Communities

100 MPH CHASE ENDS IN CRASH, ARREST IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
January 6, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A driver pulled over for an equipment violation in Chula Vista at 3:45 a.m. fled from officers, resulting in a pursuit at speeds of approximately 100 miles per hour on State Route 125 
 
The drive exited at Jamacha Road in Spring Valley, where he lost control of the vehicle, which rolled over and struck a power pole, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
 
The driver, 42, suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.  He was arrested for felony evasion and for two outstanding felony warrants.

HEARING FEB. 3 ON PROPOSAL TO RELEASE YET ANOTHER SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS; COMMENTS DEADLINE IS JAN. 17

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Despite recent protests over the highly disproportionate percentage of sexually violent predators placed in rural East County, the Department of State Hospitals is proposing to place yet another in Jacumba Hot Springs.  A hearing will be held Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. in San Diego Superior Court (1100 Union St., Dept. 2202) to determine whether Michael Poulsom should be placed at 45612 Old Highway 80, Jacumba Hot Springs, a community of just 561 residents, according to the 2010 Census.

Poulsom is diagnosed with Pedophilia Disorder. In 1985, he was convicted in Georgia of child molestation with two victims. In 1989, he was convicted in San Diego County of a lewd act on a child under 14. In 1995, he was convicted again locally for a lewd act with a fourth victim, also under 14 and served 15 years in prison. Prior to his release, the San Diego County District Attorney’s office filed a petition to have Poulsom civilly committed to a state hospital as a Sexually Violent Predator . He was committed, underwent treatment and petitioned for conditional release, which was opposed by the San Diego D.A. and the hospital. A year later he filed for release into the conditional release program for sex offenders, which the Dept. of State Hospitals supported over the objections of D.A. Summer Stephan.

The public may submit comments between Jan. 3 and Jan. 17 to be considered by the court. You can email comments to sdsafe@sdsheriff.org, or call (858)495-3619. Comments may also be mailed tol the SVP Release/Safe Task Force at 9425 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA 02123.  Comments will also be accepted at the hearing.

LEMON GROVE’S “HISTORY ALIVE” GOES TO SPAIN

By Helen Ofield, Lemon Grove Historical Society

January 3, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- Jesus Benayas, president, The House of Spain (Balboa Park), is back by popular demand on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove, with the riveting story of Spain's crucial involvement in the American Revolution--and our long association with the nation that has decisively influenced the culture of California, the Southwestern U. S., and the Western Hemisphere. This will be "History Alive" at its most essential.

The free, popular lecture series from the Lemon Grove Historical Society serves lifelong learning, is suitable for ages 18 and over, and never fails to delight our wide-ranging audience. Our new president, Roberta Bulling, will update you on our exciting, free upcoming events calendar.

CHP SEEKS IDENTITY OF WOMAN HIT AND KILLED ON HIGHWAY 94 IN JAMUL

Update: The victim has been identified as Tiffany Rose King, 22, of San Diego.

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2020 (Jamul) – A woman who has not been identified was hit and killed last night at 9:30 p.m. while attempting to cross State Route 94 at the intersection of Peaceful Valley Ranch Road in Jamul, just north of the casino driveway.  She was struck by a Chevrolet Astro van driven by a 67-year-old man.

The driver of the Chevrolet remained on scene until California Highway Patrol Officers arrived,” says Officer Travis Garrow.  “Once the identity of the deceased is learned, her identity will only be released through the Medical Examiner once the family notification has been made. 

NEW PRESIDENT OF LEMON GROVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY BRINGS AN OUTSTANDING SKILL SET

By Helen Ofield, Newsletter Editor and Historian, Lemon Grove Historical Society 

Jan. 2, 2020 (Lemon Grove) --The Lemon Grove Historical Society takes pleasure in announcing the election of its new president, Roberta Bulling, whose wide-ranging interests and professional skills bode well for the growth of Lemon Grove's leading cultural institution. Mrs. Bulling will hold office through May 31, 2020 when elections of new board members will be held.

Roberta Ford Bulling was born in Pasadena and grew up in Arcadia, California, where seeing the Rose Parade in person was an annual New Year’s day event for her family. Her parents instilled a love of music and reading in all four of their children.

