Communities

TWO DEAD IN FIERY ROLLOVER ON I-8

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 10, 2020 (Jacumba)  -- A fiery vehicle rollover near the In-Ko-Pah brake check in Jacumba Hot Springs on Interstate 8 yesterday afternoon claimed the life of two patients and injured a third.
 
Cal Fire and the California Highway Patrol responded to the accidents.  First responders rescued two patients from the wreckage, both with major injuries. One was transported via air ambulance to a hospital Cal fire reports, but the other died at the scene, according to Cal Fire. A third victim was found dead in the vehicle.

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LA MESA AUTHORIZES RESTAURANTS TO SET UP OUTDOOR DINING AREAS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo, taken prior to the pandemic: Curbside, one of La Mesa's newest eateries, was designed for only limited outside seating. The new executive order could enable restaurants such as Curbside to expand onto sidewalks or streets, with permission of the City Manager and adherance to other laws.

July 9, 2020 (La Mesa)  -- The La Mesa City Manager today issued an executive order under emergency powers granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order temporarily allows use of public and private outdoor areas by eating establishments for dining, after county health officials banned indoor dining for three weeks starting July 6 due to a growing number of coronavirus cases including some tied to restaurants and bars.

Restaurants must obtain written authorization from the Director of Community Development and comply with all social distancing and other COVID-19 related health orders, as well as all other laws. This includes city and county emergency orders, state laws such as Alcoholic Beverage Control rules, and federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Per the executive order, there is no City fee charged or permit required for businesses that receive authorization to use public and private outdoor areas for dining.  Businesses interested in obtaining written authorization for temporary use of public and private outdoor areas should contact Allyson Kinnard, Senior Planner at akinnard@cityoflamesa.us.


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RESCUED EAGLE DIES

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 9, 2020 (Alpine) – An Bald Eagle rescued in Alpine has passed away, despite valiant efforts by the San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife to save the ailing bird brought to their facility on the Fourth of July.
 
The fledgling eagle was found dehydrated on the ground at Camp Barrett and rescued by SoCal Parrot, which brought the eagle to Project Wildlife. It received intravenous fluids, oxygen, treatment for mite and diagnostic testing; results are still pending.
 
Monday the young bird was able to stand and accepted hand feeding from volunteers, but still needed oxygen.
 
So staff members sedated and anesthetized the Bald Eagle for a thorough exam.But Nina Thompson, interim director of marketing and communications for the San Diego Humane Society reports, “This morning the juvenile bird was having more difficulty breathing, despite receiving supplemental oxygen in the critical care unit at our Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center." Thompson continues, "Our highly trained medical staff knew they had to find out why the bird was not able to breathe.”

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EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING ISSUED FOR DESERTS

East County News Service

 

July 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning Saturday through Monday for San Diego County’s deserts, where temperatures of 115 to 120 degrees are expected.

 


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HIKING, EXPLORING, LEARNING, FUN; LOTS OF FREE STUFF TO DO IN JULY

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photos: Courtesy County of San Diego Communications Office, (Photo, left) at Waterfront Park's south fountain

July 9, 2020 (San Diego County) - It’s the summer of coronavirus — and to keep it from spreading we’re staying home more, foregoing big vacations and looking for new ways to entertain and educate kids who have been home for months.

Well, here’s some good news. There are still some great, fun, free/or inexpensive things that kids, families and adults can do in July. And we’ve got a list!


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LAWSUIT FILED OVER CAMPO WIND PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Donna Tisdale fears massive wind turbines will ruin life at her rural ranch, pose severe wildfire and safety hazards for neighbors and tribal members

View Lawsuit

July 9, 2020 (Boulevard, CA) – A federal lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the U.S. Department of Interior and agency officials challenging their approval of  Campo Wind facilities on tribal land, including 60 wind turbines each 586 feet tall on 2,200 acres, as well as Boulder Brush energy facilities on adjacent private land. 

“The project is a dangerous and completely unnecessary industrialization of high-quality wildlife habitat in an area with an extremely high wildfire risk and frequent low-flying military, commercial and private aircraft,” states the suit filed by the nonprofit Backcountry Against Dumps along with Boulevard residents Donna and Ed Tisdale, whose ranch adjoins the project site with a half-mile shared border.


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FATAL PEDESTRIAN COLLISION IN EL CAJON

East County News Service
 
July 9, 2020 (El Cajon) – An elderly man was struck by a vehicle yesterday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the 500 block of North Second Street in El Cajon.  He was treated at the scene and transported to a hospital by Heartland Fire Department medics, but died at the hospital.
 
According to Lt. Jason Taub with the El Cajon Police Department, a preliminary investigation and interviewing witnesses indicates that a silver Ford F-150 was traveling southbound on North Second in the left-hand turn lane, when the pedestrian was “illegally crossing from west to east between stopped vehicles.  The driver of the Ford had a green light and the pedestrian stepped in front of his moving vehicle and was struck.”

