January 2013 Articles

COMMUNITY RAISES CONCERNS OVER ALCOHOL PROBLEMS IN THE BACKCOUNTRY

January 26, 2013 (Campo) -- Underage drinkers, empty lots littered with empty beer bottles and irresponsible alcohol retailers have residents speaking out after a recent community meeting to voice their concerns about youth access to alcohol in Back Country areas.

Boulevard resident Tammy Daubach said she noticed teens drinking in the empty lot near her home in Boulevard. She explained kids frequent the empty lot to ride their BMX bikes on the dirt tracks. “When the kids need to fill their motor bikes at the gas station nearby, they gas up and get their stuff. You constantly see the trash back there. We’ll go out with bags to pick it all up and find chips and wine coolers and little liquor bottles, all of that.”

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: CARBON MONOXIDE POISINING

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, the leading cause of CO is heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel which can be sources of carbon monoxide says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home DiGiovanna recommends. “When one sounds, they all sound!”

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS INTRODUCES JURY NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT

January 26, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis introduced legislation to prohibit a person from being removed from a jury because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Serving on a jury is one of America’s most cherished civic duties,” said Davis.  “It is unjust to exclude a particular group of people from participating in civil society because of whom they love or what they look like.  The federal government already prohibits juror discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and economic status and as we pursue greater equality for all Americans, I believe LGBT Americans should be also be free from juror discrimination.”

RENO DISPATCH: CHILLING TESTIMONY: DESIGN FLAWS AT CALIFORNIA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT PUT MILLIONS IN DANGER

By Jamie Reno

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – The operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California made critical errors in the design of the plant's replacement steam generators and, as a result, the public was put in great danger last year, according to expert testimony Wednesday by an internationally renowned nuclear engineer at a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) hearing.

The chilling testimony, which was presented to the NRC Petitions Review Board, was accompanied by evidence showing that plant operator Southern California Edison should have been required to go through a license amendment process before installing the new steam generators in 2009 and 2010.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/design-flaws-at-california-n...

NAVY HONORS CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS WITH THE DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

January 26, 2013 (Washington D.C.)– The highest award the Navy gives to a civilian was awarded to Congresswoman Susan Davis.  Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presented Davis, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, with the Distinguished Public Service Award for her "long and selfless service to the Nation's Sailors and Marines."

“One of the joys of my job is working on behalf of the men and women who sacrifice so much to keep us safe,” said Davis. “Our nation’s servicemembers are some of the most impressive people I have met.  Their ability to adapt to the unique challenges they face everyday is inspiring. I want to thank Secretary Mabus for this honor.”

MIDDLE SCHOOLS WIN WITH SAN DIEGO ENERGY CHALLENGE

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Simple Energy announced the three winning schools in the San Diego Energy Challenge school competition. The San Diego Energy Challenge contest gave SDG&E customers in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) boundaries the chance to compete on behalf of their chosen SDUSD middle school to win cash grants. Participating customers earned points for their school of choice by saving energy on Reduce Your Use days and getting members of their community to sign up and support their team.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: FIREPLACE SAFETY

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – It’s been unusually cold and more cold weather is in store this winter. During the cold winter months nothing beats a nice fire in the fireplace. Fires may keep us warm, however, there are hazards that need to be addressed says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning says DiGiovanna. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility ...Fire Stops With You!

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HIGH WIND SAFETY TIPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – Wildfires are not the only hazard we have to concern ourselves with during High Winds and Red Flag Warnings.

Safety Tips:

The safest place to during high winds is indoors.

Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and street signs may become loose during strong wind gusts. Keep an eye toward nearby balconies for loose objects that may fall.

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT BOARD ELECTS 2013 BOARD OFFICERS

January 26, 2013 (La Mesa) -- The board of directors of the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) has elected its board officers for 2013. Elected for one-year terms were Dr. Michael T. Long as president, Robert “Bob” Ayres as vice president and Gloria Chadwick as secretary. Long also appointed board member Michael Emerson as treasurer. Also serving on the five-member board is Betty Stieringer.

