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DOCUMENTARY FILM CHAMPIONS JOE ROTH, GROSSMONT COLLEGE & UC BERKELEY QUARTERBACK WHO BATTLED CANCER IN SECRET

SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS ON GROWTH, HOMELESS, RENT CONTROL AND MORE

SIERRA CLUB: CHAMBER PROMOTING “SHAM” SITE THAT MISLEADS CONSUMERS ON UTILITY RATE PROPOSAL

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BEST HAPPY HOURS IN EAST COUNTY

LISTEN NOW: OPPONENTS MAKE THEIR CASE FOR NO TERM LIMITS IN LA MESA

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “WE WILL DEGRADE AND ULTIMATELY DESTROY ISIL”

MEET THE CANDIDATES: RECEPTION & FORUM OCT. 1

CASH MOB COMES TO LA MESA SEPT. 13 FOR “REVIVE THE BLOCK PARTY” TO HELP SHOPS IMPACTED BY CONSTRUCTION

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WIND ADVISORY ISSUED: STORM DUE TO HIT REGION TUESDAY

 

March 31, 2014 (San Diego County) - The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for San Diego County’s mountains and deserts from late afternoon Monday through Wednesday morning.  A low pressure system from the Gulf of Alaska will bring strong west winds with gusts up to 65 miles per hours.

FATAL SKYDIVING ACCIDENT IN OTAY AREA

 

Update March 31: The victim has been identified as Jordan Janway, 27.  Janway is the brother-in-law of NASCAR racing champion Jimmie Johnson and sister to Johnson's wife, Chandra.

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2014 (Otay Mesa) –A skydiving instructor in his 20s is dead after colliding with another skydiver this afternoon.  He may have been knocked unconscious and his parachute never opened.  

He was reported missing, prompting a search of the Otay area by Sheriff's deputies, Border Patrol agents, Cal-Fire firefighters and approximately 20 skydiving volunteers. The Sheriff's A.S.T.R.E.A. helicopter also responded and located the missing skydiver's body.

Ironically, a device that could have saved his life had reportedly been sent out for maintenance. A master parachutist and rigger with more than 1,000 jumps on record, he usually carried a device to automatically open his parachute in the case of emergency.

CESAR CHAVEZ FILM OPENS, CALLS GROW FOR NATIONAL HOLIDAY TO HONOR FARMWORKERS’ LEADER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2014 (San Diego)—Monday, March 31st is Cesar Chavez Day in California and seven other states.  It commemorates the birthday of the tenacious farm workers’ organizer and civil rights leader.  Now, 21 years after Chavez’ death, a  petition drive has been launched asking President Barack Obama to declare March 31 a national day of service. You can view or sign the petition here: http://www.takepart.com/chavez/petition.

In addition, a new movie , Cesar Chavez: History is made one step at a time,  debuted this past weekend in theaters across the nation, including locally in San Diego and East County.  The movie documents Chavez’ courage amid turbulent times as he fought for a better way of life for farm workers and their families.  View a trailer here: http://www.fandango.com/movie-trailer/cesarchavez-trailer/168951.

WATER AGENCIES WARN OF SCAMS

 

Callers claim false reports of water contamination, seek tests at homes

March 28, 2014 (San Diego)--For the second time in about six months, the San Diego County Water Authority has received several reports of scam artists attempting to mislead homeowners by telling them their water is polluted and offering to test it. There are no water safety problems in the Water Authority’s service area.

QUAKE RATTLES REGION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Nadin Abbott contributed to this report.

March 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A 5.1 earthquake centered in La Habra in Los Angeles County rattled southern California shortly after 9 p.m. last night. It was initially reported by the U.S. Geological Survey as a 5.4 shaker but later downgraded to 5.1.

No damage has been reported locally . In Anaheim, rides were stopped at Disneyland as a precaution. Gas leaks and water line breaks were reported in some portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.  The Los Angeles Times reports that about 50 people are displaced in Fullerton, though overall damage has been minor.

URANIUM IN WELL WATER THREATENS DESCANSO RESIDENTS

 

Bringing Backup Well Online May Be First Step in Solving the Problem

By Sharon Penny

March 24, 2014 (Descanso)-- Like all backcountry communities, the town of Descanso depends on groundwater for its water needs. A high level of uranium in the town’s main well has become a concern for many residents.  

For the last three quarters of a year, the water district’s Well No. 5 has exceeded what is considered a safe level of uranium, which the California Code of Regulations lists as 20 pCi/L. Fourth quarter readings are planned for April.

