February 2020 Articles

SDSU SOFTBALL DOWNS JACKSONVILLE 5-2 IN SEASON OPENER

Aztecs win season opening game for 21st time in coach Kathy Van Wyk's 24 years

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 7, 2020 (Jacksonville) - The San Diego State softball team scored four times in the top of the first inning and never looked back in a 5-2 win over Jacksonville in the season opener for both teams Thursday at the River City Leadoff at Debbie & Fred Pruitt Softball Complex.


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TOBY THE T-REX TO HAVE NEW NEIGHBORS IN LA MESA

By Jeff Phair
 
February 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- For two years, Toby the T-Rex dinosaur has been living by himself high on a hill in La Mesa looking at the views of the Coronado Islands, Point Loma, the Cuyamacas, and Table Top Mountain in Mexico.  With the recent approval by the city of La Mesa for the La Mesa Summit Estates subdivision, Toby will soon be having new neighbors.
 
Grading will begin soon on a gated enclave of 30 homes.  Each home will feature a Multi-Generational suite.  The Multi-Generational suite is a second master bedroom with a full bath, a kitchenette, a media center, a stacked washer & dryer, and a separate entrance.  This allows grandparents or a boomerang adult child to live in a supportive extended family environment, but at the same time have a feeling of independence.

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HAROLD BROWN, EAST COUNTY TRANSITIONAL LIVING CENTER, NAMED EL CAJON CITIZEN OF THE YEAR

 East County News Service



February 4, 2020 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Citizen of the Year Committee has selected Harold Brown as its 2019 El Cajon Citizen of the Year award.

 Brown, CEO of the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC), will be honored at a luncheon from noon to 2:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10 at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 East Douglas Ave., El Cajon. The public is invited to attend. Admission is $25 per person and lunch is included. Tickets are available online at www.EastCountyChamber.org under “Events,” or by calling (619) 440-6161. 

 Brown will be honored for his community involvement, including support to several nonprofits and charitable volunteer work.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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PORT OF SAN DIEGO ENCOURAGES GREENER FREIGHT AND SHIPPING

$44 million “CORE” project launches to speed deployment of zero-emission freight equipment at CA ports, rail yards, airports, warehouses and terminals to clean the air, reduce climate emissions

Zero-emission terminal tractors, railcar movers and transport refrigeration units displayed at Port of San Diego kickoff event; big point-of-sale incentives are available through voucher project

Source: Story & Reach Communications

Photos Credit: Port of San Diego

February 6, 2020 (San Diego)The California Air Resources Board (CARB) last week launched the Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project (CORE) with the goal of cleaning up one of the state’s biggest economic sectors that is still reliant on heavy, fossil-fuel-powered equipment. CORE seeks to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission off-road freight equipment used at goods-movement hubs, including ports, distribution centers, airports, and rail yards.


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ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

February 6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

Impeachment

Presidential race

Other national news

WORLD

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


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STUDENT HARASSED WHILE WALKING TO GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL

 

East County News Service

Image: Creative Commons via Bing

February 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Police Department is investigating an incident of verbal harassment that occurred this morning at approximately 7:10 a.m. yesterday. The victim, a 16-year-old Grossmont High School student, was verbally harassed by an adult male suspect while she walked from the Amaya Trolley Station towards the school.

The student arrived safely at the school and immediately reported the incident to school staff. A crime report regarding the incident has been taken and the investigation is continuing.

The suspect is described as a black male adult, approximately 35-40 years old, medium to heavy build, with a full goatee, wearing a gray beanie style hat, black shirt, and black pants. The suspect was on foot and no vehicle was observed.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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CALDERON DROPS OUT, ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR FOR CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

February 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Marissa Calderon, a Democrat  who entered the 50th Congressional district primary race belatedly after the resignation of Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter in January, has announced she is dropping out of the race to care for two family members with serious health conditions.  Calderon has endorsedAmmar Campa-Najjar, who is also endorsed by the Democratic Party.

Calderon’s name will still appear on ballots which were printed before her withdrawal.


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SENATE ACQUITS TRUMP: MITT ROMNEY IS LONE REPUBLICAN WHO VOTES TO CONVICT

By Miriam Raftery

February 5, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – After refusing to allow any witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the Senate voted to acquit the President, who will remain in office.  The vote split down party lines with the exception of Utah Senator and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the lone Republican who voted to convict on one of the two counts.

Romney said that his vote stemmed from his “inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it.” He said Mr. Trump was “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust” and indicated he was voting to convict despite the prospect of retaliation for becoming the first member of Congress ever to vote to convict a president in his own political party. Read his floor speech.


