DEMOCRATS FILE SUIT ALLEGING RACKETEERING AND CONSPIRACY IN 2016 ELECTION

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS APRIL 21-MAY 30

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

LEMON GROVE REJECTS CLAIMS OVER POTHOLES AND BUCKLED SIDEWALKS

ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL ACCUSED OF "VALOR THEFT" BY GOP RIVAL, NAVY VETERAN

SAN DIEGO RANKS AN “F” FOR OZONE POLLUTION: CLIMATE CHANGE BLAMED FOR RISING HEALTH HAZARD

CAL FIRE CAPTAIN JEFF GRIFFITH RUNS FOR STATE SENATE TO FIGHT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

HISTORIC HAVEN: JULIAN GOLD RUSH HOTEL

FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH, CHAMPION OF LITERACY CAUSES, DIES AT 92

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD UNDER FIRE FOR RESPONSES TO GUN VIOLENCE PROTESTS

JOIN US AT SWAMI'S! EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB APRIL 27

SANTEE ADOPTS DISTRICT ELECTIONS WITH MINTO-MADE MAP

News

STORIES OF THE YEAR IN 2017

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – 2017 was a tumultuous year by any standard – from storms and wildfires that impacted our region to political turmoil at the national, state and local levels.

There have also been positive and inspiring stories, lawmakers embroiled in controversies, and important community actions.

Here are the top stories, arranged alphabetically by category, that impacted people in our region.

PIT BULLS WHO ATTACKED ELDERLY MAN REMAIN ON LOOSE IN COLLEGE AREA

 

 

Update January 9, 2018:  The dogs have been found and taken into custody by County Animal Control. No further details have been released pending investigation.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

January 8, 2018 (San Diego) – A man in his 70s was attacked by two pit bulls last night around 6 p.m. in the 6200 block of El Cajon Boulevard near San Diego State University.

The man suffered non-life threatening bites to his arms and legs and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Patrons of a barber shop assisted the victim. The bites were deep enough to expose bone,  10 News reports.

JOIN EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB JANUARY 25 FOR A RUSSIAN-UKRANIAN FEAST AT VILLAGE HOUSE KALINA

 

 

January 7, 2018 (La Mesa) --You’re invited to a Russian and Ukrainian feast with our East County Dining Club on Thursday, January 25th  at 6:30 p.m. at Village House Kalina (8302 Parkway Drive, La Mesa). As always, we’ll have prizes galore! Proceeds benefit East County Magazine and our wildfire/emergency alerts.

 Join us on our culinary adventure to the land of hearty and flavorful fare  – food that nourished the creative powers of Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky,  Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Pasternak, Cossack dancers and the Bolshoi Ballet.  Da!

This restaurant seats only 38 people so we expect to sell out; early RSVPs are recommended.

We must receive your RSVP no later Jan. 24, along with choice of entree (see list below) since these special dishes take time to prepare!

SUPERVISOR JACOB CALLS FOR CPUC INVESTIGATION INTO SDG&E POWER SHUT-OFFS; CPUC CONFIRMS IT WILL INVESTIGATE INTENTIONAL OUTAGES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated September 6, 2018 with response from SDG&E

September 4, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob has sent a letter to California Public Utilities Chairman Michael Picker requesting a formal investigation and independent review by the agency into  San Diego Gas & Electric’s decision to shut off power to thousands of San Diego County residents during recent Santa Ana winds, ostensibly to prevent power lines from sparking fires. 

In an email to ECM, a CPUC spokesman has confirmed that the regulatory agency will conduct an investigation into the intentional outages.

WILDFIRES BREAK RECORDS STATEWIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2018 (San Diego) -- The number of wildfires last year in California was unprecedented, as was the total number of acres burned, Cal Fire Public Information Officer Isaac Sanchez reports.

As we move into the new year, Sanchez says 2017 will become “the history that we measure all future years against,” but he adds, “We must recognize that despite the reset, the fire danger in San Diego remains elevated.”

