Jacumba

WELCOME, DESERT DENIZENS!

Our deserts section covers the Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the communities of Borrego Springs, Ocotillo, Ocotillo Wells and Jacumba.


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COMMUNITY CLEANUPS AND GREEN WASTE CHIPPING EVENTS IN POTRERO, JACUMBA AND CAMPO

By Miriam Raftery

September 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Community clean-up events are slated in three backcountry communities for residents to bring e-waste, furniture, box springs, appliances, mattress and other oversized trash (but no construction waste) from 8 a.m. until dumpsters are full. Chipping of green waste will also be available from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.  The events are scheduled for:

CAMPO:  Sept. 19 at Homemaker’s Thrift Shop, 987 Custer Rd.

JACUMBA: Oct. 17 at Jacumba Community Park, 44605 Old Highway 80

POTRERO: Nov. 21 at Potrero Community Park, 24800 Potrero Park Dr.


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SDG&E PLANNED OUTAGES IN TRIPLE-DIGIT HEAT AND STORMS MAY ENDANGER SAFETY OF RESIDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: New power poles in Pine Valley are made of steel, not wood, for fire safety, as part of the upgrades that SDG&E has been installing across inland San Diego County.

Updated August 23, 2020 9:40 a.m. with responses from SDG&E.

August 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Amid a record-breaking heat wave with monsoonal thunderstorms, flash floods and lightning-sparked fires forecast as potential added hazards, SDG&E has announced plans to shut off power for hours during the heat of the day on Sunday and Monday across much of San Diego County.  

The outages are to upgrade wood poles to steel, among other equipment upgrades or maintenance planned.

The NWS has warned that the intense heat  this week can be life-threatening for those without air conditioning, yet the power outage will leave any residents who lack generators without access to safe, cool spaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic when many public, air-conditioned places are shut down.

Rural residents with electric well pumps will also be left without water for people or livestock to drink, as well as for fighting fires, as many rural residents equipped with tanks and hoses have done in past brush fires, unless they have invested in generators. Downed communications including internet and in some areas, phone service also leave residents unable to receive emergency alerts despite a high potential for emergencies during the extreme weather conditions.


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JACUMBA HIKERS GROUP BECOMES PART OF IMPERIAL VALLEY DESERT MUSEUM PROGRAMS

By Miriam Raftery

 
August 17, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – After multiple requests seeking new hiking leaders following the loss of several long-time leaders, the Jacumba Hikers group will now be administered by the Imperial Valley Desert Museum (IVDM).  The museum’s board voted on August 13 to accept the proposal.

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TWO DEAD IN FIERY ROLLOVER ON I-8

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 10, 2020 (Jacumba)  -- A fiery vehicle rollover near the In-Ko-Pah brake check in Jacumba Hot Springs on Interstate 8 yesterday afternoon claimed the life of two patients and injured a third.
 
Cal Fire and the California Highway Patrol responded to the accidents.  First responders rescued two patients from the wreckage, both with major injuries. One was transported via air ambulance to a hospital Cal fire reports, but the other died at the scene, according to Cal Fire. A third victim was found dead in the vehicle.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: BORDER WALL IN JACUMBA WILDERNESS THREATENS GROUNDWATER FOR COMMUNITIES AND AN ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE CRUCIFIXION THORN

By Craig Deutsche

July 5, 2020 (Jacumba) - There have been a number of articles in large newspapers about the border wall and legal challenges. Most probably the story in California is only a detail in the big picture, although there might be several unique concerns here. One concern is that the Congressional designation of the Jacumba Wilderness in 1994 is very explicit and very restrictive in what is permitted within the boundaries.

More recently in 2019, the Department of Homeland Security waived seventeen federal environmental laws where border security was involved in Imperial County. These included the Wilderness Act of 1964, the National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Waters Act, and the Antiquities Act of 1906. It is under this umbrella that the work proceeds. What is less clear, is whether it is possible to set aside state and county regulations that may otherwise apply.

The pipe shown in the photo runs five or six miles from several wells outside the Jacumba Wilderness Area to the construction area at the border. The pipe is 12 inches in diameter and is intended to provide water for concrete. [Aggregate for the concrete is visible in the second photo beside the equipment.] This water is drawn from a rather limited aquifer underlying several small communities in western Imperial County.


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RENEGADES, ROCK HOUSES, AND RESORTS: NEW BOOK CHRONICLES EAST COUNTY HISTORY

 

By Larry Johnson, President, Mountain Empire Historical Society

July 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Have you driven down scenic Highway 80 through its eastern stretch of San Diego County and noticed a lone chimney standing like a silent sentinel in a field, or a very old building that appears to date back to a previous era and wondered about their history?

