Rural communities

WELCOME, RURAL RESIDENTS!

Our Rural section covers most San Diego County's inland communities south of I-8  to the border including Alpine, Barrett Junction, Boulevard, Campo, Deerhorn Valley, Dehesa, Dulzura,  Jamul,  Japatul, Lake Morena, Otay,  Potrero, and Spring Valley. 


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BODY OF CHRISTOPHER PAUL PARKHURST, MISSING SINCE DEC. 23, FOUND IN DULZURA

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Christopher Paul Parkhurst. Photo via @SDSheriff Twitter

February 27, 2021 (Dulzura) - County authorities on Friday said they have found the remains of Christopher Paul Parkhurst, 47, who was reported missing in early January, sparking an intensive search.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: AERIAL SNAKE CONTROL

East County News Service

February 27, 2021 (Jamul) – Wildlife photographer Debbie Merrill writes, “The Rattlers are out!  I caught this first year Red Tail Hawk catching and eating one today.  Good to the last button!”

 


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SHERIFF SEEKS TIPS ON “SUSPICIOUS” LIVESTOCK DEATHS IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

 

February 20, 2021(Alpine) – The Sheriff’s department seeks help from the public to solve a felony animal cruelty case. Deputies responded to a call reporting suspicious circumstances in the 400 block of Peutz Valley Road in Alpine shortly after 8 a.m. on Feb. 19 found ten animals dead in a pen including lambs, goats and a ram.

 

According to Lt. Anthony O’Boyle, the property owners are victims who are out of state when the deaths occurred.  “A relative was coming by to check up on and feed the animals. When the relative arrived yesterday morning, she found the animals deceased,” he said.


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NEWLYWED, 21, KILLED BY DRIVER FLEEING SHERIFF IN SPRING VALLEY CRASH

By Miriam Raftery
 
February 19, 2021 (Spring Valley) – Isabella “Bella” Calhoun-Chipress, 21, had just gotten married last June and was preparing to head off to Marine Corps boot camp when her life was tragically ended by a suspected car thief trying to evade arrest.  Now her grieving family has started a fundraiser to help her husband, Miguel Chipress, pay for his beautiful bride’s funeral.

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SHOOTING SUSPECT TAKES OWN LIFE AFTER SWAT STANDOFF IN JAMUL

By Miriam Raftery

 

(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson) 

 

February 16, 2021 (Jamul) – A 64-year-old man shot and killed himself after a stand-off with a SWAT team and crisis negotiators in Jamul, according to the Sheriff’s department.  He is suspected of shooting and wounding another man yesterday.

 

The confrontation began after deputies responded to a report of a shooting in the 15700 block of Lyons Valley road in Jamul yesterday shortly before noon. They found a gunshot victim outside the home. Paramedics transported him to a hospital, where he underwent surgery and is in stable condition with injuries considered non-life threatening.

 

“Deputies surrounded the residence, believing the shooting suspect, a 64-year-old male, was still located inside and armed with a gun,” says Lt Joel Stranger with the Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s station.  “Deputies made multiple loudspeaker announcements advising the suspect to exit the residence and surrender to deputies, which he refused to do.”


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PURSUIT OF CAR THEFT SUSPECTS ENDS IN MULTI-VEHICLE CRASH: WOMAN, 21 DIES, 3 OTHERS INJURED INCLUDING TODDLER

East County News Service

February 13, 2021 (Spring Valley) – Sheriff’s deputies pursuit of a stolen vehicle ended in tragedy last night, when the car ran a red light and collided with two other vehicles, killing a young woman and injuring three others.

Shortly after 10 p.m., deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station saw a car driving in the 700 block of Grand Avenue in Spring Valley.  The car was being driven with its lights off; a records check of its license plate showed it to be a stolen vehicle.

“Deputies turned on their lights and siren to stop the car, but the driver sped off.  Minutes later, the stolen car collided with two vehicles at the intersection of Jamacha Road and Sweetwater Road after driving through a red light at a high rate of speed,” Lt. Joel Stranger with the Sheriff’s department states.


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SWAT STAND-OFF IN ALPINE ENDS IN ARREST OF FELON WITH GUNS

East County News Service

February 9, 2021 (Alpine) -- A man is under arrest following a three-hour SWAT standoff in Alpine this morning.

Around 7:30 a.m., deputies from the Sheriff's Special Enforcement Detail (SED)/SWAT tried to serve a search warrant at a home in the 4600 block of Park Lane.  The warrant was issued after deputies received reports of a man firing a gun at that address on January 25.

The Alpine Sheriff's Station's Crime Suppression Team investigated and learned Joshua Havins, 30, lived at that location.  He is a felon currently on probation and is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms under California law, according to the Sheriff’s department.


