El Cajon

EL CAJON POLICE SEIZE LARGE CACHE OF WEAPONS INCLUDING OVER 100 FIREARMS, GHOST GUNS, AND ARMOR-PIERCING AMMO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via El Cajon Police

July 3, 2021 (El Cajon) – A paroled felon prohibited from possessing firearms was arrested on June 28 by El Cajon Police after officers found a massive arsenal of weapons at his home in unincorporated El Cajon.

“Many of the firearms found in Fencl’s home are illegal to possess in the state of California and other parts of the United States,” says Lt. Randy Soulard with El Cajon Police.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES

By Miriam Raftery

Fireworks are back—along with many traditional Fourth of July festivities in San Diego’s inland region, from parades to picnics to patriotic music, rides, games, and more. Find Indepedence Day events and/or fireworks in El Cajon, Julian,Poway, Ramona, Santee and Valley Center.

EL CAJON COUNCIL MOVES FORWARD ON RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDATES, POLICE DEESCALATION AND COVID-19 REOPENING PROTOCOLS

By Briana Gomez

 

View City Council meeting: https://elcajonca.new.swagit.com/videos/122576

 

Photo:  Vice Mayor Gary Kendrick, screenshot from Council video

 

June 11, 2021 (El Cajon) – At its June 8 meeting held in person at 50 percent capacity, El Cajon’s City Council addressed several major agenda items including encouraging transparency in elections by assuring that mayoral and council candidates live in the districts where they run.  In addition, Council members present voiced unanimous support for using $100,000 from the city’s reserves to fund de-escalation training for police and a half million dollars of federal funds to launch a pilot program to outsource responses to non-violent emergencies to social workers. 

EAST COUNTY WATER PURIFICATION PROGRAM GETS $388M FEDERAL LOAN

By Mike Allen
 
Photo:  members of AWP board with Radhika Fox of the EPA
 
June 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County’s largest infrastructure project, the Advanced Water Purification Program (AWP), got a big boost towards its completion this month when it was awarded a $388 million low-rate federal loan.

I-8/SR-67 FULL WEEKEND CLOSURES PLANNED FOR JUNE 11 AND JUNE 18

Weekend detours may cause traffic delays for El Cajon drivers

Source: Caltrans

June 1, 2021 (El Cajon) --  Crews have started bridge repairs at Interstate 8 and State Route 67, requiring two full weekend closures from Friday at 9 p.m. through Monday at 5 a.m., on June 11 and June 18, according to Caltrans.  Motorists are encouraged to avoid the area if possible and to prepare for delays by allowing additional travel time to reach their destinations.

PADRE DAM SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT JUNE 3 ON FUTURE PLANS

By Miriam Raftery

May 28, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- Padre Dam Municipal Water District is currently working on its upcoming Strategic Plan and 5-Year Business Plan. The agency seeks community input during a virtual community workshop on Thursday, June 3rd.

EL CAJON DINNER AND A CONCERT RETURNS: FRIDAY NIGHTS STARTING JULY 2

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 26, 2021 (El Cajon) – Get ready for some rockin’ hot summer music concerts – with dancing.  El Cajon’s Dinner and a Concert Summer Series returns starting Friday, July 2. Concerts will run each Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. from July through October.

SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT USES GENETIC TECHNOLOGY TO SOLVE COLD CASE MURDER BASED ON BODY PARTS FOUND IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO DUMPSTER

By Alexa Oslowski

 

View press conference video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0OPcNHNh70

 

Photo, left: Laurie Diane Potter, murder victim 

May 25, 2021 (San Diego) - The Sheriff’s Office has solved a cold-case murder from 17 years ago, where two human legs were found in a dumpster on Hilton Head Way in Ranch San Diego. Authorities used investigative genetic genealogy to identify the victim and track down her killer. 

WESTBOUND HIGHWAY 94 CLOSED SUNDAY THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHTS FROM AVOCADO BLVD. TO KENWOOD DRIVE

Source: Caltrans

May 14, 2021 (Spring Valley) -- Crews will close all lanes of westbound State Route 94 (SR-94) from Avocado Boulevard/Calavo Drive to Kenwood Drive Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to Caltrans. The westbound SR-94 nightime closures include the on-ramp from Avocado Boulevard/Calavo Drive, the off- and on-ramps at Sweetwater Springs Road/Campo Drive, and the Kenwood Drive off-ramp.

GROUND BROKEN FOR SECOND PHASE OF GROSSMONT COLLEGE SCIENCE, MATH AND CAREER COMPLEX

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

May 13, 2021 (El Cajon) - With the turning of shovels at a groundbreaking ceremony this morning, construction has officially begun at Grossmont College on the second phase of a science, math and career technology complex, which will also house a new Veterans Resource Center.

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR WAKEFIELD PLACEMENT DENIED BY JUDGE HARUTUNIAN

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Merle Wakefield, via San Diego Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force

May 10, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled today that a home in unincorporated El Cajon near Mt. Helix house is not an appropriate location to place a sexually violent predator (SVP).

Superior Court Judge Albert T. Harutunian III said that the house at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive is not appropriate to place sexually violent predator Merle Wade Wakefield. The judge indicated he will deny the placement because the neighborhood is too dense, and the house is too close to other homes with children, according to a press release issued by the Grossmont-Mount Helix Improvement Association (GMIA).

“It is not a safe placement for the community,” Harutunian said.

EAST COUNTY PEOPLE’S FORUM CITES DISPARITIES IN VACCINE ACCESS, CONCERNS OVER REDISTRICTING

By Briana Gomez

May 9, 2021 (El Cajon) - The East County People’s Forum launched by the East County Justice Coalition took place over Zoom on May 4, 2020. The Coalition launched a call for transparent & inclusive city planning in El Cajon.

