Mountains

AS VOTERS PREPARE TO CAST BALLOTS ON FUTURE OF JULIAN AREA'S FIRE DEPARTMENT, COUNTY ANNOUNCES FULL STAFFING OF RANCHITA FIRE STATION

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2019 (Ranchita) – For years, residents of Ranchita, a small town between Borrego Springs and Julian, have complained about prolonged periods of time when their fire station was unstaffed, leaving their community without rapid response to medical emergencies and fires. 

But now, just as area residents prepare to go to the polls in March to vote on a ballot initiative to determine the fate of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Department, the County Fire Authority and Cal Fire have announced that they have upgraded staffing at the Ranchita Fire Station to permanent full-time staffing and are in the process of boosting paramedic services.  


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: FROSTY VIEW

 

 

East County News Service

February 21, 2019 (Julian) – Carol Faith from Julian sent in this photo of frost patterns on her window pane framing views of snow outside.


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LOW SNOW TONIGHT COULD DIP TO 1,500 FEET

East County News Service

Photo: Rare winter snowfall in Ramona in 2011, by Mike Mulligan

February 20, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- A storm tonight coupled with a cold front is forecast to drop snow as low as 1,500 to 2,500 feet, the National Weather Service predicts. That could mean rare snowfalls in Ramona, Alpine, or even atop Cowles Mountain.  At higher elevations, 2 to 5 inches are forecast above 3,000 feet in areas such as Julian and Descanso, 6 to 12 inches above 5,000 feet including Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain, and  12 to 16 inches above 6,500 feet including Cuyamaca Peak.

The storm is expected to bring rainfall of .25 to 1 inch to San DIego County's coastal and desert areas. A frost warning has been issued for Thursday and Friday morning.


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COUNTY AGENCIES RESCUE HORSE STUCK IN MUD

 

 

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a horse rescued from a ravine suffered only minor scratches 

February 19, 2019 (Descanso) - A horse is recovering from some minor scratches after being rescued from a muddy ravine in Descanso Monday.


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BODY FOUND OUTSIDE BURNED HOUSE IN RAMONA

 
 
East County News Service
 
February 18, 2019 (Ramona) – A man found dead after a house fire Feb. 16 at 20997 Black Canyon Road in Ramona is believed to have shot himself, according to Lieutenant Ken Jones with the San Diego County Sheriff.

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NEW STORM COULD DROP SNOW DOWN TO 2000 FEET; FROST WARNING IN EFFECT FOR INLAND AREAS

 

East County News Service

Photo: Sunrise HIghway, courtesy of the California Highway Patrol

 

Update 11:40 a.m. -- Update: SR-79 is now open from I-8 to SR-78 into Julian. Chains are not required.Sunrise Highway is open from Olde Highway to MPM 27.5 chains are still mandatory, per the CHP.

 

February 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A new storm slated to pummel our region Wednesday night through Friday morning will bring more snow and blustery winds, possibly dropping the snow level as low as 2,000 feet.  That would include areas such as Ramona, Campo, Descanso and possibly even Alpine and high desert areas. 

 

State Route 79 is still closed from Harvey Moore Trailhead (mile post marker 5) to SR-78. Sunrise Highway is closed from MPM 27.5 to SR-79. Sunrise Highway from MPM 27.5 south to Olde Hwy 80 is only open to vehicles with chains and chain requirements will strictly be enforced, CHP warns.


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HEAVY SNOW, ROAD CLOSURES IN MOUNTAINS





East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo:  Julian, courtesy of San Diego Sheriff

February 17, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- Heavy snow is blanketing San Diego's mountains tonight, with 8 to 10 inches of snow possible at higher elevations and lighter snow down as low as 2,500 feet in elevation.  The following road closures are in effect, per CHP:

  • State Route 79 is closed from mile marker 7 south of Cuyamaca Lake to State Route 78 in Julian indefinitely.
  • Chains are required on Sunrise Highway. No vehicles will be allowed north on Sunrie HIghway from Olde Highway 80, just north of I-8.

