December 2012 Articles
East County Rep also calls Middle Easterners liars, draws fire for remarks
By Miriam Raftery
December 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated 8:40 p.m. – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has long been known as a hawk on military matters. But in an interview on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this week, the former Marine went further, voicing support for use of "tactical nuclear devices" if the U.S. launches an air strike against Iran. He backed use of tactical, or non-strategic nuclear weapons to set Iran's reported effort at developing a nuclear weapon "back a decade, or two or three."
Hunter, whose San Diego region district includes over 80,000 Middle Eastern immigrants, also ignited controversy when he stated,”In the Middle Eastern culture, it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes. That includes lying.” (View video of full interview.)
December 31, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A photo is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. East County Magazine’s photographers and readers have compiled an impressive portfolio of dramatic images this year. These are our editor’s picks for the photos that create an emotional chord, from inspiration to anguish. We deeply appreciate our professional photojournalists and citizen photographers who helped document the images that defined the news and character of our region this year.
By Miriam Raftery
December 29, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—“Scenic resources are among the biggest values we can offer to the American people,” Will Metz, Cleveland National Forest Supervisor, told ECM.
The U.S. Forest Service is now weighing a proposal to protect vast tracts of federal forests as roadless wilderness—including 42,000 of Cleveland National Forest. That includes the lands around Cedar Creek and above Cedar Creek Falls, Eagle Peak, the upper San Diego River Gorge, and the Caliente area.
The proposal will likely be open for public comment in January and could be finalized by mid-2013. While the USFS would then manage the lands as wilderness, it would take an act of Congress to formalize the designation.
December 30, 2012 (La Mesa) – Poet Jim Hornsby Morena, owner of the Spacebar Internet Café in La Mesa, is asking for donations of blankets to help the Mixtec Indians in Tijuana during this winter season. Below is his message, along with a link to a video.
December 28, 2012 (San Diego) – The Robin Henkel Blues Trio will perform at El Cajon Brewing Co., 110 North Magnolia Ave., El Cajon on January 16 from 6 – 9 p.m. The Trio’s performance is in the style of the Mississippi Delta blues.
December 28, 2012 (San Diego) – The award-winning Southern Gospel trio Greater Vision will perform at Skyline Church, 11330 Campo Road, San Diego on January 13 at 5:00 p.m. Greater Vision, organized in 1990, has been inspiring audiences with its rich vocal blend and gospel message. Tickets are $16 advance general admission, $20 at the door or $25 for Artist Circle admission.
January 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –Some area residents started their New Year in the dark due to power outages. An outage that began at 1 a.m. is due to be restored at noon today in the Blossom Valley and Lakeside areas, where a vehicle caused a short in the electrical system that left 432 customers without power, SDG&E reports.
In Lemon Grove and Spring Valley, a vehicle also caused an outage to 28 customers at 11:18 p.m. last night that is due to be restored at 9 a.m. today, according to SDG&E’s website.
UPDATE: The President has signed into law a fiscal cliff deal that includes extension of the wind production tax credits, and also makes it easier for wind develpers to get them. Projects now only need to break ground to qualify, not meet construction milestones.
December 31, 2012 (San Diego's East County) – ECM sources in Washington have informed us that language to extend $12 billion in wind production tax credits through 2013 have been added to a tentative deal reached to avert the “fiscal cliff.” Senate leaders and President Barack Obama have agreed on the deal, which the Senate is expected to vote on tonight. The House, however, has adjourned and will likely vote tomorrow or the next day.
Extension of the wind tax credits could have major ramifications for San Diego’s East County, where Iberdrola’s Tule Wind has been approved but not yet built. Other wind projects are also proposed in our region. The wind industry has indicated that without a tax credit extension, many planned wind projects may not be built.
A national effort has been launched by wind power opponents asking citizens to urge Congressional members to oppose any deal that includes a wind tax credit extension. Local residents are among those contacting their Senators and House representatives to urge that wind production tax credit extensions not be granted.
December 31, 2012 (Encinitas) – San Diego Sheriff asks residents countywide for help to identify three males who forcibly tried to kidnap an 18-year-old woman today in Encinitas. The suspects drove an older black pickup truck with orange horizontal stripes near the fenders and gardening gear in the truck bed.
After she was pulled into the truck, the victim reportedly punched the driver and bit another suspect before fleeing to a nearby home for help.
The driver is described as a heavy-set Hispanic man, age 30-40. A young Hispanic or white male with a thin build, possibly a juvenile, got out of the passenger side and ordered the victim to get in the truck, then pulled her in when she refused. Another passenger has a thin build and is believed to be Hispanic, age 25-35.
Update 11:15 p.m. - The Senate has approved the deal 89-8. The House vote, up next, will not occur tonight.
Update January 2, 2013: The House approved the Senate version Jan. 1 with no changes. The President later signed the measure into law.
