July 1, 2014 (San Diego) – The San Diego Area Middle Eastern Dance Association will present Sameda Faire 2014, a day long festival of dance on Sunday, July 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Event Center.
July 1, 2014 (La Mesa)--The Mission Times Courier, Mission Valley News and La Mesa Courier are joining the San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN) and its group of award-winning community newspapers, strengthening SDCNN’s community news voice in San Diego.
SDCNN’s purchase of the trio of newspapers from Jim Madaffer’s Mission Publishing Group takes effect July 1. The acquisition also includes Mission Publishing Group’s online news site, ScoopSanDiego.com, a press release issued yesterday by Mission Publishing announced.
By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery
June 27, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Supervisors heard heated testimony on Wednesday regarding plans to change densities for lands on private property within the Cleveland National Forest boundaries. The Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) passed by voters in 1993, which limited development on these lands to one home for each 40 acres, expired in 2010. The County has rejected calls to enact the FCI protections into law. Instead, Supervisors directed staff to create an Environmental Impact Report based on staff recommendations that would increase densities in some areas and reduce them in others.
The hot potato is Alpine, where the Alpine Planning Group’s majority called on Supervisors to allow increased densities and development that could double the size of their rural town. That has drawn opposition from environmentalists, board member Lou Russo, the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service itself, which raised concerns over fire dangers and preservation of federally protected wild lands adjacent to proposed development.
June 26, 2014 (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:
- Environmental lawsuits cast shadow over fireworks shows (Mission Times Courier)
- Should More Development Be Allowed In Cleveland National Forest? (KPBS)
- County Supervisors address child migration crisis (UT San Diego)
- La Mesa city employees getting raises (UT San Diego)
- Arellano drug gang leader captured in TJ (UT San Diego)
- San Diego's Algae Industry Struggles To Float On Fuel Alone (KPBS)
- When is a “Smart Growth” Project a “Trojan Horse”? – Park Station as a case study. (San Diego UrbDeZine)
- California probes Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield (Sacramento Bee)
- Women in CA prisons forced to undergo illegal, coercive sterilizations: audit (Raw Story)
- Parents of California victims angered by "broken" health, legal systems: WaPo (Reuters)
- California says poor can keep 'climate credit' (UT San Diego)
- California school bond measure advances (Sacramento Bee)
- California drought helps coho salmon migration (Sacramento Bee)
For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.
EL CAJON COUNCIL REJECTS HOMEOWNERS’ PLEAS FOR RELEIF FROM WEED ABATEMENT FEES , BUT GRANTS SALES TAX RELIEF TO CAR DEALER
Residents question high cost of weed cutting by private contractor
By Grey Feathers
June 24, 2014 El Cajon – The City Council of El Cajon considered issues from a retired police dog to hookah lounges as Mayor Bill Wells gaveled in Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilmember Star Bales displayed items purchased at the El Cajon ‘America on Main Street’ event that she will proudly wear at the Fourth of July celebration at Kennedy Park (photo, left). The Council then voted to retire and release ownership of El Cajon Police dog “Turbo” to Officer Thompson, Turbo’s experienced and sole handler. Happy retirement Turbo!
The longest discussion of the meeting concerned filing liens on properties of owners who owe money to the City for weed abatement, mandatory trash service and sidewalk repair. The staff recommendation was to authorize the City Clerk to record the amount owed as a lien on the property and forward the list to the County Tax Assessor for billing on the owner’s next property tax bill.
CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST FOUNDATION PRESIDENT ASKS PUBLIC HELP TO SAVE FOREST LANDS: SUPERVISORS TO VOTE WEDNESDAY ON DEVELOPMENT ENCROACHMENT PROPOSAL
East County News Service
June 23, 2014 (Alpine) – A proposal before the San Diego Supervisors on Wednesday would weaken protections for federal forest lands by allowing development encroachment in East County. The plan could double the size of rural Alpine, putting forest lands at risks, conservationists warn.
Now Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, has issued a plea for the public to contact Supervisors and urge them to support protections granted by the Forest Conservation Initiative that was approved by two-thirds of local voters but recently expired. Below is the letter he sent to conservationists countywide.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: HOT LAND USES ISSUES IMPACTING EAST COUNTY ARE AMONG AGENDA ITEMS THIS WEEK
By Miriam Raftery
June 22, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Here are highlights of important issues on the agenda this week impacting San Diego's unincorporated areas as well as residents in the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Santee.
The San Diego Board of Supervisors meets on Tuesday and Wednesday this week with many important items slated to be heard. On Tuesday, Supervisors will deliberate the county budget and a joint powers agreement with Caltrans for the Next Generation regional communications system and more.
