“RAINBOW DANCE PARTY” PLANNED TO COUNTER WESTBORO, HATE GROUP PICKETING HIGH SCHOOLS MARCH 25

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS MARCH 23 - APRIL 27

MORE RAIN AND SNOW COMING MID-WEEK

PASSAGES: FORMER LA MESA MAYOR AND COUNTY SUPERVISOR GEORGE BAILEY: 1919-2019

TRANSPARENCY CONCERNS PLAGUE LA MESA COUNCIL OVER GRANNY FLAT ORDINANCES

BLOOMS, BIGHORNS AND BUTTERFLIES

ONE TO GO; AZTECS MEN'S BASKETBALL DEFEATS NEVADA TO ADVANCE TO MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP

INFAMOUS HATE GROUP, WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH TO PICKET EL CAJON VALLEY AND MONTE VISTA HIGH SCHOOLS MARCH 25

FIERY LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING DRAWS IRE FROM PARENTS OVER ALLEGED FORCED RESIGNATION OF 16 TEACHERS

YOUR VOICE HAS POWER: GROUP SEEKS TO STOP RELEASE OF SEXUALLY VIOLENCE PREDATORS INTO EAST COUNTY

RESPONSE TO EDITORIAL ON MEASURE A FROM CAL-FIRE FIREFIGHTERS LOCAL 2881 VICE-PRESIDENT PATRICK WALKER

READER’S EDITORIAL: MEASURE A AND THE FUTURE OF FIRE SERVICES IN JULIAN AND CUYAMACA

News

COHEN IMPLICATES TRUMP IN CRIMINAL ACTIONS, PROVIDES CHECK SIGNED BY PRESIDENT FOR “HUSH MONEY”

By Miriam Raftery

View video of Cohen’s complete testimony:   https://www.c-span.org/video/?458125-1/michael-cohen-president-trump-he-racist-con-man-cheat

View highlights:  https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4782554/trump-lawyer-michael-cohen-apologizes-lying

February 28, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump’s long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, called his former boss a “liar”, a” conman” and a “racist” during several hours of testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee this week.  Cohen testified that Trump knew in advance that Wikileaks planned to release stolen Democratic Committee emails.  He also told committee members that Trump directed him to violate the law—and Cohen provided a check signed by Trump after he became president for “hush money” paid to cover up an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Republicans grilling Cohen sought to discredit him, since he previously lied to Congress and since his cooperation with federal prosecutors could result in a reduction of his three-year prison sentence. However Cohen also handed over documents to the committee, including extensive financial records that Cohen suggested implicate Trump and Trump’s family members in financial crimes.

Democrats on the committee probed Cohen’s knowledge of other potential witnesses to the alleged criminal activities, also laying the groundwork to subpoena the President’s tax records.  Cohen has apologized and voiced remorse for lying and covering up illegal activities on behalf of Trump.

COLD RECORDS BROKEN IN FEBRUARY

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Dave Hogan:  Deep snow near his home in the Pine Valley/Mt. Laguna area
 
March 1, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Across Southern California, February broke records for cold temperatures.  Campo averaged just 42.5 degrees for the month of February, the chilliest since February 1956.  In Ramona, February temperatures averaged 46.8 degrees, tying the all-time record from January 2007.  Alpine’s average 47.7 degrees was the coldest since January 1955 and Palomar Mountain, at a brisk 35.3 degrees, was the coldest since January 1949.

EAST COUNTY SOLAR EXPERIENCE MARCH 2 IN LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 28, 2019 (La Mesa) – You’re invited to an East County Solar Experience on Saturday, March 2 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon at the Salvation Army KROC Center community center room, 6845 University Ave. in La Mesa. 

Hear from nationally accredited energy professionals and nonprofit climate champions to learn about the evolving solar power landscape including what’s changing for solar power and clean energy policy in 2019. You’ll also learn from neighbors who went solar.

