SHERIFF ASKS PUBLIC HELP TO FIND SHOOTER WHO KILLED A MAN IN SPRING VALLEY

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

PASSAGES: TOM HYDE, VIEJAS TRIBAL ELDER AND LAST ORIGINAL RESERVATION MEMBER, 1927-2019

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB ASKS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE PREDATOR PLACEMENTS IN RURAL EAST COUNTY

LA MESA SEEKS VOLUNTEERS FOR CITIZENS COMMITTEE ON HOMELESSNESS

JULIAN VOTES TO ABOLISH THE JULIAN CUYAMACA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT: PRELIMINARY COUNT IS 55% TO 44%

TRUMP VETOES CONGRESSIONAL MEASURE TO BLOCK HIS EMERGENCY DECLARATION

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

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

MORE RAIN AND SNOW COMING MID-WEEK

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

TRANSPARENCY CONCERNS PLAGUE LA MESA COUNCIL OVER GRANNY FLAT ORDINANCES

News

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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



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

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

 



By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rachel Goddard,, JCFPD

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

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



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

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

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

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

Audio: 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Date:  Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Location;  Hooley’s Irish Pub and Grill

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

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

619-698-7617 or editor@eastcountymagazine.org

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

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

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

Source: San Diego River Park Foundation

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

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

LOW SNOW TONIGHT COULD DIP TO 1,500 FEET

East County News Service

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

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

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

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

 

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  flooding around Quarry Road in Spring Valley

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

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

POTRERO WOMAN, 38, DIES OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING; TWO MORE HOSPITALIZED

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
February 19, 2019 (Potrero) – Alejandra Alejandre, 38, of Potrero died of carbon monoxide poisoning in her home on Hartley Hill Road. Two other family members, including a child, were taken to a hospital on Wednesday, according to Cal Fire.

ROLLOVER CRASH DURING CHASE INJURES FIVE PEOPLE IN BOULEVARD

 

 

East County News Service

February 19, 2019 (Boulevard) – A blue Mazda that failed to stop for U.S. Border Patrol agents this evening on McCain Valley Road near Olde HIghway 80 regarding possible immigration violations led officers on a chase that resulted in a rollover crash in Boulevard, injuring several peopole.

The driver failed to yield to a Border Patrol vehicle with flashing lights and siren at 5:15 p.m.  A pursuit was initiatied and the driver turned onto several roads before driving south on Shasta Way just south of State Route 94.  At a dip in the road, the driver lost control, striking a steel fence and utility pole. The vehicle overturned, coming to rest on its wheels, says Officer Travis Garrow with the California HIghway Patrol.

LAKESIDE PLANNERS CALL SPECIAL MEETING WED. FEB. 20 ON COUNTY ZONING CHANGES PROPOSED TO IMPACT LAKESIDE AND OTHER UNINCORPORATED AREAS

By Miriam Raftery

February 19, 2019 (Lakeside) – The Lakeside Community Planning Group has called a special meeting to be held this Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lakeside Teen Center in the Community Center. The County will have a representative present to “explain some of the actions that the County Planning Commission has approved and is sending to the Board of Supervisors for their approval regarding changes to the local zoning ordinances that will have an effect on Lakeside,” according to an email sent by LCPG chair Brian Sesko.

Sesko told ECM that the county presented the matter as zoning “cleanup” and complying with state mandates, but that some residents who went down and ready the full proposal raised concerns about potential impacts on Lakeside and other unincorporated areas.

He added that Supervisors are slated to hear the proposed amendments next Wednesday and that the County Planning Commission already voted in favor despite some objections.

LOCAL CONSERVATIVES SEEK LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT FOR CONVENTION OF STATES TO AMEND U.S. CONSTITUTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Assemblyman Randy Voepel, center, gives a thumb up to a Convention of States during meeting with local supporters

February 19, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Constitution grants states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments to the federal constitution. To do so would require that 34 states agree to call a convention, though it would take 38 states to ratify any proposed amendments.

A national movement has begun among conservatives seeking to convene such a convention, with Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Santee) the latest to voice support for the idea.

MOTORIST STRIKES CHP VEHICLE, INJURES OFFICER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 18, 2019 (San Diego) – California Highway Patrol Officer Betancourt was injured this evening when his patrol vehicle was struck by a 1994 Infinity sedan.  Officer Betancourt had stopped at the scene of an accident on the Interstate 8 east ramp to Misison Gorge Road, along with Officer Theal. He was parked on the right shoulder in his vehicle providing traffic control when the Infinity lost control in a curve at a high rate of speed and struck the rear and left side of the CHP vehicle. 

POWAY MAN KILLS SELF AMID SWAT STAND-OFF

 
 
East County News Service
 
February 18, 2019 (Poway) – A man who reportedly threatened his wife with a gun prompted an eight-hour SWAT team stand-off early yesterday morning in Poway before taking his own life.
 
According to Lt. Christopher Collier with the San Diego Sheriff’s department, after the woman reported the threat, deputies arrived and began communicating with her husband. Because he was armed, the Sheriff’s Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) and Special Enforcement Detail (SWAT team) were called in.

IDENTITY RELEASED OF MAN WHO DIED PADDLE BOARDING IN STORM CHANNEL

 
 
East County News Service
 
File photo: San Diego Fire Dept. Swiftwater Rescue
 
February 18, 2018 (Escondido) – James Michael Miller, 62, has been identified by the County Medical Examiner’s office as the victim found dead in an Escondido flood channel on Thursday.  Witness told police that Miller was trying to paddle a surfboard down the flooded channel  near his home after heavy rains, but fell off the board.

