El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Gary E. Mitrovich

A graduation is a time for congratulations for an honored accomplishment. It is a segue from a former life into a new one. Such was never truer than for the 13 recent graduates of the 45th Class of the East County Drug Court. Not only did they celebrate an achievement, they recognized a new beginning and an important turning point in their lives. And they celebrated sobriety.

The 2017 El Capitan High School Vaqueros football team held with annual tradition on Aug. 2, as they proudly ran down Maine Avenue in historic Downtown Lakeside for the 13th year in a row. The run has evolved into a highly anticipated local event marking the beginning of the football season. Several hundred people were in attendance.

Over 100 folks were on hand July 27, all to celebrate the grand opening of the newest Crunch Fitness center, which has landed here in Lakeside. Located at 9720 Winter Gardens Boulevard (the site of the old “Fresh & Easy” grocery store), Crunch is a 24-hour gym with shiny, state-of-the-art equipment and monthly membership fees as low as about $10. If this day was any indication, the place is going to be very popular.

December 7, 1941 was not only a “day of infamy” for the United States. It was a day that found one Lakeside resident in the middle of history. Adam Romero was aboard the USS Dobbin, anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when the bombs fell from the sky.

When people learn Romero is a Pearl survivor, he gets a lot of questions. But he doesn’t mind talking about it.

Rattlesnake Mountain is a fairly well known landmark to east county residents. Standing tall east of Gillespie Field, the western face is in fact the City of Santee, the eastern side in unincorporated Lakeside. It is the site of the Sky Ranch community and a large antenna array at its peak. During years past, the 1200-foot mountain has been capped with a lighted star during the holiday season, probably its most famous trait. But Rattlesnake Mountain is also home to a 368-acre land preserve, something most residents and neighbors are unaware of.

Lakeside third graders were treated with the annual Living History Days earlier this month, hosted by the Lakeside Historical Society. Over 500 students from four local elementary schools descended upon the Olde Community Church to learn about life in the old days.

In her latest “Coffee with the Community” on May 24, Supervisor Dianne Jacob shared some solid information on the new Lakeside Library. As many have heard, the land acquisition is currently underway. The site has officially been identified as the northeast corner of Woodside Avenue and Channel Road, obviously between the gas station and Ottavio’s Italian Restaurant. The 17,000 square foot facility will occupy two acres in the current vacant lot and cost about $14 million.

The Lakeside VFW held its 71st annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 29. 

More than 200 people attended to show their support and respect for the fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom and liberty since the inception of this country.

Among the honored guests was Pearl Harbor survivor Adam Romero.

The Lakeside Junior Olympics was held on the football field at El Capitan High School this past Saturday, May 6. Official announcer (and Tierra del Sol Middle School principal) Scott Goergens opened the ceremonies (as he has for the past five years) with a wry observation:

“On the day of this event, it’s either 100 degrees or it rains. There is no in-between.”

The Lakeside Sheriff’s Substation hosted a community appreciation event on April 19. Citizens of all ages had a chance to talk with deputies, recruiters (always looking for a few good women and men), Search and Rescue reserves, and crime prevention officers. Also on hand were members of the Santee Kiwanis Club and employees from the Lakeside Community Center. Free lunch and snow cones rounded out the community safety affair.