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March 2009 Articles




WILL POWER REPORT: A SKUNK IN A SACK!

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Nothing But the Truth!

By Will Power

March 24, 2009 (San Diego--If the US Government has learned anything from the botched bail-out, it should be not to trust the bankers to clean up their old messes.

FASHION SHOW FUNDRAISER IS A MODEL OF SUCCESS FOR HEARTLAND LIONS CLUB

By Miriam Raftery

Models Emily Withers-Roberts, Penny Shidner, Judy Godde, and Monica Zech

March 28, 2009 (El Cajon)—Local celebrities including former TV and radio broadcaster Monica Zech strutted their stuff as runway models in the 21st annual Touch of Spring Fashion Show and Silent Auction to benefit the Heartland Lions Club. Held at the Elks Lodge in El Cajon, the event included a champagne luncheon, silent auction and drawing for prizes. Over 176 people attend this year’s show, which raises funds for the many local charities supported by the Lions. Lest you think the Lions Club is an all-male bastion, the ladies clearly ruled the day on this festive occasion.

HELIX SPEECH TEAM NAMED LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

March 20, 2009 (La Mesa)—Helix Charter High School’s speech team has won the League Championship in a three-day tournament, earning its fourth League title in the past six years. Nineteen Helix students have qualified to compete at the California High School Speech Association State Tournament in Culver City at the end of April.

O’DUNN FINE ART GALLERY OPENS IN LA MESA

By Rachel Ford Hutman

Photo by Tim Thomas
Pastelist Molly Lipsher, oil painter Jack Jordan, Paul Henricksen, La Mesa Chamber CEO Mary England, gallery owner Shannon O'Dunn, Mayor Art Madrid, Miss La Mesa Stephanie Packard, and Miss La Mesa Teen Katrina Schweitzer.

March 29, 2009 (La Mesa)—Art aficionados flocked to the grand opening of O’Dunn Fine Art Gallery Thursday evening in La Mesa’s downtown village. The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce co-hosted the event with gallery owner Shannon O’Dunn, an artist and former dean of Fine Arts at Grossmont College. The modern gallery houses over 35 pieces of fine art by sixteen different artists, including the owner. Over 100 people stopped by the Gallery opening for a night of art, champagne and congratulations.

HOG WILD: 4,000 CELEBRATE GRAND RE-OPENING OF EL CAJON HARLEY-DAVIDSON

March 28, 2009 (El Cajon) —Ribbon-cuttings for Chamber of Commerce members are usually sedate affairs. Not so the grand re-opening of the E l Cajon Harley-Davidson dealership today, where thousands of motorcyclists packed in to join the celebration on El Cajon Boulevard.

PUMPED UP: CHAPARRAL HIGH STUDENTS TAKE ON POLICE IN SHOW OF STRENGTH

Campus Supervisor Tim Wargo (left), Resource Officer Steve Paz, and Officer Joe Crawford spot student Brandon Lawtum-Grindle

Annual bench-press competition fosters trust between El Cajon Police Officers and at-risk teens.

By Gayle Early

March 25, 2009 (El Cajon)—Twenty-three Chaparral Continuation High School students flexed their muscles last week during a weight-lifting competition with members of the El Cajon Police Department in a show of strength and good will. Local TV stations trained cameras on the bench press, center stage, while a Channel 933 music van piped the jams, ratcheting up the already hyperkinetic energy of teens and classmates. The El Cajon Police Officers Association and Wal-Mart sponsored the event. Classmates, family, and friends poured onto the high school lawn at lunchtime to whoop, holler, and pump up the competitors.

VIEJAS TRIBAL MEMBER RECEIVES HEALTH HERO AWARD

 

Charlie Brown is honored for his ongoing contribution to the Burn Institute.

March 23, 2009 (San Diego, Calif.) - Charlie Brown, a Viejas Tribal Member and Director of Viejas Community Relations, was awarded the Health Hero Award by the Combined Health Agencies for his contributions to the local health industry and community activism.

SEIU LOCAL 221 RATIFIES CONTRACTS WITH SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

March 20, 2009 (El Cajon)—Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 221 members have ratified their contract with the County of San Diego. Voting on the contract took place March 17-19, and of the members who voted, 89% voted to ratify the contract.

