July 2020 Articles

EL CAJON ADDS SEWER TAXES ONTO COUNTY PROPERTY TAX BILLS

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2020 (El Cajon) – The city of El Cajon has launched a public outreach strategy to educate the public about change in billing for sewer services. On May 23, the Council voted to put sewer taxes onto the County of San Diego’s property tax roll, a move that reduced the approved rate by 2%, according to a memo sent to the Mayor and City Council on July 2 from City Manager Graham Mitchell. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: BORDER WALL IN JACUMBA WILDERNESS THREATENS GROUNDWATER FOR COMMUNITIES AND AN ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE CRUCIFIXION THORN

By Craig Deutsche

July 5, 2020 (Jacumba) - There have been a number of articles in large newspapers about the border wall and legal challenges. Most probably the story in California is only a detail in the big picture, although there might be several unique concerns here. One concern is that the Congressional designation of the Jacumba Wilderness in 1994 is very explicit and very restrictive in what is permitted within the boundaries.

More recently in 2019, the Department of Homeland Security waived seventeen federal environmental laws where border security was involved in Imperial County. These included the Wilderness Act of 1964, the National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Waters Act, and the Antiquities Act of 1906. It is under this umbrella that the work proceeds. What is less clear, is whether it is possible to set aside state and county regulations that may otherwise apply.

The pipe shown in the photo runs five or six miles from several wells outside the Jacumba Wilderness Area to the construction area at the border. The pipe is 12 inches in diameter and is intended to provide water for concrete. [Aggregate for the concrete is visible in the second photo beside the equipment.] This water is drawn from a rather limited aquifer underlying several small communities in western Imperial County.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT FREEZES NON-ESSENTIAL EXPENSES DUE TO COVID-19, WILL HEAR PROPOSED BUDGET JULY 10

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2020 (Spring Valley) – San Miguel Fire District’s board of directors will consider the 2020/2021 budget at a July 10th hearing due to COVID-19.  The finance committee has proposed freezing all non-essential and discretionary spending due to unanticipated costs of the pandemic estimated at less than $172,000.

LISTEN NOW: OUR RADIO SHOWS FOR JANUARY THROUGH APRIL 2020 ARE NOW ONLINE

Our radio shows from January, February, March and April 2020 are now online.  For links to listen plus an index with full list of topics and interviews in each show. Click here or click the "read more" link and scroll down for audio links below the index. (Audio files may take a few moments to load.)  

Our newsmaker interviews included Supervisorial candidates Steve Vaus, Joel Anderson and Kenya Taylor (Vaus and Anderson will run off in November), Congressional candidates Sara Jacobs, Georgette Gomez, and Ammar Campa-Najjar, and Santee mayoral candidate Stephen Houlahan. Our news coverage included the COVID-19 pandemic, shut-downs and relief efforts, andmore.

The East County Magazine Show airs Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m. on KNSJ, 89.1 FM.  Our shows rerun on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Audio: 

NAACP SAN DIEGO: FIGHTING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A COVID-19 ENVIRONMENT

Part II in a two-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson III. 

Click here to view Part I

 

By Helen Horvath

 

July 5, 2020 (San Diego) -- In these tumultuous times, impacted by both COVID-19 restrictions and renewed demands for social justice, our nation is at a crossroad to resolve long standing inequities. In San Diego County we have experienced protests stemming from perceptions of inequality. Despite the ban on gatherings and risk of the coronavirus, protesters have taken to the streets, at times without facial protection or social distancing, fighting what some perceive as the greater threat of injustice.  

HUMANE SOCIETY WORKS TO SAVE YOUNG BALD EAGLE IN EAST COUNTY ON FOURTH OF JULY

By Miriam Raftery

Updated July 5, 2020 from Nina Thompson at Project Wildlife: The juvenile bald eagle, which has not yet developed its white head feathers, is now standing on its own and accepting food.

July 4, 2020 (Alpine) – Our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, is rarely seen in San Diego County, where only a handful of nesting pairs have been documented.  Today, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, local wildlife workers are fighting to save the life of one found in the Alpine area in hopes of helping  the large raptor regain its indepedence.

“On this July Fourth holiday, San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife admitted a Bald Eagle.The magnificent bird was rescued and brought to us by SoCal Parrots, after it had been observed on the ground for a couple of days at Barrett Honor Camp,” says Nina Thompson, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications for the San Diego Humane Society.

The Bald Eagle is dehydrated, has been given fluids and  has also been treated for mites, Thompson writes in an email to ECM. 

STATE ASKS SAN DIEGO-AREA CITIES TO CLOSE BEACH PARKING LOTS

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

Photo:  The parking lot at Oceans Beach Pier. File photo by Chris Stone

July 4, 2020 (San Diego) - The California Office of Emergency Services sent a letter to city officials in San Diego, Imperial Beach, Coronado, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside imploring them to also close beach parking lots.

