Communities

MAYOR WELLS HEADLINES CONCERT AUG. 28 IN EL CAJON TO HELP THE HOMELESS

By Miriam Raftery

August 1, 2021 (El Cajon) – The Magnolia Center in El Cajon will host a concert on August 28 from 8-10 p.m. to benefit the East County Transitional Living Center that helps homeless individuals and families.  “An Evening With Mayor Wells” will feature El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, a talented musician, and his friends will provide live musical entertainment. A silent auction and painting demonstration will also be held.

RIGHT LANES AT FANITA DRIVE WB SR-52 CLOSED DUE TO MISSION FIRE, EXPLOSIONS HEARD BEHIND SPROUTS ON MISSION GORGE ROAD IN SANTEE

Update: All lanes open reports Caltrans San Diego, and Fire Scanner reports “[r]esources will be on scene mopping up the fire for the next couple of hours.”

By Jonathan Goetz

August 1, 2021 (Santee) – A vegetation fire nick-named the #MissionFire has closed the two westbound State Route 52 lanes at Fanita Drive, reports Caltrans San Diego.

@SDCountyFires broke the story on twitter and reports that crews have upgraded to a “high wildland response,” firefighter lingo for a serious response and a sign that this fire is being taken very seriously and may pose a great danger to the surrounding community.

The fire burned at least one acre and "multiple explosions" were heard in the area, behind Sprouts at 9361 Mission Gorge Road, they report.

This is a breaking story and updates may be posted above or in a new article.

If you have photos, details, or an eyewitness account on this or any local emergency please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org

Thanks to the Grossmont Healthcare District and San Diego Regional Fire Foundation for their generous sponsorship of our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts!

QUEEN FIRE BURNING NEAR JULIAN AND BANNER

Update: The fire is 75% contained, reports Cal Fire San Diego shortly before 5 p.m.

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

August 1, 2021 (Julian) - The #QueenFire has burned 15 acres near the Desert Queen Mine, approximately 2 miles east of Banner and 5 miles east of Julian near State Route 78.

The fire is burning in difficult terrain for ground crews. Cal Fire reported at approximately 3:18 p.m. that "[f]irefighters continue to make great progress from the air and ground."

THREE COUNTY PARKS CLOSED IN AUGUST DUE TO SUMMER HEAT

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

August 1, 2021 (San Diego's East County) - Three San Diego County parks will be closed for the month of August starting Sunday, a measure taken each year because of the month’s typically high temperatures.

Parks officials announced that El Capitan Preserve near Lakeside, Hellhole Canyon Preserve in Valley Center and Mt. Gower Preserve in Ramona will be closed.

BORREGO RESIDENTS ORGANIZE TO OPPOSE PREDATOR PLACEMENT AT DE ANZA GOLF ESTATES

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – The Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is leading efforts to oppose the state’s plan to place a sexually violent predator in the community.  A townhall meeting August 4 at 3 p.m. is planned at Anza Country Club, along with other actions.

MAN KILLED WHEN SUV STRIKES BUILDING IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

July 30, 2021 (La Mesa) – A 41-year-old man believed to be inside his workplace died at the scene after an SUV struck the building on Jul 28 at 5:30 p.m. According to La Mesa Police, drugs or alcohol are suspected of being a factor in the fatal crash.

The SUV was traveling eastbound on University Avenue when it left the roadway for unknown reasons and struck the building at 7373 University Avenue. The Medical Examiner’s Report indicates the victim worked in unit 101.

'JOYOUS' CELEBRATION FOR LA MESA'S UNION BANK, 14 MONTHS AFTER BURNING NIGHTMARE

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

Photo:  taking part were (left to right) Talon Dobesh, Aviana Dobesh, Union Bank president Greg Seibly, Union Bank head of community banking Lisa Roberts, CEO of MUFG Americas Kevin Cronin, branch manager Carlton Hill and Omar Salah, head of small business banking at Union Bank. Photo by Chris Stone

July 30, 2021 (La Mesa) - The night of May 30, 2020, two banks burned to the ground amid La Mesa rioting. The next day, officials of one, Union Bank, were making plans to rebuild at the same location.

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR MERLE WAKEFIELD PROPOSED FOR PLACEMENT IN BORREGO SPRINGS: HEARING SEPT. 13

East County News Service

July 29, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – The California Department of State Hospitals is proposing to place Merle Wakefield, a sexually violent predator, under conditional release at 1575 Yaqui Road in Borrego Springs.

Wakefield was convicted of felony rape in 1990 and of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under 14 in 1981.  He served time in state prison and was found in1998 to be a sexually violent predator. He has repeatedly been confined to a state hospital for treatment as a sex offender but in Dec. 2020, a judge granted his petition for conditional release. 

PASSAGES: FUND ESTABLISHED TO HELP FAMILY OF ANTHONY CANO, YOUNG LAKESIDE FIREFIGHTER AND FATHER WHO DIED

By Miriam Raftery

Memorial service and fund to help family of Anthony Cano announced



July 29, 2021 (Lakeside) – Anthony Cano, 27, dreamed of being a firefighter from an early age.  For the past five years, he was living his dream as a firefighter and paramedic with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, while enjoying family time with his two children, ages 7 and 2.  But on July 8, he passed away unexpectedly at his home in Temecula of undisclosed causes.

