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November 24, 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:



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


El Cajon does about-face on redistricting maps process (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Facing criticism from its Middle Eastern residents and a state advocacy group, the El Cajon City Council this week unanimously voted to pay its independent demographer an additional $20,000 to take a deeper look at its community.  The council had previously voted 4-1 to not have National Demographic Corp. to do a more in-depth analysis that looked at voter turnout by race, languages spoken at home, educational attainment, income level and housing status.

San Diego judge dismisses lawsuit challenging state's school mask mandate (10 News)

A  San Diego judge has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the state’s school mask mandate. The local group “Let Them Breathe” filed the lawsuit in July. Members of the organization, which consists of more than 30,000 parents, argued that masks should be a choice for families instead of a requirement.

Sniffing Out COVID-19 at San Diego Ice Arena (NBC San Diego)

Dogs are the latest helpers in the fight against COVID-19 .

San Diego City Council Eliminates Minimum Parking Requirements for Businesses (Times of San Diego)

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a change to the municipal code that eliminates minimum parking space requirements for many businesses.  The change, effective Jan. 1, applies to building owners and commercial tenants in transit priority areas and commercial neighborhoods. Businesses will have the option to provide as much parking as their customers need, or convert those spaces to other uses, such as outdoor dining. 

Staffing shortages challenging San Diego Fire-Rescue (KPBS)

t’s a beautiful day in San Diego, and the fire crew at Station One are starting their day. While everything looks normal at the station, back at San Diego Fire-Rescue headquarters Chief Colin Stowell said it's been a struggle to keep the department’s 50 stations fully staffed. "We’ve got an exhausted workforce and so yes we’re seeing less and less people sign up and voluntarily want to take overtime shifts and so sometimes those sit empty," said Stowell.

San Diego MTS determined to rehab ‘Impossible Railroad’ despite latest setback in the desert  (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Fernando Beltran-owned Baja Rail has abandoned an envisioned overhaul of a 70-mile stretch of track from Tecate to Plaster City known as the Desert Line.

Residents applaud safety fixes on Mount Helix Drive (San Diego Union-Tribune)

East County residents living on or near Mount Helix Drive are celebrating the completion of traffic safety measures in their neighborhood. The county has installed 6-inch-high asphalt berms and 85 traffic posts along the one-mile stretch of road to and from Mount Helix Park. Residents had expressed concerns for their safety while walking or driving on the curvy, narrow, one-way roads that lead to the summit.


After record low, monarch butterflies return to California (AP News)

There is a ray of hope for the vanishing orange-and-black Western monarch butterflies. The number wintering along California’s central coast is bouncing back after the population, whose presence is often a good indicator of ecosystem health, reached an all-time low last year.

California broadens access to Covid booster shots  (New York Times)

California is opening up eligibility for booster coronavirus vaccine shots to include anyone 18 or over, making it at least the second state to expand official eligibility beyond older adults and people in high-risk circumstances. Colorado took a similar step this week. 

Fearing a winter surge, California turbocharges its push for COVID booster shots  (Los Angeles Times)

Faced with growing worries over a potential winter coronavirus surge, health officials in California and other areas are turbocharging the push for COVID-19 booster shots in hopes of getting more adults the extra dose as soon as possible. 

Here’s how many California kids have had a COVID vaccine, about a week into rollout  (Sacramento Bee)

 Close to 150,000 Californians ages 5 to 11 have gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since young children became eligible last week, new state data show. 

About 80 thieves ransack department store near San Francisco (10 News)

Authorities and witnesses say about 80 people, some wearing ski masks and wielding crow bars, swarmed a department store in the San Francisco Bay Area, stealing merchandise before fleeing in dozens of cars. Police say three people were arrested while the majority got away after the large-scale theft Saturday night at the Nordstrom in Walnut Creek. The incident came a day after police said several high-end stores in San Francisco’s Union Square were broken into by a large group of people who smashed windows, stole merchandise, and then ran to waiting cars.


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