Descanso

WELCOME, MOUNTAIN DWELLERS!

Our Mountain Living section covers the mountain communities in San Diego's East County north of I-8 including Aguanga, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Guatay, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Ranchita, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Shelter Valley and Warner Springs.


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DESCANSO MAN, 29, KILLED IN ALPINE CRASH

By Miriam Raftery

November 27, 2021 (Alpine) – Vincent I. Esquivel, 29, of Descanso has been identified as the driver who died at the scene of a vehicle accident on the evening of November 13.


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'HOLY SMOKE BBQ' AT OUR LADY OF LIGHT PARISH SEPT. 5

East County News Service

August 19, 2021 (Descanso) - On Sunday, September 5, Our Lady of Light Catholic Parish is back and is excited to invite all to their 84nd Deep Pit BBQ. Dubbed Holy Smoke this year because the beef is slowly smoked in a deep pit while sending up heavenly holy smoke! Located in the Cuyamaca Mountains in San Diego County, visitors will have a day full of fun and beautiful surroundings of Descanso.


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THUNDERSTORM ROCKS DESCANSO AND ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

July 19, 2021 (Descanso) – Thunderstorms resulted in 84 lightning strikes in our region on Saturday, July 17—nearly all of them in Descanso and Alpine.  On a Descanso discussion forum on Facebook, some residents described the loud thunderbolts as “house shakers," “insane,”  and a “wake up call” from Mother Nature.


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ROAD FIRE CLOSES WB I-8, PROMPTS EVACUATIONS IN PORTIONS OF DESCANSO & VIEJAS RESERVATION

Update: 7 p.m.: Caltrans San Diego reports all lanes re-opened to traffic 
 
#RoadFire removed from CHP Incidents page
 
No official public updates found on acres burned or % contained since 3:30 p.m.
 
Update: 3:30 p.m.: Initial Attack was successful according to retired fire captain Scott Culkin. Out of town air resources released.
 
Thank you: United States Forest Service (U.S.F.S.), Calfire/S.D. County, Alpine, Viejas, and others. Firefighters will be present throughout the night to contain the fire and put out any hotspots.
 
"Forward spread has stopped," according to Cleveland National Forest, lead agency on the #RoadFire, yet also reporting only 5% contained, as of 3:30 p.m.
 
Update 1:50 p.m.: Per Cleveland National Forest on Twitter, the #RoadFire is now 70 acres and holding, with a moderate rate of spread. The Humane Society urges pet owners to take pets with you if you evacuate, since you may not be able to return to provide food and water during the fire and intense heat.
 
By Jonathan Goetz
 
Photos: #RoadFire by James Cecil (Pic 1: Mountain, Pic 2: SDG&E Helicopter)
 
July 10, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – All lanes westbound on Interstate 8 west of State Route 79 are closed due to a brush fire, reports Caltrans San Diego.

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DESCANSO DAYS RETURNS JUNE 5

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 15, 2021 (Descanso) – You’re invited to “get your boots on” and enjoy Descanso Days on June 5 at the historic Descanso town hall.  A parade rolls out from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by a fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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DINE IN A BUBBLE BENEATH THE OAKS WITH YOUR VALENTINE FEB. 12-14 AT DESCANSO JUNCTION

By Miriam Raftery

 

February 7, 2021 (Descanso) – Looking for something special for your valentine?  Descanso Junction invites you to savor a private five-course meal by Master Chef Michael Wray – served up to you and your sweetheart in an intimate lighted bubble beneath oak trees.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: FLOCKING TO DESCANSO’S SNOW

East County News Service

January 29, 2021 (Descanso) -- Richard Edwords sent this photo of his flock of chickens experience a blanket of newly fallen snow at his home in Descanso.


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PHOTO OF THE MONTH: COOL POOL

East County News Service

January 27, 2021 (Descanso) – How cold was it this week in East County? Cold enough to freeze over a swimming pool in Descanso.  Thanks to Allen Walker Entertainment for sending in this startling image of lawn chairs perched atop the iced-over pool that resembles an outdoor skating rink.

Readers, please send us your winter pics to editor@eastcountymagazine.org


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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: DEER IN DESCANSO

 

 

December 4, 2020 (Descanso) – Ana and Al Ruvalcaba of Descanso sent in this video of a mule deer buck and doe in their yard. 

