Green Scene

GROWING TOGETHER: SDG&E SPONSORS TREE PLANTING EVENT AT JULIAN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

East County News Service
 
March 1, 2024 (San Diego) – Eager to roll up their sleeves and dig for a greener future, students from the Julian Union School District (JUSD) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) partnered for a tree-planting event on Feb. 29. The occasion brought together local volunteers from the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Wild Ones San Diego, Julian Pathways, students, teachers and SDG&E employees with a common purpose: to support local biodiversity and help reduce the risk of wildfires in the community they cherish.

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COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON LOVELAND TRAILS MARCH 14 IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

February 28, 2024 (Alpine) -- A community workshop on trail improvements at Loveland Reservoir will be held on Thursday, March 14 at the Alpine Women’s Club (2156 Alpine Blvd) in Alpine from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

State Senator Brian Jones convened the workshop along with the Sweetwater Water Authority to hear from residents concerned about trail erosion and limited public access due to erosion caused by severe winter storms in January of last year.  


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WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS TODAY; JPA TO TAKEOVER OPERATIONS

Tomatomania event restored, will take place March 8-9

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left by Andy Franks:  Lauren Magnuson and Tim  Townsley are all smiles at entry of reopened Water Conservation Garden.

February 27, 2024 (Rancho San Diego, CA) – The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College reopened to the public today, after the Garden’s  Joint Powers Authority agreed to takeover operations from the financially struggling nonprofit group, Friends of the Water Conservation Garden. Following a brief closure,  Interim Executive Director Lauren Magnuson announced that she is “thrilled” that the Garden will be  “in bloom again.”

Hours will be limited initially to Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m.to 2 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.to 4 p.m.  Education programs such as  Ms. Smarty Plants are temporarily paused until the operational transition is completed. 

The popular “Tomatomania” event has been restored and will be held as originally scheduled March 8-9.


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DOG PARK OPENS IN ALLIED GARDENS

East County News Service

 

Photo: New Allied Gardens Off-Leash Dog Park; screen shot, @AGGCcouncil via Facebook 

February 19, 2024 (Allied Gardens) – A new dog park opened last weekend in San Diego’s Allied Gardens neighborhood for pet owners to bring their dogs to frolic off-leash. The new park, next to the Allied Gardens Pool at 6707 Glenroy Street in San Diego, is larger than most other local dog parks.


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WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN CLOSES AMID RESTRUCTURING

Will the Grossmont-Cuymaca Community College District or the Water Conservation Garden Joint Powers Authority step in to operate the Garden?

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2024 (Rancho San Diego) – The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, a treasured community destination, has closed temporarily amid efforts to reorganize under new leadership.

“As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, we will be undergoing major structural changes,” interim executive director Lauren Magnuson announced in an email sent to media and supporters of the Garden. “A reopening date will be announced in the future...The Garden is committed to reopening and continuing its mission to educate and inspire the community to promote water conservation,” she concluded, adding, “We look forward to welcoming you back soon with a renewed and thriving Water Conservation Garden experience!”

The temporary closure announcement follows months of financial concerns stemming primarily from large loans taken out by the Garden’s former director, Jennifer Pillsbury, during and after COVID.


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EARTH DAY 2024 FAIR IN LA MESA

By Jonathan Goetz
 
February 16, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa is inviting residents, visitors, sponsors and vendors to join its family-friendly Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at MacArthur Park, 4900 Memorial Drive, La Mesa CA 91942. The festival is a celebration of the city’s commitment to environmental stewardship and a showcase of local businesses that offer eco-friendly products and services.


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MOUNTAIN LION HIT BY CAR RECOVERS AT SAN DIEGO HUMANE SOCIETY

Source: San Diego Humane Society

Cub found on roadside in Simi Valley brought to Ramona Wildlife Center for lifesaving care

February 14, 2024 (Ramona) -- A young male mountain lion has a second chance at life after being hit by a vehicle the night before Thanksgiving and found on the side of a road in Simi Valley. Local animal services alerted California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), who quickly transported the cub to Santa Clarita where veterinarians provided initial medical support overnight. The 5-month-old cub was then transported to San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center for care by its Project Wildlife team early the next morning, Thanksgiving Day - Nov. 23, 2023.


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FREE LECTURE ON FIRE-WISE LANDSCAPING AT THE WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN

East County News Service

February 8, 2024 (El Cajon) -- California's landscape will always be characterized by wildfires, making homes and properties vulnerable to their impacts. A key component of wildfire preparedness involves proper placement and maintenance of the vegetation surrounding the home. Understanding how fires approach a house and potential vulnerabilities is critical for designing fire-resilient landscapes.

