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North County Local News



Carlsbad Police Arrest Armed Robbery Suspects

On July 28th, at about 9pm, Carlsbad police officers responded to 2510 El Camino Real, a CVS Pharmacy, to investigate an armed robbery. The reporting party described the suspect as a male adult with a beard and mustache wearing sunglasses, suit jacket, and grey pants. The suspect handed the pharmacist a demand note and displayed a handgun in his waistband.

Officer Boyce and Corporal Lawton responded and set a perimeter. Officer Boyce saw a vehicle leaving the parking lot of 2510 El Camino Real. Officers followed the vehicle, a 1992 Honda, and saw that the passenger matched the description of the suspect. The officers conducted a high-risk felony stop on the vehicle in the parking lot of Kragen Auto Parts in Oceanside on Plaza Drive.

The officers transported the reporting parties to the Kragen Auto Parts parking lot and they positively identified suspect #1, 21 year-old Erick Gaskell, as the suspect who displayed the handgun. The officers also arrested the driver of the vehicle suspect #2, 30 year-old Peter Zastoke/Cleary.

The officers searched the suspects’ vehicle and recovered the handgun and a demand note. Gaskell and Zastoke/Cleary were booked into the Vista Detention Facility for conspiracy and attempted armed robbery.

CVS did not have a loss.

Fatal Injury Traffic Collision, Escondido

On July 31st, the Escondido Police Department received a call at 8:50 PM regarding a pedestrian involved in a traffic collision at Broadway and Park Avenue. A 55 year old female pedestrian was crossing Broadway and was struck by a vehicle. The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she died several hours later. There were no indications of any alcohol or drugs on the part of the driver, who had stopped and cooperated with investigators. According to her companion, the woman had been consuming alcohol prior to the incident. Anyone with information concerning the case should be directed to Officer Michael Guerrero, 760.839.4470.

Escondido Holds DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint

On July 31, 2010, the Escondido Police Department conducted a DUI Sobriety / Drivers License Checkpoint in the 3300 block of Bear Valley Parkway from 6:00 PM until 12:00 AM. The emphasis of this checkpoint was to detect intoxicated and unlicensed drivers as well as to provide a highly visible operation to deter driving under the influence.

The following activity resulted from this checkpoint:

• 2,964 vehicles entered the checkpoint

• 1,145 vehicles were screened in primary

• 51 vehicles sent to secondary (drivers who could not produce a drivers license or who were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs)

• 2 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 1 driver was arrested for possession of marijuana.

• 6 field sobriety tests were administered

• 17 vehicles were impounded at this checkpoint, 5 drivers did not have auto insurance, 8 drivers had a suspended drivers license and 8 drivers did not have a drivers license

• 24 citations were issued at this checkpoint

• 1 Child Restraint Seat was correctly reinstalled for parents

This checkpoint operated in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the North County Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Council.

Escondido Police Officer’s Association Announce Endorsements

The Escondido Police Officers Association has announced their endorsement of Jim Crone for Escondido City Council. The Association said they feel that Mr. Crone demonstrates a personal concern for all of Escondido’s residents, employees and visitors that will transfer over to make him a successful council member. Furthermore, his success in the Escondido business community as well as his vision for the future economic and social health of the city solidified the decision to back him in the November 2010 council race.

In addition to endorsing Mr. Crone for Escondido City Council, the EPOA has also endorsed Dick Daniels for Mayor of Escondido and Marie Waldron for Escondido City Council.

Community Service Day Transforms Grape Day Park To ‘Almost New’

Last Saturday, July 31st, from 7:30 AM - 11:30 AM, Grape Day Park got a facelift. The Escondido Rotary, Escondido East Rotary, Escondido Sunrise

Rotary, Escondido Kiwanis, and Hidden Valley Kiwanis service clubs together with the Palomar Pomerado Health Green Team came together to quickly improve the park.

