ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE SAN DIEGO AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

JIMMIE JOHNSON AND HIS WIFE TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

WHERE TO FIND FIREWORKS IN EAST COUNTY THIS JULY 4TH

FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL TO OWN OR USE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: HERE ARE SAFE ALTERNATIVES

COUNTY TO BE PLACED ON WATCHLIST DUE TO RISING COVID CASES; IMPACTED BUSINESSES SHOULD PREPARE FOR SHUTDOWNS

LA MESA FARMERS MARKET IS OPEN AGAIN

COUNTY OFFICIALS WARN OF FURTHER RESTRICTIONS AS 474 NEW VIRUS CASES REPORTED

RENEGADES, ROCK HOUSES, AND RESORTS: NEW BOOK CHRONICLES EAST COUNTY HISTORY

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

FIRST ROUND OF RELIEF FUNDS DISTRIBUTED TO 27 LA MESA BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING CIVIL UNREST

COUNTY EASES RULES FOR WINERIES, BUT IMPOSES CURFEW FOR RESTAURANTS AND BARS

SUMMER PRICING REDUCED FOR SDG&E RESIDENTIAL RATEPAYERS: 5% REDUCTION ON GAS AND ELECTRIC RATES STARTS JULY 1

STANDING TOGETHER AGAINST RACISM IN SANTEE

By Henri Migala

Protesters outside Santee Town Center

June 6, 2020 (Santee) -- I received a call Saturday, June 6 advising that people protesting police brutality in the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd were demonstrating in front of the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee in vehicles.

HEAD-ON COLLISION IN RAMONA KILLS 21-YEAR-OLD WOMAN

East County News Service
 
June 7, 2020 (Ramona) – A 21-year-old San Diego woman died at the scene of a head-on collision today on Wildcat Canyon Road in Ramona.
 
The woman was driving a 2016 Ford Fusion south on Wildcat Canyon just south of Ketuull Uunyaa Way around 1:20 p.m. when she lost control. Her vehicle crossed the center line and struck a 2009 Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 61-year-old woman.

READER'S EDITORIAL: TIME TO LISTEN AND TO CHANGE RACIAL INJUSTICE IN OUR NATION AND OUR WORLD

By Andy Salmonsen

Photo, left, by Henri Migala:  George Floyd protest in La Mesa May 30 drew many white participants and people of all races marching in solidarity against racism and police violence

June 7, 2020 (Jamul, California) – This week, I spoke with a good friend and fellow musician.  He is truly a great person and a good man.  I could talk about his talent, his humor, and his personality, but that is not what this is about.  I asked if I could mention him in the post and he said yes.  But as I write this, I don’t want to mention his name because that’s not what this is about, and I don’t want to detract from what really matters.  I will call him Mr. C.   Mr. C Is black.  I asked him if I should reference black people or African American and he said black was ok.   Black lives matter.  I asked him that question because I am white, and I don’t know what it’s like to be black.  I have no idea.  72% of us in the United States have no idea what it is like to be anything other than white.

The conversation was about what I thought of the situation in our nation right now regarding George Floyd, and also why had I not posted anything about how I felt.  Mr. C is really feeling this, he is protesting and he if standing up for what he believes.  I listened to him as he told me how he was feeling and how a lot of his white friends seemed to say the same thing I did, “I don’t really post.”  Mr. C and I love each other like brothers, but I think he was wondering who I really was, who was I underneath in my heart and soul?  It brought me to tears hearing his voice and his pain.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

June 6,  2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

HEALTH

SCIENCE AND TECH

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

BORDER PATROL SEIZES MORE COUNTERFEIT AND UNAPPROVED COVID-19 PRODUCTS

Source: U..S. Customs and Border Patrol

June 6, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to identify and seize a large number of counterfeit, unapproved or otherwise substandard COVID-19 products that threaten the health and safety of American consumers.

As of June 1, CBP had seized more than:

- 107,300 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 301 incidents;

- 750,000 counterfeit face masks in 86 incidents;

- 2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 89 incidents; and

- 11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 91 incidents.

LA MESA DELAYS TIMELINE ON WEEKEND PROTESTS, VANDALISM TILL NEXT WEEK

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis said Wednesday: “We were totally overwhelmed by the situation. We were not prepared for a peaceful protest to erupt into the level of civil unrest we witnessed as the evening fell.” Photo by Chris Stone

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) - Contrary to a recent pledge, La Mesa said Friday that a timeline of events related to last weekend’s protests and vandalism won’t be released until early next week.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: PHOTOGRAPHER HENRI MIGALA

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Photographer Henri Migala, in an interview with East County Magazine Radio Show editor Miriam Raftery aired on June 5, 2020, shares his experiences covering the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protest in La Mesa on May 30, 2020. 

