Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar has reported an increase in trespassing and is quite concerned for those who disregard the warning signs. The grounds are littered with old unexploded ordnance for many square miles. When they started cleaning the area off State Route 52 and Santo Road in Tierrasanta in preparation for building military housing, the process turned out to be far more complicated than expected due to explosives detected under many feet of earth. From the time the area was first used as a testing ground to current times, fires, explosions, rainfall, and drifting sand and dirt have buried the remains of many years of unexploded material.
Almost daily, trespassers are asked to leave some part of land owned by MCAS Miramar. This has not been adequate warning because there are many repeat individuals. Ignoring the warning signs has led to some very serious situations--for example, cars getting stuck in mud. After being charged for towing, the occupants were summoned to appear before the federal magistrate and explain their disregard for the safety of themselves and our military, and the total disregard for the law. The magistrate has the ability to fine offenders up to $10,000.
It may seem like a minor breach to take a morning stroll along the paths on or near the perimeter of Miramar land, but it is not safe nor is it legal. Please be a good neighbor and obey the signs and boundaries of the base.
The Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council (SRFSC) is working to provide neighborhoods next to dense, volatile vegetation with surrounding zones of reduced fire fuel. These open areas are called Zone 2 in the city's Brush Abatement Code and are intended to reduce the destructive power of approaching wildfires. Typically, they extend beyond Zone 1, the landscaped yards, outward to 100 feet from homes. Together, Zone 1 and Zone 2 constitute the "firebreaks" addressed by the code.
Are these firebreaks effective? Yes. They are essential to saving neighborhoods from a wildfire's wall of flame. But there is another danger that must also be addressed by residents. That is the protection of their homes, which we are calling Zone Zero, from being ignited by windblown showers of flying embers.
These firebrands can set spot fires a mile or more in advance of the wall of flames. They find their way onto flammable decks and fences, wood shingled siding and roofs, open eaves and attics, and through vents or open bird stops. By leapfrogging into a neighborhood on a hot, dry, wind--even a neighborhood protected by a good firebreak--embers can ignite a single unprepared home and the entire neighborhood is endangered.
Look around. You will see wood roofs, shingle siding, debris-filled gutters, and open vents. Wooden decks, patio covers, and wood fences attached to structures act as fuses to homes. Once a home is ignited, the domino effect can destroy many adjacent homes. It takes more than a firebreak to protect urban communities such as Scripps Ranch.
There are many good sources for homeowners to learn about "Zone Zero" fire safety. One of the best is a study by the Institute for Business and Home Safety that can be found on the website [www.disastersafety.org/megafire]. It includes an excellent video and a comprehensive manual with a Wildfire Home Assessment checklist and Retrofit Guide. It is strongly recommended. To reach the SRFSC, call 945-6303 or email [[email protected]].
The County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services (OES) is sponsoring a Wildfire Public Awareness Campaign that began in August and runs until Friday, Oct. 31. The campaign is one element of a three-part plan to improve the region's ability to respond to wildfires.
One of the main goals of the campaign is mobilizing residents to ensure that their families and properties are prepared for a wildfire. One crucial step that can enhance overall preparedness is registering for the county's award winning mass notification system, AlertSanDiego.
During the wildfires of 2007, AlertSanDiego notified nearly 175,000 residents through their landline phones, registered cell phones, registered Voiceover IP home phones, and registered email accounts. With this new system, residents of San Diego County can be notified wherever they may be, not just in their home. To be notified, residents must register their numbers and emails at [www.ReadySanDiego.org].
Registering is simple. Go to the website and click on the AlertSanDiego icon. Up to five cell phones may be registered per household. Once the information is submitted, the number and email will be notified only in the event of a major emergency. This information is not shared with anyone.
- A Farewell Celebration
- Thursday, Sept. 18
- 5:30-7:30 pm.
