RESIDENTS VOICE CONCERNS OVER CHECKPOINT DELAYS ON HIGHWAY 94

DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS HOLD NEW HAMPSHIRE DEBATES

EAST COUNTY ST. PATRICK’S HALF MARATHON AND FUN RUN MARCH 12 TO BENEFIT LOCAL CHARITIES

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: FOLLYWOOD (HAIL, CAESAR!)

FIRST “FLOWERS IN THE MOUNTAINS” GARDEN TOUR BLOOMS MAY 7

ZIKA VIRUS IN SALIVA, MAY BE SPREAD BY KISSING

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PARADISE IN DESCANSO

CROCS AND KINGS

VALENTINE’S OPEN RANCH AT ALPACAS OF SAN DIEGO IN DESCANSO FEB. 13

LOVE IS IN THE AIR AT LA CASA DEL ZORRO RESORT

WINDWALKER NOMINATED FOR GRAMMY: HEAR OUR INTERVIEW

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

News

NEIGHBORS RESCUE RESIDENT DURING FIRE

 

East County News Service

October 3, 2015 (El Cajon) – Neighbors helped an elderly man out of his home after a garage caught fire in the 2300 block of Charles Way before firefighters arrived Friday afternoon.

Heartland Fire and Rescue crews from El Cajon and La Mesa, assisted by the Santee and San Diego Fire Departments, were dispatched to the blaze. The first engine company arrived within four minutes to find a two-story detached garage with heavy fire and smoke.

FIRE DISPLACES LA MESA RESIDENTS

East County News Service

September 30, 2015 (La Mesa)-- Heartland Fire & Rescue crews from La Mesa and Lemon Grove, with assistance from San Diego Fire, responded to a house fire in the 4100 block of E. Arrieta Circle in La Mesa this morning. 

The first Chief Officer arrived within five minutes to report a single story, single family dwelling with heavy smoke coming from the house. Firefighters quickly attacked the fire from the interior, while simultaneously cutting a hole in the roof to alleviate smoke and hot gases from inside the structure, said Sonny Saghera, public information officer for Heartland.

STRONG EL NINO THIS WINTER COULD RIVAL HISTORIC WET WINTERS

 

East County News Service

September 30, 2015 (San Diego)—The Federal government’s Western Regional Climate Center is predicting with 92% certainty a strong El Niño from December to February.  Additionally, forecasters say there is a 50% chance that winter precipitation totals will be in the top 33% of historic values across Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico.

COURT ACTION CHALLENGES CPUC ON “HIJACKING” ELECTRIC BILLS

 

East County News Service

September 30, 2015 (San Diego)—Utility ratepayer attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson have filed a federal appeal in the Ninth District court on behalf of Citizens Oversight.  The suit challenges the power of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which it accuses of “utility bill hijacking.”

A press release issued by Aguirre and Severson states the Governor Jerry Brown has appointed “powerful utility lobbyists to run the Commission.  Working together with utility executives,  these appointees have hijacked the long-standing practice of holding public rate-setting hearings in favor of secret rate-setting meetings with top utility executives.”

SAN DIEGO LIFEGUARDS COME TOGETHER TO ASSIST INJURED COWORKER

 

San Diego Lifesaving Association Raising Funds for Lifeguard Injured On Duty

September 30, 2015 (San Diego)-- After completing a routine rescue at Windansea beach in La Jolla on August 15th, San Diego Lifeguard Gareth “Chappy” Chapman was struck by a large wave in shallow water and driven headfirst into the ground.  The resulting impact left Gareth with several broken vertebrae in his neck and back, but fortunately did not cause any permanent damage to his spinal cord or nervous system.

YELLOW "HIT-AND-RUN" ALERTS APPROVED

 

East County News Service

September 30, 2015 (Sacramento)—Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 8 into law. The measure will create “yellow alerts” to display descriptions of vehicles involved in hit-and-run collisions on digital freeway signs.  The alerts, set to start January 1st, will be similar to Amber Alerts used for kidnapped children.

BILL ON GOVERNOR’S DESK WOULD LET MOTORISTS CHALLENGE TRAFFIC TICKETS WITHOUT PAYING FINES FIRST

 

By Miriam Raftery

Currently, California drivers who want to challenge a ticket in court have to pay a fine or fee first, in many jurisdictions.  But Senate Bill 405, now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s approval, would give motorists the right to fight tickets without paying a fine or fee unless they are found guilty.