RAIN. HAIL AND SNOW FORECAST FOR EARLY NEXT WEEK

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – The first significant Pacific storm of the season is forecast to hit our region Monday night through Wednesday morning, bringing up to four inches of rain to mountain areas along with snow above 4,500 feet.  Thunderstorms, hail and gusty winds are also predicted.

RAIN FINALLY COMING; GOT SANDBAGS?

 

It’s been a dry winter so far around San Diego County, but National Weather Service officials say we may be in for some rain early next week.

So this weekend would be a good time to pick up some free sandbags to help protect your home, property and neighborhood from the weather.

MAN SHOT, KILLED OUTSIDE ALBERTSON’S IN SPRING VALLEY

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 January 5, 2017 (Spring Valley) – Sheriff’s detectives are seeking witnesses to a fatal shooting that occurred last night shortly before 9 p.m.

 Deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a fight near Albertson’s at 9831 Campo Road in the Casa de Oro neighborhood of Spring Valley. The caller reported hearing a possible gunshot and said multiple males were involved in the fight.

FEDS TAKE ACTION TOWARD SNUFFING OUT LEGAL POT

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 5, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday announced he is rescinding the Cole memorandum, an Obama administration policy that prevented the federal government from interfering with states that voted to legalize marijuana sales and use, though prosecutors could still target drug smugglers or criminals targeting minors. 

 Under Sessions’ new policy, federal prosecutors in states where pot is legal can now choose how aggressively they wish to enforce federal marijuana law. The action causes confusion in California, where sales of recreational marijuana began January 1st in accordance with a voter-approved ballot initiative, and could have a chilling effect nationally.  Around 40 states have legalized medical marijuana and eight states plus the District of Columbia also allow recreational marijuana use.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES OPENING COASTLINES FOR OFFSHORE DRILLING, INCLUDING SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Santa Barbara oil spill, 1969, dumped up to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off California's coast, killing 3,500 sea birds as well as marine mammals such as dolphins and seals. (Dick Smith Collection, University of Santa Barbara)

January 5, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke yesterday issued a sweeping proposal to open up 98% of all outer continental shelf areas for offshore oil drilling -- including off San Diego’s coastline.  By contrast, drilling is currently allowed in only 6% of those areas.

The proposal, which also includes plans to drill in the Arctic, elsewhere along the west coast, the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast, has drawn strong opposition from environmental groups and from California’s Attorney General.  View map of proposed drilling sites. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in however in public comments and public meetings to be held around the country.  A schedule of those meetings will be posted here.  Online comments at regulations.gov will be accepted starting January 8th.

CHILDREN'S GROUPS PRESS LAWMAKERS TO PASS DREAM ACT

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo: Avid Creative

January 4, 2018 (Sacramento) -- Almost 250 California businesses and children's groups have sent a joint letter to the state's members of Congress, urging them to pass the Dream Act, which would give certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children a work permit and a path to citizenship.

SECOND PEDESTRIAN DEATH ON HIGHWAY 79; CHP SEEKS DRIVER OF HYUNDAI WHO FLED SCENE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2018 (Santa Ysabel) – A 29-year-old man walking in the northbound lane of State Route 79 was struck and killed last night around 8 p.m. by a 2003 silver Hyundai., south of Mesa Grande Road in Santa Ysabel. 

DRIVER CHARGED WITH DUI AFTER KILLING PEDESTRIAN ON HIGHWAY 79

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2018 (Aguanga) – Jeffrey Scott Littrell, 48, of Warner Springs has been arrested for felony driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.  Last night around 7:15 p.m., Littrell was driving his Ford pickup southbound on State Route 79 north of Chihuahua Valley Road when he struck a 5-year-old man walking alongside the highway.

KALASHO SEEKS TO SET ASIDE COURT RULING ON SLAPP SUIT

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – Attorney Stephen J. Liosi has filed a motion on behalf of El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho asking the Superior Court to set aside a December ruling that dismissed Kalasho’s countersuit against plaintiffs who are suing him, including two contestants in a beauty pageant he ran and a taco shop owner.

