Editor's Note: ECM received many complaints from readers in Alpine and Lakeside who are irate over Sunday helicopter flights for Sunrise Powerlink construction and say they were not informed. SDG&E says flights were authorized by the County for Sundays through November as well as on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Alpine Planning Group member Lou Russo and others have asked the County to revoke permission.
By Tom and Judy Myers
October 17, 2011 (Alpine)--Sunday should be a day of relaxation, a chance to regenerate our spirit and our psyche. Now more than ever, Alpiners need this. We have had our nerves jangled since the beginning of the year with all the construction banging and clanging in our once quiet and peaceful mountain town.
by Millicent Arko
October 16, 2011 (El Cajon) --The Alpine Education Foundation invites the public to join in its second annual Fall Festival at Summers Past Farms, 15602 Olde Highway 80, in El Cajon. Festivities take place on Sunday, October 23 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
By Paul Gonya
Editor’s note: In an article on Alpine Planning Group Member George Barnett’s resignation, Mr. Barnett stated that he considered his greatest accomplishment to be getting two developers off the planning group's board: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/7330 . He did not identify those planners by name.(Mr. Barnett later rescinded his resignation: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/7362). Now one of the individuals he referenced, Paul Gonya, claims that his circumstances were portrayed inaccurately by Mr. Barnett. Mr. Gonya states that it's not true that he was found guilty in a civil trial. While true, he did plead guilty in a criminal (not civil) trial to grand theft embezzlement charges, as the Alpine Sun and Union-Tribune reported: http://www.thealpinesun.com/archive%202009/May%207/as%20inside.html and http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/may/01/bn01plea18624/?metro. A settlement was reached in a civil trial:
http://www.thealpinesun.com/archive%202007/December%2020/as%20inside%202.html However Mr. Gonya states that there is more to the story. Below is his statement.
October 9, 2011 (Alpine)--Mr. Barnett’s statement regarding “two former Alpine Planning Group members being found guilty in a civil trial involving fraud and embezzlement” is emphatically untrue. More important, Mr. Barnett fails to mention that the defendants in the case filed a cross complaint for fraud and misappropriation of funds against the plaintiffs when the business partnership fell apart in 2006.
September 18, 2011 (Alpine) – Lions, Tigers and Bears invites the public to savor wining and dining under the stars to benefit the big cat rescue facility in nonprofit. In addition to wine and food provided by PRP Wine International and Chef Drew, visitors will have an opportunity to win a drawing to feed one of the big cats including lions, tigers, and a leopard. This “wild” event will be held Saturday, October 1 from 6-8 p.m. at 24402 Martin Way in Alpine.
September 24, 2011 (Alpine) – Alpine Community Planning Group member George Barnett resigned following last night’s meeting, Barnett has informed ECM. “It’s time for me to move on towards other community service activities I wish to pursue, and for others to pick up the baton at the Alpine Community Planning Group,” he said.
September 23, 2011 (Alpine) –On the site of a run-down ex-chicken farm in Alpine, Sol Orchard wants to harvest sunshine.
Representatives from Sol Orchard seek a major use permit to build an 18-acre solar energy farm on High Glen Road, about four miles southeast of the Tavern Road and Japatul Valley Road intersection. Capable of producing 2.5 megawatts (MW) of power, the project is all part of a new San Diego Gas & Electric initiative to build small-scale solar facilities that together would generate up to 200 MW power locally.
By Miriam Raftery
September 23, 2011 (Alpine) – A proposed 150-room hotel adjacent to the Viejas Casino would be “great for our guests and great for the community,” said Viejas public affairs director Robert Scheid at last night’s Alpine Community Planning Group meeting. The $36 million project would generate 450 construction jobs and upon completion, 45 employees at the hotel, said Scheid.
Photos by Captain Brian Boggeln
September 22, 2011 (Alpine) – A dog that fell and became wedged inside a rocky, 15-foot deep crevasse in the 2600 block of Big Wheel Way is free and in good health, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Alpine firefighters.
SUNRISE POWERLINK REPORT REVEALS DOZENS OF SERIOUS INCIDENTS, INCLUDING FIRES CAUSED BY CONSTRUCTION
ACPG meeting Thursday includes Powerlink issues as well as proposals for a solar farm, a hotel, zoning changes, and a new park for Alpine
By Miriam Raftery
September 21, 2011 (Alpine) – An already hot agenda for tomorrow night’s Alpine Community Planning Group meeting (set for 6 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center) just got hotter.
