SAN DIEGO FBI ASKS PUBLIC HELP TO PREVENT VIOLENCE RELATED TO THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION AND INAUGURATION

SUPERVISORS APPROVE HOUSING FOR MENTALLY ILL HOMELESS AND THOSE AT RISK

SANTEE COUNCIL SETS FANITA RANCH ELECTION FOR NOV. 2022, ALSO APPROVES DIVERSITY PROGRAM

NEW RANCHO HELIX DE ORO FIRE SAFE COUNCIL OFFERS FIRE-SAFE TIPS

CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS TO HOST INFORMATION SESSION ON COVID-19 VACCINES THURSAY AT 2 PM

SANTEE COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN PROMOTING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

10 HOUSE REPUBLICANS JOIN DEMOCRATS, VOTE TO IMPEACH TRUMP FOR INCITING INSURRECTION

VOEPEL STATEMENTS ON CAPITOL INSURRECTION PROVOKE CALLS FOR EXPULSION OR RESIGNATION

FORMER SANTEE COUNCILMAN HOULAHAN WILL RUN FOR CONGRESS

EX-GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: TRUMP SOUGHT “COUP”, LIKENS CAPITOL INSURRECTION TO NAZIS IN HIS NATIVE AUSTRIA

PRO-TRUMP DEMONSTRATORS CLASH WITH ANTI-FASCIST COUNTERPROTESTERS IN SAN DIEGO

DRIVER WHO DRAGGED AND INJURED EL CAJON POLICEMAN IS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE

INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC STRATEGIES ANNOUNCES THE ADDITION OF TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS, EMPHASIZING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Source:  Institute for Public Strategies

December 23, 2020 (San Diego) - Southern California based nonprofit Institute for Public Strategies (IPS) is pleased to announce the addition of two new members of its board of directors, a group of dedicated leaders from the United States and Mexico.

MOUSE NEAR SANTEE TESTS POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

A western harvest mouse collected in routine monitoring in open space along the border of Santee and San Diego has tested positive for hantavirus, County environmental health officials said this week.

County officials are reminding people that if they find rodents in their homes, garages, sheds or cabins they should never sweep up or vacuum up after them, but use “wet-cleaning” methods instead, to keep from breathing in the virus and getting sick.

Click "Read More" for more information and to review "Wet-cleaning" methods to safely clean up and dispose of mouse nests and/or droppings.

NEW PROGRAM OFFERS PLAN B FOR REACHING RESIDENTS IN DISTRESS

By Michele Clock, San Diego County Fire
 
December 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- Imagine you’re having chest pains, or you’ve taken a serious fall inside your home. What if no one could get to the front door to let in firefighters?
 
A new program is offering a back-up plan, to ensure your front door doesn’t stand in the way of getting help.
 
San Diego County Fire’s Residential KnoxBox Program is now providing free lock boxes that will hold a spare copy of your house key. County Fire will install the box just outside the front door for quick fire department access. The boxes can only be opened by local firefighters responding to life-threatening emergencies. Fire personnel will be able to reach residents more quickly when seconds count.  

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL KILLS IDEA FOR AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS IN APARTMENTS TO COMBAT COVID-19

City still has $200,000 in rental, mortgage and utility assistance funds for residents in need
 
By Kendra Sitton
 
December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) — A proposal to give air filtration systems to low-income households put forward by El Cajon City Councilman Steve Goble failed to move forward in a special City Council meeting, where no one seconded the motion. 

30,000 AT RISK OF POWER SHUTOFFS DEC. 23-24 DUE TO RED FLAG WARNING

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has notified around 30,000 customers that their power could be shut off due to high fire danger.  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of Southern California due to possible strong winds from 8 a.m. Wednesday through 12 p.m. Thursday, Christmas Eve. The communities at risk range from El Cajon east to Campo, north to Escondido and mountain areas such as Julian, and as far south as Potrero near the border.

