WILDFIRE INSURANCE CRISIS LEADS COMMISSIONER TO CALL FOR FIRST-EVER STATEWIDE NON-RENEWAL MORATORIUM

HUNTER TO RESIGN AFTER HOLIDAYS: MAY FORFEIT CONGRESSIONAL PENSION

POWAY BOIL-WATER ORDER LIFTED: PUBLIC URGED TO DINE AT POWAY RESTAURANTS TO HELP WORKERS HURT BY SHUTDOWN

MERCY AMBULANCE SKIDS OFF ROAD, LEAVING JULIAN WITHOUT MEDICAL RESPONSE FOR HOURS AS TOURISTS AND RESIDENTS EXPERIENCE “SNOWMAGEDDON”

YOU'RE INVITED TO OUR FEASTING & MERRYMAKING HOLIDAY PARTY DEC. 15!

SEN. ATKINS SAYS NEW TRUMP RULE COULD CUT FOOD STAMPS FOR 700,000 CALIFORNIANS

HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE STRIPS HUNTER OF VOTING IN BIPARTISAN ACTION AFTER GUILTY PLEA

PRESCRIBED FIRE BURNS PLANNED AT CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

MASKED SUSPECTS WANTED AFTER ATTACKING RESIDENT DURING HOT PROWL BURGLARY IN UNINCORPORATED EL CAJON

RAMONA HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL EACH WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS INCLUDES HOLIDAY SHOPPING, MUSIC, AND WINE TASTING

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

KAISER HEALTHCARE STRIKE TO START DEC. 16

News

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST RENEE OWENS ON EFFORTS TO SAVE MOUNTAIN LIONS

 

Hear our interview: Click this audio link.

By Miriam Raftery

November 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Efforts are underway to declare mountain lions endangered species in portions of Southern California. “Their habitat is being fragmented,” wildlife biologist Renee Owens with Wild Zone Conservation told ECM in an interview on our radio show that originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM in October. 

In California, the number one cause of mortality for mountain lions is being struck by vehicles while crossing roadways.  In addition, some 200 depradation permits are issued each year in California allowing the killing of mountain lions, usually because they are preying on livestock. “Nationwide, we know that over 3,000 mountain lions a year are reported to have died,” Owens says.

The Mountain Lion Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity have petitioned the state to list mountain lions as protected because some isolated populations are “literally in danger of extinction.”  Owens says experts suspect this is also happening in San Diego, where recent numbers show the lions are “actually in decline," according to Owens.

Scroll down for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview on the audio link.

Audio: 

Audio file: Interview with Renee Owens on Mountain Lions

DR. HELEN L. HORVATH, 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATE, HOLDS A TOWN HALL AND FOOD DRIVE IN ALPINE DEC. 13

East County News Service

November 30, 2019 (Alpine) --  Dr. Helen Horvath, candidate for the 50th Congressional District, will hold a candidate forum and community food drive at the Alpine Library Community Room in Alpine on Dec. 13 from 5-7 p.m.

Topics will include:

  • Integrative Community Services
  • Women’s healthcare
  • Veterans’ initiatives
  • Small business concerns and development
  • Senior Care (Medicare, social security, and related topics)
  • Balanced budget efforts
  • Immigration and border security
  • Other community topics as they are requested

Residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for redistribution in our community.  Click this link for more information about the food drive. Food is only accepted on the day of the Town Hall Meeting. The food drive is part of a two-month “hand-up” campaign starting Dec. 1 that Horvath has launched, asking constituents to bring non-perishable foods to her community coffees and town halls.

PEDESTRIAN KILLED IN EL CAJON ON THANKSGIVING NIGHT

East County News Service

November 29, 2019 (El Cajon ) – A woman, 60, died after being struck by a 2001 Tacoma last night shortly after 8 p.m. at the intersection of East Chase and Avocado Avenue.

El Cajon Police officers and paramedics responded to a call reporting the accident. A police officer performed CPR on the unresponsive victim until medics arrived.  She was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her identity is known, but is being withheld until family is notified.

