Communities

BLACKWATER GUARDS SENTENCED: 30 YEARS TO LIFE FOR MASSACRE IN IRAQ

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  East County residents celebrated Blackwater halting plans to build a training camp in Potrero in 2008.

April 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Many in East County recall the successful battle wagered by rural residents here to halt a Blackwater paramilitary training camp from being built in Potrero.   Just months before Blackwater announced plans to cancel the Potrero project in 2008, news broke that Blackwater guards had been accused of massacring innocent civilians in Iraq’s Nisour Square on September 16, 2007.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL ROUNDUP

By Kristin Kjaero

April 14, 2015 (La Mesa) – A retirement, traffic circle safety on Harbinson after a crash, and permitting  projects after construction (from a chicken coop to a cave) were topics before the La Mesa City Council tonight.

The unmistakable star at the La Mesa City Council meeting today was Max, who is retiring at the ripe age of 7. That’s because Max is a chocolate lab and Police narcotic dog. Together with his handler, Officer Derek Cox, they have recovered over 2,700 grams of narcotics and made more than 156 felony narcotics arrests. To show he was on the job one last time, Max pawed up to inspect the Councilmembers’ desks as Cox made the rounds shaking hands. As handlers and dogs form such a strong bonds, Max is being allowed to stay with the family he loves.


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TEDDY AND BALOO MOVE INTO NEW HABITAT IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 12, 2015 (Alpine)—Teddy and Baloo, two “moon” bears (also known as Himalayan black bears) were released this week into a new multi-acre habitat at the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: THOUGHTS ON AMBULANCE SERVICE FROM DEERHORN AND "OUTER JAMUL"

 

By Kim Hamilton, Editor, Deerhorn Valley Antler

Editor’s note: A similar version of this letter was also sent to Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office.

April 12, 2015 (Deerhorn Valley) -- In the outer rural areas we are spread out over a very large area. We have only two paved roads (Honey Springs and Deerhorn Valley Rd.), and from that intersection it is 15 miles and 20 minutes to reach the fire station in Jamul. Most of us live off of secondary roads like Mother Grundy Truck Trail, Bratton Valley, and Sierra Cielo. These are dirt roads that are privately maintained (or not).  The additional distance on rutted roads can add another 20-plus minutes of drive.  And that's when you know where you're going. Some roads are almost impassable for a large vehicle.


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18TH ANNUAL CHIRP SAGE & SONGBIRDS GARDEN TOUR - MAY 1-3, 2015

 

April 12, 2015 (San Diego's East County) The Sage and Songbirds 18th annual graden tour will be held May 1-3, 2015. This year’s self-guided tour includes five private homes plus a hummingbird haven and raptor rehabilitation facility.


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BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL MAY 9 CELEBRATES RETURN OF SAN DIEGO'S BUTTERFLY SEASON

 

April 12, 2015 (El Cajon)--The Water Conservation Garden invites the public to its second-annual Butterfly Festival for an exciting program of activities that will engage all ages with butterflies on Saturday, May 9th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The event highlights the important role that these insects play in our ecosystem and how visitors can attract and support butterflies in their home gardens using drought-tolerant plants.  Activities include:


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CHIEF ED ACEVES PASSES THE BATON AND WALKS INTO RETIREMENT

By Bonnie Baranoff

April 12, 2015 (La Mesa) -- On Tuesday, April 14 at 2 p.m., 30-year La Mesa Police Department veteran and outgoing Police Chief Ed Aceves will “walk out” in what has become a traditional retirement ceremony at the La Mesa Police Department. Though officially retired in December 2014, he stayed on until his replacement, Chief Walter Vasquez, had a week to transition into the job.

In an ECM exclusive, Aceves shares how he got into law enforcement, how technology and communications have changed the field, his most memorable moments, and his plans for the future.


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SAVE WATER IN YOUR GARDEN: FREE COMPOSTING CLASS MAY 2

 

By Helen Ofield

April 12, 2015 (Lemon Grove)--You planted green beans, snap peas, tomatoes, chard and zucchini, then stood back and waited for the good times to roll. After the funeral for the first four, you were left with baseball bat size zucchini. You left them on doorsteps at midnight only to be caught in the act by a dozen cell phones ("local weirdo leaves humungous zucchini for helpless neighbors"). The video went viral and you became the laughing stock of Lemon Grove.  But, wait...

