December 2013 Articles

FIRE HEAVILY DAMAGES MEDICAL CLINIC IN EL CAJON

 

An electrical fire on New Year’s Eve morning destroyed a medical clinic in El Cajon.

Heartland Fire and Rescue along with Cal Fire responded to the blaze at 1321 East Main Street, at the corner of East Main and Melody Lane, at 8 a.m.  Crews found heavy smoke coming from the clinic.  The building was occupied, but fortunately those inside were able to escape and call 911. No injuries were reported. 

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS APPROVES TULE WIND FARM LEASE

 

Decision puts families and eagles at risk, Protect Our Communities warns

Wind-turbine fire on Campo Reservation December 16, 2013 near site of wind farm lease approved by BIA in the same week that this blaze threatened nearby homes.

December 31, 2013  –On December 26, local residents learned that the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has signed a Record of Decision approving a lease for Phase II of Iberdrola’s controversial Tule Wind Project (also known as the Reduced Ridgeline Project) in San Diego County. The Record of Decision has not been published in the Federal Register so is not available for the public to review even though the BIA has already issued a press release.

“The BIA’s decision is reckless and shows outrageous disregard for the high fire risk we all face in San Diego County,” said Donna Tisdale, POC’s Secretary. “The fire district that Iberdrola contracted has no air tankers or helicopters of its own, but must hope and pray that mutual aid fire agencies can spare them. And Iberdrola’s Tule Wind Fire Protection Plan shows that it plans to use the people of San Diego County as guinea pigs by relying on an experimental fire suppression technology instead of something already proven to work.”

JUDGE SHORE POSTPONES DECISION ON PLACEMENT OF SEXUAL PREDATOR IN JACUMBA

 

 

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.

DRONE TESTING OVER SAN DIEGO AND EAST COUNTY SHOT DOWN

 

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.

HAWK WATCH PROGRAM CANCELLED IN RAMONA FOR 2014

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2013 (Ramona)--After 20 years, Hawk Watch, a popular wildlife educational program in Ramona featuring  hawks, owls and eagles, has been cancelled for 2014 .  Visitors can still go birdwatching on their own at the Ramona Grasslands  Preserve, but there will be no organized presentations or up-close looks at captive birds of prey.

 Wildlife Research Institute, which ran the program, announced the cancellation on its website with no explanation.  But the decision likely stems from trouble raising funds for the nonprofit after news broke that its founder, David Bittner, was sentenced in federal court  in August after pleading guilty to unlawful taking  a Golden Eagle without a permit and failing to file any data reports for a four-year period on birds that he had banded.

SURGE IN LAST-MINUTE ENROLLMENTS FOR OBAMACARE

 

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.

A HEARTFELT MESSAGE

 

Update January 3, 2014:  Five days after his heart surgery, which wound up being a quintuple bypass, we interviewed Leon in his hospital room.  Hear for yourself how energetic he's feeling - and how he's already setting the pace for walking a mile a day around the recovery ward. This interview aired on our East County Magazine Show on KNSJ Radio:  http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/1x5gj5h5h7/Leon-HospitalInterviewPost-Surgery.mp3

Editor’s Note:  We send warm wishes for a speedy recovery to Leon Thompson, our “East County Eater.”  If you were at our holiday party, you'll recall Leon gleefully carving up the prime rib.  Tomorrow, Leon is undergoing triple bypass surgery, or as he calls it, “the trifecta.”   Undaunted, he asked us to post this message for our readers—including his witty review of hospital food, along with his New Year’s resolution for healthy dining—and a special request for our readers.

By Leon Thompson, a.k.a. the East County Eater

December 26, 2013 (La Mesa)--This is Leon Thompson, otherwise known as the East County Eater to readers of East County Magazine. Today I’m reporting from Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.  My lifetime of savoring great foods, along with a family history of coronary artery disease, has finally caught up with me.  So I’ll be undergoing triple bypass surgery Friday morning—split down the middle like an oyster, with some fancy rerouting of my plumbing by the cardiac surgeon, and then I’ll be trussed up like a holiday turkey, with a few weeks to marinate before I’m back on the beat.

So by the time you hear this broadcast, hopefully I’ll have a healthy heart just in time for the New Year.

RECYCLE YOUR HOLIDAY TREE

 

December 28, 2013 (San Diego) – Each holiday season, the County of San Diego and I Love a Clean San Diego work together to remind everyone that holiday recycling goes beyond just wrapping paper and gift boxes, your tree can be recycled too!

Christmas trees can be recycled into mulch and compost which are then used to improve soil health at residences, public parks, and local farms. 

Most trash companies offer curbside-pickup of Christmas trees. For instance, EDCO will pick up trees in front of single family homes from December 26 until January 10.  Trees taller than four feet should be cut in half, and be sure to remove all decorations, lights, tree stands and nails.  EDCO accepts flocked trees covered in artificial snow, but some trash companies do not, so be sure to check with yours.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXPIRE FOR MILILONS OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- Long-term unemployment benefits expired on Saturday , after Congress failed to authorize an extension. People who have been out of work for six months or longer will no longer be receiving unemployment checks.

