El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Ana Nita

“This is a wonderful way to bring in the holiday season. You don’t feel like you had Christmas until you started with 'Handel’s Messiah,'” said Pat McAfee during the intermission of “Sounds Good” winter concert performed on Sunday by the San Diego Festival Chorus and Orchestra (SDFCO), a non-profit organization based in East County. McAfee is an alto soloist who started out as a cellist, “but then I gradually went to voice, I had a wonderful teacher and it turned out I had an operatic voice, so God was good to me.”

On Saturday, Moreno Valley in Lakeside was taken over by the laughter and joyful screaming coming from the kids running around in dirt, swinging in rubber tires hung from trees, trying to hit aluminum cans with bows and arrows, riding ponies, having their face painted, playing with balloons and just being children in a heaven like place facing the West side of the El Cajon mountain range.

While hundreds of people celebrate Holiday Lights in downtown El Cajon on Saturday, hundreds of others were disobeying a recent city council ordinance to ban feeding the homeless, by doing just that—feeding them at Wells Park for the second weekend in the row. “We will be back in a month, while other organizations will come back every weekend,” said Dashiel MacTavish with Food Not Bombs San Diego, the non-profit who organized the protest.

Since immemorial times, humans looked up at the sky trying to decipher the mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life. Across the globe from here and thousands of years ago, ancient Chinese astronomers discovered the entire cosmos changes due to cyclical forces governed by two opposing principles, yin and yang, summed up in one ultimate principle, “Tai Chi,” where Chi is the energy of life and “the supreme ultimate”.

What started as a dream to help families with children suffering from cancer in San Diego County may be at risk with a status on Facebook announcing the sudden resignation of the entire board of Sons of Charity (SOC) along with several volunteers. The threads, which began Nov. 1, were similar in nature from board members and volunteers that they “will no longer have any affiliation with SOC or Sam Diego (Mejia),” founder and CEO.

At first, people could mistake her for a street vendor displaying her merchandise on the scorching hot asphalt in the parking lot in front of the El Cajon library. Redd is not selling anything. Redd is giving everything away. The homeless people who sleep in their cars on the lot or hang out across the street on the Promenade come in waves, knowing that today is Redd’s day.

It’s 5:30 AM on Saturday morning, a day when the temperatures are predicted to soar over 100 degrees, a day to keep the pets inside, and Lakeside is still sleeping, except for a handful of determined early risers. Minding their own business under their straw cowboy hats, they pull horse trailers and trucks on Moreno Avenue and unload tents, bales of hay, cooking supplies, tables and such. The Cowboy Challenge event is going to start soon and the gates are open for the competitors at 7:30 a.m.

A couple of miles down on the El Monte Road in Lakeside, you are going to lose your cell signal and may have to rely on your observational skills not to miss the big metal canister on the side of the road functioning as a directional prompt to slow down your horsepower and turn left on the dusty country road toward the Van Ommering dairy farm. Did you know pumpkins are fruits, 90 percent water and have family ties with the Squashes?

Typically closed to the public, the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field in El Cajon made an exception on Tuesday to host the second free edition of the Manufacturers Expo and Resource Fair.  Gathering almost 40 manufacturing companies mainly from the East County, community partners and local workforce, the fair aims to bridge a gap between businesses and the resources available.

“Sons of Charity” (SOC) calls them “the warrior kids,” and Sam Diego, the founder and president of this local non-profit organization, wears silly costumes to impress and inspire them, whether they are recovering on a hospital bed or during a music festival like the one organized last weekend at the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon. Tribuu Music Festival had its first annual edition as a fundraising event merging the idea of supporting tribute bands and singers with the main goal of raising funds to help out children battling cancer and their families.