December 31, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- It's now past midnight in Washington D.C., where Senate leaders in both parties and President Obama have reached a tentative agreement on a deal to avert the worst of the "fiscal cliff" impacts. Though no vote was taken prior to the midnight year-end deadline, because tomorrow is a federal holiday, the worst of the impacts can yet be avoided if Congress takes action soon. However the measure is expected to face opposition in the House, which Republicans control.
December 31, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- A blanket of snow envelops our local mountains and rural areas this New Year's Eve. Melody Ponchot arose early to snap sunrise photos as the morning's first rays illuminate snow dusting trees across her ranch in Boulevard (left, right, and below, right)
Julie Salmons also sent in an image of the Laguna mountains (below, left), viewed from Descanso, wearing a crown of winter white.
Update: A memorial service is scheduled for January 5 in El Cajon. Details below.
December 27, 2012 (El Cajon) -- East County Democratic Club co-president John Martes passed after a year-long battle with lung cancer last night at his home in El Cajon. His wife of 40 years, Gloria Martes, and two daughters, Natalie and Leslie, were at his side.
An accountant/controller at John A. Martes and Associates educated at the University of San Diego, Martes twice ran for the Cajon Valley School District Board and was also a candidate for the El Cajon City Council.
December 31, 2012 (La Mesa) – O’Dunn Fine Art is serving up champagne and truffles today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the gallery, 8325 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa. All paintings and pottery will be 10% - 50% off, including new inventory.
How will failure of Congress to halt fiscal cliff impact you?
By Miriam Raftery
December 30, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – If Congress fails to agree by the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, automatic spending cuts of 8-9% across the board will take place as required through sequestration in both domestic programs and Defense. That could cut the deficit by half, but theCongressional Budget office warns this could trigger recession as steep tax hikes take effect along with spending cuts. It’s not just the rich who will feel the pinch—in fact middle class and low income earners would face severe economic impacts.
San Diego's biotech industry, military and Border Patrol offices are all bracing for potential painful cuts.
The deficit currently stands at $1.1 trillion, the lowest since 2008 but still a daunting figure that both sides seek to reduce, but with vastly different approaches.
December 30, 2012 (Alpine) – The Alpine Woman’s Club is holding its next monthly luncheon on January 15 at 12 p.m. at 2156 Alpine Blvd., Alpine. The program will feature Carlette Anderson, the Club’s President and co-owner of Save-A-Heart, the CPR Pros, sharing the new guidelines for CPR and demonstrating the Heimlich maneuver.
December 30, 2012 (Alpine)--Twas the Day after Christmas, and all through the Alpine Library, beautiful Pageant princesses appeared wearing formal gowns and tiaras. Each took a turn reading a Princess story to the preschoolers, who were mesmerized by the glitter and glam.
Photo Caption: L-R: Kamryn Hill, Pre-Teen Miss San Diego County; Alyssa Rosales, Junior Miss San Diego County; Dahna Bennet, Miss Teen San Diego County, and Jessica Jennings,Miss Jr. Teen San Diego County &Miss Jr. Teen California.
January 1, 2013 - First Day Hike was cancelled due to weather.
December 30, 2012 (San Diego) – Palomar Mountain State Park’s First Day Hike to welcome the New Year is January 1 at 9 a.m. The hike will begin at the Doane Pond parking lot and start out on the heavily canopied Doane Valley Trail heading towards the meadows of French Valley.
SAN DIEGO CHAPTER OF IPSSA PRESENTS A $7,000 DONATION TO OPERATION HOMEFRONT- SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IN SUPPORT OF OUR TROOPS
December 30, 2012 (San Diego)-Michael Anderson, President o f Independent Pool and Spa Service Association ( IPSSA San Diego), recently presented Karla Winter-Schulz, President of Support the Enlisted Project ( S.T.E.P.) with a $7,000.00 charitable contribution. S.T.E.P. is the local branch of Operation Homefront, dedicated to assist servicemen and women and their families in many areas of need.
December 30, 2012 (San Diego)--Bellus Academy is adding “national television show partner” to its long list of accomplishments, innovations and top-tier resources. On Saturday, Jan. 5, the beauty and wellness school will partner with The CW Television Network to host an open casting call for supermodel Tyra Banks’ reality competition, “America’s Next Top Model (ANTM).”
December 30, 2012 (La Mesa)--The Grossmont Hospital Foundation recently appointed three new members – Harry Ellison, M.D., Lew Silverberg and Philip Szold, M.D. – to its 2013 Board of Governors. Each appointee serves a three-year term, which began October 1, 2012.
The Grossmont Hospital Foundation Board of Governors mission is to establish policy for the Foundation, determine its fundraising priorities, and support Sharp Grossmont Hospital in developing high-quality, accessible and affordable inpatient and outpatient services to the residents of San Diego’s East County community.
December 30, 2012 (San Diego) – Several lanes are blocked by a multi-vehicle accident on westbound I-8, just west of 805.
In addition, a rollover accident has occurred on northbound 163 on the ramp to eastbound I-8.
A collision has also occurred on I-8 eastbound at East Main Street in El Cajon.
