians, social justice leaders, politicians, a police intern, sports stars, tribal leaders, veterans' champions, volunteers and nonprofit leaders.  All are East County newsmakers extraordinaire. Who knew we had so many amazing people in San Diego's eastern region?

EIGHT YEAR OLD BOY KIDNAPPED BY STRANGER IN LA MESA ;CHILD ESCAPED, POLICE SEEK SUSPECT

UPDATE: Police have determined that this reported kidnapping was a hoax.

La Mesa Police Officers responded to an attempted kidnapping that occurred
at 4827 Parks Avenue in the city of La Mesa on January 1st at 6:55 p.m..  Officers
met with the eight-year-old male victim and his aunt at the Parks Avenue address. 

ARMED ROBBERY AT SUPER OSCAR'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN LA MESA; REWARD OFFERED

December
27, 2008 (La Mesa) —
Three armed men robbed the Super Oscar's Restaurant located
at 7102 University Avenue in La Mesa on Saturday, December 27th at 7:52 p.m.  A
customer in the drive-thru reported that armed subjects entered the front doors
of the restaurant with handguns. Suspects pointed the weapons at three employees,
jumped over the counter and demanded money out of the register.  One suspect

TOP 25 EAST COUNTY STORIES OF 2008

By Miriam Raftery

Fire Man December 31, 2008--It's been a tumultuous year for East County and the nation.  Here are our choices for the most important news stories of 2008 that had broad impacts on San Diego's eastern region--from heartwarming to heart-wrenching.  (Note: watch for a separate "East County Newsmakers" feature next week on individuals making a difference in our region, for better or for worse.)

We couldn't resist adding a few snarky comments--and some probing questions.  Starting with this one:  aren't you glad this year is finally over?

CALIFORNIA BUDGET IMPASSE CAUSES PARTISAN DIVIDE:


Governor refuses to sign measure with tax/fee increases to avoid deep cuts in
education

Republicans, Democrats trade sharp criticisms

Senate leader seeks help from federal government to fund public
works projects and jump start California economy

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2008 (San Diego's East County)--Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez
(D-Shafter) has written to Henry Paulson, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
Department, urging him to use the Treasury's investment strength to jump
start planned public works projects in California that would provide the
state with an economic stimulus.

NEW EAST COUNTY FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER OPENS; HELPS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS

The East County Family Justice Center , opened in mid-December, will
offer a broad cross-section of services in one location for victims of domestic
violence and their children.

Assemblyman Joel Anderson, a supporter of efforts to assist victims of domestic
violence, announced the opening in a newsletter to constituents. ''Over 3,000
domestic violence incidents are reported in San Diego 's East County annually,''
said Anderson. ''Research shows that for every reported case there are two
more that go un-reported.''

COUNTY ANNOUNCES PLAN TO KEEP FIRE STATIONS OPEN

State Budget Cuts Threaten Fire Stations; County Offers to Shift
Staff to Protect Region

December 23, 2008 (San Diego) —Acting
swiftly to counteract California's latest budget crisis, the County of San
Diego has proposed to temporarily shift some firefighters from County-contracted
stations to ensure that all 18 CAL FIRE stations remain open this year, according
to a press release issued jointly by San Diego County and CAL FIRE.

COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO CPUC'S APPROVAL OF SUNRISE POWERLINK SOUTHERN ROUTE

By Miriam Raftery

Click photo for larger image.

December 19, 2008 (San Diego's East County) —  The California Public
Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled to allow construction of Sunrise Powerlink
across the southern portion of East County.   The decision drew a
mixture of praise and criticism from local community leaders. 

Armed Subject at Helix High School Determined to be a Hoax

December 17, 2008 (La Mesa) — A report of an armed man on the Helix High School campus yesterday has now been determined to be a hoax.  Further investigation by Helix staff and the La Mesa Police Department confirmed that the student who reported seeing a man with a gun had fabricated the incident.  It is not known why the student lied at this time.    

SNOW FALLING IN EAST COUNTY! ACCIDENTS CLOG I-8, CHAINS REQUIRED ON MOUNTAIN HIGHWAYS

Snow GirlUPDATE 9 p.m. A winter storm warning remains in effect through Thursday morning.
I-8, closed earlier in portions of East county due to snow, has been reopened,
according to the California Department of Transportation website, though many
accidents are reported and conditions remain hazardous-. State Route 79 remains
closed from I-8 to 11.9 miles south of the junction of State Route 78. State
Route 78 is closed from Washington Street in Julian to 11.9 miles east of the
junction or SR 79. For updates on these and other roadways, check the California
Department of Transportation website at http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi.
Six to eight inches of snow have fallen in Julian today and ten to twelve inches
at Mount Laguna. At Camp Palomar, Middle School students are reportedly snowed
in. Send your photos of winter weather conditions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

December
17, 2008, 12 noon  (San Diego's East County) —
Heavy snowfall is blanketing
much of East County, clogging major highways.

"Snow is falling on I-8 from the Golden Acorn Casino east to Jacumba," CAL
FIRE Captain Nick Schuler told East County Magazine, calling from
Boulevard where an estimated one to two inches of snow covered the ground.  "I'm
out here with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and I wouldn't recommend cars out
here.  We are responding to accidents on the I-8 corridor."  CAL
FIRE also responded to a fire on BIA 15 south of Highway 94 this morning, where
a home burned to the ground, Schuler reported.

NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR SAN DIEGO EXCELLENCE IN ENERGY AWARDS

December
18, 2008 —
Are you an Energy All-Star? Take credit for your green efforts
and submit a nomination for the 5th Annual San Diego Excellence in Energy (SANDEE)
Awards.

The SANDEE Awards recognize outstanding projects and activities that have
achieved significant energy efficiency or energy conservation savings, implemented
renewable energy and reduced CO2 emissions in San Diego County.

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