campo

BORDER PATROL AGENT DIES IN CAMPO CRASH WHILE ON DUTY

East County News Service

May 16. 2022 (Campo) – A U.S. Border Patrol agent died Friday, May 13 of injuries sustained in a single-vehicle crash near Campo. The agent, a 40-year-old man assigned to the El Cajon station in the San Diego sector, was the sole occupant of the USBP vehicle.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: PLEASE DO NOT EXPORT YOUR HOMELESS PROBLEM TO CAMPO

This letter was written in response to La Mesa City Councilmember Laura Lothian's proposal to purchase land in Campo to house La Mesa's homeless population. The item is slated to be heard tonight, May 10. Tisdale sent copies of her letter to the city of La Mesa, Supervisor Joel Anderson, and Campo-Lake Morena's planning group chair Billie Jo Jannen.

By Donna Tisdale, Chair, Boulevard Planning Group (photo, left)

First and foremost, It would be the courteous and ethical thing to do to provide timely notice and ask the Campo - Lake Morena Community Planning Group to weigh in on your proposal to export your problem to their predominantly low-income rural community where most residents are already struggling to survive the pandemic, government-induced inflated cost of living, and a basically open US/Mexico border with daily smuggling activities. They don't need an additional problem foisted on them.

Rural residents have the added burden of an expensive commute due to the increasing cost of gas. We make many sacrifices in order to enjoy the benefits of quiet country living.  A serious lack of local services is one of those sacrifices ,including very limited medical and law enforcement .  In some cases, it may take days for law enforcement to answer a call to a rural home.

Exporting your homeless problem to Campo's underserved rural area is neither justified nor warranted for local residents or the homeless population. Shelters / alternative housing should be placed close to services, not an hour away.


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ANIMAL TALES: CAMPO’S FARM ANIMAL REFUGE GOING STRONG AFTER COVID

By SJ Miller

Photo:  Matt Lieurance with rescue Diamond.  Photo courtesy Farm Animal Refuge

March 24, 2022 (Campo) — When Jordan Russo and Matt Lieurance met working at Chili’s 14 years ago, they had no idea they would eventually become close friends, roommates, and co-founders of an animal sanctuary in Campo.


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CAMPO DAY: RELIVE THE WILD WEST, MILITARY HISTORY AND MORE ON APRIL 30

By Miriam Raftery

February 18, 2022 (Campo) – You’re invited to experience the history and heritage of San Diego’s East County during Campo Day. The event will take place on Saturday, April 30  at four separate locations encompassing the community’s colorful past which includes a historic railway, Wild West shootout, Native Americans, pioneers, cowboy skills, Buffalo soldiers, a cavalry camp and living military history. There’s also an evening dance.

Specifically, the Campo venues and events at the event organized by the Mountain Empire Historical Society include:


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DRINKING WATER WARNING LIFTED FOR CAMERON CORNERS WATER SYSTEM

Test results show the drinking water supply is safe from nitrate contamination

East County News Service

February 18, 2022 (Campo) -- The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health and Quality, is advising the public that a Drinking Water Warning has been lifted for Cameron Corners Water System located at 31484 Highway 94, Campo, CA 91906. The water system supplies water to 3 service connections, including a convenience store, restaurant, and office retail space.  Following system repairs, water sample results reported February 17, 2022, showed that nitrate levels are non-detect in the drinking water supply.  


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MOUNTAIN EMPIRE U12 SOCCER TEAM FINISHES SEASON WITH STELLAR 17-1 RECORD

By Liz Alper

February 15, 2022 (Pine Valley) - The Mountain Empire under 12 soccer team wrapped up their most successful season to date, finishing with an incredible 17-1 record.  


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NITRATE CONTAMINATION FOUND IN DRINKING WATER AT CAMERON CORNERS IN CAMPO

Do not drink tap water in the affected area

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Cameron Corners, via Google Earth

 

January 26, 2022 (Campo) -- The County of San Diego's Department of Environmental Health and Quality today advised the public that a Drinking Water Warning has been issued effective immediately for Cameron Corners Water System at 31484 Highway 94, Campo, CA 91906. The water system supplies water to a convenience store, restaurant, and office retail space.  


