Monthly Archives: March 2009

Sonic Grand Opening

Attention all you Sonic devotees – their first San Diego County restaurant will be having its grand opening this Saturday.  I know my daughter will be one of many happy people there.  I’m looking forward to finding out what all the hullaballo is about, since I have never been to one before.  As I write this my daughter is sitting next to me gushing about all the good food Sonic has.  I will decide when I get to try some.

The big event is Saturday, with ribbon cutting at 5:30 pm.  The new Sonic is located at 10515 Mission Gorge Rd., just a bit west of North Magnolia Ave.  The easiest approach is from the west, since the restaurant is located on the south side of the road.  For more info, click on the links below.


Sonic Drive Ins

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Don’t Shoot the Canvassers

Bureau of the Census

Next year, 2010, will be the decennial census of the United States.  Every ten years, since 1790, the government has counted the population of this nation – as required by the Constitution.  In order to do this successfully, the Census Bureau has already begun laying the groundwork for the count.  Over the next few weeks you might see people walking around neighborhoods, going door-to-door, and working with little hand-held computers.  These are Address Canvassers, and their job is to make sure every possible living space is identified – this includes houses, condos, apartments, group homes, campsites, etc.  This way census forms can be sent out next year to everyone, and the Bureau will be able to follow up on any that are not returned.

Why is the Census so important?  First, it is the way the federal government decides how many representatives each state gets; in addition, state and local governments use the data to draw various representative boundaries.  Many other organizations use the data as well to do their jobs.  Also, the Constitution, in Article 1, Section 2, states “[An] Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”  Participation in the Census is required, but all personal information collected is kept in strict confidentiality for 72 years.  Only generic data is released before that time, and then only to organizations and departments that show they have a valid reason for using it.

So when you see these Address Canvassers, or when they knock on your door (which they are required to do), please be polite, answer the few questions they might have, and know that they have been well trained to do their jobs quickly and efficiently.

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Shop Santee and Save!

Shop Santee

In this age of economic uncertainty, how can shopping in Santee save you money?  Well, on April 1 the California state sales tax rate will increase by 1% in an effort to raise money to bridge the huge state budget gap.  Along with the recent increases in neighboring cities, that will make the sales tax rate 9.5% in La Mesa and 9.75% in El Cajon, compared to 8.75% here in Santee.  When you think about it, that can really add up on large purchases.

To promote this, the City of Santee and the Santee Chamber of Commerce will hold a press conference at 11:00 am on April 1 at the Santee Trolley Square Clock Tower.  At the conference they will kick off the “Shop Santee and Save” campaign and unveil a new pro-business logo.  More on this campaign soon.


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Miss Santee & Miss Santee Teen 2009

Earlier this month the Miss Santee/Miss Santee Teen Pageant was held at Sonrise Community Church.  I was not able to attend, but I did get to meet the young ladies who won at the SanTree Fest the following week.  I would like to introduce them to you (wiht thanks to the Santee Chamber of Commerce for the bio information).

Miss Santee, Sierra Billock, and Miss Santee Teen, Nicole Elhke

Miss Santee & Miss Santee Teen

Sierra Billock is 21 and a marketing major at San Marcos State University.  She also works as a Brand Manager for Bath and Body Works, and enjoys golf when she has time.  Last year Sierra was named Miss Congeniality.  This was her fourth time competing in the Miss Santee Pageant.  She receives a $300 college scholarship donated by Santee businesses.

Nicole Elhke is 16 and a junior at West Hills High School.  This was her second try for Miss Santee Teen, and she credits last year’s winner, Lizzie Lingasin, for helping her prepare for this year’s pageant.  Nicole works as a tutor at her school and is on the Principal’s Honor Roll.  She also volunteers at Alvarado Hospital and plans to become a pediatric emergency room doctor.  She receives a $125 scholarship sponsored by Viejas.

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Santee Chamber Ambassadors

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the Santee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.  This is a group of local Santee business men and women who go a few steps beyond the normal Chamber member role.  They reach out to other businesses, attend business grand openings, and help promote the city as a business destination.  Currently the main project on the Chamber’s and Ambassadors’ list is the upcoming Santee Street Fair, which will be on May 30 at Riverview Parkway and Mission Gorge Rd. (more on this soon).  If you own or work at a business in Santee, and you would like to become involved in the Chamber or see how the Chamber can help you, follow the link below to their website.

