HOLIDAY COOKING DISASTERS TO AVOID

PEOPLE AT HOLIDAY GATHERINGS URGED TO GET TESTED FOR COVID-19

GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES HELP FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 INCLUDING TEMPORARY TAX RELIEF AND $500 MILLION IN GRANTS

COVID-19 VIRUS FOUND IN WASTEWATER AT UCSD: THOSE WHO USED RESTROOMS IN 5 AREAS SHOULD GET TESTED AND WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS

SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS RECORD 1,802 NEW COVID CASES, BUT NO DEATHS

UP IN SMOKE? LEMON GROVE LEADERS WEIGH RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA APPROVAL AND TAXATION TO EASE FISCAL CRISIS

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: LAKE CUYAMACA WILDLIFE TRAIL

BOARD APPROVES MORE FUNDS FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

POSSIBLE KUMEYAAY CREMATION SITE SPARKS NEW BID TO HALT BORDER WALL PROJECT

SAN DIEGO COUNTY MAYORS CO-WRITE A CHILDREN’S BOOK TO SUPPORT LOCAL WOMEN’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS

LEMON GROVE BONFIRE DEC. 4 TO BE DRIVE-UP DUE TO COVID

COUNTY RENTAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO ADDITIONAL 10,000 HOUSEHOLDS

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HALLOWEEN'S BLUE MOON

 

Photo and story by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson 

Nov. 1, 2020 (San Diego's East County) Halloween night, October 31, 2020, provided a spooky and unique "Once in a Blue Moon" phenomenon - a blue moon.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac October contained both a harvest moon and a hunter's blue moon. The "why" behind this unique occurrance  has to do with having two full moons in one calendar month or autumnal equinox. 

Interpreting cloud formations, and not to be mistaken with recognized cloud formations, but imagination, means declaring these clouds as either a dragon's head or a fuzzy Baby Yoda. Your choice. 

COVID-19 CASES SKYROCKET ACROSS U.S. DESPITE TRUMP CLAIM OF “TURNING CORNER”; PRESIDENT'S RALLIES SPREAD VIRUS AND CAUSED DEATHS, STUDY FINDS

Trump rallies caused over 30,000 COVID cases and 800 deaths, Stanford researchers find

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – On Friday, the U.S. reported 100,233 new coronavirus infections in a single day – the highest daily total ever for any nation, Reuters reports.  The spike belies President Donald Trump’s claim during last week’s debate when he stated, “We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.” 

Every second, the U.S. is now adding a new coronavirus case, overwhelming hospitals in many cities.  USA Today reports that some hospitals are running out of beds and staffers; as a result, the situation is so dire that some hospitals report they may soon have to ration care. 

Despite surviving coronavirus himself, the President has refused to set a role model for others to avoid transmission. Shortly after leaving the hospital he resumed holding in-person rallies to large crowds,  most not wearing masks. Now, Stanford researchers have found that Trump’s rallies between June and September alone were directly responsible for 30,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 700 deaths – including deaths of people who never attended the rallies, but were exposed by Trump supporters who did attend, CNBC reports.

SAN DIEGO ARAB AND MUSLIM COMMUNITY COALITION HELD COMMUNITY FORUM; DISCUSSED COVID-19, BLACK LIVES, AND MISSING CENSUS CATEGORY

By Briana Gomez

October 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Arab and Muslim Community Coalition recently held its fourth biennial Community Forum last week. This year’s forum took place in the unprecedented zoom fashion due to COVID-19 and public health concerns.

The Coalition is comprised of 16 local organizations that deal directly with the Arab and Muslim communities (which sometimes overlap). Many of these organizations also deal with other social justice issues and are inclusive of other non-Arab, Middle Eastern minorities such as Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Kurds who have large populations in the East County suburbs.

The forum was attended by various prominent community members, including representatives of elected officials and local figures.

COUNTY BEGINS IMPROVEMENTS TO LAKESIDE'S LINDO LAKE COUNTY PARK

 By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video: Andy TolleyCounty of San Diego Communications Office

October 31, 2020 (Lakeside) - The County has broken ground on $11.2 million of work to rejuvenate and improve Lakeside’s popular Lindo Lake County Park.

