September 2020 Articles

THE AMERICAN FLAG: “OLD GLORY”

 

By Robert Gehr

9-11-2001:  19 years ago today -- a time for reflection

"Emotional and physical wounds continue to heal, while the visible and not so visible scars remain. -- Robert Gehr

September 11, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Although tattered and torn, this American flag still represents the soil on which we live. Waving on in the wind, beckoning to the patriots among us. A symbol of strength and courage surviving the elements of nature. A special piece of cloth that binds Americans together within the fabric of life.

Songs have been written exemplifying the glory for which it stands. We salute the red, white and blue as a sign of respect, then pause to remember those brave soldiers who fought and died in various wars to protect this cherished land we live on.

‘Old Glory’ may fade with time and show some wear, yet no one can take away our admiration of this symbol and the freedom for which it stands, no matter what happens.

VALLEY FIRE 39% CONTAINED, BUT STILL A THREAT

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Firefighters have increased containment on the Valley Fire to 39%. But Cal Fire’s latest bulletin cautions, “ Dry fuels and a dry airmass could potentially result in fire growth on portions of the fire.”

A temporary evacuation center at Steele Canyon High School, 12440 Campo Rd. in Spring Valley, remains open but other evacuation centers have closed.

“Ground crews continue to construct and strengthen hand and dozer lines and are focused on mopping up hot spots and providing defense to structures that remain threatened,” Cal Fire reports. “Firefighters are working to mitigate fire growth with the support of aerial assets. For each day the fire stays within its  current perimeter; the threat to the adjacent communities continues to diminish.”

 A high pressure system will slowly build over Southern California through the weekend and will be accompanied by gradually warming temperatures, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

The fire has destroyed 30 homes and 31 other structures, also damaging 11 additional buildings.

VIEW INTERVIEWS WITH LA MESA COUNCIL CANDIDATES KRISTINE ALESSIO AND LAURA LOTHIAN

By Miriam Raftery

September 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – ECM held ZOOM virtual interviews with La Mesa City Councilwoman Kristine Alessio and realtor Laura Lothian, who were unable to attend our candidate forum last week. The candidates discussed the major issues facing La Mesa including the city’s response to protests, housing and homeless, downtown redevelopment, help for local businesses, racial justice and policing and more. 

MORE EVACUATION ORDERS LIFTED, EL CAPITAN HIGH EVACUATION LOCATION CLOSED

Source: County Office of Emergency Services

Photo by Debra Hornsby

September 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Valley Fire is now 35% contained and remains at 17,665 acres.

Some evacuation orders were reduced to warnings in the Carveacre Road area, Lyons Valley Road east to Barrett Lake Road, Japatul Valley and Hidden Glen areas. Pine Valley, Descanso, Alpine, Viejas, Dulzura, Potrero, Barrett Junction also remain under Evacuation Warning. Residents who return home must show proof of residency for entry into the affected areas.

ECM PADRES REPORT: JORGE ONA GETS FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE HOMER AS PADS TAKE GAME ONE FROM GIANTS

By Liz Alper

 

Photo via @padres on Twitter

 

September 10, 2020 (San Diego) - After sweeping the Rockies, the Padres welcomed the Giants for a four-game weekend series tonight.  Trevor Cahill started for the Giants tonight against Chris Paddack.

SANTEE COUNCIL GRANTS LANTERN CREST 50 NEW UNITS, DEFERRAL ON IMPACT FEES; APPROVES CHANGE ORDER FOR TV STATION

By Mike Allen
 
Photo:  50 unit addition to Lantern Crest Senior Living.
 
September 10, 2020 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council unanimously approved a 50-unit addition to the Lantern Crest Senior Living nursing home that included granting the developer a zoning change as well as deferring the payment of about $1 million in impact fees.

BRUSH FIRES IN SANTEE AND CAMPO: EVACUATIONS IN SANTEE

 

Update 4:30 p.m.:  The #Carlton Fire is now in mop-up, after burning approximately 4 acres.

By Miriam Raftery

Rebecca Jefferis Williamson contributed to this story.

Photo by Laura Williamson

September 10, 2020 (Santee) -- A brush fire that started at 12:28 a.m. in palm trees along the riverbed in Santee at Mission Gorge Rd. and Fanita is just north of the State Route 52 and Highway 125 junction. The fire has prompted evacuation of homes on Willow Grove near Calton Hills, west of the GTM store, Mayor John Minto has advised ECM.

The fire has burned at least one to three acres, Sgt. M. Tingley with the Sheriff's Dept. told ECM reporter Rebecca Jeferris-Williamson, who is on scene. A helicopter is dropping water on it, eight fire engines are assgined and additional resources are en route.

Carlton Hills Blvd. is closed between Mission Gorge Road and Carlton Oaks Drive.