After an afternoon of peaceful protests, a tense stand-off ensued outside the La Mesa Police Station, where Migala was struck with pepperballs fired by police while covering this breaking news story.

Click here to hear our interview.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: ARTISTS BRING BEAUTY BACK TO LA MESA AFTER RIOTS

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

 

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Artists from Art Beat San Diego have been volunteering this week to paint colorful murals in downtown La Mesa, beautifying plywood used to board of broken windows and protect undamaged businesses at the La Mesa Springs shopping center and along La Mesa Boulevard.

The action comes after the May 30 rioting, which led to vandalism of dozens of downtown businesses, looting of many, spot fires in several stores and burning down of three buidings (Chase Bank, Union Bank, and a historic building that housed the Randal Lamb engineering firm).

CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST AMAURIE JOHNSON AFTER BODY CAM VIDEO FAILS TO BACK LMPD OFFICER’S ACCOUNT

By Kendra Sitton and Miriam Raftery

Photo: Amaurie Johnson, courtesy of Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Warning: videos contain strong language

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) The La Mesa Police Department has dropped charges against Amaurie Johnson, a black man whose controversial arrest was captured in a viral video last week.  Demostrations last Saturday at the LMPD headquarters protested the arrest of Johnson as well as the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

 La Mesa Chief of Police Walt Vasquez announced yesterday that "after a full review of all of the evidence in the criminal investigation" against Johnson, the police department will not seek prosecution "on any of the alleged misdemeanor charges."

The announcement follows release of body cam footage released June 3 showing the interactions between Johnson, 23, and La Mesa Police Officer Matt Dages near the Grossmont Trolley Station on Wednesday, May 27.  That footage does not support the officer’s version of events but does show Dages pushing Johnson and grabbing his shirt.

Johnson had been arrested for assaulting an officer and resisting arrest, which he denied.

REBUILD LA MESA: GO FUND ME ACCOUNT RAISES MORE THAN $160,000

 

Update June 18, 2020:  The fund has now raised over $196,000 and has begun distributing funds, but donations are still needed.

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) – After riots devastated downtown La Mesa on May 30th, El Cajon Deputy Mayor Phil Ortiz teamed up with the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and others to establish the La Mesa Business Disaster Recovery Fund.  The fund raised $50,000 in its first 13 hours last Sunday and has now surpassed $168,000 from more than 2,000 donors.

You can make a 100% tax deductible donation on GoFundMe by clicking here. 

The site states, “Our small businesses are devastated and many were already on the brink due to COVID19. La Mesa Village has been the heart of small business in the city and is a beautiful place for dining, events and memories.”

WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT NOW; FIRE WEATHER STARTING SUNDAY

By Miriam Raftery

June 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A wind advisory is in effect for East County’s mountain areas and deserts through Sunday morning with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Light showers are possible west of the mountains through Saturday afternoon. But a warming trend after that will bring elevated fire weather conditions Sunday through Tuesday, the National Weather Service predicts.

COUNTY READIES TO REOPEN WIDE RANGE OF ENTERTAINMENT VENUES, BUT URGES TESTING OF PROTESTORS AND PEOPLE WITH COVID SYMPTOMS

240 new cases and 6 more deaths reported

Source: County News Service

Photo: Wineries such as Hatfield Creek Winery in Ramona are among the local businesses that may be able to open starting June 12.

June 5, 2020 (San Diego) -- Starting June 9, beachgoers will be allowed to park in lots at local beaches, the County announced today, though coastal communities may opt for stricter rules. The County also received new guidance from the state on additional sectors that can reopen, with restrictions, as early as Friday, June 12 including:

  • Gyms
  • Hotels
  • Bars and wineries
  • Museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums
  • Professional sports without spectators
  • Day camps
  • Campgrounds and RV parks
  • Family entertainment (bowling alleys, batting cages, etc.)
  • Card rooms and racetracks
  • Music, film and television production

CONFRONTATIONS HEIGHTEN RACIAL TENSIONS IN SANTEE

Threats on social media prompt preparations for potential clashes tonight or this weekend

By Miriam Raftery; ECM journalists and photographers Rebecca Jefferis Williamson, Henri Migala and Paul Kruze contributed to this report.

Photo, left by Henri Migala: Sheriff's officers cleared those on both sides of a contentious protest Monday night in Santee

LA MESA ESTABLISHES TIP LINE FOR RIOT-RELATED CRIMES

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left via Facebook:  Alleged looters at La Mesa Springs shopping center

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) --  The La Mesa Police Department and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced today that they will aggressively pursue the arrest and prosecution of any individuals found to have committed crimes during the riot that occurred on the evening of May 30th, 2020, in La Mesa including arson, vandalism and looting.