Improvements at the 55-acre park will include building a new fishing pier and birdwatching stations, planting hundreds of native trees and improving water quality in the lake’s east basin by removing more than 200,000 tons of sediment — enough to cover nearly five football fields 12 feet high — that has built up over decades.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and County Parks officials kicked off the start of construction last week with a socially distanced groundbreaking. Jacob, who is retiring in January after serving 27 years, has long championed efforts to rejuvenate the park.

COUNTY TO HOLD VIRTUAL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL SUNDAY

 
By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo credit: Jonathan Goetz
October 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- The County’s Parks and Recreation Department is holding a virtual Dia de los Muertos Festival from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, that will feature regional dance performances, a cultural story time and a “how-to” arts and crafts workshop.
The online celebration, which will also feature a virtual tour of the Rancho Guajome Adobe, will take place on the County Park’s YouTube channel — Youtube.com/SDCountyparks — and everyone is invited to join in! The festivities will be conducted in English and Spanish.

VOGEL CHALLENGES HEIMERDINGER FOR MOUNTAIN EMPIRE SCHOOL TRUSTEE

 

By Robin N. Kendall

October 30, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County residents in Area 6 of Mountain Empire Unified School District will either reelect  incumbent school board president Tina Heimerdinger, or choose challenger Story R. Vogel, a retired historian who also coaches a the Mountain Empire High School football team.

According to the district website at https://www.meusd.org, Mountain Empire serves families living in Pine Valley, Campo, Descanso, Boulevard, Portero, Lake Morena and Jacumba. Chris Anderson, the incumbent in Area 7 (Campo), is running for reelection unopposed.

Story Vogel responded to East County Magazine (ECM) questions and submitted his biography and ballot statement. Incumbent Tina Heimerdinger was also invited to participate via several emails, but did not respond.

Heimerdinger, who is president of the board, has served on it for more than a decade including the turbulent tenure of Superintendent Steve Van Zant, who pled guilty to felony conflict of interest and was ordered to repay the district $50,000. Van Zant set up charter schools in other districts overseen by Mountain Empire from which his consulting company profited, as ECM reported, also raising questions over lack of oversight by the board on Heimerdinger’s watch.

Here are Vogel's responses:

HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION AIMS TO PREVENT VOTER INTIMIDATION

East County News Service

Photo: Together We Can Do More: The Leon Williams Story (available now at shopaztecs.com)

October 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- On October 22, 2020, the Leon L. Williams San Diego County Human Relations Commission met to discuss the election climate and inform residents how to report voter intimidation or harassment.

The Commission released the following statement:

“The Leon L. Williams San Diego County Human Relations Commission promotes positive relations, respect, and the integrity of every individual regardless of gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or citizenship status. The Commission condemns racism, bigotry, white supremacy and hatred of any kind. Appreciating and respecting one another is of utmost importance during the election season. We want to reassure voters that our Commission and law enforcement is making safe peaceful voting a top priority. All eligible citizens have the right to vote in a peaceful manner. We urge all to respect differing points of view and to be able to peacefully disagree with one another. We implore the public to continue this level of understanding after the election and call for civility while exercising our civic duty.”

PRESERVE WILD SANTEE TURNS IN 6,300 SIGNATURES TO PUT FANITA RANCH ON BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
Photos courtesy of Van Collinsworth, Preserve Wild Santee
 
Photo:  Van Collinsworth,  Preserve Wild Santee, left, gives a thumbs up to supporters of the signature gathering drive
 
October 30, 2020 (Santee) -- The campaign to allow Santee voters to weigh in on the Fanita Ranch project turned in 6,300 signatures to the Santee City Clerk’s office Oct. 29, nearly double the minimum number required to force the City Council to either rescind its approval or put the issue to a public vote.

