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December 2, 2011

On the Internet at

Volume 1 – Number 7

World-Class Culinary Talent in La Mesa


By Ted Crooks

Missionary couple returns from one of Africa’s poorest nations Page 7

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly Christmas in the Village Come join the fun in downtown La Mesa on the second weekend of December. On December 9 and 10, from 5-10 p.m., the town celebrates with Christmas in the Village. An annual tradition since 1986, the La Mesa Village Merchants Association celebrates the holiday season with a festive open house. For one weekend in December, the downtown area of La Mesa is a holiday wonderland. Throughout the holiday season, the neighborhood is beautifully lit and decorated, but on this special Friday and Saturday night, it becomes a magical place reminiscent of times past, an old-fashioned Christmas in the Village. The family event is free with activities for all ages. The event begins with a ceremonial lighting of La Mesa Boulevard followed by a parade at 5 p.m., both nights on Fourth Avenue. The holiday season would not be complete without Santa, and he arrives at 6 p.m. Horse-drawn carriage rides, pony rides, carnival rides, strolling minstrels and carolers, musical performances and puppets are just some of the things visitors can enjoy. Five stages provide musical entertainment and the shows take place at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. The search for holiday gifts can be accomplished with the many See Christmas in the Village, page 4

Two Local Churches, One Mission By Kelly Sipan

Kacy Smith, an inspiring young athlete Page 5

NEWSTIPS (619) 697-2500 x124

ADVERTISEWITHUS (619) 697-2500 x133

Many Christian churches make their home in La Mesa, including Christ Lutheran Church Ministries and Journey Community Church. Founded during World War II, Christ Lutheran celebrates a long legacy of service in La Mesa. In comparison, Journey is a teenager, founded less than 20 years ago. Christ Lutheran and Journey come from different generations and backgrounds but share a common goal: demonstrating the love of Jesus to the community and world. Christ Lutheran, located at 7929 La Mesa Boulevard, started in 1941 after resident Clara Busch prayed for a Lutheran church to be established in La Mesa. Shortly after the church was founded, a school began which currently teaches students in preschool through eighth grade. Today, the school

At top: Bucket Brothers are a crowd-pleaser. Above: Event organizer John Vigil and helper

Cove restaurant in La Jolla, then at L’Auberge Del Mar and inally at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla – three of San Diego’s most prestigious dining rooms. But, after 13 years, Maria and Marcelo wanted their own business again. Working second jobs for a number of years enabled them to start one: M&M Patisserie, right here in La Mesa. From their industrial-scale kitchen behind the BMH Bakery and Deli at 7670 El Cajon Blvd. (just west of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church), with up to ten employees they produce fancy and sophisticated desserts, delivSee Culinary Talent, page 4

is training its third generation; some current students have grandparents who were instructed there as children. Current Senior Pastor Burkey follows the legacy of the church’s two previous pastors as he leads Christ Lutheran with a special focus on leadership development and “developing dynamic disciples.” Coordinator of Youth Ministries Cheri Selander Christmas Eve Mass at Christ Lutheran explains the school is one of the With candles in hand, worshipers sing hymns ways “disciples are launched and then enjoy hot chocolate and cider. into the community.” An estimated 100 or more pastors, teachers, and church workers community, explains Pastor of Outreach have been sent out into service around John Palka. Members are involved in the country after growing up at Christ washing wheelchairs, donating blood, Lutheran, points out member Carmen helping as playground attendants at Vertullo. local schools, assisting the city with The church is a “launching pad for Christmas decorations, and donating missions within the community and inancially to the ire department for the world,” describes Minister of Youth ire prevention material. In the spring, Brandon Heath. In honor of La Mesa’s Christ Lutheran will host the Easter centennial year, Christ Lutheran is celebration at Mt. Helix. offering “100 Gifts to La Mesa” through Where Christ Lutheran has an various acts of service rendered to the See Two Churches, Page 14

Photo courtesy Rob Hurlbut

How about a pirate cruise for fun? Page 3

Photo courtesy Rob Hurlbut

A La Mesa church’s gift to San Diego Page 3

Marcelo and Maria Alvarez were high-school sweethearts in Monterey Mexico. Born to restaurateurs, they successfully ran a restaurant in their hometown but wanted to learn and do more. Their elders told them the right way to do it was to pursue a formal culinary education. That brought them to the United States. Eventually, Marcelo became pastry chef for the Top of the


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PBID or No PBID?? — December 2011

Noteworthy ‘Ginger Snaps’ Quartet Wins Big Award at Music Convention

PBID stands for a “Property-based Business Improvement District,” which would receive tax money for maintenance, beautiication and marketing of the La Mesa business district. It would be supported by assessing business and property owners in the affected area. A PBID Formation Committee has been meeting regularly exploring the prospects, but remains months away from any conclusion. Meanwhile, businesses and residents are weighing in on the subject--thus the signs.

Crime Watch During November, a number of robberies took place in La Mesa. On November 7, the Starbucks on Lake Murray was held up by two men using a handgun and leeing on foot. The Carl’s Jr. Restaurant on Parkway Drive was held up at gunpoint on November 13, by Antonio Arnold and Mario Townsend. Both men were arrested shortly after the crime by La Mesa police. Courtney Townsend, from San Diego, was arrested by La Mesa Police for theft of a $900 diamond bracelet from a residence on Amaya Drive on November 20. Police say Townsend, already wanted for another felony, took the bracelet from the resident’s bathroom after she and a companion entered the victim’s home soliciting magazine subscriptions. Three robberies took place in La Mesa on November 21. A man was robbed of a laptop computer by two men near the intersection of Chloe Avenue and Buckland Street. The man was reportedly struck in the face as the other attempted to take his laptop. A man waiting at the 70th

Street Trolley Station was robbed of his cell phone at gunpoint. La Mesa police arrested Sterling Joseph and Richard Goodman for the crime. A third crime occurred at the Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt Shop on Lake Murray Boulevard. A lone gunman entered the shop shortly before ten p.m. and used “zip ties” to restrain two employees before leeing with cash. During Thanksgiving week, more incidents occurred. On November 22, police say two men entered the Best Buy store on Fletcher Parkway and attempted to leave without paying for two laptop computers. The men displayed a black semiautomatic handgun when confronted, then led in a red Camaro convertible. La Mesa police reported that a man walking on Spring Street on November 23, shortly before 6:00 p.m. was approached by a man in his 20’s who threatened him with a large knife, demanding money. The victim is reported to have handed over the cash and the thief ran away. For more details about the speciic incidents, visit our website at 


During Harmony, Incorporated’s International Contest and Convention in Hershey, PA, in mid-November, the “Ginger Snaps” (a quartet from California Note Catchers) won the “Harmony Image Award”. This is an award given to a quartet in recognition of their unselish giving of time and energy to Harmony, Inc., the chapter and community. There are over 60 chapters of Harmony, Inc. located in the US and Canada. In Hershey to accept the trophy on behalf of the Ginger Snaps was Karen Hasman of La Mesa. Other members of the quartet include Faith Lawrence (La Mesa), Lisa Hohman (San Carlos) and Mayra Bee (Chula Vista). Left to right – Mayra Bee The California Note Catchers meets (Tenor), Lisa Hohman (Lead), on Monday evenings at 7 pm in the Social Faith Lawrence (Bass) and Hall of La Mesa First United Methodist Karen Hasman (Bari) Church, 4690 Palm Ave., where they have been preparing for their upcoming “Holiday Harmonies around the World” show on December 11 at 2 pm, at Paradise Village. The group sings four-part harmony – barbershop style.

‘Outstanding Teen’ Helps Send Disabled Kids to Camp Danamarie McNicholl-Carter is not your average La Mesa teenager. Besides being an honor student and athlete at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, she spends her spare time playing piano and volunteering in her community. Last year the Miss San Diego Pageant took notice and McNicholl-Carter was awarded the title of San Diego’s Outstanding Teen. McNicholl-Carter has spent the past year raising money and awareness for the San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation. Thanks to her efforts she helped send 15 kids to summer camp where the sports programs are adapted for those in wheelchairs. McNicholl-Carter placed fourth runner up at the California’s Outstanding Teen pageant last year and plans to run again to give the state crown another shot. McNicholl-Carter, a former Miss Teen La Mesa, is not the only La Mesan to have luck in the Miss San Diego Pageant. Miss La Mesa 2000, Alexandra Danamarie Stathoulis Kuty, now director of the Miss La Mesa McNicholl-Carter Pageant, was Miss San Diego in 2002. Former Miss La Mesa’s Erynne Grecco (2010) and Stephanie Packard (2009) also placed as runner ups in the past two Miss San Diego contests respectively.

Sharp Grossmont Hospital to Expand Heart & Vascular Care Center Voters may recall the 77% majority given to Proposition G in 2006, providing $247 million through 2013 to fund improvements to Grossmont Hospital. Grossmont Healthcare District, owner of the hospital facilities, leases them to Sharp HealthCare, which operates the hospital. The Union Tribune reports the District is planning to use some of the Proposition G funds to renovate the main patient building at the hospital and to build a new heart and vascular care center. Healthcare District representatives explained that since Grossmont Hospital is the only acute-care hospital in East County, and the region’s population is aging, the facilities will be needed to provide appropriate care, especially for cardio-vascular illness. Construction is expected to begin early next year.