2009 Santee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors

Santee Chamber Ambassadors

L-R: Dan O’Brien, Warren Savage, John Morley, Virginia Hall, Ronn Hall, Richard Jackson

Not Pictured: Ike Enzenauer, Hartha Jackson, John Olson, Rob McNelis, Gabriel Pino, Cynthia Howard, Jason Schelte

Santee Chamber of Commerce

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“Beauty and the Beast” – Last Weekend

PLAY Beauty and the Beast

Cogsworth and Lumiere want to remind you that this is the final weekend for the PLAY (Performing Lakeside Acting Youth) production of “Beauty and the Beast.”  The first weekend was great, with standing room only on Sunday.  The performances this week will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 6:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm.  Come and support this fantastic program.

The silent auction continues for the Reborn Doll – currently the bid is at $225.00.

Reborn Doll

For more information on PLAY

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Beauty and the Beast in Lakeside

Beauty and the Beast

No, this is not a commentary on the community of Lakeside.  PLAY (Performing Lakeside Acting Youth), a program that provides a theatrical experience for Lakeside area kids from grades 4 through 12, is presenting the musical “Beauty and the Beast.”  The program is sponsored by the Lakeside Union School District and is based at Lakeside Middle School.  Kids handle everything from the acting to lights, sound, and sets.  It has become so popular that this year over 100 young people are performing in three casts.

The show runs this weekend, with performances tonight (Friday, 3/20) at 6:00 pm, Saturday (3/21) at 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm, and Sunday (3/22) at 2:00 pm – then again next weekend at the same times, plus a 6:00 pm performance on Thursday (3/26).    All shows are at Lakeside Middle School, located at 11833 Woodside Ave., just off the 67 (exit Riverford Rd. and go north on Woodside Ave.) and tickets are just $4 – such a deal for some great family entertainment.

To help keep this program running, there will be snacks, raffles, and a silent auction of a “reborn baby doll” valued at $500.  So why not head over to Lakeside and “be their guest” for a great time.

This Reborn Baby Doll will be auctioned off over the run of the program

Reborn Baby Doll


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SanTree Fest 2009 Report

Santee - Tree City USA 2008

Last Saturday (March 14) was the fourth annual SanTree Fest celebrating Earth Day and Santee’s sixth straight year being named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.  This year the event was held at Mast Park, which runs along the San Diego River just north of Mission Gorge Road.  The celebration included tree planting, non-native vegetation removal, and trash clean up.  There were also information booths from several local and state organizations and local companies, booths from a number of local restaurants, and music.  The 2009 Miss Santee and Miss Santee Teen were on hand, along with several of the runners up (look for a post on them soon).

San Diego River Park Foundation

A major partner in the festivities was the San Diego River Park Foundation, which coordinated the vegetation and trash removal activities.  The day started out cool, overcast, and a little damp – perfect weather for digging holes to Trash removal along the trailplant trees or cutting down unwanted invasive vegetation.  The main clean up work went on at the east end of the park, just north of Wal-Mart.  If you have never taken a close look, there is an entrance to a walking trail at the northwest corner of the parking lot, just north of the store entrance.  If you wander down the trail you will come to a small bridge over the river.  Just beyond that, the Foundation had set up shop for the clean up activities.  On the trail I passed several families out with their trash pickers and bags, pulling junk out of the brush along the way.  Then at the river several groups were involved in cutting out and removing non-native trees and brush.  The goal is to help return the river to as close to a natural state as possible – taking in to account that it runs through the middle of the city.

Non-native vegetation removal

 The main activity, tree planting, took place in an open area near the center of the park.  Dozens of volunteers were involved, including a large group from Hartford Insurance – easily distinguished by their maroon T-shirts.  I’m not sure how many trees were planted, but one section of the park was a mass of people digging, planting, and filling. 

SanTree Fest Information BoothsMeanwhile, others were taking advantage of the information and food booths.  There was a great deal of good information available on everything from waste and recycling t0 water pollution and smart planting choices.  Organizations as varied as the California Center for Sustainable Energy, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), and the San Diego River Conservancy.  Local restaurants sharing their goodies included Rubio’s, Cafe 67, Hungry Howie’s and Souplantation.  Below are some photos of the different booths, along with links to the various websites in case you want more information.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy had information about renewable energy sources and their EcoBuild San Diego workshop on April 4 – check their website for more details.

California Center for Sustainable Energy

The Urban Corps of San Diego had information on utility-friendly and shade trees

Urban Corps, San Diego

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had information on the Urban Forestry Program, as well as information from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Cal Fire

The San Diego Regional Urban Forest Council (part of the California Urban Forests Council) and the Natural Resources Conservation Services shared a booth with their information on resources, workshops, and events.  Sarah Marino (l) and Danielle Hirsch (r) from the local Escondido office of NRCS talked about the brush removal and modification programs and the federal money available for the programs.


