DMV FURTHER EXTENDS EXPIRING DRIVERS LICENSES

RESIDENTS, HEALTHCARE GROUPS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO RESTAURANT AND RETAIL REOPENINGS

HEAT WAVE MAY BREAK RECORDS THIS WEEK

FLAGS FLY AT HALF-STAFF THROUGH MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TO HONOR CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS AND MILITARY KILLED SERVING U.S.

REV. SHANE PROTESTS CUTS TO LIBRARY FUNDING ON BIRTHDAY OF MALCOLM X

EL CAJON APPROVES RENT AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE: FUNDS LIMITED TO FIRST 150 APPLICANTS STARTING MAY 26

VIEJAS CASINO REOPENING BALANCES ECONOMIC NEED AND PUBLIC SAFETY

PRESCRIBED BURN IN CUYAMACA AREA DID NOT JUMP CONTAINMENT LINE, CAL FIRE SAYS, BUT EXTRA RESOURCES WERE CALLED

OUR GUIDE TO LOCAL FARMS AND FARM-FRESH PRODUCTS SOLD DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS

STATE APPROVES SAN DIEGO PLAN TO REOPEN DINE-IN RESTAURANTS AND IN-STORE RETAIL SHOPPING

FIVE-STORY MIXED USE COMPLEX IN LEMON GROVE IS A GO

LOCAL WRITERS AND TEACHERS HELP OTHERS THROUGH THE SMALL MOVEMENT

News

4.9 QUAKE NEAR ANZA ROCKS SAN DIEGO REGION

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2020 (San Diego's East County) --  A quake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale occurred this evening at 6:53 p.m. near Anza, at the boundary of San Diego and Riverside counties.  The U.S. Geological  Survey earlier ranked the quake a 4.6 but later upgraded its intensity.

The shallow quake, at a depth of about 6.6 miles, occurred along the San Jacinto fault which seismologists have previously indicated is capable of generating a powerful quake up to 7.5 in magnitude. There is a 5 percent chance that this quake could be a precurser to a large quake within the next 48 hours, seismologist Tom Rockwell with San Diego State University told the San Diego Union Tribune.


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INMATE AND FOUR SHERIFF EMPLOYEES TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

East County News Service
Photo: Creative commons via Bing
 
April 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department announced that yesterday, an inmate tested positive for COVID-19.  Four Sheriff employees have also tested positive.
 
The Sheriff’s department declined to release details on which facilities the inmate and employees were in, citing privacy laws, but says that the employees are thus far “doing fine.”  However, news reports indicate one of the cases is a nurse who works at the Las Colinas detention facility in Santee. 

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WORKERS ON BORDER WALL AT TECATE NOT WEARING MASKS OR MAINTAINING SOCIAL DISTANCING

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2020 (Tecate) – Along the California-Mexico border at Tecate in San Diego’s East County, construction of the border wall is being done by workers not maintaining social distancing or wearing masks—despite national, state and county emergency declarations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction is deemed an essential business under California’s emergency order and the Trump administration has specifically deemed building the border wall essential.  But why are no precautions being taken to protect the health of workers and the public?


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GROUPS SLAM TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S ROLLBACK OF AUTO EMISSION STANDARDS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

April 3, 2020 (Los Angeles) - Groups that promote public health and clean air and that advocate for consumers all are vowing to fight the Trump administration's new rollback of vehicle-emission standards. The new rule was finalized on Tuesday.


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SAN DIEGANS URGED TO COVER MOUTH AND NOSE IN PUBLIC; ESSENTIAL WORKERS REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS

 

 

By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo: San Diegans are strongly encouraged to wear a facial covering while in public.

April 2, 2020 (San Diego) - A woman in her late 90s is the 16th COVID-19 death reported in the region, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

To prevent the spread of the virus and potential future deaths, San Diegans who are out in public are strongly encouraged to cover their nose and mouth to flatten the curve, County health officials recommended. Businesses, including grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants, are required to have employees wear face coverings.


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FDA RECALLS ALL ZANTAC AND RANITIDINE PRODUCTS

East County News Service
 
April 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday announced it is asking manufacturers to withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine drugs from the market immediately. This is the latest step in an ongoing investigation of the contaminant N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine medications (commonly known by the brand name Zantac). NDMA is a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer).  
 
Low levels would not be expected to lead to an increase in the risk of cancer. However, sustained higher levels of exposure may increase the risk of cancer in humans. The FDA determined that the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity. 
 