The threat of losing electricity in mid-winter during Christmas week is disheartening for backcountry residents, many of whom have stocked up refrigerators and freezers for holiday feasts. ECM has received complaints from residents who report SDG&E refused to reimburse them for food spoiled during other recent outages. Coming at a time when many are without jobs or have businesses with little income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospect of financial losses due to power outages or worse, a wildfire are particularly troubling.

ASSEMBLYMEMBER SHIRLEY WEBER NAMED NEW SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CALIFORNIA

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2020 (San Diego) – East County’s Assemblywoman Shirley Weber has been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as California’s Secretary of State, the first black woman to hold the office. The daughter of sharecroppers who were once denied the right to vote, Dr. Weber went on to earn a doctoral degree and rise to prominence as an educator and later, a powerhouse champion in the Legislature for voting rights, police reform and strengthening public schools.

Governor Newsom posted on Twitter, “Dr. Weber is a tireless advocate & change agent with unimpeachable integrity. Now, she’ll be at the helm of our elections as our next Secretary of State, the first African American to be California’s Chief Elections Officer.”  He added, “With her, CA will continue to be a model for the nation in expanding democratic participation and access to the ballot box.”

Weber, a Democrat whose district includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Bonita and portions of San Diego and National City, will fill the vacancy left by Alex Padilla, whom the Governor appointed to be California’s new U.S. Senator. Padilla will replace Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris in the Senate.

SANTEE LAKES PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION DESPITE SETBACKS

By Mike Allen
 
Photo: Santee Lakes general store/grill concept rendering
 
December 22, 2020 (Santee) -- A three-building construction project at Santee Lakes is nearing completion, but because of the pandemic, exactly when it will be finished is still difficult to know.
 
Laura Koval, the director of parks and recreation at the Santee Lakes Preserve, said while the finish line is in sight, it could be anytime between February to April.
 
“What I’m saying is spring of next year,” Koval said in a recent interview with East County Magazine. “When you add COVID to the mix, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
 

TRUMP PARDONS FORMER REP. HUNTER FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE CRIMES

President also pardons other high-level allies and Blackwater guards who committed massacre in Iraq

Trump has also pardoned Margaret Hunter

Story and file photo by Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2020 (Washington D.C.) --- East County’s former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter won’t be reporting to prison in Texas in January.  Today, President Donald Trump delivered an early Christmas gift to Hunter and other Republican allies, issuing pardons for their crimes.

Hunter, a staunch Trump supporter and Republican from Alpine, pleaded guilty in late 2019 to conspiracy to diverting a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for personal use, but his sentencing was delayed due to COVID-19 in La Tuna, the federal  penitentiary near El Paso. He resigned soon after, forcing constituents to be without representation for a full year that proved to be tumultous amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM APPOINTS SECRETARY OF STATE ALEX PADILLA AS CALIFORNIA’S NEXT U.S. SENATOR

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill California’s U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

Padilla, who previously served as a Los Angeles City Councilman and State Senator, is a national leader in the fight to expand voting rights, will become the first Latino to represent California in the United States Senate and the first Southern Californian in nearly three decades.

“The son of Mexican immigrants —  a cook and house cleaner — Alex Padilla worked his way from humble beginnings to the halls of MIT, the Los Angeles City Council and the State Senate, and has become a national defender of voting rights as California’s Secretary of State.” said Governor Newsom. “Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic. He will be a Senator for all Californians.”

The action also gave Newsom the ability to fill the Secretary of State seat via appointment. Late today, he announced that Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), whose district includes much of East County, will be the new Secretary of State, the first black woman to hold the post.  Newsom bypassed San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who earlier had announced plans to run for the position in 2022.  Newsom will also be making an appointment to replace Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was named by President-Elect Joe Biden to head up the federal Health and Human Services department, if the cabinet appointment is approved by the Senate.

ASBESTOS EXPOSURE IN THE SD AREA AND GREATER CALIFORNIA

By Traven Pyles

December 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- We often think asbestos exposure to be a thing of the past; after all the dangerous mineral is not manufactured anymore in the United States and EPA regulations reduced its use to just 400 metric tons per year. This might seem like much, but is just a drop in a bucket when we consider the size of the US. 

