Rural communities

VAN DRIVER KILLED IN ALPINE COLLISION WITH TRUCK

 

East County News Service

February 8, 2016 (Alpine) — A 51-year-old San Diego man died after rear-ending a truck pulling a semi-trailer on eastbound Interstate 8 in Alpine early this morning.


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SHERIFF LAUNCHES BODY CAMERA PILOT PROGRAM, INCLUDES EAST COUNTY LOCATIONS

 

East County News Service

February 2, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Sheriff Bill Gore has announced that his department will launch a pilot program to test body cameras.  The test period starts Friday, February 5th.  It includes the Lakeside substation, Rancho San Diego station and Rural Command covering much of East County as well as the North Coastal and Vista stations, plus deputies assigned to the Hall of Justice.


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BACK COUNTRY LAND TRUST GETS AUTHORIZATION TO OVERSEE MITIGATION LANDS

 

East County News Service

February 1, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Founded in 1990, the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) began working with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2009 to protect lands in the Long Potrero Valley, located in the historic “Las Californias” region in the south-easternmost part of San Diego County.


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SONS OF THE DESERT STARTS ITS 38TH YEAR OF SAPPINESS

 
 
By Liz Alper
 
January 31, 2016 (Spring Valley) - On a brisk, chilly night in Spring Valley, I and other members of the Saps at Sea, the San Diego Chapter of the Sons of the Desert, the official Laurel & Hardy fan organization, gathered at Williams Hall at Trinity Church for a night of laughter and delicious cake at intermission.

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SUPERVISORS AGENDA INCLUDES SANDAG REGIONAL PLAN, FIRE SERVICE EXPANSION IN RURAL AREAS AND HEIGHT LIMITS IN LAKESIDE’S RIVERWAY

East County News Service

 

East County News Service

January 30, 2016 (San Diego's East County) – San Diego supervisors will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday,  February 2nd and 3rd this week.  The agenda includes some important items for East County.


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ALPINE SUPERINTENDENT BRUCE COCHRANE STEPS DOWN

East County News Service

January 29, 2016 (Alpine) – Bruce Cochrane, Superintendent of the Alpine Union School District, has given notice that he will be leaving the position he has held since mid-2014. 


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BACKYARD FARMER MAKES MOST OUT OF SMALL SPACE

 

Update: Listen to our interview with Don Axe, aired on KNSJ Radio (click here)

 

By Brigitte Garcia

Photo: Don Axe and Brigitte Garcia

 

January 28, 2016 (Spring Valley) -- Spring Valley farmer Don Axe has used extra space in his backyard to create his own agricultural business, Valley View Urban Farm. He can now make anything from soap to ice cream. Axe has found a way to keep all different animals such as chickens, rabbits, goats, ducks, a pet dog and even a pot-bellied pig, also growing vegetables and fruits--all on just a half-acre lot.

 

He’s an accomplished farmer with four first place prizes won in the Del Mar Fair for his own homemade cheeses. You can learn what it takes to make his award winning mozzarella and more when he teaches his next cheese making class--one of several courses he teaches for those seeking farming opportunities in small spaces.


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CALTRANS CLEARS WAY FOR HIGHWAY 94-125 CONNECTOR

 

East County News Service

 

January 27, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has determined that a proposed direct interchange to connect State Routes 94 and 125 would have no significant environmental impact. 


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HONEY WINE BUSINESS BUZZING WITH SUCCESS, BUT OWNERS SAY HIGH FEES FORCE THEM TO LEAVE COUNTY

 

 

By Brigitte Garcia

 

January 26th, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Dale and Mike Pearson wanted to start a new career after working in hazardous occupations.  So they founded Pearson and Pearson, a honey-wine making business in rural El Cajon. Now they’re savoring sweet success-- including a multi-million dollar deal pending to sell their products into Asia.


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CITY NO LONGER DRAINING LAKE MORENA RESERVOIR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draining stopped days after our radio broadcast and coverage

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2016 (Lake Morena) – Back in February 2014, we ran a story exposing Lake Morena residents’ criticisms of the City of San Diego for draining the Lake Morena Reservoir down to a mere puddle of its former self.  We also aired a radio interview (listen at link) with area residents and a city representative, which won an award from Society of Professional Journalists for best talk radio broadcast. 

After the recent rains, the water level at Lake Morena is still only 2.6 percent of capacity. But here’s some good news for lakefront residents: Kurt Kidman, public information officer for the City, advised East County Magazine this week, “With respect to Morena Reservoir, the City stopped drafting water out of Morena Reservoir back in February 2014 and we have not resumed any drafting since.”

In our radio interview aired that same month, a city official admitted that San Diego had done essentially nothing to ask its citizens to conserve water before making its decision to decimate a lake popular with recreational users, eliminate wildlife habitat and negatively impact the lifestyle and property values for years  to come.