SAN MIGUEL FIREFIGHTERS PINNED WITH CAL FIRE BADGES AS DISTRICT MAKES TRANSITION

 

January 26, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Cal Fire’s San Diego unit welcomed 66 new members to its ranks in a special badge pinning ceremony this morning at Cal Fire’s facilities on Jamacha Road in El Cajon.  The new Cal Fire members are firefighters from the San Miguel Fire Protection District, which entered into a cooperative agreement with Cal Fire starting December 31, 2012. 

“The transition creates a new generation of cooperation, through a reduction of redundant staff positions while maintaining firefighter staffing at all 8 Fire Stations,” a press release issued by San Miguel Fire District states.

RAIN BRINGS URBAN RUNOFF TO COUNTY BEACHES

January 25, 2013 (San Diego) – The Department of Environmental Health has issued a General Advisory for the coastal waters of San Diego County due to recent rainfall. Swimmers, surfers, and other ocean users are warned that the levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters, especially near storm drains, creeks, rivers, and lagoon outlets that discharge urban runoff. Urban runoff may contain large amounts of bacteria from a variety of sources such as animal waste, soil, and decomposing vegetation. While many coastal storm drains within San Diego County are permanently posted with white metal warning signs, additional temporary warning signs are not posted for General Advisories. Activities such as swimming, surfing and diving should be avoided in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. This includes all coastal beaches and all of Mission Bay and San Diego Bay. Elevated bacteria levels can persist after a rainstorm depending upon the intensity of the storm, volume of runoff and ocean and current conditions.

HOUSE PASSES BILL TO SUSPEND DEBT LIMIT FOR SEVERAL MONTHS

San Diego’s Congressional delegation splits votes

By Miriam Raftery

January 25, 2013 (Washington D.C.)—By a 285-144 vote, the House of Representative Wednesday voted to prevent the government from defaulting on its debt by suspending the federal debt limit until May 18, giving Congress time to craft a longer term solution.  The majority of Republicans supported the bill, HR 325, while most Democrats opposed – though  San Diego’s Congressional representatives voted just the opposite.

Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas  were among a minority of 88 Democrats who supported the bill, while Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa were among just 33 Republicans who voted no.

CUYAMACA, GROSSMONT COLLEGES BEGIN SEMESTER IN AN OPTIMISTIC SPIRIT

 

Photos by Stephen Harvey/Grossmont College photographer

January 25, 2013 (El Cajon)--Spring semester begins January 28 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in a restorative vein, with hundreds of classes added back as the result of California voters’ approval of Proposition 30, the governor’s sales and income tax measure.

The November victory at the polls allowed the colleges to restore 235 course offerings for the new semester that had been cut when the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District approved its budget .The action was taken to prepare for the worst-case scenario of the district losing $5.6 million in funding had voters rejected Prop. 30.

 

Peg Marcus, Grossmont College’s student body president, shares a laugh with the campus mascot, Gizmo, this week as the campus prepares for the start of the new semester Monday, Jan. 28. 

CLAIM YOUR EITC DOLLARS: IT’S EASY AND FREE

$10 Million Returned to San Diegans in 2012

January 25, 2012 (San Diego)--County officials and community partners kick off the 2013 campaign to help low-income families and individuals boost their federal tax refunds by taking advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and applying for CalFresh (food stamps). 

From Jan. 30 through April 15, hundreds of volunteers and college students will file income taxes for free at nearly 100 sites across the County. They will also screen families to determine if they qualify for CalFresh benefits. Residents can call 2-1-1 for more information. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: JOURNEY TO MIDDLE AGE (56 UP)

By Brian Lafferty

January 25, 2013 (San Diego) – Michael Apted is not a director that quickly comes to mind.  He's done some great films, like Coal Miner's Daughter (1980).  Other notable films he's helmed include Gorky Park (1983), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), and Amazing Grace (2006).  He's even directed a James Bond movie. (The World Is Not Enough, 1999.)  

NETFLIX STREAMING PICK OF THE WEEK: DOCUMENTATION OF LIFE (THE UP DOCUMENTARIES)

56 Up, the newest Up Documentary, opens today at the Landmark Ken.

By Brian Lafferty

January 25, 2013 (San Diego) – In 1964, Michael Apted filmed 7 Up for British television.  He and his team sought fourteen children - all aged 7 - from all walks of life.  He found ten boys and four girls who he then interviewed about various political and social issues as well as their dreams and hopes for the future.

