Lemon Grove

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU A VIRUS, MAKE A GARDEN

By Helen Ofield, Treasurer and Historian, Lemon Grove Historical Society

Photos Credit: Lemon Grove Historical Society

On Dec. 4 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, LGHS "reindeer" and Santa will join City staff for a drive-through holiday festivity in Treganza Heritage Park (the 23rd Annual Holiday Bonfire). Roll down the car windows to hear the caroling and receive candy canes.

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Volunteers in the Lemon Grove Historical Society (LGHS) labored in record heat in September and October and, now, in calmer sun and cooler temperatures in November. Back on Nov. 28 for the fourth session, missionaries from Lemon Grove's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will join with volunteers from Helix High School to continue rejuvenating the grounds in Treganza Heritage Park, home of the Parsonage Museum, 3185 Olive Street, and the adjacent H. Lee House, 3205 Olive.


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HOT TOPICS IN LEMON GROVE

By Dr. Helen Horvath

 

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- On November 17, the City of Lemon Grove held its bimonthly City Council meeting virtually through Zoom, addressing several hot topics including take-out alcohol sales, block grants, COVID-19, marijuana taxation and more.


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UP IN SMOKE? LEMON GROVE LEADERS WEIGH RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA APPROVAL AND TAXATION TO EASE FISCAL CRISIS

By Helen L. Horvath, PsyD

 

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – One of the hottest topics on the November 17th Lemon Grove City Council meeting held via Zoom was how to develop revenue streams to decrease Lemon Grove’s budget deficit. This need to increase the City’s financial strength has led to many hard choices and a community desire to find innovative methods to raise tax revenues. 


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LEMON GROVE BONFIRE DEC. 4 TO BE DRIVE-UP DUE TO COVID

East County News Service

November 27, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove will warm up the holiday season with its 23rd annual bonfire on Friday, December 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be a drive-through event with festive lights, goody bags, special characters and a photo opportunity.

Drive-through in your vehicle (no walk-ups) at Treganza Heritage Park, 3200 Main Street in Lemon Grove.


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LEMON GROVE TOY DRIVE ALSO AIDS LOCAL BUSINESSES

By Councilmember-Elect Liana LeBaron

Photo:  Aubree Russell from Kids Fashion Network and Liana LeBaron with Alonso, the owner of family run Islander Grill on Broadway in Lemon Grove

Kids Fashion Week Network and Lemon Grove Parents United present a community centered Lemon Grove Toy Drive. To accommodate varying preferences, toys can be dropped off at the COVID-friendly drive though event at Treganza Heritage Park, 3200 Main St. in Lemon Grove on Dec. 13th from 1-3 p.m. or at any of the participating Lemon Grove Mom-and-Pop local businesses now through Dec. 12.

All wanting to experience neighborly holiday cheer are invited to come on December 13th to donate their toy in the city’s beautiful and historically rich Treganza Park. Those who donate at the event can pick up a cup of hot chocolate provided by Nitro Monkey Coffee as a small thank you gesture. Thoughtful shoppers can also shop at the hyper-local Lemon Grove vendor tables that will be selling hot items ranging from handmade pet clothing to handmade holiday ornaments.


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DRIVE-THROUGH FOOD DISTRIBUTION FOR LEMON GROVE RESIDENTS

East County News Service
 
November 19, 2020 (Lemon Grove)—Lemon Grove residents can brighten their holiday season with free drive-through food distributions every other Saturday  from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, or while supplies last.  The next distribution will be this Saturday, Nov. 21.  The pickup site is at the recreation center, 3131 School Lane in Lemon Grove.
 
You must provide proof of residency in the city of Lemon Grove.  Food will be available to the first 240 vehicles; one family per vehicle.
 
Drivers and passengers should stay in your vehicle and be sure your trunk is clear so food can be loaded.

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ANDERSON TAKES RAZOR-THIN LEAD OVER VAUS IN SUPERVISOR RACE; SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES ALSO IN NEAR TIE

Update November 22, 2020:  Joel Anderson now leads by 284 votes over Steve Vaus, with 7,500 ballots left to be tallied countywide.  In Santee, Dustin Trotter is ahead by just seven votes over Samantha Hurst.

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With 33,000 votes countywide remaining to be tallied, but far fewer ballots left in individual races, the latest update from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters shows several major contests in East County are still too close to call.

In the important race to fill retiring Supervisor Dianne Jacob’ district 2 seat, former State Senator Joel Anderson has taken a scant seven-vote lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. 

Santee’s City Council race to fill an open seat, meanwhile, has Samantha “Samm” Hurst retaking the lead over Dustin Trotter by just two votes after being tied just one day earlier.


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SOME EAST COUNTY RACES FLIP, OTHERS TIGHTEN IN LATEST ELECTION RETURNS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Erik Herrara:  poll worker wears protective gear during pandemic; voters head to poll on Election Day in Santee.
 
