Boulevard

GROUNDWATER REPORT, TULE WIND LAWSUITS AND SDG&E PLAN TO BOOST CAPACITY ON SOUTHWEST POWERLINK ARE ON BOULEVARD PLANNERS’ AGENDA THURSDAY, AUG. 7

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 1, 2016 (Boulevard) -- On Thursday, August 4 at 7 p.m. the Boulevard Community Planning Group will meet at the Boulevard Fire Training Room.  View full agenda.

LARGE ANIMAL SHELTERS OPEN IN DESCANSO AND BOULEVARD

Source: County of San Diego

June 21, 2016 (San Diego's East County) --The County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services announced this afternoon that large animal shelters are  available at the Boulevard Customs and Border Protection station located at 2463 Ribbonwood Rd., Boulevard, and Circle T Ranch at 24215 Viejas Grade Rd., Descanso.

If you need emergency assistance evacuating, call 9-1-1. If you need additional information, visit sdcountyemergency.com or call 2-1-1.

For assistance evacuating animals, call County Animal Services dispatch at 619-236-2341.

SPEEDING MOTORIST KILLED AFTER ROLLING DOWN EMBANKMENT OFF I-8

 

East County News Service

May 26, 2016 (Boulevard) – A 24-year-old man died Saturday night, May 20th after he lost control of his vehicle on I-8 West near McCain Valley Road in Boulevard. The Infinity G35 veered off the highway and rolled down a steep embankment.

BOULEVARD PLANNERS HAVE POWER-PACKED AGENDA: BIG ENERGY AND WATER ISSUES ON TAP THURSDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 2, 2016 (Boulevard) – Jacumba Solar, Tule Wind, a county presentation on groundwater monitoring, updates on lawsuits over big energy projects and discussion of Live Oak Springs water rate hikes are among the many important items on the Boulevard Planning Group’s agenda for its meeting Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Fire Training Room (39923 Ribbonwood Road in Boulevard). For the full agenda, click here. For highlights, scroll down.

4 ARRESTED IN FATAL STABBING LINKED TO LOVE TRIANGLE

 
 
East County News Service
 

Photo: Facebook

February 28, 2016 (Boulevard) --  The victim in yesterday’s fatal stabbing in Boulevard has been identified as Christalina Leona Louise Indish.  Four people have been arrested in connection with her death. In addition, 17 undocumented immigrants found at the residence have been detained.

SHOT FIRED BY DEPUTY IN BOULEVARD DISTURBANCE

 

East County News Service

February 16, 2016 (Boulevard) – A Sheriff’s deputy fired a shot early this morning at a domestic violence suspect who reportedly charged out of a home in Boulevard, screaming a waving a shovel. The deputy’s shot missed and the suspect, 19-year-old Reid Wohlford, barricaded himself inside the home, but was later apprehended with help from a K-9 dog.

GENERATORS AND RADIOS TO AID RURAL AREAS IN EMERGENCIES, THANKS TO FUNDS FROM SDG&E AND SD REGIONAL FIRE FOUNDATION

East County News Service

January 26, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Soon, three portable trailer-mounted generators will provide power to local communities during local emergencies such as wildfires or earthquakes. The generators could be sent to temporary charging stations in neighborhoods without power, bringing electricity to people who rely on medical equipment.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE SOITEC’S RUGGED SOLAR PROJECT IN BOULEVARD

 

Photo: SOITEC panel at Newberry Springs, similar to panels approved for Boulevard.

By Miriam Raftery

October 16, 2015 (Boulevard) – By a 4 to 1 vote with only Supervisor Dianne Jacob opposed, the Board of Supervisors this week approved a revised version of the controversial Rugged Acres industrial solar facility and rescinded approval of an earlier plan.

A judge had tossed out the original environmental impact review because massive battery storage facilities were added after public comment was closed.  Supervisors approved a revamped plan with the energy storage facility removed.

