View a Facebook page created by Ortiz with photos of wildlife at Lindo Lakes.
June 22, 2013 (Lakeside) – Migratory shorebirds at risk for nesting areas drying out will be saved, thanks to an inquiry from Lakeside resident Billy Ortiz, a volunteer with the Lakeside River Park Conservancy.
“I am happy to inform that as of June 21, 2013 San Diego County Parks and Recreation is pumping fresh water into Lindo Park Lake’s East basin,” Ortiz informed ECM today. The decision is a result of a request made in late May by Ortiz, also an ECM photographer and publicity chair of the Lakeside Hisotrical Society.
(Image: View from Boulevard’s Tierra Del Sol Road of the Sierra Juarez mountain range looking across Jewel Valley and Jacumba Valley—where real people and diverse wildlife now reside. Wind turbines close to 500 feet tall have been proposed by Enel Green Power on the Tierra Del Sol ridgeline in the foreground and on the distant Sierra Juarez ridgeline in Northern Baja by SDG&E’s parent Sempra. – Bill Parsons photo)
June 20, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- The County’s Board of Supervisors are being sued for approving their Wind Energy Ordinance & Plan Amendment last Month. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) complaint was filed last week by Stephan C. Volker, of Volker Law, on behalf of two rural East County grassroots non-profit groups: Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC) & Backcountry against Dumps (BAD).
They are challenging the vote approving the Wind Energy Ordinance and Plan Amendment, which they claim “gutted” the Boulevard Community Plan, approved by the Supervisors in August 2011, and violated two passages in the first Article of the California Constitution:
June 20, 2013 (Santee) -- Assemblyman Jones (R-Santee) and East County Magazine announced today that they will host a photography contest that features photographs taken in San Diego’s East County. The winning photographs will be displayed in Assemblyman Brian Jones’ Capitol Office and featured in East County Magazine.
“It’s an honor to be able to highlight the photographers and the beautiful landscapes Eastern San Diego County has to offer,” Jones said.
Miriam Raftery, Editor of East County Magazine said, “East County Magazine appreciates this opportunity to showcase the works of talented local photographers. East County Magazine looks forward to publishing works displaying our region’s beautiful scenery and our historic communities.”
All entries must be received by July 15, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. to be eligible. For details, scroll down.
June 20, 2013 (Campo) – By a 34-44 margin, the Campo tribe’s General Council has voted against the Shu’luuk Wind project, a proposal to lease reservation land to Invenergy, according to Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group. Tisdale indicated she has multiple sources on the vote outcome.
ECM has contacted the Campo Band of Mission Indians to request comment on the outcome.
The project may not be dead, however, as proponents hope to have another vote in the future.
Campo Creek Ranch offers local delivery of all-natural grass-fed beef
By Miram Raftery
June 13, 2013(Campo)—Cattle come running when rancher John Clark arrives. It looks like a scene out of a California “happy cows” commercial. View video.
These beef cattle are raised in open pastures, not crowded feed lots. They graze in green pastures at Campo Creek Ranch in San Diego’s East County. They receive no hormones and their diet is all natural – native grass or in some cases, barley.
“They’re all much healthier to eat,” says Clark, adding that grass-fed cattle re higher in omega-3 fatty acids. The ranch also offers all-natural chickens, pigs and rabbits – with meat delivered straight to consumers.
Throughout June and July, SANDAG will hold community workshops countywide to solicit public input on the biggest issues facing the region between now and 2050 – including the economy, environment, energy, transportation, public health, land use, borders, and social equity. Iinput gathered at these workshops will be used to develop San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. The SANDAG Board is expected to adopt the plan in 2015.
A workshop in East County will be held on June 27 from 6-8 p.m. in the La Mesa Community Center, Arbor View Room, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa. For a full list of workshops, scroll down.
Funds also approved to increase library hours, improve fire and police services, make neighborhoods safer and keep city’s homeless shelters open
June 11, 2013 (San Diego) -- Mayor Bob Filner’s balanced budget and financial priorities were adopted by the San Diego City Council on June 10. A 7-2 majority of the Council sided with the Mayor and made a commitment to fiscal responsibility and enhanced city services for the coming year.