ATTORNEY SENDS PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST TO DESCANSO COMMUNITY WATER DISTRICT

 

By Sharon Penny

March 28, 2014 (Descanso) – Attorney Marco Gonzalez of the Coast Law Group has sent a request to the Descanso Community Water District for inspection of documents, based upon the California Public Records Act.

According to Gonzalez, his firm is representing various ratepayers and other interested entities concerned with management and operation of the District. He is seeking access to public documents that, he says, are “virtually impossible at this time for any member of the public to deduce where such documents are stored.”

SETTLEMENT REACHED OVER SAN ONOFRE: RATEPAYERS TO RECEIVE REFUNDS IF CPUC APPROVES DEAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2014 (San Diego)—After the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations (SONGS) were shut down in 2012 due to faulty steam generators, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) continued to charge ratepayers for the costs associated with replacing those generators.  Edison later announced permanent decommissioning of the nuclear facility in June 2013 due to serious safety problems.

Ratepayers will be receiving refunds from SDG&E and Edison for those charges, if a joint settlement agreement announced today is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  The settlement was reached SCE, the CPUC Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and The Utility Reform Network (TURN).

HIKERS LOST OVERNIGHT FOUND SAFE AT THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2014 (Julian) – Last night shortly after 8 p.m., a lost hiker called the Sheriff’s communication center to report that he and a companion were lost in the rugged Three Sisters Falls area near Julian.  Their cell phone was dying and they could not find their way back to their vehicle, said Sergeant Carlos Medina at the Julian Sheriff’s Substation.

MISSING WOMAN WITH ALZHEIMER'S IS FOUND IN CLAIREMONT AREA

 

 

 

March 27, 2014 (Spring Valley)--A 73-year-old missing person at-risk from Spring Valley is back safe with her family. World Luz Loper was found in the Clairemont area of San Diego this morning.  

Loper walked away from her home in the 9500 block of Upland Street in Spring Valley last night. Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated to find Loper, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. An off-duty member of SAR, who was not involved in the search, saw Loper's photo in the news this morning and remembered seeing Loper last night in the Clairemont area. Sheriff's SAR called San Diego Police and requested for officers to check the area. Loper was found at the intersection of Balboa Avenue and Genesee Avenue . She has been reunited with her family and will be taken to a hospital for a checkup.

The Sheriff’s Department maintains a free and confidential Take Me Home database of people who may not be able to speak to first responders if they get lost or wander away. The registry is for people with physical or mental challenges, disabilities or medical conditions (i.e. autism, Alzheimer's, Down Syndrome, etc.). This regional database is accessible only to law enforcement agencies.

FUNDING SECURED FOR HIGHWAY 67 IMPROVEMENTS

 

March 25, 2014 (Ramona)--Caltrans announced today that it has secured funding to move forward with a project to improve a busy rural highway intersection in the East County.

EYE IN THE SKY: CAN DRONES BECOME CENTRAL TO REPORTING?

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

March 26, 2013 (San Diego) A talk held yesterday at San Diego State, hosted by SDSU’s Center for Science and Media (a collaboration of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts and the College of Sciences) raised important questions on how to use drones in media gathering--also demonstrating how effective drone coverage could be, as a drone whirred overhead transmitting images.

Professor Matt Waite from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, founder of the Drone Journalism Lab, brought a small drone to show it to the public. (For the record, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has shut his Lab down for the moment, as well as drone usage by the Washington Nationals and a beer company in Minnesota. The proposed use of Drones by Amazon.com to deliver goods is also not permitted under present rules.)

RAIN FORECAST MID-WEEK

 

By Miriam Raftery

Some much-needed rain is forecast for Wednesday night and Thursday in San Diego County as a cold front from Alaska brings cooler weather and showers.

MARCH 31 IS DEADLINE TO SIGN UP FOR HEALTHCARE THROUGH COVERED CALIFORNIA: PENALTIES KICK IN FOR UNINSURED

 

Update: The Obama adminsitration has announced it will extend the deadline for anyone who started applying online before March 31, but was not able to complete an application due to technical difficulties.

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2014 (Sacramento) – If you don’t have health insurance, the Affordable Act requires that you purchase it by March 31, or pay stiff fines.  If you’re low income, there are subsidies available to help you afford healthcare for you and your family.

March 31 is also the last day for anyone to sign up for healthcare in 2014 through Covered California (www.coveredca.com) , the new healthcare exchange programs in our state. So far, over 1 million Californians have signed up.

The law requires that you have insurance by March 31, either through Covered California,  private insurance, or another program such as Medicare or  TriCare for veterans.  If you have no health insurance, the penalty will be the greater of the following: 1% of your family income above the tax filing threshold,  or  $285 per family ($95 per adult and $47.50 per child) in 2014. Rates rise steeply over the next two years.

