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Updated August 11, 2020

Our Facebook Project grant has so far enabled East County Magazine to create over 150 original local news articles on COVID-19 local impacts and innovations, as well as emergency and crisis reporting. We also created and/or expanded community resource sections and guides, converted our radio show to virtual broadcasts, and launched our virtual community "Movers, Shakers and Events" series, with more virtual events including candidate forums coming soon. Our first virtual candidate forum is set for August 13 featuring Congressional and Supervisorial candidates.

Below is an index of these grant projects:

  • COVID-19 local journalism
  • Emergencies and crisis reporting
  • Community resources in the COVID-19 era
  • Virtual community forums


African American community impacts

Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the San Diego African American community: Part two, interview with Dr. Rodney G. Hood, president of the Multicultural Health Foundation

NAACP San Diego: Fighting for social justice in a COVID-19 environment

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on the San Diego African American community: part one, interview with Dr. Suznane Affalo,Medical Director, Alliance Health Clinic  

Rev. Harris protests cuts to library funding during COVID-19 on birthday of Malcolm X

Arts and Music

Owners call for aid to movie theaters in lame duck session of Congress

Pandemic art project adds whimsical flair to Lemon Grove restaurant

Theaters in the time of COVID (impacts on local community theaters)

Santee’s Off Broadway Live wlll start singing again July 31 at new outdoor space

Surviving on the edge: A local music company and nonprofit finds innovative solutions in a COVID-19 world


County eases rules for wineries after ECM report, but imposes curfew for restaurants and bars

Winery owners say shutdown of local bars unfair to rural wineries, threatens to crush burgeoning wine industry

Cheers! Wineries reopen across East County

Local farmers and ranchers grow new business models during pandemic

Business and labor

State lifts stay-home order; some businesses can reopen

Business owners, healthcare and political leaders share views on new COVID-19 shutdowns

County cracks down on businesses and churches violating health rules as local COVID case rate triples

Parkway Plaza sells after default on bonds; future of regional shopping mall in limbo

Governor signs bill to exempt many independent workers from AB 5

La Mesa approves CARES aid to renters and businesses, help for homeless and a report on civil unrest response

Back to business: salons, shopping malls, theaters, gyms, restaurants, churches and more can reopen Monday, with some limitations

Most Julian businesses are open to visitors, but carriage company falls victim to pandemic

County shows improvements in COVID-19, but not yet enough to allow reopenings

After ECM inquiry, County revises flawed relief plan for restaurants, small businesses and nonprofits

Indoor dining and these other businesses must shutdown for three weeks

County orders shutdown of bars, wineries and breweries, halts reopening of other businesses

CA and other states order bars closed in some areas, San Diego cracks down on violators

California to hold delayed BAR exam online, lower score for passage and issue provisional licenses

Julian welcomes businesses back

Attorney has tips on filing loss claims due to rioting or pandemic

Rebuild La Mesa: Go Fund Me Account raises more than $160,000

Bad hair days are over: County and state approve reopening of barber shops and salons

Unemployment hits 30.1% countywide; high rates in several East County communities

Government, healthcare groups and community leaders react to restaurant and retail reopenings

State approves San Diego County plan to reopen dine-in restaurants and in-store retail shopping

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse victims’ advocates see rise in first-time complaints during pandemic


COVID rates remain low in most reopened East County school districts

Five candidates vie for three seats on Lemon Grove School Board: Part 1

Lemon Grove School Board elections: Part 2

Crest Elementary's new outdoor education program shines in the era of COVID

All schools can reopen Sept. 1, county announces, provided safety plans are approved

CDC director issues dire warning after school outbreaks and soaring COVID-19 rates across U.S.; county sees dip but not enough for reopenings

How safe are childcare centers and schools during pandemic? Educators and parents grapple with uncertainties

Schools in San Diego and other counties on state watch list cannot reopen until virus rates drop for two weeks, state orders

National educators, doctors and teachers formally oppose Trump threat to force reopening of schools

