El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Ana Nita

The West Fire that started on July 6 of this year took the community of Alpine by surprise just before noon and with a speed aroused by strong winds it doubled in size in record time, burning more than 500 acres of land and destroying almost 75 buildings before being contained.

Two months since the disaster, dozens of people are still without permanent housing, living in hotels or in their cars.

San Diego County continued its effort to get community input on its affordable housing plan with a stop in Lakeside last week. The tour started in August with a regional workshop at the Planning & Development Services’ (PDS) headquarters in Overland, had a previous session in Valley Center and will have another one scheduled for Sept. 13 in El Cajon.

Last week, the East County Homeless Task Force (ECHTF) had its monthly meeting in Lakeside, choosing this location for the first time since its inception after being invited by the local chamber of commerce. More than 100 people representing different organizations and volunteers involved in solving homelessness gathered to share data and find solutions.

Eric J. Lund, Director of the ECHFT and CEO of the East County Chamber of Commerce announced that East County will receive $2 million out of the $18.8 million state funding for San Diego County to solve the homelessness problem.

After two years of delay, the County of San Diego just published the Subsequent Environmental Impact Report and the Reclamation Plan for the sand mining project proposed for El Monte Valley in Lakeside. The public has 60 days to comment to support or oppose the biggest sand mining project in Lakeside and East County San Diego.

This project has stirred up the community for the past two decades in an almost lost battle to keep the land, the water and the air as is in El Monte Valley, ancient home of the Kumeyaay.

The numbers are in: 20 protesters, six police officers, more than 60 journalists, one freshly sworn in American citizen and two political candidates running in the 50th district of San Diego. These parties, besides the legal teams, showed up for GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter’s court arraignment on August 28, 2018.

Press gathered in front of the Edward J. Schwartz U.S. District Court located in downtown San Diego since before 8:00 a.m. to reserve space to photograph the congressman’s appearance in front of a federal judge.

The pavement disappears abruptly, allowing for bumpy gravel and steep ascents on the sinuous hot and dry Forest Route turning into Gaskill Peak Road in Alpine.

In one year only, three new projects have been announced for the Moreno Valley area in Lakeside, and the locals are not happy about the potential increase in traffic and pollution.

Last year, San Diego County Planning Commissioners approved Bob Turner’s new sand mine on Moreno Avenue across from the old Ennis’ similar mining operation.

Just last month, the County approved the budget to build an equestrian park on the same road.

A letter announcing that SDG&E planned seven power outages during the months of August and September sent customers over the edge in the Alpine areas scheduled to have their electricity cut off starting on Aug. 2, 2018. The neighborhood currently affected is the Careveacre Ranch Estates, off Japatul Road. The planned outages project is part of the Cleveland National Forest Fire Risk Mitigation Initiative (FiRM) which has been in work for the past 10 years.

“I really love my hometown and you all being here shows that you love Lakeside, too,” said Bonnie LaChappa, last term’s chairwoman of the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce, opening the 38th Annual Community Awards ceremony.

The event took place on July 26 at the Barona Resort & Casino and honored local individuals and businesses who went above and beyond to serve the community. Several elected officials and their representatives were in attendance to present awards.

With a total budget of $4.5 million, the Lakeside Equestrian Park received the green light for the ground-breaking ceremony and the bidding for construction.

The County partnered up with the East County Equestrian Foundation, a local non-profit group tasked with raising $150,000 to cover the cost of management and maintenance for the equestrian facility after construction.