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By Briana Gomez

Miriam Raftery, editor of East County Magazine hosted a spirited holiday party on Sunday, December 16 at her home on Mt. Helix.

In attendance at our "Feasting and Merrymaking" celebration were staff members, board members, and volunteers for the non-profit publication, as well as community members who purchased tickets to support the online magazine.

The event hosted a potluck with an array of savory holiday dishes, elegant desserts and spiced holiday Wassail.

The Kaleidoscope Carolers, joined by East County Magazine’s own Jonathan Goetz, performed throughout the first half of the evening, dazzling guests with their harmonizing Christmas tunes. Guitarist Paul Nichols and Cindy Burnham als provided festive musical entertainment.  

Midway through the evening, speakers from the community informed guests of local events and issues that affect the East County area.

One such speaker was Susan Nichols from the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association. Nichols informed community members of a proposal from the state  to place a parole facility next to the Brigantine complex at the foot of Mt. Helix. Nichols outlined concerns of having parolees including violent  and sex offenders using the same trolley stop as local school students and provided a link to sign a petition before a January 19 comment deadline: https://www.change.org/p/stop-adult-parole-operation-from-opening-in-mt-helix-la-mesa.   Soon after the party came an early Christmas gift for concerned residents: the state announced it has dropped plans for the parole facility due to "logistical" concerns.

The next speaker was Brad Bruce, a wine judge who organizes culinary enthusiast events with wine pairings hosted by Chefs de Cuisine. “We plan to have at least six events in 2019,” said Bruce, adding that the organization may end up hosting eight or ten events. Interested community members can visit http://www.sdchefs.org to check the upcoming schedule.

Bruce also noted that many of the participating chefs volunteer their free-time teaching culinary classes to youth and are raising funds to put a garden in every school in San Diego county, noting the importance of healthy, farm-to-table eating.

The last speaker was Elizabeth Urquhart of “Stop the Cottonwood Sand Mine.” She discussed the impacts that would affect the community if a 10-year proposed project to mine sand at the current cottonwood golf course in Rancho San Diego is approved. This mining would create traffic congestion on winding, one-way streets in this otherwise residential area. Issues of silicosis and other lung problems caused by sand-mining are also concerns. Residents can sign a petition that has already drawn over 2,000 signatures or find more information at www.stopcottonwoodsandmine.com .

Following the speakers, the party resumed on a positive note with prize drawings and more live music. 

East County Magazine thanks our readers, friends, and sponsors including American Crown Circus, California Coat Credit Union, Red Lobster, Giardino, Alvarado Institute of Skin Care, Julian Wine and Chocolate, Barnes and Noble, and Julian Weaving Works.

We wish everyone a happy holiday season!


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