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FEDS ALLOW DISCLOSURE OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFO FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH OVERSIGHT ACTIVITIES DURING COVID-19 NATIONAL EMERGENCY

East County News Service

 

April 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that effective immediately, it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for violations of certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule against health care providers or their business associates for good faith uses and disclosures of protected health information by business associates for public health and health oversight activities during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. 


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MORE AMERICANS DEAD OF COVID-19 THAN FROM 9-11 ATTACKS: QUESTIONS GROW OVER WHY U.S. SENT VENTILATORS OVRSEAS AS U.S. STOCKPILE DWINDLED

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Bing: creative commons NA-SC

April 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. hit a grim milestone this week. With the death toll now at 5,794 COVID-19 deaths, more Americans have died from the coronavirus than the 2,996 people killed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

But that’s just a fraction of the 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths now predicted by the White House, with the peak expected over the next two weeks, authorities announced in a press conference yesterday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has placed orders for 100,000 body bags

“This is going to be a very painful, painful two weeks,” President Donald Trump stated, adding 100,000 is the minimum number of deaths forecast. As of today, 243,229 cases have been diagnosed in the U.S. and 10,365 have recovered. The U.S. now has a quarter of the more than one million cases worldwide.

But while many nations around the world locked down their supplies of ventilators, respirators, masks and other items needed to keep medical personnel safe and save lives of critically ill patients weeks ago, the U.S. allowed companies to continue profiting off exporting these vital supplies to other countries.


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EL CAJON PARKS AND RECREATION GOES VIRTUAL

East County News Service

April 2, 2020 (El Cajon) — El Cajon’s Parks and Recreation site has set up a Virtual Recreation and Resource Center filled with fun, education and resources through these wild and turbulent times.


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MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

By Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher
 
April 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- It's hard to recognize the world around us right now. Our daily routines have changed dramatically. We're physically away from our friends and family. We have to make sacrifices to protect our health and the health of the community. And we can't escape the constant news coverage.

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COVID-19 OUTBREAK LINKED TO PHARMACY IN EL CAJON; COUNTY DEATH TOLL RISES TO 15

By Miriam Raftery

April 2, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 849 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in San Diego County. Of those, 1.4%, or 15 people have died, according to  County health officials. The county has identified several cluster outbreaks, including an outbreak in East County linked to the PalmCare Pharmacy in El Cajon,  NBC-7 reports.

A 25-year-old pharmacy tech who worked there , and who  had hoped to become a doctor, died last week at his family’s home in Riverside County. The pharmacy’s customers included many in East County’s Iraqi Chaldean community.


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TWO FATALITY CRASHES ON HIGHWAY 67 IN LAKESIDE IN PAST TWO WEEKS

By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
 
April 1, 2020 (Lakeside) – Two fatality vehicle accidents have occurred on State Route 67 in Lakeside in the past two weeks. Here are the details, provided by Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.
 
The first occurred on March 17 at 5 a.m.  A Spring Valley man, 45, driving a silver 2002 Ford Explorer northbound on Highway 67 south of Foster Truck Trail lost control and veered off the side of the road.  It became airborne before overturning down an embankment, then hitting a large boulder.  Law enforcement and a fire crew responded, but the driver died at the scene of his injuries. It is believed that the driver was wearing a seatbelt; alcohol and drugs are not believed to have been factors in the crash.

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GOVERNOR AND STATE SUPERINTENDENT CALL FOR SCHOOLS TO STAY CLOSED THROUGH END OF SCHOOL YEAR

East County News Service

April 1, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom today said he expects that “schools will not reopen” this school year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Newsom also announced a partnership with Google to provide over 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots statewide to improve internet connectivity and help students with online learning.


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ALPINE’S LIONS TIGERS & BEARS SEEK DONATIONS TO FEED THEIR ANIMALS DURING COVID-19 SHUTDOWN

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

File photos by Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2020 (Alpine) -- Local tigers and other rescued exotic animals at Alpine’s Lions Tigers & Bears Animal Sanctuary need your monetary help.  The tigers, and more, need to keep eating even during today’s economic hard times induced by the COVID-19 crisis.

With millions in stay-at-home lockdown locally and nationally, money from attendance at the sanctuary has evaporated. The facility is closed to the public due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 shutdown has also forced postponement or cancellation of fundraising events for the foreseeable future.

You can donate at https://www.lionstigersandbears.org.  

Founder Bobbi Brinks set up the rescue facility and dedicated it to providing a safe haven for abused and abandoned exotic animals for life.

Unlike the infamous facility featured on “Tiger King,” Lions, Tigers and Bears is a no-kill and no-breeding  sanctuary.


