People Power

Inspiring Stories from San Diego's Eastern Region

HELP HOMELESS STUDENTS IN THE COUNTY BY DONATING MONEY TO PURCHASE BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR

East County News Service

$49,000 out of a $100,000 goal has already been raised

July 28, 2021 (San Diego) – So far, the community has donated $49,000 to SDCCU Stuff the Bus to help provide back-to-school supplies and meals for students experiencing homelessness in San Diego County. SDCCU Stuff the Bus also includes a partnership with the YMCA of Orange County to collect school supplies for students in both Orange and Riverside counties. The goal is to collect $100,000 to help set these students up for success in the coming school year. Everyone is encouraged to donate at sdccu.com/donate

SADDLES IN SERVICE GOLF TOURNAMENT JULY 30 TO SUPPORT VETERANS, MILITARY AND FIRST RESPONDERS

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2021 (El Cajon) – Sponsors are needed for a golf tournament on Friday, July 30 at Cottonwood Golf Course in El Cajon for the “Saddles in Service” golf tournament.  The event will support local veterans, active duty military, and first responders receive mental health wellness and healing through equine assisted activities at Saddles in Service in Alpine, CA.

LA MESA RESIDENT PLANS 50 ROUNDS OF GOLF IN 50 DAYS IN 50 STATES TO RAISE MONEY FOR CLEAN WATER WORLDWIDE

By Angela Kurysh

Photos courtesy of Clay Phillips

July 17, 2021 (La Mesa) – Fifty rounds of golf in 50 states in 50 days. Yes, you read that right. 66-year-old La Mesa resident and avid golf lover Clay Phillips has planned out a detailed nationwide trip where he will be playing rounds of golf in each state for a good cause. He will be challenging himself as a golfer, but also making this experience more than that. Phillips’ initial goal is to raise money for clean water worldwide, by having his friends, family and followers join him on his journey via social media and donate to the cause.

LEMON GROVE LIONS HOST CORNHOLE TOURNAMENT AUGUST 7

East County News Service
 
June 27, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – You’re invited to join the Lemon Grove Lions in a cornhole tournament fundraiser at 13 Point Brewing, Lemon Grove’s new brewery located at 8035 Broadway in Lemon Grove.
 
The tournament will take place on Saturday, August 7 at 4 p.m., with check-in at 3 p.m.
 
Proceeds benefit San Diego Center for the Blind and other causes supported by the Lions. 

VETERAN’S PHOTOS COMMEMORATED AT WESTMONT OF LA MESA

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo (L) of photographer Kay Devine and veteran Doug Beach and unidentified videographer courtesy of Westmont of La Mesa. 

June 22, 2021 (La Mesa) – Veterans witnessed their photos commemorated on an Honor Wall at Westmont of La Mesa during a ceremony held June 14.

The veterans hailed from the Navy, Army, Air Force, and the Coast Guard.

DOG FITTED WITH PROSTHETICS ADOPTED BY SDPD DETECTIVE WHO LOST LEG IN CRASH

(Photo - left) Adopter Chappie Hunter understands challenges of wearing prosthetics firsthand

June 19, 2021(Alpine) --  Chloe, one of two dogs rescued by San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement and fitted for prosthetics by the medical team at San Diego Humane Society’s Escondido Campus, is being adopted by a family who understands the challenges of having a leg amputated first hand. SDPD Detective Chappie Hunter and his family have been fostering Chloe since her three-month recovery period at SDHS. The family has decided to keep her and make the adoption official. Detective Hunter lost his leg in a crash in Alpine in 2013. After a year of recovery, he returned to work with a prosthetic leg.

NOMINEES SOUGHT FOR EAST COUNTY COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS AWARDS

By Miriam Raftery

June 11, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) - Do you know someone who has provided outstanding community service in San Diego’s East County during the past year in healthcare, public safety, environmental preservation, animal protection, social or racial justice, or humanitarianism?  If so, please nominate them for East County Magazine's “Community Champions” awards!

