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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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNERS RAISE OBJECTIONS TO JAMUL HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2022 (Jamul) – The Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group (JDCPG) held two public hearings on the Jamul Casino Hotel and Event Center project planned by Jamul Indian Village (JIV). On November 19, the planning group chair Preston Brown sent a letter to JIV Chairwoman Erica Pinto stating that the tribal environmental impact report (TEIR) was “extraordinarily incomplete and premature for a project of this magnitude.” The planning group recommended the No Project Alternative.

The hotel would be 16 stories with floor-to-ceiling glass; the project would also include an indoor-outdoor event center and additional parking, but no new gaming.

ECM reached out to Chairwoman Pinto to request an interview. She initially agreed, but cancelled due to a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on other matters.  ECM sent written questions and requested a new interview date, but no response has yet been received. The Jamul Casino employees approximately 1,000 people and has provided economic security for the Jamul Indian Village of California's tribal members, many of whom lived in poverty in the past. The new project, if built, would significantly expand employment opportunities in the area as well as economic growth for the tribe.

County planner Scott Christman has said the project does not need approval of county Supervisors or the Governor, and the tribe has previously indicated it hoped to begin construction this month. However the the JDCPG contends that since the casino was built based on certain conditions and legal requirements being met, some of which have not been completed, the project thus does need approval/cooperation/participation of both Supervisors and the Governor.


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WINDS ROAR THROUGH EAST COUNTY MOUNTAINS

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 3 p.m. with new outage information

November 24, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Gusty winds howled across East County’s mountains and rural region last night and early today, Thanksgiving morning.  Strong winds are forecast to continue through Friday.

The National Weather Service reports peak gusts as high as 89 miles per hour on Sill Hill near Descanso and 75 mph on Cuyamaca Peak in San Diego’s inland region between 10 p.m. last night and 10 a.m. today. Many other local areas had strong winds as well.

SDG&E reports outages in Campo, Dulzura, and Potrero with power restoration expected around 6 p.m. due to a foreign object hitting a power line, putting a damper on Thanksgiving cooking. In Granite Hills/Bostonia areas of El Cajon, outages have left people without power until an estimated 6 p.m. power restoration time. Two outages in the Julian, Wynola, Pine Hills and Santa Ysabel areas is due to have power restored around 5:30 p.m. Outages in East County have a 4 p.m. projected power restoration time. An earlier outage in Live Oak Springs, Boulevard and Jacumba, has been restored. Find out the latest outage info at to the SDG&E outage map.  


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SWEETWATER DRAINS LOVELAND RESERVOIR TO DEAD POOL LEVEL TO SAVE ITS RATEPAYERS MONEY-- AT THE EXPENSE OF RURAL RESIDENTS, WILDLIFE, AND FIRE PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo  left:  water drains from Loveland Reservoir in Alpine to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay;

Photo, right: bare mudflat at Loveland, once  400 surface acres, now doomed to be dropped to just 10.

November 23, 2022 (Alpine) – Without any regard to impacts on wildlife, fire danger, rural residents or recreational users at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine in San Diego's East County, the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) on November 16 began draining down the lake with an intent to reduce it to “dead pool” level – less than one-half of one percent of the reservoir’s capacity, once draining is completed over the next couple of weeks or so.

The water is being piped to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay Mesa. From there, it will be used to provide drinking water and other water needs to residents in the South Bay communities of Chula Vista, National City and Bonita.

But critics say  the action is destroying habitat for wildlife, perhaps forever, also eliminating fishing at the area's only reservoir with free fishing access, and threatening firefighters' ability to combat fast-moving wildfires .  Critics also contend that draining the reservoir so low is unnecssary at current drought levels. Yet the people most negatively impacted have no representation on the SWA board, which doesn't include East County.

Audio: 


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SUNBEAMS

November 22, 2022 (Alpine) -- Josh Stotler snapped this inspirational image of a starburst sun beaming morning rays onto a field in Alpine, California. 


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SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR MURDER IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

November 22, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Two men have been arrested for the murder of 32-year-old Jorkim Rose in Spring Valley. Authorities believe the killing was gang related.


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MOTORCYCLIST, 60, INJURED IN SPRING VALLEY CRASH

East County News Service

 

November 21, 2022 (Spring Valley) – A 60-year-old man from National City suffered serious injuries early this morning in a motorcycle crash in Spring Valley.


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ENCHANTED VILLAGE IN SPRING VALLEY DEC. 16-22

East County News Service

November 21, 2022 (Spring Valley) - Noah Homes in Spring Valley invites you to its annual Enchanted Village December 16-22 from 5-8 p.m. 

