San Diego

WORKERS ON BORDER WALL AT TECATE NOT WEARING MASKS OR MAINTAINING SOCIAL DISTANCING

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2020 (Tecate) – Along the California-Mexico border at Tecate in San Diego’s East County, construction of the border wall is being done by workers not maintaining social distancing or wearing masks—despite national, state and county emergency declarations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction is deemed an essential business under California’s emergency order and the Trump administration has specifically deemed building the border wall essential.  But why are no precautions being taken to protect the health of workers and the public?

COVID-19 OUTBREAK LINKED TO PHARMACY IN EL CAJON; COUNTY DEATH TOLL RISES TO 15

By Miriam Raftery

April 2, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 849 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in San Diego County. Of those, 1.4%, or 15 people have died, according to  County health officials. The county has identified several cluster outbreaks, including an outbreak in East County linked to the PalmCare Pharmacy in El Cajon,  NBC-7 reports.

A 25-year-old pharmacy tech who worked there , and who  had hoped to become a doctor, died last week at his family’s home in Riverside County. The pharmacy’s customers included many in East County’s Iraqi Chaldean community.

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB WILL HOLD VIRTUAL TOWN HALL ON COVID 19 THURSDAY

East County News Service

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob will hold  an East County Virtual Town Hall on Thursday to discuss the novel coronavirus, and she is encouraging residents in her district to submit questions.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten will take part in the meeting, which will take place at 4 p.m.

LOCAL COVID-CASES REACH 603: COUNTY RESTRICTS CRUISE SHIPS

Source: County News Service

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Through March 30, a total of 603 COVID-19 cases have been reported in San Diego County, including 84 new cases today.

Of San Diego County’s cases, 345 (57%) were men and 256 (43%) were women. Of the known cases, 118 (19%) have required hospitalization, 51 (8%) had to be placed in intensive care and 7 (1.2%) have died.

Health officials today announced the County is restricting the acceptance of cruise ships with COVID-19 cases and has instituted new rules for the unloading of passengers and crew members off cruise ships arriving in San Diego.

MORE PUBLIC PLACES SHUT DOWN DUE TO VISITORS CROWDING ATTRACTIONS, IGNORING SOCIAL DISTANCING

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread in San Diego and people eager to exercise or socialize crowd into outdoor public spaces, more are shutting down including most local beaches as well as many parks and trails.

Here’s the latest on what’s open and closed.

While it's best to stay home if you have space to exercise and get fresh air there, if you do venture out to public spaces, be sure to maintain social distance of six feet from anyone not in your famliy and so that the few remaining places to enjoy nature won’t be shut down, too. No groups of 10 or more are allowed anywhere in the state.  The Sheriff has said that those violating social distancing rules may be arrested, fined, and jailed.

SOME BEACHES, PARKS AND TRAILS SHUT DOWN AS CROWDS DEFY ORDERS, 205 LOCAL COVID-19 CASES CONFIRMED

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) – This weekend, crowds of mostly young people defied orders by the Governor and San Diego County banning groups of 10 or more and requiring social distancing of six feet.  As a result, police shut down parking lots at city beaches, some parks were ordered closed, and Cleveland National Forest closed down trails to Cedar Creek and Three Sisters Falls in East County.

Tonight County health officials announce that 205 people in San Diego County have tested positive for COVID-19, including 178 county residents and 16 non-residents. The first death of a San Diego resident from the new coronavirus occurred after the man, who was in his 70s, traveled to Hawaii and was being treated in Santa Clara County.

Cases have been confirmed in the cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Del Mar, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, La Mesa, National City, Oceanside, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach and Vista, as well as the unincorporated areas of Fallbrook, Lakeside, Ramona and Rancho Santa Fe.

