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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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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ILLINOIS HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVE CHRISTIAN WALLIS SELECTED AS NEW CEO OF THE GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT

East County News Service

May 3, 2021 (La Mesa) -- The Grossmont Healthcare District announced today that Christian Wallis of the Chicago area has been selected as the new Chief Executive Officer for the public agency supporting health related programs and services in East San Diego County.


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LA MESA COMMUNITY GARDEN TAKES ROOT

By Brianna Gomez
 
Photo:  Misty Thompson (left) stands with Laurie MacDonald (right) celebrating the garden opening.
 
May 2, 2021 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation opened its long-awaited community garden yesterday morning.
 
“Everybody’s been waiting so long and they’re so excited,” said Misty Thompson, Executive Director. “So many people just don’t have that opportunity to have a garden in their yard, they might live in an apartment or something and to give them this opportunity is just amazing.”

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LA MESA MAN SHOT AND KILLED BY MASKED MEN

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 24, 2021 (La Mesa) – A 22-year-old man has died after answering a knock on the door of his apartment shortly after midnight. Witnesses inside the apartment told police that two black men in ski masks and black hooded sweatshirts were outside; one fired three shots at the victim, striking him twice, according to Lt. Gregory Runge with La Mesa Police.

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VACANT HOME DAMAGED BY FIRE IN LA MESA

East County News Service
 
April 23, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Heartland Fire & Rescue units from La Mesa and Lemon Grove, with assistance from San Miguel Fire, were dispatched to a residential structure fire in the 8800 block of Mariposa St. in La Mesa this morning around 6:20 a.m.

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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL SETS EFFORTS ON ACHIEVING VACCINE EQUITY BY JUNETEENTH

By Alexa Oslowski

 

Source: former Councilmember Akilah Weber’s Twitter feed

 

April 20, 2021 (La Mesa) - On April 13 La Mesa City Council passed a resolution proposed by councilmembers Jack Shu and Bill Baber to improve vaccine equity by Juneteenth, or June 19.


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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.

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE HEROES REFLECT ON PANDEMIC

 

Photos, left to right:  Dr. Raed-Al Naser, respiratory therapist Vill Miranda, ICU registered nurse Melissa Stark, and Dr. Al-Janabi

By Miriam Raftery

April 9, 2021 (La Mesa) –Healthcare heroes from Sharp Grossmont Hospital shared their memories and lessons learned during the past year of the global COVID-19 pandemic which began in March 2020 and has killed over a half million Americans. In an exclusive interview with East County Magazine, pulmonary critical care physicians Dr. Raed Al-Naser and Dr. Al-Janabi, as well as respiratory therapist Vill Miranda and registered ICU nurse Melissa Stark shared their knowledge and experiences.

These front-line medical professionals risked their lives to save others, fearing for the safety of their own families as they worked tirelessly to heal and comfort those in their care.

Audio: 


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DR. AKILAH WEBER TAKES BIG LEAD, COULD AVOID RUNOFF IN SPECIAL ELECTION FOR 79TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

Update April 11: Dr. Akilah Weber has won the election outright, avoiding a runoff with 52% of the votes. Only 300 ballots remain to be counted, not enough to change the outcome.

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

April 7, 2021 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa City Councilmember Dr. Akilah Weber took a big lead Tuesday night and could avoid a runoff in the special election to succeed her mother in the 79th Assembly District.

The seat is open because five-term Assemblymember Shirley Weber was appointed to succeed Alex Padilla as Secretary of State in a series of changes prompted by Sen. Kamala Harris’ election as Vice President. Padilla was appointed to succeed Harris in the Senate.

The younger Weber, a Democrat, received 52% of the vote, according to final unofficial election-night results from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

The projected number of outstanding ballots is 9,500, according to the Registrar of Voters. If Weber’s total remains above 50%, she will be elected without a runoff. If it falls below 50%, she will face Marco Contreras, the lone Republican in the field of five candidates, in a runoff June 8.


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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.

SUCCESSFUL SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPING A CLICK AWAY FOR HELIX, PADRE DAM CUSTOMERS

Source: San Diego County Water Authority

Photos, before and after, courtesy of La Mesa resident Laurie Haeger: Haeger was inspired to replace her grassy front yard with sustainable, water-efficient landscaping thanks to landscape makeover classes and resources offered by the San Diego County Water Authority. 

April 6, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- No matter whether their landscaping is just a few square feet alongside a front porch or estate acreage, thousands of San Diego County residents have learned to embrace sustainability as a central principle for creating and renovating their landscapes. 


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SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER ”DELIBERATELY” RAMMING MOTORISTS AT FOUR EAST COUNTY SITES

East County News Service
 
April 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – David Archer, 56, has been arrested after deliberately ramming multiple vehicles at three locations on Thursday. The suspect then fled, leading deputies in a pursuit from unincorporated La Mesa through Lemon Grove ending in Spring Valley, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

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SAN DIEGO SKY GONDOLA TO SOAR INTO EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Skye Ryder

Image:  Artist's rendering of a reimagined Chase Bank in La Mesa, topped by a Sky tram station.

April 1, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Sky rides at the San Diego Zoo and Sea World are among the most popular attractions for visitors. Now an aerial gondola adventure is coming to East County.

