Communities

JULIAN WELCOMES VISITORS BACK



By Bobbi Zane

June 18, 2020 (Julian) --Julian shop and restaurant owners are now back open to serve visitors, though the rules have changed in the historic gold rush town located in San Diego's back country.

"Visitors no longer need to stay at home,” says Robin Boland, manager of the Julian Chamber of Commerce. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the Chamber had earlier asked visitors to stay away to prevent brining the virus to the mountain town which customarily thrives on tourism.

Restaurants and one-of-a-kind charming shops have lined both sides of Main Street for many years. Julian is also known for excellent restaurants, though Julian is most faous for its apple pies, known as the new gold that draws visitors to Mom's Pie House and Julian Apple Pies.


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LA MESA TASK FORCE ADOPTS AGGRESSIVE SCHEDULE IN HOPES OF GETTING POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD ON BALLOT

By Kendra Sitton

Photo: Jack Shu has proposed a ballot measure to create a police oversight commission for La Mesa.

June 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- In a meeting Wednesday, June 17, the Citizen Oversight Task Force set a plan in motion that could culminate in a November ballot initiative to bring a strong police oversight commission to La Mesa.

After missing several meetings due to the coronavirus, the group resumed meeting in the wake of mass protests and riots over the La Mesa Police Department’s mistreatment of the Black community.


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CHP STEPS UP SAFETY ENFORCEMENT ON SR 67 AKA "SLAUGHTERHOUSE ALLEY," TO PREVENT DEADLY MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing
 
June 17, 2020 (El Cajon) – California Highway Patrol (CHP) will deploy additional officers on State Route 67 from Interstate 8 in El Cajon to Ramona between June 21 and September 30. The goal is to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes caused by unsafe speed, following too closely, unsafe lane changes, improper turning, and other primary crash factor violations by motorcyclists and other drivers.
 
Many crashes in California end in death or injury as a result of individuals speeding or driving aggressively. From January-December 2019, provisional statistical data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) El Cajon Area database revealed 230 injury crashes involving motorcycles and 20 fatal crashes involving motorcycles in El Cajon
CHP’s boundaries.

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DEPUTY INVOLVED IN LAKESIDE SHOOTING IDENTIFIED; SUSPECT HAD FIRED MULTIPLE SHOTS AT OFFICERS AFTER ALLEGEDLY BATTERING GIRLFRIEND

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 17, 2020 (Lakeside) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department has identified Andrew Sudbury as the deputy who shot and injured Dustin Banzhof in Lakeside following a domestic violence dispute. Deputy Sudbury has worked for the Sheriff’s department for six years and is stationed at the Lakeside station.

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ANIMAL ATTRACTIONS: SAN DIEGO ZOO AND SAFARI PARK SET TO REOPEN JUNE 20

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2020 (San Diego) – Roaring back after the COVID-19 shut down of the past three months, the world famous San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Pasqual are set to reopen  to the public on June 20.  However, admissions will be limited and hours are reduced to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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SMITH & WESSON, GUN DEALER, OTHERS SUED OVER CHABAD OF POWAY KILLING

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

Photo:  John Earnest, shown during September 2019 court appearance, is a defendant in suit along with his parents. Pool photo

June 17, 2020 (Poway) - Brady United has opened a new front in the gun-control wars, filing a lawsuit that targets gunmaker Smith & Wesson and the San Diego shop that sold the firearm tied to the Chabad of Poway killing.


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HELP SOUGHT TO IDENTIFY THOSE WHO LOOTED PIERRE’S JEWELERS IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police Dept. is asking for public help to identify suspects caught on surveillance video breaking into and looting Pierre’s Jewelers on La Mesa Blvd. the night of May 30th, when dozens of businesses were looted and others burned following protests.  


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JUSTICE FOR TREVON HARRIS PROTEST BRINGS LEMON GROVE COMMUNITY MEMBERS TOGETHER

By Briana Gomez

June 16, 2020 (Lemon Grove) - Approximately 50 people gathered at San Miguel Elementary School, Saturday June 13 for the start of a protest in memory of Trevon Harris, a black adolescent killed by a man driving a vehicle on San Miguel Avenue in Lemon Grove last year. 


