El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

“It’s special. I feel proud, grateful that he won,” said Shawn Williams, 15, of his grandfather, Richard “Dick” Nasif, for winning the 2016 El Cajon Citizen of the Year award. The awards luncheon was held Feb. 7 at the El Cajon Elks Lodge #1812. 

Both an Elks and a Lions Club member, Christian Wille explained that “the winner, there were five nominees, is selected based on service to the community.”

An animal free circus? Well, an occasional appearance by a family pet in costume admitted Cheryl Lindley of any animals appearing in her circus infused shows. Lindley runs the Sophia Isadora Academy of Circus Arts with her husband Rogelio Lopez, and Linley Lopez Productions, located just on the outskirts of Lemon Grove.

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson


One of the keys to self-defense is “awareness” said County of San Diego Sheriff’s self-defense instructor Joseph Jarjura. “Pay attention to your gut” he continued noting know where you are in terms of danger level and who you are around. 

Jarjura’s tips:

“I still do the grind,” voiced billionaire Mark Cuban, one of the ultimate entrepreneurs, who spoke at the Clever Talks Fest held January 14. Sage advice to not rest on your laurels.

Play ball! Play music!  Singer-songwriter Joe Rathburn, who performed at El Cajon’s Rancho San Diego Library on Jan. 3, played roughly 81 times at the Tin Fish Gaslamp off of Tony Gwynn Drive near Petco Park during the Padres’ baseball season.

“It’s my duty as a truck owner to deliver. I’m taking time off from hell week to volunteer,” said Santee businessman and owner of The UPS Store Greg Gagnon. Volunteers like Gagnon and many others showed up at Santee Santa’s borrowed Santee warehouse on Railroad Avenue to load, deliver, and sort food boxes, and a myriad of other tasks on Dec. 22.

It’s been said, “The light in a child’s eyes is all it takes to make Christmas a magical time of the year.” Such was the case for the 73 kids attending the Christmas Party for the Homeless on Dec. 17 at the East County Living Transitional Center in El Cajon.

Volunteers at food events can be tempted to eat the offerings. “I really want a cookie,” said volunteer Zoe Brandt at the Celebrate the Holidays! Cookie Decorating for Kids! event held Dec. 10 at the El Cajon Library.  Brandt resisted and continued to set out sugar cookies and frosting for the kids to decorate Christmas trees, stars and bells.

The Santee Community Chorus (billed as the Santee Community Chorus Holiday Concert) performed after the cookie decorating.

Short sleeved T-shirt-wearing volunteers working the snow sledding ride helped the estimated 6,000 attendees enjoy the snow, known as Snow Hill, at the 16th annual Santa at the Lakes holiday event Dec.11 at Santee Lakes in Santee.

How do you prepare your dog for a run/walk? Jessica Sanchez said “Sleep and poop before the race.” Practical words for any pet owner participating in the 6th Annual Jingle Paws Walk For Pets 2016 held at Cuyamaca College’s Water Conservation Park on Dec. 3. Sanchez’s lab, Cali, not only did the run/walk but managed to pull off best pet costume as well with her husband Joe parading Cali as Mrs. Santa Claus, before the judges. Holiday inspired costumes were encouraged for pets and owners.