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GRANTS AWARDED TO RESTORE SAFE DRINKING WATER FOR LAKE MORENA RESIDENTS—BUT PROCESS MAY TAKE UNTIL 2024

Story and photos by Karen Pearlman 

January 8, 2021 (Lake Morena) – For more than two years, Lake Morena Village area water users have been drinking bottled water because of formidable nitrate levels in the region’s wells, the main source of water for drinking in the rural San Diego county burg. 

In September 2019, the county issued a do-not-drink order for about 125 customers of the Lake Morena Views Mutual Water Company, one of the two main water suppliers in the area.  The state recently approved grant funds to eliminate the contamination, but the process moves slowly – meaning frustrated residents may be without potable tap water for another two to three years.

“I am wondering what the effects will be on all of us in time to come. How can it take over two years to fix the issue?” asks Claudia Millerbragg, a Lake Morena Village residents in rural Campo. She says shareholders are not given enough information, adding,  “Because we are in an underserved community no one really seems to care. Can you imagine this happening in La Jolla?"


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TERRA-GEN FINED HALF MILLION DOLLARS FOR FALSIFYING DATA ON WIND TURBINE ENERGY PRODUCTION

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Photo: Terra-Gen’s planned Campo Wind turbines would be twice as tall as those shown at the existing Kumeyaay Wind site in Campo.

January 3, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Terra-Gen, the company slated to build a massive wind project on the Campo reservation, has been fined over a half million dollars following an investigation that accused the company of submitting “false or misleading information to the California System Operator (CAISO)” regarding the capabilities and output of a wind power facility owned by Terra-Gen’s subsidiary Cameron Ridge, LLC. 


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ISSA AND JACOBS ANNOUNCE THEY WILL SEEK REELECTION FOR CONGRESS AFTER NEW DISTRICT BOUNDARIES APPROVED

By Miriam Raftery

Image:  final Congressional districts in San Diego County. Courtesy Citizens Redistricting Commission

December 21, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Yesterday, California’s independent citizen redistricting commission unanimously approved the state’s new Congressional district maps, which will be certified December 27.  Today, two of East County’s Congressional members, Democrat Sara Jacobs and Republican Darrell Issa, announced plans to seek reelection in their new and solidly safe districts.


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FEDERAL JUDGE DISMISSES SUIT CHALLENGING APPROVAL OF CAMPO WIND PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

“We have really nothing to give our youth, nothing to pass down. All we have are false promises. These windmills are supposed to bring us some glimmer of hope, but all they’ve brought us are despair.” –Tribal elder Denis Largo

August 7, 2021 (Campo) – U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Backcountry Against Dumps, a local citizens’ group, against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior. The lawsuit sought to challenge the agencies’ approval of Terra Gen’s Campo Wind project on the Campo Indian reservation.


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FATAL BORDER PATROL SHOOTING IN CAMPO

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 19, 2021 (Campo) – A San Diego man has died after being shot following a pursuit by U.S. Border Patrol agents. 
 
Silvestre Vargas Estrada, 26, was driving a vehicle with two men as passengers during the pursuit on May 14 shortly before 10 p.m. According to Lt. Thomas Seiver with the Sheriff’s homicide unit, “The pursuit ended in a gas station parking lot at the intersection of State Route 94 and Buckman Springs Road in Campo. A confrontation ensued, resulting in three agents discharging their firearms.”

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SUPERVISORS VOTE TO BUY AND CONSERVE 2,151 ACRE HISTORIC STAR RANCH LAND IN CAMPO

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 20, 2021 (Campo) -- San Diego County supervisors voted Wednesday to buy the 2,151-acre, historic Star Ranch area in Campo, its largest acquisition of sensitive habitat, wetlands, potential passive park land and hiking trails in a decade.

