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Local News March 6th, 2008

SPRINTER Set to Begin Service Sunday, March 9

North County Transit District (NCTD) confirms that this Sunday, March 9th, will be the start date for public service of the new SPRINTER light rail train, pending approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

NCTD staff, their contractors and its Board of Directors are confident the SPRINTER will offer increased mobility and deliver a viable public transportation alternative to the automobile in North County's Highway 78 corridor.

"Safety certification of the new light rail system has been NCTD's number one priority during the last two months," says NCTD Executive Director Karen King. "In addition to inspections of the 81 signal houses along the alignment, regulatory agencies have inspected the entire railroad right-of-way including 36 at-grade crossings and 15 stations."

The schedule for opening day on Sunday, March 9, will have SPRINTER trains operating every hour in both east/west directions, beginning with a train departing from the Escondido Transit Center at 4:33 a.m. and the final train of the day departing Oceanside Transit Center at 8:33 p.m. Parking is available at most stations in the corridor. The Monday through Friday schedule offers additional trains with 30-minute frequencies in each direction.

Throughout the first weeks of operations, SPRINTER Ambassadors will be greeting first time riders at neighborhood SPRINTER stations to help introduce their neighbors to the new train. For more information regarding SPRINTER trains, schedules and parking visit

In addition to starting the new SPRINTER service this Sunday, NCTD will implement extensive changes to the BREEZE bus network that will allow passengers to connect to the SPRINTER at most stations to get to and from the new train service. Fares are very affordable, with Day Passes available for $4 allowing riders to ride the BREEZE and SPRINTER all day. Senior or disabled riders can purchase Day Passes for $2, while children five years and younger ride the SPRINTER free of charge with a fare paying adult.

The SPRINTER is a new passenger rail system that extends 22 miles along the Highway 78 corridor, spanning the cities of Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos ,and Escondido. A total of 15 stations have been constructed with parking and access to other NCTD public transportation options. The project budget of $484.2 million includes right-of-way acquisition, engineering, design, construction, vehicle purchase, and construction of the new 1.7-mile loop which serves the California State University San Marcos campus.

Wyland Named Legislator of the Year

In acknowledgment of his work on career technical education, Senator Mark Wyland (R-Carlsbad) was recently named Legislator of the Year for 2008 by the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE). CCAE is the state’s largest adult education organization that represents teachers, administrators and counselors within the adult education field.

“Senator Wyland plays a critical role in making sure adult education remains a part of the solution to expanding career technical education options for all students,” said Jeff Frost, CCAE Legislative Advocate. “CCAE is excited to name Senator Wyland as our Legislator of the Year, and we look forward to our continued work together on behalf of public education.”

Wyland will by honored by CCAE on March 3, 2008, in the State Capitol.

Veteran Owned Business Directory Available Nationwide

A directory that is FREE to Marine-owned businesses and FREE for people to view is now available nationwide. In fact, such a directory is available for all branches of the service, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force.

The directories are the brainchild of Steve Hosie who wanted to do business with former servicemen and could not find a directory of them. So, he started them up.

He organized veteran owned businesses so they are listed, searchable and indexed by the search engines, regardless if a Veteran owned business has a website, email, or even a computer. “If we don't know about them, then how can we ever do business with them?” he asked. “We are Veterans and I believe if and when we can, we should buy from Veterans First, support each other with Honor, Integrity, Quality and Service,” he added.

You may wish to check out the various directories available. You can find them at:

It’s an excellent way to network, to know where to spend available dollars. Every state has a subdirectory.

Clients looking for a local Real Estate Agent who was a Marine, may want to do business with them if the client was a former Marine. Same with a CPA, a plumber, a painter, or even a local pub owned by a veteran.

City of Vista is Looking for great Student soccer players

The City of Vista Parks & Community Services Department is still accepting Indoor Soccer registrations. This is an excellent program for children in first to eighth grade who are looking for a non-competitive coed format to improve their skills. There are three divisions available for players of all skill-levels. The cost is $63 for a Vista resident and $76 for a non-resident. The season begins March 10 and runs through May 10, 2008.

For more information please contact Rob Anderson at (760) 726-1340 ext1576.

Coach Charged With Sex With Minor

A 17 year old member of a traveling girls softball team told police that her coach, 37 year old Christopher Joseph Facione, had sex with her on at least two occasions at his Carlsbad home.

Based on this information, police secured an arrest warrant. He is to be arraigned this afternoon in a Vista courtroom on two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

Facione is free on $100,000 bail.