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COVID-19 VACCINES FOR SENIORS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Vaccinations for seniors age 65 and over will be provided in Alpine, Pine Valley, and Valley Center this week.  Appointments are available 1-2 days before each date.

Valley Center Elementary, Valley Center:  Feb.9-10

Joan MacQueen School, Alpine: Feb. 11-12

Mt. Empire High School, Pine Valley Feb. 13-14

For direct access to each site, click on the following links:


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SUPERVISORS’ VOTE ON MAJOR BACKCOUNTRY ENERGY MEASURE DELAYED UNTIL FEB. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left:  Campo Wind's turbines hae been fire-prone, causing multiple fires in the past. Residents worry that more turbines raise the risk of a catastrophic fire, if a blaze should begin during Santa Ana gusty winds.

February 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – A vote by County Supervisors on a Renewable Energy Overlay plan has been postponed until Wednesday, Feb. 10. If approved, the measure would designate vast swaths of rural East County for industrial-scale wind and solar energy projects.

The aim is to make it easier to get approval of projects that provide clean energy to meet state renewable energy mandates amid a climate crisis.  But the measure has also drawn strong opposition from some rural residents, including Donna Tisdale, who advise East County residents to contact Supervisors to voice opposition so that “Supervisors know how East County really feels about being thrown under the bus as a renewable energy sacrifice zone.”

Click on this link to register your  opinion with Supervisors on the Renewable Energy Overlay before the Feb. 10 hearing, which begins at 9 a.m.  The item is the second item on the agenda.

Tisdale is Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of Backcountry Against Dumps, a nonprofit that has sued the County over several major energy projects in the region. Residents living near existing wind turbines have complained of noise, sleep disruption and other health problems, flashing lights, visual blight from towers hundreds of feet tall, killing of birds, safety concerns from blades whirling off,loss of rural character and loss of property value for homes nearby. Solar projects have generated concerns over glare, loss of wildlife habitat and potential depletion of scarce groundwater for construction and cleaning of panels.


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YET ANOTHER SPRING VALLEY DISPENSARY SHUT DOWN

By Miriam Raftery
 
February 4, 2021 (Spring Valley) – Yesterday morning, deputies from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s station served a search warrant at The Green Room, an illegal marijuana dispensary in the 9000 block of Olive Drive in Spring Valley.

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LMSV LAUNCHES SCHOOL BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, SEEKS MEMBERS

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Creative Commons by SA-NC via Bing

 

February 3, 2021 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District is establishing a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, as required by state law. The application form is available here and must be submitted by Feb. 19.


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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT ALPINE’S LIONS TIGERS & BEARS ANIMAL SANCTUARY

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo at left of volunteer measuring animal meals  courtesy of Lions Tigers & Bears 

Feb. 3, 2021 (Alpine) -- Veterinary students, animal lovers, high school students getting their volunteer hours in, young and old volunteers are wanted, and needed, at Alpine’s Lions, Tigers & Bears Animal Sanctuary.

“Making bear food, helping with landscaping, and office work” are just a few of the tasks volunteers can assist with, said founder Bobbi Brink during a phone interview.

“Volunteers receive passes, behind-the-scenes access, t-shirts,” said Brink.  “We also have two volunteer appreciation events each year,” among other tangible rewards, she added.

The intangible rewards include seeing animals such as lions, tigers and bears on-the-job.


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MURDER AT A SPRING VALLEY POT SHOP: SHERIFF SEEKS LEADS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Creative Commons by NC
 
February 4, 2021 (Spring Valley) – The Sheriff’s department seeks tips to identify who shot and killed a man on Feb. 2 shortly after 8:30 p.m. in the parking lot of an illegal marijuana dispensary in the 9100 block of Olive Drive in Spring Valley.
 
The victim has been identified as Jerome Francois Turley, 37, of San Diego.

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EAST COUNTY SCHOOL COUNSELORS HONORED FOR THEIR WORK

Source: San Diego County Office of Education

Photo:  Bonnie Hayman receiving her winner's check

February 2, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- During National School Counseling Week, the San Diego County Office of Education will celebrate three counselors who were recently surprised at their school sites for being chosen as the San Diego County Counselor of the Year for their grade levels. Two of the three winners work at East County schools.

The School Counselors of the Year are: 

 

  • Ann Pierce (below right), of Campo Elementary in Mountain Empire Unified School District, won the elementary award. 
  • Bonnie Hayman, of La Mesa Arts Academy in La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, won the middle school award.  
  • Cherryl Baker, of Mission Hills High School in San Marcos Unified School District, won the high school award.  