In a separate action, the Council approved the Mayor’s five-year labor deal with City workers that will save more than $108 million over the term of the agreement by reducing the amount that the City has to pay into the employee retirement system. The labor deal will provide the City with much needed stability and predictability continuing its path toward recovery, the Mayor’s office indicated.
June 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – As ECM reported on June 7, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations (SONGS) will be shut down permanently. Reactions locally range from celebration among activists pushing for the closure to concerns over stored nuclear fuel, job losses, and a new bill that could ramp up pressure for approval of other energy projects including large-scale wind and solar projects in East County.
June 7, 2013 (San Onofre) – Southern California Edison (SCE) announced today that it will permanently decommission both reactors at its troubled Onofre nuclear generation plant. (SCE has made this decision due to the uncertainty brought by the increased requirements for safety from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
“Looking ahead,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE’s President, “we think that our decision to retire the units will eliminate uncertainty and facilitate orderly planning for California’s energy future.”
The nuclear waste on-site will remain there in dry cask storage—encased in stainless steel and concrete—until national leaders come up with a permanent storage solution, Patch.com reported.
June 6, 2013 (San Diego)--In August 2012, as part of its Red Tape Reduction Task Force efforts, San Diego’s Supervisors established a Land Development Performance Review Committee to “improve the land-use processes for the County's unincorporated areas.”
On April 24 the Board unanimously appointed seven new members. They are to work with county staff on developing ways to measure land-use performance “to show that permitting-process improvements are occurring — making the system faster and less expensive without compromising quality,” according to a county newsletter.
June 1, 2013 (San Diego) –Access to information from truthful, unbiased media are cornerstones to democracy. As KNSJ prepares to launch its public, nonprofit radio station transmitting from Descanso in East County, you’re invited to a forum on media justice hosted by Activist San Diego.
East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery will be among the panelists at the forum on Monday, June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Community Center on Vermont Street (one block north of University Avenue across from Trader Joe's).
Joseph Pulitzer observed back in 1883 that the media “should always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privilege classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.”
But today, the major broadcast media and many print publications are owned by the very same corporations over which media should serve as watchdogs--and they have are far from impartial . Six corporations control the vast majority of our airways and more. Consider this:
June 2, 2013 (San Diego) – If you’ve eaten Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries purchased at Costco in the past couple of weeks, you may have been exposed to hepatitis and should see your doctor immediately. Thus far, 30 cases in five states have been reported, including two in San Diego County. But the disease can take up to six weeks to occur after exposure, so cases are expected to rise.
One concern is that retailers may have purchased the product in bulk for use in other products such as smoothies or frozen drinks.
Dr. Eric McDonald, the county's deputy public health officer warns that those exposed should seek medical treatment now, which may include a vaccine for Hepatitis A or treatment with immune globulin – unless you have already had the vaccine or the disease. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call the County Epidemiology Program at (619) 692-8499.
May 28, 2013 (San Diego)--A wide range of facets and perspectives of the growing “green energy” industry were shared at a special forum titled “New San Diego Green Leaders: The Road To 100% Renewables” on May 7th at Cricket Communications headquarters in Kearney Mesa. Kathleen Connell moderated the forum sponsored by Green Experts Academy; East County Magazine was media sponsor of the event.
The forum addressed how San Diego might utilize 100 percent renewable energy, also focusing on how local leaders can learn from Germany and other countries where development of alternative renewable energy sources is not an option, but a necessity.
Photo: Firefighters battle spot fire in Lakeside; photo by Jeff Holz
May 26, 2013 (San Diego East County)—Fire season is off to an early start. Yesterday, even as firefighters fought to contain the 1800-acre San Felipe fire in the mountains of East County, four new fires drew resources from across the region. Here is a wrap-up on those fires in Ramona, Lakeside, the Santee/San Diego boundary area, Dulzura, and the border region.
