October 2020 Articles

SUPERVISOR JACOB, COUNTY PARKS BREAK GROUND FOR LAKESIDE EQUESTRIAN PARK

October 23, 2020 (Lakeside) -- County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and parks officials held a first-ever “virtual” groundbreaking to mark the start of construction of the long-awaited $16.9 million Lakeside Equestrian Park Wednesday.


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COVID RATES REMAIN LOW IN MOST REOPENED EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Cajon Valley, first to reopen, has most cases.  Three other districts report cases; others lack transparency in disclosure.  

Update October 31:  The Cajon Valley Union School District has added a breakdown by schools of its COVID cases, which now number 15 students and 2 employees  (17 total) at 11 schools. 

By Miriam Raftery

October 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How safe is it to send your child back to school amid a pandemic, or for teachers to provide instruction inside classrooms?

East County Magazine has checked out the websites of all districts in East County to determine how many cases have been reported at schools that have reopened thus far, and how transparent each district is in making this information easily available to parents, teachers and staff.

To date, the County Public Health Department has not reported any outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases tied to a single location) at any East County elementary, middle, high school or community college district. However some school districts do have cases among both students and staff. It is unclear whether cases were contracted on campus, or how many others may have been exposed.

In some districts, information on schools with COVID cases are being publicly disclosed, but not in others. Asked about this discrepancy, County spokesman Michael Workman said, "A change in the order regarding schools is being discussed and may be in place soon. The state guidance referenced above covers school notification. It’s too early to say what our health order change may say."

Here are the results of ECM's investigation.


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DEPUTIES RESPONDING TO GUNFIRE IN SPRING VALLEY FIND BOOBY-TRAPPED GAMBLING DEN, BUT NO SHOOTING VICTIM

By Miriam Raftery

October 21, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Sheriff’s deputies responding to a call reporting a shooting Monday night discovered an illegal gambling establishment set up in an outbuilding at 1726 Helix Street in Spring Valley. “It contained approximately fifteen slot machines. Spent shell casings from a firearm were also located in the outbuilding,” says Lieutenant Joel Stranger.

Deputies from the Rancho San Diego station responded around 9:22 p.m. Monday and checked the property, but no shooting victim was found. During the search, one deputy stepped on a board with nails sticking up in an apparent “booby trap,” according to Lt. Stranger.


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CALIFORNIA’S 71ST ASSEMBLY DISTRICT RACE: REPUBLICAN RANDY VOEPEL VS. DEMOCRAT LIZ LAVERTU

Spring Valley Planning Group Chair challenges incumbent for Assembly seat

By Mike Allen

Photo: Randy Voepel and Liz Lavertu

October 20, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As the state grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, budget challenges, and a shortage of affordable housing, voters in the 71st Assembly district have two contrasting choices.

Randy Voepel was first elected to the State Assembly in 2016 and reelected in 2018, winning both times by substantial margins which didn’t surprise him, given the conservative character of the region. But he notes the winning margins are slipping each election, and he doesn’t expect this November’s victory to be as large.


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HOOVER CHALLENGES MILLER FOR CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE, AREA NO. 5

CVUSD Election, Part Two

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo: Trustee Jim Miller and challenger Stacie Hoover

October 20, 2020 (El Cajon) -- In part one of this series, ECM covered the race for Governing Board Member Trustee in Area No.4 of the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD). Stretching further south of central El Cajon and east into Rancho San Diego lies Area 5. This area includes Avocado, Jamacha, Rancho San Diego and Vista Grande Elementary Schools, as well as Hillsdale Middle School.

For the last four years, attorney Jim Miller has represented Area No. 5. This election, he is being challenged by Stacie Hoover.

Key issues include reopening schools after COVID-19, academic priorities,  racial equity, bullying and civility. Both candidates answered ECM’s questions about themselves, their qualifications to be a school board trustee, and their priorities if elected.  Below are their responses, in alphabetical order.


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LEMON GROVE BULK ITEM DROP-OFF AND E-WASTE PAPER SHREDDING EVENT OCT. 24

East County News Service
 
October 19, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- The city of Lemon Grove and EDCO Disposal invite you to a bulk item drop-off and e-waste/paper shredding event on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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HINTON CHALLENGES CLARK-MEJIA FOR CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE, AREA 4

CVUSD Election, Part One
 
By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo: Karen Clark Mejia, left, and Monica Hinton, right
 
October 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) is the largest school district in East County. Two of the five seats for Governing Board Member Trustee are on the ballot this year with the incumbents facing one challenger each. Current board member Karen Clark-Meija represents Area 4 and faces behavioral health specialist Monica Hinton on the ballot. Jim Miller represents Area 5 and is challenged by Stacie Hoover, a retired paralegal. 
 