The filing contends that Liosi failed to file documents in Kalasho’s defense, due to Liosi suffering a “traumatic brain injury” after his head struck the windshield in a vehicle accident in 2016.  The motion states that Kalasho has now secured new counsel.

DUI DOESN’T JUST MEAN BOOZE

 

Source: California Office of Traffic Safety

January 3, 2018 (Sacramento) -- Just like drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs is a crime – even if your impairment is due to prescribed medications, illicit drugs, over-the-counter medications or marijuana – medical or recreational. The legal and monetary consequences are the same – up to $10,000 in fines, fees and insurance costs, restricted licensing, days off work to go to court, a criminal record and more.

WINTER FIRE SAFETY TIPS

 

East County News Service

January 3, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - The weather is getting colder. Each year, more people die in home fires during the winter months than any other time of the year.

To help you to spread the word about fire safety, the U.S. Fire Administration offers these safety tips:  https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/media/social.html

TRUMP APPROVES DISATER AID FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

East County News Service

January 3, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved a request by California Governor Jerry Brown for a federal disaster declaration due to wildfires in southern California that began December 4th, including the Lilac Fire in San Diego as well as devastating fires in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

TRUMP TAUNTS KOREAN LEADER ON NUCLEAR BUTTON SIZE

 

By Miraim Raftery

January 3, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump starting the New Year off with a Tweet mocking North Korean President Kim Jong Un’s power and the sizes of his nuclear button. The action came in response to Kim’s New Year’s announcement in which the North Korean strongman stated that “The whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike,” though adding that he would not attack first unless threatened, and he voiced support for talks.

BRUSH FIRE DOUSED IN LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Video by Wayne Zarling taking from Shadow Hill Drive

Photo by Jake Christie

January 2, 2018 (La Mesa) – A female seen running from the scene of a small brush fire on a hill in the Eastridge area of La Mesa today has been detained for questioning by the Sheriff’s department.

Heartland Fire and Rescue, along with San Miguel Fire and San Diego Fire Departments responded to the blaze that began around 1:25 p.m.  Crews arrived within four minutes to find a 20 by 40 foot spot fire on a slope along High Street near State Routes 125 and 94 that grew to approximately an acre before crews halted the forward spread a half hour later.

HERE’S THE BUZZ: LEGAL POT DRAWS CROWDS IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

January 2, 2018 (San Diego)—Customers lined up before dawn at several of San Diego’s eight legal recreational marijuana shops that opened their doors January 1st.  The city was among the first places in California to permit recreational cannabis sales under Prop 64, which voters approved in 2016 and which is now in effect.

ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson visited the Apothekare in Mission Valley on New Year’s Day.  “No, I do not smoke, but I am a writer and always curious,” she posted on Facebook. 

She found a line wrapped around the building outside and snaking through the dispensary’s interior as well.  To gain access, customers had to be “buzzed” in through two areas with security guards.

REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS GIVE BACK, SERVING MEALS TO HOMELESS IN EL CAJON

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: License to Freedom's Executive Director Dilkhwaz Ahmed and Pacific Consulting Group's Pavel Consuegra serve up a meal for the homeless and El Cajon’s Mayor

December 30, 2017 (El Cajon) – Local immigrants and refugees are giving back to the community, serving up dinner to the homeless with License to Freedom at Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon.

License to Freedom members have been helping the homeless for two years, including an event held on December 27th, two days after Christmas. The events will continue in 2018.  Meridian Baptist feeds the homeless every Wednesday night and License to Freedom hosts the 4th Wednesday of each month.

COUNTY APPROVES DICTIONARY HILL PRESERVE IN SPRING VALLEY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

December 30, 2017 (Spring Valley) – After 15 years of efforts by Spring Valley residents to protect Dictionary Hill from development and blasting the top off the 1,059 feet tall peak, County Supervisors in November voted to acquire and preserve 175 acres of coastal sage scrub and habitat including Dictionary Hill (also known as Lookout Mountain) as well as adjacent canyons and ridgelines. 

JULIAN AND CUYAMACA TO LOSE PARAMEDIC ENGINE STARTING JAUNARY 1

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 12 p.m. to include comments from Pat Landis.