Guests will  stroll through acres of brilliantly lit trees, magical cottages, light tunnels, live entertainers, and over a million lights with interactive displays and other festive decorations. Santa will be at the Enchanted Village every night for photos with guests. 

Donations are requested to support lifelong homes for people with developmental disabilities at Noah’s Homes.  For more information, visit enchantedvillage.org/.  


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LIONS TIGERS & BEARS HOSTS THANKSGIVING TURKEY BASH NOV. 25-26

East County News Service

November 20, 2022 (Alpine) – You’re invited to watch rescued big cats and bears enjoy their Thanksgiving feast during the annual Turkey Bash at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine. Reserve in advance for Friday or Saturday, Nov. 25 or 26.


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SAPS AT SEA PRESENT 'SAPS DECEMBER TO REMEMBER' DEC. 17

East County News Service

November 19, 2022 (Spring Valley) - The Saps at Sea, the San Diego chapter of the Sons of the Desert, the Laurel & Hardy appreciation society, will hold their December meeting, "A December to Remember," on December 17 at Williams Hall at Trinity Presbytarian Church in Spring Valley.


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MAN MISSING IN JACUMBA NEAR IN-KO-PAH: LAST SEEN WEDNESDAY

Source: San Diego Sheriff

November 17, 2022 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit has been activated to find a missing man in Jacumba in the East County.


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FIRE IN SPRING VALLEY NEAR STEELE CANYON

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

Update: The fire burned approximately 10 acres, including an abandoned home on McGinty Peak.

November 16, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Cal Fire has responded to the #Willow9Fire, a vegetation blaze that has burned 4-5 acres southeast of Steele Canyon Road and WIllow Glen Road in Spring Valley. 

The fire is in the vicinity of Steele Canyon High and Jamacha Elementary Schools. It began around 7:25 p.m.

It is burning at a moderate rate of spread. Humidity is very low and peak gusts are around 20 miles per hour.

There appears to be a structure threat. Incident commander has requested a Type 1 structure strike team and additional engines. A night-flying helicopter is also requested.

Kathleen Hedberg provided this image of McGinty Peak.


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CAL FIRE: BURN PERMIT SUSPENSION LIFTED IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

East County News Service

November 15, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- Effective yesterday, the burn permit suspension in San Diego County has been lifted. CAL FIRE / San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham is formally canceling the burn permit suspension and advises that those possessing current and valid agricultural and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days.


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CREST TO HOST CHRISTMAS CRESTIVAL DEC. 3-4

East County News Service

November 15, 2022 (Crest) – The Crest Community Association invites you to a Christmas “Crestival” on December 3rd and 4th. You’re invited to enjoy food, vendors, kids stuff and a visit from Santa Claus.

The hours for the festival, which is free and open to the public, will be Sat, Dec 3 from 10-6 and on Sun Dec 4 from 10-5.  Santa will arrive via firetruck at 2 p.m. on Sunday. 


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REPORTED SUICIDE IN SPRING VALLEY SUSPECTED TO BE HOMICIDE

By Miriam Raftery

November 14, 2022 (Spring Valley) – The Sheriff’s Homicide Unit is investigating the death of Mario Munguia, 21, in Spring Valley.

On November 7 shortly after 3:30 p.m., deputies from the Rancho San Diego Patrol Station received a call reporting an attempted suicide in an apartment in the 3700 block of Fairway Drive, Spring Valley. Deputies found Munguia dead with an apparent gunshot wound in his upper torso.


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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP HOLDS VIRTUAL MEETING TONIGHT TO VOTE ON PROPOSED HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER

By Miriam Raftery

November 14, 2022 (Jamul) – The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group will hold a special virtual meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The group will her a presentation by a subcommittee and vote on the proposed Jamul Casino Hotel and Event Center expansion project, which includes a 16-story hotel, new event center, multi-purpose/bingo hall and 6-story parking structure, and related infrastructure.

The vote is advisory in regards to the tribe’s environmental impact report; the project is on tribal land so the County has only limited jurisdiction.  The Jamul Indian VIllage tribe plans to begin construction in December.

To join the Virtual Meeting via the web, use the following link:


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INCUMBENTS WINNING REELECTION TO ALPINE SCHOOL BOARD

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: AUSD Trustees Glenn Dickie, Al Guerra and Eric Wray

November 11, 2022 (Alpine) –  Incumbents have solid leads in races for all three seats up for election in the Alpine Union School District and appear headed for reelection.

