December 08, 2016

 News Radio 600 Live in El Cajon for Salvation Army
      iHeart Media San Diego’s KOGO-AM News Radio 600 is planning a live broadcast from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Target store parking lot, 250 Broadway, El Cajon, in support of the 40th annual East County Toy and Food Drive. KOGO's Cliff Albert, LaDona Harvey, Ted Garcia and Cal Walker will help collect donations benefiting the Salvation Army El Cajon Corps and East County families. Also as part of the event, a parade of fire trucks from Heartland Fire and Rescue Dept. is planned. About a dozen fire trucks will leave at about 11 a.m. from Fire Station #6, 100 E. Lexington, El Cajon, and arrive at approximately 11:15 a.m. at the Target parking lot. KOGO-AM has annually supported this fundraiser with a live remote since 1996. Started in 1976, the East County Toy and Food Drive is one of the oldest and largest toy and food drives in San Diego County.
`Toys for Joy” at El Cajon Valley High School on Saturday
      The Rock Church will host its 20th annual Toys for Joy event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The free toy, food and clothing giveaway will be held at four locations, including Lincoln High School, Southwest High School, San Marcos High School and El Cajon Valley High School. The public is invited to attend. Children ages up to 11 receive a free toy and families will have the opportunity to receive free lunch and groceries. Free clothing will be available at Lincoln High School. Church officials expect attendance will exceed 23,000 people at the four locations. In addition, organizers expect more than 20,000 toys, 12,000 bags of groceries and 250,000 articles of clothing will be distributed to families in need. The event also includes live entertainment and a kids’ fun zone. In 2015, Toys for Joy gave away 22,000 toys, 12,000 bags of groceries, and 223,000 articles of clothing. The public is invited to participate. Volunteers can sign up at www.toys-for-joy.org/volunteers. Toys can be purchased using an online wish list at www.toys-for-joy.org/toys. Monetary and in-kind gifts can be contributed online at www.toys-for-joy.org/donate. Event sponsors include Mattel Toy Store, Metro PCS, Rock Thrift Store, The CW San Diego 6, and San Diego Half Marathon. The Rock Church, which began in February 2000, hosts 17 Sunday services at five multi-site campuses and more than 10 microsites with more than 13,500 people in attendance per week. In 2013, the church opened an East County campus at 808 Jackman Dr. in El Cajon. A former Michael’s retail store in El Cajon was remodeled to feature a 725-seat auditorium. 
 La Mesa Chamber to Host Ribbon Cutting for Jack in the Box
      The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting photograph for the relocated Jack in the Box restaurant at 6110 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa, at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14.  “We are grateful to the owner Nasir Faroogi for making this investment in La Mesa and our business community,” said Mary England, president/CEO, La Mesa Chamber. “This new structure and location is an added benefit to our area.” The new restaurant is located a few yards from an existing Jack in the Box in a retail center with a Ross Dress for Less store. “KadsarMasood, the store manager and his entire team, will show us why this brand-new building is the best place to get your best hamburger, tacos and more that will make your day,” England said. San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) operates and franchises Jack in the Box restaurants, one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam. 
Voters Return Two Incumbents, Add New Member to Grossmont Healthcare District 
      Two longtime Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) board members retained their seats in the recent November 2016 election, plus voters elected a new face to join the five-member board that represents more than 500,000 people residing in the district’s 750 square miles in East County. East County voters reelected Robert “Bob” Ayres and Michael Emerson to four-year terms. In addition, Santee resident Virginia Hall was elected to a four-year term as a new board member. A seat on the GHD board became available when Betty Stieringer, a retired Registered Nurse and board member since 2012, decided not to seek reelection. 
      Ayres, a retired banking executive with 50 years of experience in both public and private-sector banking and construction financing and management, joined the board in September 2010 to fill a vacancy. The El Cajon resident was then elected to a four-year term in November 2012. Emerson, a registered ophthalmic dispenser and owner of Hart Optical Co. of La Mesa, was appointed to the board in May 2008 to fill a vacancy. The La Mesa resident was then elected in November 2008 and reelected in November 2012. Hall, a retired Registered Nurse, finished first in a field of six candidates that included Ayres, Emerson, longtime Grossmont Union High School District Trustee Priscilla Schreiber, former La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid and La Mesa CPA Jimmy Parker.

December 01, 2016

East County Chamber’s Breakfast Will Support Toy Drives
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m., Friday, Dec. 2 at Barona Resort and Casino’s Barona Golf and Events Center, 1932 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside. Barona Resort and Casino is the breakfast sponsor. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy, valued at $10 or more, for The Rock Church’s 20th annual “Toys for Joy” toy, food and clothing giveaway, as well as the 40th annual East County Toy & Food Drive benefiting the Salvation Army and Stoney’s Kids. In addition, Joe Garzanelli, broker, Keller Williams Realty, will give away several hundred dollars to a lucky member who is present and names will be drawn until a winner is selected. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members, $25 per person for prospective members. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at info@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
La Mesa Chamber Collecting Toys for Military Families
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has launched a new holiday toy collection effort to assist children of military families living in La Mesa. The public is invited to donate new, unwrapped toys appropriate for children ages 2 to 13 at a reception starting at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6, at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., in the Grossmont Center mall, La Mesa. Admission to the reception is free for Chamber members and $10 per person for non-members. Refreshments at the reception will include heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks sponsored by the Riviera Supper Club. 
     In addition, the Chamber is collecting monetary donations for gift certificates for holiday meals for military families. According to Mary England, Chamber president/CEO, Lincoln Military Housing is assisting with the distribution of toys and gift certificates. She said gift certificates will be purchased from Smart & Final Extra Warehouse & Market. England also said Jerry Lester, a longtime community supporter, initiated this new holiday project. Monetary donations for gift certificates also can be made at the Dec. 6 reception. Event reservations may be made via the chamber website, www.lamesachamber.com, or by sending an e-mail, rsvp@lamesachamber.com, or by calling the Chamber Office (619) 465-7700, ext. #2. 
     “The La Mesa Chamber is honored to be a part of this endeavor and making a difference in the lives of these children and families who do so much for our country,” England said. The La Mesa Chamber is organizing two other holiday projects, including holiday gift baskets for La Mesa senior citizens and a clothing drive of socks, t-shirts, shoes and underwear for local children in need as identified by the La Mesa Community Welfare Association and several La Mesa-Spring Valley School District elementary schools
 Spring Valley Man Named to Hospital Corporate Board
      Spring Valley resident Allan Goetz has been approved to serve on the Grossmont Hospital Corporation (GHC) board of directors as a representative of the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD). GHC is the legal entity for the hospital lease agreement between Sharp HealthCare and GHD, the East County public agency that serves as landlord of the hospital’s property and buildings on behalf of taxpayers.
     Goetz, 70, a retired aerospace engineer, was approved by Sharp to serve on the GHC as a designee of GHD board member Gloria Chadwick. Goetz succeeds Dehesa resident Shirley Murphy, a cultural psychologist, life coach consultant and advocate for Native American issues, who began serving on the GHC board in 2008, following her serving for one year on the GHD board to fill a vacancy.
    Goetz’s 40-year aerospace career included working as a chief systems engineer and principal engineer on the design of aircraft and missile defense systems, as well as radar communication systems. He worked with Hughes Aircraft Co., ITT Gilfillan and Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. He retired from Northrop Grumman in April 2015. He has lived in Spring Valley for the past 12 years.
     Goetz’s military service includes two years in the U.S. Coast Guard. He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Washington and a doctorate in physics from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. He holds 16 patents and is a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organization. He also is a member of the non-profit Citizens Oversight, a local watchdog and advocacy group.
     As a member of GHC, Goetz also will serve on its Facilities Committee, according to Dave Grundstrom, 2016 GHC chair. GHC, a non-profit corporation, has operational responsibility of the 540-bed Grossmont Hospital on behalf of Sharp HealthCare. The 15-member GHC board consists of Sharp HealthCare leaders, physicians, community leaders and GHD board members or their designees. Among its many responsibilities, the GHC board oversees, evaluates and recommends proactive quality measures and performance initiatives for all quality improvement activities throughout the hospital.

November 24, 2016

Santee Chamber Presents Taste of Santee
     The Santee Chamber of Commerce will present its 29th annual Taste of Santee from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Toyota Certified Center showroom, 8871 Fanita Dr., Santee. The public is invited to attend. Cost to attend is $10 per person. Event sponsors include Union Bank and Toyota Certified Center. There is no cost to participate as a food provider. More a dozen providers are expected to participate. About 150 people are expected to attend. For more information, visit www.SanteeChamber.com. Besides enjoying samples of foods from local restaurants, attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item for the Santee Santas Foundation, a local non-profit that benefits needy families living within the Santee School District who are in need of assistance. Santee Santas is expecting to help about 300 families in the community this year. The all-volunteer organization includes school district employees, city staff, firefighters, local business leaders and service organization members. A portion of the $10 admission fee from the Taste event will provide a Santeeopoly board game that Santee Santas will give to families as a Christmas gift. 
 Lakeside Chamber Will Host Spirit of Christmas
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce is planning its 18th annual “Spirit of Christmas on Maine Avenue” from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. The community celebration will be held on Maine Avenue between Laurel Drive and Parkside Street. Featuring a hometown atmosphere with the sights and sounds of Christmas, the event will include performances by local school children, craft booths, activities for children, an appearance by Santa and lighting ceremony for the community Christmas tree. Admission is free. Exhibit areas can be reserved for $75 for Chamber members and $125 for non-members. Food vendors can reserve space for $150. According to Kathy Kassel, Chamber executive director, Christmas on Maine Avenue is a holiday tradition for many families. This year's sponsors include Barona Resort & Casino, San Diego Gas & Electric, Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs, Alpine Rock & Block, Daily Disposal Services, Lakeside Equipment, State Farm Insurance, Rise City Church, 7 San Diego Church and Montessori East County Preschool, Bob’s Crane, Williams & Sons Masonry, Lakeside Veterinary Hospital, EC Constructors, Inc., Easy Open Doors, Lloyd’s Collision, Cyphertech Mechanical, National Security Works, True Lawn Care, AT&T, Enniss Inc. and Payton’s Hardware. For more information, visit www.LakesideChamber.org.  
 Alpine Chamber Will Host Joel Anderson at `Hot Topics’ Breakfast
     The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce will host its next “Hot Topics” networking breakfast meeting starting at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd. Guest speaker will be State Sen. Joel Anderson who will discuss proposed legislation and an update on Sacramento activity. Also speaking will be Richard Davila, County Sherriff’s Dept. Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP), on the need for more RSVP volunteers. The public is invited to attend. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person, which includes opportunity drawing tickets. Prizes will include admission to future chamber events, including a “Hot Topics” breakfast and a “Red Hot and Moving to the Top” promotional event for businesses and organizations. For more information and to RSVP, call (619) 445-2722 or visit www.AlpineChamber.com. Anderson’s 38th Senate district in the California Legislature includes Alpine, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Poway, Escondido, San Marcos, Lakeside, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Julian, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Bonsall, Borrego Springs and Fallbrook. He was first elected to the State Assembly in 2006 and to the State Senate in 2010.
 Lakeside Realtor Named Realtor of the Year
     Lakeside resident Ron Boland has been named 2016 East County Realtor of the Year by the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,500-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors. Boland, a real estate sales agent since 2005, has served on the PSAR board of directors since 2012. He also has served the past four years on the PSAR Budget and Finance Committee and the past two years on the PSAR Tech Committee. Two years ago, he singlehandedly installed a flag pole for an American flag at PSAR’s East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. Since 2009, he has worked with Parkway Real Estate, an El Cajon real estate sales and property management firm. A native of Winona, Minn., Boland, 78, has lived in California since 1982. Prior to real estate, he spent 20 years selling frames to artist supply shops in Utah, Arizona and California. Ron has resided with wife Carolyn in Lakeside’s Eucalyptus Hills community since April 1984. They have been married since January 1968. Founded in 1928, PSAR offers San Diego County REALTORS® access to the Sandicor MLS, along with educational training, advocacy and other services and resources. For information on PSAR, visit www.PSAR.org.

November 17, 2016

Chamber Members are More Confident, Survey Said
      San Diego County business owners expressed a moderately positive outlook in a recent survey of chamber of commerce members. The survey’s results pushed higher a “business outlook index” (BOI) to 16.8 in October, compared to 15.6 points in September. As recently as March, the index peaked at 27. Business owners were asked whether, in the upcoming three months, they expect more or less revenue, an increase or decrease in the number of employees or the hours they work, and an improvement or worsening of business conditions. The survey found increasing confidence among those in the manufacturing section, with drops among respondents in hospitality, transportation, and home and garden. The recent survey of about 200 chamber members included members from the Lakeside, Santee, Alpine Mountain Empire and San Diego East County chambers, as well as chamber members from Escondido, Vista, National City and San Diego.

Hollywood Casino in Jamul Completes Refinancing
      Jamul Indian Village, operators of the Hollywood Casino in Jamul, has announced it has completed a $460 million refinancing of the casino, which opened Oct. 10. Proceeds from the refinancing will be used to refinance casino development debt, retire tribal debt and gain working capital, a statement said. The federal securities filing also said that Penn National will provide up to an additional $15 million of loan commitments to fund certain roadway improvement costs. The casino, located at 14145 Highway 94 at Daisy Drive, features 1,700 slot machines, 43 live table games and multiple dining and entertainment options. Penn National Gaming (Nasdaq: PENN), managers of the casino on behalf of the Jamul Indian Village, received $274 million cash as a result of the transaction. Jamul Indian Village’s new credit facilities include a $5 million revolving line of credit. All credit facilities are due in 2022. Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP of Phoenix provided legal counsel for Jamul Indian Village and Stuyvesant Square Advisors Inc. acted as financial adviser. Goldman Sachs Banks USA and Fifth Third Bank acted as joint lead arrangers and joint book runners. Penn National receives a fee of 30 percent of net revenue (earnings before taxes) for the management of the facility, as well as a licensing fee of 2 percent of gross revenue for the use of the Hollywood brand and marketing services. Penn National Gaming operates 26 facilities in 16 jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada. The Jamul Indian Village is one of 13 bands of the Kumeyaay Nation of Southern California. 
Thunderbird Products in El Cajon Goes Solar
       Thunderbird Products of El Cajon has announced it has completed a 74.43-kilowatt-AC photovoltaic installation at its El Cajon manufacturing facility. The system from Sullivan Solar Power consists of 252 SunPower 327-watt solar panels expected to produce more than 135,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough to meet Thunderbird’s energy needs. Thunderbird specializes in making copper products such as drains and vents.
Chargers Blood Drive 38 Set for Tuesday
      The San Diego Blood Bank will host Chargers Drive 38, presented by San Diego County Credit Union, on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Town and Country Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Mission Valley. In addition to an all-day blood drive, attendees can meet Chargers players, enjoy entertainment and take advantage of free bone marrow registry testing.  Activities also include a “Wellness Zone” with interactive exhibits, musical entertainment, complimentary food sampling and a performance by the Charger Girls. New this year will be a booth with the National Institutes of Health “All of Us,” a program aimed at developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease. Considered one of the largest and longest-running single-day blood drives in the nation, the Chargers blood drive has collected more than 72,000 pints of blood over the past 37 years. This year’s collection goal is 900 pints. To make an appointment or for more information, visit www.sandiegobloodbank.org, or call (619) 296-6393.
 Annual Economic Impact of San Diego’s Advertising Industry is $71 Billion
      The advertising industry in San Diego County accounts for $71.5 billion in annual economic impact, or about 16.9 percent of total economic output in the region, according to a just-released study commissioned by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), a national advertising trade organization. AAF membership consists of more than 200 local advertising clubs, including San Diego’s SDX, formerly the San Diego Ad Club. The study’s results, announced by SDX, also revealed that one dollar spent on advertising generates $22 in economic output, and every one million dollars of ad spending resulting in sales of products and services supports 81 local jobs. In addition, about 15.5 percent of all local jobs are related in some way to local advertising expenditures. Conducted by research firm IHS Global Insight, SDX said the economic impact figure was measured against four categories, including direct economic impact, suppliers economic impact, inter-industry economic impact and induced consumer spending. The geographic area used for the study was defined by San Diego’s five Congressional districts.

November 03, 2016

East County Chamber Will Host Breakfast at Sycuan Resort
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m., Friday, Nov. 4 at Sycuan Golf Resort, 3007 Dehesa Road, El Cajon. Sycuan Casino is the breakfast sponsor. Speakers will include representatives from Sycuan Casino, St. Madeleine Sophie's Center and the Mother Goose Parade. Also speaking will be California Sen. Joel Anderson. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for guests with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. For more information and to RSVP, contact info@eastcountychamber.org, or (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org. 
Realtors Announce East County Candidate Endorsements
     The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,500-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors, has released its list of endorsed candidates vying for seats in East County city and special district election races in November. PSAR operates an office and conference center in El Cajon at 1150 Broadway. PSAR is endorsing the following: Star Bales, Steve Goble, Ben Kalasho, Bob McClellan, El Cajon City Council; Kristine Alessio and Colin Parent, La Mesa City Council; George Gastil for  Lemon Grove Mayor, Jerry Selby for Lemon Grove City Council. In addition, PSAR is endorsing both City of Santee mayoral candidates, Rob McNelis and John Minto, as well as Mason Herron for Santee City Council. Also, PSAR has endorsed Virginia Hall for a seat on the Grossmont Healthcare District. PSAR, founded in 1928, offers educational training, advocacy and other services and resources to its realtor and affiliate members. For more information, visit www.PSAR.org.

Senator Joel Anderson Sets Date for Legislative Open House
      California Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) will host his annual Legislative Open House from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Toyota of El Cajon, 965 Arnele Ave., El Cajon. The free event is an opportunity for Anderson and his staff to meet with constituents and hear ideas on new legislation for 2017. All attendees will receive a 2016 legislative update and an opportunity to submit ideas to improve state government. Anderson says several of the bills he has introduced in the past originated from suggestions by attendees to this annual event. Donated hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be provided by local businesses and community partners. To RSVP, contact Anderson’s El Cajon district office at (619) 596-3136, or visit www.senate.ca.gov/anderson.
       “My top priority is making government work for you,” Anderson said. “This event gives me an opportunity to hear directly from my constituents about their opinions and legislative ideas. Forty to 60 percent of the bills I introduce come from the people I serve. I want to hear directly from you, about your concerns and your ideas for improving state government.”
      Anderson’s 38th Senate district in the California Legislature includes Lemon Grove, El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Poway, Escondido, San Marcos, Lakeside, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Julian, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Bonsall, Borrego Springs and Fallbrook. He was first elected to the State Assembly in 2006 and to the State Senate in 2010.
 Southern California Challenge Walk MS Is This Weekend
      The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Pacific South Coast Chapter in San Diego will host its 15th annual Southern California Challenge Walk MS, a three-day, 50-mile walk, Nov. 4-6. About 250 people are expected to walk the route along San Diego’s coastline, from Carlsbad to Downtown San Diego. National MS Society officials said the walkers are expected to raise about $700,000 in donations for MS research and programs and services for people affected by MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. Walkers will include people living with MS, as well as friends and family members of people who have MS. 
      The fundraiser will begin at the Flower Fields at 8 a.m. on Friday morning, Nov. 4, and will end around noontime on Sunday, Nov. 6 in Downtown San Diego. The route is 20 miles the first two days, and 10 miles the third day. The minimum donation required to walk is $2,500 per person, which includes overnight hotel accommodations, meals and entertainment. Lunches are included along the route. Breakfast and dinner meals are provided at the host hotel. The fundraising minimum for walkers between ages 10 to 17 is $1,500. Walkers must be at least 10 years old to walk. The donation minimum for first-time walkers also is $1,500. An additional registration fee is $75 per walker. Event information is available at www.myMSchallenge.com, or phone Tiffany Lynch, director, Walk MS and emerging events, at (760) 448-8435. Local sponsors include UltraStar Cinemas, Albertsons and Veg Fresh Farms, a supplier of fresh produce to consumers, foodservice operators and retailers.

October 27, 2016

Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber Selects Board Officers 
      The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce has selected its 2016-2017 board of directors officers, announced Mary Rynearson, Chamber president/CEO.  Joseph Perricone, The Canvas Makers, will serve as chairman of the board, and Frank Sturniolo, REACH Air Medical Care, is the board’s new vice chairman. Jan Morse, On Line Bookkkeeping & Tax Service, will serve as director of finance. Colleen McDade, All Service Property Management, will serve as director of proceedings, a position formerly held by Perricone. Ben Everhart, Comfort Keepers, is immediate past chair. Directors include: Bob Ring, Barons Market; Darryl Bush, Keller Williams Realty; Raymond “Bear” Cuero, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians; Richard Edwords, Kamps Propane; Rose Signore, Postal Annex of Alpine. Retiring from the board were long-time members Al Haven, KnewSpace, and Virginia Fellows, Virginia Fellows, CPA. 
East County Herald is Supporting Free Health Screenings for Children
      The San Diego County Herald, publisher of the East County Herald, has been named a media partner of the 2016 Kids Care Fest, featuring free health care screenings, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds,12584 Mapleview St., Lakeside. Kids Care Fest is presented by the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County.
      Now in its 15th year, Kids Care Fest is an opportunity for children to receive free, potentially life-saving, health care screenings, including hearing, vision and dental screenings, from healthcare professionals. Also available at the event will be free medical information from medical professionals, including dermatologists and pharmacists and others, along with free kids fingerprinting and free flu shots (while supplies last).
      Additional free activities will include rock climbing, inflatable obstacle course and pony rides (100 pound limit for riders), along with demonstrations and displays from law enforcement, including police and fire officials. Also available will be free children’s readings books (while supplies last). For more information, phone (619) 825‑5050 or visit www.KidsCareFest.org.
      Healthcare partners supporting 2016 Kids Care Fest include Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Rady Children’s Hospital, Borrego Community Health Foundation, University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Eye Mobile for Children, La Maestra Community Health Centers, Family Health Centers of San Diego and the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency.
Housing Market Forecast for 2017
      What’s in store for the housing market in 2017? To no one’s surprise, a shortage of homes for sale and affordability concerns are expected to keep the housing market pretty much the same next year, according to the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,500-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors with offices in El Cajon and Chula Vista. 
      “Our local housing market will be influenced by the same factors impacting up and down the state, namely tight housing supplies and low housing affordability,” said Anthony Andaya, 2016 PSAR president. “The housing market crystal ball says high prices, inventory and affordability will keep the market subdued. But, our PSAR members are optimistic and opportunistic. I’m expecting tremendous success for all of us.” 
      PSAR said mortgage interest rates are forecast to rise next year, but not by much. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is expected to be about 4.0 percent in 2017, compared to this year’s near-record low of 3.6 percent. Meanwhile, home prices are projected to be virtually unchanged this year and next. The median house price -- the point at which half the homes sell for more and half go for less -- is projected to rise 4.3 percent to $525,600 in 2017. That’s the smallest percentage gain in six years.
Noah Homes to Host Ribbon Cutting for Alzheimer’s Home
      Noah Homes, a residential community in Spring Valley for adults with developmental disabilities, will cut the ribbon on its first memory care homes in California, two of the first in the nation, specifically for people with developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome, Autism, cerebral palsy and others. The ribbon cutting will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 at Noah Homes, 12526 Campo Road, Spring Valley. 
      Scheduled to attend the event include: Mary Ball, president/CEO, Alzheimer's San Diego; Dianne Jacob, San Diego County Supervisor; Dr. Michael Rafii, director, Adult Down Syndrome Clinic and Assistant Professor of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego; Molly Nocon, CEO, Noah Homes; Alexis Parker, executive director, HomeAid San Diego; Scott and Russ Murfey, principals, Mufey Construction; Jace Prewett, VP of construction, Brookfield Residential Southern California. 
      San Diego continues to lead the country in innovation, opening two of the first memory care homes for the more than 280,000 people with developmental disabilities in California. Almost all people with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s if they live into their 60s. As UC San Diego continues to advance research on Alzheimer’s, Noah Homes and community partners are advancing quality of care for those affected. These homes will open in early 2017 and become home to 20 people with developmental disabilities who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another related dementia.

October 20, 2016

Santee Realtor Joins New Brokerage
      Santee resident Mell Schaer has joined Assistance with Real Estate, Inc., a real estate sales and mortgage company operated by Laura Baase, a broker and senior mortgage loan consultant. Schaer, who has lived in Santee since 1996, began selling real estate in 2014, after a 25-year career as a pharmaceutical and medical supply sales representative with three different companies. He began investing in real estate investor in 2003. He specializes in assisting first-time homebuyers move into remodeled homes. In his spare time, he plays bass guitar in four bands, including a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, outlaw country band, southern rock band and progressive metal band. One of his bands named “RedCrownTourist” recently released an 11-song CD called “So What We Tried” that was recorded at Doubletime Recording Studio in Santee. 
La Mesa Health Library Hosts Program on `Live Your Best Life’ 
     The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host a free program on “Live Your Best Life” from 10 to 11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26. The program is part of the library’s “Wellness Wednesday” series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served. Advance RSVP is not necessary. Handouts will be available. Topics discussed at the program will include healthy behaviors that can help people avoid the top four chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and pulmonary diseases such as asthma. “Changing behaviors may help prevent these chronic conditions,” said Kathy Quinn, Herrick Library director. “Come and be inspired about how a healthy lifestyle equates to good health.” Speaker at the program will a representative from Champions for Health, a nonprofit formerly known as the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation. 
KPBS’s GM Wins National PBS Award
      La Mesa resident Tom Karlo, general manager, KPBS, was recently presented with an award in the development category at the Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) Public Media Development and Marketing Conference held in Boston. Karlo was presented with the 2016 C. Scott Elliott Development Professional of the Year award. 
      “This award represents the highest levels of professional achievement in the public broadcasting development community, and is a mark of true distinction,” said Paula Kerger, PBS president/CEO. “Tom Karlo has brought new energy and vision to KPBS’ service to the greater San Diego community and has been an inspirational leader not only at KPBS but also for the entire public media system.”
     Karlo, who was named KPBS GM in February 2009, began his career at KPBS in 1973 as a part-time assistant while attending SDSU. Years later and after fulfilling multiple other roles, Karlo was promoted to associate general manager in 2002, a position he held before becoming only the fifth GM in the station’s 49-year history.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Cycling Ride is This Weekend
      The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Pacific South Coast Chapter in San Diego will host its 34th annual Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour, a cycling fundraiser, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23. Information and registration is available at www.BikeToFinishMS.com, or by calling (855) 372-1331. About 2,500 riders are expected to help raise about $2.5 million in donations for MS research and programs and services for people affected by MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body.Cyclists will include people living with MS, as well as friends and family members of people who have MS. The fundraiser will feature four different cycling rides of 25, 100, 125 and 150 miles, plus a virtual fundraising ride with riders on stationary bicycles watching a video of the route on a big screen.
      A two-day, 100-, 125 or 150-mile ride will feature a route from Irvine to Carlsbad on Saturday, Oct. 22, followed by a 50-mile ride from Carlsbad to San Diego Bay on Sunday, Oct. 23.  A single-day, 25-mile ride around Mission Bay also is available on Sunday, Oct. 23. All four rides will finish on Sunday morning, Oct. 23 at Hospitality Point on Mission Bay. Registration fee is $60 per rider and each donation minimum is $400 per rider for any of the four rides. The minimum age limit for riders is 12 years. The fundraiser is open to all levels of cyclists ranging from beginner to expert. Riders raising the highest dollar amount will be eligible for a variety of incentives and prizes.
     The virtual ride on stationary bicycles will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Carlsbad at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa, 5480 Grand Pacific Dr., near the Legoland California theme park. Riders on the stationary bicycles will enjoy great music and a big-screen TV projecting the actual Bike MS route. 

October 13, 2016

Hollywood Casino in Jamul Has Opened
     After a 20-year effort amid community opposition, the Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego has opened. Located at 14145 Highway 94 at Daisy Drive, the casino features 1,700 slot machines, 43 live table games and multiple dining and entertainment options, including the Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub. Other dining and entertainment venues include: Final Cut Steak & Seafood, a contemporary American steakhouse; Loft 94, an indoor-outdoor casual restaurant and beer garden with 48 rotating craft beers on tap; Emerald Chinese Cuisine, a dim sum and Cantonese-style restaurant; Tres Taqueria, an eatery featuring tacos and burritos; Pizza Port, pizza restaurant. The facility has an eight-story, below-ground parking for over 1,800 vehicles. The $400 million casino will be the ninth operated by an Indian tribe in San Diego County and provide more than 1,000 jobs, many for members of the tribe. The Jamul Indian Village is one of 13 bands of the Kumeyaay Nation of Southern California. 
     Since planning began in the mid-1990s, the project has faced intense opposition in the Jamul and Dulzura communities, and County Supervisor Diane Jacob was a vocal opponent, citing safety hazards from increased traffic the facility will generate along the two-lane state Route 94. Jacbos said since 2014, about 50 collisions have occurred along Highway 94 near the venue. The casino is expected to add 9,000 vehicle trips to the area each day, a 50 percent jump from current traffic patterns. However, the casino said it will provide more than $90 million in funding for fire and public safety and $23 million for road and transportation improvements near facility. Construction at the four-acre parcel began in 2014. 
     Penn National Gaming (Nasdaq: PENN) is managing the casino on behalf of the Jamul Indian Village. Richard St. Jean is general manager of the casino. Jamul Indian Village and Penn National received final approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission for Penn National to manage the facility. Officials said the Jamul tribe will proceed with a $460 million refinancing of the project.
     According to a casino announcement, Penn National will get a fee of 30 percent of net revenue (earnings before taxes) for the management of the facility, as well as a licensing fee of 2 percent of gross revenue for the use of the Hollywood brand and marketing services. Penn National Gaming operates 26 facilities in 16 jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada. 
San Diego Chamber Endorsing Countywide Sales Tax Increase Measure
      The San Diego County if Commerce has endorsed Measure A, a November ballot measure that would raise the region's sales tax by a half-cent to pay for infrastructure projects. The San Diego County Road Repair, Transit, Traffic Relief, Safety and Water Quality Measure would raise an estimated $18 billion over 40 years to improve freeways, fund municipal road repairs and build a trolley line between San Ysidro and Kearny Mesa, among other things. 
     “Measure A fixes our roads, creates capacity and freedom of movement for our residents and goods, and propels the growth of the economy throughout the region,'” said Jerry Sanders, the chamber's president and CEO.
     Two-thirds of voters would need to vote “yes”' in the November election for the proposition to pass. Measure A is sponsored by the San Diego Association of Governments.
 Gun Owners PAC Announces List of Endorsed East County Candidates
     The San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, has released its list of endorsed candidates in the East County who are vying for seats in local city and school board elections in November. SDCGO is endorsing the following: Rob McNelis, mayor, Santee; Dustin Trotter and Mason Herron, Santee City Council; Michael Summers, Lemon Grove City Council, Kristine Alessio, reelection to La Mesa City Council; Jim Miller, Cajon Valley Union School District.
     “It is crucial that voters elect candidates who will defend the rights of law-abiding citizens, stand strong in support of the Second Amendment and oppose senseless gun control laws,” said Santee resident Michael Schwartz, executive director, SDCGO. “We take seriously these recommended endorsements. We are proud to support local candidates who will uphold the Second Amendment and the rights of gun owners, oppose all attempts to infringe on the rights of the people to keep and bear arms and advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime.”
Lantern Crest in Santee Refinances $24 Million 
      The Grant Cos., owner of The Point at Lantern Crest, a 102-unit senior housing community in Santee, has obtained $24.9 million in refinancing, according to CBRE Group, which arranged the financing. A 10-year loan was approved through Freddie Mac to refinance an existing construction loan, CBRE said. Located at 800 Lantern Crest Way, the senior community was first completed in 2012, offering assisted living and memory care units. A second phase, completed in 2015, offers independent and assisted living units. The property has onsite amenities including a fitness center, movie theater, game room, salon spa, library and two restaurants. San Diego-based The Grant Cos. was formed in 1989 and has developed more than $500 million in projects, including medical office buildings, apartments, retail centers, industrial and mixed-use developments.

