COVID-19 DEATHS REACH 3 MILLION WORLDWIDE

NEARLY HALF OF ALL ADULTS COUNTYWIDE HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE COVID-19 VACCINE

DISTILLERIES HOST COMMUNITY PARTY SATURDAY APRIL 17 IN SPRING VALLEY

FIREBALLS IN THE SKY: METEOR SHOWERS START TONIGHT, PEAKING ON EARTH DAY

COUNTY PAUSES USE OF JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES DUE TO RARE BLOOD CLOTTING COMPLICATION

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ON TRACK TO ADMIT LOWEST NUMBER OF REFUGEES IN U.S. HISTORY, DRAWS CRITICISMS OVER LAG IN REPEALING TRUMP RESTRICTIONS

MUSGROVE’S MOM SERVES GLEEFUL PADRES FANS AT ALPINE COFFEE SHOP AFTER RECORD-SETTING NO-HITTER

PRESIDENT BIDEN ANNOUNCES NEW BILL TARGETING INFRASTRUCTURE AND CREATING NEW JOBS

LEMON GROVE PROPOSES LIMITING COUNCILMEMBERS’ SPEECH

ECM PADRES REPORT: EAST COUNTY KID MAKES HISTORY; GROSSMONT ALUM MUSGROVE BECOMES THE FIRST PADRES PITCHER TO THROW A NO-HITTER AS PADRES WIN 3-0

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE HEROES REFLECT ON PANDEMIC

News

PRO-TRUMP DEMONSTRATORS CLASH WITH ANTI-FASCIST COUNTERPROTESTERS IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left: Counterprotester sprays a pro-Trump demonstrator; screenshot via ECM news partner 10 News

January 12, 2021 (San Diego) --  A clash between self-described pro-Trump “patriots” and counter-protesters who claimed to be part of the antifascist “Antifa” movement on Saturday in Pacific Beach turned violent, 10 News, the Los Angeles Times and Fox 5 report.

The demonstration occurred days after pro-Trump demonstrators seeking to block election certification stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent rampage that left a police officer and four insurrectionists dead, the Capitol ransacked and legislators terrorized.

But this time, multiple media outlets on scene report that the violence was instigated by anti-fascist counter-protesters. On social media, some counter-protesters have claimed the protesters included white supremacists and fascists.


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PASSAGES: KELLY LYNNE CAMERON, MEDICAL WORKER AND ROLLER DERBY PLAYER, KILLED WHILE JOGGING IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Kelly Lynne Cameron with her husband, Tom Hovde, via GoFundMe

January 11, 2020 (La Mesa) – A 54-year-old woman killed while jogging in her La Mesa neighborhood has been identified by the  county medical examiner as Kelly Lynne Cameron. A GoFundMe site set up to help her family indicates she was a front-line medical worker and athlete.


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DRIVER WHO DRAGGED AND INJURED EL CAJON POLICEMAN IS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 11, 2021 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police today announced the arrest of the driver who allegedly dragged and seriously injured Officer Nick Cirello on December 14th. The suspect, David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan, was found and apprehended by the Los Angeles Rampart Narcotics Detail. He is charged with attempted homicide.

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FATALITY CRASHES CLAIM THREE LIVES IN RAMONA AND SANTA YSABEL

Update: One of the motorcyclists killed in the Ramona crash has been idenitified as Matthew Thomas Huthmacher, 51, of Descanso, according to the county Medical Examiner's office.
 
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: CHP cruiser, via CHP
 
January 11, 2021 (Ramona) –Two crashes minutes apart in Ramona and Santa Ysabel yesterday resulted in three fatalities.

The first accident claimed the life of two male motorcyclists in a three-vehicle crash on State Route 78 near State Route 79 in Santa Ysabel, one driving a 2020 Honda Dual Sport motorcycle, the other a KTM Dual Sport motorcycle.  The Honda veered off the highway and struck a rock, ejected the motorcyclist onto the roadway. The KTM motorcycle close by crossed the center lines into the eastbound lanes and was struck head-on by a 2003 Ford Focus. The KTM motorcyclist was also ejected onto the roadway.


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SEARCH FOR MISSING TEEN GIRL AT RISK IN SANTEE

Update January 14, 2021:  The Sheriff reports that Tarynn has been found safe and reunited with her parents.

