Photo: former Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, are seen in La Mesa at 2014 Polonia United event for Polish-Americans in the San Diego region. Photo by Miriam Raftery
August 18, 2020 (San Diego) -Margaret Hunter faced as much as 37 months in prison for taking part in her ex-congressman husband’s spending crimes, the government said Monday, but it urged leniency in a sentencing memo to a federal judge.
August 18, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – The Sheriff seeks public help to locate Alonna Wintland. The 15-year-old was last seen leaving her home in the 8000 block of Lemon Grove Way and getting into the car of an unknown man on July 31.
She has blonde/purple hair, blue eyes, stands 5 ft. 2 inches tall and weighs around 235 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white shirt, beige shorts and sandals.
She has a history of running away, but left without her cell phone or debit card.
SDG&E thanks customers for reducing power usage, averting need for outages yesterday, but brief outages are possible over next several days during heat wave
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Creative Commons by SA-NC via Bing
August 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – As triple-digit heat scorches the West, California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO), which manages California’s power grid, ordered utilities to implement rolling power outages last weekend – but only notified the Governor on Friday. Outages are particularly disruptive during the pandemic, with miilions of Californians working from home and educating children at home. Many have nowhere to go to escape the heat during an outage, with libraries and other public facilities closed due to COVID-19.
Governor Gavin Newsom voiced outrage and ordered an investigation, also signing an emergency proclamation that temporarily allows some energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times in the energy emergency. Meanwhile CAISO is pointing the finger at the Public Utilities Commission, claiming it has been warning the PUC to take preventive steps for years to make utility companies assure they had emergency back-up energy sources lined up, but that the PUC ignored those warnings.
August 18, 2020 (San Diego) -- The state has reviewed its data and determined that the County’s three-day metric of fewer than 100 cases per every 100,00 residents started Aug. 15 and it’s anticipated to have ended yesterday. That means the region could be off the Monitoring List on Tuesday, Aug. 18, and the 14-day period for schools to reopen could begin.
August 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister announced on Aug. 11 that his office is offering penalty relief for small business owners and homeowners who are among those receiving more than 28,000 defaulted bills.
“We know many of the late bills are due to COVID-19, and we want our taxpayers to know there could be relief,” said McAllister. “They may qualify to have their penalties waived if they file for a COVID-19 cancellation request. Our customers must provide documentation as evidence to show how the pandemic impacted their ability to pay their second installment by April 10.”
August 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – East County Magazine has won first and second place awards in the Society of Professional Journalism San Diego Pro Chapter’s 2020 Journalism Awards. A list of awards was released today, except for special awards, which will be announced on August 24.
August 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Over 1,600 lightning strikes have sparked at least 76 fires in northern California in the past 24 hours. Now thunderstorms are forecast for our region this week, amid a scorching heat wave described as “dangerous” by the National Weather Service. “Record breaking” temperatures may occur, as well as gusty winds, rain, and dangerous lightning Tuesday and Wednesday.
August 17, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – After multiple requests seeking new hiking leaders following the loss of several long-time leaders, the Jacumba Hikers group will now be administered by the Imperial Valley Desert Museum (IVDM). The museum’s board voted on August 13 to accept the proposal.
UPDATE AUGUST 20, 2020: AB 1436 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-3 vote and will next be heard by the full Senate.
“There is an urgency to this.”—Assemblymember Monique Limon, who fears many Californians may lose their homes or become homeless if AB 1436, which she coauthored, is not approved
By Miriam Raftery
File photo: Protest to stop foreclosures during the last recession
August 17, 2020 (San Diego) – To date, efforts to save homeowners and landlords from foreclosure, as well as extend eviction protections for renters in California have failed. With the Legislature poised to adjourn soon and federal benefits expiring, a bill being heard tomorrow morning may be the last chance to prevent a wave of evictions and foreclosures. At 9:00 a.m. Aug. 18, Assembly Bill 1436 will be heard in the state Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill’s coauthor, Assemblymember Monique Limon, says the banking industry has been heavily lobbying members to oppose the measure. Assemblymember Limon previously introduced AB 2501 to prevent foreclosures, but the measure was defeated due to financial industry lobbyists.
