ACTIVE TUBERCULOSIS REPORTED AT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY SAN MARCOS

WINDS ROAR THROUGH EAST COUNTY MOUNTAINS

COUNTY REJECTS EL CAJON GRANT FOR HOMELESS SHELTER, BUT CITY CHAFES AT REASON

SDG&E FIREFIGHTING HELICOPTER COLLIDES WITH NAVY HELICOPTER

READER’S EDITORIAL: THE GOP AND GUNS

SWEETWATER DRAINS LOVELAND RESERVOIR TO DEAD POOL LEVEL TO SAVE ITS RATEPAYERS MONEY-- AT THE EXPENSE OF RURAL RESIDENTS, WILDLIFE, AND FIRE PROTECTION

SANTEE USES MERIT SYSTEM TO PICK CANNABIS RETAILERS

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS NOV. 25-DEC.31

6.2 QUAKE IN MEXICO RATTLES REGION

THE DEVIL’S HALF ACRE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF HOW ONE WOMAN LIBERATED THE SOUTH’S MOST NOTORIOUS SLAVE JAIL

CITY OF EL CAJON NAMED AS 2022 TOP WORKPLACE

TRUMP LAUNCHES 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN; SPECIAL PROSECUTOR NAMED TO INVESTIGATE ROLE IN JAN. 6 CAPITOL ATTACK AND CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS

News

WINDS ROAR THROUGH EAST COUNTY MOUNTAINS

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 3 p.m. with new outage information

November 24, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Gusty winds howled across East County’s mountains and rural region last night and early today, Thanksgiving morning.  Strong winds are forecast to continue through Friday.

The National Weather Service reports peak gusts as high as 89 miles per hour on Sill Hill near Descanso and 75 mph on Cuyamaca Peak in San Diego’s inland region between 10 p.m. last night and 10 a.m. today. Many other local areas had strong winds as well.

SDG&E reports outages in Campo, Dulzura, and Potrero with power restoration expected around 6 p.m. due to a foreign object hitting a power line, putting a damper on Thanksgiving cooking. In Granite Hills/Bostonia areas of El Cajon, outages have left people without power until an estimated 6 p.m. power restoration time. Two outages in the Julian, Wynola, Pine Hills and Santa Ysabel areas is due to have power restored around 5:30 p.m. Outages in East County have a 4 p.m. projected power restoration time. An earlier outage in Live Oak Springs, Boulevard and Jacumba, has been restored. Find out the latest outage info at to the SDG&E outage map.  


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COUNTY REJECTS EL CAJON GRANT FOR HOMELESS SHELTER, BUT CITY CHAFES AT REASON

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Robert Gehr: A homeless person sleeps in a tent on Main Street in downtown El Cajon.

November 24, 2022 (El Cajon) –  El Cajon’s grant application to purchase property to build a homeless shelter has been rejected by the County. According to El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell, County staff informed him that  the grant was rejected because “the City did not own the property that was being proposed for the shelter – in other words, the City did not own the property that the grant was intended to purchase.”

Mitchell, in an email sent to El Cajon’s Mayor and City Council, said he told County staff in a pre-grant question and answer session that the city intended to apply for a grant to buy land for a shelter.  “The response was that the city should still apply and explain how the site will be obtained,” he wrote.  “During their follow-p questions of the City’s grant application, they asked for an update and we indicated that an appraisal was on its way and that the formal offer was about to be made.”

The application was made through the County’s Capital Emergency Housing Solutions Grant Program, for which Supervisor Joel Anderson had urged East County cities including El Cajon to apply.


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SDG&E FIREFIGHTING HELICOPTER COLLIDES WITH NAVY HELICOPTER

 

East County News Service

November 24, 2022 (San Diego) – Pilots safely landed two helicopters that collided near San Diego’s Brown Field Tuesday shortly after 6 p.m. 

A  UH-60A Firehawk contracted by SDG&E for year-round firefighting in our region collided in midair with a U.S.  Navy MH-60R Seahawk with three crewmembers aboard.

