Communities

SANTEE LOVES: RESIDENTS RALLY IN VEHICLES TO STAND AGAINST HATE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

May 27, 2020 (Santee) -- A Santee community group known as Santee Loves organized “Demonstrate Love,” a vehicle rally held today to counter the two racially charged incidents at a Santee Vons store on May 2 and at  Food 4 Less five days later. 

(Left: a participant standing next to his car.)

Those incidents, which went viral on social media and made international headlines, involved a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and a couple, who live in unincorporated El Cajon, with Nazi swastikas on their COVID-19 face masks. 

The vehicle rally was designed to promote tolerance and inclusiveness. Though planned over the past two weeks, the event ironically occurred on the same night that national protests erupted over the brutal killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a Minneapolis police officer. 


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BEHIND THE TROLL MASK: SANTEE'S SWASTIKA MAN AND HIS EXPERT TRANSLATOR

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  A screen shot of “ubeartron” video of Dustin Hart at Santee Food 4 Less includes a BitChute ID of “1488,” references to Hitler or neo-Nazi views. He says he just Googled the Nazi flag and printed it out. His body camera “came from Amazon.”

May 27, 2020 (Santee) - Dustin Levi Hart says he and his wife wore small swastikas on their faces for almost an hour while shopping May 7 at Food 4 Less in Santee. It was a protest against state lockdown orders, he said.


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THESE RESTAURANTS IN EAST COUNTY NOW OFFERING DINE-IN, TAKE-OUT AND/OR DELIVERY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Tiramisu Trattoria is now reopened for dine-in service in La Mesa.

Update May 25:  With restaurants now allowed to reopen for dine-in services, we are posting those now open again for dine-in in red lettering.  Call or visit websites for hours and whether reservations are required. 

If you own a restaurant in East County that's not listed or have a listing that needs updating, please email editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

March 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Since yesterday’s county order for restaurants to stop dine-in service through March 31 due to the COVID-19 emergency, many owners are adapting by switching to curbside take-out (curbside) service and a few are also offering home delivery through services such as GrubHub, UberEats, or through their own delivery service.  Those with alcohol permits may also offer take-out bottles of beer or wine, as well as cocktails and other alcoholic drinks to go, depending on their type of liquor license.

While this is by no means a complete list, here are many restaurants confirmed as offering take-out and/or delivery services.

Call or check the restaurant's website for details on hours and how to place orders, which vary at each location; hours may be limited and options and may change.

If you know of any we missed, please post in the comments section below!


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BARONA RESORT AND CASINO TO REOPEN STARTING WEDNESDAY,MAY 27

By Miriam Raftery

May 26, 2020 (Lakeside) – Barona Resort & Casino is the latest tribal casino to  begin a phased reopening,  starting tomorrow. The casino and hotel, including some restaurants, will be open with reduced capacity and new sanitation requirements.


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UNIDENTIFIED BODY FOUND OFF HIGHWAY 67 IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 24, 2020 (El Cajon) – The body of a man who appeared homeless, according to California Highway Patrol, was found Wednesday afternoon alongside southbound state route 67, just north of the Interstate 8 interchange in El Cajon.

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RESIDENTS, HEALTHCARE GROUPS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO RESTAURANT AND RETAIL REOPENINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: On Friday, Sheldon's Station in La Mesa prepared for reopening with new socially distanced tables. The owner told ECM  that despite offering curbside pickup, he's lost approximately 60% of his business since the shutdown began in mid-March and has not received any federal aid, for which he applied.

May 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On social media, East County residents shared reactions to decisions by state and county officials allowing restaurants to reopen for dine-in service and retailers to allow customers inside stores after a two-month closure due to the  COVID-19 pandemic.

While some voiced joy at savoring a meal out, other expressed trepidation.  Local healthcare officials, politicians and activists have also weighed in with their views on the easing up of restrictions.


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HEAT WAVE MAY BREAK RECORDS THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 23, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Memorial Day is going to be toasty, ushering in a heat wave through Friday with temperatures 15 degrees above normal, predicts National Weather Service meteorologist Bruno Rodriguez.

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WHEELCHAIR-BOUND MAN STRUCK, KILLED IN EL CAJON

East County News Service
 
May 23, 2020 (San Diego) – A 76-year-old man in a wheelchair was struck by a vehicle on the evening of Tuesday, May 19 while crossing the 1000 block of Broadway in an unmarked area.  

