Communities

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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SAN DIEGO'S LOCAL UMBRELLA MEDIA ENTERS INTO AGREEMENT WITH TOWNE POST NETWORK

Source:  Local Umbrella Media

March 14, 2021 (San Diego) - San Diego based monthly direct mail publication company Local Umbrella Media (LocalUmbrellaNews.com) announced today they have entered into an agreement with the Towne Post Network (TownePost.com), an Indiana-based cross-platform publishing company.


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YOUNG MAN STRUCK BY VEHICLE AND KILLED IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via ECPD on Twitter

March 13, 2021 (El Cajon) – A Middle Eastern man in his 20s was struck and killed by a gray Infinity shortly before 10 p.m. last night while crossing South Anza Street to enter his parked car. According to Lt Jason Taub with the El Cajon Police Dept., the victim was thrown approximately 180 feet from the collision site and died at the scene.  

The vehicle, a 2020 4-door gray Infinity, was traveling at a high rate of speed, according to witnesses. After hitting the pedestrian, the Infinity collided with a parked car in the 800 block of Anza.

Officers responding to a call reporting the collision with the parked car found the deceased man nearby, lying in an adjacent yard. 


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CITIZENS OF LEMON GROVE EXPRESS THEIR CONCERNS FOR FUTURE HOUSING ELEMENT PROPOSAL

By Angela Kurysh

 

March 13, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – On Tuesday, staff members from the City of Lemon Grove hosted a virtual Zoom webinar/workshop open to residents to address the future of housing in the area they call home. Although no Council members attended this workshop, it opened up a platform for the community to express their thoughts on this project.  


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DOUBLE SHOOTING AT SPRING VALLEY DISPENSARY; SHERIFF SEEKS TIPS

By Miriam Raftery and Rick Nothano

Photos by Rick Nothano

March 12, 2021 (Spring Valley) – Two shooting victims have been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries resulting from gunfire outside of an illegal marijuana dispensary in Spring Valley Wednesday night.

Sheriff’s detectives from the Rancho San Diego station responded to multiple calls of gunshots at 8:33 p.m. near Dolores Street and South Barcelona in the Casa de Oro neighborhood, an area where numerous illegal dispensaries have previously been raided and shut down.

Deputies found a 22-year-old shooting victim along with evidence of a shooting outside a dispensary at 9966 Dolores Street, unit 107, as well as a firearm, says Sergeant Karen Bloch.


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HOMELESS COUNT SHOWS HIGHER NUMBERS IN SANTEE

By Mike Allen

Photo via San Diego River Park Foundation, via Facebook

March 12, 2021 (Santee) -- The number of homeless people camping in and around Santee increased over the past year, according to a recent report given to the city.

At this week’s meeting of the Santee Community Oriented Policing committee, a representative from the San Diego River Park Foundation presented the results of a point-in-time count conducted last month.

The count, done over a week in February, focused on the San Diego River and adjacent areas and included the city of Santee.  It did not include direct contact with people because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said Jennifer Frey, program manager for the SDRPF.


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OWNER OF MENSWEAR STORE IN LA MESA AVOIDS JAIL TERM OVER SCUFFLE WITH REPORTERS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via ECM news partner 10 News
 
March 11, 2021 (La Mesa) – Peter Carzis, 77, owner of Peter’s Men’s Apparel in downtown La Mesa, was sentenced to two years of probation on Wednesday for destroying a TV reporter’s camera valued at $7,000.

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NEW MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK ON LIVESTOCK IN CARVEACRE NEAR ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Allen Doran, near Carveacre

March 11, 2021 (Alpine) – Three weeks after a suspected mountain lion attack killed 10 sheep and goats on Peutz Valley Road in Alpine, residents of Carveacre in the Japatul/Alpine area report more livestock killings that they believe were the result of a mountain lion and at least one cub. 


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LA MESA POLICE SEEK LEADS ON SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF JOK JOSEPH JOK, FOUND UNCONSCIOUS ON BANCROFT FEB. 27

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2021 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police seeks public help to identify who injured Jok Joseph Jok, who later died of his injuries. A possible vehicle of interest is also sought: a white 2009-2014 Ford F150. The vehicle is an extended cab, with a silver metal tool box, and possibly missing a front bumper. 

