BACKCOUNTRY HIDDEN PLEASURES: WEEKEND GETAWAYS IN SAN DIEGO'S INLAND REGION

11 INITIATIVES ARE CIRCULATING FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT, BUT COURT BLOCKS MEASURE TO SPLIT UP CALIFORNIA

SAN DIEGO’S MOUNTAINS AND GOLD RUSH REGION

DANGEROUS HEAT AND THUNDERSHOWERS FORECAST

PINE VALLEY DAYS: PARADE AND FESTIVITIES JULY 27-28

ECM EDITOR AND REPORTER WIN GLORIA PENNER AWARD FOR REPORTING ON KALASHO THREATS

IN EMERGENCY APPEAL, JULIAN FIREFIGHTERS ASK STATE COURT TO HALT COUNTY TAKEOVER

HAND, CIMBER DEALT TO INDIANS

ALPINE MOUNTAIN EMPIRE: SAN DIEGO’S SOUTHEAST REGION, WILDERNESS GATEWAY

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

DR. AKILAH WEBER ANNOUNCES RUN FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

PUBLIC HELP NEEDED TO IDENTIFY YOUNG WOMAN KILLED BY HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER ON HIGHWAY 94

News

FIRE DESTROYS HISTORIC HOME, A FORMER STAGECOACH STOP, IN RAMONA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECM News partner 10 News

July 21, 2018 (Ramona) – The Cinnamon Fire that scorched 13 acres in the Witch Creek area yesterday destroyed Ramona’s original stagecoach stop built in 1870, also resulting in dramatic rescue efforts to save dogs in a kennel on the property.

“We lived there for 12 years until we built a new house,” the owner of Kritter Camp Boarding Kennel, located on Creek Hollow Drive in Ramona, told East County Magazine regarding the historic structure. At the time of the fire, she added, “My daughter and her boyfriend lived there.”

11 INITIATIVES ARE CIRCULATING FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT, BUT COURT BLOCKS MEASURE TO SPLIT UP CALIFORNIA

 

Wacky or worthwhile petitions?  You decide

By Miriam Raftery

July 21, 2018 (Sacramento) – California’s Supreme Court has blocked a controversial initiative from appearing on the November ballot, pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. That measure sought to split California into three states. However, 11 other initiatives have been approved by the state’s Attorney General for circulation to collect signatures.   

Before you sign any petitions, read below for summaries, or click the link below this story for full details on these proposed initiatives ranging from practical to bizarre. One seeks to make California an independent nation.  Another would ban local governments or special districts from spending bond money on anything not in the bond measure. 

CA DEMOCRATIC PARTY BANS DONATIONS FROM PRIVATE PRISONS; DONATES FUNDS TO AID IMMIGRANTS AND REHABILITATION EFFORTS

 

East County News Service

July 21, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) - California Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman announced today that the CDP will no longer be accepting contributions from companies or trade associations that operate private prisons, private detention centers or other incarceration services as for-profit businesses. 

MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN SPRING VALLEY CRASH

 

East County News Service

July 20, 2018 (Spring Valley) – A 48-year-old man from National City died of injuries sustained today in a motorcycle crash on Jamacha Road, just east of Osage Lane.

The motorcyclist was driving a blue 2018 Harley Davidson Sportster westbound on Jamacha at a high speed and failed to slow down into a curve, causing the vehicle to strike a concrete curb, says California Highway Patrol’s Public Information Officer Travis Garrow. The out-of-control vehicle then went up an embankment, ejecting the rider.

DANGEROUS HEAT AND THUNDERSHOWERS FORECAST

 

East County News Service

July 20, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- Possible thunderstorms are forecast for this weekend as monsoonal moisture conditions continue.  In addition, the National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning for next week.  “Dangerous” temperatures are expected to reach 116 degrees in the desert, over 100 degrees in our mountain areas and 99 degrees in El Cajon.

