June 2020 Articles

EL CAJON EASES REQUIREMENTS FOR SIDEWALK CAFES AMID COVID RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – Owners of reopened restaurant are struggling to generate profits while complying with social distancing requirements of six feet between tables due to COVID-19. Now the El Cajon City Council has unanimously voted to make it easier for eateries to expand outdoors.

The Council approved a second reading on June 23 of an emergency ordinance passed unanimously June 9. It allows restaurants to skip cumbersome conditional-use permit requirements for sidewalk dining. The new ordinance will remain in effect through the end of this year, but an extension or option to make it permanent may be considered later on.

Previously, a conditional use permit, or CUP, required extra fees and delays due to an environmental review, followed by approval of both the Planning Commission and the City Council.

DOWN IN FLAMES: SUPERVISORS REJECT LILAC HILLS RANCH OVER WILDFIRE DANGER

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 24, 2020 (Valley Center) – The Lilac Hills Ranch, a proposed 1,742-homes development in rural Valley Center, has been a lightning rod of controversy for the past 15 years. In 2016, over 64 percent of voters rejected the project when Measure B went down in flames. Today, County Supervisors agreed with recommendations by staff and fire officials, rejecting the project due to the danger of residents becoming trapped should a major wildfire force evacuation.

DESPITE LOSING BUILDING TO ARSON, RANDALL LAMB ASSOCIATES JOINS EFFORT TO HELP OTHER BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING RIOT

The Phair Company and Lions Club of La Mesa also make major contributions

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Jake Rose: Flames engulf Randall Lamb Associates building

June 24, 2020 (La Mesa) – Among the many local companies stepping forward with donations to help businesses damaged by looting, vandalism or arson on May 30-31, one name stands out. The Randall Lamb Associates’  building burned to the ground, yet its owners have generously given $5,000 to help others rebuild their businesses and their lives.

CHILDREN’S NATURE RETREAT REOPENS AFTER COVID-19 SHUTDOWN: ANIMAL RESCUE NEEDS VISITORS AND DONATIONS

 

Source: Children’s Nature Retreat

June 23, 2020 (Alpine) -- The Children’s Nature Retreat, a 20-acre animal sanctuary in Alpine with 140-plus domesticated animals, is reopening to guests.

The animal sanctuary is open by appointment only, limited to 50 people. Guests are required to wear masks at the entrance, and if they come within 6-feet of anyone outside of their family/household; visitors can roam the outdoor property on the self-guided tour without masks.

READER’S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON RECENT EVENTS AND CHALLENGES TO PRESERVE CULTURAL HISTORY IN LA MESA

By Jim Newland, President, La Mesa Historical Society

June 23, 2020 (La Mesa) - The past few weeks’ events and experiences, including those in our local community, can only remind us of our nation’s challenging history of discrimination, violence and racism.  This is a very personal history for many that sadly continues into the present. 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER COMMANDER ADDRESSES HEALTHCARE ACCESS DURING PANDEMIC

By Helen L. Horvath
 
June 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- In an interview with Captain Bradford Smith, Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego*, East County Magazine explored the issues and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic for eligible active duty, veterans and family members residing in San Diego County. One of the greater challenges in the community is determining how healthcare can successfully be accessed by the community.

A PASTOR BRINGS SPIRITUAL SUPPORT TO THOSE IN NEED DURING RIOTS

 

Hear our interview with Pastor Travis Ferguson, aired on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link.

 

By Briana Gomez

 

Photo by Jake Rose: Pastor Ferguson in La Mesa, as police guard street while firefighters battle flames at the Randall Lamb Building

 

June 23, 2020 (La Mesa) -- After being sighted praying amid the La Mesa riots the night of May 30th, Pastor Travis Ferguson has found himself in unexpected limelight as a symbol of hope for La Mesa.

Audio: 

SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS JUMP IN COVID-19 CASES TO NEW DAILY RECORD OF 310

By Christine Huard, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  A man is tested for coronavirus at a drive-up site. Courtesy County News Center

June 22, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials reported a daily record of 310 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, but no additional deaths from the disease.

MISSING LA MESA MAN FOUND IN SANTEE

 

Update 10 p.m.:  La Mesa Police confirms that Al Buki has been found safe in Santee and reunited with his family.

East County News Service

June 22, 2020 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa Police is asking for public help to locate Attila "Al" Buki, who has been missing since last night around 7 p.m., when he left his independent living residence in the 7900 block of Culowee Street.  He is on foot and does not have access to a vehicle.

