Rural communities

ALPINE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION NOW ACCEPTING TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Drone video of West Fire devastation in Alpine: "Aftermath from above" by Joseph A. Acevedo, N6SIX

July 15, 2018 (Alpine) – People who want to help Alpine residents rebuild homes lost after the West Fire, and fill gaps that insurance companies and other agencies aren’t filling, can now make a tax deductible donation to the Alpine Community Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

A community recovery team will help the Foundation verify needs and resources. Money will pay bills directly, and will not be paid directly to individuals. Those in greatest need will receive help first.  The Foundation is run by volunteers in the community, so no fees will be charged and 100% of donations will benefit fire survivors.

HOW TO HELP WEST FIRE SURVIVORS IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (Alpine) – Many of our readers have been asking how to help people who lost homes in the West Fire in Alpine earlier this month.  Several organizations are helping out and GoFundMe pages have also been set up for some of the families.

Alpine Christian Fellowship has established a West Fire relief fund that is accepting financial donations.  You can also sign up to volunteer to help with debris clean up, supply distribution, food and water, pet care, child care, spiritual care, or transportation.

A Fire Victim Supply Post has been set up at Boulder Oaks Elementary (2320 Tavern Rd., Alpine) where you can donate and drop off supplies to help fire survivors such as clothing, clean-up supplies, non-perishable food items and household goods.  For more info please call or text Margo at 619-876-8713 or Stephanie at 619-573-5638.

Keller Williams Realty has started a fund to help West Fire survivors and is also accepting donations of immediate relief supplies at three locations in Alpine and El Cajon. Details are at their GoFundMe link.

Below are other  GoFundMe sites set up to help specific individuals and families who lost homes in the West Fire. While some have already raised tens of thousands of dollars, other have nearly no donations. Please help our neighbors in need.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: SAN MIGUEL FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE FLAMES IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (Alpine) – San Miguel Fire Protection District posted these dramatic images of their firefighters battling to save mobile homes during the West Fire in Alpine on July 6th.   

STRAW BALE HOME IN CAMPO HONORED AS ENERGY CHAMPION BY SDG&E, WILL BE FEATURED ON GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL TOUR OCT. 21

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Simple Construct

 

 

Hear our interview on KNSJ radio with homeowners Brian and Susan Fallgren, Simple Construct builder Rebeca Tasker, and SDG&E communications manager Helen Gao.

 View video on the home’s construction and view tour of the finished residence. 

July 14, 2018 (Campo) – Inspired by historical California adobe homes,  Brian and Susan Fallgren in Campo teamed up with Simple Construct to create a straw bale and adobe home that is beautiful, comfortable even in extreme heat, fire resistant and energy efficient—producing more power than it uses. 

The home has also won numerous honors.  It’s the first residence in Southern California to receive net zero certification through the Living Building Challenge, one of only 27 homes in the world to win this recognition.  A participant in the California Advanced Homes Program, it was also a winner in  the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) 13th annual  Energy Showcase Awards and will be featured on the San Diego Green Building Council’s Green Homes Tour on Sunday, October 21.

“It’s an incredibly functional, comfortable home to live in, not only from an environmental standpoint, but from an every day livability standpoint,” Susan Fallgren says.

Audio: 

Interview: Straw Bale Homes--Helen Gao of SDG&E, Rebecca Tasker of Simple Construct, & Campo homeowners Brian and Susan Fallgren

PUBLIC HEARING SET FOR POSSIBLE ALPINE HOMES PROJECT

 

Source: Alpine-Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce

 

July 12, 2018 (Alpine) - A public hearing about the storm water management plan for the proposed Rancho Sierra residential subdivision in Alpine will be held on Friday, July 20, in San Diego.

 

The County of San Diego has set the hearing for its 9 a.m. session in the County Operations Center Chambers at 5520 Overland Ave.