La Mesa Patch wins honors from the San Diego Press Club

GUHSD Boundary Changes Won’t Change Helix Charter High Enrollment Helix Charter High School’s attendance boundaries will remain the same for the 2011-12 school year, and the process for enrolling to attend will not change. The Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) is changing the attendance areas for the 10 traditional high schools in the District. These changes do not affect Helix enrollments. Helix is a tuition-free public school and must admit all studenets who wish to enroll, regardless of where they live, but priority is given to students from within the attendance boundaries. As has been the case since Helix became a charter school, students from within the attendance area may enroll without applying. Those residing outside of Helix’s boundaries must apply for attendance. If there are more applicants than available seats, there will be a lottery and students will be randomly selected for enrollment. Generally, approximately 150 non-resident students are awarded enrollment at Helix through the lottery. More information can be found at www.helixcharter. net, or by calling (619) 644-1940.

La Mesa Patch took third place for Overall News Site—after the San Diego Daily Transcript site, San Diego Source and website of the Union-Tribune. Three irst-place plaques went to Chris Stone of La Mesa for photography in the Daily Newspapers and Websites category. She won for sports (a swimming shot), portrait (T-ball player) and photo essay (memorial for a fallen soldier). She also won a third-place award for photos of a Poway jousting tournament. Ken Stone, a 12-year resident of La Mesa with his freelancer wife, Chris, has been editor of La Mesa Patch since July 2010. San Diego County has 13 Patch sites. Poway Patch and La Mesa Patch were the irst sites launched locally—in late September 2010. Patch has more than 860 sites nationwide.

New Pastor Welcomed at Vista La Mesa Christian Church Vista La Mesa Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on Massachusetts Avenue has called Rev. Rebecca Littlejohn to be their new pastor. Rev. Littlejohn comes from a ten-year pastorate at First Christian Church in Anniston, Alabama. A native of Illinois, Rev. Littlejohn has a B.A. in Religion from Carleton College in Northield, MN, and a M.Div. from Paciic School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. She has served on denominational boards at the regional and general levels within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The church welcomed Rev. Littlejohn and her husband, Todd Lesh, at a special reception on her irst Sunday, Nov. 20th.

Pastor Becky Littlejohn

See Noteworthy, Page 4 — December 2011

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Ahoy matey! La Mesan provides pirate fun on San Diego Bay

Christmas Story Tree

Great holiday gift or family holiday activity idea By Byron Winick The holiday season is fast approaching, as children make up their Christmas lists and stores begin to stock up with the latest gadgets and gizmos. From iPhone apps to xBox games, Kindles to Craftsman tools, everyone has ideas for the holiday season. Yet one unique gift is available to San Diego natives for an out-of-this-world adventure, a chance to cruise through San Diego Harbor on an old-fashioned pirate ship, courtesy of Pirate Ship Adventures! Pirate Ship Adventures, a brand new business founded by La Mesa resident Eric MacPherson, provides adventure voyages across the San Diego Bay on the Treasure Seeker, an 83-foot black galleon ship. These cruises last between 1.5 to 2 hours, and provide fun for children and adults alike. A variety of cruises are offered, including family friendly day cruises, and evening cruises perfect for adults. Adult-oriented sunset Seen recently plying the waters of San Diego cruises offer an assortment of Bay is a black galleon called ‘Treasure drinks to enjoy while exploring Seeker.’ La Mesan Eric McPherson founded the city. The popular Lost Treathis creative day-and-night cruise business. sure Excursion is a voyage across the San Diego Bay and back in time, learning the ways of a pirate: the threats of mutiny, the perils of pirate life, and the rewards of the sea, complete with pulling a treasure chest out of the water to collect your booty. Large groups can also charter the ship for parties, special events, and private charters. Cruises can hold up to 49 passengers, and smaller groups can be integrated with other adventure seekers for an enjoyable experience

AGift to San Diego from La Mesa Church By Cynthia Robertson Since 1986, the Christmas Story Tree has bejeweled the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park during the December Nights (formerly Christmas on the Prado) festival. But it is no ordinary Christmas tree – it’s a gift from the Del Cerro Baptist Church of La Mesa. The Christmas Story Tree started out as a church program in the sanctuary of Del Cerro Baptist Church in 1976. Ten years later, the Tree moved to Balboa Park’s for the annual festival, and except for one year, has been a part of the program ever since. This year, from December 2nd through the 4th, the 75-voice church choir will sing traditional and contemporary Christmas songs on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage. At special intervals, the 34-foot-high Christmas Story

See Pirate Cruise, Page 11




Top: A 75-voice church choir from Del Cerro Baptist performs annually on the Organ Pavilion stage at Balboa Park December Nights festival utilizing an elaborate set. The big event requires months of preparations and rehearsals.


Right: Pastor Mark Milwee reaches for a Christmas ball from Lynnette Wilson (left) and Teresa Hudson (right).





Above: Crew hoists the second section into place.

Tree will open up to reveal various live Nativity scenes, including the Annunciation with an angel, shepherds, wise men, and the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Even if the weather is less than San Diego-perfect, the show will go on. Two years ago, during two of the performances, the choir sang under a steady stream of rain. Planning for the hour-long program has taken nearly six months. Paul Plunk, Minister of Music at Del Cerro, chose the music in the month of July. In early September, the choir began a relentless schedule of rehearsals, until every note and word was memorized. Some people made See Story Tree, Page 12



Give the of Balboa Park! Passport to Balboa Park • 14 Museums at One Low Price Enjoy one admission to each of 14 museums within seven consecutive days from date certiicate is redeemed. Adult and Child (ages 3-12) certiicates available.

619.239.0512 • Some restrictions apply. Special exhibitions may be subject to an additional entrance fee. Zoo not included.

Page 4 — December 2011

December Events Calendar SPECIAL CHRISTMAS CONCERTS AT LA MESA CHURCHES– DECEMBER 4 –18 Want to hear some sacred music of the season performed at La Mesa’s local churches? All are welcome at these special events illed with beautiful music and community spirit. On December 24 and 25, almost all the churches in La Mesa will be offering Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. They are too numerous to list here. For a particular church, check their website before heading out. Foothills United Methodist Church – Dec. 4 – 3 p.m. - Children’s Choir Christmas Concert Dec. 17 - 5 p.m. and 7 p.m - Chancel Choir Christmas Concert. United Church of Christ of La Mesa – Dec. 9 – 7 p.m. – Paciic Men’s Chorale Dec. 18 – 11:00 a.m. - “Tapestry of Light” Chancel Choir Central Congregational Church – Dec. 11 – 10 a.m. - Church Choir – Christmas Cantata Christ Lutheran Church - Dec. 11 – 8 a.m. – Service of Lessons and Carols Dec. 14 – 6 p.m. – School Musical Celebration

SHARP GROSSMONT HOSPITAL SEMINAR ON WOMEN’S SURGICAL ISSUES – DECEMBER 6 Sharp Grossmont Hospital hosts a seminar for women facing hysterectomy, surgery for uterine ibroids, fertility or reproductive cancer. A Sharp Grossmont-afiliated physician will discuss advanced, minimally invasive robotic surgery that results in smaller incisions, fewer side effects and a quicker return to activities. Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Auditorium, 5555 Grossmont Center Drive. Free to the public. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please register at 1-80082-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), or visit

‘HELP!! I’M A CAREGIVER’ – DECEMBER 8 Find out about resources for family caregivers, placement options, support groups and more. This free class covers emotional issues about caring for a loved one and is presented by Andrea Holmberg, Program Coordinator of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Senior Resource Center on Tuesday, December 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Grossmont Healthcare District Conference Center, 9001 Wakarusa St. Registration required. Call 1-800-827-4277 or register online at

CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE AT THE LA MESA HISTORICAL SOCIETY – DECEMBER 11 Come join the fun at the La Mesa Historical Society’s Christmas Open House. The McKinney House Museum, at 8369 University Avenue, will be open from 2:00-3:30 p.m. on December 11th. Enjoy traditional old-fashioned refreshments, sing along with carolers, and hope you win a prize at the rafle drawing at 3:15 p.m. Everyone is welcome and it’s free admission. Need a last minute gift? La Mesa Centennial Calendars will be on sale for $10.00. So take a break from all that shopping and stop by the McKinney House.

‘HOLIDAY HARMONIES AROUND THE WORLD’ – DECEMBER 11 The California Note Catchers will be singing holiday music celebrating different cultures and traditions. The group is a women’s a cappella chorus that sings in the barbershop style, i.e., four-part harmony. The special guest will be Change of Heart, an internationally award-winning quartet. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $10 each for groups of 20 or more, and $8 for children ages 8 and under. The event will be held at Liberty Hall Theater, Paradise Village, 2700 East Fourth Street, in National City. Visit their website at or call for more information (858) 571-5173.