“In the video you’ll see him and his companion eating berries off of a Toyon brush tree while I’m recording from inside my house,” Ana says. “They have been coming by since Nov. 23rd.”


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MISSING DESCANSO MAN, 81, AT RISK: LAST SEEN IN GOLD TOYOTA TRUCK

Update October 13, 2020: This missing person has been found safely in Yuma.

By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2020 (Descanso) – The Sheriff asks for public help to find Kenneth Zimmerman, 81, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and did not take his blood pressure medicine before leaving home in Descanso to get a newspaper earlier today. He was last seen at 12:30 p.m. driving toward Highway 79 from Viejas Blvd in Descanso in a gold Toyota Tundra(license CA 8E41946) with a black toolbox in the bed.  He frequents businesses in Alpine as well as the El Cajon Home Depot.

He does not have a cell phone with him, according to a bulletin issued by the Pine Valley Sheriff’s station.Zimmerman was last seen wearing a white cowboy hat, dark blue short-sleeve shirt and blue jeans.  He has blue eyes and white hair. He is white, 81, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs around 190 pounds.


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100 YEARS STRONG, ARTIST PHEBE BURNHAM’S WORKS TO BE DISPLAYED AT SOPHIE’S GALLERY



By Miriam Raftery

July 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On July 26, Descanso artist Phebe Burnham will celebrate her 100th birthday.  A restrospective display of her vibrant oil paintings, pastels and mixed-media creations can be viewed at Sophie’s Gallery in El Cajon from now through September 9th.  Several can been seen online and many more can be viewed in-person at the gallery at 140 East Main Street in El Cajon.

Born at the dawn of the Roaring ‘20s in the U.S. and the Mexican Revolution in Mexico, Burnham has painted scenes and people in both Mexico and the U.S., including her rural Descanso community. 

 


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SDG&E POWER SHUTOFF IN DESCANSO DURING COVID-19 CRISIS LEAVES RESIDENTS STUCK HOME IN THE COLD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jill Sawyer

April 14, 2020 (Descanso) – SDG&E has shut-off power to 22 households in Descanso for 10 hours today in order to replace wood poles with steel for wildfire prevention. The action has sparked anger among residents under county orders to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some left in the cold despite medical conditions, working and teaching children at home There are no shelters or any public space open, with temperatures forecast to dip to a chilly 42 degrees by this evening.

After ECM’s editor called SDG&E last night to advise the utility of  concerns raised by many residents online, the utility discovered it had mistakenly called many households who were not slated to have power shut down.  “They were all called shortly before 10 p.m. apologizing for this evening’s call, advising it was made by mistake,” SDG&E media spokesperson Zoraya Griffin informed ECM.

For those without power, however, the outage puts safety of medically vulnerable and elderly residents at risk, also causing major inconveniences for those working or teaching children at home.


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FIND HOLIDAY TREASURES AT DESCANSO ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR NOV. 23

East County News Service

November 19, 2019 (Descanso) – Unique hand-crafted and locally made Christmas gifts will be available at an Arts and Crafts Fair at the historic Descanso Town Hall on Saturday, November 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

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SDG&E OPENS RESOURCE CENTER IN DESCANSO FOR RESIDENTS WITHOUT POWER

 

Update: A second resource center has been opened at the Golden Acorn Casino in Campo.

395 customers of SDG&E are currently without power; outages could impact up to 17,771, the utility warns

October 11, 2019 (Descanso) -- San Diego Gas & Electric will open a Community Resource Center today, Friday, October 11 at 8:00 a.m. in Descanso, CA due to power outages the company initiated during the Santa Ana wind event.  Water and snacks will be available and residents can charge devices, as well as get up-to-date information about power outages at the Center.

Community Resource Center location: Descanso Public Library (9545 River Drive, Descanso, CA 91916) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Additional resouce centers may open if the outage area is extended.


