PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PARADISE IN DESCANSO

CROCS AND KINGS

VALENTINE’S OPEN RANCH AT ALPACAS OF SAN DIEGO IN DESCANSO FEB. 13

LOVE IS IN THE AIR AT LA CASA DEL ZORRO RESORT

WINDWALKER NOMINATED FOR GRAMMY: HEAR OUR INTERVIEW

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

GOING TO THE DOGS: LA MESA ALLOWS FIVE PER HOME

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS FEB. 6-21

WINERY ORDINANCE AND HOSKINGS RANCH TO BE HEARD FEB. 5 BY PLANNING COMMISSION

CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CHARGES FILED AGAINST SEMPRA’S SOCALGAS OVER SAN ALISO GAS LEAK

WHO DECLARES ZIKA EMERGENCY AS DISEASE SPREADS WORLDWIDE; ZIKA TRANSMITTED BY SEXUAL CONTACT IN U.S.

CRUZ WINS IOWA REPUBLICAN CAUCUS; DEMOCRATS CLINTON AND SANDERS IN VIRTUAL TIE

News

COUNTY PARKS HOSTS “SWEETHEART SELFIE CONTEST”: WIN A WEDDING AT FLINN SPRINGS

 

Source: County News Service

 

February 5, 2016 (Flinn Springs) -- Snap a selfie with your sweetheart at a San Diego County park for a chance to win a ceremony and reception at one of the County’s premier outdoor wedding destinations. Deadline to submit photos is Friday, February 12th. One lucky couple will receive:

FULL HOUSE TURNS OUT AT FUTURE OF LA MESA FORUM

 

By Miriam Raftery

Note: Due to a family emergency, our reporter missed this event, so we interviewed Colin Parent with La Mesa Conversations for highlights.

February 4, 2016 (La Mesa) – An estimated 117 people turned out at a “Future of La Mesa” forum held January 26th at the Masonic Lodge.

STATE CATCHES ILLEGAL CONTRACTORS FLOODING SAN DIEGO WHILE HOMEOWNERS PREPARE FOR EL NIÑO

 

Two-day sting catches 15 illegal operators, including three repeat offenders and a Most Wanted suspect

East County News Service

February 3, 2016 (San Diego) -- Forecasters have been warning West Coast residents to prepare for heavy rain and flooding from this season’s El Niño. Along with these warnings, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) urges homeowners to be cautious of unlicensed workers advertising for roof repairs and other flood prevention jobs. Fifteen unlicensed contractors were caught during a two-day sting in San Diego this week, proving that many illegal operators are taking this as opportunity to prey on consumers preparing for storms.

WINERY ORDINANCE AND HOSKINGS RANCH TO BE HEARD FEB. 5 BY PLANNING COMMISSION

 



 

East County News Service

January 31, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego County Planning Commission, after months of review and public input on proposed changes to the tiered winery ordinance, will hold a hearing on Friday, February 5th on the proposed zoning ordinance amendment.  In addition, planners will consider a proposed map for the Hoskings Ranch residential development project in Julian.

Some winery owners voice continuing concerns over the proposed changes. Teri Kerns, co-owner of Ramona Ranch Winery, told East County Magazine, "We are pleased to see that a few of our suggestions have been incorporated, for example, allowing the wineries to be open until 6 pm during the winter hours, and increasing van capacity to 15 but disappointed that the majority have not been.   We are concerned that new wineries will not be able to open, given the restrictions on structures and codes and disagree with the County's broad prohibition on events and parties, amplified music, and the stand against advertising.

CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CHARGES FILED AGAINST SEMPRA’S SOCALGAS OVER SAN ALISO GAS LEAK

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated February 3, 2016 with SoCalGas response.

February 2, 2016 (San Diego)—Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacy today announced filing of four misdemeanor criminal charges against Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) over the leak at its San Aliso underground natural gas facility. The leak has pumped 80,000 metric tons of methane into the air, sickening residents of nearby Porter Ranch and causing thousands to relocate.