 The U.S. justice system is supposed to presume innocence until someone is found guilty.  But traffic fines and add-on fees amount to hundreds of dollars in some cases. The American Civil Liberties Union has argued that those fees block access to the justice system for the poor.

CA REDUCES FEES FOR OVERDUE TRAFFIC FINES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2015 (Sacramento) – If you’re a California driver with an overdue traffic ticket fine, you may be eligible for a limited amnesty program starting this week under Senate Bill 85, which was signed into law by Governor Brown.

Under the program, all fines due on or before January 1, 2013 will be reduced by 50 to 80 percent. In addition, all penalties added for late fees will be cancelled. You can also make payments to pay off the balance, based on your income. In addition, if you lost your license for failing to pay a fine or appear in court, you can apply to get your license restored.

HELIX WATER CANCELS PENALTY ON HIGH WATER USERS, BUT STILL AIMS TO RAISE WATER RATES

 

Two meetings set on rate hikes Sept. 30 and Oct. 7

East County News Service

September 29, 2015 (La Mesa) — Helix Water District’s Board has voted unanimously to rescind a 10 percent penalty assessed on its highest tier water users. The change comes after customers cut water use 28 percent, enabling the district to meet the 20 percent cuts mandated by the state. Board member Kathleen Hedberg asked for those penalized to receive rebates, but instead the funds will be used for water conservation outreach, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

But the district is moving forward on hefty water rate hikes for water users. The Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association (GMIA) opposes what it describes as a 70% rate hike over five years. The GMIA invites the public to a community forum on the rate hike on Wednesday, September 30th at 7 p.m. at Murdock Elementary School (4354 Conrad Drive in La Mesa).

The GMIA has crafted a sample letter for those opposed to submit public comment: http://www.gmia.net/docs/SampleLetterToTheHelixWaterDistrict.pdf

HORSE FEED SOLD IN SAN DIEGO KILLS 3 HORSES

 

East County News Service

September 28, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Western Blend horse feed, manufactured by Western Milling, has been linked to deaths of three horses and illness of dozens more.  The feed contains monensin, an ionophore that is used to put weight on cattle but that is toxic to horses. There is no antidote for the poisoning.

On Sunday, the company announced a recall of Western Blend sold in 50 pound bags in California and Arizona, with the lot number 5251. ABC news reports the deaths occurred in Fresno.

SENIORS ADVISED HOW TO AVOID SCAMS AT “DON’T GET HOOKED” EVENT HOSTED BY SUPERVISOR JACOB

By Janis Russell

September 27, 2015 (El Cajon)- At the Ronald Reagan Community Center in El Cajon last Wednesday, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob hosted a ‘Don’t Get Hooked’ event, geared towards seniors and caregivers. Seniors learned the common types of fraud/scams and how not to get reeled in. They also heard some real life stories of how some elderly people got caught in a scam and the results.

 Jacob teamed up with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to organize this event and bring more attention to this issue as well as offer advice. Seniors are most targeted because they are trusting.

ECM EDITOR INJURED IN TRUCK COLLISION

 

East County News Service

September 25, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Magazine Editor Miriam Raftery was injured Wednesday when an F-150 pickup truck driver pulled out in front of her Toyota Camry on Avocado in El Cajon.  Raftery's vehicle was totaled and she was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. 

"I am grateful to be alive and appreciate the kind wishes sent by many in our community," said Raftery, who asked for patience as our staff works to catch up on a backload of articles, story ideas and e-mails recently submitted. "I also thank the El Cajon Police and Heartland Fire & Rescue for their prompt response to the accident scene," she added.

NBC TV INVESTIGATION FINDS EVIDENCE OF RADIOACTIVE DEBRIS ON BEACH AT SAN ONOFRE; “SLOPPY” HANDLING OF NUCLEAR WASTES

 

By East County News Service

September 26, 2015 (San Diego) – An investigation by KNSD-TV Channel 7 , the NBC affiliate in San Diego, has dropped a bombshell regarding efforts to cover-up lax handling of nuclear waste and radiation leaks at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations.   Get the full report and the confidential documents here.  

