JOIN EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB JANUARY 25 FOR A RUSSIAN-UKRANIAN FEAST AT VILLAGE HOUSE KALINA

HEARTY RUSSIAN AND UKRANIAN FEASTING AT VILLAGE HOUSE KALINA IN LA MESA

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK WOMAN SUSPECT IN FATAL STABBING

HIGH SURF ADVISORY

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO ARREST LEADERS OF SANCTUARY CITIES AND STATES

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

AWARD-WINNING JAZZ PIANIST/COMPOSER DANNY GREEN AND HIS TRIO PERFORM AT MISSION TRAILS GOLF COURSE JANUARY 25

UTILIITES MUST PASS TAX BILL SAVINGS ON TO RATEPAYERS, CPUC ORDERS

LIGHT BULB COFFEE: A SHINING ADDITION TO LA MESA’S DOWNTOWN VILLAGE

INTERNATIONAL PRESS REPORTS ON EL CAJON ARRESTS FOR FEEDIING HOMELESS IN PARK; ACTIVISTS THREATEN LAWSUIT AS CITY STANDS BY ITS BAN

NEW STORMS HEAD TOWARDS OUR REGION

News

IN CHRISTMAS MASS, POPE FRANCIS URGES CHRISTIANS TO WELCOME REFUGEES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Pope's homily for Christmas Mass during the night: full text

December 25, 2017 (The Vatican) -- In his homily at Christmas Mass in St Peter’s Basilica during the night, Pope Francis drew parallels between Biblical refugees Joseph and Mary and the millions of refugees around the world today who are “driven from their lands” under desperate circumstances, often forced to leave family members behind.

“In many cases,  the Pope observed, “this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many others this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.”

He urged compassion and a welcoming attitude toward refugees, in stark contrast to the harsh policies imposed by the Trump administration, which has sought to restrict admission of refugees and increase deportations, tearing many families apart.

MISSING SENIOR IN LAKESIDE FOUND SAFE ON CHRISTMAS EVE

 

East County News Service

December 25, 2017 (Lakeside) – William “Frank” Taylor is home safe for the holidays, thanks to the kindness of community members.  The 89-year-old, who suffers from dementia but is very physically fit, vanished from 7900 Shalamar Drive in Lakeside around 5 p.m. last night.

 He left without a jacket, wearing only a long-sleeve blue shirt, jeans and tennis shoes on a chilly winter night.  Fortunately, he was found a short time later, the Sheriff’s department announced at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. 

APPLICANTS SOUGHT FOR CITY OF EL CAJON COMMISSIONS

 

Source: City of El Cajon

December 24, 2017 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council is now accepting applications for Personnel Commission, Planning Commission, and Veterans’ Commission. The filing period is December 13, 2017, through January 11, 2018, at 5:30 p.m.  Applicants will be interviewed and appointed on January 23, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, 200 Civic Center Way, El Cajon, CA 92020.

CORY IVERSON'S WIDOW TO GRIEVING FIREFIGHTERS: "USE THIS NIGHTMARE TO HELP OTHERS"

 

By Ken Stone, originally published in Times of San Diego, a San Diego Online News Association member

December 24, 2017 (San Diego) - Ashley Iverson slowly inhaled. Then she let out a long breath in front of 1,800 mourners with their hearts in their throats.

“Just breathe is what I told one of my best friends when she lost her soulmate at the age of 22,” Iverson said at Saturday’s private memorial service for her firefighter husband Cory at The Rock Church in Liberty Station.

PASSAGES: PROMINENT EAST COUNTY LIVES LOST IN 2017

 

 

East County News Service

December 24, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Far too many local leaders and luminarieswho touched our lives and made a difference in our community took leave of this earth in 2017. 

Below are some of the most prominent and noteworthy East County figures who passed on in the past year, listed in alphabetical order:

LOTTERY TICKET SOLD AT JULIAN MARKET & DELI WORTH $1.3 MILLION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Julian Market & Deli, decked out for Fourth of July

December 23, 2017 (Julian) – The holidays just got a lot merrier for one lucky Julian resident or visitor.

A lottery ticket sold at the Julian Market & Deli, 2202 Main Street in the mountain town of Julian has five winning numbers in the multi-state Mega Millions lottery and is worth $1,298,334, the state lottery announced yesterday. 

The five winning numbers drawn Friday were 1, 20, 30, 33, and 42.  The Mega number, 16, was not on the Julian ticket.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SPACEX ROCKET LAUNCH

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2017 (San Diego) – If you were startled by brilliant, fast-moving lights in the sky last night over southern California, you’re not alone.  San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman reports that SDPD received many calls reporting the phenomenon, and tweeted the photo, left. 

