March 2014 Articles

URANIUM IN WELL WATER THREATENS DESCANSO RESIDENTS

 

Bringing Backup Well Online May Be First Step in Solving the Problem

By Sharon Penny

March 24, 2014 (Descanso)-- Like all backcountry communities, the town of Descanso depends on groundwater for its water needs. A high level of uranium in the town’s main well has become a concern for many residents.  

For the last three quarters of a year, the water district’s Well No. 5 has exceeded what is considered a safe level of uranium, which the California Code of Regulations lists as 20 pCi/L. Fourth quarter readings are planned for April.


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ATTORNEY SENDS PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST TO DESCANSO COMMUNITY WATER DISTRICT

 

By Sharon Penny

March 28, 2014 (Descanso) – Attorney Marco Gonzalez of the Coast Law Group has sent a request to the Descanso Community Water District for inspection of documents, based upon the California Public Records Act.

According to Gonzalez, his firm is representing various ratepayers and other interested entities concerned with management and operation of the District. He is seeking access to public documents that, he says, are “virtually impossible at this time for any member of the public to deduce where such documents are stored.”


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LIVE MUSIC UNDER THE OAKS IN CREST: ACOUSTIC CRESTRIDGE MARCH 29

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 28, 2014 (Crest) – From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m . Saturday, March 29 you can savor live music under the oaks at the Acoustic Crestridge concert.  The event is held at the Crestridge Ecological Reserve, 1171 Horsemill Road in the La Cresta area of Crest in unincorporated El Cajon.  The event benefits the Earth Discovery Institute, which supports youth science learning and environmental stewardship.

Enjoy music by San Diego’s Jeffrey Joe, Sierra West, Chris Avetta, Chad Taggart and the Harpers, as well a children’s drum circle, neighbors’ song circle and surprises.  Tickets cost $10 (kids under 12 are free) and can be purchased at http://www.earthdiscovery.org.


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GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT AWARDS $85,000 IN SCHOLARLARSHIPS TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FOR HEALTHCARE STUDIES

 

March 29, 2014 (La Mesa)--The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, recently awarded $85,500 in scholarships to 38 high school students who have expressed interest in a career as a healthcare professional.


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QUESTIONS REMAIN ON CUYAMACA BURN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos above:   Sign amid charred terrain reads, "As these habitats recover from fire, a colorful variety of bird liife will return."

By Miriam Raftery

March 28, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – One month after a controlled burn at Cuyamaca sparked controversy, as ECM reported , the State Park Service has failed to answer any of our questions.  Two elected officials have issued statements supportive of burn policies despite mature pines and cedars being torched in a park  an estimated 99% of its mature pines to the 2003 Cedar Fire, which charred 95% of the entire park.

But new photos taken after the burn reveal that the fire also burned d15-foot-tall saplings planted after the Cedar Fire, foot bridges, and a “habitat restoration” area for wildlife replanted as part of reforestation efforts after the Cedar Fire.

Cal Fire has insisted that the burn did not jump out of control, though local cabin owner Craig Maxwell says a state park ranger told him it did.  But if firefighters did not lose control of the burn, this raises an even more troubling question:  Why would State Park officials charged with protecting our public parks order the destruction of some of the last remaining mature pines and cedars, as well as plantings established to replaced what burned in 2003?

Moreover, this region has also been decimated by oak-boring beetles that have killed thousands of trees locally, making protection of what remains even more critical.


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FIRED SDG&E WHISTLEBLOWER WINS $1.3 MILLION IN PUNITIVE DAMAGES

 

March 28, 2014 (San Diego)--A jury has awarded $1.3 million in punitive damages to David Bryant, a former billing supervisor at SDG&E.  Bryant claimed the company fired him after he complained that SDG&E was targeting delinquency notices to low-income ratepayers, so that SDG&E could make money from late payment fees.


