El Cajon

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.

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

 

Story and photos 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.

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. 

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.

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.

SANTEE WOMAN ARRESTED FOR DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL AFTER CRASH KILLS MOTORCYCLIST IN EL CAJON

Update: The victim has been identified by the County Medical Examiner as Ivan Joseph Kreft, 32, of El Cajon.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Creative Commons image, CC by NC-ND 
 
December 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – Pamela Gilmore, 59, of Santee has been arrested and charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence (DUI) following a fatal collision this morning in El Cajon.
 
According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, Gilmore was driving her 2011 Kia Sportage northbound on Plumeria Drive to westbound Pepper drive this morning at 7:05 a.m. when a 32-year-old El Cajon man riding his 2005 Suzuki GSXR 100 motorcycle eastbound on Pepper Drive approached Plumeria. 
 

EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER DRAGGED, STRUCK BY VEHICLE AND SERIOUSLY INJURED: SUSPECTS REMAIN AT LARGE

Update Jan. 11: El Cajon police announced the arrest of suspect David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan by the Los Angeles Rampart Narcotics Detail.
 
Update Dec. 18:  The officer has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
 
Update Dec. 14, 2020 10 p.m.:  The investigation by El Cajon Police has identified a suspect who is being sought for questioning:  David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan, from Guam is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. 

 
By Miriam Raftery
 
December 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – An El Cajon Police officer is hospitalized in a trauma center in critical but stable condition due to serious injuries sustained at 8:30 a.m. during a traffic stop of a rented black Volkswagen SUV, CA license plate 8LC117.

HUNDREDS OF SAN DIEGO FAMILIES TO RECEIVE MUCH NEEDED GROCERIES AT ROCK CHURCH EL CAJON AND CITY HEIGHTS FOOD DISTRIBUTION

Partnering with local businesses to connect resources with those in need

East County News Service

December 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- On Thursday, December 10 the Rock Church City Heights campus will also host a food distribution and on Tuesday, December 15th, the Rock Church East County campus will also host their food distribution. All events are free and open to the community.

FUND STARTED TO HELP RANCHO SAN DIEGO COUPLE THAT LOST HOME IN WILLOW FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Henri Migala

December 8, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) – GoFundMe has notified East County Magazine that a fundraising page has been set up to assist Doug and Michele Howarth, retired local educators whose home was destroyed in the Willow Fire on December 2.

The GoFundMe page for the Howarths states, “The Howarth’s lost everything in the Willow fires last night as they watched their home go up in flames. Doug barely got out in his PJs as his wife, Michele, watched on TV in Carlsbad while she was visiting her daughter Gwendolyn P.”  The fundraising page was set up by Josie Kasyouhannon on behalf of Gwendolyn Pavlick.

”Please help this kind and generous couple who have resided in our community for decades. Michele Howarth was a first grade teacher at Vista Grande Elementary School and is now retired. Doug Howarth worked as a guidance counselor at Cuyamaca Community College,” the site states.”Please help donate to help rebuild their lives. Every donation helps.” To date, around $12,000 has been donated.

TEEN SHOT IN UNINCORPORATED EL CAJON

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND
 
December 5, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Deputies from the Lakeside Sheriff's Substation responded to a call of a shooting last night at 7:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of N. 2nd Street, in unincorporated El Cajon. 
 
“A 16 year-old victim was located by officers from El Cajon Police Department several blocks away on 2nd Street in the city of El Cajon,” says Sgt. Phillip Beaumont with the Sheriff’s department.  “The victim suffered from several apparent gunshot wounds and was transported to the hospital by paramedics. The victim was last known to be in critical condition.”

A LONG NIGHT FOR FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING WILLOW FIRE

 

 

By Henri Migala and Miriam Raftery

Photos and videos by Henri Migala

December 3, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) – Thanks to the valiant response of firefighters from multiple districts across the region, the #WillowFire in Rancho San Diego was held to 30 acres overnight.  One home was destroyed and six others damaged, according to Cal Fire. 

But the damage could have been far worse, given that the fire started after dark amid howling Santa Ana wind conditions. (Video of high winds)

The fire started around 10:30 p.m. on Willow Glen Drive near Hillsdale Rd., swiftly racing through a canyon. Flames soon engulfed a home atop the ridge and scorched others, prompting late-night evacuations and a long night for both firefighters and residents.

