March 2014 Articles

COUNTY TO STRENGTHEN ELDER CARE STANDARDS

 

Photo: Dr. Gloria Harris

By Nadin Abbott

March 11, 2014 (San Diego)--In response to a media report exposing abuse in elder care facilities locally, Supervisors voted to strengthen protections for elderly patients and their families. The unanimous 4-0 vote (with Suerpvisor Ron Roberts absent) approved funds to improve the county’s system for checking up on care in senior care facilities. These standards include the ability of the District Attorney to look at complaints more closely. In addition, the County will create a system for patient’s families to compare ratings of facilities countywide.


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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

March 12, 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


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COUNTY EXPANDS VETERANS SERVICES TO RURAL EAST COUNTY

 

By Nadin Abbott

March 11, 2014 (San Diego) – Following an East County Magazine investigation that found a disparity in distribution of veterans’ services countywide, today the Board of Supervisors voted to expand veterans’ services from the current locations in urban areas to also include County libraries-- starting with Ramona, El Cajon, Pine Valley and Julian. Volunteers who are veterans themselves will staff these services.  

Supervisor Dianne Jacob introduced the proposal, emphasizing that many of the veterans who reside in rural areas of the County “cannot access the nine current locations.” So this expansion was needed.


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CAMPUS POLICE WARN OF STRONG ARM ROBBERY ATTEMPT

March 11, 2014 (San Diego) – San Diego State University police warn that on March 8 at 1:50 a.m., three male suspects attempted to steal an SDSU student’s wallet, but were unsuccessful.  The victim met the suspects earlier in the evening and they were walking near the Open Air Theatre on campus when the incident occurred. The victim sustained minor injuries from being punched and kicked during the attempted robbery.


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VOTE ON-LINE TO HELP WIN A TECHNOLOGY MAKEOVER FOR THE MISSION TRAILS RANGERS

 

March 11, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Through March 17, you can vote once every 24 hours to help the MTRP Foundation win up to $15,000 for a “Technology Makeover” for the 8 Rangers at MTRP.  The MRC Company “Smart Technology Solutions” is the largest technology and services company in the San Diego area specializing in workflow solutions and office systems.  They are currently running a contest to provide the winning 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation with up to a $15,000 technology upgrade for their office.  The winner will be decided by the number of votes cast on-line through March 17. Here is the LINK to vote and you can vote once every 24 hours. Scroll down the right hand side of the webpage until you come to Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation and click the “Vote” button to help us win.  The funds will be used to provide the 8 Rangers at MTRP with wifi connected tablets such as the Microsoft Surface Pro.


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PASSAGES: TREE TRIMMER KILLED IN EL CAJON

 

March 11, 2014 (El Cajon )- - Bernardo Teran, 49, owner of a tree trimming company, was killed February 26 while he and his sons, along with two employees, were removing a date palm tree from the yard of a home  at 1586 Falda Del Cerro in El Cajon.


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PASSAGES: DROWNED KAYAKER IDENTIFIED

 

March 12, 2014 (Ramona) – A kayaker found drowned at Lake Sutherland on March 1 has been identified as Leonard Kevin Jones, 57, a widower.  According to the Medical Examiner, dilated cardiomyopathy contributed to his death.


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SPECIAL MEETING ON LAKE JENNINGS FUTURE: MARCH 12 in LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2014 (La Mesa)Helix Water District will hold a special meeting with the Lake Jennings Campground Committee and Board of Directors on Wednesday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the District headquarters, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.

The meeting will include a PowerPoint presentation and discussion regarding activities, marketing, and suggested maintenance at the Lake Jennings campground.  The Board has previously indicated closure of the campgrounds is likely if additional funding sources are not found.


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ECM INQUIRY LEADS TO SANDBAGS OFFERED IN CAMPO

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2014 (Campo) – Why did the County offer sandbags at multiple locations in the recent storm, but none east of Alpine?  Campo resident Claudia Millerbragg indicated that at least four other people in her community wanted sandbags to protect their properties, but could not access them.