About 1.3 million Americans will lose benefits immediately, including 222,000 Californians.  By the end of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly 5 million people will lose unemployment benefits. Those checks range from $40 to $450 a week, so this is a major blow for individuals who may have no other source of income.

The New York Times reports that removing this safety net for unemployed workers will push hundreds of thousands of households below the poverty line. With the cut off, only one out of every four unemployed Americans will receive jobless benefits –the lowest proportion in half a century.

“NATURE AWAKENING” AT MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK BEGINNING JANUARY 4

 

December 28, 2013 (San Diego) - The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRP) is pleased to present an exhibition featuring seven award winning artists who work in various mediums.  The exhibit will be on display in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center Art Gallery from January 4 - 31, 2014.  The public is cordially invited to a reception in honor of the artists on Sunday, January 5, 2014 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE’S NOVEMBER RADIO SHOWS ARE NOW ONLINE: LISTEN NOW!

 

Our November shows are now online—including special reports on East County issues, interviews with top newsmakers, local musicians, authors, colorful characters and people making a positive difference in our community. Click here for a list of our November shows and guests with links to listen online.

You can also hear our show live when it airs on KNSJ 89.1 FM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. and reruns Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 a.m.  Or listen live online during those hours at www.KNSJ.org.

EL CAJON POLICE TO SET UP DUI/DRIVER'S LICENSE CHECKPOINT TONIGHT

 

December 28, 2013 (El Cajon)-- The El Cajon Police Department Traffic Unit will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint on December 28, 2013, at 500 Broadway between the hours of 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.  

The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes.  Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely.

MTS OFFERS EXPANDED TROLLEY SERVICE FOR POINSETTIA BOWL

 

December 26, 2013 (San Diego) – The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) encourages football fans to take advantage of expanded Trolley service Thursday, Dec. 26, to avoid congested traffic when traveling to the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl game at Qualcomm Stadium.

MTS will operate Green Line Trolley service with 15-minute frequency or better before and after the game to accommodate increased ridership.  Fans are advised to travel early and board between 4 and 5 p.m. to ensure arrival at Qualcomm Stadium in time for pre-game festivities and kick-off at 6:30 p.m.

Fans originating travel on the Blue Line can transfer to the Green Line at the 12th & Imperial Transit Station, and those starting on the Orange Line can transfer at either the Grossmont Center, 12th & Imperial, or Santa Fe Depot stations. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: GREED - FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD - IS CRUDE (THE WOLF OF WALL STREET)

 

By Brian Lafferty

December 25, 2013 (San Diego) – Marin Scorsese’s few forays into comedy thus far have been The King of Comedy (1983) and After Hours (1985).  Both are delightful dark comedies.  The former starred Robert De Niro as a delusional fan and stalker of a TV talk show host (Jerry Lewis).  The latter was written by then-Columbia University student Joseph Minion for his thesis.  It was a simple, yet uncommonly clever, a word processor’s (Griffin Dunne) crazy night.

Neither film, however, is as pitch black as The Wolf of Wall Street, not only the funniest film of the year, but the best period.

MILD EARTHQUAKE SHAKES EAST COUNTY ON CHRISTMAS DAY

 

By Nadin Abbott

December 25, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) A 4.2 Richter scale quake shook down Baja Mexico at 4:17 p.m. today, 17 miles from Campo. The temblor is widely reported to have been felt by East County residents in Lakeside, Campo, Alpine and Crest.

“We were shaking and rockin' and rollin' on Carveacre!” Linda Ascione Niman posted on the Brush Fire Partyline site on Facebook.

CHRISTMAS DAY FIRE DAMAGES SPRING VALLEY HOME

 

December 25, 2013 (Spring Valley ) – In the early hours of Christmas morning at 12:32 a.m., Lemon Grove Sheriff Deputies responded to a radio call to help San Miguel Fire Department at a brush fire reported near homes on South Granada Avenue in Spring Valley.  Upon arrival, deputies and firefighters found a residence on fire at the rear of the house.

Fortunately, residents had safely evacuated.  Firefighters doused the blaze and asked Sheriff’’s Bomb-Arson unit to investigate. The fire’s cause was determined to be accidental.

TRACK SANTA’S TRIP AROUND THE WORLD

 

December 24, 2013 (North Pole) – Children and the young at heart can  track Santa’s flight across the globe today and tonight at www.noradsanta.com.  The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tradition dates back to 1955, when a Sears store’s holiday ad had a misprint, directing callers to Santa instead to  an agency that was NORAD’s predecessor.  Colonel Harry Shoup had his staff provide radar locations for Santa making his way south from the North Pole.

