El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Ana Nita

HomeFed Corporation, a Carlsbad-based company that has been trying unsuccessfully for the past decade to develop an urban community on almost 3,000 acres on the northwestern side of Santee, is now back with a new proposal. The previous project had been approved by Santee City Council in 2007, but the San Diego Superior Court and a fourth District Court of Appeal ruled against the city’s decision citing inadequate consideration given to fire safety, water supply and other environmental issues.

The new owner of the Cottonwood Golf Club located on Willow Glen Drive in El Cajon wants to turn it into a sand mine and the community is not happy about it.

The golf club, rated with three stars on Yelp, went bankrupt in 2011 and was purchased by Michael Schlesinger four years later. The Los Angeles resident applied for a Major Use Permit (MUP) in 2017 with San Diego County through his company, New West Investment Group, Inc. 

The day before Thanksgiving, Crest resident Dawn Flores received a phone call no horse owner would expect in the quiet countryside of East County.

Her horse, Gretchen, was found tied up with rope inside the stall at the boarding place in Blossom Valley, El Cajon, where Flores has kept her horses since 2009.

The ranch belongs to Marilyn Gramse, who discovered the horse tied up in the middle of the night.

At 2:58 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Cal Fire San Diego launched the first tweet of a series that would soon become hashtag #ElMonteFire on social media and a real, living nightmare for the people who live in El Monte Valley in Lakeside.

The fire started on half an acre at the 1400 block of El Monte Road, according to Cal Fire.


Numerous voices have been claiming lately the sand mining project in El Monte Valley is a done deal and the sand permit will get approved at the county level by the planning commission and the board of supervisors, despite community protest.

In August, the county planning department published the subsequent Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that requires the government to study the impact of every proposed project on the environment and to identify ways to mitigate potential impact.

Third annual edition of the East County Junk Trail came and went this month and it was better than the previous years, according to both the organizers and customers.

With 14 stops listed on a printable treasure hunting map, raffle prizes and gifts at each stop, the event succeeded in bringing together established antique and vintage stores along with traveling pop-up vendors at each major stop.

“This is f---ing gnarly,” exclaimed Zach Decker, 25, while driving his vehicle on I-8 West on Friday, Oct. 19 before noon and watching live as an airplane from the Gillespile Field Airport landed in front of his car on the freeway.

His wife, Keri, 26, started recording right away and the video posted on Facebook reached almost a million views.

The couple lives in Boulevard, Calif. and Keri Decker said they were taking their son, Mason, to the dentist when this “once in a lifetime” event happened.

Mountain lions are leaving footprints all over East County.

Crest Library was the place to find out about mountain lions last week when Robin Park with the Mountain Lion Foundation came to talk about these elusive animals with the Crest residents.

The Santee Chamber of Commerce organized a forum on Oct. 4 to introduce the current candidates for the city council to the public. Seven candidates from three city districts answered questions from the public vying for people’s vote on Nov. 6. 

In the upcoming elections, only the seat held by Council Member Stephen Houlahan in District 4 in Santee is safe until 2020.

Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfield and current Vice Mayor Rob McNelis are both running for one seat in District 1.

More than 500 residents filled up a 250-seat room at the Lakeside Community Center to attend the public meeting organized on Sept. 25 by the San Diego County to discuss the subsequent Environmental Impact Report (EIR) related to a sand mining plant proposed in El Monte Valley (EMV).

The locals stood up along the walls, chanting and holding up signs, despite the specific request for “no applause and no booing” voiced by Ben Nelson, Project Manager of the Planning and Development Services.