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Viejas Casino & Resort Adds More Luxury to East County, P15

East County Southern California’s LARGEST OUTDOOR Ice Skating Rink NOW OPEN

DEC. 21-27, 2017 Vol. 19 No. 16

Est. 1998

The San Diego County Herald, LLC

East County’s Only Photojournalism Publication

California State ’s n o s r e d n A l e o J r to a Sen

Final Holiday Open House Get Your Community Fix!

NEWS In the

PAGE TWO • DEC. 21-27, 2017

Merry Christmas

Santee’s Senior Administrative Analyst Lantern Crest Presents The Ruiz Retires After 30 Years of Service Inaugural ‘Stuffies for Senior’ Jay Renard

The East County Herald SANTEE — Senior Administrative Analyst, Edward Ruiz, announced his retirement at the Santee City Council Meeting, Wednesday Dec. 13. Ruiz is retiring after 30-plus years working for the City of Santee. He started his career with the city, May 18, 1987 as an assistant planner where he participated in the planning of major development projects, including the Home Depot commercial center and the Mission Creek subdivision. In August 1993 he was reassigned to the Community Services Department as an Administrative Analyst to manage the city’s Manufactured Home Rent Stabilization Division. Ruiz endured seven years as the city’s impartial referee and occasional ‘punching bag’ between mobile home park owners and their tenants when rent control issues flared. In July of 2000, he was promoted to Senior Administrative Analyst, later retitled to Senior Management Analyst, and was assigned to administer the city’s trash hauling franchise agreement with Waste Management and the city’s recycling program. Ruiz has been the ideal team player, versatile Spanish translator, expert on contracts and procedures, and sage policy advisor to the Community Services Director. He is beloved by his colleagues because of his great sense of humor, even temperament and utmost professionalism.

From left: Contributing to the Program are Lantern Crest residents Wini Sexton, Madeline Koci and Resident Council President, Bea Keller.

Jay Renard

The East County Herald

Santee Mayor John W. Minto proclaimed on behalf of the Santee City Council proclaimed Dec. 27, 2017 as Edward Ruiz Day throughout the city.

The City of Santee in appreciation of Ed Ruiz’ excellence in the performance of his duties, wished him a happy retirement and continued success in all future endeavors.

Local East County Resident Receives California Hero Award EL CAJON — Santee resident John Morley received special recognition of being honored as a California Hero by Senator Joel Anderson, Saturday Dec. 16, in the senator’s El Cajon office. Morley was one of over 30 individuals honored throughout the state. Specifically, Morley was recognized for his unyielding commitment to the betterment of the community through outstanding leadership and dedication as a volunteer with the Santee Santas, Santee-Lakeside Rotary Club, Santee Lakes Foundation Run for Life and the Concert by the Lakes.

SANTEE ­­— The ‘Stuffies for Seniors’ program was initiated by Kathy Linder, assistant Life Enrichment Director at Lantern Crest at the Pointe Senior Living Community, Friday Dec. 8. Senior Residents donated a variety of stuffed animals to be sent to the Santee Santas Program. They will be distributed to other seniors in the Santee area in order for them to have something to enjoy and hug this holiday season. Lantern Crest takes pride in enhancing the lives of their residents. The Life Enrichment program, directed by Barbara Grant, provides a variety of activities, which are designed to promote a healthy and stimulating environment.

On The Cover SANTEE — Former State Assemblyman Brian Jones (right) attends California State Senator Joel Anderson’s (far right) – who terms out the end of the year – Annual Holiday Legislative Open House, Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Toyota of El Cajon. This being the Senator’s Final Holiday Open House he pulled out all the stops for his over 1,000 guests and constituents.

Jay Renard, The East County Herald

Cover: Jay Renard/The East County Herald; Cover design: Dee Dean / See more on P10 The East County Herald and at


PAGE THREE • DEC. 21-27, 2017

Your Voice in the Community San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce

Office: 619.440.6161 Fax: 619.460.6164 info



Simply mail your business card, along with your check for $25 per week (four week minimum = $100) and mail to:

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Business Services P.O. Box 2568 • Alpine, CA 91903 It’s that easy!

10315 Mission Gorge Road • Santee • 92071 Phone: 619.449.6572 Fax: 619.562.7906




884.1798 References Available

A Culture of Generosity...

Stoney’s Kids Legacy ‘It’s All About The Kids!’

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P.O. Box 2568 • Alpine, CA 91903


Simply mail your business card, along with your check for $25 per week (four week minimum = $100) and mail to:

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Business Services P.O. Box 2568 • Alpine, CA 91903 It’s that easy!


Politics and

PAGE FOUR • DEC. 21-27, 2017

Hunter Supposts Tax Reform Bill Calls Measure an Investment in the American People WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) voted in favor of the conference report for H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Tuesday, Dec.19, which passed the House by a margin of 227203. The measure marks the first major reform of the tax code in over 30 years. “This is a historic day,” said Congressman Hunter. “This vote keeps an important promise to the American people that its elected representatives believe they deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money, that they deserve a tax code that more simple and fair, that they deserve an economy with the opportunity to grow and thrive without the burden and interference coming from Washington.” “I am very pleased that those working on the final product of this tax reform took into account and addressed many of the initial concerns that were raised as this debate took place, including ensuring provisions for wildfire disaster relief, maintaining the adoption tax credit, and protecting deductions for charitable giving, mortgage interest, state and local taxes and medical expenses. This tax bill is an investment in America’s future by bringing good-paying manufacturing jobs and investment dollars back to the U.S. from Mexico and overseas. This tax bill is an investment in the American people who know best how to care for their families and their future. This tax bill is an investment in which I am confident we are going to see immediate returns.” The House passed an earlier version of the tax reform measure in November, with the Senate passing its version on Dec. 2. The conference report represents the final product after the House and Senate members compromised between different versions of the bill. Congressman Hunter worked directly with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other members of the California congressional delegation to ensure that the final version of the bill maintained deductions for personal casualty losses resulting from natural disasters, as well as the

incorporation of provisions that provided for early withdraw from qualified retirement plans for disaster response. Earlier versions of the tax reform bill did not contain these provisions and would have adversely affected thousands of California victims of the recent wildfires.

