TRUMP’S TAX RECORDS SHOW PRESIDENT MIRED IN DEBT, BEHOLDEN TO FOREIGN INTERESTS AND AVOIDED PAYING TAXES FOR YEARS DUE TO BUSINESS LOSSES

LA MESA POLICE RELEASE NUMEROUS PHOTOS OF SUSPECTS WHO LOOTED PIERRE’S JEWELERS ON MAY 30-31

FIVE CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD

LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: PART TWO

ECM TO HOST EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUMS

FAST-MOVING FIRES THREATEN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMUNITIES

RED FLAG WARNNG: HIGH FIRE DANGER TODAY

CREST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S NEW OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROGRAM SHINES IN THE ERA OF COVID

SDG&E NOTIFIES APPROXIMATELY 700 BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO PREPARE FOR POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS DUE TO SANTA ANA WINDS AND FIRE WEATHER WATCH

VIEW VIDEO OF OUR SUPERVISORS CANDIDATE FORUM

FIRM INVESTIGATING LA MESA CIVIL UNREST HOSTS COMMUNITY LISTENING SESSION OCT. 6

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: DINNG AL FRESCO AT GIARDINO’S IN LEMON GROVE

News

TRUMP’S TAX RECORDS SHOW PRESIDENT MIRED IN DEBT, BEHOLDEN TO FOREIGN INTERESTS AND AVOIDED PAYING TAXES FOR YEARS DUE TO BUSINESS LOSSES

By Miriam Raftery

September 29, 2020  (New York) – The New York Times has published an explosive exposé on President Donald Trump’s finances after obtaining 15 years of tax records through 2017, which he refused to make public.  Among the top revelations:


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LA MESA POLICE RELEASE NUMEROUS PHOTOS OF SUSPECTS WHO LOOTED PIERRE’S JEWELERS ON MAY 30-31

25 arrests made so far, including 4 La Mesa residents
 
East County News Service
 
September 29, 2020 (La Mesa) -- As a result of the civil unrest event that occurred in La Mesa on May 30th – May 31st, 2020, over 50 crimes, including arson, vandalism, burglary, and theft, were reported by victims and documented by the La Mesa Police Department. Although the exact amount of damage is still being calculated, it can be reported that these crimes resulted in millions of dollars of losses to victims in the local area.

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LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: PART TWO

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo, left to right:  Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson.

September 29, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters in Lemon Grove will fill two full-term seats on the school board from a slate of three candidates. (In a previous story, we reported on the two candidates for the short-term seat.) The three candidates for the full-term seat are Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson. 

In spite of being one of San Diego’s smallest school districts with 4,000 students in grades preschool though middle school, Lemon Grove is a microcosm of what’s happening in schools and homes during the pandemic. Children are trying to study at home with parents instead of qualified teachers, joblessness has taken its toll, and the fight for racial injustice has taken to the streets.

Read on to learn what these three candidates say from the town that claims to have the “best climate on earth” and has a history of combating racial injustice in education. 


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FIVE CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD

Part 1 in a 2-part series

By Robin N. Kendall

September 20, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters have many choices this year to fill three open seats on the five-person Lemon Grove School Board. In November of last year, the district was faced with a vacancy when former school board member Katie Dexter resigned. April Leon was appointed to fill the seat until this election, when voters could choose who would serve the remaining two years. Now Leon, the appointed incumbent, is seeking to be elected. Greg Shibley is running against her.

East County Magazine emailed a set of questions to each of the candidates for school board. Below are the responses from April Leon and Greg Shibley, candidates for the short-term seat. In the next story, part 2, we report on the candidates for the full-term seat.


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ECM TO HOST EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUMS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, top row:  District 2 candidates Humbert Cabrera, Stephanie Harper, Juan Carlos "Charlie" Mercado, Michelle Metschel and Martin Van Dinteren

Second row: District 4 candidates Estela de los Rios, Phil Ortiz, and Dunia Shaba

 

September 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - East County Magazine will host two forums for El Cajon City Council candidates:

District Four:  Monday Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

District Two: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.

