Communities

WELCOME, RURAL RESIDENTS!

Our Rural section covers most San Diego County's inland communities south of I-8  to the border including Alpine, Barrett Junction, Boulevard, Campo, Deerhorn Valley, Dehesa, Dulzura,  Jamul,  Japatul, Lake Morena, Otay,  Potrero, and Spring Valley. 


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WELCOME, MOUNTAIN DWELLERS!

Our Mountain Living section covers the mountain communities in San Diego's East County north of I-8 including Aguanga, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Guatay, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Ranchita, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Shelter Valley and Warner Springs.


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WELCOME, DESERT DENIZENS!

Our deserts section covers the Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the communities of Borrego Springs, Ocotillo, Ocotillo Wells and Jacumba.


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WELCOME, SANTEE & LAKESIDE RESIDENTS!


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WEST HILLS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT UNDER EVALUATION AFTER THREATS

East County News Service

December 7, 2022 (Santee) - A 14-year-old boy is being evaluated at a hospital as a safety precaution after threatening to hurt students and staff at West Hills High School. 


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FATAL PEDESTRIAN COLLISION IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

December 7, 2022 (El Cajon) - Last night, El Cajon Police officers and paramedics responded to 724 Fletcher Parkway to assist in a call of a pedestrian that had been struck by a vehicle. Police officers arrived and found a man unconscious in the roadway. The man was transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The identity of the 89-year-old man is known.  However, his name is being withheld pending notification of family.


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CREATIVITY ON DISPLAY AT RAMONA ART AND WINE FESTIVAL

By Christianne McCormick

Photo:  Kristi from Custom Candles holds up a photo of her handmade candles

December 6, 2022 (Ramona) -- East County artists of all kinds and wine makers who are passionate about what goes into your glass helped to bring in the 10th annual Ramona Art and Wine Festival which was held at Ramona Ranch.


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STORM TO BRING SHOWERS TO REGION, SNOW IN MOUNTAINS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo:  snow at Lake Cuyamaca

December 6, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – A storm system is bringing rain this week to area valleys and mountains. After last night’s rainfall, a new storm system will move in Tuesday, with light rains and colder weather. A dusting of snow is forecast as low as 4,500 in East County’s mountain communities.

Winds and wet weather may produce difficult driving conditions. Wind gusts could reach up to 55 miles per hour over mountain peaks and ridges, and through wind-prone canyons and passes. Use caution, particularly with high-profile vehicles.  Be prepared for delays and carry chains if driving at higher elevations.


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LAMPLIGHTER'S THEATRE REVIEW: THE GIFTS OF THE MAGI - TIMELESS CHRISTMAS ROMANCE THROUGH DEC. 18 AT LAMPLIGHTERS THEATRE IN LA MESA

By Kathy Carpenter

 

December 6, 2022 (La Mesa) - In San Diego, we do not have snow for Christmas. For many, it isn't Christmas without snow. In "The Gifts of The Magi" presented by Lamplighter's Theatre, the character City Her asks the question: how can I tell the Fourth of July from Christmas without snow? The Narrator, Willie Porter, sums up the Christmas season with his reply: people are uncharacteristically civilized.  That’s a term I fell in love with immediately because it's so apt.


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ROCK CLIMBER DIES IN FALL ON EL CAJON MOUNTAIN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: El Capitan County Preserve

December 5, 2022 (Lakeside) – The body of a rock climber who fell to his death yesterday on El Cajon Mountain, located in the El Capitan County Preserve in Lakeside was recovered today by a Sheriff’s helicopter crew.


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WOMAN DIES IN FIERY LAKESIDE CRASH

East County News Service 

December 5, 2022 (Lakeside) – The driver of a BMW 325i lost her life in a fiery solo-vehicle crash yesterday at 4:27 p.m., though a passenger escaped.


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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNERS RAISE OBJECTIONS TO JAMUL HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2022 (Jamul) – The Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group (JDCPG) held two public hearings on the Jamul Casino Hotel and Event Center project planned by Jamul Indian Village (JIV). On November 19, the planning group chair Preston Brown sent a letter to JIV Chairwoman Erica Pinto stating that the tribal environmental impact report (TEIR) was “extraordinarily incomplete and premature for a project of this magnitude.” The planning group recommended the No Project Alternative.

The hotel would be 16 stories with floor-to-ceiling glass; the project would also include an indoor-outdoor event center and additional parking, but no new gaming.

ECM reached out to Chairwoman Pinto to request an interview. She initially agreed, but cancelled due to a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on other matters.  ECM sent written questions and requested a new interview date, but no response has yet been received. The Jamul Casino employees approximately 1,000 people and has provided economic security for the Jamul Indian Village of California's tribal members, many of whom lived in poverty in the past. The new project, if built, would significantly expand employment opportunities in the area as well as economic growth for the tribe.