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2020 (Santee) – Members of the public are asked to join in a search today for Tarynn, a 16-year-old missing in Santee. The teen was last seen in the 10000 block of Glendon Circle in Santee yesterday.  

She has blond hair and brown eyes; she is 5 ft. 9 inches tall. According to the Sheriff Watch Commander, she was last seen wearing her hair in a low ponytail and was wearing a black pajama top with gray pants, black or blue and white Vans slip-on shoes. She has blond hair and brown eyes, and was carrying a black bag with polka dots.

According to a post from East County Emergency Updates in the All Things Happening in Santee Forum, “The family has met with private search & rescue entities that are actively helping in the search for Tarynn. They are currently organizing a search & rescue for this morning that will require the public’s help. We will post details as soon as they provide them to us. Even though Tarynn is considered high risk due to her disabilities, SD Sheriff has “scaled back” their resources."


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DOG SAVES FAMILY FROM A FIRE IN EL CAJON, BUT MANY PET SNAKES PERISH

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson 

(Left photo of Samson courtesy of the San Diego Humane Society.)

(El Cajon) Jan. 9, 2021 Dog—man’s best friend.  The best friend this time was a 16-month-old mastiff named Samson.  

According to Cindy Peterson, who owns the affected home with her husband, Richard, Samson saved them from the fire. Samson heard a boom and started barking. The fire initially started in the garage where numerous snakes, rats, and other pets were kept.  The home, located in El Cajon, has been their home for eight years. 

El Cajon Councilmember Gary Kendrick sympathized with the loss of some of the family’s pets and wished the best for the surviving animals. “Good reason to have a dog,” he said of the hero mastiff. 

According to a statement released from Heartland Fire & Rescue, a crew from El Cajon, assisted by crews from Lakeside Fire and San Miguel Fire, were dispatched at 5:46 a.m. on Jan. 8 to the 1600 block of Pepper Hill Drive.  

(Photo at right taken by Rebeca Jefferis Williamson)

“Fire crews arrived within six minutes to discover a one-story-single family dwelling with the garage on fire,” states Heartland Fire & Rescue’s public information officer Sonny Saghera.  “Crews were able to control the fire within 20 minutes. The fire was confined to the garage and back wall with smoke and heat damage to the house and attic.”


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ELECTIVE SURGERIES ORDERED CANCELLED FOR REGION; SAN DIEGO REPORTS RECORD NUMBERS OF COVID CASES AND DEATHS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by ND

January 9, 2021 (San Diego) – Faced with the grim reality of hospitals turning away ambulances and critically ill patients due to staggering numbers of COVID-19 cases, the state of California has ordered all elective and non-life saving surgeries cancelled for at least three weeks in 14 counties including San Diego. 

The state’s order does not impact surgeries for life-threatening conditions such as cancerous tumors or heart bypass procedures, but does require cancellations ranging from cosmetic surgeries to pain relief procedures.

Locally, 16% of people tested were positive for COVID-19, or about one in every eight people, according to the most recent San Diego county data. In Los Angeles, a staggering 20% - one in every five people – are testing positive.


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HOMICIDE DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING AFTER BODY FOUND IN CAMPO

East County News Service
 
January 8, 2021 (Campo) – The Sheriff’s Homicide Unit is investigating the death of Paul Anthony Castello, a 32-year-old Campo resident. His body was found by Border Patrol agents near Shockey Truck Trail and State Route 94 in Campo, Wednesday, shortly after 8 a.m.
 
Sheriff's deputies and fire personnel responded. Unfortunately, Castello was pronounced deceased at the scene by fire personnel. Based on the injuries and circumstances, the Sheriff's Homicide Unit responded and has assumed responsibility of the investigation. 

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DEFEND EAST COUNTY CHIEF IN D.C. CITES 'DUTY TO OVERTHROW TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT'

 

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

January 8, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - Speaking from the Washington area, the founder of Defend East County on Wednesday defended the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol — likening them to the revolutionaries of 1776.


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WHEN THE RAINS COME, CATCH EVERY DROP WITH DISCOUNTED RAIN BARREL

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 8, 2021 (San Diego) - The weather forecasts say this could be a relatively dry winter, which means having a rain barrel to collect every precious drop of rain and cut your gardening water costs could be more important than ever.


