Julian

WELCOME, MOUNTAIN DWELLERS!

Our Mountain Living section covers the mountain communities in San Diego's East County north of I-8 including Aguanga, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Guatay, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Ranchita, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Shelter Valley and Warner Springs.


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SUPERVISORS APPROVE DARK SKIES PROTECTIONS FOR JULIAN AREA AND BORREGO SPRINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Night sky in  Borrego Springs, by Dennis Mammana

November 18, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego Supervisors today voted to approve amendments to the county’s Light Pollution ordinance which will provide “Dark Sky Community” designation to both the Julian and Borrego Springs community planning areas.  The action aims to prevent light pollution, enhancing astronomy viewing and related tourism.

The action comes after the Julian Dark Sky Network asked Supervisors in 2018 to create a way for Julian to meet International Dark Sky Association recognition. Borrego Springs was the first California community to receive that designation in 2009.

"Our community is part of the 1% of the U.S. that can still see the Milky Way. Our distance from the urban glow of San Diego's skies and the surrounding mountains help with our sky quality, but preservation must be intentional," the Julian Dark Sky Network's website states.


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SOME BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES SET TO DEFY SHUTDOWN ORDERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left: Major's Diner in Pine Valley, a long-time roadside stop for travelers also popular with local residents, could not survive another shut down in winter weather, the owner says.

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Several East County business owners and at least one megachurch have announced intentions to defy a new state mandate to shut down indoor services starting Saturday.  In addition, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells says police in his city won’t prioritize enforcement of businesses that remain open despite public health orders.

Places of worship, gyms, restaurants and movie theaters are ordered to stop indoor operations under state mandates due to high rates of COVID-19 that have moved San Diego County into the purple tier.  Retailers are supposed to cut service to 25% capacity and any schools not yet reopened are prohibited from doing so.

Restaurants and bars have been tied to 9.2% of all COVID cases in San Diego County from June 6 through November 7, or 3,666 cases, according to newly released county health data. Even with many modifications, the most recent two weeks of data from October 25 to November 7 show 389 cases tied to restaurants and bars, or 10.01% of total new cases—more than any other specific business category.

Yet some restaurant owners say they’re done with shutdowns and would be unable to survive another shutdown as winter approaches.


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COVID CASES SOAR AS COUNTY REMAINS IN PURPLE TIER, RISK OF CLOSURES FOR BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES GROWS

 

To report violations of county health rules call (858) 694-2900 or email SafeReopeningComplianceTeam@sdcounty.ca.gov.

By Miriam Raftery

File photo from 2019: A shutdown could hit hardest in mountain towns such as Julian, where winter weather makes it difficult for businesses to operate outdoors.

November 9, 2020 (San Diego) – Churches, restaurants, gyms, theaters and some other locations will have to end indoor operations in San Diego County if the number of cases doesn’t drop out of the state’s purple tier soon. Retailers would have to reduce capacity.The state could order shutdowns as early as tomorrow.

Winter weather will make it harder for businesses and worship services to be conducted outdoors, particularly in East County’s mountain areas, which had their first snowfall of the season last night.


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MOUNTAIN SCHOOLS CANCEL CLASSES, SHIFT ONLINE DUE TO FREEZING WEATHER, SNOW FORECAST, AND COVID

Districts vary in COVID response: Cajon Valley keeps schools open despite 52 cases since August

East County News Service

November 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Four East County school districts in mountain areas have announced temporary halts to in-person learning due to winter weather and in one rural district, COVID-19. Yet other districts continue in-person instruction despite numerous cases amid the pandemic.


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COVID RATES REMAIN LOW IN MOST REOPENED EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Cajon Valley, first to reopen, has most cases.  Three other districts report cases; others lack transparency in disclosure.  

Update October 31:  The Cajon Valley Union School District has added a breakdown by schools of its COVID cases, which now number 15 students and 2 employees  (17 total) at 11 schools. 

By Miriam Raftery

October 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How safe is it to send your child back to school amid a pandemic, or for teachers to provide instruction inside classrooms?

East County Magazine has checked out the websites of all districts in East County to determine how many cases have been reported at schools that have reopened thus far, and how transparent each district is in making this information easily available to parents, teachers and staff.