County planner Scott Christman has said the project does not need approval of county Supervisors or the Governor, and the tribe has previously indicated it hoped to begin construction this month. However the the JDCPG contends that since the casino was built based on certain conditions and legal requirements being met, some of which have not been completed, the project thus does need approval/cooperation/participation of both Supervisors and the Governor.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: FALL FOLIAGE IN EAST COUNTY

December 4, 2022 (San Diego's East County) -- It's a beautiful time of year for a drive through East County's mountain areas.

Our editor, Miriam Raftery, snapped the image in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (left) and of the town hall in Ramona (right, below), resplendant in fall foliage.


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160 GUNS RELINQUISHED AT GUN BUY BACK EVENT

By Susan Taylor

Photos courtesy San Diego Sheriff's Department

December 4, 2022 (La Mesa) -- At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec.3, cars pulled into the parking lot across from the La Mesa Civic Center with guns that the drivers wanted to unload.  Organized by the San Diego County Sheriff and the City of La Mesa, assisted by El Cajon police, the event resulted in 160 firearms handed over in exchange for gift cards to Target stores.


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GOLDEN DOOR ACQUIRES 1,988-ACRE NEWLAND SIERRA SITE IN MERRIAM MOUNTAINS AS PRESERVE, ENDS BATTLE OVER HOUSING PROPOSAL

 

East County News Service

 December 4, 2022 (San Marcos) – The battle to protect nearly 2,000 acres in San Diego’s North County from development is over. Two years after voters approved ballot Measure B to block construction of the controversial Newland Sierra housing project previously approved by San Diego’s Board of Supervisors, one of the project’s leading opponents, Golden Door spa, has acquired the property to preserve it as open space and wildlife habitat for generations to come. 

 “We are excited to finally secure this remarkable benefit for climate action initiatives,” said Kathy Van Ness, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Door.  “Protecting this property reflects our deep commitment to sustainability, which we believe is part of our responsibility to our community and beyond.  Caring for the incredible resources on this site is a way we can truly contribute to our shared climate action goals.”

 Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, applauded this unique win-win opportunity for the region.


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SHERIFF RELEASES SKETCH OF SUSPECT WANTED FOR RAMMING WITH PICKUP IN SANTEE IN ATTEMPTED ROBBERY

East County News Service

December 4, 2022 (Santee) - Take a good look at this sketch. This man is wanted in connection with an attempted robbery in Santee on Friday, November 25 and for striking two women with the dark green pickup truck he was driving.


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ACCOMPLICE OF EX-SHERIFF CAPTAIN GARMO SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR CORRUPTION

East County News Service

Photo: Former Captain Marco Garmo, courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

December 2, 2022 (Rancho San Diego) – Waiel “Will” Anton, an associate of disgraced former Sheriff’s Captain M. Marco Garmo, has been sentenced to one year in prison for corruption after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice.


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JUST FIVE VOTES SEPARATE LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2022 (La Mesa)  With two seats open on the La Mesa City Council, the latest returns reported tonight by the San Diego Registrar of Voters are so tight that a recount may be in the cards.


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FIVE MEN ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING

By Miriam Raftery 

December 1, 2022 (Rancho San Diego) -- Deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station have arrested five men on suspicion of shoplifting from Kohl’s department store on Jamacha Road, gang allegations, and conspiracy to commit a crime. One suspect also faces illegal firearm charges.  


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REWARD OFFERED IN CASSIDY HOPWOOD CASE; FUNDRAISER SITE SET UP FOR BURIAL OF TEEN FOUND DEAD IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

November 30, 2022 (La Mesa)  -- A $1,000 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest in the case of Cassidy Hopwood, an El Cajon teen who went missing in February. Her body was found March 13 behind a business in the 7900 block of El Cajon Blvd. in La Mesa, but she was not identified until November. 


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WHY THE NATIVITY? LOCAL CAMELS PLAY KEY ROLES IN NEW FILM

East County News Service

View trailer of “Why the Nativity”   

November 30, 2022 (Ramona) – If you watch the docudrama “Why the Nativity” that opened over Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll see some local talent.  Camels and their handlers from Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona are key players in the film, which depicts the Christmas story in Bethlehem.  


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SDSU FOOTBALL: WEST HILLS ALUM JACK BROWNING NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

November 29, 2022 (San Diego) - San Diego State football’s Jack Browning has been named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year, the league announced Tuesday. An Aztec has now won the award five times (all over the last eight years), the most in the 24-year history of MW.


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GUNS FOR GIFT CARDS EXCHANGE IN LA MESA DEC. 3

East County News Service

November 28, 2022 (La Mesa) – You’re invited to turn in your unwanted guns and receive a gift card valued at $100 to $200 this Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the La Mesa Civic Center, 4825 Date Ave. in La Mesa.

 

Gift card values of $100 will be provided for handguns, rifles and shotguns, while assault weapons and ghost guns can be exchanged for a $200 gift card.

