La Mesa Police shoot Ocean Beach murder suspect
A man witnessed by his brother fleeing an Ocean Beach home, in which the body of his mother was found early on May 1, was wounded and arrested in an officer-involved shooting the following day.
The suspect, identified by police as Daniel Chase McKibben, 36, had allegedly been trespassing at a La Mesa home near Lake Murray. McKibben was taken to a local hospital where he was held in custody.
The body found in the Ocean Beach home has since been identified as Heidi Green, 59, of Los Angeles County.
McKibben is considered a suspect in the Ocean Beach homicide that prompted two separate Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) responses to a home in the 5000 block of Niagara Avenue near the Ocean Beach Pier. The SWAT unit evacuated residences near Green’s home, and shut down a nearby intersection, in an unsuccessful search for the suspect.
McKibben’s brother had been checking on the welfare of his mother, whom he had been unable to contact, when he saw his brother running away from her home, police said. The brother then forced entry into the garage and discovered the body.
Police were told McKibben shared the house with his mother.
The incident began when the SDPD received a call about 1 a.m. on May 1 asking them for a welfare check at the Niagara Avenue home. The caller told police a family member had received a message from his mother, which caused them to be concerned, SDPD Lt. Matthew Dobbs said.
McKibben allegedly was armed with a knife when he refused to leave another home a day later on May 2 in the 7900 block of Rainey Street in La Mesa shortly before 9:30 a.m. He was shot by a police officer and wounded twice, in the hand and shoulder, during an armed confrontation, said La Mesa Police Lt. Brian Stoney. The suspect was subsequently admitted to a local hospital in stable condition and is expected to survive. The homeowner was not injured.
It is uncertain if or how McKibben is connected to the family in La Mesa whose home he was allegedly trespassing in.
McKibben was later identified as a suspect in the slaying of his mother found dead in her home the previous day.
The public is being asked to avoid the area while La Mesa police continue their investigation.
Lake Murray Fireworks & MusicFest seeks neighborhood support
It’s crunch time for the 2019 Lake Murray Fireworks & MusicFest. The annual July Fourth event that brings food, music, patriotic fireworks and family fun to Lake Murray Community Park is closing in on its fundraising deadline with about $30,000 of the $85,000 goal raised at press time.
“We have enough funds raised to hold the music festival and fireworks this year, but the quality of the show is largely dependent on the budget,” said event chair Tracy Dahlkamp. “We also have to think ahead to next year’s fireworks and music festival and whether it’s feasible if this year’s goal isn’t met. This event is entirely community driven and funded, for the benefit of all our neighbors.”
Recently, the fireworks event also got a small bump from the city with $5,000 from the City of San Diego parks budget.
Funds raised through business sponsors and individual donations cover the expense of fireworks, city permits, insurance, emergency personnel, portable toilets and sinks, entertainment, and lighting and stage components. Stormberg Orthodontics is the title sponsor. Neighbors are asked to make a suggested donation of $50 per household.
The 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. music festival draws a rotating crowd of an estimated 3,000 people, while the 9 p.m. fireworks show can be seen by an estimated 100,000 people throughout La Mesa and San Diego’s Navajo neighborhoods of Grantville, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, and San Carlos.
The top-40 dance hits ensemble Republic of Music will headline the 2019 Lake Murray Fireworks & MusicFest, with acts throughout the day including Frankie T & The Triple Bee, Big Time Operator and Bam Bam.
Food vendors for the 2019 event include Finest City Kettle Corn, Primos Mexican Food, Windmill Farms, Rita’s Italian Ice, Doggos Gus, Dang Brother Pizza, and Corbin’s Q barbecue. The day’s festivities also include games for the kids.
La Mesa meth problem revealed in report
An NBC 7 segment that aired on May 7 highlighted a problem in La Mesa — methamphetamines.
