LOST A LOVED ONE TO COVID? FEMA WILL PAY FUNERAL EXPENSES

BEHIND ON YOUR MORTGAGE DUE TO COVID? NOW THERE’S HELP FOR CALIFORNIANS

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT NEWSOM'S BUDGET BLUEPRINT

TODAY’S TSUNAMI WARNING TRIGGERS CONCERN OVER SAN ONOFRE BY NUCLEAR SAFETY ADVOCATES

TSUNAMI ADVISORY EXTENDED FOR WEST COAST INCLUDING SAN DIEGO

THE REAL HUSKIES OF BONITA NEED FOREVER HOMES

FREE TESTS? AS COVID SURGES, RAPID RESULTS COST UP TO $300

LA MESA REPLACES ITS SANDAG REPRESENTATIVE AND EXTENDS VIRTUAL MEETINGS; LOTHIAN DEFIES MASK MANDATE

DA ISSUES COVID TEST AND PRICE GOUGING WARNING AMID OMICRON SURGE

COUNTY PROPOSES HOMELESS SHELTER LOCATIONS IN EAST COUNTY: VIRTUAL MEETINGS ON SPRING VALLEY SITES JAN. 14 AND 18

ZEST WINE BISTRO OPENS JANUARY 20 WITH COZY INDOOR-OUTDOOR SEATING, TAPAS AND INTERNATIONAL WINES

FUNDRAISER LAUNCHED TO HELP HAMLETT COFFEE HOUSE IN LEMON GROVE

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LOST A LOVED ONE TO COVID? FEMA WILL PAY FUNERAL EXPENSES

By Miriam Raftery

Image via Pixabay

January 17, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – Over 850,000 Americans have died of COVID-19.  But many families don’t know about a federal program that can pay for funeral expenses such as burial or cremation. 

The program will pay up to $9,000 per death, or a maximum of $35,000 per application if an applicant paid for funerals for multiple people.


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BEHIND ON YOUR MORTGAGE DUE TO COVID? NOW THERE’S HELP FOR CALIFORNIANS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by SA via Bing 

January 16, 2022 (San Diego) – California homeowners who have fallen behind on housing payments due to pandemic-related hardships can now apply for help to pay back payments through the California Mortgage Relief program, which is funded by the 2021 federal American Rescue plan Act’s Homeowners Assistance Fund.  Qualified applicants do not have to repay any funds awarded.


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SAN DIEGO RABBI WAS CLASSMATE OF TEXAS RABBI TAKEN HOSTAGE

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Rabbi Jason Nevarez (Photo: Beth Israel Quarterly)

January 16. 2022 (San Diego) - Rabbi Jason Nevarez of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego attended college with the rabbi who was taken hostage in Colleyville, Texas.  After college, they were classmates at the Hebrew Union College seminary in Jerusalem in 2001 during the height of the Intifada.


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TODAY’S TSUNAMI WARNING TRIGGERS CONCERN OVER SAN ONOFRE BY NUCLEAR SAFETY ADVOCATES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot by Savvy Millennial of tsunami wave in Pacifica, CA today

Updated January 16, 2022 with response from Southern California Edison's public information officer, who says the San Onofre site is protected against tsunamis.

January 15, 2022(San Diego) – Public Watchdogs, a nonprofit advocacy group, is expressing deep concern for the public’s safety regarding the 3.6 Million pounds of deadly radioactive nuclear waste stored on the beach at San Onofre just north of San Diego, 108 feet from the Pacific Ocean, in a USGS designated tsunami inundation zone. 

A tsunami advisory was issued earlier today for the entire West Coast including San Diego after an underwater volcano erupted near Tonga in the South Pacific. Although San Diego fortunately did not have flooding, the eruption did trigger a tsunami and flooding that hit parts of northern California including Santa Clara and other coastal communities, submerging cars and ripping boats loose from moorings.