Another urban tree organization on hand was United Voices for Healthier Communities, also allied with the California Urban Forest Council.

United Voices for Healthier Communities

Along with the San Diego River Park Foundation, one of its branches – Friends of Santee’s River Park – had information on activities and upcoming events.  One of their projects, the RiverBlitz, surveys the river to identify and map problems for later clean ups.  The next RiverBlitz will be on April 4 in Mission Valley and April 11 in Santee.

Friends of Santee's River Park

The San Diego River Conservancy, a state agency within the Resources Agency of the State of California, was there to present information on its activities in support of the river.  Exectutive Officer Michael Nelson (in the green hat) explained about the agency’s work to eliminate 14 acres of invasive plants from along the river near Ward Road. 

San Diego River Conservancy

Tom Walters and Connie Wood, Trail Guides at the Mission Trails Regional Park, were on hand to share information about events, activities, and more.

Mission Trails Regional Park

County of San Diego Vector Control and San Diego County Libraries were there to share information along with the County of San Diego Vector Controlother groups and organizations.  Also on hand were several companies, including event sponsor Waste Management, SDG&E, and West Coast Arborists.SDG&E

San Diego County LibraryWaste ManagementWest Coast Arborists

Of course there were the restaurant booths as well:



Cafe 67 (The sub clubs were especially popular)

Cafe 67

Smoothie King

Smoothie King

Souplantation (love those blueberry muffins)


Hungry Howie’s

Hungry Howie's

Henry’s Marketplace

Henry's Marketplace

Just to make sure everyone had a good time, SanTree Fest also included a few other activities…

Lowe’s sponsored a “Pot a Plant” booth.

Lowe's "Pot a Plant"

The City of Santee sponsored a craft booth, with help from the Santana High School cheerleaders.


The County Parks and Recreation Department gave people an up-close look at local wildlife.

County Parks and RecreationLocal wildlife


Meeting a tarantula

Music for SanTree Fest was provided by the Virtual Strangers, a top local bluegrass band.

Virtual Strangers

Santana Cheerleaders passed out avacado cutters.

Santana Cheerleaders

2009 Miss Santee, Sierra Billock, and Miss Santee Teen, Nicole Ehlke, greeted visitors.

2009 Miss Santee & Miss Santee Teen

West Coast Arborists presented a tree climbing demonstration.

WCA Tree Climbing Demonstration

You can check out the websites of any of the organizations involved if you want information about getting involved in conservation and community activities.


Filed under Community, Nature

SanTree Fest 2009

Mast Park

This Saturday, March 14, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Santee will hold its fourth annual SanTree Fest to celebrate Earth Day and the city’s sixth straight year being named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.  Last year’s event was held at Cajon Park School, and included tree planting, information booths, food, music, and tours of the school’s garden.  This yearMast Park Walking Trail the festival will be held at Mast Park and will also include a guided nature walk starting at 9:45 am at the trail entrance on the northwest side of the Wal-Mart parking lot.  The walk is billed as an all-ages and abilities event, and makes a nice kick-off for the rest of the day’s activities.

Tree planting will begin about 10:15 am, and you will need a liability waiver to take part in that or any of the cleanup activities planned.  There is no need for a waiver, however, if you just want to come out and enjoy the day with your neighbors, check out the booths (several local restaurants will be involved), or listen to the bluegrass music of Virtual Strangers.  And best of all, it’s all FREE!  (Love that word, don’t you?)  By the way, there will be no parking at Mast Park except for handicapped visitors – please park in the northwest Wal-Mart lot or at Carlton Hills School.

For more information about the event, check out the SanTree Fest page at the city website (where you can also download the waiver form), or call 619-258-4100 ext 201.  Thanks go out to corporate sponsor Waste Management for helping to make this event possible.

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Update: Preview of CYT’s “Honk!”

The first weekend of “Honk!” – Christian Youth Theater’s presentation of the musical version of “The Ugly Duckling” – is over, but there is still one more weekend of performances left.  If you enjoy watching young people singing, dancing, and putting some of the Hollywood types to shame, you should get to the show.  The remaining shows are Friday at 7:00 pm, Saturday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm at the East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon.  As a little preview, I’m posting a link to a YouTube video of the show’s opening number.  Also posted is a link for more information.

A Poultry Tale

CYT: Honk!

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