El Cajon

FIVE MEN ON HOMELESS VOUCHER PROGRAM ARRESTED IN EL CAJON MOTEL WITH DRUGS, ILLEGAL WEAPONS

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2023 (El Cajon) – Five men have been arrested at the Best Value Inn in El Cajon for possession of illegal drugs and weapons, including two on probation, both staying there under the County’s homeless voucher program.

It all started yesterday morning, when El Cajon Police officers stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on North Second Street. The driver, John Bevins, 63, was on probation for stolen property and had an illegal weapon, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, according to Lt. Darrin Forster.

That led to a search of the motel room where he was staying at the Best Value Inn on Oakdale Avenue, as a participant in the county’s motel voucher program for homeless individuals.


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STORM PROMPTS EL CAJON POLICE TO MOVE HOMELESS OUT OF CANALS, ISSUE SAFETY WARNING

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2023 (El Cajon) – Two days ago, El Cajon Police relocated homeless people found camped in drainage canals and warned of flood dangers. The National Weather Service reports that El Cajon received more than an inch of water during the past two-day period.

El Cajon Police posted this warning message and photos on Facebook:


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PAROLEE IN COUNTY VOUCHER PROGRAM IS ARRESTED FOR FENTANYL POSSESSION

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2023 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police yesterday arrested Peter Cusimano, 51, for possession of fentanyl and drug paraphernalia. Officers had stopped him for causing a traffic hazard in the 1300 block of East Main St. and upon learning that he was on probation for carrying a concealed weapon, the officers conduced a search, according to lieutenant Darrin Forster.


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LOCAL BEERS WIN BIG AT 2023 BREWERS CUP OF CALIFORNIA

East County News Service

 

March 25, 2023 (San Diego) -- This year’s Brewers Cup of California included 1,306 entries from 191 breweries. There were 83 categories and a total of 37 medals were awarded to breweries within San Diego County, including 13 gold, 8 silver and 16 bronze. The overall total is nearly double the 19 medals collected by local breweries at the 2021 competition. 

 

East County’s winning brewers include Burning Beard Brewing of El Cajon, Julian Beer Co. and Smoking Cannon Brewery of Ramona. Julian took silver, while Burning Beard and Silver Canyon won both silver and bronze medals. Gold medalists included Mike Hess Brewing of North Park, though Mike Hess also has a brewery in Alpine. 

 

See below for a full list of San Diego County winners: 


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PEDESTRIAN, 82, INJURED BY VEHICLE

East County News Service

March 23, 2023 (El Cajon) – An 82-year-old man was struck by a Nissan Altima while crossing Greenfield Drive west of Oro Street in unincorporated El Cajon on March 21 at 7:20 p.m.


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EL CAJON SEEKS OPTIONS TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST COUNTY MOTEL VOUCHER PROGRAM AFTER MINORS ASSAULTED BY PARTICIPANTS

Council also calls for investigation into price-gouging by motels

By Jessyka Heredia

March 21, 2022 (El Cajon) At a special session meeting Tuesday, El Cajon City Council members voiced outrage over recent crimes happening in hotels involving recipients of the county’s hotel voucher program. These vouchers are intended to help people vulnerable from homelessness find shelter at local hotels. 

Recently it was discovered that two men allegedly molested a 16 year old female victim at a Motel 6 located on Montrose Court in El Cajon and videotaped it. Both men are registered sex offenders and wore ankle monitoring devices. El Cajon Police Department has indicated it believes at least two other underage girls were sexually assaulted by the men.


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EL CAJON TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETING MARCH 21 ON HOW TO STOP CRIMES AT MOTELS HOUSING HOMELESS

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2023 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council will convene a special session on Tuesday, March 21 at 2:15 p.m. to weigh proposed regulations aimed at reducing crimes associated with individuals placed in local motels under the county’s homeless voucher program. An open session will be followed by a closed door session, for the Council to weigh legal options.

The action follows El Cajon Police Department’s announcement earlier today that two registered sex offenders staying at Motel 6 in El Cajon under the voucher program have been arrested and admitted sexually assaulting, molesting and videotaping their actions with an underaged girl; police have also indicated they believe at least two more young girls may also have been sexually assaulted by the men, who were both wearing ankle monitors as convicted sex offenders.


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EL CAJON POLICE SEEKS HELP TO FIND GIRLS WHO WERE ASSAULTED AT MOTEL BY TWO HOMELESS SEX OFFENDERS

East County News Service

Updated March 21 with additional details.