November 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Amid a pandemic, 80.7% of registered voters in San Diego County have cast ballots. Of more than 1.9  million registered voters, over 1.5 million have voted – and more than 1.4 million of those opted to vote by mail.  Only a little over 166,000 voted at the polls.

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CAMPAIGNING AMID A PANDEMIC: LEADING COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHARE EXPERIENCES AND GOALS

View the interview at https://youtu.be/4zjc_ssHY8g

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Former Lemon Grove Councilman George Gastil is poised to regain his seat.

November 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Who are the potential newest faces on East County City Councils—and what was it like to campaign amid a pandemic?

ECM invited all non-incumbents leading in East County City Council races as of November 5 for a Zoom interview to share secrets of their apparent successes and what they hope to accomplish if they win their elections to become the newcomers on local councils.


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EARLY BELL RINGS IN EAST COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD RACES

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo via Bing

November 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) — It has been a topsy turvy year for everyone, especially for the area’s school children. Voters weighed enthusiasm, experience and ethics as they chose the next crew of school board trustees, who ultimately will help steer schools out of the rough seas of this quarantine.

On election night, as of early returns at 10:30 p.m., here are our observations.


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LEMON GROVE MAYOR VASQUEZ WINNING, BUT COUNCILMAN ARAMBULA MAY LOSE SEAT

By Miriam Raftery
 
November 3, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove Mayor Vasquez, the first Black mayor in San Diego County, appears heading to reelection with 40.25% of the vote and more than 57% of votes tallied.  Councilman Jerry Jones has 33.07%, with Kamaal Martin and Christopher Williams trailing at 18.47% and 8.22% respectively.

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GIARDINO IS OPEN FOR THANKSGIVING, ALSO OFFERS FEAST TO GO

East County News Service
 
You can pre-order Thanksgiving to-go, and enjoy in the comfort of your home. 
 
October 27, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – If you don’t want to cook at home this Thanksgiving Day, Giardino’s Neighborhood Cucina will be open for dine-in from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for turkey with all the fixings or some less-traditional entrée options. Or opt for take-home Thanksgiving Day specials including prime rib, short rib, butternut squash ravioli and oxtail cannelloni entrees, plus dozens of family-style dishes.
 
Giardino's Neighborhood Cucina in Lemon Grove is very popular in several online review websites, with 4.5 (out of 5) star review averages, or better, in YelpGoogleFacebookTrip AdvisorGrubHubMenuPix, and Z Menu.
 
Options include many seafood such as shrimp Alfredo, stuffed sole, or crab and shrimp ravioli, chicken and pork dishes, vegetarian options, pasta dishes, salads, appetizers, vegetable side dishes, a dessert sampler or individual desserts including a whole Limoncello cake, Nutella cheesecake, Tiramisu ray or Cannoli.

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COVID RATES REMAIN LOW IN MOST REOPENED EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Cajon Valley, first to reopen, has most cases.  Three other districts report cases; others lack transparency in disclosure.  

Update October 31:  The Cajon Valley Union School District has added a breakdown by schools of its COVID cases, which now number 15 students and 2 employees  (17 total) at 11 schools. 

By Miriam Raftery

October 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How safe is it to send your child back to school amid a pandemic, or for teachers to provide instruction inside classrooms?

East County Magazine has checked out the websites of all districts in East County to determine how many cases have been reported at schools that have reopened thus far, and how transparent each district is in making this information easily available to parents, teachers and staff.

To date, the County Public Health Department has not reported any outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases tied to a single location) at any East County elementary, middle, high school or community college district. However some school districts do have cases among both students and staff. It is unclear whether cases were contracted on campus, or how many others may have been exposed.

In some districts, information on schools with COVID cases are being publicly disclosed, but not in others. Asked about this discrepancy, County spokesman Michael Workman said, "A change in the order regarding schools is being discussed and may be in place soon. The state guidance referenced above covers school notification. It’s too early to say what our health order change may say."

Here are the results of ECM's investigation.


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LEMON GROVE BULK ITEM DROP-OFF AND E-WASTE PAPER SHREDDING EVENT OCT. 24

East County News Service
 
October 19, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- The city of Lemon Grove and EDCO Disposal invite you to a bulk item drop-off and e-waste/paper shredding event on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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WESTERN DENTAL OPENS OFFICE IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service

October 13, 2020 (Lemon Grove) - Western Dental & Orthodontics today announced the opening of a new Western Dental & Orthodontics office in the San Diego community of Lemon Grove.


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IN LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL TOWN HALL, CANDIDATES ADDRESS CITY IN CRISIS, OFFER ONLY LIMITED SOLUTIONS

By John Sepulvado

View full video of ECM’s forum for Lemon Grove candidates:  click here.

