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April 26, 2020 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:  



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


Hospitals eye return to elective surgery following governor’s announcement (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Beaches soon may reopen and hospitals are making plans to again perform elective surgeries in signs that restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are slowly easing.

Bill Walton bike ride raises $100K for COVID-19 causes (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Putting his star power to the pedal, basketball and local legend Bill Walton helped corral $100,000 in charitable contributions during his inaugural Bike for Humanity event.

SANDAG: San Diego Jobless Rate Jumps More Than Sixfold To 20.6% (KPBS)

South Bay communities have some of the highest unemployment rates, according to a new analysis from the regional planning agency. But even residents of wealthier communities such as La Jolla are seeing record job losses.

San Diego police submit case against weekend protester for possible criminal charge (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Days after hundreds of protesters gathered for a “Freedom Rally” in downtown San Diego, a woman who police say organized the protest could face a misdemeanor charge for allegedly encouraging others to violate stay-home orders meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Valley Farms Market donates thousands of meals to help those in need (KPBS)

…Valley Farm Market owner Derek Marso’s campaign to feed those in need started in March. Now over 3,000 meals have been given out countywide…People can sign up to get a meal or donate at here. Marso and his team prepare the meals for pickups on Wednesdays and Saturdays at his Spring Valley store. 

El Cajon looking at bonds to help with rising pension costs (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The El Cajon City Council is hoping the city will win court approval to use special bonds to deal with its rapidly growing pension obligations. The council on April 14 unanimously approved the first reading of a resolution to issue pension obligation bonds to refinance $205 million in public employee pension debt, debt that continues to rise at an even more disconcerting rate, as it is for many cities during the coronavirus pandemic.

San Diego Zoo and Safari Park asking for donations to care for animals (CBS 8)

Between the two properties, there are 6,500 animals to watch over, 700,000 exotic plants, several facilities to clean, and ongoing global conservation projects.

Stakeholders raise alarm about Donavan State Prison (Voice of San Diego)

Attorneys, inmates and even one staff member at the Donovan state prison in southern San Diego County say the practices inside the facility make it a potential powder keg for the spread of the novel coronavirus, a reality that could be devastating given that it houses some of the state’s medically fragile patients.

Coronavirus chokes the drug trade — from Wuhan, through Mexico and onto U.S. streets  (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many industries, both legal and illicit. Production of fentanyl, which relies on chemical ingredients sourced mainly from Wuhan, China, has been particularly hard hit.


Thousands visit beaches as Southern California experiences heat wave amid coronavirus outbreak (The Hill)

Thousands of people poured onto beaches in Orange County over the weekend as Southern California experienced its first major heat wave of the year, even as officials continue to urge visitors to avoid mass gatherings and practice social distancing due to the coronavirus outbreak …More than 40,000 people were estimated to have visited Newport Beach on Friday, The Associated Press reported. The swarm of visitors came as beaches remained closed under stay-at-home orders in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Beaches operated by the state have also remained closed… 

Too soon to start reopening California economy, Gavin Newsom says, but surgeries can resume (Sacramento Bee)

California isn’t ready to reopen its economy, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday, but in the first step toward loosening its coronavirus restrictions, hospitals can begin scheduling surgeries. Despite progress, California still doesn’t have enough testing capacity to lift his stay-at-home order, Newsom said.

Coronavirus crisis hastens the collapse of local newspapers. Here’s why it matters (Los Angeles Times)

…Even before COVID-19, America’s newspaper industry was on life support.… Without reporters keeping tabs on city halls, state agencies and community organizations, there would be little accountability. Researchers have found that newspapers remain the nation’s most comprehensive, fact-based source of information.

COVID-19 aid to California freelancers stalled (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A new federal law gives freelancers desperately needed unemployment insurance coverage in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic…However, officials at the California Employment Development Department, which administers the state’s unemployment insurance program, have yet to implement the new rules. In emailed responses, government officials said they were awaiting federal guidance …In the meantime, there is no way for freelancers to apply for assistance unless they claim they were “misclassified” employees or had voluntarily paid into the Unemployment Insurance Program individually or through an employer, none of which is required under the new federal law…

California cannabis, deemed essential during coronavirus crisis, is ‘on the verge of collapsing’ (McClatchy News Service)

Cannabis companies may be deemed essential business in California during the coronavirus emergency, but when it comes to support, some in the industry say the state and federal governments have left the them high and dry. The industry is “on the brink of collapsing,” said Jackie McGowan, a consultant who represents the cannabis companies. McGowan said that large, multi-state cannabis operators like Harvest Health and Acreage have begun shuttering their California acquisitions in response to the current crisis.

Newsom's secretive $1-billion mask deal with Chinese automaker sparks bipartisan concerns (Yahoo)

Gov. Gavin Newsom's decision to spend almost $1 billion in taxpayer funds to buy protective masks drew national attention as an aggressive move by California to solve one of the most nagging problems of the coronavirus crisis. But almost two weeks after he announced the deal during a cable TV interview, very few details have been disclosed.


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Bill Walton

I went to Helix High with him and his brother Bruce. Both of them were tall and had knee problems.