MEDICARE AND MEDICAID CUTS PROPOSED BY GOP BUDGET

BUDGET CRISIS TOPS CONCERNS FOR LEMON GROVE COUNCIL CANDIDATES

JOHN COX AND GAVIN NEWSOM MEET FOR ONLY SCHEDULED DEBATE, DISAGREE ABOUT...PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING

RED FLAG WARNING ISSUED

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS: JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE CHIEF, PARAMEDIC AND FIRE SURVIVOR SPEAK OUT TO SAVE THEIR FIRE DEPARTMENT

COUNTY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT STAFF FACES STIFF OPPOSITION FROM IRATE LAKESIDE RESIDENTS OVER PROPOSED SAND MINE PROJECT

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES NAME ECONOMIC GROWTH AND TRANSPORTATION AMONG PRIORITIES AT OCT. 4 FORUM

LA MESA WINE WORKS CELEBRATES FRUITFUL TWO YEARS AT ANNIVERSARY PARTY SATURDAY

SUPERVISORS VOTE TO BAN TARGET SHOOTING NEAR DONOHOE MOUNTAIN IN DULZURA

SANTEE CANDIDATES DUCK MAJOR ISSUE FACING CITY AT OCT. 9 FORUM

SANTEE WOMAN INJURED IN AFRICA NEEDS FUNDS TO COME HOME

WHY IS ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL DODGING DEBATES?

News

CITIZENS HELP POLICE NAB SUSPECT AFTER STABBING OF 75-YEAR-OLD MAN IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2018 (El Cajon)—A 75-year-old man suffered multiple non-life threatening stab wounds tonight in an attack at Second Street and East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. Witnesses called police at 7:55 p.m. to report the victim was on the ground near the intersection.

The suspect fled west on Madison, says Lieutenant Jason Taub, adding, “Witnesses were able to keep the suspect under observation and advise the police department of his current location.”

BOULEVARD PLANNERS OPPOSE TORREY WIND PROPOSAL FOR TURBINES TALLER THAN DOWNTOWN SKYSCRAPERS PROPOSED IN RURAL COMMUNITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  Brush fire sparked by exploding wind turbine in Campo  in 2013.  Proposed new turbines would dwarf these older, smaller models.

July 26, 2018 (Boulevard) – The Boulevard Community Planning Group has sent a 26-page letter to the County opposing Terra-Gen’s proposed Torrey Wind project.  If approved, the project would erect 30 wind turbines each 586 feet tall—that’s 90 feet higher than the tallest skyscraper in downtown San Diego—on 2,,000 acres of absentee-owned ranchland formerly known as Big Country Ranch property at the north end of Ribbonwood Road.

The proposed major use permit for Torrey Wind (formerly known as San Diego Wind) will be on the Boulevard Planning Group’s agenda at its August 2nd meeting at 7 p.m.  (View agenda)

SHOULD STATE APPROVE “BAIL OUT” BILLS TO EASE UTILITIES’ LIABILITY FOR WILDFIRES?

 

 

Companies say measures are needed to prevent bankruptcies, but Ramona group says the bills would increase risks of wildfires by axing incentives for utilities to improve safety

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 26, 2018 (Ramona) – Utilities are lobbying legislators to approve a pair of bills being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown in the wake of catastrophic fire storms  in Northern California linked to utility-owned lines and equipment.  Facing $10 billion in damages with reportedly only about $800,000 in insurance, PG&E has argued it could be pushed into bankruptcy without relief.  The utilities want to change California’s inverse condemnation laws, which hold utilities responsible for any fires caused by their lines. However, if a company is found to have safely operated its equipment, it can ask the California Public Utilities Commission to approve charging ratepayers for uninsured losses.

 

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) tried that approach, but the CPUC refused to approve charging ratepayers for the company’s liabilities in the 2007 firestorms, finding that SDG&E did not follow all required safety procedures. Now the big utility companies want to eliminate inverse condemnation in relation to wildfires--a proposal that has backcountry residents sounding the alarm.

WORKER FOUND DEAD IN SANTEE SWIMMING POOL

 

East County News Service

 

July 26, 2018 (Santee) – A pool maintenance worker was found dead in a swimming pool at a home off Chaparral Drive in Santee today.

 

Deputies called to assist Santee Fire Department with a report of a possible drowning helped remove the victim’s body from the shallow end of the pool. The victim, 40, had no signs of trauma or foul play.

ARSONIST ARRESTED FOR SETTING CRANSTON FIRE THREATENING IDYLLWILD AND OTHER MOUNTAIN TOWNS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: San Bernadino National Forest Service

July 26, 2018 (San Bernadino) – Brandon McGlover of Temecula has been arrested and charged with intentionally setting multiple fires in Riverside County including the raging #CranstonFire, Cal Fire reports. The wildland forest fire burning in San Bernadino National Forest has scorched over7,500 acres and is 5% contained, according to Cal Fire’s incident page.

