May 2009 Articles

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER STEVE POIZNER ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR ANDERSON FIRE-RELIEF LEGISLATION; URGES SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS TO BE PREPARED FOR WILDFIRES

May 26, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced support of AB 157, authored by Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon). Poizner also offered disaster preparation tips for all San Diego residents, including advice for preparing a home inventory for insurance purposes.

 


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HOT TOPICS: FIRE CHIEFS DISCUSS FIRE SAFETY AND PREPAREDNESS AT RANCHO SAN DIEGO-JAMUL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BREAKFAST

Story by Kyle Serzen

Photo by Leon Thompson

May 27, 2009 (Cuyamaca College)—Despite the friendly conversation and satisfying meal at last Friday’s Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting at Cuyamaca College, the focus was a serious issue—fire safety and preparedness for East County residents as fire season approaches. Cal Fire Battalion Chief Dave Allen and San Miguel Fire District Chief August Ghio spoke on what to expect and how to be prepared in the upcoming months.


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FIRE ON MOUNT LAGUNA

May 27, 2009 (6:55 a.m.)--A five-acre fire is burning in Laguna Meadows, one mile west of the Laguna Campground on Mount Laguna. No structures are threatened and all roads remain open. “It’s in a fairly inaccessible area, so our engine crews have hiked in. We have two hotshot crews as well, and a potential to have some air tankers on it soon,” said Brian Harris, Cleveland National Forest spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT CANCELS MAY 27 HEARING, AGREES TO REVAMP RATE HIKE PROPOSAL

 

By Dennis Moore

 

May 24, 2009 (La Mesa) –Following a joint investigation by East County Magazine and Channel 10 news into allegations that Helix Water Board violated open government laws, the Board has voted to cancel a May 27 hearing and revise its rate hike proposal.

 


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FIRE DESTROYS TRAILER HOME IN EL CAJON

May 27, 2009 (El Cajon)-- El Cajon Fire crews responded to a trailer home fire at the Horseshoe Trailer Park, located at 150 South Anza, Space 1B early this morning. As crews arrived, they found a 30-foot trailer home fully involved. Firefighters had the fire knocked down in less than 10 minutes. Their quick action kept the fire from spreading to other nearby trailers, and the fire was contained to the one trailer and an attached patio area. An elderly man was at home inside the trailer when the fire started, he was able to escape unharmed.


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ANDERSON BILL TO PROVIDE TAX RELIEF FOR CEDAR FIRE VICTIMS PASSES ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

May 26, 2009 (Sacramento)—Assembly Bill 157, a measure authored by Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) to help fire victims and other disaster survivors, passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 18 by a unanimous vote. Under Anderson’s bill, homeowners in the 2003 Cedar Fire, as well as those who lose homes in other disasters after July 1, 2007, will have seven years to replace their homes in San Diego County without facing property tax consequences.


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BATTLES LOOM AS TO WHEN GAYS WILL SERVE OPENLY IN MILITARY; LOCAL LEADERS AIR THEIR VIEWS

By E.A. Barrera

 

"The Navy knew that they had a large gay population. During one particular ‘Naval Investigative Services’ witch-hunt in 1976, one of my commanders commented that if they uncovered and removed all the people in the Navy who were gay, the Navy wouldn’t be able to function. But the climate was severe and it was one of the reasons I finally decided I’d had enough." --Robert Pedrick, Captain (Retired); US Navy, 1961-1985

 


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CONGRESS FILNER TO HOST WEDNESDAY TOWN HALL AT SDSU ON NEW POST-9/11 GI BILL, EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR VETS

May 26, 2009 (San Diego)--Tomorrow, Congressman Bob Filner is hosting a Veterans Town Hall at San Diego State University (SDSU) to publicly discuss the impact of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill on our veterans. Congress passed legislation to significantly expand the educational benefits for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Department of Veterans Affairs recently began accepting applications for these benefits.


