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By Janis Mork
May 22, 2013 (Alpine)- On May 21, Alpine Soroptomist had a special meeting to honor the organization’s Women of Achievement Award recipient, Brenda Killingbeck (pictured with program chair, Patty Tweed, and her two sons). She came with her sons, Clayton, 9, and 6-year-old Mason.
“The Women of Achievement Award is awarded to a single mom in East County trying to make a better life for herself, who is trying to support her family, enhance her career, or change [careers,” said Patty Tweed, program chair.
She introduced Killingbeck and read a short biography about Killingbeck, an Alpine resident and nurse whose actions helped locate a missing elderly man.
MONSANTO SLIPS LANGUAGE INTO FEDERAL FARM BILL TO BAN STATES FROM REQUIRING LABELING OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS
Rally today in San Diego and nationwide seeks to stop “Monsanto Protection Act 2.0”
By Miriam Raftery
May 25, 2013 (San Diego)—Food safety activists will hold a “March Against Monsanto” today at 11 a.m. in San Diego. (Details on their Facebook page.) Among other things, protesters oppose stealth language slipped into the 2013 Farm Bill approved by the House Agricutlrual Committee. The language revokes rights of states to pass laws requiring labeling of foods with genetically labeled ingredients.
“Monsanto is trying to manipulate Congress to pass a Far Bill that will wipe out citizens’ rights to state laws intended to protect their health and safety,” the Organic Consumers Association said, International Business Times reported.
By Bill Weaver
May 24, 2013 (Alpine--originally written May 14, 2013) -- I am disappointed to report that new information has recently surfaced that indicates that Propositions H and U Bond funds have been grossly misused by the GUHSD, and that this misuse has been the subject of a cover-up by the GUHSD Trustees and Administrative staff. A "smoking gun" has been discovered that points toward unethical and non-transparent behavior by District staff, presumably under the direction of the Trustees.
You will see from the content in the attachment that District bond construction funds have been mismanaged at best, and GUHSD fiscal policies and decision-making are a train wreck. The attachment shows that the District's ongoing bond management practices and accounting procedures have cheated taxpayers and burdened the district with unsustainable district "OPEX" Operating Expenses.
By Miriam Raftery
“Something will have gone out of us as people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.” – Wallace Stegner
May 24, 2013 (Julian) – The quote above is inscribed on the Volcan Mountain Foundation webpage, a site devoted to protecting the wilderness preserve. But today, as a raging wildfire that started as a controlled burn encroached, bulldozers were ordered to cut a firebreak on the crest of Volcan Mountain, ECM has learned.
Meanwhile questions are mounting over whether this fire could have been prevented. Those questions include:
- Why did Cal-Fire order a controlled burn in hot weather just hours after a high wind advisory had expired?
- Why did the National Weather Service issue a spot fire weather report to Cal-Fire advising lower wind speeds when it has no wind monitor in the valley where the fire occurred?
- Why did fire officials underestimate the potential size of this fire at 500 acres? (It has burned over 1,800 acres and is 60% contained.)
- Should Cal-Fire’s plan to sharply increase the number of acres it clears statewide be axed given the consequences of this out-of-control burn?
May 24, 2013 (Mountain Springs) - Photographers Jim Pelley and Parke Ewing spotted a herd of endangered Peninsular Bighorn sheep preparing to cross I-8 in Mountain Springs, at the county line separating San Diego and Imperial Valley counties.
Residents report that wildlife is returning to the area over the past week, since wind turbines at the adjacent Ocotillo area have been silenced during the investigation into a blade that fell from a wind turbine.
How many sheep can you find ih the photo below? (click "read more" to view.) We don't know the answer, but Pelley says spotting the well-camouflaged sheep reminds him of playing "Where's Waldo."
HONOR YOUR HERO: MEMORIAL FLAME LIGHTING MAY 24, MEMORIAL OPEN THROUGH MAY 27 AT STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL
May 23, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—On Friday night, May 24, at sundown the public is invited to a lighting of the flame ceremony at Steele Canyon High School to honor heroes killed in action, as well as those currently serving in the military and our veterans. You can also bring a flag and plant it in the ground on Friday, or anytime during the Memorial Day weekend.
