El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

High expectations and excitement were the order of the day at the Grand opening of San Diego Christian College in Santee on January 20. It was nearly a year since the college had celebrated the acquisition of the property. 

For English major Annie Boettner, 19, first classes would take place the next day at the new campus.

Cassandra Kunze took home the title of Miss California USA 2014 earlier this month. The Grossmont High School honor graduate and current SDSU student is no stranger to pageants, or East County. She took the title of 2008 Mother Goose Parade Queen at 14 years old. She also served as Miss Teen San Diego County and Miss Teenage California in 2012.

Author Zohreh Ghahremani arrived at her presentation in the Rancho San Diego Library’s Community Room to an audience who was already reading aloud parts of her book “Sky of Red Poppies.” Unlike many authors who are reticent, Ghahremani immediately engaged everyone with her generous smile and talk about her life.

Mission Trails Regional Park is a gateway to the wonders of nature in East County. Through the next month, the Visitor Center Art Gallery will offer a gateway for Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) art students. The exhibition includes 59 pieces of art created by top student artists representing 11 of the 12 high schools within GUHSD. 

Bundled up from the cold, book-lovers walked into Sunbelt Publications for a feast of books and food last Thursday, Dec. 5. The annual holiday party featured owner Diana Lindsay’s famous chili with all the fixings. The steaming mixture of corn, beans, tomatoes and meat took the edge off the chill.

Sunbelt is a favorite of outdoor enthusiasts within the local community. Owners Diana and Lowell Lindsay are revered for their passion for the natural world. They invited authors to speak about their books for the evening.

When Dan Haslam leaves from his house at the north end of Santee, he looks around at the mountain views before he heads out for a ride on the trolley or a walk. A retired lawyer, he made it his hobby to learn as much as he can about where he lives and then show and tell others about it on a walk.

Since 1993, La Mesa Pet Therapy has been delivering warm fuzzy feelings for people as well as pets. More than 100 dogs and four cats have been approved for the life-changing assignment of visiting people in homes and hospitals around the county.

Lu Zemlick, coordinator of the program, said that a happy, responsive attitude in the senior population is as rewarding for the volunteer as it is for the patient.

Once herself a shut-in, Debra Childers now cooks up meals for people who are stuck at home due to illness or injury. Childers, a La Mesa resident, heads up Feeding the Flock, a project of the Kitchen Ministry at Rock Church East County.

When Childers walks into a room, she brightens up the place with her big blue eyes and warm laughter. She is always offering up something delicious like Cookie Gooey Bar, one of her newest creations.

When a client walks into the Pret-a-Porter, which is French for “ready to wear,” she is greeted by a light fragrance similar to herbs growing in the garden. 

“That’s the fragrance of Aveda’s line of products,” said Arlette Leggitt, manager of the salon.

Another fragrance also emanates from the sanded and polished wood of the salon’s newly refaced furniture. Yet the furniture is not of mahogany or other expensive wood. 

Boxes of books, photos and keepsakes nearly submerged Lynnette Wilson in her office at the Grossmont College Graphics Department.  She was packing up on her last day of 43 years of work at the college. When her co-worker, Jamie Gassert, stepped into the office, Wilson peered at her from around the stacks of books. 

“It’s time, Lynnette,” said Gassert. “Come with me.”