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NO CHARGES FILED BY D.A. AGAINST OFFICER WHO STRUCK PROTESTER IN HEAD WITH BEANBAG DURING LA MESA RIOT

East County News Service

January 8, 2021 (La Mesa) -- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan’s Office announced yesterday that a La Mesa police detective, who fired a beanbag round that injured Leslie Furcron during a protest that turned into a violent riot in La Mesa, will not face state criminal liability for his actions. Read the DA’s detailed review here.

Furcron was struck in the forehead and left blind in one eye after throwing a can toward officers during a confrontation in which others were hurling rocks. She has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of La Mesa over her injury.


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WOMAN KILLED STORMING CAPITOL HAD SPRING VALLEY TIES

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2021 (Spring Valley) – A woman shot and killed by police while breaking into the Speaker's gallery inside the U.S. Capitol during yesterday’s insurrection has been identified as Ashli Babbitt. An Air Force veteran describe by KUSI as a “high level security officer” during her military service, Babbitt was the CEO of Fowler’s Pool Service & Supply in Spring Valley, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  10 News reports that she grew up in Lakeside.

Although some sites have described her as an "unarmed protester," her documented actions went far beyond Constitutionally protected protest activities. The New York Post has published video showing the moment when Babbitt was shot while climbing through a broken window in the Capitol, attempting to illegally access the House chamber where Congressional members were holding a hearing on certifying the Electoral College votes from the presidential election.  (Warning: graphic content).

The video shows armed officers rushing up stairs into a crowd of insurrectionists intent on disrupting the peaceful transfer of power process, many wearing MAGA hats as they attempt to break down a barricaded set of doors. The crowd lifted up Babbitt, who was wearing a backpack with a flag as she attempted to climb through a broken window in one of the doors, when she was shot by law enforcement.


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VIOLENT INSURRECTIONISTS TAKE OVER CAPITOL: SHOTS FIRED, BOMBS FOUND AS VOTE TO CERTIFY BIDEN AS PRESIDENT IS DISRUPTED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of C-Span: Capitol Police draw guns moments before protester storm into the legislative chamber.

Update January 8, 2020: The FBI seeks tips from the public to help identify, arrest and prosecute participants in the insurrection which has resulted in several deaths incuding a police officer, dozens of injuries, widespread damage to the capitol, theft of federal property, and multiple bombs found in the vicinity. The FBI has posted numerous photographs of suspects which you can view at https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence

January 6, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – San Diego’s Congressional representatives are safe, ECM confirms, after a terrifying takeover of the House and Senate chambers today by armed supporters of President Donald Trump. Legislators were evacuated and the capitol locked down after the insurrections stormed the building and forced their way inside.

Shots were fired. NBC news reports that a woman shot by police has died. Several officers were also injured. At least two improvised explosive devices have been found, one at the capitol, the other at Republican National Committee headquarters. A hangman's platform and noose were erected outside the capitol.

Riot police are currently moving into the chaotic scene, CNN reports. The National Guard has reportedly been deployed to aid capitol police overwhelmed by the mob. There are reports of tear gas and smoke bombs dispersed.

Congressional leaders have pledged that the vote certification will continue as soon as members can safetly reconvene to complete their constitutional duty. While several Republicans had earlier announced plans to challenge outcomes in some swing states, there are not enough votes to halt the certiifcation, only delay the process with debate.  Election officials in all 50 states have assured that results are accurate and judges in some two dozen court cases found no evidence of fraud.


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DEMOCRATS POISED TO REGAIN CONTROL OF SENATE AFTER DUAL WINS IN GEORGIA

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The balance of power in the U.S. Senate is posed to shift to Democratic control following apparent victories in two Georgia Senate runoff races yesterday.

 Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock has been declared the winner over incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler by more than a 36,000 vote margin, with only about 65,000 votes remaining to be tallied and the outstanding votes in heavily Democratic areas. Warnock, an African-American is pastor at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached.

Republican Senator David Perdue appears to be defeated by Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, with a lead currently of around 17,000 votes. Both Democratic candidates appear likely to win by enough of a margin to avoid a recount.


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VACCINATIONS BEGIN AT LOCAL NURSING HOMES

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 5, 2021 (Santee) – COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home patients and staff have arrived in our region. Yesterday, vaccinations were provided at Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility in Santee.
 
Edgemoor, run by the County Health and Human Services Agency, was recently named best facility of its kind in California and San Diego by Newsweek magazine for the second year in a row, out of over 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. 
 
The pandemic lockdown has been particularly difficult on seniors and disabled individuals in nursing homes, who have been barred from having visitors for months.

