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EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE COLUMNISTS

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: DROWNING PREVENTION TIPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Don’t Turn Your Back – It Happens Just Like That!

July 19, 2021 (San Diego) – This is the time of year where swimming pool drownings reach their peak.  Drowning incidents are dramatically on the rise both locally and nationally. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, just under 400 deaths a year on average are attributed to drowning in a swimming pool or at a spa. Sadly, of the total number of accidental drownings, approximately one in five victims are aged 14 or younger.

CHIEF’S CORNER: CHEAP SUNGLASSES – KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR WELLNESS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
"When you wake up in the morning and the light is hurt your head — The first thing you do when you get up out of bed — Is hit that streets a-runnin' and try to beat the masses — Now go get yourself some good sunglasses" – ZZ Top   Listen while you read: https://lnkd.in/g8ZWAqF
 
July is UV Awareness Month!
 
July 13, 2021 (San Diego) -- During the summer we put a lot of emphasis on protecting skin from UV rays. It is important. But we cannot forget about protecting the eyes — exposure to bright sunlight increases the risk of developing these four ailments: cataracts, macular degeneration, growths on the eye and cancer.
 
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY ON THE SCIENCE AND IMPACT OF CANNABIS

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

July 7, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- A group of doctors from around the world recently formed a new and unique medical organization that aims to take the politics out of cannabis and focus solely on research regarding the short- and long-term effects of its use. The Marijuana Prevention Initiative (MPI) of San Diego County hosted a news conference in May to introduce the International Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis (IASIC). The non-partisan nonprofit is a medical organization of doctors who educate on cannabis based on the scientific and medical literature. The group was created to facilitate informed decisions when considering cannabis policy and law.

EARTHTALK: THE AGE OF THE EV: WHICH ONE WOULD YOU GET?

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss, EarthTalk 

Photo:   if you are looking for a lower price tag and a decent amount of range in a new EV, Chevrolet’s Bolt is among the better bets. Credit: Stephen Rees, FlickrCC.

July 3, 2021 (San Diego) - Dear EarthTalk: I am looking to finally ditch the old minivan and upgrade to an EV. What are the best choices out there nowadays in terms of up-front cost and fuel efficiency? -J. Wilson, Summertown, TN

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: FOURTH OF JULY AND 100% PROBABILITY OF IGNITION

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

June 28, 2021 (San Diego) -- We have not seen significant rain in several months. Fuel moisture content is at 0%. We are at what we call 100% probability of ignition. This means the tiniest spark can start a fire.

The Fourth of July can be a fun time with great memories. But before you, your family & friends celebrate, make sure everyone knows about Fourth of July safety. Since Fireworks are illegal in San Diego County, there are still safety precautions to provide safety while celebrating.

I-QUE BBQ: A SMART NEW EATERY IN LA MESA

By Henri Migala
 
Photo, left:  owners and employees at I-Que BBQ, by Miriam Raftery
 
June 18, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Very few things are better than really, I mean REALLY, good barbecue. And one of those things is really good barbecue served by delightful, engaging and endearing people. That’s exactly what you get at La Mesa’s newest barbecue restaurant, I-Que BBQ.
 
Located at 8733 Broadway in the small strip of shops near I-HOP, at the juncture of Spring Street and Broadway close to the SR-125 and SR- 94 interchange, I-Que BBQ enjoys a prime, convenient spot for both motorists and residents.

KIM G.’S EASTLIGHT: FATHER’S DAY REFLECTIONS

By Kim Garmo
 
Photo: Creative Commons by SA via Bing
 
June 17, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- Father's Day is a day to honor the men who raise not just their children, but other peoples' children. You don't have to be a biological father to play the role of one.   A father shapes you and helps you become the individual you grow up to be. 
 
My father, Ramzi Garmo, was a man who always provided for his family financially and still helping to provide for us from up above, as he is now passed on. His teachings from childhood were taught in a very strict and stern way, which is common for our Chaldean culture. He certainly wasn't full of daily kisses and hugs, but deep down we knew that we were loved.
    
Many people in children's lives can play the role of a father, such as an uncle, a teacher, a coach, a mentor, or any man who impacts a child's life. A father figure doesn't just tell you "I love you,” but shows you what it means.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: BENZODIAZEPINES - THE NEW DRUG CRISIS?

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

June 13, 2021 (San Diego) -- I am pretty sure there is something that we East County residents all have in common since the onset of the pandemic -- stress and anxiety. In fact, an ongoing study by the National Center for Health Statistics in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau shows that at least a quarter of all Americans were experiencing anxiety. In California, the statistic was almost one out of three. 

