Mountains

FREE DOG FOOD FOR BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS

East County News Service
 
March 27, 2020 (Alpine) – Residents of Alpine, Descanso, Pine Valley and backcountry communities in East County can receive free dog food at Natural Instincts Healthy Pet Center in Alpine. 
 
The shop on Alpine Boulevard e-mailed area residents that it has teamed up with PAWS, a San Diego rescue group, to buy discounted dog food to give out for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

THESE RESTAURANTS IN EAST COUNTY ARE OFFERING TAKE-OUT AND/OR DELIVERY

Note: This story is being updated as we learn of more restaurants with takeout or delivery options.  If you own a restaurant in East County, email your info to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. All readers and restaurants are also welcome to post comments in our comments section below. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Hacienda Casa Blanca in El Cajon posted  these images of some take-out and delivery options

March 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Since yesterday’s county order for restaurants to stop dine-in service through March 31 due to the COVID-19 emergency, many owners are adapting by switching to curbside take-out (curbside) service and a few are also offering home delivery through services such as GrubHub, UberEats, or through their own delivery service.

While this is by no means a complete list, here are many restaurants confirmed as offering take-out and/or delivery services.

Call or check the restaurant's website for details on hours and how to place orders, which vary at each location and may change.

If you know of any we missed, please post in the comments section below!

COUNTY NOW HAS 242 CASES OF COVID-19, INCLUDING TWO INFANTS

Cases expand countywide including more East County communities

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The number of COVID-19 cases in our region continues to grow at a steep pace.  San Diego County now has 242 confirmed cases, of whom 226 are county residents. Two of the new cases are in infants. Heath experts warn the actual number of cases could be ten times higher, since not enough tests are available and thus testing is being done primarily on those hospitalized with respiratory distress.

STORMS TO BRING RAIN, COLD AND SNOW DOWN TO 4,000 FEET

East County News Service

March 23, 2020 (San Diego)--A storm system will bring light showers today through Wednesday, with a new storm system forecast for Wednesday afternoon into Thursday.  This will be a colder storm, with snow levels possibly falling to 4000’ or lower.

There will be less moisture, but nevertheless, some accumulating snowfall is likely in the mountains. Roads may be slippery due to rain and snow, with chains potentially required at higher elevations.

HUNGRY OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS? EMERGENCY FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS ANNOUNCED COUNTYWIDE

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- In addition to emergency food distributions, Feeding San Diego offers food assistance at many sites throughout San Diego County including rural, mountain, desert and urban communities. Click here to find a location near you.

 Feeding San Diego is working on adding additional distributions based on community input and the needs of specific populations. Listings of available emergency distributions will be updated daily and published at feedingsandiego.org/coronavirus.

NOTE: There are NO REQUIREMENTS to accessing any of Feeding San Diego’s food distributions.

JULIAN ASKS VISITORS TO STAY AWAY DUE TO VIRUS

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 21, 2020 (Julian) – Julian, San Diego’s historic gold rush town, thrives on tourism. But yesterday, a press release sent by the  Julian Chamber of Commerce board of directors asks visitors to stay away in order to protect the health of residents during the coronavirus emergency.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: A SNOWY SPRING SUNRISE

East County News Service

March 20, 2020 (Laguna Mountain) – Amid the fears and uncertainties we are facing right now, there is a healing power in nature.  This inspirational sunrise photo was taken this morning by UCSD’s HP Wren camera atop Laguna Mountain in San Diego’s East County, which is covered in snow on this official first day of springtime.

ALL EAST COUNTY CASINOS TO CLOSE MARCH 21-31 DUE TO COVID-19

Barona, Campo, Jamul, Sycuan, and Viejas Jointly Announce Casino Closures in Response to Coronavirus crisis

Source: Kumeyaay Nation

March 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County)  — Tribal government leaders of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, Campo Kumeyaay Nation, Jamul Indian Village, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians today jointly announced that they are temporarily closing their casinos amid concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) beginning on Friday, March 20 at noon through the end of the month.

The Tribes are united in this decision to close for the health and well-being of the community, their guests and approximately 9,000 employees. Despite this closure, it is their hope that they can continue to provide emergency services for their respective communities.

 

In Campo, the gas station and convenience store will remain open for the convenience of residents.

CAL FIRE/SAN DIEGO COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY RESTRICTS ACCESS TO FIRE STATIONS, HALTS ISSUING NEW BURN PERMITS

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – To help contain spread of the COVID-19 virus and assure uninterrupted emergency response services, effective immediately, nonemergency access by the public is halted at all Cal Fire/County Fire Authority fire stations in the unincorporated region of San Diego County.

