Mountains

COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO SHUTS OFF RADIO AND FREEZES BANK ACCOUNTS OF JULIAN FIRE & MEDICAL SERVICES

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

Photo: JCFPD Attorney Cory Briggs talks with community supporters

 

April 12, 2019 (Julian-Cuyamaca) - The Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) on Wednesday had hoped that it would get its day in court after the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) unanimously voted to dissolve the rural Julian fire and medical emergency district on Monday.


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SAN DIEGO LAFCO VOTES TO DISSOLVE JULIAN CUYAMACA FIRE DISTRICT IN DEFIANCE OF COURT ORDER; VOLUNTEERS STAGE SIT-IN AT FIRE STATION

 
 
 
 
Friday Superior Court ruling nullified initial application to dissolve district
 
By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor
 
 
 
 
April 9, 2019 (Julian-Cuyamaca) - Just when you might figure the drama over the future of the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) is over, after Monday’s vote by the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), it would appear it is only starting. This time around, there is one more player in the game, and volunteers are occupying the fire station until at least through Wednesday.


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IT’S OFFICIAL: JULIAN-CUYAMACA CITIZENS VOTE TO ABOLISH ITS INDEPENDENT FIRE PROTECTION AGENCY

 

 

Residents weigh legal challenge as election paves way for County Fire Authority and CAL FIRE to assume fire protection and medical emergency services

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

April 5, 2019 (Julian-Cuyamaca) - After nearly two years of controversy, Julian residents voted on Mar. 19 by mail ballot to abolish the 34-year old Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) and replace it with fire and medical emergency services provided by the San Diego Fire Authority and Cal Fire.


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BLACKSMITH BANDY TO BE PORTRAYED IN NEWEST RAMONA MURAL

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

April 2, 2019 (Ramona) -- The Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project will hold a dedication ceremony for its 19th mural, “Bandy Blacksmith,” by artist Beata Wojcik at D’Carlos restaurant, 1347 Main St., Ramona on Saturday, April 6th at 10:00 a.m.


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ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SITE MAY SOON OFFER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery



Updated April 1, 2019 with clarifications from Catherine Martin at the GUHSD.

March 31, 2019 (Alpine)  -- For over two decades, Alpine residents have sought a high school in their community.  After the Alpine Union-High School District (AUSD) board recently voted to close the Alpine Elementary School in June due to declining enrollment, the AUSD and the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) are exploring options to bring some high school programming to the campus on Alpine Boulevard. But it won't be a full-service high school, as the community was originally promised in two past bond initiatives.

GUHSD Superintendent Tim Glover confirmed in an e-mail to ECM, “We’ve been having discussions with AUSD over several months regarding potential programs and services as part of a satellite program option. We look forward to creating an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with AUSD and gauging the interest in some specialized program offerings such as Independent Study, Home Choice, and Adult Education classes.”


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COUNTY SAYS JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIREFIGHTERS CAN SERVE AS VOLUNTEERS ALONGSIDE CAL-FIRE IF THEY SIGN UP BY APRIL 15: BUT NOBODY TOLD JULIAN’S FIRE CHIEF

 

Update April 4, 2019 -- Alex Bell, public information officer for San Diego, has clarified that on March 29, the same day our story below ran, a letter was sent to JFCPD Chief Van Bibber and the JCFPD board president via email and certified mail notifying him of volunteer opportunities. In addition a flyer was provided to them for distribution to their volunteers. "Since Monday, 8 Julian firefighters have applied to the County Fire Authority program," Bell told ECM.

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2019 (Julian) – Measure A, the ballot initiative to abolish the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) and put the San Diego County Fire Authority/CAL FIRE in charge of emergency services, appears to have passed by a slim 114 vote margin, 54% to 46%, according to the Registrar of Voters though the results won’t be certified until April 4.

The County issued a press release today headlined “Julian joins the County Fire Authority.”  The County states this will bring “full-time professional firefighting and paramedic service to the popular East County tourist destinations.”

“Now that voters in Julian have spoken, it is my hope that the entire community will come together and rally around our common goal to bolster fire protection and other emergency services in the area,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, who represents the area. The JCFPD is San Diego County's last all-volunteer firefighting department.

But now the County appears to have offered an olive branch to the 60 volunteers in the JCFPD with an opportunity to continue to serve-yet the County failed to inform the JCFPD's Chief or others about that opportunity and a looming deadline.


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FAMED BALLOONIST DEAD AFTER ACCIDENT NEAR WARNER SPRINGS

 
 
East County News Service
 
Photo: CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority
 
March 28, 2019 (Warner Springs) — Julian Richard Nott, 74, died at a local hospital Tuesday of injuries sustained from a freak accident in an experimental hot air balloon Sunday near Warner Springs.
 