NEW STORM COULD DROP SNOW DOWN TO 2000 FEET; FROST WARNING IN EFFECT FOR INLAND AREAS

 

East County News Service

Photo: Sunrise HIghway, courtesy of the California Highway Patrol

 

Update 11:40 a.m. -- Update: SR-79 is now open from I-8 to SR-78 into Julian. Chains are not required.Sunrise Highway is open from Olde Highway to MPM 27.5 chains are still mandatory, per the CHP.

 

February 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A new storm slated to pummel our region Wednesday night through Friday morning will bring more snow and blustery winds, possibly dropping the snow level as low as 2,000 feet.  That would include areas such as Ramona, Campo, Descanso and possibly even Alpine and high desert areas. 

 

State Route 79 is still closed from Harvey Moore Trailhead (mile post marker 5) to SR-78. Sunrise Highway is closed from MPM 27.5 to SR-79. Sunrise Highway from MPM 27.5 south to Olde Hwy 80 is only open to vehicles with chains and chain requirements will strictly be enforced, CHP warns.

COMMUNITY MOURNS RABBI LEONARD ROSENTHAL

 

 

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

February 17, 2019 (San Diego) - A parade of rabbinical colleagues and family members mourning Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal, praised him, which they acknowledged he would have hated, and told jokes about him, which they said he would have loved.  The rabbi’s funeral service was attended by hundreds of congregants and friends Friday afternoon in the congregation he had served for over 30 years, Tifereth Israel Synagogue.

HEAVY SNOW, ROAD CLOSURES IN MOUNTAINS





East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo:  Julian, courtesy of San Diego Sheriff

February 17, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- Heavy snow is blanketing San Diego's mountains tonight, with 8 to 10 inches of snow possible at higher elevations and lighter snow down as low as 2,500 feet in elevation.  The following road closures are in effect, per CHP:

  • State Route 79 is closed from mile marker 7 south of Cuyamaca Lake to State Route 78 in Julian indefinitely.
  • Chains are required on Sunrise Highway. No vehicles will be allowed north on Sunrie HIghway from Olde Highway 80, just north of I-8.

In addition, the Sheriff urges visitors not to drive to Julian tonight due to hazardous winter storm conditions.

TRUMP SIGNS BUDGET BILL, DECLARES EMERGENCY TO FUND WALL, BUT NOW FACES LEGAL CHALLENGES

By Miriam Raftery

February 17, 2019 (Washington D.C.) –President Donald Trump has signed a compromise bill to keep the government from shutting down again, but issued an emergency declaration Friday to build a border wall in defiance of Congressional wishes.  Both the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House previously refused to allocate $5 billion requested by Trump for the border wall.

The compromise bill signed by Trump does include $1.3 billion for border security, including 55 miles of new barriers. But under Trump’s executive order he would take even more money than he previously sought – over $7 billion that he hopes to divert from military construction projects, combatting narcotics smuggling, and asset forfeitures.

The latter, money seized from criminals, is currently used to fund police and sheriff operations including substantial local funding in San Diego County. Fom 2004 to mid-2014,San Diego's Sheriff and District Attorney kept 80% of federal assets seized, or about $1.5 million a year, according to a records request by ECM, as we reported in October 2014.

FIREFIGHTERS SAVE HOME FOR FAMILY OF EIGHT IN EL CJAON

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2019 (El Cajon) – Heartland Fire and Rescue crews extinguished a blaze Monday night in the garage of a home in the 1500 block of Condor Ave. in El Cajon.  Residents were reportedly doing laundry when they smelled smoke and found their garage on fire.

Firefighters cut open the garage door to access the flames and were able to douse the fire within 10 minutes, saving the residence where eight people reside.

COUNTY TO HOLD MEETING FEB. 28 IN BOULEVARD ON NEW SUBSTATION AND POWERLINES FOR PROPOSED CAMPO WIND PROJECT





 

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2019 (Boulevard) – The County will be holding a scoping meeting February 28 at 6 p.m. at the Boulevard Fire Station regarding Terra Gen’s Boulder Brush Gen-tie power line and new substation facilities proposed on private land to support the Campo Wind project.

The wind turbines would cover most of the Campo reservation with 60 4-megawatt wind turbines, if approved. The new turbines are twice as powerful and about 100 to 200 feet taller than the existing 25 Kumeyaay Wind and 57 Tule Wind turbines in the area, according to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group.  The public is encouraged to come voice your views as part of the official public input process at this meeting.

Public comments are due to the County by March 18

STORM DAMAGES FACILITIES AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE: SANCTUARY SEEKS FUNDS FOR CRITICAL REPAIRS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 15, 2019 (Alpine) – “The powerful storm system that swept across our region has taken a toll on our sanctuary grounds - and made a HUGE mess in its wake,” Bobbi Brink, founder of the Lions, Tigers and Bears rescue facility in Alpine writes in an e-mail to supporters.

VALENTINE’S DAY STORM BREAKS RECORDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 15, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Yesterday’s Valentine’s Day storm dropped 10.10 inches of snow on Palomar Mountain, breaking a record of 9.58 inches set way back in 1901. The storm also brought sweet relief to drought-stricken Borrego Springs, dropping 2.68 inches of rain on the desert community.  Other new records included Ramona with 4.02 inches, Campo with 3.75 inches, and Alpine with 2.94 inches.

Lillian Trautman of El Cajon sent in the video above, showing her El Cajon yard turned into a rushing torrent of water.

KAWASAKI DISEASE CASES INCREASING IN THE COUNTY

 

 

By Tom Christensen, County of San Diego Communications Office

Image credit:  Shutterstock.com

February 14, 2019 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency issued a health advisory to area doctors today and is asking parents to be alert about a local increase in Kawasaki disease.

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