October 06, 2016

East County Chamber Will Host Breakfast at Grossmont College
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m., Friday, Oct. 7 at Grossmont College, Griffin Gate, 8800 Grossmont Center Dr. El Cajon. Grossmont Union High School District is the breakfast sponsor. The program will focus on education. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for guests with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. Park in lot #7 to avoid ticketing. For more information and to RSVP, contact Melissa Long at melissaL@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org. 
La Mesa Auto Repair Shop Back in Business After Fire
      Summit Transmissions, 7633 El Cajon Blvd. in La Mesa, has reopened following a fire that closed the auto repair shop for three weeks, announced Jerry Kubitsky, owner, Summit Transmissions. At about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17, Kubitsky said an electrical fire began in the ignition system of a Honda Odyssey automobile being held overnight for repairs. The fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damages. He said the fire caused damages to several other vehicles, as well as destroyed wiring, scan tools and repair equipment. Auto parts, valued at several thousands of dollars, were discarded over the possibility of product failure, Kubitsky said. The shop partially reopened on Sept. 6 and has been adding repair capacity as new equipment is installed, he said.  
       “We’ve reopen earlier than most people expected, but there is still work to be done,” said Kubitsky. “We’re close to being fully operational and returning to the level of business we had before the fire. The fire has tested us but our faith, which remains strong, has kept us calm in the face of this major setback. The support we have received from our customers and industry friends has been tremendous. Other shops have offered to lend us repair space or help with the cleanup. 
        Summit Transmissions, in business since 1982, is a member of Automotive Service Council of California (ASCCA), which established an emergency fund to help Kubitsky.  He has worked at Summit Transmissions since 1986 and acquired the business in 1994. The shop relocated from El Cajon to La Mesa in July 2006. For an appointment, call (619) 463-9400, or visit www.summittransmissions.com.
East County Realtors CEO Adding North County Duties
      El Cajon resident Rich D’Ascoli, chief executive officer, Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a San Diego-area trade group for realtors, has added CEO duties for the North San Diego County Association of Realtors (NSDCAR) to his workload. D’Ascoli will serve as CEO of both PSAR and NSDCAR. Officials said each association will continue to operate independently as two separate organizations governed by separate and independent boards of directors and D’Ascoli will report to each board separately.
      PSAR has more than 2,500 members and operates service centers in Chula Vista and El Cajon. NSDCAR has more than 4,800 members and operates service centers in Vista, Carmel Valley, Carlsbad, Escondido and Fallbrook. 
      The decision for D’Ascoli to lead both realtor associations was prompted by a recent shared-services agreement between the two groups signed earlier this year. The agreement provides access to services, resources and discounts offered by either association to both PSAR and NSDCAR members. Shared services include Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data, discounts on store items and lockbox equipment and services, along with educational training, advocacy and other resources. In addition, the recently announced retirement of Dianne McMillan, CEO of NSDCAR, presented the two realtor associations with the opportunity to benefit from professional executive support in a cost-effective manner, officials said. 
      D’Ascoli, who has served PSAR for the past 10 years, will begin serving NSDCAR on Oct. 1, but will gain the CEO of NSDCAR title effective Jan. 2, 2017, following McMillan’s end-of-year retirement. McMillan has worked with NSDCAR for the past 25 years.
Santee Woman Leading Advertising Emergency Group
      Santee resident Gloria Valenti Gerak, president of Media Planning & Placement, an advertising media planning and buying company, has been elected 2016-2017 president of the San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies (SAFE), a non-profit organization providing confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency.
      Gerak, who founded her company in 1987, works with advertising agencies and directly with clients providing comprehensive media planning and buying along with advertising promotions consulting. She has served on the SAFE board of directors since 2010. 
      SAFE is a nonprofit supported by volunteers in the advertising, communications and marketing industries. Since its founding in May 2000 by SDX, formerly the San Diego Advertising Club, SAFE has approved more than 90 grants totaling about $500,000. Over the years, SAFE grant recipients have needed assistance with such expenses as utilities, food, gasoline and rent due to a variety of emergency situations ranging from life-threatening disease to accident, injury or employment interruption.

September 29, 2016

Santee Chamber to Host OktOVERfest Event on Saturday
     The Santee Chamber of Commerce will host its inaugural OktOVERfest, an over-the-line tournament and party, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, at Town Center Community Park West, 9409 Cuyamaca St., Santee. The day-long event is a fundraiser for the Chamber. The double-elimination tournament begins at 9 a.m. for the teams of three players apiece. Three divisions will include men’s advance, men’s recreational and women’s open. No gloves will be allowed for men players. At 4 p.m. a party begins with food trucks, beer garden and d.j. music. Cost to play in the tournament is $75 per team. Admission to the party is $20 per person. Both the tournament and party are for people ages 21 and over. No outside food or beverages will be permitted. No small children and no dogs. Admission is free for spectators. For details, visit www.SanteeChamber.com/OTL.
ECEDC is organizing Manufacturing Expo on Oct. 4
      The East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC), a regional non-profit, business-growth organization, is organizing a Manufacturing Expo from 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the San Diego Air & Space Museum Annex, 335 Kenney Road at Gillespie Field, El Cajon. Admission is free. No RSVP is required. Exhibitors are expected to include GKN Aerospace/Chem-Tronics, Taylor Guitars, Quality Control Manufacturing Inc., Computer Integrated Machining, Fox Factory, RCP Brick & Block and others. Students and job seekers are invited to attend. Other event organizers include the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and San Diego Workforce Partnership. Sponsors include San Diego Gas & Electric, US Bank, California Bank & Trust, GKN Aerospace/Chem-Tronics, Parkway Plaza, Taylor Guitars, Southland Envelope, XL Staffing/Excell Security, City of El Cajon and City of Santee. 
     ECEDC officials said the event will launch its “Made in East County” campaign that will highlight local manufacturers. “From widgets to ship repair, from defense to aerospace, including medical devices, sporting goods, musical instruments and wine, it’s all made in the East County,” said Jo Marie Diamond, president/CEO, ECEDC. The expo also will include resources for manufacturers about training, tax credits and other available resources. Any manufacturer is invited to attend the resource fair, as well as a post-event mixer from 6 to 8 p.m. For more event information, visit: www.EastCountyEDC.org. The ECEDC is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a healthy economic climate and enhanced quality of life in San Diego’s East County region.
East County medical practice is supporting diabetes prevention 5k 
     Children’s Primary Care Medical Group, with offices on Chase Avenue in El Cajon and Alvarado Road in San Diego, is participating with a team of employees, family members and friends at the 3rd annual Solana Beach Sunset 5k run-walk, a fundraiser for diabetes prevention, starting at 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, at Fletcher Cove Park 111 South Sierra Ave., Solana Beach. 
     The fundraiser, billed as San Diego’s only sunset 5k on the beach at low tide, is presented by Champions for Health, a local non-profit foundation. Organizers expect about 900 people will participate. Onsite registration on event day will begin at 3 p.m. A wellness expo also opens at 3 p.m. Registration costs are $45 for individuals, $25 for children under age 15, $100 for four family members and $1,000 for team of 25 participants.
      “We’re encouraging everyone to meet us at the beach as we run or walk along the sand, soak in the gorgeous views and raise funds for diabetes prevention,” said Barbara Mandel, CEO, Champions for Health. 
     Proceeds will benefit Jump Start for Health, a Champions for Health program designed to prevent diabetes among at-risk adults in San Diego County. Champions for Health, formerly known as the San Diego County Medical Society, operates numerous health promotion programs in San Diego County. For registration and event information, visit www.SB5k.org. Fletcher Cove, a small, sandy beach at the intersection of South Sierra Avenue and Plaza Street, is called the “Pillbox” by locals because of its history as a World War II gunnery installation. No pooches or alcohol are allowed on the beach. The beach is a popular spot for swimming, surfing and kayaking. Restroom facilities, picnic tables, playground and a basketball court are located nearby. 
     Sponsors for the Champions for Health’s Solana Beach Sunset 5k run-walk include The Doctors Company and The Doctors Insurance Agency, County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency’s Live Well San Diego, Tri-City Medical Center, Northgate Market, California Coast Credit Union, San Diego County Medical Society, First 5 San Diego, Skinny Gene Project, City of Solana Beach, The Brighter Side Boutique, Solana Beach Executive Plaza, T&M Mechanical Sales, Farm Fresh To You, Coastal Roots Farm, Smart & Final, Lara Bars, Movin’ Shoes, WANU Water, Architectural Interior Resource, Juice Wave and Colonial Life. KUSI-NEWS, Ranch & Coast Magazine, KPBS and Giving Back Magazine have signed on as a media sponsors.

September 22, 2016

East County Chamber Names 2016 WILL Honorees
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce recently honored seven women with Women in Leadership Luncheon (WILL) awards. Honorees included: Alison Cummings, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC); Marlee J. Ehrenfeld, MJE Marketing; Theresa Kemper, Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD); Jill Meyers, Women in Aviation International; Dana Rivers, Barona Resort & Casino; Catt Fields White, San Diego Public Markets; Sherry Yarbrough, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
      According to Leah McIvor, 2016 event chair, 35 nominees were considered by the committee for the awards program, now in its 14th year. She said the recipients were honored for their outstanding leadership, exemplary character and integrity in the community, as well as their efforts to empower women to succeed and prosper in life and business.
     Cummings has served on the SMSC’s board of directors since 2004 and is currently board chair. Her 33-year career with the Cajon Valley School District included 21 years as principal at four elementary schools. 
     Ehrenfeld founded MJE Marketing in 1994. Her firm’s clients have included the San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego State University, San Diego Zoo, County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation, City of La Mesa, Anthony’s Fish Grotto and Jamul Indian Village, operator of the Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego. 
     Kemper has served as assistant superintendent of educational services with GUHSD since 2011. She previously served as principal of Grossmont High School from 2002 to 2011. She has worked in education since 1989.
     Meyers has lived in San Diego since 2014 and works as a senior manager for Northrop Grumman Corp. on the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. She also is currently serving as 2016 president of Women in Aviation International’s San Diego chapter. 
     Rivers has worked with Barona Resort & Casino since 2002. Her current title is community relations manager. She also has served on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of East County (BGCEC) for the past 10 years, including two years as board president. She is currently serving on the BGCEC’s La Mesa Capital Campaign committee for a sixth club location. 
     As co-founder of San Diego Public Market, White has organized four weekly farmers markets held in Pacific Beach, North Park and Downtown San Diego at the County Administration Building, along with the Little Italy Mercato. The four markets generate more than $4 million in annual sales. 
     Yarbrough serves as executive director of ABC’s Apprenticeship Training Academy in Poway. Since the training program began in 1989, more than 2,200 graduates have launched rewarding careers in five different construction crafts, including electrical, plumbing, pipefitting, sheet metal and air conditioning and heating. 
     The Sept. 16 luncheon drew about 360 attendees to the Town and Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley. Emcee was former TV anchor Lee Ann Kim who now serves currently serves on advisory boards for the Women’s Museum and San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. Keynote speaker was fitness instructor, dancer and choreographer Dionne Thomas, a licensed Zumba instructor and speaker at a 2015 TedX Temecula event. 
      Sponsors included Hollywood Casino, Barona Resort & Casino, The East County Herald newspaper, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Jasmine Creek Florist, Kaiser Permanente, San Diego Gas & Electric, St. Madeleine Sophie's Center, Sycuan Resort & Casino, Diamond Creations by Ramona, Leah McIvor - Coldwell Banker,  Foothills Christian Church, Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District, Grossmont Healthcare District, Nancy Dennison - Keller Williams La Mesa, iMortgage, Mail Management Group, Inc., MJE Marketing Inc., Oak Tree Escrows, Inc., Toward Maximum Independence, USS Midway Museum, Walmart, California Bank & Trust  La Mesa branch, Point Loma Credit Union, RCP Block & Brick, Waste Management and XL Staffing/Excell Security.
La Mesa Chamber of Commerce to Host Sen. Joel Anderson Breakfast
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host California Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) for a breakfast meeting starting at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Marie Callender’s restaurant, 6950 Alvarado Road, San Diego. Breakfast sponsors include Carl Burger Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM World and Hornbrook Center for Dentistry.
     Anderson will share his insight on Sacramento and discuss upcoming legislation critical to Californians and businesses, as well as outlines anticipated challenges in 2017. Anderson, a longtime advocate for small businesses, has been  named the California State Legislator of the Year by the California Small Business Association and California Small Business Roundtable.
     The public is invited to attend. Cost to attend is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for guests with advanced reservations, or $25 at the door. Breakfast will include eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fresh fruit and juice. Prize drawings also will be held. Attendance drawing sponsors include La Mesa Courier and Opus Bank. Reservations may be made via the chamber website, www.lamesachamber.com, or by sending an e-mail, rsvp@lamesachamber.com, or by calling the Chamber Office (619) 465-7700, ext. #2.
     Anderson’s 38th Senate District, representing more than 1 million constituents, includes Lemon Grove, El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Poway, Escondido, San Marcos, Lakeside, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Julian, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Bonsall, Borrego Springs and Fallbrook. He was first elected to the state Assembly in 2006 and to the state Senate in 2010.

September 15, 2016

Dionne Thomas is Keynote Speaker at 2016 WILL Awards
     Fitness instructor, dancer and choreographer Dionne Thomas will be the keynote speaker at the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce’s 14th annual Women In Leadership Luncheon (WILL) to be held Friday, Sept. 16 at the Town and Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley.
     Thomas is a licensed Zumba instructor and spoke at a 2015 TedX Temecula event. She is known for her ability to help people connect to their authentic self expression, according to press materials. Thomas encourages us to awaken our inner dancer and allow ourselves to move courageously unguarded through the world.” “It is my passion to help people release their fears, self-doubt or whatever is holding them back from living the life of their dreams,” said Thomas, according to her website. “I believe that dancing is one of the ways we set ourselves free to return to that child-like inner confidence so we can become all we want to be.”
     The annual WILL event honors women for their outstanding leadership, exemplary character and integrity in the community, as well as their efforts to empower women to succeed and prosper in life and business, according to Leah McIvor, 2016 event chair. San Diego County Herald LLC, publisher of The East County Herald newspaper, is an event sponsor. Other sponsors include Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Barona Resort & Casino and Hollywood Casino in Jamul. For ticket sales and sponsorship information, contact the Chamber offices at (619) 440-6161 or send an e-mail to Rosemary Reed, RosemaryR@eastcountychamber.org.
 La Mesa Chamber Now Accepting Items for Holiday Senior Baskets
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has begun accepting items to include in holiday gift baskets for La Mesa senior citizens. According to Mary England, Chamber president/CEO, items needed include canned soups, canned vegetables, canned fruit, boxes of crackers, pasta and macaroni and cheese, slipper socks for women, men’s socks, bars of soaps,  toothpaste, tissues, hand soaps, bottles of hand sanitizer and pens and pads of paper. Gift cards in any denomination from Walmart, Target or a grocery store also are welcomed. 
     “If you have another item you believe will put a smile on their faces, by all means drop them off,” England said. “We want to make this again a memorable holiday for our home bound seniors.” Items can be delivered to the La Mesa Chamber office, 8080 La Mesa Blvd., Suite 212, La Mesa, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, or contact England at (619) 251-7730. 
     England said 24 gift baskets are planned for seniors who have been selected by the La Mesa Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol. The gift baskets and a hot dinner will be delivered toward the end of the year, she said. 
 You Could Be Among 200,000 Picked for Transportation Survey
     The San Diego Association of Governments is launching a survey that will query one in five area households about transportation habits. The study of around 200,000 households is designed to help transportation planners better understand how, when and why residents travel in the region, according to SANDAG. The results will be used to help develop infrastructure projects and programs to better meet regional transportation needs.
     Participants will be randomly selected, most via a smartphone app but some online or by phone. They'll be asked questions about when and where they travel; whether they drive alone, carpool, vanpool, walk, bike, or use public transit; and the costs of their transportation choices taking into account things like parking and transit fares.
     Participants whose households complete the study will receive either a $10 or $20 gift card per adult, depending on the method they use to complete the survey. Residents will be invited to participate on a rolling basis, through late October. All of the data is anticipated to be collected by November, according to SANDAG, which last conducted a major transportation survey 10 years ago.
 La Mesa Health Care Library Meeting About Vitamin D
      The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host a free program on “The ABCs of Vitamin D” from 10 to 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served. Advance RSVP is not necessary. Handouts will be available.  Speaking at the Herrick Library will be Kathy Quinn, library director. She will discuss the role of Vitamin D in our bodies. She also will discuss the pros and cons of how our bodies receive Vitamin D, including diet, supplements and through our skin. “Vitamin D is a popular topic in the news,” said Quinn. “It helps your body absorb calcium, one of the main building blocks of bone. It also has a role in nerve, muscle and immune systems.”

September 08, 2016

Alpine Chamber Presented HELPS Awards
     The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce recently presented its 2016 HELPS awards. HELPS stands for Heroes, Excellent Leadership and Public Service.
     Recipients of Hero awards included: Virginia and Dr. Ron Christman, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians; Bill Ridenour, Veterans Wall of Honor, Sophia Christiansen, a teenager who helps other young people battling leukemia; Julie Salmon, Descanso information service; Carlette Anderson, CPR expert and author; Greg Fox Jr., who used CPR to save a life; Chris Rubio, Arms Wide Open; Larry Clark, manager, Alpine Ayres Lodge, for his help with developmentally disabled people; Nica Knight, Mount Laguna community supporter; Team Parker 4 Life, helping children with cancer.
     Other award winners included: Alpine Library Friends Association, Alpine Sun Newsmaker of the Year; Bobbi Brink, Lions, Tigers & Bears, and Sam Diego, humanitarians of the year awards; Barons Market, large business of the year; Postal Annex of Alpine and Pine House Café & Tavern, small businesses of the year; Dan Foster, citizen of the year; Kiwanis Club of Alpine, community organization of the year; Boy Scout Troop #105, youth organization of the year; Alpine Woman’s Club, beautification award; Darryl Bush, Keller Williams Realty, Chamber ambassador of the year; Tom and Judy Myers, Alpine Historical Society, community organization recognition award.
     Recipients of President’s Awards included Diana Saenger, author, and Chris Wiley, Alpine Primary Residential Mortgage. Alpine community activist and educator Al Haven was recognized with a lifetime achievement award.
     Special recognition awards recipients included Alpine Beer Company, Bree Rowand, Kimberly Bowley, Sue Roff, Back Country Land Trust of San Diego County, Melanie Schlumpberger, Emily Moberly and the Alpine Union and Mountain Empire Unified school districts. Media recognition awards were presented to Alpine Sun, Alpine Neighbors Magazine, Alpine Community Network, East County Californian, East County Magazine, San Diego East County Herald, East County Gazette, Radio station 107.9 and the San Diego Union-Tribune’s East County edition. 
      Sponsors included Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, San Diego Gas & Electric Co., Keller Williams Realty, California Bank & Trust, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, Postal Annex of Alpine, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc., Alpine Regional Center, Baron’s Market, All Service Property Management, Virginia Fellows CPA, Alpine Artistic Florist, Subway, Steph’s Donut Hole, Greek Village Grill, Manana’s Mexican Restaurant, Souplantation, Al Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, Franco’s Flapjack Breakfast House, Carl’s Jr., Alpine Sushi and the Tractor Supply Co. Awards were presented on Aug. 27 at Viejas Casino & Resort.
Alpine Chamber Will Feature IRS at `Hot Topics’ Breakfast
     The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce will host its next “Hot Topics” networking breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Janet’s Montana Café, 2506 Alpine Blvd., Guest speaker Regina Lauridsen with the U.S. Internal Review Service will discuss identity theft and protecting clients’ data, as well as free webinars and e-newsletters from the IRS for small business owners. The public is invited to attend. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person, which includes opportunity drawing tickets. Prizes will include admission to future chamber events, including a “Hot Topics” breakfast and a “Red Hot and Moving to the Top” event for a business organization. For more information and to RSVP, call (619) 445-2722 or visit www.AlpineChamber.com.
Sen. Joel Anderson To Warn Realtors About Fraud
     California Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) will serve as moderator of “Staying Ahead of Real Estate Scammers,” a program on how realtors can protect their clients from fraud, from noon to 1:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, at the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors’ (PSAR) East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. Anderson serves as vice chair of the California Senate’s Public Safety Committee. 
     The program is presented by two trade groups for San Diego area-realtors, PSAR and the North San Diego County Association of Realtors (NSDCAR), in partnership with the Housing Opportunities Collaborative, a HUD-approved nonprofit that provides virtual counseling services for homeowners, along with foreclosure mitigation and avoidance services. Speakers will include representatives from the California Bureau of Real Estate, Federal Bureau of Investigations and San Diego County District Attorney, as well as a legal claims education officer from the title insurance industry who trains title agents on how to spot and resolve potential issues in a transaction before settlement. Cost to attend is $10 for PSAR and NSDCAR members and $20 for non-members. Luncheon service begins at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call PSAR at (619) 579-0333, or visit www.psar.org/fraud. 
 Wave Goodbye to MS Paddle Fundraiser on Saturday
      The National Multiple Sclerosis Society in San Diego will be the beneficiary of proceeds from the “Wave Goodbye to MS, Paddle for a Cure III,” a fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Ocean Beach Veterans Plaza Park, 5099 Newport Ave., San Diego, at the corner of Abbott Street and Newport Avenue, just south of the lifeguard station. The fundraiser is expected to feature hundreds of people on surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, canoes, kayaks or inflatables following a 1.25-mile course around the Ocean Beach Pier starting at 11 a.m. Donation to participate is $35 per person. Proceeds will benefit MS research and programs and services for people with MS. Registration and event information are available at www.WaveGoodbye.org.

August 04, 2016

Lakeside Chamber Presents `Touch-A-Truck’ 
      The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will present “Touch-A-Truck,” a special event featuring a variety of large trucks and construction vehicles, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18 at a parcel at 12637 Vigilante Road, Lakeside. The event is geared towards children and families, Chamber officials said. Tickets cost $5 a piece for adults ages 16 and higher and $15 a piece for children ages 1 to 15. VIP tickets, costing $30 per person, includes early entry and swag bag for children. Parking is free, with valet available for $5. 
      On display will be more than 50 trucks and vehicles, including fire trucks, emergency vehicles, dump trucks, 18-wheel tractor-trailer big rigs, garbage trucks, delivery trucks, utility trucks, farm vehicles and all-terrain off-road vehicles. Proceeds will benefit education programs geared towards the trucking, construction and industrial career paths for young people. Sponsors include Daily Disposal, the Lakeside Chamber, Enniss, Inc., Optimal Eats, Bug Bite Thing, Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs and Tsco Racing. For tickets and information, call (619) 561-1031 or visit www.tatlakeside.com.
 Jamul Casino Agreement Signed By Gov. Brown
      Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a 25-year gaming compact between the state and Jamul Indian Village for the new Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego, which is slated to begin operating later this summer. Compacts are agreements between tribes and states that allow federally recognized American-Indian tribes to have legal gaming on reservations.
     The three-story casino is expected to include a gaming and entertainment facility of 200,000 square feet that houses more than 1,700 slot machines, nearly 50 live table games, restaurants, bars, lounges and an enclosed underground parking structure with almost 1,900 spaces. More than 1,000 people are expected to be permanently employed at the gaming center, according to the tribe. The Jamul Indian Village is a 54-member tribe of Kumeyaay Indians who call a six-acre area off state Route 94 home.
     “The compact creates an economic environment that allows the tribe to transition to self-sufficiency and to contribute to other tribes, the community and local government,” said Jamul Indian Village Chairwoman Erica Pinto. “Through this compact, JIV reaffirms its commitment to working with the county on fire service, law enforcement and road improvements.”
     In April, the county Board of Supervisors approved an agreement between the county and the Jamul Indian Village regarding the casino.
 Get Ready For Some 619 Area Codes Changing to 858
      The 619 area code in San Diego is running out of available phone numbers. So, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has scheduled three public meetings to provide information and get input on the introduction of new area codes. The CPUC has started the process to add the 858 area code to the areas now served by the 619 area code, as the 619 area code is expected to use up its available prefixes by March 2019.
      Adding the 858 area code to the areas served by the 619 area code is known as a boundary elimination overlay, which will provide additional prefixes and new telephone numbers for the 619 area code customers, according the CPUC. The boundary elimination overlay, pending CPUC approval, would allow all customers to keep their current phone numbers, including their area code. To avoid service disruption, the 858 area code would be added to the areas served by the 619 area code by September 2018, six months before depletion of prefixes. Then, In September 2018, 619 area code customers requesting new phone numbers would be assigned the 858 area code.
      The area served by the 619 area code includes the southern portion of the city of San Diego, and the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Santee, and some unincorporated areas of San Diego County.
     The public meetings are scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Mission Valley State Building, 7575 Metropolitan Dr., San Diego, and at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at the La Colonia Community Center, 715 Valley Ave. in Solana Beach. A third meeting is scheduled for Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. at the Pine Valley Improvement Club, 28890 Old Highway 80 in Pine Valley.
 Tax Increase Ballot Measure Eendorsed By Taxpayers Group
      The San Diego County Taxpayers Association has endorsed a November ballot measure that would raise the region's sales tax by a half-cent to pay for infrastructure projects. The San Diego County Road Repair, Transit, Traffic Relief, Safety and Water Quality Measure would raise an estimated $18 billion over 40 years to improve freeways, fund municipal road repairs and build a trolley line between San Ysidro and Kearny Mesa, among other things.
      “The Taxpayers Association supports SANDAG's plan to improve public transportation and mobility for the following reasons — the agency operates effectively and efficiently, it has an excellent track record of leveraging state and federal funds for local projects, it delivers on its promises to voters, and this plan will reduce traffic and commute times, which will improve our quality of life,” said Haney Hong, the taxpayer group's president and CEO.

August 04, 2016

Alpine Chamber Will Host `Hot Topics’ Breakfast About Repeat Business
     The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce will host its next “Hot Topics” networking breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the VFW Bert Fuller Post #9578, 844 Tavern Road, Alpine. Guest speaker Carolyn Fisher will discuss “Three Reasons Customers Come Back.” Fisher has appeared on TV and motion pictures shows, including “Over the Top” with Sylvester Stallone. She also has won arm wrestling championships. The public is invited to attend. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person, which includes opportunity drawing tickets. Prizes will include admission to future chamber events, including a “Hot Topics” breakfast and a “Red Hot and Moving to the Top” event for a business organization. For more information and to RSVP, call (619) 445-2722 or visit www.AlpineChamber.com.
 Lakeside Chamber Installs Board of Ddirectors, Awards Citizen of the Year
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce installed its 2016-2017 board of directors at its recent awards dinner. Mike Anderson, Keller Williams Realty, was installed as chairman, succeeding Frank Hilliker, Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs, Inc. Additional executive board members for the 2016-2017 term include: Bonnie LaChappa, Barona Band of Mission Indians, as 1st vice chair; Lisa Grote, Be Carb Compliant, as 2nd vice chair; Kelly Baker, Barona Resort & Casino, as vice chair of finance. 
     Additional board members include: Lisa Anderson, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center; Ben Clevenger, Eastbound Bar & Grill; Milton Cyphert, Cyphertech Mechanical Corp.; Robert Lloyd, Lloyds Collision and Paint Center; Angela Andrews, True Lawn Care, Inc.; Steve Menefee, 7/Eleven Food Store; Don Parent, San Diego Gas & Electric; Todd Ottonello, Daily Disposal Services; Kate Cunningham, El Capitan Stadium Association; Steve Mull, Lakeside Middle School; Ryan Turner, Bob Turner’s Crane Service. 
     Also at the installation event, outgoing board members were honored. They included: Jason Hanks, Cal Auctions; David Dailey, Harvest Christian Fellowship; Danny Hertz, Hertz Insurance Allstate. 
     Also at the installation event, the Chamber named Jim and Sherri Summers of EC Constructors as recipient of the 2016 Harry J. Spence Lakeside Citizen of the Year award. Also honored at the installation event; Betty McMillen, Rick Smith Award for volunteer service to the community and Chamber; Daily Disposal, Chamber sponsor of the year; AT&T, Chamber member of the year; Pam Ourand, Chamber ambassador of the year; Lisa Grote, Chamber board member of the year; Stan Deczynski, Chamber volunteer of the year; Boys and Girls Club of East County, Chamber community leadership award; California State Senator Joel Anderson, elected official of the year. The installation of officers and awards ceremony was held July 21 at Barona Resort and Casino’s Golf Events Center.
 GCCCD Adds $348 Million Bond Measure to November Ballot 
      The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District governing board has approved putting a $348 million bond measure on the Nov. 8 general election ballot to provide a workforce center to train future employees for critically needed jobs. The measure also would be used to address needs for veterans' centers to assist former and active-duty military and to improve facilities and update classrooms at the Grossmont and Cuyamaca college campuses, serving more than 28,000 students.
     “Our board members saw a crucial need for an East County center that will provide students and existing workers skills they need for the rapidly-changing economy,” Bill Garrett, president of the board, said in a statement. “This bond measure will provide for an innovative economic development hub in East County to provide customized training for local businesses, workforce readiness, and career-technical education leading to skilled employment and industry certifications.” 
     The bond measure requires approval by at least 55 percent of the votes cast. The district will not use bond funds for any operations, administrator salaries, or employee pensions, and will continue an independent citizens' oversight panel to assure accountability for the use of all funds and annual audits to ensure funds are spent only as authorized, officials said.
 Lakeside Apartments Sell for $16.75 Million
     The Apartment Company of Encinitas has acquired the 94-unit Marilla Sundance apartment complex, 9648 Marilla Dr., in Lakeside, for $16.75 million, according to an announcement by brokerage firm Institutional Property Advisors (IPA). The seller of the property was MG Properties of San Diego, represented by Stewart Weston, Alexander Garcia, David Sperling and John Montakab of IPA, a division of Marcus & Millichap. The property was built in 1985. IPA said in a statement that the seller upgraded some unit interiors to achieve higher rental premiums and more renovations are expected under the new ownership.

July 28, 2016

East County Chamber’s August 5th Breakfast at Steele Canyon Golf Club
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m., Friday, Aug. 5 at Steele Canyon Golf Club, 3199 Stonefield Dr., Jamul. Cox Communications is the breakfast sponsor. The program will feature entertainment from emcee Steve Hamann. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for guests with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested prior to Tuesday, Aug. 2. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org. 
 Lakeside Chamber Will Host August Mixer at BD Pizzeria 
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host its next third Thursday mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 18, at the Better Days Pizzeria & Sports Grill, 10109 Maine Ave., Lakeside. The mixer will include networking, food and drinks. Prize drawings also will be held. Cost to attend is $5 for members and $10 for potential members. According to Kathy Kassel, Chamber president/CEO, the mixer is a great opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.LakesideChamber.org. Better Days features several TV's to catch your favorite game, a full bar and more than 40 menu options. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 
 La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Invites Nominations for Board of Director Seats
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting nominations to serve as a member of the board of directors for a two-year term, from September 2016 to August 2018 Chamber year. Deadline for submittals is 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12. Board members are expected to attend monthly board meetings, support Chamber meetings and gatherings and assist in fundraising efforts. Nomination forms and an information sheet listing expectations of board members are available at www.LaMesaChamber.com. For more information, contact Mary England, Chamber president and CEO, at (619) 251-7730. Voting for the ninth annual election of board members will follow the announcement of board candidates. Ballots cast by mail must be received by 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16. Ballots also will be accepted until 6:15 p.m. at the Chamber’s annual meeting on Thursday, Sept. 22 at Hooley’s Irish Pub & Grill at Grossmont Center mall.
 Santee Chamber Presents Black Tie Car Show Gala
     The Santee Chamber of Commerce will present its inaugural Black Tie Car Show Gala featuring classic cars and modern aircraft, an awards dinner, live music, dancing, and more from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, at High Performance Aircraft at Gillespie Field, 1960 Joe Crosson Dr., El Cajon. The event will feature cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 5 p.m., seated dinner and awards at 6 p.m., live auction with emcee Clint August at 7 p.m. and dancing to the live music of The Mighty Untouchables starting at 8 p.m.  “Join us for an evening of fun and entertainment and enjoy the summer evening and sunset at Gillespie Field among the beautiful aircraft and the finest classic automobiles in San Diego County,” said Sandy Schmitt, Santee Chamber president/CEO. Ticket prices start at $195 per person. For more information, visit www.SanteeCarShow.com.
 Parkway Plaza Opens PINK and Expanded Victoria’s Secret
     Parkway Plaza, a regional shopping center at 415 Parkway Plaza in El Cajon, has announced that Victoria’s Secret and PINK, a sister company to Victoria’s Secret, will opened at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 29 in a 10,600-square-foot space near the food court. The announcement was made by Ken Gray, marketing director, Parkway Plaza. Victoria’s Secret is known for its iconic lingerie collections, prestige fragrances, body care and sport lines. PINK, targeting university-aged women, offers a collection of bras, panties, loungewear and beauty products. Both retail outlets are owned by L Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LB).  Parkway Plaza features more than 170 stores, restaurants and an 18-screen Regal movie theater. Stores include Macy’s, Sears, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bath & Body Works, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Charlotte Russe and The Finish Line. Dining opportunities range from Applebee’s and On The Border to Mexican Grill & Cantina and Panda Express and Subway. For more information, visit www.ShoppingParkwayPlaza.com.

