WHY THE NATIVITY? LOCAL CAMELS PLAY KEY ROLES IN NEW FILM

GAS PRICES DROP SHARPLY; GOVERNOR TAKES ACTION AS OIL COMPANIES REFUSE TO TESTIFY AT STATE HEARING ON PRICE GOUGING

MISSION TRAILS PARK ATTENDANCE IS UP AND GROWING

ATTORNEY GENERAL BONTA WARNS OF SCAMMERS TARGETING CALIFORNIA’S MIDDLE-CLASS TAX REFUND

GUNS FOR GIFT CARDS EXCHANGE IN LA MESA DEC. 3

TIPS TO CUT BACK ON HOLIDAY SEASON FOOD WASTE

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: INAJA MEMORIAL

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

News

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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SANTEE SCHOOL DISTRICT’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES' ELECTION RESULTS

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Update Nov. 21, 2022 -- Ryan and Fox have retained their leads.  Ryan has 75.56%, far outposcing her opponent. Fox has 48.58% in his three-person race, well above Thill at 36.71% and Dolin at 14.7%.  This will be the final update from the Registrar of Voters before certification of the votes on Dec. 8.

Nov. 9, 2022 (Santee) The  Santee School District’s board of education had three seats up for election on its board of trustees. Campaign issues included school safety, catching up on pandemic learning loss and more.

The latest vote tally has incumbent Barbara L. Ryan vastly outpacing Ron Burner for seat 1. Ryan has 76.15% of the vote, versus Burner’s 23.85%. Ryan, a member of the Santee Board of Education, supports comprehensive language arts programs that include phonics, a zero-tolerance policy ensuring safety, curriculum standards that exceed state standards, and more. In her ballot statement, she says her leadership has brought significant additional funding to the district. Additionally, she has served on district committees, as a PTA president and school site councilmember as well as numerous other organizations.


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DEMOCRATS SET TO SWEEP LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD RACES

By Susan Taylor and Miriam Raftery

Photo: Caitlin Tiffany, Rebecca McRae and Brianna Coston are leading in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District races

The Governing Board of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District will likely have a Democratic majority if early election leads hold for Caitlin Tiffany, Rebecca McRae and Brianna Coston .They would represent Area 1, 2, and 3, respectively, and were endorsed by both the California Teachers Association and the San Diego County Democratic Party.

McRae, an incumbent, has a solid 56.89% of the vote over Myriam Moody at 43.11% and appears to have won reelection.

Tiffany, an assistant biology professor at Mesa College and assistant dance coach at Santa High School, has 63.6% of the votes in her race against former board trustee Jim Long.

Coston, a La Mesa Planning Commissioner, has a slimmer lead over Kyle Hermann, a history and political science professor at Chula Vista Christian University.


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NEW MEMBERS TO JOIN LAKESIDE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD; THREE INCUMBENTS OUSTED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, top left to lower right:  Andrew Hayes won reelection; newcomers Ron Kasper, Jim Bennett and Autumn Ellenson beat out a trio of other incumbents

 

November 9, 2022 (Lakeside) – Lakeside Union School District’s governing board will look dramatically different as a result of yesterday’s election.  Three full-term seats and one short-term seat were on the ballot. But only one of the incumbents up for reelection, Andrew Hayes, has won reelection.  Three others – Bonnie LaChappa, Holly Ferrante, and Don Whiseman, are trailing by substantial margins.

All of the leading candidates are endorsed by the Republican Party, though the race is officially nonpartisan. In addition to Hayes, challengers Jim Bennett and Ron Kasper appear poised to win full-term seats, while Autumn Ellenson is winning the short-term seat by a resounding margin of more than two-thirds.


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ALL FIVE SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS CRUISE TO REELECTION

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2022 (San Diego) – The balance of power in Congress hangs in the balance this election, with Republicans currently looking likely to take back a majority in the House of representatives by a few seats – a narrower margin than pundits forecast; control of the Senate remains too close to call.  But in San Diego County, all five incumbent Congressional members have solid leads and appear set to hold onto their sets.

East County Congressman Darrell Issa, a Republican, has 58.12% of the vote in San Diego County over his opponent, Stephen Houlahan, a nurse with a masters in business degree who has 41.88% of the vote. The district also includes a small portion of Riverside County, which also has a large Republican voter registration advantage. Houlahan had criticized Issa's anti-abortion stance and accepting over $150,000 in federal loan forgiveness for his business, after voting against COVID-relief funds for others.


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INCUMBENTS WINNING IN EAST COUNTY CITY RACES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and La Mesa Mayor Mark Araposthis are winning their reelection bids

November 8, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Early results after polls closed tonight indicate incumbents heading for reelection in La Mesa, El Cajon and Lemon Grove.

