December 2020 Articles

HEAR OUR RADIO SHOWS FOR OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2020

Our radio shows from October through December 2020 are now online.  For links to listen plus an index with full list of topics and interviews in each show. Click here or click the "read more" link and scroll down for audio links below the index. (Audio files may take a few moments to load.)  

Shows included candidate forums for County Supervisor and El Cajon City Council districts, interviews with Helix Water Board candidates, breaking news on the COVID-19 surge and arrival of vaccines, the pardon of former Rep. Duncan Hunter, interviews with national election integrity experts, information on relief for businesses and renters during the pandemic, and more.

The East County Magazine Show airs Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m. on KNSJ, 89.1 FM.  Our shows rerun on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. (Note: Due to COVID-19 quarantines, some show dates aired reruns. Original shows are listed below.)

Audio: 


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LOCAL CASINOS CANCEL NEW YEAR’S PARTIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

December 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On most New Year’s eves, local casinos host lavish parties with amenities such as fireworks, dinner and dancing, and even a glittering ball drop reminiscent of Times Square in New York.  But not this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 343,000 Americans and 1.8 million people worldwide.

Local casinos are on tribal land, and as sovereign nations, tribes are exempt from state shutdown orders and gathering bans. But a check of websites for East County casinos including Barona, Golden Acorn, Jamul, Sycuan and Viejas found none promoting any New Year’s eve parties, though some are offering gambling promotions and Sycuan has live music in its bars.

Jamul Casino announced cancellation of all live music over New Year's.  Barona posted, “For your safety, there will be no New Year’s Eve events.”


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

December 31, 2020  (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more and scroll down.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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NEW CALIFORNIA RELIEF GRANTS FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS: APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED DEC. 30 THROUGH JAN. 8

Update: The deadline to apply has been extended until January 13.

 

December 30, 2020 (Sacramento) -- California's $500 million #SmallBusiness #COVID-19 Relief Grant website is LIVE. The first round of applications opens Dec 30 and closes January 8, but webinars on how to apply are being held every day at 11 AM. Register today at http://bit.ly/38tKcPp

Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.  To apply or get more information, visit  https://careliefgrant.com/ and scroll down for additional details.


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SPORTMIX DOG AND CAT FOODS RECALLED AFTER 28 DEATHS

East County News Service

 

December 31, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Sportmix dog and cat foods have been recalled after 28 dogs died and at least 8 were sickened, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday.  Tests found very high levels of aflatoxin, a toxin produced by mold on grains used in pet foods.

The products were sold through major retail stores and online nationwide.The Sportmix products are made by Midwestern Pet Foods. So far, nine lots are being recalled, but testing is being done to determine if more may also need to be recalled; ECM advises against using any Sportmix products.

These are the products recalled so far:


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SAN DIEGO MAN HAS NEW FAST-SPREADING STRAIN OF COVID-19; GOVERNOR EXTENDS STAY-HOME ORDER FOR THREE MORE WEEKS

Flu cases also rise; 171 reported in past week, with several patients contracting both COVID-19 and flu.

Local hospitals are cancelling organ transplants and cancer surgeries due to COVID-patients filling up hospital ICU beds.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Kristian Anderson of Scripps Research speaks on the newly discovered UK strain

December 30, 2020 (San Diego) – A new, fast-spreading strain of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in San Diego County.  A 30-year-old local man who has not traveled outside our county has tested positive for the new strain known as B.1.1.7., the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

Also today, the Governor extended the stay-home order for another three weeks with Southern California’s intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability at zero. The order will remain in effect until ICU availability is at least 15%.

Dr. Kristian Andersen, of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, where the new virus was identified in lab testing, stated, “We need to prepare” in anticipation of the new variant spreading rapidly here as it has in Britain, where the new virus prompted other European nations to bar travelers from the UK. 

San Diego-area hospitals are now postponing organ transplants and removal of cancerous tumors due to the strain on hospitals and ICU units.

"Going out to party on New Year’s Eve during a global pandemic is putting your life at risk and the lives of your friends and family,” said Supervisor Greg Cox in his final press conference, since he leaves office in early January due to term limits. He also urged everyone to get the flu vaccine to help ease the strain on hospitals.


