FORMER MANZANITA TRIBAL POLICE CHIEF ADMITS TO STEALING OVER $300,000 FROM LOCAL TRIBE BY SELLING FAKE BADGES

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE WINS 11 AWARDS FROM SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB’S 2021 EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM AWARDS

LEMON GROVE COUNCIL HOST WORKSHOP WITH RESIDENTS ON STREET REPAIR PRIORITIES

FAMILY ASKS HELP TO FIND MISSING MAN LAST SEEN IN KENSINGTON OVER TWO WEEKS AGO

SHAKESPEARE CALL AND RESPONSE: GLOBE FOR CALL COMES TO LEMON GROVE NOVEMBER 10

INTERVIEW WITH DR. WILLIAM TSENG, KAISER PERMANENTE’S VACCINE EXPERT, ON NEW COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOTS AND UPCOMING VACCINES FOR KIDS

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS OCT. 28 - NOV. 21

75TH ANNUAL MOTHER GOOSE PARADE WILL BE VIRTUAL NOV. 21

MARINES MAKE FIRST-EVER WATER DROPS IN ANZA-BORREGO DESERT TO SAVE BIGHORN SHEEP DURING DROUGHT

COVID-19 BOOSTERS OF ALL THREE VACCINES NOW APPROVED BY THE FDA; CONSUMERS CAN OPT FOR A BOOSTER OF A DIFFERENT VACCINE

LOCAL ARAB GROUP CALLS ON SUPERVISOR ANDERSON TO APOLOGIZE FOR REMARKS LINKING CAIR TO TERRORISM

A SHADY DEAL: LEMON GROVE JOINS TREE CITY USA

News

ARE LOCKING DEVICES TO HOLD YOUR CELLPHONE DURING PERFORMANCES OR CLASS IN YOUR FUTURE?

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

August 1, 2021 (La Jolla) Radio City Music Hall and select Broadway shows, in New York City and now, locally, at a La Jolla Playhouse performance in late July, products to “lock up” cellphones and smart watches were used to physically stop recording or taking pictures of the show.

A product known as Yondr was used in La Jolla which witnessed arts patrons line up, have their silenced devise put into a manufactured pouch, then sealed by the staff. All patrons had possession of their electronic devices but could not use them to record the performance.

The process went smoothly and quickly at the La Jolla Playhouse.

BORREGO RESIDENTS ORGANIZE TO OPPOSE PREDATOR PLACEMENT AT DE ANZA GOLF ESTATES

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – The Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is leading efforts to oppose the state’s plan to place a sexually violent predator in the community.  A townhall meeting August 4 at 3 p.m. is planned at Anza Country Club, along with other actions.

MAN KILLED WHEN SUV STRIKES BUILDING IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

July 30, 2021 (La Mesa) – A 41-year-old man believed to be inside his workplace died at the scene after an SUV struck the building on Jul 28 at 5:30 p.m. According to La Mesa Police, drugs or alcohol are suspected of being a factor in the fatal crash.

The SUV was traveling eastbound on University Avenue when it left the roadway for unknown reasons and struck the building at 7373 University Avenue. The Medical Examiner’s Report indicates the victim worked in unit 101.

'JOYOUS' CELEBRATION FOR LA MESA'S UNION BANK, 14 MONTHS AFTER BURNING NIGHTMARE

By Ken and Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association 

Photo:  taking part were (left to right) Talon Dobesh, Aviana Dobesh, Union Bank president Greg Seibly, Union Bank head of community banking Lisa Roberts, CEO of MUFG Americas Kevin Cronin, branch manager Carlton Hill and Omar Salah, head of small business banking at Union Bank. Photo by Chris Stone

July 30, 2021 (La Mesa) - The night of May 30, 2020, two banks burned to the ground amid La Mesa rioting. The next day, officials of one, Union Bank, were making plans to rebuild at the same location.

