Photo: Clip art; the actual "Duncan Thumpin'" costume has not yet been revealed
April 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Hopping down the bunny trail—and the campaign trail—Duncan Thumper will soon be popping up at Congressman Duncan Hunter’s events to draw attention to his campaign finance controversies that have sparked a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.
April 17, 2017 (Los Angeles) - Comedian Doug Benson is nothing close to an overnight success, yet after 20 years in show business, the former Grossmont College student is starting to gain notoriety after recently claiming the Tournament of Champion on the self-admitted, fake game show @midnight.
April 17, 2017 (El Cajon) — “Every Mother’s Son,” an Investigation Discovery TV show episode about the disappearance of Elija “Bear” Diaz, will air on April 23rd at 7 p.m.
Diaz vanished in the middle of the night of August 29, 2015 from his El Cajon home and his family suspects he met with foul play. A member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, he was 20 years old at the time.
“We are encouraged that this national focus on Bear’s case will spark someone to remember any clues that might help us find him,” said LeLanie Thompson, Bear’s mom. “We miss our son and won’t stop looking for him until we have some answers about his disappearance. We appreciate the community’s continued support.”
April 17, 2017 (San Diego) – The University of California has announced that it will halt its investments in private prison companies, removing $25 million in investments from Corrections Corporation of America, G4S, and GEO Group Inc., the Los Angeles Times reports.
April 16, 2017 (San Diego) – The U.S. is poised to lose $7.4 billion in lost tourism dollars this year and $10.9 billion next year due to President Donald Trump’s travel ban and other policies making travelers feel unwelcome in the U.S., Tourism Economics estimates, the Washington Post reports.
April 16, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Across the nation, tens of thousands of people in more than 100 cities held Tax Day protests on April 15th – calling on President Donald Trump to release his income tax returns. San Diego event organizers estimate that several thousands took to the streets locally, also urging Congress to subpoena Trump’s tax returns.
April 15, 2017 (San Diego) -- A woman, 60, was driving south on I-15 near Miramar Road Thursday at noon when she inexplicably came out of her vehicle and landed on the roadway, Officer E. Colunga with California Highway Patrol reports. She was struck by a vehicle whose driver fled the scene.
April 15, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. on Thursday dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed to destroy caves used by ISIS fighters in the Achin area of Afghanistan, the Pentagon confirms. Some Afghan officials estimate that as many as 94 ISIS fighters and four commanders may have been killed, with no civilian deaths reported, according to NBC news.
April 14, 2017 (Alpine) — Diego, an emaciated baby bobcat dropped off at a pet hospital in Rancho Bernardo in late March and later taken to Lions, Tigers and Bears (LTB) sanctuary in Alpine has been moved again, this time to a northern California rehabilitation facility.
April 14, 2017 (San Diego) -- It’s spring and it seems everyone is enjoying the sunshine, even snakes. A Rancho Peñasquitos couple found a red diamond rattler in their backyard Monday evening and called County Animal Services for help.
Animal Control Officer Joni Palumbo responded to the call. She’s handled snake calls before but never with a snake this large. View video of the rattlesnake wrangling: https://youtu.be/tN5NfsNBotM
April 13, 2017 (Spring Valley) -- The San Miguel Fire District continues to take the necessary steps to go back to being a stand-alone agency and cut the cord from Cal Fire, which currently provides its fire protection services.
April 13, 2017 (El Cajon) – A Syrian refugee family in El Cajon who fled war-torn Syria to give their only son a brighter future is now grieving over his loss. On his first trip ever to a beach, 17-year-old Mohammed al-Mustafa was pulled under by a rip current and has not been found.
April 12, 2017 (San Onofre) – Just days before an April 14 court hearing filed by Citizens Oversight seeking to force removal of nuclear waste from storage along the ocean near the closed San Onofre power plant, Southern California Edison has agreed to enter into negotiations to move the nuclear storage elsewhere.
April 12, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Supervisors on Wednesday approved formation of a special district to combat the Asian citrus psyllid, an agricultural pest that threatens our county’s $126 million citrus crop.
April 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – A 22-year-old driver died last night after his vehicle rolled down an embankment and struck a steel pole supporting a billboard. The fatal crash occurred shortly before 10 p.m. along westbound I-8 west of Los Coches Road in unincorporated El Cajon.
