August 23, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
- City races start to heat up in East County (UT San Diego)
- 11-year-old accused of fatally stabbing friend found mentally incompetent to stand trial (Santee.Patch.com)
- Retired Border Patrol union president indicted (10 News)
- Group hoping to save ECPAC continues fight (UT San Diego)
- Where parolees live in San Diego: map (Voice of San Diego)
- San Diego Gas & Electric wind projects draw national notice (KCET)
- As heat dries land and lake, asthma fears rise in Imperial County(KPBS)
- Summer of hate concert came to El Cajon (San Diego Citybeat)
- High costs of bonds shocks Poway Unified School District (UT San Diego)
- Democratic lawmakers move to oppose rewriting CA environmental laws (Sacramento Bee)
- SoCal groves report new cases of lethal citrus bug (Sacramento Bee)
- Man dies after contracting rare rodent disease at Yosemite (CBS)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
City races start to heat up in East County (UT San Diego)
August 18, 2012 -- Incorporated in 1980, Santee has had only six mayors in its short existence.
For the last 12 years, that has been Randy Voepel, who left the Republican Party at the end of 2010 to become an independent. Voepel is running for his fourth term as mayor of the city of nearly 60,000 people.
Rudy Reyes, a self-employed Santee resident and unsuccessful in his bid to unseat longtime San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob in the June primary, is the lone mayoral challenger in all of East County. Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom, a business law professor at Cuyamaca College, is running unopposed.
11-year-old accused of fatally stabbing friend found mentally incompetent to stand trial (Santee.Patch.com)
August 22, 2012 -- An 11-year-old boy accused of in the driveway of the younger boy's East County home has been to stand trial and will be sent to a residential treatment facility, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Juvenile Court Judge Cynthia Bashant made the ruling after reviewing reports from two doctors, who concluded the 11-year-old couldn't understand the court proceedings and couldn't assist his attorney at trial.
Retired Border Patrol union president indicted (10 News)
August 18, 2012 -- The embattled former president of the National Border Patrol Union spoke out on Friday against a federal indictment accusing him of using the position he held for more than two decades to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds for personal use.
Terence J. "T.J." Bonner, 59, faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and forfeiture of ill-gotten gains in connection with a scheme to defraud some 14,000 dues-paying union members.
Group hoping to save ECPAC continues fight (UT San Diego)
August 13, 2012 -- Dustin Holum, a 2000 Valhalla High graduate, grew up performing, volunteering and later working as a member of a youth-theater group at the East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon.
Now the project manager of ShowTec, Inc., an event planning group that provides design and production services for theater and other events, Holum would like nothing more than to see the once-thriving ECPAC - closed for several years and in need of repairs and upgrades - get its act together again.
Where parolees live in San Diego: map (Voice of San Diego)
San Diegans often talk about this population while discussing crime hotspots or the impact of releasing more inmates . In general, law enforcement officials and residents worry that parolees may return to old habits and commit new crimes.
San Diego Gas & Electric wind projects draw national notice (KCET)
August 22, 2012 -- A pair of stories in the last week detailed conflicts between San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and national environmental groups over two separate wind projects. One of the conflicts appears to have been resolved amicably, while the other is headed to the courtroom. And each story involves the power of flight.
The amicable ending involved the Montana chapter of the National Audubon Society, which viewed with some alarm plans to build wind turbines on the , an important area for birds of prey. San Francisco wind developer NaturEner is erecting the Rim Rock Wind Farm's turbines for eventual power sales to SDG&E.
As heat dries land and lake, asthma fears rise in Imperial County(KPBS)
August 16, 2012 -- , east of San Diego, has one of the in California. And if you step outside, you can get an idea why. This is a desert, a hot, dry, dusty place. And parts of it are getting drier and dustier. Agricultural fields sprawl in all directions here, and they depend on the share of water that the Imperial Valley gets from the .
But in the last few years the Imperial Irrigation District, which manages the county’s water, has been selling some of it to thirsty Los Angeles and San Diego.
In order to do that, it’s . Tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land are turning into vast fields of dirt, dried up by the intense heat. When winds pick up here, this valley turns into a giant dust bowl.
Summer of hate concert came to El Cajon (San Diego Citybeat)
August 15, 2012 -- At lunchtime on July 21, a local chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars was serving hamburgers and hotdogs at the Veterans Memorial Hall in El Cajon. By the evening, the venue was filled with racist skinheads for a concert staged by a branch of the same hate group that had inspired Wade Page, the gunman who two weeks later killed Sikh worshippers, then himself, at a temple in Wisconsin.
The Summer of Hate concert was organized by the Western Hammerskins, the Southern California branch of The Hammerskin Nation, which is considered by many to be the most powerful and best-organized skinhead group in the United States.
High costs of bonds shocks Poway Unified School District (UT San Diego)
August 16, 2012 -- Residents of the Poway Unified School District are dealing with a bad case of sticker shock after realizing a $105 million bond deal struck by school officials last year left them on the hook for nearly $1 billion.
Last August, district officials obtained $105 million for school construction with the promise to repay investors more than nine times the principal under long-term financing known as capital appreciation bonds, or CABs.
Democratic lawmakers move to oppose rewriting CA environmental laws (Sacramento Bee)
August 22, 2012 -- In the middle of an end-of-session bid to overhaul the California Environmental Quality Act, 33 Democratic lawmakers urged legislative leaders in a letter released Wednesday to oppose any significant rewriting of the law.
"Like many important laws, CEQA is not perfect and could probably be improved while retaining its many benefits – but only if such improvements are undertaken in a good faith process and are crafted very carefully," said the letter delivered to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, both Democrats. "Unfortunately, the proposals we have seen and heard about reflect major changes that have not been vetted and are being advanced by special interests in an end-of-session power play."
SoCal groves report new cases of lethal citrus bug (Sacramento Bee)
August 18, 2012 -- A bug that threatens California's $1.6 billion citrus industry is rapidly spreading through southern California groves despite efforts to contain it.
The North County Times reports (bit.ly/NwaHCNCOPY) that at least 20 cases of Asian citrus psyllid have been confirmed in Riverside and San Diego counties over the past two months.
The insect carries a disease that is lethal to citrus trees.
Man dies after contracting rare rodent disease at Yosemite (CBS)
August 16, 2012 -- A man died and a woman became seriously ill after contracting a rare rodent-borne disease that might have been linked to their stay at a popular lodging area in Yosemite National Park, officials said Thursday.
The man was the first person to die from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome contracted in the park, though two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said.