Rural communities

HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORDS BROKEN AS EXCESSIVE HEAT WAVE CONTINUES

East County News Service

June 12, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- An excessive heat warning remains in effect through today. The heat wave which prompted an excessive heat wave on Tuesday brought record-breaking temperatures across East County. So how hot was it?

COUNTY BRACING FOR TOUGH FIRE SEASON, ANNOUNCES COORDINATED EFFORT TO MEET CHALLENGES

Firebreaks planned to protect Crest and Guatay

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 6, 2019 (San Diego) -- Not wanting a repeat of devastation suffered in the deadly 2003 and 2007 firestorms in San Diego County, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob announced on Tuesday a highly coordinated fire prevention effort in anticipation of a tough fire season.

While recent heavy rains have been good for replenishing water supplies, Jacob stated at a press conference, “From a fire standpoint, what has happened, our backcountry brush is thicker than ever. That means there is more fuel to feed a fire when it hits. And it will."

Jacob, whose District 2 includes fire-prone East County, added, "Since the series of deadly firestorms in 2003 and 2007, the county has worked side-by-side with CAL FIRE and spent more than half-a-billion dollars on firefighting improvements.” This has included “new stations, aircraft, and the establishment of a bigger and better firefighting force."

Audio: 

Audio: Press conference on San Diego County fire plans for 2019

GRANT TO BRING CAJON VALLEY’S “WORLD OF WORK” PROGRAM TO LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY, GROSSMONT HIGH AND VISTA SCHOOL DISTRICTS

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A $1.2 million grant awarded by the national nonprofit American Student Assistance (ASA) will fund participation in the World of Work (WoW) program for over 33,000 students at 38 local schools in the La Mesa-Spring Valley (LMSV), Vista Unified and Grossmont Union High School (GUHSD) districts.

The program was developed by the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) in partnership with the University of San Diego to provide  K-12 students to explore career options and identify their individuals strengths and interests. The program has rolled out in 27 schools in the past two years, been written up in national publications such as Forbes business magazine, and most recently drew attention in meetings with U.S. Department of Education representatives (photo left) and a presentation at the Brookings Institute.

SAPS AT SEA PRESENT: 'GOOD HELP IS HARD TO FIND' JUNE 29

Source:  Saps at Sea San Diego

June 5, 2019 (Spring Valley) - Saps at Sea, the San Diego chapter of the Sons of the Desert, the official Laurel & Hardy fan society, invites you to their next meeting on June 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Williams Hall at Trinity Presbytarian Church in Spring Valley. 

PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT AT TERRA-GEN WIND PROJECT MEETINGS IN BOULEVARD AND CAMPO JUNE 6 AND JUNE 19

By Miriam Raftery

June 5, 2019 (Campo) – Public participation is needed at two upcoming meetings on Terra-Gen’s proposal to install 60 wind turbines, each 586 feet tall and capable of producing 4.2 megawatts of power.  The turbines are proposed on the Campo tribal reservation, from north of I-8 to near the border in the south. 

“These turbines are about twice the size with twice the harmful energy and noise as existing local Kumeyaay Wind and Tule Wind turbines. If new turbines are approved, life for many area residents will change for the worst.” Says Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Planning Group which represents nearby communities. She adds, “People are already sick around existing turbines.”        

Below are details on upcoming meetings June 6 and June 19, where the public can learn more and speak out:    

IDENTITIES RELEASED OF TWO TEENS KILLED IN HEAD-ON CRASH IN JAMUL, FOUR OTHERS INJURED

Updated with identies of the vicitms, provided by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office

By Miriam Raftery

June 3, 2019 (Jamul) – The driver and a passenger in a 1997 green GMC Sonoma pickup truck are dead following a head-on collision with a Jeep at 11:45 p.m. last night on Lyons Valley Road in Jamul.  The driver, Martin Lopez Soto, 19, from Lemon Grove and his passenger, Hope Najera, 18, from Jamul, died at the scene after the GMC crossed the center line into the path of the Jeep. According to their Facebook posts, the couple recently became engaged.

Witnesses called 9-1-1 but both victims were found inside the vehicle without a pulse by first responders who were unable to revive the teens despite aggressive life-saving efforts. The Medical Examiner concluded that both died of blunt-force injuries.