On September 19, Aspen, environmental consultant to the California Public Utilities Commission on the Sunrise Powerlink project, released a report on construction and compliance activites for the high-voltage power line. The report reveals over 30 cases of non-compliance and serious incidents including fires, diesel spills, accidents, ignoring monitoring requirements, and heavy objects falling from helicopters--again.
September 1, 2011 (Alpine) ---- A free Alpine Viejas Days Resource Fair for Seniors and Veterans Benefits on Sept. 21 will offer help for people of all ages. Information, opportunities and screenings will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center at 1830 Alpine Blvd.
By Miriam Raftery
September 19, 2011 (Alpine) – “Tribal gaming has provided the resources to end generations of poverty,” Viejas tribal chairman Anthony Pico said at Viejas Casino’s 20th anniversary party. Gaming has also enabled the tribe to attain self-reliance and donate to many local charities.
It’s also enriched some lucky players through the years. Since opening its doors in 1991, Viejas Casino has given away $2 billion. The most recent lucky winner? Maria Teresa Magpantay Dull of San Diego, who was elated to win a 2012 Corvette valued at $35,000 at Saturday night’s celebration. View a video of the winining moment.
September 19, 2011 – 1:50 p.m. – ECM has received reports of at least 6 serious incidents across our region:
• At Shadow Hills Elementary School, preparations have been made for possible evacuation due to a fire in Harbison Canyon, where multiple strike teams and air support are ordered. Alpine Community Network reports Cal-Fire expects to contain this fire soon.
• In Julian, a head-on accident has shut down lanes at Highway 79 and Chihuahua Valley road with extrication in progress and as of 1:33, medical helicopter at the scene.
• CHP issued a SIG alert for northbound I-5 north of Del Mar Heights Road after a tourist bus fro Mexico caught fire and several accidents occurred as a result.
• IPN reports that a Sunrise Powerlink contractor has been injured in the unincorporated areas and is being transported via private helicopter to a medic unit for transport to a trauma center. ECM has asked SDG&E for details.
• In Fallbrook, a possible fatality helicopter crash has occurred at 601 Ammunition Road. IPN reports the helicopter may be military and a multi-agency response is underway. There is also a brush fire iginited by the crash.
September 16, 2011 (Alpine) – The San Diego Medical Examiner’s office has identified Bernice Helen Safford, 82, as the victim killed in a car accident yesterday afternoon in Alpine. According to Officer Brian Penning at the California Highway Patrol, Safford’s husband, who was a passenger in the vehicle she was driving, was also seriously injured and remains hospitalized.
September 15, 2011 (Alpine) – Alpine Kiwanis will host a Chili Cook-Off, along with the Show & Shine Car Show, at the Alpine Community Park this Saturday, September 17 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy music by the Legends, crafters, vendors, bratwurst, ice cream and more at the festivities.
September 15, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Four breaking news incidents impacting traffic have occurred in Jacumba, Alpine, El Cajon and Escondido, including a fatality accident and another with serious injuries. Other road closures have occurred due to a gas line break and a small brush fire.
September 14, 2011 (Alpine)—It took a tribe—and some extra teamwork in the kitchen—to serve up 4,000 free meals at the Viejas Casino’s Harvest Buffet in Alpine yesterday. The event was all part of Viejas’ 20th anniversary celebration, as tribal leaders decided to give back to a community that has helped support their thriving business ventures.
“It wasn’t easy,” Steve Robbins, Viejas executive chef/director of food and beverages said of the logistics involved. “I’ve got a culinary team of about 60 people here.”
Tribe says “Thank You” to community
September 12, 2011 (Alpine) – Viejas Casino, a premier Southern California gaming, dining and entertainment destination, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary by offering the public a free meal at the award-winning Harvest Buffet. That’s a free meal – no strings attached – from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13.
Update September 10: Boil water orders will remain in effect until Sunday, health officials report. The order applies to all water consumed including water for brushing teeth, ice cubes or cleaning vegetables. Adults may shower, but infants or toddlers should be sponge-bathed with clean water. You do not need to boil water used for washing clothes in a washing machine. For more information, see this guide in the San Diego Union-Tribune: www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/sep/08/san-diego-residents-urged-conserve-water/
September 9, 2011 (San Diego's East County)--The County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued Boil Water Orders effective immediately for the following areas: Affected communities include portions of Descanso, Alpine, Julian, Boulevard, Lakeside, Campo, and Pauma Valley.
For three years, the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) had a SRPL Ad Hoc Subcommittee...No one is quite sure what it did, since it never had agendas or minutes.
By Lou Russo
September 4, 2011 (Alpine) -- Alpine is suffering especially hard in this recession. This is due to having Alpine Blvd. dug up for Sunrise PowerLink (SRPL). While the entire county and state struggle to overcome hard economic times, businesses in Alpine find themselves not only having to deal with a poor economy, but also with daily traffic jams/delays, noise, dirt, etc. from a power line being placed underground through the business district.
