Communities

DECEASED CANDIDATE WINS RAMONA WATER DISTRICT ELECTION: BOARD TO DISCUSS HOW TO FILL VACANCY AT DEC. 8 MEETING

 

Update November 9, 2020:  The Ramona Water District Board voted last night to fill this vacancy by appointment.  Click here to learn more.

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2020 (Ramona) – Thomas Ace, 73, an incumbent on the Ramona Municipal Water District Board and former Lakeside Fire Protection District Chief, died October 24.  He still received the most votes in the November election for the water district’s Division 3 seat, with 1,766 votes to defeat Rex Schildhouse, who got 1,654 votes – a margin of just 112 votes, according to the election results certified Dec. 3 by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

The water district’s board of directors has the option to fill the vacancy by appointment, or call a special election. Options will be discussed at the next board meeting Dec.8 at 2 p.m., which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board agenda indicates.

TEEN SHOT IN UNINCORPORATED EL CAJON

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND
 
December 5, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Deputies from the Lakeside Sheriff's Substation responded to a call of a shooting last night at 7:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of N. 2nd Street, in unincorporated El Cajon. 
 
“A 16 year-old victim was located by officers from El Cajon Police Department several blocks away on 2nd Street in the city of El Cajon,” says Sgt. Phillip Beaumont with the Sheriff’s department.  “The victim suffered from several apparent gunshot wounds and was transported to the hospital by paramedics. The victim was last known to be in critical condition.”

SANTEE FATHER ARRESTED FOR SUSPECTED MURDER OF INFANT

East County News Service
 
December 5, 2020 (Santee) – A Santee man was arrested Thursday for child abuse and murder of his infant son last April.  Daniel Charles Marshall, 35, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in San Diego, says Lt. Thomas Seiver.
 
The Santee Fire Department responded to a report of the 7-month-old infant in medical distress on April 22 in the 8600 block of Paseo Del Rey in Santee. Deputies responded to assist and the Child Abuse Unit responded. 

FAA REVERSES APPROVAL OF CAMPO WIND PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2020 (Campo) – The Federal Aviation Administration has reversed its earlier approval of the controversial Campo Wind project and related Boulder Brush Facilities.The project would erect 60 wind turbines, each 586 feet tall, on tribal land close to tribal and non-tribal homes in rural East County. (image, left)

In its remand letter dated Dec. 2, the FAA admitted to errors in its aeronautical study proceess.

The action comes in response to a petition for review raised by the nonprofit Backcountry Against Dumps along with Boulevard residents Ed and Donna Tisdale, whose property shares a half-mile border with the project site on the Campo Indian reservation.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANTEE

East County News Service

December 4, 2020 (Santee) – Rebecca Jefferis Williamson snapped this photo of a keepsake Christmas ornament commemorating Santee’s 40th birthday on December 1st.  The city hosted dual fireworks displays, as well as treats passed out through local merchants.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a broader celebration originally planned.

SDG&E RESTORES POWER TO OVER HALF OF CUSTOMERS, BUT MANY RESIDENTS VOICE ANGER OVER SHUT-OFFS DURING COLD WEATHER

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 4, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – As of Friday morning, 32,797 customers of San Diego Gas & Electric remain without power, two days after the utility shut off electricity to more than 73,000 customers. SDG&E implemented the widespread planned outages to prevent power lines from sparking fires amid a red flag warning due to dry conditions and gusty Santa Ana winds.

A LONG NIGHT FOR FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING WILLOW FIRE

 

 

By Henri Migala and Miriam Raftery

Photos and videos by Henri Migala

December 3, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) – Thanks to the valiant response of firefighters from multiple districts across the region, the #WillowFire in Rancho San Diego was held to 30 acres overnight.  One home was destroyed and six others damaged, according to Cal Fire. 