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR MERLE WAKEFIELD PROPOSED FOR PLACEMENT IN BORREGO SPRINGS: HEARING SEPT. 13

East County News Service

July 29, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – The California Department of State Hospitals is proposing to place Merle Wakefield, a sexually violent predator, under conditional release at 1575 Yaqui Road in Borrego Springs.

Wakefield was convicted of felony rape in 1990 and of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under 14 in 1981.  He served time in state prison and was found in1998 to be a sexually violent predator. He has repeatedly been confined to a state hospital for treatment as a sex offender but in Dec. 2020, a judge granted his petition for conditional release. 

PASSAGES: FUND ESTABLISHED TO HELP FAMILY OF ANTHONY CANO, YOUNG LAKESIDE FIREFIGHTER AND FATHER WHO DIED

By Miriam Raftery

Memorial service and fund to help family of Anthony Cano announced



July 29, 2021 (Lakeside) – Anthony Cano, 27, dreamed of being a firefighter from an early age.  For the past five years, he was living his dream as a firefighter and paramedic with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, while enjoying family time with his two children, ages 7 and 2.  But on July 8, he passed away unexpectedly at his home in Temecula of undisclosed causes.

POLICE OFFICERS GIVE DRAMATIC TESTIMONY TO CONGRESSIONAL PANEL ON CAPITOL INSURRECTION

 

“This is how I am going to die.” – Capitol Police Officer and Army veteran Aquillino Gonell, on his thoughts after insurrectionists beat him, sprayed him with chemicals, and called for his execution.  

View video of full hearing: https://www.c-span.org/video/?513434-1/capitol-dc-police-testify-january-6-attack

By Miriam Raftery

July 28, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – Four l police officers gave emotional and at times, tearful testimony yesterday before the House select committee on the January 6 insurrection, revealing how the mob violently assaulted, tortured, and nearly killed law enforcement officers defending the Capitol 

The officers endured beatings, eye gouging, tasering to the head, death threats, and lasting injuries. Much of their testimony was backed up by newly released body cam video footage showing supporters of Donald Trump brutally attacking the officers, who implored Congressional members to assure that everyone responsible is held accountable.

The House committee includes Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, along with Democrats. Senate Republicans filibustered any effort to appoint an independent bipartisan commission as was done to investigate the 9/11 attacks, so Speaker Pelosi appointed members of both parties and invited House minority leader Kevin McCarthy to name additional members. But after Pelosi vetoed two of his six picks because of conflicts of interest, since the two could be called as witnesses and possible conspirators, McCarthy withdrew all six of his nominations and refused to name others.

Both McCarthy and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell have said they did not watch yesterday’s hearing, citing other business commitments. But for much of the nation that tuned in to watch, the evidence presented was deeply disturbing.

Below are highlights of the officers’ testimony:

SAN DIEGO COUNTY ADVISES RESIDENTS TO WEAR MASKS INDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES AS CASES OF NEW VARIANT SURGE

East County News Service

July 27, 2021 (San DIego) --  With cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 surging, San Diego County today announced its recommendations for everyone to wear masks in indoor public places. The recommendation is in line with the latest Centers for Disease Control federal guidelines.

Below is the full County statement:

MEET THE CHIEF: LA MESA POLICE HOST FIRST OF FOUR COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS THURSDAY, JULY 29

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2021 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police Department has announced a series of four town halls for residents to meet newly appointed Police Chief Ray Sweeney and police staff. Each two-hour discussion is described as a community conversation and listening session.

The sessions, all on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., are:

July 29           Rolando Elementary School

August 5  Lemon Avenue Elementary School

August 12  Maryland Avenue Elementary School

August 19  Northmont Elementary School

PRO-ISRAEL RALLY HELD IN EL CAJON; PALESTINIANS MARCH IN PROTEST

Arabs, Jews, Black community, Latinos, and Whites divided between both groups

Story, video and photos by Briana Gomez

Photos, left: Latinos for Israel, photo by Briana Gomez, pro-Palestinian marchers, photo by Gary Fields

 

View a special ECM video report: https://youtu.be/YT4tOLvpGYA

 

July 27, 2021 (El Cajon) – Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups held large rallies Sunday afternoon in El Cajon that remained peaceful, though outside groups provoked skirmishes nearby. 

