The first event I covered in October was the monthly Chamber of Commerce After-5 Mixer, this time at Pinnacle Peak Steak House. This restaurant has been in Santee for many years, and has built a reputation on their food – which is quite delicious. For the Mixer they set out some of their pork ribs and signature baked beans, along with other goodies. It was one of the best-attended Mixers I’ve seen.
The main event for the month was the annual Chamber Awards Night, this year held at Barona Resort and Casino. This is an opportunity to recognize the people and businesses that help make Santee a special place to live. Among the recipients in 2009 were Ronn Hall Insurance as Small Business of the Year, GTM General Discount Store as Medium Business of the Year, and Barona Resort and Casino as Large Business of the Year. There was also special recognition for Santee’s two adopted USMC units: 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines from Camp Pendleton and Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 from Miramar MCAS.
Other posts for October included previews and promotions for the CYT East production of Bridge to Terebithia, a Chamber Business Partnership presentation, Grossmont Center’s Shop for a Cure to support the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Breast Health Navigator Program, and the Auction Stampede 2009 fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of East County.
November featured two grand openings. The first was Aloha Pet Grooming, located on the west side of Santee; the second opening was Nutrition Zone in the Vons Center. Both are on Mission Gorge Road. Both of these were very well attended, and showed the feeling of community and support Santee has for new businesses. A very special event, although I didn’t get a post up until December, was a fundraiser held at Philippi’s Pizza for a young Santee girl severely injured in an auto accident.
Also in November was the annual Santee Pancake Breakfast to support Santee Santas. This event is held at Fire Station 4 and is hosted by the Santee Firefighters and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. The Firefighters cook, the Deputies serve, and the community gets involved both as donors and sponsors and as hungry guests. All proceeds go toward helping struggling families in Santee.
December kicked off with a preview of the annual Taste of Santee Mixer, then went back to cover two important November events. The first of these was the fundraiser at Philippi’s Pizza Grotto to help the family of Jordyn Niemiec, who was severely inured in an auto accident in October. The event was coordinated by a wonderful group of family and friends who call themselves Team Jordyn, Philippi’s donated a room and a percentage of proceeds, and host duties were shared by local radio personality Clint August and businessman/DJ Thomas Hootman. People came literally from all over East County to help this little girl and her family, donating a total of nearly $8,000.
The other big November event I wrote about in December was the annual Holiday Lighting Celebration at Santee Trolley Square. The Celebration always includes music, community booths, carriage rides, and the lighting of the tree on the amphitheater stage. This year’s entertainment featured Singing Solo and the U.S. Navy Band Southwest Brass Quintet. Even though the overall event was a bit lower-key than the previous year’s, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.
December’s big event was the annual Taste of Santee Mixer, which raises funds, food, and toys for Santee Santas. Union Bank in the CVS/Best Buy Center hosts this evening, which brings together restaurants and other food businesses with Chamber members and other community members. Among the dignitaries attending were Mayor Randy Voepel, Councilmember John Minto, Chamber CEO Warren Savage, and incoming Chamber President John Olsen.
Just before the holiday school break, the Lakeside Middle School Show Choir performed a selection of holiday songs at the Trolley Square Amphitheater. The Lakeside Farms Elementary School choir joined the older kids in sharing the musical fun. Other stories I covered in December were a DUI checkpoint conducted by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the planned closure of SR-67 for construction, and the demolition of the old Edgemoor Hospital facilities. Finally, I started off a new Business Spotlight with a post on Prestige Beauty Supply.
This brings us to the end of 2009 – a year with its share of bad news, but still a lot of positives for Santee. January 2010 will bring us new challenges as well as new opportunities to show just what it is that makes this city special. The first event of the year will be the annual Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner for the new officers. I also plan to continue On Food Patrol and Business Spotlight, and I plan to kick off a Meet Your Neighbor series to introduce you to some of the people who make Santee special.