Highlights of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act include: Individuals:

• Lowering individual tax rates to 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent and 37 percent; • Roughly doubling the Standard Deduction – from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples; • Establishing a new Family Credit – which includes expanding the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 for each child and providing new credits of $500 each for other dependents. The credit is refundable up to $1400 provided a social security number is provided for each qualifying child; • Preserving the Adoption Tax Credit; • Preserving the deduction for charitable contributions; • Preserving the deduction for medical expenses and temporarily lowers threshold to 7.5 percent of AGI from 10 percent of AGI; • Preserving the home mortgage interest deduction for existing mortgages and maintaining the home mortgage interest deduction for newly purchased homes for interest on up to $750,000 of mortgage principal; • Allowing taxpayers to write off the cost of state and local taxes up to $10,000 for both property and income (or sales) taxes; • Increasing AMT thresholds to $1 million for married couples and $500,000 for individuals; • Eliminating the Obamacare individual mandate penalty beginning January 1, 2019; • Providing immediate relief from the Death Tax by doubling the exemption amount; • Providing support for Graduate students by continuing to reduce the value of reduced

Congressman Duncan D. Hunter tuition from taxes.


• Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018; • Providing a deduction of 20 percent of qualified passthrough income; • Including both a capital test and/or a wage test to broaden the scope of businesses eligible for pass-through deduction; • Establishing safeguards to distinguish between individual wage income and “pass through” business income; • Allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of purchases of new or used equipment; • Protecting the ability of small businesses and any businesses with “floor plan” inventory financing to write off the interest on loans. The Senate was scheduled to consider the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as soon as Wednesday, Dec. 20. When passed, the bill will be referred to President Trump who has indicated that he will sign the measure into public law. For additional information regarding the tax reform package, please visit Congressman Hunter’s website at www.

Hunter, R-Alpine, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He is the first Marine combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to be elected to Congress. He represents California’s 50th Congressional District consisting of East and Northern County San Diego.

East County

Est. 1998

The East County Herald strongly believes in the freedom of speech and the rights of all sides of an issue to be heard. The letters and guest opinions/commentaries published herein present differing points of view, not necessarily reflecting those of the publisher, The Herald or it’s advertisers. Note: Letters and opinion/commentary pieces may be edited due to space restrictions. Send all letters, opinions/commentaries to:

So Cal Focus with Thomas D. Elias


Will Top Two ‘Jungle Primary’ Aid Feinstein?

trong irony is in the air as California heads into the hot political year of 2018, with an initiative to end the state’s “top two” primary election system in play just as top two, also known as the “jungle primary,” may be about to accomplish its central purpose. That aim was to allow voters in the minority party to influence elections and elect more moderate members of the larger party when their own party either has no candidate in a race or fields a sure loser. So it is today as moderate Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein bids for another six years in Washington, D.C. amid opposition from state Senate President Kevin de Leon and possibly others from the Democrats’ left wing. So far, no Republican has entered the race, and in past reelection efforts, Feinstein has trampled GOP opponents anyhow. This leads to two key questions to be answered in the next 11 months: Will the ‘jungle primary’ system so detested by Republicans and fringe party members help save Feinstein’s long career? And will she be the last to benefit from that system, which pits the top two primary election vote-getters for any office below the presidency against each other in the November runoff, regardless of party? Mostly likely, Feinstein next fall will share the ballot with the initiative seeking to return California to its previous primary system based on parties, with each party participating in the primary entitled to have a candidate in the runoff. Candidates and parties now must earn runoff slots with strong primary election performances. If top two is even partly responsible for a Feinstein win, she would be the most prominent case of that system fulfilling its aim. The Democratic left, which came within a hair of taking over the party’s state apparatus last fall, excoriates Feinstein because she once urged patience with President Trump, because she’s had Wall Street ties and has not been as shrill in opposing Trump as some younger senators, including California’s other senator, fellow Democrat Kamala Harris. (Harris endorsed Feinstein the day she announced for reelection.) No one yet knows how wide the appeal of a so-called progressive candidate like de Leon or activist billionaire Tom Steyer might be among baseline Democratic voters, so it’s impossible yet to determine whether Feinstein might need Republican votes to win reelection. But that is a definite possibility, and if it happens, it would fulfill the purpose of the jungle primary, backed when it began by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and ex-Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, both moderate Republicans. They wanted their sort of candidates to have a chance to win and their sort of voters to be able to influence election outcomes in places where they previously could not. Now comes Feinstein, who could be the rare California incumbent getting less than half her own party’s primary election vote. Republicans, with barely over a quarter of California’s total voter registration, would be unlikely to place a candidate on the ballot this year, just as they failed in the 2016 Senate contest. But if they vote in decent numbers, they are more than sufficient to combine with moderate Democrats to keep a far-leftist candidate from winning. That only works if Republicans actually vote for Feinstein, even if they would much prefer voting for a fellow Republican. Returns from 2016 show that almost exactly 1 million fewer Californians voted for a U.S. Senate candidate than for president, indicating many Republicans didn’t bother to vote in a race between two liberal Democratic women, Harris and thenCongresswoman Loretta Sanchez. If most of those in the vote dropoff were Republicans and there is less dropoff this fall, they could assure that California gets the moderate Feinstein and not someone substantially to her left and less patient or willing to compromise. Such an outcome would represent the explicit purpose of top two, and it’s just possible that it might also be the last gasp of that system. For if voters opt to go back to party-driven primaries, the extreme wings of both major parties will once again provide almost all candidates. This would assure plenty of November choices, but would essentially disenfranchise Democrats in Republican-dominated legislative districts and Republicans statewide, as well as those living in the many Democratic-dominated districts.

