El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Gary E. Mitrovich

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District has adopted their Final Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) and approved the East County Advanced Wastewater Purification Project.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously to pass the plan at its monthly meeting on Dec. 5, 2018.

The project is a partnership between Padre Dam and Helix water districts, as well as the City of El Cajon and the County of San Diego. The plan is to recycle and purify East County wastewater to create “a new, substantial and drought-proof water supply.”

Lakeside resident and near-native Andrew Hayes is the newest member of the Lakeside Unified School District’s Governing Board. If you didn’t notice his name on the recent November ballot, it was because no one chose to run against him. When the filing deadline passed in September, the lack of an opposing candidate made Hayes the instant winner.

Not bad for a 24-year-old who already has many years of experience under his belt in serving the public.

The Spirit of Christmas on Maine Avenue was held this past Saturday, Dec. 1 in historic Downtown Lakeside. It went off without a hitch, like some holiday miracle movie on the Hallmark Channel. Rain had threatened the 20th annual event, creating some tense moments for the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce as it had to make a last-minute decision whether to cancel the event.

The Chamber checked the weather forecasts and decided to go for it. The town was rewarded with some cold and cloudy skies, but no rain – a perfect holiday setting.

RETRACTION: "Calvary Ranch Returns"

In the Nov. 28 issue of the East County Californian, information regarding the sale of the Calvary Ranch site was published in error. 

The property is still available for purchase. The asking price is $1,370,000, but at this point there are no accepted offers, and the property is being actively advertised and shown to prospective buyers.


Todd Owens and his volunteer crew have been picking up trash in Lakeside – one street at a time – for almost a year and a half now.

So, is this working – is Lakeside any cleaner now than it was in July 2017?

“I think so,” said Todd, just before he let out on his continuing quest to make his community a little better place to live. “I mean, we were picking up 100 bags of trash every time at first. Now, we’re averaging about 30 bags a day. So I think we’re having an impact.”

While Lakesiders have been wrestling with the El Monte San Mining Project and, to a lesser extent, the Food-Scraps-to-Energy Project set for Moreno Valley, a third major project planned for the community is quietly winding its way through the process.

The East County Advanced Water Purification Project is currently in the midst of its required 30-day public comment period for their Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration. The deadline for public input is Oct. 15, a date fast approaching for a major plan that could impact Lakeside for years to come.

Lakeside residents made a good showing on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the public comment meeting for the El Monte Sand Mining Project. About 500 folks filled the Lakeside Community Center and dozens spoke out against the project. Others protested with signs, applause and shout-outs. If any were in support of the project, they did not make themselves evident, though the mastermind behind the sand mining – Bill Adams – was identified in the audience.

He sat stoically and silently throughout the meeting.

The third annual Touch-A-Truck Lakeside Edition is now one for the books.

The popular local event was held from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. While the attendance had yet to be tallied at press time, estimates put the number at about 1,700 people, somewhat higher than last year.

After a decade of dormancy, the Kiwanis Club is returning to Lakeside.

Kiwanis is a worldwide organization active in more than 80 nations with some 600,000 members. The group is dedicated to improving the lives of children, “one community at a time,” except in Lakeside, where Kiwanis faded away back in 2005.

A longtime Lakeside organization closes: After nearly 50 years of operation on Willow Road, the Calvary Ranch Drug and Alcohol Recovery Facility will be closing down. The surprising announcement came through a letter sent out from Paulette McAloon, co-founder of the ranch. Ms. McAloon thanked her faith partners for their support over the past 47 years.

“Calvary Ranch has been like a home to many people, whether they were struggling with addiction, attending our church or just visiting for the day,” said McAloon in the letter.