ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING OF BABY AT PARKWAY PLAZA

SANDERS WINS BIG IN NEVADA, EMERGES AS FRONTRUNNER IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS WITH CANDIDATES FOR SUPERVISOR SPEAKING OUT ON LAND USE ISSUES, FIRE SAFETY, HOMELESSNESS AND MORE

PROTEST AT LEMON GROVE TOYOTA FEB. 29 TARGETS COMPANY’S SUPPORT OF TRUMP LAWSUIT AGAINST CA OVER EMISSION STANDARDS

COUNTY BOARD RATIFIES COVID-19 EMERGENCY DECLARATION

STATE EXTENDS DEADLINE TO MARCH 31 FOR HEALTHCARE COVERAGE BEFORE HEFTY FINES KICK IN FOR NOT HAVING INSURANCE

ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE SANTEE OVER CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

BILL WOULD REQUIRE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO WRITE POLICIES FOR HOMES IN AREAS THAT MEET NEW FIRE-HARDENING STANDARDS

POLL SHOWS SANDERS LEADING IN CALIF., BUT BLOOMBERG GAINS—AS CONCERNS RISE OVER BILLIONNAIRE’S TREATMENT OF WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND WALL STREET TIES

COOKING CLASSES, TRUFFLES & WINE DINNER, & A TOAST TO WOMEN'S DAY: ALL AT GIARDINO IN LEMON GROVE

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS: FEB. 22-APRIL 15

50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATES DEBATE ON HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS, EQUALITY AND MORE

News

REP. HUNTER TELLS KUSI HE WILL PLEAD GUILTY

 East County News Service

Photo by Ken Stone, Times of San Diego

December 2, 2019 (San Diego) – In an interview on KUSI television today,  Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) announced that he plans to plead guilty in federal court tomorrow to one count of misuse of campaign funds. 

A change of hearing notice filed by his attorney, Devin Burstein, confirms the plea change, stating, “Change of Plea Hearing set for 12/3/2019 10:00 AM in Courtroom 3C before Judge Thomas J. Whelan. (Change in type of hearing only)," Times of San Diego reports.

STORM WEDNESDAY TO BRING HEAVY RAINS AND LIGHTNING: FLOODING AND WATERSPOUTS POSSIBLE

Waterspouts possible in coastal areas

East County News Service

Photo: Creative Commons via N.A.

December 3, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Thunderstorms Wednesday is expected to bring moderate to heavy rainfall and lightning strikes to our region. Bursts of moderate to heavy rain will raise the threat for street flooding in areas with poor drainage or low lying areas prone to flooding. Rain falling on snow covered or frozen ground could also lead to enhanced runoff and localized flooding in the mountains.

Waterspouts are possible over coastal waters and the National Weather Service’s Skywarn activation may be requested on Wednesday. Surf could reach nine feet along San Diego’s coastline.

COTTONWOOD SAND MINE PROJECT WILL HAVE A SECOND DEBRIEFING TONIGHT WITH VALLE DE ORO COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

By Ana Nita

December 3, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Valle de Oro Community Planning Group will have a second public meeting tonight to receive community input about the proposal to turn Cottonwood Golf Course into a sand mine for the next decade. The golf course is located on Willow Glen Drive in a residential area in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon and on federally protected land that’s part of the South County Multiple Species Conservation program. 

The public meeting tonight is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Otay Water District Headquarters, 2554 Sweetwater Springs Blvd., Spring Valley.

HUNTER PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO MISUSE CAMPAIGN FUNDS FOR PERSONAL USE; TELLS MEDIA HE WILL RESIGN FROM CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Congressman Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret

December 3, 2019 (San Diego) -- Congressman Duncan D. Hunter pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal use.  His admission of guilt  comes after months of claiming he was innocent and a target of a political witch hunt. 

The Republican Congressman from Alpine could face up to five years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine – ironically, the same amount that he and his wife were accused of embezzling from their campaign and spending on a lavish personal lifestyle.  He is slated for sentencing on March 17th and could received a lesser sentence, such as a shorter prison term, probation or community service.  His wife, Margaret, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and will be sentenced in April.

Hunter, a former Marine combat veteran, could have faced decades in prison if found guilty in a trial on 60 federal charges that included wire fraud and falsifying campaign reports to hide theft of funds spent on family vacations overseas, overnight trysts with five mistresses, oral surgery bills and airfare for a pet rabbit, among other illegal uses of campaign donors’ money.