CHRISTMAS SING-ALONG IN MT. HELIX AMPHITHEATER— DECEMBER 11 There is nothing like singing Christmas Carols under the stars in the Mt. Helix amphitheater to warm your heart. This free family event will be held on Sunday, December 11, at 6 p.m. Rumor has it that Santa Claus may also be making an appearance! Shuttles will run from the San Miguel Fire Station, at 10105 Vivera Drive, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Be sure to bring a blanket to sit on. Be sure to check the Park website for updated caroling information, www. See Events, Page 12

Christmas in the Village, from page 1 vendors available and all the Village shops will be open. The Village’s charming antique stores, specialty stores, and shops of all types can be found downtown. Stop in for a bite to eat at La Mesa’s delightful restaurants before you head to the next event. Visiting the Christmas in the “Serving all of San Diego’s East County” Village celebration is a great way to share the excitement of the season with family and friends. Come visit and start a new family Craig Buteau tradition!  K.C. Owner/Landscaper

Craig’s Custom Landscaping


California Jewish Teens Eligible for $36,000 Social Action Awards Now in the sixth year, the coveted Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards provide one of the most prestigious and rewarding opportunities for Jewish teenagers in the state of California. Recognizing a wide range of community service and social action projects, the awards are given annually to up to ive young volunteers who demonstrate leadership and commitment to making the world a better place. Recipients are each awarded $36,000 to be used to further their education, to expand current projects or to explore new possibilities. Tikkun Olam is a central precept of Judaism that translates to “repair of the world.” The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have created exciting opportunities for past recipients, who have since engaged with world leaders, celebrities and internationally-known sports igures. Recipients have harnessed media and public attention to develop awareness, partnerships and truly make a difference in the world. Teens may be nominated by teachers, community leaders, rabbis, or anyone who knows the value of their volunteer service and commitment — except family members. Teens may also nominate themselves. Each candidate must be a California resident aged 13-19 years old at the time of nomination, and must self-identify as Jewish. Community service projects may beneit the general or Jewish community. The award is funded by the Helen Diller Family Foundation. Nominations must be submitted by January 6, 2012. For more information:; (415) 512-6437; 

Noteworthy, from page 2 Bride and Groom Enjoy a Most Unusual First Dance Sandra Renfro, survivor of a spine tumor at age 18 and breast cancer in her 20’s and now a fabulous Latin wheelchair dancer, was married to ablebodied Anthony Wilson at McArthur Park in La Mesa on 11/11/11. William Valencia, certiied wheelchair dance instructor and co-founder of the nonproit Wheelchair Dancers Organization, choreographed the bride and groom’s irst dance together at the reception. Renfro’s father lew in from New Hampshire to learn a “daughterfather” dance. Beverly Weurding, co-founder of Wheelchair Dancers Org, an invited guest at the ceremony, shared the information that Renfro has also handSandra Renfro weds Anthony Wilson cycled from here to the East Coast. (photo courtesy of B. Weurding) Says Weurding, “And this is only one of her many accomplishments!”

Former Chess and Table Tennis Champ Coaches Kroc Center Kids—at age 90 La Mesan Fred Borges just turned 90 years old, and can still play chess with the best of them. But he especially enjoys coaching young players at the Joan Kroc Center where he has volunteered for the last six years. Borges was a professor of mathematics at New Jersey State Teachers College, Swarthmore, U. of Miami and U. of Hawaii before taking a position at Mesa College in San Diego, where he retired. Along the way he achieved the rank of “Expert” in Friends helped Fred Borges chess and was ranked ninth in the U.S. in table celebrate his 90th birthday, tennis. In fact he toured and played exhibition Kathy Villalobos, chess games all over the world with Dick Miles, who protégé Julian Villalobos, was the top U.S. table tennis champion for almost Borges, Marilyn Borges. 20 years. Fred quipped that while he may have been bested occasionally at one or the other of his chosen games, no one could beat him at both… 

Culinary Talent, from page 1 ering them to ine restaurants all along the coast in North County and in downtown San Diego. But Marcelo and Maria want even more independence and end-customer interaction, so they are expanding M&M to sell directly to consumers. While they continue to look for a suitable La Mesa storefront, they prepare lavish desserts and wedding cakes by order for pickup by discerning locals. Selections range from a three-inch lemon Bavarian mousse ($5.50) to raspberry chocolate seduction cake for 12 ($42) to New York cheesecake with chocolate-dipped, gold-dusted strawberries for 12 ($37). Their products are well worth it to cap off a special family meal or for a full banquet. So, this holiday season, if you’re looking for something extra special, don’t leave La Mesa, just give M & M a call a few days in advance (48 hours minimum). Marcelo will be happy to provide expert advice, and you can complete your holiday meal enjoying a sophisticated luxury produced by a world-class La Mesa talent. M&M Patisserie, 7670 El Cajon Blvd (behind BMH Italian Bakery and Deli) (619) 698-5325,  — December 2011

Page 5

High School Sports

HELIX LINEBACKER TUTORS YOUNGSTERS TO READ By Rick White By the time you read this, Helix High Football will have played its irst round of CIF football against Torrey Pines High School. Helix High Football is currently ranked number one in California in Division II football, and number one in San Diego County for all schools. In California, there are ive football divisions, all based on the size of enrollment, with Division I including schools with the largest student bodies. Kacy Smith, #20 on the team, has been a starting linebacker for Helix since his sophomore year. Kacy is a 5’10,” 180-pound senior linebacker with an overall 4.0 GPA. Last year as a junior, he was First Team All-League and All-CIF in football and baseball. Throughout high school, he has excelled in academics which have included several Honors and AP classes. In 2010, he was awarded First Team All CIF Academic in football, and in 2011, All CIF Academic in baseball. He received the All-Academic Presidential award in 2010. But Kacy’s story begins back in elementary school when he was diagnosed with a reading disorder. He couldn’t comprehend what he was reading. After three years of struggling with his reading, he was inally placed into resource classes in the 4th grade. Kacy’s reading dificulties were so bad that he had to repeat the 5th grade. All through elementary school, his classmates teased and ostracized him for his disabilities. Fortunately, Kacy had parents and grandparents who were extremely supportive, and because of their support and his teacher’s support, his ability to read inally clicked in. By the time Kacy inished his irst year at La Mesa Middle School, he had completed the year with straight A’s and was awarded the Most Outstanding Student in 6th grade. So how does a young football/baseball player like Kacy Smith inspire the youth of La Mesa to read? When you become a senior at Helix, you have to complete what is called a “Senior Project” in order to graduate. Doug Smith, former principal at Helix High School, started this program years ago. It requires seniors to design a project that helps their community. Kacy decided his senior project would be to visit La Mesa elementary schools and tutor youngsters in reading. He wants kids who struggle academically to know that they can make it just like him. If they’re patient and don’t give up, then they will be successful in school too. His philosophy of life, as he explained it to me is, “Ignore others who try and bring you down, and remain patient.” Coach Donny Van Hook describes him as “an extraordinary young man who has learned how to turn adversity into successes.” Kacy Smith wants to go to a Division I college and play baseball. His irst choice would be to attend UC Santa Barbara. This young man has the “right stuff” to be successful whatever he does. The Helix Highlanders beat Torrey Pines on November 25th, 44to 7, so the next game will be in the Semiinals. That game will be played at Helix on Thursday, December 1, as the Courier goes to press. If Helix wins that game, go watch #20 play football in the Finals and see the same perseverance on the ield that led to his success in academics.. 

Central Congregational Church: Over 100 Years in La Mesa One of La Mesa’s most beautiful churches celebrated its centennial recently. The Central Congregational Church was oficially born on May 19, 1909, when a small group of people met at the Young family residence. The need for a church was agreed upon and nineteen people met at the Masonic Hall for religious worship on July 11, 1909. Reverend John Doane drew up the Articles of Incorporation in May 1910, and soon after, Reverend Charles M. Hill, a former missionary in the Hawaiian Islands, was called as Pastor. The irst services were held on July 11, 1911, in the Baldridge Opera House on the northeast corner of La Mesa Boulevard and Palm Avenue. The Congregational Church has a long history in America. The irst settlers in New England, the Pilgrims, were Congregationalists searching for a land to worship freely. Each Congregational Church is an independent organization, governed by its congregation, a relection of the democracy being formed by those early New England settlers. The property where the church stands today, at the corner of Lemon Avenue See Church, page 12

