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SOITEC WITHDRAWS ONE OF TWO PROJECTS IN BOULEVARD

U.S. JUSTICE DEPT. RELEASES CRIMINAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS REPORTS ON FERGUSONI POLICE

SOCIALITES FASHION EVENT REVS UP CROWD AT NEW MERCEDES BENZ DEALER IN EL CAJON

SHOPPING FOR AN ENGAGEMENT RING?

HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDED THROUGH SEPTEMBER

LEGISLATORS GRILL CPUC OVER HIRING OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS

READER’S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO CHALDEANS, ASSYRIANS AND SYRIACS WORLWIDE

ISIS SEIZES HUNDREDS OF CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA

WILDFLOWERS ARE BLOOMING IN ANZA-BORREGO DESERT

SAN MIGUEL FIRE VOTES TO OPEN FINANCE COMMITTEE TO PUBLIC, PRESS

MAJOR TRAIL CHANGES PROPOSED TO THREE SISTERS FALLS

CHAMBER’S “CABARET” EVENT SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON LOCAL HEROES

News




ALPINE FIRE BOARD APPOINTS A NEW DIRECTOR, FIREFIGHTER PROMOTES TO ENGINEER

 

March 30, 2012 (Alpine) -- The Alpine Fire Protection District (AFPD) Board of Directors has appointed a new Director to fill the seat vacated by long time Director Ron Fuller. Ron Fuller was forced to resign from the Board at the February 21 Board meeting due to health reasons. At the March 20 Board meeting, the AFPD Board selected Jim Archer out of five people who expressed an interest in filling out Fuller’s term on the board.

 

2012 LA MESA GENERAL PLAN UPDATE MEETINGS ANNOUNCED

 
March 28, 2012 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Community Development Department is pleased to release the Draft 2012 La Mesa General Plan. The draft plan was completed by city staff with the help of consultants and funding with grants from the Kaiser Foundation and SANDAG. A series of five (5) public workshops were held in 2010 and 2011 to obtain public input into the draft plan. Public comments, collected in both written and electronic formats, are reflected in the draft plan. 

WIND STORM: POTENTIAL RISKS TO RESIDENTS FROM 20-SQUARE-MILE WIND PROJECT PROPOSED FOR OCOTILLO

 

Part III in our exclusive report on the proposed Ocotillo Express Wind project

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2012 (Ocotillo)-Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley dreads the prospect of the 456-tall wind turbines that may soon surround his home on three sides-some less than half mile away. 

Whirling blades, each weighing many tons, would be placed atop an active earthquake fault area capable of a 7.0 quake or more.  Fire danger, groundwater impacts, noise, electromagnetic sound waves and ground current are among the potential perils that he fears.

“Our quiet little town of Ocotillo with pristine views of the mountains will be destroyed forever. In return, we have to deal with the possibility of some serious adverse health effects and many other serious problems,” Pelley, an award-winning photojournalist and engineer, told ECM.   

WIND STORM: WHISTLEBLOWER ALLEGES GAG ORDER PREVENTED STATE PARK EMPLOYEES FROM REVEALING HARM TO ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK FROM PROPOSED OCOTILLO EXPRESS WIND PROJECT

Part II in ECM’s exclusive report on the Ocotillo Express Wind project, a joint investigation with ABC 10 News. (See the 10 News portion of this investigation, a report on environmental impacts of the project here:   10 News text: http://www.10news.com/news/30776233/detail.html; 10 News video: http://www.10news.com/video/30776306/index.html)

“To have the Governor’s office tell our park officials NOT to comment on Ocotillo,  OR ANY OTHER alternative energy projects adjacent to the Park, is a travesty, a violation of the trust between the citizens and the state.” – Mark Jorgensen, retired Superintendent, Anza Borrego Desert State Park in an e-mail to ECM

 “These allegations are not true.   No such directive came from the the Governor’s Office or the California Natural Resources Agency saying that State Parks could not comment on the Ocotillo Wind Express Project. “ -- Richard Stapler, Deputy Secretary for Communications, California Natural Resources Agency

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2012 (Anza-Borrego) – The former Superintendent of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) has contacted East County Magazine to allege a cover-up by the State Parks Department and the Governor of serious impacts that the proposed Ocotillo Express wind project would have on our largest state park and its natural resources.  The proposed wind project shares a five-mile border with ABSP and if approved, would erect up to 155 wind turbines each 456 feet tall—some just yards from the park.

RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE FIRE DISPLACES 3 ADULTS AND 10 CHILDREN

March 27, 2012 (Lemon Grove) -- At 9:11 a.m., Tuesday morning, Heartland Fire & Rescue crews from Lemon Grove, La Mesa, and El Cajon were dispatched to reports of a residential structure fire in the 1500 block of Skyline Drive.  A 911 call reported  a room on fire.  Fire crews arrived within 6 minutes to discover dark smoke coming from the front door and side bedroom window of a single story, single family residence. 

