October 2020 Articles

HERE COME THE BRIDES: MARCH FOR WEDDINGS AT STATE CAPITOL SEEKS TO END BAN ON EVENTS

Photos and video courtesy of Aaron Texeira. View video: https://vimeo.com/467983811 

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2020 (Sacramento) -- This afternoon, approximately 100 brides and grooms in wedding gowns and tuxedos joined with vendors and event planners at California’s Capitol to demand recognition in Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan.


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PARKS CALIFORNIA VIRTUAL GUIDED TOURS GO BEHIND THE SCENES AT ANZA-BORREGO DESERT

Source: Parks California

October 13, 2020 (Anza-Borrego Desert) -- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park® encompasses some of the most diverse desert landscapes in the world – and now it will serve as the backdrop for a virtual California State Park adventure, ParkSpeak. On October 15, Parks California will connect community members across the state with a guided, behind-the-scenes tour of this state park to explore a rich archaeological heritage from the Kumeyaay and Cahuilla tribes. 


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READER'S EDITORIAL: STEVE VAUS WILL PUT COMMUNITIES FIRST AS YOUR NEXT SUPERVISOR

By Dianne Jacob, Supervisor, Second District

I’ve had the honor of serving the people of the Second District for 28 years.  For seven terms, voters trusted that I would fight on their behalf, make County government work for them and provide substantial improvements to their community.  I’m asking you to place your trust in me one last time by supporting Mayor Steve Vaus for my seat. 

This election is a critical decision for East County.  It’s a decision based on character, record of service and the future of the District, and Steve is the clear choice on all three.  As Mayor, Steve has consistently been accessible and responsive to his constituents and has made Poway a model city for maintaining roads and infrastructure, improving parks and trails, taking care of seniors and families and protecting public safety.


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WESTERN DENTAL OPENS OFFICE IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service

October 13, 2020 (Lemon Grove) - Western Dental & Orthodontics today announced the opening of a new Western Dental & Orthodontics office in the San Diego community of Lemon Grove.


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NEGATIVE ADS, CONTROVERIES MUDDY 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – As voters begin casting ballots in the 50th Congressional district, last-minute mailers and online ads for Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar and Republican Darrell Issa have gone negative, each tarring the other as unfit for public office with allegations ranging from terrorist ties to criminal actions. 

One campaign sent a mailer displaying ECM’s logo without permission; ECM does not endorse candidates and prohibits use of our logo for political purposes.

Both Issa and Campa-Najjar also recently appeared in video interviews with Defend East County. Campa-Najjar drew sharp criticism from progressives and people of color for meeting with what some has characterized as a racist vigilante group, even as Issa denounced Black Lives Matter for “doing damage” to African Americans and referenced “criminal elements” in BLM and Antifa during his video discussion with DEC's leader.


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PADRES' TOMMY PHAM STABBED OUTSIDE MIDWAY DISTRICT STRIP CLUB

East County News Service

October 13, 2020 (San Diego) - Padres' outfielder Tommy Pham was stabbed outside of a strip club on Sunday night.

Pham was outside of Pacers Showgirls International on Midway Drive around 10:35 p.m. on Sunday when an argument broke out near his car.  Pham claims he did not know anyone in the altercation and was stabbed when he asked them to get away from his car.


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HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS WITH SARA JACOBS AND GEORGETTE GOMEZ

By Miriam Raftery

October 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Back in February and early March, we interviewed Sara Jacobs and Georgette Gomez, now in the run-off election for the 53rd Congressional district.  These interviews were pre-pandemic, but covered many other issues that remain relevant to voters as the Nov. 3 general election draws near.

Click hear to read highlights or listen to our radio interview with Sara Jacobs: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hear-our-interview-sara-jacobs-53rd-congressional-district-candidate

Click here to read highlights or listen to our radio interview with Georgette Gomez: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hear-our-interview-georgette-gomez-candidate-53rd-congressioal-district

Scroll down for more information on the candidates.


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DRIVER SERIOUSLY INJURED ON STATE ROUTE 94 NEAR BARRETT JUNCTION

East County News Service
 
October 12, 2020 (Barrett Junction) – The driver of a black 2014 Honda Civic has been flown via air ambulance to Sharp Memorial Hospital after a serious accident at 7:50 a.m. on State Route 94 west, just east of Barrett Smith Road.
 
