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. 

SAN DIEGO COUNTY ADVISES RESIDENTS TO WEAR MASKS INDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES AS CASES OF NEW VARIANT SURGE

East County News Service

July 27, 2021 (San DIego) --  With cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 surging, San Diego County today announced its recommendations for everyone to wear masks in indoor public places. The recommendation is in line with the latest Centers for Disease Control federal guidelines.

Below is the full County statement:

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

July 24, 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

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

LOCAL IMMIGRANT ADVOCATES SPEAK OUT ON DACA COURT RULING

"Our contributions to this country are innumerable. Yet, there’s no path to citizenship for us. We pay taxes, build the economy, and contribute to our communities during a pandemic. Yet, we are rejected and insulted once more. Every day that we live without a path to citizenship, is a day filled with anxiety and fear.” -- Dulce Garcia, an undocumented immigrant and attorney who chairs the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego immigrant advocates are reacting in shock to a federal judge’s ruling which orders the Biden administration to halt approval of any new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. The judge also issued a stay temporarily protecting those already granted DACA protections from deportation – but warned that Congress must act to make protections permanent, or the stay might be lifted.

DACA was created through an executive order by President Barack Obama, protecting thousands of young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay here, hold jobs and attend school. Known as “Dreamers,” many have been here nearly their entire lives. The ruling creates an uncertain future for 305,000 DACA recipients and another 854,000 eligible for DACA in southern border states, according to the Southern Border Communities Coalition. Some have been in the U.S. for many years, and some are now married or parents of U.S. citizens.

LISTEN NOW: OUR RADIO SHOWS FROM JANUARY-MARCH 2021 ARE NOW ONLINE

Our radio shows from January through March 2021 are now online.  For links to listen plus an index with full list of topics and interviews in each show. Click here or click the "read more" link and scroll down for audio links below the index. (Audio files may take a few moments to load.)  

Interviews included Congresswoman Sara Jacobs on the Capitol insurrection and COVID, Erica Pinto, chair of Southern Calif. Indian Healthcare, attorney Scott Gottredson on PFAS lawsuits and contamination at military bases, author Roger Showley, author of San Diego Memories III: A Time of Change – The 1960s and 1970s, and Craig Unger, author of American Kompromat.

The East County Magazine Show airs Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m. on KNSJ, 89.1 FM.  Our shows rerun on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. (Note: Due to COVID-19 quarantines, some show dates aired reruns. Original shows are listed below.) Shows also include station IDs and public service announcements.

Audio: 

PASSAGES: FATHER JOE CARROLL, PRIEST WHO CHAMPIONED HELP FOR HOMELESS, 1940-2021

 

“Father Joe Carroll stands distinguished in our county and in our nation.” – Bishop Robert W. McElroy

Famed priest once served at Our Lady of Grace Catholic church in El Cajon

By Miriam Raftery

July 11, 2021 (San Diego) – Father Joe Carroll, the Catholic priest famed for his leadership to help the homeless, died this morning at his home in the East Village at age 80. The President of Emeritus of Father Joe’s Villages leaves behind a profound legacy of compassion and decades of accomplishments to help people in need.

Carroll’s pioneering vision of a comprehensive “one-stop-shop” for homeless services led to the founding of Father Joe’s Villages, the largest and most comprehensive homeless services provider in San Diego County.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

COUNTY RESIDENTS ASKED TO TAKE PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFF SURVEY

By Miriam Raftery

July 3, 2021 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services is asking all County residents to fill out a survey about the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program.  The SDG&E program to shut off power during high fire-risk conditions has sparked controversy across the backcountry among residents left without electricity to power their homes, businesses, wells pumps, and other vital needs. The deadline to complete the survey is July 13.

The survey asks residents whether they received adequate notification of such outages and whether they experienced financial losses, among other details – the first step toward documenting impacts of the program and potentially leading to changes.

SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT POISED TO PILOT “BOOST DEMOCRACY” PROGRAM, IMPROVE PUBLIC ACCESS TO MEETINGS

By Miriam Raftery

View press conference

Photo: Shane Harris President of People's Association of Justice Advocates speaks Thursday at announcement as San Diego Unified School District Board President Richard Barrera looks on. (Photo via SDUSD)

July 9, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego Unified School District's board of trustees is poised to become the first public agency to adopt a “Boost Democracy” proposal by Rev. Shane Harris, President of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates. During its July 13 meeting, the board will test out allowing members of the public to receive a text message on request shortly before an agenda item they wish to speak on comes up. Harris hopes to have other government agencies across our region and nation follow suit.

