La Mesa

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE RECEIVES $100,000 GRANT FROM FACEBOOK JOURNALISM PROJECT

 

COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund aids over 200 newsrooms nationwide

By Miriam Raftery

East County Magazine has been selected to receive $100,000 through the Facebook Journalism Project COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program.  Facebook announced that more than 200 news organizations will receive nearly $16 million in grants through the program as part of Facebook’s $100 million global investment in news.

Read more about our grant project here.  View an index of our grant works to date, organized by topic. 


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

WELCOME, LA MESANS!

Our La Mesa section covers the communities of La Mesa and Mount Helix.  Click here to read some fascinating facts about La Mesa and Mt. Helix.  Click here for links to city services, activities, shopping, business groups, farmers’ market,  schools, library, hospital, service groups, theaters, transportation, utilities, weather and more in La Mesa.


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UNION BANK WELCOMES FOUR-YEAR-OLD ARTIST TO LA MESA BRANCH TO THANK HER FOR HER MESSAGE OF HOPE AND HEALING

East County News Service

Photo:  from left to right: Andrea Soffa, Aviana Dobesh (Age 4) and Union Bank Branch Manager Carlton Hill at temporary Union Bank branch in La Mesa. Aviana and her family were invited on the morning of Feb. 24 to see Aviana’s “All you need is love” painting on display inside the branch. Aviana was presented with some art supplies and gifts as a thank you for her message of hope enjoyed by Union Bank employees and clients.

February 25, 2021 (La Mesa) - Earlier this morning, Union Bank La Mesa branch manager, Carlton Hill welcomed Aviana Dobesh (age 4), and her parents Andrea Soffa and Steve Dobesh to the temporary Union Bank branch in La Mesa. Hill, on behalf of Union Bank, wanted to personally thank Aviana for the artwork she created in the days following the fire that destroyed the bank’s branch in May 2020. The bank selected Aviana’s painting to be featured inside its temporary branch and on related marketing collateral. Her message of hope really resonated with the Union Bank team and brings smiles to the faces of employees and clients when they enter the temporary branch which opened on Jan 25.


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INDEPENDENT REPORT FOUND LA MESA PD LACKED PROPER PREPARATION FOR MAY 2020 RIOTS

By Alexa Oslowski 

Photo by Jake Rose:  suspect exits arson fire at Randall Lamb Building during May 30-31 riot in La Mesa

 

February 23, 2021 (La Mesa) - The long-anticipated independent report on the La Mesa Police and city’s responses to the May 30-31, 2020 riots was released and reviewed at the January 26 City Council meeting. The creation of the report included briefings from the City Council, City officials, the La Mesa Police Department (LMPD) Heartland Fire and Rescue Department, the Citizen Public Safety Oversight Task Force as well as community outreach, as ECM previously reported.


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HOMELESS MAN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED RAPE IN LA MESA

East County News Service
 
February 18, 2021 (La Mesa) - A homeless man is under arrest for allegedly trying to rape a homeless woman in La Mesa on Wednesday afternoon.
 
La Mesa Police responded to a report of a man attacking a partially undressed woman on Amarillo Avenue. They found the victim, whose face was bleeding. She told police the man fled when she screamed, Patch.com reports.

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HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO VOTE WED. ON MOVING MEETINGS TO 2 P.M.

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2021 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District Board President Joel Scalzitti wants to move public board meetings to 2 p.m.. The issue will be on the agenda on Wednesday, Feb. 17.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL SELECTS POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD MEMBERS

By Alexa Oslowski

 

February 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – In response to community concerns following several controversial police use-of-force incidents, the La Mesa City Council selected members for the 11-person Community Police Oversight Board at the Jan. 12 Council meeting. 


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COVID VACCINE SUPER STATION OPEN AT GROSSMONT CENTER IN LA MESA

East County News Service

February 2, 2021 (La Mesa) – A COVID-19 vaccination super station opened today at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Operated by Sharp Healthcare, the The new walk-up clinic is vaccinating people from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Up to 1,000 doses will be administered daily, but the site’s capacity can be expanded to provide up to 5,000 vaccinations every day.

The clinic is located in the shopping mall at 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, between Wetzel’s Pretzels and the Ceramic Café.

This location will replace and expand the site Sharp HealthCare had been operating on Wakarusa St. Appointments made for that site transfer to the super station at the mall.


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WOMAN ASSAULTED BY STRANGER IN LA MESA

East County News Service

January 31, 2021 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police are warning the public about an assault in the 4300 block of Date Ave. near Acacia around 8 p.m. on January 28.   The female victim described the suspect as a tall white-or light-skinned male around 6 feet 2 inches tall with a thin build. 


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SEEDS OF CHANGE: LA MESA RECEIVES $30,000 GRANT FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN

By Alexa Oslowski

 

Photo: raised bed garden, Creative Commons by SRL

 

January 28, 2021 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa's first community garden will soon be sprouting up in MacArthur Park, near the community center and the city's downtown village.

