December 2012 Articles

More December 2012 Articles

SUPERVISORS BREAK GROUND FOR NEW REGISTRAR OF VOTERS HEADQUARTERS

December 21, 2012 (San Diego)--County supervisors broke ground this afternoon for the new Registrar of Voters (ROV) building, the final piece of the puzzle in a years-long project to redevelop the County’s 47-acre operations center in Kearny Mesa.

“By this time next year, we expect to announce the grand opening of yet another high-quality, energy-efficient, public building in keeping with the rest of this award-winning campus,” said Board Chairman Ron Roberts. “This multi-purpose structure will provide a flexible election processing workspace and provide a light, bright and comfortable environment for voters, the general public and employees.”  

 

From left to right: Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Supervisor Bill Horn, Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer, Board Chairman Ron Roberts, Registrar Deborah Seiler, Supervisor Greg Cox, Incoming Registrar Michael Vu

THE "MIRACLE" OF RECOVERY: TREATMENT EXPERT HAS MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR ADDICTS AND THEIR FAMILIES

By Anthony Moreno

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) -- Not many people would give their personal cell phone number out on live television, but Jeanne McAlister, Founder and CEO of McAlister Institute, will do whatever she can to get someone suffering from substance abuse into treatment.  She founded the institute, a 501(c)(3), in 1977. Thirty-five years later, it operates 25 drug treatment programs throughout San Diego and is one of the largest and most diverse AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) treatment providers in the county.

SANTEE HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR WINS BBB AWARD

December 20, 2012 (Santee) – The San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) has announced that Santee resident Kay Toma, a senior attending Francis Parker High School, has been awarded a $1,500 cash scholarship from the BBB after writing a 400-word essay on the importance of ethics and integrity in the community.

BE AN INFORMED CHARITABLE GIVER THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: TIPS ON WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN DONATING

Provided courtesy of Daniel P. Harris, Senior Vice President, Regional Manager, Philanthropic Services at Wells Fargo

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) – You might be surprised to learn that 73% of charitable giving comes from individual contributions – five times more than corporate donations. Now more than ever organizations are relying on nonprofit giving for support, particularly during the holiday season. Fortunately, the holidays are traditionally a time when people feel more inclined to be generous.

Some give as opportunities arise, while others donate to specific organizations based on the cause. Regardless of your motives, it’s important to be well informed about the organizations you will contribute to. By doing so, you can make sure your money is used for its intended purpose and avoid scams.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: CHRISTMAS DAY SAFETY - IT'S HERE!

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) – Well Christmas is officially here! The last couple weeks we have focused on both outdoor and indoor holiday safety. Christmas day will arrive soon and there’s a few additional safety tips to be aware of!

We’re going to be cooking more over the next few days and on Christmas. Be careful wearing loose clothing around open flames on the stove. Use a timer and use “post it’s” to remind yourself of cooking times in the oven (were going to be distracted more this week than ever). Do not cool hot pans with water if grease is in the. Have a fire extinguisher near-by and know how to use it. A lid placed over a pan on fire will remove oxygen and put the fire out! Be careful using candles at the dinner table (especially if toddlers are present).

SDG&E COMPLETES DESERT SOLAR POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

By Miriam Raftery



Environmentalists voice concerns over impacts on desert views and habitat

December 20, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced on Monday the completion of two new long-term power purchase agreements in Imperial Valley totaling 40 megawatts (MW) of solar energy. The power is to be produced in Brawley and Calipatria with diverse business enterprise (DBE) participation. 

“SDG&E has made a concerted effort to increase the number of diverse-owned suppliers we do business with in electric procurement,” said Matt Burkhart, SDG&E’s vice president of electric and fuel procurement. “

LOCAL UNIONS HELP 500 FAMILIES HAVE CHRISTMAS DINNER AND TOYS FOR THEIR CHILDREN

By Nadin Abbott

December 18, 2012 (San Diego)-- it was raining and it was cold this morning at Qualcomm Stadium, as union members prepared to give 500 families the  fixings for a Christmas Dinner and toys for their children.

One of the recipients was Veronica, who did not share her last name. She is a member of the ATU, local 1309. She drives  transit buses for a living. We just talked for a second. But the problem Veronica has, like many other low income families in San Diego, is that she does not get enough hours to make ends meet. She is a mother of several children.

