Mountains

WELCOME, MOUNTAIN DWELLERS!

Our Mountain Living section covers the mountain communities in San Diego's East County north of I-8 including Aguanga, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Guatay, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Ranchita, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Shelter Valley and Warner Springs.


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PINE VALLEY WOMAN DIES AFTER BEING HIT BY PICKUP TRUCK

East County News Service
 
April 15, 2024 (Pine Valley) – A Pine Valley woman, 61, was struck and killed Saturday morning while walking on the shoulder along Pine Boulevard south of Rocky Pass. The victim was Mary Lombard Stewart, according to her husband, Brian Stewart.
 
“The sirens were for my wife Mary, who was struck from behind while walking to our house on Valley View Trail,” he posted on Facebook. “My wife did not survive the impact.”

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LILAC FESTIVAL APRIL 20-MAY 12 AT FORT CROSS IN JULIAN OFFERS FRAGRANT BLOOMS AND PLENTY OF FUN

East County News Service
 
April 12, 2024 (Julian) -- Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures, invites you to their 9th annual Lilac Festival event on Saturdays and Sundays starting April 20 and will go on through Mother’s Day Weekend, May 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
The outdoor educational farm that specializes in living history field trips, is also home to five acres of beautifully fragrant lilacs near the town of Julian.
 
Fort Cross is the largest lilac farm in Southern California that sells fresh-cut bouquets directly to the public, and will have different lilac varieties available for purchase 7 days a week as soon as the flowers are in bloom.

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AN INTERSTELLAR SUCCESS: MAKING COUNTY GOVERNMENT WORK FOR JULIAN

By Supervisor Joel Anderson
 
April 10, 2024 (Julian) – For Julian residents, preserving the dark sky is a way of life. Designated as an International Dark Sky Community in 2021, Julian is part of the mere 1% of the U.S. where the Milky Way remains visible. 
 
The mountain town’s mission recently faced a challenge when the brightness of fourteen newly installed streetlights exceeded dark sky community standards — prompting the Julian Dark Sky Network to seek assistance from my office.

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$378,000 IN GRANTS AWARDED TO 13 FIRE SAFE COUNCILS IN SAN DIEGO RIVER WATERSHED

Alpine Fire Protection District invites public to event April 4

Source:  San Diego Regional Fire Foundation

Photo, left: Alpine Fire Protection District's new wood chipper

April 3, 2024 (San Diego) – The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation and the San Diego River Conservancy are pleased to announce $378,958 in funding for 13 Fire Safe Councils in the Conservancy’s watershed area and a new chipper for the Alpine Fire Protection District. 

Alpine Fire Station will host an event April 4 from 11:30 to 1 p.m.  Alpine Fire Protection District will talk about its new chipper that will provide services for free chipping to the communities and will discuss the new fuel break funds that were made possible through a Community Protection grant.  The attendees at the event tomorrow will be  able to be part of the overall collaboration between the San Diego River Conservancy and the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation.saying thankyou for the hard work and commitments we all have made to focus on supporting the communities of Alpine and Viejas. 

.The San Diego River Conservancy is pleased to announce that it has awarded a grant to the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation and Fire Safe Councils in San Diego County. These Fire Safe Councils are remarkable organizations that work diligently to make local communities safer by engaging in activities aimed at reducing the risk and intensity of wildfires, said Julia Richards, Executive Officer, San Diego River Conservancy. Their efforts are truly commendable and deserve to be recognized year after year.  We proudly stand behind the Fire Safe Councils and support their vital work.” 


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SNOW FORECAST AS LOW AS 3,000 FEET; I-8 COULD GET SNOWFALL THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

East County News Service

April 3, 2024 (San Diego’s East County)—Yet another storm is forecast to bring rain and snow to East County Thursday night and Friday. The snow level is expected to drop down to the 3,000 to 3,500 foot level.

Mt.Laguna could receive 3 to 4 inches of snow, with up to 2 inches in Julian. Interstate 8 east of Alpine could also get snow, so use caution if traveling in this area.  Other areas that may receive snow include Pine Valley, Cuyamaca, and Warner Springs.


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STORM BRINGS SNOW,FLOODING, ROAD CLOSURES AND FLIGHT DELAYS

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – Today’s storm brought a flash flood warning from the National Weather Service in effect through 11:30 a.m.

