El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

Susan Phillips’ job can be difficult. As the teacher liaison between Grossmont Union High School District and Mission Trails Regional Park, she must choose among the hundreds of students’ artwork to exhibit at MTRP. This year, she chose the work of dozens of eight students from each high school for the current exhibit of Natural Views.

The art is displayed on the walls of the MTRP Visitor’s Center. The students were honored with a reception on Dec. 12, 2015.

Tucked away in La Mesa’s light industrial district on Center Avenue is Get Centered Clay, a working pottery studio. On Dec. 5, owner Elly Dotseth opened her studio to the public in a holiday show and sale.

Customers admired the design and detail of the jars and mugs, bowls and plates lining the shelves. Laurel Bernstein chose a leaf platter that her friend Michele Palmer had made.

Palmer said that the platter was made with a leaf that dropped from a tree in Balboa Park.

For many people, the idea of getting off the couch and away from the television set on the day after Thanksgiving usually means a trip to the mall. But Pomegranate Days at the Camel Oasis Dairy in Ramona offered a refreshing alternative. The clouds were black and blue and the air was downright chilly, but that didn’t stop either the kids or the adults from enjoying the antics of camels and turkeys.  

With a cockatoo perched on her shoulder, Nancy Riegler welcomed everyone to the 34-acre dairy. 

Standing at 6’4”, Kira Anthofer turns heads when she walks into a room. The owner and president of Centinela Senior Solutions in La Mesa uses her height to others’ advantage. People want to talk with her, and she in turn listens carefully to them, especially the elderly.

When the Joymakers Choir gathers for practice each Wednesday morning in Del Cerro Baptist Church in La Mesa, Eldon Emig, president of the choir, directs them all in their warmup song, “This is the Day the Lord Has Made.”

Then the director of the choir, Paul Plunk, has them line up so they can give each other a light massage on the upper shoulders before they sit down to practice. 

Draped in luxuriant shade by Coast Live Oak trees, Louis A Stelzer County Park was the perfect place for the 2nd Annual Acorn Harvest Festival. Kids of all ages listened to Park Ranger Michelle Levesque explain how the Kumeyaay used acorns for food.

Two bins of acorns were at Levesque’s feet, one of them filled with water.

For Claudia Sandoval, cooking is far more than a daily chore or even a pastime. The La Mesa resident captured national attention when she won this season’s “MasterChef” on Sept. 16. Sandoval is the first Latina to win the title.

By nature of their career, writers tend to be loners. When they do get out and socialize, it is often with other writers. The month of November just so happens to be the perfect time to do this with NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month. At the La Mesa Library, Kim Keeline of San Diego Writers Ink held a workshop for people to help them get started on their own novel projects,

At the Water Conservation Garden in Rancho San Diego, the evening of Oct. 17 was a magical one. Faeries and fanciful creatures cavorted in the garden while guests sipped elegant drinks and bid on silent auction items. Twinkle lights and pretty gazebos dazzled the imagination at the second annual Enchanted Garden Gala.

The one thing that patients often complain about when they are in the hospital is the food. Thanks to two celebrated San Diego chefs that has changed in the last month with the redesigned kitchen menu at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

For the Sodexo team at Sharp Grossmont, the new executive chefs Larry Banares and William Sauer liven up the hospital food, bringing smiles and good health to patients through more than a thousand meals.