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 FIRES BREAK OUT IN RANCHO BERNARDO AND OCEANSIDE, I-5 CLOSED

October 14 (12:30 p.m.) - Santa Ana winds are fueling new fires in several
portions of San Diego County, forcing closure of several major highways and
evacuations in the Rancho Bernardo, Oceanside, Fallbrook and Campo areas last
night and today.

Police have ordered evacuation of homes on the west side of a fire on a hillside
at Camino del Norte and Camino San Bernardo in the 4S Ranch area near Rancho
Bernardo. Two helicopters are dropping water on the flames; fire engines and
ground crews are also dousing hot spots. Details and video: www.cbs8.com/stories/story.143243.html.

FIRE NEAR CAMPO 50% CONTAINED, HWYS 94 AND 8 CLOSED, 400 EVACUATED

October 13 (Campo) 9:30 a.m. -- Three hundred homes have been ordered to evacuate due to a 100-acre wildfire that began at Highway 94 near Shockey Truck Trail. The blaze has burned 100 areas on both sides of 94 and is 50% contained. No structures have been lost. Evacuation centers have been established at at the Potrero Library and Mountain Empire High School.

4,000 FLEE FIRES IN PENDLETON, OCEANSIDE, FALLBROOK

Fire in North County. Photo by Corina Squires

October 14 (Camp Pendleton) 12:10 p.m. - The third blaze in there weeks to
strike Camp Pendleton has charred over 1,500 acres, forcing evacution of over
4,000 people from Oceanside as well as base housing. Some schools in Oceanside
may be closed tomorrow, ECM has learned.

The Juliet fire forced evacuation of Serra Mesa Housing and San Luis Rey Housing
on the base, authorities at Camp Pendleton told ECM. As flames spread to the
northeast tonight, a second fire broke out near Fallbrook. The City of Oceanside
has announced that mandatory evacuations are now in effect for the East end
of Sleeping Indian to include Wilshire, Indian Trail, Hidden Valley and Camino
Baja Cerro.

SDG&E THREAT TO CUT POWER DURING FIRE DANGER SPARKS HEATED OUTCRY AMONG EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS

Large crowd likely at CPUC meeting Tuesday in San Diego

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2008 (San Diego’s East County) - Backcountry residents
are reacting with shock,  praise and outrage to a notice sent by San Diego
Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to 45,000 customers warning that power lines
may be shut off when fire danger is high.  With red flag warnings issued
by the National Weather Service through Tuesday night, thousands of East County
and North County residents may find themselves without power Monday or Tuesday.

“Many of my neighbors are up in arms. The guy next to me has about 280
acres, and he’s about ready to storm Washington,” said Bill Root,
an Alpine resident who relies on power from SDG&E to pump well water that
sustains his horses and other livestock as well as his family. 

HIGH FIRE DANGER, SANTA ANA WINDS STARTING TONIGHT

CAL Fire gears up with extra airpower, asks homeowners to take defensive
steps;
SDG&E may cut power in high-risk areas

Story and photos by
Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2008 (El Cajon) - CAL Fire has issued a warning that the
danger of wildfire is high due to forecasts of Santa Ana winds starting tonight
combined with already hot, dry conditions in San Diego’s East County.

“We
provide the offense,” CAL Fire Batallion Chief Ray Chaney said at a press
conference this morning, where reporters received a briefing on preparations
being made to battle a major conflagration.  “It’s up to homeowners
to provide the defense.”

Great Debates: Congressional Candidates Square Off

Duncan Hunter
Mike Lumpkin

52nd
Congressional district candidates face off in a series of five debates. Here's
your chance to learn first-hand where candidates stand--or even ask a question
yourself!

Former U.S. Navy Seal Commander Mike Lumpkin, a Democrat,
battles ex-USMC Captain Duncan D. Hunter, Republican, and Libertarian Mike
Benoit to replace retiring Congressman Duncan Hunter in debates Oct. 7, 8,
12, 22 and 28.

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WATER, PACE OF DEVELOPMENT TOP CONCERNS IN CAMPO/LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP RACE

By Miriam Raftery

Lake Morena

October
6, 2008 (Campo) -
Concerns over the impacts of new and proposed
major developments on water supplies and community character have divided community
members in this rural region.  

Tensions ran high at a forum for Campo/Lake Morena Planning Group candidates
held on September 29th,  where community members posed tough questions
for candidates on two opposing slates, plus independents with sharply different
visions for future growth.

A FIERY ARGUMENT

Fire Chief, City and County leaders debate pros and cons of fire
tax

By Miriam Raftery

2007 San Diego wildfires destroyed over 3,400 structures
and killed 15
people (photo: La Mesa Fire Dept.)

October
1, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) -
“We have to stop turning to others
to solve our problems,” said Ron Roberts, Chair of  San Diego’s
Board of Supervisors.  He urged voters to support Proposition A, the fire
parcel tax initiative on the November ballot.

 “The most recent state budget had money for 150 new fire trucks.
We expected 15.  We were told we would get five,” Roberts added,
noting that during the 2007 firestorms, only three aircraft fought fires locally
during the crucial first 24 hours: all San Diego city and county helicopters. 

