Rural communities

YES, YOU CAN EXERCISE YOUR HORSE DURING STAY-HOME ORDER

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

April 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – After a rural resident told us his horse has been stabled since mid-March to prevent violating COVID-19 stay-home orders for non-essential needs, ECM reached out to San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Chairman Steve Vaus. Vaus, a horse owner and also mayor of Poway, provided clarification that horseback riding is legal – provided social distancing is maintained.

“Horseback activity would fall under the agricultural exemption,” Vaus stated, but added that riders should not ride in groups with anyone other than their household members.  Don’t congregate before or after rides with friends at parking lots or elsewhere. “Take a ride and go home,” he advised.


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WORKERS ON BORDER WALL AT TECATE NOT WEARING MASKS OR MAINTAINING SOCIAL DISTANCING

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2020 (Tecate) – Along the California-Mexico border at Tecate in San Diego’s East County, construction of the border wall is being done by workers not maintaining social distancing or wearing masks—despite national, state and county emergency declarations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction is deemed an essential business under California’s emergency order and the Trump administration has specifically deemed building the border wall essential.  But why are no precautions being taken to protect the health of workers and the public?


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ALPINE’S LIONS TIGERS & BEARS SEEK DONATIONS TO FEED THEIR ANIMALS DURING COVID-19 SHUTDOWN

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

File photos by Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2020 (Alpine) -- Local tigers and other rescued exotic animals at Alpine’s Lions Tigers & Bears Animal Sanctuary need your monetary help.  The tigers, and more, need to keep eating even during today’s economic hard times induced by the COVID-19 crisis.

With millions in stay-at-home lockdown locally and nationally, money from attendance at the sanctuary has evaporated. The facility is closed to the public due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 shutdown has also forced postponement or cancellation of fundraising events for the foreseeable future.

You can donate at https://www.lionstigersandbears.org.  

Founder Bobbi Brinks set up the rescue facility and dedicated it to providing a safe haven for abused and abandoned exotic animals for life.

Unlike the infamous facility featured on “Tiger King,” Lions, Tigers and Bears is a no-kill and no-breeding  sanctuary.


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FIRE DESTROYS SPRING VALLEY HOME AFTER LIKELY LIGHTNING STRIKE

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: San Miguel Fire on Instagram
 
March 28, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A Spring Valley couple has been treated for smoke inhalation after escaping their Spring Valley home during a fire around 3:45 a.m. on Friday. The couple reported hearing a loud noise believed to be a lightning strike, followed by smelling smoke. 

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FREE DOG FOOD FOR BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS

East County News Service
 
March 27, 2020 (Alpine) – Residents of Alpine, Descanso, Pine Valley and backcountry communities in East County can receive free dog food at Natural Instincts Healthy Pet Center in Alpine. 
 
The shop on Alpine Boulevard e-mailed area residents that it has teamed up with PAWS, a San Diego rescue group, to buy discounted dog food to give out for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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HOMELESS WOMAN CHARGED WITH ARSON IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
March 26, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A 76-year-old transient woman who previously started two fires ruled accidental has been arrested and charged with arson after starting a fire which scorched the exterior of a strip mall building in Spring Valley.
 
Last night shortly before 8 p.m., deputies from the Rancho San Diego Patrol Station responded to assist the San Miguel Fire Department in the 500 Block of Grand Avenue, Spring Valley. 
 
Upon arrival, it was determined that Leona Head, a local transient, had set fire to an electrical box, says Sergeant Curt Cartie with the Sheriff’s Department. “She admitted to starting the fire by attempting to extinguish a lit cigar with a bottle of liquid from a bottle labeled `Clorox,’” he adds. 

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COUNTY NOW HAS 242 CASES OF COVID-19, INCLUDING TWO INFANTS

Cases expand countywide including more East County communities

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The number of COVID-19 cases in our region continues to grow at a steep pace.  San Diego County now has 242 confirmed cases, of whom 226 are county residents. Two of the new cases are in infants. Heath experts warn the actual number of cases could be ten times higher, since not enough tests are available and thus testing is being done primarily on those hospitalized with respiratory distress.


