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February 2009 Articles




20% DROP IN GAS HEATING BILLS THIS WINTER; FUNDS INCREASED TO HELP LOW-INCOME CUSTOMERS

February. 17, 2009 (San Diego) — Due to a decline in commodity
costs, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) natural gas customers can expect
their heating bills to be 20-percent lower this winter than last year, the
utility company has announced.

9 Ways That "Waiting For Mortgage Rates to Fall" Can Come Back To Haunt You

By Jim Copeland

February 2009 (San Diego) — At the end of 2008, as mortgage rates fell to
around 5%, homeowners helped to start a mini-refinance boom.  Recently,
self-doubt has crept in as rates have inched upward since January 14, 2009

Rest easy, friends.  You're not missing out.

SANTEE SPORT CLIPS GIVES $1,340 TO BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF EAST COUNTY

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February 18, 2009 (Santee)--Today, the Santee Sport Clips presented a $1,340 check to the Boys & Girls Club of East County for a recent cut-a-thon fundraiser in which customers donated $5 to the organization and received a free "MVP" haircut. Because previous grand opening customer traffic records were shattered by nearly 75 percent, Sport Clips President, Clete Brewer, was in attendance to help present the check.

NEARLY 20% OF ELIGIBLE CA FAMILIES MISSING OUT ON VALUABLE TAX CREDIT

February 2, 2009 (Public News Service) — Too many Californians
struggling to put food on the table are also leaving money on the table; almost
20 percent of eligible California families - tens of thousands of people -
are failing to claim their federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

EAST OF THE LINE: Local economy gets a shot in the arm from border operations

By Billie Jo Jannen

Victor Leon of Potrero and Rudolfo Reyes of Campo put
a raked finish on the drying concrete at the base of the border fence in
the far western portion of Campo. They are working on the south side of
the fence, which is constructed a short distance north of the border inside
the border "buffer zone." Workers on the fence have been harassed
by suspected smugglers on the Mexican side and there was at least one incident
of rock-throwing toward U.S. workers.

February 16, 2009 (Campo) — Of the 670 miles of infrastructure
built along the Southwest border as of January '09, about 10.5 miles of primary
fencing was in San Diego County and most of that, about 9.75 miles, was in
rural East County. An additional 2.6 miles in Marron Valley, south of Dulzura,
is funded and expected to be completed this year.

The fence, itself, stands 18 feet above the ground, according Agent Jerry
Conlin of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is sunk into a footing of
concrete - six feet deep and two feet wide - and made up of steel tubes filled
with concrete, called bollards. The bollards stand upright in steel framework
with their feet buried in the concrete.

GET READY TO RUMBA! FREE WHEELCHAIR BALLROOM DANCE CLASSES START FEB 19 IN LA MESA

February 17, 2009 (La Mesa) — TheWheelchair Dancers
Organization, sponsored by the Sharp Grossmont Foundation, is offering 8
weeks of free wheelchair ballroom dance classes. This is the
first wheelchair ballroom dance program ever offered in San Diego by
a professionally certified wheelchair dance instructor, William Valencia. Dance
classes start on Thursday, February 19, from 12 Noon-1:00 pm., Sharp Grossmont
Rehabilitation Center, 5555 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, for wheelchair users
with or without partners.

BREAKFAST WITH BAKARI THE LION: FEB. 21 AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS

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February 16, 2009 (Descanso)--Here's something to roar about--Lions, Tigers & Bears is hosting "Breakfast with Bakari", an African lion at big cat sanctuary in Descanso, just east of Alpine.

Guests are invited to enjoy breakfast, visit with 13 rescued cats, other farm animals and their caretakers. You can also watch lions and tigers frolicking in the new Tiger Trails exercise enclosure funded through donations and past fundraising events.

LA MESA'S BUDGET A COMPLEX ISSUE

LA MESA’S BUDGET A COMPLEX ISSUE

Annual Budget Workshop March 17

By Kristin Kjaero

A number of diverse elements contribute to the city’s financial health as a whole. In a lead up to the City’s Annual Budget Workshop, we are pleased to provide an overview for our readers.

 

WHAT'S HOT THIS WEEK? PLENTY!

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February 18, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--Concerts, circus performers, art shows, the AMGEN tour and wheelchair ballroom dance lessons are among the many exciting activities coming to San Diego's eastern region this week.