ECM EDITOR AND REPORTER WIN GLORIA PENNER AWARD FOR REPORTING ON KALASHO THREATS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Paul Kruze and Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2018 (San Diego) -- The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) San Diego Chapter presented the Gloria Penner Award for political affairs reporting to East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery and reporter Paul Kruze for their entry titled "Kalasho threats."

The judges commented, "Nothing says tough political reporting like exposing a corrupt politican, and the judges believe that Gloria Penner would have been proud of the journalists' work to expose El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho."

The award, named for the late, great KPBS political journalist, was one of four honors won by ECM at last night's SPJ awards dinner at the Kona Kai resort on Shelter Island. The award includes a $250 prize.

The entry detailed threats and retaliatory actions made by Councilman Kalasho, a mayoral candidate, after our news publication reported on his legal and ethical controversies including judicial findings of sexual harassment, fraud, defamation and cyberharassment against beauty pageant contestants and a businessman. 

IN EMERGENCY APPEAL, JULIAN FIREFIGHTERS ASK STATE COURT TO HALT COUNTY TAKEOVER

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, amember of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Suspended Battalion Chief Mike Van Bibber of Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Image via Julian Fire Plugs

July 19, 2018 (Julian) - Julian’s volunteer firefighters have filed an emergency appeal with a state appellate court in hopes of making an August 10 deadline to place a measure on the November ballot.

Their aim is to have the 2,246 voters in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District decide whether to repeal a fire board action to dissolve the district.

WEST FIRE BENEFIT AND AUCTION AUG. 18

 

East County News Service

July 18, 2018 (Alpine) - A dinner and auction to benefit survivors of the West Fire in Alpine will be held on Saturday, August 18th from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center.

The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and Alpine Community Center are organizing the fundraiser. All funds raised will be donated to the Alpine Community Foundation to help and support those affected by the West Fire, which destroyed 34 homes and also destroyed many outbuildings, damaging other properties.

For tickets, visit http://www.AlpineChamber.com.

See details below:

PUBLIC HELP NEEDED TO IDENTIFY YOUNG WOMAN KILLED BY HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER ON HIGHWAY 94

 

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office

Image credit: Forensic Artist P.J. Puterbaugh; a forensic sketch of a woman who investigators are trying to identify.

July 18, 2018 (San Diego's East County) - The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office is asking for the public’s help to identify a woman, possibly in her late teens, killed by a hit-and-run driver as she walked along state Route 94 earlier this month.

JUDGE DELAYS DEPORTATION OF FAMILIES SEPARATED FROM CHILDREN

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2018 (San Diego) — U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego issued an order today blocking deportations of immigrant families until at least July 23 to assure that parents are not deported without their children, require the government to respond to ACLU papers, and to allow reunited families time to decide whether to seek asylum. 

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. 

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.

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. 

SWEET CATS NEED NEW HOME IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH OF OWNER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ginger and Tigger

July 13, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – These two sweet cats, a sister and brother, must find a new home immediately after the death of their owner. 

“They really love each other. They eat together, sleep together…they’re just really adorable,” says Mimi, an acquaintance of our editor who has been feeding the cats since their owner passed away.

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:

PEDESTRIAN/BIKE BRIDGE TO CONNECT LA MESA VILLAGE TO WINERIES AND BREWERIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 12, 2018 (La Mesa) – Wine, beer and food aficionados will soon be able to cross a pedestrian and bike bridge connecting “restaurant row” in La Mesa’s downtown village to the wineries and breweries in an industrially-zoned area across Interstate 8.

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.

LAKESIDE CONSIDERS A FOOD SCRAPS TO ENERGY PROJECT: COMMUNITY MEETING JULY 19 HOSTED BY PROJECT TEAM

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Biogas pipes, creative commons image via Vortexrealm

July 11, 2018 (Lakeside) – The project team for a proposed project to convert food scraps to energy will host a drop-in session for community member on Thursday, July 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lakeside Community Center. The team will be on hand to answer questions, hear input and provide information – along with pie and coffee.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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