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Donations Will Feed District Families
LA MESA -- Hundreds of children attending La Mesa-Spring Valley School District schools will have a holiday meal this season thanks to the generosity of staff, parents and students at Parkway Middle School in La Mesa as well as members of Legacy Church, a Christian church that meets on Sundays at Parkway Middle School.
Parkway Middle School’s second annual “Parkway Holiday Food Drive” has begun distribution of 162 cloth tote bags filled with canned foods and nonperishable food items donated by Parkway students over a two-week period.
Also donating canned goods were members of Legacy Church, Fletcher Hills Kiwanis Club and office staff at the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District headquarters.
Thirty of the 162 bags are allocated to Parkway students. In addition to food items, the bags for Parkway students will include a $25 grocery store gift card donated by Legacy Church.
The remaining 132 bags will be distributed to 17 schools that are part of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District. Some schools have donors, including service clubs, who have added gift cards for their bags, according to Sue Youngflesh, office manager at Parkway Middle School.
Students who receive the holiday meal bag may be selected by a teacher, administrator, school office manager or homeless counselor at each school, according to Youngflesh. “It might be a teacher, principal, counselor or cafeteria manager who knows which families at their school would benefit the most from a bag of groceries at the holidays,” she said.
Youngflesh organizes the annual holiday food drive with assistance from Legacy Church member Lisa…Continue
LA MESA – La Mesa’s Central Congregational Church will host a special concert Jan. 25th to celebrate the restoration of the church’s 90-year-old organ.
The organ, originally built in 1926 by Henry Pilcher’s Sons, is a classic church organ with a phalanx of polished pipes literally framing the church sanctuary at 8360 Lemon Avenue.
The organ was used for 87 years without any major repairs, but in recent years leather parts that opened and closed pipe valves had become worn and the system needed updating.
As part of the project the organ’s original wind chests were rebuilt and the console itself was updated with new stop controls and combination action.
The room behind the visible pipes is testament to the complexity of this instrument with many more pipes towering up on either side, adding depth and volume as needed.
To celebrate the refurbished organ, Robert Plimpton, the resident organist of the First United Methodist Church of San Diego, will bring his talents to La Mesa and will offer a program that will include a wide variety of classical and sacred organ music. The program is intended to demonstrate the unique beauty of the instrument with works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Franck and Widor.
The concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Jan. 25th.
In addition to playing in churches, Plimpton…
Sharp Grossmont Wins Stroke Care Award
LA MESA -- For the fifth year in a row, Sharp Grossmont Hospital has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s highest honor for stroke care, the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold-Plus Award. Sharp Grossmont Hospital earned the award by demonstrating at least 85 percent compliance in specific quality achievement measures for 24 or more consecutive months.
In addition, the hospital made AHA’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll® for reducing the time between hospital arrival and tPA treatment to under 60 minutes for 50 percent or more of its stroke patients. tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator, is a medication that is sometimes given to patients within three hours of a stroke to dissolve blood clots within the brain. People who suffer a stroke who receive the clot-busting drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms are less likely to suffer severe disability.
In the 2015 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals list, Sharp Grossmont was one of 51 California hospitals recognized for achieving both awards.
“Here at our Stroke Center, we’ve worked hard to train our staff to facilitate the Stroke Code response. Key initiatives have included reducing the amount of time it takes to get medication from our pharmacy, adding a navigator role to better coordinate the response team, and supplying patient outcomes to the staff providing treatment,” said Gail Lighthizer, Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Stroke Program Manager. “I am very proud of our team for working together to implement changes that have enabled us to make such great strides in recent…Continue
LA MESA – Even before completion of the Village streetscape project, a renaissance at the eastern end of La Mesa Boulevard is continuing.
In a significant coup for La Mesa Village, Pierre’s Jewelers, a popular business with deep La Mesa roots, is relocating from Grossmont Shopping Center to the former candy store located next door to Time & Treasures clock store. Pierre’s arrival adds yet another high-end artisan jewelry store to the Village and adds another retail location to counter what had become a spate of office establishments locating to the boulevard in recent years.
