April 13, 2017 (El Cajon) – A Syrian refugee family in El Cajon who fled war-torn Syria to give their only son a brighter future is now grieving over his loss. On his first trip ever to a beach, 17-year-old Mohammed al-Mustafa was pulled under by a rip current and has not been found.
April 12, 2017 (San Onofre) – Just days before an April 14 court hearing filed by Citizens Oversight seeking to force removal of nuclear waste from storage along the ocean near the closed San Onofre power plant, Southern California Edison has agreed to enter into negotiations to move the nuclear storage elsewhere.
April 12, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Supervisors on Wednesday approved formation of a special district to combat the Asian citrus psyllid, an agricultural pest that threatens our county’s $126 million citrus crop.
April 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – A 22-year-old driver died last night after his vehicle rolled down an embankment and struck a steel pole supporting a billboard. The fatal crash occurred shortly before 10 p.m. along westbound I-8 west of Los Coches Road in unincorporated El Cajon.
April 12, 2017 (San Diego) – Videos showing a passenger violently beaten, blooded and dragged off a United Airlines flight after he refused to give up his seat when the airline overbooked the flight has sparked outrage, a boycott, and calls for reforms. View video
April 12, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Neil Gorsuch begins his duties this week on the Supreme Court after the Senate invoked the ‘nuclear option’ to change long-standing Senate rules and block a filibuster by Democrats. All but two Democrats had agreed to vote against confirming Gorsuch, including California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer also draws fire for Holocaust denial comment;
White House also fumbles annual Easter Egg roll
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: White House Seder, with Trump seat vacant
April 11, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The annual White House Seder dinner marking the start of Passover was held on Monday with Jewish staffers and friends. But President Donald Trump did not attend, even though he was reportedly at home in the White House at the time.
April 11, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Grossmont Union High School District is seeking applications to fill a vacancy for a “community member at large” on the 11-member Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC).
April 11, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – For the second time in just over a week, an emergency crew had to rescue an injured hiker off the trail to Three Sisters Falls in the Cleveland National Forest near Julian.
Photo by A. Fanous, St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, before the bombing
April 11, 2017 (Alexandria, Egypt) – At least 45 people are dead following bombings on churches in two Egyptian cities, the New York Times reports. The attacks which occurred on Palm Sunday targeted Christian worshippers. The actions follow a December declaration by ISIS, or the Islamic State, terror group to slaughter Christians at the homes, places of worship and elsewhere in Egypt.
La Mesa to vote April 11 on resolution to oppose AB 805
By Miriam Raftery
April 8, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Elected leaders in numerous local cities are gearing up to oppose a state bill that critics warn weaken the voices and voting power of smaller cities on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), as well as the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District. The bill gives more power to the city of San Diego, which critics contend will mean not enough clout by representatives from the county or other cities in the region to pass, block, or even place items on the agenda.
Photo: Oroville Spillway, Calif. Dept. of Water Resources
April 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s official: Governor Jerry Brown today declared an end to California’s statewide drought, thanks to heavy winter precipitation.
But groundwater levels in some areas remain low, so the state will maintain some restrictions on water use to encourage conservation. Brown did not lift the drought order for Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne Counties, where wells went dry and some residents continue to rely on trucked-in emergency water supplies.
Residents are asked to continue avoiding wasting water by hosing off sidewalks or watering lawns during or shortly after a rainstorm.
April 7, 2017 (Lemon Grove) — Three separate accidents on Palm Street in Lemon Grove on April 4th and 5th caused serious damages and injuries, Sergeant Jorge Dueno with the Sheriff’s Department reports. No charges are expected to be filed, as drugs, alcohol and distracted driving did not appear to be factors.
April 7, 2017 (La Mesa) -- April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the La Mesa Police Department, CHP, local law enforcement, and community partners throughout the state are working together to make the roads safer by highlighting the dangers of being distracted while driving, especially by cell phones.
Company’s farm manager sexually bullied female farmworkers and fired workers who complained of widespread abuse, federal agency charges
East County News Service
April 7, 2017 (San Diego) – Bornt & Sons, Inc., its former farm labor contractor Barraza Farm Service, LLC and Barraza Farm Service, Inc. violated federal laws by allowing ongoing sexual harassment of female farmworkers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed this week. Bornt & Sons and Barraza also unlawfully retaliated against workers who opposed the harassment and against family members of victims, the EEOC alleged.
Photo: Tomahawk missile launch off U.S. ship, courtesy of the Pentagon
April 6, 2017 (Washington D.C.)— The U.S. today launched over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Al-Shayrat Air Base in Syria, on orders of President Donald Trump. The base is believed to be where a chemical nerve gas weapons attack was launched on April 4th by Bashar al-Assad’s regime that killed scores of civilians, including possibly hundreds, including many children in Idlib.
Key political leaders on both sides of the aisle voiced support for the action, though even some supporters argue that the Constitution requires a declaration of war by Congress to take such action. Others voice concerns over a unilateral action that Assad could view as an act of war. Now prominent Senators and Representatives in both parties are calling for Congress to reconvene and debate whether to declare war on the Syrian government, at a time when the U.S. is already waging war against ISIS. Assad has also fought ISIS even as his country has been split by six years of civil war.
