BORDER PATROL AGENT DIES IN CAMPO CRASH WHILE ON DUTY

INTERNET CRIMES TASK FORCE PROTECTING CHILDREN RECEIVES FUNDING

THREE KINGS BARBERSHOP IN LEMON GROVE ANNOUNCES FREE HAIRCUTS FOR FOSTER YOUTHS IN MAY

YAT IN SPRING VALLEY PRESENTS DISNEY’S “DESCENDANTS”

ELEGANT JAMUL HAVEN BED AND BREAKFAST IS UP FOR SALE, ALONG WITH ADJACENT DREAM HOME

STING OPERATION FINDS 24 STORES SELLING TOBACCO TO MINORS IN EL CAJON

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR CALFRESH BENEFITS?

ECM PADRES REPORT: BREAKING: PADRES SIGN ROBINSON CANO

UKRAINIANS RECEIVE FREE LEGAL HELP TO APPLY FOR U.S. IMMIGRATION STATUS

ANDERSON ASKS COUNTY TO CLEAR HOMELESS CAMPS ALONG PUBLIC ROADS AFTER COURT UPHOLDS CAL TRANS’ RIGHT TO DO SO WHEN PUBLIC SAFETY IS AT RISK

SENATE VOTES TO EXTEND POLICE PROTECTION TO FAMILIES OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICES

HEAT WAVE FORECAST: COOL ZONES AVAILABLE

News

SHERIFF SOLVES COLD-CASE SANTEE MURDER USING GENETIC GENEOLOGY

Suspected killer, a neighbor, later died in a fire

East County News Service

Source: San Diego Sheriff’s Department 

Photos:  Diane Lynn Dahn was brutally murdered in 1988.  After 33 years, investigators believe the killer was her neighbor, Warren Robertson, who later died in a fire.

March 16, 2022 (Santee) -- On May 2, 1988, Diane Lynn Dahn did not arrive at work for her shift at the San Diego Transit Corporation. A coworker went to Diane's apartment in the 8700 block of Graves Avenue in Santee and discovered her body inside her bedroom at around 1:30 p.m. Her 2-year-old son was found wandering in the apartment complex.


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BIDEN APPROVES ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS FOR UKRAINE, CALLS PUTIN “WAR CRIMINAL” AFTER ZELENSKY ADDRESS TO CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – Following an emotional appeal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the U.S. Congress today seeking more aid, President Joe Biden announced in a White House address that the U.S. will send antiaircraft systems, shoulder mounted missiles and more to help the Ukrainians defend their air space against Russian attacks.


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CHP: RELY ON SOBER DRIVERS, NOT LUCK THIS ST. PATRICK’S DAY

East County News Service

March 16, 2022 (Sacramento) -- This St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds drivers to avoid taking chances and have a sober ride home if their plans include alcohol. Unfortunately, the party often ends with risky drunk drivers taking to the streets and endangering countless lives, and/or being arrested for drunk driving.


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CALIFORNIA OIL REFINERIES’ PROFITS QUESTIONED DURING GAS PRICE RUN UP

Critics say the war has had NO effect on pricing yet, but the prices are climbing

By J.W. August

A version of this article was originally published in Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association.

Photo:  Oil refinery; CC by SA via Bing

March 15, 2022 (San Diego) -- Just how much do oil refiners make in California?  Only the owners of the five refineries in the state know.  They control 96% of gasoline made in California, according to the California Energy Commission. 


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THREE NEW JUDGES APPOINTED TO SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT INCLUDE HATE CRIMES PROSECUTOR, DEPUTY D.A. AND FORMER PUBLIC DEFENDER

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right:  Leonard Trinh, Nadia Keilani and Sherry Thompson-Taylor

March 15, 2022 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed three San Diego Superior Court judges to fill vacancies created by retirements. 


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BRIGGS SENDS LETTER TO LEMON GROVE DEMANDING CORRECTION OF BROWN ACT VIOLATIONS, STATES INTENT TO SUE

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2022 (Lemon Grove) – Attorney Cory Briggs, on behalf of the Project for Open Government, has sent a letter to Lemon Grove’s elected officials demanding that the City cure and correct alleged violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s open government law. The letter, dated March 10, also announces an intent to sue the City over actions that Briggs claims deprive Councilmember Liana LeBaron of rights to express herself and represent her constituents.

