29% OF CAJON VALLEY SCHOOLS ARE FLAGGED BY STATE AS NEEDING SUPPORT; SUPERINTENDANT SAYS STATE’S DASHBOARD MEASURES “WRONG METRICS”

BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT IN LEMON GROVE JUNE 1 TO BENEFIT SCHOLARSHIPS HONORING TREVON HARRIS, 13-YEAR-OLD KILLED BY VEHICLE

BEEF RECALLED DUE TO E-COLI CONTAMINATION

READER’S EDITORIAL: SAN DIEGO SUPERVISORS SHOULD JUST SAY NO TO FIRE-TRAP DEVELOPMENTS

ANIMAL SERVICES WAIVES PET ADOPTION FEES FOR MILITARY

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB INVITES YOU TO BUCKBOARDS BARBECUE AND BREW IN EL CAJON MAY 29

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FLIES MIGRANTS TO SAN DIEGO, AS THOUSANDS MORE WAIT IN MEXICO AND TEXAS

SANDAG REPORT SHOWS CRIME TRENDS ACROSS REGION

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL TO VOTE WEDNESDAY ON SMOKE-FREE PARKS

ELEVENTH ANNUAL SANTEE STREET FAIR AND SIXTH ANNUAL CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL RETURNS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, MAY 25

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AND JUNE EVENTS

News

FEB. 25 HEARING ON WIND TURBINES & WIND TESTING

February 2009 (San Diego)--The County Board of Supervisors will deliberate February 25 whether to ease permitting requirements for installing industrial-scale meteorological testing units (MET towers) on private and county properties. The county is also debating the turbine ordinance to allow for more options, such as industrial-scale turbines on private property or more than one turbine per lot, including the smaller scale turbines.

LA MESA SAVES FLAG DAY PARADE: DONATIONS ROLL IN FROM RESIDENTS, BUSIENSSES AND CIVIC LEADERS

February 9, 2009 (Mesa) “ Thanks to the generosity of La Mesa citizens, business leaders and elected officials who donated out of their own pockets, La Mesa’s annual flag day parade has been saved from the budget chopping block. The 14th annual event will take place on Saturday,

“We met the goal and then some,” an e-mail signed by Council members Ernest Ewin and David Allan stated. “Thank you, Shannon O’Dunn for your leadership in this effort.” O’Dunn (photo), a La Mesa resident, ran for La Mesa Council in the last election.

SEX EDUCATION? HELIX DEFENDS ITS ACTIONS, DISPUTES REPORT RELEASED BY DISTRICT THAT CRITICIZED HELIX ADMINISTRATOR'S RESPONSE TO SEXUAL ABUSE, MISCONDUCT;

BOARD TO CONSIDER CHARTER SCHOOL CURE CORRECT ORDERS AT FEB. 12 MEETING

February 6, 2009 (La Mesa) Did administrators at Helix Charter High School respond appropriately to four incidents of sexual abuse and misconduct involving teachers and students and has enough been done to prevent similar problems in the future? The Grossmont Union-High School Governing Board will consider these questions and review conflicting findings from two reports in closed session followed by open public testimony at the February 12 GUHSD Board meeting.

FILNER REINTRODUCES FAIR TAXES FOR SENIORS ACT

February 1, 2009 (San Diego) — Congressman Bob Filner has reintroduced the
Fair Taxes for Seniors Act, H.R. 674, which will provide a one-time increase
in the capital gains tax exemption on the sale of a home for citizens who are
50 years of age or more.

"The Fair Taxes for Seniors Act would give many seniors the additional money
they need for nursing home care, medical costs, and other retirement expenses,"
stated Filner, a Democrat whose district includes southern portions of East
County as well as San Diego's South Bay area. "As a result, family members
and, in many cases, the government will be relieved of the burden of caring
for these individuals as they grow older."

STATE DEPARTMENT CANCELS BLACKWATER'S CONTRACT IN IRAQ: EAST COUNTY LEADERS, BLACKWATER WEST VP SHARE REACTIONS

Jan Hedlun, right, at victory celebration last year after
Blackwater dropped plans to build a training base in Potrero.

February 1, 2009 (San Diego's East County) —--"Blackwater has been fired
by the State Department from its job protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq," ABC
News has reported. The U.S. State Department has announced
it will not renew a $1.2 billion contract for Blackwater's Iraqi operations
after Iraq refused to license the U.S. firm. Iraqi officials cited "lingering
outrage" over September 2007 shootings by Blackwater guards that killed 17
civilians in Iraq's Nisour Square. In East County, leaders who
fought to keep Blackwater from opening a training camp in Potrero greeted the
news with cautious optimism, while Blackwater Vice President Brian Bonfiglio
defended the company's record.

