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ZEST WINE BISTRO OPENS JANUARY 20 WITH COZY INDOOR-OUTDOOR SEATING, TAPAS AND INTERNATIONAL WINES

News

U.S. DECLARES SWINE FLU EMERGENCY; BORDER CROSSERS, AIR TRAVELERS TO BE SCREENED FOR ILLNESS

April 26, 2009 (Washington D.C.)—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public emergency today in the United States due to the outbreak of a new strain of swine flu in five states (California, Ohio, New York, Kansas and Texas).


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SWINE FLU STRAIN IN SAN DIEGO MATCHES DEADLY VIRUS IN MEXICO; ANTI-VIRAL MEDICINES COMBAT DISEASE IF TREATED EARLY

 

By Miriam Raftery

ECM intern Marissa Kerizan also contributed to this story.

 


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CONGRESSMAN FILNER JOINS LOCAL OFFICIALS TO OPPOSE RELEASE OF CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER TO OTAY MESA

( Manuel Paul, San Ysidro School District Superintendent; Clarissa Falcon, District Director for State Senator Denise Ducheny; Rachel Solorzano, Congressman Bob Filner, Representative from Assembly Member Mary Salas’ Office; Yolanda Hernandez, San Ysidro School Board Member; Hector Espinoza, San Ysidro High School Principal; Jesus Gandara, Sweetwater School District Superintendent; Ralph Dimarucut from Assembly Member Mary Salas’ Office; Anastasia Farbur from Senator Denise Ducheny’s Office; Raquel Marquez, San Ysidro School Board Member; and Jason Wells, San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. )

April 16, 2009 (Otay Mesa)--Congressman Bob Filner joined with local school and public officials at the San Ysidro Child Development Center today to publicly oppose the release of convicted sex offender, Matthew Hedge, in Otay Mesa. A judge recently approved a plan to release Hedge in Otay Mesa within the next month, and many are concerned that this is too close to schools and neighborhoods with small children.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT PROPOSES HEFTY WATER RATE INCREASE

New rates start metering May 1, Public Hearing May 27

By Kristin Hobbs Kjaero and Rachel Ford Hutman

The Proposal

(Rachel Ford Hutman)

April 21, 2009 (La Mesa) - If you are one of the 260,000 residents in the
Helix Water District, you may soon be paying a minimum increase of 20% more
for your water—and for some heavy users, several times higher than those with
low water usage. 

On March 4 the district’s Board of Directors voted 3-2 to issue a notice of
a public hearing May 27, for rate increases which would increase the base rate
by 20% for the first 10 units of water, plus an additional sliding scale based
on usage. For example, a user of 75 units will have an increase of 49%.


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SAN DIEGO’S CARBON FOOTPRINT IS BIGGER THAN LA’S: LOCAL POLICIES TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE ARE LAGGING, CPI REPORT FINDS

April 22, 2009 (San Diego)--The carbon footprint of the average San Diegan--including residential energy use and transportation--is larger than that of the average resident of Los Angeles, a review of available data shows. San Diego also lags behind LA in policies and programs to reduce energy use, according to Climate Change Performance and Policy: San Diego versus Los Angeles, a policy paper issued on Earth Day 2009 by the Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego-based think tank.


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FILNER INTRODUCES BILL FOR FEDS TO PAY COSTS OF EMERGENCY RESPONDERS AT BORDER ENTRIES

By Miriam Raftery April 18, 2009 (San Diego)—Congressman Bob Filner (R-San Diego) has introduced the “Save Our Border Communities Act, H.R. 670. The bill would require the federal government to reimburse costs for local police, firefighters and other first responders to provide services associated with U.S. ports of entry on the international border. “The federal government has not reimbursed border towns for border-related incidents and the drain on local emergency services is increasingly unbearable,” Filner stated in a newsletter to constituents.


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SAN DIEGO ACLU SUIT CHARGES FBI & JUSTICE DEPT. WITH DODGING DOMESTIC SPYING FOIA: SEEKS IMMEDIATE PROCESSING OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUESTS

April 21, 2009 (San Diego)--The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department are illegally dragging their feet in responding to a Freedom of Information Act request seeking records from the Camp Pendleton domestic spying case sent in July 2008, according to a complaint filed late yesterday by the San Diego ACLU and the law firm Fish & Richardson The suit in U.S.


