Santee

WELCOME, SANTEE & LAKESIDE RESIDENTS!


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FORMER SANTEE COUNCILMAN HOULAHAN WILL RUN FOR CONGRESS

By Mike Allen

Stephen Houlahan, the former Santee Councilman who lost to Mayor John Minto in November, announced he’s running for the 50th Congressional District in a race two years down the road.

The seat was won in November by Republican Darrell Issa , who beat out Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar by about 28,000 votes or an 8 percent margin.

Through a spokesman, Houlahan, a registered nurse and political independent, said he intends to register as a Democrat, and expects to come in the top two in a primary in March 2022.

Among the main reasons for his decision was the terrible way the federal government has handled dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, said spokesman Bobby Borisov.


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SEARCH FOR MISSING TEEN GIRL AT RISK IN SANTEE

Update January 14, 2021:  The Sheriff reports that Tarynn has been found safe and reunited with her parents.

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2020 (Santee) – Members of the public are asked to join in a search today for Tarynn, a 16-year-old missing in Santee. The teen was last seen in the 10000 block of Glendon Circle in Santee yesterday.  

She has blond hair and brown eyes; she is 5 ft. 9 inches tall. According to the Sheriff Watch Commander, she was last seen wearing her hair in a low ponytail and was wearing a black pajama top with gray pants, black or blue and white Vans slip-on shoes. She has blond hair and brown eyes, and was carrying a black bag with polka dots.

According to a post from East County Emergency Updates in the All Things Happening in Santee Forum, “The family has met with private search & rescue entities that are actively helping in the search for Tarynn. They are currently organizing a search & rescue for this morning that will require the public’s help. We will post details as soon as they provide them to us. Even though Tarynn is considered high risk due to her disabilities, SD Sheriff has “scaled back” their resources."


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HAZ-MAT TEAM DISPATCHED TO SANTEE AFTER CRASH

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

December 30, 2020 (Santee)  - A Haz-Mat crew was dispatched to Santee today following a multi-vehicle crash that caused a chemical spill.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Mission Gorge and Cuyamaca Street late this afternoon.


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FIREFIGHTERS SAVE HOMES, HALT CHAPARRAL FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by Scott Lagace

January 17, 2020 (Santee) – Tensions ran high in Santee yesterday, when a fast-moving brush fire scorched 36 acres, threatening homes and high-voltage power lines.

“Crazy and way too close,” photographer Scott Lagace says of the blaze near his Santee home.


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REGISTRAR OF VOTERS CERTIFIES CHALLENGE TO FANITA RANCH

By Mike Allen
 
December 17, 2020 (Santee) -- The county Registrar of Voters certified that a challenge to the largest housing project in Santee’s history is successful, verifying that enough valid signatures needed to qualify for a public vote were collected.

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EVACUATION WARNNG ISSUED IN SANTEE DUE TO CHAPARRAL FIRE

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo, left, by Felicia Vlahos

Update 8 p.m.:  The fire scorched 36 acres. All evacuation orders have been lifted.  An investigation continues into the cause of this fire.

December 16, 2020 (Santee) -- The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has issued an emergency evacuation warning to residents in the 10,000 block of Chaparral Dr. in Santee due to the Chaparral Fire. An evacuation warning means that evacuations are currently voluntary, however, everyone should be prepared to evacuate if an evacuation order is issued. Residents who choose to evacuate can go to Santana High School, located at 9915 N Magnolia Ave, Santee, CA 92071.

The Sheriff advises, "If you feel unsafe, evacuate early."If you need emergency assistance with evacuation, call 9-1-1.


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SANTEE COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 GOES TO RECOUNT, ALSO SEEKS EXAMINATION OF UNCOUNTED BALLOTS

By Mike Allen

Photos: Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

December 8, 2020 (Santee) -- With only five votes separating winner Dustin Trotter and Samm Hurst in Santee’s City Council District 4 race, a recount of the nearly 8,000 votes cast has been requested.

The San Diego Democratic Party has requested the recount in a letter sent to Registrar of Voters Michael Vu yesterday, one day before the deadline. Hurst, a UCSD professor, is a registered Democrat.

Will Rodriguez Kennedy, party chair, signed the letter which states that given the closeness of the vote, “I believe a thorough recount could affect the outcome.”

He said the process should involve not only the nearly 8,000 ballots cast, but the ballots that were not counted, including unopened and rejected mail-in ballots, as well as provisional ballots.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANTEE

East County News Service

December 4, 2020 (Santee) – Rebecca Jefferis Williamson snapped this photo of a keepsake Christmas ornament commemorating Santee’s 40th birthday on December 1st.  The city hosted dual fireworks displays, as well as treats passed out through local merchants.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a broader celebration originally planned.


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DUAL FIREWORKS DISPLAY TO MARK SANTEE’S 40TH BIRTHDAY BASH DEC. 1

 

Stores to also offer birthday sweet treats  

By Mike Allen

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Santee Salutes

November 22, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee will celebrate its 40th birthday Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. by holding simultaneous fireworks displays at two sites, allowing residents a chance to cheer themselves while staying safely apart.

