El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

On the morning of Dec. 5, the air was still brisk at Gillespie Field when I met Howard Young at the hangar where he keeps his Beechcraft Bonanza airplane. Young has been a pilot with the local Eagle Flights for 10 years. The program matches a prospective student with a pilot mentor.

At 84 years old, Jeanne McAlister is beautiful, lively, and healthy, not at all the picture of an alcoholic that she once was. On Nov. 23, she celebrated 60 years of sobriety with hundreds of people who have come to know and love her.

There is no other sound in the world that can fill me up with an incredible joy and yearning the way bagpipe music can. So when I had the opportunity to meet members of the Cameron Highlanders, who practice at Helix High School in La Mesa, my heart leapt. 

If there’s one way to get kids to learn, it is bringing in animals. The kids visiting the Creation and Earth History Museum on Creation Day Family Festival on Nov. 5 had the opportunity to do just that.

“We’re going to a see a lot of awesome creatures today, many of them you’ve never seen before, I’m sure,” announced Nathan Hutcherson to a crowd of kids under the Main Stage tent.

The saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” is well demonstrated in the new business of Dan and Roz Oserin. Already owners of Pret-a-Porter Salon in La Mesa, the couple celebrated the grand opening on October 30 of Nainsook, their new art and frame shop located in La Mesa Village.

The Roserins have enjoyed the flexibility and connection with the community for the last 18 years with Pret-a-Porter.

The city of La Mesa has a name to live up to—Jewel of the Hills. The non-profit organization called La Mesa Beautiful helps it do that. Since 1974, the organization has worked to preserve and increase the beauty of the city, giving special recognition to buildings, businesses and residents that have beautified the public and private places of La Mesa.

In Santee, there is a nature sanctuary of ponds, birds, bullfrogs and rabbits, a spot of beauty in the most unlikely of places. This little oasis is light years away from the busy traffic off Town Parkway Center Drive. 

The 43rd Annual La Mesa Oktoberfest from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 was a most welcome event this year, helping t make good neighbors of everyone. The largest Oktoberfest celebration west of the Mississippi, La Mesa Oktoberfest has been a tradition of the city since 1973. People of all ages enjoy the street festival along La Mesa Boulevard as well as the food, music and dancing at the Allison Street Stage.

On Sept. 17, the hypnotic beat of Native American drums sounded out from the plaza area of St. Philip the Apostle Episcopal Church in Lemon Grove. The Quetzalhuitzilin Colibri group, also known as Danza Azteca, performed to celebrate the annual Latino and Hispanic Heritage Day of the San Diego Episcopal Diocese.

Families and friends gathered together to enjoy the dancers, luscious Filipino and Mexican food and drink, music and a children’s area with crafts, bounce house, mini carousel and balloons.

The jewelry display case at Golden Artistry in La Mesa Village sparkles with stones and metals and all things precious. Owner Terry Whyte is well known throughout East County for his nature-based custom designed jewelry. 

Whyte particularly enjoys working with 18k yellow gold. “It’s soft and easy to form, has rich color, and it polishes in a snap,” he said.

Any favorite gemstones? “I like all stones,” he said.