REPAIRSMITH DONATES $100K IN FREE 'NO-CONTACT CAR REPAIR' SERVICES TO SUPPORT PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HARDSHIP DURING PANDEMIC

At-Home Service Company Launches Free Car Repair Program for Car Owners in Need; Ramps Up Technician Hiring and Fleet Service for Businesses

Source: PR Newswire/Repair Smith

March 20, 2020 (San Diego)--Today, RepairSmith announces it will donate $100,000 in free, 'No-Contact Car Repair' to the communities it serves. The company is introducing a series of initiatives to support members within the community who are facing hardship because of the coronavirus.  

Starting today, in California and Las Vegas, free car repairs are available to car owners who are severely impacted by COVID-19, either via loss of employment or acting as a frontline worker to their community.

This includes government workers, service workers, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, employees of grocery stores and pharmacies, volunteers and others who require the use of a functioning car, in locations where RepairSmith currently operates, including San Diego County.

U.S., MEXICO WILL RESTRICT NON-ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC ACROSS BORDER STARTING AT 9 PM TONIGHT

 


Completed port of entry at San Ysidro

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: San Ysidro border crossing, via San Diego Mayor Falconer's office

March 20, 20202 (San Diego) -- The Trump administration announced Friday that closure of non-essential movement across the Canadian border will be accompanied by similar limits on the Mexican border.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: A SNOWY SPRING SUNRISE

East County News Service

March 20, 2020 (Laguna Mountain) – Amid the fears and uncertainties we are facing right now, there is a healing power in nature.  This inspirational sunrise photo was taken this morning by UCSD’s HP Wren camera atop Laguna Mountain in San Diego’s East County, which is covered in snow on this official first day of springtime.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

SDGE SUSPENDS ELECTRIC AND GAS SERVICE DISRUPTIONS DUE TO NON-PAYMENT AMID COVID-19 ECONOMIC DISRUPTIONS

Helix Water assures customers water is safe from COVID-19

By Paul Kruze

March 15, 2020 (San Diego)-- In an unprecedented move, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) announced on Friday that it will be suspending disconnections of service for non-payment.

In a news release published on its website, the utility announced, in part, “With the coronavirus pandemic causing significant impact on the economy and people’s livelihoods, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced today that it will temporarily suspend service disconnections. The disconnection moratorium will remain in place until further notice.”

The company also has urged customers who are struggling to pay their utility bill due to financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus to call its Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-7343 to make payment arrangements.

WHAT TO DO DURING CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN? CHECK OUT THESE ACTIVITY IDEAS

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re healthy and under 65, but trying to avoid crowds and maintain social distancing (authorities recommended six feet from others), here are a few options to consider, from hiking and fishing at local forests, parks and lakes to homebound activities such as gardening, games, cooking and virtual tours.

LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS CLOSING DOWN DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: cc via Bing

March 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Over half the school districts in San Diego have announced plans to shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak until sometime in April.

East County districts that are shutting down include Alpine Union, Grossmont-Union High School District, Cajon Valley, Dehesa, Jamul-Dulzura, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lakeside Union, Mountain Empire, and Vallecitos. 

County Health and Human Services asks parents, We recognize the difficulty that these school closures present for working families. It is important to remember that closing schools is an effort to maintain at least six feet of distance between people and to reduce the number of individuals gathered into a given space to prevent the spread of the virus. While there are still public spaces open and available, including malls, parks, movie theaters, etc., we would ask parents to strongly consider keeping their children home or limited to small groups at this time.”

Nationwide, school closures due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, are impacting over 8 million K-12 students, according to EdSource, or nearly a quarter of the 50 million K-12 students in the U.S.

Here are schools locally announcing closures so far:

COUNTY AND STATE BAN NEARLY ALL GATHERINGS; FIVE NEW LOCAL COVID-19 CASES REPORTED

Many major events closed or cancelled across our state and region

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2020 (San Diego) – In response to the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak, effective immediately, the state of California and San Diego County have ordered that from today through March 31st: Violators are subject to fines or imprisonment.