According to the NBC 7 report, between the years 1997 and 2018, La Mesa had the second highest number of meth-related deaths — 21 — in San Diego County. San Diego had the highest number of deaths with 1,027 but La Mesa had the highest frequency of deaths. According to the report, 3.6 deaths per 1,000 people can be partially or entirely caused by methamphetamine abuse.
On April 30, SDG&E held its annual Energy Showcase where it honored the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) the utility company’s 2019 Energy Champion award for outstanding results in energy efficiency, sustainability and conservation. GUHSD was lauded for its continued commitment to implementing innovative technologies and smart solutions that help cut costs and protect the planet. SDG&E also credited GUHSD for being a “pioneer” in energy conservation and sustainability.
In the five years since the GUHSD launched efforts to reduce the consumption of energy and water at its 12 high schools and adult school facilities, the district has cut electricity and gas utility costs by nearly $2 million annually, and is on track to save more than $70 million over the next 25 years.
“Utility costs are generally the second-largest budget item after employee salaries. By reducing the energy use of our buildings, employing innovative technologies to help us be better stewards of our natural resources, and improving how we as employees can help conserve energy, we can effectively improve those bottom-line costs,” GUHSD Superintendent Dr. Tim Glover said. “By reducing utility and building management costs, we are able to direct more financial resources to instruction and the classroom.”
Before beginning its utility saving measures, the annual district-wide utility costs in 2014-2015 topped $5.8 million, including $4.6 million in electrical costs, just under $1 million for water and sewer costs, and more than $250,000 in gas costs. Due to the combined conservation efforts and utility cost-saving strategies, the projected cost for this fiscal year is approximately $3.5 million, a nearly 40% reduction.
The energy initiatives include photovoltaic installations, lighting retrofits, energy storage batteries to offset peak demand, and the consolidation of utility meters, and are funded through Prop 39, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) that enable third-party providers to leverage and pass along savings from rebates and other incentives that the district itself cannot directly take advantage of as a public agency.
Collectively, the campuses in the Grossmont district now generate 20 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year.
Local restaurants lend a ‘Day of Giving’
San Diego Humane Society’s (SDHS) fourth annual Day of Giving, one of SDHS’s largest fundraising events, will be held on Thursday, June 27.
Thanks to $150,000 in matching gifts, all donations made for Day of Giving up to that amount will be doubled. SDHS’s three campuses will host kids’ activities and animal encounters throughout the day, offer free microchips and waive adoption fees for all animals.
Also, local businesses are showing their support by donating a percentage of sales.
Anthony’s Fish Grotto, a premier seafood restaurant in La Mesa, has pledged to give 5% of all proceeds on Thursday, June 27. The family-owned and -operated DiMille’s Italian Restaurant in Normal Heights is a proud supporter of Day of Giving and has pledged to donate 20%. And Corbin’s Q, a local barbecue shop near SDSU that serves the communities of Rolando, Del Cerro and La Mesa, will donate 10% of all proceeds. All three restaurants are frequented by dog owners because of their pet-friendly patio areas.
The Day of Giving event has a goal of raising $500,000 for SDHS programs and shelters.
Businesses interested in supporting Day of Giving should contact Bobbie Barnes at email@example.com. Also, the sddayofgiving.org website features heartwarming stories of animals saved with community support.
Local students win new laptops
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) recognized the 40 winners of the annual MTS and Coca-Cola Laptop Scholarship Contest in a ceremony at the 12th & Imperial Transit Center on Friday, May 10. MTS had students from 70 different high schools enter the contest. Local winners included two students from Helix Charter High School — Olivia Root and Nicholas Lam; and one student from Grossmont High School — Cherish Clarkson.
The top 40 scoring students came from 27 different campuses and were awarded a 15.6-inch HP Touch-Screen laptop and a North Face laptop backpack. Students in grades nine-12 were required to submit an essay about lowering the cost of student transit passes and how this can help increase ridership. MTS also asked students to provide strategies for how MTS can encourage more students to ride.