July 21, 2016

​​The Water Conservation Garden to Host Customer Appreciation Day
      The Water Conservation Garden, a six-acre conservation demonstration garden in El Cajon, will host a customer appreciation day for customers of the Helix Water District and Sweetwater Authority. The free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 31. The Water Conservation Garden is at 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West, adjacent to Cuyamaca Community College, in El Cajon’s Rancho San Diego area. 
     Special presentations are planned for the customers of the two municipal water districts which support The Water Conservation Garden. Refreshments and discounts in the Water Drop Garden Shoppe also will be available to attendees. 
    Scheduled activities on Sunday, July 31 will include docent-guided tours of The Garden’s water-efficient displays and theme gardens at 10 a.m. and noon. In addition, Clayton Tschudy, director of horticulture, will lead a tour of the new Native Habitat Garden, as well as discuss native habitat gardening with drought-tolerant plants, water reclamation, composting and other ideas to incorporate water-wise gardening at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Also,  Pam Meisner, known as “Ms. Smarty Plants,” will present an educational program how to attract butterflies at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Meisner has presented educational programs on gardening, nature and conservation to tens of thousands of students, from pre-school through high school, since 2008. 
     Helix Water District treats and delivers water to more than 270,000 people in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and part of Spring Valley, Lakeside and unincorporated San Diego County. Sweetwater Authority provides public water service to approximately 191,500 residents of western and central Chula Vista, National City and Bonita. 
     Opened in 1999, the Garden is dedicated to promoting water conservation in the Southern California landscape through excellent exhibits and programs that educate and inspire the public. The Garden is supported by memberships, donations, grants and water agency funding. For more information, visit www.thegarden.org or call (619) 660-0614.
 Sharp Grossmont Hospital is Off the Electrical Power Grid, Saving Taxpayer Dollars
      The lights are staying on for patients and medical staff at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa thanks to a new Central Energy Plant (CEP), the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) reports. And, the hospital’s normal electric bill to San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) of about $180,000 per month is now zero. 
     “The hospital’s CEP is now fully operational and the hospital is officially off the electrical grid,” said Robert “Bob” Ayres, GHD 2016 board president. “Taxpayers can be assured that their publicly-owned hospital is equipped to handle future energy capacity needs with on-site electric power generation at the lowest possible cost. For decades into the future, the new CEP will save millions of dollars in energy costs, plus reduce the hospital’s emission of greenhouse gas pollutants by 90 percent. Even in the event of an outage or other emergency, the hospital will continue to operate as needed.”
     Construction of the $47 million new plant was financed through Proposition G, a bond measure sponsored by GHD and approved by East County voters in June 2006.
     The three-story, 18,400-square-foot building, visible from the State Route 125 freeway on the southwest side of the hospital campus, also houses a new $18 million cogeneration system paid for by Sharp Grossmont Hospital as part of the continuing partnership with GHD. The cogeneration system utilizes a combustion turbine generator (CTG), similar in function to a spinning engine on a passenger jetliner. 
     In addition to electrical power, the 52-ton CTG produces heat that is converted to steam used to operate medical equipment, space heating and air conditioning, plus it provides hot and cold water to the hospital. 
     Powered by natural gas, the CTG, built by Solar Turbines of San Diego, has a capacity to produce up to 4.4 megawatts of electricity, which is more than the hospital’s current need of about 3.2 megawatts, officials said. GHD said the new facility was designed to allow for future growth and expansion of the hospital
     Also inside the plant are boilers, chillers, cooling towers and auxiliary systems. It has a state-of-the-art control room that monitors the heating and refrigeration equipment, medical air and vacuum pumps.
     Officials said the hospital typically consumes about 2.3 million kilowatt hours per month. In comparison, SDG&E says the average household uses about 500 kilowatt hours in a 30-day period. 
     “We have the capacity to sell surplus electricity back to the utility company,” said Michael Emerson, GHD board member and chair of the GHD Proposition G Committee. “We’re pleased that the new cogen system has replaced two smaller existing combustion turbine generators that were installed back in 1984.”
 82 New Homes Planned for Santee
      An 18-acre site at 9701 North Magnolia Ave. in Santee has been sold for $9.55 million. The buyer, an affiliate of Santa Monica-based Watt Communities, has plans to build 82 homes and 1.14 acres of open space, according to Wiese & Associates, a commercial brokerage that represented the buyer and seller in the deal. The seller of the site was an affiliate of Strata Equity Group Inc. of San Diego. The property currently has a 2,807-square-foot building that houses a radio station transmission facility.

July 14, 2016

East County Herald is Sponsor of La Mesa Chamber’s `Summer Bash’ 
     The East County Herald has been named the Community Relations Sponsor for the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Summer Bash Business Expo” from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 11, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. 
     The event will feature food sampling and more than 45 display tables featuring La Mesa Chamber members, according to Mary England, Chamber CEO. Exhibit booth space is available to any La Mesa Chamber member. Cost for exhibit space starts at $65 per table. Premium placement is available. Admission is $15 per person in advance or $25 per person at the door. Beer and wine will be available for sale. Raffles and door prizes hosted by vendors and participants are planned. 
     Additional sponsors include: AMR as presenting sponsor and California Coast Credit Union and San Diego Gas & Electric as supporting sponsors. Others sponsors include AAA Imaging, Carl Burger Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM World, Jeff Campbell & Associates, Kostedt Design & Marketing, Royal Florist Designs, Sandra Small Photographer, Smart & Final Warehouse & Market, Sycuan Casino and Welcome Wagon. Beer will be provided by Samuel Adams, withwine sponsored by Nonno’s Ristorante Italiano, Riviera Supper Club and The Regal Bar.
     For information on sponsorship opportunities and an exhibitor application, contact England at (619) 251-7730, or maryengland@lamesachamber.com. To RSVP, send an e-mail to rsvp@lamesachamber.com or call (619) 465-7700. 
 Alpine Chamber Accepting Nominations for HELPS Awards
      The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual HELPS awards. HELPS stands for Heroes, Excellent Leadership and Public Service. Award categories include Heroes, Beautification, Small Business of the Year; Large Business of the Year, Organization of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Special Recognition and Youth Organization of the Year. Nomination forms are available at www.AlpineChamber.com. Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Friday, July 15. 
     Nominations can be mailed or personally delivered to the Chamber office, 1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. 208, Alpine, or submitted to chamber.val@att.net. For more information, call the Chamber office, (619) 445-2722. Awards will be presented at a dinner Saturday, Aug. 27 at Viejas Casino Resort in Alpine. 
 Realtors Supporting Typhoon Victims with Chili-BBQ cookoff in El Cajon
      The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,300-member trade group for San Diego area realtors, will host a chili and barbecue cookoff from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, July 14, at the PSAR East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. All realtors in San Diego County are invited to attend. Cash prizes of $200, $100 and $50 will be awarded for the best dishes. Cost to compete in the cookoff is $40. Admission to attend and eat is $15 per person. 
      Proceeds will benefit the Realtor Village, a National Association of Realtors (NAR) project to provide housing for victims of Typhoon Yolanda that struck the Philippines in November 2013 and killed more than 6,000 people and left 250,000 people homeless. The NAR project involves converting cargo shipping containers into two-bedroom, two-story homes for residents of Bogo on the island of Cebu. NAR said the steel-reinforced units can withstand winds of up to 100 miles an hour. For more information and to RSVP, call PSAR at (619) 579-0333 or visit www.psar.org/chilicookoff. 
 Health Care Library will Highlight Meals on Wheels
     The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host “More than a Meal,” a free presentation about Meals on Wheels San Diego County from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served. Advance RSVP is not necessary. Speaking will be Brian Midkiff, community outreach coordinator, Meals on Wheels San Diego County, a community nonprofit organization.

            “This interactive discussion will focus on Meal on Wheels’ eligibility, meal options, positive health outcomes and living safely at home,” said Kathy Quinn, director, Herrick Community Health Care Library. “As stated in the title of the program, Meals on Wheels provides ‘more than a meal.’ The impact that Meals on Wheels has on the people it serves goes far beyond the wholesome meals it provides. Their staff and volunteers often develop friendships with the seniors, as well as providing regular nutrition and safety checks to ensure that senior clients are safe and well.” Handouts about Meals on Wheels San Diego County and other community resources will be provided.
     The Herrick Library, which opened in 2002, is a consumer health public library specializing in health research information, accessible both on-site and via the Internet. The library is operated by the Grossmont Healthcare District, a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County. For more information, phone the library at (619) 825‑5010 or visit www.herricklibrary.org.

July 07, 2016

Santee Chamber Members are More Confident, Survey Said
      San Diego County business owners expressed a moderately positive outlook in a recent survey of chamber of commerce members. The survey’s results pushed higher a “business outlook index” (BOI) to 21.3 points in May, compared to 19.4 points in April. 
      The recent survey of 201 business people included members from the Lakeside, Santee, Alpine Mountain Empire and San Diego East County chambers, as well as chamber members from Escondido, Vista, National City and San Diego. An outlier to the BOI was responses from Santee where firms’ confidence spiked. “For members of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, the BOI has moved from a lackluster 12 in the previous quarter to a robust 40 this month,” the report stated.

The top challenge facing businesses, as measured by the percentage of survey respondents who mentioned it, was the minimum wage increase, pollsters said. In addition to the 9 percent of businesspeople who noted mandated wage increases as a challenge, another 14 percent mentioned government regulations in general, changes in the political environment, taxes and the Affordable Care Act as difficulties. Competitive Edge Research & Communication conducted the countywide survey between May 16 and May 31.
Noah Homes Reports $163,000 Raised at Summerfest Fundraiser
      Noah Homes, a residential community in Spring Valley for adults with developmental disabilities, reports that $163,000 was raised at its recent Summerfest fundraiser. More than 500 people attended the event held June 25 at Noah Homes. The event featured music by Ron’s Garage, a BBQ by the Nice Guys, beer tastings by JNS Brewing and Jamul Brewing, lawn games, and an auction. Top sponsors included the Arc San Diego, City National Bank, Hollywood Casino, Howland Built, John Brooks Insurance Brokerage, Mary M. O’Connor Pediatric Dentistry, SDG&E, Whispering Winds, Gene and Rosanne Luth, Gerry Mohr, the Mulvaney Family, Maureen and Gary Sage, and Dan and Barbie Spinazzola. 

Founded in 1983, Noah Homes Inc., a public benefit non-profit corporation, provides its residents who have development disabilities with a variety of programs, including a community garden and orchard, community integration through day programs, work sites and volunteer activities. Noah Homes currently operates eight homes with a total of 70 residents and is working to build two of the first memory care homes in the nation specifically for adults with developmental disabilities through a $6.7 million capital campaign.
 Deering Banjo Receives Grant to Speed Global Plans
     Deering Banjo Co. of Spring Valley, the largest banjo manufacturing company in the U.S., will be one of 15 San Diego companies to participate in comprehensive program to accelerate their international expansion plans. As part of the MetroConnect program, the Deering company was recently selected to receive a $10,000 JPMorgan Chase grant to assist with their international efforts. The announcement was made by the World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego. 
      MetroConnect funds can be used for a variety for global services including travel (to and from target markets), participation in trade shows, establishment of a foreign subsidiary, foreign language translation of marketing materials and more. Support services that will be available to the companies include: a dedicated trade and investment manager at WTC San Diego to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period; access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and global marketing; reduced airfare on the Japan Airlines direct flight from San Diego to Tokyo; free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs. 
     The 14 other program participants include Aurora Spine, AVACEN Medical, Calbiotech, ElliptiGO Inc., GroundMetrics, Hyperikon, INOVA Drone, MANTA Instruments Inc., Ocean Aero, Ocean Reef, Rough Draft Brewing Co., Solatube Worldwide Sales, Vault RMS and Whova. 
 The Water Conservation Garden Names New Executive Director
       The Water Conservation Garden, a six-acre conservation demonstration garden in El Cajon, has selected Elyssa Robertson as the organization's new executive director. Robertson succeeds John Bolthouse, who left in December 2015. Robertson had been serving as interim executive director. Robertson has an extensive background in environmental and civil engineering. As president and founder of REC Consultants, an environmental and civil engineering firm she formed and led with her husband since 1992, Robertson has championed numerous development projects that incorporated open space, conservation of resources and sustainability. Robertson has served on the boards of the East County YMCA and East County Posse, and has been involved with the Rancho San Diego Farmers Market, Supervisor Dianne Jacob Trails Committee and the Friends of the Rancho San Diego Library Committee. She has also volunteered on habitat restoration projects at local schools, educating students about local native plants and animals. She had been serving on The Garden’s board of directors since January 2013. She resigned from the board to serve as interim executive director. Bolthouse, former director of the La Jolla Historical Society, led the Garden since February 2012. He succeeded Marty Eberhardt, who retired. Bolthouse, with more than 20 years experience working with nonprofits, was recently named executive director of the Friends of Balboa Park.

June 30, 2016

​ East County Chamber’s July 8th Breakfast at Sycuan Casino
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m., Friday, July 8 (the second Friday of the month), at Sycuan Casino, 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon. Sponsor of the Chamber breakfast is Sycuan Casino. The program will feature entertainment from emcee Steve Hamann. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for guests with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested prior to Tuesday, July 5. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org. 
Alpine TV News Anchor Jumps to Academia
      After 14 years as a news anchor at XETV-CW6, Alpine resident Marc Bailey has joined the National University System as director of innovative digital multimedia productions. “I will be involved in telling the story about the exceptional student experiences that are available here at NU plus our affiliates,” said Bailey, a San Diego native who has 30 years of experience in broadcasting and is an NU alumnus. He graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. “I finished my degree while working full-time as a police officer, so I know what it means to be an adult learner,” he said.
     With his police background, he’s also teaching criminal justice classes at NU. He grew up in Alpine, graduated from Grossmont High School (class of 1973) and worked as a San Diego Police Department officer from 1979 to 1983. He has served as a reserve officer with the El Cajon Police Department since October 2009. 
     Bailey joined Channel 6’s morning show in June 1, 2002, after relocating from Atlanta, where he was a morning show anchor. His first full-time job in television was as host of “PM Magazine” in Greenville, South Carolina in 1985. He also worked in Los Angeles as a reporter with KCAL/Channel 9 and KFWB-AM 980. Also in LA he worked as an on-air talent and producer for programs that aired on The Discovery Channel, E! and The Travel Channel. He also worked in Phoenix as an evening news anchor. 
     Bailey said other work projects at NU may include producing media for internal audiences and online and social media audiences, as well as broadcast TV. “I loved my career in television and reporting on breaking news in the morning, but I don’t miss getting up at 2 a.m.,” Bailey said.
 La Mesa Man Joins Approved Home Pro Show
      The Approved Home Pro Show, a local radio and TV production that features interviews with home improvement professionals, has added broadcast sales veteran Bob Hoffman to its sales team. Hoffman, a La Mesa resident, has more than 40 years of experience in sales, marketing and management in radio and television.
      “This is a fast-growing company and I am looking forward to helping accelerate that growth and create even greater success for our Approved Home Pro sponsors,” said Hoffman, who previously was with Entravision. The Approved Home Pro Show features home improvement professionals who pay for the opportunity to pitch their services to consumers. Officials said companies are vetted prior to joining their network and purchasing marketing programs. 
     Launched in 2011, The Approved Home Pro Show airs from 9 to 10 a.m., Saturdays, on KOGO News Radio 600-AM with hosts Gregg Cantor of Murray Lampert Design Build Remodel, Robin Wilson Carrier, an interior designer, and Clint August, weekday afternoon host on KGB-FM 101.5. In 2014, it added TV appearances on “San Diego Living,” a pay-to-appear, direct-response show that airs weekdays at 9 a.m. on Channel 6. In August 2015, The Approved Home Pro Show expanded to a 30-minute infotainment program airing at 9:30 a.m. on Fridays.
Chick-fil-A in Santee Offers Free Food on `Cow Appreciation Day’
      It’s time to break out the cowbells and get your spots on because Chick-fil-A is issuing a cattle call. The nine Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County, including the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 9418 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, are preparing to give away free food on Tuesday, July 12, as part of the chain’s nationwide promotion called “Cow Appreciation Day.” On that day, Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide will offer a free entrée to any customer who visits a restaurant dressed as a cow.
      Adult customers who dress in any type of cow attire, whether it’s head-to-hoof or sporting a cow-spotted accessory such as cow-pattern hat, scarf, tie or purse, will be rewarded with a free entrée of their choice. Children can receive a free Kid’s Meal for dressing in a cow costume. The Cow Appreciation Day celebration will be held from store opening through 7 p.m. Breakfast is served until 10:30 a.m. Limit of one free entrée per customer per day. 
      A special website, www.CowAppreciationDay.com, features costume ideas and additional FAQ details on the customer appreciation day promotion, as well as downloadable cow spots, masks and other bovine-themed items customers can use to create their own costumes.


June 23, 2016

Lakeside Chamber Sets Date for Annual Awards Night
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce has announced this year’s annual awards dinner and board of directors installation will be held on Thursday, July 21 at Barona Resort and Casino’s Golf Events Center in Lakeside. The announcement was made by Kathy Kassel, Chamber president/CEO.
     The event will feature installation of the Chamber’s 2016-2017 board of directors. Also, outgoing board members will be honored. In addition, the Chamber will honor the recipient of the 2016 Harry J. Spence Lakeside Citizen of the Year award. The annual award is given to a man or woman who has made outstanding volunteer contributions and contributed to a better way of life for all in the Lakeside and East County communities. The recipient also will part of the Lakeside Western Days parade in April 2017. The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award originated in 1980. The 2015 honoree was Jill Fleming, who has overseen the Miss Lakeside and Miss Teen Lakeside pageants for the past 18 years.
     Additional awards will be presented on July 21. They include several awards to chamber members, including sponsor of the year, member of the year, ambassador of the year, board member of the year and volunteer of the year. Other awards will include elected official of the year and the Rick Smith Award for volunteer service to the community and chamber.  Cost to attend is $20 per person. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.LakesideChamber.org.

La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Announces `Summer Bash’ Business Expo
      The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has announced that Thursday, Aug. 11 is the date for its annual “Summer Bash,” a business expo, to be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. Exhibit booth space is available to any La Mesa Chamber member. Cost for exhibit space starts at $65 per table. Premium placement is available.
     The event will feature food sampling and more than 45 display tables featuring La Mesa Chamber members, according to Mary England, Chamber CEO. “We encourage the public to join us and meet our business community in this fun-filled setting,” she said.
     Admission is $15 per person in advance or $25 per person at the door. Beer and wine will be available for sale. Raffles and door prizes hosted by vendors and participants are planned. For information on sponsorship opportunities and an exhibitor application, contact England at (619) 251-7730, or maryengland@lamesachamber.com. To RSVP, send an e-mail to rsvp@lamesachamber.com or call (619) 465-7700. 
 Grossmont Healthcare District Recognized for Transparency from State Association
     The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) has recognized the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) with its “Best Practices in Governance” certification, indicating GHD’s commitment to open and transparent government. 
      The designation signifies that GHD is compliant with ACHD core standards for demonstrating open and transparent business practices for the benefit of the communities served, said ACHD officials. The compliance relates to transparency in several areas, including reporting, purchasing, conflict of interest and expenditures of public funds. 
     “We are very pleased and honored to receive this prestigious certification that affirms our current and ongoing practices as well as our commitment to the public to continually operate in an open and transparent manner, at the highest of standards,” said Robert “Bob” Ayres, 2016 GHD board president. “East San Diego County residents can be assured that we are taking seriously our responsibility to adhere to sound business practices, integrity and openness and with the taxpayers’ best interests in mind, for the benefit of the communities we serve.”
     “Our certification process is a thorough review that involves an examination of best business practices,” said ACHD Executive Director Kenneth Cohen. “The general public, as well as our state legislators, can have confidence that a healthcare district’s affairs are conducted in a manner that is open and transparent.”
     California’s healthcare districts are public entities providing community-based healthcare services to residents throughout the state. Each district is governed by a locally elected board of directors who are directly accountable to the communities they serve. Districts provide a range of services, which may include a hospital, clinic, skilled nursing facility or emergency medical services, as well as education and wellness programs and community grants and scholarship support. 
     GHD is the 11th healthcare district in the state to receive the recognition since ACHD introduced its certification program in 2014. Certification is available to all 78 California healthcare districts. The certification is valid for three years. Palomar Health, which covers a large portion of northern San Diego County, was the first California healthcare district to earn the ACHD certification in August 2014.
     The Grossmont Healthcare District is an East County regional public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County. Formed in 1952 to build Grossmont Hospital, the District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District’s 750 square miles. For more information about GHD, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org.

June 16, 2016

Local Chambers to Present `Politics in Paradise’ in a New Format
      Local chamber of commerce groups in San Diego’s East County will jointly present “Politics in Paradise” from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 30, at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. West, El Cajon. Chambers supporting the event include the San Diego East County Chamber, Lakeside Chamber, Santee Chamber and Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber. Also supporting the event is the San Diego East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC).
     The event will feature meet-and-greet with elected officials currently holding office, as well as candidates for key federal, state and county elected offices, along with beer, wine and appetizers from East County restaurants, wineries and breweries. 
     Rather than repeating the event’s traditional format with comments and replies from speakers on stage in a group setting in the Garden’s amphitheater area, this year’s event will feature elected officials positioned in their own area in a mixer setting where attendees can interact and speak with them one-one-one in person, said Eric Lund, general manager, San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. Lund said the program also will feature a brief introduction by moderator Barry Jantz, chair of the San Diego East County Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. 
     Cost to attend is $20 per person if RSVP is received prior to Monday, June 27. The price increases to $25 per person with RSVP after June 27. Cost is $30 per person at the door without reservations. Chamber officials said admission cost is tax deductible because event proceeds will benefit the San Diego East County Foundation, a non-profit organization. Attendees must be 21 years of age or older. 
     Event sponsors include San Diego Gas & Electric, AT&T, Team XL Staffing, Wade Howard & Associates CPA, iMortgage, Kaiser Permanente, The Computer Admin, Cox Communications and the San Diego Regional Airport Authority.  For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org, or one of the participating Chambers or ECEDC. 
Santee Dad is `Father of the Year’ from American Diabetes Association
      Santee resident Tracy Sundlun, senior VP of global events, Competitor Group, will be honored by the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) San Diego office with a 2016 Father of the Year award at a fundraising dinner on Thursday, June 16, at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, 3777 La Jolla Village Dr., San Diego.
     Sundlun, father of daughter Felicity, is co-founder of Competitor Group’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, which began in 1998 and has grown to 30 events in 15 states, Washington D.C., and six countries, featuring more than 600,000 runners annually. He has been inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions, and last year was named “One of the 50 Most Influential People in Running” by Runner’s World magazine. 
      Sundlun has seen success at guiding athletes at every level. In his more than 20 years of coaching, Sundlun helped guide more than 100 athletes from 15 different countries who represented their country in the Olympic Games and other major international competitions. He was the youngest ever Olympic coach in 1972, and will serve as head manager of the United States Men’s Track & Field Team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
     Two other local fathers will be honored at the ADA’s 13th annual Father of the Year awards dinner. They include Jeffrey Martin, CEO, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Tum Vongsawad, chief operating officer, San Diego County Credit Union. Tickets start at $300 per person. ADA officials said the fundraiser on June 16 is expected to generate about $200,000 in donations for diabetes research and programs and services for people with diabetes. For event information and to RSVP, contact Nicole Eades, ADA director of development, at (619) 234-9897, ext. 7438, or visit www.diabetes.org/sandiegofoty.
 La Mesa Health Llibrary Features Watercolor Art Exhibit
      The Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, a consumer health library at 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, is now hosting its Spring Art Exhibit featuring 19 watercolor paintings by award-winning artist Carol Roberts of Spring Valley. The show runs through June 30. The exhibit features paintings of landscapes, animals, birds, flowers and scenery, some of them inspired by Roberts’ scuba diving trips to New Guinea, Palau and Fiji.
      Roberts’ first career was in medical school management. She has managed Internal Medicine Departments at the University of California San Francisco and University of Utah and the Department of Anesthesiology and Department of Surgery at the University of California San Diego. Since 2000, she has worked full-time as a real estate broker-associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in La Mesa. Roberts is a member of the San Diego Watercolor Society, East County Art Association and Foothills Art Association. Roberts’ website featuring her artwork is www.CarolJRobertsWatercolors.com.
      Admission to the Herrick Community Health Care Library is free. The Spring Art Exhibit is open to the public during regular library hours, which are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. For more information, phone (619) 825-5010 or visit www.herricklibrary.org.

June 09, 2016

Realtors Survey Reveals Affordability Worries
     The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,300-member trade group for East County and San Diego-area realtors, recently polled its members to identify which real estate issues they were “most concerned” about. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing “most concerned” and 1 representing “least concerned,” PSAR members cast the most votes for “Decline in Housing Affordability,” with one out of every four PSAR members selecting that choice as highest. 
     PSAR members ranked other concerns as follows: (#1) Decline in Housing Affordability, 25 percent; (#2) Lack of Inventory, 19 percent; (#3) Rising Interest Rates, 18 percent; (#4) Slow Down in Economic Growth, 15 percent; (#5) Home Prices Overinflated, 13 percent; (#6) Lending and Financing, 10 percent.
    “Our members are looking forward to the momentum and acceleration expected during the seasonal spring home buying season,” said Anthony Andaya, 2016 PSAR president. “We remain concerned over inventory and affordability issues, but we’re optimistic that interest rates will remain wonderfully low and are confident in the persistence and knowledge of how our skillful PSAR members will continue to serve their clients.” 
 El Cajon’s Mark Larson Holds Local On-the-Air Longevity Record
     Radio and TV personality Mark Larson, an El Cajon resident, has begun his 41st year of continuous on-air presence in the San Diego market. That makes Larson the current holder of the longevity record for local broadcast on-air work.
     It was June 1976 when Larson arrived in San Diego from Rockford, Ill. He worked at KFMB 760-AM (1976-1994), Salem Communications’ KPRZ 1210-AM and KCBQ 1170-AM (1994-2004), KOGO 600-AM (2004-2007) and XEPE-AM 1700-AM (2007-2008) before returning in 2009 to Salem’s KCBQ as host of the morning drive-time talk show. 
     In addition, his voice has been heard since the mid-1980s as host of “Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah,” which is aired on more than 2,200 stations. Also, under the umbrella of Mark Larson Media Services Inc., he’s hosting TV infomercials for a variety of nutritional supplements offered by Purity Products of New York. Plus, he’s a frequent guest on TV discussing politics on Fox News Channel and KUSI-TV/Channel 9. In his spare time, Larson will begin in July his fifth term as board chair of the Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park (he has served on the board since 2003). 
     He’s also busy as a keynote speaker and emcee at various community events, including grand openings and political rallies with presidential candidates, including Donald Trump’s recent political rally at the Convention Center. Larson also emceed the recent U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 
     “I’ve been blessed in my career, but the best has yet to come,” Larson said. “I’m always busy, but it doesn’t feel like work because I enjoy being in the community and making connections with people. I believe I have a responsibility to use my time effectively and maximize opportunities. I don’t see anything as coincidental or accidental.”
 Health Care Library to Host Discussion on Fire and Fall Prevention Safety
      The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host “Fire, Burn and Fall Prevention,” a free presentation from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served. Advance RSVP is not necessary. Speaking will be Mary Vilgera, community outreach specialist, Burn Institute. 
     “This 30-minute presentation will focus on 16 safety messages, including eight fire prevention techniques and eight fall prevention messages,” said Kathy Quinn, director, Herrick Community Health Care Library. “The presentation was developed for seniors by experts from national and local safety organizations, but its message of prevention and safety is beneficial to all.”
    Also available on June 22 will be information about the Burn Institute’s free offer of smoke alarms for seniors. Screened and trained community partners and volunteers assist the Burn Institute in installing the free alarms. To qualify for this lifesaving program, you must be 62 years or older and own your own home. 
 Olaf Weighorst Museum Presents New Exhibit
     The Olaf Weighorst Museum at the Wieghorst Western Heritage Center, 131 Rea Ave., El Cajon, will present “Moments in Time,” an exhibit featuring 24 pieces created by six artists from June 15 to Aug. 22. 
     Four of the six artists reside in El Cajon, including Gloria Chadwick, Grace Schlesier, Dennis Torzeski and Denise Rich. The paintings by Chadwick, Schlesier and Torzeski feature wildlife and landscape settings, while Rich specializes in bovine art, including paintings of cows, bulls, oxen, heifers, steers, bullocks and calves. The two other artists, Millie Shaw of Mountain Center, Calif., and Debbie Hughbanks of Loon Lake, Wash., specialize in wildlife and scratchboard artwork, respectively. Scratchboard is a two-dimensional medium that refers to creating an image by removing paint, ink or clay with scratching, abrasive tools. 
    Admission to the museum is free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, phone (619) 590-3431, or visit www.weighorstmuseum.org.

June 02, 2016

East County Chamber’s June breakfast at Cottonwood Golf Club
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m., Friday, June 3, at Cottonwood Golf Club, 3121 Willow Glen Dr., El Cajon. It’s the Chamber’s annual breakfast featuring elected officials providing updates on East County cities. Confirmed speakers at press time include the mayors of El Cajon, Lemon Grove and Santee. 
     Breakfast sponsor is San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). Also speaking will be April Bolduc, alternative transportation outreach manager for SDG&E. She will discuss the utility’s “Power Your Drive” program that feature lower rates for charging electric-powered vehicles (EVs) during off-peak hours and how businesses and property owners can offer on-site charging. Chamber officials said some attendees will be dressed in super hero costumes. 
     Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for guests with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested prior to Tuesday, May 31. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org. 
 La Mesa Chamber to host `Taste of La Mesa’
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host its 8th annual Taste of La Mesa from 5 to 8 p.m., Monday, June 6, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. Presenting sponsor is Sycuan Casino and Barona Resort & Casino is the supporting sponsor. The event will feature networking and food sampling from local restaurants and food providers. In addition, local businesses will be on hand with exhibit tables. Parking is free and shuttle service will be available. More than 400 people are expected to attend.
     General admission tickets begin at $55 per person. Admission is $70 per person to a pre-event VIP reception that begins at 5 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.lamesachamber.com or call the Chamber office, (619) 465-7700. Tickets also are available at San Pasqual Winery, 8364 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa. 
     Participating restaurants as of press time include Anthony's Fish Grotto, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Bo-beau kitchen + garden, Brigantine Restaurant, Cali Comfort BBQ, Continental Catering, Cucina Basilico, Edible Arrangements, El Torito, Himalayan Cuisine, Hooleys Irish Pub and Grill, Luna Grill, Marie Callender's, O's American Kitchen, Pick Up Stix, Riviera Supper Club, Souplantation, Sycuan Casino, Tarantino Gourmet Sausages, Terra American Bistro, The Hills Local Pub, Tiramisu Trattoria, and Valley Farm Market. Samuel Adams is the exclusive beer sponsor of the evening. Wine sponsors include Nonno’s Ristorante Italino, Riviera Supper Club, The Regal Bar and San Pasqual Winery.
 Lakeside Chamber will host June mixer at UPS Store
      The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host its next Thursday mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 16, at the UPS Store, 9562 Winter Gardens Blvd., Lakeside. The mixer will include networking, food and drinks. Prize drawings also will be held. Cost to attend is $5 for members and $10 for potential members. According to Kathy Kassel, Chamber president/CEO, the mixer is a great opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.LakesideChamber.org. The UPS Store in Lakeside (store5262@theupsstore.com) offers mailboxes, printing, packaging and mailing and shipping services, as well as office products and supplies and notary services.
 Health Fair Saturday set for June 18 at Grossmont Center
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce is offering exhibit booth space to any health-related for-profit business or non-profit organization for Health Fair Saturday, one of the largest annual free health fairs in San Diego’s East County region. The health fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, near the movie theaters at the Grossmont Center mall, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa. Cost for exhibit space starts at $100. 
     Chamber officials expect about 25 exhibit booths will feature health screenings for stroke, cholesterol, body mass index and blood pressure, as well as the latest information on health-related techniques and products from for-profit and non-profit organizations. Additional information will be available on senior housing, home care services, hospice care, home safety, fitness, health insurance, nutrition and medical supplies, as well as Alzheimer’s disease and eye surgery. On a stage at the event will be interactive demonstrations. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will provide electric-powered automobiles for test driving. 
     This event has proven to be highly successful on several levels, not the least of which is catching potentially serious medical conditions before they become life-threatening,” said Leah McIvor, board of directors chair, San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. “In past years, healthcare professionals have identified several individuals with warning signs for serious conditions. We strive to make this an educational, accessible and beneficial event, and it may save a life.”
     Event sponsors include the Grossmont Healthcare District, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Grossmont Center, California Coast Credit Union and SDG&E. For more information and an exhibitor application, contact Rosemary Reed, event director, at the East County Chamber at (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.

