FEBRUARY CALFRESH BENEFITS TO BE ISSUED EARLY

JAMUL CASINO TO SPICE UP SAN DIEGO RESTAURANT WEEK

PIANIST YUKO MARUYAMA PERFORMS FEB. 10 AT MISSION TRAILS CHURCH

SEALS WIN HOME-OPENER IN FRONT OF NEAR-CAPACITY CROWD

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET AIMS TO LOWER PREMIUMS, EXPAND MEDI-CAL

SIGNUP DEADLINE FOR COVERED CA HEALTH PLANS IS TUESDAY

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPROVES DOCKLESS VEHICLE REGULATIONS

STORM SYSTEM SWOOPS INTO REGION BRINGING HEAVY RAIN, SNOW AND WAVES UP TO 14 FEET

MAN WANTED FOR TRYING TO LURE BOY, 12, INTO PICKUP TRUCK IN SANTEE

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

SANTEE CONSIDERS SHIFT TO COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY

FEDERAL SHUTDOWN HALTS CONTROLLED BURNS IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

News

TWO KILLED IN NEW YEAR’S EVE CRASH IN JAMUL

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2019 (Jamul) – Two young people were killed in a collision with a sport utility vehicle (SUV) that occurred around 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, December 31st Campo Road (Highway 94) near Lyons Valley Road in Jamul, one mile north of the Jamul Casino.

Yannis Alekos Floros, 21, was driving east on the highway approaching the intersection when he lost control and spun sideways into oncoming traffic. The passenger side of the vehicle collided with the front end of a westbound SUV.  Floros was transported to a trauma center where despite aggressive resuscitation efforts, he was pronounced dead a short time later, on January 1, 2019, the County Medical Examiner’s office reports.

Tabia Watson, 20, was found unresponsive in the passenger seat of Floros’ vehicle; despite life saving measures, she died at the scene.

NANCY PELOSI ELECTED HOUSE SPEAKER AS NEW MEMBERS SWORN IN WITH DEMOCRATS IN CHARGE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn in, surrounded by her grandchildren and other children invited to the podium for the occasion.

January 3, 2019 (Washington D.C.)—On the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote, more than 100 women were sworn into the 116th Congress, where Democrats now have a solid majority and oversight powers.  Key challenges facing the new Congress include resolving how to end a government shutdown standoff as well as investigating alleged abuses of power, collusion with Russia and other crimes that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been investigating involving the Trump administration, Trump campaign officials and potentially, the President himself.   

Democrats promptly elected California representative Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Pelosi previously served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011 and has also served as House Minority Leader.

NEW YEAR, NEW RULES: CALIFORNIA LAWS THAT WILL MATTER IN 2019

 

By Dan Morain, CALMatters

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

January 2, 2019 (San Diego) - Happy New Year, California.

One thousand sixteen aspects of California life evidently needed fixing in 2018. That’s the number of bills Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last year. Most take effect today. Many are narrow, affecting interests that pushed for them. Some are sweeping, such as those that dealt with wildfire and climate change. A few directly affect you, though, and we’ve made them the focus of the first New Laws edition of WhatMatters.

FLU AND MENINGITIS KILLS CONSERVATIVE WRITER/COMMENTATOR BRE PAYTON IN SAN DIEGO

 

East County News Service

January 1, 2019 (San Diego) – Bre Payton, 26, a conservative writer for the Federalist magazine and frequent guest commentator on Fox News and other networks, died Friday in San Diego from H1N! (swine) flu and meningitis. Her friend, Morgan Murtaugh, was staying over the holidays at Payton’s San Diego apartment and found her unconscious on Friday, December 27th, shortly after Payton was diagnosed with the flu, the New York Times reports.

TEMECULA’S MAYOR RAHN ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY AGAINST REP. HUNTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2019 (San Diego) – Temecula Mayor Matt Rahn has filed papers to run against Congressman Duncan Hunter, a fellow Republican, in 2020, the Valley News reports. A scientist and land use consultant with background in ecology and sustainability, Rahn has represented San Diego State University  and the Pechanga tribe in their battle against the proposed Liberty Quarry, the Riverside Press Enterprise reported.

SNOWFALL IN EAST COUNTY’S MOUNTAINS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Mt. Laguna, courtesy SDG&E camera via HP Wren

January 1, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Two and a half inches of snow have fallen in Julian on New Year’s Eve, with an inch reported atop Mt. Laguna and Mt. Palomar.  A light dusting of snow fell at lower elevations including Cuyamaca in East County’s mountains.