VALLEY FIRE IS 32% CONTAINED, LOSSES CLIMB TO 30 HOMES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ryan Grothe

September 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – “Due to the fire retardant that was laid down on Tuesday, and the strong air support yesterday, resources were successful in keeping the fire from getting established and pushing into more populated areas to the west,” according to a release this morning from Cal Fire.

Firefighters held the Valley Fire to 17,665 acres It is now 32% contained, with 884 personnel assigned to battle the blaze. However the number of homes burn has risen to 30, with 29 other structures destroyed.

Today, crews are constructing and strengthening hand and dozer lines and are focused on structure preparation and defense to values at risk. A very dry air mass will be over the area for the forseeable future with a gradual warming trend through the weekend, according to Cal Fire.

SOME EVACUATED RESIDENTS ALLOWED TO RETURN HOME; 26 HOMES BURNED, CONTAINMENT NOW 27 PERCENT

New fire burning in Mexico, a half mile south of the border

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Barry Jantz: Valley Fire earlier this week, viewed from Jamul

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Valley Fire is now 27% contained as firefighters held it to 17,665 acres today after a night of Santa Ana winds.  Some evacuation orders have been reduced to evacuation warnings tonight, enabling residents evacuated from the Valley Fire to return home with proof of residence in these areas:

  • Corte Madera Ranch
  • Barrett Dam
  • All areas accessible from Lawson Valley Rd. to the east, with the exception of Forest Park Rd.
  • North side of Japatul Rd. between Sycuan Truck Trail and Hidden Glen Rd.

All other evacuation orders remain in effect.  See the evacuation map for the evacuation order and evacuation warning locations.

Cleveland National Forest remains under an Emergency Forest Closure Order to protect natural resources and safety of the public and firefighters.

An evacuation warning is issued when there is a plausible threat of fire activity to increase and your home may be in the affected area. Returning residents should be aware that there may be traffic interruptions due to fire crews and utility workers.

“We lucked out with the winds, which arrived later than expected and went away earlier than expected,  Captain Thomas Shoots, public information officer with Cal Fire, told ECM. Firefighters quickly doused a new fire in Boulevard’s Jewel Valley, which burned an acre or two.  An additional fire is burning about a half mile south of the border in Mexico, which Cal Fire is monitoring, he said.

ECM PADRES REPORT: PADRES COMPLETE SWEEP OF ROCKIES

By Liz Alper

 

Photo: Wil Myers' RBI triple in the sixth gave the Padres the lead they needed to win. Via @padres on Twitter

 

September 9, 2020 (San Diego) - The Padres got a monumental 14-5 win last night, hitting their season high for runs scored and took the series against the Rockies.  Tonight, they looked for the sweep.  Antonio Senzatela started for Colorado against Zach Davies.

HEALTH OFFICIALS SEEK SAFARI PARK VISITORS EXPOSED TO RABID BAT ON SEPT. 6

By Jonathan Goetz
 
Photo Source: U.S. Geological Survey (dead bat)
 
“Park visitors who had no physical contact with the bat are not at risk for rabies.” – County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Escondido (September 9, 2020) - A woman visiting the Safari Park in Escondido on Sunday, September 6, feared to have been exposed to rabies by a wild bat, has been located, according to County News Center.  But park officials warn any other visitors who may have had contact with the bat to come forward.

LAWSUIT CHALLENGES COUNTY’S FAILURE TO ADDRESS CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE FROM VEHICLE TRAVEL

East County News Service
Photo cc via Bing
 
September 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- Cleveland National Forest Foundation (“CNFF”) and Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (“CERF”) filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on September 4, 2020 challenging San Diego County’s plan for addressing the climate and environmental impacts of vehicle travel as required by Senate Bill 743 (“SB 743”). 
 
Instead of adopting a plan to reduce vehicle trips caused by new development, the County chose to exempt the vast majority of potential new developments under the County’s General Plan from even examining, much less addressing, driving-related impacts, the suit contends.
 
“San Diego County keeps doubling down on sprawling, car-centered development and thumbing its nose at the law. We need a paradigm shift that unites alternative transportation and affordable housing, not the same-old-same-old backcountry sprawl, ecological destruction, and endless, dangerous commutes,” said Duncan McFetridge, Director of CNFF.

COUNTY BOARD RATIFIES VALLEY FIRE EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  The Valley Fire remains 11 percent contained as of 5 p.m. Sept. 9.

September 9, 2020 (Alpine) - The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to ratify the County’s local emergency proclamation issued Sept. 6 for the Valley Fire due to the fire threat and damage, including the loss of at least 20 structures.

