El Cajon

WELCOME, EL CAJON RESIDENTS!

Our El Cajon Living section covers the city of El Cajon and unincorporated El Cajon areas including Fletcher Hlils and Rancho San Diego.

Click here for fascinating facts about El Cajon.  For community and city links, click here.


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ROCK CHURCH GIVING AWAY FREE FOOD TO FAMLIES IN NEED N EL CAJON, CITY HEIGHTS AND SAN MARCOS

Partnering With Local Businesses To Connect Resources With Those In Need

East County News Service; photo CC via Bing

March 3, 2021 (San Diego) – Rock Church is hosting three community distributions of free food, diapers and supplies to help those in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The dates and locations are:

Thursday, March 4 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church San Marcos (1370 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos)

Thursday, March 11 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church City Heights (4001 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego)

Tuesday, March 16 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church East County campus (808 Jackman Campus, EL Cajon)


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EL CAJON POLICE SEEK INFO TO SOLVE FATAL SHOOTING

East County News Service

February 27, 2021 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police detectives are investigating an apparent homicide which is believed to have occurred yesterday. At approximately 4:11 am, ECPD received a call from a citizen reporting gun shots in the 800 block of S. Magnolia. Officers checked the area but were unable to locate a crime scene at that time. 

Around 11: 34 a.m., the victim’s girlfriend returned home and found the victim deceased inside their apartment. 

“The victim appears to have been shot at least one time. The suspect is unknown at this time,” says Lt. Keith MacArthur.

The victim’s information is being withheld pending notification of family.


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GROSSMONT, CUYAMACA COLLEGES HAIL WINNING EMPLOYEES

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

February 22, 2021 (El Cajon) - Four employees at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have been awarded top honors for their commitment to the East County campuses.


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AMAZON AIMS TO BUILD DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

 

February 18, 2021 (El Cajon) - Amazon.com, the world’s largest internet company, has announced plans to build a distribution center in El Cajon.

 

The company is in the permit approval stage to build a new 140,000 square foot distribution center near Gillespie Field, on the west side of Cuyamaca Street and Weld Blvd.


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SPLASHDOWN: EL CAJON SEEKS FUNDS TO ADD WATER PLAY FEATURE TO PARK

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Kids frolic in a spray park at Santee Lakes
 
February 16, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Children in El Cajon may soon have a water feature to play in and enjoy. The City has approved asking staff to come back with proposals and possible funding sources to add a water feature, such as a splashpad or other cost-effective water feature, to Wells Park. 

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VICTIM IDENTIFIED, SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR MURDER IN SINGING HILLS SHOOTING

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Pixabay
 
February 13, 2021 (El Cajon) – The Sheriff’s department has provided an update on the fatal shooting which occurred Feb. 10 at the Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan. The victim has been identified as Dylan Brooks, 28, of Lakeside.  

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LA MESA CYCLIST KILLED IN EL CAJON COLLISION

By Miriam Raftery

February 11, 2021 (El Cajon ) – A La Mesa man, 32, died at the scene of an accident last night in unincorporated El Cajon.

The cyclist was riding an Electra Townie bicycle in the bike lane eastbound on Willow Glen Drive west of Dehesa Road around 7:20 p.m. when a silver Infiniti QX60 driven by an El Cajon man drifted to the right and struck the cyclist, who was ejected onto the roadway’s shoulder.

“Fire personnel were dispatched to the scene and pronounced the bicyclist deceased.  The driver of the Infinity was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash.  The bicyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision,” said Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.


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EL CAJON ARTIST WINS FIRST PLACE IN WATERCOLOR COMPETITION

Source: San Diego Watercolor Society

 

Photo: “Well at Home,” by Michael Garberick

 

February 11, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Michael Garberick, an artist and resident of El Cajon, won the first-place award in the extraordinarily competitive “New Beginnings” competition for members  held virtually in February 2021, on The San Diego Watercolor Society website, www.sdws.org.


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SHOOTING AT SINGING HILLS GOLF RESORT AT SYCUAN

East County News Service

February 11, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Yesterday around 6:00 p.m., Sheriff's deputies and officers with the Sycuan Police Department responded to a report of a shooting and found a man who had been shot in a hotel room at the Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan in unincorporated El Cajon. They provided lifesaving measures until relieved by Sycuan Fire Department personnel. The man was transported to a local area hospital, but  was pronounced deceased shortly after arriving.

The Sheriff's Homicide Unit responded and has assumed responsibility of the investigation. The identity of the victim is known to investigators; however, his name is being withheld pending family notification, says Lt. Thomas Siever with the Sheriff’s homicide unit.