May 26, 2016

Grossmont Healthcare District recognizes Healthcare Heroes
      A vascular surgeon, a chiropractor, an attorney, a beagle and her master, and a pirate who fights for those suffering from childhood cancer are among local volunteers who have been recognized with a 2016 Healthcare Hero award from the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD). Now in its tenth year, the Healthcare Heroes is GHD’s annual awards program that honors volunteers who help advance the delivery of quality healthcare in the East County region.
     “The purpose of these Healthcare Hero awards is to recognize volunteers whose unsung work in health care might not otherwise be recognized,” said Grossmont Healthcare District 2016 board president Bob Ayres. “This year’s group of honorees demonstrated extraordinary and inspirational care and selfless dedication that has played a critical role towards a healthier East County community.”
     This year’s honorees included: Dr. Scott Musicant, Vascular Associates of San Diego; Dr. Kevin Ryan, chiropractor; James Byrnes, San Diego Freedom Ranch; Michael Colombo and his dog Shiloh, Sharp Grossmont Hospital Pet Therapy Program; Sam Mejia, Sons of Charity.
     Musicant, a practicing vascular surgeon with Vascular Associates of San Diego, donates his time and expertise to serve the underserved in San Diego County as a physician volunteer for Project Access San Diego (PASD). PASD is the flagship volunteer physician program of Champions for Health, a nonprofit organization previously called the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation. Since 2009, Musicant has helped about 20 uninsured or underinsured East County residents who cannot afford specialty surgeries. These patients were suffering from various vascular- and arterial-related diseases, including varicose veins and thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms. Patients were treated at Musicant’s office on Center Drive in La Mesa or an area surgery center.
     Ryan, a chiropractor since 1983, has volunteered as a team doctor for high school and college sports teams in the East County for nearly 30 years. During many fall seasons, he has been a familiar face on the sidelines for more than 250 football games at Grossmont College and another 200 football games at Grossmont, Valhalla and Santana high schools. He also volunteered over a 10-year span as team doctor at San Diego Christian College (SDCC), caring for soccer, basketball, softball, baseball and cross country athletes. He currently teaches genetics, biochemistry and microbiology at SDCC. He also volunteers his chiropractic skills to several San Diego State University (SDSU) sports teams.
     Byrnes, an attorney in private practice since 1991, has served for the past 29 years on the board of directors of the San Diego Freedom Ranch, an alcohol and drug residential treatment facility in Campo. Since 1972, Freedom Ranch’s 120-day recovery program has helped thousands of men live sober lives. Since joining the board in 1987, James has served twice as chairman for a total of seven years. More than 8,000 men have graduated from the program during his time of leadership. Byrnes has a personal reason for his decades of support to San Diego Freedom Ranch. He is a recovering alcoholic who spent five months there in 1984.
     Colombo, a retired commercial construction superintendent, and his beagle named Shiloh have visited patients throughout the hospital campus, including the Emergency and Critical Care Center, David and Donna Long Center for Cancer Treatment and the Rehabilitation Center, as well as private rooms. They also have made trips to the Sharp HospiceCare LakeView home in La Mesa. Since January 2014, the duo have logged more than 375 hours of volunteer service.
     Mejia is founder of a nonprofit that provides financial assistance, resources and encouragement to children and their families suffering from life-threatening pediatric cancer. Founded in January 2014, Sons of Charity has provided emergency grants to cover a variety of expenses ranging from daily living or household needs, such as food or gasoline, to travel expenses during lengthy hospital stays and alternative treatments not covered by insurance. About a dozen families have been helped in the past two years. Dressed as a pirate and resembling the lead actor in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Mejia regularly visits Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego to bring a smile to the faces of children and family members going through a rough time.
 Minimum wage increases worry Chamber members
     San Diego County business owners are less optimistic about prospects ahead because of the looming minimum wage increase, fueling doubts about future hiring, according to a recent survey of chamber of commerce members commissioned by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.  The chamber survey’s Business Outlook Index dropped from 26.9 points in March -- its highest point since June 2015 -- to 19.4 points in April. In addition, 33 percent of survey respondents said a minimum wage hike was the most negative state regulation they face. Chamber of Commerce members from the Lakeside, Santee, Alpine Mountain Empire and San Diego East County chambers were among the randomly selected 232 business owners polled. Other respondents were members of chambers in Escondido, Vista, National City and San Diego. Competitive Edge Research & Communication conducted the countywide survey. “It’s clear from this survey that a rising minimum wage presents across-the-board hurdles to county businesses and there is concern that some of these businesses may leave the state,” said Jerry Sanders, CEO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

May 12, 2016

Chick-fil-A in Santee to host `Military Appreciation Night’ 
     The nine Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County, including the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 9418 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, are preparing to give away more than 10,000 chicken sandwiches on Wednesday, May 25, as part of its annual “Military Appreciation Night” promotion. Between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m., any active duty member of the military or retired veteran with a military ID or proof of service, along with every one of their immediate family members with them, will receive their choice of a free entrée. Choices include the Chick-fil-A original chicken sandwich, spicy chicken sandwich, eight-piece nuggets or three-piece chicken-n-strips. Offer valid for dine-in customers only. The event will include family-friendly activities and entertainment for guests at each Chick-fil-A restaurant.
    “As a military community, we’re looking forward here in San Diego to this opportunity to honor all who are serving or have honorably served in the simplest way we know how, with great food,” said Kyle Steck, Santee Chick-fil-A owner-operator. “It is a remarkable event and our privilege to extend our gratitude and recognize our armed services heroes who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”
    Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County are located in Chula Vista, Encinitas, Oceanside, San Marcos, Santee, Escondido and in San Diego on Sports Arena Blvd., Camino Ruiz in Mira Mesa and Carmel Mountain Road in Carmel Mountain Ranch. For addresses and directions, visit www.chick-fil-a.com.
    This is Chick-fil-A’s ninth annual “Military Appreciation Night” in San Diego. The event began in San Diego in 2008, when there were four Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County. It has since grown to more than 50 participating Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout Southern California.
 Realtors group hosts golf tournament at Cottonwood
     The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors, a 2,300-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors, will hold its 41st annual fundraising golf tournament starting with check-in  7 a.m. on Friday, June 3, at Cottonwood Golf Course, 3121 Willow Glen Road, El Cajon. Cost to play is $125 per player or $500 per foursome, which includes green fees, cart, box lunch and dinner. Sponsorships are available. Donations of raffle prizes are welcomed. Proceeds from the golf tournament will benefit the California Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Fund (HAF). HAF is a charitable entity dedicated to addressing California’s growing housing affordability crisis. For more information and to RSVP, contact PSAR at (619) 421-7811, or visit www.psar.org/golf.
 Clark Marketing Solutions of La Mesa wins AIVA award
     Neal Clark of Clark Marketing Solutions of La Mesa reports his firm recently received a Communicator Award of Distinction for creative excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), a 600-member international professional group that promotes creativity in media design, production and distribution. The award was for the use of music in a commercial radio spot called “Ah Summer” produced for client Diamond Valley Honda of Hemet, Calif. It was Clark’s sixth AIVA award he has received since 2011, and third for Diamond Valley Honda. AIVA’s Communicator Awards draws more than 6,000 entries worldwide, Clark said. Clark, who opened his firm in 2004, serves clients in the automotive, finance, real estate development and hospitality industries.
 Medical Society’s foundation has new name
     The charitable foundation formed 11 years ago by the San Diego County Medical Society has changed and shortened its name. Formerly called the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation, the foundation’s new name is Champions for Health. The announcement was made by Barbara Mandel, Champions for Health chief executive officer, who said planning for the rebranding has been underway since late 2015. 
     “The name was changed to Champions for Health to reduce confusion and misconceptions,” said Mandel. “Some people thought we existed in order to give money to doctors, which is incorrect. Rather, the new name was selected to reinforce the selfless contributions of doctors and many others in medicine who are involved in addressing the unmet healthcare needs of low-income and uninsured people in San Diego County. The name describes the tireless efforts of medical professionals who work to improve community health and wellness and change lives. These people really are our champions for health.”
     Mandel said the rebranding also includes a new logo displaying a stethoscope. “Champions for Health is a name not only inclusive of our community partners, such as doctors and nurses, other medical staff and allied health professionals, but it will help us be more recognizable in the general community. It’s a name that highlights our health heroes and means more in the public eye.”
     Mandel said Champions for Health’s flagship physician volunteer program, called Project Access San Diego (PASD), will continue under the new moniker, along with several other existing programs. PASD links volunteer specialist doctors with uninsured people who need healthcare services and cannot afford specialty surgeries.

May 12, 2016

Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber will host 2016 Spring Business Festival 
     The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce will host its 2016 Spring Business Festival from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, at the Alpine Regional Center, 1620 Alpine Blvd., Alpine. Admission is free. The public is invited to attend. The business expo event will feature display tables, food sampling and networking. Vendor setup begins at 4 p.m. Chamber officials said the event will be a great opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. A drawing will be held to win a ride on a REACH Air Medical Services helicopter. For more information and to RSVP, call (619) 445-2722 or visit www.alpinechamber.com. 
Lakeside Chamber seeking nominations for Citizen of the Year
        The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its annual Harry J. Spence Citizen of the Year award. Deadline for submissions is Monday, May 23. Nominations can be submitted by mail or in person at the Chamber office. The annual ward is given to a man or woman who has made outstanding volunteer contributions and contributed to a better way of life for all in the Lakeside and East County communities. Entrants will be evaluated on demonstratiing recognizable and ethical business practices, including furthering employer and employee relationships, employee training programs and promoting the business community in general, as well as contributions to the welfare of Lakeside through service projects, such as involvement in civic affairs and support of youth groups or senior or adult groups. The award is a one-time honor. Posthumous awards are possible. The winner will be recognized at the Chamber’s annual installation dinner in July, and be part of the Lakeside Western Days parade in April 2017. The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award originated in 1980. The first recipient was Harry J. Spence, a Lakeside resident and influential community volunteer. For more information, contact Kathy Kassel, Chamber president/CEO, at (619) 561-1031, or visit www.LakesideChamber.org.
 Realtors hosts free shredding, e-waste recycling 
       The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,300-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors, will provide free paper shredding and electronic recycling services from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, May 13, at PSAR’s East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. The event is open to the public. The public is invited to bring boxes containing personal and confidential information that will be shredded on the spot at no charge in the parking lot of the PSAR El Cajon office. Paper documents should be removed from binders prior to shredding; however, staples, paperclips, CDs and floppy discs are okay to be shredded. Accepted e-waste items include computers, laptops, notebooks, PDAs, printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, TVs, monitors, hard drives, keyboards, cell phones, power supplies, landline telephones, mice, cabling, stereos, plasma screens, VCR and DVD players and car batteries. Items not accepted include kitchen appliances, light bulbs or printer toner cartridges. 

PSAR officials said the recycling event will help reduce improper and illegal dumping in landfills, and protect the plant from various toxicities from reaching our soil and environment. Sponsors of the PSAR shredding event include PSAR, Farmers Insurance, HomeBridge Financial Services, Legacy Escrow, Mann vs. Pest Co., Inspection Connection San Diego and Marco Flood Restoration. For more event information, including a list of qualified e-products, contact PSAR by calling (619) 579-0333 or visit www.psar.org.
 Health care library will host discussion of skin safety on May 25th
     The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host “Be Sun Smart,” a free presentation on skin care and safety from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served. Advance RSVP is not necessary. Speaking will be Tina Mirpuri, care director with Synergy HomeCare of La Mesa, a franchised home care company. “The presentation will discuss ultraviolet radiation from the sun, how it affects your skin and why protecting yourself from UV exposure is critical to preventing skin cancer,” said  Kathy Quinn, director, Herrick Community Health Care Library. “Each year in America, over three million people are treated for non-melanoma skin cancer, and 90 percent of those cancers are associated with UV radiation from the sun, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Please join us in the fight against skin cancer with awareness and prevention and to learn more about lifelong sun safety habits and protection.”
 Charter School will occupy building next to a McDonald’s
        Student Success Programs, a charter school, has bought a free-standing building in San Carlos with plans to set up school operations. The 5,470-square-foot building, part of the Navajo Shopping Center at 8776 Lake Murray Blvd., San Diego, was previously occupied by a book store and movie video rental retailer. It is adjacent to a McDonald’s restaurant. The half-acre site and building was purchased for $2.1 million. The seller, the Sunita Kumar Trust of Saratoga, Calif., was represented by Lee & Associates’ Bo Havlik. The buyer was represented by Russ Merrill of the Merrill Group.

May 05, 2016

Union Bank names investment managing director
     Union Bank, with East County branches in El Cajon, La Mesa, Rancho San Diego, Casa de Oro and Lemon Grove, has named R. Morgan Busalacchi as managing director and regional sales manager for UnionBanc Investment Services. The bank said she will oversee a team of financial advisors and provide a diverse range of investment services to clients from bank branches in the East County. Busalacchi, with 12 years of experience, was recently with Chase Wealth Management and JPMorgan Securities. She began her career in investment services in 2003 with American Express. She has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
 Napa Auto Parts replacing Wild Bill’s in El Cajon
      NAPA Auto Parts is opening a location on Broadway Avenue in El Cajon, the former site of Wild Bill's Western Emporium. NAPA Auto Parts signed a five-year, $576,840 lease for the 8,310-square-foot space at 1235 Broadway Ave., El Cajon. Wild Bill's Western Emporium, a longtime fixture on Broadway Avenue, has announced plans to relocate to a new location on Magnolia Avenue. Kyle Clark of The Heritage Group represented property owners Diane and William Smith in the lease negotiations. NAPA Auto Parts was represented by Mike Moser of Retail Insite.
 Sports Authority closing Grossmont Center store
     The Sports Authority store at Grossmont Center in La Mesa is among the approximately 140 stores that are set to close following the company’s recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The store closings may take up to three months, the company said. The Englewood, Colo.-based chain, owned by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, will close or sell the stores, as well as two distribution centers, in Denver and Chicago. Prior to the bankruptcy filing, the company operated 463 stores in 41 states and Puerto Rico. Sport Authority's 40,000-square-foot property at Grossmont Center was considered one of the anchor tenants, along with Walmart, Target and Macy's. Retail industry analysts say the financial failure of the soon-to-be-liquidated Sports Authority, as well as its competitor Sport Chalet, is because shoppers no longer want sporting-goods chains that offer a little bit of everything, plus growing competition from online shopping. Experts also say today’s consumers focus more on service and specialization, avoiding retailers who offer too many products that cannot adequately be supported.
 La Mesa biotech firm signs license with Tijuana cancer center
     Regen BioPharma Inc. of La Mesa has announced it has signed a license agreement with Pan Am Cancer Treatment Center in Tijuana to test HemaXellerate, a cellular drug designed to heal damaged bone marrow. It is reportedly the first-in-human proof of concept study. Typically, bone marrow is damaged by chemotherapy, radiation therapy or diseases, such as anemia. Up to 10 patients with chemotherapy-induced aplastic anemia will be treated with HemaXellerate and outcomes will be measured at one, three and six months, the company said. The study was initiated by Dr. Julio Selva Pallares, professor of clinical hematology at the Autonomous University of Baja California and director of its hematology transfusion unit. HemaXellerate is comprised of cells extracted from the patient’s own fat tissue and processed using a proprietary method to induce a biological response in the patient that heals damaged bone marrow and restores the body’s ability to generate healthy blood cells.
 Santee Chamber presents Santee Street Fair on May 28
     The Santee Chamber of Commerce will present its 8th annual Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, during Memorial Day weekend, at Riverview Parkway and Town Center Parkway, adjacent to Santee Trolley Square. With 30,000 people expected to attend the Santee Street Fair is considered one of East County’s largest one-day events. The Street Fair, with free admission, will feature 300 food and vendor booths, carnival rides, outdoor laser tag, two stages with live music and entertainment, along with a craft beer festival, crafters and artists. The Sheriff's Department will attend with a Search and Rescue unit and vehicle on display.
     Performers on the community stage will include Expressions Dance and Movement Center, Champion Gymnastics and Cheer, Staump Music School, Anna Vauss, The Contingencies, Cory Wilkens, City of Santee Recreational Services, Tumble and Wee Dance, Bob Warren, Pickwick Players and a Touch of Class Dance Studio. The craft beer festival will feature samples from many regional and local brewers, including Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Co., Pacific Islander Beer Co., Sierra Nevada and BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. Food vendors include California Best Kettle, DoggosGus, Finest City Kettlecorn and Sweet Treats, Hunter Steakhouse, Kona-Ice of San Diego, Ledesmas Foods, Half a Haole, Matheny’s Wagon Works, Miister Potato, Rita’s Italian Ice, The Coffee Corner, The Cookie Lady and The Sweet Stop.
     Event sponsors include Lloyd’s Collision & Paint Center, Whissel Realty, CKO Kickboxing, SunFusion Solar, Walmart, Valley View Casino & Hotel and NewCarsInc.com. Tickets to the beer garden begin at $20 per person. For more information and to purchase pre-event wristbands for admission to the beer garden, visit www.SanteeStreetFair.com, or call (619) 449-6572.

April 28, 2016

East County Chamber’s May breakfast at Cuyamaca College

     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, May 6, at Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Pkwy, El Cajon. Breakfast sponsor is the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD). Speakers will include participating high school students from the Chamber’s Ethics in Business program. Now in its 25th year, Ethics in Busienss is a joint venture of the Chamber’s Business Education Committee and GUHSD’s Career Technical Education Department and is supported by a consortium of business, education, and community leaders. The most recent Ethics in Business event drew more than 200 students and 30 facilitators. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for non-members with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested prior to Tuesday, May 3. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org. 
 Alliance Escrow opens second office
     Alliance Escrow of El Cajon has opened a second office in Mission Valley at 3511 Camino del Rio South, San Diego. The company’s original office, 124 West Main St., opened in 2015. Since then, the company has grown from four to 20 employees, according to El Cajon resident Justen Brown, Alliance Escrow business development director. Alliance Escrow, operated by both Brown and Josh Baker of El Cajon, offers a full range of services, including transaction document processing and funds transfer, management and distribution, as well as responding to requests from principals. 
 Bob Baker Toyota in Lemon Grove becomes Greg Miller Toyota
     Bob Baker Toyota, 6800 Federal Blvd. in Lemon Grove, has become Greg Miller Toyota. The dealership was recently purchased by Greg Miller, ex-CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (LHM Group). It is the first dealership under Miller’s new enterprise, Greg Miller Automotive San Diego. Greg Miller, one of Larry Miller’s sons, stepped down as CEO of LHM Group last March after serving for seven years. Larry Miller, who died in 2009, built an auto dealership network across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah and Washington. His family still owns the NBA basketball team Utah Jazz. Greg Miller is expected to remain on the LHM Group board of directors and in serving as the Utah Jazz representative on the NBA Board of Governors. He will maintain his Salt Lake City residence and will continue to also serve in several religious and civic capacities, including on the board of the Utah Office of Tourism.
 Two San Diego County Credit Union Walk MS fundraisers recently held
     The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s San Diego-based Pacific South Coast Chapter recently held two San Diego County Credit Union Walk MS fundraisers. The National MS Society said about 7,300 walkers participated at both events and raised $724,000 in donations for MS research and programs and services for people with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. It was the 26th year for Walk MS events in San Diego.
     On Saturday evening, April 16 in Carlsbad, 3,145 people walked a three-mile route overlooking the Flower Fields and looping around the Legoland California theme park. About $358,000 in donations were collected. It was the first time since 2006 that the National MS Society’s North County’s Walk MS fundraiser in Carlsbad was held in the evening. One week later, on Saturday morning, April 23 at NTC Park at Liberty Station in San Diego’s Point Loma community, 4,183 walkers walked three miles along San Diego Bay and raised $366,000 in donations.
     San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU), San Diego’s largest locally-owned financial institution, returned as title sponsor of Walk MS in 2016. SDCCU has supported the National MS Society’s Walk MS for the past 18 years, and has served as title sponsor since 2002. Over the years, SDCCU’s sponsorship support for Walk MS has exceeded $1 million, according to the National MS Society.
     Presenting sponsors of the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Walk MS included NBC 7 San Diego, KyXy 96.5, Energy 103.7 and Sycuan Casino. Other sponsors included Biogen, Sanofi Genzyme, Mother To Baby, Ability Magazine, San Diego Business Journal, KPBS and Langers Juice. The National MS Society’s national Walk MS sponsor is Novartis. 
     Walkers at Walk MS included a large number of teams representing businesses, neighborhoods, clubs, community groups, churches and family members and friends of a person with MS. Walkers will have the opportunity to earn prizes, including t-shirts, movie tickets and gift cards, based on the amount of donations they collect. Deadline for donations to count toward prizes is May 31. To donate, visit www.WalkMS.org.

April 21, 2016

Walk MS in Point Loma on Saturday with David Osmond
     The National Multiple Sclerosis Society in San Diego will host the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Walk MS, a fundraising walk, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, April 23 at NTC Park at Liberty Station, 2455 Cushing Road, in San Diego’s Point Loma community. National MS Society officials expect about 3,500 people will walk and help raise about $462,000 in donations for MS research and program and services for people with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body.
     Also attending at Walk MS at Liberty Station will be singer-songwriter and Broadway performer David Osmond, a member of the entertaining Osmond family and a nephew of Donny and Marie Osmond. David Osmond, who was diagnosed with MS in 2006 at age 26, will attend and sing the National Anthem, plus his newest song, “I Can Do This,” a song about his personal journey with relapsing MS, www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l1lTkKsaDs.
      David Osmond also is involved as an inspirational MS advocate in “Our Voice in Song” www.OurVoiceInSong.com, an educational campaign from Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. that aims to empower people to take charge and become more active managers of their disease. The “Our Voice in Song” campaign provides resources for people to learn more about relapsing MS, including tips on how to actively manage the condition and questions people can ask healthcare practitioners to advocate for themselves and help optimize their care.
     The three-mile walk along San Diego Bay is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Check-in begins at 7 a.m. Admission is free to attend Walk MS. There is no cost to be a walker. On-site registration is available. Event information is available at www.walkMS.org.
Organ and Tissue Donation Discussion at Health Library
      In honor of National Donate Life Month in April, the Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host “Dispelling Myths About Organ and Tissue Donation,” a free presentation from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Speaking will be representatives from Donate Life San Diego, a local chapter of a national organization that promotes organ and tissue donation. More than 13 million Californians have registered to save the lives of others as organ and tissue donors with 95 percent of them through the Department of Motor Vehicles. A growing number of medical partners, including Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, are supporting the effort with banners hanging from parking structures. 
Free Senior Health Fair in Santee
      The 17th annual East County Senior Health Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, April 29, at Sonrise Community Church, 88805 Magnolia Ave. in Santee. Admission is free. No advance registration is necessary. The East County Senior Services Providers, a coalition of community organizations and agencies serving seniors in the East County, said the health fair will feature more than 60 exhibit booths, along with free health screenings for stroke, blood pressure, blood glucose/diabetes, balance and video otoscope. Information will be available about senior housing, home care services, home safety, fall prevention, health education, advance directives, nutrition services, social programs, caregiving services, educational programs and volunteer opportunities. Attendees may bring unwanted medications for safe disposal by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. This is part of a prescription drug take back effort aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse. Sponsors include the Grossmont Healthcare District, a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, along with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Sonrise Community Church, Western Press, City of La Mesa and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. For event information, phone the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center at (619) 667-1322.
 Jamul Casino Traffic Plan Okayed by County Supervisors
      An agreement has been reached between the County Board of Supervisors and the Jamul Indian Village over impacts of the tribe’s new casino in Jamul. The agreement addresses how to handle the traffic, public safety and environmental effects in surrounding areas from the construction and operation of the Hollywood Casino that’s scheduled to open later this year. The casino is expected to include a three-story gaming and entertainment facility of 200,000 square feet, featuring more than 1,700 slot machines, 50 live table games, restaurants, a Tony Gwynn sports bar and an enclosed below ground parking structure for 1,800 cars. The Jamul Indian Village hired casino manager Penn National Gaming to develop the $400 million complex.

April 14, 2016

Sen. Joel Anderson Sets `Community Coffee’ Meeting in El Cajon
      California Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) will listen to constituents and invite ideas to improve state government at a “Community Coffee” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at the El Cajon Police Department’s Community Room, 100 Civic Center Way, El Cajon. The free event, open to the public, will be hosted by El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells. “My top priority is making government work for you,” said Anderson. “This will be an opportunity to hear directly from my constituents about their needs, opinions and legislative ideas to make state government more effective and efficient. In addition, my district staff will be on hand to help constituents resolve any issues they may have with a state agency.” For more information, contact Anderson’s El Cajon district office at (619) 596-3136, or visit www.senate.ca.gov/anderson. RSVPs are requested by Wednesday, April 13, to (619) 596-3136. Anderson’s 38th Senate district includes Poway, Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa and most of East San Diego County. He was first elected to the state Assembly in 2006 and to the state Senate in 2010.
 Santee Chamber Hosting Inaugural San-Tee Golf Tourney
      The Santee Chamber of Commerce will present its first-ever San-Tee Golf Tournament from noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 27, at the Steele Canyon Golf Club, 3199 Stonefield Dr., Jamul. Cost to play is $150 per individual golfer or $550 for a foursome. The cost includes green fees, box lunch, business networking and a tri-tip barbecue dinner during the awards ceremony. The tournament will benefit the Santee Chamber and its programs and services provided to members and East County residents. Also included at the event will be raffle prizes and tee games. Check-in begins at 11 a.m. and a shotgun start at noon. Sponsors include Excell Security, Lloyd’s Collision Center and Paint Center, Toyota of El Cajon, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Allegiance Heating & Air Conditioning, Walter Andersen Nursery, Whitney Promotions, Walmart and GTM Discount General Stores. Tournament sponsorships are still available. Alicia Kell, Sharp Business Systems, is serving as the Santee Chamber’s golf committee chair. For more information, contact Sandy Schmitt, president/CEO, Santee Chamber, at (619) 449-6572, orsandy@santeechamber.com.
 Grossmont Healthcare District to award 36 scholarships
     The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, will award $81,000 in scholarships to 36 high school students who have expressed interest in a career as a healthcare professional. The scholarships will be presented at GHD’s Friday, April 15 board meeting. The students from 18 high schools in the East County were selected by school administrators for their academic excellence, outstanding citizenship and a desire to improve our world in the healthcare field. Two students from each high school will receive either a $3,000 or $1,500 check from GHD at the end of their first semester of college contingent on completing at least nine units with a grade point average of 2.0 or better, according to GHD 2016 board president Robert “Bob” Ayres.
     “We applaud these specially selected students who have demonstrated great potential in leading the next generation and shaping the future of healthcare,” said Ayres. “We are proud to invest in America’s youth and encourage these young adults as they continue their studies in the healthcare field with the goal of serving in the workforce of tomorrow. We look forward to their future success through college and beyond.” 
     The students include (name of the high school follows the two students’ names): Mikaela Patterson, Taylor Lynch, Christian; Lenda Lawrence, Maryam Shaoo, El Cajon Valley; Vivian Maldonado, Ahtziri Gallegos-Enriquez, El Capitan; Nevea Atherton, Elizabeth Williamson, Foothills Christian; Andy Yousif, Kaylie Hildebrand, Granite Hills; Jazmin Morales, Halee Scott, Grossmont; Nancy Tomka, Sara Froomin, Grossmont Middle College; Diondr’Ya Taylor, Jessica Irvine, Helix Charter; Allison Hale, Rachel Jensen, Liberty Charter; Jolissa Manuel, Bethany Mudge, Monte Vista; Brandol Camacho Frasco, Francis Evangelista, Mount Miguel; Eder Lomeli, Alexandra Denlinger, Mountain Empire; Kailey Archuleta, Georgina Fang, Patrick Henry; Cordelia Holsonback-Master, Jenelle Yaldo, River Valley Charter; Michael Chase, Catelyn Renna, Santana; Allison Hall, Alexander Rodriguez, Steele Canyon Charter; Salam Allahwerdy, Regina Mansour, Valhalla; Savannah Fakhouri, Dakota Betz,West Hills.
     GHD has honored local high school students interested in a healthcare career with scholarship grants since 1999. Over the years, hundreds of local high school students have received individual scholarships totaling more than $1 million.
     The Grossmont Healthcare District, formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, serves as landlord of Sharp Grossmont Hospital, including ownership of the property and buildings on behalf of East County taxpayers. The District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District's 750 square miles in San Diego's East County. For more information about GHD, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org.

April 07, 2016

Groundbreaking Held for New Marriott in El Cajon
     Construction is underway on East County’s first four-star hotel in El Cajon. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Tuesday, April 5, for a new 120-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, 141 N. Magnolia Ave. Attendees at the groundbreaking included local elected officials and representatives from Marriott Corp.
     The 70,000-square foot, four-story building will include a swimming pool, spa, grassy courtyard, exercise room, business center, lounge, indoor and outdoor dining and banquet facilities, along with a 2,000-square foot commercial lease space. Parking will be available for more than 100 cars on site. General contractor is West-Tech Contracting. Construction cost is estimated at $18 million. The hotel is expected to open in 2017.
     Two vacant buildings on three parcels were demolished to make room for the hotel in the Downtown area. City officials said the land was sold to Marriott Corp. for $1.2 million. During the first five years of operation, Marriott will receive transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues. From years six through 10, Marriott and the city will split TOT fees; and starting in year 11, the city will receive all TOT fees.
 Santee Woman Wins `Epic 48 Hours’ from Z-90
      Santee resident Melissa Hill was the winner of XHRM-FM Z-90’s recent “Epic 48 Hours” promotion held over Easter weekend, March 25 -27. The station said thousands of listeners entered the contest at the Z-90 website. The winner had to be willing to leave at a moment’s notice and be ready to go anywhere and do anything. Hill’s name was drawn. The Santee resident took her friend Jamie Hanawalt of Pacific Beach.
    “The weekend was so jam-packed with so many incredible experiences, it’s nothing I will ever forget,” said Hill, 26. “It was non-stop insane, a crazy adventure. My phone has been blowing up for days with calls from my friends. I would have never had the chance to do any of it without Z-90.”
     “It was an adventure of a lifetime that neither of us will ever forget,” said Hanawalt, 27. “The word `epic’ doesn’t begin to describe the amazing things that happened. We were treated like VIPs the entire time. There was always someone there to carry our bags and cameras everywhere. We hung out with many celebrities and never waited in line with one exclusive entry after another.”
     Their “Epic 48 Hours” began with a visit to Disneyland to experience the new Star Wars Space Mountain ride, courtside seats at a Los Angeles Lakers game, embroidered team jerseys personally delivered by Nick Jonas, admission to the Chairman’s Room before the game, VIP table at the Ohm Nightclub in Hollywood and a suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt. It continued with a private plane trip from Burbank to Las Vegas, watching a recording session with DJ Mustard, $1,000 shopping spree at the Miracle Mile Shops, soundcheck with X Ambassadors at The Foundry, ride on the High Roller at the LinQ Ferris wheel, dinner at Bally’s BLT Steakhouse, floor tickets to Pitbull’s performance at Planet Hollywood’s AXIS Theater, a $1,000 chip to play roulette that was given to them by Pitbull before the rapper’s show (“He said, ‘Bet it on black, like my suit,’” said Jamie), admission to OMNIA Nightclub at Caesars Palace, hotel room at the Planet Hollywood, Sunday morning full-body massage and return to San Diego.
     Melissa and Jamie shared their experience on Monday, March 28, with co-hosts Edina Macic and Rick Morton on the “Morton in the Morning” show. Randy Williams, Z-90 program director, said, “In my 23 years in radio, I have never been part of a promotion this massive. A huge thank you is due to every department at the station, our record label partners and valued clients. Wait ‘till you’ll see the next one.” Here is a 19-second video about the girls’ trip, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms6JhxkHHj8.