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HUNGRY OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS? EMERGENCY FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS ANNOUNCED COUNTYWIDE

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- In addition to emergency food distributions, Feeding San Diego offers food assistance at many sites throughout San Diego County including rural, mountain, desert and urban communities. Click here to find a location near you.

 Feeding San Diego is working on adding additional distributions based on community input and the needs of specific populations. Listings of available emergency distributions will be updated daily and published at feedingsandiego.org/coronavirus.

NOTE: There are NO REQUIREMENTS to accessing any of Feeding San Diego’s food distributions.


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ALL EAST COUNTY CASINOS TO CLOSE MARCH 21-31 DUE TO COVID-19

Barona, Campo, Jamul, Sycuan, and Viejas Jointly Announce Casino Closures in Response to Coronavirus crisis

Source: Kumeyaay Nation

March 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County)  — Tribal government leaders of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, Campo Kumeyaay Nation, Jamul Indian Village, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians today jointly announced that they are temporarily closing their casinos amid concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) beginning on Friday, March 20 at noon through the end of the month.

The Tribes are united in this decision to close for the health and well-being of the community, their guests and approximately 9,000 employees. Despite this closure, it is their hope that they can continue to provide emergency services for their respective communities.

 

In Campo, the gas station and convenience store will remain open for the convenience of residents.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: THIS ROCKS

East County News Service
 
March 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Laurie and Charles Baker sent in this photo of a boulder that they spotted while hiking in Cleveland National Forest yesterday. Carved by nature, the boulder displays a pattern called honeycomb weathering.

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CORONAVIRUS CASES IN SPRING VALLEY AND AT SDSU

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – An employee at the Covenant Living retirement and continuing care community in Spring Valley has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Fox 5 reports. So has a student at San Diego State University, according to Patch.com


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TWO NEW STORMS TO BRING FLASH FLOOD RISKS AND SNOW TO OUR INLAND REGION

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Alex Tardy, National Weather Service

March 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A pair of storms are forecast to bring heavy rain this week and next, with snow dropping to 3,000 feet by next week.  Flash floods, lightning and mudslides may also occur.


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BLOOD DRIVE MARCH 31 IN ALPINE

East County News Service

 

March 11, 2020 (Alpine) - Baron’s Market in Alpine (1347 Tavern Rd.) will host a blood drive in partnership with the San Diego Blood Bank on Tuesday, March 31st from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Anyone 17 and older who weighs at least 114 pounds and is in good health may be eligible to donate blood. A good meal and plenty of fluids are recommended prior to donation. All donors must show picture identification. 


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PUBLIC COMMENTS NEEDED ON STATE PARKS PLAN TO RESTORE CLOVER FLAT WILDLIFE PRESERVE DAMAGED BY OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

By Patrick Williams, Back Country Land Trust

Photo; Typical Clover Flat OHV trail for closure and restoration:

March 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Mountain Empire residents and others interested in seeing the Clover Flat wildlife preserve near Campo restored can submit comments on the restoration proposal by May 4, 2020.  Below are details on the proposal and how to submit your public comments.

California State Parks  proposes to  restore off-highway vehicle (OHV) including quad and four-wheel drive damaged areas totaling five restoration acres at Clover Flat wildlife preserve. Damaged areas will be secured, then restored with native plant seed, wattles and mulch and signage will be placed to direct riders (mostly accessing the area from the RR access road) to legal OHV Corral Canyon or Lark Canyon riding areas.

State Parks OHV public review and comment instructions:


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FREE SANDBAGS FOR THE STORM

Source: County News Service

March 9, 2020 (San Diego) – With heavy rains from an atmospheric river set to douse our region over the next several days, the County is urging residents to be prepared.  Mud, plants an debris washed away can clog storm drains, damage roadways and cause flooding.  

You can stock up on free sandbags at these locations in the unincorporated areas, but call ahead to be sure of availability, and bring a shovel to fill the bags:


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GLADLY COFFEE IN SPRING VALLEY SHOWCASES WOMEN MUSICIANS SUNDAY MARCH 8

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 7, 2020 (Spring Valley) – In honor of international women’s day, Gladly Coffee in Spring Valley (formerly Butler’s) presents “Center Stage,”  an all-female musical showcase this Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m.

