October 2013 Articles

PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES IMPROVEMENTS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT: CONSUMERS CAN KEEP EXISTING PLANS FOR ANOTHER YEAR

 

November 15, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – President Barack Obama yesterday announced changes aimed at fixing flaws in the Affordable Healthcare Act and the roll-out of ‘Obamacare.’

A key change is to allow consumers with individual healthcare coverage to keep their existing policies for another year. The move comes in response to criticism that some insurers had cancelled policies despite promises made by the White House that consumers could keep their existing healthcare plans if they chose to do so. An assessment will be done to determine whether additional changes or extensions are needed.

SDSU ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR BASKETBALL PERFORMANCE CENTER

 

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.

VIEJAS ICE RINK OPENS FOR HOLIDAY SEASONS

 

November 13, 2013 (Alpine) – A little known secret in East County is that each winter, you can enjoy outdoor ice skating at a rink larger than the famed Rockefeller Center rink in New York.   Viejas Outlet Center’s rink is also the largest in Southern California.  You can enjoy shopping, holiday décor and entertainment, sip hot cocoa or order off a rink-side menu.

The rink is now open through the holiday season. If you bring a new, unwrapped toy worth $5 or more by December 4, you can also get a $3 discount on skating prices (see rates below).

BILL TO REGULATE DRONES, PROTECT PRIVACY INTRODUCED

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2013 (Washington D.C.) –The Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act was introduce November 4 in the Senate.

“The FAA’s plan falls far short of putting in place the necessary privacy protections for the commercialization of drone use in U.S. airspace,” Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)said in a statement. “This disregard for the need for strong and comprehensive privacy safeguards underscores why we must pass federal legislation to protect innocent individuals from expanded use of commercial and government drones.”

Markey said that his legislation requires transparency on the domestic use of drones and adds privacy protections that will “ensure this technology cannot and will not be used to spy on Americans.” Markey’s bill would require law enforcement agencies to acquire warrants before they use drones to conduct surveillance.  A copy of his bill can be viewed here. 

DRONE TESTS OVER EAST COUNTY? NEW CITIZENS GROUP OPPOSES PLAN, BUT LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES SUPPORT

 

Meetings set in Julian on November 11 and December 4

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Should unmanned drone aircraft testing be allowed over San Diego and East County?   

San Diego’s entire Congressional delegation thinks so. All five members have signed a letter supporting efforts by Inyokern to have the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declare our region an unmanned aircraft systems test site,The Drone News reported on October 26. San Diego Supervisors have also voiced support for the proposal, directing staff to write a letter in support. Supervisor Dianne Jacob has said she supports the concept to provide jobs and fire monitoring.

But now a citizens action group called Back Country Voices has formed  to oppose drone testing here.  The  The group plans two meetings, one at the Julian Library on November 11 at 6 p.m. and the second on December 4 at 6 p.m. Objections include safety and privacy concerns over drone surveillance,  impacts of drones on the environment, bird migrations, and the deaths of innocent civilians including thousands of children worldwide inadvertently killed by drones.

COUNTY TO CONSIDER REGULATING E-CIGARETTES

November 6, 2013 (San Diego)--The popularity of electronic smoking devices is increasing and on Tuesday the Board of Supervisors directed staff to review the County’s smoking and tobacco use policy to determine how “e-cigarettes” fit into it.

County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) staff were asked to come back to the Board in 90 days with recommendations to address electronic vapor devices. The battery-operated devices vaporize liquid nicotine into an aerosol mist that can be inhaled or “vaped.”

HEAR OUR SPECIAL REPORT ON THE CEDAR FIRE: FRIDAY AT 5 PM, SATURDAY AT 9 AM ON KNSJ 89.1 FM

 

November 1, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Hear dramatic eyewitness accounts, some never before told, from survivors of the Cedar Fire, firefighters who battled the blaze and saved lives, and elected officials sharing their memories of the worst wildfire in California's history. We've spent weeks compiling these special interviews, reflecting on the past as well as how far we've come -- and what is still needed to keep us safe before the next firestorm strikes.