GOVERNOR: SOCAL LOCKDOWN LIKELY TO BE EXTENDED AS ICU CAPACITY FALLS TO ZERO

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association 

Photo:  Gov. Gavin Newsom. Courtesy of the governor’s office

December 22, 2020 (San Diego) - With ICU capacity essentially zero in Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday the regional stay-at-home order will almost certainly be extended beyond the current Dec. 28 end date.

CHILD FOUND SAFE AFTER AUTO THEFT AND KIDNAPPING IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 21, 2020 (El Cajon) – A woman who left the motor running on her vehicle parked in an alley while she unloaded groceries into her apartment at 300 W. Madison Street saw a man steal the vehicle with her 3-year-old child inside.

SDSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RALLY FALLS SHORT VS. CAL POLY

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

December 21, 2020 (San Diego) - The Aztec women’s basketball team (2-6, 0-2) lost to Cal Poly (4-2) 73-63 in their non-conference finale Monday afternoon inside Viejas Arena. The Aztecs rallied from a 12-point deficit to pull within two points with 2:28 remaining, but saw the Mustangs finish the game on a 9-1 run.

SUSPECT ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH MURDER OF MAN AT LAKE MURRAY SHOPPING CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Di'Marcus Lavonne Mayes, murder victim, courtesy of his family via LMPD

December 21, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police today announced the arrest of Alexander Cesar Nghiem of San Diego. He is charged with murder of Di’Marcus Lavonne Mayes, 29, who was shot multiple times in his upper torso on December 11th.

La Mesa Police responded to calls reporting gunshots in the parking lot of the Marketplace at Lake Murray Village, 5600 Lake Murray Boulevard.  Officers found Mayes unresponsive and performed CPR and other medical aid until medics arrived.

KPBS GETS COUNTY DATA ON OUTBREAKS IN RESTAURANTS, RETAILERS, CASINOS AND MORE: THE NUMBERS MAY SURPRISE YOU

By Miriam Raftery

Image via KPBS, republished under Fair Use Doctrine

December 21, 2020  (San Diego) – It took a lawsuit under the California Public Records Act filed by KPBS, Voice of San Diego and the San Diego Union-Tribune to obtain data previously kept secret on the exact location of COVID-19 outbreaks, including names of businesses affected.

The data reveals many outbreaks at venues such as Walmart, Costco, Target, casinos and manufacturers/businesses. The most outbreaks, however, have been at senior living facilities/nursing homes(214 outbreaks) followed by restaurants and bars with 208 outbreaks from March through November.

The number of outbreaks doesn’t tell the whole story, however.

PYGMY HIPPO CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY WITH ZOOM PARTY AND CAKE IN RAMONA

Hannah Shirley’s wildlife friends surprise her with socially distanced well-wishes
 
Source: Ramona Wildlife Center
 
December 20, 2020 (Ramona) — North America’s oldest living pygmy hippo, Hannah Shirley, celebrated her 47th birthday Thursday at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center today with a Zoom party and cake. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Hannah Shirley was not able to get together with her friends, but that didn’t dampen the celebration, which included a cake made out of her favorite grains, fruit and veggies all held together with pumpkin purée  —and yummy cucumber-melon water in a big bucket. Hannah Shirley’s caretakers set up a “living room” in her habitat for her party, with pumpkin goodies, photos of her friends (including other sanctuary animals), a Zoom feed and a number of enrichment stations. Despite being a nocturnal animal, Hannah Shirley decided to take part and enjoy the occasion.
 

DEL MAR HIGHLANDS TOWN CENTER GIVES LAKESIDE CHILD THE GIFT OF JOY FOR HOLIDAY SEASON

Center gives family huge holiday sea star after it sparked joy and smiles from a 5-year-old girl who suffers from CDKL5 deficiency disorder. The 6+ foot holiday sea star was delivered to Brooklynn Jarvis yesterday, Dec. 19.
 
