PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: SUNRISE ON VOLCAN MOUNTAIN

EAST COUNTY RALLIES FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN WAKE OF LEAKED SUPREME COURT DECISION TO ALLOW STATES TO BAN ABORTIONS

LA MESA CITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER SUPPORT FOR STATE BILLS TACKLING HARASSMENT IN PUBLIC PLACES

FDA CLEARS COVID BOOSTER SHOT FOR HEALTHY KIDS AGES 5 TO 11

THE SPINNERS BRING PHILLY SOUL SOUNDS TO SYCUAN MAY 28

2022 VOTER GUIDE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO VOTE IN CALIFORNIA’S JUNE 7 PRIMARY ELECTION

BOIL WATER ORDER ISSUED FOR WARNER UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT WATER SYSTEM

NEW PARK OPENS IN SPRING VALLEY WITH COMMUNITY GARDEN, PLAY AREA, EXERCISE EQUIPMENT AND MORE

HOMELESSNESS UP OVER 540% IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS, COUNT FINDS: LEMON GROVE FORUM ADDRESSES NEED FOR COLLABORATION

JIF PEANUT BUTTER RECALL ANNOUNCED DUE TO SALMONELLA

TIPS FOR VISITING THE ANZA-BORREGO DESERT

DECEPTIVE MAILERS, ONLINE AD TARGET SHERIFF’S CANDIDATE DAVE MYERS

News

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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RUSSIAN SHELLING SETS FIRE TO EUROPE'S LARGEST NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN UKRAINE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Security footage shows fire at at  Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the southern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar

Update March 4, 2022: The fire has been extinguished and the containment vessel has not been breached, according to Ukrainian authorities.

March 3, 2022 (San Diego) – "As a result of continuous enemy shelling of buildings and units of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire,"  Dmytro Orlov, mayor of Enerhodar, a city in southern Ukraine, posted tonight on  hisTelegram channel. The facility contains six nuclear reactors.

The nuclear facility is the site where Ukrainian citizens have gathered in recent days forming a human shield in an effort to prevent Russian troops from capturing the nuclear plant. 


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SANTEE ASSESSES ITS DIVERSITY, CONSIDERS WAYS OF CHANGING DURING RECENT WORKSHOP

By Mike Allen 

Photo:  Richard Marks speaking

March 3, 2022 (Santee) -- As a city with one of the smallest minority populations in San Diego County and one that experienced some well-publicized racist incidents in recent years, Santee’s leaders realized they had to do something.


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IN STATE OF UNION SPEECH, BIDEN ANNOUNCES NEW ACTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA OVER UKRAINE INVASION

By Miriam Raftery

Read full transcript of State of the Union speech

View video of State of the Union speech

View part 2 of our coverage, on domestic issues addressed by Biden

View the Republican response

Photo: President Joe Biden, center, says of the Ukrainian people, "You inspired the world.'  Left, Vice President Kamala Harris, right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

March 2, 2022 (Washington D.C.) –President Joe Biden drew bipartisan applause during his State of the Union speech last night, when he recognized the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. and asked those in the Capitol chamber to rise and show the world that, “We, the United States of America, stand with the Ukrainian people.”

Biden announced new, strenuous actions against Russia and key supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. These include:

  • Closing off U.S. air space to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia;
  • Ordering the U.S.  Justice Department to form a task force to go after crimes committed by Russian oligarchs and “corrupt leaders” profiting off Putin’s regime;
  • Plans to seize oligarchs’ assets including yachts, private jets and luxury homes
  • Releasing 30 million gallons of oil from America’s strategic reserved, matched by an equal amount from other nations to help reduce gas prices without Russian oil.

These add to recently imposed sanctions including:


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BIDEN LAYS OUT DOMESTIC AGENDA DURING STATE OF UNION SPEECH

By Matthew Manosh and Miriam Raftery

Part 2 of our State of the Union coverage

View Part 1, on the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Read full transcript of State of the Union speech

View video of State of the Union speech

View Republican response

March 3, 2022 (Washington D.C.) –  “We meet tonight in an America that has lived through two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced,” President Joe Biden stated during his State of the Union speech on March 1st.  Those two years have seen Americans struggling amid a global pandemic, inflation, an assault on the U.S. capitol, and now a war in Europe that has ratcheted up tensions. 

After an in-depth discussion of the Ukraine war, Biden pivoted to his domestic agenda, unveiling several ambitious proposals to address our nation's challenges as well as highlighting some successes during his first year in office.


