VAPING CRACKDOWN WIDENS: WALMART BANS SALES, TV NETWORKS BAN ADS

SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES EXTENDED STAY HOTEL, GETS INITIAL RESULTS OF BRANDING EFFORT

GUESTS KICKED UP THEIR HEELS AT CAMPO CREEK VINEYARDS' PICKNG AND STOMPING PARTY

ARRIBA! OUR FALL FIESTA OCT. 5 IN JAMUL INCLUDES MEXICAN AND SEAFOOD BUFFET, WINE, SPANISH GUITAR AND MORE!

GEORGETTE GOMEZ SECURES PROMINENT EARLY ENDORSEMENTS IN BID TO SUCCEED SUSAN DAVIS

LA MESA HEARS REPORT ON CITIZEN POLICE OVERSIGHT PRACTICES, SEEKS CHANGES TO CHIEF'S PROPOSAL

FEDS ANNOUNCE MASSIVE TAKEDOWN OF EAST COUNTY DRUG TRAFFICKING NETWORKS TIED TO SINALOA CARTEL

SANTEE GETTING ON BOARD THE CCA TRAIN WITH COASTAL CITIES

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

TROUBLING FINDING IN FBI BACKGROUND CHECK STALLS ISSA TRADE APPOINTMENT

FINDING MIDDLE GROUND: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CAMPA-NAJJAR SPEAKS OUT ON KEY ISSUES, IN HIS OWN WORDS

SENATOR JONES VOICES CONCERNS OVER FIRE INSURANCE CRISIS, SEX EDUCATION PROGRAM AT LAKESIDE TOWN HALL

News

CALIFORNIA'S NEW WILDFIRE PLAN: FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

Is this a utilities bailout? Will it help prevent future fires? How will all this work? Here's a breakdown of the new plan California lawmakers are putting in place.

By Julie Cart, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  The deadly 2018 Camp Fire burns around PG&E transmission towers east of Pulga, near the source of the first report of the fire. (Photo by Karl Mondon, Bay Area News Group)

July 14, 2019 (San Diego) -  You will be forgiven for having the impression that California lawmakers have been talking about comprehensive wildfire legislation forever, when it has only been days since the new fire bill ricocheted  from the Assembly to the Senate and back again. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it today, less than a week after the first elected official cleared his throat to introduce the package.

IMMIGRATION SWEEPS LEAD TO 20 ARRESTS IN SAN DIEGO

 

Do you know your rights if ICE comes to your door?

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2019 (San Diego) – As part of immigration sweeps across the nation this week, 20 people with final deportation orders were arrested this past week in San Diego County, before the announced date of sweeps that President Donald Trump said would begin Sunday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced.

According to ICE, 85 percent of those arrested had criminal convictions or criminal charges pending that included drug and weapons offenses, hit and run, driving under the influence, theft, domestic violence, fraud, or evading law enforcement.

The other 15 percent had only immigration violations, but all will be processed for deportation.

Across the nation, President Trump’s announcement of the impending sweeps struck fear into immigrant communities, raising fears of family separations and sending some immigrant households into hiding, NPR reports.

Fear, even among legal immigrants or those with family members who are undocumented, has prompted a "Know Your Rights" campaign by civil liberties and immigrant rights groups.

BORDER FIRE SOUTH OF DULZURA NOW 85% CONTAINED AT 100 ACRES: FIREFIGHTERS AIDED BY NEW INFRARED TECHNOLOGY

Update July 15, 2019:  The Border Fire has been 100% contained after burning 100 acres on the U.S. side of the border, Cal Fire reports.
 
East County Wildfire & Emergency Alert Service
 
July 13, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The #BorderFire which charred over 650 acres in Mexico before jumping the international border yesterday in San Diego’s East County is now 85 percent contained, after burning 100 acres in the U.S.

HEAT, THUNDERSTORMS AND RISK OF LIGHTNING FIRES

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: UCSD’s HP Wren camera on Mt. Laguna shows approaching storm
 
July 13, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – This afternoon’s storm dumped two inches of rain on Mt. Laguna in just a 48-minute period, the National Weather Service reports, with potential flash flooding through 6 p.m. in the mountain areas.