If so, a new book written by historian and author Cherry Diefenbach called Renegades, Rock Houses and Resorts…the Stories of Jacumba Hot Spring and Surrounds may be just the ticket.

This nearly 500-page book provides a comprehensive history of the area using more than 1,200 photos, hundreds of old newspaper articles, and personal accounts from the descendants of early settlers. Many of the photographs have not been published elsewhere.

Finished after nearly five years of research, the book chronicles the colorful history of local mountain and desert comunities including Bankhead Springs, Boulder Park/Desert View Tower, Boulevard/Manzanita, Hipass/Tierra Del Sol, Jacumba Hot Springs, Live Oak Springs, Mountain Springs, and Oasis.

 

 

 


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GIANT WIND PROJECTS DRAW STRONG OPPOSITION FROM RURAL RESIDENTS AND TRIBAL MEMBERS: DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS TODAY

 

By Rebecca Person

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

Photos: An existing wind project on the Campo reservation has previously had multiple fires caused by exploding wind turbines, shown here, raising alarm among area residents over fire dangers and other potential hazards posed by the proposed new and far larger turbines

February 3, 2020 (Campo) -- Residents of Campo, Boulevard and Jacumba voiced their concerns Jan. 23rd at a meeting in Boulevard held by the County Planning Development Services staff addressing the construction of 120 wind turbines in Boulevard and on the Campo Reservation.

The wind turbines will be 596’ tall, taller than towers which dot the high desert that stand between 325' to almost 400 ft tall. 60 turbines are planned for the Campo Indian Reservation, and 30 turbines for McCain Valley near I-8 freeway in Boulevard. According to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, these may be the largest wind turbines ever erected on land. Turbines on tribal land would also abut her property in rural Boulevard. Setbacks from some homes would be far less than at many other wind projects, even though the turbines are larger.

Over 60 local residents gathered at the meeting and many spoke of the effects existing towers have had on their quality of life. Campo Band of Mission Indians tribal members who live on the Campo Reservation and oppose the project stated that they have presented a petition with 65 signatures asking their tribal council to overturn an earlier disputed vote to erect the giant turbines on the reservation.


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JACUMBA'S FESTIVAL OF SUNFLOWERS: A POP-UP SHOW OF LOCAL ART STARTS NEW TRADITION

By Rebeca Person

Editor Miriam Raftery contributed to this report

November 22, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- Local Jacumba artists exhibited their works in a Pop-Up Show October 5th launching Jacumba’s first ever Festival of Sunflowers at Gilliam Gallery in downtown Jacumba Hot Springs.
 
Linda Churchill, muralist and mosaic artist, revealed new mosaics and oil paintings of Jacumba’s scenic beauty. 
 
Now the community plans to make this event an annual tradition.


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JACUMBA FALL FESTIVAL OCT 5 BENEFITS COMMUNITY’S PARK

By Miriam Raftery

September 21, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – The Jacumba Community Service District invites you to a Fall Festival on Saturday,  Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jacumba Community Park (44653 Old Highway 80).


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JUDGE APPROVES RELEASE OF “BOLDER THAN MOST” RAPIST, BUT LOCATION NOT YET DETERMINED

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 29, 2019 (San Diego) – Alvin Ray Quarles, dubbed the “Bolder than Most” rapist, will be released to a supervised home at an as-yet undisclosed location somewhere in San Diego County, Superior Court Judge David Gill ruled today.
 
Last fall, Gill ruled that Quarles could be released to a supervised residence in Jacumba Hot Springs, but later agreed to reconsider his decision at the request of prosecutors and Supervisor Dianne Jacob. After several days of an evidentiary hearing from which victims of Quarles were barred last week, Judge Gill has affirmed that Quarles can be released. However, the Jacumba property fell through, so an August 30 status conference has been set, when the state may present housing options and the public can testify, Times of San Diego reports.

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JACUMBA MAN, 76, DIES A WEEK AFTER ROLLOVER CRASH

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 27, 2019 (Jacumba) – Larry Wayne McClellan, 76, of Jacumba died in a hospital June 24th of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident that occurred a week earlier.
 
On June 17th, he was driving a sedan from Jacumba to El Centro when he struck a fixed object and his vehicle rolled over off an embankment. He was transported to UCSD Medical Center, where his condition declined and he was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. on June 24, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner.

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HEALING WOMEN AT JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS SPA RESORT APRIL 6

 

 

By Rebecca Person

March 28, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The Healing Women are back. You're invited to come for a day of renewal on April 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jacumba Hot Springs Spa Resort (44500 Old Highway 80) in Jacumba Hot Springs.  Opening with an Earth &  Water blessing, the event also features a selection of healing and psychic therapies.  


