May 2014 Articles

READER’S EDITORIAL: GREATER DENSITIES INCREASE FIRE DANGER TO EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS

 

 

An open letter to Supervisor Dianne Jacob

By Lou Russo

Photo: Alpine fire April 14, photo by Billy Ortiz

April 14, 2014 (Alpine) -- As I watched the news today, and as I watch the City of Carlsbad news conference, a flood of memories return.  In particular, I am reminded of the Cedar fire, but also all the places currently at risk; e.g. Fallbrook, San Marcos, Bonsall, Camp Pendleton.  I spent over 20 years in that area, including years off Hwy 76 in Oceanside, near Bonsall.

Many of those cc'd on this email lived through the Viejas, Cedar, Horse, etc. fires here in Eastern Alpine; many of them lost their homes.

As I write this, Jim Easterling has forwarded to the Alpine Community Planning Gruop (ACPG) members that Alpine currently has one, let me repeat that, one fire truck left in Alpine...the rest have all left to support other agencies.

As I type this, out my back window I can see the wind traveling west, right down the Sweetwater River canyon...which borders Cleveland National Forest and all its fuel. As I write this, there is currently a fire in Lakeside, a few exits down the freeway.

FIRES CAUSE MAJOR DAMAGES ACROSS NORTH COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Facebook/Camp Pendleton Scout

May 15, 2014 (San Diego) 1 a.m. – Wildfires have scorched 9,196 acres, the County Emergency Services Department has announced. Alert San Diego has sent 121,878  notices to residents to evacuate or prepare to evacuate.

Several major fires continue to burn in north San Diego County tonight and several structures have been lost.  Below are updates on each of these incidents.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

May 15, 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 scroll down.

SYMPOSIUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE FINDS COMMON GROUND

 

By Jeffrey Meyer

May 14, 2014 (San Diego) -- Various community and industry leaders found common ground on the conflictive issue of climate change, at a University of San Diego symposium Tuesday, agreeing that it is important that we act now to avoid the worst affects of global warming.

EL CAJON SEEKS ANCHOR TENANTS FOR EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2014 (El Cajon)-The City of El Cajon has issued a Request for Statement of Interest for those interested in using the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) facility.  The deadline for submittal is Monday, June 16, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.

The City is seeking anchor tenants or partners who wish to utilize the facility for at least five years in a consistent and substantial manner. The  Rock Church has already made a proposal, which is under consideration, however the City Council has determined it is “prudent” to determine if there are other interested parties, a statement from the city indicates.

FIRE IN LAKESIDE STOPPED AT 17 ACRES, EVACUATIONS LIFTED

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

May 14, 2014 (Lakeside)--A brush fire Lakeside along I-8 business route and Aurora Drive sent up billows of dark smoke visible across much of East County late today.  The blaze, which started atop a small hill, charred 17 acres, according to Chief Andy Parr Of Lakeside Fire. Evacuation notices sent to 1,300 residences have now been lifted.

A road closure on Aurora Drive will remain in effect overnight.

GOVERNOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

Source: San Diego County News Service

May 14, 2014 (San Diego)-- Governor Jerry Brown has proclaimed a State of Emergency this evening after the County of San Diego proclaimed a local emergency earlier in the day and requested the state declaration. The local and state proclamations mean the County can more easily access state and federal resources as needed to help in fighting the fires.

The state proclamation notes that a Federal Management Assistance Grant has been requested and approved by FEMA for the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad. Under the federal Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, the federal government shares the costs of local fires.

Full text of the Governor’s press release and proclamation are below.

CIF ATHLETIC COMPETITIONS CANCELLED COUNTYWIDE FOR THURSDAY

East County News Service

May 14, 2014 (San Diego)--All California Interscholastic Scholarship Federation (CIF) athletic competitions scheduled for Thursday, May 15 are cancelled in San Diego County.  No contests are to be played in any sport.  

“The fires themselves, the fluidity of circumstances, air quality, traffic/travel, school closures and school access are all issues that have prompted this cancellation,” said Jerry Schniepp, commissioner, CIF San Diego section.  

