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n City Times’ Oct. 23 edition is included inside this issue. It was not distributed because campus was closed due to the countywide firestorm. This special edition was created off campus by dedicated City Times staff members after City College was closed.


Volume 62, Number 5

Covering the San Diego City College community since 1945

November 6, 2007


City College closed n Coach loses home n Victims’ fund started Josie Salazar City Times

San Diego County’s worst Halloween nightmare became real the week of Oct. 22. An eerie reminder of the October 2003 Cedar Fire, this October’s firestorm has affected all areas of San Diego County, including the San Diego Community College District.. On Oct. 22, Chancellor Constance Carroll issued a series of statements on the District Web site regarding the closures of several campuses, in which Miramar was the first to close along with all the Continuing Education campuses in that area because of the threat of the fire and the continued road closures. “Although the other campuses do not appear to be threatened, we are watching the situations closely,” she wrote. Updates were posted throughout the day as the fire continued to pose continued threat to several of the district sites including Mesa and its Continuing Education complexes and the District Office departments. “We are taking these actions in order to ensure the safety of those who work and learn at the college. We wish everyone well,” Carroll wrote in a statement later that day. As the fire continued to threaten the air quality in the county, displacing several thousand residents and continued road closures, the decision to keep all district campuses closed all week came in a later update on Oct. 23. “As the fires continue to spread, as more and more people are displaced, and as the air quality steadily deteriorates, we have continued to assess the situation for our students, faculty and staff.  We have decided to close the San Diego Community College District through Sunday, October 28,” Carroll wrote. Just like the Cedar Fire, this firestorm has destroyed numerous structures, injured dozens of people, killed several people and

RANDY PENCH Sacramento Bee/MCT Campus A San Diego Fire Department helicopter drops water on a hot spot near Escondido on Oct. 23. burned several thousand acres all across San Diego County. Although most of the eight fires, including those in other areas of Southern California areas such as Orange County and San Francisco, are mostly contained, some fires continue to burn. Cal Fire Capt. Don Camp confirmed that the Witch Creek fire, one of three major fires in the San Diego County area, was first reported at 12:35 p.m. on Oct. 21 starting in the North County in an area near the community of Ramona. On Oct. 22 the blaze jumped Interstate 15 and passed through the communities of Cuyamaca, Del Dios, Del Mar, Julian, Pine Hills, Poway, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Rincon, San Marcos, Santa Ysabel, Wildcat Canyon, Wynola and parts of southern Escondido. Camp also confirmed that the latest statistics of structural damage is as follows, and may continue to grow by the time

the fire is 100 percent contained: 198,000 acres burned; 1,061 homes, 30 commercial properties, 175 outbuildings, 62 homes and 10 commercial properties damaged. Camp also confirmed that two people were found to have been killed because of the fire near Poway. Camp reported that the cause of the fire is under investigation, stating “we will thorough investigate any leads that come to us.” According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the County’s second major fire, the Harris fire, also started on Oct. 21 reportedly at 9:23 a.m. near Potrero, near the U.S./ Mexico border. It continued to move near the communities of Barrett Junction, Carveacre, Deerhorn Valley, Dulzura, Engineer Springs, Jamul, Lawson Valley, Mount San Miguel, Tecate and the outskirts of Spring Valley and Chula Vista. Camp also confirmed the lat-

est statistics in the Harris fire, which are: 84,000 acres burned; 97 homes, two commercial buildings and 17 outbuildings, including 250 damaged homes. According to NBC News, the Harris fire has claimed the majority of deaths related to the county’s three major fires. Five people died, four that were found in a canyon near Potrero. Seven firefighters and 21 other people were also injured during the course of the week. The cause of the Harris fire is under investigation; however, Camp confirmed “… that it could possibly be due to arson.” The Poomacha Fire that later had combined with the Witch Creek Fire had started near the Palomar Mountain area, burned approximately 38,000 acres and 50 homes. Twelve firefighters were injured, however no deaths were reported. The cause of the fire appears to be a structure fire and is under investigation, fire officials reported. Other fires in the county

included the Rice Canyon Fire that started in the Fallbrook area, burning 9,500 acres, approximately 500 homes and two commercial properties and 20,000 avocado trees. There have been no reports of deaths. The cause of the Rice fire was due to a downed power line, fire officials reported. The Coronado Hills fire that started near San Marcos scorched 250 acres, but no structures were destroyed and there have been no reports of deaths. Fire officials said that the cause of the fire is also under investigation. The Horno fire near Camp Pendleton scorched 17,000 acres, but base officials reported that there were no damaged structures or injuries. Base officials confirmed that two smaller fires on base burned approximately 270 acres before being contained and no structures or were injuries reported. Officials said that the cause of the three fires is under investigation.


