El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

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.  

A very special fundraiser for a Lakeside man and his family is planned for Friday, Oct. 16 at the Lakeside VFW. Diagnosed with colon cancer in December 2009, Alex Morgan has made it his last wish to have his family together in Idaho for Thanksgiving. The fundraiser will help make that possible. 

“I am so happy and hope to be well enough to make the fundraiser event,” Morgan said. 

And why Idaho for his family Thanksgiving? 

At the family-run New York Bakery in El Cajon, business has always been a delicious matter with Santo DiGrigoli manning the kitchen. When the bakery closed its doors a couple of years ago to reorganize the business, their loyal customers hoped for the best. On June 14, 2014, the bakery finally reopened.

La Mesa resident John Fanestil, an ordained pastor of the United Methodist Church, is a living testament of what friendship extending across the international border can look like. Each Sunday afternoon at the big wall separating the U.S. from Mexico in Friendship Park within Border Field State Park, Fanestil holds a binational communion service of the El Faro: The Border Church in English and Spanish.

On the evening of Sept. 14, hundreds of people from Temple Emanu el, Tifereth Israel Synagogue and Tree of Life gathered in a circle at Lake Murray. They sang songs in Hebrew and English to celebrate the traditional Tashlich service.

Singing together has a way of bringing people closer, as the California Note Catchers well know. The women’s barbershop chorus unites in precise harmony, even as they practice every Monday evening in the Social Hall of La Mesa United Methodist Church.

Anita Reith, a member of the chorus for 14 years, keeps coming back to sing in the chorus because it’s a healthy thing for her to do. “It’s good for my whole body to sing,” she said.