BIG RIG IN FLAMES DAMAGES BRIDGE, SHUTS DOWN I-8 NEAR PINE VALLEY CHECKPOINT

EVACUATION ADVISORY LIFTED FOR COCHES FIRE

JOIN US FOR AN ELEGANT EVENING AT CHANDELIER LOUNGE CUISINE

JACUMBA MEETING SHINES LIGHT ON ARRAY OF SOLAR ISSUES

LA MESA WELCOMES NEW COFFEE SHOP: PINK ROSE CAFE

DROUGHT DECLARED IN 41 CALIFORNIA COUNTIES; ALL CALIFORNIANS ASKED TO CONSERVE WATER

FDA APPROVES COVID-19 VACCINES FOR KIDS AGES 12-15 ON EMERGENCY BASIS

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR WAKEFIELD PLACEMENT DENIED BY JUDGE HARUTUNIAN

SUBSTANCE USE INCREASES RISK OF SEVERE COVID-19 ILLNESS, CDC REPORTS; USERS ADVISED TO GET VACCINATED

BIDEN RAISES CAPS ON REFUGEE ADMISSIONS; SAN DIEGO REFUGEE ADVOCATES VOICE RELIEF AT DECISION

EAST COUNTY PEOPLE’S FORUM CITES DISPARITIES IN VACCINE ACCESS, CONCERNS OVER REDISTRICTING

SUPERVISORS APPROVE ANDERSON MEASURE TO IMPROVE NOTIFICATIONS TO COMMUNITIES REGARDING SEX OFFENDERS

News

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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SAN DIEGO MAN HAS NEW FAST-SPREADING STRAIN OF COVID-19; GOVERNOR EXTENDS STAY-HOME ORDER FOR THREE MORE WEEKS

Flu cases also rise; 171 reported in past week, with several patients contracting both COVID-19 and flu.

Local hospitals are cancelling organ transplants and cancer surgeries due to COVID-patients filling up hospital ICU beds.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Kristian Anderson of Scripps Research speaks on the newly discovered UK strain

December 30, 2020 (San Diego) – A new, fast-spreading strain of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in San Diego County.  A 30-year-old local man who has not traveled outside our county has tested positive for the new strain known as B.1.1.7., the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

Also today, the Governor extended the stay-home order for another three weeks with Southern California’s intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability at zero. The order will remain in effect until ICU availability is at least 15%.

Dr. Kristian Andersen, of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, where the new virus was identified in lab testing, stated, “We need to prepare” in anticipation of the new variant spreading rapidly here as it has in Britain, where the new virus prompted other European nations to bar travelers from the UK. 

San Diego-area hospitals are now postponing organ transplants and removal of cancerous tumors due to the strain on hospitals and ICU units.

"Going out to party on New Year’s Eve during a global pandemic is putting your life at risk and the lives of your friends and family,” said Supervisor Greg Cox in his final press conference, since he leaves office in early January due to term limits. He also urged everyone to get the flu vaccine to help ease the strain on hospitals.


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HAZ-MAT TEAM DISPATCHED TO SANTEE AFTER CRASH

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

December 30, 2020 (Santee)  - A Haz-Mat crew was dispatched to Santee today following a multi-vehicle crash that caused a chemical spill.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Mission Gorge and Cuyamaca Street late this afternoon.


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PASSAGES: REMEMBERING THOSE LOST IN 2020

East County News Service

December 30, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- They include the famous and infamous-- community and business leaders, a sports star, a youth sports coach, a wildlife expert, a hiking leader, foster parent advocate, loving parents and children, a civil rights leader and a notorious racist who once ran for Congress. They died of causes ranging from COVID-19 to other illnesses, accidents and  murder.  These are the people with strong ties in San Diego’s inland region, who passed on in 2020.


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YEAR IN REVIEW: TOP NEWS STORIES IN 2020

By Miriam Raftery

December 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The most tumultuous year in recent memory began with the resignation of a local Congressman and the announcement that across the globe, China cancelled its Lunar New Year celebrations to mark the incoming Year of the Rat and ordered quarantine of 25 million people due to a dangerous new strain of coronavirus. 