Our one-hour special report will air today at 5 p.m. on KNSJ 89.1 FM, and again tomorrow at 9 a.m.  Please tune in and sharet his information with your friends.

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE WINS 11 AWARDS FROM SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 31, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –Nine East County Magazine team members combined to win 11 awards in the 40th annual “Excellence in Journalism Awards” presented by San Diego Press Club on October 29.  ECM has won a total of 58 journalism awards since our launch in September 2008.

Our winning news entries dealt primarily with compelling public health and safety issues(wildfires and industrial-scale energy projects), though we also picked up awards for photography, feature-writing and commentary.

Congratulations to our winners!  In alphabetical order, they are:  Nadin Abbott, Parke Ewing, Paul Kruze, Brian Lafferty, Ron Logan, Jim Pelley, Miriam Raftery, Sierra Robinson, and Darin Sefcik.

BILL TO REPEAL “WIDOW’S TAX” GAINS SUPPORT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Supervisor Dave Roberts with military widows Beverly Wood, Mildred Joyce Stuart and Kathy Prout

October 31, 2013 (San Diego)—San Diego Supervisors unanimously voted to support federal legislation to eliminate the “widow’s tax” on spouses of military members who died serving our country.

“At issue is the practice of federal agencies that place deductions upon military spouses' compensation while not placing those deductions upon that of civilian employees. That's just not fair,” said Supervisor Dave Roberts, who introduced the resolution locally along with Supervisor Bill Horn.

ECM’S NONPARTISAN GUIDE TO SAN DIEGO MAYORAL CANDIDATES

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

October 31, 2013 (San Diego) With the mayoral race moving to high gear and early voting starting, ECM has compiled information on the leading candidates in the special election San Diego Mayor, filling the vacancy left by Bob Filner’s resignation. We include highlights of their announced agendas and endorsements.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

 

October 31, 2013 (San Diego) – Halloween is upon us and safety should be the number one priority for trick-or-treaters, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.  Here are some tips for choosing the right costumes:

Costumes purchased should be made of flame retardant material (check the label).  Hemlines should be short enough to prevent tripping. Glow-in-the-dark reflective tape is great for night time costumes.

CAL FIRE INCREASES STAFFING IN ANTICIPATION OF INCREASED FIRE RISK

 

October 31, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Cal Fire is preparing for several days of extreme fire weather across many parts of the state, since the National Weather Service has issued five separate “Red Flag Warnings” and “Fire Weather Watches” due to gusty winds and low humidity.  Cal Fire has placed additional firefighters on duty to staff extra equipment in the areas affected.  ECM has left a message for Cal Fire's media relations department inquiring whether recently closed stations in East County will receive extra staffing and whether any rural fire stations will be closed during these high fire danger days. 

SECOND CHANCE PROGRAM GIVES TROUBLED YOUTH A ‘SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE’

By Janis Mork

October 24, 2013 (San Diego)- The Second Chance Program in Southeast San Diego deals with the hard-to-serve population, giving formerly incarcerated, former substance abusers, homeless vets, and at risk youth a ‘second chance’. They offer programs such as Strive, JOLT workforce, and recovery groups.  Their mission is to empower people to change their lives.

Robert Coleman, executive director of Second Chance, was recently interviewed by ECM to share more details about this program.

ROAD STRIPING ADDED FOLLOWING ECM STORY ON HIGHWAY 94 HAZARDS

Photos by Vernon Fry:  Highway 94 and Lyons Valley Road

October 31, 2013 (Jamul) – On October 28, ECM published a story citing numerous complaints from residents of near-miss crashes on Highway 94 that drivers believed were caused by lack of roadway striping during a months-long CalTrans roadway repaving project.  The story also noted a fatality accident on Highway 94, though CHP has said alcohol may have been a factor in that crash. http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/fatality-crash-raises-concerns-over-ro...

On October 20, Marcia Spurgeon with the Jamul Action Committee wrote to ECM and our news partner, 10 News, with an update:

I cannot thank you both enough for writing (East County Magazine) and airing (Channel 10 News) the serious and dangerous situation on Highway 94 in Jamul. Today at approximately noon, a large truck parked in our office driveway. Within a 1/2 hour we had not one or two but three large white arrows in the west bound turn lane. The east bound turn lane has two. The intersection at Proctor Valley and 94 also has painted arrows in the turn lanes….Bravo to both of you. I honestly believe you have saved lives by bringing this to the public's attention and obviously Granite Construction and Caltrans.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

October 31, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news each week that could impact your health and our future.

