El Cajon

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 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:

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR HIT-AND-RUN CRASH THAT INJURED BOY ON BICYCLE IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2018 (Lakeside) – Acting on a tip from the public, El Cajon Police traffic investigators and San Diego Sheriff’s deputies last night visited a Lakeside address, where they found the Blue Honda Fit identified as the suspect vehicle in a hit and run that seriously injured a 9-year-old boy on a bicycle yesterday morning.

After conducting an investigation, officers had a brief stand-off with the suspect, then entered the home and found her hiding under a bed. Courtney Webber, 25, was arrested and booked into the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility on felony charges.

ECM EXCLUSIVE: KALASHO VIOLATES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IN FEDERAL LAWSUIT, PLAINTIFF MARK LANE SAYS



 

Lane claims he and other users are still being blocked and cannot leave comments on Kalasho’s Facebook page

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The peaceful strains of Kumbaya between San Diego activist Mark Lane and El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho could be over.

East County Magazine has exclusively learned that Lane’s attorney, Cory M. Briggs, is planning to inform Southern California U.S. District Federal Court Judge Jeffrey T. Miller that Kalasho is continuing to block Lane and others from his Facebook page in spite of a settlement agreement signed last week between Lane and Kalasho that he would stop the practice.

CITY WARNS KALASHO OVER LEGAL VIOLATIONS USING CITY LOGO AND EMAIL ADDRESS FOR CAMPAIGNING

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell has sent a second letter again warning Councilman Ben Kalasho to cease illegal use of the city’s official seal/logo on his campaign materials.

The letter states that Kalasho is violating FPPC state ethics laws as well as possibly violating Government Code section 8314. The city’s municipal code also prohibits use of the city logo by officials for non-official city business. Kalasho was previously warned in August and again in September, after complaints were lodged, says Mitchell.

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK DRIVER WHO HIT AND SERIOUSLY INJURED CHILD

 

ECM photographer who aided victim gives eyewitness account of accident he calls "heartbreaking," calls for more funds for police to enforce traffic laws

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Suspect vehicle, from surveillance footage

Update October 5, 2018 -- An arrest has been made in this case.  Read details here. 

October 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – A 9-year-old boy on a bicycle was hit and seriously injured this morning while crossing an intersection at Main Street and Sunshine Avenue. Police are seeking a woman described by witnesses as possibly blond and driving a blue hatchback or SUV, possibly a Honda Fit, who fled the scene of the accident.

ECM photographer Robert Gehr was walking home from the post office between 7:30 and 8 a.m. when he saw the boy ride past him, press a button and wait for the green light, then ride across the intersection. He witnessed the vehicle strike the child.

EAST COUNTY EDC HOSTS LARGEST MANUFACTURING EXPO IN SAN DIEGO

 

East County Seeks to Inspire the Next Generation of Manufacturers

Source:  East County Economic Development Council

 

September 30, 2018 (El Cajon) -- San Diego’s East County is kicking off Manufacturing Week by hosting the largest Manufacturing Expo in the County on Tuesday, October 2 at Allen Airways Flying Museum (2020 N. Marshall Ave.) in El Cajon from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Expo brings together over 30 manufacturers ranging from the industrial and aerospace realm to candy and wine makers from throughout San Diego! The event is part of Manufacturing Day, a nation-wide effort to celebrate and showcase modern manufacturing and meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and skilled-workforce.

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK HIT AND RUN ALTIMA DRIVER WHO SERIOUSLY INJURED MAN IN WHEELCHAIR

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 22, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police seek public help to find the driver of a silver Nissan Altima that struck and seriously injured a 58-year-old man in a wheelchair Thursday night around 9:25 p.m. in the 1000 block of East Main Street.

Officers and paramedics responding to a call of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle found the victim unconscious near the center left turn lane, alongside his wheelchair.  He was transported to a hospital with life-threatening head injuries, says Lt. Steve Kirk.

KENDRICK-KALASHO RACE HEATS UP

 

 

Fact check: Kendrick mailer on Kalasho “fraud and sex scandals” is true.

Kalasho removes social media post accusing him of stalking opponent's home -- after being served with federal lawsuit for removing critical posts and violating First Amendment.

By Miriam Raftery

September 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – Redistricting has pitted Councilmembers Gary Kendrick and Ben Kalasho against each other in what’s shaping up to be one of the most contentious election battles in East County’s history.   

A mailer from Kendrick’s campaign warns voters, “Judge ruled against Ben Kalasho in fraud and sex scandals.”  No, that’s not fake news.  The flyer contains actual headlines and excerpts from East County Magazine and the San Diego Union-Tribune documenting the numerous legal findings, allegations and scandals involving Kalasho.