Thousands have been forced to flee, with over 2,000 homes threatened and mandatory evacuations ordered for the entire towns of Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Fern Valley, Apple Canyon Garner Valley and other communities.

VOLUNTEERS BRAVED HEAT TO COUNT BIGHORN SHEEP

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy Anza Borrego Foundation

July 26, 2018 (Borrego Springs) — With temperatures over 100 degrees, 79 volunteered fanned out for the annual Peninsular Bighorn Sheep count at 19 sites in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from June 29 to July 1st.   A total of 225 sheep were counted, up from 207 in 2017, but last year had the lowest in five years, down from 296 in 2014.

MIDWAY THROUGH FILING PERIOD, MOST EAST COUNTY OFFICES HAVE NOBODY RUNNING

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – The filing period to run for local offices opened on July 16 and closes August 10.  But so far, no candidates have pulled papers to run, let along qualified, in most East County or other inland San Diego County races listed on the Registrar’s site for school boards, water boards, fire boards and community planning groups. In others, only incumbents have filed.

For instance, in the Grossmont Union High School District, heated controversies and lawsuits have erupted over alleged bond misappropriation, failure to build an Alpine High School, and efforts to shut down popular charter schools.  Yet so far, incumbents Jim Kelly, Robert Shield and Dr. Gary Woods have all pulled papers to seek reelection, but nobody has filed to run against them.

Note: City council and mayor candidates apply through cities and will not be listed until after the filing deadline has closed. ECM has requested info from East County cities on those races.

Below are other local races in East County, including names of any candidates who have pulled papers to run (though not yet qualified).

VOLCAN MOUNTAIN PLANE CRASH VICTIMS IDENTIFIED

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo of crash site, courtesy ECM news patner 10 news

July 25, 2018 (Julian) – Three people who died in a May 10th crash of a flight school-owned plane at Volcan Mountain in Julian which sparked a brush fire have been identified by the County Medical Examiner’s office.

 The victims were Rongwei Zhang, 23, Qinyang Zuo, 28, and Zehe Zhang, 24.  All died of blunt force injuries and multiple thermal injuries; all deaths were ruled accidental and toxicology reports found no contributing factors.

POWER OUTAGE IN SANTEE

 

East County News Service

Update 7:20 p.m. -- Power is restored at the Smart and Final, but SDG&E's website indicates power is still out to over 1,200 customers.

July 24, 2018 (Santee) -- A power outage has occurred in the  Santee/Carlton Oaks area, affecting 2,359 customers. SDG&E is assesesing the cause but estimates restoration at 9:30 p.m.

ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson was shopping at the Santee Smart and Final when the lights went out.  "The big lottery Mega-millions is tonight and I can't buy my ticket," she quipped.

She was also unable to  buy groceries for dinner, since the store is accepting only cash during the blackout fur customers already inside the store.  Customers outside are being turned away.

MOSQUITOES INFECTED WITH WEST NILE VIRUS FOUND IN SANTEE

 

 

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

July 23, 2018 (Santee) -West Nile virus made its first appearance of the summer in San Diego County this week when a batch of mosquitoes caught in routine trapping in Santee tested positive for the virus.

County officials reminded people they should follow the County’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” guidelines to protect themselves from all mosquitoes and the various diseases they can transmit, from West Nile virus to tropical diseases such as chikungunya, dengue and Zika.

FLEX ALERT ISSUES FOR TUES. AND WED.: CONSUMERS ASKED TO CONSERVE POWER

 

East County News Service

July 23, 2018 (San Diego) -- Due to high temperatures in California and most of the western U.S., the California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has issued a statewide Flex Alert that calls for voluntary electricity conservation from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 24 and Wednesday, July 25.

LAW ENFORCEMENT CONDUCTS OUTREACH ON HATE CRIMES GEARED TOWARD EL CAJON’S MIDDLE EASTERN AND MUSLIM COMMUNITY

 

By Briana Ghaffery

July 18, 2018 (El Cajon)— Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo became the victim of a hate crime at a young age, along with his father, who was savagely beaten over a mistaken ethnic identity during a robbery at the Garmo family’s convenience store in El Cajon.

At a hate crimes forum in El Cajon on July 17th, sponsored by the San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and El Cajon Police Department, Captain Garmo told East County Magazine that he hopes to encourage the public to report hate crimes.

“The reason why we’re having this out here in the city of El Cajon is that it has the largest influx of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, and we feel like they need to be educated as to hate crimes,” he said, adding that law enforcement believes hate crimes are under-reported by those who are victimized.