SINKHOLE DISPLACES SPRING VALLEY MOBILE HOME RESIDENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM news partner 10 News

January 1, 2019 (Spring Valley) – A collapsed culvert caused a sinkhole to open in the Sweetwater Lodge trailer park on Jamacha Road yesterday.   Two residents of a nearby mobile home were evacuated to temporary lodging arranged by the park owner.

FREEZING TEMPERATURES, HIGH WINDS START OFF THE NEW YEAR







By Miriam Raftery

East County News Service

December 31, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Frost and freeze warnings and watches are in effect for much of our region tonight through Thursday, with snow levels forecast to dip down to 3,500 feet. Temperatures could fall as low as 25 degrees in some East County mountain and desert areas – cold enough to freeze pipes and sensitive plants. High winds are also forecast across inland valleys, with gusts up to 75 miles per hour.

Light showers and snowfall fell at higher elevations today, with additional precipitation expected through 10 p.m. tonight and icy roads likely.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH BERNARD MAURICIA, THE SEANY FOUNDATION, HELPING “KIDS BE KIDS” WHILE BATTLING CANCER



Hear our interview with Bernard Mauricia, Vice President of Marketing at The Seany Foundation: click here to listen or download

 

Get Well Soon Retreat January 26 is latest program to help families of pediatric cancer patients



By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2018 (San Diego) – “We have to be able to go out and advocate for kids with cancer to just be kids, and for families to be able to breathe…to have tools and resources to support them through their cancer journey,” says La Mesa resident Bernard Mauricia, vice president of marketing at The Seany Foundation.

The foundation runs Camp Reach for the Sky, funds cancer research and support programs for families of children with cancer. The organization also has several events coming up including a Get Well Soon Retreat in January.

The San Diego-based foundation has a mission to fund meaningful projects that enhance the lives of children and young adults affected by cancer.  The Seany Foundation is named for Sean Lewis Robins (1983-2006), who was diagnosed at age 16 with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He spent seven years battling the disease, becoming an inspiration to others with his mantra, “When nothing is certain, everything is possible!”

Audio: 

Interview with Bernard Mauricia, The Seany Foundation

MAN WHO DIED IN SHERIFF’S PATROL CAR IN SANTEE IS IDENTIFIED AS WARREN MORRIS

 

East County News Service

December 29, 2018 (Santee) – Warren Morris, 51, has been identified by the County Medical Examiner’s office as the man found by Sheriff’s deputies lying on a sidewalk near Walmart in Santee on the afternoon of December 23rd. 

TRUMP THREATENS TO SHUT DOWN BORDER AS FEDERAL SHUTDOWN CONTINUES

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2018 (San Diego) – As a government shutdown over a budget impasse enters its second week, President Donald Trump today threatened to shut down the entire U.S.-Mexico border indefinitely unless Congress passes a budget with billions of dollars in funding to build a border wall.

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump said in a morning tweet. 

But in fact, Republicans still control both the House and Senate until January 3, when Democrats will become the majority party in the House of Representatives—and Congress adjourned for the holidays without passing the President’s budget.

The San Diego and Imperial County Chambers of Commerce estimated that a one-day border shutdown at San Ysidro, one of the world's busiest border crossings, over Thanksgiving weekend cost an estimated $5 million in lost revenues to the San Diego County economy. 

CAL FIRE/COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY ORDERS REMOVAL OF PROTECTIVE GEAR FROM JULIAN-CUYAMACA VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

CAL FIRE/County Fire Authority moves out of JCFPD fire station, returns to former office in Julian.

New JCFPD board puts Chief Van Bibber back in charge; radio service also restored for volunteer firefighters.

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

VIDEO of December 13 JCFPD Board Meeting

December 28, 2018 (Julian)--The knockdown, drag-out fight between CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Fire Authority versus the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) went another round last week when County Supervisors voted to hold a special election in Julian this spring.

Julian citizens gathered enough signatures to put the fate of the JCFPD to a direct special election vote on Mar. 19, 2019. But Supervisors’ decision to confirm the people’s right to vote on saving the county’s last volunteer fire district from a county takeover has done little to heal the smarting.

Cal OSHA was called out on Nov. 30 to Julian Fire Station 56 to enforce an order by County Fire Authority Chief Jeremi Roesler requiring that all JCFPD firefighter Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) be inspected and inventoried. He unilaterally directed that all firefighter “turnouts” or PPE gloves, jackets, helmets – be inspected and inventoried for official reasons unknown to him. Each set of PPE or “turnouts” is worth about $4,000 dollars.

