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LA MESA -- It is, they say, always darkest before the dawn.
As the dust starts rising on the most intrusive stages of La Mesa Boulevard's renovation, it is probably good to keep that in mind.
Despite what might appear as a full blood-letting between the Village Merchants Association and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce over Oktoberfest, there is much to be optimistic about in the Jewel of the Hills these days.
The American taste for big, sprawling, often characterless shopping is gravitating back to the unique boutique just as the city is spending more than $5-million to upgrade what had become a pretty tawdry (okay I stand corrected "funky") downtown hardscape. A prediction: As the street is completed, rents will rise and the demand and quality of the Village retail sector will begin a quick improvement. Pierre Jeweler's eventual arrival already suggests this is true.
Mayor Mark Arapostathis is a collaborative sort of leader. He has spent much of his life leading an all-volunteer organization that has done for hundreds of La Mesa families through theater what sports used to do for the young. It would be surprising if Dr. A and his new team can't find a way to rationalize what has been a pretty haphazard way of stewarding La Mesa's charming downtown.
Housing prices continue to rise, fueling further what over time may be a major renovation boom in La Mesa's more modestly priced west side. Location, location, location is the real estate mantra and in many ways La Mesa is increasingly in the true crossroads of a growing county. Renovated homes bring property tax help to a municipality and…Continue
Eat The Town In One Night
LA MESA -- The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host its 7th annual Taste of La Mesa from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, June 8, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. Presenting sponsor is Sycuan Casino. The event will feature networking and food sampling from local restaurants and food providers. In addition, local businesses will be on hand with exhibit tables. Parking is free and shuttle service will be available.
General admission tickets begin at $35 per person. Admission is $50 per person to a pre-event VIP reception that begins at 5 p.m. Deadline is Wednesday, June 3 for early registration and pre-event pricing. Tickets at the door will be $60 for the VIP reception and $45 for general admission. To purchase tickets, visit www.lamesachamber.com or call the Chamber office, (619) 465-7700.
Participating restaurants include All The Perks Espresso Cafe, Anthony's Fish Grotto, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Bo-beau kitchen + garden, Brigantine Restaurant of La Mesa, Cali Comfort BBQ, Chili's Grill & Bar, Continental Catering, Coop's West Texas BBQ, Costco of La Mesa, Edible Arrangements, El Torito of La Mesa, Grove Pastry Shop and Custom Cakes, Hacienda Casa Blanca Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, Himalayan Cuisine, Hooleys Irish Pub and Grill, Italian Cucina at Barona Resort & Casino, Marie Callender's, McDonald's of La Mesa, O's American Kitchen, Riviera Supper Club, Round Table Pizza, Souplantation of La Mesa, Sycuan Casino, Tarantino Gourmet Sausages, Terra American Bistro, The Hills Local Pub, The Vine Cottage and Trattoria Tiramisu. Samuel Adams is the…Continue
Stage Set For Oktoberfest Battle
LA MESA -- The La Mesa City Council stuck to the "one applicant" per public event standard Tuesday night and that sets the stage for a major showdown between the La Mesa Village Merchants Association and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce over how Oktoberfest will be run in the future.
The popular October beer and brats fest has been a major fundraiser for both organizations, but the Merchants Association has fallen behind on its payments to the city, threatening its right to host the event in the future. That has also created a clear fissure between the chamber and the merchants with John Vigil, the Merchants Association Executive director, saying there isn't enough money to pay the city and allow the chamber to continue taking its profits from the popular beer garden it runs each year.
Mary England, executive director of the chamber, is remaining publicly civil about the situation, but she does point out that the chamber paid the Merchants' Association $30,000 within ten days after the last Oktoberfest, as required by its Memorandum of Understanding, with the merchants.
"Where it went? I don't know,'' England said.
Money and Oktoberfest has always been a sort of delicate issue. While the public tends to see Oktoberfest as a public event fueled by volunteers -- of which there are many -- the association has annually paid more than $25,000 to the Oktoberfest director, usually a member of its board. Funds generated by the many booths rented out by vendors was said to fund other Village events like Christmas in the Village, the Antique Street Faire and the Back to the '50s Car Shows. However, the Merchants association has been in varying states…Continue
LA MESA -- The annual Back to the '50s car show is the latest victim of the La Mesa Boulevard streetscape project.
John Vigil, executive director of the La Mesa Village Merchants Association, said construction on the section of the street between Spring and Fourth Streets will require that the Thursday night car gatherings will have to be put off for a year.
"You can't have a cruising show when you can't cruise the street,'' Vigil said.
Vigil said the merchants may add an antique car element to the annual Antique Street Faire this year, but the regular weekly shows just can be accommodated this year.
The car show has been a regular feature of summers in La Mesa for years now, but even last year, when only sections of the street were under construction, the barriers and sidewalk closings did make the event more difficult. This year construction is scheduled for areas that held the event music and announcement areas, Vigil noted.
LA MESA -- The new mayor and the new council will get a good dose of downtown Village politics Tuesday as the annual tussling over La Mesa's Oktoberfest begins early this year.
