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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: TEMPERATURES ARE RISING

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

May 8, 2022 (San Diego) -- There’s a new wave coming to town – HEAT! Temperatures will exceed triple digit in the deserts and things will be warming up around most all of Southern California.

Here are some safety tips to help you beat the heat:


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: SAN DIEGO COUNTY’S DRUG AND ALCOHOL INITIATIVES

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

May 6, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- One of the questions I get from community members I work alongside in East County is “How do you determine the most important drug, alcohol and mental health issues to focus on?” The answer is that in addition to listening to the needs of the community, our priorities are also established through a framework established by the County of San Diego. The Behavioral Health Services Division of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency is designated with addressing these issues and working to promote recovery, discovery, resiliency and well-being through prevention, treatment and intervention. Integrated services are available from BHS for those who may be experiencing mental illness along with substance misuse.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: THE SNAKES ARE OUT

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Photo:  CC via Bing

April 18, 2022 (San Diego) -- With temperatures warming many people will be out hiking, having picnics, working in the yard, or golfing. But there is a warning that goes with this time of year and this type of weather: Snakes are out! And I am not talking about those “special” people in your life or at the office!


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PRODUCE PICKS: EASTER DINNER

By Greg Dunne                                         

April 12th, 2022 (Alpine) -- What are the best veggies For Easter dinner? Well, that of course is a personal preference, but here are some of the more traditional vegetables for the Easter menu. Asparagus tops the list and a few more are green beans, yams, potatoes, carrots, and Brussel sprouts. Here are some great vegetable recipes for your Easter dinner, see below.


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CHEERS! HESS BREWING NOW OPEN IN ALPINE, ITS SIXTH LOCAL LOCATION

By Henri Migala

April 12, 2022 (Alpine) -- One of the greatest benefits of living in East County is to be able to enjoy our wide open and natural spaces. The best thing to come out of the pandemic is the move of restaurants to open outdoor eating and drinking areas.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: WHOSE FAULT IS IT? APRIL IS EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS MONTH

Whose fault is it? We all own a bit of it!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

April 9, 2022 (San Diego) -- Let’s Rock! The month of April is declared “Earthquake Preparedness Month” by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. We are “way” over-due for an earthquake. Now is the time to prepare, not afterwards says Chief DiGiovanna!


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: NATURAL HIGH – GETTING OUTDOORS AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO DRUG USE BY TEENS

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

Photos courtesy Outdoor Outreach

April 4, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) - Now that spring has sprung in the East County and our excellent weather is getting even better, the desire to get outdoors is great, especially among our youth. This is the perfect time to build a positive link to the topic of outdoor recreation among our youth. Getting outdoors and keeping busy with healthy activities can help kids achieve a natural high instead of turning to alcohol and drugs to pass the time. It really does work. It’s not just an anti-drug slogan. Exercising triggers the brain and can elevate serotonin and dopamine levels and increase endorphins. These all contribute to general feelings of well-being, happiness and euphoria, while reducing stress, anxiety and low self-esteem.


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ANIMAL TALES: CAMPO’S FARM ANIMAL REFUGE GOING STRONG AFTER COVID

By SJ Miller

Photo:  Matt Lieurance with rescue Diamond.  Photo courtesy Farm Animal Refuge

March 24, 2022 (Campo) — When Jordan Russo and Matt Lieurance met working at Chili’s 14 years ago, they had no idea they would eventually become close friends, roommates, and co-founders of an animal sanctuary in Campo.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DON’T MIX CANNABIS WITH MEDICATION

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

Photo courtesy Marijuana Prevention Initiative

March 14, 2022 (San Diego) -- When Proposition 215 was passed in 1996 legalizing “Medical Use of Marijuana” and Proposition 64 was passed in 2016 legalizing recreational use, medical professionals provided arguments in support. The California Medical Association endorsed Proposition 215 “…because it incorporates best practices.” Such endorsements presented the image that the positive medical impacts of cannabis outweighed any negative ones. Unfortunately, seven years after full legalization, we are seeing an impact that wasn’t discussed either in the ballot arguments in favor of legalization nor in the anecdotal stories used to advance each measure.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: GAS PRICES AND THEFT

By Sam DiGiovanna

Tips to avoid gas theft and maximize your mileage

March 11, 2022 (San Diego) -- Feeling gas pains? If you haven’t felt it, you will soon! With gas prices climbing once again, the last thing anyone wants is to find their gas tank unexpectedly empty. But it’s happening. Gas thieves are starting to siphon gasoline from vehicles.

Any time there is a short supply, the demand goes up. When demand goes up, and supply gets low, crime goes up. Look out for thieves possibly looking to score free fuel at your expense.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP SPRINGTIME FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2022 (San Diego's East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes a look ahead at some of the most iconic festivals and events coming up this week, from St. Patrick’s Day fun to springtime celebrations, historical reenactments, wine and food festivals and more.

Scroll down for the full slate of events coming up. 


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ANIMAL TALES: THE DOG SOCIETY OFFERS FUN TIMES FOR HUMANS AND CANINES ALIKE

 

Photo: The Dog Society welcomes dogs and humans, by Charie Juaneza.

