By Miriam Raftery; photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News
May 5, 2013 (La Mesa) -- Two victims are in serious condition after being shot by a passing car on I-8 eastbound near State Route 125 early this morning. I-8 east was closed for several hours, reopening around 10 a.m. Lt. Matt Nicholass at La Mesa Police informed ECM that both victims are men in their 20s.
The victims were in a silver Nissan Maxima. There is no description of the suspect vehicle, except that it was a car. There is no information yet on the weapon used, or whether the shooting was random or if victims may have known the shooter.
BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE DOWNTOWN MONDAY TO OPPOSE WIND ORDINANCE AND BOULEVARD PLAN AMENDMENT
May 3, 2013 (San Diego)—On Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m., East County residents opposed to the proposed County Wind ordinance and Boulevard Plan amendment will hold a press conference outside the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway (by the fountain on the west side.)
“On May 8th, the Board of Supervisors will make a life-altering choice for rural East County residents and valued resources,” a press release sent by the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps. Supervisors must choose to either “sell out to the taxpayer-subsidized wind industry and developers and turn the ruggedly beautiful Boulevard/Jacumba area into an unnecessary industrial energy sacrifice zone and fire trap," the rural residents say, or"protect and defend the ratepayers and real people and resources in the predominantly low-income fire-prone area from expensive, unreliable, and dangerous industrial wind turbine projects and related web of electrical infrastructure.”
Speakers will include rural residents and a fire official speaking out on dangers posed by industrial wind projects in our region.
By George Dominguez
May 4, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) --Daunting as it may seem, Joe “Tiger” Patrick II is walking across America to honor the fallen heroes of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. This week, his journey took him through East County, where he met with local firefighters and paramedics.
"I felt a compelling need to do something to honor to our fallen heroes, to give people a close up view of those we lost. This isn't a political statement, but an expression of love and respect for those who volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us here at home," said Tiger. He honors the fallen by carrying a memorial mosaic panel which contains a picture of every fallen warrior.
By Miriam Raftery
May 4, 2013 (Sacramento) – The State Senate Public Safety on Thursday voted 5-2 to defeat SB 779, a measure authored by Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) and sponsored by the California District Attorneys Association. The bill sought to speed up executions in California through several means, including bringing back the gas chamber. The bill sparked strong outcry from human rights activists who denounced the method as inhumane.
California voters narrowly defeated a bill in November that would have outlawed the death penalty. The punishment remains on the books, but due to two judicial rulings finding prior methods inhumane, the state has been left unable to carry out executions since 2006, despite death penalty verdicts.
May 4, 2013 (El Cajon) – Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s Board of Trustees voted on April 16 to adopt a resolution calling on Congress to enact the comprehensive immigration reforms being hammered out by a bipartisan “gang of eight” legislators (four Republicans and four Democrats).
The resolution was introduced by trustee Mary Kay Rosinski and passed with five votes in favor. The action comes on the heels of similar resolutions adopted by San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego City Council.
Photo by Paul Kruze
A small plane made an emergency landing on the median of Highway 52 at the junction of State Route 125 in Santee shortly after 6 p.m. today.
ECM photojournalist Paul Kruze was driving on the freeway when he witnessed the startling event.
“I was on my way to a concert when all of a sudden I saw this thing landing right in front of me. It was surreal. I had the same exact feeling as watching the plane fly into the World Trade Center—like watching a movie,” he said, then praised the pilot’s skill. “It was very controlled and the pilot obviously knew what he was doing.”
May 4, 2013 (Spring Valley) – San Diego Police seek public help to identify a young man in a hunting cap who cashed in winning lottery tickets at convenience and liquor stores in Spring Valley. Police indicate the tickets were from stolen lottery ticket dispensers taken from a San Diego gas station on two occasions. The thefts occurred at the Arco station at 4333 Home Ave on April 5 and on April 18,.
The suspect allegedly ripped the lottery ticket dispensers from the counter while the clerk was in a back room, then fled. He was seen getting into the passenger side of a dark-colored sedan, possibly a late model Honda Civic, detectives said.
May 4, 2013 (Valley Center) – Keys Creek Lavender Farm is celebrating opening season with English High Tea on May 17 at 2:00 p.m. The catered tea is served by courses and plated at table. The menu includes Lemon Lavender Scones, Chicken Watercress sandwiches and Raspberry Cream Pavlovas, to name just a few.