A SIG ALERT is in effect on Sunrise Highway, where one-way traffic control is in effect amid falling snow, the CHP website indicates. On South Grade Road at Mount Palomar, four inches of snow are covering the road and a snow plow has been requested.

Flooding has prompted closure of several roads. In East County, Quarry Road is closed between State Route 125 to Lakeview Drive in Spring Valley, according to the County Dept. of Public Works.

Shortly after 11 a.m., Gayle Falkenthal provided a photo of the arrivals and departures display board at the San Diego International Airport showing nearly all Southwest Airlines flights cancelled or postponed.


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REVOLUTIONARY WAR REENACTMENT APRIL 20 & 21

East County News Service
 
March 29, 2024 (Julian) -- Julian Farm and Orchard is proud to commemorate the 249th anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, which marked the beginning of the American War of Independence, with the return of their annual Revolution in the Orchard re-enactment event. Hosted on their 25 acre sustainable farm, come interact with soldiers, merchants and townspeople of colonial America!
 
April 20 & 21
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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SIPS AND SAMPLES TO SAVOR AT VINTAGE ALPINE MAY 5

East County News Service
 
March 29, 2024 (Alpine) -- The 37th annual Vintage Alpine, a wine and food experience in the country, will be held on May 5 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Summers Past Farms, 15602 Olde Hwy 80 in Flinn Springs. Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Alpine, this event traditionally offers tastes from over 40 local wineries, as well as samples of foods from local restaurants and sips from local breweries.

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SOLAR ECLIPSE VIEWING PARTY

East County News Service
 
March 28, 2024 (Julian) -- Julian Dark Sky Network and Julian Library present a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party Monday, April 8 starting at 10 a.m. at the Julian Library at 1850 CA-78, Julian, CA 92036.
 
This event is free, including eclipse viewing glasses! View the last solar eclipse visible in North America until 2045. It's a major event to watch and experience!

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COUNTY EXPANDS TREE PLANTING PROGRAM IN UNINCORPORATED COMMUNITIES

By Shauni Lyles, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Since 2016, the County has planted over 35,000 trees
 
March 3, 2024 (San Diego) -- County Supervisors voted this week to expand its robust tree planting program in underserved communities in the unincorporated area.

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GROWING TOGETHER: SDG&E SPONSORS TREE PLANTING EVENT AT JULIAN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

East County News Service
 
March 1, 2024 (San Diego) – Eager to roll up their sleeves and dig for a greener future, students from the Julian Union School District (JUSD) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) partnered for a tree-planting event on Feb. 29. The occasion brought together local volunteers from the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Wild Ones San Diego, Julian Pathways, students, teachers and SDG&E employees with a common purpose: to support local biodiversity and help reduce the risk of wildfires in the community they cherish.

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SANTA YSABEL COLLISION KILLS GIRL, 11

East County News Service

February 21, 2024 (Santa Ysabel, CA) – An 11-year-old girl has died as a result of a two-vehicle collision that occurred in Santa  Ysabel on February 17 around 2:40 p.m.

According to Officer Jared Grieshaber with the California Highway Patrol, an Escondido woman,27, was driving a 2020 Honda Accord with three passengers. She was headed east on State Route 76 and stopped at the intersection with State  Route 79, then pulled out in front of a 2022 Ford F-150 pickup truck that was heading south on  State Route 79.


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SAVOR A TASTE OF ALPINE MARCH 16

East County News Service

 

February 17, 2024 (Alpine) -- Indulge in the captivating charm of Alpine, CA! Immerse yourself in a sensory journey that explores the exquisite trifecta of Cuisine, Commerce, and Culture.


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SUSPECT WHO RAMMED RAMONA SHERIFF’S STATION ARRESTED FOR FELONY VANDALISM

East County News Service

February 12, 2024 (Ramona) – Jorge Aguilar, 21, has been arrested for felony vandalism after reportedly ramming his pickup truck into the back gate of the San Diego County Sheriff’s substation in Ramona on Saturday, says Detective Thomas Sutton.


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FIVE MARINES CONFIRMED KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH IN PINE VALLEY

East County News Service

Update February 9, 2024:  The Marine Corps has identified those who died in the helicopter crash as Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, Capt. Jack Casey, Sgt. Alec Langen, Capt. Benjamin Moulton, and Capt. Miguel Nava, all in their 20s, with the 3rdMarine Aircraft Wing.