The forums will be on Zoom and livestreamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine.  Video will also be posted later on our website for those unable to watch live.  

 

The public can send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org up until noon the day of the forum.

 

Ten candidates are on the ballot in the highly competitive District 2 and 4 races.  (In District 3, Councilman Steve Goble is running unopposed.)

All candidates in District 2 and 4 have been invited. Eight have agreed to participate. In District Two, participants will include Humbert Cabrera, Stephanie Harper, Juan Carlos Mercado, Michelle Metschel and Martin Van Dinteren.  In District Four, participants confirmed are Estela De Los Rios, Councilman Phil Ortiz, and Dania Shaba. The fouth candidate, Billy Thigpen, advised ECM that he is suspending his candicacy and endorsing De Los Rios.

Below is information on all candidates running in Districts 2 and 4. Click each name to view the statement of qualifications submitted to the city of El Cajon.


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FAST-MOVING FIRES THREATEN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMUNITIES

Source: Cal Fire

Photo: Zogg Fire, Shasta County Sheriff

September 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- Critical fire weather continues to fan multiple fast-moving major wildfires, as Red Flag Warnings remain in place over much of Northern California. Today, there are 27 major wildfires with over 18,000 firefighters on the front lines. During the windy conditions experienced yesterday, the Glass Fire in Napa County erupted, as well as the Zogg Fire in Shasta County, both growing rapidly and forcing evacuations.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 8,100 wildfires that have burned well over 3.7 million acres in California. Since August 15, when California’s fire activity elevated, there have been 26 fatalities and over 7,000 structures destroyed.


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RED FLAG WARNNG: HIGH FIRE DANGER TODAY

 

Source: San Diego County Office of Emergency Services

September 28, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 9/28 for the inland valleys and mountains of San Diego County. The Red Flag Warning has been issued due to strong gusty winds and low humidity.

Areas will see winds from 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Higher gusts are possible in the windiest locations. More forecast information and updates are available from the National Weather Service.

Any fires that develop may spread rapidly with extreme fire behavior, threatening life and property. Be prepared to evacuate if needed, the County warns in an alert to all area residents.


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SDG&E NOTIFIES APPROXIMATELY 700 BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO PREPARE FOR POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS DUE TO SANTA ANA WINDS AND FIRE WEATHER WATCH

September 27, 2020 (San Diego) – Due to elevated fire weather conditions and forecasted Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has notified certain backcountry residents that it may have to turn off power in order to reduce wildfire risk in the coming days. Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) are approved by state regulators as an important safety tool to mitigate fire risk during dangerous weather conditions.

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for Monday for inland San Diego County mountains and foothills. Weak to moderate strength Santa Ana winds are expected to arrive today, peak Monday morning in strength and become weak to moderate by the end of the day. In preparation, SDG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center to monitor conditions 24/7 and has organized personnel and pre-staged materials and equipment for response.


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VIEW VIDEO OF OUR SUPERVISORS CANDIDATE FORUM

 

September 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On September 21, East County Magazine hosted a candidate forum for San Diego County's District 2 Supervisor race. Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and former State Senator Joel Anderson shared their views on hot issues including COVID-19, housing, homelessness, racial justice/public safety, wildfire preparedness and more.

Video is now posted. You can view the fll forum video by clicking the image at left, or click here: https://youtu.be/o4KtvVquSV4

The forum, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was moderated by ECM editor Miriam Raftery and supported by a Facebook Journalism Project grant. Scroll down for details on the candidates. 


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FIRM INVESTIGATING LA MESA CIVIL UNREST HOSTS COMMUNITY LISTENING SESSION OCT. 6

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 27, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa residents are invited to participate in community listening session on Tuesday, October 6 at 7 p.m.  Hillard Heintze, the firm hired to conduct an independent investigation into the civil unrest and rioting that occurred on May 30 wants to hear your feedback and recommendations.