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REWARD FOR INFO ON GUNSHOT VICTIM DROPPED OFF OUTSIDE GROSSMONT HOSPITAL

East County News Service
 
January 5, 2021 (La Mesa) – Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the fatal shooting of Jose Santos Acevedo Torresdey, 36.  A red Honda sedan dropped off Torresdey on December 30 at 6:55 p.m. in the ambulance lot outside of the Sharp Hospital Emergency Room, then left.  The driver is unknown.
 
Torresdey suffered a gunshot wound in his chest. It is unknown who shot him, or where he was shot.  He was prounounced dead after lifesaving measures were performed by hospital staff.

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JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE OF CALIFORNIA DONATES $75,000 TO REGIONAL HEALTHCARE AGENCIES

Tribe seeks to alleviate effects of pandemic

Source:  Jamul Indian Village of California

Photo:  Erica M. Pinto, Chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village of California

January 5, 2021 (Jamul) - Today, the Jamul Indian Village of California (JIV or Tribe), owner and operator of Jamul Casino®, announced its 2020 year-end donations totaling $75,000 to local healthcare agencies, including $45,000 to Sharp Grossmont Hospital, $15,000 to Southern Indian Health Council, and $15,000 to Indian Health Council, Inc.  JIV provided these year-end healthcare donations in addition to its annual fall philanthropy and community outreach campaigns, which included contributing more than $40,000 to non-profits for breast cancer research and awareness, veterans’ programs, and other local causes. These donations reflect JIV’s desire to give back to the community in impactful ways, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has particularly challenged front-line workers in the healthcare industry.


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TEXTING 9-1-1 IS NOW AVAILABLE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

Jan. 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) The County of San Diego Sheriff’s department announced that a new service has been added to request emergency help----texting 9-1-1.  The option covers requesting help from the Sheriff’s department, fire/emergency medical services (EMS), and all police.

While it is still recommended to call 9-1-1 first, this new feature, according to SDSO’s office, is to be used if a call cannot be placed. The department does caution the option might be slower than calling.


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STATE EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS TO APPLY FOR COVID-19 RELIEF GRANTS

East County News Service

January 4, 2021 (Sacramento) – California has extended the deadline until January 13 for businesses and nonprofits to apply for relief grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. The original deadline was January 8.  


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THREE NEW SUPERVISORS SWORN INTO OFFICE: ANDERSON LAYS OUT PRIORITIES

By Miriam Raftery

 

View video of Supervisor Joel Anderson’s remarks during swearing-in ceremony outlining his priorities

 

January 4, 2021 (San Diego) – For the first time in decades, San Diego County has three new Supervisors, including Joel Anderson, who now represents most of East County. He replaces Dianne Jacob. who stepped down due to term limits after 28 years of service in District 2. 


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TASHA WILLIAMSON, EX-MAYOR HOPEFUL, AT HOME AFTER COVID BOUT: THANKS ICU

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

Photo:  At a La Mesa press conference in June, Tasha Williamson called for the firing of Matt Dages, the arresting officer of Amaurie Johnson “because he lied on his report.” On Monday, the District Attorney’s Office charged him. Photo by Chris Stone

January 4, 2021 (San Diego) - Tasha Williamson, the social justice activist who ran for San Diego mayor and who also organized racial justice protests in La Mesa, San Diego and other communities, was recovering at home Monday after a frightening bout of coronavirus that saw her thanking ICU staff.


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JACOBS, ISSA AND OTHER NEW HOUSE MEMBERS SWORN IN DESPITE TEXAS OBJECTION

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

Photo:  Sara Jacobs (lower left) is sworn in as a House member. Image from C-SPAN video

January 4, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - San Diego-native Sara Jacobs was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives on Sunday, becoming at 31 one of the youngest members in Congress.


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CRIMINAL PROBE SOUGHT INTO PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TAPED CALL THREATENING GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump may have violated Georgia laws which prohibit extortion and solicitation of election fraud, according to a letter from a Georgia State Election Board member asking Georgia’s  Secretary of State to launch a criminal and civil investigation.

On Saturday, the Washington Post published an hour-long tape of a phone call made by President Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.  The President is heard on tape threatening and trying to coerce Raffensperger to change the vote certification to “find 11,780” votes, the margin Trump would need to win.