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OTAY RESIDENT HIDES FOR HOURS TO CATCH CRIMINALS STEALING PACKAGES

 

Police release photos of items believed stolen from other homes including coins, shoes, phones, camera accessories,  and Nano copter

By Miriam Raftery

March 28, 2014 (Otay Mesa) –An Otay resident,  tired of having his delivered mail items stolen from his front yard, decided to take action and detained four juvenile males ages 15 and 16 as they attempted to steal a package from his front yard yesterday.  He armed himself with a baseball bat, a pet Rottweiler, and a cell phone.


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SETTLEMENT REACHED OVER SAN ONOFRE: RATEPAYERS TO RECEIVE REFUNDS IF CPUC APPROVES DEAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2014 (San Diego)—After the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations (SONGS) were shut down in 2012 due to faulty steam generators, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) continued to charge ratepayers for the costs associated with replacing those generators.  Edison later announced permanent decommissioning of the nuclear facility in June 2013 due to serious safety problems.

Ratepayers will be receiving refunds from SDG&E and Edison for those charges, if a joint settlement agreement announced today is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  The settlement was reached SCE, the CPUC Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and The Utility Reform Network (TURN).


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HUGE WIN FOR SOLAR HOMES

 

A surge in solar growth is expected after today's announcement

March 27, 2014 (San Diego)-- The California Public Utilities Commission made a final decision today that has solar homeowners celebrating. The Commission unanimously voted to protect California’s solar customers’ net energy metering contracts for 20 years. Net energy metering allows the meter to spin backwards, giving customers full credit for electricity produced by solar panels that is not used in the building. The highly anticipated decision is a part of Assembly Bill 327 (AB327).


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EL CAJON’S NEW COUNCILWOMAN SPEAKS TO LOCAL REALTORS

 

By Janis Russell

March 27, 2014 (El Cajon)—“I think it’s being in the right place at the right time,” El Cajon Councilwoman Star Bales said of her appointment to the City Council.  Bales admits she was shocked to be chosen by Councilmembers, adding that she is “in the process of learning while working with them.” 

Bales made the remarks at the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), Government Affairs Committee meeting on March 19.


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HIKERS LOST OVERNIGHT FOUND SAFE AT THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2014 (Julian) – Last night shortly after 8 p.m., a lost hiker called the Sheriff’s communication center to report that he and a companion were lost in the rugged Three Sisters Falls area near Julian.  Their cell phone was dying and they could not find their way back to their vehicle, said Sergeant Carlos Medina at the Julian Sheriff’s Substation.


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MISSING WOMAN WITH ALZHEIMER'S IS FOUND IN CLAIREMONT AREA

 

 

 

March 27, 2014 (Spring Valley)--A 73-year-old missing person at-risk from Spring Valley is back safe with her family. World Luz Loper was found in the Clairemont area of San Diego this morning.  

Loper walked away from her home in the 9500 block of Upland Street in Spring Valley last night. Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated to find Loper, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. An off-duty member of SAR, who was not involved in the search, saw Loper's photo in the news this morning and remembered seeing Loper last night in the Clairemont area. Sheriff's SAR called San Diego Police and requested for officers to check the area. Loper was found at the intersection of Balboa Avenue and Genesee Avenue . She has been reunited with her family and will be taken to a hospital for a checkup.

The Sheriff’s Department maintains a free and confidential Take Me Home database of people who may not be able to speak to first responders if they get lost or wander away. The registry is for people with physical or mental challenges, disabilities or medical conditions (i.e. autism, Alzheimer's, Down Syndrome, etc.). This regional database is accessible only to law enforcement agencies.


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SHERIFF SEEKS HELP TO SOLVE "COLD CASE" MURDER IN EL CAJON

 

March 26, 2014 (El Cajon) – Back on the morning of September 1, 2007, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a  call at a home in the 1800 block of Hillsdale Drive in unincorporated El Cajon.  There they found Jerrad Fletcher lying face down in the living room with a gunshot wound in his back. He died at the scene.


