February 2013 Articles

INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE PREPARES FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN

 

By Janis Mork

February 19, 2013 (El Cajon)- The International Rescue Committee has partnered with Kaiser Permanente in El Cajon to open up a community garden for El Cajon residents, who wish to become gardeners by filling out a contract, to grow their food.

Anne Barron, community garden coordinator, gave ECM a tour of the garden, which is expected to open up in mid-March. The community garden is located at 203 Travelodge Drive in El Cajon. 

EL CAJON GOES DOWN ROCKY ROAD WITH OFFICIAL INVOLVEMENT IN CHURCH GROUNDBREAKING AND WORSHIP EVENT

 

By Paul Kruze

A Special Report for East County Magazine

February 26, 2013 (El Cajon)--The City of El Cajon may once again be walking down a rocky road of church and state separation issues with the announced participation of the El Cajon Police and Fire Departments as “special guests” at the groundbreaking of Rock Church’s newest location on Saturday, March 9 near Parkway Plaza on Jackman street. The invitation also includes “prayer and worship” at the newly-leased space.

RURAL FIRE DISTRICT LAWYER: BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS IGNORED FIRE CONCERNS, PUBLIC HEALTH AT SHU’LUUK WIND PROJECT IN CAMPO

 

“On its face…it appears that the DEIS [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] fails to include any legally enforceable Public Health and Safety mitigation measures….A failure to mandate even minimal fire protection standards or a protection plan will not only endanger workers on-site, it represents a potential fire threat to the surrounding communities.” 

– Cynthia L. Eldred, attorney for the San Diego Rural Fire Protection District

By Miriam Raftery

February 26, 2013 (Campo) – An attorney representing the San Diego Rural Fire Protection District has sent repeated letters  to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) taking the agency to task for ignoring health, safety and fire concerns in its consideration of the Shu’luuk Wind project.    In a February 25, 2013 comment  submitted to the BIA, the district further accuses the BIA of violating federal law and failing to require mitigation of serious problems for the proposed project on the Campo Indian reservation.

GROSSMONT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND MASTER CHORALE PRESENT, “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” ON FEBRUARY 28 AND MARCH 3

February 26, 2013 (Rancho San Diego) -- Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale announce the seventh concert in the 2012-2013 performance season: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Experience an evening of Shakespeare as musically set by Felix Mendelssohn, with actors from Grossmont College and the community in a complete recited performance of, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” This rare performance allows the audience to experience all of Mendelssohn’s beloved music about fairies, honorable love, and comedic drama—three stories in one—as performed by the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra, women of the Grossmont Master Chorale with soloists, and seven outstanding actors performing no fewer than twenty-two (22) roles.

TALK OF THE TOWN: JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS REGAINS HISTORIC NAME – AND HOPES FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE

Town sells to owner of clothing optional resort.

Hear our interviews: audio link at end of this article.

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2013 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Hoping to revitalize tourism in their community, leaders in the small eastern San Diego County community of Jacumba petitioned the State to change the town’s name back to Jacumba Hot Springs, as it was known in a bygone era.  Now it’s official, community members learned today.

“I am excited to announce that Jeff Chambers of the State of California Geographic Names Commission called Dave Landman, Mark Ostrander and Howard [Cook[ this morning to say that the Federal Geographic Names Commission has approved our name change (back to Jacumba Hot Springs) effective February 14th of this year,” Danielle Cook with the Jacumba-Boulevard Revitalization Alliance nformed ECM. 

Audio: 

On The Road in Jacumba Hot Springs

SANDAG SEEKING SHINING STARS IN SUSTAINABLE COMMUTING: DIAMOND AWARDS NOMINATIONS DUE FEB. 28

 

More award categories added this year to recognize sustainable commute leaders

February 25, 2013 (San Diego)--SANDAG is seeking nominations for the iCommute Diamond Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations for promoting and adopting sustainable commute choices, such as taking transit, carpooling, and teleworking. Nominations are due by 4 p.m. PST, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.

READER’S EDITORIAL: THE COMING STUDENT LOAN FREIGHT TRAIN

By Jake Christie

February 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--I could’ve called it a “bomb” or a “fiasco”, but I prefer to call the mess that is the American private and public student loan system a “freight train” because the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming high-speed double diesel pulling 25 cars full of heavy loads.  The numbers surrounding the student loan mess are horrifying; the total student loan debt out is one trillion dollars, which is the entire US government budget in a year. Of that amount, $76 billion is in default, though Allan College of StudentLoanJustice.org put out a press release* doubting that figure because even defaulted loans have interest piled on top of them.

