People Power

Inspiring Stories from San Diego's Eastern Region

WILDEST JOBS: MAX 105.7’S CHACHA IN THE SNAKE PIT

 

Hunting down the wildest jobs in San Diego’s East County

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

June 26, 2017 (La Mesa) -- “I saw Jurassic Park, I know how this ends!” said MAX 105.7 FM DJ Rob Zilla of his fellow DJ, Karen “ChaCha” Harlow.  ChaCha was sitting in a self-styled snake pit with a red-tailed boa, among other reptiles, at La Mesa’s Grossmont Center’s courtyard on Saturday, June 24th.  It was all part of the job—for a good cause of bringing in food donations for The Jacob & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.  Thankfully, Jurassic Park’s grisly endings went unrealized.

PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT UNITES PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE

 

 

By Rachel Williams

Video:  interview with homeless woman Lorraine Leighton

June 23, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Lorraine Leighton was among hundreds of homeless people who connected at Rock Church in El Cajon on June 2nd. More than 30 organizations offered health care and legal services for rebuilding a healthy, safe life.

CHA CHA’S SNAKE PIT CHALLENGE TO HELP THE HUNGRY: JUNE 24 AT GROSSMONT CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 22, 2017 (La Mesa)  -- Radio personality Cha Cha from106.7 FM will scale new heights –and slither in new depths—all to help the hungry. She’ll be broadcasting from inside an exotic jungle snake pit  at Grossmont Center’s courtyard on Saturday, June 24 starting at noon – and she won’t come out until at least 1,057 canned goods or dry food items are donated to help the Jacob and Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

You’re invited to face your fears and help fight hunger in our community. Bring canned or dry food items and hold a snake from the San Diego Reptile Association.  Post a picture of you overcoming your fears on Twitter or Instagram, and challenge others to do it too! Use the hashtag #SnakePitChallenge and tag 105.7 MAX FM. (Or skip the snake and just donate.)

NONPROFIT TEACHING SWIMMING TO REFUGEES: SEEKS DONATIONS FOR VAN

 

East County News Service

June 21, 2017 (San Diego) - Out of the Boat Swim, a nonprofit, provides free water-safety and beach programs to refugee and underprivileged children living in San Diego. Out of the Boat Swim offers free beach and water-safety programs to help refugee and inner city kids integrate during a challenging time of transition. Some of the children will go on to become Junior Guards in the San Diego Junior Lifeguard program by design of the partnership between Out of the Boat Swim and San Diego Junior Lifeguards.

MARIE RAFTERY ANNOUNCED AS 2017 JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE BOARD CHAIR

 

Three additional members named to nonprofit’s Board of Directors

East County News Service

June 20, 2017 San Diego) -- Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) has named businesswoman and renowned philanthropist Marie Raftery, a La Mesa resident, as chair of the 99-year-old nonprofit’s board of directors. The appointment was officially announced at JFS’s Annual Meeting Luncheon on June 13. Raftery previously served as chair elect.

SAN DIEGO OASIS OPENS IN LA MESA: LIFELONG LEARNING ADVENTURES FOR AGE 50+

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

June 14, 2017 (La Mesa) – Zentangle ®, or as some call it “doodle art,” a fluffy seal named PARO-a therapeutic robot, and a guitar teacher who also sings in Uto-Aztecan Luiseño--- these are all part of the offerings at San Diego Oasis -Lifelong Adventure.  Oasis held its grand opening at its new location in La Mesa’s Grossmont Center, where these adventures and more are now available to local residents ages 50 and up.

OWNER OF JEROME’S FURNITURE DONATES 60 MATTRESSES TO HOMELESS FAMILIES AT EAST COUNTY TRANSITIONAL LIVING CENTER IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

June 17, 2017 (El Cajon) - Jerry Navarro, owner of Jerome’s Furniture,  personally delivered 60 mattresses to the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC), where he was joyfully greeted by dozens of homeless children.

SANTANA HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER FIGHTS RARE FORM OF LEUKEMIA IN ADULTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) — Family members of Santana High School teacher Janelle Pasquale Garrison are asking help to cover medical bills as she battles an acute form of leukemia that rarely occurs in adults.

GREATER SAN DIEGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS LAUNCHES ELDER INITIATIVE ON WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY, JUNE 15

 

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and District Attorney Valerie Tanney to speak

East County News Service

June 12, 2017 (San Diego) - The Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS® (SDAR) is launching a local initiative to help combat the heartbreaking and devastating instances of financial elder abuse, specifically through fraudulent real estate transactions.

“LITTLE FIELD OF DREAMS” IS OPEN ON MOUNT HELIX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 10, 2017 (Mt. Helix) – “This is a little field of dreams,” Cajon de Oro Little League President Josh Bailey declared at a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the new facility on Russell Road in the Mount Helix community.