In addition, the Sheriff urges visitors not to drive to Julian tonight due to hazardous winter storm conditions.


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DISCOVER “WOMEN WARRIORS” SUNDAY, FEB. 17 IN ALPINE

 

East County News Service

February 14, 2019 (Alpine) – You’re invited to discover “Women Warriors” this Sunday, Feb. 17 in Alpine.  Presented by the Alpine Historical Society, author and performer Annette Hubbell will bring to life the amazing stories of ordinary women who changed themselves and helped others. 


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

 

 

Source:  California State Parks

February 12, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - -The California Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection (CAL FIRE) are planning a prescribed burn in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park between January 29, 2019 and March 15, 2019.


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JACUMBA MAN DIES AFTER STOPPING TO HELP STRANDED MOTORIST ON PINE VALLEY BRIDGE

By Miriam Raftery

February 7, 2019 (Pine Valley) – Robert Verlin Bruno Jr., 48, of Jacumba Hot Springs ,stopped to help when he saw a Ford F-150 pickup truck with a baby as a passenger. The truck had struck a guardrail on Pine Valley Bridge on Interstate 8 before dawn yesterday around 5 a.m.

But then a truck swerved to avoid the crash and collided with a Kia. The two vehicles came careening toward him on the icy freeway. Bruno jumped over a guardrail to avoid being struck, not realizing in the darkness that the spot dropped off into a 300 to 400 foot deep ravine.


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SNOW BLANKETS EAST COUNTY MOUNTAINS

By East County Magazine

Photos: Laguna Mountain Lodge Faceboko page

February 6, 2019 (Laguna Mountain) – Five days of storms have blanketed local mountains including Mount Laguna with up to a foot of snow, the National Weather Service reports. Julian, Pine Valley and Descanso all received snow.  The storm also doused much of the county with heavy rains, including up to six inches in some locations.

If you’re considering a trip to frolic in the snow, check current road and weather conditions since tire chains may be required, and use caution on icy roads. Also check these resources:


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INCOMING RAMONA COMPLEX BRINGS SERVING SENIORS’ AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS TO MORE THAN 400

 

 

Rents for low-income seniors to range from about $476 to $978 a month; federal vouchers to cover portion

By Paul Downey, President & CEO, Serving Seniors

 

February 5, 2019 (Ramona) -- Serving Seniors may be most well-known for its meal program, which provides 2,500 meals a day to seniors across the county. In 2017, the organization served 600,000 meals, which can greatly assist seniors that may be on fixed incomes, yet their housing expenses continue to increase.

 

In addition to nutritious meals, Serving Seniors helps seniors in poverty live fulfilling and healthy lives by also providing health services and affordable housing. Early this summer, Serving Seniors will open its 62-unit Schmale Family Senior Residence in Ramona. Developed in partnership with Chelsea Investment Corporation, it will be the organization’s Seniors’ first affordable housing complex in east San Diego County.   


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WINTER STORM WARNING: SNOW DOWN TO 2500 FEET TONIGHT

East County News Service

February 4, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in effect now through 4 a.m. Wednesday for heavy snow in the mountains of San Diego’s East County. 

The snow level could dip down to 2500 to 3500 feet, with six to 12 inches of snow above 4500 to 5000 feet.


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SAN DIEGO SOLAR EXPERIENCE KICKOFF SLATED TO ENERGIZE RESIDENTS IN 2019

Local nonprofit and solar industry experts come together in Ramona to launch a new year of clean energy education

East County News Service

February 4, 2019 (San Diego) -- The third annual San Diego Solar Experience Kickoff returns to sunny San Diego on Saturday, February 9. The event, beginning with a presentation at the Ramona Public Library at 11 a.m., will unite residents with local cleantech businesses and nonprofits to piece together the puzzle of new clean energy policy and share insights into what’s changing in renewable energy in 2019. As policy changes and our communities continue to implement plans that achieve our climate goals, it's both necessary and difficult to remain informed. The San Diego Solar Experience Kickoff event aims to conquer this challenge.