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BIG-RIG FIRE ROASTS LOAD OF MEAT ON I-8

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy: Lakeside Fire Protection District

July 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A big-rig truck’s brakes overheated and caught fire on Interstate 8 west in Lakeside, Monday.

Flames quickly spread to the truck’s load of over 40,000 pounds of raw meat according to the San Diego Union Tribune and LA Times, or 41,000 pounds, according to the Sacramento Bee, News Break and NBC.

The pungent smell of roast pork spread across the area.


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RESTAURANT IN A DAY: COMMUNITY PITCHES IN TO HELP POPULAR RAMONA EATERY MOVE OUTSIDE

By Miriam Raftery
 
Update: Photo, left: Marinade on Main's parking lot has been transformed into an outdoor dining patio, thanks to the generosity of community members.
 
July 8, 2020 (Ramona) – When San Diego County Health officials ordered indoor restaurants closed effective yesterday, Vineyard Grant James owner Susanne Sapier leaped int action to help Marinade on Main, a farm-to-table fresh restaurant in Ramona, remain viable.  So she sent out an email to community members asking for help to create a “restaurant in a day” – in the parking lot.
 
The email asked community members to donate pop-up tents, umbrellas/shade coverings, tables, chairs, café lights, misters, ground covering, wall coverings such as lattices or antique doors, plants, large pots to hold plants or trees, and old furnishings to serve as a hostess station and stand for dishes.

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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.

FATAL RABBIT VIRUS FOUND IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: VACCINE IS AVAILABLE FOR PET RABBITS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Jackrabbit, cc by SA via Bing
 
July 8, 2020 (San Diego) – For the first time, deadly rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHDV2) has been found in San Diego County. A wild jackrabbit found dead in Poway tested positive for the disease, Patch.com reports, citing the House Rabbit Society.

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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.

ILLEGAL FIREWORKS SPARK FIRES AND A BARRAGE OF COMPLAINTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot of KCAL video showing llegal fireworks across Los Angeles

July 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With fireworks shows cancelled or not allowing on-site viewing due to COVID-19, use of illegal fireworks skyrocketed across southern California. This video by KCAL shows a panorama of illegal fireworks in Los Angeles, where an illegal fireworks display burned down eight apartments and injured five people, CBS reported.

In a normal year, July 4th fireworks cause 19,000 fires nationwide. But this year, residents across San Diego County and elsewhere say the problem was far worse.

San Miguel Fire Department, in response to an ECM records request, confirms their firefighters were dispatched to halt three fires caused by fireworks. One near Campo and Millar Ranch roads burned down 10 trees near a wildlife preserve and church.  Another firecracker ignited a neighbor’s backyard on Redfield Street. A third was spotted in a Spring Valley canyon behind Barcelona Street.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: RACCOON IN THE HEART OF EL CAJON

East County News Service

July 6, 2020 (El Cajon) - Robert Gehr sent in this photo of  a  masked intruder – a raccoon—that visited the grounds at his apartment complex in the heart of downtown El Cajon.   

 Raccoons are nocturnal, omnivorous, can grow up to 60 pounds and can run up to 15 miles per hour. This particular night visitor was attracted by cat food left out by a neighbor, Gehr said.

http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/ca/facts/mammals/raccoon.html


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SHERIFF SEEKS HELP TO FIND TEEN MISSING SINCE MAY 7

Update July 7, 2020:  Today, Christalyne Suyat contacted the Sheriff's department to let them know that she is safe, according to a press release sent today by the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's department.

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Today, the Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s Station announced it seeks public help to find Christalyne Suyat. The 19-year-old was last seen on  May 7 and was reported missing by her family on May 14.

She is believed to be staying in the areas between Spring Valley and Chula Vista; there is also a possibility she may be in a hospital, according to the missing persons flyer.

She has a rose tattoo on her right hand, a Roman numeral tattoo on her left forearm, and a mole on her left cheek. She is Hispanic with brown eyes and brown hair; she is 5 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds.


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EL CAJON REOPENS COVID RENTAL AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

East County News Service

July 6, 2020 (El Cajon)- Today, the City of El Cajon is briefly re-opening its rental and utility assistance program to accept a limited number of applications.


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MILLER DAIRY REMEMBERED IN NEW EXHIBIT AT PARSONAGE MUSEUM IN LEMON GROVE

By Helen Ofield, Lemon Grove Historical Society

Photos: Lemon Grove Historical Society

July 5, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Since Miller Dairy's founding in 1926 and its demise in 1985, Lemon Grove has looked back at its noble agrarian past and its unique persona as an urban-rural enclave, and wiped away a few tears — because once there were cows. As recently as 1983, 300 cows roamed the 16-acre Miller Dairy smack in the middle of town.