April 12, 2017 (San Diego) – Videos showing a passenger violently beaten, blooded and dragged off a United Airlines flight after he refused to give up his seat when the airline overbooked the flight has sparked outrage, a boycott, and calls for reforms. View video
April 12, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Neil Gorsuch begins his duties this week on the Supreme Court after the Senate invoked the ‘nuclear option’ to change long-standing Senate rules and block a filibuster by Democrats. All but two Democrats had agreed to vote against confirming Gorsuch, including California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer also draws fire for Holocaust denial comment;
White House also fumbles annual Easter Egg roll
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: White House Seder, with Trump seat vacant
April 11, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The annual White House Seder dinner marking the start of Passover was held on Monday with Jewish staffers and friends. But President Donald Trump did not attend, even though he was reportedly at home in the White House at the time.
April 11, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Grossmont Union High School District is seeking applications to fill a vacancy for a “community member at large” on the 11-member Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC).
April 11, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – For the second time in just over a week, an emergency crew had to rescue an injured hiker off the trail to Three Sisters Falls in the Cleveland National Forest near Julian.
Photo by A. Fanous, St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, before the bombing
April 11, 2017 (Alexandria, Egypt) – At least 45 people are dead following bombings on churches in two Egyptian cities, the New York Times reports. The attacks which occurred on Palm Sunday targeted Christian worshippers. The actions follow a December declaration by ISIS, or the Islamic State, terror group to slaughter Christians at the homes, places of worship and elsewhere in Egypt.
La Mesa to vote April 11 on resolution to oppose AB 805
By Miriam Raftery
April 8, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Elected leaders in numerous local cities are gearing up to oppose a state bill that critics warn weaken the voices and voting power of smaller cities on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), as well as the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District. The bill gives more power to the city of San Diego, which critics contend will mean not enough clout by representatives from the county or other cities in the region to pass, block, or even place items on the agenda.
Photo: Oroville Spillway, Calif. Dept. of Water Resources
April 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s official: Governor Jerry Brown today declared an end to California’s statewide drought, thanks to heavy winter precipitation.
But groundwater levels in some areas remain low, so the state will maintain some restrictions on water use to encourage conservation. Brown did not lift the drought order for Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne Counties, where wells went dry and some residents continue to rely on trucked-in emergency water supplies.
Residents are asked to continue avoiding wasting water by hosing off sidewalks or watering lawns during or shortly after a rainstorm.
April 7, 2017 (Lemon Grove) — Three separate accidents on Palm Street in Lemon Grove on April 4th and 5th caused serious damages and injuries, Sergeant Jorge Dueno with the Sheriff’s Department reports. No charges are expected to be filed, as drugs, alcohol and distracted driving did not appear to be factors.
April 7, 2017 (La Mesa) -- April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the La Mesa Police Department, CHP, local law enforcement, and community partners throughout the state are working together to make the roads safer by highlighting the dangers of being distracted while driving, especially by cell phones.
Company’s farm manager sexually bullied female farmworkers and fired workers who complained of widespread abuse, federal agency charges
East County News Service
April 7, 2017 (San Diego) – Bornt & Sons, Inc., its former farm labor contractor Barraza Farm Service, LLC and Barraza Farm Service, Inc. violated federal laws by allowing ongoing sexual harassment of female farmworkers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed this week. Bornt & Sons and Barraza also unlawfully retaliated against workers who opposed the harassment and against family members of victims, the EEOC alleged.
Photo: Tomahawk missile launch off U.S. ship, courtesy of the Pentagon
April 6, 2017 (Washington D.C.)— The U.S. today launched over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Al-Shayrat Air Base in Syria, on orders of President Donald Trump. The base is believed to be where a chemical nerve gas weapons attack was launched on April 4th by Bashar al-Assad’s regime that killed scores of civilians, including possibly hundreds, including many children in Idlib.
Key political leaders on both sides of the aisle voiced support for the action, though even some supporters argue that the Constitution requires a declaration of war by Congress to take such action. Others voice concerns over a unilateral action that Assad could view as an act of war. Now prominent Senators and Representatives in both parties are calling for Congress to reconvene and debate whether to declare war on the Syrian government, at a time when the U.S. is already waging war against ISIS. Assad has also fought ISIS even as his country has been split by six years of civil war.
Photo, city of San Diego: Acceleration of the time schedule for the Pure Water purification in San Diego is putting pressure on agencies across the region to raise sewer rates.
April 5, 2017 (San Diego) - Acceleration of the Pure Water project in the city of San Diego is leading to proposed sewer rate hikes in East County of as much as 9 percent per year for the next five years for some customers, depending on wastewater use. Some may start at low as 2.5 percent. Though agencies are still crunching numbers and calculating percentages, several report that both residential and business rates are due to go up on July 1. The increases are mostly due to the purification project going into its construction phase sooner than anticipated, according to local agencies.