THE PARTY’S OVER: COUNTY SHUTS DOWN PLANNED EVENTS AT SDSU FRATS AND SORORITIES

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 30, 2020 (San Diego) – The County Health Department has sent cease and desist orders to multiple fraternity and sorority houses at San Diego State University, along with two other addresses, prior to Halloween weekend. The letters, signed by Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, states that the venues “intend to hold large gatherings on October 30, 2020–November 1, 2020” in violation of the county’s public health order and state guidelines.
 
Failure to comply will result in “criminal misdemeanor citations with a $1,000 fine for each violation,” the letters state.  County rules prohibit private gatherings of more than three households due to COVID-19.
 
The threat of criminal penalties and fines comes after SDSU reported more than 1,300 COVID cases since August, a surge that threatens to push San Diego County, currently in the state's red tier, into the most restrictive purple tier that would force many businesses to shut down indoor activities.
 
 

NEARLY HALF OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY'S 1.95 MILLION VOTERS HAVE NOW CAST BALLOTS

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

Photo:  Voters drop off a mail-in ballot at the San Diego Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa. Photo by Chris Stone

October 30, 2020 (San Diego) - In an early-voting surge seen across the country, nearly half of San Diego County’s 1.95 million voters have cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 election, the Registrar of Voters reported Thursday.

STATE SUPERINTENDENT TONY THURMOND ANNOUNCES $45 MILLION IN GRANT FUNDING TO SUPPORT AT-RISK STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES AT COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

East County News Service

October 30, 2020 (Sacramento) - State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today that all California-based school districts, county offices of education and classroom-based charter schools can apply for the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP), a $45 million grant-funded initiative to support and expand existing community schools.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENDED SEVEN MORE WEEKS FOR CALIFORNIANS

East County News Service

October 30, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Starting Saturday, October 31, Californians will be eligible for an additional seven weeks of benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The increase to 46 weeks is available for those who are reaching the end of their initial 39 weeks of benefits that they started as early as February 2. The process for re-computing the PUA claims is expected to take two weeks.  

NEW POLL SHOW ISSA PICKS UP LEAD IN 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photos:  Darrell Issa, left, and Ammar Campa-Najjar, right

 

October 30, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- A new San Diego Union-Tribune/10 News poll conducted by Survey USA shows Republican Congressman Darrell Issa with a double-digit lead over Democratic opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar in the 50th Congressional District race to fill the seat left vacant by Duncan D. Hunter’s resignation. The poll has Issa leading with 51% to Campa-Najjar’s 40%, with 9% undecided.

READER’S EDITORIAL: FOR WHOSE VISION DO WE VOTE?

By Patrick Osio

October 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- Conventional political wisdom dictates there are two main factors that propel a sitting president to reelection victory – positive economy and low unemployment.  Arguments can be made that President Trump inherited these two factors from the Obama years. But those arguments make no difference, simply because under Trump economy growth, rising new employment and decreasing unemployment continued.

RESTAURANT OWNERS SEEK REFUNDS OF STATE AND LOCAL FEES

By Miriam Raftery

October 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Restaurant owners in San Diego and several other counties filed claims Tuesday October 27, asking for refunds of state and local fees assessed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaintiffs seek refunds of costs incurred for liquor licenses, health permits and tourism fees at a time when public health orders shut down many businesses or forced them to operate at reduced capacity, while incurring added expenses.

The state has 45 days to respond to the claims, after which a lawsuit could be filed.

READER’S EDITORIAL: LA MESA CANNOT TRUST COLIN PARENT

By Aaron Amerling

 

October 29, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Over the past four years, it has become apparent that the citizens of La Mesa can not trust Colin Parent to do what is in the community's best interest, and only what’s in his personal or donor’s best interests.

CAMPA-NAJJAR TELLS STANDS ON MIDEAST PEACE, BDS

By Donald H.  Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar

October 29, 2020 (San Diego) - Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar, reacting to an unfavorable story carried about him by the Breitbart news organization, reiterated on Wednesday his support for a peaceful two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians, and his opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

LETITIA DICKERSON WANTS TO FIGHT FOR FORGOTTEN RESIDENTS IN EL CAJON’S DISTRICT TWO

 

By Miriam Raftery

View our video interview with Letitia Dickerson: click here

October 29, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Letitia Dickerson, one of six candidates running for El Cajon City Council in District two, calls the area the “forgotten district” while other parts of the city have seen growth. She pledges to make district two “unforgettable” if elected.

