May 8, 2013 (San Diego's East County) --Our Health and Science Highlights brings you cutting edge news each week that could impact your health and our future.
- Solar-powered aircraft to make first cross-continental flight in U.S. (RawStory)
- Our Very Normal Solar System Isn't Normal Anymore (NPR)
- Quiz: How Much Science Do You Really Know? (Reason)
- Future highways may glow in the dark (BBC)
- Saturn's Hurricane Is a Super Storm on Steroids, Even for the Solar System (Atlantic Wire)
- Hypothalamus controls aging, in mice (U-T San Diego)
- Scammers using QR codes to access private files (U-T San Diego)
- Record-breaking star explosion is most powerful ever seen (Christian Science Monitor)
- Which Internet Companies Protect Your Data from Unwarranted Government Snooping? (Reason)
- Is nuclear fusion power now possible? (Christian Science Monitor)
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
May 8, 2013 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police Sergeant Bret Richards was injured early this morning when a stolen vehicle abandoned following a pursuit rolled backward, dragging the officer over 50 feet down Maryland Avenue. Police still seek the suspect, who was not apprehended.
May 7, 2013 (San Diego) - With the recent completion of a state audit of the City of San Diego Development Services Department, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian calls for the City of San Diego to take action, based on those results. “In light of the finding by state auditors, our city has no choice but to take extreme action on the Walmart project in Sherman Heights,” demanded Kasparian. “The clear violations of City codes and procedures, possible ethics violations, and a complete lack of transparency, are stunning in their magnitude.”
Play runs May 9-10 and 16-17
May 7, 2013 (El Cajon) – A woman of a certain age contemplates suicide when the phone rings in her San Diego apartment. The caller, believing she is contacting an analyst she read about in a health magazine, launches into her own tale of woe.
So begins “An Ordinary Day,” a one-act play by Dario Fo and Franca Rame, and directed by Martin Katz, a Grossmont College theater arts instructor. The lead character, Julia, finds herself trying to help the woman on the phone, in between encounters with her neighbors, the police and two flower-delivery men. As the tragic-comedy unfolds, it illuminates the themes of zealous commercialism, relationship stress, the notion of betrayal and the exhilaration of contributing to someone else’s life.
By Rebecca J. Williamson
May 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) --To some, romantic love is a never-never land—a place of unfulfilled dreams. Sometimes, a parent chooses not to explore fulfilling his or her own needs in order to protect someone else.
Patricia, an East county resident who asked that her last name not be published, is a single mom. She does not date or bring a romantic partner into her life for a reason---to protect her now teen-age daughter from being hurt—emotionally, physically, or any other way.
“I decided not to date when she was two or three and to focus on raising her,” Patricia told ECM. As a mom, Patricia learned first-hand about having to protect her daughter from a man who was a convicted pedophile.
By Miriam Raftery
“How do you beat the national average with below average wind speeds?” Attorney Bill Pate posed that intriguing question at a forum hosted in San Diego recently by Activist San Diego.
Good question. Pattern Energy told the California Public Utilities Commission that it would reach 34% capacity at Ocotillo Express Wind Facility, a site rated just a class 2, the second lowest federal rating for wind speeds. The first three months of data for the Ocotillo project show only about a 19% capacity reached. In the entire U.S., there is only a 22 to 23% net capacity on average.
So how did the project get approved?
EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS ASK COUNTY’S TOP HEALTH OFFICIAL TO REVISE REPORT, RECOGNIZE SERIOUS HEALTH IMPACTS FROM WIND TURBINES
By Nadin Abbott and Sierra Robinson; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
“This is an epidemic and we need help.” – Rowena Elliott, Manzanita tribal member
(photos left, David and Rowena Elliott)
May 6, 2013 (San Diego) –At a press conference outside the county administration building today, backcountry residents living near wind turbines told the media of serious health conditions they are suffering. With Wednesday’s vote on a county wind ordinance looming, residents called on the county’s top health official, Wilma Wooten, to revise her report and recognize health concerns linked to wind turbines.
According to Donna Tisdale, President of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of two community nonprofits, the vote is critical. Supervisors will “either sell us out, remove our human and property rights, or the Board (of Supervisors) will vote to protect the community.”
If that doesn't happen, residents are prepared to file suit, they said.