Elias has covered esoteric votes in eight national political conventions. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. His opinions are his own. Email Elias at


The Healthy Geezer with Fred Cietti All Stopped Up?


. What is the definition of constipation? .The clinical definition of constipation is any two of the following symptoms for at least 12 weeks (not necessarily consecutive) in the previ-

ous year: • Straining during bowel movements • Lumpy or hard stool • Sensation of obstruction or incomplete evacuation • Fewer than three bowel movements per week. Those reporting constipation most often are women and adults age 65 and over. Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. Common causes of constipation include: insufficient intake of fiber and liquids, lack of exercise, medications, older age and abuse of laxatives. The most common cause of constipation is a diet low in fiber and high in fats. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass. Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Keep in mind that many refined and processed foods we eat have the natural fiber removed. Many seniors eat a low-fiber diet that causes constipation. Some lose interest in eating and choose convenience foods low in fiber. Others have difficulties chewing or swallowing; this leads them to eat soft processed foods low in fiber. Liquids add bulk to stools making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. People who are constipated should drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids a day. Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol, because they dehydrate. Not enough exercise can lead to constipation, although doctors do not know why. If you want to move your bowels, move your body. Some medications can cause constipation. They include: pain medications (especially narcotics), antacids that contain aluminum and calcium, blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers), antiparkinson drugs, antispasmodics, antidepressants, iron supplements, diuretics and anticonvulsants. Aging may affect bowel regularity because a slower metabolism results in less intestinal activity and muscle tone. Laxatives usually are not necessary to treat constipation and can be habit-forming. The colon begins to rely on laxatives to bring on bowel movements. Over time, laxatives can damage nerve cells in the colon and interfere with the colon’s natural ability to contract. For the same reason, regular use of enemas can also lead to a loss of normal bowel function. Most people with constipation can be treated with changes in diet and exercise. A diet with 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day is recommended. Other changes that can help include drinking enough liquids, engaging in daily exercise, and reserving enough time to have a bowel movement. In addition, the urge to have a bowel movement should not be ignored. For those who have made diet and lifestyle changes and are still constipated, doctors may recommend laxatives or enemas for a limited time.

To Your

PAGE FIVE • DEC. 21-27, 2017

Living with MS with Dee Dean Blood Test Developed for Detecting Multiple Sclerosis


method for q u i c k l y detecting signs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has been developed by a University of Huddersfield research team. The discovery, using advanced mass spectrometry techniques, offers a diagnostic tool that enables the detection of MS to be made simply using blood samples. The current procedure for detection requires the invasive, often painful, process of collecting fluid from the brain and spine. The research has identified two natural biomarker compounds, which have been linked to MS. The compounds, sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine, were found to be at significantly lower concentrations in blood samples from MS patients. As well as offering a diagnostic tool to identify MS, the discovery will aid the investigation of the role of the compounds in the disease and assist potential new drug development, according to a new research article co-authored by Sean Ward, who is an analytical chemist and PhD student based at the University of Huddersfield’s IPOS unit. “Sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine have been previously found to be at lower concentrations in the brain tissue of patients with Multiple Sclerosis. The detection of these sphingolipids in blood plasma allows the non-invasive monitoring of these and related compounds,” it stated. The project was an ele-

ment of Sean Ward’s now – completed doctoral research – supervised by the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Michael Page and Dr Nicholas Powles – in which he explored the analytical potential of chemometric software, in particular the package named Mass Profiler Professional (MPP), supplied to IPOS by Agilent Technologies. “Mass spectrometry data is very complex and there can be thousands of compounds in each sample,” said Sean. “MPP allows the abundance of each of those compounds to be compared between the samples and can find discrete differences.” The opportunity to investigate molecules implicated in MS arose because Dr Patrick McHugh, who directs the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Biomarker Research, has expertise in biomarker development and has set up several clinical cohorts including MS, that have been adopted to the NIHR Clinical Research Network. He wanted to explore the molecular changes in blood that may differentiate disease states for potential diagnostics. An additional dimension to the research was analysis of plasma samples from patients with neuropathic pain (NP), some of whom also had MS. Also tested was serum from MS patients with no NP. The metabolomic profiles for each disease state were identified and there are clear indications that the three groups share similar biomechanical

mechanisms. “The ability of MPP software to determine differences between disease groups and control groups quickly and easily was tested,” concludes the article. Sean Wards adds that IPOS – based in the University of Huddersfield’s Page Laboratories – is finding a wide range of uses for the Agilent package. These include the identification of the origin of gelatin – whether bovine, porcine, chicken or fish which is very important for some cultures and religions. The article, “Sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine as biomarkers for multiple sclerosis identified by metabolomic profiling using coupled UPLC-MS,” by Sean Ward, Michael I. Page, Patrick McHugh and Nicholas T. Powles is in the journal Analytical Methods, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Source: University of Huddersfield

Dean has been fighting Multiple Sclerosis for 31 years. She continually studies and researches the disease to educate herself. She writes this column as a community service to share her findings and to raise public awareness about MS. The opinions and experiences shared are her own. Dean is NOT a medical doctor. ALWAYS check with your doctor first before trying a new therapy. This column is intended for informational purposes only. Dean can be reached at Dean is the recipient of the 2004 STAR Community Outreach Award by the MS Society Dec. 2, 2004, the American Red Cross Real Hero Wendell Cutting Humanitarian Award, Oct. 13, 2006 , the Stoney Community Service Award, February 29, 2008, Women in Leadership Award for Art/Media/ Culture Oct. 29, 2010, El Cajon Citizen of The Year Nominee Feb. 2013 and 2017 and Recipient of the National MS Society’s 2014 Media Partner of The Year, Feb. 10, 2015.

