Rural communities

BLACKWATER GUARDS SENTENCED: 30 YEARS TO LIFE FOR MASSACRE IN IRAQ

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  East County residents celebrated Blackwater halting plans to build a training camp in Potrero in 2008.

April 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Many in East County recall the successful battle wagered by rural residents here to halt a Blackwater paramilitary training camp from being built in Potrero.   Just months before Blackwater announced plans to cancel the Potrero project in 2008, news broke that Blackwater guards had been accused of massacring innocent civilians in Iraq’s Nisour Square on September 16, 2007.

READER'S EDITORIAL: THOUGHTS ON AMBULANCE SERVICE FROM DEERHORN AND "OUTER JAMUL"

 

By Kim Hamilton, Editor, Deerhorn Valley Antler

Editor’s note: A similar version of this letter was also sent to Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office.

April 12, 2015 (Deerhorn Valley) -- In the outer rural areas we are spread out over a very large area. We have only two paved roads (Honey Springs and Deerhorn Valley Rd.), and from that intersection it is 15 miles and 20 minutes to reach the fire station in Jamul. Most of us live off of secondary roads like Mother Grundy Truck Trail, Bratton Valley, and Sierra Cielo. These are dirt roads that are privately maintained (or not).  The additional distance on rutted roads can add another 20-plus minutes of drive.  And that's when you know where you're going. Some roads are almost impassable for a large vehicle.

18TH ANNUAL CHIRP SAGE & SONGBIRDS GARDEN TOUR - MAY 1-3, 2015

 

April 12, 2015 (San Diego's East County) The Sage and Songbirds 18th annual graden tour will be held May 1-3, 2015. This year’s self-guided tour includes five private homes plus a hummingbird haven and raptor rehabilitation facility.

SAGE & SONGBIRDS GARDEN TOUR TAKES WING MAY 1-3

 

April 10, 2015 (Alpine) – The 18th annual Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour on May 1-3 will feature five private home gardens plus a hummingbird haven and a raptor rehabilitation facility for close-up viewing of wildlife.

VINTAGE ALPINE: WINETASTING IN THE COUNTRY TO BENEFIT CHILDREN'S CAUSES

 

April 10, 2015 (Alpine) – The 25th annual Vintage Alpine on Sunday May 3rd from 1 to 4 p.m. at Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs will feature tastings of 40 wines plus foods from fine restaurants across our region.  This event attracts over 500 people annually, with all proceeds used to benefit services and programs for the children of San Diego.

SAN MIGUEL BOARD VOTES TO BUY 2 FIRE ENGINES, MOVE FORWARD ON COUNTY TAKEOVER OF TRAINING FACILITY

 

By Paul Kruze

April 10, 2015 (Spring Valley)--In spite of tight finances and the looming possibility of a separation and divorce from CALFIRE, the San Miguel Fire Board of Directors majority went forward with a staff recommendation to purchase two new fire engines at its March 11th meeting.  The Board also took action on the County's proposal to takeover an unfinished training facility that has languished due to lack of funds.

DROUGHT DRIES UP WATER SOURCES FOR FIREFIGHTING

 

East County News Service

Photo: Once brimming with water, the eastern portion of Lake Morena is bone dry.

April 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The drought is shrinking ponds and lakes across East County—and Cal-Fire is concerned about the loss of water for fighting fires.

HOW DO COUNTY'S RESPONSE TIMES FOR AMBULANCE SERVICE STACK UP TO OTHER AREAS?

 

 

Ambulance responses in our region raise alarms:  Part IV in a series

By Miriam Raftery

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—San Diego County’s contract with its new ambulance provider for East County, Mercy,  requires that response times be less than 30 minutes 90% of the time in rural areas and 10 minutes in urban areas.  That’s too long if you’ve had a heart attack or other major trauma. 

When we inquired about response times, County staff advised us that in 2014, the County Fire Authority (ie Cal Fire) had a better response time than the requirement, averaging just over 10 minutes, while the former ambulance provider, AMR, average about 14 minutes. (Read more)

CONGRESS PASSES MEASURE TO ALLOW SELLING OFF NATIONAL FORESTS AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Cleveland National Forest, courtesy National Forest Service

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—The Republican-controlled House and Senate have passed measures that would allow the sale or outright giveaway of most public lands –including national forests, federal wildernesses and  wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management properties.  Only Republicans voted for the language slipped into a non-binding budget resolution—which passed without a single Democratic vote. 

The shocking news is revealed in a New York Times editorial by Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Lands, titled “Our Land, Up for Grabs.”  

While it’s unlikely that President Barack Obama would support such an extreme measure, if a Republican president is elected in 2016 and Republicans maintains control of both houses of Congress, losing our cherished public lands such could be a very real possibility.

Here in San Diego County alone, that could mean the demise of:  Cleveland National Forest,  Otay Mountain Wildnerness, Hauser Wilderness, Pine Creek , Carrizo Gorge, Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness , Agua Tibia Wilderness, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge , Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, McCain Valley National Recreation Area and more.

COUNTY RESPONDS TO AMBULANCE SERVICE QUESTIONS

 

 

Ambulance responses in our region raise alarms:  Part III in a series

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – AS we reported, effective April 1st the County has shifted to Mercy as its new ambulance provider for rural East County.  After residents raised concerns over coverage, response times and mutual aid, we asked Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office for a response.

PASSAGES: ACCLAIMED POTRERO POET STEVE KOWIT

 

April 3, 2015 (Potrero) – Steve Kowit, well-known poet, author, teacher and Potrero resident, passed away this morning following heart surgery  Kowit taught at Southwestern College and San Diego State University, mentored many, and inspired a generation of local writers through his teaching, readings and writings.

