LA MESA POLICE RELEASE NUMEROUS PHOTOS OF SUSPECTS WHO LOOTED PIERRE’S JEWELERS ON MAY 30-31

FIVE CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD

LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: PART TWO

ECM TO HOST EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUMS

FAST-MOVING FIRES THREATEN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMUNITIES

RED FLAG WARNNG: HIGH FIRE DANGER TODAY

CREST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S NEW OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROGRAM SHINES IN THE ERA OF COVID

SDG&E NOTIFIES APPROXIMATELY 700 BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO PREPARE FOR POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS DUE TO SANTA ANA WINDS AND FIRE WEATHER WATCH

VIEW VIDEO OF OUR SUPERVISORS CANDIDATE FORUM

FIRM INVESTIGATING LA MESA CIVIL UNREST HOSTS COMMUNITY LISTENING SESSION OCT. 6

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: DINNG AL FRESCO AT GIARDINO’S IN LEMON GROVE

RACIST HATE GRAFFITI DEFACES CHALDEAN AND SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN EL CAJON

News

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: ANIMALS EVACUATED FROM VALLEY FIRE ARE CARED FOR BY COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES

 

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- San Diego County Animal Services is working with partner agencies to care for animals whisked away from fire danger. Animal Services staff are providing care and refuge for animals at multiple sites.  This video is courtesy of the County, however some information has changed; see below for updates on evacuation of large animals.


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FIRE DAMAGES ELECTRIC SYSTEM: SOME RESIDENTS COULD BE WITHOUT POWER FOR A WEEK OR MORE

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Valley Fire has damaged the electric system across numerous rural communities that may be without power for days. Some communities left sweltering without power since Sept. 5 may not have power restored until Sept. 15 in order to repair fire damage. An additional circuit sustained weather damage to equipment.

The prolonged outage includes some circuits in Alpine, Barrett Lake, Buckman Springs, Campo, Dehesa, Dulzura, Jamul, Lyons Valley, Morena Village,  Potrero, and Rancho Palo Verde. With the 17,000 acre wildfire still burning and Santa Ana winds forecast tonight, the outages imperil residents ability to receive emergency notifications, open electric garage doors to evacuate, or pump water to drink or fight spot fires, unless they own generators.

SDG&E has alerted customers and posted estimated dates of power restoration on its outage webpage at https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map. The communities and circuits impacted are listed below. You can find your circuit on your SDG&E bill.


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POTENTIAL FOR “DANGEROUS SITUATION” TONIGHT AS HIGH WINDS FORECAST TO FAN VALLEY FIRE WESTWARD

 

Update 8:37 p.m.: The fire is now 11% contained and has burned 17,565 acres.  20 habitable structures have been destroyed and 9 more homes damaged; 25 outbuildings have also been lost.

EVACUATION ORDERS:

Lawson Valley • Japatul Valley • Corte Madera Ranch • Lyons Valley • Carveacre • WiseCarver

EVACUATION WARNINGS:

Pine Valley • Descanso • Alpine • Viejas • Dulzura • Barrett Junction • Potrero

ROAD CLOSURES:

Japatul Rd. & Lyons Valley Rd./Japatul Rd. • Japatul Rd @ Tavern Rd/Dehesa Rd • Lyons Valley Rd & Honey Springs Rd •

Wisecarver Lane @ Wisecarver Truck Trail • Skyline Truck Trail & Lawson Valley • Japatul Rd at Via Asoleado (also at Sequan Truck Trail) • Corral Canyon at Buckman Springs (Buckman Springs is open) • High Glen Rd • Hidden Glen Rd

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Henri Migala and Miriam Raftery

El Capitan High School in Lakeside opened as new shelter for evacuees

Photo, left by Henri Migala: Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Tony Mecham briefs Supervisor Dianne Jacob and supervisorial candidate Steve Vaus after press conference today at Viejas

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – At a press conference today held at the Viejas events center in Alpine, fire chiefs and county officials warned the public that Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 50 miles an hour are forecast to hit starting at 8 p.m. tonight – with the strongest winds in the middle of the night. Though firefighters have been working tirelessly battling blames and bulldozing containment lines, prioritizing the fire’s western flank, leaders warn that the winds will fan the fire westward towards Jamul and San Diego.