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH: "BIRD HOLE ROCK" IN MCCAIN VALLEY

 

January 24, 2013 (McCain Valley) – Charles and Laurie Baker enjoy hiking in McCain Valley and the rugged Carrizo Gorge.  They have submitted numerous photos of rocks containing large holes suitable for hawks and eagles to nest in, or perch on while scanning the valley below for prey.  This is an area close to the proposed Tule Wind project, which the Bakers fear could harm a pair of golden eagles that they have recently seen while gazing across this hidden but spectacular landscape toward Lost Valley Rock.   

 

 

PUBLIC RECORDS REVEAL EASTERN MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT FRONTING SAN DIEGO PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN FOR METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT

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Riverside County water agency sued for refusing to release public records

January 24, 2013 (San Diego)--Public records show the Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County is funding a $15,000-per-month public relations campaign in San Diego County on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

While limited information was provided under the California Public Records Act, Eastern water district officials redacted key information and refused to release all records to the public, forcing the San Diego County Water Authority to file a lawsuit on January 22 to obtain the records.

JACUMBA SCHOOL AWARDED $5,000 GRANT FROM SDG&E

 

January 24, 2013 (Jacumba)--Jacumba Middle School, received an unexpected holiday grant from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to help fund experiential learning tied to STEM (an acronym for studies in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics).  STEM related programs have become a Presidential priority because too few students are pursuing degrees in these fields.

WHERE IS THE WIND? GOVERNMENT, SDG&E & PATTERN ENERGY REFUSE TO PROVIDE RECORDS ON ENERGY PRODUCED AT OCOTILLO

An ECM special investigative report:

Serious questions raised over industry claims on wind production here and around the world

By Miriam Raftery

Photos and videos by Jim Pelley

January 23, 2013 (Ocotillo) – Since taxpayer dollars were used to fund the destruction of public lands for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility, why won’t the federal government tell us how much power the project is producing?

Engineer and award-winning photojournalist Jim Pelley lives in Ocotillo.   A series of videos shot nearly each day since the wind project went online December 5, 2012 raises serious questions.  Turbines are not  turning , or scarcely moving,  in nearly all of the videos shot in December and January.  Wind speed readings and weather reports further suggest wind speed measurements are far below the minimum needed for the project to produce any power at all—let alone the levels claimed by developer Pattern Energy.

When the project went online December 5, Pattern claimed that with wind forecasts looking “favorable” it expected to power more than 125,000 homes. http://news.yahoo.com/video/controversial-ocotillo-wind-farm-goes-025000610.html.  But Ocotillo residents have long voiced concerns that their area lacks sustained strong winds needed to power the massive, controversial wind project on public lands that has been opposed by tribes, environmental groups and most residents.

After viewing videos bolstering concerns over lack of wind, East County Magazine sought public records to learn how much power has been produced.  The shocking result?  Federal and state authorities claim they don't know--and further, that public officials and the public have no right to find out.

CA NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION ISSUES REPORT BACKING VIEJAS AND QUECHAN CLAIMS OF OCOTOILLO WIND SITE HARM TO SACRED SITES

 

Commission urges CA Attorney General to file suit if mitigation requests not met

Update February 12, 2013: A hearing set for February 15 in San Diego has been postponed.

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2013 (Ocotillo ) – The California Native American Heritage Commission (CNAH) has issued a report in support of the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians and the Quechan Indian Nation claims that the Bureau of Land Management failed in its duty to protect cultural resources including human remains and sacred sites at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.  The draf staff report details a disturbing pattern by the BLM, Pattern Energy and a project archaeology consultant of ignoring tribal concerns and failing in its duty to protect cultural resources.

The tribes petitioned the NAHC to investigate and conduct a public hearing to consider tribal requests to declare the entire 12,500 acre site a ‘sanctified cemetery’.  Tribes also seek to have the project halted to assess damage and want agencies to consult with tribes to agree on mitigation measures to prevent further harm to a broader region. The case has broad national significance, with hundreds of millions of acres of public lands slated for renewable energy projects.

The NAHC has cancelled a Public Hearing that had been scheduled at the State of California Building on Front Street in Downtown San Diego for February 15, offering no explanation for the indefinite postponement.