Send nominations to editor@eastcountymagazine.org with “Community Champions nomination” in the subject line.  Include the nominee’s name, organization, contact information, and up to 250 words on why you believe they are deserving of recognition.  The deadline to submit nominations is August 5, 2021.

SAN DIEGO PADRES, ALS ASSOCIATION GREATER SAN DIEGO CHAPTER CELEBRATE LOU GEHRIG DAY AT PETCO PARK THURSDAY, JUNE 3

East County News Service

June 2, 2021 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Padres and the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter will celebrate Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Lou Gehrig Day on Thursday, June 3 at Petco Park during a 7:10 p.m. home game against the New York Mets.

FUNDRAISERS PLANNED TO HELP VALENZUELA FAMLY THAT LOST HOME IN SOUTHERN FIRE

East County News Service

May 7, 2021 (San Diego's East County) - The Southern Fire burned some 5200 acres May 1st through 3rd, forcing evacuations and destroying three structures, including Eduardo (Eddie) and Priscilla Valenzuela’s ranch home near Butterfield Ranch

EDCO’S BURR FAMILY RECEIVES STATEWIDE RECOGNITION AS CHAMPIONS OF COMMUNITY

East County News Service

 

Photo courtesy of Sharp Healthcare

 

April 27, 2021 (La Mesa) -- The California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) announced at its annual conference held virtually this month that Ed and Sandy Burr were recipients of the organization’s 2020 Champion of the Community Service Award of Excellence. The award honors individuals or organizations who have contributed significant effort to influence and improve the quality of their community through parks and recreation. This statewide award recognizes the contributions of those who volunteer and/or provide support and services that furthers the mission and quality delivery of park and recreation services, programs and facilities. 

BUILDING COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS VIA HOOPS

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

April 27, 2021 (El Cajon) Helping to build community relationships via a game of hoops, the El Cajon Police Department’s team played a team of kids at the East County Transitional Living Center on Monday, April 19. The center houses formerly homeless families transitioning to begin new lives.

LIONS TIGERS & BEARS TO RESCUE WHITE TIGER, SERVALS

East County News Service

 

April 24, 2021 (Alpine) -- Lions Tigers & Bears in Alpine, San Diego’s only accredited big cat and bear sanctuary, is rescuing three exotic cats –   the last animals left at a facility in Southern California that will shutter at the end of the month. The new residents will be Lily, a female white tiger, Eli, a male African serval and Savannah, a female African serval.

FUNDRAISER TO SAVE BIRDSELLS’ HOME IN JULIAN

By Miriam Raftery

 

April 24, 2021 (Julian) –  Betty Birdsell has served as an elected member of Julian’s community planning group, secretary of the Julian Chamber of Commerce, owner of the former Bad Betty’s boutique and helped organize relief efforts after the Cedar Fire.  Her husband, Jim, is a long-standing Julian resident whose family has been in the community since the late 1800s.  An engineer and contractor for the National Forest Service, he is also a ham radio operator and along with Betty, helped many residents after the devastating 2003 firestorm.

 

But now the couple has fallen on hard times due to health issues and the pandemic. So a fundraiser has been set up at GoFundMe to help save the home that the couple shares with their dog, Buddy. The fundraising page is titled “Help us save  Buddy’s home.” But so far, only about 10 percent of the $25,000 goal has been reached.

RANCHITA’S MARKET DESTROYED BY FIRE, FUNDRAISER AIMS TO HELP FAMILY REBUILD

By Miriam Raftery

 

April 20, 2021 (Ranchita) – The Manzanita Valley Market, Ranchita’s only grocery outlet, is known for its iconic Yeti statue. The market has long been a roadside attraction for motorists and cyclists heading to or from the Anza Borrego desert. It’s also been a popular stop for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, who would stock up on supplies or even sleep over in a bunkhouse.  

RAMONA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES GRANTS TO MEET EMERGING COMMUNITY NEEDS

East County News Service

April 7, 2021 (Ramona) --Ramona Community Foundation (RCF), an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, has announced the availability of grant funding through the Vibrant Community program to enhance the quality of life for those who live, work and play in Ramona.  