KAMALA HARRIS ENDS PRESIDENTIAL BID, BUT VOWS TO HELP DEFEAT TRUMP

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

Photo: Senator Kamala Harris. Courtesy of the campaign

December 3, 2019 (San Diego) -- Sen. Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that she is ending her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The junior Senator and former Attorney General of California was one of the first to announce a candidacy, but has been lagging in the polls and fundraising in recent months.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO SNOW

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office
Photo: Mount Laguna (Miriam Raftery)
 
December 3, 2019 (San Diego) - The following are tips and considerations for you if you plan to drive up to the snow:
  • Be prepared for significant traffic delays in both directions due to both road conditions and the sheer volume of motorists. Prior snowfalls have left drivers in up to five-hour waits on the roads.
  • You should have a full tank of gas. Don’t count on filling up along the way.

COUNTY SETS DEFINITIVE DATE TO BREAK GROUND FOR LONG AWAITED LAKESIDE EQUESTRIAN PARK

By Ana Nita

December 3, 2019 (Lakeside) -- County representatives met with the East County Equestrian Foundation last month to announce that construction for the park will finally start in March of 2020. The initial plan prognosticated a groundbreaking ceremony for late 2018 or early 2019, but as the locals said, better late than never. 

The next stage is organizing a bid for construction that is estimated to take 18 months. The county predicts the equestrian park would attract as many as 300 attendees for large events that “are anticipated to take place a few times each year,” per the County’s website for this project. 

EL CAPITAN HIGH SCHOOL CELEBRATES OPENING OF EVENTS CENTER

East County News Service

Photo courtesy GUHSD

December 2, 2019 (Lakeside) -- Grossmont Union High School District celebrated the grand opening of the El Capitan High School’s new Event Center (@ECHSVaqueros) in November. The new 15,886 SF multi-purpose facility at the Lakeside campus will support the instrumental, choral and dramatic arts programs.

POWAY ISOLATES WATER PROBLEM, AWAITS STATE APPROVAL TO LIFT BOIL WATER ADVISORY

 

Mayor Vaus responds to Anderson smear effort over water quality question

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via City of Poway on Twitter: City provides bottled water for residents

December 2, 2019 (Poway) – One day after the city of Poway issued a boil-water advisory for tap water due to stormwater runoff contamination, the city issued a statement late yesterday indicating city tests have found chlorine residulals meet standards, “but that “The city is not able to rescind the precautionary boil-water advisory until the state is satisfied with testing results.”

In an interview this morning with East County Magazine, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus revealed, “We have isolated the source of the rain water. We have repaired it.” Though still awaiting test results from the state expected soon, Mayor Vaus says the water has been safe throughout the incident. 

“I’m drinking it now. I’m giving it to my pets,” he told ECM.

FBI AND PROSECUTORS IN SAN DIEGO OFFER $5 MILLION REWARD TO FIND “HIGHEST RANKING” AMERICAN FIGHTING WITH FOREIGN TERRORISTS

VIEW FBI VIDEO:  https://youtu.be/NJMZ1D0R98E 

East County News Service

December 3, 2019 (San Diego) --  The San Diego FBI and federal prosecutors yesterday announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest  or conviction of Jehad Serwan Mostafa, 37, in any country. Mostafa is a U.S. citizen who grew up in San Diego. He reportedly joined the al-Shabaab terrorist organization and has been named by the FBI as “the “highest ranking American fighting overseas.”

An indictment unsealed in federal court this week reveals that Mostafa is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, as well as conspiracy to provide material to terrorists and to a foreign terrorist group. Mostafa was charged in 2009 on similar counts. Now authorities believe he continued providing support to terrorists until at least February 2017. 

CAJON VALLEY PROVIDES BACKGROUND ON DRIVER TRAINING IN RESPONSE TO RECORDS REQUEST AFTER INJURY ACCIDENT

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 1, 2019 (El Cajon) – Cajon Valley Union School District has provided information on training and qualifications of its drivers, in response to a California Public Records Act request submitted by ECM after an October 4, 2019 injury accident at which the district’s driver was found at fault.
 
According to the California Highway Patrol, a district employee made an “unsafe turning movement” and lost control of the district pickup truck he was driving, which was towing a trailer.  The vehicle veered into the path of a sedan on Avocado Blvd. near Mt. Helix, causing a head-on collision that caused serious injury to both drivers, also causing minor injuries to an infant. The vehicles also careened into the front yard of a home. Alcohol was not a factor, according to CHP officer Jeff Christy.

