BILL TO RESTRICT RECALL ELECTIONS WITHDRAWN BY AUTHOR, BUT OTHER MEASURES REMAIN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

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.


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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.


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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.


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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. 


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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." 


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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."


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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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2008 NEWSMAKERS OF THE YEAR: HONORABLE MENTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Each of these individuals has attained remarkable achievements.  Some have sparked controversy for their views or actions.  Many are working to make our community, our nation, or our world a better place.  Our list includes people who triumphed over disabilities, animal protection advocates, artists and musicians, business leaders, citizen watchdogs, educators, fire heroes, healthcare reformers, humanitarians, social justice leaders, politicians, a police intern, sports stars, tribal leaders, veterans' champions, volunteers and nonprofit leaders.  All are East County newsmakers extraordinaire. Who knew we had so many amazing people in San Diego's eastern region?


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EIGHT YEAR OLD BOY KIDNAPPED BY STRANGER IN LA MESA ;CHILD ESCAPED, POLICE SEEK SUSPECT

UPDATE: Police have determined that this reported kidnapping was a hoax.

La Mesa Police Officers responded to an attempted kidnapping that occurred
at 4827 Parks Avenue in the city of La Mesa on January 1st at 6:55 p.m..  Officers
met with the eight-year-old male victim and his aunt at the Parks Avenue address. 


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FEMALE CARJACKING SUSPECT ARRESTED BY LA MESA POLICE---THANKS TO TIP RECEIVED THROUGH CRIMESTOPPERS

December
30, 2008 —
(La Mesa) On December 29, a woman was arrested for
charges stemming from a carjacking that occurred at Grossmont Center a week
ago.   


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ARMED ROBBERY AT SUPER OSCAR'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN LA MESA; REWARD OFFERED

December
27, 2008 (La Mesa) —
Three armed men robbed the Super Oscar's Restaurant located
at 7102 University Avenue in La Mesa on Saturday, December 27th at 7:52 p.m.  A
customer in the drive-thru reported that armed subjects entered the front doors
of the restaurant with handguns. Suspects pointed the weapons at three employees,


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TOP 25 EAST COUNTY STORIES OF 2008

By Miriam Raftery

Fire Man December 31, 2008--It's been a tumultuous year for East County and the nation.  Here are our choices for the most important news stories of 2008 that had broad impacts on San Diego's eastern region--from heartwarming to heart-wrenching.  (Note: watch for a separate "East County Newsmakers" feature next week on individuals making a difference in our region, for better or for worse.)

We couldn't resist adding a few snarky comments--and some probing questions.  Starting with this one:  aren't you glad this year is finally over?


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CALIFORNIA BUDGET IMPASSE CAUSES PARTISAN DIVIDE:


Governor refuses to sign measure with tax/fee increases to avoid deep cuts in
education

Republicans, Democrats trade sharp criticisms

Senate leader seeks help from federal government to fund public
works projects and jump start California economy

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2008 (San Diego's East County)--Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez
(D-Shafter) has written to Henry Paulson, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
Department, urging him to use the Treasury's investment strength to jump
start planned public works projects in California that would provide the
state with an economic stimulus.


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NEW EAST COUNTY FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER OPENS; HELPS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS

The East County Family Justice Center , opened in mid-December, will
offer a broad cross-section of services in one location for victims of domestic
violence and their children.

Assemblyman Joel Anderson, a supporter of efforts to assist victims of domestic
violence, announced the opening in a newsletter to constituents. ''Over 3,000
domestic violence incidents are reported in San Diego 's East County annually,''
said Anderson. ''Research shows that for every reported case there are two
more that go un-reported.''


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SANDBAGS AVAILABLE AT THESE LOCATIONS

With wet weather expected throughout the week, CAL FIRE-San
Diego County Fire Authority has sandbags available throughout the County.  The
sand and sand bags were graciously provided by the County of San Diego-Flood
Control Engineering Group.

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COUNTY ANNOUNCES PLAN TO KEEP FIRE STATIONS OPEN

State Budget Cuts Threaten Fire Stations; County Offers to Shift
Staff to Protect Region

December 23, 2008 (San Diego) —Acting
swiftly to counteract California's latest budget crisis, the County of San
Diego has proposed to temporarily shift some firefighters from County-contracted
stations to ensure that all 18 CAL FIRE stations remain open this year, according
to a press release issued jointly by San Diego County and CAL FIRE.


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COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO CPUC'S APPROVAL OF SUNRISE POWERLINK SOUTHERN ROUTE

By Miriam Raftery

Click photo for larger image.

