Public asked to plant Milkweed to save Monarch Butterflies;
Monsanto Roundup blamed for sharp demise in Monarch migration
By Grey Feathers
February 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Monarch butterflies in abundance filled the air and gardens in San Diego County for as long as anyone can remember. These colorful butterflies migrate over 2,000 miles to winter in Southern California and Baja Mexico. The great mystery of how generations of Monarchs find their way south over such vast distances may never be known.
But this year, the numbers of Monarch butterflies reaching Mexico have reached an all time low—down an alarming 90 percent, the World Wildlife Fund has just announced, the Los Angeles Times reports. How can this be? One factor stands out: loss of Milkweed.
Disturbing data suggests Golden Eagles appear on verge of extinction in our region
By Miriam Raftery
February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –A state inventory of California’ rarest animals, birds and plants reveals that Golden Eagle populations have suffered a precipitous decline statewide, including here in San Diego County. Statewide, only 141 element occurrences (eagle nests and foraging habitat) are listed in all of California. Locally, the inventory lists just 14 “occurrences” countywide—with only one nest remaining in East County.
“So much for Bittner’s estimates,” wildlife biologist Jim Wiegand with Save the Eagles International told ECM. David Bittner is the so-called eagle expert hired by major energy companies to justify wind projects locally. Bittner was convicted in federal court and sentenced in August to charges of failing to file data reports with the federal government and illegal taking of an eagle.
Wiegand has previously estimated local nesting sites at 10--a fraction of Bittner's recent estimates.
Silent Bird by novelist Reina Lisa Menasche
Book review by Ariele Johannson
Silent Bird, a novel by Reina Lisa Menasche, could be remembered for its exotic French landscape and romance, or for its treatment of difficult subjects. Maybe it will be reread for its charming humor, an inner view of two young lovers moving too fast, or Pilar, the protagonist learning to adjust to a new culture with its linguistic challenges. There are great descriptions of the meeting of two divergent cultures through the budding and then continually strengthening relationship of Pilar and her lover.
It could also be remembered for its irresistible combination of all of these, but it will be remembered.
Updated February 24, 2014 with identities of agent and suspect
February 18, 2014 (Otay)—A U.S. Border Patrol agent who was struck by a thrown rock shot and killed Jesus Flores-Cruz, 43 , who died at the scene. The shooting occurred at 6:40 this morning in the White Cross area of the Otay Mountain Range. The identity of the deceased, who sustained two gunshot wounds, was confirmed by comparing fingerprints from a 1996 arrest by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
According to San Diego Sheriff Homicide Lt. Glenn Giannatonio, the agents were attempting to detain a group of suspected illegal aliens. “The two agents were out of sight of each when one of the agents was struck in the face by a rock thrown by one of the suspects. Fearing for his safety, the agent fired,” he said, adding that the agent suffered minor injuries.
By Sharon Ann Hamilton
February 16, 2014 (San Diego)--What would you do if you realized that in San Diego County alone, about 225,500,000 pounds of textiles are purchased every year and only 15% are resold, repurposed, or recycled? Fully 85% end up in landfills.
By Miriam Raftery
February 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--As a journalist, I find it disturbing to see the high number of East County media outlets that have closed their doors, slashed content, or sold out to a corporate conglomerate in recent months. Those remaining are struggling amid a culture of readers that increasing are failing to support the important job of news gathering that is so critical for our democracy—not to mention keeping you informed of breaking news, emergencies and events in your community.
By Mark Gabrish Conlan • for East County Magazine, www.eastcountymagazine.org
February 19, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - There’s an old saying, variously attributed to the Greek fabulist Aesop and the Roman poet Horace, that “the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse.” Last February 11, after a six-month campaign, the special election for Mayor of San Diego labored and brought forth Kevin Faulconer. Actually, it wasn’t the proverbial mountain; it was the Republican Party and the “independent” Lincoln Club of San Diego County, who essentially took the raw material of Kevin Faulconer and used him as a chassis on which to build a bionically perfect mayoral candidate for the San Diego electorate c. 2014: modishly liberal on the “social issues” and business-friendly, pro-developer and anti-labor without being as obstreperously obnoxious about it as the last Republican Mayoral candidate, Carl DeMaio.
