Santee/Lakeside

WELCOME, SANTEE & LAKESIDE RESIDENTS!


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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES FANITA RANCH BEFORE VOTERS CAN WEIGH IN ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
September 24, 2020 (Sante) -- By a 4-1 majority, the Santee City Council approved the controversial Fanita Ranch development that will add nearly 3,000 homes and about 8,000 residents to a city that has been fighting over the project for most of its 40-year history.

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WOMAN ARRESTED FOR STABBING FATHER IN LAKESIDE

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2020 (Lakeside) – Hannah Wogatzke is under arrest for the suspected stabbing of her father, who is hospitalized in critical but stable condition.


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AGC-EAST COUNTY HEADQUARTERS AND APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING FACILITY IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN LAKESIDE

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

Sept. 24, 2020 (Lakeside) The AGC East County Headquarters and Apprenticeship Training Facility (AGC) is under construction and slated to open this year. The facility will serve as the headquarters and training center for carpentry, cement masonry, drywall finisher, drywall lather, heavy equipment operator, painter, laborer, and more trades.

For those trying to retrain or hone skills because of COVID-19 economic losses, job seekers may consider enrolling.

Additionally, the state-of-art 43,600 sq. ft facility will provide construction services to the 1,100 plus AGC member firms in the County. 

Training services include continuing construction education, safety services, government affairs, labor relations, business development, and many more.


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FANITA RANCH VOTE, HELP FOR HOMELESS TOP AGENDAS IN SANTEE AND LA MESA THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Will Santee Councilmembers keep campaign promises made to voters when the controversial Fanita Ranch development comes up for a vote this week?  

What actions will La Mesa’s City Council take to address housing and homelessness?

These are the hottest issues on agendas in East County this week. Scroll down for details


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SANTEE MAYORAL CANDIDATES AND A COUNCIL CONTENDER AGREE CITY FACES RACIAL CRISIS, BUT CLASH OVER DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

View full video of ECM’s Santee Mayoral and City Council candidates forum

By Mike Allen

Photo: Santee Mayor John Minto and his opponent, Councilman Stephen Houlahan, City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

Both candidates for Santee mayor, and one candidate for District 4 have varying opinions on issues but to one question about the biggest crisis besides traffic facing the city, the three agreed it’s racial intolerance. But the three voiced divergent views on housing and development issues, including controversies involving Fanita Ranch.

The candidates responded to questions at a forum held Sept. 10 via Zoom hosted by East County Magazine. Mayor John Minto and Councilman Stephen Houlahan, who is vying to become Santee’s mayor, along with City Council candidate Samm Hurst appeared at the hour and a half forum moderated by ECM Editor Miriam Raftery.

Dustin Trotter, a construction contractor running against Hurst, declined to appear, saying he had a prior scheduled meeting. He also did not respond to a request for a one-on-one interview via Zoom with ECM’s editor, but has responded to questions from ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be published soon along with in-depth interviews with all Santee candidates.


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MISS LAKESIDE WINNERS CROWNED AFTER VIRTUAL PAGEANT

Source: Miss Lakeside Pageant

All photos by Rob Riingen Photography

Photo: 2020 Queens left to right: Priscilla Guidi, Trinity Stewart, and Brylee Cox. 

September 13, 2020 (Lakeside) - On March 12, 2020, due to nationwide shutdowns Jill Fleming, the Miss Lakeside Scholarship Pageant Executive Director since 1997, was faced with postponing or cancelling the Miss Lakeside Pageant for the 1st time ever, two days before the actual event was scheduled to take place due to sudden COVID-19 shutdowns. After months of preparation, the program books were printed, new sashes and crowns ready to be placed, families, friends, and community members were excited to see our Lakeside girls take the stage, and our contestants were ready for their time to shine...the 58th Annual Miss Lakeside Scholarship Pageant was 48 hours from taking the stage! After 5 months of waiting, hoping, and praying to be able to reschedule the "normal" pageant.. Director Fleming came to the conclusion that it was time to move forward.


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SANTEE COUNCIL GRANTS LANTERN CREST 50 NEW UNITS, DEFERRAL ON IMPACT FEES; APPROVES CHANGE ORDER FOR TV STATION

By Mike Allen
 
Photo:  50 unit addition to Lantern Crest Senior Living.
 
September 10, 2020 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council unanimously approved a 50-unit addition to the Lantern Crest Senior Living nursing home that included granting the developer a zoning change as well as deferring the payment of about $1 million in impact fees.

