El Cajon

ECPAC TO BE RENAMED MAGNOLIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2019 (El Cajon) – When the East County Performing Arts Center reopens later this year under management of Live Nation, it will have a new name:  Magnolia Performing Arts Center. Magnolia is the city of El Cajon’ official flower and its image appears in the city’s logo. The center, located on Main Street, is accessed off the Magnolia Avenue exit from Interstate 8.

EL CAJON HONORED FOR PROJECTS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon has received projects awards from  the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Public Works Association (APWA).   The new animal shelter was honored by all three organizations.  Other projects honored including Stony’s Neighborhood Park improvements, sewer and traffic light projects. City Manager Graham Mitchell advised the City Council and Mayor that the city has received the following awards:

WOMAN PEDESTRIAN KILLED IN EL CAJON

 

 

East County News Service

April 22, 2019 (El Cajon) – A woman struck by a Ford Explorer on April 19th in El Cajon succumbed to her injuries at a local hospital.  

El Cajon Police and paramedics responded to the accident in the 800 block of South Mollison Ave. around 7:50 p.m.  Witnesses told officers that the woman, 69, stepped off the curb outside of a marked crosswalk and was struck by the Ford Explorer. The driver of the Explorer, a 58-year-old El Cajon resident, remained on scene and cooperated with authorities, says Lt Stephen Kirk.  Drugs or alcohol are not suspected as factors in the collision.

A SMOKIN’ HOT CELEBRATION AT BUCKBOARD’S BARBECUE & BREW





By Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2019 (El Cajon) – Slow-cooked, wood-smoked meats barbecuing on an old wagon base, or buckboard, filled the air with mouth-watering aromas at a ribbon-cutting held March 20th at Buckboard’s Barbecue & Brew in El Cajon by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.

The restaurant specializes in California smokehouse barbecue, which owner Fadi Shihadeh describes as “Santa Mara-style with a twist” that includes smoke flavor in all meats. They also do catering, if you've got a hankering for barbecue at your next outdoor gathering.

Now located at 975 Greenfield Drive, Buckboard’s moved to El Cajon from San Diego, where it was originally owned by Padres pitcher Randy Jones. The Shihadeh family bought it and ran it for many years, before moving recently to El Cajon.

“This really is a homecoming for us. It feels great to be back,” Shihadeh told ECM during the Chamber event.

CITIZENS ADVSIORY BOARD IN EL CAJON PROPOSES VETTING GUIDELINES FOR CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES AND APPOINTEES

By Paulie Ticking

Special report: April 1, 2019 (El Cajon)—At a community town hall convened today in El Cajon, residents volunteered to form a Citizens Advisory Committee on Vetting City Council Candidates.  

The meeting was convened to propose criteria for filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Councilman Ben Kalasho.

Residents offered some creative suggestions, as our story below details:

HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER WHO STRUCK BOY ON BICYCLE PLEADS GUILTY

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
March 30, 2019 (El Cajon) - Courtney Webber has pled guilty and will be sentenced next month for hitting a 9-year-old bicyclist in El Cajon on October 5, 2018, then fleeing the scene, Times of San Diego reports.
 
ECM photographer Robert Gehr witnessed the accident near West Main and Sunshine.  He raced to comfort the young victim, also providing a description of the vehicle to police.

SUSPECT KILLED IN EL CAJON HAD ATTACKED A SECURITY GUARD, VIDEO AND WITNESS STATEMENTS REVEAL

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
March 29, 2019 (El Cajon) – Surveillance video, a cell phone video and witness interviews are providing new details on a man shot dead yesterday in the 1300 block of East Main St. in El Cajon.
 
The evidence indicates the man was likely trying to burglarize and then carjack a vehicle, says Lt. Royal Bates.  When an off-duty security guard reported the vehicle break-in, the suspect tried to “violently attack” the guard.  The guard told police he then pepper-sprayed the suspect, but it had no effect.

SUSPECT SHOT, KILLED BY MOTORIST IN EL CAJON

 
 
East County News Service
 
March 28, 2019 (El Cajon) – An off-duty security guard interrupted a possible vehicle burglary or carjacking this morning in the 1300 block of East Main Street. The vehicle’s owner became involved and during the altercation, “the vehicle owner fired a handgun, striking and killing the suspect,” says Lt. Royal Bates with the El Cajon Police Department.

BICYCLIST HIT BY SUV, SERIOUSLY INJURED IN EL CAJON

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
March 23, 2019 (El Cajon) – A bicyclist in her 40s who was struck by a sport utility vehicle at Fletcher Parkway and Cuyamaca Street in El Cajon is in a trauma center tonight with serious injuries.
 
Officers from the El Cajon Police department and Heartland Fire Department paramedics responded to calls reporting the collision at 6:25 p.m. They found the victim unresponsive in the street with major injuries. She was transported to a trauma center.
 

EL CAJON GUN VIOENCE ACTIVIST AMONG HONOREES AT PEACEMAKER DINNER APRIL 6

 

 

East County News Service

March 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon resident Bishop Cornelius Bowser will be honored as a Community Hero for his leadership efforts to reduce gun violence. Bowser is among the winners to be recognized by the  National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) atthe 31st Annual Peacemaker Awards Dinner on Saturday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The theme of this year’s event is “Celebrating Human Dignity” honoring individuals and organizations dedicated to peacemaking in their own neighborhoods and around the world. The inspiring event shines a bright light on the importance of civility, peacemaking and social justice in a world filled with conflict. 

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: HUMANITARIANS AL SANATI AND RAMIRO SANDOVAL SPEAK OUT ON EFFORTS TO HELP REFUGEES AND REBUILD IRAQ

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Al Sanati and Ramiro Sandoval

Cllick this audio link to hear our interview, or scroll down to read highlights.

February 23, 2019 (El Cajon) — Al Sanati, director of the War Refugees Group, and Ramiro Sandoval with Hermanos Unidos Sin Fronteras (Brothers United Without Borders) were our guests on our East Count Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ recently.

These humanitarian leaders are fighting for justice and filing suit to win financial reparations from the Iraqi government for1.2 million Iraqi refugees around the world, including over 80,000 in East County. They have also met with top dignitaries in Iraq in an effort to help the nation’s new government rebuild Iraq.

Audio: 

Interview with Al Sanati and Ramiro Sandoval

CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT DESTROYS BOARD MEETING RECORDING DESPITE ECM PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST



Donna Frye, open government advocate, calls district’s actions “morally repugnant;” request follows negative state evaluation of CVUSD schools

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

February 20, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Some local government agencies including many school districts pride themselves on their transparency and openness towards local citizens. Others, such as the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD), would rather operate under a cloak of darkness.

Despite a legally submitted California Public Records Act (CPRA) request made by ECM for a copy of the recording for the Dec. 11, 2018 CVUSD board meeting, the district willfully destroyed the recording without fulfilling our request.

Audio: 

COMMUNITY INPUT SOUGHT FOR PARKS ALONG FORESTER CREEK IN EL CAJON AT WORKSHOP FEB. 26

The San Diego River Park Foundation is seeking feedback about future improvement on Forester Creek

Source: San Diego River Park Foundation

February 20, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Ever heard of Forester Creek?  For many in El Cajon, the answer is no!  But Forester Creek, which feeds into the San Diego River, was once a major natural feature of El Cajon.  Today, much of it is channelized, lined with concrete, and hidden.  Community input is needed to help plan for future improvements and connections to the Creek. The public is invited to a community parks workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m at the Ronald Reagan Community Center (195 E. Douglas St.) in El Cajon.

Local nonprofit The San Diego River Park Foundation believes the Creek has potential to provide opportunities for recreation, nature, and environmental education in El Cajon.  The organization has partnered with the City of El Cajon and received a $320,000 grant from the State of California to complete planning to develop a Recreation Access Plan for Forester Creek, as part of a larger effort to improve the health of Forester Creek.  They have hired Cal Poly Pomona’s Studio 606 Landscape Architecture program to facilitate the planning.

FIREFIGHTERS SAVE HOME FOR FAMILY OF EIGHT IN EL CJAON

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2019 (El Cajon) – Heartland Fire and Rescue crews extinguished a blaze Monday night in the garage of a home in the 1500 block of Condor Ave. in El Cajon.  Residents were reportedly doing laundry when they smelled smoke and found their garage on fire.

Firefighters cut open the garage door to access the flames and were able to douse the fire within 10 minutes, saving the residence where eight people reside.