Stock market rallies in response to news
By Jonathan Goetz
The jobless recovery is adding jobs, slowly and steadily. April job numbers released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the US unemployment rate at 7.5%, the lowest rate in four years. The main job growth was in retail and food services however, and not the same high-paying industries that saw major job losses in the Great Recession.
On Friday, the Dow responded to the positive hiring news by reaching 15,000 for the first time before closing at 14,972, up .9% from the opening bell. The S&P ended 1% higher, also breaking the record by reaching the 1,600 mark. Growth in US markets was spread over most industries, including the beleaguered steel industry, with three stocks closing higher for every one stock closing lower.
By Miriam Raftery
May 3, 2013 (Sacramento) – With two major fires in Southern California threatening thousands of homes and smaller fires burning statewide, Governor Jerry Brown has responded to requests for support from Cal Fire and the California Emergency Management Agency. He has directed Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin with the California National Guard to provide two specialized firefighting C-130J aircraft and crews from the Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing to assist with the wildfires.
Cal Fire has also activiated a DC 10 (photo, left) Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) capable of carrying 11,600 gallons of retardant, gel, foam, or water—four times the capacity of a C-130 plane.
The Springs Fire in Ventura County has swelled to 18,000 acres and is only 20% contained, forcing evacuations; the Summit Fire in Riverside County has charred over 2,900 acres and is 75% contained. For details on additional fires, see Cal Fire’s incident page.
FIRE THAT DESTROYED $4 MILLION WIND TURBINE RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS OVER LACK OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Wind company fails to call fire department, lets blaze burn overnight
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Tehachapi fire, 2012
April 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Why is there no federal requirement for wind farm operators to report fires?
That troubling fact came to light following a turbine malfunction that caused a fire, destroying a $4 million wind turbine at the Kibby Mountain facility in Maine. Opponents accuse Trans-Canada of a cover up, the Bangor Daily News reports. (Trans-Canada, builder of the project, is also the company seeking to construct the controversial Keystone Pipeline.)
A sensor in the turbine detected the fire. But an employee did not arrive on scene until the next morning, after the fire had burned itself out. The fire department was never notified, nor was any state agency. Had the blaze not occurred in winter with snow on the ground, the fire could have spread to the adjacent forest, a Maine forestry official has stated.
ECM has asked Cal-Fire in an e-mail whether wind facility operators are required to report fires to fire officials. No response has been received.
By Miriam Raftery
May 3, 2013 (El Cajon)—Now through the end of summer, you can enjoy free concerts and discounts on fine dining every Friday night in downtown El Cajon. Downtown El Cajon business partners presents Dinner and a Concert, featuring new band performing live each week on the Prescott Promenade from 6-8 p.m.
The schedule of performers is as follows:
By Jennifer Douglas, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 3, 2013 (San Diego)--The need for media reform and putting a halt to further media consolidation now seems urgent. Since late April, we have learned that billionaire conservative activists are moving ahead in a bid to buy the Los Angeles Times; Obama's nominated a former corporate lobbyist to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); a senator reminds us that six mega-corporations own most of our mass media, and a leading champion of media reform, Common Cause leader Bob Edgar (photo, left) has died suddenly.
May 3, 2013 (San Diego) -- according to the California Highway Patrol CAD system, there is a small vegetation fire on State Route 94 at Kelton. The Offramp has been shut down by the CHP. A brush fire is also reported in Valley Center at Lilac and Sierra Rojo.
Major fires are burning elsewhere in Southern California, always a concern as resources are spread thin to battle multiple blazes amid high-fire danger conditions region-wide.
EDITORIAL: AN ILL WIND BLOWING-- TELL COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO JUST SAY “NO” TO INDUSTRIAL WIND AT WEDNESDAY’S WIND ORDINANCE VOTE
By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine
May 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated May 7, 2013 – On Wednesday, May 8, San Diego County Supervisors will vote on legislation that could have devastating impacts across East County and the entire San Diego region.