The County Department of Animal Services (DAS) is investigating the death of a horse and is caring for another ten horses seized from an owner in Ramona late yesterday afternoon.
DAS was called to Ramona Monday after a group of horses was found loose on Highway 78 Monday. CHP and CALFIRE returned them to a nearby property, and DAS began monitoring a herd of 30 horses at the location, noting that the animals lacked food and water. CALFIRE supplied some water, but the conditions prompted DAS to post a notice advising the horses’ owner the animals were subject to seizure.
Concerned neighbors also provided some feed to the horses, but based on the conditions officers found during a check yesterday, DAS seized all of the animals on the property.
By Sholeh Sisson
May 24 2013 (San Diego East County)- An elderly man in his eighties has been taken into custody after he led police on a wild chase through the mountains of East County.
Incident Page Network (IPN) first reported the chase at 2 p.m. on Thursday. According to IPN, the suspect was driving his 26-foot motor home through Sunrise Highway with Sheriff’s deputies in pursuit at around 50 miles per hour. Officials confirm that the chase started in Alpine and continued eastbound on I-8, until they finally caught the man in Buckman Springs after laying down tire spikes to slow the vehicle. The motorist was reportedly distraught, IPN reported.
By Nadin Abbott
Update May 24, 2013: 2 p.m. - The blaze is now 1800 acres.
Update May 24, 2013: Cal Fire held the blaze to 1500 overnight and now has 60% containment, with no threat to structures. One minor injury to a firefighter occurred.
May 23, 2013 (San Felipe)—Around 1 p.m., Cal Fire informed San Diegans through its Twitter account that it was conducting a controlled burn near the site of last year’s Ranchita Fire.Soon after, according to Cal Fire Deputy Chief Kely Zombro, “The winds shifted in an unprecedented way.”
The fire escaped the containment area, triggering mobilization of resources from across the region. As luck would have it, a multi-agency wildland training drill was being conducted at the Barona Reservation, where firefighters were swiftly shifted from the drill to the fire scene for a hands-on real-life exercise.
By Miriam Raftery
May 21, 2013 (Alpine) – The San Diego County Grand Jury has issue a report t blasting the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) for repeatedly axing plans to build a 12th high school in Alpine despite voters twice approving bond measures to construct the new high school. The report is descriptively titled Grossmont Union High School District—Fool Us Once, Fool Us Twice?
The Grand Jury found that “residents of the GUHSD and the greater Alpine area deserve clarity from the School Board regarding the proposed 12th high school."
May 24, 2013 (El Cajon)--Grossmont College student Thirada Kingphuang has received from the San Diego Police Foundation a Rita Olsen Memorial scholarship of $2,500 awarded to women pursuing an education preparatory to a career in law enforcement.
Kingphuang left her family and everyone she knew in the rural, teak-forest-covered Uttaradit province of northern Thailand in 2009 to pursue a career in forensic science in California.
By Sierra Robinson
May 24, 2013 (Santee) – Looking for some family fun this Memorial Day weekend? On Saturday, May 25, the Santee Chamber will be hosting the annual Santee Street Fair. Starting at 10:00 a.m. and running until 7:00 p.m., visitors of all ages can enjoy live music on three stages, over 300 vendor books, food, and entertainment fit for the whole family.
May 22, 2013 (Alpine) – The public is invited to honor fallen veterans on Monday, May 27 at the Alpine Community Center’s Wall of Honor, 1830 Alpine Boulevard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests will also hear stories from veterans who put their lives on the line for our country, enjoy patriotic music, and a fly-over tribute by the Buecker Squadron in vintage WWII planes. A freeall-American meal of hot dogs and hamburgers.
By Jim Pelley
Photos: Red Tail Hawk at Ocotillo. Thank God the turbines were not spinning! – Jim Pelley
May 22, 2013 (Ocotillo)--It’s been (1) week now since the blade throw at the Ocotillo Wind overseen by Pattern Energy. Wow! What a difference, we forgot what it was like without these wind turbines turning; it’s a breath of fresh air. Not seeing/hearing the turbines turning weather they are generating power or not is a huge difference and now that they are not turning it reminds of some of main reasons we moved to Ocotillo.