Facione headed up a company known as The Next Level which, among other activities, contracted with the Encinitas School District to provide after school activities. A spokesman for the school district said prior to this incident they had not only received no complaints about him and his organization but had, in fact, received much positive comment.

Oceanside Board Plans to Approve Bond Measure for Ballot

As of press time, Oceanside school trustees were expected to have approved a resolution to place a $195 million bond measure on the June 3 ballot. The money would pay for the renovation of numerous schools.

Voters in the Oceanside Unified School District approved a $125 million bond measure in 2000, which helped pay for two new elementary schools, one new middle school and renovation of six other campuses. But escalating construction costs have delayed many projects.

At a maximum, annual property taxes would increase under the proposed bond measure by $58.35 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, according to a statement connected to the bond proposal. The term of the bond program is expected to be from 2008-09 through 2043-44.

Escondio Plans to Expand Fire Station, Park and Community Center

Those Escondido residents and businesses on the west side of Interstate 15 may soon have a city park, community center and fire station close to them.

Property totalling 4.83 acres on Del Dios Road and West 11th Avenue, is about to be acquired via eminent domain to build the Westside Community Center, a park and Fire Station 6. The western part of the city now has one park, Felicita County Park operated by the county, no community center and a fire station that is far from homes and businesses.

This will help fill a long-standing gap that has been recognized by the city. In May 2006, the city initiated eminent domain proceedings, City Attorney Jeff Epp said. A Vista Superior Court judge gave Escondido the right to take the property in the fall of 2006.

In December that year, the city cleared the site for the $5 million construction of Station 6.

In April 2007, the city put $1.9 million in escrow with the court to buy the land. But the city still has to return to court in May or June, to argue the price of the property with the owner. The 7,360-square-foot Station 6 should be completed by summer. Once the station is ready, the Fire Department can reduce its response time to surrounding neighborhoods by two to three minutes, Fire Chief Victor Reed said.

Station 6 will take up 1.75 acres at the Del Dios Road site. That leaves about 3 acres for the community center and park.

More Freeway Woes: Northbound I-15 express lanes to close on weekends

As of last Friday, the Interstate 15 express lanes will be open only to southbound traffic over the next four weekends.

According to a Caltrans official the agency needs to shift direction on the express lane in order to accommodate construction.

The southbound-only hours will run from 8 pm. on Fridays to Mondays at 1 p.m. The two lanes are for car pools, express buses and toll-paying drivers.

Local transportation officials have broken gound on a $467 million project to expand the number of express lanes to four from two, between state Route 163 and Route 56.

Tri-City Health District Nixes Third Attempt on Bond Measure

After voters voted down two previous hospital bond measures in 2006, the Tri-City Healthcare District is delaying placing a third one before voters in June, opting instead to spend more time on reaching out to voters.

Consultants yesterday told the district board that a June election, with a filing deadline of March 7 to place the measure on the ballot, is too soon to return to voters.

At issue is a $778 million plan to upgrade and expand the Tri-City Medical Center that it oversees in Oceanside. It is now working to secure funding.

Similar funding was secured two years ago for the Palomar Pomerado Health District and critics are pointing to cost overruns and what appears to be broken promises to induce voters to pass that bond issue, which was for $469 million.

One poll of 1,200 likely voters found that about two-thirds supported a bond measure, according to one research firm. Such a bond issue would require a two-thirds voter approval. Given the critical climate facing bond issues in the immediate past and potentially in the future, officials are wary of proceeding without first embarking on an education campaign, followed by a survey to determine voter support as to various bond sizes. The previous measures would have raised property taxes $23.40 per $100,000 of assessed property values to pay for the improvements.

Officials said a poll is being conducted in Vista's Shadowridge neighborhood to determine if voters there would support a measure. Most of the neighborhood is outside the district's boundaries, and Tri-City is moving toward possibly annexing the area.

The Tri-City district includes most of Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Vista.

The consultants also said the number of undecided voters appears to be lower because of the previous two attempts. In an interview, Moss said she also wants to determine when enough money and resources could be gathered for a third bond campaign.

Board Chairman Larry Schallock said he doubts the district would try another bond measure if a third try fails. “We're going to have to bear consequences if we cannot get this bond passed,” he said.

Tri-City, like other hospitals in the state, is faced with a 2013 deadline to meet earthquake standards. Hospital officials say they also hope to expand the facility to keep up with population growth. These are similar arguments raised by Palomar Pomerado Health District for their bond proposal.






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