January 5, 2014 (San Diego) -- Flu activity is increasing across the nation and San Diego is no exception.
While flu activity in San Diego has not reached the high levels being seen in some parts of the country, more cases are being reported here compared to the same time last year.
To date, 357 lab-confirmed influenza cases have been reported in San Diego. This is over 1.5 times higher than the 216 cases reported at the same time last year. The number of lab-confirmed cases reported this past week is 154, double the number reported this same week last year. The flu reports this year are still within the expected range.
By Nadin Abbott
December 31, 2013 (San Diego)—On December 23rd, Judge Howard Shore delayed his final decision on the placement of Mikel Wayne Marshall, a convicted sexual predator, in Jacumba Hot Springs on a conditional release. Shore said that he wants to personally inspect the property recommended by state officials before making his final decision after hearing compelling testimony from residents, including a survivor of sexual abuse who resides in Jacumba Hot Springs.
By Miriam Raftery
December 30, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced its choice of six sites to test unmanned drone aircraft. San Diego is not on the list, despite being home to drone manufacturers and having support from Supervisors and Congressional representatives.
Today’s news drew cheers from citizens’ groups opposed to drone testing in East County, but disappointment from military and economic development interests.
Could Obamacare provide impetus for a county hospital in East County?
By Miriam Raftery
December 29, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Consumers signing up for new healthcare options or “Obamacare” through Healthcare.gov rose seven-fold in December, when over 975,000 people enrolled. From October 1 through December 24, a total of 1.1 million people signed up for the new health insurance marketplaces nationwide. Over a million more signed up through state websites, bringing the total to two-thirds of the 3 million goal set by the White House.
Marilyn Tavenner, administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called this a “welcome surge in enrollment as millions of Americans seek access to affordable heatlh care coverage,” adding hat the surge came in part because “we met our marks on improving HealthCare.gov.” She added that the site supported 83,000 concurrent users on December 23rd alone before the deadline to sign up for coverage starting January 1.
By Miriam Raftery
December 23, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through East County, not a creature was stirring, not even a coyote…
Click here to listen to “'A Visit From St. Nicholas in East County”, our special audio presentation--including what residents in our mountains, deserts, rural and urban areas may be asking Santa for this season: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/00k2bvgikc/NightBeforeChristmas.mp3
By David Dickens
December 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Christian High School in El Cajon won the CIF Division3 championship against the San Marcos High Knights on December 8. But another battle loomed in the courtroom over the prior week.
On December 9, Superior Court Judge William Sato denied Christian High’s request for injunctive relief to gain consideration as a Division 4 school in the state football series hosted by the San Diego CIF. Athletic Director David Beezer sought to create a fair advantage that Christian High should be entitled to based to its enrollment size. According to the SDCIF handbook, Christian High should be a Division 4 school as far as athletics are concerned contended Beezer, who believes Christian High is being discriminated against and that this is in conflict with the CIF’s own written policy.
December 12, 2013 (San Diego)--Know someone failing to pay court-ordered child support? You can now report them online - anonymously.
The Department of Child Support Services recently launched an online tip line. You can tell Child Support where a person works or lives, and a caseworker will follow up and take the appropriate action, which could include wage garnishing or serving another court order.
The tip line is not intended for custodial parents to report non-payment, as they would be faster served by directly contacting their case worker.
Link to video from Toy Drive “Big Reveal”: http://youtu.be/Wt6i9YqPrHM
December 12, 2013 (Alpine) – When the curtain went up on stage at the DreamCatcher Lounge last night at Viejas Casino and Resort, it revealed 12,017 toys to benefit local children this holiday season.
Representatives of Viejas Tribal Council also presented a $15,000 check to East County Salvation Army Captain Terry Masango on behalf of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, along with the largest donation of toys ever received by the local Salvation Army chapter.
Review by The East County Eater
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The Bridges Bar/Grill/Bay at 4800 Art Way (off El Cajon Boulevard near 63rd Street) in the SDSU College area has it all. A spacious sports bar with upscale and delicious food, specialty drinks, great local brews and excellent wines, Bridges is the perfect place for the East County Eater, who expects something special when dining out.
Open for just over a year, Bridges is named for the seven bridges across the San Francisco Bay and delivers on the promise of Bay Area quality dining. The restaurant is so-named because owner/CEO Salvatore hails from San Francisco and most of the seafood recipes come from that region. Palma has a vision of an upscale and friendly sports bar with a menu reminiscent of the Bay Area. Bridges is just a few blocks from SDSU, but the atmosphere is 500 miles away to the north where great dining, seafood and sports combine for an upscale metropolitan experience.
December 10, 2013 (Otay) – Elected officials and business leaders from the U.S. and Mexico will hold a groundbreaking ceremony today on a new state highway project aimed at reducing border wait times and improving cross-border commerce. State Route 11 will be a four-lane highway connecting a planned port of entry, Otay Mesa East, to the state highway system.
The 2.5-mile project will be built in three segments. The $112 million Segment 1, starting construction now, will include connectors to SR 905, plus a stretch of new highway from SR 905 east to Enrico Fermi Drive. Segments planned for the future will extend the highway to the border and create a new border crossing.
