El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

The Water Conservation Garden delighted people from all areas with a chance to stroll through its grounds lit up with holiday lights. Gardens Aglow and was held two weekends, Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16. Festive holiday music, visits with Santa, a kids’ crafts and gift shop, wine tasting and bake sale, and one-of-a-kind gifts in the garden gift store were all part of the experience available to attendees.

“I love you Santa,” said 5-year-old  La’Miyah Gaytan. That, along with Mr. Bubble snow flurries, and Christmas tunes were all in the air at the 17th Annual Santa at the Lakes on Dec, 10 at the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. Gaytan just visited Santa  to take a photo with him, seated in front of a trailer, ready to hear her Christmas wishes. Fitting for an outdoor venue that encourages camping with trailers, RVs or the cabins by the Lake.

Kole in your stocking means something different than coal in your stocking to Ed Presnillo. Presnillo took his dog, Kole, to the 7th Annual Jingle Paws Walk for Pets 2017 on Dec. 2 at Cuyamaca College. Kole did not get coal in his stocking when he won one of three prizes awarded in the Christmas-themed costume contest but received other doggie related treats.

“It’s about bringing a smile to their face,” said Buddy Rabaya, president of the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee, Inc.  Those faces are the faces of seniors that reside in mobile home parks, but the campaign to collect Christmas presents for seniors is also open to other Santee seniors.

“You’ve done something!” joked the Grinch who adhered to the naughty or nice mindset at the Santa comes to Parkway Plaza event held on Nov. 17 in El Cajon.  Thankfully, Santa was more accepting of little ones’ transgressions than the Grinch was.  Never the less the Grinch continued entertaining parents and kids with lines like, “You guys like canned beets?”

“Be safe, be happy, and have a wonderful holiday season,” said Santee Mayor John Minto at the City of Santee’s Holiday Lighting Celebration, held at Santee Trolley Square, on Nov. 17.  The celebration, with the Michaels family performing the honor of flipping the switch to light the Christmas tree, included music and dancing, vendors, holiday blow-up figures like Olaf, pictures with Santa and much more.

Representing the El Cajon Main Street Flag Program, Humbert Cabrera, president of Cabrera and Associates, celebrated patriotic Day Nov. 9 at El Cajon’s Magnolia Elementary School with a presentation. Cabrera educated 5th graders and a 4/5th grade combo class about the history of the American flag.

“They are on TV all the time” said El Cajon resident Josue Ponce.  That is, Tijuana’s soccer team, XOLOS, who made an appearance, several players, at Santee’s Cox Solutions Store on Nov. 6.  Its games are televised on Cox Cable. “I have friends that have their jerseys,” added Ponce.

On Oct. 27 Grossmont College held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of several Prop V construction projects.  The first phase will be a 38,680 ft., 390-seat Performing and Visual Arts Center that will include a teaching and performance theater as well as home to the college’s Hyde Art Gallery. The ceremony was held in Lot 1, adjacent to the Stagehouse Theatre.

“Keep your opponents out in the sun,” quipped Mike Clinkenbeard, of strategies to win at the second Santee OTL event held on a hot day, Oct. 22, at Town Center Community Park East.  Clinkenbeard, who owns a Farmers Insurance office, was overseeing operations from a Santee Chamber of Commerce inspired idea that was first held last year. East County-Santee Young Professionals (SYP) were organizers as well.