Ask The Healthy Geezer a question at:


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Wisdom for


with Pastor Drew

The Promises of God



reetings precious people, this week we continue our series entitled “The Promises of God”. As mentioned in part one of this series, there are but a few promises to all of mankind, the vast majority are to those who have become His children by adoption through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sin. Some may think this is not “fair”, that all of God’s promises should be to everyone. Well they are to everyone that will repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Think of this way, you are a parent, your children have your protection; love; provision; sacrifice; and will inherit what you have at your departure. Should others who are not your children or even those who hate you and your children be beneficiaries of what you have for your own children? Of course not, that would be absurd! As we are entering the Christmas season, the time which much of the world acknowledges the Advent of Christ (the first coming of Christ into the world) I thought it only appropriate as we have been looking at the Promises of God we spend the next few weeks considering the greatest of all the promises of God, the giving of His only Son. It seems strange that we need to be reminded of the greatest event in all of history but we do as we can easily get distracted by the world’s version of Christmas with all its trappings and snares. Now let us look at the account of this glorious event, the promise of the Messiah was realized. Luke 2:1-20 “And it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be registered, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee to be taxed (out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David). And he took Mary his betrothed wife, being with child. And while they were there, the days for her deliverance were fulfilled. And she brought forth her son, the First-born, and wrapped Him, and laid Him in a manger— because there was no room for them in the inn. And in the same country there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were grievously afraid. And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it happened as the angels departed from them into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Indeed, let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing which has happened, which the Lord made known to us. And hurrying they came and sought out both Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. And seeing, they publicly told about the word spoken to them concerning this Child. And all those who heard marveled about the things spoken to them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these sayings, meditating in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as was spoken to them.” Let us not forget the reason this great and precious promise of God was given, to save us from the penalty (everlasting death) of our sin and rebellion against a Just and Holy God. Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, coming into being out of a woman, having come under Law, that He might redeem those under Law, so that we might receive the adoption of sons.” 1Timothy 1:15 “Faithful is the Word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Dear ones, I do hope you are experiencing this great and precious promise of the Lord!

Drew Macintyre is associate pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine and can be reached at 619-445-2589, or


DEC. 21-27, 2017

Girl Scout Troop #5330


Prepare Dinner for Santee Firefighters at Station 4 Wednesday, Dec. 11 • Santee Jay Renard/The East County Herald See more at

From All of Us At

The Herald, To All of You...

A Merry Little Christmas! East County

Est. 1998



Water Conservation Garden

Holiday Gardens A-Glow Saturday, Dec. 16 • Rancho San Diego

Jay Renard, The East County Herald See more at

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DEC. 21-27, 2017

DEC. 21-27, 2017


Annual Academic League Competition

Santana High School Academic League Drops West Hills High School Wednesday, Dec. 13 • Santana High School


Lakeside-Santee Rotary Club

Luncheon with Assemblyman Randy Voepel Thursday, Dec. 14 • Santee

Jay Renard/The East County Herald See more at

Jay Renard/The East County Herald See more at



California State Senator Joel Anderson

DEC. 21-27, 2017

Annual Holiday Legislative Open House Tuesday, Dec. 12 • Toyota of El Cajon

Jay Renard / The East County Herald See more at

DEC. 21-27, 2017



Rancho San Diego

Every Great Event Begins and Ends at Hooleys!

2955 Jamacha Rd. 619.670.7468

La Mesa

5500 Grossmont Center Dr. 619.713.6900

Your Community Calendar

DECEMBER 2017 PROGRAMS The Senior Resource Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital offers free or low-cost educational programs and health screenings each month. The Senior Resource Center also provides information and assistance for health information and community resources. For more information, call 619-740-4214. For other programs, call 1-800-827-4277 or visit our web site at

GROSSMONT MALL WALKERS The Grossmont Mall Walkers have been walking for over 31 years at Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr. La Mesa. Join exercise instructor Daphne Miller on Saturdays for a free stretch/exercise class in the Food Court. Classes start at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Walk the mall, make new friends, make exercise a part of your routine. This free community program is sponsored by the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Senior Resource and Grossmont Center. For more information, call 619-740-4214. TELEPHONE REASSURANCE CALLS The Sharp Grossmont Senior Resource Center helps people who live alone to feel safe in remaining at home. Services include a daily computerized telephone call and Vial of Life. This service is available to any senior or disabled person living in east county. Call 619-740-4214 for details. AQUATIC AND GENTLE FITNESS CLASSES Sharp Grossmont Recreation Therapy offers land based exercise and aquatic classes for seniors and individuals with arthritis or other disabilities. Exercise in a warm water indoor pool led by by trained instructors. Call 619-740-4104 for details. CLASSES AND EVENTS Sharp HealthCare offers hundreds of classes, events, tours and support groups for all ages. Find a class or service that best meets your needs and your family’s needs. For help choosing or registering for a class, please call 1-800-82SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or go online at

Submit Your Community Event Do you have an upcoming community event that you would like to see posted on The Herald Community Calendar? Send the Who, What, When, Where, Why and contact information to for consideration.