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COUNTY HEARING JANUARY 26 TO EXEMPT HOMELESS FACILITIES FROM ZONING ORDINANCE

East County News Service

Photo by Henri Migala:  Homeless youths and community members gathered in El Cajon recently to call for help to aid young homeless people.

January 15, 2022 (San Diego) – On January 26 at 9 a.m., County Supervisors will hold a public hearing on a proposal to exempt county-owned, run or leased emergency shelters, transitional and supportive services form zoning ordinance provisions.


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TSUNAMI ADVISORY EXTENDED FOR WEST COAST INCLUDING SAN DIEGO

 

Update 6 p.m.:  The National Weather Service now advises that tsunami waves could continue through this evening. This is a fluid situation due to continuing volcanic activity near Tonga.  Dangerous surf conditions will be present through the weekend, due to both the tsunami concerns and rain/storm conditions.  Avoid coastal areas.

Update 2 p.m. - The tsunami alert has been cancelled for San Diego's coast.

Update 12:09 p.m. -- The tsunami alert is still in effect, despite an earlier warning of waves due earlier this a.m., CNN reports, due to continuing volcanic activity at T onga. Here is a video in northern California of a tsunami wave that hit there today:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GanA_Kqx4bQ

 

January 15, 2022 (San Diego) -- A Tsunami Advisory has been issued for Southern California including the San Diego coast this morning. A volcanic eruption near Tongain the South Pacific has generated a Tsunami.

The coastal areas of SD County and the rest of the U.S. West Coast could experience strong currents that may be hazardous to swimmers, boats and coastal structures. Move off beach and out of harbors, and do not go to the coast to watch due to tsunami danger.View vi


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USGS PLANE TO MAKE LOW-LEVEL FLIGHTS OVER SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DESERTS NEXT 15 MONTHS

East County News Service

January 14, 2022 (San Diego) – The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) today announced that residents and visitors may notice a low-flying aircraft over the Imperial Valley, Salton Sea and surrounding areas in southern California starting as early as mid-January 2022 and continuing into Spring 2023.


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LA MESA REPLACES ITS SANDAG REPRESENTATIVE AND EXTENDS VIRTUAL MEETINGS; LOTHIAN DEFIES MASK MANDATE

Updated January 17 with comments from Councilmember Lothian and clarification that the Council has been meeting virtually since the pandemic began and voted to extend virtual meetings.

By Eugenie Budnik

January 14, 2022 (La Mesa) - The La Mesa City Council held its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday. Mayor Mark Arapostathis opened with his State of the City speech, calling the city “strong.” 

Later the Council addressed some contentious issues, including replacing its SANDAG representative and extending virtual meetings amid the latest COVID surge.  With Council and staff in chambers, newly elected Councilmember Laura Lothian openly defied the state’s mask mandate.


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THE REAL HUSKIES OF BONITA NEED FOREVER HOMES

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 14, 2021 (San Diego) - In this County, if you don’t know the canine breed with the most camera appeal, then stay and we’ll introduce you to some fetching aspiring housedogs who are all currently residing in Bonita, a hidden gem of an animal shelter.


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DA ISSUES COVID TEST AND PRICE GOUGING WARNING AMID OMICRON SURGE

Source: San Diego District Attorney

Photo: COVID testing; CC by NC-ND

January 13, 2022 (San Diego) – San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan warned the public today to steer clear of unapproved at-home COVID-19 tests as people become increasingly desperate to get tested for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Consumers should only buy tests approved by the U.S Food and Drug Association (FDA).

Scammers are always waiting for their next opportunity to take financial advantage of unsuspecting consumers and the shortage of COVID-19 tests is no different. 


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COUNTY PROPOSES HOMELESS SHELTER LOCATIONS IN EAST COUNTY: VIRTUAL MEETINGS ON SPRING VALLEY SITES JAN. 14 AND 18

East County News Service

January 13, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – County Supervisors recently directed staff to find potential locations for homeless shelters in East County.  Now staff has proposed several sites in Spring Valley and Lakeside.