BRUSH FIRE ENGULFS HOMES IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

Update 3:50 a.m.Dec. 3 - Forward spread of the fire has been stopped. The fire has held at 25 acres per Cal Fire. Firefighters remain on scene and some road closures remain in effect.

Update 12:40 a.m. Dec. 3:  Cal Fire has issued a map of the fire(right). San Diego Sheriff's Office issuing evacuation orders for following locations: Brabham St. at Jamacha, Wind River Rd. at Sonnett. Dr., Sea Pines R. and Congressional Dr., Sawgrass St. and Medinah Dr. Residents on Hilton Head Rd. east of Jamacha have also been advised to prepare for evacuation.

Update 11:50 p.m.:  A temporary evacuation center is being set up at the Edwards Cinemas at 2951 Jamacha Rd.

The Sheriff reports that the following road closures are in effect: Brabham St/Wind River Rd, Brabham St/Jamacha Wind River Rd/Sonnett St Sea Pines Rd/Congressional Dr Sawgrass St/Medinah Dr

By Miriam Raftery, East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo: Screenshot, ECM news partner 10 News

December 2, 2020 (11:25 p.m.) – A wind-whipped brush fire has engulfed at least three homes in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon tonight. At least 15 acres have burned and the incident commander has reportedly indicated that the fire has the potential to reach 200 acres.

Night-flying helicopters have been dispatched by San Diego Fire & Rescue, joining ground crews from Heartland Fire, Cal Fire, and San Miguel Fire Departments.

The #WillowFire started around 10:30 p.m. in the 2800 block of Willow Glen Drive near Hillsdale Road. Evacuations are in place from Wind River Road to Lim Rock Road.

The SDG&E outage map indicates power has been shut off to portions of Rancho San Diego and nearby communities of Spring Valley, Jamul and Dulzura.

AUTOPSY CONFIRMS PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY VEHICLE IN EL CAJON INCIDENT DISPUTED BY FAMILY

East County News Service 
 
December 2, 2020 (El Cajon) – An autopsy conducted by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office confirms that Stephan Anthony Harris, 29, of El Cajon died of multiple blunt force injuries caused by being struck by a vehicle on November 25.  The finding refutes claims made by Harris’ family.

EL CAJON STABBING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On October 23, a family member found Victor Saul Garcia Jr., 33, dead inside his home in the 1100 block of Marlene Avenue in EL Cajon.  El Cajon Police homicide detectives and the forensic lab determined that the victim had been stabbed several times after a struggle.

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK WITNESSES TO ACCIDENT THAT KILLED PEDESTRIAN

By Miriam Raftery 
 
November 26, 2020 (El Cajon) – A man in his 20s suffered a fatal head injury yesterday when he was struck by an unidentified vehicle Wednesday evening around 8:40 p.m. in the 300 block of West Chase Avenue. El Cajon Police Department is asking anyone with information to call (619)579-3311.
 
Police and paramedics responded, but were unable to save the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
An initial indication indicates the vehicle was traveling westbound on West Chase Avenue near Estes Street, when it struck the pedestrian, who was crossing the roadway.

A LIFE OF GIVING BACK: AARP CALIFORNIA AWARDS STATE’S HIGHEST HONOR TO FOUNDER OF VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICINE CLINIC IN EL CAJON

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

November 24, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A San Diego man has won AARP California's Andrus Award - the organization's highest honor. At age 85, Stuart Harvey is a retired civil engineer and a founding board member of the Volunteers in Medicine free clinic in El Cajon.

MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER IN DEHESA SHOOTING DEATH

East County News Service

Update: The victim has been identified as James Owens, 31, of unincorporated El Cajon.

November 21, 2020 (Dehesa) – Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call reporting a shooting Thursday night at 10:30 p.m.in the 6000 block of Stallion Oaks Road in unincorporated El Cajon.

According to Lt. Thomas Seiver, deputies learned that a person acquainted with the man who was shot had driven him away from the scene. Deputies stopped the vehicle on Stallion Oaks Road near Dehesa Road about a mile and a half away.