Sycuan Casino Live & Up Close Upcoming Concerts at Sycuan Casino Live & Up Close • The O’Jays, Jan. 14 and 15, Tickets $99-$109 • Sinbad, Thursday, Jan. 18, Tickets $59-$69 • Under the Street Lamp, Sunday, Jan 21, Tickets $49-$59 • Blue Oyster Cult, Thursday Jan. 25 at 8 p.m., Tickets: $49-$59 • The Oak Ridge Boys, Saturday Feb. 3, Tickets: $59-$69 • Poco and the Pure Prairie League, Sunday, Feb. 11, Tickets $59-$69 • Los Caminantes, Wednesday Feb. 14, Tickets $29-$39 • Little Anthony and The Imperials, Friday, Feb. 16, Tickets $59-$69 • Warrant and Quiet Riot, Friday, Feb. 23, Buy Tickets $59-$69 • Human Nature, Thursday March 22 at 8 p.m., Tickets: $49-$59 • Aaron Lewis, March 27 and 28, Tickets $59-$69 • The Commodores, March 29 and 30, Tickets $79-$89 • The Marshall Tucker Band, Monday April 16, Tickets $59-$69 Concert tickets can be purchased online at or at the Live & Up Close box office located at Sycuan Casino.

Sophie’s Gallery Presents Wings & Snow: A World of Masks SAN DIEGO — St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center will present Wings & Snow: A World of Masks at Sophie’s Kensington Gallery located at 4168 Adams Avenue, San Diego, and Sophie’s El Cajon Gallery located at 109 Rea Avenue, El Cajon. The show will run Now to Dec. 30. Wings & Snow celebrates the holiday season with a collection of masks in a variety of media including clay, fused glass, paint, mosaics, palm fronds and repurposed jewels. The show is inspired by Philip Colon, who painted at Sophie’s Gallery for many years. His passion for world cultures inspired colorful interpretations of masks from a variety of countries. When Philip’s family donated his personal collection of masks to Sophie’s Galleries, St. Madeleine’s artists transformed them with mosaics and paint. Other masks were formed with clay in our ceramics and fused glass departments. St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center serves more than 400 adults with developmental disabilities through nationally recognized, innovative programs. Its mission is to educate and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential. Developmental disabilities include autism, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other cognitive disorders for which there are no cures. Guest artists include Carol Minear, a local Kensington artist who uses palm fronds to create characters, and Maureen Robbins, an artist from Rochester, New York, who creates jeweled masks.



SPORTS BEAT with Steve Dolan


Aztec Named Concensus All-American an Diego State senior Rashaad Penny has been named a 2017 FBS Consensus All-American, the NCAA announced. Penny is the third Aztec to earn consensus All-America honors, joining Marshall Faulk 1992 and 1993, and Kyle Turley in 1997. To be selected a consensus All-American, a player must be named first team on at least two of the five selected All-America teams – American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Foundation – with second teams being used to break ties. Penny earned first-team All-America accolades from the AP, FWAA and The Sporting News, and second-team recognition from Walter Camp. Penny, who finished fifth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy (most outstanding player in college football), has also been chosen as a first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated, USA Today, ESPN, CBS Sports, All-American and Bleacher Report, and a second-team pick by SB Nation and also CBS Sports as an all-purpose player. SDSU (10-2) will play Army West Point (9-3) in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, Dec. 23 at 12:30 p.m.

Volleyball All-Americans

Three members of the University of San Diego volleyball team earned All-American accolades. Senior setter Kristen Gengenbacher was named a Third-Team All-American while Jayden Kennedy and Addie Picha were honorable mention selections. “Through Kristen’s hard work, powerful leadership and dedication to the success of her teammates, she not only made her team better, but also left our program yearning for more,” coach Jennifer Petrie said. “She deserves to be an All-American because she is an extremely talented setter who always put the team first. Kristen loved the process and the results followed.”

Football All-Americans

The USD football team received outstanding news with the announcement that senior defensive end and team captain Jonathan Petersen was named to the 2017 Associated Press FCS All-America first team for defense. He was joined by teammate and senior tight end Ross Dwelley, who was named to the third team offense. “This is not a surprise, both are five-year guys who have proven their worth over the last four years,” said coach Dale Lindsey. “Jonathan is tough, physical and committed to the game to do it the right way. Ross, the same way. He did it with hard work and dedication to his craft. Not only are they good on the field, but they are just as good in the classroom and off the field.”

Dolan hosts a one-hour sports talk radio show Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. on East County’s “The Mountain – 107.9 FM.” The show may also be heard on the Internet at

SMSC and HGH, Two East County Organizations of 17 County-wide Awarded $7 Million in Funds for Disabled and Senior Transportation EL CAJON — Local non-profit, St. Madeleine Sophies Center has been providing transportation for it’s developmentally disabled and special needs students for almost 18 years. They will be recieving 11 new buses through the Specialized Transportation Grant Program administered by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). “It’s so important to our students to be able to have transportation provided them to get them to our campus for classes and activities, to and from their jobs and a plethera of other destinations and home safely, said SMSC Chief Executive Officer Debra Emerson. “Community integration is of the utmost importance for them,” she added. “We are grateful to SANDAG for this grant which allows us to continue providing the very best for our students, Emerson concluded. Another East County nonprofit, Home of Guiding Hands (HGH), received 13 new buses and 6 minivans (all wheelchair accessible) on Monday, Dec. 18. HGH also provides specialized transportation services to individuals with developmental disabilities and significant physical and/or medical challenges. “The 19 vehicles awarded to Home of Guiding Hands are just the first of the 43 wheelchair accessible vehicles to hit San Diego streets. They will provide much needed transportation to our seniors and disabled population in the region,” said Del Mar Councilmember and SANDAG Chair-Elect Terry Sinnott. Six of the new buses for Home of Guiding Hands replaced ones purchased more than a