By Miriam Raftery
December 30, 2012 (Santee) – A San Diego Police officer sustained serious injuries when a pickup truck traveling at a high speed collided with a patrol car. The crash occurred at 2:28 a.m. at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and State Route 125. The driver of the truck, who was also injured has been charged with suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The pickup truck was driving northbound on State Route 25 when it collided with the patrol car, knocking both vehicles off the road and onto the shoulder on northbound Mission Gorge Road.
“Fire Department personnel used rescue equipment to cut and pry the car open to extricate the officer,” said Sgt. D. Hale with the San Diego Sheriff.
View video of countdown and ball drop: click here or scroll down.
December 30, 2012 (Alpine)--Thousands of people looking to get a jump on their New Year's Eve celebrations gathered at Viejas Casino Friday night.
Friday marked the start of a four-day New Year's Celebration at Viejas Casino. Each night, including New Year's Eve, New York City's Times Square is re-created at Viejas Casino, including a massive, 700-pound New Year's Ball that drops at midnight, with a countdown and fireworks to ring in the new year.
Each night, the party is free and features New York-style food, drink specials, free music and dancing to the local band Rising Star and DJs all night. And each night from now until December 31, at 9pm, a Porsche Boxster will be given away on the Viejas Casino floor.
December 29, 2012 (San Diego)—A federal lawsuit has been filed by Celeste Deborah Cooney, who alleges that radiation from a bank of smart meters left her unable to reside in her home. Defendants in the suit include the SDG&E, the State of California, Attorney General Kamala Harris, California Public Utilities chairman Mi chael Peevey, and Itron Inc., manufacturer of smart meters used in San Diego.
Cooney, a former bank vice president in Massachusetts, moved to San Diego to pursue a new career as a musician. She performed at prominent locations including the Queen Mary and the Ritz Carlton. But in April 2011, she developed a ringing in her ears, a “shock to her heart”, numbness, chest pain, heart palpitations and sleep problems that she attributes to a bank of smart meters at an apartment complex near her home in La Jolla.
EAST COUNTY RESIDENT APPOINTED BY GOVERNOR EDMUND G. BROWN TO THE CA BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC EXAMINERS
December 29, 2012 (Sacramento)--On December 21, 2012, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the appointment of Frank Ruffino to the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Ruffino, 49, of El Cajon, is the Community Partnership Manager at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. Also, Ruffino serves as the Vice President for Governmental Affairs for the Association of California State Supervisors, and is a member of the California State Employees Association Board of Directors.
Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News
December 29, 2012 (Santee)—Jayme Midland, 25, was killed when the Volkswagen Beetle he was driving on State Route 52 was struck head-on by a Chevy pickup truck driving on the wrong side of the highway.
The woman driving the truck suffered moderate injuries. After treatment at Sharp Memorial hospital, she was arrested for gross vehiclular manslaughter while intoxicated. She has been booked into the Las Colinas Detention Facility, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Midland, a resident of Clairemont, was declared dead at the scene. The accident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. on eastbound 52, just east of Mast Boulevard in Santee.
December 29, 2012 (Cuyamaca) -- While driving through Rancho Cuyamaca State Park last week, ECM editor Miriam Raftery spotted several groups of deer grazing in the sun-dappled woods, including this doe, which paused to pose for a picture-perfect moment.
The best time to see deer is in the last hour before sundown; this photo was taken shortly before 4 p.m. just two days after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
December 29, 2012 (Mount Helix) -- "Ring around the moon, rain is coming soon," according to an old saying. There is truth to the statement, since a halo around the moon is caused by high cirrus clouds and a reflection off millions of ice crystals high up in the atmosphere that creates this irridescent rainbow-like effect. Moon halos were seen by many people across the eastern U.S. before Hurricane Sandy, for example.
ECM editor Miriam Raftery took this photo last night from Mount Helix--and sure enough, rain is forecast for today and tomorrow.
December 29, 2012 (San Diego’s East County ) - A storm moving through our region today and tomorrow is expected to bring rain and in mountain areas, snow. By tomorrow, snow is forecast to drop down to 4,000 feet—low enough to include Julian and Lake Cuyamaca—popular destinations for families seeking to frolic in the snow.
Gusty winds are also forecast in mountains and on desert slopes late Sunday. The storm system is expected to move east and out of our county on Monday, so if you’re planning a trip to the mountains it’s best to wait until after the weekend.
By Miriam Raftery
December 28, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Thanks to technology, we can track exactly how many people click open each story on our site. This year’s results are surprising and bemusing, revealing a lot about our readers.
Some results were predictable; you showed strong interest in big energy projects and local politics. But we’re baffled as to how an article on a drum therapy class in El Cajon attracted 36,000 reads worldwide, or why a political sex scandal drew far more readers than coverage of the presidential election. We learned that our readers care about wildlife, hiking, and our environment. Many of you want to preserve social safety nets and civil liberties. Plus a whole lot of you wanted to find the best holiday party in East County!
Here are this year’s most read stories—and some lessons that we've learned: