San Diego

CABINS , CAMPING AND FISHING ARE LURES AT LAKE MORENA COUNTY PARK, GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry and inland areas

 

Story by Jonathan Ronald Goetz

Photos by Jonathan Ronald Goetz, Ronald Goetz, Miriam Raftery, and County of San Diego, Department of Parks and Recreation

June 18, 2018 (Campo) – People have been hiking, fishing and camping in the area today known as Lake Morena as well as the surrounding creeks and mountains for over 12,000 years, starting with the Kumeyaay, Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Native American tribes.

Today, much of this area in southeast San Diego County is preserved for the public to enjoy.  At an elevation of 3,000 feet, the park has mountain, desert and coastal habitats including over 3,250 acres of dense chaparral, ancient oaks and open grasslands surrounding the lake, the most remote reservoir in San Diego County, according to ranger Jessica Geiszler..

Lake Morena County Park remains one of the most affordable and inclusive places around, with boating from $12-$50, nightly tent-site for $22, RV for $31 or cabins starting at $50.

TRUMP NOMINATES ROBERT BREWER TO BE U.S. ATTORNEY IN SAN DIEGO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump has nominated Robert “Bob” Brewer to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.  Brewer is a former assistant U.S. attorney and deputy district attorney who once ran for San Diego district attorney, but was defeated by incumbent Bonnie Dumanis.  Brewer has prosecuted cases including espionage, bank robberies, smuggling, narcotics, murder for hire and civil rights violations.

He has spent most of his career, however, as a defense attorney representing clients such as Sempra Energy at a time when Sempra was facing bribery allegations in Mexico. In 2011, he was named San Diego’s criminal defense white collar lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers. He’s also been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

SAN DIEGO’S RIVER AND LAKES REGION: OUTDOOR ADVENTURES AND MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our guide to unique lodging and adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2018 (Santee and Lakeside) – The Lakeside and Santee areas in San Diego’s East County encompass portions of the San Diego River Park as well as multiple lakes and reservoirs idyllic for fishing, boating, hiking, and birdwatching. Lodging options range from camping and cabins to a casino and spa resort on tribal land.  You’ll also find museums, a rodeo, racetrack speedway, breweries, nature preserves, parks, live theatre, modern shopping and quaint downtown district to explore.

There are wonderful getaway adventures to be found along local trails, ranging from easy hikes to mountain climbing, as well as fishing,  kayaking, canoeing, pedal boats, inner tube floats, rowboats and even places to bring jet skis and water skis.

RAMONA WINE REGION ALSO HAS PARKS, PRESERVES AND HISTORIC SITES TO EXPLORE

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

San Diego’s Ramona Valley has emerged as a nationally recognized wine region that also has a historic downtown district and beautiful natural settings including many parks, preserves and trails to explore. You’ll also find seasonal activities such as a musical festival, country fair, grape stomp, camel dairy festivals and holiday celebrations.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

June 6, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: FINANCIAL TIPS FROM JONATHAN ZIDE, CABRILLO CREDIT UNION VICE PRESIDENT

 


 

By Miriam Raftery

May 18, 2018 (San Diego) – What should consumers know about saving money and choosing a financial institution?  What’s the difference between credit unions and big banks?  When does a home equity line of credit make sense, and what are new options when shopping and financing a car?

These are among the questions East County Magazine asked Jonathan Zide, vice president of Cabrillo Credit Union, which has branches in La Mesa, San Diego and Carlsbad. The local company has been serving our region since 1955, starting out helping federal Border Patrol agents. Today, it’s open to everyone.

Audio: 

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

May 10, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

 STATE

 For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.<--break->

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

May 3, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

Local

 State

 For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

HISTORIC HAVEN: JULIAN GOLD RUSH HOTEL

 

 

Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Bobbi Zane

Photo, left, and interior photos courtesy Julian Gold Rush Hotel

April 17, 2018 (Julian) -- Julian Gold Rush Hotel is a lovely Victorian bed and breakfast that dates back to the 1890s. Known as the “Queen of the Back Country,” the hotel is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places 

GOVERNOR BROWN SENDS NATIONAL GUARD TO BORDER TO STOP SMUGGLERS AND TRAFFICKING—BUT NOT IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

 

East County News Service

Photo: California National Guard

April 11, 2018 (San Diego)— Governor Jerry Brown has approved a request from President Donald Trump to send National Guard troops to the international border, funded by the federal government to combat “lawlessness,” according to the President’s request.