VIEW FROM THE ROAD… By Donna Alm Like with children in a new neighborhood, walking with a dog in an RV park is a good way to start conversations. I could write reams about RVers and the variety of pets we’ve met…and friends made. We travel with a cat. Many others do, too, but we have only seen one cat outside and it was on a leash. Hobbs would sooner be caught dead than be so tethered, so he stays inside. At least he did. I haven’t mentioned that we have a traveling companion, albeit one who was not exactly happy about this new lifestyle forced on him. Hobbs is much like the cat in the Calvin and Hobbs cartoons, hence his name. A beautifullymarked tabby, he much preferred his house and backyard in La Mesa. I found him one hot summer day about 12 years ago, a tiny feral mewing kitty all alone. He accepted our love and nurturing, then accepted his role as master of his domain. Beginning our new lifestyle without him was unthinkable. The only problem was that he has never liked being in a car, much less a moving home. Each time the engine started, he darted under the sofa and stayed there until we stopped. It doesn’t appear very comfortable under there, yet there’s room to stretch out and do his favorite thing – sleep. All cats sleep most of their day – and night. His sleeping places in the RV vary, from the passenger seat where he can view our surroundings, to a dining chair or the back of the sofa and even on our bed. When it’s chilly, he claims a spot in front of our space heater. One morning in Arizona, Hobbs simply darted outside and quickly disappeared. We frantically called and searched for some time. Then he simply walked to the RV, turned to us and seemed to say…”that was fun, now let’s go home.” Hobbs likes Santee Lakes RV Park; its landscaping is beautiful. Recently, he wandered out one evening while we were enjoying the beautiful weather. He sat down nearby. Seemed ine. The next evening he walked to the bushes between us and our neighbors. That challenge silently okayed by us, he simply began taking walks – in the mornings and in the evenings, but just nearby. Recently, he discovered a nearby tree and climbed it. The happiness he felt was evident as he surveyed his surroundings from on high. A happy cat means a happy family. I hope you have enjoyed these stories about RVing and our adventures. Your comments and questions would be appreciated, and would lead to more stories in 2012. A blessed Christmas to you…

Recycling Cooking Oil into Biofuel? Holiday cooking produces memorable meals, but did you know it can also beneit the environment? The City of La Mesa wants you to know you should never pour fats, oils and grease (FOG) down the drain, in the yard or in your trash. You can now drop off used cooking oil and grease for recycling at EDCO Station in La Mesa. This free service is provided by EDCO and New Leaf Biofuel, both locally-owned companies. City staff approached EDCO earlier this year to ask the regional waste and recycling company to consider adding cooking oil to the list of materials, which can be dropped-off and recycled. EDCO looked at the feasibility and saw an opportunity, signing up with New Leaf and placing containers at their ive local recycling centers. The partnership is a win-win for everyone because EDCO is removing a valuable material from landills, New Leaf is reining it into a biodiesel that can then be sold to commercial customers to run greener diesel leets and the community is gaining a new recycling resource while getting some cleaner air too. Simply collect used cooking oil and grease in a leak-proof container, such as a coffee can or jar, and take it in when full. This service is available at EDCO’s station at 8184 Commercial St. (in La Mesa’s industrial district), Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit for more info. 

Page 6 — December 2011

News and Views

La Mesa Chamber Supports Business and The Community By Mary England, CEO La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Recently I participated in a dance competition as part of the Grossmont Hospital Foundation’s annual Gala. It was great fun learning and performing the tango (see photo at right), but more importantly the event helped raised signiicant funds for the Foundation to support the hospital’s new Heart and Vascular Center. We believe it’s important to give back to the community that supports our members. We are currently making plans to honor eight local heroes—two from the police department, two from the ire department, two paramedics and two Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol members--at our fourth annual “Casino Royale” event on February 23, 2012. It will be held at the Town & Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley. This activity allows friends, business associates and members to enjoy a night of gaming, a silent auction, rafles and fun, while honoring those who do so much for so many. Sponsorship opportunities are available and tickets may be purchased now. Go to our web site for more information, or call (619) 465-7700. The Chamber reaches out to the consumer and the community through many different events and activities. One current initiative we have launched is the second tri-fold marketing brochure being offered to members, allowing them to reach 5,000 people/consumers with a quality, full color media piece that is inexpensive and professional. As you shop in La Mesa make sure to look



for this brochure at participating businesses. A chamber is only as good as its members, and we are proud to welcome our new members this month: Kirk Paving, Inc., Kappa Surveying, Elmcroft of La Mesa SeniorLiving, San Diego Power Clean, Pay It Forward Bookkeeping Service and California Coast Credit Union. During these challenging economic times, when looking to do business, make sure to view the La Mesa Chamber website and give our members a chance to “delight” you with their goods and services. Cleaning out the garage and getting ready for the holidays? Save your electronics for the La Mesa Chamber E-Waste event that will be held at Grossmont Center on January 14th and January 15th. We encourage you to save those unwanted televisions, computers and more; drop them off during this two-day event and help the environment. The La Mesa Chamber will tailor many of its upcoming events to spotlight the City of La Mesa’s Centennial next year. Watch for more information in next month’s column. As you make plans to celebrate the upcoming holiday season, I also encourage you to reach out to those less fortunate. Many suffer in silence. You can contact local community groups to do your part, and put a smile on the face of someone who has no one else to turn to nor the Dancing the tango at Grossmont resources to help themselves…. Hospital Foundation fundraiser.

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Family Returns to East County After Missionary Work in Central Africa By Jessica Roach Most Americans are familiar with some of the crises affecting Africa today: dire famine and religious extremism in Somalia; political turmoil and oppression in Libya and Tunisia; brutal violence and environmental exploitation in the Congo. Some may even contribute money to organizations who strive to alleviate these problems. Locals Derek and Jeannette Breuninger have taken things one step further. A young couple with East County roots, the Breuningers have been advocates for the San Diego refugee community for many years. They recently returned to East County after nearly two years of missionary work in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest nations. The couple’s only departure from Africa during their two years of service came in the summer of 2010, with a brief return to La Mesa for the birth of their son at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, where the family received top care from the hospital’s award-winning staff. Derek and Jeannette were both born into families rooted in missionary work. Derek’s parents volunteered with Taiwanese orphans for many years, his maternal grandfather was a medical missionary in East Asia for over 25 years, and his great-grandparents were missionaries in Ethiopia. Jeannette was born in Malaysia to missionary parents and lived there until she returned to San Diego for high school. The couple met at their shared parish, Jamul Community Church, and married in 2007. Derek became involved with San Diego’s international community of refugees and immigrants in the early 2000s. “I fell in love with these forgotten people. I tried everything to work, play, and live with them,” he recalls. He joined the San Diego African Soccer League and worked as an English teacher for refugees and immigrants. Through Derek, Jeannette also became connected with the population, leading church groups and working at a school in City Heights. Their multicultural education “led to amazing opportunities to help people who are truly in need right next door to us in America,” according to Derek. Derek and Jeannette’s shared passion for service combined with rich backgrounds in missionary work led them to the African Bible College (ABC) in Lilongwe, Malawi. ABC is an organization dedicated to offering universitylevel education with a Christian emphasis to the people of Africa. Founded in 1976 by Christian missionaries John and Nell Chinchen, ABC has campuses in Liberia (West Africa), Uganda (East Africa), and Malawi (Central Africa), boasting nearly 800 graduates to date. The colleges offer degrees in Biblical Studies, Education, Communication, Music, and Business. In August 2009, the couple arrived in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, and began their positions at ABC. Derek led the college’s men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball and netball teams as Athletic Director. He served as a mentor to many of the school’s athletes, cultivating relationships on and off the field. Jeannette shared her knowledge of Latin American language and culture as the school’s Spanish teacher. She invested in education well beyond the classroom, hosting quarterly Mexican dinners where she taught students how to make tortillas and traditional foods. The couple also hosted an annual “Mexican Fiesta Christmas Party,” for ABC staff and students, complete with food, music, and piñatas. Beyond their involvement on campus, Derek and Jeannette became entrenched in the local community and embraced by many. They paid visits to nearby orphanages and refugee camps, witnessing the harsh realities faced by many Malawians. Jeannette recalls a visit with residents of the Dzaleka Refugee Camp an hour outside of Lilongwe: “I entered [a] little mud hut, and my heart sank. It was no bigger than 2 bathroom stalls, no bed, just a concrete slab, a little bench, and a roof… It’s so hard to remember to be thankful for the things we have, but by the grace of God I am able to learn [and] grow.” After their first year in Malawi, the Breuningers returned to San Diego for the birth of their son, Dylan. With limited access to prenatal care in Lilongwe, Jeannette and Derek were fortunate to be in contact with Susan Merica-Jones, Clinical Lead in the Prenatal Clinic at La Mesa’s Sharp Grossmont Hospital. See Missionaries, Page 13

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Page 8 — December 2011

La Mesa area pros Nathan Welden, Tom Draffan and Hamilton Collins taught the children a variety of skill development games, agility movements and minicompetitions highlighting health, tennis and itness. Children under age 8 had a chance to play on four permanent 18- by 36-foot courts, which were enclosed by kid-sized gates on all sides. Low pressure red felt and colorful foam balls were used for that age group. Games included Beat the Pro, Champ of the Court Doubles, Target Volleys and much more. Novice players ages 9 to 10 competed on the orange 21- by 60-foot court using the low pressure orange ball. Older competitors like Lewis ages 11 and up used the green low pressure ball on the full-sized court to play competitive singles and doubles. See USTA Tennis, Page 13

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La Mesa offers taste of 10 and Under Tennis at a USTA Play Day By Karen Ronney Olivia Lewis is no stranger to colorful tennis balls, light shiny rackets and kid-sized courts. In fact, she is considered a veteran because she is a graduate of the US Tennis Association’s 10 and Under tennis program. Lewis, now 12, learned to play tennis on 18- by 36-foot courts with small nets and big foam balls using the QuickStart format. The La Mesa resident has mastered the three stages of QuickStart, which gradually increase the size of the court as a child grows. Lewis is now playing in USTA Novice and Satellite level tournaments and Junior Team Tennis. She was one of about 75 kids ages 5 and up who enjoyed the recent USTA Community Play Day at La Mesita Park, which was the recent recipient of a grant given by American Express and the USTA in their FRESH Courts program. The USTA La Mesa Play Day was held on the beautifully resurfaced and redesigned courts, which are now painted US Open colors of green and blue.



