Communities

WRONG-WAY DRIVER SUFFERS FATAL INJURIES ON I-8

East County News Service

December 18, 2015 (Lakeside) --  A woman driving a silver 2002 Infinity on Los Coches Road drove onto an exit ramp and entered Interstate 8 east, heading in the wrong direction at 10:08 p.m. last night.  She collided with a black 2015 Jeep Patriot, which rolled onto its right side.


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PLANNING COMMISSION GUNS DOWN APPEAL, ALLOWS COVERT CANYON TO CONDUCT MILITARY FIREARMS TRAINING AMID FEDERAL FOREST LANDS

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Covert Canyon owner Marc Halcon (left); neighbors Clark and Robin Williams (right)

December 17, 2015 (Alpine) – Testimony at the County Planning Commission hearing on Covert Canyon   on December 11th was heated, as concerned citizens and planners fired off concerns which project backers sought to deflect.  At stake was an appeal filed by neighbors and environmentalists opposed to the Planning Director’s decision allowing commercial firearms training of military and police at the Alpine site, which is surrounded by Cleveland National Forest lands.  Animal rights activists also protested live shooting of pigs for military medic training at the property in the past. 

Here are some of the impassioned statements made:

“What the Planning Director has done is sign a death warrant for the national forest.” – Duncan McFetridge, co-chair, Cleveland National Forest Foundation

“I live in constant fear…it is extremely dangerous.” – Robin Williams, neighbor closest to Covert Canyon

 “Military ranges are overloaded right now. Post-911, demand is up…We live in a different world now; our law enforcement and first responders have to have training to respond.” – Marc Halcon, Covert Canyon owner

“You’re allowing an unlimited decibel ordinance for 14 minutes every hour. That’s no ordinance at all…How can a firing range not have substantial impact? It’s beyond my comprehension.” – Planning Commissioner Michael Beck

“This is the most tortured interpretation of the zoning ordinance I have ever seen…You’re going to get sued, and you’re going to lose.” – Attorney Marco Gonzalez, addressing County Planning Commission

“We all know about the global war on terror…Range time equals one of our biggest challenges in San Diego…this is paramount for the success of war fighters.” – Tommy Marquez, on behalf of Congressman Duncan Hunter


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LOCAL WINERIES WIN BIG WITH SAN DIEGO COUNTY WINES

 

Source: Ramona Valley Vineyard Association

December 17,  2015 (Ramona) – Vineyard & Winery Management’s 25th Annual Grand Harvest Awards revealed the results of this year’s competition, naming top honors for three local wineries: Ramona Ranch Winery, Altipiano Vineyard and Winery, and Lenora Winery. From a pool of nearly 1500 entries submitted from throughout the United States and as far away as New Zealand, the total number of awards included 48 Best of Class, 44 Double Gold, 183 Gold and 574 Silver medals.


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PARKWAY MIDDLE SCHOOL WARNS OF MAN IN BLUE VAN APPROACHING STUDENTS

East County News Service

December 16, 2015 (La Mesa) – Parkway Middle School e-mailed a safety alert to parents advising that at 8:20 a.m. yesterday morning, two Parkway students were approached by a Hispanic man in his late 30s, wearing a gray beanie and driving a rusty blue work van. The students were walking on Dallas Street near the fire department.  According to the notice to parents, the man waved to students and wanted them to come over to the van, but the students ran to the school instead.


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LA MESA HERALDS END OF DOWNTOWN CONSTRUCTION, BUT SCALED-BACK CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE LEAVES SOME RESIDENTS DISAPPONTED

 

Cutbacks raise key question: who should pay for security costs of festivals in La Mesa?

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2015 (La Mesa)—La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis joined with students from Peter Pan Junior Theatre to sing carols amid holiday lighting in the downtown village at La Mesa Shimmers—a special event held December 9th to celebrate completion of the downtown streetscape construction project and reopening of the historic district.

The event was notably separate from the La Mesa Village Merchants Association’s  Christmas in the Village held December 11 and 12. This year, the merchants’ festival was dramatically scaled back due to lack of funds to shut down streets, leading some residents to ask why the city expects merchants to shoulder the full burden of police and security costs for celebrations that benefit the citizenry as well as local shopkeepers--particularly after construction hurt merchants' businesses for the past year.


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TOPPING OUT CEREMONY CELEBRATES $13 MILLION STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES AND ARTS BUILDINGS AT GROSSMONT HIGH

 
 
By Miriam Raftery 
 

December 16, 2015 (El Cajon)--Students and school officials held a “Topping Out” Ceremony Tuesday for the new student support services and arts classroom buildings under construction at Grossmont High School.

