La Mesa/Mt. Helix

WELCOME, LA MESANS!

Our La Mesa section covers the communities of La Mesa and Mount Helix.  Click here to read some fascinating facts about La Mesa and Mt. Helix.  Click here for links to city services, activities, shopping, business groups, farmers’ market,  schools, library, hospital, service groups, theaters, transportation, utilities, weather and more in La Mesa.


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4TH FRIDAY COMEDY AT SPACEBAR CAFE AND WINE BISTRO

By Jonathan Goetz

February 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Comedians Gene Levin and Carol Johnson are the dynamic duo behind the 4th Friday Comedy show, held every month at SpaceBar Cafe & Wine Bistro. This delightful event has become one of the longest-running free comedy shows in our region, drawing laughter-loving audiences from near and far.

Event Details:

Venue: SpaceBar Cafe & Wine Bistro

Address: 7454 University Avenue, Suite A, La Mesa, CA 91942

Date: February 23, 2024

Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM


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LA MESA SEEKS ARTISTS FOR WALKWAY OF THE STARS: DEADLINE MARCH 8

East County News Service

February 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa is seeking proposals for the La Mesa “Walkway of the Stars” Mural Project in downtown La Mesa. The “Walkway of the Stars” is a pedestrian walkway located between the Allison Avenue municipal parking lot and La Mesa Boulevard that was transformed into an urban park in downtown La Mesa in 2003.

The walkway features decorative stone stars with the names of volunteers who have given 10,000 hours or more of service to the City of La Mesa and eight (8) community murals painted in 2003 depicting volunteerism in the City. This project will create up to eight new murals along the walls of the walkway. 


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ANTISEMETIC CALLERS OVERWHELM LA MESA CITY COUNCIL MEETING WITH HATE SPEECH

By JW August, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
Photo: Courtesy of City of La Mesa
 
February 16, 2024 (La Mesa) -- What began as a typical La Mesa City Council meeting this week to weigh local issues morphed into an antisemitic diatribe by largely anonymous white-supremacist callers.
 
Words turned ugly during the council’s public comment period on Tuesday when a series of callers, each held to a council-mandated three-minute limit per speaker, used their allotted time to debase and degrade Jews with callous accusations and conspiracy theories.

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EARTH DAY 2024 FAIR IN LA MESA

By Jonathan Goetz
 
February 16, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa is inviting residents, visitors, sponsors and vendors to join its family-friendly Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at MacArthur Park, 4900 Memorial Drive, La Mesa CA 91942. The festival is a celebration of the city’s commitment to environmental stewardship and a showcase of local businesses that offer eco-friendly products and services.


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COLLIER PARK REOPENING THIS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10

East County News Service

February 7, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The Collier Park renovation is almost complete with the reopening/ribbon cutting celebration on February 10, 2024!

Join the City of La Mesa for interactive activities, presentations, and resources while you enjoy the new park, playground, fitness equipment, walking trails, courts, and more.


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CUPID IS STUPID IN LA MESA: VALENTINE'S DAY

By Jonathan Goetz

February 5, 2024 (La Mesa) – Need a laugh with a cause for Valentine’s Day? La Mesa’s Journey Community Church hosts their 9th annual night of clean comedy Wednesday, February 14 at 7 p.m. to benefit their Local Impact efforts. Doors open at 6:30. The show will be hosted by Josh Lawson featuring comedians Collin Moulton and Kellen Erskine. Tickets are $24 per person.

Childcare is provided as a fundraiser for their Summer Camps by their High School group, and is $15 per child, including dinner, with sibling discounts. Please RSVP for childcare with ticket purchase.


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SDSU TRACK & FIELD SIGNS HELIX'S LARAIGH ALLEN

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 1, 2024 (La Mesa) -  San Diego State track and field has signed high school senior Laraigh Allen for next year, head coach Shelia Burrell announced on Wednesday.


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MASTIFF KITCHEN; SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST SAUSAGE

By Jessyka Heredia

 

January 24, 2023 (La Mesa) – Mastiff kitchen in La Mesa is serving up homemade sausages that will really knock your socks off, but their menu has so much more to offer, so you might want to share family style. From crispy pan pizza’s and burgers to Brussel sprouts, you won’t be disappointed.


