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SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT PICKS ITS NEW CHIEF

By Paul Kruze

July 13, 2012 (Spring Valley)--By a unanimous vote by the board of the San Miguel Fire District (SMFD) and a badge pinned on his chest, then sealed with a kiss by his wife, former Division Chief Gary D. Croucher was installed as the District’s newest fire chief on Wednesday evening at the board meeting.

View a video clip of the appointment:  http://vimeo.com/45691689

FIRE CHIEF POSITION ON AGENDA FOR SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT JULY 11

 

July 8, 2012 (Spring Valley)—San Miguel Fire District’s Board of Directors will consider the possible appointment of Gary Croucher to become the District’s new Fire Chief. Croucher, a 26 year district veteran, has been serving as Interim Chief since Chief August Ghio suffered serious injuries in a mid-May motorcycle accident, just four days before Ghio’s announced retirement. Read Croucher's full bio

The Board will also discuss two retired annuitant temporary employment contracts, one for Ghio as a special projects consultant, the other for Amy Wrightson as an administrative specialist.

CHIEF GHIO SERIOUSLY INJURED IN MOTORCYCLE CRASH

 

Updated May 14, 2012

May 13, 2012 (Spring Valley) --Just four days before his retirement from San Miguel Fire Department, Chief August “Augie” Ghio has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. The crash occurred this morning in Ocotillo Wells on State Route 78 east.

The UT San Diego reports that Ghio was riding with a friend when the crash occurred.  Christopher Winter, a fire district board member, visited Ghio at Palomar Medical Center, where he was airlifted. 

CHIEF GHIO TO RETIRE; MAY STAY ON AS INTERIM CHIEF AT SAN MIGUEL

Update May 6:  Staff has now recommended that Chief Ghio be kept on at up to 40-hours a week (maximum of 960 hours through Dec. 31), which the District refers to as "part-time."  Under the plan he would be paid his existing hourly contract rate as an annuitant in addition to his pensions.  The Board next meets on Wednesday, May 9 with public session at 6:30 p.m.

By Miriam Raftery

May 5, 2012 (Spring Valley) – In a letter submitted to the San Miguel Consolidated Fire District board, Fire Chief August”Augie” Ghio has announced he will retire May 16th. His letter leaves open the possibility of being rehired as Interim Fire Chief while the District weighs whether or not to outsource its fire services to the state through Cal-Fire.

The prospect has led to some heated commentary.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT RESIDENTS SEEK HELP TO SAVE FIRE ENGINE


Sycuan may offer hope for restoring service in Dehesa; Mount Helix could be next to lose fire services

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 29, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Dehesa residents are losing staffing for their fire engine and being left with only a bare-bones medical crew starting in November. Moreover, a District representative told ECM, Mount Helix could be the next community to lose fire protection if the San Miguel Fire District’s financial situation does not improve.

 

At a community meeting of concerned Dehesa residents Thursday night, participants put forth a variety of concerns—but also constructive suggestions for pitching in to help the district raise funds.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT MOVES TO ELIMINATE FIRE ENGINES FROM DEHESA STATION

 

Labor dispute also heats up; Oct. 26 and 27 meetings set as budget woes deepen

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 20, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Residents in the Dehesa area of unincorporated El Cajon will be losing a firefighting structure engine and a wildland fire engine due starting November 1.

 

In addition, a three-man engine will be replaced by a two-man paramedic crew—a situation that the San Miguel Firefighters Association (SMFA) contends on its website is “unsafe” but that the District contends is necessary due to dwindling property tax revenues that fund firefighting services.

BROWN-OUTS MAY BE TO BLAME FOR TOT'S DEATH

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2010 (San Diego) – Two-year-old Bentley Do’s family lives just one block from a San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station. But the station’s crew was filling in for another Mira Mesa station’s personnel as part of city-ordered “brown-outs” to save money.

As a result, when the toddler’s parents called 911 to report that the boy was choking on a gumball and had stopped breathing, an engine company from the South Bay responded—and took nine and a half minutes to arrive. By then, police officers were also at the scene performing CPR. But paramedics with the firefighting team arrived too late to save the child.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE VOTES NOT TO CUT NUMBER OF BOARD MEMBERS OR BENEFITS; CHIEF PRESENTS OTHER OPTIONS

 

San Miguel Fire District has voted 4-2 against putting a ballot measure on the ballot to reduce the number of board members from seven to five. Members Clark and Jackson voted in favor; Johnston, Augustine, Rickards and Winters voted against. Board member Brainard was absent. Clark, Winter and Augustine have seats up for reelection this fall.

Chief August Ghio said the board weighed information from its attorney, an impassioned plea from a member of the public who spoke against reducing the board, and impacts on the board’s ability to serve the public in making its decision.

CAUSE AN ACCIDENT? SAN MIGUEL FIRE WANTS YOU TO PAY FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 19, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – San Miguel Fire Protection District voted Thursday to charge drivers who cause accidents for the costs of emergency services. Proposed fees range from $390 to $2,100. The plan has sparked heated debate among community members.

Chief August Ghio says similar measures have been imposed in other communities around the U.S., including North County Fire District locally. Fire districts in Lakeside and Chula Vista are considering similar moves, he added.

SD FIREFIGHTING RESOURCES DISPATCHED TO BATTLE L.A. BLAZES

SD REGION STILL HAS “SURGE CAPACITY” RESOURCES TO COMBAT FIRE LOCALLY: CHIEF GHIO
 

August 30, 2009 (San Diego) – Firefighting resources from San Diego County’s region have been dispatched to battle the wildfires that have forced thousands to evacuate in the Los Angeles area. But August Ghio (photo, left), head of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association, expressed confidence today that San Diego still has adequate resources to respond promptly if a wildfire should start here amid the current intense heat and dry, fire-prone weather conditions.

EDITORIAL: WHY A BENEFIT ASSESSMENT FEE? IT DOESN'T GET ANY MORE LOCAL THAN THIS!

By August Ghio, Chief

San Miguel Fire Department

June 11, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--It is a given, the current global economic crisis is or will effect every individual, every household and every organization. The San Miguel Fire Protection District is no different. Maybe a little different, our budget, primarily from property tax dollars, is utilitized to save lives and property. The District’s budget shortfall has hit a critical level. As we forecast fire dangers it is our duty and obligation to make you aware of how our current budget shortfall will affect our ability to respond. Since this is your Fire District we turn to you our property owners for direction. That direction will come in the form of a yes or no vote for a Benefit Assessment Fee. Here are the facts.

WHERE'S THE PORK? NO MONEY FOR FIRE STATIONS OR FIRE PREVENTION IN SAN DIEGO'S PROPOSED STIMULUS PROJECTS

Fires--photos from LM 267_edited.jpg

 

 

"The City and County never asked the fire departments. We are very disappointed," -- August Ghio, President, San Diego Fire Chiefs Association

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 5, 2009 (San Diego)--Why didn't a city and county that have suffered through the worst wildfires in California history request funds through the federal stimulus program for any fire protection projects?

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