 


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LA MESA BANS MEDICAL MARIJUANA DELIVERIES, AFFIRMS PROHIBITION ON DISPENSARIES

 

By Mike Allen

December 15, 2015 (La Mesa)-Although it already prohibits such dispensaries, La Mesa won’t allow the growing, sale or delivery of medical marijuana in its city limits.

At its Dec. 8 meeting, the City Council approved two ordinances that re-affirm and confirm the city’s existing laws, also expressly banning delivery of medical cannabis. The actions were taken following the adoption of a series of regulations covering the sale and cultivation of marijuana by the state that were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY TO ENLIST INMATES IN EL NIÑO RESPONSE

 

 

Source: County News Service

December 15, 2015 (San Diego)--County Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to seek rapid deployment of state inmate work crews if El Niño packs a punch in the coming months.

The board voted to approve Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s proposal to team up with Cal Fire and ensure that the region’s nearly 500 work crew inmates are quickly available to assist with flood prevention and cleanup.


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EL CAJON COUNCIL HEARS BUZZ OVER BEEKEEPING PROPOSAL, SDG&E ELECTRIC VEHICLE GRID PLAN, AND ABATEMENT OF SUBSTANDARD HOUSING

 

 

By Janis Russell

Photo: ECPD Chief Jeff Davis is sworn in.

December 13, 2015 (El Cajon)-El Cajon’s City Council had a busy agenda last Tuesday, including the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC), SDG&E’s  plan for vehicle grid integration, a beekeeping buzz, and issues faced by residents ranging from a home overrun by rabbits to a residence where residents were displaced due to flooding and a collapsed roof.  The City also swore in a new Police Chief and appointed a new Interim Mayor.


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MAYOR WELLS STATE OF CITY ADDRESSS CITES ACCOMPLISHMENTS, CHALLENGES IN EL CAJON

 

By Janis Russell

December 12, 2015 (El Cajon)- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells delivered his State of the City address last Tuesday, listing El Cajon’s accomplishments and improvements, as well as the outlook for the city’s future.

Mayor Wells began by noting that El Cajon was a farming community a hundred years ago. “Now it’s the largest city in East County…There are over 100,000 residents,” he observed. “We also have new friends who have gathered thousands of miles away,” he added, referring to the city’s large immigrant and refugee population. “There’s a multitude of stories that bind El Cajon.”


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FEASTING AND MERRYMAKING PARTY WITH EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE SUNDAY: YOU'RE INVITED!

December 17, 2015 (Mt. Helix) -- Our holiday parties are legendary! Come join the fun Sunday, December 20 from 2-6 p.m. at our editor's home on Mt. Helix.

  • Delicious feast! Glazed ham and yams, cinnamon baked apples, beet/strawberry and eggplant salads from Baba al Hara,  pasta and salad from Olive Graden, desserts from New York Bakery
  •  Wine tasting with Grant James Vineyard and Pearson Bros. Winery, plus holiday beverages (21 and up.)
  • Live music (folk, rock, and holiday songs) with Paul Nichols, Cindy Burnham, Tim and Marijo Luranc,
  • Holiday games, prizes and surprises! Prizes include a mountain vacation,  wine lover’s baskets, dance lessons, silver jewelry, hand-woven shawl from Weaving Works in Santa Ysabel, California Wolf Preserve tour in Julian,  Passes and big-cat feeding for 2 at Lions Tigers &  Bears, dinner at Descanso Junction, Glamour Girlz gift basket, personal trainer for a month at CHN Fitness in Santee, yoga lessons at CHN Yoga, and much more. 

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CAMPO ROAD/CASA DE ORO IMPROVEMENTS MEETING DEC. 17

East County News Service

December 12, 2015 (Spring Valley ) – Institute for Public Strategies invites you to the third community meeting on alcohol-related harm in Casa De Oro.  

At the last meeting in November, members decided to create a formal community group and will choose a name at the next meeting, which is set for Thursday, December 17 from 6 to 8 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Young Actors’ Theater, 9628 Campo Road, Suite J in Spring Valley.


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HEARING ON HOSKINGS RANCH POSTPONED TO FEB. 5

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 11, 2015 (Julian) – The County Planning commission today granted a continuance for a hearing on 24 homes proposed on the 1,000-acre Hoskings Ranch at Highway 78 and Pine Hills Road in Julian.  A request for continuance until February 5 at 9 a.m. was requested by both the developer and an attorney representing residents opposed to the project.

Over 250 people signed up for the Hoskings Ranch Subdivision Action and Resource group on Facebook within two hours of its being formed.  About 50 concerned residents met December 8th at Julian’s town hall.