“For reasons still under investigation, the driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle and allowed the vehicle to drift off the north side of the roadway.  The vehicle traveled down a descending rock and dirt embankment where it rolled over several times,” a California Highway Patrol (CHP) press release states.
 
CHP and CAL Fire personnel responded to the collision.  The driver, who appeared to be wearing a seat-belt, sustained major injuries.  Rescue personal were able to transport the driver back up to the roadway, where he was taken to the hospital via medical helicopter. 

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CALIFORNIA ORDERS STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO REMOVE UNAUTHORIZED BALLOT BOXES

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

Photo:  A lawful ballot drop off point at the Del Mar Branch Library. Photo by Chris Jennewein

October 12, 2020 (San Diego) - State officials issued immediate cease-and-desist orders to the California Republican Party on Monday after unauthorized ballot boxes appeared in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties.


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SCALZITTI FACES CHALLENGER WITH A “RESERVOIR” OF EXPERTISE IN HELIX WATER BOARD DISTRICT 5 RACE

By Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District Director Joel Scalzitti faces three challengers—including Vickie Butcher, who brings a “reservoir” of knowledge on water issues as well as decades of experience in water policy and infrastructure to the race. The other two challengers have no ballot statements and an online search found no campaign webpage or Facebook site.

District 5 covers the eastern portion of the Helix district including portions of El Cajon, Granite Hills, Bostonia and Lakeside. View map.


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FIERY FATALITY CRASH IN JACUMBA

East County News Service
 
October 12, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – The driver of a blue 2008 Toyota Camry died at the scene of a fiery single-vehicle crash shortly before 6 a.m.  The unidentified male driver lost control on I-8 west, just west of Carrizo Gorge Rod. The vehicle plunged down a rocky embankment, overturned and caught on fire. 
 
California Highway Patrol and fire personnel responded to the collision, but unfortunately the driver succumbed to his injuries on scene.  The Medical Examiner’s office was notified, responded and took possession of the deceased. 

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LISTEN NOW: OUR RADIO SHOWS FOR MAY-SEPTEMBER 2020 ARE NOW ONLINE

Our radio shows from May through September 2020 are now online.  For links to listen plus an index with full list of topics and interviews in each showClick here or click the "read more" link and scroll down for audio links below the index. (Audio files may take a few moments to load.)  

Our recent shows include candidate forums for La Mesa, Santee, Lemon Grove, Congress and County Supervisors, interviews with several individual candidates, our Newsmakers, Movers and Shakers event featuring a medical expert on COVID-19 and an SDG&E representative on drive-through wildfire safety fairs, interviews with experts on COVID-19 impacts on the local Latino and Middle Eastern communities, interviews with La Mesa’s mayor and police chief after the riot, an interview with a Pastor on the streets during civil unrest in La Mesa and Ferguson, and more.

The East County Magazine Show airs Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m. on KNSJ, 89.1 FM.  Our shows rerun on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

(Note: Due to COVID-19 quarantines, some show dates aired reruns. Original shows are listed below.)

Audio: 


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DON’T BE FOOLED BY ILLEGAL BALLOT DROP-OFF BOXES: HERE ARE THE LEGAL LOCATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

October 12, 2020 (San Diego) – The California Republican Party has been caught putting up illegal boxes labeled “Official Ballot Drop-Off Box” in three Southern California counties, the Washington Post reports.  Putting up or advertising unauthorized ballot drop-off boxes is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. The illegal boxes have popped up at locations ranging from churches to gas stations.

A judge today ordered the illegal boxes removed.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla said that while California allows a third party to collect ballots, the person doing the collection must sign official documentation.  In the case of unauthorized drop boxes, voters “do not know who it is they’re surrendering their ballot to.”  He urged voters to confirm drop-off locations by checking the state voting website.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu told ECM today, when asked about unauthorized ballot drop-off boxes, "We have not heard of any in our county."

In San Diego County, here is a list of the only official ballot drop-off locations:  https://www.sdvote.com/content/dam/rov/en/pdf/Mail_Ballot_Drop_Off_Locations.pdf Only these official boxes are considered secure, per election officials. If you want contactless drop--off, you can opt for a drive-up drop-off box outside the San Diego Registrar of Voters office (photo, left).

