El Cajon

SHOULD EL CAJON CENSURE COUNCILMAN KALASHO?

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – As the scandals involving Councilman Ben Kalasho mount, with 11 citizens calling for his resignation at the last City Council meeting, some community members are now asking why the City Council has not censured Kalasho, who has announced his intent to run for Mayor. 

TWITTER DROPS FAKE FOLLOWERS; KALASHO’S FOLLOWERS SHRINK BY OVER HALF

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) – Yesterday, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho posted on Twitter, “Just blocked over 3,000 `reporters and so-called journalists’ from my twitter. Only accepting real people. No snooping snakes. Honest reporters welcome.”

Fact check:  Kalasho’s announcement comes the same day that Twitter dropped tens of millions of fake followers in an effort to halt fraud on social media, the Atlantic Journal Constitution reports:  https://www.ajc.com/news/national/twitter-removes-fake-accounts-users-may-see-drop-followers/Qk4eCHLsFaiiMJBfwocZCN/.

EL CAJON SEEKS VETERAN OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS

East County News Service 

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) - The City of El Cajon Veterans Commission presents a “Veteran of the Year” Award, recognizing those who go above and beyond in serving their community through their leadership abilities and/or community service in El Cajon, making a big impact on those they serve.  Final selections will be based on dedication, commitment, and demonstrated the impact of those served.  If you see, hear, or know of a veteran who has gone the extra mile to improve the quality of life in the community, please take this opportunity to acknowledge and reward that effort. 

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS SPEAKS OUT ON THREATS AGAINST ECM REPORTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Councilman Ben Kalasho during testimony by Paul Kruze regarding Kalasho’s alleged threat to maul the reporter with a trained attack dog

 

July 13, 2018 (El Cajon) – After our reporter Paul Kruze filed a police report alleging that El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists issued the following statement:

COMMUNITY MEMBERS URGE KALASHO TO RESIGN OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT FINDINGS AND ALLEGED THREATS

 

 

A group of people in a roomDescription generated with very high confidence

 

 

 

By Briana Ghaffery

View video of Council meeting: https://elcajonca.swagit.com/play/07112018-1233

 

July 11, 2018 (El Cajon) – Eleven speakers called on Councilman Ben Kalasho to resign during public comments at Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, where the audience included protesters who held signs reading “hands off our daughters” and “sex predator Kalasho belongs in jail” complete with a photoshopped picture of Kalasho as an inmate.

Kalasho has also announced his intention to run for Mayor, challenging incumbent Bill Wells.

MEDITERRANEAN FEAST! JULY 15 WITH EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB AT EAT-A-PITA IN EL CAJON

 

UPDATE: WALK-INS ARE WELCOME! BUT PLEASE RSVP.

July 4, 2018 (El Cajon) -- You're invited to our next East County Dining Club event, which benefits our nonprofit East County Magazine and our East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts.  

Please join us in a Mediterranean Feast on Sunday, July 15 at 1 p.m. at Eat a Pita! (1255 Avocado Road in the Vons shopping center at Chase and Avocado in  El Cajon).

$28 INCLUDES: Mediterranean feast!  Beef kebab, chicken kebab/souvlaki, falafel, dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), rice, Greek salad, pita bread and hummus, tax, tip, beer or wine, soft drink & refill, & 1 opportunity drawing ticket. Prizes include restaurant gift certifictes, a night's stay at Triple H Ranch Bed and Breakfast in Lakeside, jewelry, cookbooks, novels, Kamp's Propane gift certificate, ladybug planter, Prete-a-Porter Salon haircut, Club Pilates class and more!

RSVP BY JULY 10 for earlybird prize drawing: editor@eastcountymagazine.org   or 619-698-7617.

14 ARRESTED IN EAST COUNTY OPERATION

 

 

By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video courtesy of San Diego County Meth Strike Force

July 11, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - Fourteen people were arrested Tuesday evening by law enforcement agencies from East County during saturation patrols and probation compliance checks in known hot spots for drug-related crime.

GREGORY PAGE TRIO CONCERT JULY 28

 

Saturday, July 28, 6-8:30 p.m.

East County News Service

July 10, 2018 (El Cajon) - The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College welcomes back the Gregory Page Trio for a summer concert on Saturday, July 28 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Gregory will capture your heart with his engaging lyrics and soothing melodies reminiscent of the 1920’s sweet jazz era.

Click HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.

