San Diego

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE RECEIVES $100,000 GRANT FROM FACEBOOK JOURNALISM PROJECT

 

COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund aids over 200 newsrooms nationwide

By Miriam Raftery

East County Magazine has been selected to receive $100,000 through the Facebook Journalism Project COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program.  Facebook announced that more than 200 news organizations will receive nearly $16 million in grants through the program as part of Facebook’s $100 million global investment in news.

Read more about our grant project here.  View an index of our grant works to date, organized by topic. 


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

April 11, 2022 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


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NEW RIDE SHARING SERVICE FOR EAST COUNTY ANNOUNCED

By E.Z. Ryder

April 1, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – First came Uber and Lyft,  Now, Hump, a new ride sharing option featuring camels, has been introduced as an option for East County commuters.

“With gas prices soaring and much of East County lacking access to mass transit, this provides an economical alternative to carry rural commuters from their homes to transit stations, colleges, and other major destinations,” says Supervisor Joel Anderson, who took an inaugural ride this morning along with Nathan Fletcher, Chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

“Camels provide a sustainable form of transportation,” Supervisor Fletcher says. “Each camel can travel up to 30 miles per day, and can traverse up to 100 miles without needing any fossil fuels or even water, since their humps store around 80 pounds of fat.”


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JOSEPH ROCHA, 40TH STATE SENATE DISTRICT CANDIDATE, SPEAKS OUT ON THE ISSUES

 

View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Shc-5Og5pc

Note: This interview was recorded in early February.

March 22, 2022 (San Diego) – Joseph Rocha, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate in the newly redrawn 40th State Senate district currently represented by Republican Brian Jones, recently sat down for an in-depth interview with East County Magazine that originally aired on KNSJ radio.  He’s running to focus on jobs, housing, infrastructure, veterans and climate change among other important issues. The interview addressed these topics and more.

Rocha is a veteran of both the Navy and Marine Corps. He served as a bomb dog handler in the Persian Gulf and later, after obtaining his law degree, as a Marine Corps captain and prosecutor. He’s also a former intern at East County Magazine, where in 2008 he gained interest in politics while interview candidates for Congress and City Council. 

“I think the adversity in my life has given me the passion for service,” he says.  “I’m second generation Mexican-American,” he says. His mother was a grocery store worker who struggled with addiction; his father worked as a truck driver, raising five children. “These bread and butter, working class issues of the middle class have been a core passion of mine since I can remember," Rocha says.

Audio: 


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SDSU RUSSIAN LANGUAGE PROFESSOR SHARES VIEWS ON UKRAINIAN CONFLICT

 

By Kylie Dees

 

March 18, 2022 (San Diego) -- "The war between Russia and Ukraine is absolutely barbaric...and unthinkable on its scale. We are all deeply devasted," Russian language instructor Dana Shembel at San Diego State University said in an interview with East County Magazine.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

March 2, 2022 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


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UKRAINIAN-AMERICANS HOLD VIGILS IN SANTEE AND SAN DIEGO

By Matthew Manosh

Scroll down to links to videos from vigils

March 1, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- Local Ukrainian-Americans gathered in demonstrations these past few days in solidarity with their nation, which is under attack from Russian forces. Thursday night,  a prayer vigil was held in Santee on a vacant lot, where there are plans to build a Ukrainian Catholic Church. Father Yurii Sas of St. John the Baptizer Catholic Church in San Diego led his congregation in prayer and song, asking for God to protect his people in the Ukraine:


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CHILD, 6, ABDUCTED IN SPRING VALLEY; LAST SEEN IN NATIONAL CITY

East County News Service

Photo: Joylin Gutierrez, 6, and her suspected captor, her non-custodial parent Wendy Guttierez

Update:  Authorities indicate the abductor may have taken Joylin Gutierrez into Mexico.

February 22, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- The Rancho San Diego Sheriff's Station wants your help in locating a missing six-year-old girl from Spring Valley.

On Tuesday, February 22 around 1:15 p.m., Joylin Gutierrez was taken from Kempton Elementary School located in the 700 block of Kempton Street in Spring Valley. Joylin  is Hispanic, three feet tall with long brown hair and brown eyes.  She was last seen wearing a pink or purple sweater.