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“HOLY SMOKE BBQ” SEPT. 1 TO BENEFIT RURAL PARISH IN DESCANSO

East County News Service

August 23, 2019 (Descanso) -- Sunday, Sept. 1 will mark the 82nd Our Lady of Light Catholic Parish Deep Pit BBQ and community event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The pit will be ignited, 1,500 pounds of local beef will be seasoned and prepared to be cooked in a special Deep Pit in the hills of Descanso.  This year’s theme:  “Holy Smoke!”


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HUMANE SOCIETY RESCUES DOG WITH HEAT STROKE AT THREE SISTERS HIKING TRAIL

East County News Service

August 20, 2019 (Descanso) -- San Diego Humane Society is reminding pet owners to leave their animals at home when exercising on hot days. With another heat wave this week, it is crucial to remember that animals are sensitive to the conditions. Dogs are lower to the ground, absorbing heat from above and below. Their paws are also sensitive, as the ground is often much hotter than the air.


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LOW SNOW TONIGHT COULD DIP TO 1,500 FEET

East County News Service

Photo: Rare winter snowfall in Ramona in 2011, by Mike Mulligan

February 20, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- A storm tonight coupled with a cold front is forecast to drop snow as low as 1,500 to 2,500 feet, the National Weather Service predicts. That could mean rare snowfalls in Ramona, Alpine, or even atop Cowles Mountain.  At higher elevations, 2 to 5 inches are forecast above 3,000 feet in areas such as Julian and Descanso, 6 to 12 inches above 5,000 feet including Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain, and  12 to 16 inches above 6,500 feet including Cuyamaca Peak.

The storm is expected to bring rainfall of .25 to 1 inch to San DIego County's coastal and desert areas. A frost warning has been issued for Thursday and Friday morning.


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DESCANSO MAN DIES AFTER ACCIDENT IN WARNER SPRINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2019 (Descanso) – Thomas Theobald, 66, of Descanso died December 29th at Palomar Medical Center of injuries sustained in a car accident the night before in Warner Springs.

Theobald collided with another vehicle on State Route 79 at Linton Road in Warner Springs. California Highway Patrol and Cal-Fire were dispatched to the scene following a 9-1-1 call. Paramedics initiative advanced cardiac life support and the victim was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center’s emergency department, where he was diagnosed with multiple fractures.

He never regained consciousness and died of blunt force trauma to his head and torso.


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VICTIMS OF PLANE CRASH IN DESCANSO IDENTIFIED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Runway at Gillespie Field, where the plane departed from on Wednesday

August 26, 2018 (Descanso) — David Alan Derby, 77, of Santee and Ryan Michael Willis, 36, of San Diego were killed in a plane crash near Descanso on Wednesday.  The plane, a single-engine 1682G Champion 7KCAB, was owned by Derby’s company, Three Point Partners Inc.


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ALPINE MOUNTAIN EMPIRE: SAN DIEGO’S SOUTHEAST REGION, WILDERNESS GATEWAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, top: Carrizo Gorge federal wilderness area

June 29, 2018 (Alpine) – Most visitors to San Diego County head to the beaches or the well-known mountain town of Julian. But the County’s lesser traveled southeast region, known as the Alpine Mountain Empire, includes vast tracts of wilderness, quaint mountain towns, a historic train, museums, Native America reservations, resorts, parks and lakes.


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SDG&E HEARS FROM DESCANSO RESIDENTS IN PUBLIC FORUM ON FIRE SAFETY AND POWER SHUT-OFF CONCERNS

 

Future community forums planned March 23 in Valley Center, March 30 in Ramona and April 6 in Warner Springs. View schedule here.

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – At the Descanso Town Hall on March 16th,  SDG&E representatives met with residents to discuss efforts to improve fire safety and hear community concerns, including ideas for reducing impacts of power shut-offs during high fire-risk weather conditions. Representatives from 211 San Diego , the local Red Cross, the Descanso Fire Safe Council and the area’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were also on hand.

Portions of Descanso had a dozen or more outages late last year, much to the frustration of many residents.  But the outskirts of Descanso have also had among the most extreme conditions. 


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: TRIPLETS' SNOW DAY

 
By Miriam Raftery
 
March 3, 2018 (Descanso) -- Tina Kloack sent us this adorable photo of her triplets Lucas, Malia and Mathis enjoying their first "snow day" earlier this week in Descanso. 