“We are seeking the public’s help,” a release issued by the city today states. If anyone has any information, including videos or photos, that they think might lead to identification of any suspects, please forward them to any of the following:

WITNESS TO CHAOS

Story and photos by Jake Rose, photographer

June 5, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The afternoon protests against police violence in La Mesa on Saturday afternoon started off entirely peaceful. After the march, the crowd moved to the La Mesa Police Department parking lot, their final destination. The crowd advanced up the steps to the front door without incident and remained there chanting and cheering for about an hour, until someone in the crowd threw a small plastic water bottle towards the police guarding the building.

The police immediately responded with tear gas and concussion grenades and the crowd dispersed across the parking lot. After a few minutes, the crowd slowly reconvened in front of the police station and began chanting, until again, a water bottle was thrown and the chaos repeated itself.

LA MESA LEADERS ADDRESS UNREST, PROMISE REVIEW, END OF POLICE CHOKEHOLD AT PRESS CONFERENCE

Lack of answers stokes activists’ anger after violent arrest, injured woman at protest

By Kendra Sitton

Photo,left by Kendra Sitton: La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez

June 5, 1010 (La Mesa) – At a press conference held Wednesday, La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis, Chief of Police Walt Vasquez and other officials provided more information on the protests and riots that engulfed the city last Saturday. Officials also revealed more details about two recent controversial police incidents in La Mesa, although not enough to satisfy the citizens involved and their families.

AFTER BURNING, BANKS’ SERVICE IMPACTED BY BRANCH CLOSURES; UNION BANK PLEDGES TO REBUILD

 

By Kendra Sitton

Paul Kruze also contributed to this report

Photo, left by Jake Rose:  Chase bank collapses as arson fire engulfs downtown La Mesa branch

June 4, 2020 (La Mesa) -- “Crazy people burned down my bank!” a customer explained to the teller at a Chase branch on Grossmont Ave. early Monday, June 1.

Branches of Chase Bank and Union Bank were both burned to the ground after protests turned fiery late Saturday night. Despite riot police and other reinforcements from the San Diego Sheriff's department, La Mesa Police and Heartland Fire were overwhelmed as rioters overran the citywreaking havoc that slowed responses.

PHOTOGRAPHER HIT BY PEPPER SPRAY SHARES FRONT-LINE EXPERIENCE COVERING PROTEST IN LA MESA

 

Hear our interview with Henri Migala, aired on KNSJ radio: click here

By Henri Migala

June 4, 2020 (La Mesa, CA) -- My daughter, Rachel, a selfless and dedicated social justice advocate, told me about a demonstration in La Mesa Saturday afternoon in response to the death of George Floyd. I’ve been a responsible citizen for the past several months, self-quarantining at home in response to the COVIS-19 pandemic. But like many around the world, I was outraged by the senseless death of Floyd under the knee of a Minnesota police officer.  

I wanted to support the minority community by documenting this historic occasion as a photographer and as a social scientist. So I grabbed my camera and headed for the protest, never imagining the chain of events that would soon engulf the community and put La Mesa into the national news spotlight.

Audio: 

FBI SEEKS INFORMATION ON PEOPLE INCITING VIOLENCE DURING PROTESTS AND COMMITTING VIOLENT ACTS AMID CIVIL UNREST

Witnesses are urged to send tips, photos, videos and surveillance footage to the FBI

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, by Jake Rose:  Bystanders shoot video as Randall Lamb engineering firm's offices in a historical structure burns

June 4, 2020 (La Mesa) – The FBI is asking for the public’s help to identify and arrest violent instigators and those who committed crimes such as arson and looting in the wake of protests across the nation. This includes La Mesa, where violence erupted after Saturday’s protests including burning two banks, vehicles and a historic building as well as vandalism and looting at dozens of local businesses.

Many photos and videos showing crimes in progress during the chaos locally have been posted on social media sites, including some aired by local media organizations.  Many of those contain images that may provide evidence of one or multiple crimes, when compared to other sources of documentation such as surveillance footage taken of looters during the pillaging and burning of local stores and financial institutions.

“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory,” a press released issued by the national FBI in Washington D.C. states.  “Accordingly, we are committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law.”

CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYED IN DOWNTOWN LA MESA

 

Conflicting Information About Action Causes Media Confusion

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson:  National Guard patrols La Mesa's downtown village

 

 

June 4, 2020 (La Mesa) -- At the request of San Diego County Sheriff William D. Gore, the California National Guard has been deployed to downtown La Mesa to support law enforcement there as protests continue calling for racial justice and police reform.