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UC EASES ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS IN RESPONSE TO EDUCATION DISRUPTIONS; SUSPENDS LETTER GRADE AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS

By Nicole Freeling, UC Newsroom  

April 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- Across California and the nation, students have been forced to adapt as measures to combat COVID-19 have closed schools, cancelled standardized tests and upended every aspect of their education. And many have faced a nagging concern: how will this affect my college prospects?


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SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB WILL HOLD VIRTUAL TOWN HALL ON COVID 19 THURSDAY

East County News Service

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob will hold  an East County Virtual Town Hall on Thursday to discuss the novel coronavirus, and she is encouraging residents in her district to submit questions.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten will take part in the meeting, which will take place at 4 p.m.


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CALIFORNIA ORDERS NURSING HOMES TO ADMIT RESIDENTS WITH COVID-19; EXPERTS CALL DIRECTIVE A “DEATH SENTENCE”

By Miriam Raftery

April 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- After weeks of warning Californians about the deadly threat the coronavirus poses to nursing home residents, the State of California on March 30th ordered California nursing home operators to bring the virus into their facilities, “knowing full well it is likely to kill many residents,” says Michael Dark, staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR).


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TWO HEARTLAND FIREFIGHTERS INJURED IN EL CAJON HOUSE FIRE

"Thirteen homes around the hill of a one-way cul-de-sac were saved.  God Bless the neighbor who called us, God Bless the fireman and first responders."--Dolores E. Landers
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News
 
 
April 1, 2020 (El Cajon) – Updated April 3:  A burning section of a home collapsed early this morning, trapping two Heartland Fire & Rescue firefighters, ECM news partner 10 News reports.
 
Two fireifghters were taken to a hospital, and have since been releaesed, a neighbor has informed ECM. 

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STATE SEEKS MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS

East County News Service

April 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- The California Health Corps Registration has put out an urgent request for volunteers who are health professionals or medical students during the COVID-19 crisis. An online registration has been set up here.

Participants will be paid and will be given malpractice insurance coverage. Locations will vary, but the staste-run organization will try to match your geographical preferences.

“As California responds to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are preparing for an increase in the number of people who urgently need health care in our communities. To serve Californians and support our health care system, we are preparing to open additional health care sites to provide medical services both for people who have symptoms of, or test positive for, COVID-19 and to relieve the pressure on our health care system by providing care for non-COVID-19 cases,” the site states.

“We need your help. To ensure adequate staff for these sites throughout the state, we’re calling on healthcare providers, behavioral health professionals, and health care administrators.”

The following healthcare professionals are among those sought, though additional occupations are listed in the actual application:


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COUNTY LAUNCHES VIRTUAL RECREATION CENTER WITH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR HOME ACTIVITIES

virtual recreation
DPR_Logo_Square

March 31, 2010 (San Diego)--The County of San Diego's Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has launched a Virtual Recreation Center! This is your one-stop-shop for tips, tricks and tales to help you pass the downtime caused by school closures, quarantines and other County advisories. From virtual hikes to daily home fitness challenges, the site has both indoor and outdoor activities to adults and  kids who are homebound.

"While our standard rallying cry is to encourage people to spend more time outside, we understand that recent realities may not make that feasible. We’re now poised to offer many of our incredible outdoor activities in an online environment, or in a manner that supports social distancing," the site states.

Bookmark this page and check back often for new content. Below are items posted as of March 31:


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TEACHERS PROTEST PAY RAISE FOR CVUSD SUPERINTENDENT; MIYASHIRO GETS SALARY FAR HIGHER THAN STATE AND NATIONAL AVERAGES FOR SIMILAR-SIZED DISTRICTS

 

By Paul Kruze

March 31, 2020 (El Cajon)-- Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD and Board of Trustees have walked into a new controversy after reports by NBC San Diego and the San Diego Union-Tribune on pay raises authorized the district board.

Following a call to action by the Cajon Valley Employees Association (CVEA), some 100 CVUSD teachers wearing red t-shirt and coats gathered in the CVUSD boardroom on March 10, the last board meeting before the district shut down due to COVID-19. In no uncertain terms, employees let the Board of Trustees and district cabinet know of their unhappiness with recent pay raises given to Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdM and others.

Audio: 


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WORKING AT HOME OR OUT OF WORK? YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR LOWER CAR INSURANCE

By Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re out of work, working from home,  not driving to school due to the COVID-19 crisis, or cancelled a driving vacation, you may be eligible to have your vehicle insurance rates reduced.  I called our insurer and was able to reduce our annual car insurance costs by around $260.


