EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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December 31, 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: 

LOCAL

STATE

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

LOCAL

Helix Water District approves water for sand-mining project (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Helix Water District board of directors has agreed to supply water over the next 20 years for a controversial sand-mining project in the El Monte Valley in Lakeside. The board will now send a letter to county planners confirming they can meet the needs of the project should it win approval. Two of the five board members last week voted to withhold the information — Joel Scalzitti and Mark Gracyk.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signs order for stricter enforcement of COVID restrictions ahead of NYE (10 News)

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed Wednesday an executive order directing stricter enforcement of the state's coronavirus-related restrictions ahead of New Year's Eve… Gloria said he intends to work with business community leaders to "invest heavily" in an economic recovery to aid those businesses hard hit by closures and restrictions.

Man Pleads Not Guilty To La Mesa Murder (Patch)

A 20-year-old San Diego resident who allegedly shot and killed a man in the parking lot of a La Mesa shopping center pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge. Alexander Cesar Nghiem is accused in the Dec. 11 slaying of 29-year-old Escondido resident Di'Marcus Lavonne Mayes… Deputy District Attorney Meredith Kimble said Nghiem and Mayes did not know one another, but had communicated over social media...The prosecutor alleged that Nghiem "lured" Mayes to the parking lot, where surveillance footage showed him getting into the defendant's car.

Worsening pandemic is driving more San Diego County students back to online learning (San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than three-quarters of all K-12 students in San Diego County are learning online now, as the raging COVID-19 pandemic shutters many schools a second time. Data released by the county office of education Tuesday evening shows that 75 percent of all students — public and private — are learning online rather than in person, up from 68 percent a month ago.

San Dieguito teachers sue to block district from reopening (Times of San Diego)

Going in the opposite direction of most COVID-related lawsuits, a North County teachers union is suing to keep schools closed amid the worsening pandemic.

Judge agrees to dismiss hearing for restraining order filed by Lemon Grove (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A Superior Court judge on Wednesday agreed to dismiss a request from the city of Lemon Grove for a workplace restraining order against former City Councilman David Arambula. The order was requested on Nov. 10 on behalf of then-City Councilwoman Yadira Altamirano, who accused Arambula of harassment. According to the city’s outside attorney, Stephanie Lowe, the parties reached a settlement early Wednesday..

STATE

California National Guard medical corps pitches in to help struggling hospitals  (Los Angeles Times)

Guard troops are stationed at 13 medical facilities in the state, including Adventist Health White Memorial in Los Angeles, Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia and Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley.

New year rings in new traffic and public safety laws in California  (Orange County Register)

The laws include measures to curb distracted driving, ensure emergency vehicles in action have proper space on local streets and to eliminate liabilities for anyone rescuing a child from a locked car. 

Don't share your air: California hospital systems plead with public during press conference about surge in patients with COVID-19.  (Kaiser Permanente)

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise at alarming rates and the number of ICU beds continues to dwindle, 3 California health systems held a statewide virtual press conference to ask Californians to take stringent precautions during this holiday season. In conjunction with the California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and Dignity Health issued a prescription for Californians to avoid spreading the virus during the holidays: Don’t share your air.

Coronavirus pushes California to brink of two million cases (Los AngelesTimes)

It took almost 10 months for California to record its millionth confirmed coronavirus case. Now, just six weeks after crossing that milestone, the state is on the cusp of surpassing 2 million. The staggering rate of growth demonstrates how widely the coronavirus is circulating statewide and underscores the reality that activities and behaviors thought to be relatively safe just weeks ago now carry a higher risk of infection than ever before.

School reopening battle intensifies as unions and Democrats face off (Cal Matters)

School reopenings will likely take center stage in 2021 as one of California’s biggest political battles. It’s a battle all the more noteworthy because it pits two groups that are often allies — unions and Democratic lawmakers — against each other. This week, the state’s two largest teachers unions — the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers — publicly opposed a bill introduced by eight Democratic lawmakers that could force schools to reopen in March.