Santee/Lakeside

WELCOME, SANTEE & LAKESIDE RESIDENTS!


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SANTEE DELAYS RESPONSE ON COUNTY NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM, AMENDS CURRENT FISCAL YEAR BUDGET UPWARDS

By Mike Allen

 

Photo: needle exchange; CC by SA-NC

 

February 28, 2021 (Santee) -- Santee wants San Diego County to conduct comprehensive research about its recently resumed needle exchange program before the Santee City Council weighs in on supporting or opposing the formerly banned program.


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GEICO OPENS OFFICE IN SANTEE TO SERVE EAST COUNTY CUSTOMERS

East County News Service

February 28, 2021 (Santee) -- GEICO has opened a new local office at 70 Town Center Parkway, Suite B in Santee, California. Justin Hall will lead a team of licensed agents at the new location. 


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SANTEE SENIORS GET HELP MAKING APPOINTMENTS FOR COVID VACCINATIONS

By Mike Allen
February 20, 2021 (Santee) - The city of Santee is helping seniors who are having difficulty scheduling appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations, creating a program aimed at bridging the digital divide.

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CHURCHES ADAPT FOR ASH WEDNESDAY DURING THE PANDEMIC

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Feb. 17, 2021 (San Diego's East County) – Some churches adapted their practices during Ash Wednesday during this time of COVID19 and during the whole course of the pandemic.

The Christian period of Lent was ushered in on Ash Wednesday, today, that witnesses the smudging of ashes on the forehead in a symbol of mortality and penance.

Santee United Methodist Church provided a COVID19 safe Ash Wednesday by offering a drive-thru event. Two times, early morning, and late afternoon were offered to the congregation.

Individuals stayed in their cars and were masked. Pastor Jaime Pangman, and his assistant, were socially distanced and masked.


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SANTEE COUNCIL CONDEMNATION OF FLETCHER OVER RECALL REMARKS DRAWS REBUKES

By Miriam Raftery
 
February 12, 2021 (Santee) – The Santee City Council voted 4-0, with one abstention, to condemn Nathan Fletcher, chair of the County Board of Supervisors, for “divisive language”  referring to backers of efforts to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.  

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NEW ACTIVE BUSINESSES LAUNCH IN SANTEE DESPITE PANDEMIC

By Mike Allen

(Photo at left courtesy of Pedego Electric Bikes)

February 11, 2021 (Santee) -- With bicycle sales, particularly electric models, soaring in recent years, Greg Carter is certainly glad he’s starting his latest business venture, Pedego Electric Bikes, at an opportune time.

But what he’s even more excited about is turning people on to the joys of riding e-bikes.

“I wasn’t looking to get into this business. It sort of found me,” says the tall, former Santee resident who now calls Blossom Valley home.

Last year, Carter and his wife, Stephanie, were in the market for some electric bikes, did their research, and decided to buy a couple of Pedegos from a San Diego dealer. Their experience was similar to what other owners of e-bikes have: the more they ride, the more they want to ride, and tell others it’s a great form of exercise.


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DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: SUPERVISORS VOTE TO HONOR COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY BY PURCHASING 98 ACRES IN EL MONTE VALLEY, LAKESIDE

By Henri Migala

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report.

Photo, left: Billy Ortiz and Bobby Wallace, co-organizers of efforts to preserve El Monte Valley

February 11, 2021 (Lakeside) – Thanks to widespread community engagement, San Diego County Supervisors yesterday voted unanimously to purchase 98 acres in El Monte Valley from Helix Water District for $2.92 million, preserving the land for public use.

The action came after the board received a petition with over 2,000 signatures and heard unanimous public testimony in support of the purchase. In addition, some 200 residents and tribal members held a march through the valley calling for the land to be protected.

Supervisor Joel Anderson, East County’s newly elected representative whose district includes Lakeside, initially voiced concerns over the cost and disrepair of facilities on the site. But after the majority of the board voiced support for the acquisition initiated by former Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Anderson ultimately not only voted for the land purchase, but also pushed his colleagues to support additional funds to restore dilapidated ball fields and other facilities on the site.


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SUPERVISOR ANDERSON RAISES CONCERNS OVER EL MONTE VALLEY LAND PURCHASE

By Miriam Raftery

February 10, 2021 (Lakeside) – Despite a petition signed by more than 1,500 constituents urging Supervisor to approve this morning’s agenda item to buy and preserve 98 acres in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley from Helix Water District, Supervisor Joel Anderson has issued a press release late yesterday indicating he will likely oppose the measure.

To watch this morning’s meeting or send in comments, visit https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/cob/bosa.html.

