January 17, 2013 (La Mesa) –The City of La Mesa is nearing completion of a draft environmental impact report on Park Station, a proposed 18-story high-rise project that would be 10 stories taller than any existing structure in the city.
Before planners and council members weigh in, Urban Housing Partners, marketers of the project have issued a survey, which you can take here:
By Blake Powers and John Chapman
The East County Produce Exchange is kicking off the New Year with an event on Saturday, January 26th. It will be held in the Jamul Hardware parking lot from 3:30-5:00. The Exchange is a monthly event in Jamul, where people come from all over the county to exchange freshly grown fruits and vegetables. The produce exchange is like a farmer’s market, but it is a free event. There is no money involved!
You set out your produce on a table, and then walk around and take what you want from others, while others will take from you. This month the exchange expects to have lots of oranges, lemons, chard, cabbage, broccoli, kale, onions, and herbs.
Update: ECM has obtained the complete list of Executive Actions taken by the President from the White House press office. View them here.
By Miriam Raftery
January 17, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Joined by families victimized by gun violence, President Barack Obama yesterday announced a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence, including background check,s limits on ammunition purchases, improved mental healthcare, better resources for schools and law enforcement.
The President has the backing of most Americans, according to several new polls which found strong support for key elements of the proposal.
January 16, 2013 (Campo) – The Campo Diner is a popular place in East County – and co-owner Carmen Delaguerra is happy to announce that rumors of the diner’s demise are not true. The Diner is now reopened, following a two-week closure over the holidays due to discovery that well water was contaminated with nitrates.
“We’re getting a new filtration system. They’ve approved us being open for 30 days,” Delaguerra said, adding that while awaiting installation, the restaurant is serving bottled water and relying on paper plates. “Our customers don’t care about eating on paper plates. They’re telling us they’re thrilled that we’re back open."
Closure came without warning at the busiest time of the year, just before Christmas, when the nearby Pacific Southwest Railway Museum runs its Christmas train rides. “We had a party coming in that evening and we had to shut down that afternoon,”Delaguerra said. "It couldn't have happened at a worse time."
January 15, 2013 (Ramona) -- Sheriff’s deputies have arrested Oscar Torres, 32, of Chula Vista on suspicion of burglary and vehicle theft in Ramona. A bizarre string of events began when deputies responded to a call reporting a suspicious person in the 17000 block of Ridgeview Lane, Ramona yesterday shortly after 3 p.m.
“The suspect entered several residences in the area and was described as having black paint on his face and arms,” said Sergeant Ken Jones. “The suspect stole a Ford F-150 truck from one of the driveways and left the area.” Deputies found the vehicle traveling east on Main Street toward Highway 78. The ASTREA helicopter and canine units were requested.
While being followed by deputies, Jones said, the suspect began to throw objects out of the vehicle and dowsed himself with gasoline. He then lit a towel on fire, throwing it onto the roadway.
January 15, 2013 (San Diego)--SANDAG invites the public to review and comment on the draft Public Involvement Plan (PIP) that will be used to support the development of a consolidated regional plan. The review period ends February 7, 2013. Comments should be directed to David Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 15, 2013 (El Cajon)--At 9:47 a.m. yesterday, Heartland Fire & Rescue crews in El Cajon responded to reports of fire in the 400 block of Van Houten Avenue in the City of El Cajon. As crews responded, heavy smoke could be seen rising from blocks away. The fire was located at the Evergreen Mobile Home & RV Park on Van Houten, where they found a trailer home in flames.
The fire was knocked down in less than ten minutes. A 17 year-old neighbor, who attempted to extinguish the blaze before fire crews arrived, was transported to the hospital with a non-life threatening arm injury. No one was home at the time of the fire and no other injuries were reported.
By Miriam Raftery
January 14, 2013 (Washington D.C. ) – In a press conference today President Barack Obama today urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling and made clear that his position is non-negotiable. (View video and read transcript.)
Republican House members have balked thus far. Speaker John Boehner said, "The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time." (View full statement.)