Insert Photo: HVK Team.jpg

Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club

All three groups, in cooperation with the City, worked to improve the appearance and functionality of the park. Close to 100 volunteers painted park signs and the bathroom, planted water tolerant and low maintenance plants, repaired tables and benches, and built new tables and trash can holders, and split rail fencing.

The large number of volunteers made a strong impact in a short period of time.

Both Escondido Kiwanis Clubs, the “noon club” (Kiwanis Club of Escondido) and the “morning club” (Hidden Valley Kiwanis)

Later in the day, from 3-5pm, the Escondido Charitable Foundation provided hamburgers, hot dogs and sides for the Police Department to barbecue

and serve to all. The Escondido Children's Museum, the Escondido History Center and the Patio Playhouse provided entertainment and activities for all the children.

Hidden Valley Kiwanians almost done with split rail fence


A partial view of the finished split rail fence

The project was coordinated by Jack Campbell, longtime community supporter and activist, and member of Rotary.

Escondido East Rotary, tidying up Grape Day Park Signs


More photos of the Grape Day Community Service Project:

Escondido East Rotarians, al-r, Dan Sundquist, Katie Ragazzi, and Alex Galenes


Ed Gallo, foreground, paints a picnic table, while other Rotarians organize another project


Palomar Pomerado Health Green Team and Escondido Rotary, working together


Volunteers, en masse, from the two Escondido Kiwanis Clubs, the three Escondido Rotary Clubs, Palomar Pomerado Health and Mission Vida Nueva church, sent volunteers for the work portion. Patio Playhouse and the Escondido Children’s Museum entertained.

Wall of Remembrance Dedication at Escondido’s American Legion Post

In addition to Saturday’s Grape Day Park project, a lot of North County folks visited American Legion Post 149 in Escondido for the dedication of a “Wall of Remembrance.”

This project came about largely because of the efforts of 17-year-old Antonio Tejeda, who took on the challenge as part of his Eagle Scout project.

His dad is a member of the Post and when Antonio heard his dad and other members talking about the idea . . . he took it on as a challenge.

So, on Saturday, veterans, firefighters, politicians and families gathered for the wall's unveiling.

Tejeda had worked for months doing fundraising and recruiting not only volunteers but donations of materiel as well.

His Escondido's Boy Scout Troop 649 spent a lot of time volunteering at the post, and the post would often reward the Scouts by paying for camping trips and other events.

The wall was built by volunteers. Businesses that donated materials and time and community members and veterans came by to work, said Timothy Heck, judge advocate for the American Legion Post 149 and chairman of the wall committee.

So far, the wall features several large plaques to commemorate veterans who have fought in wars from World War I to Afghanistan and Iraq. A plaque to remember the firefighters and other victims of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is being planned.

There's room for about 1,000 tiles. For $100 a tile, anyone can contribute a piece of the memorial.

The American Legion Post 149 is located at 230 East Park Avenue, Escondido. For information, call (760) 745-1159

Hidden Valley Kiwanis and Operation Hero

“It must have been a slow news day,” joked Lyle Davis, editor and publisher of The Paper, and Founder and Chair of Operation Hero, the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Program that salutes Wounded Warriors.

He made the comment because all three television stations, NBC 7/39, KFMB, Channel 8, and KGTV10, had all arrived with cameras and reporters to cover the Operation Hero program.

“We’ve been doing this for two and half years,” said Davis, “and we’ve never had the media turn out like they did today. Our good friends from the North County Times were here as well.”

The event Tuesday morning honored Army Sergeant Carlos Hafenmartinez, who was wounded in Iraq only two months after having been deployed.

On February 08, 2008, 10 members of his squadron were returning to base camp from patrol in a Stryker vehicle, including Carlos who was riding in the back of the vehicle.

Assigned to check out activity on a road nearby, their vehicle was hit by a roadside IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Sadly, the impact of the blast killed four of the 10 soldiers. The driver was injured so severely that he is now paralyzed. The other five soldiers also survived, but suffered various injuries; Carlos was one of those soldiers and his injuries were severe. He suffered multiple fractures to his spine, left leg, right ankle, left hand and ribs. He also suffered a punctured lung.