The power of incumbency proved stronger than partisan politics. Though city races are nonpartisan, political parties endorsed candidates and expended resources walking precincts to campaign for their parties' choices. But incumbents in both parties hold solid leads, though Democrats appear likely to pick up a seat in both the La Mesa and Lemon Grove Council races, following the retirement of Republican incumbents.

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, a Republican, has a solid 71.25% of the votes tallied so far; his opponent, realtor Arnie Levine, a Democrat, has 28.75%. The Mayor ran on a track record of boosting revenues through bringing in new hotels and reopening the performing arts center, while Levine criticized Mayor Wells’ defiance of public health business shutdown mandates duringthe pandemic. El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick ran unopposed, drawing 100% of the votes.  But El Cajon’s Measure P which the Mayor supports, to increase the city sales tax to a penny per dollar, is losing 58% to 42%.


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ABORTION RIGHTS, CONTROL OF CONGRESS ON BALLOT AS ELECTION DAWNS IN SAN DIEGO

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

Photo: Pollworker, courtesy of the San Diego County Registrar of Voters

November 8, 2022 (San Diego) -- Tuesday is the final day to cast your ballot in the midterm General Election. Voters can do so at any one of 218 vote centers or 141 official ballot drop box locations around San Diego County.

All will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Any voter who is in line at a vote center or an official ballot drop box location at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. However, no one can join the line after the 8 p.m. deadline.


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PLANNING GROUP MEETS NOV. 8 ON JAMUL CASINO PROPOSED HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER: COMMENT DEADLINE IS NOV. 14

East County News Service 

November 7, 2022 (Jamul) – The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group will hear a subcommittee report this Tuesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. on a proposal to expand the Jamul Casino site to include a 16-story hotel, event center, bingo hall and parking structure. 

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WHO WAS THE HOMELESS MAN WHO DIED OCT. 30 IN SANTEE RIVERBED?

Story and photos by Shiloh Ireland

Photo:  Steve White's body location on trail

 

November 6, 2022 (Santee) – Authorities have not yet identified the man found  last week on a trail near a homeless camp in Santee. But two men who live at the camp told East County Magazine that the deceased was Steve White, who was homeless.


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ATMOSPHERIC RIVER COULD DOUSE REGION

East County News Service

November 6, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – The second Pacific storm of the season will bring cold weather and heavy rainfall with potential for atmospheric river conditions this week, the National Weather Service predicts.


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CHANGES COMING TO I-8 PINE VALLEY CONSTRUCTION LANE REDUCTIONS: FIVE-STAGE PROJECT TO LAST THROUGH SPRING 2024

Source: Caltrans

 

November 6, 2022 (Pine Valley) -- Expect traffic delays if you’re driving between Alpine and Pine Valley for the foreseeable future. Caltrans construction crews working on the Interstate 8 pavement replacement and road improvement project from Viejas Creek to Pine Valley will be reconfiguring the lane reductions through the construction site.  Instead of two construction closures, crews will taper traffic into one single closure, taking motorists from three lanes to one for approximately three miles through the construction site, beginning the week of November 7.


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SUPERVISORS APPROVE SLEEPING CABINS FOR HOMELESS, SEEK CHURCHES, NONPROFITS TO HOST SITES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Tiny homes at Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon

November 5, 2022 (San Diego) – The County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a proposal by Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nora Vargas to purchase sleeping cabins or other emergency shelter structures. The structures will be made available to community partners like churches and non-profits who want to step up and provide shelter options in their community.


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FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS URGE PROTECTION AGAINST VIRUS TRIO

 

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video by James Kecskes

November 3, 2022 (San Diego) - The County, with local and federal partners, hosted a joint press conference today to remind San Diegans they can take charge of protecting themselves and their families against a trio of respiratory illnesses that are circulating in the community this season.


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FLETCHER AND ANDERSON $100 MILLION PLAN TO TACKLE OPIOD CRISIS WINS APPROVAL BY SUPERVISORS

East County News Service

November 2, 2022 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on October 25 to approve a plan proposed by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Joel Anderson to use an expected $100 million in settlement money from lawsuits with drug makers to address the opioid crisis in the region.


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MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN LAKESIDE CRASH

East County News Service

November 1, 2022 (Lakeside) – This morning shortly before 6 a.m., a 61-year-old man from Lakeside died at the scene of a solo motorcycle crash.

According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, the victim was driving a Harley Davidson motorcycle north on Morena Avenue to westbound Vigilante Road in Lakeside, when he failed to negotiate a curve. He struck a raised curb, a street sign and a fence.


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ECM WINS AWARDS FROM SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB

By Miriam Raftery

October 31, 2022 (San Diego) – East County Magazine journalists received four awards in San Diego Press Club’s 49th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards on October 25th. All awards were in the online and daily newspapers category.