But in his response to the Trump administration, Brown indicated that the 400 troops sent by California will be utilized not for immigration enforcement, but rather for new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state,” threats that are priorities for both Democrats and Republicans, including two prior administrations, Brown noted.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

 

February 13, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

COUNTY ENDS HEPATITIS EMERGENCY; EL CAJON BAN ON FEEDING HOMELESS IN PARKS ALSO ENDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

After four weeks with no new cases associated with the local hepatitis A outbreak reported, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday ending the local public health emergency which began September 1st.

El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick advised East County Magazine today that sunset language in its temporary ban on feeding the homeless in public places means the measure has officially expired, effective immediately.  So it’s now legal once again for organizations to feed the homeless in El Cajon’s parks or other public property.

EDITORIAL: BORDER PATROL AGENTS SABOTAGING WATER BOTTLES IN DESERT SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR DEATHS OF MIGRANTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 19, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – A new report by humanitarian organizations  reveals that Border Patrol agents  have been systemically destroying water bottles left in desert areas for undocumented immigrants in the Arizona desert, condemning people to die of thirst.  While its unknown if this is occurring in California, this article in Britain’s The Guardian hit home for me in a visceral way, reminding me of an experience that brought me to tears.

On the 4th of July In 2008, I rode alongwith Border Angels founder Enrique Morones. We discovered sabotage of water bottles his group had left in rugged locations--all slashed open, empty. My article, Dying to Come to America, was published in our very first edition of East County Magazine. Morones vividly described what it is like for people to die of dehydration – hallucinating, throwing off clothes and shoes. We saw the signs of this torment – a woman’s high-heeled shoe cast aside, a man’s crumpled shirt.  The heat was triple digits.

I went along to learn about experiences faced by people so desperate to come to America that they rely on water left by benevolent strangers to survive. I learned that coyotes, or human traffickers, often lie to the migrants, telling them it's just a short walk to freedom; some women dressed up to meet their husbands are unaware of the dangers. I choked up, imagining their pain. My story included photos of those slashed water bottles and graves of people--some so very young--who died crossing East County's rugged border mountains in their failed quest to find freedom.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

GRAND JURY ISSUES SUBPOENA IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF CONGRESSMAN HUNTER, UNION-TRIBUNE REPORTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2018 (San Diego) – A federal grand jury has subpoenaed documents from a local business as part of a criminal investigation into Congressman Duncan Hunter’s campaign finances, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday.

The newspaper’s award-winning journalist Morgan  Cook reports that the grand jury will hear evidence and testimony from a witness also ordered to appear in San Diego later this month.  Potentially, the grand jury could issue one or more criminal indictments, casting a pall over Hunter’s effort to win a primary race in June and reelection to Congress in November.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

January 11, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

PIT BULLS WHO ATTACKED ELDERLY MAN REMAIN ON LOOSE IN COLLEGE AREA

 

 

Update January 9, 2018:  The dogs have been found and taken into custody by County Animal Control. No further details have been released pending investigation.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

January 8, 2018 (San Diego) – A man in his 70s was attacked by two pit bulls last night around 6 p.m. in the 6200 block of El Cajon Boulevard near San Diego State University.

The man suffered non-life threatening bites to his arms and legs and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Patrons of a barber shop assisted the victim. The bites were deep enough to expose bone,  10 News reports.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES OPENING COASTLINES FOR OFFSHORE DRILLING, INCLUDING SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Santa Barbara oil spill, 1969, dumped up to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off California's coast, killing 3,500 sea birds as well as marine mammals such as dolphins and seals. (Dick Smith Collection, University of Santa Barbara)

January 5, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke yesterday issued a sweeping proposal to open up 98% of all outer continental shelf areas for offshore oil drilling -- including off San Diego’s coastline.  By contrast, drilling is currently allowed in only 6% of those areas.

The proposal, which also includes plans to drill in the Arctic, elsewhere along the west coast, the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast, has drawn strong opposition from environmental groups and from California’s Attorney General.  View map of proposed drilling sites. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in however in public comments and public meetings to be held around the country.  A schedule of those meetings will be posted here.  Online comments at regulations.gov will be accepted starting January 8th.