On Feb. 27 around 9:10 p.m., police responded to a call and found Jok lying on the eastern edge of the roadway on Bancroft Drive just south of Golondrina. He was unresponsive with injuries to his head and shoulder. He later succumbed to his injuries; the manner and means of his death remains under investigation.

Video surveillance shows vehicles in the area at the time of the incident. The La Mesa Police Department is actively looking for witnesses or any other information regarding this incident. 


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CAR FLIES OFF FREEWAY IN CASA DE ORO

By Henri Migala

March 10, 2021(Casa de Oro) -- A car travelling westbound on State Route 94 in Spring Valley lost control around 8:30 tonight and veered off the highway and into a Casa de Oro neighborhood below.  Described on the CHP incident page as a silver Mitsubishi, the vehicle tumbled down a hill, crashed through a fence and continued across the intersection of South Barcelona Street and Buena Vista Drive, into the grounds of an apartment building at 9938 Buena Vista Dr. The vehicle plowed through a fence and hedges at the apartments but did not damage the building.

No other cars were involved.

The driver of the vehicle, a man in his 50s, was taken to the hospital by ambulance.


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FIRE PITS AVAILABLE FOR RENT At LAKE JENNINGS

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 10, 2021 (Lakeside) – What could be cozier than a lakeside fire on a springtime evening?  Grab your marshmallows and chocolate for S’mores, roast hot dogs or get your best campfire stories ready – now you can rent a fire pit at Lake Jennings in Lakeside.

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PASSOVER SEDER MEALS TO GO AT TERRA AMERICAN BISTRO

East County News Service

 

March 10, 2021 (San Diego) – Terra American Bistro is offering Passover Seder meals for two or four people to go. Order by March 24 to pick up March 27 from 12-4 p.m.

 

The Passover feast includes a choice of entrees including grilled salmon, citrus roasted chicken with onions and apricots, brisket, or vegetarian stuffed peppers . All seder plates include charoset (apples, walnuts and spices), matzo, gefilte fish with horseradish, matzo ball soup (vegetarian option available), mixed greens, choice of two side dishes, and flourless chocolate cake/macaroons.


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LA MESA POLICE SAVE LIFE OF DRIVER AFTER OVERDOSE

Source: La Mesa Police

 

March 10, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Early this morning, La Mesa Police officers responded to a collision involving two vehicles near the intersection of Baltimore Drive and Fletcher Parkway. The first officer on scene identified that the driver had overdosed on an opiate and immediately administered NARCAN, saving his life. 

The driver was transported to the hospital for medical treatment. 


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STORMS BRING HIGH WINDS, COLD TEMPERATURES AND SNOW AT LOW ELEVATIONS

East County News Service

March 10, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – A multi-day storm is expected to continue today through Friday, with chilly temperatures and heaviest rainfall today. Snow could drop as low as 3,500 feet tonight and tomorrow, the National Weather Service predicts.

Treacherous travel and traffic delays are possible through mountain passes, including on I-8 in San Diego’s East County and I-15 in Riverside County due to freezing conditions and reduced visibility in snow and fog. Winds  with gusts up to 60 miles per hour could bring damage to temporary structures such as tents and canopies.


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VICTIMS’ FAMILIES AND FRIENDS RECALL SANTANA HIGH SHOOTING AT 20TH ANNIVERSARY CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

By Henri Migala and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
 
Photos by Henri Migala
 
March 9, 2021 (Santee) – A solemn community vigil, attended by about 100 community members including current and former students, was held on the campus of Santana High School in Santee on March 5th to mark the 20th anniversary of a tragic day.
 
Twenty years ago, on March 5, 2001, 15-year-old Charles Andrew “Andy” Williams Jr., killed two students and wounded 13 others with his father’s Arminius HW-7 22-caliber revolver, on the campus of Santana High School.