"Huzzah!!!!!! Miracles do happen!" Jan Hedlun, Potrero Planning Group
member who led her town's battle to oust Blackwater, stated in an e-mail to
East County Magazine. But she added, "Although we know this is not the demise
of Blackwater, persay, or companies like them, it is gratifying to know that
their mask has been lifted and they have been seen for what they are. And
though they continue to try to fly under the radar of public scrutiny and the
transparency promised is still not forthcoming, now we are aware of the danger
inherent in our ignorance." Hedlun cited a quote by James Thurber: "Let
us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness."

AL NASSER TO SPEAK IN LA MESA WEDNESDAY ON IRAQ WAR ISSUES

Dr. Farouk Al Nasser, an Iraq native and U.S. citizen, will speak on conditions in Iraq at the La Mesa Community Center on Wednesday, June 3rd. “Dr. Nasser will help us understand the situation on the ground in Iraq; he is in contact with his extended family of more than 400 living in Iraq,” said Linda Armacost, president of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, host of the meeting, which is open to people in all political parties. Nasser will provide information and perspectives on the Iraq War not found in the mainstream U.S. media, she added.

SDG&E THREATENS TO SUE WILDFIRE VICTIMS

By Miriam Raftery

February 2, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--San Diego Gas & Electric Company has notified attorneys representing fire victims that the utility company plans to sue victims of the 2007 wildfires. The announcement has sparked an angry response from some elected officials and residents in burned-out areas of East County.

FACE OFF: SHOULD CONGRESS SUPPORT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ECONOMIC STIMULUS PROPOSAL?

Dual views on hot topics

The
President's proposed economic stimulus plan has split Congress down party
lines, with Democrats overwhelmingly in favor and House Republicans unanimously
opposed. San Diego's Democratic Congressman Bob Filner and San Diego County
Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric face off with drastically divergent
views on the stimulus proposal. Texts below were submitted to ECM as press
releases issues by these political leaders' offices.

FLAG DAY PARADE IN JEOPARDY: LA MESA SEEKS SPONSORS, DONORS TO SAVE ANNUAL EVENT

January 31, 2009 (La Mesa) -- Faced with a budget gap, La Mesa's City Council has voted not to provide financial support for the City's Flag Day Parade this year. To save the popular community event, some councilmembers and community leaders have launched a one-week fundraising drive in hopes of saving the community's parade.

BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

January 29, 2009 (La Mesa) — At 7:39 PM, La Mesa Police
responded to a report of an armed robbery from the Burlington Coat Factory
located at 7938 El Cajon Boulevard.  Several La Mesa Police officers and the Sheriff's helicopter
ASTREA responded to the scene, but the suspect had fled prior to their arrival.  The
suspect entered the open business, brandished a handgun to a clerk and ordered
them to give him the money.  The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount
of money.  No employees or customers were injured.

FRIENDSHIP PARK

Despite Border Patrol Ban, Communion Celebrations Continue at Historic Border Park--”For Now

(Karl W. Hoffman)

Editor's Note: Impacts of the border wall are important nationally and internationally, as well as for people in San Diego County. Each Sunday afternoon, Friends of Friendship Park gather at the historic venue to celebrate communion through the U.S.-Mexico border fence. Rev. John Fanestil, a pastor in the United Methodist Church and Executive Director of Foundation for Change, sent this poignant report to East County Magazine on closure of Friendship Park to the public.

ASSEMBLYMAN ANDERSON URGES LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT ISRAEL IN GAZA CONFLICT

ASSEMBLYMAN ANDERSON URGES LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT ISRAEL

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2009 (Sacramento)-- Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon), has introduced Assembly Concurrent resolution (ACR) 10, California's Resolution to Stand with Israel. The move has drawn praise from backers of Israel and criticism from supporters of the Palestinians.

"It's vital that we stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel as they defend themselves from terrorists," said Anderson, who introduced the measure on January 13th.

LAKESIDE POLICE SEEK MAN IN SILVER CAR WHO TRIED TO  LURE 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL INTO VEHICLE

Mitsubishi Eclipse with spoiler, vehicle possibly driven
by suspect.

