Valley Center

MEET THE NEW OWNER OF KEYS CREEK LAVENDER FARM AT HIGH TEA CLASS ON SEPT. 4

East County News Service

August 24, 2021 (Valley Center) – You’re invited to meet the new owner of Keys Creek Lavender Farm, Heidi Blanton and bid farewell to outgoing owner Alicia Wolff at an English High Tea class.  Dress up, don a hat and bring flat shoes to celebrate the joy of lavender at the high tea class on Saturday, September 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. outdoors under shady pepper trees.

THREE COUNTY PARKS CLOSED IN AUGUST DUE TO SUMMER HEAT

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

August 1, 2021 (San Diego's East County) - Three San Diego County parks will be closed for the month of August starting Sunday, a measure taken each year because of the month’s typically high temperatures.

Parks officials announced that El Capitan Preserve near Lakeside, Hellhole Canyon Preserve in Valley Center and Mt. Gower Preserve in Ramona will be closed.

GABRIEL FIRE IN VALLEY CENTER

East County News Service

Photo via @CALFIRESANDIEGO on Twitter

July 12, 2021 (Valley Center) - Cal Fire is at scene with cooperating agencies at a vegetation fire near San Gabriel Way east of Couser Canyon Road in Valley Center.

The fire has burned three acres, moving at a slow rate of spread with potential structure threat.

 


 

Sign up to receive East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts free via e-mail. You can also follow @EastCountyAlert on Twitter for text alerts on your mobile phone. We thank the Grossmont Healthcare District and the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation for their support of our alerts, helping to keep you safe and informed.

 

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES

By Miriam Raftery

Fireworks are back—along with many traditional Fourth of July festivities in San Diego’s inland region, from parades to picnics to patriotic music, rides, games, and more. Find Indepedence Day events and/or fireworks in El Cajon, Julian,Poway, Ramona, Santee and Valley Center.

2021 SDG&E WILDFIRE RESILIENCE DRIVE-THRU SAFETY FAIRS IN JULIAN, RAMONA, VALLEY CENTER AND ALPINE

Source: SDG&E
 
May 23, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- Fire season is around the corner and SDG&E wants you and your loved ones to remain safe. Learn what you can do to protect your family and property, as well as gain first-hand safety tips from SDG&E and their regional partners. You'll receive information about stocking an emergency kit, developing an emergency plan, designing or modifying the space around your home to resist wildfire and more.
 
Due to continued COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, this years' Wildfire Safety Fairs will continue to be drive-thru events that provide preparedness information to some communities most at risk of wildfires. SDG&E is asking participants to please wear protective face coverings or masks to these events. 

STOLEN VALLEY CENTER ARTIFACTS RECOVERED

Sheriff's Deputies arrest suspect, recover cultural artifacts stolen from casino.
 
East County News Service
 
May 16, 2021 (Valley Center) -- A man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing priceless cultural artifacts from a historical exhibit at Harrah's Resort Southern California in Valley Center.

SADDLE UP, KIDS: PONY RIDES RETURN AT BATES NUT FARM

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

 

April 2, 2021 (Valley Center) – Pony rides are back at Bates Nut Farm,located at 15954 Woods Valley Road in Valley Center.  The rides are available on the first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.:  April 3, May 1, June 5 and July 3.  

COVID-19 VACCINES FOR SENIORS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Vaccinations for seniors age 65 and over will be provided in Alpine, Pine Valley, and Valley Center this week.  Appointments are available 1-2 days before each date.

Valley Center Elementary, Valley Center:  Feb.9-10

Joan MacQueen School, Alpine: Feb. 11-12

Mt. Empire High School, Pine Valley Feb. 13-14

For direct access to each site, click on the following links:

WATCH NOW: EAST COUNTY NEWSMAKERS, SHAKERS AND NEWSMAKERS FIRST VIRTUAL PROGRAM ON COVID-19 AND WILDFIRE SAFETY ISSUES

 

August 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On Friday, August 7, East County Magazine took our “Newsmakers, Shakers and Newsmakers” community forum/webinar series virtual.  Thanks to the #FacebookJournalismProject for supporting our community news reporting and virtual events in the COVID-19 era.