May 23, 2013 (Alpine) – The Alpine high school graduates who are receiving college scholarships will be in attendance at the Alpine Woman’s Club last monthly luncheon for the 2012-2013 season on Tuesday, June 18 at 12:00 noon. The new officers will also be installed at this meeting.
May 23, 2013 (San Diego) – The Salvation Army Kroc Center’s Kroc Kids Junior Theatre Company presents a performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS on May 24 & 25 at 7 p.m. and May 26 at 2 p.m. at The Joan Kroc Theatre.
The show will feature local talent ranging in age from 6 to 18, led by a professionally acclaimed production team including: Director and Choreographer – Laura Hodge, Musical Director – David Kamatoy, and numerous others.
Photo by Jamelle McCullough
May 23, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--A controlled burn has grown out of control due to a change in wind directions. The fire started along State Route 78 at the Great Southern Overland Stage route. Authorities initally predicted the blaze had potential for 500 acres, but it has now topped 1,500 acres with 30% containment.
There is no current threat to structures of infrastructure, per Cal Fire.
The California Highway Patrol website indicates that a closure has been ordered on S-2 at S22 and at State Route 78. Smoke is blowing across San Felipe. According to the Julian News editor, the route from Shelter Valley to Warner Springs is blocked. Road closures are expected to remain in effect through tomorrow.
Eileen Bagg-Rizzo and Randy Cambou to Represent GUHSD in Prestigious San Diego County Teacher of the Year Competition
May 21, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—At its Governing Board Meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, the Grossmont Union High School District honored Teacher of the Year nominees from its school sites. These nominees are selected by their peers. A panel comprised of previous Teachers of the Year and District personnel selected two representatives from this distinguished group of nominees to be considered for the San Diego County Teacher of the Year competition. If selected to represent the County, the next step is the California State Teacher of the Year competition.
GUHSD 2013-14 Teacher of the Year Nominees:
May 24, 2013 (La Mesa) –La Mesa Police responded to a robbery report at 1:24 a.m. at the USA gas station in the 7900 block of University. A suspect wearing a Spiderman mask pulled a black, semi-automatic pistol out and told a customer to lie on the floor, then began kicking the customer, according to police.
The suspect demanded money from the clerk. The masked man was last seen running northbound on La Mesa Boulevard. The loss was approximately $300 and the clerk was not injured. The male customer left on a bicycle after the robbery and before police arrived; he has not been located.
May 23, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Portions of land in and around Oceanside were added to California’s Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) quarantine this week after inspections turned up four apple moths.
California’s “interior” quarantine has grown to 6,000 acres in 19 counties across the state for the apple moth, a destructive agricultural pest that eats and damages more than 250 types of crops.
The County of San Diego’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures (AWM) has scheduled a meeting to talk to local growers from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the Fallbrook Community Center Auditorium at 341 Heald Lane in Fallbrook. Officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture will be at the meetings and available to answer questions.
May 23, 2013 (Lemon Grove) – On June 1 at 10 a.m., the new Mission Revival style Lemon Grove Library, 3001 School Lane, will open its doors for a day of tours, new library cards, brand new books and resources, a new Friends of the Library bookstore, entertainment, music, food and rejoicing as this community of some 25,000 residents finally gets the library of its dreams.
Reigning--and ringing--in the new bell tower will be the school district's original, 1894 school bell, recovered and restored in 2002 by the Lemon Grove Historical Society and reinstalled by the Lemon Grove School District on Mar. 12, 2013.
Photo by Kim Hamilton
Update 5 p.m.: The fire has reached 100 acres and is burning uphill and into the Otay Truck Trail area, closer to homes. Smoke is visible from Highway 94.
