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EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE COLUMNISTS

 

CLICK TO READ ALL CURRENT AND PAST COLUMNS BY THESE COLUMNISTS:

American Trivia

Animal Tales

Ask the Retirement Concierge

The Attorney's Corner

Baja Blog

Bird Talk

Brew Beat

Caregiver's Journey

Deane's List

Destination East County

The Dog Blog

Dollar-Wise Divas

Dream Dogs

Earth Talk ®

East County Eater

East of the Line

Education Tour

From the Chief's Corner

Front and Center

Good Money

Homeowner's Guru

Kelly’s Travel Tips & Trips

Left Hook

Life on the Autism Spectrum

Marketing Matters

Media Watch

On the Silver Screen

Political Reflections

Political Wrangling

Purple Mountain Sage

Real Estate Trenches

Reno Dispatch

SD Trails

Social Security News You Can Use

Student's Corner (Students, please submit content!)

Sylvia's Soapbox

Voter’s Watchdog

Vines and Wines

 

ARCHIVED COLUMNS (Columnists no longer active. We are seeking replacement columnists for those marked with *. If you are interested in taking over one of these columns, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org. We also need more restaurant reviewers!)

Building with Clyde

*Citizens’ Park Review

*Cheapskate's Guide

*Crafting With Mary

Lederer on Language

 *The Loan Doc  (home mortgage and finance)

Pearls

 Policy Matters  (insurance issues)

 The Reno Report (Jamie Reno's opinions)

 *The Rolling Reviewer (issues of interest to disabled readers)

Simple Wisdom

 *Vines and Steins (East County wine and beer)

The Will Power Report

Scroll down to see the most recent column entries by all columnists, or click your favorite columnist's link above to see all current and past columns.

EARTHTALK(R): CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS IGNORE SCIENCE

 

Photo Credit: NASA HQ, Flickr CC

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House Science, Space  Technology Committee, calls the Obama administration's 2014 National Climate Assessment--which squarely pins the blame for global warming on human industrial activity--"a political document intended to frighten Americans into believing that any abnormal weather we experience is the direct result of CO2 emissions."

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Are there still outspoken global warming deniers in Congress or the mainstream media? If so, what do they say when presented with scientific facts and anecdotal evidence pointing to an increasingly warming atmosphere?                                                      -- Ben Charles, Cary, NC

December 20, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Given the preponderance of data showing rising temperatures around the globe in recent decades—along with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events—it’s hard to believe there are still any climate change deniers. But a recent survey by the non-profit Center for American Progress found that some 58 percent of Republicans in the U.S. Congress still “refuse to accept climate change.” Meanwhile, still others acknowledge the existence of global warming but cling to the scientifically debunked notion that the cause is natural forces, not greenhouse gas pollution by humans.

FREE AS A BIRD: BIRD IDIOMS AND CULTURE

 

By Greg Dunne                                           

December 19, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--“Free as a bird.” I might be a bit biased on this subject, being an avid birder, but I believe in the world of nature that birds are the biggest part of our human culture. We eat them, we use them in clothing, they are used for our national symbol, and we use them in our daily language.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: DEC. 20-JAN 11

 

Photo: Winter solstice sunrise on Cowles Mountain

December 18, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County has some wonderful events, from winter solstice walks to  performances of holiday classics including the Nutcracker Ballet and Handel’s Messiah. Plus we’ll have a preview of coming attractions…from the Aztecs playing in the Poinsettia Bowl to the Trout Reopener at Santee Lakes.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much more, from East County Magazine.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: LISTEN UP! THE BEST GIFT THIS SEASON DOESN'T HAVE TO COST A DIME

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 16, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The holidays provide a good opportunity to spend quality time with family, friends and co-workers while making deposits in our relationships. Naturally, conversation and talking with people is a big part of this season. “Most people are very good at talking about themselves, however, the best gift this year is the gift of listening, and it doesn’t cost a dime reminds Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.”

SD TRAILS: SPOOKY TRAIL RUN

 

By Randy Zuniga

December 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - I had been training off and on throughout the summer for a night trail half-marathon up by Julian in October. I was doing different trail runs throughout the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains to get ready for it.

ANIMAL TALES: A GUIDE TO PET THERAPY AND DOG TRAINING

 

By Mimi Pollack

December 10, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --Animals have a way of reaching others and comforting in a way that people sometimes can't. When a well-trained and loving dog is brought to a retirement home, a nursing and rehabilitation facility, or a hospice, etc., it brightens the day of so many people, bringing positive companionship. That is why pet therapy dogs provide such an invaluable service, and there are many owners who would like their pets to participate. However, if someone is interested, it is very important to do some research first.