By Sharon Penny
February 17, 2014 (El Cajon)--Ralf Swenson, Superintendent of the Grossmont Unified High School District (GUHSD) proudly discussed recent academic success rates throughout the district’s 11 high schools at last week’s board meeting.
February 17, 2014 (Dulzura)– A semi-truck carrying an estimated 1,000 chickens rolled over, then burst into flames that have spread to a tree. The semi is blocking the roadway at 16895 State Route 94 near Campbell Ranch Road, close to the Dulzura Post Office. Chickens are reportedly running loose, the California Highway Patrol website indicates.
A Sig Alert has been issued and the semi driver is injured. Avoid this area.
By Mary Wang
February 17, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Last fall, the City of El Cajon passed a Deemed Approved Ordinance (DAO) in an attempt to resolve some of the alcohol-related issues many business owners and residents have been experiencing over the years in our community.
By Miriam Raftery
February 17, 2014 (Jacumba) – An 80-year-old woman in a motorized wheelchair crossing Old Highway 80 in Jacumba was struck and killed by a white van turning onto the highway at 6:38 p.m. last night. The victim, Jimmie Dyampert Genet of Jacumba, died at the scene.
“Jimmie was a larger than life character who was liked by everyone,” said Danielle Cook, a Jacumba resident. “I used to see her in the pools at the spa or rolling down the road towards the store and Post Office. She will be missed.”
February 17, 2014 (San Diego) – Below are highlights of events for readers and writers countywide for the last half of February. For complete Calendar including Authors Events, go to www.SDWriteWay.org
Anza Borrego Foundation calls for halt to fast-tracking of all major energy projects;
Cleveland National Forest Foundation says EIR violates CEQA, fails to examine less harmful alternatives such as rooftop solar
By Miriam Raftery
February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—The Anza Borrego Foundation (ABF) and a law firm representing the Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNFF) have submitted comments warning of dire consequences from Soitec Solar’s proposed massive solar projects in the Boulevard community. Both urge the County to put the brakes on the proposed projects, which they warn would cause irreparable harm to wildlife and ecosystems not only in rural Boulevard, but in Anza Borrego State Park and Cleveland National Forest.
By Roy L Hales
February 14, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - A little more than two years since it was launched in Riverside County, the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing program is on the verge of an expansion that will take it into 70% of California’s population.
By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
February 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--“On average 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits occur annually, reminds Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Firefighters and Paramedics respond to thousands of accidents every day.”
Follow some of these tips to help prevent accidents in your home:
Photos by Eldonna Lay and Meghan M. Lay
February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Motorists along Fuerte Drive at Mt. Helix drive and on Chase Avenue near Fuerte in the unincorporated areas of the County will soon be safer, thanks to two new retaining walls under construction. The walls are being built to halt erosion of enbankments and rockslides onto the roadways below.
February 14, 2014 (Ramona)—Matilda Abaez, 42, has been arrested after residents found her inside a neighbor’s garage and called for help. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of a burglary in progress shortly before 2 p.m. today in the 200 block of Kalbaught Street, Ramona.
By Janis Mork
February 15, 2014 (El Cajon)- On Saturday February 1, the 2nd Annual Lilac 5K Trail Run took place at the Crestridge Ecological Reserve. This event was a fundraiser for environmental education and outreach programs of the Earth Discovery Institute.
February 15, 2014 (Jacumba)—Wayne Brammer sent in these photos of SDG&E’s new Eco Substation in Jacumba. The project is (so-named for hooking up to industrial-scale renewable energy projects. But to most backcountry residents, the project is an ecological disaster that destroyed the landscape and used three times more water (90 million gallons total) than SDG&E estimated.