By Rebecca Williamson
May 6, 2013 (Santee) -- The Santee Fire Department responded to a call at approximately 11:00 a.m. and scaled the roof of the Santee Staples store on Mission Gorge Road. Staff and customers were evacuated while firefighters checked the store for fires or potential hazardous situations.
By Miriam Raftery
May 6, 2013 (La Mesa) -- Xusha Brown Jr., 22, of El Cajon has died of a gunshot wound to his head. Brown was one of two victims in a drive-by shooting that occured on I-8 east near State Route 125 shortly after 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
"The senseless murder of young Xusha Brown Jr. offends the conscience," Sycuan Chairman Daniel Tucker said. A $50,000 reward has been offered, including $40,000 from the tribe, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer
VALLEY FEVER EPIDEMIC LINKED TO DESERT SOLAR CONSTRUCTION; HEIGHTENS CONCERNS OVER RISKS FROM LARGE-SCALE WIND AND SOLAR PROJECTS
By Miriam Raftery
“The threat of acquiring the respiratory illness extends to residents living near expansive construction sites. That risk is rising given the scope of the renewable energy boom centered in the state.” – Los Angeles Times
May 6, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Valley Fever has sickened 28 workers at two large-scale solar facilities under construction in San Luis Obispo County, the Los Angeles Times reported on April 30. The disease is contracted by breathing in fungal spores released when desert soils are disturbed.
The finding is the latest in a series of disturbing reports on epidemic Valley Fever conditions in California and across the Southwest. With numerous large-scale solar projects and wind projects proposed for East County that would scrape bare thousands of acres of high desert terrain, public health concerns over the prospect of exposing residents to Valley Fever are growing. Since wind-blown spores can carry 75 miles or more, residents across San Diego County could be at risk of the potentially deadly disease.
An East County Eater Review
By Ariele Johannson
May 7 (Tuesday, 5:30 pm) — Barnes & Noble Oceanside, 2615 Vista Way, Oceanside, presents Gretchen Wendel who will talk about her book, Becka and the Big Bubble series.
May 7 (Tuesday, 6:00 pm) — Barnes & Noble Oceanside, 2615 Vista Way, Oceanside, presents Kevin Gerard, who will talk about his book, Diego's Dragons.
May 7 (Tuesday, 7:30 pm) — Warwick's will host Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCSD Seth Lerer, who will discuss and sign his memoir Prospero's Son. This event is free and open to the public. In order to be signed the author's most current book must be purchased from Warwick's.
By Miriam Raftery
May 5, 2013 (San Diego) – Nathan Fletcher, former Assemblyman and Mayoral candidate, made headlines last year when he left the Republican Party to become an independent. Yesterday, Fletcher announced on his Facebook page that he has joined the Democratic Party.
“For me, the last couple years have been quite a journey—going to war, serving in the State Assembly, campaigning for Mayor and now teaching and working in the private sector,” Fletcher wrote. Fletcher added that he has had time to “eflect on my values and principles and where they fit best. My votes and positions, candidates I endorsed and voted for had been in line with the Democratic Party.”
Celebrate our launch party! Thousands of dollars in prizes!
Early bird rates extended to Friday! RSVP to reserve space
You're invited! Celebrate launch of our East County Magazine prime-time radio show on KNSJ! Join us Sunday, May 19 from 12-3 p.m. at the beautiful Maness Vineyards estate, 3044 Colina Verde Lane in Jamul. Winetasting, great food, music, amazing prizes and more!
DIRECTIONS: (click read more below to open and view directions)
By Miriam Raftery; photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News
May 5, 2013 (La Mesa) -- Two victims are in serious condition after being shot by a passing car on I-8 eastbound near State Route 125 early this morning. I-8 east was closed for several hours, reopening around 10 a.m. Lt. Matt Nicholass at La Mesa Police informed ECM that both victims are men in their 20s.
The victims were in a silver Nissan Maxima. There is no description of the suspect vehicle, except that it was a car. There is no information yet on the weapon used, or whether the shooting was random or if victims may have known the shooter.
BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE DOWNTOWN MONDAY TO OPPOSE WIND ORDINANCE AND BOULEVARD PLAN AMENDMENT
May 3, 2013 (San Diego)—On Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m., East County residents opposed to the proposed County Wind ordinance and Boulevard Plan amendment will hold a press conference outside the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway (by the fountain on the west side.)