August 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With pandemic relief stalled in Congress, economic uncertainties, healthcare concerns rising, racial justice protests across the nation, and climate change fueling wildfires and water shortages, candidates running for the 50th Congressional district debated these and other hot topics on August 13tth.
Ammar Campa-Najjar, 31, a Democrat from Jamul who formerly worked for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and at the U.S. Labor Dept., faced off against Darrell Issa, 66. a Republican who formerly represented the 49th Congressional district in North County and south Riverside. The winner will fill the seat left vacant for months due to the resignation of Duncan Hunter who pled guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds and has been sentenced to 11 months in prison. The district includes most of East County as well as portions of North County and Temecula in Riverside County.
The forum was moderated by Donna Bartlett-May the League of Women Voters and hosted by Community Action Service & Advocacy (CASA) in collaboration with the East Region Collaborative Network, East County Homeless Task Force, Ninth District PTA, and media partner East County Magazine.
August 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Cool zones adapted to COVID-19 public health protections have been opened at eight county libraries across San Diego’s inland region during the current extreme heat conditions. The locations are open from 12 noon to 5 p.m.Mondays through Friday (except the Borrego Springs location, which is also open weekends).
Masks and social distancing are required by all visitors and staff. Temperature checks are also required before entering a cool zone and time limits may be imposed due to limited capacity. No animals are permitted, except for service animals. Below is the full list of county cool zones:
Consumers should prepare for the likelihood of rotating electric outages
Source: California ISO
August 16, 2020 (Folsom) - The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a statewide Flex Alert, a call for voluntary electricity conservation, beginning today and extending through Wednesday. The Flex Alerts are in effect from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day.
August 16, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – “What have we been up to the last few months? Oh, just a pretty incredible art project - adding a massive mural to the side of our building, as well as our very own art gallery inside,” Karina Kravalis, co-owner of Giardino Neighborhood Cucina posted on Facebook this week. “Gallery chalk art pieces include classics with a COVID twist to keep things as upbeat as possible.”
August 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council on Tuesday approved a pilot program to allow emergency sleeping cabins as temporary housing for the homeless. Homelessness is anticipated to rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic, after federal unemployment benefits ran out July 31, putting more people at risk of eviction in the future.
The first village of six cabins, similar to structures known as “tiny homes,” will provide short-term shelter for homeless women, especially women veterans, and their children at Meridian Baptist Church on South Third Street.
August 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police have recommended that the District Attorney prosecute the driver of a Camry that struck and seriously injured a motorcyclist on Jamacha Blvd. May 13tth around 10:13 a.m.
The motorcyclist was traveling south on Jamacha approaching Washington when a silver Toyota Camry turned left in front of the motorcyclist, violating his right of way and causing a collision, says Lt. Will Guerin with the El Cajon Police Dept.
The motorcyclist, 65, was treated on scene by Heartland Fire Dept. paramedics and transported to a hospital, where he remains hospitalized with major injuries.
August 14, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- The National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning in effect this weekend through Monday at 8 p.m. Dangerously hot conditions with temperatures from 98 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit are forecast across San Diego County’s mountains, valleys and desert areas as well as much of Riverside and San Bernadino counties.
Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.
August 15, 2020 (San Diego) - Are you looking for unconditional love, companionship and fun? We may have the next big love of your life waiting for you at one of our animal shelters. The County Department of Animal Services is participating in this year’s monthlong Clear the Shelters adoption event being done online to prevent potential spread of coronavirus.
August 14, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Local resident Richard Edwords of Alpine is a water tender who has been working fire lines in Riverside County. He sent in these two dramatic videos of the #AppleFire there, which is now 90% contained after burning over 33,000 acres.
August 14, 2020 (San Diego) -- The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which oversees the statewide electric grid, has directed SDG&E to initiate rotating, one-hour service interruptions (rotating outages) throughout its service territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The blackouts are underway and are currently affecting thousands of residences. View a list of current outages and estimated restoration times at https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map.
