El Cajon

WELCOME, EL CAJON RESIDENTS!

Our El Cajon Living section covers the city of El Cajon and unincorporated El Cajon areas including Fletcher Hlils and Rancho San Diego.

Click here for fascinating facts about El Cajon.  For community and city links, click here.


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ISSA CALLS ON GOVERNOR TO RESUME COSMETOLOGY EXAMS AND ALLOW APPRENTICESHIPS TO HELP BEAUTY SCHOOL GRADUATES GET JOBS

Story and photos by Briana Gomez

Photo: Congressman Darrell Issa meets with Bellus Academy student Jessica Yerkey

March 6, 2021 (El Cajon) – Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego)  visited Bellus Academy in El Cajon yesterday after receiving pleas from students and staff at the beauty and wellness school for help to obtain licenses needed for jobs.

California's State Board of Cosmetology halted licensing exams in March 2020 due to the pandemic. According to Issa and the staff at Bellus, the State Board of Cosmetology is operating at half-capacity due to COVID-19 closures and furloughs, causing some students who graduated during the pandemic to be delayed up to a year in taking their state board exams – a delay that is preventing students from obtaining jobs.  That’s created a backlog of 7,000 graduates waiting for exams now being offered at half-capacity at a limited number of locations.

Issa has sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom calling on the state to come up with a solution to “offer a final licensing exam,” such as waiving requirements for part of the exam to be in-person, or allowing graduates to work under supervision in licensed spas, salons, or barber shops. “Now that the students have fulfilled their obligations, it is time for the State of California to do the same,” Issa’s letter states. 


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SUPERVISORS TO VOTE MARCH 17 ON AMAZON DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2021 (El Cajon) – San Diego County Supervisors will hold a hearing March 17 on construction of a proposed distribution warehouse that the developer plans to lease to Amazon.com.

The site, which is zoned industrial, is located at the northwest corner of Cuyamaca Street and Weld Blvd. near Gillespie Field. Although the County owns the land, the city of El Cajon has land use authority, but has not yet approved the project.

At a Supervisors’ meeting this week, the county delayed action until environmental studies can be reviewed. The County is relying on an environmental review done by the city of El Cajon in 2009 for a separate project, but public speakers contended that an updated environmental impact study is needed along with review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).


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AMAZON AIMS TO BUILD DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

 

February 18, 2021 (El Cajon) - Amazon.com, the world’s largest internet company, has announced plans to build a distribution center in El Cajon.

 

The company is in the permit approval stage to build a new 140,000 square foot distribution center near Gillespie Field, on the west side of Cuyamaca Street and Weld Blvd.


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SPLASHDOWN: EL CAJON SEEKS FUNDS TO ADD WATER PLAY FEATURE TO PARK

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Kids frolic in a spray park at Santee Lakes
 
February 16, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Children in El Cajon may soon have a water feature to play in and enjoy. The City has approved asking staff to come back with proposals and possible funding sources to add a water feature, such as a splashpad or other cost-effective water feature, to Wells Park. 

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VICTIM IDENTIFIED, SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR MURDER IN SINGING HILLS SHOOTING

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Pixabay
 
February 13, 2021 (El Cajon) – The Sheriff’s department has provided an update on the fatal shooting which occurred Feb. 10 at the Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan. The victim has been identified as Dylan Brooks, 28, of Lakeside.  

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EL CAJON ARTIST WINS FIRST PLACE IN WATERCOLOR COMPETITION

Source: San Diego Watercolor Society

 

Photo: “Well at Home,” by Michael Garberick

 

February 11, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Michael Garberick, an artist and resident of El Cajon, won the first-place award in the extraordinarily competitive “New Beginnings” competition for members  held virtually in February 2021, on The San Diego Watercolor Society website, www.sdws.org.


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EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO OUST PLANNING COMMISSIONER HUMBERT CABRERA

By Briana Gomez

January 28, 2021 (El Cajon) – On Tuesday, the El Cajon City Council voted 4-1 to remove Humbert Cabrera from his position as a Planning Commissioner. 

The  meeting also included other items impacting the community, including an update on COVID-19, a proposal to outlaw protests at individual homes,  and a proposal to limit the city’s investment in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.


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HOW THE PANDEMIC LED TO HORSES AND SECOND ACTS

By Mimi Pollack
 
January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) -- 2020 was a strange, difficult, and even transformative year for so many. In my case, the pandemic made me feel very mortal and I decided to start checking things off my “bucket list.” First up was going back to horseback riding after 20 years of not riding or being in the horse world.

