DMV FURTHER EXTENDS EXPIRING DRIVERS LICENSES

RESIDENTS, HEALTHCARE GROUPS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO RESTAURANT AND RETAIL REOPENINGS

HEAT WAVE MAY BREAK RECORDS THIS WEEK

FLAGS FLY AT HALF-STAFF THROUGH MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TO HONOR CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS AND MILITARY KILLED SERVING U.S.

REV. SHANE PROTESTS CUTS TO LIBRARY FUNDING ON BIRTHDAY OF MALCOLM X

EL CAJON APPROVES RENT AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE: FUNDS LIMITED TO FIRST 150 APPLICANTS STARTING MAY 26

VIEJAS CASINO REOPENING BALANCES ECONOMIC NEED AND PUBLIC SAFETY

PRESCRIBED BURN IN CUYAMACA AREA DID NOT JUMP CONTAINMENT LINE, CAL FIRE SAYS, BUT EXTRA RESOURCES WERE CALLED

OUR GUIDE TO LOCAL FARMS AND FARM-FRESH PRODUCTS SOLD DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS

STATE APPROVES SAN DIEGO PLAN TO REOPEN DINE-IN RESTAURANTS AND IN-STORE RETAIL SHOPPING

FIVE-STORY MIXED USE COMPLEX IN LEMON GROVE IS A GO

LOCAL WRITERS AND TEACHERS HELP OTHERS THROUGH THE SMALL MOVEMENT

News

SOCIAL MEDIA ERUPTS OVER PHOTOS OF SHOPPER WEARING KKK HOOD IN SANTEE

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

Photo:  Man wearing makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood was photographed by a fellow shopper Saturday at the Santee Vons store.

May 3, 2020 (Santee) - Social media users including the leader of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego expressed outrage this weekend over photos taken Saturday of a male shopper at the Santee Vons wearing a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood.


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STATE SUPERINTENDENT ANNOUNCES NEW BENEFIT PROGRAM TO HELP STUDENTS WITH FOOD INSECURITY DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Source:  State Superintendent’s office
 
May 2, 2020 (Sacramento) -- California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a new food assistance program for children throughout the state who are living in households struggling with food insecurity. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program provides electronic food benefits to families equal to the value of meals children eligible for free or reduced-priced meals would have received at school.

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COUNTY LAUNCHES MOBILE COVID-19 TESTING AFTER CONCERNS RAISED OVER RACIAL DISPARITY; ALSO ANNOUNCES JOBS FOR TRACERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Rev. Shane Harris, People’s Alliance for Justice

 

May 2, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County will deploy mobile testing sites to at-risk communities. The vehicles will include a new Live Well Bus, bookmobiles and other County vehicles, the County announced on Thursday. The County also announced plans to dramatically increase tracing of contacts with each person who tests positive and announced job openings for tracers.


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COVID-19 DISRUPTS REGULAR HEALTHCARE, BUT ELECTIVE SURGERIES CAN RESUME

By Kendra Sitton

Photo:  Telehealth is increasingly being used to provide patients access to physicians (CC by NC-ND)

May 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Governor Gavin Newsom is lifting some hospital restrictions on elective surgeries, bringing parts of the healthcare system back online. COVID-19 has yet to overwhelm hospitals locally, but in preparation, only essential surgeries were conducted for the past two months. Other medical offices switched to telehealth options or shut down completely. For some patients, particularly in East County, health care has gotten harder to access.

In a survey of 1200 cancer patients and survivors, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) found half of them had care that was impacted by the virus. A quarter of those who were impacted had treatment that was delayed and 13% do not know when their care will be rescheduled.


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SANTEE OPENS MAST AND WOODGLEN VISTA PARKS, INCLUDING DOG PARKS

By Miriam Raftery

May 1, 2020 (Santee) – The city of Santee today announced the reopening of Mast Park and Woodglen Vista Park, with some limitations to prevent spread of COVID-19. (see below)  All other parks remain closed, however all trails and walking paths remain open.

The city asks everyone to follow the regulations below “so we can keep these parks open, and hopefully open more parks in the near future.”


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TWO MAJOR SAN DIEGO HOSPITAL CHAINS SEEK 'URGENT' FEDERAL HELP ON BORDER

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

Photo:  A Scripps Health medical team. Group president/CEO says San Diego needs “PPE, pharmaceuticals and scarce medical equipment needed in this type of pandemic.” Photo courtesy of Scripps

May 1, 2020 (San Diego) - Executives with Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare, two major San Diego hospital chains, have written to the federal government seeking “urgent action” to combat COVID-19 along the U.S.-Mexico border.