Shield of David hosted a “Stand with Israel” rally at 3 p.m. at Prescott Promenade in downtown El Cajon featuring Mayor Bill Wells and keynote speaker Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State under the Trump Administration.The event hosted a variety of other speakers as well as entertainment and Israeli food.  It attracted about 1,000 Jews and supportive community members who wanted to stand united against rising anti-Semitic violence, celebrate Israel, and listen to the speakers.

A counter rally took place at 2 p.m. at El Cajon City Park led by Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) in collaboration with other activist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. Leaders of these groups leveled criticism at organizers of the pro-Israel rally, which they viewed as divisive at a time of intense conflicts between Israel and Palestine, including recent bombings.

SHOWERS AND POSSIBLE FLOODING TONIGHT, WARM WEATHER ON THE WAY

East County News Service

July 26, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) - The National Weather Service forecasts isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms in San Diego County’s mountains and deserts this evening, with flash flooding possible in some areas.  There is a chance of more thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CLARIFIES DISABILITY RIGHTS FOR LONG-HAUL COVID SURVIVORS

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
 
July 26, 2021 (Washington D.C.) -- Today, as we commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are jointly publishing guidance on how “long COVID” can be a disability under the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.  The guidance is on the HHS website at https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/civil-rights-covid19/index.html and on the DOJ website at https://www.ada.gov/long_covid_joint_guidance.pdf.

LA MESA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SEXUALLY ABUSING WOMEN AT U.S. EMBASSY IN MEXICO

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2021 (La Mesa) – Brian Jeffrey Raymond, 45, of La Mesa has pleaded guilty to "sexual abuse and admitted to the abusive sexual contact of numerous women, as well as photographing and recording dozens of nude and partially nude women without their consent during his career as a U.S. government employee" while working at the U.S. embassy in Mexico, according to a U.S. Justice Department press release.  The release indicated that some of the women who have accused Raymond lost consciousness.

LIBRARY EXPANSION ON AGENDA FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

Agenda also includes proposal to create a task force to promote arts and culture in La Mesa

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (La Mesa) – A proposal to form a task force to look at options for an expanded library will be on the agenda for the La Mesa City Council on Tuesday, July 27.   You can submit comments up to 300 words  to be read aloud at the Council meeting by the City Clerk; comments must be received by 4 p.m. Tuesdy at comments@cityoflamesa.us. Live public comments can also be made via Zoom.

The current La Mesa Library was originally intended as an interim step, after the old library was torn down to make way for a new police station. But the cash-strapped city never raised the anticipated funds for a larger, contempoary library and county matching funding evaporated. But many residents are advocating for the city to live up to its promises to residents.

The issue has sparked lively discussion on the La Mesa Happenings forum on Facebook.

STATE DEPT. OFFERS REWARDS OF UP TO $10 MILLION FOR INFO ON FOREIGN MALICIOUS CYBER ATTACKS ON U.S. CRITICIAL INFRASTRUCTURE

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021(Washington D.C.) – Following a series of ransomware attacks that have crippled some U.S. companies and disrupted critical supply chains, the  U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of anyone  acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government who participates in malicious cyber activities against U.S. critical infrastructure in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Certain malicious cyber operations targeting U.S. critical infrastructure may violate the CFAA. Violations of the statute may include transmitting extortion threats as part of ransomware attacks; intentional unauthorized access to a computer or exceeding authorized access and thereby obtaining information from any protected computer; and knowingly causing the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer. Protected computers include not only U.S. government and financial institution computer systems, but also those used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication.