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.)
By Nadin Abbott
December 5, 2013 (San Diego and Bonita)—Fast food workers in more than 100 cities went out on strike today, calling on employers to pay living wages. Locally, strikes were held in Bonita and in downtown San Diego.
Raquel Neri told ECM that she has been working for Wendy’s for 10 years. After a decade, she is paid $9.55 an hour. “I work 24 hours a week,” she said. She also has to pay all her costs, including rent, food and transportation costs--while she raises seven children.
Story and photos by Sharon A. Penny
December 1, 2013 (El Cajon)--Thomas Weller of El Cajon has had stories printed throughout the nation about his acts of kindness (by CBS News, The LA Times, People Magazine and NPR, among others), as well as international publications. Yet this East County man remains humble and steadfast in his pursuit of paying it forward.
Weller, known as the San Diego Highwayman (www.sandiegohighwayman.com) has been helping distressed motorists for almost 50 years. He never accepts payment for his kind gestures – which include providing gas for empty tanks to replacing batteries to fixing flats. Instead, he hands each motorist a card with the following inscription:
“Assisting you has been my pleasure. I ask for no payment other than for you to pass on the favor by helping someone in distress that you may encounter.”
File photo: Cows in snow at Descanso, by Rebecca Masten
December 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Cold weather is forecast to sweep into our region on Tuesday, bringing rain countywide and snow down to elevations as low as 3500 feet by Wednesday. Areas at or above 3500 feet include Julian, Cuyamaca, Pine Valley, Descanso, Boulevard, Mount Laguna, and Warner Springs.
Hot items also on the agendas in Boulevard, Lakeside and Lemon Grove this week
By Miriam Raftery
December 1, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--San Diego Supervisors meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 3 and 4 at 9 a.m. The hottest item is a public hearing Tuesday on a county proposal to levy fees to recover the actual cost of services provided by the San Diego County Fire Authority including fire plan reviews, inspections and other technical work. In the past, such services have been provided to individuals and businesses without full cost recovery.
The Agenda does not state how much the proposed fees would be or how much revenue the county expects to raise. But coming on the heels of a statewide fire fee that is going up at year’s end, the proposal is likely to fuel controversy among taxpayers. The item is first on Tuesday’s agenda.
November 28, 2013 (San Diego)-- Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) and the Border Patrol interrupted a drug smuggling attempt involving air drops of marijuana bales from an ultra-light aircraft Monday. Authorities seized over 260 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $157,000. Two suspects were arrested, said Mary Beth Caston with the Border Patrol.
November 27, 2013 (San Diego) --Border Patrol agents working near the U.S. /Mexico International Border yesterday were assaulted with rocks and bottles after pepper spray was used in an effort to stop a large crowd trying to enter the U.S.
According to the Border Patrol, on November 24, more than 100 people illegally crossed the International Border from Mexico one-quarter-mile west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in the Tijuana River channel.
November 25, 2013 (San Diego) --Ticks might be tiny, but they can pack a punch when it comes to affecting your health. The County’s Health and Human Services Agency warns of an increased possibility of contracting a tick-borne disease.
“It’s important to know that there are several diseases carried by ticks,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., County Public Health Officer. “People who work or play in grassy or brushy areas need to take special care to avoid exposure to ticks.”
In 2012, HHSA received reports of San Diego County residents with confirmed or probable tick-borne illnesses. This included 14 cases of Lyme disease, two cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, two cases of other rickettsial diseases (which include spotted and typhus fever), and one case of ehrlichiosis, a bacterial disease affecting people and animals. Ticks can also carry tularemia and cause tick paralysis.
November 23, 2013 (Rancho San Diego ) – The Steele Canyon Junior Midget cheer squad won first place at a regional competition Sunday at the Town & Country Hotel, after also placing first in a local competition at the San Diego Concourse. Now the team heads to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the national championship December 11-16.
Steele County Mitey Mitey Cheer is also going to Nationals in Florida after beating out six other California and Florida teams at Regionals.
Barona Pledges More Than $20,000 & Launches Fundraiser for Typhoon Relief Efforts
November 22, 2013 (Lakeside)– Barona Resort & Casino has joined in relief efforts to help those affected by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Barona presented a $10,000 donation to the Philippine American Business Improvement and Development during the organization’s annual gala. Barona will also continue to support those affected by Typhoon Haiyan with another $10,000 cash donation and a three-week, casino-wide fundraiser that will benefit relief efforts through the American Red Cross.
The casino-wide fundraiser begins on Saturday, November 23 as Filipino politician and boxing legend Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao takes on Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in a pay-per-view fight which will be shown at the casino. From November 23 through December 15, Barona will match, dollar-for-dollar, the price of each Filipino-inspired entrée purchased at Ho Wan Noodle Shop. Players and staff will also have an opportunity to make a donation in designated collection boxes throughout the casino and everyone who makes a donation will be given a special thank-you button for their support.
By Miriam Raftery
November 22, 2013 (El Cajon) – Anne Louise Terhune, reported missing by her family yesterday, may have been involved in a non-injury traffic collision in the Tijuana area, El Cajon Police have learned.
