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february 2013


ock shoe & s y a give-aw

matters most w h a t

Saving a spot at your table for friends

Single in the suburbs

Who does the dishes?

Business highlight: crawford team & Associates resident spotlight: the herrera family


february 2013


local getaways


from the editor... Over the years, I’ve had many an occasion to share advice on relationships. I guess that’s what happens when people see you still happily with the partner you met as an 11th grader and re-connected with as a college freshman. My wife Marietta and I celebrated 20 years of marriage last summer, though we’ve been together for more than 28 years now. As a student leadership organization advisor, I had students regularly wanting words of wisdom on how to make their relationships work. When Marietta and I led Engaged Encounter (marriage preparation) weekends, we enjoyed a formal role in offering our example of a marriage that works. As best man at two dear friends’ weddings, I was expected to dispense with encouraging words that were also enlightening yet humorous. Despite the practice and opportunity, I still feel challenged to pretend to have some sort of expertise on relationships. I know it hasn’t been easy or without tough times, but I smile knowing that everything we have gone through we have gone through together. When I think about what matters most in my relationship with Marietta – and, in fact, with those I hold closest to my heart – it’s the unwavering support of a constant companion that knows all your faults and failings and accepts you anyway. In some aspects I also think a similar sentiment makes the community of east Chula Vista the right place for so many people. Yes, there are aspects of every community that can be improved but focusing more on what is going right in the neighborhood leads to a greater sense of satisfaction and community. Paying attention to the positive is at the center of this publication and defines what we believe really matters in our efforts to bring you a magazine that you look forward to receiving and reading. So, this month, when so many people are focused on romantic notions, why not take a moment and use some of that positive energy to find new reasons to feel good about where you’ve chosen to live, raise a family, own a business and be an active participant. It’s easy if you are willing to take a minute and really look with a heart open to seeing the best in your neighbors.

february 2013

What’s inside

matters most


w h a t

Saving a Spot at Your Table For Friends


Single in the Suburbs


Who Does the Dishes?


community news Chula Vista Business Symposium


SRO Shoe and Sock Give-Away


on topic 21

Dog Parks in Chula Vista

community calendar 22

Local Events and Activities

school news Exercise Circuit at High Tech Elementary


resident spotlight The Herrera Family


business highlight Crawford Team & Associates


Michael Minjares, Editor of My Hometown

february 2013 my hometown 3


Look what great things your community is up to...

To the newly opened El Vitral at Otay Ranch Town Center. This award-winning eatery’s second San Diego County location – it’s East Village location opened in 2009 – features modern Mexican cuisine and offers a social dining model, with closer, more intimate seating and an open feel. “Everything in the restaurant is made from scratch daily, including the tortillas,” said Tina Medina, marketing director at Otay Ranch Town Center.

To Chula Vista resident Dr. Helen V. Griffith on being featured as one of San Diego’s 50 people to watch in 2013 by The San Diego Magazine. Griffith is considered an educational pioneer as she was recently appointed Executive Director opening the new high school, e3 Civic High in the $185 million San Diego Public Library currently under construction. The new public high school will be located on the sixth and seventh floor of the new San Diego Central Library downtown. It is scheduled to open in late August with an entering class of approximately 250 ninth and tenth graders.

To James Floros, a Chula Vista resident, who recently began his new position as the new CEO of the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Floros has 28 years of experience in the San Diego nonprofit community and joins the Food Bank from the Burn Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing fire and burn injuries and deaths. Floros said, “It is an honor to be selected to serve as president and CEO of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. The organization is vital to the welfare of San Diego County, serving individuals and families in need and the community’s most vulnerable members – including seniors and children living in poverty who face the daily threat of hunger.” To former Eastlake High football standout Tony Jefferson on leaving the University Oklahoma early to enter the NFL Draft in April. Jefferson had an outstanding junior season earning First Team All-Big 12 recognition in 2012. ranks him as the number 4 free safety in the draft.

To County Supervisor Greg Cox on being sworn in on January 7 for a new term pledging to work with all parties to protect the safety of San Diego’s families and improve the quality of life of the region. Cox officially began his fifth term at a ceremony that also included the swearing in of reelected Supervisor Dianne Jacob and new Supervisor Dave Roberts. Cox represents District 1, which includes the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City, the unincorporated community of Bonita and Point Loma and communities in Southern portion of San Diego.                       

If you would like to contribute to Bravo, send a quick note to My Hometown’s editor at and we’ll do our best to put your good-news announcement in an upcoming issue. Submissions should be sent by the 10th of the month. Published by Fountain Media Group, Inc 1501 San Elijo Rd, Suite 104-202 San Marcos, CA 92078 (800) 497-1309 x701

4 my hometown february 2013

Publisher Tim Minjares

Editorial Mike Minjares

Sales Melissa Granados

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form, in whole or part, without written permission is prohibited. Fountain Media Group, Inc. is not responsible for the views of contributing writers and assumes no responsibility for errors appearing within. Opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Publisher or advertisers.

on your doorstep

Art Grant Applications Due Applications for two art grant opportunities in Chula Vista are now being accepted. The Performing and Visual Arts Grant is open for applications from individuals or groups. Projects eligible for the grants include dance performances, media arts, theater, musical performance, photography, or folk arts. The deadline to apply is February 15. In addition, nominations for three categories of the Gayle McCandliss Awards are also being accepted. Given annually to adults, graduating seniors and community organizations that have supported the arts in Chula Vista, the fund is named after former Mayor Gayle McCandliss, who was a strong supporter of the arts. The “Rising Star” award is open to high school juniors and seniors for demonstrating artistic promise. Student winners receive a monetary award. The “Bravo Award” provides the opportunity to recognize individuals whose artistic contributions or service to Chula Vista’s arts world have been outstanding. The “Literary Award” recognizes those whose words have helped build community understanding, appreciation and pride in the literary arts. Nominations for any of the Gayle McCandliss awards should be submitted by April 1. More information and application forms for all grants are available at, or by calling Stephanie Loney at (619) 691-5288.