STUDENT DEATH IN CRASH NEAR STEELE CANYON HIGH BRINGS CALLS FOR REFORMS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2014 (Rancho San Diego) – Julian Fraire, 16, was on his way to school at Steele Canyon High School Thursday morning from his home on Mt. Helix in unincorporated El Cajon.  He never made it to class.  The minivan he was driving crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming pickup truck on Steele Canyon Road.  The teen died at the scene.

It’s far from the first tragic accident to impact the school and the families who attend Steele Canyon.  Another 16-year-old, Zachary Jannenberg was killed in March 2007 when he lost control of the Ford Explorer he was drivin while on his way to school.

FOR SUNSHINE WEEK, COUNCILMEMBERS SEEK TO PUT MEASURE ON BALLOT TO PROTECT SAN DIEGANS' RIGHTS TO ACCESS PUBLIC RECORDS

 

March 21, 2014 (San Diego) - This week is Sunshine Week, shining a light on open government—or the lack of it.

Now, San Diego Councilmembers Marti Emerald and David Alvarez, along with Californians Aware are proposing open government guarantees be added to the city charter, the first known such action in the state.

TOYOTA PAYS $1.2 BILLION SETTLEMENT RESULTING FROM SANTEE CRASH

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2014 (Santee) - A 911 call tape from August 29, 2009 reveals the terror experienced by California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and his family when the accelerator jammed in the Lexus vehicle Saylor was driving that night on State Route 125 in Santee.M

TAX SCAM ALERT: BEWARE OF FAKE IRS CALLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--The U.S. Treasury Inspector General  has issued a warning to taxpayers to beware of phone calls from people claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) but in reality these are scamsters seeking to defraud taxpayers.

“This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. He said the agency has received reports of over 20,000 contacts and has become aware of thousands of victims who have collectively paid over $1 million as a result of the scam.

BILL WOULD GIVE CONSUMERS CONTROL OF THEIR VEHICLES' DATA

 

By Lori Abbott, California News Service

March 19, 2014 (Sacramento). - Many newer vehicles come with fancy GPS and on-board computers that collect data about where a person drives, how fast, and any accidents they may have had. Legislation introduced at the state Capitol on Tuesday would give vehicle owners more access to that data, which is currently controlled mostly by automakers.

PASSAGES: ELAINE MURPHY, COFOUNDER OF SANTEE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

 

Memorial service set for March 29

March 18, 2014 (Santee) - “It is with great sorrow that we inform you of the death of one of our founding members, Elaine Murphy,” Rita Lee, Secretary of the Santee Historical Society wrote in an e-mail to members. “Ms. Murphy's great passion was the Santee Historical Society, and she was a leading force in reviving the Santee Historical Society after the death of Harriet Wade.  Ms. Murphy was President of the Santee Historical Society several times and was always there to give some helpful tips or a helping hand to any of our members.  Ms Murphy was not only part of the life’s blood of the Society, she was a dear friend. She will be sorely missed.”

AUTISTIC MAN MISSING IN SANTEE HAS BEEN FOUND

 

Update March 20:  Missing Persons of America has advised ECM that Joseph Swett has been found and is safe.

March 17, 2014 (Santee) – San Diego Sheriff’s Department and the family of 20 year-old Joseph Swett and the San Diego Sheriff's Department requests public help in finding the missing man, who has been diagnosed with autism.  He was last seen wearing a bright orange shirt, red shorts and black shoes.  He is white, has short brown hair, brown eyes, and was unshaven.  He stands five feet 10 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds.

Swett came to Santee with his mother and brother from Los Angeles to attend a Christian college for two weeks. Shortly after 3:00 p.m. today, his mother and brother left the motel room in the 10700 block of Woodside Avenue in Santee to get lunch.  Swett remained in the motel room to take a nap. When his mother and brother returned,  Swett was gone.

BOARD ACTS TO EXPAND OPEN SPACE, OVERHAUL PARK IN JULIAN

 

March 17, 2014 (Julian)--The County is taking steps to buy more land at Volcan Mountain near Julian for open space. The Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to hold a hearing April 16 to consider buying 114 acres of land located north of Banner Road and east of Farmer Road. The area is next to the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve.

GM ANNOUNCES RECALLS OF MILLIONS OF VEHICLES

 

March 17, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - General Motors has announced recalls of numerous vehicles due to serious safety issues including brake, ignition, and most recently, airbag problems.