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LA MESA JOINS CITIES NATIONWIDE TO CAP FEES ON FOOD DELIVERY APPS; LORENA GONZALES PROPOSES SIMILAR BILL IN CALIF. STATE LEGISLATURE

By Alexa Oslowski

March 9, 2021 (La Mesa) – On January 26, the La Mesa City Council voted unanimously to pass a temporary emergency ordinance placing a cap on commissions that can be charged by delivery apps (Postmates, Uber Eats, etc.) to restaurants.

“People have been using delivery services during the pandemic at higher rates than they have in the past, myself included,” Councilmember Colin Parent said during the City Council meeting. “One of the things I’ve come to understand is some of those apps can charge really exorbitant fees.”

The ordinance, which was proposed by Parent, received overall support in comments by members of the public, which were read in the meeting by City Clerk Megan Wiegelman.


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LEMON GROVE HOLDS VIRTUAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON HOUSING MARCH 9

East County News Service

March 9, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – Do you have ideas about housing in Lemon Grove?  The city invites you to join a virtual community meeting on Tuesday, March 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. You can also fill out a community questionnaire on how the city can better address housing needs for everyone in Lemon Grove.

Your ideas could help shape Lemon Grove for years to come.


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RIVIERA SUPPER CLUB IS FIRED UP TO BE OPERATING AGAIN--OUTDOORS

By Angela Kurysh

March 4, 2021 (La Mesa) – With COVID-19 health guidelines being mandated, most restaurant owners have been contemplating the future of their businesses and whether they can continue to operate. Restaurant owner Derek “DJ” Mull took risks when deciding to re-invent The Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa during early last April.

“I think we kind of did it backwards, where everybody else was thinking about closing, we ended up quitting our jobs and opening a bar and restaurant at the beginning of the pandemic,” Mull explained.


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FIRED LA MESA POLICE OFFICER DAGES, FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES, SUES CITY SEEKING TO REGAIN JOB

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: screenshot from viral video showing Dages grabbing Johnson’s shirt
 
March 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – Former La Mesa Police Officer Matthew Dages has filed a lawsuit against the city seeking his old job back, Times of San Diego reports.  Dages was fired and criminally charged by the District Attorney with filing a false report against Amaurie Johnson, 23.  

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MOUNTAIN LION MAY HAVE KILLED LIVESTOCK IN ALPINE, INITIALLY INVESTIGATED AS ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE

East County News Service
 
Photo: CC by SA
 
March 7, 2021 (Alpine) -- A necropsy has determined that 10 farm animals found dead in Alpine last month may have been attacked by a mountain lion or another predatory animal, says Lt Anthony O’Boyle with the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: HUNDREDS PROTEST AS COUNTY PLANS $28 MILLION SPORTS COMPLEX ON ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE LAND IN ALPINE

By Alanna Light, 25-year Alpine resident

 

Photo montage, left to right:  Dianne Jacob, George Barnett and Travis Lyon

 

March 7, 2021 (Alpine) - For decades, Wright’s Field in Alpine has been a target for development.  Because of its rich natural resources and quality and diversity of plant and animal life, the land has long been protected from turning into a housing development, golf course, high school and an active sports park.  But now a controversial proposal would allow a $28 million, 26-acre sports complex to be built adjacent to land preserved by the Back County Land Trust. (BCLT) 


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LAMPLIGHTERS THEATRE PRESENTS ENCORE ONLINE PERFORMANCE MARCH 12-14: THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY

East County News Service

March 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa will present an encore virtual performance March 12-14 of “The Absolutely Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.”  For tickets, click here.


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ACTIVIST REV. HARRIS RALLIES LOCAL LEADERS TO DELAY CLOSURE OF SAN PASQUAL ACADEMY, BOARDING SCHOOL HAILED AS MODEL FOR FOSTER YOUTHS

By Briana Gomez

Photos via Rev. Shane Harris

March 7, 2021 (Escondido) -- Local activist and national civil rights leader Rev. Shane Harris is calling on the state to keep the San Pasqual Academy open, at least until the Dec. 2021 original projected closure date for the foster youth boarding school, and preferably longer. 

San Diego County child welfare officials were alerted by California regulators that the school would be closing by October of this year. 