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS HOLDS FOREIGN SUBCOMMITTEE FIELD HEARING AFTER AFRICAN MIGRANT DIES IN OTAY DETENTION CENTER

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Dec. 1,  2019 (San Ysidro) “How is it that some of the poorest nations around the world can take in people in crisis?” questioned Rep. Karen Bass (D-37th) at a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Field Hearing held at the San Ysidro Public Library on Nov. 22. 

 

“What can we learn from these countries? How do international organizations like the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration and others monitor and advise on the surge in migrants, refugees and asylum seekers? What are the international protocols, norms, standards, and practices that should be followed?” she continued. “Basically, I want to know, what can we learn from other countries around the world. But mostly, I want to understand where the United States is with regard to these practices, norms and standards.”

OH BABY! SOUTHERN WHITE RHINO CALF BORN AT SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION

Source: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

December 1, 2019 (San Pasqual) -- San Diego Zoo Global announced the successful birth of a female southern white rhino calf on November 21 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—the conservation organization’s second rhino born after hormone-induced ovulation and artificial insemination. This calf’s birth also is a milestone, since she is the 100th southern white rhino born at the Safari Park.

Artificial insemination of southern white rhinos has rarely been successful in the past; this is only the second successful artificial insemination birth of a southern white rhino in North America. The first was Edward, born to mom Victoria, at the Safari Park’s Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center on July 28.

COUNTY POSTPONES WORKSHOP IN STREAMLINING BUILDING PERMIT PROCESS TO DEC. 13

Environmental leader criticizes streamlining effort as “abuse of authority.”
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
November 30, 2019 (San Diego) – The County Planning Commission will hold a workshop to discuss ways to streamline its discretionary permitting process on Friday, Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. at the County Operations Center conference hearing room, 5520 Overland Rd., San Diego, 92123
 
The hearing was originally slated for Nov. 22 but postponed due to lack of a quorum. The new agenda can be found at the County Planning Commission webpage.

POWAY WARNS RESIDENTS NOT TO DRINK TAP WATER WITHOUT BOILING, DUE TO POSSIBLE CONTAMINATION: COUNTY SHUTS DOWN POWAY RESTAURANTS

East County News Service

November 30, 2019 (Poway) -- As a precautionary measure, residents in the City of Poway should boil their tap water before drinking or using the water for cooking until further notice, or use bottled water.  Restaurants and other food preparation facilities in Poway have been ordered by the County to temporarily close until the problem is resolved.

Due to the recent storm event, it is believed that the potable drinking water system has possibly been compromised.  Crews are working around the clock to restore normal water service.

MOTORCYCLIST ARRESTED FOR FLEEING SCENE OF OCT. 31 FATALITY CRASH IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Therese Clouthier, via a GoFundMe page set up to help her daughter
 
November 30, 2019 (La Mesa) – A motorcyclist who fled the scene of a fatal crash that killed Theresa Clouthier, one of his passengers, in  La Mesa on October 31st has been arrested. Chad Paul Tucker, 44, was taken into custody on November 26 on charges of manslaughter with gross negligence and felony hit and run.  

EARTHQUAKE EARLY WARNING APP NOW AVAILABLE

By Miriam Raftery

November 30, 2019 (San Diego) – An earthquake early warning is now available to the pubic in California through the Berkeley Seismology Lab.  MyShake collects motion data from your phone’s sensors and uses a patented neural network to determine whether that motion fits the model of an earthquake.

Through MyShake, you can have earthquake information at your fingertips, see damage reports shared by citizen scientists like you, and help build a global seismic network.  Click here to download theMyShake  app from Apple or the Google Play store.  

VALLEY CENTER FIRE-HARDENING OF LINES PROPOSED BY SDG&E: PROTESTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY DEC. 3

By Miriam Raftery

View proposal: click here

November 30, 2019 (Valley  Center) – SDG&E has submitted a notice of construction for a fire-hardening project in Valley Center. The public has until December 3 to submit any protest letters for the project, which is slated to begin construction on January 30, 2020.

The project would remove about 7 miles of an exiting powerline alignment (tie-in 6926) from the Rincon Substation to Valley Center Substation and leave existing distribution circuits in place.  About 6 miles of the tie-line would be installed underground in road right-of-way from Valley Center Substation to a cable pole on Pauma Heights Road. From there, another 3 miles of overhead line would be installed in a double-circuit overhead configuration on an existing powerline alignment from the Pauma Heights Road pole to the Rincon substation.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST RENEE OWENS ON EFFORTS TO SAVE MOUNTAIN LIONS

 

Hear our interview: Click this audio link.