December 30, 2017 (Julian/Cuyamaca)—On January1st,  the full-time staffed San Diego County Paramedic Fire Engine serving the Julian and Cuyamaca areas will be permanently closed. The action leaves the communities to rely solely on volunteer firefighters and one ambulance for fire and life safety services, which could lead to long delays in medical services if that unit is transportation a patient to a hospital, critics contend.

The paramedic engine had been providing fire and emergency medical response services 24 hours a day, seven days a week under a temporary agreement between the County of San Diego and the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. The CAL FIRE Firefighters that were assigned to the engine have been reassigned to other facilities within San Diego County.

The action comes after the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District voted to reject consolidation with the County Fire Department and remain independent—the last remaining volunteer fire department in the County.  Cal Fire firefighters blame the board for the current problems, but a former board member faults the district's fire chief.

SECOND ARREST MADE IN SHOOTING OF 21-YEAR-OLD FATHER IN SPRING VALLEY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2017 (Spring Valley) – A second arrest has been made in the fatal Spring Valley shooting of Candido M. Arragon Jr., 21.  Arragon, father of a toddler son, was shot Wednesday in the back of his head in a vehicle at Conception Avenue and San Francisco Street in Spring Valley. 

Alejandro Pearce, 19, of Spring Valley was arrested by the Fugitive Task Force and Sheriff’s Homicide Detail last night shortly before 9:30 p.m. on US Elevator Road after a search of his residence. He is charged with first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon, and is being held without bail. 

On Thursday, a juvenile suspect was also arrested and charged with murder.

CASA DE ORO REVITALIZATION PLANS: PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT

 

Source: County of San Diego

December 30, 2017 (Spring Valley) -- On September 27, the County Board of Supervisors directed Planning & Development Services staff to develop options for a plan that could revitalize the Casa de Oro area. The project is focused along Campo Road and the surrounding areas.

Staff will be presenting the proposed options at the following three meetings.  You’re invited to come hear the options and provide your input and ideas.

RESIDENTS SAFE AFTER LA MESA MAN THREATENED TO BLOW UP HOME

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

December 29, 2017 (La Mesa) – A La Mesa man called 911 last night at 11:30 to report that he had filled his home with gas and planned to blow it up.  La Mesa Police swiftly evacuated neighbors, some in pajamas.

ECM news partner 10 News was at the scene and got video of the man emerging from the home after police knocked on the door.  He went back inside but after a 45 minute stand-off, staggered out front and collapsed briefly.  Police carried him to the street, where he revived and was taken into custody.

SPRNG VALLEY SHOOTING VICTIM DIES, TEEN ARRESTED FOR MURDER

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 29, 2017 (Spring Valley) – A gunshot victim found in a vehicle at the intersection of Concepcion Avenue and San Francisco Street in Spring Valley Wednesday night has died of his injuries, says Lieuteuant Rich Williams with the Sheriff’s homicide unit. 

A 17-year-old juvenile suspect has been arrested and charged with murder.  His name has not been released because he is a minor.

KALASHO’S COUNTERSUIT AGAINST ACCUSERS THROWN OUT BY SAN DIEGO JUDGE

 

By Paul Kruze

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Read Judge Taylor’s full decision dismissing Kalasho’s cross complaint.

December 27, 2017 (San Diego)--San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor gave his early Christmas gift Friday to embattled El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho: a proverbial piece of coal.

The judge dismissed a countersuit filed by Kalasho against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner who are suing Kalasho on serious allegations of abusive behavior including sexual misconduct, fraud, defamation, and cyberharassment.

With Kalasho stoically standing next to his attorney, Judge Taylor found that the countersuit filed by Kalasho, a public figure, met the definition of a SLAPP suit meant to intimidate individuals’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. SLAPP suits are illegal under California law. The judge affirmed that the plaintiffs have a right to redress their grievances against Kalasho in a court of law and to speak about their grievances in the media. “Lawsuits are public proceedings,” Taylor admonished Kalasho’s attorney, Stephen J. Liosi.

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