Police report that according to a family member, Buki has cognitive delays, and suffers from dementia caused by multiple strokes that he has suffered in the past.

He frequents the area of the nearby La Mesa Springs shopping center (8011 University Avenue) but otherwise has no other expected local destinations.

NASCAR CHAMP JIMMIE JOHNSON CANCELS SPONSORSHIP OVER RACIST TWEETS, DENOUNCES NOOSE LEFT IN STALL OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN DRIVER BUBBA WALLACE

 

Update June 23, 2020:  In a show of solidarity, all drivers in the Talladega race yesterday afternoon joined together to push Bubba Wallace's car to the front before the race began, after Jimmie Johnson announced he would stand with Wallace during the national anthem.  During the race, Wallace's vehicle ran out of gas, so another drived pushed him over the finish line and he came in 14th.  Johnson finished 13th and said he is "very proud of our sport."

Later in the day, the FBI announced that video shows the rope noose used as a door pull had been in the stall newly assigned to Wallace's team since 2019.

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left: Jimmie Johnson and Bubba Wallace, creative commons via 2.0 by Zach Catanzareti

June 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, an El Cajon native and hometown hero, is ending his final year in the sport by taking a strong stand against racism in the sport.

Last week, NASCAR announced a ban on the Confederate flag, a move long pushed for by Bubba Wallace, one of the most successful African-American drivers in NASCAR racing history. 

Yesterday, NASCAR announced that a noose had been found in the stall of the Wallace team 43 prior to the Talladega Super Speedway race in Alabama (which has been postponed until 1 p.m. today Pacific Standard Time due to inclement weather). 

The U.S. Justice Department and NASCAR have both announced investigations into the action, which could be charged as a hate crime.

Jimmie Johnson tweeted, “I can’t begin to fathom the pain this action has caused. I stand with you @BubbaWallace.”

COUNTY TO CONTINUE VIRTUAL BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETINGS

By Michelle Mowad, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo: County News Center

June 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- Due to the restrictions on gatherings in response to COVID-19, in-person participation at the County Board of Supervisors meetings on Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24 will not be permitted. The public can watch the meetings live online or on television. They can submit eComments or request to speak via teleconference.

{Click "Read more" to see the convenient ways to tune in. Whether it's online, TV or phone, and/or more information on how to submit public comment.}

UNIONS HOLD RALLY ON JUNETEENTH IN LA MESA

Story, photos and videos by Henri Migala
 
June 20, 2020 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa was once again the location of demonstration in support for Black Lives Matter.  This time the event was sponsored by many Labor Unions, which make up the San Diego Imperial County Labor Council, and was promoted as the Labor for Black Lives Caravan. It was held on June 19th, a date  known as Juneteenth which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

LESLIE FURCRON SAID SHE WAS ENTERING A “RIOT” AND CALLED TO “BURN” DOWN LA MESA POLICE STATION BEFORE SHE WAS SHOT WITH BEANBAG

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

June 20, 2020 (La Mesa) – The attorney for Leslie Furcron, the woman shot in the head with a beanbag projectile May 30 outside the La Mesa Police station, has characterized her as a “peaceful” protester. A police incident narration claims she threw an object at Sheriff’s officers before she was fired at from 40 yards and struck in the head with the beanbag. While it is unclear on her cell phone video whether she threw an object or not, what is clear is that she, or someone narrating the video taken on her cell phone, advocated burning down the police station while she was in the car driving to the station.

SANTEE CARJACKING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2020 (Santee) – A suspect is in custody after reportedly threatening to kill a 77-year-old woman and her family, then forcing the victim out of her car and driving off with her purse and cell phone.  The carjacking occurred shortly before 1 p.m. today in the 9800 block of Mission Gorge Road in Santee.

Sheriff’s deputies and La Mesa Police officers found the suspect, Chris DiSalvo, 30, sitting in the stolen car in the 4600 block of Palm Drive in La Mesa. 

“Upon seeing law enforcement DiSalvo took off, but crashed into a tree,” said Sergeant Michael Tingley with the Sheriff’s Department.“He then ran into an apartment complex."

A BITTERSWEET REOPENING OF THE ICONIC JACUMBA SPA, NOW FOR SALE

By Daniel Smiechowski

June 19, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The East County Jacumba Resort and Spa has fallen victim to uncertain times. Owned for many years by Dave Landman, an affable character who coincidentally owns most of Jacumba and about 800 acres east to Yuma, Arizona, the Spa is currently listed for sale by Coldwell Banker. 