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EL CAJON POLICE FAKED PHOTO TO OBTAIN CONFESSION PLACING MAN AT MURDER SCENE

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2014 (El Cajon )—In a pretrial motion hearing yesterday, El Cajon police Detective Darren Forster testified that he doctored a photograph to convince Kassim Alhimidi to admit that he was near his home when his wife, Shaima Alawadi, was brutally murdered.  Police admitted that they drove the suspect’s red van to the scene and staged a photo, altering the date stamp.

Alhimidi initially denied being near the scene but later said he was in the area when shown the “evidence,” ECM news partner 10 News reports.  He continues to deny killing his wife and reportedly wept in court after learning he had been arrested based on falsified evidence.


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FUNDING SECURED FOR HIGHWAY 67 IMPROVEMENTS

 

March 25, 2014 (Ramona)--Caltrans announced today that it has secured funding to move forward with a project to improve a busy rural highway intersection in the East County.


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OFFICIAL RELEASE OF "DAY HIKES & OVERNIGHTS ON THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL" BY SAN DIEGO AUTHOR MARLISE KAST-MYERS

 

March 26, 2014 (San Diego)--The Pacific Crest Trail is one of America’s greatest long-distance hiking routes. Stretching from Mexico to Canada, its 2,650 miles are traversed annually by several hundred thru-hikers as well as thousands of day hikers. They come to the PCT to experience something rugged and memorable, to challenge themselves, and sometimes to find themselves. Cheryl Strayed’s bestseller Wild introduced many readers to the PCT. Now Day Hikes & Overnights on the Pacific Crest Trail gives hikers the tools they need to get out and explore sections of this fabled route.


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MISS MIDDLE EAST BEAUTY PAGEANT SET FOR APRIL 3

 

March 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --The  San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce is proud to sponsor the Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant.


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ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETING MARCH 31

March 30, 2014 (Alpine) – On March 31, the Alpine Union School District will hold a special meeting.  A closed session at 5:15 to conference with labor negotiators will be followed by an open session at 5:30.

The open session ncludes discussion of changes to upcoming board meeting scheduling, as well as a board workshop at which lead petitioners of the unification process and high school committee members will present their understanding of the unification process. The board will also ask questions.


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EYE IN THE SKY: CAN DRONES BECOME CENTRAL TO REPORTING?

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

March 26, 2013 (San Diego) A talk held yesterday at San Diego State, hosted by SDSU’s Center for Science and Media (a collaboration of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts and the College of Sciences) raised important questions on how to use drones in media gathering--also demonstrating how effective drone coverage could be, as a drone whirred overhead transmitting images.

Professor Matt Waite from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, founder of the Drone Journalism Lab, brought a small drone to show it to the public. (For the record, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has shut his Lab down for the moment, as well as drone usage by the Washington Nationals and a beer company in Minnesota. The proposed use of Drones by Amazon.com to deliver goods is also not permitted under present rules.)


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IBERDROLA VIOLATING FIRE CODES, LIED TO OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, SAYS NH FIRE MARSHALL

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –Last week, we reported  on the latest in a string of fires at Iberdrola wind facilities, last time at a Pennsylvania site. Some involved turbines made by Gamesa, in which Iberdrola owns a controlling interest.  Fires have occurred with other Gamesa turbines at additional sites.

Meanwhile in  New Hampshire, ECM has learned that State Fire Marshal Rob Anstey has accused Iberdrola of violating fire safety codes and lying to an oversight committee about the Fire Marshal’s requirements at its Groton Wind facility. The Fire Marshall has announced that he may issue a stop work order to shut down the facility.

That should spark concern here in San Diego, where Supervisors and the federal government recently approved Tule Wind, an Iberdrola wind project slated to go into a region prone to cstastrophic wildfires including the 2007 Harris Fire, which was fueled by 100 mph hurricane-force winds. Campgrounds are located in McCain Valley, where Iberdrola aims to line the only road in and out with wind turbines, each filled with hundreds of gallons of flammable lubricating oil.  Former Cal Fire Batallion Chief Mark Ostrander has warned that firefighters can't fight fires under a flaming turbine whirling off debris, and aerial drops won't work at heights above 300 feet. The turbines are 500 feet, so firefighters would have to wait for the fire to burn outside of the wind facility, which could result in a firestorm that could burn into urban San Diego areas, he has warned.