County officials said the land will provide a permanent home for sensitive species and conserve important habitat including 200 acres of wetlands, and it could eventually provide a large park and connections for hikers to nearby trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail.


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HOMICIDE DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING AFTER BODY FOUND IN CAMPO

East County News Service
 
January 8, 2021 (Campo) – The Sheriff’s Homicide Unit is investigating the death of Paul Anthony Castello, a 32-year-old Campo resident. His body was found by Border Patrol agents near Shockey Truck Trail and State Route 94 in Campo, Wednesday, shortly after 8 a.m.
 
Sheriff's deputies and fire personnel responded. Unfortunately, Castello was pronounced deceased at the scene by fire personnel. Based on the injuries and circumstances, the Sheriff's Homicide Unit responded and has assumed responsibility of the investigation. 

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FAA REVERSES APPROVAL OF CAMPO WIND PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2020 (Campo) – The Federal Aviation Administration has reversed its earlier approval of the controversial Campo Wind project and related Boulder Brush Facilities.The project would erect 60 wind turbines, each 586 feet tall, on tribal land close to tribal and non-tribal homes in rural East County. (image, left)

In its remand letter dated Dec. 2, the FAA admitted to errors in its aeronautical study proceess.

The action comes in response to a petition for review raised by the nonprofit Backcountry Against Dumps along with Boulevard residents Ed and Donna Tisdale, whose property shares a half-mile border with the project site on the Campo Indian reservation.


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FIRST SNOWFALL OF SEASON BLANKETS MOUNTAIN AREAS, FREEZE FORECAST FOR HIGH DESERTS TONIGHT

East County News Service

Photo: Snow on Mount Laguna, by Dave Hogan

November 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Snow fell overnight on mountaintops in San Diego's inland region including Mount Laguna in East County, with more snow showers possible at higher elevations tonight.  On Mount Palomar, a new record low temperature of 25 degrees was recorded early this morning.

In the high desert areas such as Campo, below freezing temperatures as low as 29 degrees are forecast tonight.

Frost and freeze conditions could kill crops and sensitive vegetation, also potentially damaging unprotected plumbing, the National Weather Service warns.


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PUMPKIN EXPRESS ROLLS OUT HALLOWEEN RIDES -- WITH SOME CHANGES

East County News Service

October 6, 2020 (Campo) -- Join the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association in its annual Pumpkin Express Halloween Celebration.  Come ride decorated vintage railcars through the San Diego county mountains as fall descends upon Campo, CA.  Walk through a themed Display Building complete with Halloween scenes, a pumpkin patch, and our creepy cast of ghosts and ghouls.


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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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MILITARY JOINS BATTLE AGAINST VALLEY FIRE: NEW EVACUATION ORDERS ISSUED

Santa Ana winds forecast tomorrow as firefighters race to contain firestorm

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Fire encroaching on Rock Canyon winery yesterday

Update 6:25 p.m. Cal Fire reports the fire has grown significantly, charring17,345 acres but is now 3% contained.

Update 3:45 p.m.  New mandatory evacuations have been given for Corte Madera south of Pine Valley.

September 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Dawn brought relief for many East County residents who evacuated or sheltered in place during the night, while firefighters limited the Valley Fire’s spread. View live-mapping of the fire perimeter at this link.

But today also brings new evacuations at Corral Canyon and Bobcat Meadows in Cleveland National Forest due to an immediate threat.  As a precaution, all campgrounds in the federal forest will be closed for one week.

Ken, a homeless man camped at the Boulder Creek Canyon who has lived for years at campgrounds in the federal forest, emailed ECM that he was given just two hours to get out this Labor Day holiday.  "I told the person I had been drinking and WOULD NOT drive drunk nor leave my home," he said.  "I said I will go when I am sober or they can arrest me before then...Apparently there is NO evacuation area to the EAST. I have to go out in the sun or go to Steele Canyon."

