FIRE WEATHER RETURNS

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

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

LAKE JENNINGS TIPI CAMPING PROVIDES FUN GETAWAY

RING IN THE NEW YEAR AT VIEJAS

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND ATTRACTIONS DECEMBER 15-JANUARY 7

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

LA MESA JOINS REGIONAL HOMELESS TASK FORCE, CHANGES COUNCIL MEETING TIMES

FIRES IN RAMONA AND LEMON GROVE

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

ARSON REPORTED AT FLETCHER HILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

2-1-1 SAN DIEGO HELPING, CONNECTING PEOPLE DURING LILAC FIRE; VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED AT 2-1-1

News

SDG&E REPORTS SUFFICIENT POWER SUPPLIES TO MEET SUMMER DEMAND

 

Utility also offers energy saving summer tips

June 25, 2015  (San Diego) – Today, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the California Independent System Operator Corp. (ISO), and the California Energy Commission announced that sufficient electricity supplies are available to meet regional energy needs this summer. Customers, however, may be called to conserve in the event of an unexpected power emergency, such as much hotter than expected weather or the unplanned loss of a power plant or transmission line.

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS OBAMACARE SUBSIDIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2015 (Washington D.C.) –The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling to uphold nationwide federal subsidies in all 50 states to help people buy healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

Opponents had argued that the subsidies should be available only to people in states that set up healthcare exchanges .  Currently 8.7 million Americans receive the subsidies, but the vast majority of those – 6.4 million—are in states that did not set up exchanges. Those 6.4 million people would have lost their subsidies if plaintiffs had prevailed in the case, King v. Burrell.

Chief Justice John Roberts voted with liberal justices to support the law.  Writing the majority decision, Roberts concluded, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them.”

LEMON GROVE PROTESTERS SEEK STOP TO SHERIFF TROLLEY SWEEPS

 

June 25, 2015 (Lemon Grove) – At a “Black Lives Matter” rally held last Monday in Lemon Grove, approximately 30 activists including representatives of religious, civil liberties, and immigrant rights groups called for a halt to the Sheriff’s “Operation Lemon Drop” and other similar law enforcement sweeps.

SUPREME COURT RULING IMPACTS PRIVACY OF HOTEL AND MOTEL GUESTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2015 (Washington D.C.) -- Guests at hotels or motels can now rest a little easier. The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a Los Angeles law that allowed police to demand access to guest information at lodging establishments. It’s now up to each hotel or motel owner to decide whether to challenge such requests from law enforcement.

THUNDER, LIGHTNING, HIGH WINDS FORECAST: HIGH FIRE DANGER

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Thunderstorms capable of heavy downpours, gusty winds and lightning strikes may hit our mountain and desert regions starting this weekend. The storms are forecast from Saturday through Tuesday, mainly in the afternoons and evenings.

MASSACRE RAISES NATIONAL MOVEMENT TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE FLAG

 

By Juwan Armstrong

Photos: Confederate stars and bars flag, Smithsonian Institute;  Captured Confederate flag from South Caroline, by Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

June 24, 2015 (San Diego)--In the wake of a massacre at an African-American church in Charleston , South Carolina last week, a conversation about rejecting the confederate flag has risen to the national level.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPEN ON PROPOSED CLOSURE OF HAZARDOUS LEAK MITIGATION IN SPRING VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2015 (Spring Valley ) – San Miguel Fire Protection Agency has sent a letter notifying the Spring Valley Planning Group that the County intends to close its case on contamination from underground leaking storage tanks at 905 Gillespie Drive in Spring Valley.  The proposal would leave petroleum hydrocarbon elements in the soil to degrade by natural processes under the state’s “Low-Threat Closure Policy.”

Public comments will be accepted from June 27 through  August 31st.

The fire district removed underground fuel storage tanks at its fire station on the site, Kevin Healy with the County's Enviornmental Health department advised East County Magazine. Under the state's policy, the contaminants can be left in place to degrade naturally if they are found to not pose a human health risk or adversely impact beneficial uses of surface water or groundwater.

POPE CALLS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 23, 2015 (Vatican City)—Pope Francis has issued a rare encyclical urging a global “revolution” to address climate change.  An encyclical is one of the church’s most authoritative teaching documents traditionally addressed to the 1 billion Catholics worldwide. But this time, the Pope says his message is aimed at “every person living on this planet” to save our “common home.”

BLACK LIVES MATTER: RALLY IN LEMON GROVE MONDAY, JUNE 22

East County News Service

June 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County)--Summit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will be holding a Standing on the Side of Love event to support the national "Black Lives Matter" movement in Lemon Grove, California on June 22nd from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.. 