CROWDED FIELD OF CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL SEAT

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (La Mesa) – Candidates have until August 6 at noon to file papers to run for La Mesa’s City Council in a November special election. The field is growing crowded, with eight candidates who have pulled papers to run so far, though one told ECM he has decided to drop out.

The candidates are vying to fill a vacancy left by Dr. Akilah Weber's election to the state Assembly. The election follows a turbulent year that included civil unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In alphabetical order, the eight candidates who have thus far filed papers to run  are:

LEAPING LIZARDS: PET MONITOR LIZARD LOOSE IN LAKESIDE

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (Lakeside) – If you see a large spotted lizard lumbering along in the Lakeside area, its owner asks you to call him. 

Joe Bishop posted on Facebook that he owns the monitor lizard, which is a pet that accidentally escaped.  Sightings have been reported on Marilla, Creekford and West Hill, according to Bishop, who lives on Riverview.

PALESTINIAN GROUPS PLAN PROTEST AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL RALLY IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2021 (El Cajon) – A rally and march in El Cajon is being planned today at 2 p.m. by pro-Palestinian groups, in reaction to a “We are Israel” rally slated for 3 p.m. at a separate location that Palestinian leaders locally describe as "Zionist" and "anti-Palestinian."

Organizers of the “We are Israel” rally at 3 p.m. on Prescott Promenade at 201 East Main St. have stated that their event is in response to the record number of violent attacks on Jewish people and synagogues in the U.S. and in San Diego County, not policies in the Mideaast.

Organized by Shield of David, that rally is slated to include former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as keynote speaker and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells as one of several other speakers, as ECM reported.  Pompeo, as Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, broke with decades of U..S. foreign policy tradition by declaring that Israeli settlements in the West Bank did not violate international law. But Pompeo also helped broker a peace deal between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

U.S. LAUNCHES AIRSTRIKES ON SOMALI AL-SHABAAB TERRORISTS, DRAWING CRITICISMS FROM SOME IN CONGRESS

“I have concerns about the legal justification of the recent strikes, particularly as they seem to have been conducted without White House approval.” – Congresswoman Sara Jacobs

By Miriam Raftery

July 24, 2021 (San Diego) – The Pentagon has launched two airstrikes this week targeting combatants with al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliated terror group in Somalia. The air strikes come after a six-month pause in airstrikes that were halted after Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump as U.S. President.

San Diego has the second largest Somali population in the U.S., with approximately 10,000 Somali immigrants, KPBS reported last year.

SAN DIEGO IRAQIS HOLD PROTEST TO END IMPUNITY IN IRAQ: WILL IT GET BIDEN’S ATTENTION BEFORE VISIT WITH AL-KADHIMI?

By Briana Gomez

Photo:  Othman Al-Kusairy (far left) and Sally Bachori (middle left), Ahmed (to the right of Sally) and Sam (far right) stand with other Iraqi organizers and signs in memory of lives lost

July 23, 2021 (San Diego) -- A group of Iraqi organizers held a protest in Balboa Park last Sunday. The group calls itself “End Impunity in Iraq” and is calling for accountability.

BORSTAR AGENTS RESCUE MAN LOST IN REMOTE WILDERNESS NEAR DULZURA

East County News Service

July 22, 2021 (Dulzura) --  Members of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) San Diego Sector’s (SDC) Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team rescued a Mexican citizen yesterday who was lost in East County San Diego and suffering from a heat emergency.

LOCAL IMMIGRANT ADVOCATES SPEAK OUT ON DACA COURT RULING

"Our contributions to this country are innumerable. Yet, there’s no path to citizenship for us. We pay taxes, build the economy, and contribute to our communities during a pandemic. Yet, we are rejected and insulted once more. Every day that we live without a path to citizenship, is a day filled with anxiety and fear.” -- Dulce Garcia, an undocumented immigrant and attorney who chairs the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego immigrant advocates are reacting in shock to a federal judge’s ruling which orders the Biden administration to halt approval of any new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. The judge also issued a stay temporarily protecting those already granted DACA protections from deportation – but warned that Congress must act to make protections permanent, or the stay might be lifted.