VINEYARD GRANT JAMES HOSTS “DOG DAYS OF SUMMER” PAW-TY JULY 31-AUG. 1

East County News Service

July 29, 2021 (Ramona) – Vineyard Grant James in Ramona invites you and your dog to celebrate “Dog Days of Summer” with a “paw-ty” on July 31 and August 1.

SECOND SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR MURDER OF DANTE LOPEZ IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

July 28, 2021 (Spring Valley)—Isak Espino, 25, was arrested yesterday and charged with the murder last month of Dante Lopez. Espino is the second suspect charged with murder in the case; George Gomez III, 21, was arrested on July 14. Both suspects are from San Diego.

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE HOSTS FAMILY END OF SUMMER PALOOZA AUGUST 3-5

East County News Service

July 28, 2021 (La Mesa) – You’re invited to bring the family for a three-day “Family End of Summer Palooza” hosted by Grossmont Healthcare District at Briercrest Park, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa.

LAKESIDE WESTERN DAYS AUG. 28 THANKS HEALTHCARE WORKERS

East County News Service 

July 27, 2021 (Lakeside) – The community of Lakeside is excited to welcome back its Annual Western Days Parade in historic downtown Lakeside on Saturday, August 28 at 9:35 a.m.  The theme this year is, “Thank You, Healthcare Workers.” Lakeside resident Dr. Benjamin “Ben” Aaron, the surgeon who removed the bullet from President Reagan, will be honored as the 2021 Grand Marshal.

The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce is excited to return to a spirit of community by supporting the Rodeo, local businesses and uniting the community. “We’re so happy to see our community get back together,” stated Lakeside Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kathy Kassel. “I look forward to this treat every year, especially this year.”

MEET THE CHIEF: LA MESA POLICE HOST FIRST OF FOUR COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS THURSDAY, JULY 29

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2021 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police Department has announced a series of four town halls for residents to meet newly appointed Police Chief Ray Sweeney and police staff. Each two-hour discussion is described as a community conversation and listening session.

The sessions, all on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., are:

July 29           Rolando Elementary School

August 5  Lemon Avenue Elementary School

August 12  Maryland Avenue Elementary School

August 19  Northmont Elementary School

PRO-ISRAEL RALLY HELD IN EL CAJON; PALESTINIANS MARCH IN PROTEST

Arabs, Jews, Black community, Latinos, and Whites divided between both groups

Story, video and photos by Briana Gomez

Photos, left: Latinos for Israel, photo by Briana Gomez, pro-Palestinian marchers, photo by Gary Fields

 

View a special ECM video report: https://youtu.be/YT4tOLvpGYA

 

July 27, 2021 (El Cajon) – Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups held large rallies Sunday afternoon in El Cajon that remained peaceful, though outside groups provoked skirmishes nearby. 

Shield of David hosted a “Stand with Israel” rally at 3 p.m. at Prescott Promenade in downtown El Cajon featuring Mayor Bill Wells and keynote speaker Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State under the Trump Administration.The event hosted a variety of other speakers as well as entertainment and Israeli food.  It attracted about 1,000 Jews and supportive community members who wanted to stand united against rising anti-Semitic violence, celebrate Israel, and listen to the speakers.

A counter rally took place at 2 p.m. at El Cajon City Park led by Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) in collaboration with other activist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. Leaders of these groups leveled criticism at organizers of the pro-Israel rally, which they viewed as divisive at a time of intense conflicts between Israel and Palestine, including recent bombings.

TICKETS FOR POWAY ONSTAGE “DELAYED” 30TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON GO ON SALE AUGUST 7; GATLIN BROTHERS OPEN SEASON

East County News Service
 
July 27, 2021 (Poway) - Poway OnStage announces its “Delayed 30th Anniversary Season" featuring a series of one-night-only performances in the 800-seat Poway Center for the Performing Arts.  The 2021-2022 Season presents a sensational selection of nationally and internationally recognized artists, and runs from September 2021 through May 2022.

SHOWERS AND POSSIBLE FLOODING TONIGHT, WARM WEATHER ON THE WAY

East County News Service

July 26, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) - The National Weather Service forecasts isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms in San Diego County’s mountains and deserts this evening, with flash flooding possible in some areas.  There is a chance of more thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon.

VACANCY ON LAKESIDE COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

East County News Service

July 26, 2021 (Lakeside) – The Lakeside Community Planning Group has an opening for a new member. Requirements are:

 

  • Must be 18 years of age and a registered voter in the County of San Diego
  • Must live within the LCPG boundary (map located on the LCPG website (https://lcpg.weebly.com/mapslinks.html)
  • Must be able to attend all monthly meetings (held on the 1st Wednesday of every month)
  • Experience with planning and land issues is helpful but not required

 

For more information, contact lakesidecpg@gmail.com

LA MESA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SEXUALLY ABUSING WOMEN AT U.S. EMBASSY IN MEXICO

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2021 (La Mesa) – Brian Jeffrey Raymond, 45, of La Mesa has pleaded guilty to "sexual abuse and admitted to the abusive sexual contact of numerous women, as well as photographing and recording dozens of nude and partially nude women without their consent during his career as a U.S. government employee" while working at the U.S. embassy in Mexico, according to a U.S. Justice Department press release.  The release indicated that some of the women who have accused Raymond lost consciousness.