In this part one of our election series on the Cajon Valley School Board race, we will cover Area No. 4. In part two, we will cover Area No. 5.  

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REOPEN & RESTART HELD AT STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL

By Henri Migala

 

October 18, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- “Everyone wants to do the right thing, but what’s the right thing?” Never has this old saying seemed more apropos than right now, as we all try to navigate through the pandemic.

 

On October 16, the same day that the San Diego Union-Tribune reported 17 new community outbreaks in San Diego, about 35 parents and students demonstrated in front of Steele Canyon High School to urge the school to “reopen and restart.”


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ONE WEEK LEFT TO CLAIM $450K IN COUNTY REFUNDS

Deadline:  Oct. 26

Source:  Treasurer-Tax Collector of San Diego County

October 19, 2020 (San Diego) - There’s just one week left to claim $450,324 in county refunds, the San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister reminded San Diegans today.


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ART MADRID SPEAKS OUT: FORMER LA MESA MAYOR SHARES POINTED VIEWS ON CIVIL UNREST READINESS, CITY POLITICS AND MORE

By Miriam Raftery

October 18, 2020 (La Mesa) – Art Madrid has served La Mesa for more than 44 years, including 24 years as Mayor, 10 on the City Council, and 10 on city boards and commissions.  Since 2014, when Mark Arapostathis won the mayoral race, the customarily outspoken Madrid has stayed out of city issues—until now.  

“I’ve never said anything since I left office, maybe one comment,” Madrid told ECM in a phone call this week. But after the May 30 racial justice protest and riot, controversies over housing for the homeless and more, he’s decided to speak out. “If you look at the effectiveness of the Council in taking a leadership role, it’s absent,” he said. Madrid believes that assessing what happened on May 30 amounts to “dealing with the symptom, not the cause” of racial tensions in the city.

Madrid , who is Hispanic, knows first-hand what it’s like to be a target of a racial hate crime. 


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EX-REP. HUNTER HEADS TO PRISON JANUARY 4 IN EL PASO, TEXAS

By Miriam Raftery

October 18, 2020 (San Diego) – Disgraced former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter will begin serving his 11-month prison sentence on January 4, 2021. His defense lawyer, Den Burstein, told Roll Call that Hunter will be sent to a minimum security camp at the Federal Correctional Institute La Tuna in El Paso county, Texas. 


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READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY DO OUTSIDERS CARE SO MUCH ABOUT MEASURE AA?

By David Ross

Reprinted with permission from the Valley Roadrunner

October 18, 2020 (San Diego) - The campaign surrounding Measure AA is a bitter, deeply divisive battle. Fortunately, almost none of the people publicly or even secretly opposing it are from around here. Isn’t that funny? 


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COUNTY HOSTS EXCITING CAMPO ROAD CORRIDOR REVITALIZATION PLAN COMMUNITY FORUM

By Henri Migala

 

October 18, 2020 (Spring Valley) – The public has until October 29 to weigh in with comments on the County of San DIego’s plans for revitalizing a stretch of Campo Road that runs through the heart of Casa de Oro. 

 

To gain more input, the County’s Planning and Development Services (PDS) held a virtual community “Guiding Principles” workshop on the Campo Road Revitalization Plan on Thursday, October 15, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Up to 78 community members participated virtually in the workshop.


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GROSSMONT COLLEGE CAREER EXPO'S VIRTUAL PLATFORM NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE OCT. 28

Oct. 28 event using Remo for job seekers to interact with employers

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District

October 17, 2020 (El Cajon) - Like so many public events during the current pandemic, Grossmont College’s annual Career Expo won’t be in person this year, but organizers are taking steps to encourage human interactions in a virtual environment.


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WEST HILLS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER LANDS $100,000 HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS PRIZE

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Oct. 17, 2020 (Santee) A surprise celebration was held at Santee’s West Hills High School on Oct. 14 for teacher Kathryn Worley, who applied for and landed a $100,000 prize from Harbor Freight Tools.

“We have a deep, deep respect for the dignity of the skilled trades and especially for the intelligence and creativity of the people who work with their hands, of students who work with their hands, of teachers who work with their hands, and professionals who really connect with their heart, their heads, and their hands,”  said Harbor Freight Tools for Schools executive Danny Corwin during the presentation.

Corwin made the trip down from their headquarter offices in Calabasas to present Worley with the proverbial lottery-win-like over-sized check. His other two $100,000 award winners’ ceremonies will be held virtually. Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc. is a national tool retailer.