East County Magazine contacted Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office and in turn, we received a  response from Sasra Agahi, a senior civil engineer in the flood control division of County Public Works, who indicated that as a result of our inquiry, sandbags should be available in Campo in time for a storm due next week.


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LAKESIDE MAN CHARGED WITH DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY AFTER SETTING FIRE AT FBI BUILDING

 

March 11, 2014 (Lakeside)—A Lakeside man who scaled a security gate and prompted a SWAT team standoff for several hours on Sunday at the FBI headquarters in San Diego has been charged with destruction property, said San Diego Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn.


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FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: MARCH MADNESS!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

March Madness!  It came in like a Lion, will it leave like a Lamb?

March 10, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - March came in like a Lion bringing more rain than we’ve seen in years, but will it leave like a Lamb?   Though ordinarily not a big concern, March winds may pose a very serious fire danger says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.  Normally we would have had more rain by now and brush fires are not quite a concern.  With drought conditions and little rain, fuel moisture content is extremely low says DiGiovanna.”


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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SEEKS TO REDUCE SUICIDES AMONG NATIVE AMERICAN YOUTH

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 10, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--The U.S. Justice Department has created a national task force to study impacts of violence on Native American children.  Task force members have said they are shocked to find epidemic rates of suicide among young people on reservations.


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LEMON GROVE RESIDENTS HONORED

 

By Helen Ofield

Photos by Audrey Hamm

March 10, 2014 (Lemon Grove)--On Mar. 6, the 50th anniversary of its annual conference on regional history, the Congress of History of San Diego and Imperial Counties (www.congressofhistory.org) gave important awards to five present and former Lemon Grove residents for enriching and advancing the history of the region.  The Congress's vice president Louise Torio (chair, Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc.) presented the awards.


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LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: VET SERVICES, E-CIGARETTES & PARK EXPANSIONS AMONG ISSUES ON AGENDA THIS WEEK

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s proposal to bring veterans’ services to several County libraries in rural areas. Will be on the agenda for San Diego Supervisors on Tuesday. Jacob introduced the measure following an East County Magazine investigation which found there are no County veterans services in rural areas of East County, or anywhere east of La Mesa.


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BRUSH FIRE DOUSED ON HIGHWAY 94

 

By Nadin Abbott

March 9, 2013 (East County)-- Multiple resources responded to a brush fire Sunday afternoon with multiple  ignition sources locations at Highway 94 and Barrett Junction on Sunday. The blaze approximately an acre and had four start-up points, including one over an old burn.


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ALPINE CAMPGROUND DISPUTE ENDS IN MURDER ARREST

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2014 (Alpine) – Leland Ernest Clyde, 73, has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the shooting death of Jock Gregory Martin, 56 at the Ma Tar Awa Campground in Alpine.  The two men, who were neighbors, reportedly had an argument during which Clyde shot and killed Martin with a shotgun, the Sheriff reports.


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LAKESIDE MAN ARRESTED IN FBI SWAT STANDOFF

 

File photo: SWAT team

March 9, 2014 (San Diego) – FBI hostage negotiators are accustomed to tense situations –but normally not at their own home base.  But after a man climbed a steel corrugated security gate and made his way onto the top of a building in the FBI headquarters at 10385 Vista Sorrento Parkway in San Diego, a stand-off ensued that ended this evening with the arrest of Lakeside resident William Durant, 36.


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BURNED BODY FOUND IN ALPINE

 

March 9, 2014 (Alpine) –Sheriff’s deputies received a report shortly before 5 a.m. today of a body found by a Sweetwater Authority employee. The body had been set on fire and was still smoldering when found on a dirt road off Sequan Truck Trail in Alpine, said Lt. Lt. Glenn Giannantonio with the Sheriff's Homicide unit.

Sheriff’s Homicide, Bomb Arson and Crime units are investigating the horrific discovery.