 Joylin is believed to be with her biological, non-custodial parent, 45-year-old Wendy Gutierrez.

They were last seen around 4:00 p.m. in the area near East Plaza Boulevard and South Harbison Avenue in National City.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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SAN DIEGO SHERIFF DOES NOT SHARE RAPE VICTIM’S DNA TO SOLVE OTHER CRIMES

By Miriam Raftery

Image: CC via Bing

February 18, 2022 (San Diego) – After revelations that San Francisco police used DNA collected from rape kits to charge a rape victim with a property crime, San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin dismissed the charges and called the police actions a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

So East County Magazine asked the San Diego Sheriff department whether it has submitted rape victims’ DNA collected at hospitals to a database that could be used to link rape victims to other crimes.

Within hours of our request, Lieutenant Amber Baggs, the Sheriff’s Media Relations Director, sent this response:  “No we do NOT do this.  I read the article as well and checked with our Crime Lab Director. We do not match victim's DNA to other crimes. Thank you for asking so this can be clarified.”


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

February 3, 2022 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


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PASSAGES: HAROLD BROWN, ECTLC LEADER AND HOMELESS ADVOCATE, 1957-2022

By Miriam Raftery and  Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo via El Cajon Citizens of the Year

February 1, 2022 (El Cajon) – Pastor Harold Brown overcame homelessness and other hardships to become a community leader dedicated to helping others. As founder and CEO of the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC) in El Cajon, he championed programs that have helped thousands of people escape homelessness and find hope instead of despair. Brown was also senior pastor of Christian Fellowship  of El Cajon.

Following a long battle with lung cancer, he was hospitalized last week with pneumonia and passed away yesterday morning.

Community leaders voiced sorrow as well as praise for Rev. Brown’s remarkable achievements.

Audio: 


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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LOCAL COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES RETURN TO ONLINE LEARNING DUE TO OMICRON SURGE

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Major colleges, universities and community colleges across the region have temporarily shifted back to virtual instruction due to the COVID-19 surge fueled by the Omicron variant and holiday gatherings.


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HELP US COVER THESE TOP NEWS STORIES IN 2022!

 

Dear Readers:

Many hot news stories are on the horizon in the New Year. Help us cover the stories listed below and more! While other publishers are cutting East County coverage, we’re gearing up to grow our local news reporting in the public interest!  To make a year-end, tax deductible donation, click here. Donors who give $50 or more will receive our Beautiful East County calendar as thanks!

Here are the top 2022 issues we aim to cover, with your help:


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AS COVID CASE RISE, COUNTY ADVISES PUBLIC TO AVOID LARGE NEW YEAR’S CROWDS

East County News Service

Image via Public Domain Photos

December 30, 2021 (San Diego) – COVID-19 cases have spiked in the past 24 hours, with 5,976 cases reported yesterday, up from 3,650 cases one day earlier, County Health and Human Services reports.  To reduce the spread, County health officials are urging San Diegans to keep New Year’s celebrations small and limit them to family and close friends who are vaccinated and boosted if eligible to prevent the surge of COVID-19 cases that occurred last winter.

The County is also asking the public and businesses to continue following the current state and local guidance to slow the spread.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s deputy public health officer, says given the record number of cases and rapid emergency of the Omicron variant, “If you have New Year’s celebrations, limit them to people who live with you and make sure everyone present uses the strategies we know work.”


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DEADLY RABBIT HEMORRHAGIC FEVER HOPS ACROSS REGION

Story and photos by Karen Pearlman 

December 30, 2021 (San Diego) -- An extremely contagious disease which is nearly always fatal to wild rabbits and hares as well as pet bunnies has spread throughout San Diego County and the western United States. 

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) was first seen in a wild rabbit in the county in June 2020. Since then, nearly a dozen more rabbits have tested positive for the disease locally. But there are likely many more cases, since the state and county lack resources to test the growing number of dead rabbits reported.


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STORIES OF THE YEAR: TURBULENT TIMES AND BRIGHT SPOTS IN 2021

By Miriam Raftery

December 29, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Turbulent times continued in 2021, marred by a persistent pandemic, vaccine rollouts, political divisiveness including an insurrection at the nation’s capitol, and local controversies such as growing homelessness, a housing shortage, power outages, protests over mask mandates, and SANDAG’s proposed mileage tax, to name a few.