NBC’s investigation found high radiation levels endangered Southern California employees in trailers, including radiation levels so alarming that  Nuclear Regulatory inspectors at times refused to perform routine radiation surveys. A contaminated steam generator taken from a reactor exposed workers for 10 days, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report form 1981 revealed.

Hundreds of pieces of contaminated radioactive equipment were stored on both sides of Interstate 5, which bisects the San Onofre nuclear waste dump now under construction following shut-down of the facilities.  Some were openly exposed to weather.

RESIDENTS ASKED TO PROPERLY DISPOSE OF BARBECUE COALS TO PREVENT TRASH TRUCK FIRES

 

East County News Service

September 26, 2015 (San Diego)--September is Truck and Heavy Equipment Fire Prevention Month at Waste Management and Waste Management of Southern California is extending its prevention efforts by reminding residents to properly dispose of barbecue coals to help prevent heat related cart and collection truck fires.

COUNTY ADDS ALERTS FOR MISSING DEMENTIA PATIENTS TO ALERT SAN DIEGO SYSTEM

 

 

County News Service

Photos: Sally Estabrook

September 25, 2015 (San Diego)--Bob Estabrook walked into the back of his RV to clean up one afternoon last fall. He and his wife, Sally, were staying at a campground near Julian. Within 15 minutes, Sally, who was 75 years old and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, had disappeared.

FREE OIL FILTERS SEPT. 26 THROUGH COUNTY AND O'REILLY AUTO PARTS

 

September 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Do-it-yourselfers in Fallbrook, Lakeside, Ramona and Spring Valley can score a free new oil filter for their car Saturday, Sept. 26 just by turning in a used one, thanks to the County of San Diego’s Department of Public Works and O’Reilly Auto Parts.

HEALTH FAIR SATURDAY IS EAST COUNTY'S LARGEST FREE HEALTH FAIR

 

 

September 23, 2015 (La Mesa)--The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will present “Health Fair Saturday,” the East County region’s largest annual free community-wide health fair, from noon to 4 p.m.Saturday, Sept. 26, at Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, near the movie theaters at the mall.

TROLLEY HITS PICK-UP TRUCK IN EL CAJON

 

Driver, Don Godfrey of Lakeside, seriously injured

East County News Service

September 24, 2015 (El Cajon) – A red Ford F-250 pickup truck was struck by a trolley at 12:40 p.m. today in El Cajon and has sustained life-threatening injuries, Lt. Randy Soulard with the El Cajon Police Department reports.

Police officers and  Heartland Fire Department paramedics responded to the collision at Marshall Avenye and Billy Mitchell.  The pickup was traveling east on Billy Mitchell and the trolley was traveling north, paralleling Marshall. Preliminary evidence and witness statements at the scene indicate the driver of the pick-up truck may have traversed the railroad crossing arms and entered the path of the trolley. 10 News reports the truck was dragged about 50 feet.

POPE FRANCIS VISITS WHITE HOUSE, PRAISES U.S. ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of the White House

Pope Francis met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday, then delivered an address on the White House lawn to a crowd of over 11,000 people, CNN reports.

The Pope called on Christians to be responsible stewards of the earth.  "Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation," he said. "When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change."

MOM WHO POSTED DANCING BABY VIDEO ON YOUTUBE SCORES WIN FOR “FAIR USE” AS CASE HEADS TO TRIAL

By Miriam Raftery

September 22, 2015 (San Francisco)—The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a victory to Stephanie Lenz, a mom who posted a 29-second video of her toddler dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” music.

Prince’s publisher, Universal Music, demanded that she take down the video, claiming copyright infringement.  She sued, and on Monday, the appellate court ruled her case can go to trial.  The judges also ruled that copyright holders must consider fair use before asking services such as YouTube to remove videos.

AFTER PLANE CRASH, GILLESPIE NEIGHBORS PLAN SEPT. 30 MEETING

“What if the next touch and go crash takes out a school in session?" – a resident’s letter to Supervisor Dianne Jacob

East County News Service

September 21, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --After a plane crashed into a Santee home on September 3rd, killing the pilot and a flight student near Gillespie Field, Advocates for Safe Airport Policies or “ASAP” is calling for action to protect community members. ASAP has made many complaints to officials before this crash, which is the latest in a string of crashes and serious mishaps involving planes at Gillespie. But recently residents have warned of frequent and low flights over homes due to an increase in flight school training of students at Gillespie Field.  

