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EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE COLUMNISTS

CHIEF’S CORNER: IMPACT OF COVID-19 AND BRUSH FIRE SEASON

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
March 31, 2020 (San Diego) – It’s important to remember this years brush fire season will be a very active one with so much rain over the winter months. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 virus is putting many at risk as it’s hampering mitigation efforts with local fire agencies.
 
From brush mitigation management, prescribed burns, to multi-agency training for firefighters, local, state and federal fire agencies are trying to adhere to the country’s new social distancing guidelines to slow the spread.
 
The U.S. Forest Service, announced last week that it was suspending prescribed burns. This is an effective way to reduce hazardous vegetation from hillsides.
 
Fire Chiefs’ concern now is that we’re going to be more reactive to fire than proactive. We need the publics help more than ever. We’ll do our part, but the public has to do their part!
 

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: LOGIC IN AN ILLOGICAL TIME

By Jake Zawlacki

March 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- I love watching zombie movies. They’re gruesome and grotesque and impossible. For all their entertainment value, I could never take them seriously. I knew that people didn’t act like that. They didn’t lose their minds when a slow-moving threat came into the world. They didn’t raid everything and kill people out of fear. I knew those things, until I went into a supermarket yesterday.

The current global situation is a unique one, but it’s not one that has to scare everyone to scurry like rats in their holes. It can also allow us to unite and do our part to help mitigate this phenomenon, to not act selfishly, and to leave food and supplies in the aisles for everyone else.

CHIEF’S CORNER: MARCH IS COLON CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
Make No “If’s ands or Butts” About It – Get Checked!
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego) -- I always liked to say I was Andy's training captain, because as young boys we would set fires in my parents' backyard and play "firefighter." Andy was the smart one. I provided the training center (my parents' backyard), which meant I was stuck with the evidence while Andy rode his bike home, another successful "training" session complete.
 
Though my dad wasn’t in the fire service, I swear he was a fire investigator in a past life. Andy and I always took pains to cover our tracks from the fires we set, but my dad managed to find the burn patterns, the point of origin and the Ohio blue tips used for ignition along with burned wood, debris and weeds.

CHIEF’S CORNER: IS THERE A VIRUS OF INCONSIDERATION?

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
March 15, 2020 (San Diego)--You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. At the bank, the gym, in the grocery store, the receptionist. You were the one disgustingly sneezing, coughing and hacking without covering your mouth. Like a driver texting, you’re placing everyone else at risk. Is it just ignorance or arrogance?
 
I am shocked as I observe the inconsideration some are demonstrating during this time. Please be mindful!
 
Flu activity peaks between December and March resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths each year. Now with the Corona virus we have an even greater risk of being exposed to an additional dangerous and deadly virus.
 
What you could have done once symptoms came on is:

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: OPIOID EPIDEMIC – LAKESIDE TOWN HALL MARCH 25

Update: This event has been postponed due to the COVID-19 emergency.  Watch for announcements of rescheduling after the state and county emergency orders banning large gatherings is listed.

 

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

March 9, 2020 (Lakeside) -- Dozens of law enforcement officers, agents and deputies fanned out across Lakeside and the East County in January in the culmination of a 10-month undercover operation aimed at curtailing drug activity in Lindo Lake County Park. More than 20 suspects were arrested during the sweep. Fentanyl was part of the haul.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS MID-MARCH THROUGH APRIL

DUE TO THE EMERGENCY DECLARATION OVER THE COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS),  ALL EVENTS BEFORE MARCH 31 HAVE BEEN ORDERED CANCELED.   PLEASE CHECK WITH ORGANIZERS FOR STATUS OF ALL UPCOMING EVENTS.

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features St. Patrick’s Day fun at Hooley’s Irish Pub, Irish teas in Julian, spring wildflower walks in the Anza-Borrego Desert, a Hawk Talk at the Santa Ysabel Nature Preserve, Agatha Christie’s the Hollow in La Mesa, concerts at the Magnolia in El Cajon and a LatinX Film and Art Festival at San Diego, all in March.

Plus we have a preview of April attractions including an oysters and white wine pairing at Ramona Ranch Winery, Cajon Classic Cruises in El Cajon, a Literary Arts Festival at Grossmont College, as well as a Garden and Butterfly Festival at Cuyamaca College.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

CHIEF’S CORNER: ARE YOU READY FOR AN EARLY WILDFIRE SEASON?