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END OF AN ERA: GROVE PASTRY SHOP AND PINNACLE PEAK STEAKHOUSE CLOSE DOORS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 11, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Two of East County’s most beloved businesses, Grove Pastry Shop and Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse,  have closed down, leaving  behind cherished memories.

I ordered my own wedding cake with raspberry filling and whipped cream frosting from Grove Pastry Shop in Lemon Grove 36 years ago, as have so many other brides since the bakery first opened its doors back in 1947. The wedding cake portion of the business will continue; you can custom order those through www.artisticweddingcakesbythegrove.com .  But gone is the pastry shop, rich with the aromas of freshly baked cookies, cakes, breads and buttery pastries.


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HOUSE FIRE BY SDSU RULED AN ARSON

 
By Liz Alper
 
December 10, 2015 (San Diego) - The San Diego Fire Department has ruled that a fire that started in a house rented by tenants by San Diego State was an arson, NBC7 reports.

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SNOWY, WINDY WEATHER TO SOCK REGION STARTING TONIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – A low pressure trough moving south into our region is forecast to bring strong westerly winds, showers and mountain snow tonight through Friday, meteorologist Mark Moede with the National Weather Srevice in San Diego advises.

Wind gusts could reach 60 to 70 miles per hour, posing hazards to high profile vehicles in mountains and deserts, including on I-15, I-8, and I-10.  There is also a chance of thunderstorms, hail and brief, heavy downpours possible.


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LIGHTS FANTASTIC: HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW IN SANTEE

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2015 (Santee) – Michael Balazs has created the ultimate Christmas light show at his Santee home “to bring smiles to the neighborhood children and adults alike.”  This year’s show at 9773 Roe Drive, Santee features 28,000 lights synced to eight musical songs ranging from Party Rock to Carol of the Bells. It's all synced to FM radio so people can get out of their cars and dance to show their holiday spirit.

This year, he switched to professional LED lighting – and slashed his electricity bill to a shockingly low $50 to $70 a month, he says.


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COVERT CANYON APPEAL FILED; OWNER MARC HALCON SPEAKS OUT AS CONTROVERSY HEATS UP

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning Commission to hear appeal Friday;  ECM tours site; environmentalists threaten lawsuit

By Miriam Raftery

December 10,2015 (Alpine)—An appeal filed yesterday on behalf of three environmental groups and neighbors of Covert Canyon will be heard by the County Planning Commission tomorrow at 9 a.m.  If the appeal is denied,  a letter signed by appellants’ attorney Marco Gonzalez states, “the Environmental groups and Appellants intend to file suit and seek injunctive relief before the matter is heard by the Board of Supervisors.”  

In addition to Clark and Robin Williams, the closest neighbors, Gonzalez' letter states he is representing the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, Save Our Forests and Ranchlands, and Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation.

A staff report recommends denying the appeal and upholding the Planning Director’s decision to reclassify the use of the property as law enforcement. 


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THERE IS NO HUMBUG AT EL CAJON VALLEY HIGH AS THEY PRESENT 2 CHRISTMAS CLASSICS DEC. 3-5 AND 10-12

 

By Kathy Carpenter

Associate/Youth Reviewer www.sdtheatrereviews.com

December 8, 2015 (El Cajon) - The students at El Cajon Valley High School took on two Christmas plays this winter. Both with fairly large casts, with only a couple students taking on roles in both shows. A huge undertaking for teacher and director Shannon Turner. These students work hard, come out for the evening and support the local arts. The two shows the students performed were A Charlie Brown Christmas and Scrooge Makes UP!. The Christmas message in both ...the holiday season is one of love, kindness, giving, and being out best selves. Is seven dollars and an hour and a half to much too give?


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SNOW IN LA MESA AT CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE DEC. 11-12

 

East County News Service

December 10, 2015 (La Mesa) – This year’s Christmas in the Village will feature snow, Santa, carolers, holiday movies, kids’ face painting, fire pits, entertainment and more family fun. The event will be held rain or shine on Friday and Saturday, December 11 and 12 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the historic La Mesa Village.


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PAROLEE ARRESTED AFTER CHASE, CRASH AND CARJACKING ATTEMPT

 

 

By Liz Alper

December 10, 2015 (El Cajon) - On Tuesday, a parole violator led a Sheriff's deputy on a wild chase through unincorporated El Cajon in a stolen vehicle.


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ROLLER DERBY BOOT CAMP & TRYOUT FOR NEW LEAGUE DEC.19 IN LA MESA

 

December 8, 2015 (La Mesa)--The East County Roller Girls is a new start-up women's Roller Derby league that will play under WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association) rules.