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REPUBLICAN RESPONSE TO STATE OF THE UNION FOCUSES ON INFLATION, TAXES AND FAMILY FIRST


By Kylie Dees; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

 

Photo:  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, screenshot via C-Span

 View video of Gov. Reynold’s response. Read full text.

View video of President Biden’s State of the Union speech.  Read full text .

Read ECM's coverage:  Part 1:  Response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine; Part 2: Domestic agenda.

 

March 2, 2022 (Washington D.C. ) – On Tuesday, March 1st, in response to President Biden’s first State of the Union address, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican rebuttal. Reynolds began by stating that “instead of moving America forward, it feels like President Biden and his party have sent us back in time.” She claimed that the President has failed to make America respected around the world and united as a whole, while Biden’s main priority is to make America united once again.

 

Reynolds said, “It’s time for America to once again project confidence; it’s time to be decisive. It’s time to lead.” She added that America cannot project strength abroad if we are weak at home. Her speech pointed out what she viewed as weaknesses as well as strengths to build on.


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COUNTY COVID-19 RELIEF GRANTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS: APPLY BY MARCH 31

East County News Service

March 2, 2022 (San Diego) -- Local microbusinesses and nonprofits that were affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for a $2,500 grant from the County.  The Microbusiness grant program is funded by the Board of Supervisors with approximately $4.175 million allocated from the California Office of the Small Business. The deadline to apply is March 31.


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CAL FIRE SAN DIEGO SENDS AIR RESOURCES TO BATTLE #JIMFIRE EAST OF IRVINE

By Jonathan Goetz

Last update: 7:07 p.m.

March 2, 2022 (Cleveland National Forest) - CAL-Fire San Diego has sent air resources to a remote area east of Irvine, in Orange County with smoke also visible in Riverside County in Southern California. The fire began at 11:20 a.m. in the Holy Jim trail area, per Cleveland National Forest, which is coordinating the firefighting response.

The Fire Integrated Real-time Intelligence System (FIRIS) reported that as of 4:24 p.m. the #JimFire had reached 551 acres. It can be difficult to map and fight fires in such mountainous terrain.


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MAN TRIED TO LURE CHILDREN INTO BLACK VEHICLE IN SPRING VALLEY: SHERIFF SEEKS DRIVER AND PASSENGER

March 2, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Detectives from the Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station want the public's help in identifying and locating a man accused of trying to lure children into his black vehicle near a school in Spring Valley.

One of the children also told detectives the car may have tinted windows and a scratch on the rear bumper.Between February 17 and February 28, there have been at least two incidents of a man attempting to lure children into his car. The children told detectives the person who followed them is a black man between 30 and 40 years old driving a black car, possibly a Dodge Challenger or Charger. 

The children also told detectives the driver had a passenger whom they describe as a white man between 30 and 40 years old. 


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VIDEO, OFFICERS NAMES RELEASED IN EL CAJON SHOOTING INCIDENT

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2022 (El Cajon) – The Sheriff’s department has identified the officers involved in  February 16, 2022 shooting incident in El Cajon as deputies David Lovejoy and Jonathan Young. Both are assigned to the Lakeside substation and are currently on administrative assignment while an investigation by El Cajon Police Department continues.

Deputy Lovejoy has been with the Sheriff’s department for over eight years and Young has served there for six years, says Lt. Randy  Soulard with the El Cajon Poice Department.

The Sheriff has released video of the incident, which confirms that the driver, T Erik Talavera, 31, exited the van but failed to comply with commands from deputies. He was shot while lying on the ground, reaching for a weapon he had dropped.


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UKRAINIAN-AMERICANS HOLD VIGILS IN SANTEE AND SAN DIEGO

By Matthew Manosh

Scroll down to links to videos from vigils

March 1, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- Local Ukrainian-Americans gathered in demonstrations these past few days in solidarity with their nation, which is under attack from Russian forces. Thursday night,  a prayer vigil was held in Santee on a vacant lot, where there are plans to build a Ukrainian Catholic Church. Father Yurii Sas of St. John the Baptizer Catholic Church in San Diego led his congregation in prayer and song, asking for God to protect his people in the Ukraine:


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PUBLIC'S HELP NEEDED TO ID MAN KILLED ON FREEWAY

By Chuck Westerheide, County of San Diego Communications Office

February 28, 2022 (San Diego) - The Medical Examiner’s Office needs your help identifying a man killed while crossing Interstate 805 in January.

