Monthly Archives: September 2008

New CD Release Party

This evening Pathways Community Church in Santee was the site of the CD release party for Christian singer Mary James’ new album “Beautiful Savior.”  I won’t say my wife actually dragged me there, but it wasn’t at the top of my “to do” list.  However, I will say that I was glad I went.  I’m not usually a big fan of Christian music, not because of the music or the message but more because of what often feels like a heavy-handed approach that turns me off.  Even though the evening did include her sharing of her personal testimonial, what caught me was the human depth of several of her songs.  My only regret was that I wasn’t thinking like a blogger/community reporter and left my camera at home.

A little about Mary James.  Mary is a self-described country-rock style singer who was classically trained, but decided she didn’t want to go the opera route.  During the concert she talked a bit about her life, born to a teenage mother, adopted by a busy pastor who had little time for his family and an alcoholic mother who died of cancer when Mary was 13.  After years of running away from her past and trying to find something to hold on to, her road finally led her back to religion.  She has since dedicated herself to sharing her faith through her music.

Below are some links, including Mary’s website, her MySpace page, and a few YouTube postings of her singing.  If you enjoy her music, I encourage you to order one or more of her CDs.  I think you will enjoy them.

Mary James – Home Page

Mary James – MySpace Page

Mary James – ICM Showcase (YouTube)

Mary James – Shadow Mountain Church 2007 (YouTube)

Mary James – Shadow Mountain Church 2005 (YouTube)

If you watch the ICM and 2007 videos you will see some of her family.  The left-handed acoustic guitar player is her husband and the lovely young backup singer is her daughter.

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Las Colinas Debate

If you have been to any Chamber or city-sponsored event recently, you’ve probably seen the information booth about the possible expansion of Las Colinas, the women’s jail located here in Santee.  You probably also are aware of the opposition by the city, chamber, and ordinary citizens to this possible expansion.  Well, I decided that it was about time for me to hop onto the discussion wagon, but first I want to know what I’m talking about.  So, I have downloaded the Environmental Impact Report as well as other information and reports on Las Colinas.  I plan to take a little time to review, and then I will toss my 2 cents worth in.  Since the County Board of Supervisors recently decided to delay taking action, I have a bit of time to bring myself up to speed on the topic.  I will return soon with my take on the expansion controversy.

Also coming soon will be a series of blogs on the upcoming elections.  No, I’m not going to get into the Obama-McCain discussion.  But I will be looking again at candidates for Congress, as well as for Santee City Council.  Look for some posts and interviews coming in the next few weeks.

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Fight the Bite

Recently we got a flyer from the County Vector Control Program about mosquitoes and West Nile virus, and I thought I would pass along some of the information.  Even though most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito won’t get sick, some will have mild symptoms and a few will become extremely ill.  So it makes sense to take some precautions.

So how dangerous is West Nile virus (WNV)?  Again, if you are most people, not dangerous at all.  A friend of mine who lived in Egypt for some time tells me that over there WNV is no big deal because people have been living with it for generations.  If you are one of the few who do get sick, you will most likely have some flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, headaches, and perhaps a rash.  Still not something that you need to worry greatly about.  However, if you are part of the small percentage that is seriously infected, then you need to be concerned.  The most seriously infected can develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) or meningitis (swelling of the brain and spinal cord).  Either way, this is bad news.  The best way to combat WNV is to make sure there are no places for the little biters to breed.

Most people are aware that mosquitoes breed in standing water, and usually we think of that in connection with rain.  I know we haven’t had any rain for several months, but there are other ways for standing water to occur.  If you have anything outside that can hold water, and it happens to be where you regularly water, then you might have a potential breeding spot.  If you have a pond, natural or artificial, you have a potential breeding spot.  If the house next door has been repossessed and has been empty for some time, the swimming pool is also a potential breeding spot.

What do you do about potential breeding spots?  Well, if it is a plant saucer or some other easily dumped item, dump it and move it where it won’t get accidentally filled.  If you have a birdbath, simply make sure you flush it out regularly.  If you have a pond, pick up some mosquito fish (Gambusia sp.) and toss them in.  They may not be flashy, but they can be fun to watch as they dart around looking for a snack.  Plus, you can get them free at several locations (see below) through the Vector Control Program.

Finally, how do you protect yourself in case your neighbor is unknowingly breeding mosquitoes?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Wear pants and long-sleeved, light colored clothes outside so you can see the mosquitoes before they bite.  This is especially important at dawn and dusk, when they are most active.
  • Use insect repellents – look for brands that contain DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR 3535.  Remember to follow directions.
  • Check your window and door screens to make sure they fit tightly and have no holes in them – unless you want to be bitten indoors as well as outdoors.

Will all these steps guarantee that you won’t be bitten?  Of course not, but at least they will increase your chances of avoiding the bite.  And for extra measure, report any dead birds (they might harbor the virus) or neglected swimming pools (green is not good here) to Vector Control.  Links and contact information are below…

Vector Control: 888-551-INFO (4636)

Vector Control website: or

You can find free mosquito fish distribution locations here:

The closest locations to Santee are Koi Koi Living Jewels on Jamacha Rd. in El Cajon, and Fountain’s Aquarium on University Ave. in La Mesa.

