Communities

GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL TRUSTEE ELECTION: AREA 2

By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo: GUHSD Area 2 candidates Elva Salinas, Jim Stieringer, and Justin Slagle
 
October 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Voters in East County’s Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Area No. 2 will need to study the candidates carefully to choose their next trustee. Three candidates with divergent views will help chart the course for the area’s teens and next generation of workers and college students. 

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LA MESANS SHARE CONCERNS OVER PROTEST AND RIOT RESPONSE IN VIRTUAL LISTENING SESSION

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 7, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa residents voiced their concerns over the La Mesa Police Department response to the May 30 civil unrest and riot, also offering suggestions for future improvements in an online listening session held last night by Hillard Heintze, the firm hired by the city to conduct an independent investigation. 

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DYING MOUNTAIN LION CUB SAVED BY SAN DIEGO HUMANE SOCIETY'S PROJECT WILDLIFE IN RAMONA

East County News Service

October 7, 2020 (Ramona) -- An orphaned mountain lion cub who arrived at San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife — Ramona Campus in critical condition is finally feeling better after weeks of intensive care by medical staff.

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SENATOR JONES JOINS RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVES OCT. 12 AND 15 IN ESCONDIDO AND VALLEY CENTER

East County News Service
 
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in Escondido and Valley Center for local residents to donate blood along with Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee), Escondido Chamber of Commerce, Valley Business Association, and representatives of the American Red Cross of San Diego.
 
PLEASE USE THIS LINK TO RSVP.
SPONSOR CODE: SenatorJones
 
Donors are must to make an appointment before showing up to donate in order to manage the flow of donors appropriately in alignment with social distancing practices. 
 
If you are unable to attend these blood drives but would still like to donate blood, please use this link to find other events.

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PADRE FEVER: POSTSEASON 2020 PLAYOFFS DURING A PANDEMIC

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson) 

Oct. 6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) The San Diego Padres, having reached postseason play, will be playing tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Arlington, Texas.

The pandemic has changed the way the season was played; the season was shortened and fans were not allowed in Petco Park. But, the Padres' organization has provided a way for fans to watch, in a group environment, by creating an official series of  Padres' drive-in events to celebrate and cheer together in their first postseason apprearance in fourteen years. 

Or, you can watch, and cheer, at home. 

The Postseason Drive In Events are held near Petco Park at Lexus Lot. The drive-in events sold out against the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild card series.


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SANTEE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo, left to right:  Elena Levens-Craig, Dianne El-Hajj, Sarah Kirk
 
October 6, 2020 (Santee) -- In the growing city of Santee, five candidates are on the ballot for two school board seats (No. 2 and No. 4) in this K-8 grade district. Both incumbents are running for re-election.  Three have completed our candidates’ questionnaire.

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ALPINE UNION SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo: John Paul Sullivan, the only candidate who responded to our questionnaire.
 
October 6, 2020 (Alpine) -- Alpine residents may vote for two candidates for school board this year from a slate of three. Two of the candidates are running for reelection and there is one newcomer to learn more about. The trustees serve a four-year term. Unlike other school boards in the region, there are no women on the board or on the ballot this year. 

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GEOGLYPHS OF THE DESERT AUTHOR TO SPEAK OCT. 8 AND 28

East County News Service

October 6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Did you know that October is California Archaeology Month?  Consider marking the occasion by signing up for a talk by Anne Morgan, co-author of Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest: Earthen Art as Viewed from Above. The mysterious and beautiful geoglyphs found in the desert southwest are one of the largest concentrations found outside of Peru’s Nazca Lines.


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LAKESIDE UNION SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall

October 6, 2020 (Lakeside) -- A diverse slate of candidates is running for office at the Lakeside Union School Board. There are five candidates on the ballot and residents may vote for two new trustees. The candidates are: Ginny Whitt Bell, Stacy K. Coble, Lara Hoefer Moir, Charles Plante, and Rhonda Taylor.

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PUMPKIN EXPRESS ROLLS OUT HALLOWEEN RIDES -- WITH SOME CHANGES

East County News Service

October 6, 2020 (Campo) -- Join the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association in its annual Pumpkin Express Halloween Celebration.  Come ride decorated vintage railcars through the San Diego county mountains as fall descends upon Campo, CA.  Walk through a themed Display Building complete with Halloween scenes, a pumpkin patch, and our creepy cast of ghosts and ghouls.


