Communities

GROSSMONT COLLEGE STREAMS THE MAD ONES APRIL 8-17

By Kathy Carpenter

April  2, 2021 (El Cajon) - One of the things that has suffered greatly during the past year is live theatre at all levels. Over the past several months, many theatres have turned to streaming as an alternative to provide you with a form of entertainment, give a few people in the business a little work and serve as fundraisers to keep theatres afloat until they can get back to live performances.  Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre needs your support. The theatre will be streaming "The Mad Ones," a musical coming to your home/device April 8-17, 2021.


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SADDLE UP, KIDS: PONY RIDES RETURN AT BATES NUT FARM

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

 

April 2, 2021 (Valley Center) – Pony rides are back at Bates Nut Farm,located at 15954 Woods Valley Road in Valley Center.  The rides are available on the first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.:  April 3, May 1, June 5 and July 3.  


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LILAC FESTIVAL IN FULL BLOOM AT FORT CROSS IN SANTA YSABEL DURING APRIL

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

 

April 2, 2021 (Santa Ysabel) – Spring is in the air – and lilacs are in full bloom.  The annual Lilac Festival at Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Santa Ysabel returns each weekend this month.  The hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 12 noon to 5 p.m.

 

"Hop on the hayride and enjoy the views on a scenic nature loop, try your skill with some tomahawk throwing, visit our friends at the petting zoo, enjoy a lively hoedown or pick up an instrument and join the jug band, paint a flower vase to keep, dip your very own lilac themed candle the old fashioned way, and so much more,” the Fort Cross website states.  "Our very own Jesse Cross, dance caller and music man extraordinaire will be playing live during various times to lead any willing kids and adults through the most fun jug band hootenanny you ever did see!”


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THE CONRAD PREBYS FOUNDATION AWARDS $25,000 TO ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE'S CENTER

Source: St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center

 

Photo:  Artist Kristin McKenney shares her woven bookmark with other artists at one of the evening Art Social hour classes.  Kristen used a cardboard loom kit from the Galley to make her brother-in-law this bookmark.

 

April 1, 2021 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC), a nonprofit organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has been awarded a grant from The Conrad Prebys Foundation for $25,000. The grant is designated towards Sophie’s Gallery Virtual Art Program. SMSC was among 121 local arts, education, health, and science projects to receive a combined $78 million in grant funding from The Conrad Prebys Foundation’s inaugural grant cycle. 


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WEED OUT HATE DAY EVENT IN SANTEE ON APRIL 3

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo courtesy of Setche Kwamu-Nana 

April 1, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- This Saturday, April 3,diversity expert and musician Setche Kwamu-Nana is organizing a Weed Out Hate event to be held at Santee’s West Hills Park from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

“In light of the rising violence, hate crimes, and polarization in our communities, though I’m not a conservative, I have been reaching out to conservatives in East County, where I used to live, to understand them and build bridges so we all can find common ground and make better choices for our communities,” said Kwamu-Nana, MBA-HRM, CDP, a diversity, inclusion, equity trainer and consultant via email. 


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SANTEE COUNCIL SETS PRIORITIES TO REAP REVENUES, INCLUDING POSSIBLE LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS BUSINESSES

 
By Mike Allen
 
March 30, 2021 (Santee) - While other East County cities such as La Mesa and Lemon Grove tap into taxes that legalized marijuana shops generate, Santee has staunchly kept these enterprises illegal.
 
But that could change. At its most recent meeting, the Santee City Council announced a list of 11 priorities it wants to address in the next two years. At No. 11 was one to “consider economic development and regulatory options for cannabis businesses in the city, with a funding ordinance for the November 2022 election.”

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HEARING APRIL 20 ON PROPOSED RELEASE OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN EL CAJON NEAR MT. HELIX

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo courtesy of San Diego Sheriff’s department

 

Public comments accepted through April 9

 

March 30, 2021 (El Cajon) – The state has proposed releasing Douglas Badger, a sexually violent predator, into a supervised home at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive. The site is just east of Avocado Avenue in unincorporated El Cajon, near Mt. Helix.


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CESAR CHAVEZ HISTORY AT ANZA-BORREGO HONORED ON MARCH 31

East County News Service

March 27, 2021 (Borrego Springs) -- Did you know? Cesar Chavez has important history in Borrego Springs and in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). To honor this history, bilingual interpretive panels were devised that depict these historic events, a joint project between Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and High School students at Borrego Springs High School. 


