EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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March 28, 2013 (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:

LOCAL/REGIONAL

STATE

Scroll down for excerpts and full stories.

 

LOCAL/REGIONAL

History takes a beating with sale of Warner Springs Ranch (U-T San Diego)

110 years after Indians were forced from land, their bid to buy is rejected.

…If poetic justice is to be served, Pacific Hospitality Group, which recently bought Warner Springs Ranch at auction, will back out of the deal before escrow closes April 30. Then the property will be awarded to the rightful owner (who just happens to be offering the most money).

SD seeks controversial `drone zone’ (U-T San Diego)

Southern California might become one of the few areas in the country where industry, business, and government could broadly fly unmanned aerial vehicles over land, an idea that rankles the American Civil Liberties Union, which says such flights could lead to spying on the public. A coalition led by the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to declare a large area of Southern California as a test range for pilotless aircraft. The FAA plans to create six test zones in the U.S. in an effort to integrate drones into domestic airspace.

A Decade After War's Start, Iraqi Refugees Are Transforming (El Cajon)  A California Town (KPBS)

The Iraq War has been officially over for nearly a year and a half. But refugees from the conflict are still being admitted to the United States by the thousands, and many of those continue to settle in the city of El Cajon, east of San Diego.

Utilities seek $769M from customers for faulty nuclear equipment (U-T San Diego)

Responding to an order of the California Public Utilities Commission, plant operator Southern California Edison submitted its application for cost recovery Friday evening, though it and minority plant owner San Diego Gas & Electric already have been billing customers on a provisional basis for the generators.

RUSD school board supports possible temporary County loan (Ramona Patch)

The school board unanimously approved of a potential borrowing of monies from the San Diego County Treasurer—"half a million, million tops"—to ensure the Ramona Unified School District can pay its June 30 payroll.

Boss at ailing Calif. nuke plant made $2M in 2012 (Sacramento Bee)

The top executive overseeing the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant on the California coast received compensation valued at nearly $2 million last year, according to a regulatory filing released Friday. / The seaside reactors between San Diego and Los Angeles haven't produced electricity since January 2012, when a tiny radiation leak led to the discovery of damage to hundreds of tubes that carry radioactive water.

Put neighborhood solar power to good use (U-T San Diego)

What if you had a choice of getting electricity that is generated in your own neighborhood or you could order the electricity from a monopoly whose profits depend on building more and more generating plants and transmission facilities? What if the electricity you and your neighbors generated was located on existing roof tops and parking lots in your neighborhood and didn’t require covering any more open space or agricultural lands in San Diego County? And what if these rooftop and parking lot power plants didn’t use any fossil fuels?

Sounds too good to be true. There must be a catch. In fact, it is not too good to be true.

Northrop Grumman lands $433.5 million contract (KPBS)

Northrop Grumman’s San Diego division has won an estimated $433.5 million government contract to provide contractor logistics support for RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles. Northrop Grumman will supply ground crew operation support to the Air Force for the entire fleet of the UAVs, commonly referred to in the media as drones.

San Diego County Schools Get Meningitis Warning (KPBS)

San Diego County schools are being urged to watch out for signs of meningitis following an outbreak in nearby Tijuana, Mexico that's killed six people. /U-T San Diego says county health officials are urging 42 school districts to educate staff and parents about the warning signs and an available vaccine. They've also been directed to discourage students from sharing food or lip balm that can transmit the disease.

Coach’s youngest daughters released from hospital (UT San Diego)

Jayden and Logan Cunningham, the youngest daughters of Cathedral Catholic High School coach Will Cunningham, were released Tuesday from Rady Children’s Hospital, a hospital spokesman said. Doctors are pleased with the progress Jayden, 12, and Logan, 10, are making, Cathedral spokeswoman Kimberly King said in a statement.

Cunningham’s wife, Alisa, and daughter Taylor, 17, a senior at Cathedral, continue to recover at Sharp Memorial Hospital. The family members were injured March 17 when their minivan was struck by a wrong-way driver on state Route 52 near Santo Road.

Craigslist job scam lures people to Mexico (UT San Diego)

A college student from La Costa almost became a victim of a Craigslist scam after applying for a job and then being told he had to go to Tijuana to complete the process. / Nate Dirkmaat, 18, who is on a semester break from Brigham Young University Idaho, answered an ad purporting to be from Habitat for Humanity looking for drivers.

Water officials got raises amid rate hikes  ( U-T San Diego)

 “Top officials of the Padre Dam Municipal Water District have received thousands of dollars in pay raises since 2011, even as ratepayers saw their water bills — among the county’s highest — increase by 5 percent a year.”

STATE

Judge's Ruling On Officials' Private Emails, Texts Could Be Far-Reaching (KPBS)

A Santa Clara County judge has ordered officials in San Jose to make public their private emails and text messages about city business. In recent years, civic activists and news reporters in the state have hit a snag when they've suspected they weren't getting all of the government communication they'd asked for in public records act requests. That's because officials at the state and local level figured out a strategy to avoid disclosing certain records and information, according to Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition.

Controversial rural fire fee bills will be delayed (Sacramento Bee)

Collection of a fee rural California homeowners were supposed to pay for fire prevention service is being delayed as California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials say they're sorting through thousands of complaints challenging its billing data.



Water price, availability in question  ( U-T San Diego)

In the coming months, California will confront an unusual confluence of challenges that could determine the price and availability of water for decades to come.

Former city officials in Bell, California convicted in corruption trial (Reuters)

Five former elected officials from the scandal-plagued California city of Bell were convicted on Wednesday of misusing municipal funds by collecting exorbitant salaries in a case that drew national attention as a symbol of public corruption