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SLEEPY JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS GETS A WAKE-UP CALL: PROPOSED MAJOR ENERGY PROJECT DRAWS CONCERNED CROWD

 

 

By R. Person

March 27, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- Residents of the sleepy 1930s resort town Jacumba Hot Springs are awakening to the realities of a massive solar project planned for the edge of town on a site previously dedicated to a walled equestrian housing project.


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MARCH 21 SCOPING MEETING ON JACUMBA VALLEY RANCH SOLAR PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – The proposed 90 megawatt Jacumba Valley Ranch (JVR) solar project on 1,345 acres next to the Jacumba Hot Springs airport has a project footprint “much larger than the small town that is right next door,” says Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Planning Group.

An environmental impact report will be prepared and public input  is sought on what should be included in the EIR.  Comments are due by April 8.  A scoping meeting will be held on March 21, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Highland Community Center, 44681 Old Highway 80, Jacumba Hot Springs.

Below is the county’s public notice with full details:


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SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR PROPOSED FOR RELEASE IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Herman Smith, San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept.

March 30, 2018 (Jacumba Hot Springs) — A hearing is set for April 27 on proposed release of Herman Smith at 42920 Desert Rose Ranch Road in Jacumba Hot Springs.  Smith has been convicted of sexually violent crimes including rape by force in 1993, oral copulation with a minor under age 14 by force or fear, and sodomizing a victim under age 14 with force. He has also been convicted of raping a drugged victim.


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CARRIZO GORGE HIKE DECEMBER 30 INCLUDES IMPOSSIBLE RAILROAD VISTAS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 27, 2017 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Hi ho! The Jacumba Hikers and Walkers are hitting the trail to Carrizo Gorge and Walker Canyon on December 30th.   This six mile hike is rated hard due to a steep down and up trek across the gorge, where hikers will see an up-top view of the “Impossible Railroad” at De Anza Resort, then head north on an old road to an abandoned railroad settlement in historic Walker Canyon.


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HIGH DESERT MOUNTAIN YOGA RETREAT OCT. 31-NOV. 3

 

 

Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging and adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2017 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – You’re invited to soak and stretch your way to relaxation and Nirvana at the second High Mountain Desert Yoga Retreat, tucked among boulders high in the In-Ko-Pah and Jacumba mountains near the eastern San Diego County line.

This four-day healing event from October 31 to November 3 will include natural sulfur hot spring pools, healing sessions at the Desert View tower including Kundalini Tantra Yoga, Reiki healing, and crystal sound healing. Guests will also savor delicious vegan meals scenic hikes and some desert surprises, plus a three-day stay at the nearby Jacumba Hot Springs Resort.


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COMMUNITY CLEAN-UP DAYS IN BOULEVARD, JACUMBA AND POTRERO

 

East County News Service

July 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – The Real East County Fire Safe Council, EDCO and Team E invite you to bring your trash, green waste, e-waste and brush to community clean-up day events coming up in Boulevard, Jacumba Hot Springs and Potrero. This is a free service to community residents.


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SUPERVISORS APPROVE JACUMBA SOLAR POWER PLANT

 

By Gig Connaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

October 19, 2016 (Jacumba) - The County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a permit Wednesday to build a solar farm in Jacumba that could generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

Proponents and County staff said the plant fit the guidelines of the County’s general plan, would help the region meet state goals of producing one-half of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.


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MISSING MAN’S CAR FOUND IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS, DISAPPEARANCE DEEMED “SUSPICIOUS”

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County News Service

May 16, 2016 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – A Honda Civic belonging to a missing Buena Park man, Jonathan Barmaki, has been found by Border Patrol agents on Old Highway 80 near a welcome sign to Jacumba Hot Springs on May 9th. Agents found Barmaki's cherished 15-year-old dog, Andy,  dead inside the vehicle.

The vehicle was not out of gas and Barmaki’s wallet and keys were missing, though his cell phone, along with dog food and a dog bowl, were left in the car. The car windows were rolled up and footsteps from the vehicle led 70 feet to a border fence 25 feet high. Authorities are investigating the disappearance as"suspicious,"10 News reports. 


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: JACUMBA’S BEAUTIFUL BIRDS

 

East County News Service

 

January 29, 2016 (Jacumba) — Eric Kallen, who runs the website www.JacumbaBirding.com has counted over 191 species of birds in Jacumba Hot Springs, a high-desert community in San Diego’s East County.  “I’ve had 124 species in my backyard,” he says.