She missed our candidate forum because the city had an error her email address. (View forum with the other five candidates).  Fortunately, she’s reached out to ECM and conducted an interview via Zoom to talk about her goals if elected.   

According to her website, Letitia has lived in El Cajon for over 22 years and says at least 18 of those have been in district two. She was born in Jersey and calls herself “a Jersey girl with a California heart.” She’s gone from homeless to owning small businesses including a smoothie shop and gym, and now works in telecommunications.  She’s raised her children in the district and now has grandchildren here as well.  She’s an ordained evangelical and a Republican who is the coordinator of SoCal Day of Hope, a program that provides outreach and resources to people in need. She’s also volunteered with community nonprofits including Rescue Mission, Salvation Army,  San Diego Food Bank, San Diego Mentors, Promises for Kids and more.

Below are highlights from her interview.

SAN DIEGO NONPROFIT LEADS SUIT CHALLENGING TRUMP'S 'REMAIN IN MEXICO' REFUGEE POLICY

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

Photo:  Asylum seekers gather in Tijuana in 2018. Photo by Chris Stone

October 28, 2020 (San Diego) - Jewish Family Service of San Diego is leading a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s controversial “remain in Mexico” policy to keep asylum seekers out of the United States.

COMMUNITY POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD RECRUITMENT NOW OPEN

Source: City of La Mesa

Photo: Themis, Blind Justice, Cast Bronze by Design Toscano

Click here to apply

October 28, 2020 (La Mesa) – Applications are now being accepted for the newly created Community Police Oversight Board (“CPOB”). The deadline for submission of applications is 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 1, 2020, in the City Clerk’s office at La Mesa City Hall, 8130 Allison Avenue. Applications may be obtained at City Hall or from the City of La Mesa website.

The CPOB will provide recommendations to the Chief of Police, Mayor, City Council, and City Manager on the La Mesa Police Department procedures and policies and on matters of public safety within the City. The CPOB will consist of an 11 member panel (must be residents of the City of La Mesa) as follows:

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

October 28, 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.

OROFINO PRESS LLC: NEW PUBLISHING COMPANY LAUNCHES IN SAN DIEGO

East County News Service

October 28, 2020 (San Diego)- - The reading public, starved for material in which technology is integral to the story, can now turn to Orofino Press LLC to fulfill their desires.  Orofino Press LLC's fiction focuses on mystery and young adult genres.  Non-fiction focuses on history and travel.  All transport the reader to the new and novel.

Technology to Orofino Press LLC extends far beyond computer science.  Examples include robotic gold refining, forensic accounting criminal detection, overhead cranes, energy maneuverability theory, and dissolvable substrate micro-electronics.  These, and other, technologies exist but may be unknown to the general public.  

Orofino Press LLC is a full service publisher.  To date it has published works by it founder, Don Lake of San Diego, but the company aspires to work with “excellent story tellers” who are “well-grounded in a technology,” according to Orofino’s press release.

The San Diego based Orofino Press LLC team aides and supports its authors throughout the rest of the successful publishing process.  All Orofino Press LLC's books are available in print and electronic form.

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

October 28, 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.

WORLD

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

GETTING READY FOR 2021 MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT IN A VIRTUAL WORLD: TIPS FOR NAVIGATING PLAN OPTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By Rick Beavin, Desert Pacific Medicare President, Humana

October 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- The annual Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan open enrollment period is traditionally a time for educational events, classes and one on one meetings, but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some new and different ways to learn about Medicare. October 15 to December 7 is the time when millions of people eligible for Medicare can access the latest information about available health plans for 2021. In California alone, more than 6.4 million people are enrolled in Medicare including more than 2.9 million with Medicare Advantage.

There are resources to help you choose the plan that’s right for you without having to leave home, including informational websites, virtual educational events and one-on-one virtual meetings with sales agents. At the same time, it’s important to safely access Medicare information online while protecting your personal information and avoiding fake offers and other scams.

