El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

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.

Like clockwork, a group of friends show up regularly each Friday evening for the Concert on the Promenade. They set up their chairs towards the back of the promenade, sitting down only long enough to get a sip of water before they’re up on their feet. Almost as soon as the band strikes up the first song, they begin line dancing.

The group grows a little larger each month, particularly as new line dance lessons start up. Line dancing has been popular for many reasons.

When little girls like 4-year-old Dayna Ryken run up to Stephanie Schauer, the 2012 title holder of Miss El Cajon, Ryken reaches down to hug and talk to them. She dances with them, too, at the Concerts on the Promenade. For Schauer, being Miss El Cajon is more important than having won the crown, cash and clout. She is the very picture of congeniality.

Schauer admits that the most exciting part of her role as Miss El Cajon is interacting with the kids in the community.

Mac Vitties has been a landmark in the ballroom dance scene for morethan 50 years
In 1959, Mr. Mac Vittie first opened the 2,000 square-foot studio with its waxed hardwood floors on the second floor of the commercial building. The dance studio was one of the first privately owned in San Diego County.

Becoming a successful counselor has been a challenging journey for newly published author Josee D’Amore, who opened her own office in La Mesa last year.
Her path has been, and still is, rewarding, even with the sticks and stones that have turned up whenever she faced the challenge of forgiving others.