TIERRA DEL SOL DESERT SAFARI OFF-ROAD EVENT MARCH 1-3

 

By Nadin Abbott

February 23, 2013 (San Diego)—Mark your calendars if you are into off road fun-- the Tierra del Sol Desert Safari will be held on March 1-3, at the Ocotillo Wells Vehicle Recreation Area, near Ocotillo Wells.

This year the 51st annual Safari will be in honor of one of the early members of the club, Joe Branch, who died last year. The club itself was incorporated in 1961 as a nonprofit, though previously the early members met in the Anza Borrego State Park (established in 1941) where members met at the Truckhaven café, which was “at the end of thirty miles of rough road passing over hills, washes and mesas.”

CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION SAVES JOBS IN CHILD NUTRITION AT LMSV SCHOOLS

 

By Janis Mork

February 25, 2013 (Spring Valley)--CSEA’s (California School Employees Association) Chapter 419 has announced an agreement to save benefited positions in the Child Nutrition Department at La Mesa-Spring Valley School District middle schools.  

Anna Bongard, kitchen manager (left) with lunch workers Debbie Martin and Doris Evans

FIRE SHUTS DOWN HIGHWAY 80 IN FLINN SPRINGS

Update: ECM writer Nadin Abbott is at the scene; authorities except this incident to last another 3-4 hours and the fire fully extinguished. 

February 25, 2013 (Flinn Springs) -- A fire at atowing facility has shut down Olde Highway 80 at Flinn Springs, CHP's incident page reports and IPN confirms.

"It is on or near...[a towing facility] 15289 Old Highway 80," Russ Park, who shot the photo at left, told ECM.  The blaze is at least 100 yards off the main road.  Park confirmed an early IPN report, with both indicating the fire originated at a pile of junked cars. IPN reports propane tanks nearby.  Visibility on I-8 is also now affected.

Burning tires are sending billlows of black smoke visible across the area, the Alpine Community Network reports.

FROM PARKS TO PARKING, ALPINE PLANNING GROUP ANNOUNCES AGENDA FOR FEB 28

 

February 25, 2013 (Alpine) – Parks, housing, a proposed county equine ordinance, Forest Conservation Initiative lands, and Viejas’ plans for a parking garage are among the items on the agenda for the Alpine Community Planning Group this week.  For a full agenda and details, read more.

PROJECT REFUGE BROUGHT HOPE: NOW PROGRAM SEEKS ANGEL DONOR TO SURVIVE

 

ECM previously profiled the amazing efforts of Project Refuge and its efforts to help new refugees who arrive alone in our region. But now the organization has fallen on hard times and was recently forced to shut down its housing for local refugees, including many torture victims. The nonprofit seeks angel donors to help revive its efforts.  Read the stories of survivors helped, as well as Project Refugee organizers, below.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

By Ariele Johannson

The following story is the journey of “Mr. Horeb Michael,” an East African refugee. His name is withheld for protection from reprisal:

February 25, 2013 (San Diego)--You must cross through 20 countries before you arrive in San Diego, to be detained once again. You have no plan to go to America. Your only goal is to escape. To do this you must leave your life: your family, livelihood, friends, and future.

READER’S EDITORIAL: HIDING THE SLAUGHTER

“…Killing rare protected species was a crime at both the state and federal level. So with the help of government agencies, the industry went to work stripping and changing environmental laws…”—Jim Wiegand

By Jim Wiegand, wildlife biologist

February 25, 2013 (San Diego's East County)-- In 1984 the California Energy Commission made the following statement in their Wind Energy Program Progress Report., "The development of wind energy in California has been very rapid, and the foundations for a significant new domestic energy industry are in place. As should be expected however, with any fast growing industry using a new technology, there are many institutional, engineering, environmental, and economic issues which must be resolved before the industry is secure and it growth assured."  

BOIL WATER NOTICE LIFTED IN ALPINE AFTER SINKHOLE REPAIRED

Update February 24: The boil water notice has been cancelled.  View notice here

Photo courtesy of the Alpine Community Network

February 23, 2013 (Alpine) – Yesterday’s water main break and sinkhole continue to cause problems for merchants and residents in Alpine, where a boil water order remains in effect to protect public health.  (View map of affected areas.)

Padre Dam indicates it may be up to 72 hours before the problem will be resolved.  “In the meantime almost ALL of our Alpine restaurants had to close last night (on a busy Friday night),” Angela Brookshire, editor of the Alpine Community Network, told ECM.

A BARREL OF LAUGHS AT THE ECM COMMEDY NIGHT

 

By Nadin Abbott; photos by Tom Abbott

February 23, 2013 (La Mesa)-- Brew Ha Ha’s comedy team, Chris Clobber and Diane Jean, had all of us in stitches at the Holiday Inn Mesa Grill on 8000 Parkway Drive last night. The benefit, held to benefit the East County Magazine, Viejas Alerts, and the upcoming launch of ECM’s radio show on KNSJ, was well attended.

CERT COMES TO DESCANSO: FREE TRAINING ON DISASTER RESPONSE IN MARCH

February 24, 2013 (Descanso)--If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community’s professional response, Community Emergency Response Tea.m. (CERT) members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learned during training.  These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until professional help arrives.

The CERT training will be held in Descanso at the Town Hall on March 8-9 and March 14-16.  The classes themselves are free. 

PALAST SCORES ANOTHER HIT WITH BILLIONAIRES AND BALLOT BANDITS: HOW TO STEAL AN ELECTION IN 9 EASY STEPS

Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, by Greg Palast (Seven Stories Press, New York, NY, 2012, 300 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

February 23, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--Greg Palast,author of the New York Times’ best sellers The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse, and, most recently, Vultures’ Picnic, has followed up in a similar satirical vein with Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.  An internationally acclaimed investigative journalist, Palast has roots in California; his parents were long-time residents of La Mesa.

SWAT TEAM DEPLOYED FOR DRUG BUST IN RAMONA

February 23, 2013 (Ramona) –Three men were arrested early February 22 in Ramona following a SWAT operation that led to the seizure of $15,000 worth of marijuana, plus a firearm and $17000 cash.

“The suspects had fortified the residence with a steel security screen door, steel gates and an aggressive dog,” said Sergeant B. Hout with the San Diego Sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s detectives from the Ramona substation, with assistance form the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail (SWAT team), served a warrant at a residence at 312 Fegahli Road around 6 a.m. Thursday.  The search warrant was the result of a month-long narcotics operation.

ROOM FOR GROWTH: COMMUNITY GARDENS SPROUT IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 23, 2013 (El Cajon)—Shamoon Jeejo, an immigrant from war-torn Iraq,  is pleased to be among the local residents who now have a raised garden plot at Circle Community Garden.  The new garden had its grand opening ceremony today, serving up cake as local residents staked out spaces--and more are available.

“In Iraq, I had a garden, it was like ten of this space,” Jeejo (photo, left) told East County Magazine.  “I live near here, by the library.  If there is work, I want to volunteer. “  For Jeejo, who came here two and a half years ago to escape the oppressive government in Iraq, there is another benefit of working with others.  “I want to speak English; if I am with community, I can learn to speak English very well,” he says.

BOIL WATER ORDER ISSUED DUE TO ALPINE SINKHOLE

 

Update February 23:  The sinkhole is being filled; see photo left.

Photos by Greg Dunne

February 22, 2013 (Alpine) – A water main break has created a sinkhole on Alpine Boulevard at the intersection of Victoria Drive.  The break occurred this afternoon, forcing closure of Victoria Drive.

Repairs may take 24 hours, a workman told ECM photographer Greg Dunne. 

The Alpine Comunity Network reports that a boil water order has been issued for area residents.

SINGLE IN SAN DIEGO: BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS OFFERS AN ESCAPIST ROMP FOR READERS

Between Boyfriends, by Sárka-Jonae Miller, San Diego

Review by Miriam Raftery

February 18, 2013 (San Diego)--Between Boyfriends hit three Amazon best-seller lists the week after Valentine’s Day, ranking #9 for humor books, #11 for humor e-books and #54 for women's fiction.  Written by San Diego-area resident Sárka Jonae Miller, this book is the ultimate chick-lit read—a light-hearted romp focused on the travails of Jan, a college student dumped by her boyfriend, an SDSU student.  The moment proves an epiphany, as Jan resolves to stop dating and find fulfillment as a single woman.

Raised in pampered privilege, Jan’s problems soon get worse when she loses her parents’ financial support and must learn to be a self-sufficient.

After  two days spent  wallowing in a a self-pitying stupor  following  the breakup with her boyfriend, Jan awakens in her apartment. Appalled upon looking in the mirror, she whacks her hair with manicure scissors. Then she clears out the medicine cabinet of souvenirs from losers she has dated, determined to rid herself of ghosts of boyfriends past.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AIMS TO GIVE WIND DEVELOPERS 30-YEAR PERMITS TO KILL EAGLES—WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Environmental groups are reacting with shock and outrage to  a U.S. Department of Interior rule change that would allow private wind energy corporations to apply for unprecedented 30-year permits to kill  our nation’s national symbol, the Bald Eagle, as well as Golden Eagles.  