Carlos has been receiving extensive therapy in San Diego for 2 ½ years. He had hoped to return to duty but his injuries were so severe he was unable to qualify for further military service.

At the close of the program, Andrew Lund, Military Affairs Specialist for Congressman Brian Bilbray, presented a check from the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club to Sergeant Hafenmartinez.

L-R, President Tim Cunning, Sgt. Carlos Hafenmartinez, and Lyle Davis,
Program Chair

Also honored on Tuesday was 17 year old Jillian Mullen, a Mission Hills High School student in San Marcos. Jillian was made an Honorary Member of the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club in recognition of her frequent attendance at meetings and consistent volunteering for service projects.

Jillian, her parents and grandparents

Jillian, her parents and grandparents all attended and received her name tag and Certificat of Honorary Membership.

“Overall,” said Davis, “I think it was a pretty good day, and a good day to end my tenure.”

Davis, who founded Operation Hero two and a half years ago and has acted as its Chair ever since, stepped down as of the close of Tuesday’s program. “We’re proud to be turning the program over to Tim Cunning, our President. He’ll make it bigger and better than ever. Unfortunately, we have a never ending list of military folks who need to be recognized. Tim will get it done.”

D’Agosta Calls for Term Limits in Escondido

Former Escondido City Council Member and current Mayoral candidate Tom D'Agosta is calling for Escondido’s Council Members to be subject to eight years in office. He argues that to do otherwise merely perpetuates an indivdual in office and he or she becomes ‘stagnant,’ gets too involved with special interest groups, and tends to vote in their favor rather than what is good for the community.

“Hogwash,” says Mayor Pro-Tem Dick Daniels. “Challengers have defeated incumbents several times. Tom is well aware of this as he lost to a challenger, Sam Abed, when Tom was an incumbent. Ed Gallo lost to a challenger, Olga Diaz, Ed was an incumbent.”

D'Agosta served on the council from 2000 to 2004 before being narrowly defeated by Sam Abed.

He has at least one supporter on the current Council, Olga Diaz. If D'Agosta is elected mayor on Nov. 2, he and Diaz, would need one more vote among the five-member panel to place term limits on a future election ballot.

Without a third vote they would have the option of starting a petition drive that could also put term limits on the ballot, a petition drive that has already failed once in 2008 due to a lack of sufficient signatures.

State voters adopted term limits for governor, Senate and Assembly in 1990, and San Diego County voters approved term limits for the Board of Supervisors in June. The question is, would that same voter sentiment translate itself to city elections?

Abed said D'Agosta is using this a political ploy to break up the "pro-business" majority that has dominated the council for the last decade.

Daniels said term limits have been a failure in state politics and often deprive voters of quality representatives who possess crucial institutional knowledge.

Pfeiler and Waldron have said they both oppose term limits.

"Our voters are well-informed, so it should be their decision whether to keep people in office," said Abed. "When voters here are unhappy with an incumbent, they vote them out."

Diaz said the best argument for term limits is the need for new ideas and fresh perspective in City Hall.

More Hospital District Woes:

Tri-City reports nearly $10.5 million loss for June

Tri-City Healthcare District has announced a nearly $10.5 million loss for June and an $18.5 million loss for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The district also said there are more than 17,000 unpaid debts dating to 2004, all of which have been recently sent to legal services. The district’s cash reserves, officials say, are at $75 million. Administrators recently announced the district would cut 93 positions, saving about $6 million in wages and benefits. Tri-City CEO Larry Anderson said the district was making progress.

The Tri-City Health District has faced mounting financial troubles over the past several years. Competition from nearby Scripps Health and Palomar Pomerado Health has pulled tens of thousands of patients away from Tri-City. The district lost 60,000 patients in 2008 when Sharp Mission Park medical group merged with Scripps.

Anderson said that although the district posted an $18 million dollar loss on the year, $12.4 million was “directly related to decisions made by the previous administration.”

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