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Rainbow residents meet for valley updates

Thirty residents learned some useful information at the Rainbow Town Hall meeting at the Grange Hall on February 11.

The meeting was sponsored by the Rainbow Planning Group and the Rainbow Property Owners Association (RPOA).

First, Juanita Hayes, public affairs manager for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), informed the group of the company’s Emergency Fire Preparedness program.

This fire plan includes criteria for de-energization (turning off electricity in areas on fire), the replacing of some wooden poles with steel ones and registering cell phones for reverse 9-1-1 calls.

Hayes said residents are also encouraged to notify SDG&E of people with medical conditions who need help evacuating their homes and to register their generators with SDG&E so repairmen can avoid back feeds of electricity during line repairs.

Residents can also call in the location of poles where nearby trees need trimming.

SDG&E also provides free heater and air conditioning servicing along with energy-efficient light bulbs.

Residents can call (800) 411-7343 for any of these services.

The next speaker was Lt. Alex Dominguez, commander of San Diego County Sheriff’s Fallbrook Substation, who said arrests are up and crime is down. He added that “this is a very safe area” to live in.

He said he has instructed deputies to patrol Rainbow more often but told the group, “You need to call us. You need to be known as a community that doesn’t tolerate people acting badly.”

Dominguez encouraged everyone to call 9-1-1 if they see any suspicious activity. For non-emergency situations, they can call (760) 728-1113.

Rua Petty, president of the board of Rainbow Municipal Water District (RMWD), then spoke on the outlook for the area’s water supply.

At this point, California has received 67 percent of normal rainfall. As a result of the continuing drought and diminishing supplies, Petty said the cost of water will double by 2018.

With a projected increase in prices between 27 and 35 percent for 2010, the district is looking into other sources of water.

Petty said that there are opportunities in desalination projects, including the new plant in Carlsbad, groundwater extraction from Rainbow Valley and the San Luis Rey River, as well as water reclamation projects.

Petty also told the residents that there are openings on RMWD’s three committees, budget/finance, engineering and communications. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can call the district office at (760) 728-1178.

Next, Jerri Arganda and Lynn Davis from Rainbow Against the Quarry gave an update on the Liberty Quarry issue.

They said Granite Construction’s draft Environmental Impact Report is due to come out in April, but it will be several months before it will be available for public viewing.

In the meantime, the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Committee will be holding a hearing at the Temecula City Council’s request to annex the property in and around the proposed quarry site.

The hearing is scheduled for May 21 and the committe has requested input from San Diego County residents since the proposed quarry site borders the county line.

Arganda and Davis encouraged Rainbow residents and local nonprofit groups to send letters to the committee and to San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn in support of the annexation.

Since mining is currently prohibited in that area, if the annexation is approved, any request for a change in zoning would be made to the Temecula City Council rather than the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

They stressed that annexation would not affect the ownership of the land in question.

Captain Jeff Weaver from Rainbow’s Volunteer Fire Department then explained how the department functions with 30 volunteers from out of district and only four in the district.

He said there is always someone at the station during the day and training nights are every Thursday at 7 p.m. New volunteers are always welcome.

Weaver also said that the station’s siren will be sounded if there is another big fire like the Rice Fire.

Vallecitos School District Superintendent Paul Cartas and Vallecitos Principal Leslie Lyle were the last presenters of the event.

Dr. Cartas said that despite the state’s fiscal situation, Vallecitos is doing well.

The district will have to make some cuts in its budget next year and has already cut 10 percent of this year’s budget, but the cuts have not affected the students.

He said that because “the district’s board of directors is very fiscally conservative, we have reserves to keep us running until July” when the state’s deferred payment to schools will occur.

In her 17 years of experience as a school administrator, Lyle said that Vallecitos is her “favorite school so far.”

In last year’s testing, the students scored 806, putting the school over the national goal of 800, so “the challenge is keeping that up.”

She also said that, financially, “everything is for the benefit of the kids.”

Lyle likes the family feel of the school and is confident “we’ll make it through the budget cuts.”

The meeting was concluded with a reminder that there are open seats on the boards of the Rainbow Planning Group and the Rainbow Property Owners Association.

Any Rainbow residents interested in volunteering can call Bud Swanson for the planning group, (760) 723-4068 and for RPOA, call Art Deming, (760) 723-1691.

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