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MACY’S CLOSING AT PARKWAY PLAZA IN EL CAJON

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Feb. 7, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Marcy's, long-time anchor store at Parkway Plaza regional mall in El Cajon, is closing down. Sales ranging from 10% up to 50% discounts or more are currently offered. 

“After careful consideration, Macy’s has decided to close our El Cajon Parkway location. This closure is part of the company’s strategy announced in early 2020,” said Julianne Olivo with Macy's corporate office public relations.

  “Macy’s previously shared this information with our valued colleagues. Regular, non-seasonal colleagues who we are unable to place at nearby Macy’s store will be eligible for severance, including outplacement resources,” she added.


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EL CAJON SEEKS YOUTH OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS

Source: City of El Cajon

February 3, 2021 (El Cajon) -- The City of El Cajon Teen Coalition is accepting nominations for the 2020 “Youth of the Year” award. The award recognizes outstanding students who went above and beyond to serve the El Cajon community over the past year.

The City Council will present two awards - one to a middle school student and one to a high school student.

The award criteria includes leadership, community service, commitment, and the value and impact of the community service completed during the 2020 calendar year. To be eligible, nominees must live in El Cajon and/or attend an El Cajon school.


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RELIGIOUS CONCERT IN EL CAJON WITH UNMASKED CROWD, MAYOR WELLS AS SPEAKER, DRAWS REBUKES FROM HEALTH OFFICIALS AND RESIDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Erik Herrara

Updated 9:30 p.m. with clarification from El Cajon Police that a counterprotester who alleged assault did later file a police report.

January 29, 2021 (El Cajon) – The County’s public health officer and many local residents are speaking out critically of El Cajon’s leadership after Mayor Bill Wells gave the opening prayer at a religious gathering January 17th that drew hundreds of outdoor worshippers at Prescott Promenade, nearly all without masks.

The “Let Us Worship” Christian service and concert was organized by evangelical musician Sean Feucht, who exhorted the crowd to yell as loudly as they could despite medical evidence that singing and shouting at worship services has led to super-spreader events and deaths elsewhere. He also invited people to come onstage for a “born again” ritual in which they were prayed over and hugged by faith leaders.

The event was in direct violation of the state and county COVID-19 regulations, held at a time when regional ICU capacity is zero and a stay-home order was in place due to surging COVID cases, including new, rapidly spreading variants.


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EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO OUST PLANNING COMMISSIONER HUMBERT CABRERA

By Briana Gomez

January 28, 2021 (El Cajon) – On Tuesday, the El Cajon City Council voted 4-1 to remove Humbert Cabrera from his position as a Planning Commissioner.

The meeting also included other items impacting the community, including an update on COVID-19, a proposal to outlaw protests at individual homes, and a proposal to limit the city’s investment in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

Removal of Planning Commissioner Cabrera

The proposal to oust Cabrera was made by Mayor Bill Wells and Vice Mayor Gary Kendrick. A staff report cited conflicts of interest by Cabrera  in violation of the city’s ethics policy, since his company has numerous clients seeking city permits. Other reasons included his allegedly demeaning treatment of applicants before the planning commission and questions over his integrity based on conflicting residency statements that he made during a candidate forum hosted by East County Magazine. (See our prior coverage.)


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EL CAJON POLICE ARREST MAN WITH ILLEGAL WEAPONS CACHE

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police officers conducting a traffic stop in the 1200 block of Main Street led to the arrest of Neil Alequin, 37, of El Cajon on numerous charges of possessing illegal weapons and drugs.

A probation search of his vehicle and residence found numerous weapons including six illegally possessed handguns (several loaded), illegal high-capacity magazines, various calibers of ammunition, parts and machining equipment used to assemble illegal firearms, several stun guns, brass knuckles, and a pistol suppressor. The search also found narcotics.


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HOW THE PANDEMIC LED TO HORSES AND SECOND ACTS

By Mimi Pollack
 
January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) -- 2020 was a strange, difficult, and even transformative year for so many. In my case, the pandemic made me feel very mortal and I decided to start checking things off my “bucket list.” First up was going back to horseback riding after 20 years of not riding or being in the horse world.

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MAN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER; WOMAN ASSAULTED WITH WRENCH IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) – A man who allegedly assaulted a woman walking in El Cajon by striking her in the head with a wrench has been arrested and charged with attempted murder.

On January 20 at 10:37 a.m., El Cajon Police officers and paramedics responded to a report of assault with a deadly weapon in the 800 block of Fletcher Parkway. The suspect,  Christian Fernando Graciano, fled on foot and was arrested nearby.


