El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

La Mesa resident Christopher Quinn has made a major career change. Once an accountant and later an educator, Quinn is now preaching minister at Johnson Avenue Church of Christ in El Cajon. His story will inspire people who decide to follow God’s call no matter where or how far it takes them.

Classic tales like “Romeo and Juliet” live endlessly throughout the centuries because of their overarching truth about human nature. The age-old story of two star-crossed lovers in impossible circumstances works because we can imagine it in any setting. This is precisely what the Theatre Arts Department of Grossmont College has done.

Jazz music is like a good bowl of gumbo. All the ingredients are from different cultures blending into a soul-pleasing mixture. In San Diego, many people are hungry for jazz because they can’t find enough of it. The San Diego culture and lifestyle is not yet ripe for it. Dar Lilly, a La Mesa resident, is on a quest to change that.

Lemon Grove has a very special tie to Balboa Park’s centennial celebration. Ed Roxburgh, a Lemon Grove resident, has painted the park for the last several decades. At the Lemon Grove Library, the current exhibit “Landscapes of Balboa Park” features some of his work.

Last weekend at a special presentation, the president of the Lemon Grove Historical Society Helen Ofield introduced Roxburgh as the “heir apparent for the artists before him.”

Artists usually find that the most challenging aspect of their work is marketing. Trying to mix art with business is like mixing colors that don’t work together. But a wonderful set-up in La Mesa, called the Business Center of La Mesa, headed up by Phil Mann, has made a match made in heaven for art and business.

An article that she read in Parade magazine and her love for books led Heather Sheppard to start up something big in La Mesa. The story was about Todd Bol, a schoolteacher in Hudson, Wisconsin, who started up his Little Free Library project in 2009.

The first thing customers notice when they walk into the door of The Elegant Man in downtown El Cajon is the European look of the place. The shop is bold, bright and light. Owner Mike Odeesho greets customers with a dashing smile, offering help or advice with size and style.

His wife Elena greets customers, too, from the desk in the back where she helps with the paperwork. Their 4-year-old Lynette sits quietly nearby, playing games on her own little IPad.

The landscape of Mission Trails Park is never the same from moment to moment. Last Saturday, fat, puffy clouds skittered across the sky, deepening the color of the peaks and valleys in the park. Shadows moved across the trees and over the boulders. It was the kind of scene that Joan Hansen loved to paint.

Downtown La Mesa is a favorite destination spot for people to dine, shop and hang out. Its tree-lined streets, low-lying buildings and cobblestone streets invite people for a small town Main Street experience.

Since March of 2008, the City Council has been working behind-the-scenes to make the village even more attractive. The council authorized the allocation of $300K from the Downtown Parking Fund to prepare the Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Program, according to the city’s website.

El Cajon resident Hazel Ross is highly regarded as a mentor of artists in East County. Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, the lady puts all artists, whether they are young, old and inexperienced at ease. More than that, she encourages them to reach for their highest potential. Ross credits her mother with teaching her the value of art.“She believed in exposing a child to cultural experience. She took me to see Hamlet when I was eight,” she said.