El Cajon

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS TOUR MIGRANT CHILDREN DETENTION FACIITY IN EL CAJON, DENOUNCE SEPARATION FROM PARENTS

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Photo: Congressman Juan Vargas, right, and Congresswoman Susan Davis, left, arrive at child detention facility in El Cajon.

June 18, 2018 (El Cajon, CA) – San Diego Congressional members Susan Davis and Juan Vargas joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members of the Hispanic Caucus in touring three local facilities holding child immigrants, including a fenced facility in EL Cajon with 65 migrant boys, 10 percent of whom were forcibly separated from their parents by the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all undocumented parents.  In the past six weeks, the federal government has acknowledged taking away over 2,000 children from parents at the border, including infants and toddlers.

“The United States should have a zero tolerance policy for the immoral treatment of children,” said Rep. Davis (CA-53), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee whose district includes part of El Cajon. “We are a nation of values and we ask our men and women in uniform to defend those values every day. This policy is in no way consistent with those values.”

PLANS FOR PROPOSED DOWNTOWN EL CAJON CREMATION FACILITY GOING UP IN SMOKE

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left, by Paul Kruze:  Mortuary, shown on right.

 June 16, 2018 (El Cajon) -- A downtown El Cajon mortuary owner’s plans to add a crematorium to his existing mortuary business was upended on Thursday when the City of El Cajon Planning Commission staff recommended that the Planning Commission deny his application for a second time.

PASSPORT THROUGH TIME FUN RIDE JUNE 23 ALONG HISTORIC HIGHWAYS IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

Click here to listen to our interview on Passport Through Time with Eric Lund, president of the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, recorded in May and originally aired on KNSJ radio.

By Miriam Raftery

June 12, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce invites you to join in the Passport Through Time fun ride on Saturday, June 23 along Historic Highways 67, 78, 79 and 80 in San Diego’s East County.  Cars, motorcycles and other vehicles are welcome to participate.

The ride begins at 8:30 a.m. at Indian Motorcycle in El Cajon.  First stop is the Lakeside Rodeo grounds. Next, you’ll head north into the mountains through Ramona with a stop at the Oasis Camel Dairy, into Julian and a visit to the Julian Mining Company, down to Descanso and the Perkins Market, then on to Dana's Boutique, followed by the beautiful Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs before ending up at Por Favor for lunch in El Cajon at noon.

Audio: 

VIDEO SHOWS THIEVES STEALING $200,000 IN JEWELRY: EL CAJON STORE OWNER UNINSURED FOR LOSS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot from surveillance video, courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

March 16, 2018 (El Cajon) – The owner of Forever Fine Jewelry has suffered a devastating loss after thieves stole $200,000 worth of gold and silver jewelry. A group of nine people, including five men and women with babies, distracted the owner while a woman dressed in black, shown on surveillance  video, crawled on the floor to snatch jewelry from display cases and a safe in a back room, 10 News reports.

The owner, an Iraqi immigrant who came here a decade ago,borrowed money from family to start the business and had no insurance for the losses, NBC 7 reports.

COUNCILMAN KALASHO FACES NEW ACCUSATIONS OF FRAUD OVER ALLEGEDLY FALSE REAL ESTATE DOCUMENT FILINGS

 

By Paul Kruze

March 9, 2018 (El Cajon) -- As though the water couldn’t get any hotter for embattled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho, he is now facing accusations that he is illegally shielding his personal assets, prior to an anticipated August trial on allegations that he sexually harassed two beauty pageant participants in 2016, among other claims.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jimmie Davis Parker, asserts that Kalasho made false real estate filings in order to hide assets that could potentially be sought to satisfy a legal judgment, should Kalasho lose the case. (View documents.) 

Filing false real estate documents is a felony crime in California, though it is not yet determined whether the allegation is true.