BURGLARY SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LEMON GROVE AFTER STAND-OFF

East County News Service
 
December 31, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Deputies responding to a call reporting a burglary in progress in the 1600 block of Colfax Drive in Lemon Grove shortly before 9 a.m. arrived and saw a man run into the house. Deputies established a perimeter around the home, with help from the Sheriff’s ASTREA helicopter. 

LESSONS FROM PUERTO RICO TO CALIFORNIA: OFF-GRID LIVING OPTIONS

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

 Dec. 31, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Emergency energy and electrical storage expert Eric Lobdell with Humless, a Utah-based company that provides universal energy management, has worked in disaster areas affected by wildfires and hurricanes, where he has helped some residents go off-grid. 

 

In the past couple of years, Lobdell has worked in the U.S. including territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, setting up systems to provide power. Humless recently landed a contract for installations to take communities 100% off-grid in Oregon, including 600 homes over a span of three years.

 

"After Hurricane Maria, I was part of a team that donated and installed off-grid systems in Puerto Rico," said Lobdell in a phone interview. “Our systems were able to provide lights and refrigeration to two different communities, both heavily affected by the hurricane. Being able to provide electricity for these communities reminded me of the reason I work so hard at what I do. I love being able to provide essential energy and storage systems to families, communities, and regions where grid power is not available or stable."

PASSAGES: FRANK READ, 108, EARLY LA MESA PHARMACIST

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 26, 2019 (La Mesa) – Frank Read, former owner of Read Pharmacy and pharmacist at Grossmont Hospital, passed away today at his home in La Mesa’s Windsor Hill neighborhood.  He was 108—older than the city of La Mesa.  Back in 2012, when the city celebrated its centennial, Read provided an exclusive interview to East County Magazine, reflecting back on his carefree childhood days of riding a bike to the bay, swimming at local watering holes and watching helium dirigibles. He shared many memories of early La Mesa, also recalling hardships in World War I, Prohibition and the Great Depression as well as his pharmacy career and travels later in life.

 

Below is our original article, reprinted in full:

ROLLOVER CRASH ON SNOWY HIGHWAY IN RANCHITA KILLS WOMAN; DRIVER FACES CHARGES

East County News Service

Update: The victim has been identified as Alberta Fernandez De Zuniga, 61, of Borrego Springs.

December 26, 2019 (Ranchita) – A 61-year-old woman riding in the backseat of a 2019 Toyota Camry died this morning when the driver lost control and the vehicle rolled over, landing on its roof. The crash occurred around 6:50 a.m. on San Filipe Road (S2) south of Montezuma Valley Road. 

There was fresh snow on the roadway, and the Toyota was traveling at a speed that prevented the driver from maintaining control of the Toyota,” Officer Jeff Christy with the California Highway Patrol reports. “The Toyota traveled off the roadway onto the west shoulder where it collided with a dirt embankment. The female passenger, who was not wearing her seatbelt, was subsequently thrown forward from the rear seat into the front dash and windshield of the vehicle. At the same time, the Toyota rolled over onto its roof where it came to rest within the traffic lanes.”

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: CHANUKAH FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS IN EL CAJON

December 26, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Bettie Wells shared these photos taken Dec. 22 in downtown El Cajon, where Mayor Bill Wells lit a menorah in honor of the opening of Chanukah, the eight-day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights.

The event was organized by Chabad of East County and featured firefights dropping gelt (chocolate coins) from atop a firetruck ladder, music, remarks from local dignitaries and unveiling of what organizers claim is the world's largest dreidel, a spinning top in the Jewish tradition.

HIGHWAYS CLOSED DUE TO SNOW

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left via CHP:  I-8 closed due to snow

Photo, right: Julian snow, via Visit Julian webcam

December 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County)—Travelers are encountering road closures on several major highways this morning due to heavy snowfall:

  •  I-8 is closed west of Willows Road in Alpine to the Imperial Highway in Imperial County due to heavy snow, with collisions reported and some motorists attempting to run through roadblocks. 
  • On State Route 94 at Otay Lakes Rd., flooding has reportedly halted traffic on both sides of the rushing waters one to two feet deep.
  • CHP has shut down  Highway 78 at State Route 79 into Julian; traffic to Julian is reportedly gridlocked according to CHP. The road may reopen soon with chain controls in effect.
  • Just north of San Diego County, travelers should be aware that the Cajon Pass on I-15 and the Grapevine on I-5 are both shut down due to heavy snow.