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REIMAGINING CASA DE ORO: A NEW VISION TAKES SHAPE FOR “A SMALL TOWN WITH A BIG VIEW”

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Jay Steiger

March 2, 2020 (Casa de Oro) – “This has been an 18-month effort,” Bob Yarris, president of the Casa de Oro Alliance, said at a community visioning workshop held Feb. 25 at the Spring Valley Academy. A half-million dollar grant has been awarded to the Alliance, a 501c3 nonprofit, by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to create design guidelines and revitalize the heart of Casa de Oro.

More than 50 community members saw a presentation by county officials, then had an opportunity to share their ideas in breakout sessions, adding a variety of creative visions.


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DA SPONSORS BILL TO KEEP SEX OFFENDER COURT HEARINGS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

East County News Service
 
February 26, 2020 (San Diego)-- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan is sponsoring SB 1023, legislation authored by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) to require that proceedings for the civil commitment of a sexually violent predator and later hearings on a predator’s potential release be in open court and on the record, unless compelling and extraordinary circumstances justify closing the courtroom to the public. 
 
This bill would require a notice to all parties of any proposed closure at least 10 calendar days before a closed court hearing. 
 
“This important legislation supports the principles of democracy and transparency in our justice system by making sure court hearings for sexually-violent predators are open to the public,” DA Stephan said. “As District Attorney, I hear the pain from victims who’ve been terrorized by a sexual predator but are left in the dark and not able to learn pertinent information guaranteed to them by our open courts system.”

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SUPERVISORS TO HOLD HEARING FEB. 26 ON PROPOSED ZONING LANGUAGE FOR FORMER FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE (FCI) PROPERTIES

 

East County News Service

February 25, 2020 (San Diego) – On Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 9 a.m., San Diego County’s Planning & Development Services will present to the Board of Supervisors a Zoning Ordinance amendment to include “Former Forest Conservation Initiative Properties Overlay of Part Five: Special Area Regulations” on former Forest Conservation Initiative lands that lie outside of Village or Rural Village boundaries.

The Forest Conservation initiative passed initially by voters once protected extensive forest lands in the vicinity of Cleveland National Forest, but the measure expired through sunsetting and was not renewed by Supervisors.

The Overlay does not change underlying land use regulations or General Plan densities. However, it requires additional analyses and findings before approval of any proposals that increase residential density on these lands beyond what is currently allowed by the General Plan.

The Supervisors meeting will be held in the County Administration office at 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, Room on the north end of the third floor.


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YEAR-LONG CLOSURE OF I-8 REST STOP AT BUCKMAN SPRINGS STARTS IN MARCH

Source: Caltrans
Photo: cc via Bing
 
February 19, 2020 (Buckman Springs) -- Crews have begun work on the Interstate 8 (I-8) Buckman Springs Safety Roadside Rest Area (SRRA) Sewer/Water Systems Restoration Project that will require fully closing the rest area for about a year, reported Caltrans officials. 
 
The Buckman Springs SRRA located along I-8 near Pine Valley in eastern San Diego County may be closed as early as March 2 for the duration of the year-long project that will construct a new sewage treatment system. The work is needed to bring the rest area in compliance with state and federal water quality standards.

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MEET CANDIDATES FOR SUPERVISORS IN DISTRICT 2 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.  

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CURVE REALIGNMENT ON HIGHWAY 94 IN DULZURA NEARS COMPLETION

East County News Service
 
February 15, 2020 (Dulzura) – “I am happy to report that work on the State Route 94 (SR-94) Curve Realignment Project in Dulzura is nearing completion and is expected to be finished by the end of March,” says Cathryne Bruce-Johnson, public information officer for Caltrans in San Diego County. 
 
Construction activities will typically continue Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will require reducing SR-94 to one lane as needed so that crews can safely work on the closed side of the road. Motorists may be delayed for short periods as they are directed through the single open lane one direction at a time. 

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FREAKY FRIDAY REVIEW - JUST ONE DAY

By Kathy Carpenter
 
February 15, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- Remember the saying be careful what you wish for? Freaky Friday is a possible result from the quote. Over-the-top-family-fun. Everyone always thinks the grass is greener on the other side.
 
