PROTESTS ERUPT IN EL CAJON; BLACK MAN SHOT BY POLICE DIES

OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING OF UNARMED BLACK MAN IN EL CAJON

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

FUGITIVE ARRESTED IN EAST COUNTY MURDER CASE

JOURNALISM FORUM FEATURES EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES OCT. 5 AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

SANTEE MAYOR AND COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM OCT. 13

CANDIDATE FORUM SEPT. 21: HELIX WATER AND LEMON GROVE MAYORAL CANDIDATES

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS SEPT. 24-OCT. 21

LIGHTNING STRIKES ACROSS REGION—BUT NOWHERE NEAR RECORD 199–MILE BOLT

FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE SEPT. 26 WON’T INCLUDE GREEN OR LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATES

POVERTY ON RISE IN SAN DIEGO

INTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO DEPUTIES' ACTIONS AFTER BORDER FIRE FIND “NO VIOLATIONS”; CITIZENS VOICE ANGER

News

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING ISSUED ACROSS SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

September 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a severe weather statement covering all of East County and San Diego, along with warnings of severe thunderstorms, flash flooding and high winds occurring now in rural and mountain areas.

At 2:30 p.m., NWS Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing quarter-size hail and destructive winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. It was spotted near Santa Ysabel  and Julian, moving northwest along Highway 79 toward Cuyamaca State Park and the Cuyamaca Peak.

WHAT’S POLLUTING WATERWAYS IN OCOTILLO?

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Thursday’s storm brought an unwanted surprise to residents of Ocotillo, where floodwaters swept through the desert town carrying a white,  foamy sludge. You can see a video of the sludge flood on our website at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqtr8mKDbEo&feature=youtu.be

East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley lives in Ocotillo.  He and other residents say that they have never seen the white foamy sludge before the Ocotillo Wind Energy facility was built.

“What is it?” he asked.  “What effect will it have on our sole source aquifer?” The underground aquifer provides the town’s only source of drinking water.  Pelley also wants to know if the contaminated water will be harmful to animals.  “It has been so dry out here, I’m sure all of the wildlife is very thirsty and will be drinking this water.”

CHP IS HIRING - RECRUITMENT SEMINAR SEPTEMBER 10

 

 

September 4, 2013 (San Diego) – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) will hold a recruitment seminar at the CHP Border Division Office in Kearny Mesa on September 10 at 9330 Farnham Street between 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Those interested in working for the CHP are required to attend this seminar before applying online at www.CHPcareers.com.  Online applications will be accepted September 12 to September 14. 

Interested applicants must R.S.V.P., as seating is limited.  To RSVP, e-mail the recruiter at 601_recruitment@CHP.CA.GOV and a confirmation will be e-mailed back if space is available.  

SHERIFF BEGINS CHARGING SEARCH AND RESCUE FEES FOR THOSE WHO BREAK THE LAW

 

Safety tips also offered for hikers this Labor Day weekend

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- Starting  today, August 30th,  you could be billed for emergency costs if you become lost or injured as a result of violating federal, state or local laws.

An  amended County ordinance allows for a civil process to collect up to $12,000 in recovery expenses. Law breakers can also be arrested or cited for criminal offenses. The fees only apply to those who break the law, such as a rescue operation due to illegal drinking , diving or hiking where prohibited.

ACCIDENTS CLAIM LIVES OF FOUR EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Traffic accidents claimed the lives of four East County residents in the past ten days, including victims from Lakeside, Ramona, and Alpine, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner. 

FIRE IN LA POSTA AREA; POWER OUTAGE ACROSS SOUTHEAST COUNTY

 

September 2, 2013 (La Posta) - A 20-acre brush fire is burning in the La Posta area that started off I-8 at the Kitchen Creek offramp. The fire is believed to be caused by lightning; multiple lightning strikes have occurred in the area.

 

Air attack and choppers 10 and 12 are on scene and rain is falling, according to posts on the Brush Fire Partyline.  Firefighting units are staging at Boulder Oaks Campground.