Specifically, Briggs contends that several actions taken to penalize LeBaron should have been on the Council agenda, but were not. These include:

  • Prohibiting LeBaron and other Councilmembers from interacting with staff regarding city services, except through the City Manager
  • Revoking Councilmembers’ access codes to City Hall

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SUPERVISORS APPROVE ANDERSON’S NEIGHBORHOOD REINVESTMENT PROGRAM GRANT ALLOCATIONS

More than a dozen East County organizations receive funding for ongoing projects

East County News Service

March 12, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) — San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson awarded more than a dozen organizations in East County with funds from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program (NRP) grant at the March 1, 2022, Board of Supervisors meeting. These organizations received amounts ranging from $800 to $75,000 for ongoing projects. The goal of the NRP grant is to reinvest taxpayer money into our communities for the benefit of the public.


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EL CAJON POLICE RELEASE VIDEO OF BASEBALL BAT ASSAULT ON OFFICER; SUSPECT HAD LONG CRIMINAL HISTORY

By Miriam Raftery

March 12, 2022 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police Department has released body camera video of a baseball bat-wielding suspect who attacked an ECPD officer on March 4 at Parkway Plaza. The man had reportedly committed theft and threatened citizens with the bat. After the officer calmly asked the shoplifting suspect to drop the bat, the suspect can be heard stating, “I want to kill you, bro” as he swung the bat at the officer.

The suspect, Julian Kurko, wo was arrested and charged with attempted murder.  He has a long history of criminal offenses, including convictions for two prior violent assaults on police officers.


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SANTEE MOVES TOWARD GIVING VOTERS A SAY ON LEGALIZING CANNABIS BUSINESSES

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Santee Vice Mayor Ronn Hall

March 11, 2022 (Santee) -- While it’s legal to use and even grow marijuana for personal use statewide, the sale of the still-federally prohibited drug is not permitted in Santee.

That could change given the path that the City Council has been on since last year, when it began exploring the potential of allowing some type of marijuana-linked business within its 16.5 square miles.


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BIPARTISAN BILL TO SAVE POSTAL SERVICE HEADS TO PRESIDENT FOR SIGNATURE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: mail carrier; CC by ND via Bing

March 11, 2022 (San Diego) – The Postal Service Reform Act has passed the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming 79-12 vote, after earlier passing the House 342-92. 

Four of San Diego County’s representatives voted in favor, as did both California Senators. But Congressman Darrell Issa voted no.

The Postal Service has been losing money in recent years, primarily because it is the only federal agency required to pre-pay retirees’ health benefits.  Officials warned Congress that if this bill did not pass, the Post Office would run out of money by 2024.

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden, who has pledged to sign it into law. Here’s what the bill will do:


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LEMON GROVE TAKES A BREATH AT THE BRINK OF CENSURE

 


Council backs off censure of Councilmember LeBaron after her supporters weigh in and an attorney questions legality of proposed action


By Elijah McKee


March 10, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — “It’s a sad day in Lemon Grove. We’re better than this,” expressed Mayor Raquel Vasquez near the end of her remarks during Lemon Grove’s special City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

 

"This brings me no joy,” echoed Councilmember Jennifer Mendoza, though the two voted on opposite sides over whether to censure Councilmember Liana LeBaron.

 

The meeting was held for one reason only — to debate a resolution that would have formally condemned LeBaron’s behavior. The severity of the resolution was evident by its verbs, which included condemn, reject, admonish, refrain, cease and desist. (See ECM’s prior coverage of the proposed censure resolution.)

Audio: 


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JUDGE BLOCKS FANITA RANCH, CITING FIRE DANGER

By Miriam Raftery and Mike Allen

March 10, 2022 (San Diego) – Citing wildfire evacuation concerns, San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal has ruled that the city of Santee and the City Council violated state law in approving Fanita Ranch, HomeFed’s long-planned 3,000 home development.  The project would be built on more than 2,600 acres of fire-prone hillsides in the city’s northwest section.

The ruling found that the city’s environmental review of the project was inadequate, violating California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to adequately disclose how the development would affect wildfire evacuations and safety in the surrounding community.

The Judge also slammed the city for its last-minute removal of the Magnolia Avenue extension from the project just six days before approving the project’s EIR, even though that extension had been touted as a key wildfire evacuation route. This was inadequate for public review or evaluation of impacts on neighbors along other connector roads should an evacuation be needed. In addition, the judge found, “the City’s decision not to recirculate the EIR violated CEQA.”


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PASSAGES: COMEDIAN, MUSICIAN AND RADIO HOST RUSS T NAILZ (RUSS STOLNACK)

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Russ T Nailz on Facebook

 

March 10, 2022 (San Diego)  He often said he’d been making people laugh since June 1957, when he was born. Yesterday, the laughter stopped when Russ Stolnack, Jr., aka Russ T Nailz, died at age 64. The long-time East County resident was a multiple Emmy award-winning entertainer best known as a comedian, radio hostmusician and celebrity auctioneer for charities.