HOLIDAY CLOSURES FOR EL CAJON OFFICES

December 20, 2012 (El Cajon) – An extended holiday closure is planned for City offices from December 21, 2012, through January 1, 2013.  This includes City Hall, the Recreation Centers, the Public Works Yard and Fire Administration offices. Regular office hours will resume on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. 

The El Cajon Police Station will be closed December 24, December 25, December 31 and January 1.  They will be open December 26, 27, and 28. 

FIRE RESTRICTIONS REDUCED ON THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) – Effective Tuesday morning at 6:00 am, December 18, 2012, fire restrictions on the Cleveland National Forest were reduced to the “General Level.” The recent rain and cooler temperatures have lessened likelihood that small fires will become larger fires.



“While the height of our fire season may be coming to an end, we urge that people stay vigilant to prevent wildfires,” said Carlton Joseph, Fire Chief for the Cleveland National Forest.  “Our fire season in southern California is year round, and we remain ready to respond to these emergency situations.”

FAMILY OF TEEN KILLED AT CEDAR CREEK FALLS SUES U.S. FOREST SERVICE, ALLEGES WARNINGS OF DANGERS IGNORED

By Miriam Raftery

December 18, 2012 (El Cajon) – Parents of Joseph Meram, a 16-year-old El Cajon teen who died July 6, 2011 after falling 80 feet from the top of Cedar Creek Falls in Cleveland National Forest near Ramona, has filed a lawsuit alleging “willful, wanton, or grossly negligent” actions on the part of the U.S. Forest Service. 

The suit cites many prior deaths, serious injuries and rescues at the site plus warnings of dangerous conditions just days before Meram's fatal fall. Unlike other fatalities due mostly to daredevil diving (now banned), Meram reportedly lost his footing and accidentally plunged to his death, striking his head on boulders. he lawsuit reveals, “He fell fully clothed with his running shoes and basketball shorts on, and his wallet and cell phone in his pockets.”

CONGRESSMAN-ELECT SCOTT PETERS TO SERVE ON HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE

December 19, 2012 (San Diego)– The U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus today announced that Rep.-Elect Scott Peters has been assigned to serve on the House Armed Services Committee.  The move strengthens San Diego’s representation on the committee, where Democrat Susan Davis and Republican Duncan D. Hunter are already members.

“Our military and defense industry is a large and critical part of our regional economy that employs hundreds of thousands of San Diegans,” said Peters, who defeated Rep. Brian Bilbray in the November election.  “As the Representative for the new 52nd District, which is home to seven military bases, serving on Armed Services is an important assignment and an honor.”

READER’S EDITORIAL: WILL YOU JOIN ME AS A CITIZEN CO-SPONSOR OF MY BILL BANNING ASSAULT WEAPONS?

By Senator Dianne Feinstein

December 20, 2012 (Washington D.C.)--Enough is enough. Of the 11 deadliest shootings in American history, five have happened since 2007.¹ My heart breaks for the grieving families in Newtown and across the country. They deserve our deepest condolences, but also our determined action to end these atrocities.

I sponsored the original ban on assault weapons back in 1994 -- which expired in 2004 -- and last weekend I announced that I will introduce legislation to renew the ban on the first day of the new Congress. I would be honored if you would join me as a citizen co-sponsor of the new bill. Will you?

I was heartened when I found out that more than 11,000 of you share my vision and have already expressed support for a similar approach. Please take the next step and join me as a citizen co-sponsor so we can work together.

EAST COUNTY CHAMBER SHARES SOME HOLIDAY SPIRIT –AND PLANS SOME SPIRITED ADVENTURES

December 20, 2012 (El Cajon)—Members of the East County Chamber of Commerce gathered for some seasonal merrymaking and networking at the Kia dealership in El Cajon. This event, along with a Chamber breakfast earlier in the month, also doubled as a toy drive to help brighten this holiday season for children from needy families. 

 

 

 

 

HIGH-TECH CEREBRAL PALSY RESEARCH AT SDSU

An SDSU professor uses Hollywood technology to research facial movements and speech-language development in children with cerebral palsy.

December 20, 2012 (San Diego)--In a speech, language and hearing sciences research lab at San Diego State University, children with cerebral palsy and those who are typically developing are experiencing a certain kind of fame. 

Speech language professor Ignatius Nip is researching and analyzing the interaction between facial movements and speech-language development in these children using the same motion capture technology that transfers actor's expressions to computer-generated film characters. 