Despite the damage, crews and their families have much to be thankful for. "Both aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries to personnel," said ENS. Bryan Blair, Assistant Public Affairs Officer for Commander, Naval Air Forces, NBC 7 reports.


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ATTORNEY GENERAL BONTA SHARES TIPS TO HELP CONSUMERS AVOID SCAMS AND FRAUD WHILE SHOPPING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Source:  California Department of Justice

November 23, 2022 (Oakland) - California Attorney General Rob Bonta today provided consumers with tips on how to shop safely this holiday season. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approach, Californians can take action to help protect themselves from scams, fraud, and other consumer-related issues. 


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SWEETWATER DRAINS LOVELAND RESERVOIR TO DEAD POOL LEVEL TO SAVE ITS RATEPAYERS MONEY-- AT THE EXPENSE OF RURAL RESIDENTS, WILDLIFE, AND FIRE PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo  left:  water drains from Loveland Reservoir in Alpine to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay;

Photo, right: bare mudflat at Loveland, once  400 surface acres, now doomed to be dropped to just 10.

November 23, 2022 (Alpine) – Without any regard to impacts on wildlife, fire danger, rural residents or recreational users at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine in San Diego's East County, the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) on November 16 began draining down the lake with an intent to reduce it to “dead pool” level – less than one-half of one percent of the reservoir’s capacity, once draining is completed over the next couple of weeks or so.

The water is being piped to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay Mesa. From there, it will be used to provide drinking water and other water needs to residents in the South Bay communities of Chula Vista, National City and Bonita.

But critics say  the action is destroying habitat for wildlife, perhaps forever, also eliminating fishing at the area's only reservoir with free fishing access, and threatening firefighters' ability to combat fast-moving wildfires .  Critics also contend that draining the reservoir so low is unnecssary at current drought levels. Yet the people most negatively impacted have no representation on the SWA board, which doesn't include East County.

Audio: 


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SANTEE USES MERIT SYSTEM TO PICK CANNABIS RETAILERS

By Mike Allen

Photo: CC by ND via Bing

November 22, 2022 (Santee) -- Santee may be late to the party that other city governments have joined, allowing the sale of cannabis, yet it’s in no hurry to figure out how it will be permitted and managed.


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LAKE MURRAY CHEVRON SLASHES GAS PRICES NOV. 22-24 TO HELP STRUGGLING FAMILIES THIS THANKSGIVING SEASON

East County News Service

November 22, 2022 (La Mesa) - It is no secret that inflation has hit energy prices particularly hard, and thousands of San Diego families are struggling to put both gas in their cars and food on the table. In recognizing this issue and the need for action, Lake Murray Chevron Owner David Hallak announced that for a limited time only, he is slashing gas prices for a 3-day period to help San Diego families ease the burden of out-of-control fuel costs this holiday season.  


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6.2 QUAKE IN MEXICO RATTLES REGION

East County News Service

November 22, 2022 (San Diego) – A 6.2 earthquake struck in Baja California, Mexico around 8:39 a.m.  The quake was centered in the Pacific Ocean about 18 miles southwest of Las Brisas, 138 miles southwest of Mexicali, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.


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NINE DAYS LEFT TO FILE FOR COUNTY REFUND; ARE YOU OWED MONEY?

$1,056,186 in potential refunds available- Deadline to file claim is November 30, 2022

 

November 21, 2022 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister is reminding San Diegans that there are only nine days left to file a claim if you are owed a refund from the County.

“The holidays are quickly approaching, and every little bit helps, so we’re encouraging everyone to go to our website to find out if they are owed a refund,” said McAllister. “We’re doing all we can to reunite $1,056,186.10 in county refunds with its rightful owners.” See if your name is on the list at sdttc.com


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UNIDENTIFIED MAN STRUCK BY VEHICLE IN RAMONA AND SERIOUSLY INJURED

East County News Service

File photo

November 21, 2022 (Ramona) – An unidentified male pedestrian was struck by a 2020 Nissan Sentra at 1:19 a.m. in Ramona, suffering major injuries.