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COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL IN OLD TOWN—GREAT IDEA FOR A STAYCATION By Vince Meehan This holiday season, you have access to one of the most unique overnight experiences this side of Europe. The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant located smack in the middle of Old Town is a trip back in time as well as a fun overnight destination. This is the original house of Juan Bandini, the son of a Peruvian sea captain, built in 1829, and originally known as “La Casa de Bandini.” It was one of the more prominent buildings located in Mexican San Diego. It was party central and a social hub for many years in a time when San Diego had no electricity or running water. Bandini eventually transferred the property to his son-in-law Abel Stearns. Stearns sold the crumbling adobe in 1869 to Albert Seeley, who transformed it into a fashionable, two-story hotel and overnight stage stop, called the Cosmopolitan Hotel. In 1968, the hotel became part of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, recently refurbished to become the restaurant & hotel that it is today. The restaurant is located in the old dance hall of the house as well as outdoors on an expansive dining patio, which features a gas irepit in the center. — December 2011

I highly recommend the outdoor area because of the beauty of the patio and the surrounding garden, featuring fresh herbs and vegetables used in the cooking. The second story of the hotel offers a well-appreciated buffer from the outside bustle and creates a quiet dining experience where you can have a nice conversation. New chef Andrew Lee Sasloe has revamped the menu to create exciting See Cosmopolitan Staycation, Page 12 — December 2011

Page 11

La Mesa Reads By Jessie Goodwin, Librarian Last month we had titles both newer and older on the La Mesa Library’s “most popular” list. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman topped the list, possibly because season two of the TV adaptation premiered recently. Kirkman’s violent and suspenseful graphic novel series follows the struggles of a group of survivors after a zombie plague has devastated humanity. However, the remaining humans might be as dangerous as the zombies. Another older title that appeared on our “most wanted” list is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The international bestseller, published in the United States in 2008, follows main characters Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed computer hacker, and crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist as they attempt to unravel a decadesold mystery. Bel-Air Dead by Stuart Woods was also a hot title in our library. The 20th Stone Barrington novel includes characters from three of Woods’s bestselling series. Our most popular non-iction title last month was

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. The author illustrates the early years of Hitler’s reign, through the story of William E. Dodd, the irst American ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in 1933, and Dodd’s daughter Martha, who pursued a relationship with the head of the Gestapo. On Thursday, December 8th at 6:30 pm, bush pilot, photographer and author Mark Stadsklev will present a slideshow and sign copies of his new book Alaskan Air: Nature’s Artwork on the Alaskan Landscape. Did you know that San Diego County Libraries have a Winter Reading Program with prizes for all ages? Winter Reading takes place December 5th through January 15th. At the La Mesa Branch, we’ll also be offering adults the chance to take home free graphic novels while supplies last. Graphic novels aren’t just for kids! These illustrated stories are complex, thoughtful, and provocative. We have a wide variety of brand new graphic novels for grown-ups to choose from. Please remember that all San Diego County Library branches will be closed for the Christmas holiday on Sunday, December 25th and Monday, December 26th and the New Year holiday on Sunday, January 1st and Monday, January 2nd. La Mesa branch library staff members are here to help you seven days a week. Stop in and check out what’s new….

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Pirate Cruise, from page 3 and a chance to meet new people from across the country. Souvenirs are available to remember the experience, including eye patches, swords, bandanas, and personalized photo packages. For the crew at Pirate Ship Adventures, the joy of happy customers makes the experience worthwhile and exciting. MacPherson, who has been in the water sports business for over twenty years, has been pleased by the public’s reception so far. “It’s a blast to operate”, says Eric Macpherson. “I enjoy the kids and families. People love the boat and genuinely have fun.” Pirate Ship Adventures are located on Cabrillo Island Marina on Harbor Island in San Diego. For more information, and to book your reservation for a Pirate Ship Cruise, visit the website at, or call (619) 224-4386. Pirate Ship Adventures are also available via email at Info@, and on Facebook. 

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Page 12 — December 2011

Story Tree, from page 3

Cosmopolitan Staycation, from page 10

advance plans to take off several days from work just to be able to participate in the Tree program. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, the set-up of the tree begins and the tree is decorated—a full-time job. The tree goes up in three sections. “When you’re up there on the ladder and the wind is blowing, and you’ve got nothing to hang onto, you realize you’re up pretty high,” said La Mesa resident Doug Battey, who helps with the mechanics and engineering of the tree. The tree sections begin to look like parts of a real tree when adorned with fresh pine branches imported from Oregon. The doors that open up during the performance to reveal the live Nativity scenes go in next. The women decorate the tree with gigantic ornaments as well as lights. Pastor Mark Milwee is on hand to help out. “This is a great opportunity for our church to give back to the community,” Milwee said. While the work is going on, the kitchen crew back at the church cooks up lots of hot food for the choir and workers, which includes full-time security personnel, also volunteers from the church. The group feels like a big family as they pile into the lasagna, soup, and casseroles. For the past few months, every Wednesday evening after the church dinner, Karen Merk has been teaching the lyrics and music of popular Christmas songs to the children. Wearing brightly colored sweaters and scarves, the children plan to sing a lively medley of carols during their Tree performance. Each night during the event, children’s minister Meagan Conner helps calm the children down as they excitedly wait their turn to perform. Pouring hot chocolate from a thermos into paper cups, Conner ensures that the children stay warm in the chill of the evening. La Mesa residents John and Teresa Hudson will be singing in the choir this year with their daughters. “The Tree performance is very important to us as a family,” says Teresa. AIR CONDITIONING “All of us look forward to this tradition.” And every member of the Tree Ideal Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical choir and work party looks forward to Serving our community since 1960! Residential/ commercial. Service, repair, installation, thermostats, the Hudson’s homemade fudge. registers, filters, indoor air quality, and more. (06/12) Performances of the Christmas BBB Accredited business. Story Tree during the Balboa Park December Nights festivities are set (619) 583-7963 Lic#348810 for December 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. An DIETS encore performance will take place on Sunday evening, December 4 at Tired of diets that don’t work? 4:30 p.m. “It’s a blood, sweat and Lose weight naturally and permanently with LifeWalk. (02-12) tears endeavor,” Plunk said. “But we Call Now. love doing it.” 

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and Third Street, was purchased in March 1910, for $665, and the irst building was completed in 1911. The initial design was done by Emmor Brooke Weaver, of the prominent irm of William Hebbard and Irving Gill at a cost of $91.50! By 1925, the congregation had grown and the decision was made to add a sanctuary, Fellowship Hall, ofices and Sunday school classrooms. The Mission Revival style buildings were designed by Louis J. Gill, nephew of Irving Gill. The church was dedicated on June 24, 1925 and declared free of debt in January 1926. Stained glass windows honoring many of the original nineteen members were created by Fred Alfred Joseph Weiland of San Diego. The organ and chimes were donated by James W. Porter in the 1930s in memory of Henry Porter and he retired other debts of the congregation at that time. The pipe organ was built by Henry Pitcher Sons of Louisville, Kentucky at a cost of $6,500 and contains 700 pipes and a two-manual keyboard. The Central Congregational Church has been served by ten pastors over its one hundred years. These men included: Reverends John Doane, Charles Hill, William M. Scudder, Earl Lindsley, Roy Campbell, Alexander Milmine, James Barbour, Richard Goodhart, and Thomas Cook. Reverend Tel Selgo has been Pastor since 1989, serving with love and dedication. The Church celebrated his iftieth year in the ministry in 2003. So stop by for some of the holiday services and get to know one of La Mesa’s longestserving congregations.  K.C.

new dining choices while keeping a lot of the popular items. This insures that everybody will be able to order to their taste. The menu includes a selection of seafood and American Grille favorites as well as Mexican fare. The wine list features an outstanding selection of domestic wines with a few foreigners thrown in. There are craft beers on tap and a spread of desserts to choose from, including homemade churros served hot with an Ibarra chocolate dipping sauce--pure heaven! If you went by ambiance alone, the Cosmopolitan is a home run. But of course, a restaurants reputation is rightly based on its food; and Chef Andrew has done a fantastic job at the Cosmopolitan. If you are like me, Old Town is a great place to take guests when they visit from out of town. Try The Cosmopolitan as an alternative to other, more crowded and noisy eateries. You won’t be disappointed. The restaurant is only half of the Cosmopolitan experience. They also feature a hotel where you can spend the night overlooking Old Town after hours--an unforgettable experience during the holidays. The thing that makes the Cosmopolitan such a unique place to stay is that the ambiance of the hotel is much as it was back in the day. The staff are all attired in period costume, and the decor is like something you’d see in a wild west movie. There is even a real saloon downstairs featuring a bar built in the 1800’s which was originally meant to be shipped to Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, AZ. You really feel as though you have stepped back in time to Old San Diego by staying at The Cosmopolitan, in a way not found anywhere else in San Diego. The hotel has been refurbished to include running water and electricity of course, but there are no TVs or radios, recreating the atmosphere that one would have enjoyed in the 1800s. A couple of the rooms feature gas ireplaces, which create an absolutely awesome atmosphere when you turn off all the lights. The balcony overlooks the Old Town plaza, which is quite lovely after all the tourists leave. This is a one-of a-kind hospitality experience that any local can take advantage of. With the lack of TVs to zone out on, most people congregate in the restaurant patio after dark where you can chat around the ire while enjoying cocktails and munchies. If you’ve ever been to Europe, then you know that this is how they do it in the Old World. Because of the lack of technological gadgets to distract you, The Cosmopolitan is the perfect place to spend the evening with somebody you are close to. Whether you are on the patio, or in front of the ireplace, you have the perfect set up to spend a romantic night and get to know the person you are with. That’s priceless!

