Santee/Lakeside

WELCOME, SANTEE & LAKESIDE RESIDENTS!


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANTEE

East County News Service

December 4, 2020 (Santee) – Rebecca Jefferis Williamson snapped this photo of a keepsake Christmas ornament commemorating Santee’s 40th birthday on December 1st.  The city hosted dual fireworks displays, as well as treats passed out through local merchants.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a broader celebration originally planned.


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SANTA AT THE LAKES DEC. 6 IN SANTEE

East County News Service

November 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Santa is coming to town on Sunday, December 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Santee Lakes (Lake 1 Gazebo).  A physically distanced meeting and photo opportunity will be available with Santa.

A reservation to visit Santa is encouraged, however walk-up visits will be available throughout the day based on availability. Make your reservation to visit with Santa at https://santaatthelakes.setmore.com/


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NEW, IMPROVED LAKESIDE LIBRARY TO START CONSTRUCTION IN SPRING

 
Video by Andy Tolley
 
By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
November 28, 2020 (Lakeside) - In a few months, the County of San Diego will start a new chapter for Lakeside residents and their library, beginning construction on a new 16,400-square-foot library three times larger than the current branch, with a community room for events, a bookstore and large spaces for children and teens.
 
“Libraries are not just a place for books anymore,” said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “They’re a place for children to do their homework, they’re gathering places. And a lot of resources will come into this community as a result of the new library, because it will be bigger and better.”
 
County officials say construction is expected to start in spring 2021 and be completed in summer 2022.
 
The County’s Board of Supervisors voted to buy the land to build the new library in September 2017, when Jacob called it a project “near and dear to me and many folks in Lakeside.”
 

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ARMED ASSAULT SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LAKESIDE, WITH HELP FROM MOTORIST, AFTER PURSUIT

East County News Service

November 27, 2020 (Lakeside) – An assault suspect is behind bars after leading deputies on a short pursuit in Lakeside Tuesday, says Sergeant Dane Wiesner.

Deputies from the Lakeside substation responded to an assault call around 11:30 a.m. near the 11500 block of Bridle Path Lane. The reporting party told deputies the suspect fled the scene in his vehicle.

Deputies located the suspect and tried to conduct a traffic stop, but he sped off and a short pursuit ensued.

The suspect slowed down and almost came to a stop in the 10400 block of Paseo Park Drive, where deputies in their patrol cars and a nearby citizen in his car surrounded the suspect's car and caused him to stop.


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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: HIKING EL CAJON MOUNTAIN

 

November 24, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- What’s it like to scale El Cajon Mountain, often called El Capitan, one of the most impressive peaks in East County?


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DUAL FIREWORKS DISPLAY TO MARK SANTEE’S 40TH BIRTHDAY BASH DEC. 1

 

Stores to also offer birthday sweet treats  

By Mike Allen

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Santee Salutes

November 22, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee will celebrate its 40th birthday Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. by holding simultaneous fireworks displays at two sites, allowing residents a chance to cheer themselves while staying safely apart.

City officials said they had more expansive celebration ideas a year ago to mark the city’s official inception on Dec. 1, 1980 including musical concerts and other events that would attract lots of people, but then COVID-19 intervened, making those plans inappropriate.


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SANTEE’S STARLIGHT CIRCLE HOLIDAY LIGHTS WILL STILL TWINKLE DURING THE PANDEMIC

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson 

(Photo, left, courtesy of the Starlight Circle Facebook page)

Nov. 13, 2020 (Santee) Santee’s Starlight Circle, a yearly holiday tradition of Christmas lights and decorations, will continue spreading holiday cheer during the pandemic.  Many might find comfort in being able to enjoy this holiday tradition in a social distanced manner – driving Glendon Circle in their cars.

“It’s been a trying year for everyone and hopefully our neighborhood will help brighten things up a bit,” said a 30-year resident of Starlight Circle Jerry Mills. “It seems that viewing from one’s car, rather than on foot, would be the way to go this year.”  

“As far as dealing with COVID-19, we would ask people to follow whatever guidelines are being given by local, state, and national authorities and be respectful of each other,” he said.

Mills noted that it is not an organized event but a “”neighborhood that for decades has decorated and drawn large crowds. So, there are no rules and no one in charge of anything.  It just happens, which is pretty special in itself.” 


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HOMICIDE DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING DEATH IN SANTEE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

Nov. 11, 2020 (Santee) Homicide detectives are investigating a death at a home located on Greencastle Street in Santee tonight.

"We found a person deceased of a gunshot," Lt. G. Twyman with the San Diego County Sheriff's communication division told ECM. The initial call came in at 3:55 p.m and they arrived at the scene at 4 p.m. He added that homicide detectives were called to the scene. 