INVESTIGATORS SEEKING INFORMATION RELATED TO YELLOW CHEVROLET CAMARO

Source:  San Diego FBI

June 19, 2020 (San Diego) - The FBI is seeking information pertaining to a bright yellow Chevrolet Camaro. Individuals associated with this vehicle may have been a witness to an incident that occurred on May 31, 2020 at the Kenmore Terrace Mini Park located at 4800 Kenmore Terrace, San Diego, California.

EARTH TALK: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE--A BLACK LIVES MATTER PRIORITY

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss, EarthTalk

Photo:  Air pollution and rollbacks to environmental protections and regulations make it hard for black people to breathe,” says Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice” and founder of the non-profit National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN). Credit: Pexels.com

June 19, 2020 (San Diego) - Dear EarthTalk: Is there any overlap between the #BlackLivesMatter and Environmental Justice movements? -Jennifer B., Athens, GA

EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER DIVERTS GRAFFITI ARTISTS TO CREATE PUBLIC ART

By Miriam Raftery

Photos courtesy of Officer Murphy and El Cajon Police

June 19, 2020 (El Cajon) – When El Cajon Police Officer Michael Murphy found three youths spray-painting “peace” and “BLM”, he created a teaching moment.  “I explained to them that by doing that, their message gets lost and destroys another person’s property. So I decided instead of arresting them we would work together to fix the damage and work on an area where they can post their message,” he posted on Facebook.

So he arranged to meet up with them, get plywood and find a place for them to express their views and creativity in a positive way - as well as having them lend a hand to clean up the defaced property. The result is a work of art showing talent and the power of working together for creative solutions to conflicts.

COUNTY HITS COMMUNITY OUTBREAKS TRIGGER AS MASKS BECOME MANDATORY ACROSS CALIFORNIA

By José A. ÁlvarezCounty of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  Face coverings are required in public and within six feet of someone who is not a household member

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) - Two more COVID-19 community outbreaks were identified in the region June 17, bringing the region’s seven-day total to eight, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

NAIL SALONS, TATTOO PARLORS AND OTHER CLOSE-CONTACT BUSINESSES TO REOPEN

By Miriam Raftery

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) – The state has approved more businesses reopening in San Diego County as early as Friday, June 19th, including personal care businesses offering services such as manicures, facials, massages and tattoos.

 

Business owners must follow state guidelines and complete the County’s Safe Reopening Plan.

CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER SHANE HARRIS RECOVERS FROM COVID-19, RETURNS TO NATIONAL STAGE TO FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE

East County News Service 

Photo, left:  Rev. Shane Harris during George Floyd march on bridge in Minnesota in late May

 

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) – Rev. Shane Harris, president of the People’s Alliance for Justice, spent two weeks in quarantine battling COVID-19.  Today, the nationally known civil rights leader based in San Diego announced he has tested negative and is returning to the public to lead multiple reforms ad proposals on inequalities in policing, racial justice and COVID-19.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY IS WATER SHUT OFF AT CAMPGROUNDS IN MCCAIN VALLEY?

By Ken Danielson

 

Photo, left: Google Earth image of water systems

 

Photo, right by Miriam Raftery:  Lark campground, before construction of Tule Wind

 

June 18, 2020 (McCain Valley) -- Many of you have probably visited the Cottonwood campground at the end of McCain Valley road. (Identical conditions exist at the Lark Canyon Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) park midway to Cottonwood). I’ve been camping there for more than 40 years. Even with the industrialization of the valley. it has remained a gem. 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: LA MESA LIONS CLUB DELIVERS MEALS TO CAREGIVERS

East County News Service 

June 19, 2020 (La Mesa) – Members of the La Mesa Lions Club delivered meals to caregivers at Sharp Grossmont Hospital last month in appreciation for their efforts.  Left to right, photo shows two nurses from an ICU unit on a COVID-19 floor, Lions Club Vice Presidents Joyce James and Mary Rynearson, Beth Morgante, CEO of Grossont Hospital Foundation and La Mesa Lions member David Shaw, Elbert Kim, La Mesa Lions Club President, and Cupid’s Caterers representatives.