EDITORIAL: EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT IS VITAL TO REBUILD OUR ECONOMY

By Tracy Emblem (Democratic candidate, 50th Congressional District)

March 27, 2009 (San Diego)--The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is vital to rebuild America’s economy. But the right-wing media is disseminating false information and scare tactics aimed at duping the public regarding EFCA.

We are losing the middle class. Wages are spiraling downward, workers are losing healthcare, yet CEOs are earning hundreds of times more than the average employee and pocketing billions in bonuses for failing companies. This is wrong.

FEDS AWARD $190,000 FOR NURSING PROGRAM AT GROSSMONT

Funds will go toward purchase of high-tech medical mannequins

March 24, 2009 (El Cajon) – Included in the federal appropriations bill signed  by President Barack Obama is a slice totaling $190,000 for Grossmont College’s nursing program to help equip the high-tech simulation labs central to the new health/physical sciences complex currently under construction.

GROSSMONT COLLEGE AND GCCCD RECEIVE STATEWIDE AWARD FOR PROGRAMS TO BOOST STUDENT SUCCESS

March 26, 2009 (El Cajon) – – A nonprofit group with a goal to increase college attendance in California has honored two local educational programs as among the best in the state.

Grossmont College’s Project Success Learning Communities and the district’s Cal-PASS Freshman Composition Alignment Project are among 15 “working solutions” chosen by the statewide Campaign for College Opportunity for its annual Practices with Promise award recognizing top-notch efforts to improve college access and success.

FDA ALERTS CONSUMERS TO RECALL OF PISTACHIOS: SALMONELLA FOUND IN CA NUTS

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March 30, 2009 (Washington D.C.)--The FDA and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating Salmonella contamination in pistachio products sold by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc, Calif. The company has stopped all distribution of processed pistachios and will issue a voluntary recall involving approximately 1 million pounds of its products. Because the pistachios were used as ingredients in a variety of foods, it is likely this recall will impact many products and consumers are advised to avoid all pistachios. The investigation at the company is ongoing and may lead to additional pistachio product recalls.

WORKING IN THE GARDEN THIS SPRING?  WATCH OUT FOR BURIED GAS LINES, THE GAS COMPANY WARNS

March 30, 2009 (San Diego) – Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy in San Diego, is encouraging customers to “call 811 before they dig” to avoid damaging buried natural gas lines when pursuing projects in their yard, such as putting up a new wall or fence, planting or re-working landscaping, putting in a swimming pool, or other yard renovations. 

LOCAL GROUPS FILE APPEAL, ASK BLM TO REVERSE POWERLINK APPROVAL

March 24, 2009 (Boulevard) — An appeal to the U.S. Department of the Interior over its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of San Diego Gas & Electric’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission project was filed Monday by three local organizations in San Diego County. The appeal notice to the Interior Board of Land Appeals is the first step to a court appeal.

ALL SMILES: LAUREN SMYLE AMONG 16 FINALISTS FOR NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP: READERS VOTES CAN HELP HER WIN

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March 28, 2009 (East County)--Thanks in part to East County Magazine readers, West Hills High School Student Lauren Smyle has made it into the "Sweet 16" finals as one of 16 finalists trying to win a $20,000 national scholarship sponsored by Zinch.com. The competition began with 1,700 students nationwide. Now after several weeks of online voting, Smyle's family asks help once against from ECM readers, since the competition is based on collecting the most votes in this unique online competition. Last round, she got the highest vote total-but now she faces tougher competition.

SPRING VALLEY BOY, 8, SHOT IN HIS BED BY INTRUDER

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March 27, 2009 (Spring Valley)--An eight-year-old boy was shot in the foot while sleeping in his bed at 4:34 this morning. Suspects knocked on the door at Villas at Casa De Oro Apartments (3860 Helix Street, Spring Valley)., then began firing into the apartment using a rifle and a handgun, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department. The boy was transported to Grossmont Hospital for treatment. His injury is not life-threatening. The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle, however no description is available from law enforcement authorities.