LIBRARY EXPANSION ON AGENDA FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

Agenda also includes proposal to create a task force to promote arts and culture in La Mesa

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (La Mesa) – A proposal to form a task force to look at options for an expanded library will be on the agenda for the La Mesa City Council on Tuesday, July 27.   You can submit comments up to 300 words  to be read aloud at the Council meeting by the City Clerk; comments must be received by 4 p.m. Tuesdy at comments@cityoflamesa.us. Live public comments can also be made via Zoom.

The current La Mesa Library was originally intended as an interim step, after the old library was torn down to make way for a new police station. But the cash-strapped city never raised the anticipated funds for a larger, contempoary library and county matching funding evaporated. But many residents are advocating for the city to live up to its promises to residents.

The issue has sparked lively discussion on the La Mesa Happenings forum on Facebook.

CROWDED FIELD OF CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL SEAT

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (La Mesa) – Candidates have until August 6 at noon to file papers to run for La Mesa’s City Council in a November special election. The field is growing crowded, with eight candidates who have pulled papers to run so far, though one told ECM he has decided to drop out.

The candidates are vying to fill a vacancy left by Dr. Akilah Weber's election to the state Assembly. The election follows a turbulent year that included civil unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In alphabetical order, the eight candidates who have thus far filed papers to run  are:

LEAPING LIZARDS: PET MONITOR LIZARD LOOSE IN LAKESIDE

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (Lakeside) – If you see a large spotted lizard lumbering along in the Lakeside area, its owner asks you to call him. 

Joe Bishop posted on Facebook that he owns the monitor lizard, which is a pet that accidentally escaped.  Sightings have been reported on Marilla, Creekford and West Hill, according to Bishop, who lives on Riverview.

PALESTINIAN GROUPS PLAN PROTEST AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL RALLY IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (El Cajon) – A rally and march in El Cajon is being planned today at 2 p.m. by pro-Palestinian groups, in reaction to a “We are Israel” rally slated for 3 p.m. at a separate location that Palestinian leaders locally describe as "Zionist" and "anti-Palestinian."

Organizers of the “We are Israel” rally at 3 p.m. on Prescott Promenade at 201 East Main St. have stated that their event is in response to the record number of violent attacks on Jewish people and synagogues in the U.S. and in San Diego County, not policies in the Mideaast.

Organized by Shield of David, that rally is slated to include former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as keynote speaker and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells as one of several other speakers, as ECM reported.  Pompeo, as Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, broke with decades of U..S. foreign policy tradition by declaring that Israeli settlements in the West Bank did not violate international law. But Pompeo also helped broker a peace deal between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

CAR GAZE: A PHOTO SHOW JULY 30-31

East County News Service

July 23, 2021 (El Cajon)  - Spectators at the upcoming Cajon Classic Cruise events in downtown El Cajon will have two opportunities to view iconic autos: on the streets and at Car Gaze being held in The Gallery Without a Name, 134 E. Main St., where acclaimed photographers will offer their images of vehicles in a limited showing.

“A parked car can be, well, not much to think about,” said Jake Rose, an award-winning San Diego-area photographer. “But the right car, in the right place, conjures memories, mystery and curiosity. “Some photographers can’t resist what a car says about its place, an old car in front of an old building, a view back in time.”

LAMPLIGHTERS THEATRE PRESENTS “THE LAST FIVE YEARS” JULY 23-AUG. 15

East County News Service

July 24, 2021 (La Mesa) – Live theatre returns at Lamplighters Theatre after a 15-month closure due to COVID-19.  Lamplighters presents “The Last Five Years,” Tony-Award winner Jason Robert Brown’s poignant and smart contemporary musical of five years in the relationship of an ambitious young writer, Jamie, and his struggling actress wife, Cathy. The show runs July 23 through Aug. 15.

SADDLES IN SERVICE GOLF TOURNAMENT JULY 30 TO SUPPORT VETERANS, MILITARY AND FIRST RESPONDERS

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2021 (El Cajon) – Sponsors are needed for a golf tournament on Friday, July 30 at Cottonwood Golf Course in El Cajon for the “Saddles in Service” golf tournament.  The event will support local veterans, active duty military, and first responders receive mental health wellness and healing through equine assisted activities at Saddles in Service in Alpine, CA.

STABBING VICTIM DIES IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

July 21, 2021 (El Cajon) – A man found stabbed on July 18 at 2:20 p.m. has died at a local hospital. El Cajon Police responded to a medical aid call with Heartland Fire in the 1600 block of North Mollison Ave where “they located an unresponsive subject who had been stabbed at least one time,” according to Lieutenant Keith MacArthur.

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