The meeting will be held online via Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. Click here to register. If you have any questions, email Robert Boehmer at robert.boehmer@hillardheintze.com.


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RACIST HATE GRAFFITI DEFACES CHALDEAN AND SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN EL CAJON

A Catholic church nearby was also targeted with graffiti early Saturday

By Miriam Raftery

September 27, 2020 (El Cajon) – Yesterday, St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Diocese in El Cajon posted this message, along with disturbing video:  “This morning our beloved Cathedral was defaced with pentagrams, upside down crosses, white power, swastikas, BLM, etc. It reminds us to pray for my brethren in Iraq that are facing persecution. Pray for the criminals who did this.”

The odd combination of hate symbols fueled speculation over who was responsible.  Some community members theorized that a group might have sought to discredit another group, since it seemed unlikely that a support of Black Lives Matter or Joe Biden would spray paint racist symbols such as swastikas and the words “white power,” nor would a neo-Nazi or white supremacist want to promote BLM or Biden.  The pentagram, a symbol associated with satanic cults, is not affiliated with either either the far right nor leftist groups named.


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CAR THIEF SUSPECT ARRESTED IN JULIAN AFTER HIGH-SPEED CHASE AND FOOT PURSUIT

Residents praise “heroic” actions of Deputy Jared Anderson

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2020 (Julian) – Ernest Bartocci, 45, was arrested last night after leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase followed by a foot pursuit through a residential area of Julian, where “assistance from residents played an essential role in locating Bartocci,” says Sergeant William Uelen with the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

Bartocci is accused of stealing a Honda Pilot in Borrego Springs near Palm Canyon Drive and Christmas Circle around 4:45 p.m.. A be-on-the-lookout alert was sent out to local law enforcement units.


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SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR SERIES OF ARMED ROBBERIES IN EL CAJON ARE TIED TO OTHER CRIMES

By Miriam  Raftery
 
September 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – Three suspects are in custody for allegedly robbing people at gunpoint at bank ATMs and at a self-serve car wash in El Cajon. They are suspected of other robberies across the San Diego region.
 
All three crimes occurred on September 18 between 2 and 2:30 a.m. and were reported by the victims, who called 911.
 
El Cajon Police robbery detectives investigated, working with detectives from the San Diego Sheriff’s Office, San Diego Police Department, National City Police Department, and The Chula Vista Police Department.  
 
Detectives identified the suspect and learned he had not acted alone. Two additional suspects were identified.  Detectives also discovered the suspects had committed at least eight robberies in San Diego County in the last week, says Lt. K MacArthur with El Cajon Police.

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EL CAJON HOSTS COMMUNITY MEETING TO PLAN FOR HOUSING, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND SAFETY IN GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT

By Miriam Raftery

September 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – The city of El Cajon is embarking on updates to the Housing and Safety Elements of the General Plan and developing a new Environmental Justice Element. Residents are invited to join in a virtual community meeting on September 29 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss housing needs and the future of housing and community issues.


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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES FANITA RANCH BEFORE VOTERS CAN WEIGH IN ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
September 24, 2020 (Sante) -- By a 4-1 majority, the Santee City Council approved the controversial Fanita Ranch development that will add nearly 3,000 homes and about 8,000 residents to a city that has been fighting over the project for most of its 40-year history.

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WOMAN ARRESTED FOR STABBING FATHER IN LAKESIDE

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2020 (Lakeside) – Hannah Wogatzke is under arrest for the suspected stabbing of her father, who is hospitalized in critical but stable condition.


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COVID-19 COULD ACTIVATE LATENT TUBERCULOSIS

Up to 13 million people may have latent TB in the U.S, which could be activated by COVID-19. It worries an SDSU researcher and TB expert.