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LEMON GROVE OFFICIALS TURN TO DIGITAL BILLBOARD TO IMPROVE REVENUE STREAM

By Emmet Pierce

Photo: Conceptual concept of the billboard, courtesy of Lemon Grove

May 23, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Fiscally distressed Lemon Grove is counting on the placement of a digital billboard near Highway 94 to create a new stream of municipal revenue.


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EL CAJON APPROVES RENT AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE: FUNDS LIMITED TO FIRST 150 APPLICANTS STARTING MAY 26

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

May 22, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council has approved allocating over $800,000 of its Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus funds for several COVID response programs.  These funds were granted to the City as part of the federal CARES Act.

Per City Council direction, a large portion of the funds will be used for rental and utility assistance to help those most vulnerable to loss of employment.

Due to limited funding, there is a limit to the first 150 eligible applicants. Online and over the phone applications will be accepted through the following service providers beginning Tuesday,May 26, 2020:


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COUNTY TO OFFER COVID-19 TESTING IN RURAL COMMUNITIES, OTHER AREAS

By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a nurse administers a COVID-19 test at a drive-up test site.

May 22, 2020 (San Diego) - As part of efforts to expand COVID-19 testing, the County will be opening sites in rural communities and other areas of the region. New locations, starting Tuesday, will be staffed with first responders from CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Fire Authority.


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CASINO PAUMA TO REMAIN TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR SAFETY OF ITS GUESTS, COMMUNITY AND EMPLOYEES

East County News Service

May 22, 2020 (Pauma Valley) – Bucking the trend of several local casinos that reopened this week or have announced upcoming reopening dates, Casino Pauma on Wednesday announced that it will remain closed indefinitely, choosing to following the advice of Governor Gavin Newsom and health officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.


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PRESCRIBED BURN IN CUYAMACA AREA DID NOT JUMP CONTAINMENT LINE, CAL FIRE SAYS, BUT EXTRA RESOURCES WERE CALLED

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 22, 2020 (Cuyamaca Rancho State Park) – Cailfornia Dept. of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with Cal Fire yesterday conducted a prescribed burn in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. A large plume of smoke over Middle Peak late yesterday raised concerns among area residents,after winds kicked up and Cal-Fire called in extra resources.


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HOW DID THE LION ON MOUNT HELIX GET HIS ROAR?

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

 

May 21, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Tucked away on a Mt. Helix homeowner’s path, a lion sleeps – and roars to life whenever someone strolls past.     

 

Here is the backstory on this big cat in hiding—actually an African lion statue—and an intriguing mystery on how he got his voice. 


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OUR GUIDE TO LOCAL FARMS AND FARM-FRESH PRODUCTS SOLD DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS

Find farm-fresh meats, eggs, fruits and veggies, flowers, honey, nuts, soaps, wool and fiber goods, pumpkin patches,  nursery plants, trees, wineries and more
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Miriam Raftery and creative commons images via Bing
 
May 21, 2020 (San Diego) – East County Magazine has compiled our region’s most comprehensive guide to local farms, ranches, nurseries and wineries offering direct-to-consumer sales through farm visits, u-pick orchards, curbside pickup, deliveries to neighborhood pickup points through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, shipping directly to homes, sales at farm stands, or at farmer’s markets.  
 
San Diego County is home to more family farms (10 acres or less) than any other county in America—giving consumers here a delicious field of choices. Farm-fresh foods are nutritious and delicious. Many are organic. Plus you can avoid grocery store lines and get specialty items not available in stores. 
 
Our guide includes sources to buy these locally grown products:
 
  • Christmas trees
  • Ciders and apples
  • Eggs
  • Emu products
  • Farmer’s markets 
  • Fiber and wool products
  • Flowers, herbs and herbal products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Hemp
  • Honey
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Nuts
  • Plants and trees
  • Pumpkin patches
  • Seeds
  • Soaps
  • Wineries and vineyards

 

Scroll down to view our full directory for each of these local farm product categories.

