NEARLY HALF OF ALL ADULTS COUNTYWIDE HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE COVID-19 VACCINE

DISTILLERIES HOST COMMUNITY PARTY SATURDAY APRIL 17 IN SPRING VALLEY

FIREBALLS IN THE SKY: METEOR SHOWERS START TONIGHT, PEAKING ON EARTH DAY

COUNTY PAUSES USE OF JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES DUE TO RARE BLOOD CLOTTING COMPLICATION

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ON TRACK TO ADMIT LOWEST NUMBER OF REFUGEES IN U.S. HISTORY, DRAWS CRITICISMS OVER LAG IN REPEALING TRUMP RESTRICTIONS

MUSGROVE’S MOM SERVES GLEEFUL PADRES FANS AT ALPINE COFFEE SHOP AFTER RECORD-SETTING NO-HITTER

PRESIDENT BIDEN ANNOUNCES NEW BILL TARGETING INFRASTRUCTURE AND CREATING NEW JOBS

LEMON GROVE PROPOSES LIMITING COUNCILMEMBERS’ SPEECH

ECM PADRES REPORT: EAST COUNTY KID MAKES HISTORY; GROSSMONT ALUM MUSGROVE BECOMES THE FIRST PADRES PITCHER TO THROW A NO-HITTER AS PADRES WIN 3-0

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE HEROES REFLECT ON PANDEMIC

GOVERNOR NEWSOM, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ANNOUNCE EARLY BUDGET ACTION FOR WILDFIRE PREVENTION

News

NEW MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK ON LIVESTOCK IN CARVEACRE NEAR ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Allen Doran, near Carveacre

March 11, 2021 (Alpine) – Three weeks after a suspected mountain lion attack killed 10 sheep and goats on Peutz Valley Road in Alpine, residents of Carveacre in the Japatul/Alpine area report more livestock killings that they believe were the result of a mountain lion and at least one cub. 


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SERVING SENIORS PROVIDES PROVIDES 1.7 MILLION MEALS TO FIGHT FOOD INSECURITY ONE YEAR SINCE COVID-19 SHUTDOWN ORDER

Source: Serving Seniors

March 11, 2021 (San Diego) -- One year ago, on March 12, 2020, Serving Seniors was ordered to shut down one of its core services to impoverished San Diego county seniors. As the largest provider of meals to San Diego County’s older adults, it could no longer keep its 11 congregate meal sites open due to the public health crisis.


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FULL RAIL CLOSURES FROM SAN DIEGO TO OCEANSIDE NEXT TWO WEEKENDS DUE TO BLUFF REPAIRS

SANDAG, NCTD, and the City of Del Mar continue to urge the public not to sit, stand, or walk within 50 feet of the Del Mar Bluffs or the beach below

Source:  SANDAG

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

March 11, 2021 (San Diego) - To accommodate scheduled work along the rail line that carries passengers and freight from Oceanside to San Diego, there will be two full rail closures during the next two weekends.


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LA MESA POLICE SEEK LEADS ON SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF JOK JOSEPH JOK, FOUND UNCONSCIOUS ON BANCROFT FEB. 27

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2021 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police seeks public help to identify who injured Jok Joseph Jok, who later died of his injuries. A possible vehicle of interest is also sought: a white 2009-2014 Ford F150. The vehicle is an extended cab, with a silver metal tool box, and possibly missing a front bumper. 

On Feb. 27 around 9:10 p.m., police responded to a call and found Jok lying on the eastern edge of the roadway on Bancroft Drive just south of Golondrina. He was unresponsive with injuries to his head and shoulder. He later succumbed to his injuries; the manner and means of his death remains under investigation.

Video surveillance shows vehicles in the area at the time of the incident. The La Mesa Police Department is actively looking for witnesses or any other information regarding this incident. 


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DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME CHANGE KICKS IN THIS WEEKEND

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

March 11, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – That old phrase “Spring forward; fall back,” is applicable this weekend. Daylight Saving Time kicks in on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.  Spring forward time.

