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Inside East County

Developers eye sleepy Descanso, Volcan Mountain logged, Lakeside Rodeo's cowboys, San Vincente fish shocked, Boulder Creek water fight, Cameron Corners for sale

Site of failed Maggio Ranch development. "They wanted to put in 47 homes here."
  • Site of failed Maggio Ranch development. "They wanted to put in 47 homes here."
  • Image by Joe Klein

Duncan McFetridge and Jo Ellen Hucker. "It is very hard to fit a septic system on a quarter acre. And everything is septic in this area."

Duncan McFetridge and Jo Ellen Hucker. "It is very hard to fit a septic system on a quarter acre. And everything is septic in this area."

Developers Eye Sleepy Descanso

It's only 35 or 40 minutes from downtown San Diego to the junction of Interstate 8 and State Route 79. And just a couple of minutes north of there lies the rural town of Descanso. In many urban centers, particularly in California, that's not a bad commute time. And from the East County cities of El Cajon, Santee, and La Mesa, the drive to Descanso is even shorter.

That fact, combined with the beauty of the area, makes Descanso next in line to be covered by the eastward crawl of development that already blankets most of Alpine, the next town to the west.

By Ernie Grimm, April 3, 2003 | Read full article


The trucks are hauling the wood west, down the hill to Santa Ysabel, then north on Highway 79 through Warner Springs and finally to the Corona Ranch sod farm on the east edge of Temecula.

The trucks are hauling the wood west, down the hill to Santa Ysabel, then north on Highway 79 through Warner Springs and finally to the Corona Ranch sod farm on the east edge of Temecula.

Log Rumors Rattle Julian

These days, Julian residents are seeing something that hasn't been seen in those parts for three decades: logging trucks laden with local logs growling down the mountain roads and returning empty. "Everybody in the community has seen these trucks rolling," says local naturalist Clinton Powell. "There's a big sign right on Farmer's Road that says 'Caution: Log Trucks.' "

The rumor mill has already turned out tales of Northern California logging professionals being surprised and excited by the mature stands of timber. Another rumor has a saw mill being put up soon.

By Ernie Grimm, June 26, 2003 | Read full article


Cowboy worshippers singing during service at Lakeside Rodeo.

Cowboy worshippers singing during service at Lakeside Rodeo.

Cowboys

During mid-April of last year, a large group of cowboys came into the Branded Oak restaurant on Maine Street in Lakeside. They had come from the rodeo grounds several blocks down the street, where tryouts for the 38th Annual Lakeside Rodeo were being held. Kelly Nashiyama, whose name belies her blond hair, was tending bar that day. She expected, when she saw the cowboys enter, if not the worst, then at least some rowdiness and a few orders of Jack Daniel’s with beer chasers. What she got, instead, was a polite group of young men who, before they began to eat, held hands in a circle and prayed aloud.

By Joe Deegan, July 10, 2003 | Read full article


San Diego City lakes biologist Larry Bottroff (at stern) and assistant Matt Dupra.  "When the water is colder, it increases the range a little bit, and the shock seems to last longer."

San Diego City lakes biologist Larry Bottroff (at stern) and assistant Matt Dupra. "When the water is colder, it increases the range a little bit, and the shock seems to last longer."

Electric Water, Shocked Fish

The gate below the dam at San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside is closed when I arrive just before 10:00 o'clock on a late-April morning. The lake is closed to recreational fishing today. But I'm here to see fishing of a different kind, involving neither bait nor hook but electricity.

To the right of the gate, tucked under a grove of trees, stand the offices of San Diego City Lakes, a division of the city's water department. Offices may be too strong a word for the collection of temporary trailer buildings where I meet Jim Brown, (then) San Diego City Lakes program director. "Why don't you follow me up to the lake," says Brown, a stocky man in his 50s.

By Ernie Grimm, Aug. 28, 2003 | Read full article


Brown’s gate, Ranchita Margarita. Fritz went on to say Brown's wildlife pond was a threat to "sensitive herpetofauna inhabiting the creek, such as the California newt."

Brown’s gate, Ranchita Margarita. Fritz went on to say Brown's wildlife pond was a threat to "sensitive herpetofauna inhabiting the creek, such as the California newt."

Neighbor Battles Neighbor

In February of 1999, superior court judge Frank Brown purchased 73 acres of land along Boulder Creek near Descanso at a tax auction. The property had been owned by a man named Otto Rollins, who hadn't paid property taxes on it in eight years. Rollins purchased the oak-studded plot in 1991 from the ownership group of the Double B Ranch, which consisted of his parcel and another of the same size immediately downstream. The Double B owners, a loose group of outdoorsmen and recreational miners, retained ownership of the downstream parcel after the sale. They also retained the "mineral rights" to the plot they sold to Rollins. One of the owners, Mary Ann Dorman, lived on the lower parcel.

By Ernie Grimm, Sept. 11, 2003 | Read full article


Highway 94, Cameron Corners

Highway 94, Cameron Corners

10 Million Will Buy This Town

Fifty miles east of downtown San Diego, 12 miles south of Interstate 8, Buckman Springs Road, approaching from the north, ends at State Route 94 as it turns east after a mile-long northward jog from Campo. This intersection is the center point of the unincorporated town of Cameron Corners which, at only 27 acres and less than 100 residents, strains the definition of the word "town." That may change, if development plans filed with the county come to fruition.

By Ernie Grimm, April 8, 2004 | Read full article

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