GREAT CHANUKAH GELT DROP: TODAY AT 4 P.M. IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

December 22, 2019 (El Cajon) – Today at 4 p.m. Chabad of East County will present the Great Chanukah Gelt Drop in El Cajon’s Centennial Plaza (200 Civic Center Way) behind the Marriott. 

The occasion will include lighting a menorah, the world’s largest dreidel, catching chocolate coins dropped by Heartland firefighters from atop a fire ladder, music and dancing, a kids fun zone, raffle, Chanukah refreshments, honoring local heroes in uniform and dignitaries.

PROTESTS HELD OUTSIDE COURTHOUSE OVER PROPOSED RELEASE OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN JACUMBA NEAR BOULEVARD

East County News Service
 
December 21, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Despite Jacumba Hot Springs already having 11 of San Diego County’s 14 released sexually violent predators, the state is proposing yet another:  Thomas Joseph Cornwell, 41, who was convicted in 2008 on two counts of lewd act with a child under age 14.  
 
Local residents protested outside the Superior Court in downtown San Diego yesterday, where Judge Albert T. Harutunian III took the proposal under consideration after the judge earlier granted Cornwell’s petition for conditional release.
 
The judge will issue a written decision in the future on whether or not to allow Cornwell to be released under supervision in the 2100 block of McCain Valley Rd. in Jacumba Hot Springs, a facility that the Department of State Hospitals indicates has previously housed sexually violent predators. The site is near rural Boulevard and is also close to campgrounds in a federal recreation area and two federal wilderness areas.

EL CAJON POLICE SHUT DOWN ILLEGAL POT DISPENSARY NEAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL; FOUR ARRESTED

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jill Barto

December 20, 2019 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Police Department today shut down an illegal marijuana dispensary at 1358 Broadway, within 300 feet of Bostonia Language Academy. During the search of the illegal marijuana dispensary, approximately 322 pounds of marijuana and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) infused products, and approximately $7300 in cash was seized.

Lieutenant Walt Miller told ECM, “This is the last marijuana dispensary that we know about in El Cajon.”  But he acknowledged, “They’re like weeds. They keep popping up.”  He added that California law often hampers enforcement efforts in a process that can take months to get illegal dispensaries shut down.

Cajon Valley Union School District trustee Jill Barto is among those who filed a complaint with El Cajon Police about the latest illegal dispensary near the Bostonia school. “I called the El Cajon Police, El Cajon City, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and the District Attorney,” Barto told ECM. “I said this can’t be a two month deal—this needs to be shut down now.”

READER'S EDITORIAL: WE MUST NOT EQUATE SEXUAL HEALTH TO DEVIANT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

By Daniel Smiechowski, Bay Ho  

December 20, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The recent hearing in a San Diego courtroom to release another sexual predator in Jacumba Hot Springs is another bridge too far. Eleven of fourteen county sexual predators are already in rural East County. It’s clear that demographics play a role in further stigmatizing this dusty ramshackle outpost in San Diego’s high desert.

BOGGELN NAMED ALPINE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT'S NEW FIRE CHIEF

East County News Service

December 19, 2019 (Alpine) -- The Alpine Fire Protection District Board of Directors today announced selection of Brian Boggeln as the District’s next Fire Chief.  He will be filling the position vacated by Fire Chief Bill Paskle, who will be retiring on December 30.  Chief Boggeln’s first official day as Fire Chief will be December 31.

Board President Jim Easterling stated, “It is with great pleasure that the Board announces that Brian Boggeln will assume the role of Fire Chief. The choice was easy due to Mr. Boggeln’s education and background with over 22 years in the fire service. The Board looks forward to working with him on all the District’s future endeavors.”

NEW MURAL UNVEILED IN EL CAJON

East County News Service
 
December 19, 2019 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil a new mural in historic Downtown El Cajon on Tuesday.
 