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HEALTH OFFICIALS WORRIED ABOUT SAN DIEGO SLIPPING INTO 'PURPLE' TIER

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

Photo:  Dr. Wilma Wooten speaks at Friday’s press conference. Image from livestream

October 16, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials warned Friday that coronavirus infections are creeping up and the county could enter the widespread, or purple, tier in state rankings.


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STATE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER HOLDS INVESTIGATORY HEARING OCT. 19 ON INSURANCE COST AND AVAILABILITY AFTER WILDFIRES

Source: California Dept. of Insurance

 

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

October 16, 2020 (Los Angeles) -- With devastating fires continuing to burn across California, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is convening an investigatory hearing to initiate a series of regulatory actions that will protect residents from the increasing risk of wildfires. Commissioner Lara is taking action to stabilize the insurance market while protecting lives and homes, reducing catastrophic wildfire losses and increasing transparency for consumers. 


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LA MESA POLICE DEPT. SEEKS HELP TO IDENTIFY LOOTING SUSPECTS AT LA MESA SPRINGS DURING MAY 30 RIOT: REWARD OFFERED

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) – Tips from the public helped identify five juveniles now charged with crimes related to the looting of Pierre’s Jewelers during the May 30 civil unrest. Now the La Mesa Police Department (LMPD) has released several surveillance images from La Mesa Springs Shopping Center at 8011 University.

Police also released additional photos from Pierre’s in hopes that the public can again assist in identifying suspects involved in these crimes.


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LA MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES GRANT TO FIGHT ALCOHOL RELATED CRIME

East County News Service
 
October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Police Department has been awarded a $52,349 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol-related crime. This is important to the City of La Mesa in order to increase protection for youth and to keep our community safe.
 
The grant is one of 50 awarded in California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Alcohol Policing Partnership (APP) Program. The grants strengthen local law enforcement efforts by combining the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents. ABC agents have expertise in alcoholic beverage laws and can help communities reduce alcohol-related problems.
 
“The program improves the quality of life in neighborhoods,” said ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith. “We’ve seen a real difference in the communities where the grant program resources have been invested.”

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EL CAJON HOLDS VIRTUAL COMMUNITY MEETING TO GATHER INPUT FOR THE CITY’S GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT

By Henri Migala

 

October 15, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Representatives from the Community Development Department from the City of El Cajon hosted a virtual community meeting on Sept. 29 to both share and gather information regarding the city’s long-term General Plan.


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COUNCILMAN PARENT LOSES POLICE UNION ENDORSEMENT AFTER VOTE FOR POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD, ALSO DRAWS SCRUTINY OVER DONATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police Officers Association (LMPOA) announced yesterday that it has withdrawn its endorsement of Councilman Colin Parent.  The LMPOA cites several reasons for its withdrawal, which was announced the day after Parent cast the deciding vote on a 3-2 Council decision to establish a police oversight board.  Parent joined with Mayor Mark Arapostathis and Councilmember Akilah Weber to pass the measure over the objections of the LMPOA, which had requested the ordinance first go through a meet-and-confer process so that the officers’ union could request changes.

The two Councilmembers who voted against the police oversight board,  Kristine Alessio and Bill Baber, have both been endorsed by the LMPOA previously.

Officially, the LMPOA offered these reasons for withdrawing its endorsement of Councilman Parent.  “Ever since he aggressively sought and received our endorsement earlier this year, Councilmember Parent has become untrustworthy and unreliable. Whether it was his lack of transparency with the citizens of La Mesa regarding the homeless housing facility, or his broken commitment to protect the rights of workers, we can no longer in good conscience continue to recommend to the citizens of La Mesa that Colin Parent deserves your vote.”


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RESTAURANTS ADVISED TO COMPLY WITH COMPLEX ‘PARKLET’ DINING RULES

Many restaurant owners don’t understand regulatory layers and risk running afoul of laws

By Marco Polo Cortes, Owner of Marco Polo Permits 

October 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Restaurant owners say that outdoor dining has allowed them to survive the recent COVID-19 closures. Since August 31, restaurants in San Diego County can serve customers indoors – but only at 25% capacity. Sidewalk cafes and “parklets” can allow these struggling businesses to provide outdoor dining, but there are many misconceptions about the rules.


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LA MESA COMMISSIONS TO HOST EVENT ON YOUTH IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 OCT. 28

Source: City of La Mesa

 

Photo: CC by SA

 

October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) - The City of La Mesa Community Relations and Veterans Commission along with the Youth Advisory Commission have scheduled a round table discussion event titled LIVABLE LA MESA: Youth in the Age of COVID-19, to take place on Wednesday, October 28 at 6:00 p.m. The goal of the 90 minute virtual event is to foster a dialog on how changes due to COVID-19 have affected the everyday lives of families. Panelists from the La Mesa Spring Valley School District and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency will be on hand to provide tips and tools.