Register at www.SDSolarExperience.org for this event hosted by Sullivan Solar Power and Climate Action Campaign.  There’s power through education!

FULL SOUTHBOUND CLOSURE OF INTERSTATE 5 SCHEDULED THURSDAY NIGHT FOR TROLLEY BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION

 

 

East County News Service

February 28, 2019 (San Diego) -- Starting Thursday, February 28, at 9:30 p.m., and running through Friday, March 1, at 5 a.m., all southbound lanes on Interstate 5 (I-5) will be closed to vehicular traffic  from the interchange of I-5 and Interstate 805 to La Jolla Village Drive.

LA MESA APPROVES GRANNY FLAT ORDINANCE AND CREATION OF CITIZENS COMMITTEE ON HOMELESSNESS

 
 
By Allan Acevedo
 
February 28, 2019 (La Mesa) – With a packed agenda, the La Mesa City Council addressed concerns of increased homelessness, the ongoing housing crisis, and the City’s action plan to meet 2020 and 2035 greenhouse gas reduction goals.

SUPERVISORS VOTE TO STUDY IDEA OF BUYING, SELLING ENERGY THROUGH A COMMUNITY CHOICE PROGRAM

 
 
East County News Service
 
February 27, 2019 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to study the idea of buying and selling electricity to give county residents an alternative to having to buy it from the region’s utility, San Diego Gas & Electric. Under a community choice program, residents would still have the option to stay with SDG&E if they choose to do so.

JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BALLOT MEASURE: A “YES” VOTE DISSOLVES DISTRICT, A “NO” VOTE SAVES VOLUNTEER DEPT.

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor, and Miriam Raftery, Editor

 

February 26, 2019 (Julian) — Voters in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) have until March 19 to mail in their ballots on Measure A. The ballot language is confusing to some.  

 

In plain English, a “yes” vote would dissolve the county’s last all-volunteer firefighting district and put the San Diego County Fire Authority run by Cal Fire in sole charge of fire and emergency medical protection.  A “no” vote would save the district from dissolving and keep the volunteer firefighters and paramedics who have protected the area for over 20 years, with Cal Fire providing backup/mutual aid.

SNOW VISITORS DEFACE LA POSTA SACRED SITE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM news partner 10 News

February 26, 2019 (La Posta) — A couple who claimed responsibility on social media for spray-painting graffiti on rocks at a sacred site on the La Posta Indian reservation in East County claims they didn’t know they were on tribal lands, but have offered to clean up the damage.

FIERY LAKESIDE CRASH MAY HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY RACING VEHICLES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM  news partner 10 News

February 26, 2019 (Lakeside) – A 1995 red Ford Mustang traveling at a high rate of speed struck a raised curb and rolled over, catching fire around 2:47 a.m.  The occupants of the vehicle had fled the scene by the time emergency responders arrived and it’s unknown who was driving the vehicle.

AS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CLAIMS IT CAN’T REUNITE ALL SEPARATED FAMILIES, JUDGE WEIGHS ACTION; HOUSE DEMOCRATS PREPARE TO SUBPOENA RECORDS

By Miriam Raftery

Illustration by Duke Windsor*

February 24, 2019 (San Diego) – Following revelations that the Trump administration failed to inform a federal judge that it had begun separating migrant children from their parents back in 2017, a federal judge in San Diego sent strong signals Thursday that he is prepared to expand his June 2018 reunification order to mandate reunions of more families who came to the U.S. seeking freedom from persecution.

Judge Dana Sabraw’s original order required unification only of children who were in government custody at the time, taken from migrant parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. But on Thursday, Judge Sabraw made clear, “No one but a few in the government knew that these separations had been going on nine or 10 months before, and that hundreds if not thousands were” being separated. He added, “The court didn’t know that and plaintiff didn’t know that, and I don’t think government counsel knew that.”