 Sycuan’s Adam Day receives eight-year term as CSU trustee
     Adam Day, assistant tribal manager for the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, has been reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to an eight-year term on the California State University Board of Trustees. The State Senate confirmed his appointment in February. He was originally appointed to the board in 2014 to replace a board member who had died. Day has a long history in government, politics and public relations. Prior to joining Sycuan, Day served as vice president and general manager for NCG Porter Novelli from 2000 to 20002. In that capacity he managed a number of campaigns for leading San Diego companies. He also worked at the Flannery Group from 1999 to 2000 and chief of staff in San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob's office from 1996 to 1999, and senior policy advisor from 1993 to 1995. Throughout his career, Day has served on dozens of boards and committees and currently sits on the Del Mar Fair Board, the San Diego County Planning Commission, Century Club of San Diego, Indian Gaming Local Benefit Committee, and the San Diego County Fire Mitigation Committee. Day, son of Thomas Day, former president of San Diego State University, most recently was chairman of the San Diego Citizens Stadium Advisory Group commissioned by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

March 31, 2016

Lakeside Chamber Will Host Ribbon Cutting Saturday, April 2
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 2, at Crema Dolce Cannoli and Coffee, 9903 Maine Ave., Lakeside. Jerry Mosier, Lakeside Chamber ambassador chairman, is requesting ambassadors arrive by 9:45 a.m. Crema Dolce offers coffee and desserts, including cupcakes brownies and muffins, along with salads and sub and Panini sandwiches. The business opened on March 12. For more information, visit www.LakesideChamber.org, or contact Moser, (619) 749-1102 or jerry@jmosier.com.
 Hospital Citizens Group Issues Report on Taxpayer Bond Expenditures
     The citizens group overseeing the spending of millions of dollars in taxpayer-approved bonds for new and improved patient care facilities at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa has issued its 2015 Annual Report to the Community. The Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (ICBOC) consists of uncompensated, volunteer East County residents who are monitoring how the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is spending bond proceeds to finance several construction projects at the publicly-owned hospital.  
     The 2015 Annual Report notes the 10-year anniversary of bond-related construction at the hospital since voters approved Proposition G in June 2006. The Report’s timeline marks a chronology of major events in the history of Prop. G, starting with the 2006 vote and the first ICBOC meeting held in October 2006. The timeline also gives an estimated timeframe of future construction activities. In addition, the Report offers an update of current construction projects and milestone events during the 2015 calendar year.
     In the Report’s cover letter to citizens, ICBOC chairman Kathleen Bute highlighted two major financial transactions that occurred in May 2015, including the final sale of $24.5 million in Prop. G bonds and the refunding of $200 million in existing Prop. G bonds at a more favorable interest rate. “This refunding of existing bonds, similar to refinancing, will ultimately save the taxpayers in the District approximately $29 million in debt service payments over the life of the bonds,” wrote Bute.   
      Among the construction highlights during 2015, the Report contains construction progress information about the hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center (H&V), a new Central Energy Plant (CEP) and renovation of patient rooms on floors two through five of the seven-story East Tower building, originally constructed in 1974. The Report said the H&V building is scheduled for completion in mid-2016, which will be followed by its surgery floor build-out, a project planned for completion in 2018. The CEP with new emergency generators, boilers, chillers, cooling towers and auxiliary systems is expected to be fully operational later this year. The ICBOC 2015 annual report is available at www.grossmonthealthcare.org.
 National Multiple Sclerosis Society Planning Two Fundraising Walks
       The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s San Diego-based Pacific South Coast Chapter will host two San Diego County Credit Union Walk MS fundraisers in April. The National MS Society expects about 7,000 walkers at both events will help raise about $900,000 in donations for MS research and programs and services for people with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. It’s the 26th year for Walk MS events in San Diego.
      On Saturday evening, April 16 in Carlsbad, about 3,500 people are expected to walk and help raise about $425,000 in donations. The three-mile walk will be along Armanda Drive overlooking the Carlsbad Flower Fields and looping around the Legoland California theme park. Check-in begins at 4 p.m. The walk begins at 5 p.m. It’s the first time since 2006 that the National MS Society’s North County’s Walk MS fundraiser in Carlsbad will be held in the evening.
      On Saturday morning, April 23 at NTC Park at Liberty Station, 2455 Cushing Road, in San Diego’s Point Loma community, another 3,500 people are expected to walk three miles along San Diego Bay and help raise about $460,000 in donations. Check-in begins at 7 a.m. The walk begins at 8 a.m.
      San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU), San Diego’s largest locally-owned financial institution, is returning as title sponsor of Walk MS at NTC Park. SDCCU has supported the National MS Society’s Walk MS for the past 18 years, and has served as title sponsor since 2002. Over the years, SDCCU’s sponsorship support for Walk MS has exceeded $1 million, according to the National MS Society.
     Presenting sponsors of the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Walk MS include NBC 7 San Diego, KyXy 96.5, Energy 103.7 and Sycuan Casino. Other sponsors include Biogen, Sanofi Genzyme, Mother To Baby, Ability Magazine, San Diego Business Journal, KPBS and Langers Juice. The National MS Society’s national Walk MS sponsor is Novartis.
     Admission is free to attend Walk MS. On-site registration will be available. Event information is available at www.WalkMS.org. Free snacks and beverages will be provided to walkers, plus live music and a finish-line celebration.

March 24, 2016

East County Chamber’s Breakfast at Carlton Oaks Country Club
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, April 1, at Carlton Oaks Country Club, 9200 Inwood Dr., Santee. Breakfast sponsor is the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD). Special guest speaker will be Ralf Swenson, GUHSD superintendent who is retiring later this year, and Santee Mayor Randy Voepel. Cost to attend is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for non-members with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested prior to Monday, March 28. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle atsarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
 La Mesa Chamber to Host Breakfast with Police Chief
      The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez for a breakfast meeting starting at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13, at the Marie Callender’s restaurant, 6950 Alvarado Road, San Diego. Breakfast sponsors include Carl Burger Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM World, El Camino Memorial Park and Hornbrook Center for Dentistry. The public is invited to attend. Cost to attend is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for guests with advanced reservations, or $25 at the door. Breakfast will include eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fresh fruit and juice. Prize drawings also will be held. Attendance drawing sponsors include La Mesa Courier and Opus Bank. Reservations may be made via the chamber website, www.lamesachamber.com, or by sending an e-mail, rsvp@lamesachamber.com, or by calling the Chamber Office (619) 465-7700, ext. #2.
      Vasquez was sworn in as chief of the La Mesa Police Department in April 2015. He previously served for 29 years with the San Diego Police Department. He began his career with the SDPD in September 1986 as a police recruit. In 1994, he was promoted to sergeant, then lieutenant in 1998, captain in 2005, and assistant chief in 2013. Vasquez graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2007. In his previous position as assistant chief with SDPD, he oversaw the Canine Unit, SWAT team, property room, information services, communications and the chief’s community advisory boards. Vasquez succeeded Ed Aceves, who retired in December 2014 after three years as chief.    
     Vasquez is a native San Diegan with long ties to East County. He played Pony League baseball in La Mesa, and he graduated from Helix High School in 1981. He has been an El Cajon resident for about 25 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. He is married with two children.
 Ronn Hall Has Opened New Insurance Brokerage in Santee
     Ronn Hall, owner of an Allstate insurance office in Santee, has sold his Allstate business and has opened an independent insurance brokerage at 9456 Cuyamaca St., Suite #101. His new business is called Ronn Hall Insurance and Notary Services and it offers insurance from a variety of insurers. Marlene Major, who has worked with Hall for the past 20 years as office manager, will join Hall’s new company, he said. Hall was with Allstate for 29 years. Allstate Corp. is the second largest personal lines insurer in the U.S. He opened his Allstate business in April 1987 at the Sears store at Parkway Plaza. An East County native, Hall has lived in Santee for the past 13 years. He was elected to the Santee City Council in November 2014. He also currently serves as a member of the San Diego Republican Party Central Committee. He is married to Virginia Hall, who is serving as 2016 chairperson of the Santee Chamber of Commerce.
 Boys & Girls Clubs’ Santee Clubhouse to Run on Solar Power
      The Boys and Girls Clubs of East County (BGCEC) has announced installation of a solar power system has been completed at its Santee clubhouse, 8820 Tamberly Way. San Diego-based Empowered Energy Solutions said its solar system costing $184,000 to install will save the Santee clubhouse $338,000 in utility costs over the next 10 years and $824,000 over the next 25 years
      “We’re looking forward to this investment resulting in a reallocation of funds from our electricity bill to our mission to provide programming and services for the children of our community,” said Forrest Higgins, CEO, BGCEC. “We also see this as a learning opportunity to help expand our kids’ knowledge of going-green and be a good example of reducing the carbon footprint.”
     The solar system features 193 solar panels measuring 39-by-66 inches and covering about 3,600 square foot atop the Santee clubhouse roof. In addition to the 260-watt, poly-crystalline, black-frame photovoltaic solar panels, the system includes new HVAC controls and a LED lighting retrofit.   
      The system features Empowered Energy Solutions’ Guardian energy monitoring and control system. The company said the Santee clubhouse marks its first installation in San Diego County of the Guardian system. Without the solar system, the company estimated the BGCEC’s current monthly utility of about $3,000 would increase to $12,500 a month after 25 years with a total payout during that time of $1.9 million.

March 3, 2016

 La Mesa Chamber Honors `Local Heroes’
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce recently held its eighth annual “Salute to Local Heroes” dinner. The event included installation of board members, dinner, silent auction and recognition of seven local heroes from law enforcement, fire district, paramedic field and retired senior volunteer patrol. Honored at the event were: Jon Alva and Robert Ivery, paramedics, American Medical Response; Capt. Dave Hardenburger, Heartland Fire and Rescue; Detective Bucky Wright and Master Officer Lillie Chase, La Mesa Police Department (LMPD); Nonie Beach and Ray Rendina, La Mesa Police Department Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP).
      Alva, a paramedic for the past three years, recently responded to a critically-injured motorcyclist who had hit the back of a semi-truck at a high rate of speed. Alva’s communication and clinical skills kept the patient alive. Ivery, a paramedic for more than 30 years, also serves as a training officer and instructor in local paramedic training programs. Hardenburger responded to a call about an 18-month-old child who was not breathing and without a pulse. Hardenburger pulled out the grape causing the choking and helped the child regain a pulse.  Wright, who works in the LMPD Special Investigations Unit, helped solve a series of Ford Ranger vehicle burglaries and worked with the U.S. Marshals to arrest a felony suspect who had been on the run for eight months. Chase rescued a 17-year-old suicidal female who was ready to jump off a bridge over Grossmont Center Drive. Beach has volunteered more than 4,000 hours since joining RSVP in November 1998. Rendina has volunteered more than 5,100 hours since joining RSVP in February 1998. The dinner was held Feb. 24 at the Town and Country Resort Hotel.
 Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber Helping Students Plan Futures

      The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce is working with the Mountain Empire Unified School District to host a Career Day for about 600 middle and high school students on March 11.  Representatives of area businesses, organizations, colleges and agencies are expected to attend to inform students about future education and employment opportunities and broaden horizons.
     The chamber and the Alpine Union School District held a similar Career Day in February with middle school students. Participants included Back Country Land Trust, Barons Market, California Bank & Trust, Comfort Keepers, Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges, Grand Canyon University, Kamps Propane, Mercy Medical Transportation, Mountain Health & Community Services, Primary Residential Mortgage, Project Cornerstone, REACH Air Medical Services, San Diego County Parks and Recreation, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Sharp HealthCare, State Farm Insurance, The Art Institutes, U.S. Border Patrol and Wells Fargo Bank. 
 Sharp Grossmont Hospital to Open New Pharmacy and Lab
      An important milestone was recently celebrated in the progress of the taxpayer-funded construction of a new Heart and Vascular (H&V) Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa. While the three-story, 71,000-square-foot H&V building is scheduled for final completion later this year, construction was recently completed of the first phase of the project, which was completion of  new pharmacy and clinical testing laboratory on Level A, which is set to open in March to begin serving patients. A ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony for the pharmacy and lab was held on Feb. 24. 
     The H&V Center’s new 6,700-square-foot pharmacy will replace the hospital’s existing 3,100-square-foot pharmacy, said Dr. Kenneth Schell, hospital pharmacy director. The previous pharmacy space will be used for other hospital purposes, including pathology work consisting of laboratory examination of body tissue samples for diagnostic or forensic purposes. “The last upgrade to the existing pharmacy was in 1997, so we’re overdue and looking forward to serving patients with the most modern equipment and technology and the latest design that will improve efficiency and production,” Schell said. “Our new pharmacy will help us increase our current capacity of 90,000 medication orders a month. Our workload has been increasing by several hundred orders every month for the past several years.” Schell said the new pharmacy also will feature a retail operation so that all patients at their discharge from the hospital can get prescriptions filled at the hospital instead of an outside retail store. He also said the new pharmacy will provide extra space for research studies for patients needing investigational drug therapies.
     In addition, the new 13,000-square-foot laboratory will replace the hospital’s existing 10,000-square-foot laboratory, said Chris Crawford, hospital laboratory director. However, blood draws will continue at the existing lab area, she said. “The new lab will give us a smoother workflow resulting in greater capacity and a quicker turnaround time for specimen examination and processing,” Crawford said. “We also will have a Clinical Resource Room available for ongoing training sessions, validation of new instrument technology and provide a place for student reference information.” Crawford said new large refrigerator equipment with a capacity of 26,000 test tubes, which will permit the hospital to double the storage time of most specimens. “We are also excited about the new automation, robotics and auto-verification technology that will help our efficiency at inventory management,” she said.

February 25, 2016

Chamber Breakfast at Foothills Christian Church
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, March 4, at Foothills Christian Church, 365 W. Bradley Ave., El Cajon. Special guest speakers will be David Miyashiro, superintendent of Cajon Valley Union School District. Cost to attend is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for non-members with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested prior to Monday, Feb. 29. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
 La Mesa Office Building Sold.
      Pacific Coast Commercial, a commercial real estate company, recently announced that GDS Trust sold a 4,930-square-foot office building located at 7800 University Ave. in La Mesa to Southern State Insurance Services. The property was purchased for $920,000. Escrow and title services were provided by California Title Company. The transaction was financed by Bank of the West. Ken Robak and Erika Brooks of Pacific Coast Commercial represented the seller. George Rodriquez of Rabay Realty represented the buyer. 
 Parkway Plaza Will Host Photo Opportunity With Easter Bunny
     Parkway Plaza, a regional retail center at 415 Parkway Plaza in El Cajon, will offer photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny in the Sears court area between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, between Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 26. 
     Photo packages will be available for purchase. No personal photos will be allowed. All children visiting the bunny will receive a free package of carrot seeds. The program opportunity with the Easter Bunny is sponsored by Mossy Nissan of El Cajon. 
     For more information about the Easter Bunny photos, call guest services at (619) 579-9932. Parkway Plaza will be closed on Easter Sunday, March 27. 
     Parkway Plaza features more than 170 stores, restaurants and an 18-screen Regal movie theater. Stores include Macy’s, sears, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bath & Body Works, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Charlotte Russe and The Finish Line. Dining opportunities range from Applebee’s and On The Border to Mexican Grill & Cantina and Panda Express. For more information, visit www.ShoppingParkwayPlaza.com. 
East County Chamber Will Cut Ribbon at Chick-fil-A
     A ribbon cutting to celebrate the third-year anniversary of the Chick-fil-A restaurant, 9418 Mission Gorge Road, in Santee will be hosted by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1. The restaurant with a 13-space drive-through opened on Feb. 20, 2013. It is located on a 4,500-square-foot section near the Lowe’s store at the southwest corner of the Carlton Square Shopping Center. 
     Kyle Steck is the owner-operator. Steck, a San Diego native and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, has led the store since August 2015.  Jessi Synder, also a San Diego native, is the restaurant’s new marketing coordinator and ambassador. 
     In addition to the East County Chamber event, the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Santee is supporting the American Diabetes Association with a free food giveaway on Tuesday, March 22 in support of the ADA’s “Alert Day.” Held annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, the ADA’s Alert Day encourages people to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by taking the ADA’s online diabetes risk test at www.diabetes.org/socalalert. The risk test, consisting of seven questions covering such topics as family history, weight and age, takes less than 60 seconds to complete.
     Anyone who visits one of the nine Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County between the hours of 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on March 22, and shows proof they completed the diabetes risk test, will receive their choice of a free Chick-fil-A grilled chicken sandwich entrée or a free eight-piece grilled nugget entrée. Proof can include either a printout from the website page or simply show the risk test’s final page on a smart phone. No personal information or test results will be collected. No purchase is required. Limit of one free entree per customer per day. Offer consists of entrée only, not a meal. 
     Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County are located in Chula Vista, Encinitas, Oceanside, San Marcos, Santee, Escondido and in San Diego on Sports Arena Blvd., Camino Ruiz in Mira Mesa and Carmel Mountain Road in Carmel Mountain Ranch. For addresses and directions, visit www.chick-fil-a.com.
     Chick-fil-A owner-operators in San Diego said their support of ADA’s Alert Day is part of the chain’s commitment to healthy lifestyle habits and disease prevention. In addition, ADA officials said Chick-fil-A’s two free items available on March 22 -- the grilled chicken sandwich entrée and free eight-count grilled nugget entrée – are menu items that have been approved by the American Diabetes Association as healthy eating options for people with diabetes.

February 18, 2016

East County Chamber Presented Awards at Annual Dinner
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce recently held its annual awards gala called “East County Honors – A Night to Shine.” The Chamber’s 2016 board of directors were sworn in and awards for community service and businesses of the year were presented.
     Recipients of the community service awards included: Marcel Becker, Trident Maritime Systems, Chairman’s Award; Barry Jantz, Grossmont Healthcare District, Public Service Person of the Year; Javier Metoyer, Silvergate Bank, Ambassador of the Year; Cindie Wolf, Cindie Wolf Photography, Business and Education Person of the Year; Renae Arabo, RJS Law, Business Volunteer of the Year; Beverly Sturk, El Cajon Police Dept., Leadership East County Person of the Year; Beverley Ireland, Jasmine Creek Florist, Community Business Partner of the Year; Kevin Miller, Foothills Christian Church, One-and-Done Membership Rewards Program Award.
     Business of the year award recipients included: URBN Street Brewing Co., Best Restaurant Award; International Academy of Jazz, Education Industry Award; Barona Resort & Casino, Entertainment & Recreation Industry Award; East County Schools Federal Credit Union, Financial Services Industry Award; Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, Green Business Award; The Salvation Army El Cajon Corps, Health Services Industry Award;  Pure Solar Power, Home and Business Improvement Industry Award; RCP Block & Brick, Manufacturing Industry Award: Jack in the Box DBA Beshay Enterprises, New Member Business Award; The Water Conservation Garden, Non-Profit Business Award; Cabrera and Associates, Inc., Professional Services Industry Award; Keller Williams Realty, Real Estate and Housing Industry Award; Act II Inc., Retail, Sales and Marketing Industry Award. 
     The Chamber’s Annual Dinner was held Feb. 11 at the Barona Resort & Casino Golf Center in Lakeside. About 250 people attended the event. 
 La Mesa Resident Joins Realtors Association’s Board of Directors
     The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,000-member trade group for San Diego area realtors, has announced that La Mesa resident Jan Farley has joined its board of directors. Farley also is serving as the 2016 president of the Women’s Council of Realtors, San Diego chapter. Farley has worked in the real estate industry since 1974. She has worked in sales, lending, escrow, property management and investment services. She currently is managing broker of San Terra Properties, which has about 20 real estate sales agents and more than 250 single-family residences under management. Jan and husband Bruce have lived in La Mesa since 2012. 

 La Mesa Health Library’s Art Exhibit Features ‘Back Row Group’
      The Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, a consumer health library at 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, is now hosting its Winter Art Exhibit featuring 24 watercolor paintings by award-winning art instructor Drew Bandish and five of his students. The students include Susan Hewitt of Lakeside, Royce Hinson of El Cajon, Lorri Lynch of Lakeside, Mirjam Schippers of El Cajon and Joan Vandenberg of El Cajon. The show runs through March 12. The exhibit features landscape scenes, animals and street scenes. The artists are members of the San Diego Watercolor Society. According to Kathy Quinn, library director, the library’s current exhibit is called “Back Row Group,” a reference to Bandish’s advanced students who tend to sit in a classroom’s back row. Bandish, a member of the California Council for Adult Education, has been teaching since 1987. He teaches art classes at Grossmont Adult School, La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center, Foothills Adult Center and Steele Canyon Adult Center. He is a recipient of the OASIS Award for outstanding instructor from Grossmont Adult School. Students nominate their instructors for the award. OASIS is an acronym for Outstanding Adult Student, Instructor, Staff. Admission to the Herrick Community Health Care Library is free. The Winter Art Exhibit is open to the public during regular library hours, which are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. For more information, phone (619) 825-5010 or visit www.herricklibrary.org. 
`Healthcare Hero’ Deadline is Tuesday the 23rd
      The deadline is approaching for submission of nominations for the Grossmont Healthcare District’s (GHD) 2016 Healthcare Hero Awards. Now in its 10th year, the Healthcare Heroes is GHD’s annual awards program honoring volunteers who help advance the delivery of quality healthcare in the East County region. Nomination forms are available at www.grossmonthealthcare.org. Deadline for submission of entries is 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Entries can be mailed, faxed, emailed or personally delivered to the GHD offices, 9001 Wakarusa St., La Mesa. For more information, contact the GHD offices at info@grossmonthealthcare.org. Nominees can include front-line volunteers at a community clinic, a junior volunteer or auxiliary member, as well as a member of a service club, community group and advocacy or policy organization. Other nominees also can include first responders or other healthcare industry professionals, including educators, pastoral care providers and grant writers who volunteer their time beyond their professional duties and their regular scope of job responsibilities, according to Robert “Bob” Ayres, 2015 GHD board president.

February 04, 2016

East County Chamber’s February Breakfast at Black Angus
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Feb. 5, at Black Angus Steakhouse, 1000 Graves Ave., El Cajon. Breakfast sponsor is mortgage lender iMortgage. Cost to attend is $20 per person for members with RSVP, $25 per person for non-members with RSVP and $30 per person at the door without reservations. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
 La Mesa Chamber Will Host Breakfast with Supervisor Dianne Jacob
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host County Supervisor Dianne Jacob for a breakfast meeting starting at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Marie Callender’s restaurant, 6950 Alvarado Road, San Diego. Breakfast sponsor is Carl Burger Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM World. The public is invited to attend. Cost to attend is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for guests with advanced reservations, or $25 at the door. Breakfast will include eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fresh fruit and juice. Prize drawings also will be held. Attendance drawing sponsors include La Mesa Courier and Opus Bank. Reservations may be made via the website: www.lamesachamber.com or by calling the Chamber Office (619) 465-7700, ext. #2.
     Jacob is now in her sixth term on the Board of Supervisors. She was first elected as Supervisor in 1992. She is only the second San Diego County supervisor in modern times to serve at least five times as chair. Jacob’s second supervisorial district features more than 2,000 square miles and more than 50 communities and cities with more than 620,000 East County residents of the unincorporated communities of Lakeside, Alpine, Ramona and Julian and the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Santee and Poway, as well as the communities of Allied Gardens, College Area, Del Cerro, Grantville, Navajo, Rolando and San Carlos in the City of San Diego.
 Grossmont Healthcare District Offers Scholarships for Nursing, Health Tech Students
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is seeking applicants for two scholarship programs for nursing students and students pursuing careers as medical health technicians. Deadline to receive applications for both scholarship programs is 3 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. Applicants for both scholarships must reside within the boundaries of GHD for a minimum of one year, or have graduated from a high school located within the district’s boundaries. Previous recipients of both of these GHD scholarships are not eligible to reapply. For more information and to obtain the criteria and applications for both scholarships, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org/operations/scholarship-programs.
     Nursing students are invited to apply for a scholarship of either $3,000 or $1,500.  Applicants must provide evidence of current enrollment in a registered nursing program approved by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), along with details about community volunteer work (volunteer work may be within either school or resident community), a letter of recommendation from a nursing instructor and a maximum 500-word essay on the topic “the future of nursing in my community.” Preference will be given to nurses who are new to the profession. The nursing scholarship, called the Richard Bea RN Memorial Nursing Scholarship, is named after former GHD board member Richard Bea, a registered nurse who worked at Grossmont Hospital for 18 years and served on the GHD board from 1996 until his death in 1999. 
     Health tech students are invited to apply for one of up to five non-renewable $2,000 scholarships. Applicants must write a maximum 400-word essay on the topic “where I will be in my career five years from now.” Eligible occupations for the medical technician scholarship include anesthesiology technician, cardiovascular technician, disability services management, laboratory technician, licensed vocational nurse, occupational therapy assistant, orthopedic technician, pharmacy technician, respiratory therapy technician, speech therapy or speech pathology technician and telemetry/EKG technician.
Sycuan Casino Names Permanent GM
     Sycuan Casino has appointed San Diego native John Dinius as permanent general manager. He had been serving as interim general manager since 2014. Under Dinius, Sycuan officials said the casino received national recognition as one of the top 10 casinos outside of Las Vegas by Yahoo Travel. Also during his time in leadership, the casino launched its successful San Diego-centric brand in 2015 and introduced a large non-smoking gaming area. Dinius, an employee at Sycuan Casino for 22 years, worked his way through the ranks during his tenure. Starting as a bingo pull tabs clerk, he has also served as slot attendant, shift manager, operations manager and slot director -- essentially holding positions at every level at the casino.

January 21, 2016

Lakeside Chamber Will Host January Mixer at Alpine Rock & Block
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host its next Thursday mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21 at Alpine Rock & Block, 13288 Highway 8 Business, El Cajon. Cost to attend the Chamber mixer is $5 for members and $10 for potential members. According to Kathy Kassel, Chamber president/CEO, the mixer is a great opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.LakesideChamber.org. Founded in 1989, Alpine Rock & Block offers landscape, yard, pool, and home improvement products on a six-acre site in El Cajon. 
 La Mesa Photographer Features Nature Images at Coffee Shop
      La Mesa photographer Sandra Small is presenting “Nature Revisited,” an exhibit of eight outdoor nature scenes shot over the past four decades, on display through the end of February at the All The Perks Expresso Café, 8046 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, in the La Mesa Springs shopping center in the Vons shopping center. Small said the images include a vineyard in Paso Robles, a tree in San Jacinto and flowers in the East County, as well as a scene from Yosemite National Park. The café is open weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays. 
East County Chamber to `Dine and Dialogue’ with Elected Officials
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce has scheduled three local elected officials to appear at its “Dine and Dialogue” meetings in the coming months. The meetings will be held at the Chamber’s Business Resource Center Room at the Chamber’s headquarters, 201 S. Magnolia Ave., El Cajon. Times will vary. Cost to attend is $10 per person, and refreshments will be provided. RSVPs are requested. Seating is limited. To RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, or Jonda Cvek, jondac@eastcountychamber.org, or call (619) 440-6161.
     Scheduled speakers include Assemblyman Brian Jones from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 and San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8. 
     Jones’ 71st Assembly district includes the East San Diego County communities of Alpine, Borrego Springs, El Cajon, Rancho San Diego, Ramona, Santee, Mount Helix, Spring Valley and Lakeside, as well as the Southern Riverside County communities of Anza, Aguanga, Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Lake Riverside and Mountain Center.
     Jacob’s second supervisorial district features more than 2,000 square miles and more than 50 communities and cities with more than 620,000 East County residents of the unincorporated communities of Lakeside, Alpine, Ramona and Julian and the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Santee and Poway, as well as the communities of Allied Gardens, College Area, Del Cerro, Grantville, Navajo, Rolando and San Carlos in the City of San Diego.
     Dumanis has served as district attorney since 2003. She ran for re-election unopposed in 2006 and 2010.
 Grossmont Healthcare District Seeking to Honor `Healthcare Heroes’
     The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is seeking nominees for its 2016 Healthcare Hero Awards. Now in its 10th year, the Healthcare Heroes is GHD’s annual awards program honoring volunteers who help advance the delivery of quality healthcare in the East County region. Nomination forms are available at www.grossmonthealthcare.org. Deadline for submission of entries is 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, at the GHD offices, 9001 Wakarusa St., in La Mesa. Entries can be mailed, faxed, emailed or personally delivered. For more information, contact the GHD offices at info@grossmonthealthcare.org.
    Nominees can include front-line volunteers at a community clinic, a junior volunteer or auxiliary member, as well as a member of a service club, community group and advocacy or policy organization. Other possible nominees also can include first responders or other healthcare industry professionals, including educators, pastoral care providers and grant writers who volunteer their time beyond their professional duties and their regular scope of job responsibilities, according to Robert “Bob” Ayres, 2015 GHD board president.
     “We solicit the assistance of all East County residents because we want to recognize those unsung heroes of healthcare whose work might not otherwise be recognized,” said Ayres. “We want to honor those volunteers whose extraordinary care and selfless dedication inspires others to produce outcomes that provide for a healthier East County community.” 
     Awards will be presented at a luncheon on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at the Steele Canyon Golf Club in Jamul.

December 31, 2015
 East County Chamber’s January Breakfast Will Be at Rock Church
       The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on the second Friday of the month, Jan. 8, 2016, at The Rock Church’s East County campus, 808 Jackman St., El Cajon. Breakfast sponsor is The Rock Church. Cost to attend is $20 per person for members (with RSVP), $25 per person for non-members, and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested prior to Monday, Jan. 4. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
For a limited time, the Chamber is offering an annual 2016 Breakfast Club package for $175 per person. Chamber members can purchase a full year of 12 breakfasts ahead of time and save $65. Chamber breakfasts in 2016 will be held on Jan. 8, Feb. 5, March 4, April 1, May 6, June 3, July 8, Aug. 5, Sept. 9, Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2. 
The Rock Church, which began in February 2000, opened an East County campus in 2013. Its East County campus was a former Michael’s retail store that was remodeled to feature a 725-seat auditorium. 
  