November 6, 2007


City Times

Knights coach loses home in fires Whitney Lawrence City Times From the top floor of their Rancho Bernardo apartment complex, Peter Gregory, assistant coach of the men’s cross country team, and his family watched the Lake Hodges fire dance too close for comfort in the early morning of Oct. 21. “We got a reverse 911 call at 4:30 in the morning telling us to evacuate, and by 6:30 a.m. we were driving frantically to Mira Peter Gregory Mesa High School,” said Gregory. “We packed very little, just our clothes, because we just didn’t expect anything to happen.” The next day, when police escorted the family back into their neighborhood, they found their complex burned to the ground. “We were devastated. We really didn’t think it burned. We lost everything, jewelry, our wedding stuff,” Gregory said. “The only salvageable thing was my drum set from the garage, which is still a little wet.” Attempting to pack up and move on, Gregory said he tried to get into an apartment the next day. The renters, however, would not wait one week for the Red Cross check. So Gregory, his wife and two daughters, Crystal, who is 8, and Amy,

BENJAMIN CRUZ City Times The Rancho Bernardo apartment complex where assistant cross country coach Peter Gregory lived is a burned out shell after the recent wildfires. His family lost everything. 13, slept on air mattresses at the high school until Saturday when they moved to the Del Mar evacuation site. Finally, they found an apartment and are settling in temporarily. “The Sunday before, my wife and I were at church praying to find a home, and then this all happened,” Gregory said. “We are hoping to stay in the apartment for only eight or nine months until we find a house.

What we really need right now is a new bed.” Crystal and Amy are back at school, and Gregory said they are “doing good,” as well as his wife, who is back at work as a nurse practitioner and clinical instructor at City College. Gregory had been preparing his team for the upcoming Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) Championships on Oct. 26 before the fires halted all sports events. The PCC serves

as a qualifying meet for the Southern California Conference Championships. Because of its cancellation, the Knights automatically advanced to the SoCal Conference, the first time the team qualified since the Cedar fires four years ago. “When something devastating like this happens, you have to keep focused. Right now I’m trying to stay focused on the team,” Gregory said. Through the tragedy, Greg-

ory stays optimistic. “You know the only two good things that have happened are that we advanced to the SoCal Conference, and the Sox won the World Series. I’m a Boston fan,” said Gregory. “I’m also so grateful for the support from Alvarado hospital, City College, friends and family. FEMA and Red Cross have been a huge help, but God’s grace is really bringing me through this.”

District facilities workers tackle job of cleanup David McATee City Times The cleanup efforts on campuses throughout the San Diego Community College District were swift this past week, as classes resumed and life started to ease back into the routine that for many was abruptly upset after major wildfires.

CityTimes Volume 62, Issue 5 November 6, 2007

Custodial and facilities staff had plenty of considerations while conducting multiple concurrent sites. In particular, the soot. According to Derrall Chandler, head of Facilities at City College, the soot was much finer during the wildfires this year than in 2003, and could find its way into far more places. Published as: The Jay Sees / 1945-1949 Fortknightly / 1949-1978 City Times / 1978Incorporating the newspapers Tecolote, Knight Owl and Flicks

City Times is published twice monthly during the semester. Signed opinions are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent those of the entire newspaper staff, City College administration, faculty and staff or the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees. District policy statement This publication is produced as a learning experience under a San Diego Community College District instructional program. All materials, including opinions expressed herein, are the sole responsibility of the students and should not be interpreted to be those of the college district, its officers or employees. How to reach us: City Times San Diego City College 1313 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101 Newsroom: L-125 Phone: (619) 388-3880 Fax: (619) 388-3814 E-mail: Program homepage:

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The filters on the air conditioning units took much of the impact and were the first to be replaced after Chandler and his crew were put into action. More filters were ordered upon first news of the fires reaching the heads of the custodial staff, and HVAC, an air filtration cleaning service, was called in to aid in the cleaning, removal and replacement of the air conditioning filters. The soot aside, the need for cleanup after the wildfires was far less severe. After the Cedar fires of 2003, buildings had to be washed starting at the roof and working down the walls, all the

way down to the street. Each building had a specific regimen of washing and cleaning, from the outside working to the windows, dusting, vacuuming, and finally sweeping. With the cleanup for this past week, Chandler said that even the storm drains had to be considered. The debris and soot washing into the street and down into the sewer line running to the ocean or bay may not have been allowed by the city services, and had to be rerouted for proper disposal. This was less a consideration with the Cedar fires, as the laws four years ago regarding wastewater and storm

drains were less stringent. As gardeners worked on the outer perimeter of the campuses by cleaning and blowing dust and soot out of plants and landscape areas, the custodians worked on the inner perimeter handling quads, campus lots, buildings, walkways and seating. All cleaning was handled inhouse by district employees, without utilizing outside assistance or equipment, excluding HVAC. In all, 22 people worked on each campus at any given time, with the third day of cleanup being the worst, according to Chandler.