No, it wasn’t a UFO with space aliens, or a U.S. military aircraft. In fact, it was a successful launch of a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara.

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR FALLEN FIREFIGHTER CORY IVERSON TO BE LIVE-STREAMED TODAY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2017 (San Diego) — Governor Jerry Brown is expected to attend a memorial service Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Rock Church in  Point Loma to honor Cory D. Iverson, a Cal Fire engineer station in Dulzura who lost his life battling the Thomas Fire in Ventura County.  The service is private, but will be live-streamed for the public to view at www.SDRock.com/Iverson.  

"His bravery and years of committed service to the people of California will never be forgotten," said Governor Brown, who ordered flags at the state capitol flown at half mast.

FROST ADVISORY FOR DESERT AREAS

 

East County News Service

December 22, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for tonight that includes inland desert regions in San Diego County. Temperatures could reach as low as 25 degrees in some places.

Pet owners are advised to bring pets inside tonight and to bring in or cover plants sensitive to cold, such as tropical plants or citrus.

EL CAJON CITY APPROVES LANDMARK AGREEMENT WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Landmark vote sets path to reopen theatre in 2019 for headline acts, though community groups’ use of theatre may be limited

By Paul Kruze

Photo, left: Arich Berghammer, Live Nation, addresses Council prior to historic vote

December 20, 2017 (El Cajon) -- After many community discussions, public meetings and  frustrations over the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) remaining closed for nearly the past decade, the El Cajon City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary draft agreement for City Manager Doug Williford to ink worldwide concert producer Live Nation as the new manager of the theatre. (Councilman Ben Kalasho was absent, citing an emergency.)

Prior to the landmark vote which longtime councilmember Gary Kendrick has characterized as “the most important vote and the biggest thing to happen to El Cajon. Everybody wins.” He added that Live Nation “has the Midas touch. Every performing arts center they touch turns to gold.”

TAX BILL SIGNED INTO LAW BY TRUMP

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has signed into law a final version of a sweeping ta reform bill.   The measure provides huge, permanent tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, also providing temporary tax relief for many other individuals that will take effect in 2019 and expire eight years later.  Many of those cuts will be offset, however, by loss of popular tax deductions and a provision that is expected to raise rates for Affordable Care Act healthcare policies.

Among San Diego’s representatives, only Republican Duncan Hunter voted in favor.  Republican Darrell Issa joined with Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas to vote against, as did California’s two Senators, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein.

Here's a summary of what’s in the final bill, including key last-minute changes:

SANTEE TO REMAIN ONLY EAST COUNTY CITY TO ALLOW SMOKING IN PUBLIC PARKS; COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS BAN FOR HIKING TRAILS

 

By Paul Kruze

Hear audio of meeting: http://www.mediafire.com/file/bo4c5wwv6k6tmcb/SanteeSPARC12142017Meeting.mp3

 

December 21, 2017 (Santee) -- Cigarette smokers in our region may end up with one less place to smoke if the Santee City Council approves a recommendation of the Santee Park and Recreation Committee (SPARC) to ban smoking on its numerous hiking trails located within the city limits. Smoking would still be allowed in public parks, leaving Santee the last city in San Diego County to still allow smoking in public parks, although the city does restrict smoking to designated areas during special events.

Smoking marijuana, however, will remain prohibited in Santee parks, although the state is set to decriminalize use on January 1 after voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing the public recreational use and commercial purchase of marijuana.

COUNTY TO OFFER CHILD CAR SEATS AND SAFETY CLASSES

 

More child car seats and safety education classes.

That’s what the County Health and Human Services Agency will be offering to low-income parents thanks to a program funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

GO GREEN: RECYCLE YOUR HOLIDAY TREE

 

East County News Service

December 19, 2017 (San Diego) -- With another holiday season upon us, I Love a Clean San Diego and the County of San Diego have again joined together to encourage residents to recycle their Christmas trees and minimize the amount of waste sent to the landfill. You can put your tree to better use through recycling at locations countywide.

LAST CHANCE FOR DEDUCTION: SAN DIEGANS CAN PAY 2017 PROPERTY TAXES BEFORE JAN. 1

 

Originally published by Times of San Diego, a San Diego Online News Association member

By Chris Jennewein

Photo, Wikimedia Commons: The historic San Diego County administration building.

December 19, 2017 (San Diego) -- San Diego County residents worried about losing tax deductions may get a little reprieve by paying their full property tax bill before Jan. 1, when the new Republican-sponsored tax reform takes effect.

SDG&E SCHEDULES NEW OUTAGES, THIS TIME FOR REPAIRS, ACROSS DOZENS OF COMMUNITIES

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2017 (San Diego) – After restoring power to residents impacted by planned outages due to high winds, some lasting a week or more, SDG&E has announced a new round of planned outages—this time, for equipment repairs.