PROTEST TUESDAY IN EL CAJON OVER CHILD IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Child migrant detention facility in El Cajon

July 8, 2018 (El Cajon) – Activists are organizing a protest rally Tuesday, July 10th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in front of El Cajon’s City Hall (200 Civic Center Way) to call for a public hearing on a federal internment facility holding immigrant boys, including some who were separated from their parents at the border and others who arrived as unaccompanied minors.

The activity is part of the national #familiesbelongtogether movement following disclosure that thousands of children have been separated from their undocumented immigrant parents at the border.  Following exposure in media, children as young as one year of age have been ordered by the government to represent themselves at immigration hearings and some parents deported without their children.

“Our mission will be to apply extreme and persistent pressure upon the El Cajon City Council to hold one or more Public Hearings providing full discloser as to population welfare, and operational practices, of El Cajon's Migrant Youth Internment Facility," organizers state on a Meetup page for the event.

EL CAJON AND SANTEE WALMART SUPERCENTERS COMPLETE REMODELS

 

The two projects are part of the retailer’s investment in serving today’s customers

East County News Service

July 7, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- San Diego County residents today got their first look at two newly remodeled Walmart Supercenters. The El Cajon Supercenter at 605 Fletcher Pkwy, and Santee Walmart Supercenter at 170 Town Center Parkway both underwent extensive changes to better serve their customers.

JUDGE FINDS FACTS TRUE AND ADMISSIBLE IN CASE AGAINST KALASHOS: FAKED NUDE PHOTOS, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, DEFAMATION, AND OFFER TO TRADE SEX FOR PAGEANT CROWN

 

 

Judicial finding that Kalashos engaged in cyber-harassment, defamation and other intimidating actions comes within days of ECM reporter Paul Kruze filing a police complaint alleging that Councilman Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog and defamed him on social media.

Update: The judge's tentative ruling is now final.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ben and Jessica Kalasho at  a Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce event, before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office forced them to change the name of the organization due to trademark infringement.

July 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has issued a tentative ruling to grant a motion filed by beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner against El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica. The ruling allows documents and a supporting declaration submitted by plaintiffs’ lawyers to be admitted as facts at trial and  most damning, orders evidence of the following admissions to be submitted  at trial as true facts--meaning the Kalashos cannot dispute the accuracy of these findings in court:

  • Kalasho, his wife their entities created fake nude photos of Miss Middle East pageant Queen Zhala Tawfiq and published them online “intending to cause and causing Ms. Tawfiq severe emotional distress.”
  • Kalasho propositioned pageant contestant Paris Kargar, offering sex in exchange to ensure she won the 2016 Miss Middle East pageant. He made statements indicating her declining this proposition cost her a fair shot at the title.
  • Kalasho whispered in Kargar’s ear, “You are so f*cking hot, I cannot take my eyes off you.” He also made comments about her breasts jiggling as she walked down the runway.
  • Kalasho conducted one-on-one recorded interviews with 2016 contestants including Tawfiq and Karger, but destroyed these videos after the lawsuit in which Kargar contends she was harassed during her interview.
  • Kalasho,his wife and his entities created multiple alias Facebook profiles used to make defamatory posts against Tres Taqueria, including fabricated poll results and false claims of food poisoning after the restaurant owner refused to post Kalasho campaign signs.

LA MAESTRA FAMILY CLINIC GRANTED FM RADIO STATION LICENSE IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – La Maestra Family Clinic, a nonprofit which operates community health centers including a facility in El Cajon, has been granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate a low-power FM radio station in El Cajon.

EL CAJON SALVATION ARMY RUNS OUT OF FOOD

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Food donations are urgently needed at the Salvation Army in El Cajon, where supplies are at a “critical low point” after an annual holiday food drive fell far short.

Donations of canned, boxed or other nonperishable food items can be dropped off at the Salvation Army facility at 1011 East Main Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, the organization states on Facebook. For details, call (619) 440-4683. Financial donations are also welcome.

If the supplies are not promptly replenished within 30 days, the nonprofit will be forced to use funds to buy food items to feed the hungry, reducing money available for other important needs, an agency spokesperson has stated, NBC 7 reported.

"FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER” MOVEMENT COMES TO EL CAJON

 

By Eric Bartl

ECM Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

July 3, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Over a hundred people marched down Main Street through downtown El Cajon Saturday, June 30, joining the chorus of “Families Belong Together” protesters from cities across the nation.

Their chants, “families belong together” and “let the children go," received affirmations from passersby. Drivers honked their horns. Workers from restaurants and barber shops stuck their heads through their front doors greeting the march with waves and thumbs up.