Who could have imagined that the coming year would lead to a worldwide pandemic, widespread quarantines and economic lockdowns impacting virtually everyone?  

In addition, 2020 brought racial unrest, a riot in La Mesa, wildfires, and contentious elections, both locally and nationally. But there’s one point on which we can all agree:  we’re glad 2020 is finally over!

Below are the most significant news stories that impacted East County residents each month during this challenging year.


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FRIENDS OF WOMAN MISSING 17 DAYS: WHY CAN'T SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT DO MORE?

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

Photo:  Friends of East County’s Diane Mattingly are circulating these photos of her taken earlier this month, via Times of San Diego

December 29, 2020 (San Diego) - Friends and neighbors of Diane Mae Mattingly of the high desert near Anza-Borrego say she’s been missing more than two weeks but haven’t had much help from the Sheriff’s Department.


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FREEDOM RALLY DRAWS DIVERSE CROWD

By Briana Gomez
 
Photo:  Minister Vereta Wilson (@compton_conservative) addresses the crowd
 
December 29, 2020 (El Cajon) – A myriad of diverse, yet mostly unmasked attendees crowded around vendors and made their way toward a makeshift stage decorated with Christmas décor and a podium in front of the El Cajon City Council chambers, where a “Freedom Rally” was held on Dec. 27 in response to Governor Newsom’s recent shutdown of businesses.

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PALOMAR NURSES PROTEST WAIVER OF NURSE-TO-PATIENT RATIOS AS COVID-19 SURGES: 1 IN 1,000 AMERICANS HAVE DIED OF THE VIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via CHEU:  Palomar Healthcare nurses at a protest earlier this month

December 29, 2020 (Escondido) – Registered nurses and caregivers will hold a car caravan from Palomar Medical Center to Palomar Health’s administration building today to protest a blanket waiver of nurse-to-patient ratios approved by the state Department of Health Tuesday. Nurses contend that the change is dangerous for patient safety.

The action comes as the California Office of Emergency Service announced plans to activate a vacant floor of Palomar Medical Center to handle COVID-19 patients. National Guard members arrived Wednesday to complete a buildout of the surge unit begun earlier this year. Hospital ICU units across Southern California are completely full, with zero capacity, currently due to COVID cases that have increased ten-fold locally since early November. CNN reported yesterday that one of every 1,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19.


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SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAINS; WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Laguna Mountain Lodge webcam

December 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy snow has fallen on Mount Laguna, while a lighter dusting of snow has blanketed the Cuyamaca and Julian communities. Elsewhere across the county, the cold winter storm brought much-needed rain.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through Tuesday. Elevations over 5,000 feet such as Mount Laguna may receive 14 inches of snow, with up to 20 inches at elevations over 6,500 feet such as Palomar Mountain. Bring tire chains if traveling in the mountain areas. Chains were required today on parts of State Route 79 and Old Highway 80, while a portion of Sunrise Highway was closed.


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'NOW IT'S THE SENATE'S TURN': ALL EYES ON MCCONNELL AFTER HOUSE APPROVES $2,000 CORONAVIRUS RELIEF CHECKS

Progressives in both chambers of Congress are pressuring the GOP majority leader to urgently hold a vote on the Covid-19 legislation

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license

December 28, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - Demands from progressive lawmakers and the public surged for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to urgently support and hold a vote on a bill that would boost coronavirus pandemic direct relief checks from $600 to $2,000 after at least two-thirds of Democrat-controlled House approved the legislation on Monday evening.


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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.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2020 IN EAST COUNTY

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through East County

Not a creature was stirring, in December 2020.

Cowboy boots were hung by chimneys with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

 

From Barona to Ramona, Jacumba to Jamul

East County folks in quarantine this Yule

Can’t party hearty with potluck dishes,

But they did send Santa these 2021 wishes.


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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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