COUNTY LETTER ON COTTONWOOD SAND MINE RECOGNIZES SIGNIFICANT COMMUNITY CONCERNS

East County News Service

Photos: Map of proposed project; wildlife photos by Debbie Ekhaml, including raccoons in adjacent Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge and mule deer in Jamul ecological preserve are among wildlife species that could be negatively impacted

July 13, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) – Significant concerns raised by the community over the proposal for a 10-year sand mining operation at Cottonwood Golf Course have been confirmed with the release of the County of San Diego’s Scoping Letter on the project.

SHERIFF ESTABLISHES HOMELESS ASSISTANCE RESOURCE TEAM (HART)

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine
 
July 12, 2019 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Sheriff's deputies have been collaborating with community partners to provide outreach to the homeless. Now, the Sheriff's Department has assigned a team of deputies to work exclusively in cooperation with county governmental and non-governmental organizations on homeless outreach and services throughout unincorporated areas. 

COUNTY OKS FUNDING FOR WATER PURIFICATION PROGRAM

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

July 12, 2019 (San Diego) - The County Board of Supervisors approved another step Wednesday toward increasing local drinking water supplies for East County residents.

The Board, acting as the Board of Directors for the County Sanitation District, voted to approve $2.35 million for the County’s contribution to final program development costs of the East County Advanced Water Purification Program.

ALPACA OWNERS BATTLE ESCONDIDO OVER ZONING CODE, LAUNCH FUNDRAISER FOR FIGHT TO KEEP BUBBA AND EINSTEIN

By Miriam Raftery 

July 12, 2019 (Escondido) – The city of Escondido wants to evict Bubba and Einstein, a pair of alpacas owned by Kelly Thor and Ryan Jimenez. The couple fulfilled their dream of buying a home where they could raise animals in 2017 and were surprised to learn that the city regulates alpacas as cattle for purposes of zoning.

FDA WARNS OF DOG DEATHS DUE TO XYLITOL, SWEETENER IN PRODUCTS FROM PEANUT BUTTER TO ICE CREAM

By Miriam Raftery 

July 12, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – Xylitol can kill a dog in just 10 to 60 minutes, or symptoms may occur up to 24 hours after ingestion. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has issued a warning to pet owners to avoid any products with xylitol and to seek immediate emergency veterinary care if a dog or a ferret consume anproduct containing it.  

BRUSH FIRE IN MEXICO JUMPS BORDER SOUTH OF DULZURA

UPDATE AS OF 7:22 PM:  Fire is now 100 acres on the U.S. side, 650 acres total with 10% containment. The combination of ground and air resources has allowed for significant progress, and containment is likely to increase overnight.

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alert Service

July 12, 2019 (Dulzura) – A brush fire that has charred over 100 acres in Mexico has crossed the international border and near Cottonwood Creek and Barrett Truck Trail south of Dulzura.  The blaze has charred around 10 acres on the U.S. side of thee border in rural San Diego County, according to Cal Fire.

Patch.com reports 60 firefighters on scene including two air tankers, two helicopters, six engines, two dozers, two hand crews and a water tender.

RESERVOIRS TO CLOSE ONE EXTRA DAY PER MONTH DUE TO BUDGET CUTS

East County News Service 

 

Photo: El Capitan Reservoir in Lakeside is among the lakes impacted.

 

July 11, 2019 (San Diego) – As part of a budget reduction of 3 percent citywide, each of the City of San Diego’s reservoirs including several lakes in East County will be closed an additional weekday each month beginning July 1, 2019. The additional days each month that reservoirs will be closed are as follows: 

ALPINE MISSING PERSON FOUND IN EL CAJON

Source:  San Diego County Sheriff's Department

July 11, 2019 (El Cajon) - A missing person at risk in the East County has been found safe.

79-year-old Eufemia Danaher was found around 10:00 a.m. in the 600 block of El Cajon Boulevard in El Cajon. Sheriff's ASTREA (helicopter) Deputy Gary Kneeshaw spotted a woman who matched Danaher's description and made contact with her. She has been reunited with her family.