The movement is a rallying cry against police actions and a criminal justice system which results in extremely disproportionate acts of violence, incrimination and incarceration of Blacks in America. This event will also advocate that local law enforcement agencies such as the San Diego Sheriffs' Department stop conducting actions like Operation Lemon Drop which appear to target low income populations of color.

The rally will start at the northwest corner of Lemon Grove Avenue and Broadway.  At 5:30, local speakers will make short presentations regarding this movement in our region.

MTS BANS E-CIGARETTES ON ALL BUSES, TROLLEYS, BUS STOPS AND TRANSIT CENTERS

 

June 22, 2015 (San Diego)--The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in places where it is already illegal to smoke tobacco products.

NUMBER OF HATE CRIMES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY IS CONSISTENT WITH NATIONAL RATE, BUT MORE ARE RACIALLY MOTIVATED

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The massacre of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina by an avowed white supremacist has drawn national attention to the issue of hate crimes.  So East County Magazine took a look at hate crimes statistics in San Diego County to compare our region to the nation overall. 

In 2013, San Diego had 73 hate crimes, or about 1/100 of the total hate crimes in the U.S. – consistent with our county’s percentage of the total U.S. population. But well over half -- 57% -- of local hate crimes reported were racially motivated, which is higher than the average nationwide.

LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND SPARED: HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES DELAY ACTION FOR A YEAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 18, 2015 (La Mesa) – After hearing testimony from a Boy Scout leader and other users of the Lake Jennings Campground who pleaded to keep it open, the Helix Water Board voted to delay action on possible closure for one year.  But the long-term future of the campground is not yet secure, despite recent financial gains.

Since Helix took back ownership of the lake in 2008, the campground had been losing money at $200,000 a year – but that’s dropped to only $24,000 a year today, nearly a break-even point.

CEDAR CREEK HIKER DIES

 

East County News Service

June 16, 2015 (Julian)—A 24-year-old hiker has died after suffering apparent heat-related physical distress on the Cedar Creek trail near Julian on June 16th in the early evening.  His friends called 911 and paramedics were notified, along with Sheriff’s deputies.

HEAT ADVISORY ISSUED FOR EAST COUNTY

 

County News Service; photo via PhotoSpin

June 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--With prolonged high temperatures expected to reach up to 115 in San Diego County deserts over the next few days, County health officials are reminding the public to take precautions to avoid heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a heat advisory in effect now through Sunday at 7 p.m. for the lower desert areas of eastern San Diego County. Temperatures inland will be anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees above average with high temperatures forecast of 112 to 115 degrees. Nighttime temperatures will only drop into the 80s. Mountain and foothill areas in the county are expected to be warm as well with highs in the 90s. Coastal areas will be near-normal temperatures.

The County operates the Cool Zones program and has designated more than 115 air-conditioned buildings as cooling centers. Locations and hours of operation can be found on a new interactive map on CoolZones.org or by calling 2-1-1 San Diego. The sites are identified by a light blue Polar Bear Cool Zone logo.

NEIGHBORS OF GILLESPIE FIELD SET JUNE 23 MEETING WITH ATTORNEY: MORE PLAINTIFFS NEEDED AS DEADLINE NEARS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 15, 2015 (El Cajon)—Dozens of families are close to filing a lawsuit over the increased air traffic at Gillespie Field airport, where more expansion is planned. But with a June 30th deadline to finalize paperwork with a class action lawyer, another two dozen residents are needed to join the suit by the deadline.

A meeting is set for Tuesday, June 23rd at 6:30 p.m. with the lead attorney and interested residents. The meeting will be held at a private residence in Fletcher Hills. To RSVP and get the address and directions, contact info@asapgillespiefield.com.

“This is our last chance to get something done,” says Sue Strom with Advocates for Safe Airport Policies ASAP.

CLOSE LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND DESPITE FINANCIAL PROGRESS? HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES WEDNESDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District’s Board of Directors will vote on whether or not to close the campground at Lake Jennings in Lakeside. The vote is set for Wednesday, June 17th at 2 p.m. at the board meeting at the district’s headquarters, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.

The vote is slated despite huge gains made in stemming financial losses, from $200,000 in 2013  to just $24,000 this year, plus increased profitability of other attractions and activities with potential for more, including state approval to add kayaks just  last month.

Director Kathleen Coates-Hedberg urges the public: “If  you want to see Lake Jennings Campground stay OPEN for the future and would like to voice your opinion, please come to the Board meeting or send an email to our Board Secretary and she will forward to Board Members. Board Secretary, Sandy Janzen, Sandy.Janzen@HELIXWATER.org.”

