By Miriam Raftery
December 24, 2013 (Lemon Grove) – A mountain lion has been sighted in Lemon Grove this Christmas eve morning. “Deputies met with the reporting party, who took a picture of what appeared to be a mountain lion,” said Sgt. Matt Cook with the Sheriff’s Lemon Grove substation. The animal was apparently lying in the bushes of a vacant lot just west of the Food4Less at 7420 Broadway, the main street through the town of Lemon Grove.
The witness saw the mountain lion at 7:30 a.m. but didn’t report it until nearly 9 a.m. Deputies searched for the big cat but did not find it.
By Miriam Raftery
December 23, 2013 (San Diego) – If you shopped at Target between November 27 and December 15, your credit card or debit card information may have been breached due to a hack. Up to 40 million cardholders may be impacted.
Target says it’s begun notifying customers via email and letters of the potential for fraud on these accounts, and has alerted all of the credit networks of the affected card numbers. The major credit card companies are alerting financial institutions as well so that they can take fraud protection steps.
Customers will NOT be responsible for any fraud that may occur on these accounts.
December 19, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale struck north-central Baja, Mexico this evening about 70 kilometers northeast of Camalu. Residents in Jacumba, Lakeside and El Cajon reported feeling the tremor, posting on the Brush Fire Partyline on Facebook.
December 19, 2013 (Jamul) – Father Victor Mariestela, pastor at St. Pius X Church in Jamul, was struck head-on Tuesday night by a Ford Ranger while driving his SUV on Highway 94 west of Honey Springs Road. He was flown by medical helicopter to Sharp Memorial hospital, suffering serious injuries including two broken legs, a broken hip and broken wrist.
File photo: Sunrise Highway, Mount Laguna
A cold storm system sweeping into San Diego’s mountain regions Thursday afternoon is forecast to bring snow down to 3500 feet tonight, with several inches of snow expected at elevations above 4500 feet. Heavy rainfall is occurring across much of the county and hail may also occur.
The winter storm advisory remains in effect until 1 a.m. Friday morning.
December 17, 2013 (San Diego) – As part of its ongoing search, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is asking for the public’s help to locate Arielle Randall who vanished from Grand Prairie, Texas. Arielle may be in the company an unknown male, and may be in the Chula Vista area. Arielle, 16, was last seen on Nov. 13, 2013 leaving her home. She has not been seen or heard from since.
Arielle is Black and Hispanic, and has brown hair and eyes. She is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. Her ears are pierced.
The public is urged to call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) with any information concerning the disappearance or current whereabouts of Arielle.
December 18, 2013 (San Diego) – As Californians ready for their holiday travels, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is set to begin its annual Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP). The two-day holiday enforcement effort is designed to help ensure the safety of the motoring public during a time when celebrations are in full swing.
The MEP begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25. The effort coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ongoing Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over anti-driving under the influence (DUI) campaign, which began on December 13, 2013, and continues through January 1, 2014.
December 14, 2013 (La Mesa)-- It's time for East County Magazine's annual "Feasting & Merrymaking" party on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 3-7 p.m. in La Mesa! To comply with county event requirements, this year's party is a private event open only to our subscribers. Fortunately, subscriptions are free! Sign up at the top right side of the homepage to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter, then email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and directions.
This year's event features great food including prime rib and chicken from Pinnacle Peak, salads and sliders from bridges, wines from San Pasqual Winery and Maness Vineyards, lots of great prizes and surprises! We also have VIP guests including Cogresswoman Susan Davis and representatives from the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Santee and El Cajon. We hope to see you all there!
By Miriam Raftery and Janis Mork
December 13, 2013 (El Cajon) –El Cajon’s City Council voted on Tuesday to adopt “Valley of Opportunity" as the new city motto. In addition, Council voted unanimously to name Councilmember Gary Kendrick as Mayor Pro Tem, second in command after newly appointed Mayor Bill Wells.
As for the new motto and logo reflecting that motto, Deputy City Manager/Finance Nancy Palm explained the idea began before the centennial. “We had a lot of community involvement. It has proven to be the valley of opportunity for many years.”
By Miriam Raftery
December 11, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report. The survey of hazardous toys found that despite recent progress, consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season.
By Miriam Raftery
December 12,2013 (San Diego’s East County) –The City of San Diego has agreed to pay $60,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by Ray Lutz of El Cajon, a former Congressional candidate and founder of the watchdog nonprofit group Citizens Oversight.
Lutz was arrested for registering voters in front of the Civic Center Office Building in Civic Center plaza downtown during the Occupy San Diego movement on November 29, 2011. Chargers were later dropped and Lutz sued for battery and false arrest, among other charges, alleging that his Constitutional rights were violated.
In addition to $60,000 from the City of San Diego, Lutz will also reportedly receive an undisclosed settlement amount from the Civic Center Plaza building’s landlord and its security firm, since a security guard made a citizens’ arrest before police arrived. As part of the deal, Lutz’s arrest will be expunged from the record and Civic Center Plaza will agree to allow peaceful political activity on its property.