Yellow caution tape is currently blocking off the street near the scene of the investigation.


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SDSU BASEBALL ADDS NINE DURING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD, INCLUDING SANTANA HIGH SENIOR

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo:  Santana High senior pitcher Tyler Glowacki

November 11, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego State baseball head coach Mark Martinez proudly announced the addition of eight high school seniors--including one from Santana High--and one junior college transfer during the early signing period, which commenced on Wednesday. Seven of the nine signees hail from California, while two originate from Nevada. In addition, all eight prep recruits were listed among the nation’s top 500 players by Perfect Game.

Below is a look at the nine newest Aztecs, who will arrive on campus in the fall of 2021.


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HOW ARE TIES OR CLOSE LOCAL RACES RESOLVED?

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego) – With Santee’s City Council candidates separated by just two votes and Supervisor candidates Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus just seven votes apart, readers have been asking questions.  What happens if there is a tie in a local election?  (One on social media suggested determining the winner via a duel.)

Does a close race trigger a recount?  Have any local races changed when a recount was done? When will the counting be done?

ECM reached out to San Diego Registrar of Voters Michael Vu to get answers to these and other questions.


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HOLIDAY LIGHTS EXTRAVAGANZA AT LANTERN CREST IN SANTEE

 

East County News Service

November 11, 2020 (Santee) – Lantern Crest Senior Living in Santee will transform into a drive-through holiday extavaganza open to the public each Thursday through Sunday night in December  from 6 to 8 p. m.(except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Guests will see holiday displays and light shows, all from the comfort and safety of their cars. Admission is free. There will also be a drive-up Santa's Workshop to purchase some hot cocoa, apple cider, cheesecakes bites and more, as well as a photo booth. All the proceeds will go to the Lantern Crest Foundation, which benefits low-income seniors in the San Diego area.


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ANDERSON TAKES RAZOR-THIN LEAD OVER VAUS IN SUPERVISOR RACE; SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES ALSO IN NEAR TIE

Update November 22, 2020:  Joel Anderson now leads by 284 votes over Steve Vaus, with 7,500 ballots left to be tallied countywide.  In Santee, Dustin Trotter is ahead by just seven votes over Samantha Hurst.

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With 33,000 votes countywide remaining to be tallied, but far fewer ballots left in individual races, the latest update from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters shows several major contests in East County are still too close to call.

In the important race to fill retiring Supervisor Dianne Jacob’ district 2 seat, former State Senator Joel Anderson has taken a scant seven-vote lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. 

Santee’s City Council race to fill an open seat, meanwhile, has Samantha “Samm” Hurst retaking the lead over Dustin Trotter by just two votes after being tied just one day earlier.


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DEPUTIES SEARCH FOR TRANSIENT SUSPECTED OF STABBING MAN IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

File photo by Nadin Brezinski

November 10, 2020 (Lakeside) – A man walking with a woman in the riverbed in Lakeside Monday night behind the 76 gas station on Willow Road was stabbed in the back by a stranger, City Times reports.

The victim called 911 to report the stabbing around 9 p.m.


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SOME EAST COUNTY RACES FLIP, OTHERS TIGHTEN IN LATEST ELECTION RETURNS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Erik Herrara:  poll worker wears protective gear during pandemic; voters head to poll on Election Day in Santee.
 
November 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Amid a pandemic, 80.7% of registered voters in San Diego County have cast ballots. Of more than 1.9  million registered voters, over 1.5 million have voted – and more than 1.4 million of those opted to vote by mail.  Only a little over 166,000 voted at the polls.

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UPSET HAPPENING IN PADRE DAM WATER DISTRICT RACE

By Mike Allen

If voting trends continue, the Padre Dam Municipal Water District will see a new face on its five-member board.

Teacher Suzanne Till was leading longtime incumbent Augie Scalzitti by a 48 to 31 percent margin as of the latest tally from the county’s Registrar of Voters early Nov.4.

James Sly, chief operating officer at the East County Economic Development Council, was third at 20 percent of the vote.

The race was in the No. 2 Division. In Division 4, Augie Caires was unopposed and will win his third term on the board. He served as the district’s CEO for 13 years.


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MINTO, HURST TAKE SLIM LEADS IN SANTEE; MEASURE N BARELY PASSING

 

Update Noveber 9, 2020:  Dustin Trotter has pulled ahead of Samm Hurst by a slim 14 vote margin, with more votes remaining to be tallied. See all current results at SDVote.com.

Term limits win approval; Assemblyman Voepel is reelected

By Mike Allen

November 4, 2020 (Santee) -- With about 64 percent of the vote tallied as of early Nov. 4, Mayor John Minto was leading challenger Councilman Stephen Houlahan in the Santee mayoral race.