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HAZ-MAT TEAM DISPATCHED TO SANTEE AFTER CRASH

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

December 30, 2020 (Santee)  - A Haz-Mat crew was dispatched to Santee today following a multi-vehicle crash that caused a chemical spill.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Mission Gorge and Cuyamaca Street late this afternoon.


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PASSAGES: REMEMBERING THOSE LOST IN 2020

East County News Service

December 30, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- They include the famous and infamous-- community and business leaders, a sports star, a youth sports coach, a wildlife expert, a hiking leader, foster parent advocate, loving parents and children, a civil rights leader and a notorious racist who once ran for Congress. They died of causes ranging from COVID-19 to other illnesses, accidents and  murder.  These are the people with strong ties in San Diego’s inland region, who passed on in 2020.


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COUNTY FIRE STARTS NEW YEAR WITH NEW NAME

By Donnie RyanCounty of San Diego Communications Office

December 30, 2020 (San Diego) - The year 2021 will mean a new name for the San Diego County Fire Authority as the organization has been recently renamed the San Diego County Fire Protection District.


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YEAR IN REVIEW: TOP NEWS STORIES IN 2020

By Miriam Raftery

December 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The most tumultuous year in recent memory began with the resignation of a local Congressman and the announcement that across the globe, China cancelled its Lunar New Year celebrations to mark the incoming Year of the Rat and ordered quarantine of 25 million people due to a dangerous new strain of coronavirus. 

Who could have imagined that the coming year would lead to a worldwide pandemic, widespread quarantines and economic lockdowns impacting virtually everyone?  

In addition, 2020 brought racial unrest, a riot in La Mesa, wildfires, and contentious elections, both locally and nationally. But there’s one point on which we can all agree:  we’re glad 2020 is finally over!

Below are the most significant news stories that impacted East County residents each month during this challenging year.


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FRIENDS OF WOMAN MISSING 17 DAYS: WHY CAN'T SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT DO MORE?

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

Photo:  Friends of East County’s Diane Mattingly are circulating these photos of her taken earlier this month, via Times of San Diego

December 29, 2020 (San Diego) - Friends and neighbors of Diane Mae Mattingly of the high desert near Anza-Borrego say she’s been missing more than two weeks but haven’t had much help from the Sheriff’s Department.


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FREEDOM RALLY DRAWS DIVERSE CROWD

By Briana Gomez
 
Photo:  Minister Vereta Wilson (@compton_conservative) addresses the crowd
 
December 29, 2020 (El Cajon) – A myriad of diverse, yet mostly unmasked attendees crowded around vendors and made their way toward a makeshift stage decorated with Christmas décor and a podium in front of the El Cajon City Council chambers, where a “Freedom Rally” was held on Dec. 27 in response to Governor Newsom’s recent shutdown of businesses.

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TRUMP PARDONS MARGARET HUNTER

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery
 
December 29,2020 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump last week pardoned Margaret Hunter, one day after also issuing a pardon for her estranged husband, former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter. Both pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal experience.

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PALOMAR NURSES PROTEST WAIVER OF NURSE-TO-PATIENT RATIOS AS COVID-19 SURGES: 1 IN 1,000 AMERICANS HAVE DIED OF THE VIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via CHEU:  Palomar Healthcare nurses at a protest earlier this month

December 29, 2020 (Escondido) – Registered nurses and caregivers will hold a car caravan from Palomar Medical Center to Palomar Health’s administration building today to protest a blanket waiver of nurse-to-patient ratios approved by the state Department of Health Tuesday. Nurses contend that the change is dangerous for patient safety.

The action comes as the California Office of Emergency Service announced plans to activate a vacant floor of Palomar Medical Center to handle COVID-19 patients. National Guard members arrived Wednesday to complete a buildout of the surge unit begun earlier this year. Hospital ICU units across Southern California are completely full, with zero capacity, currently due to COVID cases that have increased ten-fold locally since early November. CNN reported yesterday that one of every 1,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19.