Instead of notifying the JCFPD or volunteer firefighters beforehand of the inspection, the search was conducted unannounced and numerous pieces of gear were removed from service. The Sheriff was notified when firefighters’ personal property was allegedly taken.

MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE A GIVING TREE: RECYCLE IT

 

We love them, twinkling with holiday lights, adorned with ornaments and loaded with gifts beneath them. But eventually, we all have to say goodbye to our Christmas tree.

And if yours is a real tree, the County of San Diego urges you to recycle it properly. Check with your trash company to find out if they offer curbside pickup—many do. Or go to San Diego County’s recycling and hazardous waste database at WasteFreeSD.org to find Christmas tree drop-off sites. Just type “Christmas tree” and your location information into the search bar.

SIERRA CLUB WINS CLIMATE ACTION SUIT AGAINST SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

East County News Service

December 26, 2018 (San Diego) -- Today, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor found that the County of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP)  fails to achieve state goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  In his decision, Judge Taylor ruled on behalf of the Sierra Club, finding that the County’s policy of allowing developers to offset emissions in locations outside of our region do not provide the required enforceable, verifiable and long-term emission reductions mandated.

The ruling could halt consideration of major housing projects in the pipeline, such as Newland Sierra,  unless the developers offer mitigation locally.

PINE VALLEY CELEBRATES OPENING OF NEW FIRE STATION

 

Another new fire station opened in the backcountry Tuesday, strengthening fire safety for a number of outlying communities.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in Pine Valley and celebrated the opening of a two-story, 13,090-square-foot fire station that is almost double the size of the previous building. The structure is designed for full-time firefighters and replaces a facility that was built in 1974.

BEN AND JESSICA KALASHO FRAUD AND HARRASMENT CASE TURNS TO POSSIBLE SETTLEMENT THROUGH MEDIATION

 

Insiders say Kalashos may still be subject to criminal prosecution over alleged fraudulent mortgage filings

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

December 25, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The fraud and harassment case against El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, tacked in a different direction on Friday, December 14th when litigants faced San Diego Superior Court Kenneth J. Medel and announced that they reached an agreement to attempt to resolve the case through mediation.

RAMONA MAN AND CHILD KILLED IN CHRISTMAS EVE COLLSION; THREE OTHERS INJURED

Update: The driver of the Toyota has also died. He has been identified as Gonzalo Rodriguez.

The child who perished has been identified as Christian Diaz, per the San DIego County Medical Examiner.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

December 24, 2018 (Ramona) – A small boy was killed in a two vehicle collision in Ramona late this morning on State Route 78 east of Haverford Rd. near Ramona. Four other people were injured in the Christmas Eve crash, including a second child who has been life-flighted to a hospital.

According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, a 44-year-old Ramona man was driving a 2002 Toyota Camry westbound, with three passengers, when his vehicle veered off the road onto the shoulder. According to witnesses, he over-corrected and crossed the center lines into the path of an eastbound 2014 Dodge Ram SUV driven by a 77-year-old man from Falls City, Oregon. The vehicles collided head-on.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: EAST COUNTY 2018

Hear audio version



By Miriam Raftery



‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all across East County

Not a creature was stirring, from Julian to El Monte.

The stockings were hung by the chimneys with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there.

Audio: 

Night Before Christmas East County 2018 audio

PADRE DAM’S WATER RECLAMATION PROJECT DEEMED AFFORDABLE

 

By Mike Allen

December 23, 2018 (Santee) -- Based on future cost projections that involve multiple agencies and variable prices such as power and labor, the Advanced Water Purification Program still makes sense and is worth pursuing, staffers from Padre Dam Municipal Water District told its board this week.

RAIN, STRONG WINDS FORECAST OVER CHRISTMAS: SNOW POSSIBLE AT HIGH ELEVATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Two storms are forecast to bring strong winds up to 60 mph, chilly temperatures and rain to our region starting Tuesday, Christmas morning, through Friday. Light snow may fall above 5,000 feet, with up to two inches of snow potentially bringing a whtie Christmas atop Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain, our region’s highest peaks.

NEARLY 2,200 RESIDENTS EXPRESS OPPOSITION TO COTTONWOOD SAND MINE

 

East County News Service

Photo: Cottonwood Golf, site of proposed sand mine

December 21, 2018 (Rancho San Diego) - In a significant show of early community strength, the Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine Committee this week submitted over 2,100 petition signatures to the County of San Diego from area residents opposed to the plan for a 10-12 year sand mining operation on the current site of the Cottonwood Golf Course in Rancho San Diego. 

