Mountains

MEET CANDIDATES FOR SUPERVISOR D2 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.

SDG&E BEGINS UNDERGROUNDING POWER LINES IN JULIAN, PROJECT WILL ALLOW CRITICAL FACILITIES TO REMAIN POWERED DURING SHUTOFFS

East County News Service

January 7, 2020 (Julian) – SDG&E has begun construction to place powerlines underground east of downtown Julian along Banner Road (State Route 78) and Cape Horn Avenue).

The project aims to reduce wildfire risk and allow key facilities to remain open during safety power shutoffs, according to a press release issued by SDG&E.

“Unlike overhead power lines, underground lines do not present a fire risk during high winds and elevated fire danger conditions. Facilities that will benefit from the undergrounding work include: the post office, county branch library, Julian Union High School, Julian Charter School, Julian Elementary School and the CAL FIRE Station, as well as a county public works maintenance yard and a school bus yard,” the utility states. Existing overhead power lines in the area will remain, as they are needed to continue serving some customers.

HIGHWAYS CLOSED DUE TO SNOW

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left via CHP:  I-8 closed due to snow

Photo, right: Julian snow, via Visit Julian webcam

December 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County)—Travelers are encountering road closures on several major highways this morning due to heavy snowfall:

  •  I-8 is closed west of Willows Road in Alpine to the Imperial Highway in Imperial County due to heavy snow, with collisions reported and some motorists attempting to run through roadblocks. 
  • On State Route 94 at Otay Lakes Rd., flooding has reportedly halted traffic on both sides of the rushing waters one to two feet deep.
  • CHP has shut down  Highway 78 at State Route 79 into Julian; traffic to Julian is reportedly gridlocked according to CHP. The road may reopen soon with chain controls in effect.
  • Just north of San Diego County, travelers should be aware that the Cajon Pass on I-15 and the Grapevine on I-5 are both shut down due to heavy snow.

SANTA YSABEL NATURE CENTER RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY

Ribbon cutting at Santa Ysabel Nature CenterImage Credit: Jessica Geiszler

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications OfficeDec. 16, 2019 | 1:34 PM

County Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, environmental groups, tribal representatives, Parks officials and hundreds of visitors celebrated the opening of the $9.5 million Santa Ysabel Nature Center Saturday with a ribbon-cutting featuring tours, animal encounters, junior ranger activities, and crafts and games for kids.

The celebration began with music, art, information tables, nature crafts and animals including alpacas and a rosy boa snake. It then moved to the formal ribbon-cutting that featured a bird song sung by tribal performance troupe Ashaa Takook and words from several speakers. The event ended with tours, a demonstration of hawks and other birds of prey and hiking.

MERCY AMBULANCE SKIDS OFF ROAD, LEAVING JULIAN WITHOUT MEDICAL RESPONSE FOR HOURS AS TOURISTS AND RESIDENTS EXPERIENCE “SNOWMAGEDDON”



Accident occurs soon after County Fire Authority/Cal Fire hauled away four-wheel-drive ambulances and fire engines formerly run by Julian’s volunteer fire department

County, Cal Fire and Mercy Medical Transportation fail to answer questions or provide solutions to prevent future fiascos

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

December 6, 2019 (Julian) -- As San Diegans rushed up to the mountain community of Julian last Saturday to play in the snow, a Mercy Medical Transportation, Inc. two-wheel drive ambulance under contract to the San Diego County Fire Authority and Cal Fire missed a curve on State Highway 78, landed off the side of the road and got stuck in snow for hours.

The incident occurred at 8:15 a.m. near Jess Martin Park. According to sources familiar with the situation, the two-man crew had been dispatched all the way from Valley Center, since Julian no longer has a locally stationed ambulance. The crew was reportedly unhurt and had been on the way to Julian Fire Station No. 56. It wasn’t until around 1 p.m. that a tow truck arrived to extricate the ambulance. It is unclear why neither Mercy or Cal Fire could provide a winch to free the vehicle sooner.

PRESCRIBED FIRE BURNS PLANNED AT CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Source:  CA Department of Parks and Recreation

December 5, 2019 (San Diego) - The California Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection (CAL FIRE) and other agencies are planning to conduct prescribed burns and pile burns in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park between Dec. 16, 2019 and April 30, 2020.

RAMONA HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL EACH WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS INCLUDES HOLIDAY SHOPPING, MUSIC, AND WINE TASTING

East County News Service

December 4, 2019 (Ramona) -- This year’s Ramona Holiday Wine Trail runs four weekends to make sure you have time to cover all 18 participating wine-tasting venues and take advantage of all that the Holiday Wine Trail has to offer. The event includes holiday shopping at wineries as well as live music, special events and promotions plus of course, wine tasting.  This year, the wine trail runs each Saturday and Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas:

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO SNOW

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office
Photo: Mount Laguna (Miriam Raftery)
 
December 3, 2019 (San Diego) - The following are tips and considerations for you if you plan to drive up to the snow:
  • Be prepared for significant traffic delays in both directions due to both road conditions and the sheer volume of motorists. Prior snowfalls have left drivers in up to five-hour waits on the roads.
  • You should have a full tank of gas. Don’t count on filling up along the way.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: THANKFUL AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE

East County News Service
 
Photos courtesy of Kelly Massey at Lions, Tigers and Bears
 
December 1, 2019 (Alpine) – At the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine earlier this week, exotic big cats and bears enjoyed some special Thanksgiving enrichment.  In addition to savoring raw turkey dinners, the animals also enjoying romping and frolicking in the newfallen snow.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AFTER RULING BY JUDGE, COUNTY REMOVES ALL EQUIPMENT FROM JULIAN FIRE STATION 56, INCLUDING FIRE ENGINES, AMBULANCE AND WATER TENDER

Safety concerns raised; court ruling by Judge Randa Trapp could be death knell to Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 20, 2019 (Julian) -- With a stroke of a gavel, San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp on Friday morning dashed hopes of volunteers from the former Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District that the district will be resurrected anytime soon.