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BRUSH FIRES IN SANTEE AND CAMPO: EVACUATIONS IN SANTEE

 

Update 4:30 p.m.:  The #Carlton Fire is now in mop-up, after burning approximately 4 acres.

By Miriam Raftery

Rebecca Jefferis Williamson contributed to this story.

Photo by Laura Williamson

September 10, 2020 (Santee) -- A brush fire that started at 12:28 a.m. in palm trees along the riverbed in Santee at Mission Gorge Rd. and Fanita is just north of the State Route 52 and Highway 125 junction. The fire has prompted evacuation of homes on Willow Grove near Calton Hills, west of the GTM store, Mayor John Minto has advised ECM.

The fire has burned at least one to three acres, Sgt. M. Tingley with the Sheriff's Dept. told ECM reporter Rebecca Jeferris-Williamson, who is on scene. A helicopter is dropping water on it, eight fire engines are assgined and additional resources are en route.

Carlton Hills Blvd. is closed between Mission Gorge Road and Carlton Oaks Drive.


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SANTEE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mayor John Minto and challenger Stephen Houlahan; City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

September 5, 2020 (Santee) – East County Magazine will host a forum on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. for candidates running for Santee Mayoral and City Council races. To date, Mayor John Minto and mayoral challenger Stephen Houlahan have both agreed to participate.  In the race for an open City Council seat, Samm Hurst has confirmed she will participate; Dustin Trotter said he had a scheduling conflict for the forum. All candidates in both races have also now done separate interviews with ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be posted soon.

The forum will be virtual on Zoom. You can watch the livestream at https://www.Facebook.com/eastcountymagazine and send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. A videotape of the forum will be posted later on www.EastCountyMagazine.org and the forum will also be broadcast at a later date on KNSJ radio.

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are details on the candidates (listed in alphabetical order for each seat) and key issues:


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HOMEFED YANKS FANITA RANCH PLAN BEFORE COUNCIL VOTE

 

By Mike Allen

 

Cancelling Magnolia extension, as proposed, would remove key evacuation route for wildfires, critic says

August 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000 unit residential project planned for Santee’s northwest quadrant, is being delayed by developer HomeFed Corp. to make some significant changes, including removing an extension of a key arterial serving the project.

In a letter posted on the Fanita Ranch Facebook page last week, Jeff O’Connor, the company’s vice president, said HomeFed requested the delay “to remove the extension of Magnolia Avenue from the project in order to direct those funds towards the improvements to SR-52.”


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STATE SENATOR BRIAN JONES TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, PROMPTING SENATE ADJOURNMENT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Facebook: Senator Brian Jones wearing a mask while speaking on the Senate Floor earlier this month

August 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)—State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) has tested positive for COVID-19. The finding prompted a temporary adjournment of the State Senate just days before the Aug. 31 end of the legislative session, putting the fate of some pending bills in question.

The announcement, made on Senator Jones’ social media sites today, states that he received the news after returning to Sacramento for the end of the legislative session.  The statements indicate he will be taking additional tests to rule out the possibility of a false-positive result.  “In the meantime, he’ll be following CDC and CDPH protocols for those receiving a positive test result,” his Facebook page states.  Those protocols recommend isolating at home while awaiting test results.

The statement does not indicate when or why the Senator was tested, or whether he has had any symptoms. Jones has been wearing a mask when speaking on the Senate floor, including as recently as Monday.


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VALHALLA STUDENT HONORED AS ONE OF SAN DIEGO’S MOST REMARKABLE TEENS

East County News Service
 
August 25, 2020 (El Cajon, CA) — Amelie Simpson, a junior at Valhalla High School, has been named one of San Diego’s most remarkable teens. The award, presented annually by the San Diego Public Defender’s Office and the San Diego Public Defender Youth Council, honors teen accomplishments in a wide range of categories, including civic involvement, leadership, and the arts.
 
Nominated by the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, Simpson is one of 25 teens recognized this year for their achievements. Beth Thorp, founder and executive director of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, recommended Simpson for the award saying, “While Amelie’s musical abilities standout publicly, the majority of her other accomplishments, especially her dedication to community service and academic excellence go unnoticed because of her humility.”           
 
The East County teen is a singer and songwriter, who performs at venues throughout San Diego, including the House of Blues, the San Diego County Fair, Grossmont Center, and the Helix Brewing Company. Ron Troyano, founder of Alchemy San Diego, who manages events for Seaport Village said, ”We feature music from many local performers and one of our favorites is Amelie Simpson, a true talent.”