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HUMBERT CABRERA FACES POSSIBLE OUSTER OFF EL CAJON PLANNING COMMISSION

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) – The January 26 agenda for the El Cajon City Council includes a proposal to remove Planning Commissioner Humbert Cabrera over alleged conflicts of interest and ethical concerns.

According to a report by Mayor Bill Wells and Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick, the City Council has received complaints about Cabrera in emails and public comments.  The report raises three main areas of concern.


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MARKETINK: EL CAJON COUNCILMAN RETIRES FROM MARKETING CAREER TO PURSUE FORENSIC GENEALOGY

By Rick Griffin

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

January 18, 2021 (El Cajon) - As a young man in his 20s, Steve Goble set a goal to retire from work on his 60th birthday and devote the rest of his life to public service.


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DRIVER WHO DRAGGED AND INJURED EL CAJON POLICEMAN IS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 11, 2021 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police today announced the arrest of the driver who allegedly dragged and seriously injured Officer Nick Cirello on December 14th. The suspect, David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan, was found and apprehended by the Los Angeles Rampart Narcotics Detail. He is charged with attempted homicide.

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FREEDOM RALLY DRAWS DIVERSE CROWD

By Briana Gomez
 
Photo:  Minister Vereta Wilson (@compton_conservative) addresses the crowd
 
December 29, 2020 (El Cajon) – A myriad of diverse, yet mostly unmasked attendees crowded around vendors and made their way toward a makeshift stage decorated with Christmas décor and a podium in front of the El Cajon City Council chambers, where a “Freedom Rally” was held on Dec. 27 in response to Governor Newsom’s recent shutdown of businesses.

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EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL KILLS IDEA FOR AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS IN APARTMENTS TO COMBAT COVID-19

City still has $200,000 in rental, mortgage and utility assistance funds for residents in need
 
By Kendra Sitton
 
December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) — A proposal to give air filtration systems to low-income households put forward by El Cajon City Councilman Steve Goble failed to move forward in a special City Council meeting, where no one seconded the motion. 

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CHILD FOUND SAFE AFTER AUTO THEFT AND KIDNAPPING IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 21, 2020 (El Cajon) – A woman who left the motor running on her vehicle parked in an alley while she unloaded groceries into her apartment at 300 W. Madison Street saw a man steal the vehicle with her 3-year-old child inside.

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EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER DRAGGED, STRUCK BY VEHICLE AND SERIOUSLY INJURED: SUSPECTS REMAIN AT LARGE

Update Jan. 11: El Cajon police announced the arrest of suspect David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan by the Los Angeles Rampart Narcotics Detail.
 
Update Dec. 18:  The officer has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
 
Update Dec. 14, 2020 10 p.m.:  The investigation by El Cajon Police has identified a suspect who is being sought for questioning:  David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan, from Guam is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. 

 
By Miriam Raftery
 
December 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – An El Cajon Police officer is hospitalized in a trauma center in critical but stable condition due to serious injuries sustained at 8:30 a.m. during a traffic stop of a rented black Volkswagen SUV, CA license plate 8LC117.

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HUNDREDS OF SAN DIEGO FAMILIES TO RECEIVE MUCH NEEDED GROCERIES AT ROCK CHURCH EL CAJON AND CITY HEIGHTS FOOD DISTRIBUTION

Partnering with local businesses to connect resources with those in need

East County News Service

December 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- On Thursday, December 10 the Rock Church City Heights campus will also host a food distribution and on Tuesday, December 15th, the Rock Church East County campus will also host their food distribution. All events are free and open to the community.


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BRUSH FIRE ENGULFS HOMES IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

Update 3:50 a.m.Dec. 3 - Forward spread of the fire has been stopped. The fire has held at 25 acres per Cal Fire. Firefighters remain on scene and some road closures remain in effect.

Update 12:40 a.m. Dec. 3:  Cal Fire has issued a map of the fire(right). San Diego Sheriff's Office issuing evacuation orders for following locations: Brabham St. at Jamacha, Wind River Rd. at Sonnett. Dr., Sea Pines R. and Congressional Dr., Sawgrass St. and Medinah Dr. Residents on Hilton Head Rd. east of Jamacha have also been advised to prepare for evacuation.