BIRD TALK: SPOTTED TOWHEE (MISSION TRAILS)

 

By Greg Dunne                                       

December 9, 2014 (Mission Trails) --So striking are the looks of the Spotted Towhee that you can’t take your eyes off him until he ducks out of sight again in the undergrowth. Even if you’ve seen these birds many times before, you can’t wait to see another one. The Spotted Towhee’s jet-black head with contrasting white and brown and red eyes will immediately catch your attention.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY DECEMBER 10-21

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County has a wealth of winter festivities, from a Winter Wonder Jam at Cuyamaca College to La Mesa’s Victorian-style Christmas in the Village, a Chanukah celebration at Grossmont Center, a caroling party atop Mount Helix, a North Pole Limited Train ride and much more.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine.

SD TRAILS: NIGHT LIFE ON COWLES MOUNTAIN

 

By Randy Zuniga

December 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - A mountain of a mere 1,594 ft. high borders three cities -- San Diego, Santee, and La Mesa. For some, it's an epic hike accompanied by packs filled with snacks and water. For others, it's a quick jog up and a small water bottle waiting for them back at their car. No matter who you are -- everyone seems to love this mountain.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: HOTTEST HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS DEC. 5-14

By Miriam Raftery

December 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County is packed with holiday festivities, from Christmas on Maine Street in Lakeside to Santa at Santee Lakes and the "Light up the Grove" bonfire in Lemon Grove! Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, including La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village, a Winter Wonder Jam concert, and our very own East County Magazine holiday party.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: DRIVING IN THE RAIN-CAUTION, SLIPPERY WHEN WET!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 2, 2014 (San Diego)--The roads are slippery from much needed rain, which means you could slide more if you brake too quickly. Over time, engine oil and other substances build up on streets, and when rainwater gets added to the mix, a very slippery combination results. 

Always give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. There's also a chance that you could get water in your brakes, which will cause them to lose their stopping power. Never rush when it's raining heavily: accidents are even more likely when weather conditions are poor.

EARTHTALK(R): ROOFTOP SOLAR FINALLY COST COMPETITIVE WITH GRID IN U.S.

 

EarthTalk®

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that the price of getting solar panels installed on a home is lower than ever, but has it gotten to the point anywhere in the U.S. where it’s actually cheaper than traditional grid power yet?                             --Lester Milstein, Boston, MA

November 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Rooftop solar panels on have always been the province of well-to-do, eco-friendly folks willing to shell out extra bucks to be green, but that is all starting to change. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the cost of putting solar panels on a typical American house has fallen by some 70 percent over the last decade and a half. And a recent report from Deutsche Bank shows that solar has already achieved so-called “price parity” with fossil fuel-based grid power in 10 U.S. states. Deutsche Bank goes on to say that solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in all but three states by 2016—assuming,that is, that the federal government maintains the 30 percent solar investment tax credit it currently offers homeowners on installation and equipment costs.

THE ATTORNEY'S CORNER: CONTESTING A WILL

 

“Articles Concerning Trusts, Wills, Probate, Family Law & more”

By: Stephen C. Ross, Esq.

November 29, 2014 (San Diego County) – A "will contest" challenges the validity of a document alleged to be decedent's last will or a codicil to the will. A "contest" may occur either before or after the will is admitted to probate. In the first instance, the challenge is an attempt to preclude admission of the will to probate. In the latter instance, the challenge seeks to revoke probate of the will.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS NOV. 27--DEC. 8

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County includes some wild Thanksgiving happenings—form a swinging holiday party at Sycuan to a Thanksgiving feast for the beasts at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine. Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, including several  holiday home tours, community holiday festivals, Santa at Santee Lakes, and a Feliz Navidad celebration with mariachis and more at Jacumba Hot Springs!

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: BACK IN BLACK, GRAB THE SACK!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

 

November 22, 2014 (San Diego)--People trampling over each other for cheap goods merely hours after celebrating what they are already thankful for. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when holiday gift buying begins.  “Unfortunately, Black Friday is a day when many shoppers become victims of crimes and injuries says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.”

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS NOV. 22 – DEC. 7

 

November 19, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County includes events ushering in the holiday season, from a tree lighting and snow sledding in Santee to the annual Mother Goose Parade …plus we’ll have previews of some coming attractions in the next week or so, including musicals, Lemon Grove’s holiday bonfire and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Holiday Party. 

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: TANKS FOR THE MEMORY (FURY)

 

"The first casualty of war is innocence."

- Tagline, Platoon (Oliver Stone, 1986)

By Brian Lafferty

November 18, 2014 (San Diego) – In the 28 years since Platoon's release, its tagline quoted above has become more and more relevant in light of the world events that followed it. This includes, but is not limited to, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. With the way things are going, it looks at this point like those are just for starters.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: NOV. 13-23

 

East Count News Service

November 12, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--This week’s Destination East County includes a barbecue and beer-tasting event, a star party, a health faire, a brass quintet concert, the musical Mulan, and a holiday open house!  Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, such as Woodstock the Musical, Pomegranate Days at a camel farm, live music in Lemon Grove, a World of Bats program for nature-lovers, the Mother Goose Parade, and for working up an appetite for all that Thanksgiving Feasting, the Waddle and Trot 5 K run!

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine.

EARTHTALK(R): NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

 

EarthTalk®

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I hear that many school cafeterias have nutrition standards no better—even worse—than those of fast food chains. What can be done about this?      -- Betsy Edison, Nashville, TN

November 10, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Americans have done a great job making sure that our kids have something to eat at school regardless of socioeconomic status, with the National School Lunch Program providing low-cost or free lunches to upwards of 31 million students at 92 percent of U.S. public and private schools.

EARTHTALK(R): CLIMATE CHANGE

 

EarthTalk®

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that global warming is causing our crops to be less nutritious?

                                                                                                            -- William Persson, Glendale, OH

November 9, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - It is difficult to say whether or not the climate change we are now experiencing is negatively impacting the nutritional quality of our food, researchers warn that it may be only a matter of time. “Humanity is conducting a global experiment by rapidly altering the environmental conditions on the only habitable planet we know,” reports Samuel Myers, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: WALK THIS WAY...

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

November 10, 2014 (San Diego)--Cooler weather is upon us so why not put your best foot forward by keeping yourself free from accidents says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.  ‘Walk this Way’ and plan walk-able routes. Map out a well-lit route with sidewalks and crosswalks and little traffic. Let someone know when and where you are going. Walks are a great opportunity to educate kids about safety. Explain the different traffic signals, remind your kids to stop at the edge of driveways to watch for cars, and teach them never to cross streets without being in a crosswalk.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: NOVEMBER IS DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

November 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Did you know that one in twelve Americans has diabetes? That’s more than 25 million people. Another 79 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Why is this awareness important? Because diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. If it’s not controlled, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: NOV. 6-23

 

November 4, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes the Aztecs homecoming game, a hike by the light of the moon, the musical Mulan, an acorn harvest festival and a holiday open house at Summers Past Farms. Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, including a free concert by the Pomerado Brass Quintet and the much-anticipated East County holiday tradition, the Mother Goose Parade.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine!

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: COLD AS ICE (WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD)

 

By Brian Lafferty

October 31, 2014 (San Diego) – For a film directed by Gregg Araki – well-known for anarchic, usually erotically charged films like The Living End (1992), The Doom Generation (1995), and Mysterious Skin (2004) – White Bird in a Blizzard is unusually peaceful. While small traces of his trademarks – teenage angst, sex, and homosexuality – appear, his latest film is his most accessible by far. Whether that's refreshing or disappointing will depend on how much you're willing to readjust your expectations.

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: OCT. 31 - NOV. 15

 

East County News Service

October 29, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes lots of fun festive activities including an ice-skating Halloween costume party in Alpine , an art and wine festival at a Ramona castle, and the trout fishing season opener at Santee Lakes. Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, including an Acorn Festival and a Hike by the Light of the Moon in our mountain regions.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine!

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: ASHES TO ASHES (HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR)

 

By Brian Lafferty

October 27, 2014 (San Diego) -- Only death could stop prolific French director Alain Resnais from making movies. Resnais passed away on March 1 this year, having directed 50 features, shorts, and TV series. Even at 87 years young, when he helmed Wild Grass (released in the United States to deserved critical acclaim in 2010), he was as much a master of cinema as he was at 37, when he directed the film that quickly established him as one of France's preeminent filmmakers: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959). 

ASK THE RETIREMENT CONCIERGE: CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR WILL YOURSELF?

 

By Sharon Ann Hamilton

Dear Retirement Concierge,

I am retired and fortunately have adequate resources. I just don’t believe in spending money if I don’t have to and it is not hard because I have chosen to live a simple life for many years now. I do have my estate documents in order: trust, will, health care directive, and power of attorney for financial matters should I be unable to act for myself. Here is the situation: I want to make a couple of small changes in beneficiary recipients. Someone told me I could just handwrite a codicil and put in in my trust documents. Is that true? Attorneys are pricy these days and if I can do it myself without risk, I will.

POLITICAL WRANGLING: GAFFES, GOOFS AND MUDSLINGING IN EAST COUNTY RACES

 

By Buck Shott

October 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- The mud is flying as the clock ticks down to the November 4th election.  Here are some of the latest juicy stories, scandals and mud-slinging tactics on the campaign trail in San Diego and East County.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: DON'T BE A PUMPKIN HEAD!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 21, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - There’s a lot to cover for Halloween Safety and rather be a Pumpkin Head, let go over a few safety reminders advises Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.  Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.  Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always walk and don't run from house to house.

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