Boulevard

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.

THE BETRAYAL OF BOULEVARD: CAN THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR TOWN, TOO?

 

“There is nothing altruistic about this.” – Don Renard, Boulevard resident, on planned destruction of his rural community to create an energy corridor

“I don’t know of any community facing this many energy projects.” – Donna Tisdale, Chair, Boulevard Planning Group

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2013 (Boulevard)--Retired tugboat captain Don Renard worked hard all his life before purchasing a little piece of heaven in San Diego's rural East County.  He bought  a historic house, the former Ruby Store, once a stage coach stop in Boulevard.  He and his family have been working to restore it—in between savoring quiet times spent watching the hawks, owls and song birds among the old oak groves around their home. 

But there’s a squall of epic proportions on the horizon.  Soon, the Renard family’s home is slated to be surrounded by an industrial solar “farm”—on all four sides.  In every direction, 360 degrees, massive panels 30 feet high or so will track the sun.  Some will be just 300 feet from his doorstep.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WINTER WONDERLAND

 

December 31, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- A blanket of snow envelops our local mountains and rural areas this New Year's Eve. Melody Ponchot arose early to snap sunrise photos as the morning's first rays illuminate snow dusting trees across her ranch in Boulevard (left, right, and below, right)

Julie Salmons also sent in an image of the Laguna mountains (below, left), viewed from Descanso, wearing a crown of winter white.

SOITEC PROPOSAL FOR 1,400 ACRES OF SOLAR MEETS WITH OPPOSITION IN RURAL BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2012 (Boulevard) –Soitec Solar has applied for amendments to the Boulevard Community Plan in order to build for commercial/industrial-scale solar projects totaling 8,938,000 square feet  (over 1,400 acres) of  concentrating solar PV. The “super modules”, each 30 feet tall, would track the sun to produce renewable energy.  The largest of the projects, Rugged Solar, is proposed for property owned by Hamann Companies of El Cajon.

At a meeting with county staff in Boulevard on December 18, about two dozen people braved cold and stormy weather to attend.  “None of the local property owners supported the projects,” Boulevard Planning Group Chair told ECM after the meeting.  “They were in shock when I distributed copies of the attached photos.”

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: SILENT BEAUTY

December 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Melody Ponchot has provided us with a dazzling set of photographs that are a study in contrasts, some shot in the snow-covered rural landscape around her home in Boulevard, others taken at Valley of the Moon, a boulder-strewn terrain east of Jacumba.  In both places, there is tranquility in the rugged beauty of nature—from serene winter wonderland to jagged peaks in these wild and special vistas here in our own backyard.

BOULEVARD RESIDENTS AND MANZANITA TRIBAL MEMBERS SPEAK OUT ON WIND TURBINE HEALTH CONCERNS

By Miriam Raftery

November 12, 2012 (Boulevard)—At the latest Boulevard Planning Group meeting, community members including Native Americans shared heart-wrenching stories of how the nation's quest for renewable energy is upending their lives, dividing their communities,imperiling their health, and threatening their futures.

As in Ocotillo, where a wind project has anguished tribal members and residents with destruction of cultural and environmental resources, the community of Boulevard now faces an onslaught of massive "green" energy projects on public, tribal and private lands. 

ECM READERS COME THROUGH TO HELP SHOCKEY FIRE VICTIMS

Cooking items, sheets still needed

November 10, 2012 (Jacumba/Boulevard) – Lorrie Ostrander, who has been coordinating efforts to help families who lost homes in the Shockey Fire, has sent the following letter thanking ECM readers for your generosity.  While many needs have been met, some remain. Please read her letter below, and help if you can.

HELP NEEDED FOR SHOCKEY FIRE VICTIMS AS WINTER APPROACHES

Fundraiser a success, but more help is needed:  “wish list” provided for families who lost homes

By Miriam Raftery

October 17, 2012 (Jacumba/Boulevard)—Ray Ritter, 2, and his parents are among nine families who lost everything in the Shockey Fire last month.  The home they were renting burned to the ground and they had no insurance.  But that’s just the latest in a string of tragedies for the Ritters.

“Dad died September 14,” Monica Ritter told ECM.  “His memorial service was Sept. 20 and on the 21st, our house burned down.”

ECM met the Ritter family at a fundraiser for Shockey Fire victims held last Friday at the Jacumba community center, where firefighters and community members turned out to raise $1,378.59.  The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation had already given over $3500 to the families during recovery after the fire—but now fire victims need additional help to rebuild their lives as the cold season draws near.

SHOCKEY FIRE RESIDENTS RETURN

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom and Nadin Abbott

September 26, 2012 (Boulevard)—Around  five in the afternoon, as the sun was starting to set, the first residents of Boulevard’s Tierra del Sol neighborhood began  to come home. There was anxiety in some faces, as well as relief on others, as they learned what state their properties were in –and whether their homes had survived the devastating 2,850 acre Shockey Fire that destroyed 11 homes and claimed the life of an elderly man.

READER'S EDITORIAL: SHOCK, CONDOLENCES, AND PRAISE FOR EVENTS AND EFFORTS DURING THE SHOCKEY FIRE

By Ed and Donna Tisdale, Morning Star Ranch, Tierra Del Sol (Boulevard)

September 25, 2012 (Boulevard)-- As long-term residents of the Tierra Del Sol area of Boulevard (not Campo as so many reported), our family is shocked and saddened at the loss of life, homes, treasured possessions and memories, historic Hi Pass, pets, wildlife, ancient oaks, and fragrant old growth chaparral that will take years to recover.

Our condolences and prayers for strength go out to our friends and neighbors who have suffered during the swift and horrific events surrounding and following the Shockey Fire.

