El Cajon, CA
Broken clouds
Broken clouds:
64.4 °F

Articles by BJ Coleman

Masked and costumed ladies and gentlemen, dancing and entertainment, all to benefit area homeless persons — this was the fourth annual Royals Masquerade Ball staged by The Middle Eastern Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 21. 

More than 200 attendees engaged in a festive takeover of courtyard and gathering areas of downtown San Diego’s Horton Grand Hotel, each partygoer bringing a $10 gift card that would be given to a homeless local senior or military veteran for such necessities as food and clothing. 

Over 80 women leaders from around San Diego were nominated. Eight were selected for special recognition at the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce’s 15th annual Women in Leadership Luncheon on Sept. 22. The midday awards event was held at the Town and Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley.


September arrives with early fall remembrances of military veterans and others who have served, sacrificed and suffered in defending their fellow citizens in this country. On Sept. 11 during these 16 years since 2001, Patriot Day has been commemorated as the National Day of Service and Remembrance to honor and remember those who perished from the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and those who answered the call to rescue and recover victims of those assaults.

East County may have gotten high thermometer readings recently, but Santee combined totally hot licks, cool music and mellow times on Sept. 9 at Santee’s eighth annual Bluegrass Festival at Town Center Community Park East, a four-hour fundraiser conducted by the City of Santee on behalf of its advisory board the Santee Park and Recreation Committee.

Students and faculty members of Cuyamaca College came together with Chaldean community leaders for a pleasant respite from the day’s afternoon heat on Aug. 28. The hour-long event, a special “Celebration of Chaldean Culture and Traditions,” was one in a rotating series to honor and explore the multiple cultures of East County residents. Roughly a hundred attendees wandered into the college’s Grand Lawn area, where tables under canopies shielded event-goers from the sweltering temperatures.

Members of El Cajon volunteer organizations came together on the morning of Friday, August 25, to host and support food assistance to San Diego area active-duty and military veteran families. The hour-long event, held in the parking lot of El Cajon Elks Lodge #1812, was staged on behalf of Food 4 Warriors, a program offered by nonprofit charity Us 4 Warriors.

What can bring a crowd out on a warm, lazy midsummer evening? The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Summer Bash Business Expo can.

“The weather may be hot outside, but it’s cool in the La Mesa Chamber,” exclaimed Mary England, president and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, in surveying the full exhibit hall as the evening event commenced. The fourth annual expo in this series was held in the La Mesa Community Center on Aug. 17.

Military troops are known for a can-do attitude that remains undaunted by overcoming obstacles. Legionnaires with Santee American Legion Post 364 have persisted in their volunteer service efforts for fellow active-duty military and veterans’ families, despite being in the midst of construction of a new home for the organization’s meetings and other activities.

Middle East Chamber of Commerce recognized local businesses its 2017 Award for Excellence for impact within the community. The friendly business mixer and awards ceremony was held at the Hollywood Casino in Jamul on Aug. 10 in the upstairs Loft 94 sports bar. The bar abuts an open-air patio with a panoramic view of the surrounding hills, and offers a variety of beers and whiskeys, small-plate menu options and choice cigars.

The view from atop Mt. Helix was as spectacular as ever, romantically hazy in the cool evening air of Aug. 12. And the celebration of local artworks, music, food and beverages, all in the midst of a festive crowd, made the night magical.