 

On his Facebook page, he celebrated “making a living doing what I love.”

 

He also died doing what he loved, while filming "On The Air."  His  long-time TV and radio cohost, Robert “Sully” Sullivan, said Stolnack “was signing a song with the house band when he had a heart attack, and – just like that – he was gone.”


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HOUSE OF UKRAINE SPEARHEADING DONATIONS FOR UKRAINE

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo - left - donations given to House of Ukraine)

March 10, 2022 (San Diego) The House of Ukraine, one of the International Cottages in San Diego’s Balboa Park, is spearheading donations for Ukraine. Ukraine is defending itself from an invasion by Russia and is in need of monetary donations, diapers, wipes, particular military items, and more.

The House of Ukraine is accepting monetary (cash only in person) and donations but prefers that diapers, and other donations, be dropped off at 4660 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92115.  The storage site is currently open 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily. Additionally, the House of Ukraine’s cottage is open daily as well.


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TRUCK COLLIDES WITH MOTORCYCLE IN SANTEE, KILLING LA MESA MAN

East County News Service

March 10, 2022 (San Diego) – A La Mesa man, 26, died at the scene of an accident early this morning after he was struck by a truck and ejected off his Honda motorcycle onto westbound State Route 52.

The accident occurred at 5:13 a.m. just west of Mast Blvd.  According to the California Highway Patrol, a Freightliner truck tractor-trailer combination driven by a 34-year-old Lakeside man collided with the motorcycle.


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COUNTY LIMITS CONTACT TRACING TO ONLY THOSE AT HIGH-RISK AFTER COVID EXPOSURE

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a County employee conducts contact tracing.

March 10, 2022 (San Diego) - The County is following the national recommendation to reprioritize COVID-19 case investigations to focus on cases reported in people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the disease.


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SHERIFF RELEASES SKETCH OF RED-HAIRED MAN SUSPECTED IN TRYING TO LURE CHILD INTO CAR IN CASA DE ORO

Source: Rancho San Diego Sheriff substation

March 10, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Take a good look at this sketch.  The man you see here is suspected of approaching a student and demanding she get in his car while she was walking to school in the Casa de Oro area of Spring Valley.


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SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER TRACKS 733 HATE GROUPS NATIONWIDE - AND IN SAN DIEGO

Reprinted with permission from J.W. August, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Leonard Trinh, hate crimes prosecutor for the San Diego County District Attorney, during a La Mesa forum on hate crimes in 2021; photo by Miriam Raftery.

March 9, 2022 (San Diego) - The white supremacy movement has undergone profound changes, as detailed in the influential Southern Poverty Law Center‘s annual report released Wednesday.


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STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS PROPOSE HELP FOR CONSUMERS AS GAS PRICES SOAR, FUELED BY SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

Options range from a free gas distribution program locally to suspension of the state’s gas tax

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2022 (San Diego) – Yesterday, President Joe Biden announced a ban on importing Russian oil, gas and coal due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  A poll by Quinnipiac University released Monday found 71% of Americans support  ban on Russian oil even if it causes steep rises in gas prices – including 66% of Republicans, 82% of Democrats, and 70% of independents.

A nonprofit organization has organized funds to help those feeling pain at the pump locally, while political leaders are also calling for relief for consumers.

Pain at the pump is being felt locally. The average price for gas has skyrocketed to $5.60 per gallon, nearly 91 cents higher than a month ago and nearly $1.80 more than a year ago, according to AAA and Oil Price information Service. Gas prices had already risen worldwide as economies emerged from the pandemic and a resumption in travel fueled demand.  But now the war in Ukraine has sent prices soaring for 15 consecutive days, NBC 7 reports.


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CHALDEANS SUE COUNTY OVER REDISTRICTING

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Vince Kattoula, President, Chaldean Coalition (Screenshot via CBS 8 video)

March 9, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – The nonprofit Chaldean Coalition has filed a lawsuit contending that Chaldeans are being disenfranchised by San Diego County’s supervisorial redistricting in East County, where most of this ethnic and religious minority group resides.

The lawsuit, filed March 4 in Superior Court, claims the division of the close-knit community between two supervisorial districts is illegal under the California Election Code, which incorporates other state and federal statutory and constitutional law.

The suit was filed by attorneys from LiMandri & Jonna LLP, a Rancho Santa Fe firm with a specialty in civil rights, against the County of San Diego, its Independent Redistricting Commission, and its Registrar of Voters. The Chaldean Coalition seeks a stay, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions, to restrain application of the County’s new Supervisorial Districts and require the redrawing of such maps in compliance with the law.