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HUMBERT CABRERA FACES POSSIBLE OUSTER OFF EL CAJON PLANNING COMMISSION

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) – The January 26 agenda for the El Cajon City Council includes a proposal to remove Planning Commissioner Humbert Cabrera over alleged conflicts of interest and ethical concerns.

According to a report by Mayor Bill Wells and Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick, the City Council has received complaints about Cabrera in emails and public comments.  The report raises three main areas of concern.


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BRUSH FIRE THREATENS HOMES IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

Update 3:40 p.m.:  Forward spread of the fire has been stopped at 15 acres, per Cal Fire.

January 20, 2021 (Rancho San Diego) -- The #CampoFire in Rancho San Diego poses an immediate structure threat along Avenida Roberta x Calle Los Arboles in the Rancho San Diego neighborhood in unincorporated El Cajon, Cal Fire reports. Campo Fire was reported just before 12:45 p.m. in an area near Jamacha Road and Campo Road

Evacuate if in the area or if you feel threatened. A temporary evacuation point for the #CampoFire is at the Edwards Cinema parking lot at 2951 Jamacha Rd.

The fire has charred about five acres as of 1:15 p.m.

Viewl life feed courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News: https://www.pscp.tv/10News/1lDxLpQynmyxm


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

MARKETINK: EL CAJON COUNCILMAN RETIRES FROM MARKETING CAREER TO PURSUE FORENSIC GENEALOGY

By Rick Griffin

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

January 18, 2021 (El Cajon) - As a young man in his 20s, Steve Goble set a goal to retire from work on his 60th birthday and devote the rest of his life to public service.


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EL CAJON SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR CITY’S PERSONNEL COMMISSION AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY FINANCING

Source: City of El Cajon

January 14, 2021 (El Cajon) -- The City of El Cajon is currently accepting applications for one position on the Personnel Commission and three on the Public Safety Facility Financing Oversight Committee. The filing period is open though Monday, February 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

City Council interviews via Zoom will be held on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.

Applications are available in the City Clerk's Office and on the City's website. For additional information, please call the City Clerk's Office at (619) 441-1763.

Personnel Commission

Vacancy: One (1) Commissioner

Duration: Four-year term to expire on January 31, 2025


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NEW RANCHO HELIX DE ORO FIRE SAFE COUNCIL OFFERS FIRE-SAFE TIPS

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) --Under the authority of the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County, the Rancho Helix De Oro is a newly formed fire safe council dedicated to educating and preparing our community in order to avoid devastating fires. The group has created an educational fire-safe flyer  (click link to view flyer) with information including tips for fire safety, an evacuation map, who to call during an emergency, and how to get emergency notification for the communities of Rancho San Diego, Mt. Helix and Casa de Oro.

The new group was formed with support from then-County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association, Valle de Oro Planning Group, Casa De Oro Alliance, and community members in collaboration with San Miguel Fire and Rescue, Cal Fire, San Diego County Sheriff, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

PRO-TRUMP DEMONSTRATORS CLASH WITH ANTI-FASCIST COUNTERPROTESTERS IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left: Counterprotester sprays a pro-Trump demonstrator; screenshot via ECM news partner 10 News

January 12, 2021 (San Diego) --  A clash between self-described pro-Trump “patriots” and counter-protesters who claimed to be part of the antifascist “Antifa” movement on Saturday in Pacific Beach turned violent, 10 News, the Los Angeles Times and Fox 5 report.

The demonstration occurred days after pro-Trump demonstrators seeking to block election certification stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent rampage that left a police officer and four insurrectionists dead, the Capitol ransacked and legislators terrorized.

But this time, multiple media outlets on scene report that the violence was instigated by anti-fascist counter-protesters. On social media, some counter-protesters have claimed the protesters included white supremacists and fascists.


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DRIVER WHO DRAGGED AND INJURED EL CAJON POLICEMAN IS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 11, 2021 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police today announced the arrest of the driver who allegedly dragged and seriously injured Officer Nick Cirello on December 14th. The suspect, David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan, was found and apprehended by the Los Angeles Rampart Narcotics Detail. He is charged with attempted homicide.

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DOG SAVES FAMILY FROM A FIRE IN EL CAJON, BUT MANY PET SNAKES PERISH

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson 

(Left photo of Samson courtesy of the San Diego Humane Society.)

(El Cajon) Jan. 9, 2021 Dog—man’s best friend.  The best friend this time was a 16-month-old mastiff named Samson.  