Santee Chamber Opens Application for $1k Scholarship 
       The Santee Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications from high school students for the 2015 Les Hart Memorial Scholarship. According to Santee Chamber president/CEO Sandy Schmitt, the $1,000 scholarship will be awarded based on community service and is intended to be used for education. Deadline to submit an application is Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. The scholarship will be awarded at the Santee Chamber’s awards celebration on Thursday, March 3, 2016, at the Barona Resort & Casino Golf Center. For applications, visit www.SanteeChamber.com, or call the Chamber office at (619) 449-6572. 
Hart passed away in February 2012 at his Lakeside home after a four-year fight with cancer. He was 59. He worked as community and municipal relations manager with Waste Management. In addition to the Santee Chamber, the 1999 El Cajon Citizen of the Year was involved with the El Cajon Downtown Redevelopment Corp., Mother Goose Parade, Lakeside Western Days Parade, Santee Business Expo and La Mesa Oktoberfest. Hart also served as past chairman of the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, two terms as president of the East County nonprofit Stoney’s Kids and on the board of the Olaf Wieghorst Museum Foundation.
 Grossmont Hospital Construction Group Seeks Medical Professional
       The Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (ICBOC), the volunteer citizens group overseeing the spending of millions of dollars in taxpayer-approved bonds for new and improved patient care facilities at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, is seeking one more community volunteer to reach its full capacity of 11 members. 
According to Barry Jantz, CEO, Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), the search is continuing for a volunteer who would serve on the ICBOC as a representative from the medical profession, specifically a physician or nurse. However, Jantz said the person cannot be currently affiliated with Sharp HealthCare since the quota for Sharp representatives on the ICBOC has been filled. “A retired doctor or nurse would also be ideal,” Jantz said.
ICBOC members are uncompensated East County residents who are charged with monitoring bond proceeds spent by GHD, the public agency managing the bond-financed construction at the hospital. GHD serves as landlord of the hospital, including ownership of the property and buildings on behalf of local taxpayers. 
According to ICBOC by-laws, specific seats on the ICBOC are filled by individuals representing various constituency groups and business sectors, such as project management, large-scale construction operations, finance, labor and healthcare.
ICBOC members must reside within the District's 750 square miles in San Diego's East County. The ICBOC meets quarterly and sub-committees meet at various times as needed, some monthly. Committee members serve for no more than three consecutive two-year terms. Interested volunteers can obtain an application by contacting GHD at (619) 825-5050, or via e-mail, info@grossmonthealthcare.org.
Changes at East County’s Largest Commercial Office Building
      The seven-story Allied Plaza, 7777 Alvarado Road in La Mesa, East County’s tallest and largest office building at 125,000 square feet, has a new building manager for the first time in 25 years. Mary Youngman, who arrived at Allied Plaza in 1990, is retiring at the end of December. 
            Allied Plaza’s new building manager is Patty Carroll. It’s the second time Carroll has succeeded Youngman in a job switch. In 1990, when Youngman left Great Western Bank to arrive at Allied Plaza, Carroll took Youngman’s job with the bank.
“Yes, there is a bit of irony with my retirement,” admitted Youngman. “Patty will do a terrific job while I spend my time on my golf game and sailing skills.” Youngman was recently feted by several hundred tenants and friends who attended her retirement party held in the Allied Plaza lobby. 
            Carroll has 25 years of experience in property management. “I am thrilled to work at such a magnificent office building,” said Carroll, a resident of La Mesa. “Yes, it is ironic to be stepping into Mary’s shoes for the second time in 25 years.”

November 26, 2015

East County Chamber’s Breakfast Will Support Toy Drive
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4 at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 E. Douglas Ave., El Cajon. Breakfast sponsor and host is the Viejas Casino & Resort. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy, valued at $10 or more, for the 40th annual East County Toy & Food Drive benefiting the Salvation Army. Anyone bringing a toy will receive an entry form for a drawing to be held that morning. The drawing prize is an overnight stay at Viejas Hotel, plus food and gaming vouchers. In addition, Joe Garzanelli with Keller Williams Realty will give away $650 to a lucky member who is present and names will be drawn until a winner is selected. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members, $25 per person for non-members. RSVPs are requested prior to Nov. 30. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastchountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visitwww.eastcountychamber.org.
 Smart & Final Approved for Four Former Haggen Sites
       The U.S. Bankruptcy Court has approved the purchase by Smart & Final LLC of four East County retail sites previously occupied by Haggen Food & Pharmacy. The sites include El Cajon at Camino Canada, El Cajon at Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa at Avocado Avenue and Santee at Magnolia Avenue.
      Six other former Haggen sites in San Diego County also will become Smart & Final stores. They include Carlsbad Village Drive in Carlsbad, East H Street in Chula Vista, B Avenue in Coronado and San Diego stores on Tierrasanta Boulevard, Westview Parkway and West San Ysidro Boulevard. The 10 new Smart & Final stores will add to the discount warehouse grocer’s 10 current stores in the region. Smart & Final is based in Commerce, Calif.
 Lakeside’s 410 Acres Purchased as Habitat Preserve
      The San Diego Association of Governments and the U.S. Department of Defense have each contributed $4 million to purchase a 410-acre, habitat-rich property, known as Lakeside Downs. The site, sold by the Helix Land Co., Ltd., will now be preserved as open space. The area, now in the hands of the Endangered Habitats Conservancy, will be closed to the public. The conservancy manages nearly 5,000 acres of conserved lands.
      The property is home to the threatened California gnatcatcher, mule deer, coastal sage scrub and strands of spiny redberry. The plant is the main host for a rare species of butterfly. The Lakeside property is between other areas of conserved land, including property near the Miramar Marine base. Officials with the Endangered Habitats Conservancy said the area will be closed to the public for biological reasons as well as its high density of scrub brush representing an extreme fire danger.
 Grossmont Hospital Foundation Receives $2 Million from Bradys
      The Grossmont Hospital Foundation, a not-for-profit, philanthropic organization that raises funds for Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, has announced it has met a $10 million capital campaign goal for advanced cardiovascular equipment for the hospital’s new 74,000-square-foot Heart and Vascular Center, slated to open in 2017. The goal was met following a $2 million pledge from Ron and Mary Alice Brady of La Mesa. The pledge was announced at the Foundation’s 30th annual Gala held Nov. 14.
       “We are at a time in our lives where we have our health, we have accumulated some wealth, and we want to give back and leave a legacy in our community,” said Ron Brady at the Gala. “Our family has used the hospital for generations. Our company has helped construct buildings on the campus. We believe in the work done at the hospital and we want to make it as good as it can be for everyone in East County. I can’t think of a better philanthropic investment than Sharp Grossmont Hospital.”
      Construction costs for the Heart and Vascular Center building is being financed by taxpayers through Proposition G, a bond measure sponsored by GHD. Prop. G was approved by East County voters on the June 2006 ballot. As proposed in the hospital’s Facilities Master Site Plan, Prop. G is funding several infrastructure construction improvements at the publicly owned hospital, which opened in 1955.
      The three-story H&V Center will expand the hospital’s surgery capabilities with new cardiac catheterization labs and multipurpose procedural rooms that can support a wide range of specialties, including general surgery, minimally invasive surgery and image-guided surgery, as well as endovascular interventional procedures. The new center also will provide state-of-the-art technology and added capacity to treat patients. In addition to the building, construction includes a new loading dock and materials receiving department on the lowest level, a new pharmacy and laboratory on the middle floor and shell space on the top floor for the new surgical floor build-out. Completion of the building is scheduled for early 2016.

November 12, 2015

 National Multiple Sclerosis Society Plans Dinner Auction with Mitsubishi
     The National Multiple Sclerosis Society in San Diego has announced that Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) has agreed to serve as title sponsor of the 29th annual MS Dinner Auction to be held on Saturday evening, Nov. 21, 2015, at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, 4000 Coronado Bay Road, in Coronado. The annual MS Dinner Auction, a black-tie event regularly attended by more than 600 people who bid on more than 700 silent and live auction packages, is considered one of San Diego’s largest annual charity auctions. The event typically raises $450,000 for multiple sclerosis research and programs for people with MS, a chronic, unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system with no known cause, cure or prevention. The 2015 French-inspired event theme is “La Fete de la Cure.”
      The annual MS Dinner Auction is traditionally held on the Saturday before the week of Thanksgiving as a jump-start to holiday shopping. Tickets begin at $175 per person, and packages with overnight stays are available. For more information, including a list of auction items, or to purchase your tickets, visitwww.MSdinnerAuction.com, or contact Heather Dean Pressnall at heather.dean@nmss.org, or (760) 760-448-8417.
La Mesa Chamber Collecting for Seniors
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce is collecting canned goods for holiday gift baskets to be delivered to 22 seniors who were selected by the La Mesa Police Department’s Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol. Mary England, La Mesa Chamber CEO, said requested items include canned soup, canned vegetables, canned fruits, packets of crackers and pasta, macaroni and cheese, slipper socks for women and men, gift cards from Wal-Mart and Target in any denomination, pens and pads of paper or any other items that will put a smile on their face and make their holiday special. Items are requested before Friday, Dec. 11, and can be delivered to the La Mesa Chamber office, 8080 La Mesa Blvd, Suite 212, or contact Mary England at (619)251-7730 to coordinate pick up. Gift baskets are scheduled for delivery on Friday, Dec.18, along with a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  
 Tiger Cub is Named After TV’s Larry Himmel
      A tiger cub now living in Alpine has been named Himmel in honor of TV personality Larry Himmel, who passed away in 2014. The skinny, two-month-old male cub was found wandering the streets of Hemet, Calif., and was taken to a shelter operated by San Jacinto County. Later, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials sent the cub to Lions, Tigers & Bears, a federally and state licensed big cat and exotic animal rescue sanctuary that occupies 94 acres in Japatul Valley. Himmel the tiger cub arrived in Alpine weighing 27 pounds and has been steadily gaining weight with a diet of raw chicken, meat and supplements, according to Bobbie Brink, founder and director of Lions, Tigers & Bears. “We’re not sure of its exact subspecies at this point,” said Brink. She said the cub could grow to be 500 pounds and live 20 years. Larry Himmel, who worked for CBS News 8/KFMB-TV starting in 1979, passed away Nov. 5, 2014, from pancreatic cancer. Lions, Tigers & Bears is open to visitors by appointment only between Wednesday and Saturday. Its website is www.lionstigersandbears.org. The sanctuary can be reached at (619) 659-8078.
 El Cajon Radio Exec Promoted at BCA
     Broadcast Companies of the Americas (BCA) has promoted El Cajon resident Mike Shepard to vice president of programming and operations. He joined BCA in May 2011 as programming and operations manager. Prior to BCA, Shepard spent 15 years in San Diego as director of programming and operations for KSON-FM, KBZT-FM and KIFM-FM. He also worked with various media research companies, including serving as a vice president for Moyes Research Associates of Colorado Springs, Col., Pinnacle Media Worldwide of Fallbrook, Calif. and P-1 Research of Vancouver, Wash., as well as his own Shepard Media Research. BCA operates XPRS 105.7-FM Max-FM, XPRS 1090-AM The Mighty 1090 and XEPE-AM 1700 ESPN 1700.

 Fresh & Easy Closing Stores
     The Fresh & Easy grocery store chain has announced plans to close all its stores, including eight stores in San Diego County and one store in the San Carlos area, 8788 Navajo Road, San Diego. The company operates 97 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona, including 54 in Southern California. In a company statement, Fresh & Easy said it has begun “the process for an organized wind down of the business,” while a search for a buyer for all or part of the company continues.  Merchandise is expected to be liquidated over the next few weeks. State-mandated layoff notices have been sent to about 3,000 employees. Fresh & Easy opened its first stores in 2007. The chain was British supermarket giant Tesco's first venture in the U.S. The Yucaipa Cos., based in El Segundo, Calif., bought the chain out of bankruptcy in 2013 from Tesco. In March of this year, the company closed about 50 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.

November 05, 2015

Grossmont Hospital Foundation plans fundraising Gala
     The Grossmont Hospital Foundation, a not-for-profit, philanthropic organization that raises funds for Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, will host its 30th annual Gala beginning at 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Dr., San Diego. The theme is “Western Swing with a lot of Bling.”
      More than 500 physicians, community and business leaders, current and potential donors and corporate sponsors are expected to attend the fundraiser that will feature live and silent auctions, dining, entertainment and dancing Western-style dancing. What began decades ago as a “Fall Round-Up” at the Daley’s East County Ranch, the Gala has evolved into the community’s biggest celebration in support of Sharp Grossmont Hospital. East County resident Connie Conard is chairing the Gala for her 10th year. Honorary Gala chair is Joyce Butler, member of the Grossmont Hospital Foundation board of governors and East County philanthropist. Tickets begin at $300 per person. For tickets and more information, contact the Grossmont Hospital Foundation office at (619) 740-4316, or visit https://give.sharp.com/grossmont-foundation.
Blood Bank now booking Aappointments for Chargers Drive
      The San Diego Blood Bank is now booking appointments for blood donors at Chargers Drive XXXVII, presented by San Diego County Credit Union, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle South, in San Diego's Mission Valley area. To make an appointment today to donate blood on Nov. 24, visit www.SanDiegoBloodBank.org, or call (800) 4-My-SDBB (469-7322).
      The annual, daylong community-wide blood drive from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. is considered one of the largest and longest-running single-day blood drives in the nation. This year’s collection goal is 1,200 pints. Admission cost to attend the Chargers Drive is $5 for adults, $1 for children ages 2 to 12. Blood donors can request a refund of their admission fee after they donate, or they can donate their admission fee to the San Diego Blood Bank. Parking is free only for blood donors. Parking cost at the hotel for other attendees is $4 per hour ($8 maximum). Donors must be at least 15 years old and weigh at least 114 pounds (15 and 16 year olds must have parental consent).  Free blood typing will also be offered for up to 500 attendees, ages 15 and older.
      New this year at Chargers Drive XXXVII will be a “Genome Zone,” an interactive exhibit sponsored by Illumina, where fans can learn about DNA and its implications for health and wellness. The event also will feature continuous entertainment, refreshments and an opportunity for autographs from San Diego Chargers players, NFL alumni and the Charger Girls. Donors will be awarded a voucher that may be redeemed for a t-shirt, as well as a VIP wristband for the autograph line. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase an entry to win a new Honda CRV, donated by the Honda Dealers of San Diego County. Blood collected at Chargers Drive XXXVII will help hospital patients in the San Diego community. Blood donations are especially critical at this time of year because donations often decrease during the holidays while the need for more blood often can increase.
Grossmont Healthcare District Supporting Fire Foundation
     San Diego Regional Fire & Emergency Services Foundation has received a $25,000 grant from the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region. The grant will assist in the purchase of emergency medical equipment, including automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs) and mass casualty incident (MCI) kits, for rural fire departments serving East County communities.
     The new AEDs, to be placed on all fire engines, will replace many AEDs that are 10 years or older and are no longer fully functional. The MCI kits will enable emergency personnel to treat multiple victims on the scene prior to their transportation to area hospitals. The MCI kits will be used for multiple victims of such emergencies as a school or workplace shooting, terrorist attack, multi-vehicle automobile accident, major fire, earthquake or collapsed building. GHD has supported the Fire Foundation since 2007.
Smart & Final May Occupy Haggen Store Sites
      Four East County retail sites previously occupied by Haggen Food & Pharmacy may become Smart & Final stores pending approval from a bankruptcy court. The sites include El Cajon at Camino Canada, El Cajon at Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa at Avocado Avenue and Santee at Magnolia Avenue.
       Bellingham, Wash.-based Haggen recently announced it has filed motions with the bankruptcy court seeking approval for bid procedures that would be followed to sell store locations it acquired earlier this year. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, Haggen announced plans to close more than 100 store location, including 19 in San Diego County.
       Smart & Final LLC, based in Commerce, Calif., is a discount warehouse-style retailer with 10 current stores in San Diego County.

October 29, 2015

Chamber’s First Friday breakfast on Nov. 6 at Sycuan Casino
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, at Sycuan Casino, 5485 Casino Way, El Cajon. Sycuan Casino is the breakfast sponsor. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy, valued at $10 or more, for the 40th annual East County Toy & Food Drive benefiting the Salvation Army. Anyone bringing a toy will receive an entry form for a prize drawing to be held that morning. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members and $25 per person for non-members (with RSVP and payment). Cost is $40 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested by Monday, Nov. 2. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org. Scheduled to attend the Chamber breakfast will be representatives from Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, which runs the Sycuan Casino and resort properties east of El Cajon. Sycuan’s business enterprises, including the U.S. Grant Hotel downtown, employ 4,000 people.
 Talented East County Musicians Could Be the Next Star
      The talent search is on. The San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB) is inviting talented singers and musicians from the East County to submit a video of their original song and win an opportunity to perform in front of several thousand people at the Chargers Drive XXXVII on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Deadline for submission of videos is Monday, Nov. 2. Any style or genre of music is welcomed. Both individuals and groups can submit. Videos (no longer than six minutes in length) can be posted at a website, http://indi.com/sdblooddrive. The website is operated by Indi.com, an online video-based social network that features videos posted by talented individuals and groups who hope to be discovered. This is the second year SDBB has partnered with Indi.com in a search for local talent to perform at its Chargers Drive event.
     David Wellis, SDBB CEO, said one performer will be selected by Indi.com to perform at Chargers Drive XXXVII on Nov. 24. Three other performers will receive consolation cash prizes of $250, $100 and $50. “Don’t worry about video production, this contest is all about discovering local star talent,” said Wellis. “We encourage aspiring celebrities of all ages to give something back and help save a life by participating with us at this amazing, life-saving event that helps others in need.”
 Viejas Casino Adds 1,000 New Slot Machines, Second Hotel Tower
     Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine has opened the newly expanded section of its gaming floor, including the addition of 1,000 new slot machines. The 15,000-square-foot expansion includes a new state-of-the-art promotion stage and open access to an ultramodern escalator bank that leads to a new hotel tower, opening this week.
     “This marks the first step in our most ambitious plan of growth to date,” said Viejas Tribal Chairman Robert Welch. “The ongoing development of Viejas continues to resonate in many positive ways for the San Diego area, both economically and in establishing a strong foundation for the future of our culture.”
      On Friday, Oct. 30, the central feature of the year-long development culminates with the grand opening of Viejas’ second luxury hotel tower. The event will include fireworks, tours of the new tour and a tightrope performance between the two towers by Tino Wallenda of the world-famous Flying Wallendas. The new $50 million, five-story tower features 109 rooms and suites, a fitness center, a business center, a spacious bar and lounge, and nine state-of-the-art meeting spaces including the Oak Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 1,200. The new building is separated from the first tower by the hotel pool and the Park at Viejas, a space for concerts and special events.
 Windermere in La Mesa Becomes Bennion Deville Homes
     Bob Bennion and Bob Deville, two owners of Windermere Real Estate Southern California’s 29 real estate sales officess, have left the Windermere franchise network and renamed their brokerage as Bennion Deville Homes. Among the 29 Windermere office locations changing names is the La Mesa Village office, 8277 La Mesa Blvd.
     Bennion and Deville, based in the Coachella Valley, introduced the Windermere corporate brand to Southern California in 2001. The company has grown to about 1,200 agents operating in San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties with property sales of more than $16.8 billion over the past 17 years. In a company statement, Deville said the skyrocketing franchise fees and the need for flexibility to meet the demands of the marketplace as reasons for going independent.
      Based in Seattle, Windermere is one of the largest real estate companies in the Western U.S. with more than 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico.

October 22, 2015

 San Diego East County Chamber names 2015 WILL honorees
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce recently honored eight women with Women in Leadership Luncheon (WILL) awards. Honorees included: Mara Fortin, Nothing Bundt Cakes; Carey Guthrie, Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors; Molly Nocon, Noah Homes; Erica Pinto, Jamul Indian Village; Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine; Elizabeth Smith Chavez, Smith Chavez Law; Wendy Urushima-Conn, Asian Business Association; Shelly Zimmerman, San Diego Police Department.
      According to Leah McIvor, 2015 event chair, a record 41 nominations were received for the awards program, now in its 13th year. She said the recipients were honored for their outstanding leadership, exemplary character and integrity in the community, as well as their efforts to empower women to succeed and prosper in life and busines

      Fortin was San Diego’s first franchise owner of a Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery store in 2007. Today, she operates six stores. Guthrie is serving as 2015 president of Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,000-member trade organization of realtors in the San Diego area. She has guided the organization this year to increases in new membership and retention levels. Nocon is CEO of Noah Homes, a non-profit providing residential care and advocacy for adults with developmental disabilities. Pinto is the recently elected chairwoman of the Jamul Indian Village Council after serving as vice chair since 2008. Raftery is founder and editor of East County Magazine, a news website founded in 2008 that covers politics and community events happening in the East County region. Smith-Chavez, an attorney and founder of her own firm, Smith-Chavez Law, has worked in the legal profession since 1970. Urushima-Conn is president/CEO of the Asian Business Association, a San Diego-based chamber of commerce for the Asian community. Zimmerman was promoted to chief of the San Diego Police Department in March 2014.
     The Oct. 16 luncheon drew about 400 attendees to the Town and Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley. Former TV anchor Lee Ann Kim served as event emcee. The keynote speaker at the luncheon was Mo Anderson, author and vice chair of Keller Williams Realty International.
     Major sponsors were Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Barona Resort & Casino and KyXy 96.5-FM. Additional sponsors included AT&T, Jasmine Creek Florist, Kaiser Permanente, SDG&E, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, Sycuan Casino, East County Herald newspaper; Foothills Christian Church, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, Grossmont Healthcare District, Keller Williams offices in El Cajon, La Mesa, Central Coast and San Diego Metro, Movement Mortgage, OakTree Escrows, RCP Block & Brick, Toward Maximum Independence, USS Midway Museum, California Bank & Trust La Mesa office, Mail Management Group, Toyota of El Cajon and San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

 Sycuan Casino is Sponsoring Ethics Essay Scholarship Program
     Sycuan Casino in El Cajon is the presenting sponsor of the Better Business Bureau’s 2015 Torch Scholarship Program. All 11th and 12th graders are invited to write and submit up to a 400-word essay on marketplace ethics and receive up to a $1,500 scholarship from the BBB. High school juniors or seniors (graduating classes of 2016 or 2017) who attend an accredited high school in San Diego or Imperial counties and who reside in San Diego or Imperial counties are eligible to submit an essay. The essays on the theme of “The Importance of Ethics and Integrity in our Community” should include viewpoints and examples, including how marketplace ethics involves integrity, honesty and civility in our community. There is no cost to submit an essay. Deadline for essays is 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23. Essays can be submitted via mail, fax or e-mail. An application form and more details are available at www.bbb.org/sdoc/programs-services/scholarship-opportunities/torch-award-scholarship/. For additional questions, contact Valerie Fichtler at (858) 637-6199 or by email at vfichtler@sdoc.bbb.org. Five students will be awarded with cash scholarships of $1,500, $1,250, $1,000, $750 and $500 at the BBB’s 2015 Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics presentation luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The BBB’s scholarship program is part of its 2015 Torch Awards program, which honors businesses and non-profit organizations for demonstrating ethical business practices.
 East County Chamber to Host Mixer at Mortuary
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host a “Business After Hours” mixer from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 27, at East County Mortuary and Cremation Service, 374 North Magnolia , El Cajon. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes. Prizes will be awarded. Admission is free for Chamber members with advance RSVP. Admission is $10 per person for non-members and Chamber members without RSVP. RSVPs are requested by Monday, Oct. 26. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at rahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.

 October 15, 2015

East County Herald is Sponsor of La Mesa Chamber’s `Fall Fest’ at Grossmont Center
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will present its first-ever “Fall Fest,” a free music entertainment event, from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Oct. 16, and from noon to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, in the Macy’s parking lot, next to Hooleys Irish Pub. The East County Herald has been named Community Relations Sponsor of the event.
     Chamber officials said the event will blend the best of country and rock and roll music. Entertainers on Friday night will include The Ideas Rock & Roll Trio starting at 4 p.m. and the Cartune Dogs starting at 7 p.m. Entertainers on Saturday will include The Ideas starting at noontime and country western singer Brent Payne and his band starting at 7 p.m. At the event’s beer garden, sponsor Samuel Adams will give away hats and sponsor a beer stein hoisting contest. Prizes will be awarded to the strongest and those that can hold their stein the longest.
     The event will include a drawing to win $45,000 toward the purchase of a Chrysler automobile, plus $12,600 to pay for the car’s federal taxes.  Entrants must be legal residents and over 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license. No purchase is necessary to enter to win.
     In addition to the East County Herald, other event sponsors include Sycuan Casino as presenting sponsor, Barona Resort & Casino as supporting sponsor and Viejas Casino & Resort as entertainment sponsor. For more event information, visit the Chamber website, www.lamesachamber.com, or call the Chamber office (619) 465-7700.
 La Mesa Chamber Members to Attend Photography Exhibit Reception
     La Mesa photographer Sandy Small will present “Favorite Images,” an exhibit of 18 past and present photographs shot over the past four decades, from Oct. 12 to Nov. 29 at the All The Perks Expresso Café, 8046 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, in the La Mesa Springs shopping center in the Vons shopping center. Small said the images, including portraits and outdoor scenes, are favorite shots that have been on display at her home. The café is open weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays.
      An opening reception for the photography exhibit will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 21, at All The Perks Expresso Cafe. The reception will be combined with a mixer attended by members of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. To RSVP for both the reception and mixer, send an e-mail to rsvp@lamesachamber.com or call (619) 465-7700, or visit www.LaMesaChamber.com.
 Grossmont Healthcare District Supporting Chargers Drive XXXVII
     The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) recently awarded a $30,000 grant to the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB). The grant will assist the SDBB in its year-round efforts to serve as the primary supplier of blood to the majority of hospitals in San Diego County.
     The GHD grant will support several SDBB programs, including support of the Blood Bank’s annual day-long Chargers Drive, the community’s longest-running, life-saving event of the year and one of the largest single-day blood drives in the nation. Over the past 36 years, the Chargers Drive has collected more than 72,000 pints of blood.
     This year’s Chargers Drive XXXVII, presented by San Diego County Credit Union, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Town and Country Resort Hotel & Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle South, in San Diego¹s Mission Valley area. To make an appointment today to donate blood on Nov. 24, visitwww.SanDiegoBloodBank.org, or call (800) 4-My-SDBB (469-7322). This year’s collection goal is 1,200 pints.
 National Multiple Sclerosis Society Hosts Cycling Fundraiser
     The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Pacific South Coast Chapter will host its 33rd annual Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour, a cycling fundraiser to be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and 18.
      About 2,000 riders will raised an expected $2.4 million in donations for MS research and programs and services for people affected by MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. Cyclists will include people living with MS, as well as friends and family members of people who have MS.
     The fundraiser will feature four different cycling rides of 25, 100, 125 and 150 miles, plus a virtual fundraising ride with riders on stationary bicycles watching a video of the route on a big screen. A two-day, 100-, 125 or 150-mile ride will feature a route from Irvine to Carlsbad on Saturday, Oct. 17, followed by a 50-mile ride from Carlsbad to San Diego Bay on Sunday, Oct. 18. In addition, the fundraiser will include a morning, one-day, 25-mile ride around Mission Bay also on Sunday, Oct. 18. All four rides will finish on Sunday morning at Hospitality Point on Mission Bay. Registration information is available at www.BikeToFinishMS.com. Hansen Beverage Co. of Corona, Calif. is the title sponsor. Presenting sponsors include KTLA-TV/Channel 5 in Los Angeles and KSWB-TV/Channel 5 in San Diego.
 October 08, 2015

Lakeside Chamber Will Host October Mixer at Global Power Group
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host its next Thursday mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22 at Global Power Group, 12060 Woodside Ave., Lakeside. Cost to attend the Chamber mixer is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. According to Kathy Kassel, Chamber president/CEO, the mixer is a great opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.LakesideChamber.org.
      Founded in October 2005, Global Power Group specializes in the back-up power industry. The Lakeside firm has more than 800 current power plant consulting contracts nationwide. It is currently responsible for maintaining more than 4,000 pieces of equipment. Its customers range from small companies to Fortune 100 firms. The company’s website is www.globalpowergroup.net.
 East County Children With Diabetes Benefit from Step Out walk
     The American Diabetes Association (ADA) in San Diego will raise money for programs and services for people living with diabetes at its Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes, a fundraising walk on Sunday morning, Oct. 18, at NTC Park at Liberty Station, 2455 Cushing Road, San Diego.
     One of the ADA’s East County programs to receive support from Step Out will be Camp Wana Kura, a summer day-camp held at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve for children with diabetes. Other ADA programs to benefit from Step Out will include ongoing efforts to fund research, advocacy efforts and education.
      Registration for Step Out will begin at 8 a.m., and the walk will begin at 9 a.m. On-site registration will be available. Several walk routes are available; the maximum is three miles Admission to attend Step Out is free. There is no cost to be a walker. Event information is available at www.diabetes.org/stepoutsandiego. About 1,000 walkers are expected to participate and raise about $200,000 in donations. More than 120 teams are expected to walk, including teams representing businesses, neighborhoods, clubs, community groups, churches and family members affected by diabetes. Prizes can be earned by those walkers who raise the highest donation dollar amounts.
     For additional event information, contact Laurie Corbin, ADA manager of fundraising and special events, at (619) 234-9897, ext. #7510, orLCorbin@diabetes.org. Among the local 2015 Step Out sponsors: UC San Diego Health System, Profil Institute for Clinical Research, Dexcom, Lions Clubs International, Osetra the Fishhouse, AstraZeneca and Edcure.org.
 Realtors to Hear Tips on Hosting an Open House
     The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,000-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors, will present “What is Your Open House Missing,” a panel of speakers discussing tips on hosting a successful open house, from noon to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the PSAR East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. Topics will include staging advice, creative solutions to common problems and what some agents miss when hosting an open house. Speakers will include: brokers Steve Wilson, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services; Robert Weichelt, Weichelt Real Estate Services; Greg Fox, Jr., California Options Real Estate. Also speaking will be home staging designer Lorelei Taylor, a real estate sales agent with Bennion Deville Homes in La Mesa. Moderating the panel will be David Johnston, mortgage banker and 2015 chair of PSAR’s East County Education Committee. Event sponsor is Movement Mortgage. Cost to attend is $5 for PSAR members and $10 for non members with advanced registration or $15 at the door without advanced registration. For more information and to RSVP for lunch planning purposes, please call PSAR at (619) 579-0333, or visit www.psar.org.
Grossmont Healthcare District Supporting College’s CVT Program
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, recently awarded a $86,672 grant to the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. The grant will help replace echo and vascular equipment that was about 20 years old with new state-of-the-art equipment that will be used for instruction with students enrolled in Grossmont College’s cardiovascular technology (CVT) program.
     The equipment, a Vivid E-9 scanner made by General Electric, will simulate workplace conditions and help more than 60 CVT students refine their basic skills in diagnostic ultrasound prior to working at a clinical site with patients who have cardiovascular disease. Grossmont College’s CVT program, founded in 1972, was the first to be accredited in the nation and is currently the only CVT program in California to offer all three cardiovascular technology tracks, including vascular, echocardiography and invasive cardiology.  Grossmont’s CVT grads are currently working in more than 90 percent of the available cardiovascular-related jobs in San Diego.

October 01, 2015

Mother Goose Parade Announces New Day and Time
      El Cajon city officials have announced the 69th annual Mother Goose Parade will be held on a new day and time. The 2015 parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21.  For decades the parade has been held on Sunday. The theme of this year’s parade is “Super Heroes.” Parade officials are expecting more than 100 entries, including floats, marching bands, clowns, equestrians, local dignitaries and Santa Claus. Also planned to appear will be child actors from TV shows and movies.
The parade route will begin on East Main Street at Ballantyne Avenue and travel westbound towards Johnson Avenue. Then, the parade will turn right onto Johnson Avenue and travel northbound, ending at the I-8 overpass, south of Parkway Plaza mall. At the northeast corner of Parkway Plaza, near Macy’s, parade officials are planning Mother Goose Village featuring rides and attractions. For more information, visit www.MGElCajon.com.
 Hampton Inn planned for Former El Cajon Police Site
      The City of El Cajon has approved plans for Hampton Inn, part of the Hilton Hotel chain, to build a hotel at 100 Fletcher Parkway, the site of the former El Cajon Police Department that closed in 2011. The 80-room hotel with a restaurant and retail opportunities is expected to open next year. Construction costs are estimated at $4.1 million. The Fletcher Parkway site, across the street from the Parkway Plaza shopping mall and next to Interstate 8 and near state Route 67, is planned to serve travelers visiting local families and business customers who land in Gillespie Field, which is less than two miles away.
GO-Biz Launches Business Portal
     The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced the launch of the California Business Portal, a one-stop-shop website, www.BusinessPortal.ca.gov, for business owners looking for information and assistance. The website has information on starting a new business, permits and licenses, incentives, local resources and more. Its features include: Quick Start Guides, consisting of guides that contain the essential information for starting and growing specific types of businesses in the State of California; California Business Navigator, providing information on permits, licenses and incentives; Service Desk, a place to submit a question.
 September 24, 2015
 East County Chamber Breakfast at La Mesa Community Center
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. Sharp Grossmont Hospital will be the breakfast sponsor. Cost to attend the Chamber breakfast is $20 per person for members (with RSVP), $25 per person for non-members (with RSVP), and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested by Monday, Sept. 28. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
Construction is continuing at the La Mesa hospital, East County San Diego’s largest health care facility. The work is being financed through Proposition G, a $247 million bond measure sponsored by Grossmont Healthcare District. As proposed in the hospital’s Facilities Master Site Plan, Prop. G is funding several infrastructure construction improvements at the publicly owned hospital, which opened in 1955. The bond-financed construction began in 2007, and is scheduled to continue over the next several years. Prop. G was approved by East County voters on the June 2006 ballot by more than 77 percent, well over the two-thirds required.