STRUCTURE FIRE LEADS TO DISCOVERY OF A BODY

 
March 27, 2012 (El Cajon) -- A fire that started inside a Mobile Home, in an unincorporated area of El Cajon lead to the discovery of a body inside. The fire was reported just before 9AM this morning at the Starlight Mobile Home Park located on the 300 block of East Bradley Avenue.
 
When the first crew arrived on scene, neighbors indicated there might be someone inside. The flames were so intense; crews could not enter the structure. Instead they were forced to shift into a defensive position, to save surrounding homes.

 

CYCLIST INJURED IN EL CAJON

 
March 27 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Police Officers and Heartland Fire & Rescue Fire-Paramedics responded to reports of a bicyclist being struck by a vehicle near the intersection of E. Camden Avenue and S. Magnolia Avenue in El Cajon at 4:51 p.m. Monday.

IRS WARNS OF TAX SCAM: BEWARE OF PHONY REFUND SCHEME ABUSING POPULAR COLLEGE TAX CREDIT

 

Senior Citizens, Working Families and Church Members Are Targets
 
March 27, 2012 (Washington)– The Internal Revenue Service warns senior citizens and other taxpayers to beware of an emerging scheme tempting them to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds.

 

CAL FIRE SUBMITS PROPOSAL TO TAKEOVER FIRE SERVICES FOR SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT

 
March 26, 2012 (Spring Valley) –Cal Fire has submitted a request for proposal (RFP)to San Miguel Fire Protection District, the only agency to do so by yesterday’s deadline.
 
A committee appointed by the District will begin reviewing the proposal March 26 to assure that it meets minimum standards, or metrics, previously determined. The review committee will present its findings to the San Miguel Fire District Board at a March 28 meeting.

 

SKATEBOARDER HIT BY VEHICLE IN LEMON GROVE

 

March 26, 2012 (Lemon Grove) – A 20-year-old skateboarder suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a vehicle at 7:35 last night while crossing the street in the 7300 block of Central Avenue in Lemon Grove.
 
According to Sergeant V. J. Rivera with the San Diego Sheriff, the victim “was wearing dark clothes and listening to his iPod.”

 

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED

 
California could bthird State in nation to adopt such a resolution 
 
March 25, 2012 (Sacramento)--California is well in stride to be the third state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in an attempt to influence elections. The California Assembly passed a resolution – by a 48-22 vote – calling for an amendment, sending the measure to the California Senate.

CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION GETS AN EARFUL IN QUAIL BRUSH POWER PLANT WORKSHOP AT MISSION TRAILS

 

Santee Council to weigh resolution opposing power plant March 28;  San Diego Council to consider zoning change to allow facility on April 26

By Miriam Raftery

March 25, 2012 (San Diego/Santee) – Seventeen staffers from the California Energy Commission heard from concerned residents at a standing-room-only workshop on a proposed gas-fired power plant this week at Mission Trails Regional Park.  Over 60 residents filled out speaker cards to oppose the controversial project and dozens more packed the room.  

In emotionally charged testimony, residents pleaded for the project to be withdrawn or approval denied.  They voiced concerns over the dangers pose by wildfire and explosions as well as worries over noise, traffic, air pollution, visual blight, and impacts on wildlife, homes, schools, and Mission Trails Regional Park.

HOUSE FIRE IN LA MESA DISPLACES TWO ADULTS, 2 CHILDREN

 
March 25, 2012 (La Mesa)—A family of four escaped their burning house during the night, alerted to trouble by a garage door going up and down. Heartland Fire & Rescue Crews from La Mesa and El Cajon battled the blaze reported at 2:21 a.m. in the 5700 block of Lambda Lane.

Fire crews arrived in six minutes to discover heavy fire and smoke coming from the attached garage of a single story, single family residence. Firefighters stretched hose lines to the interior of the house and aggressively fought the fire preventing the fire from spreading to the interior of the home. 
 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

 

March 24, 2012 (Washington, D.C.)  “There is now more supply…available in America today than there was three years ago when the price of gas was a buck ninety a gallon. There’s less demand now than there was at any time since 1997, so we’re not looking at a supply and demand problem. What we also know is that over eighty percent of the oil futures market is not controlled by people who actually use the oil, airlines, etc. , but by Wall Street speculators like Goldman Sachs/Morgan Stanley…The root of the problem is that our friends on Wall Street who caused this recession through their greed are at it again, and by manipulating oil futures market they’re driving up prices” – Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont,  only Independent member of Congress. 