But the damage could have been far worse, given that the fire started after dark amid howling Santa Ana wind conditions. (Video of high winds)

The fire started around 10:30 p.m. on Willow Glen Drive near Hillsdale Rd., swiftly racing through a canyon. Flames soon engulfed a home atop the ridge and scorched others, prompting late-night evacuations and a long night for both firefighters and residents.

KAREN DEVOS, SPRING VALLEY KNITTER EXTRAORDINAIRE, HELPS HOMELESS STAY WARM IN WINTER

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo of Karen DeVos courtesy of Nancy Rinard)                  

Dec. 3, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- Covenant Living at Mount Miguel, located in Spring Valley, has a resident devoted to helping others via her knitting needles.  That resident is Karen DeVos, a retired teacher and librarian. Her brand of inspiration is knitting beanies, sweaters, and even personalized Christmas stockings.  But in particular, she likes to donate her warm, soft beanies to the homeless.

DeVos donated 45 beanie caps to the homeless choir in San Diego, known as Voices of our City Choir. The group has been featured performing on America’s Got Talent. That connection to Voices of our City Choir came about after meeting Rob Thorsen, a bass player, who is married to the choir co-founder, Steph Johnson, at a jazz performance.

DeVos, 83, and her husband, John, 89, have lived in the Spring Valley facility for several years. They moved to California to be closer to their daughter and grandkids. The pandemic has curtailed socializing and getting to know other residents well, but she hopes that will change in the future.

“We wanted to bond with our grandchildren,” said DeVos. She has achieved that desire during the COVID19 pandemic through Zoom meetings and by reading books to them such as  “Summer of the Monkeys” by Wilson Rawls.

SDG&E OPENS RESOURCE CENTERS AFTER CUTTING POWER TO 73,000 CUSTOMERS

By Miriam Raftery

December 3, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- SDG&E announced this morning that is has cut power to over 73,000 customers due to high winds and fire danger. The utility also announced,  that at 8 a.m. it will open 10 Community Resource Centers  at local libraries or community centers to provide support to those affected by Public Safety Power Shutoffs. The ceners will have water, snacks, charging stations for mobile phones and other devices, and in some areas, water trucks for livestock. (Bring your own vessel to transport water).

For locations of Community Resource Centers and updates on outages in your community, visit http://sdge.com/ready For safety, CDC guidelines will be enforced.

SDG&E reports record wind speeds recorded at its weather stations including gusts up to 94 miles per hour.

BRUSH FIRE ENGULFS HOMES IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

Update 3:50 a.m.Dec. 3 - Forward spread of the fire has been stopped. The fire has held at 25 acres per Cal Fire. Firefighters remain on scene and some road closures remain in effect.

Update 12:40 a.m. Dec. 3:  Cal Fire has issued a map of the fire(right). San Diego Sheriff's Office issuing evacuation orders for following locations: Brabham St. at Jamacha, Wind River Rd. at Sonnett. Dr., Sea Pines R. and Congressional Dr., Sawgrass St. and Medinah Dr. Residents on Hilton Head Rd. east of Jamacha have also been advised to prepare for evacuation.

Update 11:50 p.m.:  A temporary evacuation center is being set up at the Edwards Cinemas at 2951 Jamacha Rd.

The Sheriff reports that the following road closures are in effect: Brabham St/Wind River Rd, Brabham St/Jamacha Wind River Rd/Sonnett St Sea Pines Rd/Congressional Dr Sawgrass St/Medinah Dr

By Miriam Raftery, East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo: Screenshot, ECM news partner 10 News

December 2, 2020 (11:25 p.m.) – A wind-whipped brush fire has engulfed at least three homes in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon tonight. At least 15 acres have burned and the incident commander has reportedly indicated that the fire has the potential to reach 200 acres.

Night-flying helicopters have been dispatched by San Diego Fire & Rescue, joining ground crews from Heartland Fire, Cal Fire, and San Miguel Fire Departments.

The #WillowFire started around 10:30 p.m. in the 2800 block of Willow Glen Drive near Hillsdale Road. Evacuations are in place from Wind River Road to Lim Rock Road.