FIRE OFFICIALS SCORCH STAY-AND-DEFEND POLICY, CITE DEATH TOLL IN AUSTRALIAN WILDFIRES

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Public urged to "leave early" when fire threatens, make preparations before fire season

By Miriam Raftery

February 17, 2009 (El Cajon)--"Fifty-three fire chiefs agree that the best way to keep families safe is to evacuate early," August Ghio, president of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association, said at a press conference at Cal Fire's El Cajon station. Ghio joined other local fire officials (photo)in drawing media attention to Australia's policy of encouraging homeowners to stay home and fight wildfires--a factor that many believe to have contributed to a death toll of over 200 in Australia's catastrophic blazes.

Australia's tragedy also casts a pallor over some San Diego County Supervisors and local developers calls to adopt "shelter-in-place" standards for certain new housing projects. "The people here who cite Australia as a role model will have to back off, because clearly Australia was a disaster," Leonard Villareal, public information officer for the San Miguel Fire District, told ECM.

WILL POWER REPORT: LAY-OFF NOTICES ARE EXTORTION!

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The Will Power Report: Nothing but the Truth

LAY-OFF NOTICES ARE EXTORTION!

February 17, 2009 (San Diego) -- The use of layoff warning letters as an excuse to terrify workers has an old history. For decades, school boards would send out letters to teachers on March 15, designed to terrify teachers and force them to accept substandard contracts and working conditions.

STOP-PAYMENTS TO FOSTER FAMILIES RAISES CONCERNS FOR CHILDREN

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2009 (San Diego) — A letter sent by the County of San Diego last week to foster parents warned that the State of California planned to halt payments to counties for foster parent services immediately. While County officials joined with 23 other counties to file a lawsuit against the state, the prospect of losing funding to care for needy children has sparked concern among local foster parents.

”My wife and I have 12 foster girls under our supervision and the letters from the County were horrible,” Herb Cawthorne, head of community relations for Viejas Enterprises, told East County Magazine. “These children are already without the normal family relationships - fathers gone, mothers in rehab or jail or incapable of good parenting, brother and sisters scattered across the county and, wham, this letter comes saying that they may not be able to stay in the places where they have become accustomed.”

I HAVE A NEW RING: SILVER ART CLAY IN SANTEE CLASS FORGES CREATIVE ENDEAVORS

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By Jackie Hanson

I'm admiring my new ring. Its flowers and curliques catch the light as I type. Amazingly, t I made it myself! That's because I had the great good fortune to discover Tes Shea and the jewelry classes she teaches for the City of Santee. Last Friday, Tes was teaching how to make "Easy Rings" out of silver Art Clay.

Metal Art Clay is a relatively new material, a combination of precious metal and clay that blends the best properties of each. It's flexible and can be easily worked like clay, yet fires to a durable and beautiful metal. What happens in more technical terms is that the clay binder burns off, leaving behind 99% pure fine silver. Happily, the silver is recycled -- from computers, x-ray film, and such sources- good news for all of us on a quest to be more environmentally correct!

NEED SANDBAGS? GET THEM AT THESE CAL-FIRE STATIONS

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February 16, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--In preparation for the expected weather CAL FIRE has prepositioned 4x4 engines in strategic locations near I-8 in East County. CAL FIRE also has sand bags available at the following stations:

CA BUDGET ONE VOTE SHY OF PASSAGE: HOLLINGSWORTH LEADS OPPOSITION

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By Miriam Raftery

 

February 18, 2009 (San Diego) -- Efforts to pass a $40 billion state budget plan collapsed over the weekend due to Republicans refusal to support the plan, which fell one vote shy of passage in the Senate. The state has halted refund checks to taxpayers and payments to vendors, stopped 2,000 public works projects and announced plans to stop payments for foster parents and other social services because California has no more money. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered furloughs for state workers and tonight said he will send lay-off notices to 20,000 people on Tuesday. Loans are no longer an option due to the state’s bad credit rating.

 

“I don’t know what it takes for people to believe this really is a crisis,” said Senator Denise Ducheny, (D-San Diego), chair of the Senate Budget committee, whose district includes Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and some eastern portions of San Diego.

HUNTER INTRODUCES RIGHT TO LIFE ACT: BILL WOULD DECLARE LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION; NO EXCEPTIONS FOR RAPE, INCEST, OR SAVING A MOTHER'S LIFE

Duncan D. Hunter

February 13, 2009 (Washington DC) --“Congressman Duncan Hunter has introduced H.R. 881, which would declare that life begins at conception. The Right to Life Act would establish “personhood of the unborn” by requiring equal protection under the 14th amendment of the Constitution to the “born and unborn” beginning with the moment of fertilization or cloning.