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FUNDRAISER LAUNCHED TO HELP HAMLETT COFFEE HOUSE IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service

January 13, 2022 (Lemon Grove) – A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Hamlett, Lemon Grove’s happening new gathering spot and coffeehouse. Opened six months ago, the start-up venture has weathered a pandemic, vandalisms, equipment failures and other financial set-backs. So now owner Shacole Hamlett is asking the public for help – and he has a detailed plan for long-term sustainability--with a little help from the community.

“Despite it all we have continued to serve our community, making amazing new connections and trying to bring joy, laughter, and love to each person who walks through our doors,” he says. “Our mission has never been about us, it's been about the community, creating space, and supporting local entrepreneurs!”

The Hamlett isn’t just a coffee shop serving up delicious fresh-brewed beverages.  It’s a showplace for community events such as open mic and comedy nights, workshops and more. It’s also an outlet for local businesses to sell wares ranging from teapots to soaps and launch their own new enterprises.


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TEEN SHELTER IN LA MESA IS FOCUS OF JANUARY 14 ZOOM MEETING

East County News Service

January 12, 2022 (La Mesa) – The East County Homeless Task Force has announced a Zoom meeting this Friday, January 14 at 1 p.m. regarding Home Start’s work on The Lodge, a former motel on University Avenue in La Mesa repurposed to provide housing and services for transition-age youths.


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770 NEW LAWS IN CALIFORNIA: THESE MAY IMPACT YOU

 

By Henri Migala

January 12, 2022 (Sacramento) -- With the new year comes not only resolutions to be made (and probably broken), but also new laws enacted (that can’t be broken, lest you incur penalties).  Last year, 770 bills were signed into law. Some went into effect on January 1st, and some will go into effect later.

Among the changes are a hike in minimum wage, increased accountability for police officers, and laws to ease the housing crunch. Some new laws are quirky: you can now legally eat roadkill and obtain restraining orders online, but you can be prosecuted for stealthily removing a condom. Students can sleep later in non-rural areas. All Californians are required to recycle organic waste and abide by new gun laws; registered voters will receive ballots by mail.

Here is an overview of these and other significant new laws that may impact you. Click the bill number to read the full legislation.


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STRONG GAS ODOR ACROSS EL CAJON

 
East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts
 
Update:  The El Cajon odor is the result of a chemical spill of mercaptan, an odor additive used to make natural gas detectable.  There is no gas leaks, but residents are advised to stay indoors for a few hours until it dissipates. More on this chemical:  https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/MHMI/mmg139.pdf
 
January 12, 2022 (El Cajon) -- A strong smell of natural gas is evident across El Cajon including the valley floor and the Fletcher Hills area late this morning. The City of El Cajon has tweeted that the odor is orignating from 1001 West Bradley Avenue.
 
"Heartland Fire & Rescue has advised that the strong odor is occurring due to Waste Management charging their ventilation tanks. The odor should dissipate over the next few hours," the city Tweet states. 

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FIRE DAMAGES HOME OF NATHAN FLETCHER AND LORENA GONZALEZ

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via ECM news partner 10 News

January 12, 2022 (San Diego) – An early morning fire at 4 a.m. damaged the City Heights residence of Nathan Fletcher, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, and his wife, former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez.

Gonzalez tweeted, “Our entire family is safe. No one is injured. That’s all that matters.”

Fletcher tweeted gratitude for the swift response by San Diego Fire and Police Department. He indicated the family was awakened by smoke alarms to find the front of their home engulfed in flames. They were able to evacuate safely out a separate door.


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SUPERVISORS VOTE 3-2 TO RESTRICT “GHOST GUNS” AND REQUIRE SAFE STORAGE OF FIREARMS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via County of San Diego

January 11, 2022 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Supervisors today voted 3-2 to enact a new ordinance to set standards for safe storage of firearms and to put restrictions on “ghost guns” in unincorporated areas.

Do-it-yourself ghost guns are homemade and untraceable, due to a lack of serial numbers. Thus they can evade federal and state requirements, such as background checks required to purchase firearms.

Sheriff’s deputies confiscated 212 ghost guns last year – nearly six times more than the 36 ghost guns seized in 2019, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.


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NTSB: LEARJET HIT POWERLINES, OVERSHOT RUNWAY BEFORE CRASH IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2022 (El Cajon) – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary report on the LearJet that crashed on December 27th into El Cajon’s Bostonia neighborhood, killing all four people aboard.

The report does not identify the cause of the crash, but does reveal that the plane struck powerlines before the crash in overcast, misty weather conditions. The report also indicates that the pilot had overflown the runway at Gillespie Field at a low altitude, was granted permission to land on a different runway, switched from automatic to visual controls and asked that the runway lights be turned up moments before the deadly crash.


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LA MESA AWARDS ANIMAL SERVICES CONTRACT TO HUMANE SOCIETY

Source: San Diego Humane Society

January 11, 2022 (La Mesa) — Tonight, members of the La Mesa City Council voted unanimously to approve a contract with San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) to become the City’s animal services provider. San Diego Humane Society has been providing sheltering and medical care for La Mesa’s animals at its El Cajon Campus since October 2020. With this new contract, which goes into effect immediately, SDHS will provide Humane Law Enforcement (animal control) and licensing services as well.

In addition to all the specialized programs San Diego Humane Society offers, such as the Kitten Nursery, Behavior Center, Pilar & Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine, Bahde Wildlife Center, Community Support Services and community education, residents in La Mesa will see an added benefit with extended animal control and dispatch hours. Residents can call 619-299-7012 (press 1 for Humane Law Enforcement Dispatch) or visit http://www.sdhumane.org  for more information about San Diego Humane Society’s services.


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MARTIN LUTHER KING JR HOLIDAY EVENTS

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo: Creative Commons by ND via Bing

Jan. 11, 2022 (San Diego) -- While some Martin Luther King Jr. holiday events, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, have been cancelled---such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration at the Recreation Center--there are other options, such as the virtual  “I Have a Dream” run including 1 mile(M), 5 kilometers(K), 10K, 13.1M, and 26.2M options.

 To participate from home will save you $2. Visit:  https://www.virtualrunevents.com/product/2022-i-have-a-dream-mlk/  for complete information.

Other choices include:


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SENATORS JONES INTRODUCES SAFE ACT TO BLOCK SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS FROM BEING DUMPED IN UNSUSPECTING COMMUNITIES

East County News Service 

“The SAFE Act will bring transparency to the secretive ‘Hide the Predator’ game the Department of State Hospitals has played when releasing SVPs into communities” –Senator Brian Jones

January 11, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- State Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) and Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) have introduced the “Sexually Violent Predator Accountability, Fairness, and Enforcement Act” (SAFE Act).  The measure aims to prevent the state from continuing to try to secretly dump Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in East and North San Diego County, as well as other unsuspecting communities throughout the state.


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BODY FOUND AFTER FIRE BURNS RAMONA STRUCTURE

East County News Service

January 11, 2022 (Ramona) – The Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit is investigating a deadly fire in Ramona. 

 

The fire was reported in an accessory dwelling unit shortly before 8:30 this morning in the 2200 block of Montecito Road. 

 

“When deputies from the Ramona Sheriff's Substation arrived on the scene, they met with the reporting party who told them someone may be inside the burning structure.  Within minutes, firefighters from the Ramona CAL FIRE Station arrived and began to put out the flames,” says Sergeant Greg Hampton. 


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HUMANE SOCIETY WAIVES PET ADOPTION FEES THIS WEEK FOR BETTY WHITE CHALLENGE

East County News Service

January 11, 2022 (San Diego) -- In honor of the #BettyWhiteChallenge that has been gaining momentum on social media, San Diego Humane Society is taking a different approach on the challenge by waiving adoption fees for all adult animals through Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022.  In honor of what would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday, the organization hopes to find homes for 100 animals by Jan. 17, 2022. 


