BIDEN DROPS OUT OF PRESIDENTIAL RACE AMID PRESSURE FROM FELLOW DEMOCRATS

HIGH HEAT TODAY, THUNDERSTORMS FORECAST EARLY THIS WEEK

IT GLITCH CAUSED DELAYS IN FLIGHTS, BUSINESS OPERATIONS GLOBALLY

HUNDREDS OF LEMON GROVE RESIDENTS PROTEST SLEEPING CABIN PROJECT DURING COUNTY FORUM

FIRE KILLS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CHICKENS AT DEMLER BROTHERS EGG RANCH, SITE OF 2019 ANIMAL CRUELTY INVESTIGATION

THE GRASS IS GREENER ON CENTER STREET: CANNABIS TESTING SITE TO OPEN

COUNTY BREAKS GROUND ON EAST COUNTY CRISIS STABILIZATION UNIT

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: EAST COUNTY OUTDOOR OPPORTUNITIES PROGRAM FOCUSES ON YOUTH

CRIME STOPPERS: SHOOTING - SPRING VALLEY

EGG RANCH BURNING IN RAMONA

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

HOW SAFE ARE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS? GROSSMONT DISTRICT ELIMINATES SCHOOL SAFETY DEPARTMENT

ATTORNEY ODAY YOUSIF RUNS FOR CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD TO RESTORE CORE EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES AND COMBAT EXTREMISM

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 16, 2024 (El Cajon) – Oday Yousif, a consumer attorney endorsed by prominent educators in East County, is the third candidate to announce he is running for the Cajon Valley Union School District in Trustee Area 5. 
 
“With a passion for education and years of proven public service, I am running to refocus the district’s values on uplifting the community and creating strong public schools that prioritize educational achievement and student safety,” says Oday Yousif, an attorney and Chair of the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group. Yousif says he aims to refocus the district’s values on core educational principles and moving the district away from “right-wing extremist policies that have harmed district morale,” a press release announcing his candidacy.

WATER BOARD MEMBER SAVED BY FELLOW ELECTED OFFICIAL

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2014 (Santee)—Suzanne Till, a member of the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, survived a harrowing incident during  a luncheon today, when her life was saved by the quick actions of Otay Water District Board member Jose Lopez, who is also the former Assistant Fire Marshall at San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

According to Mark Robak, Lopez was seated immediately behind Till at the Butcher Shop Steakhouse, when she “stood up choking from a piece of meat lodged in her throat.  Without even saying anything, he immediately gave her the Heimlich maneuver!”

BILLS PROPOSE ADDING 172 ACRES IN TRUST FOR JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2024 (Jamul)—The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard impassioned testimony on July 11 from  Jamul tribal chairwoman Erica Pinto, speaking in favor of S. 3857,the Jamul Indian Land Transfer Act authored by California Senator Alex Padilla. The measure would place in trust four land parcels totaling 172 acres into the Jamul Indian Village reservation, lands that the tribal chairwoman says are needed for tribal members' housing, reuniiting a scattered community, protecting cultural resources, and providing services for tribal members,such as healthcare and education.

The bill is identical to H.R. 6443, Rep. Darrell Issa’s bill which has already passed the House of Representatives.

But the measures have drawn opposition from the Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group, which was not consulted about the measures and was not allowed to present testimony at the July 11 hearing. THE JDCPG Chair sent a letter to the Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman and the authors of both bills outlining the planning group's concerns including whether commercial development could occur, as well as objections over the land transfer process bypassing local input.

UPDATED ODD COUPLE PLAY IN LA MESA PROVIDES INSIGHTS ON FRIENDSHIPS DESPITE DIFFERENCES

By Susan Taylor

July 15,2004 (La Mesa) -- Neil Simon’s timeless comedy, The Odd Couple, is playing at Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa through July 28, a play worth seeing.  Directed by Diane Jones and produced by Cydney King, it is billed as the “female version”, so the cast is all female, with the exception of two male roles introduced in the second act.