Update 11:50 p.m.:  A temporary evacuation center is being set up at the Edwards Cinemas at 2951 Jamacha Rd.

The Sheriff reports that the following road closures are in effect: Brabham St/Wind River Rd, Brabham St/Jamacha Wind River Rd/Sonnett St Sea Pines Rd/Congressional Dr Sawgrass St/Medinah Dr

By Miriam Raftery, East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo: Screenshot, ECM news partner 10 News

December 2, 2020 (11:25 p.m.) – A wind-whipped brush fire has engulfed at least three homes in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon tonight. At least 15 acres have burned and the incident commander has reportedly indicated that the fire has the potential to reach 200 acres.

Night-flying helicopters have been dispatched by San Diego Fire & Rescue, joining ground crews from Heartland Fire, Cal Fire, and San Miguel Fire Departments.

The #WillowFire started around 10:30 p.m. in the 2800 block of Willow Glen Drive near Hillsdale Road. Evacuations are in place from Wind River Road to Lim Rock Road.

The SDG&E outage map indicates power has been shut off to portions of Rancho San Diego and nearby communities of Spring Valley, Jamul and Dulzura.


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AUTOPSY CONFIRMS PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY VEHICLE IN EL CAJON INCIDENT DISPUTED BY FAMILY

East County News Service 
 
December 2, 2020 (El Cajon) – An autopsy conducted by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office confirms that Stephan Anthony Harris, 29, of El Cajon died of multiple blunt force injuries caused by being struck by a vehicle on November 25.  The finding refutes claims made by Harris’ family.

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EL CAJON STABBING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On October 23, a family member found Victor Saul Garcia Jr., 33, dead inside his home in the 1100 block of Marlene Avenue in EL Cajon.  El Cajon Police homicide detectives and the forensic lab determined that the victim had been stabbed several times after a struggle.

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A LIFE OF GIVING BACK: AARP CALIFORNIA AWARDS STATE’S HIGHEST HONOR TO FOUNDER OF VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICINE CLINIC IN EL CAJON

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

November 24, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A San Diego man has won AARP California's Andrus Award - the organization's highest honor. At age 85, Stuart Harvey is a retired civil engineer and a founding board member of the Volunteers in Medicine free clinic in El Cajon.


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74TH ANNUAL MOTHER GOOSE PARADE GOES VIRTUAL ON SUNDAY, NOV. 22

 

If you missed the parade you can watch the virtual video here with highlights of the best parades through the years:  https://www.facebook.com/ABC10News/videos/365702947867513

Source: Mother Goose Parade

 

November 16, 2020 (El Cajon) -- East County's holiday favorite Mother Goose Parade, traditionally held the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is going to look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic when it takes place.

Virtually on Sunday, November 22nd, on San Diego's KGTV-TV Channel 10News.com, starting at 1 p.m.  It will be an exciting video montage of past parades so everyone can still enjoy the parade, but safely.

The parade, the largest holiday season parade west of the Mississippi, has been a community tradition for 74 years. Despite having to cancel the celebration, which traditionally winds down the main streets of downtown El Cajon, parade organizers anticipate the broadcast will still be a festive experience marking the beginning of the holiday season.


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EL CAJON TECHNOLOGY SURVEY

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing; CC by SA-NC
 
November 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - The City of El Cajon is currently developing a strategic plan to invest in advanced technologies over the next 10 years. These investments will enhance the relationship between the City and its residents, businesses, and visitors.
 
The city invites residents, business owners and visitors to El Cajon to be a part of this process by taking a brief 5-minute survey. Your feedback will help staff explore ideas and concepts that will help transform the future of El Cajon.
 
To begin the survey, click HERE.

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STATE ORDERS CURFEW NOV. 21-DEC. 21 AS COVID SURGES; COUNTY SHERIFF CRACKS DOWN ON VIOLATIONS INCLUDING IN EL CAJON, DESPITE MAYOR'S HANDS-OFF STANCE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Chart via San Diego County: Surging COVID cases increase stress on healthcare system

November 19, 2020 (San Diego) – California’s Department of Public Health today issued a curfew Nov. 21-Dec. 21 aimed at reducing spread of COVID-19 as cases surge statewide. The County also announced beefed up enforcement efforts, with many cease and desist orders issued in East County, including El Cajon despite the Mayor's pledge not to enforce health rules.

