BILL TO RESTRICT RECALL ELECTIONS WITHDRAWN BY AUTHOR, BUT OTHER MEASURES REMAIN

RANCHITA’S MARKET DESTROYED BY FIRE, FUNDRAISER AIMS TO HELP FAMILY REBUILD

LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEADERS REACT TO GUILTY VERDICTS IN DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL FOR KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD

LEMON GROVE HOUSING ELEMENT MOVES FORWARD

STRONG WINDS, HOT WEATHER AND A CHANCE OF RAIN FORECAST

VIRTUAL CELEBRATION, REAL FUN — COUNTY’S EARTH DAY 2021

COVID-19 DEATHS REACH 3 MILLION WORLDWIDE

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

News

H1N1 FLU FOUND IN CAT, FERRET AND OTHER ANIMALS


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CNN CONFIRMS RACY VIDEO SPURRED CARRIE PREJEAN SETTLEMENT WITH PAGEANT OFFICIALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 4, 2009 (San Diego) – A settlement agreement has been reached in two lawsuits between pageant officials and Carrie Prejean, a senior at San Diego Christian College in EL Cajon who lost her Miss California USA crown. The website TMZ claimed that revelation of a sex video made by Prejean prompted a hasty settlement.


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LEMON GROVE SUICIDE VICTIM IDENTIFIED; FELL FROM BRIDGE AS OFFICERS TRIED TO TALK HER DOWN

November 5, 2009 (Lemon Grove) - The coroner's office has identified Jessica Eve Louise Kuntz, 29, as the woman who fell to her death from a bridge in Lemon Grove on October 28th.  Kuntz was witnessed to climb over the safety fence of an overpass at Lemon Grove Avenue above Highway 94.   According to the County Coroner, Kuntz resident in both Santee and Lemon Grove.


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LAKESIDE FIRE CHARS 5 ACRES

 

November 4, 2009 (Lakeside) – A fire that started near San Vicente Reservoir shortly after noon charred five acres north of Lakeside. CAL FIRE dispatched five engines, two fire crews, one bulldozer, three air tankers, three helicopters and a chief officer to quell the blaze, assisted by Heartland Fire Agencies, the U.S. Forest Service and San Diego Sheriff’s Department.


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MAN FOUND HANGED IN POWAY ON HALLOWEEN STILL NOT IDENTIFIED

 

November 6, 2009 (Poway) - A City of Poway worker clearing brush in a secluded area of Hilleary Park on Community Road on Halloween Eve, October 31st, made a grisly discovery.  A man's partially skeletized body was hanging by the neck from a tree. 


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CAR SEATS SAVE INFANT, TODDLER IN HEAD-ON CRASH ON HIGHWAY 67

Story By: Captain Mark Grow

November 4, 2009 (Lakeside) --The Lakeside Fire Protection District received a call of a multi-patient vehicle accident at the intersection of State Highway 67 and Gold Bar Way. This accident was a high velocity head-on collision between two SUV- type vehicles. One vehicle was occupied by a mother, small child, and an infant.


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NEW LAW ALLOWS FIREFIGHTERS & OTHER EMERGENCY WORKERS TO VOTE WHERE THEY SERVE

 

November 4, 2009 (Sacramento) -- Beginning next year, firefighters, medics, and others responding to state emergencies will be able to vote wherever they are serving, thanks to the Governor's signature on Assembly Bill 1440 (Swanson), which Secretary of State Debra Dowen sponsored in the Legislature.


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HUNTER TO HOLD VETERANS RESOURCE FAIR NOV. 12

 

November 1, 2009 (El Cajon) -- Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) will sponsor a Veterans Resource Fair for San Diego-area veterans on November 12, 2009, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2275. The event is set for 2 PM to 4 PM at VFW Post 2275, located at 136 Chambers Street  in El Cajon.  Counselors from Veterans Affairs will be on hand to offer assistance to veterans.


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SDG&E, COX TO PAY $17 MILLION TO STATE OVER FIRE CLAIMS; DEAL DOES NOT AFFECT LAWSUITS BY FIRE VICTIMS

By Miriam Raftery


November 1, 2009 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has agreed to pay $14.3 million to the state to settle claims that its poor maintenance caused the 2007 Witch Creek, Rice, and Guejito fires, plus an extra $400,000 in reimbursement to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). SDG&E did not admit causing the fires, but did issue an apology for obstructing investigators seeking causes of the fires.

Cox Cable agreed to pay the state $2 million. “We believe that our line was properly maintained and intact prior to the Santa Ana winds in 2007, and did not cause the Guejito fire,” a Cox statement read. The PUC will decide after a public hearing in San Diego whether to approve the proposed settlement, which would be paid from company profits, not ratepayers.

Some community leaders expressed dissatisfaction at the news.  “It seems to be business as usual for SDG&E,” observed Donna Tisdale, Boulevard Planning Group chair. “Get caught lying, cheating, or failing to comply, refuse to admit guilt, give a half-assed apology, and write a big fat check that never reaches the impacted/damaged communities.”


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BOMB SQUAD CALLED AFTER AMMO FOUND IN BURNING HOME

 

Smoke alarm alerted resident to blaze

 

October 31, 2009 (El Cajon)—The Sheriff’s Bomb & Arson squad was dispatched Saturday after cases of ammunition were found in an El Cajon house fire started by Halloween decorations inadvertently left on a stove.


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URGENT PLEA ISSUED TO HELP FAMILIES WITHOUT FOOD

 

Need for emergency food boxes has more than doubled in the past year at Salvation Army Kroc Center 

 

October 28, 2009 (San Diego)—"So far, thanks to the generosity of San Diegans, The Salvation Army Kroc Center has been able to meet the increasing need for emergency food assistance in the surrounding community. But as the need continues to rise, our pantry is in desperate need of restocking," a press release issued today warns.

 

In October of 2008, 40 families came to The Salvation Army Kroc Center’s Family Services Department needing emergency food boxes to help feed 136 people. In October of this year, that number more than doubled, with 94 families requesting emergency food to feed 416 people. Right now, the Salvation Army Kroc Center has barely enough food to get through this next month.


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LEFT IN THE WAKE: SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES CABLE SKI, WAKEBOARDING & RESTAURANT FACILITIES AT SANTEE LAKES OVER OBJECTIONS OF NEIGHBORS

Mayor Randy Voepel, Vice Mayor Brian Jones and Councilman Hal Ryan voted in favor, Council members Jack Dale and John Minto voted against controversial project

By Miriam Raftery

October 29, 2009 (Santee) – By a 3-2 vote, the Santee City Council voted last night to approve a major use permit for Sudweeks Development to construct a cable ski and wakeboarding facility at Santee Lakes. The project, previously approved by Padre Dam Municipal Water District, will operate seven days a week and also include a restaurant serving alcohol until 11 p.m.

The measure was approved despite strenuous and, at times, tearful objections from dozens of Santee residents and environmentalists.The developer and less than a half dozen supporters argued that the project will increase recreational opportunities in Santee, also boosting revenues for Padre Municipal Water District.

“I have an attorney. We are not done fighting this,” Santee resident Julie Naggar told East County Magazine, hinting that a class action lawsuit may be an option.


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ALERT: HIGHWAY 94 CLOSED IN LEMON GROVE

Update:  The woman, who has not been identified, fell from the bridge at 3:30 p.m. while law officers tried to talk her down.  Following CPR, she was transported to a hospital. Her condition has not been released.

 


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LIFE WALK DRAWS HUNDREDS IN LA MESA & ESCONDIDO TO FUND PRO-LIFE CURRICULUM

By Miriam Raftery

October 28, 2009 (La Mesa) -- Linda Noble believes strongly that abortion is wrong. But she has taken a different approach to the controversial issue from most pro-life organizations. On Saturday, 200-300 walkers turned out in La Mesa, with more in Escondido to raise funds for an education program authored by Noble.


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SUPERVISOR JACOB “WORRIED” OVER SHORTAGE OF SWINE FLU VACCINES

October 22, 2009 (San Diego) – “I’m worried,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob told East County Magazine when asked about H1N1 (swine flu) vaccinations. “These should have been here yesterday.”
 

Jacob expressed concern over the fact that San Diego has only received 28,000 doses of the vaccine, yet the County has 12 million people. She added that she is now receiving hourly updates on the situation.


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HATE GROUP'S PROTESTS BACKFIRE IN SAN DIEGO

 

October 21, 2009 (San Diego) - Members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed outside local schools during the past week, bearing messages of hate directed towards Jews, gays, and the military. Designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Westboro has gained notoriety for indoctrinating children into a cult-like web of hate (photo, left, child displays hate messages).