The President called that position “irresponsible” and made clear that raising the debt ceiling does not increase spending, but instead authorizes the nation to pay its bills already incurred by Congress. He likened House Republicans' stance to refusing to pay a restaurant bill after the food has been eaten, adding, “We are not a nation of deadbeats.”
By Miriam Raftery
January 13, 2013 (Washington D.C.)—Vice President Joe Biden will meet today with representatives of Congress to discuss his task force’s proposals for reducing gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre. Options may range from limiting access to assault weapons to improving diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill.
One intriguing possibility for the future is the use of “smart gun” technology. “A lot could change if, for example, every gun purchased could only be fired by the person who purchased it," Biden said Friday. "The technology exists, but it’s extremely expensive.”
January 13, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for our region. Strong and gusty north to northeasterly winds will develop over inland and coastal water areas Monday through Tuesday. Damaging winds gusts of 60 miles per hour or more will be possible through and below wind prone canyons and passes.
Frost and freeze warnings remain in effect for portions of the mountains and deserts tonight, though temperatures are expected to begin warming on Tuesday and Wednesday.
84% OF FISH HAVE MERCURY CONTAMINATION, NEW STUDY FINDS; UNITED NATIONS SEEKS TREATY TO REDUCE MERCURY POISONING
By Miriam Raftery
January 13, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A shocking new study released January 8 by the Biodiversity Research Institute finds that 84% of fish worldwide are contaminated with mercury. This week, the United Nations begins negotiations in Geneva on an international mercury treaty aimed at curbing the contamination.
Contamination findings were so high that based on health guidelines, only one fish per month should be eaten in the U.S. In Japan and Uruguay, where levels were highest, no fish should be consumed. In Japan, fish has traditionally been a dietary staple.
Cal Fire and East County Magazine offer heating safety reminders for cold weather
January 13, 2013 (Pine Valley) – Firefighters battling a blaze at a mobilehome park in the 27500 block of Old Highway 80 in Pine Valley last night discovered a man’s body inside after extinguishing the blaze. Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson detectives have ruled out foul play.
Cal Fire spokesman Mike Mohler told ECM that investigators are looking at several potential causes, including the possibility that the victim may have perished due to an old or improperly used heating device in last night’s sub-freezing temperatures.
Here are important safety tips to stay warm and safe during cold weather:
January 12, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a warning of very cold nights with frost and freezing temperatures the next few mornings. Tonight through Tuesday, the warning includes areas west of the mountains as well as mountains, valleys and deserts. Temperatures may drop as low as 20 degrees in places.
Sensitive plants or crops may be damaged or killed if left unprotected. Cover sensitive plants or bring inside if possible.
January 11, 2012 (Lakeside)-- The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for the Oakoasis Open Space Preserve water system at 12620 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside effective immediately. This public water system serves a county park with campsites, a public restrooms and a volunteer residence.
The drinking water system has tested present for total coliform bacteria and absent for E. coli.
“There is nothing altruistic about this.” – Don Renard, Boulevard resident, on planned destruction of his rural community to create an energy corridor
“I don’t know of any community facing this many energy projects.” – Donna Tisdale, Chair, Boulevard Planning Group
By Miriam Raftery
January 11, 2013 (Boulevard)--Retired tugboat captain Don Renard worked hard all his life before purchasing a little piece of heaven in San Diego's rural East County. He bought a historic house, the former Ruby Store, once a stage coach stop in Boulevard. He and his family have been working to restore it—in between savoring quiet times spent watching the hawks, owls and song birds among the old oak groves around their home.
But there’s a squall of epic proportions on the horizon. Soon, the Renard family’s home is slated to be surrounded by an industrial solar “farm”—on all four sides. In every direction, 360 degrees, massive panels 30 feet high or so will track the sun. Some will be just 300 feet from his doorstep.
January 10, 2013 (Casa de Oro) – A destroyed half of a resident in the 4100 block of Avoyer Place in Casa de Oro this morning. At first, residents thought smoke in the kitchen area was due to cooking, until one went outside and saw smoke coming from under the garage. Opening the door, he saw fire erupt into massive flames which quickly spread from the garage into the attic and home.
