El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Gary E. Mitrovich

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.

The 2017 El Capitan High School Vaqueros football team held with annual tradition on Aug. 2, as they proudly ran down Maine Avenue in historic Downtown Lakeside for the 13th year in a row. The run has evolved into a highly anticipated local event marking the beginning of the football season. Several hundred people were in attendance.

Over 100 folks were on hand July 27, all to celebrate the grand opening of the newest Crunch Fitness center, which has landed here in Lakeside. Located at 9720 Winter Gardens Boulevard (the site of the old “Fresh & Easy” grocery store), Crunch is a 24-hour gym with shiny, state-of-the-art equipment and monthly membership fees as low as about $10. If this day was any indication, the place is going to be very popular.

December 7, 1941 was not only a “day of infamy” for the United States. It was a day that found one Lakeside resident in the middle of history. Adam Romero was aboard the USS Dobbin, anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when the bombs fell from the sky.

When people learn Romero is a Pearl survivor, he gets a lot of questions. But he doesn’t mind talking about it.

Rattlesnake Mountain is a fairly well known landmark to east county residents. Standing tall east of Gillespie Field, the western face is in fact the City of Santee, the eastern side in unincorporated Lakeside. It is the site of the Sky Ranch community and a large antenna array at its peak. During years past, the 1200-foot mountain has been capped with a lighted star during the holiday season, probably its most famous trait. But Rattlesnake Mountain is also home to a 368-acre land preserve, something most residents and neighbors are unaware of.

Lakeside third graders were treated with the annual Living History Days earlier this month, hosted by the Lakeside Historical Society. Over 500 students from four local elementary schools descended upon the Olde Community Church to learn about life in the old days.