December 2008 Articles

SNOW FALLING IN EAST COUNTY! ACCIDENTS CLOG I-8, CHAINS REQUIRED ON MOUNTAIN HIGHWAYS

Snow GirlUPDATE 9 p.m. A winter storm warning remains in effect through Thursday morning.
I-8, closed earlier in portions of East county due to snow, has been reopened,
according to the California Department of Transportation website, though many
accidents are reported and conditions remain hazardous-. State Route 79 remains
closed from I-8 to 11.9 miles south of the junction of State Route 78. State
Route 78 is closed from Washington Street in Julian to 11.9 miles east of the
junction or SR 79. For updates on these and other roadways, check the California
Department of Transportation website at http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi.
Six to eight inches of snow have fallen in Julian today and ten to twelve inches
at Mount Laguna. At Camp Palomar, Middle School students are reportedly snowed
in. Send your photos of winter weather conditions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

December
17, 2008, 12 noon  (San Diego's East County) —
Heavy snowfall is blanketing
much of East County, clogging major highways.

"Snow is falling on I-8 from the Golden Acorn Casino east to Jacumba," CAL
FIRE Captain Nick Schuler told East County Magazine, calling from
Boulevard where an estimated one to two inches of snow covered the ground.  "I'm
out here with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and I wouldn't recommend cars out
here.  We are responding to accidents on the I-8 corridor."  CAL
FIRE also responded to a fire on BIA 15 south of Highway 94 this morning, where
a home burned to the ground, Schuler reported.

NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR SAN DIEGO EXCELLENCE IN ENERGY AWARDS

December
18, 2008 —
Are you an Energy All-Star? Take credit for your green efforts
and submit a nomination for the 5th Annual San Diego Excellence in Energy (SANDEE)
Awards.

The SANDEE Awards recognize outstanding projects and activities that have
achieved significant energy efficiency or energy conservation savings, implemented
renewable energy and reduced CO2 emissions in San Diego County.

SYNAGOGUE MEMBERS PERFORM "MITZVAH", SAY THANKS TO COMMUNITY SERVICE HEROES

December
16, 2008 (San Carlos) —
On December 24th  at 2 p.m. Tifereth Israel Synagogue
in San Carlos will continue its tradition of holiday season generosity by providing
bags of goodies on Christmas Eve for area Fire and Police Departments, as well
as Hospital Emergency Rooms.  The organization seeks donations to help
local community service heroes and their families serving our community.

COMMUNITY LEADERS FLOCK TO ATTEND EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE'S VIP HOLIDAY PARTY

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

Education leaders at ECM's holiday party (left to
right): Henri Migala, executive dean, Cuyamaca College, Alan Ridley,
Student Services Specialist, Cuyamaca College, Mary Kay Rosinski,
board member, Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District, and Doug Dean, education
chair, East County Chamber of Commerce with musician Gene Warren.

December 15, 2008 (La Mesa) — It was a leap
of faith to host a VIP holiday party as the upstart publisher in town.   Being
a big believer in the "if you build it, they will come" philosophy, however,
we didn't pause to worry about that nagging little fear: what if no VIPs
showed up? Fortunately, the result was quite the opposite! 

More than 70 VIP guests attended our holiday soiree, where dozens of
community leaders mixed and mingled with our writers, editors, webmaster,
donors and supporters.  It's amazing to think how far we've come
in just three months--attracting over 485,000 visits to our website and
now, a party guest list that reads like a Who's Who of East County!

FOUNDER OF STONEY'S KIDS HONORED DURING EAST COUNTY TOY & FOOD DRIVE EVENT AT VIEJAS

By Miriam Raftery

Stoney Stone and his Wife.
Photo Credit: Leon Thompson

December 10, 2008 (Alpine) — Community members from throughout East County
gathered at the Viejas Dreamcatcher Lounge for a holiday party and auction
to help needy families locally.  In addition, community leaders paid tribute
to B.W. "Stoney" Stone, founder of Stoney's Kids and long-time organizer of
the East County Toy & Food Drive.

HO, HO, HO!  EAST COUNTY LEADERS CELEBRATE THE SEASON

East County's movers and shakers got into the holiday spirit at parties throughout our region.  

Valerie Harrison December 15, 2008 (Rancho San Diego) — Jamul Chamber of Commerce president Valerie Harrison donned reindeer antlers to conduct last week's meeting, where comedian Russ T. Nailz provided comic relief.   Members brought toys for the East County Toy & Food Drive”as did attendees at a First Friday holiday breakfast hosted by the East County Chamber of Commerce.
Valerie Harrison, president, Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber of Commerce

HOLIDAY TEA TRADITION BREAKS NEW GROUND FOR FRIENDS OF EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS

By Miriam Raftery

December 11, 2008 (El Cajon) — This year's holiday tea, sponsored by Friends
of East County Arts, Inc. served up something new along with the traditional
tea, scones and finger sandwiches.