“With the screams of ‘fire’, family members began to evacuate,” said Leonard Villareal with San Miguel Fire District. “Residents inside the home had to carry the elderly female homeowner to safety. Another neighbor entered the home and carried a young woman who was asleep a back bedroom to safety. Another neighbor entered the home and carried a young woman who was asleep in a back bedroom to safety.”
January 10, 2013 (La Mesa) – In an on-going commitment to communicate with residents, all five members of the La Mesa City Council will host two Town Hall Meetings. The open-forum sessions are scheduled at the following locations:
January 10, 2013 (Alpine) – The public is invited to the U.S. Border Patrol’s East County Community Forum on January 16 at 6 p.m. The forum will be held in the Alpine Elementary School auditorium, 1850 Alpine Boulevard in Alpine.
The forum will include discussion of community concerns, East County security threats, and the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan. RSVPs are requested to Michael Scappechio, Border Community Liaison Coordinator, at (619)216 4259 or email@example.com.
By Miriam Raftery
January 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Expect chilly temperatures through the weekend as a cold front sweeps into the region. A winter storm warning has been issued for mountains and deserts today, with snow levels dropping to as low as 2000 feet tonight. That’s low enough to bring snow to Interstate 8 in East County east of Alpine. Rain is forecast for areas west of the mountains.
Snow is expected to impact the following areas today, dropping even lower tonight: Cuyamaca, Descanso, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Ranchitta, Santa Ysabel, and Warner Springs. Visibility could be reduced to zero from blowing and drifting snow. This weather could be deadly for hikers and campers caught unprepared, the National Weather Service warns.
A high wind warning has also been issued for mountain and desert areas, with gusts up to 65 mp and sustained winds of 25-30 mph. forecast. In coastal areas, flooding and rip currents are expected to produce hazardous conditions.
By Janis Mork
January 8, 2013 (El Cajon)--By a unanimous vote, El Cajon’s City Council voted to condemn former Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox’s embezzlement of funds from her former employer, Century Design. Council also added language to strip Hanson-Cox of any recognitions received from the City.
“Stealing is wrong, no matter what,” said Councilman Gary Kendrick, introducing the resolution. “I want to give an opportunity for the council to collectively and individually condemn her actions…I want to personally say I’m sorry to the Basso family and to what’s happened to them.”
By Miriam Raftery
January 8, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – If the weather seemed hotter last year than in the past, your memory is correct.
In its State of the Climate Report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center reveals today that 2012 averaged the hottest temperatures ever recorded for the lower 48 states in the U.S. Nationwide, the average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit—a full 3.2 degrees higher than the 20th Century average and one degree hotter than the previous hottest year on record (1998).
It was also a historic year for extreme weather that included severe drought, larger wildfires, hurricanes and storms--the second worst year on record.
View report: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/ and scroll down for highlights.
By Miriam Raftery
January 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A reader asked ECM to look into why graffiti along trolley lines in El Cajon have not yet been cleaned up despite complaints spanning a year. “Several citizens have been more than frustrated,” wrote Maryann Ostermeyer, who said that to date, neither the city nor Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS) has taken responsibility for cleanup.
“It has taken a long time, but it is due solely to MTS regs about who and how people work within their ROW (right-of-way),” City Manager Douglas Wililford wrote in an e-mail to Councilman Gary Kendrick in response to ECM’s inquiry. “We have been diligent about this and will continue to be," he wrote, then cited progress in efforts to work with MTS.
By Miriam Raftery (photo courtesy of SDPD)
January 7, 2013 (Santee) – San Diego Police Officer Travis Betley has undergone several surgeries since his patrol car was struck December 30 by a pickup truck on Highway 125 in Santee. The driver has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
“The surgeries have been successful and he is beginning physical therapy,” a statement issued by his family states, adding that Officer Betley has a long road to recovery. “He has a positive attitude and is ready to face the challenges ahead,” the family adds. “Travis is a strong young man and is determined to return to the field as quickly as possible...While focusing on the future and Travis’ recovery, the family would like to encourage all to be a good friend, neighbor and family member and remind everyone of the dangers of driving while under the influence."