March 20, 2023 (El Cajon) – Two registered sex offenders have been arrested after admitting to sexual acts with underage girls at the Motel 6 in El Cajon, where one of the offenders had been placed by an organization that assists homeless people.

El Cajon Police Department has identified one victim, a 16-year-old girl.  ECPD is asking for public help to identify multiple young girls whom the men have reportedly admitted to sexually assaulting during the past week at the same motel.

These crimes validate concerns repeatedly raised by the city of El Cajon over County placement of homeless individuals in motels without vetting for criminal backgrounds, as ECM has reported.


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DUI CHECKPOINT IN EL CAJON ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY

East County News Service

March 16, 2023 (El Cajon) – If you’re planning on drinking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to bring a designated  sober driver, take public transit, or call a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.  The El Cajon Police Department will hold a DUI Checkpoint tomorrow evening, March 17, from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. in the 300 block of West Chase. 

 Checkpoint locations are chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests. The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired, according to ECPD.

 During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.


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GROSSMONT COLLEGE TO HOST REFUGEE JOB FAIR ON MARCH 23

More than 50 employers to attend 2nd Annual Event

Photo: job seeker conversing with recruiters at Grossmont College job fair

Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

March 16, 2023 (El Cajon) -- Grossmont College will welcome more than 50 employers representing industries such as healthcare, hotels and tourism, public safety, local government, retail, and defense, as part of the 2nd Annual Refugee Job Fair March 23. 


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EGG PAINTING CHARITY EVENT, BUNNY HOP RACES, EASTER BUNNY AND MORE AT PARKWAY PLAZA APRIL 4

East County News Service

Photo courtesy of Parkway Plaza

March 14, 2023 (El Cajon) – Parkway Plaza  shopping mall in El Cajon will host its annual Easter Eggstravaganza on Tuesday, April 4 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


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PEDESTRIAN STRUCK, KILLED ON I-8 IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

March 14, 2023 (El Cajon) – A male pedestrian died after being struck by a Kia the morning of March 12 on I-8 in El Cajon. He has not yet been identified.

The white 2016 Kia was changing lanes on westbound I-8 near West Main St. when the pedestrian “walked into the path of the Kia,” according to Officer Jared Grieshaber with the California Highway Patrol.


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SUSPECT SHOT BY DEPUTY AFTER RAMMMING PATROL VEHICLE IN EL CAJON

Update: Video of the shooting has been released.  Caution, content may be disturbing:  click here

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2023 (El Cajon) – An Alpine man found in a stolen vehicle was shot in the legs by a San Diego Sheriff’s deputy in unincorporated El Cajon, rammed multiple vehicles and then fled.  Following a pursuit that ended in a roll-over crash, the suspect was apprehended while trying to hide in a backyard shed in the city of El Cajon.

The suspect has been identified as Brenten Kinzenbaw, 25, of Alpine. NBC San Diego reports the suspect was spotted Thursday night in a stolen truck parked on Oro Street in El Cajon. 

The Sheriff’s department has indicated the man disobeyed multiple orders to exit the vehicle and instead put the vehicle in reverse, crashing into a parked car.  He then drove forward, nearly hitting deputies and a bystander, and struck a patrol vehicle.


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HOOLEYFEST ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARTYING RETURNS MARCH 17-19

Hooleyfest, the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in East County, will return next weekend after a hiatus—and that’s no blarney. The celebrating will span three days from March 17th through 19th at Hooley’s Irish Pub and Grille in La Mesa’s Grossmont Center.

Plus, you can enjoy live Irish music such as the Rebel Celts and Piper Ben, other music by bands such as 80’Z All Stars and Whiskey Ridge as you hoist a pint of Guinness and savor traditional Irish foods and cheer.


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SHELTER TO SOLDIER’S “SAVING LIVES, ONE SWING AT A TIME” GOLF TOURNAMENT TEES OFF APRIL 21 AT SYCUAN

East County News Service

March 7, 2023 (El Cajon) --- Shelter to Soldier (STS), a San Diego nonprofit that adopts dogs from local shelters and rescue organizations and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Military Sexual Trauma, will hold its 4th annual Saving Lives, One Swing at a Time” golf tournament on Friday, April 21 at the Championship Oak Glen Course of Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan (3007 Dehesa Rd., El Cajon).