"This is the first year that men have been invited," said Howard Bagley, director
of St. Clair Gallery and a strong supporter of the organization.  "In
24 years, they've raised a half million dollars," he said, adding that the
group has no significant overhead and donates all funds raised for worthy local
causes.  "It's all gone to schools and the arts, including the (East County)
Performing Arts Center."

Cuyamaca College dedicates Wendell Cutting Center in honor of East County humanitarian

From left: nephew L.G. Wayne Cutting; Cuyamaca Interim
President Cristina Chiriboga; brothers Larry and Wayne Cutting; sister
Ruth Anne Cutting; GCCCD Governing Board Trustee Deanna Weeks; TRUSTEE
Bill Garrett; and student trustee Chuck Taylor.

December 12, 2008 (El Cajon)   Former governing board member Wendell
Cutting was remembered Friday for his generosity of spirit and caring for humanity
during a dedication ceremony for a Cuyamaca College science and technology
building that now bears his name.

The naming of Wendell Cutting Center, which houses labs for the life and physical
sciences programs, as well as computer information science, recognizes not
only the depth of his caring for students,  but also the value he placed
on learning. A middle-school teacher and administrator during the 70s and
a governing board trustee from 2002 until his death in 2006, Cutting was a
proponent of advancing science and technology education at Cuyamaca College.

MAKING MIRACLES HAPPEN:  CHALLENGE CENTER TAKES THE "DIS" OUT OF DISABILITES

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery; videos by Leon Thompson and Rob Constantine.

December
21, 2008 (San Diego's East County) —
"When I first had my stroke, I couldn't speak or move my right side. I couldn't
walk," recalled Austin Junkin, 80, of Lemon Grove.  "Now I can do anything.  I
lift 100 pounds with ease," he said, demonstrating his physical prowess by
hoisting weights above his head inside the Challenge Center at Sunset Park
in La Mesa.

Challenge Center isn't any ordinary gym.  The facility specializes in
helping severely disabled patients, including those with spinal cord and traumatic
brain injuries, attain dramatic improvements even after other physical therapy
programs have failed. View
Video
.

STATE CUTS FIRE STAFFING DUE TO BUDGET CRISIS

Only 5 of 20 engines will be staffed this winter

By Miriam Raftery

December 11, 2008 (San Diego) — CAL FIRE will reduce
staffing to winter preparedness levels in Southern Califiornia to address a
one-time $6.3 million  budget
crisis.
"This means additional seasonal employees will be laid off for a total of 17
weeks from mid-December to mid April, 2009 which is the lowest risk wildfire
period according to historical data," Captain Nick Schuler, public information
officer for CAL FIRE's San Diego unit, stated in a media advisory issued this
morning. 

In 2004, 20 additional fire engines were added in Southern California to implement
year round staffing. This plan allows for staffing  only five of those
additional engines for the December to April period.

Poway Sheriff's Investigators Seek Public's Help to Identify and Apprehend Burglary Suspects: $1,000 Reward

December 4, 2008 (Poway) — San Diego County
Crime Stoppers is joining forces with San Diego County Sheriff's Department's
Poway detectives to help identify and apprehend the suspects responsible for
burglarizing a jewelry store.  The suspects' vehicle was caught on store
surveillance video. 

On November 11, 2008 at about 6:00 a.m., two suspects stole about $100,000
worth of jewelry from Phillips Jewelers jewelry store, located at 14857 Pomerado
Road in Poway while another suspect waited in a vehicle in the parking lot.  The
suspects gained entry into the jewelry store by breaking into the adjoining
business and then breaking through an interior wall.

La Mesa Rotary Gives Donation to CHIP's Organization

(left to right) Lynn Hamilton, current La Mesa Rotary
President, Joel Tzinberg and Glenn Kellogg.

December 10, 2008 (La Mesa) — The La Mesa Rotary Club donated $500.00 to the Community Health and Improvements
Partners (CHIP's) organization. CHIP is a collaboration of San Diego health
care systems, hospitals, community clinics, insurers, physicians, universities,
community benefit organizations and the County of San Diego that are dedicated
to a common vision. One of their important services is their free flu vaccine
clinics and a flu hotline at (877) FLU-0202 that provides information about
the influenza virus and the importance of being immunized. Glenn Kellogg a
member of CHIP's, and a member and past president of La Mesa Rotary was happy
to accept the donation.