If you prefer to vote in person, you can do so from Oct. 31 through Nov. 3. There are fewer locations than in the past, with super-polling locations that may have longer lines, so be sure to allow extra time if you vote in person. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can find your polling place here:  https://www.sdvote.com/content/dam/rov/en/pdf/Official_Polls_List.pdf


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MISSING DESCANSO MAN, 81, AT RISK: LAST SEEN IN GOLD TOYOTA TRUCK

Update October 13, 2020: This missing person has been found safely in Yuma.

By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2020 (Descanso) – The Sheriff asks for public help to find Kenneth Zimmerman, 81, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and did not take his blood pressure medicine before leaving home in Descanso to get a newspaper earlier today. He was last seen at 12:30 p.m. driving toward Highway 79 from Viejas Blvd in Descanso in a gold Toyota Tundra(license CA 8E41946) with a black toolbox in the bed.  He frequents businesses in Alpine as well as the El Cajon Home Depot.

He does not have a cell phone with him, according to a bulletin issued by the Pine Valley Sheriff’s station.Zimmerman was last seen wearing a white cowboy hat, dark blue short-sleeve shirt and blue jeans.  He has blue eyes and white hair. He is white, 81, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs around 190 pounds.


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SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB TO HOST FREE WRITING WEBINAR WITH RICHARD LEDERER, `A WAY WITH WORDS,’ TUESDAY, OCT. 13

East County News Service

October 11, 2020 (San Diego) – Is it “who” or “whom?” Or, “that” or “which?” Or, “is” or “are?”

Also, where do you stand on terminal prepositions, split infinitives, “hopefully” as a floating adverb and “they” as a third-person singular pronoun?


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KRISTINE ALESSIO RUNS ON HER EXPERIENCE, OFFERS POLITICAL INDEPEDENCE ON LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2020 (La Mesa) – East County Magazine held a video interview via Zoom with Councilwoman Kristine Alessio, since she could not participate in our recent candidate form. She is one of six candidates running for two seats on the La Mesa City Council.

A native of La Mesa, she’s served on the Council since 2012 and was previously a planning commissioner. She holds a law degree and has been the city’s representative on SANDAG. She is also a former board member on the East County YMCA and East County Boys and Girls Club.  As candidate not aligned with a political party, she says she can represent all La Mesans, equally and fairly. She says La Mesa needs experienced leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic, a business friendly environment, public safety and preservation of neighborhood character.

Scroll down for highlights, or click here to view the full video interview:   https://youtu.be/GU7MibN3GlI


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LAURA LOTHIAN AIMS TO BRING BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE TO LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2020 (La Mesa) – Laura Lothian is one of six candidates running for La Mesa City Council. ECM recently held a video interview via ZOOM with Lothian, she since was unable to participate in our candidate forum due to a scheduling conflict.

A realtor with a business in the downtown village, she is running to bring a business perspective to the City Council. She wants to reduce regulations and provide more freedoms for business owners. Beautifying the village area is also a priority of hers. Lothian serves on the La Mesa Village Association board  and has previously run for both council and mayor.

The interview covered a wide range of issues including the needs of local businesses, beautifying  La Mesa, police issues, housing and homelessness, and more.

Scroll down for highlights of our interview, or click here to view the full video interviewhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HCss3QqeEk


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MARK PAPENFUSS AIMS TO HELP LA MESA FORGE A NEW PATH

By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2020 (La Mesa) – Mark Papenfuss, one of six candidates running for the La Mesa City Council, missed our candidate forum last month due to a family emergency but participated in a separate interview on Zoom.

 He shared his views on ideas for La Mesa’s downtown village, improving racial justice and public safety, housing and homelessness, the pandemic, and the need to in his words, help La Mesa “rise from the ashes” after a riot and fires by forging a new path for the future.  He touts his business experience and the need for leaders who are free of conflicts of interest or developer donations.

