July 15, 2017 (La Mesa) -- In a joyous, humor infused ground-breaking ceremony, NBA basketball star Bill Walton, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, La Mesa Mayor Dr. Mark Arapostanthis, guests of honor Ronald and Mary Alice Brady and more dug the ceremonial shovels into the dirt. The ceremony, held on the future Boys & Girls Club site on the La Mesa Arts Academy campus on July 12, was a welcome event culminating from great organizational skills, huge and small money donations, and hard work.
July 7, 2017 (La Mesa) –The Boys and Girls Clubs of East County (BGCEC) has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction for its new Brady Family Clubhouse that will house the Gagon Academy and Bill Walton Gymnasium. The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., Wednesday, July 12, on the west end of La Mesa Arts Academy, previously known as La Mesa Middle School, 4200 Parks Ave., La Mesa.
Photo, left: Sergeant Parker with his daughter, Sarah, sons Jonathan and Daniel, and wife, Missy.
July 5, 2017 (San Diego) – Countless families have been reunited with missing loved ones, or learned their fate, thanks to the tireless efforts of Sheriff Search and Rescue Coordinator Don Parker. Sergeant Parker, who retired in 2015, made a career out of helping others – and now the community is pulling together to bring financial help to Sergeant Parker, who was diagnosed in May with brain cancer.
July 1, 2017 (San Diego) — Local nonprofits United Through Reading (UTR) and the Support the Enlisted Project (STEP) hosted a first-ever joint golf tournament on June 23rd to support military and their families through the challenges of deployment. The tournament raised over $64,000 while celebrating the courage and strength of local San Diego military and their families, also highlighting key roles these organizations play in their lives.
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.
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.
June 22, 2017 (El Cajon) -- This morning, volunteers were out and about all over San Diego County excitedly shouting out and collecting monetary donations for Ronald McDonald House, which helps families in need with housing, meals and so much more at no cost when their children are hospitalized due to illness or injury.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April 5, 2017 (El Cajon) - Habitat for Humanity San Diego has applied for a planning permit, general plan amendment and zone reclassification to build five affordable, single-family detached homes in El Cajon.
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.
Bonnie Baranoff, La Mesa Conversations & Lois Knowlton, La Mesa First United Methodist Church, on homelessness
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!
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.
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.