 

JUDGE ORDERS SDG&E TO CREATE OPT-OUT PLAN FOR SMART METERS, BUT CONTROVERSY CONTINUES

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Earlier this month, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission ordered San Diego Gas & Electric Company to prepare a plan that would give ratepayers the right to not have wireless smart meters.   

But critics, who claim the meters are public health hazards, say the prospect of being charged for removal of smart meters and paying extra fees each month for meter readings is unacceptable.

WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION CONFIRMS CLIMATE CHANGE ACCELERATED IN PAST 10 YEARS; 2011 WAS 11TH WARMEST ON RECORD

“This 2011 annual assessment confirms the findings of the previous WMO annual statements that climate change is happening now and is not some distant future threat. The world is warming because of human activities and this is resulting in far-reaching and potentially irreversible impacts on our Earth, atmosphere and oceans.” --WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud

  By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2012 (Geneva) – The United Nation's World Meteorological Organization, representing 183 member nations, issued its Annual Statement onthe  Status of the Global Climate today. The report concludes that climate change accelerated in the past decade and that 2011 was the 11th warmest year since records began in 1850.

Increasingly destructive tornadoes, floods and other indicators of global warming are also occuring with heightened frequency around the world.  The new study found extreme weather events increased from 2001 to 2010 at an alarming rate consistent with global climate change. Worldwide, this included an increase in floods by 63%, drought 43%, heat waves 43%, heavy rain 43%, fires 25%, and tropical cyclones 24% among countries responding to the survey.

 

PASSAGES: LABOR LEADER CHARLES LATIMER, 81

 

March 23, 2012 (San Diego) – Charles H. “Chuck” Latimer, 81, passed away on March 12 at his home in San Diego of natural causes.  A retired Pacific Bell employee, he was active in labor causes and political campaigns in San Diego and East County.

“Not only was Chuck a long-time member of CWA [Communications workers of America] Local 9509, but he was a large part of our local labor labor movement," said San Diego-Imperial County Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez. "His commitment to the movement was unmatched and he will be missed tremendously.”

MEXICO EARTHQUAKES: LESSONS LEARNED SAVED LIVES

By Nadin Abbott

March 22, 2012 (San Diego) Updated 11 p.m.--On March 20, Mexico City was rattled by the strongest earthquake since 1985. The 1985 quake had an intensity of 8.1 on the Richter scale and lasted 90 to 120 seconds. It rattled a country that had no civil defense system to speak off, one where a halting government response left a lot to be desired.

In contrast, on Tuesday the city was shaken by a 7.8 quake. Major buildings were evacuated in good order. Damage and injuries in the urban area were kept to a minimum, while in rural areas, prompt action by authorities helped to save lives.

SANTEE RESIDENTS VOICE CONCERNS OVER PROPOSED POWER PLANT AT COUNCIL MEETING

By Mike Lewis

March 21, 2012 (Santee)-The proposed 100 megawatt  (MW) Quail Brush Generation Power Plant Project encountered more resistance at the San Diego Planning Commission meeting downtown Thursday morning.

In a victory of sorts for the project’s opponents, a 30-day continuance was granted, delaying a decision on rezoning the 22-acre plot from open-space to industrial.

CA ENERGY COMMISSION TO HOLD PUBLIC WORKSHOP ON QUAIL BRUSH POWER PLANT PROJECT MARCH 22 AT MISSION TRAILS

By Serena Scaglione

March 21, 2012- The California Energy Commission (CEC) will hold a workshop at 5 p.m. this Thursday, March 22 at Mission Trails to discuss the proposed Quail Brush Generation Project being developed by Quail Brush Genco, LLC, a subsidiary of Cogentrix Energy.

According to project documents, the Quail Brush Generation Project is a 100-megawatt natural gas power plant under long-term contract with SDG&E. The power plant is designed to support renewable resources and deliver power only when needed.

THE BALL IS ROLLING ON A NEW CASINO PLAN FOR JAMUL INDIANS

Mia Myklebust

March 20, 2012 (Jamul)--The Jamul Indians have revived plans to build a casino on their 6.2-acre reservation—this time with a dramatically different approach.  The new plans reflect changes that seek to address backlash from neighboring community members who opposed failed proposals in the past.

FATALITY ACCIDENT AT I-8 NEAR SDSU

 
March 20, 2012 (San Diego) – A driver who lost control on I-8 westbound at College Avenue struck a guardrail and died shortly before 10 a.m. yesterday.  The Medical Examiner’s office has identified the victim as Bernardo Carrillo, 33, a resident of Mexico who was visiting friends in San Diego.