SUPERVISORS TO HOLD HEARING ON CONTROVERSIAL LILAC HLLS RANCH JUNE 24 AFTER STAFF AND COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY RECOMMEND DENIAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Site of proposed master-planned deveopment that has sparked a firestorm of controversy

June 18, 2020 (Valley Center) -- The San Diego County Fire Authority and County staff have recommended that Supervisors deny the controversial Lilac Hills Ranch mixed-use development project in Valley Center due to concerns over fire safety and evacuation routes. County Supervisors will consider the recommended denial on Wednesday, June 24. Theh project has also drawn strong opposition over the years from community members.

Despite objections from fire authorities, however, the County Planning Commission voted 5-2 to overrule staff and ignore concerns over lack of safe evacuation routes.  Intead, the majority of commissioners recommended that Superivsors allow the developer to pay a $2 million fire protection fee with various escape clauses in order to proceed, with building the project with the homeowners' associatoin paying for annual brush clearing, as the developer has sought.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be virtual due to COVID-19.

PHARMACY ROBBERY IN ALPINE MAY BE PART OF SERIES

East County News Service

Photos via CVS

June 18, 2020 (Alpine) – An investigation is underway into a robbery at a CVS in Alpine that may be part of a series of pharmacy robberies across East County. Two juveniles were apprehended.

Shortly before 3 p.m. on June 17, deputies from the Alpine Sheriff’s station responded to the CVS Pharmacy at 1385 Tavern Road after a 9-1-1 call reported a robbery. The caller said one of two suspects, armed with a cane, jumped over the counter demanding drugs and took 13 bottles of narcotics. As he fled, he swung the cane around and smashed the glass countertop. A cell phone of one of the employees was also taken, says Lieutenant Anthony O’Boyle.

The suspects fled the scene, but due to a quick response from a Sheriff's Sergeant, deputies and detectives, the suspects were located behind the Alpine library and detained,” says Lt. O’Boyle.

SDG&E ANNOUNCES “ENERGY FOR OTHERS” MULTI-YEAR GIVING CAMPAIGN

Increased Contributions will Support San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, Civic Engagement and Social Justice

East County News Service

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego Gas & Electric has announced “Energy for Others,” a new multi-year giving campaign to support communities in need, civic engagement and social justice.

In March, SDG&E shareholders seeded The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund with its first $1 million contribution. With an additional $1 million contribution in 2020 and a $1 million commitment for 2021, SDG&E’s support of the fund now totals $3 million. The donations will help economic recovery, address food insecurity, assist with utility bills and more. SDG&E is also committing $500,000 to civic engagement and social justice causes, including an immediate $50,000 contribution to RISE San Diego, whose mission includes elevating and advancing urban leadership through dialogue-based civic engagement.  All contributions are funded by SDG&E shareholders.

“All of us at SDG&E care deeply about our communities and we’re honored to do our part in helping address the economic and social issues we face,” said Scott Drury, president of San Diego Gas & Electric.  “The senseless killing of George Floyd and other recent events serve as a sobering reminder that our country has more work to do before everyone is treated equally and with the same level of respect. RISE San Diego shares our values and commitment to respect, dignity and inclusiveness of all people, making them a strong partner to help advance progress.” 

VIRTUAL CAMPFIRE CHATS WITH ANZA-BORREGO PARK RANGERS KICK OFF THIS WEEKEND

 

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East County News Service

Photo by Kirtland Smith: Verdin in Ocotillo

June 18, 2020 (Borrego Springs) – The Anza Borrego Foundation is planning five virtual Campfire chats with retired Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Rangers and Superintendents, streamed live from various Park locations.

In 30-minute segments, each ranger will share stories, focused on their favorite park topics such as birding, bighorn sheep, land conservation and military history of the Park.

JULIAN WELCOMES VISITORS BACK



By Bobbi Zane

June 18, 2020 (Julian) --Julian shop and restaurant owners are now back open to serve visitors, though the rules have changed in the historic gold rush town located in San Diego's back country.

"Visitors no longer need to stay at home,” says Robin Boland, manager of the Julian Chamber of Commerce. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the Chamber had earlier asked visitors to stay away to prevent brining the virus to the mountain town which customarily thrives on tourism.

Restaurants and one-of-a-kind charming shops have lined both sides of Main Street for many years. Julian is also known for excellent restaurants, though Julian is most faous for its apple pies, known as the new gold that draws visitors to Mom's Pie House and Julian Apple Pies.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

June 18, 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.

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