In this presentation, Tuesday, February 13 at 10 a.m., there will be discussion on the key concepts of defensible space and home hardening strategies necessary to create a fire-resilient but aesthetically pleasing landscape. 


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COLLIER PARK REOPENING THIS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10

East County News Service

February 7, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The Collier Park renovation is almost complete with the reopening/ribbon cutting celebration on February 10, 2024!

Join the City of La Mesa for interactive activities, presentations, and resources while you enjoy the new park, playground, fitness equipment, walking trails, courts, and more.


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AN EVENT TO HOWL ABOUT: WOLF TOURS FEB. 11 IN JULIAN

East County News Service

February 4, 2024 (Julian) – The California Wolf Center in Julian invites you to book a guided tour of their facility to see their resident wolves and learn about wolf conservation. Various tours are offered each weekend this month at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are required.

The Wolf Conservation and Behavioral Enrichment Tours are both 1 hour in length and offer an unforgettable experience where you will have the opportunity to see critically endangered wild wolves and learn all about them from an expert at the center’s Conservation Facility on KQ Ranch Rd. in Julian. 


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WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN CUTS STAFFING; JPA MEMBERS BALK AT REQUEST TO BOOST FUNDING

JPA to discuss options in a closed-door meeting with legal counsel

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Dr. Michael Hager, President, Friends of the Water Conservation Garden, and Lauren Magnuson, Interim Director of the Garden

January 30, 2024 (El Cajon) – Friends of the Water Conservation Garden and the garden’s new interim director, Lauren Magnuson, made impassioned pleas at a January 23 meeting,  asking the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to allocate additional funds through June to help alleviate a financial crisis.

The Water Conservation Garden is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Magnuson. said, “We supported the community during the pandemic. Now we are hoping that the community will support us.”

The Garden has over $1 million in financial obligations, including large loans taken out during the pandemic and some smaller grant funds slated to be returned. Questions have been raised by the JPA over years of inaccurate record-keeping practices and borrowing by Friends to cover the Garden’s operating expenses, among other concerns.

“The Garden has significantly cut our monthly budget by more than half,” Magnuson told ECM in an interview earlier this month. “We unfortunately had to furlough a good portion of our staff and lean on current staff to absorb those furloughed positions.” She has pledged full transparency and open communication with staff and volunteers, scrambling to pull together financial records and options to help the garden grow and thrive in the future—though the task is daunting.


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RED WORMS AS COMPOSTING SUPERSTARS: LEARN MORE AT VERMICOMPOSTING WORKSHOP IN LAKESIDE FEB. 19

East County News Service

 

January 28, 2024 (Lakeside) -- Solana Center for Environmental Innovation will host a Vermicomposting Basic workshop on Feb. 19 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Olde Community Church, 9906 Maine Ave. in Lakeside. Join Solana Center for this one-hour workshop to discover why red wiggler worms are composting superstars! Vermicomposting has a benefit for everyone, whether you want to divert kitchen scraps from the landfill, compost in small spaces, or create a natural fertilizer for your plants. This workshop will teach you how to get started and maintain a happy home for red wiggler worms.


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FULL MOON DESERT WALK SET FOR JANUARY 24

January 21, 2024 (Borrego Springs) -- The Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association’s Education Director Mike McElhatton will lead a full moon nighttime walk in South Palm Wash on January 24 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  The moonlight walk is a tradition of the organization, now in its 13th year.

Experience the unique and serene beauty of moonlight on the canyon walls along this a free 1.5- mile walk through South Palm Wash. Meet at ABDNHA to carpool. A flashlight, water, and good hiking shoes are required. Activity cancels with cloud cover or high wind. Call the Nature Center at 760-767-3098 to reserve. This walk is fairly easy with short moderate sections.


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SANTEE DISCOVERY DAY: JANUARY 27 AT WALKER PRESERVE

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos courtesy: City of Santee

January 20, 2024 (Santee) -- You're invited to Walker Preserve Saturday, January 27th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Santee Discovery Day, part of Santee Discovery Month, encouraging people to visit Santee's beautiful and plentiful family friendly trails (click for Citywide trail map). In addition to food available for purchase, there will be a rock wall, nature exploration booths, opportunity drawing and more, making this the signature event of January's public awareness campaign.


