New La Mesa restaurant nominated for award
Nominations for the 43rd annual San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchids & Onions awards wrapped up on July 6 and one of La Mesa Village’s new restaurants got a nod.
Surf Rider Pizza Co., located at 8381 La Mesa Blvd., received an Orchid nomination for architecture. Orchid awards for architecture are given to new building projects with pleasing and innovative architecture. Onion awards, on the other hand, are given to poor designs.
Now that the new Surf Rider Pizza Co. restaurant has been nominated, a group of design professionals will determine the official Orchids & Onions based upon the submissions.
Between Aug. 1 to Aug. 31, interested people can get involved by voting online for the People’s Choice Award. The annual Orchids & Onions program gives the community an opportunity to have a say in the planning, growth and future development of San Diego.
The community-based program culminates with the 43rd annual Orchids & Onions Awards Ceremony at the historic US Grant Hotel on Oct. 3.
For more information or to vote for People’s Choice awards, visit orchidsandonions.org.
County looks to refund unclaimed money
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister: refund season! The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office (TTC) is trying to reunite $703,000 in county refunds with its rightful owners. See if your name is on the list at sdttc.com.
The TTC has 1,928 refunds broken into two lists – countywide unclaimed money and unclaimed property tax refunds.
If you are owed money, follow the instructions on our website to file a refund claim by Sept. 6, before the money is rolled into the county’s general fund. You can email your claim to email@example.com.
“In the past, sadly, most refunds were never claimed,” said McAllister, “so we’re trying a new strategy to let people know about this money. For the first time, we’re mailing 2,407 postcards to people who may be owed a refund, encouraging them to file a claim through our website.”
While at sdttc.com, anyone can sign up to receive emails when new unclaimed money lists are posted.
Every year, the TTC makes a strong effort to reunite San Diegans with money they have overpaid on taxes or fees. In the past five years, the TTC has refunded nearly $480,000.
Current state law says countywide money that is unclaimed for three years and property tax refunds that are unclaimed for four years must be turned over to the county’s general fund. This year, the TTC has unclaimed refunds totaling $703,000. Unclaimed property tax refunds make up $290,000 of that amount, and $413,000 is from other county departments.
The smallest refund amount available is $10, and the largest refund amount is $14,333.79, owed to the heirs of Mary Stone.
Agencies agree on water purification funding
On July 11, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program progressed closer to completion with the program’s partner agencies — Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the city of El Cajon, Helix Water District and the County of San Diego — approving an interim funding agreement (IFA). The IFA will ensure that the program can move forward with funding for the next year. The IFA states each agency will commit $2.35 million ($9.4 million total) toward the program that aims to create a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify East San Diego County’s recycled water.
Once complete, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program will generate up to 11.5 million gallons per day of new drinking water, which is approximately 30% of current drinking water demands for residents in the Padre Dam and Helix service areas. Four advanced water purification steps will produce water that is near-distilled in quality. The purified water will then be blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed as drinking water.
Next steps for the project include forming a Joint Powers Authority between Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the city of El Cajon and the County of San Diego to serve as the governing body for the program. An industry day is being planned for mid-August to provide notice to prospective designers and contractors on the initiation of a selection process for the progressive design-build packages that will begin posting in fall 2019. Partner agencies also continue to pursue grant and loan opportunities to help fund the estimated $528 million project.
The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is expected to begin producing water in 2025. In addition to providing a new local water supply, the program also will eliminate the need to send most of the wastewater generated from East County to the city of San Diego’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it is currently treated and then discharged into the ocean.
Red Cross issues urgent call for blood donors
Following a difficult Fourth of July week for blood and platelet donations and ongoing challenges finding new blood donors, the American Red Cross now faces a blood shortage and has issued an emergency call for eligible individuals of all blood types to give now and prevent delays in medical care.
About 450 fewer blood drives were organized by businesses and other community groups during the first week of July than during a typical week as people across the country celebrated the holiday with activities and travel. This led to about 17,000 fewer blood donations than needed for patients in a single week.
“Medical emergencies and critical treatments don’t stop for holiday celebrations. Patients depend on lifesaving blood transfusions every day,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president of Red Cross Blood Services, in a press release. “Right now, the Red Cross only has less than a three-day supply when we need a five-day supply to be prepared for all situations that require blood products. To help meet this need, we’ve added about 8,000 additional appointments at blood donation centers and community blood drives over the next few weeks to accommodate more donors. But we need people to fill those appointments, please join us today.”