The driver of the Jeep, an 18-year-old El Cajon woman, had three teen passengers in the vehicle. All four sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were either treated on scene or transported to local hospitals for medical evaluations, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP ASKS PUBLIC FOR HELP TO IDENTIFY MAN KILLED IN FIERY TOYOTA TUNDRA CRASH ON I-8 AT CRESTWOOD

By Miriam Raftery
 
Update: The victim has been identified as Monterro Friend, 34, of San Diego.
 
June 2, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Highway Patrol seeks public help to identity the driver of a blue Toyota Tundra killed shortly before 4 a.m. after his vehicle, traveling at a high rate of speed, struck a guardrail and went airborne over the side at Crestwood Road in rural East County.  The vehicle vaulted over traffic on Crestwood and hit the I-8 westbound bridge.  

SHOOTING THREAT PROMPTS DISMISSAL AT BANCROFT ELEMENTARY

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2019 (Spring Valley) – A male caller, possibly a juvenile, called Bancroft Elementary School in Spring Valley at 2:44 p.m. today to state that there would be a shooting and warned the school to go on lockdown.  Staff put the school into lockdown and notified the Sheriff.

Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers responded.  There were no further threats or substantiation, but the school dismissed students with law enforcement present.

EAST COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS AMONG 11 INDICTED IN CHARTER SCHOOL FRAUD SCHEME

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan yesterday announced indictments against 11 individuals in a statewide charter school scheme that stole over $50 million in public funds.  Those indicted include Nancy Hauer, superintendent of the Dehesa Elementary School District in El Cajon, and Steve Van Zant, former superintendent of the Mountain Empire Unified School District that services Descanso, Pine Valley, Potrero and Campo.

The ringleaders, Sean McManus and Jason Schrock, CEO and president of A3 Education, sought out small school district with limited oversight experience and proposed that they authorize online charter schools to earn oversight fees paid for through public funds, according to the 253-page indictment handed down by a grand jury investigation May 17th after a year-long investigation that involved interviewing over 70 witnesses.

THREE FIRES CHAR OVER 30 ACRES IN DULZURA

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2019 (Dulzura) – Three wildfires collectively named the #94Fire broke out late this afternoon on State Route 94 between Otay Lakes Rd. and Freezer Rd. in Dulzura.  The fires forced closure of the highway for several hours,  causing severe traffic jams as traffic slowed to a crawl. The route is now reopened, Caltrans reports.

Cal Fire will remain on scene overnight at the largest fire near Gasoline Curve, which burned over 30 acres and is now 50% contained.  The other two fires have both been 100% contained. One burned an acre and the other scorched a third of an acre.

The blazes heighten concerns among residents about a proposed housing development at nearby Proctor Ranch which could result in an estimated 4,000 new residents further clogging evacuation routes.

The Jamul-Dulzura area is already ranked by Cal Fire as among the 1% worst communities in the state for evacuation during a wildfire due to lack of adequate evacuation routes.  By contrast, Paradise, California, which was leveled by a firestorm last year and killed over 80 people, was ranked among the worst 5%--so Jamul/Dulzura is even more dangerous.

FREE SUMMER MOVIES AT VIEJAS OUTLETS IN ALPINE

 

 

East County News Service

 

May 28, 2019 (Alpine) - Grab your popcorn – it’s time for (free!) summertime movies at the outdoor roller skating rink at Viejas Outlets shopping mall (5005 Willows Rd.) in Alpine.  Showtimes start at 7:30 p.m. The season opened May 24 with Top Gun. The lineup of popular movies coming up include:

 

  • May 31  – Hotel Transylvania 3 (PG)
  • June 7 – Moana (PG)
  • June 14 – Bumblebee (PG13)
  • June 21 – Antman and the Wasp (PG13)
  • June 28 – Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse (PG)
  • July 4 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG13)
  • July 5 – How to Train Your Dragon 3 (PG)

LAKE MORENA RESIDENTS ORGANIZE TO OPPOSE SOLAR FACILITY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 26, 2019 (Lake Morena) – A petition signed by 301 area residents opposed to a Forefront Power’s proposed utility-scale solar energy facility in the Lake Morena area of Campo has been submitted to Supervisor Dianne Jacob this week.  

READER’S EDITORIAL: SAN DIEGO SUPERVISORS SHOULD JUST SAY NO TO FIRE-TRAP DEVELOPMENTS



By Peter A. Andersen, PhD, and Daniel H. Silver, MD

Photos by Miriam Raftery:  State Route 94, the primary evacuation route for Proctor Valley and communities from Jamul south to Barrett Junction, has been previously shut down for hours or even days by the Harris Wildfire, flooding, and serious accidents.  A Border Patrol station, casino and high school along the highway (not shown) all add to traffic back-ups and congestion at peak times, drawing frequent complaints from residents in recent years.