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: AIR FORCE SALUTES HEALTHCARE HEROES WITH SPECTACULAR FLY-BY

The view from east county

By Robert Gehr

Photo: Six F-16C/D Falcons

May 20, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The well known U.S. Air force Thunderbirds made a brief, yet impressive flyover in El Cajon on Friday, May 15th just after high noon.

Hearing the powerful jet engines off in the distance signaled their pending arrival, especially when the pilots lit the afterburners as they throttled up more power. Seconds later they were barely within sight, arriving from the East, flying in tight formation as they skimmed the blue sky above. A moment later they were gone, leaving just a fading echo of sound, and perhaps a thought of awe.

I was fortunate to capture this single, fleeting image of these six, F-16C/D Falcons when they made their appearance over the east county of San Diego as they honored first responders, health care workers, military members, law enforcement, and so many other essential service personnel.

I add my gratitude as well. Thank you everyone!


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FIVE-STORY MIXED USE COMPLEX IN LEMON GROVE IS A GO

By Jake Zawlacki 

May 20, 2020 (Lemon Grove) — By a 3-2 vote, Lemon Grove’s City Council on Tuesday denied an appeal of the planning commission’s approval of a five-story mixed-use development, with three retail spaces at the street level. The project at 7946 Broadway is slated to be built on property occupied by Berry’s Athletic Supply, a longtime business no longer in operation; the structure is set for demolition.  


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SANTEE COUNCIL RESPONDS TO RACIST MASK INCIDENTS, SIGNALS CHALLENGE TO TERM LIMIT MEASURE

 

By Mike Allen

Video by Ana Nita: discussion on racial incidents

May 16, 2020 (Santee) -- In the wake of two nationally-publicized racial incidents inside local grocery stores earlier this month, the Santee City Council voted on May 13 to confront the issue by expanding a community police board that will develop strategies for addressing intolerance. The incidents involved shoppers who wore masks with hate symbols during a county health order mandating masks in stores to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Mayor John Minto, who publicly denounced the incidents soon after they occurred, said he spent many hours talking with residents about what happened, and is convinced the city cannot ignore or simply shrug it off.

“We have to understand why and where it’s happening,” Minto said. “We’re going to triage it, find out where most of the worst symptoms are, and bring people together.”


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COUNTY AND STATE ADD MORE COVID-19 TESTING SITES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Creative Commons via Bing

May 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The region’s COVID-19 testing is expanding this week.  Starting Tuesday, May 19th, the public can get free testing at walk-up sites run by the state at two locations:  The County Assessor’s former office at 200 S. Magnolia Ave. in El Cajon and at the Tubman-Chavez Center, 415 Euclid Ave. in southeast San Diego.


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LA MESA APPROVES REOPENING SOME PARKS, WAIVING BUSINESS LICENSE FEES, AND RELIEF WITH CARES ACT FUNDS

By Jake Zawlacki

May 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- On May 12th, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved three considerations brought to the Council to aid businesses impacted by COVID-19, reopen some parks, and allocate federal CARES Act funds to help the homeless and others.


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LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND REOPENS FOR RVS

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Lake Jennings, courtesy of Helix Water District

 

May 16, 2020 (Lakeside) – The Lake Jennings campground will reopen Monday, May 18 – but only for recreational vehicles (RVs).  No tent camping will be allowed yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recreational side of the lake will remain closed.


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SANTEE DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER REOPENS THIS FRIDAY NIGHT

May 15, 2020 (Santee) – Eager for entertainment?  It's showtime in Santee--with social distancing.

The Santee Drive-In movie theatre is set to reopen tonight. Theatre 1 will show Trolls World Tour starting at 8:30 p.m. and Onward at 10:10 p.m.; both are rated PG. Theatre 2 will show The Invisible Man at 8:30 p.m. and The Hunt at 9:45 p.m.; both are rated R.

Bring your own FM radio to listen; tune in to 89.3 FM for Theatre 1  or 89.7 FM for Theatre 2 . Loaner radios are available for a $20 deposit refundable on return.

The theatre accepts cash only. You’ll need to bring your own popcorn or other refreshments, since the snack bar will be closed, and follow these new rules:


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EAST COUNTY REALTORS COLLECTING DONATIONS FOR `RED SHOE DAY’ BENEFITING RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE

East County News Service

May 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a real estate trade group for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, has formed “Team PSAR” to collect donations online until June 4 as part of the annual Red Shoe Day fundraiser benefiting Ronald McDonald House, a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill or injured children being treated at San Diego hospitals.