To date, the County Public Health Department has not reported any outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases tied to a single location) at any East County elementary, middle, high school or community college district. However some school districts do have cases among both students and staff. It is unclear whether cases were contracted on campus, or how many others may have been exposed.

In some districts, information on schools with COVID cases are being publicly disclosed, but not in others. Asked about this discrepancy, County spokesman Michael Workman said, "A change in the order regarding schools is being discussed and may be in place soon. The state guidance referenced above covers school notification. It’s too early to say what our health order change may say."

Here are the results of ECM's investigation.


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CAR THIEF SUSPECT ARRESTED IN JULIAN AFTER HIGH-SPEED CHASE AND FOOT PURSUIT

Residents praise “heroic” actions of Deputy Jared Anderson

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2020 (Julian) – Ernest Bartocci, 45, was arrested last night after leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase followed by a foot pursuit through a residential area of Julian, where “assistance from residents played an essential role in locating Bartocci,” says Sergeant William Uelen with the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

Bartocci is accused of stealing a Honda Pilot in Borrego Springs near Palm Canyon Drive and Christmas Circle around 4:45 p.m.. A be-on-the-lookout alert was sent out to local law enforcement units.


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MOST JULIAN BUSINESSES ARE OPEN FOR VISITORS, BUT JULIAN CARRIAGE COMPANY FALLS VICTIM TO PANDEMIC

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

August 13, 2020 (Julian) – Tourists are returning to Julian, the historic gold-mining town nestled in the mountains of San Diego's East County.  According to Robin Boland at the Julian Chamber of Commerce, nearly all businesses that are allowed to be open under state and county health mandates are now open, including shops, outdoor and takeout restaurants, breweries and wineries serving food. Though a few have limited hours, Boland assures, “There is still plenty to do and plenty of places to eat.”

One long-time town fixture, however, has fallen victim to the pandemic. Julian Carriage Company posted on Facebook July 31, "I'm sorry to hhave to inform you that due to COVID-19 and other extenuating circumstances we are no longer in business. Brett and I will sure miss everyone that came to Julian and rode our carriage. Life has taken us on another journey now and we are no longer in Julian. We love all of you!!!!!!! Thank you for an amazing 7 years!!!!!!! I will never forget this chapter of our lives."


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JULIAN WELCOMES VISITORS BACK



By Bobbi Zane

June 18, 2020 (Julian) --Julian shop and restaurant owners are now back open to serve visitors, though the rules have changed in the historic gold rush town located in San Diego's back country.

"Visitors no longer need to stay at home,” says Robin Boland, manager of the Julian Chamber of Commerce. During the COVID-19 shutdown, the Chamber had earlier asked visitors to stay away to prevent brining the virus to the mountain town which customarily thrives on tourism.

Restaurants and one-of-a-kind charming shops have lined both sides of Main Street for many years. Julian is also known for excellent restaurants, though Julian is most faous for its apple pies, known as the new gold that draws visitors to Mom's Pie House and Julian Apple Pies.


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PRESCRIBED BURN IN CUYAMACA AREA DID NOT JUMP CONTAINMENT LINE, CAL FIRE SAYS, BUT EXTRA RESOURCES WERE CALLED

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 22, 2020 (Cuyamaca Rancho State Park) – Cailfornia Dept. of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with Cal Fire yesterday conducted a prescribed burn in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. A large plume of smoke over Middle Peak late yesterday raised concerns among area residents,after winds kicked up and Cal-Fire called in extra resources.


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MYSTERIOUS CREATURE SPOTTED IN JULIAN AREA

By Miss Terry

April 1, 2020 (Julian) – Around the world, as cities and towns shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are reports of wild animals roaming the streets – from cougars in Colorado to coyotes in San Francisco.  Early this morning, several reports have come in of a mysterious creature first spotted in Ranchita and later, lumbering down Main Street through downtown Julian.

“It looked just like that statute of a yeti in front of the Ranchita store, only with long, dark hair,” said Ida Witness, a Ranchita resident who says she heard her dogs howling shortly before dawn when she went outside and saw the towering, shadowy figure.


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JULIAN ASKS VISITORS TO STAY AWAY DUE TO VIRUS

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 21, 2020 (Julian) – Julian, San Diego’s historic gold rush town, thrives on tourism. But yesterday, a press release sent by the  Julian Chamber of Commerce board of directors asks visitors to stay away in order to protect the health of residents during the coronavirus emergency.


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SDG&E BEGINS UNDERGROUNDING POWER LINES IN JULIAN, PROJECT WILL ALLOW CRITICAL FACILITIES TO REMAIN POWERED DURING SHUTOFFS

East County News Service

January 7, 2020 (Julian) – SDG&E has begun construction to place powerlines underground east of downtown Julian along Banner Road (State Route 78) and Cape Horn Avenue).

The project aims to reduce wildfire risk and allow key facilities to remain open during safety power shutoffs, according to a press release issued by SDG&E.

“Unlike overhead power lines, underground lines do not present a fire risk during high winds and elevated fire danger conditions. Facilities that will benefit from the undergrounding work include: the post office, county branch library, Julian Union High School, Julian Charter School, Julian Elementary School and the CAL FIRE Station, as well as a county public works maintenance yard and a school bus yard,” the utility states. Existing overhead power lines in the area will remain, as they are needed to continue serving some customers.


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MERCY AMBULANCE SKIDS OFF ROAD, LEAVING JULIAN WITHOUT MEDICAL RESPONSE FOR HOURS AS TOURISTS AND RESIDENTS EXPERIENCE “SNOWMAGEDDON”



Accident occurs soon after County Fire Authority/Cal Fire hauled away four-wheel-drive ambulances and fire engines formerly run by Julian’s volunteer fire department

County, Cal Fire and Mercy Medical Transportation fail to answer questions or provide solutions to prevent future fiascos

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

December 6, 2019 (Julian) -- As San Diegans rushed up to the mountain community of Julian last Saturday to play in the snow, a Mercy Medical Transportation, Inc. two-wheel drive ambulance under contract to the San Diego County Fire Authority and Cal Fire missed a curve on State Highway 78, landed off the side of the road and got stuck in snow for hours.

The incident occurred at 8:15 a.m. near Jess Martin Park. According to sources familiar with the situation, the two-man crew had been dispatched all the way from Valley Center, since Julian no longer has a locally stationed ambulance. The crew was reportedly unhurt and had been on the way to Julian Fire Station No. 56. It wasn’t until around 1 p.m. that a tow truck arrived to extricate the ambulance. It is unclear why neither Mercy or Cal Fire could provide a winch to free the vehicle sooner.


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AFTER RULING BY JUDGE, COUNTY REMOVES ALL EQUIPMENT FROM JULIAN FIRE STATION 56, INCLUDING FIRE ENGINES, AMBULANCE AND WATER TENDER

Safety concerns raised; court ruling by Judge Randa Trapp could be death knell to Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 20, 2019 (Julian) -- With a stroke of a gavel, San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp on Friday morning dashed hopes of volunteers from the former Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District that the district will be resurrected anytime soon.

Judge Trapp denied the motion filed by JCFPD’s attorney Cory Briggs last April 10, which sought to invalidate the dissolution of the volunteer fire and medical protection district by the San Diego Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO). Briggs filed the motion to appeal the afternoon after LAFCO’s vote.

Within hours of Trapp’s decision Friday, despite a new appeal of Friday's judgement filed by Briggs, the County Fire Authority operated by CALFIRE raided Julian Fire Station 56, towing away or hauling off all remaining firefighting equipment of the JCFPD including fire engines and ambulances. A broker has reportedly indicated that at least some of the equipment is being put up for sale, instead of being either held for the JCFPD in case of a win on appeal, or turned over to the CFA/CALFIRE to utilize to protect Julian.

Briggs called the action a “raid.”  Some Julian residents cried, while others voiced anger.

The action leaves Julian entirely dependent upon the CFA/CAL FIRE for protection, despite grave concerns raised by many residents over serious gaps in equipment and coverage since the JCFPD was dissolved.


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SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB LISTENS TO COMMUNITY CONCERNS IN JULIAN

Emergency fire and medical protection, SDG&E planned outages top list of concerns

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, contributed to this report

View video of townhall: https://tinyurl.com/JacobsJulianTownHall

Photo, left, by Paul Kruze:  Supervisor Dianne Jacob and SDG&E Vice President Eugene "Mitch" Mitchell fielded audience questions.