City staff, in advance of Tuesday's City Council meeting, informed the council that the La Mesa Merchant's Association has unpaid bills totaling in the thousands for the past Oktoberfest and is hoping to crowd out the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce from 2015's event to raise money to pay down this debt.
The relationship between the Merchant's Association and the Chamber of Commerce -- which has hosted the popular beer and music tent for years -- has been traditionally stormy, but had found a general balance in recent years.
However, as the city ratcheted up its efforts to recover the police, fire and public works costs the event caused, money has become tighter for the promoters.
The city staff at Tuesday's meeting has asked the council to reaffirm its standing demand for full cost recovery and to require a single application only for the event. Also, it asked the council members to support them in requiring that the Merchant's debt be paid in full before a new application can be filed for the fall.
These are touchy issues around the quaint Village's commercial district. The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has used this event as a major fundraiser for its annual efforts, which serve members both inside and outside the Oktoberfest event area. The Merchants Association has used profits from Oktoberfest to fuel the annual Back to the '50s Antique Car Show, Christmas In The Village and the the annual Antique Street Faire -- all of which occur in the Village where…Continue
Retired Rear Admiral To Speak On Sustainability
LA MESA -- Award winning, retired Rear Admiral, Len Hering will be speaking about sustainability and conservation efforts. President Bush bestowed Rear Admiral Hering, US Navy Ret., with the Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management in 2005 for his efforts to significantly limit the Navy’s energy use. Hering’s efforts reduced energy consumption by nearly 42%, diverted 75% of Navy waste from landfills and reduced water consumption by more than one billion gallons, saving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Additionally, Hering instigated wind, thermal, photovoltaic and conversion technology at all levels in Navy facilities.
He is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and Admiral Hering will be hosted by the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club as he addresses the membership at their June 3rd meeting. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at the La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Dr. at University Avenue. Meetings begin at 7:00PM with social time starting at 6:30.
This discussion is one of many in an ongoing series exploring the effects of global climate change, greenhouse gases causing massive and catastrophic effects to our weather and environment, Admiral Hering will be a whole new source of great information.
Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr. (U.S. Navy, retired), is a prominent military and civilian sustainability leader with a broad background in energy and environmental issues. His passion in sustainability is educating people on the dangers the future holds without taking responsible actions to secure the nation’s energy independence and to…Continue
Chick-Fil-A Supports The Troops
LA MESA -- The nine Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County, including the Santee Chick-fil-A restaurant, 9418 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, are preparing to give away a combined total of about 10,000 chicken sandwiches on Wednesday, May 20, as part of a “Military Appreciation Night” promotion.
Between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m., any active duty member of the military or retired veteran with a military ID or proof of service, along with each one of their immediate family members with them, will receive their choice of a free entrée.
Choices include the Original Chicken Sandwich, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, eight-piece Nuggets or three-piece Chicken-N-Strips. Offer valid for dine-in customers only.
Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County are located in Chula Vista, Encinitas, Oceanside, San Marcos, Santee, Escondido and in San Diego on Sports Arena Blvd., Camino Ruiz in Mira Mesa and Carmel Mountain Road in Carmel Mountain Ranch. For addresses and directions, visit www.chick-fil-a.com.
This is Chick-fil-A’s eighth annual “Military Appreciation Night” in San Diego. The event began in San Diego in 2008, when there were four Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County. It has since grown to more than 50 participating Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout Southern California.
LA MESA -- Let’s salute “Old Glory”! The American Flag will be flown proudly at the 18th annual La Mesa Flag Day Parade on Saturday, May 30th. The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m. led by the United States 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band through the downtown La Mesa Village. Enjoy this year’s Grand Marshal: Sharp Grossmont Hospital Celebrating 60 years in La Mesa. View the many floats, military vehicles, active and retired war heroes, equestrian units, service clubs, and youth groups. Arrive early to see two pre-parade concerts, La Mesa Middle School and Parkway Middle School bands, at 9:00 a.m. along the La Mesa Boulevard parade route.
After the parade, join the La Mesa’s Human Relations Commission for FREE ice cream at La Mesa Boulevard and 4th Street, north side. La Mesa welcomes all County residents and their families to share in this free and fun event!
In addition to donations from community members, the La Mesa Flag Day Parade is sponsored by AMR, Barona Resort and Casino, EDCO Disposal Corporation, La Mesa Community Welfare Association, Rainbow Investment Company, The Cushman Families, South Baltimore, LLC and Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Indians.
For more information contact the parade committee at FlagDayHelp@ci.la-mesa.ca.us or visit the City website at www.cityoflamesa.com/FamilyFun.
Fair Warning Of Tickets To Come
LA MESA -- Once again, the La Mesa Police Department is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement May 18-31, including one of the busiest travel weekends of the year that kicks off the summer season.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 59 percent of those killed.
That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no - excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In California, the minimum penalty for a seat belt violation is $161.
California statistics reveal that 500 unrestrained vehicle occupants died in 2013.Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2013, more than half (54%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 41 percent were not buckled up. For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilizatio n, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot