La Mesa/Mt. Helix

HOMELESS MAN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED RAPE IN LA MESA

East County News Service
 
February 18, 2021 (La Mesa) - A homeless man is under arrest for allegedly trying to rape a homeless woman in La Mesa on Wednesday afternoon.
 
La Mesa Police responded to a report of a man attacking a partially undressed woman on Amarillo Avenue. They found the victim, whose face was bleeding. She told police the man fled when she screamed, Patch.com reports.

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HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO VOTE WED. ON MOVING MEETINGS TO 2 P.M.

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2021 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District Board President Joel Scalzitti wants to move public board meetings to 2 p.m.. The issue will be on the agenda on Wednesday, Feb. 17.


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HOMELESS PERSON FOUND DEAD AT AZTEC PARK IN LA MESA

La Mesa Police issue statement reminding public of how to get help for homeless people

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: La Mesa Parks and Recreation Department

February 12, 2021 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police report that a homeless man, 47, was found dead at Aztec Park Wednesday. The park is located at the corner of Morocco and Aztec Drive.

On social media, several residents had earlier voiced concerns about the individual, whom they mistook for a woman.

Laura Anne Maturo wrote that “the police were called numerous times and didn’t respond.”  She indicated that she spoke with the homeless person Tuesday night around 9 p.m..

LMPD issued a statement responding to concerns raised on social media. “The La Mesa Police Department did receive one calll regarding the man screaming in the park at about 1:30 p.m. on February 9th. Officers responded within 15 minutes. The man told officers that he had been having a nightmare and declined needing medical attention.”


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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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SHIRLEY WEBER SWORN IN AS SECRETARY OF STATE; SPECIAL ELECTION TO FILL HER SEAT WILL BE HELD APRIL 6

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Governor's Twitter feed: Sec. of State Shirley Weber is sworn in by Gov. Gavin Newsom

February 8, 2021 (San Diego) – Former Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, PhD, made history last week when she was sworn in as the first black woman to serve as California's Secretary of State. A special election to fill the 79th Assembly District seat will be held April 6, with several candidates in the running.

“I am excited to be nominated for this historical appointment as the Secretary of State of California. I thank @CAgovernor  for the confidence in me. Being the first Black Woman in this position will be monumental and I am up for the challenge,” Weber posted on Twitter.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL SELECTS POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD MEMBERS

By Alexa Oslowski

 

February 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – In response to community concerns following several controversial police use-of-force incidents, the La Mesa City Council selected members for the 11-person Community Police Oversight Board at the Jan. 12 Council meeting. 


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LMSV LAUNCHES SCHOOL BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, SEEKS MEMBERS

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Creative Commons by SA-NC via Bing

 

February 3, 2021 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District is establishing a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, as required by state law. The application form is available here and must be submitted by Feb. 19.


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HELIX HIGH SENIOR JOINS 2021 SDSU FOOTBALL SIGNING CLASS

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo:  Josh Simmons via Pinterest

February 3, 2021 (San Diego) -  San Diego State head football coach Brady Hoke announced the signing Wednesday of two additional players to National Letters of Intent or Offers of Aid. Including the 23 that signed in the early signing period in December a total of 25 athletes will join the Aztecs for the 2021 season.


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COVID VACCINE SUPER STATION OPEN AT GROSSMONT CENTER IN LA MESA

East County News Service

February 2, 2021 (La Mesa) – A COVID-19 vaccination super station opened today at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Operated by Sharp Healthcare, the The new walk-up clinic is vaccinating people from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Up to 1,000 doses will be administered daily, but the site’s capacity can be expanded to provide up to 5,000 vaccinations every day.

The clinic is located in the shopping mall at 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, between Wetzel’s Pretzels and the Ceramic Café.

This location will replace and expand the site Sharp HealthCare had been operating on Wakarusa St. Appointments made for that site transfer to the super station at the mall.


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WOMAN ASSAULTED BY STRANGER IN LA MESA

East County News Service

January 31, 2021 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police are warning the public about an assault in the 4300 block of Date Ave. near Acacia around 8 p.m. on January 28.   The female victim described the suspect as a tall white-or light-skinned male around 6 feet 2 inches tall with a thin build. 


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SEEDS OF CHANGE: LA MESA RECEIVES $30,000 GRANT FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN

By Alexa Oslowski

 

Photo: raised bed garden, Creative Commons by SRL

 

January 28, 2021 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa's first community garden will soon be sprouting up in MacArthur Park, near the community center and the city's downtown village.

 

The San Diego Foundation has granted $30,000 in seed money to build the garden, according to a press release issued by the city.


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STAR TREK ACTOR BEAMS INTO LA MESA COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY TO HONOR JAPANESE-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST FRED KOREMATSU

By Miriam Raftery

January 24, 2021 (La Mesa) – This Tuesday, January 26th, the city of La Mesa will proclaim January 30th as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties. The proclamation honors the late civil rights activist, who fought for the rights and freedoms of Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps during World War II.