Source: Del Mar Highlights Town Center
 
December 20, 2020 (Lakeside) – Del Mar Highlands Town Center is showing the spirit of the season with its surprise gift to a local customer who had a joyful experience on property in December.
 
Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s annual holiday “’Tis the Sea Sun” display features larger than life décor, from a towering 36-foot Christmas tree made of 44 surfboards to bright orange holiday sea stars adorning Santa’s red hat. When the Jarvis family visited Del Mar Highlands Town Center in early December, little did they know they would get the holiday spirit in action.
 
Their daughter, Brooklynn Jarvis (age 5) suffers from CDKL5 deficiency disorder. She has had seizures since she was two months old and suffers with severe developmental problems. She loves bright colors and lights so when the family came upon the "tis the sea sun” themed holiday decor created by Shine Illumination, Brooklynn beamed with a beautiful smile. Her family was so excited they shared pictures of this incredible moment for their daughter at the Center with support groups on Facebook.
 

CONGRESS APPROVES $900 BILLION COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE: TRUMP SAYS HE WILL SIGN IT

 

Update December 21, 2020: The House and Senate have both approved the virus relief package, which is now on President Trump's desk.  If it is signed into law, stimulus checks could begin to be deposited in recipients' bank accounts starting in early January.

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The four top leaders in the U.S. House and Senate have hammered out a $900 billion relief package, bringing welcome news just in the for the holidays to American households, businesses, schools and tribes impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congressional leaders tied the relief measure to a bill to fund the government and prevent a shutdown, also passing stopgap measures to fund the government over the next several days. The measure is expected to be voted on and adopted Monday; the White House has indicated that President Donald Trump is prepared to sign the measure.

It’s the first relief measure since March, despite surging cases and overloaded hospitals, new business shutdowns, unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums set to run out at year’s end. The bipartisan measure was crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy.

WHAT’S IN THE BILL:

ALPINE’S JEFF CAMPBELL’S GIFT BAG DRIVE, A HOLIDAY COLLECTION TRADITION BENEFITING CHARITIES, NOW IN ITS 22ND YEAR

East County News Service

December 20, 2020 (Alpine) – Alpine real estate broker Jeff Campbell of San Diego Estates is celebrating his 22nd annual Gift Bag Drive, a holiday collection drive benefiting several local charities.

More than 25 businesses in Alpine, including banks, retail stores, insurance offices and coffee shops, have hosted collection bins where residents have donated nonperishable canned food items, personal hygiene items and unwrapped children’s toys beginning in mid-November, said Campbell. New this year has been a donation of several hundred jackets, shirts and hoodies from an El Centro-based embroidery company that closed its doors.

Campbell said the deadline for donations is Tuesday, Dec. 22.

CA REPORTS 152 CASES OF RARE BUT SERIOUS COVID COMPLICATIONS IN CHILDREN

Cases impacting people of color disproportionately

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2020 (San Diego) – Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has been reported in 152 children statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health.  The rare inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 can damage multiple organ systems, and may be life-threatening without early diagnosis and treatment.

The news is troubling given the high number of children back in public school for in-person learning. Cajon Valley Union School District, for instance, has had 297 cases of COVID-19 in students and staff since August 8, yet schools remain open. To date, 2.34% of all students and staff have been infected.

CHRISTMAS STAR TO BE VISIBLE DEC. 21 FOR FIRST TIME IN OVER 800 YEARS

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2020 (San Diego) – On Monday for about an hour after sundown, people around the world will get a rare glimpse of the “great conjunction” – the largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, so close that the appear to be touching as one bright celestial body.  Many astronomers believe this is the same celestial phenomenon described in the Bible as the Star of Bethlehem that reportedly guided wise men to the manger where Jesus was born. The last time it appeared this brightly was more than 800 years ago, when it was viewed via telescope by Galileo.