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ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE TO BLOCK ALPINE COMMUNITY PARK'S SPORTS COMPLEX

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2024 (Alpine) – Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit in Superior  Court on January 5 against San Diego County. The suit filed by Cleveland National Forest Foundation and California Native Plant Society contends that the county failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act when supervisors approved an environmental impact report in December for Alpine’s first community park. The Alpine Community Park, adjacent to Cleveland National Forest and Wright’s Field, would include a sports complex and more.


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MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY GUIDED NATURE WALK AT MISSION TRAILS

East County News Service

January 11, 2024 (San Diego) -- Join a Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Trail Guide on a special Martin Luther King Day nature walk Monday, January 15, 2024, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and learn about the plants, animals, geology, history, and ecology of the park on one of these scenic trails:

* The Oak Grove Loop showcasing majestic coast live oaks and rare Engelmann’s oaks. 

* The Visitor Center Loop highlighting coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and riparian woodland habitats. 

* The Riverside Grinding Rocks featuring one of the archaeological sites in the park.


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MISSION TRAILS HOSTS BIRDING BASICS CLASS JANUARY 27

East County News Service

Photo: Orioles, by Greg Dunne

 

January 5, 2024 (San Diego) – Mission Trails Regional Park invites you to a birding basics class on Saturday, January 27 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


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WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN TO RUN OUT OF MONEY SOON; EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RESIGNS AMID FINANCIAL TURMOIL

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College

Updated January 8, 2024 with comments from Dr. Michael Hager regarding Jennifer Pillsbury's resignation.

December 20, 2023 (Rancho San Diego)--The Water Conservation Garden will run out of money as early as mid-December, the nonprofit organization Friends of The Water Conservation Garden (Friends) stated at an October 24 meeting of the Water Conservation Garden Joint Powers Authority (JPA),  the consortium of public utility and governmental entities that oversees the Friends.

The Friends group had not been able to put together a financial status report for a substantial period of time. When the bookkeeping problems were finally resolved in September, they realized they were going to run out of money in December, Friends informed the JPA. JPA members voiced frustration and peppered representatives of Friends and the Garden with pointed questions over the financial situation,  including controversy over loans secured by Friends that JPA members said they were not informed about.


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SWEETWATER AUTHORITY HOLDS WORKSHOP TO DISCUSS HOW TO SPEND GRANT FUNDS EARMARKED FOR LOVELAND RESERVOIR

By Jessyka Heredia

Watch full video

 

 Friends of Loveland Reservoir invite public to meeting, hike Dec. 28

December 17, 2023 (Chula Vista) – Monday, the Sweetwater Water Authority held a public workshop to see how the community would like to use the $750,000 in state funding recently awarded by Assembly Bill 102 (AB 102) to Sweetwater Authority for Loveland Trail Improvements.

Carlos Quintero, General Manager of Sweetwater Authority, started off the workshop stating, “It’s very rare to get a grant with very few strings attached. So, we are looking at the community, certainly the East  County community and our rate payers to give us feedback.”


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REPEAL OF UTILITY TAX SOUGHT BY SOLAR RIGHTS ALLIANCE

View video of interview and scroll down for transcript.

December 12, 2023 (San Diego) -- East County Magazine recently interviewed Cailey Underhill,  Advocacy and Development Director for the Solar Rights Alliance, on our radio show aired on KNSJ. The topic was AB 205, which the Legislature passed to create what supporters called a fixed charge for utility rates,  but which opponents call a utility tax. It’s poised to become the largest utility tax in the nation. 

Solar Rights Alliance say this will be unfair to consumers—and they’re fighting to get the utility tax repealed. They are urging ratepayers to ask legislators to repeal the utiliity tax provision of AB 205 in January when the Legislature returns to session in Sacramento.

Audio: 


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CALIFORNIA LAUNCHES NEW 'OUTDOORS FOR ALL' STRATEGY

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo:  Giant Sequoia redwood trees, by Yaya  Ernst, AdobeStock

November 17,2023 (Sacramento) -- Have you ever wanted to see the California redwoods, play in the Sierra snow, take a dip at the beach or just throw a family barbecue at the park? This week, the state just launched a new strategic plan to make it happen for more people.

California just launched the "Outdoors for All Strategy," which aims to make the state's natural spaces more accessible, more welcoming and less expensive.


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WHAT TO DO IF YOU SPOT A COYOTE

 

By Shauni Lyles, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

October 22, 2023 (San Diego) -- Are you seeing more urban coyotes in your neighborhood? If so, don’t panic! The County’s Department of Animal Services (DAS) has some tips to keep them away and help you, your family and pets stay safe.