Change all clocks, that are not automatically reset by a digital internet connection, such as kitchen clocks, oven clocks or any other miscellaneous clocks to an hour ahead.

Consider the tricks-of-trade you will use to beat that loss of one hour of sleep.


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CAR FLIES OFF FREEWAY IN CASA DE ORO

By Henri Migala

March 10, 2021(Casa de Oro) -- A car travelling westbound on State Route 94 in Spring Valley lost control around 8:30 tonight and veered off the highway and into a Casa de Oro neighborhood below.  Described on the CHP incident page as a silver Mitsubishi, the vehicle tumbled down a hill, crashed through a fence and continued across the intersection of South Barcelona Street and Buena Vista Drive, into the grounds of an apartment building at 9938 Buena Vista Dr. The vehicle plowed through a fence and hedges at the apartments but did not damage the building.

No other cars were involved.

The driver of the vehicle, a man in his 50s, was taken to the hospital by ambulance.


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FIRE PITS AVAILABLE FOR RENT At LAKE JENNINGS

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 10, 2021 (Lakeside) – What could be cozier than a lakeside fire on a springtime evening?  Grab your marshmallows and chocolate for S’mores, roast hot dogs or get your best campfire stories ready – now you can rent a fire pit at Lake Jennings in Lakeside.

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RAIN BRINGS URBAN RUNOFF TO BEACHES: COUNTY HEALTH URGES PUBLIC TO STAY OUT OF THE WATER

Source: County of San Diego

 

Photo: CC by SA

 

March 10, 2021 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and Quality (DEHQ) has issued a General Rain Advisory to avoid water contact at all coastal beaches and bays due to recent rainfall. Swimmers, surfers, and other water users are warned that rain brings urban runoff, which can cause bacteria levels to rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers, and lagoon outlets. Urban runoff may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources such as animal waste, soil, and decomposing vegetation. Bacteria levels can remain elevated after a rainstorm depending upon the intensity of the storm, volume of runoff and ocean conditions. Many coastal storm drains have permanent warning signs; however, additional warning signs are not posted for General Rain Advisories. Water contact such as swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided during rain and for 72 hours following the rain event.


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STORMS BRING HIGH WINDS, COLD TEMPERATURES AND SNOW AT LOW ELEVATIONS

East County News Service

March 10, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – A multi-day storm is expected to continue today through Friday, with chilly temperatures and heaviest rainfall today. Snow could drop as low as 3,500 feet tonight and tomorrow, the National Weather Service predicts.

Treacherous travel and traffic delays are possible through mountain passes, including on I-8 in San Diego’s East County and I-15 in Riverside County due to freezing conditions and reduced visibility in snow and fog. Winds  with gusts up to 60 miles per hour could bring damage to temporary structures such as tents and canopies.


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VICTIMS’ FAMILIES AND FRIENDS RECALL SANTANA HIGH SHOOTING AT 20TH ANNIVERSARY CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

By Henri Migala and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
 
Photos by Henri Migala
 
March 9, 2021 (Santee) – A solemn community vigil, attended by about 100 community members including current and former students, was held on the campus of Santana High School in Santee on March 5th to mark the 20th anniversary of a tragic day.
 
Twenty years ago, on March 5, 2001, 15-year-old Charles Andrew “Andy” Williams Jr., killed two students and wounded 13 others with his father’s Arminius HW-7 22-caliber revolver, on the campus of Santana High School.

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COVID CASES DROP, JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES ARRIVE IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: San Diego County

March 9, 2021 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 scenario is improving in San Diego County. On March 7, the county reported 307 new cases, no deaths, and a positive testing rate of just 3 percent – all significantly lower than in recent weeks.

That drop is no doubt due in part to the fact that 12.7% of San Diegans age 16 and up are now fully immunized, and nearly 24% of those eligible have received at least one shot. 