Harris said that COVID-19 turned public meetings into a telecommunications platforms through online programs such as Zoom. “People engaged, people woke up, and people spoke up” about concerns ranging from COVID-19 to their children’s education.  “The central place that something going on was at these public meetings....One of the things I saw during this time was a breakdown in efficiency. It made government meetings more accessible,” since people could call in from where they were at, “but it did not make government meetings more efficient.” He said he saw mothers caring for children, activists and business owners calling in for meetings and waiting hours sometimes to speak on agenda items.

JACUMBA RESIDENTS CONTINUE TO FIGHT SOLAR PROJECT: JULY 9 PLANNNG COMMISSION HEARING IS NEXT STEP

Story and photos by Henri Migala 

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

June 30, 2021 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- Imagine moving to a small, quiet, rural community over an hour away from a major metropolitan area to enjoy the quiet solitude of the open backcountry--only to learn that an international investment group is planning on building a massive solar project, six times larger than your entire community, within feet from you house.<--break->

SUPERVISORS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVE BUDGET WITH PRIORITIES ON EQUITY AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

East County News Service

Photo: County Administration Building, courtesy of San Diego County News Service

June 29, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to adopt a $7.23 billion revised budget for fiscal year 2021-22. The adopted budget responds to voices in the community and follows a Framework for the Future that will fundamentally change County operations, with significant funding to address justice system reform, racial justice, health and environmental equity, homelessness, and economic opportunity.

“This is a budget that meets the needs of all our residents,” County Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer said,  adding that the budget is “stretching, but maintaining a prudent and responsible fiscal position.” 

The budget reflects new priorities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that caused hardships for many San Diegans and also reflects the board’s shift to a 3-2 Democratic majority after decades of Republican control, though all five Supervisors backed the revised budget.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

VACCINATED WORKERS CAN GO MASK-FREE STARTING JUNE 17 IF CAL-OSHA APPROVES GOVERNOR’S PLAN; MANY OTHER RESTRICTIONS END TUESDAY

By Miriam Raftery

June 14, 2021 (Sacramento) – With case-rates dropping and California now having the third-lowest rate of positive COVID-19 test results in the nation, the state is poised to end its color-coded tiers and lift most restrictions tomorrow. But employers have been in limbo as Cal-OSHA delayed a decision last week on rules to protect workers.

Now, Cal-OSHA is expected to approve new workplace rules proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom this week, which would allow fully vaccinated workers in most workplaces to remove masks and end social distancing requirements starting June 17th.

That’s a turnaround from an earlier proposal by Cal-OSHA, which would have required all workers to wear masks if anyone in the workplace wasn’t vaccinated but drew objections from employers’ groups.

STATE TO LIFT ALL CAPACITY LIMITS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS STARTING JUNE 15

By Miriam Raftery

May 22, 2021 (San Diego) – Fifteen months after COVID-19 shut downs began, the state of California will be lifting all capacity limits and color-coded tiers starting June 15, allowing all businesses to reopen at full capacity without physical distancing. Locally, that includes Padres games at full capacity, a return of symphony concerts, festivals and more.

The announcement came Friday from Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of the California Health and Human Services Agency, who indicated the state will largely follow guidelines U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There will, however, be some requirements for mega-indoor events as well as guidelines for massive outdoor events. In addition, rules remain pending for workplaces and some travel limits may be imposed for travelers from nations with high rates of COVID, in accordance with CDC recommendations.

NOT VACCINATED FOR COVID? HERE ARE ALL THE PLACES YOU CAN’T GO

By Miriam Raftery

May 19, 2021 (San Diego) – With over two-thirds of Californians now at least partially vaccinated and half fully vaccinated, many people are looking forward to resuming normal activities. But if you haven’t had the COVID-19 vaccine, you may be surprised to learn that you won’t be allowed to go many places.

These include all cruise ships, many colleges and universities, and some sports arenas and stadiums. Nursing homes and other senior care facilities may require vaccinations before admitting new patients or indoor visitors. Some employers are also requiring vaccines. Even some event planners are requiring guests to be vaccinated to attend functions such as weddings.

Not getting the vaccine is a personal choice, but a growing number of places are opting to protect their customers, workers or patients by banning the unvaccinated. Others are allowing unvaccinated people only if they can pass a COVID test. But who really wants to have your nose swabbed every time you go to a Padres game? Similarly, some places are allowing unvaccinated travelers – but only if you both pass a COVID test and quarantine in your hotel room for a number of days after arriving, which can spoil vacation plans unless you have an extended trip.

