El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

What started out as a small organization by Mac and Ruth Wordell in 1974, La Mesa Beautiful has laid down some deep roots. The 39th Annual Awards Luncheon at the La Mesa Community Center on October 12, 2017 recognized residents and businesses within La Mesa who have ensured that the city remains the “Jewel of the Hills.”

“La Mesa Beautiful is an important organization, small but mighty,” said La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis. 

The drumming and haunting chants of men in native song, the swirl of color, feathers and beads of Native American dance was all part of the thrill at the 28th Annual Sycuan Powwow on the Sycuan reservation near the casino. The annual powwow, which took place this year Sept. 8 - 10, is a source of pride for the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

It’s the start of the new academic year at Grossmont College, and the Hyde Gallery’s first exhibit for the fall semester will take you in by the intricacy and detail of the art. “If You Lived Here” features pencil and ink drawings as well as etchings and will run through September 14.

The exhibit shows 25 artists, all members of West Coast Drawing. The organization highlights the importance of drawing. 

For the 15th year in a row, Sharp HospiceCare held its annual Benefit Dinner and Regatta. “Celebrating Life” was the motto for this year’s events. The Benefit Dinner on August 26 hosted 500 people at the Hotel del Coronado. The next day, 43 sailboats participated in the race in the bay, with 700 on 38 yachts from Coronado Yacht Club watching the colorful spinnakers out on the sparkling water.  

The war in Afghanistan and Iraq is hellish, seemingly never-ending. Yet U.S. troops see some hope in fighting the Taliban and insurgents through help from the people who live there and sign on as interpreters. They do so, risking their own lives to help the soldiers and sailors who are doing their best to bring stability into a country wracked with fighting. 

On July 9, La Mesa Beautiful gave twelve residents of La Mesa Spirit Awards for their creative home landscapes showcasing drought-tolerant plants and other water-saving features. 

“The purpose of La Mesa Beautiful,” explained President Sharon Fitzpatrick, “is to promote, coordinate and advance beautification activities to make La Mesa a more beautiful place to live.”

 The summer is long and lazy, and sometimes you just want to read or relax for a couple of hours with an iced frappuccino or a cup of joe and a tidbit. Brew Coffee Spot is the new favorite go-to place for locals.

In many ways, Alexandria Freeman, a student at St. Martin’s Academy in La Mesa, is very much like other 13-year-old girls. She likes animals and hanging out with her friends in her Girl Scout troop. Yet she is one of only fifteen girls in the world selected to attend an immersion trip to India with the Girl Scouts Destinations travel program. 

Ever seen an alpaca? Perhaps all you know of them is that they spit at people, like the famous closing scene in “Evan Almighty.” But in reality, these animals would be hard-pressed to do so. With wool as soft as angel clouds, alpacas are more likely to be your friend.

When George Miladin started taking piano lessons at 6 years old, he had no idea he would one day be not only entertaining people, but nicknamed the “Piano Playing Pastor.” He lives up to that name to this day, enthralling people with ballads, classical pieces and jazzy arrangements.

The audience at the monthly senior luncheon at Del Cerro Baptist Church on May 16 was already familiar with his piano playing; he plays for the church’s Joymakers group each week.