CAJON VALLEY TRUSTEE JILL BARTO FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST DISTRICT, SUPERINTENDENT, AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 28, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Longtime Cajon Valley Union School District Board member Jill Barto on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the district, Superintendent David Miyashiro and four trustees over what her attorney, Mike Aguirre, alleges are violations of her civil and First Amendment rights.

The suit alleges that since she was re-elected to her seat on the Board of Trustees in November 2018, she experienced retaliation and had her civil rights violated by Miyashiro and others after she questioned Miyashiro’s use of district funds and his travel at district expense.

“The School District Board Superintendent and four other board members have retaliated against Plaintiff and conspired against her in violation of her First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution,” the suit alleges. “Defendant’s retaliatory conduct has repeatedly tried to prevent Plaintiff from fully representing the constituents that elected her to the Board,” it continues. The suit lists does 1-50, leaving open the possibility of adding other defendants.

AFTER RULING BY JUDGE, COUNTY REMOVES ALL EQUIPMENT FROM JULIAN FIRE STATION 56, INCLUDING FIRE ENGINES, AMBULANCE AND WATER TENDER

Safety concerns raised; court ruling by Judge Randa Trapp could be death knell to Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 20, 2019 (Julian) -- With a stroke of a gavel, San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp on Friday morning dashed hopes of volunteers from the former Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District that the district will be resurrected anytime soon.

Judge Trapp denied the motion filed by JCFPD’s attorney Cory Briggs last April 10, which sought to invalidate the dissolution of the volunteer fire and medical protection district by the San Diego Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO). Briggs filed the motion to appeal the afternoon after LAFCO’s vote.

Within hours of Trapp’s decision Friday, despite a new appeal of Friday's judgement filed by Briggs, the County Fire Authority operated by CALFIRE raided Julian Fire Station 56, towing away or hauling off all remaining firefighting equipment of the JCFPD including fire engines and ambulances. A broker has reportedly indicated that at least some of the equipment is being put up for sale, instead of being either held for the JCFPD in case of a win on appeal, or turned over to the CFA/CALFIRE to utilize to protect Julian.

Briggs called the action a “raid.”  Some Julian residents cried, while others voiced anger.

The action leaves Julian entirely dependent upon the CFA/CAL FIRE for protection, despite grave concerns raised by many residents over serious gaps in equipment and coverage since the JCFPD was dissolved.

SNOW FALLING ON I-8, HEAVY SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAINS AS OTHER AREAS FLOOD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Robert Scheid:  Snow falls along I-8 near the Sunrise Highway exit

November 28, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s a white Christmas across East County’s mountains and rural areas. Snow is falling along Interstate 8 east of Alpine.

A blanket of snow covers the Cuyamaca area, Cal Trans reports on Twitter.  In Warner Springs, chains or snow tires are required, with two inches of snow on Chihuahua Valley Road, NBC 7 reports. Snow is heavy in the Julian area, leaving some residents snowed in, sources told ECM.

WHITE THANKSGIVING FORECAST FOR MOUNTAINS, FLASH FLOOD WATCH ALSO ISSUED AS “DANGEROUS” WINTER STORM TO IMPACT HOLIDAY TRAVELERS

 

East County News Service

November 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A winter storm watch has been issued for the National Weather Service from Wednesday at 4 a.m. through Friday at 10 p.m. for all mountain areas in San Diego County. There is also a flash flood watch for areas west of the mountains from Wed. at 4 a.m. through Thursday at 10 p.m.

Heavy mountain snow will bring hazardous travel conditions Wednesday through Friday, with accumulating snow down to 3,000 feet by Thanksgiving night.  Up to three feet could accumulate above 5,000 feet including Mt. Laguna and Palomar, with several inches at lower elevations.

WHO WANTS TO BE THE NEXT LEMON GROVE COUNCILMEMBER AND PLANNNG COMMISSIONER? HERE ARE ALL THE APPLICANTS

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The Lemon Grove City Council will hold a special meeting on December 2 at 6 p.m. to interview applicants to fill vacancies on the City Council and Planning Commission.  A wide range of people have applied for these positions, bringing a diversity of skills and backgrounds. 