Nott set 79 world ballooning records, according to his obituary. Originally from Britain, Nott was living in Santa Barbara at the time of his death.

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COUNTY SUPERVISORS TAKE STEP TOWARD POSSIBLE POTATO CHIP ROCK PARKING

 

 

March 27, 2019 (Ramona) - The County Board of Supervisors took a step Wednesday toward the possibility of building a safe parking area for thousands of hikers who park and traipse dangerously close to traffic along Highway 67 in Ramona to get to Mount Woodson and the popular Potato Chip Rock trail.


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GOV. NEWSOM DECLARES EMERGENCY FOR WILDFIRE PREVENTION: CREST, GUATAY IN EAST COUNTY AMONG “VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES” TARGETED

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office

March 26, 2019 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday proclaimed a state of emergency over wildfire dangers to “protect the state’s most vulnerable communities,” according to a press release issued by his office.  


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PASSAGES: TOM HYDE, VIEJAS TRIBAL ELDER AND LAST ORIGINAL RESERVATION MEMBER, 1927-2019

 

March 20, 2019 (Viejas Reservation) -- Tom Hyde, revered tribal elder, passed from this earth and his beloved Viejas community, March 14, 2019, at 92 years of age.  He is survived by a large family of 200, both blood and chosen.  Born Thomas James Hyde to Prudencia and Valentine Hyde, of El Capitan Village, he’s the last of the original Viejas Reservation members, and last to have personally witnessed destruction of El Capitan Village, at age five. Thus, he began life as a bridge between the past and future of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.


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JULIAN VOTES TO ABOLISH THE JULIAN CUYAMACA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, contributed to this report

Update March 27, 2019: The margin has narrowed slightly but Measure A still leads by 114 votes and a 7.96% margin: yes 53.98%, no 46.02%

March 19, 2019 (Julian) – The County’s last all-volunteer fire department may soon be history. With 1,294 ballots counted tonight, Measure A is passing with 55.56%, the Registrar of Voters reports.

The measure would affirm a decision made last September by the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to abolish the 35-year-old Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Fire and ambulance services would be shifted entirely to the County Fire Authority, under the direction of Cal-Fire.

The Registrar’s office will continue to accept ballots until Friday, if postmarked by today. It is unclear how many ballots mailed out have not yet been returned, or whether there could be enough to make up the 145-vote gap (719 to 575).

Cal-Fire firefighters’ union local #2881 posted on Facebook tonight, “Thank you to the Citizens of Julian and Cuyamaca for the opportunity to serve them.” (photo, left)

For backers of the JCFPD who have fought hard to keep their volunteer firefighters, however, the outcome sparked strong emotions.


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GUATAY MOTORCYLIST KILLED IN COLLISION

 

East County News Service

March 18, 2019 (Guatay) – A Guatay man, 56, died at the scene of a collision yesterday at 4:25 a.m. He was riding a Suzuki SV1000 motorcycle on Olde Highway 80 approaching westbound State Route 79, when a Chevrolet Silverado driven by a Temecula man, 21, entered the intersection to make a left turn, violating the motorcyclist’s right-of-way, according to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.


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RESPONSE TO EDITORIAL ON MEASURE A FROM CAL-FIRE FIREFIGHTERS LOCAL 2881 VICE-PRESIDENT PATRICK WALKER

By William T. Everett, Board Member, Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

March 14, 2019 (Julian) -- Union Vice-President Patrick Walker believes that the Julian Cuyamaca "volunteer fire station is inefficient and unable to provide adequate fire and life safety services in comparison to full time." He goes on to tout his experience and career as the reason he is credible. Yet, numerous Fire Chiefs and career firefighters throughout California, with far more experience than Walker, strongly disagree with his conclusion. What is the difference between Walker and the others? It is simple. Walker works for the Cal-Fire union and his primary responsibility is to promote the union and help create more union jobs. 

It appears that Walker's primary argument in favor of dissolving the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District is his claim that full-time firefighters are better for the community than part-time (i.e., volunteers). What Mr. Walker either doesn't know or doesn't want the public to know is that the Julian fire station is now staffed full-time with 60  firefighters (volunteers) that are as highly trained and qualified as any "professional" firefighters in the United States.


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CELEBRATE EARTH DAY IN STATE PARKS

 

 

East County News Service

March 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – On Saturday, April 13, Californians will come together to make a difference in state parks across California for the State Park Service’s annual Earth Day celebration. You’re invited to participate in special volunteer projects focused on climate resiliency, or join in a new family-friendly open house.