January
15, 2009 (Lakeside) —
Lakeside deputies responded to a radio
call of a possible kidnapping at 10133 Maine Avenue in Lakeside shortly before
7 a.m.  Upon
arrival, deputies contacted the victim, a 15-year-old ninth grade female who
attends El Capitan High School. The victim reported an unknown male had followed
her as she walked to school from the intersection of Channel Road and Industry
Way (near Highway 67). The male suspect made several attempts to lure the female
into his vehicle by offering her a ride, and eventually stopped his vehicle
on Mapleview Street just west of Highway 67. As the victim attempted to walk
past the vehicle, the suspect got out of his vehicle and walked toward the
victim. The suspect placed his hand on the victim's shoulder and she fled the
scene to the 7-11 store at 10133 Main Avenue where she called the Sheriff's
Department.

MARCH 17 HEARING SET IN SAN DIEGO ON SDG&E PLAN TO SHUT OFF POWER ON DRY, WINDY DAYS

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2009 (San Diego) -- An administrative law judge has issued orders requiring the California Public Utilities commission to hold three public hearings on SDG&E's proposed shut-off of power to back country communities during high-wind events with low humidity.

2 FEDERAL AGENCIES APPROVE POWERLINK; SCHWARZENEGGER ASKS U.S. FOREST SERVICE TO EXPEDITE OK TO BUILD POWERLINK THROUGH CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

By Miriam Raftery January 24, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--In the last days of the Bush administration, two federal agencies gave a parting gift to Sempra Energy. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission designated a vast swath of San Diego's East County as a federal energy corridor, paving the way for the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to approve Sempra's controversial Sunrise Powerlink project one day before George W. Bush left office. For construction to commence, however, the U.S. Forest Service (a division of the U.S.

Congressman Hunter Bill Would Prevent Transfer of Guantanamo Prisoners to Camp Pendleton

January 21, 2009 (Washington D.C.)-- On his first day in office, President Barack Obama ordered that the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay be closed down within a year. Closure of the now-infamous detention facility could result in some of the 245 prisoners held there being transferred to Camp Pendleton in San Diego, according to a Pentagon study. Newly elected Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) has introduced a bill, coauthored by San Diego Republican Congressmen Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray, to block transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to Pendleton.

POLICE SEEK ROBBER WHO ATTACKED CLERK WITH HAMMER AT LA MESA SHELL STATION

January
21, 2009 (La Mesa) —
A man attempted to rob the Shell Gas Station at 5302 Lake
Murray Boulevard, La Mesa at 6:32 this morning by threatening the clerk there
with a hammer.  The suspect entered the business and demanded money.  The
suspect threatened to hit the clerk, 28, with a ten-inch-long sheet rock hammer.  A
struggle ensued over the hammer and the clerk was finally able to wrestle the
hammer from the suspect.  The suspect punched the clerk at least once
during the fight. 

STATE OF THE STATE: "CALIFORNIA FACES INSOLVENCY WITHIN WEEKS," GOVERNOR WARNS

January 15, 2009 (Sacramento)--Governor Arnold chwarzenegger refused to deliver a traditional state-of-the-state address today "because the reality is that our state is incapacitated until we resolve the budget crisis," he said during today's address in Sacramento. (Video of speech: http://msmedia.dot.ca.gov/governor/20090115_state.asf;
text of speech: http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/capitolalertlatest/018621.html)

2 BILLS TO STOP PAY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN PASS HOUSE; DAVIS & FILNER VOTE "YES"; BILBRAY, HUNTER & ISSA VOTE "NO"

January 11, 2009 (San Diego) — Two landmark bills aimed at helping women employees achieve equal pay for equal work and obtain judgments against employers who violate the law have passed the House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate. San Diego County's Congressional delegation split down party lines, with Democrats Susan Davis and Bob Filner voting yes, while Republicans Brian Bilbray, Duncan D. Hunter and Darrell Issa voted no on both bills.

The bills were introduced in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Lilly Ledbetter (see photo), who worked nearly 20 years at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company plant in Alabama. Ledbetter filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination immediately after she found out that she was the lowest paid supervisor at the plant, even though she had more experience than her male colleagues. A jury ruled in favor of Ledbetter.

FALLBROOK PARAPLEGIC STUDENT ASPIRES TO JOIN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

By Miriam Raftery

 

Hermes
Castro with Sir Robert Swan, polar explorer who has invited Castro on his
Antarctic expedition
Antarctica

January 7, 2008 (Fallbrook) — Invited by a famous polar explorer to join
an Antarctic expedition in March, Hermes Castro and his fellow students
at Mesa College are raising funds for transportation and special equipment
to help him fulfill his dream. But Castro has already come a long way
since September 2006, when he was struck head-on by a drunk-driver in Bonsall
while riding his bicycle to work in Fallbrook--tragedy that left him paralyzed
from the waist down.