On Wednesday, supervisors will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the Forest Conservation Initiative Lands General Plan amendment. This is a controversial issue that will determine what sort of development will be allowed on properties in the vicinity of Cleveland National Forest in East County.
June 20, 2014 (San Diego)--Rady Children’s Hospital is staging a “Safe Kids Day” program on Saturday, June 21, at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center from 9:30 to 2:00. The emphasis is to keep children safe while exploring and enjoying the outdoors. All activities will take place at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
By Miriam Raftery
June 20, 2014 (San Diego)--Hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency upgrades made over the past decade helped to minimize losses in last month's devastating wildfires and enable a successful response by the County of San Diego. That’s the conclusion of the After Action Report prepared by County staff and presented to Supervisors this week.
The report cites dramatic improvements made since the 2003 wildfires struck our region, and what additional upgrades could be made as the region braces for what appears to be a severe fire season. It stops short, however, of addressing the biggest gap in coverage for rural residents.
On Saturday July 5th, KNSJ invites you to our community radio station’s first anniversary from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the beautiful Mission Trails Regional Park visitors center.
Come mix and mingle with our radio hosts and celebrity guests in a spectacular natural setting, enjoy live music, Native American flute players, delicious food and drinks, stargazing, museum, no host bar, two stages with comedy acts and musical entertainment.
By Miriam Raftery
June 17, 2014 (Ramona) – A search is underway in Ramona to locate Carl Salayer, 66, who was last seen when he went to bed last night. He left his home in the 17000 block of Handlebar Road in Ramona between 2:30 and 6:30 this morning.
He suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and has other medical conditions and needs to take his medications. He had a feeding tube and may only be wearing his undergarments. He is white, 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, with blue eyes , balding grey hair and a moustache He could run when approached, so if you see him please call the Sheriff’s department at 858-565-5200. Refer to Sheriff’s missing persons case 14130623.
June 11, 2014 (San Diego) – The public is invited to a free Aging Summit hosted by the County of San Diego. This year, the primary focus will be on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The event will take place on June 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Town and Country Hotel Convention Center. For more information, visit
By Stevon Marshall
June 10, 2014 (San Diego)--Most say the hardest feeling in the world is for a parent to bury a child, but how about a child having to bury a parent? That’s the reality for a hit and run incident victim’s child.
Anouchka Mihaylova (photo), 62, a Bulgarian immigrant and professor at UC San Diego, died in her husband’s arms after being struck by a hit and run driver on May 17th while walking to their favorite restaurant in Rancho Bernardo. She is among a growing number of victims countywide killed this year by drivers who fled the scene.
The accident has left her family surprised and heartbroken. Her death is also a blow to the medical community. Before her passing, Anouchka Mihaylova worked in the Department of Bioengineering at UCSD, where she was doing research on the artificial heart.
By Miriam Raftery
June 8, 2014 (Borrego Springs)—For decades, Borrego Springs has been draining down its aquifer at an increasingly rapid pace. If action is not taken soon, a new report warns, the community could face dire consequences.
The Borrego Water Coalition invites the public to a public outreach meeting on Thursday, June 12 from 4:30 to 7 p.m at the Borrego High School Library, 2281 Diegueno Road in Borrego Springs.
By Stevon Marshall and Trevor Hill
June 6, 2014 (San Diego) — Results of Tuesday’s primary races for City Council have raised hopes among Republicans of reducing the power of San Diego’s Democratic majority.
Two Democratic Council members, Myrtle Cole and David Alvarez, won their races outright in districts 4 and 8, with over 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary, so they won’t have to vie in a run-off race in November. Republican Lori Zapf, a Councilwoman who had to run in a different district due to reapportionment, also won her district 2 race with over 50%.
But in district 6, Republican Chris Cate will face off against Democrat Carol Kim in the fall. If Cate wins, Republicans would narrow Democrats’ balance of power on the Council to a slim one-vote majority.
By Miriam Raftery
June 4, 2014 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—Slipping away to the high desert community of Jacumba Hot Springs proves a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Not too long ago, Jacumba nearly became a ghost town after a resort hotel from the ‘20s burned down and Interstate 8 was built, drawing traffic away from Old Highway 80 through the heart of Jacumba. But then a revitalization committee petitioned the state to take back the town's historic name -- Jacumba Hot Springs. Since then, these movers and shakers have infused new life into a town named by the Kumeyaay Native Americans who once camped here in the winter months: Jacum—a place of healing waters.
Now celebrating its centennial year, the town recently hosted the Healing Waters & Arts Festival--a successful event for the community and guests alike.