Purim Celebration at Temple Beth Shalom Temple Beth Shalom of Chula Vista will host a Purim Celebration on Saturday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m. The special event, to be held at the Temple at 208 Madrona St., will include a reading of the Megillah followed by dessert social. A Purim Dinner is scheduled for Sunday, February 24 at 4:30 p.m. The cost is $15. According to Arlene LaGary, President of Temple Beth Shalom in Chula Vista, the local organization’s goal is to reach out to the Jewish families of EastLake to let them know about the Temple, upcoming services and holiday events, availability of bar/bat mitzvah tutoring, religious school and adult education. Temple Beth Shalom also offers a Torah class taught in Spanish.  “As president, I must find ways to reach the community in order to build our congregation,” LaGary said. “Temple Beth Shalom was founded in 1958, always at the same location. We have members who are from Bonita, La Mesa, Spring Valley, Tijuana, National City, EastLake, and of course, Chula Vista.” Like many religious organizations, Temple Beth Shalom’s membership goes in cycles. It is looking to grow in numbers and welcomes inquiries from local community members. For more information about the Purim events or Temple Beth Shalom in general, call (858) 344-5632 or go online to

City Implements Volunteer Park Ranger Program The City of Chula Vista Public Works Division has implemented a volunteer park ranger program in order to assist the hourly park rangers who monitor all 52 city parks. Three or four volunteers are needed every evening including weekends for approximately four hours each night. Some of the duties for the volunteer park rangers include locking park restrooms and gates, checking on gazebo rentals and monitoring ball field allocations. Requirements include a valid California driver’s license and clearance of a background check (fingerprinting). All park ranger volunteers must be at least 18 years old. The volunteers will be trained by City staff and provided special t-shirts and a badge to wear while on duty. For more information and to apply for the volunteer park ranger positions, go to the city’s website at february 2013 my hometown 5

on your doorstep

PUCKidz Has Big Plans for 2013

The year 2013 is looking bright for PUCKidz (Positive Understandable Coaching for Kidz), a local youth sports program. Within the last few months, the program became PUCKidz, Inc., an incorporated nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization. By becoming a nonprofit, the Executive Director and President, Keith Quigley, feels the program will now be able to reach out to many youth in the community through the local schools and other avenues. At this time, the Board of Directors is concentrating on finding individuals and businesses in the community who would like to financially support the programs and therefore the youths and families of the community. Funds are needed for sports equipment and for schol-

6 my hometown february 2013

arships for the youth in the community who cannot afford the activities provided by PUCKidz. PUCKidz recently expanded its operation by adding a new branch under the overall umbrella called “LAX619.” LAX619 is the lacrosse component of the program. As Quigley realized that lacrosse was one of the program’s most popular offerings, he wanted to address it specifically by offering many different lacrosse camps, clinics, private and small group lessons. LAX619 recently finished up a very successful winter break lacrosse camp at Explorer Park in Chula Vista. Since becoming incorporated, PUCKidz has been able to reach many more children in the community by offering various after-school programs in several local schools. PUCKidz ended 2012 with after-school lacrosse programs at Arroyo Vista Charter School and EastLake Elementary School. In the new year, plans are to offer an afterschool lacrosse program at Sunnyside Elementary and Palomar Elementary schools. PUCKidz continues to run a successful sneaker hockey program on Sunday mornings at Sunset View Park.  As one parent recently stated about the sneaker hockey program, “If your kids aren’t trying this out, they are really missing out. Keith has a phenomenal program and the skill set of the boys is increasing dramatically each week. Kids of all ages and skills will feel very welcome by Keith.” In addition, Quigley also wants to make sure his programs address other needs as they become a problem such as bullying and childhood obesity. “We need to make sure our youth have someone they feel comfortable talking to whether it’s their coach, teacher, family or friend and an environment they feel safe in,” he said. “We most definitely have to keep kids moving and eating healthier. We live in Chula Vista, California. We all need to spend more time outside running around, exercising and enjoying the benefits of it all!” For more information on PUCKidz, Inc. and its programs, go online to my.

on your doorstep

CV Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner & Dance February 15 The 86th Annual Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner and Dance will take place on Friday, February 15 from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the Bonita Golf Club. County Supervisor Greg Cox will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies at the yearly event to congratulate and thank former Chamber officers and welcome in the new officers and board members for 2013. The “black tie optional� event is a highlight for the local business community. In addition to the recognition of the outgoing and incoming Chamber officers and board members, the event also includes a variety of awards for outstanding service to the Chula Vista community. My Hometown Chula Vista Magazine, along with many of its advertisers and contributors, has been honored several times in the past. Come on out and celebrate with the hard-working folks of the local business community. Reservations can be made by calling the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce at (619) 420-6603. For more information about this and other Chamber activities, go online to

Local Elks Lodge to Host Open House Feb 23 The Chula Vista Elks Lodge welcomes members of the local community to its 1st Community Open House on Saturday, February 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friends, family, and neighbors are also encouraged to enjoy the facility, hospitality and learn what the Elks are all about! The Elks Lodge is located at 901 Elks Lane, Chula Vista, off of Telegraph Canyon Road, a half mile east of I-805. The Chula Vista Elks Lodge meets Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. More information can be found online at

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february 2013 my hometown 7

on your doorstep

Miss South Bay and Miss Eastlake Scholarship Pageants 2013 The Miss South Bay and Miss Eastlake Scholarship Pageants are set for Sunday, April 28 at Eastlake High School. The show that is open to the public and provides an opportunity for young women to earn the chance to be the official hostesses and Youth Ambassadors for their communities and earn the privilege of representing their communities for the Miss California title. The two pageants are held together in the same show to help offset the costs of the production (both programs are sponsored by the non-profit organization – CYE). This year $500 scholarships will be awarded to Miss South Bay and Miss Eastlake and $350 scholarships will be awarded to Teen Miss South Bay and Teen Miss Eastlake. Contestants will be scored in the follow-


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Eastlake Design District


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8 my hometown february 2013

ing categories: Interview, Poise and Personality, Evening Gown, and On-Stage Impromptu Questions. The new titleholders may become active in the community by participating in Parades, Ribbon Cuttings, and by supporting charities throughout San Diego County. Miss South Bay Contestants must reside (home address) in one of these zip code areas: 91902, 91910, 91911, 91914, 91915, 91932, 91935, 91950, (portions only), 92136, 92139, 92154, 92155, 92173. Miss Eastlake contestants must have a Chula Vista mailing address. Individuals competing in the pageants must be between ages 10 and 24. Four age division Queens will be crowned. Winners will receive beautiful tiaras, a satin banner, Miss and Teen winners receive Scholarships and all titleholders crowned will have the opportunity to move on to the Miss California State Finals Scholarship Pageant. During the Miss California Pageant over $8,000 is offered in scholarships. Interested young women are asked to call or email the pageant director, Mrs. Billie Sangster, at (619) 390-0061 or for an information packet. An informal orientation and registration night will be held Thursday, April 4 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Rubio’s Mexican Grill, 1480 Eastlake Parkway. For additional information, visit the pageants on Facebook at South Bay CYE or Eastlake Scholarship Pageant. my.