So where can’t you go, as of now, if you’re not vaccinated?

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR WAKEFIELD PLACEMENT DENIED BY JUDGE HARUTUNIAN

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Merle Wakefield, via San Diego Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force

May 10, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled today that a home in unincorporated El Cajon near Mt. Helix house is not an appropriate location to place a sexually violent predator (SVP).

Superior Court Judge Albert T. Harutunian III said that the house at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive is not appropriate to place sexually violent predator Merle Wade Wakefield. The judge indicated he will deny the placement because the neighborhood is too dense, and the house is too close to other homes with children, according to a press release issued by the Grossmont-Mount Helix Improvement Association (GMIA).

“It is not a safe placement for the community,” Harutunian said.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE ANDERSON MEASURE TO IMPROVE NOTIFICATIONS TO COMMUNITIES REGARDING SEX OFFENDERS

By Miriam Raftery

May 9, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure to increase public notification regarding locations of registered sex offenders and proposed placements of sexually violent predators in communities. Supervisor Joel Anderson introduced the measure, which was amended at the request of Supervisor Jim Desmond to also include Native American communities.

Anderson says that existing notifications “do not provide adequate notice to communities where sex offenders will be located.” In a written statement to the board, Anderson indicated that after sending questions to the District Attorney and Sheriff regarding the placement process and notification procedures, “there are inconsistencies and omissions in the answers we received.”

COUNTY LIFTS MASK REQUIREMENT IN MOST OUTDOOR SETTINGS FOR FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE

Source: County New Service

Photo: cc via Bing

April 30, 2021 (San Diego) -- Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors in public unless they’re in crowded places. This is one of many activities the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers safer for people who are fully immunized.

Masks are still necessary in crowded outdoor events, such as concerts or sporting events, as well as for indoor activities, whether you’re vaccinated or not.

THOUSANDS OPPOSE PREDATOR PLACEMENTS ON HORIZON HILLS: MONDAY DEADLINE TO OPPOSE SECOND PROPOSED RELEASE

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Thousands of residents signed petitions, sent letters and/or testified against placement of sexually violent predator Douglas Badger at 10957 Horizon Hills in unincorporated El Cajon. Public officials also spoke out to oppose the plan. While the community awaits the judge’s decision on the proposed release of Badger, which would be supervised by Liberty Healthcare, placement of a second SVP, Merle Wakefield, at the same address has triggered new outrage and a planned rally tomorrow to oppose the action.

The community plans a “Sexual Violent Predator Placement Protest” on Saturday, April 24 at 3 p.m. in the cul-de-sac at Horizon Hills Drive and Estates Way.  Comments on placement of Wakefield are due by April 26 and can be sent to sdsafe@sdsheriff.org or by calling (858)495-3619.  Residents may also contact Governor Gavin Newsom to ask that he issue an order requiring Wakefield and Badger be housed in a trailer at a state correctional facility instead of at the Horizon Hills site near Mt. Helix.

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE HEROES REFLECT ON PANDEMIC

 

Photos, left to right:  Dr. Raed-Al Naser, respiratory therapist Vill Miranda, ICU registered nurse Melissa Stark, and Dr. Al-Janabi

By Miriam Raftery

April 9, 2021 (La Mesa) –Healthcare heroes from Sharp Grossmont Hospital shared their memories and lessons learned during the past year of the global COVID-19 pandemic which began in March 2020 and has killed over a half million Americans. In an exclusive interview with East County Magazine, pulmonary critical care physicians Dr. Raed Al-Naser and Dr. Al-Janabi, as well as respiratory therapist Vill Miranda and registered ICU nurse Melissa Stark shared their knowledge and experiences.

These front-line medical professionals risked their lives to save others, fearing for the safety of their own families as they worked tirelessly to heal and comfort those in their care.

Audio: 

SPECIAL EDITION: BREAKING NEWS APRIL 1, 2021

East County Magazine has the exclusive scoop on some surprising major stories breaking today.

Is truth stranger than fiction? You decide. Click any title  to view a description of each, then click "read more" to view the full story. Or click here to view our complete April 1, 2021 edition.

Trust us, you won't want to miss this news!