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

March 6, 2020 (San Diego) -- We’ve had the driest January and February for quite some time. Usually its our wettest months of the year. We’ve had some rain, but not much. We did experience more than normal wind events and more are expected through this week with warm temperatures promoting fuel growth and drying out vegetation faster than normal!

The National Interagency Fire Center Issued this alert for Southern California: Significant large fire potential is expected across the region during the outlook into late March, April and May. 

REAL ESTATE REALITY: PROTECTING THE NEST FROM UNCOOPERATIVE NEIGHBOR

By Maryanne Jackson real estate Broker CNE, CPRES.

Photo: Cooper's hawk, Freestock creative commons

March 6, 2020 (San Diego's East County)

 Dear Maryanne,

I woke up to a commotion in my driveway. I looked out and noticed tree trimmers trimming a large tree on our property with branches that grow over to the neighboring side. This tree is providing privacy and shade to me! Most important of all the tree is home for a hawk; she has a nest and babies currently in the tree.

I ran out and yelled for the tree trimmers to stop as they were climbing the tree on our side. My concern is we had not discussed this with our neighbors. Shouldn’t we have a voice in the company selected and the time of the service? We want to protect the hawks and we also want to make sure the company is licensed and bonded. What can we do now?

 R.M.

La Mesa, Ca.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP EVENTS MID-MARCH THROUGH MID-APRIL

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features St. Patrick’s Day fun at Hooley’s Irish Pub, Irish teas in Julian, spring wildflower walks in the Anza-Borrego Desert, Agatha Christie’s the Hollow in La Mesa, and concerts at the Magnolia in El Cajon.

Plus we have a preview of coming attractions including a LatinX Film and Art Festival at San Diego State, Eggstravanza at Santee Lakes and Cajon Classic Cruises in El Cajon.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS: FEB. 22-APRIL 15

By Miriam Raftery

February 19, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features spring wildflower walks, Cupids and Canines at Grossmont Center, hawk watching in Ramona, chamber music at Cuyamaca College, a Leap Day concert in the Anza-Borrego Desert, open farm day at the Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona, comedy and concerts at the Magnolia I El Cajon.

Plus we have a preview of coming attractions including tomatomania at the Water Conservation Garden, Trivia nights at Wine Works in La Mesa, Agatha Christie’s The Hollow at Lampligters Theatre, a Salute to Local Heroes, St. Patrick’s Day events, and the opening of Cajon Classic Cruises season I El Cajon.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: THE HUMAN OIL CHANGE

By Jake Zawlacki
 
February 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Last week, I received a call from the local blood bank and was told there was a current patient in need of my blood. I made an appointment, and days later I gave my donation. As the nurse was taking down my information, I heard my name mentioned outside the door with a couple people using the word “special.” My nurse then informed me, as well as two other nurses throughout my short visit, that it was indeed a rare event in which a donor would be donating their blood to a predetermined patient. I happened to be that rare event.
 
I asked what happened to the rest of the blood, imagining huge tanks of boiling human blood lined up in a high-ceilinged warehouse where spigots would fill empty barrels and buckets held by black rubber gloved hands.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DRINKING ALCOHOL CAN INCREASE RISK OF CANCER

By David R. Shorey
East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies
 
February 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Let’s say you stop at a bar on the way home from work on Friday evening to take advantage of happy hour. You have a couple of beers or cocktails and that’s it. The next day you have a couple of glasses of wine with your Saturday night dinner and no more. Then during Sunday morning champagne brunch, you have a mimosa or two. Does that make you a problem drinker? Probably not.
 
But research shows that the more you drink, the more at risk you are of getting cancer. A direct link has been found between drinking alcohol and cancer risk, mostly cancer of the head and neck, the esophagus, and liver. Notably, breast cancer in men and women is also included.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS FEB. 15-MARCH 29

By Miriam Raftery

February 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features Cupid’s Country Picnic in Santa Ysabel, Hikes and Hops in the Anza Borrego Desert, Emoja Jazz and Jokes at Cuyamaca College, Cupids and Canines at Grossmont Center, and Hawk Watch in Ramona.