“The potential is out there for a very dangerous situation,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob (photo, left), who added that she hopes and prays we don’t see another major firestorm like the destructive Laguna fire in 1970, Cedar Fire in 2003 or the 2007 firestorms.


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VALLEY FIRE THREATENS CORTE MADERA, PINE VALLEY AS FIRE BURNS EASTWARD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ryan Grothe: 757 air tanker drops fire retardant on Valley Fire

September 7, 2020  (San Diego’s East County) – On the third night of the Valley Fire, the wind-driven fire continues to spread rapidly, burning eastward towards communication towers at Mt. Pinos Mountain and the community of Corte Madera.  View real-time mapping


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SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION ACTIVATES REGIONAL DISASTER FUND TO SUPPORT VALLEY WILDFIRE RESPONSE AND RECOVERY; DONATIONS SOUGHT

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 7, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Foundation today activated the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund to collect and manage charitable funds for response and recovery from the Valley Wildfire currently impacting the Japatul Valley, Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley and Deerhorn Valley in San Diego’s East County. Donations can be made online at SDFoundation.org/DisasterFund.


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MILITARY JOINS BATTLE AGAINST VALLEY FIRE: NEW EVACUATION ORDERS ISSUED

Santa Ana winds forecast tomorrow as firefighters race to contain firestorm

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Fire encroaching on Rock Canyon winery yesterday

Update 6:25 p.m. Cal Fire reports the fire has grown significantly, charring17,345 acres but is now 3% contained.

Update 3:45 p.m.  New mandatory evacuations have been given for Corte Madera south of Pine Valley.

September 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Dawn brought relief for many East County residents who evacuated or sheltered in place during the night, while firefighters limited the Valley Fire’s spread. View live-mapping of the fire perimeter at this link.

But today also brings new evacuations at Corral Canyon and Bobcat Meadows in Cleveland National Forest due to an immediate threat.  As a precaution, all camgrpounds in the federal forest will be closed for one week.

Ken, a homeless man camped at the Boulder Creek Canyon who has lived for years at campgrounds in the federal forest, emailed ECM that he was given just two hours to get out this Labor Day holiday.  "I told the person I had been drinking and WOULD NOT drive drunk nor leave my home," he said.  "I said I will go when I am sober or they can arrest me before then...Apparently there is NO evacuation area to the EAST. I have to go out in the sun or go to Steele Canyon."

“Fire growth is impacting the Lawson Valley and Carveacres areas. There is an immediate threat to Loveland Reservoir and the surrounding water shed,” Cleveland National Forest reports today.  As of this morning, the blaze has consumed 10,258 acres, 408 more than yesterday.

Though the fire remains just 1% contained, there is some good news.

“Because of the proactive efforts of Cal Fire, today we will be exercising the agreement we have with the Navy Third Fleet and the First Marine Expeditionary Force to utilize military aircraft on the fire,” Cal Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Kendal Bortisser reports.

The bad news is that the National Weather Service predicts Santa Ana winds will sweep into our region tomorrow through Thursday, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, along with continuing hot, dry conditions though slightly cooler than the record-shattering temperatures this weekend that hit 114 degrees in some of the fire-affected areas.


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VALLEY FIRE THREATENS SUNRISE POWERLINK AND WATER SUPPLIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Lakeside Fire:  Firefighters battle Valley Fire for a second sleepless night amid record-breaking heat.

