March 2020 Articles

REPAIRSMITH DONATES $100K IN FREE 'NO-CONTACT CAR REPAIR' SERVICES TO SUPPORT PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HARDSHIP DURING PANDEMIC

At-Home Service Company Launches Free Car Repair Program for Car Owners in Need; Ramps Up Technician Hiring and Fleet Service for Businesses

Source: PR Newswire/Repair Smith

March 20, 2020 (San Diego)--Today, RepairSmith announces it will donate $100,000 in free, 'No-Contact Car Repair' to the communities it serves. The company is introducing a series of initiatives to support members within the community who are facing hardship because of the coronavirus.  

Starting today, in California and Las Vegas, free car repairs are available to car owners who are severely impacted by COVID-19, either via loss of employment or acting as a frontline worker to their community.

This includes government workers, service workers, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, employees of grocery stores and pharmacies, volunteers and others who require the use of a functioning car, in locations where RepairSmith currently operates, including San Diego County.

U.S., MEXICO WILL RESTRICT NON-ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC ACROSS BORDER STARTING AT 9 PM TONIGHT

 


Completed port of entry at San Ysidro

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

Photo: San Ysidro border crossing, via San Diego Mayor Falconer's office

March 20, 20202 (San Diego) -- The Trump administration announced Friday that closure of non-essential movement across the Canadian border will be accompanied by similar limits on the Mexican border.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: A SNOWY SPRING SUNRISE

East County News Service

March 20, 2020 (Laguna Mountain) – Amid the fears and uncertainties we are facing right now, there is a healing power in nature.  This inspirational sunrise photo was taken this morning by UCSD’s HP Wren camera atop Laguna Mountain in San Diego’s East County, which is covered in snow on this official first day of springtime.

COUNTY'S FAMILY RESOURCE CENTERS, HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SERVICES OFFICE SUSPENDING IN-PERSON SERVICES

Photo credit: Twitter @211SD
 
By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
March 19, 2020 (San Diego) –While the (County's Family Resource Center and Housing and Community Development Services) physical offices are closing, the County is committed to continue providing its services during the ongoing health emergency. Most services provided at these facilities are available online, and staff will continue to answer questions via phone or email. 
 
Residents looking to apply for essential services, including food and housing assistance, medical coverage and other vital support programs, can apply for benefits online. They can also call 2-1-1 San Diego and a live representative can help with the application process by phone.
 
San Diegans who are already signed up for benefits, including CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal or General Relief benefits, can manage their case online. Existing customers can send required documents electronically via LaterDocs.
 

COUNTY COVID-19 INFORMATION AND UPDATES AVAILABLE VIA TEXT MESSAGE

Source:  SDCountyEmergency.com

Image by Free Photos from Pixabay

March 19, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County residents can sign up to receive updated information about the novel coronavirus via text with the County COVID-19 public information text message alert system.

GOV. NEWSOM ORDERS ALL CALIFORNIANS TO SHELTER AT HOME

Gov. Gavin Newsom issues stay-at-home order

Photo via Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association: screenshot of Gov. Newsom announcing statewide stay-at-home order

View the Governor's full speech

March 19, 2020 (Sacamento) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom tonight ordered all Californians to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus across the state. Only companies providing essential services may remain open.

He issued the statewide order after public health experts estimated that as many as 25 million Californians will be infected by the virus within two months, making it critical to stop the growth now.

While most will recover and some won't have symptoms, up to 20,000 would likely be hospitalized if nothing is done. That's double the 10,000 bed surge capacity of hospitals statewide, though the state is requisitioning faciliities to fill the gap and working with the private sector to increase the supply of ventilators, which the federal government has failed to provide.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

STATE DEPT ISSUES HIGHEST LEVEL “DO NOT TRAVEL” ADVISORY FOR U.S. CITIZENS, WARNS TRAVELERS MAY BE STRANDED

Source: U.S. State Department

March 19, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- The U.S. Department of State today issued a level 4 travel advisory – the highest level -- warning U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  

“In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period, the State Department warns. U.S. citizens living abroad should avoid all international travel.

Some U.S. citizens have already found themselves stranded overseas. The State Department further advises, “Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.”

COUNTY LIBRARIES HALT CURBSIDE CHECKOUT OF BOOKS, GOES ONLINE ONLY

East County News Service

March 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Just one day after announcing curbside checkout of books, the County Library has issued a news release announcing curbside pickup plans are cancelled.  Books and other materials will only be available online during the Covid-19 crisis.  See the county’s full press release below for details. 

SAN DIEGO BLOOD BANK ISSUES URGENT PLEA FOR BLOOD DONATIONS

Source: San Diego Blood Bank

March 19, 2020 (San Diego) - School closures and work-from-home policies have resulted in cancelled blood drives. San Diego Blood Bank collects more than half of its blood supply on bloodmobiles. An additional strain on the blood supply is expected in the coming weeks. See all coronavirus-related travel and exposure deferrals.