EL CAJON PROPOSES RULES ON CITIZENS’ FREE SPEECH AT MEETINGS, DOCKLESS SCOOTER LIMITS AND FINING ILLEGAL POT SHOP OWNER

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

January 7, 2019 (El Cajon)--The El Cajon City Council is set to get back to work headfirst after nearly four weeks of holiday vacation on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. Among other items, Council will be addressing free speech by citizens at open comment session, blocking the development of a previously shuttered illegal marijuana dispensary, and regulating dockless vehicles within city limits.

3 EL CAJON BUSINESSES WILL GIVE EAST COUNTY CHILDREN NEW BIKES ON CHRISTMAS EVE



50 New Bikes and Helmets for Military & First Responders’ Children donated by Cartright Pest Control, ASAP Towing and iWash Car Wash

East County News Service

December 23, 2018( El Cajon) –Three El Cajon businesses are joining to give away 50 new bikes and helmets on Christmas Eve to deserving East County children.

The public is invited to the open-house style event which will feature a brisket and pulled pork BBQ cookout provided by Golden Corral of El Cajon, also from 10am-1pm, at Cartwright Pest Control, 1376 Broadway in El Cajon.

EL CAJON RECEIVES $4.8 MILLION TO IMPROVE STREET SAFETY

 

Source: City of El Cajon

December 19, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The City of El Cajon has been awarded $4.8 million in grant funding from Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration. The grants will fund a number of improvements along two busy El Cajon roads—Jamacha Road (which turns into North Second Street) and Madison Avenue. The grant awards aim to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety at these two locations in El Cajon, which has had a high rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in recent years.

EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER OPENING DELAYED

By Paul Kruz, Contributing Editor

December 14, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Residents of El Cajon and the County of San Diego will have to wait awhile longer before the community's theater, shuttered for over a decade, will reopen for performances.

While performing an evaluation of the HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) system at the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC), experts have determined that the system will require complete replacement rather than an overall. Further investigation has found more age-related problems with the roof of the 1,140 seat theater.

JESSICA KALASHO BRINGS OWN ATTORNEY TO HEARING IN FRAUD AND HARASSMENT CASE; BEN KALASHO ARRIVES SEPARATELY WITHOUT LEGAL COUNSEL

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left to right: Linda Charry, Jimmie Parker, Donald Wolf, Jessica Kalasho, and Ben Kalasho  

BEN AND JESSICA KALASHO SLATED TO APPEAR DEC. 7 AT JUDGMENT DEBTOR’S EXAM IN FRAUD AND SEXUAL HARRASMENT CASE

Judge orders bench warrant with $5000 bail to compel Jessica Kalasho to appear after no-show; Kalashos reportedly take post-election vacation, loaned failed campaign $10,000, vow to drop social media

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left: Councilman Ben Kalasho and his attorney, James Finigan

November 30, 2018 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, are slated to return to Judge Kenneth Medel’s San Diego Superior Court room next week for yet another judgment debtor examination, a proceeding used by judgment creditors to find ways to collect a judgment from a defendant. What will be different this time is that Jessica Kalasho may be arrested by the Sheriff’s Department (with bail set at $5000) should she not follow Medel’s order to appear.

The hearing, coincidentally, is set to take place on the U.S.’s “Day of Infamy,” Dec. 7th, the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by Imperial Japan upon the United States which caused the United States to enter World War II. Ominously, Kalasho received a warning from Medel not to rile the judge's "dark side" at the close of the proceeding.

STARS TO SHINE AT MOTHER GOOSE PARADE NOV. 18



World War II paratrooper Tom Rice to serve as Grand Marshal



By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2018 (El Cajon) – The Mother Goose Parade, El Cajon’s most cherished tradition for 72 years, will roll out on Sunday, November 18th starting at 1 p.m. in downtown EL Cajon.   

The theme this year is “The Sky’s The Limit!”  The parade’s Grand Marshal Tom Rice, a 96 year-old World War II Veteran and a former Army paratrooper.  He flew over the skies of Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944, as part of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, called the “Screaming Eagles.” He's been awarded both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart!

In addition to elaborate floats, marching bands, giant inflatable balloon characters, clowns and equestrian entries, there’s also a star-studded cast of child and adult celebrities in the line-up.