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MORE MURALS COMING TO RAMONA

 

 

East County News Service

March 8, 2019 (Ramona) -- Working toward a goal of at least 40 painted murals on Ramona buildings, the H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project has received approval of artists and concepts of three additional murals from the Ramona Design Review Board.The committee is also searching for a muralist to create a fourth mural — a scene of vintage bikes, at Cheers of Ramona, 2475 Main St. 


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EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF STATE ROUTE 78 FROM WYNOLA ROAD TO GREAT OVERLAND STAGE ROUTE (S-2) FOR ROCK SCALING

If you plan to go view wildflowers in the desert this weekend, be sure to read this and plan an alternate route.

March 8, 2019 (Julian)-- Caltrans crews are preparing to close a six-mile segment of State Route 78 (SR-78) from Wynola Road just east of Julian to Great Southern Overland Stage Route (S-2) later this afternoon for rock scaling activities, according to Caltrans. The emergency closure may extend through the weekend as needed to ensure that the highway slopes are stable.

Residents will be allowed access through the closures as safe to do so.

Motorists on eastbound SR-78 from Ramona toward Banner grade will be detoured onto northbound SR-79 at Santa Ysabel, then directed to turn right onto San Felipe Road (S-2), to eastbound SR-78 towards Ocotillo Wells.

Motorists on westbound SR-78, east of the closure, will be detoured to turn right onto San Felipe Road (S-2) to southbound SR-79, to Santa Ysabel to westbound or eastbound SR-78.


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RAMONA RANCH WINERY EVENTS: CHEESES, TREE HUGGERS AND A WINEMAKER WEEKEND

 

 

East County News Service

March 8, 2019 (Ramona) – Ramona Ranch Winery announces a series of events including Cheeses from the Cave this Saturday, live music with the Tree Huggers next weekend, and a Winemaker Weekend in April.  Scroll down for details, provided by the winery: 


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THREE-VEHICLE CRASH IN RAMONA MAY HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY DUI DRIVER

 
 
East County News Service
 
Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News
 
March 6, 2019 (Ramona) – The driver of a  Mercedes may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he drifted over the center line on Dye Road in Ramona yesterday afternoon and sideswiped a Subaru, then struck a Toyota Tundra head-on.

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READER'S EDITORIAL: 18 GRADUATES FROM FIRE ACADEMY JOIN JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIREFIGHTERS

 
 
By Patricia Landis
 
March 4, 2019 (Julian) — Today was a good day.  Eighteen men and women graduated from the JCFPD Academy and will join JCFPD as Firefighters. One more will be added after he completes the last few classes, but he could not graduate today because he sustained a broken elbow, slipping on the ice while training. Chief Mike Van Bibber orchestrated the graduation ceremony and pinned each firefighter with their new badge. 

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COLD RECORDS BROKEN IN FEBRUARY

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Dave Hogan:  Deep snow near his home in the Pine Valley/Mt. Laguna area
 
March 1, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Across Southern California, February broke records for cold temperatures.  Campo averaged just 42.5 degrees for the month of February, the chilliest since February 1956.  In Ramona, February temperatures averaged 46.8 degrees, tying the all-time record from January 2007.  Alpine’s average 47.7 degrees was the coldest since January 1955 and Palomar Mountain, at a brisk 35.3 degrees, was the coldest since January 1949.

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JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BALLOT MEASURE: A “YES” VOTE DISSOLVES DISTRICT, A “NO” VOTE SAVES VOLUNTEER DEPT.

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor, and Miriam Raftery, Editor

 

February 26, 2019 (Julian) — Voters in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) have until March 19 to mail in their ballots on Measure A. The ballot language is confusing to some.  

 

In plain English, a “yes” vote would dissolve the county’s last all-volunteer firefighting district and put the San Diego County Fire Authority run by Cal Fire in sole charge of fire and emergency medical protection.  A “no” vote would save the district from dissolving and keep the volunteer firefighters and paramedics who have protected the area for over 20 years, with Cal Fire providing backup/mutual aid.


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SNOW VISITORS DEFACE LA POSTA SACRED SITE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM news partner 10 News

February 26, 2019 (La Posta) — A couple who claimed responsibility on social media for spray-painting graffiti on rocks at a sacred site on the La Posta Indian reservation in East County claims they didn’t know they were on tribal lands, but have offered to clean up the damage.


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FIRST FRIDAY ART SHOW MARCH 1 IN RAMONA

 

 

East County News Service

February 26, 2019 (Ramona) – The Gallery at 438 Main St. in Ramona invites you to a “First Friday” Art Party and Open House on March 1st from 6 to 8 p.m. The free event will feature free refreshments, art by local artists, and 20 percent discounts off purchases.