COUNTY BANS GATHERINGS OF 10 OR MORE AND LEAVING HOME FOR ANYTHING NON-ESSENTIAL: GYMS AND MOVIE THEATERS CLOSE, NEW RULES FOR DAY CARE

By Miriam Raftery

March 19, 2020 (San Diego) – With 80 cases of COVID-19 now in our region, San Diego County health officials have banned gatherings of 10 or more people in any indoor or outdoor space. Smaller groups must stay six feet apart to slow spread of COVID-19. 

Gyms and fitness centers have been ordered closed. Movie theaters are closed. Large department stores such as Macy’s and Penney’s have announced temporary closures.

Stores selling groceries and pharmacies remain open, as well as restaurants providing take-out or delivery only.

Day care must be limited to groups of up to 10 children in the same room and they must remain in same group each day, with the same staff person.

Social Distancing to Flatten the Curve

People who are home, working remotely and students should not be out unless it’s necessary. You can go out to:

COVID-19 VIRUS NOT GOING AWAY IN WARM WEATHER, OR COLD

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2020 (San Diego) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has dispelled hopes that the COVID-19 virus could lessen or go away when the weather warms up.  On its myth busters page, WHO advises that evidence indicates that COVID-19 is being transmitted in all climates, including areas with hot and humid weather, as well as in cold and snow.

See details below.

NEWSOM DID NOT ISSUE A STATEWIDE EVICTION BAN; TENANT GROUPS SAY RENTERS' HEALTH COULD BE THREATENED

By Matt Levin | CalMatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Resident Martha Kapla, right, holds a sign during a rally in front of an assisted-living home in San Pablo, California, in December. Nearly 80 elderly and disabled residents were told to be out of the building by the end of January. Photo by Jane Tyska, Bay Area News Group

March 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - As millions of anxious California renters worry about their health and paychecks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order that allows cities and counties to stop landlords from kicking out tenants who miss their next rent payment — if local governments want to do so.

AMID CORONAVIRUS, MTS WILL CONTINUE REGULAR SERVICE ON BUSES AND TROLLEYS THROUGH MARCH 31

Source:  MTS

March 18, 2020 (San Diego) - The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will continue running normal weekday and weekend service through March 31. This will allow more opportunities for passengers to practice social distancing during this critical time. MTS will continue to monitor bus and Trolley ridership and adjust service levels if necessary.

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS CAN HELP BUSINESSES HURT BY CORONAVIRUS

East County News Service
 
Photos and source: U.S. Small Business Administration
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego)—Due to local, state and national disaster declarations, the Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans in our region for small businesses that have suffered economic consequences due to the coronavirus.  
 
 
For more information, click Read more.

COUNTY LIBRARIES CLOSE, MOVE TO ONLINE SERVICES ONLY

 

March 20, 2020 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego’s libraries are closed due to the coronavirus crisis to protect safety of customers and staff.

County Library Director Migell Acosta said library patrons can still access all the Library’s e-books and e-magazines around the clock — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — by downloading the Libby app for e-books or Flipster (under e-books and e-magazines) for e-magazines like Sports Illustrated, People, Time. The New York Times and other reference resources are available on our website.

All of the library’s online resources can be accessed here. Residents who do not have a library card can sign up for an Instant Digital Card and use their mobile phone number as their library card. To download the Libby app, San Diego County residents can go to sdEbooks.org. Library patrons can even order books and materials that are available at any of the County’s 33 branch libraries and have them delivered to their own branch library for them to pick up.

ALL EAST COUNTY CASINOS TO CLOSE MARCH 21-31 DUE TO COVID-19

Barona, Campo, Jamul, Sycuan, and Viejas Jointly Announce Casino Closures in Response to Coronavirus crisis

Source: Kumeyaay Nation

March 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County)  — Tribal government leaders of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, Campo Kumeyaay Nation, Jamul Indian Village, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians today jointly announced that they are temporarily closing their casinos amid concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) beginning on Friday, March 20 at noon through the end of the month.

The Tribes are united in this decision to close for the health and well-being of the community, their guests and approximately 9,000 employees. Despite this closure, it is their hope that they can continue to provide emergency services for their respective communities.

 

In Campo, the gas station and convenience store will remain open for the convenience of residents.

TRUMP INVOKES WARTIME POWERS, CONGRESS ALSO TAKES ACTION TO ADDRESS CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Today, President Donald Trump announced he will invoke the Defense Production Act to help combat the Covid-19 crisis and fill critical needs for ventilators, respirators, masks and productive equipment.

