EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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December 29, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

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

LOCAL

Supervisor Ron Roberts Elected SANDAG Chairman (KPBS)

County Supervisor Ron Roberts succeeds Santee Councilman Jack Dale for a one-year term at the helm of the regional planning agency. He's the first county supervisor to hold the post.

SDG&E request to lobby on community choice suspended  (KPBS)

A request from San Diego Gas & Electric to become the first utility in the state to form a separate marketing district that can lobby on the alternative energy program community choice aggregation has been suspended for up to four months.

A beautiful funeral: scenes from Chargers’ possible final home game (Sports Illustrated)

...More than 66,000 people showed up. Carolers sang in the concourse before kickoff. Three hundred young cheerleaders danced on the field at halftime. The Chargers rolled the Dolphins, 30–14, and “Stay Just a Little Bit Longer” blared over the loudspeaker. It was a beautiful funeral. Quarterback Philip Rivers choked up in the huddle. Safety Eric Weddle cried in the end zone. Some players lingered until 6 p.m., while fans belted out “San Diego Super Chargers,” a disco dirge…He stood at his locker in his socks, having handed both cleats to strangers, along with his cap. “Football is more than wins and losses here,” he said. “It’s community.”

Reforesting begins at park devastated by beetle (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The reforestation of a county park in Ramona has begun after its campground was devastated this year by a small beetle that destroyed virtually every mature oak tree. It will be a long time before the rich canopy that once defined the camping area at Dos Picos County Park returns, but officials say they have at least made a start.

Motorcycle club brings Christmas cheer to reservation (Ramona Sentinel)

It wasn’t jingle bells but rather the thunderous roar of motorcycles that signaled the arrival of Christmas for children living on the Mesa Grande Indian Reservation.

North County Homeless Shelters Hope To Stay Open All Year (KPBS)

Year-round shelters are designed to help a particular group of the homeless: those who are already working or are on track to becoming employed.

Aquaponics Farm To Triple In Size, Quadruple Homeless Funding (KPBS)

A Vista farming operation helps homeless San Diegans in North County develop job skills. It's also a revenue stream to help homeless families in the region.

STATE

California snowpack above normal for first time since 2012 (Times of San Diego)

California’s snowpack, crucial to the state’s water supply because it melts in the spring to fill streams and reservoirs, is above normal for the first time since 2012…The El Niño weather and oceanic phenomenon, characterized by a warming of the Pacific Ocean that often brings precipitation to California, is expected to help ease the drought over the next few months, but experts caution that the state’s woes are far from over.

California’s minimum wage increases to $10 in New Year (KPBS)

The minimum wage is expected be a hot topic in 2016. Starting Jan. 1, it goes up from $9 to $10 an hour in California. Some lawmakers say that's not enough.

In key solar decision, CPUC rejects utility scale plans (Desert Sun)

The California Public Utilities Commission delivered a major win for rooftop solar and a serious blow to the utility industry Tuesday, proposing to leave mostly in place a program that encourages homes and businesses to go solar.

Sacramento judge rules crisis pregnancy centers must post abortion notices (Sacramento Bee)

Crisis pregnancy centers in California are not having much luck so far stopping a new law that they argue violates their free speech rights by forcing them to promote abortion.

Judge skeptical of CPUC email claim (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A San Francisco Superior Court judge indicated Tuesday that processing public-records requests is not a regulatory duty governed by the state utilities code, but appears more of an administrative obligation under the state constitution.

CA industrial electricity rates now almost DOUBLE the national average

CA residential electricity costs an average of 40.7% more per kWh than the national average. CA commercial rates are 66.5% higher.  For industrial use, CA electricity is an astonishing 94.4% higher than the national average (September, 2015)....Sempra has considerably higher rates than our CA state average.   

Massive Methane Gas Leak Displaces Thousands In Los Angeles County  (NPR)

A major methane leak from a Los Angeles County natural gas storage field is spewing huge amounts of the potent climate change chemical into the air. Nearly 2,000 elementary students whose schools are nearby will have to enter different schools by mid-year. Low flying aircraft have been instructed to steer clear, and about 3,000 families have sought relocation. Several lawsuits have been filed on behalf of residents who say they've been harmed. Neither efforts to capture the leaking gas nor to seal off the damaged well have been successful.