They found the victim inside and attempted lifesaving measures. Sycuan Fire Department arrived and relieved deputies, but unfortunately they could not revive the man and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

74TH ANNUAL MOTHER GOOSE PARADE GOES VIRTUAL ON SUNDAY, NOV. 22

 

If you missed the parade you can watch the virtual video here with highlights of the best parades through the years:  https://www.facebook.com/ABC10News/videos/365702947867513

Source: Mother Goose Parade

 

November 16, 2020 (El Cajon) -- East County's holiday favorite Mother Goose Parade, traditionally held the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is going to look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic when it takes place.

Virtually on Sunday, November 22nd, on San Diego's KGTV-TV Channel 10News.com, starting at 1 p.m.  It will be an exciting video montage of past parades so everyone can still enjoy the parade, but safely.

The parade, the largest holiday season parade west of the Mississippi, has been a community tradition for 74 years. Despite having to cancel the celebration, which traditionally winds down the main streets of downtown El Cajon, parade organizers anticipate the broadcast will still be a festive experience marking the beginning of the holiday season.

MARSHA GABLE APPOINTED INTERIM GROSSMONT COLLEGE PRESIDENT

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

November 20, 2020 (El Cajon) -Marsha Gable, Grossmont College’s vice president of Student Services, has been selected to serve as the college’s interim president beginning Jan. 1 following the retirement of Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh.

EL CAJON TECHNOLOGY SURVEY

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing; CC by SA-NC
 
November 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - The City of El Cajon is currently developing a strategic plan to invest in advanced technologies over the next 10 years. These investments will enhance the relationship between the City and its residents, businesses, and visitors.
 
The city invites residents, business owners and visitors to El Cajon to be a part of this process by taking a brief 5-minute survey. Your feedback will help staff explore ideas and concepts that will help transform the future of El Cajon.
 
To begin the survey, click HERE.

STATE ORDERS CURFEW NOV. 21-DEC. 21 AS COVID SURGES; COUNTY SHERIFF CRACKS DOWN ON VIOLATIONS INCLUDING IN EL CAJON, DESPITE MAYOR'S HANDS-OFF STANCE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Chart via San Diego County: Surging COVID cases increase stress on healthcare system

November 19, 2020 (San Diego) – California’s Department of Public Health today issued a curfew Nov. 21-Dec. 21 aimed at reducing spread of COVID-19 as cases surge statewide. The County also announced beefed up enforcement efforts, with many cease and desist orders issued in East County, including El Cajon despite the Mayor's pledge not to enforce health rules.

What the curfew impacts

The limited stay home order applies in Purple Tier counties including San Diego. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the order prohibits gatherings with people not in your household either on your property or elsewhere. 

Non-essential businesses must cease operations during the curfew; only activities defined as “critical infrastructure” (COVID19.ca.gov Essential Workforce) may continue.

The curfew does not prohibit individuals or people in the same household from leaving their residence, as long as they don’t interact with people from other households. You can walk your dog, exercise alone or with those in your household, ride your horse, and travel for essential purposes such as medical visits, picking up food or going to the pharmacy. The curfew also does not apply to people who are homeless.

EL CAJON MOTORCYCLIST ARRAIGNED ON INSURANCE FRAUD; ACCOMPLICE ALSO CHARGED

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC

November 18, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Omar Yousif, 22, of El Cajon, was arraigned on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud Monday after allegedly misrepresenting the timing of a motorcycle collision in order to receive an undeserved insurance payout. 
 
Shanice Davis, 21, was also charged as a co-conspirator for her involvement in the alleged fraud. 
 
An investigation by the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force comprised of the Department of Insurance, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the California Highway Patrol, working with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, revealed that on October 2, 2019, Yousif purchased a new insurance policy for his 2019 Harley Davidson FXFB Motorcycle. Two days later, Yousif and Davis reported that they were in an accident where Yousif’s motorcycle collided into Davis’ vehicle. 

CAL TRANS WORKER KILLED, THREE MOTORISTS INJURED ON STATE ROUTE 94 IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via ECM news partner 10 News

November 18, 2020 (El Cajon) –California Highway Patrol, San Diego Sheriff and San Miguel Fire Department personnel responding to a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle around 12:31 a.m. found a Caltrans worker who was unresponsive on State Route 94 east near the Avocado exit.