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STORM WREAKS HAVOC ACROSS REGION

By Miriam Raftery

Updated January 23, 2024 to include city and county of San Diego declaring an emergency

January 22, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy rains during today’s storm caused widespread flooding, road closures, power outages, and inundation of vehicles and structures including an East County school. Flooding also prompted numerous rescues including motorists trapped in vehicles in Spring Valley and Lemon Grove, as well as homeless people stranded by rising waters along the San Diego River in Santee.

Richard Attaway took dramatic  photos  (left) of Mission Gorge Road in Santee just east of  Carlton Hills Boulevard, where he said “there are homeless clinging on trees for their lives in the river bed.” One video showed a woman stranded on an island surrounded by swift-flowing currents. Numerous emergency crews were on hand and at least one person was rescued from the floodwaters.


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LAMPLIGHTERS THEATRE IN LA MESA PRESENTS THE CRUCIBLE JAN.12-FEB.4 -- WITH A MODERN TWIST

East County News Service

January 21, 2024 (La Mesa)-- Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa will present playwright Arthur Miller’s classic, The Crucible January 12 through February 4. 

Written in 1953, it is a dramatized and fictionalized retelling of the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692-93. Most of the characters are real historical figures.  Miller wrote the play as an allegory for McCarthyism.  It is regarded as a central work in the canon of American drama.  It’s a story of one man’s struggle toward grace.  It depicts human struggles both internal and external:  a community galvanized by fear and suspicion, a wife betrayed by lust, an orphan girl blind with passion and obsessed with revenge, ruthless prosecutors, deluded holy men, and covetous neighbors. 

Lamplighter’s director has updated once again, this time to 2020, where it appears the country is again seemingly divided and moving in two extreme directions.


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COMEDY NIGHT JANUARY 26 AT SPACEBAR CAFÉ AND WINE BISTRO

East County News Service

January 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Comedians Gene Levin and Carol Johnson produce 4th Friday Comedy every month at SpaceBar Cafe & Wine Bistro, 7454 University Avenue, La Mesa from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The monthly show is one of longest running free comedy shows in our region.


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TOBACCO RETAILERS WILL NEED A LICENSE TO SELL IN LA MESA

Story and photo by Michael Howard

Photo: Tobacco retailers like this smoke shop will be subject to licensing later this year. 

January 15, 2024 (La Mesa, CA) - The La Mesa City Council adopted a new ordinance earlier this month that mandates tobacco retailers shall have a license to sell tobacco products.

The ordinance passed unanimously during the January 9,2024 City Council meeting upon Councilmember Jack Shu’s motion to adopt. Shu showed his support of the ordinance by wearing two lapel pins.

“One is ‘I love clean air’ and the other is a lung that was given to me for cleaner lungs by not smoking,” Shu said.


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VISIONARY DANCE THEATRE BECOMES MOUNARATH-POWELL DANCE

Source:  Mounarath-Powell Dance

January 13, 2024 (La Mesa) - Visionary Dance Theatre, an award-winning dance company and school for the performing arts in the heart of La Mesa, is thrilled to announce a rebranding initiative to celebrate its 15th anniversary and the long-standing partnership of its founders, Spencer John Powell and Mickey Mounarath.


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$10,000 REWARD OFFERED TO SOLVE 2021 MURDER OF SAILOR IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2024 (La Mesa) – La Mesa police seeks public help to solve the murder of 22-year-old Corneilius Donte Brown.  His family is offering a $9,000 reward, in addition to a $1,000 Crimestoppers award, for information leading to the identification and arrest of suspects in his murder, which occurred on April 24, 2021 around 12:26 a.m.


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LA MESA CHAMBER HOSTS FIRST MIXER OF YEAR AT HOOLEY'S JANUARY 17

By Jonathan Goetz

January 10, 2024 (La Mesa)-- The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce invites you to start 2024 out with a Chamber mixer to mix, mingle and toast to the new year at Hooley's Public House on Wednesday, January 17th for their first mixer of 2024.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will end at 7:00 p.m. at Hooley’s Public House in Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive in La Mesa 91942.


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Sign up here to receive our free East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts via email.  Our alerts can reach you even if phone lines or cell towers burn down.  We cover wildfires, flash floods, major highway shutdowns, severe weather alerts, gas leaks, and other hazards in our region.  We suggest signing up on all of your emails –home, work, school, and encourage  friends, family members and coworkers to do the same. These alerts save lives!