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EJE ACADEMIES HOLDS GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL BUILDING

New state-of-the-art learning facilities and programming to support the academic achievement of EJEA students

March 2, 2023 (El Cajon) --  Excellence and Justice in Education Academies (EJEA) is proud to announce the Groundbreaking Ceremony for its new, $20 million, state-of-the-art middle school building, that was held on February 23, at 851 S. Johnson Avenue in El Cajon, California.

“This is much more than just a groundbreaking for a new school,” said Janet Vasquez, Executive Director of EJEA.  “This is the beginning of a new path to better futures through equity in education for thousands of current and future EJEA families.” said Janet Vasquez, Executive Director, EJEA.“


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CELEBRATION OF LIFE MARCH 3 FOR DAVID STEELE, COMMUNITY LEADER

February 28, 2023 (Rancho San Diego) – David “Dave” Steele has passed away of suddenly of congestive heart failure. Named small businessman of the year by the San Diego East County Chamber in 2022, Steele owned Pure Solar Power and was known as the “East County Solar Guy.”  He was also an elected member of the Valley De Oro Community Planning Group and an active member of the La Mesa Business Networking International group.

A celebration of life will be held on Friday, March 3 at 2 p.m. at Skyline Church, 11330 Campo Rd. in Rancho San Diego.


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TWO WOUNDED IN EL CAJON SHOOTING

East County News Service

March 1, 2023 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police report that two people were shot following a dispute at 1351 Emerald Ave. on February 24.

Police and Fire Dept. personnel responded to calls reporting gunshots shortly after 7 a.m. and transported a female victim to a hospital for treatment. While El Cajon Police were investigating the scene at Emerald, La Mesa Police advised that a male victim with a gunshot wound had arrived at Grossmont Hospital.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: CEDAR WAXWING IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

February 23, 2023 (El Cajon) -- Amber S. Dine sent in this photo of a Cedar Waxwing, taken off her balcony in El Cajon. These migratory birds typically travel in flocks, traveling in search of berries on cedars and other trees. At times they’ve been known to over-indulge, resulting in intoxication!


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URBN PIZZA DAMAGED BY FIRE

Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Photo, left: Robert Gehr

February 23, 2023 (El Cajon) – An early morning fire damaged URBN pizza and adjacent Creative Creature Brewing Company, according to Heartland Fire and Rescue Dept.

There had been a large party the previous night that kept staff there until midnight, said Derek Carnation of Creative Creature. "The fire started in their kitchen, and we're just next door; it's mainly smoke damage," he told East County Magazine after their establishments were cleared by the Health Department Thursday afternoon for reopening pending City Inspection, he tells ECM.


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EAST COUNTY PREP GIRLS SOCCER: WARHAWKS STRIKE DOWN BRAVES' LATE RALLY; ANOTHER EAST COUNTY SQUAD ELIMINATED FROM CIF PLAYOFFS

Story and photos by Liz Alper
 
February 17, 2023 (San Diego) - El Cajon Valley girls soccer came home from Yuba City on Tuesday with a win over River Valley High in the first round of Division V CIF playoffs.  Tonight, the lady Braves headed out on the road again, but this time, it was a shorter drive to Clairemont and George Hoagland Stadium to face #1 seed Madison in the quarterfinals.

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ACTIVE TUBERCULOSIS REPORTED IN TRANSIT RIDER, INCLUDING EAST COUNTY TRANSIT LINES DURING LAST HALF OF 2022

 Source: County of San Diego Communications Office 

February 17, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – If you rode the Trolley’s Blue and Orange lines between June 31 and December 31 last year, you may have been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) and at risk of infection. The Orange Line services East County, running from El Cajon through La Mesa, Lemon Grove and San Diego to Imperial. The Blue Line runs from Imperial south to the border area in San Ysidro. 


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PASSAGES: DANE TERRY, COFOUNDER OF CADILLAC WRECKERS BAND

By Miriam Raftery

February 17, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Dane Terry, 67, co-founder of the Cadillac Wreckers jazz and blues band, lost his life February 13 of injuries sustained when an SUV ran a red light in San Carlos and struck the motorcycle Terry was riding.  He was known as “Mr. Chromatonic” and was widely known and respected among San Diego’s music community.

A resident of El Cajon, Terry moved to San Diego County in 1987 from Los Angeles. His musical interest began early in life, when his parents gave him a harmonica before he started school. Later, he sang in church and played with several blues bands before founding a harmonica trio and later, the Cadillac Wreckers band, in which Terry played harmonica as well as serving as vocalist.