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ILLEGAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY SHUT DOWN IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
February 2, 2021 (Spring Valley) -- A search warrant was served at The Green Room in the 9000 Block of Olive Drive in Spring Valley on Sunday, January 31st around 9:00 a.m. as part of the Sheriff’s Department efforts to work with Supervisors to shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries in East County.

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DETECTIVES ASK HELP TO FIND POTRERO MAN MISSING SINCE DEC. 23

East County News Service
 
January 24, 2021 (Potrero) – The San Diego Sheriff’s Department seeks public help to find Christopher Paul Parkhurst, who has been missing for over a month.  Parkhurst, 47, was last seen by an acquaintance in the 23000 block of Horizon View Drive in Potrero on December 23. His family has not seen or heard from him since then.  The famliy notified the Sheriff's Dept. January 3, according to the Sheriff's department. 
 
"Deputies have conducted a limited search of the area for Parkhurst, but the terrain in the area is rugged and expansive," says Lt. Thomas Siever. "This morning, about 80 volunteers with Sheriff's Search and Rescue, Homicide detectives, and deputies assigned to the Campo Substation conducted an exhaustive search of a large area around Horizon View Drive. Parkhurst was not located and his whereabouts is still unknown."
 
Parkhurst is 5’5” tall, weighs 120 pounds and has blond hair and blue eyes.  He has sleeve tattoos and the word “Campo” tattooed on his stomach.According to a Facebook page, Help Find Christopher Paul Parkhurst, he is at medical risk due to recently having a stroke and being diabetic.

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FIREFIGHTERS SAVE HOMES, HALT CAMPO FIRE IN SPRING VALLEY

Story and photos by Josh Stotler

January 20, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – At 12:42 pm today, firefighters were called to the corner of Campo Road and CR17 for a wind driven brush fire that immediately threatened homes and property across from Skyline Church near the boundary of Spring Valley and Rancho San Diego.


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MISSING SPRING VALLEY WOMAN IN RED SUBARU FORRESTER

Update 8:54 p.m.:  Sally Yako has been found and is home safe with her family, Sgt. Hettinger has advised ECM.

Photo: Red Subaru Forrester, similar to vehicle driven by Sally Yako

By Miriam Raftery

January 20, 2021 (Spring Valley) – The Sheriff seeks public help to find Sally Yako, who has dementia and epilepsy. She left her Spring Valley home around 1 p.m. yesterday, driving her red 2008 Subaru Forrester (license 6KFX846).  She crossed into Mexico at San Ysidro and was seen returning to the U.S. through the same port of entry at 8:51 p.m. last night, says Sgt. Michael Hettinger.


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BICYCLIST AND MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN CRASH ON OTAY LAKES ROAD

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2021 (Jamul) – A deadly collision on Otay Lakes Road in Jamul on January 10th shortly before 10 a.m. claimed the lives of a motorcyclist and a bicyclist.

The victims are identified as Jonathan Michael Charbonnet, 43, and Julias Kim G. Cunanan, 40, both of Chula Vista.  Charbonnet was riding a motorcycle eastbound when for unknown reasons, he struck Cunanan, who was riding with a group of bicyclists


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HELP SOUGHT TO FIND MAN LAST SEEN AT SYCUAN CASINO IN DECEMBER

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department seeks public help to locate Matthew Patton, 30. He was last seen on Dec. 10 around 7 p.m. leaving Sycuan Casino Resort in unincorporated El Cajon.

According to the Sheriff’s department, Patton met a friend the day before at Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine. The pair later met up at Sycuan, where Patton reportedly stayed and continued gambling.

Patton was last seen walking toward Dehesa Road. He was wearing a white Nike hoodie and dark jeans.


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NEW RANCHO HELIX DE ORO FIRE SAFE COUNCIL OFFERS FIRE-SAFE TIPS

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) --Under the authority of the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County, the Rancho Helix De Oro is a newly formed fire safe council dedicated to educating and preparing our community in order to avoid devastating fires. The group has created an educational fire-safe flyer  (click link to view flyer) with information including tips for fire safety, an evacuation map, who to call during an emergency, and how to get emergency notification for the communities of Rancho San Diego, Mt. Helix and Casa de Oro.

The new group was formed with support from then-County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association, Valle de Oro Planning Group, Casa De Oro Alliance, and community members in collaboration with San Miguel Fire and Rescue, Cal Fire, San Diego County Sheriff, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County.