May 23, 2019 (Jamul/Proctor Valley) -- Deadly fires scorched California in 2017 and 2018, destroying thousands of homes and killing 44 people in wine country and 86 in Paradise. Emergency warning and evacuation systems failed. People burned in their cars trying to escape the flames. Homes built to new fire-safe building codes burned anyway in the intense heat. Rapidly moving fires overwhelmed safety systems and careful planning.

The County Board of Supervisors will vote in June whether to approve a major housing development in Jamul, a community already ranked in the bottom 1% of hard-to-evacuate locations in the state. What will convince the Board to apply the lessons of the massive northern California fires to local land-use decisions? At what point does willful ignorance of the risks become negligence?

STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA STUDENT NOMINATED FOR 2019 BROADWAY SAN DIEGO AWARDS

 

 

Source: Steele Canyon High School

Photo:  Mary Rose Vadeboncoeur, courtesy of Steele Canyon High School

May 21, 2019 (Spring Valley) -- Mary Rose Vadeboncoeur, a senior with the Steele Canyon High School Drama Department, has received a Broadway San Diego Awards nomination as Best Actress for her role as Eponine in the SCHS spring production of Les Misérables. 

LAVENDER DAY AND ANTIQUE FAIR JUNE 8 AT SUMMERS PAST FARMS

 

 

East County News Service

May 18, 2019 (Flinn Springs) – Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs invites you to come celebrate the fragrance and beauty of lavender at a Lavender Festival and Antique Fair on Saturday, June 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SAN DIEGO'S LONGEST OPERATING SMALL AUTOMOTIVE PARTS BUSINESS DEBUTS NEWEST ADDITION IN ALPINE

 

 

County Motor Parts hosts grand opening with car show May 31 - June 2

 

East County News Service

 

May 10, 2019 (Alpine) – One of San Diego’s longest operating small businesses, County Motor Parts Inc., announces the opening of its 12th location--8th in San Diego County--in Alpine. The 73-year-old business has been run by three generations of the San Diego-based Eckis family.

COUNTY RESCHEDULES HEARING TO JUNE 26 ON GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT FOR MAJOR HOUSING PROJECT IN OTAY-JAMUL AREAS

 

 

East County News Service

May 10, 2019 (San Diego) – On June 26 at 9 a.m., County Supervisors will hold a hearing on a proposed General Plan Amendment for the proposed Otay Ranch Village 14 and Planning Areas 16/19. This is rescheduled from the original May 22 date.

The project proposes to develop 1,119 homes on approximately 1,284 total acres within an approximately 860 acre development footprint that lies within Otay Ranch Village 14 and Planning Areas 16 & 19 (PAs 16 & 19).  The project includes property in the Otay Ranch area as well as land between Jamul and Chula Vista.

GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL HOSTS BLOOD DRIVE MAY 23

 

 

UPDATE:  THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

 

East County News Service

 

May 9, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Grossmont High School will host a blood drive in partnership with the San Diego Blood Bank on Thurs., May

23 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the quad area. The school is located at 1100 Murray Dr.  in El Cajon.

EAST COUNTY FATALITY ACCIDENT VICTIMS IDENTIFIED

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego County Medical Examiner has identified victims killed in several recent East County accidents in Ramona, Spring Valley, Jamul and Santee.
 
Blake Cameron Jennings, 30, of Ramona died at the scene of a motorcycle accident on May 1st after striking a vehicle making a turn on San Vicente Road at Vista Vicente Drive.

JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP TO HEAR PROPOSED GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENTS FOR MASSIVE HOUSING PROJECTS AND CASINO UPDATE MAY 14

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 8, 2019 (Jamul) – On Tuesday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m., the Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group agenda includes a proposed general plan amendment for Otay Ranch Village 14 and Planning Areas 16 and 19, prior to County Supervisors upcoming June 26 hearing. (Note, the county rescheduled its May 22 hearing to June 26.)

 

The project would include homes, a school, recreational facilities and more on property in the Otay Ranch area as well as land between Jamul and Chula Vista. Concerns have been raised by school districts, tribes, environmentalists and the Jamul-Dulzura Planning Group.  