Update from Cal-Fire at 4:40 p.m.: CAL FIRE is on scene of a 7 acre vegetation fire along the US/Mexico Border near Alta Road and Tin Can Hill (TB Map 1352 C3). Currently we have 17 engines, 6 fire crews, 4 airtankers, 2 helicopters, 1 bulldozer, 3 water tenders and 2 chief officers either on scene or enroute.
The fire was dispatched at 4:14 and the fire originated in Mexico. No structures are threatened.
May 22, 2013 (Otay) – Firefighters are battling a fast-spreading brush fire that started at Alta Road and Via De La Amistad in the east Otay area south of Otay Lakes. The fire has charred at least seven acres and has potential to burn 300, IPN reports.
There are currently no structure threats. On flank has slowed but the other side is “taking off” per IPN. Six hand crews and ten type-3 engines have been requested by the incident commander.
SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT AND CAL FIRE SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND PREVENTION CAMPAIGN MAY 25
May 22, 2013 (Spring Valley) – Maybe becoming a volunteer Firefighter is a bit much, but please consider being a volunteer “Fire Preventer.”
The San Miguel Fire District in cooperation with its partner CAL FIRE, is ramping up its “Before the Threat, Are You Ready” preparedness and prevention campaign. This massive public education effort provides critical preparedness information with an old- fashioned door-to-door contact.
Again this year they are hoping teams of community volunteers join CAL FIRE Firefighters in a door-to-door campaign in the Districts high hazard urban interface areas. Two major fires in four years have shown all of us the need to be prepared and to create defensible space, to have an evacuation plan, and have the supplies necessary to take care of your families for up to a week.
May 22, 2013 (Lakeside) – The Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society presents their Wild West Casino Night 2 on June 1, 2013 at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, Lakeside, CA from 6-10 pm. It benefits Saving Horses Inc., a San Diego horse rescue charity.
Ticket price is $20/person & includes $200 in play chips. Beer or wine glasses are $20 each and come with 5 free drink tickets. Raffles, silent auction, door prizes, roulette, black jack, craps & poker tables.
Live music by the Honky Tonk Kings, food available for purchase by Descanso Junction Restaurant & Catering.
May 22, 2013 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police were called to the Motel 6 at 7621 Alvarado Road regarding a robbery that had just occurred on May 20 at 2:27 a.m. Officers found a victim suffering minor injuries from being struck in the head by two unknown suspects. The victim reported he was robbed of his wallet and car keys by the two assailants.
The victim stated he was visiting a friend and walked out to his vehicle in the parking lot to leave. The victim reported he was approached from behind, struck over the head, and then knocked to the ground while he was trying to get into his vehicle. The suspects, who were described as African American males, both wearing dark hooded sweatshirts, took the victim’s property and ran towards a waiting vehicle parked on Alvarado Road. The suspects then fled the scene in that vehicle and were last seen driving east from the motel property.
May 22, 2013 (La Mesa) – The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host a free senior discussion group presentation on “Alternatives to Google: Finding Health Information Online,” from 10 to 11 a.m. today. The public is invited to attend, and RSVP is not required. The speaker will be Kathy Quinn, library director of the Herrick Library.
Quinn, with 21 years of experience as a librarian and researcher, will share tips on how to find reliable, accurate and trustworthy information on the Internet about your health. The presentation will include a demonstration of the links to health information available on the Herrick Library website. Handouts on how to evaluate health websites and reliable sites to search will be provided.
Residents Urged to Clear Defensible Space, Plan for Family Readiness
May 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – California has already seen 1,569 wildfires this year, about 500 more fires compared to the same period last year and 85 percent more fires than in an average year. With the long, hot and dangerous summer a real possibility, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and public safety officials today urged residents to protect their homes against wildfires by creating a 100-foot buffer zone.
“Now is the time to prepare for what is shaping up as a tougher-than-usual fire season,” said Supervisor Jacob. “The firestorms of 2003 and 2007 taught us that homes with defensible space are far more likely to survive than homes without it.”
May 22, 2013 (Descanso) – The Medical Examiner has determined that Robert Sean Gibbons died of natural causes from a heart attack related to coronary artery disease. The body of Gibbons, 46, was found by firefighters who responded to a fire at his trailer, which was fully engulfed in flames.