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SANTEE COUNCIL GETS UPDATE ON PADRE DAM’S BIG PROJECT

By Mike Allen
 
March 27, 2021 (Santee) -- Padre Dam Water District wants to keep everyone in the loop about its massive sewage reclamation project, especially the city where the project is located -- Santee.

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SHERIFF ASKS PUBLIC TO REPORT ILLEGAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2021 (San Diego) – Unlike licensed and regulated cannabis dispensaries, illegal marijuana dispensaries have had negative impacts on communities, neighboring businesses and consumers, the Sheriff’s department warns. Recently, several have been involved in shootings and other serious crimes; moreover there is no state oversight to test products being sold and assure they do not contain pesticides, herbicides, or that they are not laced with other drugs.

“Unregulated pot shops attract criminals involved with other illicit drugs and are often the catalyst for violent crime, property crime and financial crime that affect us all.  Products sold at unlicensed cannabis facilities are cultivated and manufactured using processes which may be harmful to consumers and are often marketed toward children,” warns Sgt. Mark Knierim.


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HIGHWAY 67 LANE CLOSURES MARCH 26-30

East County News Service

March 25, 2021 (Ramona) – Caltrans has announced that due to mowing operations along State Route 67 between Willow Road in Lakeside to Etchevary Street in Ramona, motorists should expect shoulder closures, lane reductions and lane closures with one-way traffic control directed by flaggers and pilot vehicles over the next few days.


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TEEN ARRESTED FOR FATAL PEDESTRIAN COLLISION IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

March 25, 2021 (El Cajon) – El Cajon resident Reeta Mansour, 19,  has been arrested and charged with gross vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run, and reckless driving causing injury or death. The charges stem from a crash on March 12th on South Anza Street in which Mansour allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian, also hitting a parked car.

Officers responded shortly before 10 p.m., along with paramedics, to a report of a vehicle striking a parked car.  The officers found a pedestrian in a yard nearby who allegedly had also been hit by the vehicle. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.


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SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR SERIES OF VIOLENT ASSAULTS IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2021 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police have arrested 28-year-old Isaiah Ugaitafa for violent assaults in which he broke down the front doors of homes and attacked two residents, says Lt. Randy Soulard. He is charged with three felonies: hot prowl burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse.

On Friday, March 19 at 2:15 p.m., officers responded to a home in the 400 block of South First Street, where a man had been seen by several residents acting strangely and talking to himself. A short time later, the suspect was seen breaking down the door of an elderly man’s home and attacking the senior with a metal pole, striking him in the face before fleeing the scene.


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SAN DIEGO STILL DOESN'T HAVE EQUITABLE INTERNET ACCESS ONE YEAR INTO PANDEMIC

Community activists have long underscored the impacts of the gaps of access to high speed, reliable internet to non-White and poorer communities and they’ve critiqued public leaders for not taking quicker action to bridge the divide.

By Kayla Jimenez, Voice of San Diego

This post has been updated.

Image via Pixabay

March 23, 2021 (San Diego) - A year after the pandemic made having a reliable internet connection a requisite for countless families, professionals, school children and others, the number of people without it has not changed and cities across the San Diego region have either no plan to address it or no money to fund their plans.


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CONGRESSMAN ISSA INTRODUCES BILL TO TRANSFER SACRED LANDS TO PALA BAND OF MISSION INDIANS RESERVATION

Source: Pala Band of Mission Indians

 

March 23, 2021 (Pala) --  On March 17, 2021, Congressman Darrell Issa introduced the Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act (H.R. 1975), a bill that will transfer approximately 721 acres of land adjacent to the Pala Reservation into federal trust status. This land was purchased by the Pala Band of Mission Indians in 2016 in order to prevent the construction of a landfill on sacred Chokla (Gregory Mountain), a site of tremendous cultural significance to Pala’s people.

 

“The Pala Band is grateful to Congressman Issa for his partnership and willingness to introduce this bill. Transferring the Gregory Mountain cultural property into trust ensures that it will be forever protected as a part of the Pala Reservation. The Pala Band also wishes to acknowledge Congressman Juan Vargas, who has worked with the tribe since 2016 to facilitate this land transfer, according to a press release issued by the tribe.


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MISSING LA MESA WOMAN FOUND IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service
 
March 23, 2021 (La Mesa) – A missing elderly woman with early onset dementia was found safe and injured in Lemon Grove overnight.
 
“The La Mesa Police Department would like to thank the media and the public for their assistance,” says Lt. Greg Runge.