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POWAY ONSTAGE PRESENTS STEVE POLTZ “QUARANTINE BLUES” LIVE IN YOUR HOME OCT. 14-28

East County News Service

 

October 5, 2020 (Poway) – Alternative folk singer Steve Poltz will present “Quarantine Blues" presented by Poway OnStage and taped live at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.  “Quarantine Blues” includes many new, unrecorded songs and quirky wit.


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COUNTY HOSTS VIRTUAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOP OCT. 15 ON CAMPO ROAD CORRIDOR REVITALIZATION PLAN

East County News Service

 

October 4, 2020 (Spring Valley) - The County of San Diego – Planning & Development Services (PDS) will host a virtual community workshop for the Campo Road Corridor Revitalization Plan on Thursday, October 15 at 4 p.m.  The plan covers the section of Campo Road in the Casa de Oro community. 

 

 

 


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SUPPLEMENTAL BALLOTS TO GO TO EAST COUNTY VOTERS IN DEHESA, HARBISON CANYON AND GRANITE HILLS

Source:  County of San Diego

October 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Voters in Dehesa, Harbison Canyon and Granite Hills will soon see a supplemental set of election materials in addition to their regular mail ballot from the Registrar of Voters office. The Registrar was misinformed about which voters are eligible to vote on the Crest/Dehesa/Harbison Canyon/Granite Hills Community Planning Area Crest member, planning group contest. As a result, the local contest was not included in the sample ballot and voter information pamphlets or the vote-by-mail ballots set to start arriving in mailboxes Monday.  


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LA MESA CREDIT UNION ROBBERY SUSPECT IN CUSTODY, CASH RECOVERED

East County News Service

October 3, 2020 (La Mesa) – A suspect accused of brandishing a knife and demanding cash from a teller during robbery of the Navy Federal Credit Union on Grossmont. Blvd. in La Mesa on September 30 is in custody.

After the robbery around 10:02 a.m., the suspect fled the scene in a vehicle with an undisclosed amount of currency. He was located driving away from the area by responding La Mesa Police Department officers and followed to the 4500 block of Winona Avenue in San Diego, where a traffic stop was initiated.


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REVIEW OF NICETIES - HISTORICAL DIVERSITY AT THE MOXIE THEATRE THROUGH OCT. 4

By Kathy Carpenter

October 3, 2020 (La Mesa) - Moxie Theatre finds a way to bring us entertaining digital theatre with Niceties by Elenor Burgess. The play is powerful, thought provoking, emotionally challenging entertainment--perfectly timed for the climate of the country.


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HIGH SPEED CHASE THROUGH EL CAJON AND SANTEE ENDS AFTER COLLISION

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A suspect who failed to yield for a traffic stop in El Cajon early yesterday morning led officers from multiple law enforcement agencies on a high-speed pursuit through three cities. It took deployment of a spike strip, a taser and a struggle with Sheriff’s deputies to ultimately arrest 53-year-old Larry Route of San Diego.

The incident began at 1:42 a.m. when Deputy Young from the Sheriff's Lakeside substation saw a vehicle drive through a red light at the intersection of North Magnolia Avenue and East Bradley Avenue in unincorporated El Cajon.The driver of the vehicle failed to yield for a traffic stop and a traffic pursuit ensued into the City of Santee. The suspect vehicle collided into the center median at Halberns Boulevard and Mast Boulevard but continued to drive at a high rate of speed on to State Route 52 into the City of San Diego, according to Sergeant Anthony Portillo.

San Diego Police Air Support (ABLE) responded as deputies coordinated a tire deflation deployment with the California Highway Patrol (CHP).


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JONES' MEASURE EXTENDING IMMUNITY FOR SKATE PARKS SIGNED INTO LAW

Original bill by Jones was for a four-year pilot program

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Lakeside Skate Park

 

October 1, 2020 (Sacramento) - Senate Bill 1003, a measure authored by State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) which extends the immunity from liability that local governments receive when operating skate parks, was signed into law last night by Governor Gavin Newsom.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: MAYOR RACQUEL VASQUEZ MAKING LEMON GROVE THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE

By Chris Ernest Nelson

Retired Mount Miguel High School Teacher

October 1, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Lemon Grove has the “Best Climate on Earth.”  Yes, that’s true enough, but we should not stop there. Mayor Racquel Vasquez is committed to making Lemon Grove also the Best Place to Live.  Since her election in 2016, she has brought to city government a new energy and a commitment to improving the environment for all the residents of Lemon Grove. She is determined to make city government more modern, efficient, fiscally prudent and responsive to public interests.