TWO NEW STORMS TO BRING FLASH FLOOD RISKS AND SNOW TO OUR INLAND REGION

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Alex Tardy, National Weather Service

March 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A pair of storms are forecast to bring heavy rain this week and next, with snow dropping to 3,000 feet by next week.  Flash floods, lightning and mudslides may also occur.

BLOOD DRIVE MARCH 31 IN ALPINE

East County News Service

 

March 11, 2020 (Alpine) - Baron’s Market in Alpine (1347 Tavern Rd.) will host a blood drive in partnership with the San Diego Blood Bank on Tuesday, March 31st from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Anyone 17 and older who weighs at least 114 pounds and is in good health may be eligible to donate blood. A good meal and plenty of fluids are recommended prior to donation. All donors must show picture identification. 

FREE SANDBAGS FOR THE STORM

Source: County News Service

March 9, 2020 (San Diego) – With heavy rains from an atmospheric river set to douse our region over the next several days, the County is urging residents to be prepared.  Mud, plants an debris washed away can clog storm drains, damage roadways and cause flooding.  

You can stock up on free sandbags at these locations in the unincorporated areas, but call ahead to be sure of availability, and bring a shovel to fill the bags:

RAMONA’S CHRIS ANDERSON WINS REALTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD (AGAIN) FROM SAN DIEGO’S LARGEST REALTORS ASSOCIATION

East County News Service

March 5, 2020 (Ramona) – Ramona resident Chris Anderson, a realtor with Coldwell Banker West (CBW), was recently honored by the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors (SDAR) with the 2019 Realtor of the Year Award.

RAMONA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLING MONEY FROM ZOO

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2020 (Ramona) – A Ramona man who worked as a biologist at the San Diego Zoo has pleaded guilty to stealing over $236,000 from the zoo, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego.

Investigators found John Anderson, 49, made fake vendor invoices from 2008-2016 for third parties that then made payments to Anderson.  He was charged with theft or conversion concerning programs receiving federal funds. 

SUPERVISORS TO HOLD HEARING FEB. 26 ON PROPOSED ZONING LANGUAGE FOR FORMER FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE (FCI) PROPERTIES

 

East County News Service

February 25, 2020 (San Diego) – On Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 9 a.m., San Diego County’s Planning & Development Services will present to the Board of Supervisors a Zoning Ordinance amendment to include “Former Forest Conservation Initiative Properties Overlay of Part Five: Special Area Regulations” on former Forest Conservation Initiative lands that lie outside of Village or Rural Village boundaries.

The Forest Conservation initiative passed initially by voters once protected extensive forest lands in the vicinity of Cleveland National Forest, but the measure expired through sunsetting and was not renewed by Supervisors.

The Overlay does not change underlying land use regulations or General Plan densities. However, it requires additional analyses and findings before approval of any proposals that increase residential density on these lands beyond what is currently allowed by the General Plan.

The Supervisors meeting will be held in the County Administration office at 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, Room on the north end of the third floor.

DO NOT DRINK NOTICE ISSUED FOR JULIAN’S “APPLE WATER IS GOOD” WATER SYSTEM

Potential drinking water contamination due to water system repairs
 
February 20, 2020 (Julian) -- The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH), is advising the public that the Apple Water Is Good water system, located at 4360 Highway 78 in Julian, California, has been directed to immediately issue a Drinking Water Warning. The water system serves drinking water to the Apple Tree Inn, three residences, and a restaurant.
 
The public is advised not to drink tap water supplied by the Apple Water Is Good water system until further notice. The Do Not Drink Notice will remain in effect until laboratory results confirm the absence of contamination in the water supply.

YEAR-LONG CLOSURE OF I-8 REST STOP AT BUCKMAN SPRINGS STARTS IN MARCH

Source: Caltrans
Photo: cc via Bing
 
February 19, 2020 (Buckman Springs) -- Crews have begun work on the Interstate 8 (I-8) Buckman Springs Safety Roadside Rest Area (SRRA) Sewer/Water Systems Restoration Project that will require fully closing the rest area for about a year, reported Caltrans officials. 
 
The Buckman Springs SRRA located along I-8 near Pine Valley in eastern San Diego County may be closed as early as March 2 for the duration of the year-long project that will construct a new sewage treatment system. The work is needed to bring the rest area in compliance with state and federal water quality standards.