Compiled by Shevaun Brandom Send items to City Times, 1313 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101, e-mail, call (619) 388-3880, or fax (619) 388-3814

NOVEMBER Nov.: 2 & 3, 9 & 10, 8p.m. Ain’t Misbehavin Saville Theatre

Nov. 5-10, 6:30a.m.-8:30p.m. Fitness Awareness Week at San Diego City College Fitness Center

Nov. 14 Withdrawal Deadline for Primary Session

November 6, 2007


City Times

Fund-raising for wildfire victims David McATee City Times Several fund-raising efforts have been organized on campus in order to help the students and faculty who have been affected by the wildfires recently. In a statement sent out Nov. 2, school President Terrence Burgess announced that the Wildfire Relief Fund has been reactivated through the City College Foundation. The Wildfire Relief Fund was established in November 2003 to aid the student and faculty victims of the Cedar Fires that year. Vice President Carol Dexheimer is serving as the foundation treasurer through the office of Business Services. The City College Foundation sets out to establish scholarships for students on campus. It was established in the 1970s. In order to determine the specific needs of those affected by the wildfires, an application similar to that used by the Wildfire Relief Fund in the months following the Cedar Fires is being developed. This application will be available through the office of the Vice President of Administrative Services. Those who would like to contribute to the Fund can make their check payable to the San Diego City College Foundation and write “Wildfire Relief Fund” on the check memo line.

RANDY PENCH Sacramento Bee/MCT Campus Vista Fire Department Capt. Ned Vander Pol carries a hose from a home in Rancho Santa Fe, which was destroyed early Oct. 23. Checks may be delivered to Dexheimer in A-105 (a). In concert with the efforts put together by the President’s office, the Cosmetology Department is sponsoring a Cut-AThon in building S at the corner of 15th and B street on Nov. 6 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is the fourth annual CutA-Thon for the Cosmetology Department, which for the past four years has sponsored a Veterans’ Day Cut-A-Thon for displaced veterans of San Diego. This year they are extending the invitation to anyone affected by the wildfires, not just City College students or faculty. Students of the Cosmetology Department will be performing complimentary haircuts.

Helping others in need Moving into our new house had disconnected my girlfriend and I from society almost entirely. I had the phone service relocated, but without cable or Internet service yet, the rate of information trickle had us at a loss. On Monday when the wildfires that had been burning for a day reached critical mass, we were behind the curve. Our main vein of information was NPR as it had been for some time. As the reports came down the wire of evacuations and reverse 911 calls, it took a while for it to register how wide the scope had become of damage, panic, and terror. I had decided



to head off the frantic call I was sure to get from my mother in New Orleans by calling her and assuring her that we were well out of the range of any peril, and she needn’t worry about the sensationalized reports and footage being broadcast. It was okay, I told her. Nothing’s wrong. Not so. We received a call from a friend saying that her sister and new brother in law had evacuated, as well as their uncle and

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his family. No one was sure where to go just yet. We told them that they were welcome to join us at our house, a much larger setup than our previous digs. We wanted them to know how willing we were to help, to open our new home in such a critical time. Don’t worry, we told them. You have plenty of room here. They thanked us, “You don’t know what this means.” I believe we did. Two more family members had decided to head off the evacuation order and leave their house in Otay Ranch. We had already told them that they were welcome to stay with us, utilizing a guest room more crowded with boxes waiting to be unpacked than the rest of our house. We began clearing space for everyone. We’ll get dinner, we thought. We’ll try to make things as jovial as possible during this stressful time. It’ll be like a big slumber party. We could hear the relief over the phone as we talked to everyone, feeling great to be able to do anything at all. In such an uncertain situation everyone tends to feel helpless. In our case, it wasn’t that the help we needed wouldn’t reach us, but the help that we could provide wouldn’t reach everyone in need. When news first reaches you of a crisis this large, the first reaction is to feel overwhelmed, as if one person couldn’t possibly help enough to solve the problem. And that may be true. But all of us helping, even one other person, makes any crisis manageable. We heard reports this week of how helpful San Diegans have been in such a devastating situation. It feels great to help fulfill that notion.

4 City Times


November 6, 2007

NOE ROJAS Contributor

A smoky sunset skyline was seen all over San Diego during the 2007 wildfires.

RANDY PENCH Sacramento Bee/MCT Campus

An Escondido firefighter manages hot spots Oct. 23 along a ridge near Escondido.


Officials manage traffic Oct. 23 in front of San Diego High School, which served as an evacuation center during the wildfires. In the background is City College’s Harry West Gymnasium.


City Times is the student newspaper of San Diego City College.