By Jaden Jimenez
Jessica Richmond and Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
May 29,2014 (San Diego)- Updated June 2, 2014 - This year if the current District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis, would like to keep her job, she will need to defeat two opponents who have stepped up to the plate to take swings at the incumbent. Bob Brewer, ex-Sempra Energy lawyer and Terri Wyatt, 26-year Deputy District Attorney in San Diego County, are both challenging Dumanis in the June 3rd primary. The top two vote getters will then square off in November—unless one candidate receives over 50% of the votes in June to win outright.
The race has shaped up to be very intriguing due to allegations flying among two of the candidates, Dumanis and Brewer. (Wyatt seems to be free of scandal.) Accusations in the race include corruption, illegal campaign contributions, federal probes, a corporate cover-up and a good old April fool’s joke, just to name a few. In an election for the role of the top prosecutor in San Diego, you might ask, shouldn’t candidates vying for the DA seat uphold the letter of the law, not appear to break it?
This is the first time in 12 years that someone has challenged Dumanis, giving her a lot of time to build up her portfolio as DA.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Otay fire caused by target shooting on BLM land
Effective immediately, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has banned recreational shooting g on all BLM lands in San Diego’s East County and the South Coast areas for the remainder of fire season.
“Collectively our staffs have discussed our emerging potentially very dangerous fire season given the prolonged drought,” Clayton R. Howe, Battalion Chief with the BLM, wrote in an email sent to County Fire Authority Acting Chief Greg Griswold on May 23. “We have also sought to reduce the threat of wildfires related to recreational shooting on BLM Administered Public Lands located within your Units.”
Cal Fire Chief John Francois, in an e-mail sent to fire officials and community leaders across our region, stated that fire agencies now have the authority to enforce the restriction on shooting. “If you see anyone shooting, please contact your local law enforcement agency,” Chief Francois urged.
An analysis on the impacts of energy policies and projects on the future of East County
By Jessica Richmond and Miriam Raftery
May 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A growing number of East County residents, fire chiefs, environmentalists and elected officials are voicing alarm over the proposed large-scale destruction of natural and scenic resources for numerous industrial-scale “renewable” wind and solar energy projects and related powerlines, substations and more. A map reveals that East County is targeted for a disproportionate share of these projects, pushed forward by energy companies and politicians who contend such development is needed to disrupt disastrous effects of global warming and fill the regional energy gap left by closing San Onofre nuclear generation stations.
But opponents say these projects are not green or sustainable, instead setting up our region for an ecological disaster in the making. They raise some crucial questions:
How did San Diego’s East County come to be targeted for fast-tracking by federal, state and county governments to facilitate construction of so many massive-scale solar and wind projects and related transmission lines in rural, mountain and desert areas instead of urban locations where demand for power is highest?
Why isn’t preference given to incentivize less destructive renewable options, such as rooftop and parking lot solar or small-scale wind turbines for use by residents, schools, municipal governments and businesses?
Missed the show? Listen to podcast now posted here: http://kiwi6.com/file/f1epluf93r
By Miriam Raftery
May 26, 2014 (San Diego) – Terri Wyatt has been a Deputy District Attorney for 26 years. Now she’s running for the top slot: District Attorney.
Wyatt believes incumbent Bonnie Dumanis has politicized the office. She also fears that the third candidate in the race, attorney Bob Brewer, would be unsuited for the job because he has made his living defending corporate clients such as SDG&E and defending high-profile criminals” such as Nancy Hoover, who was convicted in the J. David Dominelli Ponzi scheme. Wyatt asks why Brewer has made friends with his convicted client and even taken campaign money from Hoover.
For more on her candidacy, visit http://www.terriwyattforda.com/2014/
ECM has also invited Dumanis and Brewer to be interviewed.
By Miriam Raftery
May 25, 2014 (San Diego) Campaign signs posted by Ken Gosselin’s judicial campaign are raising ethical questions In large letters, the words Judge Gosselin are displayed. Nearly invisible to motorists and passersby, the word “for” in small italics is also present on the signs.
Gosselin, a candidate for Superior Court Judge seat 25, has previously worked as a temporary judge pro tem handling traffic and small claims court cases. He is currently not listed on the Superior Court’s roster of judges pro tem and has stated he is on leave due to the campaign. However, judicial candidates by law are not allowed to call themselves judges, even if the candidate is currently serving as a judge pro tem.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Facebook/Camp Pendleton Scout
May 15, 2014 (San Diego) 1 a.m. – Wildfires have scorched 9,196 acres, the County Emergency Services Department has announced. Alert San Diego has sent 121,878 notices to residents to evacuate or prepare to evacuate.
Several major fires continue to burn in north San Diego County tonight and several structures have been lost. Below are updates on each of these incidents.
