LA MESA MAYOR LAYS OUT PROGRESS ON CLIMATE ACTION; COUNCIL BANS SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES AND WELCOMES DOMESTIC POULTRY

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

​$10,000 REWARD OFFERED FOR INFO ON ELIJAH “BEAR” DIAZ, EL CAJON MAN MISSING SINCE 2015

VIRGINIA RATIFIES EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT, REKINDLING PUSH FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS

SDPD SEEKS OWNER OF ELECTRIC BIKE RECOVERED FROM SUSPECTED THIEF

ALL 4 SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES IN DISTRICT 2 WILL APPEAR AT FORUM JAN. 29 IN LA MESA HOSTED BY GMIA AND EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

SUPERVISORS UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORT CONTINUING TO ACCEPT REFUGEES AND FEDERAL FUNDING

FUNDRAISER JAN. 26 AT BRODY’S BURGERS FOR ELI OLIVEROS, JAMUL BOY IN COMA

READER’S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA’S NEW GIG WORKER LAW IS DISRUPTING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND THREATENING ALL PERFORMING ARTS

SUPERVISORS APPROVE ONE-YEAR BAN ON SALES OF VAPING PRODUCTS, ALSO TARGET SMOKELESS TOBACCO

ACTOR ERIK ESTRADA, LOCAL HEROES AMONG HONORED GUESTS AT CHP COMMAND CENTER OPEN HOUSE

WATCH FOR WINDY WEATHER

WATCH FOR WINDY WEATHER

East County News Service

January 14, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- A storm system will bring gusty winds as well as a chance of rain and mountain snow Thursday into early Friday morning. Winds at 35-45 miles per hour with isolated gusts up to 50-60 mph are in wind-prone mountain and desert passes.

Light rainfall of 1-3 inches is forecast in most locations, with up to 6 inches at higher elevations, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Adam Roser.  The snow level may drop to 5,000 feet, so be prepared if driving in mountain areas.

U.S. BANK ROBBED IN FLETCHER HILLS

By Miriam Raftery

January 13, 2019 (El Cajon) – The U.S. Bank located at 2755 Navajo Road in El Cajon’s Fletcher Hills neighborhood was robbed today at 3:13 p.m. The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s with numerous acne scars on his face, unshaven with a full mustache.  He is approximately 6 ft. 1 inch tall and weighs about 180 pounds. He was wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt, baggy blue jeans and a dark gray hat with mesh on the back.

According to El Cajon Police Lieutenant J. Larson, the suspect walked up to a teller and stated, “This is a robbery, give me all your large bills.”  No weapon was seen.

The teller provided money to the suspect, who fled on foot. He was last seen running south on Fletcher Parkway near the intersection at Navajo Road and Fletcher Parkway.

“The FBI responded to the scene and will be working with the El Cajon Police Department during this investigation,” says Lt. Larson.

ILLEGAL FIRE LANTERNS FOUND IN ALPINE AND SAN CARLOS SPARK FEARS

By Miriam Raftery

 Photo:  burnt remnants of sky lantern found in Alpine, courtesy 10 News

January 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – An East County Magazine investigation back in 2012 led to the State Fire Marshal to issue a bulletin advising that sky lanterns are illegal—and dangerous. Our story led to removal of sky lanterns from local Walmart shelves.

But not everyone is aware of the ban, so use of sky lanterns, which are popular for celebrations in some cultures, continues. The devices include one or more candles sent aloft beneath an open cloth, much like a hot air balloon, posing severe fire hazards. 

ECM news partner 10 News reports that on Saturday, an Alpine family on Japatul Valley Road awoke to find their horses terrified and one horse injured.  In dry brush nearby, they found remnants of a sky lantern with birthday candles attached to popsicle sticks. 

“Thank God it didn't start a fire, but it could have," Lucy Olivier told 10 News. 

CITIES SHOULD ACT ON HOMELESSNESS OR FACE LAWSUITS, NEWSOM TASK FORCE SAYS

By Matt Levin and Jackie Botts, CalMatters

 Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, left, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who are leading Newsom's task force, have been pushing for some legal leverage to force action on homelessness. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

 

January 13, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Recommendations by Gov. Gavin Newsom's task force on homelessness in California propose a legally enforceable 'mandate to end homelessness' on the November ballot, echo the governor's request for more funding and call for a homelessness czar. 