“She was alone at the time of the collision but stated she was lost and provided her personal information. She then indicated she would be home the following day and did not appear to be under any duress,” said Lt. Frank La Haye. But he added, “Terhune has not returned home and her whereabouts are unknown.”
Update November 20, 2013: With 100% of precincts counted but over 34,000 mail-in ballots remaining to be counted, the tally stands at Faulconer 43.58%, Alvarez 25.59%, Fletcher 24.3%, Aguirre 4.44%. Of seven lesser known candidates in the race, none attained more than a half percent. A run-off election will be held early next year between the top two.
By Miriam Raftery
November 19, 2013 (San Diego) – The San Diego Mayoral race appears destined for a run-off election, since no candidate has captured more than 50% of the votes needed to win outright.
With 86.9% of precincts counted, Kevin Faulconer, the only Republican in the race, leads with 43.84%.
Of three prominent Democrats in the race, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher had the early lead, up by 2% for most of the evening thanks to absentee ballots. But late tonight, as working class districts polling results came in, Councilman David Alvarez, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate, has movedahead slightly of Fletcher slightly with 25.19% of the vote to Fletcher's 24.39%.
By Claudia Millerbragg
I am asking you to put human life before money. If you continue with your plans to drain Lake Morena it puts the residents of rural East County at a higher fire risk.
If a fire sweeps through here and property and lives are lost because of the low water levels at Lake Morena are you prepared to live with the fact that your decision to drain the lake contributed towards the destruction?
By Miriam Raftery
November 19, 2013 (San Diego) – As San Diegans head to the polls today to vote in a special election to fill the mayoral vacancy, Registrar of Voters Michael Vu says an expected turnout of 40 to 45 percent is anticipated, or roughly equivalent to the last citywide mayoral election in July 2005, which had a 44.33% turnout rate.
If one candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote today, that candidate will be the new mayor. If no candidate achieves a majority, then there will be a run-off election among the top two vote-getters. To view our nonpartisan guide for voters in the San Diego mayoral election, click here. For more interesting facts about today's election, click "read more" and scroll down.
ASSEMBLY SELECT COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY SET TO HOLD ITS FIRST HEARING NOV. 21 DOWNTOWN
November 17, 2013 (San Diego) -- Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) will convene the first hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County on Thursday, November 21 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The hearing will be held at the State Building, 1350 Front Street, Room B-109 in San Diego.
This informational hearing will examine the state of education within the San Diego region. Specifically, the hearing will focus on assessing student access, and exploring what educational opportunities exist within the region. One issue the Committee will explore is why residents have so few public higher education options although the County is the third most populated in the state.
By Miriam Raftery
November 17, 2013 (San Diego) – A malfunctioning drone has struck the U.S.S. Chancellorsville on Saturday night off the Southern California coast near Point Magu, the Navy announced.
Two sailors sustained minor burns. The guided missile cruiser ship will return to San Diego for an assessment of damages. The Navy did not reveal what type of drone went awry. However the Los Angeles Times reports it was a 13-foot-long drone with a six foot wingspan that slammed into the port side of the ship.
The accident heightens concerns among East County residents who have voiced alarm over a proposal to test drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over San Diego’s backcountry.
November 14, 2013 (San Diego) -- Join Mission Trails Regional Park's resident stargazer, George Vargas, for a "star party" on Saturday November 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. Meet at the far end of the Kumeyaay Campground day use parking lot, where a telescope will be available to veiw the nighttime sky.
The moon will be one day short of being Full so it will contribute to light pollution. The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and its companion M32 are well in position for viewing. Light from these two objects takes about 2.5 – 2.9 million years to reach Earth. The Double Cluster in Perseus will also be visible be in the northeastern sky.
County News Service
November 14, 2013 (San Diego) -- The County’s latest annual report has been published and you can check it out at SDCountyAnnualReport.com from either your home computer or –wait for it – your smart phone.
That’s right, this year for the first time ever, you’ll be able to read the County’s annual report on your smart phone.
And no, despite its name or any fusty reputations about reports in general, it won’t take a year to read the annual report. It’s designed to be a snapshot: a very, very condensed version of the County’s Operational Plan along with some extra accomplishments and fun facts and figures.
November 14, 2013 (San Diego) – “We’ll take all of the stress out of your Thanksgiving Dinner this year,” Bistro 60/San Diego Dessert’s website promises. The restaurant, located at 5987 El Cajon Boulevard in the SDSU College area is taking orders for Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings for $165 – or less than $15 per person. Orders must be placed and payment received by November 19.
The menu includes oven roasted turkey (serves 10-12, additional turkeys available for $50), all of the following side dishes: cranberry relish, homemade stuffing, corn bread, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and glazed carrots. Dessert includes choice of pumpkin, pecan or apple pie. Extra pies available for $15.
Aztecs announce plans for a 23,500-square-foot facility for men’s and women’s basketball.
Story by SDSU Athletics
November 14, 2013 (San Diego) -- San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman and Athletic Director Jim Sterk announced Tuesday that plans for a 23,500-square-foot Basketball Performance Center are in design, with a plan to break ground on the project in late spring 2014.