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

October 31, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

October31, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) --ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

For excerpts and links to full stories, scroll down.

DEHESA BUS STOP DEDICATION NOV. 1

 

October 31, 2013 (Dehesa) -- The Dehesa Valley Community Council, Inc., on behalf of the residents of Dehesa, has completed construction of a County approved School Bus Stop at Dehesa Road and Dehesa Ranch Road.

Dedication of the bus stop will take place at the site, on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm.

Superintendent-Principal Janet Wilson, as well as School Board Member Derek Voth, will join the students and “ride the bus” on that day.  Jacki Finch, school bus driver and advisor for the project, will deliver them safely to the destination.

Dehesa residents are invited to  join your neighbors for this celebration of community commitment, caring and success.

HAUNTINGS IN EL CAJON? PARANORMAL PROJECT TEAMS UP TO INVESTIGATE

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Ghost hunting --just in time for Halloween!  The El Cajon Paranormal Project, spearheaded by Kitty Davis and Jennifer Kacizak, is tracking down some spirited tales at a reportedly haunted neighborhood in El  Cajon. 

“We’re the real thing.” said Davis.  The project was formed about a year ago and currently is focusing on a two square mile radius in El Cajon with borders set at Graves Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Ballantyne Street.

DUAL DEATHS IN WIND TURBINE FIRE HIGHLIGHT HAZARDS

 

Could Vestas' fire-prone turbines be installed in East County?

By Miriam Raftery

October 31, 2013 (Netherlands) – Two young mechanics, ages 19 and 21, died when a fire broke out in a wind turbine where they were performing  routine maintenance.  The tragedy occurred at Deltawind’s Piet de Wit wind farm in the Netherlands, but highlights the hazards associated with fires caused by wind turbines.

According to the Netherlands Times, “because of the height, the fire department initially had trouble extinguishing the fire in the engine room.”  The fire started in the afternoon, but it took until evening for a special team of firefighters to arrive and ascend with a large crane.

FATALITY CRASH RAISES CONCERNS OVER ROADWORK ON HIGHWAY 94

 

October 28, 2013 (Jamul) - Could road paving work have caused last night's  fatality crash on State Route 94 at Otay Lakes Road?

"Without striping on the road, very few delineation markers, and no lights during this resurfacing, it becomes virtually impossible to see where you are going or know where the road is," the Jamul Action Committee wrote in an email after the deadly crash. Moreover, two more motorists have come forward to warn of near-miss crashes including at least three near-head on collisions that they blame on missing or confusing pavement markings from the resurfacing project.

Jamul residents have been warning that the repaving work, being done both day and night with multiple stops and congestion, could endanger motorists, as ECM previously reported: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/14217 . The paving is expected to continue for months.

LAKE JENNINGS TO STOCK "TROPHY" TROUT STARTING NOV. 1

 

October 22, 2013 (Lake Jennings) – Ten-year-old Doug Utz stood with a smile beaming across his face and his arms spread the length of a nine-pound Rainbow trout.  The young fisherman was presenting his catch for a photo to commit the moment to history.

That was many years ago, however, and such catches have since been impossible at Lake Jennings in San Diego’s East County.  Rangers instead have been stocking higher numbers of smaller trout to help anglers bag their limits of five each.

According to Head Ranger David Acevedo, that philosophy and practice are coming to an end.  For this trout season, beginning Nov. 1, Acevedo said up to 3,000 pounds of trout will be stocked just before opening day with weekly 1,000-pound plantings thereafter.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HOWL-O-WEEN

 

October 28, 2013 (San Diego) -- Photographer Debbie Ekhaml sent this haunting image -- along with a description--and a follow-up shot.

"The fog (and flash) made for a spooky Halloween photo of a coyote out in the SD Wildlife Refuge," she wrote. "The flash did not seem to bother her, as I took more after the initial one."