COVID VACCINES AVAILABLE TO AGE 50 AND UP STARTING APRIL 1, ALL CALIFORNIANS AGE 16 AND UP STARTING APRIL 15

By Miriam Raftery

March 28, 2021 (San Diego) – With vaccine supplies increasing, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that starting April 1, all Californians age 50 and up will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. In addition, starting April 15, the vaccine will be available to all Californians age 16 and up.

The state expects to receive 2.5 million doses a week in early April and over 3 million doses a week by the second half of the month, as a result of actions taken by the Biden administration to dramatically boost supplies including forging a deal to have rival pharmaceutical companies team up to increase production and providing funds to state and local governments to expand vaccinations.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

March 21, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than to hike to one of the most beautiful places in East County, Three Sisters Falls in Cleveland National Forest? 

Scott Lagace made the trip this week with friends. The trail is a steep two-mile hike down and two miles back -- all uphill.

Despite these challenges, Lagace says,"It was a beautiful hike there and back. The falls was flowing beautifully. It was amazing at a distance and close up. I would definitely do this hike again. Just got to remember to take the road from the Julian side, not Descanso!"

EAST COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES SPLIT VOTES ON COVID RELIEF BILL SIGNED INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT BIDEN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, via C-Span: President Joe Biden signs the  American Recovery Act

March 17,2021 (San Diego) – The  American Recovery Act signed into law last week by President Joe Biden will provide $1.9 trillion to aid those impacted by COVID-19 and provide an economic boost. 

The measure includes a new round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for most Americans, up to $2,800 for couples and additional help for families with children, extension of unemployment benefits just days before benefits would run out, and aid to some business sectors hard-hit by the pandemic. The new law also funds vaccinations, reopening schools, and aid to local, state and tribal governments for COVID-19 related costs.

East County’s Congressional representatives split their votes down party lines, with Democrats Sara Jacobs and Juan Vargas voting in favor, while Republican Darrell Issa voted against the landmark COVID-19 relief bill.

The members each provided statements to justify their votes.

Below are highlights of their remarks, followed by a summary of what the bill includes.

COUNTY EXPANDS LIST OF HEALTH CONDITIONS ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE, ALSO ADDS HOMELESS AND THOSE IN JAIL OR DETENTION CENTERS

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2021 (San Diego) – Starting Monday, March 15, people ages 16 and up in Tier 1C will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, if they live or work in San Diego County and have certain serious health conditions. The County has sharply expanded the number of health conditions, disabilities, and illnesses on the list that put people at higher risk for COVID-19 serious illness.

In addition, the County has added homeless people and those in congregate living situations such as jails, mental health facilities, or detention centers to the list.

Below is the full list of everyone who is eligible for vaccinations, starting Monday:

Phase 1C – Effective March 15

Eligible High-Risk Medical Conditions and DisabilitiesEffective March 15

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system­­
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2, but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

In addition, people over age 16 can get the vaccine if, as a result of a developmental or other significant, high-risk disability, one or more of the following criteria applies**:

  • A COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe life-threatening illness or death; OR
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival; OR
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability.

Additional Eligible Groups - Effective March 15

  • Congregate residential settings, such as an incarceratio­n/detention facilities, homeless shelters, or behavioral health facilities
    • Includes people experiencing homelessness, who may transition into congregate settings at short notice­­­

The County is also continuing to vaccinate people n phases 1A and 1B:

COVID CASES DROP, JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES ARRIVE IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: San Diego County

March 9, 2021 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 scenario is improving in San Diego County. On March 7, the county reported 307 new cases, no deaths, and a positive testing rate of just 3 percent – all significantly lower than in recent weeks.

That drop is no doubt due in part to the fact that 12.7% of San Diegans age 16 and up are now fully immunized, and nearly 24% of those eligible have received at least one shot. 

Now, arrival of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine in our region will make it easier to get more people vaccinated. The J&J vaccine requires just one shot and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two shots and very cold storage.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

COVID VACCINES APPROVED FOR COURT WORKERS, PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS AND SOME DEFENSE LAWYERS

East County News Service

Photo: Scales of justice, cc via Bing

March 6, 2021 (San Diego) –The County of San Diego has approved COVID-19 vaccines for judges, prosecutors, public defender attorneys, and court employees. Also covered are criminal defense lawyers representing poor defendants in federal court.

These individuals regularly come in contact with people who have been in prison or county jail, congregate facilities with a high risk of COVID-19.  The County has included them under the “emergency services” category along with police, firefighters, animal control workers and security guards at public facilities.

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