Now, arrival of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine in our region will make it easier to get more people vaccinated. The J&J vaccine requires just one shot and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two shots and very cold storage.


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LA MESA JOINS CITIES NATIONWIDE TO CAP FEES ON FOOD DELIVERY APPS; LORENA GONZALES PROPOSES SIMILAR BILL IN CALIF. STATE LEGISLATURE

By Alexa Oslowski

March 9, 2021 (La Mesa) – On January 26, the La Mesa City Council voted unanimously to pass a temporary emergency ordinance placing a cap on commissions that can be charged by delivery apps (Postmates, Uber Eats, etc.) to restaurants.

“People have been using delivery services during the pandemic at higher rates than they have in the past, myself included,” Councilmember Colin Parent said during the City Council meeting. “One of the things I’ve come to understand is some of those apps can charge really exorbitant fees.”

The ordinance, which was proposed by Parent, received overall support in comments by members of the public, which were read in the meeting by City Clerk Megan Wiegelman.


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LEMON GROVE HOLDS VIRTUAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON HOUSING MARCH 9

East County News Service

March 9, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – Do you have ideas about housing in Lemon Grove?  The city invites you to join a virtual community meeting on Tuesday, March 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. You can also fill out a community questionnaire on how the city can better address housing needs for everyone in Lemon Grove.

Your ideas could help shape Lemon Grove for years to come.


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STIMULUS BILL PASSES SENATE, IS EXPECTED TO BE SIGNED BY BIDEN THIS WEEK: HERE’S WHAT’S IN IT

Update March 11, 2021:  President Biden has signed this measure into law.

Read full text of the American Recovery Act 2021

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – By a 50-49 margin without a single Republican vote, Senate Democrats passed a COVID-19 relief measure that now heads back to the House to approve changes. The House is expected to approve the bill as early as Tuesday, which President Joe Biden has said he will sign into law immediately.

The measure includes a new round of stimulus checks for most Americans and extension of unemployment benefits, but also many less-publicized forms of aid ranging from expansion of child tax credits to relief for restaurants, event venues, and other businesses hardest hit by the pandemic and much more.

One major element removed in the Senate version of the bill is a minimum wage increase, which the Senate Parliamentarian ruled did not fit the rules required to pass the stimulus bill by a simple majority vote needed to avoid a filibuster. The Biden administration is expected to propose a separate bill to address the minimum wage issue in the future.

Here are highlights of what the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes:


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FIRED LA MESA POLICE OFFICER DAGES, FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES, SUES CITY SEEKING TO REGAIN JOB

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: screenshot from viral video showing Dages grabbing Johnson’s shirt
 
March 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – Former La Mesa Police Officer Matthew Dages has filed a lawsuit against the city seeking his old job back, Times of San Diego reports.  Dages was fired and criminally charged by the District Attorney with filing a false report against Amaurie Johnson, 23.  

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MOUNTAIN LION MAY HAVE KILLED LIVESTOCK IN ALPINE, INITIALLY INVESTIGATED AS ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE

East County News Service
 
Photo: CC by SA
 
March 7, 2021 (Alpine) -- A necropsy has determined that 10 farm animals found dead in Alpine last month may have been attacked by a mountain lion or another predatory animal, says Lt Anthony O’Boyle with the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

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COVID VACCINES APPROVED FOR COURT WORKERS, PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS AND SOME DEFENSE LAWYERS

East County News Service

Photo: Scales of justice, cc via Bing

March 6, 2021 (San Diego) –The County of San Diego has approved COVID-19 vaccines for judges, prosecutors, public defender attorneys, and court employees. Also covered are criminal defense lawyers representing poor defendants in federal court.

These individuals regularly come in contact with people who have been in prison or county jail, congregate facilities with a high risk of COVID-19.  The County has included them under the “emergency services” category along with police, firefighters, animal control workers and security guards at public facilities.