Source: San Diego County News Service
May 14, 2014 (San Diego)-- Governor Jerry Brown has proclaimed a State of Emergency this evening after the County of San Diego proclaimed a local emergency earlier in the day and requested the state declaration. The local and state proclamations mean the County can more easily access state and federal resources as needed to help in fighting the fires.
The state proclamation notes that a Federal Management Assistance Grant has been requested and approved by FEMA for the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad. Under the federal Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, the federal government shares the costs of local fires.
Full text of the Governor’s press release and proclamation are below.
By Miriam Raftery
March 14, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Dozens of school districts closed tomorrow due to the wildfires, air quality issues and road closures. These include Cajon Valley, Escondido, Grossmont Union High School District, Lakeside, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lemon Grove, Poway, Ramona, Santee, and San Pasqual school districts in the inland region as well as San Diego Unified. For additional closures http://www.sdcoe.net/news/Pages/2014-school-closure-update.aspx
California State University San Marcos remains closed after today’s evacuation and graduation ceremonies set for tomorrow will be rescheduled.
Schools closed, new fire now burning in Lakeside
Photo: Fire off Los Coches Road in Lakeside, photo by Beverly Reyes
By Miriam Raftery
May 14, 2014 (San Diego)—San Diego Board of Supervisors Chair Dianne Jacob today declared a countywide emergency due to at least eight fires now burning. A Red Flag alert has been extended through tomorrow night.
Fires are currently burning in Lakeside, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Rancho Bernardo, Bonsall, Escondido, Camp Pendleton and Scripps Ranch.
An evacuation center has been set up at El Capitan High School for 1,300 ordered evacuated in the Wintergardens area of Lakeside. Business Highway 8 from Pepper Drive to Los Coches Road is closed. The fire is now in mop up with no structures lost; evacuations will be lifted at approximately 9 p.m., Chief Andy Parr of Lakeside Fire told ECM.
The County urges people NOT to call the 911 system unless it is a dire emergency. They ask citizens use the 211 system. The 911 system is taxed. One ECM reader reported getting a busy signal trying to call 911 to report the Lakeside fire this afternoon.
Numerous school districts have ordered schools closed tomorrow, including many in East County. Closures include:
THIS FIRE SEASON IS EXPECTED TO BE AMONG THE WORST IN STATE HISTORY, CAL FIRE AND INTERIOR DEPT. SECRETARY WARN
Photo: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell thanks a Golden Eagle hotshot firefighter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs
By Nadin Abbott
Photos by Nadin and Tom Abbott
May 8, 2014 (Spring Valley) The number of fires this year is higher than normal. Interstate 8 has closed due to fires twice already this year during the Gun Fire at Mount Laguna and the Jacumba fire just this week. Drought and climate change are key factors, officials warn—and this could be our worse wildfire season on record.
“The drought is expanding throughout the state of California” as well as the Southwest region, said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell during a Wildfire Awareness Week event at CAL FIRE Headquarters in Spring Valley on May 6th.
She cited a new report just issued by the White House, noting that climate change “increases the risk from drought.”
New column! East County craft beers in your neighborhood
By Ed Barrena
May 4, 2014 (Santee)--BNS Brewing and Distilling Co. in Santee (www.bnsbrewinganddistilling.com) is a great brewery with an Old West appeal. I'd wager Wyatt Earp would probably want to tie his horse off next to the trophy trucks and motorcycles if he made a stop in East County. (Mr. Earp was known to play many a game of poker in what is now the Gaslamp).
The tasting room at BNS is a throwback to the days of the old saloons--and there is not a pint glass in the building, as most beers are served in mason jars. Above the bar hangs a vintage rifle and the tap heads are a mix of replica .50 caliber bullets and the stylish BNS logo.
By Miriam Raftery
May 3, 2014 (Deerhorn Valley) – A 17-month-old child was bitten three times in the abdomen by a rattlesnake yesterday afternoon while playing in on a patio at a home near Barrett Lake in Deerhorn Valley.
NBC reported that the incident was reported at 4:20 in the 20000 block of Manzanita Way. The Deerhorn Valley Antler indicated that Mercy Air flew out of the area at approximately 5 p.m. with the young patient on board. The child was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital.
Fortunately, the toddler is recovering, according to his older sister , Jessica Taylor. She posted on the Deerhorn Valley Facebook page this morning that her brother is being treated with anti-venom and is expected to be fine. She added, “He’s a tough little guy!”
Source: County News Service
May 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --As temperatures rise, all sorts of wildlife emerge in the spring., which marks the start of rattlesnake season in San Diego County. As the reptiles come out of hibernation, it’s not uncommon to spot them locally, though bites are rare. Most sightings happen between now and October.
The County’s Department of Animal Services has removed dozens of rattlesnakes from residents’ homes and yards so far this month, said Dawn Danielson, Animal Services Director.