PASSAGES: HOWARD COOK, FORMER JACUMBA COMMUNITY LEADER (1930-2019)

East County News Service

July 11, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) - The East County backcountry lost one of its biggest cheerleaders on June 29, when Howard W. Cook passed away peacefully after a short illness. He gave selflessly to the community, serving as Chair and later Secretary for the Jacumba Sponsor Group and as Board Member of the Jacumba-Boulevard Revitalization Committee. 

WATER TREATMENT PLANT SERVING EAST COUNTY AND SAN DIEGO DISTRICTS CITED FOR ERROR

Overall water quality not compromised, but customers are being notified

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  When completed in 2008, the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant was the largest submerged membrane water treatment plant in the world and the first treatment plant built by the San Diego County Water Authority.

July 10, 2019 (San Diego) -- A malfunction at the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant resulted in a citation from the state Division of Drinking Water due to a two-day failure of one of its systems that kills harmful organisms. The plant provides water to water districts across San Diego County including East County, but the County Water Authority assures that water in regional pipelines continued to be safe for all uses due to additional treatment processes. 

EXTREME HEAT AND THUNDERSTORMS THIS WEEKEND

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The weather is heating up, with extreme heat forecast Friday and Saturday.  Lower desert highs of 112-117 degrees are forecast, with upper deserts reaching 100 to 107 degrees.  Mountains and valleys could reach 95 degrees.
 
Thunderstorms have been added to the forecast for Friday afternoon and Saturday.

DUNCAN HUNTER'S LAWYER IS HEAVY DEMOCRATIC DONOR; GAVE CLINTON NEARLY $7,500

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Gregory A. Vega of downtown San Diego’s Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek law firm came to the defense of his old friend Gonzalo Curiel when the federal judge came under attack from Donald Trump. Image via YouTube.com

July 9, 2019 (San Diego) - At Monday’s hour-long hearing for Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, 22 minutes were devoted to whether two (or possibly three) assistant U.S. attorneys had a political ax to grind against the indicted Republican.

GOAT DEATHS RAISE CONCERNS IN LAKESIDE: WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST SAYS COYOTES, NOT MOUNTAIN LION ARE MOST LIKELY TO BLAME

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2019 (Lakeside) – CBS 8 reports that numerous goats have been killed in the past month in Lakeside's Morena Valley and Eucalyptus Hills communities. The CBS story quoted Billy Ortiz, a wildlife photographer, who said he identified tracks of a female mountain lion and a cub near the most recent kill.

But wildlife biologist Renee Owens says, "By the nature of the kills they were most if not all coyotes and possibly dogs.  Yes, there is a mountain lion in the area, as has always been the case–as in all areas of our backcountry, but the track Billy has posted is not definitive of a lion."  Her nonprofit organization, Wildlife Zone, is working on a mountain lion study.  She has been featured on National Geographic, the BBC, Discovery Channel and Dateline for her wildlife expertise.

 

JUDGE DENIES HUNTER REQUESTS TO DROP CHARGES, REMOVE PROSECUTORS, OR MOVE TRIAL OUTSIDE REGION

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
July 8, 2019 (San Diego) – U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan has rejected a trio of requests sought by Congressman Duncan Hunter’s legal team, City News Service reports.
 
Hunter’s lawyers argued that all 60 federal corruption charges should be dismissed or that two prosecutor should be removed because they once attended a presidential campaign event for Hillary Clinton in 2015. The U.S. Attorney’s office said the prosecutors attended the event in their official capacity to help law enforcement. Whelen ruled that prosecutors had sufficient probable cause to prosecute Hunter regardless of the reasons why prosecutors attended the function. 

BB SHOTS DAMAGE BUSINESSES AND VEHICLES IN SEVERAL COMMUNITIES

East County News Service

Photo: ECM news partner 10 News

July 8, 2019 (San Diego) – BB gun pellets fired in the College Area Sunday night damaged at least four businesses on El Cajon Boulevard near 71st street.  The BBs broke windows in an appliance store, an auto body shop, a coffee shop and a plasma center, as well as shattering a window in a vehicle parked nearby, 10 News reports.

BEES SWARMING ACROSS COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

July 8, 2019 (San Diego) - U.S. beekeepers lost 40.7% of their honey bee colonies for the year ending April 2019, according to the latest survey by the Bee Informed Partnership, a nonprofit led by the University of Maryland.  That continues a national decline in recent years that has alarmed scientists, with causes ranging from pesticides to climate change to colony collapse disorder of unknown causes. 