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HEALTH EXPERT & SONGWRITER TO SPEAK AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE GRADUATION JUNE 3

May 26, 2009 (El Cajon)--Grossmont College has announced that Dr. Dorothy Wiley will be the keynote speaker and Jose Molina Serrano will be featured as student speaker at the commencement ceremony on June 3rd at 5:30 p.m. Wiley is a global expert on public health issues, while Serrano is a musician whose music was played aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.


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GIO RESTAURANT HONORED AS CALIFORNIA SMALL BUSINESS OF YEAR FOR OUR REGION

Honored at Formal State Recognition Celebration - Selected from among 3.7 million small companies in California Editor's note: Can we pick 'em or what? Gio was one of the very first restaurants we covered when we launched, with a rave review by our "Vines & Steins" connoisseur columnist: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/?q=0809vinesteins


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BRACING FOR THE PERFECT STORM: FIRST RESPONDERS ANNOUNCE UNPREDECENTED FIRE PROTECTION OUTREACH

Farmers Insurance Funds "Before the Threat" 2009 Door-To-Door Preparedness Campaign Across San Diego County


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CITIZENS GROUP SEEKS TO BLOCK SDG&E PLAN TO CUT ALL TREES WITHIN 25 FEET OF POWER LINES

By Miriam Raftery

May 24, 2009 (Ramona)—San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) wants to expand its right to trim or remove trees within 18 inches of power lines dramatically – increasing that range to 25 feet on either side of power lines. On Friday, the Mussey Grade Road Alliance, a citizens’ watchdog group, has filed an opening brief with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) opposing SDG&E’s plan.


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3 HOMES BURNED, NEW EVACUATIONS ORDERED IN PALA FIRE

UPDATE MAY 25: The Pala fire is now 60% contained and the acreage number has not increased overnight, Cal Fire Captain Nick Schuler reports this morning.

May 24, 2009 (Pala) -- A fire burning along Highway 76 near Pala has reached 122 acres and burned three homes. New evacuations have been ordered this evening on Palomar Del Norte Road, following earlier evacuation at Pala Norte Road. The fire is now 15% contained, with full containment predicted by 10 a.m. tomorrow, according to Cal-Fire Captain Nick Schuler.


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LA MESA FLAG DAY PARADE CELEBRATION MAY 30th

May 11, 2009 (La Mesa)-- On Saturday, May 30st beginning at 9:00 am, downtown La Mesa will dress up in red, white and blue for the Annual Flag Day Parade, "A Salute to Old Glory!" The parade begins at 10:00 a.m. and marches through downtown La Mesa Village. Spectators will enjoy over 75 entries, including 6 marching bands led by the Marine Corps ensemble. Grand Marshall Shannon O’Dunn, spearheaded the fundraising effort to save the parade after the City Council was forced by budget constraints to withdraw municipal support.


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FIRE NEAR SYCUAN NOW 65 ACRES, VOLUNTARY EVACUATIONS

May 22, 2009 6 p.m. updated (San Diego's East County) -- A fire burning at Willow Glen Drive and Singing Canyon near Sycuan is now more than 65 acres and 20% contained. Voluntary evacuations have been made along Vista Sierra Drive but no structures have been damaged.


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EAST COUNTY ROUND-UP --- MID-MAY

East County Roundup highlights the best stories about East County issues found in other publications.

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MENTALLY ILL DETAINEES’ TREATMENT AT HOSPITALS WORRIES ADVOCATES

San Diego Union-Tribune (May 18, 2009)--Federal immigration officials send mentally ill detainees to a private psychiatric hospital in La Mesa, where they are shackled to beds 24 hours a day, prohibited from watching television or using the telephone, and cut off from family.

Disability-rights lawyers and advocates for the mentally ill say the conditions at Alvarado Parkway Institute in La Mesa violate state and federal laws governing treatment of mentally ill people. They also say the hospital, known as API, is one of a little-known network of private hospitals that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses to hold severely mentally ill detainees around the country, often out of reach of lawyers and even their families.

 

SUNRISE PLAN HINGES ON FOREST IMPACT

Opponents say SDG&E's new route not studied

San Diego Union-Tribune (May 9, 2009)-- San Diego Gas & Electric planners are figuring where they want to place the towers for the Sunrise Powerlink.