U.S. CRANBERRY MARKETING COMMITTEE PARTNERS WITH SAN DIEGO-BASED SOUPLANTATION

Partnership promotes benefits of cranberries During
the Month of December

December 3, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) — San
Diego-based Souplantation, voted one of "America's Healthiest
Restaurants" by Health magazine, has formed a partnership with the Cranberry
Marketing Committee (CMC), a committee established by the federal government
that works to promote and inform the public about the benefits of U.S. cranberries.
Souplantation restaurants will also feature several cranberry-filled recipes
on their December menu to celebrate the partnership.

EAST COUNTY ROUND-UP - DECEMBER

Links to top stories in other publications on East County issues

East County Roundup LogoAUDITOR: CITY BOTCHED DEBRIS REMOVAL, At least $775,000 at issue after '07
fires, report says

San Diego Union-Tribune (December 20, 2008) — San Diego's auditor has concluded
that the city was not equipped to manage the large debris removal program it
developed after the wildfires of 2007, and its lack of preparation, internal
controls and contract monitoring cost more than $775,000.

In a report released yesterday, City Auditor Eduardo Luna recommended the
city bill two contractors for overcharges and be better prepared for future
wildfire disasters.

For the auditor's full report, go to uniontrib.com/more/documents

 

NEARLY 30 PERCENT OF SAN DIEGO MORTGAGES UNDERWATER

Voice of San Diego (December 22, 2008) — Nearly
30 percent of homes in San Diego County with a mortgage are worth less than
their owners owe on their mortgage, according to new data.

The 29.4 percent share of county homes "underwater" or "upside-down" compares
to 27.4 percent for the state and 18.3 percent for the nation. The San Diego
County data was prepared for voiceofsandiego.org by
First American CoreLogic, and was the only county-level data of its kind released
for the quarter ending Sept. 30

 

VANDALS RANSACK RAMONA’S FIRE RECOVERY CENTER

Ramona Sentinel (December 18, 2008) — For the fourth
time in a year, Bonnie Fry has arrived at work to find Ramona Fire Recovery
Center ransacked.

Opened after the Witch Fire in October 2007, the center at 1710 Montecito
Road has been a resource and refuge for fire victims whose homes and property
were destroyed or damaged in the wildfire.

Fry and others do not understand why someone would want to destroy a place
that offers so many people comfort, counsel, information and support. This
time vandals even knocked over and threw paint on the Christmas tree decorating
the center. Fry had hoped to give the tree to a family in need next week.

KRUGER BROTHERS CONCERT IS BEYOND EXPECTATIONS

By Jackie Hanson

Photos by Gian Vaitl

December 10, 2008 (San Diego's East County) — If you’ve heard of the
Kruger Brothers, then you’ve likely heard the superlatives used to describe
their music: sublime, inspiring, sheer genius… (the list goes on).  If
you’ve been fortunate enough to actually hear the Kruger Brothers live, you’ll
realize that words pale in comparison to the experience. 

SUPERVISORS VOTE TO ALLOW HOMEOWNERS TO SELL SURPLUS SOLAR POWER BACK TO UTILITY COMPANIES

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2008 (San Diego) — A unanimous vote by the San Diego Board of Supervisors in November requires the County's Chief Administrative Officer to provide county-sponsored legislation making it easier for residential power customers the ability to sell surplus solar energy back to utility companies.

POWAY FARMERS MARKET AND CRAFTS FAIR OPEN TWO MORE WEEKENDS BEFORE HOLIDAY

Photos by Thea Skinner

December 2008 (Poway) — The Poway
Farmers’ Market and Boardwalk Craft Market features fresh product and
other products from local farms, as well as regional crafts including
pottery, weaving, jewelry and much more.

Located in Old Poway Park at 14134 Midland Road, the craft market and
farmer’s market will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. December 13 and 20.
Closed during January, the market will reopen in February.

Necklaces created by Chris Stell Creative
Arts

SAN DIEGO COUNTY'S INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS ADDRESSED AT NCA CONVENTION

Story and photos by Thea Skinner

Rev. Canon Mary Moreno-Richardson, coordinator for Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of San Diego speaks as other panelists are attentive during the National Communication Association's 94th Annual Convention, "unCONVENTIONal" at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego Nov. 22.

Dec 1, 2008 (San Diego) — Spirits ran high in higher education during the National Communication Association's 94th Annual Convention at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego Nov. 21-24. Titled the "unCONVENTIONal," the convention held concurrent sessions on eight levels of the hotel.

The Nov. 22 Urban Communication Foundation Spotlight Panel session discussed issues pertinent to the region including democratic processes, activism, infrastructure and sustainability--at times sparking heated controversy. The five largest issues affecting the region are growth, borders, water, climate, and economy or housing, said Peter Andersen, professor at San Diego State University's  School of Communication and environmental community commentator for Channel 10.