 

Now is a great time to go bird-watching there, since you can see wintering and year-round species as well as some early spring migratory visitors.  Here are photos taken this January of a Scott’s Oriole, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Costa’s Hummingbird, with notes from Kallen on each:  


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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.


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JACUMBA HIKERS AND WALKERS ANNOUNCE JANUARY-FEBRUARY OUTINGS

 

East County News Service

January 4, 2016 (Jacumba)--The Jacumba Hikers and Walkers have announced their schedule of hikes for January and February in the high desert region surrounding Jacumba Hot Springs. 

The hikes range from easy to extreme, covering terrain from wilderness to a desert oasis, mountains and canyons.  You’ll also see sites rich in history reflecting the region’s Native Americans, Spanish, and pioneer settlers. Other excursions including a trip to the Chinese Castle, a Garnet Mine, Goat Canyon’s railroad trestle, and a waterfall, plus dips in mineral hot springs at the Jacumba Spa and Resort.

For a full schedule, scroll down, and also be sure to read these hikng safety tips.


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COMMUNITY -WIDE YARD SALE & CHINESE CASTLE TOUR IN JACUMBA NOV. 14

East County News Service

November 7, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springa) – The town of Jacumba will host a community-wide yard sale on Saturday, November 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring hand-made crafts, art work, household items and other yard sale treasures.  Parking and admittance are free.

In addition, tours will be offered of the Chinese Castle, a historic icon in Jacumba. There is a $5 charge for the castle tour and proceeds benefit the Jacumba-Boulevard Revitalization Alliance, a 501c3.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: THE STORY OF A FLORIDA COMPANY TAKEOVER OF JACUMBA’S WATER

 

By Howard W Cook, former chair, Jacumba Sponsor Group

Photo: Lake Jacumba

 

November 1, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs)--A massive project poses an unprecedented risk to Jacumba Hot Springs' water supply. 

BACKGROUND

Jacumba Hot Springs is an old town going back to 1860 and blessed with a productive hot spring and several other good wells. It is located 70 miles East of San Diego on Old Highway 80 in a valley spread out on both sides of the border. Its high desert transition zone location at 2800 feet just before nearby Interstate 8 plunges to the desert seem an unlikely place for a water takeover by Nextera, a Florida Green Energy developer.


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JACUMBA HIKERS /WALKERS ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER SCHEDULE

 

East County News Service

October 24, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Fall is in the air and it’s a great time to take a hike.  The Jacumba Hikers/Walkers have a series of hikes coming up to intriguing locations, with various levels of difficulties from easy to extreme. 

November’s destinations include Tule Canyon, Round Mountain, the Old Butterfield Stage Coach route, and Amadeo’s Straw bale cabin compound. In December, the group will hit the trail for an ancient waterfall and Davies Valley, wind caves in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, an ancient juniper forest, and the Valley of the Moon. 


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COUNTY, CAL FIRE LAUNCH PARAMEDIC SERVICE IN JACUMBA

 

 

East County News Service

Photo: Two Jacumba CAL FIRE firefighters stand ready to respond in a new paramedic engine at the Jacumba fire station.

October 14, 2015 (San Diego)--San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE are making a major upgrade to fire and emergency medical services at the County’s Jacumba fire station with the launch this week of round-the-clock paramedic service. It’s the first time ever the service has been offered from the station, located south of Interstate 8 near the Mexican border.

The upgrade is part of an overall effort to increase paramedic capabilities throughout the San Diego County Fire Authority’s service area.  A new paramedic engine at Jacumba is the seventh that County Fire has added over the past few years.  Other new, County Fire-funded paramedic engines now operate out of the Otay, Jamul, Lake Morena, Pine Valley, Descanso and Intermountain stations.


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BAKE SALE OCT. 3 AT FALL FESTIVAL TO BENEFIT JACUMBA MIDDLE SCHOOL

 

 

September 27, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—A bake sale and ice cream social will be held at the Jacumba Library on Saturday, October 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  as part of the fall festival.  Proceeds will be used to send Jacumba Middle School students to sixth grade camp.


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HURRICANE KATHLEEN ANNIVERSARY: A LOOK BACK AT THE WORST STORM EVER TO HIT OUR REGION

 

By Miriam Raftery – Photo by Jim Larson, Caltrans

September 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Exactly 39 years ago this week, Hurricane Kathleen struck our region – the most powerful tropical cylone ever to hit San Diego and Imperial Counties. With another powerful storm, Hurricane Linda, set to sock our region starting Wednesday, it’s worth remembering just how much devastation was wrought the last such storm set to hit the identical area, on the very same day of the year.


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