December 19, 2008 (San Diego's East County) —  The California Public
Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled to allow construction of Sunrise Powerlink
across the southern portion of East County.   The decision drew a
mixture of praise and criticism from local community leaders. 


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Armed Subject at Helix High School Determined to be a Hoax

December 17, 2008 (La Mesa) — A report of an armed man on the Helix High School campus yesterday has now been determined to be a hoax.  Further investigation by Helix staff and the La Mesa Police Department confirmed that the student who reported seeing a man with a gun had fabricated the incident.  It is not known why the student lied at this time.    


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SNOW FALLING IN EAST COUNTY! ACCIDENTS CLOG I-8, CHAINS REQUIRED ON MOUNTAIN HIGHWAYS

Snow GirlUPDATE 9 p.m. A winter storm warning remains in effect through Thursday morning.
I-8, closed earlier in portions of East county due to snow, has been reopened,
according to the California Department of Transportation website, though many
accidents are reported and conditions remain hazardous-. State Route 79 remains
closed from I-8 to 11.9 miles south of the junction of State Route 78. State
Route 78 is closed from Washington Street in Julian to 11.9 miles east of the
junction or SR 79. For updates on these and other roadways, check the California
Department of Transportation website at http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi.
Six to eight inches of snow have fallen in Julian today and ten to twelve inches
at Mount Laguna. At Camp Palomar, Middle School students are reportedly snowed
in. Send your photos of winter weather conditions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

December
17, 2008, 12 noon  (San Diego's East County) —
Heavy snowfall is blanketing
much of East County, clogging major highways.

"Snow is falling on I-8 from the Golden Acorn Casino east to Jacumba," CAL
FIRE Captain Nick Schuler told East County Magazine, calling from
Boulevard where an estimated one to two inches of snow covered the ground.  "I'm
out here with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and I wouldn't recommend cars out
here.  We are responding to accidents on the I-8 corridor."  CAL
FIRE also responded to a fire on BIA 15 south of Highway 94 this morning, where
a home burned to the ground, Schuler reported.


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NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR SAN DIEGO EXCELLENCE IN ENERGY AWARDS

December
18, 2008 —
Are you an Energy All-Star? Take credit for your green efforts
and submit a nomination for the 5th Annual San Diego Excellence in Energy (SANDEE)
Awards.

The SANDEE Awards recognize outstanding projects and activities that have
achieved significant energy efficiency or energy conservation savings, implemented
renewable energy and reduced CO2 emissions in San Diego County.


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COMMUNITY LEADERS FLOCK TO ATTEND EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE'S VIP HOLIDAY PARTY

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

Education leaders at ECM's holiday party (left to
right): Henri Migala, executive dean, Cuyamaca College, Alan Ridley,
Student Services Specialist, Cuyamaca College, Mary Kay Rosinski,
board member, Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District, and Doug Dean, education
chair, East County Chamber of Commerce with musician Gene Warren.

December 15, 2008 (La Mesa) — It was a leap
of faith to host a VIP holiday party as the upstart publisher in town.   Being
a big believer in the "if you build it, they will come" philosophy, however,
we didn't pause to worry about that nagging little fear: what if no VIPs
showed up? Fortunately, the result was quite the opposite! 

More than 70 VIP guests attended our holiday soiree, where dozens of
community leaders mixed and mingled with our writers, editors, webmaster,
donors and supporters.  It's amazing to think how far we've come
in just three months--attracting over 485,000 visits to our website and
now, a party guest list that reads like a Who's Who of East County!


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FOUNDER OF STONEY'S KIDS HONORED DURING EAST COUNTY TOY & FOOD DRIVE EVENT AT VIEJAS

By Miriam Raftery

Stoney Stone and his Wife.
Photo Credit: Leon Thompson

December 10, 2008 (Alpine) — Community members from throughout East County
gathered at the Viejas Dreamcatcher Lounge for a holiday party and auction
to help needy families locally.  In addition, community leaders paid tribute
to B.W. "Stoney" Stone, founder of Stoney's Kids and long-time organizer of
the East County Toy & Food Drive.


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MAKING MIRACLES HAPPEN:  CHALLENGE CENTER TAKES THE "DIS" OUT OF DISABILITES

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery; videos by Leon Thompson and Rob Constantine.

December
21, 2008 (San Diego's East County) —
"When I first had my stroke, I couldn't speak or move my right side. I couldn't
walk," recalled Austin Junkin, 80, of Lemon Grove.  "Now I can do anything.  I
lift 100 pounds with ease," he said, demonstrating his physical prowess by
hoisting weights above his head inside the Challenge Center at Sunset Park
in La Mesa.