September 6, 2020, 9:30 p.m. (San Diego’s East County) – As firefighters battle the Valley Fire for a second sleepless night, the blaze has burned 9,850 acres, more than doubling since early this morning. It remains only  1% contained, with evacuation that now range south to the border, north past I-8 and Pine Valley, east to Campo, and as far west as portions of Jamul.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for San Diego County.  Tonight, the fire is in the area of Lawson Valley and Carveacre, threatening Sunrise Powerlink, the major electricity supplier for most of our region, and Loveland Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 191,000 residents, Cleveland National Forest reports.

An evacuation order is in place for Barrett Lake Dam. Evacuation warnings have been issued for Lake Morena, Dulzura, Dog Patch, Potrero, Campo, Honey Springs, Barrett Junction, Deerhorn Valley, Corte Madera, Pine Valley, and the area from Lyon Valley/Japatul Road to Interstate 8.

With power out in some areas, residents may be unable to receive evacuation calls.  Some residents have asked that if you receive an evacuation call or flee due to encroaching flames during the night, please honk your horn as you leave to alert as many neighbors as possible.


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VIEW VIDEO OF LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view video of candidate forum full size, click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH6GkbU9ayo&t=3085s

Note: You can now view separate video interviews with Councilwoman Kristine Alessio and Laura Lothian, who were unable to attend the forum, here:  https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/view-interviews-la-mesa-council-candi...

September 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- At East County Magazine's virtual forum for La Mesa City Council Candidates on Thursday, candidates offered their ideas for addressing the compelling issues facing the city including police/racial justice/public safety issues in the wake of protests and a riot, downtown redevelopment, housing, homelessness, budget priorities, COVID-19 relief and more.

Three of the six candidates running participated in the forum: Councilman Colin Parent, as well as challengers Allan Durden and Jack Shu. Mark Papenfuss said he had a family emergency but will schedule a Zoom interview soon. Laura Lothian and Kristine Alessio had schedule conflicts but have provided individual interviews posted above .

Below is information on all candidates running, listed in alphabetical order:


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HOW ARE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES RESPONDING TO THOSE IN NEED DURING VALLEY FIRE IN EAST COUNTY?

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ammar Campa-Najjar watches as Valley Fire encroaches on his community

September 6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)7:30 p.m. – As the Valley Fire chars a devastating swath across the 50th Congressional district, scorching over 5,500 acres and forcing evacuations in many communities, the two candidates vying to represent the district have responded differently – one doing little to assist those in need, the other retweeting dozens of messages and rolling up his sleeves to help others – even after evacuating his own family.

Darrell Issa, who lives in North County outside of the district he hopes to represent, retweeted just three messages about the fire—the last over 12 hours ago. The messages included an early evacuation order 23 hours ago, but no updates when several broad, new evacuation orders were issued. He retweeted one of several road closure announcements, as well as a notice on how to get help evacuating large animals.

Ammar Campa-Najjar, by contrast, took actions personally to help others, organizing relief efforts and posting several dozen social media updates on the fire-- despite being left without power and evacuating his own family from the fire threatening his Jamul home.

The two are  vying to fill the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter, who has been sentenced to prison for diverting $250,000 in campaign finance donations to personal use, but has not yet begun his sentence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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JUDGE ORDERS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO FULLY EXTEND CENSUS COUNTING TIME

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

Photo:  a sign encouraging residents to participate in the 2020 census hangs from the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

September 6, 2020 (San Diego) - Los Angeles and a coalition of other local governments and civil rights organizations have secured a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over its decision to cut the timeline for the 2020 U.S. Census.


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23 MAJOR FIRES BURNING ACROSS CALIFORNIA, INCLUDING NEW WILDFIRE IN SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: El Dorado Fire, courtesy of San Bernardino National Forest via Twitter

September 6, 2020 (San Diego) – Major new wildfires ignited yesterday, forcing evacuations in San Diego and neighboring San Bernadino counties as well as Fresno County. even as firefighters continue battling lightning complex fires elsewhere in the state. As of this morning, there are over 14,800 firefighters battling 23 major fires and lightning complexes in California.  View map of major wildfires statewide: https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/

The new fires yesterday include the Valley Fire in San Diego County's Japatul, Carveacre and Lawson Valley areas that destroyed 10 homes overnight, as well as the El Dorado Fire east of San Bernadino, which has torched 2,727 acres in the Yucaipa area and is 5% contained. The San Bernardino National Forest feed on Twitter reports 300 foot high flames.

