El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Mike Allen

Despite the deluge of rain in recent weeks, officials at the Padre Dam Municipal Water District continue working on a regional water reclamation program that converts sewage discharge into drinkable water.

Judging from a Feb. 9 town hall meeting hosted by newly elected City Councilman Ben Kalasho, the biggest problem facing El Cajon is a surge in the homeless population.

At a packed assembly estimated at 80 residents held at the El Cajon Police Station, a majority questioned Kalasho about what the city is now doing to address the growing numbers of unsheltered neighbors, and what more can be done.

After a five- hour meeting that stretched into the early morning hours of Jan. 26, the Santee City Council appointed former member Brian Jones to take his old job from an applicant field of 34 residents.

The council voted 3-1 to appoint Jones from an applicant field of 34 residents to the seat left vacant when John Minto was elected mayor in November. The position has about two years remaining, and Jones said he plans to run for the state Senate seat now held by Sen. Joel Anderson who will be termed out in 2018.

The Santee City Council decided to appoint a new member to its five-member board and hold an open interview process scheduled for its next meeting, Jan. 25.

At its Jan. 11 meeting, the first of the New Year, the council addressed the issue of replacing the seat vacated when John Minto was elected mayor in November. In the motion that passed 3-1 with Rob McNelis opposed, the council agreed to appoint a new member following a public interview process.

Santee neighbors to the controversial Castlerock housing project aired a variety of grievances to city officials and the developer recently, many questioning how it ever got approved.

While the 415-unit residential project next to Santee Lakes has been planned for about a decade and approved by both the cities of San Diego and Santee three years ago, residents have been logging complaints since grading began in July.

Grantville-based Groundswell Brewing Co., only three years old and a minor player in San Diego’s booming craft beer industry, stepped up its game recently by buying most of the assets of failed Twisted Manzanita Brewing Co.

While President Kevin Rhodes declined to reveal the price paid for Twisted Manzanita’s beer making equipment, he was definitely thrilled about the prospects of greatly expanding his brewery’s operations.

One of the first local American Indian tribes to get into gaming in San Diego County, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, plans to expand once again, this time to build a an 11-story, 300 room hotel along with increasing its casino, and adding other elements to its reservation.

Having carved out an impressive career as a chef, Rey Knight always had a vision for pairing good food and homemade beer, and he realized that vision in Santee.

His small business Butcher’s Brewery re-launched this month as Finest Made Ales, continuing to make quality craft beer, with the food element on the way.

“This was an evolution for me. I was a chef for 15 years before getting into the brewery business. But I always had a plan to pair food with beer,” Knight said.

At the end of a contentious meeting that lasted nearly five hours, the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors voted 4-3 to take steps towards returning full control over its fire protection and terminate its contract with Cal Fire.

The San Miguel district is the largest in the county, and covers 47 square miles including Casa de Oro, Spring Valley, Grossmont, Mt. Helix, Rancho San Diego, Dehesa, Crest, Bostonia, and unincorporated parts of El Cajon and La Mesa.

At his first Olympics in London four years ago, Nic Long was just happy to be there. The professional BMX racer has a completely different approach this time around.

Long, 26 and a lifelong resident of Lakeside, performed so well on the BMX circuit this year, he racked up enough points to qualify for the U.S. team headed to Rio de Janeiro in August.