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EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE COLUMNISTS


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: FRIENDS AND FLASHLIGHTS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

November 28, 2021 (San Diego) -- I remember as a young firefighter responding on a structure fire in the south end of town. Upon arrival we had a single-story, single-family dwelling with heavy smoke from the bravo side. My Captain told me to pull a pre-connect and make entry. RIT teams, two in, two out were not policy.


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RENOVATED AND REBRANDED, SAMMY’S IN LA MESA OFFERS CASUAL ELEGANCE AND FULL VARIETY OF FABULOUS FOODS

By Henri Migala, East County Eater

Photos by Henri Migala, Miriam Raftery and Sammy’s

November 27, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Having been reviewing restaurants in East County for nearly two years now I have been reporting that East County has become the new gastronomic center of San Diego.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: EVENTS TO BE THANKFUL FOR

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County features many events to be thankful for – from Thanksgiving weekend events at a local camel dairy and exotic animal sanctuary to holiday tree lightings, live hawk demonstrations, Christmas festivals and more.

Scroll down for all of these events and many more!


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

East County News Service

November 8, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County ushers in the holiday season with a wealth of holiday happenings and other special events across San Diego’s inland region.

Scroll down for all of these events and many more!


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: KEEPING KIDS SAFE, CLEAN AND SOBER DURING THE HOLIDAYS

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

Photo:  Creative Commons

November 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- As we move into the holiday season and pandemic restrictions are loosening in the East County, in-person gatherings are going to become more common. For many, this will be the first time in a couple of years that families will all be able to gather and there may be increased temptation to party hard this year to make up for lost time. Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, New Year’s, Festivus and winter solstice are all opportunities to celebrate with alcoholic beverages. While traditions of celebrating the holidays with fancy cocktails, good food and reminiscing about past experiences can be done responsibly, the opportunities for increased access to alcohol by youth presents a challenge to those gathered. This is the season to become even more diligent about reducing kids’ access to alcohol.


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SAVOR AUTHENTIC AFGHAN FLAVORS AT KABUL KABOB HOUSE IN EL CAJON

 

By Henri Migala, East County Eater

October 26, 2021 (El Cajon) -- East County is quickly becoming the new mecca in San Diego for sumptuous culinary adventures with an array of international cuisine, thanks to our region’s many immigrants and refugees. Adding to East County’s already rich diversity of restaurants is Kabul Kabob House in El Cajon, specializing in delicious and authentic food from Afghanistan.

Owned and operated by Ajrudin Nabizada, an Afghan immigrant, Kabul Kabob House offers probably the tastiest and most genuine Afghan food in San Diego County. The portions are generous and the prices affordable.

Nabizada came to the U.S. with his wife and two children in December 2014 on a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) after serving as a translator for US Special Forces in Afghanistan. He came to San Diego because his wife’s cousin was living here. Since arriving, his family has enjoyed the birth of their third child.


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WEST COAST SMOKE AND TAP HOUSE HAS BEST YEAR EVER WITH NEW OWNERS

By Henri Migala, East County Eater

October 26, 2021 (La Mesa) -- East County is quickly becoming the new go-to place in San Diego for the best BBQ in town. One of the most delicious is West Coast Smoke and Tap House in La Mesa, where new owners defied all odds by taking over amid the pandemic and serving up the restaurant’s most successful year ever.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS OCT. 28 - NOV. 21

By Miriam Raftery

October 24, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – This week’s Destination East County features many of East County’s most popular fall festivities including some haunting Halloween happenings, a murder mystery play, plus art and winetasting events to celebrate harvest season in our region’s wine country.

Scroll down for all of these events and many more!


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IS GLOBAL WARMING SPEEDING UP WILDLIFE EVOLUTION?