WILDFIRE UPDATES

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 14, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) 8 p.m. --  Southern California Emergency Services has published a map of  9 fires burning across the region, as of 6 p.m. this evening:  https://twitter.com/SoCalEMSFire/status/466748689151954946/photo/1

Firefighters have gained control of the Sterling Fire in Lakeside, where 1,300 households were evacuated and residents are projected to be allowed back home around 9 p.m.  An eyewitness, Elizabeth Galloway, told ECM she saw a transformer explode, which apparently caused the fire.  Galloway sent the photo at the top of this page.

A red flag warning has been extended through tomorrow night due to strong winds forecast and hot, triple-digit weather.

For updates on the following fires, visit these links:

SCHOOL DISTRICTS CLOSED TOMORROW DUE TO WILDFIRES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Dozens of school districts closed tomorrow due to the wildfires, air quality issues and road closures. These include Cajon Valley, Escondido, Grossmont Union High School District, Lakeside, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lemon Grove, Poway, Ramona, Santee, and San Pasqual school districts in the inland region as well as San Diego Unified.  For additional closures http://www.sdcoe.net/news/Pages/2014-school-closure-update.aspx

California State University San Marcos remains closed after today’s evacuation and graduation ceremonies set for tomorrow will be rescheduled.

STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED COUNTYWIDE

 

Schools closed, new fire now burning in Lakeside

 

Photo: Fire off Los Coches Road in Lakeside, photo by Beverly Reyes

By Miriam Raftery

May 14, 2014 (San Diego)—San Diego Board of Supervisors Chair Dianne Jacob today declared a countywide emergency due to at least eight fires now burning.  A Red Flag alert has been extended through tomorrow night.

Fires are currently burning in Lakeside, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Rancho Bernardo, Bonsall, Escondido, Camp Pendleton and Scripps Ranch.

An evacuation center has been set up at El Capitan High School for 1,300 ordered evacuated in the Wintergardens area of Lakeside. Business Highway 8 from Pepper Drive to Los Coches Road is closed.  The fire is now in mop up with no structures lost; evacuations will be lifted at approximately 9 p.m., Chief Andy Parr of Lakeside Fire told ECM.

The County urges people NOT to call the 911 system unless it is a dire emergency. They ask citizens use the 211 system. The 911 system is taxed.  One ECM reader reported getting a busy signal trying to call 911 to report the Lakeside fire this afternoon.

Numerous school districts have ordered schools closed tomorrow, including many in East County. Closures include:

NEW FIRES BURNING ACROSS COUNTY, SDG&E WARNS OF POWER SHUT-OFFS

By Miriam Raftery and Nadin Abbott

May 14, 2014 (San Diego) 12:15 p.m. – High winds continue to fan flames across our region including new fires forcing evacuations in Carlsbad and Camp Pendleton and smaller spot fires in East County.

SDG&E has advised that it intends to shut off power proactively to prevent its lines from sparking more fires, following a powerline fire yesterday in Dulzura.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob issued this statement in response to SDG&E’s announcement.  “I’m deeply concerned about any shutoffs because they pose risks to property and life in an emergency, especially in areas where firefighters need access to well water,” said Jacob, who represents East County. “I urge the utility to cut power only as a last resort and only if there's an actual system failure that could ignite a wildfire.”

USAA RECOGNIZES VALUE OF FIREWISE PROGRAM TO HELP PROTECT CALIFORNIA NEIGHBORHOODS

 

May 13, 2014 (Sacramento) -- The California Department of Insurance announced today that USAA policyholders living in recognized Firewise Communities/USA® sites in California will receive discounts on their homeowners insurance premiums. USAA, which provides a full range of financial products and services to the military community and their families, has been working with the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Wildland Fire Operations Division for several years to investigate the possibility of providing incentives for residents of wildfire-prone areas to take steps to create safer, more fire-adapted communities. NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program provided the community action framework and local data that enabled USAA to offer this new discount to policyholders.

CAMPO FIRE DESTROYS STRUCTURE

FIRE IN CAMPO BURNS A STRUCTURE

 

By Nadin Abbott

May 13, 2014 (Campo)--Santa Ana winds fanned  a structure fire in Campo into a brush fire that fueled a full wildland fire response. Wind drove the fire to jump across State Route 94,  from the south side of the freeway to the north side.

Reports on whether the burned structure was a trailer or shed were conflicting, nor was information provided on whether the structure had been occupied. In this poverty-stricken area, it is not unusual for people to be living in shacks, sheds and trailers.