December 10, 2013 (Otay) – Elected officials and business leaders from the U.S. and Mexico will hold a groundbreaking ceremony today on a new state highway project aimed at reducing border wait times and improving cross-border commerce. State Route 11 will be a four-lane highway connecting a planned port of entry, Otay Mesa East, to the state highway system.
The 2.5-mile project will be built in three segments. The $112 million Segment 1, starting construction now, will include connectors to SR 905, plus a stretch of new highway from SR 905 east to Enrico Fermi Drive. Segments planned for the future will extend the highway to the border and create a new border crossing.
By Miriam Raftery
December 7, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- A winter storm sweeping across East County has brought snow down to 4700 feet as of Saturday afternoon, with forecasts for two inches of snow down to 3500 tonight and flurries at lower elevations. Sunrise Highway at Old Highway 80 is currently blocked by boulders/large rocks and other crashes are reported on I-8 near Dunbar Lane in Alpine and on Highway 94 near Dulzura.
Icy rain is occurring as of 4:30 p.m. in Alpine and fog is reported from Alpine to Buckman Springs. High winds are also hitting East County, with gusts up to 72 mph reported at Julian's Volcan Mountain. If driving in the mountains, carry chains, extra clothing and food. Icy roads are likely tonight in mountains and even on Interstate 8, so motorists are advised to use caution.
Local San Diego organizations unite to call for aid for survivors of catastrophic tragedy
December 4, 2013 (San Diego)--The devastation of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda has displaced approximately 4.4 million people—one million of whom are children. More than 26,000 have been injured, over 5,600 have lost their lives, and 1,759 are still missing. The numbers are staggering and continue to rise.
On Friday, December 6 at 6 p.m., United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 3930 (AFSCME Local 3930) and the San Diego Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) with 13 other local and national organizations will hold a candlelight vigil at the headquarters of UDW on 4855 Seminole Drive, San Diego, CA 92115. There will be a prayer service and lighting of candles in remembrance of those affected. Monetary donations will also be accepted to benefit relief efforts.
December 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for mountains and deserts. Gusts over 60 miles per hour are forecast.
A cold front moving through the recent will drop temperatures below freezing for high desert areas by Wednesday morning. Rain and snowfall are forecast at higher elevations.
Update: SDGE now reports that 936 customers may be without power until 4 p.m. today.
December 3, 2013 (La Mesa)--An estimated 1,568 homes remain without power in west La Mesa, where an outage at 3:27 a.m. initially left nearly 3,800 customers without electricity.
San Diego Gas & Electric anticipates full power restoration at 9 a.m. The utility has not released the cause at this time.
File photo: Cows in snow at Descanso, by Rebecca Masten
December 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Cold weather is forecast to sweep into our region on Tuesday, bringing rain countywide and snow down to elevations as low as 3500 feet by Wednesday. Areas at or above 3500 feet include Julian, Cuyamaca, Pine Valley, Descanso, Boulevard, Mount Laguna, and Warner Springs.
CPUC TO HOLD HEARING IN ALPINE FEB. 5 ON NEW "STEALTH" SDG&E POWER LINE PROJECT PROPOSED IN BACKCOUNTRY
NOTE: CORRECTED DATE
View map of all energy projects in our region to see cumulative impacts and disparate impact on rural areas
Judge to Decide Whether to Have Hearings on Nearly Half Billion Dollar SDG&E Power Line Project That Opponents Say Threatens Back Country Communities
January 31, 2014 (Alpine)--The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a prehearing conference at 1:30 p.m. February 5 in the Oak Room of the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine regarding proposed SDG&E’s Master Special Use Permit project that wouldl impact communities throughout the San Diego backcountry from Pauma Valley to Potrero (north to south) and from Ramona to Boulevard (west to east). The project is so large that SDG&E estimates construction will take about five years.
Administrative Law Judge Jean Vieth will determine if there will be full evidentiary hearings for this project or if this prehearing conference will be the only time the issues are heard. "In its application, SDG&E asked the CPUC for permission to construct this $418.5 million project without any hearings at all—their usual method of operation,"Backcountry Against Dumps, a nonprofit community organization, states in a press release.
Donna Tisdale, President of Backcountry against Dumps and Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group, voiced these concerns. “SDG&E’s project is being sold solely as fire-hardening but it appears to be an undisclosed stealth increase in carrying capacity that may directly or indirectly support numerous commercial solar projects that are already proposed along or near the route in Boulevard, Pine Valley, Descanso, Potrero, Julian, Ramona, and perhaps elsewhere that we are not yet aware of. Solar generation projects represent potential new fire ignition sources that cannot be de-energized during red flag wind events or other emergencies.”
By Miriam Raftery
December 1, 2013 (San Diego) – An unconscious motorist was rescued from a burning car in Grantville Saturday night by San Diego Police Officer Scott Brengi.
After the vehicle rolled over, the driver was trapped upside down, suspended by a seatbelt, when the vehicle caught fire.Officer Brengi pried open the door and crawled in on his back to pull the driver to safety as flames reached the passenger compartment..