A 24-year-old man was driving the Nissan north on State Route 67, just south of Rancho De Oro Drive when the pedestrian was walking westbound across traffic lanes on the highway, according to Officer Jared Grieshaber with the California Highway Patrol.


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MOTORCYCLIST, 60, INJURED IN SPRING VALLEY CRASH

East County News Service

 

November 21, 2022 (Spring Valley) – A 60-year-old man from National City suffered serious injuries early this morning in a motorcycle crash in Spring Valley.


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TRUMP LAUNCHES 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN; SPECIAL PROSECUTOR NAMED TO INVESTIGATE ROLE IN JAN. 6 CAPITOL ATTACK AND CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  CC by Gage Skidmore; file image at Arizona rally

 

November 21, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – Twice impeached and under investigation for serious federal and state crimes, former president Donald Trump announced on Nov. 15 that he plans to run for president again in 2024.  The announcement, made at Trump’s Mar al Lago estate in Florida, came just days after most Trump-backed candidates suffered defeats in elections for Congress, Governor and other key positions across the nation.

Meanwhile in Washington D.C., Trump’s reelection announcement prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special independent prosecutor to complete federal criminal investigations into Trump’s incitement of violence in the January 6, 2021 capitol insurrection, his refusal to take action to halt it, his removal of numerous classified documents from the White House, and other potentially serious federal crimes.  The appointment of Smith as independent prosecutor aims to eliminate the appearance of partisan politics from any future indictment or exoneration of Trump.

The federal prosecutor, Jack Smith, is a former federal prosecutor who has most recently been working to prosecute international war criminals at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. He formerly served as head of the Dept. of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit, which prosecutes public corruption cases such as bribery and election tampering.


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UTILITY CUSTOMERS URGED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REBATES OF UP TO $500 FOR ENERGY-EFFICIENT PRODUCTS & APPLIANCES

Source:  SDG&E

November 21, 2022 (San Diego) - San Diego Gas & Electric customers looking to save money are encouraged to take advantage of a new statewide program offering rebates of $20 - $500 for energy-efficient water heaters, room air conditioners and smart thermostats.


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MEDIA REPORT: ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL’S GRANDSON IS MASS SHOOTING SUSPECT AT COLORADO GAY NIGHTCLUB

Voepel drew calls for ouster after he likened the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack to Revolutionary War battles “firing first shots against tyranny.”

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Assemblyman Randy Voepel, via his social media

 

Updated Nov. 21 with details on charges filed against suspect

 

November 20, 2022 (Santee) – The mass shooting suspect accused of killing five people and wounding at least 25 more at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs last night is the grandson of local Assemblyman Randy Voepel, former Santee Mayor, the independent media outlet Heavy.com reports

 

Voepel lost his reelection bid to Assemblymember Marie Waldron, a fellow Republican whom he squared off against due to redistricting. ECM has reached out to a Voepel staffer seeking comments but has not yet received a response.

 

The suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, is the son of Laura Voepel, 44, a support engineer from California who has worked as a support engineer in Colorado Springs for the past several years.  On Facebook, she praised her father in April 2020, stating, “Keep up the work, Dad – You work hard to improve our lives and a lot of us take notice…California State Assemblymember representing the 71st District in San Diego & Riverside Counties. Husband. Grandfather. Veteran.” 

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MAN, 26, KILLED BY TRUCK ON I-8 IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2022 (La Mesa) – California Highway Patrol seeks witnesses to a fatality accident that occurred yesterday at 10:50 a.m. on Interstate 8 near Severin Drive in La Mesa. 


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COUNTY AND CITY LEADERS SPEAK OUT AT EL CAJON FORUM ON HOMELESSNESS

View video of forum: (note: forum ran longer than anticipated, so some questions at end were not recorded.)