By Chuck Taylor, the Alpine Sun
August 30, 2011 (Alpine)--Anthony Pico, Viejas Tribal Chairman announced plans yesterday for a new 150 room hotel to be erected adjoining the Casino. Although the final design has not been approved, an architectural rendering of the proposed hotel was presented to the media and business owners during a press conference at the Dream Catcher Lounge.
Swinerton Construction has been awarded the project and they have pledged to use local employees on the job. Construction and expansion is expected to add about 450 jobs and when the hotel is completed it will be staffed by around 45 employees.
Update 5 p.m. - All fires are out and traffic is flowing as firefighters douse remaining hot spots.
August 30, 2011 (Alpine) 3:30 p.m. -- A Sig Alert has been issued for I-8 through Alpine, where several small brush fires along the freeway have been burning. According to Cal-Fire, three of the four blazes are now out and Cal Fire is making "good progress" on a fourth, Roxanne Provaznik at Cal Fire reports. A total of 10 acres has been burned.
By Miriam Raftery
August 27, 2011 (Alpine) – Blossom and Delilah, two bears rescued from a closed zoo in Oklahoma have arrived at their new home at Lions, Tigers & Bears in Alpine.
The animals were destined to be sold to a game ranch where they could be hunted and killed if not for the intervention of Bobbi Brink, owner of LTB, a rescue facility in Alpine.
Guests to be treated to free meal at Harvest Buffet, $100,000 Bingo celebration and a Corvette giveaway
August 22, 2011 (Alpine) –Viejas Casino is celebrating its 20th anniversary with special events and promotions during September--including a drawing for a 2012 Corvette. On September 13, Viejas Casino says “thank you” to its guests and supporters with a free meal at the award-winning Harvest Buffet.
August 10, 2011 (Alpine) – Robert Eugene Shy, 41, of Alpine, was driving his motorcycle eastbound on Interstate 8 west of Tavern Road August 9th at 9:18 p.m. when for unknown reasons he collided with the rear of a semi-truck.
August 6, 2011 (Alpine)--The Ultimate Music Challenge is a cover band contest held in the DreamCatcher Lounge at Viejas Casino. The competition will be held every Sunday night from August 14th through October 23rd, from 6pm-10pm. Three lucky winners will take home a total of $40,000.
August 4, 2011 (Alpine) -- Gary Spivey, internationally acclaimed psychic, medium and predictor of future events, will appear August 6 in the DreamCatcher at Viejas Casino.
Known as the "modern-day Nostradamus," Spivey claims to have forecast the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the Monica Lewinski scandal with President Bill Clinton, the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction”, explosion of a TWA flight, and discovery of ancient life on Mars, among other predictions. He also claims the ability to communicate with those who have "passed over to the other side."
A ROARING GOOD TIME: EAST COUNTY CHAMBER MEMBERS GET UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH BIG CATS AT LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS
Story by Miriam Raftery; Photos by Mark and Miriam Raftery
August 2, 2011 (Alpine) -- "Oh, you're beautiful!" San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce President Scott Alevy exclaimed as his wife, Joanne, dished up a forkful of chicken. But he wasn't complimenting her cooking. Instead, Alevy was admiring Raja--a 500-pound Bengal tiger that Joanne was feeding after winning a drawing at Lions, Tigers & Bears (LTB) in Alpine.
The Chamber hosted a fundraiser to benefit the big cat rescue facility last weekend, donating 100% of proceeds to help this worthy cause while providing a memorable experience for Chamber members. View our video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFhE9h-O0Uw
July 30, 2011 (Alpine) – Exotic birds from around the world will flock to the Alpine Library on July 30th at 1 p.m. for a very special program. Be sure to bring your camera! Learn about different bird species, habitats and behaviors, then come and play with the birds at this free family event.
July 15, 2011 (East County) -- The Alpine and Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce invites you to join your elected representatives for a lively evening discussing important hot topics on Monday, July 18. Bring your questions, enjoy appetizers and the opportunity to meet your friends and neighbors at this informative event, which is cosponsored by Viejas and San Diego Gas & Electric Company.
July 13, 2011 (Alpine) – Late Monday night, thieves stole over 1,500 linear feet of half-inch steel from the fence traversing the Wright's Field Preserve in Alpine, Alpine Community Network reports.
The theft has been reported to the Sheriff and constitutes grand theft due to the value. Now the Back Country Land Trust is asking public help to identify the thieves.