FAST-TRACKING TRADE DEAL FAILS IN HOUSE, BUT ONLY ONE SAN DIEGO REPRESENTATIVE VOTED “NO”

 

Re-vote expected early this week

 

Photo:  Potential  Trans-Pacific Partnership members, by en:User:Japinderum, en:User:Phospheros en:User:Orser67

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 14, 2015 (San Diego) – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has stalled in the House of Representatives, after one of two measures needed for passage failed to win enough votes. Opposition came from both left and right, with even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) joining with conservative Duncan Hunter in standing up against President Obama to help defeat the proposal. 

There were two bills—and both needed to pass in order for the TPP to move forward. But Speaker John Boehner has called for another vote early this week on the failed portion of the proposal.

304-ACRE SOLAR PROJECT PROPOSED IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS SPARKS CONTROVERSY

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

 “This is a recipe for disaster, potentially putting us in harm’s way AND increasing our already high fire insurance policies…This is a project that could generate dangerous chemical fires that when spread, could cause property damage as well as loss of life.”—Danielle Cook , member, Jacumba-Boulevard Revitalization Committee

June 13, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—A proposed industrial-scale solar facility near Jacumba is sparking heated controversy, with some residents raising concerns over fire danger and impacts on  local water supplies, wildlife, traffic and public safety.

NextEra Energy, a division of Florida Power and Light, wants to cover 108 acres of a 304 acre site in the Jacumba area with 81,109 solar photovoltaic modules on 2,253 tilting rack panels—along with a collector substation, transmission lines, and lithium battery energy story systems in containers the size of cargo cars.  Ultimately, the project would produce up to 20 megawatts of power, according to a draft environmental impact report prepared by the consulting firm DUDEK.

STATE SLASHES HISTORIC WATER RIGHTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

June 12, 2015 (Sacramento) – Ever since California established its water rights system back in 1914, senior water rights holders with claims before 1914 have been able to freely use as much water as they could pump.  But for the first time ever, the State Water Resources Control Board has ordered curtailment of water use by 114 of the state’s oldest water rights holders, including farmers, rural and urban water districts in the Sacramento delta as well as the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds.

THAT SINKING FEELING: SUBSIDENCE IS CAUSING MAJOR DAMAGE ACROSS CALIFORNIA

 

East County News Service

Photo: US Geological Survey scientist Michelle Sneed shows where a farmer would have been standing in 1988, before drought triggered sinking in the San Joaquin Valley.

June 12, 2015 (Sacramento) – California is sinking – fast.  Records from the U.S. Geological Survey reveal that some parts of California are subsiding by a foot a year, as groundwater pumping has increased by 40 percent due to the drought.  That’s causing wells to crumple, thousands of miles of highways to become damaged, irrigation canals to crack and bridges to be destroyed, according to an article in Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

SMOKING HOT DEBATE: EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO SUPPORT RAISING AGE FOR TOBACCO USE

 

"I will support this in honor of my sister, and my mother and my father-in-law," -- Councilman Bob McClellan (photo, left), who lost all three family members to smoking-related illnesess.

"The American Revolution was about individual liberty...doesn't freedom to make a decision include freedom to make a poor one?" --Eric Anderson (photo, right), Rock Church and Caucus Chair for the San Diego Republican Party Executive Committee

By Juwan Armstrong and Miriam Raftery

June 12, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council voted 3-1 on Wednesday to send a letter asking Assemblyman Brian Jones and Governor Jerry Brown to support Senate Bill 151, which would raise the minimum legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Jones has taken over $25,000 in campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.  East County’s State Senator, Joel Anderson, took nearly $40,000 and voted against the bill when it passed the Senate.

SUPERVISORS POSTPONE ACTION ON WATERFRONT PARK FREE SPEECH RULES UNTIL JULY

 

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

“It is the basic tenet of all Americans to speak truth to power without restriction or regulation.” – David Patterson, U.S. veteran and Ramona resident (photo, left, by Janis Russell)

View video of complete hearing (item 7): http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1682

 

June 10, 2015 (San Diego)- San Diego’s Board of Supervisors yesterday postponed action until July 21st on a controversial proposal to restrict protesters in the Waterfront Park outside the County Administration Building. The  County claims its goal is to protect free speech rights while also protecting rights of the growing number of others using the new waterfront park for activities such as weddings, picnics, concerts, yoga and children’s play.

