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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS OCT. 23-NOV. 2

By Miriam Raftery

Radio show hosted by Rebecca Williamson and Leon Thompson

October 21, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --This week’s Destination East County includes some spooky Halloween happenings, a picnic with parrots, and our very own Party with the Press benefit event, all this weekend right here in East County. 

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, including a wine festival at a castle in Ramona and a hot chili cook-off in Lemon Grove.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine!

GROSSMONT HOSPITAL SHARES EBOLA READINESS DETAILS

 

 

 

A joint report by East County Magazine and Reporting San Diego

By Miriam Raftery and Nadin Abbott

October 21, 2014 (La Mesa) – How prepared is East County's major hospital to handle an Ebola patient?

We contacted Grossmont Hospital to find out.  Although the risk of this occurring here is considered low by experts, errors in a Dallas hospital's handling of an Ebola patient pointed out the importance of proper planning.  Moreover, a survey published last week by National Nurses United revealed that 85 percent of hospitals had reportedly not provided any training for nurses on Ebola and most are short on equipment for handling a patient with the infectious disease that kills 70% of victims.

We sent a detailed list of questions to Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s director of marketing and communications, Bruce Hartman, on topics such as training and protective equipment for healthcare workers, whether patients are asked about their travel histories, and plans for sanitizing areas where an Ebola patient might have been waiting or treated. He responded with this detailed statement, followed by answers to our questions below.

The Hospital's responses include changes in procedures being made to reflect new guidelines just issued by the federal government, such as providing full protective suits with no skin exposed and training in how to safely remove such gear. Below is the full text of Hartman's response:

SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD RACE IS HOT

 

Updated October 22, 2014 - CAL FIRE Chief Tony Meacham, head of the County Fire Authority, has written to dispute statements made by two candidates in this race, which he says are "factually false."  You can read details of the Chief's statements here

By Nadin Abbott

October 18, 2014 (San Diego)--In 2012, the San Miguel Fire Board voted for CAL FIRE to take over firefighting operations. The board voted unanimously for the five-year contract because the agency was deep in a hole economically and had already closed a fire station. Those in favor argued that this decision would allow the board to continue operations, recover financially, reopen the closed station and keep service at comparable levels. But critics including at least one challenger running for the board have sharply criticized the deal with Cal-Fire,  citing loss of local control and potential delays in response times, also faulting other board actions.

East County Magazine e-mailed questions to all candidates, including inquiries about the CAL FIRE arrangement and a letter the district received from the State Comptroller raising questions over the board’s finances.

The six candidates include two incumbents (Chris Winter and Rick Augustine) seeking reelection and four challengers. Three of the challengers are running together as a slate (Theresa McKenna, Jim Ek, and Mike Vacio). The other challenger is Cindy Croucher. Bios for incumbents Winter and Augustine are available on the San Miguel Fire district website

Three candidates, challengers Theresa McKenna and Jim Ek, along with incumbent Chris Winter, have responded.  Below are the questions, and their answers, posted in full in the order received.

BEST HAPPY HOURS IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

Part IV in a series

By the East County Eaters

Week 4:  Downtown Café (El Cajon) and Anthony’s Seafood Grotto (La Mesa)

October 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –In our fourth week of savoring great happy hours across our region, we stopped in at two establishments with deep roots in the community: Downtown Café, located in a historic brick that dates back to El  Cajon’s pioneer past, and Anthony’s Fish Grotto, a landmark restaurant serving up fresh seafood in La Mesa since 1946.

WHO WILL BE LA MESA’S MAYOR?

 

Key issue: Does the city need a full-time mayor, or can the job be done part-time?

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Mayor Art Madrid (left) and Councilman Mark Arapostathis (right)

October 15, 2014 (La Mesa) – La Mesa’s mayoral race is shaping up to be one of the hottest political contests in East County this election season, with two long-time community leaders vying for the city’s top job.  Both are long-time La Mesa residents with extensive experience in politics and community service. East County Magazine sat down for in-depth interviews with both candidates to talk about their records, their views on leadership, and their visions for La Mesa.