“On May 8th, the Board of Supervisors will make a life-altering choice for rural East County residents and valued resources,” a press release sent by the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps. Supervisors must choose to either “sell out to the taxpayer-subsidized wind industry and developers and turn the ruggedly beautiful Boulevard/Jacumba area into an unnecessary industrial energy sacrifice zone and fire trap," the rural residents say, or"protect and defend the ratepayers and real people and resources in the predominantly low-income fire-prone area from expensive, unreliable, and dangerous industrial wind turbine projects and related web of electrical infrastructure.”
Speakers will include rural residents and a fire official speaking out on dangers posed by industrial wind projects in our region.
By George Dominguez
May 4, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) --Daunting as it may seem, Joe “Tiger” Patrick II is walking across America to honor the fallen heroes of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. This week, his journey took him through East County, where he met with local firefighters and paramedics.
"I felt a compelling need to do something to honor to our fallen heroes, to give people a close up view of those we lost. This isn't a political statement, but an expression of love and respect for those who volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us here at home," said Tiger. He honors the fallen by carrying a memorial mosaic panel which contains a picture of every fallen warrior.
By Miriam Raftery
May 4, 2013 (Sacramento) – The State Senate Public Safety on Thursday voted 5-2 to defeat SB 779, a measure authored by Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) and sponsored by the California District Attorneys Association. The bill sought to speed up executions in California through several means, including bringing back the gas chamber. The bill sparked strong outcry from human rights activists who denounced the method as inhumane.
California voters narrowly defeated a bill in November that would have outlawed the death penalty. The punishment remains on the books, but due to two judicial rulings finding prior methods inhumane, the state has been left unable to carry out executions since 2006, despite death penalty verdicts.
May 4, 2013 (El Cajon) – Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s Board of Trustees voted on April 16 to adopt a resolution calling on Congress to enact the comprehensive immigration reforms being hammered out by a bipartisan “gang of eight” legislators (four Republicans and four Democrats).
The resolution was introduced by trustee Mary Kay Rosinski and passed with five votes in favor. The action comes on the heels of similar resolutions adopted by San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego City Council.
Photo by Paul Kruze
A small plane made an emergency landing on the median of Highway 52 at the junction of State Route 125 in Santee shortly after 6 p.m. today.
ECM photojournalist Paul Kruze was driving on the freeway when he witnessed the startling event.
“I was on my way to a concert when all of a sudden I saw this thing landing right in front of me. It was surreal. I had the same exact feeling as watching the plane fly into the World Trade Center—like watching a movie,” he said, then praised the pilot’s skill. “It was very controlled and the pilot obviously knew what he was doing.”
May 4, 2013 (Spring Valley) – San Diego Police seek public help to identify a young man in a hunting cap who cashed in winning lottery tickets at convenience and liquor stores in Spring Valley. Police indicate the tickets were from stolen lottery ticket dispensers taken from a San Diego gas station on two occasions. The thefts occurred at the Arco station at 4333 Home Ave on April 5 and on April 18,.
The suspect allegedly ripped the lottery ticket dispensers from the counter while the clerk was in a back room, then fled. He was seen getting into the passenger side of a dark-colored sedan, possibly a late model Honda Civic, detectives said.
May 4, 2013 (Valley Center) – Keys Creek Lavender Farm is celebrating opening season with English High Tea on May 17 at 2:00 p.m. The catered tea is served by courses and plated at table. The menu includes Lemon Lavender Scones, Chicken Watercress sandwiches and Raspberry Cream Pavlovas, to name just a few.
Stock market rallies in response to news
By Jonathan Goetz
The jobless recovery is adding jobs, slowly and steadily. April job numbers released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the US unemployment rate at 7.5%, the lowest rate in four years. The main job growth was in retail and food services however, and not the same high-paying industries that saw major job losses in the Great Recession.
On Friday, the Dow responded to the positive hiring news by reaching 15,000 for the first time before closing at 14,972, up .9% from the opening bell. The S&P ended 1% higher, also breaking the record by reaching the 1,600 mark. Growth in US markets was spread over most industries, including the beleaguered steel industry, with three stocks closing higher for every one stock closing lower.
By Miriam Raftery
May 3, 2013 (Sacramento) – With two major fires in Southern California threatening thousands of homes and smaller fires burning statewide, Governor Jerry Brown has responded to requests for support from Cal Fire and the California Emergency Management Agency. He has directed Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin with the California National Guard to provide two specialized firefighting C-130J aircraft and crews from the Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing to assist with the wildfires.