The SDG&E outage map indicates power has been shut off to portions of Rancho San Diego and nearby communities of Spring Valley, Jamul and Dulzura.

AUTOPSY CONFIRMS PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY VEHICLE IN EL CAJON INCIDENT DISPUTED BY FAMILY

East County News Service 
 
December 2, 2020 (El Cajon) – An autopsy conducted by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office confirms that Stephan Anthony Harris, 29, of El Cajon died of multiple blunt force injuries caused by being struck by a vehicle on November 25.  The finding refutes claims made by Harris’ family.

EL CAJON STABBING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On October 23, a family member found Victor Saul Garcia Jr., 33, dead inside his home in the 1100 block of Marlene Avenue in EL Cajon.  El Cajon Police homicide detectives and the forensic lab determined that the victim had been stabbed several times after a struggle.

CAMPO MAN CHARGED WITH BURNING HISTORIC RANDALL LAMB BUILDING IN LA MESA DURING RIOT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos and video by Jake Rose

December 2, 2020 (La Mesa)—La Mesa Police announce the arrest of Daniel Sandoval, 43, of Campo.  He is charged with arson and felony vandalism of the historic Randall Lamb building, which was set on fire during a riot on May 30-31 in downtown La Mesa, says Lt. Greg Runge.

The building had been designated a historic structure by the La Mesa Historical Society. Due to the extensive damage, it was declared a total loss.

Sandoval was arrested near his home yesterday, according to a news release issued by LMPD. He has been booked into San Diego County Jail on the warrant with bail set at $500,000.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: MOONRISE OVER EAST COUNTY

Photo credit:  Dawn Hough Sebaugh Photography

November 30, 2020 (Casa De Oro) – Dawn Hough Sebaugh sent in this photo taken from the deck of her Mt. Helix home, looking eastward as a golden-hued moon rose over East County’s mountains.

View more of her photographs and artwork at https://www.facebook.com/DHSartstudios.

SANTA AT THE LAKES DEC. 6 IN SANTEE

East County News Service

November 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Santa is coming to town on Sunday, December 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Santee Lakes (Lake 1 Gazebo).  A physically distanced meeting and photo opportunity will be available with Santa.

A reservation to visit Santa is encouraged, however walk-up visits will be available throughout the day based on availability. Make your reservation to visit with Santa at https://santaatthelakes.setmore.com/

LA MESA INTERESTED IN COMMUNITY INPUT REGARDING NEXT CHIEF OF POLICE

Source: City of La Mesa
 
November 29, 2020 (La Mesa) - The City of La Mesa is interested in community input from La Mesa residents and business owners within the City regarding its next Chief of Police. Please visit the City’s survey www.surveymonkey.com/r/LMPDChiefofPolice to complete the short survey by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 31, 2020.
 
For additional information on the recruitment process please click the following link:

NEW, IMPROVED LAKESIDE LIBRARY TO START CONSTRUCTION IN SPRING

 
Video by Andy Tolley
 
By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
November 28, 2020 (Lakeside) - In a few months, the County of San Diego will start a new chapter for Lakeside residents and their library, beginning construction on a new 16,400-square-foot library three times larger than the current branch, with a community room for events, a bookstore and large spaces for children and teens.
 
“Libraries are not just a place for books anymore,” said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “They’re a place for children to do their homework, they’re gathering places. And a lot of resources will come into this community as a result of the new library, because it will be bigger and better.”
 
County officials say construction is expected to start in spring 2021 and be completed in summer 2022.
 
The County’s Board of Supervisors voted to buy the land to build the new library in September 2017, when Jacob called it a project “near and dear to me and many folks in Lakeside.”
 