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HUNTER CALLS ON CONGRESS TO WITHHOLD FUNDS FOR GITMO CLOSURE; OBAMA RELEASES RECORDS CONFIRMING TORTURE ORDERED BY BUSH OFFICIALS

By Miriam Raftery

April 16, 2009 (Washington, DC) - U.S. Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has issued a statement opposing the Obama Administration's request for $30 million in supplemental funding for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.


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TOP DOG: BERSIN NAMED BORDER CZAR BY OBAMA; BUT CAN HE TAKE A BITE OUT OF BORDER VIOLENCE?


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FACING FORECLOSURE? NEED INFO ON HOME LOANS? GET HELP AT FREE HOMEOWNER PRESERVATION SEMINAR APRIL 18 IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery April 13, 2009 (San Diego)—At a time when many lenders have evicted families and aggressively foreclosed on, one lender has taken a different approach, setting up a series of events to help families find ways to avoid foreclosure. On April 18th, Project Homeowner, a program to advise California homeowners facing foreclosure on how to keep their homes, will be held on April 18th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the San Diego Concourse, Golden Hall, 202 C Street in San Diego. The event is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase & Co.


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EAST COUNTY ROUND-UP — MARCH PART TWO

East County Roundup highlights the best stories about East County
issues found in other publications.

East County Roundup LogoJAMUL’S
PLAN TO BUILD CASINO MAY NOT STAND TEST OF HISTORY

San Diego Union-Tribune (March 30, 2009)—

OVERVIEW

Background: The Jamul Indian Village partnered with Lakes
Entertainment to build a casino in East County that faced significant local
opposition.

What's changing: A U.S. Supreme Court ruling over tribal
land in Rhode Island raises legal questions about Jamul's casino plan.

The future: In addition to any impact the ruling may
have, Lakes Entertainment says the project will be delayed at least five years
because of financial concerns and a suit over access to the casino site.

 

COUNTY ADOPTS STRATEGY FOR MANAGING BRUSH:

Local environmentalists say approach
relies too much on controlled burns

North County Times (March 25, 2009)--The county on Wednesday adopted a strategy
for managing the dry brush that fueled two of the region's catastrophic wildfires,
but environmental regulations and a lack of funding could make it difficult
to implement key pieces.

The strategy, which emphasizes controlled burns as a way to clear vegetation,
was outlined in a staff report that was criticized by local environmentalists
as too narrow in its scope.

"If you don't look at the full equation, you may put vegetation treatment
where it's not needed," said Richard Halsey, director of the Chaparral
Field Institute in Escondido. "And, in fact, you may actually increase
fire hazards by converting some of this shrub land into (more fire-prone) weedy
grasslands."

 

THE END OF MOBILE COUNSELING

San Diego Reader (March 20, 2009)-- Today, March 20, marks the final day of
mobile counseling services for residents of the rural East County communities
affected by the Harris Fire. The October 2007 wildfire burned 90,440 acres
across Dulzura, Potrero, Tecate, and Jamul. In its wake, hundreds of homes
were damaged or destroyed, 55 people were injured, and 5 were killed. Numerous
recovery efforts were put in place after the fire, including a free door-to-door
counseling and community outreach service.

For the past four months, the nonprofit San Diego Foundation provided the
service, but because the grant money that funded the program has run out, the
program must end.

 


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ESTRANGED BEDFELLOWS: KEHOE DEFENDS BLOCK, BUT SAYS SHE’S “DISAPPOINTED” WITH LACK OF VOTE FOR GAY MARRIAGE LEGISLATION

By E.A. Barrera

April 2, 2009 (San Diego)—Openly gay San Diego State Senator Christine Kehoe defended newly elected 78th District Assemblyman Marty Block, even as she scolded Block for his refusal to support a resolution calling on the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure which invalidated gay marriages in California.


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CONGRESSMEN SPAR AT SAN DIEGO REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE LUNCHEON

By Miriam Raftery April 3, 2009 (San Diego)—Democratic Congressman Bob Filner took some good-natured swings at fellow members of San Diego’s Congressional delegation at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon on March 27th. “First let me take some cheap political shots,” quipped Filner, sporting boxing gloves. He noted that the Chamber of Commerce and other business interests asked members of Congress to support the President’s stimulus package aimed at boosting the economy and creating jobs.


