El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Albert H. Fulcher

Well, we got exactly what we had hoped for at the 2017 Best of East County Awards party on Thursday night. It was a night of laughter, dancing, friends and peers all together to celebrate the winners. I was blown away by the turnout and it was wonderful seeing people from Lakeside to Lemon Grove and every community in between together in one place It was a crack-a-lackin time for all with all of the smiles from all the winners, many who brought co-workers, employees, friends and family with them.

It was a notable day as Joe Garzanelli graciously accepted his 2017 El Cajon Citizen of the Year award, nominated by The East County Chamber of Commerce and St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center. Hosted by the El Cajon Valley Lions Club the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Citizen of the Year Luncheon on Feb. 5 at the El Cajon Elks Lodge. 

Scheduled to open Feb. 24 with a grand opening in planning at a later date, the Courtyard Marriott San Diego El Cajon is owned by Excel Hotel Group along with many other hotels. It has 120 rooms, with 10 suites. All rooms have microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, smart TVs in tandem with amenities such as laundry service, a recreation facility, pool, whirlpool, free Wi-Fi throughout, and charging and working stations. It has an exterior celebration patio lawn and it’s Pacific Ballroom. The exterior patio is more than 3,000 sq. ft. and the ballroom 4,500 sq. ft.

It was such a pleasure to go the El Cajon Citizen of the Year luncheon on Monday. In looking at the nominees it is amazing all of the wonderful people in El Cajon that contribute so much to this community. And after reading and hearing about this year’s recipient Operating Principal and Broker/Owner of Keller Williams Realty Joe Garzanelli and the work that he has done for El Cajon and East County over the past 40 years, there is no doubt that he deserves this recognition.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with our Best of East County Reader’s Poll celebration coming up next week on Feb. 8. This has been a record year for votes, all have been tallied and the winners, both Gold and Silver have been notified. Being the second year in having a celebration of the winners and our community leaders getting together to hail our 2017 stars, we learned a lot and have a wonderful evening of fun for everyone to enjoy.

The video of a La Mesa police officer body slamming a 17-year-old Helix High School student to the ground while in handcuffs has gone viral. The video clips are short and do not represent what happened before the incident, but in looking at the short video it is evident why the local community is outraged by what they do see.

Finding a first home for many people in San Diego County seems like a pipe dream, but New Pointe Communities, Inc. focuses exactly on that. Bringing quality entry-level homes for single families at an affordable market price. President Scot Sandstrom believes that this biggest need in the county and is now building a small community complex in Santee.

As I sit here and read a letter to the City of El Cajon from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) San Diego & Imperial Counties about its perception of El Cajon’s ordinance banning sharing food the homeless in public places, it reinforces my beliefs that the council has once again stepped out of bounds in its role as leaders in our community. Elegantly written it is firm in its stand that this ordinance violates the freedom of expression in charitable giving.

I had recently turned 13. Although I was disappointed that I did not wake up with hair on my chest or with a five-o’clock shadow, I knew that it was a milestone in my life, leaving the kid behind and heading into the world of a teenager. Little did I know at that time, that at 13-years-old, my life would change forever.

Well it is that time of year again and our local city and community pageants are gearing up to find next year’s ambassadors to represent their communities. In my time here, I have found that these pageants do so much for our young women than the opportunity to wear a tiara or hold a title. These titles come with a lot of responsibility, a chance for learning, and for the younger pageant titleholders, a wonderful chance to learn from some great mentors.