El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Gary E. Mitrovich

In the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 25, a small army of We All Count volunteers canvassed San Diego County. The deployment was part of the annual attempt to determine the size of the local homeless population. Statistics from the count will be used to allocate state and federal monies in an effort to combat and try to solve the problem. Last year’s numbers put San Diego with the fourth highest homeless numbers in the nation.

The annual Point In Time Count was held throughout San Diego County this past Friday, Jan. 25. Also known as “We All Count,” the event is headed by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and serves to document our county’s homelessness once a year in an early morning, four-hour snapshot.

The goal is to bring more resources (read: money) into the region to combat the problem. Federal funds would be used to identify, implement, and support efforts to alleviate and prevent homelessness.

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District has adopted their Final Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) and approved the East County Advanced Wastewater Purification Project.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously to pass the plan at its monthly meeting on Dec. 5, 2018.

The project is a partnership between Padre Dam and Helix water districts, as well as the City of El Cajon and the County of San Diego. The plan is to recycle and purify East County wastewater to create “a new, substantial and drought-proof water supply.”

Lakeside resident and near-native Andrew Hayes is the newest member of the Lakeside Unified School District’s Governing Board. If you didn’t notice his name on the recent November ballot, it was because no one chose to run against him. When the filing deadline passed in September, the lack of an opposing candidate made Hayes the instant winner.

Not bad for a 24-year-old who already has many years of experience under his belt in serving the public.

The Spirit of Christmas on Maine Avenue was held this past Saturday, Dec. 1 in historic Downtown Lakeside. It went off without a hitch, like some holiday miracle movie on the Hallmark Channel. Rain had threatened the 20th annual event, creating some tense moments for the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce as it had to make a last-minute decision whether to cancel the event.

The Chamber checked the weather forecasts and decided to go for it. The town was rewarded with some cold and cloudy skies, but no rain – a perfect holiday setting.

RETRACTION: "Calvary Ranch Returns"

In the Nov. 28 issue of the East County Californian, information regarding the sale of the Calvary Ranch site was published in error. 

The property is still available for purchase. The asking price is $1,370,000, but at this point there are no accepted offers, and the property is being actively advertised and shown to prospective buyers.

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Todd Owens and his volunteer crew have been picking up trash in Lakeside – one street at a time – for almost a year and a half now.

So, is this working – is Lakeside any cleaner now than it was in July 2017?

“I think so,” said Todd, just before he let out on his continuing quest to make his community a little better place to live. “I mean, we were picking up 100 bags of trash every time at first. Now, we’re averaging about 30 bags a day. So I think we’re having an impact.”

While Lakesiders have been wrestling with the El Monte San Mining Project and, to a lesser extent, the Food-Scraps-to-Energy Project set for Moreno Valley, a third major project planned for the community is quietly winding its way through the process.

The East County Advanced Water Purification Project is currently in the midst of its required 30-day public comment period for their Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration. The deadline for public input is Oct. 15, a date fast approaching for a major plan that could impact Lakeside for years to come.

Lakeside residents made a good showing on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the public comment meeting for the El Monte Sand Mining Project. About 500 folks filled the Lakeside Community Center and dozens spoke out against the project. Others protested with signs, applause and shout-outs. If any were in support of the project, they did not make themselves evident, though the mastermind behind the sand mining – Bill Adams – was identified in the audience.

He sat stoically and silently throughout the meeting.

The third annual Touch-A-Truck Lakeside Edition is now one for the books.

The popular local event was held from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. While the attendance had yet to be tallied at press time, estimates put the number at about 1,700 people, somewhat higher than last year.