Click "read more" and scroll down to see a second image of the coyote in brighter lighting.

HIGH WIND WARNING, SNOW FORECAST

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for the mountains and deserts from 10 p.m. tonight through 8 a.m. Tuesday. A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring, which can cause property damage.

Snow is also forecast, with the snow level dipping down to 5000 to 5500 feet Monday.

FLAMES THAT SCORCHED COMMUNITY 10 YEARS AGO HAVE FORGED STRENGTH IN SURVIVORS, THOUGH SCARS REMAIN

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos of anniversary event by Pam Wilmers and Miriam Raftery

October 27, 2013 (Lakeside) – “It started as a single flame in rugged, remote backcountry…The perfect alignment of extreme weather, fire weather and circumstances quickly transformed that flame into an enormously powerful and unstoppable force known as the Cedar Fire,” Lakeside firefighter Chuck Palmore said at yesterday’s 10-year anniversary of the Cedar Fire commemoration at the Lakeside Fire Station.  The Cedar Fire touched the lives of thousands of people, he noted. “A decade later, we gather together here today to reflect and reconnect, to share with each other our journey that has taken us from victim to survivor to thriver.”

The Cedar Fire remains the worst wildfire in California's history in size (280,278 acres, or 438 square miles), buildings destroyed (2,820, including over 2,200 homes), and people killed(15). Of those who lost homes, most have rebuilt or moved on.  But for the families of those who perished, the scars will forever remain. 

Molly Sloan lost her daughter, a granddaughter, and her daughter-in-law.  She and other family members came to this memorial service to display a photo montage in tribute to their loved ones’ memories.

HIT AND RUN DRIVER ARRESTED FOR KILLING MAN, 20, IN SPRING VALLEY

 

October 27, 2013 (Spring Valley) – Jacob Greenwald, 20, was struck and killed while walking on a sidewalk on Campo Road near Cordoba Avenue in Spring Valley at 3:54 a.m.   Greenwald, a recent Grossmont High School graduate, worked at a nearby McDonalds at State Route 94 and Avocado and was walking home from work.

Jason Michael Palmer, 33, of Spring Valley has been arrested for fleeing the scene after fatally striking Greenwald while driving a Toyota 4Runner SUV.  Authorities tracked him down after finding his license plate at the accident site.  Greenwald died at the scene.

TRAFFIC ADVISORIES: OTAY AND MOUNT LAGUNA

 

October 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A Sig-Alert has been issued for a head-on crash at Highway 94 and Otay Lakes Road.  Incident Page Network reports a fatality.  CHP’s website indicates the head-on collision involved a white truck and a black sedan, with a third vehicle also involved.

A serious accident is also reported on Sunrise Highway at State Route 79.  According to the CHP website, one vehicle swerved to avoid another and rolled over. The vehicle is on its roof against support lines for a power pole.  At least one serious injury is reported and emergency responders are en route.

“BOO ON BULLYING” MASQUERADE PARTY OCT. 30

 

October 27, 2013 (San Diego) – The African American Writers & Artists, Inc. presents an anti-bullying event and masquerade party, “Boo on Bullying” on October 30 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Malcolm X Library and Performance Arts Center, 51458 Market Street, San Diego.  The event will include an SDSU students’ panel on Anti-Bullying Strategies, a presentation on identifying bullying and bullies, as well as entertainment, raffles and prizes.

SHERIFF SEEKS WITNESSES TO CRASH THAT INJURED BICYCLIST ON HIGHWAY 67 AT POWAY ROAD

October 26, 2013 (San Diego's East County) – The Sheriff’s Department is looking for witnesses with information on an accident that occurred around 9:48 this morning involving two vehicles that collided, causing a bicyclist to also be struck and severely injured.

Deputies reported that the two vehicles were involved in a dispute over right-of-way where State Route 67 merges from two lanes to a single lane at Poway Road. As the two vehicles merged, the passenger side of a Volvo S 60 collided with the driver’s side of a Dodge Ram 3500.  After the collision, the Dodge Ram veered right, striking a bicyclist traveling northbound in a marked bicycle lane.

Pages