November 7, 2019 (Julian) -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob ventured into a potential firestorm when she held a scheduled town hall forum at the Julian Town Hall on October 25th in downtown Julian. Jacob’s town hall coincided with the anniversary week for the infamous 2003 Cedar Fire and 2007 Witch Creek firestorms which devastated the eastern San Diego backcountry. Up to then, both were the two worst wildfires in California history.

But the irony didn’t stop there. Moments before the town hall was set to begin, word reached the venue that a brush fire erupted near Witch Creek between Ramona and Julian. This prompted County Fire Authority/Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham to bolt out of the town hall where he was slated to speak in order to respond to the fast-moving fire.

“We are all on edge,” acknowledged Jacob, who chairs the county’s Unified Fire Council and outlined major investments made by the county to improve fire safety. “But we are better prepared than ever before.”

That contention, however, was disputed by the president of the former Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFD)'s  board of directors, as multiple fire engines and an ambulance roared past the town hall en route to the Sawday Fire in Ramona.


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RESIDENTS RALLY TO HELP CHIEF BAKER AND HIS WIFE WITH MEDICAL NEEDS

East Counrt News Service

November 7, 2019 (Julian) – Julian resident Jim Baker served as a firefighter for 41 years as well as Fire Chief in Del Mar.  But now he faces financial struggles after his wife, Janet, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. According to family friend Beatriz Cauzza, who has started a GoFundMe page to help the couple, “Within the first 26 days of that diagnosis Mr. Baker spent $143,000 on medical bills that were not covered by their insurance.”


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STATE SUPREME COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY DEVELOPER AND COUNTY; HOSKINGS RANCH TO REMAIN AS AGRICULTURAL PRESERVE

By Miriam Raftery
 
November 6, 2019 (Julian) – Land slated for development into luxury homes in the Julian area must remain as an agricultural preserve.  That’s the impact of the California Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for review filed by Genesee Properties, the developer of Hoskings Ranch and the County of San Diego.  
 
The appeal sought to overturn a July ruling in Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. County of San Diego County (Genesee Properties) by the 4th District Court of Appeal, which found that the County acted wrongly in approving 24 luxury homes on the agriculturally-zoned site protected under the Williamson Act.
  

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JULIAN COMMUNITY HERITAGE FOUNDATION HOSTS SECOND FUNDRAISER FOR TOWN SQUARE NOV. 9

By Kim Simas 

October 27, 2019 (Julian) - On Saturday, November 9, 2019, the Julian Community Heritage Foundation (JCHF) will host their second fundraiser benefitting the Julian Town Square Project. The group is spearheading the much-anticipated project to breathe life into the empty corner lot in the center of town. After three decades, the time is right to turn the space into something beautiful for Julian. Contaminated materials have been cleared from the vacant lot formerly owned by Chevron and county officials have given the green light to develop this property.


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JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE VOLUNTEERS CHALLENGE CAL FIRE/COUNTY FIRE CHIEF TONY MECHAM'S MEDICAL ASSISTANCE CLAIM

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

October 18, 2019 (Julian) -- San Diego County Fire Authority/CAL FIRE Chief Tony Mecham raised alarms about a medical situation at the Julian Fire Station No. 56, which led San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp to issue a court order in late May that forced Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District volunteers out of the embattled fire station. But volunteers with the JCFPD vigorously dispute Mecham’s assertions and contend he misconstrued the matter.


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FREE CAMPING FOR CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK VOLUNTEERS OCT. 26

East County News Service

October 10, 2019 (Julian) -- You can help maintain Cuyamaca Rancho State Park when you volunteer at a work day on Saturday, October 26 at 8:30 a.m. Learn and register to volunteer below.

 


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TEEN MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN JULIAN CRASH

East County News Service

October 9, 2019 (Julian) – A 19-year-old Julian man has died after a solo motorcycle crash that occurred at 5:15 p.m. on State Route 78 west of Pine Hills Road in Julian.

According to Officer Jeff Christy from the California Highway Patrol, the victim was riding a 2007 Yamaha R6 motorcycle westbound when he lost control in a curve and struck a utility pole on the north shoulder.