By Padma Nagappan, SDSU News Center

September 24, 2020 (San Diego) - For most of us in the United States, our only awareness of tuberculosis (TB) may be the skin patch test required to work or volunteer in schools or health care facilities. But that could change during the pandemic.


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COUNTY SUPERVISORS WITHDRAW HOMELESS PROJECT IN LA MESA AFTER CITY’S CONCERNS OVER LACK OF TRANSPARENCY, BACKDOOR DEALINGS

By Miriam Raftery and Briana Gomez

September 24, 2020 (La Mesa) – By a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors voted to withdraw its application for state grant funding to convert the Holiday Inn motel on Parkway Drive in La Mesa into a Homekey transitional living and long-term supportive housing facility for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.


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SPRING VALLEY WOMAN KILLED IN CRASH

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 23, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A 52-year-old Spring Valley woman died at the scene of a crash that occurred at 6:50 this morning on Paradise Valley Road, east of Worthington Street in Spring Valley.  She was a passenger who “appears to have been lying in the back seat” without a seatbelt when the accident occurred.


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COUNTY REMAINS IN RED TIER, AVOIDS NEW SHUTDOWNS FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer

September 23, 2020 (San Diego) – The state announced yesterday that San Diego County will remain in tier two, the red tier, after narrowly keeping COVID-19 cases just below the threshold that would have shifted our region into the more restrictive tier one, or purple tier. That means that recently reopened businesses won’t have to shut down again or reduce current capacity for at least two weeks and schools retain the option to provide in-classroom learning.

Even though the state rejected the county’s argument to exclude San Diego State University’s outbreak cases from the county’s total, the region remained under 7 cases per 100,000 – but just barely, at 6.9 per 100,000 for the assessment period ending Sept. 12.

The state uses two metrics, case rates and testing positivity rates, to determine which tier to assign. On positivity rates, the county is doing much better at 3.8%, well below the 4.9% that would qualify for the even less restrictive orange tier. But both metrics would have to be met. 

To drop down into the orange tier, which would allow many businesses to increase capacity, the county would have to keep its positivity rate down and show a reduction in its case rase below the required threshholds for at least two weeks. Due to a lag time in assessments, the soonest that could occur would be three weeks from now.


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ECM TO HOST SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES FORUM MONDAY, SEPT. 21 ON ZOOM; SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With Supervisor Dianne Jacob retiring due to term limits after 25 years, the race to fill her seat is one of the most important elections in years for voters in the 2nd district including East County. Two candidates, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and former State Senator Joel Anderson are in the November runoff.  


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U.S SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, 'ADVOCATE FOR EQUALITY AND REASON,' DEAD AT 87

On her deathbed, she told her granddaughter: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Photo credit:  Supreme Court

September 20, 2020 (San Diego) - Sparking a swift flood of condolences along with fear for what the future holds, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in her home Friday evening, surrounded by family, due to "complications of metastatic pancreas cancer" at the age of 87.


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A SMALL TOWN’S HISTORIC LANDSCAPE: HISTORY OF THE THREE BUILDINGS LOST ON MAY 30TH REVEALS LA MESA’S INTERTWINED COMMERCIAL PAST

The following article on the buildings that burned during civil unrest in La Mesa appeared in the Fall Issue of Lookout Avenue, newsletter of the La Mesa Historical Society.  It is reprinted here with permission.  To learn more about the Greater La Mesa area’s history, visit lamesahistory.com or their Facebook site.

By James D. Newland, La Mesa Historical Society

 

Photo, above: First National Trust/Piggly Wiggly Building (1942), 4767 Palm Avenue, Edmund Dunn, master builder. Randall Lamb Engineering, rehab designers. May 2020.

 

September 20, 2020 (La Mesa) - Almost immediately after the tragic destruction of three recognizable commercial buildings on the evening of May 30th-31st, the Society and myself began to receive requests for information on the history of the three iconic architectural staples of downtown La Mesa’s historic landscape.  Upon gathering the stories of each of these prominent, long-standing commercial buildings it became clear that they had unrecognized historical connections to each other, as well as with other buildings and sites within downtown’s contextual history.

