El Cajon, CA
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Articles by BJ Coleman

Friendship is often a different kind of family. Kinship is an accident of birth, and adoption is a matter of propinquity. But lifelong friendships are based on the choice to continue cultivating a relationship of kindred spirits.

Cory Wilkins is an El Cajon-based singer-songwriter, and he brought a lot of straight-ahead East County attitude into downtown San Diego on Thursday, June 30, as his five-member band took the stage for a half-hour set at The Music Box. Wilkins and his band-mates appeared as one act during the night’s Listen Local All Access Fest at the new music venue.

Happy, sunny-tempered La Mesa residents came together in the early evening on Wednesday, June 29, for the grand opening of their city’s newest pocket park at the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and Allison Avenue. The crowd filling the small park spilled over onto adjacent streets. 

Gilbert Harelson served as La Mesa’s city attorney during two intervals, 1956 to1958 and 1959 through 1970. In that interruption from 1958 to 1959, Harelson was a Municipal Court Judge in the El Cajon Judicial District. And that only covers Harelson’s specific East County-based service to the law.

What is no gamble at all? It is when members of the El Cajon Valley Host Lions Club get together with the Winchester Widows. Everyone will have a good time and good things will happen on behalf of local charities.

Temperatures were warm and sunny, as was the conviviality of attendees feasting on small plates of delicious East County fare, all while networking at the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s Eighth Annual Taste of La Mesa. Staged at the La Mesa Community Center during the evening of Monday, June 6, the three-hour event was designed to showcase local eateries and dining establishments, with more than 20 serving up samplers of their featured menu items.

The Kiwanis Club of Santee has a long record of acknowledging East County law enforcement officers who have demonstrated excellence in protecting and serving local citizens. On May 14, the club conducted its 19th annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony honoring officers who have served with particular distinction over the prior year.

Robert Allen Shepherd hasn’t been around the East County music scene for a while. Not long ago, he was known around local live performance venues as a dead ringer for singer-songwriter-guitar-player Willie Nelson, with a tribute show that pleased all-ages listeners, by appearing in full “Willie” costume, signature braids, flag bandanna and all.

Brandon Acosta was relatively young, and definitely too young to be sidelined from his active life by serious, lasting back pain. Acosta is a local firefighter-paramedic, now 31 years old. The first real sign he had of looming trouble came in 2009 while he was washing household dishes. The position of extending his arms over the sink started a “peculiar time” in his life, he says.

Memorial Day at this month’s end is a time for reflection and honoring those whose lives were sacrificed in military service for defense of this country. But there are other former military troops whose lives are still at risk, through homelessness entwined with service-related medical and psychological conditions that render these veterans less able to cope with life’s challenges.