MAN ARRESTED FOR FATAL SHOOTING OF WOMAN IN ALPINE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: 10 News

 

Update February 27, 2019: The victim has been identified as Melanie Benitez, 27.  Paraschak, 42, has been charged with murder.

 

February 24, 2019 (Alpine) – A man armed with two guns was arrested yesterday for killing a woman in Alpine. Paul Paraschak has been charged with murder, Lt. Rich Williams told 10 News.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: HUMANITARIANS AL SANATI AND RAMIRO SANDOVAL SPEAK OUT ON EFFORTS TO HELP REFUGEES AND REBUILD IRAQ

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Al Sanati and Ramiro Sandoval

Cllick this audio link to hear our interview, or scroll down to read highlights.

February 23, 2019 (El Cajon) — Al Sanati, director of the War Refugees Group, and Ramiro Sandoval with Hermanos Unidos Sin Fronteras (Brothers United Without Borders) were our guests on our East Count Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ recently.

These humanitarian leaders are fighting for justice and filing suit to win financial reparations from the Iraqi government for1.2 million Iraqi refugees around the world, including over 80,000 in East County. They have also met with top dignitaries in Iraq in an effort to help the nation’s new government rebuild Iraq.

Audio: 

Interview with Al Sanati and Ramiro Sandoval

FOUR NEW STORES TO OPEN INSIDE FORMER EL CAJON SEARS SPACE AT PARKWAY PLAZA

 
 
By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor
 
February 23, 2019 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon’s iconic Parkway Plaza mall has dodged a bullet with the announcement that the recently vacated Sears store at the west end of the mall will be home to four new stores by Memorial Day Weekend. 

LA MESA TO HOLD COMMUNITY FORUM ON FARMER’S MARKET THURS. FEB. 28

 
East County News Service

February 23, 2019 (La Mesa) – The City of La Mesa wants your opinions on the future of its farmer’s market. A community forum will be held this Thursday, Feb. 28 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the La Mesa Police Dept. Community Room., 8085 University Avenue.

MITSUBISHI DRIVER FROM SPRING VALLEY KILLED ON ICY ROAD IN RAMONA

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
February 22, 2019 (Ramona) – A Spring Valley man, 43, in a Mitsubishi Montero died at the scene of a crash at 6:00 this morning in Ramona. 
 
According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, the motorist was driving north on State Route 67 north of Shady Bend when he lost control entering a curve due to his speed on the wet and partially icy roadway.
 

INJURED, ABANDONED PUPPY READY FOR NEW HOME

 

 

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

February 22, 2019 (San Diego) - An abandoned 3-month-old puppy suffering from head injuries is now on the mend and is available for adoption from County Animal Services.  The young pit bull was found in a milk crate near a burning dumpster in the Crest area on Feb. 13.

SDG&E ANNOUNCES TIME OF USE RATES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 22, 2019 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has announced it will roll out new time of use rates, as an alternative to tiered rates. The rollout will be done in stages starting in March, with nearly all residential customers slated to be on the new plan by the middle of next year.

LAKESIDE PLANNING GROUP RIPS ZONING REVISIONS, SENDS CRITICAL MESSAGE TO COUNTY SUPERVISORS BEFORE FEB. 27 HEARING

 
 
By Mike Allen
 
Photo:  County planner Noah Alvey speaks to board.
 
February 22, 2019 (Lakeside) -- A special meeting of the Lakeside Community Planning Group called Feb. 20 to discuss proposed changes to the county’s zoning code turned into a venting session by residents who say the changes will destroy the unincorporated area’s rural character.

SNOW, ICE SHUTS DOWN I-8 AT ALPINE; SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAIN AREAS

 

Update 10:38 a.m.  -- CHP is now escorting vehicles on I-8 between Alpine and the county line. Expect delays.

February 22, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- East County's mountain areas look like winter wonderlands, with two feet of snow atop Mt. Laguna and several inches or more in Julian (photo, left, webcam in downtown Julian). 