Paramedics performed potentially life-saving efforts on the teen, who sustained serious injuries. He was transported by ground to Santa Ysabel for transport by Mercy Air to a local hospital, but died during the flight.


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BRUSH MOUSE TESTS POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS IN JULIAN

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  Brush mouse, Peromyscus boylii

October 3, 2019 (Julian) - A brush mouse collected in routine monitoring in Julian has tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus, prompting County officials to remind people to never sweep or vacuum up after rodents if they find them in their living spaces.


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JULIAN AUTUMN JUBILEE AT FORT CROSS OLD TIMEY ADVENTURES EACH WEEKEND IN OCTOBER

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 22, 2019 (Santa Ysabel) – Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures will host its Julian Autumn Jubilee each weekend in October (Oct. 5-27)  Fort Cross is located at 4425 California 78 in Santa Ysabel, just outside of Juilan, California. Hours are Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 11:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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POWER OUTAGE SLATED IN JULIAN TODAY

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2019 (Julian) – SDG&E has announced a planned power outage today from 12 noon to 4 p.m. to protect safety of workers repairing power poles.  An estimated 1,600 customers will be affected.

If you are enrolled in SDG&E’s Medical Baseline program and have devices that depend on electricity, the Planned Outage Coordinator to confirm you have received the outage notification and to make any necessary arrangements during the planned outage. The outage coordinator can be reached weekdays between 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at 858-654-1785.

If you need assistance after hours or over the weekend, please call 1-800-211-7343.


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JULIAN TOWN SQUARE: RESIDENTS’ DREAMS FOR A HUB IN THE HEART OF HISTORIC TOWN MOVE CLOSER TO FRUITION

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 8, 2019 (Julian) -- A long-vacant lot in the heart of downtown Julian may soon become a town square with an amphitheater and community park to serve as a hub for community gatherings, holiday events, a farmer’s market, art walk and more. Over $182,000 -- nearly a third of the $600,000 funds needed--have been pledged, according to the Julian Town Square website.


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APPELLATE COURT OVERTURNS COUNTY’S APPROVAL OF HOSKINGS RANCH HOUSING SUBDIVISION ON RANCH LAND NEAR JULIAN

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 30, 2019 (Julian) – In a precedent-setting case over preservation of agricultural land protected under California’s Williamson Act, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal has published a decision that reverses a Superior Court ruling in Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. County of San Diego

 

The July 25th decision held that San Diego County officials acted wrongly when they approved a map for a housing subdivision  on the 1,400-acre Hoskings Ranch near Julian. The court found the Genesee Properties project would have set the stage to replace ranching with residential development--all while allowing the property owner to enjoy tax breaks intended to keep the land in agriculture.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY'S HISTORIC PLACES: JULIAN

By Donald H. Harrison

Originally published at San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  Julian Hotel, formerly Hotel Robinson

July 21, 2019 (Julian) - Whites who had been slaveholders and blacks who had been slaves contributed to the early history of Julian.  Today, in the colorful mountain town of gold mines, apples and antiques, both groups of people as well as other ethnic groups  are remembered and honored.


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A MAGICAL PLACE: HUBBELL HOME, STUDIO AND GARDENS

By Miriam Raftery

July 13, 2019 (Julian) – A visit to artist and architectural designer James Hubbell’s property atop a hill overlooking the Volcan Mountain Preserve in Julian, California is an entry into a whimsical world, where buildings appear to have sprouted from the landscape, complementing curves and rugged forms in nature, punctuated by colorful stained glass, murals and more.

Every year on Father’s Day, the Ilan Lael Foundation opens up the property to the public for a tour of the property, where James and his wife, Anne, still reside.  I had the pleasure of taking the tour this year.


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JULIAN BURGLARY SUSPECT FROM EL CAJON BUSTED AFTER CRASHING STOLEN BAJA BUG

By Miriam Raftery 

July 5, 2019 (Julian) – A Sheriff’s deputy investigating a burglary that occurred overnight in the 3300 block of Pine Hills Road spotted a Baja Bug (a Volkswagon beetle car altered for off-road use) drive onto the victim’s property this morning.  Realizing this could be the burglar returning to steal more items, the deputy tried to contact the driver, who sped away.


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