Minto, who was elected mayor in 2016, has 53 percent of the vote to Houlahan’s 47 percent. Minto was out campaigning late on Election Day, and said he felt confident about his prospects to retain the mayor’s job.

In District 4, Samm Hurst, a UCSD professor, held a 4 percentage lead over Dustin Trotter, a contractor. The vote separation as of the latest tally totaled only 246.

Houlahan and Hurst ran on a platform that included opposition to Fanita Ranch, the controversial housing project which Minto voted to approve just weeks before the election. The project has long divided the community in a battle that has spanned 20 years.


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EARLY BELL RINGS IN EAST COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD RACES

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo via Bing

November 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) — It has been a topsy turvy year for everyone, especially for the area’s school children. Voters weighed enthusiasm, experience and ethics as they chose the next crew of school board trustees, who ultimately will help steer schools out of the rough seas of this quarantine.

On election night, as of early returns at 10:30 p.m., here are our observations.


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COUNTY BEGINS IMPROVEMENTS TO LAKESIDE'S LINDO LAKE COUNTY PARK

 By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video: Andy TolleyCounty of San Diego Communications Office

October 31, 2020 (Lakeside) - The County has broken ground on $11.2 million of work to rejuvenate and improve Lakeside’s popular Lindo Lake County Park.

Improvements at the 55-acre park will include building a new fishing pier and birdwatching stations, planting hundreds of native trees and improving water quality in the lake’s east basin by removing more than 200,000 tons of sediment — enough to cover nearly five football fields 12 feet high — that has built up over decades.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and County Parks officials kicked off the start of construction last week with a socially distanced groundbreaking. Jacob, who is retiring in January after serving 27 years, has long championed efforts to rejuvenate the park.


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PRESERVE WILD SANTEE TURNS IN 6,300 SIGNATURES TO PUT FANITA RANCH ON BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
Photos courtesy of Van Collinsworth, Preserve Wild Santee
 
Photo:  Van Collinsworth,  Preserve Wild Santee, left, gives a thumbs up to supporters of the signature gathering drive
 
October 30, 2020 (Santee) -- The campaign to allow Santee voters to weigh in on the Fanita Ranch project turned in 6,300 signatures to the Santee City Clerk’s office Oct. 29, nearly double the minimum number required to force the City Council to either rescind its approval or put the issue to a public vote.

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DIRECTOR JOEL SCALZITTI SEEKS REELECTION TO HELIX WATER DISTRICT BOARD, CITES PASSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE

View video interview with Joel Scalzitti: https://youtu.be/-O30iV7VXKw

By Miriam Raftery

Joel Scalzitti, past president of the Helix Water Board, is running for reelection in district 5, which includes portions of El Cajon, Granite Hills, Bostonia and Lakeside. 

He’s served on the board for over 10 years, owns  local businesses including a water service company for freeway construction, a donut shop and a deli.  He also serves as a member of the San Diego County Water Authority Board and the Advanced Water Purification board. He’s also served on several Helix Water District committees, including the audit committee, water quality and resources committee, and a committee on parks. In addition, he led efforts to keep the Lake Jennings campground open.

He’s one of four candidates in the race, including Vickie Knight Butcher,  Luis Tejeda, and Tyler Logan. (View our interview with Butcher.)  Tejeda and Logan do not have ballot statements or campaign websites that we could find.

Scalzitti has depth of experience in water issues and says he has a "passion for public service."  Here are highlights of Joel Scalzitti’s responses to our questions:


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VICKIE KNIGHT-BUTCHER WANTS EQUITABLE WATER RATES IN HELIX WATER DISTRICT

 

By Miriam Raftery

View our video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq20LfdAzpc

October 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – In a Zoom interview with East County Magazine, Vickie Knight Butcher, J.D. shared concerns over the impacts of COVID-19 on families in the Helix Water District and her hopes to make water rates equitable based on family and lot size, as well as water usage. Butcher, who has extensive state and international experience in water policy, also wants to hold down water rates and have any rate change proposals considered annually with full public input.

Butcher is running in district 5 against Director Joel Scalzitti and two other challengers who did not file ballot statements (Luis Tejeda and Tyler Logan).  ECM previously interrviewed Scalzitti; view video of his interview. District 5 covers the eastern portion of the Helix district including portions of El Cajon, Granite Hills, Bostonia and Lakeside. View map.

“I have had water as my passion for a number of years,” says Butcher. I have served on many boards and commissions at the city, county, state, national and international level…and I’m  committed to making my community a better place to live.”


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SANTEE BUSINESS ASSISTANCE GRANTS ANNOUNCED

East County News Service

 

October 26, 2020 (Santee) -- The Microenterprise Assistance Program or (MAP) is now accepting applications. Grants up to $10,000 are available for local businesses that qualify. 