TRUCK DRIVER STRANDED 24 HOURS IN ALPINE RAVINE IS RESCUED BY SHERIFF’S SEARCH TEAM

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo:  ASTREA helicopter, file photo

 

July 10, 2018 (Alpine) – A truck driver trapped in a ravine for over 24 hours was rescued by the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team shortly before 5:30 a.m. The search began after Alpine Sheriff’s station deputies checked on an overdue big rig; the driver’s GPS led them to his truck parked near the I-8 viewpoint parking lot with engine running and headlights on.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY LUM EISENMAN WINE COMPETITION AWARDS RECORD NUMBER OF MEDALS

 

Source: Ramona Valley Vineyards Association

 

July 10, 2018 (Ramona) -- San Diego County winemakers picked up a record number of medals for outstanding wine at the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA) Awards Dinner for the ninth San Diego County Lum Eisenman Wine Competition on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 held at the San Vicente Resort.

OUR EAST COUNTY WILDFIRE ALERTS PROVIDED CRITICAL, TIMELY INFORMATION DURING EARLY HOURS OF WEST FIRE IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Bob Scheid, shortly after the West Fire began, helped us provide critical early warning to our readers

July 9, 2018 (Alpine) – In the critical first few hours of the West Fire in Alpine, our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts provided the earliest news that a fire had begun and was threatening homes in Alpine. In the first 12 hours, we posted 38 updates including Twitter, email, articles and social media.

During the fire’s first day, our first alert was sent at 11:44 a.m (simultaneous to the Forest Service's first Tweet five minutes after the fire was reported at 11:39 a.m., per Cal Fire's incident report). That was nearly an hour and a half before the first Cal Fire and County Fire Authority Tweet at 1:04 p.m.  and a full four hours before the first Cal-Fire e-mail alert went out at 3:43 p.m. announcing “numerous structures destroyed.”

Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Tony Mecham has said homes were burning within eight minutes after the fire started, Patch.com reports.

Alpine Fire Department, battling the inferno amid power outages and grappling with a seriously injured fire captain, didn’t get their first Twitter alert out until the next day.  Cleveland National Forest did send timely alerts via Twitter only, but stopped after the fire burned outside of federal lands and into neighborhoods with homes.

During the first 12 hours of the fire, we sent frequent updates via Twitter and email, as well as posting numerous updates on our webpage plus photos and video link. We even went the extra mile to post some information on our Facebook page and on some community forum Facebook pages in or near the Alpine area, where many were without power but could access those sites on cell phones.

ANIMAL SERVICES HELPS PETS, LIVESTOCK DISPLACED IN WEST FIRE

 

Owners sought for pets found after Alpine fire

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

July 9, 2018 (Alpine) - The County Department of Animal Services rescued or sheltered approximately 30 animals from the West Fire, and after reuniting all but four, staff members are helping people impacted by the fire with pet food and resources if needed at the Alpine Local Assistance Center.

DONATE GOODS TO HELP ALPINE FIRE VICTIMS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2018 (Alpine)--A donation center has been set up  by Living Life Alpine for the pubic to drop off goods to help survivors of the West Fire in Alpine, which destroyed at least 35 homes as well as many outbuildings, also damaging other properties.  Donations can be dropped from from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Boulder Oaks Elementary School auditorium at 2320 Tavern Road, Alpine.

This location has changed from an earlier site opened last night, which has already provided relief supplies to several families. 

“Any donations are welcome,” the organization’s Facebook page states.  “Here are some ideas:”

WITH FIRE 92% CONTAINED, ALPINE RESIDENTS RETURN HOME – WITH DOZENS FINDING ONLY ASHES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ready San Diego

July 8, 2018 (Alpine)—The grim toll wrought by the 505-acre West Fire in Alpine has risen. With the wildfire now 92 percent contained and all evacuations lifted, reentry brought relief for some who found homes still standing, but heartache for others facing total devastation.

The fire destroyed at least 56 structures, including 34 homes, a business, and 21 other buildings including barns and sheds.  Another 15 homes were damaged, along with 5 outbuildings.

Merlyn Cochran, assistant manager at Baron’s Market, was at work  when the fire started. Neighbors Al and Sharon Haven told Cochran and her husband to “go get my mother-in-law, who is 96 years old and lives at our ranch, because the winds were shifting and blowing towards our ranch,” Cochran recalls.