 

In addition, a power outage has occurred that is impacting portions of Dulzura, Potrero, Campo, Japatul Valley, Buckman Springs, Morena Village,, Live Oak Springs, Boulevard, Jacumba.  SDG&E is working to determine the cause. 

CONSUMER AFFAIRS JOURNALIST LAUNCHES PETITION DRIVE TO PROTECT RATEPAYERS AS SDG&E RATE HIKE TAKES EFFECT SEPT. 1

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 31, 2013 (San Diego) – On September 1st, SDG&E customers will see rate hikes on their bills of up to 12% for higher energy users.  Now John Mattes, a consumer watchdog journalist and attorney, has launched a petition drive calling on public officials to make SDG&E’s  shareholders, not ratepayers, pay for the corporation’s mistakes at San  Onofre.  You can view and sign the petition here:  http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/dont-make-us-pay-for/

FLASH FLOOD WARNING IN EAST COUNTY

 

September 3, 2013 (Borrego) – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning in effect through 5:30 p.m. for central San Diego County.  At 3:54 p.m., Doppler radar estimated that heavy rainfall of up to two and a half inches had fallen northwest of Hot Springs Mountain in Cleveland National Forest. This area is drained by Coyote Creek, which empties just north of Borrego Springs.

Rapid rises in the creek are possible. In addition residents in and below recently burned areas and those living along streams and creeks should move to high ground. Do not attempt to cross swiftly flowing waters by foot or in your vehicle.

LIFEGUARD SERVICES SAY REPORTED SHARK SIGHTINGS NOT CONFIRMED

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2013 (San Diego) – Yesterday a local scanner tracking service reported several apparent shark sightings off Torrey Pines Beach. In the interest of keeping readers safe we posted the report promptly with no way to obtain confirmation on the holiday weekend.

 ECM today has reached both state and city lifeguards who say they are unaware of any reports.  It now appears our usually credible source was inaccurate and we regret the error.

We could not get verification prior to posting our initial report on Labor Day evening when we were simultaneously reporting on a live shooter on Mt Helix near my own home office, flash flooding in the backcountry, a wildfire in La Posta and additional weather-related incidents.  This story was posted by a bleary-eyed editor in the early pre-dawn hours who got no sleep due to the shooting incident here including  eight wakeup phone calls from emergency authorities that continued until 3:30 a.m.

For those interested in the history of shark attacks in our area and California overall, below are some fascinating facts. 

MORE RIDERS MAY BE SADDLING UP IN EAST COUNTY: EQUINE ORDINANCE ON SUPERVISORS’ AGENDA SEPT. 11

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) – A proposed tiered equine ordinance aimed at making it easier for backcountry property owners to stable horses will be on the agenda for Supervisors to consider on Wednesday, September 11.

“When it comes to allowing stables, we need to take a more sensible, tiered approach so more people can take part in equine activities,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents East County, has said.  “As a former horse owner and long-time rider, I think these changes will also strengthen the economic vitality of our rural areas.”

SDG&E ACTIVATES ‘REDUCE YOUR USE’ REWARD PROGRAM TOMORROW

 

Customers encouraged to save energy to earn credit on bills                                                            

August 30, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has called a ‘Reduce Your Use’ event day tomorrow (Aug. 31) due to hotter-than-average temperatures.

While SDG&E has adequate electricity resources to meet the demand, residential customers can help reduce strain on the electric grid by reducing their electricity use tomorrow between 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.  By doing so, they will be eligible to earn a bill credit of $0.75 per kilowatt hour saved.

Here are some quick tips to help  save energy at home:

TIPS TO REDUCE YOUR ENERGY USE AND SAVE MONEY AS TEMPERATURES RISE

 

 

SDG&E offers programs to assist low-income ratepayers, those with medical needs, and FLEX alerts for energy savings

By Walt Meyer          

August 31, 2013 (San Diego)--Although temperatures have finally climbed to the normal range for the end of August, so far it’s been a mild summer, with temperatures below average, and for much of San Diego County, having things a few degrees cooler means not having to turn on the air conditioning. Hot summer days pose the biggest challenge to keeping the juice flowing without brownouts.