La Mesa blood drives include:
- July 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive
- July 27, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Souplantation, 9158 Fletcher Parkway
- July 30, 2-7 p.m. at Grossmont Hospital, 5555 Grossmont Center Drive
In June, the Red Cross launched the Missing Types campaign to encourage donors — especially new donors and those who have not donated in the past years — to give blood or platelets during the challenging summer months. Through the campaign, the letters A, B and O — letters that make up the main blood groups — disappeared from popular brands to symbolize what happens when blood goes missing from hospital shelves during blood shortages.
Despite an encouraging response to the campaign, blood donations still fell short of expectations in June, resulting in more than 24,000 fewer donations than needed; about 1,900 fewer here in the Southern California Blood Services Region; and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply.
“Blood is only available when generous blood and platelet donors roll up a sleeve to give, and right now, all donors — especially those who have never given or haven’t given in a while — are urged to make an appointment to give today,” Numark added.
For a complete list of blood drives, visit RedCrossBlood.org.
County to hold community choice energy forums
The public can give input on whether the county should buy and sell electricity during four informational forums set for coming weeks.
A program called community choice aggregation would allow the county to buy, and/or generate, and sell electricity to residents and business, providing another choice to consumers who currently must use San Diego Gas & Electric.
Using a similar program called Direct Access, the county buys electricity and natural gas for its own facilities on the open market instead of directly from SDG&E. During the last three years, the direct access program has saved the county an average of about $3 million a year.
County supervisors are looking into whether the county should provide community choice energy to residents in the unincorporated areas, including the unincorporated areas of La Mesa.
Community Choice Energy Forums:
- 6 p.m., Monday, July 29 – Bonita Sunnyside Library, 4375 Bonita Road, Bonita 91902.
- 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 30 – Lakeside Community Center, 9841 Vine St., Lakeside 92040.
- 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 31 – Bonsall Community Center, 31505 Old River Road, Bonsall 92003.
- 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 6 – 4S Ranch Library, 10433 Reserve Drive, San Diego 92127.
Covered California has record low rate change
Following up on the announcement that the average rate change for California’s individual market will be 0.8 percent in 2020, which is the lowest premium increase since 2014, Covered California released regional rate data on July 19. Many regions across the state will see little to no change in their underlying rates (such as West Los Angeles, San Diego County and the Inland Empire), others will see an average rate decrease (such as parts of northern counties and parts of the Central Valley), and some will see modest increases (such as parts of the Bay Area and the Central Coast).
“Even before considering the positive impact of new state subsidies, many Californians will be seeing little change or even decreases in their underlying premiums,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.
In addition, Covered California also released data on the statewide and regional average additional amounts that consumers would be able to save on their premiums if they shop around for the best deal. The average rate change for consumers who shop and switch to the lowest-cost plan in the same metal tier is -9.0 percent, which means that many Californians’ premiums will be even lower than their current premiums while maintaining the same level of benefits.
Consumers in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Santa Clara counties, as well as the Inland Empire, could see average rate reductions of over 10% if they shop and switch.
The average rate changes and savings from shopping and switching do not reflect the additional savings available from the new state subsidies that an estimated 922,000 consumers will be eligible to receive, which will also lower the cost of coverage.
The consumers who are projected to benefit from the new state subsidies are:
An estimated 23,000 Covered California enrollees whose annual household income falls below 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL), which is less than $17,237 for an individual and $35,535 for a family of four. They will see their premiums for the benchmark plan lowered to $1 per member, per month.
An estimated 663,000 Covered California enrollees who currently receive federal financial help. They will be eligible to receive an average of an additional $15 per household, per month, which will help them save an average of 5% on their current premiums.
An estimated 235,000 middle-income Californians who previously did not qualify for financial help because they exceeded federal income requirements. They will be eligible to receive an average of $172 per household, per month, which will help them save an average of 23% off their current premiums. Many of these consumers, particularly those who live in high-cost regions, will see significant savings with annual reductions in their health care premiums in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
City accepting applications for Youth Advisory Commission
Do you want to help plan the activities for the youth in La Mesa? Applications are being accepted for several openings on the City’s Youth Advisory Commission. Applicants must live within the city limits of La Mesa and be at least 13 years old, but not more than 20 years old, at the time of appointment.
Participating on the commission is a way for young people in middle and high school to work with their peers to explore and develop activities that promote positive youth relations in the city and gain volunteer experience that can be applied towards community service hours. Being a commission member also looks great on college and job applications. Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 4:30 p.m. in the Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa.
Applications must be returned to the City Clerk’s office no later than 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, to be considered in the Sept. 24 interview process. Applications may be obtained from the city’s website, cityoflamesa.us, or at La Mesa City Hall, 8130 Allison Ave., La Mesa, during normal business hours. Further information can be obtained from the Office of the City Clerk, 619-667-1120.