Topping the list are Brandon Tyler Russell, best known for his role as Dr. Gregory Williams (aka Baby George/Baby O’Malley) on Grey’s Anatomy, Colton Shires from the daytime soap “Passions,” and two-time Emmy Award winner Vincent DePaul best known for his role as Father Leon on The Bay, British feature film star Scott Butler. (photos)

EL CAJON MAYOR WELLS AND COUNCILMAN KENDRICK THUMP CHALLENGERS

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo by Jesse Kendrick: Mayor  Wells and Councilman Kendrick savor Election Night victories

November 7, 2018 (El Cajon)--El Cajon voters returned Mayor Bill Wells and Councilma/Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick to their positions on the El Cajon City Council on Tuesday night with veritable knockout punches against their challengers.

With 86 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Mayor Bill Wells maintained his lead all evening with 66% (7799 votes) while his challenger, East County businessman Joel A. Scalzitti garnered only 26% (3064 votes). Robert M. Weaver, Jr., in spite of dropping out of the race early and not mounting a campaign because of federal Hatch Act conflicts with his position with the federal government, garnered 8% of the vote with 905 votes.

With nearly 88% precincts reporting, Councilman Kendrick was successful in staving off a challenge from fellow Councilman Ben Kalasho by a landslide. Kendrick got a whopping 85% (3408 votes) with Kalasho only getting 15% (621 votes). 

ECM EXCLUSIVE: EL CAJON COUNCILMEMBER BEN KALASHO SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL USE OF CITY RESOURCES

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 1, 2018 (El Cajon) - El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho today signed a settlement to end his latest legal battle with the city he represents, after his fellow Councilmembers voted unanimously on Monday to sue Kalasho for illegal use of city resources in his campaign to unseat incumbent Gary Kendrick.

The City had intended to bring the matter to the attention of the County of San Diego District Attorney, the California State Attorney General, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH MAYOR BILL WELLS ON HIS REELECTION CAMPAIGN





Listen to our interview by clicking this link



East County News Service

October 26, 2018 (El Cajon)—Mayor Bill Wells sat down for an in-depth interview with East County Magazine Show’s producer Miriam Raftery.

You can hear the full interviewed aired on KNSJ Radio at the audio link, or scroll down for highlights as he discusses his achievements as Mayor and his goals for the city if reelected.

Audio: 

AIRPLANE LANDS ON I-8 IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

October 19, 2018 (El Cajon) – After losing engine power aboard a small plane, a flight instructor took over controls from a student pilot and made an emergency landing on westbound Interstate 8 in El Cajon.  The flawless landing avoided damage to the aircraft, vehicles on the freeway or property; no one was injured.

The pilot, 25, and student pilot, 36, both of San Diego, were inbound to Gillespie Field in El Cajon when the emergency occurred, said Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway patrol.

Two lanes were blocked briefly until the aircraft was pushed to the shoulder, blocking the Mollison Avenue off-ramp which remains closed while the plane’s wings are disassembled for removal from the Interstate.

EL CAJON COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO RANTS AGAINST PRESS, TELLS AUDIENCE TO “NOT SPEAK TO ANY REPORTERS”

Councilman’s wife, Jessica, served with legal suit papers during meeting

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 18, 2018 (El Cajon)--Troubled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho launched into a screed at the conclusion of last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, attacking the local news media during the activities portion of the session. He did not directly name a particular journalist or publication.

He opened by thanking the public for coming to express concerns about the city and have their voices heard, noting that the 3 p.m. meetings are a time when many are working or picking up kids from school.

“It does really say a lot to see so many people come in and speak about genuine issues and concerns – whether if they’re homeless or wanting to bring in more police. I thank you for doing that. This is part of our democracy that we hold dear,” he said. “Your freedom of speech to making these statements – whether they are pro or against. Whether you’re for someone or not it doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t matter the political party. I would even say that we have forgotten how to argue without hating each other. That’s something I think we need to bring back.”

KALASHO CLAIMS ON "LIES VS. FACTS" CAMPAIGN PIECE ARE DETACHED FROM REALITY



By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- In his latest campaign piece titled "The Lies vs. The Facts", El Cajon Councilman Kalasho has made claims that are so outlandish that most can best be described as detached from reality. He urges voters to "don't believe what you hear in the press," despite well documented news articles in East County Magazine, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Reader, and multilple network TV stations on his actions.

His piece derides as “fake news” reports that he is guilty of wrongdoing and fraud, faces sexual harassment claims deemed true by a judge, is accused of threatening people with an attack dog, is under investigation, and paid business fines.

Here are the actual documents from official government agencies, court records and more proving that all of these facts reported are the media are not "fake news," but provably true:

Pages