The show retains the game-playing friends in a 1980’s New York apartment, and the principal roles of the jilted spouse and the slob.  Yvonne Nguyen portrays Florence Unger, the insecure wife in need of a place to stay and a best friend’s compassion. Erin Grayce plays Olive Madison, a hard-working sports writer who cares nothing for a tidy home.  Olive invites Florence to temporarily share her apartment until they get laughingly on each other’s nerves. Viewers come away with the realization that this very odd couple teaches valuable lessons about friendship and differences among people here and abroad.

FUTURE OF PARKWAY PLAZA MALL REENVISIONED

City awaits Council’s next motion

By Rachel Williams

July 14.2024 (El Cajon) -- With online sales taking a bite out of retail traffic, shopping malls across the U.S. are struggling and some have closed down. Seeking to avoid that scenario, the City of El Cajon commissioned a market analysis envisioning redevelopment options for Parkway Plaza,  East County’s largest regional shopping mall.

Council members unanimously favored a motion to move beyond proposed aspirational measures and begin the next step toward transforming Parkway Plaza into a mix of residential, retail, offices, entertainment and community space.

These “Eatertainment” facilities would combine compelling, traditional dining options and immersive sport-centered bars with unique, dynamic lifestyle retail shops, all oriented around a linear park.

SERVING SENIORS: TACKLING HOMELESSNESS AND NOURISHING WELL-BEING

 

By Jonathan Goetz

View video, which originally aired on KNSJ Radio 

July 13, 2024 (Mt. Helix) -- Miriam Raftery, Editor of East County Magazine, recently interviewed Melinda Forstey, Chief Operating Officer of Serving Seniors, (www.servingseniors.org) a nonprofit providing services to help seniors thrive including nutrition, housing, health and social services. Serving Seniors has been around since 1970 and provides wrap around services primarily for low-income seniors, including a nutrition program serving over 1.4 million meals.

In the interview,  Forstey discussed the financial stresses on seniors, the root caues of the growing number of seniors becoming homeless, and efforts to help them--including Serving Seniors' senior housing project in Ramona, shallow rent subsidies for seniors, food program for seniors and more.

TRUMP SURVIVES ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT; 2 DEAD INCLUDING SHOOTER

Update July 14, 2024--The shooter has been identified as Matthew Cook, 20, a registered  Republican from Pennsylvania.The rifle, an AR-15, was reportedly legally purchased by Cook's father.  Motive for the shooting remains unknown as the investigation continues.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot from NBC video--Secret Agents usher injured former President Trump to safety after shooting.

July 13, 2024 (San Diego) – Gunfire erupted at a Donald Trump rally late today in Pennsylvania, injuring the former President’s ear. One audience member was killed and two others seriously injured, according to the U.S. Secret Service, which killed the gunman.

Video on multiple TV networks showed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee clutching his ear, blood on his face, moments after several shots were heard.Trump dropped to the ground below the podium as the crowd erupted in panic, many ducking for cover.

Secret Service agents huddled around Trump, who raised a fist in the air as agents hustled him our of the open-air venue. He was later treated at a hospital for what his campaign described as a minor injury, assuring that he plans to attend the Republican National Convention which begins  Monday.

A Trump spokesperson, Steven Cheung, said Trump “thanks law enforcement and first responders for their quick action during this heinous act,” adding that the former president is “fine” and being checked out at a medical facility.

The identity of the gunman, who was atop a nearby building, has not been released. Nor has the identity of the audience member killed or those injured been disclosed.

STATE WITHDRAWS PLACEMENT OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN POWAY

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 13, 2024 (Poway) – The proposed placement of sexually violent predator Merle Wade Wakefield at a home on Sycamore Ranch Road in Poway has been revoked by the California Department of State Hospitals, after vocal community opposition. The state has not provided a reason for the withdrawal. 