“Something will have gone out of us as people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.” – Wallace Stegner
May 24, 2013 (Julian) Updated May 29, 2013 – The quote above is inscribed on the Volcan Mountain Foundation webpage, a site devoted to protecting the wilderness preserve. But today, as a raging wildfire that started as a controlled burn encroached, bulldozers were ordered to cut a firebreak on the crest of Volcan Mountain, ECM has learned.
Meanwhile an ECM investigation has raised growing questions over whether this fire could have been prevented. Those questions include:
Why did Cal-Fire order a controlled burn in hot weather just hours after a high wind advisory had expired?
Why did the National Weather Service issue a spot fire weather report to Cal-Fire advising lower wind speeds when it has no wind monitor in the valley where the fire occurred?
Why was Volcan Mountain Foundatiion advised conditions were too dangerous for it to conduct pile burning, yet Cal-Fire conducted its own controlled burn?
Why did fire officials underestimate the potential size of this fire at 500 acres? (It has burned over 1,800 acres and is 60% contained.)
Should Cal-Fire’s plan to sharply increase the number of acres it clears statewide be axed given the consequences of this out-of-control burn?
May 22, 2013 (Alpine)- On May 21, Alpine Soroptomist had a special meeting to honor the organization’s Women of Achievement Award recipient, Brenda Killingbeck (pictured with program chair, Patty Tweed, and her two sons). She came with her sons, Clayton, 9, and 6-year-old Mason.
“The Women of Achievement Award is awarded to a single mom in East County trying to make a better life for herself, who is trying to support her family, enhance her career, or change [careers,” said Patty Tweed, program chair.
She introduced Killingbeck and read a short biography about Killingbeck, an Alpine resident and nurse whose actions helped locate a missing elderly man.
May 20, 2013 (San Diego) – One of the worst tornadoes in recorded history has ravaged the Okalahoma City suburb of Moore, killing at least 51 people, injuring 120 including many children, and destroying 500 homes. The two-mile-wide twister destroyed an elementary school and entire neighborhoods nearby.
Eight Search Dog Foundation rescue teams have been dispatched to search the rubble for survivors. One of the search dogs, George, was recruited from Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue Group in San Diego.
May 17 2013 (San Diego)-- On May 15, the San Diego Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance waiving building permit and plan review fees for disabled veterans who need home modifications to accommodate their disabilities.
"We are always looking for ways to improve the lives of those who risk their lives to protect our country," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who introduced the measure along with Supervisor Bill Horn.
May 12, 2013 (El Cajon)—California Governor Edmund G. Brown declared the past week “Wildfire Awareness Week.” On Thursday, the top brass fromr Cal-Fire and San Diego Sheriff’s Department addressed the media. ECM also spoke with Lakeside Division Chief R. Laff.
All officials are urging San Diego residents who live in the urban-rural interface, as well as rural areas to be ready for a severe fire season that’s started early. So far Cal Fire has responded to more than 1,100 wildfires already, which is 500 more than normal for this time of year. According to Cal Fire Chief Cal Fire Chief Dale Hutchinson, Southern Region Chief 40,000 acres burned last week.
Officials are urging residents to get ready and maintain 100-feet of defensible space. This is not optional; it is the law, as Chief Hutchinson told us, for those in the urban-wildland interface. Also clean your gutters, and other places where dry vegetation might accumulate. If you do any remodeling, look into the latest fire resistant materials. In addition, remove all tree branches that are within six feet of your home.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego confirms findings May 9; world’s top scientists call for action
By Miriam Raftery
May 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- Measurements around the world confirm that the rise in carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million –the highest in our planet’s history.
Before the industrial revolution in the 1900s, when coal and oil began to be burned on a large scale, C02 levels were never higher than 280 ppm.
But in recent years, the levels have risen 100 times faster than after the last ice age—providing clear evidence that the rise is far beyond any cyclical changes ever seen before. In fact, leading scientists around the world warn, climate change may soon be irreversible unless drastic changes are made to reduce this level to 350 ppm or lower.