Judge Trapp denied the motion filed by JCFPD’s attorney Cory Briggs last April 10, which sought to invalidate the dissolution of the volunteer fire and medical protection district by the San Diego Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO). Briggs filed the motion to appeal the afternoon after LAFCO’s vote.

Within hours of Trapp’s decision Friday, despite a new appeal of Friday's judgement filed by Briggs, the County Fire Authority operated by CALFIRE raided Julian Fire Station 56, towing away or hauling off all remaining firefighting equipment of the JCFPD including fire engines and ambulances. A broker has reportedly indicated that at least some of the equipment is being put up for sale, instead of being either held for the JCFPD in case of a win on appeal, or turned over to the CFA/CALFIRE to utilize to protect Julian.

Briggs called the action a “raid.”  Some Julian residents cried, while others voiced anger.

The action leaves Julian entirely dependent upon the CFA/CAL FIRE for protection, despite grave concerns raised by many residents over serious gaps in equipment and coverage since the JCFPD was dissolved.

SNOW FALLING ON I-8, HEAVY SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAINS AS OTHER AREAS FLOOD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Robert Scheid:  Snow falls along I-8 near the Sunrise Highway exit

November 28, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s a white Christmas across East County’s mountains and rural areas. Snow is falling along Interstate 8 east of Alpine.

A blanket of snow covers the Cuyamaca area, Cal Trans reports on Twitter.  In Warner Springs, chains or snow tires are required, with two inches of snow on Chihuahua Valley Road, NBC 7 reports. Snow is heavy in the Julian area, leaving some residents snowed in, sources told ECM.

WHITE THANKSGIVING FORECAST FOR MOUNTAINS, FLASH FLOOD WATCH ALSO ISSUED AS “DANGEROUS” WINTER STORM TO IMPACT HOLIDAY TRAVELERS

 

East County News Service

November 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A winter storm watch has been issued for the National Weather Service from Wednesday at 4 a.m. through Friday at 10 p.m. for all mountain areas in San Diego County. There is also a flash flood watch for areas west of the mountains from Wed. at 4 a.m. through Thursday at 10 p.m.

Heavy mountain snow will bring hazardous travel conditions Wednesday through Friday, with accumulating snow down to 3,000 feet by Thanksgiving night.  Up to three feet could accumulate above 5,000 feet including Mt. Laguna and Palomar, with several inches at lower elevations.

MAN SHOT IN DISPUTE, AIRLIFTED TO HOSPITAL FROM RAMONA

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2019 (Ramona) – An argument between two men, ages 24 and 26, escalated into a fight today in the 400 block of Pala Street in Ramona.  “One of the men produced a gun, firing one round and hitting the other person in the left leg,” says Lt. Ken Jones with the Sheriff’s department.

Sheriff’s deputies and Cal Fire paramedics arrived on scene. Paramedics stabilized the wounded party and transported him to a hospital by helicopter. The wounded man is expected to survive.

24TH ANNUAL ALPINE VILLAGE PARADE OF LIGHTS & SNOW FESTIVAL DEC. 6

East County News Service
 
November 25, 2019 (Alpine) – The 24th annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights and Snow Festival is slated to light up the holiday season and delight guests of all ages on Friday, December 6th. The parade rolls out at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Alpine Blvd. and West Victoria Drive, ending at Tavern Road.  The free snow festival – with real snow and sledding – is at the Alpine Community Center at 1830 Alpine Blvd after the parade, until 9 p.m.
 
Arrive early, since Alpine Blvd. will close down for the parade. Bring a chair and blanket to enjoy the lighted entries. At the snow festival afterwards, in addition to “snow hill” you’ll find vendors, food, music and a visit from Santa Claus.

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: WHAT IS A MOUNTAIN CHILD?







By Jake Zawlacki

Photo Credit Fern Bowen, 1947

November 25, 2019 (Jamul) -- “Mountain child” is a term I first heard when looking at a class photo of my grandfather. In the small Lyons Valley elementary school of 1947, he stood amongst two of his sisters, he and the youngest with a particularly stern face.

“Look at them. They’re like wild mountain children,” my Dad said, smiling at the black and white photo. It was true; they looked more like children of the corn than civilization standing in the dirt, some with bare feet. But most looked happy.

STORMY THANKSGIVING COULD BRING SNOW BELOW 3,000 FEET, THUNDERSTORMS AND HEAVY RAINS ACROSS REST OF REGION

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re heading over the rivers and through the woods this Thanksgiving week, you might just wind up traveling through white and drifted snow, as the popular song lyrics go—not to mention rain and flash flooding, too, making for hazardous roadway conditions across southern California, the National Weather Service warns.

The National Weather Service predicts a major winter storm will bring significant snowfall of one to two feet above 5,000 feet by Wednesday, with the snow level dropping to 3,000 feet or even lower by Friday.  Snow could impact I-8 through San Diego County’s mountains, as well as areas such as Cuyamaca, Julian, Jacumba Hot Springs, Descanso, Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain locally, as well as the Cajon Pass on I-15 for those heading north.

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