Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009, A Santee Review – Part 2

As I indicated yesterday, I’m using these last few days of the year to look back over 2009. In Part 1 I reviewed January through April, so today we begin with May.

May actually started off with a post on an event from the end of April. On April 30 Simply Spa held a Wellness Expo and Open House to provide an opportunity for people to learn about massage, chiropractics, acupuncture, and nutrition. The evening was quite successful, with a good deal of information being shared. The first few days of the month also included promotional posts for the final “Love and Forgiveness” series discussion at the Santee Library, the Post Office’s annual Stamp Out Hunger Day, and River Days. Later in the month I posted on an E-Waste Recycling event, new restrictions due to the ongoing drought, the Hollywood Tans third anniversary celebration, and the May Chamber Mixer.

The first big event of the month was the grand opening ceremony for Marketplace at Santee – also known as the Henry’s Center. This is the shopping center that was built on the site of the old roller rink on Mission Gorge Rd. The event included music from the West Hills High School Pep Band, the obligatory speeches, and dedication of the Santee Schools Arts Attack Tile Project – a series of decorative tiles created by local students. Each of the students involved in the project was honored and given a certificate and a gift bag.

Not as big, but important in other ways, was the Frubble After-Prom Party. This event was created to provide students with a safe, alcohol-free activity to go to after their prom (after all, who wants to go home right after the prom?). The party included $1 frubble drinks, snacks, and music provided by DJ ANOMIE and the Mayors of Sexy Town.

The real BIG EVENT of the month was the first Santee Street Fair. This was an amazing event on many levels. First of all, the planning for the Street Fair didn’t even start until January. In just a matter of a few months the Chamber of Commerce was able to pull together scores of interested participants, plow through red tape, promote the heck out of the event, and live through it all. The few thousand that the Chamber hoped would attend became tens of thousands, and all this with very few minor problems and no major ones.

June started off with a promotional post for the annual San Diego’s Best 2009 survey/competition from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Two Santee businesses, Domo Sushi and Santee Lakes Campground, were nominated and one, Santee Lakes, won its category. Now, I’m not saying that I had anything to do with their victory, but…

Early in June I posted a more detailed review of the Santee Street Fair, including more photos. Another event I covered was the seventh annual Legoland Teachers Are Heroes award ceremonies, during which teachers from Cajon Park School and Rio Seco School were among the dozen educators honored. During June I also wrote about the new off-leash dog parks, the Greater East County Chambers of Commerce Alliance (GECCA) Networking Trade Show, Frubble’s first Open Mic Night, and the monthly After-5 Mixer. June also saw two fund raising events, the Friendly Grounds Pancake Breakfast for Santee Santas and the 6th Annual Golf Classic to support the Santee Schools Foundation. Oh, yes, and I posted two Food Patrols on Frubble and Domo Sushi.

Above all, June marks the beginning of the annual Santee Summer Concert Series. Every year this musical extravaganza features popular local groups performing in the Trolley Square amphitheater. This year the June concerts featured 80z All Stars, Lindsay Spurlock, and the Cat-illacs.

As busy as May and June were, I’m going to end here and pick up with July in my next post.


Filed under Business, Chamber Activities, Community, Entertainment, Health, On Food Patrol

2009, A Santee Review – Part 1


Here at the end of the year, with little going on, I thought it would be a good time to look back over the past 12 months and see what has happened in Santee. In spite of the down economy and the poor housing market, there were a lot of positives. So, without further ado, a review of Santee 2009.

The year kicked off with the Santee Library hosting the first of a series of book discussions centered around the themes of “Love and Forgiveness.” The series was developed by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute, and the Santee Library was one of 50 around the country chosen to take part. Dr. Martha Stoddard-Holmes, Associate Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at CSU San Marcos, was the host/moderator for the series, which ran through May. Also in January were the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Installation Dinner (which I was unable to attend) and monthly Sunrise Santee and After-5 Mixer. On the down side, I posted a request for help from the Sheriff’s Department after a high school student was attacked by one of a group of 8 young men, suffering severe injuries. I did not hear what followed on the incident.