MEMORIES OF A LIFETIME 4th Annual Daddy Daughter Dance Serving families has always been at the heart of the Y. We have a fundamental desire to provide opportunities for every family to build stronger bonds, achieve greater work/life balance, and become more engaged with our south bay community.

Date: Sunday, February 10, 2013 Location: South Bay Family YMCA Kari Lyn Sutherland Gymnastics Center and Family Sports Complex, 2390 Boswell Road, Suite 300, Chula Vista 91914 Time: 4:30pm-7:30pm Daughters: Ages 2-12 Activities include: Dinner, dessert, dancing, opportunity drawings, hair braiding, žQJHUQDLOSDLQWLQJSKRWRERRWKJRRGLHEDJVDQGPRUH | 619.421.9622

on your doorstep

Chula Vista Business Symposium Part 1, First Things First By Michael Monaco, First Bank Where do I start? A question often asked when thinksupplies, commercial use and manufacturing. It would be Chula Vista ing of opening a new business. What is the right answer? wise to invest some time and consult with a county clerk Experts would suggest starting off with a business plan. before you move forward. The county clerk will assist you This is basically putting your ideas, resources, expertise in understanding 2 0 1 3 S E Rwhat I E S permits you would need. If you are and goals in writing. Your business plan should to be flexa retail business, you will also need to get a sellers permit Presented by: First Bank and My Hometown Chula Vista Magazine ible. You will find that it changes the closer it becomes to with the Board of Equalization. If the business has a locahow to effectively andto the public, permits are required for occureality. There is no formal way to create a business tion accessible FREE Learn plan, however it should incorporate the Space basics. or prospecfire, police alarm and compliance for Americans is LimitedNeweffi ciently runpancy, a business TODAY! tive business owners can go onlineRSVP and search business with Disabilities Act (ADA). These would naturally be ele4 Part Series will address: plan templates for ideas. ments you Everything you wanted to know about owning andwould running awant in your business plan. successful business but did not know whom to ask The next logical step would The City of Chula Vista can be deciding what type of busialso be a valuable resource for PART 2 TOPIC: ness entity is appropriate. local residents looking to start The most common are Sole a new venture in 2013. Many Proprietorship, Limited Liability departments and programs Thursday, February 28, 2013 Company, S Corporation and are in place to assist business 6:30pm to 8:30pm C Corporation. Forming a legal owners in getting started and Location: 866 Eastlake Parkway #210 Chula Vista, CA 91914 entity is not difficult, however it remaining successful. (619) 216-8660 is important to understand why “One of the primary missions Presenters: one would chose one entity over of the Chula Vista Department RSVP by February 21 to or 619-420-6603 another. Consulting a professionof Economic Development is al like the Sharif Law Group, a to assist existing Chula Vista Produced by: business attorney, can save you businesses with their expansion . money and frustration. needs and Chula Vista entreEvent Sponsors Ask yourself this question – preneurs with their start up LAWYERS Would you spend $600 to save efforts,” said Michael Meachem, $100,000? Of course you would. Director of the City of Chula COPYLINK Official Copy Company of the Chula Vista Business Symposium This is a true story based on Vista’s Economic Development actual events. In short, a person Department. “Economic bought into a business for $100,000 and expected to take Development staff can be a helpful guide in identifying the it over. There was nothing illegal about the business deal, range of options, a resource for regulatory, demographic, however the purchaser did not get any legal advice. When marketing and financial information and an advocate in the the property owner of the business realized there was a local permitting process for project proposals that complenew tenant, he evicted him. Why? There was no clause ment the communities goals and objectives.” in the lease agreement to allow a new tenant to take over These are just some of the details and advice shared the location. A $600 consultation with a professional to during the Chula Vista Business Symposium’s Part 1, “First review the sales agreement and property lease would have Things First” session. This four-part symposium, presented uncovered this expensive oversight, saving the buyer his by First Bank, My Hometown Chula Vista and the Chula life savings. Vista Chamber of Commerce, is free to the public and at In the beginning, you will also want to know if your the beginning of each part we recap the previous topics so business requires you to have a professional license or participants can attend even if they’ve missed a session permits. Examples of professions needing a license or perand easily catch up. Mark your calendar for Part 2, “Ready, mit would include realtors, insurance agents and brokers, Set Cash Flow” set for Thursday, February 28, at 6:30 p.m. mortgage lenders and child care providers, to name a few. at Via Lago Trattoria in the Village Walk at EastLake. Please In San Diego County, a Business License is required for RSVP with the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce at (619) every business operating in the county. Permits vary from 420-6603 as seating is limited. my. the sale of food and alcohol, storing chemicals for pool

Business Symposium

Ready, Set, Cash Flow!