Photo, city of San Diego: Acceleration of the time schedule for the Pure Water purification in San Diego is putting pressure on agencies across the region to raise sewer rates.
April 5, 2017 (San Diego) - Acceleration of the Pure Water project in the city of San Diego is leading to proposed sewer rate hikes in East County of as much as 9 percent per year for the next five years for some customers, depending on wastewater use. Some may start at low as 2.5 percent. Though agencies are still crunching numbers and calculating percentages, several report that both residential and business rates are due to go up on July 1. The increases are mostly due to the purification project going into its construction phase sooner than anticipated, according to local agencies.
Boats, float tubes, canoes and kayaks are once again allowed after rains raised water levels
April 5, 2017 (Lake Morena) – For the first time in years, the boat launch at Lake Morena County Park is now open—and the county encourages you to gather up your fishing rods and bait for a day of fishing and fun.
April 5, 2017 (Washington D.C.)—Tuesday was Equal Pay Day—94 days into the year, signifying how many more days the average woman must work to earn as much as a man.
Ironically, Ivanka Trump, special assistant to her father, President Donald Trump tweeted, “#EqualPayDay is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap!” Yet days earlier, her father signed an executive order that rolled back 14 protections for women workers –including the Fair Pay order signed by then-President Barack Obama.
April 4, 2017 (Borrego Springs) – Beloved Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Ranger Steve Bier has died in a shooting incident, the Borrego Sun reported on April 1st.
The California State Park Service praised the 15-year-veteran ranger as “one of the finest ambassadors of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and our Department,” adding that Bier was “well known and respected throughout the Borrego Springs community” including community events and school programs. He also coordinated the annual count of Desert Bighorn Sheep.
April 4, 2017 (Santee) – At a special meeting this week, Santee’s City Council voted to authorize spending up to a half million dollars to repair sinkholes that threatened to undermine several homes on East Hartland Circle and Ryder Court.
April 4, 2017 (San Diego) – One of the harshest cuts in President Donald Trump’s budget is his proposal to completely eliminate the U.S. interagency Council on Homelessness. The Council helps all homeless people, but has been particularly effective helping homeless veterans. It has been successful in ending homelessness among veterans in three states and cutting veterans’ homeless nationwide by 47 percent. Associated Press reports.
April 4, 2017 (San Diego) – A lawsuit filed against the California Coastal Commission (CCC) by Citizens Oversight, a citizens’ watchdog group based in El Cajon, heads to trial beginning Friday, April 14 at 2 p.m. in San Diego Superior Court, Dept. C68 (330 West Broadway, San Diego).
April 5, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – You’re going out of town tomorrow—and your car sensor light warning “Service Engine Soon” goes on. Car sensor jitters hit. Most cars have sensors that reflect a door open, tire air pressure low and more, but “service engine sensor” is harder to decipher.
April 3, 2017 (El Cajon) - A cinder block wall collapsed onto a worker digging a trench for a new wall below the site at a car dealer in El Cajon this afternoon, prompting a Herculean attempt to rescue the 51-year-old man, but he could not be saved. A second worker was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
Photo by Tabercil from Canadian - Car Show 045, CC BY-SA 2.0
April 3, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Ford’s popular F-250 pickup trucks can shift into gear when parked and roll away, Ford Motor Company has announced. The company is recalling 52,000 of these trucks.
April 3, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) - The Constitution’s First Amendment protects free speech – but not if that speech incites violence.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump once said he’d like to punch a protester in the face. And at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky in March last year, he pointed at African-American protesters and repeatedly told the crowd to “Get them out.”
End of recall effort means district will proceed with cancelling Cal Fire contract in July and return to free-standing status
April 3, 2017 (Spring Valley) – A petition to recall three members of the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District board has been axed by Registrar of Voters Michael Vu for failing to comply with formatting requirements. The proponent, Robert Cederdahl, a former member of the board in the 1990s, did not submit amended forms by deadline, so the recall effort is up in smoke before any petitions were circulated for signatures.
Update: The deceased has been identified as Christopher John Kuhlmann, 37, of El Cajon.
April 2, 2017 (El Cajon) — A motorcyclist who drifted over the center line of Jamacha Road near Vista de la Valle struck an oncoming vehicle and died at the scene at 3:50 p.m. yesterday. A second motorcyclist lost control and was transported to a hospital with serious injuries.
“DHS policies confirm that ICE can target anyone who is removable for detention and deportation, even if they fall outside of the broad ‘priorities’ of the President’s executive order.” –Community advisory issued by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
By Miriam Raftery
April 2, 2017 (San Diego) – The National Immigration Project (NIP) of the National Lawyers Guild has issued a Community Advisory on memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security in late February to implement President Donald Trump’s executive orders ramping up deportation of immigrants. The immigration attorneys warn of sweeping changes that represent “a major shift and escalation in immigration enforcement.”
The NIP includes legal and policy analysis of key changes in immigration enforcement that “we believe will most impact community defense strategies," along with tips and suggestions for immigrations and those who assist immigrations.