Anderson contends the land is too expensive compared to another proposed land purchase at Star Ranch in Campo, which is also on the agenda.

While Campo-area residents have longed pushed for preservation of  Star Ranch, protecting that large parcel provides no direct benefit to people in Lakeside, who fear that if the County does not buy the land, it could be sold to sand mining interests. Helix Water previously sold a separate parcel in El Monte Valley to a sand miner, whose proposed project has drawn strong opposition from Lakeside residents.

Anderson’s district includes El Monte Valley.  The announcement that he opposes the El Monte Valley land purchase proposed by Dianne Jacob before she left office due to term limits has outraged some Lakeside residents.


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HUNDREDS MARCH TO SAVE EL MONTE VALLEY: LAKESIDE RESIDENTS AND TRIBAL MEMBERS URGE SUPERVISORS TO VOTE YES ON LAND PURCHASE

Over 1,500 sign petition to save valley from sand mining

 

By Henri Migala

 

Photo: marchers support land purchase to protect land from sand mining

 

February 7, 2021 (Lakeside) -- San Diego County Supervisors are slated to vote this Wed., Feb. 10 on purchasing 98 acres of Lakeside’s  El Monte Valley from the Helix Water District. A petition signed by more than 1,500 people urges them to vote yes, in hopes of protecting the valley against sand mining and protecting it for posterity. (An earlier petition to stop sand mining in the valley drew more than 3,000 signatures.)

 

Former Supervisor Dianne Jacob introduced the measure to protect the land for the public and prevent it from becoming a sand mine. Jacob, who represented District 2 which includes Lakeside, was a forceful ally of the community and the Kumeyaay in their efforts to protect El Monte Valley from being mined. She secured funds and gathered support of other Supervisors to purchase the land, but term-limits ended her tenure before the issue came up for a vote. Now her replacement, Supervisor Joel Anderson, and two other newly elected Supervisors, will cast deciding votes.  

 

To make sure the new Supervisors are aware of the strong sentiments of the community, a “Save El Monte” demonstration and march was held by Kumeyaay Native Americans and people from across San Diego County on Saturday.


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MAN CHARGED FOR SHOOTING GIRLFRIEND, FIRING AT DEPUTIES ON BARONA RESERVATION

By Miriam Raftery
 
February 5, 2021 (Lakeside) – The Sheriff’s department has released new details regarding a shoot-out that occurred January 31 on the Barona Reservation.  

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BODY FOUND IN SANTEE

By Miriam Raftery

February 4, 2021 (Santee) – Hikers found  human remains yesterday on a trail in the Fanita Ranch area.  The identity of the deceased is unknown, says Lt. Thomas Seiver with the Sheriff’s homicide unit.

Sheriff’s deputies responded shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday near Summit Ave. and Summit Crest Drive.

According to Fox5, the hikers said they were looking for snakes off the trail when they spotted a skull and numerous bones.

The Sheriff's Homicide Unit is investigating and coordinate with the Medical Examiner's Office, which is working to identify the remains and determine the cause and manner of death.


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WALK TO SAVE EL MONTE VALLEY FEB. 6 CALLS ON SUPERVISORS TO BUY LAND FROM HELIX WATER

By Miriam Raftery

February 3, 2021 (Lakeside) – County Supervisors will vote February10 on a proposal to purchase a 104-acre parcel of land in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley from the Helix Water District. This Saturday, Feb. 6, a “Walk to Save El Monte Valley” will be held by East County Land-Use Watchdogs, a 501c3 nonprofit, along with Save El Monte Valley.  Supporters are also urged to sign a petition that has gathered nearly a thousand signatures so far.

Walkers should meet at 10204 Channel Rd. in the dirt lot for the two-mile walk, which is organized by Save El Monte Valley and the East County Land-Use Watchdogs. Arrive at 9 a.m. for the walk starting at 10 a.m. Masks are required. Participants are urged to wear yellow, comfortable shoes, and bring water.

“This land MUST be purchased by the County so it can be conserved and utilized for the public good as open space, instead of being left exposed to development that loses the area’s rural character and doesn’t have the community’s interests at heart,” the flyer states. “Come walk with the East County Community including local Tribal members and supporters of the river this Saturday. Your voice makes a difference!”


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EAST COUNTY SCHOOL COUNSELORS HONORED FOR THEIR WORK

Source: San Diego County Office of Education

Photo:  Bonnie Hayman receiving her winner's check

February 2, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- During National School Counseling Week, the San Diego County Office of Education will celebrate three counselors who were recently surprised at their school sites for being chosen as the San Diego County Counselor of the Year for their grade levels. Two of the three winners work at East County schools.