 

You can remain anonymous; no questions asked.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: INAJA MEMORIAL

East County News Service

November 27, 2022 (Inaja) – Claudia White took this photo of the Inaja Memorial between Santa Ysabel and Julian, where she stopped to remember the 11 men who lost their lives battling the Inaja Fire on November 25, 1956.  She writes, “My husband, Dean White, was across the canyon on the same fire. He was affected by what they saw and heard for the rest of his life. He was especially saddened by the death of his friend Carlton Lingo.”

She adds, “God bless Albert Anderson, Forrest Maxwell, Carlton Lingo, Leroy Wehrung, Miles Daniels, William Fallin, George Garcia, Virgil Hamilton, Joseph O'Hara, Lonnie Shepherd, Joe Tibbets. Rest in peace. You are not forgotten.”


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ECM SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: EAGLES SOAR TO FIRST DIVISION II CHAMPIONSHIP WIN IN EAST COUNTY SHOWDOWN

Story and photos by Liz Alper
 
November 26, 2022 (Escondido) - Since August, we’ve waited for this moment and now it’s finally here.  Ramona.  Granite Hills.  The Bulldogs and Eagles met tonight on neutral turf at Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium at Escondido High for the Division II CIF Final in an epic East County showdown.

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CELEBRATION OF LIGHT AT FORT CROSS IN JULIAN

East County News Service

November 25, 2022 (Julian) - Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Wynola, near the quaint mountain town of Julian, will host a Celebration of Light and more holiday fun each Friday and Saturday in December from 5 to 8 p.m. The celebration includes a walk-through light display with seven different lighted musical scenes to dazzle guests.


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WINDS ROAR THROUGH EAST COUNTY MOUNTAINS

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 3 p.m. with new outage information

November 24, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Gusty winds howled across East County’s mountains and rural region last night and early today, Thanksgiving morning.  Strong winds are forecast to continue through Friday.

The National Weather Service reports peak gusts as high as 89 miles per hour on Sill Hill near Descanso and 75 mph on Cuyamaca Peak in San Diego’s inland region between 10 p.m. last night and 10 a.m. today. Many other local areas had strong winds as well.

SDG&E reports outages in Campo, Dulzura, and Potrero with power restoration expected around 6 p.m. due to a foreign object hitting a power line, putting a damper on Thanksgiving cooking. In Granite Hills/Bostonia areas of El Cajon, outages have left people without power until an estimated 6 p.m. power restoration time. Two outages in the Julian, Wynola, Pine Hills and Santa Ysabel areas is due to have power restored around 5:30 p.m. Outages in East County have a 4 p.m. projected power restoration time. An earlier outage in Live Oak Springs, Boulevard and Jacumba, has been restored. Find out the latest outage info at to the SDG&E outage map.  


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COUNTY REJECTS EL CAJON GRANT FOR HOMELESS SHELTER, BUT CITY CHAFES AT REASON

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Robert Gehr: A homeless person sleeps in a tent on Main Street in downtown El Cajon.

November 24, 2022 (El Cajon) –  El Cajon’s grant application to purchase property to build a homeless shelter has been rejected by the County. According to El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell, County staff informed him that  the grant was rejected because “the City did not own the property that was being proposed for the shelter – in other words, the City did not own the property that the grant was intended to purchase.”

Mitchell, in an email sent to El Cajon’s Mayor and City Council, said he told County staff in a pre-grant question and answer session that the city intended to apply for a grant to buy land for a shelter.  “The response was that the city should still apply and explain how the site will be obtained,” he wrote.  “During their follow-p questions of the City’s grant application, they asked for an update and we indicated that an appraisal was on its way and that the formal offer was about to be made.”

The application was made through the County’s Capital Emergency Housing Solutions Grant Program, for which Supervisor Joel Anderson had urged East County cities including El Cajon to apply.


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SWEETWATER DRAINS LOVELAND RESERVOIR TO DEAD POOL LEVEL TO SAVE ITS RATEPAYERS MONEY-- AT THE EXPENSE OF RURAL RESIDENTS, WILDLIFE, AND FIRE PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo  left:  water drains from Loveland Reservoir in Alpine to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay;

Photo, right: bare mudflat at Loveland, once  400 surface acres, now doomed to be dropped to just 10.

November 23, 2022 (Alpine) – Without any regard to impacts on wildlife, fire danger, rural residents or recreational users at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine in San Diego's East County, the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) on November 16 began draining down the lake with an intent to reduce it to “dead pool” level – less than one-half of one percent of the reservoir’s capacity, once draining is completed over the next couple of weeks or so.

The water is being piped to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay Mesa. From there, it will be used to provide drinking water and other water needs to residents in the South Bay communities of Chula Vista, National City and Bonita.

But critics say  the action is destroying habitat for wildlife, perhaps forever, also eliminating fishing at the area's only reservoir with free fishing access, and threatening firefighters' ability to combat fast-moving wildfires .  Critics also contend that draining the reservoir so low is unnecssary at current drought levels. Yet the people most negatively impacted have no representation on the SWA board, which doesn't include East County.

Audio: 


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