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

June 13, 2021 (San Diego) - When was the last time someone told you that?  When was the last time you told someone that? Why is it we feel the need to keep those three simple words under lock and key? Are we the only one that wants to be important? Are we afraid that others may change if we make or tell them they are important?

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Activities in June include a summer wine trail in Ramona, an all-star block party at Jamul Casino, La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade held virtually this year, live comedy in La Mesa,  National Cowboy Day in Ramona, butterfly releases at the Water Conservation Garden, outdoor concerts in Santee, La Mesa and El Cajon, classic cruises in downtown El Cajon, and movies in the park countywide. Plus coming attractions in July include the 50th annual Pine Valley Days, Santee Salutes and more.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS THIS SUMMER

By Miriam Raftery

May 31, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, many of East County’s most popular events are coming back this summer including festivals, fairs, car shows, concerts, parades and more.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: MEMORIAL DAY SAFETY TIPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna 

May 28, 2021 (San Diego) -- Make it Memorable This Memorial Day Weekend - with Situational Awareness!

This Memorial Day Weekend will be the biggest weekend in over a year with less Covid 19 restrictions. With great weather in the forecast, many people will be hitting the trails, parks, lakes, barbeques, golfing and of course our highways and roadways will have lots of traffic. 

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH DURING COVID

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

May 10, 2021 (San Diego) -- The past 13 months have been a rollercoaster of emotion, stress, and anxiety for many folks. As East County and the rest of the state finally move out of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, it’s important to remember that our mental and emotional health may need more time to adjust. The stay-at-home orders and pandemic lifestyle may have made some of us stronger and more resilient, but some may have become more vulnerable. These are important considerations, year-round and when we observe May is Mental Health Month.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: ‘TIS THE SEASON -- FOR RATTLESNAKES

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Photo:  rattlesnake, creative commons by NC-ND
 
April 30, 2021 (San Diego) -- I’m not talking about those “special” people in your life that slither around ready to take a swipe at you!
 
April and May mark the beginning of rattlesnake season which continues through the summer months. At one point or another, while hiking or depending upon where you live, you’ve probably encountered them at least one time. Unless you’re one of those odd people who seem to like getting startled by a rattler, encountering snakes is not a pleasant experience for most.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: RESPONSIBLE BEVERAGE SERVICE DURING A PANDEMIC

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

April 14, 2021 (San Diego) - Now that San Diego County has entered the Orange Tier, East County bars are opening and restaurants are expanding their operations. While this gives the food and beverage industry an opportunity to bounce back from extended pandemic closures, we have to be vigilant about the overservice of alcoholic beverages. It may be tempting to encourage an extra drink sale here and there to recoup some of the lost business revenue, but continuing to pour for customers who are clearly intoxicated or selling to the under-21 crowd isn’t helpful to the customer or the business.

CHIEF’S CORNER: NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY 911 DISPATCHERS WEEK

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
April 13, 2021 (San Diego) -- The National Public Safety Dispatchers Week is celebrated every second week of April each year. This week April 11-17, 2021 aims to honor all 911 Fire/Police/Paramedic Dispatchers & Staff whose work is involved in public safety communication. This weeklong event gives recognition and expresses gratitude to all those people dedicated to saving the lives of the people.
 
Understanding the Job of a 911 Dispatcher
Most of the time, people have no idea how hard the job of emergency communicators is. They carry a great responsibility because they are the first line of hope or defense for those people in need. They are the first ones to get in contact with people who are in danger. If you still have not fully realized that yet, then it is all the more reason for you to celebrate this week.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: EQUITY, PUBLIC HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

 

March 31, 2021 (San Diego) -- When it comes to adverse mental health conditions related to COVID-19, younger adults, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers report having more increased substance use and mental health issues than others who are not listed in those categories.

EARTHTALK®: BESIDES GENERATING SEASONAL ALLERGENS, DO ANY PLANTS ACTUALLY REDUCE AIR QUALITY OR CAUSE AIR POLLUTION?

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

March 27, 2021 (San Diego) -  Dear EarthTalk: Besides generating seasonal allergens, do any plants actually reduce air quality or cause air pollution? -Mike T., San Juan, Puerto Rico

BIRD TALK: CINNAMON TEAL AT SANTEE LAKES

By Greg Dunne                                           

March 14, 2021 (Santee) - The ducks are out at Santee Lakes. Santee Lakes is a great place to do some bird watching, get a walk in, or of course do some fishing. And, if you are birding, maybe get a chance to see a Cinnamon Teal.