COMMUNITY MEETING JAN. 24 ON INDUSTRIAL ENERGY PROJECTS PROPOSED IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2013 (Boulevard) – Two nonprofit groups, Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps, will convene a community meeting Thursday, January 24, 2013 to inform residents about planned industrial conversation of Boulevard and surrounding areas.  A dozen or so big energy corporations—most from outside the region--seek to push through zoning changes to allow massive projects that would forever transform this now-rural area. 

“Learn about the many industrial scale wind, solar, and related transmission line projects planned in and around our residential neighborhoods (on public, private, and tribal lands), adversely impacting many homes,” a flyer for the event states, “and what you can do to help protect and defend your family, your property, your future.”

The meeting will be held at the Boulevard Fire Station Equipment Bay, 39923 Ribbonwood Road, Boulevard 91905 (northeast corner of Old Highway 80 and Ribbonwood Road) from 7 to 9 p.m. on January 24.

EAST COUNTY MOVERS AND SHAKERS TURN OUT FOR PEOPLE’S BALL TO SUPPORT KNSJ RADIO

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Melody Ponchot and Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2013 (San Diego) – Community members , activists and political leaders from across East County were among hundreds in attendance at the People’s Ball Saturday night at the World Beat Center.  The event raised over $4,000 that will be matched by an anonymous donor, leaving just $5,000 left to raise for a transmitter to put KNSJ radio on the air in East County.

Prominent East County residents in attendance included Lemon Grove Councilman George Gastil, Boulevard Planning Group member Melody Ponchot, who rocked out on the dance floor, and Ben Kalasho, who narrowly missed winning his race for El Cajon Council.  Musicians, artists, and groups ranging from human rights advocates to Green Party members also turned out to support KNSJ, which will reach portions of San Diego in addition to a vast area in East County.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

January 24, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

WORLD

HEALTH/SCIENCE

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

WANTED: ATM ROBBERY SUSPECT IN SANTEE AND RANCHO SAN DIEGO

January 24, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Take a good look at these surveillance photos. This man is wanted in connection with three ATM robberies in Santee.

The first incident happened January 16th just before 11:00 p.m. Armed with a gun, he approached a man at a Mission Federal Credit Union ATM on Town Center Parkway and demanded money. The second incident happened on January 21st at the same location. He approached a woman and placed a hand into his waistband simulating he had a weapon. The woman ran to her car and the suspect drove away. The third incident happened on the same day at a Wells Fargo ATM on Jamacha Road in unincorporated El Cajon. He had a gun and approached a man demanding money. He then grabbed the money and drove away.

BODY FOUND IN BURNED TRUCK IN VALLECITO PARK

January 23, 2013 (Borrego Springs) – Sheriff’s Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a body found inside a burned truck in Vallecito County Regional Park. 

A County park ranger made the grisly discovery yesterday around 10 a.m. in the park, located at 37349 County Route S-2 (Great Southern Overland State Route) in Borrego Springs, Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.

Cause and manner of death, as well as identification of the deceased will be determined by the County Medical Examiner.

If you have information on this death, call the Homicide Detail at (858)974-2321/after hours at  (858) 565-5200 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS (8477).

WHERE IS THE WIND? VIDEO LINKS SUGGEST OCOTILLO WIND FARM IS UNDER-PERFORMING

By Miriam Raftery

View our full investigative report here. 

January 23, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Videos shot by award winning photojournalist and engineer Jim Pelley suggest that the Ocotillo Wind Express Facility is thus far not living up to projects made by Pattern Energy, which claimed in early December that "with wind forecasts looking favorable" it expected to power 125,000 homes, News 8 reported.

It takes sustained winds of 8 to 10 mph before wind turbines are productive.  Thus far there is little evidence of any such sustained wind speeds in Ocotillo during the first seven weeks of the wind facility's operations--not even on a day when high winds were forcecast for the region.  View videos below.  Such underperformance is not unusual, an ECM investigation has found.  Watch for more details soon.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL JANUARY 24-28

 

January 22, 2013 (San Diego) – The Museum of Photographic Arts, in community partnership with Survivors of Torture, International, The IRC, and other community partners is hosting the third year of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in San Diego from Jan. 22 – 28 at 1649 El Prado, San Diego.  This film event has been described by the New York Times as the “cinematic conscience of the world.”

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