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COYOTE WITH BROKEN LEG RETURNS TO WILD AFTER TREATMENT AT HUMANE SOCIETY’S RAMONA WILDLIFE CENTER

By Jordan Frey

October 10, 2023 (Ramona) — A male coyote pup who came to San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center with a broken tibia in May is now back in the wild. The coyote was released back to the wild near Palomar Mountain in northern San Diego County, along with five other coyotes who were rehabilitated by San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife program.


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RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS: CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTION OR FALSE HOPE?

By John Carey for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.;

Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the Pulitzer Center-Public News Service Collaboration.

September 23, 2023 (Sacramento) -- Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, is the major component of the biogas that seeps from countless landfills and wastewater plants. It makes sense, then, to prevent that methane from escaping into the atmosphere-indeed, hundreds of solid waste facilities across the United States have done so for decades, either flaring the biogas to burn off the methane or burning the biogas to generate electricity or heat. That gives off carbon dioxide, but still greatly reduces the greenhouse gas potential, as methane is 80 times more potent than CO2 over the first 20 years after emission.


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SDSU PARTNERS WITH TRIBAL COMMUNITIES TO TACKLE WILDFIRES AND PRESERVE INDIGENOUS LAND

By Susanne Clara Bard

 

September 12, 2023 (San Diego) -- A striking black and yellow beetle called the goldspotted oak borer has been decimating oak trees in Southern California for more than 20 years, including on the ancestral lands of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians on Palomar Mountain. The insects’ larvae burrow into bark, increasing drought stress on the trees. 


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ALPINE RESIDENTS ASK U.S. FORESTRY DEPT. TO ADVOCATE FOR PUBLIC ON LOVELAND RESERVOIR ACCESS, ALSO HEAR UPDATES ON WILDFIRE ISSUES

 

By: Jessyka Heredia 

 

 



 

August 31, 2023 (Alpine)— Last Thursday, residents came to the Alpine Community Planning Group to hear about the U.S. Forestry Service’s wildfire protection efforts in Alpine and discuss the easement agreement between the Forestry department and the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA)Residents want to see fish restocked and reservoir gates opened from sunrise to sunset at Loveland Reservoir, according to the easement deed.


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ALL ELECTRIC TUGBOAT CHARGING STATION GROUNDBREAKING

East County News Service

August 31, 2023 (San Diego) -- Crowley and the Port of San Diego broke ground for the shoreside charging station designed to provide clean energy for the company’s forth-coming zero-emissions tugboateWolf. Joined by key partners and community stakeholders, the ceremony marked a significant step forward in the industry’s journey to decarbonization and reduce emissions in the San Diego community. 

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COUNTY OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR LABOR DAY HOLIDAY

this year Labor Day falls on Monday, Sept. 4

By Shauni Lyles, County News Center

photo courtesy Alex Sachs (c) 2009 facebook and model release (c) 2023

August 31, 2023 (San Diego) -- All public San Diego County offices, family resource centers, libraries and animal shelters will be closed Monday, Sept. 4 for Labor Day. 

Law enforcement, emergency animal control response, and other essential services will continue through the holiday. 

County parks, campgrounds and neighborhood day-use parks remain open 365 days a year. However, the following locations will be closed: 


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SDG&E PILOTS POWER PLANT PROJECT IN SHELTER VALLEY TO HELP EASE STRAIN ON GRID DURING EXTREME HEAT

Source:  SDG&E

Photo:  Shelter Valley Community Center Board President Steve Bassett inspects installation at Shelter Valley Community Center site.

Connected devices such as energy storage and smart thermostats centrally managed to reduce demand on the grid

August 28, 2023 (San Diego) – As extreme heat records fall across the West and strain the power grid, San Diego Gas & Electric is piloting a new cleantech innovation known as a virtual power plant (VPP) to reduce energy demand and put electricity back on the grid during peak hours – all through leveraging the capabilities of customer-owned smart thermostats, rooftop solar, energy storage and other connected resources such as water pumps.


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EDITORIAL: REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SHOULD STOP DENYING CLIMATE CHANGE

View United Nations 2023 video on climate change:  https://youtu.be/I1Vx_a6F57Q 

 

By Roger Coppock

 

August 26, 2023 (La Mesa) --Before this week’s GOP 'debate,' I used to give Republicans a healthy benefit of the doubt.  I would listen to them and read their literature.  However, when a political party's line differs from introductory science textbooks, that party is too extreme for my vote.

 

Last night 8 GOP Presidential candidates were asked, "If you believe in man-made climate change, raise your hand."  None did.  One candidate called it "a hoax." 


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