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU A VIRUS, MAKE A GARDEN

By Helen Ofield, Treasurer and Historian, Lemon Grove Historical Society

Photos Credit: Lemon Grove Historical Society

On Dec. 4 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, LGHS "reindeer" and Santa will join City staff for a drive-through holiday festivity in Treganza Heritage Park (the 23rd Annual Holiday Bonfire). Roll down the car windows to hear the caroling and receive candy canes.

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Volunteers in the Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) labored in record heat in September and October and, now, in calmer sun and cooler temperatures in November. Back on Nov. 28 for the fourth session, missionaries from Lemon Grove's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will join with volunteers from Helix High School to continue rejuvenating the grounds in Treganza Heritage Park, home of the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive Street, and the adjacent H. Lee House, 3205 Olive.

UP IN SMOKE? LEMON GROVE LEADERS WEIGH RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA APPROVAL AND TAXATION TO EASE FISCAL CRISIS

By Helen L. Horvath, PsyD

 

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – One of the hottest topics on the November 17th Lemon Grove City Council meeting held via Zoom was how to develop revenue streams to decrease Lemon Grove’s budget deficit. This need to increase the City’s financial strength has led to many hard choices and a community desire to find innovative methods to raise tax revenues. 

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: LAKE CUYAMACA WILDLIFE TRAIL

 
 
East County News Service
 
 
November 28, 2020 (Cuyamaca) – Scott Lagace sent in a stunning collection of photos, along with this description. 
 
“There is a trail out by Cuyamaca Lake called the Marty Minshall Trail or as I call it, the wildlife trail because of all the deer, turkeys, birds and even a Bald Eagle which flies around the lake. Along with the wildlife the landscape and scenery of the area is breath taking especially now that the leaves are turning colors.”

POSSIBLE KUMEYAAY CREMATION SITE SPARKS NEW BID TO HALT BORDER WALL PROJECT

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

Photo:  Members of the Kumeyaay tribe danced at the beginning of the Women’s March rally in 2019. Photo by Chris Stone

November 27, 2020 (San Diego) - The surprise discovery of possible human remains at Kumeyaay cultural sites has sparked a new attempt to halt border wall construction — even with 14 of 15 miles of the bollards already done.

BRUSH FIRE IN JAPATUL VALLEY

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo by Bob Scheid

November 27, 2020 (Japatul Valley) – A 10-acre brush fire is burning along Japatul Valley Road near Red Hawk Road, south of Interstate 8, Cal Fire reports.  The fire is spreading at a moderate rate but firefighters are making good progress.

Evacuation warnings have been issued just south of Windfall Ranch and just south of Lyons Valley Rd. east of Japatul, per the CHP website.   

Japatul Valley Road is closed at the I-8 exit.

 

LEMON GROVE BONFIRE DEC. 4 TO BE DRIVE-UP DUE TO COVID

East County News Service

November 27, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove will warm up the holiday season with its 23rd annual bonfire on Friday, December 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be a drive-through event with festive lights, goody bags, special characters and a photo opportunity.

Drive-through in your vehicle (no walk-ups) at Treganza Heritage Park, 3200 Main Street in Lemon Grove.

ARMED ASSAULT SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LAKESIDE, WITH HELP FROM MOTORIST, AFTER PURSUIT

East County News Service

November 27, 2020 (Lakeside) – An assault suspect is behind bars after leading deputies on a short pursuit in Lakeside Tuesday, says Sergeant Dane Wiesner.

Deputies from the Lakeside substation responded to an assault call around 11:30 a.m. near the 11500 block of Bridle Path Lane. The reporting party told deputies the suspect fled the scene in his vehicle.

Deputies located the suspect and tried to conduct a traffic stop, but he sped off and a short pursuit ensued.

The suspect slowed down and almost came to a stop in the 10400 block of Paseo Park Drive, where deputies in their patrol cars and a nearby citizen in his car surrounded the suspect's car and caused him to stop.