Of all the lakes out in the East County, I think the one with the largest population of ducks is Santee Lakes--from the Mallards, Northern Shoveler and Wood Ducks, to the American Wigeon. Plus you are guaranteed to always find the American Coots hanging out with the ducks. Santee Lakes is one of my favorite places to bird watch because of the wide diversity of species ranging from Osprey and Peregrine Falcons to Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers as well as Western Kingbirds. An estimate of over 200 species can be seen in a calendar year at Santee Lakes.

BIRD TALK: AMERICAN COOT

By Greg Dunne 
                                                 
March 14, 2021 (East County Lakes) - The crazy old Coots are out. No, no, no, I’m talking about the American Coot (Fulica americana), also known as the Mud Hen. And yes, that’s where the origin of the affectionate term “old coot” came from. By the 1700s, the term “old coot” was often used for “a harmless, simple person.” 

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: SPRING FORWARD INTO SAFETY

Spring Into Safety!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

March 8, 2021 (San Diego) -- March 14th is Daylight Saving Time. Setting the clock forward means it’s time to check the clock and move it forward one hour. But for a spring clean safety check, make your “hot lap” around the home, why not take a little extra time for a short safety checklist?

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DRUG TAKE BACK DAY BECOMES YEAR ROUND

By David R. Shorey, East County Programs Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

David R. Shorey

February 16, 2021 (San Diego) -- San Diego Sheriff’s stations and headquarters have been available for more than a decade for disposal of unused prescription medication. There are 26 such drop-off locations throughout San Diego County and the program has collected over 100,000 pounds of prescriptions so far. For some, going to a law enforcement location to dispose of prescription drugs can be an uncomfortable experience. So the potential of medication being flushed down the drain or falling into the hands of those other than prescribed is heightened. This poses an environmental threat and a deadly threat, especially to youth.

ECO-FRIENDLY WAYS TO INCREASE HOME VALUE

By Sam Bowman, EarthTalk

February 7, 2021 (San Diego) - The housing market has never been in a greater state of flux. The pandemic has lowered interest rates and increased home values in never-seen-before ways. In addition, in spite of the coronavirus — and at times because of it — many have made moves for both professional and personal reasons.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: LEGALIZED MARIJUANA’S UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

 

January 27, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- In June of last year, Sheriff’s deputies raided six illegal cannabis dispensaries in Lakeside, unincorporated El Cajon, and parts of the City of San Diego seizing more than $221,000 in cash, six firearms and more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, marijuana edibles and concentrated cannabis. 

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: SHAKE THAT TREE – AS IN PROMPTLY REMOVE CHRISTMAS TREES TO PREVENT FIRES

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 27, 2020 (San Diego) -- If you’re having trouble parting with your Christmas tree, here’s a fact to motivate you: One-third (33 percent) of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. With this potential fire hazard in mind, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly encourages everyone to remove Christmas trees from their homes promptly after the holiday season.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: METH STRIKE FORCE REPORT CARD ASSIGNS FAILING GRADE

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies 

 

December 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County’s reputation is pretty solid when it comes to open space, small town living and friendly people. But when it comes to methamphetamine use, it’s a different story. San Diego County was identified as the “meth capital of the world” in the 1980s and 1990s in large part due to the proliferation of meth producing labs across the East County. Local elected officials and law enforcement struggled to keep up with the fallout. They established the Meth Strike Force in 1996 to address the problem. And while San Diego County is no longer the meth capital, the problem still persists in East County.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS NOV. 22-DEC. 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This special edition of Destination East County features seasonal and holiday events, real and virtual, to brighten up your holiday season even amid a pandemic. Many are online, others are drive-through or provide social distancing and other precautions to celebrate the season in festive outdoor settings.

Events coming up include a virtual version of the Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon, “a satirical play titled "November" produced online by San Diego’s Trinity Theatre, fireworks for Santee's 40th birthday celebration, a drive-up holiday bonfire in Lemon Grove, La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village complete with craft market, Santa at the Lakes in Santee, the Enchanted Village drive-through holiday lighting extravanganza at Noah’s Homes in Spring Valley,  more  holiday lights at Starlight Circle and Lantern Crest in Santee, a Thanksgiving Turkey Bash and Christmas with the Animals at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Santee, plus real and virtual visits with Santa Claus via Parkway Plaza in El Cajon.

Scroll down for full details on all of these fun and festive holiday season happenings.

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