WHO WANTS TO BE OUR NEXT CONGRESSMAN? HERE ARE THE CANDIDATES RUNNING SO FAR

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, top left to lower right:  Bill Wells, Sam Abed, Matt Rahn, Larry Wilske, Ammar Campa-Najjar, and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter

July 7, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – With Congressman Duncan D. Hunter slated for trial starting in September on 60 federal corruption charges, one Democrat and four Republicans, all men, have established campaign committees to run for Rep. Hunter's seat in 2020. At least two other prominent names have been floated as possible contenders, with more entries possible.

Here are the contenders to date:

HUNTER TWEETS, THEN DELETES PHOTO WITH WHITE NATIONALIST ON JULY 4TH AFTER CRITICISMS

Update July 9:  This photo has been deleted off Hunter's social media. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Hunter spokesman Michael Harrison stated, “Congressman Hunter has never supported or been accused of supporting white supremacy and if anyone were to espouse any such beliefs in a photo with Congressman Hunter they did so without his knowledge or consent,” Harrison said in an email. “To be clear, Congressman Hunter does not personally know this individual, or what his views may be.”

Updated July 7 with information on identity of the man standing next to Hunter: Kristopher Wyrick, founder of an avowed white nationalist organization.  Updated July 8 with statement from Ammar Campa-Najjar.

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2019 (Alpine) – A photo making the rounds on social media claims Congressman Duncan D Hunter spent the Fourth of July in the company of white nationalists.  A photo shows Hunter standing next to a man flashing a hand signal that’s commonly used as a white power symbol as well as A-okay sign.  The image was cropped down from a group photo taken in Alpine, where Rep. Hunter participated in the town’s annual 4th of July Independence Day Parade.

 

However, the man in the photo has an apparent history of participating in and leading groups that espouse white nationalist positions and of  violence against protesters as shown in videos.

 

According to a Times of San Diego report published July 7, the man flashing the white power sign is believed to be Kristopher Wyrick, a cofounder of the Bordertown Patriots, a white nationalist group that organized an event at Chicano Park that reportedly resulted in clashes with counterprotesters and multiple arrests. Wyrick is also reportedly a former member of San Diego Proud Boys and the United Patriot National Front. Will Johnson, who has had two court battles with Wyrick, told Times of San Diego that he's certain it's Wyrick in the photo because  "I've seen him so many times."  Johnson sought a restraining order against Wyrick but lost; Wyrick later won a small claims court against Johnson over lost work time and gun storage costs.

STRONG QUAKE PROMPTS EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS REMINDERS

 

If you felt some shaking on the Fourth of July, and even if you didn’t personally sense it, you have likely heard it was from a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest. The quake is being called one of the biggest in Southern California in 20 years, could be felt in various counties as far as San Diego County and Nevada, and is continuing to put out aftershocks.

7.1 QUAKE TONIGHT NORTHEAST OF RIDGECREST JOLTS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA., SPARKS BRUSH FIRES

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alert Services

July 5, 2019 (Ridgecrest) -- A powerful 7.1 earthquake has struck 11 miles northeast of Ridgecrest tonight at 8:19 p.m., the same area rocked by a 6.4 earthquake yeserday morning. KCFD reports over a dozen small outdoor fires with larger vegetation fires burning north and east of the city. Kern County spokesperson Megan Person confirmed to CNN that fires and multiple injuries have occured. Structure damage is also reported.

Seismologist Lucy Jones tweeted, "There is a 1 in 20 chance of Friday night's magnitude 7.1 earthquake "being followed by somethign even bigger." Earthquake of magnitude 5 are likely and a magnitude 6 is quite possible, she said. 

An 8.5 quake in Chile was once a precursor to a 9.2, a seismic expert in a live press conference held by the Kern County Fire Department stated.

The U.S. Geological Survey originally reported the quake at 7.1, downgraded it to 6.9 and then upgraded it back to 7.1. That's 11 times stronger than the earlier 6.4 quake since the Richter scale is logorhythmic.

Southern California Edison reports some 26,000 customers are without power due to the quake.

Los Angeles Fire Dept. reports downed powerlines in L.A. 