BACKCOUNTRY GROUP FILES COMPLAINT WITH CPUC AGAINST SDG&E OVER WATER CONCERNS

 

 

Flawed Water Supply Plan for Electric Substations Results in Request to Revoke Planned Projects

By Sharon Penny; photo by Wayne Brammer

March 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--During one of the worst droughts in San Diego County history, a backcountry group has filed a complaint against San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) regarding its flawed water supply plan for construction of its ECO Substation (photo, left), Boulevard Substation, and 14 miles of new 138KV line.

Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD), a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending groundwater-dependent communities from environmentally unsafe facilities and projects, is seeking an order against SDG&E, contending that the company violated a mitigation measure (MM HYD-3) that would directly impact eastern San Diego’s already strained water supplies.  The complaint was filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CUPC) and asks the CPUC to rescind SDG&E’s water supply plan and permit to construction the ECO substation project, among other actions.

RATTLESNAKE CALLS TRIPLE OVER WARM WINTER

 

County News Service

March 15, 2014 (San Diego)--Since Jan. 1, DAS has received 78 calls from the community. Last year, only 24 calls came in during that time frame.

“Our very mild winter and several heat spells are drawing the rattlesnakes out of their dens a little earlier this year,” said DAS Director Dawn Danielson.

RAMONA WOMAN DIES AFTER HEAD-ON CRASH ON BARONA RESERVATION

 

 

March 16, 2014 (Barona) – Graciela Bustos, 53, of Ramona died at a local hospital of injuries sustained earlier in the evening on March 15 in a head-on collision.  The crash occurred at 6:37 p.m. on Wildcat Canyon Road on the Barona reservation.

The vehicle that swerved over the center line and caused the deadly crash was reportedly driven by a Barona tribal enforcement officer who was on duty at the time, a Cal Fire official told the Ramona Sentinel.  Bustos was a passenger and was wearing a seatbelt, the Medical Examiner reports. The driver of the vehicle carrying Bustos was seriously injured, sustaining injuries to his face, arm, leg and hip, according to the Ramona Sentinel.

CALIFORNIANS AT RISK OF QUAKES CAUSED BY FRACKING WASTEWATER DISPOSAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2014 (California)--A new report reveals that the risk of earthquakes in California is being dramatically increased by oil companies injecting billions of gallons of wastewater from fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, into disposal wells near active faults near major cities.  “Millions of Californians live in areas at risk for induced earthquakes,” the report concludes.

The report, titled “On Shaky Ground,” was prepared by Earthworks, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Clean Water Action.   It found that 54% of our state’s 1,553 injection wells are within 10 miles of a recently active fault, 23% are within five miles and 6% are within just one mile. 

Numerous earthquakes across the country have been linked to fracking by scientists, including temblors as high as 5.7 on the Richter scale, the report details. Fracking quakes are common in areas such as Oklahoma and Texas, producing quakes higher than ever seen in some places.

DROWSY DRIVER AWARENESS DAY IS APRIL 6: DROWSINESS CAN IMPAIR DRIVING AS MUCH AS ALCOHOL DOES

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – “My wife, Robyn, died when she fell asleep while driving on April 6, 1999 in Texas,” retired California Highway Patrol Officer Phil Konstantin recalls. “She was driving back to San Diego from Florida, where she had just picked up a car from her mother.” 

Since then, Konstantin has championed the cause of warning others about the dangers of driving drowsy.  In 2005, the California Legislature proclaimed April 6th—the date Robyn Konstantin died –as Drowsy Driver Awareness Day. 

On Monday, March 17, Konstantin will be a guest on the East County Magazine Radio Show. Tune in at 5 p.m. on KNSJ 89.1 FM.

“I have always found it to be ironic that one of my duties  as  a California  Highway Patrol officer was to inform the public of the  dangers of driving  while drowsy. Yet, this is how my own wife died,” Konstantin says. “She was  an  excellent  driver. This just proves it can happen to anyone.” Ironically, she   drove past a freeway  rest area just moments before her crash, he added. You can learn more at his website: http://drowsydriverawarenessday.com and by scrolling down in this article.

EL CAJON COUNCIL ASKS STAFF TO REGULATE E-CIGARETTES AND HOOKAH

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2014 (El Cajon) – By a 4-1 vote, El Cajon’s City Council voted to add electronic cigarettes to the city’s tobacco ordinance.  The measure will also regulate hookahs.  Only Mayor Bill Wells voted against the measure, calling it “government overreach.”

The proposed regulations will next go before the city’s planning commission, after which the Council will hold a public hearing.

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By Miriam Raftery

Can’t afford to fill up the car?  

Here’s some news to be “tankful” for:  a new grant
fund has been established to give away free gasoline away to needy consumers.   Read More.

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