EAST COUNTY ROUND-UP -- DECEMBER

Links to top stories in other publications on East County issues

East County Roundup Logo

STATE TO SHUT DOWN FIRST AND THIRD FRIDAYS EACH MONTH

Sacramento Bee (January 9, 2009) — California will
close most state offices on the first and third Fridays each month starting
in February, padlocking DMV outlets and other services while reducing state
worker pay to help survive a massive budget problem, according to a state Department
of Personnel Administration memo.

 

SANTEE SCHOOL DISTRICT FACES $4.5 MILLION STATE FUNDING SHORTAGE

Union-Tribune (January 8, 2009) — The Santee School District will dip
into its savings to help offset the possible reduction of $4.5 million in state
funding reductions over the next 18 months.

The board Tuesday voted unanimously to use $904,102 from the district's reserves
to help mitigate the impact of the projected state funding loss.

 

GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT RELEASES REVIEW OF ALPINE AREA SITES
FOR NEW SCHOOL

Union-Tribune (January 8, 2009 ) — The Grossmont Union High School District
has released for public viewing a state-required review of three sites in Alpine
and Blossom Valley for the construction of a new high school.

The disrict has posted the 650-page Environmental Impact Report on its web
site, www.guhsd.net,
under Prop H construction news. Public comment will be received through Feb.
23. The Grossmont board plans to hold a public hearing in May or June when
it could decide on a site.

HIGH WINDS PREDICTED TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY: CAL-FIRE BEEFS UP PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

San Diego's East County (January 9, 2009) — Cal Fire has dramatically increased fire protection staffing in anticipation of wind gusts of 40 mph or higher predicted starting tonight through this weekend.

"We will have 18 engines with three- person staffing, 19 hand crews, three bulldozers, and the two Sheriffs helicopters," Cal Fire Captain Nick Schuler advised East County Magazine. In addition, he said, Cal Fire has moved a helicopter down from Northern California into Fallbrook.

MICHAEL'S CRAFT STORE ROBBED AT GUNPOINT IN LA MESA: $1,000 REWARD OFFERED BY CRIMESTOPPERS

January 5, 2009 (La Mesa) — On January 5, 2009, at 3:12 PM, two masked
men entered the Michael's Craft Store at 9108 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa and
robbed customers and the store employees at gunpoint.

The suspects entered the store and ordered employees and customers to the
floor while they each waved a handgun around.  The suspects took money
and jewelry from several customers and also took an undisclosed amount of money
from the store's cash registers.  The suspects fled the scene in an unknown
type white sedan.  No one was injured during the robbery. 

GROSSMONT & CUYAMACA COLLEGES GO SMOKE-FREE CAMPUSES STARTING JANUARY 1

January 1, 2009 (El Cajon) — Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
becomes the first multi-campus district in California to ban smoking starting
New Year's Day.

"In the long run, we have done something very valuable for this district,"
said governor board president Bill Garrett.

Deanne Weeks said the district has a responsibility to "be ahead of the curve." 

SHOULD PRESIDENT BUSH PARDON BORDER PATROL AGENTS RAMOS AND COMPEAN?

Border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean

January 5, 2008 (San Diego's East County) — Assemblyman Joel Anderson has written a letter to President George W. Bush requesting a pardon for Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compeon.  Both are currently in prison, serving 11 and 12 year sentences after being convicted by a jury of shooting the unarmed Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the rear, then attempting to cover up their actions.  Davila was later sentenced to two years for marijuana smuggling.

"The sentencing and imprisonment of Ramos and Compean and the severe impact on their families has demoralized the rest of the U.S. Border Patrol which is the nation's first line of defense against the massive influx of illegal aliens into the U.S.," Anderson wrote, noting that the East County Assembly district that he represents is significantly impacted by illegal immigration.  "These men have already served nearly two years in prison, subjecting their wives and children to extreme emotional and financial hardship."

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE'S 2008 NEWSMAKERS OF THE YEAR

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--For better or worse, these are the East County people who made headlines in 2008.  Some are famous--elected officials and sports stars.  Others are unsung heroes and ordinary citizens who found themselves in extraordinary situations, battling foes ranging from cancer to large-scale developments in their communities.  Some have aspired to amazing feats, such as a young paraplegic athlete striving to join an Antarctic expedition.  We've included heroes with heartwarming tales--and a few local leaders who made headlines for less-than-heroic deeds. 

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