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BRIAN JONES COAUTHORS BILLS TO REPEAL, REFORM AB 5 “GIG WORKER” LAW THAT IS HARMING INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS’ LIVELIHOODS; CONGRESS TO VOTE ON BILL SIMILAR TO AB 5 THIS WEEK

 

A national version of AB 5 is slated, which radically revises employment laws, is slated to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week with backing of California's two Senators

By Miriam Raftery

Image courtesy of #FightForFreelancers, which is battling a measure similar to California's AB 5 law. The seriously flaws legislation in our state is being emulated across the nation even as lawsuits, reform and repeal measures are pending in California.

February 4, 2020 (San Diego) – State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) is  coauthoring multiple bills to repeal and/or reform Assembly Bill 5, which took effect January 1, decimating independent contractors in a wide range of fields as well as the businesses and nonprofits that have long relied on freelancres.

AB 5 was introduced by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego), a former labor leader who touted it as a way of cracking down on companies such as Uber and Lyft for exploiting workers and forces even small businesses and nonprofits to make most workers employees rather than independent contractors.

But the costs of doing so are prohibitively high for many businesses and organizations, putting their futures at risk. The law has also had devastating effects on freelancers across at least 150 fields including musicians, writers, artists, actors, dancers, nurses, consultants, translators, photographers, teachers and other independent contractors who value their freedom and flexible schedules and don’t want to be employees.

Some are now unable to find work due to AB 5, as out of state companies cancel gigs with California freelancers, unwilling to risk criminal penalties and huge fines for misclassifying workers under the convoluted, complex and confusing terms of the law. Other freelancers have shelled out high costs to start their own companies in order to qualify for business-to-business exemptions in the bill, but receive no benefits for those expenditures.


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DEA RELEASES 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT: METH AND “DEADLY” FENTANYL MOST SERIOUS LOCAL PROBLEMS

Annual report outlines strategic review of threats posed by drugs and drug traffickers

Source: Drug Enforcement Agency

February 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon has announced publication of the 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment, which outlines threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and by abuse of illicit drugs.

“This year’s report illustrates a shifting drug landscape in the United States,” said Acting Administrator Dhillon. “We’re pleased that in 2018, drug overdose deaths declined over four percent overall, with even greater decreases – over 13 percent – in overdoses from controlled prescription opioids. Many challenges remain, however, including the spread of fentanyl and methamphetamine across the country. DEA and its partners will continue to work diligently to combat the drug trafficking organizations that bring these deadly substances into our country and endanger the American people.”

“Unlike other cities, San Diego faces unique challenges by being on the U.S.-Mexico border,” said San Diego Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “In 2018, the DEA San Diego seized record amounts of methamphetamine and deadly fentanyl. While our battle with the Mexican drug cartels persists, our agents are more committed than ever to stemming the flow of these deadly drugs entering our community and effecting the lives of our friends and families.”


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JUDGE ORDERS KALASHOS TO PAY $300,000 SETTLEMENT IN FRAUD AND HARASSMENT CASE FILED BY BEAUTY QUEENS AND TACO SHOP OWNER

One plaintiff, attorney Lina Charry, has refused to settle

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ben Kalasho and Zhala Tawfiq, dethroned pageant queen who accused Kalasho of posting faked nude photos of her online in retaliation for a business dispute

February 1, 2020 (El Cajon) – Former El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho and his wife, Jessica Kalasho aka Jessica Deddeh, have been ordered by  San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth Medel to pay  $300,000 in a civil fraud, defamation and sexual harassment lawsuit.

The suit was filed by former Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant contestants Zhala Tawfiq and Paris Kargar as well as by Three Brothers Taco Shop against the Kalashos, the pageant, and the former San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce that the Kalashos founded.  The settlement money is to be divided equally among the three plaintiffs, according to the judgment


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UNIDENTIFIED PEDESTRIAN KILLED ON HIGHWAY 94 IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service
 
February 3, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – An unidentified male pedestrian was struck and killed by a Toyota RAV4 last night around 9:07 p.m. on State Route 94 westbound near College Avenue.
 
According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, the pedestrian walked south from the right shoulder directly into traffic lanes, in front of the vehicle. The CHP responded, along with Cal Fire. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force injuries. The driver, a 29-year-old San Diego woman, remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation.

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GIANT WIND PROJECTS DRAW STRONG OPPOSITION FROM RURAL RESIDENTS AND TRIBAL MEMBERS: DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS TODAY

 

By Rebecca Person

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

Photos: An existing wind project on the Campo reservation has previously had multiple fires caused by exploding wind turbines, shown here, raising alarm among area residents over fire dangers and other potential hazards posed by the proposed new and far larger turbines

February 3, 2020 (Campo) -- Residents of Campo, Boulevard and Jacumba voiced their concerns Jan. 23rd at a meeting in Boulevard held by the County Planning Development Services staff addressing the construction of 120 wind turbines in Boulevard and on the Campo Reservation.