BENCH WARRANT ISSUED FOR ARREST OF JESSICA KALASHO

 

 

Judge issues warrant because of no-show by Councilman’s wife at key court hearing

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 1, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Life got way more complicated on Friday for Jessica Kalasho, wife of embattled El Cajon City Council member Ben Kalasho.

Jessica Kalasho was scheduled to appear on Friday morning at a judgement debtor’s conference in San Diego Superior Court, however she was a no-show--much to the dismay of presiding Judge Timothy B. Taylor and attorney Jimmie Parker. Parker is representing three contestants who participated in a beauty pageant put on by the Kalashos in 2017 and the owners of an El Cajon taco shop. Plaintiffs allege sexual harassment, fraud and defamation by the Kalashos.

HYDROGEN EXPLOSION IN EL CAJON

 

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

August 29, 2018 (El Cajon) -- A fire caused by ignition of hydrogen at a filling station where a hydrogen truck was refueling has prompted evacuation of schools and delays in trolley service in El Cajon.

Heartland Fire advises the public to avoid the 1100 block of W. Bradley (near Cuyamaca) until around 1 p.m. Cuyamaca is closed from Friendship Dr to Vernon Wy & W. Bradley is closed from Cuyamaca to Johnson Ave

Metropolitan Transit Services advises, "Sycuan Green Line trains are turning at Arnele Station & Orange Line trains are turning at El Cajon Transit Center. Expect delays."

COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO PLED GUILTY TO CRIMINAL WORKERS' COMP FRAUD IN 2015, REMAINS ON PROBATION

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho, August 2015

August 9, 2018 (El Cajon)--An exclusive investigation by East County Magazine has uncovered a criminal case in which El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho pled guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud in October 2015 (court case #MD094871).  View full documents.

Kalasho was on probation for his crimes, both misdemeanors, when he ran for and won his seat on the City Council in 2016. He remains on probation until October 1, 2018. He was also fined.

Kalasho has pulled papers to run for El Cajon City Council again in November.   

POLICE SEEK HELP TO IDENTIFY SECOND POSSIBLE SUSPECT IN FATAL EL CAJON STABBING

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 29, 2018 (El Cajon) – A man stabbed in front of a 7-11 store in the 700 block of Jamacha yesterday afternoon died after being transported to a local hospital, says Lt. Walt Miller with the El Cajon Police Department. 

Soon after the stabbing, reported at 2:05 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a burglary at an apartment in the 1200 block of north Mollison.  They took a burglary suspect to a hospital  for medical issues unrelated to his arrest, according to Lt. Miller.

“Investigators are exploring the possibility that this suspect may be related to the stabbing based on a physical description provided by witnesses,” said Miller. That suspect’s identity has not been released. However a second suspect may still be at large.

CITIZENS HELP POLICE NAB SUSPECT AFTER STABBING OF 75-YEAR-OLD MAN IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2018 (El Cajon)—A 75-year-old man suffered multiple non-life threatening stab wounds tonight in an attack at Second Street and East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. Witnesses called police at 7:55 p.m. to report the victim was on the ground near the intersection.

The suspect fled west on Madison, says Lieutenant Jason Taub, adding, “Witnesses were able to keep the suspect under observation and advise the police department of his current location.”

LAW ENFORCEMENT CONDUCTS OUTREACH ON HATE CRIMES GEARED TOWARD EL CAJON’S MIDDLE EASTERN AND MUSLIM COMMUNITY

 

By Briana Ghaffery

July 18, 2018 (El Cajon)— Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo became the victim of a hate crime at a young age, along with his father, who was savagely beaten over a mistaken ethnic identity during a robbery at the Garmo family’s convenience store in El Cajon.

At a hate crimes forum in El Cajon on July 17th, sponsored by the San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and El Cajon Police Department, Captain Garmo told East County Magazine that he hopes to encourage the public to report hate crimes.

“The reason why we’re having this out here in the city of El Cajon is that it has the largest influx of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, and we feel like they need to be educated as to hate crimes,” he said, adding that law enforcement believes hate crimes are under-reported by those who are victimized.

ESTELA DE LOS RIOS: AN ADVOCATE FOR HER COMMUNITY

 

Human rights leader is an organizer of hate crimes forum July 17 in El Cajon

By Mimi Pollack

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) -- As the executive director of CSA-Center for Social Advocates, Estela de los Rios cares about the well-being of the community. She also has a strong sense of justice, which she developed at an early age. As a human rights activist, she strives to make the world a better place and doesn’t want others to feel the pain of discrimination, something she herself has faced in her life.

CSA is a place where people can come and voice their concerns. It is made up of six agencies that provide community services to East County, including fair housing, immigrant and refugee rights, civic engagement, hate crimes, and human trafficking. It is a place that in her words, “embraces newcomers and community.”

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