Cry on the shoulder of the Lemon Grove Organic Garden Club and the Lemon Grove Historical Society. They're holding a free composting class on May 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. outdoors in Civic Center Park (between Main and Olive Streets) next to the historic H. Lee House, 3205 Olive.  Parking is free, too.


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APRIL 16: NATIONAL HEALTHCARE DECISIONS DAY

 

East County News Service

April 11, 2015 (La Mesa)--You wouldn’t think of going on vacation, taking a new job or even retiring without some advance planning. But most people don’t plan ahead for what could be life’s most important decision.


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CODICE BORBONICO SPECIAL EXHIBIT AT HERITAGE OF THE AMERICAS

 

April 10, 2015 (Rancho San Diego) –The Códice Borbónico is a pictorial story depicting the life of Mayan, Aztec, and other Native Americans. It is now on a special exhibit at the Heritage of the Americas Museum at Cuyamaca College.


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FREE BIRD TOUR AT LAKESIDE'S RIVER PARK CONSERVACY APRIL 11

 

April 9, 2015 (Lakeside) – A two-hour guided hike at the Lakeside River Park will be held on Saturday, April 11 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. to learn about birds of the San Diego River. Gail Sabbadini will lead the hike, identifying both year-round and migratory species.


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A CONCERT WITH A "TWIST": CHUBBY CHECKER AT SYCUAN APRIL 23

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Phil Konstanin

April 10, 2015 (El Cajon ) – Rock and roll superstar Chubby Checker will perform a concert with a “Twist” on  April 23rd at Sycuan’s Live & Up Close Theater.  Checker rocketed to fame in 1960, when his recording of “The Twist” was the number one song in the nation, sparking a new dance craze and countless variations such as the “Peppermint Twist”, “Let’s Twist Again” and “Twist and Shout.”


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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.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: SPRING DUCKLINGS

 

Story and photos by Robert Gehr © 2015

April 10, 2015 (El Cajon)--Baby Mallard ducks  are swimming and exploring their new world, under the ever-watchful eyes of the adults, at the waterscape in downtown El Cajon at Main Street and Sulzfeld Way.


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HOP TO IT MORNING GLORY BRUNCH APRIL 11 BENEFITS ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE'S CENTER

 

April 9, 2015 (El Cajon) – The 17th Annual Morning Glory Brunch will be held on April 11th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (2199 East Madison Ave.) in El Cajon. The event benefits the center’s programs for adults with developmental disabilities.


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FIRE CHARS MOTORHOME AND VEHICLES IN SANTEE

 

Photo courtesy of Heartland Fire & Rescue

April 8, 2015 (Santee) - A fire that began at a towing yard on Pioneer Way in Santee Monday evening spread to a nearby deli, NBC news reports.  The two-alarm blaze destroyed a motorhome and several other vehicles.


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LAKESIDE HISTORICAL SOCIETY HOSTS WESTERN DAYS BREAKFAST APRIL 18

 

By Scoop McMillen

April 9, 2015 (Lakeside)--The Lakeside Historical Society will be hosting their annual Western Days Breakfast on Saturday, April 18th from 7am until 9:30am.


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EL CAJON COUNCIL TO CONSIDER BALLOT MEASURE FOR STRICTER ALCOHOL CONTROLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 10, 2015 (El Cajon )—At Tuesday's El Cajon City Council meeting, the City Council will discuss a proposal for a ballot initiative to crack down on alcohol sales to minors and chronic drunks, as well as potentially ban sales of powdered alcohol.

“My goal is to make this the strongest law in the United States to stop sales of alcohol to children and serial inebriates,” Vice Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine.


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SAGE & SONGBIRDS GARDEN TOUR TAKES WING MAY 1-3

 

April 10, 2015 (Alpine) – The 18th annual Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour on May 1-3 will feature five private home gardens plus a hummingbird haven and a raptor rehabilitation facility for close-up viewing of wildlife.


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VINTAGE ALPINE: WINETASTING IN THE COUNTRY TO BENEFIT CHILDREN'S CAUSES

 

April 10, 2015 (Alpine) – The 25th annual Vintage Alpine on Sunday May 3rd from 1 to 4 p.m. at Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs will feature tastings of 40 wines plus foods from fine restaurants across our region.  This event attracts over 500 people annually, with all proceeds used to benefit services and programs for the children of San Diego.