Since the lightning siege that started on Saturday, August 15, 2020, there have been nearly 14,000 lightning strikes. During this time-period, there have been more than 900 new wildfires, which have now burned over 1.6 million acres. There have been 8 fatalities and nearly 3,300 structures destroyed.


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HOMES LOST OVERNIGHT AS VALLEY FIRE SWELLS TO 4,000 ACRES

 

Update 6:23 p.m. 9/7:  The fire is now 17,345 acres and 3% contained.

Update 9:20 p.m.:  The fire is now 9,850 acres and 1% contained, 11 structures destroyed. Please see updated evacuation map from County of San Diego at sdcountyemergency.com and never hesitate to evacuate if you do not feel safe.

Update 6:55 p.m.   Valley Fire Road Closures are in effect, per CHP tonight:

  • Japatul Road at Lyons Valley Rd/Japatual Valley Road
  • Japatul Road at Tavern Road/Dehesa Road
  • Lyons Valley Road at Honey Springs Road
  • Wisecarver Lane at Wisecarver Truck Trail
  • Skyline Truck Trail and Lawson Valley

Update 4:22 p.m.  The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has issued an evacuation warning for the areas of SR94/Marron Valley Rd and Lyons Valley Rd areas out to Morena Reservoir. Please see the Emergency Map for updated areas that are impacted.

Update 3:35 p.m.  New evacuation advisories include Potrero, Tecate, Barrett Junction and Dulzura. View map here: https://www.sdcountyemergency.com/content/oesemergency/en-us/maps.html.

Per Cal Fire just now:  The fire is now 5,350 acres and is 1% contained, burning at a critical/dangerous rate of spread. Structures are being threatened in Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley, Deer Horn Valley and Sycuan Indian Reservation. sdcountyemergency.com

Per Pulsepoint:  #ValleyFire is making a run for Barrett Lake, Lake Morena, and Hauser Canyon.

New road closures:  Lawson Valley Rd closed at Skyline TT and Rudnick Dr.   Japatul Rd closed from Dehesa to Lyons Valley Rd   Lyons Valley Rd closed from Japatul Rd to Honey Springs Rd

Update 2 p.m.:  The Valley Fire temporary evacuation point for large animals is the County Animal Services South Shelter located at 5821 Sweetwater Road in Bonita. Call (619) 236-2341.  The evacuation center at Joan MacQueen Middle Schoolm 2001 Tavern Rd., Alpine has reopened. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, right by Kathy Matranga

 

September  6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The #ValleyFire has scorched 4,000 acres, according to Cal Fire’s incident report this morning. Cal Fire San Diego’s Twitter feed reports that 10 structures were destroyed overnight; the blaze is still zero percent contained.

View a map of the fire via NASA satellite imagery.

Road closures:  The San Diego County Sheriff advises that the following road closures are in effect:

  • Japatul Rd. and Carveacre Rd.
  • Lawson Valley Rd. and Skyline Truck Trail
  • Japatul Rd. and Sequan Truck Trail
  • Japatul Rd. and Hidden Glen Rd.

According to the US Forest Service, 335 firefighters are battling the flames on the ground. Structures are being threatened in the Carveacre and Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley, Deer Horn Valley and Sycuan Indian Reservation.


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VALLEY FIRE IN ALPINE THREATENS HOMES

Update 5:53 p.m.: The fire is now 1,500 acres. An evacuation order remains in effect for the community of Carve Acre.

