El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Gary E. Mitrovich

One of the many things the New Year brings our community is the Steak and Stein dinner at the Lakeside Rodeo grounds. The annual meal serves to bring together Lakeside community members to mingle, show appreciation, consider sponsorships, and remind us of just how fortunate we are to have the El Capitan Stadium Association. 

It has been 76 years since the tragic events of Pearl Harbor, a day that shocked our nation to its core. Over 2400 souls were lost that day; another 2,000 or so were injured. As the years have passed, we have fewer survivors to honor, until one day soon there will be none left. However, we must never cease to remember those who both died in the attack or survived to fight another day. We must do this for their families and for our country – let us never forget to honor those men and women who sacrificed for us.

As Andy Williams croons, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And it is once again upon us. As in years’ past, Lakeside has a whole passel of things to do - both for the family and for others – to celebrate the Holiday Season.

You need a big calendar to track all the events coming up in town. To make it a little easier for you, here are some of my favorites:

When Tim Boice was in high school, his vision for the future included pitching for a major league baseball team. Being confined to a wheelchair was not a thought until he suffered a debilitating spinal injury; now it is his only option. But Tim uses his story and his life to teach others.

“Use your mind, affect your body,” Tim says, adding that for a disabling injury, “prevention is the only cure. I’m preaching prevention.”

Lakeside’s Todd Owens had a question for Supervisor Dianne Jacob at one of her “Coffee with Constituents” community meetings earlier this year.

“What are you doing about cleaning up all the trash around Lakeside?”

Her reply was immediate and to the point: “What are you doing about it, Todd?”

In its 16th year, the annual Kids Care Fest hit the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds for the third straight year on Oct.14. Though the day was hot and clear, families were filing into the event even before it had opened. Last year, the event drew nearly 1,000 people – adults and youngsters. That’s one of the beauties of this Care Fest – they will take care of anybody, kids and families alike. The 3F health festival – Free Fun Family – was full of check-ups and preventative information and much more.

Robin Rierdan – the smart, enthusiastic, and energetic Executive Director of Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy – hosted one of her semi-regular hikes along the San Diego River this past September 22nd. She led a group of about a dozen Lakesiders along the High Trail, from Channel Road all the way to Magnolia Avenue in Santee. This leisurely and level walk on the well maintained trail included many stops and much fascinating information shared about one of our community’s natural jewels.

“If you take care of the community, they will take care of you.”

David Lizarraga believes in these words – they are his words to live by. And that’s a good thing, because he is part of the Lakeside community.

Donna Bridgeman and Andrea Laub smiled under their brand-new, red and white striped awning. Though celebrating 32 years in business, they were just as happy to be out of the sun in Lakeside’s 100-degree heat.

A graduation is a time for congratulations for an honored accomplishment. It is a segue from a former life into a new one. Such was never truer than for the 13 recent graduates of the 45th Class of the East County Drug Court. Not only did they celebrate an achievement, they recognized a new beginning and an important turning point in their lives. And they celebrated sobriety.