You can also follow East County Alerts on Twitter.

You can also sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter, with top local news and events in East County.  You can choose alerts, or newsletter, or both.


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SING, DANCE AND LEARN WITH KATHRYN THE GRAPE JAN. 12 AT GROSSMONT CENTER

East County News Service

January 4, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Families are invited to come sing, dance and learn with Kathryn the Grape for a Fun Friday morning January 12 from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. in the Grossmont Center Courtyard in La Mesa. Enjoy positive, upbeat, award-winning children’s music at this interactive concert. Your little ones will love singing and grooving along at this live music experience.


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AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMPLEX IN DOWNTOWN LA MESA STARTS LIST FOR LEASING

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2024 (La Mesa) — An affordable housing development on city-owned land at the site of the former police  station in downtown La Mesa is expected to be completed later this year.  You can now sign up on an interest list to received leasing events information this summer.

Renters must have a household income between $29,200 and $67,200, which is 30% to 70% of the area’s $97,000 median income. Rents will range from $685 to $1,591 per month.


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PASSAGES: ERNEST EWIN, FORMER LA MESA COUNCILMAN AND CIVIC LEADER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Councilman Ernie Ewin  at the La Mesa railway depot, during kickoff of the city's 2012  Centennial.

January 3, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Former La Mesa City Councilman Ernest “Ernie” Ewin died December 28, 2023 at age 76 in Utah from complications of vascular dementia.  Ewin served 18 years on the City Council, previously serving on the city’s planning commission, and held many other civic leadership positions, contributing to East County communities in the fields of education, healthcare, and more.

Ewin represents the City on the Metropolitan Transit Board (MTS), where he has chaired the audit committee. He chaired the Metro Waste Water Joint Powers Authority and served as Executive Director of the Grossmont College Foundation’ board of directors and as donor relations specialist for the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. In addition, he was Chairman of the Prop G Grossmont Healthcare District's Independent Oversight Committee and served on the board of the East County Visitors’ Bureau.

 He was also  a founding member of the San Diego Trolley Board of Directors, past member of the County of San Diego Finance Review Panel, past Chairman of the San Diego County Organization Assessment Panel, and past Chairman of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca District's Prop R Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee. He also chaired a volunteer finance committee for the city’s 2012 Centennial celebration.


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$20,000 REWARD OFFERED FOR TIPS TO SOLVE STRING OF NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET ROBBERIES

East County News Service

December 22, 2023 (San Diego)—The Neighborhood Market Association (NMA) held a press conference on Dec. 18 outside the Emerald Convenience Store in La Mesa to announce that it is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in a series of armed robberies.

“A dangerous gang of gun-wielding criminals is terrorizing local small businesses in a series of armed `take-over’ style robberies at more than a dozen locations in the city and county of San Diego. Police have expressed concerns that these violent robberies could cause serious injury or death to innocent store employees,” a press release from the NMA states.

Last week, at least 13 convenience stores across  San Diego County were robbed; new surveillance video shows thieves yanking out cash registers and fleeing with the cash.


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BURGLARY SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LA MESA AFTER FIVE-HOUR STANDOFF

East County News Service

December 11, 2023 (La Mesa) – After La Mesa Police responded to a call reporting a burglary in a vacant apartment in the 8500 block of Chloe Avenue, the suspect barricaded the door and claimed to have a hostage inside.

“The suspect was known to officers and was known to have an outstanding felony arrest warrant for a theft-related charge,” says Lieutenant Katy Lynch.

Residents of adjacent apartments were evacuated and additional resources were requested, including the La Mesa Police Department’s Special Response Team, the San Diego Sheriff Department’s Crisis Negotiation Team, and a K9 from the San Diego Police Department.


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FBI, SENIOR GROUPS TEAM UP TO HOST ELDER FRAUD PRESENTATIONS

East County News Service

December 9, 2023 (La Mesa) - In partnership with the FBI San Diego Elder Justice Task Force, the FBI San Diego Citizens Academy Alumni Association and the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation’s Senior Center Coalition will host a series of one-hour elder fraud information sessions for seniors, caregivers and neighbors. 