Other Caltrans workers told authorities that a driver traveling on the wrong site of construction cones struck the worker and dragged him approximately 40 feet, ECM news partner 10 News reports.

SOME CHURCHES AND RESTAURANTS FLOUT RULES, OTHERS COMPLY AS PURPLE TIER SHUTDOWNS COMMENCE

 

Story and photos by Jake Rose

Miriam Raftery contributed to this report

 

Photos, left: Parishioners at Skyline Church flock to indoor services, many without masks

November 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Skyline Church in the unincorporated area of La Mesa and Shadow Mountain in El Cajon had full parking lots for Sunday morning services, despite new Purple Tier restrictions now in effect throughout the county.

Purple tier restrictions started at midnight Saturday, due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. Purple tier, or Tier 1, is the most restrictive level for California and comes into play when positive tests exceed 8%. Many non-essential business operations must close, places of worship, restaurants and gyms must move all activity outdoors, and retail must cut capacity to 25%.

With businesses already struggling after the initial lockdown followed by an overall slowdown due to the public’s worry about the coronavirus, this second lockdown has some businesses and places of worship around East County flouting the new restrictions.

SDSU WOMEN'S SOCCER ANNOUNCES RECRUITING CLASS INCLUDING POWAY AND GROSSMONT HIGH SENIORS

The Aztecs add eight newcomers for the 2021 season

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo:  Sarah Funk via everipedia.org

November 14, 2020 (San Diego) - Mike Friesen, San Diego State head women’s soccer coach, announced the signing of National Letters of Intent from eight high school seniors--including one from Grossmont High and Poway High--who will begin competing for Aztecs in the 2021-22 school year. The announcement was made Friday.

SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SERIES OF EL CAJON HOT PROWL BURGLARIES AND CAR THEFTS

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A man suspected of a series of residential hot prowl burglaries and auto thefts in El Cajon has been arrested. Davon Lee, 20, of El Cajon was taken into custody yesterday by San Diego police while in a vehicle stolen from the site of the most recent burglary.  

SOME BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES SET TO DEFY SHUTDOWN ORDERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left: Major's Diner in Pine Valley, a long-time roadside stop for travelers also popular with local residents, could not survive another shut down in winter weather, the owner says.

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Several East County business owners and at least one megachurch have announced intentions to defy a new state mandate to shut down indoor services starting Saturday.  In addition, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells says police in his city won’t prioritize enforcement of businesses that remain open despite public health orders.

Places of worship, gyms, restaurants and movie theaters are ordered to stop indoor operations under state mandates due to high rates of COVID-19 that have moved San Diego County into the purple tier.  Retailers are supposed to cut service to 25% capacity and any schools not yet reopened are prohibited from doing so.

Restaurants and bars have been tied to 9.2% of all COVID cases in San Diego County from June 6 through November 7, or 3,666 cases, according to newly released county health data. Even with many modifications, the most recent two weeks of data from October 25 to November 7 show 389 cases tied to restaurants and bars, or 10.01% of total new cases—more than any other specific business category.

Yet some restaurant owners say they’re done with shutdowns and would be unable to survive another shutdown as winter approaches.

EAST COUNTY TRANSITIONAL LIVING CENTER RECEIVES LARGE BLANKET DONATION FROM SUBARU OF EL CAJON

Source: East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC)

November 12, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., East County Transitional Living Center will be accepting a generous donation of 80 blankets from the local El Cajon, Subaru dealer. “The Center is thrilled to receive great contributions like this from a wonderful local business so they can continue to help homeless and struggling individuals in the community,” says Helen Zamora, director of development at the ECTLC.

Subaru of El Cajon is teaming up with Beantown Blankets, an organization that helps businesses and people donate blankets, beanies, bags, and more to good causes to provide the contribution of blankets. Beartown Blankets also matches whatever amount the individual or business buys to donate.

Click Read more to hear about ECTLC's mission, vision, and virtual Gala fundraiser Saturday.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL EXTENDS COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS

Source:  City of El Cajon

November 12, 2020 (El Cajon) - On Tuesday, November 10, the El Cajon City Council unanimously approved extending the City’s COVID-19 relief measures through June 30, 2021. The relaxed rules and fees were set to expire on December 31, 2020. These measures include:

Pages