El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

From the Grove Grinder on Thanksgiving Day, the aroma of a turkey dinner replete with pumpkin pie will fill the air. For the 8th year in a row, the Lemon Grove sandwich shop will offer a free Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to some very special people. Active-duty service members unable to be home for the holiday and local on-duty first responders will get a sense of family they’ll need on that day.

“People who need a place for Thanksgiving can come in here, sit down and eat and talk with others, and even watch football,” said owner Sharon Jones.

Mid-afternoon on the Promenade at El Cajon’s Centennial celebration, people stopped everything they were doing to watch an unusual group begin dancing. The D.J. started up the song, “Stand by Me,” and suddenly 40 walkers and rollers of the Wheelchair Dance Organization wowed the crowd with a well-choreographed bachata dance.

In honor of the El Cajon Centennial, which took place on Monday, Nov. 12th throughout downtown El Cajon, Lynn Caruso, a teacher at Chase Avenue Elementary School gave a presentation at the local library addressing the El Cajon Historical Society called “The Child’s Eye View of Old El Cajon”

Patients brighten up when Eileen Cowles, a Registered Dietician, comes into their hospital rooms. But even Cowles admits that they cheer up even more when she brings her friend Elliott with her. In fact, when Cowles pushes the stroller in which Elliot rides like a chariot, the patients nearly break out laughing.

Elliott is a long-haired Himalayan Flame Point. He loves the attention he can get, and the patients love giving it to him. The unusual partnership began nearly four and a half years ago when Cowles came home with the cat from a breeder.

A native of California, having grown up in Los Angeles, Doyle Mckee is one of the few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors. Having enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18, just six months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Mckee ended up dedicating his life to the service for 37 years. Now a resident of Sun Garden Terrace, Mckee will be honored there at a ceremony on Veterans Day at the home.

Mckee said that at a recent church service held at Sun Garden Terrace, the pastor posed this question to the congregation: “If God gave you one favor, what would it be?”

Dixie Sampier, a member of East County Arts Association, invited everyone to her demonstration on creating a collage last week at the Rancho San Diego Library. The Santee resident is well-known locally for her first-rate watercolors and oils and, more recently, her collages, many of them with a coffee theme.

Sampier was the featured artist at this month’s ECAA meeting , which is always held at the library. She talked about collage as her most recently favored art form for its choice of textures, colors and the use of personal items.

For the past year, community members have patiently waited for the next tenant of the large space formerly the home of Friendly Grounds. Located in Carlton Oaks Plaza with the Santee Library and several small businesses, Kaffee Meister is the long-anticipated new gathering place.

In just its second week of being open at the new location, Kaffee Meister has had a steady draw of people in search of a specially brewed cup of java.

Wheelchair Dancers Organization of San Diego is looking for able-bodied dancers to partner up with wheelchair users. The organization is one of only two established ballroom and Latin wheelchair dance programs in the nation.

Owner of the newly opened Dance Whisperer studio in El Cajon, Joe Torres has made it his mission to teach wheelchair users. Each Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Challenge Center in La Mesa, a dozen volunteer able-bodied dancers show up to partner with wheelchair users.

As artistic director and owner of Dance Scene in El Cajon since 1997, Sandy Arce has her hand on the pulse of East County’s dance scene. The studio has been a favorite place for dance moms before the name was even coined.

Originally a teacher at Dance Scene before she purchased the studio, Arce has the philosophy that the studio should be a place where “dancers can attain their personal best.” In fact, Arce believes that the prominent foundation of having fun while dancing is the secret of the studio’s longevity.

San Diego Bay was filled with colorful sails and lively crews on catamarans and race boats last weekend. The 10th Annual Sharp HospiceCare Benefit Regatta, starting from the Coronado Yacht Club, netted over $240,000 for the Homes for Hospice campaign. The money will go to maintain Sharp’s two hospice homes, one of which is in La Mesa.