Plus we’ll have a preview of coming events including music and comedy stars performing at the Magnolia in El Cajon,Tomatomania at the Water Conservation Garden, a Leap Day concert in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Agatha Christies “The Hollow” onstage at Lamplighters Theater in La Mesa, and the La Mesa Chamber’s Salute to Local Heroes at Sycuan.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

REAL ESTATE REALITY: WINTER HOME SALES OFTEN BRING SERIOUS BUYERS

By: Maryanne Jackson Real Estate Broker
Photo Credit: Miriam Raftery
 
January 31, 2020 (San Diego's East County)
 
Dear Maryanne,
 
I am wondering if there are advantages to selling our home in the winter months rather than waiting until the springtime?
 
Martha H. Spring Valley
 
Dear Martha,

CHIEF’S CORNER: YOUR SUPERBOWL STRATEGY NEVER STOPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
January 29, 2020 (San Diego)--As you prepare for Super bowl festivities make sure to be a good sport and keep your ‘Safety’ front and center at all times.
 
Why? “Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest one-day sporting event in the United States and unfortunately one of the most dangerous days on roads and highways. Its estimated that 325 million gallons of beer are consumed by Americans on Super Bowl Sunday. That's roughly one gallon for every man, woman, and child in the country.” Aggressive behavior increase and there are more opportunities for food poisoning than any other day.
 
So, are you hosting the game in your Home Field? Be a good Quarterback and avoid a false start with unhealthy foods. Keep the ‘tight end’ looking just that ‘tight’ by adding healthy snacks to your menu instead of high fat foods, or go for that super bowl trophy by serving all healthy snacks. Let’s avoid that ‘Wide Receiver’ if possible.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JAN. 25-FEB. 29

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features East County Dining Club’s Flamenco music and Spanish tapas night at the Spacebar Café and Winebar in La Mesa– benefitting our own East County Magazine. 

Other events coming up include a powwow at Cuyamaca College, Hawk Watch in Ramona, well known performers at the Magnolia Center in El Cajon, Restaurant Month in Julian, birdwatching in Lakeside, a Chapman Stick concert at Mission Trails Church, Trivia Nights at Wine Works in La Mesa, and Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “The Hollow” onstage at Lamplighters in La Mesa.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

GET "FIRED UP" THE SAFE WAY!

CHIEF'S CORNER : FIREPLACE SAFETY

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

 

January 20, 2020 (San Diego) -- It’s been pretty chilly lately and nothing beats a nice fire in the fireplace during winter months. Though fires may keep us warm, there are hazards that need to be addressed.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning says DiGiovanna. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility as fire prevention starts with you!

Here are some fireplace safety tips to help keep you safe:

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: AN ASTRAL NEW YEAR

By Jake Zawlacki
 
January 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- You may have spent your New Year’s Eve getting drinks, watching a big plastic ball drop, or looking at fireworks. I didn’t. I brought my New Year in a little early, on December 29th. And it arrived in three steps, in a separate dimension.
 
First, my astral body walked through blue flames, my many negative life experiences burning like kindling.
 
Next, my body walked through yellow flames, the many positive attributes cultivated over a millennia of past lives rejoining my earthly self.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE (OUT OF) CONTROL

By David R. Shorey
East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies
Photos: Creative Commons
 
January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- If you are looking for an alcoholic drink in East County, you’re in luck. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local watering hole where you can belly up to a bar and wet your whistle, or a retailer, where you can grab a bottle and take it home. The East County has plenty of options.
 
Perhaps too many.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JAN. 10-FEB. 28

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features Hawk Watch in Ramona, concerts at the Magnolia in El Cajon, the silent movie Passion of Joan of Arc in Borrego Springs, and Open Farm Day at the Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona.

Plus we’ll have a preview of coming events including San Diego restaurant week and Julian’s restaurant month, trivia nights at Wine Works in La Mesa, tapas and a flamenco show at Spacebar Café in La Mesa, and a Lamplighter’s Theater production of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery play, The Hollow.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

REAL ESTATE REALITY: INSPECTION WOES--IT’S GOOD TO KNOW

By Maryanne Jackson Real Estate Broker

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)  

Dear Maryanne,

My wife and I are considering selling our home in Spring Valley and purchasing 

a larger home in the same area. We will need to use the proceeds from the sale to UPSIZE.

Is it recommended to hire a home inspector prior to putting our home up for sale? 

If so, what is the advantage of us putting the 450.00 out to do this. Will the buyer still need to get their own home inspection during the escrow investigation process?

Eric J. Spring Valley, CA

CHIEF’S CORNER: GAS LEAKS IN THE HOME

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

January 5, 2020 (San Diego) -- Got Gas?  As temperatures cool down, home heating use goes up. Additionally firefighters respond to more reports of gas inside a structure call. It’s important for homeowners and renters to inspect their home-heating appliances and perform any maintenance necessary to avoid any health or safety hazards.