Cajon Valley School District’s bumpy road to a post COVID-19 school year

face new learning realities

Energy and Water

Padre Dam Municipal Water District elections

SDG&E planned outages in triple-digit heat and storms may endanger safety of residents

Newsom orders investigation of rolling blackouts; grid operator blames PUC


Outdoor public playgrounds and recreational facilities can reopen

Trending: Outdoor rolller skating

Governments and political leaders responses locally to COVID-19 crisis

El Cajon Council backs off Mayor’s proposal to ban police from enforcing covid-19 rules

La Mesa approves cares aid for renters and businesses, help for homeless and a report on civil unrest response

La Mesa City Council weighs CARES Act relief for renters and businesses

Poway Mayor Vaus proposes plan to let fitness activities and worship services use parks during COVID shutdown

El Cajon starts small business grant program, allows businesses such as barbers, salons and retailers to move outdoors

COVID-19 becomes key political issue in East County elections

El Cajon approves rent and utility assistance

Santee Council responds to racist mask incidents (Related:  Santee Loves: residents rally in vehicles to stand against hate)

Supervisors to vote on accelerated reopening plan after Gov.Newsom announces guidelines

La Mesa approves reopening some parks, waiving business license fees, and relief with CARES Act funds

In town hall, local leaders answer questions over COVID-19 and reopening local venues


Losses and lessons learned: Local residents reflet on a year in quarantine

Grossmont healthcare heroes reflect on pandemic


After FDA approves Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Biden invokes Defense Productoin Act to speed manufacturing

CA reports 52 cases of rare but serious COVID complications in children

Palomar nurses protest waiver of nurse to patient ratios as COVID-19 surges; one in 1,000 Americans have died of virus

5,000 body bags sent to Southern California counties including San Diego as regional ICU capacity drops to just 1.7%

No room in the ICU for Central California; Southern California ICU bed availability drops to 5.3%

Region's ICU bed capacity drops to 7.7%; some local hospitals are nearly full

COVID cases continue to climb; ICU bed availability drops

State orders curfew Nov. 21-Dec. 21 as COVID surges, County sheriff cracks down on violations including in El Cajon, despite Mayor's hands-off stance

Some churches and restaurants flout rules, others comply as purple tier shutdowns commence

County releases data on COVID-19 exposure settings: restaurants and retail top list

New shutdowns start Saturday as state moves county into purple tier

COVID cases soar as county remains in purple tier, risk of closures for churches and businesses grows

COVID-19 cases skyrocket across U.S. despite president's claim of turning corner

County remains in red tier; avoids shutdowns for at least two weeks

SDSU students and restaurants fuel rise in COVID-19

Please don’t eat the oleanders: toxic plant is not a COVID cure

County is off state watch list, but not out of the woods for Covid-19

Risk to babies of mothers with COVID-19 is low, preliminary evidence suggests

Innovation and COVID-19: Latest research findings on treatments, vaccines and antibodies testing (includes research and vaccine trials underway here in San Diego)

The drive to create therapies and vaccines for COVID-19:interview with Carolyn Hawley, Vice President of BIOCOM Communications, life sciences industry association in San Diego

European Union may ban U.S. travelers due to failure to reduce COVID-19: San Diego has 8 community outbreaks, reopenings halted

Exclusive interview: Naval Medical Center commander addresses healthcare access during pandemic

As COVID-19 cases spike nationally and statewide, County health officials ask public and businesses to help prevent outbreaks

COVID-19 survivor Will Rodriguez Kennedy, county Democratic party chair, speaks out

Healthcare in a COVID-19 world: access for veterans

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients needed to help others locally

COVID-19 disrupts regular healthcare, but elective surgeries can resume

Helping those in need

Feeding the hungry amid the pandemic: interview with Jim Floros, San Diego Food Bank’s president

2-1-1 San Diego offers hep with food, housing, utility bills and more during pandemic