Update 5:15 p.m.: Approximately 12,700 customers are without power as a result of the #ValleyFire. The fire is impacting SDG&E equipment in the vicinity of the fire. SDG&E has activated its Emergency Operations Center and is closely monitoring the fire. Additional cool zones are open this weekend (though not after 5pm): https://sdgenews.com/article/additional-cool-zone-hours-added-holiday-we...

Update 5:26 p.m.:  Cal Fire says the wildfire is moving west toward Lawson Valley. Those under evacuation orders can go to Steele Canyon High School at 12440 Campo Road, Spring Valley or Joan MacQueen Middle School at 2001 Tavern Road, Alpine.

Update 4:59 p.m.:  The Valley Fire is now 1,000 acres, per Cal Fire. Temperatures in the Alpine area have soared to 113 degrees.  Scanner traffic indicates a one-mile front on the fire burning toward Lawson Valley. A request for VBAT (very bit air tankers) has been denied due to them battling fires elsewhere.

Update 4:25 p.m.:  The Valley Fire is now 500 acres and zero percent contained. SDG&E's outage map indicates there are some power outages in the fire area. The Lawson Valley area in Jamul is now threatened.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Kristine Pamintuan, from her home on Japatul Valey Road.

September 5, 2020 (Alpine) – The #ValleyFire is burning westward at a critical rate of spread after starting near 4561 Spirit Trail in the Japatul Valley area of Alpine. The fast-moving brush fire has burned 300 to 400 acres and is threatening homes. Residents of Carveacre are under evacuation orders, the National Forest Service reports.

Multiple fire agencies have responded including air tankers and helicopters. SG&E's Sky Maverick is also doing water drops.

Firefighters are battling the blaze in 105 degree heat with winds 14-28 mph amid a red flag alert and gusty winds.


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HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CALIFORNIA'S EVICTION PROTECTIONS

By Laurence Du Sault | CALmatters

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

Photo:  California State House. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

September 5, 2020 (San Diego) - Just days before courts resumed processing eviction filings after a five-month freeze, California this week enacted statewide protections through next year for tenants struggling to pay rent amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.


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SANTEE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mayor John Minto and challenger Stephen Houlahan; City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

September 5, 2020 (Santee) – East County Magazine will host a forum on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. for candidates running for Santee Mayoral and City Council races. To date, Mayor John Minto and mayoral challenger Stephen Houlahan have both agreed to participate.  In the race for an open City Council seat, Samm Hurst has confirmed she will participate; Dustin Trotter said he had a scheduling conflict for the forum. All candidates in both races have also now done separate interviews with ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be posted soon.

The forum will be virtual on Zoom. You can watch the livestream at https://www.Facebook.com/eastcountymagazine and send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. A videotape of the forum will be posted later on www.EastCountyMagazine.org and the forum will also be broadcast at a later date on KNSJ radio.

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are details on the candidates (listed in alphabetical order for each seat) and key issues:


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CAR AND BRUSH FIRE QUICKLY STAMPED OUT BY FIREFIGHTERS NEAR CAMPO

Story and photos by Jonathan Goetz

September 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- A car fire was reported at 10:55 a.m. this morning, Saturday Labor Day weekend 2020, between Pine Valley and Boulder Oaks (just west of the Campo turn-off from Interstate 8). Firefighters were on the scene when East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts arrived an hour later. 


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WITH 184 COVID-19 CASES AT SDSU, COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER TELLS STUDENTS “STAY HOME” THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND

Update Sept. 9, 2020:  With cases up to 286, Dr. Wooten has ordered SDSU students to shelter in place through Sept. 14
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
September 4, 2020 (San Diego) – Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s pubic health officer, today urged San Diego State University undergraduates to “stay home within their living units this weekend” after 184 students tested positive for COVID-19 in 14 campus-related groups in housing and gathering locations since Aug. 24. “If you have been to parties and social events, you need to get tested, now. And isolate until you get results,” Dr. Wooten added.

