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Band instruments stolen from church

   Anyone with information about the theft of musical instruments from The Way Church at 838 Hanson Lane is asked to contact the sheriff’s Ramona Substation at 760-789-9517.
   Some time between the church’s Sunday service on March 14 and its Wednesday evening service on March 17, three guitars, an amplifier and other music equipment were taken from the stage in the church sanctuary. According to the sheriff’s report of the theft, the instruments have an estimated value of $2,000. Tommy Spivey, a deacon at the church, said the estimated replacement value is from $2,500 to $3,500.
   Because there was no sign of forced entry, Spivey does not know if a door was left unlocked or a window left open.
   “We lock up after service,” he said. “…We don’t know if they were taken when no one was there or during the evening service (on March 17).”
   The instruments belong to members of the church band. Band members are checking craigslist to see if someone is trying to sell the stolen items. The sheriff’s department is checking pawn slips and craigslist as part of its investigation, said Detective Barbara Crozier with the sheriff’s Ramona Substation.
   Stolen from the church were: An Ovation electric acoustic guitar, a Fender bass guitar, a blue electric guitar, an amplifier, an effects pedal, a Korg Keyboard and a four-channel mixer.

Suspect flees with week’s receipts from ARCO

   A report of an armed robbery at the ARCO am/pm station at 1015 Main
St. at 10:32 Monday morning sent sheriff’s deputies searching from the
air and ground for the suspect.
   According to the store manager, the suspect got away with the week’s
receipts from the business. Detective Sgt. George Calderon said the
manager was on her way to make a bank deposit of the week’s receipts
when she was approached by a white or light-skinned hispanic male at
her vehicle. She felt something hard placed on her side, and the
suspect grabbed the bag with the receipts and an undisclosed amount of
money and ran behind the station, said Calderon.

Man, 34, charged in robbery, residential burglary

 A Ramona man who allegedly threatened to kill his victims if they went
to the police was in jail this week, charged with robbery, burglary and
domestic violence.
Stan Lee Elsasser, 34, was arrested by deputies with the sheriff’s
Ramona Substation last Thursday and is scheduled to be in Superior
Court in El Cajon at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 10.
   Elsasser, on probation for possession of stolen property, is charged
with a robbery behind Salon Blondies at 1925 Main St. on Feb. 15, a
vehicle burglary in the 1800 block of Main Street behind Subway on Feb.
8, and a residential burglary in the 200 block of South Julian Street
on Jan. 22, said Detective Sgt. George Calderon with the sheriff’s
Ramona station.
   In the residential burglary, the suspect allegedly scrawled on an
inside wall that the victims’ children would be killed if they called
the cops, said sheriff’s Detective Barbara Crozier. In the robbery
outside Salon Blondies, the suspect told the victim “if she called the
cops, he’d kill her,” said sheriff’s Detective Lori-Ann Wells.

22 teachers face possible layoffs

 At a special meeting Monday night, Ramona school board opened the door to cut 22 teaching jobs next school year.
   To comply with state law, the district must send preliminary pink
slips by March 15 to educators who may not have a job in 2010-11. The
governor’s proposed state budget and nearly a decade of declining
enrollment mean a budget deficit of $8.3 million for the Ramona
district unless measures are taken to close the gap.
   State budget uncertainties leave the district unsure if it will have
to cut all of the 22.37 full-time jobs. But, Assistant Superintendent
David Ostermann said, it could be worse.
   No one wants to cut jobs, said board president Rodger Dohm, “but our
job is to keep the district solvent, to make sure that we have a
balanced budget, so that this operating budget can actually operate the
district.”