decade ago. Seven will expand HGH transportation services to include more than 300 individuals daily. “The contribution from SANDAG is especially important at this time. Now, more than ever, individuals with developmental disabilities need greater community access,” said Mark Klaus, Chief Executive Officer of Home of Guiding Hands. “This will enable HGH to help meet this ever-growing need for many years to come.” In this cycle of grants, SANDAG awarded a total of approximately $7 million through its Specialized Transportation Program – which includes the TransNet Senior Mini-Grant and Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 programs. SANDAG is currently overseeing active projects from Cycle 8 – through which the HGH vehicles were funded – and Cycle 9, and is preparing to release the Cycle 10 Call for Projects in 2018. Projects awarded funding include doorto-door and door-through-door transportation, non-emergency medical transportation, shopping shuttles, volunteer driver programs, taxi voucher programs, and transportation information and referral services. For 50 years SMSC has helped people with developmental disabilities, their families and communities, discover, explore, and nurture potential – giving thousands a chance to live life to the fullest. The Center truly provides a ‘Life Program’ that allows students to learn and grow, and enjoy friendships and social activities through-

EAST COUNTY BIZwith Rick Griffin Speakers invited to Alpine Chamber’s `Hot Topics’ breakfast

The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce will host its next “Hot Topics” networking breakfast starting at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at the Greek Village Grill in the Ayres Lodge Center, 1730 Alpine Blvd., Alpine. The speakers will be everyone in attendance. “We’re giving everyone who attends the Chamber’s monthly January breakfast meeting an opportunity to talk about their business, agency or organization,” said Joe Moreland, Chamber communications director. The public is invited to attend. Cost is $20 per person, which includes an opportunity drawing ticket and a buffet breakfast of eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, toast, fruit, coffee and orange juice. Seating is limited. For more information and to RSVP, call (619) 445-2722 or visit

DEC. 21-27, 2017

Christian College; Erick Lundy, Lundy Insurance; Dan O’Brien, O’Brien Insurance; James Peasley, Padre Dam Municipal Water District; Barbara Ryan, Santee School District; Warren Savage, U.S. Naval Sea Cadets; Pamela White, City of Santee. New Chamber board members for 2018 include: Ailen Lloyd, Lloyd’s Collision Center; Allison Hinton, US Bank; Darcy Fagerwold, Expressions Dance and Movement; Doug Whitney, Whitney Promotions; Laura Koval, Santee Lakes; Melissa Dombo, Raceway Electric. For more information on Santee Chamber events, visit www.

Helix Water District board elects 2018 officers

The Helix Water District board of directors has elected its 2018 board officers. The board recently unanimously Kathleen Hedberg as board president and Dan Santee Chamber of Commerce announces elected McMillan as board vice president. Both will serve one 2018 board year in their positions. Hedberg was first elected to The Santee Chamber of Commerce, now in Helix’s board in 2006 and represents Helix’s division #4 its 63rd year, has announced its 2018 board of customers, which includes a portion of Mt Helix, Spring directors. Darlene Fenn, COHR Consulting, will serve Valley and La Mesa south of Interstate 8. McMillan was as chairman of the board. Other members of the appointed by the board in January 2017 to fill the vacant board’s executive committee include: Bobbie Jo division #1 board seat. Division #1 includes areas north Lewis, Walmart, chair elect; Tim Staump, Staump of the I-8 freeway in El Cajon, including the Fletcher Hills Productions, first vice chair; Kyle Whissel, Whissel and Bostonia neighborhoods. Helix Water District is a Realty, second vice chair; Joe Mackey, XL Staffing, special district, a not-for-profit, local government agency, treasurer; Kristine Costa, Waste Management Inc., formed to provide water for the cities of La Mesa, El secretary. Mike Clinkenbeard, Farmers Insurance, Cajon and Lemon Grove, the community of Spring Valley will serve as past chairman of the board. Additional and areas within the City of Santee, Lakeside and San 2018 Chamber board members include: Travis Alegria, Diego County. Helix serves more than 270,000 people Sharp Business Systems; Robert Jensen, San Diego through more than 56,000 metered accounts.

out their lives. By providing transportation to their student, SMSC allows them to come to their five-acre campus in the foothills of El Cajon, daily to learn or upgrade marketable skills, develop creative outlets, earn an income, make new friends, and gain a sense of independence and self esteem. This ‘Life Program’ includes recent high-school graduates to seniors in their 80s. HGH has been providing essential services to individuals with intellectual disabilities for more than 50 years in San Diego County. as well. HGH owns and operates 14 vehicles designed specifically for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. Each day, HGH provides 430 rides to more than 230 individuals, covering the communities of San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, San Ysidro, El Cajon, Santee, La Mesa, and Lakeside. Other awardees include, Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation (FACT), Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Metropolitan Transit Systems, Noah Homes, San Ysidro Health Center and Sharp Healthcare Foundation, SANDAG is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a board of directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.

Submissions are welcomed for this column. Press releases can be sent to

Press releases may be edited due to space considerations.

Circulate San Diego names city council member as executive director & general counsel

Circulate San Diego, a nonprofit organization that advises on transportation policy and planning, has named Colin Parent as executive director and general counsel. Parent had previously served as the organization’s policy counsel since November 2014, and as interim executive director since July 2017, following the departure of executive director Jim Stone who joined the Elementary Institute of Science. Parent also serves on the La Mesa City Council. Parent worked on the Jerry Brown for Governor 2010 campaign and was later appointed by Gov. Brown as the director of External Affairs for the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Earlier, he practiced law for three years as a commercial litigator at the San Diego office of DLA Piper. In 2013 and 2014, Parent also served as the director of Policy at the San Diego Housing Commission.