PEARL HARBOR SURVIVORS JOIN THOUSANDS TO HONOR VETERANS IN EL CAJON

 

By Jesse B. Kendrick

Photo: El Cajon Councilmember Bob McClellan and granddaughter Jessica (left) join Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick (center) to honor Pearl Harbor survivor Stu Hedley, 96 (right).

July 3, 2018 (El Cajon) – Nearly 10,000 community members gathered this weekend for Celebrate America, the annual Independence Day event hosted by Shadow Mountain Community Church. The event featured indoor fireworks and a surprise appearance from military personnel who rappelled down ropes from the ceiling.

CREMATORIUM REJECTED BY EL CAJON PLANNING COMMISSION

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo:  Existing Mortuary at 374 North Magnolia Avenue in El Cajon

 July 1, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon Planning Commission again denied the Conditional Use Permit sought by El Cajon Mortuary and Cremation Service to build a crematorium at its existing site near El Cajon’s city center. The vote was 3-0 at the June 19th meeting, with commission members Mroz and Longoria absent.

PASSAGES: MEMORIAL MILE TONIGHT TO COMMEMORATE VALHALLA COACH CARTER YARBOROUGH

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2018 (Rancho San Diego) –Carter Yarborough, 48, a Valhalla High School cross country and track coach, was killed Sunday morning when his motorcycle struck a Sheriff’s vehicle that had pulled into his lane after a left turn on South Coast highway in Encinitas, Patch.com reports.

A memorial Mile in his memory will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Valhalla.  Team members, alumni, and friends are invited to participate in the walk of remembrance.

EL CAJON COMMUNITY FORUM ON HATE CRIMES

 

East County News Service

June 28, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and the El Cajon Police Department are hosting a free community Forum on hate crimes, law enforcement and community resources. The event will be held on Tuesday, July 17 from 6-8 p.m. at the El Cajon Police Department’s community room at 100 Civic Center Way.

Please RSVP to Shastity.urias@usdoj.gov or call (619) 546-9399.

EL CAJON’S 4TH OF JULY PICNIC AND FIREWORKS INCLUDES LIVE MUSIC, KIDS’ FUN AND MORE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 28, 2018 (El Cajon) – The city of El Cajon will present its annual Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration at Kennedy Park (1675 East Madison Ave.) starting at noon Wednesday and ending with a 9 p.m. fireworks show synchronized to music.  1675 East Madison Avenue. Bring  a picnic or buy food from vendors, plus enjoy live music by two bands, inflatables, crafts, games and a “kiddie train.

Schedule of events:

SURI RESTAURANT AND MARKET HOSTS WORLD REFUGEE DAY EVENT

 

By Kendra Sitton

June 28, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Community-oriented business leaders from across the County descended on Suri Restaurant in El Cajon on Wed., June 20.  Business for Good SD partnered with the restaurant for World Refugee Day. During their monthly mixer, the entrepreneurs and local leaders ate Syrian food masterfully prepared by the restaurant’s staff, comprised entirely of refugees.

PEDESTRIAN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN EL CAJON

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Paul Kruze

June 23, 2018 (El Cajon) – A pedestrian was struck and seriously injured at Main and Ballantyne in El Cajon tonight by a black Ford Focus.  Witnesses told ECM that the injured man suffered a head injury and was transported to a local hospital.

He was described by bystanders as an elderly man believed to be homeless. 

FREE MEETING TO HEAR SUCCESS TIPS FROM TOP EAST COUNTY REAL ESTATE AGENTS

 

East County News Service

June 22, 2018 (El Cajon) – Keller Williams Realty San Diego East Foothills, based in El Cajon, will host a panel discussion with top Keller Williams sales agents from noon to 2 p.m., Thursday, June 28, at its El Cajon office, 1030 Fletcher Parkway. Real estate professionals throughout San Diego County are invited to attend. Admission is free. Free lunch will be served.

MARRIOTT COURTYARD HOTEL, CORNERSTONE OF EL CAJON’S DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT, CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING

  

 

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor, and Miriam Raftery, Editor

June 21, 2018 (El Cajon) — The seeds of El Cajon’s Herculean downtown redevelopment plans for the city's historic heart bore fruit at Thursday's grand opening of the Courtyard-by-Marriott El Cajon hotel, drawing an enthusiastic crowd.

The four-story, 88,000-square foot hotel is located on Magnolia Street just off Main Street near the city's “superblock”, which also includes the East County Performing Arts Center set to reopen in spring under management of international concert promoter and producer Live Nation.

