People Power

Inspiring Stories from San Diego's Eastern Region

LEAP OF KINDNESS IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

February 19, 2020 (Lakeside) – This Leap Year, the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce is hosting a “Leap of  Kindness Day.” The public is encouraged to drop off canned foods, dry goods and school supplies for people in need during the month of February to help people in need.   

Drop-off bins are located at the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce office as well as at Café 67, Mary’s Donuts in Lakeside, the German American Club in El Cajon, and Acai Addiction restaurant in Lakeside.

Donated items can be dropped off now through February 27th, and will distributed to people in need on Leap  Day, February 29th.

HAROLD BROWN, EAST COUNTY TRANSITIONAL LIVING CENTER, NAMED EL CAJON CITIZEN OF THE YEAR

 East County News Service



February 4, 2020 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Citizen of the Year Committee has selected Harold Brown as its 2019 El Cajon Citizen of the Year award.

 Brown, CEO of the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC), will be honored at a luncheon from noon to 2:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10 at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 East Douglas Ave., El Cajon. The public is invited to attend. Admission is $25 per person and lunch is included. Tickets are available online at www.EastCountyChamber.org under “Events,” or by calling (619) 440-6161. 

 Brown will be honored for his community involvement, including support to several nonprofits and charitable volunteer work.

REV. SHANE HARRIS LEADS SUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO DOCUMENT FOSTER YOUTHS IN HOMELESS COUNT AND CHAMPIONS REFORMS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Rev. Shane Harris, courtesy of the People's Alliance for Justice

January 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Rev. Shane Harris, a former foster care youth, is emerging as a powerful voice for documenting and improving conditions for foster youths and those who have aged out of the foster care system.

He recalls turning 18 and being instantly homeless. “They dropped me off at B Street in downtown San Diego with an emancipation letter and one bag of clothes,” he has stated.” It wasn’t his first bout of homelessness. Harris had entered foster care at age 8, lost both parents, and ran away from one foster home earlier, winding up sleeping on the streets and couches of friends for six months. Now he wants to spare other young people from suffering similar ordeals.

FUNDRAISER JAN. 26 AT BRODY’S BURGERS FOR ELI OLIVEROS, JAMUL BOY IN COMA

 

Update January 17:  Eli is now awake and eating on his own, his aunt has informed ECM, but still faces a long recovery.

By Miriam Raftery

January 15, 2020 (Jamul) – Brody’s Burgers in Jamul will host a benefit on January 26 rom 11 a.m. to 4 p.m for Eli Oliveros, a 6-year-old Jamul boy who was seriously injured in a car accident. 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to help Eli’s family pay his medical bills.

Eli was in a medically-induced coma and on a respirator after the Dec. 27 accident in Los Angeles, as ECM reported.  As of yesterday, he is now breathing on his own. But he also suffered multiple broken bones as well as damages to his lungs and brain. His vision is crossed, but doctors are hoping the condition will self-correct.

ACTOR ERIK ESTRADA, LOCAL HEROES AMONG HONORED GUESTS AT CHP COMMAND CENTER OPEN HOUSE

Spring Valley resident Cassie Wells hailed for saving motorist’s life

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Jan. 14, 2020 (San Diego) Actor and real-life cop, Henry Enrique “Erik” Estrada, who played the California Highway Patrol officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello in the 1977-1983 tv show CHiPS, made an appearance at the CHP’s open house of their command center facility in Kearny Mesa on Jan. 10. 

(Pictured: CHP Chief Omar Watson with Erik Estrada - photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

 “I can get you out of a ticket,” quipped Estrada during his appearance. His humor matched with the celebratory spirit of the day and debut of the facility to the public.

HELP NEEDED FOR 6-YEAR-OLD JAMUL BOY IN COMA AFTER CAR WRECK

By Miriam Raftery 

January 9, 2020 (Jamul)—A 6-year-old Jamul boy is in a medically-induced coma due to serious injuries suffered in a car accident on December 27th with his father and two cousins. His aunt, Britney Judd, has organized a GoFundMe page to help raise money to pay for Eli Ontiveros' expensive medical care.  The family hopes to locate and thank bystanders who saved Eli from a burning vehicle. 