 

The Jamul-Dulzura Planning Group’s agenda also includes an update on the Jamul Casino, a General Plan clean-up process and officers’ reports.  

 

See the full agenda below.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: PACIFIC CREST TRAIL

East County News Service

May 8, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Greg Dunne recently hiked 77 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.  He sent in these two photos. The first is at the trailhead start in Campo near the Mexican border. The second image is about 50 miles north near Garnet Peak, between  Mount Laguna and Julian, overlooking the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL: INGRASSIA’S BONUS BALL DOUBLE GIVES VALHALLA THIRD CONSECUTIVE LEAGUE CROWN

 

 

By Adam Paul, ecpreps.com

Photos by Don De Mars

May 7, 2019 (El Cajon) - With the game in extra innings and tied at 0-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Joseph Ingrassia (left, 1-2, RBI, 2B) came up and smashed a double to score the game-winning run for the Norsemen on Monday afternoon.

HOMELESS COUNT SHOWS 6% DROP COUNTYWIDE: HOMELESS RISES IN RAMONA AND EL CAJON BUT DROPS IN SPRING VALLEY

 

Updated with corrected figures for El Cajon, where homelessness rose and a higher percentage are without shelter than last year.

By Miriam Raftery

May 2, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – For the second year in a row, the annual Point-in-Time homeless count for 2019 found a 6% drop in the number of homeless people living on the streets and in shelters across San Diego County.  The count found a 1% increase in those who are sheltered and a 10% decrease in those left unsheltered.

MEET MOUNTAIN MEN AND MORE AT MANZANITA HIGH RENDEZVOUS MAY 10-18

 

 

East County News Service

April 25, 2019 (Lake Morena) – You’re invited to step back in time and visit an authentic mountain man rendezvous on May 10-18 at the Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous. The event will be held at the Northcote Ranch near Lake Morena.

JAMUL MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING WIFE

 
 
East County News Service
 
April 25, 2019 (Jamul) – A jury has convicted Winnie Perry Whitby, 49, from Jamul of second degree murder. He was found guilty of stabbing his wife, Melissa Whitby. Her body was found January 7, 2017 on a path along Skyline Truck Trail about a mile from the couple’s home.

NIECE REPRISES SHELLEY WINTERS' ROLE OF 'ANNE FRANK'

 

 

By Donald H. Harrison

Originally published by San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  At left, actress Shelley Winters with daughter Vittoria Glassman, and Lolly Boroff (dark hair) with her mother Blanche Boroff.

April 25, 2019 (Spring Valley) - In the American History Theater’s current production of The Diary of Anne Frank, some American theater history is being reprised.  Back in 1959, Shelley Winters won an Oscar as best supporting actress for her performance as Mrs. Van Daan in the movie version of that play, which dramatized the experiences of the Frank and Van Daan families as they hid in a secret annex from the Nazis, who then were sending Jewish families from Amsterdam to concentration camps.

MISSING SENIOR IN SPRING VALLEY

 
 
East County News Service
 
April 23, 2019 (Spring Valley) – The Sheriff seeks public help to locate 73-year-old Viodelda Fleming, who was reported missing yesterday from her care facility, New Brighton Place, at 9009 Campo Road in Spring Valley.
 
She was last seen by the charge nurse at 6:30 p.m. last night.  She suffers from several medical conditions, needs medication, and may be disoriented.

VINTAGE ALPINE: WINE AND FOOD EXPERIENCE IN THE COUNTRY MAY 5

 

 

East County News Service

April 23, 2019 (Flinn Springs) — The Alpine Kiwanis Club invites the public to attend the 29th Annual Vintage Alpine fundraiser to be held on May 5. This amazing “Wine & Food Experience in the Country” will take place within the lovely gardens of Summers Past Farms at 15602 Olde Highway 80.

HELIX WATER DISTRICT BEGINS BUDGET PROCESS FOR NEXT YEAR AND DENIES FEE WAIVER TO NEW PROPERTY OWNER

 

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

April 23, 2019 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District’s Board of Directors held a sparsely attended meeting last Wednesday that covered major topics including establishing guidelines to develop next year’s budget—including possible rate hikes.  Other issues covered included reconciling current policies with unfunded state mandates and reviewing specific actions on parcels.

 

The District provides drinking water for over 273,000 people in the communities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Spring Valley and portions of Santee, Lakeside and San Diego County.

 

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