The conjunction will peak on Monday, Dec. 21, the winter solstice, and will be best viewed for about 45 minutes to an hour after sunset. In the U.S., look to the southwest sky to see this rare occurrence with the naked eye or enhanced with binoculars or a telescope, ideally from an unobstructed area. 

For those who miss the sight on Monday night, NASA says the solar system’s two largest planets will appear nearly as close on the Dec. 20 and 22.

CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT SARA JACOBS TO SERVE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

ReSara Jacobs during virtual meetingprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: Sara Jacobs during a recent virtual meeting, via her Twitter feed

December 20, 2020 (San Diego)- - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday nominated Congresswoman-Elect Sara Jacobs to the influential House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Jacobs, a Democrat who won election in November to succeed retiring Rep. Susan Davis in the 53rd District that includes much of East County, is the only freshman member of congress to be nominated to the committee, which is responsible for oversight and legislation relating to all aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

It’s the second committee placement for Jacobs, who was earlier nominated to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

CAMP CHEF RECALLS PORTABLE GAS STOVES DUE TO GAS LEAKS, FIRE HAZARD

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 19, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Product Safety Commission Wednesday announced a recall on Camp Chef portable outdoor stoves after 26 reports of gas leaks.
 
An internal part of the gas regulator component can have a sharp edge that can wear or tear a hole in the seal causing gas to leak out of the top of the regulator, posing a fire hazard. To date, no injuries have been reported.
 
Remedy: Consumers are urged to stop using the defective products immediately and contact Camp Chef to obtain a free gas regulator replacement kit.
 
Distribution: About 20,000 of the defective camp stoves were sold nationwide at sporting good stores and Walmart from August 2019 through September 2020 from between $150 to $300 depending on the model. The products were made in China and imported by Logan Outdoor Products LLC in Utah (Camp Chef). 

SHANE HARRIS HOSTS CHRISTMAS DAY EVENT FOR FOSTER CHILDREN: DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 19, 2020 (San Diego) – The  Fourth Annual Shane Harris Community Christmas Day Breakfast for foster youths will be held on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020 between 8:00 a.m. and 11 a.m.at the Jacobs Center 404 Euclid Ave. San Diego. The event is at capacity, with 800 families registered to attend.

 

Volunteers are needed, as well as donations to provide each family with toys and gifts for children of all ages and a gift-card to a local restaurant for a holiday breakfast.  

FDA APPROVES SECOND COVID-19 VACCINE BY MODERNA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via U.S. Health and Human Services

December 19, 2020 (Washington D.C.) --  On Friday, the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration announced that it has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.  This is the second vaccine to win approval, after the approval of a Pfizer vaccine earlier this month.

According to an announcement from the U.S. Health and Human Services agency, more than 5.9 million doses of the vaccine are allocated for jurisdictions to receive in the coming week.

APPEALS COURT BLOCKS JUDGE’S RULING, ORDERS RESTAURANTS CLOSED AGAIN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Terra American Bistro, a farm to table eatery in San Diego just west of La Mesa, had moved outdoors but is now back to offering take-out taco Tuesdays and to-go Christmas dinners, among other offerings, as a result of the latest shutdown order.

December 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Beleaguered restaurant owners are once again ordered to shut down, after three justices on the Fourth District Court of Appeals on Friday issued a stay blocking an order issued Wednesday by Superior Court Judge Wohlfiel.  The Appeals Court, responding to an appeal filed by California’s Attorney General, found that Wohlfiel acted too broadly in expanding an order in a case filed by strip clubs to also include restaurants, which were not parties in the case.

The state argued that Wohlfiel’s order jeopardized the health of county residents by undermining public health orders aimed at curtailing spread of the disease at a time when the Southern California intensitve care units are full, with zero percent capacity.

Wohfiel has issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the state and county from enforcing COVID-19 shutdown orders at restaurants and strip clubs.  Many local restaurants swiftly responded by reopening for outdoor and in some cases, indoor dining.  But the reprieve proved short-lived; the Appeals Court action means that restaurants are once again ordered to shut down except for take-out and delivery services.

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