This year’s site includes videos, games, Santa’s village, holiday songs and more.  Clicking any location on the interactive map brings up photos and details of every city shown on the site, which also tracks number of packages delivered and more.  Start tracking Santa here: http://www.noradsanta.org/

MOUNTAIN LION SIGHTED IN LEMON GROVE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 24, 2013 (Lemon Grove) – A mountain lion has been sighted in Lemon Grove this Christmas eve morning. “Deputies met with the reporting party, who took a picture of what appeared to be a mountain lion,” said Sgt. Matt Cook with the Sheriff’s Lemon Grove substation.  The animal was apparently lying in the bushes of a vacant lot just west of the Food4Less at 7420 Broadway, the main street through the town of Lemon Grove.

The witness saw the mountain lion at 7:30 a.m. but didn’t report it until nearly 9 a.m.  Deputies searched for the big cat but did not find it.

VISITING ANGELS LAUNCHES HALO COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

 

 

December 24, 2013 (El Cajon) --The Halo Community Foundation has been established, just in time for a holiday gift to help people in need in our community, Visiting Angels has announced.   The mission of the Halo Community Foundation is to provide quality in-home care to low-income individuals suffering from illnesses, disabilities, and/or physical impairments.

The Visiting Angels’ East County Office can assist low income individuals receive critical in-home care for a better quality of life.  The foundation provides care to qualified individuals based upon needs and income level free of charge. 

ALPINE CALLER DEEMED "PRANK" AFTER CLAIMING TO HAVE SHOT 2 PEOPLE AND PLANTED BOMBS

 

December 23, 2013 (Alpine) – The Sheriff seeks tips to identify a caller who reported late this morning that he had shot a friend and his friend’s father, tossed a grenade, and planted bombs around a residence. The caller also claimed he planned to shoot it out with deputies.

CHALDEAN TOY DRIVE BRINGS CHEER TO AREA CHILDREN

 

December 23, 2013 (El Cajon) -- The Neighborhood Market Association has partnered up with Chaldean-Middle Eastern Social Services and the Chaldean American Association to help sponsor this year’s Chaldean Community Toy Giveaway, which provided over 7,000 toys to children in need this holiday season.

“Nothing brings a community together like being able to work towards bringing a smile to the face of a child, ” says NMA President and CEO Mark P. Arabo, “every disadvantaged kid deserves to feel special during this season.”

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 23, 2013 (San Diego) -- It’s finally here!  Everything is out and up, presents are wrapped and time to eat and enjoy (if only it were that easy…) Here are some tips to keep your feasts safe during this Holiday season:

Go wash your hands!  Use hot soapy water to wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces (including cutting boards). Repeat this throughout your preparation to ensure you aren't spreading bacteria around. 

DON'T PACK A PEST IN YOUR LUGGAGE

 

December 23, 2013 (San Diego) – If you love California’s agricultural products — our fruits, nuts, veggies, chicken, eggs and pork chops — the County Agricuiltural Department has this reminder for you: don’t pack a pest in your luggage!

The holiday season is also the season for traveling. And we should all do our best to protect the California agricultural products we love to eat — and which make up a huge part of our state and local economy — by making sure we don’t accidentally bring something home that can force quarantines, wreck crops and wreak havoc.

PARDEE HOMES DONATES $5,000 TO SANTEE SANTAS FOR LOCAL FAMILIES IN NEED

 

December 23, 2013 (Santee) – As part of its commitment to the communities in which it builds, Pardee Homes announced on December 18 a $5,000 contribution to the Santee Santas Foundation to purchase food, toys and flowers for local families and seniors this holiday season. The grant, made possible through Pardee’s parent company, Weyerhaeuser, will help support the Santee Santas’ signature effort, an annual holiday children's toy and food program focused on bringing the holiday spirit to about 300 families in need.

TARGET SHOPPERS' CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD INFO COMPROMISED

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2013 (San Diego) – If you shopped at Target between November 27 and December 15, your credit card or debit card information may have been breached due to a hack.  Up to 40 million cardholders may be impacted.

Target says it’s begun notifying customers via email and letters of the potential for fraud on these accounts, and has alerted all of the credit networks of the affected card numbers.  The major credit card companies are alerting financial institutions as well so that they can take fraud protection steps.

Customers will NOT be responsible for any fraud that may occur on these accounts.

POINSETTIA BOWL KICKS OFF DEC. 26 IN SAN DIEGO

 

December 23, 2013 (San Diego) – The Utah State Aggies and Northern Illinois Huskies will play in the 9th annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, 2013 Bowl President Bill Geppert announced today. It marks the second appearance in the San Diego bowl game for the Huskies and the first for the Aggies.

The SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26 at Qualcomm Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.

CHASE ENDS IN CRASH ON 56 OFFRAMP

 

December 23, 2013 (La Mesa) – A parolee being pursued by law enforcement officers struck two vehicles, injuring an occupant of one of the vehicles struck as well as one of the suspects.

The incident began at 8:03 a.m. on December 22, when a La Mesa Police officer attempted to make a traffic stop on a vehicle at El Cajon Blvd. and Baltimore Drive for a traffic violation. The officer recognized the driver as a known subject on parole. When the suspect spotted the officer’s vehicle behind him, he fled the location and failed to yield to officers. A vehicle pursuit ensued.

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