El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Mary York

At a lonely McDonald’s off Alpine Boulevard, State Farm agent Eric Andersen met with his clients to discuss their options on Monday, July 9, 2018, just a day after the West Fire swept through the community and burned down their home.

Andersen’s office is in La Mesa, so driving up towards the charred canyons of Alpine, he said, left him with some trepidation.

Traffic was backed up all the way through the canyon, tails of smoke rose in front of us and sirens frequented the shoulder of the highway.

It felt counter intuitive to be driving toward a wildfire, but that is my job. I am a journalist and we are trained to follow the smoke – this time it just happened to be literal.

I grew up in the South Bay. We do not get a lot of wildfires in that suburban labyrinth.

I planned it intentionally. I had to be home by July Fourth.

After two years of living and working in the Czech Republic, traveling through the Old World, seeing first hand some of the most majestic palaces, oldest castles and beautiful places in the world, I was feeling an insatiable tug on my soul. The wind was filling my sails with the salty scent of my homeland.

As I boarded the plane in London on July, the stewardess checking tickets at the gate gave me a smile and said, “Just in time for Independence Day.”

The whim and whimsy of artists all across San Diego County, as incarnated into brush strokes and color, channeled together into the front showroom of the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center.

The East County Art Association’s Masters of the Moment art show has been judged, with winners sporting ribbons and unawarded participants joining them proudly on display until July 13, 2018.

Past president of the East County Art Association Georgina Clemens said the show is always a wonderful way to bring together artistic minds.

“You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else,” was the personal code for Lions Clubs International founder Melvin Jones. It is a code that the Lions Clubs, now an international foundation with more than a million members worldwide, still clings to today.

With that roaring mantra, Lions Clubs have invested in health, environment and youth programs, both globally and here in East County’s own backyard.

This week, Fox News tweeted a video with the caption, “Steve Ronnebeck, father of murder victim: ‘63,000 Americans since 9/11 have been killed by illegal aliens.’”

Snopes has definitively debunked the 63,000 statistic, a number which would have meant that more than a quarter of all homicides in the U.S. have been committed by undocumented immigrants, who make up a mere three percent of the population – nearly an impossible figure.

That America is a country of values has never seemed to be a question. But the crisis at our borders with immigrant children being separated from their parents – and the media storm that has risen from that – has certainly thrown into question what exactly those values are and how we as a nation should act them out.

Firstly, it is important to outline a few facts. 

Following a contentious hour of public comment, the Dehesa Elementary School District voted to renew the Heights Charter Resource Center (HCRS) charter.

The June 13 meeting drew teachers, parents, administrators and board members from both Alpine Unified School District (AUSD) and the HCRS to discuss the legality and consequences of the charter’s location in Alpine. 

Few things are as pleasant as good neighbors, and the Dehesa Elementary School District and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation have been very good neighbors.

Representing the tribe, Chairman of the Sycuan Band Cody Martinez presented a check for $250,000 to Dehesa during their regular board meeting on Wednesday, June 13.

The Marriott Courtyard Hotel on El Cajon is a marriage of entrepreneurship and public trust, and the grand opening on Thursday, June 14, celebrated the success of the new hotel as well as the parties that made it happen.

“This project specifically is important not only for us as Excel Hotel Group, but to the city for a lot of reasons,” said Neil Patel, partner at Excel Hotel Group. “This was the first major branded hotel project in East County in the last 25 years. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of vision to be the first entrant into any market.”