HERE’S THE BUZZ: LEGAL POT DRAWS CROWDS IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

January 2, 2018 (San Diego)—Customers lined up before dawn at several of San Diego’s eight legal recreational marijuana shops that opened their doors January 1st.  The city was among the first places in California to permit recreational cannabis sales under Prop 64, which voters approved in 2016 and which is now in effect.

ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson visited the Apothekare in Mission Valley on New Year’s Day.  “No, I do not smoke, but I am a writer and always curious,” she posted on Facebook. 

She found a line wrapped around the building outside and snaking through the dispensary’s interior as well.  To gain access, customers had to be “buzzed” in through two areas with security guards.

JULIAN AND CUYAMACA TO LOSE PARAMEDIC ENGINE STARTING JAUNARY 1

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 12 p.m. to include comments from Pat Landis.

December 30, 2017 (Julian/Cuyamaca)—On January1st,  the full-time staffed San Diego County Paramedic Fire Engine serving the Julian and Cuyamaca areas will be permanently closed. The action leaves the communities to rely solely on volunteer firefighters and one ambulance for fire and life safety services, which could lead to long delays in medical services if that unit is transportation a patient to a hospital, critics contend.

The paramedic engine had been providing fire and emergency medical response services 24 hours a day, seven days a week under a temporary agreement between the County of San Diego and the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. The CAL FIRE Firefighters that were assigned to the engine have been reassigned to other facilities within San Diego County.

The action comes after the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District voted to reject consolidation with the County Fire Department and remain independent—the last remaining volunteer fire department in the County.  Cal Fire firefighters blame the board for the current problems, but a former board member faults the district's fire chief.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

SDG&E RESPONDS TO OUTAGE CONCERNS, BUT LEGISLATORS HUESO AND VOEPEL IGNORE INQUIRIES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Dennis Richardson

December 19, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has responded to our inquiry seeking answers to questions raised by concerned readers during planned outages to 17,000 SDG&E customers due to last week’s high winds, which ECM reported on here and here.

Helen Gao,  communications manager for Sempra Energy,  parent company of SDG&E,  sent the following reply to our questions on topics including loss claims, factors that determine when to shut off power, people with medical needs, support for residents during outages in need of water and communications, adjusting bills to eliminate charges during outages, and what might be done in communities with repeated outages to reduce or eliminate that need in the future.

Below is her response in full, followed by comments from rural residents with contrasting opinions on the outages:

NEW SDG&E RATES WILL MAKE SOLAR COST MORE--UNLESS YOU HAVE A BATTERY BACKUP

 

 

Hear our interview with Daniel Sullivan, founder of Sullivan Solar, by clicking the audio link

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Battery storage unit on garage wall

December 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Many solar customers are unaware of new time-of-use rates that took effect December 1st. In an interview with ECM on KNSJ Radio, Sullivan Solar founder and president Daniel Sullivan explains that if you bought solar between June 30, 2016 and Dec. 1, 2017, your rates will be going up sharply after a five-year grace period. Rates for use during evening hours are doubling; a typical family will pay 143% more than in the past. If you buy solar in the future, your rates will also be higher, starting immediately.

But there is a solution:  buy a back-up battery, which will not only lower your rates, but also provide backup power to keep your electricity on during future power outages. Back-up batteries, with subsidies, can be financed out for only about $20 a month – and you’ll likely save $100 a month on your electricity bill, says Sullivan. Rebates end in June 2018, so there's a strong incentive to get a battery soon before the rebates run out.

Audio: 

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: EMMA HIGGINS, GRID ALTERNATIVES

 

 

Company seeks donors to bring solar job training and installations for low-income homeowners to East County

December 18, 2017 (San Diego) -- Emma Higgins with Grid Alternatives in San Diego sat down with ECM editor Miriam Raftery on our KNSJ radio show recently to discuss how the nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer is offering solar installations free to low and moderate homeowners, saving 75-100% on their energy bills.

The organization also provides job training to qualified persons in need including veterans and refugees. Participants can earn an income while training and after completing the program, can make $19 an hour. 