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ISSA CALLS ON GOVERNOR TO RESUME COSMETOLOGY EXAMS AND ALLOW APPRENTICESHIPS TO HELP BEAUTY SCHOOL GRADUATES GET JOBS

Story and photos by Briana Gomez

Photo: Congressman Darrell Issa meets with Bellus Academy student Jessica Yerkey

March 6, 2021 (El Cajon) – Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego)  visited Bellus Academy in El Cajon yesterday after receiving pleas from students and staff at the beauty and wellness school for help to obtain licenses needed for jobs.

California's State Board of Cosmetology halted licensing exams in March 2020 due to the pandemic. According to Issa and the staff at Bellus, the State Board of Cosmetology is operating at half-capacity due to COVID-19 closures and furloughs, causing some students who graduated during the pandemic to be delayed up to a year in taking their state board exams – a delay that is preventing students from obtaining jobs.  That’s created a backlog of 7,000 graduates waiting for exams now being offered at half-capacity at a limited number of locations.

Issa has sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom calling on the state to come up with a solution to “offer a final licensing exam,” such as waiving requirements for part of the exam to be in-person, or allowing graduates to work under supervision in licensed spas, salons, or barber shops. “Now that the students have fulfilled their obligations, it is time for the State of California to do the same,” Issa’s letter states. 


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SUPERVISOR VOTE ON FINAL APPROVAL TO RESTORE, IMPROVE EL MONTE RIVER VALLEY LAND IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

March 6, 2021 (Lakeside) -- San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to set aside $6.44 million to restore and improve roughly 98 acres of newly acquired open space, trails and recreational facilities in Lakeside’ scenic El Monte River Valley. The board hailed the action as a “great” project for the region.

The Board previously voted Feb. 10 to spend $3.2 million to buy the property that includes important coastal sage scrub, riparian scrub and riparian forest habitats, open space and already existing equestrian and youth sports playing fields. That action came after a petition signed by thousands and a march with hundreds of residents and Kumeyaay Native Americans urged support of the acquisition.

Board members envision the land as the home for future trail connections to other County parks, and recreational facilities for the public to enjoy in addition to the open space. The land is located nearby the County’s existing Cactus County and Louis A. Stelzer parks, and its future $18 million Lakeside Equestrian Park.


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CALIFORNIA STADIUMS, THEME PARKS MAY REOPEN APRIL 1 IF COVID RULES ARE MET

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

Photo:  artist’s rendering of SeaWorld San Diego’s new dive coaster under construction. Image via SeaWorld

March 5, 2021 (San Diego) - Petco Park, SeaWorld and other major outdoor attractions and sports/performance venues across the state can reopen as early as April 1 subject to counties’ rates of COVID-19 spread and with strict capacity-control mandates and required mask-wearing, state officials announced Friday.


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NEW REPORTS OUTLINE NEED FOR RACIAL JUSTICE IN CA HIGHER EDUCATION

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service,CA

Photo by Quince Creative/Pixabay

March 5, 2021 (San Diego) --  Two new reports highlight disparities in California colleges that put African-American students at a disadvantage.

The study "Follow the Money" says California systematically underinvests in Black degree attainment, spending almost twice as much per student in the Cal State University or University of California systems than it does in community colleges - where 80% of Black students are enrolled.

Edward Bush is cofounder and vice president of the group "A2MEND," which stands for "African American Male Education Network and Development." He said the disparities are not accidental.


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CHP RELEASES NAMES OF SURVIVORS IN IMPERIAL VALLEY CRASH THAT KILLED 13 MIGRANTS AND INJURED 12

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo via U.S. Customs and Border Patrol: hole cut in border fence, where the ill-fated SUV is believed to have entered the U.S.

 

March 4, 2021 (Holtville) – The California Highway Patrol today released names of a dozen survivors of a horrific collision near Holtville on Tuesday when a semi-truck carrying a load of gravel struck a Ford Expedition SUV with 25 people inside. The crash killed 13 of them, including the driver of the SUV.