May 11, 2013 (San Diego) – An armed gunman tried to abduct a women in the College area shortly after midnight According to an alert sent by San Diego State University police, the suspect approached the victim in the 5800 block of Linda Paseo at 12:18 a.m. and asked if she was alone. He displayed a black handgun and told the victim to “get in the car.”
She refused and was not injured. The suspect was last seen walking toward College Avenue. He may be driving a black Ford F-150. He is describe as a white, 6 feet 1 inches tall, wearing a blue T-shirt, blue jeans, a tan jacket, possibly white shoes, and rectangular glasses.
May 8, 2013 (Jamul)—As part of the County’s efforts to consolidate rural fire departments, the San Diego Rural Fire Protection District was asked last night whether “it will continue to operate as an independent fire district or dissolve and become part of the new County Fire Authority (CFA).”
The County has given the District until June 30th to sign on a one-year contract that would extend the current contract with Cal-Fire, but ultimately would lead to the dissolution of the district under the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO.)
The pending decision has sparked concerns among residents in the District, which is a high fire risk area that has seen some of the worst wildfires in our region. It is also the area where major new energy projects are proposed which would increase the risk of fire.
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.
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.
Program also benefits East County students learning solar installation
By Nadin Abbott
May 2, 2013 (San Diego)—Mayor Bob Filner, Sullivan Solar owner Daniel Sullivan and Paul Cleary of GRID Alternatives hosted a press conference today at the Martin household in Broadway Heights. It’s all part of a new partnership between the city, Sullivan and Grid Alternatives to put solar on the rooftop of low-income residents.
May 2, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- A red flag warning is in effect today and tomorrow through 6 p.m. due to high fire danger from excessive heat, low humidity and high winds.
Cal-Fire has provided an update on fire activitity across the state, including a nearly 3,000-acre fire in RIverside County, as well as increased increased steps that Cal Fire is taking to ensure our region is prepared.
April 21, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego State University (SDSU) police have issued an alert to warn students of a man who grabbed a woman, 20, who was walking in the south alley of 5600 Montezuma Road just off campus this morning at 3 a.m. The suspect is described as an Asian male, tall with spiked hair, in his mid-20s, wearing black-framed glasses, a white shirt and light jeans. He fled in a black four-door BMW toward Campanile Drive.
According to police, the suspect walked up to the victim, grabbed her arm and leg and attempted to pull her. She suffered no injuries and no weapon was used in the incident.
Exclusive to ECM: How decision could impact East County's transportation and energy production
By Miriam Raftery
April 20, 2013 (San Diego) – On the eve of Earth Day events, the Sierra Club has won a critical lawsuit challenging the County of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). On April 19, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor issued his final ruling agreeing with the Sierra Club that the County’s Climate Action Plan “contains no enforcement mechanism for reducing GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions.”
The ruling could have significant consequences for East County, where numerous large wind and solar projects have been pushed through under the mantra of addressing climate change.
On one hand, the decision could bolster arguments of some Supervisors who view large energy projects as the fastest or easiest way to meet goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On the other hand, the ruling also forces the County to conduct an Environmental Impact Report - opening up the process for public comment. That could include discussion of how much fossil fuel it takes to manufacture, build and operate industrial-scale wind and solar projects--and whether there are better alternatives, such as solar on roofs and parking lots in urban areas.
April 18, 2013 (San Diego) -- Mayor Bob Filner received a big thank you on Friday from a wounded Army veteran in desperate need of mobility. The Mayor secured a handcycle for Todd Fahn, who suffered severe injuries to his back from an explosion while serving in Iraq.
Fahn brought his son, Bentley, to meet the Mayor. Fahn says his new handcycle will allow him the mobility he needs to get around quickly, especially as the father of a toddler.
“I had come to a place of extreme frustration and the system was not working. I reached out to Mayor Bob Filner because of his many years of commitment to helping veterans in need and he delivered,” said Fahn. “Because of him, I have a device that helps me get around quickly and efficiently.”