No identification or personal property was found by medical crews who took him to the hospital. An artist sketch of the man was made of the man and a tattoo on his arm.

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RUBLE PLUNGES AS WESTERN SANCTIONS IMPACT RUSSIAN ECONOMY; PUTIN MAKES NUCLEAR THREAT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin, CC by SA via Bing.

February 28, 2022 (San Diego) -- The war in Ukraine has captivated attention around the world and drawn near-universal condemnation of Russia for launching the unprovoked invasion in violation of international law. Today, CNN reports that Russia is facing a financial meltdown due to crushing impacts of new Western sanctions imposed over the weekend by the U.S. and allies.

With the Russian economy in freefall, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his nuclear forces into “special combat readiness,” the New York Times reports.

The ruble, Russia’s currency, fell 40% at one point Monday morning, while interest rates shot to an all-time high of 20% and savers rushed to withdraw money out of banks in Russia as well as European subsidiaries of Russia’s biggest bank. The ruble also lost 25% of its value compared to the dollar, CNN reports.


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AS SANCTIONS RATCHET UP AND EUROPE FUNDS ARMS FOR UKRAINE, RUSSIA RAISES NUCLEAR ALERT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: First night of bombing in Kyiv,via Kristine Alessio from a friend in Ukraine

February 27, 2022 (San Diego) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s nuclear deterrent missile system to be on high alert, in response to what he calls “dangerous rhetoric” from the West and growing resistance to Russian forces that have invaded the Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Also today, for the first time in history, the 27-nation member European Union today announced it will send weapons to a nation at war, the Ukraine. Europe and Canada have banned all Russian aircraft from their airspaces, including planes belonging to Russian Oligarchs. In addition, the EU also banned airing of broadcasts by RT (Russian Times), Russia’s state media outlet.

NATO has activated forces to defend NATO nations in the event Russia’s military aggression advances to other nations that are NATO members, which the Ukraine is not. Under the North American Treaty Organization alliance, an attack on one nation is considered an attack on all.

The Pentagon has responded to its NATO commitment by sending B-52 bombers to patrol the skies over Eastern European allied territory, Newsweek reports today.


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THESE CHARITIES ARE HELPING IN THE UKRAINE CRISIS, BUT AVOID SCAMMERS

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2022 (San Diego) – A humanitarian crisis is growing after Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. Over 100,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes, the United Nations estimates. The UN predicts the number of refugees could reach several million, Voice of America reports. Those remaining in the Ukraine face potential food shortages, medical needs for those injured, and damage to key  buildings and infrastructure. 

Some legitimate aid organizations are stepping up to help Ukrainians in their homeland as well as refugees. But California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a warning of fraudulent charities, and provided tips for how to choose reputable organizations if you wish to donate.

Here are several reputable, long-standing charities now providing aid for Ukrainians, where you can make a one-time or recurring donation:


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SAFE GUN STORAGE ORDINANCE TAKES EFFECT TODAY

Source: County News Service

Photo: close-up of 38 caliber revolver handgun with safety trigger lock.

February 25, 2022 (San Diego) – Starting today, a new County of San Diego ordinance requiring that all guns be safely stored takes effect. It requires all guns in homes or structures near a home to either be secured with a trigger lock or be locked away in a container.


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SANTEE COUNCIL DENIES PERMIT FOR NEW GAS STATION/MINI MART ON PROPERTY TIED TO KALASHO FAMILY

By Mike Allen

File photos: Lina Charry and Ben Kalasho

February 25, 2022 (Santee) -- Santee apparently has enough gas stations, or at least enough on a stretch of Mission Gorge Road near the confluence of State Routes 125 and 52.

At its Feb. 23 meeting, a reduced City Council shot down a proposal to build yet another station under the Arco brand, a car wash and mini-mart on an oddly shaped, less-than-an-acre parcel at 9015 Mission Gorge Road.


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EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB INVITES YOU TO ZEST WINE BISTRO FEB. 24 IN LEMON GROVE

 
You're invited! Our East County Dining Club is going to the wonderfull new Zest Wine Bistro at 8129 Broadway in Lemon Grove on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m.! 
 
Order anything you’d like off their amazing menu of international wines, tapas (appetizers), charcuterie boards with gourmet cheese/deli meats/nuts/fruits/jams and more, wraps, ahi, salads, seafood toastada, wrapped dates, shrimp cocktails, hummus and more. Full menu at https://www.zestwinebistro.com/. Outdoor seating includes heaters and a firepit. 
 