MEET CANDIDATES FOR SUPERVISORS IN DISTRICT 2 FEB. 25 IN ALPINE

East County News Service 
 
February 15, 2020 (Alpine) – The Alpine Chamber of Commerce will host a business townhall and candidate forum for those running in the San Diego 2nd Supervisorial District to fill the vacancy to be left by Dianne Jacob’s retirement. The forum will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 5-7 p.m. at the Alpine library, 1752 Alpine Blvd., Alpine CA 91901.
 
All four candidates running have confirmed that they will attend. They are former State Senator Joel Anderson, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, behavioral health consultant Kenya Taylor, and homebuilder/rancher Brian Sesko.  

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK, KILLED ON I-8 IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery
 
February 14, 2020 (Alpine) –A 24-year-old man who had pulled over to adjust loose items in the bed of his pickup truck on I-8 west near West Willows Road in Alpine yesterday at 1:30 p.m. was fatally inured by another motorist.
 
A white Lincoln MKZ driven by a Lemon Grove man, 70, crossed over the white line separating the right lane from the shoulder. The Lincoln struck the pickup and the impact caused the pickup’s driver to be thrown forward, landing on the shoulder and sustaining major injuries.  

HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS AND HEALTH AMONG HOT TOPICS AT SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES' FORUM

View video of full debate here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daR2Gmad0g4





By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Candidates Joel Anderson, Brian Sesko, Kenya Taylor, and Steve Vaus

February 6, 2020 (La Mesa) – Four candidates running to represent East County in the San Diego County Supervisors 2nd district seat participated in a lively forum on Jan. 29 at Murdock Elementary, hosted by the Grossmont Mount Helix Improvement Association and sponsored by East County Magazine.

Candidates fielded a broad range of in-depth questions provided by the public during the forum moderated by the League of Women Voters before a capacity crowd. 

The four candidates are Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, former State Senator Joel Anderson, behavioral health consultant Kenya Taylor, and homebuilder/cattle rancher  Brian Sesko.  They are running to fill the vacancy soon to be left when long-serving Supervisor Dianne Jacob leaves office next January due to term limits.

COLD STORM, FREEZING TEMPERATURES AND HIGH WINDS TO IMPACT REGION

By Miriam Raftery

February 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Strong winds with gusts up to 75 miles an hour are forecast tonight through Monday afternoon, with a high wind warning in effect in our local mountains and light snow possible.

Monday through Wednesday, a hard freeze watch is in effect for the high deserts, where temperatures could dip into the high teens to low 20s and snow flurries are possible. In the low deserts and valleys, a freeze watch is also issued, with temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s.

Along the coasts, a gale warning is in effect due to strong winds over coastal waters tonight and Monday.

SANTA ANA WINDS AND WARMER WEATHER FORECAST TODAY THROUGH FRIDAY

By Miriam Raftery

January 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for San Diego County’s inland region. The advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. today through 12 noon on Friday for San Diego’s mountains and valleys, with gusts up to 55 miles per hour forecast. In local desert areas, the wind advisory is in effect from 10 a.m. today to 6 p.m. tonight.

In addition to potentially damaging winds, the forecast also includes elevated surf at beaches with waves up to six feet, and a warming trend through the week with temperatures rising into the 80s by the weekend.

SUPERVISORS TAKE NEW STEPS TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS, INCLUDING SHELTERS

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors today voted to adopt several measures, including sheltering options and expanded outreach teams, to deal with homelessness in unincorporated communities.

The measures, brought forward by Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Jim Desmond, are expected to help with homelessness in unincorporated areas that have seen a significant increase of people who don’t have a place to live. Recent encampments at Lamar Park, Spring Valley Park and in other outlying areas are the latest reminders that homelessness is a regional crisis.

“Like in the city of San Diego and the rest of California, homelessness has become a huge concern in the suburban and rural parts of our region,” said District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents East County. “Today’s board vote opens the door to creating a comprehensive approach to homelessness that includes immediate and long-range measures.”

SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER AMENDMENT WEDNESDAY TO ALLOW TEMPORARY AGRITOURISM EVENTS

 

Update January 30: Supervisors voted to approve the agritourism items 5-0  as recommended by staff, with no amendments.

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2020 (San Diego) – To promote farming and agritourism, San Diego County Supervisors on Wednesday will consider zoning ordinance amendments to define new agricultural uses including agritourism.  The agritourism activities provide educational opportunities for the community including U-pick operations, tours, lectures, classes, and participation in agricultural operations on-site.