You could see, hear and smell the cows of Miller Dairy everywhere. At dawn, you heard them lowing in their stalls as the Miller sons, Ralph, Ed, Pete and Bill, milked each Holstein. At dusk, you heard the jangle of cow bells as the herd walked back into the barn for a repeat performance.


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$500 REWARD FOR DOG LOST DUE TO FIREWORKS: CHECK THESE SITES IF YOU HAVE A LOST OR FOUND PET

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 5, 2020 (El Cajon) – Each year, more pets go missing on July 4 than any other night of the year. Fireworks the last two nights locally frightened many dogs and cats, prompting some to run off and become lost. Pawboost has now set up lost and found pet sites on Facebook for local communities to help reunite lost pets with their owners. 


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EL CAJON ADDS SEWER TAXES ONTO COUNTY PROPERTY TAX BILLS

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2020 (El Cajon) – The city of El Cajon has launched a public outreach strategy to educate the public about change in billing for sewer services. On May 23, the Council voted to put sewer taxes onto the County of San Diego’s property tax roll, a move that reduced the approved rate by 2%, according to a memo sent to the Mayor and City Council on July 2 from City Manager Graham Mitchell. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: BORDER WALL IN JACUMBA WILDERNESS THREATENS GROUNDWATER FOR COMMUNITIES AND AN ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE CRUCIFIXION THORN

By Craig Deutsche

July 5, 2020 (Jacumba) - There have been a number of articles in large newspapers about the border wall and legal challenges. Most probably the story in California is only a detail in the big picture, although there might be several unique concerns here. One concern is that the Congressional designation of the Jacumba Wilderness in 1994 is very explicit and very restrictive in what is permitted within the boundaries.

More recently in 2019, the Department of Homeland Security waived seventeen federal environmental laws where border security was involved in Imperial County. These included the Wilderness Act of 1964, the National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Waters Act, and the Antiquities Act of 1906. It is under this umbrella that the work proceeds. What is less clear, is whether it is possible to set aside state and county regulations that may otherwise apply.

The pipe shown in the photo runs five or six miles from several wells outside the Jacumba Wilderness Area to the construction area at the border. The pipe is 12 inches in diameter and is intended to provide water for concrete. [Aggregate for the concrete is visible in the second photo beside the equipment.] This water is drawn from a rather limited aquifer underlying several small communities in western Imperial County.


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SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT FREEZES NON-ESSENTIAL EXPENSES DUE TO COVID-19, WILL HEAR PROPOSED BUDGET JULY 10

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2020 (Spring Valley) – San Miguel Fire District’s board of directors will consider the 2020/2021 budget at a July 10th hearing due to COVID-19.  The finance committee has proposed freezing all non-essential and discretionary spending due to unanticipated costs of the pandemic estimated at less than $172,000.


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HUMANE SOCIETY WORKS TO SAVE YOUNG BALD EAGLE IN EAST COUNTY ON FOURTH OF JULY

By Miriam Raftery

Updated July 5, 2020 from Nina Thompson at Project Wildlife: The juvenile bald eagle, which has not yet developed its white head feathers, is now standing on its own and accepting food.

July 4, 2020 (Alpine) – Our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, is rarely seen in San Diego County, where only a handful of nesting pairs have been documented.  Today, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, local wildlife workers are fighting to save the life of one found in the Alpine area in hopes of helping  the large raptor regain its indepedence.

“On this July Fourth holiday, San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife admitted a Bald Eagle.The magnificent bird was rescued and brought to us by SoCal Parrots, after it had been observed on the ground for a couple of days at Barrett Honor Camp,” says Nina Thompson, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications for the San Diego Humane Society.

The Bald Eagle is dehydrated, has been given fluids and  has also been treated for mites, Thompson writes in an email to ECM. 


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SIGHT OF NAZI SWASTIKA FLAG STUNS EAST COUNTY MOTORISTS ON I-8

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

Photo:  Smartphone images of SUV with Nazi flag parked near Alpine Albertsons. Photos by Albert Aguilar

July 4, 2020 (Alpine) - Who’s driving around East County with a Nazi flag on their rear window? And why?

Interstate 8 motorists and an Alpine resident have posted pictures and video of a red-and-black SUV with the black swastika since Monday.


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WHERE TO FIND FIREWORKS IN EAST COUNTY THIS JULY 4TH

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Due to COVID-19, several of East County’s most popular 4th of July celebrations have been cancelled. But several others have revamped to provide fireworks displays with social distancing and/or virtual celebrations.

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LAKESIDE MAN KILLED WHILE JAYWALKING

East County News Service

Photo: CC by NA via Bing

July 3, 2020 (Lakeside) – A Lakeside resident, 50, was struck and killed last night when he crossed Mapleview Street west of Ashwood Street, not in a crosswalk.