SHERIFF ANNOUNCES DRUG AND CONTRABAND SCREENINGS FOR JAIL EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 13, 2024 (San Diego) – San Diego County Sheriff Kelly Martinez this week announced that random screenings for drugs and contraband will be implemented for all personnel assigned to county jails, as well as for contractors and others with business in county detention facilities, though not public visitation areas. Belongings will also be screened.
 
To protect security, the details, locations and frequency of screenings is not being disclosed, however a Sheriff’s K-9 dog trained to detect drugs will be present. 
 
The action aims to further reduce San Diego’s high rate of in-custody deaths. In 2022, a state auditor report found that 185 people died in San Diego County jails from 2006 to 2020. Since then, Sheriff Kelly Martinez has rolled out many reforms which have reduced jail deaths, most of which occurred in people being held awaiting hearings. Her actions have reduced, but not eliminated jail deaths; six people have died in custody locally so far this year.

COUNTY SHELTERS WAIVING ADULT DOG AND CAT ADOPTION FEES THROUGH JULY

 
July 13, 2024 (Bonita) -- Don’t “paws,” come meet our “pawsome” adult dogs and “purrfect” cats. Fall in love with one or two and help them make their “furever” homes with you. Adult dog and cat adoption fees are being sponsored.

FAHEE ACCEPTS COMMUNITY GRANT FOR LOCAL EMS COLLEGE

East County News Service
 
July 13, 2024 (Santee) -- The Foundation for Allied Health & EMS Education (FAHEE) has recently been awarded a $9,300 grant by Las Patronas, a philanthropic group based in San Diego. This grant enabled EMSTA College in Santee, CA, to update the medical equipment vital for paramedic student training.

LA MESA POLICE SEEK LEADS IN SHOOTING DEATH; $1,000 REWARD OFFERED

By Miriam Raftery

July 13, 2024 (La Mesa) – Shortly after midnight, a man suffering gunshot wounds to his upper torso staggered across High Street in the 7500 block and fell down on a the driveway in front of an apartment building, a caller told police. Officers and fire department personnel immediately responded and rendered first aid, but the victim was declared dead at the scene.

“Based on initial information gathered by investigators, it does not appear the victim, a 25-year-old white male and resident of La Mesa, was shot while out on the street. There were no calls reporting gunshots in the area,” says Lieutenant Katy Lynch. “A light-colored sedan was seen driving westbound on High Street shortly before the victim was seen staggering across the street, but it is unknown if that vehicle is related to this incident.”

IMPROVED FIRE AND MEDICAL SERVICES DELIVERED TO BORREGO SPRINGS

By Chuck Westerheide, San Diego County News Center
 
July 12, 2024 (Borrego Springs) -- One year out, San Diego County Fire Protection District is making good on its promise to deliver fire protection, emergency medical services, and ambulance transportation in Borrego Springs and major improvements are underway.

LA MESA CITY COUNCIL APPROVES SALES TAX MEASURE FOR BALLOT

 

By Rachel Williams

July 11, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Here’s Why Your Voice Matters, La Mesa.

The La Mesa City Council voted unanimously on July 9 to let residents vote in November on whether to continue the ¾ cent sales tax extension used to fund public services.  Prop L, enacted in 2008, is set to expire in 2029.

According to a city press release sent by the city after the vote, the Prop L sales tax contributes approximately $12 million annually in local funding. Without Prop L funding, the City would need to make significant reductions to public safety services and maintenance of streets, sidewalks, parks, storm drains and other infrastructure, the release states.

FRIENDS OF LOVELAND RESERVOIR ASK PUBLIC HELP AFTER FOREST SERVICES DENIES REQUEST FOR VOLUNTEERS TO HELP RESTORE SUNRISE-TO-SUNSET ACCESS

By Miriam Raftery

July 11, 2024 (Alpine) – The nonprofit Friends of Loveland Reservoir has been advocating for a return of sunrise-to-sunset hours at Sweetwater Reservoir.  Such access was agreed to along with an easement as part of a land-swap deal between the U.S. Forest Service and Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) years ago, but in recent years amid tightened budgets, that agreement has not been honored.