“We want to help organizations that have a strategic impact in Ramona to ensure the community thrives,” shared Kristin Zook, RCF Board Chair. “After a year of pandemic woes, we recognize the needs of the community might be different now and these grants aim to address those emerging needs.” 

THE CONRAD PREBYS FOUNDATION AWARDS $25,000 TO ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE'S CENTER

Source: St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center

 

Photo:  Artist Kristin McKenney shares her woven bookmark with other artists at one of the evening Art Social hour classes.  Kristen used a cardboard loom kit from the Galley to make her brother-in-law this bookmark.

 

April 1, 2021 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC), a nonprofit organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has been awarded a grant from The Conrad Prebys Foundation for $25,000. The grant is designated towards Sophie’s Gallery Virtual Art Program. SMSC was among 121 local arts, education, health, and science projects to receive a combined $78 million in grant funding from The Conrad Prebys Foundation’s inaugural grant cycle. 

MORE MEALS TO BE SERVED TO UNSHELTERED THROUGH SHERIFF, NONPROFIT PARTNERSHIP

By Donnie Ryan, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Image Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department
 
San Diego County Sheriff's Department staff prepare and package meals which are distributed to the unsheltered as part of a partnership with The Lucky Duck Foundation.
 
March 24, 2021 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously March 16 to execute a new three-year agreement between the County, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and the local nonprofit Lucky Duck Foundation to help prepare and distribute 1,000 daily meals to unsheltered residents seven days a week.

MILITARY MAN RECEIVES A CAR AT SPRING VALLEY’S WOLF RANCH TOWN CENTER

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo-left Renz Michael Palaylay and wife Harvey, daughter Luna. Photos courtesy of Caliber Collision)

March 22, 2021 (Spring Valley) – As a part of the National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) “Recycled Rides” program, an active-duty Navy sailor, Renz Michael Palaylay, received a 2015 Hyundai Elantra on Wednesday, March 3.

The Armed Services YMCA San Diego worked in conjunction with Caliber Collision - Spring Valley, Farmers Insurance and NABC.

Caliber Collision auto technicians donated their own personal time to refurbish the vehicle provided by Farmers Insurance.

“They, the technicians, jumped at the chance to give back to our military,” said the general manger of Caliber Collision, Chuck Cruz, during a phone interview. “We also donated a car a few months ago to a first responder.”

EAST COUNTY WOMAN FINDS LOST DIAMOND FOR NEIGHBOR

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo -left – courtesy of Michelle Marks)

March 16, 2021 (El Cajon) --- It takes a village to find a lost diamond. Such is the case with an El Cajon woman, Michelle Marks, who lost a round, one-carat diamond stone valued at $3,000 while walking her dogs in the Fletcher Hills area.

After Marks posted about the loss on a Nextdoor neighborhood forum,  70 people posted comments, some offering help--and one neighbor found the stone. That gifted hunter was Tiffany Johnson.

Johnson doggedly pursued finding the lost diamond that had become dislodged from Marks’ engagement ring--a ring that Marks’ husband, Eddie, had proposed with 27 years ago.

ACTIVIST REV. HARRIS RALLIES LOCAL LEADERS TO DELAY CLOSURE OF SAN PASQUAL ACADEMY, BOARDING SCHOOL HAILED AS MODEL FOR FOSTER YOUTHS

By Briana Gomez

Photos via Rev. Shane Harris

March 7, 2021 (Escondido) -- Local activist and national civil rights leader Rev. Shane Harris is calling on the state to keep the San Pasqual Academy open, at least until the Dec. 2021 original projected closure date for the foster youth boarding school, and preferably longer. 

San Diego County child welfare officials were alerted by California regulators that the school would be closing by October of this year. 

San Pasqual Academy is a county-run boarding school in Escondido for foster youth, uniquely positioned between supervisorial District 5 and District 2. It is the first of its kind in the nation – the first residential academic home for youth who are dependents of the state. 