Randy Surla, an area resident, defied the mandatory evacuation order. “I am staying put,” he explained. “This is the only house I have and I am going to protect it as best as I can.”

EVACUATIONS LIFTED IN BERNARDO FIRE

 

Update 10:30 p.m. - All roadsd are now reopened. The fire has burned 850 acres, San Diego Sheriff advises.

Update 8:15 p.m. - Evacuations in this fire have been lifted, the County Emergency website reports.

By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2014 6:10 p.m.(San Diego)--A fast-burning wildfire has charred an estimated 700 acres and forced evacuation of 20,000 homes in north-central San Diego County,  Ron Lane, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer with the County Fire Authority told advised East County Magazine. 

An evacuation center is open at Rancho Bernardo High School (13010 Paseo Lucido).  An earlier evacuation center at Torrey Pines High School is full.

The blaze, which is 5% contained, is burning west of  I-15. 

Communities that have been evacuated include portions of Torrey Highlands, Rancho Penasqutios, Black Mountain Ranch, Santa Luz Fairbanks Ranch, outer portions of Rancho Santa Fe and Camino Del Sur, according to Cal Fire.

"Currently, the areas of concern include the Communities of Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, San Diego, Black Mountain Ranch, Del Mar, Solana Beach and the areas surrounding the SDG&E 230 KV Power Lines," said Cal Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser.

The fire is under unified command of Cal Fire, San Diego Fire, and Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department.

For a full list of areas ordered evacuated, as of late this afternoon, and road closures,  click “read more” and scroll down, where tips on preparing for an approaching wildfire are also posted.

LT. GOVERNOR'S RACE PITS GAVIN NEWSOM AGAINST RON NEHRING AND 6 OTHERS

 

Photos: Ron Nehring (L) and Gavin Newsom (R)

By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Seven challengers are running against Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.   The most prominent challenger is Ron Nehring, a familiar name to many San Diegans.  Both leading contenders have long political careers on polar opposite sides of the political spectrum—and both have been lightning rods for controversy.

FIRE IN DULZURA

 

Update: Powerlines are down, however resources are now being released. 

May 13, 2013 (Dulzura) – Cal-Fire and other units have responded to brush fires on Highway 94 in the Dulzura area.  Firefighters are on scene awaiting additional ground support.  High winds and proximity of power lines may limit access.

Some residents in the area are without power, SDG&E reports.  The outage affects Steele Canyon High School and Jamul School as well as the communities of La Presa/ Spring Valley/ Rancho San Diego/ Jamacha/ W Jamul/ Indian Springs/ Dulzura/ Potrero/ Campo/ Jamul/ N Jamul/ Lyons Valley/ Sunnyside/ Otay.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: JACUMBA FIRE

 

 

May 13, 2014 (Jacumba) – Tanya Wilkins Aiau snapped this image a 4:45 p.m. on May 5th of a brush fire near her Jacumba home--a fire that she reported to 911.

“I was just passing the Golden Acorn on east bound I-8 when I saw smoke. I didn't have any cell phone service and couldn't tell exactly where the fire was from that distance,” she said. “When I rounded the corner by the billboard (advertising the Rio Bend RV park) at the West end of Walker Canyon I could see flames. I used a call box to call in the fire; the first firetruck passed me while I was on the phone."

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: LOOKING FOR A SAFE DATE? GRADUATE WITH HONOR!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

May 10, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--"Prom and graduation season is here again - this is a time for celebration," says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. "Unfortunately, these happy occasions sometimes involve underage drinking which can result in tragedy. It is therefore critical that parents keep the lines of communication open when it comes to talking to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving."

STATEWIDE TELEPHONE TOWN HALL EDUCATES TAXPAYERS ON YOUR RIGHTS MAY 13

 

May 10, 2014 (Sacramento) -- California State Board of Equalization (BOE) Member and Chair of the Customer Service and Administrative Efficiency Committee Betty T. Yee will host a telephone town hall on May 13, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. to educate entrepreneurs on their rights and responsibilities as California tax and feepayers. BOE Chairman Jerome E. Horton, Vice Chair Michelle Steel, Board Member George Runner, and State Controller John Chiang are also sponsors of this event who encourage California taxpayers to participate and learn more about their rights.