chula vista



10 my hometown february 2013

on your doorstep

Cycle EastLake! Registration Now Open It’s time to pull out the bike from the garage, dust off the pedals and brakes and get in a little ride around the community before Cycle EastLake! 2013 is upon us. Registration is now open for the annual community event that benefits the six local public schools supported by the EastLake Educational Foundation. Set for Saturday, April 27 at
Otay Ranch Town Center, 2015 Birch Road, the event features a 100K (62 mile) Cycle Tour, a 25-Mile Marty Garcia Memorial Ride, an 18-Mile Mountain Bike and Poker Ride
and a free Family Fun Run. There is also an entertaining festival – the YMCA Healthy Kids Day & City of Chula Vista Go Green and Clean Family Day. The EastLake Educational Foundation (EEF) recently awarded a combined amount of $150,000 to fund technology for the 2012-2013 school year; $20,000 was awarded to each school: EastLake Elementary, Salt Creek Elementary, Olympic View Elementary, Arroyo Vista Charter School, EastLake Middle School and Eastlake High School. And an additional $30,000 in “extra credit” was awarded to three schools that participated by volunteering for EEF events in different capacities. “For the first time EEF was able to award an additional $30,000 to local EastLake schools. We understand that there is a dire need in the schools for technology funding and will continue to work hard to raise money for these important educational tools,” said EEF Executive Director, Nicole Graichen. Registration for the three bike rides takes place online at eefkids. org, while registration for the Family Fun Run is handled separately through the South Bay Family YMCA at The 100K Cycle Tour is designed for

youth fitness demos, entertainment, community programs and more than 75 information booth will be on hand to round out this terrific familyfriendly event. Finally, volunteers are welcomed and needed. All volunteers receive a colorful event T-shirt and verification letters will be available, if needed, for students needing community service hours. To become a volunteer email So, select the opportunity that’s right for you and register for Cycle EastLake!   my. experienced riders, while the 25-Mile Cycle provides the opportunity for a casual ride along long, slow hills and smooth, flat roads. The 18-Mile Mountain Bike & Poker Ride is a challenging course by the Olympic Training Center. Additionally, at five points along the course, cycling card sharks will have an opportunity to collect their aces, kings and queens to see who will cash in with the best hand at the finish line. A sixth, bonus card will be handed out at the end of the race. The free 1-Mile Family Fun Run is for everyone – joggers, walkers and dogs too. Race organizers remind participants that Cycle EastLake! is a participatory event, not a timed race. Bike helmets and bike checks are recommended. Children under 17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult on all rides. All registered Cycle EastLake! participants will receive a colorful commemorative T-shirt, goodie bag and refreshments at the finish line. Pre-registered Family Fun Run participants will receive a Fun Run T-shirt from the YMCA. The first ride leaves the starting area at 7:30 a.m. with the community Expo taking place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Family activities, bounce house for kids,

Everyone Welcome! Share our lively Shabbat Spirit Fridays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 10 a.m. Rabbi Dr. Michael Leo Samuel

t Adult education t Jewish cultural events t Hebrew school t Bar & Bat Mitzvah training

(619) 420-6040 208 Madrona St., Chula Vista february 2013 my hometown 11

on your doorstep

SRO Shoe and Sock Give-Away for local children. The event began with Officers Rosario and Hughes and has grown each year. The School Resource Officers along with South Bay Community Services work together with the school administrators and school nurses to select at-risk children living in Chula Vista, enrolled in Chula Vista schools, or receiving services within Chula Vista who are in need of assistance to receive a new pair of shoes along with

The Chula Vista Police Department’s School Resource Officers will once again be sponsoring their third annual Shoe and Sock Give-Away on Sunday, February 24 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Payless Shoe Source located at 555 Broadway (Chula Vista Shopping Center). My Hometown Chula Vista readers might recall the story the magazine included last April about

the origins of this wonderful community event. Made possible by the generous donations from businesses, organizations and individuals from all over Chula Vista, San Diego and even Southern California, the SRO Shoe and Sock GiveAway provides new shoes and socks


12 my hometown february 2013

a new package of socks. This year, the goal is to provide new shoes and socks to more than 1,000 boys and girls 17 and under who are in need at the Give-Away on February 24. Those identified will be invited to the Payless Shoe Source to select their new shoes and socks. The SROs are currently seeking monetary donations. Community members wishing to help provide footwear to under privileged children, may send a tax-deductible donation to the Chula Vista Police Foundation attention Officer Hughes by submitting a completed contribution form. These forms can be found online at A new pair of shoes and a fresh pair of socks means a great deal to kids who often go without. my.

on your doorstep

San Diego Association Donates Wooden Toys to Bonita Church

Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Bonita received a donation of over 90 crafted wooden toys for their Christmas Store 2012 program. The donation of the wooden toys was made by the San Diego Fine Woodworker’s Association (SDFWA), “a non-profit . . . organized in 1982, to unite people who share a common interest and enthusiasm for working with wood.� The donation was facilitated through Dr. Elaine V. Sunga, of Sunga Orthodontics in EastLake, herself a 20-year parishioner of Corpus Christi. Dr. Sunga was made aware of the SDFWA’s Toy Making Workshop, which brings the association’s “members together to produce wooden toys . . . (and) donate over 3,000 toys to various charitable organizations serving needy kids,� through James Vitale, a business associate of Dr. Sunga’s involved with the SDFWA. Dr. Sunga’s associate had given her son, Branden, a small wooden train, and she had mentioned to Mr. Vitale how much Branden loves playing with the train. Mr. Vitale told Dr. Sunga about the SDFWA and their work, and together coordinated the donation of the crafted wooden toys to the church’s Christmas Store. The wooden toys came in various colors, sizes, and finishes, and included flatbed trucks, birds, hippos with a moving mouth, tractors complete with a moving forklift, push toys, and over 60 racecars. Corpus Christi, along with St. Anthony of Padua, included the wooden toys in their Christmas Store, held December 20-21, 2012. The store, now in its sixth year, benefits

families in need, from children as young as two, to parents. Corpus Christi Catholic Church was founded in 1984, with a congregation of over 4,000 families. Its pastor is Reverend Patrick Mulcahy (Father Pat). Dr. Sunga was raised in Bonita, graduating from Bonita Vista

High School and attending UCLA (undergraduate and DDS) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (Certificate in the Specialty of Orthodontics). She has been in private practice as the owner and operator of Sunga Orthodontics in EastLake since 2006.





Enrique S. Camarena Elementary, is currently under construction at 1650 Exploration Falls Drive in the Otay Ranch Village 11 (Windingwalk) area of Chula Vista. The school will open in July 2013. All CVESD schools exceed the State 800 target and 25 % of our schools will top the 900 mark.