Events, from page 4 GROSSMONT ADULT SCHOOL’S WHODUNIT BOOK CLUB WILL DISCUSS MYSTERIES – JANUARY 3 Mystery fans - read and discuss mysteries at the Whodunit Book Club, a free Grossmont Adult School class that starts Tuesday, Jan. 3, at the El Cajon Library, 201 E. Douglas Ave. The weekly class is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the library Seminar Room. The group will discuss the works of authors including John Grisham and Tess Gerristen, author of the Rizzoli & Isles series. Students may sign up by going to and clicking on the “online registration button.” La Mesa resident Liz Swain teaches the class. For more information, call the Foothills Adult Education Center, (619) 588-3500.

ESPECIALLY FOR SENIORS… FREE BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING – DECEMBER 6 No appointment necessary. Open to the public. For information, call 619-740-4214. Sharp Grossmont Hospital Senior Resource Center, 9000 Wakarusa, Tuesday, December 6, 9:30 to 11 a.m.

SENIORS GROUP TO HOST LECTURER ON HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL AGING – DEC. 14 The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St., will host a free seniors discussion group on “The Eight Sacred Truths to Healthy and Successful Aging” from 10 to 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14. The public is invited to attend, and RSVP is not required. The event will feature a presentation from Dr. Eric Z. Shapira, author of “A New Wrinkle” and founder of Aging Mentor Services, a consulting irm based in Montara, California. For more information, phone the library at (619) 825-5010 or visit

SENIOR RESOURCE PROGRAMS AT GROSSMONT HOSPITAL 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

PROJECT C.A.R.E. COMMUNITY ACTION TO REACH THE ELDERLY This free program helps people who live alone by offering a phone call each day. It there’s no answer, someone is called to check on you. Other Project C.A.R.E. services include Vial of Life, a friendly visitor from the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol and more. East county residents may call the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Senior Resource Center at 619-740-4214. Others call 1-800-5102020.  — December 2011

Page 13

La Mesa and East County Making Its Mark in CIF Girls’ High School Tennis


The power is slowly shifting in the world of high school girls’ tennis in La Mesa and the East County. Just ask singles players Lindsay Brown of Patrick Henry High, Ja’Ana Diamond of West Hills, Han Pham of Helix, Edith Martinez of Monte Vista and Kristen Krajnak of Granite Hills. The ive were top singles local inishers in the CIF San Diego Section Individual Singles and Doubles Championships. Brown, a sophomore, was the No. 8 seed and a quarterinalist in the prestigious singles competition. Diamond, a junior and the No. 11 seed, and Pham both reached the round of 16. Martinez and Krajnak won their irst round matches. “These athletes have to be one of the best in their league to qualify for the CIF tournament and that’s quite an accomplishment,” said Karen Ronney, the Patrick Henry High girls’ tennis coach and a USTA Tennis Service Rep for San Diego. “Excelling in CIF elevates local kids to another level on par with North County powerhouses. I think players from the East County are gradually breaking into that talent pool.” This season, 39 local La Mesa, Grossmont area and East County players qualiied for CIF competition by inishing in the top ive places in Ashley Hayashi Osorno their respective league tournaments. In hits a backhand total, there were 80 doubles teams and 80 singles players who gathered from as far as Fallbrook and Oceanside to the El Centro and the San Ysidro border to play in the week-long event held at the Barnes Tennis Center. This tournament is the culmination of the girls’ high school season which can consist of 10 to 19 dual team matches capped off with a inal league tournament. “The matches in our league were extremely close,” said Valhalla High Coach Don Ackerly, who has been a CIF Grossmont League Representative for 18 years. “We had many 9-9 and 10-8 scores that produced some great tennis matches. We are all very comparable in our talent and that made for an exciting season.” In dynamic doubles action, senior Ashley Hayasi-Osorno and junior Brooke Ronney of Patrick Henry were the top area inishers reaching the round of 16. They were three points away from advancing to the quarterinals in the super tiebreak against the No. 6 seeded team from Westview High. Outstanding performances were by West Hills High seniors Jenna Ackerly and Monica Popp, who won two rounds against teams from High Tech High North County and Canyon Crest High. Steele Canyon’s Hope Butner and Adrianna Diaz, and Patrick Henry’s Maddy Kleine and Hanah Ratican also reached the round of 16, each winning two rounds. Ja'Ana Diamond hits a backhand Doubles teams who reached the second round include Emily Burke and Remi Mosey from Valhalla, Sarah Reuss and Britta Welsch of Grossmont, Tarin Marks and Melissa Mendez from Granite Hills and Nicole Deeb and Juliette Diveley from Patrick Henry.

The League of California Cities recently presented the City of La Mesa with a 2011 Helen Putnam Award for its highly successful Rides4Neighbors transportation program. Helen Putnam was active with the League of California Cities. Throughout her life as a mother, teacher, principal, mayor, and county supervisor, she viewed meeting one’s potential as the greatest measure of success. To the League and to all the cities in California she deined excellence and the highly competitive award named in her honor recognizes excellence in local government projects each year. Rides4Neighbors is a multi-pronged approach to lexible transportation options for senior adults and disabled residents of La Mesa and neighboring East County communities. Community Services Department staff recruit, screen, and train volunteer drivers who use their own vehicles to accommodate eligible riders. Rides are provided for medical, dental, essential shopping and personal care appointments. To supplement volunteer driver rides, approved riders may purchase taxi coupon booklets at a 50% discount. Coupons are used “same as cash” with Yellow Cab. In addition, a twice weekly shopping shuttle, provided by contract with La Mesa First United Methodist Church, provides door-to-door service from riders’ homes to the local mall. During the last year a wheelchair transport program for non-ambulatory riders was added to the program. Also during the last year a travel training program was added for adults 60+ who need assistance learning to navigate public transportation. The trainer provides instructions to her students on how to utilize web-based public transportation schedules and routes and accompanies them on weekly excursions throughout San Diego County. Rides4Neighbors was launched in 2007, with federal and local transportation grant funding obtained through the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). SANDAG funding was extended in a subsequent year with a local grant from the Grossmont Healthcare District, which provided for extensive community outreach and partnership development to expand the program. The 2011 Helen Putnam Award was the third time La Mesa has received this honor. Previous Helen Putnam Awards were received for the City’s “ready… set…Live Well” community wellness initiative and the parks project involving development of the Junior Seau Sports Complex and renovation of Briercrest Park. 

See CIF Tennis, Page 16

USTA Tennis, from page 8 The highlight of the three-hour event arrived at the end of the session when all participants enjoyed the game Playing for Prizes, which was an opportunity to hit the ball over the net into large square-shaped target areas. With each success, players earned trips to the prize bucket to receive stickers, pencils, erasers, lashlights, fun tattoos and holiday treats from Michele Greenberg-McClung, the Community Services Recreation Supervisor for the City of La Mesa. “This was a fantastic way to get the community out playing tennis at our beautiful courts,” said Greenberg-McClung. “We are the only public 10andUnder tennis courts in our area and we’d like to help kids and their families learn to play the game in a fun and easy way. I think this is one of the greatest things that have ever happened to our tennis and our city.” “My daughter has really thrived with the QuickStart program,” said LaDreda Lewis, Director of the Sylvan Learning Center in La Mesa. “She has progressed so quickly. It’s incredible. She started playing a seriously about two years ago and is ready for Novice tournaments. She really loves the sport! Her goal is to be a great high school player and she is on her way.” Karen Ronney, USPTA, PTR is a writer, teaching professional and girls' varsity coach 