City officials said they had more expansive celebration ideas a year ago to mark the city’s official inception on Dec. 1, 1980 including musical concerts and other events that would attract lots of people, but then COVID-19 intervened, making those plans inappropriate.


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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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SDSU BASEBALL ADDS NINE DURING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD, INCLUDING SANTANA HIGH SENIOR

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo:  Santana High senior pitcher Tyler Glowacki

November 11, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego State baseball head coach Mark Martinez proudly announced the addition of eight high school seniors--including one from Santana High--and one junior college transfer during the early signing period, which commenced on Wednesday. Seven of the nine signees hail from California, while two originate from Nevada. In addition, all eight prep recruits were listed among the nation’s top 500 players by Perfect Game.

Below is a look at the nine newest Aztecs, who will arrive on campus in the fall of 2021.


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HOLIDAY LIGHTS EXTRAVAGANZA AT LANTERN CREST IN SANTEE

 

East County News Service

November 11, 2020 (Santee) – Lantern Crest Senior Living in Santee will transform into a drive-through holiday extavaganza open to the public each Thursday through Sunday night in December  from 6 to 8 p. m.(except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Guests will see holiday displays and light shows, all from the comfort and safety of their cars. Admission is free. There will also be a drive-up Santa's Workshop to purchase some hot cocoa, apple cider, cheesecakes bites and more, as well as a photo booth. All the proceeds will go to the Lantern Crest Foundation, which benefits low-income seniors in the San Diego area.


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ANDERSON TAKES RAZOR-THIN LEAD OVER VAUS IN SUPERVISOR RACE; SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES ALSO IN NEAR TIE

Update November 22, 2020:  Joel Anderson now leads by 284 votes over Steve Vaus, with 7,500 ballots left to be tallied countywide.  In Santee, Dustin Trotter is ahead by just seven votes over Samantha Hurst.

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With 33,000 votes countywide remaining to be tallied, but far fewer ballots left in individual races, the latest update from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters shows several major contests in East County are still too close to call.

In the important race to fill retiring Supervisor Dianne Jacob’ district 2 seat, former State Senator Joel Anderson has taken a scant seven-vote lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. 

Santee’s City Council race to fill an open seat, meanwhile, has Samantha “Samm” Hurst retaking the lead over Dustin Trotter by just two votes after being tied just one day earlier.


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EARLY BELL RINGS IN EAST COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD RACES

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo via Bing

November 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) — It has been a topsy turvy year for everyone, especially for the area’s school children. Voters weighed enthusiasm, experience and ethics as they chose the next crew of school board trustees, who ultimately will help steer schools out of the rough seas of this quarantine.

On election night, as of early returns at 10:30 p.m., here are our observations.


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PRESERVE WILD SANTEE TURNS IN 6,300 SIGNATURES TO PUT FANITA RANCH ON BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
Photos courtesy of Van Collinsworth, Preserve Wild Santee
 
Photo:  Van Collinsworth,  Preserve Wild Santee, left, gives a thumbs up to supporters of the signature gathering drive
 
October 30, 2020 (Santee) -- The campaign to allow Santee voters to weigh in on the Fanita Ranch project turned in 6,300 signatures to the Santee City Clerk’s office Oct. 29, nearly double the minimum number required to force the City Council to either rescind its approval or put the issue to a public vote.

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SANTEE BUSINESS ASSISTANCE GRANTS ANNOUNCED

East County News Service

 

October 26, 2020 (Santee) -- The Microenterprise Assistance Program or (MAP) is now accepting applications. Grants up to $10,000 are available for local businesses that qualify. 


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ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE TO BLOCK FANITA RANCH IN SANTEE

East County News Service
 
File photo: the devastating 2003 Cedar Fire, which caused traffic gridlock on local freeways, scorched an estimated 95% of the site where Fanita Ranch would be built.
 
October 25, 2020 (Santee) – Four environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the city of Santee and councilmembers. The groups contend that the city council ignored fire dangers, habitat impacts and cultural resources in approving Fanita Ranch, a major housing development.

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VIRAL VIDEO EXPOSES ANOTHER RACIST INCIDENT IN SANTEE

View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZOh5bjYi0U

 

By Mike Allen

 

October 23, 2020 (Santee) -- A video that’s gone viral on the Internet shows another disgruntled Starbucks customer yelling about wearing a mask. But this time, the customer at the Starbucks on Magnolia Avenue in Santee hurls an obscene and racially charged insult at the black woman behind the counter.


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COVID RATES REMAIN LOW IN MOST REOPENED EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Cajon Valley, first to reopen, has most cases.  Three other districts report cases; others lack transparency in disclosure.  

Update October 31:  The Cajon Valley Union School District has added a breakdown by schools of its COVID cases, which now number 15 students and 2 employees  (17 total) at 11 schools. 

By Miriam Raftery

October 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How safe is it to send your child back to school amid a pandemic, or for teachers to provide instruction inside classrooms?