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BAYOU BROTHERS BRING ZYDECO, R&B AND BLUES MUSIC TO SANTEE WED. MARCH 12 AT MARDI GRAS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 10, 2014 (Santee)—“The musicianship is top notch and the music is infectious. I’m loving every minute of it!” says bass player Danny Perez of Santee, the newest member of the popular Bayou Brothers band.  The Bayou Brothers will bring their rollicking, foot-stomping, musical gumbo style to Santee’s Pinnacle Peak restaurant on Wednesday, March 12 for East County Magazine’s own Mardi Gars party from 6-10 p.m. 

It’s a sound straight out of New Orleans’ dance clubs, Louisiana blues festivals and backyard crawfish boils complete with drums, accordion, keyboard, guitar, rub-board and three-part harmony.  The styles range from blues to R&B to zydeco.

 Rick Lee, a drummer who founded the Bayou Brothers back in 1996 with friends who had toured through the South and picked up the flavor of zyedco music, calls it “Louisiana party music.”


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SHERIFF NOW HIRING: RADIO TRAINEES & EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCHERS

 

March 8, 2014 (San Diego)--They are the first line of public safety. They answer calls from people during the worst moments of their lives. They give up family time, weekends and holidays; work graveyard shifts and make critical decisions during life and death situations. When a call for help is made, the voice on the other end is a Sheriff’s Dispatcher.


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WIND WARNING ISSUED AS FIREFIGHTERS CONTINUE BATTLING GUN FIRE, NOW 30% CONTAINED

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photo, left taken March 8, 2014 by Greg Bowerman, creekcrossingphotography.com

Additional photos by Tom and Nadin Abbott

Update March 10: This fire is now contained.

Update March 9, 2014 -- The fire has burned 125 acres and is 30% contained according to the Incident page set up for the Gun Fire: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3783/  .  The wind advisory has been upgraded to a wind warning with gusts up to 70 mph on ridges possible.

March 8, 2014 (Mt Laguna) A fire that started around 1 p.m. in the afternoon in the Kitchen Creek area in Cleveland National Forest spread to 75-100 acres. The blaze was 5 percent containment by 4:40 p.m. with no estimate yet for full containment. 

A wind advisory has been issued for tomorrow and ECM news partner 10 News reports that crews could be battling this fire for days. Sustained winds of 15-30 mph with gusts up to 55 mph are forecast.

Power is out to more than 500 residences in Japatul Valley, Buckman Springs, Morena Village, Guatay, Pine Valley and Mount Laguna due to a power shut off to protect firefightings working closer to powerlines. SDG&E estimates power will be restored at 5:30 a.m. Sunday.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: END OF DEBATE, LOCAL CLEAN ENERGY WILL KEEP THE LIGHTS ON

 

By Kathleen Connell

March 8, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will soon make a decision on how to replace the power from San Onofre.  This is a decision with consequences for generations to come.  The choice is local clean energy such as rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and conservation or natural gas power plants, i.e., fossil fuel generation.  Local clean energy fights climate change, doesn’t pollute our air, already supports hundreds of well-paying local jobs, and lowers electricity bills.  Natural gas power plants ramp up greenhouse gases, worsen air quality, average only 10-20 permanent employees, and raise electricity bills for all of us because they are funded by ratepayers and cost anywhere from $1 billion to $5 billion each.  And we are shackled to these monuments of the past for decades.


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VIEJAS WILDFIRE ALERT: MAJOR BRUSH FIRE CLOSES HIGHWAYS, EVACUATIONS ORDERED IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

 

Photo: View from Lyons Peak, looking east; WREN camera courtesy USCD

Update 3:35 p.m.:  The fire is north of 8 and is now estimated between 75-100 acres and is 5% containued; evacuations have been lifted.  The  I-8 freeway is open; a hard closure is still in effect on Sunrise and Old 80 and Kitchen Creek area. SDG&E has shut  power lines down due to fire burning close to the lines, so Mt. Laguna has no power right now. Powerlink is no longer considered threatened, per Wende Cornelius, USFS.

Update 2:55 p.m.:  "We are evacuating Kitchen Creek and Cibbetts Flat in Cleveland National Forest," Wende Cornelius with CNF has informed ECM. Hikers and campers in the area are urged to leave. The fire is now 100 acres and due to high winds, some fixed wing aircraft have been temporarily grounded though helicopters continue doing water drops.