ALPINE FIRE CAPTAIN AND SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD MEMBER MIKE VACIO INJURED IN WEST FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Facebook

July 8, 2018 (Alpine) — An Alpine Fire Department crew, the first to arrive at the West Fire in Alpine on Friday, swiftly found themselves surrounded by flames and narrowly managed to escape.  The scorching flames were so hot that they melted tires on the fire engine, 10 news reports.

HEARTBREAK AND HEROISM IN ALPINE

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, courtesy San Diego Sheriff Office, Alpine

 

July 6, 2018 (Alpine) – At the Secret Hills Ranch in Alpine, owner Missy Bender posted this  panicked message on Facebook today as the #WestFire approached: “Fire is here desperately need help…”   With 41 horses in need of evacuation, she pleaded for  help “even on foot” adding that the Sheriff wasn’t letting trailers in. “We have to lead horses out on foot,” she said, adding, “We are fighting the fire off our back fence…”

CAL FIRE LIFTS EVACUATION WARNING FOR SOME WEST FIRE AREAS

 

Update July 8, 2018 --  A Local Assistance Center (LAC) will open Monday, July 9th at the Alpine Library. County representatives & other organizations will be there to help impacted residents begin the rebuilding & recovery process. The LAC will operate 9am-6 pm, until further notice.

Source: County Emergency Services

Photo by Miriam Raftery

Update 8:30 p.m. -- Due to more accurate mapping Cal Fire reports the West Fire is now 504 acres. Firefighters continue to make excellent progress, as the fire is now 81% contained. Evacuation orders and road closures remain in effect throughout the night.

 

July 7, 2018 (Alpine) 6 p.m. --CAL FIRE San Diego announced that the following areas previously under evacuation order or warning for the West fire are now open to residents only:

  • Palo Verde Ranch community to areas outside the fire perimeter
  • Rancho Palo Verde community to areas outside the fire perimeter
  • West of South Grade Road area
  • West of the fire perimeter
  • South of Alpine Boulevard between Peutz Valley Road and South Grade Road
  • West of South Grade Road between Alpine Boulevard and Via Viejas Oeste
  • West of Via Vejas Oeste between South Grade Road and Via Asoleado
  • West of Via Asoleado between Via Viejas Oeste and Japatul Road 

The following areas remain under an evacuation order throughout the night and until further notice:

RECOVERY RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR WEST FIRE SURVIVORS; 18 HOMES LOST IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 7, 2018 (Alpine) – Firefighters made progress on the #WestFire overnight, holding the wildfire to 400 acres with containment now 30%.  At least 18 homes are reported destroyed and 8 more damaged.  Evacuation orders remain in place.  A shelter at Los Coches Middle School remains open and pets are welcome at the shelter.

If you need help after the #West Fire in Alpine, you can call 211 or click here for a list of resources:  https://www.sdcountyrecovery.com/events/july-2018-fire-recovery-resources/.

State and county emergency declarations have been issued. 

VINEYARD HACIENDA: A SECLUDED RETREAT ALONG HISTORIC HIGHWAY 94

 

 

Our guide to unique lodging and adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Miriam Raftery

June 30, 2018 (Spring Valley) – Vineyard Hacienda, a 13,000 square-foot adobe estate home built in the 1930s in old-style Spanish tradition on a nine-acre property, is secluded retreat that also serves as an idyllic base for guests seeking to explore historic Highway 94.

“As soon as you drive down our driveway, you escape into a little paradise,” says Joseph Harmes III, proprietor.

STRUCTURES BURNING IN DULZURA AND ALPINE BRUSH FIRES

 

Update 5 p.m. The County has declared an emergency due to the fires: County proclaims a local emergency due to the fires:  http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/updates/county-proclaims-local-emergenc...   The Governor has also declared a state emergency in San DIego County moments ago: @JerryBrownGov declares state of emergency in San Diego County due to #WestFire https://bit.ly/2MPRlNi

Update 3:10 p.m.:  10 News, ECM's news partner, has provided a map of the #WestFire in Alpine.