EAST COUNTY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL NONPROFIT LAUNCHES FROM EL CAJON DOWNTOWN LIBRARY

 

By Jonathan Goetz

July 23, 2018 (El Cajon) – George Gastil, a former Lemon Grove Councilman and history professor at Grossmont College and San Diego State Univesrity, opened the inaugural meeting of the East County Leadership Council (ECLC).  The newly formed 501c(3) nonprofit organization has a mission statement to promote “quality discussion of politics and public policy in the East County region of San Diego County.”

FIRE DESTROYS HISTORIC HOME, A FORMER STAGECOACH STOP, IN RAMONA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM News partner 10 News

July 21, 2018 (Ramona) – The Cinnamon Fire that scorched 13 acres in the Witch Creek area yesterday destroyed Ramona’s original stagecoach stop built in 1870, also resulting in efforts that saved the family's dogs. Other dogs in a boarding kennel on the property are also safe.

“We lived there for 12 years until we built a new house,” the owner of Kritter Camp Boarding Kennel, located on Creek Hollow Drive in Ramona, told East County Magazine regarding the historic structure. At the time of the fire, she added, “My daughter and her boyfriend lived there.”

11 INITIATIVES ARE CIRCULATING FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT, BUT COURT BLOCKS MEASURE TO SPLIT UP CALIFORNIA

 

Wacky or worthwhile petitions?  You decide

By Miriam Raftery

July 21, 2018 (Sacramento) – California’s Supreme Court has blocked a controversial initiative from appearing on the November ballot, pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. That measure sought to split California into three states. However, 11 other initiatives have been approved by the state’s Attorney General for circulation to collect signatures.   

Before you sign any petitions, read below for summaries, or click the link below this story for full details on these proposed initiatives ranging from practical to bizarre.

One proposed ballot initiative seeks to make California a separate nation. If passed, the Legislature would be required to declare independence from the United States, but there’s no Constitutional provision allowing a state to secede – and secession efforts by southern states are what led to the Civil War.  Any attempt to secede would likely require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which takes approval of both houses of Congress and ratification by two thirds of all the states.

Another initiative proposal would ban local governments or special districts from spending bond money on anything not in the bond measure. 

CA DEMOCRATIC PARTY BANS DONATIONS FROM PRIVATE PRISONS; DONATES FUNDS TO AID IMMIGRANTS AND REHABILITATION EFFORTS

 

East County News Service

July 21, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) - California Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman announced today that the CDP will no longer be accepting contributions from companies or trade associations that operate private prisons, private detention centers or other incarceration services as for-profit businesses. 

MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN SPRING VALLEY CRASH

 

East County News Service

July 20, 2018 (Spring Valley) – A 48-year-old man from National City died of injuries sustained today in a motorcycle crash on Jamacha Road, just east of Osage Lane.

The motorcyclist was driving a blue 2018 Harley Davidson Sportster westbound on Jamacha at a high speed and failed to slow down into a curve, causing the vehicle to strike a concrete curb, says California Highway Patrol’s Public Information Officer Travis Garrow. The out-of-control vehicle then went up an embankment, ejecting the rider.

DANGEROUS HEAT AND THUNDERSHOWERS FORECAST

 

East County News Service

July 20, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- Possible thunderstorms are forecast for this weekend as monsoonal moisture conditions continue.  In addition, the National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning for next week.  “Dangerous” temperatures are expected to reach 116 degrees in the desert, over 100 degrees in our mountain areas and 99 degrees in El Cajon.

ECM EDITOR AND REPORTER WIN GLORIA PENNER AWARD FOR REPORTING ON KALASHO THREATS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Paul Kruze and Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2018 (San Diego) -- The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) San Diego Chapter presented the Gloria Penner Award for political affairs reporting to East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery and reporter Paul Kruze for their entry titled "Kalasho threats."

The judges commented, "Nothing says tough political reporting like exposing a corrupt politican, and the judges believe that Gloria Penner would have been proud of the journalists' work to expose El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho."

The award, named for the late, great KPBS political journalist, was one of four honors won by ECM at last night's SPJ awards dinner at the Kona Kai resort on Shelter Island. The award includes a $250 prize.

The entry detailed threats and retaliatory actions made by Councilman Kalasho, a mayoral candidate, after our news publication reported on his legal and ethical controversies including judicial findings of sexual harassment, fraud, defamation and cyberharassment against beauty pageant contestants and a businessman. 

IN EMERGENCY APPEAL, JULIAN FIREFIGHTERS ASK STATE COURT TO HALT COUNTY TAKEOVER

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, amember of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Suspended Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber of Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Image via Julian Fire Plugs

July 19, 2018 (Julian) - Julian’s volunteer firefighters have filed an emergency appeal with a state appellate court in hopes of making an August 10 deadline to place a measure on the November ballot.