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JURY RETURNS NEARLY $12 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST CALTRANS FOR VALLEY FEVER EXPOSURE IN CONTRACTOR’S WORKERS

East County News Service

January 22, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Residents in San Diego’s East County have raised fears of spreading Valley Fever spores in their arguments against projects ranging from a sand mine in Lakeside to solar projects in Boulevard and Jacumba.  Now a jury in Northern California has shown just how expensive a verdict might be for a government entity or company that ignores such risks.


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NAVAL CORPSMAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN DEATH OF ALPINE TOT

East County News Service

January 20, 2016 (Alpine) — At the El Cajon Courthouse this week, Navy Corpsman Brett Brown entered a not guilty plea to charges of murder and child abuse. He is accused of killing his gilfriend’s 19-year-old son.


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LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS MOURNS YOUNG TIGER CUB

 
 
Tiger cub's sudden passing is a major blow to the sanctuary
 
 
January 19, 2016 (Alpine) - Bobbi Brink, Founder/Director of San Diego's non-profit accredited sanctuary, Lions Tigers & Bears announced the sudden passing of the sanctuary's six-month-old tiger cub named Himmel.

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ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP LANDS GRANT TO CONTINUE CLEANUP OF ALPINE WATERSHED

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo courtesy of Backcountry Land Trust

January 18, 2016 (Alpine) – Clearing local watersheds of the arrundo donax, a hardy bamboo-like, non-native plant that is a major fire fuels hazard, and other invasive species is tough work.  To clear a four-mile stretch of Alpine Creek required contacting owners of about 700 private and public parcels, mapping the terrain and securing liability insurance and contracts.  So far, the initial work has been done on about 50 parcels, funded mainly by private donations.  But a lot more work is needed, including maintain those parcels already cleared.


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FIRST SONS OF THE DESERT MEETING OF THE NEW YEAR SURE TO BRING LAUGHS

 
By Liz Alper
 
January 17, 2016 (Spring Valley) - If you're like me and never have anything to do on Saturday night and you LOVE classic comedy (also like me), here is something for you.  

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NEW LIBRARIES COMING TO CASA DE ORO AND LAKESIDE

 

 

Source: County News Service

January 17, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – County Supervisors have approved spending $50,000 in Neighborhood Reinvestment funds to acquire land for new libraries in Lakeside and the Casa de Oro community in Spring Valley.  The plan was proposed by East County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.


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FORMER SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT VAN ZANT FACING FELONY CONFLICT OF INTEREST CHARGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Steve Van Zant, former superintendent of Mountain Empire Unified School District, was arraigned today in San Diego Superior Court on a felony conflict of interest charge, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports

While serving as Superintendent of Mountain Empire, Van Zant pushed through charter schools to operate in other school districts---while profiting by having some of those same charters hire his consulting firm, EdHive Inc.


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NAVY CORSPMAN CHARGED WITH MURDER OF ALPINE CHILD

 

East County News Service

 

January 16, 2016 (Alpine) – Brett Brown, 29, of Alpine has been charged with murder for the death of his girlfriend’s 19-month-old son, Lucas Orlando.


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STORM FREEZES, BREAKS TRANSMITTER FOR KNSJ: DONATIONS NEEDED FOR REPAIR

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2016 (Descanso) -- KNSJ Radio (89.1 FM Descanso) is off the air affter the station's transmitter on Mount Laguna froze and broke during  last week's winter storm.  The repair estimate is $1,500, said Martin Eder, founder of KNSJ, a public nonprofit radio station that serves East County and San Diego.

Donations are urgently needed to cover this unexpected major repair cost and may be made via PayPal, credit card or check at http://knsj.org/donate/.  

The East County Magazine  Show airs on KNSJ on Mondays and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.  During the outage, which began last week, our radio show and others on the station can still be heard online by downloading the TuneIn App for your cell phone or by listening to the streaming audio online at http://knsj.org/knsjpopup.html.


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LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST COUNTY AND COVERT CANYON OVER SHOOTING RANGE IN HEART OF CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

East County Magazine

January 14, 2016 (Alpine)--The Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNFF), Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF), and Save Our Forest and Ranchlands (SOFAR) announced  that they have filed a lawsuit challenging the County of San Diego’s approval of a firearms training facility for military and law enforcement at Covert Canyon within the boundary of the Cleveland National Forest outside of Alpine.  

The suit seeks an injunction and restraining order to shut down commercial firearms training at the facility, among other remedies.

The lawsuit cites alleged violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, abuse of discretion in changing the use classification of the commercial firearms shooting facility, and violation of the California Land Conservation Act of 1965 (commonly referred to as the “Williamson Act”).