ROCK CHURCH GIVING AWAY FREE FOOD TO FAMLIES IN NEED N EL CAJON, CITY HEIGHTS AND SAN MARCOS

Partnering With Local Businesses To Connect Resources With Those In Need

East County News Service; photo CC via Bing

March 3, 2021 (San Diego) – Rock Church is hosting three community distributions of free food, diapers and supplies to help those in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The dates and locations are:

Thursday, March 4 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church San Marcos (1370 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos)

Thursday, March 11 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church City Heights (4001 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego)

Tuesday, March 16 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church East County campus (808 Jackman Campus, EL Cajon)

SAN DIEGO COUNTY CHILD SUPPORT SERVICE RECOGNIZED BY DHHS FOR OUTREACH EFFORTS

By Donnie Ryan, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  the San Diego County Department of Child Support Services was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its innovative bilingual outreach program.

February 11, 2021 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its outreach efforts in 2020 to be inclusive to all members of the diverse San Diego community.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT ALPINE’S LIONS TIGERS & BEARS ANIMAL SANCTUARY

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo at left of volunteer measuring animal meals  courtesy of Lions Tigers & Bears 

Feb. 3, 2021 (Alpine) -- Veterinary students, animal lovers, high school students getting their volunteer hours in, young and old volunteers are wanted, and needed, at Alpine’s Lions, Tigers & Bears Animal Sanctuary.

“Making bear food, helping with landscaping, and office work” are just a few of the tasks volunteers can assist with, said founder Bobbi Brink during a phone interview.

“Volunteers receive passes, behind-the-scenes access, t-shirts,” said Brink.  “We also have two volunteer appreciation events each year,” among other tangible rewards, she added.

The intangible rewards include seeing animals such as lions, tigers and bears on-the-job.

EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS HELP FEED SHERMAN HEIGHTS DURING THE PANDEMIC

By Mimi Pollack 
 
January 29, 2021 (La Mesa) -- 2020 was the year of the pandemic that brought shock, tragedy, and a big change to life as we knew it. It was also the year that proved to be a catalyst for those who started second careers or were moved to donate time and money to help others as many communities were hit hard by COVID-19.

STAR TREK ACTOR BEAMS INTO LA MESA COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY TO HONOR JAPANESE-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST FRED KOREMATSU

By Miriam Raftery

January 24, 2021 (La Mesa) – This Tuesday, January 26th, the city of La Mesa will proclaim January 30th as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties. The proclamation honors the late civil rights activist, who fought for the rights and freedoms of Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps during World War II.

During a 6 p.m. City Council meeting held via Zoom, special guests beaming in remotely will include Korematsu’s daughter, Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute as well as actor George Takei, best known for portraying Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu (right) in the original Star Trek TV series and later, Captain Sulu in Star Trek: Voyager. 

HOW THE PANDEMIC LED TO HORSES AND SECOND ACTS

By Mimi Pollack
 
January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) -- 2020 was a strange, difficult, and even transformative year for so many. In my case, the pandemic made me feel very mortal and I decided to start checking things off my “bucket list.” First up was going back to horseback riding after 20 years of not riding or being in the horse world.

SANTEE COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN PROMOTING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Source: Santee Collaborative
 
Photo: Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
 
January 13, 2021 (Santee) – The Santee Collaborative, a one-stop resource center for Santee students and families, has launched a new campaign to reflect and educate people about Santee’s changing demographics.
 
“The city is experiencing a positive change in demographics that make it a much more diverse community than in the past,” a press release from the Santee Collaborative states.
 
The student population for Santee School District reflects growing diversity with only 54% white, not Hispanic (CDE, Dataquest). The white population includes Middle Eastern families, and it is estimated that Middle Eastern students make up between 4-5% of the students in the school district. These are students whose first language is Arabic, Kurdish, Chaldean, Farsi, Hebrew, or Assyrian. There are 29 languages spoken by families who attend Santee School District from all over the world.  This makes Santee a very diverse community with students of different races, ethnicities and religions all living together. 

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