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LA MESA LEADERS PROPOSE ENDING E-BILLBOARD PLANS

Update:  The City Council on Dec. 12 unanimously voted to reject digital billboards and end the request for proposals. 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 9, 2023 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Mayor Mark  Arapostathis and Vice Mayor Laura Lothian will introduction a motion at the Dec. 12 City Council meeting that would direct staff to terminate the request for proposals for electronic billboards.

“After considering substantial citizen commentary and careful evaluation regarding this matter, we believe that the placement and installation of digital billboards in La Mesa is inappropriate at this time,” the agenda attachment for item 8.1 states. “Therefore, rather than expend valuable staff time, resources, and effort processing the RFP, we request that the Council immediately (at this meeting) redirect staff to terminate the RFP and all related actions.”


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MOM THANKS COMMUNITY AND POLICE AFTER MISSING SON WITH AUTISM FOUND SAFE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Skye Pinon, via ECM news partner 10 News

December 9, 2023 (La Mesa) – Skye Pinon says it was the “scariest moment of my entire life” when she realized that her 15-year-old son,  Max, who has autism, was missing.  Max went for a walk around 3 p.m. shortly before Thanksgiving wearing only a T-shirt and shorts, with no wallet or cell phone.

Skye Pinon and her husband spent an hour searching on their own, then called La Mesa Police, according to her post on a La Mesa community forum. Within minutes, officers took a report, had a helicopter in the air broadcasting Max’s description, called in a volunteer canine search and rescue team, and launched a social media post that was soon widely shared.  

“It only took minutes for the amazing people of this community to begin responding and I immediately began getting calls, texts, and social media messages from people asking how they could help,” Pinon says.


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EAST COUNTY EATER: PERFECTLY SMOKED MEATS AND MORE AT PAPALO SONORAN-STYLE BBQ IN LA MESA

By Mike Atkinson

 

December 8, 2023 (La Mesa) - As a Texas BBQ aficionado, I've been anxious to try the newly-opened Papalo Sonoran-Style BBQ in La Mesa Village. Chef Drew Bent has a legendary pedigree, most recently the founding chef behind San Diego's Michelin-recognized Lola 55 modern taqueria. 


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LA MESA TO ROLL OUT LICENSE PLATE READERS


By Michael Howard

 

December 8, 2023 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council voted on Nov.28 to join 15 San Diego County cities and agencies in installing 20 automated license plate readers (ALPR) in high traffic areas throughout the city at a cost of $124,500 for a two-year period. 

 

The vote passed 4-1, with Vice Mayor Laura Lothian casting the only dissenting vote.


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LA MESA POLICE AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY ANNOUNCE HATE CRIMES FORUM DEC. 14 AFTER ANTI-SEMITIC FLYERS DISSEMINATED

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2023 (La Mesa) --  A representative from District Attorney Summer Stephan's office and the La Mesa Police Dept. invite community members to a hate crimes forum with Q&A session on Dec.14 at 5:30 p.m. at the La Mesa Police Dept., 8085  University Ave., La Mesa.

The forum comes on the heels of anti-Semitic flyers repeatedly disseminated in La Mesa and the nearby San Diego communities of Del Cerro,  San Carlos and Allied Gardens in recent months, among other neighborhoods targeted. Some flyers blamed Jews for 9-11 attacks, among other false claims.


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LOCAL TEEN MUSICAL SENSATION AMANDA FAGAN TO PERFORM AT LA MESA’S HOLIDAY IN THE VILLAGE

 


By Jacob Pamus


December 1, 2023 (La Mesa)-- Amanda Fagan is an accomplished 19-year-old musician who has written many songs during the past six years.  She lives in La Mesa with her parents and younger sister.  During a two-week stretch at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she wrote a 23-song musical in just two weeks. A New York musical producer was so impressed that he contracted with Amanda to produce the musical.  Amanda Fagan’s band will be performing at La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village on December 2 and  at Balboa Park’s December Nights on December 1.


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ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD OPPOSITION IN LA MESA GAINS GROUND

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2023 (La Mesa) – An online petition started by Keep  La  Mesa Beautiful in opposition to the city’s plan to allow electronic billboards has attracted 338 signatures sent it launched on November 21.  Now, the new owner of Grossmont Center has sent a letter to the city’s mayor and city council opposing two proposed e-billboards along I-8 as detrimental to the regional shopping mall.


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