While renewable promise a long-term solution, in the short term, with San Onofre offline, likely permanently, the generating power of Southern California will be severely tested in a heat wave. As the region moves deeper into what is likely to a bad fire season, blazes near power lines also pose another imminent threats to the fragile power grid.

There is another good reason to try to keep the A/C off and switch to renewable: starting September 1, SDG&E is imposing a major rate increase. The rate hike will affect Tiers 3 and 4, but not Tiers 1 and 2 at all, which means many ratepayers in more temperate areas may not see any increase, but those who are usually have rates in the higher tiers will see their rates go up.

MISSING SPRING VALLEY MAN FOUND SAFE

September 1, 2013 (Spring Valley) --  La Mesa Police have located Ramon Leggs, 76, who was an at risk missing person. Below is the original missing person report.

Mr. Leggs suffers from hypertension, diabetes, dementia and he has difficulty walking. He is a resident at New Brighton Place, which is located at 9009 Campo Road in Spring Valley. He was last seen on 08/31/2013 at approximately 5:30 PM in the area of Bancroft Drive and State Route 94. Mr. Leggs left on foot. He has no money or cell phone.

Mr. Leggs is described as a Hispanic male adult, 5' 7" tall, 170 pounds, gray hair with a beard and mustache. He was last seen wearing a dark green t-shirt, blue shorts, long white socks and black shoes.

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR CIVIL RIGHTS REFLECTS ON PROGRESS FROM THE PAST AND CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2013 (Washington D.C.) -- Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now-famous “I have a dream” speech to a crowd of marchers in Washington D.C.  from across the nation  in support of civil rights. That  movement in 1963 led ultimately to signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Yesterday, a massive crowd of  people filled Capitol malll for a commemoration of that historic event. President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the Lincoln Memorial, site of Dr. King’s famed  oration.

“The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate,” the President said. “But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together.  We’ll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.” View video of the President’s speech.

Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke, alluding to the Supreme Court’s recent decision weakening the Voting Rights Act.

SECOND DUST STORM STRIKES OCOTILLO; COULD DESERT ENERGY PROJECTS BE THE CAUSE?

 

 

An ECM special investigation continues, finding links between rise in dust storms across outhwest, Valley Fever epidemic, and installation of large-scale desert solar and wind projects

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 26, 2013 (Ocotillo)--A second dust storm has struck Ocotillo on Auugust 25, just two days after an earlier dust storm swept through the desert community.  Dust billowed thousands of feet into the air, dwarfing  a 500 foot tall wind turbines scarcely visible in the above photo.  East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley was in the midst of the storm and shot videos: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Jz2KQmVZs&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ViBPc25iIE&feature=youtu.be

FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR INLAND AREAS

 

August 29, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A flash flood watch has been issued for mountains, valleys and desert areas in San Diego’s East County and other areas in southwestern California. The watch is in effect for this afternoon through 10 p.m. this evening. 

Slow-moving thunderstorms are expected to produce very heavy rainfall with flash flooding.  Debris flows are possible in and below areas burned by recent wildfires.

SHRINKING COLORADO RIVER RESERVOIRS HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR WATER USE EFFICIENCY, SUPPLY DIVERSIFICATION

 

August 29, 2013 (San Diego) – An unprecedented reduction in reservoir releases on the Colorado River announced on Friday, August 16 by the Bureau of Reclamation won’t cut water supplies to agencies in San Diego County or the rest of the Southwest during the 2014 “water year,” but the move does underscore the importance of continued conservation and water-supply diversification across the region.