By Miriam Raftery

November 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Efforts are underway to declare mountain lions endangered species in portions of Southern California. “Their habitat is being fragmented,” wildlife biologist Renee Owens with Wild Zone Conservation told ECM in an interview on our radio show that originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM in October. 

In California, the number one cause of mortality for mountain lions is being struck by vehicles while crossing roadways.  In addition, some 200 depradation permits are issued each year in California allowing the killing of mountain lions, usually because they are preying on livestock. “Nationwide, we know that over 3,000 mountain lions a year are reported to have died,” Owens says.

The Mountain Lion Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity have petitioned the state to list mountain lions as protected because some isolated populations are “literally in danger of extinction.”  Owens says experts suspect this is also happening in San Diego, where recent numbers show the lions are “actually in decline," according to Owens.

Scroll down for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview on the audio link.

Audio: 

Audio file: Interview with Renee Owens on Mountain Lions

DR. HELEN L. HORVATH, 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATE, HOLDS A TOWN HALL AND FOOD DRIVE IN ALPINE DEC. 13

East County News Service

November 30, 2019 (Alpine) --  Dr. Helen Horvath, candidate for the 50th Congressional District, will hold a candidate forum and community food drive at the Alpine Library Community Room in Alpine on Dec. 13 from 5-7 p.m.

Topics will include:

  • Integrative Community Services
  • Women’s healthcare
  • Veterans’ initiatives
  • Small business concerns and development
  • Senior Care (Medicare, social security, and related topics)
  • Balanced budget efforts
  • Immigration and border security
  • Other community topics as they are requested

Residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for redistribution in our community.  Click this link for more information about the food drive. Food is only accepted on the day of the Town Hall Meeting. The food drive is part of a two-month “hand-up” campaign starting Dec. 1 that Horvath has launched, asking constituents to bring non-perishable foods to her community coffees and town halls.

PEDESTRIAN KILLED IN EL CAJON ON THANKSGIVING NIGHT

East County News Service

November 29, 2019 (El Cajon ) – A woman, 60, died after being struck by a 2001 Tacoma last night shortly after 8 p.m. at the intersection of East Chase and Avocado Avenue.

El Cajon Police officers and paramedics responded to a call reporting the accident. A police officer performed CPR on the unresponsive victim until medics arrived.  She was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her identity is known, but is being withheld until family is notified.

CAJON VALLEY TRUSTEE JILL BARTO FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST DISTRICT, SUPERINTENDENT, AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 28, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Longtime Cajon Valley Union School District Board member Jill Barto on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the district, Superintendent David Miyashiro and four trustees over what her attorney, Mike Aguirre, alleges are violations of her civil and First Amendment rights.

The suit alleges that since she was re-elected to her seat on the Board of Trustees in November 2018, she experienced retaliation and had her civil rights violated by Miyashiro and others after she questioned Miyashiro’s use of district funds and his travel at district expense.

“The School District Board Superintendent and four other board members have retaliated against Plaintiff and conspired against her in violation of her First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution,” the suit alleges. “Defendant’s retaliatory conduct has repeatedly tried to prevent Plaintiff from fully representing the constituents that elected her to the Board,” it continues. The suit lists does 1-50, leaving open the possibility of adding other defendants.

AFTER RULING BY JUDGE, COUNTY REMOVES ALL EQUIPMENT FROM JULIAN FIRE STATION 56, INCLUDING FIRE ENGINES, AMBULANCE AND WATER TENDER

Safety concerns raised; court ruling by Judge Randa Trapp could be death knell to Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 20, 2019 (Julian) -- With a stroke of a gavel, San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp on Friday morning dashed hopes of volunteers from the former Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District that the district will be resurrected anytime soon.

Judge Trapp denied the motion filed by JCFPD’s attorney Cory Briggs last April 10, which sought to invalidate the dissolution of the volunteer fire and medical protection district by the San Diego Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO). Briggs filed the motion to appeal the afternoon after LAFCO’s vote.

Within hours of Trapp’s decision Friday, despite a new appeal of Friday's judgement filed by Briggs, the County Fire Authority operated by CALFIRE raided Julian Fire Station 56, towing away or hauling off all remaining firefighting equipment of the JCFPD including fire engines and ambulances. A broker has reportedly indicated that at least some of the equipment is being put up for sale, instead of being either held for the JCFPD in case of a win on appeal, or turned over to the CFA/CALFIRE to utilize to protect Julian.