FUNDS STARTED TO HELP INDIVIDUAL VALLEY FIRE FAMILIES REBUILD

By Miriam Raftery

Photos courtesy of GoFundMe, HPWren and ECM News partner 10 News

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Twenty homes have been lost in the Valley Fire. Friends and family have established GoFundMe accounts for eight of the survivors who lost homes. Jenny Perillo at GoFundMe says seven of these” have been “reviewed by our Trust & Safety team here at GoFundMe.” The eighth was verified by a local news station that interviewed the owner of a horse rescue ranch destroyed by the flames.

BILL TO PROTECT FIREFIGHTERS AND PUBLIC FROM PFAS “FOREVER” CHEMICALS IN INDUSTRIAL FIRE FIGHTING FOAM BECOMES LAW IN CALIFORNIA

By Miriam Raftery

September 9, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Senate Bill 1044 into law to protect firefighters and public water supplies from PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) found in firefighting foams used to combat industrial fires such as at airports, refineries and chemical plants. The cancer-causing “forever” chemicals, which never break down and are tied to many other health problems, are not used in the foams used to fight wildfires.

The bill passed the State Senate and Assembly unanimously, though East County’s legislators, Senator Brian Jones and Assemblyman Randy Voepel, did not vote.

A study of California firefighters found blood levels of PFAS three times higher than in others.  

Firefighting foam with PFAS have resulted in pollution of drinking water including over 300 wells representing nearly100 public water systems serving 7.5 million Californians, the legislative analyst reported.  Separate from this bill, the state is working to develop enforceable regulatory standards for PFAS in water.

2020 LA MESA CITY COUNCIL VIRTUAL CANDIDATE FORUM SEPT. 23 HOSTED BY METHODIST CHURCH

East County News Service

 
September 9, 2020 (La Mesa) - Six candidates. Two seats. Find out where La Mesa’s City Council candidates stand on important issues.

 

La Mesa First United Methodist Church will host a Virtual La Mesa City Council Candidate Forum on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, at 6:45 p.m. The forum will be held via Zoom and moderated by Pastor Christian DeMent.

STATE PARKS WILDFIRE RELIEF FUND SEEKS DONATIONS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 9, 2020 (Sacramento) – Wildfires have charred thousands of acres in California state parks over the past two weeks, damaging scores of park structures as well. 

Big Basin Redwoods, Butano State Par, Armstrong Redwoos, State Natural Reserve and others need financial help to recover, with state resources stretched thin fighting fires and battling a pandemic.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

September 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include: 

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

NEW STATE DATA SHOWS COUNTY SLIPPING TOWARD 'WIDESPREAD' COVID-19 TIER

By Christine Huard, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  Based on data released by the state Sept. 8, San Diego County is headed toward “widespread” status, which will bring back restrictions. Map via https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.

September 9, 2020 (San Diego) - State data released Tuesday shows San Diego County is regressing in its fight against COVID-19, with the number of new cases per 100,000 people reaching 6.9 and the percentage of positive tests at 4.2%, perilously close to slipping into the “widespread” tier like much of the rest of the state.

VALLEY FIRE FORCES SCHOOL CLOSURES, CHANGES IN LEARNING OPTIONS AND MEAL DISTRIBUTIONS

Source: San Diego County Office of Education

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego County Office of Education has published these updates on school closures in rural districts or changes in operations due to the  #ValleyFire .

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

COUNTY LAUNCHES RECOVERY HOTLINE AND EMAIL FOR VALLEY FIRE: FIREFIGHTERS HOLD BLAZE AS HIGH WINDS ROAR IN THIS MORNING

Humane Society seeks donated items to help evacuated animals; school closures continue in fire-affected areas

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Latest evacuation map as of this morning, per Cal Fire

September 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The County of San Diego has established a Recovery Hotline and email to help all those affected by the Valley Fire, which  firefighters held to 17,565 acres overnight. See map left and an additional Google map updated frequently at https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7156104,-116.6375083,11z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m3!15m2!1m1!1s%2Fg%2F11l4m1gzbr?hl=en.

The fire is now 11% contained; however 20 homes and dozens of outbuildings have been lost. Santa Ana winds roared into the region in the middle of the night, with speeds of 54 degrees recorded at Sill Hill near Descanso, 53 in Alpine, 48 in Hauser Mountain and 45 in Potrero. A high wind warning and red flag warning are both in effect.

Recovery info for fire survivors

The Recovery Hotline, (858) 715-2200, will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and through the upcoming weekend.

The Recovery email, ValleyFireRecovery@sdcounty.ca.gov, will also be answered between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and through the upcoming weekend.

After this weekend, messages and emails received after hours will be responded to on the next following business day, Mondays through Fridays. Additional wildfire recovery information and guidance will come as the fire is contained.