Cal Fire has also activiated a DC 10 (photo, left) Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) capable of carrying 11,600 gallons of retardant, gel, foam, or water—four times the capacity of a C-130 plane.
The Springs Fire in Ventura County has swelled to 18,000 acres and is only 20% contained, forcing evacuations; the Summit Fire in Riverside County has charred over 2,900 acres and is 75% contained. For details on additional fires, see Cal Fire’s incident page.
FIRE THAT DESTROYED $4 MILLION WIND TURBINE RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS OVER LACK OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Wind company fails to call fire department, lets blaze burn overnight
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Tehachapi fire, 2012
April 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Why is there no federal requirement for wind farm operators to report fires?
That troubling fact came to light following a turbine malfunction that caused a fire, destroying a $4 million wind turbine at the Kibby Mountain facility in Maine. Opponents accuse Trans-Canada of a cover up, the Bangor Daily News reports. (Trans-Canada, builder of the project, is also the company seeking to construct the controversial Keystone Pipeline.)
A sensor in the turbine detected the fire. But an employee did not arrive on scene until the next morning, after the fire had burned itself out. The fire department was never notified, nor was any state agency. Had the blaze not occurred in winter with snow on the ground, the fire could have spread to the adjacent forest, a Maine forestry official has stated.
ECM has asked Cal-Fire in an e-mail whether wind facility operators are required to report fires to fire officials. No response has been received.
By Miriam Raftery
May 3, 2013 (El Cajon)—Now through the end of summer, you can enjoy free concerts and discounts on fine dining every Friday night in downtown El Cajon. Downtown El Cajon business partners presents Dinner and a Concert, featuring new band performing live each week on the Prescott Promenade from 6-8 p.m.
The schedule of performers is as follows:
By Jennifer Douglas, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 3, 2013 (San Diego)--The need for media reform and putting a halt to further media consolidation now seems urgent. Since late April, we have learned that billionaire conservative activists are moving ahead in a bid to buy the Los Angeles Times; Obama's nominated a former corporate lobbyist to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); a senator reminds us that six mega-corporations own most of our mass media, and a leading champion of media reform, Common Cause leader Bob Edgar (photo, left) has died suddenly.
May 3, 2013 (San Diego) -- according to the California Highway Patrol CAD system, there is a small vegetation fire on State Route 94 at Kelton. The Offramp has been shut down by the CHP. A brush fire is also reported in Valley Center at Lilac and Sierra Rojo.
Major fires are burning elsewhere in Southern California, always a concern as resources are spread thin to battle multiple blazes amid high-fire danger conditions region-wide.
EDITORIAL: AN ILL WIND BLOWING-- TELL COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO JUST SAY “NO” TO INDUSTRIAL WIND AT WEDNESDAY’S WIND ORDINANCE VOTE
By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine
May 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated May 7, 2013 – On Wednesday, May 8, San Diego County Supervisors will vote on legislation that could have devastating impacts across East County and the entire San Diego region.
At stake is a proposed wind ordinance that could open wide vast tracts of East County for industrial wind development, putting residents across our County at risk of a catastrophic wildfire or deadly Valley Fever spores that can blow 70 miles or more. There are many more reasons to oppose this ordinance, as well as the proposed gutting of Boulevard’s community plan, but these are two of the most compelling. These and other disturbing facts are detailed below.
If you share these concerns, it's important to contact all five Supervisors. It's especially important for San Diego residents to tell their Supervisors that you care about what happens to East County, since some have shown an arrogant disregard for public health and safety outside of their own districts. Of course, a wildfire that burns into San Diego or deadly Valley Fever spores that blow into urban areas should clearly be of concern to all County residents and their representatives. You can contact Supervisors here and scroll down to learn more. It's also important to show up and speak out at Wednesday morning's meeting at 9 a.m. at 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, Room 402.
By Miriam Raftery
April 28, 2013 (Deerhorn Valley) – The first-annual Deerhorn Valley Home and Garden Tour on April 21 provided an intriguing glimpse into the history of this fascinating area of East County, as well as tours of a spectacular and diverse array of homes and gardens.
A unique aspect of this tour, unlike others that are self-guided, was the tour bus provided along with helpful guides who gave details along the way not only of residences on the tour, but also colorful tales about the communities and rich heritage of this region.