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GROSSMONT COLLEGE HIRES MARSHALL T. FULBRIGHT III AS VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

June 16, 2020 (El Cajon) - Grossmont College announced today that it will hire Marshall T. Fulbright III, Ed.D., as its new vice president of academic affairs. Fulbright will join the college on July 1.


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FERN PLATT HALL LIVES A LIFE OF GOOD DEEDS

By Mimi Pollack, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Jeff and Fern (Platt) Hall with their dog Chico

June 16, 2020 (La Mesa) - Growing up in the last century, it was not always easy being outside of the box.  In most cultures and countries, one followed a certain path:  go to school, work an eight-hour job, get married, have kids, etc. For those of us who didn’t follow all or part of the path, we were mostly accepted, but with questions. For that reason, I have always admired humans–especially women--who lived their lives by their own rules and beliefs.  A good example of someone who has lived both a life of adventure and service is Fern Platt Hall. She is a good example of a kind, but no nonsense, adventurous spirit.


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CITY OF LA MESA HIRES NEW ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER CARLO TOMAINO

East County News Service
Photo: Tomaino, Carlo - Assistant City Manager
Source: City of La Mesa, California
 
June 16, 2020 (La Mesa) -- After an extensive, national recruitment process, Carlo Tomaino has been chosen for the Assistant City Manager position for the City of La Mesa,. Mr. Tomaino comes to La Mesa after thirteen years at the City of Lake Forest, California where he was the Economic Development/Housing Manager for the past three years. Mr. Tomaino was responsible for Lake Forest’s economic development programs, including business attraction and retention strategies, marketing outreach, and communication. He coordinated the economic development function with city departments and outside agencies.

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LA MESA DISASTER RECOVERY FUND REGISTRATION PROCESS NOW OPEN FOR AFFECTED BUSINESSES

East County News Service

A convenient online registration process is now available for La Mesa businesses damaged during civil unrest overnight on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31 to receive money from the La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund.

The East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC) is supporting the effort initiated through the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. It will receive and manage the applications on its website.

“We had one single objective at this stage of this process: making registration and documentation as easy and quick as possible,” said Jo-Marie Diamond, President and CEO of the East County Economic Development Council.  

Businesses can register through an online form on the East County Economic Development Council website. Applicants able to complete their registration by Friday, June 26 and have it verified will be part of the Phase I distribution.


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DEPUTY SHOOTS, MAN IN LAKESIDE WHO FIRED SHOTS AMID DOMESTIC DISPUTE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM  news partner 10 News

June 15, 2020 (Lakeside) – Dustin Banzhof, 39, was shot by a Sheriff’s deputy and arrested last night after Banzhof reportedly fired multiple shots during a domestic dispute.

Deputies responded at 8:30 p.m. to the 11600 block of Hi Ridge Road in Lakeside, where a woman had locked herself in a bedroom with her two children in an effort to hide from the children’s estranged father, who was inside her home.


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PEACEFUL UNITY RALLY ROARS INTO LA MESA

By Henri Migala

Rebecca Jefferis Williamson also contributed to this report.

Photo, left, by Henri Migala: La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez speaks with protesters

June 14, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Before you could see them, you could hear them.  With a rumble that made the air vibrate, over 215 motorcyclists from approximately 15 motorcycle clubs rolled into the parking lot across the street from the police station in La Mesa. The riders joined another 150 protesters who were waiting at the parking lot for what was billed as a “Unity Ride Meets Unity Protest”. 

This was the very site of the now infamous clash between La Mesa police and protesters that happened on Saturday, May 30 during the national protests over police violence prompted by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer now charged with murder.


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LA MESA SETTLED SUIT WITH HELIX HIGH STUDENT IN OFFICER USE OF FORCE INCIDENT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Student walk-out at Helix Charter High School in January 2018 

June 15, 2020 (La Mesa) – The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday that the City of La Mesa quietly signed an agreement back on Sept 5, 2019 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Helix Charter High School student over a use-of-force incident shown on a video that went viral.  


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EL CAJON FIRE KILLS TWO DOGS; THC EXTRACTION LAB FOUND ON SITE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

June 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – A fire last Wednesday that killed two dogs at 1660 Via Elisa in El Cajon started in the bedroom and back deck. The cause is “most likely accidental,” with “no evidence of a criminal cause” despite a THC butane oil extraction lab found on the premises, says Greg Hampton with the San Diego Sheriff’s department.