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3 ALPINE SCHOOLS CLOSE FOR REPAIRS AFTER STORM DAMAGE

 

East County News Service

January 14, 2016 (Alpine) – Last week’s storm damage has necessitated closure of three Alpine schools today, with two remaining closed through tomorrow.

Joan MacQueen Middle School will be shut today and tomorrow due to propane leaks.  Shadow Hills and Mountain View  Learning Academy will be closed today for repairs on gas valves following leaks.


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DRIVER KILLED IN HIGH SPEED CRASH IN SPRING VALLEY

 

East County News Service

January 11, 2016 (Spring Valley) — A 30-year-old El Cajon woman lost control of the Honda Civic that she was driving westbound on State Route 94 at 2:35 p.m. today and crashed down an embankment at the State Route 125 junction, striking a tree.  The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene.


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TIMETABLE SET FOR ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL LAWSUIT

 

 

East County News Service

 

January 9, 2016 (Alpine) – In a court hearing this morning, Judge Joel Pressman approved the following timetable for the Alpine high school trial:


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COURT RULES AGAINST ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP OVER SOITEC SOLAR PROJECT IN BOULEVARD

 

East County News Service

January 9, 2016 (Boulevard) – Efforts to block the massive Rugged Solar project in Boulevard appear to have hit a dead end.  On December 11th, Judge Wohlfeil confirmed  his tentative ruling to dismiss a writ of mandate filed by Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD).  The challenge claimed the project violated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements on groundwater and fire issues, among others.

“BAD has chosen not to appeal based on a variety of issues and realities,”  BAD founder Donna Tisdale told East County Magazine.  Our attorney may never see the fee award ordered by Judge Wohlfeil, or a final decision could be strung out for years.”


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CAMP ONWARD HELPS TEENS WITH ASPERGER’S SYNDROME GAIN SOCIAL SKILLS

By Janis Russell

Hear a podcast of our interview aired on KNSJ  radio: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/au...

January 8, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - Camp Onward is designed for teens with Asperger’s Syndrome to help with social skills. East County Magazine recently sat down with founder Nancy Hagan, director Kathy Gerstenberg, and parent of a kid with Asperger’s Syndrome, Laura Preble. We asked them questions about how the camp got started, its impact on the kids and parents, and what the camp is like among other topics.

Audio: 


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FLOODING AND MUDSLIDES WREAK HAVOC IN RURAL EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo of Dehesa Elementary School courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

January 7, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Today’s storm has caused significant damage across East County including closure of Dehesa Elementary School and a mudslide that oozed into homes in Rancho San Diego.

Muddy floodwaters drenched the interior of classrooms at Dehesa Elementary, soaking electrical and computer equipment on floors.  The school will remain closed until Monday for cleanup, 10 News reports.


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BARRY JANTZ NAMED CHAIR OF TAXPAYERS GROUP

By Miriam Raftery

 

January 7, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Jamul resident Barry Jantz, CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), has been elected to serve as 2016-17 chair of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) board of directors.

 


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JAMUL AREA FLOODING AND ROAD CLOSURE

 

 

East County News Service

Jaunary 7, 2016 (Jamul) --Honey Springs Road will be shut down all night due to power lines downed by vehicle that struck a power pole this evening, while awaiting SDG&E repairs, the CHP website indicates. A SIG Alert has been issued.

Highway 94 had substantial flooding this afternoon, reaching 30 feet wide in places and up to two feet deep, by some estimates..

Ronnie Durfee sent in video including this still shot of the dip between Rancho Jamul and Melody Lane.


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CHIRP, ORGANIZER OF ALPINE’S SAGE & SONGBIRDS GARDEN TOURS, CLOSES DOORS

 

East County News Service

December 30, 2015 (Alpine) –After 19 years of working to create gardens friendly to birds, butterflies and other creatures, the nonprofit Center to Instill Respect and Preservation for Garden Wildlife, or CHIRP, is coming to an end.

The board of directors voted in November to dissolve the nonprofit after financial challenges, as many nonprofits have faced in recent tough times.  “I feel it is time for me, the founder and executive director, to move on,” Maureen Austin wrote in a letter published on the Alpine Community Network.

CHIRP, a garden club known for organizing the popular Sage & Songbirds garden tour each year, gained national fame for Alpine after helping the community become first in the nation to receive a Community Wildlife Habitat designation from the National Wildlife Federation.  Austin voiced hope that Alpine will continue to nurture habitats for wildlife to retain the designation, adding that she will happily help transfer NWF’s annual status report to another organization or individual.


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EDUCATOR SAVES INJURED MOTORIST

 

By Miriam Raftery

Steele Canyon High School’s Assistant Principal, Paul Battle, risked his life to save a young woman who was ejected from a vehicle onto Interstate 8 in Alpine.  The woman, Natali Kestenian, calls Battle her “guardian angel.”

 


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