“This thing is a monster and they’re wasting water all over the place, not just here but all the way to Boulevard,” writes Bramley, referencing other energy projects in the pipeline. “We really do need to separate from the city and have our own county,” he concluded, linking back to a reader’s editorial on this issue.
By Miriam Raftery
February 15, 2014 (Mt. Helix)—The Mt. Helix Academy in la Mesa, which has students from kindergarten through ninth grade, takes pride in “happy kids who love to learn,” says Tracey Singer, marketing coordinator. So Singer wrote and directed a music video starring kids at the school “to show what a fun place we have,” he said. “To my knowledge we are the only school in San Diego, and probably the nation, that is marketing itself with original music videos.”
Written by Dennis Moore
February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Kelly Cole, host of “Lites-Out” on KPRI 102.1FM and a resident of Santee since 1987, has music in her heart and soul. Born and raised in San Diego, she describes “Happiness” as family, good friends and music. It certainly comes across in her chosen profession.
February 15, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Maternal exposure to alcohol in-utero is a known risk and cause of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. FAS children suffer significant problems such as retarded intellect, stunted growth and nervous system abnormalities, social problems and isolation. Until now Fathers have not had a causal link to such disabilities. Ground breaking new research has been revealed which shows Dads may have more accountability.
February 14, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—A Valentine’s Day crash at 1:44 p.m. today claimed the life of a 37-year-old San Diego man. According to the CHP, he was driving a Jaguar at high speed on State Route 125 northbound near San Miguel Ranch Road when he missed a curve and collided with the center median guardrail, tearing open the left side of his vehicle.
February 18, 2014 (El Cajon)- - Francine Busby, Chair of the San Diego Democratic Party and Executive Director of Run Women Run, an organization that recruits progressive women to run for political office, will be speaking at the East County Democratic Club meeting on February 20 at 7 p.m.
February 14, 2014 (El Cajon)-Rosemary June Owens, who co-owned Howard’s Bakery in El Cajon, was a popular figure in El Cajon for many years, serving sweets and specialties for occasions from weddings to graduations. She passed away peacefully in her home with her loving husband of 53 years, Howard, by her side.
Rosemary fought a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, after beating breast cancer twice over a 30-year span.
February 14, 2014 (La Mesa) - The Boys & Girls Clubs of East County Foundation has recruited more than 30 La Mesa community leaders who have begun raising $4.45 million. That figure represents the remaining half of $8.9 million needed to build a new clubhouse in La Mesa, renovate an existing teen center in the city and fund an endowment to operate both facilities. About $4.5 million already has been raised, according to Jerry Fazio, Foundation executive director. He said the goal is to raise the remaining funds needed over the next two years.
February 14, 2014 (San Carlos)--A student who attended Patrick Henry High School in the San Diego Unified School District died last night of a suspected meningococcal infection, according to officials with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).
February 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Tax time is rarely a time that people look forward to. Even if you’re getting a refund, there’s still a bunch of paperwork, numbers and calculations to go through. But, what if you could get free help with your taxes? Better yet, what if at the same time, you could also find out what benefits you qualify for, like CalFresh or discounts on your SDG&E bill?
Photo: Proposed Chaparral County, shown in green
By Libby Belle
Why rural East County communities should secede from San Diego County
February 14, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – In more ways than I can count, San Diego Supervisors have shown disdain for the people of East County, the environment, and the character of our communities. Supervisor Dianne Jacob is a notable exception, fighting to protect us from fire hazards and destructive energy projects. But time and time again, she’s outvoted by four Supervisors who don’t live in East County, and don’t care if they destroy what makes our region special.
So why should we continue to give them our tax dollars?
Let me list just a few of the ways that the County has abdicated its responsibilities to East County residents:
February 13, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Investigators with the Santee Sheriff's Station want your help in identifying and locating those responsible in a series of electrical copper wiring thefts.