Learn more about attendance boundaries and student enrollment by contacting (619) 425-9600, x 1571


matters most w h a t

february 2013 my hometown 15

matters most w h a t

Holiday Greeting Features Future Eating By Mike Minjares

“This is our Holiday Greeting/And your Ticket to Future Eating,” read the first line on the card from our dear friends Tony and Nichole. Tony Adamo and my wife Marietta have been friends since they both were young growing up in Chula Vista. Their parents were very close friends and regularly entertained together. Friday nights often included friendly poker games while many Sundays saw the two families, and sometimes more, gathered together to share delicious homemade pasta topped with the best sauce you’ve ever had. Good times with great people were a constant. Over the years, Tony and Marietta have remained connected. Tony served as a member of our wedding party and recently the two have supported each other when they each lost their mothers. But as often happens, busy lives have meant we don’t see each other as often and time continues its steady march on. This year, Tony and Nichole set out to change that. Not only with our family, but with many of their family and friends whom they have wanted to spend more time with, but hadn’t quite been able to make happen. “Please be our Guest/On a Date soon to be set/For good fun and some serious Feasting!” According to Tony, this is the third time he and Nichole have offered a dinner invitation as a holiday present to their close friends. They are hopeful this time their friends will actually take them up on their sincere offer. “The idea started originally as a gift idea two Christmases ago,” the Chula Vista native shared. “We didn’t have a lot

16 my hometown february 2013

of money to spend on gifts for people, but we wanted to give them something truly heartfelt. So, we made coupons for friends that they could exchange for a homemade pasta dinner at our house. Everyone thought it was a great idea, but no one took advantage of it. We were kind of surprised. Honestly, we didn’t follow through either. This time, we are trying to take the next step and follow through. The plan is we’ll be hosting one dinner a month through August.” “Your place at our table has been reserved for: June.”

The difference this year is that Tony and Nichole have given each recipient of their dinner invitation a designated month in which to redeem the dinner offer. Each month a small group of people, no more than 8 to 10 – perhaps a few friends that haven’t seen each other in a long time or a family that the Adamos would like to reconnect with – will have the chance to enjoy a home cooked meal and socialize, in person, around a dinner table in a warm and inviting Chula Vista house. “Hopefully, when the month comes along, we are both thinking about the dinner invitation at the same time,” Tony said. “We are putting some pressure on ourselves to reach out to our guests if we haven’t heard from them to schedule the dinner. Nichole and I want it to be a small and intimate dinner where we get to spend more time with each group coming in.” Tony, who was adopted at a young age, has been, with the help of Nichole, hosting New Year’s Day ravioli dinners for several years – a tradition his mother instituted when he was young. He hopes the monthly dinners will build on that tradition and allow him and his wife to build stronger connections and relationships with the people in their lives, family and friends that have continued to “adopt” him and have welcomed him into their homes for years. “I feel like I’m in the middle of this large family,” said Tony, despite being raised as an only child. “It’s like I’ve been adopted by lots of people. I want to foster that same treatment I received growing up and bring it into my own home. I enjoy hosting and feeding people and I get that from my mom. I want a piece of all my family to be there enjoying a dinner together, focusing on what really matters.” my.

matters most w h a t

What Matters Most - Dishes! By: Karishma Sinnott

This month, one of the things My Hometown magazine is focusing on is what matters most to us. And, in my house, what matters most, at the end of the long weekdays, are dishes! That sounds silly, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Dishes, or lack of dishes, is what makes us all happy. My husband, who really is the love of my life, is also my right hand, my left hand, my partnerin-crime, my Math wizard, father of our children, trash taker-outer, and, best of all, dish washer. His mom would always say, “She who cooks dinner does not wash,” and John follows this in our home. (Sadly, this rule doesn’t seem to apply to breakfast, lunch or snack dishes!) I cook, he washes. I think I am safe, because John does NOT cook at all, so I don’t think I will have to be dishwasher any time soon! Now, there are days when he is blessed with the job of correcting a particularly perplexing problem in Pre-Algebra, and then I take over dishes. But, math drama aside, the job of doing dishes after dinner and cleaning the kitchen is his. So, what matters most to him? Dishes! Or, as I say, lack thereof. I think my husband is a creature of habit. I say this because at the end of every dinner, he will say, “Thanks for dinner, that was yummy,” followed closely by, “Oh, look how many dishes you made!” He says it almost daily, and I tease him with the same response, “You want to eat, right? Then, wash!” I think it’s just become part of a ritual now; if he doesn’t complain about the dishes, the night just doesn’t seem complete. Between you and me, I have been trying to make dinners that do not require a boatload of dishes. One-pot wonders, so to speak. And this is one of John’s favorites. It’s a good recipe because it requires one chopping board, one knife, one large sauté pan, a few ingredients and the oven. It works for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, served with a salad and some fruit. Best of all, I think it’s the one recipe that I own that doesn’t come with two sinks full of dishes. And it makes what matters most to me (my hubby), very, very happy!

John’s Sausage And Egg Mixture – One Pot to Wash 1 small onion, chopped 1 large potato, chopped into small cubes 1 Anaheim chilli, chopped fine 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine 1 package of your favorite sausage, chopped into large cubes – we like Applegate Farms Organic Sausages 1 small can tomato sauce A few dashes of Tobasco Salt and Pepper to taste 1 tsp. Ketchup A good handful of cilantro leaves, chopped Eggs (as many as you need for your family, 5 for ours) Preheat your oven to 425F. In a large sauté pan (preferably one that is oven-safe), sauté one onion in a little oil. Season. Add the potato and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, turning often. Season. Add the chillies, and sauté for a minute or two. Season. Add the sausages, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, Tobasco and ketchup, and turn the heat down to low and simmer. At this point, if it starts to get too dry, add 1/4 cup of water. Simmer till the potatoes are almost cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Make a few “wells” or holes in the sausage mixture, so that you can nestle an egg in each hole. Crack an egg into each hole. My sauté pan is wide enough for me to crack 5 eggs comfortably into spaces. Season each egg with salt and pepper.  ake for 10-12 minutes, or until the egg is cooked the way you like B it. Garnish with cilantro, serve with warm rolls, wheat bread, sauteed spinach, a salad or fresh fruit. If you don’t have a sauté pan that is oven safe, no worries! Just fry or poach eggs in a different pan (you’re now up to two dishes), and place over the warm sausage mixture. Enjoy!

february 2013 my hometown 17

matters most w h a t

Single in the Suburbs By Emily Cebulski

Every good parent knows the importance of developing strong relationships with their family. By living in a master planned community like EastLake, parents are able to provide their children with great schools, parks and activities that enable their kids to grow up in a well-rounded environment. Since EastLake is catered toward families, it is no wonder why so many people want to raise a family here. But what if you don’t have the stereotypical family of mom, dad and 2.5 kids? What if you are a single parent in this sea of happy families? If that is the case, then fitting in in suburbia can be challenging, stressful and requires a serious sense of humor. While divorce and separations are tough on everybody in the family, going through it in suburbia can be downright discouraging. Being surrounded by the perfect family demographic of the suburbs is enough to dampen anyone’s spirits, in an already extremely difficult and emotional time. Whether it be at the park, the soccer field or the local family restaurant, single parents are constantly reminded of how different their living situation is. Not only is it hard for the parents, but the kids are faced with this reality as well. While it may be tempting (and uncontrollable) for many parents to have a negative attitude

While EastLake isn’t ideal for the single parent socially or romantically, it is however great for those kids you are working so hard to raise. And whether you live in a single or dual parent household, the focus for many EastLake residents remains the same – the kids towards this lifestyle, it’s important to stay positive for the kids. True, being surrounded by traditional families while you are the one token single parent can be enough to induce vomiting, that bond of family must always be conveyed to the kids. Children of divorced families need to know that it doesn’t matter if their par-

18 my hometown february 2013

ents don’t live together, they will always love them, regardless of the living situation. Not only are single parents in suburbia faced with the challenges of maintaining good parent/child relationships, adult friendships can be challenging as well. Let’s face it; the majority of activities here in EastLake are centered around the traditional family. Barbecues, birthdays and block parties all are planned with specific roles for both mom and dad. Quite honestly, it’s extremely difficult for a single parent to spend quality time with another friend, since all of their time is devoted to maintaining that family unit. Of course, the family is most important, but when you’re a single mom or dad and actually have some free time to be social, finding another available adult can be a true juggling act. And finally, let’s discuss the social life of a single parent in suburbia. Although communities like EastLake are great for family bonding, it is not ideal for adult interaction (aka dating). To put it mildly, being a single parent in the ‘burbs makes dating challenging, difficult and downright depressing. Let’s face it; everyone around you is married, along with all his or her friends. This makes the local dating pool slim to none as compared to other areas. And with only family-friendly restaurants like Islands and Chili’s on every corner, the possibility of meeting other eligible people in a hip nightspot dwindles rapidly. While EastLake isn’t ideal for the single parent socially or romantically, it is however great for those kids you are working so hard to raise. And whether you live in a single or dual parent household, the focus for many EastLake residents remains the same – the kids. So hats off to you single suburban folks, for keeping your eye on the prize and putting your children’s needs first. Single parent households may lack a mom or dad, but most make up for it with the most important part of a family – love. my.

Emily Cebulski is a working single mom to two young girls and has lived in EastLake for almost 10 years.

matters most w h a t

10 Simple Steps to Instantly Improve Your Health and Happiness Life can be complicated, filled with commitments, responsibilities, and demands, leaving little time or energy to focus on ourselves. We constantly turn to drastic “quick fixes” in attempt to control our health amidst the chaos. Our tendency to turn to elimination diets and unnecessarily intense exercise regimes leaves us feeling overworked and unsatisfied. When these efforts produce negative results, such as sickness, injury, and weight gain, we become frustrated and depressed. Although we cannot easily reduce our obligations in every day life, there IS a way to feel healthy and happy in our ever-demanding world. Let “keep it simple” be your motto, especially in the area of fitness. Try approaching fitness with a gentler attitude toward yourself and a simpler plan. Do away with the lofty goals and begin slowly, making small changes in your everyday. This month, apply these 10 surprisingly simple practices to your life, guaranteeing improved health and overall happiness.

By: Tina van Hamersveld

8 Stretch daily. Lengthen out tight muscles and prevent injury by increasing the range of motion in your limbs and joints each day. 9 Take 10 minutes a day to sit in silence or meditate. The state of relaxation generates high levels of serotonin, the feel-good chemical, and the growth hormone that repairs cells and tissues. 10 Find a physical activity you love and do it often. A quick game of tennis or a relaxing paddle around the bay will actually help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other physical ailments. Pure enjoyment as well as a lengthened life? Sounds like a win-win. Add these practices into your life, taking it one day at a time, one change at a time, and remember to “keep it simple.” You will be rewarded with a healthier body, a smaller waistline, and a swing in your step. Now that you’ve got the key to unlock the door to improved health, gently turn it and walk in!

1 Eat breakfast daily, including a lean protein such as egg, yogurt, or nuts. Breakfast gets your metabolism pumping while the protein will reduce your hunger for hours and may even cause you to eat less the entire day. 2 Add dark green vegetables, such as lettuce, kale, or broccoli to one meal a day. Greens pack a serious nutritional punch and contain lots of fiber, which stabilizes blood sugar and improves digestion. 3 Take a 20-minute walk in nature 3 days a week. Walking in nature promotes the health of the body, mind, and spirit, not to mention increases your metabolism and burns calories. 4 Snack on a small handful of raw almonds between meals. Almonds contain protein, “good” fat, and fiber: the perfect combination to give you energy and suppress your appetite until your next meal. 5 Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Water is vital for all bodily functions including digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients, flushing out toxins, and maintenance of body temperature. 6 Add 2 days a week of strength training. Strength training builds lean muscle, strong bones, and increases your body’s ability to burn calories. Planks, push-ups, and squats are easy and efficient exercises that can be done anywhere. 7 Join the national health campaign called “Meatless Monday,” making one dinner a week vegetarian. By limiting your meat consumption you will lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, reduce belly fat, and lessen your impact on the environment. february 2013 my hometown 19

We are a community of local businesses dedicated to your success! Free Membership Free Educational Event Powerful Tools At Your Fingertips All local business owners encouraged to join!