At stake is a proposed wind ordinance that could open wide vast tracts of East County for industrial wind development, putting residents across our County at risk of a catastrophic wildfire or deadly Valley Fever spores that can blow 70 miles or more. There are many more reasons to oppose this ordinance, as well as the proposed gutting of Boulevard’s community plan, but these are two of the most compelling. These and other disturbing facts are detailed below.
If you share these concerns, it's important to contact all five Supervisors. It's especially important for San Diego residents to tell their Supervisors that you care about what happens to East County, since some have shown an arrogant disregard for public health and safety outside of their own districts. Of course, a wildfire that burns into San Diego or deadly Valley Fever spores that blow into urban areas should clearly be of concern to all County residents and their representatives. You can contact Supervisors here and scroll down to learn more. It's also important to show up and speak out at Wednesday morning's meeting at 9 a.m. at 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, Room 402.
By Miriam Raftery
April 28, 2013 (Deerhorn Valley) – The first-annual Deerhorn Valley Home and Garden Tour on April 21 provided an intriguing glimpse into the history of this fascinating area of East County, as well as tours of a spectacular and diverse array of homes and gardens.
A unique aspect of this tour, unlike others that are self-guided, was the tour bus provided along with helpful guides who gave details along the way not only of residences on the tour, but also colorful tales about the communities and rich heritage of this region.
Update: This fire was halted at 15 acres.
May 3, 2013 (Santa Ysabel) – A brush fire now called the Highway 2 Fire has burned at least 15 acres along State Route 78 at Witch Creek. The blaze is burning eastward in light grass. A blaze is also reported near Highway 78 and Hiddean Valley Road; it is unclear if these are the same fire or two separate ones. Info is from Cal Fire; watch for details soon.
By Ali McCall
April 12, 2013 (Jacumba Hot Springs)--Spend a cool afternoon jammin’ to some blues that won’t “tax” your wallet at the free Jacumba Blues Fest on Saturday, May 4 in Jacumba Hot Springs.
The festival, sponsored by the Jacumba Arts Council, runs from 12-8 p.m. at Highland Community Center on Olde Highway 80. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy food as well as cold, non-alcoholic beverages while you listen to some “smokin’ blues,” organizers suggest.
May 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – We are currently under severe fire conditions. Homeowners are advised to do the following if there are reports of wildland fires:
• Listen to local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. Follow instructions of local officials regarding the safest escape route. (It may be different than you expect; wildland fires can change direction and speed up suddenly.)
• If you have one, turn on your FRS Radio and set it to your neighborhood’s channel and code. Check in, and continue to monitor for new information. Channel ______ Code _______
• If you believe the fire is too close to your location, evacuate immediately. (The fire may be moving too fast for officials to issue evacuation notifications.) Choose a route away from the fire and other potential fire hazards.
Program also benefits East County students learning solar installation
By Nadin Abbott
May 2, 2013 (San Diego)—Mayor Bob Filner, Sullivan Solar owner Daniel Sullivan and Paul Cleary of GRID Alternatives hosted a press conference today at the Martin household in Broadway Heights. It’s all part of a new partnership between the city, Sullivan and Grid Alternatives to put solar on the rooftop of low-income residents.
Update: Aircraft have been released from the Ramona fire. Otay Fire has been stopped at 120 acres.
Photo by Paul Kruze
May 3, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- A 15-20 acre fire named Harvest Fire is burning near Otay Mountain. It is east of Brown Field and is threatening a salvage yard, Cal Fire reports. There are no threats to structures currently.
Cal-Fire is at the scene of a small brush fire in Ramona. The fire is at the Ramona Canyon RV Park, 24340 Highway 78. An air attack has been ordered.
Measure Ends Use of Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Excessive Rates
May 2, 2013 (Sacramento)--A bill by Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D. (D – West Covina), Chair of the Senate Health Committee, that would put in place for California the vital consumer protections and reforms included as part of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), cleared its final legislative hurdle this week and is on its way to the Governor for signature. The legislation, SB X1 2, was introduced as part of the special session on health care called for by Governor Brown during his State of the State Address in January.
By Miriam Raftery
May 3, 2013 (Ramona) – Ramona is planning a "humdinger" of a celebration. On May 4 and 5, the Ramona Bluegrass and Old West Fest will culminate nine days of musical celebration in Ramona at the Ramona Rodeo grounds. This year, in addition to live music, the festivities will also include a focus on Old West history including an encampment with mountain men, cowboys and Civil War era characters. Visitors can enjoy music workshops, fireside storytelling, dancing, and break-out jam sessions.