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SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAINS; WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Laguna Mountain Lodge webcam

December 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy snow has fallen on Mount Laguna, while a lighter dusting of snow has blanketed the Cuyamaca and Julian communities. Elsewhere across the county, the cold winter storm brought much-needed rain.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through Tuesday. Elevations over 5,000 feet such as Mount Laguna may receive 14 inches of snow, with up to 20 inches at elevations over 6,500 feet such as Palomar Mountain. Bring tire chains if traveling in the mountain areas. Chains were required today on parts of State Route 79 and Old Highway 80, while a portion of Sunrise Highway was closed.


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PADRES LAND BLAKE SNELL AND YU DARVISH

East County News Service

Photo:  Blake Snell

December 28, 2020 (San Diego) - In probably one of the biggest offseason moves the Padres have ever made, the Friars signed top starting pitchers Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays and Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs, ESPN reports.


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'NOW IT'S THE SENATE'S TURN': ALL EYES ON MCCONNELL AFTER HOUSE APPROVES $2,000 CORONAVIRUS RELIEF CHECKS

Progressives in both chambers of Congress are pressuring the GOP majority leader to urgently hold a vote on the Covid-19 legislation

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license

December 28, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - Demands from progressive lawmakers and the public surged for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to urgently support and hold a vote on a bill that would boost coronavirus pandemic direct relief checks from $600 to $2,000 after at least two-thirds of Democrat-controlled House approved the legislation on Monday evening.


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MESSAGES AND VISIONS FROM HEAVEN

 

Sometimes God is a Homeless Man: A True Story of Heaven & Healing, by Kymm Civetta (Kymm Civetta, San Diego, 2020, 193 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

December 28, 2020 (San Diego) - Kymm Civetta, a resident of San Diego (Jamul), has written a thought provoking book that may very well challenge your beliefs and Christian faith; Sometimes God is a Homeless Man: A True Story of Heaven & Healing. Civetta, an ordained minister (Universal Life Church), singer and self-professed Christian “Clairvoyant,” chronicles her upbringing and transformation in this book.

Sometimes God is a Homeless Man, is a book about soul searching, as the author specifically states:  “Until finding Kevin’s book, I found myself in an ‘in between space’ as a ‘Clairvoyant’ but also a ‘Christian.’ Was there such a thing?” I find myself asking the same thing, and perhaps those reading this book may do so as well.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF’S CORNER: SHAKE THAT TREE – AS IN PROMPTLY REMOVE CHRISTMAS TREES TO PREVENT FIRES

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 27, 2020 (San Diego) -- If you’re having trouble parting with your Christmas tree, here’s a fact to motivate you: One-third (33 percent) of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. With this potential fire hazard in mind, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly encourages everyone to remove Christmas trees from their homes promptly after the holiday season.


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‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2020 IN EAST COUNTY

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through East County

Not a creature was stirring, in December 2020.

Cowboy boots were hung by chimneys with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

 

From Barona to Ramona, Jacumba to Jamul

East County folks in quarantine this Yule

Can’t party hearty with potluck dishes,

But they did send Santa these 2021 wishes.


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'UNCONSCIONABLE' ON CHRISTMAS EVE: GOP BLOCKS $2,000 DIRECT PAYMENTS FOR STRUGGLING AMERICANS

"The House GOP is spending this holiday season trying to block $2,000 survival payments for families struggling to keep food on the table."

By Jake Johnson, staff writer

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license 

December 24, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - On the morning of Christmas Eve, the House Republican leadership blocked Democratic legislation that would provide $2,000 relief checks to Americans struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, obstructing direct payments long supported by progressives and endorsed earlier this week by President Donald Trump.


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EL CAJON RALLY SHOWS WHY WE ARE LOSING THE BATTLE AGAINST THE PANDEMIC

By Henri Migala

Photo, left:  Maskless rally participants called for all businesses to open now, despite pandemic shutdown orders from the county and state.

December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) – A rally titled “All I Want for Christmas is Freedom” was held on Monday, Dec. 21 at El Cajon Centennial Plaza calling for a lifting of pandemic shutdowns.  The timing of the rally coincides with hospital ICU units filled to capacity across Southern California, after 18 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 and 323,000 Americans have died.