Here are summaries of each applicant's primary qualifications and aspirations:

EAST COUNTY FOSTER CARE TOWN HALL AND TURKEY GIVEAWAY WED. IN EL CAJON

 

 

East County News Service

November 21, 2019 (El Cajon) – The People’s Alliance for Justice and its president, national civil rights activist Rev. Shane Harris, will host a town hall forum on foster care disparity Wednesda,Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. (check in at 5 p.m.) at the Choice Harvest CHurch, 760 Palm Ave. in El Cajon.

Free turkeys will be provided to attendees. Call 619-354-8051 to RSVP for the turkey giveway.

You’re invited to the free event to learn about injustices in the foster care system, hear from foster youths and professional to discuss changes they believe are needed

This event will be moderated by East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery.  Call (619)354-8051 to RSVP and register for a free turkey, or email paj@peoplesallianceforjustice.net.

CHP HOLIDAY WEEKEND ENFORCEMENT PLANNED; SAFETY TIPS ALSO OFFERED FOR RAINY WEATHER

East County News Service

Nov. 26, 2019 (San Diego) Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel times in America, it can also be one of the deadliest on the roadways. CHP officers will educate motorists and enforce traffic safety laws throughout the state to ensure everyone has a safe holiday. Officers will be actively looking for unsafe driving practices, including seat belt violations, speed, distracted driving and, of course, signs of driving impairment.

To help motorists avoid tragedies, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will have all available officers on patrol during this maximum enforcement period Wed. Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday, Dec. 1. 

COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY APPROVES REQUIRING COUNTYWIDE VOTER APPROVAL FOR 2 AGENCIES SEEKING TO LEAVE REGIONAL CONTROL

Regional electorate should weigh in on plans by Fallbrook and Rainbow water agencies

East County News Service

November 26, 2019 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors last week authorized actions to ensure all San Diego County voters are heard on plans by the Rainbow and Fallbrook water agencies to leave the regional water wholesaler and instead join a Riverside County water agency.

Rainbow’s Water District Manager Tom Kennedy has said the Riverside District charges $1,000 per acre foot of water, substantially less than the SDCWA which charges about $1,600 per acre foot – an annual savings of $5.6 to $6 million for Rainbow area customers, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in June.

ALPINE FIRE CHIEF BILL PASKLE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Source: Alpine Fire Dept.

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Nov. 26, 2019 (Alpine) The Alpine Fire Protection District (AFPD) has announced the retirement of fire chief, Bill F. Paskle, effective Dec. 30.

At their meeting, held on Nov. 19, Paskle submitted a letter to the board of directors that board president Jim Easterling read aloud during the meeting and thanked the fire chief for his years of service to the district.

8 TIPS TO MAKE ONLINE HOLIDAY SHOPPING MERRY AND BRIGHT IN 2019

By Suzanne Schlundt, Cox Communications
 
November 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- In 2018, shoppers spent $7.9 billion during Cyber Monday, up from $6.69 billion in 2017. This year, experts predict a 20% increase in Cyber Monday online sales on Dec. 2, coming in at $9.5 billion. And with one less shopping week this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, consumers may be even more focused on Cyber Monday to secure gifts in time for family festivities.
 
Online shopping is a great way to find deals and save time when you can’t get to a store’s physical location, but don’t forget to keep your guard up when making those online purchases. 

EXPLOSIVE CAVE FIRE THREATENS HOMES IN SANTA BARBARA

By Miriam Raftery

November 25, 2019 (Santa Barbara) – The fast-moving #CaveFire that started shortly after 4  p.m. along Highway 154 in the Los Padres National Forest near Painted Cave has scorched over 3,100 acres, forcing evacutions. Homes are threatened and the fire is encroaching northern portions of the city of Santa Barbara and Goleta tonight, while many are without power due to a proactive utility shut-off.

View a map of the evacuation zone here:  https://sbcoem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=ff627ef192de40b6b19c7c2718f59028

THIS SHOPPING SEASON, BE LIKE SANTA: CHECK YOUR RECEIPTS, CHECK THEM TWICE

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Nov. 25, 2019 (San Diego) Thanksgiving and Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping events of the year, are here again.

That means this is the perfect time to remind shoppers: remember to double-check your receipts so you don’t get accidentally overcharged by faulty cash register price scanners.