TWO KILLED IN HEAD-ON COLLISION AT DULZURA

 

East County News Service

December 21, 2018 (Dulzura) -- A head-on collision in Dulzura killed two drivers last night around 9:50 p.m. on State Route 94 east of Barrett Smith Road.

A woman was driving a 2007 Ford Fusion eastbound, reportedly at a high rate of speed, when her vehicle crossed the center line and collided with a 2004 Honda Accord driven by a man, 35.  

TRUMP ORDER TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM SYRIA AND AFGHANISTAN SPARKS BIPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL CONCERN AND RESIGNATION OF DEFENSE SECRETARY MATTIS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned in his resignation letter of Russian efforts to "shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model...to promote their own interets at the epxens of their neighbors, America and our allies."

December 21, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Prominent Congressional leaders in both parties have voiced alarm over President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday that he plans to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. He also ordered the Pentagon to withdraw half of America’s forces from Afghanistan starting in January.

While that may come as welcome news to families of long-deployed military members, the decision was made without consulting Congress, military leaders or key cabinet officials. Many experts warn that this could plunge the region into chaos, allow ISIS terrorists to regain power, also benefitting Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has backed Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, as well as Russia’s ally, Iran.

It has also resulted in resignation of Defense Secretary and retired General Jim Mattis, known as the "warrior monk" for his deliberative approach to fully studying military matters before making key decisions.

SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN LOOMS IN SENATE

By Miriam Raftery

December 21, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump says he will shut down the government at midnight  unless the Repubilcan-controlled Senate passes a budget with $5 billion in funding for a border wall.  Trump claims this would be a “Democrat shutdown.”  The House already passed the measure yesterday down party lines.

But dozens of Senators have already left Washington for the holidays and it appears ulikely that enough votes will be mustered for passage.

Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), chair of the Senate’s budget committee, has stated flatly, “No, he won’t have 60 votes over here.”

STATE DROPS PLANS FOR PAROLE OFFICE IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2018 (La Mesa) – Nearly 1,800 residents who signed a petition opposing a state parole office in La Mesa got an early Christmas present.

Today, City Manager Yvonne Garrett received a message from Jerry Powers, director of the state’s division of adult parole operations, advising that the agency has determined that “due to functional and logistical issues this site is unworkable for our needs at this time.  We will continue to review other locations in the eastern San Diego County area in our efforts to provide services more directly to the parolee population and the citizens of East County.”

The state had proposed the facility at 9400 Grossmont Summit Drive, next to homes on Mt. Helix and the Brigantine Restaurant and within a quarter mile of Grossmont High School. The closest trolley stop would have been shared by high school and middle school students, with violent parolees and sex offenders walking directly past two schools.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WANTS MIGRANTS TO WAIT IN MEXICO FOR ASYLUM HEARINGS; COURT BLOCKS TRUMP DENIAL OF ASYLUM TO DOMESTIC AND GANG VIOLENCE VICTIMS



By Miriam Raftery

December 20,2018 (San Diego) – Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen today announced that Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. must wait in Mexico until their hearing dates, except for unaccompanied minors. But the action is likely to be challenged in court—and thus far, federal courts have consistently ruled against the Trump administration efforts to restrict the rights of asylum seekers.

EAST COUNTY STORIES OF THE YEAR IN 2018





By Miriam Raftery, Editor

December 20, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s been a turbulent year across East County.  Some of our top stories were purely local issues – a fire that ravaged Alpine, battles to stop sand mines in Lakeside and Rancho San Diego, debate over the future of Julian’s fire department, the controversies embroiling El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho, the indictment of Congressman Duncan Hunter, growing pains in Santee, and protests over a proposed parole office in La Mesa, to name a few. 

Other top stories reflect local impacts of national  and statewide actions, such as  impacts of marijuana legalization, concerns over a child migrant detention center in El Cajon, protests over gun violence in schools, the e-scooter craze, homelessness, and new faces swept into office during the election.

Here are the issues and events with the biggest impacts across East County that East County Magazine has covered in 2018, from January 1st through year's end.

DRIVE-BY SHOOTING IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

December 19, 2018 (Spring Valley) – A man was shot in the head last night around 10:30 p.m. but fortunately is expected to survive.  Shots were fired from a white four-door vehicle near Jamacha Blvd. and Grand Avenue in the La Presa area of Spring Valley.

Fortunately, the victim is expected to survive, Patch.com reports, citing Lt. Karla Menzies.

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