Confusion and misinformation prevailed Wednesday night, however, when East County Magazine received conflicting information from various normally reliable sources as to whether or not the California National Guard had been deployed at the La Mesa City Center in the aftermath of the devastating destruction that took place on Monday night.

According to a Tweet on the San Diego Union Tribune’s Twitter account, the California National Guard public affairs officer originally told the newspaper’s reporter Alex Riggins that the National Guard had not been requested to deploy to La Mesa, but later called back to apologize that he had been incorrect in his statement.

LA MESA EXTENDS CURFEW FOR NEXT FIVE NIGHTS, SANTEE AND EL CAJON HAVE CURFEWS TONIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

June 3, 2020 (La Mesa) – Following rioting, looting and fires on Saturday in La Mesa and continued civil unrest across our region, the City of La Mesa has announced an extension of curfews each night from June 3 through June 8 from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

El Cajon and Santee have also extended curfews through tomorrow morning.

Below is each city’s announcement, since hours and details vary:

GUARD AT ILLEGAL POT SHOP KILLED IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 3, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A man who reportedly worked as a security guard at an illegal marijuana dispensary was shot and killed last night in Spring Valley.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS REFINE CRITERIA THAT WOULD PROMPT RENEWED COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

June 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- Even as the County continues to allow additional activities within its health order, it is refining criteria that would prompt renewed restrictions.

A set of 13 triggers was shown to the Board of Supervisors during an update on the County’s COVID-19 response at their meeting Tuesday. The variety of data indicators reviewed would lead public health officials to pull back on the reopening of the local economy.

The modification of the health order would be triggered if any of the following criteria was met:

BRUSH FIRE IN SANTEE CLOSES HIGHWAY EXITS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

June 3, 2020 (Santee) -- A brush fire is burning near State Routes 125, 52, and Mission Gorge Road.  A SIG Alert has been issued. The ramp from eastbound 52 to 125 is closed, Cal Trans and the CHP site report.  ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson reports that the Mission Gorge offramp from 125 is also blocked.  Avoid this area.

*** Update: all ramps have reopened.

ATTORNEY CALLS FOR “JUSTICE” FOR GRANDMOTHER SHOT IN FOREHEAD WITH PROJECTILE DURING PROTEST AT LA MESA POLICE STATION

Warning:  contains graphic image
 
By Miriam Raftery, Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Henri Migala
 
View ECM video of press conference: blob:https://www.facebook.com/e539b59a-58f0-45aa-b5ba-a657a7a608eb
 
June 2, 2020 (La Mesa) – Leslie Furcron, 59, a La Mesa resident and grandmother shot in the forehead with a projectile Saturday night during the George Floyd protest at La Mesa Police headquarters, is now in a medically induced coma and may lose an eye, according to her attorney, Dante T. Pride.  

HUNDREDS AT BALBOA PARK PROTEST STRIVE TO KEEP THE PEACE

 
Article and Photos by Briana Gomez
 
 
June 2, 2020 (San Diego) – A crowd of about 300 people assembled at Balboa Park yesterday afternoon to peacefully protest.  Protesters laid on the grass, chanting “I can’t breathe” and “George Floyd,” referencing the brutal killing by a white police officer of a black man in Minneapolis that has sparked nationwide protests and civil unrest.
 
After four to five hours of peaceful protests, organizers and supporters took the megaphone and spoke to crowds about the importance of gathering in unity. Most of the speakers were Hispanic; one stated, “We want to hear black voices, too.”
 
Mary Stokedly said she wants to use her privilege to help others even if she has to go to the front line and stand in front of cops. “I want to use my privilege in any way that I can even if I need to go in the front, humble myself, serve, and listen” Stokedly, who is white, stated.  “This has been a huge issue for a very long time and the opportunity to come out and protest recently has been very beautiful.”

SAN DIEGO POLICE AND SHERIFF TO END USE OF CONTROVERSIAL CAROTID CHOKEHOLD

Update: 6/3/20 San Diego County Sheriffs Department joins a number of local law enforcement agencies to ban the carotid chokehold

Update: 6/5/20 La Mesa Police also announced a halt to carotid restraints.

By Miriam Raftery

June 2, 2020 (San Diego) – In the wake of protests over excessive police use of force that have rocked the nation in recent days, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit (photo, left by Ron Logan) announced yesterday that his department will stop the use of the carotid restraints procedure. 

ELDERLY WOMAN INJURED BY TROLLEY IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery and Henri MIgala

 

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Henri Migala

 

June 2, 2020 (La Mesa) – A 78-year-old woman has been transported to a hospital after suffering injuries when a trolley struck her red Toyota car near the trolley station at the intersection of Spring Street and La Mesa Blvd. in La Mesa this afternoon.

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