GOVERNOR ROLLS OUT INCENTIVES TO HELP EMPLOYERS KEEP AND INCREASE JOBS IN CALIFORNIA

 

May 12, 2014 (Sacramento)--California Governor Jerry Brown is introducing a set of tax credits aimed at keeping companies--and jobs-- in California.  The $750 million package also includes incentives to convince out-of-state employers to move to California.

"These tax credits will spur new jobs and help communities hardest hit by the recession," Governor Brown said.

EARTHTALK(R): TASTY VEGETARIAN OPTIONS

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo by Sid Sowder, courtesy Flicker

Dear EarthTalk: I recently became vegetarian for ethical reasons, but I am missing the taste of meat. Are there any tasty veggie options out there that can satisfy my desire for steak and chicken?    

                                                                                                             -- Missy Jenkins, Pittsburgh, PA

May 10, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Aside from its brutal treatment of livestock animals, the meat industry is no doubt one of the worst offenders when it comes to the environment. Producing one kilogram of beef requires 150 square meters of land and 15,000 liters of water, most of which is used to grow feed for the animal. That same kilogram generates 27 kilograms of climate-altering carbon dioxide, the equivalent of driving a car more than 100 miles. Indeed, beef has 13 times the carbon emissions of an equivalent amount of vegetable-based protein.

SDG&E ENCOURAGES CUSTOMERS TO KEEP MYLAR BALLOONS AWAY FROM POWER LINES

 

May 9, 2014 (San Diego) – Mylar balloons can make great Mother’s Day and graduation gifts, if they’re kept indoors or securely tied down, but they can also pose a safety hazard.  San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today urged customers to be aware of the dangers that can arise when Mylar balloons touch power lines.

SWEETWATER VILLAGE PROJECT AND COMMUNICATIONS TOWERS AT SWEETWATER RESERVOIR ON AGENDA AT SPRING VALLEY PLANNING GROUP MEETING MAY 13

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Planner urges public input as developer asks to reduce park size

May 10, 2014 (Spring Valley ) – At its meeting May 13th at 7 p.m., the Spring Valley Community Planning Group’s action items include the Sweetwater Village housing proposed on the former Evergreen Nursery Property site.  Michael Daly, Vice Chair of the Planning Group, indicated that citizen participation is encouraged at the meeting, where the fate of the former Evergreen Nursery at 2657 Sweetwater Springs Boulevard will be discussed.

If you live live in the Spring Valley area and are concerned about the lack of parks, be aware that potential changes to park size and other project elements may be discussed.

Also on the agenda is a major use permit for 12 antennas, 24 remote radio units, six TMAs, and four surge protectors on a new 50-foot monopine, along with ancillary equipment.

GRAND JURY: COUNTY IS BREAKING STATE EDUCATION LAW AT JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITIES

 

Source: San Diego County Grand Jury

May 10, 2014 (San Diego)--Recent changes in how at-risk youngsters in custody in San Diego County’s six juvenile detention facilities are educated violates state law, according to a report released May 8th by the San Diego County Grand Jury. The facilities are operated by the San Diego County Probation Department, with the educational component provided by the San Diego County Office of Education.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: WEEK OF MAY 12

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--El Cajon’s Council meets Tuesday, May 13.  This week, Council will consider a measure to support creation of a veteran’s memorial in El Cajon.  They will also consider proposals to regulate secondhand shops, create a crime-free motel and hotel program, and establish an incubator businesses program to help local entrepreneurs. The council will also hear a first reading of a moratorium on new hookah lounges.

MOTHER’S DAY TRAGEDY IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

May 11, 2014 (Alpine) – A woman has sustained head injuries and is not expected to survive, after somehow exiting a moving truck driven by her boyfriend.  The incident occurred in the 4000 block of Willows Road in Alpine at 2:50 a.m.   The Sheriff’s Homicide unit is investigating the incident.

According to Homicide Lieutenant Glenn Giannantonio, the Sheriff’s Communication Center received a call to investigate the incident. Names of the victim and driver have not been released, though both are adults. 

SILENT THREAT TO YOUR CHILD: LEAD POISONING

 

Good nutrition can help prevent lead poisoning, County advises

Source: County News Service

May 11, 2014 (San Diego)--Lead poisoning is a silent threat to your children that could be lurking in many places around your home or property.

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