El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Samantha Gianulis

There are some things immediately obvious about Afsoon Johnston. Her radiating smile equals instant approachability, she’s a mom with commanding knowledge of the sports her kids play as she roots them on from the sidelines, and her tenacity goes far beyond where other people would just give up. Spend a little time in her company and it is not surprising to learn, she is a two-time world wrestling medalist. Her 1989 World bronze medal was the first World medal for the United States in women’s wrestling.

Hang tight, La Mesa.  It shouldn’t be too much longer before the all-in-one brewery, event center, kid zone and restaurant known as Depot Springs Brewing Company opens.

What owner Aaron Dean called a “100 percent opening goal” is slated for October, 2016. The restaurant, brewery, and indoor stage will be operative from the first day of opening. There may be a one-week lag for the outdoor amenities.

Five days every July, San Diego rivals Hollywood for its concentration of star power. And not just star power, but coveted content, lectures given by the amazing brains that create it, not to mention schmoozing, target marketing, and material teased in a way that only the most innovative minds can contrive. It’s Comic Con, and in it’s 47th year it has become practically self-aware, like artificial intelligence. It takes over its host, like an alien creature.

Leaving loved ones behind for deployment might possibly be one of the hardest things that our servicemen and women do. It’s not just children and spouses that stay behind. Service men and women leave behind more than people when they go. They leave behind pets, too.
Soldiers have been forced to make heart-wrenching choices about what to do with their dog, cat, bird, their beloved pets, while they were gone.

 Mount Miguel Covenant Village in Spring Valley is more than just the sum of its parts, and it has the distinguished honors to prove it. The non-profit retirement community recently received a 5-star rating from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as well as earning a spot in the 2015 US News & World Report’s Best Nursing Homes.

La Mesa Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Mary England has been watching Grossmont Center—because good things are happening there. The shopping center’s operations are back in the hands of the original owners, the Cushman family. Food trucks, recycling events, outdoor concerts are just a few of the events that have revved up the energy of the shopping center, and England saw the time as right to tap into the energy and hold a fall festival with what else—food, beer and music.

Since 1984, when started by a group of local artists, Artwalk gives those who appreciate art a lively event to which they look forward, and a marketplace to acquire pieces they love and find additions for art collections. Mission Federal Artwalk in Little Italy each spring attracts more than 100,000 attendees over one weekend. Artwalk NTC is in its 10th year at Liberty Station, and on Aug. 15-16, it was communal event meets summer festival that generated an inspired buzz, impressive foot traffic, and creative reverence.