MARK ARAPOSTATHIS, “DR. A” AIMS TO BRING “POSITIVE” ATTITUDE TO MAYORAL JOB IN LA MESA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 15,2014 (La Mesa) – Councilman Mark Arapostathis, twice named Teacher of the Year (by the County and La Mesa-Spring Valley School District), says a lesson he’s taught his students for 23 years is to always “be positive.”  He’s running against long-serving Mayor Art Madrid and says that if elected, he wants to bring “greater unity to the Council, which has been a bit divided.”  He holds a PhD degree and also heads up the Peter Pan Jr. Theater and C. Hook Theatre programs. 

He’s served on the La Mesa City Council for eight years.  Now with a term limits initiative on the ballot, he observes, “My window of opportunity may close” to run for mayor, since passage of the measure would limit the ability of long-serving council members to later run for mayor.

FROM KABOOM TO PBID AT THE LA MESA CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

By Janis Russell

October 15. 2014 (La Mesa)- At yesterday’s La Mesa City Council meeting, Council unanimously approved submitting an application to the Let’s Play Community Construction Grant Program through KaBoom! to support a playground upgrade at Vista La Mesa Park.

MOTEL ROBBED IN LA MESA

 

October 11, 2014 (La Mesa)—A masked man armed with a handgun robbed the Motel 6 at 7621 Alvarado Road in La Mesa at gunpoint last night at 9:10, La Mesa Police report. The suspect remains at large.

ECO-FRIENDLY AUTO CARE CENTER OPENS IN LA MESA

 

October 12, 2014 (La Mesa) - San Diego resident John Sterne, will be opening the first Honest-1 Auto Care to serve the La Mesa community at the end of October. The shop will be located at 7375 Jackson Drive.

"POOCH IN THE PARK" FUND DOG SHOW TO FEATURE DOGS (AND OWNERS) IN HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

 

October 11 Event to Benefit Canine Corners Dog Park in La Mesa

October 9, 2014 (La Mesa)--Dog owners: Dress yourself and canine companion(s) in Halloween costume and come to the second annual “Pooch in the Park” Fun Dog Show to be held Saturday, October 11, from 9 am to noon at Canine Corners Dog Park in Harry Griffen Regional Park, located at 9550 Milden Street, in La Mesa.  Entrance to the event is free; the contest entrance fee is $20 for up to two dogs.

LA MESA PLANNERS RECOMMEND DENIAL OF PARK STATION HIGHRISE PLAN

 

 

By Janis Russell

October 2, 2014 (La Mesa)- At yesterday’s La Mesa Planning Commission meeting, where a hearing on the Park Station specific plan was discussed, the planning commission voted 6-1 to recommend that the La Mesa City Council deny the proposed plan because the commission found the 10-story height inconsistent with the city’s general plan.

Before the hearing began, Chair Noah Alvey welcomed Jim Newland, who replaced Harold Bailey as commissioner.

This hearing drew a crowd that spilled out the doors. Co-applicant South Baltimore LLC replaced the American Legion, which withdrew its support.

PARK STATION HIGHRISE PROPOSAL RETURNS TO PLANNING COMMISSION OCT. 1

 

New simulations show 10-story project viewed from downtown village and neighboring streets, obscuring and dominating views. To view them, click here

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, top left:  High-rise viewed from La Mesa Village intersection by Por Favor

September 29, 2014 (La Mesa) – On October 1st, a revamped version of the Park Station high rise project will be presented at the La Mesa Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.

CANDIDATE FORUMS SET FOR LA MESA AND LAKESIDE RACES, LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES AND MORE

 

East County News Service

September 30, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--There are several candidate forums coming up this week featuring East County Candidates.

INSURANCE WON'T PAY TO REMOVE MASSIVE TREE THAT FELL IN LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2014 (La Mesa)—An enormous eucalyptus tree stood 80 to 100 feet tall in front of Korey Mulvey’s home in La Mesa. But during the recent storm, the goliath tree came crashing down into his backyard and onto his swimming pool.