 In addition, California Attorney General Kamala Harris today announced a civil suit filed by California against SoCalGas, which provides gas to most southern California counties.  The new suits, along with suits filed by residents, add to the financial toll that SoCalGas and potentially, Sempra ratepayers may ultimately be forced to cover.

HOW WET AND WINDY WAS IT?

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jane Moore: downed tree limbs in El Cajon

February 1, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – A fierce storm that roared through our region over the weekend toppled trees that killed a woman in Pacific Beach, injured a 10 News crew in Mira Mesa and sent a Santee mom to the hospital.  Downed trees destroyed a popular wedding spot at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Winds also toppled trees and patio furniture across East County, our readers report.  The storm caused power outages to over 18,000 customers as SDG&E crews worked through the night to restore power.

CITIZENS OVERSIGHT FILES PETITION WITH CPUC CALLING FOR INVESTIGATION INTO ALISO CANYON GAS LEAK

 

East County News Service

Photo courtesy SoCalGas

January 31, 2016 (San Diego) — “The worst environmental disaster in California history is continuing to occur without any investigation by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC),” says Raymond Lutz, founder of Citizens Oversight in El Cajon.  Now, Citizens Oversight has filed a petition along with Consumer Watchdog and Paul E. Hunt, calling on the CPUC to hold an open investigation into the Aliso Canyon/Porter Ranch methane gas leak north of Los Angeles.

HIGH WINDS TOPPLE TREES, POWER LINES ACROSS COUNTY

 

East County News Service

Photo by Vanessa Nadeau at Bon Vue Drive, El Cajon.

Update: A Santee mother has been injured after a tree fell on her van, but her baby, also in the vehicle, is unharmed, KNSJ reports.

 

January 31, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Powerful winds and rains have resulted in numerous power outages, downed lines and fallen trees on roas and highway across our region in San Diego and East County. 

Check SDG&E’s outage map for  updates on outages in your area and expected restoration times: http://www.sdge.com/safety/outages/outage-map .

Here are the latest road hazards and weather condition reports compiled by our staff:

SENATORS BOXER AND FEINSTEIN TO INTRODUCE MEASURE ADDRESSING ALISO CANYON GAS LEAK

 

Amendment would direct energy secretary to lead federal review of cause and response to the crisis, make recommendations to solve the gas leak that has forced 3,000 families to evacuate, and prevent future incidents

Photo credit to Scott L. on Flickr

East County News Service

January 29, 2016 (Washington D.C.) — California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein announced Friday that they will introduce an amendment next week to energy legislation currently on the Senate floor. The amendment would direct Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to lead a broad federal review of the cause and response to the natural gas leak at Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility – including making recommendations on immediate steps that could assist in solving this gas leak and in preventing and responding to future incidents.

COUNTY OFFERS FREE TAX PREPARATION AND HELP FOR LOW INCOME PEOPLE TO CLAIM TAX CREDITS

East County News Service

January 29, 2016 (San Diego) -- If you are a low-income family or individual, save your money. The County can help you file your taxes completely free—and assist you in receiving federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits that could amount to thousands of dollars in your pocket.

MORE THAN 100 ANIMALS RESCUED FROM LAKESIDE HOME

County Animal Services rescues dozens of chickens, Bengal cats, rabbits, exotic lizards and a wolf dog with pups 

Source: County News Service

January 28, 2016 (Lakeside) -- County Animal Services investigating a complaint of neglected animals at a Lakeside home found at least a dozen dead chickens and a dead rabbit, but rescued over 100 other animals. In all, Animal Services took in 88 chickens, seven Bengal cats, four rabbits, two bearded dragon lizards and a wolf/dog blend with two puppies.  

GILLESPIE FIELD EXPANSION DELAYED DUE TO LACK OF FAA FUNDING

By Mike Allen

January 28, 2016 (El Cajon)--A plan to expand operations at Gillespie Field and develop a 70-acre site once occupied by the El Cajon Speedway was put in a holding pattern because of a lack of federal funding.