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FARMERS UNION CITES CONCERNS OVER EXECUTIVE ORDER ON MEAT PLANTS

By Mike Moen, Public News Service

Photo:  Unions across the country say the meat processing industry should have enacted adequate worker safeguards long before the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)

May 1, 2020 (Madison, Wis.) - At least 20 meat processing plants have closed temporarily across the country, including one in Wisconsin, following the spread of COVID-19 cases at these facilities.

And some say President Donald Trump was too quick to sign an order to keep all plants open during the crisis.


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REMINDER: MASKS REQUIRED FOR THESE ACTIVITIES STARTING TODAY

East County News Service
 
May 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Starting today, all San Diego County residents over age 2 must wear a face-mask when within six feet of others in public places, as well as when riding on public transit, shopping or certain other activities. However exercising with social distancing will be exempted from the order set for release this week, according to ECM news partner 10 News.
 
Here are examples of where you will be required to cover your nose and mouth:
 
  • Waiting in line to enter a store.
  • Shopping in a store or other essential business,
  • Picking up food at a restaurant,
  • Waiting on transit or riding on public transportation, such as a bus, trolley or train,
  • Riding in a taxi or rideshare vehicle,
  • At a healthcare facility or
  • Working at an essential job where you interact with the public.
 
Here are examples of where you will not have wear a mask:

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BODY FOUND IN OTAY MOUNTAINS WHERE DIRT BIKER WENT MISSING

Photo: Roberto Jose Manual Camou
Photo Courtesy: SD County Sheriff's Dept.
 
East County News Service
 
April 30, 2020 (Otay) –  A body was located shortly before noon yesterday on a rugged trail south of Otay Mountain, says Lt. Ricardo Lopez with the San Diego Sheriff’s department.  This is the area where Sheriff's deputies, the Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit and other partner agencies had been looking for missing dirt biker Roberto Jose Manual Camou.
 
Camou, 48, went off-roading on a motorcycle on Saturday, April 25th. The last time Camou's family heard from him was around noon that day, when he sent them a photo of him standing next to his motorcycle. 
 
Since then, the San Diego Sheriff's Department along with the San Diego Fire Department, U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR), California State Parks, California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) and other partner agencies have been working day and night trying to find Camou. 

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COUNTY REOPENS PARKS AND GOLF COURSES, ALLOWS BOATING

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Starting tomorrow, a new county health order eases many restrictions on recreational facilities. Specifically:

  • All county parks will be reopened, with 50% parking capacity for social distancing.
  • Members of the same household can picnic or participate in sports or other activities in parks, but gatherings are still prohibited.
  • Recreational boating can resume at local lakes, bays and the ocean, however passengers must be in the same household.
  • Golf courses can also reopen, but golf carts are not allowed. Courses must provide physical distancing and conduct temperature screenings on all golfers.


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GOVERNOR HEEDS LOCAL LEADERS’ REQUESTS, CLOSES ONLY ORANGE COUNTY BEACHES

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson at Pacific Beach
 
April 30, 2020 (San Diego) – After crowds packed Newport Beach in violation of social distancing mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom today ordered Orange County beaches to shut down. But he backed off a broader order that Reuters News Service reported was under consideration, which could have closed all beaches statewide.

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GOVERNOR ROLLS OUT FOUR-PHASE PLAN TO REOPEN BUSINESSES


By Miriam Raftery

April 29, 2020 (Sacramento) – Low-risk businesses and public spaces may be able to open, with modifications, in “weeks, not months” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a briefing yesterday . He laid out a detailed plan to reopen the state in four phases, with six key indicators to be met in order to lift restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 health emergency.


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SCHOOL YEAR COULD BEGIN IN JULY OR AUGUST, SAYS GOV. NEWSOM

By Miriam Raftery

April 29, 2020 (Sacramento) – In a briefing yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom suggested California schools could reopen in July or August, provided keys steps are met. 

“We recognize there’s been a learning loss because of this disruption,” Newsom said of school closures since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those closures have impacted 6.1 million students statewide.  “We’re concerned about the learning loss even into the summer,” the Governor added.

Newsom outlined four phases to reopen the state, which is currently in phase one. Phase two would allow some low-risk businesses to reopen, ease restrictions on some public spaces, and potentially include plans to reopen some K-12 schools for either summer school programs or an earlier start to the 2020-2021 school year.


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PASSAGES: FAMED MOTOCROSS CHAMPION MARTY SMITH AND WIFE KILLED IN DUNE BUGGY ROLLOVER

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 28, 2020 (Alpine) – Motocross Hall of Fame champion Marty Smith, 63, died yesterday along with his wife, Nancy in a dune buggy accident at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis, California.  
 
