El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

A banner in front of La Mesa’s Reina’s Residential Care proclaimed, “Happy Birthday Margaret – 102” and H. Margaret Robinson did indeed have a birthday and birthday party with her son, John, granddaughter, Heather, fellow residents, and friends on the exact day she turned 102 on Oct. 4.

Erik Gomez said, “We were dancing and serving at the same time.” Such was the mood at Manny Cepeda’s event Salsa under the Stars held as a scholarship fundraiser for students at Grossmont College, on their quad, on Sept. 25. Gomez was working the event for the San Diego Taco Company. 

La Mesa’s Oktoberfest, which ran from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, offered a wide range of all things German and not German. From the chance to buy a cookbook, Oma’s Oktoberfest Specialties by Margit Gantt, chicken hats, Bavarian music, German foods, and a German Karnival for kids, plus vendors that offered all kinds of products. 

Rat rods are exaggerations of the early hot rods. Santee resident Ken Whitney, who made his own rat rod, explained, “I get videotaped taking it on the highway. People take pictures of it at stop lights. Crowds form around it at the store.” A celebrity rat is born.

Whitney’s rat rod was one of 50 cars displayed at the inaugural Car Show on the Circle held by and on the First Presbyterian Church of El Cajon’s land on September 23th

Liz Loether poised the question “How can a robot fit into an English class?” Terra Norine, an account executive with Troxell, conceived of Troxell’s STEM Playground event, held on Sept. 14. The STEM Playground event helped to answer that question held on the Cajon Valley Union School District’s El Cajon office complex, where Loether is Director of Learning Support Services. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in science, technology, engineering, and math.

“It makes them feel like they are the best,” said Dale Wallace.

They are the swim students, all developmentally disabled, of St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center and students that can now use the newly opened junior Olympic sized pool in El Cajon located at 2119 E. Madison. The aquatic center’s ribbon cutting and ceremony was Sept. 9.

The purple and orange backpack, said 6-year-old Leah Smerker, “Has a little pouch to put money in for it Fridays when we have ice cream.” Smerker was just one of the recipients of a backpack give-away, springing from the Caring for America initiative, held at El Cajon’s East County Transitional Living Center on Sept. 5.

Smerker, a 2nd-grader at Madison Elementary, was one of the school age youth who received backpacks donated by the San Diego County Federation of Republican Women.

Twin sisters, a husband and wife, and a man named Cal Geter all competed against each other in the final competition round of a karaoke battle, culminating after a five-week tournament, held at Lakeside’s Eastbound Bar and Grill on Aug. 31.

“Only when I am drunk” quipped Lakeside resident, Lisa Watkins, voicing a sentiment most people have about daring to sing in public. Watkins, who had watched the sing-off in previous weeks, said “It’s a close competition. There is a lot of talent here.” 

Forty percent of underprivileged children and their families cannot afford school supplies and data shows that the cost of parents needing to purchase these supplies is increasing every year. In Santee, the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee is out to change that. It has been getting donations for months, and over the weekend was finally able to give vital supplies to children in need.

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.