Missionaries, from page 7 Merica-Jones has known Derek since friends in City Heights. Back in the he attended Christian High with fold of East County life, the Breunher son; her relationship with the ingers remain in contact with friends couple deepened through her posiand students from Malawi while tion as Mission Prayer coordinator rooting deeper into San Diego’s everat Jamul Community Church. Susan growing refugee community. became an invaluable resource for When asked what readers can the couple’s medical questions and do to support African communities concerns preceding Dylan’s birth. abroad and locally, Derek recom“Although late in her third mended donations to African Bible trimester upon their return to CaliColleges’ “Student Scholarship fornia, Jeannette obtained access Program” or sports teams. Informato full prenatal care [at Grossmont tion can be found on the Breuningers’ Hospital] on her irst visit by my blog, Morefacilitating the process. Later, at over, Derek emphasized the impact of their request, I agreed to assist them reaching out locally: interacting with personally with their birth care,” the San Diego refugee community Merica-Jones recalls. through organizations The Breuningers like the International “I fell in love with express heartfelt Rescue Committee or these forgotten appreciation to the staff by supporting refugeeof Grossmont Hospital run businesses. La people. I tried for their warmth and Mesa’s neighboring everything to work, assistance during the communities, City play, and live with birth process. Dylan Heights and El Cajon, them…” – Derek was born June 10, 2010, both boast many ethnic Breuninger surrounded by family shops and restauand close friends. rants that depend on Three months later, the community support to newly expanded Breuninger family survive. returned to Lilongwe, where Derek Derek and Jeannette are a and Jeannette resumed their posishining example of compassion and tions at ABC Malawi. Baby Dylan goodwill. Humble and unassuming, was warmly received by friends and they embrace the marginalized and students; Jeannette spoke of locals’ demonstrate the power of human excitement and offers to hold Dylan understanding and connectivity. when they’d shop at the outdoor “We want our lives to be given over market. After another school year in to God, that He may use us to reach Malawi, the family returned to East and help the poor, the hurting… County when Derek and Jeannette’s those who have been forgotten by commitment to ABC was fulilled. this world,” Derek writes. Through Just ive months ago, the Breuntheir local outreach over the years inger family was living a world apart as well as their time in Malawi, the in one of Africa’s poorest nations. Breuningers have shown great dediThese days, Derek, Jeanette, and onecation to this cause of reaching “the year-old Dylan can be found shopping forgotten.”  for veggies at the La Mesa Farmer’s Market or reconnecting with old

Page 14 — December 2011

Two Churches, from page 1 established legacy, Journey has youthful enthusiasm. Journey was founded in 1993 when a small group of 25 people started gathering in Rancho San Diego under the name Horizon EC. After several years of

meeting in various locations, in 1998 Journey settled at its current location at 8363 Center Drive. By then, the name had changed to Journey Community Church and participation had exploded to around 1500 people. Today, over a decade later, Journey lourishes with 2500 participants working together to “reach as many people with the good news” as possible, according to Creative Director Daniel Merk-Benitez. Because of the economic recession, Journey’s greatest challenge is how to do ministry locally while still supporting worldwide needs. MerkBenitez describes it as “the balance of caring for the person sitting in the room and for the people halfway around the world.” It is obvious Journey is committed to keeping that balance through exciting service to both the community and world. Locally, a community food bank opens three times each month. Just before Thanksgiving a new thrift store

GEMS& JEWELS By Enhancery Jewelers, Kathleen White, Graduate Gemologist, GIA

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS Fancy colored diamonds are very hot this year! We have large selection of “Cocoa”, black, blue, yellow, and green diamonds set in many styles ready to surprise that special someone on your gift list. “Lorenzo” searches the world for the liveliest, brightest and most beautiful natural gemstones directly from mines in some of the most exotic places around the globe. This beautiful jewelry is inspired by art and nature, and crafted from sterling silver accented with artistically carved pieces of 18K yellow gold. These styles are set with uniquely cut gemstones in radiant, checkerboard and concave cuts. See how they maximize the vivid gemstone’s color. DECEMBER BIRTHSTONE – TANZANITE, BLUE ZIRCON, OR TURQUOISE Tanzanite is a rare and beautiful gem from Tanzania, Africa. The International Colored Gemstone Association has named it as a new addition to the birthstones for December. Tanzanite comes in a variety of beautiful shades of violetish purple to deep intense purple with red undertones. The rare gem was discovered in the 1980’s and brought to the U.S. by J.P. Morgan, to irst be marketed by Tiffany’s. Blue Zircon has been known since antiquity because of its great brilliance and intense ire. The ancients believed in its curative powers. Carved zircons have been found in some of the most ancient archaeological sites. urquoise is an opaque gem that works beautifully for the silver lover born in December. The rarest of all turquoise comes from Persia, and is usually a robin’s egg blue without matrix, which is also beautiful, set in gold. Visit us on the web at or follow us on Facebook... Advertisement

called Twice Treasured launched, with proceeds beneiting local and global mission efforts. Journey is also active in worldwide ministry. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Lead Pastor Ed Noble traveled to Port-au-Prince to see how Journey could be involved in supporting relief efforts. Out of that trip, a wonderful partnership was born. Journey is involved in supporting a Haitian medical clinic and a school will be opening soon. Teams of 10 to 20 people travel to Haiti every other month through this partnership. Through acts of service, education, mission trips, and thrift stores, both Journey and Christ Lutheran are committed to their mission to serve the people of La Mesa and the world. For Christ Lutheran service times, log onto, (619) 462-5211; for Journey,, (619) 464.4544.  Kelly Sipan is a local freelance writer.

La Mesa Centennial Volunteer Opportunities The City of La Mesa is looking for people interested in volunteering some of their time on Centennial projects and events. Here are some of the ways you can volunteer to help make the Centennial year exciting and memorable: • E-Newsletter – Help produce a monthly newsletter with updates on events and stories of interest. • Clerical – Create correspondence and work with Excel mailing lists. • Staff Outreach Booth – Interact with the public to give out information and obtain names for the email and volunteer lists. • Special Event Volunteer – Help with logistics at various events. • Distribute Window Decals – Walk or drive to deliver decals to business sponsors. If you are interested in volunteering, please indicate your preference(s) and forward your reply to or leave a message for Carol Temes, Centennial Volunteer at 619.667.1105. — December 2011

Page 15

Letters to the Editor

RE: What does it mean to be a ‘Fair Trade’ town? Nov. issue page 15 La Mesa Council members Ruth Sterling, Mark Arapostathis and Ernie Ewin voted in favor of the Constitutional principles of limited government and personal freedom. We all stand a little taller as a result. It may have been a very dificult decision with passionate appeals on either side. After all, who could possibly be against fairness? The most important decisions are, by nature, the most dificult. The supporting principle here is that the Fair Trade proponents still have every freedom to market their ideals with their own resources to the business community and consuming public on the merits of their message. No vote by the city council could ever stop that. We all win as a council majority rejected the use of public resources to persuade or discourage anyone in the social justice political agenda and the national marketing campaign of the Fair Trade movement. That is truly Fair Trade! Scott Kidwell

RE: “Holiday Shopping, La Mesa-Style” I was shocked that you left out “ACT II” (by name) in the article, “Holiday Shopping, La Mesa Style” in the last issue. ACT

II has been part of the village for 29 years. They have two stores. Was writing “resale store” with no name given proper? Other stores were mentioned by name, all of which are new to the Village. I feel that a store(s) that has been bringing people to the Village for years should not have been overlooked; their name should have been spelled out. ACT II is one of a handful of stores that have kept the Village alive. I don’t understand; do you feel your readers don’t deserve honesty from your paper, or was there some personal agenda on the part of the writer or newspaper? It makes your newspaper seem biased. Catherine Froelicher (Editor’s note: The omission was certainly not intentional. It would have been impossible to list every merchant. The article attempted to provide an overview of the wonderful variety of shopping opportunities available in the Village and elsewhere in La Mesa.)

Our "Letters" Policy The Courier welcomes letters under 150 words in length, but may not print them all. The Editor will select letters for publication which represent a diversity of opinions and topics. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. Name, address and a phone number are required. (Only the name will be shown.)

Classiied Ads SERVICES CUSTOM-FINISH CARPENTRY Doors, entry doors, replacement windows, interior moldings (base crown, etc.) Cabinetry, closet organizers, patios. Lic.#657086. Call John (619) 208-6131. (10/12) THE BIG DEAL 7 rooms or areas of carpet cleaned, plus a sofa and loveseat just $349. You’re saving $150. For details, call (619) 772-4764. BBB Member www. (1/12) Flute Lessons, SDSU Flute Professor, Emeritus. 35 years experience. BM, MM, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. Partial scholarships available. musicwest@ (2/12) Quality exterior carpentry. Decks, Fences, Patio Covers and Termite Repair. License #365241 www.aactionbuilders Bob 619-275-1493 (04/12) Pet/Housesitting Services. Est. 1983, Bonded. Pet-tenders offers feeding, walking, plant care, housesitting-and above all…spoiling…in your own home! 619-298-3033. (03/12)

Contractor/handyman, small jobs ok. Plumbing, carpentry, electrical, doors, roll up garage door repair, laminate floors. Licensed and insured, Bill #701783. 619-698-0375. (01/12) Linda’s Puppy Love. Bonded, licensed, insured pet & house sitting service offers daily dog walks, cat care, vacation visits, overnight care, love, care & attention. 619-857-3674. (01/12) Keith Everett Construction and Handyman Service: All phases of home remodeling and repair. Window and door replacement specialist. Repair or build any style of fence, deck, or patio cover. Kitchen and bath remodels. Senior discount, references. No job too small. Lic #878703. Call 619-255-3499. (01/12) Roofing, licensed, bonded, second generation Allied Gardens roofer. Over 100 homes in Allied Gardens roofed. Repairs, all types of roofing. Free estimates. Call 619-287-7149. (12/11)

