PROPERTY OWNERS WITH RAIN DAMAGE ASKED TO COMPLETE SURVEY; RESULTS COULD DETERMINE REGION'S ELIGIBILITY FOR DISASTER FUNDS

POTRERO WOMAN, 38, DIES OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING; TWO MORE HOSPITALIZED

CHEERS! EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB AT HOOLEY'S FEB. 28

BREAKING: MANNY MACHADO SIGNS WITH PADRES

SANTEE PLANS COMMUNITY CENTER TO SERVE SENIORS AND TEENS, BUT WITHOUT LIBRARY

DISTRICT CHANCELLOR CINDY L. MILES ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

NEW STORM COULD DROP SNOW DOWN TO 2000 FEET; FROST WARNING IN EFFECT FOR INLAND AREAS

HEAVY SNOW, ROAD CLOSURES IN MOUNTAINS

TRUMP SIGNS BUDGET BILL, DECLARES EMERGENCY TO FUND WALL, BUT NOW FACES LEGAL CHALLENGES

READER’S EDITORIAL: DON’T BE FOOLED

STORM DAMAGES FACILITIES AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE: SANCTUARY SEEKS FUNDS FOR CRITICAL REPAIRS

KAWASAKI DISEASE CASES INCREASING IN THE COUNTY

News

CAL FIRE/COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY ORDERS REMOVAL OF PROTECTIVE GEAR FROM JULIAN-CUYAMACA VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

CAL FIRE/County Fire Authority moves out of JCFPD fire station, returns to former office in Julian.

New JCFPD board puts Chief Van Bibber back in charge; radio service also restored for volunteer firefighters.

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

VIDEO of December 13 JCFPD Board Meeting

December 28, 2018 (Julian)--The knockdown, drag-out fight between CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Fire Authority versus the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) went another round last week when County Supervisors voted to hold a special election in Julian this spring.

Julian citizens gathered enough signatures to put the fate of the JCFPD to a direct special election vote on Mar. 19, 2019. But Supervisors’ decision to confirm the people’s right to vote on saving the county’s last volunteer fire district from a county takeover has done little to heal the smarting.

Cal OSHA was called out on Nov. 30 to Julian Fire Station 56 to enforce an order by County Fire Authority Chief Jeremi Roesler requiring that all JCFPD firefighter Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) be inspected and inventoried. He unilaterally directed that all firefighter “turnouts” or PPE gloves, jackets, helmets – be inspected and inventoried for official reasons unknown to him. Each set of PPE or “turnouts” is worth about $4,000 dollars.

Instead of notifying the JCFPD or volunteer firefighters beforehand of the inspection, the search was conducted unannounced and numerous pieces of gear were removed from service. The Sheriff was notified when firefighters’ personal property was allegedly taken.

MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE A GIVING TREE: RECYCLE IT

 

We love them, twinkling with holiday lights, adorned with ornaments and loaded with gifts beneath them. But eventually, we all have to say goodbye to our Christmas tree.

And if yours is a real tree, the County of San Diego urges you to recycle it properly. Check with your trash company to find out if they offer curbside pickup—many do. Or go to San Diego County’s recycling and hazardous waste database at WasteFreeSD.org to find Christmas tree drop-off sites. Just type “Christmas tree” and your location information into the search bar.

SIERRA CLUB WINS CLIMATE ACTION SUIT AGAINST SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

East County News Service

December 26, 2018 (San Diego) -- Today, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor found that the County of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP)  fails to achieve state goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  In his decision, Judge Taylor ruled on behalf of the Sierra Club, finding that the County’s policy of allowing developers to offset emissions in locations outside of our region do not provide the required enforceable, verifiable and long-term emission reductions mandated.

The ruling could halt consideration of major housing projects in the pipeline, such as Newland Sierra,  unless the developers offer mitigation locally.

PINE VALLEY CELEBRATES OPENING OF NEW FIRE STATION

 

Another new fire station opened in the backcountry Tuesday, strengthening fire safety for a number of outlying communities.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in Pine Valley and celebrated the opening of a two-story, 13,090-square-foot fire station that is almost double the size of the previous building. The structure is designed for full-time firefighters and replaces a facility that was built in 1974.

BEN AND JESSICA KALASHO FRAUD AND HARRASMENT CASE TURNS TO POSSIBLE SETTLEMENT THROUGH MEDIATION

 

Insiders say Kalashos may still be subject to criminal prosecution over alleged fraudulent mortgage filings

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

December 25, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The fraud and harassment case against El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, tacked in a different direction on Friday, December 14th when litigants faced San Diego Superior Court Kenneth J. Medel and announced that they reached an agreement to attempt to resolve the case through mediation.