February 8, 2024 (Pine Valley) – The U.S. Marine Corps has confirmed that all five Marines aboard yesterday’s crash of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in Pine Valley during Tuesday night’s storm have died.


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RURAL RESIDENTS OPPOSE AT&T PROPOSAL TO PULL PLUG ON LAND LINES, SAY ACTION COULD COST LIVES: HEARING MARCH 19

By Miriam Raftery

Image: CC via Bing

February 8, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – AT&T has filed an application asking the California Public Utilities Commission to end AT&T’s obligation to serve as a carrier of last resort (COLR) and cease maintaining land line telephone service. A map indicates this would include the entire San Diego region. If the CPUC approves the request,  land line service could end as early as six months later.

There are no in-person hearings in San Diego County, but you can voice your opinion in a virtual hearing March 19 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. or post online comments here.  

"If approved by the CPUC, over 580,000 affected AT&T customers would be left with fewer options in terms of choice, quality, and affordability," warns the Rural County Representatives of California. "Alternative services, such as VoIP and wireless, have no obligation to serve a customer or to provide equivalent services to AT&T landline customers, including no obligation to provide reliable access to 911 or Lifeline program discounts."

The proposal has drawn strong opposition from rural residents in East County and elsewhere in California, as well as consumer advocates who warn that ending land lines would leave many in rural or remote locations with no reliable phone service at all, since Internet VOIP phone service is not widely available in many places and some areas also lack cell phone connectivity. Even for those with cell service, land lines have proven life-saving options when cell towers have burned down during wildfires in places such as rural Potrero.


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SNOW CLOSES SCHOOLS IN MOUNTAIN AREAS, CHAINS REQUIRED ON HIGHWAYS

Winter storm warning in effect for mountains through Thursday, Feb. 8 at  12 p.m.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Laguna Mountain Lodge webcam

February 7, 2024 (San Diego’s East County)—Several inches or more of snow blanketed San Diego County’s mountains overnight.  Snow fell in Julian, Pine Valley, and many other mountain communities, with more precipitation forecast today.

Due to weather and road conditions, several school districts are closed and have a snow day today, according to the San Diego County Office of Education:  Julian Union Elementary , Julian Union High, Mountain Empire,  Spencer Valley,  Warner Unified.


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SEARCH UNDERWAY FOR CREW OF MILTARY HELICOPTER MISSING IN SNOWY, RUGGED TERRAIN NEAR PINE VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery

February 7, 2024 (Pine Valley) – Crews from multiple agencies are searching for the crew of a military helicopter that went missing southeast of Pine Valley and north of Interstate 8 near Kitchen Creek Road. The helicopter has been located this morning as of 10:50 a.m., but the crew has not yet been found.

Heavy snow is making it difficult for searchers to access the area. Cal Fire San Diego is currently in unified command with the U.S. Forest Service, according to Cal Fire. Agencies helping in the search include the U.S. Border Patrol, San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept., and California Civil Air Patrol.


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VALENTINE’S DAY TEA FEBRUARY 8-14

East County News Service 

February 5, 2024 (Julian) -- Julian Tea and Cottage Arts’ Valentine’s Teas will be held seven days Thursday February 8 through Wednesday, February 14. These teas will be served indoors and are also available to go. 


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AN EVENT TO HOWL ABOUT: WOLF TOURS FEB. 11 IN JULIAN

East County News Service

February 4, 2024 (Julian) – The California Wolf Center in Julian invites you to book a guided tour of their facility to see their resident wolves and learn about wolf conservation. Various tours are offered each weekend this month at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are required.

The Wolf Conservation and Behavioral Enrichment Tours are both 1 hour in length and offer an unforgettable experience where you will have the opportunity to see critically endangered wild wolves and learn all about them from an expert at the center’s Conservation Facility on KQ Ranch Rd. in Julian. 


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: COYOTE PAIR

January 27, 2024 (Ramona) -- Joe Cortez photographed this pair of coyotes chilling out in the Ramona Grasslands County Preserve. This biologically diverse 3,541 acre preserve also supports 23 butterfly species, 21 reptile species, six types of amphibians, 37 mammals, over 100 types of birds, and 408 plant species. You can visit on your own, or join a docent-led guided excursion.