 


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LA MESA HOSTS ANNUAL PARK APPRECIATION DAY

Source:  City of La Mesa

October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) - The public is invited to participate in the City of La Mesa’s annual Park Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. to noon.  Projects are arranged for households to remain socially distanced while helping beautify La Mesa parks and public spaces. Volunteers are requested to sign-up ahead of time for their project at http://bit.ly/ParkAppreciation2020  or by calling 619.667.1300.


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STUDENTS ROBBED AT GUNPOINT NEAR GROSSMONT HIGH: POLICE SEEK TIPS ON SUSPECTS IN BLUE NISSAN SENTRA

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 14, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police seek public help to locate suspects in a blue Nissan Sentra who reportedly robbed three Grossmont High School students in front of the Shell Gas Station on Murray Drive at 12:45 p.m. today.  
 
The students were walking near the station when the Nissan’s driver pulled into the gas station driveway, stopped na got out of the car. He demanded money from the students while a passenger pointed a handgun at the students.
 
After taking the students’ money, the driver got back into the vehicle, which appeared to have multiple passengers. The driver is described as a light-skinned Hispanic male around 17 or 18 years old with brown eyes, a mustache and groomed eyebrows, according to a police bulletin.  The second suspect is described as Hispanic, age 18-19, with wavy black hair with light tips, wearing an orange long-sleeved shirt.

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COUNTY'S EDGEMOOR FACILITY NAMED BEST IN CALIFORNIA, AGAIN

 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
October 14, 2020 (Santee) -- For the second year in a row, the County Health and Human Services Agency’s Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility has been named the best facility of its kind in the county and the state by Newsweek magazine.
 
The magazine analyzed more than 15,000 nursing homes in the Unites States and chose 400 winners in 20 states.
 
“Edgemoor provides the highest level of care to seriously ill and injured adult patients who require long-term care, and it has not gone unnoticed” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, County Board of Supervisors. “We are proud Edgemoor has been named the best in California two years in a row. It’s a well-deserved honor given the long-term, quality care patients receive at the facility.”

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GOODYEAR BLIMP "HIDING" AT GILLESPIE FIELD

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

 
(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)
 
Oct. 14, 2020 (Gillespie Field) Your eyes are not deceiving you---there is a Goodyear Blimp "hiding" out, in plain sight, at Gillespie Field.
 
According to the Goodyear Blimp facebook page the Wingfoot Three has completed their nationwide trifecta, as they called it, by providing aerial coverage of the American League Championship in San Diego---specifically at Petco Park. 
 
The cars were lined up near the airport to get selfies with it as a backdrop.

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ROOSEVELT: CHARGE THE BEAR – ROUSTABOUTS THEATRE VIRTUAL SHOW OCT. 10-NOV. 2 SHOWS HISTORY REPEATS

By Kathy Carpenter

October 11, 2020 (San Diego) - 2020 is a history making year, one historians will be documenting for years. But as much as times change, they stay the same. Almost a hundred and twenty years ago Teddy Roosevelt faced the same struggles we are facing today including bullying, racism and riots.

The Roustabouts Theatre Company, fairly new to the San Diego theatre community, has moved into digital media like some of the others in town. From October 10 - November 2, 2020. they are streaming Roosevelt: Charge The Bear.  A new one man play by Phil Johnson & Marni Freedman, starring Phil Johnson.

With a compelling, storytelling plot, phenomenal actor Phil Johnson has you believing you are in the room with Theodore Roosevelt himself, glued to each word, as he tells his story. The plot is the story of the new President Roosevelt, as he takes over from President William McKinley,.after McKinley’s assassination.


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SDSU, VIEJAS ARENA SELECTED TO HOST 2026 NCAA TOURNEY GAMES

San Diego State is also hosting the first and second rounds in 2022

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

October 14, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego State has been selected to host the first and second rounds of the 2026 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee announced today. This will be the sixth time SDSU and Viejas Arena have been picked to serve as a host for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.


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SANTEE MAYORAL AND COUNCIL RACES SHOW CLEAR CHOICES

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Santee Mayor John Minto, mayoral candidate and Councilman Stephen Houlahan, City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter,

October 14, 2020 (Santee) -- The conflict between slow-growth proponents and those who support the continued expansion of Santee has been going on for decades but is crystallized in this election.


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