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MILITARY MAN RECEIVES A CAR AT SPRING VALLEY’S WOLF RANCH TOWN CENTER

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo-left Renz Michael Palaylay and wife Harvey, daughter Luna. Photos courtesy of Caliber Collision)

March 22, 2021 (Spring Valley) – As a part of the National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) “Recycled Rides” program, an active-duty Navy sailor, Renz Michael Palaylay, received a 2015 Hyundai Elantra on Wednesday, March 3.

The Armed Services YMCA San Diego worked in conjunction with Caliber Collision - Spring Valley, Farmers Insurance and NABC.

Caliber Collision auto technicians donated their own personal time to refurbish the vehicle provided by Farmers Insurance.

“They, the technicians, jumped at the chance to give back to our military,” said the general manger of Caliber Collision, Chuck Cruz, during a phone interview. “We also donated a car a few months ago to a first responder.”


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RAILWAY MUSEUM SEEKS DONATIONS TO REPAIR DAMAGE TO LA MESA DEPOT

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 22, 2021 (La Mesa) – The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association (PSRMA) is asking for public help to repair extensive damage caused by an allegedly drunk driver last week. 

The La Mesa Depot Museum is La Mesa, California’s oldest building in its original form and is the sole surviving San Diego and Cuyamaca Railway Station in existence.

The driver struck the portico and main entryway of the historic structure, also damaging parked cars nearby. 
 
According to a Facebook Post by PSRMA, “Volunteers have boarded up and temporarily secured the structure from collapsing. We are waiting to receive damage and repair estimates and at the moment the museum has spent $1,700 just to remediate any further damage. At a time when the museum is already financially stretched, we need to ask the public for help with restoration costs.”

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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

March 21, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than to hike to one of the most beautiful places in East County, Three Sisters Falls in Cleveland National Forest? 

Scott Lagace made the trip this week with friends. The trail is a steep two-mile hike down and two miles back -- all uphill.

Despite these challenges, Lagace says,"It was a beautiful hike there and back. The falls was flowing beautifully. It was amazing at a distance and close up. I would definitely do this hike again. Just got to remember to take the road from the Julian side, not Descanso!"


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PASSAGES: GROCERY INDUSTRY LEADER SHON BONEY DIES OF CANCER

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Shon Boney, a leader in the natural grocery store industry with long roots in East County, died March 8, 2021 at age 52 of brain cancer. 

Grandson of Henry Boney, the founder of Boney’s Marketplace, later known as Henry’s Marketplace, Shon worked in all aspects of the San Diego based business until it was sold to Wild Oats. He then moved to Arizona, where he co-founded and served as CEO of Sprouts Farmers Market, which grew into one of the nation’s preeminent healthy grocery store chains.


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SUPERVISORS VOTE TO BUY AND CONSERVE 2,151 ACRE HISTORIC STAR RANCH LAND IN CAMPO

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 20, 2021 (Campo) -- San Diego County supervisors voted Wednesday to buy the 2,151-acre, historic Star Ranch area in Campo, its largest acquisition of sensitive habitat, wetlands, potential passive park land and hiking trails in a decade.

County officials said the land will provide a permanent home for sensitive species and conserve important habitat including 200 acres of wetlands, and it could eventually provide a large park and connections for hikers to nearby trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO USE LEGAL SETTLEMENT TO REDUCE FUTURE RATES

District to hold rate hearing on April 28
 
Source: Helix Water District 
 
March 19, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District will use $2.8 million received from the San Diego County Water Authority as part of a legal settlement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to reduce future water rates for the district’s customers.

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LA MESA OFFICER'S 'HEART DROPPED' AFTER SHOOTING LESLIE FURCRON; HE'S FAULTED IN NEWLY RELEASED REPORT

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

Photo:  Arrow points to La Mesa police Detective Eric Knudson before he withdrew behind a wall and shot Leslie Furcron with a beanbag shell. LMPD photo

March 19, 2021 (La Mesa) - Eric Knudson, the La Mesa police officer cleared by county and local authorities in his beanbag shooting of Leslie Furcron last May at a George Floyd protest, returned to work last week, but remains under a cloud.


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FBI INVESTIGATES ST. PATRICK'S DAY ROBBERY IN POWAY

East County News Service

March 18, 2021 (Poway) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) San Diego Violent Crimes Task Force and San Diego Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify a suspect believed to be responsible for a bank robbery in Poway.

On March 17 at approximately 4:15 p.m., a Black man believed to be in his mid-20s entered the Wells Fargo Bank  at 10675 Scripps Poway Parkway. He was wearing a green sweatshirt and a black “beanie type” hat on his head, with the hood of the sweatshirt pulled up.  He is approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall.

The robber presented a message to the teller demanding money from the bank.  After receiving a sum of cash, he fled on foot.  

