ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

ELDERLY CAN NOW GET VACCINATIONS AT PETCO PARK, WITH RESERVATION

OVER 100 ARRESTED AFTER CAPTIOL INSURRECTION; HUNDREDS MORE UNDER INVESTIGATION

FEARING POSSIBLE ‘INSIDER ATTACK,’ FEDS VETTING 25,000 NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS AHEAD OF BIDEN INAUGURATION

BIDEN-HARRIS INAUGURATION EVENTS JANUARY 20: HOW TO WATCH

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

SAN DIEGO FBI ASKS PUBLIC HELP TO PREVENT VIOLENCE RELATED TO THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION AND INAUGURATION

SUPERVISORS APPROVE HOUSING FOR MENTALLY ILL HOMELESS AND THOSE AT RISK

SANTEE COUNCIL SETS FANITA RANCH ELECTION FOR NOV. 2022, ALSO APPROVES DIVERSITY PROGRAM

NEW RANCHO HELIX DE ORO FIRE SAFE COUNCIL OFFERS FIRE-SAFE TIPS

SANTEE COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN PROMOTING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

10 HOUSE REPUBLICANS JOIN DEMOCRATS, VOTE TO IMPEACH TRUMP FOR INCITING INSURRECTION

News

RED FLAG WARNING THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING: HIGH FIRE DANGER

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

November 25, 2020 (San Diego's East County)-- The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from Thursday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. through Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9 a.m. for the inland valleys and mountains of San Diego County. The Red Flag Warning has been issued due to strong gusty winds and low humidity.

Areas are forecast to have winds from 25 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. Higher gusts are possible in the windiest locations.

Any fires that develop may spread rapidly with extreme fire behavior, threatening life and property. Be prepared to evacuate if needed. Be sure your cell phone is registered with AlertSanDiego, the county’s regional notification system to receive alerts directly to your mobile device.


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“ALARMING” SURGE IN COVID CASES AS HOSPITALIZATIONS CLIMB

By Miriam Raftery

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) – Yesterday, County health officials confirmed 1,546 new COVID-19 cases – surpassing the prior record of 1,478 set just last Friday. The past week also saw 73 community outbreaks, with 15 more on Tuesday alone. Hospitalizations have increased 15.5% and ICU capacity is now 30%, with 50% ventilator capacity going into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend when officials warn gatherings could overload our healthcare system and cost lives.

“The continuing spike in cases ahead of this week’s holiday is alarming and it is vital that All San Diegans commit themselves to the public health guidance,” says Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, County Public Health Officer. “The sooner we lower our case rates, the sooner we will be able to lift restrictions and reopen our businesses.”

San Diego remains in the state’s most restrictive purple tier. Statewide, COVID-19 cases surged more than 81%, state health officials reported yesterday.  San Diego’s adjusted case rate is 13.1%.


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RENTAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO ADDITIONAL 10,000 SAN DIEGO COUNTY HOUSEHOLDS

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

Photo credit: Charles Marlin, Rent Past Due

November 24, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County residents who are economically impacted by COVID-19 could qualify for assistance of up to $3,000 to pay for past-due or upcoming rent.

The County will be accepting new applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program starting December 1, 2020. Interested people can find more information about the program and apply starting at www.SDHCD.org.

Because of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents have been unable to pay rent, which can cause them to be evicted and lead to an increase in homelessness.

Understanding the financial burden for both tenants and landlords, the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors allocated $27 million in funding for an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to ease that burden for thousands of county residents.


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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AGREES TO BEGIN TRANSITION TO PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN'S TEAM

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Today, President Donald Trump acknowledged that he has instructed his administration to begin the transition to President-Elect Joe Biden and his team.

The announcement came on Twitter, after Michigan and Georgia certified their electors and a judge dismissed Trump’s challenge in Pennsylvania.  Biden won the popular vote by more than 6 million votes and has 306 electoral votes; 270 are needed to win.

In a Tweet today, Trump stated that he was recommended that General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”


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HOPES RESTORED FOR DREAMERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dreamers rally; CC by SA-NC

November 23, 2020 (San Diego) – The fate of some 650,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, or “Dreamers,” has been in limbo during four years of the Trump administration.  But now a court ruling and a proposed key appointment by President-Elect Joe Biden give Dreamers hope of avoiding deportation.