“Outrageous,” Terry Weiner with the Desert Protective Council in San Diego said of the proposal.  The DPC has joined a call mounted by the nonprofit American Bird Conservancy asking  that further consideration of the revise rule be suspended until Sally Jewel, President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of  the Interior Department ,has an opportunity to fully review the proposal and evaluate its long term impacts.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

February 21, 2013--(San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL/REGIONAL

STATE

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

February 21, 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:

NATIONAL

WORLD

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT TO WEIGH SCHOOL SECURITY MEASURES AT FEB. 21 MEETING

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2013 (Alpine)—In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, school districts across America are examining security procedures to consider the unthinkable – how to respond if confronted with a gunman aiming to commit mass murder.

The debate is raging in Alpine, where at least one parent is calling for armed guards in public schools.  On February 21, the Alpine Union School District Board will hear a report from Superintendent Pellegrino on school safety measures in place and new concepts to consider—ranging from enhanced lockdown procedures to potentially, adding armed guards and perimeter controls to local campuses.

BOOK BATTLES BULLIES AT WORK

 

Review By Walter G. Meyer

Infinity Publishing

February 21, 2013 (San Diego)--In her book, Back Off! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, Catherine Mattice knows whereof she writes. At one of her first jobs out of San Diego State, she was bullied at the nonprofit where she was working. It wasn’t that long ago, but bullying, if it was thought of at all, was considered a schoolyard, not a workplace phenomenon.

She decided to do something about it. She got her Masters in Organizational Communications at SDSU, writing her thesis on workplace bullying. For her research, she inverted a survey on workplace bullying and instead of asking targets what they thought of being bullied, she asked why people were bullies. She even dedicated it to “The Post-it Nazi,” to her former co-worker who inspired it.

CUYAMACA PAIR LAUDED FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING

 

February 21, 2013 (El Cajon) -- Everyone has a favorite-teacher story – the memory often ingrained for life of a particular instructor whose love of the profession has proven inspiring. At Cuyamaca College, the Academic Senate each year recognizes one full-time and one part-time instructor selected by a faculty committee based on student nominations, rankings and reviews.

The winners of the Award for Teaching Excellence this year are Debra Babylon, an art instructor for 17 years and a two-time winner for her teaching prowess; and Eddie Sturgeon, a Superior Court judge by day and an adjunct law professor at Cuyamaca College two nights a week. 

Phu Nguyen/Cuyamaca College photographer
Cuyamaca College art instructor Debra Babylon helps student Ashley Richards with a drawing.

TIPS FOR SAVING ENERGY DURING CHILLY WEATHER

 

February 21, 2013 (San Diego)--Even in sunny Southern California, winter brings colder weather and longer nights. That's why home heating typically accounts for more than half the monthly winter bill for natural gas, followed by water heating. In addition, lighting can account for up to 20 percent of your monthly electric bill.

BIRD TALK: THE CACTUS WREN

 

By Greg Dunne

February 21, 2013 (Lake Jennings) --   Many birds call both California and Arizona their home.  Although our state bird, the California Quail, crosses over into other states, it does not cross over to our neighbor to the east in Arizona.  However, the Arizona state bird, the Cactus Wren also calls our East County its home.

The Cactus Wren can be found here occasionally in Southern California. This particular Cactus Wren I photographed at Lake Jennings. It was having a good time making itself known; its loud alarm call “tek-tek-tek-tek” as it gets louder and louder towards the end.  It seems to me that wrens can throw their voices. This would make sense because wrens will try to distract you from their nest by making themselves heard as they move farther and farther from the nest.

SANTEE SHERIFF INVITES PUBLIC TO "COFFEE WITH THE COMMUNITY" FEB. 27

February 17, 2013 (Santee) – Here's your chance to get know more about the services of the Santee Sheriff's Station. Chat with deputies, crime prevention specialists and detectives from the station's Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) Unit. Speak with staff in a casual setting and exchange ideas and concerns over a cup of coffee. This event will be held Wednesday, February 27 from 9-10 a.m. at Kaffee Meister Coffee Shop, 9225 Carlton Hills Boulevard in Santee.

Community outreach is a top priority of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Reducing crime, making neighborhoods safer, and in general improving the quality of life for all of our citizens can only be accomplished through partnerships and team efforts. This event is not hosted.

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