San Pasqual Academy is a county-run boarding school in Escondido for foster youth, uniquely positioned between supervisorial District 5 and District 2. It is the first of its kind in the nation – the first residential academic home for youth who are dependents of the state. 


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SUPERVISOR VOTE ON FINAL APPROVAL TO RESTORE, IMPROVE EL MONTE RIVER VALLEY LAND IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

March 6, 2021 (Lakeside) -- San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to set aside $6.44 million to restore and improve roughly 98 acres of newly acquired open space, trails and recreational facilities in Lakeside’ scenic El Monte River Valley. The board hailed the action as a “great” project for the region.

The Board previously voted Feb. 10 to spend $3.2 million to buy the property that includes important coastal sage scrub, riparian scrub and riparian forest habitats, open space and already existing equestrian and youth sports playing fields. That action came after a petition signed by thousands and a march with hundreds of residents and Kumeyaay Native Americans urged support of the acquisition.

Board members envision the land as the home for future trail connections to other County parks, and recreational facilities for the public to enjoy in addition to the open space. The land is located nearby the County’s existing Cactus County and Louis A. Stelzer parks, and its future $18 million Lakeside Equestrian Park.


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TIN FISH RESTAURANT TO OPEN AT SANTEE LAKES

By Mike Allen
 
March 5, 2021 (Santee) -- About a year ago, Ed Kim was looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day, stocking up on supplies for his Tin Fish Restaurant at the end of the Imperial Beach Pier, anticipating a much busier day than usual.

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LA MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT FINDS DISCIPLINE NOT WARRANTED FOR DETECTIVE INVOLVED IN LESS-LETHAL FORCE DURING MAY 30, 2020 PROTEST

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2021 (La Mesa) - La Mesa Police Department’s (LMPD) review has concluded that Detective Eric Knudson should not be disciplined for firing a less-lethal weapon (a beanbag from a shotgun) during a protest outside the police station on May 30, 2020.  The beanbag struck protester Leslie Furcron in the forehead, causing serious injury.

According to LMPD, “The Department based its decision on the totality of the circumstances, an independent review by a qualified expert in the areas of use of force and less lethal munitions (R.K. Miller, National Training Concepts), and the absence of any significant violation of Department policies.”

The decision comes after the San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, on January 5, issued a written analysis and conclusion determining that Detective Knudson’s actions did not warrant any state criminal liability.


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OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO MARCH 5-12 HIGHLIGHTS ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN IN SEVEN NEIGHBORHOODS

OH! San Diego offers free, behind-the-scenes access to San Diego’s unique architectural and cultural gems through virtual, self-guided and socially distanced activities

Source: San Diego Architectural Foundation

 

March 4, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) announces the sixth annual Open House San Diego (O  H! San Diego) architecture and urban design event taking place on March 5 through 12. The program offers San Diegans a rare behind-the-scenes look at some of our region’s most impactful buildings and public spaces and encourages participants to discover something new.

 

In the spirit of inclusivity and a renewed focus on community, this year’s event will highlight a diverse mix of seven neighborhoods including Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, City Heights, La Mesa, National City, San Marcos and Southeastern San Diego.

 

Participants are invited to take part in a self-guided walking tour of La Mesa Village via the ArchiMaps app. Participants can also download and print a PDF Walking Map from the OH! San Diego website. 


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SUPERVISORS TO VOTE MARCH 17 ON AMAZON DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN EL CAJON

Update: This was unanimously approved by Supervisors.

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2021 (El Cajon) – San Diego County Supervisors will hold a hearing March 17 on construction of a proposed distribution warehouse that the developer plans to lease to Amazon.com.

The site, which is zoned industrial, is located at the northwest corner of Cuyamaca Street and Weld Blvd. near Gillespie Field. Although the County owns the land, the city of El Cajon has land use authority, but has not yet approved the project.

At a Supervisors’ meeting this week, the county delayed action until environmental studies can be reviewed. The County is relying on an environmental review done by the city of El Cajon in 2009 for a separate project, but public speakers contended that an updated environmental impact study is needed along with review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).


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