The new  field  at 10400 Russell Road, L a Mesa serves the League’s youngest  athletes:  T-ball players ages 4-6 and Rookies ages 6-7. The new T-ball and Rookies field is adjacent to the existing Mosher field for older Little League players—a field where several major and minor league baseball players got their start.

NATIONAL SENIOR HEALTH & FITNESS DAY AT LA MESA’S THE MONTERA

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

June 1, 2017 (La Mesa) -- “It helps with fall prevention” said fitness instructor Eduardo Gracia of the exercises he designs for seniors at La Mesa’s The Montera-Westliving Senior Living Community.  Gracia led seniors through indoor (balloon) volleyball, basketball, darts, and other activities on the 24th Annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day on May 31.

LOCAL MOTHER FINDS A WAY TO GIVE BACK TO ANIMALS IN NEED

 

East County News Service

May 31, 2017 (San Diego) – Amie Brenner knew she needed to do more to help animals in need.  After volunteering at the Helen Woodward Animal Center for over a year, and having two rescue animals of her own, she decided to start a company designing and selling rescue themed phone cases.  Her company, PhoneCasesToTheRescue, donates 15% back to the rescues and shelters and has already seen the positive impact the proceeds have made, which is her entire goal. 

EL CAJON CRISIS HOUSE TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE FOR HOMELESS CITIZENS ON JUNE 2 AT ROCK CHURCH

Volunteers needed to assist at event to help the homeless

By Paul Kruze

May 26, 2017 (El Cajon) --As the sun sets in the west behind surrounding mountains, some 700 people get ready to bed down every night on the asphalt streets of El Cajon. The roof over their heads is the night sky glowing with pillars of street lights and neon signs. They end up living on the streets for a dozen of reasons, including, bad life decisions, abusive relationships, drugs and alcohol, mental illness, and unemployment.

But for four hours on Friday, June 2nd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. things might look a little brighter.

GILLESPIE FIELD AIR SHOW A NO SHOW AGAIN

 

Popular event could fly off into sunset without more sponsors and donors

By Mike Allen

Photo credit John Ford Photography and Air Group One

May 22, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Organizers of the biggest annual air show in East County say they cannot afford to put it on because of rising costs and an inability to raise sufficient funds.

LA MESA PARK & RECREATION FOUNDATION ANNUAL FUNDRAISER – MAY 19

 

Source: City of La Mesa

May 12, 2017 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Park & Recreation Foundation will hold its annual “La Mesa Rocks!” event to benefit local La Mesa parks on May 19. The proceeds from this event provide FREE family activities such as summer concerts, movies in the park, science days and recreational events for kids.  The Foundation is currently raising funds to renovate playgrounds at Vista La Mesa, Collier and La Mesita parks.

FLETCHER HILLS COUPLE DONATES HAND-CRAFTED DOLLHOUSE FOR USO SAN DIEGO’S STARS AND STRIPES GALA MAY 20

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 13, 2017 (Fletcher Hills) - Steve and Deborah Loeffler of El Cajon have built and donated an intricate dollhouse to auction at the upcoming silent auction at USO San Diego’s 76th Annual Stars and Stripes Gala on May 20th.  The dollhouse was a true labor of love, built and furnished with over 1,000 hours of work by the Fletcher Hills couple.

BIG DONATION BOOSTS ANIMAL SERVICES’ SPIRIT FUND

 

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego

This video, produced in 2011, gives an overview of the Spirit Medical Trust Fund and how it helps animals in need. https://youtu.be/d2g8-qhMLKU

April 11, 2017 (San Diego) -- An anonymous donor has given County Animal Services’ Spirit Fund more than $101,000, an amount that will help dozens more sick and injured animals get the specialized medical care they need to lead healthy lives in new adoptive homes.

FRIENDS COOK UP BENEFIT SATURDAY TO HELP AILING OWNERS OF LONDON BAKERY IN RAMONA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 7, 2017 (Ramona) –Joanne Bennett and her daughter, Paige Duffy, have a passion for baking authentic English pastries, from classics with a modern twist to a lemon curd recipe dating back over 100 years from the family’s roots on London’s east side.  Together, the mother-daughter duo opened their London Bakery in Ramona (632 Main St.) with the slogan “food fit for a Queen.” 

Both have been stricken with major medical conditions and are facing healthcare staggering bills as they struggle to keep their business open.  So an employee has organized a fundraiser tomorrow at the bakery from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The public is urged to stop in, buy some goodies, and if possible, make a donation.

KYLIE ROWLAND FOUNDATION TO HOST FOURTH ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT APRIL 21

 

Community unites to remember two-year-old cancer fighter, raise $75,000 for childhood cancer research

East County News Service

April 7, 2017 (Alpine) - The Kylie Rowand Foundation will host its 4th Annual Prayers for Kylie Golf Tournament at the Steel Canyon Golf Club on Friday, April 21 at 1 P.M.