During a 6 p.m. City Council meeting held via Zoom, special guests beaming in remotely will include Korematsu’s daughter, Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute as well as actor George Takei, best known for portraying Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu (right) in the original Star Trek TV series and later, Captain Sulu in Star Trek: Voyager. 


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WINTER BLACKBERRIES

January 15, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- Global warming and climate change are affecting growing seasons.  ECM editor Miriam Raftery was surprised to find ripe blackberries in mid-January in her backyard on Mt. Helix in unincorporated La Mesa. Blackberries normally ripe in midsummer and go dormant in winter, but this vine never lost its leaves.

Several readers have shared that they were startled by mid-winter harvests of peppers and tomatoes this month.


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PASSAGES: GOODWILL EXECUTIVE FROM LA MESA DIES OF COVID-19

East County News Service

January 16, 2021 (La Mesa) – Bob Kruse, 62, a La Mesa resident who oversaw over 50 local Goodwill sites as Director of Facilities, has died of COVID-19.


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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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PASSAGES: KELLY LYNNE CAMERON, MEDICAL WORKER AND ROLLER DERBY PLAYER, KILLED WHILE JOGGING IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Kelly Lynne Cameron with her husband, Tom Hovde, via GoFundMe

January 11, 2020 (La Mesa) – A 54-year-old woman killed while jogging in her La Mesa neighborhood has been identified by the  county medical examiner as Kelly Lynne Cameron. A GoFundMe site set up to help her family indicates she was a front-line medical worker and athlete.


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WEEKLY FREE MEAL PICKUPS FOR ALL CHILDREN AGES 2-18

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2021 (La Mesa) – Starting January 11, The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District will have curbside meal pickups on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 17 of its school campuses. (See list below).  The packs are available to all children ages 2-18, whether or not they are students in the district.

For more information, call (619) 668-5764 or visit www.LMSVSchools.org.  Below are the schools offering curbside meal pickups each Monday, excluding holidays:


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PASSAGES: WYATT OAKS WINERY CO-OWNER, PARTNER IN LA MESA WINE WORKS, DIES OF CANCER

East County News Service
 
January 8, 2021 (La Mesa) – Gavin McClain, the winemaker and co-owner of Wyatt Oaks Winery along with his wife, Stacy, has passed away of cancer.  He was a partner in La Mesa Wine Works, along with the owners of San Pasqual Winery.

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NO CHARGES FILED BY D.A. AGAINST OFFICER WHO STRUCK PROTESTER IN HEAD WITH BEANBAG DURING LA MESA RIOT

East County News Service

January 8, 2021 (La Mesa) -- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan’s Office announced yesterday that a La Mesa police detective, who fired a beanbag round that injured Leslie Furcron during a protest that turned into a violent riot in La Mesa, will not face state criminal liability for his actions. Read the DA’s detailed review here.

Furcron was struck in the forehead and left blind in one eye after throwing a can toward officers during a confrontation in which others were hurling rocks. She has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of La Mesa over her injury.


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REWARD FOR INFO ON GUNSHOT VICTIM DROPPED OFF OUTSIDE GROSSMONT HOSPITAL

East County News Service
 
January 5, 2021 (La Mesa) – Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the fatal shooting of Jose Santos Acevedo Torresdey, 36.  A red Honda sedan dropped off Torresdey on December 30 at 6:55 p.m. in the ambulance lot outside of the Sharp Hospital Emergency Room, then left.  The driver is unknown.
 
Torresdey suffered a gunshot wound in his chest. It is unknown who shot him, or where he was shot.  He was prounounced dead after lifesaving measures were performed by hospital staff.

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TASHA WILLIAMSON, EX-MAYOR HOPEFUL, AT HOME AFTER COVID BOUT: THANKS ICU

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  At a La Mesa press conference in June, Tasha Williamson called for the firing of Matt Dages, the arresting officer of Amaurie Johnson “because he lied on his report.” On Monday, the District Attorney’s Office charged him. Photo by Chris Stone

January 4, 2021 (San Diego) - Tasha Williamson, the social justice activist who ran for San Diego mayor and who also organized racial justice protests in La Mesa, San Diego and other communities, was recovering at home Monday after a frightening bout of coronavirus that saw her thanking ICU staff.


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CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST EX-LA MESA POLICE OFFICER MATT DAGES FOR FILING FALSE REPORT IN AMAURIE JOHNSON CASE

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2020 (La Mesa) -- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a criminal charge has been filed against a former La Mesa Police Officer in connection with an arrest of Amaurie Johnson, 23, near the Grossmont trolley station in La Mesa. The criminal complaint alleges that on May 28, 2020, Officer Matthew Dages, 30, filed a police report that contained false information.