Enrollment continues to drop

 If enrollment projections for the 2010-11 school year are correct,
Ramona Unified School District will have 6,166 students, 220 fewer than
this year, Assistant Superintendent David Ostermann said.
   “This is the lowest point in almost 20 years,” Ostermann told school
trustees last Thursday. “In 1991-92, we had an enrollment of 6,311. Our
highest enrollment was in 2001-02 of 7,271, so our projected enrollment
for next year is just over 1,100 students less than our high mark.”
   Enrollment is key to the district’s finances, since about 70 percent
of its income comes from the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of about
$5,000 per student, said Ostermann. In addition to ADA money, the
district receives about $2,000 per student for special programs and
from the lottery, said Ostermann.
   “In formulating a budget, enrollment projections are the basis for
determining a district’s largest expenditure, the staffing of its
school,” Ostermann said in his report to the school board.

Suspects ‘launch’ to deputy

   Three suspects allegedly attempting to “launch” across Main Street
couldn’t have chosen a better—or worse—place to land, depending on
who’s telling the story.
   Sheriff’s officers patrolling Ramona early Saturday morning, Feb.
13,  watched as a vehicle traveling an estimated 50 mph to 60 mph
“launched” through the intersection of Ninth and Main streets, almost
hitting a patrol car on Main.
   Launching is a street racing term where the driver accelerates
through an intersection without stopping at a high enough rate of speed
to try to have the vehicle go airborne, explained sheriff’s Lt. Duncan
Fraser with the sheriff’s Ramona Substation.
   “They all thought the whole thing was pretty funny,” said sheriff’s
Sgt. Kevin Barrett, who was in a vehicle behind the patrol car that was
almost hit. “I don’t think they grasped the seriousness of what
transpired.

Schools tackle possible layoffs

 Faced with a projected deficit of $1.15 million for the coming school
year, Ramona Unified School District’s five elected trustees will hold
a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to review layoff proposals.
   The public meeting will  be in the board room of the Wilson Administrative Center, 720 Ninth St.
   State law requires school districts by March 15 to give preliminary
layoff notices to all teachers and other certificated employees who
potentially could not be rehired.
   Early in his review of the budget shortfall at last Thursday’s
school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent David Ostermann said the
top priority is to “protect essential services and programs for the
children.”
   Other priorities are to maintain reasonable class sizes and as many
jobs as possible, support employee compensation and benefits to the
fullest extent possible and “position ourselves for an even more
challenging budget year, not next year, but in 2011-12,” said Ostermann.

Detectives investigate B Street shooting

   A 33-year-old Ramona man refused medical treatment after being shot in the leg Tuesday afternoon.
   Detectives at the sheriff’s Ramona substation are investigating the
shooting and working on leads, but they were not releasing the victim’s
name and other details about the incident today.
   “For his own safety, I can’t say who he is,” said sheriff’s Detective Sgt. George Calderon.
   People in the vicinity of the 900 block of B Street reported hearing
several shots early yesterday afternoon and seeing a man limping away.
Suspects were seen fleeing from the scene in a vehicle, said Calderon.
   A sheriff’s helicopter circled the area from the air as sheriff’s
and California Highway Patrol officers, some with weapons drawn,
checked the area for suspects, evidence and to determine if there were
other victims.

Sheriff’s advisory group starts with youth, pedestrian safety

 Everything from child molesters and elder abuse to gangs and vodka
bottles on the streets was discussed at the first meeting of the Ramona
Citizen’s Advisory Group.
   Twenty-one Ramonans responded to the sheriff’s call in January for
an advisory panel, and after their first meeting 20 said they want to
continue. Two areas they want to focus on first are Ramona’s youth and
traffic, specifically pedestrian safety. During phone conversations
with sheriff’s crime prevention specialist Barbara Wallace after the
meeting, they said more constructive activities for the young people in
Ramona are needed.

Ramona woman killed in Lakeside crash

 A 36-year-old Ramona woman was killed in a head-on crash on state
Route 67 near Johnson Lake Road in Lakeside last Tuesday afternoon.
   Bridgette T. Hale died at the scene after the Chevrolet Astro van
she was driving was hit by an Oldsmobile 98 driven by John Holsheimer,
51, of Las Vegas. Holsheimer, whose northbound vehicle had crossed the
solid double yellow lines, told rescuers he did not remember what
happened and he may have fallen asleep, said California Highway Patrol
Officer Brian Pennings.

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