COUNTY LAUNCHES EVACUATION PLAN FOCUSED ON VULNERABLE PEOPLE

If you needed to evacuate for an emergency, could you just get in your car and go? For some, the answer may be no because they lack transportation, need additional help with medical equipment or gathering items in their home.

Studies have shown that during a disaster, older adults or people with disabilities, or access and functional needs have added challenges when faced with evacuation. This information inspired the County Office of Emergency Services to come up with the Neighborhood Evacuation Team program in partnership with the Community Emergency Response Teams throughout the region. The teams are made up of disaster-trained volunteers who can help in their neighborhoods.

People who reach out for assistance will be teamed up with a CERT member who can guide them through the process of making a plan that suits their needs, including working out transportation needs with a caregiver, neighbor or family member.

THREE FIREFIGHTERS KILLED IN PLANE CRASH BATTLING AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES: C-130 CONDUCTED CAL-FIRE TRAINING, FOUGHT CALIFORNIA FIRESTORMS

Victims were firefighters from Wyoming, Arizona and Florida

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom's office:  C-130 that crashed in Australia today is same one shown in photo at McClellan Air Base during an event last August attended by Newsom.

January 23, 2020 (Ramona) – A plane used to fight California wildfires last year and to train Cal-Fire pilots has crashed while fighting brush fires in Australia, killing three U.S. firefighters. A C-130 was in Ramona last August to train future pilots.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft built by Lockheed Martin and repurposed to fight fires was operated by Coulson Aviation of Canada, which has grounded its fleet to re-assess safety conditions and honor the victims.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of the crew from Tanker 134 that wre lost during a tragic crash while battling the devastating Australia fires.  Cal Fire stands with you during this difficult time,” Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said.

Governor Gavin Newsom voiced condolences to families of the crew and Cal Fire for the loss of “three heroic American firefighters”  He adds, “This tragic accident reminds us all of the too-high cost of the scourge of wildfires, as well as the sacrifice of first responders from around the world. California and Australia, already united by the deadly threat of wildfires, now grieve this tragic loss together.”

JULIAN MAN ARRESTED FOR STRIKING, KILLING CYCLIST ON DEHESA ROAD: CHP SEEKS WITNESS WHO FOLLOWED HIT AND RUN DRIVER

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A bicyclist, 56, has died of injuries suffered yesterday when a Mitsubishi Mirage struck him from behind on Dehesa Road east of Willow Glen Drive. The Mitsubishi’s driver, Craig Wendell Nelson, 56, of Julian fled the scene and was arrested by the California Highway Patrol after a helicopter spotted him hiding in brush along Sloane Canyon Rd. south of Dehesa Rd. in unincorporated El Cajon.

The California Highway Patrol wants to locate the driver of a vehicle that turned around at the scene of the collision and followed the Mitsubishi, or anyone else with information on the fatal accident. If you have any information, please call Officer Wilson or Officer Harris at the CHP at 619-401-2000.

According to Officer Travis Garrow, Nelson was traveling eastbound on Dehesa Rd. east of Willow Glen Drive when for reasons still under investigation, his vehicle veered into the marked bike lane and struck the rider, who was ejected onto the roadway. The bicyclist was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego where he later died of his injuries.  Nelson has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run.

WATCH FOR WINDY WEATHER

East County News Service

January 14, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- A storm system will bring gusty winds as well as a chance of rain and mountain snow Thursday into early Friday morning. Winds at 35-45 miles per hour with isolated gusts up to 50-60 mph are in wind-prone mountain and desert passes.

Light rainfall of 1-3 inches is forecast in most locations, with up to 6 inches at higher elevations, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Adam Roser.  The snow level may drop to 5,000 feet, so be prepared if driving in mountain areas.

ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT WARNS OF STRANGER IN TRUCK APPROACHING STUDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2020 (Alpine)—The Alpine Union School District is warning parents about two separate incidents Tuesday afternoon and again today, both involving a stranger in a truck approaching young students.

"Today, a Joan MacQueen Middle School student reported being approached by a stranger in a white-greyish four-door truck with tinted windows on Victoria Drive and Sneath Way. We have met with the Alpine Sheriff’s Deputies and have requested extra patrols at our schools. Deputies will be present after school today, and the detectives are investigating," a letter posted to the Joan MacQueen Middle School’s Facebook page reads.

In Tuesday’s incident, a vehicle described as a white lifted truck similar to a Toyota Tundra reportedly followed two young girls down a private dead-end road.

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