Flute/Piano Instruction. 30 years experience. Beginner to advanced. Music Education. B.A. Degree. Reasonable rates. Available for teaching in your home or mine. Rick, 619-286-8012. (03/12)

Just Ask Crystal — specializing in odd jobs for seniors but all ages welcome. Organizing home & yard. Grocery shopping, errands/meal preparation. Caretaker assistance & reprieve. Moving? Downsizing? Help before, during & after. Holiday help for parties & decorating. Too many jobs to list, just ask! Gift certificates available. San Carlos resident with local references. Call Crystal (619) 887-1211. (12/11)

Professional Power Washing. We specialize in cleaning driveways, patios, tile roofs, stucco, wood decks, rain gutters. Call 619-460-8177 www. (03/12)

Piano Lessons. All ages. Experienced teacher. Masters Degree. Music Teachers Association member. Theory. Two Piano Ensemble. Free lesson plan. Call 619-461-8289. (12/11)

FREE CLASSIFIEDS Free classified ads are available to private parties and to non-profit organizations that do not charge for their services. Only one ad per party or organization will be accepted per issue as a free classified - additional ads must be paid for with submission of the ads. Free classifieds are limited to 25 words or less. Ads of more than 25 words cost 50¢ per additional word; payment must accompany the ad. All free classifieds will run for only one issue even if you indicate on the ad that you want it to run more than one time. All classified ads - free or paid - must be submitted by mail only or hand-delivered to Postal Annex at 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #145, La Mesa, CA 91942. THE LAST DATE PRE-PAID ADS WILL RUN IS PRINTED AFTER EACH AD - IF NO DATE IS GIVEN, THE AD RUNS ONLY ONE ISSUE. The following ad classifications are eligible for free classified ads: FOR SALE, GARAGE SALES, LOST & FOUND, WANTED, FOR RENT, NOTICES and YOUTH SERVICES. However, this does not include WANTED ads for multi-level sales or FOR RENT ads for vacation/rental condos or NOTICES for any profit-making organization.

PAID CLASSIFIEDS - $8/25 words or less BUSINESS CLASSIFIEDS including SERVICES, CHILD CARE, BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES, NOTICES, HELP WANTED, & FOR SALE ads for any profit-making enterprise costs $8 for 25 words or less plus 50¢ per word over 25, payable in advance of publication only. NOTICES ads may NOT be ads normally classified under SERVICES (i.e., business ads) the Editor reserves the right to reject or re-classify any ads sent in under the NOTICES category that should more appropriately be placed elsewhere. PAID ADS may run for any consecutive number of issues, provided that proper payment for the ads is received in advance. NO PHONE CALLS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR RENEWAL OF ADS. THE LAST DATE PRE-PAID ADS WILL RUN IS PRINTED AFTER EACH AD. IF NO DATE IS INCLUDED AFTER THE AD, IT RUNS ONLY ONCE. When counting words—a word is a word, regardless of the number of letters. A telephone number is a word. An address such as “10000 San Diego Mission Road” is 5 words. We do not mail “proofs of publication” for classifieds.



Favorite Holiday Recipes


NOTICES (see restrictions above)








Audrey Matula, a former food editor for a daily California newspaper and a La Mesan, has suggested a monthly column featuring favorite recipes submitted by local residents. Here are two recipes from her personal iles that are especially colorful and appropriate for the holiday season.

Nita’s Cranberry Sherbet (My mother’s recipe, a delicious, yet refreshing addition to a festive meal) Boil 1-1/2 cups sugar and 2 cups water for 10 minutes. Add 1 scant tablespoon of plain gelatin. 1 cup sieved fresh cranberries which have been boiled, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 sieved banana. Place in an 8 x 8 inch container and freeze 6-8 hours; stir frequently. Serves six hungry guests.

Cinnamon Cookies (These cookies my mother baked were simple, yet oh so tasty! I still make them for holiday eating.) Use 1 cup each of sugar and butter, 1 egg yolk, 2 cups pastry lour and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Mix together and spread very thinly on cookie sheet. Beat egg white slightly, spread on cookie dough. Sprinkle heavily with chopped pecans. Press down slightly. Bake 30 minutes 325 to 350 degrees. When cool, cut into bars. Yum-yum. Enjoy! Let us know whether this is a feature you would like to see on a regular basis, by writing or emailing us:, 8030 La Mesa Blvd., #145, La Mesa 91942.

2012 LA MESA COURIER SCHEDULE Publication date: 1st Friday of each month Note: Deadlines are firm. No extensions. Display ads & Business/Service Directory listings are paid in advance.

PUBLICATION MONTH January February March April May June July August September October November December

DISPLAY AD SPACE DEADLINE 5 pm* December 20 January 18 February 13 March 13 April 10 May 8 June 12 July 10 August 14 September 11 October 9 November 13

AD ARTWORK DEADLINE 5 pm December 27 January 24 February 21 March 20 April 17 May 15 June 19 July 17 August 21 September 18 October 16 November 20

ARTICLES DEADLINE 5 pm December 27 January 24 February 21 March 20 April 17 May 15 June 19 July 17 August 21 September 18 October 16 November 20

CLASSIFIED AD DEADLINE Noon December 31 January 28 February 25 March 24 April 21 May 19 June 23 July 21 August 25 September 22 October 20 November 24

*Deadline to reserve space for advertisers not currently on a contract. Mail or drop off your ad or article at our mailing address at 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #145, La Mesa, CA 91942 Articles may be sent via E-Mail to:

La Mesa Courier

8030 La Mesa Blvd. #145 • La Mesa, CA 91942 Phone: (619) 697-2500 • Fax: (619) 697-2505 email: Visit our website at:

Editor: Pam Crooks, ext. 124

Graphic Artist: Aleta El Sheikh

Assistant Editor: Kathleen Crawford, ext. 136

Advertising Consultants: Lionel Talaro, ext. 128 Maria Simencic, ext. 133

Publisher: Mission Publishing Group, LLC

Writers and Advertising Sales Experts Wanted Please call 619-697-2500, Ext 122 Circulation: 20,000. Published 7 times in 2011 and delivered to all single family homes in 91941 and 91942 and at over 150 bulk locations throughout our circulation area of La Mesa, California by Mission Publishing Group, LLC. Classified ads and articles must be submitted by mail, e-mail or dropped off at our business address, 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #145, La Mesa, CA 91942. Publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertisements or material submitted which are deemed to be objectionable. Publisher’s liability for errors: La Mesa Courier assumes no financial liability for errors nor for omission of copy and upon request will furnish a letter of correction to the advertiser. The Publisher, Mission Publishing Group, LLC., shall not be liable for any error in published advertising unless an advertiser proof is requested in writing 12 days prior to publication date and clearly marked for corrections. If the error is not corrected by the Publisher, the liability, if any, shall not exceed the space occupied for the error. Further, the Publisher shall not be liable for any omission of an advertisement ordered to be published. On written request, Publisher shall reschedule and run the omitted advertisement at the advertiser’s cost. All claims for adjustment must be made in writing within 30 days of the date of publication. In no case shall the Publisher be liable for any general, special or consequential damages. Equal Housing Opportunity: Real estate advertising in La Mesa Courier is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Law which makes it illegal to advertise “any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination.” La Mesa Courier will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate that is in violation of the law. This is to notify La Mesa Courier readers that all dwellings advertised in La Mesa Courier are available on an equal opportunity basis. To complain of discrimination call HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or TTY at 1-800-927-9275. News and information printed in La Mesa Courier is obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but accuracy on information sent to the paper cannot be guaranteed. Articles and opinions of writers or letters to the editor that are submitted for publication to the La Mesa Courier are the views of the writers and should not be considered the views of the publisher. Content of paid advertisements is solely the responsibility of the advertiser. © 2011, all rights reserved.

Page 16 — December 2011

CIF Tennis, from page 13 Additional CIF doubles qualiiers were El Capitan’s teams of Anna Gregor and Ashley Wilson , and Megan Ellis and Sarah Osterhoudt. Monte Vista was represented by Jessica Corral and Maria Llamas, and Jackie Oritz and Emily Stanil. Sarai Diaz and Yvette Santos were from Mt. Miguel. Singles qualiiers included

Sarah Abrenica of Monte Vista, Anthoinette Dominguez of Mt. Miguel, Dakota Ellis of Santana, Kaylyn Pingel of Grossmont, Jayden Tabor of El Capitan, and Camille Stock of West Hills. “The key is to keep the girls playing year round in USTA junior tournaments and Junior Team Tennis,” Acklery said. “This year,

there is a drive by high school coaches and local pros to provide training opportunities and keep the East County kids playing. Our hope is to keep growing the number of players who can represent our area in next year’s CIF tournament.” 

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La Mesa Courier - December 2011  
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