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SHERIFF WARNS OF RED-HAIRED STRANGER IN BLACK PRIUS WHO DEMANDED SPRING VALLEY STUDENT, 13, GET IN HIS CAR

East County News Service

March 8, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- The Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station is warning parents to be aware after a stranger approached a student in Spring Valley on Monday, February 28 just before 9:00 a.m. while a student was walking to Spring Valley Academy. The incident was reported to the Sheriff's Department on Friday, March 4. 


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KNSJ RADIO HOSTS COMMUNITY SWAP OF BOOKS, ARTS AND MUSIC

By Elijah McKee
 
March 8, 2022 (San Diego) -- Do you enjoy decorating your home with art? Maybe you have books lying around that you’re finished with. Or do you love an album and want others to listen to it? Then sign up for the KNSJ arts, books and music commUNITY swap! A donation is suggested, but everyone is welcome to join in. It's a chance to build the KNSJ radio community, while supporting our station at the same time.

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COMMUNITY GROUPS BLAST DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT ON COTTONWOOD SAND MINE PROPOSAL

East County News Service

File photo: Cottonwood Golf Course, site of the proposed sand mine along the Sweetwater River

March 7, 2022 (Rancho San Diego) – Several community groups have sent letters to the county sharply criticizing the draft EIR on the proposal for a controversial 10-year open pit sand mining operation proposed on the site of the Cottonwood Golf Course.  Groups providing detailed comments on the inadequacy of the report include the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Sierra Club, the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group and Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine, a coalition of concerned residents.


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ISSA AND DESMOND CO-HOST FENTANYL ROUNDTABLE TO ADDRESS DRUG CRISIS

East County News Service

March 6, 2022 (San Diego) -- Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA-50) formally addressed a policy roundtable that included county, state and federal officials last week, outlining his strategies and solutions to address the nation’s worsening fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl is a factor in more than half of all overdose deaths, and fatally poisons someone every eight minutes.


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LEMON GROVE TO CONSIDER CENSURE OF COUNCILMEMBER LEBARON MARCH 8, THREATENS TO SEEK RESTRAINING ORDER

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Councilmember Liana LeBaron

Updated March 6, 2022 8:30 p.m. with comments from Councilman Gastil.

March 6, 2022 (Lemon Grove)  -- After weeks of contentious meetings, the Lemon Grove City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, March 8 to consider a resolution for the Council majority to condemn alleged misconduct by Councilmember Liana LeBaron including disruptions at Council meetings and accusations made against staffers that the City contends are false.

The City Attorney has also sent a letter to LeBaron and other Councilmembers threatening legal action against her. 

Le Baron has denied wrongdoing. An attorney representing the Project for Open Government has also weighed in, criticizing the City's actions.


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ISSA VOTES AGAINST BILL TO PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE FOR VETERANS EXPOSED TO TOXIC SUBSTANCES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Toxic burn pit, cc via Bing

March 5, 2022 (San Diego) – On his website, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) calls himself a “proud veteran” who served as a U.S. Army Captain. But this week, he voted against HR 3967, a bill to make Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans eligible for medical coverage of conditions due to toxic exposures, such as those released in burn pits.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT LAUNCHES 2022 LAKE JENNINGS SPRING PHOTO CONTEST

Source: Helix Water District

Photo: Bald eagles at Lake Jennings, by Scott Lagace

March 5, 2022 (Lakeside) -- Helix Water District has launched its 11th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings in Lakeside between March 1 and May 31, 2022.


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MOTORIST SHOT ON HIGHWAY 94 IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2022 (Spring Valley) – State Route 94 is shut down this morning for investigation of a car-to-car shooting that injured a woman who was driving a white Ford Edge. She was traveling west on 94 just east of Kenwood Drive, along with two male passengers, at 5:40 a.m. when an unknown vehicle pulled p behind and opened fire.

“Several of the rounds penetrated the vehicle and the female driver was struck.  This caused driver of the Ford to veer to the left and crash into the center median,” says Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol. “The unknown vehicle fled the scene westbound on State Route 94.”


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ASSEMBLYMEMBER WEBER ANNOUNCES BLACK HISTORY MONTH HONOREES

East County News Service

Awards honor photographer Mike Norris and The Hamlett Coffee Shop

March 4, 2022 (Lemon Grove) – Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-79) has announced Black History Month honorees chosen after nominations were submitted by constituents.


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SHERIFF RELEASES SKETCHES OF SUSPECTS IN SPRING VALLEY CHILD LURING CASES

Source:  San Diego County Sheriff

March 3, 2022 (Spring Valley) - Detectives from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station are releasing sketches of the men believed to be involved in at least one of two child luring incidents in Spring Valley.


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