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LOCAL COVID-CASES REACH 603: COUNTY RESTRICTS CRUISE SHIPS

Source: County News Service

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

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Through March 30, a total of 603 COVID-19 cases have been reported in San Diego County, including 84 new cases today.

Of San Diego County’s cases, 345 (57%) were men and 256 (43%) were women. Of the known cases, 118 (19%) have required hospitalization, 51 (8%) had to be placed in intensive care and 7 (1.2%) have died.

Health officials today announced the County is restricting the acceptance of cruise ships with COVID-19 cases and has instituted new rules for the unloading of passengers and crew members off cruise ships arriving in San Diego.


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EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS HOLDS VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING

Answers Wide Variety of Questions Submitted By Local Residents     

by Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Complete Video

March 30, 2020 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells on Tuesday evening held a first-of-a-kind virtual town hall meeting via the city’s website answering a wide variety of questions submitted by local residents on a live basis through the city’s website and social media sites.

The hour-long webcast addressed such subjects as the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how the city is addressing the needs of the area’s homeless population during the crisis, the city’s refusal to shutter local gun shops, resident evictions and foreclosures, law enforcement response, and other topics.


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AMAZON SHUTS DOWN ACCOUNTS OVER PRICE-GOUGING, BUT HOW DO YOU FILE A COMPLAINT?

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Earlier this month, Amazon.com announced that it had pulled over a million products off its online site for price gouging during the pandemic and/or false advertising regarding effectiveness of products against the COVID-19 virus. Now the company has suspended over 4,000 vendors for price gouging, CNN reports.

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COX TAKES STEPS TO EXPAND INTERNET ACCESS TO HELP THOSE WORKING OR SCHOOLING KIDS AT HOME, ALSO AIDS CUSTOMERS WITH FINANCIAL STRESS DUE TO COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Cox Communications recently announced steps to keep people and communities connected  during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are working at home, educating children at home, or facing financial stress.  Those steps include increasing customer bandwidth free, suspending data usage overage fees, not cutting off phone or internet services for people who can’t pay bills due to the pandemic, and waiving late fees. Cox is also offering low-cost fees for new customers including families with children, opening outdoor WiFi hotspots, and more.

Cox assures that its network has capacity to handle a surge in usage trends from business to residential areas, allow quick emergency repairs, and protect employees and customers through social distance.

Below is Cox’s statement on keeping communities connected and helping those who most need connectivity:


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REAL I.D. DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL OCTOBER 2021

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for Americans to obtain a REAL ID has been extended by a year. The new deadline is October 1, 2021, avoiding the need for people to visit crowded DMV facilities during the pandemic in order to meet the prior deadline.

After that date, a REAL ID or a valid passport will be required for all airline flights in the U.S., as well as to enter federal facilities such as military bases.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf made the announcement on the agency’s website, which states:


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NEW FUND SUPPORTS SAN DIEGO’S IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

 

 

Source: San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC), a project of Alliance San Diego, has launched the SDIRC Immigrant Relief Fund to provide grants of up to $500 to immigrant families in San Diego who have lost part or all of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic, or other disasters. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes county and statewide shelter-in-place orders, many workers in San Diego County have had their hours reduced, are temporarily not working, or have lost their jobs altogether. Some immigrant workers are not eligible for certain federal and state benefits such as unemployment and food stamps. 

The fund will launch with $10,000 thanks  to a generous donation from Oxfam America, a confederation of 19 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, and a donation from SDIRC, a coalition of over 50 organizations serving the immigrant community. The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is asking those who can to consider donating to the fund.

For more information on the fund, click here

To apply for the fund, click here

To donate to the fund, click here


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COUNTY PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS TO CONTINUE; RENEWALS, STATUS REPORTS DEFERRED

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo courtesy: County of San Diego
 
Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh and General Relief benefit payments for current customers will continue uninterrupted through April, May and June and certain paperwork is deferred until further notice.
 
The County began sending texts and calls Wednesday to San Diegans who receive the benefits to let them know about the change and confirm that benefits will continue through June.

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TRUMP SIGNS STIMULUS BILL; U.S. NOW HAS MOST COVID-19 CASES IN WORLD

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- President Trump has signed a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, the largest in American history, stating, “I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first.”  The package includes direct payments, loans and grants.

The action comes after the U.S. surpassed China and Italy with the most COVID-19 coronavirus cases of any nation on earth. Worldwide over half a billion people have been infected with the virus. In the US there are over 95,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,450 people have died.

The Senate coronavirus bill will include help for:


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