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RECORD NUMBER OF GUHSD SCHOOLS RECEIVE CALIFORNIA DISTINGUISHED SCHOOLS AWARD

Grossmont High School, Helix Charter High School and Grossmont Middle College High School Receive Prestigious Honor April 2, 2009 (El Cajon)—On April 1, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell announced that 125 California high schools were awarded the prestigious 2009 California Distinguished Schools Award. This marks the first year that a record three GUHSD schools have been recognized by the state for outstanding academic achievement.


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EAST COUNTY CITIES VIE TO LURE SHOPPERS

By Miriam Raftery

April 1, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – A sales tax hike that takes effect today in La Mesa and El Cajon, has sparked competition among East County cities and Chambers of Commerce vying for shoppers’ business. A statewide sales tax increase boosts sales tax county-wide to 8.75%. In El Cajon and La Mesa, voters approved additional tax increases to 9.75% and 9.5% respectively. But does shopping outside your own community make economic sense, if it means taking tax revenues away from your home town?


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COURTS LIKELY TO OVERTURN SUNRISE POWERLINK APPROVAL, CONSUMER ATTORNEY PREDICTS TO CROWD OF 600 PROTESTORS IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

Sign expresses residents' outrage over fire dangers posed by Powerlink

April 8, 2009 (Alpine)—A coalition of more than 600 people packed the community center in Alpine last night to protest Sunrise Powerlink, the high-voltage line that SDG&E plans to build through the heart of this mountain community. Attorney Michael Shames from the Utility Consumers Action Network told the crowd that despite approval by the California Public Utilities Commission in December, he believes that construction of Powerlink will ultimately be halted through legal action.

 


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NEW ASSEMBLYMAN MARTY BLOCK INTRODUCES BILL TO CREATE NEW COLLEGE IN CHULA VISTA

Vittorio Arata,
Gabriella Quiroga (1),
Katya Quiroga,
Mariella Quiroga
(Mark Raftery)

April 1, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) — On his first day of work at the Capitol,  Assemblyman Marty Block introduced AB 24, a bill which would require that the California State University trustees conduct a feasibility study for locating the 24th Campus of the CSU System in Chula Vista.


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LOCAL GROUPS FILE APPEAL, ASK BLM TO REVERSE POWERLINK APPROVAL

March 24, 2009 (Boulevard) — An appeal to the U.S. Department of the Interior over its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of San Diego Gas & Electric’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission project was filed Monday by three local organizations in San Diego County. The appeal notice to the Interior Board of Land Appeals is the first step to a court appeal.


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TOWN HALL MEETING ON SUNRISE POWERLINK SET FOR APRIL 6 IN ALPINE

March 28, 2009 (Alpine, CA) --The East County Community Action Coalition (ECCAC) has scheduled a Town Hall meeting on Monday, April 6, 2009, from 6-8pm at the Alpine Community Center. The meeting will be a chance for East County residents to get more information about the Sunrise Powerlink's Southern Route. The route affects communities and towns such as Alpine, Boulevard, Campo, Carveacre, Chocolate Canyon, El Monte Valley, Jacumba, Lakeside, and more. County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a vocal opponent of the project for years, will be the keynote speaker.


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BILBRAY COAUTHORS BILL TO EXEMPT SOLAR FARMS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW; FEINSTEIN SEEKS TO BLOCK DESERT SOLAR FARM DUE TO SEVERE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2009 (San Diego)--Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) has coauthored H.R. 964, a measure that would exempt any solar energy project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands from Environmental Impact Report requirements. Sempra Energy, Bilbray's third largest campaign contributor, seeks to import power from desert solar farms on BLM lands.

 


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POWERLINK BATTLE MOVES TO FEDERAL FRONT AMID GROWING CONTROVERSIES OVER SDG&E

By Miriam Raftery March 19, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--The next phase in the battle over Sunrise Powerlink, which was approved in December by the California Public Utilities Commission, now moves to the federal level. In the past week, several key developments have occurred under the Obama administration that could impact whether or not Sempra's Powerlink Project will win final federal approvals needed for construction through the Cleveland National Forest and other federal lands.


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SDSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM ADVANCES TO NCAA POST-SEASON FOR 1ST TIME IN 12 YEARS

March 19, 2009 (San Diego)--San Diego State University's women's basketball team, the Aztecs, will play in the NCAA Basketball Championships for the first time since 1997 and the seventh time in the team's history. The team will face off against DePaul University's Blue Demons at 5 p.m. at Cox Arena on Saturday.