  • all gatherings of over 250 people be cancelled or postponed, including concerts, conferences, and sporting events;
  • Smaller events of 10 may be held only if social distancing space of 6 feet between people can be provided;
  • Gatherings of people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while following social distancing guidelines. This includes gatherings at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions.
  • Visitors should be restricted at medical facilities with people at high risk of COVID-19 complications, such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals providing acute in-patient care.

The ban on gatherings generally does not apply to workplaces, shopping malls, grocery stores, or emergency shelters such as those for the homeless.

View:  Governor Gavin Newsom’s message, Calif. Dept. of Public Health directiveCounty press release, County health office order,  World Health Organization director’s statement on pandemic

PUBLIC COMMENTS NEEDED ON STATE PARKS PLAN TO RESTORE CLOVER FLAT WILDLIFE PRESERVE DAMAGED BY OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

By Patrick Williams, Back Country Land Trust

Photo; Typical Clover Flat OHV trail for closure and restoration:

March 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Mountain Empire residents and others interested in seeing the Clover Flat wildlife preserve near Campo restored can submit comments on the restoration proposal by May 4, 2020.  Below are details on the proposal and how to submit your public comments.

California State Parks  proposes to  restore off-highway vehicle (OHV) including quad and four-wheel drive damaged areas totaling five restoration acres at Clover Flat wildlife preserve. Damaged areas will be secured, then restored with native plant seed, wattles and mulch and signage will be placed to direct riders (mostly accessing the area from the RR access road) to legal OHV Corral Canyon or Lark Canyon riding areas.

State Parks OHV public review and comment instructions:

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

February 19, 2020 (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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

DEA RELEASES 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT: METH AND “DEADLY” FENTANYL MOST SERIOUS LOCAL PROBLEMS

Annual report outlines strategic review of threats posed by drugs and drug traffickers

Source: Drug Enforcement Agency

February 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon has announced publication of the 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment, which outlines threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and by abuse of illicit drugs.

“This year’s report illustrates a shifting drug landscape in the United States,” said Acting Administrator Dhillon. “We’re pleased that in 2018, drug overdose deaths declined over four percent overall, with even greater decreases – over 13 percent – in overdoses from controlled prescription opioids. Many challenges remain, however, including the spread of fentanyl and methamphetamine across the country. DEA and its partners will continue to work diligently to combat the drug trafficking organizations that bring these deadly substances into our country and endanger the American people.”

“Unlike other cities, San Diego faces unique challenges by being on the U.S.-Mexico border,” said San Diego Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “In 2018, the DEA San Diego seized record amounts of methamphetamine and deadly fentanyl. While our battle with the Mexican drug cartels persists, our agents are more committed than ever to stemming the flow of these deadly drugs entering our community and effecting the lives of our friends and families.”

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS CASE IN SAN DIEGO; CDC URGES TRAVELERS TO CANCEL VISITS TO CHINA

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2020 (San Diego) – A traveler to San Diego who recently visited China may have contracted a new coronavirus tied to a global outbreak of respiratory illness. County health officials have sent a sample to the Centers for Disease Control for testing.

Today the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory urging travelers to cancel all non-essential travel to anywhere In China, where 25 to 50 million people are now quarantined in multiple cities.  The CDC broadened its warning, which formerly only applied to the Wuhan province where the disease was first identified in December.

Screenings of airline passengers from China are also being expanded to 20 airports with quarantine facilities. 

Hong Kong has announced it will stop issueing permits to travelers from mainland China. Inside China, transportation out of impacted cities is shut down, leaving some Americans stranded  Yahoo News reports.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

PASSAGES: CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER CARROL WAYMON, 1925-2020

By Miriam Raftery

Memorial service has been moved to Bethel Baptist Church on Jan. 24. See details below.

Photo: Carrol Waymon PhD, watching the inauguration of President Barack Obama during a celebration at the Malcolm X Library in San DIego in January, 2009.