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EL CAJON CHURCH FEEDS THE POLICE

East County News Service

June 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – Members of Foothills Christian Church in El Cajon responded by recently providing a free lunch and dinner as an expression of appreciation to the El Cajon Police Department.


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PROTEST AFTERMATH: SANTEE COUNCIL SAYS IT HAS TO DO BETTER JOB

By Mike Allen

June 14, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council looked at itself in the mirror after a fortnight of national protests and rioting following the death of George Floyd, and found the reflection wasn’t all that great.

Stunned by an outbreak on several nights of blatant racist taunts and violence, allegedly by outsiders, the leaders of the predominantly white city said they need to conduct some serious soul-searching about their attitudes regarding race.

“Maybe this city has buried its head in the sand for too long,” said Mayor John Minto. “If the perception that (racism) is here, then it’s here.”

Councilman Rob McNelis, who has often publicly denied allegations of racism in the city, said he took full responsibility for being among those who did indeed ‘bury his head,’ unwilling to look at how many people of color say they are treated.


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AS WEATHER HEATS UP, COUNTY OPENS COOL ZONES -- AND OFFERS FREE FANS FOR THOSE HOMEBOUND WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of County News Service

June 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – As summer approaches and temperatures heat up, the County will open several “Cool Zones” starting this week.  The Cool Zones will be open from Monday through Friday between 12 noon and 5 p.m.at the following inland locations:


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LA MESA GIRDS FOR “UNITY PROTEST AND RIDE” SUNDAY, JUNE 14

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police Department has sent an alert out to inform the public of a protest planned tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the La Mesa Police Department.  The LMPD advisory indicates the protest is expected to be peaceful and that protesters free speech rights will be respected, but that mutual aid from law enforcement agencies across the county are prepared to respond to protect La Mesa if that situation changes.

According to a flyer posted on social media sites, the “Unity Protest” will welcome motorcyclists from clubs across the region in a “Unity Ride” starting in San Diego and ending at the LMPD station, where two weeks ago a protest against police violence that began peacefully ended in assaults tageting police and a barrage of nonlethal weapons fired at protesters, followed by a rampage of looting, vandalism, and the burning of buildings and vehicles.


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PEDESTRIAN KILLED IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service

June 12, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – A 65-year-old man was struck by a vehicle last night at 7:02 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway and Vista Avenue in Lemon Grove. He was transported via ambulance to Scripps Mercy hospital, but died there of his injuries, says Sgt. Aaron Montan with the San Diego Sheriff.

Neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be factors in the collision, which is being investigated by the Lemon Grove Traffic Division of the Sheriff’s department.

Anyone with information about this case can call the Lemon Grove Station at 619-337-2000.


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EAST COUNTY FIRE INVESTIGATION

CORRECTION: Previous versions mistakenly refered to Lakeside. It should have read El Cajon. Read update here.

East County News Service

June 12, 2020 (El Cajon) – The San Diego County Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson detectives are investigating the cause of a fire yesterday in El Cajon, says Sergeant David Chamoo.

Deputies from the Lakeside substation responded at 2:44 p.m. to the 1600 block of Via Elisa Drive for a structure fire that threatened adjacent structures due to strong winds. The officers made evacuation notifications to nearby residences until the fire was extinguished.


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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: DANCING COWBOYS AT TEXAS ROADHOUSE WELCOME BACK CUSTOMERS


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery 

June 12, 2020 (El Cajon) - Texas Roadhouse restaurant in El Cajon is back open after the COVID-19 shutdown and already drawing a wait list.  Arrive before five for some great dinner specials.  I got a tender BBQ pulled pork dinner with all the fixings for just $10.99, chilling out with an Armadillo Punch.

As an added bonus, enjoy some dancing cowboys and cowgirls -- actually the wait staff, kicking up their heels with some Western-style line dancing. Yeehaw!


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LA MESA BUSINESSES FILE DAMAGE CLAIMS AFTER RIOT; ATTORNEY HAS TIPS ON LOSS CLAIMS DUE TO RIOTING OR PANDEMIC

GoFundMe Site raises over $200,000 to help local businesses

By Mike Allen

Photos by Henri Magala

June 12, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Steve Clay first got wind that his family’s package mail business, The Postal Annex, was being looted from an app he has on his phone.