According to the GoFundMe page, Eli suffered fractures to his clavicle, sternum, and six ribs. He also has damage to his lungs and brain. “Right now the goal is to get him off of ventilation and to get his breathing on his own,” the GoFundMe page states.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS WITH SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION AND INDIGENOUS REGENERATION ON EFFORTS TO OPEN THE OUTDOORS TO COMMUNITIES ACROSS OUR REGION

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2019 (San Diego)-- San Diego Foundation Opening the Outdoors recently presented over $450,000 in grants for 13 programs that increase access to the outdoors for thousands of young people and local residents, also improving 17,000 acres of natural land and four miles of trails in San Diego County.

Recently, we interviewed Lydia Van Note, director of environmental initiatives for San Diego Foundation and Lacey Cannon, executive director of indigenous regeneration, a grant recipient working on tribal projects ranging from eco-building to creation of a food foraging forest. The tribe is also embarking on an ambitious project to plant a trillion trees using drones, helping to combat climate change.

The interview originally aired in October on the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ, 89.1 FM. Listen to the full interview by clicking this audio link, and scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

GIFT DELIVERIES BRING JOY TO VULNERABLE AND AT-RISK ADULTS

By Katie White, County of San Diego Communications Office

 

Photo: Maritza Beltran, left, and Leticia Faucher, from the County’s Public Administrator/Public Guardian/Public Conservator’s office, load up their vehicle with donated gifts.

December 24, 2019 (San Diego) -- Staff from the County’s Public Administrator, Guardian, and Conservator’s Office are doing their part to brighten the holidays for the clients they serve throughout the year. They are delivering holiday gifts to dozens of men and women in their care.

The PA/PG/PC office serves as the legally appointed guardian or conservator for people found by the courts to be unable to take care of themselves or their assets. The people are generally older, frail and vulnerable adults who are at risk or have been a victim of abuse or neglect.

ALS ASSOCIATION IN SAN DIEGO ANNOUNCES YEAR-END, DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR MATCHING DONATION CHALLENGE

East County News Service

December 21, 2019 (San Diego) – The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter has announced an anonymous donor in San Diego has pledged up to $50,000 in a matching year-end, donation challenge. This means every dollar donated to the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter until Dec. 31 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000, according to Steve Becvar, executive director, ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter.

FOSTER FAMILIES RECEIVE FREE COMPUTERS DURING COUNTY GIVEAWAY

 

More than 150 local foster families are setting up computers in their homes this holiday season thanks to a collaboration between the County of San Diego and the San Diego County Futures Foundation. The families and children received free computers as part of the 20th annual Computers for Foster Families Program.

THE FABULOUS BACKSTORY OF ALPINE RESIDENT JUNE KNAUFMAN

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Dec. 13, 2019 (Alpine) The textured, marbled backstory of Alpine resident, June Kaufman, includes social outings with Jacques Cousteau, answering musician Bob Dylan’s fan mail, and wearing Jaclyn Smith’s clothes, not from her clothing line but from her donated outfits, given to a thrift store, after she wore them while working on the tv show, Charlie’s Angels.

Kaufman, born in 1940 in Oakpark, Illinois, moved with her parents to Coronado at age 2.  The family moved and she  grew up in Pacific Beach and La Jolla and even attended La Jolla High School with actress Raquel Welch.  “She was in my class,” said Kaufman.  But Kaufman, maiden name Snyder back then, got antsy; she skipped out of high school to move to Hollywood.

OVER 9,000 POUNDS OF FOOD COLLECTED FOR PET FAMILIES

SDCCU was proud to support the San Diego Humane Society’s PAWS Food Program

Source:  San Diego County Credit Union

December 12, 2019 (San Diego) - San Diego County Credit Union® (SDCCU®), San Diego’s largest locally-owned financial institution, helped to collect over 9,000 pounds of food to support the efforts of the San Diego Humane Society’s PAWS Food Program, which provides pet food for families experiencing limited financial resources. 

EAST COUNTY REALTORS TRADE GROUP HELPING COMMUNITY NONPROFITS IN NEED

East County News Service 

December 12, 2019 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a real estate trade group for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, recently awarded $13,500 to four local nonprofits. The monies represented proceeds from two PSAR fundraising events held in 2019.

TOUR SANTA’S TREEHOUSE DEC. 7-8 FEATURED ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “TREEHOUSE MASTERS” & MORE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Dec. 4, 2019 (Jamul) Want your picture with a Santa that is registered with FORBS (fraternal order of the real bearded santas)? And, not only that, but have your picture in a Christmas-themed treehouse built by Treehouse Masters of Animal Planet fame?

Your chance to do that is here.  Kathie Wellington, of Jamul, is offering that opportunity and more this weekend, Dec. 7 -8th, from 9 a.m. -4 p.m.  The cost is $50 per family but is a fundraiser for families in need. Originally, Santa’s Treehouse opened Christmas 2013.

