EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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March 8 2021 (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.

Roundup 3-3-2021

Local

San Diego judge upholds restrictions on dining, gyms(San Diego Union-Tribune)

The ruling means restaurants and gyms remain under purple tier restrictions, for now.

Helix Water District looks at rate changes to take effect in July (San  Diego Union-Tribune)

The Helix Water District plans to raise rates for its East County customers starting in July. While actual dollar amounts won’t be set until a cost of service study and the budget for the coming year are approved by the board in March, the Helix Water District Board of Directors last week proposed increasing rates to the district’s average single family residential customer by $3.45 per month.

Mayor Bill Wells says conservative voices have been purged from SANDAG (KUSI)

New leadership at SANDAG is bringing about change to the long held committee assignments. One of the major changes is that no Republicans will be recommended for any committee positions, and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells lost his seat on the audit committee.

Community power plan to begin in March (La Mesa Courier)

Starting in March, La Mesa’s municipal buildings will no longer be purchasing electricity from SDG&E. Instead, the municipal buildings will be customers of the newly formed San Diego Community Power — the power supplier that will serve La Mesa and four other regional cities as part of the Climate Action Plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuel-sourced energy.

San Diego Sheriff’s Dept. announces first inmate death due to COVID-19(San Diego Union-Tribune)

A 62-year-old man who fell ill in November at the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa died a week later in a hospital from COVID-19, sheriff’s officials said Friday. Edel Corrales Loredo is the first San Diego County inmate whose death has officially been attributed to COVID-19. But the family of a man who fell ill last June at the Vista Detention Facility and later died at a hospital has sued the Sheriff’s Department, claiming he contracted COVID-19 at the jail.

Man Behind Starbucks Barista Fundraiser Sued By San Diego 'Karen'(Patch)

Matt Cowan is being sued by Amber Gilles for defamation after the woman was refused service at a Starbucks for not wearing a mask.

State

Newsom signs stimulus package that includes $600 payments to 5.7 million people in California(KTLA)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package on Tuesday that will give at least $600 one-time payments to 5.7 million people while setting aside more than $2 billion in grants for struggling small businesses. Newsom signed the law as Congress is debating a much larger stimulus package for the nation, a proposal that could also put money into the pockets of most Americans.

Deal struck to reopen schools with $2 billion in incentives (Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders will announce an agreement Monday to give school districts $2 billion to open schools for students in transitional kindergarten through second grade by April 1, focusing on California’s youngest children after almost a year of distance learning… But the proposal, expected to receive a vote in both houses of the Legislature this week, stops short of mandating that schools across the state must reopen. Instead, it leaves the final decision up to local education officials and, in some areas, subject to agreements between districts and the unions representing school employees.

California waiving millions of dollars in state business fees in new COVID stimulus  (Sacramento Bee)

Hundreds of thousands of small businesses from restaurants to nail salons will not have to pay licensing fees until 2023, under California’s $7.6 billion stimulus measure signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday.  Many of their professional employees also can skip state licensing fees. About 59,000 restaurants and bars won’t have to pay annual fees to renew their Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control licenses, which can range from $455 to $1,235.

California homegrown Coronavirus strain looks increasingly transmissible and dangerous (Los Angeles Times)

A coronavirus variant that probably emerged in May and surged to become the dominant strain in California not only spreads more readily than its predecessors but also evades antibodies generated by COVID-19 vaccines or prior infection and is associated with severe illness and death, researchers said. In a study that helps explain the state’s dramatic holiday surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths — and portends further trouble ahead — scientists at UC San Francisco said the cluster of mutations that characterizes the homegrown strain should mark it as a “variant of concern” on par with those from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

State Eases Restrictions, Judge Grants Request to Resume Youth Sports (Times of San Diego)

A judge Friday cleared the way for youth sporting activities including football and basketball to resume in San Diego County, hours after the state revised its guidelines to allow the activities in counties with relatively low rates of new COVID-19 cases. The state’s new standard allows for a resumption of “outdoor high-contact sports” in counties that reach an adjusted daily average of 14 new cases per 100,000 residents. San Diego County currently has a rate of 22.2 cases per 100,000 residents.