El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

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.

Each spring, the Student Art Exhibition at the Grossmont College Hyde Gallery is a happy occasion. This year, on May 16, the exhibit felt very much like a party. The reception was a celebration of the students’ achievements in art as much as it was of the gallery’s re-inventing of itself.

“Everyone whose work is on the walls is to be congratulated,” said Suda House, long-time professor of photography at the college.

If you’re looking for a good hike for the early morning or late afternoon in the Lakeside area where you will be rewarded with refreshing shade and peaceful woodlands along the way, Oakoasis Open Space Preserve is the trail for you. Located off Wildcat Canyon Road, the preserve encompasses 397 acres of chaparral and oak woodlands. Part of the preserve trail system is included in the 110-mile Trans-County Trail being developed between Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

At the El Cajon Library last weekend, teenage girls were walking away not with an armload of books, but with their very own prom dresses. The event, organized by Youth Services Librarian Miko Osada, was the Prom Dress Giveaway.

Osada said that the first year she held the event at the library, they did not have enough dress donations. This year and last, however, Princess Project has partnered with the library and is now the main sponsor for the dress giveaway. The organization is the major donor of dresses of all sizes and colors.

Even before Hezhi Naseem had finished unloading her cart of books at the Traveling Stories tent last Thursday at the El Cajon Farmers’ Market, kids were already choosing what books they wanted to read. It’s a typical scene each Thursday afternoon.

Naseem is the field director of Traveling Stories. She is grateful for the overwhelming response by parents who bring their kids to the StoryTent, and by kids telling each other about it.

Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures is a little-known jewel to be discovered in Julian. Located on the highway going into the mountain town, the place has become popular mostly by word of mouth, but its owners Doreen and Jesse Cross want to get their place on the map for fun things to do at their unique living history farm.

This family owned business has a focus on hands-on education. It was named after Jesse Cross’s family name. 

Jason Humphrey used to scrawl graffiti over buildings and walls as a teenager in Los Angeles. Through a turn of events and a decision of his own, the La Mesa resident is now one of San Diego’s best-loved pen and ink artists. His work will be featured at the Mission Federal ArtWalk the weekend of April 29-30.

Humphrey has been a presence at the ArtWalk for several years. “They have seen my progression as an artist, as well as the evolving nature of my art.

Rancho San Diego resident Megan Westfield is not what you’d typically think of as a Navy veteran. In her 30s, Westfield is a wife and mother of two children—and what’s more—a romance writer and mountain climber. Her new novel, “Lessons in Gravity,” was released late in 2016.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, nearly 150 employees and staff of Sharp Grossmont Hospital gathered on the helipad to commemorate World Cancer Day. With all of them wearing lavender and sporting lavender ribbons, they formed a giant human ribbon in a show of unity against all cancers. 

The event was the 2nd annual such observance of the hospital since Scott Evans became the hospital’s CEO.  

The La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center Hosted a Holiday Open House on Dec. 14. The morning was already heating up outside with temperatures reaching close to the 70’s as people lined up to get plates of cheese, sandwiches, fruit, cookies and coffee. Heads turned when about 30 boys wearing black suits, white shirts and red ties filed into the room.