A boot camp and tryout will be held on Sunday, December 19 at 11 a.m. at 8855 Dallas Street, La Mesa. Childcare will be provided.


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VINE SPIRITS: HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL CONTINUES DEC. 12-13

 

 

East County News Service

December 9, 2015 (Ramona)--The Ramona Valley Vineyard invites you to take a break from the holiday hustle and give yourself and and your friends a unique holiday wine experience.  You can join  Join 15 RVVA member wineries on December 12th & 13th for the second weekend of wine, fun and holiday spirits along the Holiday Wine Trail.

Your “Get Your Merry On” Holiday Wine Trail Passport is your ticket to great deals and festive fun over all four days of the wine trail.  Each participating winery is offering different holiday wine trail specials including heavily discounted tastings and pairings, bottle and merchandise discounts, unique holiday gift items featuring local artisans.


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NEW FILINGS IN ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL CASE

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2015 (Alpine) – A lawsuit over a high school for Alpine is slated to be back in Superior Court downtown on December 17at 9:30 a.m.

Alpine taxpayers and the Alpine Union School District have filed a  reconsideration request asking Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman to grant Alpine’s  motion for summary adjudication and deny Grossmont’s motion for summary judgment, in  light of a Court of Appeals decision that found  Propositions H and U contain a promise to build an Alpine High School. 

Grossmont filed a  response asking just the opposite – urging Judge Pressman to deny Alpine’s motion for reconsideration.


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ATTENDANCE TOPS 200 AT RANCHO SAN DIEGO LIBRARY’S FIRST ‘WINTERFEST’

 

Next up: Star Wars Day Dec. 12

Photo, left: “Snow Queen” from Parties Unique company greets a miniature, costumed Elsa from “Frozen” during Winterfest at the San Diego County Library Rancho San Diego Branch on Dec. 5, 2015

Story and photos by Megan Just

December 8, 2015 (Rancho San Diego) − Though it’s been two years since the release of Disney’s “Frozen,” Elsa and Anna still have the power to draw a crowd.  In this case, the princesses, played by performers from the Parties Unique company, were the headliners of Winterfest at the San Diego County Library, Rancho San Diego Branch, on Saturday afternoon.

The festival, which included cookie decorating, holiday crafts, an ugly sweater contest, an instant-print photo booth, and two princess-led sing-along performances, drew a crowd of more than 200 children and accompanying adults.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

JULIAN RESIDENTS RAISE CONCERNS OVER HOUSING PROJECT IN RURAL AREA

 

Deadline for  written comments is Dec. 9; oral comments will be heard Dec. 11 at County Planning Commission

By Kiki Skagen Munshi


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IRAQI GROUP HOSTS "YOUTH CONFERENCE: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS" DEC. 17 IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

December 8, 2015 (El Cajon) – The IraqiCenter for Dialogue invites you to participate in a " Youth Conference" on December 17 at 11 a.m. at the Royal Palace, 1340 Broadway, El Cajon, CA 92021.


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ALPINE BECOMES WINTER WONDERLAND FOR A NIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2015 (Alpine)—Santa and Mrs. Claus rode in on a fire truck as Alpine’s Parade of Lights rolled through town.  The procession included everything from donkeys to big rigs—all festooned in holiday lights.

A craftsman wielded a chainsaw, carving a work of art from a block of ice amid a Snow Festival at the parade route’s end in the Alpine Creek shopping center.  His handicrafts included a glistening reindeer, gingerbread man and more.

Kids skidded gleefully down a sledding hill created just for the occasion, while adults and kids alike frolicked in frothy snow bubbles spewed into the air by a snow-making machine.


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LA MESA COUNCIL TO WEIGH BAN ON POT SHOP DELIVERIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 6, 2015 (La Mesa) – La Mesa’s City Council will consider an ordinance Tuesday that would ban mobile dispensing and delivery of marijuana. Medical marijuana clinics are already illegal in the city and voters recently rejected a measure that would have allowed them, however a number of clinics have sprung up despite that ban, offering home delivery services.

The La Mesa Council meets at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8th


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PROPOSAL TO REJECT ECPAC BID, MOVE FORWARD ON ANIMAL SHELTER AMONG AGENDA ITEMS FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECPAC lobby

December 6, 2015 (El Cajon ) – El Cajon’s Council has a number of important topics on its agenda for the Council meeting Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Several are on the consent calendar – including a proposal to reject the only bid received for construction renovations on the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).  Although 30 prospective bidders obtained bid packages, only one bid was received.  That bid, from Kinsman Construction Inc. in San Diego, was for over $3.7 million – far above the $2.7 to $2.9 million that an engineer estimated the work should cost.


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