Some national issues, such as pandemic relief, the infrastructure bill, the end of the Afghanistan war, and court rulings on immigration had strong impacts on our region.

There were bright spots. California reopened its economy mid-year, allowing all businesses and event venues to finally reopen. Hometown hero Joe Musgrove pitched the Padres’ first no-hitter. Residents organized to halt sexually violent predators from being placed in a Mt. Helix community. La Mesa named a new police chief committed to rebuilding community trust. Major land acquisitions by the county preserved riverfront land in Lakeside and the former Starr Ranch in Campo for posterity.

Two new Congressional representatives from East County took office and a special election sent a new Assemblywoman to Sacramento, while redistricting at year’s end will bring even more sweeping changes in 2022. 

Below is a rundown on the top stories that impacted East County in 2021:


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HOLIDAY BOWL AT PETCO PARK CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2021 (San Diego) – Hours before this evening’s 5 p.m. kickoff at Petco Park, the UCLA Bruins pulled out, forcing cancellation of the Holiday Bowl.  A statement from UCLA at 12:30 p.m. indicated the team was withdrawing “due to COVID-19 protocols within the Bruins’ program.”

No details were provided, though UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond voiced disappointment for team members. “My heart goes out to them,” he said, but added that health and safety of our students will always be a priority.

UCLA was slated to compete against North Carolina State, which tweeted, “Heartbroken to not be able to compete one more time this season.”


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FOSTER KIDS AND HOMELESS YOUTHS FIND HOLIDAY JOY AT SHANE HARRIS’ CHRISTMAS DAY EVENT

By Karen Pearlman 

Photos courtesy of Shane Harris

View video

December 28, 2021 (San Diego) -- Hundreds of kids who might have spent Christmas day feeling sad, neglected or lonely were instead uplifted with love, food, lots of wrapped presents and tons of snow imported into southeastern San Diego.

More than 500 people, most of them foster kids, homeless youths and struggling families in San Diego County, spent part of the morning on Christmas Day at the National Black Contractors Association on Imperial Avenue feeling connected. 

The event was the annual Shane Harris Community Christmas Day Breakfast and Gift Giveaway, organized by local civil rights champion Shane Harris. Gifts given away included more than 70 free laptops, Chromebooks and tablets.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

December 23, 2021 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:

LOCAL

STATE


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CALIFORNIA ORDERS NEW MASK MANDATE FOR INDOOR PUBLIC PLACES AND STRICTER TESTING FOR MEGA-EVENTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via County of San Diego

December 13, 2021 (San Diego) – Starting Wednesday, all Californians will be required to wear a mask at indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, under a mandate announced today by the state’s Department of Public Health.  The new rule will remain in place until at least January 15 and follows a 47% rise in cases since Thanksgiving, as well as a 14% increase in hospitalizations.

In addition, the state has changed the rules for people attending mega events to require a negative PCR test 48 hours before the event or an antigen test 24 hours before the event.

The state is also recommending, though not requiring, that travelers to California get a COVID-19 test three to five days after their arrival


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POPULAR SYRIAN RESTAURANT MAL AL SHAM MARKS THREE FLAVORFUL YEARS IN EL CAJON


By Elijah McKee

 

December 11, 2021 (El Cajon) — It can be easy to take a delicious meal at a restaurant for granted — but doing so would be difficult to do at Mal Al Sham, which celebrates its three year anniversary in El Cajon this month.

 

Whether swinging by for a quick solo wrap or sitting down with loved ones around a full platter, a dining experience with Mal Al Sham — also known as The Taste of Damascus — leaves diners with a genuine appreciation for the food, as well as for the people, places and experiences that led to its creation. 