SDSU STUDENT JOINS FAMED SKATEBOARDER RYAN SHECKLER ON SOCIAL IMPACT SPRING BREAK, GIVING BACK IN COSTA RICA

 

 

East County News Service

April 5, 2017 (San Diego) -- Jonah Bonner, a student at San Diego State University, is taking a unique spring break. He’s teaming with The Sheckler Foundation, Red Bull, social activists Journey and DIVERTcity as part of a program giving college students the opportunity to help build a skate park for an underserved community in Costa Rica. Adding star power to the trip is famed skateboarder Ryan Sheckler who will help break in the new park.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: LOIS KNOWLTON AND BONNIE BARANOFF SPEAK OUT ON HELPING HOMELESS IN LA MESA

 

 

Listen to our interview,  originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM, by clicking the audio link.

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2017 (La Mesa) – This Thursday, La Mesa Conversations will host an event at Johnny B’s Restaurant in La  Mesa from 5:30 to 7 :30 p.m.  on homelessness in La Mesa.  We sat down with Bonnie Baranoff, a steering committee member from La Mesa Conservations, and with Lois Knowlton from the La Mesa First United Methodist Church on signicant progress helping the homeless—and how you can help. 

The church holds regular events to help the homeless get back on their feet, offering clothes for job interviews, haircuts and meals.  The church has long helped homeless people who showed up on their doorstep.  Now, church leaders aim to take that to a higher level by creating La Mesa’s first temporary shelter for homeless people in the church’s basement.

Audio: 

FLYING HIGH: ELLEN OCHOA NAMED TO U.S. ASTRONAUT HALL OF FAME

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: NASA

March 18, 2017 (La Mesa) — I remember Ellen Ochoa from our student days at Parkway Junior High School.  She was brilliant, having already skipped two grades and still maintaining an “A” average. So, I’m not surprised at her stellar career, which included becoming the first Hispanic woman astronaut in space and now, induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.  Congratulations to a true local hero!

EL CAJON HONORS SUNSHINE HORTON FOR “GENEROUS SPIRIT” AS CIVIC VOLUNTEER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2017 (El Cajon) — El Cajon’s City Council declared Tuesday, March 14th as Sunshine Horton Day to honor the city’s Goodwill Promoter. 

Horton, who was previously named El Cajon Citizen of the Year in 2012,  has been improving the lives of East County residents for nearly 40 years.  “We appreciate all she has done to make El Cajon a better place for all,” Mayor Wells stated in the proclamation.

JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE RECEIVES $70,000 FOR NEW SENIOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICE

 

Funds to support “Navigator,” Uber/Lyft access for seniors without smartphones

East County News Service

March 13, 2017 (San Diego) -- Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) has been awarded $70,000 by the San Diego Foundation’s Age Friendly Communities Program to help improve the quality of life for older adults in San Diego through On the Go Navigator – a new addition to JFS’s existing On the Go program.

HOMELESSNESS IN LA MESA: LA MESA CONVERSATIONS MIXER MARCH 23

 

East County News Service

March 13, 2017 (La Mesa) – Homelessness in LA Mesa will be the topic for the next La Mesa Conversation mixer on Thursday, March 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Johnny B’s restaurant, 83993 La Mesa Blvd. 

The guest speaker will be Lois Knowlton EdD,  Homelessness and Affordable Housing Advocate at  La Mesa First United Methodist Church. 

LAKESIDE CERT TEAM EXPANDS READINESS FOR DISASTERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CERT team member Christina Whipple

February 28, 2017 (Lakeside) – The room was packed for a recent training program offered by the Lakeside Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for volunteers eager to help their community if a wildfire, earthquake or other disaster overwhelms local authorities.

RESCUED CIRCUS LIONS COMING TO ALPINE: LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS SEEKS DONATIONS FOR NEW HABITATS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 24, 2017 (Alpine) — Lufuno, Arusha and Zulu were forced to perform in a famous traveling circus for many years.  But soon the trio of lions will have a new home at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: BONNIE PRICE, WOMEN’S RIGHTS ADVOCATE

 

East County News Service

Hear our interview, originally aired in January on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio, by clicking the audio link.

“It wasn’t the e-mails; it was the white males,” – Bonnie Price, on sexism she believed prevented Hillary Clinton from becoming president

February 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Spring Valley resident Bonnie Price is a long-time women’s rights advocate, political scientist and feminist. In January, shortly after Price marched in the historic women’s march in San Diego, we interviewed her about her concerns over the erosion of women’s  rights that she spent much of her lifetime fighting to attain.

 Price has advocated for women’s causes from equal pay to the equal rights amendment.  She once established a Planned Parenthood clinic in rural Pennsylvania. She’s also been active in recruiting women  to run for political office through the nonpartisan Run Women Run and has served as president of the East County Democratic Club. A supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations, Price still hopes to see the ultimate glass ceiling broken in her lifetime. 

Scroll down to read highlights of her commetns , or click the audio link to hear our full interview.

Audio: 

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