The victim entered traffic directly in front of a Hyundai Tucson SUV, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Christy.

“The driver of the Hyundai immediately stopped and remained on scene,” says Officer Christy. The driver, 71, from San Diego, was not injured, nor was his passenger.

CHP and fire personnel responded  immediately but despite lifesaving efforts, the pedestrian succumbed to his injuries at the scene.


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FOUR WILD MICE COLLECTED IN CAMPO AREA TEST POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a California mouse

July 2, 2020 (Campo) - Four wild mice collected in routine monitoring in open space in the Campo area have tested positive for hantavirus.

County officials are reminding people they should never sweep or vacuum up after rodents if they find them in living spaces like homes, garages, sheds and cabins, but instead use “wet-cleaning” methods.


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LA MESA FARMERS MARKET IS OPEN AGAIN

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2020 (La Mesa) – Now you can once again purchase farm-fresh produce directly from local farmers. The La Mesa Certified Farmer’s Market has reopened for in-person visitors on Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. The market is  located along La  Mesa Blvd. between Palm Ave. and 4th Street, but with some changes due to COVID-19.

The farmer’s market was briefly closed, then opened for pre-ordered curbside delivery only. Now the market is back open to the public, but with the following rules, provided by the La Mesa Village Association:


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RENEGADES, ROCK HOUSES, AND RESORTS: NEW BOOK CHRONICLES EAST COUNTY HISTORY

 

By Larry Johnson, President, Mountain Empire Historical Society

July 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Have you driven down scenic Highway 80 through its eastern stretch of San Diego County and noticed a lone chimney standing like a silent sentinel in a field, or a very old building that appears to date back to a previous era and wondered about their history?

If so, a new book written by historian and author Cherry Diefenbach called Renegades, Rock Houses and Resorts…the Stories of Jacumba Hot Spring and Surrounds may be just the ticket.

This nearly 500-page book provides a comprehensive history of the area using more than 1,200 photos, hundreds of old newspaper articles, and personal accounts from the descendants of early settlers. Many of the photographs have not been published elsewhere.

Finished after nearly five years of research, the book chronicles the colorful history of local mountain and desert comunities including Bankhead Springs, Boulder Park/Desert View Tower, Boulevard/Manzanita, Hipass/Tierra Del Sol, Jacumba Hot Springs, Live Oak Springs, Mountain Springs, and Oasis.

 

 

 


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PHOTOS OF THE MONTH: HORNED LIZARD, A FORMIDABLE FIGHTER

Debbie Ekhaml took these close-ups of a horned lizard (also known as a horned toad) in East County. 

Resembling a miniature dinosaur, the horned lizard has an impressive array of protective features ranging from camouflage to spiked horns to an ability to puff itself up and even squirt blood at an attacker.


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FIRST ROUND OF RELIEF FUNDS DISTRIBUTED TO 27 LA MESA BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING CIVIL UNREST

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Don Buxton, owner of Play It Again Sports, accepts La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund relief check. His store suffered looting, fire and smoke damage.

July 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – Relief checks of $5,000 each from the La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund were distributed to 27 business owners on Tuesday, in the first of two rounds of funding.  


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT’S ANNUAL WATER QUALITY REPORT AVAILABLE ONLINE

Source: Helix Water District

June 30, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District’s 2020 Water Quality Report, which documents the quality of its treated water throughout 2019, is now available in English at hwd.fyi/wqr2020-english and Spanish at hwd.fyi/wqr2020-espanol.

The annual water quality report contains important information about the sources and quality of customers’ drinking water. As in years past, Helix Water District tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state of California health standards for drinking water.


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COUNTY EASES RULES FOR WINERIES AFTER ECM REPORT, BUT IMPOSES CURFEW FOR RESTAURANTS AND BARS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Woof N' Rose Winery in Ramona wil now be able to remain open, serving wine on an outdoor patio, under the county rule change allowed today.

June 30, 2020 (San Diego) – One day after ordering bars, breweries and wineries to shut down, county health officials today revised that order to allow most to stay open. That’s a big relief to East County wineries, which can now continue to offer winetasting outdoors without food. Wineries, breweries, distilleries and bars with indoor seating can also stay open, provided they serve alcohol with food. Those without food service licenses can team up with a restaurant or food truck.

The changes came after East County Magazine published an article quoting prominent wine owners voicing concern over the future of our region’s wine industry and hours after ECM's editor reached out to Supervisor Dianne Jacob to inform her staff of the winery owners' concerns. ECM's editor also posed a question on this issue during a virtual press conference with county health officials.

Today, the County also imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on all restaurants, bars and other eating/drinking establishments that serve alcohol. Patrons in the door by 10 p.m. may stay until 11 p.m. nightly.  Violators are subject to a $1,000 fine.


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