ALS ASSOCIATION IN SAN DIEGO PRESENTS ALS GOLF CLASSIC, FRIDAY, DEC. 6, AT SYCUAN’S SINGING HILLS RESORT IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

November 29, 2019 (El Cajon) – 
The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter will present the 11th annual ALS Golf Classic, a fundraising golf tournament, on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan, 3007 Dehesa Road, El Cajon. The tournament is open to the public.

EAST COUNTY FOSTER CARE TOWN HALL AND TURKEY GIVEAWAY WED. IN EL CAJON

 

 

East County News Service

November 21, 2019 (El Cajon) – The People’s Alliance for Justice and its president, national civil rights activist Rev. Shane Harris, will host a town hall forum on foster care disparity Wednesda,Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. (check in at 5 p.m.) at the Choice Harvest CHurch, 760 Palm Ave. in El Cajon.

Free turkeys will be provided to attendees. Call 619-354-8051 to RSVP for the turkey giveway.

You’re invited to the free event to learn about injustices in the foster care system, hear from foster youths and professional to discuss changes they believe are needed

This event will be moderated by East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery.  Call (619)354-8051 to RSVP and register for a free turkey, or email paj@peoplesallianceforjustice.net.

PACK THE PANTRY RAISES OVER 50,000 MEALS FOR LOCAL STUDENTS

50% of area college students face food insecurity

Source: Calif. Coast Credit Union and San Diego Food Bank

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) – The first-ever Pack the Pantry food drive to fight student hunger on local college campuses exceeded all expectations, raising enough food and financial donations to provide over 50,000 meals to area students. Results of the two-week food drive were announced on the San Diego Continuing Education campus.

POVERTY SIMULATION HELD AT BETH ISRAEL OF SAN DIEGO

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

November 16, 2019 (San Diego) – How tough is it to survive when your household income is below the poverty line – especially when life’s unexpected obstacles arise?  Some local residents found out first-hand during a Poverty Simulation hosted by the  Jewish Community Foundation San Diego, in conjunction with other agencies, on Nov. 13 at Beth Israel of San Diego.

RESIDENTS RALLY TO HELP CHIEF BAKER AND HIS WIFE WITH MEDICAL NEEDS

East Counrt News Service

November 7, 2019 (Julian) – Julian resident Jim Baker served as a firefighter for 41 years as well as Fire Chief in Del Mar.  But now he faces financial struggles after his wife, Janet, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. According to family friend Beatriz Cauzza, who has started a GoFundMe page to help the couple, “Within the first 26 days of that diagnosis Mr. Baker spent $143,000 on medical bills that were not covered by their insurance.”

MERCY AIR CELEBRATES 30TH ANNIVERSARY AS A FLYING EMERGENCY ROOM

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo, left:  Laura Elliott and Russell Haight.

November 3, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Laura Elliott and Russell Haight work in an emergency room. A flying one. Both are employed by Mercy Air, owned by Air Methods, an air ambulance provider that works out of El Cajon’s Gillespie Field as well as other locations.

MARINE CORPS VET NEEDS HELP AFTER LOSING EVERYTHING IN POWAY FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

A GoFundMe site has been set up to help T.J. Poucher recover from the devastating fire

October 28, 2019 (Poway) – T.J. Poucher, a Marine Corps veteran, awoke to a chemical smell and a choking feeling last Saturday night.  Cracking open a door, he was blasted by heat “like a jet engine” that singed his hair and face, he told NBC 7. 

Fortunately, his military training as an infantryman kicked in. “We thrive in chaos,” says Poucher, who knew he needed to break a window immediately. He escaped with his dog but burned his feet on the smouldering grass outside. 

Poucher is grateful that his teenage children were not there during the fire, but the blaze destroyed everything else – a lifetime of memories gone, along with his work truck, his equipment needed for his fish tank cleaning business, two saltwater aquariums filled with fish and coral, and more.

SPROUTS HEALTHY COMMUNITIES FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES $3M IN ANNUAL GIVING AND NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE FOR SPROUTS TEAM MEMBERS

Source:  Sprouts

October 23, 2019 (Phoenix) - The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation on October 8 announced $3 million in donations to nonprofit organizations that specialize in nutrition education and fresh food access. Funds include Neighborhood Grants that support grassroots children’s nutrition education programs, as well as large, multi-year Impact Grants designed to help partners increase organizational capacity and scale programs.