If you smell gas in your home or your carbon monoxide detector goes off, immediately evacuate the house and call 911.

BEST OF EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JAN. 4-FEB. 28

By Miriam Raftery,
 
January 4, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features live music at San Pasqual Winery in La Mesa, a full moon walk in Anza-Borrego, and concerts at the Magnolia in El Cajon. 
 
Plus we’ll have a preview of coming events including the silent movie Passion of Joan of Arc in Borrego, Open Farm Weekend at Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona, trivia nights at Wine Works in La Mesa, tapas and a flamenco show at Spacebar Café in La Mesa, and a Lamplighter’s Theater production of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery play, The Hollow.
 
So click Read More for all of these events and many more!

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: A MAGICAL PLACE

By Jake Zawlacki

December 30, 2019 (Santee) -- As we are all in the thick of holiday magic, I‘d like to write about the most magical place in East County: The Santee Swap Meet. I’ve been swap-meeting since my youth, and I’ve never spent a dull morning walking the wide aisles of other people’s junk. For the uninitiated, the Santee Swap Meet is located on the same premises as the Santee Drive In. Cost of entry for buyers is $2 and the cost for a space to sell is $28 on Saturday and $35 on Sunday. 

The Swap Meet is a relic of a forgotten era. Sure, there’s still Spring Valley and Kobey’s going strong, but most sellers there are vendors importing crap from China or India or Mexico and selling it for profit. It’s a full-time job. The Santee Swap Meet is not that place.

It’s the only time in East County I heard a gunshot, but wasn’t worried. Somebody was just testing it out. It’s the only public place where I’ve seen Nazi regalia for sale without hearing a single protest. And it’s the only place I’ve ever seen ancient Chinese erotic paraphernalia made of jade and serpentine. It’s an unusual kind of place.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS DEC. 21-FEB. 4

East County News Service

December 19, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County features North Pole Limited train rides in Campo, Julian Victorian Christmas teas, and the Waits live at  San Pasqual Winery’s tasting room in La Mesa. 

Plus we’ll have a preview of coming events including concerts at the Magnolia in El Cajon, a Boogie Woogie New Year’s Party at the Courtyard Marriott in El Cajon, a Roaring 20s New Year’s Eve bash at Viejas, and open farm weekend at the Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona,

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

REAL ESTATE REALITY: WHO PAYS WHAT ON A REAL ESTATE PURCHASE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?

By Maryanne Jackson Real Estate Broker

December 10, 2019 (San Diego’s East County)

Dear Maryanne,

Can you clarify for us whom pays for what on a property purchase/sale in Southern California?

Joel B and Jessica M.

POLITICAL WRANGLING: FLAME WARS IN ALPINE, SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSES TO SANTEE SLOGAN AND MORE

By Buck Schott
 
December 12, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – This week, we bring you sizzling barbs lobbed by East County public officials, ouster of a local school board president off the state school boards association, and snarky responses on social media to Santee’s new city slogan and logo. 

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: AN ANALOG MIND

By Jake Zawlacki

Photo by Toby A. Cox

 

December 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- I would like to jump into some crazy stuff, but I feel like you’re just getting to know me; the satire and controversy can wait. I want  to build a foundation, but I first need to define my mind. I have an analog mind, and the only way to really define it is against a digital one. The best way to understand the difference between analog and digital is that analog is based on infinite gradation whereas digital is all 0s and 1s. A wave can have an infinite amount of unique points. A 0 or 1 cannot. They are either 0 or 1. There is no in between.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DECEMBER IS NATIONAL IMPAIRED DRIVING PREVENTION MONTH

By David R. Shorey

East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

December 5, 2019  (San Diego’s East County) -- Holiday time in the East County is marked with tree lightings, trips to the snowcapped peaks, and the sound of holiday music floating in the air. It is also the most popular time of year for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this time of year has the highest rate of driving under the influence incidents, injuries and deaths. In fact, preventable alcohol-related deaths account for almost one-third of all traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA.

That’s why each year, December is declared National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Law enforcement officials in the East County participate by annually increasing patrols and DUI checkpoints in the region. We observe Impaired Driving Prevention Month to highlight steps we can take to improve safety on our streets and raise awareness of these preventable dangers.

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