TOWN HALL MEETING ON SUNRISE POWERLINK SET FOR APRIL 6 IN ALPINE

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March 28, 2009 (Alpine, CA) --The East County Community Action Coalition (ECCAC) has scheduled a Town Hall meeting on Monday, April 6, 2009, from 6-8pm at the Alpine Community Center. The meeting will be a chance for East County residents to get more information about the Sunrise Powerlink's Southern Route. The route affects communities and towns such as Alpine, Boulevard, Campo, Carveacre, Chocolate Canyon, El Monte Valley, Jacumba, Lakeside, and more. County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a vocal opponent of the project for years, will be the keynote speaker.

HOW DO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS RATE ON MIDDLE CLASS ISSUES? GRADES FOR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES VARY FROM ZERO TO 100%

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April 1, 2009 (WASHINGTON, DC)--San Diego Congressional members Bob Filner and Susan Davis have received an "A" from the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy. The organization's Congressional Scorecard evaluates each Member of Congress based on their support for policies that help our nation's middle class. Democrats Filner and Davis voted in support of middle class issues 100% of the time. Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer each scored 80%. Among Republicans, Brian Bilbray rated 13%, while Duncan Hunter and Daryl Issa received the lowest possible 0% rating for voting consistently against middle class issues in the first three months of 2009.

SPRING GARDEN FESTIVAL APRIL 25: CONSERVATION IN BLOOM

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March 26, 2009 (El Cajon) - If you haven't yet experienced the Spring Garden Festival, be sure to mark your calendars for April 25th. The annual event drew more than 7,000 people last year and is quickly becoming one of East County's premier attractions. Live music, Native American dancing, arts and crafts, food, plant sales, water-wise gardening, tree-care advice from experts, and special tours for children are among the activities slated at the event hosted by Cuyamaca College.

LOCAL GROUP HELPS WOMEN IN SUDAN: MARCH 29 WALK FOR DARFUR PLANNED HERE

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2009 (San Diego)--Horrified to learn that women in Darfur were being attacked by soldiers when they would go out to gather wood for cooking, San Diego-based Voices of Women started raising funds to send solar-powered stoves to the women of Darfur.

"They can keep a pot boiling 24/7," VOW founder Jenni Prisk said of the Sudanese women now using three-sided aluminium solar cookers to feed their families. "It's preventing the rapes and killing. Simple as that."

This Sunday, March 29th, local VOW members and others will participate in the 2009 Walk for Darfur on Mission Bay. For information on how to sign up, visit www.voicesofwomen.org/events.html.

LA MESA VILLAGE ANTIQUE STREET FAIRE

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March 26, 2009 (La Mesa)--”Step back in time in La Mesa's downtown village on Sunday, March 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Antique Street Faire.

During the annual event,, La Mesa Boulevard is closed and antique dealers from far and wide set out their wares. Reminiscent of an old fashioned Midwest flea market, the event features live music and entertainment. In addition, restaurants, coffee houses and pubs in The Village prepare special fare for visitors. Entertainment will be presented at the intersections of Palm and La Mesa Blvd. and at Spring Street and La Mesa Blvd.

POLICE SEEK MAN WHO APPROACHED GIRL AT LA MESA BIG LOTS STORE

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March 22, 2009 (La Mesa)--La Mesa Police ask the public's help in identifying a man who solicited a phone number from a young teen outside the Big Lots store on Lake Murray Boulevard last night. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward.

SPRING BREAK! WHERE TO HAVE FUN IF YOU’RE STAYING IN TOWN

March 26, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) — With the economy in the tank, many college students are staying in San Diego over spring break. So after you get sunburned at the beach, what’s there to do for the rest of the week? Check out our guide to the coolest spots to have fun in San Diego’s eastern region.

IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE PARTY: On April 3rd, a warehouse at 131 Main St. in El Cajon transforms into a tropical resort complete with tiki bar, food, and live music by Shipwrecked, a Jimmy Buffet-style band. El Cajon Community Development Corporation is organizing the event, with the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego East Visitors Bureau. Food and Beverage Supporters: El Cajon Grand, Main Tap Tavern, Viejas, Rita’s Catering, New York Bakery, L&L Hawaiian Barbeque, Quiznos, Angus Smokehouse Barbecue, and Panda Express.Cost: $20 per person. Festivities run from 4:47 to 8 p.m. and the site is accessible via trolley with a few blocks walk. Aloha!