BATTLE OF THE WATCHDOGS: WILL THE REAL CONSUMER CHAMPION PLEASE STAND UP?

 

By Miriam Raftery

Anderson
Lutz

October 10, 2008 (Assemblyman Joel Anderson considers himself a watchdog for taxpayers.  His opponent, Ray Lutz, founded a citizens’ watchdog group.  Both claim to represent the public interest.  The differences in their views reflect a core question being asked more and more amid today’s challenging economic times:  just what is the proper role of government?

LOCAL RESIDENTS JOIN NATIONAL PROTEST OF WALL STREET BAIL-OUT BILL

By Miriam Raftery

September
26, 2008 (El Cajon) -
East County residents angered by the Bush administration’s
proposed $700 billion bail-out bill for Wall Street financial firms took to
the streets yesterday as part of a national protest action organized by True
Majority.  Thousands protested across the nation (photo: New York protest,
taken by Jeremy Scahill.)

“Many people in the evening rush hour honked. Even more gave thumbs
up or flashed peace signs.” said Wren Osborn, who participated in a protest
at Chase and Nidrah in El Cajon.  View a video from Channel 10 news with
interviews from the El Cajon event: www.10news.com/video/17562521/index.html?taf=sand.

PENDLETON FIRE 100% CONTAINED

October 9, 2008 (Camp Pendleton) 9:30 a.m. -- A wildfire that began late yesterday afternoon at Camp Pendleton is now 100% contained, though firefighters continue to douse hotspots.

"Between 900 and 1,000 acres have burned," Major Kristen Lasica, Public affairs officer told East County Magazine last night. ECM activated our wildfire alert system last night after learning that aircraft including super scoopers were grounded for the night with the fire then 0% contained.

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HUNTER OPENS DOOR FOR SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTORS

Border Fence creates opportunities for some, but draws criticisms from others, with waivers of environmental reviews

by Gayle Early

Gayle Early.

October 1, 2008 (El Cajon) - Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office hosted an informal briefing by the Army Corps of Engineers on September 18 on the status of the border fence construction and possible subcontracting opportunities for local businesses. Mary Spencer, the Army representative in the Small Business Association, also offered pointers on how to apply for contracts.

"HISTORIC" AGREEMENT SIGNED: ALLOWS NIGHT-FLYING HELICOPTERS TO FIGHT WILDFIRES ON STATE LANDS IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarmon shakes
hands with CAL-FIRE Chief Howard Windsor as Mayor Jerry Sanders looks on

October 1, 2008 (El Cajon) -- “This
is a historic occasion,”  said Fire Chief Howard
Windsor with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL
FIRE).  Speaking at the San Diego Sheriff’s facility at Gillespie
Field in El Cajon, Windsor announced an agreement with San Diego Fire-Rescue
Department allowing CAL FIRE use of San Diego City-owned helicopters to fly
night firefighting missions on state wild lands in East County. 

HEALTHCARE FOR ALL BILL PASSES- GOVERNOR THREATENS VETO

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) – A landmark bill to
provide guaranteed universal healthcare coverage for every man, woman and
child in California (including medical, dental, mental health and eye care
coverage) has been approved by the State Legislature.   Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger has until September 30th to sign the measure, SB 840
by Senator Sheila Kuehl, into law.  But the landmark healthcare reform
measure is at risk of becoming a casualty of the state budget impasse; Governor
Schwarzenegger has threatened to veto all bills because the Legislature has
not yet approved a budget.

White Rabbit Candy Sold in California Recalled Due To Melamine Contamination

September
29, 2008 (BURLINGAME, CA) -
The California
Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are urging consumers
not to eat White Rabbit Candies sold in California.  Queensway Foods Co.
of Burlingame, California is recalling White Rabbit Candy after tests revealed
that some of the products are contaminated with melamine--the same deadly toxin
in infant formula that has hospitalized 50,000 children in China since September,
killing several infants. Melamine in pet foods also killed thousands of U.S.
cats and dogs in 2007.  

NEW BLACKWATER PROTESTS MARK ANNIVERSARY OF NISOUR SQUARE SHOOTINGS

Congressman Bob Filner and Assembly candidate Ray Lutz of East County speak out against Blackwater at Otay Mesa Rally

Story and photos by Gayle Early

Sign from a military families organization opposed to Blackwater.

October 1, 2008 (Otay Mesa) – In September 2007,  17 people were shot to death in the Nisour Square traffic circle in Baghdad, Iraq, by Blackwater Worldwide security guards contracted by the U.S. State Department. Two dozen more civilians were seriously injured, including a lawyer shot in the back four times as he tried to run away. Marking the anniversary, about 150 protestors demonstrated outside Blackwater West’s new Otay Mesa Naval Training Facility on Sunday, September 14, raising concerns about the private military contractor’s presence in San Diego and along an international border already rife with tension.

LOCAL RESIDENTS JOIN NATIONAL PROTEST OF WALL STREET BAIL-OUT BILL

By Miriam Raftery

Click for larger versionSeptember
26, 2008 (El Cajon) – East County residents angered by the Bush administration’s
proposed $700 billion bail-out bill for Wall Street financial firms took to
the streets yesterday as part of a national protest action organized by True
Majority.  Thousands protested across the nation (photo: New York protest,
taken by Jeremy Scahill.)