Scroll down for highlights from our interview, or click here to view the full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugPdqOtqHCY&feature=youtu.be


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LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION, PART ONE: AREA 4

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo:  Area 4 candidates Emma Turner, Abu-Bakr Al Jafri, and Sarah Rhiley

October 7, 2020 (La Mesa-Spring Valley) -- Two out of five trustee seats will be on the ballot this year for certain residents of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District. One seat is held by current Board President Dr. Emma Turner, who is running for re-election against four opponents in Area 4. This area includes Bancroft, Sweetwater Springs and Loma Elementary Schools. Five candidates are running, and three sent in responses to our questionnaire.  Scroll down to view responses from Emma Turner, Sarah Rhiley, and Abu-Bakr Al-Jafri.

The other trustee seat was filled by Jim Long, whose term has expired. That seat will be filled by a newcomer from Area 5 which includes Avondale, Rancho, and La Presa Elementary Schools, as well as STEAM Academy and Kempton Literacy Academy. The Area 5 race will be covered in part two of this series.


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IN LIVELY FORUM, FIVE CANDIDATES SHARED DIVERSE VIEWS IN EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2 RACE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Humbert Cabrera, Stephanie Harper, Juan Carlos "Charlie" Mercado, Michelle Metschel, and Martin Van Dinteren.

October 10, 2020 (El Cajon) – Housing and homelessness, racial relations, public safety, attracting businesses, the future of Parkway Plaza and the performing arts center were among the hot topics discussed at a virtual forum for five of the six candidates running for the El Cajon City Council District 2 seat, to represent the north central portion of the city.

Candidates also addressed controversies in the race, including a fake website set up to mislead voters about one candidate and residency questions raised regarding another.

The five candidates who participated are Humbert Cabrera, a planning commissioner and business owner, Stephanie Harper, a residential relief worker, Juan Carlos “Charlie” Mercado, an Iraq war veteran and veterans’ advocate, Michelle Metschel, a defense industry administrator, and Martin Van Dinteren, a general contractor and former city building inspector. (Update: View ECM's Zoom interview with Letitia Dickerson, the sixth candidate, who missed the forum due to an incorrect e-mail address provided by the city.)

Scroll down for highlights of our candidates forum, or click here to view video of the full forum.


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AHEAD OF HURRICANE DELTA, DOGS EVACUATED TO GILLESPIE FIELD IN EL CAJON

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

Oct. 10, 2020 (El Cajon-Gillespie Field) Over one hundred dogs were flown from Louisiana to Gillespie Field in El Cajon by an emergency animal rescue organization, Wings of Rescue, on October 10  in anticipation of Hurricane Delta’s hit on the Gulf Coast state.  The San Diego Humane Society will provide medical care until the rescued dogs are ready for adoption locally.

This is the second time in less than a month that local animal welfare organizations have offered help to evacuate animals from Louisiana. The transport aimed to create space in shelters there for pets anticipated to be displaced from the hurricane. Wings of Rescue is a 501(c)(3) charity, founded in 2012, that flies endangered pets from where they are, to other shelters/homes. Circle Air Group, LLC’s plane, at Gillespie Field, used their equipment, an Embraer EMB-120, to fly the dogs in.

Hurricane Delta fluctuated from a category 2 to 3 and the outer rings hit southeast Louisiana and southeast Missouri on Friday and into the weekend as well.  Visit: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ for current information. Here is a summary of the situation as of October 10:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/10/10/hurricane-delta-update-damage-weakens-tropical-storm-power-outages/5952093002/

How did the dogs do on take-off?


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ALPINE FIRE RESCUES MOTORIST TRAPPED IN ROLLOVER CRASH

By Miriam Raftery

October 10, 2020 (Alpine) –  Crews from Alpine Fire and Mercy Ambulance responded to a rollover accident on South Grade Road this morning, freeing a motorist trapped in the overturned car.

“Extrication tools were used to remove one of the passenger doors in order to get the driver out. One patient was transported to the hospital for evaluation,” Alpine Fire posted on Instagram, promptly drawing 117 likes and a response of “Well done, gentlemen!” from one local follower.


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STATE EASES BAN ON GATHERINGS TO ALLOW LIMITED OUTDOOR GET-TOGETHERS

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2020 (Sacramento) – One of the most difficult aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the inability to lawfully visit with friends and family members not in your household.  Now, nearly seven months after the state imposed a ban on all gatherings of any size due to COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health on Friday released new rules allowing limited outdoor private gatherings of up to three households in  private spaces or public areas such as parks, with social distancing, masks, and other health protections.