The School Counselors of the Year are: 

 

  • Ann Pierce (below right), of Campo Elementary in Mountain Empire Unified School District, won the elementary award. 
  • Bonnie Hayman, of La Mesa Arts Academy in La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, won the middle school award.  
  • Cherryl Baker, of Mission Hills High School in San Marcos Unified School District, won the high school award.  


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WOMAN INJURED IN SHOOTOUT BETWEEN BOYFRIEND AND DEPUTIES IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service
 
February 1, 2021 (Barona Reservation, Lakeside) – A domestic dispute on the Barona Reservation in Lakeside last night led to a man opening fire on deputies and a woman injured in the crossfire.

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SANTEE PLANS FOR 1,219 NEW HOUSES OVER NEXT EIGHT YEARS

By Mike Allen
 
January 29, 2021 (Santee) -- It’s called a housing element, a document that every city in California must update every eight years. It outlines how a city plans to expand its housing inventory, especially its low income housing numbers.

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SANTEE COUNCIL SETS FANITA RANCH ELECTION FOR NOV. 2022, ALSO APPROVES DIVERSITY PROGRAM

By Mike Allen

January 15, 2021 (Santee) -- Santee residents will get a chance to vote on the Fanita Ranch project, but will have to wait until November 2022 to do so.

At its Jan. 13 meeting, the Santee City Council voted 4-0, with Mayor John Minto absent, to place the controversial 3,000-unit residential development on the next regularly scheduled city election rather than rescinding its earlier approval vote for the project or setting a special election. According to the county Registrar of Voters, a special election would cost the city about $850,000.

This wasn’t what the Council originally intended. In September the board approved a slew of amendments to the Fanita Ranch Specific Plan and approved the project in a 4-1 vote, with former Councilman Stephen Houlahan opposed.


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SANTEE COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN PROMOTING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Source: Santee Collaborative
 
Photo: Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
 
January 13, 2021 (Santee) – The Santee Collaborative, a one-stop resource center for Santee students and families, has launched a new campaign to reflect and educate people about Santee’s changing demographics.
 
“The city is experiencing a positive change in demographics that make it a much more diverse community than in the past,” a press release from the Santee Collaborative states.
 
The student population for Santee School District reflects growing diversity with only 54% white, not Hispanic (CDE, Dataquest). The white population includes Middle Eastern families, and it is estimated that Middle Eastern students make up between 4-5% of the students in the school district. These are students whose first language is Arabic, Kurdish, Chaldean, Farsi, Hebrew, or Assyrian. There are 29 languages spoken by families who attend Santee School District from all over the world.  This makes Santee a very diverse community with students of different races, ethnicities and religions all living together. 

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VOEPEL STATEMENTS ON CAPITOL INSURRECTION PROVOKE CALLS FOR EXPULSION OR RESIGNATION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via a recent "Tea Time" video for the Tea Party on Assemblyman Voepel's Facebook page

January 13, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) --  Days after insurrectionists violently took over the nation’s capitol, threatening lives of legislators and resulting in five deaths including a police officer, statements made by East County Assemblyman Randy Voepel are drawing sharp criticisms, including calls for his resignation or expulsion from the Legislature.

Voepel, also a former Santee Mayor, said of the insurrection, “This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny. Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear-in on January 20," the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on January 10.

That prompted numerous posts on the Republican Assemblyman’s Facebook page overwhelmingly condemning his statements, including several calls for him to resign and an organization that promotes national security after 9/11 urging the Legislature to expel Voepel.


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FORMER SANTEE COUNCILMAN HOULAHAN WILL RUN FOR CONGRESS

By Mike Allen

January 13, 2021 (Santee) -- Stephen Houlahan, the former Santee Councilman who lost to Mayor John Minto in November, announced he’s running for the 50th Congressional District in a race two years down the road.

The seat was won in November by Republican Darrell Issa , who beat out Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar by about 28,000 votes or an 8 percent margin.

Through a spokesman, Houlahan, a registered nurse and political independent, said he intends to register as a Democrat, and expects to come in the top two in a primary in March 2022.

Among the main reasons for his decision was the terrible way the federal government has handled dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, said spokesman Bobby Borisov.


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SEARCH FOR MISSING TEEN GIRL AT RISK IN SANTEE

Update January 14, 2021:  The Sheriff reports that Tarynn has been found safe and reunited with her parents.

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2020 (Santee) – Members of the public are asked to join in a search today for Tarynn, a 16-year-old missing in Santee. The teen was last seen in the 10000 block of Glendon Circle in Santee yesterday.  