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LEMON GROVE MAYORAL CANDIDATE JERRY JONES RELEASES FINANCIAL PLAN FOR CITY’S RECOVERY

East County News Service
 
October 1, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Councilman Jerry Jones, one of four candidates running for Mayor in Lemon Grove, has released a detailed financial plan to address the city’s structural deficit and strive to balance the budget.  While he supports a full cent sales tax increase following community discussion, his budget does not rely on any increased sales tax revenues in a time when sales tax revenues have dropped due to COVID-19. Instead, he is banking on legalization of recreational cannabis and a cannabis tax, as well as digital billboard revenues. He also outlines his priorities for expenditures.
 
Below is his proposal, in his own words:

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LAKESIDE FAMILY GROWS 1,600 PUMPKIN

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 1, 2020 (Lakeside) – The Fredricks family in Lakeside is once again vying to earn the title of biggest pumpkin grown in San Diego County this year—and maybe ever.


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PADRE DAM MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 
 
 
By Mike Allen
 
Photos, top left to bottom right:  Division II candidates Augie Scalzitti, James Sly and Suzanne Till; Division IV candidate Augie Caires
 
 
September 30, 2020 (Santee) - The 2020 election will have two seats on the Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s five-member board of directors up for a vote, but only one is being contested.
 
The Division II seat that has been held by Augie Scalzitti for four terms dating back to 2000 has two other contenders: James Sly and Suzanne Till. In Division IV, Director Augie Caires is unopposed. 
 
Scroll down for our interviews with all four candidates.

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LA MESA POLICE RELEASE NUMEROUS PHOTOS OF SUSPECTS WHO LOOTED PIERRE’S JEWELERS ON MAY 30-31

25 arrests made so far, including 4 La Mesa residents
 
East County News Service
 
September 29, 2020 (La Mesa) -- As a result of the civil unrest event that occurred in La Mesa on May 30th – May 31st, 2020, over 50 crimes, including arson, vandalism, burglary, and theft, were reported by victims and documented by the La Mesa Police Department. Although the exact amount of damage is still being calculated, it can be reported that these crimes resulted in millions of dollars of losses to victims in the local area.

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LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: PART TWO

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo, left to right:  Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson.

September 29, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters in Lemon Grove will fill two full-term seats on the school board from a slate of three candidates. (In a previous story, we reported on the two candidates for the short-term seat.) The three candidates for the full-term seat are Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson. 

In spite of being one of San Diego’s smallest school districts with 4,000 students in grades preschool though middle school, Lemon Grove is a microcosm of what’s happening in schools and homes during the pandemic. Children are trying to study at home with parents instead of qualified teachers, joblessness has taken its toll, and the fight for racial injustice has taken to the streets.

Read on to learn what these three candidates say from the town that claims to have the “best climate on earth” and has a history of combating racial injustice in education. 


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FIVE CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD

Part 1 in a 2-part series

By Robin N. Kendall

September 20, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters have many choices this year to fill three open seats on the five-person Lemon Grove School Board. In November of last year, the district was faced with a vacancy when former school board member Katie Dexter resigned. April Leon was appointed to fill the seat until this election, when voters could choose who would serve the remaining two years. Now Leon, the appointed incumbent, is seeking to be elected. Greg Shibley is running against her.

East County Magazine emailed a set of questions to each of the candidates for school board. Below are the responses from April Leon and Greg Shibley, candidates for the short-term seat. In the next story, part 2, we report on the candidates for the full-term seat.


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ECM TO HOST EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUMS

 

Video of district 2 forum is now posted.  Click here to view video. 

Video of the district 4 forum is now posted. Click here to view video.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, top row:  District 2 candidates Humbert Cabrera, Stephanie Harper, Juan Carlos "Charlie" Mercado, Michelle Metschel and Martin Van Dinteren

Second row: District 4 candidates Estela de los Rios, Phil Ortiz, and Dunia Shaba

 

September 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - East County Magazine will host two forums for El Cajon City Council candidates:

District Four:  Monday Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

District Two: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.

The forums will be on Zoom and livestreamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine.  Video will also be posted later on our website for those unable to watch live.  

 

The public can send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org up until noon the day of the forum.