Photo, right: Imperial Savings/Chase Bank (1973), Richard George Wheeler, architect. 4791 Spring Street, May 2020.

For more recent La Mesa residents the presence of these three commercial buildings, the First National Bank/Piggly Wiggly Market (1942) at 4757 Palm, the Imperial Savings/Chase Bank (1973) at 4791 Spring, and the Southern California First National/Union Bank (1974) at 4771 Spring may have had little personal connection.  Unless you were a customer of the two banks or a client to the Randall Lamb engineering firm that had masterfully rehabilitated that Palm Avenue building, you may not have ever gone inside any of them.

Photo, below: Southern California First National/Union Bank (1974), 4771 Spring Street, Russell Forster, architect. May 2020.


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FANITA RANCH VOTE, HELP FOR HOMELESS TOP AGENDAS IN SANTEE AND LA MESA THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Will Santee Councilmembers keep campaign promises made to voters when the controversial Fanita Ranch development comes up for a vote this week?  

What actions will La Mesa’s City Council take to address housing and homelessness?

These are the hottest issues on agendas in East County this week. Scroll down for details


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TWO INJURED IN FLETCHER HILLS HOUSE FIRE

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 19, 2020 (El Cajon) – An elderly man found with mild injuries in the backyard of a burning early this morning has been transported to a hospital, as well as a second person who suffered smoke inhalation. 

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BOOK IT! COUNTY LIBRARIES REOPEN FOR LIMITED IN-PERSON SERVICE

East County News Service

September 19, 2020 (San Diego) – After months of closure due to COVID-19, San Diego County has reopened in-person service at all 33 branches, on a limited basis. In addition, walk-up door-side services are also available. 

Below are full details.


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FIREFIGHTER AMONG 26 KILLED IN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Richard Edwords, El Dorado Fire

September 18, 2020 (San Bernadino) – At least 26 people have lost their lives in 27 wildfires burning statewide, including a firefighter killed yesterday battling the El Dorado Fire in San Bernadino National Forest, the Natoinal Forest Service reports. The firefighter's name has not yet been released. That 21,000 acre blaze was started by a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party; the responsible parties could be held accountable for millions of dollars in property damage and now, a death.

The fires scorching California and other western states are so massive that smoke has drifted across the U.S. and is visible as far away as New York the BBC news reports.  More than 3 million acres have burned, far surpassing all prior recorded fires in California.


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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

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

File photo: cart at a homeless camp in Spring Valley

Updated with information on additional actions La Mesa has taken in the past week and will consider this week to help its homeless residents.

View background report provided to council members

September 17, 2020 (La Mesa) – The state and county want to convert a Holiday Inn in La Mesa to provide 139 units of transitional housing for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless due to COVID-19.  Supervisors initially approved an application to the state for the “Homekey” project on Sept. 15 with no prior notification to the city of La Mesa, residents or businesses nearby. 


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ATTORNEY GENERAL: TRUMP SENT FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT CALIFORNIA MAIL-IN BALLOTS TO VOTERS

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 17, 2020 (Sacramento) – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warns that voters in California have been sent a mailer by the Trump administration stating that mail-in ballots must “be requested” and that voters must “add postage to the return envelope if needed.” Both statements are false.
 
“Both statements could lead to voter confusion. In California, mail-in ballots will be sent automatically to registered voters starting October 5th — and postage is not needed to return your ballot in our state,” Attorney General Becerra says.

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STATE REJECTS COUNTY REQUEST TO EXCLUDE SDSU COVID CASES THAT COULD TRIGGER NEW RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 17, 2020 (San Diego) – An outbreak of COVID-19 threatens to push San Diego County from the state’s red to the purple tier, a shift that could force temporary closure again of indoor operations at businesses including restaurants, worship services and gyms, also reducing capacity of retail stores to 25%.

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