The robber’s lower face was covered by a light blue paper COVID-19 face mask.


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PADRE DAM BOARD VOTES TO RETURN MONEY TO CUSTOMERS

Refund Received from San Diego County Water Authority will help offset future rate

East County News Service

Image: CC by SA-NC

 

March 18, 2021 (Santee) – Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved using the recently received $1,157,552 rebate from the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA) to offset the District’s next pass-through rate increase from the CWA. This action will result in a direct benefit to customers by the reduction or potential elimination of a water pass through rate hike in 2022. 

CWA’s Board of Directors announced a plan on February 25, 2021 to distribute a $44.4 million rebate received from Metropolitan Water District (MWD), to its 24 member agencies. Padre Dam’s portion of the rebate is $1,157,552. 


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AN OASIS ADVENTURE: CAMEL CAMP MAY 1-2

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 18, 2021 (Ramona) – If you’re looking for a unique experience after a year in COVID-19 quarantine, Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona invites you to “Camel Camp” May 1-2.


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SUPERVISORS VOTE TO ASK STATE TO KEEP SAN PASQUAL ACADEMY FOR FOSTER YOUTHS OPEN

By Briana Gomez

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

 

Photo, left: Rev Shane Harris held a press conference last week at the San Pasqual Academy

 

March 16, 2021 (Escondido) – In a win for foster youths, San Diego County Supervisors today voted unanimously to approve a motion asking state officials to grant a reprieve to the San Pasqual Academy, a boarding school for foster youths slated to close later this year.

 

The school has been a safe haven for foster youths, who found a home at the academy when they were unable to be placed with families as they aged out of the system.

 

Rev. Shane Harris, president of the People's Association of Justice Advocates, has led efforts to keep the school open. After today's vote, he stated, “I thank the Board of Supervisors for their unanimous support of this motion. Today we have taken a step toward reimagining what foster care can look like in San Diego County and beyond, starting with the nation's first residential educational campus for foster youth, San Pasqual Academy. The fight for a carve out to keep San Pasqual in existence in our nation begins now. Let's reimagine foster care together." 

 

Harris is an alumni of San Pasqual Academy, which he credits with helping him develop leadership skills after years in foster care.

 


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EAST COUNTY WOMAN FINDS LOST DIAMOND FOR NEIGHBOR

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo -left – courtesy of Michelle Marks)

March 16, 2021 (El Cajon) --- It takes a village to find a lost diamond. Such is the case with an El Cajon woman, Michelle Marks, who lost a round, one-carat diamond stone valued at $3,000 while walking her dogs in the Fletcher Hills area.

After Marks posted about the loss on a Nextdoor neighborhood forum,  70 people posted comments, some offering help--and one neighbor found the stone. That gifted hunter was Tiffany Johnson.

Johnson doggedly pursued finding the lost diamond that had become dislodged from Marks’ engagement ring--a ring that Marks’ husband, Eddie, had proposed with 27 years ago.


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MORNING GLORY BRUNCH FROG RACE GOES VIRTUAL TO BENEFIT ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE’S CENTER ON APRIL 17

East County News Service

March 15, 2021 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC) will host its signature Morning Glory Brunch Frog Race virtually this year.  The Virtual Morning Glory Brunch Frog Race will take place on Saturday, April 17, 2021 and will be celebrating the event’s 20th anniversary. All proceeds benefit St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, which educates and empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential. 

The community is encouraged to participate in the frog race by purchasing rubber frogs to be entered in the race. Volunteer “Frogettes” will splash from the end of the pool deck, without touching the frogs, to assist the frogs in reaching the finish line. Winners of the Frog Race will be announced during a live streaming event, and all proceeds from purchased frogs will benefit SMSC’s Garden and Aquatic Programs.   


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BIRD TALK: CINNAMON TEAL AT SANTEE LAKES

By Greg Dunne                                           

March 14, 2021 (Santee) - The ducks are out at Santee Lakes. Santee Lakes is a great place to do some bird watching, get a walk in, or of course do some fishing. And, if you are birding, maybe get a chance to see a Cinnamon Teal.

Of all the lakes out in the East County, I think the one with the largest population of ducks is Santee Lakes--from the Mallards, Northern Shoveler and Wood Ducks, to the American Wigeon. Plus you are guaranteed to always find the American Coots hanging out with the ducks. Santee Lakes is one of my favorite places to bird watch because of the wide diversity of species ranging from Osprey and Peregrine Falcons to Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers as well as Western Kingbirds. An estimate of over 200 species can be seen in a calendar year at Santee Lakes.


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