Thanks to all of you who sent in questions via email and social media for Dr. William Tseng, one of San Diego’s top COVID-19 experts, who shared the latest facts on COVID-19 trends and what the medical community has learned since the pandemic beganWhy does San Diego have a lower death rate than the nation?  What are the facts and myths about this disease?  How accurate are tests?  How can you help save lives if you’ve survived COVID-19?  What will it take to end the pandemic and return life to normal in our region?  Listen in to hear Dr. Tseng's fascinating responses.

Robyn Herrick, community resiliency advisor with SDG&E, discussed their upcoming drive-through Wildfire Safety Fairs coming up in Alpine, Pine Valley and Valley Center. Get details here

Hear what you need to know to stay safe this fire season – and how you get free devices to help you stay in communication even while you’re evacuated.

DOWN IN FLAMES: SUPERVISORS REJECT LILAC HILLS RANCH OVER WILDFIRE DANGER

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 24, 2020 (Valley Center) – The Lilac Hills Ranch, a proposed 1,742-homes development in rural Valley Center, has been a lightning rod of controversy for the past 15 years. In 2016, over 64 percent of voters rejected the project when Measure B went down in flames. Today, County Supervisors agreed with recommendations by staff and fire officials, rejecting the project due to the danger of residents becoming trapped should a major wildfire force evacuation.

SUPERVISORS TO HOLD HEARING ON CONTROVERSIAL LILAC HLLS RANCH JUNE 24 AFTER STAFF AND COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY RECOMMEND DENIAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Site of proposed master-planned deveopment that has sparked a firestorm of controversy

June 18, 2020 (Valley Center) -- The San Diego County Fire Authority and County staff have recommended that Supervisors deny the controversial Lilac Hills Ranch mixed-use development project in Valley Center due to concerns over fire safety and evacuation routes. County Supervisors will consider the recommended denial on Wednesday, June 24. Theh project has also drawn strong opposition over the years from community members.

Despite objections from fire authorities, however, the County Planning Commission voted 5-2 to overrule staff and ignore concerns over lack of safe evacuation routes.  Intead, the majority of commissioners recommended that Superivsors allow the developer to pay a $2 million fire protection fee with various escape clauses in order to proceed, with building the project with the homeowners' associatoin paying for annual brush clearing, as the developer has sought.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be virtual due to COVID-19.

CAMPA-NAJJAR WINS STRAW POLL BY BUSINESS GROUP AFTER CANDIDATE FORUM FOR 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

East County News Service

February 8, 2020 (Valley Center) – Following a debate among the top four-polling candidates in the 50th Congressional District, the Valley Center Business Association and Valley Roadrunner newspaper released a  press release with results of a straw poll. The poll found Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar “dominated with 61% of the vote,” earning more votes than all three of his Republican opponents combined in the race to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Duncan Hunter's resignation.

THE TALLY

• 61% – Ammar Campa-Najjar (D)

• 22% – Carl DeMaio (R)

• 9% – Brian Jones (R)

• 8% – Darrell Issa (R)

View the full debate:  https://www.facebook.com/valleycenter/videos/186686705769417/

VALLEY CENTER FIRE-HARDENING OF LINES PROPOSED BY SDG&E: PROTESTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY DEC. 3

By Miriam Raftery

View proposal: click here

November 30, 2019 (Valley  Center) – SDG&E has submitted a notice of construction for a fire-hardening project in Valley Center. The public has until December 3 to submit any protest letters for the project, which is slated to begin construction on January 30, 2020.

The project would remove about 7 miles of an exiting powerline alignment (tie-in 6926) from the Rincon Substation to Valley Center Substation and leave existing distribution circuits in place.  About 6 miles of the tie-line would be installed underground in road right-of-way from Valley Center Substation to a cable pole on Pauma Heights Road. From there, another 3 miles of overhead line would be installed in a double-circuit overhead configuration on an existing powerline alignment from the Pauma Heights Road pole to the Rincon substation.

FIELDS OF DREAMS: LAVENDER FARM FOR SALE

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2019 (Valley Center) – Readers of East County Magazine have seen our stories through the years on the beautiful and fragrant fields of lavender blooms and events such as high teas held at Keys Creek Lavender Farm in northeast San Diego County. But now, the farm is up for sale – and owner Alicia Wolff is seeking “the perfect buyer – one who may continue my dream…while living their own dream.”