The wind turbines will be 596’ tall, taller than towers which dot the high desert that stand between 325' to almost 400 ft tall. 60 turbines are planned for the Campo Indian Reservation, and 30 turbines for McCain Valley near I-8 freeway in Boulevard. According to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, these may be the largest wind turbines ever erected on land. Turbines on tribal land would also abut her property in rural Boulevard. Setbacks from some homes would be far less than at many other wind projects, even though the turbines are larger.

Over 60 local residents gathered at the meeting and many spoke of the effects existing towers have had on their quality of life. Campo Band of Mission Indians tribal members who live on the Campo Reservation and oppose the project stated that they have presented a petition with 65 signatures asking their tribal council to overturn an earlier disputed vote to erect the giant turbines on the reservation.


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MITCHELL, SDSU MEN'S BASKETBALL RALLY TO BEAT UTAH STATE 80-68

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 1, 2020 (San Diego) - With Kawhi Leonard watching from one baseline, Matt Mitchell scored 24 of his season-high 28 points in the second half — including three straight 3-pointers — to help rally No. 4 San Diego State to an 80-68 victory against Utah State on Saturday night and remain the nation's only undefeated team.


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LA MESA MAILMAN KILLED BY HIT AND RUN DRIVER ON DEHESA RD.; JULIAN MAN CHARGED

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Featheringill Mortuary
 
February 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa resident Kevin Charles Wilson 56, was struck by a Mitsubishi Mirage while riding his bicycle Jan. 20 on Dehesa Rd. near Singing Hills Golf Course in rural East County.  He was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was pronounced dead of his injuries.

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SAN DIEGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS HOSTS FEB. 14 DEBATES FOR 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATES AND SAN DIEGO MAYOR

East County News Service 
 
Image based on creative commons photo via Bing
 
February 1, 2020 (San Diego) — The Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS (SDAR) and SDMLS will host back-to-back candidate debates on Friday, February 14 for California’s 50th Congressional District (the race to fill the vacant seat formerly held by Rep. Duncan Hunter) and City of San Diego Mayor. The #SDARdebates is a special event that will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., following the annual New Laws & Industry Outlook event. Moderating both debates will be Matthew T. Hall, editorial and opinion director at The San Diego Union-Tribune and president-elect of the national board of the Society of Professional Journalists.
 
You are invited to attend and cover this major political event with an expected audience of 400 people. Registration is free and required for admittance to this event.

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SDSU TRACK & FIELD'S NYJARI MCNEIL SETS SCHOOL RECORD IN THE 800M

Jada Moore also set an SDSU freshman record for the 60m dash

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 1, 2020 (Seattle) - The Aztec track and field team turned in huge individual performances Saturday at the UW Invitational in Seattle and at the Mountain T’s Invitational at Northern Arizona University.


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AZTEC DIVERS TOP THE PODIUM AT NAU

Marie Yacopino and Ximena Lechuga Gonzalez brought home first place finishes

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 1, 2020 (Flagstaff) - San Diego State senior Marie Yacopino and sophomore Ximena Lechuga Gonzalez earned first-place finishes as the Aztecs’ diving team completed competition at the Northern Arizona Diving Invitational #2 Saturday, Feb. 1.


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LA MESA APPROVES MIXED-USE LA MESA QUARRY RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROJECT

By Kathleen Connell

February 1, 2020 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa City Council met on January 28th. The most prominent item on the agenda was a hearing to consider The La Mesa Planning Commission’s approval of The La Mesa Quarry 2 LLC development project, an in-fill mixed-use development at 4400 Palm Avenue on a sloped property near Collier Park.

The development includes a 3-story, 21 unit apartment building with parking beneath and a separate office building. The Council voted unanimously to follow staff's recommendation and upheld the Planning Commission’s approval. The project is now in the site development plan stage.


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REPORT URGING ACTION ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING RELEASED

Source: Circulate San Diego
 
February 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Supervisor Nathan Fletcher (photo, center) and affordable housing advocates joined Circulate San Diego for the release of “Fair Share,” Circulate’s report that details how San Diego is not receiving its fair share of affordable housing and transportation funds.
 
The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program is a state grant program that funds the construction of affordable housing and transportation projects that address San Diego’s homelessness and housing crisis, and greenhouse gas reductions goals. Unfortunately, the San Diego region received $14 million less than it would if it had won grant funding proportionate with the County’s share of California’s population in the last grant cycle alone.
 
“As this report makes clear, we need to move together as a region to make San Diego more competitive for funding that can lower housing costs, reduce traffic congestion, address climate change - all while building a San Diego for all” said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

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SDSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL KNOCKS OFF UTAH STATE 59-51 FOR THIRD WIN IN A ROW

Sophia Ramos led the Aztecs with 24 points and eight rebounds

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 1, 2020 (Logan, Utah) - The Aztec women’s basketball team (11-13, 6-6) defeated Utah State (6-16, 1-10) 59-51 Saturday afternoon inside the Dee Smith Glen Spectrum for their third win in a row.


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