Hunter’s bill contains no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, or to save a woman’s life. Yet during his campaign, Hunter told East County Magazine that while he is pro-life, he would support exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or when a mother’s life is in danger. That article, http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/?q=congressional_candidates_address_is..., was praised by Hunter campaign spokesperson Margaret Hunter in an e-mail to East County Magazine as “one of the most objective articles” written about the 52nd campaign.)

HOUSE PASSES STIMULUS BILL THAT AIMS TO CREATE 396,000 JOBS IN CALIFORNIA; LOCAL LEADERS SPLIT VOTES

February 13, 2009 -- The House of Representatives passed the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by a vote of 246-183. Local Democratic
representatives Bob Filner and Susan Davis voted for the measure, while Republicans
Duncan D. Hunter, Brian Bilbray and Darrell Issa voted no. According
to the White House, the measure will create or save 396,000 jobs in California
by the end of next year.

DON QUIXOTE BATTLES WINDMILLS -- AND SO DO THE FOLKS IN BOULEVARD

PART II in a three-part series:  WHY BOULEVARD?

By Gayle Early

Pristine vale in McCain Valley slated for transmission lines, including Sunrise PowerLink. (photo by Gayle Early)

February 16, 2009 (Boulevard) — Iberdrola Renewables and other parties have had their fingers in the wind, testing for the past three years and more.

“If you link the windy areas in San Diego County to the transmission, it restricts you to very few areas. McCain Valley—and a small area around Julian—is one of the few areas in San Diego County that has wind anywhere near transmission,” said Andy Linehan, Permitting/Environmental Director of Iberdrola.

The quality of wind here might be questionable. Alan Ridley, Professor at Cuyamaca College and enthusiastic expert on renewable wind energy said, “I remember 10, 15 years ago a former Sempra employee told me they just can’t do wind energy in East County, because it’s the wrong kind of wind. I had a lawyer tell me that ‘Kumeyaay Wind project is good, but it’s not great.’

STATE OF THE COUNTY ADDRESS: "OMINOUS DAYS BEFORE US," JACOB WARNS

County to Sue State Over Funding Cuts

By Miriam Raftery

Supervisor Dianne Jacob

February 12, 2009 (El Cajon) — Dianne Jacob, Chairwoman
of the County Board of Supervisors, presented a bleak outlook in a State of the County
address
presented
last night at Cuyamaca College. As a result of falling revenues
and state budget cuts, lay-offs and deep cuts in County services will be necessary,
she warned. “Apparently, state legislators see nothing wrong with collecting
their paychecks, while aid checks to more than 63,000 `at risk’ San Diego children
hang in the balance,” said Jacob, who revealed that the state plans to delay
some $100 million in aid payments to foster families, disadvantaged children
and their parents.

HARBISON CANYON FIRE STATION REOPENS

February 10, 2009 (Harbison Canyon) — Like a phoenix arisen from
the ashes, a new fire station has opened to replace the Harbison Canyon station
that burned down during the 2003 Cedar Fire.

CAL FIRE-Rural Protection District held a grand opening to celebrate completion
of the new station,
which was funded by insurance, the Sycuan tribe, and Supervisor Dianne Jacob's
office.

EL CAJON MOURNS PASSING OF WAYNE STALKER, LONG-TIME EMPLOYEE AND ARTIST

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The El Cajon Police Department and the City are saddened by the death of retired Animal Control Officer Wayne Stalker. Wayne passed away on Wednesday, February 4 after a long courageous battle against cancer.

Wayne joined the El Cajon Police Department as a Volunteer Police Reserve Officer on September 9, 1981, and then held various positions at the police department, eventually becoming an Animal Control Officer on July 1, 1995. He retired from the City on December 28, 2007. Not only was Wayne a dedicated officer, but he was also a very talented artist.

FREE GYMNASTICS DAY FOR KIDS FEB. 21 AT CAMEROM FAMILY YMCA, SANTEE

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February 12, 2009 (Santee) -- The Cameron Family YMCA in Santee will host their annual Free Gymnastics Day on Sat., Feb. 21 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is a special day of fun in the branch's fully-equipped gymnastics center for boys and girls ages three to 13 years of age. The Cameron Family YMCA is located at 10123 Riverwalk Drive in Santee.

FILNER JOINS 20 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ESTABLISH POPULIST CAUCUS FOR MIDDLE CLASS ECONOMIC ISSUES

Bob Filner

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2009 (Washington, DC) Today, Rep. Bob Filner (D-San Diego) announced that he has joined with 20 other Democratic members of Congress to form the Populist Caucus, the only caucus in Congress devoted solely to addressing middle class economic issues.

