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Late-Season Rains Mask Looming Fire Danger As Lush Plants Turn Dry And Explosive

Giant green stems with budding yellow flowers greeted hikers along a narrow path beneath the soaring Santa Monica Mountains on a recent drizzly day. This is where, just seven months ago, the worst fire in Los Angeles County history swept through, destroying more than 1,000 homes and blackening miles of hillsides and canyon. But thanks to one of the wettest seasons in years, rains have transformed the fire zone back to life with great speed. And all those flowering black mustard plants point to a looming disaster once the rains finally end and Southern California shifts to its dry, hot, windy summer and fall.

Census Bureau: San Diego Posted 8th Largest Population Increase Among Big Cities

San Diego posted the eighth largest population increase between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 among cities with populations of 50,000 or more, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday. During the 12-month period, the population of “America’s Finest City” grew by 11,549 people, a near 1 percent increase from the previous year. Phoenix saw the largest population increase in the country during the period, adding 25,288 people, according to the Census Bureau report. San Diego was the only city in California to make the top 10 for largest population gains in the latest report, while Texas had four cities make the top 10.

Encinitas Students Take Home Honors in OMWD’s 2019 Water Awareness Poster Contest

Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized the winners of the 2019 North County Water Agencies Water Awareness Poster Contest at its May 22 meeting. Fourth-grade students living or attending school within OMWD’s service area were invited to enter the contest earlier this year. The top three posters all hailed from Mrs. Goyette’s class at Flora Vista Elementary in Encinitas. “We are fortunate to have such talented young artists in our area,” stated OMWD Board President Ed Sprague. “The annual poster contest is a great way for them to show off their talent and gets students thinking about the importance of using water wisely.”

City Of San Diego Hires New Water Department Director

The city of San Diego has hired a new director for its Public Utilities Department, NBC 7 has learned. The department has struggled to regain customer trust after more than a year of audits and internal investigations. Shauna Lorance, currently the interim General Manager at Monterey County Water Resources, will take over the position vacated by Vic Bianes, who resigned abruptly last year. According to Lorance’s resume on LinkedIn, she also formerly worked at San Juan Water District. This comes after the mayor’s office announced earlier this year a major overhaul of its troubled water department, including the departures of five top directors and managers.

Rain, Hail, Lightning, Thunder: Spring In Southern California Isn’t Supposed To Be Like This

Californians gearing up for a long Memorial Day weekend full of sun were sorely disappointed Wednesday. Rain, wind and lightning battered the state as locals braved cooler temperatures that even delivered hail. The hail may have had some residents questioning the point of living in Southern California if there is hail in late spring. The rain jammed up afternoon commutes, and lightning closed all beaches stretching from Dockweiler State Beach to Malibu for a little under two hours starting about 2:30 p.m.

 

Nuclear Waste From San Onofre Would Get First Dibs For Relocation Under New Bill

A congressional bill that would prioritize the removal of nuclear waste from places with high population and high seismic activity — that is, San Onofre — was introduced Thursday, May 23, by U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano. Some 9 million people live within 50 miles of the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station. About 20 million live within 50 miles of New York’s Indian Point reactors, which are about to be decommissioned.

Orange County Water Board Vacancy Draws ‘Unprecedented’ Interest After Newsom Kills Twin Tunnels Project

After much speculation about whether Janet Nguyen might run for one of Orange County’s hotly contested congressional seats in 2020, the Republican former state senator has thrown her hat in a surprising ring. And she’s not alone. Nguyen is one of seven people vying to fill a board of directors seat with the Municipal Water District of Orange County. The seat was left vacant after director Wayne Osborne, who was elected to a four-year term in 2016, retired in late April. “I was really heartened to see someone from that level interested in serving on our board,” MWDOC board president Brett Barbre said of Nguyen.

OPINION: Never-Ending Tijuana Sewage Nightmare A Failure Of Leadership

San Diego County residents have in recent days had yet another reminder of the utter failure of the local, state and federal governments in the United States and Mexico to solve an awful ongoing problem. That reminder came in the form of nearly 57 million gallons of water tainted by sewage, carcinogenic chemicals and pesticides pouring into the United States last week via the Tijuana River because of broken, inadequate sewer infrastructure on the Mexican side of the border. This has become a terrible fact of life. Sewage spills from Tijuana have fouled San Diego’s coastal waters for years, and the southern shoreline of Imperial Beach has been closed since November.

San Diego Names New Director for Troubled Public Utilities Department

The city of San Diego Thursday announced the hiring of a new director for the Public Utilities Department, which has been without a permanent director since last summer. Shauna Lorance will assume the position from interim PUD Director Matt Vespi, who took over for former Director Vic Baines after he announced his retirement last August. Lorance is the interim general manager at the Monterey County Water Resources Agency and will remain in that position through the end of June, according to the city.

Controversial North River Farms Development Postponed Again

Angry residents shouted, cursed and booed the Oceanside City Council after its 3-2 vote Wednesday to again postpone a decision on whether Integral Communities should be allowed to build hundreds of homes, a hotel and retail shops in the city’s last remaining agricultural region. The city’s planning staff and Planning Commission have three times recommended the council deny the North River Farms project, most recently on a 6-0 vote May 6. Each time, the developer has subsequently pulled the project off a City Council agenda to rework it in hopes of getting an approval. “Please do not postpone this,” said resident Jane Marshall before Wednesday’s decision.