“Fire growth is impacting the Lawson Valley and Carveacres areas. There is an immediate threat to Loveland Reservoir and the surrounding water shed,” Cleveland National Forest reports today.  As of this morning, the blaze has consumed 10,258 acres, 408 more than yesterday.

Though the fire remains just 1% contained, there is some good news.

“Because of the proactive efforts of Cal Fire, today we will be exercising the agreement we have with the Navy Third Fleet and the First Marine Expeditionary Force to utilize military aircraft on the fire,” Cal Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Kendal Bortisser reports.

The bad news is that the National Weather Service predicts Santa Ana winds will sweep into our region tomorrow through Thursday, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, along with continuing hot, dry conditions though slightly cooler than the record-shattering temperatures this weekend that hit 114 degrees in some of the fire-affected areas.


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CAR AND BRUSH FIRE QUICKLY STAMPED OUT BY FIREFIGHTERS NEAR CAMPO

Story and photos by Jonathan Goetz

September 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- A car fire was reported at 10:55 a.m. this morning, Saturday Labor Day weekend 2020, between Pine Valley and Boulder Oaks (just west of the Campo turn-off from Interstate 8). Firefighters were on the scene when East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts arrived an hour later. 


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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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LAWSUIT FILED OVER CAMPO WIND PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Donna Tisdale fears massive wind turbines will ruin life at her rural ranch, pose severe wildfire and safety hazards for neighbors and tribal members

View Lawsuit

July 9, 2020 (Boulevard, CA) – A federal lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the U.S. Department of Interior and agency officials challenging their approval of  Campo Wind facilities on tribal land, including 60 wind turbines each 586 feet tall on 2,200 acres, as well as Boulder Brush energy facilities on adjacent private land. 

“The project is a dangerous and completely unnecessary industrialization of high-quality wildlife habitat in an area with an extremely high wildfire risk and frequent low-flying military, commercial and private aircraft,” states the suit filed by the nonprofit Backcountry Against Dumps along with Boulevard residents Donna and Ed Tisdale, whose ranch adjoins the project site with a half-mile shared border.


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FOUR WILD MICE COLLECTED IN CAMPO AREA TEST POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a California mouse

July 2, 2020 (Campo) - Four wild mice collected in routine monitoring in open space in the Campo area have tested positive for hantavirus.

County officials are reminding people they should never sweep or vacuum up after rodents if they find them in living spaces like homes, garages, sheds and cabins, but instead use “wet-cleaning” methods.


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KUMEYAAY PROTEST HALTS DYNAMITE BLASTING AT BORDER WALL

 

 

By Helen Horvath

Photo, lefft: Dynamite charges set by the US Corps of Engineers

June 30, 2020 (Campo) – Yesterday, at the end of Tierra del Sol Road in the Campo area, a group of Kumeyaay-led people and supporters gathered early in the morning to protest the blasting of Kumeyaay cultural sites.

Many of these protesters, wearing masks due to COVID-19, were members of the Kumeyaay Original Peoples Alliance, American Indian Movement, and Warriors of Awareness. These groups  participated out of concern for the ancestral history and culture of the Kumeyaay tribes.  Black Lives Matter (BLM) and American Friends Service Committee also participated in the protest in a show of solidarity with local Native Americans. (Photo, right)


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READER’S EDITORIAL TERRA-GEN’S CONTROVERSIAL CAMPO WIND TURBINE PROJECT APPROVED BY DEPT OF INTERIOR OVER STRONG OBJECTIONS OF IMPACTED TRIBAL MEMBERS

Decision bypasses Campo’s tribal regulations and land use planning protections: Legal challenges are in the works

By Donna Tisdale, President of Backcountry Against Dumps

April 9, 2020 (Campo and Boulevard, California)-- Against strong opposition, including many tribal members, the Department of Interior just approved the Record of Decision (ROD) for Terra-Gen’s controversial Campo Wind project with 60-586 ft tall 4.2 megawatt (MW) turbines on Campo Tribal lands in rural San Diego County.