LA MESA POLICE NAB 2 SUSPECTS FOR ROBBERY AND POSSESSION OF STOLEN PROPERTY

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February 10, 2009 (La Mesa)--The day after two pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint by a masked man, Antonio Rattler (photo), a 20 year old from La Mesa,was arrested for the robberies by the La Mesa Police Department.

On February 9, 2009, in the late evening hours, a masked man armed with a gun robbed two pedestrians within thirty minutes of each other in the Parkway Drive/Fletcher Parkway area of La Mesa. Police checked the area at the time but did not locate the suspect.

FILNER SEEKS TO AMEND CLEAN WATER ACT: REQUIRE DOD COMPLIANCE WITH EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

February
9, 2009 (San Diego) —
Congressman Bob Filner introduced the Military
Environmental Responsibility Act, H.R. 672, which would require the Department
of Defense (DOD) to fully comply with Federal and State environmental laws.

"Military exemptions from environmental requirements harm human health by
polluting our water, air, and soil. Communities around military bases should
be protected equally from harmful waste and by-products, just like any other
American town," said Filner. "Cleaning up after ourselves is the responsible
course of action."

FROM KEYBOARD TO ALTAR:

A Woman's Perspective

By Laura Walsh

February 10, 2009 (San Diego's East County) — When
people ask how my husband and I met, they are generally surprised to
learn that we met on the Internet. Some people are even shocked. I am
not sure why.

When my marriage of 22 years ended in divorce and I was in my early 50s
my first thought was that my life was over--NOT! I realized soon that it
had only just begun in many ways. I decided I would no longer be afraid
of life, but I would embrace it and enjoy it. The first thing I did was
get a pedicure--I know, rather mundane, but I had never had one before.
The second thing I did was change my hair color-- just a few streaks nothing
too dramatic--after all I was a principal of an elementary school! The
third thing I did was sign up for an Internet dating service. I had fun
each day exploring the biographies of men and getting excited when someone
wrote to me. It was a bit scary at first, yet it was also exhilarating
and liberating. I would enjoy my friends, but I was going to get right
back into the saddle with men--so to speak!

Wedding

A Man’s Perspective

By Terry Walsh

Searching, and finding, a mate on the Internet can be a rewarding and
successful activity.  Once the initial learning process is completed
and comfort is achieved with the Internet's modern form of communication,
one can get right at finding the right mate. Outdated methods of visiting
bars, joining clubs and mining work, school and church provide only a
limited universe from which to meet and develop relationships.  The
Internet is the answer for today's climate of not only a fast- paced
life, but one with desired quality as well.

POLICE SEEK TWO WOMEN SUSPECTED OF PASSING STOLEN CHECKS

February 9, 2009 (San Diego's East County) — Authorities have released
photos of two women suspected of passing stolen checks in La Mesa that were
taken from a vehicle in La Mesa. 

EAST OF THE LINE: NEW PLANNING GROUP CHAIRMEN HAVE THEIR WORK CUT OUT

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By Billie Jo Jannen

Planning groups countywide have seated their newly elected members since the first of the year and Campo's changing of the guard does nothing to dispel its image as among the most contentious in the rural East County (along with the now-legendary Ramona, Potrero and Alpine groups).

The short description of the meeting might well be summed up as "Lions 0, Christians 2, after a lively clash," and bodes another exhausting year for planning group watchers in Campo.

LAKESIDE HEARING FEB 18 ON SUNRISE POWERLINK PATH THROUGH EL MONTE VALLEY

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San Diego Gas & Electric will be at the Lakeside Community Planning Group (LCGP) Mtg on February 18 at 7 PM at the Lakeside Community Center at 9841 Vine Street, Lakeside, CA to discuss the Sunrise Powerlink high-voltage power lines proposed for the El Monte Valley.

A map and view of the proposed powerline path, which would include three sides of the valley, is at: http://www.flickr.com/gp/34534939@N07/oku65G.

CRAFTING WITH MARY: HOLIDAY BOUQUETS

By Mary
Genser

February 8, 2009 (La Mesa) — It's
easy to create festive floral arrangements to suit any occasion--all on a minimal
budget.

Start with a simple container such as a drinking glass, vase, pottery jar
or even a metal can. You can pick up these items at discount stores or yard
sales, or simply use an item from your kitchen cupboard.

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