LIVEN UP WINTER WITH THESE TEMPTING NEW CONCOCTIONS AT BLACK ANGUS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

February 24, 2018 (El Cajon) – What better way to brighten up those mid-winter doldrums than with some cheery new cocktails, a sweet and spicy appetizer, Alaska King Crab combo dinner and decadent new dessert now available at Black Angus restaurants?

TRANSLATOR WHO HELPED U.S. MILITARY SAVES BABY FROM FIRE, BUT HIS FAMILY IN EL CAJON LOSES EVERYTHING

 

 

Hear our interview  on KNSJ ith Mandy Mattis, No One Left Behind, on the Shurish family, how you can help this local hero and other translators relocated here after risking their lives to help Amreican troops.

By Miriam Raftery

February 1, 2018 (El Cajon) – Targeted by the Taliban for helping the U.S. military as a translator in Afghanistan, Ahmed Shurish fled his homeland with his wife and children, leaving everything else behind.  They arrived here just seven months ago, building a new life in El Cajon.

But now his family has once against lost everything, this time in a fire in which Shurish heroically saved his neighbor’s baby from the flames. So the community is pulling together to help this hero and his family rebuild their lives yet again.

ANNUAL CUYAMACA COLLEGE POW-WOW SET FOR FEB. 3

 

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

January 26, 2018 (El Cajon) - Cuyamaca College’s Native American Student Alliance is hosting its 4th Annual Powwow on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Communication Arts complex quad in the center of the picturesque Rancho San Diego campus. The free, public event celebrates American Indian culture with a variety of activities including bird singing, gourd dancing and storytelling steeped in spiritual significance.

TRAVELING STORIES BUILD A LOVE OF READING FOR CHILDREN IN EL CAJON

 

 

By Jillian Hymer

January 26, 2018 (El Cajon) – At a StoryTent pitched outside the El Cajon Library last week, children listened to stories read aloud and enthusiastically chose books to read. It’s all part of Traveling Stories, a local nonprofit that focuses on “inspiring children to learn to read so they can read to learn.”  You can bring your children ages 2-12 to weekly readings at three locations in San Diego County, including the El Cajon Library each Wednesday from 3:30-5:30 pm.

A StoryTent is set up where staff members, volunteers and parents all pitch in to “empower kids to outsmart poverty…by helping kids fall in love with reading by the 4th grade,” said Hezhi Naseem, the Field Director.

COUNTY ENDS HEPATITIS EMERGENCY; EL CAJON BAN ON FEEDING HOMELESS IN PARKS ALSO ENDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

After four weeks with no new cases associated with the local hepatitis A outbreak reported, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday ending the local public health emergency which began September 1st.

El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick advised East County Magazine today that sunset language in its temporary ban on feeding the homeless in public places means the measure has officially expired, effective immediately.  So it’s now legal once again for organizations to feed the homeless in El Cajon’s parks or other public property.

COMMUNITY MOURNS LOSS OF CHUCK HANSEN, CIVIC LEADER AND FORMER VIEJAS VICE PRESIDENT

 

Update: Services are scheduled for February 8 at 11 a.m. at Foothills Christian Church. 365 West Bradley in El Cajon.

By Miriam Raftery

January 18, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Charles “Chuck” Hansen passed away suddenly on Monday night, January 15th.  A civic leader active in many organizations for decades, Hansen mentored and befriended many people , leading numerous charitable efforts as well as promoting East County.

He is remembered by San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Eric Lund as a community icon whose “years of knowledge and experience has helped to make San Diego East County a better place to live, work and play.”

INTERNATIONAL PRESS REPORTS ON EL CAJON ARRESTS FOR FEEDIING HOMELESS IN PARK; ACTIVISTS THREATEN LAWSUIT AS CITY STANDS BY ITS BAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2018 (El Cajon) – The arrests of a dozen activists at Wells Park in El  Cajon for defying the city’s ban on feeding homeless people on public property over Martin Luther King Jr. birthday weekend has made news around the world.  Headline stories have been reported in the BBC in England and Canada, Britain’s the Guardian newspaper,  MSN,  Huffington Post, and other national and international media.