By Christianne McCormick

November 17, 2022 (El Cajon) -- A highly anticipated forum on homelessness in El Cajon was held on October 22 at Grossmont College with city and county leaders. The panel, convened by Supervisor Joel Anderson, also included El Cajon Councilmembers Steve Goble and Phil Ortiz, City Manager Graham Mitchell and Police Chief Michael Moulton. All weighed in on the public’s concern about the growing issue throughout East County and especially in the city of El Cajon.  


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MAN MISSING IN JACUMBA NEAR IN-KO-PAH: LAST SEEN WEDNESDAY

Source: San Diego Sheriff

November 17, 2022 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit has been activated to find a missing man in Jacumba in the East County.


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REPUBLICANS WIN HOUSE, DEMOCRATS KEEP CONTROL OF SENATE, BOTH BY SLIM MARGINS

By Miriam Raftery

November 17, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – Historically, the party that holds the presidency loses substantial seats in Congress during midterm elections – often dozens in the House alone. But the red wave forecast by political pundits failed to appear.


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FIRE IN SPRING VALLEY NEAR STEELE CANYON

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

Update: The fire burned approximately 10 acres, including an abandoned home on McGinty Peak.

November 16, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Cal Fire has responded to the #Willow9Fire, a vegetation blaze that has burned 4-5 acres southeast of Steele Canyon Road and WIllow Glen Road in Spring Valley. 

The fire is in the vicinity of Steele Canyon High and Jamacha Elementary Schools. It began around 7:25 p.m.

It is burning at a moderate rate of spread. Humidity is very low and peak gusts are around 20 miles per hour.

There appears to be a structure threat. Incident commander has requested a Type 1 structure strike team and additional engines. A night-flying helicopter is also requested.

Kathleen Hedberg provided this image of McGinty Peak.


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PASSAGES: CHUCK MUSE, 89, FORMER HELIX WATER BOARD PRESIDENT

East County News Service

November 16, 2022 (La Mesa) – Charles William “Chuck” Muse, long-serving member and past president of the Helix Water District, died November 10.

 

"We at Helix Water District are saddened by the news of Chuck Muse’s passing," said Kathleen Coates Hedberg, current president of Helix Water District’s board of directors. "He served on the Helix Board from 2004-2016 and represented the communities of Lemon Grove and La Mesa. He was active in the community on many boards. We are grateful for his service and he will be missed."


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DILLARD TAKES LEAD IN LA MESA CITY COUNCIL RACE; LOTHIAN AND AFSHAN ARE CLOSE BEHIND IN TIGHT BATTLE FOR TWO SEATS

Update November 16, 2022 – This race has tightened further, with the top three candidates in a near dead heat for the two Council seats.  Only 49 votes separate Dillard, who is in the lead, from Lothian in second, while just 31 votes separate Lothian from Afshan, who is currently in third. Countywide, 80,000 votes remain to be tallied, though the Registrar has not disclosed how many are in La  Mesa.

If Lothian squeaks out a win and Afshan fails to win a seat, it will likely be due in part to Brand, a Democrat who withdrew from the race too late to remove her name from the ballot, likely drawing votes away from fellow Democrats Afshan and Dillard, the party-endorsed candidates. Lothian was endorsed by Republicans. Though the race is officially nonpartisan, both parties sent mailers urging voters to party-backed candidates.

 

November 15, 2022 (La Mesa) – The latest election returns from the County Registrar of Voters show that Patricia Dillard has taken the lead over Councilmember Laura Lothian, with Mejgan Afshan a close third.  The top two vote-getters will win the seats.


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SAN DIEGO MEDICAL INVESTIGATOR AWARDED PANDEMIC CIVILIAN SERVICE MEDAL

By Chuck Westerheide, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 15, 2022 (San Diego) - During a major disaster, a county, city or state medical system may become overwhelmed with patients or, unfortunately, casualties of the disaster. The national government trains and sends out special teams such as the National Disaster Medical System Mortuary Operational Response Team, to assist in areas where their skills are needed.