 

In San Diego, however, a handful of Westboro protesters were vastly outnumbered by hundreds of counter-protesters bearing messages of tolerance and peace; no local residents joined the protesters, according to news reports. A gay rights group, meanwhile, invited supporters to pledge donations for every minute of the Westboro protest.


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EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE NAMED BEST GENERAL INTEREST WEBSITE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY, SWEEPS SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB WITH 18 AWARDS

 

October 20, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – East County Magazine took home 18 awards at tonight’s San Diego Press Club dinner, including some of the top honors in the region. Our publication was named best general interest website in San Diego County and second best news site (after the San Diego Union-Tribune). Five of our writers (E.A. Barrera, Gayle Early, Miriam Raftery, Jamie Reno, and Joseph Rocha) also won individual honors, beating out many of the top writers and publications in the region. Not bad for an upstart nonprofit media site that’s barely one year old!


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APARTMENT FIRE DISPLACES 3 FAMILIES IN EL CAJON; FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE 2 TRAPPED ON BALCONY

October 20, 2009 (El Cajon)—Just before 9:00 p.m. this evening, El Cajon firefighters responded to reports of an apartment fire at 1077 E. Lexington Avenue. When the first crews arrived, flames and heavy smoke were seen coming from a second floor apartment of the 12-unit complex. About twenty firefighters fought the blaze, knocking it down in 15 minutes. Two occupants of a neighboring apartment were trapped on their second floor balcony and were rescued by crews. Three families displaced by the fire are being assisted by the American Red Cross.


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I-5 CLOSED IN BOTH DIRECTIONS DUE TO POTENTIAL SUICIDE

October 20, 2009 - California Highway Patrol has issued a SigAlert and closed down all lanes of Interstate 5 in both directions at the Pershing Drive S-curve in Golden Hill. Commuters are advised to take alternative routes. Police are trying to talk down a woman spotted on a pedestrian bridge who is considering throwing herself off the freeway overpass.

 


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XE (BLACKWATER) CONTRACT CANCELED BY SOUTHWESTERN COLLLEGE

College Board responds to Public Outcry

 

October 18, 2009 (Chula Vista) – On October 14, Southwestern College District Governing Board approved cancellation of its agreement with Xe . The agreement allowed the college's law enforcement students to use a training facility in Otay Mesa operated by Xe Systems LLC, the company formerly known as Blackwater. Blackwater, which gained notoriety for its activities in Iraq, was also the center of controversy in East County, where the company sought to open a private military training base at Potrero but withdrew following massive public opposition.

“To save a few bucks, you basically sold out your souls and made a pact with the devil,” Congressman Bob Filner told college board members at an April 15th board meeting. “These are bad guys. They have killed innocent civilians in Iraq, and they lost their contract with the State Department for so doing."


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ASSEMBLYMAN BLOCK CONVENES OCT. 20 HEARING ON SDSU ADMISSION POLICY CHANGES

October 15, 2009 (San Diego) – Assemblyman Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove) will hold a hearing October 20 on SDSU President Stephen Weber’s recent announcement to suspend guaranteed enrollment for local students.

“As chair of the Select Committee on K-16 Articulation, Access and Affordability, I have called a hearing to examine this issue in detail and to accept testimony on the merits of this policy change,” Block wrote in an e-mail to constituents."


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POLITICAL PORK? COMMON CAUSE CALLS FOR FPPC TO INVESTIGATE LOBBYIST SEX SCANDALS; NOTES SEMPRA CONTRIBUTIONS TO BASS & BROWN

 By Miriam Raftery

October 15, 2009 (Sacramento) – A lobbyist scandal in Sacramento has given new meaning to the term “pork” in politics. Ever since former Assemblyman Mike Duvall squealed on tape about bedding two lobbyists, critics have called for an investigation. Now the non-partisan citizens watchdog group Common Cause has called on the Fair Political Practices Commission to open an investigation into whether the female lobbyists violated state law by engaging in affairs with Duvall, an Orange County Republican who resigned in disgrace after his boasts were made public. An Orange County newspaper has identified one of the women as a lobbyist for Sempra Energy/SDG&E.