She has blond hair and brown eyes; she is 5 ft. 9 inches tall. According to the Sheriff Watch Commander, she was last seen wearing her hair in a low ponytail and was wearing a black pajama top with gray pants, black or blue and white Vans slip-on shoes. She has blond hair and brown eyes, and was carrying a black bag with polka dots.

According to a post from East County Emergency Updates in the All Things Happening in Santee Forum, “The family has met with private search & rescue entities that are actively helping in the search for Tarynn. They are currently organizing a search & rescue for this morning that will require the public’s help. We will post details as soon as they provide them to us. Even though Tarynn is considered high risk due to her disabilities, SD Sheriff has “scaled back” their resources."


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WOMAN KILLED STORMING CAPITOL HAD SPRING VALLEY TIES

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2021 (Spring Valley) – A woman shot and killed by police while breaking into the Speaker's gallery inside the U.S. Capitol during yesterday’s insurrection has been identified as Ashli Babbitt. An Air Force veteran describe by KUSI as a “high level security officer” during her military service, Babbitt was the CEO of Fowler’s Pool Service & Supply in Spring Valley, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  10 News reports that she grew up in Lakeside.

Although some sites have described her as an "unarmed protester," her documented actions went far beyond Constitutionally protected protest activities. The New York Post has published video showing the moment when Babbitt was shot while climbing through a broken window in the Capitol, attempting to illegally access the House chamber where Congressional members were holding a hearing on certifying the Electoral College votes from the presidential election.  (Warning: graphic content).

The video shows armed officers rushing up stairs into a crowd of insurrectionists intent on disrupting the peaceful transfer of power process, many wearing MAGA hats as they attempt to break down a barricaded set of doors. The crowd lifted up Babbitt, who was wearing a backpack with a flag as she attempted to climb through a broken window in one of the doors, when she was shot by law enforcement.


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VACCINATIONS BEGIN AT LOCAL NURSING HOMES

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 5, 2021 (Santee) – COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home patients and staff have arrived in our region. Yesterday, vaccinations were provided at Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility in Santee.
 
Edgemoor, run by the County Health and Human Services Agency, was recently named best facility of its kind in California and San Diego by Newsweek magazine for the second year in a row, out of over 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. 
 
The pandemic lockdown has been particularly difficult on seniors and disabled individuals in nursing homes, who have been barred from having visitors for months.

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HAZ-MAT TEAM DISPATCHED TO SANTEE AFTER CRASH

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

December 30, 2020 (Santee)  - A Haz-Mat crew was dispatched to Santee today following a multi-vehicle crash that caused a chemical spill.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Mission Gorge and Cuyamaca Street late this afternoon.


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MOUSE NEAR SANTEE TESTS POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

A western harvest mouse collected in routine monitoring in open space along the border of Santee and San Diego has tested positive for hantavirus, County environmental health officials said this week.

County officials are reminding people that if they find rodents in their homes, garages, sheds or cabins they should never sweep up or vacuum up after them, but use “wet-cleaning” methods instead, to keep from breathing in the virus and getting sick.

Click "Read More" for more information and to review "Wet-cleaning" methods to safely clean up and dispose of mouse nests and/or droppings.


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SANTEE LAKES PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION DESPITE SETBACKS

By Mike Allen
 
Photo: Santee Lakes general store/grill concept rendering
 
December 22, 2020 (Santee) -- A three-building construction project at Santee Lakes is nearing completion, but because of the pandemic, exactly when it will be finished is still difficult to know.
 
Laura Koval, the director of parks and recreation at the Santee Lakes Preserve, said while the finish line is in sight, it could be anytime between February to April.
 
“What I’m saying is spring of next year,” Koval said in a recent interview with East County Magazine. “When you add COVID to the mix, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
 

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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: FESTIVE FRIDAY IN SANTEE

 
December 19, 2020 (Santee) – Rebecca Jefferis Williamson sent in these images from a “Festive Friday” event held at the Santee Trolley Square last Friday.

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FIREFIGHTERS SAVE HOMES, HALT CHAPARRAL FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Scott Lagace

January 17, 2020 (Santee) – Tensions ran high in Santee yesterday, when a fast-moving brush fire scorched 36 acres, threatening homes and high-voltage power lines.

“Crazy and way too close,” photographer Scott Lagace says of the blaze near his Santee home.


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REGISTRAR OF VOTERS CERTIFIES CHALLENGE TO FANITA RANCH

By Mike Allen
 
December 17, 2020 (Santee) -- The county Registrar of Voters certified that a challenge to the largest housing project in Santee’s history is successful, verifying that enough valid signatures needed to qualify for a public vote were collected.

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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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