Participants of the San Diego Solar Experience Kickoff event can attend one of the three county-wide seminars in Ramona, Carlsbad and Chula Vista, where they will learn from nationally certified energy practitioners and nonprofit experts on the facts and benefits of gaining energy independence.


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SEARCH FOR MISSING OCEANSIDE MAN TURNS TO EAST COUNTY

 

 

East County News Service

February 2, 2019 (Oceanside) – An Oceanside father of four who vanished on January 4th may have traveled to East County.  John Sturkie’s cell phone was traced to El Cajon on January 5 and 6 before it died. He is known to frequent Julian, the mud caves in Anza-Borrego desert, Palomar Mountain and Brawley/Calipatria.


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JEROME’S DONATES RECLINERS TO JULIAN CUYAMACA VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPT.

 

 

East County News Service

January 31, 2019 (Julian) – Jeromes Furniture Warehouse surprised Julian's & Cuyamaca's firefighters with five brand new reclining chairs for the lounge at Station #56. Now after fighting fighters and saving lives, firefighters can put up their boots and relax in comfort.


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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES SENT TO CONTROLLED BURN IN RANCHO CUYAMACA STATE PARK

 

 

East County News Service 

January 28, 2019 5:10 p.m. (Cuyamaca) -- A controlled burn in Rancho Cuyamaca State Park has jumped out of control, NBC 7 reports. Cal Fire has not confirmed this but the Cal Fire Twitter feed states that Cal Fire is assisting State Parks with this burn.

The burn began in the 13000 block of Highway 79 and is currently burning near I-8 east at Japatul Valley. 


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JANUARY IN JULIAN

January 25, 2019 (Julian) -- Our editor, Miriam Raftery, snapped this soothing sunset at the twilight's last glow over the mountains in Julian last Sunday.

The photo was taken out the window of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Station on State Route 79.


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JULIAN FIREFIGHTERS HOST SPAGHETTI DINNER FOR COMMUNITY, COLLECT FOOD DONATIONS FOR THE HUNGRY

“This is your house.” -- Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

January 24, 2019 (Julian) –“We’re rising from the ashes and we will emerge like the Phoenix, even better than before we were,” Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber told a crowd of some 75 citizens at a spaghetti dinner held Sunday in the main stationhouse on Highway79.

The mood was buoyant, despite storm clouds still looming over the district. A special election to save the county’s last volunteer fire department is slated for March, after residents gathered enough signatures to put the decision on the ballot and temporarily block takeover by the County Fire Department run by Cal-Fire.


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JULIAN FIREFIGHTERS HOST SPAGHETTI DINNER TO FILL “BLESSING BOX”

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 19, 2019 (Julian) – The community is invited to a spaghetti dinner hosted by the Julian Cuyamaca Firefighters Association on Sunday, January 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Bring a non-perishable food item to share for the Julian Blessing Box, a free food pantry that helps people in need.


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BIRDS TAKE WING AT HAWK WATCH IN RAMONA

East County News Service

January 17, 2019 (Ramona) -- The Wildlife Research Center in Ramona will present “Hawk Watch” each Saturday in January and February.  This year the event will be held at the Begent Ranch in Ramona (18528 Highland Valley Road.)

Arrive at 9:30 a.m. for coffee and doughnuts before the program begins at 10 a.m. You will  meet birds of prey up close in the Ramona grasslands such as hawks, owls and eagles. Charles Gailband of Wild Wings, his apprentice, Spencer, and fellow falconer Cisco who bring their amazing raptors to share with the public.


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ALPINE COMMUNITY PLAN UPDATE: MEETING JANUARY 26


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A HUGE NEW PARK IS COMING TO ALPINE

 
 
East County News Service
 
January 16, 2019 (Alpine) – The County has announced plans to purchase 98 acres next to Wright’s Field along South Grade Road in Alpine. Combined with an adjacent environmental preserve, the new acquisition will give Alpine residents almost 330 acres of open space.