 

The San Diego Foundation has granted $30,000 in seed money to build the garden, according to a press release issued by the city.


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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. 


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WINTER BLACKBERRIES

January 15, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- Global warming and climate change are affecting growing seasons.  ECM editor Miriam Raftery was surprised to find ripe blackberries in mid-January in her backyard on Mt. Helix in unincorporated La Mesa. Blackberries normally ripe in midsummer and go dormant in winter, but this vine never lost its leaves.

Several readers have shared that they were startled by mid-winter harvests of peppers and tomatoes this month.


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PASSAGES: KELLY LYNNE CAMERON, MEDICAL WORKER AND ROLLER DERBY PLAYER, KILLED WHILE JOGGING IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Kelly Lynne Cameron with her husband, Tom Hovde, via GoFundMe

January 11, 2020 (La Mesa) – A 54-year-old woman killed while jogging in her La Mesa neighborhood has been identified by the  county medical examiner as Kelly Lynne Cameron. A GoFundMe site set up to help her family indicates she was a front-line medical worker and athlete.


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WEEKLY FREE MEAL PICKUPS FOR ALL CHILDREN AGES 2-18

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2021 (La Mesa) – Starting January 11, The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District will have curbside meal pickups on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 17 of its school campuses. (See list below).  The packs are available to all children ages 2-18, whether or not they are students in the district.

For more information, call (619) 668-5764 or visit www.LMSVSchools.org.  Below are the schools offering curbside meal pickups each Monday, excluding holidays:


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TASHA WILLIAMSON, EX-MAYOR HOPEFUL, AT HOME AFTER COVID BOUT: THANKS ICU

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  At a La Mesa press conference in June, Tasha Williamson called for the firing of Matt Dages, the arresting officer of Amaurie Johnson “because he lied on his report.” On Monday, the District Attorney’s Office charged him. Photo by Chris Stone

January 4, 2021 (San Diego) - Tasha Williamson, the social justice activist who ran for San Diego mayor and who also organized racial justice protests in La Mesa, San Diego and other communities, was recovering at home Monday after a frightening bout of coronavirus that saw her thanking ICU staff.


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CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST EX-LA MESA POLICE OFFICER MATT DAGES FOR FILING FALSE REPORT IN AMAURIE JOHNSON CASE

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2020 (La Mesa) -- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a criminal charge has been filed against a former La Mesa Police Officer in connection with an arrest of Amaurie Johnson, 23, near the Grossmont trolley station in La Mesa. The criminal complaint alleges that on May 28, 2020, Officer Matthew Dages, 30, filed a police report that contained false information.

The incident was shown in a video that went viral on social media, sparking racial justice protests. The Dages incident occurred three days after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis triggered nationwide protests and two days before a riot resulted in looting, vandalism and the burning down of three buildings in La Mesa.  The Johnson arrest has been likened to the fuse that ignited a powder keg of explosive rage over mistreatment of black suspects by white police officers.


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PEDESTRIAN FATALITY IN LA MESA

East County News Service
 
January 1, 2021 (La Mesa) — A 54-year-old woman  was struck by a Subaru WRX and killed yesterday around 3:25 p.m.  
 
La Mesa Police Department and Heartland Fire responded within minutes to multiple calls reporting the collision in the 4700 block of Harbinson Avenue. First responders rendered aid, but the pedestrian sustained multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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SUSPECT ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH MURDER OF MAN AT LAKE MURRAY SHOPPING CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Di'Marcus Lavonne Mayes, murder victim, courtesy of his family via LMPD

December 21, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police today announced the arrest of Alexander Cesar Nghiem of San Diego. He is charged with murder of Di’Marcus Lavonne Mayes, 29, who was shot multiple times in his upper torso on December 11th.

La Mesa Police responded to calls reporting gunshots in the parking lot of the Marketplace at Lake Murray Village, 5600 Lake Murray Boulevard.  Officers found Mayes unresponsive and performed CPR and other medical aid until medics arrived.


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ELDERLY COUPLE FOUND DEAD OF GUNSHOTS IN MT. HELIX HOME

Update December 16, 2020:  The County Medical Examiner has identified the deceased as Judith Ann Caruthers, 72, and ehr husband, Herman Caruthers, 74.  Their deaths have been found to be murder-suicide; Herman Caruthers killed his wife and then himself, each with a gunshot to the head.

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2020 (Mt. Helix) – An elderly man and woman were found dead in their home yesterday in the 4900 block of Resmar Road on Mt Helix in unincorporated La Mesa. Both had suffered gunshot wounds.

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POLICE SEEK WITNESSES TO FATAL SHOOTING AT LAKE MURRAY VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTER

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 12, 2020 (La Mesa) – A 29-year-old man was found dead of gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the Marketplace at Lake Murray Village, 5600 Lake Murray Blvd. in La Mesa last night.  Police seek witnesses as well as a dark sedan, possibly a two-door, seen leaving the scene at a high rate of speed.