The Act gives the President the authority to order increased manufacturing of  these items as well as distribution of emergency medical supplies and equipment where needed most.  Trump also authorized two military hospital ships to be dispatched, one to New York, though it will take weeks to arrive. The other will be sent from San Diego to an as yet unnamed West Coast destination.

SHERIFFF BUSTS PRICE-GOUGING HOARDERS

Sheriff also warns consumers about virus-related scams

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2020 (San Diego)—The San Diego Sheriff's department has arrested eight local people for selling hoarded toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and protective equipment at price-gouging rates. The suspects, who posted the items for sale online, could be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned.

It is illegal to price gouge during an emergency. After the state emergency declaration due to COVID-19, when consumers found store shelves emptied of much-needed supplies, deputies began checking out online websites. They found local residents offering items at up to 20 times higher than normal. 

Plain-clothes deputies from the Fallbrook station arranged to meet and buy the excessively priced goods, then arrested the suspects including individuals from unicorporated El Cajon, Escondido, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos, Rainbow, and Vista.

The eight people arrested, who were cited and released pending trial, are:

CHIEF’S CORNER: MARCH IS COLON CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
Make No “If’s ands or Butts” About It – Get Checked!
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego) -- I always liked to say I was Andy's training captain, because as young boys we would set fires in my parents' backyard and play "firefighter." Andy was the smart one. I provided the training center (my parents' backyard), which meant I was stuck with the evidence while Andy rode his bike home, another successful "training" session complete.
 
Though my dad wasn’t in the fire service, I swear he was a fire investigator in a past life. Andy and I always took pains to cover our tracks from the fires we set, but my dad managed to find the burn patterns, the point of origin and the Ohio blue tips used for ignition along with burned wood, debris and weeds.

ISSA CLAIMED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS WAS “MANUFACTURED” BY DEMOCRATS IN FUNDRAISING LETTER AFTER MARCH 3 PRIMARY

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego) — Weeks after the COVID-19 virus had begun rapidly spreading around the world, Darrell Issa, the Republican nominee running in the 50th Congressional district, sent a March 4 fundraising letter in which he accused “the left” of “manufacturing crisis after crisis” including climate change and “the outbreak of viruses…”

LATE BALLOTS PUT BARBARA BRY INTO TOP TWO IN SAN DIEGO MAYORAL RACE

East County News Service
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego)  -- More than two weeks after the March 3rd primary election, the outcome in the San Diego Mayoral race has changed. With all precincts counted but mail-in and provisional ballots still being tallied, Councilmember Barbara Bry has surpassed Councilmember Scott Sherman by a slim margin.
 
It now appears that the runoff in November may be between two Democrats. Assemblyman Todd Gloria has a solid lead of nearly 42%. Bry has 22.94%, while Sherman, a Republican, has 22.89%. 
 
A slim margin of only about 169 votes currently separates Bry and Sherman as the count continues.

READER’S EDITORIAL: TO COMBAT COVID-19, WE SHOULD MOBILIZE OUR MILITARY TO BUILD HOSPITALS AND ASK FACTORIES TO PRODUCE VITAL SUPPLIES

By Ammar Campa-Najjar, candidate in the 50th Congressional District
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - Make no mistake: I’ve lived in a war zone.  We are at war with the Coronavirus. People are scared, unsure and know the worst is yet to come. Working parents are sheltering in place with their children, small businesses struggling to meet overhead costs. 

GOVERNOR ORDERS EXTRA WEEK OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR WORKERS LAID OFF DUE TO COVID-19

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - Coronavirus has disrupted the job market across California, including all of San Diego County. Governor Gavin Newsom has waived the one-week waiting period to file for unemployment and ordered an extra week of benefits for people out of work due to the COVID-19 emergency.

DMV EXTENDS RENEWALS FOR 60 DAYS DUE TO COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 18, 2020 (Sacramento) – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, has asked California law enforcement to exercise discretion for 60 days in their enforcement of driver license and vehicle registration expiration dates beginning March 16th. 

STOCK MARKET TAKES RECORD FALL

East County News Service
 
March 17, 2020 (New York) -- Despite the federal government dropping interest rates to zero in an effort to stave off economic disaster amid worsening coronavirus news, after President Trump’s speech on Monday the stock market plummeted even lower.
 
The Dow Jones fell by nearly 3,000 points Monday, the worst drop in history.  
 
The Standard and Poors Index fell 12%, its worst day since “Black Monday” on October 19th, 1987.   
 
And the NASDAQ composite ended the day down 12.3%.

DEATH IN EL CAJON MAY HAVE BEEN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 17, 2020 (El Cajon)—A man in his 40s was fatally shot last night shortly before 10 p.m. at East Main and First Street in El Cajon.
 
“Witnesses said the suspect/suspects were possibly in a vehicle when they fire at the victim who had been standing on the sidewalk,” says Lt. K. MacArthur in a press statement. 
 

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