BEYOND 2012: WHY THE WORLD WON’T END

 

NASA debunks the “Mayan apocalypse” doomsday predictions

Photo credit:  NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kurin

   

December 20, 2012 (Washington D.C.)—December 21, 2012 won’t be the end of the world as some have claimed, just another winter solstice. That’s the word from NASA, which further states, “Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, the claims behind the end of the world quickly unravel when pinned down to the 2012 timeline.”

 

Below, NASA scientists answer related questions:

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: INDOOR HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) – Now that your outdoor decorations are placed, it’s time to focus on some indoor holiday safety tips.  Thousands of accidents and fires can be prevented each year if you take the time to practice safety measures says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

CPUC ACCUSED OF VIOLATING BROWN ACT AND DUE PROCESS: FAILED TO NOTIFY PARTIES OF NEW PROPOSAL FOR MEETING TOMRROW ON SDG&E PLAN TO CHARGE RATEPAYERS FOR WILDFIRE COSTS

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2012 (San Diego) – Why did the California Public Utilities Commission fail to notify parties that it plans to hear a drastically revised alternate decision at tomorrow’s meeting on SDG&E’s proposed Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA)? 

The new version, written by Commissioner Timothy Simon,  would allow SDG&E to charge ratepayers not only for certain uninsured costs of future wildfires caused by its lines, but also appears to now include the 2007 wildfires as well—a shift that has outraged fire survivors. (See pages 23 and 28 at link above.) The draft contains numerous other changes from an earlier alternate decision penned by Simon, as well as a separate alternate decision penned previously by Commissioner Maribeth Bushey, as ECM reported earlier.    

Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, representing fire victim Ruth Henricks,  sent an e-mail tonight to the CPUC objecting to any discussion or consideration of the new alternative decision on grounds that it violates the Brown Act due to failure to give proper notice, as well as collective concurrence outside a properly noticed meeting.  He also alleges violation of due process.

BORDER PATROL AGENTS SEIZE OVER A HALF MILLION DOLLARS IN METHAMPHETAMINES AT CHECKPOINT IN JAMUL

December 19, 2012 (Jamul) -- U.S. Border Patrol agents intercepted a smuggling attempt on State Route (SR) 94 in Jamul yesterday, resulting in seizure of nearly 26 pounds of methamphetamine.

Agents encountered a U.S. citizen, 49, driving a 2000 BMW at the SR 94 checkpoint near Jamul at 2:45 p.m..  Agents became suspicious of the man’s nervous demeanor and referred him for secondary inspection.  A Border Patrol K-9 performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle resulting in an alert.

HANSON-COX USED EMBEZZLED FUNDS FOR CAMPAIGN EXPENSES, LAVISH TRIPS FOR CITY EMPLOYEES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2012 (El Cajon ) –The Mother Goose Parade wasn’t the only beneficiary of funds stolen by former El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox, who pled guilty to embezzling more than $3.6 million from Century Design, Inc (CDI), her former employer.  

Court documents reveal that she also spent purloined money to hire celebrity impersonators to appear at her campaign fundraiser in 2004. She treated the city’s former Chief of Police to a vacation at a Hawaiian resort hotel. Plus she hosted city public information officer Monica Zech at a Beverly Hills hotel, including manicures and other spa treatments.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

December 19, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

Mass shooting at Connecticut elementary school:

Other national news:

WORLD

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

ECM EDITOR WINS SD ROSTRA/FLASH REPORT CONTEST TO PREDICT ELECTION OUTCOMES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –Yes, there is a free lunch!

Each election, SD Rostra/Flash Report’s Barry Jantz holds a contest to see who can predict the most local election outcomes based on questions he dream up.  The winner (me!) successfully nailed eight of ten questions, plus three tie-breakers. 

The prize?  Free entry to the next “Albondigas” luncheon for political movers and shakers in East County.  I look forward to savoring my winnings. Hmm...maybe I should try my luck at predicting horseracing next....

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

December 19, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

EDUCATION TOUR: DECEMBER CHECKLIST FOR SENIORS

 

Education News and Notes

By Anat Tour, math teacher and children’s author/illustrator

December 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--December is a busy time for the holidays, but if you are a high school senior this is the season to get your college checklist in order.