Declaring that moral persuasion and economic incentives aren’t working to bring people in from the sidewalks, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness called Monday for a “legally enforceable mandate” that would force municipalities and the state to house the growing number of homeless Californians.

COUNCIL ADOPTS ITS SUSTAINABLE SANTEE ACTION PLAN

By Mike Allen
 
January 12, 2020 (Santee) -- The city of Santee is, like most small cities in the state, strapped for funds. Councilmembers are unhappy about complying with the many mandates promulgated by what they view as the big, bad guys in Sacramento.
 
The City Council finally got to scratch one lingering mandate off its list last week when it unanimously approved its Sustainable Santee Action Plan.

PASSAGES: CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER CARROL WAYMON, 1925-2020

By Miriam Raftery

Memorial service has been moved to Bethel Baptist Church on Jan. 24. See details below.

Photo: Carrol Waymon PhD, watching the inauguration of President Barack Obama during a celebration at the Malcolm X Library in San DIego in January, 2009.

January 12, 2020 (San Diego)--San Diego’s most prominent civil rights leader, Carrol Waymon PhD, passed away in early January at age 94.  As executive director of San Diego’s first human rights agency, the Citizens Interracial Committee, he was a tireless fighter for justice who broke down many barriers for people of color.

Born May 15, 1925, Waymon was the grandson of a slave and son of a Methodist minister.  He was one of seven children, including his sister, the late jazz musician Nina Simone. While working on the Los Angeles Human Relations Agency in 1964, he was asked by San Diego's City Council  to come to San Diego and help address racial issues. He moved here and never left,  leading the Citizens Interracial Committee and devoting his life to attaining equal rights for all.

ECM interviewed Waymon in January 2009, during a local viewing of the inuauguration of Barack Obama, our nation’s first African-American president.  For Waymon, who once served as San Diego’s delegate to the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr., Obama’s election was a major milestone hailed by Waymon.  “It is incredible to me. I couldn’t imagine at that time in 1968 that we’d have a black president 40 years later,” he said.

FROM IRAQ TO AMERICA FOR SUCCESS AND FREEDOM

 

Only in America: An Immigrant’s Success Story, by Wadie P. Deddeh, as told to Linda E. Sheridan (AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN, 2019, 138 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

January 11, 2020 (San Diego) - The late Wadie P. Deddeh, as told to Linda E. Sheridan, has written an insightful book that speaks to what America is all about; Only in America: An Immigrant’s Success Story.

Every book and story has to have a beginning and ending, and in the words of the author(s) of this book it states: “As I talk about being born and growing up in Iraq, I think it is important to describe and distinguish who the Chaldean people are and what challenges they have encountered. Chaldeans are an ethnic minority of Iraqi Catholics and one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East. Their native language is Aramaic. Throughout the centuries, Chaldeans faced varying levels of discrimination and persecution, and were compelled to travel to other parts of the world, where they established new communities.”

SDSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL STUMBLES AT BOISE STATE 86-72

Taylor Kalmer led the Aztecs with 21 points

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

January 11, 2020 (Boise) - The Aztec women’s basketball team (8-10, 3-3) fell at Boise State (12-6, 4-2) 86-72 Saturday afternoon inside ExtraMile Arena. The Aztecs held a lead after the first quarter, but the Broncos put outscored SDSU 29-14 in the second quarter and held a lead for the remainder of the game.

PASSAGES: “HAWK WATCH” WILDLIFE RESEARCHER JOHN DAVID BITTNER DIES AFTER FALL IN SAN PASQUAL VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2020 (Ramona) – John David "Dave" Bittner, 75, of Julian was known to many for the “Hawk Watch” programs he led for decades at the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona that he founded, and later at the Begent Ranch.  On Thursday, Bittner died of a 50-foot fall suffered while rappelling down to replace batteries and memory cards in a camera near a Golden Eagle nest in the Bandy Canyon area in the San Pasqual Valley.

“We will miss him dearly and are so thankful for his work and dedication to saving wildlife and their special habitat,” the Wildlife Research Institute posting on its Facebook page.  The institute, of which Bittner served as director, pledged to continue hosting Hawk Watch and planned an impromptu memorial service this morning at the Begent Ranch.