San Diego’s office rent on the rise

San Diego was among the top markets in the country for rising office rents over the past two years, according to CBRE’s annual Tech-30 report, which measures the tech industry’s impact on office rents in the 30 leading tech markets in the U.S. and Canada. On the list of 30 markets, San Diego saw the eighth greatest rent growth; Orange County took the number one spot. According to CBRE, the willingness of tech companies to pay a premium for office space in the hottest tech submarkets is starting to spill over into neighboring submarkets as available space in tech hotspots is dwindling. As a result, adjacent submarkets and traditional downtowns with skylines are primed to benefit, creating opportunity for commercial real estate investors, the company said.

DEC. 21-27 2017



Trio Picked for Annual Classified Employee Excellence Award EL CAJON — Three classified staffers at the GrossmontCuyamaca Community College District were lauded Tuesday night, Dec. 19 by the Governing Board as this year’s picks for an employee excellence award. Grossmont College International Student Specialist Bryan Lam; Cuyamaca College Admissions and Records Assistant, Senior, Ariane Ahmadian, and District Services Research and Planning Analyst Katie Cabral were honored as the 2017 recipients of the Chancellor/Classified Senate Award. One member of the support staff from each college and district office is recognized. “The contributions of our classified professionals are valued beyond measure, and this year’s three award winners exemplify excellence in their service to students and the campus communities,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “Our support staff are key to our remaining East County’s leading source of top-notch higher education and workforce training.”

Bryan Lam

Lam wears many hats as an adviser, confidant and activities coordinator to the 600 international students representing 50 countries at the El Cajon campus. When a travel ban imposed by the Trump administration generated confusion and anxiety for international students, Lam sprang into action, contacting affected students and devising mitigating plans. “What was most admirable was how Bryan demonstrated care and concern for these students,” said Wayne Branker, Admissions and Records supervisor. “He went above and beyond to make sure they always had an open line of communication with the campus and by finding the right resources they needed, whether it be housing, travel arrangements, or just an ear to listen to and a shoulder to cry on.” Lam was also praised for building camaraderie by planning events for international students including dances, community service projects and field trips to universities. He has also given back to the college community, including serving as vice president of Grossmont College’s Classified Senate and as a member of many college committees. A 2004 Grossmont College graduate who went on to earn a bachelor’s in political science from UCLA, Lam began working at Grossmont College seven years ago at the Career Center. Stints at the counseling office and the transfer center followed before he was promoted in 2015 as an international student specialist. While a student at Grossmont, Lam worked as an English language tutor for international students. After graduating, he worked in Japan for two years as an English teacher at a private junior high and high school in Tokyo. He notes with pride that Grossmont College has the largest international student population of all of the community colleges in the San Diego region, and has the most international students transferring to Southern California universities. “The best thing about my job is that I get to work with people from all over the world who bring in different experiences and stories to share,” said Lam. “It offers me an opportunity to show how awesome it is to be at Grossmont and what it really means to have a wonderful college experience. It brings me great joy to help international students.”

Ariane Ahmadian

As president of Cuyamaca College’s Classified Senate, which advocates for staff on non-labor matters, Ahmadian is credited for increasing the visibility and job satisfaction of classified professionals and encouraging more involvement in district committees. “In the capacity as Classified Senate president, she has really shined,” Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes said. “She has made valuable contributions in participatory governance and has illuminated the importance of the classified professionals’ voices on matters that impact them.” Ahmadian received an associate degree from Cuyamaca in 2013 and is currently working toward a bachelor’s in organizational management through a program that the college began offering in 2016 with Point Loma Nazarene University. Ahmadian was hired in 2009 as a student worker at Cuyamaca College’s Admissions and Records Office until she was hired for a permanent position three years later as an A&R assistant, senior. This year, she was promoted to an interim position as an Admission and Records specialist in the college’s Pathways Academy, a guidance and counseling program for students from underserved communities. “Getting to be part of something that has such significance for our students and for their success, and ultimately for our community, makes everything worthwhile,” Ahmadian said. Ahmadian is also involved in the college’s dual enrollment program, which allows high school students to take college classes. Whether it was improving enrollment forms or making sure administrators were kept up to date on enrollment numbers, the program has been a success at the college in large part due to her contributions. Her wide-ranging interests have also benefitted the college through her launching of a cultural competence workshop, an orientation handbook for new classified professionals, and Classified Appreciation Week, which kicks off each year with a breakfast. “Ari is a true leader on the Cuyamaca College campus and at the district overall,” Barnes said.

Katie Cabral

Cabral’s connection with the college district began in 2014, when she worked for three years as a part-time psychology instructor at Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges. She put her teaching position at the East County campuses and other area community colleges on hold after she was hired a year ago as an analyst for the

district’s Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness office. Cabral has proven herself to be a consummate team player, said Brianna Hays, a senior dean at Cuyamaca College, where Cabral is based. “From the moment Katie started at Cuyamaca, she changed the face of research for the campus,” Hays said. “Her presence and positive attitude have a tremendous impact on our office climate, work, and productivity.” Cabral has been described as an innovator, developing cre-

ative ways to present the data behind Cuyamaca’s successful efforts at helping students complete transfer-level math and closing achievement gaps. Hays said Cabral’s creativity has also served her well in devising simple illustrations to explain complex data. The Bay Area native moved to San Diego to attend the University of California, San Diego, where she earned her bachelor’s in psychology. She earned her master’s degree in social psychology and evaluation at Claremont Graduate University, and later returned

to UC San Diego as a mental health programs evaluator and researcher. “My favorite part of being a campus-based researcher is collaborating with a wide variety of practitioners and decisionmakers, including, students, faculty members, student services staff members, administrators, and my research colleagues,” Cabral said. “Through this inclusive work, my aim is to promote a culture of continuous improvement to eliminate equity gaps and support success for all students inside and outside of the classroom.”




