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Stories written by maureenrobertson

It is time for Ramona to pass a school bond

In a historic vote last month, the Ramona school board unanimously agreed to place a school improvement measure on the November 2014 ballot. If approved by voters this fall, the school bond will pay off a large district loan and support much-needed school repairs and renovations at every one of our 10 schools.

Working very hard to get this one right, the board has spent incredible energy listening to the community to create a smaller, more focused, and more transparent measure for voter consideration. Smaller than the bond effort in 2012, this new ballot measure would provide the district a maximum of $40 million with a tax rate of only $39 for every $100,000 of assessed value (not market value). For the typical homeowner in Ramona, this bond measure would cost each household approximately $120 per year (or $10 per month). The bond effort two years ago was nearly 50 percent larger.

From the bond revenue, the lion’s share of the proceeds will pay off the district loan originated in 2004 of approximately $32 million. The original loan to the district came in the form of Certificates of Participation (COP), built both Hanson Elementary School and Ramona Community School and improved Olive Peirce Middle School and Ramona High School. Since developer fees have dried up during the Great Recession, the district now needs relief from this heavy burden to our general fund.

The remaining portion of the bond will allocate $8 million towards much needed renovation to our aging facilities. The bond proposition (posted online) contains a specific project list for each school site, including support for roofing, plumbing, playground areas, heating and air conditioning, electrical, fencing, irrigation, asphalt, and more energy efficient lighting and windows. When the state approves another construction bond (perhaps this fall), our schools will also qualify for $12 million in matching funds — but only if we pass our local school bond first.

The board has also authorized staff to begin the process for appointing a Citizen’s Oversight Committee. This group of local residents will have the task of ensuring that every dollar raised from bond proceeds will go towards the projects listed in the actual ballot measure — and not for any other purpose.

Ramona chamber’s Last Wednesday series continues with goal-setting expert


Ramona Chamber of Commerce’s Last Wednesday Workshop education series continues on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 7:30 a.m. in the Ramona Library Community Room with a lecture by well-known business coach Cindi Britton. Dr. Britton, who has an Ed.D in education and is a former head administrator from the Cajon Valley school system, will lead a [...]

“Sin City’ and ‘If I Stay’ open Aug. 22


Box Office Leaders Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles PG13 Shredder and the evil Foot Clan have taken over NYC but will be battled by the infamous ninja turtles. Guardians of the Galaxy PG13 A mysterious orb that holds the fate of the cosmos is stolen, and now it must be protected from the evil Ronan. The [...]

Estates offers free sandbags, sand to association homeowners

golf course with morning light.WEB

With the threat of rain today, San Diego Country Estates Association is offering free sandbags and sane to Estates homeowners.
Sandbangs are at the clubhouse, 24157 San Vicente Road, and sand is available at the Recreation Center, 25386 Pappas Road.

Marine with Ramona ties suffers severe injuries in IED explosion

Brandon Dodson.1917913_1407846765.254.FEATIRE

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Brandon Dodson is in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center recovering from severe injuries he suffered this month in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in Afghanistan.

On Aug. 9, Dodson was on a combat foot patrol as an infantry squad leader with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in Helmand Province when an IED detonated, taking off his legs, fracturing his pelvis and causing other injuries including a broken tailbone and broken right hand, former Marine Dave Smith reports in his “Task & Purpose: Unsung Hero” tribute online at

Desert crash sends adult, infant to hospitals

An adult and an infant were flown by medical helicopters to a hospital today as a one-vehicle crash closed state Route 78 in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

The crash was on Route 78 about a mile west of Borrego Springs Road, and it was first reported about 11:45 a.m. today, according to a CHP dispatcher.

Ramona Soccer League to kick off 35th season with Opening Ceremonies


Ramona Soccer League will start its 35th season of fall soccer with a party called Opening Ceremonies at the soccer fields on Friday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m.
“Not only will the teams show off their uniforms for the first time, but there will be plenty of activities and food to keep the whole family entertained,” said league parent David Williams.
Food will be available to buy as all the Intra players man booths to raise money for their respective teams. The league will also be selling nachos, popcorn, carne asada and more.
“We’ll even have the Kona Ice truck on hand to beat the heat,” commented Williams.
For the silent auction, each team has put together a basket of goodies for bidding. Among the prospective deals is a $1,000 family picture package.
More information about the league is at

No more endorsements

Once upon a time, before absentee balloting became the preferred way for voters to express their candidate preferences, newspaper publishers and editors would spend considerable time and energy on offering ballot recommendations to their readers.
That tradition dates back to days long before the Internet, when most of the information gained by voters about those seeking pubic office would be found in printed media. The thinking behind making newspaper endorsements went something like, “We have been covering the campaigns and the issues, we have met in person with the candidates, and we’d like to offer our considered opinions as to who should be elected.” The endorsements typically were printed a week or so before Election Day.
That was then, this is now. The practice of good citizens waiting until Election Day to cast the ballots has changed. Now a majority of all ballots cast in San Diego County are done through the mail. Of ballots cast in the low-turnout June primary, 73 percent were by absentee. The November 2012 election saw 56 percent of the voting done by mail.
Absentee ballots are mailed 29 days before Election Day. For our endorsements to have any relevance, they would have to be printed four weeks before Election Day. That, in our opinion, is much too early. A lot can happen during those four weeks. Candidates can (and do) stumble.
Early endorsements might also open us up to allegations that coverage of an endorsed candidate might be “slanted” toward his or her election success. That would never happen here, but perception is seldom influenced by facts.
For these reasons, we have decided to no longer endorse candidates for political office. It is the end of a long tradition here, but one that needs to be ended.
We encourage our readers to do their own research on candidates running for office. Read us for profiles on local candidates and coverage of public candidate forums. Study our reports on how their campaigns are financed. Be skeptical of all campaign literature. Dig a little deeper. Be informed, and cast an intelligent ballot.

Complex receives Crime Free Multi-Housing certification

CFMH Mont village    2.FEATURE

Lt. Hank Turner, left, from the sheriff’s Ramona station presents Oscar Correa, manager of Montecito Village Apartments at 1464 Montecito Road, with signage and certificate declaring Montecito Village Apartments a Crime Free Multi-Housing complex. Turner made the presentation during a safety social in the complex’s community room. Montecito Village Apartments is the 11th property in Ramona to be certified in the program.

Letters to editor: Newspaper coverage, road extension, school trustee and budget, more….

Appreciates coverage and Mainstage Regarding Ms. Watzek’s letter condemning the Sentinel and her comments about the attendance at the Arpaio event in Ramona Mainstage Theatre: I have been to several of the Tea Party forums there and at every one of them, all the seats were filled. I have yet to attend the midget wrestling, [...]