Friends of Loveland states in an email to its supporters that it proposed for members of its large volunteer base to open and close Loveland daily from sunrise to sunset, with a new lockbox and gate key.  “ SWA agreed to open the gate every morning and would work with a volunteer group as long as USFS provided oversight. Unfortunately, the USDA Office of General Counsel did not agree,” the Friends group states in its email.

Friends of Loveland Reservoir (FLR)has sent a letter in response to the Forest Service sharply criticizing the federal agency for refusing to enforce the public’s access rights and asking for a meeting with the Forest Service, FLR, and SWA representatives.(See copy of their letter below).

FLR also urging the public to contact the following Forest Service representatives:

BABY HURT IN HORRIFIC EL CAJON CRASH NEEDS MORE HELP ON LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 10, 2024 (San Diego) – Akeel Robinson will turn 2-years-old in August. He’s made remarkable progress since January, when a wrong-way driver plunged off a freeway overpass in El Cajon, sending a chunk of a concrete guardrail crashing into Akeel’s skull. But his family needs help to fund his extensive rehab therapies, particularly since his mother lost her job caring for elderly patients due to putting Akeel’s needs first for his near-daily therapy appointments, and the bills are piling up. 

“He’s going to need help forever,” Akeel’s grandmother, Jennifer Blocker, told ECM. She is asking for donations at a GoFundMe site, now that the projected costs for Akeel’s care have skyrocketed.  “When the accident happened, my daughter was in the process of moving.  She’s finally gotten into a place, but everything seems to keep snowballing.”  She hopes that the public, who gave generously right after the accident, will help her daughter and grandson assure that his therapy sessions can continue, and help them afford other critical needs.

“VIOLENT” CARTEL ASSOCIATES GET SEVERE SENTENCES FOR KIDNAPPING WOMEN IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

July 10, 2024 (El Cajon)—Three defendants have received lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the kidnapping for ransom and assault of two El Cajon women on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel, district attorney Summer Stephan announced yesterday.

“Drug cartels are a serious and violent threat to our community and their criminal networks should not and will not be allowed to operate in our county,” DA Stephan said. “Let this case be an example of the type of justice that will be brought forth by our dedicated gang prosecutors who work with our law enforcement partners and who risk their lives to deliver justice on behalf of victims to protect the community.”

Defendants Victor Medrano, 44, and Eliceo Flores, 36 were sentenced to life in state prison without parole and defendant Emily Gonzalez, 33, was sentenced to 24 years, eight months in custody. A fourth indicted defendant, 32-year-old Julie Soto, is scheduled for trial in December.

AFTER OTAY FIRE, LA MESA CITY MANAGER OFFERS ASSURANCES ON SAFETY OF PROPOSED BATTERY STORAGE SITE IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

Image: Rendering of proposed Murray Project in La Mesa, via Enersmart's project website

July 8, 2024 (La Mesa) – A battery fire at the Gateway energy storage facility in Otay Mesa in May forced evacuation of nearby businesses for nearly two weeks.  

Enersmart has proposed building a battery energy storage facility at 8131 El  Paso Street in La Mesa.

After the Otay fire, La Mesa City Manager Greg Humora recently sent an e-mail to the mayor and city councilmembers highlighting key differences between the Otay and La Mesa projects in size, technology, and fire protection plans.

SENIOR FIRE SURVIVOR GETS NEW MOBILEHOME, BUT STILL NEEDS FURNISHINGS, AC, AND APPLIANCES

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: left: Melissa Taylor, in front of burned-out shell of her former mobilehome, right: new mobilehome

July 10, 2024 (El Cajon) – Last August, 65-year-old Melissa Taylor lost everything when a fire destroyed her mobile home in El Cajon, as ECM reported. Now, thanks to the generosity of donors who responded to her GoFundMe plea and a modest insurance settlement, she now has a new mobile home on the same site where she’s lived for 19 years. But she needs more help before she can move in.