Supervisor Jacob stated, “I strongly support solar but I believe it belongs on rooftops of both single family homes and businesses and a solar farm in the right location,” Jacob said. “This project would potentially industrialize our back country which was never meant to be. The project can no longer live up to the promises and major use findings that are needed for approval.”

EDISON SIGNS POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENT FOR TULE WIND, CPUC APPROVAL STILL NEEDED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: McCain Valley, site of planned 14,000 acre wind project

Photo, right: Blades being hoisted onto wind turbine in Ocotillo

Updated July 31, 2015 10 p.m. to include comments from SDG&E and from Howard Cook, former Jacumba Sponsor Group Chair.

July 30, 2015 (McCain Valley)—Southern California Edison has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to buy electricity from the Tule Wind project planned in McCain Valley near Boulevard.

“We are still actively opposing Tule Wind and hope it never gets built,” Donna Tisdale told East County Magazine. Tisdale and the citizens’ group Backcountry Against Dumps have two legal challenges pending. Tisdale also chairs the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which voted against the project but was overruled by the San Diego County Supervisors, with Supervisor Dianne Jacob voting no and four other Supervisors voting for the project.

The agreement covers the first phase of the 14,000-acre project, which includes 67 turbines on federal Bureau of Land Management property at the gateway to the McCain Valley federal recreation area, as well as on privately-owned Rough Acres Ranch.

BOIL WATER ORDER AT RV PARK IN BOULEVARD

 

July 2, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for Outdoor World RV Park located at 1331 Shasta Way, Boulevard, CA 91905 effective immediately.  The water system serves a recreational vehicle park with a swimming pool, office, gift-shop and camp sites.

SOITEC WITHDRAWS ONE OF TWO PROJECTS IN BOULEVARD

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 3, 2015 (Boulevard) – After winning approval of Supervisors for two controversial industrial-scale projects in Boulevard, Soitec Solar in a surprise announcement has withdrawn one of them.

READER’S EDITORIAL: DAVE ROBERT’S EDITORIAL, “A VOTE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY," IGNORES REALITY

 

Response by Donna Tisdale to Supervisor Dave Roberts’ opinion published in East County Magazine

“In defense of rural residents and non-renewable resources, our non-profit group Backcountry Against Dumps is preparing to file suit challenging the County’s misguided and ethically challenged Soitec approvals.” – Donna Tisdale

February 12, 2015 (Boulevard)--When Dave Roberts was elected to replace retiring Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, I had hoped he would live up to his campaign claims of being community oriented and environmentally aware. Instead, Roberts has voted several times against Supervisor Dianne Jacob, over her well-reasoned objections to harmful projects in her District 2, and over well-documented community concerns, in order to support the financially biased and factually challenged claims made by vested interests and politically-pressured-County Staff, that these massive wind, solar, and transmission line projects are actually needed, are sustainable, and are compatible with rural community character and existing uses.

A DARK DAY FOR DEMOCRACY: SUPERVISORS OVERRIDE BOULEVARD'S ELECTED PLANNING OFFICIALS, FORCE INDUSTRIAL-SCALE SOLAR ON RURAL TOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

View video of full hearing: http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1660

Note: Tune in Friday to our radio show on 89.1 FM from 5 to 6 p.m. to hear interviews with Boulevard residents and a hydrologist sharing their views on this outcome.  Jim Whelan, a representative of Soitec project property owners Hamann and Gibson was invited and refused to participate.

 

February 4, 2015 (San Diego) – Boulevard residents fought down tears in stunned disbelief today (photo, left) as San Diego Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to approve Soitec’s Tierra Del Sol and Rugged Solar projects, overriding a unanimous vote by Boulevard’s elected planning group that opposed the projects. Collectively the two massive projects will cover 1,185 acres (the equivalent of 185 city blocks) of rural terrain with thousands of concentrated solar tracking panels, each 48 feet wide by 30 feet tall.

Only Supervisor Dianne Jacob voted against the project, following an extensive speech in opposition. She called county staff’s finding that the project was compatible with rural community character “absolutely incomprehensible to me.”  Jacob pointed out that the General Plan is supposed to assure environmental stewardship, preservation of agricultural lands, open space and community character, among other qualities – all of which will be destroyed if the Soitec projects are built.

SOITEC TO SHIFT FOCUS AWAY FROM SOLAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2015 (San Diego)—Soitec Solar may exit the solar business, Greentech Media reports.  A quarterly report indicates the company plans to “refocus” efforts on its electronics business .

Greentech’s article indicates that the language may be vague, but the publication predicts, “…the message is clear: Soitec is exiting this business as quickly as possible.” 

The news comes as San Diego Supervisors are poised to vote Feb. 7 on whether to approve massive  industrial solar projects proposed by Soitec in Boulevard.

SUPERVISORS TO HEAR SOITEC SOLAR'S CONTROVERSIAL BOULEVARD PROJECTS IN FEB. 4 HEARING

County planners approved despite serious environmental and financial issues; rural group vows to sue if approved

By Miriam Raftery

January 19, 2015 (Boulevard) – Rural  planning group chairs and environmentalists are blasting county planners for approving Soitec Solar’s controversial industrial scale solar projects.  Planners largely ignored evidence that the projects could deplete groundwater supplies, threaten wildlife and create fire hazards—as well as Soitec’s precarious financial position.

Next up, San Diego Supervisors will hold a hearing on the project February 4th.  At least one citizens’ group, Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD) has promised to file a lawsuit against the County if Supervisors approve the projects, which would cover 1500 acres with approximately 8,000 massive solar trackers, each 30 feet high.

HOT HEARINGS IN EAST COUNTY THIS WEEK: LAKESIDE, BOULEVARD, COUNTY SUPERVISORS AND HELIX WATER BOARDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –Many hot agenda items are coming up before boards, commissions and councils across East County during this first week of the new year.

BLEAK OUTLOOK FOR SOITEC’S SOLAR PROSPECTS

 

Despite company’s woes, county releases EIR on Soitec’s proposed Boulevard projects. A hearing is set for January 16, with the deadline for public comment  January 14.

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- The future for Soitec Solar is far from bright.  The company’s stock shares plummeted 57 percent on Monday,  reaching an all-time low. The plunge led Reuters to advise investors to avoid Soitec “like poison.”

The free-fall occurred after the company announced that the main project in its solar division has been cancelled and that the company will be scaling down its San Diego facility.  Tenaska Solar Ventures cancelled its deal to use Soitec’s concentrated photovoltaic panels at a facility in Imperial County. In addition, San Diego Gas & Electric spokeswoman Jennifer Ramp says that the utility “does not have any contracts with Soitec.” That statement conflicts with claims previously made by Soitec, Voice of San Diego reports in an article titled “The Darling of San Diego Solar Manufacturing Is on Its Death Bed.”

Despite this precipitous news, ironically the County of San Diego released the final environmental impact report (EIR) on Soitec’s four proposed industrial-scale solar projects in Boulevard.  A hearing on the projects are set for January 16th, which public comments due by January 14th at 4 p.m. , according to Mindy Fogg, planning manager for the County.

ARREST MADE IN MURDER OF WOMAN FOUND BURIED IN BOULEVARD

 

East County News Service

October 22, 2014 (Boulevard)—David Williams was arrested in Lakeside on Saturday, October 11th by the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force. He is charged with the murder of Christine Crosby, his former girlfriend whose body was found buried in a shallow grave just east of Mile Marker 29 on Old Highway 80 in Boulevard.