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ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE TO BLOCK FANITA RANCH IN SANTEE

East County News Service
 
File photo: the devastating 2003 Cedar Fire, which caused traffic gridlock on local freeways, scorched an estimated 95% of the site where Fanita Ranch would be built.
 
October 25, 2020 (Santee) – Four environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the city of Santee and councilmembers. The groups contend that the city council ignored fire dangers, habitat impacts and cultural resources in approving Fanita Ranch, a major housing development.

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VIRAL VIDEO EXPOSES ANOTHER RACIST INCIDENT IN SANTEE

View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZOh5bjYi0U

 

By Mike Allen

 

October 23, 2020 (Santee) -- A video that’s gone viral on the Internet shows another disgruntled Starbucks customer yelling about wearing a mask. But this time, the customer at the Starbucks on Magnolia Avenue in Santee hurls an obscene and racially charged insult at the black woman behind the counter.


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SUPERVISOR JACOB, COUNTY PARKS BREAK GROUND FOR LAKESIDE EQUESTRIAN PARK

October 23, 2020 (Lakeside) -- County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and parks officials held a first-ever “virtual” groundbreaking to mark the start of construction of the long-awaited $16.9 million Lakeside Equestrian Park Wednesday.


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COVID RATES REMAIN LOW IN MOST REOPENED EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Cajon Valley, first to reopen, has most cases.  Three other districts report cases; others lack transparency in disclosure.  

Update October 31:  The Cajon Valley Union School District has added a breakdown by schools of its COVID cases, which now number 15 students and 2 employees  (17 total) at 11 schools. 

By Miriam Raftery

October 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How safe is it to send your child back to school amid a pandemic, or for teachers to provide instruction inside classrooms?

East County Magazine has checked out the websites of all districts in East County to determine how many cases have been reported at schools that have reopened thus far, and how transparent each district is in making this information easily available to parents, teachers and staff.

To date, the County Public Health Department has not reported any outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases tied to a single location) at any East County elementary, middle, high school or community college district. However some school districts do have cases among both students and staff. It is unclear whether cases were contracted on campus, or how many others may have been exposed.

In some districts, information on schools with COVID cases are being publicly disclosed, but not in others. Asked about this discrepancy, County spokesman Michael Workman said, "A change in the order regarding schools is being discussed and may be in place soon. The state guidance referenced above covers school notification. It’s too early to say what our health order change may say."

Here are the results of ECM's investigation.


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CALIFORNIA’S 71ST ASSEMBLY DISTRICT RACE: REPUBLICAN RANDY VOEPEL VS. DEMOCRAT LIZ LAVERTU

Spring Valley Planning Group Chair challenges incumbent for Assembly seat

By Mike Allen

Photo: Randy Voepel and Liz Lavertu

October 20, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As the state grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, budget challenges, and a shortage of affordable housing, voters in the 71st Assembly district have two contrasting choices.

Randy Voepel was first elected to the State Assembly in 2016 and reelected in 2018, winning both times by substantial margins which didn’t surprise him, given the conservative character of the region. But he notes the winning margins are slipping each election, and he doesn’t expect this November’s victory to be as large.


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WEST HILLS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER LANDS $100,000 HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS PRIZE

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Oct. 17, 2020 (Santee) A surprise celebration was held at Santee’s West Hills High School on Oct. 14 for teacher Kathryn Worley, who applied for and landed a $100,000 prize from Harbor Freight Tools.

“We have a deep, deep respect for the dignity of the skilled trades and especially for the intelligence and creativity of the people who work with their hands, of students who work with their hands, of teachers who work with their hands, and professionals who really connect with their heart, their heads, and their hands,”  said Harbor Freight Tools for Schools executive Danny Corwin during the presentation.

Corwin made the trip down from their headquarter offices in Calabasas to present Worley with the proverbial lottery-win-like over-sized check. His other two $100,000 award winners’ ceremonies will be held virtually. Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc. is a national tool retailer.


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COUNTY'S EDGEMOOR FACILITY NAMED BEST IN CALIFORNIA, AGAIN

 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
October 14, 2020 (Santee) -- For the second year in a row, the County Health and Human Services Agency’s Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility has been named the best facility of its kind in the county and the state by Newsweek magazine.
 
The magazine analyzed more than 15,000 nursing homes in the Unites States and chose 400 winners in 20 states.
 
“Edgemoor provides the highest level of care to seriously ill and injured adult patients who require long-term care, and it has not gone unnoticed” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, County Board of Supervisors. “We are proud Edgemoor has been named the best in California two years in a row. It’s a well-deserved honor given the long-term, quality care patients receive at the facility.”

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