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ILLEGAL BONFIRES HEIGHTEN RISKS AS FIRE SEASON ARRIVES: CAL FIRE HALTS BURN PERMITS

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo by Paul Kruze, left:  Bonfire in Rancho San Diego ignited nearby foliage, prompting fire crews to respond.

June 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Cal Fire has banned burn permits effective immediately, as temperatures rise across our inland region. The no-burn proclamation will remain in effect indefinitely.

Two recent illegal bonfires in a single night swiftly burned out of control recently, prompting responses by firefighters witnessed by this ECM journalist. Those incidents highlight the dangers of open burning, as temperatures rise and brush dries out across our inland region with summer drawing near.


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MORE ARRESTS MADE FOR CRIMES DURING RIOTS IN LA MESA

 

Scroll down for images of more crimes commited during the May 31 La Mesa riot, including arsonists not yet apprehended

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: This image of looters circulated widely on social media.

June 12, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police yesterday announced new arrests related to the May 30 riot in La Mesa, the latest for looting stores at Grossmont Center and the La Mesa Springs shopping center. Though the riots occurred in the aftermath of a Black Lives Matter protest over police use of force, those arrested so far include white, Hispanic and black suspects.


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LA MESA COUNCIL VOTES FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF PROTEST AND RIOT RESPONSES; HEARS HEATED COMMENTS FROM PUBLIC

By Briana Gomez

Photo by Paul Kruze: Officers guarding City Hall, where the City Clerk's office was set afire during the riot  on May 30

The City of La Mesa held a heated livestream city council meeting Tuesday with council members socially distanced via zoom,  the first public meeting since the May 30 riots that followed protests for black lives.

The Council unanimously voted to have an outside investigator review police, fire department and other city agencies’ actions during the protest and rioting that ended with multiple businesses looted, vehicles burned, two banks and a historic building burned down.  

Council members reviewed their agenda before public comments, most of which criticized the La Mesa Police Department for its recent treatment of the black community, perceived mismanagement of what began as a peaceful protest, and for not preventing the city from burning down during riots that ensued.


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LA MESA POLICE SHOT LESLIE FURCRON FOR CRYING "MURDERERS," LAWYER SAYS

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

Photo:  Leslie Furcron, a 59-year-old grandmother who was injured during a protest in front of the La Mesa Police Department, thanked her hospital caregivers but said she is still very weak and will need nursing care. Photo by Chris Stone

June 11, 2020 (La Mesa) - Leslie Furcron spoke for three minutes outside La Mesa City Hall on Wednesday — her first public remarks since being shot in the face during a La Mesa police station protest. But her lawyer said she was wounded for being heard saying “Murderers.”


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WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS IN MID-JUNE: BUTTERFLY RELEASES PLANNED

East County News Service
 
June 11, 2020 (El Cajon) -- As of June 15, The Water Conservation Garden reopens for members and reopens to the public on June 16, but with a small admission fee for non-members. All visitors in June will receive free ice cream and popsicles, as well as having the opportunity to visit the Dorcas E. Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion to view butterflies throughout June. Butterfly release dates are planned June 15, 19 and 27.

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CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT STUMBLES IN PR SNAFUS OVER RACIAL SLUR, SECRET MEETING AT CLOSED HOTEL, AND PLANS TO KEEP SCHOOLS CLOSED THIS FALL DESPITE MANY OBJECTIONS

Board to decide future use of distance learning technology at 1 p.m. today; Superintendent apologizes over staff comments

Story and photos by Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 11, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District’s carefully controlled public relations moat has been seriously breached over the past week with embarrassing social media comments, news of secret district meetings, and documents accidentally shared by a district employee, as reported by San Diego television and newspaper media outlets.  

One report was about a CVUSD school district employee and the revelation of a document of a secret meeting held over the weekend involving Dr. David Miyashiro and four district Trustees (except not Jill Barto) at the shuttered Marriott Coronado Resort and Spa.

The district also had two protests by parents yesterday outside district headquarters, one over racism concerns raised by staff comments, the other objecting to a district plan to continue distance learning instead of in-person classes this fall -- a vote delayed until an emergency session convening this afternoon after parents raised vigorous objections.


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