East County rallies to help the needy during COVID-19 pandemic

Standing together against racism in Santee with COVID-compliant protest


Homeless housing proposed at Holiday Inn: La Mesa holds special meeting Monday, Supervisors revote Tuesday on project pushed through without notice to city or residents

El Cajon Council unanimously approves emergency sleeping cabins for homeless

Crisis House gets extension from city of El Cajon on relocation aid

Plans for emergency sleeping cabins for women and children move forward in El Cajon

Amid pandemic, El Cajon ends lease with Crisis House, putting services for homeless people and domestic violence survivors at risk


High prices, low inventory put squeeze on low-income and first-time homebuyers amid pandemic

Last-chance bill to prevent foreclosures and evictions set for hearing tomorrow

Will bills to protect against foreclosure win passage in time to save homes and businesses? What you need to know to protect your property

Santee ends eviction moratorium for COVID-19 impacted tenants

Immigrants and refugees

Survivors of torture vulnerable during pandemic

Land Use

Democracy in action: Supervisors vote to honor commitment to community, purchasing 98 acres in El Monte Valley

Hundreds march to save El Monte Valley; Lakeside residents and tribal members urge Supervisors to vote yes on land purchase

Latino community

County takes steps to address COVID-19 disparities in local Latino communities after ECM reports, but the problem is nationwide and systemic

Why are Latinos disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in San Diego County?

Mental health

Mental health in a COVID-19 world: How to get help

YMCA provides community outreach and affordable mental health services

Middle Eastern community

Lack of data collection blocks access to assess COVID-19 impacts on local Middle Eastern communities

Arab Americans are an invisible ethnic group with it comes to healthcare disparities (firsthand account by Dr. Raed Al Nasser, president, San Diego Chapter, Arab American Medical Association Association)

Syrian family struggles to cope with COVID-19


Couples can now host weddings, but receptions are restricted

Native Americans

While major event planners rally to request aid as shutdowns continue, tribes resume events, exempt from state restrictions

Kumeyaay protest halts dynamite blasting at border wall during pandemic

Casino Pauma remains temporarily closed for safety of its employees and guests

Viejas Casino opening balances economic need and public safety

Jamul Casino to begin phased reopening on May 18

Two more local casinos plan reopenings, but county public health officer opposes plans

A winning bet? Viejas Casino prepares to reopen with changes to protect guests


How will the YMCA survive the COVID-19 pandemic? (youth and community services)

Donors help sustain Noah Homes, nonprofit hard-hit by COVID-19 shutdown and state budget cuts (serves developmentally disabled adults)

Accessing programs and services amid a pandemic: Boys and Girls Clubs of East County adapt to challenges (serves disadvantaged youths)


Churches defy Governor’s shutdown of indoor services; lawsuit also filed challenging ban on singing

Churches adapt for Ash Wednesday during pandemic


Including fires, riots, and other crises


Brush fires

Fire damages electrical system; some residents could be without power for a week

Potential for "dangerous situation" tonight as high winds forecast to fan Valley Fire westward

Military joins battle against Valley Fire: new evacuation orders issued

Valley Fire threatens Sunrise Powerlink and water supplies

Valley Fire in Alpine threatens homes

Local firefighters dispatched to battle Apple Fire in Riverside, thousands evacuated

Brush fire in Jamul

Illegal fireworks spark fires amid a barrage of complaints

Illegal bonfires heighten risks as fire season arrives

Brush fire in Santee closes highway exits

Prescribed burn in Cuyamaca area did not jump containment lines, Cal Fire says, but extra resources dispatched

Emergency preparedness

SDG&E holds drive-through wildfire safety fairs

San Miguel Fire District freezes non-essential expenses due to COVID-19

Fourth of July forecast: fire weather and rip currents

Fireworks are illegal to own or use in San Diego County: here are safe alternatives

Navy ship fire (air pollution alert)

Naval ship fire prompts County air quality warnings

Racial justice protests and riots

Racial disparities in black home ownership workshop

La Mesa adopts community police oversight board

Tuesday protest in La Mesa stays peaceful; man briefly detained after displaying pepper spray at protesters