Photo by Julie Salmon
January 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Rain is forecast for our region tonight and early in the morning, with snow in East County’s mountain areas. Snow levels are forecast to drop down to 3500 feet tonight—reaching communities along I-8 such as Descanso and Pine Valley. Two to four inches of snow are forecast at higher elevations.
High winds are also expected in mountains and deserts, with gusts up to 45 mph. Thunderstorms and hail are also possible. CHP reports that chains are required at South Grade Road and Highway 76, on Palomar Mountain, and at the junction of S6 and S7.
January 5, 2013 (Santee) -- An 18-year-old Santee woman says she is lucky to be alive after a gas fireplace she was trying to light exploded into flames, burning her face, hair and arm. Schannon Burr, who is now recuperatoring at home, spoke with ECM 10 News to share details of how the accident happened, plus get tips on how to avoid having a similar situation occur in your home. For details see: http://www.10news.com/news/santee-woman-burned-while-lighting-familys-ga...
EL CAJON COUNCIL AGENDA TUESDAY INCLUDES RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN ACTIONS OF JILLIAN HANSON-COX & PROPOSAL TO BUY SURPLUS PROPERTY FROM CAL-TRANS
By Miriam Raftery
January 4, 2013 (El Cajon) – At its meeting on Tuesday, January 8 at 3 p.m., El Cajon’s City Council will consider a resolution to condemn the actions of Jillian Hanson-Cox in embezzling at least $3.5 million from her former employer, Century Design.
In addition, Council will consider a proposal to buy surplus property from Cal-Trans for $299,500 and weigh a recommendation to pay $662,000 in a promissory note to act as the successor agency to the former El Cajon Redevelopment Agency.
Council’s agenda will also include an ordinance to provide more flexibility for signage downtown and an ordinance to revise the zoning code. In addition, Council will hear an appeal of a planning commission decision to deny a permit for alcohol sales to the Magnolia Family Market at 112 East Madison Avenue.
EAST COUNTY RADIO STATION KNSJ NEARS GOAL TO LAUNCH: DONOR PLEDGES $9,000 IN MATCHING FUNDS FOR TRANSMITTER
Community must match donations by Jan. 31 to reach $18,000 total
Activist Ball January 19 aims to raise remaining funds; donors also welcome -- East County Magazine Radio show can launch once station is on the air
January 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) – KNSJ Radio (89.1 FM), Network for Social Justice, moves closer to going live on the airways across East County and much of San Diego with nonprofit community radio. The station already has FCC approval for a station to broadcast out of Descanso. Now, an angel donor has come forward to pledge $9,000--half of the $18,000 still needed to build a transmitter---under condition that the community match that with $9,000 by the end of January.
On January 19 at 7 p.m., the Activist Ball in the World Beat Center at Balboa Park will be held to raise money for the station’s transmitter. Join ECM's VIP table for $20; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Individual tickets cost $19 in advance or $25 at the door and include appetizers, a drink, live music and dancing. Additional food available for purchase. There will also be a silent auction and prize drawings. For general reservations call 619-283-1100 or visit http://knsj.org/
By Miriam Raftery
January 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)- Last week we posted our most-read stories of the year—those that drew the most readers, and newsmakers of the year. Now we present the year’s top stories/issues of most significance to our region--issues with major impact, as well as milestones for our communitie, in the view of our editorial staff. Some are individual articles, others ran a series.
In case you missed these, be sure to scroll down and click the "read more" button to see the stories we think everyone should read--including some hot topics that will continue to be debated in 2013 as major decisions impacting East County remain on the horizon.
Impacts will affect drivers, gun owners, renters, homeowners, immigrants, employers, and many more
January 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Starting today, your boss can’t ask for your Facebook password or username, thanks to AB 1944. Neither can universities, due to SB 1349.
Duke Cunningham won’t be able to run for office again under AB 2410, which bans those convicted of a felony involving bribes, embezzlement of public funds, perjury or offense of the public trust from becoming a candidate for any elective office in California.
These are just some of the new laws that take effect January 1, 2013. Scroll down to read more--and how these legislative changes may impact you, your family, your workplace or your school.