Now ASAP is holding a meeting for concerned airport neighbors. The event will be held September 30th at a private home in Fletcher Hills.  To RSVP and get the addresss contact suestrom1@cox.net.

SUNDAY’S POWER OUTAGE FOR SDG&E CUSTOMERS WAS TRIGGERED BY GENERATOR OFFLINE IN SAN DIEGO, GRID OPERATOR CAISO SAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 21, 2015 (San Diego)—On Sunday, as many as 90,000 SDG&E customers in San Diego County were without power for up to two hours.  As we reported, SDG&E tweeted that the outage was due to the California Independent Systems Organization ( CAISO) ordering SDG&E to “drop 150 MW of load in our service territory at around 1:15 p.m.” 

Today, CAISIO spokesman Steven Greenlee told East County Magazine that the problem originated locally.  “About 11:53 a.m. a generator in the San Diego area tripped offline,” he said.  With hot temperatures already raising demand for power, he said, “that generator overloaded the lines in the area.  That threatened to spread to other communities.” As a result, the ISO, which is above CAISIO and coordinates the entire western U.S. grid, serving as reliability coordinator, stepped in to protect the nation's power grid stability.

SDGE BLAMES CAISO FOR DROPPING POWER TO 90,000 SAN DIEGO CUSTOMERS

 

East County News Service

September 21, 2015 (San Diego) – An estimated 90,000 San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) customers lost power for several hours on Sunday afternoon.  SDG&E tweeted at 2:02 p.m. Sunday that the California Independent Systems Organization known as CAISO ordered it to “drop 150 MW of load in our service territory at around 1:15 p.m.”  CAISO, a nonprofit, is responsible for maintaining the statewide power grid- in other words, keeping the lights on.

COUNTY LAUNCHES NEW ALERT TO HELP THOSE WITH ALZHEIMER'S, OTHER IMPAIRMENTS

 

September 19, 2015 (San Diego)--San Diego County officials today launched a new type of community alert to help find seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and others who are reported missing and in danger.

The Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies can now directly notify the public via email and cell phone text message when a person with dementia or other cognitive impairment, or with a developmental disability, goes missing in the region.

U.S. TO ADMIT MORE REFUGEES OVER NEXT TWO YEARS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the U.S. will raise its cap on refugees from the current level of 70,000 to accept 85,000 next year and 100,000 in 2017. The news comes in response to a growing refugee crisis of people fleeing ISIS in Syria and Iraq, including Christians and other minorities as well as Muslims.

That came as welcome news in El Cajon, where Iraqi-American Christians are celebrating at the Chaldean Festival.

GIRL, 7, KILLED BE VEHICLE WHILE PLAYING IN PARKING LOT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

September 20, 2015 (El Cajon) – A 7-year-old girl has died after being struck by a Ford Ranger pickup truck in the parking lot of an apartment complex where she lived at 589 North Johnson Street in El Cajon.  A makeshift memorial for the victim, identified as Riley Jackson by neighbors, has been set up, 10 News reports.

El Cajon Police officers and Heartland Fire paramedics responded to the scene at 7:11 p.m. last night. According to the Medical Examiner’s office, the girl and another child were playing in the parking lot when the victim ran out from behind a dumpster into the path of the Ford Ranger.

The driver, Bradley Brown, a 20-year-old from National City, called 911 and remained at the scene. He has been fully cooperative with the investigation, said  Lieutenant Soulard with the El Cajon Police, adding that neither alcohol nor speed were factors.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH MONDAY AND TUESDAY FOR MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS

 

East County News Service

File photo: Flooded road in Pine Valley, by Alex Tardy, National Weather Service

September 20, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch, cautioning that heavy rainfall and flash flooding is possible from Monday afternoon through Tuesday in San Diego’s eastern mountains and deserts.

Rainfall could exceed two inches in mountains and could top an inch in the deserts.  Recent wildfire burned areas will be particularly susceptible to flash flooding and debris flows.

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