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SAN DIEGO VETERANS ADMININISTRATION NURSES FILE FOR ELECTION TO JOIN LARGEST RN UNION

 





March 25, 2014 (San Diego)--Registered nurses who work in the large Veterans Administration hospital in San Diego have announced their request for an election to join the nation's largest organization of nurses, National Nurses United. California's largest RN union, the California Nurses Association, is affiliated with NNU.


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ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

 

March 25, 2014 (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:

U.S.

WORLD

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

 

March 25, 2014 (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

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more and scoll down.


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SYCUAN AND BARONA CASINOS HELP PURCHASE NEW FIRE RESPONSE VEHICLE

 

March 24, 2014 (Spring Valley) - A new, primary Incident Command Vehicle is now in service within the San Miguel Fire District, thanks to an award from Barona and Sycuan Casinos. The $45,000 grant covered 68 % of the total vehicle cost. That cost included Required Code 3 Equipment, VHF & 800mgz Radios and Installation. The total cost of the Command Vehicle was $65,000. The remainder of the cost came from the District’s Vehicle Replacement fund.


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SCIENCE AND HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS

 

March 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)-- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

HEALTH

SCIENCE

 

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


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RAGNAR RACE FOR MONARCH SCHOOL FOR HOMELESS: A TRUE BENEFIT

                   

 

By David Dickens

March 24, 2014 (San Diego)-Some of us run for fun, some of us run for better health, and some of us run on behalf of others. We have all heard of, or even had friends or family members who have walked for breast cancer, brain cancer, and many other ailments. Wonderful people volunteer their time to help raise awareness of these diseases or even raise funds for the less fortunate. Society as a whole has become selfish in these times of need, however there are still a select  few that love their fellow man or child in this case.


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SAN DIEGO MOVES CLOSER TO A RAISE IN THE MINIMUM WAGE

By Nadin Abbott

March 25, 2014 (San Diego) On Monday, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria brought a proposal to place a rise in the city’s minimum wage on the November ballot before the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.  The proposal also includes paid sick days for workers in San Diego.

The committee approved the motion 2-1 on a partisan vote, with Councilmembers Marti Emerald and Sherri Lightner  voting for it and Councilman Mark Kersey against it.  Next, the City Attorney will draft language and return to the Committee. If approved, next the full City Council would need to pass the measure before it can come before voters.


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EAST COUNTY EATER: FANTASTICO! NEW OWNERS ADD TO CULINARY APPEAL AT MEDITERRANEO ITALIANO BISTRO & BAR IN ALPINE

 

By the East County Eater

Mediterraneo Italiano Bistro & Bar, 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine 91901 (619)445-9902 http://mediterraneobistro.com/

March 24, 2014 (Alpine) –It’s been five years since the East County Eater first reviewed the Mediterraneo in Alpine, in a story titled “A Delightful Find in Alpine.”  Now there are new owners and a new head chef  with a menu focused on authentic Italian cuisine, raising the bar from “delightful” to “magnifico.”


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RAIN FORECAST MID-WEEK

 

By Miriam Raftery

Some much-needed rain is forecast for Wednesday night and Thursday in San Diego County as a cold front from Alaska brings cooler weather and showers.


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LA MESA WOMAN STABS BOYFRIEND AFTER BEING CHOKED, POLICE SAY

 

March 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--On March 24 at 5:19 am, La Mesa Police were notified by Grossmont Hospital staff that a stab victim had just been brought into the hospital. Minutes before the hospital report, La Mesa Police received reports of a disturbance at a residence in the 3800 block of Murray Hill Drive, La Mesa.  When officers arrived on Murray Hill, they determined the two incidents were related and the stabbing was believed to be in self defense.


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