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Local News December 18th, 2008

Two Warrant Suspects Arrested, Guns Recovered During Search

On Wednesday, December 10, members of the Escondido Police Department's Special Investigations Unit (SIU), as well as members from the Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT) observed a felony warrant suspect, believed to be armed and dangerous, in the area of 1500 East Grand Ave. Units surrounded the subject's location and waited for him to exit. At about 1315 hours, George Licata, 30, of Escondido exited the location and entered a vehicle.. Officers surrounded the vehicle and took Licata into custody. Licata was arrested for an outstanding Felony Warrant on a Parole Violation, as well as the following charges:
Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Possession of Stolen Property
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Possession of Burglary Tools

Arrested with Licata, was 26-year-old, Sara Valenzuela. Valenzuela was arrested for an outstanding Felony Warrant.. Both suspects were transported to Vista Detention Facility.

George Licata
Sara Valenzuela

Vallecitos Water District ReOrganizes

Three incumbents - Margaret E. “Betty” Ferguson, Darrell Gentry, and Timothy Shell - were sworn in for new terms on the Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors. Running uncontested during general election this fall, they will continue to assist in setting District policy and direction through 2012.

Shortly after the Board meeting Board Directors voted to move forward with their annual reorganization. Unanimously, they elected to pass the gavel to Trish Hannan to serve as president and Margaret E. “Betty” Ferguson to serve as vice president for 2009.

Santa Has Come to North County

photoA good friend of Mr. Claus, Rex Hicks, has graciously offered his home as a place to sit down and rest for Santa and his helpers. He has even covered his home with Christmas lights and a cheery holiday atmosphere to entertain adults and children alike as they drive by and admire both the light show and a visit with Santa.

Santa also gives out gifts to the kiddies. Another good friend of Santa, John Smylie, a local attorney in San Marcos, has helped to pay for the gifts and the light bill by donating a substantial sum through the Smylie Foundation. Smylie sought support from the San Marcos Community Foundation but they declined to fund the effort. Smylie expressed both surprise and frustration at the denial as Santa is clearly a local production supported by Rex Hicks, a local citizen, and for the benefit of good boys and girls from San Marcos.

Rex Hicks’ house is located at 905 Wasatch Place in San Marcos, right across the street from Richland Elementary School. He, or his good friend, Santa, will be there every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 6pm to 8pm with lights a’blazin’ and plenty of Ho-Ho-Ho’s.

This is the 8th year that Mr. Hicks and his good friend, Santa, has presented this light show and visits from Santa. It will be the second year the Smylie Foundation has funded the presentation.

Escondido Auto Dealers To Give Away Bikes for Christmas

The late Bill Brecht

100 Escondido elementary and middle school children and the 13 automobile dealers in the Escondido Auto Park will come together this Saturday, December 20th, from 10am to noon, for the annual “Bike Giveaway” event in which the auto dealers will give away brand new bicycles and helmets to 100 deserving young people..

It all happens at Del Dios Mddle School, 1400 W. Ninth Ave., Escondido from 10am to noon. The late Bill Brecht, of Brecht BMW, was instrumental several years ago in organizing Escondido's auto dealers to raise money each year to buy bicycles to give to under-privileged and deserving elementary and middle school youth in Escondido who exhibit good citizenship and academic performance. Recipients are chosen by their school principals.

Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club of Escondido Welcomes New Member

Dave Geary, owner of Dave’s Computer Repair of Escondido, was recently inducted as a new member of the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club of Escondido.
From left to right: Past president Nick Ponce, Dave Geary, Past Lt. Governor and Past president, Evelyn Madison.

The Hidden Valley Club meets at 7:00 am every Tuesday at Cocina del Charro, 525 North Quince in Escondido. Membership in Kiwanis gives people the chance to become personally involved in making the community a better place to live. For more information, call 760.747.7119.

Ponce, Dave Geary, Past Lt. Governor and Past president, Evelyn Madison.

Power Plant Gets Qualified OK

The California Energy Commission staff gave a qualified OK to Carlsbad for a proposed power plant last week. The qualification had to do with a requirement that NRG West must address possible effects on air quality, views, and fish in Agua Hedionda Lagoon before the plant can be approved.

An official with NRG West, which proposes a 540-megawatt plant on the south shore of the lagoon just east of Interstate 5, said nothing in the report is a surprise; further the staff report showed the plant, which would be built on the grounds of the existing Encina Power Station, “can be permitted at the site and the three concerns they've targeted are solvable.”

However, the city of Carlsbad, opposes a second power plant so near the ocean. Officials there say the staff report points out problems that will grow as the project's application progresses.

The report – the equivalent of an environmental impact report – evaluates 17 technical areas and notes that the project complies with all “laws, ordinances, regulations and standards” on all but three issues.

The energy commission has authority to permit power plants, and the city can only comment on the application. NRG's project would consist of two 70-foot-high, gas-powered generating units, each with a 140-foot stack. The stacks would be sunk 40 feet, so they would tower 100 feet above the surroundings. The commission's staff will conduct a public workshop on Jan. 7 and 8 at the Sheraton Carlsbad and plans to issue its final report in March.

Sun Shines on Escondido JayCees and their Parade

The parade that almost never was had everything fall into place. Finally. First, the 57th Annual Escondido Jaycee Christmas Parade was threatened due to the city of Escondido requiring a $15,000 fee to cover security for the event. The cost was so far over budget, plans were in place to simply cancel the event altogether.

Then, riding to the rescue, the Rincon Indians donated the money to pull it off. As a result, last Saturday saw Santa, eight marching bands, 17 floats and many other visual spectacles went down Broadway in sunny, but chilly, weather.

Ultimately, an estimated 115 groups participated with several thousand spectators along the mile and a half route. The parade is Escondido's longest-running community event. This year’s event was particularly heartwarming to the Jaycees since last year’s parade had to be canceled due to rain. In spite of all the obstacles this year, the parade was deemed a success.

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