Briggs called the action a “raid.”  Some Julian residents cried, while others voiced anger.

The action leaves Julian entirely dependent upon the CFA/CAL FIRE for protection, despite grave concerns raised by many residents over serious gaps in equipment and coverage since the JCFPD was dissolved.

SNOW FALLING ON I-8, HEAVY SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAINS AS OTHER AREAS FLOOD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Robert Scheid:  Snow falls along I-8 near the Sunrise Highway exit

November 28, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s a white Christmas across East County’s mountains and rural areas. Snow is falling along Interstate 8 east of Alpine.

A blanket of snow covers the Cuyamaca area, Cal Trans reports on Twitter.  In Warner Springs, chains or snow tires are required, with two inches of snow on Chihuahua Valley Road, NBC 7 reports. Snow is heavy in the Julian area, leaving some residents snowed in, sources told ECM.

WHITE THANKSGIVING FORECAST FOR MOUNTAINS, FLASH FLOOD WATCH ALSO ISSUED AS “DANGEROUS” WINTER STORM TO IMPACT HOLIDAY TRAVELERS

 

East County News Service

November 26, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A winter storm watch has been issued for the National Weather Service from Wednesday at 4 a.m. through Friday at 10 p.m. for all mountain areas in San Diego County. There is also a flash flood watch for areas west of the mountains from Wed. at 4 a.m. through Thursday at 10 p.m.

Heavy mountain snow will bring hazardous travel conditions Wednesday through Friday, with accumulating snow down to 3,000 feet by Thanksgiving night.  Up to three feet could accumulate above 5,000 feet including Mt. Laguna and Palomar, with several inches at lower elevations.

WHO WANTS TO BE THE NEXT LEMON GROVE COUNCILMEMBER AND PLANNNG COMMISSIONER? HERE ARE ALL THE APPLICANTS

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The Lemon Grove City Council will hold a special meeting on December 2 at 6 p.m. to interview applicants to fill vacancies on the City Council and Planning Commission.  A wide range of people have applied for these positions, bringing a diversity of skills and backgrounds. 

Here are summaries of each applicant's primary qualifications and aspirations:

EAST COUNTY FOSTER CARE TOWN HALL AND TURKEY GIVEAWAY WED. IN EL CAJON

 

 

East County News Service

November 21, 2019 (El Cajon) – The People’s Alliance for Justice and its president, national civil rights activist Rev. Shane Harris, will host a town hall forum on foster care disparity Wednesda,Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. (check in at 5 p.m.) at the Choice Harvest CHurch, 760 Palm Ave. in El Cajon.

Free turkeys will be provided to attendees. Call 619-354-8051 to RSVP for the turkey giveway.

You’re invited to the free event to learn about injustices in the foster care system, hear from foster youths and professional to discuss changes they believe are needed

This event will be moderated by East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery.  Call (619)354-8051 to RSVP and register for a free turkey, or email paj@peoplesallianceforjustice.net.

CHP HOLIDAY WEEKEND ENFORCEMENT PLANNED; SAFETY TIPS ALSO OFFERED FOR RAINY WEATHER

East County News Service

Nov. 26, 2019 (San Diego) Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel times in America, it can also be one of the deadliest on the roadways. CHP officers will educate motorists and enforce traffic safety laws throughout the state to ensure everyone has a safe holiday. Officers will be actively looking for unsafe driving practices, including seat belt violations, speed, distracted driving and, of course, signs of driving impairment.

To help motorists avoid tragedies, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will have all available officers on patrol during this maximum enforcement period Wed. Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday, Dec. 1. 

COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY APPROVES REQUIRING COUNTYWIDE VOTER APPROVAL FOR 2 AGENCIES SEEKING TO LEAVE REGIONAL CONTROL

Regional electorate should weigh in on plans by Fallbrook and Rainbow water agencies

East County News Service

November 26, 2019 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors last week authorized actions to ensure all San Diego County voters are heard on plans by the Rainbow and Fallbrook water agencies to leave the regional water wholesaler and instead join a Riverside County water agency.

Rainbow’s Water District Manager Tom Kennedy has said the Riverside District charges $1,000 per acre foot of water, substantially less than the SDCWA which charges about $1,600 per acre foot – an annual savings of $5.6 to $6 million for Rainbow area customers, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in June.

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