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August 27, 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.


Are schools reopening safely? UC San Diego experts recommend measures beyond state guidelines (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Some schools will open this week in San Diego County for the first time in five months. Certain schools can reopen as soon as Monday under a county waiver process that allows some schools to open early. All schools in the county could reopen as soon as the end of the month — if San Diego keeps its COVID-19 case rate down...A recent report about how to safely reopen schools, written by nine health and science experts at UC San Diego to aid in San Diego Unified’s reopening plans, raises some questions about the way California is allowing schools to reopen.

Spy Games? Civil Rights Advocate Calls out San Diego PD's Covert Use of iPhone Spyware (NBC 7)

Documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show the department has used a controversial and mysterious piece of technology to unlock iPhones for more than two years without notifying the city council or the public

Firm Investigating Breonna Taylor's Death Tapped to Review La Mesa Police, City's Protest Response(NBC 7)

The La Mesa Police Department has been under scrutiny for their handling of the May 30 protest, which was held amid calls for racial justice across the country due to incidents of police brutality

How many COVID cases are in your zip code? (San Diego Union-Tribune)

As COVID-19 continues to spread, communities across the county may be impacted in very different ways. These maps and chart, which are updated daily, will help residents explore how cases of the novel coronavirus are spreading in their own neighborhoods. (Click on map to get exact case numbers by zip code, updated Aug. 20)

We’re Suing for COVID-19 Data (Times of San Diego)

In recent days, we’ve filed four Public Records Act lawsuits against public entities that continue to withhold records related to their handling of the coronavirus. One city has acknowledged it deleted records after we requested them. A public university, meanwhile, contends that email privacy trumps the public interest.

Racism, QAnon and ‘cold civil war’: Inside the 20,000-strong Defend East County Facebook group (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A Facebook group that organized after a Black Lives Matter protest in La Mesa turned destructive has ballooned to more than 20,000 members. Called Defend East County, it has become an active online community of people who say they want to protect their cities, but it’s also a place where conspiracy theories, racist banter and calls for violence persist.

Border Wall Targeted in Sacred Sites Suit: Indian Band Names Trump, Others (Times of San Diego)

The La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians is suing the federal government to halt construction of the southern border wall, which the tribe alleges is desecrating its ancestral burial and sacred sites.  The suit brought by one of 12 bands of Kumeyaay people alleges the construction of the border wall runs directly through Kumeyaay burial sites and sacred lands in San Diego County, “causing irreversible and easily avoidable damage to Kumeyaay remains, cultural items, history and religious practices.”

Sycuan Casino Resort won’t allow certain face coverings (Fox 5)

Sycuan Casino Resort announced that starting Friday, it will no longer allow guests to wear face coverings with vents or valves, bandanas or neck gaiters. The casino said these types of coverings allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape.

Sheriff releases details of 2 hanging suicides in San Diego County jails (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Two men who died earlier this year in jail custody were alone in their cells when they hung themselves and died by suicide, San Diego sheriff’s officials said Monday. Joseph Earl Morton, a 33-year-old Wisconsin native, was found hanging May 17 at the Vista Detention Facility and died in his cell.  Spiros “Sam” Fonseca, a 26-year-old El Cajon native, was found hanging in his cell June 9 at the San Diego Central Jail. He died later that night at a hospital.

Sources: Sailor under investigation for arson in USS Bonhomme Richard ship fire (10 News)

A Navy sailor is under investigation in connection with the fire that caused extensive damage to the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego, sources told ABC 10News.


California fires claim 5 lives, threaten thousands of homes (Associated Press)

Wildfires that blackened skies, took at least five lives and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes were blazing through California on Thursday, straining firefighting resources by the sheer vastness of the battle lines.

‘My God, we’ve got nobody’: Strained firefighters struggle to stop Bay Area wildfires (Mercury News)

 Firefighters struggled Thursday to stop the advance of dozens of fires burning out of control across the Bay Area that have forced tens of thousands to flee their homes, as shorthanded crews warn they don’t have the manpower they need to contain blazes that threaten to swallow up neighborhoods and entire towns.

Firefighters ready to battle into night, Cal Fire to all residents of California: ‘Be ready to go’ (Mercury News)

Hundreds of wind-driven, lightning-stoked wildfires tore through Northern California on Wednesday, touching every Bay Area county except San Francisco, rousting residents from bed, destroying dozens of homes from the outskirts of Vacaville and threatening thousands more from the Wine Country to the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Carmel Valley.

9th Circuit ends California ban on high-capacity magazines  (Asosciated Press)

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out California's ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution's protection of the right to bear firearms. 

Uber and Lyft get reprieve from court, won't shut down in California for now (CNN)

Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT) narrowly avoided shutting down their ride-hailing services in California after an appellate court granted the companies a temporary reprieve delaying an order that would have forced them to reclassify their drivers in the state by Friday.

Tighter federal rules end free meals for thousands of California students (Ed Source)

Many California students and families who have come to rely on free grab-and-go meals during the past five months of the pandemic may no longer qualify for the food service.

With data backlog cleared, California coronavirus cases officially decreasing, Newsom says (San Jose Mercury News)

 With the backlog of nearly 300,000 lab reports finally cleared, state officials confirmed Friday that coronavirus cases have officially decreased over the past two weeks — a trend that was briefly in question after the records snafu.

As California AG, Kamala Harris Took a Political Risk to Fight Climate Change(Cal Street Blog)

When much of the establishment was praising a flawed Long Range Plan for San Diego, Harris joined local enviros to take SANDAG to court

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