BUTTERFLY RELEASES RETURN TO WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN IN MAY AND JUNE

East County News Service

May 5, 2021 (El Cajon) – Butterfly season is back.  The Water Conservation Garden invites you to release your very own butterfly each Saturday in May and June from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at its Dorcas E. Utter Butterfly Pavilion and Native Habitat Garden.

SUPERVISOR ANDERSON CALLS FOR REFORMS IN PLACEMENT OF PREDATORS AND COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION

Update May 9, 2021: Supervisors unanimously approved Anderson's proposal.  Read our follow-up coverage.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: map shows disproportionate number of sex offenders placed in East County
 
May 1, 2021 (El Cajon) – Community members held another rally April 28 at Wells Park to oppose the proposed placement of Merle Wakefield and Joseph Badger, both sexually violent predators (SVPs), at 10957 Horizon Hills in unincorporated El Cajon.  Now Supervisor Joel Anderson has announced he will introduce a directive at next week’s County Board of supervisors meeting instruction County Council and the Chief Administrative Officer to fully investigate what he calls “inexcusable and irresponsible weaknesses in the County’s current policies for the notification and placement processes for sex offenders and Sexually Violent Offenders.”

EL CAJON OPENS NEW BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM MAY 3

East County News Service

 

Photo: Creative Commons image via Bing

 

April 30, 2021 (El Cajon) -- On April 27th, the El Cajon City Council voted to allocate a portion of the American Recovery Act funds to support local businesses. $5 million has been designated to the El Cajon Business Grant Program where business owners may select from one of two options and receive up to $15,000 in grant funding.

NEW DOG PARK IN EL CAJON AWARDED PROJECT OF THE YEAR

Source:  City of El Cajon

April 28, 2021 (El Cajon) - The American Public Works Association has named the City of El Cajon’s North Marshall Dog Park as its Project of the Year. The dog park, located adjacent to the El Cajon animal shelter, creates a new space for gatherings and activities.

THE WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS FOR PUBLIC ACTIVITIES

Story and photos by Alexa Oslowski

Click to view a video tour by Angela Kurysh including full interview with Pam  Meisner, or view the embedded video below this story.

April 24, 2021 (El Cajon) - The Water Conservation Garden, a beautiful and serene East County treasure located on Cuyamaca College’s campus, is open to the public for educational and recreational enjoyment.

The Garden hosts events for people of all ages. Adults can enjoy outdoor yoga classes, educational workshops and online seminars. Children can spend time with Ms. Smarty-Plants, a character created by the Director of Operations Pam Meisner.

VALHALLA GIRLS' LACROSSE GOING STRONG

East County News Service

Photo:  sophomore Riley Shaw scores against Ramona. 

April 22, 2021 (El Cajon) - The Valhalla girls' lacrosse team is off to an impressive start to the 2021 season. The East County team has won five of their first six games, with their lone defeat coming in an overtime thriller at Mission Bay. 

COMMUNITY ORGANIZES TO PREVENT PLACEMENT OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS IN HORIZON HILLS NEAR MT. HELIX

 April 9 is deadline for comments to block Badger's release just outside El Cajon city limits

By Henri Migala

April 6, 2021 (Horizon Hills/Mt. Helix) -- The Grossmont Mount Helix Improvement Association (GMIA) hosted a community meeting on Tuesday, April 6, at 5:30, to protest the proposed placement of two sexually violent predators (SVP), Merle Wade Wakefield and Douglass Badger, at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive in their community.

Well over 200 local community members of all ages attended the neighborhood meeting.

GROSSMONT COLLEGE STREAMS THE MAD ONES APRIL 8-17

By Kathy Carpenter

April  2, 2021 (El Cajon) - One of the things that has suffered greatly during the past year is live theatre at all levels. Over the past several months, many theatres have turned to streaming as an alternative to provide you with a form of entertainment, give a few people in the business a little work and serve as fundraisers to keep theatres afloat until they can get back to live performances.  Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre needs your support. The theatre will be streaming "The Mad Ones," a musical coming to your home/device April 8-17, 2021.

THE CONRAD PREBYS FOUNDATION AWARDS $25,000 TO ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE'S CENTER

Source: St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center

 

Photo:  Artist Kristin McKenney shares her woven bookmark with other artists at one of the evening Art Social hour classes.  Kristen used a cardboard loom kit from the Galley to make her brother-in-law this bookmark.

 

April 1, 2021 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC), a nonprofit organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has been awarded a grant from The Conrad Prebys Foundation for $25,000. The grant is designated towards Sophie’s Gallery Virtual Art Program. SMSC was among 121 local arts, education, health, and science projects to receive a combined $78 million in grant funding from The Conrad Prebys Foundation’s inaugural grant cycle. 

MORNING GLORY BRUNCH FROG RACE GOES VIRTUAL TO BENEFIT ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE’S CENTER ON APRIL 17

East County News Service

March 15, 2021 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC) will host its signature Morning Glory Brunch Frog Race virtually this year.  The Virtual Morning Glory Brunch Frog Race will take place on Saturday, April 17, 2021 and will be celebrating the event’s 20th anniversary. All proceeds benefit St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, which educates and empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential. 

The community is encouraged to participate in the frog race by purchasing rubber frogs to be entered in the race. Volunteer “Frogettes” will splash from the end of the pool deck, without touching the frogs, to assist the frogs in reaching the finish line. Winners of the Frog Race will be announced during a live streaming event, and all proceeds from purchased frogs will benefit SMSC’s Garden and Aquatic Programs.   

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. 

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

Update: This was unanimously approved by Supervisors.

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).

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.

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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