FAMILY SEEKS HELP TO FIND MISSING SANTEE MAN

 

August 29, 2013 (Santee) updated August 30, 2013 --– The family of Jonathan Heredia, 29,  seeks public help to locate the Santee resident who has been missing since August 26.  According to family, he suffers from mental health issues and depression. 

Heredia is Hispanic with dark hair and brown eyes.  He weighs 160 pounds and stands 5 feet 10 inches tall. He has a crucifix tattoo on his back with the words “our Lord” , a dice tattoo on his chest and a tattoo on his forearm that reads “69.”  He was last seen wearing a black dress shirt, grey jeans, black jacket with grey on the back, and may be seen with navy blue shorts with white stripes on the side.

TRASH, RECYCLING SERVICES TO BE DELAYED IN OBSERVANCE OF LABOR DAY

 

August 29, 2013 (San Diego) – Waste Management of San Diego’s curbside residential and commercial trash and recycling pick-up schedule will be delayed by one day throughout the week of September 2, in observance of Labor Day. In addition, all Waste Management operations will be closed on Monday, September 2, with normal operations resuming the next day

FLASH FLOOD WARNING

 

August 28, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- A flash flood warning is in effect until 4:15 p.m. for east central San Diego County. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are occurring in and around the Chariot Fire burn area. 

Doppler radar estimates up to 0.6 inches of rain has fallen in the burn area in about 30 minutes this afternoon. This is well in excess of U.S. G.S. thresholds for debris flows from this burn scar. Roads, trails and campgrounds located along drainages within or below the burned basins can be impacted by flash floods and debris flows. This includes areas along Highway S-2 and the great Southern Overland Stage route as wel as the Butterfield Ranch area.

CHP AND TRUCKING COMPANY RESPOND TO ECM QUESTIONS ABOUT TRUCK BREAKDOWN ON HIGHWAY 94

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) – California Highway Patrol Sergeant Dave Dreher has responded to East County Magazine’s inquiry regarding a truck with over-sized load that broke down, sitting for two weeks on State Route 94 in Dulzura before it was finally removed last week. Residents had complained of long delays and inadequate notification.

RAMONA WATER DISTRICT BOARD SEEKS TO OUST MEMBER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2013 (Ramona) – The Ramona Water District Board is trying to oust one of its elected members. Last year, the board voted to change its meeting time from 4:30 to 2 o clock p.m.  But the director, Kit Kesinger, was absent and says he can’t attend meetings so early in the day.  He wants the board to change the time back to 4:30, when more members of the public can also attend.

WATER AUTHORITY STRATEGIES ALIGN WITH GRAND JURY RECOMMENDATIONS

August 26, 2013 (San Diego) – The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday said the agency is advancing plans that align with recommendations issued by the San Diego County Grand Jury in its May report, “Reduce Dependence on Imported Water.”

FOAMING PROJECT AIMS TO MINIMIZE ROOT INTRUSION IN LA MESA SEWER SYSTEM

 

 

August 26, 2013 (La Mesa) – The City of La Mesa began a process that minimizes root intrusion in its underground sewer system.  Roots can enter the sewer through joints in older sewer pipes.  Performing the sewer root foaming work is contractor Pacific Sewer Maintenance Corporation.

Work began on August 22, 2013, and it will last between 30 to 45 days.  There should be no disruptions to individual or business sewer services. 

FLOODING IN BORREGO ; 78 SHUT DOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 25, 2013 (Borrego) --A flash flood watch has been elevated to a flash flood warning today for north and central areas of East County, where heavy rain and flash flooding is occurring.  Heaviest rains are from Shelter Valley north to Borrego Springs, including areas burned by the Vallecito Fire and Banner fire.

Debris flows and flooding are occurring in these areas.  A SIG ALERT has been issued for Highway 78, which has been shut down in the San Felipe/Monument Valley area, where boulders have washed into the roadway.  At Tarantula Wash, one-way traffic controls will remain in effect for several days until roadway repairs can be done, according to the CHP website.