Officer charged in La Mesa trolley stop incident that sparked protest, riot leaves force: but questions of transparency and accountability remain

Man arrested for battery of protesters in La Mesa: ECM photographer also attacked

A pastor brings spiritual relief to those in need during riots

Peaceful Unity Rally roars into La Mesa

La Mesa  Council votes for independent investigation of protests and riot responses, hears heated comments from public

Exclusive: ECM interview La Mesa Mayor and Police Chief on protest preparations and riot response

City under siege: La Mesa release timeline and narrative on night of protest, riot and arson

Man charged with having Molotov cocktail explosives during riot in La Mesa

Charges dropped against Amaurie Johnson after body cam footage fails to back officer’s account: incident sparked protests May 30 that ended in riot

Confrontations heighten racial tensions in Santee

La Mesa leaders address unrest, promise review, end of chokehold at press conference

After burning, banks services impacted by branch closures

Photographer hit with pepper spray shares front-line experience covering protest in La Mesa

FBI seeks information on people inciting violence and committing acts of violence during protests and civil unrest

California National Guard deployed in downtown La Mesa

Attorney calls for “justice” for grandmother shot in forehead with projectile during protest at La Mesa Police station

Hundreds at Balboa Park protest strive to keep the peace

Aftermath of La Mesa protests and riots leave residents wondering who is to blame

Stores close down, barricade doors and board up windows to prepare for protesters

Saving La Mesa: Residents rallied to protect and restore city

Witness to chaos

Night of terror in La Mesa

Silent protest held at home of LMPD officer in controversial stop

Protest against police violence turns fiery in La Mesa

Protesters call on San Diego Mayor Faulconer to ban chokeholds by police

Rev. Shane Harris brings support to family of George Floyd and fights for reforms to halt police killings   

Local family emergency relief

Campo family suffers deadly crash: fundraiser started to help survivors



Local COVID-19 Resource Center  (expanded and updated with grant)

Local Guide to Farms and Farm-Fresh Products Sold Directly To Consumers (created and updated with grant)

Guide to Local Restaurants Offering Dine-In, Takeout or Delivery (updated with grant)



East County Magazine hosts El Cajon City Council candidate forums Sept. 28 and 30: update -- videos now posted

View video of our Supervisor candidates forum

Santee mayoral contenders and a council candidate agree city faces racial crisis, but clash on development issues

Lemon Grove City Council candidates set to participate in forum Sept.16

Lemon Grove mayoral candidates set to debate Sept. 14

In Lemon Grove City Council town hall, candidates address city in crisis, offer limited solutions

Highlights of Lemon Grove mayoral forum with link to video of Zoom event

Lemon Grove City Council candidates to participate in forum Sept. 16

Santee council and mayoral candidates forum set for Sept.10

Santee mayoral candidates and a council contender agree city faces racial crisis, but clash over development issues

Highlights and videos of all six La Mesa City Council candidates

La Mesa City Council candidates to appear in virtual candidate forum Thursday, Sept. 3

In lively forum, five candidates for El Cajon District 2 share diverse views

Highlights from El Cajon District 4 City Council candidate forum

Debate highlights: Congressional candidates air views on COVID-19 relief, police reforms, healthcare, immigration, the economy and more  (View video)

East County Movers, Shakers & Newsmakers virtual community forum aired on KNSJ radio, was posted on our news site and on Facebook. Speakers:

  • Dr. William Tseng, top regional COVID-19 expert fields questions offers updates on treatments, and shares insights on why San Diego has a low mortality rate
  • Robyn Herrick, SDG&E, on drive-through wildfire safety fairs coming up
  • East County Magazine Editor Miriam Raftery, on changes to county grant due to ECM reporting, making more businesses and nonprofits eligible

Virtual candidates forum August 13: Ask questions of those running for Congress and County Supervisor

Grossmont healthcare heroes reflect on pandemic






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