MEETS EVERY MONDAY 11:30 am to 1:00 pm Oggiโ€™s Pizza & Brewing Co. 2130 Birch Road, Chula Vista, CA

BOARD MEMBERS Baltazar Perez, President John Carroll, Vice President

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on topic: Pets

Dog Parks in Chula Vista By Councilman Rudy Ramirez


urrent demand for dog parks in Chula Vista is not being met. According to the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan (2010), 78 percent of the demand for these types of facilities is unmet. In addition, of the dog parks currently operating within the city none are near the west side. We must seek solutions for the lack of available dog parks and find creative ways to fund these operations. A variety of issues have precluded the city from meeting demand for dog parks. Chief among these is a continued lack of funding. While the city has made significant progress in its economic recovery in recent years, current fiscal conditions still require prudent budgetary spending. We also face a space restriction on the west side of the city. While the west side will see new development with the Bayfront project, there is little opportunity for other new development in that area. Two possible solutions to Chula Vista’s dog park dilemma exist. One is to form a Friends of Chula Vista’s Dog Parks, similar to groups such as Friends of the Library. This group would seek

ways to establish more dog parks within the city and ensure that our existing dog parks remain of high quality. This type of citizen participation has already occurred at Montevalle Park to replace damaged turf at that facility. In addition to the formation of a new citizen’s group, Chula Vista also already has an Adopt-a-Park program that can easily be applied to dog parks within the City. Chula Vista’s Adopt-A-Park Program was established in 2005 in order to allow the community to participate in maintaining Chula Vista’s parks. Any park in Chula Vista is eligible for the aFor more information on the formation of a Friends of the Chula Vista Dog Parks or the Adopt-a-Park Program, please attend Councilman Ramirez’s public office hours or contact him at his office. my. Councilman Rudy Ramirez can be reached by email at rramirez@ or by phone at (619) 585-5717. Councilman Rudy Ramirez proudly represents the entire City of Chula Vista.

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february 2013 my hometown 21



out and about February 4

February 6

February 7

February 9

Bonita Country Day School Open House – 9am-2pm at 625 Otay Lakes Road; Part of National School Choice Week; Bonita Country Day School invites the community to come by and learn more about this local educational option; (619) 656-0141 or

Classical Music Celebration for African American History Month – 7:30pm at Mayan Hall Theatre, Southwestern College; Free & open to the public; Features 17-year-old violin virtuoso Annelle K. Gregory performing classical and contemporary compositions;

Valetine Senior Citizen Dance – 1-3:30pm at Norman Park Senior Center, 270 F St.; Tickets $5 at the door; Live band “The Sophisticates” to perform; (619) 409-1930

“Valentine’s Day” – 5-9pm – Neisha’s Dance & Music Academy; Kids ages 3-12; $25 per student; $35 day of event; Celebrate those you love by making one-of-a-kind Valentine cards; (619) 5851133,

February 12

February 15

February 14

Signing Story Time – 10:30am at Pediatrics in Paradise, 1741 Eastlake Parkway; Free session highlights signs related to bedtime; (619) 482-1700 or

Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner & Dance –6-11pm at Bonita Golf Club, 5540 Sweetwater Road, Bonita; $85 per person; 86th Annual event honoring former and new Chamber Board members; 619) 420-6603 or

Valentine’s Dinner at Via Lago Trattoria – Featuring a special menu for a romantic evening; Live music adds to the memorable dinner; Reservations recommended; (619) 216-8660

Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp – 5-11pm – The biggest Fat Tuesday celebration on the West Coast; Parades, music and beads take over downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter; $40; www.

February 16 & 17 San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair – A 2-day fair featuring martial arts, acrobats, music, folk dances, Taiko drumming, children’s crafts, and food; Third Avenue & J Street in Downtown San Diego;

February 23 Chula Vista Elks Lodge Community Open House – 11am-5pm at 901 Elks Lane, Chula Vista; Friends, family & neighbors invited to learn what the Elks are all about; Purim Celebration – 7pm at Temple Beth Shalom of Chula Vista; Reading of the Megillah followed by dessert social; 208 Madrona St.;

February 24

February 28

Purim Dinner – 4:30pm at Temple Beth Shalom of Chula Vista; $15;

Chula Vista Business Symposium – 6:30pm at Via Lago Trattoria, 866 Eastlake Parkway; Part 2 – “Ready, Set, Cash Flow” RSVPs accepted by the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce (619) 421-6603; Deadline Monday, Feb. 25 to register

Bird and Turtle Discovery Tour – 9am-12noon at Family Kayak Adventure Center, 100 Marina Way; Adults $42, Child $17 (2-14 years of age) sharing a kayak with an adult; Includes kayak, life vest, paddle, introductory lesson, and full-time instructor/ guide; $20 discount with your own kayak; Explore the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve; (619) 282-3520 or Signing Story Time – 10:30am at Pediatrics in Paradise, 1741 Eastlake Parkway; Free session highlights signs related to bedtime; (619) 482-1700 or

22 my hometown february 2013

Valentine’s Party at Via Lago Trattoria – Live music during dinner and a “dance party” coupled with a DJ; You don’t have to have a valentine to celebrate Valentines Day…Get your “RED ON!”; (619) 216-8660

Otay Ranch Town Center Farmer’s Market – every Tuesday 4-8pm Eastlake Business Association – every Monday 11:30am-1pm at Oggi’s Eastlake;

Kids Ready To Read – every Thursday 11:15am at Otay Ranch Branch Library; Interactive storytime program for kids 3 and younger;

Please note events and times are subject to change.