 

“Voters need to know how widespread this practice is of lobbyists literally getting into bed with legislators, and since the Legislature and Attorney General have both abandoned any investigation it is now incumbent upon the FPPC to take this on,” said Derek Cressman, Western States Regional Director for Common Cause.


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MWD TAKES PENSION HIKES OFF THE TABLE: WATER PENSION PROPOSAL FIRED UP CONTROVERSY

 

By Francine Phillips
Photos courtesy of Helix Water Distict

October 13, 2009 (San Diego) – The Metropolitan Water District (MWD), which supplies water for most San Diegans, decided yesterday to re-visit labor negotiations rather than pass a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlined a pension arrangement that was retroactive and underfunded by 75 million. MWD’s action was the result of widespread public protest that the 11 percent rate hike coming in November would be partially funneled into pension debt for 2,000 employees.


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5-CAR CRASH ON I-15 RESULTS IN DEATH OF FALLBROOK WOMAN




October 11, 2009 (Escondido) – Sarah Garcia, 22, of Fallbrook died from injuries sustained in an accident yesterday at 4:14 a.m. Garcia was the driver and sole occupant of a sports utility vehicle involved in a multi-vehicle accident on northbound I-15 at the Gopher Canyon exit.  She lost control at the edge of a hillside and plunged into a canyon, where CHP and emergency personnel located the vehicle and confirmed death at the scene, according to the San Diego County Coroner’s office. 

 

Southbound Highway 15 was closed temporarily following the collision. 





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POLICE CHASE ENDS IN CRASH, DEATH OF SAILOR FROM LA MESA

 

October 11, 2009 (La Mesa) – La Mesa resident Herb Anthony McClenningham, 20, died after losing control of his vehicle during a police chase. McClenningham, an active duty member of the U.S. Navy, was driving erratically eastbound on El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego on October 9th. San Diego Police officers attempted to pull him over and he fled.


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LA MESA WOMAN CRUSHED BY BUS ON HIGHWAY 94

October 11, 2009 (Dulzura) – La Mesa resident Debra Louise Allen, 42, died yesterday morning after being run over by a bus that struck the motorcycle on which she was a passenger.


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REPORT: FORECLOSURE MEDIATION PROGRAMS’ POTENTIAL TO HELP HOMEOWNERS NOW IN JEOPARDY DUE TO LACK OF INDUSTRY ACCOUNTABILITY

 

National Consumer Law Center Looks at 25 Programs in 14 States Including California: Mediation Programs Seen as Faltering

 

October 7, 2009 (Washington D.C.)--A spate of new state and local programs that have emerged over the last year requiring mediations or conferences before foreclosures sales take place have great potential to help homeowners, but are suffering from the same lack of industry accountability that has plagued voluntary federal mortgage modification programs, according to a major new study from the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).


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2-STORY HOME LOST IN SECOND ALARM FIRE; OWNERS HAD BEEN FINED FOR DEBRIS

 

By Miriam Raftery
Photos by Leonard Villareal

October 6, 2009 (El Cajon) -- Dale Wojczynski, owner of a home destroyed by fire on September 30, had been fined $10,000 by the County for ignoring numerous orders to clean up the property.  A criminal case has been filed and will be heard on October 29.

 

San Miguel Fire District firefighters battled the two-story house fire in the Granite Hills area of unincorporated El Cajon. Firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to neighboring homes, but could not save the home due to a large amount of flammable debris.   A 9-1-1 call was made by a resident at 6:07 a.m. Two people inside the home, located on the 2100 block of Valley View Blvd,  both got out safely.  Residents told fire investigators there were no smoke alarms in the home, but fortunately a resident was awakened by the alarm clock function of her cell phone.


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MAN COMMITS SUICIDE OFF SEVERIN DRIVE BRIDGE

October 5, 2009 (San Diego) – The San Diego County Coroner’s office has identified Ali Shah Wahid, 34, as the man who committed suicide on September 29th by jumping off the Severin Drive overpass in La Mesa.


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FBI OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO SEMPRA/SDG&E LOBBYIST SCANDAL

Assembly Ethics Committee Drops Its Investigation

By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2009 (Sacramento) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched an investigation info former Assemblyman Michael Duvall’s claims of having a sexual affair with a female lobbyist, the Los Angeles Times reports. The woman has been identified as a lobbyist for Sempra Energy/SDG&E by an Orange County newspaper. Duvall was a member of the utility company overseeing public utilities.


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