The band has performed jazz, blues and dance music at popular venues across the county including House of Blues, Humphrey’s Backstage Live!, and the Gator by the Bay festival. They also performed at many East County venues including street festivals, Spring Harp Fest in La Mesa, Hooley’s Irish Pub and Girll, Main Tap Tavern, and Wynola Pizza and Bistro. He was also amember of a bluegrass band headed by Chris Clarke.


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FREE “GIVE KIDS A SMILE” DENTAL CLINIC AT EL CAJON FAMILY HEALTH CENTER FEB. 25

 

Services for East County children in need is Saturday, February 25

Source:  San Diego County Dental Foundation

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

February 9, 2023 (El Cajon) - The San Diego County Dental Foundation will host the free Give Kids a Smile preventive dental treatment program for East County children in need at the El Cajon Family Health Center on Saturday, February 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


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EAST COUNTY PREP SOCCER: LATE FIRST HALF GOAL GIVES EAGLES WIN

Story and photos by Liz Alper
 
February 8, 2023 (Spring Valley) - Prep soccer is almost coming to an end and tonight, in the second-to-last game of the regular season, the Granite Hills Eagles headed out to Spring Valley to face Mount Miguel.  The Matadors are barely staying above water, at 9-9-3 overall and 3-2-1 in the Grossmont Valley League.  The Eagles aren’t doing much better; they’re 3-2-1 too in the Grossmont Hills League, but 6-9-3 overall.

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SANDAG COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS SPARKS RIFT AMONG EAST COUNTY LEADERS

By Miriam Raftery

February 8, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – For years, the mayors of East County’s four cities (El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Santee) have met informally to recommend who should represent the region on San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) committees. But on January 31, with the mayors at an impasse, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells put forth a proposal for what he called “an equitable process for tie-breaking” that would keep El Cajon represented on SANDAG committees. 

Mayor Wells’ list of proposed appointments would have given every city a primary member on at least one committee.

In the end, newly elected SANDAG Chair Nora Vargas followed SANDAG procedures to break the tie and announce the final appointments, which leave El Cajon with only alternates, no regular members on any SANDAG committee.


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MAN ARRESTED FOR SETTING FIRE TO HOME IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2023 (El Cajon) – A house fire this morning in unincorporated El Cajon has been determined to be arson.Shaun Maize, 44, has been arrested and charged with arson. He will be booked at San Diego Central Jail. 


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EL CAJON PBID SETTLES SUIT OVER PUBLIC ACCESS: CITY COUNCIL HEARS PLANS FOR EXPANDED FESTIVALS, HELP FOR HOMELESS AND MORE

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: Rich Riel announced settlement in lawsuit over violations of open government laws by Downtown El Cajon Business Partners

January 25, 2023 (El Cajon) – Downtown El Cajon Business Partner is settling a lawsuit over Brown Act violations, according to testimony presented at Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting. But complaints remain over no-bid contracts for downtown events.  The City Council also heard plans to bring back Foodie Fest during the America on Main festival, expand a tiny homes program for the homeless, and build a veterans’ memorial.


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SUSPECT IN ALVARADO AREA PHARMACY STABBING IS FATALLY SHOT BY SAN DIEGO POLICE OFFICER IN CREST

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Viktoria Voragen

 

Update January 20, 2023: The victim has been identified as Mary Ellen Carter, 66, of Lakeside. The shooting suspect was Frank Bower, pharmacist.   The officers involved in the shooting were  Officers Salvador Laurel-Torres and Robert Raynor.  Officers Laurel-Torres and Raynor have been employed with the San Diego Police Department for seven years. Both officers are currently assigned to Eastern Division. As in all officer-involved shootings, the officers in this case are currently on administrative assignment until cleared to return to full duty.

January 18, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – A man suspected of fatally stabbing a woman at a pharmacy in the College area was shot and killed by San Diego Police at a home in Crest yesterday.


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ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSES RESUME FOR IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES IN EL CAJON; MORE TEACHERS NEEDED

By Susan Taylor

January 15, 2023 (El Cajon) - “Now I Know my ABCs.”  So sang the five Afghani women in a recent English as a Second Language class in El Cajon at the Regional Center on East Main Street. On this, day the men from Afghanistan were absent, as often happens, since some have one or more jobs. Only two of the students in the class were from Mexico, a reflection of changing demographics.


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