The mural, a whimsical depiction of east county flora and fauna is located on the east side of 181 East Rea Avenue (facing Suzfeld Way.) 
 
The mural was painted by Kline Swonger and is one of several colorful murals along what has become known as Alley Cat Alley, home to the annual Alley Cat Art Walk.

EL CAJON DESIGNATES HALL FAMILY RANCH HOUSE AS LOCAL HISTORIC RESOURCE

Source: City of El Cajon

December 19, 2019 (El Cajon) -- On Tuesday, December 10th, the El Cajon City Council approved designation of the Hall Family Ranch House, built in 1886, as a local historic resource. The property includes a single-family residence with a detached garage located on Provo Street in El Cajon. The 133-year-old home features a Folk Victorian architectural style. 

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO SHUT DOWN ILLEGAL POT SHOPS?

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2019  (San Diego’s East County) – Although personal use of cannabis is legal in California, each city and county has the right to ban or restrict sales.  But closing down illegal pot shops has become a challenge for law enforcement and a headache for neighbors, since the process often takes months and once closed, illegal dispensaries often pop up again nearby or even in the same building repeatedly.

How concerned should residents be about an illegal marijuana operation in their neighborhood?

Unlike licensed dispensaries that are subject to inspections, state and local regulations, illegal dispensaries may sell marijuana that is adulterated with contaminants and is dangerous to customers. Some illicit dispensaries locally have also been caught selling other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines.  They may sell drugs to minors. The operators may create hazards to neighbors by tapping illegally into electricity, overloading circuits, and if manufacturing hash oil extracted from marijuana, utilize drums filled with flammable chemicals that can and have exploded, causing fires locally.

At times, illegal dispensaries  have engendered other crimes. Robberies and shootings have occurred; illegal operators tend not to report these crimes to police.  Corruption has also allegedly happened locally. Former Rancho San Diego Sheriff Captain Marco Garmo has been indicted for allegedly tipping off his cousin, an illegal dispensary owner, on raids by law enforcement, among other federal charges that he faces.

SAPS AT SEA PRESENTS 'CHEESE IT, FELLAS! THE COPS!' DEC. 28

East County News Service

December 18, 2019 (Spring Valley) - Saps at Sea, the San Diego chapter of the Sons of the Desert, will host its last program of 2019, “Cheese It Fellas, the Cops!” on Saturday, December 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Williams Hall at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spring Valley.

IMPEACHMENT EVE PROTEST HELD IN EL CAJON

 

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Dec. 17, 2019 (El Cajon) “I’m not a never-Trumper," said Trish F., of La Mesa, “I’m a never-narcissist. This has nothing to do with party lines." 

Trish, who wished to not disclose her full name, was one of many who showed up at an impeachment eve, impeach now protest held in El Cajon on Dec. 17.

She is a psychiatrist and says she is treating many for a variety of issues relating to Trump.

“I’ve been treating a rise in PTSD, anxiety and depression in the last three years,” she said. “There is no hope for some.” Trish, according to her patients, attributes it to the Trump presidency and campaign.

The El Cajon protest, held at the northwest street crossing of Johnson and Fletcher Parkway, was just one of many held across the country.

The line of protestors ran along the street corner, all the way to the north driveway entrances, northwest of Crunch, on the sidewalks of Westfield’s Parkway Plaza Shopping Center.

DUI CHECKPOINT IN EL CAJON TONIGHT, EXTRA HOLIDAY PATROLS NOW THROUGH JAN. 1

By Sgt. Steve Paz, El Cajon Police Department
 
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over This Holiday Season: National Enforcement Campaign Through New Year’s
 
December 20, 2019 (El Cajon ) -- El Cajon Police Department encourages everyone attending holiday parties and gatherings where alcohol may be involved to use a designated sober driver. 
 
This holiday season, from now until New Year’s, El Cajon Police Department will have more officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
In addition, El Cajon Police Department will hold a DUI/Driver’s License checkpoint tonight, December 20, 2019 from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. in the 1400 block of east Washington Avenue in El Cajon.
 

