March 2009 Articles

ANDERSON BILL TO BLUR GOOGLE EARTH IMAGES SPARKS NATIONAL CONTROVERSY

By Miriam Raftery March 18, 2009 (San Diego)--Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) has introduced AB 255, a bill that seeks to prevent terrorist acts by blurring online images of schools, government buildings, churches and medical facilities through Google Earth and other online aerial mapping technologies. The measure has drawn the attention of CNN News and sparked a debate among high-tech advocates in Silicon Valley.

FILNER BLOCKS OBAMA PLAN TO CHARGE INSURERS FOR TREATMENT OF WOUNDED VETS

By Miriam Raftery March 18, 2009 (Washington D.C.)--East County Magazine contacted Congressman Bob Filner's office after receiving an e-mail from the American Legion which stated that President Obama intended to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for treatment of military veterans who suffered service-related injuries or disabilities. Filner (D-San Diego), is Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

TWO-ALARM FIRE AT PRECISION METAL IN EL CAJON

March 17, 2009 (El Cajon)--Just after 12:30 p.m. today El Cajon Fire crews responded to a structure fire reported at 850 West Bradley Avenue in El Cajon. Upon arrival,flames and heavy black smoke were seen coming from the roof area of the business, Precision Metal Products, and a second alarm was issued. It took about 30 firefighters 30 minutes to knock down the blaze. Quick action by fire crews contained the fire to a central area of the 92,000 square foot building, and an evacuation of nearby buildings was not required.

SDSU AND VIEJAS BAND OF KUMEYAAY INDIANS AGREE ON NAMING RIGHTS TO SDSU ARENA: ON CAMPUS VENUE TO BE CALLED VIEJAS ARENA STARTING JULY 1, 2009

March 17, 2009 (San Diego)--The on campus sports and entertainment venue at San Diego State University will be renamed Viejas Arena, under a new agreement between the university and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, the two announced today. "We're very pleased that the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, who are such an important member of the San Diego community, has decided to partner with us," said SDSU President Stephen L. Weber. "SDSU's arena is one of the top sports and entertainment venues in San Diego County.

ALL ABOARD! SD LAS HERMANAS HOSTS CASINO FUNDRAISER ON RIVERBOAT

March 17, 2009 (San Diego)--San Diego Las Hermanas, a group of East County women who raise money for East County charities, is hosting Casino Night with the San Diego Las Hermanas Riverboat Queens on Friday, March 27. The spring fundraiser is being held aboard the William D. Evans Riverboat, launching from the Bahia Hotel in Mission Bay.

 

EAST COUNTY ROUND-UP --- MID-MARCH

East County Roundup highlights the best stories about East County issues found in other publications.

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SDG&E SAYS ITS EQUIPMENT STARTED 167 FIRES IN 5½ YEARS

Union-Tribune (March 14, 2009) — Nearly 170 fires have been started by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. power lines or transformers in the past 5½ years, according to a report the utility released yesterday to bolster its proposal to shut off power to some areas during periods of high fire danger.

Of those fires, 13 occurred during strong winds, and a handful became infernos, such as the Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon fires of 2007, the report says.

The 40-page report is a response to 21 questions posed by the state Public Utilities Commission, which is examining SDG&E's plan.

 

GROUPS SEEK $2.7 MILLION FOR FIGHTING POWER LINES

North County Times (March 7, 2009) — Opponents of San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s power line have petitioned the state to compensate them for $2.7 million in costs they say they incurred over three years battling the Sunrise Powerlink ---- costs that would be passed on to utility ratepayers.

The groups were "intervenors" in the Sunrise case under a program that allows opponents to take on a formal role in arguing merits of utility projects before the California Public Utilities Commission, the regulatory body that licenses electric, gas and telephone projects. The state lets intervenors recoup their costs.

 

SDG&E SET TO PAY AFTER MISSTATING SUNRISE INFO

Union-Tribune (March 7, 2009) — San Diego Gas & Electric Co. agreed yesterday to pay up to $1.1 million to settle accusations that it tried to mislead state regulators about the route of its proposed Sunrise Powerlink.

The company didn't admit lying to regulators, but apologized for what it said was a mistake: failing to include two documents in a public filing describing a presentation to staff members at the state Public Utilities Commission.

 

BE INVENTIVE: SCIENCE FESTIVAL AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE MARCH 20-21

March 1, 2009 (El Cajon) — The public is invited to experience hands-on scientific demonstrations and view exhibits that celebrate science in our everyday lives at the 2009 Grossmont College Science Festival on Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, to be held on the college campus. Admission and parking are free. Families with students of all ages are encouraged to attend.

MORE THAN PLANTS AT WATER-WISE PLANT FAIR

By Miriam Raftery

Flowering perennials from Daylily hill
Maic Palmiere of Crest displays baskets and jewelry made from pine needles

March 14, 2009 (El Cajon) — Birdhouses, eco-friendly jewelry, and water-saving wizardry awaited visitors at the Water-Wise Plant Fair, held today at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College. If you thought low-water landscaping means gravel and cacti, think again. An abundance of flowering plants and shrubs on sale offered visitors a wide array of beautiful yet water-saving alternatives to water-hogging plants and lawns.

IT'S NO LONGER SANTEE, BUT MORE LIKE SANTREE

By Karla Moran

(Karla Moran)

March 14, 2009 (Santee) —The working power of a city makes a difference--as evidenced at the 8th annual SanTree Fest and Earth Day Celebration. Sponsored by the City of Santee, this year's event had its best turn out yet. The community worked together to improve the environment and create a cleaner tomorrow. Parents and children shared time together hiking a riverside trail, planting trees, and potting flowers at Mast Park in Santee, where live bluegrass music and free food welcomed volunteers and visitors. Guests even took home free trees as souvenirs! For videos and photos of this eventful day, be sure to check our slideshow at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EfQpcpS1IU.

MEDIA REFORM, INITIATIVE PROCESS & CLEAN ELECTIONS TOP COMMON CAUSE AGENDA

By Miriam Raftery March 16, 2009 (San Diego)--At a San Diego fundraising dinner for Common Cause last week, speakers addressed the latest priorities taken on by the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting the public interest and holding government accountable to the voters. Media reform (including a conference this weekend in Southern California), clean elections and revising the California initiative process top the list of priorities for local Common Cause leaders.

 

SAN DIEGO HOME DIALYSIS PROVIDER LAUNCHES COUNTYWIDE KIDNEY DISEASE AWARENESS PROGRAM DURING NATIONAL KIDNEY MONTH

Home Dialysis Therapies of San Diego offers free seminars and private consultations in March to help educate San Diegans about advanced kidney disease and available treatment options

March 5, 2009 (San Diego) -- Home Dialysis Therapies of San Diego, San Diego's largest home dialysis provider, announces its countywide educational series throughout the month of March to help inform advanced kidney disease patients and their loved ones about the disease and importance of understanding their treatment options, including home dialysis. All individuals who think that they, or a loved one, may be at risk of having advanced kidney disease are also encouraged to take advantage of free educational opportunities in their area.

NEW LA MESA BUSINESS HELPS SENIORS STAY INDEPENDENT IN THEIR HOMES

March 13, 2009 (La Mesa) — It is estimated that 7 million women are unpaid caregivers to the elderly. They struggle to cope with the exhaustion, loneliness, mental and physical demands, and heartbreak of watching their loved one grow weaker. Advanta Home Care provides an affordable solution for older individuals or couples capable of managing their physical needs, but who require non-medical assistance, light housework, meal preparation and/or companionship in order to remain at home.

PARENTS OF MISSING ESCONDIDO TEEN ASK PUBLIC'S HELP, ORGANIZE SEARCHES: $60,000 REWARD OFFERED

March 14, 2009 (Escondido)--One month after the disappearance of Amber Leeanne Duboise, 14, Escondido police have received new tips and family members are organizing searches in the community. To volunteer, visit http://www.bringamberhome.com/. Donations are also requested to help with costs of the search, which has drawn national attention. You can download flyers to post or distribute here: http://eastcountymagazine.org/?q=bringamberhome.

THREE ARRESTED FOR STREET ROBBERY IN LA MESA

March 14, 2009 (La Mesa) At about 6:30 p.m. this evening, a man was robbed by three suspects while walking near Grossmont Center, La Mesa. The suspects walked up to the victim, brandished a knife, and demanded the victim's wallet, I-pod, and cell phone. The suspects took the property and ran away. The victim ran and called the police from a nearby pay phone. La Mesa Police Officers responded and contacted three suspects in the area within four minutes.

 

2 LABS NEED HOME AFTER OWNER'S DEATH

March 14, 2009 (El Cajon)--Singing Hills Animal Hospital is seeking a good home for two labrador retrievers whose owner boarded the dogs but died during surgery. The goal is to place both dogs together in the same home. According to an e-mail received by East County Magazine from a friend of the owner, the dogs are friendly and obedient. Jake, a brown male lab, is 6 years old and neutered. Rainy, a 5-year-old female black lab, has been spayed. Both dogs have had shots and been dewormed.