According to Cindy Peterson, who owns the affected home with her husband, Richard, Samson saved them from the fire. Samson heard a boom and started barking. The fire initially started in the garage where numerous snakes, rats, and other pets were kept.  The home, located in El Cajon, has been their home for eight years. 

El Cajon Councilmember Gary Kendrick sympathized with the loss of some of the family’s pets and wished the best for the surviving animals. “Good reason to have a dog,” he said of the hero mastiff. 

According to a statement released from Heartland Fire & Rescue, a crew from El Cajon, assisted by crews from Lakeside Fire and San Miguel Fire, were dispatched at 5:46 a.m. on Jan. 8 to the 1600 block of Pepper Hill Drive.  

(Photo at right taken by Rebeca Jefferis Williamson)

“Fire crews arrived within six minutes to discover a one-story-single family dwelling with the garage on fire,” states Heartland Fire & Rescue’s public information officer Sonny Saghera.  “Crews were able to control the fire within 20 minutes. The fire was confined to the garage and back wall with smoke and heat damage to the house and attic.”


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FREEDOM RALLY DRAWS DIVERSE CROWD

By Briana Gomez
 
Photo:  Minister Vereta Wilson (@compton_conservative) addresses the crowd
 
December 29, 2020 (El Cajon) – A myriad of diverse, yet mostly unmasked attendees crowded around vendors and made their way toward a makeshift stage decorated with Christmas décor and a podium in front of the El Cajon City Council chambers, where a “Freedom Rally” was held on Dec. 27 in response to Governor Newsom’s recent shutdown of businesses.

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EL CAJON RALLY SHOWS WHY WE ARE LOSING THE BATTLE AGAINST THE PANDEMIC

By Henri Migala

Photo, left:  Maskless rally participants called for all businesses to open now, despite pandemic shutdown orders from the county and state.

December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) – A rally titled “All I Want for Christmas is Freedom” was held on Monday, Dec. 21 at El Cajon Centennial Plaza calling for a lifting of pandemic shutdowns.  The timing of the rally coincides with hospital ICU units filled to capacity across Southern California, after 18 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 and 323,000 Americans have died.

There are legitimate equity questions, such as why big-box retailers have been allowed to stay open while many small businesses have been ordered shut down, particularly after data obtained from San Diego County reveals that many outbreaks have been tied to large stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target. Although the event was promoted as an opportunity to support local small businesses adversely affected by restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, any rational discussion of those issues was largely overshadowed at the protest by speakers, including prominent elected officials, who urged attendees to openly and actively defy local and state restrictions. Some used such inflammatory words such as devil, battle, war, evil, Marxist, tyranny, socialism, 2nd Amendment, and even a reference to “killing babies like Planned Parenthood" that seemed largely out of context to a discussion of economic vs. public health concerns.

Eighteen “vendors” were set up, of which about half were small businesses selling products. The others were related to a political cause or agenda, such as recalling Governor Newsom, or opening San Diego. Approximately 150 people attended the event.


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EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL KILLS IDEA FOR AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS IN APARTMENTS TO COMBAT COVID-19

City still has $200,000 in rental, mortgage and utility assistance funds for residents in need
 
By Kendra Sitton
 
December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) — A proposal to give air filtration systems to low-income households put forward by El Cajon City Councilman Steve Goble failed to move forward in a special City Council meeting, where no one seconded the motion. 

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30,000 AT RISK OF POWER SHUTOFFS DEC. 23-24 DUE TO RED FLAG WARNING

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has notified around 30,000 customers that their power could be shut off due to high fire danger.  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of Southern California due to possible strong winds from 8 a.m. Wednesday through 12 p.m. Thursday, Christmas Eve. The communities at risk range from El Cajon east to Campo, north to Escondido and mountain areas such as Julian, and as far south as Potrero near the border.

The threat of losing electricity in mid-winter during Christmas week is disheartening for backcountry residents, many of whom have stocked up refrigerators and freezers for holiday feasts. ECM has received complaints from residents who report SDG&E refused to reimburse them for food spoiled during other recent outages. Coming at a time when many are without jobs or have businesses with little income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospect of financial losses due to power outages or worse, a wildfire are particularly troubling.


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CHILD FOUND SAFE AFTER AUTO THEFT AND KIDNAPPING IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 21, 2020 (El Cajon) – A woman who left the motor running on her vehicle parked in an alley while she unloaded groceries into her apartment at 300 W. Madison Street saw a man steal the vehicle with her 3-year-old child inside.

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