THE RENO REPORT: SDSU BASKETBALL RE-ENTERS THE ARENA

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Viejas invests in a gem By Jamie Reno Exclusive for East County Magazine March 23, 2009 (San Diego)--As a wide-eyed young journalism student making my way across the San Diego State University campus for the first time in the Fall of 1984, I was energized by the thought that I was about to attend a top-notch J school and at the same time get the opportunity to watch some high-quality Division One college basketball. I'd previously played one unspectacular year of baseball at a city college and my competitive athletic days were pretty much done. I was ready now to just be a red-and-black-blooded fan of Aztecs sports, especially basketball. I already had a severe case of March Madness, and it was only September.

ATTORNEY TRACY EMBLEM ENTERS 50TH CONGRESSIONAL RACE: DEMOCRAT PLEDGES TO REBUILD THE ECONOMY; JOBS, HOUSING AND HEALTHCARE ARE TOP PRIORITIES

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By Miriam Raftery March 23, 2009 (San Diego)--Honored as outstanding advocate by Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Tracy Emblem now wants to fight for the rights of people in the 50th Congressional District who need help with healthcare, housing, and jobs. "Brian Bilbray has not been an effective leader. He hasn't brought back any jobs to our community," Emblem said in an exclusive interview with East County Magazine.

 

She noted that the Republican Congressman voted against a measure to bring over 8,000 new jobs to his district. Bilbray has turned a "deaf ear as more and more people in his district are losing their jobs, their healthcare, and their homes," added Emblem, an appellate lawyer specializing in public policy and constitutional issues. She has argued before the California Supreme Court and has represented consumers in high-profile cases, including a family who lost their son in a Ford Explorer roll-over accident. In addition, Emblem has served on the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Escondido, a nonpartisan organization that provides information to voters on legislation, candidates and ballot measures.

BILBRAY COAUTHORS BILL TO EXEMPT SOLAR FARMS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW; FEINSTEIN SEEKS TO BLOCK DESERT SOLAR FARM DUE TO SEVERE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2009 (San Diego)--Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) has coauthored H.R. 964, a measure that would exempt any solar energy project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands from Environmental Impact Report requirements. Sempra Energy, Bilbray's third largest campaign contributor, seeks to import power from desert solar farms on BLM lands.

 

On Friday, California's Senator Diane Feinstein sent a blistering letter to the Secretary of the Interior opposing solar farms on BLM lands, citing massive environmental damage from scraping bare a half-million acres of desert lands proposed for solar mirrors.

 

VIEJAS HOSTS INTER-TRIBAL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

1st place Barona team

March 17, 2009 (San Diego) — The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians hosted the Inter-Tribal Sports (ITS) Basketball Championships on the Viejas Reservation on Sunday, March 15. The sports league, consisting of teams from 16 different tribes or tribal organizations in the Southern California area, provides athletic opportunities along with native cultural and spiritual development.

THIS WEEK IN EAST COUNTY: DESERT IN BLOOM & MUCH MORE

March 19, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--What's up this weekend and next week? Plenty! Flowers are still in bloom in portions of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Stop by the visitor center for info on best viewing areas to view wildflowers; also ask for tips on where to spot bighorn sheep, including young lambs. There's lots more coming up in East County, including a vineyards party, an NCAA basketball championship, museum showings, a wind farm tour, dance and tumbling recital, a homebuyers fair, an open house for fire survivors, guided nature walks, a national healthcare presentation, and more.

POWERLINK BATTLE MOVES TO FEDERAL FRONT AMID GROWING CONTROVERSIES OVER SDG&E

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By Miriam Raftery March 19, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--The next phase in the battle over Sunrise Powerlink, which was approved in December by the California Public Utilities Commission, now moves to the federal level. In the past week, several key developments have occurred under the Obama administration that could impact whether or not Sempra's Powerlink Project will win final federal approvals needed for construction through the Cleveland National Forest and other federal lands. While a coalition of citizens has formed to oppose Powerlink, utilities are lobbying Washington to ease regulations and get transmission lines approved faster - and having some success.

SDSU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM ADVANCES TO NCAA POST-SEASON FOR 1ST TIME IN 12 YEARS

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March 19, 2009 (San Diego)--San Diego State University's women's basketball team, the Aztecs, will play in the NCAA Basketball Championships for the first time since 1997 and the seventh time in the team's history. The team will face off against DePaul University's Blue Demons at 5 p.m. at Cox Arena on Saturday.

 

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