Update 2:30 p.m. Fire is now 350 acres in Alpine and 0% contained.

Update 2:10 p.m. Lakeside Rodeo Grounds is open for large animal evacuations.

Update 1:50 p.m.  CHP has shut down I-8 east at Tavern Rd. The Tavern and Willows Rd. exits are also closed. Over 1,400 homes are without power in the Alpine area due to lines damaged by the fire; estimated restoration time is 4 p.m. per SDG&E.

Update 1:30 p.m.:  The #WestFire in Alpine is now 150 acres. Mandatory evacuations are underway. Homes are burning on Honey Hill Road.

 

Photos:  #WestFire in Alpine, by Robert Scheid

View video:https://www.facebook.com/robert.scheid.35/videos/1024052857719513/

July 6, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Two brush fires have burned at least one structure each in Dulzura and Apine.  The #StructureFire at State Route 94 and Community Rd. in Dulzura has charred over 10 acres per Cal Fire and prompted 144 evacuation notices to be issued per County Emergency Services.  NBC 7 has film of a structure in flames.

In Alpine, the #WestFire started south of I-8, west of Willows, and is burning toawrd mobile homes, an eyewitness at the scene advises ECM. It is now estimated at 10-15 acres per Cleveland National Forest which confirms structures are threatened. A Fox TV video shows at least one structure already burning.  A DC 10 has been requested.

Robert Scheid, an eyewitness at the scene, says the fire in Alpine is burning toward mobile homes and that some flames are as tall as power poles.

CHAMBER MIXER AT GRANITE LIONS CELLARS SHOWCASES NEW OUTDOOR EVENTS VENUE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2018 (Jamul) – The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and Alpine-Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce held a joint mixer beneath shady oaks at a new outdoor event venue at D&S Farms, home to Granite Lions Cellars in Jamul.

ALPINE FOURTH OF JULY PARADE DRAWS A CROWD

 

Source: Alpine Chamber of Commerce

 

July 5, 2018 (Alpine) -- Alpine’s hometown 4th of July Parade & Festival was a joyful celebration of the nation’s 242nd birthday. Whether they walked, danced or waved from vehicles and floats coming down Alpine Boulevard, parade participants with more than 65 entries smiled and called out to family, friends and visitors.

VACANCY ON SPRING VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 3, 2018 (Spring Valley) – “There is now a vacancy on our planning group for Seat #5 with a term expiring in January of 2021,”  Spring Valley Community Chairperson Jim Custeau announced today. “If you are interested in applying or know someone who might be interested, please see the attached Vacancy Notice.”

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH: SPRING MANZANITA HIGH MOUNTAIN RENDEZVOUS IN CAMPO

http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/cabins-camping-and-fishing-are-lures-lake-morena-county-park-gateway-pacific-crest-trail​​​​​​​

 

By Jonathan Goetz

July 3, 2018 (Campo) – Happy Independence Day, Campo and rural readers! We are taking this time to share pictures from the Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous, held earlier in spring. The gathering recreates life in a mountain man encampment from the 18th and 19th centuries on the American frontier.

Please enjoy, and have a great Fourth of July!

FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE CONCLUDES INVESTIGATION OF TIGER SIGHTINGS IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2018 (Boulevard) – East County Magazine spoke with two officials from California Fish & Wildlife Service today regarding their investigation into reported tiger sightings in San Diego’s East County. 

“We took the report very seriously,” says media specialist Peter Tira. “We believe it is a hoax.” 

Tira says U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) notified the state Fish & Wildlife agency last week about a report of a possible full-grown tiger just north of the border.  Sheriff’s representatives previously told ECM that undocumented immigrants apprehended by Border Patrol agents under ICE claimed to have seen a tiger.

HEATWAVE FORECAST LATE NEXT WEEK

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 1, 2018 (San Diego) — The National Weather Service predicts temperatures are likely to reach excessive levels by Friday and Saturday. There will also be a chance of thunderstorms in the mountains of San Diego County and other Southern California locations. Temperatures could reach 118 degrees in Borrego Springs, 101 in Ramona, 100 degrees in Alpine, and 97 degrees in Julian.