  Campgrounds may be impacted by flash floods and debris flows. Excessive runoff will also cause flooding of small creeks, streams, country roads and farmlands nearby.

A flash flood warning remains in effect for a broader area in our local mountains and deserts.  Monitor the news to learn if this becomes elevated to a flash flood warning, which means flooding is eminent or occurring.

“Today we had the worst flash flooding we have seen in years,” Bob Kutscher, a resident of Borrego Springs on Velite Drive, a main floodway for the Hellhole Canyon watershed wrote in an e-mail to ECM.  Here is a video that he shot of the flash flood on his roadway this afternoon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky2fhdoiHpA.  

FLASH FLOOD WATCH ISSUED: DEBRIS FLOWS ALSO LIKELY IN AREAS BURNED BY RECENT FIRES

 

August 24, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Thunderstorms and heavy rain are forecast for mountain and desert areas in East County.  A flash flood watch has been issued from Sunday morning through Monday evening. 

In addition, debris flows may occur in areas burned by recent wildfires including the Banner, Chariot, Chihuahua, Eagle, Felipe, and Vallecito fires.

MASSIVE DUST STORM STRIKES OCOTILLO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Jim Pelley

August 23, 2013 (Ocotillo ) – It looked like a scene out of the 1930s, when factory-scale farms removed topsoil in the Midwest, creating dust storms that swept across the western states, reducing vast areas to a Dust Bowl.   Is history repeating itself?

Residents of Ocotillo and other desert communities across the Southwest have recently voiced worries that industrial-scale wind and solar projects that stripped bare the earth would cause dust storms.  Yesterday, a monster-scale dust  cloud rolled across Ocotillo, blackening the sky and obscuring even the wind turbines that tower 500 feet above the town.

TROPICAL STORM BRINGS THUNDERSHOWERS, LIGHTNING TO EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam RAftery

Photos by Richard Campbell and Billy Ortiz

August 23, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--A tropical storm system has moved into our area, bringing thundershowers, humid weather and dramatic lightning displays across East County’s mountain areas .The storm system is expected to weaken Saturday, but more thunderstorms and lightning are forecast Sunday through Tuesday across East County’s mountain and desert areas.   (View video of lightning  over Descanso on the Brush Fire Partyline’s Facebook Page)

In addition, a blowing dust warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for desert areas in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

STUCK TRUCK REMOVED TWO WEEKS AFTER BREAKDOWN IN DULZURA, BUT RESIDENTS DEMAND ANSWERS TO SERIOUS PUBLIC SAFETY THREATS POSED

 

By Miriam Raftery; photo by Donnie Durfee

Rural residents are demanding answers and improved communications after a truck with an oversized load  broke down and blocked traffic on State Route 94 for over 50 hours.  Even after the road was cleared, the big rig remained on the shoulder at Marron Valley Road in Dulzura for two weeks before it was finally removed. 

Media was not warned and no Sig Alert was issued to alert residents prior to the oversized load taking to the highway, even though the slow-moving, extra-wide load obstructed traffic in both directions along the main evacuation route for residents in areas including Jamul, Deerhorn Valley, Potrero,  Barrett Junction and Tecate.

During the blockage, residents were forced to detour up to 90 miles, causing delays of many hours.  Yet a SigAlert was not issued until seven hours after the road was completely blocked by the mechanical breakdown.  Even before the breakdown, the oversized, slow-moving load obstructed traffic in both directions.  The load was about 231 feet long – yet posted signs indicate the maximum truck length allowed is 75 feet.  So why was this rig allowed to take this narrow route with many hairpin curves when straighter, wider routes to its destination were available?

WASP DRAFTED TO SUCK LIFE FROM CITRUS THREAT

 

August 21, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A tiny wasp from the other side of the world has been drafted into a big role in San Diego: protecting the multimillion-dollar citrus industry from a potentially devastating threat.

Tamarixia radiata is being enlisted throughout southern California because it literally sucks the life out of the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads a disease fatal to all types of citrus trees.

Pages