 Health Fair Saturday is East County’s Largest Free Health Fair
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will present “Health Fair Saturday,” the East County region’s largest annual free community-wide health fair, from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, near the movie theaters at the mall. Organizers expect more than 35 exhibit booths will feature health screenings for cholesterol, body mass index, blood pressure and blood glucose-diabetes, as well as the latest information on health-related techniques and products from for-profit and non-profit organizations.
Additional information will be available on senior housing, home care services, hospice care, home safety, fitness, health insurance, nutrition, medical supplies and volunteer opportunities. The San Diego Blood Bank will conduct a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On a stage at the event will be demonstrations of yoga, karate and exercise routines. Event sponsors include the Grossmont Healthcare District, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Grossmont Center, North Island Credit Union and KyXy-FM 96.5. For event information, contact the East County Chamber at (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
 Grossmont Healthcare District is Supporting East County Family YMCA Fundraiser
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County, has agreed to sponsor the East County Family YMCA’s 22nd annual “Branding” fundraiser to be held Saturday, Sept. 26 at the McGrath Family YMCA, 12006 Campo Road, Spring Valley. The annual event raises funds to support the youth of East County through the programs and services of the YMCA, including specialty day camps, swim lessons, child care, teen leadership programs, youth sports and family programs and events. Since the inaugural fundraiser, the Branding has raised more than $2.5 million, YMCA officials said.
The 2015 Branding will begin at 5 p.m. Additional sponsors include Sycuan Casino and Virginia Napierskie and family. Tickets begin at $175 per person. The fundraiser will feature appetizers from local restaurants, a gourmet dinner and dessert by Continental Catering., full cash bar, wine tasting, live and silent auctions, drawing for prizes, casino gaming and Western-theme music and dancing under the stars to the live music of the Cash’d Out, a Johnny Cash tribute band. For information, visitwww.eastcounty.ymca.org.
 National MS Society’s Challenge Walk MS is This Weekend
      It’s called “the journey of a lifetime.” About 200 people are registered to walk 50 miles in three days along San Diego’s coastline, Sept. 25 to 27, from Carlsbad to Downtown, for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 2015 Southern California Challenge Walk MS. The fundraiser for MS research will begin at the Flower Fields at 8 a.m. on Friday morning, Sept. 25, and will end around noontime on Sunday, Sept. 27 in Downtown San Diego. About 30 walkers this year will be people who have diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body.
            The minimum donation required to walk is $2,500 per person, which includes overnight hotel accommodations, meals and entertainment. Lunches are included along the route. Breakfast and dinner meals are provided at the host hotel. The fundraising minimum for walkers between ages 10 to 17 is $1,500. Walkers must be at least 10 years old to walk. The donation minimum for first-time walkers also is $1,500. Event information is available at www.myMSchallenge.com, or phone Jennifer West, special events senior director, at (760) 448-8435. Now in its 14th year, the Challenge Walk has a goal of raising $650,000 for MS research and programs and services for Southern Californians living with MS.
September 17, 2015

 Lakeside Chamber Will Host September Mixer at Auto Repair Shop
     The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host its next third Thursday mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17 at Lloyds Collision and Paint Center, 9817 Maine Ave., Lakeside. Lloyds Collision, owned by Robert Lloyd, offers complete collision repair, including complete refinishing and frame and suspension alignment. Free towing and rental cars are available, along with a customer shuttle to and from work or home. Customers also have a lifetime warranty as long they own the vehicle. For more information, visit www.lloydscollision.com. Cost to attend the Chamber mixer is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. According to Kathy Kassel, Chamber president/CEO, the mixer is a great opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.LakesideChamber.org.
 Toni Atkins Speaking at East County Chamber Event

      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce’s Dine and Dialogue series of meetings with elected officials will continue with California State Assemblywoman Toni Atkins from noon to 1:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 28, at the Chamber’s Business Resource Center Room at the Chamber’s headquarters, 201 S. Magnolia Ave., El Cajon. Atkins is currently serving as the Assembly’s Speaker of the House. Cost to attend is $10 per person, and lunch will be provided. RSVPs are requested. Seating is limited. To RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, or Jonda Cvek, jondac@eastcountychamber.org, or call (619) 440-6161.
Health Care Library to Discuss the Use of Medication
      The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host a free program on “The Wise Use of Medication” from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The speakers on Sept. 23 will be Jatana Williams-Thompson of Beyond the Sky Solutions and Thyrza S. Knox, R.N., of Beyond the Sky Solutions and BrightStar Care. Both are volunteers with the speakers bureau of the Caregiver Coalition of San Diego. The speakers will discuss both over-the-counter and prescription medications and key questions to ask your doctor or the pharmacist. Medicines can treat health problems and help you live a healthier life but must be used correctly. Tips and suggestions at the free program will help attendees understand how to be safe and use medicines wisely.
Local Artist Has Exhibit in La Mesa
     The Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa is now hosting its Summer Art Exhibit featuring 14 oil and watercolor paintings of landscape scenes by Mike Hefner of San Carlos. The show runs through the end of September. The exhibit includes Hefner’s plein air watercolor paintings that highlight the beauty and history of San Diego, from its coasts and mountains to the deserts of Baja. Plein air means “open air” and refers to paintings created outside and on location. Hefner’s award-winning work has appeared in many local galleries. His painting, “East of Henshaw III,” showing a back country road, earned first place at the recent San Diego County Fair in the representational landscape watercolor category. That same painting is currently on display at the Herrick Library. After a 40-year career working in the home improvement industry, Hefner is now painting fulltime. He is a member of the Foothills Art Association and San Diego Watercolor Society, and is currently serving as president of the East County Art Association. His website is www.mikehefnerart.blogspot.com. Admission to the Herrick Community Health Care Library is free.
 ‘Don’t Get Hooked’ to Discuss Senior Scams
      County Supervisor Dianne Jacob will lead “Don’t Get Hooked,” a free event on how to avoid financial scammers and other crooks, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 E. Douglas Ave., El Cajon. The free presentation and lunch is geared toward seniors and caregivers. Speakers will include scam victims, Sheriff’s Department Det. Maureen Perkins and Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood, an expert on elder abuse and financial crimes. “A lot of crooks see seniors as easy prey and try to rip them off over the phone or through email and snail mail,” said Jacob. “This event will arm our elderly with important tips on how to avoid these swindlers.” Check-in will begin at 10:30 a.m. To attend the event, call 844-899-1597, or register online, www.surveymonkey.com/r/DontGtHooked. For more information, visit www.sdcda.org.
September 10, 2015

Say Hello to KUSI-TV at Lakeside Rodeo Grounds on Saturday Morning
     KUSI-TV/Channel 9’s top-rated and highly-popular “Good Morning San Diego” will be broadcasting live on Saturday morning, Sept. 12, at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, 12584 Mapleview St., Lakeside, for the 2015 Kids Care Fest event. The community is invited to attend and say hello to popular TV personality Dave Scott, KUSI-TV feature reporter and weathercaster, who will be on hand delivering live reports on the air.
Presented by the Grossmont Healthcare District, Kids Care Fest is a free, family-oriented event featuring free health care screenings for children. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
      Now in its 14th year, Kids Care Fest is an opportunity for children to receive free, potentially life-saving, health care screenings, including hearing, vision and dental screenings, from healthcare professionals. Also available at the event will be free medical information from pediatricians, dermatologists and pharmacists, along with free kids fingerprinting. Free flu shots also will be available (while supplies last).
      Additional free activities will include rock climbing, inflatable obstacle course and pony rides (100 pound limit for riders), along with demonstrations and displays from law enforcement, including police and fire officials. Also available will be free children’s readings books (while supplies last). For more information, phone (619) 825‑5050 or visit www.KidsCareFest.org.
     Healthcare partners supporting 2015 Kids Care Fest include Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Rady Children’s Hospital, Borrego Community Health Clinic, University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Eye Mobile for Children, La Maestra Community Health Centers, Mountain Health & Community Services, Neighborhood Healthcare, Family Health Centers of San Diego and the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency. The San Diego County Herald, publisher of the East County Herald, is a media supporter of the 2015 Kids Care Fest.
 East County Chamber Seeking Nominations for WILL Awards
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its 13th annual Women in Leadership Luncheon (WILL). Deadline for entries is Friday, Sept. 11. Nomination forms are available on the Chamber website,www.EastCountyChamber.org.
     Nominations will be accepted in seven fields, including arts-media-culture, business, education-academia, hospitality, government-defense, healthcare and the non-profit sector. Nominees must be San Diego County residents who have demonstrated exemplary character, integrity and outstanding leadership.
     The awards will be presented on Friday, Oct. 16 at the Town and Country Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Mission Valley. Leah McIvor, realtor, is returning as event chair.        Carol LeBeau also will return as emcee.
     Keynote speaker will be attorney Mo Anderson, co-owner and president/CEO of Keller Williams Realty. Anderson is the author of “A Joy-Filled Life, Lessons from a Tenant Farmer’s Daughter Who Became a CEO.”
Sponsors include Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Barona Resort & Casino, The East County Herald, Jasmine Creek Florist, Mail Management Group, Foothills Christian Church, Grossmont Healthcare District, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and KyXy 96.5-FM Radio. Additional sponsorships opportunities are available. For ticket sales and sponsorship information, contact the Chamber offices at (619) 440-6161
 Lakeside’s River Valley Charter High School Ranked by Newsweek

      River Valley Charter High School in Lakeside has been ranked 94th in a list of the top 500 public high schools in the country by Newsweek magazine. The school boasts a 100 percent graduation rate. Five other high schools in San Diego County were included in the list, including Westview High, Rancho Penasquitos, 97th; Canyon Crest Academy, Carmel Valley, 117th; Del Norte High School, 4S Ranch, 209th; Torrey Pines High, Carmel Valley, 336th; Classical Academy, Escondido, 493rd. In addition to graduation rates, schools were ranked based on enrollment in advanced placement courses, student retention and counselor-to-student ratio.
 El Cajon Launches New City Website
      The City of El Cajon has launched a new, redesigned website that provides new communication and outreach tools, added service features for residents and businesses and gives the city a more powerful web presence, the city announced. A statement said the new website was designed to increase access to important city information and services, enhance online transparency and be user-friendly for residents, visitors and businesses. The website address is www.cityofelcajon.us.
      New features include a calendar of events and meetings, an e-notification system for immediate updates on city activity, a service request system enabling citizens to submit requests for services or report issues in the community, an “I Want To” section allowing website visitors to access important information quickly and effectively and an “In the Spotlight” section highlighting important El Cajon information. It also features an “Emergency Notice” capability in the event of a major emergency.

 August 27, 2015​ 

East County Herald is Supporting Free Health Screenings for Children
       The San Diego County Herald, publisher of the East County Herald, has been named a media sponsor of the 2015 Kids Care Fest, a free, family-oriented event open to the public. Kids Care Fest, featuring free health care screenings, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds,12584 Mapleview St, Lakeside. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
       Now in its 14th year, Kids Care Fest is a free opportunity for children to receive free, potentially life-saving, health care screenings, including hearing, vision and dental screenings, from healthcare professionals. Also available at the event will be free medical information from pediatricians, dermatologists and pharmacists, along with free kids fingerprinting.
      Additional free activities will include rock climbing, inflatables and pony rides, along with demonstrations and displays from law enforcement, including police and fire officials. Pony rides will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (100 pound limit for riders). For more information, phone (619) 825‑5050 or visit www.KidsCareFest.org.
      Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is organizing Kids Care Fest. GHD, a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County, was formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa. GHD serves as landlord for the hospital property and buildings on behalf of East County taxpayers.
Heritage Museum to Hold Fundraiser with Gloria Chadwick Aartwork
      The Heritage of the Americas Museum at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon will host a fundraiser to support school field trips to the museum and its outreach program from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 28. The fundraiser, called “Plein Air Paintings of East County,” will feature original artwork by Gloria Chadwick of Dehesa. The museum is at 12110 Cuyamaca College Drive West.
      Chadwick’s plein-air paintings, available for sale at the fundraiser, highlight the history and beauty of San Diego’s East County. Plein air literally means “in the air.” These paintings are done outside and on location. Chadwick has painted landscape scenes featuring many East County locales, including Alpine, La Mesa, Lakeside, Flinn Springs, El Cajon, Harbison Canyon, Dehesa, Dulzura, Barrett Junction, Jamul, Japatul, La Posta, Mt. Springs Grade, Desert View Tower, Spring Valley, Santee, Casa de Oro, Rancho San Diego, Mt. Laguna,     Descanso, Tecate, Lake Moreno, Campo, Cuyamaca, and Pine Valley.
      The museum is a cultural center featuring historic art, anthropology, culture and natural history of the Americas. For more information, call the museum at (619) 670-5194, or visit www.cuyamaca.edu/museum.
Hart Optical in La Mesa Offers Back-to-School Vision Tips
       Hart Optical Co., 8685 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, is noting August as “Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month” with back-to-school tips about children’s vision. “Approximately one in four school age children have some type of vision problem which can affect their success in school,” said Michael Emerson, a Registered Ophthalmic Dispenser who has owned and operated Hart Optical Co. since 1987.
      Emerson said, according to Prevent Blindness America, parents should be aware of the following possible warning signs of vision problems in children: Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close; Losing their place while reading or using a finger as a guide when reading;  Squinting or tilting their head to see better; Frequent eye rubbing;    Sensitivity to light or excessive tearing; Closing one eye to read, watch TV or to see better; Avoiding activities such as reading or homework, which requires near vision, or participating in sports or other recreational activities, which requires distance vision; Complaining of headaches or tired eyes; Avoiding using a computer, because it “hurts my eyes.”
      As part of back-to-school preparations, Emerson recommends scheduling an eye exam with either an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. He also said free screenings will be available on from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Grossmont Healthcare District’s Kids Care Fest at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds.
Two New Chefs Join Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Kitchen
      Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa has announced the addition of Larry Banares and William Sauer as executive chefs. Banares will be responsible for designing and orchestrating meal service for the hospital’s inpatient units, while Sauer will oversee retail operations, which include the Café and catering services. Both are employed by Sodexo USA, the hospital’s vendor for food service operations.
      Banares previously has worked at Rady Children’s Hospital, Disneyland Hotel and the Queen Mary. A three-time gold medalist in the Culinary Olympics and certified executive chef by the American Culinary Federation, Banares previously hosted bi-weekly cooking segments on KGTV-TV/Channel 10, two cable cooking shows and a radio show. 
Sauer previously has worked at the Marble Room in Downtown San Diego, Delicias Restaurant in Rancho Santa Fe and The Lodge at Torrey Pines, as well as the Bahia Resort and  Catamaran Resort in the Mission Bay area. He also was the executive chef at the Great Oak Steakhouse at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula. He is a certified Chef de Cuisine by the American Culinary Federation.
August 20, 2015

 

August 13, 2015
Lakeside Chamber Planning Business Appreciation Evening
      The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host a “Business Appreciation Evening” from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Lakeside V.F.W. Hall, Post #5867, 12650 Lindo Lane, Lakeside. Admission is free. All Lakeside business owners and employees are invited to attend. Refreshments will include food samples and desserts from local eateries. RSVP is requested for food ordering, said Kathy Kassel, Chamber executive director.  She said the event will be an opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. For more information and to RSVP, phone (619) 561-1031, or visit www.LakesideChamber.org.
 Grossmont College Welcomes New President with Reception
      The Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, the philanthropic partner for East County’s two community colleges, will host a welcome reception for Grossmont College’s new president Dr. Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, at Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Dr., El Cajon. The reception will be held at Griffin Gate on campus. To RSVP, send an e-mail to foundation@gcccd.edu, or phone (619) 644-7109. Previously, Abu-Ghazaleh was president of West Los Angeles College in Culver City. Born in Jordan, where he spent his formative years, as well as in Qatar in the Persian Gulf, he attended two years of boarding school in England before moving to the United States to begin college at the University of California San Diego.
 East County Chamber Foundation Hosts Fundraiser
       The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity that funds various Chamber programs, will be the beneficiary of proceeds from a fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. West, El Cajon. Cost to attend is $30 per person if ticket purchased before Aug. 14, or $40 per person if ticket is purchased starting Aug. 15. Admission is restricted to persons over age 21. The fundraiser will feature beer, wine and food samples from local restaurants, along with a silent auction. For information, visit www.EastCountyChamber.org. The Foundation funds such Chamber programs as Ethics in Business, Business Resource Center, Business Incubator Project and book purchases for Cuyamaca College students.
 RipCloud Opens its Doors
       RipCloud Property Services, based in La Mesa, recently opened its doors for business. The firm offers commercial and residential property management services. The company is led by Rip Fritzer, with 27 years of real estate experience, and Joel Cloud, with 19 years of real estate experience. Daniel Love, tax attorney, also is a company principal. Fritzer leads the Rip Fritzer Team at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties in La Mesa. Cloud is a previous winner of a “Deal Maker” award from the San Diego County Commercial Association of Realtors. RipCloud specializes in cost-effective pricing, rigorous screening, centralized accounting, regular property inspects, 24/7 maintenance and emergency services and local experience. For more information, phone (619) 535-1396.
 Grossmont Healthcare District Supporting La Maestra Community Health Centers
       The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County, recently hosted a check-presentation ceremony with La Maestra Community Health Centers. Joining GHD board members from La Maestra were Zara Marselian, CEO, and Marty Stroud, director of dental operations. The ceremony celebrated GHD’s ongoing support of La Maestra, including a $34,876 grant.
GHD’s grant is assisting with expanding access to dental services at La Maestra’s Lemon Grove Health Center, 7967 Broadway, Lemon Grove. La Maestra officials said the grant helped pay for new dental chairs and high-speed dental hand-pieces powered by compressed air or an electric motor that are commonly used for cleaning, polishing, grinding and drilling. La Maestra also said the new equipment has successful expanded preventative oral health care and treatment services, as well as preventing oral disease, benefiting more than 2,600 underserved and low-income East County residents.
      Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, La Maestra Community Health Centers, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center, operates health centers in El Cajon, Lemon Grove, National City and City Heights, as well as a mobile clinic. Through its award-winning “Circle of Care” model, La Maestra serves more than 40,000 people annually with medical, dental, optometry, mental health and imaging services, as well as legal advocacy, economic empowerment and social services. Its mission is to provide quality health care and education and improve the overall wellbeing of the family; bringing under-served and ethnically-diverse communities into the mainstream through a caring, effective, culturally and linguistically competent manner, respecting the dignity of all patients.

July 30, 2015

La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Will Host `Summer Bash’ Business Expo
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will present “Summer Bash,” a business expo, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 12, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. Admission is $10 per person. Beer and wine will be available for sale. Raffles and door prizes hosted by vendors and participants are planned. To RSVP, send an e-mail to rsvp@lamesachamber.com or call (619) 465-7700.
The event will feature food sampling and 45 display tables, according to Mary England, Chamber CEO. “We encourage the public to join us and meet our business community in this fun-filled setting,” said England. 
Among the food providers: BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse,  ​Cali Comfort BBQ, El Torito - La Mesa, Farm Fresh To You, Grove Pastry Shop and Custom Cakes, Los Pinos Taco Shop, Marie Callender's - La Mesa, Riviera Supper Club, Round Table Pizza, Samuel Adams, Souplantation, ​The Hills Local Pub and The Regal Bar.
Event sponsors include American Medical Response, Carl Burger Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM World, Kostedt Design & Marketing, La Mesa Courier, SDG&E, Sycuan Casino, Viejas Casino & Resort and Welcome Wagon.
 Lakeside Chamber Installs Board of Directors, Awards Citizen of the Year
      The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce recently installed its 2015-20165 board of directors.
Executive board members include: Frank Hilliker, Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs, Inc., as president; Clint Morgan, National Security Works, as first VP; Mike Anderson, Keller Williams Realty, as second VP; Kelly Baker, Barona Resort & Casino, as secretary-treasurer; Robert Davila, Lakeside Equipment Rentals, as past president;
New board members include: Lisa Grote, Be Carb Compliant; Jason Hanks, Cal Auctions; David Dailey, Harvest Christian Fellowship; Todd Ottonello, Daily Disposal Services, Inc.
Returning board members include: Milt Cyphert, Cyphertech Mechanical Corp.; Nina Drammissi, Lakeside Union School District; Danny Hertz, Hertz Insurance/Allstate; Bonnie LaChappa, Barona Band of Mission Indians; Steven Menefee, 7/Eleven Food Store; Jerry Mosier, Mosier Insurance Agency; Don Parent, San Diego Gas & Electric.
Also at the installation event, outgoing board members were honored. They included: Neil Rodvold, Alpine Rock & Block; Lisa Anderson, Sunland Vacationer R.V. Resort; Brenda Asaro, Café 67; Nick Ottonello, Daily Disposal Services, Inc.
Also at the installation event, the chamber named Jill Fleming as recipient of the 2015 Harry J. Spence Lakeside Citizen of the Year award. Fleming has overseen the Miss Lakeside and Miss Teen Lakeside pageants for the past 18 years. The effort requires about 800 hours a year in volunteer service, Chamber officials said. The pageants have drawn participation from more than 1,800 young women who have raised more than $500,000 for charities, Fleming told attendees.
Also honored at the installation event; Terry Burke-Eiserling, Rick Smith Award for volunteer service to the community and chamber; Danny Hertz, Chamber sponsor of the year; Bob’s Crane Services, Chamber member of the year; Terry Leimbach, Chamber ambassador of the year; Frank Hilliker, Chamber board member of the year; Bonnie LaChappa, Chamber volunteer of the year; Steve Mull, principal, Lakeside Middle School, Lakeside Union School District, Chamber community leader of the year; San Diego County Sherriff William Gore, elected official of the year.
The installation of officers and awards ceremony was held July 23 at Barona Resort and Casino’s Golf Events Center.
 Assemblyman Brian Jones to Host Drought Town Hall
     State Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) will host a Drought Town Hall from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, August 13, at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 E Douglas Ave, El Cajon. The public is invited to attend. RSVPs are requested. Seating is limited. To RSVP, call (619) 441-2322.
Participants at the Town Hall will include representatives from the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, San Diego County Water Authority, Building Industry Association of San Diego, and Water Reliability Coalition. Among the topics to be discussed: How bad is the drought in California; What has the state done to help fight the drought; What other solutions are possible; How are local agencies handling the drought; How can citizens help manage the drought.
Jones’ 71st Assembly district includes the East San Diego County communities of Alpine, Borrego Springs, El Cajon, Rancho San Diego, Ramona, Santee, Mount Helix, Spring Valley and Lakeside, as well as the Southern Riverside County communities of Anza, Aguanga, Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Lake Riverside and Mountain Center. Jones served as chairman of the Assembly Republican Caucus in 2012. Jones currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Assembly Business & Professions Committee, and a member of the Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee 1 on Health & Human Services, Legislative Ethics, and Joint Legislative Audit Committees.
 July 23, 2015

 Lemon Grove Deli Has New Owners
     Lemon Grove Deli, 7860 Broadway, Lemon Grove, has new owners. The Roberto family is now operating the deli, which opened in Lemon Grove in 1970. New choices for sauces on sandwiches include sriracha mayo, garlic aioli and creamy pesto. The deli is open from 7 to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Saturday, 7 to 5 p.m. on Friday and 7 to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Phone and catering orders can be placed at (619) 464-2928. For more information, visit www.lemongrovedeli.com.
     Lynne and Tom have been married for 40 years. Tom’s family operated their own private home catering company in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Hollywood, and Lynne worked in the family business for 15 years. Tom worked for four decades in wholesale food sales. It has been their dream for 30 years to own their own eatery. Lynne and Tom run the deli with their daughter Elena.
      “We come from a big Italian family and would just like to open our arms to new people and new experience,” said Elena. “This deli has been around for decades. We are just happy to be part of its story.”
East County Chamber to `Dine and Dialogue’ with Elected Officials
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to host four local elected officials as part of its Dine and Dialogue series. The events will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Chamber’s Business Resource Center Room at the Chamber’s headquarters, 201 S. Magnolia Ave., El Cajon. Cost to attend is $10 per person, and lunch will be provided.
Scheduled speakers include Congresswoman Susan Davis on Friday, July 31, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber on Friday, Aug. 14, Congressman Duncan Hunter on Wednesday, Aug. 19 and San Diego County Sheriff William Gore on Tuesday, Sept. 22. RSVPs are requested. Seating is limited. To RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, or Jonda Cvek, jondac@eastcountychamber.org, or call (619) 440-6161.
Santee Chamber Announces New CEO

     Sandy Schmitt has been named president/CEO of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, succeeding John Olsen, who left to become vice president of business development at Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits, a Santee-based brewery and distillery. Olsen had served as president/CEO of the Santee Chamber since 2011.
Robert Lloyd, owner of Lloyd's Collision & Paint Center and the chamber’s 2015 board chairman, had served as interim CEO until the selection of Schmitt. Lloyd said details for a welcome reception at Carlton Oaks Country Club will be announced soon. He said her skills include public speaking, relationship building, target marketing, sponsorship development and event planning.
Previously, Schmitt was with the North San Diego Business Chamber of Commerce as investor relations and business development manager. Prior to that, she served as member development specialist at the Southwest Chamber of Commerce, Tukwila, Wash. She also worked for the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce in Oregon, and operated an escrow and title company. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a professional certificate in project management from the University of Phoenix.
“The Santee business community is extremely fortunate to have Sandy Schmitt filling this key position with the Chamber,” said Lloyd. “She addressed every single criteria we were looking for, and brings a wealth of organizational and collaborative experience.”
Grossmont Healthcare District is Supporting Hospital’s Heart & Stroke Walk Team
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, is continuing its support of Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s team participating in the American Heart Association (AHA) San Diego Division’s 2015 San Diego Heart & Stroke Walk on Saturday, Sept. 19 in Balboa Park in Downtown San Diego. The GHD board of directors recently unanimously approved a $5,000 donation to Team Sharp.
     AHA’s 24th annual San Diego Heart & Stroke Walk is expected to draw more than 7,500 walkers and generate more than $1.4 million in donations. Team Sharp is expected to have one of the largest teams with about 2,500 Sharp HealthCare employees, family members and friends, according to Sandy Pugliese, Sharp Grossmont Hospital community relations manager. Last year, Team Sharp raised more than $186,000, which included more than $16,000 from walkers from Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, said AHA officials.
GHD has supported Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s participation in the American Heart Association’s Heart & Stroke Walk for the past 14 years with grants totaling about $56,000.
      This year’s walk will feature a one-mile route for “Miracle Mile” survivors – individuals who have suffered a heart attack or stroke – that will start at 7 a.m. followed by a four-mile walk starting at 7:10 a.m. The route will begin and end at 6th and Laurel avenues, San Diego. In addition to walking, the fundraiser will include an expo along with free health screenings and heart information, a kid’s zone, CPR training and live entertainment.
      Proceeds will fund heart disease and stroke research and initiatives that promote the prevention, treatment and better patient care in the areas of cardiovascular disease. For more event information, visit www.sdheartwalk.org.
 July 16, 2015

Concert fundraiser planned at Santee Lakes
      The Santee-Lakeside Rotary Foundation and the Santee Lakes Foundation will present the sixth annual Concert at the Lakes starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 at North Lake 5 at the Santee Lakes Regional Park, 9300 Fanita Parkway.
     Performing will be Della Donna, a Fleetwood Mac-Stevie Nicks tribute band, and Acoustic Blue. A silent auction also will be held. Proceeds will benefit students needing financial assistance. The Santee-Lakeside Rotary Foundation, established in 1990 by the Santee-Lakeside Rotary Club, raises funds for scholarships. Students receiving scholarships can attend any accredited school of their choosing, including a community college or trade school. Event sponsors include Gene Chubb and family, Pardee Homes and Viejas Casino & Resort. Tickets cost $20 for general admission or $50 per person, which includes lawn seating and dinner catered by Cupid’s Catering. To purchase tickets, visit www.concertatthelakes.com.
 Health library to host program on Alzheimer’s
      The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host a free program on “Getting REAL About Alzheimer’s,” from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
The speaker on July 22 will be Kassandra King, author of “Getting REAL About Alzheimer’s: Rementia Through Engagement, Assistance, and Love” and educator, care manager and consultant with Alzheimer’s and dementia care expertise. King will discuss popular opinions about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well as focusing on rementia, which highlights the skills people still have, keeping them occupied with purpose, and the glory of caregiving from the heart. King owns Alzheimer’s Connection La Mesa, an advocacy and consulting firm offering care management, navigational and training services regarding appropriate care options.
     The Herrick Library, which opened in 2002, is a consumer health public library specializing in health research information, accessible both on-site and via the Internet. The library is operated by the Grossmont Healthcare District. For more information, phone the library at (619) 825‑5010 or visit www.herricklibrary.org.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society to host `Challenge Walk’
      The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has opened registration for its 2015 Southern California Challenge Walk MS, a three-day, 50-mile fundraising walk, Sept. 25 to 27. Now in its 14th year, the Challenge Walk will start at Carlsbad’s Flower Fields, continue south along the coastline, and end in Downtown San Diego. The route is 20 miles the first two days, and 10 miles the third day. The minimum donation to walk is $2,500 per person, which includes overnight hotel accommodations, meals and entertainment. The donation minimum for walkers between ages 10 to 16 is $1,500.
     The Challenge Walk has a goal this year of raising $650,000 for MS research and programs and services for Southern Californians living with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. About 200 people are expected to walk the 50-mile route. Event organizers said they expect about 80 walkers this year will be people who have been diagnosed with MS.
Meals-on-Wheels to recognize Grossmont Healthcare District
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County, will be recognized at the Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego Inc.’s Bollywood Bash and Chef’s Appetizer Challenge, a fundraiser to be held starting at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. GHD will receive the organization award that is given annually to a supporting organization. Tickets to the fundraiser begin at $175 per person. About 400 people are expected to attend. This will be the sixth year the event has included the Chef’s Appetizer Challenge, featuring appetizer sampling and judging by guests and celebrity judges. For event information, visit www.meals-on-wheels.org/events/.
     GHD recently supported Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, Inc., with a $6,318 grant to purchase a new reach-in freezer and refrigerator for its East County Service Center, 131 Chambers St., El Cajon. The GHD grant will support year-round Meals-on-Wheels services, including regular nutrition and daily contact for seniors with a caring volunteer, to about 600 homebound, low-income seniors living in the East County region. Meals-on-Wheels currently serves healthy, nutritious meals seven days a week to about 1,300 seniors every month.
 July 09, 2015
East County Chamber Business Roundtable Will Discuss Recycling
      The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host a Rancho San Diego/ Jamul business roundtable on the recycling industry in Southern California from 8 to 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 22, at Hooley’s Irish Pub and Grill, 2955 Jamacha Road, El Cajon. Speaker will be Manuel Medrano, recycling specialist for the City of Chula Vista. Medrano has worked in the sustainability field for 15 years focused on recycling, hazardous waste management, business development and public education. He focuses on cross-border (U.S.-Mexico) environmental health issues. He has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in political science and dual minors in Chicano studies and public administration. Admission is free and breakfast menu items will be available for individual purchase. For more information and to RSVP, contact Jonda Cvek atjondac@eastcountychamber.org, or (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org

Alpine Chamber will Host `Hot Topics’ Breakfast 
     The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce will host its next “Hot Topics” breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, July 14, at Al Pancho’s restaurant, 2139 Alpine Blvd., Alpine. Speakers will include Chamber members as well as a representative from Al Pancho’s. Three members will each discuss their businesses for five minutes as part of the breakfast program’s format. Cost to attend is $15 per person. To RSVP, visitwww.AlpineChamber.com.
 La Mesa Chamber Will Host M
ixer at Anthony’s
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host a business networking mixer from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15 at Anthony’s Fish Grotto, 9530 Murray Dr., La Mesa. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres from Anthony’s will be served. Complimentary wine will be provided by Riviera Supper Club. Also, a raffle will be held. Admission is free for Chamber members with RSVP, $15 for guests with RSVP and $20 at the door with no RSVP. To RSVP, visit www.LaMesaChamber.com or call the Chamber Office (619) 465-7700, ext. #2.
 Kaiser mobile health unit now visiting Alpine
      Kaiser Permanente’s mobilehealth unit is now visiting Alpine on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Alpine Community Center parking lot. Primary care services are available at the mobile unit. It features a waiting room, two exam rooms, a laboratory preparation area, physician documentation station and wheelchair lift. Services include routine office visits, various screenings, vaccinations, prescription medication ordering and laboratory test ordering. According to Kaiser officials, about 25 percent of Kaiser patients in San Diego County live in the East County region. To schedule an appointment, call (800) 290-5000.
 El Cajon is outsourcing custodial services

     The El Cajon City Council has approved a one-year contract with NMS Management, Inc., a private contractor, to handle custodial services at 22 city facilities. The work had previously been handled by city employees. City officials say the outsourcing will save the city between $350,000 and $400,000 annually. Affected city employees will be retrained and transferred to other city positions, according to a city statement.
 Marriott Courtyard coming to El Cajon
      Plans have been approved by the El Cajon City Council with Courtyard by Marriott to build a four-story, 120-room hotel at Magnolia and Rea avenues in the El Cajon downtown area. Two vacant buildings on three parcels will be demolished this summer to make room for the hotel, expected to open in 2016. City officials said the land will be sold to Marriott Corp. for $1.2 million. During the first five years of operation, Marriott will receive transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues. From years six through 10, Marriott and the city will spilt TOT fees; and starting in year 11, the city will receive all TOT fees.
 El Cajon’s Bill Griffith was honored at ACS fundraisers
     El Cajon resident Bill Griffith, retired anchor at KGTV-TV/10News and male breast cancer survivor, was the honoree at two recent American Cancer Society (ACS) fundraisers that netted $183,000. They included the ACS Discovery Gala, held May 31 at the US Grant Hotel, and a golf tournament played June 1 at the La Jolla Country Club. Griffith, who retired in February of this year, holds the longevity record at 39 years for most on-air time at one station in the San Diego market.