“The Officer suffered an arm strain and is doing fine," Captain David Rohowits said today.
Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News
November 28, 2013 (El Cajon)--A police pursuit in El Cajon ended in the death of Carl Lee Denmark, 22, a resident of Santa Ysabel.
Denmark was driving a stolen motorcycle at a high rate of speed with El Cajon Police officers in pursuit on November 9 when he lost control and was ejected, then run over by a vehicle. The accident occurred on Graves Avenue near the 67 interchange at Broadway.
November 27, 2013 (Jamul) -- An active duty Navy man was killed November 17 when his motorcycle struck a stopped motorhome on westbound Otay Lakes Road east of mile marker 8 in Jamul.
November 27, 2013 (Julian) -- The County Medical Examiner has identified Greg Dwight Conitz, 56, of Julian as the man whose body was found floating in Oceanside Harbor on bn November 23.
On November 22, Conitz went to stay on his boat in a slip at Oceanside Harbor. That night, he went with friends to local bars and consumed alcohol, the Medical Examiner's report states. The next morning, another friend found Conitz floating in the weater yet another boat at slip#2.
Astronomy experts say comet could be among brightest ever observed--and it may disintegrate as it draws near sun
By Don Harrison
November 26, 2013 (El Cajon) – As if Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah falling on the same day were not coincidence enough, the comet ISON will be at its closest point to the sun—about 750,000 miles away-- on that day, Thursday, Nov. 28th.
Grossmont College Astronomy Prof. Ross Cohen says for people who don’t have the proper equipment for comet watching, at the time of its closest approach to the sun, it is safest to turn to the Internet or to television to view images from satellites that will be tracking the comet from various vantage points in space.
November 26, 2013 (Alpine) – Two days ago, we reported on a historic quilt gone missing in Alpine. Today, Alpine Historical Society President Carlette Anderson sent us this good news.
"This morning I went to the club house to let a couple of members into the basement. I went into the kitchen for a glass of water and couldn't believe my eyes. There, laying flat, on the kitchen table was the historic quilt and the throw, with no note. It is an Alpine Woman's Club Mystery with a very happy ending."
INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN DAY: MEASURE INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS TO PROTECT WOMEN AND GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD
Online effort mounted to ask Congress to support International Violence Against Women Act
By Miriam Raftery
November 26, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Yesterday was officially the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. To mark the occasion, the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) has been introduced into Congress last week—for the third time.
“Gender-based violence remains an epidemic of global proportions that cuts across every social and economic class, ethnicity, race, religion and education level,” Secretary of State John Kerry stated yesterday. “In fact, nearly one-third of women worldwide have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. This is an unacceptable statistic and must be a wake-up call.”
By Miriam Raftery
November 24, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- This week, the hottest meeting in town will be the Boulevard Planning Group, which has a busy agendawith many major items slated for its meeting on Thursday, December 5 at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Fire Training/Community Room, 39919 Ribbon Wood Road in Boulevard. View full agenda.
Planners will hold a question and answer session on a new Boulevard Fire Station – and consider whether a moratorium should be requested for new large-scale commercial projects until Boulevard Fire Stations are verifiably staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The agenda also includes major energy projects and some controversial water issues.
By Miriam Raftery
November 22, 2013 (El Cajon) – Anne Louise Terhune, reported missing by her family yesterday, may have been involved in a non-injury traffic collision in the Tijuana area, El Cajon Police have learned.
“She was alone at the time of the collision but stated she was lost and provided her personal information. She then indicated she would be home the following day and did not appear to be under any duress,” said Lt. Frank La Haye. But he added, “Terhune has not returned home and her whereabouts are unknown.”
By Miriam Raftery
November 22, 2013 (La Mesa) – Several directors of the Helix Water Board indicated a willingness to vote to close Lake Jennings permanently or at least remove camping facilities and end fish stocking to save funds. But in the end, after public testimony and a proposal by director Joel Scalzitti, the board unanimously voted to form a committee to see if an alternative can be found.
Carlos Lugo, General Manager, led off the hearing earlier this month by stating that a September workshop on the issue did not have a high attendance. The lake has been a financial drain on the district and a consultant’s analysis predicted that even investing in major upgrades would not result in a profit.
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Update November 23, 2013--At 1 a.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the San Ysidro port of entry notified El Cajon Police that they found Anne Louise Terhune. An El Cajon Police officer met with her and at her request, gave her a ride home. She told the officer she entered Mexico by mistake after being stuck in southbound freeway traffic.
November 21, 2013 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Police detectives seek public help to find a missing El Cajon woman, Anne Louise Terhune, 60. According to family members, Terhune left her home November 19 around 5:45 p.m. and said she was going to the library at 576 Garfield Ave. in El Cajon. She was last seen driving a 2004 gold colored Mercury Marquis, four-door Sedan, California license 5KLY673.
When Terhune did not return after several hours the family became concerned and contacted the police to report her missing. Officers were able to confirm her 2004 gold Mercury crossed the US Boarder into Mexico later that night. According to family members it would be out of character for Terhune to enter into Mexico, said Lt. Frank La Haye.