But winter conditions have wreaked havoc with motorists. After many vehicles incuding a semi-truck and a school bu skidded on icy conditions along Interstate 8, authorities shut down I-8 from Alpine to the County line last night. It remains closed this morning, though the CHP has been escorting stranded motorist through the area. 

CAL FIRE SAYS SNOWED-IN FIRE ENGINE POST WAS A HOAX



Update Feb. 22, 2019 10:26 a.m.  This morning the Julian Times posted a photo on its Facebook page showing Cal Fire/CFA engines purportedly stuck in snow. Scroll down for the image. 

In addition, Times of San Diego forwarded this aerial video provided by a Julian resident showing Cal Fire engines in heavy snow at the station this morning:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C6U3pTQIY3W7UJd2Jd6EC-wHghTwzEqp/view?fbclid=IwAR2CcW9R9b5rPvicADyqPXU_XtYJ4DhBe87yicG5lihg12g-g7VLkoMti44

 



By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rachel Goddard,, JCFPD

February 22, 2019 (Julian) -- With up to two feet of snow blanketing the mountains of East County last night, a post circulating on social media and sent to ECM last night contained a screenshot that appeared to be a screen shot from a County Fire Authority social media page. The post stated that  its Cal Fire Station 51 in Julian and a fire engine "is unable to respond to calls and is out of service due to the growing snow conditions." (See screenshot below.)

But this morning, Cal Fire Deputy Chief Nick Schuler told ECM that the image and its message was "false" and not an official Cal Fire page. He said Cal Fire engines were in operation responding to calls at the time. Schuler blamed advocates of a contentious ballot initiative to keep the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District independent for circulating what he states was a hoax. ECM has requested call logs for the evening from both agencies.

Volunteer firefighters with the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District sent ECM a photo last night demonstrating a can-do spirit as they continued to serve their community during the emergency conditions, responding to calls for medical assistance and removing a downed tree. (Photo, left, courtey of the JCFPD.)

JCFPD Chief Mike Van Bibber told ECM today that he is confident the post did not originate with his firefighters. He added that one of his team owns a backhoe that was used to keep the JCFPD station clear for engines' access.

After we received Schuler's statement, this morning the Julian Times posted this photo on their Facebook page which appears to show two CFA engines temporarily blocked in by snow:

AS VOTERS PREPARE TO CAST BALLOTS ON FUTURE OF JULIAN AREA'S FIRE DEPARTMENT, COUNTY ANNOUNCES FULL STAFFING OF RANCHITA FIRE STATION

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2019 (Ranchita) – For years, residents of Ranchita, a small town between Borrego Springs and Julian, have complained about prolonged periods of time when their fire station was unstaffed, leaving their community without rapid response to medical emergencies and fires. 

But now, just as area residents prepare to go to the polls in March to vote on a ballot initiative to determine the fate of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Department, the County Fire Authority and Cal Fire have announced that they have upgraded staffing at the Ranchita Fire Station to permanent full-time staffing and are in the process of boosting paramedic services.  

CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT DESTROYS BOARD MEETING RECORDING DESPITE ECM PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST



Donna Frye, open government advocate, calls district’s actions “morally repugnant;” request follows negative state evaluation of CVUSD schools

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

February 20, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Some local government agencies including many school districts pride themselves on their transparency and openness towards local citizens. Others, such as the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD), would rather operate under a cloak of darkness.

Despite a legally submitted California Public Records Act (CPRA) request made by ECM for a copy of the recording for the Dec. 11, 2018 CVUSD board meeting, the district willfully destroyed the recording without fulfilling our request.

Audio: 

SANTEE PLANS COMMUNITY CENTER TO SERVE SENIORS AND TEENS, BUT WITHOUT LIBRARY

 
 
By Mike Allen
 
February 18, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council affirmed that a new community center serving senior citizens and teens is still a top priority and that the best site is just east of the Cameron YMCA.
 