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BOOK DISCUSSION AND SIGNING DEC. 12 WITH AUTHOR REINA MENASCHE, HOST OF EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE’S BOOKSHELF RADIO PROGRAM, ON HER NEW NOVEL, THE SPIRIT OF SHY MOON LAKE

East County News Service

December 11, 2021 (San Diego) – Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore will host an in-store book discussion and signing on December 12 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. with award-winning author Reina Menasche, host of the “Bookshelf” program on East County Magazine’s radio show. Her newest book, The Spirit of Shy Moon Lake, has received a rave review from San Diego Writers and Editors Guild:

“This novel casts a spell. It’s mystery grabs a reader by the spirit and does not leg to. An ordinary family: a teacher, a poet and a curious son, expect summer vacation, but then enter a deep mental, emotional and spiritual struggle. Be ready for a novel that effectively disrupts the peace with its power to contemplate historical accounts that unsettle us…”


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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MICHELANGELO’S SISTINE CHAPEL ART EXHIBIT COMES TO SAN DIEGO

Story and photos by Henri Migala

November 24, 2021 (San Diego) -- I have been to the Sistine Chapel in Rome several times. The first time was when the frescos were still dark and covered with centuries of candle wax, soot and grime, and then again after the restoration brought out the original vibrant colors. But I have never seen Michelangelo’s frescos with as much clarity and intimate detail as when standing beside the life-sized reproductions at the Sistine Chapel Exhibit in Mission Valley on exhibit now through January 16.

When Pope Julius, in 1508, tasked Michelangelo with painting the Sistine Chapel, the sculptor was very resistant, because he did not consider himself a painter. But it was precisely this masterpiece, or maybe more precisely, the many masterpieces, of the Sistine Chapel that the artist is best remembered. Covering over 5,000 square feet and depicting 343 religious figures, the Sistine Chapel artwork took Michelangelo four years to complete and is one of the greatest artistic achievements of all humankind.


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SDG&E RESTORES POWER IN SOME AREAS, OTHERS STILL IN THE DARK. MORE OUTAGES POSSIBLE, UTILITY WARNS

Update 5:15 p.m. -- Power has been restored to all customers, according to the SDG&E website.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Fran Materra, via Facebook: Thanksgiving by lanternlight in Potrero

November 26, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – An estimated 2,520 SDG&E customers remain in the dark on Black Friday due to power-shut offs amid a red flag warning for high fire danger. About half the communities originally blacked out have power restored, but these areas remain without power:  Alpine, Boulevard, the Campo reservation, Descanso, Jamul, Potrero, the Viejas Reservation, and Warner Springs.

More than 50,000 customers remain at risk of outages yet to come.  View the list of communities at risk at https://www.sdge.com/psps-dashboard. SDG&E has set up community resource centers where residents without power can go to recharge devices, pickup ice, water, snacks and more. Find the closest CRC at SDG&E’s CRC look-up tool.

East County residents posted comments and complaints on social media regarding the outages. While some railed against SDG&E for cutting power on a holiday, others pre-cooked foods early, grateful for the warnings.  Others dined out at restaurants, brought in hot meals, or headed to relatives homes’ outside the blacked-out areas. Some also voiced thanks that no homes were lost to wildfires.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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BIDEN SIGNS INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: CONGRESSWOMAN JACOBS AND STAFF ANSWER QUESTIONS FROM ECM ON LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Congresswoman Sara Jacobs and colleagues with President Joe Biden at infrastructure bill signing

November 19, 2021(San Diego’s East County) –  Could funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act just signed into law by President Joe Biden be used to fund sorely needed projects to benefit East County, from wildfire prevention to reducing freeway gridlock, taking communities off-grid, and improving dam safety?  East County Magazine reached out to Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, who attended the bill signing at the White House. She issued a statement on some local priorities and had her staff respond on other potential projects including:

  • Reducing gridlock on State Route 52 in Santee
  • Repairing dams at El Capitan and Lake Hodges reservoirs
  • Increasing mass transit for our region
  • Cleaning up a toxic underground plume near Gillespie Field and an elementary school in El Cajon
  • Taking communities such as  Descanso, that have suffered through many power outages, off-grid to produce their own clean energy for reliable electricity;
  • Replacing lead water pipes

“We have big infrastructure needs in San Diego, from broadband to transportation to wildfire prevention, but the good news is that this bill provides new funding to meet these needs. Now it’s time to make sure that San Diego gets our share of the funding and I look forward to working with our state and local partners to get that done,” Jacob says.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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