The utility’s site indicates notices were sent to impacted customers. View full, current map of outages here; click on “planned outages” to view those scheduled:  https://www.sdge.com/safety/outages/outage-map

Some are slated to be extensive; for instance, the Descanso and Viejas areas are projected to have a 10 hour outage starting tomorrow morning.  Parts of El Cajon are slated to be without power for eight hours on Thursday. Many other communities are also affected in the coming days.

But some residents are asking why the repairs can’t wait. Shutting off power over the holiday season raises several concerns, including:

SDG&E RESPONDS TO OUTAGE CONCERNS, BUT LEGISLATORS HUESO AND VOEPEL IGNORE INQUIRIES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Dennis Richardson

December 19, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has responded to our inquiry seeking answers to questions raised by concerned readers during planned outages to 17,000 SDG&E customers due to last week’s high winds, which ECM reported on here and here.

Helen Gao,  communications manager for Sempra Energy,  parent company of SDG&E,  sent the following reply to our questions on topics including loss claims, factors that determine when to shut off power, people with medical needs, support for residents during outages in need of water and communications, adjusting bills to eliminate charges during outages, and what might be done in communities with repeated outages to reduce or eliminate that need in the future.

Below is her response in full, followed by comments from rural residents with contrasting opinions on the outages:

CAL FIRE MAKES PREPARATIONS TO HONOR FALLEN ENGINEER CORY IVERSON

 

Source: Cal Fire

December 18, 2017 (El Cajon) -- CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 6 (IMT 6) has transitioned in partnership with the CAL FIRE San Diego Unit as they make final arrangements for a Celebration of Life to honor Engineer Cory Iverson, who lost his life battling the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. 

NEW SDG&E RATES WILL MAKE SOLAR COST MORE--UNLESS YOU HAVE A BATTERY BACKUP

 

 

Hear our interview with Daniel Sullivan, founder of Sullivan Solar, by clicking the audio link

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Battery storage unit on garage wall

December 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Many solar customers are unaware of new time-of-use rates that took effect December 1st. In an interview with ECM on KNSJ Radio, Sullivan Solar founder and president Daniel Sullivan explains that if you bought solar between June 30, 2016 and Dec. 1, 2017, your rates will be going up sharply after a five-year grace period. Rates for use during evening hours are doubling; a typical family will pay 143% more than in the past. If you buy solar in the future, your rates will also be higher, starting immediately.

But there is a solution:  buy a back-up battery, which will not only lower your rates, but also provide backup power to keep your electricity on during future power outages. Back-up batteries, with subsidies, can be financed out for only about $20 a month – and you’ll likely save $100 a month on your electricity bill, says Sullivan. Rebates end in June 2018, so there's a strong incentive to get a battery soon before the rebates run out.

Audio: 

POST-NET NEUTRALITY, CAN MUNICIPAL ISPS FREE THE INTERNET?

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo:  The Institute for Local Self-Reliance predicts that, for the 129 million Americans who have access to just one internet provider, monopolies will have greater power with the repeal of net neutrality. (Fabienne/Morguefile)

December 18, 2017 (Sacramento) - After the Federal Communications Commission voted to kill net neutrality on Thursday, some California cities are looking to create or expand municipal internet service to preserve open, fair and affordable online access. Manhattan Beach is exploring the possibility, and Santa Monica, Burbank, Beverly Hills and Long Beach already have small, publicly-owned broadband networks.

PLANE CRASH IN EL CAJON

 

 

 

Update December 19, 2017:  The plane had taken off from Gillespie Field when the pilot reported engine trouble. He was trying to return to the airport when the crash occurred. Two of the three men aboard were officers with the Huntington Beach Police Department. The two officers have been released from the hospital, according to the Orange County Register, but the third man remains hospitalized.

East County WIldfire & Emergency Service

Photos by John Sulser

December 17, 2017 (El Cajon) -- A single engine plane has crashed near Gillespie Way and Weld in El Cajon, close to Gillespie Field, El Cajon Police report.

Witnesses report a pilot, copilot and passenger escaped before the plane caught fire and have been transported to a hospital.

CAUSE OF DEATH, MEMORIAL DETAILS RELEASED ON CORY IVERSON

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 16, 2017 (Dulzura) – Smoke inhalation and burns were the causes of death for Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, 32, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s report. The Dulzura-based firefighter and resident of Escondido died in the Fillmore, California area while battling the Thomas Fire. 