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NEIGHBOR SAVES ELDERLY WOMAN FROM FIRE IN LAKESIDE

By Miriam Raftery

August 22,2020 (Lakeside) – A 76-year-old woman suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation from a fire at her home at 11414 Pinehurst Drive in Lakeside this morning.

According to Sgt. Greg Hampson with the Sheriff’s department, the victim “was assisted out of the house by a male neighbor.”  She was transported to UCSD Medical Center.

Firefighters and deputies from the Lakeside substation responded to the scene at 10:31 a.m.  The fire was quickly extinguished and no other structures were threatened.


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FRIDAY NIGHT FISHING FUN RETURNS AT LAKE JENNINGS

East County News Service

August 19, 2020 (Lakeside) – Lake Jennings is now open every Friday night from 3 p.m. to midnight for “Friday night fishing.”  The lake was recently stocked with 3,000 pounds of catfish.


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ROLLING BLACKOUTS ACROSS COUNTY: BE PREPARED

 

East County News Service

August 14, 2020 (San Diego) -- The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which oversees the statewide electric grid, has directed SDG&E to initiate rotating, one-hour service interruptions (rotating outages) throughout its service territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The blackouts are underway and are currently affecting thousands of residences.  View a list of current outages and estimated restoration times at  https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map.

While the rotating outages will be widespread in the region, communities located in high fire threat districts, which experience public safety power shutoffs, will be exempt from the service interruptions, SDG&E announced today.



The local outages are the result of excessive heat driving up electricity use and putting strain on the grid. CASIO has declared a “Stage 3” power emergency because contingency reserves have fallen or are anticipated to fall below requirements and cannot be restored without service interruptions.


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FEDERAL LOANS AVAILABLE TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY CIVIL UNREST

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to help small businesses across San Diego County that were affected by civil unrest which began May 26, 2020, if they do not have the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

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SIX ARRESTED IN SWEEP OF ILLEGAL DISPENSARIES

East County News Service

July 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Yesterday morning, Tuesday, deputies and investigators from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, assisted by San Diego and Chula Vista police officers, served search warrants at five illegal marijuana dispensaries in Spring Valley, Lakeside, and Chula Vista. Search warrants were also served at two related residences in Jamul and San Diego, as well as a storage facility in Spring Valley, says Sergeant Zheath Sanchez with the Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators seized more than 1.1 million dollars in cash, as well as more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana, marijuana edibles, concentrated cannabis, suspected Psilocybin mushrooms, and twenty firearms including three semi-automatic rifles.


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SANTEE ENDS EVICTION MORATORIUM FOR COVID-19-AFFECTED TENANTS, APPROVES UPGRADES TO TELEVISE MEETINGS

By Mike Allen

July 25, 2020 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council voted to halt a moratorium on evictions of tenants who cannot pay their rent due to the coronavirus, citing the continuance of other financial back-up programs aimed at that purpose.

In a 4-1 vote at its July 22 meeting conducted via teleconference, the Council halted Santee’s moratorium effective July 31. The Council majority said a statewide moratorium on evictions of tenants remains in effect, and because the court system has not been operating, there aren’t any evictions happening anyway.

“As much as I hate to say this, I think we should rely on the state (to provide protections to tenants unable to pay their rent),” said Mayor John Minto. “We should give direction to staff to end this moratorium on a city level and allow it to proceed on the state level.”

Councilman Stephen Houlahan cast the sole no vote, and said the city should maintain the city’s eviction moratorium, a symbolic gesture of providing yet another safety net to local tenants who cannot pay their rent due to financial problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.


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SHERIFF'S DEPUTY, EX-SANTANA BASEBALL STAR ACCUSED OF MOLESTING THREE MINORS

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

Photo:  Jaylen Fleer, shown pitching for Santana High School in a March 2011 game against Helix Charter High School, also played football for the Sultans. Photo by Chris Stone

July 23, 2020 (Santee) - A San Diego County sheriff's deputy who once starred for Santana High School in baseball and football was behind bars Thursday on suspicion of a series of child molestation charges in Chula Vista.


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SANTEE’S OFF BROADWAY LIVE WILL START SINGING AGAIN JULY 31 AT NEW OUTDOOR SPACE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

July 23, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s Off Broadway Live will start performances again ----outside of their theater on 9490 Cuyamaca Street.  The theatrical company is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic by constructing a performance area and seating section in the parking lot.

Arts organizations have been hard-hit by the pandemic, which has caused statewide shutdowns of theaters and concert halls since mid-March, with no opening date yet in sight for indoor live performance venues.  So like more and more businesses in other sectors, Off Broadway Live has opted to move musical theater productions outdoors.