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK WITNESSES TO ACCIDENT THAT KILLED PEDESTRIAN

By Miriam Raftery 
 
November 26, 2020 (El Cajon) – A man in his 20s suffered a fatal head injury yesterday when he was struck by an unidentified vehicle Wednesday evening around 8:40 p.m. in the 300 block of West Chase Avenue. El Cajon Police Department is asking anyone with information to call (619)579-3311.
 
Police and paramedics responded, but were unable to save the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
An initial indication indicates the vehicle was traveling westbound on West Chase Avenue near Estes Street, when it struck the pedestrian, who was crossing the roadway.

SDG&E WARNS 2,700 CUSTOMERS OF POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS AFTER THANKSGIVING

East County News Service

Nov. 25, 2020  (San Diego’s East County)  – Stock up on coolers to keep your Thanksgiving leftovers chilled.  Due to a Red Flag Warning  issued by the National Weather Service and forecasted Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has notified approximately 2,700 customers in the communities of Alpine, Campo Reservation, Crestwood, Descanso, Julian, La Posta Reservation, Manzanita Reservation, Pala, Santa Ysabel, Santa Ysabel Reservation, Valley Center and Viejas Reservation, that it may have to turn off power to reduce wildfire risk beginning early Friday morning.      

 “The last thing we want to be telling any of our customers right now is that we may have to shut off power given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the ongoing COVID pandemic,” said SDG&E’s Chief Customer Officer Scott Crider. “Public Safety Power Shutoffs are a last resort to prevent wildfires, and our employees are dedicated to doing everything we can to minimize impacts should it come to that. We’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates, but in an abundance of caution we have reached out to our customers so they can be prepared.”

Several hundred SDG&E linemen, troubleshooters and support personnel will be working on Thanksgiving Day and through the holiday weekend to ensure that power can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible, should safety power shutoffs occur.

$1,000 REWARD OFFERED IN RAMONA COMMERCIAL BURGLARY CASE

Source: San Diego Sheriff, Ramona substation

Photos: Suspect #1 and Suspect #2

November 24, 2020 (Ramona) -- San Diego County Crime Stoppers and investigators from the Ramona Sheriff’s substation are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating the suspects responsible for a commercial burglary.

On Monday, November 16 at around 10:00 p.m., two unknown suspects forced entry into the Sunbelt Rentals store located at 2055 Main Street in Ramona. The suspects cut a hole in the outer fence of the property and then proceeded to break a window of the business to gain entry inside. The suspects stole several power tools and generators totaling around $15,000.

LEMON GROVE TOY DRIVE ALSO AIDS LOCAL BUSINESSES

By Councilmember-Elect Liana LeBaron

Photo:  Aubree Russell from Kids Fashion Network and Liana LeBaron with Alonso, the owner of family run Islander Grill on Broadway in Lemon Grove

November 24, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Kids Fashion Week Network and Lemon Grove Parents United present a community centered Lemon Grove Toy Drive. To accommodate varying preferences, toys can be dropped off at the COVID-friendly drive though event at Treganza Heritage Park, 3200 Main St. in Lemon Grove on Dec. 13th from 1-3 p.m. or at any of the participating Lemon Grove Mom-and-Pop local businesses now through Dec. 12.

All wanting to experience neighborly holiday cheer are invited to come on December 13th to donate their toy in the city’s beautiful and historically rich Treganza Park. Those who donate at the event can pick up a cup of hot chocolate provided by Nitro Monkey Coffee as a small thank you gesture. Thoughtful shoppers can also shop at the hyper-local Lemon Grove vendor tables that will be selling hot items ranging from handmade pet clothing to handmade holiday ornaments.

A LIFE OF GIVING BACK: AARP CALIFORNIA AWARDS STATE’S HIGHEST HONOR TO FOUNDER OF VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICINE CLINIC IN EL CAJON

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

November 24, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A San Diego man has won AARP California's Andrus Award - the organization's highest honor. At age 85, Stuart Harvey is a retired civil engineer and a founding board member of the Volunteers in Medicine free clinic in El Cajon.

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