Earlier this month, board members from the Gillespie Field Development Council, a five-member board that oversees the county-owned airport, heard that expected federal grant funding to finance the estimated $30 million project wasn’t available.

LEMON GROVE HOSTS COMMUNITY DISCUSSION ON GENERAL PLAN JAN. 30

 

East County News Service

January 28, 2016 (Lemon Grove) – The City of Lemon Grove invites you to bring family, neighbors and colleagues a discussion on updating and improving the city’s General Plan. The meeting will be held Saturday, January 30th from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Lemon Grove Community Center, 3146 School Lane in Lemon Grove.

“We're talking streets, sidewalks, circulation and general mobility around Lemon Grove.  We need your pertinent suggestions, major concerns and your famous ability to problem-solve,” says Helen Ofield with the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

JACUMBA SOLAR PULLS PLUG ON WATER PURCHASE DEAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2016 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Jacumba Solar LLC has cancelled its contract with the Jacumba Community Services District to purchase water for a large-scale solar project..  The project would include over 81,000 solar panels on 304 acres near the SDG&E substation.

“I I think it’s for the best,” Eric Kallen, vice chair of the Jacumba Community Services District, told East County Magazine.

The contract called for Jacumba Solar to pay a $100,000 “gift” on signing with an additional $250,000 lump sum payment due January 15th.   The District was to provide 40 acre feet of water with an option for Jacumba Solar to purchase 28 additional acre feet if needed for construction, plus three or four acre feet a year long-term for maintenance after the project was built.  The solar projecrt was proposed by Nextera, a Florida-based company.

WINTER STORM THIS WEEKEND: HOW LOW COULD SNOW GO?

 

East County News Service

January 28, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – A significant winter storm is forecast to roll into our region Saturday night and Sunday. Very strong winds up to 80 miles per hour  are possible Sunday afternoon and evening, along with moderate rainfall across much of the county and heavy snow in our mountain areas.

By Sunday night, traces of snow could dip as low as 3500 feet, which could impact I-8 in East County east of Alpine.  Elevations of 4,000 to 5,000 feet, such as Julian, could get 1-3 inches  of snow while up to a foot could fall on Mt. Laguna above 5,000 feet.

CALTRANS CLEARS WAY FOR HIGHWAY 94-125 CONNECTOR

 

East County News Service

 

January 27, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has determined that a proposed direct interchange to connect State Routes 94 and 125 would have no significant environmental impact. 

FIRE DESTROYS TRAILER IN EL CAJON

 

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

January 26, 2016 (El Cajon) -- A fifth-wheeler trailer erupted into flames on Terrace Hill Road around 10:30 this morning, sending a plume of black smoke visible across much of the community on the boundary of El Cajon and Lakeside.  The fire briefly threatened a home before firefighters subdued the blaze.

Heartland's El Cajon Fire, Lakeside Fire, San Miguel Fire and Cal Fire responded to the incident.

FUTURE OF LA MESA: FORUM WED. JAN. 27

East County News Service

January 26, 2016 (La Mesa) -- You’re invited to come hear from city staff, real estate professionals and business leaders about the future of La Mesa’s downtown. The discussion will cover market trends, recent policy changes and public investments to encourage investment and walkability downtown.  

ACTIVE SHOOTER AT BALBOA NAVAL HOSPITAL

 

Update: After searching the premises, authoroities have concluded the report of gunfire was unfounded.

January 26, 2016 (San Diego)--An active shooter is reported at Balboa Naval Hospital in Balboa Park.  KNSD TV indicates there have been reports of three shots fired. Avoid this area.  There is a heavy law enforcement presence including U.S. marshals and a S.W.A.T. team in the area. The public is advised to avoid the area.