MAN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED ROBBERY IN EL CAJON; VICTIM LEFT WITH BROKEN ARM

East County News Service

December 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police have arrested Ammar Hassan, 19, of San Diego for an attempted robbery that left the victim with a broken arm, ECPD announced on Dec.10.  The attempted robbery happened in the 500 block of North Mollison on Friday, December 6. 

According to Lt. Walt Miller, the victim, 44, was walking on the sidewalk when he was approached from behind and punched numerous times. He was knocked to the ground and the suspect demanded money.  The victim told the suspect he did not have any money and the suspect fled on foot.

SANTEE GETS ITS NEW BRAND AND LOGO

Council also votes to sell library parcel and change meeting schedule

By Mike Allen

December 17, 2019 (Santee) -- It’s simple, has the key elements that distinguish the city, and features some nice colors, advocates say. They indicate that the strapline---that’s the tag line that goes below the new logo--is catchy: Do More, Due East.

Santee’s brand, logo and ideas for how it can be used were unveiled last week in a presentation before a City Council that gave the effort mostly a thumbs up, although a majority weren’t gushing about the results of a nine-month process that will end up costing nearly $100,000, and thousands more when replacement cost are factored in.

The logo change ties in with the city's 40th anniversary coming up in 2020.

LEMON GROVE DROPS COMPLAINT AGAINST ROSIAK

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The City of Lemon Grove has dropped its complaint against Teresa Rosiak alleging misdemeanor campaign finance and disclosure violations. Rosiak, a fiscal conservative, ran unsuccessfully for the Council in 2018. She has been a vocal critic of the Council on financial matters and had called the charges politically motivated.

As ECM previously reported, the FPPC had earlier closed its investigation into Rosiak with no disciplinary action before Lemon Grove filed its complaint in court. The city has acknowledged in response to an ECM records request that it has not filed any similar charges against any other candidate in at least the last ten years.

SANTA YSABEL NATURE CENTER RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY

Ribbon cutting at Santa Ysabel Nature CenterImage Credit: Jessica Geiszler

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications OfficeDec. 16, 2019 | 1:34 PM

County Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, environmental groups, tribal representatives, Parks officials and hundreds of visitors celebrated the opening of the $9.5 million Santa Ysabel Nature Center Saturday with a ribbon-cutting featuring tours, animal encounters, junior ranger activities, and crafts and games for kids.

The celebration began with music, art, information tables, nature crafts and animals including alpacas and a rosy boa snake. It then moved to the formal ribbon-cutting that featured a bird song sung by tribal performance troupe Ashaa Takook and words from several speakers. The event ended with tours, a demonstration of hawks and other birds of prey and hiking.

LEMON GROVE COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS DEC. 20

East County News Service

December 17, 2019 (Lemon Grove) - Lemon Grove Community Christmas will be held on Friday, December 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  This family-fun event includes a community meal, Christmas carols, tree lighting and more.

The community Christmas even is hosted by Engage Community Church, Thrive Lemon Grove, HealZone, House Gone Wild and others. For questions, visit http://engagesd.cc/eventbrite-event/lemon-grove-community-christmas/.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS REVIEW: STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL DOES SHAKESPEARE

By Kathy Carpenter 

December 16, 2019 (El Cajon) - Steele Canyon Players and Orchestra presented A Midsummer Night's Dream last week, directed by Nicole Labella and based on the play by William Shakespeare. On the back of winning the National Youth Arts Award for their spring 2019 production of Les Misérables, San Diego/La Mesa Chapter and their award winning production of The Sounds of Music in spring 2018, it's obvious the players can do musicals. Can they do Shakespeare? Shakespeare can be hard. Old English is hard to understand. But besides a few rushed lines the production was well acted and funny.

EL CAJON STAKE CHOIR TO PRESENT CHRISTMAS CHORAL CONCERT ON SUNDAY, DEC. 15

East County News Service

December 14, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon Stake Choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will present its annual evening of choral Christmas music on Sunday evening, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The El Cajon Stake Center is located at 1270 So. Orange Avenue (off Chase Avenue) in El Cajon.

There is no admission charge for the event.

Directed by Marilyn Harris-White, the concert will feature traditional Christmas carols including Harris-White’s own work, “The Greatest Gift.” The concert will also include John Rutter’s “Gloria.” and community sing along of holiday favorites.

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