- The Rancho Bernardo Winery
- 13330 Paseo Del Verano North
- San Diego, CA 92128
Please join the communities of Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs, and San Pasqual for refreshments to celebrate eight great years! For questions, call Lance Witmondt at 619-236-6655.
If your neighborhood was not on our list to receive a crime prevention flyer, I could email you one. Drop me a note at [[email protected]].
You may have noticed increased traffic enforcement at intersections around Scripps Ranch. Please send me an email at [[email protected]] if you have a location you feel needs our attention. For speed complaints, file those through our Traffic Division, as most of our patrol officers are not radar trained.
For most of the last two years, the topics I have covered in these articles have been serious in nature. I thought it would be nice to provide some levity while still providing insight into what police officers do. My friends and family still ask me to tell stories that have happened to me, so here is one of my favorites.
About eight years ago, my partner Steve and I were working in Ocean Beach on the second watch--2 pm until midnight. As soon as we logged onto the car computer, the dispatcher sent us to a burglary report at a small business in Ocean Beach. The call had been holding most of the day. When we arrived, Steve told me to wait in the car while he met with the victim and collected information for the report. About 10 minutes later, he returned and said the crime had taken place overnight and that the loss was a cash register and its contents.
Steve was one of those people who never got car sick. No matter how I was driving he could type our reports on the car computer--besides the fact that he was a terrible driver, this was the other reason I drove every day. So as I was driving toward the Sports Arena area to stop by some problem motels, Steve started typing. As we crossed over Nimitz Boulevard on West Point Loma Boulevard, I noticed a vehicle with an equipment violation. I stopped the vehicle and told Steve to keep typing while I "scratched a coupon"--wrote a citation.
The female driver was on probation for theft. I had her step out of the vehicle so I could search it. At this point I had to interrupt Steve's typing so he could watch the female. Can anyone guess what I found in the trunk of the vehicle? Yep: the cash register from the burglary call we had just left. Unbelievable. We had no information about this female or her car, and the crime itself was hours old. It was just a "shot in the dark."
September's Symphony in the Park concert on is on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 6 pm at Hoyt Park. It features one of our favorite bands, Rockola, with classic rock. If you bring chairs, please use low-back ones to allow everyone to see the action!
On Sunday, Sept. 7, at 12:30 pm Bishop Robert Brom will preside over the groundbreaking for St. Gregory the Great Catholic School. Immediately following the short ceremony will be a celebration to mark this momentous occasion. Both events will take place at the site of the school in StoneBridge Estates next to the neighborhood park, and both events are open to the public.
Maeve O'Connell recently was hired as the school's principal. She has many years of experience including, most recently, the position of vice principal at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Mira Mesa. Applications are being accepted for enrollment for the fall of 2009 and are available on the St. Gregory website at [www.saintgregorythegreat.org]. Mrs. O'Connell can be reached at 653-3589.
The school is part of a master plan for a Catholic Community Center, which is scheduled to be built in phases. The first phase, scheduled to begin this fall, will include a nine classroom building and the site infrastructure, including parking lots and a basketball court. In a second phase an administration and parish library building will be added. Future phases will include a chapel and a multipurpose building. Housed within the multipurpose building will be a gymnasium, a full commercial kitchen, and an area for seniors and teens.
Imagine a world where you had an entire phone book filled with babysitter contacts. What would you do? Workout. See friends. Date night. Errands. Visit a coffee shop with a good book. This kind of flexibility could change your life.
Introducing Sitter Socials! A hot new service connecting parents to sitters in two ways. First, Sitter Socials events are held at local boutiques where parents socialize, shop, and "speed meet" sitters. Plus they receive the Sitter Sourcebook loaded with babysitters' bios, resumes, and phone numbers. Second, after the event parents are given access to the online database of even more sitters.
Scripps Ranch resident Victoria Muschek, the brainchild behind Sitter Socials and mother of three, founded the company to give parents more balance in their lives. Sitter Socials events are coming soon to Scripps Ranch! For information or to register for a local event, visit [www.sittersocials.com].