Balboa Naval Hospital posted on its Facebook page:

**!ATTENTION!** An active shooter has just been been reported in building #26 at Naval Medical Center San Diego. All occupants are advised to run, hide or fight. All non-emergency response personnel are asked to stay away from the compound, located at 34800 Bob Wilson Drive, San Diego, CA 92134

VOTER'S WATCHDOG: INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER PALAST REVEALS PLOT TO STEAL 2016 ELECTION

 

Photo: Greg Palast with ECM editor Miriam Raftery

By Miriam Raftery

January 24, 2016 (San Diego) - “I want to report on the theft of the 2016 election before it happens,” famed investigative reporter Greg Palast said at a benefit event for KNSJ radio in La Jolla on January 10th.  He then proceeded to detail the shocking findings of his latest investigation, which will be the subject of an upcoming film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy:  A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits.”

The heist involves a conspiracy in red states to toss out millions of minority voters by falsely claiming they voted twice. How?  By eliminating  voters with the same or similar names in different states – even if they have different middle names or different Social Security numbers, or tossing out their votes if cast.  Voters are never informed that they’ve been disqualified, or given any chance to correct errors.  The effort, according to Palast’s investigation, is funded by billionaire backers of the Republican party.

The scam targets African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and other likely Democratic voters with common names such as “Jose Rodriguez” and “Mohammed Mohammed” said Palast, who brought copies of purged voter lists he obtained.  Despite accusations against millions Americans of alleged double voting, not a single one has been arrested or prosecuted, Palast says.

CITY NO LONGER DRAINING LAKE MORENA RESERVOIR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draining stopped days after our radio broadcast and coverage

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2016 (Lake Morena) – Back in February 2014, we ran a story exposing Lake Morena residents’ criticisms of the City of San Diego for draining the Lake Morena Reservoir down to a mere puddle of its former self.  We also aired a radio interview (listen at link) with area residents and a city representative, which won an award from Society of Professional Journalists for best talk radio broadcast. 

After the recent rains, the water level at Lake Morena is still only 2.6 percent of capacity. But here’s some good news for lakefront residents: Kurt Kidman, public information officer for the City, advised East County Magazine this week, “With respect to Morena Reservoir, the City stopped drafting water out of Morena Reservoir back in February 2014 and we have not resumed any drafting since.”

In our radio interview aired that same month, a city official admitted that San Diego had done essentially nothing to ask its citizens to conserve water before making its decision to decimate a lake popular with recreational users, eliminate wildlife habitat and negatively impact the lifestyle and property values for years  to come.

PASSAGES: NATIVE SAN DIEGAN AND PROMINENT BUSINESSMAN DAVID CHARLES PRICE DIES AT AGE 86

 

 

Photo: David Charles Price   1929 - 2016                            

January 22, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Services will be held Saturday, January 30 in Carlsbad for David C. Price, who passed away January 13 at age 86.

A lifetime San Diego resident, David C. Price was instrumental in the formation and operation of several San Diego area businesses and real estate developments, and was actively involved with various philanthropic ventures benefiting San Diego County. Most recently he lived in Carlsbad and formerly resided on Mt. Helix with his family for over 30 years. He also served for eight years on the Cajon Valley School District board in the 1960s. 

Price was born in San Diego on October 21, 1929.  He was a 1947 graduate of Grossmont High School and graduated from San Diego State University in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. After serving two years in the Army, he worked in the aeronautical industry for 15 years, including serving as General Manager of Advanced Structures in La Mesa, a division of Whittaker Corporation.

JURY RETURNS NEARLY $12 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST CALTRANS FOR VALLEY FEVER EXPOSURE IN CONTRACTOR’S WORKERS

East County News Service

January 22, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Residents in San Diego’s East County have raised fears of spreading Valley Fever spores in their arguments against projects ranging from a sand mine in Lakeside to solar projects in Boulevard and Jacumba.  Now a jury in Northern California has shown just how expensive a verdict might be for a government entity or company that ignores such risks.

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