Counties may adopt the state standard, or keep stricter rules, though San Diego County has largely followed state rules in the past.  View the full rule changes.

To host a private gathering, the new state rules require that:


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SYCUAN CASINO IS SUPPORTING WALK TO DEFEAT ALS, A VIRTUAL FUNDRAISER, SUNDAY, OCT. 18

East County News Service

October 9, 2020 (El Cajon) - Sycuan Casino in El Cajon is among the local partners supporting the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter’s 2020 Walk to Defeat ALS, the nonprofit’s 20th annual fundraising walk, to be held on Sunday, Oct. 18 as a virtual fundraiser due to Covid-19 restrictions. The fundraiser is free and open to the public. Information is available at www.alsasd.org.


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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.

IN LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL TOWN HALL, CANDIDATES ADDRESS CITY IN CRISIS, OFFER ONLY LIMITED SOLUTIONS

By John Sepulvado

View full video of ECM’s forum for Lemon Grove candidates:  click here.

Scroll down for highlights and analysis of the forum.

October 9, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- In the past 25 years, Lemon Grove has been battered. Revenues for the city have plummeted as businesses have fled. Currently the city is experiencing a $1.5 million budget shortfall. Major thoroughfares are in disrepair, while major civic investments like the Lemon Grove Recreation Center sit underused as the city continues to struggle financially. 

Many of the buildings - including prime real estate on Broadway, sit empty and under-utilized. Many of the unhoused neighbors suffer from extreme health conditions that go untreated. Residents complain about policing from the Sheriff’s office. The Council spends most of its budget on policing through the Sheriff, yet some businesses and residents complain of crime and say more law enforcement protection is needed.  (This year’s crime stats have not yet been released.)

These problems are compounded by a lawsuit in which a candidate for Mayor - Christopher WIlliams - is suing the city over a meeting on his proposed marijuana dispensaries followed by a pool party with alcohol that ended in an alleged assault. The spectacular suit is driving a deep wedge among current and aspiring council members.


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GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT AND CHAMPIONS FOR HEALTH HOSTING FREE DRIVE-THRU FLU SHOT CLINIC THIS SATURDAY MORNING

East County News Service

October 9, 2020 (La Mesa) – This Saturday, October 10, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Grossmont Healthcare District is partnering with Champions for Health and County of San Diego to provide free flu shots to the East San Diego community. To reduce the chances of a severe COVID-19 and flu combination, receiving this season’s vaccination is more crucial than ever. Everyone qualifies to receive a free flu shot, including those uninsured or underinsured, pregnant women, and children 9 years of age and older. Fresh produce distribution and giveaways for kids also available while supplies last.           


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PAYROLL TAX DEFERRAL TAKES EFFECT SEPTEMBER 1ST

Source: La Mesa Chamber of Commerce

 

October 9, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The IRS issued guidance on President Trump’s payroll tax deferral to defer tax from September 1st until December 31st. This guidance includes the following highlights:

 

  • Employers can defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of certain payroll taxes on wages paid from September 1st through December 31st.
  • Interest penalties, and additions to tax will begin to accrue on unpaid taxes starting May 1st, 2021.


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SDSU MEN'S BASKETBALL: MOUNTAIN WEST SCHEDULE RELEASED

League play begins on Dec. 29 and culminates with the MW Championship on March 13

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

October 9, 2020 (San Diego) -  San Diego State men’s basketball, in conjunction with the Mountain West Conference, has released its initial version of the 2020-21 league slate of games on Friday morning, the first phase of the schedule process for the upcoming season.


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SDSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL MOUNTAIN WEST SCHEDULE RELEASED

Aztecs begin conference play December 31

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

October 9, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego State, in conjunction with the Mountain West, has announced the women's basketball conference schedule for the 2020-21 season.


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WARNER UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall
 
October 9, 2020 (Warner Springs) -- Residents in Warner Unified School District may vote for three out of six candidates for school board in this November’s election. This small district is located in the far northeast sector of San Diego County in rural Warner Springs, California. It serves just over 2,100 students in grades preschool through twelfth grade. In addition to Warner Elementary, Middle, and High Schools, the district operates San Jose Continuation School, All Tribes Charter School and California Pacific Charter School.

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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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