School News Exercise Circuit at High Tech Elementary By Cesar Rivas, 5th Grader at High Tech Elementary


ave you ever seen a kid measure, cut, sand, or stain wood? Or debate and propose ideas? That was just a normal day for my fifth grade class at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista. Even through all this racket, any person visiting would wonder: What the heck are they doing? I could imagine them thinking we are launching rockets inside our room, in pure confusion. The truth is, we were creating and designing something big. Bigger than most projects at our school. And I am going to tell you all about it. This project started with a simple question: Why do we exercise? It seems like an easy question, but it is not. We found out that most people in our class were not fit. We found out by taking a fitness test, the one your son or daughter probably took in 5th grade. We had to find a way to get fit. Anyways, to find a solution to this problem, we came up with an idea to build an exercise circuit called a parcourse. It consists of 12 stations, each with a stretch or exercise to do. It was a very hard process because we designed the entire course. We started with 26 exercises, then we discussed them and settled on 12 based on how beneficial they are to our body and how much fun they’ll be for kids. Then we had to build the signs and even design how the signs would look. A thing what’s different about our parcourse is that it has a climbing traverse. Basically, it’s a horizontal climbing wall. We also had to go through a design process about what the climbing tra-

verse would look like. We were at one point going to let the whole school paint it! But the majority decided it was a bad idea so only our class splatter-painted it, like Jackson Pollock. Then we had to build the frame ourselves. No, not a hired contractor, we did it all. It was also hard because some days it was really hot working outside and some days it was raining! After three months of hard work, we were finally ready to show everyone what we were working on. On Thursday, December 20, we unveiled our project. Over 200 people came through our tiny

classroom door to see what was going on. We made them go around all the stations learning all about how we developed the project and designed the parcourse and built it and got in shape ourselves! First we explained about how to be healthy and what to eat, then we showed them the exercises we did to get in shape over the three months. Then we showed them the signs we designed for the parcourse. We also talked to them about the challenges we had designing the parcourse. Then they came to my station, which was about how we built the parcourse. We showed them how we measured, sanded and stained the wood. The parcourse officially opened on January 15. Students from any grade can come to use the parcourse everyday for exercise or just for fun. This project was a good way to help the community, and get them fit. my. february 2013 my hometown 23

on your doorstep

The Herrera Family R

aeAnn Herrera knows she enjoyed the best Christmas present she’s ever likely to receive – the presence of her husband of 26 years, Isaac. It’s easy to see why the EastLake resident feels so strongly about her holiday gift when you realize that on November 6 Isaac suffered sudden cardiac arrest while driving for work, crashed his truck and flat lined several times over the next few hours as his heart stopped beating. Not many people survive let alone recover from such a traumatic event. “The initial report I got was he was not going to make it,” RaeAnn shared as she and Isaac recalled the dramatic events that have changed their lives and outlook on what really matters. “In fact, I had been led to believe he died on four different occasions. But I always believed he was going to be okay. When I was in the hospital, I was being uplifted by so many prayers. I have the best Christmas gift sitting right here. It was so much more meaningful this year because we were together.” The Herreras have lived in the local community since 1986, though both have called the South Bay home for much longer than that. After growing up in Santa Barbara, RaeAnn moved to National City when she was 14 and attended Chula Vista High School. Isaac was born and raised in Chula Vista and went to school at Castle Park High. The two had their first date when Isaac accompanied RaeAnn to her senior prom in 1983. The local couple started dating shortly after and have been together ever 24 my hometown february 2013

Rachel Stella, Silent Stories Photography

since. Thanks to the work of the first responders and medical personnel, along with the incredible support of family, friends and neighbors, the Herreras are planning to jointly enjoy many more years ahead with their daughters Janessa, 22, Raelene, 20 and Rachel, 13. “I don’t remember any of the details of the accident or the work that was done to save my life,” Isaac said. “I woke up nine days later and didn’t even know who had won the presidential election. Before this occurred, I used to get up and go to work about 5:30 a.m. and before leaving I’d pray with RaeAnn. I would always end by saying ‘Have a great day.’ Now she responds to our morning routine with, “Every day is a great day because I have you.’” Both Isaac and RaeAnn recognize how the events of the last few months have changed their lives. Isaac’s recovery continues slowly and the overall prognosis is good. While he has been out of work, the family’s neighbors have offered support through donations of meals and groceries, cutting their lawn, and even decorating the house for Christmas. But the real changes are much more personal and internal. “It makes you appreciate everything in life,” RaeAnn said. “The kids were arguing one day and I reminded them dad died and is here with us still. There is nothing that we can take with us. It is the time we spend with each other that matters.” my.

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Crawford Team & Associates R

achel Crawford cares about the Chula Vista community. In fact, spend any time with her team of real estate professionals at Crawford Team & Associates and it is obvious they enjoy working, and for many of them living, in the local area. And while it is more than likely every person in this industry cares about the area in which they assist homeowners, at Crawford Team & Associates there is a commitment to giving back to the community that simply stands out from the rest. This is exactly what Crawford had in mind when she began her family-owned business in 2009. “In starting this business, I wanted to build a team of people with the same values and energy,” said Crawford, who has about 11 years of experience in real estate. “We all work well together and love being out in the community. Several of our team members have military connections and we feel it is really important to be involved and help local military families. We look for opportunities to give back to the Chula Vista community.” As a part of that outreach, the Crawford Team & Associates is out every Tuesday at the Farmer’s Market. This past November and December the team held a food drive for local military and adopted four families for the Christmas holiday. Crawford’s appreciation for the importance of community and reaching out to neighbors likely stems from her youth. She grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and came out to Chula Vista as a Navy wife in 1994. She immediately thought this was an ideal place to plant

some roots and raise a family. With her husband she has two boys – Carlos and Joseph – who, like their parents, are active in the community. “When we moved out here, I thought this was paradise,” she shared about her initial impressions of EastLake. “When we bought our first home, we thought we had hit it large – like owning a piece of paradise. I loved that feeling and now I try to help other families achieve that same sense.” Crawford says everyone on her team enjoys selling in this area, though her business does include several other areas throughout San Diego. They respect clients’ privacy during a short sale and work to get top dollar for traditional listings. The team prides itself on being readily accessible to their clients, showcasing this commitment by insisting callers speak to a live body and striving to return phone messages within 15 minutes. This focus on outstanding customer service continues even after a transaction has been completed successfully. “We treat every client like they are our only client,” Crawford said. “When we close a transaction, that isn’t the end of our relationship. We continue to interact with them and show them how much we appreciate them. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be doing this. We want them to expect amazing and that is exactly what we try to give them.” my. Crawford Team & Associates, 2433 Fenton St, Ste. B, Chula Vista 91914; 800-841-4682;

26 my hometown february 2013

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My Hometown Chula Vista - February 2013  
My Hometown Chula Vista - February 2013  

Community news and events for Chula Vista