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STORM SYSTEM SWOOPS INTO REGION BRINGING HEAVY RAIN, SNOW AND WAVES UP TO 14 FEET

 

East County News Service

January 11, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy rain and snow is forecast to fall starting tonight, with several new storm systems from the Pacific northwest slated to reach our region next week.

According to the National Weather Service, tonight and tomorrow morning should bring a half inch of rain west of the mountains and up to an inch or rain in the mountains, with several inches of snow above 6,000 feet including Palomar Mountain. Be prepared for a brief period of very heavy rain and strong surf.


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RAINS ARE COMING, GET YOUR FREE SANDBAGS

 

 

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 10, 2019 (San Diego) - Weather forecasts are predicting more rain this weekend and next week, which means this may be a good time to pick up some free sandbags from the County and CAL FIRE to protect your home and property if you need them.


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WEEKEND STORM TO BRING MORE RAIN AND SNOW







 

East County News Service

January 4, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- A new storm is heading to our region.  The National Weather Service predicts rain and snow down to 5,000 feet elevation late Saturday and Sunday.


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DESCANSO MAN DIES AFTER ACCIDENT IN WARNER SPRINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2019 (Descanso) – Thomas Theobald, 66, of Descanso died December 29th at Palomar Medical Center of injuries sustained in a car accident the night before in Warner Springs.

Theobald collided with another vehicle on State Route 79 at Linton Road in Warner Springs. California Highway Patrol and Cal-Fire were dispatched to the scene following a 9-1-1 call. Paramedics initiative advanced cardiac life support and the victim was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center’s emergency department, where he was diagnosed with multiple fractures.

He never regained consciousness and died of blunt force trauma to his head and torso.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: EAST COUNTY CHILLS OUT





 

East County News Service

January 3, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A New Year’s eve storm dropped temperatures to below freezing across most of East County, bringing snow and ice even to some low elevation areas.  Area residents took to social media with their icy images.

Anza Borrego Desert Research Center posted an image (left) of snow blanketing the ground around the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park’s landmark sign  The group reported snow flurries down to 2300 feet, with snow sticking above the 2500 foot elevation in the normally arid terrain.


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SNOWFALL IN EAST COUNTY’S MOUNTAINS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Mt. Laguna, courtesy SDG&E camera via HP Wren

January 1, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Two and a half inches of snow have fallen in Julian on New Year’s Eve, with an inch reported atop Mt. Laguna and Mt. Palomar.  A light dusting of snow fell at lower elevations including Cuyamaca in East County’s mountains.


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CAL FIRE/COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY ORDERS REMOVAL OF PROTECTIVE GEAR FROM JULIAN-CUYAMACA VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

CAL FIRE/County Fire Authority moves out of JCFPD fire station, returns to former office in Julian.

New JCFPD board puts Chief Van Bibber back in charge; radio service also restored for volunteer firefighters.

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

VIDEO of December 13 JCFPD Board Meeting

December 28, 2018 (Julian)--The knockdown, drag-out fight between CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Fire Authority versus the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) went another round last week when County Supervisors voted to hold a special election in Julian this spring.

Julian citizens gathered enough signatures to put the fate of the JCFPD to a direct special election vote on Mar. 19, 2019. But Supervisors’ decision to confirm the people’s right to vote on saving the county’s last volunteer fire district from a county takeover has done little to heal the smarting.

Cal OSHA was called out on Nov. 30 to Julian Fire Station 56 to enforce an order by County Fire Authority Chief Jeremi Roesler requiring that all JCFPD firefighter Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) be inspected and inventoried. He unilaterally directed that all firefighter “turnouts” or PPE gloves, jackets, helmets – be inspected and inventoried for official reasons unknown to him. Each set of PPE or “turnouts” is worth about $4,000 dollars.

Instead of notifying the JCFPD or volunteer firefighters beforehand of the inspection, the search was conducted unannounced and numerous pieces of gear were removed from service. The Sheriff was notified when firefighters’ personal property was allegedly taken.


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