WANT POWER DURING OUTAGES? LEARN HOW TO BUY A GENERATOR DEC. 20 AT THE ALPINE LIBRARY

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2017 (Alpine)—With SDG&E turning off power repeatedly during high winds, having an automatic standby generator can keep your lights on and keep critical systems such as well pumps, refrigerators, and computers operating during outages.  On Wednesday, December 20 at 5 p.m. , a presentation on generators will be held at the Alpine Library, 1752 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine.

Learn about the different types of generators such as propane vs. gas operated and features to consider such as a commercial-grade engine, non-corrosive enclosure and extended warranty. 

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS PAINTS POSITIVE PICTURE IN STATE OF CITY ADDRESS

 

 

 

by Paul Kruze

Hear audio of Mayor Wells’ State of the City address

 

December 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells painted a positive picture of his city in his annual “State of the City” address at the City Council Chambers on Tuesday.

Wells began his address saying that for the past several years, the City of El Cajon has attempted to create a new atmosphere for its businsses, residents, and visitors. He said that in 2017 the city had made significant progress towards this goal. “New and exciting things are continuing to happen for El Cajon, and more is yet to come,” he stated. “The City of El Cajon is taking enormous strides to improve the quality of life liveability of the city for residents and businesses. The city is engaged in major economic development making our city more effiicient, increasing the safety of the community, and rebranding El Cajon as a family friendly place.”

CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTER STATIONED AT DULZURA DIES IN THOMAS FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 14, 2017 (Dulzura) – Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, 32, who was stationed in Dulzura, has died of injuries sustained fighting the Thomas Fire in Ventura County this morning.  A resident of Escondido, he leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter, Evie and his wife, Ashley, who is expecting the couple’s second daughter in the spring.

"Today has been a tragic and devastating day," Cal Fire San Diego County Fire Chief Tony Mecham told media at a press conference. "This incident has shaken our organization to the core." He praised Iverson as “a great young man, somebody who really loved his job."

JULIAN FIRE RECALL AND NO CONFIDENCE VOTE RAISE FIERY ISSUES IN MOUNTAIN TOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 14, 2017 (Julian) — The Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District is the only volunteer fire department in our region that has chosen to remain independent.  The department’s board voted recently 4 to 1 vote against dissolving the district and joining the San Diego County Fire Authority (SDCFA), sparking heated debate.

SDG&E RESTORES POWER AFTER PROLONGED OUTAGES; RESIDENTS WHO SUFFERED STRESS AND LOSS WANT CHANGES FOR FUTURE

 

 

Residents angered at loss of water pumps, alarm systems, refrigeration, comunication and heat during outages up to a week in some areas that have suffered repeated outages

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E announced last night that it has fully restored power to all customers who were de-energized due to “public safety concerns” following a week-long red flag warning with strong gusty winds, low humidity and dangerous fire conditions.  An SDG&E media release states, “After crews inspected power lines all day in coordination with contract firefighters who were on hand to ensure a safe restoration process, power was turned on for all remaining customers. Field crews patrolled on the ground and in the air. Aerial inspections were completed by five helicopters in rural, mountainous areas."

Power remains out to 56 customers in the Lilac Fire zone in North County, where full restoration is expected early Tuesday evening. All 43 poles damaged in the fire will be replaced with fire-resistant steel poles and thicker, stronger wires, SDG&E indicates, adding, ““We understand that being without power, for any reason, is an inconvenience and we appreciate the patience we have received from our customers.”  For current information on outages and restoration times, visit sdge.com/outage.

Across East County,  many residents in rural, mountain and high desert towns have taken to social media to voice concerns over the prolonged outages.  Although SDG&E says it did provide advance notice to 170,000 customers of possible planned outages due to high winds and fire danger, before shutting off power to many thousands of homes, many rural residents say that’s not enough – and they want changes made. Below are highlights of residents' concerns and proposals.

SANTEE PARKS COULD SOON BE SMOKE-FREE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Santee middle school age youth and high school students learn about the health risks associated to secondhand smoke and how tobacco waste like cigarette butts hurt their environment.

December 13, 2017 (Santee) – Santee is the last city in San Diego County to still allow smoking in public parks. But that could soon change.  On Thursday, December 14th at 6:30 p.m., the Santee Parks and Recreation Committee will consider a smoke-free ordinance and recommendation to the City Council to make parks and open spaces smoke-free.  The meeting will be held at Santee City Hall’s Community Services building #7, 10601 North Magnolia Avenue in Santee.

FIRE WEATHER RETURNS

 

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

December 13, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - A red flag warning for high fire danger is in effect today through Thursday. In addition, the National Weather Service is forecasting strong Santa Ana winds this weekend over the mountains, foothills and passes in San Diego County. Wind gusts could reach 50 to 60 miles and hour with sustained easterly or northeasterly winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour.

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