HALLOWEEN CONTEST AND PARADE OCT. 27 AT BATES NUT FARM

East County News Service

September 24, 2019 (Valley Center) – You’re invited to don your best costume for a Halloween contest and parade plus fun for the whole family at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center (15954 Woods Valley Rd.)  on Sunday, October 27.

HOWL-O-WEEN DOGGIE COSTUME CONTEST AND PARADE AT BATES NUT FARM OCT. 26

East County News Service

September 24, 2019 (Valley Center) -- Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center (15954 Woods Valley Rd.)  invites you to bring your dog, enjoy the pumpkin patch and compete in a Howl-o-ween doggie costume contest and parade.  The fun takes place on Saturday, October 26th.  

MAN FOUND DEAD IN VALLEY CENTER DIED OF GUNSHOT WOUNDS

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 28, 2019 (Valley Center) – Yesterday, Sheriff’s deputies responded to conduct a welfare check on a resident in Valley Center found a man’s body inside with trauma to his upper body.  The Medical Examiner has concluded an autopsy and determined that the victim, Andrew Billeci, died of gunshot wounds inflicted in a homicide.

ALS ASSOCIATION TO BENEFIT FROM `CHALLENGE ME SLOT TOURNAMENT,’ SUNDAY, AUG. 25

East County News Service

August 21, 2019 (La Mesa) – The inaugural “ALS Challenge Me Slot Tournament,” a charity fundraiser benefiting the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Valley View Casino & Hotel, 16300 Nyemii Pass Road, Valley Center.

A SUMMER’S EVE TEA AT THE LAVENDER FARM

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 31, 2019 (Valley Center) – My daughter and I savored a soothing summer’s eve at Keys Creek Lavender Farm in Valley Center, partaking of an outdoor high tea on a shaded patio--an idyllic way to relax and indulge in some scrumptious treats.

After rambling down winding country roads, we arrived to be greeted with a hand-washing station complete with a lavender sugar scrub that left our hands not only clean, but soft and smooth.  I recommend arriving early to take a stroll past lavender fields, albeit past the peak spring bloom season.  

PARK CIRCLE COMMUNITY BREAKS GROUND IN VALLEY CENTER

East County News Service

View video

July 2, 2019 (Valley Center) – Park Circle, a master-planned community with 632 homes, parks, retail and recreational space has broken ground in Valley Center.
 
Built by Touchstone Communities with landscape design by InSite Landscape Architecture, the 186-acre site is slated to include eight neighborhoods with a variety of architectural styles and home sizes. Park Circle will also include a 2.6 acre County park open to the public, four linear parks, three private recreation complexes, 8 miles of trails, native riparian habitat, a dog play area, community gardening, restaurants and a shopping center.

VALLEY CENTER’S TRIBAL CASINO RESORTS: GETAWAY RETREATS IN SAN DIEGO’S NORTHEAST COUNTY

 

Our guide to unique lodging and adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2018 (Valley Center) – Tucked into the largely rural Valley Center area of northeast San Diego County are two tribal-owned casino resorts on Native American reservations: Harrah’s Resort and Valley View Casino and Hotel.

SOOTHE AWAY YOUR CARES: WEEKEND GETAWAY AT KEYS CREEK LAVENDER FARM

 

 

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

By Francine Phillips

 May 25, 2018 (Valley Center) -- Tucked among ranch lands of Valley Center in northeast San Diego County is a space of peace and tranquility that offers the perfect getaway for San Diegans who want to set aside the hustle and bustle and reconnect with land, fragrance, and beauty.

Keys Creek Lavender Farm is a working farm where sloping hillsides grow rows of lavender, which is harvested, distilled and transformed into essential oil, medicinal creams, ointments, food ingredients and bouquets.  Guests are transformed through yoga classes, cooking classes, gourmet meals, a walk on the labyrinth and vistas of native plants and palm trees.

 Overnight guests take the transformation a step further, with a pleasant swimming pool, hot tub and sleeping in a luxury yurt or a charming cottage.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: MARK JACKSON, NO ON MEASURE B

 

October 25,  2016 (San Diego's  East  County)--  Measure B on the  countywide ballot was paid for by  a  developer.  Accretive Development wants voters to approve Lilac  Hills, a massive,  master-planned community the size of Del Mar in rural Valley Center. 