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STOP COTTONWOOD SAND MINE ORGANIZERS SAY DRAFT EIR IS “FLAWED,” FAILS TO ADDRESS MAJOR IMPACTS ON COMMUNITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Update: The Jan. 12 meeting referenced in the video has been cancelled due to COVID-19.  The Jan. 19 virtual meeting will still be held.

January 11, 2022 (Rancho San Diego) – The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Cottonwood Sand Mining project fails to address serious impacts to the community, say organizers of the Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine effort-- and they are urging the public to speak out.

“We believe the Project DEIR is a flawed document that does not adequately analyze the significant impacts of the Project to the people, wildlife, water, air, and roads of the community,” Elizabeth Urquhart stated in an email to ECM.  “The DEIR does not propose adequate mitigation or alternatives to address those impacts.”

Barry Jantz contends the project is also incompatible with the county’s general plan as well as the Valle de Oro Community Plan, thus also violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In an exclusive interview with ECM aired on KNSJ, Urquhart and Jantz, organizers of efforts to oppose the massive project, shared their concerns and urged the public to speak out at virtual public meetings or via email before the February 14 deadline for public comment.


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FIRE DESTROYS REFUGEE’S RESTAURANT, 3 OTHER BUSINESSES IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Kabul Star Restaurant, one of four businesses destroyed by the blaze

January 11, 2022 (El Cajon) – A fire destroyed four businesses in the Broadway Plaza Shopping Center in El Cajon  on January 5.  Two beauty shops, a smoke shop and an Afghan restaurant were destroyed.

A GoFundMe site has been set up to assist Karim Wafa, owner of the Kabul  Star restaurant, and his family including four young children after the fire turned their dreams into ashes.


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COUNTY REPORTS RECORD COVID CASES, URGES SAN DIEGANS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 10, 2022 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency is reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases, even when factoring in that more than a third of the results from the previous three days are due to reporting delays from last week.


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EL CAJON TO HOST FOURTH REDISTRICTING HEARING JANUARY 22 TO CONSIDER DRAFT MAPS; DEADLINE TO SUBMIT MAPS IS JANUARY 14

Source: City of El Cajon

Photo: El Cajon, CC by SA

January 10, 2022 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council is hosting its fourth Redistricting Hearing on Saturday,  January 22 at 10:30 a.m. at El Cajon Valley High School, located at 1035 East Madison Avenue, in El Cajon. Redistricting is the process of adjusting City Council voting districts, following the US Census, to ensure that each district has roughly the same number of residents.


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ROCHA TO RUN AGAINST BRIAN JONES FOR STATE SENATE, DROPS BID FOR CONGRESS DUE TO REDISTRICTING

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Combat veteran Joseph C. Rocha this week announced plans to challenge State Senator Brian Jones, a Republican in the newly redrawn District 40 which includes Rocha’s home in Escondido.


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HEAD-ON COLLISION BLOCKS DEHESA ROAD

 

Update January 11, 2021:  CHP indicates a Honda Civic crossed the double yellow lines, colliding with a Chrysler Pacific minivan.  A 74-year old San Diego woman, a passenger in the minivan, died at the scene.  The minivan’s driver, a 46-year old woman, suffered moderate injuries.  The Honda driver, a 30-year-old woman, suffered major injuries; she is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol but has not yet been charged, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Update 4 p.m.  Dehesa Road will likely be obstructed for two hours, ECM has learned. 

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2021 (El Cajon) -- A head -on collision is blocking Dehesa Road in unincorporated El Cajon in both directions, about 500 feet west of Sloan Canyon Road. 

Two patients has been transported to Sharp Memorial hospital. 

Edwin Mathery, an eyewitness who lives nearby, told ECM that one of the vehicles is a white minivan.  


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GOVERNOR ACTIVATES NATIONAL GUARD FOR COVID TESTING AS HOSPITALS FILL UP

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Governor Gavin Newsom’s office

January 8, 2022 (San Diego) – With hospitals locally and statewide overwhelmed by a surge in patients with the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom  yesterday announced he has activated the National Guard to support local communities with testing.


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