While the rotating outages will be widespread in the region, communities located in high fire threat districts, which experience public safety power shutoffs, will be exempt from the service interruptions, SDG&E announced today.
The local outages are the result of excessive heat driving up electricity use and putting strain on the grid. CASIO has declared a “Stage 3” power emergency because contingency reserves have fallen or are anticipated to fall below requirements and cannot be restored without service interruptions.
Roger Ogden and Tasha Williamson in verbal confrontation
Updated August 16 with additional comments from Ogden.
August 13, 2020 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa police detained but later released a man with alleged ties to a racist group during a Black Lives Matter protest on Tuesday, following a vocal confrontation with activist Tasha Williamson. LMPD led Roger Ogden into the police station in handcuffs for reportedly displaying pepper spray during the altercation. On his blog, Ogden called Williamson a “terrorist” and called her a "liar" at the rally. Williamson denounced Ogden at the rally as a “racist clown.” Each has denied the others claims of racism and inciting terror. View video.
Despite verbal barbs, at the August 11 rally and an earlier protest on May 1, protesters remained non-violent. Unlike a major protest May 30 that ended in burning of buildings, rioting and looting, the only arrests at the most recent protests were of individuals accused of harassing protesters, both with ties to white nationalist or racist groups. On May 1st, as ECM reported, Ryan McAdams, who has a history of racial clashes, was arrested for battery and pepper spray possession.
August 14, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 100,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks of July nationwide, after schools in some areas reopened, CNN reports. At least three have died, including two teens and a 7-year-old with no preexisting conditions. Thousands are now quarantined due to school-related outbreaks, putting teachers and staff at risk as well as students.
With cases skyrocketing in states that have ignored CDC guidelines, yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield issued a dire warning.
If recommendations are not followed by all Americans, he told WebMD, this could be the “worst fall from a public health perspective” that the U.S. has ever had, CNN reports.
August 13, 2020 (Julian) – Tourists are returning to Julian, the historic gold-mining town nestled in the mountains of San Diego's East County. According to Robin Boland at the Julian Chamber of Commerce, nearly all businesses that are allowed to be open under state and county health mandates are now open, including shops, outdoor and takeout restaurants, breweries and wineries serving food. Though a few have limited hours, Boland assures, “There is still plenty to do and plenty of places to eat.”
One long-time town fixture, however, has fallen victim to the pandemic. Julian Carriage Company posted on Facebook July 31, "I'm sorry to hhave to inform you that due to COVID-19 and other extenuating circumstances we are no longer in business. Brett and I will sure miss everyone that came to Julian and rode our carriage. Life has taken us on another journey now and we are no longer in Julian. We love all of you!!!!!!! Thank you for an amazing 7 years!!!!!!! I will never forget this chapter of our lives."
Photo: La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez speaks at June press conference. Photo by Chris Stone
August 13, 2020 (La Mesa) - Minutes after a virtual Town Hall began Thursday on La Mesa’s protest and riot events, Police Chief Walt Vasquez announced his retirement from the force after five years “as the city’s top cop.”
August 13, 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:
August 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – For the first time in over two decades, East County has open seats with no incumbents running in the 50th Congressional District and the County Board of Supervisors 2nd district.
East County Magazine is proud to serve as media partner for a virtual candidate forum moderated by the League of Women Voters and presented in collaboration with a coalition of community organizations . The forum will take place on Thursday, August 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. You can watch and ask questions by registering through Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_goZoodK_TdC5GNjjhZo5xw .
All candidates running are confirmed to participate. Supervisor candidates Steve Vaus and Joel Anderson will square off at 6 p.m., followed by Congressional Candidates Darrell Issa and Ammar Campa Najjar at 7 p.m.
Community Action Service & Advocacy (CASA) is hosting the event in collaboration with the East Region Collaborative Network, East County Homeless Task Force, Ninth District PTA, and media partner East County Magazine.
August 12, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A $3,000 reward is being offered by the family of Kenneth Love II for information that leads to the arrest of his killer. The family’s reward is in addition to a $1,000 reward offered by Crime Stoppers.