COUNTY GETS $1.7 MILLION TO HOUSE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Nov. 25, 2019 (San Diego) The County Health and Human Services Agency was awarded more than $1.7 million in federal funds to house people with disabilities.

The $1,753,026 comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which awarded more than $130 million to 325 housing authorities across the nation. The County was one of 25 California counties and cities, including Oceanside, to receive this type of federal housing grants.

CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTERS ENDORSE STEVE VAUS FOR SUPERVISOR IN DISTRICT 2



 

East County News Service

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) – The CAL FIRE firefighters union has endorsed Poway Mayor Steve Vaus for Supervisor.

“We recognize that Steve has a proven ability to bring people together to get things done. Most importantly, he truly cares about helping the hard-working men and women protecting our community,” says Patrick Walker, Vice President of CAL FIRE Local #2881 10th district.

FPPC CLOSED COMPLAINT AGAINST ROSIAK AND WITHDREW WARNING LETTER

 

Update Nov. 25, 2019:  Lemon Grove has confirmed that it has no records of any prior complaints filed against any other candidates for violation of campaign contribution or disclosure requirements in the past 10 years.

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Earlier this month, we reported that the city of Lemon Grove has filed a complaint in Superior Court accusing Rosiak of misdemeanors in her 2018 campaign over campaign contributions and disclosure requirements, but Rosiak accused the city of improperly targeting her for political retribution.  Rosiak told ECM, “The FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) cannot provide help or an opinion, but my filings were received by them and they have no issues with me.” 

The city contends that Rosiak borrowed money from her campaign and didn’t pay it back within 30 days, nor disclose expenditures on her behalf totaling over $100.  The city claims Rosiak violated state and city laws.

ECM asked the FPPC for a record of any FPPC complaint against Rosiak and the resolution, and the FPPC has now responded.

The FPPC confirmed that did send  a warning letter on July 13, 2018 regarding a missed filing deadline of form 470 in her campaign for Lemon Grove City Council. However, that warning letter was later withdrawn on July 16, 2018 after Rosiak stated she had sent a copy of the statement to the County Registrar’s office 10 days before the deadline via U.P.S. When notified by the Registrar that it had not arrived, she emailed a copy of the paperwork which she had retained.

HUNTER DUMPS LEGAL TEAM

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2019 (Alpine) – Indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter has fired his three trial attorneys a month before his federal corruption trial is slated to begin Jan. 22.  Hunter wants former District Attorney Paul Pfingst to represent him – but now the U.S. Attorney is asking the court to disqualify Pfingst over a conflict of interest since Pfingst’s law firm  (Higgs, Fletcher & Mack) represented witnesses who testified to the grand jury that later indicted Hunter.

SDG&E RECEIVES RECOGNITION FOR WILDFIRE SAFETY INNOVATIONS AND “OUTSTANDING” ELECTRIC RELIABILITY

For 14th consecutive year, SDG&E named best in the west for electric reliability 

 

East County News Service

 

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) --  Every day, 3.6 million people in San Diego and southern Orange counties depend on San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to power their homes and businesses. Now, PA Consulting has honored the company with the inaugural national Community Safety Award for wildfire safety innovations and a regional ReliabilityOne™ Award for being the best in the West. 

STORMY THANKSGIVING COULD BRING SNOW BELOW 3,000 FEET, THUNDERSTORMS AND HEAVY RAINS ACROSS REST OF REGION

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re heading over the rivers and through the woods this Thanksgiving week, you might just wind up traveling through white and drifted snow, as the popular song lyrics go—not to mention rain and flash flooding, too, making for hazardous roadway conditions across southern California, the National Weather Service warns.

The National Weather Service predicts a major winter storm will bring significant snowfall of one to two feet above 5,000 feet by Wednesday, with the snow level dropping to 3,000 feet or even lower by Friday.  Snow could impact I-8 through San Diego County’s mountains, as well as areas such as Cuyamaca, Julian, Jacumba Hot Springs, Descanso, Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain locally, as well as the Cajon Pass on I-15 for those heading north.

