El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Finding a milestone birthday card for a 100th birthday is hard. El Cajon resident Renato “Ray” Garcia’s family friend, Monica Schwarz, found one for this centenarian at Grossmont Center.

Garcia celebrated his birthday and two days before his 100th birthday celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary to his wife, Edda, on Nov. 12 at a party held at La Mesa’s Foothills Methodist Church. Mr. Garcia joked, “I feel really old.”

The nation’s second memory care facility for adults with developmental disabilities diagnosed with aging issues such as Alzheimer’s was recently completed in Spring Valley. Noah Homes is to be credited for recognizing the need and completing the project. They held a ribbon cutting and ceremony to celebrate this momentous event on Nov. 3.

Let the strawberry milk, coffee, donuts, and powdered sugar lips prevail. The grand opening of Mary’s Donuts in Lakeside was held Oct. 29 with owner Joel Scalzitti presiding over the festive event.

Valhalla High School’s Principal Mary Beth Kastan had this to say about the school, “We are a school of superlatives.” And that they are—even more so with the modernization of its main building and theater. A re-dedication and open house was held on Oct.11 with a ribbon cutting, speeches, and tours of the Rancho San Diego school.

Family and friends gathered at a vigil in honor of murder victim, Leticia “Lety” Arroyo, 34, held Oct. 11 outside her home in Santee.  Her Brother, Steven Chavez, said “We want others to know that she was loved. We want this vigil to soften the heart of people who know who killed her.  There is a $1,000 reward for information. A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help with burial costs.”

Arroyo was found dead in her apartment on Oct. 4. It is now being investigated as a homicide.

Reverend Kenji Akahoshi, minister of the Buddhist Temple of San Diego, said in part, “May all beings be happy and well. May my enemies be happy and well.” Different philosophies were introduced at the 3rd Annual International Day of Peace held at La Mesa’s Aztec Park on Sept. 25.

Platt College-San Diego School of Digital Media Design student and alumni artists Bianca Reyes, Jonelle Crowder, and Keelie Occhino all contributed personal styles of art to “La Vida De Colores.” The show is part of the Spring Valley Library’s 10th Annual Fiesta that celebrates Latino Heritage Month.

“We partnered with Platt College before,” said library Branch Manager Charlotte King-Mills, “They have curated a number of shows for us. Their student artists are talented and expressive.”

The next wave of 9/11 victims is the ones dying of 9/11/2001 related illnesses. El Cajon resident Ely Quintero, 16, said, “I started hearing about it about three years ago.” That new twist to more 9/11 victims was also noted in the speeches of various dignitaries at a 9/11 ceremony organized by Sen. Joel Anderson and co-hosted by the City of El Cajon at Centennial Park on Sept 11.

“I used to be able to be able crack two eggs with one hand” said Pete Giforos, co-owner with Ralph Konig, of Santee’s The Omelette Factory that recently relocated to Magnolia Avenue. Egg cracking skills are desperately needed in a busy omelet restaurant with 18 different omelets on its menu.

The Omelette Factory is an egg institution in Santee. Giforos said they have been in Santee since 1994. The new location near the intersection of Mission Gorge and Magnolia opened Aug. 16.

The rear view mirrors for Santee residents will start to reflect the color red as in fire engine red on a fire trucks beginning this fall in the event of an emergency call to the Santee Fire Department.

Santee will officially be switching from the color yellow to red on their fire trucks starting with the first fire engine red one to be delivered soon from a plant in Appleton, Wisconsin. Eventually all their vehicles will be red.