Sunrise Powerlink could be threatened, Cornelius stated, so be prepaerd for possible power outages.  SDG&E is en route. 

March 8,2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A brush fire on Sunrise Highway and Old Highway 80 has charred over 75 acres, IPN reports and aerial resources are on the scene, with a strike team positioningi in Pine Valley. Interstate is shut down from the Sunrise Highway exit to Buckman Springs, CHP reports. There is also a closure at Highway 79 just south of Lodge.

The fire is in the Cleveland National Forest and has been named the Gun Fire, due to its proximity to a shooting range.  As of 2 p.m. there is a large header of smoke visible across East County.

IPN reported an earlier fire at State Routes 944 and 188 (Tecate Road). Multiple resources were dispatched to the fire which was estimated to have a potential of ten acres per the incident commander.


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PADRE DAM BOARD MEMBER DOUG WILSON APPOINTED TO COLORADO RIVER BOARD

 

March 8, 2014 (Santee) – Padre Dam Municipal Water District Board Member Doug Wilson has been appointed by the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors to serve on the Colorado River Board.


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TB CASE AT HELIX CHARTER HIGH

 

March 7, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - A case of tuberculosis has been reported at Helix Charter High School in La Mesa.  Students and staff may have been exposed, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.


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SHERIFF ASKS HELP TO FIND MISSING TEEN

 

March 7, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public's help in finding 14-year-old Venicia Ortiz from Alpine.  Venicia was last seen on Wed. February 26. She is known to hang out along Imperial Avenue and 24th Street in the Grant Hill area of San Diego as well as National City and Chula Vista. She may be in the company of 28-year-old Edgar Morales.


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RURAL FIRE DISTRICT BOARD VOTES TO DISSOLVE, JOIN COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

March 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – On March 4, the San Diego Rural Fire Protection District’s board majority voted to dissolve the district and join the County Fire Authority. 

Board member Lou Russo (photo, left) voted against the action and says he intends to pursue a protest allowed under the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, that would require signatures from 25% of the district’s voters in order to put the matter on the ballot.

Russo said he views the County takeover of the district as “nothing more than a power grab.” He is also asking why residents in some Alpine areas did not receive a letter about the proposed action so that they could attend the meeting.


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WIND TURBINES MAY HARM LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE, STUDY SUGGESTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Are wind turbines safe for wildlife, livestock and humans living nearby?  A new study published in the Journal of Veterinary Sciences has found that geese living near wind turbines suffered loss of appetite, weight loss, and measurable physical changes.


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KITCHEN FIRE DAMAGES APARTMENT UNIT IN EL CAJON

March 4, 2014 (El Cajon)--At approximately 2:15 p.m. Monday afternoon, Heartland Fire & Rescue crews from El Cajon and La Mesa responded to reports of a structure fire in the one-thousand block of Leslie Road in El Cajon.  As fire crews arrived on scene they found heavy smoke coming from a lower unit of the apartment structure at 1016 Leslie Road. Firefighters were able to stop the fire in approximately twenty minutes.


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COURT RULING AWAITED ON TULE WIND PROJECT

 

Judge announces tentative ruling – before hearing arguments

By Sharon Penny

March 6, 2014 (San Diego)--On March 3, U.S. District Court Judge Janis L. Sammartino heard testimony from legal representatives for both sides in a lawsuit brought by the Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC – www.protectourcommunities.org) against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over controversial approvals for Iberdrola's controversial Tule Wind project planned in Boulevard’s McCain Valley Recreation and Conservation Area in East County.

The POC originally filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in August 2013. This week marked the first hearing under the U.S. District Court. According to Plaintiff Donna Tisdale, POC’s attorney Stephan C. Volker had prepared for a one hour argument and was surprised by the Judge’s announcement that she had a tentative ruling in hand. The judge read that ruling aloud, took a 15 minute break for attorneys to prepare a response.  Each side was then allowed a half hour to argue their points and one minute for rebuttal.


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