“It was great that winners came from so many campuses. Their essays presented convincing ideas. Students were required to think critically about the way public transit shapes our communities,” said Paul Jablonski, MTS chief executive officer in a press release. “We appreciate the partnership with Coca-Cola and the San Diego County Office of Education in making this contest a success. It’s a great learning experience for the students.”
The laptop scholarship contest is a long-standing event partnership between MTS, Coca-Cola Refreshments of San Diego, and the San Diego County Office of Education. To be eligible to win, students had to be San Diego County residents and enrolled in a San Diego County high school.
County moves to add $25 million to affordable housing fund
On April 30, County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox proposed doubling a trust fund that is being used to create more affordable housing in the region.
They recommended adding an additional $25 million to the Innovative Housing Trust Fund program. The board launched the fund in 2017 with an initial infusion of $25 million to encourage developers to build housing for low-income seniors, families, veterans and others who may be homeless or those close to becoming homeless.
So far, an initial $12 million investment has helped finance six projects totaling $177 million and 453 units. County staff is reviewing applications for the remaining $13 million and those projects are expected to come before the board this summer.
“It’s time to double down on this innovative initiative by doubling the fund,” said board chair Jacob in a press release. “We’re putting out an even bigger welcome mat to developers and saying, let’s do business. And we’re telling families, your fight for affordable housing is our fight, too.”
The public-private partnership was created because of the huge need for affordable housing. The fund is part of a growing list of county initiatives aimed at addressing housing in our region. Other recent measures include fee waivers to cut the cost of building granny flats and other accessory dwelling units.
In addition to expanding the fund, recommendations to the board included broadening criteria for allowing funds to be allocated for transitional housing programs and including a preference for affordable housing projects within the unincorporated areas of the county.
“We appreciate the ongoing investment that the county is making through the Innovative Housing Trust Fund,” said Stephen Russell, executive director with the San Diego Housing Federation. “Working with the county, our sector has been able to leverage the past funding several times over in our efforts to address the housing crisis for the most vulnerable of our community members, and we look forward to doing the same with the new allocation of funds.”
Creek to Bay Cleanup draws thousands of volunteers
On April 27, I Love A Clean San Diego’s (ILACSD) 17th annual Creek to Bay Cleanup drew an estimated 6,000 volunteers to give back for Earth Day at 117 cleanup sites around San Diego County. Volunteers — including residents, corporate groups, and civic organizations —transformed their appreciation for San Diego’s environment into action during the three-hour cleanup. Volunteers enhanced the overall health and beauty of San Diego’s natural environment by removing more than 120,000 pounds of trash and debris from San Diego County.
Among the debris, there were several notable odd items collected during the cleanup including: electronic bidet attachment, gray wig, Darth Vader mask, deteriorating sleeping bag with weeds growing through it, and a metal bird cage shaped like a castle.
Volunteers also restored the local environment through beautification projects such as painting park structures, planting native plants and trees, mulching, and weeding. Thanks to thousands of volunteers, 117 parks, beaches and community spaces received special care to keep the area healthy and beautiful for the community.
Creek to Bay was an opportunity for the community to go green in more ways than one. With a push toward zero-waste practices, ILACSD encouraged all youth and adult volunteers to be more sustainable by choosing to bring at least one reusable item for the cleanup like a water bottle, work bucket, or gloves.
Creek to Bay is one of two annual countywide cleanups hosted by I Love A Clean San Diego that engages thousands of local families, community groups, and local businesses. Beyond countywide events, ILACSD continues to empower volunteers at hundreds of cleanups targeting specific neighborhoods, parks, and open spaces on an ongoing basis throughout the year. In 2018, ILACSD mobilized more than 34,000 volunteers who removed half a million pounds of debris from San Diego County. For more information about upcoming cleanups, workshops, or zero-waste tips, please visit CleanSD.org.