Bittner and his wife,Leigh, had a passion for protecting wildlife and purchased 3,000 acres that they donated to the county to buy the Ramona Grasslands preserve and sell property to the Nature Conservancy as a wildlife preserve. That is home to many raptors, including bald eagles.

SAN DIEGO ZOO AND SAFARI PARK TO DONATE ADMISSIONS FROM SUNDAY, JAN. 12 TO HELP AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE AMID FIRES

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2020 (San Diego) – All paid admissions to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park this Sunday, Jan. 12 will be donated to help San Diego Zoo Global’s efforts to save wildlife in Australia amid deadly brush fires.

Over 15 million acres have burned in Australia’s deadly wildfires – nearly 10 times the 1.8 million acres scorched in California’s fires last year. A quarter of a million people have been forced to flee, Reuters reports.

Scientists at the University of Sydney have estimated that as many as a billion animals may have perished, putting some species at risk of extinction. The bush fires have killed tens of thousands of marsupials found nowhere else on earth including koalas and kangaroos, as well as birds such as glossy black cockatoos, reptiles and amphibians.

LA MESA CHAMBER TO HOST BEER GARDEN AT GROSSMONT CENTER’S FIRST FRIDAY MARKETS

Celebrate vegan lifestyle with all-vegan eats, drinks, music and more

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has inked a deal with Grossmont Center to host a beer garden at all of the center’s First Friday markets starting February 7th through the end of this year. The beer garden will feature featuring Mike Hess Brewing Company and Local Roots kombucha.

The markets are held on the first Friday of each month from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.in the shopping mall’s parking lot between Chuze Fitness and Fuddruckers. The  market celebrates the vegan lifestyle with all-vegan foods, sweets, drinks, goods for sale and live music. Grossmont Center is located at 5500 Grossmont Center Blvd., La Mesa. 

The beer garden will have a seating area beneath lighted tents for dining and drinking under the stars. 

ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT WARNS OF STRANGER IN TRUCK APPROACHING STUDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2020 (Alpine)—The Alpine Union School District is warning parents about two separate incidents Tuesday afternoon and again today, both involving a stranger in a truck approaching young students.

"Today, a Joan MacQueen Middle School student reported being approached by a stranger in a white-greyish four-door truck with tinted windows on Victoria Drive and Sneath Way. We have met with the Alpine Sheriff’s Deputies and have requested extra patrols at our schools. Deputies will be present after school today, and the detectives are investigating," a letter posted to the Joan MacQueen Middle School’s Facebook page reads.

In Tuesday’s incident, a vehicle described as a white lifted truck similar to a Toyota Tundra reportedly followed two young girls down a private dead-end road.

HELP NEEDED FOR 6-YEAR-OLD JAMUL BOY IN COMA AFTER CAR WRECK

By Miriam Raftery 

January 9, 2020 (Jamul)—A 6-year-old Jamul boy is in a medically-induced coma due to serious injuries suffered in a car accident on December 27th with his father and two cousins. His aunt, Britney Judd, has organized a GoFundMe page to help raise money to pay for Eli Ontiveros' expensive medical care.  The family hopes to locate and thank bystanders who saved Eli from a burning vehicle. 

According to the GoFundMe page, Eli suffered fractures to his clavicle, sternum, and six ribs. He also has damage to his lungs and brain. “Right now the goal is to get him off of ventilation and to get his breathing on his own,” the GoFundMe page states.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE (OUT OF) CONTROL

By David R. Shorey
East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies
Photos: Creative Commons
 
January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- If you are looking for an alcoholic drink in East County, you’re in luck. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local watering hole where you can belly up to a bar and wet your whistle, or a retailer, where you can grab a bottle and take it home. The East County has plenty of options.
 
Perhaps too many.

LEMON GROVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY WINS “BEST OF LEMON GROVE” AWARD

By Helen Ofield
 
January 9, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- The Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) has been selected for the 2019 Best of Lemon Grove Award in the Local Business category by the Lemon Grove Award Program. LGHS is a 501(c)(3) non profit educational organization established in 1978 that has honed its outreach and marketing skills in all media for public benefit.
 