Why should voters in East County and elsewhere in San Diego care?  First, because taxpayers countywide could wind up footing part of the bill and second,  because if Measure B passes, developers of other controversial  projects could similarly seek to bypass state enviornmental review and the county plannning process.  That's why major environmental groups such as  Sierra Club, Save Our Forests and Ranchlands, and Cleveland Natoinal Forest Foundation are all opposed to the ballot proposition.

Hear our interview with Mark Jackson from the No on Measure B committee, originally aired on  our show on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link.

Audio: 

Mark Jackson, no on Measure B interview

ROBOTS ON THE BLOCK?

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2015 (Valley Center) – Imagine a community where a driverless electronic “pod” picks you up at a transit station and ferries you to your home, or errands along the way.  Envision other robots that can fetch and carry groceries, or follow your children to school or their bus stop to make sure they arrive safely. 

That’s the vision of 5D Robotics CEO David Bruemmer, who teamed up with Randy Goodson, developer of Lilac Hills Ranch, a proposed multi-use community of largely agricultural land in Valley Center that would include 1,746 homes, parks, and businesses.

SUPERVISORS TO VOTE OCT. 14 ON LILAC HILLS RANCH: OPPONENTS ASK HORN TO RECUSE SELF DUE TO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

East County News Service

September 26, 2015 (Valley Center) – Supervisors are poised to vote October 14 on whether to approve an amendment to the County’s General Plan to allow construction of Lilac Hills, a project that includes 1,746 homes plus commercial development on 608 acres in rural Valley Center. Current zoning allows only 110 homes on the site.

If approved, the project could set a precedent to waive General Plan requirements countywide.

Now the Cleveland National Forest Foundation has called on Supervisor Bill Horn to recuse himself due to apparent conflicts of interest involving potential increased property value of land he owns nearby.  Horn has asked the state's Fair Political Practices Commission for a legal opinion on whether he must recuse himself, after another activist sent a letter of complaint to the FPPC.

LILAC HILLS: WHY PLUNK A CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE?

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

On October 14th, or possibly the 28th, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will decide if they should rip up the dreams of a rural community so a developer can get a lot of money. As County Planning commissioners Peder Norby and Michael Beck recently pointed out, if the Lilac Hills project goes forward it will destroy 13 years of work, and close to $20 million, that went into San Diego County’s General Plan.

The project spreads across 608 acres in the Valley Center area. There are currently 16 “dwelling units” and a total of  just 110 are allowed under current zoning. Accretive Investments wants to build 1,786 units over the course of a decade. This would support a larger population that the city of Del Mar. Why plunk a city in the middle of nowhere?

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHERE'S THE LEAPFROG LEAPING NEXT?

 

Hearing set August 7 at Planning Commission on Controversial Precedent-Setting Project

By Patsy Fritz

August 2, 2015 (Valley Center)--The current controversy over “Lilac Hills Ranch,” a proposed development planned on rugged farmland in Valley Center, focuses on its request to the County to increase the number of homes it could build on its 608 acres. The County General Plan allows 110 and the developer is asking for “entitlements” to build 1,746.

PRODUCE PICKS: GOLDEN NUGGET TANGERINE (LOCAL GROWN)

 

Recipe: Tangerine and feta salad

By Greg Dunne

March 20, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Get your Tangerine on! Here’s a beauty of a Tangerine: the Golden Nugget Tangerine. If you are not familiar with these tangerines you must give them a try, you will have found a “Golden Nugget” in the produce department. This variety is not found everywhere, but plenty of locally grown Golden Nugget Tangerines from Valley Center are on sale at Barons Market in Alpine.

RINCON CHAIRMAN WINS AWARD

 

February 20, 2015 (Valley Center)-- Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, was presented with the Fifth Annual Anna Sandoval Leadership Award at the Western Indian Gaming Conference’s Tribal Leaders’ luncheon, February 11, 2015, at Harrah’s Resort Southern California, in Valley Center, Ca.

MAN ARRESTED FOR BOMB THREAT TARGETING SDG&E TRUCKS

 

December 7, 2014 (Valley Center) – A bomb threat e-mailed to an NBC news station threatened to place explosives targeting San Diego Gas & Electric Company work trucks over a land use dispute in Valley Center.  Sheriff’s Bomb and Arson investigators shut down the Spearhead Trail area for two hours on December 4th to assure that it was safe.

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