My final post in January, on the new Edgemoor Hospital facilities, has, interestingly enough, become the top post on my blog. I wrote the post after going to an Open House held at the new location, and after reading a rather scathing opinion piece in the Union-Tribune. In contrast to the impression in the U-T article, I was very impressed with the facilities and the people I met there. The new hospital is now completely up and running and the old facilities are scheduled for the wrecking ball this week.

February started off on a decided down note with the coverage of the search for two suspects in a horrifying child molestation case. Aaron Zendejas had been arrested for providing children he had been hired to babysit to Jared Yaffe, who was wanted in multiple states on child pornography charges. Zendejas later pleaded guilty to charges and faces 15 years to life in prison; Yaffe was arrested in Brazil and will stand trial in April. Also on the crime scene, a postal employee was arrested for stealing gift cards from his route and possibly the post office as well.

On a more positive note, Cajon Park School held a dedication ceremony for its new classroom building and an Open House for the community to see all the work that had been done through the Proposition R programs. This included renovations on the existing buildings and the reconfiguration of their circular classroom building into a Library/Media Center. The new building has classrooms for 5th and 6th grade upstairs and 7th and 8th (junior high) downstairs. The upstairs section is connected to the main school buildings by a bridge.

In February I also wrote a new On Food Patrol about Mimi’s Cafe, a Meet Your Neighbor for the Santee Library’s speaker series, and previews for a Chamber Small Business Seminar, the Miss Santee Pageant, and the Christian Youth Theater production of Honk.

March was a busy month both in Santee and here on the blog. I did one more post on Honk and covered the PLAY (Performing Lakeside Acting Youth) production of Beauty and the Beast at Lakeside Middle School. I missed the Miss Santee Pageant, but I did post a short piece on the winners, Miss Santee, Sierra Billock, and Miss Santee Teen, Nicole Ehlke. These two young women have been very dedicated and involved representatives of the city. I also introduced the Santee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, who were kicking off the Shop Santee and Save campaign focusing on Santee’s low sales tax rate. The month ended with a post on the preparation work that the U.S. Census was doing for the upcoming 2010 Census.

Every year March brings Santree Fest, a celebration of Earth Day and recognition of Santee as an official Tree City by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This year the event was held at Mast Park, located between Carlton Hills Blvd. and the Wal-Mart shopping center, along the San Diego River. The day included tree planting, trash and non-native vegetation removal, and information booths. There was also entertainment by the group Virtual Strangers, a tree climbing demonstration by West Coast Arborists, and plenty of food provided by local eateries. One of the sponsors of the event, the San Diego River Park Foundation, would be involved in other activities during the year.

April was as busy as March, if not more so. The big event in April, and very likely the year, was the grand opening of the first Sonic Drive In in San Diego County. Not only did it create huge lines all around the restaurant on Mission Gorge, it gave me my biggest single day of traffic, with nearly 600 hits. Because I write about Santee, and am part of the Chamber of Commerce, I was able to attend the special VIP event prior to the full opening on the Monday, April 6. Later on I posted some tips for cutting the hassle of waiting in line, and even a taste-off between Sonic and In-N-Out.

A second major event in April was the Spring Eggstravaganza at Santee Lakes, presented by the City of Santee and Padre Dam. The day included egg hunts, games, rides, and food. Primo DJ provided music and an army of volunteers kept everything running smoothly for the families that came to enjoy the fun. Another important event at Santee Lakes was the annual Relay for Life of Santee for the American Cancer Society. This would be the tenth year for the Relay, which raises money and awareness for the fight against cancer.

Also this month were a pair of grand openings, Frubble and SewCalCuties, the new Santee Farmers Market, the monthly After-5 Mixer, and several other small events. I covered the Omelette Factory for another Food Patrol, did some updates on Sonic traffic, took part in the RiverBlitz survey along the San Diego River, and previewed two health-related events and a new CYT production.