Two passengers were in the vehicle when the accident occurred.  Multiple parties called 911, but death of the driver was pronounced at the scene.  California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.  

LA MESA RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO APPLY FOR VOLUNTEER POSITIONS ON CITY BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES

 
March 19, 2012 (La Mesa) -- Applications are now being accepted for positions on the City’s boards, commissions, and committees. The deadline for submission of applications is 5:30 p.m., Thursday, June 7, 2012, in the City Clerk’s office at La Mesa City Hall, 8130 Allison Avenue.  Applications may be obtained at City Hall, the La Mesa Library or by accessing the City of La Mesa website,  www.cityoflamesa.com.

 

WEATHER CAUSES PROJECTED 16-HOUR POWER OUTAGE IN MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES

Fallen trees block roads in Pine Valley and Rancho San Diego

March 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A weather-related problem with a power pole has left 38 utility customers without power in the East Descanso, Green Valley Falls and Cuyamaca areas. 

According to SDG&E, the outage began at 2:25 a.m. and power is expected to be restored around 7 p.m. tonight, leaving customers without power for more than 16 hours amid chill winter temperatures and snow. 

BRIDGE JUMPER ON 163

March 19, 2012 (San Diego) 12:18 a.m. –California Highway Patrol reports traffic is at a dead stop on Highway 163 at Robinson and traffic controls are being set up do an attempted suicide by an individual jumping from the bridge.  Incident Page Network reports a man down at 163 Southbound and Park Blvd. in cardiac arrest, possibly after jumping from the bridge.

I-8 CLOSED DUE TO SNOW; FROST WARNING ISSUED FOR TONIGHT

Update 10:45 a.m.  I-8 is now reopened in both directions.

Update: At 9:09 a.m. CHP's wesite reports they are escorting traffic through and expect to reopen I-8 soon following snow-ploughing.  

March 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Imterstate 8 is closed in both directions through East County due to heavy snow and ice. The closure begins east of Willows Road in Alpine and continues east to Ocotillo, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A frost warning has been issued for tonight and more blustery conditions are expected today.

For more weather-related road closures and details, scroll down.

WATER RATES AT STAKE: APPELLATE COURT TO REVIEW PRE-TRIAL DECISION IN WATER AUTHORITY CASE AGAINST METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT

 
MWD seeks to prevent discovery in case from revealing “bad facts” and “bad acts” 
March 18, 2012 (San Diego) -- The First District Court of Appeal has issued a preliminary order asking for further briefing on a request by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to prevent discovery in litigation filed by the San Diego County Water Authority challenging its 2011 and 2012 water rates. The court did not grant MWD’s request, or writ petition. It only asked the other parties in the case to set forth their positions on that request. 

 

FIRE CAUSES HEAVY DAMAGE TO AN ABANDONED HOME

March 18, 2012 (El Cajon) -- At 7:43 p.m. March 15, Heartland Fire & Rescue in El Cajon, with assistance from the San Miguel Fire Protection District, responded to reports of a structure fire in the 500 block of East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. As crews arrived on scene heavy smoke was seen coming from a single-story home at 593 East Madison Avenue. Quick action by firefighters had the fire knocked down in less than 15 minutes. According to Monica Zech of Heartland Fire & Rescue, the home was reportedly abandoned, with windows boarded up, but was full of household items and debris. There were no injuries reported.

SAN DIEGO REGION WINS ADDITIONAL $1.7 MILLION IN FEDERAL HOMELESS FUNDING

Survivors of Human Trafficking/Commercial Sexual Exploitation Among Those Getting Help  

March 18, 2012 (San Diego) -- Four new regional projects have received more than $1.7 million in federal funding for the first time thanks to efforts by County Housing and Community Development, the lead agent for the Regional Continuum of Care.  The new projects will provide transitional and long-term housing and support services for homeless people. 

ACCIDENTS AND HAZARDS ON EAST COUNTY ROADWAYS

 

March 17, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Numerous accidents and traffic hazards pose risks to motorists across our region on this rainy, windy afternoon. Hazards include:

·        

 

  • Sunrise Highway: A Rockslide is blocking the roadway at mile marker 17, CHP reported shortly after 3 p.m.
  • Potrero:  Highway 94 east of Vollner, all lanes are now blocked due to an accident involving a big-rig, CHP reports.
  •  Alpine:  A solo vehicle roll-over from I-8 has landed near a bridge, blocking traffic westbound on Alpine Blvd as of 3:10 p.m.
  •  La Mesa:  A car crashed through a warning arm and has become stuck on trolley tracks at 8635 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa Police reported shortly before 3 p.m.

If you know of other accidents or hazards, please post in the comments section below. If you have photos or winter weather or hazards shot this weekend, please send to editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

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