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LMPD FIRED MATT DAGES, OFFICER IN AMAURIE JOHNSON INCIDENT, ON AUG. 7, CITY REVEALS AFTER APPEALS BOARD UPHOLDS ACTION

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – The city of La Mesa today revealed that before retiring, Police Chief Walt Vasquez terminated the employment of Officer Matt Dages. Dages was fired due to his actions during the controversial stop of Amaurie Johnson at a trolley station on May 27. Three days later, on May 30, a protest against La Mesa Police erupted into a night of looting, rioting and the burning down of three buildings.

Dages had accused Johnson, 23, of assault but the charge was dropped after body camera footage failed to substantiate Officer  Dages' version of the incident.  A video that went viral on social media prompted accusations of racial profiling by Dages.


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REVIEW: THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKY - LET YOUR BEST SELF SHINE

By Kathy Carpenter

December 8, 2020 (La Mesa) - Dateline with a touch of Glee sprinkled in best describes this virtual performance by Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa. Director O.P. Hadlock's The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey shines a light on two things: first, the brilliant acting of James Steinberg, portraying eight characters in this one man show. It takes a great talent to pull shows like this off and have viewers leave feeling as if a whole group of people were witnessed.


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CAMPO MAN CHARGED WITH BURNING HISTORIC RANDALL LAMB BUILDING IN LA MESA DURING RIOT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos and video by Jake Rose

December 2, 2020 (La Mesa)—La Mesa Police announce the arrest of Daniel Sandoval, 43, of Campo.  He is charged with arson and felony vandalism of the historic Randall Lamb building, which was set on fire during a riot on May 30-31 in downtown La Mesa, says Lt. Greg Runge.

The building had been designated a historic structure by the La Mesa Historical Society. Due to the extensive damage, it was declared a total loss.

Sandoval was arrested near his home yesterday, according to a news release issued by LMPD. He has been booked into San Diego County Jail on the warrant with bail set at $500,000.


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UNION BANK SURPRISES PINK ROSE CAFÉ OWNER IN LA MESA WITH $5,000 GIFT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Sandra Small, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce
 
November 22, 2020 (La Mesa)  -- After Union Bank of La Mesa burned down amid civil unrest on May 31, Nadia Zamora, owner of the Pink Rose Café, organized on social media to collect messages of hope, love and peace. She and other volunteers hung those messages on a safety fence around the rubble of the burned bank. 

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MAKE THE HOLIDAY BRIGHTER FOR HOMEBOUND LA MESA SENIORS

East County News Service

 

November 21, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce is seeking donated items to brighten the holidays for 24 homebound seniors in La Mesa. All items must be received by Friday, November 27, 2020, to be included in the senior gift bags and baskets.

 

All of the gifts are wrapped and placed in decorative baskets, so that our seniors receive these gifts with a festive flair. 


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‘TIS THE SEASON FOR HOLIDAY FAVORITES AT CASA DE PICO: TURKEY MOLE TAMALES, PUMPKIN FLAN AND MORE

East County News Service

Photo: Turkey Mole Tamales, courtesy of Bazaar del Mundo Restaurants.

November 19, 2020 (La Mesa) – This holiday season, Diane Powers’ award-winning Bazaar del Mundo Restaurants – Casa de Pico in La Mesa, Casa Guadalajara in Old Town, and Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad, are welcoming guests to enjoy special holiday dishes infused with authentic Mexican flavors. Each restaurant will offer an annual favorite for both dine-in and take-out orders: Turkey Mole Tamales, two handmade tamales filled with turkey, raisins, chopped pecans and apples, all topped with a mole sauce and sesame seeds.

With vibrant and spacious courtyards, the restaurant patios overflow with festive and colorful decor providing a visual feast for all, as well as ample outdoor heating and increased seating. In compliance with State guidelines, San Diego County has moved into the purple tier, limiting services to outdoor dining only and Powers is following a strict plan that will provide a safe environment for her customers.

The holiday menus are available through the New Year and vary by restaurant; with dishes including:


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HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS 2020

Photo by Jill Wellington via Pixabay

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This holiday season is shaping up differently due to the pandemic – but several East County locations are still finding ways to celebrate the season with drive-through holiday light displays, socially distanced celebrating, and virtual visits with Santa. 

La Mesa Holiday in the Village Dec. 5

La Mesa will host its annual Holiday in the Village on December 5th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., including a holiday craft market, with modifications approved by county health officials.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

LA MESA HISTORICAL HOME TOUR GOES VIRTUAL WITH HOMES THROUGH THE AGES OVER THE PAST CENTURY

By Miriam Raftery

November 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – On November 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., La Mesa Historical Society invites you to join President Jim Newland for a look back at the first 14 years of the La Mesa Home Tour.  This free event celebrates the city’s architectural gems from the Gilded Age to the Space Age.  It will be streamed live on the Society's Facebook page. RSVP to receive a reminder notice.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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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