Pierre Farhat, owner and operator of Pierre’s Jewelers for more than 25 years, said the uncertainty of obtaining long-term leases at Grossmont Center made him look at the Village and he decided to buy the location (in photo below) at 8324 La Mesa Boulevard and remodel it. The plans for moving his stylish business to the Village have been approved by the city’s Design Review Board and are only lacking the City Council’s final approval in January. Renovation work is underway at the new location and Farhart is hoping the work can be completed in time for him to open as his lease runs out in Grossmont in January.
Nearby merchants are happy that an establishment with Pierre’s history and style will be adding a bit of luster to the neighborhood. With Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden, Time & Treasures, Blumenthal Jewelers, Mostly Mission, O’Dunn Fine Art and Amethyst Moon all clustered at the avenue’s eastern end, stylish retail may be reaching a tipping point even before the streetscape improvement comes.
“I’ve always kept an eye on the Village,’’ Farhat said as he handled holiday…
LA MESA -- Starting Jan. 1, local public agencies will be required to post information on the annual compensation of their elected officials, officers and employees. Under existing law, cities and special districts are required to file an annual report with the State Controller’s Office identifying the annual compensation of their officers and employees. AB 2040 extends the law so that public agencies are required to also post the same information on their own websites.
Public agencies can comply with this law in two ways: directly include the salary information on the agency’s website or provide a link on the website to the State Controller’s “Government Compensation in California” site, which can be found by clicking here. It’s likely the latter option will be the easiest for most agencies. The City of La Mesa can be found here. A better and more user friendly site, in my opinion, is the City a Rosemead and can be found here.
The information or the link must be posted in a “conspicuous” location. The bill does not define the meaning of “conspicuous,” so there is no specific location regarding where the information or the link must be included. However, the information or the link should be posted in a…Continue
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Skies Clear - Mostly - For Christmas In Village
LA MESA -- The skies cleared just in time for Friday night's installment of Christmas In The Village to get underway.
Fire pits were fired up and the modest but heartwarming parade, featuring the entire new La Mesa City Council and honoring Vietnam Veterans, made its way down the street.
The Helix Highlanders were there and the Lady In White, a sort of startling feature that has become a traditional presence at this event each year. She and John Vigil, the Merchants Association guru, led the parade down the decorated street.
The event continues tonight in what are expected to be drier conditions. (Let's call Friday a "wet run.") Pre-parade starts at 4:30 p.m. with the kickoff parade at 5 on La Mesa Boulevard in the…
School Board Seeking Baber's Replacement
LA MESA -- Bill Baber's successful run for the La Mesa City Council has created an opening on the La Mesa- Spring Valley School District's Board of Education. On Tuesday, after swearing-in the winners in November's election, the board began the process for filling the remainder of Baber's term.
The district could have set a date for a special election, but the cost of holding such a vote could exceed $400,000. The other option was to appoint a resident within 60 days to fill out Baber's term.
The district announced Tuesday it will be receiving applications for appointment to serve on the board through December, 2016. The seat is open to anyone 18 years old and living within the boundaries of the school district. The board is receiving applications through Jan. 12, 2015 and eight finalists will be selected for interviews at a special board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 27th at 4 p.m. The meeting is held in the Boardroom at the district's 4750 Date Avenue offices in La Mesa Village.
Each candidate will make a three-minute presentation and then field questions from the four sitting board members.
Applications can be sent to Brian Marshall, C/O La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, 4750 Date Ave., La Mesa, Copies of the formal application information can be obtained by mail by sending a request to the district office or can be seen on the school's website by CLICKING HERE.