CITIZENS GROUP SEEKS FUNDS TO BATTLE BIG ENERGY PROJECTS, SAVE GROUNDWATER IN BACKCOUNTRY

 

September 5, 2014 (Boulevard) – The nonprofit citizens group Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD)  has been battling numerous major energy projects proposed in rural East County, including funding lawsuits that seek to halt several with potentially devastating consequences and research studies to support those lawsuits,  as well as persuade County planners and other decision makers to reject projects that may deplete water resources, harm wildlife, or have adverse health impacts on residents.

LANSING SUES COUNTY, LOCAL OFFICIALS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS OVER BOULEVARD LAND HOLDINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Gregory Lansing, testifying in favor of the ECO Substation project at a 2012 CPUC hearing

August 20, 2014 (Boulevard) – Lansing Industries  and related entities have filed a lawsuit against the County of San Diego and public officials including Supervisors, Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, and County Planning Chair Michael Beck. In addition, the suit names the Endangered Habitat League and two groups fighting to protect rural landowners: Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD).

Greg Lansing and/or his entities acquired Big Country Ranch in 2006 and Empire Ranch in 2007 for a combined 6,280 acres, later adding additional parcels for a grand total of 8,000 acres in rural Boulevard.  He proposed grandiose plans to rename the town Jewel Ranch and create a master planned residential community complete with a shopping mall, Vons grocery store, private fire and law enforcement,  improved infrastructure, medical facilities and trails, according to minutes of the Boulevard Planning Group from January 3, 2008.  After those plans failed to win approval, Lansing, who does not live in Boulevard, later tried unsuccessfully to bring industrial wind or large-scale solar projects to his sites.

SOITEC BARS COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP CHAIR FROM “COMMUNITY” MEETING

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 8, 2014 (Boulevard)—Donna Tisdale is the elected chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group and has long been a champion fighting for rights of rural residents against an onslaught of industrial-scale development proposals.  So why did Soitec Solar snub Tisdale in three invitation-only meetings with residents on Soitec’s controversial industrial-scale solar projects in Boulevard, held at a private ranch?

WHY ARE SO MANY FIRE STATIONS CLOSED—AND WHAT’S BEING DONE BY COUNTY TO BOOST STAFFING?

 

 

A quarter of all rural stations were closed –at the same time—during April

An East County Magazine special investigative report

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The County Fire Authority has touted its successes in preventing the May wildfires in North County from destroying thousands of homes despite a county-wide disaster declaration.  Granted, a lot has improved since the devastating 2003 and 2007 firestorms in our region--the worst in California's history. But if fires were to start in East County today, the outcome could be tragic. An East County Magazine investigation raises serious doubts over  inadequate volunteer firefighter staffing and the ability to respond even to routine house fires and medical calls in some rural communities.

Last October,  our investigative report,"Closed for Fire Season" revealed that Boulevard’s fire station was closed for two months during fire season and Jacumba’s station also had some dark days- -including one when a resident died of a medical emergency after a delay in emergency services arriving. The County responded by funding emergency staffing and according to Supervisor Jacob’s staff, these two stations remained open every day  for at least several months thereafter, an ECM records check in late April revealed.   

But on July 9, Craig Williams, an information technology provider for the Campo Fire Department, advised ECM that “without any notification to the community leaders."  two days ago Cal Fire “moved the overtime, off-budget, paid Cal Fire firefighters out of Boulevard to Jacumba Hot Springs. Now  Boulevard is stuck with Fire Authority `volunteers’ only, just like Campo.’”

Worse,  a new investigation by ECM reveals that this is the tip of an iceberg--with many stations understaffed and some closed for months. 

FULL AGENDA FOR BOULEVARD PLANNING GROUP ON AUG. 7

By Miriam Raftery

July 28, 2014 (Boulevard) – The Boulevard Planning Group meets Thursday, August 7 at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Fire Training room, 39919 Ribbonwood Road in Boulevard.  Action items on the agenda include a faux water tower wireless communications facility near Golden Acorn, a presented by the County’s groundwater geologist, concerns over closure of the White Star fire station, and updates to a Park Lands Dedication Ordinance project priority list.

