El Cajon, CA
Broken clouds
Broken clouds:
53.6 °F

Articles by Martin Jones Westlin

The returns have been in for something like 50 years, and they fuel one immutable fact: exposure to the arts in education results in everything from higher attendance to better test scores and social and intellectual development.

Study after study after study indicate that brain synapse, problem solving and even motor skills improve in the presence of art programs, with students often excelling in classwork involving other subjects.

Right now, some 50 student artists from 11 Grossmont Union High School District schools are willing cases in point.

If manila folder races were an Olympic sport, North Park resident Robin Kardon would have something like 16 and a half gold medals by now. She’s toted her binder all over the world for 20-plus years, with the word “Book” as the sole indicator of the contents.

But the word, of course, is not the thing, any more than “Book” is a reflection of her hard-won accomplishment in a male-dominated field — or the warrior’s drive that fuels it.

The calendar shows that influenza season (supposedly running from October to May) is in full swing, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us there is no such thing. Anybody can contract the flu at any time of year; as it turns out, the virus becomes more opportunistic amid crazy holiday eating and drinking habits and poor immune function during colder weather.

It hit with a vengeance during the 2017-18 “season,” claiming 80,000 lives. And that figure may be higher, as not all flu cases are reported as serious illnesses.

The enormous pipe at The Water Conservation Garden told a tale that’s become familiar in the area for most of the last eight years. The trickle at its base signaled a return to drought conditions (the recent trace of rain notwithstanding), with the National Integrated Drought Information System website reflecting a “severe” rainfall deficiency through San Diego County and points north as of Sept. 25.

Edward Murray knew early on that the art of the fable is as durable as the mind that conceives it.

The newly minted clinical psychologist was working on an Arizona Indian reservation with a young client whose frustrations had outstripped her level of understanding — nearly 30 years later, his simple anecdote to her would find its way into the publishing marketplace, featuring a rap-infused illustrated novella, a DVD, a storyboard, a GoFundMe account called SaferSchools and the potential, in his words, to “change the world.”

Their part in a $2 million street drug arrest was just one element that endeared El Cajon police Officer Jordan Walker and his K-9 partner Jester to local residents during their two and a half years together.

As reported here last month, the two were also inseparable Instagram stars, with Jester showing up in crazy hats and poses on other social media accounts that garnered 200,000 visitors.

Of all the stories on our otherworldly heat wave this summer, maybe none is more dramatic than the July 6 entry about Ramona’s 112 degrees — the catch is that the reading was reached before 11 a.m. Local and area temps would soar the rest of the day, with air cranes deployed against fire threats and with the authorities’ usual warnings on beating the discomfort.

Suddenly, “cool zone” was more than a catchphrase at the county’s 100 or so centers designed to provide relief from the prospect of danger.

It happens every day. Longtime work associations come to an end when one partner moves on for one reason or the other. But in the El Cajon Police Department, one of these partners doubles as man’s best friend — and his reassignment has left an online community reeling and a former officer without the companionship he has come to know for the last two and a half years.

More than 30 La Mesa community leaders launched a campaign to raise $4.45 million toward construction of a new local youth clubhouse, improvements to an existing teen center and an endowment to operate both facilities—because, in the words of one local businessman, “It’s better to build kids than try to mend adults.”