RAMONA MAN AND CHILD KILLED IN CHRISTMAS EVE COLLSION; THREE OTHERS INJURED

Update: The driver of the Toyota has also died. He has been identified as Gonzalo Rodriguez.

The child who perished has been identified as Christian Diaz, per the San DIego County Medical Examiner.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

December 24, 2018 (Ramona) – A small boy was killed in a two vehicle collision in Ramona late this morning on State Route 78 east of Haverford Rd. near Ramona. Four other people were injured in the Christmas Eve crash, including a second child who has been life-flighted to a hospital.

According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, a 44-year-old Ramona man was driving a 2002 Toyota Camry westbound, with three passengers, when his vehicle veered off the road onto the shoulder. According to witnesses, he over-corrected and crossed the center lines into the path of an eastbound 2014 Dodge Ram SUV driven by a 77-year-old man from Falls City, Oregon. The vehicles collided head-on.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: EAST COUNTY 2018

Hear audio version



By Miriam Raftery



‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all across East County

Not a creature was stirring, from Julian to El Monte.

The stockings were hung by the chimneys with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there.

Audio: 

Night Before Christmas East County 2018 audio

PADRE DAM’S WATER RECLAMATION PROJECT DEEMED AFFORDABLE

 

By Mike Allen

December 23, 2018 (Santee) -- Based on future cost projections that involve multiple agencies and variable prices such as power and labor, the Advanced Water Purification Program still makes sense and is worth pursuing, staffers from Padre Dam Municipal Water District told its board this week.

RAIN, STRONG WINDS FORECAST OVER CHRISTMAS: SNOW POSSIBLE AT HIGH ELEVATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Two storms are forecast to bring strong winds up to 60 mph, chilly temperatures and rain to our region starting Tuesday, Christmas morning, through Friday. Light snow may fall above 5,000 feet, with up to two inches of snow potentially bringing a whtie Christmas atop Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain, our region’s highest peaks.

NEARLY 2,200 RESIDENTS EXPRESS OPPOSITION TO COTTONWOOD SAND MINE

 

East County News Service

Photo: Cottonwood Golf, site of proposed sand mine

December 21, 2018 (Rancho San Diego) - In a significant show of early community strength, the Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine Committee this week submitted over 2,100 petition signatures to the County of San Diego from area residents opposed to the plan for a 10-12 year sand mining operation on the current site of the Cottonwood Golf Course in Rancho San Diego. 

TWO KILLED IN HEAD-ON COLLISION AT DULZURA

 

East County News Service

December 21, 2018 (Dulzura) -- A head-on collision in Dulzura killed two drivers last night around 9:50 p.m. on State Route 94 east of Barrett Smith Road.

A woman was driving a 2007 Ford Fusion eastbound, reportedly at a high rate of speed, when her vehicle crossed the center line and collided with a 2004 Honda Accord driven by a man, 35.  

TRUMP ORDER TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM SYRIA AND AFGHANISTAN SPARKS BIPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL CONCERN AND RESIGNATION OF DEFENSE SECRETARY MATTIS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned in his resignation letter of Russian efforts to "shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model...to promote their own interets at the epxens of their neighbors, America and our allies."

December 21, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Prominent Congressional leaders in both parties have voiced alarm over President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday that he plans to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. He also ordered the Pentagon to withdraw half of America’s forces from Afghanistan starting in January.

While that may come as welcome news to families of long-deployed military members, the decision was made without consulting Congress, military leaders or key cabinet officials. Many experts warn that this could plunge the region into chaos, allow ISIS terrorists to regain power, also benefitting Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has backed Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, as well as Russia’s ally, Iran.

It has also resulted in resignation of Defense Secretary and retired General Jim Mattis, known as the "warrior monk" for his deliberative approach to fully studying military matters before making key decisions.

SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN LOOMS IN SENATE

By Miriam Raftery

December 21, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump says he will shut down the government at midnight  unless the Repubilcan-controlled Senate passes a budget with $5 billion in funding for a border wall.  Trump claims this would be a “Democrat shutdown.”  The House already passed the measure yesterday down party lines.

But dozens of Senators have already left Washington for the holidays and it appears ulikely that enough votes will be mustered for passage.

Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), chair of the Senate’s budget committee, has stated flatly, “No, he won’t have 60 votes over here.”

STATE DROPS PLANS FOR PAROLE OFFICE IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2018 (La Mesa) – Nearly 1,800 residents who signed a petition opposing a state parole office in La Mesa got an early Christmas present.

Today, City Manager Yvonne Garrett received a message from Jerry Powers, director of the state’s division of adult parole operations, advising that the agency has determined that “due to functional and logistical issues this site is unworkable for our needs at this time.  We will continue to review other locations in the eastern San Diego County area in our efforts to provide services more directly to the parolee population and the citizens of East County.”