But a big piece of the plan to build the massive and controversial power line connecting Imperial County to San Diego has yet to fall into place: SDG&E does not yet have permission to build it across the Cleveland National Forest.

The man who will make that decision, Forest Supervisor William Metz, said yesterday he is still sifting through thousands of pages of environmental documents – and he's a long way from making up his mind.

 

VALLEY CENTER WATER BOARD ADOPTS VOLUNTARY 8% CUTS

Valley Roadrunner (May 13, 2009)-- It’s official. On July 6 the water district’s customers will be asked to save 8%.


Last week, after the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) took action to call for Level 2 water shortage response, and after a short public hearing, the Valley Center Municipal Water District adopted an 8% voluntary reduction program.


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WILL POWER REPORT: CALIFORNIA TO SELL COLISEUM?

Nothing but the Truth! California’s Governor “Terminator” Arnold Swartzenegger is now so frightened about California’s deficit that he now wants to sell off California landmarks like San Quentin and the LA Coliseum. He also wants Big Oil to drill off the coast of Santa Barbara which he has opposed for years. He thinks the state can earn $200 Billion. He’s using a self-created crisis to change the political landscape in California.


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FREE LOCAL BUSINESS DIRECTORY FROM BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU

The San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) has announced that distribution has begun at about local 500 retail outlets of its 2009 Summer edition of the BBB Yellow Pages, a free, 216-page, yellow-page-type directory that includes contact information on 6,000 BBB accredited businesses, as well as consumer protection tips articles and information on how to avoid scams and make better buying decisions.

 


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ART SHOW AT WILLIAM HERRICK COMMUNITY HEALTH LIBRARY FEATURES DISABLED ARTISTS' WORKS

The Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa, a public library specializing in health research information, has announced it is hosting a display of 20 charcoal drawings drawn by persons who have developmental disabilities from Sophie's Art Gallery, an art program provided by St. Madeleine Sophie's Center, a non-profit based in El Cajon.

 


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT RESIDENTS EXPRESS IRE OVER PROPOSED RATE INEQUITIES, ALLEGE DECEPTIVE NOTICES AT GROSSMONT-MT. HELIX ASSOCIATION (GMIA) PUBLIC FORUM

GMIA spokesman Mark Schuppert, with Helix Water Board Directors Kathleen Coates Hedberg and De Ana R. Verbeke

by Gayle Early

May 20, 2009 (Mt. Helix)—Residents poured into Fuerte Elementary School’s auditorium Thursday evening, May 15th to get a status update on Helix Water District’s (HWD) rate-increase proposals and express outrage over what they contend is an unfair tier-pricing system. GMIA, representing the large unincorporated area of East County around La Mesa, offered eight recommendations to residents as well as to the water district for ways it can make the system fairer.


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SANTEE STREET FAIR SATURDAY MAY 30: CARNIVAL RIDES, LIVE MUSIC & A BEER GARDEN

May 28, 2009 (Santee) – Live bands, carnival rides, crafts, vendors, a beer garden and food (including a 65-foot-brat grille) will be featured at the Santee Street Fair this Saturday, May 30th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free to the public, the event will be held behind the Trolley Square shopping center in Santee, at 101 Civic Center Drive, near the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and Riverview Parkway. There is a trolley station in the shopping center, making the event easily accessible.


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WATER BOARD STIRS FLOOD OF CONTROVERSY: ALLEGED VIOLATIONS, SECRECY FUEL THREATS OF LEGAL ACTION; SPECIAL MEETING SET MAY 22 TO ADDRESS LEGAL CHALLENGES

Kristin Kjaero

 

A special joint investigative report by East County Magazine and Channel 10 News

10news.com story

By Miriam Raftery

May 19, 2009 (La Mesa)—A water board controversy has sparked public outcry in East County. No, we’re not talking about a torture tactic—though many ratepayers fear pain from steep rate hikes in the Helix Water District. The local “water board” controversy centers around allegations that the Helix Water Board voted on hefty rate-hikes and eliminating irrigation meters for homeowners without adequate public input, possibly violating state law.