 

Ten candidates are on the ballot in the highly competitive District 2 and 4 races.  (In District 3, Councilman Steve Goble is running unopposed.)

All candidates in District 2 and 4 have been invited. Eight have agreed to participate. In District Two, participants will include Humbert Cabrera, Stephanie Harper, Juan Carlos Mercado, Michelle Metschel and Martin Van Dinteren.  In District Four, participants confirmed are Estela De Los Rios, Councilman Phil Ortiz, and Dania Shaba. The fouth candidate, Billy Thigpen, advised ECM that he is suspending his candicacy and endorsing De Los Rios.

Below is information on all candidates running in Districts 2 and 4. Click each name to view the statement of qualifications submitted to the city of El Cajon.


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EL CAJON’S CLIFF ALBERT SHARING BROADCASTING WRITING TIPS AT SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB WEBINAR

East County News Service

September 28, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon resident Cliff Albert, news director at KOGO-AM Newsradio 600 and one of San Diego’s leading radio news personalities for the past 35 years, will share his favorite broadcast writing tips at the San Diego Press Club’s next “Write Better Right Now,” a one-hour webinar from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 30. 


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CREST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S NEW OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROGRAM SHINES IN THE ERA OF COVID

By Kendra Sitton

September 27, 2020 (Crest) -- Crest Elementary School has been shrinking for years, with less and less students enrolled every single year since 2003. Today, however, they have a list of over 90 families wishing to enroll in the school, some from outside the Cajon Valley Union School District. The difference between 2020 and the last 17 years is one program that makes outdoor learning a key part of education at the school.

The school in a rural area east of El Cajon held its first Crest Outdoor Immersion program over 10 days this summer. School officials plan to bring the program into a year-round setting in a two-year pilot program where students spend three days in the classroom each week and two days exploring the outdoors. The classrooms will have multiple grades in them.

At the first in-person Cajon Valley Union School District meeting since the pandemic began, the support for the program from students, parents, teachers and members of the board was evident as supporters wearing blue shirts filled the board room with chairs spaced apart.


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SDG&E NOTIFIES APPROXIMATELY 700 BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO PREPARE FOR POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS DUE TO SANTA ANA WINDS AND FIRE WEATHER WATCH

September 27, 2020 (San Diego) – Due to elevated fire weather conditions and forecasted Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has notified certain backcountry residents that it may have to turn off power in order to reduce wildfire risk in the coming days. Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) are approved by state regulators as an important safety tool to mitigate fire risk during dangerous weather conditions.

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for Monday for inland San Diego County mountains and foothills. Weak to moderate strength Santa Ana winds are expected to arrive today, peak Monday morning in strength and become weak to moderate by the end of the day. In preparation, SDG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center to monitor conditions 24/7 and has organized personnel and pre-staged materials and equipment for response.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: DINNG AL FRESCO AT GIARDINO’S IN LEMON GROVE



 

By Miriam Raftery

September 27, 2020 – Giardino’s Neighborhood Cucina in Lemon Grove has set up a large outdoor dining pavilion where you can dine al fresco in the COVID era. (There are also indoor tables available, if you prefer).  Doing our part to help support local restauranteurs in these challenging times, our family recently savored the flavors there.

We started with a cheese and meat charcuterie board I enjoyed a house specialty Anchovie Parpardelle, a wide pasta noodle dish served with anchovies, capers, olives, roasted tomatoes and bread crumbs, which was delicious.


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RACIST HATE GRAFFITI DEFACES CHALDEAN AND SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN EL CAJON

A Catholic church nearby was also targeted with graffiti early Saturday

By Miriam Raftery

September 27, 2020 (El Cajon) – Yesterday, St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Diocese in El Cajon posted this message, along with disturbing video:  “This morning our beloved Cathedral was defaced with pentagrams, upside down crosses, white power, swastikas, BLM, etc. It reminds us to pray for my brethren in Iraq that are facing persecution. Pray for the criminals who did this.”

The odd combination of hate symbols fueled speculation over who was responsible.  Some community members theorized that a group might have sought to discredit another group, since it seemed unlikely that a support of Black Lives Matter or Joe Biden would spray paint racist symbols such as swastikas and the words “white power,” nor would a neo-Nazi or white supremacist want to promote BLM or Biden.  The pentagram, a symbol associated with satanic cults, is not affiliated with either either the far right nor leftist groups named.


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