The state had proposed the facility at 9400 Grossmont Summit Drive, next to homes on Mt. Helix and the Brigantine Restaurant and within a quarter mile of Grossmont High School. The closest trolley stop would have been shared by high school and middle school students, with violent parolees and sex offenders walking directly past two schools.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WANTS MIGRANTS TO WAIT IN MEXICO FOR ASYLUM HEARINGS; COURT BLOCKS TRUMP DENIAL OF ASYLUM TO DOMESTIC AND GANG VIOLENCE VICTIMS



By Miriam Raftery

December 20,2018 (San Diego) – Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen today announced that Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. must wait in Mexico until their hearing dates, except for unaccompanied minors. But the action is likely to be challenged in court—and thus far, federal courts have consistently ruled against the Trump administration efforts to restrict the rights of asylum seekers.

EAST COUNTY STORIES OF THE YEAR IN 2018





By Miriam Raftery, Editor

December 20, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s been a turbulent year across East County.  Some of our top stories were purely local issues – a fire that ravaged Alpine, battles to stop sand mines in Lakeside and Rancho San Diego, debate over the future of Julian’s fire department, the controversies embroiling El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho, the indictment of Congressman Duncan Hunter, growing pains in Santee, and protests over a proposed parole office in La Mesa, to name a few. 

Other top stories reflect local impacts of national  and statewide actions, such as  impacts of marijuana legalization, concerns over a child migrant detention center in El Cajon, protests over gun violence in schools, the e-scooter craze, homelessness, and new faces swept into office during the election.

Here are the issues and events with the biggest impacts across East County that East County Magazine has covered in 2018, from January 1st through year's end.

DRIVE-BY SHOOTING IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

December 19, 2018 (Spring Valley) – A man was shot in the head last night around 10:30 p.m. but fortunately is expected to survive.  Shots were fired from a white four-door vehicle near Jamacha Blvd. and Grand Avenue in the La Presa area of Spring Valley.

Fortunately, the victim is expected to survive, Patch.com reports, citing Lt. Karla Menzies.

EL CAJON RECEIVES $4.8 MILLION TO IMPROVE STREET SAFETY

 

Source: City of El Cajon

December 19, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The City of El Cajon has been awarded $4.8 million in grant funding from Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration. The grants will fund a number of improvements along two busy El Cajon roads—Jamacha Road (which turns into North Second Street) and Madison Avenue. The grant awards aim to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety at these two locations in El Cajon, which has had a high rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in recent years.

EXPERTS OUTLINE ALTERNATIVES FOR BACKING UP ELECTRICAL POWER

Source: Alpine-Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce

Photo by Jenne Bergstrom, Alpine Library

December 19, 2018 (Alpine) -- A raging thunderstorm overhead added emphasis to the importance of having a backup electrical source during a free public forum at the Alpine Library.

Four experts provided information to homeowners and others during the Dec. 6 session, hosted by the library at 1752 Alpine Blvd.

TRUMP FOUNDATION TO SHUT DOWN UNDER COURT ORDER; PROSECUTOR FINDS “SHOCKING PATTERN OF ILLEGALITY” DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via New York Attorney General's website: Trump Foundation raised funds for veterans but failed to deliver the money to veterans' charities, a Washington Post report found.

December 18, 2018 (New York) –President Donald Trump has agreed to close down  his Donald J. Trump Foundation after New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed suit over “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation – including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more,” Underwood announced today. 

Her office’s investigation into Trump and his three oldest children, all officers on the Foundation, will continue.  According to the NY Attorney General, “none of the foundation’s expenditures or activities were approved by its Board of Directors” which had not met since 1991.  “Mr Trump alone made all decisions related to the foundation.”

Trump has agreed to have the charities’ remaining $1.75 million in assets dispersed under court supervision to legitimate charities.  Underwood is also asking the court to order Trump to pay over $2.8 million in restitution and to ban the President and his children from serving on boards of any other charities in New York.

FARM BILL HEADS TO TRUMP FOR SIGNATURE; INCLUDES HEMP LEGALIZATION, WITH LIMITS

 

Update December 20, 2018:  President Trump has signed the Farm Bill into law.

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2018 (Washington D.C.)  The U.S. Senate has passed a farm bill that now heads to President Donald Trumps desk for signature.  The final version stripped out efforts by House Republicans, who had sought to imposeharsher work requirements on millions of food stamp recipients. The House version would have dropped about 1.5 million low-income people off the program.

CEO/PRESIDENT ERIC J. LUND ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION AFTER FIVE YEARS WITH EAST COUNTY CHAMBER

 

 

East County News Service

December 14, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce today announced that it has accepted the resignation of chief executive officer Eric J. Lund, effective January 11, 2019.  Lund who has servedfive years with the Chamber, Lund has accepted an opportunity with another organization.  

EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER OPENING DELAYED

By Paul Kruz, Contributing Editor

December 14, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Residents of El Cajon and the County of San Diego will have to wait awhile longer before the community's theater, shuttered for over a decade, will reopen for performances.

While performing an evaluation of the HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) system at the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC), experts have determined that the system will require complete replacement rather than an overall. Further investigation has found more age-related problems with the roof of the 1,140 seat theater.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL DIRECTS STAFF TO DRAFT LETTER OF CONCERN OVER SOUTHWEST KEY MIGRANT CHILDREN FACILITY

Action comes after Union-Tribune reports seven children missing from Southwest Key facility

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Ana Babudar, Southwest Key Programs Inc., addresses City Council

Watch video testimony here

December 14, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to approve a proposal asking staff to prepare letters to the California Department of Social Services and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services asking for a review of Southwest Key Programs, Inc, The Texas-based company provides extended care for undocumented immigrant children. Its El Cajon facility, known locally as “Casa San Diego,” contracts with the federal government to provide care to children who show up at the U.S.-Mexico border without any parents, as well as some children who were separated from their legal guardians by U.S. immigration officials.

Co-sponsored by Council members Steve Goble and Gary Kendrick, the proposal stems from a November 18, 2018 San Diego Union-Tribune article that revealed discrepancies with Southwest Key reports to the El Cajon Police Department and California Department of Social Services.

NATIONWIDE BOMB HOAXES REACH EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

December 14, 2018 (San Diego) – A bomb hoax targeted numerous of businesses, schools, newspapers, government facilities and individuals nationwide yesterday including at least a dozen locations in San Diego County.  The targets locally ranged from a trucking business in Lakeside to an attorney’s office in Kensington.

Attorney Julie Hamilton told ECM she received an email that included a demand for $20,000 in bitcoins or a hidden bomb would be exploded, similar to a threat reported across the nation.  “The email was very similar to other emails shown by other businesses. I didn't have to tell the investigator much, by the time they got to me they were well aware of the emails going to multiple businesses in the area,” Hamilton said.

JESSICA KALASHO BRINGS OWN ATTORNEY TO HEARING IN FRAUD AND HARASSMENT CASE; BEN KALASHO ARRIVES SEPARATELY WITHOUT LEGAL COUNSEL

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left to right: Linda Charry, Jimmie Parker, Donald Wolf, Jessica Kalasho, and Ben Kalasho  

31 ARRESTED IN BORDER PROTEST; LOCAL FAITH LEADER RELEASED WITHOUT CHARGES AFTER VIDEO DEBUNKS ASSAULT CLAIM

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via American Friends Service Committee




December 13, 2018 (San Diego)—On Monday, 32 people, mostly faith-based leaders from across the nation, were arrested in a peaceful protest in support of migrants seeking asylum at the international border in San Diego.

While most were charged with not following officers' orders and quickly released, Matthew Leber from the American Friends Service Committee representing Quakers was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a Border Patrol agent and kept overnight. But he was released without charges after a video posted by the AFSC shows agents knocking down Leber and taking his backpack, countering officials’ version of what occurred.  View video:  https://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational/videos/338520756967150/

East County resident Jack Shu, president of Cleveland National Forest Foundation, witnessed the incident. “I was standing only 15 feet from Matt when he was arrested,” Shu told East County Magazine. “The media reported that he was arrested for assault when the truth is, it was the Border Patrol that escalated the situation and used physical force when it was not needed.”

NEW 4-STORY MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING PROJECT PROPOSED IN LA MESA: COMMUNITY MEETING DEC. 17

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2018 (La Mesa) – Developers of Jefferson La Mesa, a proposed multi-family apartment project proposed at 4949-4999 Baltimore Drive, invite the community to a meeting to hear about project plans.  The meeting will be held on Monday, December 17 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the La Mesa Police Department (8085 University Ave.).

The proposed four-story project would include 230 residential rental units, including some designated as affordable housing on-site. Though designated officially as mixed use, only four of the units are designated as work/live apartments.  The developer is listed as South Baltimore LLC/The Forties Challenge.

PRIVATE JULIAN PATIENT DATA BREACHED AMID 11-DAY HARD DRIVE LOSS, FIRE OFFICIALS FEAR

 

Update December 26, 2018 -- Patient data was not on the missing hard drive, long-time Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District Chief Mike Van Bibber has informed EMC. Patients' information was on a county server instead.

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission by Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  photo taken Tuesday after backup hard drive was discovered missing. Photo via Brian Kramer

December 12, 2018 (Julian) - Julian fire district officials and local authorities are looking into the possible theft of private medical information and employee records from a backup hard drive.

According to Julian-Cuyamaca fire board member Brian Kramer, the external hard drive with possibly years of data went missing Dec. 1 from a locked room at the Julian fire station on state Route 79.

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