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SNOW BLANKETS MOUNTAIN TOWNS

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 27, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- The National Weather Service forecasts that up to a foot and a half of snow could fall on Mount Laguna by tonight.  As of noon today, over five inches had been recorded at the peak. In Julian, over six inches have fallen.

"This storm is not like anything I’ve seen up here. Sun and snow are going back and forth…and nobody gets anywhere," says Bobbi Zane, who sent us the photos above.  "It’s been snowing all day, then the sun comes out and everything melts, then the snow stars coming down again. I had someone drive on my driveway so I can get my car out. By the time he finished, it had started snowing again. No using the car today!"


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SNOW AT LOW ELEVATIONS FORECAST

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

February 25, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – A cold front is forecast to bring snow down as low as 2,500 feet in East County on Monday and Tuesday, potentially dropping up to six inches on Mount Laguna as well as two to four inches in Julian.  

Smaller amounts of snow could fall on Ramona and communities east of Alpine along Interstate 8, such as Pine Valley, Japatul and Descanso, so check weather reports and carry chains if driving in the mountains during these winter weather conditions. Mountain areas along State Route 94 in the Potrero/Tecate divide area could also be impacted.


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YOUTH GROUP VISITS BACKCOUNTRY TO PLANT TREES

 

Story and photos by A.J. Herrington

January 15, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) --​ ​A group of children from the inner city San Diego neighborhood of City Heights travelled to Boulder Creek Preserve Saturday to plant trees at the wildlife sanctuary near Descanso.


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PIANIST JOHN NILSEN PERFORMS SOLO CONCERT JANUARY 13 IN DESCANSO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2017 (Descanso) – Acclaimed pianist, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter John Nilsen from the Pacific Northwest will perform a solo piano concert on Saturday, January 13th at 2 p.m. at Chapel of the Hills Community Church, 25153 Viejas Blvd. in Descanso. The concert is free of charge. The church will provide light refreshments, a chance to chat with the artist in a reception after the performance, and his musical CDs will be available for purchase.

According to his bio, Nilsen is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most successful performance and recording artists, with records that have sold well over a million copiesl His love of the outdoors is reflected in many of his works. Chosen a Deering Banjo artist in 2016, he has performed in all 50 states and many foreign countries, also speaking and conducting residencies on songwriting and music performance at schools across the U.S.  He has performed with luminaries such as Jose Feliciano, Jesse Colin Young and Marc Cohn and Kenny G.


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SDG&E RESPONDS TO RESIDENTS’ CONCERNS OVER DESCANSO POWER OUTAGES

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2017 (Descanso) – Residents on the Descanso Neighbors Forum on Facebook have complained of prolonged power outages. On October 24th, Maggie Leavitt posted that power had been shut down for the seventh time in three weeks. She suggested the outages may have been intentional due to a red flag alert to prevent fires—and limit SDG&E’s liability.


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TWO DEAD IN DESCANSO

 

East County News Service

Update:  Authorities have identified the deceased as Clifton Payne and his sister, Deborah Payne.  Sheriff's homicide investigators believe Clifton Payne shot and killed his sister, then committed suicide.

October 25, 2017 (Descanso) – The Sheriff is conducting a homicide investigation into the deaths of a man and woman in Descanso. Deputies from the Pine Valley substation responding to a 911 call that came around 2 p.m. today found two bodies, both with signs of trauma, at 10335 Boulder Creek Road.


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SAVOR THE FLAVOR: DESCANSO HOLDS 80TH ANNUAL DEEP PIT BARBECUE ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND

 

 

Wood-smoked BBQ fired up night in annual town tradition featuring slow-cooked beef, beer garden, live Western music, cash prize darwing, vendor booth, kids' activities and more

 

By Valerie Watts

August 9, 2017 (Descanso) --Ready for a nostalgic mountain community bash on Labor Day weekend?  Our Lady of Light Catholic Church in Descanso invites you to their 80th annual deep pit barbecue. 

This family-friendly event will be held the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, September 3, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 9163 Riverside Drive.

The menu features their famous hand-wrapped deep pit barbecue beef, mountain ranch beans, handcrafted slaw and western rolls.  It doesn't stop there-- they also offer home made apple pie, "drinks galore" and more.


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