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BIG-RIG FIRE ROASTS LOAD OF MEAT ON I-8

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy: Lakeside Fire Protection District

July 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A big-rig truck’s brakes overheated and caught fire on Interstate 8 west in Lakeside, Monday.

Flames quickly spread to the truck’s load of over 40,000 pounds of raw meat according to the San Diego Union Tribune and LA Times, or 41,000 pounds, according to the Sacramento Bee, News Break and NBC.

The pungent smell of roast pork spread across the area.


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WHERE TO FIND FIREWORKS IN EAST COUNTY THIS JULY 4TH

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Due to COVID-19, several of East County’s most popular 4th of July celebrations have been cancelled. But several others have revamped to provide fireworks displays with social distancing and/or virtual celebrations.

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LAKESIDE MAN KILLED WHILE JAYWALKING

East County News Service

Photo: CC by NA via Bing

July 3, 2020 (Lakeside) – A Lakeside resident, 50, was struck and killed last night when he crossed Mapleview Street west of Ashwood Street, not in a crosswalk.

The victim entered traffic directly in front of a Hyundai Tucson SUV, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Christy.

“The driver of the Hyundai immediately stopped and remained on scene,” says Officer Christy. The driver, 71, from San Diego, was not injured, nor was his passenger.

CHP and fire personnel responded  immediately but despite lifesaving efforts, the pedestrian succumbed to his injuries at the scene.


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PANDEMIC INFECTS SANTEE’S BUDGET, CAUSES $1 MILLION HIT TO SALES TAXES

By Mike Allen
 
June 28, 2020 (Santee) -- The city of Santee will sustain an estimated loss of $1 million in sales taxes in the coming fiscal year starting July 1, as a result of so many stores being closed or only partially open due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

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ILLEGAL POT SHOPS RAIDED NEAR SCHOOLS AND HOMES

East County News Service
 
June 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – More than a thousand pounds of marijuana products, six firearms, and over $221,000 in cash were seized Thursday following search warrants served at six illegal dispensaries and three homes. The raids took place in Lakeside, unincorporated El Cajon and the city of San Diego, conducted by investigators from the county Sheriff’s department and San Diego Police.

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SANTEE ADOPTS RESOLUTION DENOUNCING RACISM, CONSIDERS INCLUSIONARY HOUSING LAW

 

By Mike Allen

June 25, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s leaders decided they needed to make a public denunciation of racism, hate speech, and intolerance in response to a flurry of recent ugly incidents in their predominantly white city.

At the June 24 City Council meeting, Mayor John Minto said the unanimously passed resolution condemning racism will be a guiding principle as the city confronts its past.

“We acknowledge that we’ve had problems but we’re not going to allow those problems to stop us from moving forward and doing better,” Minto said.


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SANTEE CARJACKING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2020 (Santee) – A suspect is in custody after reportedly threatening to kill a 77-year-old woman and her family, then forcing the victim out of her car and driving off with her purse and cell phone.  The carjacking occurred shortly before 1 p.m. today in the 9800 block of Mission Gorge Road in Santee.

Sheriff’s deputies and La Mesa Police officers found the suspect, Chris DiSalvo, 30, sitting in the stolen car in the 4600 block of Palm Drive in La Mesa. 

“Upon seeing law enforcement DiSalvo took off, but crashed into a tree,” said Sergeant Michael Tingley with the Sheriff’s Department.“He then ran into an apartment complex."


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DEPUTY INVOLVED IN LAKESIDE SHOOTING IDENTIFIED; SUSPECT HAD FIRED MULTIPLE SHOTS AT OFFICERS AFTER ALLEGEDLY BATTERING GIRLFRIEND

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 17, 2020 (Lakeside) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department has identified Andrew Sudbury as the deputy who shot and injured Dustin Banzhof in Lakeside following a domestic violence dispute. Deputy Sudbury has worked for the Sheriff’s department for six years and is stationed at the Lakeside station.

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DEPUTY SHOOTS, MAN IN LAKESIDE WHO FIRED SHOTS AMID DOMESTIC DISPUTE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM  news partner 10 News

June 15, 2020 (Lakeside) – Dustin Banzhof, 39, was shot by a Sheriff’s deputy and arrested last night after Banzhof reportedly fired multiple shots during a domestic dispute.

Deputies responded at 8:30 p.m. to the 11600 block of Hi Ridge Road in Lakeside, where a woman had locked herself in a bedroom with her two children in an effort to hide from the children’s estranged father, who was inside her home.


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