The couple lived in Alpine and are survived by two daughters, a son and grandchildren.
 
TMZ sports reports that the couple was in a dune buggy that flipped and rolled down a hill. According to TMZ, Marty Smith was not wearing a safety harness and his wife wore only a lap belt. 
 
Lee Rampage posted “with a grieving heart” on social media that he and his wife, Tammi, were with the Smiths when the crash occurred.

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EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES HUNKER DOWN TO WAIT OUT PANDEMIC: CITY LEADERS SHARE VIEWS ON REOPENING

By Emmet Pierce

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

April 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East Count) -- Despite a growing desire to return to life as normal, East County residents and businesses are following the state’s COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, officials say.  But some mayors and local business leaders voice concerns over impacts on the business community from extended closures.


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COVID-19 CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY RISE TO 3,141; HUNDREDS OF CASES IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

April 28, 2020 (San Diego) – Over the weekend, 98 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the San Diego County Health and Human Services department. The jump follows the trend in several cities where rallies were held to end shutdowns. The Sheriff arrested several local protesters over the weekend for violating stay-home orders.

The disease has spread rapidly in East County, where El Cajon now has 181 cases, La Mesa 71, Santee 29, Lemon Grove 28, Lakeside 22, Ramona 14, Jamul 6, and Alpine 4.  The communities of Ranchita, Boulevard, Potrero, Julian and Pala each have 2 cases; Borrego Springs, Descanso, and Tecate each have at least 1 case. View an interactive map with the latest updates on local cases by community.


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NEW FINDINGS SHOW COVID-19 TIED TO DEADLY CLOTS , STROKES, AND LONG-TERM ORGAN DAMAGE IN SURVIVORS

By Jake Zawlacki

Blood clots can cause strokes, brain and neurological damage; cc image via Bing

April 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- There are still a lot of unknowns regarding COVID-19 and its effects. Over the past few weeks, patient developments have led researchers to investigate previously unknown risks of COVID-19, including blood clots, debilitating strokes in young people, and long-term damage in some survivors.

COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death in the U.S.from April 6-12. It killed an astounding 12,392 people during that period – ten times more than the 1,227 deaths from flu and pneumonia. The coronavirus killed more people than cancer nationwide. Over 50,000 Americans have died from COVID-19,  or roughly the same number killed during the Vietnam War. While the death toll of the 2019-2020 flu season will be unknown for a couple more months, the rates of infection and death are clearly more severe in coronavirus.


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COUNTY'S TWO NEW TESTING SITES OPEN

Video shows some footage of trial site in Oceanside that is not currently open.
 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
April 27, 2020 (San Diego) -- Two new, appointment-only COVID-19 testing sites opened today in Escondido and Chula Vista, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.
 
One of the drive-up free testing sites is at the North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido, and the other is at the Live Well Center in Chula Vista.

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LOCAL RANCHERS AND FARMERS GROW NEW BUSINESS MODELS DURING PANDEMIC

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – “Zoom our Zoo is an online, real-time animal show tailored for your audience,” a message at the Oasis Camel Dairy website reads. 

Owners of the Ramona-based family business face high costs to feed and care for their camels, exotic performing birds, racing turkeys and other animals without public events during the COVID-19 pandemic. So now they are offering interactive programs online to liven up corporate events or entertain kids with virtual birthday parties featuring “camel capers and parrot pranks” through Zoom – for a fee.


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SEARCHERS LOOKING FOR DIRT BIKER BELIEVED MISSING IN OTAY MOUNTAINS

Update: A body has been found in the area where Roberto Camou went missing

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

April 26, 2020 (Otay) – An intensive search is underway for Bobby Camou, who went on a solo ride on his dirt bike round 10 a.m. yesterday but did not return home.  His daughter, Katie Camou  posted on Facebook this morning, “We are fairly certain he went riding in the Otay Mountains near home. He had planned on being home around 4:30 p.m. and we last heard from him at 12:20 p.m. when he sent us a snap shot of himself taking a break, so not hearing from him is making us very scared.”

According to her post, his phone was pinged last night around 10:30 p.m. San Diego Sheriff and Border Patrol have been conducting searches during today’s high heat with dogs, all-terrain vehicles, drones and helicopters.


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BEACH SHUT-DOWN PROTESTERS ARRESTED

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 25, 2020 (Encinitas) – The San Diego Sheriff arrested three protesters today for violating county and state orders against public gatherings during the COVID-19 emergency. The action follows several similar rallies around the county.
 
The protest at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas drew 75-100 demonstrators who called for beaches to be opened. 
 