It’s pretty clear that 2009 was a busy year in Santee. Rather than trying to review it all in one post, I will continue my look back with two follow-up posts. Meanwhile, enjoy the end of the year and remember not to drink and drive on New Year’s Eve.


Filed under Business, Chamber Activities, Community, Crime Watch, Entertainment, On Food Patrol, Schools

Saying “Good-bye” to Old Edgemoor

The last stage in the move from the old Edgemoor to the new comes this week as the buildings on the hospital’s former site meet the wrecking ball. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a contractor hired by the County will begin demolition sometime this week – possibly as early as Monday. There had been some attempts to save some of the historical buildings, but only the old polo barn and one other will avoid the ball. The County decided that preservation was not worth the cost of restoring the old structures. The old community garden is already gone. Soon little will be left except the memories – good and bad – of the complex that once tended to the “poorest of the poor” in San Diego County.

1 Comment

Filed under Community

Business Spotlight – Prestige Beauty Supply

Today I’m kicking off my new “Business Spotlight” series with a post on Prestige Beauty Supply in the CVS/Best Buy shopping center. Prestige focuses on beauty needs and products,  and has been around over 20 years. The store was bought by new owners Janet and Paul Seeger about 3 years ago, and they have worked to keep up the business’s good reputation – especially in light of some poor reviews online about a similarly named shop. From what I could tell the few times I have stopped in, everyone seems to be pleasant, cheerful, and helpful.

Manager Amy Boerner (L) and Owner Janet Seeger (R)

Earlier this month Janet and Paul started what they hope will be a monthly event: Queen for a Day. They know that women, especially mothers, need a little special pampering now and then, so they brought in massage therapists from Chiropractic Healing Arts to provide chair massages at $5 for 10 minutes. They also invited in Mary Kay consultant Cynthia Howard to provide makeovers and Brenda Plasting of Original Sprout to share samples and information.

Chair Massages

You can tell that Prestige is dedicated more to the customer than to the bottom line. Not only are they becoming active in the Santee Chamber of Commerce, they have a working relationship with Sally’s Beauty Supply. If anyone comes in to one of the shops and can’t find what they are looking for, they will be referred to the other store. I found this to be true when I stopped by Prestige to find a wig cap for my daughter (for a role in a church play). Since they don’t carry wig caps separately, the sent us over to Sally’s where we were able to find what we needed.

Prestige Beauty Supply is located at 9740-C Mission Gorge Road. You can reach them at 619-258-2700 or online at, or on Facebook. They also have a shop in Ramona in the Stater Brother’s Center.

Mary Kay Consultant Cynthia Howard giving makeup tips

Brenda Plasting of Original Sprout


Filed under Business, Business Spotlight

SR-67 Closures for Construction

This week CalTrans will be closing SR-67 between Prospect Ave. and Woodside Ave. from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am on 12/20-21, 12/21-22, and 12/22-23 (Sunday through Wednesday). They will also be closing the Magnolia Ave. on ramp to SR-67 each night starting at 8:00 pm. This is part of the continuing work on the SR-52 extension, which is still scheduled for completion in 2010.

1 Comment

Filed under SR-52 Construction

Sheriff’s Department Runs DUI Checkpoint in Santee

In an effort to cut down on the number of drunk driving accidents, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department conducted a DUI checkpoint on westbound Mission Gorge Road between SR-125 and SR-52 on Friday night. I was on the way to the freeway, and got caught up in the traffic. At first I was, admittedly, frustrated about getting stuck – especially after I sat through three signal changes at the 125/Mission Gorge intersection without moving. But I realized that this action, as inconvenient as it might feel for some people, is a way to get a few dangerous drivers off the road – and possibly deter some people from driving drunk in the future.

