El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

Contrary to its funny-sounding name, no sour faces can be found on the people who play pickleball at the Lakeside Community Center. There are, however, a lot of healthy laughs and big smiles, as on the evening of May 1 when about 25 players gathered to play.

Debra Childers, founder of Feeding the Flock, has friends everywhere. And those friends are always willing to help those who have less than they do. Wherever she goes, from church to lunch meetings, from Wells Park in El Cajon to Smart and Final stores, not only does Childers get lots of smiles, she ends up with a bounty of blessings and armloads of food for whoever needs them.

“We’ve grown so big that we have to have a fundraiser now, our first really big one for the public,” said Childers.

It was another history-making weekend in Santee from April 22 through April 25. Volunteers had the unique opportunity of painting a panel of six murals on the Magnolia Street bridge underpass next to the Walker Preserve Trail along the San Diego River. Renowned mural artist Lori Escalera oversaw the work of the volunteers. 

“This is cool,” said Maya Clark, a Santee resident. She was painting berries on one of the panels. 

Photography by Scott Streit and Gerald Tietje are featured in this month’s exhibit, “Focus on Nature: Beaks and Peaks” at Mission Trails Regional Park in the Visitor’s Center. The beauty of the photographs in this exhibit proves that photography is indeed art.

Favorite subjects of both Streit and Tietje are birds. Streit said that bird photography is so much more than pointing a camera and shooting.

El Cajon resident Sue Slaughter has a mission in mind. She wants to educate as many people as she can about the beauty and purpose of monarch butterflies. It all started when she purchased a monarch chrysalis at a nature event just a few years ago.

At first she thought the chrysalis was dead because nothing happened for a week. Then all of a sudden it started changing colors. 

When Spring Valley resident Carol Phillips shows to teach her Senior Fitness classes, people know what to expect. A former teacher and vice principal, she knows how to take command of a room as soon as she walks in. Phillips leads all the group of exercise students age 50 and over into light aerobics.

By the time they are all lightly huffing and puffing, she tells everyone to get out their weights.

But she tells them to drink some water first. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

When Angela Kretschmar was the secretary for New Seasons Church in Spring Valley several years ago, she came face to face with the hunger needs of that community. One day a family came to the church and asked for food from the church’s “Crisis Closet.” That was when the door to Kretschmar’s heart opened wide.

The church started the food pantry, which led Kretschmar to trying to meet the other needs that the community presented, such as food and nutrition resources, hot meals, and reading programs. 

It’s difficult to describe the Salton Sea to someone who has never seen the gigantic sinkhole of water in the Imperial Valley. At 35 miles long, 15 miles wide and 332 feet below sea level, the Salton Sea is basically a landlocked extension of the Gulf of California. Yet it is so much more, and worth making a day’s drive out.

Chollas Lake Park is a hidden treasure nestled in a luscious grove of trees just minutes from downtown Lemon Grove. Located on College Grove Drive off the CA 94 highway, the lake provides a variety of activities for the whole family. The lake and surrounding trails are open each day from 6:30 a.m. until a half hour before sunset. 

An afternoon to remember is what most people at the Lemon Grove Library would call Louise Mathews’ lecture and story telling about her experiences as a cook for jails. On February 6, attendees were treated to a luscious helping of stories based on her book, “Jail House Cuisine: From the Right Side of the Bars.”