 

Two cure and correct letters (PDF 160 kb) sent to the district allege that the board failed to provide adequate notice of hearings, did not follow proper meeting procedures, appointed an ad-hoc committee after adjourning a public meeting and then reconvened to take action after some citizens had left. The Board has called a special meeting for Friday, May 22 at 10 a.m. specifically to address the legal issues raised.


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EXCERPTS FROM LETTERS SENT TO HELIX WATER DISTRICT IN OPPOSITION TO THE RATE HIKES

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 19, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--Helix Water Board’s management withheld 68 letters sent by ratepayer from at least one Board member until after a vote was taken on rate hikes at the April 27 meeting. Below are excerpts from those letters. All opposed the rate hikes; many accused the board of unfairly targeting homeowners over businesses, particularly owners of large properties even if they have already reduced water consumption sharply.


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$20 MILLION IN ENERGY-EFFICIENCY INCENTIVES FOR BUSINESSES OFFERED

May 19, 2009 (San Diego) – Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) announced today that more than $20 million in rebates and incentives are available this year to business customers for qualifying energy-efficiency projects—the largest pool of incentive money in the utility’s history.

The Gas Company shared the news with more than 300 business representatives gathered for its 4th Annual Energy-Efficiency Expo in Downey, Calif.


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"LOST BOYS OF SUDAN " SHARE HARROWING STORIES OR SURVIVAL FRIDAY AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE

May 20, 2009 (El Cajon)--Students from the Sudanese Cultural Club at Cuyamaca College will share their own harrowing stories from their war-torn homeland, including riveting tales demonstrating the triumph of the human spirit in Darfur, a land ravaged by genocide. The program, titled "An Afternoon with the Lost Boys of Sudan: Stories of Hope and Survival", will be held Friday, May 22 from 1-3 p.m. in the Student Center.


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FIRE DAMAGES BANK AMERICA IN EL CAJON

May 19, 2009 (El Cajon)--At 7:33 p.m. tonight El Cajon Firefighters responded to reports of a fire in the kitchen area of the Bank of America branch, located at 512 Fletcher Parkway. Upon arrival fire crews found smoke coming from the rear of the building where they made entry. Quick action by firefighters had the fire knocked down in 15 minutes. The bank will remain closed until repairs can be made.


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FREE “CONCERTS ON THE GREEN” OPENS MAY 22 WITH THE CAT-ILLACS

May 18, 2009 (El Cajon)--The 14th Annual Concerts on the Green, the free weekly summer concert series featuring live music for all ages opens Friday, May 22, 2009 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on the Prescott Promenade in Downtown El Cajon. Opening night of 2009 Concerts on the Green will feature the Rock’n Roll sounds of The Cat-illacs. In addition Ed Waymire returns as Master of Ceremonies.


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THEY'VE GOT RHYTHM: FROM TRIBAL DRUMS TO DIDGERIDOOS AT SAGE & SONGBIRDS FESTIVAL

“I had a dream that I would have a drum,” recalled Neka’asawe, a drum maker who was among the many vendors displaying indigenous crafts at the Sage & Songbirds Festival at Viejas Outlet Center in early May. “I went into a sweat lodge and prayed. A spirit told me I would make many drums.”


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FLIGHTS OF FANCY: PILOTS FLOCKED TO VINTAGE AIR FLY-IN AT GILLESPIE FIELD

May 17, 2009 (El Cajon) – For Leslie Day and Heather Gamble, flying is all in the family.

“My father was a World War II pilot,” said Day, who know pilots a 1951 T-28 A Korean War trainer. (photo)


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ADVANTA HOME CARE OFFERS ELDER CARE COMMUNITY EDUCATION SERIES FOR LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS

May 17, 2009 ()San Diego) -- Advanta Home Care's owner Rick McKee is now partnering with leaders of local organizations to present an exclusive and innovative Elder Care Community Education Series. Representatives from local faith based organizations, retirement communities, health care facilities, physician groups, HOA’s, civic organizations and employers are encouraged to contact Rick directly to schedule any or all of this timely and informative series for their membership, free of charge.


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