What the curfew impacts

The limited stay home order applies in Purple Tier counties including San Diego. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the order prohibits gatherings with people not in your household either on your property or elsewhere. 

Non-essential businesses must cease operations during the curfew; only activities defined as “critical infrastructure” (COVID19.ca.gov Essential Workforce) may continue.

The curfew does not prohibit individuals or people in the same household from leaving their residence, as long as they don’t interact with people from other households. You can walk your dog, exercise alone or with those in your household, ride your horse, and travel for essential purposes such as medical visits, picking up food or going to the pharmacy. The curfew also does not apply to people who are homeless.


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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.

SOME CHURCHES AND RESTAURANTS FLOUT RULES, OTHERS COMPLY AS PURPLE TIER SHUTDOWNS COMMENCE

 

Story and photos by Jake Rose

Miriam Raftery contributed to this report

 

Photos, left: Parishioners at Skyline Church flock to indoor services, many without masks

November 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Skyline Church in the unincorporated area of La Mesa and Shadow Mountain in El Cajon had full parking lots for Sunday morning services, despite new Purple Tier restrictions now in effect throughout the county.

Purple tier restrictions started at midnight Saturday, due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. Purple tier, or Tier 1, is the most restrictive level for California and comes into play when positive tests exceed 8%. Many non-essential business operations must close, places of worship, restaurants and gyms must move all activity outdoors, and retail must cut capacity to 25%.

With businesses already struggling after the initial lockdown followed by an overall slowdown due to the public’s worry about the coronavirus, this second lockdown has some businesses and places of worship around East County flouting the new restrictions.


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SUSPECT ARRESTED IN SERIES OF EL CAJON HOT PROWL BURGLARIES AND CAR THEFTS

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A man suspected of a series of residential hot prowl burglaries and auto thefts in El Cajon has been arrested. Davon Lee, 20, of El Cajon was taken into custody yesterday by San Diego police while in a vehicle stolen from the site of the most recent burglary.  


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SOME BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES SET TO DEFY SHUTDOWN ORDERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left: Major's Diner in Pine Valley, a long-time roadside stop for travelers also popular with local residents, could not survive another shut down in winter weather, the owner says.

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Several East County business owners and at least one megachurch have announced intentions to defy a new state mandate to shut down indoor services starting Saturday.  In addition, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells says police in his city won’t prioritize enforcement of businesses that remain open despite public health orders.

Places of worship, gyms, restaurants and movie theaters are ordered to stop indoor operations under state mandates due to high rates of COVID-19 that have moved San Diego County into the purple tier.  Retailers are supposed to cut service to 25% capacity and any schools not yet reopened are prohibited from doing so.

Restaurants and bars have been tied to 9.2% of all COVID cases in San Diego County from June 6 through November 7, or 3,666 cases, according to newly released county health data. Even with many modifications, the most recent two weeks of data from October 25 to November 7 show 389 cases tied to restaurants and bars, or 10.01% of total new cases—more than any other specific business category.

Yet some restaurant owners say they’re done with shutdowns and would be unable to survive another shutdown as winter approaches.


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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.

UPDATES ON CLOSE RACES

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As of the Thursday night updates posted by the county Registrar of Voters, East County has several tight races.  The closest is in Santee, where city council candidates Dustin Trotter and Samantha Hurst are separated by just four votes, with Trotter taking the lead after the two were actually tied earlier in the week.

Hurst, a UCSD researcher and instructor, opposes the controversial Fanita Ranch development and supports racial tolerance.  Trotter is a building contractor who has drawn controversy over his involvement with Defend East County, a group recently banned from Facebook, and Working Class Patriot, a group that advocated for people to “pray for peace and prepare for war” on Election Day.


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HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS 2020

Photo by Jill Wellington via Pixabay

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This holiday season is shaping up differently due to the pandemic – but several East County locations are still finding ways to celebrate the season with drive-through holiday light displays, socially distanced celebrating, and virtual visits with Santa. 

La Mesa Holiday in the Village Dec. 5

La Mesa will host its annual Holiday in the Village on December 5th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., including a holiday craft market, with modifications approved by county health officials.


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EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL EXTENDS COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS

Source:  City of El Cajon

November 12, 2020 (El Cajon) - On Tuesday, November 10, the El Cajon City Council unanimously approved extending the City’s COVID-19 relief measures through June 30, 2021. The relaxed rules and fees were set to expire on December 31, 2020. These measures include:


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