Challenge Center isn't any ordinary gym.  The facility specializes in
helping severely disabled patients, including those with spinal cord and traumatic
brain injuries, attain dramatic improvements even after other physical therapy
programs have failed. View
Video
.


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STATE CUTS FIRE STAFFING DUE TO BUDGET CRISIS

Only 5 of 20 engines will be staffed this winter

By Miriam Raftery

December 11, 2008 (San Diego) — CAL FIRE will reduce
staffing to winter preparedness levels in Southern Califiornia to address a
one-time $6.3 million  budget
crisis.
"This means additional seasonal employees will be laid off for a total of 17
weeks from mid-December to mid April, 2009 which is the lowest risk wildfire
period according to historical data," Captain Nick Schuler, public information
officer for CAL FIRE's San Diego unit, stated in a media advisory issued this
morning. 

In 2004, 20 additional fire engines were added in Southern California to implement
year round staffing. This plan allows for staffing  only five of those
additional engines for the December to April period.


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Poway Sheriff's Investigators Seek Public's Help to Identify and Apprehend Burglary Suspects: $1,000 Reward

December 4, 2008 (Poway) — San Diego County
Crime Stoppers is joining forces with San Diego County Sheriff's Department's
Poway detectives to help identify and apprehend the suspects responsible for
burglarizing a jewelry store.  The suspects' vehicle was caught on store
surveillance video. 

On November 11, 2008 at about 6:00 a.m., two suspects stole about $100,000
worth of jewelry from Phillips Jewelers jewelry store, located at 14857 Pomerado
Road in Poway while another suspect waited in a vehicle in the parking lot.  The
suspects gained entry into the jewelry store by breaking into the adjoining
business and then breaking through an interior wall.


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U.S. CRANBERRY MARKETING COMMITTEE PARTNERS WITH SAN DIEGO-BASED SOUPLANTATION

Partnership promotes benefits of cranberries During
the Month of December

December 3, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) — San
Diego-based Souplantation, voted one of "America's Healthiest
Restaurants" by Health magazine, has formed a partnership with the Cranberry
Marketing Committee (CMC), a committee established by the federal government
that works to promote and inform the public about the benefits of U.S. cranberries.
Souplantation restaurants will also feature several cranberry-filled recipes
on their December menu to celebrate the partnership.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY'S INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS ADDRESSED AT NCA CONVENTION

Story and photos by Thea Skinner

Rev. Canon Mary Moreno-Richardson, coordinator for Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of San Diego speaks as other panelists are attentive during the National Communication Association's 94th Annual Convention, "unCONVENTIONal" at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego Nov. 22.

Dec 1, 2008 (San Diego) — Spirits ran high in higher education during the National Communication Association's 94th Annual Convention at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego Nov. 21-24. Titled the "unCONVENTIONal," the convention held concurrent sessions on eight levels of the hotel.

The Nov. 22 Urban Communication Foundation Spotlight Panel session discussed issues pertinent to the region including democratic processes, activism, infrastructure and sustainability--at times sparking heated controversy. The five largest issues affecting the region are growth, borders, water, climate, and economy or housing, said Peter Andersen, professor at San Diego State University's  School of Communication and environmental community commentator for Channel 10.


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POVERTY RISING IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY; EL CAJON HAS HIGHEST POVERTY RATE

By Walter Davis

December 7, 2008 (San Diego) — Poverty is fueled by scarcity. In San Diego County, scarcity of affordable housing and high paying jobs are causing hardship for many citizens, with some East County communities among the hardest hit.


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3 DEAD FROM FIGHTER JET CRASH, FIRE IN UNVERSITY CITY

UPDATE 3:00 PM:

December 8, 2008 (San Diego) — Authorities confirm that three people on the ground are dead and two remain
missing following the crash of an F-18 fighter pilot on approach to the Miramar
Marine Corps Air Base.

Type of Page: 

Date: 


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TOXIC TOYS STILL ON STORE SHELVES - HOW TO AVOID BANNED  PRODUCTS FOR YOUR CHILDREN

December 6, 2008 (San Diego) — Before you buy children's toys this holiday season, be aware that many toxic toys have NOT been removed from store shelves. Here's what you need to know to avoid these toys harmful products.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, toys containing toxic phthalates are supposed to be banned starting on February 10, 2009. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is saying that stores can continue to sell down their inventories as long as they were manufactured before the February deadline.


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