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JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS REACTS TO MASSIVE PROPOSED ENERGY PROJECT, ASKS FOR LOCALS TO SUBMIT CONCERNS IN WRITING BY DEC. 7

By Rebecca Person

November 23, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) --  Residents of quiet Jacumba Hot Springs, a longtime retreat destination for traveling nature lovers and health seekers worldwide, are raising their voices to object to a proposed solar farm directly adjacent to the town. At a meeting Nov. 11 in town, they gathered to learn more about the proposed project and weigh in on its impact on their lives.

Locals say the project, which would cover an area of 643 acres, 6 times the area of their town, will impact its economic base and atmosphere. It could destroy the town’s travel appeal on historic Old Highway 80 where tourists, bicycle, motorcycle and classic car clubs venture, hikers explore the scenic high desert known for its boulder formations, desert washes and native plants, oaks, sunsets and sunshine.  


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CONGRESS APPROVES BILL TO ALLOW FREE ACCESS TO NATIONAL PARKS FOR WOUNDED VETERANS

By Miriam Raftery

 

November 23, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The House of Representatives passed the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act to provide all veterans with a service-connected disability a National Parks and Federal Lands Pass free of charge. The bill already passed the Senate and after House approval, now heads to the President’s desk to await signature.


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ANOTHER COVID RECORD: 1,478 NEW CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY AS VIRUS SURGES

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Coronavirus testing at San Diego State University. Courtesy of the university

November 23, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials Saturday reported a record-high 1,478 new COVID-19 infections and six new deaths, raising the region’s totals to 70,709 cases and 966 deaths.


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COVID OUTBREAKS IN COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES PROMPT QUARANTINES

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego) – Several dozen COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in inmates at the George Bailey and East Mesa Detention facilities in San Diego, the Sheriff’s office reports.

On Nov. 16, the Sheriff reported that nine inmates tested positive the prior week at George Bailey in Module 1C, prompting more tests which returned 46 more positive test results.  Those who tested positive were transferred to isolation units and one was hospitalized. Fifteen tested negative but were isolated and monitored for symptoms.  Two asymptomatic inmates were released before their test results were available.


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DRY WEATHER, FIRE DANGER RETURNS LATE THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Dry weather is forecast this week, with fire weather conditions over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Temperatures will be at or slightly below normal with patchy dense fog tonight and gusty westerly winds Monday across mountain passes and in the deserts.  By late Thursday, moderate Santa Ana winds could bring gusts up to 50 miles per hour.


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SENATOR FEINSTEIN COSPONSORS RECOVERY ACTS FOR BUSINESSES AND THEATERS, BUT COMMITTEES STALL ACTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ron Logan

November 22, 2020 (San Diego) – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is cosponsoring two measures aimed at helping struggling businesses as other benefits run out, as well as a measure specifically aimed at helping arts organizations such as theaters.

Senator Feinstein states, “More assistance is clearly needed.  Artistic and cultural institutions are struggling for their survival.”


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GIFTS FROM THE EAST: SPECIAL 2020 EDITION

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – This holiday shopping season amid a pandemic, we’ve scoured the shops and online stores across San Diego’s East County to find our recommendations for gift items unique to our region.  Our picks include many artisan and locally hand-crafted treasures, farm-fresh humanely raised foods, delicious sweet treats, warm and stylish wearables, and gifts that benefit local nonprofits including a wildlife sanctuary. This year, we’ve chosen many places offering online ordering  as well as locations allowing ample social distancing.


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FREE TURKEYS, FOOD AND HOME ESSENTIALS FOR HOMEBOUND SENIORS AVAILABLE THROUGH PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2020 (San Diego) – At a press conference held yesterday,  the People’s Alliance for Justice (PAJ) and partnering organizations announced that through their COVID-19 senior health outreach task force, at least 1,000 homebound seniors countywide will be delivered free turkeys, non-perishable groceries and home supplies such as toilet paper, cleaning products and toothpaste.

How to get help, volunteer, or give: To sign up for delivery to a homebound senior, or to volunteer, call the PAJ hotline at 619-354-8051. You can also donate to support this worthy cause at  www.peoplesallianceforjustice.net.