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BORREGO RESIDENT KILLED IN ROLLOVER CRASH

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 4, 2020 (Borrego Springs) – A 52-year-old man from Borrego Springs died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash yesterday.  
 
The victim was driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck southbound on Borrego Springs Road north of State Route 78 around 4:11 p.m. when the vehicle crossed the center line and drifted across northbound lanes, then off the east edge of the road.  The pickup then struck a sign post and overturned.
 
“It is believed the driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. Unfortunately, the driver succumbed to his injuries at the scene,” says Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.  

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BODY FOUND NEAR LAKE MORENA CAMPGROUND MAY BE MISSING HIKER, 79

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery
 
September 3, 2020 (Lake Morena) – On September 1st, the San Diego Sheriff’s search and rescue team was activated to help locate a missing 79-year-old Asian man whose family had not heard from in the prior four days.  He had been staying at the campgrounds and was an avid hiker.
 
Yesterday, searchers found a dead body of a man approximately six miles from the campground, says Lieutenant Damon Blankenberger.

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BIDEN AND TRUMP VISIT KENOSHA AFTER SHOOTINGS PROMPT NEW WAVE OF PROTESTS

By Miriam Raftery
All photos by Les Brown
Photo (left): Jacob Blake Sr., August 29
 
September 3, 2020 (Kenosha, WI) – Both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden made visits this week to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where yet another controversial police shooting of a Black man and later, the shooting deaths of two protesters by an armed white teenager now facing first degree homicide, have fueled further civil unrest.
 
On August 23, 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer. The shooting, which occurred in front of Blake’s young children, has left him paralyzed. According to the police officers’ union, officers were called out due to a domestic violence dispute involving Blake, who resisted arrest and was shot at point-blank range as he pulled open the door to enter a vehicle. Although police have said they believed Blake had a knife in the vehicle, Blake’s family says he was unarmed.

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SHOW TIME! EAST COUNTY MOVIE THEATERS REOPEN

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The  magic of movies on the big screen returns after months of shutdowns due to COVID-19. 

Two major theater chains, Reading Cinemas International (NASDAQ: RDI) and Regal, announced reopenings this week of cinemas including several locations in East County (La Mesa, El Cajon and Rancho San Diego) featuring long-awaited new-release films.

Both chains have also rolled out new procedures to protect guests  in compliance with CDC health guidelines and state safety regulations.


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GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO EXEMPT MANY INDEPENDENT WORKERS FROM AB 5

Update September 5, 2020 : Governor Gavin Newsom has signed this bill into law. It takes effect immediately as an emergency measure.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
September 3, 2020 (Sacramento) – A bill to exempt many occupations from AB 5, California’s controversial new employment law, and allow those exempted to work as independent contractors instead of employees, has passed the Legislature overwhelmingly. Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the measure, AB 2257, into law. If signed, it would take effect immediately as an urgency measure. View full text of AB 2257.
 
The trouble began in 2018 when the state Supreme Court’s decision in the Dynamex case imposed a strict new test of employment status in California’s burgeoning gig economy.  AB 5, authored by Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), sought to codify the court ruling but went farther, requiring that a broad range of freelancers and independent contractors be treated as employees eligible for benefits ranging from unemployment to medical care.
 
AB 5 triggered a backlash of criticism from many freelancers whose income and flexibility were severely impacted, including musicians, writers, translators and many others walloped first by AB 5, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown.

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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

EXTREME HEAT AND FIRE RISK FORECAST FOR LABOR DAY WEEKEND

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Scorching heat is forecast starting Friday and building through the Labor Day weekend.This brings “near critical fire weather risk,” with high temperatures and dry air, according to the National Weather Service. Friday through Monday will likely be the hottest days of the year, forecasters predict.