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SPRING VALLEY STORAGE FACILITY OFFERS TWO MONTHS FREE STORAGE TO BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 AND RESIDENTS WITH CHARITABLE DONATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2020 (Spring Valley) – With many businesses shuttered and charities not accepting donations, one family-owned business has decided to give back to help the community. 

A Storage Space has served our region for over 30 years. Now, the company is offering two months of free storage space at its newest location in Spring Valley near Rancho San Diego for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for individuals who need a place to store items for charitable donations until charities reopen.

“While we are certainly feeling the strain of the current situation, we are fortunate to remain open and in business. We know a number of the business in the community are struggling right now,” says owner Bryan Grissinger, who works with many essential businesses and other companies. “We want to help our neighbors in these uncertain times. If businesses need a secure place to store their belongings while in a time of transition, this is one way we can assist.” The offer also includes waiving move-in fees.


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SOME ADVICE IF YOU SEE A NAZI OR A KLANSMAN

By Donald H. Harrison, Editor, San Diego Jewish World
 
Reprinted with permission from San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
May 11, 2020 (Santee) — So, imagine you are shopping and into the store comes someone who is wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood, or a face mask with a swastika on it, as happened respectively at a Vons and a Food4Less outlet in Santee recently.  What should you do?

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LA MESA RETAILERS BEGIN TO REOPEN

 

 

By Miriam  Raftery

 

May 9, 2020 (La Mesa) – Just in time for Mother’s Day, some La Mesa retailers have reopened for curbside sales. Tiramisu Trattoria, a popular eatery closed for eight weeks, has reopened its doors for takeout orders. San Pasqual Winery is offering a health care worker, local restaurant and wine-to-go promo. Other businesses, not yet open, offered messages of encouragement for the community in storefront windows. 


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SUSPECT CHARGED WITH MURDER IN LAKESIDE STABBING

By Miriam Raftery

May 10, 2020 (Lakeside) – Julia Gonzalez, 23, has been arrested and charged with murder of a man stabbed Friday shortly after midnight following a fight with neighbors at 8200 Jema Way in Lakeside, says Lt. Thomas Seiver with the Sheriff’s department.

Sheriff deputies were called to the scene and Lakeside Fire Department personnel treated the injured man. He was transported to a hospital but did not survive.


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THE GOATS ARE BAAA-CK, CLEARING BRUSH IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service
 
Courtesy: Heartland Fire & Rescue
 
May 10, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – A herd of voracious goats will soon be clearing heavy brush to reduce fire danger and create defensible space for homes in Lemon Grove along State Route 125. COVID19 standards for social distancing will be observed for live-stock managing staff—though the goats can flock together during their weed abatement duties.
 
The goats, owned by Environmental Land Management (ELC) have been hired by the city of Lemon Grove and Heartland Fire & Rescue to clear brush on 8.5 acres near Lawton Drive and Camino De Las Palmas.The City of Lemon Grove has used ELM goats to clear this parcel of land for the last eight years. 
 
Brush clearing by the goats, along with prudent weed abatement by homeowners reduces the risk of fire and assists in the protection of homes surrounding this vacant property. The homeowners’ are required to maintain 100 foot clear defensible space, around the residents. Property owners working jointly with the goats are reducing the risk of fire, protecting the community, property and lives.

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MAN WITH SWASTIKA MASK SPOTTED SHOPPING IN SANTEE STORE

Source:  Patch.com

Photo via Shutterstock/sebastianosecondi

May 9, 2020 (Santee) - For the second time in a week, a shopper was spotted wearing a mask associated with racist hate groups at a Santee grocery store.

A man was seen wearing a swastika mask at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Food 4 Less store on Cuyamaca Street.


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DEPUTIES SAVE OCCUPANT FROM POSSIBLE ARSON FIRE IN LAKESIDE

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 8, 2020 (Lakeside)—Sheriff deputies from the Lakeside substation responded to a fire in the 1100 block of Oro Street yesterday morning shortly before 3 a.m.  After learning that an occupant was still inside the residents and was not responding to calls, deputies entered the home and dragged the occupant to safety.
 
The victim was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, says Sgt. David Chandroo.

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