A national petition on the Care2 site calling on El Cajon to end the ban has been signed by 37,000 people.

Yesterday the city has issued a statement standing behind its actions as appropriate to prevent spread of Hepatitis A during a countywide health emergency. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)has also issued a statement condemning the arrests as “unconstitutional and “cruel.” Activists arrested and their attorneys also held a press conference denouncing the ban and threatening legal action.

EL CAJON POLICE ARREST PEOPLE FOR FEEDING HOMELESS IN WELLS PARK ON MLK WEEKEND

 

By Paul Kruze and Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot from video on James Elia’s Facebook page

 

January 14, 2018 (El Cajon)—Defying a city of El Cajon ban on feeding homeless people in public places,  dozen individuals including a 14-year-old minor were arrested and given misdemeanor citations by El Cajon Police today, then released.

The feeding was one of many held around the country this weekend to carry on the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who in a 1964 lecture to Nobel laureates voiced concerns about those who “have no houses or beds to sleep in.“ Rev. King added, “If we feel this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungry, to see men victimized with starvation and ill health, when we have the means to help them.”

El Cajon’s City Council voted to adopt a temporary ban on feeding the homeless in public places during the countywide hepatitis emergency declaration, since there have been many cases among the homeless in the outbreak, which county health officials believe originated in El Cajon.

THE NEW TAX LAW AND YOU: REP. SUSAN DAVIS TO HOLD INFORMATION FORUM ON JAN. 13 AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

East County News Service

January 11, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis will be hosting a tax information forum at Grossmont College on Saturday, January 13 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Grossmont College (8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon) in the Griffin Gate Auditorium.

Congresswoman Davis will be bringing together experts to discuss the larger implications of the new tax law and how to navigate the changes.  The event is intended to provide information and answer questions.  Following brief remarks, speakers will be available for a Q&A session and resource tables with helpful information will be present throughout the event.

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

 

By Paul Kruze

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

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

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

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

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

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2017 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells was our guest for an in-depth interview on our radio show last week.  You can hear the full interview, originally aired on KNSJ, by clicking on the “audio” link.  Our topics included the performing arts center, a major new goal for helping the homeless, and economic revitalization in the community.

Mayor Wells shared details about the city’s exciting new partnership with Live Nation to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center.  The Mayor, who plays several musical instruments, recalled how music made a big difference in his own life.  “It was the first thing I was really good at,” he reflected, also sharing a humorous anecdote about how he talked his way into the school band as a youngster growing up.

Audio: 

ONLINE STING OPERATION LEADS TO 2 ARRESTS FOR ATTEMPTED SEXUAL ASSAULT ON A JUVENILE IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

December 23, 2017 (El Cajon) – “The internet has enabled endless positive opportunities for time saving applications, navigation and access to news and information that could never be possible without it.  But it also provides access for predators to monitor and interact with unsuspecting juvenile and adult victims,” says Lieutenant Rob Rainsweiler with the El Cajon Police Department. “In this case, an El Cajon Police Detective was able to locate these two suspects who were using the internet to arrange to have sex with what they believed was a 13 year old girl.  They arranged to meet her at a hotel in El Cajon where they were contacted and arrested. “

The suspects arrested are Amer Jamil Mansour, 60, and Salman Dawood Salman, 63. 

EL CAJON APPROVES LANDMARK AGREEMENT WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Landmark vote sets path to reopen theatre in 2019 for headline acts, though community groups’ use of theatre may be limited

By Paul Kruze

Photo by Miriam Raftery, left: Arich Berghammer, Live Nation, addresses Council prior to historic vote

December 20, 2017 (El Cajon) -- After many community discussions, public meetings and  frustrations over the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) remaining closed for nearly the past decade, the El Cajon City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary draft agreement for City Manager Doug Williford to ink worldwide concert producer Live Nation as the new manager of the theatre. (Councilman Ben Kalasho was absent, citing an emergency.)