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HOUSE PASSES EQUALITY ACT; ISSA OPPOSES WHILE OTHER SAN DIEGO REPRESENTATIVES SUPPORT

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2021(San Diego) – By a 224 to 206 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Equality Act (H.R. 5) , a sweeping civil rights bill intended to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in both public and private places.  But the bill will face an uphill battle in the Senate.

The Equality Act prohibits discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community in the areas of employment, education, credit, housing, jury service, federal funding and more by adding gender identity and sexual orientation to existing anti-discrimination civil rights protections.


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SUPERVISORS TO VOTE MARCH 17 ON AMAZON DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN EL CAJON

Update: This was unanimously approved by Supervisors.

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2021 (El Cajon) – San Diego County Supervisors will hold a hearing March 17 on construction of a proposed distribution warehouse that the developer plans to lease to Amazon.com.

The site, which is zoned industrial, is located at the northwest corner of Cuyamaca Street and Weld Blvd. near Gillespie Field. Although the County owns the land, the city of El Cajon has land use authority, but has not yet approved the project.

At a Supervisors’ meeting this week, the county delayed action until environmental studies can be reviewed. The County is relying on an environmental review done by the city of El Cajon in 2009 for a separate project, but public speakers contended that an updated environmental impact study is needed along with review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).


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WOMAN DRAGGED TO DEATH BY SEMI OUTSIDE RETAIL MALL IN POWAY

East County News Service

 

March 4, 2021 (Poway) – The Sheriff’s department is investigating the dragging death of a pedestrian that occurred yesterday morning in Poway.

 

Deputies responding to a radio call of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle around 9:38 a.m. behind a strip mall in the 133300 block of Poway Road found a dead woman who had been run over by a semi-tractor trailer. 

 

According to Sergeant D. Toner, “It appears the semi-tractor trailer was traveling northbound on the delivery access road behind the businesses…The female was dragged approximately 50 feet before being run over.” 


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CITIZENS' LAW ENFORCEMENT REVIEW BOARD FORMALLY RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 4, 2021 (San Diego) -The County Board of Supervisors received the 2020 Annual Report from the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board after a presentation from its executive officer Tuesday.

CLERB was established in 1990 to investigate citizen complaints against San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and probation officers. CLERB also has the authority to review all deaths that occur in custody or in connection with the two departments without a complaint.


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COUNTY OPENS EMERGENCY RENTAL AND UTILITY AID: TENANTS AND LANDLORDS HAVE THREE WEEKS TO APPLY

Source: County News Service
 
March 2, 2021 (San Diego) -- Low-income residents in San Diego County who have experienced a financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for rental and utility assistance grants from the County.

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AFTER FDA APPROVES JOHNSON & JOHNSON COVID-19 VACCINE, BIDEN INVOKES DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT TO SPEED UP MANUFACTURING

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
 
March 2, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved a COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). To expedite getting Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible, President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act.

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SANTEE FIRE DEPARTMENT NEW ISO RATING IS NOW IN EFFECT AND COULD LOWER YOUR INSURANCE RATES

Source:  City of Santee

March 2, 2021 (Santee) - The City of Santee announced that after a thorough Insurance Services Office (ISO) evaluation, the Santee Fire Department has achieved a Class 1 Public Protection Classification rating, which is the highest level of recognition available from the Insurance Services Office.

The top rating places Santee amongst the ranks of only 38 fire departments in California and 393 departments nationwide that have earned the distinction. The new rating officially went into effect March 1, 2021.

Home and business owners are encouraged to contact their insurance providers after March 1st to see how the Class 1 rating affects their respective insurance rates.


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SANTEE DELAYS RESPONSE ON COUNTY NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM, AMENDS CURRENT FISCAL YEAR BUDGET UPWARDS

By Mike Allen

 

Photo: needle exchange; CC by SA-NC

 

February 28, 2021 (Santee) -- Santee wants San Diego County to conduct comprehensive research about its recently resumed needle exchange program before the Santee City Council weighs in on supporting or opposing the formerly banned program.


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