“Seniors are still our most at risk population and we must take every precaution to protect them throughout the difficult winter months ahead,” says Rev. Shane Harris, President and CEO of the People’s Alliance for Justice, noting that San Diego County is now in the state’s purple tier due to rising COVID-19 cases. It is one thing to provide information that makes the holiday season look dark, but it is another thing to bring a ray of light that can shine up a dark situation."   


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TIPS ON CARING FOR SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHO HAS COVID-19

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Image by Engin Akyurt at Pixabay

Nov. 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The number of COVID-19 positive cases in the San Diego region is increasing.  Currently the County of San Diego reports 68, 203 cases and 952 deaths. Chances are increasing that you will be taking care of someone in your household, or even monitoring your own symptoms if you were exposed.

Should you do laundry with gloves? Spray disinfectant on handles and doorknobs? Wear masks inside? How do you isolate someone in your family? Check with your doctor for details and consider the tips below.

According to the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) here are the tips they suggest


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JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR HARVEY WASSERMAN SPEAKS OUT ON INTEGRITY OF 2020 ELECTION AND SENATE RUN-OFF RACES

By Miriam Raftery

View full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyR8N8tdOvo&t=493s

November 20, 2020 (San Diego)—ECM interviewed Harvey Wasserman earlier this week for our radio show aired on KNSJ.  Wasserman is a journalist, historian and author of numerous books and articles on election integrity.  

ECM editor Miriam Raftery, who has won awards for her own reporting on election integrity issues, spoke with Wasserman about issues in the 2020 presidential election including documented efforts to suppress votes, the Georgia recount, and the upcoming Georgia run-off elections in January 2021 that could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

“This will be the most thoroughly and intelligently scrutinized election in American history because you now have an army of aware election protection activists who are all going to pour into Georgia,” he predicts.


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EL CAJON TECHNOLOGY SURVEY

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing; CC by SA-NC
 
November 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - The City of El Cajon is currently developing a strategic plan to invest in advanced technologies over the next 10 years. These investments will enhance the relationship between the City and its residents, businesses, and visitors.
 
The city invites residents, business owners and visitors to El Cajon to be a part of this process by taking a brief 5-minute survey. Your feedback will help staff explore ideas and concepts that will help transform the future of El Cajon.
 
To begin the survey, click HERE.

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STATE ORDERS CURFEW NOV. 21-DEC. 21 AS COVID SURGES; COUNTY SHERIFF CRACKS DOWN ON VIOLATIONS INCLUDING IN EL CAJON, DESPITE MAYOR'S HANDS-OFF STANCE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Chart via San Diego County: Surging COVID cases increase stress on healthcare system

November 19, 2020 (San Diego) – California’s Department of Public Health today issued a curfew Nov. 21-Dec. 21 aimed at reducing spread of COVID-19 as cases surge statewide. The County also announced beefed up enforcement efforts, with many cease and desist orders issued in East County, including El Cajon despite the Mayor's pledge not to enforce health rules.

What the curfew impacts

The limited stay home order applies in Purple Tier counties including San Diego. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the order prohibits gatherings with people not in your household either on your property or elsewhere. 

Non-essential businesses must cease operations during the curfew; only activities defined as “critical infrastructure” (COVID19.ca.gov Essential Workforce) may continue.

The curfew does not prohibit individuals or people in the same household from leaving their residence, as long as they don’t interact with people from other households. You can walk your dog, exercise alone or with those in your household, ride your horse, and travel for essential purposes such as medical visits, picking up food or going to the pharmacy. The curfew also does not apply to people who are homeless.


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DRIVE-THROUGH FOOD DISTRIBUTION FOR LEMON GROVE RESIDENTS

East County News Service
 
November 19, 2020 (Lemon Grove)—Lemon Grove residents can brighten their holiday season with free drive-through food distributions every other Saturday  from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, or while supplies last.  The next distribution will be this Saturday, Nov. 21.  The pickup site is at the recreation center, 3131 School Lane in Lemon Grove.
 
You must provide proof of residency in the city of Lemon Grove.  Food will be available to the first 240 vehicles; one family per vehicle.
 