These turbines are taller than the tallest skyscraper in San Diego and twice as powerful as existing Kumeyaay Wind and Tule Wind turbines that already generate nuisance level adverse impacts for neighbors! To add insult to injury, the ROD was signed by the Assistant Secretary, which means we lose the right to appeal that approval.

Legal challenges are in the works.

Campo Wind is opposed by neighbors as well as by a qualified number of voting Campo Tribal members, but Campo leaders have ignored two valid tribal petitions: 1) to terminate Campo Wind ; 2) to remove their leadership for failing to hold the vote to terminate[1]. Turbines are planned far too close to homes and offices and can restrict the number and placement of new homes for current and future residents.

Campo’s elections are set for April 17th, with strong hope that leaders will be voted in who will act to better protect their people and resources, and to stop Campo Wind dead in its tracks.


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ALL EAST COUNTY CASINOS TO CLOSE MARCH 21-31 DUE TO COVID-19

Barona, Campo, Jamul, Sycuan, and Viejas Jointly Announce Casino Closures in Response to Coronavirus crisis

Source: Kumeyaay Nation

March 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County)  — Tribal government leaders of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, Campo Kumeyaay Nation, Jamul Indian Village, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians today jointly announced that they are temporarily closing their casinos amid concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) beginning on Friday, March 20 at noon through the end of the month.

The Tribes are united in this decision to close for the health and well-being of the community, their guests and approximately 9,000 employees. Despite this closure, it is their hope that they can continue to provide emergency services for their respective communities.

 

In Campo, the gas station and convenience store will remain open for the convenience of residents.


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CAMPO TRIBAL MEMBERS PLEAD FOR LEGAL HELP, ALLEGE RIGHTS VIOLATED IN WIND PROJECT APPROVAL: PETITION SEEKS REVOTE ON CONTROVERSIAL PROJECT

“Our reservation is in dire financial condition. We have really nothing to give our youth…All we have are false promises.” – Dennis Largo, tribal elder who delivered a petition calling for a vote to overturn wind project approval

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Tribal elder Dennis Largo

February 14, 2020 (Campo)—Whistleblowers in the Campo band of Mission Indians claim that their tribal leadership pushed through approval of a massive wind project during an improperly noticed meeting. They have now collected enough signatures to overturn that approval with a revote.  But despite the Feb. 13th deadline to notify tribal members of a meeting to revote on the controversial project, several tribal members say they have not received any such notice.   

The proposed Campo Wind project would allow 60 turbines built by Terra-Gen on the reservation. Each would be 586 tall, the tallest wind turbines ever built on land, according to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which also opposes the project.


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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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GOLDEN SPIKE CEREMONY CROWNS RAILWAY’S CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION IN CAMPO

View video of golden spike driven in by actor Jake Schaible portraying John D. Spreckels at centennial : https://youtu.be/n2MQr565uq4 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2019 (Campo) – Four days after Armistice Day in 1919 ended World War I, John D. Spreckels drove in a golden spike to complete the San Diego & Arizona Railway in Carrizo Gorge.  That historic event was recreated on November 16, 2019 at the centennial of the historic occasion celebrated at the Campo Railroad Park & Museum.

Spreckels originally “missed the spike, they reset it, he bent it, and then nailed it,” said Allen Semelsberger, Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s archivist in a previously published report. True to historical detail, actor Jake Schaible portrayed Spreckels at the centennial, swinging and missing a replica of the spike before ultimately driving it in before a large crowd, including members of the Spreckels family in the front row. 


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TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION TARGETS BORDER WALL IN CAMPO IN BRAZEN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Smugglers cut the old border wall to facilitate an alien smuggling attempt.
 
November 21, 2019 (Campo) -- U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 16 individuals Wednesday afternoon after smugglers cut the old landing mat border wall to facilitate a vehicle drive-thru human smuggling incident.

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