Prior to the landmark vote which longtime councilmember Gary Kendrick has characterized as “the most important vote and the biggest thing to happen to El Cajon. Everybody wins.” He added that Live Nation “has the Midas touch. Every performing arts center they touch turns to gold.”

PLANE CRASH IN EL CAJON

 

 

 

Update December 19, 2017:  The plane had taken off from Gillespie Field when the pilot reported engine trouble. He was trying to return to the airport when the crash occurred. Two of the three men aboard were officers with the Huntington Beach Police Department. The two officers have been released from the hospital, according to the Orange County Register, but the third man remains hospitalized.

East County WIldfire & Emergency Service

Photos by John Sulser

December 17, 2017 (El Cajon) -- A single engine plane has crashed near Gillespie Way and Weld in El Cajon, close to Gillespie Field, El Cajon Police report.

Witnesses report a pilot, copilot and passenger escaped before the plane caught fire and have been transported to a hospital.

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS PAINTS POSITIVE PICTURE IN STATE OF CITY ADDRESS

 

 

 

by Paul Kruze

Hear audio of Mayor Wells’ State of the City address

 

December 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells painted a positive picture of his city in his annual “State of the City” address at the City Council Chambers on Tuesday.

Wells began his address saying that for the past several years, the City of El Cajon has attempted to create a new atmosphere for its businsses, residents, and visitors. He said that in 2017 the city had made significant progress towards this goal. “New and exciting things are continuing to happen for El Cajon, and more is yet to come,” he stated. “The City of El Cajon is taking enormous strides to improve the quality of life liveability of the city for residents and businesses. The city is engaged in major economic development making our city more effiicient, increasing the safety of the community, and rebranding El Cajon as a family friendly place.”

GLORIA, HE IS BORN: CONCERT DEC. 10 AT LDS CHURCH IN EL CAJON

 

 

By Paul Kruze

December 9, 2017 (El Cajon) --  ““Gloria! He is Born!” A Musical Celebration Of the Birth of Jesus Christ” will be presented by the El Cajon Stake Choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at the El Cajon Stake Center located at 1270 So. Orange Avenue (off Chase Avenue) in El Cajon. There is no admission charge for the event.

 Under the direction of Marilyn White-Harris, the choir will perform a number of favorite Christmas carols along with several carols with audience participation.

WHY I VOTED FOR THE TEMPORARY BAN ON THE FREE DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN PUBLIC SPACES

 

By Steve Goble, Councilmember in the City of El Cajon



November 21, 2017(El Cajon) -- Some voices, especially from outside the City of El Cajon, have mischaracterized the City’s temporary prohibition on feeding the public in public spaces.  I thought I’d address here why I voted for the temporary ordinance and attempt to clear up any misunderstandings which have been distributed on social media and spoken in public forums.

THE SHOWS WILL GO ON: EL CAJON POISED TO COMPLETE DEAL WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

By Paul Kruze

November 20, 2017 (El Cajon) – Since the East County Perform Arts Center shut down  in 2010, many East County residents have been frustrated with the slow pace of completing repairs and finding new management.

Finally, at last Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council hearing, residents heard the news they’ve long been waiting for. Mayor Bill Wells and City Manager Doug Williford announced that a preliminary five year management agreement for the theater has been reached with Live Nation, a Beverly Hills-based live-events company focused on producing worldwide concert and entertainment-show promotions.

Details of the final agreement are expected to be shared at the next meeting and approved by the City Council. The vote will mark the culmination of some one-and-a-half years of negotiation by Williford.

TWO WOMEN BRUTALLY STABBED IN EAST COUNTY; SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER FLEEING IN BLOODY CAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

November 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – A man suspected of savagely stabbing a female delivery driver, 35, this morning at a convenience store in La Mesa has been taken into custody.  Sheriff’s deputies are investigating whether he may be linked to another woman found stabbed this morning in El Cajon.