 

July 02, 2015

Chamber breakfast on July 10 at Steele Canyon Golf Club
     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, July 10, at Steele Canyon Golf Club, 3199 Stonefield Drive, Jamul. The breakfast sponsor is the Computer ADMIN. Cost to attend is $20 per person for members (with RSVP), $25 per person for non-members (with RSVP), and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested by Monday, July 6. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
Chamber seeking participants for next East County Leadership class

     The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for its 2015-2016 Leadership East County program, which begins Aug. 21. Cost to participate is $800 per person. Time commitment includes one eight-hour day for 11 months.
The mission of the Leadership East County program is to utilize the unique perspective, experience and talent of its participants to identify, mentor and prepare the East County leaders of tomorrow. The program provides a forum to promote, provoke, discuss and resolve challenges with experienced community leaders. Participants become better acquainted with East County’s assets, needs and challenges. For more information, visitwww.EastCountyChamber.org, or contact Jane Moore at (619) 440-6161.

The Hartford will sponsor San Diego Padres
     Insurance company The Hartford, with a regional office in Santee, has announced it will sponsor the San Diego Padres, along with four other Major League Baseball teams, in a multi-year deal. The Hartford also will become the exclusive MLB sponsor for business insurance, homeowners insurance and employee benefits. It also will sponsor the MLB’s Reliever of the Year Awards, named after former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman and former New York Yankee Mariano Rivera. Both pitchers are expected to be featured in Hartford ads. The other teams included in the deal are the Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers
El Cajon’s Milholland Electric selected for SBA honor
     The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Brian L. Milholland, founder and president of Milholland Electric Inc. in El Cajon, as its California Small Business Person of the Year for 2015. “SBA has helped well over 30 million Americans start, manage and grow their businesses, placing tens of billions of dollars in loans into the hands of entrepreneurs in all sectors of the economy,” said SBA San Diego District Director Ruben Garcia. Business organizations, lending institutions, chambers of commerce and trade associations typically nominate candidates. A panel is convened at the San Diego District Office to review local nominations and select a winner in each of the several categories. District office nominees are then sent to SBA’s regional office in San Francisco for additional judging, and the regional office then submits nominations for national consideration. The regional office covers California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Guam. 

​UC San Diego Extension partners with Viejas, Sycuan
 
The University of California San Diego Extension recently announced a partnership with both the Sycuan Education Department and the Viejas Tribal Education Center to provide college preparatory programs. The partnership, part of a larger effort to boost college enrollment among young adults in underrepresented communities, is designed to enhance the programs currently offered by the tribal education centers. Middle and high school students have the opportunity to explore the UC San Diego campus as well as attend UCSD Extension’s innovative college-prep summer courses in Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii and Washington D.C. Ed Abeyta, assistant dean for community engagement and director of pre-collegiate and career preparations for UC San Diego Extension, said working with the Sycuan and Viejas tribes is part of UC San Diego’s larger goal to reach out to communities throughout the region to ensure the campus is a true reflection of what makes San Diego unique.

 ​June 25, 2015 

La Mesa Resident Heads San Diego’s Bowl Games
     La Mesa resident Mark Neville has been named executive director of the San Diego Bowl Game Association, the non-profit organization that produces San Diego’s two college football bowl games played annually in December at Qualcomm Stadium, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and the Holiday Bowl.
Neville has been with the San Diego Bowl Game Association since 1991. He previously served as associate executive director, overseeing sponsorship, marketing, advertising and media relations efforts. He succeeds Bruce Binkowski, who had been with the association for 37 years, spending the last 14 as executive director. Binkowski is currently serving as a consultant during this year’s transition.
     “We are confident Mark is the right guy to lead the San Diego bowl game effort moving forward,” said Association Chairman Vincent Mudd. “His experience and knowledge of the industry is tremendous and he's been by Bruce's side learning the ropes for many years now. He is ready and we're grateful for his passion and professionalism.” 
The San Diego Bowl Game Association’s mission is to generate tourism, exposure, economic benefit and civic pride for San Diego and its citizens by producing the nation’s most exciting bowl games and festival of activities. During its 37-year history, the organization has generated more than $730 million in economic impact for the region.
     This year, kickoff for the Poinsettia Bowl will be at 1:30 on Wednesday, Dec. 23, and one week later for the Holiday Bowl at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Both games will air nationally on ESPN-TV and ESPN Radio. The Poinsettia Bowl will feature a bowl eligible Army taking on a team from the Mountain West Conference. The Holiday Bowl will match teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten Conferences.
Santee Chamber President to Host Relocation Celebration
      The Santee Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to attend a relocation celebration for Lloyds Collision and Paint Center at 5 p.m., Thursday, July 9. Lloyds Collision recently relocated to 10410 Mission Gorge Road, Santee. Refreshments and live entertainment are planned at the event. Robert Lloyd, president of Lloyds Collision, is serving as the Santee Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 president.
      Lloyds Collision offers complete collision repair, including complete refinishing and frame and suspension alignment. Free towing and rental cars are available, along with a customer shuttle to and from work or home. Customers also have a lifetime warranty as long they own the vehicle. For more information, visit www.lloydscollision.com.
Eastbound Bar & Grill Selected as Small Business of the Year
California Sen. Joel Anderson recently selected Eastbound Bar & Grill, 10053 Maine Ave., in Lakeside, as his district’s Small Business of the Year.
According to Anderson, Eastbound Bar & Grill was founded by three friends from Lakeside who have pursued their passion for business and community service by opening a restaurant that has been recognized state-wide for its delicious food, outstanding customer service, and philanthropic work.
      “Ben, Jason, and Marco are a fantastic example of the amazing talent that exists in my district, and the community service spirit that East County is known for,” Anderson said. “Everyone talks about how incredible their burgers are, but what I am most grateful for are their weekly fundraisers to support different causes in our community. Eastbound Bar & Grill is an East County treasure.”
      Eastbound Bar & Grill received their award earlier this month at a special luncheon in Sacramento hosted by the California Small Business Association
Anderson’s 38th Senate district includes Poway, Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa and most of East San Diego County. He was first elected to the state Assembly in 2006 and to the state Senate in 2010.
Realtors to Hear How to Avoid Lawyers’ Fees and Lawsuits
      The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,000-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors, will present “Avoiding Lawyers’ Fees and Lawsuits,” a program to help realtors stay out of court, on Monday, June 29. The speaker will be Robert Sunderland, managing partner at Sutherland-McCutchan LLP. PSAR will host two programs with Sunderland, one in the morning from 9 to 11 a.m. at the PSAR South County Service Center, 880 Canarios Court in Chula Vista, and a second in the afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. at the PSAR East County Service Center in El Cajon. Topics will include upcoming law changes regarding the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) reporting requirements. Sutherland’s civil litigation practice emphasizes defense of real estate, mortgage, escrow and appraisal professionals, as well as general contractors and subcontractors. Cost to attend is free for PSAR members, $20 per person for non members. For more information, call PSAR at (619) 421-7811 or visit www.psar.org.
June 04, 2015 
Sophie’s Gallery Hosting Juried Art Exhibition
     Sophie’s Gallery, an art program of St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC), an El Cajon-based, non-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities, is inviting local artists to participate in “Bountiful Art,” a juried exhibition. Expressing community through art is the theme for the exhibition. Deadline for entries is June 30. Artists are allowed to submit up to five pieces of original and for-sale work, no reproduction prints. Costs to submit entries range from $25 for one entry to $65 for five entries. Prizes include $500 for best of show, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. Entries will be judged by Christine Knoke, director of exhibitions and chief curator, Mingei International Museum. The exhibit will run Aug. 7 to 31 at Sophie’s Gallery, 109 Rea Ave., El Cajon. For more information, call (619) 593-2205, or email sophiesgallery@stmsc.org, orwww.stmsc.org. SMSC serves more than 400 adults with developmental disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Realtors to Host 40th Annual Golf Tournament at Cottonwood
     The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors, a 2,000-member trade group for San Diego-area realtors, will hold its 40th annual fundraising golf tournament starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 5, at Cottonwood Golf Course, 3121 Willow Glen Road, El Cajon. Cost to play is $125 per player, which includes green fees, cart, box lunch and dinner. Proceeds from the golf tournament will benefit the California Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Fund (HAF). HAF is a charitable entity dedicated to addressing California’s growing housing affordability crisis. For more information on the golf tournament, call PSAR at (619) 579-0333, or visitwww.psar.org.
Sycuan’s Adam Day Reappointed as CSU Trustee
     Adam Day, assistant tribal manager for the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, has been reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to an eight-year term on the California State University Board of Trustees. He has served as one of the 25 trustees since 2004.
     He also recently served as chairman of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group, a nine-member group that examined ways to build a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers.
     Day has a long history in government, politics and public relations. Prior to joining Sycuan, Day served as vice president and general manager for NCG Porter Novelli from 2000 to 20002. In that capacity he managed a number of campaigns for leading San Diego companies. He also worked at the Flannery Group from 1999 to 2000 and chief of staff in San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob's office from 1996 to 1999, and senior policy advisor from 1993 to 1995.
Throughout his career, Day has served on dozens of boards and committees and currently sits on the Del Mar Fair Board, the San Diego County Planning Commission, Century Club of San Diego, Indian Gaming Local Benefit Committee, and the San Diego County Fire Mitigation Committee.
Radio Broadcasters Supporting Nonprofit for Steele Canyon Student
      The San Diego Radio Broadcasters Association (SDRBA) is supporting the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation, which was founded in honor of the Steele Canyon High School sophomore who passed away from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at age 15 in 2009.
     SDRBA is coordinating a special nonprofit advertising campaign this year on its 29 member stations. The spots, voiced by Kathleen Bade, Fox 5 San Diego anchor, are promoting free SCA screenings for high school athletes. It’s believe that high school athletes are among the most vulnerable for SCAs.
     The SCA screenings, conducted by volunteer cardiologists, nurses, techs and support staff, consist of an electrocardiogram and, if needed an echocardiogram. It takes less than 30 minutes and is painless and non-invasive (no needles or x-ray exposure). Overseeing the screenings is the foundation’s medical director, Dr. John Rogers, a Scripps cardiologist, who was recognized nationally by Parent Heart Watch as a 2014 Hero for Young Hearts and as a Healthcare Champion in San Diego.
     The next screening will be held Sunday, June 14, at Rancho Bernardo High School. For details, visit www.sandiegoradio.com.
 El Cajon Resident Rejoins PR Agency
 El Cajon resident Ashley Weaver has rejoined J. Walcher Communications, a San Diego public relations firm, as an account coordinator. She started at Walcher as an intern. After her internship, Jean Walcher hired Weaver as an assistant. Later, Weaver left to join KCD PR and now has rejoined Walcher. Weaver graduated from San Diego State University with a journalism degree.

​​May 28, 2015 
East County Chamber’s First Friday Breakfast at Cottonwood
       The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its upcoming First Friday Breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, June 5, at Cottonwood Golf Club, 3121 Willow Glen Dr., El Cajon. The breakfast sponsor is San Diego Gas & Electric. Cost to attend is $20 per person for members (with RSVP), $25 per person for non-members (with RSVP), and $30 per person at the door without reservations. RSVPs are requested by Monday, June 1. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sarah McCorkle at sarahm@eastcountychamber.org, (619) 440-6161, or visit www.eastcountychamber.org.
Hart Optical in La Mesa encouraging UV radiation protection
     With warmer weather and more outdoor activities, Hart Optical Co., 8685 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, is reminding East County residents about protecting your eyes from ultra violet radiation. “Protecting your eyes from UV rays is important because UV radiation can damage your cornea, the lens and other parts of your eyes, as well as your eyelids,” said Michael Emerson, owner of Hart Optical Co. “This exposure can lead to the development of certain types of cataracts as well as being a possible contributing factor of macular degeneration.”
Emerson recommends choosing sunglasses with UV protection that blocks 99- to 100-percent of both UVA and UVB rays. The color and the degree of darkness of sunglass lenses have nothing to do with the sunglasses’ ability to block the UV rays, he said. Stay away from sunglasses without this coverage. Also, consider close-fitting sunglasses with wide, wraparound lenses that protect eyes from every angle. For more information on protecting your eyes, contact Hart Optical Co., at (619) 466-6825.

Grossmont Healthcare District honors 2015 Healthcare Heroes
      An eye surgeon, a retired physician, twin sisters, a parent of adult children with disabilities and the first male president of a hospital’s auxiliary were among local volunteers recognized with 2015 Healthcare Hero awards from the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD). Now in its ninth year, the Healthcare Heroes is GHD’s annual awards program that honors volunteers who help advance the delivery of quality healthcare in the East County region.” This year’s honorees included:
• Dr. Andrew Alongi of San Carlos, a retired physician and member of the La Mesa Lions Club, volunteers with International Catholic Families at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in El Cajon. Specializing in internal medicine and geriatrics, Alongi, 71, provided for the health care needs of East County residents for four decades until his retirement in 2014. From 2009 to 2013, he volunteered at the El Cajon clinic of Volunteers in Medicine, a nonprofit that brings together medical professionals and patients who do not have health insurance.
• Anjelika Cannon and Veronika Cannon of El Cajon have volunteered about 1,500 hours together at Sharp Grossmont Hospital since June 2012 at the end of their ninth grade year at Steel Canyon High School. Now in 12th grade, the twins help train new junior volunteers and participate at the American Heart Association’s Heart & Stroke Walk. They were adopted at age 4 in September 2011 by Amy and Dan Cannon from an orphanage in the small Russian city of Kudymkar, near southwestern Siberia.
• Michael Dutcher of San Diego is a volunteer at Noah Homes, a residential community in Spring Valley for adults with developmental disabilities. He began volunteering at Noah Homes in 2010 after his daughter Jane had moved there (she now lives at another facility). Michael’s son Tommy has lived at Noah Homes since 2009. His service includes escorting residents on field trips, assisting with on-site activities and picking up donated home goods. The 79-year-old was named Noah Homes’ 2014 Volunteer of the Year.
• Richard Hart of La Mesa has volunteered more than 4,500 hours at Grossmont Hospital during the past 11 years. The retired high school teacher (he taught English and Social Studies at El Cajon Valley High School for 38 years), served as president of the Grossmont Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary in 2011 and 2012. He will forever be known as the Auxiliary’s first male president since the Auxiliary was founded in 1952, prior to the hospital’s opening in 1955. Today, Hart, 72, serves on statewide committees with organizations that represent more than 100,000 hospital volunteers in California. His father, Benton Hart, also worked for the Grossmont Union High School District serving as Helix High School’s first principal from the first day of school in 1952 to 1975.
• Dr. David J. Najafi of San Diego is a practicing vitroretinal surgeon with a private practice based in La Mesa called Alliance Retinal Consultants, Inc.  Since 2010 as a volunteer physician for Project Access San Diego (PASD), he has helped restoring and preserving the gift of eyesight to uninsured or under-insured East County residents who cannot afford specialty surgeries. He donates one or more surgeries nearly every month at various surgical centers in San Diego and La Mesa. His patients suffer from diabetic retinopathy, ocular tumors and other diseases of the eye.
The 2015 awards were presented on Wednesday, May 20, at Steele Canyon Golf Club in Jamul.

 May 20, 2015 
La Mesa Chamber preparing for Taste of La Mesa
     The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce is now selling tickets to its 7th annual Taste of La Mesa to be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, June 8, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. Presenting sponsor is Sycuan Casino. The event will feature networking and food sampling from local restaurants and food providers. In addition, local businesses will be on hand with exhibit tables. Parking is free and shuttle service will be available.
     General admission tickets begin at $35 per person. Admission is $50 per person to a pre-event VIP reception that begins at 5 p.m. Deadline is Wednesday, June 3 for early registration and pre-event pricing. Tickets at the door will be $60 for the VIP reception and $45 for general admission. To purchase tickets, visit www.lamesachamber.com or call the Chamber office, (619) 465-7700.
     Participating restaurants include All The Perks Espresso Cafe, Anthony's Fish Grotto, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Bo-beau kitchen + garden, Brigantine Restaurant of La Mesa, Cali Comfort BBQ, Chili's Grill & Bar, Continental Catering, Coop's West Texas BBQ, Costco of La Mesa, Edible Arrangements, El Torito of La Mesa, Grove Pastry Shop and Custom Cakes, Hacienda Casa Blanca Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, Himalayan Cuisine, Hooleys Irish Pub and Grill, Italian Cucina at Barona Resort & Casino, Marie Callender's, McDonald's of La Mesa, O's American Kitchen, Riviera Supper Club, Round Table Pizza, Souplantation of La Mesa, Sycuan Casino, Tarantino Gourmet Sausages, Terra American Bistro, The Hills Local Pub, The Vine Cottage and Trattoria Tiramisu. Samuel Adams is the exclusive beer sponsor of the evening. Additional beverages will be available from by: J Pilar Winery, Riviera Supper Club, The Regal Bar and San Pasqual Winery.

 Grossmont Healthcare District opposing closure of Naval health clinic in Santee
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, has sent a letter to the Navy stating its opposition to the pending closure of a health clinic in Santee. The clinic, called the Naval Health Clinic East County, has served active duty and retired military families in the East County for the past 10 years. In addition to primary healthcare services, the Santee clinic, located in a retail complex at 120 Town Center Parkway, also served patients with mammography and laboratory services, as well as a pharmacy. 
      The U.S. Navy’s Naval Medical Center San Diego, the headquarters for local health clinics operated by the military, recently informed patients that their clinic will close at the end of May due to expiration of the building lease. GHD said the Navy is referring patients of the Santee clinic to another military clinic, the Naval Branch Health Clinic Kearny Mesa, 8808 Balboa Ave., San Diego, which is about 11 miles away.
      In late April, GHD sent a letter, signed by GHD 2015 board president Robert “Bob” Ayres, to the Navy voicing its disapproval of the clinic’s closure. GHD’s letter, sent to Capt. Jose Acosta, commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego, said the Santee clinic “is an important part of the healthcare mosaic of the East Region and its closure will adversely impact the overall mission to meet the healthcare needs of our District residents. We know that your numerous active duty and retired military families will benefit by the continuation of this service and will prevent their migration to our other over-extended civilian facilities.”
     Meanwhile, GHD forwarded copies of its letter sent to the Navy to local East County elected officials, including U.S. Congress members Duncan Hunter and Susan Davis, State Senator Joel Anderson, California Assembly members Brian Jones and Shirley Weber, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Santee city council members. GHD said some of them have responded or are planning to respond with their own letter to the Navy opposing the clinic’s closure.

 May 14, 2015 
​​El Cajon hosting America on Main Street on Saturday
     The second annual America on Main Street is expected to draw more than 25,000 people to Downtown El Cajon from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. this Saturday, May 16.  This patriotic community event will be held on East Main Street and Rea Avenue, between Magnolia and Claydelle avenues. It will celebrate El Cajon’s rich diversity, shared traditions, civic pride and community engagement, along with America’s appreciation and respect for many diverse ethnic and historical groups. Activities will include live entertainment on four stages, exhibit booths, American and ethnic foods, chili cook-off (police vs. fire), a five-story Ferris wheel, a petting zoo, handmade crafts display and a naturalization ceremony for new U.S. citizens. For more information, call (619) 441-1762, or visitwww.AmericaOnMainStreet.org.
Lakeside Chamber will host May mixer at Moose Lodge
      The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host its next third Thursday mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 21 at the El Cajon Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge #1371, located at 13794 Interstate 8 Business, El Cajon. Sponsors of the mixer will be Women of the Moose. Cost to attend is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. According to Kathy Kassel, Chamber executive director, the mixer is a great opportunity to connect with fellow chamber members and promote your business. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.LakesideChamber.org.
 Grossmont Healthcare District bond sale results in $28 million savings to taxpayers
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that serves as landlord of Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, said it recently finalized the sale for two separate series of general obligation (G.O.) bonds totaling $24.5 million and $175 million. The bond proceeds will finance ongoing capital improvement construction projects consisting of new and improved patient care facilities currently underway at the publicly owned hospital.
      The $24.5 million bond sale was the third and final series of G.O. bonds that are part of Proposition G, a GHD-sponsored $247 million bond measure that East Region voters approved in June 2006. The two previous GHD bond sales totaled $85.6 million in 2007 and $136.8 million in 2011.
The $175 million sale of bonds was a partial refunding of the bonds previously sold in 2007 and 2011. The refunding, a transaction similar to a refinancing, will save taxpayers about $1.13 million in interest payments annually, or a total of about $28.6 million over the life of the bonds through 2040, GHD officials said.
GHD officials said both series of bonds were priced for selling on April 28, and offers were accepted the same day from institutional and retail investors in the U.S. municipal bond market. Closing date for the transactions is scheduled for May 20.
      Moody’s Investor Services rated GHD’s bonds at “Aa2,” which ranks near the top of Moody’s 10-tier scale, with “AAA,” as the highest rating possible. The U.S. government, for instance, has a Triple-A rating. Moody’s is a recognized and widely utilized independent source for credit ratings on debt involving sovereign nations, corporations and municipalities.
“The strong rating was a real plus for local taxpayers because it affirmed the creditworthiness of the bonds, as well as the utmost confidence by investors in the District’s financial stability,” said Robert Ayres, 2015 GHD board president. “In addition, the refunding will mean additional savings and a direct benefit to taxpayers.”
     This latest bond sale will help complete the 71,000-square-foot Heart and Vascular (H&V) Center building, currently under construction, as well as the 18,000-square-foot Central Energy Plant, with its 4.4-megawatt combustion turbine generator weighing 52 tons, and remodeling work on floors 2 through 5 of the East Tower.
 Rock Church opens thrift store in El Cajon
      The Rock Church has opened a thrift store in El Cajon at 450 Fletcher Parkway, Suite 119. The new store, called Rock Thrift Store, offers new and gently used merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, housewares, books, collectable and furniture. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Proceeds from Rock Thrift support The Rock Church’s outreach and ministry programs, including a homeless ministry and an orphanage in Haiti.
     Since 2010, when the church began operating thrift stores, the church says it has issued 2,306 vouchers for free merchandise at Rock Thrift. In addition, 1,531 vouchers have been distributed through the church’s community partners, including the San Diego Police Department, San Diego Fire Department, San Diego Harbor Police, American Red Cross and Roundtable Reentry. Rock Thrift also provides free clothing and home necessities to individuals and families in emergency or crisis situations.
     Rock Church, which began in February 2000, opened an East County campus in 2013. Its East County campus, at 808 Jackman Dr. in El Cajon, was a former Michael’s retail store that was remodeled to feature a 725-seat auditorium. The church, with four campuses and 16,000 weekly attendees, also operates the Rock Academy Christian School.​
May 7, 2015 
​​Grossmont Healthcare District Awards Scholarships to College Students
      The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region, recently presented $16,000 in scholarships to eight local college students planning a career either in nursing or in the healthcare technician field.
     Three nursing students from Grossmont College each received a GHD Richard J. Bea Memorial scholarship, named after former GHD board member Richard Bea, a registered nurse who worked at Grossmont Hospital for 18 years. Bea served on the GHD board from 1996 until his death in 1999, including as board president.
     The three nursing students included Aimee Cook, who received $3,000, and Diane Evans and Sara Shayya, each receiving $1,500 apiece. Their scholarship application included a letter of recommendation from a nursing instructor and information about community volunteer work, as well as a 500-word essay on the topic of “the future of nursing in my community.”
     In addition to the three nursing students, five other college students each received a GHD Health Tech Career scholarship. These students, pursuing healthcare careers in positions defined as technicians, wrote an essay on the topic “where I will be in my career five years from now.” Each received a check for $2,000.
     They included; Jeanine Galeana, Occupational Therapy Assistant student at Grossmont College; Abeer Majeed and Sandra Mekhaail, both who are enrolled at Grossmont College’s Orthopedic Technician program; Agazit Tesfai, Pharmacy Technician student at the Grossmont Health Occupations Center; and, Delia Yvette Valdez, Medical Laboratory Technician program at Miramar College.
 Sen. Joel Anderson Sets `Community Coffee’ Meeting in Santee
     California Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) will listen to constituents and invite ideas to improve state government at a “Community Coffee” starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, at Santee City Hall, 10601 Magnolia Ave., Santee. The free event, open to the public, will be hosted by Santee Mayor Randy Voepel.
     “My top priority is making government work for you,” said Anderson. “This will be an opportunity to hear directly from my constituents about their needs, opinions and legislative ideas to make state government more effective and efficient. About 40-to-60 percent of the bills I introduce each year originate as ideas from the people I serve.”
     For more information, contact Anderson’s El Cajon district office at (619) 596-3136, or visit www.senate.ca.gov/anderson. Anderson’s 38th Senate district includes Poway, Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa and most of East San Diego County. He was first elected to the state Assembly in 2006 and to the state Senate in 2010.
City of La Mesa seeking donations for Flag Day Parade
     The City of La Mesa is seeking donations from businesses and individuals for its 18th annual Flag Day Parade starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 30.
Donations will help cover some of the following Parade costs, including public safety, transportation for school marching bands, public address equipment for pre-parade school concerts and announcing parade participants and public restrooms, the city said.
     Donations can be made at www.gofundme.org/N507LG. Fundraising goal is $15,000. For more information, contact the parade committee at FlagDayHelp@ci.la-mesa.ca.us or visit the city website at www.cityoflamesa.com/FamilyFun.
Two pre-parade concerts performed by band students from La Mesa Middle School and Parkway Middle School will begin at 9 a.m. along the La Mesa Boulevard parade route.
 Western theme for Home of Guiding Hands Gala on June 6
       The Home of Guiding Hands (HGH), an El Cajon-based non-profit organization that provides services, training and advocacy for people with developmental disabilities, will present its 41st annual Black Tie & Boots Gala from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 6, at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Proceeds will benefit programs and services HGH provides to more than 1,000 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. Former Padres pitcher Randy Jones, a National League Cy Young Award winner, will be the master of ceremonies.
     This year’s gala will feature a western theme, along with live music and silent auction. Attire can include western suits, vests, cowboy or cowgirl hats, boots, paisley silk rags, bolo ties, themed belt buckles and turquoise and leather jewelry. Admission with full dinner begins at $200 per person. Admission with lounge seating and a small-bites dinner begins at $100 per person. To RSVP, visit www.guidinghands.org
     Gala committee members included Yvonne Bloom, Marcy Blumberg, Sherry Delsen, Lynne Doyle, Sharon Gray, Ariana Heramb, Kira Heramb, Lora Heramb, Sheri Liebert, Debby McDowell, Jeanette Poole, Ralleen Ratzlaff and Irene Stone, along with HGH Board members Marcie Hanna and Mary Miller. Major sponsors include The Heramb Charitable Foundation, Marrs Maddocks and Associates, Quick-Dry Flood Services, Torrey Pines Bank, Bloom Family Foundation, Union Bank, The Bill & Norma Verbeck Foundation, California Bank & Trust, San Diego County Credit Union and San Diego Special Needs Law Center.​
April 30, 2015 
​La Mesa Chamber will Host Mixer at BJ’s
    The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host a business networking mixer from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13 at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse at the Grossmont Center mall, 5550 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served. Drink specials will be offered, including selections of craft beer and other beverages. Also, a raffle will be held.
   Admission is $10 for members (not using an event pass), $15 for guests and $20 without reservations. Admission is free for the first 20 Chamber members who register on the website. To RSVP, visit www.LaMesaChamber.com or call the Chamber Office (619) 465-7700, ext. #2.
Hobby Lobby grand opening on Monday at Grossmont Center
   Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held national retail chain of craft and home decor stores, will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Grossmont Center store at 9 a.m., Monday, May 4. Local dignitaries, ambassadors from the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce and other business and community leaders are expected to attend. The celebration is open to the public.
    “We feel blessed for the fantastic opportunity to be a part of this community,” said John Schumacher, assistant VP, advertising. “Our goal is for customers to experience the exceptional service, selection and value Hobby Lobby offers as we continue to expand nationwide.”
   The La Mesa story is Hobby Lobby’s 29th location in California. Lisa Rivera is the store manager of the 43,000 square-foot retail facility that previously was occupied by Linens ‘n Things. The new store has created between 35 and 50 new jobs, said Hobby Lobby officials.
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has more than 650 stores across the nation that average 55,000 square feet in size. Stores offer more than 70,000 crafting and home decor products. Departments include floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, baskets, home accents, wearable art, arts and crafts, jewelry making, scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. All Hobby Lobby stores are closed on Sunday.
 El Cajon Rolls Back Sales Tax One-Half Percent to 8.5 Percent
    The City of El Cajon has reduced its sales tax by one-half percent, from nine percent to 8.5 percent, with the end of Proposition O, passed in 2004. According to the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, taxpayers will save approximately $8.6 million annually, an average of $245 per household.
   El Cajon became the only city in California this month to rollback its sales tax, according to statistics from the Board of Equalization. By comparison, 43 other cities and counties across the state elected to renew or increase their sales tax.
   In November 2004, El Cajon voters passed Prop. O, which increased the sales tax by one-half percent for 10 years to raise funds for improving El Cajon’s public safety and emergency response facilities. Over the past 10 years, the city built a new public safety facility and new fire station. The city also made upgrades to three other fire stations. Remaining funds are planned to build a new animal shelter in 2016.
   “The city of El Cajon is a better, safer place today than it was 10 years ago,” said Mayor Bill Wells. “Much has been accomplished and it wouldn't have been possible without the support from the El Cajon citizens, the business community, and City Council.”
Sycuan Casino Supporting Fundraiser for Marketers in Crisis
    Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, owned and operated by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, has agreed to serve as one of the major sponsors of the San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies’ (SAFE) annual fundraiser to be held on April 30.
   SAFE is a volunteer, non-profit organization (501c3) providing confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing communications professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency. Its 14th annual fundraising party from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, at the San Diego Hilton Resort on Mission Bay, 1775 East Mission Bay Dr., San Diego.
   The fundraiser, open to the public, will feature food, networking, entertainment, a raffle and silent auction to benefit grant recipients. Cost to attend is $50 per person, $35 per person for students, or $60 per person at the door. For tickets and more information, visit www.SafeSanDiego.org.
   Since its founding in May 2000, SAFE has approved more than 85 grants totaling about $500,000, including $33,498 in 2010, $36,626 in 2011, $18,817 in 2012, $41,600 in 2013 and $24,169 in 2014. According to SAFE officials, grants have been used over the years to help pay living expenses for families facing financial hardship due to a variety of life crisis situations. Recipients of grants remain anonymous.

 




With Rick Griffin

East County Biz