He was distinguished by his many awards for poetry, which include the National Endowment Fellowship in Poetry, two Pushcart Prizes, the Atlanta Review Poetry Prize, the Ouroboros Book Award, the 2006 Tampa Review Poetry Prize, and most recently the San Diego Theodore Geisel Award.

SDG&E USE OF DRONES APPROVED BY FDA

 

East County News Service

March 31, 2015(San Diego) – SDG&E has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use unmanned drones to conduct aerial inspections of its gas and electrical facilities in rural East County.

JAMUL ADDS PARAMEDICS TO FIRE ENGINES

 

East County News Service

March 30, 2015 (Jamul)—Jamul’s Fire Station now has paramedics on every fire engine.  Starting in mid-March, Jamul has had three paramedics to provide advanced life support services that emergency medical technicians can’t provide—such as administering IV medications and defibrillation of heart attack patients.

SDG&E WORKERS FIND HUMAN REMAINS AT ALPINE HS SITE

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 25, 2015 (Alpine) – Homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of human remains in Alpine, the Sheriff’s department reports. According to Lieutenant John Maryon, it appears the remains have been there for quite some time.

AMBULANCE UPDATES ANNOUNCED

 



Ambulance responses in our region raise alarms:  Part II in a series

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—Earlier we reported on a new contract for ambulance service that the County has signed, effective April 1st.  That contract required only four ambulances for an entire district stretching from the border north to Mount Laguna, and from Jamul east to the Imperial County line.

COUNTY CHANGES AMBULANCE SERVICE WITHOUT PUBLIC NOTICE: PUBLIC SAFETY ADVOCATES VOICE ALARM



Ambulance responses in our region raise alarms:  Part I in a series

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – What if you had a medical emergency and the nearest ambulance had to come from Imperial County or other distant places up to an hour away?  That’s the very real prospect facing rural East County residents under a stealth change in ambulance service approved by a county bureaucrat with no public notice, no hearing, and no vote by the Supervisors.

While some aspects of coverage stand to improve under the contract, adding more in-district ambulances and newer equipment, there are some major concerns raised by local safety advocates with regard to mutual aid and staffing.

RUSSO SET TO REGAIN ALPINE PLANNING GROUP SEAT AFTER ELECTION WINNER LEFT TOWN

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2015 (Alpine) – Lou Russo, an outspoken former member of the Alpine Community Planning Group, may soon be back on the board, the Registrar of Voters office has confirmed.

James Roe defeated Russo on the November ballot, but moved out of the area for a job prior to the election and is thus ineligible to take the seat.

JUDGE RULES FOR SD UNIFIED IN SUIT AGAINST ALPINE DISTRICT OVER ENDEAVOR ACADEMY

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 19, 2015 (Alpine) – Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Gunther has ruled in favor of the San Diego Unified School District in a lawsuit filed against the Alpine Union School District over the Endeavor Academy (also known as the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences, Inc.). View the judge’s order here.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: LYONS PEAK SUNRISE

 

March 18, 2015 (Jamul)—The HP Wren UCSD webcam atop Lyons Peak in Jamul caught this dazzling sunrise on St. Patrick’s Day.  Sure ‘n’ those glistening jewels in the sky look like a Leprechaun’s treasure!

JAMUL RESIDENTS PROTEST CASINO AS CONSTRUCTION PROGRESSES

East County News Service

March 11, 2015 (Jamul)--Approximately 200 protesters held a “flash mob” demonstration in Jamul Saturday, wearing red as they voiced their continuing opposition to a casino under construction at the Jamul Indian Village.

Excavation is completed at the project, site of a planned Hollywood-themed casino in conjunction with Penn National Gaming.

Projected to open in mid-2016, the casino is expected to include a three-story gaming and entertainment facility of approximately 200,000 square feet with gaming, restaurants, bars, and parking.  The tribe estimates the project will create an estimated 2,500 construction and permanent jobs in the area.

COUNTY PROPOSES PLAN TO TAKEOVER TRAINING SITE FROM SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

March 7, 2015 (Spring Valley ) – Out of money to complete construction and maintenance of a partially-built training facility in Casa De Oro, San Miguel Fire District on March 11th will consider a proposal from the County Fire Authority to take over the lease, move forward on construction and assume maintenance responsibilities.

SOITEC WITHDRAWS ONE OF TWO PROJECTS IN BOULEVARD

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 3, 2015 (Boulevard) – After winning approval of Supervisors for two controversial industrial-scale projects in Boulevard, Soitec Solar in a surprise announcement has withdrawn one of them.

COURT THROWS OUT RESTRICTIONS ON SEX OFFENDERS' HOUSING

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – California’s Supreme Court has invalidated a portion of Jessica’s Law, tossing out as unconstitutional restrictions that prevented sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks or other places with children.

SEARCH UNDERWAY FOR MISSING HIKER WHO LEFT ANZA TWO WEEKS AGO

 

Hikers find belongings 13 miles off Highway 79, north of Warner Springs

East County News Service

February 24, 2015 (San Diego) updated February 26, 2015—San Diego Search and Rescue Crews are hunting for a 28-year-old hiker, Chris Sylvia, who left Anza, California on Thursday, February 12th to hike south on the Pacific Crest Trail for a week or more. He called a friend February 16th to meet him near Warner Springs to pickup supplies on February 17th, but never arrived.   

His friend told authorities he assumed Sylvia had continued his hike without stopping. But when he failed to reach his final destination, Campo, Sylvia’s friend became concerned and contacted the Sheriff on February 24.

Also on the 24th, other hikers found gear including a sleeping bag, sleeping pad and backpack that appear to belong to Sylvia. His identification was also found at this site approximately 13 miles off Highgway 79, north of Warner Springs.

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