The chilling sequence of events began shortly after 3 a.m. when a Frito Lay delivery truck driver was stabbed repeatedly outside of the 7-Eleven store on Avocado Boulevard in unincorporated La Mesa.  She staggered into the store, where she collapsed after telling a clerk she’d been attacked, 10 News reports.

LEGAL FILINGS TIE KALASHO TO FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS USED TO SMEAR TACO SHOP, OFFER DETAILS ON “FAKE” NUDE BEAUTY QUEEN PHOTOS

 

Kalasho claims he’s being framed by beauty queens and taco shop owner suing him;

Kalasho’s wife admitted visiting friend In Cerritos, when the allegedly fake nude beauty queen photos were posted online from her friend’s home

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2017 (El Cajon) – Today, plaintiffs suing El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho filed an anti-SLAPP motion asking that Kalasho’s countersuit against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop be dismissed as retaliatory and violating their First Amendment rights to speak to the press about their case.   

California’s anti-SLAPP statute prohibits public officials from filing what are known as SLAPP suits to retaliate against members of the public for exercising their free speech and right to petition the government for redress of grievances.  Kalasho’s countersuit took issue with plaintiffs talking to the media, specifically the Reader, about their case.

KALASHO THREATENS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE—AND LOSES NONPROFIT STATUS OF HIS BEAUTY PAGEANT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho has escalated his war on media outlets that have published factual investigative reports on his business, political, legal and ethical controversies.

After first threatening litigation against the San Diego Union-Tribune and ridiculing its reporters, Kalasho has now threatened to sue East County Magazine (ECM), though he has not disputed the accuracy of any specific points in our reports. He has also made provably false, defamatory and malicious statements about our media outlet and reporters, as we have documented clearly in this article.

Ironically, amid his baseless efforts to smear our reputable nonprofit, his own nonprofit beauty pageant has had its nonprofit status revoked by the State of California following ECM's inquiries to state regulators, the Attorney General confirmed to ECM.

AUTHORITIES SEEK MAN WHO STRANGLED WOMAN ON TRAIL IN RURAL EL CAJON: $1,000 REWARD OFFERED



Source: San Diego Sheriff

October 21, 2017 (El Cajon) –A $1,000 reward is offered for information leading to arrest of a suspect who assaulted and strangled a  woman last night on a hillside trail east of Starlight Mobile Home park iat 351 East Bradley n unincorporated El Cajon. The victim reported that the suspect wrapped a cable-like rope around her neck, nearly causing her to lose consciousness.

Fortunately she was able to escape from the suspect’s hold; she last saw him running toward the hillside, says Sergeant Miguel Lopez.

Sheriff’s dispatch received a 911 call at 9:16 p.m. Friday night, October 20th reported the assault with a deadly weapon. The suspect was described as a black male, approximately six feet tall, in his mid-thirties wearing a blue plaid shirt and baggy jeans.

KALASHO DEFIES EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL RULE ON WIRELESS DEVICES; COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES CRACKDOWN ON MARIJUANA

Story, videos and photos by Paul Kruze

October 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – An outburst and verbal kerfuffle between El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Councilman Ben Kalasho at the end of Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting almost overshadowed an earlier unified 5-0 decision to ban outdoor growing  of marijuana by individuals and increase penalties for illegal commercial marijuana dispensaries and commercial growing facilities within the city limits of El Cajon.

A TALE OF TWO OKTOBERFESTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 7, 2017 (El Cajon) – Crowds flocked to Oktoberfests in El Cajon and La Mesa for bratwurst, beer, and festivities. The two community events differed sharply, with the German-American club’s event at its headquarters in El Cajon focused on authentic offerings such as a German band and Bavarian pastries, while La Mesa added some international elements and carnival attractions.

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