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Viejas Casino & Resort to Open New El Cajon’s City Council Approves Luxury Tower in February 2018 Unprecedented Deal with Live Nation

The newly revealed 159 all-suite luxury tower features adults-only offerings ALPINE — The Forbes Travel Guide 4 Star rated, AAA 4 Diamond rated Viejas Casino & Resort will open a new luxury tower in February 2018 as the third phase of its latest development plans. The newly unveiled tower Willows Hotel & Spa is designed as a resort within a resort, where a holistic approach to the guest experience will be customized to promote wellness. The 159 all-suite tower will be an adults-only, tranquil retreat featuring the finest amenities including a lush new saltwater pool; a luxurious spa, salon, and fitness center; and three new restaurant concepts offering delectable fare. “We’re redefining our guest experience, making every choice about accommodating our guests and fostering an unparalleled sense of well-being and tranquility,” said Viejas Tribal Chairman Robert J. Welch, Jr. “The level of personalization and detail we are putting into this new build will expand the demographics of our current visitor and have a strong positive impact on the local economy.” Reinventing the hotel check-in model, the luxury tower will feature one-of-a-kind Specialized Stay Packages, which obliterates the standard check in and check out times, and allows guests to arrive at their leisure, and check out later, per day of reservation. “You will be able to tell us what time is best for you to arrive, and your room will be waiting for you,” explains Welch. “And, even better, guests who arrive in the evening can check out in the evening, allowing for them to have access to their room for their entire stay.” Upon arrival, visitors will be greeted with a personalized check in experience that will be tailored to their unique accommodations and describe the array of luxurious built-in features therein. Each suite will feature an ultra-modern contemporary design and come equipped with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant, which can find information, act as an alarm, play music, and more. A pillow preference program will allow guests to choose from a selection of plush bedding options to ensure a restful night’s slumber and select rooms will feature a Wellness Experience including items such as Vitamin C-infused showers which will add to the guests’ ability to reinvigorate. Each suite feature products from Whish Beauty, whose trendsetting bath and beauty products are naturally sourced, organic, and made in the USA. Those wishing to relax poolside can enjoy the all-new saltwater pool with amenities designed to nourish the mind and body. From outdoor meditation to poolside massage treatments, the adults-only pool will be complemented by a brand-new spa, which will offer full salon and spa services, ideal for anyone who seeks to be pampered, while a 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center will allow guests to maintain their exercise regimens uninterrupted during their stay. Spa highlights include a tranquility garden, salt sauna, steam room, and outdoor cabanas where treatments can be provided. This provides the perfect balance across the AAA 4 Diamond, Forbes Travel Guide 4 Star rated property and compliments Viejas’ other familyfriendly and high-energy pool environments. The Chairman adds, “We are thrilled to add the adults-only pool and spa to this facility. Our spa will be world-class and will likely attract a distinguished clientele from all parts of the western U.S. to experience this modern, luxurious yet inviting concept.” In order to satiate the refined tastes of the hotel’s visitors, three new restaurant concepts will feature fresh, gourmet international food offerings. Locale Kitchen and Lounge, the signature eatery with farm-to-table California inspired cuisine, will serve lunch and dinner before turning into a nighttime hotspot. Ginger Noodle Bar will offer up classic and contemporary Asian fare in a comfortable and modern setting, while The Daily Roast will feature popular Starbucks products and serve the grab-and-go needs of guests. Additional details and menus for each of the restaurants will be announced at a later date. Reservations for the new tower are now being accepted and can be made by calling Viejas at 800-847-6537. Viejas Casino & Resort is at the heart of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians’ entrepreneurial achievements and is recognized as one of the most respected and successful Indian gaming resorts in California.

EL CAJON — Earlier this week, the El Cajon City Council approved a five-year agreement with Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company to manage and operate the East County Performing Arts Center, also known as ECPAC which seats 1,142 spectators. The 40-yearold ECPAC has been closed since 2009. The partnership with Live Nation aims to resurrect this significant community asset. Mayor Bill Wells was thrilled with the Council’s approval of the agreement, stating “This is a game changer for downtown El Cajon and the entire community. Live Nation will bring nationally renowned acts to the heart of our City and ECPAC will once again be a premier venue in the San Diego region. These shows will also bring new customers to the city’s thriving food and cultural downtown center.” Live Nation, also operates the House of Blues in San Diego and the Mattress Firm Amphitheater in Chula Vista. Under the agreement, Live Nation will manage ECPAC on behalf of the City. Live Nation will book and promote events, negotiate entertainment contracts, manage rentals, market ECPAC, and oversee the day-today operations of the facility. “Live Nation is thrilled to partner with the City of El

Cajon,” said Arich Berghammer, Executive Vice President of Live Nation’s clubs and theatre division. Berghammer stated “This is a great music market. We plan to put our wide array of resources to work in El Cajon by bringing premier, nationally renowned artists to the City. We want to help El Cajon be known as the place to see live entertainment.” “I’m proud of the partnership that we have forged with Live Nation” stated El Cajon City Manager Doug Williford. “This innovative partnership allows the city to put ECPAC to its highest possible use – as a high-end concert venue.

Cities must be entrepreneurial about providing services and this public-private partnership is a great example of how it can work.” In the first year of operation, Live Nation guarantees a minimum of 50 events with the count growing to 65 by the fifth year. ECPAC will go through a substantial renovation in preparation for Live Nation’s management of the facility. In addition to upgrades to many of the mechanical systems, ECPAC will receive a massive interior face lift in preparation for its regrand opening slated for Spring 2019.



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