The idea is a joint proposal by East County’s newly elected Supervisor Joel Anderson and La Mesa City Councilman Colin Parent, also a spokesman for Circulate San Diego, which promotes advancing mobility choices for communities across our region.

Back in 2017, then-County Supervisor Ron Roberts suggested expanding the ride to downtown San Diego.  Roberts said,  “I was looking at the zoo ride, and I was thinking, ‘You know what, if we just kept going across the freeway to Sixth Avenue and went downtown.’ That would be fun.”

The current board of Supervisors is now embracing that concept – and carrying it a step further. (Read more)


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MISSING LA MESA WOMAN FOUND IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service
 
March 23, 2021 (La Mesa) – A missing elderly woman with early onset dementia was found safe and injured in Lemon Grove overnight.
 
“The La Mesa Police Department would like to thank the media and the public for their assistance,” says Lt. Greg Runge.

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HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO USE LEGAL SETTLEMENT TO REDUCE FUTURE RATES

District to hold rate hearing on April 28
 
Source: Helix Water District 
 
March 19, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District will use $2.8 million received from the San Diego County Water Authority as part of a legal settlement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to reduce future water rates for the district’s customers.

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LA MESA OFFICER'S 'HEART DROPPED' AFTER SHOOTING LESLIE FURCRON; HE'S FAULTED IN NEWLY RELEASED REPORT

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

Photo:  Arrow points to La Mesa police Detective Eric Knudson before he withdrew behind a wall and shot Leslie Furcron with a beanbag shell. LMPD photo

March 19, 2021 (La Mesa) - Eric Knudson, the La Mesa police officer cleared by county and local authorities in his beanbag shooting of Leslie Furcron last May at a George Floyd protest, returned to work last week, but remains under a cloud.


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OWNER OF MENSWEAR STORE IN LA MESA AVOIDS JAIL TERM OVER SCUFFLE WITH REPORTERS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via ECM news partner 10 News
 
March 11, 2021 (La Mesa) – Peter Carzis, 77, owner of Peter’s Men’s Apparel in downtown La Mesa, was sentenced to two years of probation on Wednesday for destroying a TV reporter’s camera valued at $7,000.

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PASSOVER SEDER MEALS TO GO AT TERRA AMERICAN BISTRO

East County News Service

 

March 10, 2021 (San Diego) – Terra American Bistro is offering Passover Seder meals for two or four people to go. Order by March 24 to pick up March 27 from 12-4 p.m.

 

The Passover feast includes a choice of entrees including grilled salmon, citrus roasted chicken with onions and apricots, brisket, or vegetarian stuffed peppers . All seder plates include charoset (apples, walnuts and spices), matzo, gefilte fish with horseradish, matzo ball soup (vegetarian option available), mixed greens, choice of two side dishes, and flourless chocolate cake/macaroons.


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LA MESA JOINS CITIES NATIONWIDE TO CAP FEES ON FOOD DELIVERY APPS; LORENA GONZALES PROPOSES SIMILAR BILL IN CALIF. STATE LEGISLATURE

By Alexa Oslowski

March 9, 2021 (La Mesa) – On January 26, the La Mesa City Council voted unanimously to pass a temporary emergency ordinance placing a cap on commissions that can be charged by delivery apps (Postmates, Uber Eats, etc.) to restaurants.

“People have been using delivery services during the pandemic at higher rates than they have in the past, myself included,” Councilmember Colin Parent said during the City Council meeting. “One of the things I’ve come to understand is some of those apps can charge really exorbitant fees.”

The ordinance, which was proposed by Parent, received overall support in comments by members of the public, which were read in the meeting by City Clerk Megan Wiegelman.


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FIRED LA MESA POLICE OFFICER DAGES, FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES, SUES CITY SEEKING TO REGAIN JOB

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: screenshot from viral video showing Dages grabbing Johnson’s shirt
 
March 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – Former La Mesa Police Officer Matthew Dages has filed a lawsuit against the city seeking his old job back, Times of San Diego reports.  Dages was fired and criminally charged by the District Attorney with filing a false report against Amaurie Johnson, 23.  

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LAMPLIGHTERS THEATRE PRESENTS ENCORE ONLINE PERFORMANCE MARCH 12-14: THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY

East County News Service

March 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa will present an encore virtual performance March 12-14 of “The Absolutely Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.”  For tickets, click here.


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OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO MARCH 5-12 HIGHLIGHTS ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN IN SEVEN NEIGHBORHOODS

OH! San Diego offers free, behind-the-scenes access to San Diego’s unique architectural and cultural gems through virtual, self-guided and socially distanced activities

Source: San Diego Architectural Foundation

 

March 4, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) announces the sixth annual Open House San Diego (O  H! San Diego) architecture and urban design event taking place on March 5 through 12. The program offers San Diegans a rare behind-the-scenes look at some of our region’s most impactful buildings and public spaces and encourages participants to discover something new.

 

In the spirit of inclusivity and a renewed focus on community, this year’s event will highlight a diverse mix of seven neighborhoods including Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, City Heights, La Mesa, National City, San Marcos and Southeastern San Diego.

 

Participants are invited to take part in a self-guided walking tour of La Mesa Village via the ArchiMaps app. Participants can also download and print a PDF Walking Map from the OH! San Diego website. 


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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.

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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