TO FIX UP BUSINESS FACADES OR MOVE OUTDOORS IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS, COUNTY HAS A NEW GRANT PROGRAM

East County News Service
 
September 8, 2020 (San Diego) – County Supervisors have established the Business Revitalization and Assistance Grant Program. It will provide business owners in the unincorporated area up to $8,000 to help improve the front exteriors of their buildings or add outdoor workspace. You can apply from October 1 through October 15.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: ANIMALS EVACUATED FROM VALLEY FIRE ARE CARED FOR BY COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES

 

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- San Diego County Animal Services is working with partner agencies to care for animals whisked away from fire danger. Animal Services staff are providing care and refuge for animals at multiple sites.  This video is courtesy of the County, however some information has changed; see below for updates on evacuation of large animals.

ECM PADRES REPORT: PADRES REACH SEASON HIGH IN RUNS WITH 14 AS THEY DEFEAT ROCKIES, TAKE SERIES

By Liz Alper

 

Photo: Wil Myers' grand slam in the first gave the Padres the lead for the rest of the game. Via @padres on Twitter

 

September 8, 2020 (San Diego) - After a nice walk-off win last night, the Padres looked to take the series against the Rockies tonight.  Chi Chi Gonzalez started for Colorado against Mike Clevinger.

FIRE DAMAGES ELECTRIC SYSTEM: SOME RESIDENTS COULD BE WITHOUT POWER FOR A WEEK OR MORE

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Valley Fire has damaged the electric system across numerous rural communities that may be without power for days. Some communities left sweltering without power since Sept. 5 may not have power restored until Sept. 15 in order to repair fire damage. An additional circuit sustained weather damage to equipment.

The prolonged outage includes some circuits in Alpine, Barrett Lake, Buckman Springs, Campo, Dehesa, Dulzura, Jamul, Lyons Valley, Morena Village,  Potrero, and Rancho Palo Verde. With the 17,000 acre wildfire still burning and Santa Ana winds forecast tonight, the outages imperil residents ability to receive emergency notifications, open electric garage doors to evacuate, or pump water to drink or fight spot fires, unless they own generators.

SDG&E has alerted customers and posted estimated dates of power restoration on its outage webpage at https://www.sdge.com/residential/customer-service/outage-center/outage-map. The communities and circuits impacted are listed below. You can find your circuit on your SDG&E bill.

POTENTIAL FOR “DANGEROUS SITUATION” TONIGHT AS HIGH WINDS FORECAST TO FAN VALLEY FIRE WESTWARD

 

Update 8:37 p.m.: The fire is now 11% contained and has burned 17,565 acres.  20 habitable structures have been destroyed and 9 more homes damaged; 25 outbuildings have also been lost.

EVACUATION ORDERS:

Lawson Valley • Japatul Valley • Corte Madera Ranch • Lyons Valley • Carveacre • WiseCarver

EVACUATION WARNINGS:

Pine Valley • Descanso • Alpine • Viejas • Dulzura • Barrett Junction • Potrero

ROAD CLOSURES:

Japatul Rd. & Lyons Valley Rd./Japatul Rd. • Japatul Rd @ Tavern Rd/Dehesa Rd • Lyons Valley Rd & Honey Springs Rd •

Wisecarver Lane @ Wisecarver Truck Trail • Skyline Truck Trail & Lawson Valley • Japatul Rd at Via Asoleado (also at Sequan Truck Trail) • Corral Canyon at Buckman Springs (Buckman Springs is open) • High Glen Rd • Hidden Glen Rd

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Henri Migala and Miriam Raftery

El Capitan High School in Lakeside opened as new shelter for evacuees

Photo, left by Henri Migala: Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Tony Mecham briefs Supervisor Dianne Jacob and supervisorial candidate Steve Vaus after press conference today at Viejas

September 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – At a press conference today held at the Viejas events center in Alpine, fire chiefs and county officials warned the public that Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 50 miles an hour are forecast to hit starting at 8 p.m. tonight – with the strongest winds in the middle of the night. Though firefighters have been working tirelessly battling blames and bulldozing containment lines, prioritizing the fire’s western flank, leaders warn that the winds will fan the fire westward towards Jamul and San Diego.

“The potential is out there for a very dangerous situation,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob (photo, left), who added that she hopes and prays we don’t see another major firestorm like the destructive Laguna fire in 1970, Cedar Fire in 2003 or the 2007 firestorms.

VALLEY FIRE THREATENS CORTE MADERA, PINE VALLEY AS FIRE BURNS EASTWARD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ryan Grothe: 757 air tanker drops fire retardant on Valley Fire

September 7, 2020  (San Diego’s East County) – On the third night of the Valley Fire, the wind-driven fire continues to spread rapidly, burning eastward towards communication towers at Mt. Pinos Mountain and the community of Corte Madera.  View real-time mapping

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