El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

Rock painting, which was popularized several years ago around the nation, even around the world, has a strong following in our own East San Diego County, especially among Santee Rocks, the largest group in the county. Fads come and go. It is up for grabs what trend will stay around, but rock painting may be around quite a long time, and there are many good reasons why.

With all the songs about Christmas caroling, you would think that is what everybody still does. But it is a tradition that has rather faded over the years.

Luckily, a few people still hold fast to this custom, making hearts merry and bright. That is what La Mesa First United Methodist Church has been doing for the last 30 years.

This year on Sunday, Dec. 16 after the church service, the carolers, including several young people from the ages of six to 17, gathered for a lunch of homemade chili in the fellowship hall.

La Mesa is growing in popularity as the place for culinary comfort. But one thing it has lacked is a good pizza place to chill and hang out.

As of this month, that has changed, with the arrival of Surf Rider Pizza Co., an East Coast style eatery and comfortable beach hangout that first arrived in the Ocean Beach community eight years ago.

It is nearly impossible to sit still or not smile when watching a practice or performance by students and instructors of the Origin Hip Hop Performing Arts Academy in El Cajon. Their energy is a bright and fun and just plain contagious.

A family owned business, Origin keeps people hopping, thanks to the dance experience of owner Cheryl Frye. 

The fall semester at Grossmont College is always an invigorating time. New ideas and subjects are explored, a the 2018 Art Faculty and Staff Exhibit at the college’s Hyde Gallery features paintings, photographs, sculpture and other works which encourage this concept.

Victor Ochoa, who teaches art at the college—and has painted many of the murals at Chicano Park--dropped in to enjoy the works by his artist colleagues.

The work of Blake Shaw, a local photographer, is now on exhibit at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center. Viewers will want to take their time studying the portraits of the birds Shaw has photographed in their natural environment. 

         As an ophthalmologist, Shaw said he has always had a vested interest in being able to see clearly. It was natural, then, to gravitate toward photography. Until about ten years ago, most of his photography was about travel or sports.

One of the International Lions Club’s favorite programs is hosting and sending of foreign exchange students. For a few weeks each summer, students from around the world come to the cities of various Lions Clubs to spend time with host families. This year, students from Brazil, Germany, France and Belgium have been welcomed into host families of the local Lions Clubs of La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley.

The program, which began in 1961, gives youth a unique cultural experience.

Summertime is not a good time for kids to be spending indoors. It is the best time to be outdoors.

Darcy Fagerwold, owner of Expressions Dance and Movement in Santee, took this to heart, bringing a choreography dance camp outside to Santee Lakes.

On July 20, about fifty people put their lawn chairs down in front of the amphitheater at Lake Five.

Fagerwold walked up to the microphone at the amphitheater and welcomed everyone.

Last Saturday, June 2, the sun shone brightly–a welcome reprieve from the May Gray hanging around for a month. It was a good day to celebrate the Grand Opening of the brand-new El Cajon Animal Shelter, a state-of-the-art $10 million building of 15,000 square feet.

The shelter had been approved by a vote of the people for Proposition O in 2004. The old facility was 61 years old.

“It was literally crumbling,” said Jill Jones, manager of the shelter. “The people of El Cajon really deserved this new facility.”

On International Women’s Day, March 8, the Hyde Gallery at Grossmont College had an opening reception for its double exhibit of “Don’t Hold Still,” an exhibit of tintypes and late 19th century photographs of women; and “Greater Than,” an exhibition of work by sculpture artist Sara Parent-Ramos.