Drivers and passengers should stay in your vehicle and be sure your trunk is clear so food can be loaded.

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TIPS FOR SAFER HOLIDAY SHOPPING AND SUPORTING LOCAL STORES AMID A PANDEMIC

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

November 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How can you support struggling retailers and local nonprofits while also minimizing risk during the 2020 holiday season, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging?

Here are several options to keep the "merry" in your holiday season and/or keep the "jingle" in local stores.


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SDG&E JOINS NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO RAISE AWARENESS OF UTILITY IMPOSTER SCAMS

Source: SDG&E
 
November 18, 2020 (San Diego) -- As part of Utility Scam Awareness Week (Nov.16-20), SDG&E is joining electric, water and natural gas utilities across the country to educate customers about utility imposters who prey on people’s reliance on essential services to cheat them out of money. To date, in 2020 alone, SDG&E customers have reported over 25,000 scams. That translates into nearly 80 per day.
 
“Scammers target our customers year-round, but we want everyone to be even more vigilant during these unprecedented times, as new waves of scams have emerged amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people staying at home or possibly facing financial difficulty, scammers try to take advantage of the situation,” a statement from SDG&E indicates.
 
Common Scams

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EL CAJON MOTORCYCLIST ARRAIGNED ON INSURANCE FRAUD; ACCOMPLICE ALSO CHARGED

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC

November 18, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Omar Yousif, 22, of El Cajon, was arraigned on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud Monday after allegedly misrepresenting the timing of a motorcycle collision in order to receive an undeserved insurance payout. 
 
Shanice Davis, 21, was also charged as a co-conspirator for her involvement in the alleged fraud. 
 
An investigation by the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force comprised of the Department of Insurance, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the California Highway Patrol, working with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, revealed that on October 2, 2019, Yousif purchased a new insurance policy for his 2019 Harley Davidson FXFB Motorcycle. Two days later, Yousif and Davis reported that they were in an accident where Yousif’s motorcycle collided into Davis’ vehicle. 

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SUPERVISORS APPROVE DARK SKIES PROTECTIONS FOR JULIAN AREA AND BORREGO SPRINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Night sky in  Borrego Springs, by Dennis Mammana

November 18, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego Supervisors today voted to approve amendments to the county’s Light Pollution ordinance which will provide “Dark Sky Community” designation to both the Julian and Borrego Springs community planning areas.  The action aims to prevent light pollution, enhancing astronomy viewing and related tourism.

The action comes after the Julian Dark Sky Network asked Supervisors in 2018 to create a way for Julian to meet International Dark Sky Association recognition. Borrego Springs was the first California community to receive that designation in 2009.

"Our community is part of the 1% of the U.S. that can still see the Milky Way. Our distance from the urban glow of San Diego's skies and the surrounding mountains help with our sky quality, but preservation must be intentional," the Julian Dark Sky Network's website states.


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INVESTIVATIVE REPORTER GREG PALAST SPEAKS OUT ON 2020 ELECTION INTEGRITY

November 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- ECM held an interview via ZOOM yesterday with investigative reporter Greg Palast. 

The award-winning journalist and author shared results of his latest investigative results publicized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). His investigation found massive numbers of disenfranchised minority voters in Georgia, who were falsely taken off voting rolls for having moved, but they never relocated. His findings have helped many of those voters reregister in time to have their votes counted.

Palast also talks about the Georgia recount, possible (though unlikely) scenarios for  Congress to determine who won the 2020 election should any states refuse to certify their electors, and the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff races that could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

Palast has East County roots; his late parents were long-time residents of La Mesa. 


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CAL TRANS WORKER KILLED, THREE MOTORISTS INJURED ON STATE ROUTE 94 IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via ECM news partner 10 News

November 18, 2020 (El Cajon) –California Highway Patrol, San Diego Sheriff and San Miguel Fire Department personnel responding to a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle around 12:31 a.m. found a Caltrans worker who was unresponsive on State Route 94 east near the Avocado exit.

Other Caltrans workers told authorities that a driver traveling on the wrong site of construction cones struck the worker and dragged him approximately 40 feet, ECM news partner 10 News reports.