“She has no air conditioning, or furnishings. She needs a washer and dryer," asl well as some other appliances to "make it livable,” says Kari Dodson, a long-time friend of Taylor’s. “She hasn’t been able to move in yet, so we are still keeping the donations link active.” You can donate here.

Kari Dodson, a friend of Taylor’s, told ECM our prior coverage helped bring in donations that enabled Taylor to replace her burned home,  “Thank you for your support and concern,” Dodson told ECM. “Your reporting does help the community immeasurably!”

LOST A PET? BEWARE OF SCAMMERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Vincent, lost cast from Del Cerro Reservoir area, is still missing.If you find him, please contact Amanda Everett at abeverett.personal@gmail.com,  or 619-261-4717.

July 9, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – When Amanda Everett lost her cat, Vincent, she posted notices online in hopes of finding help to locate her missing pet. Instead, she says, thieves tried to scam her into giving them money for emergency surgery on her cat, whom they falsely claimed had been brought to a local shelter. Other scammers sought to trick her into giving our personal information that could be used for identity theft.

Everett posted this warning on social media, which she has given ECM permission to reprint.

LANDLORDS CAN NO LONGER CHARGE MORE THAN ONE MONTH’S RENT AS DEPOSIT

East County News Service
 
Photo: CC by ND via Bing
 
July 9, 2024 (Sacramento) – Since July 1st, a new law prohibits many landlords from charging renters more than one month’s rent as a security deposit. The law does not apply to smaller landlords who own only one or two properties, with a total of four units or less.

$2.8 MILLION NSF GRANT WILL EXPAND AI EDUCATION AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS

In collaboration with the NSF Institute for Learning-enabled Optimization at Scale, the project will focus on diversity within the AI research community
 
 
Photo: Engineering student Baoqian Wang (left) worked on an autonomous vehicle with Junfei Xie. (Photo: courtesy Junfei Xie)
 
July 8, 2024 (San Diego) -- The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)’s ExpandAI program last week awarded San Diego State University a $2.8 million, four-year grant to enhance the existing artificial intelligence infrastructure, education and research capacity and prepare students for careers in AI.
 
The project, “PARTNER: Expanding AI Capacity in San Diego: A Strategic Collaboration between San Diego State University and TILOS AI Institute,” will serve SDSU students as well as K-12 and community college students from diverse backgrounds. 

SHANIEKA RICKETTS QUALIFIES FOR PARIS OLYMPICS

San Diego State track and field alum, Shanieka Ricketts (Thomas) will compete for Jamaica at this summer's Olympic Games.
 
 
Photo: Former San Diego State athlete Shanieka Ricketts (Thomas) will be competing in the triple jump at the 2024 Paris Olympics with the Jamaican National Team. (courtesy: SDSU)
 
July 8, 2024 (Kingston, Jamaica) -- San Diego State Hall of Famer, Shanieka Ricketts (Thomas), qualified for the Paris Olympics over the weekend with her performance in triple jump at the JAAA/Puma National Championships.

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

July 8, 2024 (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.

WORLD

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

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: JULY BRINGS MIDSUMMER EVENTS TO SAVOR

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – There’s more than fireworks and parades happening in July. How about open farm days at Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramoma,  Pine Valley Days, outdoor concerts and car shows, Sip of Julian tasting event, the Ramona Country Fair and movies in County parks?

Click here for our 4th of July festivities in East County. Scroll down for the many other hot happenings coming up throughout July.

LAMPLIGHTERS PRESENTS THE ODD COUPLE, WITH FEMALE ROOMMATES JULY 5-28

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2024 (La  Mesa) – Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa presents Neil Simon’s classic comedy, The Odd Couple, July 5-28, with a twist. Instead of sloppy Oscar and neatnik Felix, the leads are female roommates​: Olive Madison and Florence Unger.

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