Raffensperger, a Republican, repeatedly rejected the President’s claims of fraud, debunking them point by point. The President then threatened a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over what Trump suggested, without evidence, was a coverup.

“That’s a criminal offense. And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk,” Trump told Georgia's top election official.


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CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST EX-LA MESA POLICE OFFICER MATT DAGES FOR FILING FALSE REPORT IN AMAURIE JOHNSON CASE

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2020 (La Mesa) -- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a criminal charge has been filed against a former La Mesa Police Officer in connection with an arrest of Amaurie Johnson, 23, near the Grossmont trolley station in La Mesa. The criminal complaint alleges that on May 28, 2020, Officer Matthew Dages, 30, filed a police report that contained false information.

The incident was shown in a video that went viral on social media, sparking racial justice protests. The Dages incident occurred three days after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis triggered nationwide protests and two days before a riot resulted in looting, vandalism and the burning down of three buildings in La Mesa.  The Johnson arrest has been likened to the fuse that ignited a powder keg of explosive rage over mistreatment of black suspects by white police officers.


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TRANSIT FARE CHANGES PROPOSED FOR TROLLEYS AND BUSSES: PUBLIC HEARINGS IN JANUARY

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2021 (San Diego) – Virtual public hearings are planned January 9, 12, and 13 on proposed transit fare changes for trolley and bus services proposed by the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), North County Transit District (NCTD), and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

If approved, these changes would take effect when the Compass Card system is replaced by the new regional PRONTO fare system in mid-2021.  They include fee hikes for most riders, but a reduction in youth ridership fees for ages 6-18.

Two fare adjustment scenarios are under consideration and detailed in the table inside this Notice Both scenarios would:


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STATE AND COUNTY INVESTIGATE CITRUS DISEASE IN FALLBROOK

By Donna Durckel, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo: Asian citrus psyllids (credit: County News Center)

January 1, 2021 (Fallbrook) -- State agricultural inspectors have detected bacteria on an insect that can cause a plant disease that is not harmful to people or animals, but is deadly to citrus trees and is a dangerous agricultural threat in routine pest trapping in Fallbrook.


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PEDESTRIAN FATALITY IN LA MESA

East County News Service
 
January 1, 2021 (La Mesa) — A 54-year-old woman  was struck by a Subaru WRX and killed yesterday around 3:25 p.m.  
 
La Mesa Police Department and Heartland Fire responded within minutes to multiple calls reporting the collision in the 4700 block of Harbinson Avenue. First responders rendered aid, but the pedestrian sustained multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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LOCAL CASINOS CANCEL NEW YEAR’S PARTIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

December 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On most New Year’s eves, local casinos host lavish parties with amenities such as fireworks, dinner and dancing, and even a glittering ball drop reminiscent of Times Square in New York.  But not this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 343,000 Americans and 1.8 million people worldwide.

Local casinos are on tribal land, and as sovereign nations, tribes are exempt from state shutdown orders and gathering bans. But a check of websites for East County casinos including Barona, Golden Acorn, Jamul, Sycuan and Viejas found none promoting any New Year’s eve parties, though some are offering gambling promotions and Sycuan has live music in its bars.

Jamul Casino announced cancellation of all live music over New Year's.  Barona posted, “For your safety, there will be no New Year’s Eve events.”


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NEW CALIFORNIA RELIEF GRANTS FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS: APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED DEC. 30 THROUGH JAN. 8

Update: The deadline to apply has been extended until January 13.

 

December 30, 2020 (Sacramento) -- California's $500 million #SmallBusiness #COVID-19 Relief Grant website is LIVE. The first round of applications opens Dec 30 and closes January 8, but webinars on how to apply are being held every day at 11 AM. Register today at http://bit.ly/38tKcPp

Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.  To apply or get more information, visit  https://careliefgrant.com/ and scroll down for additional details.


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SPORTMIX DOG AND CAT FOODS RECALLED AFTER 28 DEATHS

East County News Service

 

December 31, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Sportmix dog and cat foods have been recalled after 28 dogs died and at least 8 were sickened, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday.  Tests found very high levels of aflatoxin, a toxin produced by mold on grains used in pet foods.

The products were sold through major retail stores and online nationwide.The Sportmix products are made by Midwestern Pet Foods. So far, nine lots are being recalled, but testing is being done to determine if more may also need to be recalled; ECM advises against using any Sportmix products.

These are the products recalled so far:


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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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