El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Betty McMillen

During the year of 2015 it was a busy place Around Lakeside, with citizens doing good deeds and helping others. The Golden Rule is alive and well, which is “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.

Volunteers are alive and well in Lakeside. Recently, the Lakeside River Park hosted their annual Volunteer Appreciation Day at the Boll Weevil restaurant. Owner Victor Tongco, opened his place of business and heart to the volunteers by serving a delicious breakfast. Cindy Collins, the Volunteer Coordinator organized the event.

The thanks and giving season is alive and well in Lakeside. The Chamber of Commerce held its Community Toy Drive last Thursday. According to President Frank Hilliker, it was a rousing success. Folks poured into the Lakeside Community Center with arms full of unwrapped toys, gleaming with smiles and getting into the Christmas Spirit. But Hilliker gives all the credit to Brenda Asaro, the owner of Cafe 67. He said she was the one who started this Toy Drive at her restaurant several years ago.

Lakesiders celebrated the grand opening of the Cedar Fire Monument Garden on Oct. 24, the 12th anniversary of the firestorm that devastated the county of San Diego. The new pocket park is located on a spit of land at 12216 Lakeside Avenue.

Fire Chief Andy Parr said it was a community project...including the planning, designing and building and it is also ADA compliant. He encouraged all community members to come by to see the finished garden.

Lakeside Frontier Riders sounds like a bunch of old western movies, cowboys and cowgirls riding hard along the dusty trails. Yep, that’s just about how they still are ... not that much has changed over the years.

Lakeside Rodeo Grounds was abuzz with children and parents who came out to see for themselves the 14th year of the Grossmont Healthcare District’s Kid Care Fest on Sept. 12. Gloria Chadwick, a Grossmont District board member, said that previously the Kids Fest took place in La Mesa but the Board decided to move it to the medically underserved East County area so they could target low income and uninsured families who want to improve their family’s health or need to have their children seen by a medical professional before entering Kindergarten.

Lakeside’s Historic Business District has been waiting more than 10 years for the undergrounding of utilities along Maine Avenue. Now, thanks to some grants from County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, SDG&E’s hard work, AM Ortega Construction, and Can Do Electric, the project finally came to an end. The actual work began two years ago with digging up the street and laying conduit and wires underground.

Rachael and Kellon Wolfe, owners of the Lakeside Theater are excited because their workers found a time capsule in a hollowed out place in the walls of the old theater on Maine Avenue, in the heart of Lakeside’s Historic District.

June was the end of a school year for the students around Lakeside and it was the end of a 44-year career for Tina Brady, who grew up in Lakeside, although never really lived here.

Brady said her retirement party was held at Barona Event Center and the theme was “Back To The 70s.” Friends, family and co-workers came dressed in their favorite 70s outfits such as big bell pants, flower child shirts, beads, headbands, and au natural hair afros. Bonnie LaChappa planned and hosted the event.

Perhaps you have driven by the newest Fire Station/Administration office on Lakeside Avenue and wondered what they are building in the lot next door. It is the new Cedar Fire Monument Garden, a place for the public to come to remember the 15 victims who lost their lives in the fire and to reflect and think about lessons learned and the journey of rebuilding their lives after the Cedar Fire of 2003. It will also be a place of education, a place for youth to learn about the devastation of fires.