East County Magazine has checked out the websites of all districts in East County to determine how many cases have been reported at schools that have reopened thus far, and how transparent each district is in making this information easily available to parents, teachers and staff.

To date, the County Public Health Department has not reported any outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases tied to a single location) at any East County elementary, middle, high school or community college district. However some school districts do have cases among both students and staff. It is unclear whether cases were contracted on campus, or how many others may have been exposed.

In some districts, information on schools with COVID cases are being publicly disclosed, but not in others. Asked about this discrepancy, County spokesman Michael Workman said, "A change in the order regarding schools is being discussed and may be in place soon. The state guidance referenced above covers school notification. It’s too early to say what our health order change may say."

Here are the results of ECM's investigation.


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SANTEE MAYORAL AND COUNCIL RACES SHOW CLEAR CHOICES

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Santee Mayor John Minto, mayoral candidate and Councilman Stephen Houlahan, City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter,

October 14, 2020 (Santee) -- The conflict between slow-growth proponents and those who support the continued expansion of Santee has been going on for decades but is crystallized in this election.


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NEW SHARP MEDICAL CENTER OPENS IN SANTEE: FACILITY TO HOST OCT. 10 VIRTUAL TOUR AND ASK-THE-DOCTOR SESSIONS

By Mike Allen

 

October 8, 2020 (Santee) -- This week, Sharp Rees-Stealy opened its new medical center, a state of the art three-story building on Cuyamaca Street off Highway 52, which replaces four smaller clinics in East County that are now closed.


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HOMEFED GIVES NEARLY $300,000 TO DEFEAT MEASURE N, BUT FANITA RANCH OPPONENTS START PETITION TO OVERTURN COUNCIL APPROVAL

By Mike Allen
 
October 7, 2020 (Santee) -- Despite a 4-1 approval of the Fanita Ranch housing development last month by the Santee City Council, the builders are trying to ensure nothing holds up the project.

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SANTEE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

By Robin N. Kendall
 
Photo, left to right:  Elena Levens-Craig, Dianne El-Hajj, Sarah Kirk
 
October 6, 2020 (Santee) -- In the growing city of Santee, five candidates are on the ballot for two school board seats (No. 2 and No. 4) in this K-8 grade district. Both incumbents are running for re-election.  Three have completed our candidates’ questionnaire.

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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES FANITA RANCH BEFORE VOTERS CAN WEIGH IN ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
September 24, 2020 (Sante) -- By a 4-1 majority, the Santee City Council approved the controversial Fanita Ranch development that will add nearly 3,000 homes and about 8,000 residents to a city that has been fighting over the project for most of its 40-year history.

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FANITA RANCH VOTE, HELP FOR HOMELESS TOP AGENDAS IN SANTEE AND LA MESA THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Will Santee Councilmembers keep campaign promises made to voters when the controversial Fanita Ranch development comes up for a vote this week?  

What actions will La Mesa’s City Council take to address housing and homelessness?

These are the hottest issues on agendas in East County this week. Scroll down for details


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SANTEE COUNCIL GRANTS LANTERN CREST 50 NEW UNITS, DEFERRAL ON IMPACT FEES; APPROVES CHANGE ORDER FOR TV STATION

By Mike Allen
 
Photo:  50 unit addition to Lantern Crest Senior Living.
 
September 10, 2020 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council unanimously approved a 50-unit addition to the Lantern Crest Senior Living nursing home that included granting the developer a zoning change as well as deferring the payment of about $1 million in impact fees.

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SANTEE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mayor John Minto and challenger Stephen Houlahan; City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

September 5, 2020 (Santee) – East County Magazine will host a forum on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. for candidates running for Santee Mayoral and City Council races. To date, Mayor John Minto and mayoral challenger Stephen Houlahan have both agreed to participate.  In the race for an open City Council seat, Samm Hurst has confirmed she will participate; Dustin Trotter said he had a scheduling conflict for the forum. All candidates in both races have also now done separate interviews with ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be posted soon.

The forum will be virtual on Zoom. You can watch the livestream at https://www.Facebook.com/eastcountymagazine and send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. A videotape of the forum will be posted later on www.EastCountyMagazine.org and the forum will also be broadcast at a later date on KNSJ radio.

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are details on the candidates (listed in alphabetical order for each seat) and key issues:


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HOMEFED YANKS FANITA RANCH PLAN BEFORE COUNCIL VOTE

 

By Mike Allen

 

Cancelling Magnolia extension, as proposed, would remove key evacuation route for wildfires, critic says

August 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000 unit residential project planned for Santee’s northwest quadrant, is being delayed by developer HomeFed Corp. to make some significant changes, including removing an extension of a key arterial serving the project.

In a letter posted on the Fanita Ranch Facebook page last week, Jeff O’Connor, the company’s vice president, said HomeFed requested the delay “to remove the extension of Magnolia Avenue from the project in order to direct those funds towards the improvements to SR-52.”


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FEDERAL LOANS AVAILABLE TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY CIVIL UNREST

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to help small businesses across San Diego County that were affected by civil unrest which began May 26, 2020, if they do not have the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

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