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EARLY SEASON STORM COULD BRING SNOW TO MOUNTAINS MID-WEEK; GUSTY WINDS ALSO FORECAST

By Miriam Raftery

October 31, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Cooler weather is coming, with a chance of rain showers and snow showers in San Diego’s mountain areas from Wednesday morning through Thursday evening. Snow could fall to 4500 feet in elevation by Thursday, which could include Julian, Cuyamaca and Mount Laguna.


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MAN FOUND DEAD NEAR SANTEE TRANSIENT CAMP WITH SIGNS OF TRAUMA

By Miriam Raftery

October 31, 2022 (Santee) – A 66-year-old man was found dead early yesterday morning on a dirt trail near a transient camp in Santee.  According to the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit, the deceased  man is a “known transient” who “appears to have some trauma to his upper torso, but it is unknown if the trauma played a factor in his death.”


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COUNTY MEETING ON IDENTIFYING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE COMMUNITIES IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS NOVEMBER 9

Source: County of San Diego

October 28, 2022 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego Planning & Development Services (PDS) invites you to attend a public meeting to share your thoughts.  The project is identifying Environmental Justice Communities within the unincorporated region of San Diego County. The County will provide project background information and would like your input to help explore priorities, issues and opportunities to inform potential options to expand the identification of “Environmental Justice Communities.” PDS is hosting this virtual public meeting to receive your input on: November 9, 2022, at 6 p.m. (registration link provided below).


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SANTEE FINANCE DIRECTOR RETIRES

By Mike Allen

October 28, 2022 (Santee) - Tim McDermott has seen the good times and the bad times overseeing budgets for the city of Santee over the past 21 years, and now he’s presumably enjoying the best of times in retirement.


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WHY IS THE SPRING VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP STILL MEETING ON ZOOM?

By Jake Christie

October 28, 2022 (Spring Valley) – While many other local planning groups and governmental bodies have resumed in-person meetings that were suspended due to COVID-19, the Spring Valley Community Planning Group (SVCPG) is still meeting only virtually.


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VALLE DE ORO COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP APPROVES PRE-FINAL CAMPO ROAD REVITALIZATION DRAFT

By Jake Christie

October 28, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- At its September 13 special meeting, the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group took action on the Pre-final Campo Road Corridor Revitalization Specific Plan to dramatically reconfigure the area, as well as proposed changes to a forthcoming pickleball club. Planners also heard a presentation on Senate Bill 9, a nine-month-old law that allows homeowners to do duplex lot splits more easily.  The meeting itself was held in the multipurpose room of the Hillsdale Middle School on Brabham Street due to Labor Day.


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ANTI-PANHANDLING SIGNS OF LA MESA SPARK DEBATE, DENUNCIATIONS AND EVEN PRANKS

 

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

October 28, 2022 (La Mesa) - A disabled Vietnam-era veteran named John sat under an Ikea umbrella on a La Mesa median Tuesday. He displayed a neatly lettered sign that read: “Please help with what you can. Every little bit helps, even change.”


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SPEAKER PELOSI’S HUSBAND BRUTALLY ASSAULTED AT HOME BY HAMMER-WIELDING MAGA SUPPORTER

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2022 (San Francisco) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband, Paul, was brutally assaulted by a hammer-wielding attacker at the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that the intruder shouted “Where is Nancy?” not realizing that the Speaker was not in town.

Paul Pelosi managed to dial 911 and kept the line open, allowing a 911 operator to hear the exchange and dispatch police.

Officers arrived in time to witness the elderly Pelosi struggling with the assailant, who bashed Paul Pelosi in the head before police officers wrestled him to the ground.


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DOCTOR CHARGED IN SANTEE INMATE’S DEATH

East County News Service

Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

October 26, 2022 (Santee) – Today, the District Attorney announced that Dr. Friederike Von Lintig will be charged in the death of Elisa Serna, an inmate who died on November 11, 2019 at  the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility in Santee.  


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PILOT WHO CRASHED IN JAMUL IDENTIFIED

East County News Service

October 25, 2022 (Jamul) – The pilot who died when his experimental plane crashed on Lyons Peak in Jamul on October 4 has been identified as Craig Houston Cornford, 57, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner.


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CALIFORNIA'S GAS PRICE REBATES ARE GOING OUT: HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT

By Grace Gedye, CalMatters

Photo:  file photo

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

October 25, 2022 (Sacramento) - California is sending money directly to millions of residents to help with rising costs and high gas prices. 

The payments, which started going out Oct. 7, range from $200 to $1,050, depending on income and other factors. About 18 million payments will be distributed over the next few months, benefiting up to 23 million Californians. The cash payouts are part of a June budget deal.


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