Supervisors voted to delay action and ask staff to re-examine the proposal after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter calling the action “probably unconstitutional” as written, also noting that the City of San Diego has no permit requirements for free speech activities. Members of the public and Supervisor Dianne Jacob also voiced concerns about the proposed ordinance.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A TEEN’S LIFE! HOST FAMILIES WANTED FOR EXCHANGE STUDENTS

 

Area rep also sought to help place foreign exchange students

 

By Miriam Raftery

Hear our radio  interview  on KNSJ with Karen Toledo  from the ISE (Click audio link, top left)

June 10, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Families are wanted to host international exchange students in East County and across our region, says Karen Toledo, assistant manager for the International Student Exchange (ISE) locally.  An area rep is also sought to help place the many students eager for local homes for the next semester—and those who place 7 students or more will be rewarded with a trip to Ireland.

Toledo, a Lemon Grove resident knows first-hand the joys of the program, having hosted over 100 foreign exchange students at her own home.  She’s also traveled the world – visiting students she formerly hosted to experience their cultures, too. 

“It’s an amazing experience…I’m a single mom and I was hosting two at a time…I’ve traveled to many of their homes and stayed with them,” says Toledo, who cites Spain and Brazil as recent places she has visited. “They treat you so well when you come, because they are so thankful that you treated their kids so well and they had an amazing year.”

Audio: 

JUDGE SETS TRIAL DATE FOR DEC. 4 ON ALPINE SUIT AGAINST GROSSMONT OVER HIGH SCHOOL

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 11, 2015 (Alpine) – Alpine residents seeking to force the Grossmont Union High School District to turn over $70 million in bond funds and land acquired for construction of an Alpine High School will finally have their day in court.  Judge Joel Pressman ruled against Grossmont on Friday, refusing to dismiss the case and requiring that the money be set aside pending outcome of the trial.

The proceeding will be an administrative trial before Judge Pressman set for December 4th with the Alpine Union School District and the Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability squaring off against the GUHSD. A 3-judge appellate court panel previously denied Grossmont’s request for a stay to stop the proceedings, a move affirmed Friday by Pressman. The County Grand Jury also found that the district did not live up to its obligation to Alpine taxpayers and recommended that the district build the high school or turn over the money to the Alpine Union High School District to build the school.  The district's board majority defied the Grand Jury and did neither.

The plaintiffs contend that Grossmont misallocated millions of dollars from Propositions U and H,  spending much of the $700 million measures approved by voters for projects not listed in the bond while refusing to build the Alpine High School that was a priority project in the bond measures.

COURTS CAN'T CHARGE FINES FIRST FOR DRIVERS WHO FIGHT TRAFFIC TICKETS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’ve got a traffic ticket in California, here’s some good news:  courts can no longer make you pay bail in order to challenge the ticket. There is a catch though – you have to show up at the arraignment to ask for a trial. The change, an emergency rule adopted by the Judicial Council, which oversees the state’s courts, is effective immediately.

WOMEN VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE SIX TIMES MORE THAN WOMEN WITHOUT MILITARY SERVICE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – A new study by the Veterans’ Administration reveals that women veterans are killing themselves nearly six times more often than women who never served in the military.  The carnage is even higher among young veterans: women ages 18-29 have a suicide rate 12 times higher than nonveterans.

FIRE INSURANCE RATES FOR HOMEOWNERS, BUSINESS TO DROP IN HEARTLAND FIRE DISTRICT—THANKS TO DISTRICT ATTAINING “RARE” TOP NATIONAL RATING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Heartland Fire & Rescue Chief Rick Sitta delivers good news at El Cajon Council meeting

June 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – If you live in the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa or Lemon Grove, your fire insurance rates will soon be going down. That’s because Heartland Fire & Rescue, which provides firefighting services for all three cities, has received a class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO).   

The  ISO rates 47,000 fire departments across the United States and of those, only 98 have attained a class 1 rating, including only 8 fire districts in the entire state of California.  “Class 1 communities are very rare, and some of these scores are the highest we’ve ever seen,” says Stephanie Ruscansky from the ISO, who notes that only a small fraction of 1% of all agencies rated attain a Class 1 rating.

CITIZENS OPPOSE COUNTY’S EFFORTS TO CURB FREE SPEECH

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2015 (San Diego) – Last week, we reported that Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a proposal to restrict protesters to “free speech zones” outside the County administration, ban amplified sound, require permits for events bigger than 200 people and impose fines for those who violate these rules. Supervisors will also consider rule changes to impact all county parks.

But the proposal is drawing strong reactions – and so far, all the comments we’ve received have been negative toward the county’s plans.  Here are some of the comments we’ve received from people who don’t want their free speech rights limited:

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