Some bands and musicians will lead music workshops ranging from fiddle and mandolin to musical harmony. Kids of all ages are encouraged to bring their instruments and play along in this unique learning experience.
Musical entertainers include:
By Carolyn Ballou, California Department of Veterans Affairs
May 2, 2013 (Sacramento)--U.S. Air Force veteran George Chappell was a fuels specialist in Vietnam. He worked on all kinds of aircraft, including those used to dump the toxic herbicide Agent Orange over the jungles to expose enemy hiding places. At age 60, George was diagnosed with Stage 4 mantel cell lymphoma. He died just 18 months later. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) presumed that George’s disease was the result of his Agent Orange exposure 40 years earlier.
The USDVA presumes that 14 different diseases and disorders are related to Agent Orange exposure when diagnosed in “boots-on-the-ground” veterans and certain other veterans groups. Certain birth defects in the children of Vietnam veterans may also be the result of Agent Orange exposure.
May 2, 2013 (El Cajon) -- Jerry Lee Hickethier, 32, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer following a dramatic police pursuit in which he intentionally struck two police cars.
The chase began at Naranca Avenue and Oro Street at 5:46 p.m., when a veteran sergeant with El Cajon Police department saw Hickethier run a red light. When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver failed to yield to the lights and siren. According to police, ie stopped suddenly, thrust the vehicle into reverse and intentionally rammed the police vehicle, causing moderate damage.
May 2, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Charles G. “Mike Bemis,” co-founder and first president of the San Diego Association of Geologists, died April 27 following a long battle with leukemia. His wife, Shannon O’Dunn, was at his side.
Bemis was recently bestowed the 2013 Baylor Brooks Honored SDSU Alumni Award. He had a 50-year career of contributions to the engineering geology profession.
May 2, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- Susan Conniry, a director of the Lakeside Fire District, is the speaker at the May 16 meeting of the East County Democratic Club. She will address issues related to her work on the board, including fire prevention. The club meets at 7 p.m. at Coco’s Restaurant, 1025 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon.
Conniry and her husband, Tom Beasley, are Cedar Fire survivors because they were prepared for the worst. Well-versed in matters of fire prevention, the couple have trained hundreds of San Diego County residents through a disaster preparedness program entitled, “Ready or Not.” Training has beendone in partnership with local fire departments, fire safe councils, and CERT groups. In 2006, the couple authored a handbook, Ready or Not – A Disaster Survival Handbook.
By Meg Jensen
May 2, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon) triggered a harsh response from Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno during a House Armed Services Committee meeting on April 25.
The terse exchange occurred after Hunter criticized an Army intelligence program (Distributed Common Ground System) and repeatedly refused to allow either Odierno or Army Secretary John McHugh to respond in their own defense. Hunter prepared to leave the hearing, but stayed briefly after the Chairman insisted that General Odierno be allowed to speak.
“I object to this. I’m tired of somebody telling me I don’t care about our soldiers and we don’t respond,” the General said. “Everybody on my staff cares about it and they do all they can to help.” He then defended the DCGS and suggested Hunter was not familiar enough with the system.
By Nadin Abbott
April 26, 2013 (Alpine)—A meeting of the Alpine Planning Group this week grew heated as Lou Russo, a long time member of the group, raised conflict of interest complaints stemming from the San Diego Powerlink against fellow members. Russo also sought to have two subcommittee members removed over failing a fire inspection at their propertly.
Mike Milligan stated that he would “tender my resignation” if the attacks continue over Powerlink, adding, “It’s stupidity beyond belief.”
He added, “It is totally unprofessional and Mr Russo should tender his resignation.”
May 2, 2013 (Alpine)-- On May 3-5, the 16th annual CHIRP Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour will take place, as well as the Sage & Songbirds Festival at the Viejas Outlet Centers in Alpine.
The garden tour will feature home gardens that are bird and butterfly friendly, as well as a bonus site: a raptor rehabilitation facility featuring eagles, hawks and more. A plant sale is also included.
The free festival at Viejas Outlet Centers features activities and events including daily butterfly releases, caterpillar races, and more. Scroll down for additional details.