Tree-lighting and ice show extravaganza light up the night tonight
November 11, 2011 (Alpine) -- Skate into the holidays on Southern California’s largest outdoor ice rink, now open at Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine. The nearly 10,000-square-foot rink, one of our region’s most popular winter playgrounds, will remain open through Jan. 8, 2012.
The season kicks off with a lighting of the Viejas holiday tree at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 11, followed by a free Extravaganza on Ice Show with professional skaters--plus a visit from Santa Claus.
By Miriam Raftery
“How many more children are going to have to die before we get a high school in Alpine?” – Rose Urdahl, Alpine resident
Update November 11, 2011: Mother discharged from hospital
November 10, 2011 (Alpine) – A double tragedy has struck an Alpine family. This morning, Granite Hills High School student Devon Sambhi was ejected and killed in a roll-over accident. He would have been 17 on November 22. His mother, Natalia Sambhi, was air-lifted to a hospital. She was driving rolled off I-8 and landed on Old Highway 80 at Dunbar Lane. According to CHP, a tire problem may have caused the crash.
Now Sambhi's father, Sunil Sambhi, has died following a second accident close to the location where his son lost his life.
November 10, 2011 (Alpine) – A SIG Alert has been issued and Old Highway 80 is closed in both directions due to a fatality accident this morning just west of Dunbar Lane.
November 8, 2011 (Alpine) – Sue Roff, director of the Alpine Community Center, will once again be cooking up a Thanksgiving meal for seniors who are alone or can’t travel to be with family for the holidays. Volunteers will deliver the meals to home-bound seniors, along with gift bags filled with items donated by local merchants.
By Miriam Raftery
November 6, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) –“This is a historic time for East County,” Jo Marie Diamond, president and chief executive officer of the East Count Economic Development Council (ECEDC) told guests at last week’s “Sky’s the limit” bus tour of East County. Three busloads of business leaders rolled through our region's urban, suburban, and small town communities, learning some surprising facts along the way.
If you haven’t traveled through East County in a while, you may be surprised at the many recent changes.
COUNTY EXPANDS BAN ON SUNDAY HELICOPTER FLIGHTS, BUT RESIDENTS COMPLAIN NOISE CONTINUES AS SDG&E PUSHES FORWARD ON POWERLINK
By Miriam Raftery
November 6, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – On Friday, the County Department of Planning and Land Use announced a new amendment to noise variances granted to SDG&E for Sunrise Powerlink construction.
Due to residents' complaints, the County has banned Sunday flights over the Carveacre area, according to LeAnn Carmichael at DPLU. The County is also considering requests from other communities seeking broader bans on Sunday flights in the Alpine and Lakeside areas.
COUNTY AMENDS VARIANCE TO STOP SUNDAY HELICOPTER FLIGHTS ON POWERLINK FOR PORTIONS OF LAKESIDE AND ALPINE
Community meetings planned in Boulevard, Lakeside and Alpine
By Miriam Raftery
October 22, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) –After receiving 23 complaints about Sunday helicopter operations on Sunrise Powerlink construction, the County has amended its variance. The original variance allowed work Sundays through November, as well as on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The amendment covers portions of two areas: Lakeside/El Monte and the Bell Bluff/Japatul area of Alpine.
October 19, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Residents along the construction route for SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink Project have lodged noise complaints with the County. Now Supervisor Dianne Jacob has asked that the County revoke a waiver given that authorized SDG&E to fly on Sundays and a holiday weekend. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also granted permission for the extended hours on federal BLM lands.
“It sounds like the Vietnam War zone out here,” bemoaned Lakeside resident Milt Cyphert, a veteran.
October 18, 2011 (San Diego) -- Want to find out firsthand how the Sheriff’s Department works? Hear how Sheriff’s Detectives and Deputies work with Crime Analysts to catch the bad guys? See the Sheriff’s K‐9 Unit in action. Learn about the split‐ second and life-‐or‐death decisions deputies make on the job every day.
“It shows the reflection of the people that are honoring the reflection of the service that their neighbors gave for this great country, exemplified by a beam of light from God,” observed Hinrichsen, a veteran whose own name is also on the wall.
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.