Here are some tips for how to prepare for the Medicare fall open enrollment period:

MAVERICK, RESCUED TIGER, DIES AFTER MAULING AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2020 (Alpine) – A popular tiger named Maverick died this week in a tragic accident at the Lions, Tigers and Bears (LTB) facility in Alpine. Moka, another tiger, was accidentally let into the same habitat, fatally injuring Maverick.

Maverick came to the facility in 2014 at nine months of age after being rescued from the exotic animal trade and an owner who had acquired him illegally. Moka was rescued by Border Patrol agents and came to Lions, Tigers and Bears in 2018.

In a letter to supporters, LTB owner Bobbi Brinks voiced sadness at the loss and provided the following explanation: 

KEEP IT UP SAN DIEGO - VOTE SAFER, VOTE EARLY

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

October 28, 2020 (San Diego) - With just over a week left to vote, the Registrar’s office reports more than 725,000 San Diego County voters have already cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 Presidential General Election. That’s 435,000 more than those returned as of this date for the November 2016 presidential election. And it’s more than a third of all 1.95 million mail ballots sent to voters this year.

As part of its COVID-19 Vote Safer San Diego campaign, the Registrar urges you to vote safer and vote early. Make voting decisions and complete your ballot from the safety of your home. Sign and date your return envelope, seal your completed ballot inside and return it to a trusted source.

Ballots received by the Registrar’s office throughout this week should be processed in time for the first release of Election Night results that are posted shortly after 8 p.m. The sooner you return your mail ballot, the sooner Registrar’s staff can process it into the count.

If you want to vote in-person that option is available, too. The Registrar urges you to avoid crowds and take advantage of early voting. You can do so:

DIRECTOR JOEL SCALZITTI SEEKS REELECTION TO HELIX WATER DISTRICT BOARD, CITES PASSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE

View video interview with Joel Scalzitti: https://youtu.be/-O30iV7VXKw

By Miriam Raftery

Joel Scalzitti, past president of the Helix Water Board, is running for reelection in district 5, which includes portions of El Cajon, Granite Hills, Bostonia and Lakeside. 

He’s served on the board for over 10 years, owns  local businesses including a water service company for freeway construction, a donut shop and a deli.  He also serves as a member of the San Diego County Water Authority Board and the Advanced Water Purification board. He’s also served on several Helix Water District committees, including the audit committee, water quality and resources committee, and a committee on parks. In addition, he led efforts to keep the Lake Jennings campground open.

He’s one of four candidates in the race, including Vickie Knight Butcher,  Luis Tejeda, and Tyler Logan. (View our interview with Butcher.)  Tejeda and Logan do not have ballot statements or campaign websites that we could find.

Scalzitti has depth of experience in water issues and says he has a "passion for public service."  Here are highlights of Joel Scalzitti’s responses to our questions:

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE WINS SEVEN AWARDS FROM SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2020 (San Diego) – East County Magazine writers and photographers picked up seven awards in the  San Diego Press Club’s 47th annual  Excellence in Journalism Awards. ECM’s winning entries included coverage of the May 30-31 riot and protest in La Mesa, Cajon Valley Union School District’s educational challenges during COVID-19 and controversial spending on promotional videos, the railway museum’s centennial celebration in Campo, and a column addressing health issues in local communities.

“I’m proud of our team of hard-working journalists, who went above and beyond the call of duty to report during tumultuous times,” says ECM editor Miriam Raftery. “I also want to thank the Facebook Journalism Project grant, which supports local journalism and funded our reporting on most of this year’s winning entries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This year’s Press Club awards program drew more than 1,100 entries, making it one of the largest journalism competitions in the nation. Judges for the Press Club’s entries included members of 15 journalism professional organizations from around the country, including press clubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Rochester, Florida, Cleveland, Orange County, Milwaukee, Tulsa and Alaska.

ECM's  award-winners this year are editor Miriam Raftery, photojournalists Paul Kruze, Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson, Henri Migala, and Jake Rose, as well as columnists David Shorey and Paul Levikow.

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