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TREES REMOVED FROM ALPINE’S SOUTH GRADE CURVE TO IMPROVE VISIBILITY FOR MOTORISTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  South Grade Road before the S curve near Scenic View Park

January 12, 2021 (Alpine) – In response to complaints over obstruction of visibility for drivers, several large trees have been removed from the s-curve on South Grade Road in Alpine near the intersection with Scenic View. A smaller oak tree growing below power lines was also taken out, confirms Hector Licon Jr., vegetation manager for the County Public Works Department.


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MIGUEL FIRE HALTED AT 20 ACRES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, by J. Stotler  @2412_Fire_Photo : U.S. Forest Service Helitac landing

January 9, 2020 (Chula Vista) – The #MiguelFire northeast of Mt. Miguel Road and Proctor Valley Road scorched approximately20 acres on December 7. 

View aerial video of the fire courtesy of Cal Fire’s tactical aircraft:  https://twitter.com/i/status/1347287650890371079.


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HOMICIDE DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING AFTER BODY FOUND IN CAMPO

East County News Service
 
January 8, 2021 (Campo) – The Sheriff’s Homicide Unit is investigating the death of Paul Anthony Castello, a 32-year-old Campo resident. His body was found by Border Patrol agents near Shockey Truck Trail and State Route 94 in Campo, Wednesday, shortly after 8 a.m.
 
Sheriff's deputies and fire personnel responded. Unfortunately, Castello was pronounced deceased at the scene by fire personnel. Based on the injuries and circumstances, the Sheriff's Homicide Unit responded and has assumed responsibility of the investigation. 

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WOMAN KILLED STORMING CAPITOL HAD SPRING VALLEY TIES

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2021 (Spring Valley) – A woman shot and killed by police while breaking into the Speaker's gallery inside the U.S. Capitol during yesterday’s insurrection has been identified as Ashli Babbitt. An Air Force veteran describe by KUSI as a “high level security officer” during her military service, Babbitt was the CEO of Fowler’s Pool Service & Supply in Spring Valley, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  10 News reports that she grew up in Lakeside.

Although some sites have described her as an "unarmed protester," her documented actions went far beyond Constitutionally protected protest activities. The New York Post has published video showing the moment when Babbitt was shot while climbing through a broken window in the Capitol, attempting to illegally access the House chamber where Congressional members were holding a hearing on certifying the Electoral College votes from the presidential election.  (Warning: graphic content).

The video shows armed officers rushing up stairs into a crowd of insurrectionists intent on disrupting the peaceful transfer of power process, many wearing MAGA hats as they attempt to break down a barricaded set of doors. The crowd lifted up Babbitt, who was wearing a backpack with a flag as she attempted to climb through a broken window in one of the doors, when she was shot by law enforcement.


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ESTRELLA COUNTY PARK OPENS IN CASA DE ORO

East County News Service

January 1, 2021 (Spring Valley) -- On Friday, Dec. 18, the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation opened Estrella County Park in San Diego’s Casa de Oro community.


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30,000 AT RISK OF POWER SHUTOFFS DEC. 23-24 DUE TO RED FLAG WARNING

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has notified around 30,000 customers that their power could be shut off due to high fire danger.  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of Southern California due to possible strong winds from 8 a.m. Wednesday through 12 p.m. Thursday, Christmas Eve. The communities at risk range from El Cajon east to Campo, north to Escondido and mountain areas such as Julian, and as far south as Potrero near the border.

The threat of losing electricity in mid-winter during Christmas week is disheartening for backcountry residents, many of whom have stocked up refrigerators and freezers for holiday feasts. ECM has received complaints from residents who report SDG&E refused to reimburse them for food spoiled during other recent outages. Coming at a time when many are without jobs or have businesses with little income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospect of financial losses due to power outages or worse, a wildfire are particularly troubling.


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ALPINE’S JEFF CAMPBELL’S GIFT BAG DRIVE, A HOLIDAY COLLECTION TRADITION BENEFITING CHARITIES, NOW IN ITS 22ND YEAR

East County News Service

December 20, 2020 (Alpine) – Alpine real estate broker Jeff Campbell of San Diego Estates is celebrating his 22nd annual Gift Bag Drive, a holiday collection drive benefiting several local charities.

More than 25 businesses in Alpine, including banks, retail stores, insurance offices and coffee shops, have hosted collection bins where residents have donated nonperishable canned food items, personal hygiene items and unwrapped children’s toys beginning in mid-November, said Campbell. New this year has been a donation of several hundred jackets, shirts and hoodies from an El Centro-based embroidery company that closed its doors.

Campbell said the deadline for donations is Tuesday, Dec. 22.


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DRIVER ARRESTED FOR MANSLAUGHTER, DUI AFTER KILLING CONSTRUCTION WORKER ON HIGHWAY 94

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing
 
December 17, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Arnold Lee Patton, 69, of San Diego has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.  

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