Proceeds benefit East County Magazine and East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts. We also have an amazing raffle with prizes including gift certificates from Zest Wine Bistro, Lamplighters Theatre Jasmine Creek Florist, Mike Hess Brewing, Maxwell's House of Books, Desert View Tower, San Diego: California’s Cornerstone books from Sunbelt Publications, items from other local businesses as well as wine lovers gifts and more.
 
Space is limted, so RSVP soon to editor@eastcountymagazine.org or call 619 698 7617. 

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CONGRESSMAN ISSA CRITICIZES BIDEN AND NATO OVER UKRAINE INVASION; NATO BOLSTERS FORCES TO DEFEND ALLIES IN EUROPE

 

East County News Service

Photo, left: Congress Darrell Issa, via Issa’s office

Photo, right: NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, courtesy of NATO

 

February 24, 2022 (San Diego) -- WASHINGTON D.C. - Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) issued a media statement today after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

"This is a disastrous day for free nations everywhere and a direct assault by tyranny and aggression that will compel the world to take notice,” said Issa, a Republican.

He added, "This is also a defining moment for the Biden Administration, which has manifestly failed to bolster a coalition of allies and partners to keep and secure the peace."


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CONGRESWOMAN JACOBS SHARES REACTION AFTER UKRAINE INVASION

 

East County News Service

February 24, 2022 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) today released a statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Jacobs is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. In late January, she traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, as part of an official bipartisan Congressional delegation led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks.

“I condemn President Putin’s unjustified attack on Ukraine that will have devastating and deadly consequences for the Ukrainian people and widespread consequences for the European continent. I stand with the Ukrainian people who woke up to Putin’s declaration of war, to explosions rocking their cities, and to a new and horrifying reality for the future," Jacobs says, adding,  “When I visited Ukraine with my colleagues last month, it was clear that the United States Congress and the Biden Administration – along with our NATO allies and partners – are united in our strong support for the Ukrainian people."


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PRAYER SERVICE AND PANAKHYDA IN SANTEE FOR UKRAINE HELD TONIGHT

House of Ukraine shares link to donate to help Ukraine

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Image courtesy of the House of Ukraine) 

Feb. 24, 2022 (Santee) A prayer service and Panakhyda, a memorial service,  will be held for Ukraine at the future site of the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Santee today at 5 p.m. The memorial will honor those killed thus far by Russia’s attacks on the Ukraine, including children. The location of the future parish is 9308 Carlton Oaks Drive.

Organizers are encouraging attendees to bring signs, flags, wear Ukrainian shirts, or other supportive materials.


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RUSSIA LAUNCHES FULL-SCALE WAR AGAINST UKRAINE, REPORTEDLY ATTEMPT TO SEIZE CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR PLANT

While world leaders denounce Russia for violating international law,  on eve of invasion Trump praised Putin for recognizing separatist regions as independent, predicted Russian president intended to "keep the peace."

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 2:06 p.m. with additional comments from Sara Jacobs.

February 24, 2022 (San Diego) – In defiance of international law, according to the United Nations, Russia last night launched a full-scale attack on the Ukraine including missile attacks on the capital, Kyiv, military targets and other cities far beyond separatist regions in dispute. Russian troops and tanks are also moving in on three sides of the Ukraine in the largest military threat Europe has faced since World War II.

Ukraine’s leaders have fled the capitol.  Chillingly, today exiled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted, ““Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the Chernobyl [Nuclear Power Plant]. Our defenders are sacrificing their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated," rerferring to the core meltdown at the nuclear reactor site

He added, “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.” 

President Joe Biden condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for choosing ”a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” adding,”The world will hold Russia accountable.” In addition to sanctions already imposed, Biden announced he will convene a meeting of G7 leaders today and coordinate with NATO allies to ensure “a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of the Ukraine.”


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SANTEE UPS DRIVER DIES IN ACCIDENT ON I-15

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC via Bing

February 23, 2022 (Santee) – Jeffrey James Sutch, 51, of Santee died today when the United Parcel Service (UPS) vehicle he was driving ran off a rain-slicked highway and struck a eucalyptus tree on Interstate 15  north, near I-8.  He was driving a UPS Freightliner semi-tractor and pulling a semi-trailer when the crash occurred.


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