As of the latest returns tonight, Al Guerra has 26.10%, Board President Glenn Dickie 24.14%, and Eric Wray 23.38%.

The challengers, Erika Simmons and Darlene Cossio, have 16.99% and 9.39% respectively.  Simmons is a marketing and communications director for Goodwlil San Diego County; Cossio is director of assessment services at San Diego Unified School District.


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Mt. MIGUEL HIGH SCHOOL FOUNDATION HOSTS HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR DEC. 17

Source: Mount Miguel High School Foundation

November 11, 2022 (Spring Valley) – The Mount Miguel High School Foundation is having its “Holiday Craft Fair” on Saturday, December 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 8585 Blossom Lane, Spring Valley.


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SUPERVISORS ANDERSON AND FLETCHER JOIN JAMUL CASINO AND TRIBE IN HONORING VETERANS

Tribe doubles annual donation to organizations serving veterans

November 9, 2022  (Jamul) – Today, Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Joel Anderson of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will join Jamul Casino and the Jamul Indian Village of California Tribe to commemorate Veterans Day with the sixth annual luncheon at Jamul Casino paying tribute to the 53 members of the Tribe and Jamul Casino team who have served in the military.  The event will also feature check presentations to veterans’ organizations: Saddles in Service and Zero8hundred


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DEMOCRATS SET TO SWEEP LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD RACES

By Susan Taylor and Miriam Raftery

Photo: Caitlin Tiffany, Rebecca McRae and Brianna Coston are leading in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District races

The Governing Board of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District will likely have a Democratic majority if early election leads hold for Caitlin Tiffany, Rebecca McRae and Brianna Coston .They would represent Area 1, 2, and 3, respectively, and were endorsed by both the California Teachers Association and the San Diego County Democratic Party.

McRae, an incumbent, has a solid 56.89% of the vote over Myriam Moody at 43.11% and appears to have won reelection.

Tiffany, an assistant biology professor at Mesa College and assistant dance coach at Santa High School, has 63.6% of the votes in her race against former board trustee Jim Long.

Coston, a La Mesa Planning Commissioner, has a slimmer lead over Kyle Hermann, a history and political science professor at Chula Vista Christian University.


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THREE FAMILY MEMBERS ARRESTED FOR SUSPECTED ABUSE LEADING TO DEATH OF SPRING VALLEY GIRL, 11

Victim was adopted daughter of Rock Church elder and ministry leader

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Three people have been arrested and charged in relation to the death of 11-year-old Arabella McCormack of Spring Valley. Those arrested are the child’s adoptive mother, Leticia McCormack, 49, and Leticia McCormack’s parents, Stanley Tom, 75, and Adella Tom, 49.  All are charged with torture and willful cruelty to a child; Stanley Tom and Leticia McCormack have also been charged with murder.


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PLANNING GROUP MEETS NOV. 8 ON JAMUL CASINO PROPOSED HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER: COMMENT DEADLINE IS NOV. 14

East County News Service 

November 7, 2022 (Jamul) – The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group will hear a subcommittee report this Tuesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. on a proposal to expand the Jamul Casino site to include a 16-story hotel, event center, bingo hall and parking structure. 

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CHANGES COMING TO I-8 PINE VALLEY CONSTRUCTION LANE REDUCTIONS: FIVE-STAGE PROJECT TO LAST THROUGH SPRING 2024

Source: Caltrans

 

November 6, 2022 (Pine Valley) -- Expect traffic delays if you’re driving between Alpine and Pine Valley for the foreseeable future. Caltrans construction crews working on the Interstate 8 pavement replacement and road improvement project from Viejas Creek to Pine Valley will be reconfiguring the lane reductions through the construction site.  Instead of two construction closures, crews will taper traffic into one single closure, taking motorists from three lanes to one for approximately three miles through the construction site, beginning the week of November 7.


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SIX CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LA MESA SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT RACE

By Susan Taylor and Miriam Raftery 

November 3, 2022 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District will soon have a majority of new faces, since incumbents Megan Epperson and Charda Bell are not seeking reelection in trustee areas 1 and 3. In addition, the resignation of Sarah Rhiley resulted in the Board appointing Nathanial Allen last month to complete her term in trustee area 5. 

 

Six candidates are vying for three seats on the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District Board. In trustee area 1, business owner and former board member Jim Long is running against Tiffany Caitlin, a teacher.  In area 2, board president Rebecca McRae, an elementary school teacher, seeks reelection and faces challenger Myriam Moody, a community college professor.  In area 3, La Mesa Planning Commissioner Brianna Coston is running against teacher and university administrator Hermann Kyle.

