El Cajon

29% OF CAJON VALLEY SCHOOLS ARE FLAGGED BY STATE AS NEEDING SUPPORT; SUPERINTENDENT SAYS STATE’S DASHBOARD MEASURES “WRONG METRICS”

For second year in a row, CVUSD schools are flagged by state for troublesome school performance issues.   

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

May 24, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Listening to Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) Superintendent  David Miyashiro’s “State of the Schools” address on Jan. 15, one might think that all of the district’s education programs are successful and that its student body is thriving. However, a report released in early December by the California Department of Education’s California Classroom Dashboard indicates that despite innovative career path programs, students at 8 of 27 district schools are not measuring up when it comes to college readiness.

FORMER TEACHER AT CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL IN EL CAJON ARRESTED FOR RAPES

 
 
East County News Service
 
May 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – The Sheriff’s Department arrested Dustin Sniff, a.k.a. Dustin Stevens, a former teacher at Christian High School in El Cajon, on May 15. He is charged with rape and sexual assault of a minor. Six victims ranged from 16 to 22 years of age, including two of his students.

ATTORNEY CORY BRIGGS REPRESENTS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE IN ACTION AGAINST CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

“Based on your agency’s history of deleting audio recordings of board meetings, it has become necessary for reporters to record the meetings because your agency cannot be trusted to carry out this basic governance function.Now that all board members are on notice of the fact that the public must perform this function, any member’s participation in a meeting at which the public has been thwarted in its efforts to make a recording will subject the member to criminal prosecution.” – Attorney Cory Briggs, in a letter to the CVUSD.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  ECM's recording device, a cell-phone sized recorder on a small tripod next to the front left seat, is clearly not obstructive or disruptive at the May 7 board workshop.

May 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – “Despite lawfully occupying open seats in the front  row, reporters have been threatened with arrest, removal, or both if they did not move to the back of the room,” states a letter sent by Attorney Cory Briggs of Briggs Law Corporation to Cajon Valley Union School District yesterday on behalf of East County Magazine. His letter makes clear that such conduct is “flatly illegal.”

On May 7, Ryan Love, safety and security officer for the district, ordered ECM contributing editor Paul Kruze and editor Miriam Raftery to move to the back, where we explained that audio recordings would not turn out due to noise from an air conditioner and the audience. We refused to comply with this illegal request. 

On May 14, Love again demanded that Kruze move from the front row to the back, and Kruze again refused. Kruze says he was told that an El Cajon Police officer would be called to arrest him.

EL CAJON’S FREE MOVIES IN THE PARK LINEUP ANNOUNCED FOR SUMMER

 

 

East County News Service

May 8, 2019 (El Cajon) — El Cajon’s popular movies in the park are coming back due to popular demand.  You can enjoy nine summer movies from June through August (free!) at parks across the city. Below is the schedule of movie showings:

SUPERINTENDENT MIYASHIRO BLASTS STORY ON OTERO CONTRACTING CONTROVERSY, DECLINES TO TAKE ANY ACTION TO ADDRESS DISCLOSURE OR CONFLICT OF INTEREST ISSUES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

 

May 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – Cajon Valley Union School District Superintendent David Miyashiro, Ed.D., sent a blistering editorial in an e-mail to East County Magazine, board members and others blasting our article on board President Tamara Otero’s failure to disclose that her son owned a company that received a $665,000 contract.   He did not list any actions planned to address Otero’s lack of disclosure and transparency.

DRIVE-BY SHOOTING INJURES VICTIM IN EAST COUNTY; AUTHORITIES SEEK WHITE SUV

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – The driver of a white Ford Explorer or Expedition SUV fired a shotgun into a vehicle on Los Coches Road in unincorporated El Cajon near the I-8 freeway shortly before midnight last night.  Shotgun pellets struck a rear passenger in the face and head.

HOTEL FIRE IN EL CAJON INJURES MAN

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 6, 2019 (El Cajon) - Firefighters rescued a man in a burning hotel in El Cajon early this morning.
 
Heartland Fire & Rescue crews from El Cajon, with assistance from Santee Fire and San Miguel Fire, were dispatched to the fire at the Relax Inn in the 1200 block of W. Main Street at 5 a.m.  Fire crews arrived within five minutes to discover smoke and fire coming from a downstairs bedroom. 

22 APPLICANTS SEEK TO FILL EL CAJON COUNCIL VACANCY: INTERVIEWS SET FOR MAY 14

By Miriam Raftery

May 2, 2019 (El Cajon) – The vacancy left on the El Cajon City Council by the resignation of Ben Kalasho has generated strong community interest.  Applications have been received from 22 residents, all seeking to fill the seat. They range from prominent individuals including a former mayor to community activists, members of the planning commission, and a retired police officer who received a Medal of Valor. They bring a diverse range of views and visions for  El Cajon as well.

The City Council will interview applicants at the May 14 meeting at 7 p.m.  Earlier, at the 3 p.m. meeting, Council members will discuss procedures for choosing the next Councilmember, who will fill the at-large seat held by Kalasho until the 2020 election.

The applicants are, in alphabetical order, are listed below along with highlights from their applications:

HOMELESS COUNT SHOWS 6% DROP COUNTYWIDE: HOMELESS RISES IN RAMONA AND EL CAJON BUT DROPS IN SPRING VALLEY

 

Updated with corrected figures for El Cajon, where homelessness rose and a higher percentage are without shelter than last year.

By Miriam Raftery

May 2, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – For the second year in a row, the annual Point-in-Time homeless count for 2019 found a 6% drop in the number of homeless people living on the streets and in shelters across San Diego County.  The count found a 1% increase in those who are sheltered and a 10% decrease in those left unsheltered.

DRIVER SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS FOR INJURING BOY ON BIKE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery 

April 29, 2019 (El Cajon) - Courtney Webber has been sentenced to three years in prison for hitting a 9-year-old bicyclist in El Cajon on October 5, 2018, then fleeing the scene, Times of San Diego reports.  Webber pled guilty to the crime.

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 at 975 Greenfield Drive.

“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;” records 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.

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