LA MESANS MEET CANDIDATES AT CHAMBER DEBATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Mayoral candidate Mark Arapostathis and Mayor Art Madrid (top); City Council candidates (left to right) Bill Baber, Patrick Dean, Mary England, Pete Gregorovic, Guy McWhirter

September 25, 2014 (La Mesa)—Candidates  for La Mesa’s mayoral and city council races made their cases to voters at a forum held by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce last week, tackling issues ranging from future development to public safety, pensions, and homelessness. 

Art Madrid, who has served as La Mesa’s Mayor for over 24 years, faces a challenge from Councilmember/teacher Mark Arapostathis.  Five candidates are vying for two open seats on the La Mesa Council. They are Bill Baber, an attorney and La Mesa-Spring Valley school board member; Patrick Dean, a chef and member of  La Mesa’s Community Services Commission; Mary England, president of La Mesa Chamber of Commerce;  Pete Gregorovic, a business attorney and youth sports leader; and Guy McWhirter, an insurance agent.

For key points made by each candidate, as well as links to video opening statements and raw audio of the debate, click "read more" and scroll down.

READER'S EDITORIAL: A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

 

The first in a series of essays from No Term Limits in La Mesa to examine the underlying assumptions and principles around term limits, whether they are “needed” or work as claimed, and just what side effects they may bring with  them.

By No Term Limits in La Mesa

September 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--Proponents of term limits claim that term limits are needed because incumbent advantage makes it impossible for a challenger to win. But is this assumption really the case?

BRATS, BEER AND MUCH MORE: LA MESA OKTOBERFEST OCT. 3-5

 

September 22, 2014 (La Mesa)--The La Mesa Oktoberfest is one of East County’s biggest street festivals, drawing 200,000 people every year. This year’s Oktoberfest will be held October 3-5 in the heart of La Mesa’s downtown village on La Mesa  Boulevard between 4th Avenue and Acadia.

The event, sponsored by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the La Mesa Village Merchants Association, began as a small street fair over 35 years ago. Now the three-day bash features over 250 vendors, food including German bratwurst and a beer garden, kids’ activities and entertainment ranging from German music to classic rock and roll.

DREW FORD SELLS TO SOCAL PENSKE FOLLOWING DEATH OF FAMILY PATRIARCH

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

September 19, 2014 (La Mesa)—Drew Ford, a fixture in La Mesa with roots dating back to 1927, has sold to SoCalPenske. Mallory Lee, agency manager at Drew Ford, confirmed the sale to ECM reporter Janis Russell, adding that she believes Penske will keep the facility a Ford dealership.

READER'S EDITORIAL: AFTER THE RHETORIC, WHAT'S THE RECORD?

 

Originally published in La Mesa Today

By Anthony D. Mc Ivor

September 19, 2014 (La Mesa)-- In November, La Mesa voters will decide whether to change the Municipal Code and put into law a significant new ordinance. The ordinance will tell us – and future generations of La Mesa voters – who we can vote for, who we can’t and when.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: SEPT. 20 - SEPT. 28

 

September 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – This week’s Destination East County has some hot musical and theater events, also marking the start of Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations.  Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, from a Fiesta in Spring Valley to the Viejas Days Parade.

PASSAGES: FORMER LMSV SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD MEMBER PENNY HALGREN DIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2014 (La Mesa)—Former La Mesa-Spring Valley School District board member Penny Halgren passed away yesterday afternoon.  Halgren served on the school board from 1994 until January 2013. She resigned to move to Arcadia in Los Angeles County to be with her boyfriend and started a quilting business there.

A long-time La Mesa resident, Halgren also served on the board of the East County YMCA for 16 years and was actively involved with the La Mesa Rotary Club.