20 HOMES FEARED LOST IN TIERRA DEL SOL AREA

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Cal Fire reports this morning that an estimated 20 homes have been destroyed and another 10 damaged, along with approximately 15 outbuildings.  The fire is now 2,000 acres and 10% contained.

Homes lost are all in the Tierra del Sol area, Mike Mohler of Cal Fire told ECM.  “We’re going to go out right now to compile a list of the addresses,” he said when asked for details on locations of residences that burned.

“Tierra del Sol and Jewel Valley remain evacuated and are still threatened,” Roxanne Provaznik of Cal Fire said in a release issued at 6:50 am.  Highway 94 is closed between the Shockey Truck Trail east to Jewel Valley.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF FIRE IN BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2012 (Boulevard) – Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale has provided ECM with a dramatic eyewitness account of the Shockey Fire, which started on the Campo Reservation just west of her home in Boulevard.  Power and phone lines have burned down, she reports, adding that the area has no cell phone reception. 

“A Deputy showed up to warn us and recommended evacuation.We stayed and the fire raged through parts of our Morning Star Ranch and our son's property next door. Together we have over 300 acres--much now looks other worldly, stark and smoldering,” wrote Tisdale, who sent photos taken from her property.

LARGE FIRE NEAR CA MEXICO BORDER IN THE BOULEVARD AREA

Update, 6:20 p.m.: Smoke south of I-8 is from fire on the Mexican side of the border, per CalFire. A Border Patrol agent told ECM the fire was about two miles south of the international border. 

July 24, 2012 (San Diego Border) -- ECM editor, Miriam Raftery reports seeing a large fire in the area of Boulevard at the California/Mexico Border. The fire is centered south of Jewel Valley Road in Mexico. Smoke and flames can be seen for miles. Please stay advised for further information.

COUNTY PLANNERS VOTE TO DENY TULE WIND INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES ON PRIVATE LANDS

By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2012 (San Diego) – By a unanimous vote, San Diego's Planning Commission voted Friday to deny Iberdrola Renewables’ application for five 492-foot-tall wind turbines on private land under county jurisdiction.

SIG ALERT ON I-8 NEAR BOULEVARD: RESCUE IN PROGRESS AT CRASH SITE

 May 21, 2012 (Boulevard) – A medical helicopter is en route to an accident on I-8 east near State Route 94 in the Boulevard/McCain Valley area.  Three victims are trapped with extrication in process, Incident Page Network Reports.  A Sig Alert has been ordered, according to the CHP website.

COUNTY PLANNERS DEAL BLOW TO WIND INDUSTRY

 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 13, 2012 (San Diego)—San Diego’s Planning Commission voted unanimously to have staff evaluate health impacts of wind turbines on people and wildlife. Commissioners balked at approving a proposed county wind ordinance or changes to the Boulevard community plan that could make it easier to gain approval of large-scale wind projects—taking the sails out of the wind industry.

SHOCKING CAUSE OF THE BIG BLACKOUT REVEALED

 

By Meg A. Watts

April 1, 2012 (Jacumba) – Officially, the power outage that left 1.4 million customers in San Diego and across the southwest in the dark last September has been blamed on a worker in Yuma, according to SDG&E.  But an ECM investigation reveals an electrifying new theory, backed up by photos and an eyewitness account from an  off-duty Border Patrol Agent. 

CPUC TO HOLD HEARING IN JACUMBA JAN. 24 ON ECO SUBSTATION AND NEW TRANSMISSION LINES PLANNED FOR BOULEVARD

 

January 19, 2012 (Jacumba) – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and assigned Administrative Law Judge Hallie Yacknin will hold a hearing in Jacumba on January 24. The public may testify with comments on SDG&E's proposed $285 million 60-85 acre ECO Substation and 13 miles of new 138kV transmission lines planned for Boulevard.

HUNTER FOUND DEAD IN MCCAIN VALLEY


January 16, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Richard Bradley Smith, 61, was found dead this morning by San Diego Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers. Smith had become separated from friends while fowl hunting in the McCain Valley area of Boulevard, near Cottonwood Campground. He resided in San Diego with his wife.

CHANGES ARE IN THE WIND

 

December 23 deadline for public comment on County's proposed wind ordinance


By Caleb Trainer

December 12, 2011 (San Diego’s East County)--The eastern portions of San Diego County have become areas for increased interest in wind energy production. In response, County officials are proposing changes to current regulations that, in effect, will make it easier for wind energy development—including both wind farms with large-scale turbines and smaller scale residential windmills.

COUNTY ISSUES DRAFT WIND ORDINANCE; BACKCOUNTRY LEADERS LEVEL HARSH CRITICISM

“The County is now officially doing the bidding of a well organized industrial wind lobby…Together, the County and the industry/government cabal are also getting ready to gut the Boulevard Community Plan, and the few protections they allowed us to retain.”—Donna Tisdale, Chair, Boulevard Planning Group


By Miriam Raftery
 

November 9, 2011 (San Diego’s EastCounty) – San Diego County has issued a draft ordinance for publication review (http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/ceqa/POD1007.html. ) But critics say the plan decimates rural community planning authority and makes it easier for large wind farms to be built across broad swaths of East County.

 

Residents who already live near wind farms are speaking out—claiming they have suffered sleep deprivation and witnessed significant bird kills from existing turbines. They fear the impacts if multiple new wind farms are allowed to be erected across East County’s rural and scenic wilderness lands.

LIGHTNING IGNITES SEVERAL FIRES IN EAST COUNTY; WARNER SPRINGS FIRE NOW 150 ACRES

 

Update October 1:  The Chihuahua Fire in Warner Springs was 50% contained as of 9 a.m. October 1. Cal-Fire has estimated the total acreage downward to 40 acres (from 100 acres estimated yesterday).  The Border Fire is 100% contained.

 

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