But the long-planned project won’t include room for a much-needed new library, the council decided. The five-member body voted 4-1 on Feb. 13, with Mayor John Minto opposed, to put the center on a 40,000 square foot parcel that takes up about half of an existing parking lot serving the community park and the YMCA.

CHEERS! EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB AT HOOLEY'S FEB. 28

 

 

 

 

 

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, what could be finer than an evening at Hooley’s Irish Pub and Grill with East County Dining Club--featuring great food and drinks, plus prize drawings?

Hooleys will donate a portion of every food and drink item purchased to benefit East County Magazine nonprofit news in the public interest and East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts.

Hooley’s was voted best Irish pub in the world (outside of Ireland) by an organization of international Irish pub owners.  Founder Craig McDonald has added authentic ambience along with traditional Irish foods, brews and bar offerings. 

Date:  Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Location;  Hooley’s Irish Pub and Grill

Grossmont Center (5500 Grossmont Center Dr.), La Mesa

Please RSVP by Feb. 25 to be entered in an early bird prize drawing!

619-698-7617 or editor@eastcountymagazine.org

*We’ve priced this event for affordability!  You can order just an entrée, or as many other items as you wish off a special menu just for our dining club event!  Here are the delicious details:

COMMUNITY INPUT SOUGHT FOR PARKS ALONG FORESTER CREEK IN EL CAJON AT WORKSHOP FEB. 26

The San Diego River Park Foundation is seeking feedback about future improvement on Forester Creek

Source: San Diego River Park Foundation

February 20, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Ever heard of Forester Creek?  For many in El Cajon, the answer is no!  But Forester Creek, which feeds into the San Diego River, was once a major natural feature of El Cajon.  Today, much of it is channelized, lined with concrete, and hidden.  Community input is needed to help plan for future improvements and connections to the Creek. The public is invited to a community parks workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m at the Ronald Reagan Community Center (195 E. Douglas St.) in El Cajon.

Local nonprofit The San Diego River Park Foundation believes the Creek has potential to provide opportunities for recreation, nature, and environmental education in El Cajon.  The organization has partnered with the City of El Cajon and received a $320,000 grant from the State of California to complete planning to develop a Recreation Access Plan for Forester Creek, as part of a larger effort to improve the health of Forester Creek.  They have hired Cal Poly Pomona’s Studio 606 Landscape Architecture program to facilitate the planning.

LOW SNOW TONIGHT COULD DIP TO 1,500 FEET

East County News Service

Photo: Rare winter snowfall in Ramona in 2011, by Mike Mulligan

February 20, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- A storm tonight coupled with a cold front is forecast to drop snow as low as 1,500 to 2,500 feet, the National Weather Service predicts. That could mean rare snowfalls in Ramona, Alpine, or even atop Cowles Mountain.  At higher elevations, 2 to 5 inches are forecast above 3,000 feet in areas such as Julian and Descanso, 6 to 12 inches above 5,000 feet including Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain, and  12 to 16 inches above 6,500 feet including Cuyamaca Peak.

The storm is expected to bring rainfall of .25 to 1 inch to San DIego County's coastal and desert areas. A frost warning has been issued for Thursday and Friday morning.

PROPERTY OWNERS WITH RAIN DAMAGE ASKED TO COMPLETE SURVEY; RESULTS COULD DETERMINE REGION'S ELIGIBILITY FOR DISASTER FUNDS

 

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  flooding around Quarry Road in Spring Valley

February 19, 2019 (San Diego) - If your property sustained damage during the storms that struck the week of Valentine’s Day, the County would like your help estimating the cost for our region.

The cold winter storms brought record-setting rainfall, flooding and high winds to San Diego County. If your property or small business was damaged during the Valentine’s Day storm, the County Office of Emergency Services is asking you to complete a short damage survey form that will assist in collecting information and associated costs.

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