SYLVIA'S SOAPBOX: BRACE FOR OUR NATIONAL IMPACT

By Sylvia Hampton March 15, 2009 (San Diego)--When the Hudson River landing pilot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger ordered "brace for impact" he was in the process of doing his job the best he could. It was up to the co-pilot, air-traffic controller, flight attendants, rescue workers and passengers to do the rest. The pilots were perfect. The flight attendants, like the pilots, went into automatic mode as the result of their training. Passengers in the front of the plane (where first class, business class and frequent fliers usually sit) followed instructions and performed very well.

EAST COUNTY STUDENT LAUREN SMYLE IS FINALIST IN $20,000 SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST: ONLINE VOTES FROM COMMUNITY REQUESTED

March 13, 2009 (La Mesa)--Lauren Smyle, a resident of La Mesa and a senior at West Hills High School in Santee, is one of 11 students in the western United States--and the only student from East Counnty--to advance to the finals in a $20,000 scholarship competition. Sponsored by Zinch.com, the contest enables students to advance based on votes received online. Friends, family and community members are invited to help Smyle by casting your votes.

SEMPRA/SDG&E LOBBYIST NOMINATED BY OBAMA AS DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF INTERIOR: VOTE SLATED THURSDAY, MARCH 12

By Miriam Raftery March 12, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County residents opposed to Sempra Energy’s Sunrise Powerlink project are mobilizing opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of David Hayes as deputy director of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Hayes served as Deputy Director of the department during the Clinton Administration, but later went to work for the lobbying firm Latham & Watkins representing Sempra Energy and SDG&E.

POWERLINK MEETING DRAWS PROTESTS IN ALPINE; PARENTS OPPOSE HIGH-VOLTAGE LINES NEAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

By Miriam Raftery

Megan Werland, right, worries about health effects of Powerlink on children including her 5-month old daughter, Eleanor

March 10, 2009 (Alpine) — Children and parents staged a protest rally outside the Alpine Community Center, where SDG&E held a public meeting on Sunrise Powerlink. Holding signs that read "Class 1 Fire Risk" and "Save the Cleveland National Forest", dozens of residents voiced opposition to 230-kv lines slated to run through the heart of this community. Approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December, Powerlink is slated to include a $92 million section of undergrounded lines along a two-mile stretch of Alpine Boulevard, where Alpine Elementary School is located.

OLAF WIEGHORST HISTORICAL HOME TO OPEN MARCH 19

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Olaf Wieghorst historic home  

March 11, 2009 (El Cajon) — Recently designated a historic site by the City of El Cajon, the long-time home of famed western artist Olaf Wieghorst will open to the public on Thursday, March 19th at 4 p.m.  In an exclusive interview with East County Magazine, the artist's son, Roy Wieghorst, shares his memories of his famous father and his boyhood home.

EL CAJON'S ANNUAL DANCE RECITAL IS BACK: MARCH 22 EVENT AT ECPAC INVOLVES THE YOUNG & YOUNG AT HEART

March 12, 2009 (El Cajon)--The City of El Cajon Recreation Department will hold its much anticipated Annual Dance and Tumbling Recital at the East County Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 22, 2009, from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This event has been a highlight in the City for over 20 years. This year's recital, "Dance And Tumble--Through The Decades!" will showcase the talents of ages 5 through senior adult in tumbling, tap, jazz, cheer, hip-hop, lyrical and modern jazz. Act 1- "Oldies" begins at 2:30 and Act 2-"Goodies" begins at 4:30p.m.

SDSU STUDENTS ORGANIZE ART RELIEF EVENT MARCH 14 TO BENEFIT KATRINA VICTIMS; PLAN TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS MARCH 28-APRIL 4.

By Matt Schauer

March 8, 2009 (San Diego) — An Art Relief Auction on March 14th will raise funds to benefit College Students for New Orleans, a non-profit organization intent on rebuilding homes in New Orleans and restoring lives of people affected by Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Katrina. We travel to Louisiana four times a year with groups as small as four and as large as 37. Our upcoming spring break trip from March 28 to April 4 will be the largest yet, with 50 people. We will spend our spring break rebuilding homes in an impoverished community plagued by a variety of problems. These range from severe economic woes and skyrocketing crime rates to the reason we are there: a lack of homes to live in.

NEW ORLEANS JUST MIGHT BE THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT

By Maia Neubig

Maia Neubig is an SDSU senior who traveled to New Orleans on two separate occasions as part of the Art Relief effort.

The best part about the trips are the people down there, they are some of the nicest, most caring people I have ever met in my life. They truly love and appreciate every one of us for coming down there and never let us forget it.

MISS LA MESA AND MISS SANTEE QUEENS CROWNED

Santee Mayor, Randy Voepel presenting Sierra Billock and Nicole Ehlke La Mesa Mayor, Art Madrid presenting Stephanie Packard and Katarina Schweitzer

March 10, 2009 (Santee) — Cheers and tears of joy greeted the crowning of Miss La Mesa and Miss Santee on Friday, March 6, 2009. The pageants have been a tradition in the two cities since the late 1960's, providing a mentoring program for young women. Mayors Art Madrid and Randy Voepel were in attendance to formally present Miss La Mesa 2009 Stephanie Packard, Miss La Mesa Teen 2009 Katarina Schweitzer, Miss Santee 2009 Sierra Billock and Miss Santee Teen 2009 Nicole Ehlke.

EIGHT YEARS AFTER SANTANA AND GRANITE HILLS SHOOTINGS, PEACE PATROL PROGRAM TEACHES NONVIOLENCE; ROTARY AWARDS PEACEMAKER AWARD TO STUDENT EVY PONCE

By Miriam Raftery

Evelyn Ponce, 9, receives Peace Award from La Mesa-Sunrise Rotary Club President David Roberts

(Miriam Raftery)

March 8, 2009 (La Mesa) — The La Mesa Sunrise Rotary chapter has presented its Peacemaker of the Year Award to Evelyn (Evy) Ponce, a nine-year-old student at Lexington Elementary School in El Cajon to honor her "outstanding work" with Peace Patrol and Bullies Beware. "She is a gifted and dedicated student with an incredible ability for peace," said Rotary president Dave Roberts. A trainer of peace patrollers who came to America just two years ago, Ponce is now translating Primary Peacemakers lessons into Spanish and has personally intervened to prevent bullying in her neighborhood. Ponce is the first child to be honored with the annual award.

COCONUTS SPA BRINGS TOUCH OF TROPICS TO LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

Bob Lyon and his wife, Deedee

March 8, 2009 (La Mesa) — Luau foods, seashell leis, and other touches of the tropics greeted guests at the grand opening of Coconuts Salon & Day Spa in La Mesa this weekend. Located behind the Brigantine Restaurant at 9340 Fuerte Drive, the salon formerly known as Transformations has been transformed into a tropical-themed motif by new owners Bob Lyon and Joey Atkins. "My wife, Deedee, and I came up with the name," said Lyon, sporting a Hawaiian shirt. "In the spirit of Hawaii, we created a waterfall and a whole Hawaiian motif."

WHERE'S THE PORK? NO MONEY FOR FIRE STATIONS OR FIRE PREVENTION IN SAN DIEGO'S PROPOSED STIMULUS PROJECTS

 

"The City and County never asked the fire departments. We are very disappointed," -- August Ghio, President, San Diego Fire Chiefs Association

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 5, 2009 (San Diego)--Why didn't a city and county that have suffered through the worst wildfires in California history request funds through the federal stimulus program for any fire protection projects?

EL CAJON FIRE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES FUNDING TO ENHANCE TRAINING

EL CAJON, Calif. (March 6, 2009)--CMR Risk & Insurance Services and Fireman's Fund Insurance Company are teaming up to award a $6,000 grant to the El Cajon Fire Department to help fund the city's firefighter training academy. The money will go toward instructor fees, purchasing materials, and buying necessary supplies. Each program at the academy teaches a specific function of firefighting, including Hazardous Materials First Responder, Low Angle Rescue, Confined Space Awareness, Fire Control 3, Auto Extrication, and Incident Command System.

CUYAMACA COLLEGE HOSTS ITS FIRST SUSTAINABLE URBAN LANDSCAPE CONFERENCE

2-day event to be followed by plant fair open to the public March 10, 2009 (El Cajon)--Cuyamaca College is hosting a conference featuring leading landscape professionals and bus tours of eco-friendly sites Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, a precursor to it becoming among the first community colleges in the nation to offer a degree in sustainable urban landscaping.

SANTREE FEST AND EARTH DAY CELEBRATION MARCH 14

March 10, 2009 (Santee)--Santee invites the public to participate in "SanTree Fest," an Earth Day celebration from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 14th at Mast Park, located at 9125 Carlton Hills Blvd. Festivities begin at 9:45 with a nature walk departing from a trail entrance at the northwest side of the Wal-Mart parking lot. A community tree planting event follows at 10:15. Live bluegrass music by Virtual Strangers, kids' crafts, pot-a-plant with Lowe's, environmental and informational booths will also be available.

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