THE SALVATION ARMY'S EL CAJON RED SHIELD CENTER OPENS TO SERVE EAST COUNTY

East County News Service

(October 17, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The Salvation Army of San Diego announces the opening of the newly completed Red Shield Center at 1025 E. Main Street in El Cajon.

Located on the property adjacent to the current El Cajon Corps, the 29,540-square foot facility will offer more opportunity to positively impact the lives of those in need in the East County. The facility will open Saturday November 2nd. There will be a ribbon cutting with dignitaries at 10am. The public is invited to enjoy the space starting at 11:00am with free tours, games and food.

AZTEC MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM, HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL TEAMS TO ATTEND WALK TO DEFEAT ALS OCT. 20TH

East County News Service

October 17, 2019 (San Diego) – The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter will present the 2019 Walk to Defeat ALS, a fundraising walk on Sunday, Oct. 20 at De Anza Cove, 3000 North Mission Bay Dr., San Diego. The three-mile walk along San Diego’s Mission Bay is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. followed by opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m.

CORTNEY BAYUK CHOOSES AN ADVENTUROUS LIFE

BBrian E. Clark

 

Cover photo:  Cortney guiding a raft through the Warm Springs Rapid on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument on the Colorado/Utah border.  By Mike McCoy

 

October 12, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) -- Cortney Bayuk says she’s “living the dream.”

 

The 24-year-old Rancho San Diego native works as a whitewater river guide - mostly on the Colorado/Utah border - during summers and as ski instructor during the winters in Idaho. 

FREE CAMPING FOR CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK VOLUNTEERS OCT. 26

East County News Service

October 10, 2019 (Julian) -- You can help maintain Cuyamaca Rancho State Park when you volunteer at a work day on Saturday, October 26 at 8:30 a.m. Learn and register to volunteer below.

 

LIONS TIGERS & BEARS RESCUES TWO AFRICAN SERVALS

Nonprofit Sanctuary Asks Animal Lovers to Help Provide Habitat Improvements and Lifelong Care for Junior and Miss Kitty

Source: Lions, Tigers and Bears

October 10, 2019 (Alpine)  - Lions Tigers & Bears, San Diego's only accredited, nonprofit big cat and exotic animal sanctuary, rescued two servals, wildcats originally from Africa, in Arizona this week after the sanctuary's founder, Bobbi Brink received a call pleading for help.  

Junior and Miss Kitty are settling into their quarantine habitat and getting to know their new keepers at LTB, says Brinks.  Now the sanctuary is asking for help to fund habitat improvements and lifelong care for the former privately-owned animals.

Help the rescued servals get the care and forever home they need with a donation to www.lionstigersandbears.org.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: CASA DE ORO DISPLAYS ITS GOLDEN BOUNTY

 

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

Photo, left: Casa de Oro Fall Festival 2018, courtesy IPS

 

October 10, 2019 (Spring Valley) - There is no better way to celebrate autumn than Casa de Oro Alliance’s Fourth Annual Fall Festival Nov. 9 at the Spring Valley Academy. The festival is a signature event for the community and highlights a neighborhood alliance that has been successful in tackling alcohol, drug, crime and neighborhood blight issues.

The free family event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will feature shopping, vendors, games, prizes, entertainment and food trucks. The campus is located at 3900 Conrad Dr., just up the hill from the Campo Road business corridor. More information about the Fall Festival can be found at www.casadeoroalliance.org

The annual Fall Festival is part of a bigger plan by the Alliance to create a historically rich, culturally diverse and thriving community that is attractive, safe, pedestrian friendly and a popular destination for dining, entertainment and shopping.

HOWL-O-WEEN HOUNDS ADOPTIONS SATURDAY AT GROSSMONT CENTER: CATS, BIRDS AND TURTLES, TOO

Source: Grossmont Center

October 12, 2019 (La Mesa)-- Give an animal the treat of a forever home this Halloween! Grossmont Center and the San Diego Animal Support Foundationinvite you to the annual Howl-O-Ween Hounds MEGA Adoption Event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, at Grossmont Center (5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa).

During the free Howl-O-Ween Hounds event, dozens of rescue groups and shelters bring hundreds of dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, birds, turtles, and tortoises to the Center—and all of them are ready to be adopted into a loving home! You can find many different kinds of dog breeds at this mega adoption event, everything from the tiniest Chihuahuas to the grandest Great Pyrenees, as well as unique and adorable All-American “mutts.” This family-friendly event is the perfect way for every member of your household to choose a new pet together.

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