The incident was shown in a video that went viral on social media, sparking racial justice protests. The Dages incident occurred three days after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis triggered nationwide protests and two days before a riot resulted in looting, vandalism and the burning down of three buildings in La Mesa.  The Johnson arrest has been likened to the fuse that ignited a powder keg of explosive rage over mistreatment of black suspects by white police officers.


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PEDESTRIAN FATALITY IN LA MESA

East County News Service
 
January 1, 2021 (La Mesa) — A 54-year-old woman  was struck by a Subaru WRX and killed yesterday around 3:25 p.m.  
 
La Mesa Police Department and Heartland Fire responded within minutes to multiple calls reporting the collision in the 4700 block of Harbinson Avenue. First responders rendered aid, but the pedestrian sustained multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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SUSPECT ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH MURDER OF MAN AT LAKE MURRAY SHOPPING CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Di'Marcus Lavonne Mayes, murder victim, courtesy of his family via LMPD

December 21, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police today announced the arrest of Alexander Cesar Nghiem of San Diego. He is charged with murder of Di’Marcus Lavonne Mayes, 29, who was shot multiple times in his upper torso on December 11th.

La Mesa Police responded to calls reporting gunshots in the parking lot of the Marketplace at Lake Murray Village, 5600 Lake Murray Boulevard.  Officers found Mayes unresponsive and performed CPR and other medical aid until medics arrived.


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HELP A SMALL BUSINESS SURVIVE SHUTDOWNS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: NAIL SALONS, HAIRDRESSERS AND PERSONAL CARE PROVIDERS NEED YOUR TLC

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2000 (Santee) -- The shutdowns from the Coronavirus pandemic have hurt many especially small businesses. Our nail salons, hairdressers, restaurants, and personal care businesses have been paralyzed, especially now during their busiest time of the year.  Many who have the means to help don’t know what to do.  Take-out orders are being placed to help local restaurants, but what about the personal care business owners and employees?

Here are some ideas to help these vital businesses survive.


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ELDERLY COUPLE FOUND DEAD OF GUNSHOTS IN MT. HELIX HOME

Update December 16, 2020:  The County Medical Examiner has identified the deceased as Judith Ann Caruthers, 72, and ehr husband, Herman Caruthers, 74.  Their deaths have been found to be murder-suicide; Herman Caruthers killed his wife and then himself, each with a gunshot to the head.

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2020 (Mt. Helix) – An elderly man and woman were found dead in their home yesterday in the 4900 block of Resmar Road on Mt Helix in unincorporated La Mesa. Both had suffered gunshot wounds.

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POLICE SEEK WITNESSES TO FATAL SHOOTING AT LAKE MURRAY VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTER

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 12, 2020 (La Mesa) – A 29-year-old man was found dead of gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the Marketplace at Lake Murray Village, 5600 Lake Murray Blvd. in La Mesa last night.  Police seek witnesses as well as a dark sedan, possibly a two-door, seen leaving the scene at a high rate of speed.

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FORMER LA MESA MERCHANT ARRESTED FOR VIOLATING RESTRAINING ORDER

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Peter Carzis, right, was earlier charged with battery among other charges, after allegedly attacking journalists outside of his La Mesa store.
 
December 11, 2020 (La Mesa) – Peter Carzis was arrested Tuesday and charged with violating a domestic restraining order, after authorities were called to an apartment in the 8200 block  Lemon Avenue in Lemon Grove, 10 News reports. Carzis had been ordered to stay at least 100 feet away from the protected party’s address, but was arrested sitting outside.
 
Carzis, the former owner of Peter’s Men’s Apparel in La Mesa, was previously arrested in January and charged with committing a lewd act in public, misdemeanor battery and felony vandalism.  He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to undergo a medical examination at that time.
 

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LMPD FIRED MATT DAGES, OFFICER IN AMAURIE JOHNSON INCIDENT, ON AUG. 7, CITY REVEALS AFTER APPEALS BOARD UPHOLDS ACTION

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – The city of La Mesa today revealed that before retiring, Police Chief Walt Vasquez terminated the employment of Officer Matt Dages. Dages was fired due to his actions during the controversial stop of Amaurie Johnson at a trolley station on May 27. Three days later, on May 30, a protest against La Mesa Police erupted into a night of looting, rioting and the burning down of three buildings.

Dages had accused Johnson, 23, of assault but the charge was dropped after body camera footage failed to substantiate Officer  Dages' version of the incident.  A video that went viral on social media prompted accusations of racial profiling by Dages.


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REVIEW: THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKY - LET YOUR BEST SELF SHINE

By Kathy Carpenter

December 8, 2020 (La Mesa) - Dateline with a touch of Glee sprinkled in best describes this virtual performance by Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa. Director O.P. Hadlock's The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey shines a light on two things: first, the brilliant acting of James Steinberg, portraying eight characters in this one man show. It takes a great talent to pull shows like this off and have viewers leave feeling as if a whole group of people were witnessed.


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