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COUNTY CRACKS DOWN ON BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES VIOLATING HEALTH ORDERS AS LOCAL CASE RATE TRIPLES

By Miriam Raftery

November 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – New COVID-19 cases in San Diego have broken all-time records the past two days, at 1,087 and 833 on Nov. 14 and 15.  

The County yesterday announced that it has issued cease and desist letters to 10 businesses and churches caught in “blatant and willful” violations of purple Tier orders banning indoor operations for worship services, restaurants and gyms, according to Greg Cox, Chair of the County Board of Supervisors.  The County has also sent letters to all regional mayors urging help to enforce public health orders.

But El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells has thus far defiantly told media outlets that his police will not prioritize enforcement.


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ANDERSON WIDENS LEAD, SANTEE COUNCIL RACE STILL CLOSE

By Miriam Raftery

November 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - With the latest update from the Registrar of Voters, former State Senator Joel Anderson has increased his lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus in the second supervisorial district to 259 votes, out of nearly 290,000 votes cast.  Anderson has 50.04% and Vaus 49.96%, a difference of less than one-tenth of one percent.  But with only 10,000 ballots remaining to be counted countywide, with perhaps only around 2,000 ballots per supervisorial district, hopes of Vaus to regain the lead are rapidly diminishing.

Both Anderson and Vaus are Republicans, though Anderson was endorsed by the County Republican Party. Vaus won endorsement of Dianne Jacob, who is retiring as Supervisor after over 25 years due to term limits. If Anderson's lead holds, he may well owe his election to party slate mailers backing his candidacy. Both candidates were well funded and blitzed votes with a barrage of mailers of their own, some touting their experience and issue positions, others focused on negative messaging regarding their opponents.

The open city council seat in Santee is even closer, with only five votes separating the two candidates. Dustin Trotter, a contractor, leads Samantha Hurst, a research and teacher, by 3,911 to 3,906 votes. Should the race end in a tie, state law would require that it be decided by random draw. 


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SOME CHURCHES AND RESTAURANTS FLOUT RULES, OTHERS COMPLY AS PURPLE TIER SHUTDOWNS COMMENCE

 

Story and photos by Jake Rose

Miriam Raftery contributed to this report

 

Photos, left: Parishioners at Skyline Church flock to indoor services, many without masks

November 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Skyline Church in the unincorporated area of La Mesa and Shadow Mountain in El Cajon had full parking lots for Sunday morning services, despite new Purple Tier restrictions now in effect throughout the county.

Purple tier restrictions started at midnight Saturday, due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. Purple tier, or Tier 1, is the most restrictive level for California and comes into play when positive tests exceed 8%. Many non-essential business operations must close, places of worship, restaurants and gyms must move all activity outdoors, and retail must cut capacity to 25%.

With businesses already struggling after the initial lockdown followed by an overall slowdown due to the public’s worry about the coronavirus, this second lockdown has some businesses and places of worship around East County flouting the new restrictions.


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COUNTY RELEASE DATA ON COVID-19 EXPOSURE SETTINGS: RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL TOP LIST

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  shopping online may be safer than in retail and grocery stores, which account for 8.8% of cases countywide since June.  Photo CC by SA

November 13, 2020 (San Diego) – After repeated pressure from media to release more information on which locations pose the highest risks of COVID, San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Department has released new data on potential exposure settings. 


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UPDATES ON CLOSE RACES

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As of the Thursday night updates posted by the county Registrar of Voters, East County has several tight races.  The closest is in Santee, where city council candidates Dustin Trotter and Samantha Hurst are separated by just four votes, with Trotter taking the lead after the two were actually tied earlier in the week.

Hurst, a UCSD researcher and instructor, opposes the controversial Fanita Ranch development and supports racial tolerance.  Trotter is a building contractor who has drawn controversy over his involvement with Defend East County, a group recently banned from Facebook, and Working Class Patriot, a group that advocated for people to “pray for peace and prepare for war” on Election Day.


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EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL EXTENDS COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS

Source:  City of El Cajon

November 12, 2020 (El Cajon) - On Tuesday, November 10, the El Cajon City Council unanimously approved extending the City’s COVID-19 relief measures through June 30, 2021. The relaxed rules and fees were set to expire on December 31, 2020. These measures include:


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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