Good luck, and watch for those little buggers.

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SR-52 Update

Work on SR-52 continues – maybe we will even see it finished on time (not holding my breath on that, though).  The major rerouting from Mission Gorge to SR-125 is done, but now it has moved west to where the road goes under the 53-125 exchange.  Meanwhile, CalTrans has put in a new on ramp from Magnolia to SR-67 South (although last time I was over there it was closed while they had a crane doing work alongside the freeway).  There is also work going on for the bridge over Cuyamaca Street.  Below are a few pictures from the work at Cuyamaca and SR-125, arranged by date.


Northbound on SR-125 nearing SR-52 on July 2, 2008

Future SR-52 bridge at the SR-125 on ramp, July 2, 2008

Site of the future SR-52 bridge over Cuyamaca St., July 22, 2008

Extension of eastbound SR-52 over SR-125, August 13, 2008

The future extension of westbound SR-52 and possibly the off ramp to Mission Gorge Rd., August 13, 2008


This might be a future off ramp from westbound SR-52 to Mission Gorge Rd., August 13, 2008

Construction of SR-52 over Mission Gorge Rd., August 13, 2008

Looking south along SR-125 from Mission Gorge Rd., August 13, 2008

Stay tuned for more updates as SR-52 snakes its way across Santee to an eventual rendezvous with SR-67.

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The Hot Dogs of Santee

The past few weeks I’ve been blogging about the Santee Summer Concerts at the Trolley Center.  One thing I’ve noticed about the concerts, it’s not just people who come to hear the music.  Every week there were quite a few hot dogs who joined their families.  Now, I’m not going to say that every dog there enjoys the music, but most of them do seem to enjoy being out and about, meeting new dogs and getting their share of attention from the people (especially kids).  So, here are the hot dogs of Santee…

The first dog I have to share is my own.  Bear is a 12 year old (more or less) Chow-Lab mix.  Or as we call him, our “Chowbrador.”  We’ve only brought him once – he wasn’t too big on the music, and frankly the other dogs scare him.  He is a HUGE coward around other dogs.  We figure it has something to do with being on the street for a while.  We got him from the Animal Shelter, but it was pretty clear that he had been a house dog before he got dumped.  Our other dog won’t be coming to any of the concerts – she is a “bitch” in all senses of the word.  Fine with people, but hates most other dogs – except Bear.

I don’t have as much information about the other dogs, but I will share pictures and names for the ones I have.

This handsome English mastiff was a regular at the concerts.









On the left is Max, a German shepherd.  He was another regular at the concerts.  The puppy on the right, whose name I didn’t get, was with Max and his family at the Honky Tonk Kings concert.

These two were at several of the concerts as well.  I unfortunately forgot their names, but the little one on the right was quite a character, dancing on his hind legs and standing up with his front paws on the other dog’s back so he could see better.

Talk about the face only a mother could love – or a bulldog fanatic.  This is Spanky, and he was only too happy to pose for a picture.  My older daughter would simply adore him.

This little trio came out to a couple concerts.

Jack, a chocolate lab, is a former DEA drug dog.  He is now happily retired and enjoys a bit of music and a good walk now and then.







Leila (l) and Harley (r) were a pair of Boston terriers I met at the 80z All Stars concert.  Leila in particular was rather difficult to photograph, since she just would not stand still.

This beautiful Doberman came to several concerts, but I forgot to write her name down.  Her owners chose not to have her ears or tail bobbed, which is just fine with me.  It makes her look like the friendly dog she is.

Buddy is a “terrier mix” – or as my wife likes to say, a “Heinz-57” variety.  I only saw him at the last concert, but he was certainly having a good time.

This little Maltese-Poodle mix is named Nixon, and I guess if you look at him you can see a slight resemblance to the former president.  Oh, and by the way, he is NOT a crook.

It must be something about Boston terriers, but Chico, here, also would not stay still long enough to get a good picture of him.  He was a very friendly little guy, but very active.

Maggie is a border collie-lab mix I met at the last concert.  I’ve decided that mixed breeds seem to be the friendliest and calmest overall – not quite as hyper as some of the purebreds.  I know that is true with my own dogs.

The rest of these pictures are dogs I met at the different concerts, but whose names I either didn’t get or forgot to write down (shame on me!).  If any of you know these dogs, I’ll be more than happy to identify them.  Otherwise, enjoy the pictures.














Egads, I almost forgot one last part of this “Hot Dogs” post.  One of the regular sponsors the last few weeks of the concert series was Camp Bow Wow, a doggy day care and overnight “camp” located in El Cajon.  This sounds like a pretty cool place for your dogs if you need to leave them somewhere for a day or more, and I should probably check it out.  If you want more information, click on their link above.  I want to thank Cynthia Wilson from Camp Bow Wow (on the left, below) for reminding me.  I guess that’s what happens when we get older, losing our hair… (apologies to J,P,G,&R).

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