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS 2008 SCORECARD: A TO F FOR SAN DIEGO'S LEGISLATORS

Environmental voting records for east San Diego County state legislators and Governor Schwarzenegger

By Sylvia Hampton

December 9, 2008 San Diego) — Environmental protection is very important to San Diego County voters. Every year the League of Conservation Voters publishes a "scorecard" on the voting records of all state level representatives: www.ecovote.org/scorecard_2008.pdf. Among Assembly members representing East County and San Diego's eastern region,  environmental protection scores ranged from a low score of 5% (Anderson, Gerrick and Walters) to a high of 95% (Salas).  Among our state Senators, scores ranged from a low of 6% (Hollingsworth) to a high of 100% (Kehoe), while Governor Schwarzenegger received a 60% rating.

Tecate, our Neighbors South of the Border

By Dennis Moore

December 7, 2008 (Tecate) — Between the desert and the sea beats the heart of Baja California: Tecate, Mexico (not to be confused with the American city by the same name just across the border).  Located in the northern central part of the state, Tecate is the ideal starting destination to every other city or point of interest in the region including Mexicali, Ensenada, La Rumorosa, Tijuana, Rosarito Beach and San Diego, California.

 La Rumorosa, a solid rock mountain range between Tecate and Mexicali, affords breathtaking scenery to the desert below.  During wintertime, the snow-covered mountains of La Rumorosa bring a winter wonderland atmosphere to the area,  the Mexican counterpart to Vail or Aspen, Colorado.

GARDEN DE LIGHTS

December
2008 (El Cajon) —
Visit the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College
as it comes to light for the holidays.

On Friday, December 12 from 5 to 9 p.m., the Garden de Lights event will display
of thousands of energy-saving lights courtesy of SDG&E.  Guests can
also enjoy an evening of garden tours, holiday shopping and festivities featuring
music, warm cider and cookie decorating for the kids.  Gift shop and a
vendor area will provide places to shop for holiday gifts.  For this event,
the gift shop will provide discounts of 25% for members and 15% for nonmembers.

KWANZAA CELEBRATIONS AND EVENTS ANNOUNCED

December 6, 2008 (San Diego) — A series of events commemorating Kwanzaa have
been announced, including several in San Diego's eastern region. 

The 18th annual Pan-African Associations of America Umoja Day program will
take place December 26th at the Malcolm X Library located at 5148 Market Street
in San Diego.  This a day long event and includes an adult workshop
explaining how to observe Kwanzaa in the home and a children's arts and craft
workshop on Kwanzaa: 10am to noon.  A Youth/Hip Hop discussion on Kwanzaa
will take place from 1pm to 3 p.m. The traditional lighting of the  first
Kwanzaa candle will take place at 4:30 p.m. and includes a program of  words
of inspiration, spoken word, music, drumming and dance, African martial arts,
silent auction and vendors.  The program ends at 8pm.  All
events are free to the public.

TOXIC TOYS STILL ON STORE SHELVES - HOW TO AVOID BANNED  PRODUCTS FOR YOUR CHILDREN

December 6, 2008 (San Diego) — Before you buy children's toys this holiday season, be aware that many toxic toys have NOT been removed from store shelves. Here's what you need to know to avoid these toys harmful products.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, toys containing toxic phthalates are supposed to be banned starting on February 10, 2009. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is saying that stores can continue to sell down their inventories as long as they were manufactured before the February deadline.

Armchair Impressionists Exhibition December 1- 31, 2008

By Tammy Lawhead

December 1, 2008 (El Cajon) —
The Armchair Impressionists, including Jeffrey Graham, Rustin Holec,
David Lawhead, Karen Marsh, and William Marsh
, will feature their
paintings December 1 – 31, 2008 at the Rancho San Diego Library, 11555 Via
Rancho San Diego; El Cajon, CA.  Please join them at the Artist’s Reception,
December 7th from 2 – 4 pm in the Community Room.

The
Armchair Impressionists are five artists who came together while students of
artist Jack Jordan when he taught at Grossmont College. The group meets to
offer support and encouragement as they submit their paintings to the various
venues available to artists in and around San Diego County.

LOOK WHO'S BACK - RECALLED PLANNER GORDON HAMMERS WINS ELECTION, RECLAIMS SEAT ON POTRERO PLANNING GROUP

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2008 — Less than a year after being recalled
by a two-to-one margin, former Potrero Planning Group Chairman Gordon Hammers
has been re-elected to the board.  Hammers' victory, though surprising to many, appears to
signify a healing in this small rural community split first by controversy
over Blackwater and later by the Harris Wildfire that devastated the region.

LOOKING FOR JOB TRAINING? FREE "GET YOUR LIFE ON TRACK" MEETING AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE DEC. 9

The
Grossmont College Adult Reentry Program will host "Get Your Life on Track,"
a free informational meeting for adults interested in retraining for new jobs
and careers, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the college's
Griffin Gate at the Student Center near Parking Lot #7. Reservations are not
required.

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