By Renee Jiang - EarthTalk

Photo:  Dark-eyed juncos have evolved bigger bills in response to the larger temperature extremes they are experiencing throughout their range across North America thanks to human-induced climate change. Credit: DaPuglet, FlickrCC

October 6, 2021 (San Diego) - "Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that some wildlife species are evolving much more rapidly in response to the warming climate?" -D. Gould, Hendersonville, N.C.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DRUG TAKE BACK DAY ON OCT. 23 CAN PREVENT OVERDOSES, HOSPITALIZATIONS, AND DEATHS

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

October 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- When a Santee woman recently passed away while in home hospice care, her loved ones were left with a medicine chest filled with prescription drugs. The homecare professionals who had been attending their patient told the family that they could not legally remove the drugs from the home. It wasn’t until a registered nurse came by to check on the wellbeing of the woman’s husband, that the drugs were removed from the residence for proper disposal.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS IN OCTOBER 2021

By Miriam Raftery

September 19, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes some thrilling and chilling October events, including Oktoberfests in La Mesa and El Cajon, the Festival of Sunflowers and Bathhouse Bazaar in Jacumba Hot Springs, an Autumn Jubilee in Santa Ysabel, the new El Cajon Foodie Fest, Dinner and Flamenco dancers in Lemon Grove, the Borrego Days parade and festival, the Lakeside River Park Conservancy’s Trail of Terror titled “Curse of the French Quarter,” Trick or Treat on Maine in Lakeside, spooky campouts at Lake Jennings, and Haunt Fest on Main in downtown El Cajon.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS!

And never forget about civility, kindness and respect…

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

September 5, 2021 (San Diego) -- Time flies as I get older. It seems like only months ago we were in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks on Sept 11th, 2001. I cannot believe another year has already gone by. The day this happened was a surreal day I will never forget.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH

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

September 1, 2021 (San Diego’s East County)  -- September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It’s not easy to talk about suicide. It’s often considered a taboo subject and frequently ignored. But according to the latest statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, it is the second leading cause of death in the United States for those under 35 and in the top 10 causes of death for those over 35. Each of us can play a role in preventing deaths by suicide beyond simply raising awareness of the topic. One easy way is to complete an 8 hour course to become a Mental Health First Aid responder.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS AUG. 27-OCT. 24

East County News Service

August 23, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features Lakeside’s rodeo and Western Days parade, a concert to benefit the homeless in El Cajon, a concert by Fred Benedetti in Julian, and the Holy Smokes BBQ in Descanso.

Plus, we have a preview of coming attractions including our very own Party in Paradise and Community Champions Awards on September 25 in Jamul, the Monkees Farewell concert in El Cajon, Laurel and Hardy Comedy in Spring Valley, and the Borrego Days Desert Festival, as well as outdoor concerts and car shows in El Cajon plus movies in county parks all summer long.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: MAKE NO DROUGHT ABOUT IT - THIS IS SERIOUS!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

August 18, 2021 (San Diego) - Your state’s drought really is a state of emergency, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Let’s start with the obvious: wildfires. There are close to 10,000 personnel, hundreds of fixed wing & rotary aircraft, hand-crews, dozers and water tenders battling multiple wildfires that have burned over 941,003 acres in California alone and not much end in sight. We still have another month or so before the real height of fire season kicks in with our Santa Ana and Diablo winds. Start preparing now!


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: SPRING VALLEY COMMUNITY ALLIANCE

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

Photo:  celebrating the first anniversary of of the Spring Valley Community Alliance are, L to R, SVCA President Braulio Sanabra, Regional Manager Charles Gailband of County Park and Rec., and SVCA Vice President Chris Pierce. Photo courtesy IPS.

August 5, 2021 (Spring Valley) - Braulio Sanabria felt uncomfortable with what was happening in and around Lamar County Park in Spring Valley. There were discarded mini alcohol bottles, drug paraphernalia, graffiti, drug sales and homeless encampments. So he decided to do something about it. What began as one man with a trash bag on a summer day in 2020 has evolved into the Spring Valley Community Alliance (SVCA). The effort grew organically as more and more neighbors began joining Sanabria on Sunday mornings to pick up trash, adopt a highway, report graffiti and take pride in the neighborhood. SVCA recently celebrated its first anniversary with a community cleanup, picnic and celebration at the park on Bancroft Drive.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON LIGHTNING

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Photo: CC by ND via Bing

July 26, 2021 (San Diego) -- Monsoon Season is upon us.  Here are some reminders of the intensity of lightning and safety reminders during monsoon thunderstorms…


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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.


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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:

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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.


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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


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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.


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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.

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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.

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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. 


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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. 


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