January 12, 2020 (San Diego)--San Diego’s most prominent civil rights leader, Carrol Waymon PhD, passed away in early January at age 94.  As executive director of San Diego’s first human rights agency, the Citizens Interracial Committee, he was a tireless fighter for justice who broke down many barriers for people of color.

Born May 15, 1925, Waymon was the grandson of a slave and son of a Methodist minister.  He was one of seven children, including his sister, the late jazz musician Nina Simone. While working on the Los Angeles Human Relations Agency in 1964, he was asked by San Diego's City Council  to come to San Diego and help address racial issues. He moved here and never left,  leading the Citizens Interracial Committee and devoting his life to attaining equal rights for all.

ECM interviewed Waymon in January 2009, during a local viewing of the inuauguration of Barack Obama, our nation’s first African-American president.  For Waymon, who once served as San Diego’s delegate to the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr., Obama’s election was a major milestone hailed by Waymon.  “It is incredible to me. I couldn’t imagine at that time in 1968 that we’d have a black president 40 years later,” he said.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

January 9, 2020 (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.

STORIES OF THE YEAR IMPACTING EAST COUNTY IN 2019

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

December 26, 2019 (San Diego's East County) --As 2019 draws to a close, we look back at the top news stories and issues impacting San Diego’s East County region and residents, as well as the people making headline news-- for better and for worse.

Here are the top local stories across all news and features categories this year:

DESMOND WITHDRAWS DEVELOPER-FRIENDLY LANGUAGE CHANGE TO “SOS” BALLOT MEASURE

By Miriam Raftery

December 26, 2019 (San Diego) – Supervisor Jim Desmond has withdrawn his proposal to amend the Save Our San Diego Countryside (SOS) initiative language on the March 2020 ballot county-wide. The decision was announced at the Dec. 10 County Board of Supervisors meetings.

Supervisor Desmond’s proposed amendments closely reflected arguments of the “No on SOS” campaign, which is funded primarily by the Building Industry Association, an advocacy organization for the building industry—arguments that opponents have characterized as misleading.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN EAST COUNTY

December 2019

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all across East County

Not a creature was stirring, from Borrego to El Monte.

Cowboy boots were hung by chimneys with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

 

From Barona to Ramona, Jacumba to Jamul

East County residents celebrating the Yule

Have taken time from gift wraps and home-cooked dishes

To send Santa their heartfelt holiday wishes.

PROTESTS HELD OUTSIDE COURTHOUSE OVER PROPOSED RELEASE OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN JACUMBA NEAR BOULEVARD

East County News Service
 
December 21, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Despite Jacumba Hot Springs already having 11 of San Diego County’s 14 released sexually violent predators, the state is proposing yet another:  Thomas Joseph Cornwell, 41, who was convicted in 2008 on two counts of lewd act with a child under age 14.  
 
Local residents protested outside the Superior Court in downtown San Diego yesterday, where Judge Albert T. Harutunian III took the proposal under consideration after the judge earlier granted Cornwell’s petition for conditional release.
 
The judge will issue a written decision in the future on whether or not to allow Cornwell to be released under supervision in the 2100 block of McCain Valley Rd. in Jacumba Hot Springs, a facility that the Department of State Hospitals indicates has previously housed sexually violent predators. The site is near rural Boulevard and is also close to campgrounds in a federal recreation area and two federal wilderness areas.

SPRING VALLEY MAN ARRESTED AFTER POSTING MOCK MASS SHOOTING VIDEO

By Miriam Raftery

December 14, 2019 (Spring Valley)  -- A Spring Valley father was arrested after a tip to the FBI revealed two videos posted on YouTube showing Homoki simulating a mass shooting from a window in the Sofia Hotel in downtown San Diego. A search of his home turned up 14 guns including assault rifles and illegally modified weapons.

 Steve Andrew Homoki, 30  pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of owning illegally modified firearms and child abuse due to loaded guns accessible to his three children.

The prosecution contends that the videos amounted to rehearsals for a mass shooting, though Homoki has not been charged for making or posting the videos.

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