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.
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.
CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.