BEST HAPPY HOURS IN EAST COUNTY

 

Part II in a series

By the East County Eaters

 

Week 2:  Alpine Beer Company Pub (Alpine) and Vine Cottage (La Mesa)

September 11, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Last week, we opened our Best Happy Hours in East County series by focusing on some premier locations for cocktails. This week, our eager team of eaters and drinkers hit the road once again, this time bringing you reviews of a local brewery’s pub that’s one of the most popular watering holes in the backcountry, along with a European-style bistro with a wonderful wine bar and some of the best happy hour food deals in town.

 

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

 

Click here to hear a podcast of our interview with opponents of La Mesa’s term limits campaign

September 11, 2014 (La Mesa)--East County Magazine recently sat down to interview Kristin Kjaero and Dexter Levy, organizers of The No Term Limits for La Mesa Campaign. Levy chairs the City’s Planning Commission and Kjaero serves on La Mesa’s Sustainability Commission.   In our interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM Radio, the two long-time La Mesa residents share their concerns about the proposed term limits initiative on the November ballot—including why they believe the measure reduces choices for La Mesa voters and could open the door for special interests to buy influence in La Mesa, a century-old city often likened to Mayberry for its sense of community.

LA MESA TO SHUT OFF PARKING METERS FOR 60 DAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

Updated September 12, 2014 (La Mesa)—By a 3 to 2 vote, La Mesa’s City Council members voted Tuesday to shut down parking meters for 60 days, though the shut-off won’t take effect until mid-October.  Motorists will have two hours of free parking.

HEARING UNDERWAY IN DEATH OF TREE TRIMMER IN LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2014 (La Mesa)--Executives of a company that hired a man with no tree trimming experience to trim a towering eucalyptus tree may soon stand trial for the man’s death.

GUNMAN ROBS LA MESA MOTEL

 

September 8,2014 (La Mesa)-- Travelodge Motel at 7911 University Avenue, La Mesa, was robbed by a suspect armed with a black handgun last night at 8:20 p.m.

2014 KIDS CARE FEST SEPT. 20 IN LA MESA: FREE HEALTH CARE SCREENINGS FOR 1,000 CHILDREN

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 9, 2014 (La Mesa)--The date has been announced for the 2014 Kids Care Fest, a free, family-oriented event open to the public featuring free health care screenings. This year’s Kids Care Fest will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Briercrest Park, 9001 Wakarusa St., La Mesa. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Now in its 13th year, Kids Care Fest is presented by the Grossmont Healthcare District, La Mesa Park & Recreation Foundation and the City of La Mesa.

Organizers expect more than 1,000 children will receive free, potentially life-saving, health care screenings, including hearing, vision and dental screenings, from healthcare professionals.

HELIX MUSIC PROGRAM HOLDS REHEARSE-A-THON TO RAISE FUNDS FOR COMPETITIVE SEASON

 

Community asked to sponsor a student for $50 each

September 7, 2014 (La Mesa)--On Saturday, September 13th, the students and staff of the Helix Highlander Band and Color Guard have committed to a 12 hour practice challenge for their annual Rehearse-A-Thon, raising money while perfecting their competitive show.

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

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2014 (La Mesa)—The East County Cash Mob is back – and you’re invited to help several struggling small business owners in La Mesa’s downtown village all day on September 13th.

“Times have been tough with local construction on the city streets. Their business has dropped 80 percent,” says Susan Barron, organizer of the event, said of the impact that torn up streets from a downtown revitalization project is having on local merchants.

Cash mobs organize through social media to draw customers and support small businesses during tough times. To participate, simply come prepared to spend $20 or more at any of the following businesses:

 

  • Act ll                   8321 La Mesa Blvd.
  • Wildflowers          8323 La Mesa Blvd.
  • Amethyst Moon    8329 La Mesa Blvd.
  • O’Dunn Fine Art    8325 La Mesa Blvd.
  • Glamour Girlz    special invited guest inside Amethyst Moon

VOTERS TO WEIGH AN ARRAY OF LOCAL BALLOT MEASURES

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 7, 2014 (San Diego) – Eighteen local initiatives will appear on ballots in San Diego County, on issues ranging from school bond for funding schools to measures that would legalize medical marijuana dispensaries.

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