Scroll down for highlights and analysis of the forum.

October 9, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- In the past 25 years, Lemon Grove has been battered. Revenues for the city have plummeted as businesses have fled. Currently the city is experiencing a $1.5 million budget shortfall. Major thoroughfares are in disrepair, while major civic investments like the Lemon Grove Recreation Center sit underused as the city continues to struggle financially. 

Many of the buildings - including prime real estate on Broadway, sit empty and under-utilized. Many of the unhoused neighbors suffer from extreme health conditions that go untreated. Residents complain about policing from the Sheriff’s office. The Council spends most of its budget on policing through the Sheriff, yet some businesses and residents complain of crime and say more law enforcement protection is needed.  (This year’s crime stats have not yet been released.)

These problems are compounded by a lawsuit in which a candidate for Mayor - Christopher WIlliams - is suing the city over a meeting on his proposed marijuana dispensaries followed by a pool party with alcohol that ended in an alleged assault. The spectacular suit is driving a deep wedge among current and aspiring council members.


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HIGHLIGHTS OF LEMON GROVE MAYORAL FORUM

By Kendra Sitton

Photo, left to right:  Councilman Jerry Jones, Kamaal Martin, Mayor Racquel Vasquez, and Christopher Williams

October 9, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- On Monday, Sept. 14, all four candidates running for Mayor of Lemon Grove participated in a forum to discuss their visions for the city. Two of the candidates, Councilman Jerry Jones and Mayor Racquel Vasquez, already hold elected office. The other two candidates, Kamaal Martin and Christopher Williams, are political newcomers who say their backgrounds in finance will help the budget-strapped city.

The full forum can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVtSH4cwfEQ

Read highlights of the discussion are below.

 Each candidate’s standout quote, background and other views are included. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Each candidate had an opening and closing statement and answered questions about the budget shortfall, the possibility of disincorporating the city, racial equity, public safety, a shuttered youth rec center, housing, homelessness, blight and adding new businesses in the city.

Candidates were also asked about  Williams’ lawsuit against the city alleging an assault by Councilman David Arambula following an alleged discussion of proposed cannabis’ dispensaries at the Councilman’s home. (Arambula has contended he acted in self defense but did not notify law enforcement or colleagues on the Council.)


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READER’S EDITORIAL: MAYOR RACQUEL VASQUEZ MAKING LEMON GROVE THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE

By Chris Ernest Nelson

Retired Mount Miguel High School Teacher

October 1, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Lemon Grove has the “Best Climate on Earth.”  Yes, that’s true enough, but we should not stop there. Mayor Racquel Vasquez is committed to making Lemon Grove also the Best Place to Live.  Since her election in 2016, she has brought to city government a new energy and a commitment to improving the environment for all the residents of Lemon Grove. She is determined to make city government more modern, efficient, fiscally prudent and responsive to public interests.


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LEMON GROVE MAYORAL CANDIDATE JERRY JONES RELEASES FINANCIAL PLAN FOR CITY’S RECOVERY

East County News Service
 
October 1, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Councilman Jerry Jones, one of four candidates running for Mayor in Lemon Grove, has released a detailed financial plan to address the city’s structural deficit and strive to balance the budget.  While he supports a full cent sales tax increase following community discussion, his budget does not rely on any increased sales tax revenues in a time when sales tax revenues have dropped due to COVID-19. Instead, he is banking on legalization of recreational cannabis and a cannabis tax, as well as digital billboard revenues. He also outlines his priorities for expenditures.
 
Below is his proposal, in his own words:

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LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: PART TWO

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo, left to right:  Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson.

September 29, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters in Lemon Grove will fill two full-term seats on the school board from a slate of three candidates. (In a previous story, we reported on the two candidates for the short-term seat.) The three candidates for the full-term seat are Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson. 

In spite of being one of San Diego’s smallest school districts with 4,000 students in grades preschool though middle school, Lemon Grove is a microcosm of what’s happening in schools and homes during the pandemic. Children are trying to study at home with parents instead of qualified teachers, joblessness has taken its toll, and the fight for racial injustice has taken to the streets.

Read on to learn what these three candidates say from the town that claims to have the “best climate on earth” and has a history of combating racial injustice in education. 


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FIVE CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD

Part 1 in a 2-part series

By Robin N. Kendall

September 20, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters have many choices this year to fill three open seats on the five-person Lemon Grove School Board. In November of last year, the district was faced with a vacancy when former school board member Katie Dexter resigned. April Leon was appointed to fill the seat until this election, when voters could choose who would serve the remaining two years. Now Leon, the appointed incumbent, is seeking to be elected. Greg Shibley is running against her.