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

Part One: ECM interviews Dr. Suzanne Affalo, Medical Director, Alliance Health Clinic and retired Kaiser Permanente physician 

By Angela de Joseph

Photo courtesy of Dr. Suzanne Affalo

July 3, 2020 (San Diego) There is a saying, “When America catches a cold, Black America gets pneumonia.” In the case of COVID-19, this old adage is true. The national coronavirus mortality rate for African Americans is about 2.3 times as high as the rate for Whites and Asians, about twice as high as the Latino and Pacific Islander rate, and 1.5 times as high as the Indigenous rate. But, not in San Diego. 

SIGHT OF NAZI SWASTIKA FLAG STUNS EAST COUNTY MOTORISTS ON I-8

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

Photo:  Smartphone images of SUV with Nazi flag parked near Alpine Albertsons. Photos by Albert Aguilar

July 4, 2020 (Alpine) - Who’s driving around East County with a Nazi flag on their rear window? And why?

Interstate 8 motorists and an Alpine resident have posted pictures and video of a red-and-black SUV with the black swastika since Monday.

JIMMIE JOHNSON AND HIS WIFE TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, in 2009 in Santee

July 3, 2020 (El Cajon) – Jimmie Johnson has become the first NASCAR driver to test positive for COVID-19. The seven-time NASCAR champion and El Cajon native will miss this weekend’s INDY doubleheader races in Indianapolis Saturday and Sunday.

Johnson has no symptoms, but took the test after his wife had mild symptoms and tested positive. He will remain sidelined until cleared by a physician, one more setback in what Johnson earlier announced would be the final racing season of his career.

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

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- Fireworks are illegal in San Diego County. Yet East County experienced a recent fire due to illegal fireworks, says Sonny Saghera, public information officer with Heartland Fire & Rescue.

Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. However, the only safe way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show.

Here’s where to view live fireworks shows in East County and elsewhere in the San DIego region from a safe distance, as well as local online fireworks displays and patriotic shows:  https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/where-find-fireworks-east-county-july-4th

“With many professional firework shows being canceled this year, it is important to know that fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers. Fireworks cause thousands of injuries each year,” Saghera notes.

Heartland Fire offers few other ideas to get into the patriotic spirit, without fireworks, a well as some fireworks safety facts:

LAKESIDE MAN KILLED WHILE JAYWALKING

East County News Service

Photo: CC by NA via Bing

July 3, 2020 (Lakeside) – A Lakeside resident, 50, was struck and killed last night when he crossed Mapleview Street west of Ashwood Street, not in a crosswalk.

The victim entered traffic directly in front of a Hyundai Tucson SUV, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Christy.

“The driver of the Hyundai immediately stopped and remained on scene,” says Officer Christy. The driver, 71, from San Diego, was not injured, nor was his passenger.

CHP and fire personnel responded  immediately but despite lifesaving efforts, the pedestrian succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

THE ZERO WASTE FAMILY SUPPLIES BUDGET-MINDED RECIPES AND IDEAS DURING THE PANDEMIC

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
(Photos courtesy of The Zero Waste Family) 
 

July 3, 2020 (San Diego) Many families and individuals have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – with some experiencing unemployment coupled with financial insecurity, health issues and/or medical expenses.  

San Diego resident Fredrika Syren, founder of The Zero Waste Family, offers up tips to reduce the cost of feeding a family or individual and eating healthy at the same time.

(Photo at left: The Syren family)

“There are so many people who have lost money and their income during the pandemic,” said Syren, an environmental writer, in a phone interview with ECM. “We were prepared more than most.”

FOUR WILD MICE COLLECTED IN CAMPO AREA TEST POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a California mouse

July 2, 2020 (Campo) - Four wild mice collected in routine monitoring in open space in the Campo area have tested positive for hantavirus.

County officials are reminding people they should never sweep or vacuum up after rodents if they find them in living spaces like homes, garages, sheds and cabins, but instead use “wet-cleaning” methods.

DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

Watch for increased impaired driving patrols this holiday weekend

Source:  San Diego Sheriff's Department

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) - This Fourth of July will be different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the changes to Independence Day celebrations, you should always do the responsible thing and not get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

COUNTY RELEASES DATA ON CORONAVIRUS CASES AMONG HOMELESS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Makeshift homeless tent in Lakeside

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) – Today, San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency released data on COVID-19 cases among homeless individuals. To date, 147 homeless people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Of those, 41 have been hospitalized, but fortunately, none have died.

Only 10.7% of those cases (12 total) occurred in homeless people in East County.  Central San Diego had the largest share, with 39.3% of the cases.

Only 16 of the 147 cases were in homeless people whose usual lodging is a shelter.

ANCIENT FOSSILS FOUUND AT OTAY CONSTRUCTION ZONE

PREHISTORIC FOSSILS FOUUND AT OTAY CONSTRUCTION ZONE

 

East County News Service

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- Al fossil deposit containing skeletal remains of extinct mammals, including camels, oreodonts, rodents, and possibly a large carnivore, was recently unearthed at the State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Project, a joint venture between Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

The fossils are estimated to be 16 to 28 million years old and provide new insights into the region's geologic history.

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

 

Photo: County employee Esma Al Sabag is doing contact tracing in English and Arabic.