There will also be updates on numerous major projects proposed in the Boulevard area including Tule Wind, Soitec Solar, Rough Acres Ranch campground/conference center, a complaint against the Eco Substation, court actions challenging the county wind ordinance and Tule Wind, and Sempra’s cross-border high voltage transmission line.

CPUC REQUIRES SDG&E TO REPAIR FENCING AT SUBSTATION

 

April 14, 2014 (Boulevard) – In response to a complaint filed by Donna Tisdale, the California Public Utilities Commission has instructed San Diego Gas & Electric Company to make repairs to a torn, flapping construction fence at the Boulevard substation site along state scenic highway 94.

ROUGH ACRES RANCH: PROPOSED CONFERENCE RETREAT, WELLNESS CENTER & CAMPGROUND IN BOULEVARD

 

Maximum occupancy of 2,600 people is twice the population of Boulevard

Hearing May 8 at Boulevard Planning Group; Comments on proposal accepted through May 12

Photo: Protest held at same site during Sunrise Powerlink groundbreaking

By Miriam Raftery

April 11, 2014 (Boulevard) – Properties controlled by the Hamann Companies entities and family are proposed for a variety of large-scale projects on McCain Valley Road in Boulevard, gateway to the McCain Valley, a federal recreation area.  None are popular with neighbors, thus far. Hamann gained approval for industrial wind turbines as part of Tule Wind and has been pushing to convert another 765 acres to industrial solar as part of Soitec’s controversial proposed projects. The site hosted the groundbreaking for Sunrise Powerlink, drawing protesters from across the county.

Now, Hamann is also seeking a Major Use Permit to construct a conference retreat and wellness center and a campground on 713 acres. At capacity, the facility could house up to 2,600 people—or more than twice the current population of the entire town of Boulevard. 

A BETTER OPTION TO INDUSTRIAL ENERGY PROJECTS IN OUR REGION IS PROPOSED

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 5, 2014 (San Diego) –“The San Diego County Planning Commissioners and Board of Supervisors have an obligation to look out for the greater good of the people of San Diego,” Timothy D. Schoechle, PhD, an international consultant on smart grid expert technology, engineering expert, and author of the report Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid wrote in his comments to the County’s planning director opposing Soitec’s plan to industrialize rural East County with massive solar modules that other experts have said could destroy the entire ecosystem of the region.

Instead, Dr. Schoechle lays out a detailed case for a saner, safer alternative—and why current government policies are polar opposites of what’s needed to protect the public against rapacious energy corporations.

TELEPHONE LANDLINES MAY SOON BECOME HISTORY

 

Internet-based phones worry rural communities due to spotty reception, posing threats to safety and universal coverage

By Sharon Penny

April 4, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --Many citizens are not aware that AT&T and Verizon, among other telecom giants, are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and individual states to make telephone landlines go the way of the buggy whip. Soon, everyone in the U.S. may only have options for internet-based telephone service and cell service.

At the Boulevard Planning Group meeting held on April 3, local resident Kevin Keane, an IT and Telecommunications professional, discussed the issue with local residents, who were unaware these plans are in the works. 

CORRECTED AGENDA FOR BOULEVARD PLANNING GROUP APRIL3: LOSS OF LAND LINE PHONES CONCERNS RURAL RESIDENTS

 

AT&T  and FCC plan to eliminate landline phone service to be discussed, along with major energy projects and more

April 3, 2014 (Boulevard) -- An incorrect agenda was inadvertently sent to our media outlet for tonight’s Boulevard Planning Group.  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Fire Training Room on 39919 Ribbonwood Road in Boulevard. 

The agenda will include possible actions regarding FCC and AT&T plans to eliminate landline phone service nationwide. ECM recently reported on grave problems experienced by some rural residents who switched from landlines to cellular, in one case resulting in a barn burning down because the resident could not reach 911.

Other agenda items include the following:

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