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REP. ISSA AND COLLEAGUES DEMAND OVERSIGHT HEARINGS ON IRANIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

East County News Service

Photo: CC by NC via Bing

November 14, 2022 (San Diego) -- Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) today released the following statement along with 10 committee membersafter calling on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to immediately hold a hearing on the human rights abuses occurring in Iran.


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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP HOLDS VIRTUAL MEETING TONIGHT TO VOTE ON PROPOSED HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER

By Miriam Raftery

November 14, 2022 (Jamul) – The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group will hold a special virtual meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The group will her a presentation by a subcommittee and vote on the proposed Jamul Casino Hotel and Event Center expansion project, which includes a 16-story hotel, new event center, multi-purpose/bingo hall and 6-story parking structure, and related infrastructure.

The vote is advisory in regards to the tribe’s environmental impact report; the project is on tribal land so the County has only limited jurisdiction.  The Jamul Indian VIllage tribe plans to begin construction in December.

To join the Virtual Meeting via the web, use the following link:


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STRONG SANTA ANA WINDS AND DRY CONDITIONS THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service is forecasting strong Santa Ana winds Tuesday night through Wednesday in San Diego County’s mountains and deserts, along with dry conditions and below average temperatures.

Strong winds will produce difficult driving conditions for high profile vehicles. Loose or unsecured objects may be blown away. On Wednesday, peak gusts of 40-60 miles per hour are forecast, with isolated gusts up to 70 mph in windy passes and canyons.


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BODY FOUND IN LA MESA IDENTIFIED AS EL CAJON TEEN MISSING SINCE FEBRUARY: REWARD OFFERED FOR INFORMATION

East County News Service

November 13, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego County Medical Examiner has identified a body found on March 13 in La Mesa  as that of Cassidy Hopwood, according to El Cajon Police.  Hopwood, an El Cajon resident, was reported missing in February.

Both La Mesa and El Cajon Police have listed Hopwood’s age as 17. However, on Facebook, the RAD movement, an organization that helps families locate missing teens, states that she was 16 when she went missing and when she was found dead.

The group also leveled criticism at police handling of the case.


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STORM RUNOFF BRINGS HAZARDS TO LOCAL BEACHES

East County News Service

Photo: CC via Bing

 

November 12, 2022 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and Quality (DEHQ) is warning of risks at all beaches from the Mexican border north to Carlsbad due to urban runoff from rainfall, which can cause bacteria levels to rise in ocean and bay waters. Swimming, surfing, diving and other water contact should be avoided for 72 hours after the storm.

 

Hard closures are in effect for some beaches, while advisories are in effect for others. See details below.


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BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES FREE ADMISSION TO NATIONAL PARKS FOR VETERANS, GOLD STAR FAMILIES AND MILITARY MEMBERS

East County News Service

November 11, 2022 (San Diego) - Starting this Veterans’ Day, members of the U.S. military, veterans and Gold Star Families can be admitted free to all national parks.

A free lifetime Military Pass is available for Gold Star Families and US military veterans. A free annual Military Pass is available for current US military members and their dependents. The passes provide free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests.

National Park Service Director Chuck Sams says, "This is a small token of appreciation for veterans who have bravely dedicated their lives to defending our freedom.”


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VOTERS PASSING CANNABIS TAX FOR UNINCORPORATED AREAS

By Miriam Raftery

November 10, 2022 (San Diego) – Measure A, which would impose a tax on all cannabis businesses in San Diego County’s unincorporated areas, is passing by a healthy margin. Funds raised would go into the county’s general fund to be used for health care, fire safety, parks, infrastructure and more, as well as to shut down illegal marijuana operations.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY GRAND JURY LOOKING FOR NEW APPLICANTS

Application period is open through January 20, 2023

Source:  Superior Court of San Diego

November 10, 2022 (San Diego) - The San Diego Superior Court is now seeking dedicated residents with sound judgment from throughout the county to serve on the 2023/2024 San Diego County Grand Jury. The Grand Jury investigates citizen complaints and performs its traditional function as a “watchdog” over government agencies. It does not conduct criminal investigations.


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