Audio: 

SDG&E RESTORES POWER AFTER PROLONGED OUTAGES; RESIDENTS WHO SUFFERED STRESS AND LOSS WANT CHANGES FOR FUTURE

 

 

Residents angered at loss of water pumps, alarm systems, refrigeration, comunication and heat during outages up to a week in some areas that have suffered repeated outages

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E announced last night that it has fully restored power to all customers who were de-energized due to “public safety concerns” following a week-long red flag warning with strong gusty winds, low humidity and dangerous fire conditions.  An SDG&E media release states, “After crews inspected power lines all day in coordination with contract firefighters who were on hand to ensure a safe restoration process, power was turned on for all remaining customers. Field crews patrolled on the ground and in the air. Aerial inspections were completed by five helicopters in rural, mountainous areas."

Power remains out to 56 customers in the Lilac Fire zone in North County, where full restoration is expected early Tuesday evening. All 43 poles damaged in the fire will be replaced with fire-resistant steel poles and thicker, stronger wires, SDG&E indicates, adding, ““We understand that being without power, for any reason, is an inconvenience and we appreciate the patience we have received from our customers.”  For current information on outages and restoration times, visit sdge.com/outage.

Across East County,  many residents in rural, mountain and high desert towns have taken to social media to voice concerns over the prolonged outages.  Although SDG&E says it did provide advance notice to 170,000 customers of possible planned outages due to high winds and fire danger, before shutting off power to many thousands of homes, many rural residents say that’s not enough – and they want changes made. Below are highlights of residents' concerns and proposals.

LILAC FIRE HAS DESTROYED MANY STRUCTURES, 45 RACE HORSES KILLED

 

Update December 12, 2017  Now 95% contained, the Lilac Fire has destroyed 157 structures and damaged 64 more.  All roads are now open.

Update December 11, 2017:  The Lilac Fire is now 90% contained and all evacuation orders have been lifted.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Twitter

December 9, 2017 (San Diego) –The Lilac fire has destroyed 105 structures, injured at least five people and killed at least 46 thoroughbred race horses at the famed San Luis Rey Downs facility. 

Another 1,500 structures remained threatened today, Cal Fire reports. Firefighters are holding the fire at 4,100 acres, but full containment may take until December 21st.

The good news is that overnight, firefighters made good progress in increasing containment to 20 percent. Winds were calm this morning but picking up later in the day, with a red flag warning remaining in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday.

RESIDENTS VOICE ANGER OVER POWER OUTAGES

Photo, left: Map of outages in San Diego County as of 7:45 a.m. today.

December 8, 2017 (San Diego's East County) -- SDG&E has sent warnings to 170,000 San Diego County residents to be prepared for power shutdowns due to the high fire danger posed by strong Santa Ana winds. The utility has already shut off power to thousands of homes in communities across our region including portions of Alpine, Bonsall,  Boulevard, Campo, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Fallbrook, Jamul, Julian, Mount Laguna, Potrero, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Vista and more.

The utility has warned residents that their power could remain off for several days until it can be safely restored. The shut-offs, meant to prevent powerline fires such as those that ignited the 2007 firestorms, are sparking concerns and outrage among some residents, particularly in rural areas. 

Electric well pumps don’t work with the power out, leaving no way to provide water for people or livestock.  Some rural areas lack cell phone service, leaving people with no way to learn about wildfires or other emergencies, unless they have a backup generator. Many residents are also shivering in cold temperatures dipping into the 40s at night, some left without electric heating.

GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY OVER LILAC FIRE IN NORTH COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

Update December 8, 2017 8:45 a.m.:  Cal Fire reports the fire has burned 65 structures but remains at 4,100 acres. Evacuation orders now extend west to Camp Pendleton.  Four civilian injuries and two firefighter injuries have occurred. 

December 7, 2017 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency declaration over the Lilac Hills Fire, which has scorched over 4,100 acres in the Fallbrook-Bonsall area. The County has also declared an emergency.

The devastating blaze is burning southwest and is still zero percent contained.  It started at 11:15 a.m. west of I-15 and north of Lilac Road on the Pala Mesa.

By this evening, at least 20 homes have burned, County Emergency Services reports. That includes numerous residences in the Rancho Manserate Country Club community.  An estimated 5,000 more residences are threatened.  Two people suffered burns and have been taken to a hospital.

Dozens of horses have died including many at the San Luis Rey training center, Times of San Diego reports. In Bonsall, numerous horses were let loose, running wildly through billowing smoke, a photo posted by Horses so Fine on Instagram states, adding, “Pray for them.”  Community volunteers have come forward to help save many horses and the Del Mar Fairgrounds has opened facilities for livestock including horses.

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