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COUNTY HOSTS MEETING ON PROPOSED ALL-WHEEL PARK IN SPRING VALLEY SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 1, 2020 (Spring Valley ) – The County will host an online public meeting on Thursday, September 10 from 6-7 p.m. on a proposed “Calavo Park” all-wheel park at 2920 Calavo Drive in Spring Valley.  
 
A county announcement of the event states, “We need your input to determine what features will help make this a best-in-class recreation destination. Join us for an online conversation with park staff, park designers and other influencers.”

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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

LA MESA POLICE RELEASE DETAILS ON DETENTION OF STUDENT WITH DOWNS SYNDROME THAT PROMPTED SUIT AGAINST CITY

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police Department today released details on the brief detention  and handcuffing of an 11-year-old Murray Manor student with Downs Syndrome on August 29 of last year. The child’s parents have filed a lawsuit against the city and the La Mesa Spring-Valley school district, alleging that their son was traumatized.

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GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL PROTECTING BOTH TENANTS AND LANDLORDS AS PANDEMIC CONTINUES

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

Photo:  An apartment building in downtown San Diego’s East Village. Photo by Chris Stone

September 1, 2020 (San Diego) - Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Monday to protect millions of tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN ALPINE CRASH

East County News Service
 
August 31, 2020 (Alpine) – A motorcyclist died traveling north on Lyons Valley Road south of Japatul Valley Road in Alpine yesterday around 1:38 p.m. went off the roadway, struck a rock and plummeted 50 feet down a hillside.

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HOMEFED YANKS FANITA RANCH PLAN BEFORE COUNCIL VOTE

 

By Mike Allen

 

Cancelling Magnolia extension, as proposed, would remove key evacuation route for wildfires, critic says

August 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000 unit residential project planned for Santee’s northwest quadrant, is being delayed by developer HomeFed Corp. to make some significant changes, including removing an extension of a key arterial serving the project.

In a letter posted on the Fanita Ranch Facebook page last week, Jeff O’Connor, the company’s vice president, said HomeFed requested the delay “to remove the extension of Magnolia Avenue from the project in order to direct those funds towards the improvements to SR-52.”


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES TO APPEAR IN VIRTUAL CANDIDATE FORUM THURSDAY, SEPT. 3

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: La Mesa City Council candidates Allan Durden, Colin Parent, Mark Papenfuss, Kristine Alessio, Jack Shu, and Laura Lothian.  Four of the six candidates have agreed to participate.

August 29, 2020 (La Mesa) – Six candidates are vying for two seats on the La Mesa City Council. East County Magazine invited all candidates to participate in a candidate forum this Thursday, September 3 at 7 p.m. Have a question for the candidates?  You can send it to editor@eastcountymagazine.org by 12 noon on Thursday.

Four of the six candidates have confirmed they will participate.  Shown in the photo above, they are Allan Durden, Mark Papenfuss, Councilman Colin Parent, and Jack Shu.  Councilmember Kristine Alessio and Laura Lothian are not available but agreed to do an interview with ECM via Zoom, which we will post when completed.

The forum, held virtually via Zoom due to COVID-19,  will be live-streamed on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine   Video will also be recorded and posted at www.EastCountyMagazine.org after the forum. We thank the #FacebookJournalismProject for supporting our virtual candidate forums during the pandemic.

Below is information on all candidates running, listed in alphabetical order:


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BACK TO BUSINESS: SALONS, SHOPPING MALLS, THEATERS, GYMS, RESTAURANTS, CHURCHES AND MORE CAN REOPEN MONDAY, WITH SOME LIMITATIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Roz Oserin, owner of Prete-a-Porter Salon and Spa, says cutting hair outdoors has been "an adventure" but she looks forward to resuming indoor services starting Monday.

August 29, 2020 (San Diego) –  Yesterday, the state announced new rules to allow many businesses and houses of worship to reopen in counties including San Diego, with streamlined new criteria.

Starting Monday, August 31, the new state tiered system allows the following businesses in our region to reopen, with the following requirements:


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