 


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SKIER RESCUED FROM ICY LAKE ON MOUNT LAGUNA

 

 

East County News Service

Photo: ECM news partner 10 News

 

February 25, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A man who fell through ice on Big Laguna Lake while attempting to snow ski on the frozen water yesterday was rescued by a Sheriff’s helicopter.


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MAN ARRESTED FOR FATAL SHOOTING OF WOMAN IN ALPINE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: 10 News

 

Update February 27, 2019: The victim has been identified as Melanie Benitez, 27.  Paraschak, 42, has been charged with murder.

 

February 24, 2019 (Alpine) – A man armed with two guns was arrested yesterday for killing a woman in Alpine. Paul Paraschak has been charged with murder, Lt. Rich Williams told 10 News.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: DEEP SNOW

 

 

East County News Service

February 22, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – “Yeah. I’m not going anywhere for a while,” Dave Hogan posted on Facebook. Snow outside his home between Pine Valley and Mt. Laguna measured over 19 inches.


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MITSUBISHI DRIVER FROM SPRING VALLEY KILLED ON ICY ROAD IN RAMONA

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
February 22, 2019 (Ramona) – A Spring Valley man, 43, in a Mitsubishi Montero died at the scene of a crash at 6:00 this morning in Ramona. 
 
According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, the motorist was driving north on State Route 67 north of Shady Bend when he lost control entering a curve due to his speed on the wet and partially icy roadway.
 

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CHECK ROAD CONDITIONS BEFORE GOING TO THE SNOW



 

 

By Andy TolleyCounty of San Diego Communications Office

February 22, 2019 (Mt. Laguna) - A big snow day at Mt. Laguna means County Public Works crews are busy clearing the roads. But if they determine that chains are required, the CHP gets involved.

Be sure to check the road conditions before embarking on a trip to the snow.

Chain controls, road condition updates and other safety advisories about County-maintained roads are posted on the Department of Public Work’s Facebook and Twitter sites.


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SNOW, ICE SHUTS DOWN I-8 AT ALPINE; SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAIN AREAS

 

Update 10:38 a.m.  -- CHP is now escorting vehicles on I-8 between Alpine and the county line. Expect delays.

February 22, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- East County's mountain areas look like winter wonderlands, with two feet of snow atop Mt. Laguna and several inches or more in Julian (photo, left, webcam in downtown Julian). 

But winter conditions have wreaked havoc with motorists. After many vehicles incuding a semi-truck and a school bu skidded on icy conditions along Interstate 8, authorities shut down I-8 from Alpine to the County line last night. It remains closed this morning, though the CHP has been escorting stranded motorist through the area. 


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CAL FIRE SAYS SNOWED-IN FIRE ENGINE POST WAS A HOAX



Update Feb. 22, 2019 10:26 a.m.  This morning the Julian Times posted a photo on its Facebook page showing Cal Fire/CFA engines purportedly stuck in snow. Scroll down for the image. 

In addition, Times of San Diego forwarded this aerial video provided by a Julian resident showing Cal Fire engines in heavy snow at the station this morning:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C6U3pTQIY3W7UJd2Jd6EC-wHghTwzEqp/view?fbclid=IwAR2CcW9R9b5rPvicADyqPXU_XtYJ4DhBe87yicG5lihg12g-g7VLkoMti44

 



By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rachel Goddard,, JCFPD volunteers clear a tree blocking a snowy road.

February 22, 2019 (Julian) -- With up to two feet of snow blanketing the mountains of East County last night, a post circulating on social media and sent to ECM last night contained a screenshot that appeared to be a screen shot from a County Fire Authority social media page. The post stated that  its Cal Fire Station 51 in Julian and a fire engine "is unable to respond to calls and is out of service due to the growing snow conditions." (See screenshot below.)

But this morning, Cal Fire Deputy Chief Nick Schuler told ECM that the image and its message was "false" and not an official Cal Fire page. He said Cal Fire engines were in operation responding to calls at the time. Schuler blamed advocates of a contentious ballot initiative to keep the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District independent for circulating what he states was a hoax. ECM has requested call logs for the evening from both agencies.

Volunteer firefighters with the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District sent ECM a photo last night demonstrating a can-do spirit as they continued to serve their community during the emergency conditions, responding to calls for medical assistance and removing a downed tree. (Photo, left, courtey of the JCFPD.)

JCFPD Chief Mike Van Bibber told ECM today that he is confident the post did not originate with his firefighters. He added that one of his team owns a backhoe that was used to keep the JCFPD station clear for engines' access.

After we received Schuler's statement, this morning the Julian Times posted this photo on their Facebook page which appears to show two CFA engines temporarily blocked in by snow:


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