Each year, the nationally syndicated award program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success locally and regionally to enhance the positive image of small business through service to their patrons and community. These exceptional companies help make the Lemon Grove area a great place to live, work and play.
 
The award managers work exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and adjacent advertising and marketing groups in order to recognize the contributions to the U. S. economy by businesses and organizations like LGHS. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Lemon Grove Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Lemon Grove Award Program and data provided by third parties. Recognition is given to those companies that use their best practices and implement programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

DEPUTIES SHOOT REPORTEDLY SUICIDAL SUSPECT IN LEMON GROVE

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2019 (Lemon Grove)—A man reported by a family member to be threatening suicide at a home in Lemon Grove was shot by multiple Sheriff’s deputies on January 6th.  The shootings occurred after the man removed a revolver from inside his jacket, according to Lt. Michael Blevins, who indicated that the man did not fire the weapon.

Shane Felix, 34, was treated at the scene by deputies for gunshot injuries until paramedics arrived. He was transported to a hospital and underwent successful surgery; he is expected to survive, according to Blevins.

CBS 8 reports that Felix had a prior conviction for arson and is expected to be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, once he is medically cleared.

BULL AND BOURBON STEAKHOUSE AT SYCUAN WINS AAA FOUR-DIAMOND RATING

East County News Service

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – In its first year of operation, the Bull and Bourbon restaurant at the Sycuan Casino Resort has earned the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Rating, one of three casino steakhouses in the San Diego region with the designation.

The Bull and Bourbon steakhouse features steaks cooked on a wood-fired Santa Maria grill. The restaurant has its ownbeef dry-aging room, complimented by single-barrel and other high-end bourbons.

LA JOLLA PHYSICIAN PULLS PLUG ON PETITION DRIVE TO RECALL GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM

 

Dr. James Veltmeyer says he’ll try again at some unspecified future date, but first he needs $5 million to hire a signature-gathering firm. File photo

By Ken Stone

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

January 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- A La Jolla doctor has ended his long-shot effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Unlike 2003, when Darrell Issa spent nearly $2 million for signature-gathering efforts that led to the ouster of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, Dr. James Veltmeyer said his recall bid against the current Democrat could raise only $90,000.

JANUARY IS A GREAT MONTH FOR DINING OUT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons image via ND

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – This month, restaurants across our region are offering specials for San Diego Restaurant Week January 19-26, including at least eight eateries in East County. In addition, Julian restaurants have a month-long celebration of California restaurant month with specials of their own.

Feast your eyes on the options below:

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JAN. 10-FEB. 28

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features Hawk Watch in Ramona, concerts at the Magnolia in El Cajon, the silent movie Passion of Joan of Arc in Borrego Springs, and Open Farm Day at the Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona.

Plus we’ll have a preview of coming events including San Diego restaurant week and Julian’s restaurant month, trivia nights at Wine Works in La Mesa, tapas and a flamenco show at Spacebar Café in La Mesa, and a Lamplighter’s Theater production of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery play, The Hollow.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

REAL ESTATE REALITY: INSPECTION WOES--IT’S GOOD TO KNOW

By Maryanne Jackson Real Estate Broker

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)  

Dear Maryanne,

My wife and I are considering selling our home in Spring Valley and purchasing 

a larger home in the same area. We will need to use the proceeds from the sale to UPSIZE.

Is it recommended to hire a home inspector prior to putting our home up for sale? 

If so, what is the advantage of us putting the 450.00 out to do this. Will the buyer still need to get their own home inspection during the escrow investigation process?

Eric J. Spring Valley, CA

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

January 9, 2020 (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:  

LOCAL

STATE

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

BORDER PATROL LAUNCHES PILOT PROGRAM TO COLLECT DNA SAMPLES FROM MIGRANTS

East County News Service

January 8, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has initiated a 90-day pilot program starting yesterday to assess the impact of proposed regulatory changes that would require collection of DNA samples from many individuals in CBP custody, including minors.  The pilot program will be limited to the Detroit area and the Eagle Pass port of entry in Texas. 

DNA will be collected from people ages 14-79 who are apprehended and processed in Detroit.  At the Texas location, the DNA collection will be done on individuals who seek admission to the U.S. and are subject to further detention or proceedings.

