El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

On Aug. 19, inside the Santee Library, the Santee Mobile-Home Owner’s Action Committee, Inc. (SMOAC) held their 4th Annual Backpack & School Supplies Movement. Backpacks filled with school supplies were handed out, free to students, at 10 a.m. until supplies were depleted.

The Santee Young Professionals, Santee Chamber of Commerce and many other Santee businesses such as Chipotle, Barnes & Noble and Petal Vision Design and Events all helped organize the drive or hosted a series of fundraisers that contributed to the success of the Aug. 19 event.

Neighbors helping neighbors is the essence of community. 

The Lakeside Rodeo/El Capitan Stadium Association opened their facility to house horses, alpacas, goats and miniature horses from the heat, smoke and other dangers caused in Alpine by the West Fire, which began on Friday, July 6. 

Quick coffee and a sandwich just got easier.

The new Panera Bread location in Santee, scheduled to open in either late August or early September, located on Mission Gorge Road, will have a drive-thru.

Jonathan J. “JJ” Reading, marketing manager for Manna Development, LLC., said this location was chosen with the neighborhood in mind.

“They chose Santee because it will be a great opportunity to serve another community as well as open a brand-new drive-thru location,” he said.

Marcus Luttrell, the man the book and movie ‘Lone Survivor’ were based on, was just one of the speakers at Clever Talks, on May 16, at the NBPL Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center. 

A La Mesa resident, Hillary Manalac, is vice-president of Clever Talks. She is one of the forces behind creating this event and organization.

“I was born in National City, moved to La Mesa a decade ago,” said Manalac. “Chris (Soriano) and I were journalists.  He was working in Arizona, we met at an Asian journalism association.”

Lakeside, Los Angeles, San Diego, Calexico, and more were ‘in the house.’ 

‘The house,’ this time, was a house of worship named Christ Community Church in El Centro, California. On the evening of May 8, some audience members drove hundreds of miles to see a comedy show with a headliner by the name of John Crist.

Hyde Art Gallery, located on El Cajon’s Grossmont College’s campus, held their last art show for the academic year 2017-2018. 

The show, a student art show, runs from May 7-25.

On May 15, the gallery held a reception, catered by the college’s hospitality students, with an estimated 300 in attendance according to Alex DeCosta, director of the gallery.

Categories included sculpture, jewelry, painting, drawing, ceramics, photography and digital photography.

Grossmont College’s music department provided music.

Frog-leg beetle in that floral bouquet or terrarium?

That is one of the options for customers at Danielle Sanchez’s The Floral Craft; a floral shop located on Fletcher Parkway next to Flour Power Bakery. That beetle, and others, are on display in a glass case, at her shop.

Taxidermied bugs are just an option for Sanchez among all the creations she crafts. Weddings, dog-house roses, an everyday pick-me-up bouquet, are all within her abilities and inventory.

Encore Capital Group, Inc. and the San Diego Habitat for Humanity (SDHH) partnered with the City of El Cajon to build themed playhouses and construct fences in a vacant lot on El Cajon’s Ballantyne Street. Dozens of volunteers traded in their Saturday morning, April 28, to volunteer on what is the sixth annual Global Volunteer Day for Encore. It was also National Rebuilding Day.

More shade and power are coming to Santee, courtesy of a partnership between Sportsplex USA-Santee, SolarTech and the City of Santee.  The partnership had a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 27, under the new solar carport attended by guests, Sportsplex staff, city officials, SolarTech executives and the San Diego- East County Chamber of Commerce executives and staff.

Grossmont College’s student fundraiser “Salsa under the Stars,” held on April 13, featuring Manny Cepeda and his Orchestra Classic Salsa Band, offered up the basics of dancing the salsa, a concert listening to Cepeda’s own musical creations and more, all under the stars.

“I’m going to strut my stuff,” said master of ceremonies and student, Ali Aldhalimi. That he did, cracking jokes and espousing passionate introductions.

The dance instructors started the evening off by teaching moves for the classic salsa and others.