DACA was created through an executive order by President Barack Obama, protecting thousands of young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay here, hold jobs and attend school. Known as “Dreamers,” many have been here nearly their entire lives. The ruling creates an uncertain future for 305,000 DACA recipients and another 854,000 eligible for DACA in southern border states, according to the Southern Border Communities Coalition. Some have been in the U.S. for many years, and some are now married or parents of U.S. citizens.

COVID-19 CASES IN COUNTY RISE 82% IN ONE WEEK AS THOUSANDS OF UNVACCINATED RESIDENTS FALL ILL

Source: County Communications Office

July 21, 2021 (San Diego) -- The number of COVID-19 cases in San Diego has spiked  in the past week, prompting County health officials to urge residents to continue getting vaccinated. In the past seven days, 3,465 COVID-19 cases were reported in San Diego County. That’s 1,566 or 82% more cases than the previous seven-day period.

COMMITTEE APPROVES ASSEMBLYMEMBER WEBER AND SAN DIEGO LEGISLATORS’ REQUEST TO AUDIT LOCAL JAIL DEATHS

By Miriam Raftery

July 21, 2021 (San Diego) —  Why does San Diego County have the highest rate of jail deaths of any other major California county?  Local legislators hope to find out.  On July 1st, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved a measure to ask California’s State Auditor to provide independently developed and verified information on inmate deaths in the custody of the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

The request for the audit was introduced by Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) along with other members of the San Diego delegation including Assemblymembers Tasha Boerner-Horvath, Brian Maienschein, Christopher Ward, Lorena Gonzalez, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Senator Ben Hueso.

“The approval of this audit request may provide answers to the many families who have lost loved ones while in the custody of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office,” said Assemblymember Weber. "A jail sentence should not be a de facto death sentence. We can use this opportunity to uncover the disparities of the department protocol so that we can implement better procedures for protecting the safety of incarcerated individuals.”

POWAY SYNAGOGUE SHOOTER PLEADS GUILTY TO MURDER TO GET LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE

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

Photo:  Defendant John Earnest during a witness’ testimony in 2019.  Pool photo

July 20, 2021 (Poway) - John Earnest pleaded guilty Tuesday to murder and other state charges in the 2019 shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue that killed one woman and injured three other people.

FOUR WOMEN RUNNING FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL, FIFTH CANDIDATE DROPS OUT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mejgan Afshan, Letitia Dickerson, Patricia Dillard, and Laura Lothian

July 20, 2021 (La Mesa) – So far, the lineup of candidates seeking to serve on La Mesa’s City Council have one thing in common: all are women who filed papers to run for a vacancy on the Council left when ex-Councilmember Akilah Weber won election to the state Assembly.  Dr Weber, a Democrat, was the first Black woman to serve on the Council.

The filing deadline opened July 12 and will close on August 6, so more candidates may yet file. The candidates who have filed to run so far are:

EL CAJON HOLDS FIRST REDISTRICTING MEETING, RAISES CONCERNS IN ARAB, MIDDLE EASTERN AND NORTH AFRICAN COMMUNITIES

By Briana Gomez

July 19, 2021 (El Cajon) - The first of four redistricting meetings in El Cajon took place last Wednesday.

Local governments redistrict every 10 years to reflect a change in local population. The redistricting plan will affect how residents elect their council members.

THUNDERSTORM ROCKS DESCANSO AND ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

July 19, 2021 (Descanso) – Thunderstorms resulted in 84 lightning strikes in our region on Saturday, July 17—nearly all of them in Descanso and Alpine.  On a Descanso discussion forum on Facebook, some residents described the loud thunderbolts as “house shakers," “insane,”  and a “wake up call” from Mother Nature.

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