“Many people in the evening rush hour honked. Even more gave thumbs
up or flashed peace signs.” said Wren Osborn, who participated in a protest
at Chase and Nidrah in El Cajon.  View a video from Channel 10 news with
interviews from the El Cajon event: www.10news.com/video/17562521/index.html?taf=sand.

FDA ALERT: DEADLY TOXIN FOUND IN COFFEE & TEA; CANDY & INFANT FORMULA MAY ALSO BE TAINTED

AppleMark  September
25, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) -
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued
a consumer alert today warning that numerous products have been found to be
contaminated with melamine – the same deadly toxin that killed thousands
of cats and dogs in contaminated pet food last year. 

DRIVER SENTENCED FOR THREATENING PEACE ACTIVISTS IN RAMONA

By Miriam Raftery

September
23, 2008 (RAMONA) -
Keith Alan Davis, a Ramona man who drove his pickup
truck toward a group of anti-war protesters n June, has been sentenced to probation,
ordered to take anger-management classes and must perform 20 days of community
service.

“This is America. You can’t just go running people over, but let’s
not just hogtie people and throw them in prison, either,” said Dave Patterson,
organizer of the Ramona “Enough” anti-war protests held each Sunday
at noon in downtown Ramona and other County locations.  “If you
put him in jail, he can’t support his family,” added Patterson,
who believes the verdict is fair. “Maybe the guy driving can be rehabilitated.”

7 BANDS HOLD CONCERT TO HELP FIRE VICTIMS OCT 4

ROC For Fire Relief Concert and Fire Expo Helps Neighbors, Celebrates
Heroes

Saturday, October 4th, 2008
12:00pm to 10:00pm
Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, Lakeside
www.rocsd.net
Listen to music from
the bands.

 

October 1, 2008 (Lakeside) - “Relief is still needed in a serious way,” said Randy Seol of
the band Strawberry Alarm Clock, a longtime San Diego resident who watched
in horror with the rest of us as our county was ravaged by the 2003 and 2007
wildfires. Some fire survivors are now losing their FEMA trailers; many
are struggling in severe financial and emotional need to rebuild their lives,
he added. 

A PURR-FECT PLACE

At new Tiger Trails haven in Alpine, rescued tigers run, swim for first time

By Miriam Raftery

September 17, 2008 (ALPINE) – Q: What happens when you take four captive-bred tigers and turn them loose in a facility large enough for them to run freely for the first time?

A: A cat-aclysmic event complete with romping, frolicking and caterwauling, much to the delight of media members and donors invited to watch the grand opening of Tiger Trails in Alpine.  View our short video clip.

THE GREENING OF LA MESA - MAYOR ART MADRID SHARES HIS VISION

By Miriam Raftery

Mayor Madrid (R) with Shane Shaw of E-Village
Beneath solar panel display at “Sustain La Mesa” festival

Crowds flocked to view cooking demonstrations on solar ovens,
visit with solar energy experts, get tips on water-saving landscaping and more
at Sustain La Mesa, the City’s first annual Environmental Awareness Festival
on September 13th in Harry Griffith Park.

“It took me almost a year to get this event,” Mayor Art Madrid
told East County Magazine, then shared  his vision for a greener
La Mesa in the future. 

CANDIDATE FORUMS & BALLOT INITIATIVE PRESENTATIONS

Voter LogoThe
League of Women Voters of East San Diego County and the American Association
of University Women of La Mesa-El Cajon will sponsor a series of nonpartisan
public forums to educate voters about candidates plus the pros and cons of
initiatives on the November ballot.  Come meet the candidates, ask questions,
and learn more about the issues – free!

A Firestorm of Controversy - Still No County Fire Department Five Years After Cedar Blaze

Ballot measure will ask voters to approve tax for fire services

By E.A. Barrera



"Given the existing high-risk conditions that are projected to continue into the future, destructive firestorms will certainly occur again. Yet, even armed with this knowledge and after the Cedar Fire wake-up call, the San Diego region is woefully unprepared." - San Diego County Grand Jury, May 29, 2008

September 1, 2009 (East County)--October will mark the first anniversary of the Witch Creek Fires and fifth anniversary of the deadlier Cedar Fire.  Four years have passed since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition "C" which called for a Countywide Fire Department.  Yet the County of San Diego is still at the nascent stage of organizing collective fire departments of the region into one unified command structure.

DYING TO COME TO AMERICA - Immigrant Death Toll Soars; Water Stations Sabotaged

By Miriam Raftery

Border AngelsSeptember 1, 2008 (Holtville)--“These people came here looking for opportunity. Not one of them expected to die,” said Enrique Morones, erecting a hand-made wooden cross at a gravesite marked only by a brick engraved with the name Jane Doe.

A few years ago, there were twenty bricks in this pauper’s graveyard at Holtville in Imperial County, final resting ground for immigrants who died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border in San Diego and Imperial Counties.  Now there are 656. 

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