El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Albert H. Fulcher

Families in need will be recipients of the 30th Taste of Santee sponsored by the Santee Chamber of Commerce, a joint community effort in support of Santee Santas. Held at Toyota Certified Center of Santee on Dec. 7 hundreds of people gathered to support the efforts of the Santee Santas Foundation to bring more than holiday cheer to children and their families this holiday season.

The Balazs family is well known in its neighborhood for its fantastic musical light display at their house during the holiday season. This is a combined effort by the family with help from some neighbors, friends and family that bring joy to the many people that go to see this fantastic light show every evening. Started by Michael Balazs 10 years ago in loving memory of his father who passed away from cancer in 2009, he began the extravagant light show because Christmas was his father's favorite season of the year.

When I was a young enlisted sailor, it was difficult making ends meet. Even with housing support and all of the benefits like being able to shop at the commissary and the post exchange it was always a paycheck to paycheck way of life. Military housing wasn't available and the extra income of having a family didn't come close to covering the reality of the costs in living in the Virginia area. I had to live many miles away from the naval base, just to find something affordable, which in return gave me several hours of commute daily.

There are many things to be thankful for this year and as chaotic as the holidays are, it is natural to spend much of the time reflecting over what has happened and what is yet to come. I lived in parts of East County for many years and as much as I work out here, in many ways I feel I still do. It used to be only a home, but now it is my friend.

The El Capitan High School Marching Band and the Lakeside pageant ambassadors escorted Santa and Mrs. Claus down Maine Avenue to the Lakeside Historical Society so they could kick off the festivities joining the Lakeside Fire Department in the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. Joining the Lakeside Fire Department, hundreds gathered around the tree to officially kick off the Spirit of Christmas Lakeside as they turned on the lights for the holiday season.

There are no black and white answers when dealing with the homeless population in our cities and communities, but there are ways to help them get a helping hand in getting back on their feet and living productive lives again. There has been much debate going on in the community, and a bit of mutiny against its recent temporary yet strict ordinances on panhandling and the sharing of food in public.

The streets of El Cajon lit up well before the traditional lighting of its Christmas tree located in the heart of downtown. Thousands joined the city for the day in celebrating Small Business Saturday, holiday events at the Prescott Promenade Park and the tree lighting ceremony in the early evening.

As I sat in the back of the room waiting for the local Pearl Harbor Survivor Carnation Chap. 3 San Diego Installation, I watched as the president walked around the room greeting members with a luminous smile and hugs. As he headed towards me, I stood tall ready to salute, but before I could, he grabbed me and gave me an immense hug finer than any firm handshake I have ever received. I was instantly moved as this hero, this survivor’s firm hold on me left me filled with his love of life, resilience and compassion.

Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is quickly approaching. Part of me inside went into a panic with the realization that once again, the holiday season has snuck up on me and many things are left to accomplish. Once again, my grand ideas of being ready for the holidays well before they hit just did not happen. That being said, there is much to do and I am sure that I am not alone, and there are many finding themselves in the same situation.

It is a national completion put on by the National PTA/PTSA, starting here at the local district level. Artwork comes from most of the schools in the Lakeside School District and is shown at the District’s office.  Jessica Webb, Lakeside Union School District volunteer coordinator for the PTA/PTSA Reflections Art Program said the top 10 in each category are judged to move on to San Diego County and progresses up to state, and then national.