In addition, here are my picks for this month’s top stories of interest to local students, teachers, and parents:

READER’S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON THE SANDY HOOK TRAGEDY

By Nadin Abbott

December 18, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--It's not easy to speak of what happened last week at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, where a gunman opened fire. It is harder because this is not the first mass shooting, and probably will not be the last. But with the slaughter of 20 innocent children and 6 adults, we might finally hit a tipping point in how we look at guns and our culture.

I come at this not just as a gun owner, but also as a former first responder who saw firsthand what a NATO round or a Warsaw round can do to the human body. Mexico, where I worked with the Red Cross, is a place where these weapons are used regularly by the cartels.

TRAGEDY IN CONNECTICUT SPARKS MEMORIES OF MASS SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IN EAST COUNTY

Education professionals and a Granite Hills shooting survivor offer advice for parents and students

By Miriam Raftery (Photo from Facebook memorial page)

December 14, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – News of today’s shooting at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 26 people including 20 children before taking his own life, has triggered strong reactions here in San Diego County, a region that has suffered through numerous school shootings.

“Personally I am very shocked and saddened…I have shed tears,” Fran Zumwalt, a teacher wounded in the 2001 Granite Hills High School shootings, told ECM.  “Words cannot express the sorrow I feel for those who lost loved ones today. No parents should ever lose a child.  I hope all of the citizens of Connecticut can feel the prayers of all of us—for their children, their families and their communities.”

PARADE OF LIGHTS FESTIVAL REFLECTS CENTENNIAL HERITAGE IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

December 18, 2012 (El Cajon ) – Vintage cars festooned in lights rolled down Main Street in El Cajon last week for the city’s first Parade of Lights.  The celebration continued at Prescott Promenade Park, where members of the San Diego Costume Guild garbed in Victorian attire—as well as some attractive Santa’s helpers, mingled with the crowd, evoking images of Christmas past and present. 

SYCUAN SPONSORS FAMILY HOLIDAY PARTY FOR PEOPLE WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

December 18, 2012 (San Diego)--For the 10th consecutive year, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, owners of the Sycuan Resort & Casino in El Cajon, sponsored the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s free annual family holiday party for people with MS, as well as their family members and caregivers. The National MS Society in San Diego said more than 600 people attended the 2012 event held on Sunday, Dec. 9 at the San Diego Community Concourse Golden Hall in Downtown San Diego. The holiday party featured a brunch, entertainment and gifts for children delivered by one of Santa’s helpers. Sycuan has sponsored the annual event since 2003.

BAJA CALIFORNIA PLANT FIELD GUIDE, 3RD EDITION, OFFERS A LUSH LOOK AT REGION’S FLORA

Baja California Plant Field Guild: 3rd Edition, by Jon P. Rebman and Norman C. Roberts (Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, California, 2012, 451 pages).

The desert regions of Baja California and Southern California satisfy my need for scientific adventure while providing a sense of excitement towards botany, reverence for nature and its unaltered  beauty, appreciation for the complexity of natural history, and an overall feeling of peace and purpose.  -Jon P. Rebman

Book Review by Dennis Moore                    

December 18, 2012 (San Diego)--Having lived in Baja California for a number of years and traveled all over this beautiful country of Mexico, from Cancun, Cantamar, Rosarito Beach and Tijuana, I have gained a great appreciation of the book written by Jon P. Rebman and Norman C. Roberts; Baja California Plant Field Guild: 3rd Edition.  For those with an interest in the outdoors south of the border, this book, rich with beautiful photographs and descriptions, would make an appealing holiday gift.

DANGEROUS TOY CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING: DUNECRAFT RECALLS WATER BALZ, SKULLS, ORBS AND FLOWER TOYS DUE TO SERIOUS INGESTION HAZARD

Toys expand 400 times in size, causing blockage in intestine if swallowed



December 18, 2012 (Washington D.C.) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada today announced a voluntary recall of Water Balz, Growing Skulls, H20 Orbs "Despicable Me" and Fabulous Flowers toys imported by Dunecraft, Inc.

About 94,700 of the toys have been sold in the U.S. at major retail stores, internet sites and other locations, as well as 600 sold in Canada.

READER’S EDITORIAL: SYMPATHY SHOULD GO TO VICTIMS, NOT TO JILLIAN HANSON-COX

By Councilman Gary Kendrick

I have been very saddened by the discovery that my fellow El Cajon City Council Member, Jillian Hanson-Cox, was not the person I thought she was. I had always seen Jillian as a very warm-hearted, caring and honest individual.  The documents now on file in the federal district court convincingly show that she is just the opposite.

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