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SAN MIGUEL BOARD VOTES TO BUY 2 FIRE ENGINES, MOVE FORWARD ON COUNTY TAKEOVER OF TRAINING FACILITY

 

By Paul Kruze

April 10, 2015 (Spring Valley)--In spite of tight finances and the looming possibility of a separation and divorce from CALFIRE, the San Miguel Fire Board of Directors majority went forward with a staff recommendation to purchase two new fire engines at its March 11th meeting.  The Board also took action on the County's proposal to takeover an unfinished training facility that has languished due to lack of funds.


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EL CAJON ISSUES BID REQUEST FOR PERFORMING ARTS CENTER REPAIRS

 

 

By Paul Kruze

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Performers on stage at ECPAC in brighter days

April 10, 2015 (El Cajon)--It has been said that “the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” If all goes as planned, the fat lady could be soon be setting a date to sing on the stage at the shuttered and embattled East County Performing Art Center (ECPAC) sooner than later.

In a move that pleased local community activists who have decried the prolonged shutdown of downtown El Cajon’s entertainment venue, the City of El Cajon released an extensive request for bids to fix the theater’s leaky roof and bring about extensive technical upgrades throughout the facility.


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RAMONA H.E.A.R.T MURALS REFLECT AREA'S HISTORIC HERITAGE

 

April 9, 2015 (Ramona) - If you’ve traveled through Ramona recently , you may have noticed some colorful murals depicting the town’s historical heritage.


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LA MESA APRIL ACTIVITIES

By Kristin Kjaero

April 9, 2015 (La Mesa) – There’s something for everybody going on this month in La Mesa. There are activities for every age and interest, as well as for mind, body and entertainment.


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NEW BORREGO HEALTH CENTER'S OPEN HOUSE APRIL 11 IN EL CAJON CELEBRATES PUBLIC HEALTH

 

East County News Service

April 8, 2015 (El Cajon )—Borrego Health, a community health center with clinics throughout our region, will host an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 11th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its new location at 133 West Main Street in El Cajon.


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EL CAJON MAN MISSING, VEHICLE FOUND NEAR SUNRISE HIGHWAY

 

April 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—A search is under way for Isac Molina, 27, an El Cajon resident, paramedic and father of two.  Family reported Monday that Molina left home Sunday at 3 p.m. “on his own volition appearing very despondent,” said Lt. Frank La Haye with the El Cajon Police. He is considered a missing person at risk.


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DROUGHT DRIES UP WATER SOURCES FOR FIREFIGHTING

 

East County News Service

Photo: Once brimming with water, the eastern portion of Lake Morena is bone dry.

April 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The drought is shrinking ponds and lakes across East County—and Cal-Fire is concerned about the loss of water for fighting fires.


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HOW DO COUNTY'S RESPONSE TIMES FOR AMBULANCE SERVICE STACK UP TO OTHER AREAS?

 

 

Ambulance responses in our region raise alarms:  Part IV in a series

By Miriam Raftery

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—San Diego County’s contract with its new ambulance provider for East County, Mercy,  requires that response times be less than 30 minutes 90% of the time in rural areas and 10 minutes in urban areas.  That’s too long if you’ve had a heart attack or other major trauma. 

When we inquired about response times, County staff advised us that in 2014, the County Fire Authority (ie Cal Fire) had a better response time than the requirement, averaging just over 10 minutes, while the former ambulance provider, AMR, average about 14 minutes. (Read more)


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RAMONA OPEN STUDIO TOUR APRIL 11-12

 

April 9, 2015 (Ramona) – The 12th annual Ramona Open Studios tour will be held this Satudray and Sunday, April 11-12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you've ever wondered what an artist's studio looks like, now is your opportunity to see for yourself. During the Ramona Open Studios Tour, artists in Ramona will open their studios to curious visitors, inviting them to talk, check out how they work, and buy artwork if they're interested.


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EL CAJON COMMUNITY LINKS

Click here and scroll down for links to city services, activities, shopping, business and community groups, farmers’ market,  schools, library, healthcare, housing, weather and more in El Cajon and vicinity.


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HELEN STODDARD, A POWERFUL WOMAN IN EAST COUNTY'S PAST

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –April is Women’s History Month.   It’s an appropriate time to share a story about a remarkable woman from East County’s past. Helen Gerrells Stoddard, a former resident of La Mesa , Lemon Grove and Ramona, was a prominent leader in the fight to win women the right to vote,  as well as in the temperance movement. She even earned a place in history at the national political level.


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