Applicants seeking more information can contact Superintendent Brian Marshall at 619-668-5700 ext. 6383 or can contact any of the sitting members of…Continue
LA MESA -- As their time at Grossmont Center draws to a close the Denele Company (the Stefan family) who have been the exclusive operators of Grossmont Center since 1963, are thankful to have been a part of the history, and the success of the center and the region, and are grateful for all of the organizations they have been able to support, and participate in helping to advance, over the last 52 years. In January 2015, after 52 years, Grossmont Center operations will be returned to the land owners, marking the end of an era for the center and for the Stefan family.
Earlier this week, a group of local leaders gathered to mark this transition and comment on the Center's place in local life.
This is a close knit community. Thousands of people pass through Grossmont Center every single day, some for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, some for a special dress at Prevue for the holidays, some for healthful products and advice at Grossmont Nutrition, and others to have something special personalized at Engraving Pros. Grossmont Center is a hub, a meeting place, and reflects the nature of the community whether to shop, have a nice meal, do some banking, take in a movie or run into old friends. Some memories from local leaders:
“My family got their Christmas tree from Longs Drugs in Grossmont Center. My earliest memory of the Center was when I was 4. My brother and I had allergies, so we were having all sorts of problems in our house. My parents couldn't figure it out, but eventually realized it was the Christmas tree that was the problem, and my father had to dump the tree on Christmas Eve. We drove up to where Long’s drug store used to be and he bought…Continue
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The Changing Of The Guard
LA MESA -- There is a reason presidents bring great poets to their inaugurations. The profundity of the transfer of power in America is difficult to penetrate for masses who can't see the day-to-day role the elected play in keeping government in the people's possession.
On Tuesday night, in the City Council chambers, there was a need for such a poet. After 18 years of showing up at meetings, listening to citizen complaints and helping chart a course for his community, City Council member Ernie Ewin was clearly overcome by the prospects of stepping aside.
Ewin was followed to the spotlight by Mayor Art Madrid, whose own service to this town, outlasted seven U.S. presidents and extended through 40 percent of this city's history. Madrid attempted to capture this moment, but again was sidetracked by the nuts and bolts of local government service. He listed accomplishments made during his tenure, but that was almost beside the point on this night.
The City Council chamber was full with friends and family of the departing and the arriving. This was a night of ritual not substance and virtually anything that veered from the script hit a particularly discordant note. Local resident Craig Maxwell rose to mark this new era and City Council members Ruth Sterling and Kristine Alessio exchanged a few unpleasantries about representation on the San Diego Association of Governments, but in virtually every other way this night was simply for a kind Changing of the Guard.
Local officials who understand what long public service…Continue
LA MESA -- Art Madrid, still mayor, walked inconspicuously into the Panera Bread cafe at Grossmont Center and many in the crowded restaurant looked up and recognized the very familiar face.
After nearly 40 years in public life, this is one thing that an election defeat can't change. Hizzoner is part of the fabric of La Mesa life and will remain for years far more recognizable than office holders who succeed him.
And on this Thursday, with his days in office dwindling down to fewer than a half dozen, Madrid wasn't acting as if anything had changed.
"Just got done with two meetings,'' he said. "I'm still the mayor.''
These last words were uttered and accompanied by a look, as if to make sure they were believed. The City Council will meet Tuesday night, validate the election results and that will be it. A piece of cake all around and Madrid will leave City Hall as a citizen only.
Regardless of what you thought of La Mesa's long-serving mayor, there is no denying the impact of his long service to the Jewel of the Hills.
As he leaves office, he was reluctant to look back and evaluate his own last, unsuccessful campaign.
"No regrets,'' he says simply. "The voters decided to make a change and that was their decision. Now we move forward. I congratulate the elected.''
No second-guessing his low-key campaign. No lamenting a turnout so low that it had to hurt the better-known incumbent. No pot-shots at political opponents whose year-long opposition to All Things Madrid related clearly hurt the mayor. And above all, not too much planning for a life that, after nearly four decades, will not include city meetings.
"I re-joined the Bonita Men's Club,''…Continue