El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Spring Valley resident, Brianna “Bree” Benyard, sang the National Anthem at the San Diego Padre game on Aug. 2? She sang and sang well. The crowd roared. She was greeted with high-fives and verbal affirmations in the tunnel leaving the field.  This was her first time performing solo and a cappella at a Padre game. However fleeting and quick her performance was there; it will be on YouTube for a long time.

“I just want to say “Thank you to all the police officers,” said 9-year-old Skyler Weeden. Weeden was attending the National Night Out at Santee’s Trolley Square on Aug. 1 with her family. The annual community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. These nation-wide block parties include a variety of activities for kids, such as clowns for face painting and making sword balloons, food, and many law enforcement exhibits, vehicles, and demonstrations.

The costumes are as much a part of the show as the shows themselves. Walking or dining in the Gaslamp Quarter, or almost anywhere downtown, offered up visual feasts of costumes on kids and adults. Downtown and surrounding areas were even decorated with all things Comic Con. Huge posters, projected pictures, wrapped trolleys, street poles, and more reflected everything Comic Con. Comic Con is a festival that all of San Diego County’s residents can attend or enjoy in their own way.

Santee resident, Joseph (Joe) Hamilton, will be participating, in memory of his mother, Margie, in the 8th Annual San Diego Free to Breathe 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Walk, at the Embarcadero on Aug. 6.

“She was a tough Irish woman, a firecracker,” said Hamilton as he fondly remembered his mother, Margaret “Margie” Hamilton. Firecracker or not, lung cancer felled her at age 68. Hamilton explained, “When she was diagnosed she was stage 4.”

Surrounded by the western art of Olaf Wieghorst at El Cajon’s Olaf Wieghorst Museum, on July 11, Iraqi exchange students participated in the International Young Leaders Exchange Program. Jawdat Alobedi, founder and CEO of the Iraqi Center for Dialogue, sponsored the two-day event Youth Leadership Program: Teamwork Foundations.

Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

A plume of smoke from the Jenning Fire rises above a Santee neighborhood. The fire started shortly after 2:00 p.m. on July 12 in the Flynn Springs area quickly expanding to 400 acres within two hours threatening structures and causing mandatory evacuations.  Interstate 8 was closed for several hours in both directions as firefighters battled the fire, stopping the spread of the fire around 5:00 p.m. As of 7:00 a.m. on July 13, the Jenning Fire remains at 400 acres and 30 Percent contained.

Most wanted in the West? Lakeside resident Giselle Halcott’s winning table decoration, at this year’s San Diego County Fair 2017, was wanted. So much so she won Best of Division, Best of Show, and a blue ribbon with a western themed “Where the West is Fun” table.

“Hand written essays” said third grade teacher Nicole Marshall, with Lemon Grove School District’s Vista La Mesa Academy describing essays submitted at the 27th Annual Treganza Third Grade History Essay Awards ceremony on June 6 at a Lemon Grove City Council meeting. The 27-year-old competition was launched by the late Dr. Amorita Treganza in 1990.

Tattooed dogs were common at Santee’s 2nd annual Fido Fest held June 10 at Santee’s Town Center Community Park East. Available at a booth, the fake, temporary tattoos used a water-based paint and were just part of the offerings for dogs. Free dog food samples and snacks were abundant from the vendors as well. Dog owners participated in a multitude of events of the day.

Blood orange beer? “It’s a good summer beer” said Santee resident, Richard Foley, about Finest Made Ales’ blood orange beer.  Finest Made Ales’ sales ambassador, Randy Lewis, said their blood orange beer is their current best seller. That beer sampling was just one of the offerings at the Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival held May 27 just off Mission Gorge Road at Town Center and Riverview Parkways.