In Freaky Friday a daughter wants just one day of peace—a hassle-free day from her mom. Her mom wants just one day together with her family under her expectations. When they argue over an hour glass, their lives are changed for a day. But not what they wished for. They are transformed into each other: the daughter now in the mom’s body, the mom is in the daughter's body. Since neither can live their lives looking like the other, they are forced to exchange places. The mom goes to school. The daughter takes on the day before the wedding preparations for a perfectionist mom planning her own wedding.

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PETCO FOUNDATION PROVIDED A VALENTINE SURPRISE FOR SAN DIEGO HUMANE SOCIETY STAFF

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

February 15, 2020 (San Diego) - Petco Foundation provided a $250,000 grant valentine surprise to staff at the San Diego Humane Society on Gaines Street on Feb. 13.

“As part of our mission we have committed $10 million to making a difference to shelters and pets during the valentine day week,” said regional field program manager Bill Gialenes with the Petco Foundation.  The $10 million will go to animal welfare organizations across the country.

Two hundred staff, guests, and volunteers gathered for lunch followed by the presentation of an oversized check for $250,000 to Dr. Gary Weitzman, president/ceo of the San Diego Humane Society from Gialenes.


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CAMPO TRIBAL MEMBERS PLEAD FOR LEGAL HELP, ALLEGE RIGHTS VIOLATED IN WIND PROJECT APPROVAL: PETITION SEEKS REVOTE ON CONTROVERSIAL PROJECT

“Our reservation is in dire financial condition. We have really nothing to give our youth…All we have are false promises.” – Denis Largo, tribal elder who delivered a petition calling for a vote to overturn wind project approval

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Tribal elder Dennis Largo

February 14, 2020 (Campo)—Whistleblowers in the Campo band of Mission Indians claim that their tribal leadership pushed through approval of a massive wind project during an improperly noticed meeting. They have now collected enough signatures to overturn that approval with a revote.  But despite the Feb. 13th deadline to notify tribal members of a meeting to revote on the controversial project, several tribal members say they have not received any such notice.   

The proposed Campo Wind project would allow 60 turbines built by Terra-Gen on the reservation. Each would be 586 tall, the tallest wind turbines ever built on land, according to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which also opposes the project.


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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.  

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CASA DE ORO ALLIANCE GROUP REVEALS SURVEY REPORT AT MEETING: MANY SUPPORT FORMING A BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

By Jake Christie
 
February 8, 2020 (Casa de Oro)--During a January 16 meeting, the Casa de Oro Alliance revealed the results of its September 2019 community survey, which had 490 respondents from the regular populace of Casa de Oro and the business community, who were contacted through mailers, emails, the CdO website and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 
 
The subject of the survey was the business district on Campo Road between Kenwood Drive and Sweetwater Springs Boulevard; the average age of the respondents was 49 and they had lived in Casa de Oro 25 years.

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RAIN BARREL DISTRIBUTION FEB. 22 IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
February 8, 2020 (Spring Valley) – If you would like to capture rainwater to use in your garden, a rain barrel distribution event will be held Feb. 22 at Mt.Miguel High School In Spring Valley. Rebates are available and  pre-orders should be made by Feb. 16.  See details below. 
 
Event Name: Rain Barrel Distribution Event - Spring Valley
 
When: Saturday, February 22, 9 am - 1 pm
 
Where: Mt. Miguel High School, 8585 Blossom Ln, Spring Valley, CA 91977
 
Contact: (760)436-7986 x700 or compost@solanacenter.org
 
 
Event Description: 

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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.


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SCOUTS HOST FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY FEB. 17 IN SPRING VALLEY: BRING YOUR OLD FLAGS

By Miriam Raftery
Photo licensed under CC by ND
 
February 6, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Cub Scout Pack 355 invites community members to a flag retirement ceremony on Feb. 17 at 3:30 p.m. at Santa Sophia Academy, 9806 San Juan Street in Spring Valley. 
 
“We would be honored if you and your families could join us as we participate in this honored tradition,” a press release from the group states.  “We encourage and welcome you to bring your unserviceable, worn or damaged flags to this event as well, to be collected for a dignified retirement.”

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