 


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FILNER BLOCKS OBAMA PLAN TO CHARGE INSURERS FOR TREATMENT OF WOUNDED VETS

By Miriam Raftery March 18, 2009 (Washington D.C.)--East County Magazine contacted Congressman Bob Filner's office after receiving an e-mail from the American Legion which stated that President Obama intended to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for treatment of military veterans who suffered service-related injuries or disabilities. Filner (D-San Diego), is Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.


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TWO-ALARM FIRE AT PRECISION METAL IN EL CAJON

March 17, 2009 (El Cajon)--Just after 12:30 p.m. today El Cajon Fire crews responded to a structure fire reported at 850 West Bradley Avenue in El Cajon. Upon arrival,flames and heavy black smoke were seen coming from the roof area of the business, Precision Metal Products, and a second alarm was issued. It took about 30 firefighters 30 minutes to knock down the blaze. Quick action by fire crews contained the fire to a central area of the 92,000 square foot building, and an evacuation of nearby buildings was not required.


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PARENTS OF MISSING ESCONDIDO TEEN ASK PUBLIC'S HELP, ORGANIZE SEARCHES: $60,000 REWARD OFFERED

March 14, 2009 (Escondido)--One month after the disappearance of Amber Leeanne Duboise, 14, Escondido police have received new tips and family members are organizing searches in the community. To volunteer, visit http://www.bringamberhome.com/. Donations are also requested to help with costs of the search, which has drawn national attention. You can download flyers to post or distribute here: http://eastcountymagazine.org/?q=bringamberhome.


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SEMPRA/SDG&E LOBBYIST NOMINATED BY OBAMA AS DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF INTERIOR: VOTE SLATED THURSDAY, MARCH 12

By Miriam Raftery March 12, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County residents opposed to Sempra Energy’s Sunrise Powerlink project are mobilizing opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of David Hayes as deputy director of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Hayes served as Deputy Director of the department during the Clinton Administration, but later went to work for the lobbying firm Latham & Watkins representing Sempra Energy and SDG&E.


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POWERLINK MEETING DRAWS PROTESTS IN ALPINE; PARENTS OPPOSE HIGH-VOLTAGE LINES NEAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

By Miriam Raftery

Megan Werland, right, worries about health effects of Powerlink on children including her 5-month old daughter, Eleanor

March 10, 2009 (Alpine) — Children and parents staged a protest rally outside the Alpine Community Center, where SDG&E held a public meeting on Sunrise Powerlink. Holding signs that read "Class 1 Fire Risk" and "Save the Cleveland National Forest", dozens of residents voiced opposition to 230-kv lines slated to run through the heart of this community. Approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December, Powerlink is slated to include a $92 million section of undergrounded lines along a two-mile stretch of Alpine Boulevard, where Alpine Elementary School is located.


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WHERE'S THE PORK? NO MONEY FOR FIRE STATIONS OR FIRE PREVENTION IN SAN DIEGO'S PROPOSED STIMULUS PROJECTS

 

"The City and County never asked the fire departments. We are very disappointed," -- August Ghio, President, San Diego Fire Chiefs Association

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 5, 2009 (San Diego)--Why didn't a city and county that have suffered through the worst wildfires in California history request funds through the federal stimulus program for any fire protection projects?


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EL CAJON FIRE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES FUNDING TO ENHANCE TRAINING

EL CAJON, Calif. (March 6, 2009)--CMR Risk & Insurance Services and Fireman's Fund Insurance Company are teaming up to award a $6,000 grant to the El Cajon Fire Department to help fund the city's firefighter training academy. The money will go toward instructor fees, purchasing materials, and buying necessary supplies. Each program at the academy teaches a specific function of firefighting, including Hazardous Materials First Responder, Low Angle Rescue, Confined Space Awareness, Fire Control 3, Auto Extrication, and Incident Command System.


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OBAMA BUDGET INCLUDES BIG INCREASE IN FUNDS FOR VETERANS, FILNER SAYS

March 1, 2009 (Washington, D.C.) -- House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) provided the following statement on President Obama’s Budget Outline for the Department of Veterans Affairs for Fiscal Year 2010. “I applaud President Obama’s budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs. After sixteen years on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am very encouraged that this outline is consistent with recommendations made by the veterans’ groups who co-author the Independent Budget. This has never happened in the IB’s 23-year history!

 


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