East County Magazine emailed a set of questions to each of the candidates for school board. Below are the responses from April Leon and Greg Shibley, candidates for the short-term seat. In the next story, part 2, we report on the candidates for the full-term seat.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: DINNG AL FRESCO AT GIARDINO’S IN LEMON GROVE



 

By Miriam Raftery

September 27, 2020 – Giardino’s Neighborhood Cucina in Lemon Grove has set up a large outdoor dining pavilion where you can dine al fresco in the COVID era. (There are also indoor tables available, if you prefer).  Doing our part to help support local restauranteurs in these challenging times, our family recently savored the flavors there.

We started with a cheese and meat charcuterie board I enjoyed a house specialty Anchovie Parpardelle, a wide pasta noodle dish served with anchovies, capers, olives, roasted tomatoes and bread crumbs, which was delicious.


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LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES TO PARTICIPATE IN FORUM SEPT. 16

 

View video of our Lemon Grove City Council candidates forum:  Click here

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Lemon Grove candidates David Arambula, George Gastil, Liana Lebaron, and Teresa Rosiak

 

August 29, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – All four Lemon Grove City Council candidates have agreed to participate in a candidate forum hosted by East County Magazine on Wednesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. This is your opportunity to learn more about the candidates looking to represent you, as well as to ask questions on issues of importance community.

The forum will be held on Zoom due to COVID-19 and will be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine.  Video will also be posted later at www.EastCountyMagazine.org and audio will be aired on KNSJ radio. You can send in questions before noon on the 16h to editor@eatcountymagazine.org. ECM editor Miriam Raftery will moderate the forum, which is made possible through a Facebook Journalism Project grant.

The four candidates are:


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LEMON GROVE DRIVE THRU 2020 CENSUS EVENT SEPT. 18

East County News Service

September 16, 2020 (Lemon Grove) - The city of Lemon Grove and U.S. Census Bureau will be present to help you complete the 2020 census survey, answer any questions you have about the census, and will be giving away census swag to those that complete the survey at the Lemon Grove Recreation Center.

The Lemon Grove drive-through census event wil take place this Friday, September 18 from 1-4 p.m.


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MOTORCYCLIST DIES AFTER LEMON GROVE CRASH

East County News Service

September 15, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – A man riding with a group of motorcyclists near the intersection of Sweetwater Road and Broadway in Lemon Grove yesterday at 10:40 p.m. lost control and struck a guard rail.


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LEMON GROVE MAYORAL CANDIDATES SET TO DEBATE MONDAY, SEPT. 14

 

View a videotape of the forum now posted :

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVtSH4cwfEQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine/videos/10219161150363190

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right:  Councilman Jerry Jones, Kamaal Martin, Mayor Racquel Vasquez, Chris williams

September 5, 2020 (Lemon Grove)—On Monday, September 14 at 7 p.m., all four candidates running for the Lemon Grove City Council have agreed to participate in a candidate forum.  The forum will be virtual via Zoom. You can watch it live via livestreaming at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine, and send in questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org now through up to 2 p.m. the date of the forum. 

For those unable to watch live, a video will also be posted later on our news site at www.EastCountyMagazine.org and audio will be aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio at a date to be announced.

(Lemon Grove's City Council candidates will be in a separate forum on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.)

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four mayoral candidates are Mayor Raquel Vasquez, Councilman Jerry Jones, financial professional Kamaal Martin, and businessman Chris Williams. Below are more details on each candidate and links to their websites, as well as highlights of key issues.


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SHOTS FIRED AT VEHICLE ON HIGHWAY 94 NEAR COLLEGE AVE.

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 19, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Around 3:30 this morning, the driver of a Cadillac was shot by someone in a dark sedan that followed him for several miles, then pulled up next to the driver’s side, firing through the window. The incident occurred on State Route 94 east, just west of the College Avenue exit.

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LEMON GROVE TEEN, MISSING SINCE JULY 31, LAST SEEN GETTING INTO CAR WITH MAN

By Miriam Raftery

August 18, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – The Sheriff seeks public help to locate Alonna Wintland. The 15-year-old was last seen leaving her home in the 8000 block of Lemon Grove Way and getting into the car of an unknown man on July 31.

She has blonde/purple hair, blue eyes, stands 5 ft. 2 inches tall and weighs around 235 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white shirt, beige shorts and sandals.

She has a history of running away, but left without her cell phone or debit card.


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PANDEMIC ART PROJECT ADDS WHIMSICAL FLAIR TO LEMON GROVE RESTAURANT

By Miriam Raftery

August 16, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – “What have we been up to the last few months? Oh, just a pretty incredible art  project - adding a massive mural to the side of our building, as well as our very own art gallery inside,” Karina Kravalis, co-owner of Giardino Neighborhood Cucina posted on Facebook this week. “Gallery chalk art pieces include classics with a COVID twist to keep things as upbeat as possible.”


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