View video of the KTLA newscasters ducking for cover when the quake hit:  https://twitter.com/i/status/1147353969674448896.

In San Bernadino County, the county fire department reports som homes have shifted off their foundations, according to KTLA.

Highway 178 is closed due to a rockslide in Kern County.

EAGLES OF THE DESERT (AGUILAS DEL DESIERTO): HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH HENRI MIGALA AND VICENTE RODRIGUEZ

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) –Called in by family members or others to search for immigrants who have gone missing after crossing the border, volunteer with the nonprofit Aguilas del Desierto (Eagles of the Desert) brave triple digit heat, rattlesnakes and other perils in a desperate effort to save lives. 

Hear our exclusive interview with Vicente Rodriguez and Henri Migala, originally aired on KNSJ radio earlier this year, at the audio link and scroll down for highlights.

According to the Border Patrol, 7,000 migrants are known to have died crossing the border since the wall began. The toll is likely much higher, since it doesn’t include those missing and never found.

Audio: 

Henri Migala and Vicente Rodriguez - Aguilas Del Desierto

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: JACK SHU AND JANET CASTAÑOS, ADVOCATES FOR A POLICE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE IN LA MESA

 

July 5, 2019 (La Mesa) – Should La Mesa form a citizens’ police oversight or advisory commission? Jack Shu, a former Superintendent of California State Parks and Janet Castaños, a former dean in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College district and past president of Helix Charter High School’s board, have a proposal that will soon be considered by the La Mesa City Council. 

We interviewed them on our East County Magazine Show on KNSJ.   You can hear the entire interview by clicking the audio link, or scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

Jack Shu & Janet Castanos on police oversight in La Mesa

HOW SHOULD COUNTY SPEND FEDERAL FUNDS IN YOUR COMMUNITY? SHARE YOUR VIEWS IN THESE PUBLIC FORMS

 

East County News Service 

July 5, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- “San Diego County needs your input on how best to invest federal funds in our low- to moderate-income communities,” says Supervisor Dianne Jacob. 

The County is holding a series of public forums at county libraries, each one hour, including these East County locations, to hear your ideas:

  • Alpine, July 8 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Ramona, July 10 at 1:30 p.m.
  • Julian, July 12 at 11:30 a.m.
  • El Cajon, July 22, 3:30 p.m.
  • Borrego Springs, July 24 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Spring Valley on July 29 at 11:30 a.m.

You can also share your thoughts and suggestions in an online survey: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/sdhcd/ 

6.4 QUAKE, STRONGEST TO HIT CALIFORNIA IN 20 YEARS, STRIKES MOJAVE DESERT COMMUNITY OF RIDGECREST

By Miriam  Raftery

July 4, 2019 (Ridgecrest) – A 6.4 temblor named the #RidgecrestEarthquake struck 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles in Kern County’s Searles Valley this morning shortly after 10:30 a.m.  It was felt as far south as San Diego’s North County and Orange County, where Disneyland has closed rides for safety inspections due to the quake.

Governor Newsom has issued an emergency declaration for Ridgecrest, the city hardest hit with damages.

The quake is the strongest centered in California since a 7.1 quake at the Twenty-Nine Palms military base 20 years ago and the strongest felt in southern California since the 2010 Easter Sunday quake in northern Mexico that rattled San Diego.

Authorities, in a press conference this afternoon, say they were inundated with emergency calls including a home on fire, medical aid calls, gas and water leaks, and stores with merchandise knocked off shelves in Ridgecrest. The Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and several apartment buildings were evacuated, local media outlets report.

The powerful temblor opened up crevasses in roads, knocked down power lines and left some residents without electricity.  Minor injuries from broken glass and falling objects have occurred, according to CNN, Fortunately, no deaths have been reported.

SHOTS FIRED OUTSIDE MOVIE THEATRE IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 3, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) – Last night around midnight, three boys ran into the Regal Edwards Cinema in Rancho San Diego to report a shooter outside, NBC 7 reports.
 
Several people in the theater called 911 and Sheriff’s deputies responded.  The boys told Sheriff’s officials that a man had pulled out a handgun and fired shots in the air after an argument with the boys.  The shooter was reportedly a passenger in a four-door, silver or gray car. 

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