 By Jose A. Alvarez, County Communications Office

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- A record number of COVID-19 cases were reported today, and the state has notified the County it will be placed on its Monitoring List July 3, which is expected to result in the County closing or placing new restrictions on additional businesses next week.

REP. DAVIS INCLUDES LANGUAGE IN NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT TO END MILITARY HUNGER

By Debbie L. Sklar, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  Rep. Susan Davis celebrates her victory at Golden Hall on Nov. 6. Photo by Chris Stone

July 2, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The House Armed Services Committee passed new legislation by San Diego Rep. Susan Davis on Wednesday to end military hunger.

LA MESA FARMERS MARKET IS OPEN AGAIN

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2020 (La Mesa) – Now you can once again purchase farm-fresh produce directly from local farmers. The La Mesa Certified Farmer’s Market has reopened for in-person visitors on Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. The market is  located along La  Mesa Blvd. between Palm Ave. and 4th Street, but with some changes due to COVID-19.

The farmer’s market was briefly closed, then opened for pre-ordered curbside delivery only. Now the market is back open to the public, but with the following rules, provided by the La Mesa Village Association:

STATE ENDANGERED SPECIES STATUS SOUGHT FOR LOCAL BUTTERFLY

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2020 (San Diego)—Once the most common butterfly in Southern California, the Quino Checkerspot Butterfly has lost over 70 percent of its habitat.  It’s been listed as a federally endangered species since 1997, but is not on California Endangered Species Act. That could soon change, if a petition filed this week by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Endangered Habitats League is successful.

The butterfly is now found only in San Diego and Riverside Counties. The petition, filed with the California Fish and Game Commission, would make the colorful butterfly an endangered species under state law, giving stronger protections against habitat destruction and fragmentation, climate change, nitrogen pollution, invasive species and enforcement.

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

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

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego County public health officials warned Wednesday that recent re-openings will likely be rolled back as a near-record 474 new coronavirus cases and 7 deaths were reported.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said that if the current trends continue, San Diego County will likely be added to California’s “watch list” of counties by the weekend.

Counties on that list were ordered Wednesday to close indoor dining at restaurants, as well as movie theaters, museums and similar businesses, for three weeks. Orange, Riverside and Imperial counties surrounding San Diego were affected.

“We anticipate by the weekend that we will be on that list as well,” said Wooten at a media briefing.

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

 

By Larry Johnson, President, Mountain Empire Historical Society

July 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Have you driven down scenic Highway 80 through its eastern stretch of San Diego County and noticed a lone chimney standing like a silent sentinel in a field, or a very old building that appears to date back to a previous era and wondered about their history?

If so, a new book written by historian and author Cherry Diefenbach called Renegades, Rock Houses and Resorts…the Stories of Jacumba Hot Spring and Surrounds may be just the ticket.

This nearly 500-page book provides a comprehensive history of the area using more than 1,200 photos, hundreds of old newspaper articles, and personal accounts from the descendants of early settlers. Many of the photographs have not been published elsewhere.

Finished after nearly five years of research, the book chronicles the colorful history of local mountain and desert comunities including Bankhead Springs, Boulder Park/Desert View Tower, Boulevard/Manzanita, Hipass/Tierra Del Sol, Jacumba Hot Springs, Live Oak Springs, Mountain Springs, and Oasis.

 

 

 

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH: HORNED LIZARD, A FORMIDABLE FIGHTER

Debbie Ekhaml took these close-ups of a horned lizard (also known as a horned toad) in East County. 

Resembling a miniature dinosaur, the horned lizard has an impressive array of protective features ranging from camouflage to spiked horns to an ability to puff itself up and even squirt blood at an attacker.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

July 1, 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.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

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

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Don Buxton, owner of Play It Again Sports, accepts La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund relief check. His store suffered looting, fire and smoke damage.

July 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – Relief checks of $5,000 each from the La Mesa Disaster Recovery Fund were distributed to 27 business owners on Tuesday, in the first of two rounds of funding.  

SAN DIEGO RED CROSS HELPS THOSE DISPLACED BY NILAND FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) – On Sunday, a fire destroyed 40 homes and killed one person in Niland, California, an economically depressed desert town in Imperial County.  Around 130 people in the town of 1,000 were displaced and have been receiving help from the American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

The Red Cross has requested donations which can be made at www.RedCross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Due to COVID-19 and safe handling requirements, the Red Cross is unable to accept donations of goods.

The top priority is to provide shelter, as well as meals, relief and emotional support, as well as recovery planning and other assistance. The Red Cross has also assisted first responders in this fire.

SDSU WOMEN'S SOCCER ADDS TRANSFER, A HELIX ALUM

Local product Claire Watkins, a defender who competed for Oregon, returns home to play for the Aztecs

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

July 1, 2020 (San Diego) - Claire Watkins, a sophomore defender who attended and competed for the University of Oregon, has transferred and signed a Grant-In-Aid agreement to compete for the San Diego State women’s soccer team and will be eligible to play for the Aztecs in the 2020 season.

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