March 8, 2022 (Rolando) --The Dog Society, a new human-dog hangout spot that is part sports bar, part dog boarder, part restaurant, and part family-friendly fun, enjoyed its grand opening on February 25. 

The unique business located at 6331 University Ave in the Rolando Village area of San Diego, just east of La Mesa, is the brainchild of owner Sara Broetje.

“Basically, I love dogs and I love hanging out with my friends watching football, and I love drinking craft beer so I wanted to smash it all together,” she said.


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EAST COUNTY EATER: THE ALL NEW PUB AT LAKE CUYAMACA

By Henri Migala

March 6, 2022 (Julian) -- If you live in San Diego, then you have probably enjoyed a country drive to the charming mountain town of Julian and perhaps stopped to have lunch at what used to be the Lake Cuyamaca Restaurant overlooking the lake. It’s now under new ownership and has been fully renovated, reopened as the Pub at Lake Cuyamaca.


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ANIMAL TALES: CATCHING UP WITH CHOPPER THE BIKER DOG

Chopper the Biker Dog

By SJ Miller 

Photo: East County celebrity Chopper the Biker Dog,by Mark Shaffer

March 6, 2022 (La Mesa) — It's been just over a year since Fox 5 San Diego announced that canine celebrity Chopper the Biker Dog had been diagnosed with liver cancer. Now, I’m checking in on the beloved Boston Terrier and his dog dad, realtor Mak Shaffer.

 

“He’s terminal,” said Shaffer. “I’m trying to still give him some happiness and comfort.” 


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PRODUCE PICKS: POTATO TIME

By Greg Dunne                                            

March 1, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) --  It’s potato time! Yummy potatoes go with just about any meal. No, potatoes are not boring, they’re easy to cook with and delicious. With all the great varieties, Red Potatoes (also called new potatoes) White Potatoes, Yukon Gold, Purple, Russet, Baby Potatoes, they are fun to cook with.  And my favorites are potato pancakes-- see recipe at the end of article.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES REDLINING, ALCOHOL, AND THE PATTERN OF WHERE THINGS ARE

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

Photo left via Creative Commons

February 11, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) - In 1933, the federal government established the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), a program set up as part of the New Deal, intending to address the large number of home loans in default because of the Great Depression and to also expand opportunities for buying homes. Between 1935 and 1940, the HOLC created a series of color-coded maps that it stated was for the purpose of identifying creditworthiness and mortgage security risk. While assessing risk is understandable, the maps and the investments they guided, created a system of inequity and institutional racism that is still affecting poor and minority communities today.


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EARTHTALK®: DOES EATING SALAD HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE?

Source:  EarthTalk

Photo:  Eating more salad and less or no animal products is one of the most impactful ways you can help fight climate change and help the planet. Credit: Roman Odintsov, Pexels

January 28, 2022 (San Diego) - "Dear EarthTalk: I’ve recently been really into salads and have been wondering does my consumption of more salads and less meat help fight climate change? --Penelope Marie, via e-mail


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EAST COUNTY EATER: BUSY B THAI CAFÉ-- A TASTE OF THE FAR EAST IN EAST COUNTY

Story and photos by Henri Migala

January 10, 2022 (El Cajon) -- It seems that everywhere you look in East County, there is another culinary delight to discover. If you favor the flavors of the Far East, you must visit Busy B Thai Café, 330 Magnolia Ave, in El Cajon.

I spent my childhood growing up in Bangkok, Thailand, when my family was stationed there in the ‘60s, so I have a long-standing appreciation for Thai food and culture.

Visiting Busy B Thai Café is like slipping into a small piece of Bangkok, right in the middle of El Cajon. This charming and cozy restaurant is decorated with images and artifacts reflecting both the rich culture and religion of Thailand.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: COUNTY CONDUCTS POINT IN TIME COUNT OF UNSHELTERED RESIDENTS

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

Update: The Point-in-Time Homeless Count has been postponed until February 24.

January 5, 2022 (San Diego's East County) - More than 1,000 people were homeless in the East County in 2019, making up 13% of the county’s total. Only the city of San Diego had more. That’s according to the 2019 Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) Annual Report on Homelessness. El Cajon accounted for 10% of that total with 787 counted during the We All Count Point-in-Time Count. The PITC is a federally mandated requirement designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUDthat counting unsheltered people experiencing homelessness be conducted every other year. While San Diego County has usually chosen to conduct the count annually, it was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. It’s back on for this year.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: METHAMPHETAMINE IS THE TOP KILLER AMONG DRUG USERS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

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

December 17, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- It is something that I don’t talk about publicly all that often, but I am recovering from a meth addiction. For a period of about 10 years, I used methamphetamine to numb the pain of personal loss, feelings of inadequacy, and chronic depression. Self-medicating was the choice I made instead of seeking the professional help I needed. My illness of addiction and my fear of facing my true shadows led to a trail of personal destruction that included losing multiple jobs, loss of friends and relationships, and health issues that still affect me today.


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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.

Nowhere is this more evident than the recently renovated Sammy’s Food + Wine in La Mesa. With a full and varied menu that reflects the international background of founder Sammy Ladeki and the rich multicultural nature of our eclectic East County community, Sammy’s offers something for everyone.


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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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