 

Be sure to stay well hydrated with plenty of water and avoid strenuous outdoor activities if possible.  If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors.

FROM OUTLAWS TO A WOLF ON A MOTORCYCLE, ALPINE’S 4TH OF JULY PARADE IS SOMETHING TO HOWL ABOUT

 

East County News Service

July 1, 2018 (Alpine) -- Alpine’s Fourth of July Festival Parade rolls out at 10 a.m. Wednesday down Alpine Boulevard featuring a biplane flyover, donkeys, a clown on stilts, the Alpine outlaws, tumblers, floats, and a wolf on a motorcycle among over 50 entries.

After the parade, which ends at Tavern Road, a festival will be held at the Alpine Community Center, where Uncle Sam will be posing for photos. There will also be games, a dunk tank, bounce house and vendors galore.

TIGER REPORTS IN EAST COUNTY UNSUBSTANTIATED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Bengal tiger in India, via Wikipedia

Update July 2, 2018:  Two Fish & Wildlife officials now tell ECM they believe reports of a tiger loose in East County are a hoax. Read our new story here:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/fish-wildlife-service-concludes-invest...

DEERHORN VALLEY’S INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE

 

 

East County News Service

June 29, 2018 (Deerhorn Valley) – “If it moves, it can parade!” say organizers of the 6th annual Deerhorn Valley Independence Day Parade.  That includes wagons, carts, tractors,  bikes, strollers, joggers, horses, dogs, emus and other animals in a parade that reflects small town Americana at its best.

Staging for the parade in Deerhorn Valley, a small town south of Jamul, begins at 9:30 a.m. at McNeil’s Field at the junction of Elena Way and Mt. Elena (accessed off Deerhorn Valley Road: see map) with the parade rolling out at 10 a.m. A picnic follows, with hotdogs, chips, ice cream, water and free popcorn. There will also be face painting and vintage autos on display.

CABINS , CAMPING AND FISHING ARE LURES AT LAKE MORENA COUNTY PARK, GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our guide to unique lodging and adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry and inland areas

 

Story by Jonathan Ronald Goetz

Photos by Jonathan Ronald Goetz, Ronald Goetz, Miriam Raftery, and County of San Diego, Department of Parks and Recreation

June 18, 2018 (Campo) – People have been hiking, fishing and camping in the area today known as Lake Morena as well as the surrounding creeks and mountains for over 12,000 years, starting with the Kumeyaay, Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Native American tribes.

Today, much of this area in southeast San Diego County is preserved for the public to enjoy.  At an elevation of 3,000 feet, the park has mountain, desert and coastal habitats including over 3,250 acres of dense chaparral, ancient oaks and open grasslands surrounding the lake, the most remote reservoir in San Diego County, according to ranger Jessica Geiszler..

Lake Morena County Park remains one of the most affordable and inclusive places around, with boating from $12-$50, nightly tent-site for $22, RV for $31 or cabins starting at $50.

SHERIFF SHUTS DOWN ANOTHER ILLEGAL POT SHOP IN SPRING VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (Spring Valley) – The Gas House 64 marijuana dispensary at 8818 Troy Street is the latest of many illegal pot shops to be shut down in Spring Valley.

Although marijuana use is legal in California, new marijuana dispensaries are illegal in the unincorporated parts of San Diego County.  Rancho San Diego Sheriff’s deputies served an abatement notice on the dispensary’s owners yesterday morning for violating a zoning ordinance.  Large amounts of marijuana, marijuana edibles, paraphernalia and other items were seized, though no arrests were made.

JAMUL MAN KILLED IN WINDOW WASHING ACCIDENT DOWNTOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (Jamul) – James Stinson, 61, of Jamul has been identified as the window washer who fell at least five stories to his death on the morning of June 12th in downtown San Diego.  He was washing windows at a condominium complex at 1150 J Street when he rappelled off the building and fell to the ground below.

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