 

The California Teachers Association has endorsed Caitlin, McRae, and Coston. So has the San Diego County Democratic Party.  The San Diego County Republican Party has endorsed Moody and Kyle.

 

East County Magazine sent questionnaires to all candidates running but disappointingly, only one candidate, Jim Long, replied. His responses are published below.


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JAMUL CASINO WELCOMES INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN INDIGENOUS CHEF FOR SPECIAL CULINARY EVENT NOVEMBER 19

Chef Sean Sherman, James Beard Award winner and founder/CEO of The Sioux Chef company will showcase modern indigenous foods 

East County News Service

November 2, 2022 (Jamul) -- On Saturday, November 19, Jamul Casino will welcome Chef Sean Sherman, Founder and CEO of the company The Sioux Chef, for a one-of-a-kind culinary event on The Rooftop.  Internationally renowned for advancing indigenous cuisine, Chef Sean Sherman will guide guests through a three-course curated meal exclusively prepared for the evening.  Two seating options are offered at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., tickets for the Chef Sherman culinary event. Tickets cost $85 and may be purchased here


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COUNTY MEETING ON IDENTIFYING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE COMMUNITIES IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS NOVEMBER 9

Source: County of San Diego

October 28, 2022 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego Planning & Development Services (PDS) invites you to attend a public meeting to share your thoughts.  The project is identifying Environmental Justice Communities within the unincorporated region of San Diego County. The County will provide project background information and would like your input to help explore priorities, issues and opportunities to inform potential options to expand the identification of “Environmental Justice Communities.” PDS is hosting this virtual public meeting to receive your input on: November 9, 2022, at 6 p.m. (registration link provided below).


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WHY IS THE SPRING VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP STILL MEETING ON ZOOM?

By Jake Christie

October 28, 2022 (Spring Valley) – While many other local planning groups and governmental bodies have resumed in-person meetings that were suspended due to COVID-19, the Spring Valley Community Planning Group (SVCPG) is still meeting only virtually.


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VALLE DE ORO COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP APPROVES PRE-FINAL CAMPO ROAD REVITALIZATION DRAFT

By Jake Christie

October 28, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- At its September 13 special meeting, the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group took action on the Pre-final Campo Road Corridor Revitalization Specific Plan to dramatically reconfigure the area, as well as proposed changes to a forthcoming pickleball club. Planners also heard a presentation on Senate Bill 9, a nine-month-old law that allows homeowners to do duplex lot splits more easily.  The meeting itself was held in the multipurpose room of the Hillsdale Middle School on Brabham Street due to Labor Day.


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HOULAHAN TO VOTERS: THIS ELECTION IS A “FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY”

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2022 (Alpine) – Protecting our democracy is the “number one issue” in the Congressional races, says Stephen Houlahan, who is running against Republican Congressman Darrell Issa.  “He is anti-democracy. I am pro-democracy.”

Houlahan says he’s received threats, had his home vandalized, and his pro-choice campaign signs slashed.  During the recent Candidates to Constituents forum in Alpine, Houlahan talked about the positive changes he hopes to bring to the 48th Congressional district. He faults Issa for voting against funding bills and failing to fight for federal dollars to improve firefighting, highway and water infrastructure, as well as Issa's extreme stance on abortion and Issa's vote against certifying the 2020 presidential election while the U.S. Capitol was under assault by insurrectionists.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SANDAG NEEDS A NEW ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER TO BRING EQUITY FOR UNINCORPORATED AREAS

By Robin Joy Maxson, Chair, Ramona Community Planning Group and Member, County of San Diego Social Services Advisory Board

 

October 28, 2022 (Ramona) -- With a “commitment to equity,” SANDAG the San Diego Association of Governments) should expect and welcome a new advisory board member onto the board of directors.

 

From SANDAG’s website:

“SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, councilmembers, and county supervisors from each of the region's 19 local governments. Supplementing these voting members are advisory representatives from Imperial County, the U.S. Department of Defense, Caltrans, San Diego Unified Port District, Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District, San Diego County Water Authority, Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Association, Mexico, and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.” 

Website line: https://www.sandag.org/index.asp?fuseaction=about.board

 

These members hold unchecked and unequal power over the planning and funding of the unincorporated communities without providing a balanced voice for a population of approximately 500,000 residents - which comprises the second largest community in the County.

 

The unincorporated communities cannot lead nor effectively participate in their own future without a seat at this table of regional power.


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