There are legitimate equity questions, such as why big-box retailers have been allowed to stay open while many small businesses have been ordered shut down, particularly after data obtained from San Diego County reveals that many outbreaks have been tied to large stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target. Although the event was promoted as an opportunity to support local small businesses adversely affected by restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, any rational discussion of those issues was largely overshadowed at the protest by speakers, including prominent elected officials, who urged attendees to openly and actively defy local and state restrictions. Some used such inflammatory words such as devil, battle, war, evil, Marxist, tyranny, socialism, 2nd Amendment, and even a reference to “killing babies like Planned Parenthood" that seemed largely out of context to a discussion of economic vs. public health concerns.

Eighteen “vendors” were set up, of which about half were small businesses selling products. The others were related to a political cause or agenda, such as recalling Governor Newsom, or opening San Diego. Approximately 150 people attended the event.


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OUTAGES ACROSS EAST COUNTY: POWER RESTORATION PLANNED FOR 6 PM CHRISTMAS EVE

By Miriam Raftery

December 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The SDG&E outage center reports that the utility has shut off power due to unsafe conditions in order to prevent wildfires  in numerous East County communities. Fortunately, the expected power restoration time is 6 p.m. tonight – just in time for holiday dinners and Santa’s Christmas Eve visits.

In addition to planned outages, there are several unplanned outages due to accidents or other causes, but all areas are expected to have power back on by early evening.  See SDG&E’s outage page for full details at https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map.

The following communities are impacted by the planned power outages:


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BRUSH FIRE PROMPTS THOUSANDS TO EVACUATE IN FALLBROOK AND CAMP PENDLETON AREAS

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alert Service

Photo via Cal-Fire on Twitter

 

December 24, 2020 (Fallbrook) – The #CreekFire which erupted in Fallbrook overnight has burned over 3,000 acres, prompting evacuation of thousands of residents. The blaze, which began shortly before midnight in the 37000 block of De Luz Road two miles west of Sandia Creek Drive. The blaze is 35% contained as of 8 a.m., San Diego Cunty Fire authority reports.

The fire has been burning west, into Camp Pendleton.

A temporary evacuation point has been established at Fallbrook High School, 2400 Stage Coach Lane, the sheriff’s department said.


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INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC STRATEGIES ANNOUNCES THE ADDITION OF TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS, EMPHASIZING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Source:  Institute for Public Strategies

December 23, 2020 (San Diego) - Southern California based nonprofit Institute for Public Strategies (IPS) is pleased to announce the addition of two new members of its board of directors, a group of dedicated leaders from the United States and Mexico.


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MOUSE NEAR SANTEE TESTS POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

A western harvest mouse collected in routine monitoring in open space along the border of Santee and San Diego has tested positive for hantavirus, County environmental health officials said this week.

County officials are reminding people that if they find rodents in their homes, garages, sheds or cabins they should never sweep up or vacuum up after them, but use “wet-cleaning” methods instead, to keep from breathing in the virus and getting sick.

Click "Read More" for more information and to review "Wet-cleaning" methods to safely clean up and dispose of mouse nests and/or droppings.


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NEW PROGRAM OFFERS PLAN B FOR REACHING RESIDENTS IN DISTRESS

By Michele Clock, San Diego County Fire
 
December 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- Imagine you’re having chest pains, or you’ve taken a serious fall inside your home. What if no one could get to the front door to let in firefighters?
 
A new program is offering a back-up plan, to ensure your front door doesn’t stand in the way of getting help.
 
San Diego County Fire’s Residential KnoxBox Program is now providing free lock boxes that will hold a spare copy of your house key. County Fire will install the box just outside the front door for quick fire department access. The boxes can only be opened by local firefighters responding to life-threatening emergencies. Fire personnel will be able to reach residents more quickly when seconds count.  

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EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL KILLS IDEA FOR AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS IN APARTMENTS TO COMBAT COVID-19

City still has $200,000 in rental, mortgage and utility assistance funds for residents in need
 
By Kendra Sitton
 
December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) — A proposal to give air filtration systems to low-income households put forward by El Cajon City Councilman Steve Goble failed to move forward in a special City Council meeting, where no one seconded the motion. 

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