The deputies had blocked off all but the far right lane on westbound Mission Gorge, and about a half dozen were stationed along the driver’s side of the lane. A group of cars would be allowed into the checkpoint and the deputies would get to work. These officers were very professional and polite, asking to see driver’s license, registration, and insurance at each car. You have to admire them for being able to deal with the variety of responses they must get – from polite to downright belligerent, I’m sure.

I’m going to take the opportunity to urge everyone to make a commitment not only to NOT drink and drive, but to help keep others from driving under the influence. Take the keys, volunteer to be designated driver, and please don’t allow or help underage drivers to drink. We have lost too many young people recently to drunk driving accidents.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Crime Watch

Lakeside Youth Bring Holiday Music to Santee

On Thursday, December 17, Lakeside Middle and Lakeside Farms Elementary Schools entertained family, friends, and shoppers at the Santee Trolley Square with selections of holiday music. Reflecting the commitment to the arts in these schools, the kids in these two groups put on a great show of standard and offbeat songs of the season. These ranged from the younger Chorus’ recitation of “The Night Before Christmas” to the older Choir’s performance of of “Let’s Hear It for Mrs. Claus.” Unfortunately for anyone who missed today, these were the last performances of the season for these two talented groups of kids. But expect to hear more from both in the future.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

Lakeside Middle School Presents Songs of the Holidays

Thursday afternoon, December 17, the Lakeside Middle School Show Choir will perform at the Trolley Square amphitheater, starting at 4:00 pm. Now, I admit that I am a bit partial, since my daughter and several of her friends are in the group, but this Choir is one of the best I’ve heard. If you haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit yet, these kids are sure to put you over the top. They will be joined by the Lakeside Farms Elementary School Choir – another great-sounding group of kids. Come out, have some fun, and support the Arts in East County.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

2009 Taste of Santee

On Thursday, December 3, the Union Bank branch in Santee once again hosted the annual Taste of Santee Mixer. This event is not just an opportunity for local restaurants and caterers to showcase their goodies. It also helps to raise funds, food, and toys for Santee Santas, a group which has provided assistance to needy Santee families since 1953. The Taste of Santee has been going on over 20 years now, and continues to be an important part of the community.

Over a dozen local establishments shared some of their best with the many who attended. Among the guests were members of the Santee City Council, Santee Chamber of Commerce, and many friends of Santee Santas. As in past years, the group Honky Tonk Kings provided the musical entertainment for the evening. The Kings consider this as their way of helping to give back to the community that has supported them over the years.

Santee Mayor Randy Voepel thanked participants of Taste of Santee

City Councilmember John Minto talked about the importance of Santee Santas

Santee Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Warren Savage thanked attendees

Miss Santee Teen, Nicole Ehlke, is joined by Santee Princess Michelle, Miss Congeniality, Maria Maes, and Miss Santee Teen Third Runner Up Rebecca Hudson

Incoming Chamber of Commerce President John Olsen and wife Gina

Honky Tonk Kings

A Few of the Great Restaurants Involved

Pinnacle Peak served up several barbecue specialties

Mimi’s Cafe brought some of their favorites

Olive Garden shared pasta and breadsticks

Chips and salsa from Chili’s

Rubio’s featured freshly made tacos

Don Lucio’s Taco Shop shared tacos with all the trimmings and tamales

Everyone had a fun time and Santee Santas went away with a nice collection of toys and food to help out this holiday season. Thank you to all who donated time, talent, toys, food, and everything else needed to make this a success. If you missed this year, be sure to mark the first Thursday of December 2010 so you’ll be ready.


Filed under Business, Chamber Activities, Community

Recovering Teacher Blog Up and Running…at Last

I have finally gotten my Recovering Teacher blog up and running, after much delay. This blog will feature my writing, editing, and photography projects outside of Scouting Santee. I plan to have several different pages showing off some of my work, as well as posts discussing topics such as writing and education. I hope you will stop by and see what I do in my non-Santee time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business