According to Lt. Amber Baggs, “Several protestors walked onto the beach and sat as deputies began speaking to them regarding the County Public Health Order. The people were given multiple opportunities to comply with the state and county orders. Three attendees refused and were arrested.”

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LOCAL EAST COUNTY SCHOOLS BEGIN DISTANCE LEARNING AFTER MONTH-LONG SHUT DOWN

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

April 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Local East County primary and secondary school began sailing in unchartered waters earlier this week when school districts began offering distance learning for their students because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

East County Magazine reached out to primary and high school districts across our inland region to learn what steps they are taking to educate students remotely.


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FACE COVERINGS MANDATORY STARTING MAY 1, COUNTY ANNOUNCES

 

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

April 24, 2020 (San Diego) - The number of local COVID-19 deaths went up by two and total cases saw a record increase for a second day in a row with an additional 183 confirmed cases, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.


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RESIDENTS URGED TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS DURING HEAT

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

April 24, 2020 (San Diego) - With high temperatures forecast over the next several days, County health officials are encouraging San Diegans to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. People should especially pay close attention to children, the elderly and pets.


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COUNTY OPENING BEACHES TO SWIMMING, SURFING, OTHER WATER SPORTS ON MONDAY

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

Photo:  Lifeguards enforce the closure of city beaches. Photo by Chris Stone

April 24, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County officials announced Friday that coastal cities may reopen beach access for swimming, surfing, paddleboarding and kayaking on Monday.

“The ocean is a symbol of who we are as San Diegans, and it is appropriate at this point that we open up limited access to the ocean as a step in our continued progress,” said Fletcher at the county’s daily media briefing during the coronavirus pandemic..


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NEW SMALL BUSINESS FUNDS APPROVED FOR SBA: APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED STARTING MONDAY, APRIL 27

East County News Service

April 24, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – After the first round of Small Business Administration (SBA) funds for businesses impacted by COVID-19 ran out, Congress approved a new round of funding just signed into law by President Donald Trump.  

The funding window for the new round of funding under the Paycheck Protection, which is designed to help small businesses retain workers, opens Monday morning and must be submitted through an approved lender.  Applications previously submitted before the earlier round of funding runs out are also eligible for funding.

Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement today on the resumption of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP):


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LOAN PROGRAM TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES IN UNINCORPORATED AREA AFTER SBA FUND RUNS OUT OF MONEY

By Miriam Raftery

April 24, 2020 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $5 million loan program to help small businesses in the unincorporated area that have suffered losses because of COVID-19.

After more than a month of mandatory shut-downs, promised relief has not arrived for many businesses and individuals.  Pam Garcia owns a hair salon in the unincorporated area of El Cajon.  “None of my self-employed people have gotten unemployment. I filled for small business help and have received not even a letter,” she posted on Facebook. “ I also have not received my stimulus.”


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SANTEE GETS STIMULUS FUNDS FROM CARES, CITY EYES LOOSENING OF CURRENT RESTRICTIONS

By Mike Allen

Photo: Clockwise L-R: John Minto, Laura Koval, Ronn Hall, Rob McNelis, Stephen Houlahan, and City Clerk Annette Ortiz

April 24, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee is getting $162,000 as part of the federal government’s $2 trillion stimulus package approved last month to help offset the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aid comes from the $150 billion portion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act aimed at helping the states, counties and cities in responding to the coronavirus. This is the same law that included one-time payments to most tax-paying Americans of $1,200 among a wide variety of economic relief programs intended to mitigate the upheaval caused by the pandemic.


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COUNTY MOVES CLOSER TOWARD REOPENING, AS GROWTH IN COVID CASES SLOWS BUT DEATH TOLL MOUNTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilima Wooten urges everyone to wear masks in public to prevent spread of COVID-19.

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The growth curve for new  COVID-19 cases is showing signs of slowing locally, even as San Diego County reported 15 new deaths, bringing the total  deaths to 87. Meanwhile officials offered insights on what it will take to begin lifting local restrictions.


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LIFE ON THE STREETS IN EAST COUNTY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Story and photos by Jake Zawlacki

Photo, left:  Homeless man Mike in downtown La Mesa, April 21, 2020

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- “Things are different,” said Mike, a local homeless man, as I spoke with him in downtown La Mesa yesterday. “Everyone’s afraid of the homeless.”

Mike typifies many homeless individuals living across East County with nowhere to go. The recent halt of new intakes at the East County Transitional Living Center  in El Cajon is only one example of doors closing to homeless people. Just a block from the closed Wells Park in El Cajon, you can see almost 20 migrated homeless individuals now camped in the parking lot outside of the Neighborhood Healthcare Facility.

“We can’t really take showers anymore,” Mike said.


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