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MEDICAL FUND SET UP TO AID FORMER ALPINE WOMAN WITH BRAIN HEMORRHAGE

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2024 (Alpine, CA) – Tamara Newton, a Granite Hills High School alumni and daughter of Alpine resident Carlette Anderson, is hospitalized after suffering a brain hemorrhage from a suspected tumor. She is paralyzed on her left side, cannot walk, and requires full-time care.

“The family has been very generous, but now we need some extra help with her expenses and recovery,” Anderson, founder of CPR PROS,  told  East County Magazine. A GoFundMe account has been setup to help pay for surgery and other medical needs.

The family posted on the site, “There is no doubt that it will be SO much easier for her if you join us in showering her with blessings and support in this time of need. She cannot work at this time, has limited savings and many new expenses. AND all this happened within days of moving from New Jersey to California with her youngest son.”


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THUNDERSTORMS, HEAVY RAINS FORECAST

East County News Service

January 18, 2024 (San Diego) -- The National Weather Service is forecasting a major storm bringing widespread rain this weekend and early next week countywide, with thunderstorms possible in San Diego’s mountains, valleys and coastal areas. The storm is also expected to bring gusty winds, graupel (similar to hail) and lightning that could pose hazards to those outdoors.


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PINE VALLEY POSTMASTER RESCUES RUNAWAY HORSES

By Duke Gonzalez, Strategic Communications Specialist, U.S. Postal Service

 

January 16, 2024 (Pine Valley) – A  ‘Pony Express’ recently rode again in Pine Valley, California. But this time, it delivered heroism and community service rather than the mail. 


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ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE TO BLOCK ALPINE COMMUNITY PARK'S SPORTS COMPLEX

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2024 (Alpine) – Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit in Superior  Court on January 5 against San Diego County. The suit filed by Cleveland National Forest Foundation and California Native Plant Society contends that the county failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act when supervisors approved an environmental impact report in December for Alpine’s first community park. The Alpine Community Park, adjacent to Cleveland National Forest and Wright’s Field, would include a sports complex and more.


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HAWK WATCH IN RAMONA TAKES WING SATURDAYS IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

East County News Service

January 8, 2024 (Ramona) – The Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona invites you to Hawk Watch, each Saturday in January and February at 10 a.m. at Begent Ranch, 18528 Highland Valley Rd, in Ramona.  Arrive at 9:30 for coffee and donuts, then enjoy the free program that includes biologist’s talks, Q&A with falconry or ambassador raptors up close, followed by optional roadside observations of wild raptors and other wildlife including a Bald Eagle nest where you'll drive your own car less than 2 miles on paved roads and come and go at your leisure. Biologists and local expert volunteer observers will help you spot and identify birds and show them to you through our high-powered professional telescopes.


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OPEN FARM TOURS JANUARY 13 AND 27 AT OASIS CAMEL DAIRY

East County News Service

January 8, 2024 (Ramona) -- Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona invites you to open farm tours on Saturday, January 13 and January 27 from 12 to 2 p.m.  Enjoy a bird show and camel show, meet and feed camels and lambradoodles, take a camel ride, and enjoy camel milk products such as artisan soaps, lotions, chocolate and camel milk.

Tickets must be purchased online.


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Sign up here to receive our free East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts via email.  Our alerts can reach you even if phone lines or cell towers burn down.  We cover wildfires, flash floods, major highway shutdowns, severe weather alerts, gas leaks, and other hazards in our region.  We suggest signing up on all of your emails –home, work, school, and encourage  friends, family members and coworkers to do the same. These alerts save lives!

You can also follow East County Alerts on Twitter.

You can also sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter, with top local news and events in East County.  You can choose alerts, or newsletter, or both.


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COLD FRONT BRINGS SNOW TO LOCAL MOUNTAINS, FROST TO VALLEYS AND DESERTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Mt. Laguna Lodge webcam

January 3, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – The first snowfall of the year is blanketing Mount Laguna, with snow showers forecast through this evening.  Scattered rain showers and thunderstorms are forecast elsewhere in the region, along with gusty winds in mountain and desert areas.

Frost is forecast tonight in San Diego’s mountains and deserts.Use caution when driving, as icy roads will occur.


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