Their aim is to have the 2,246 voters in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District decide whether to repeal a fire board action to dissolve the district.

WEST FIRE BENEFIT AND AUCTION AUG. 18

 

East County News Service

July 18, 2018 (Alpine) - A dinner and auction to benefit survivors of the West Fire in Alpine will be held on Saturday, August 18th from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center.

The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and Alpine Community Center are organizing the fundraiser. All funds raised will be donated to the Alpine Community Foundation to help and support those affected by the West Fire, which destroyed 34 homes and also destroyed many outbuildings, damaging other properties.

For tickets, visit http://www.AlpineChamber.com.

See details below:

PUBLIC HELP NEEDED TO IDENTIFY YOUNG WOMAN KILLED BY HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER ON HIGHWAY 94

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Image credit: Forensic Artist P.J. Puterbaugh; a forensic sketch of a woman who investigators are trying to identify.

July 18, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office is asking for the public’s help to identify a woman, possibly in her late teens, killed by a hit-and-run driver as she walked along state Route 94 earlier this month.

JUDGE DELAYS DEPORTATION OF FAMILIES SEPARATED FROM CHILDREN

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2018 (San Diego) — U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego issued an order today blocking deportations of immigrant families until at least July 23 to assure that parents are not deported without their children, require the government to respond to ACLU papers, and to allow reunited families time to decide whether to seek asylum. 

SHOULD EL CAJON CENSURE COUNCILMAN KALASHO?

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – As the scandals involving Councilman Ben Kalasho mount, with 11 citizens calling for his resignation at the last City Council meeting, some community members are now asking why the City Council has not censured Kalasho, who has announced his intent to run for Mayor. 

ALPINE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION NOW ACCEPTING TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Drone video of West Fire devastation in Alpine: "Aftermath from above" by Joseph A. Acevedo, N6SIX

July 15, 2018 (Alpine) – People who want to help Alpine residents rebuild homes lost after the West Fire, and fill gaps that insurance companies and other agencies aren’t filling, can now make a tax deductible donation to the Alpine Community Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

A community recovery team will help the Foundation verify needs and resources. Money will pay bills directly, and will not be paid directly to individuals. Those in greatest need will receive help first.  The Foundation is run by volunteers in the community, so no fees will be charged and 100% of donations will benefit fire survivors.

HOW TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (Alpine) – Many of our readers have been asking how to help people who lost homes in the West Fire in Alpine earlier this month.  Several organizations are helping out and GoFundMe pages have also been set up for some of the families.

Alpine Christian Fellowship has established a West Fire relief fund that is accepting financial donations.  You can also sign up to volunteer to help with debris clean up, supply distribution, food and water, pet care, child care, spiritual care, or transportation.

A Fire Victim Supply Post has been set up at Boulder Oaks Elementary (2320 Tavern Rd., Alpine) where you can donate and drop off supplies to help fire survivors such as clothing, clean-up supplies, non-perishable food items and household goods.  For more info please call or text Margo at 619-876-8713 or Stephanie at 619-573-5638.

Keller Williams Realty has started a fund to help West Fire survivors and is also accepting donations of immediate relief supplies at three locations in Alpine and El Cajon. Details are at their GoFundMe link.

Below are other  GoFundMe sites set up to help specific individuals and families who lost homes in the West Fire. While some have already raised tens of thousands of dollars, other have nearly no donations. Please help our neighbors in need.

EL CAJON SEEKS VETERAN OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS

East County News Service 

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) - The City of El Cajon Veterans Commission presents a “Veteran of the Year” Award, recognizing those who go above and beyond in serving their community through their leadership abilities and/or community service in El Cajon, making a big impact on those they serve.  Final selections will be based on dedication, commitment, and demonstrated the impact of those served.  If you see, hear, or know of a veteran who has gone the extra mile to improve the quality of life in the community, please take this opportunity to acknowledge and reward that effort. 

SWEET CATS NEED NEW HOME IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH OF OWNER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ginger and Tigger

July 13, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – These two sweet cats, a sister and brother, must find a new home immediately after the death of their owner. 

“They really love each other. They eat together, sleep together…they’re just really adorable,” says Mimi, an acquaintance of our editor who has been feeding the cats since their owner passed away.

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS SPEAKS OUT ON THREATS AGAINST ECM REPORTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Councilman Ben Kalasho during testimony by Paul Kruze regarding Kalasho’s alleged threat to maul the reporter with a trained attack dog

 

July 13, 2018 (El Cajon) – After our reporter Paul Kruze filed a police report alleging that El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists issued the following statement:

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