According to CBS News  the action is the first phase of a sweeping five-part, three year Department of Homeland Security initiative “to obtain DNA profiles from virtually all migrants in U.S. custody, whether or not they've committed crimes.”

ROCKY LONG TO RETIRE AS SDSU FOOTBALL COACH; EX-COACH BRADY HOKE TO TAKE HIS PLACE

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

January 8, 2020 (San Diego) - Rocky Long, the all-time winningest coach in the Mountain West and second-winningest coach in San Diego State history, announced today that he is retiring as the head football coach at SDSU.

CHP SEEKS MAN ACCUSED OF CAUSING WRECK THAT KILLED WOMAN, INJURED TWO OFFICERS

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2020 (San Diego) – The California Highway Patrol warns that a suspect accused of killing a woman in an accident near Temecula, then fleeing the scene and later escaping from law enforcement may be in the San Diego area. Antone Wayne Bayard, 23, of Anza is also accused of injuring two CHP officers during his escape.

On Twitter, the CHP posted, “Bayard is believed to be in the Temecula/San Diego area with plans to flee to Mexico.”

STORIES OF THE DECADE: 2009-2019

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Our site was in its infancy when the past decade began in 2009, just three months after our launch. What a difference a decade makes! 

We've been there through it all, covering the burning issues impacting our region:  fire protection, energy projects, housing, homelessness, immigration, healthcare, actions of local city councils, school boards, and more. 

Our coverage has led to expansion of veteran's services in rural East County, saved local state parks from closing, stopped community planning groups from being abolished, and got fire stations closed during fire season reopened.  We've documented major social movements of the era, from the Tea Party to Occupy, from gay rights to gun rights. We've covered the issues of refugees from around the world, Native American tribes, immigrants at the border, Iraqi and Syrian immigrants in our local communities. We've covered national issues felt locally, such as healthcare reform controversies, government  shutdowns, climate change and impeachment. 

We've also had in-depth coverage of local land use issues, such as sand mines, major housing projects, and industrial-scale wind and solar.  ECM chronicled the achievements of local sports stars with East County ties, from Tony Gwynn to Jimmie Johnson.

We've covered election campaigns and political candidates, education issues, natural disasters from earthquakes to wildfires, power outages, extreme weather, shocking crimes, reform movements, our growing wine industry, historical milestones such as centennials celebrated by local cities, and so much more. 

We took a trip down memory lane, and invite you to join us.

Here are the top stories we covered in the past 10 years:

LA MESA POLICE SEEK WITNESSES TO CRASH NEAR GROSSMONT CENTER: INJURED PEDESTRIAN UNIDENTIFIED; DRIVER ARRESTED

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police seek witnesses to a serious injury accident that occurred at 6:16 p.m. at the intersection of Grossmont Center Drive and Center Drive.  Police also seek the identity of the victim, a white male pedestrian in his 50s who was struck while crossing the street by a 2004 Nissan SUV.

The victim suffered a compound fracture to his lower right leg and a fractured left hip, according to Lt. Brian Stoney. “Unfortunately he did not have any identification on him and we have not been able to positively identify him at this time,” he said.

IRAN ATTACKS U.S. MILITARY BASES IN IRAQ IN RETALATION FOR KILLING OF GENERAL SULEIMANI

 

By Miriam Raftery

Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson contributed to this report

January 7, 2020 (San Diego) – The U.S. Department of Defense confirms that Iran has launched air attacks on two U.S. military bases in Iraq housing American and coalition forces. Over a dozen missiles launched from Iran targeted the Al Assad air base in Baghdad and a second base in Irbil.

ECM has obtained video sent by a source in Iraq who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. The source indicated the video was taken by an Iraqi national inside the Al Assad base during the attack. The same video appears on international media including Canada and England. A local translator in El Cajon told ECM panicked voices heard on the video are shouting “Watch out!” and “One God, one Allah,” a phrase spoken by Muslims when they believe death may be imminent.

There is no official word yet on casualties.

The attacks were in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani last week in Iraq, whom Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said was in Baghdad to coordinate attacks on U.S. forces and coalition partners. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Suleimani posed a “imminent threat” to Americans, but neither Esper nor Pompeo provided specific evidence of the threat.

Critics have said the killing of the Iranian commander via a drone strike violated international law by targeting a sovereign nation’s military leadership.

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