Numerous restaurants, sidewalk cafes, shops, galleries, and civic festivals  are all within a couple of blocks of the hotel in the revitalized heart of El Cajon, a city that celebrated its centennial in 2013. Located just off Interstate 8 in San Diego's East County,  the hotel is 20 to 30 minutes from downtown San Diego and beach areas, also close to attractions in the region's backcountry. 

But there's plenty to do right here in downtown El Cajon, where major community events include Friday night outdoor concerts at Prescott Promenade Park and Wedneday night classic car shows (photo, below right)on Main Street all summer long. Visitors can also enjoy seasonal celebrations such as America on Main Street, Hauntfest on Main, and holiday festivities. The superblock also includes city hall, the courthouse, library, and police headquarters.

EAST COUNTY REALTORS REVIEW UPDATES TO REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION FORMS

 

East County News Service

June 21, 2018 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a real estate trade group with an El Cajon office, will present a class for realtors on recent changes to real estate transaction forms from the California Association of Realtors (CAR). The class will be held from 11 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, July 3, at the PSAR East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. All real estate professionals in San Diego County are invited to attend. Admission is free for PSAR members, $20 per person for nonmembers. For more information, call PSAR at (619) 421-7811, or visit www.psar.org/formsnew.

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS TOUR MIGRANT CHILDREN DETENTION FACIITY IN EL CAJON, DENOUNCE SEPARATION FROM PARENTS

 

 

Protest planned Saturday downtown

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Photo: Congressman Juan Vargas, right, and Congresswoman Susan Davis, left, arrive at child detention facility in El Cajon.

June 18, 2018 (El Cajon, CA) – San Diego Congressional members Susan Davis and Juan Vargas joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members of the Hispanic Caucus in touring three local facilities holding child immigrants, including a fenced facility in EL Cajon with 65 migrant boys, 10 percent of whom were forcibly separated from their parents by the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all undocumented parents.  In the past six weeks, the federal government has acknowledged taking away over 2,000 children from parents at the border, including infants and toddlers.

“The United States should have a zero tolerance policy for the immoral treatment of children,” said Rep. Davis (CA-53), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee whose district includes part of El Cajon. “We are a nation of values and we ask our men and women in uniform to defend those values every day. This policy is in no way consistent with those values.”

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: DANA LAW, HIKER WHO COMPLETED PACIFIC CREST TRAIL

Law will speak today at the El Cajon Library on his Pacific Crest Trail adventure

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 16, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Dana Law is a magician, but he’s recently completed a feat that required no magic—just a lot of willpower and walking.  He hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mexican border to Canada. The trail runs 2,650 miles – the equivalent of climbing Mt.  Everest 16 and a half times.  He did it in 31 sections over 13 years.  In an interview with East County Magazine aired on KNSJ,  the intrepid local hiker discussed his adventures along the way, also offering advice to those who may wish to tackle the trail.

Click the audio link to listen to our interview, and scroll down for details on today's event, plus links to his blog and Facebook page, where you can find a journal he kept of each stretch along the route.

For Law, his motivation wasn't all about nature, though he has stated, "The trail symbolizes everytihng there is to love--and protect--in the Western States." To him, the real treasure of the trek are the bonds built with friends along the way, and the accomplishment of fulfilling a rigorous physical challenge.

Audio: 

Interview with Dana Law, Pacific Coast Trail hiker, on KNSJ

PLANS FOR PROPOSED DOWNTOWN EL CAJON CREMATION FACILITY GOING UP IN SMOKE

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left, by Paul Kruze:  Mortuary, shown on right.

Update July 1, 2018: El Cajon Planning Commission again denied the Conditional Use Permit sought by El Cajon Mortuary and Cremation Service to build a crematorium at its existing site near El Cajon’s city center. The vote was 3-0 at the June 19 meeting, with commission members Mroz and Longoria absent. For details, click here.

 June 16, 2018 (El Cajon) -- A downtown El Cajon mortuary owner’s plans to add a crematorium to his existing mortuary business was upended on Thursday when the City of El Cajon Planning Commission staff recommended that the Planning Commission deny his application for a second time.

WASTE MANAGEMENT DRIVER TURNS FOUND KITTEN OVER TO NEWLY OPENED EL CAJON ANIMAL SHELTER, ADOPTS KITTEN

 

Source:  Waste Management

June 15, 2018 (El Cajon) - A kitten who narrowly escaped death is now safe and sound in his new home, after being adopted by the Waste Management driver who rescued him.

In March, East County Waste Management driver Michael Cabrera was ending his shift with his routine safety inspection of his truck, when he noticed a cardboard box stuck in the grate of the truck’s compactor blade. Inside was a tiny kitten, with his umbilical cord still attached.

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