FORMER SHERIFF’S CAPTAIN GARMO INDICTED FOR GUN TRAFFICKING, LYING TO FEDS, AND TIPPING OFF COUSIN WHO OWNED POT SHOP ON RAIDS

Jeweler Leo Hamel, Lt. Fred Magana plead guilty to aiding in scheme; gun dealer and El Cajon resident also charged

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Indicted former Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Captain Marco Garmo, courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

November 22, 2019 (San Diego) --  Former Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo was arrested this morning based on a federal grand jury indictment that charges him with operating an illegal firearms trafficking business – at times from his office at the Rancho San Diego Station with the help of others, including a fellow Sheriff’s deputy.

The indictment also charges Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Fred Magana, prominent San Diego jeweler Leo Hamel, firearms dealer Giovanni Tilotta and El Cajon resident Waiel Anton with aiding and abetting Garmo’s illegal firearms business.

IMPEACHMENT HEARING HIGHLIGHTS: WEEK TWO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: President Donald Trump with Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who donated a million dollars to Trump's campaign but provided damning testimony implicating Trump and top officials in illegal activities.

November 22, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – The second week of impeachment hearings before the House Intelligence Committee brought drama and surprises. Below are highlights of key witness testimony and summation statements from the Committee's top Democrat and Republican Senators.

Ambassador Sondland: “Was there a quid pro quo?...The answer is yes…Everyone was in the loop.”

ECM CONTRIBUTING EDITOR PAUL KRUZE TO BE ONE OF THE ANNOUNCERS AT MOTHER GOOSE PARADE

East County News Service

November 22, 2019 (El Cajon) -- East County Magazine’s award-winning Contributing Editor, Paul Kruze, will be one of several celebrity announcers at this year’s iconic “Mother Goose Parade” set to hit the streets of downtown El Cajon on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. on Main Street.

“I’m truly honored to be a part of this classic start to the holiday season,” said Kruze, who has been a part of East County Magazine for nearly a decade. “The best part of my work is when I get to meet so many people who are involved in our community."

JOURNALISTS SUE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DEFEND FREE PRESS IN ACLU LAWSUIT

Government created secret dossier on journalists, interrogated them at border for information on sources and reporting

Source:  ACLU

November 21, 2019 (San Diego) -- Five journalists who were tracked, detained, and interrogated by the Department of Homeland Security in an unprecedentedcoordinated attack on the freedom of the press are suing to defend the First Amendment. The journalists were all reporting on conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border. On multiple separate occasions in 2018 and 2019, U.S. border officers targeted the journalists for secondary screening at the border, compelled them to disclose information about their sources and observations as journalists, and even searched through their photos and notes.

TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION TARGETS BORDER WALL IN CAMPO IN BRAZEN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Smugglers cut the old border wall to facilitate an alien smuggling attempt.
 
November 21, 2019 (Campo) -- U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16 individuals Wednesday afternoon after smugglers cut the old landing mat border wall to facilitate a vehicle drive-thru human smuggling incident.

SIRENS, TEXTS, EVEN CHURCH BELLS: CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE ALERTS AND EVACUATIONS STILL AD HOC

By Julie Cart, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Residents evacuating from the Holy Fire near Lake Elsinore in 2018. Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG

November 21, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - When a fast-moving wildfire marched toward the town of Paradise more than a year ago, few who lived there were aware of it. Even though the community used the CodeRED automated emergency warning system, less than 40% of residents subscribed to the alerts.

“GOT POWER” PROGRAM ON GENERATORS AND BACK-UP POWER OPTIONS SPARKS INTEREST IN ALPINE

By Chris Whipple
 
Photo:   Alpine residents Sally and Brian Shepherd speaking with Robyn Herrick and Israel Juarez of SDGE.
 
November 21, 2019 (Alpine) -- East County residents braved the rain Monday evening to attend a community presentation at the Alpine Library titled, "Got Power?"  Representatives from KAMPS Propane, SDG&E, and Clayco Electric Inc. Solar answered questions about the Public Safety Power Shutoff program in East County during Santa Ana, high-wind conditions.  Chris Whipple, a resident of Flinn Springs, also made a brief presentation about back-up power plans that allow her to use her medical CPAP equipment when the power is out.   

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