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La Mesa TODAY is news intended to promote the betterment of La Mesa and its nearby neighborhoods. We want members who share this goal.


La Mesa News

On La Mesa: Chris Shea

Posted by chris shea on August 20, 2014 at 12:00pm 1 Comment

Let Me Know . . .

LA MESA -- You know how, when someone we know is facing a hard time,  we frequently say something like, "I'm so sorry to hear this.  I/we are always here for  you.  Let me know if you need anything."  Some people even add, "And I mean that.  ANYTHING."  And then we walk away and hope they will ask us to do something,  because helping others is just something we humans have a built-in need to do.

But if that someone in need is anything like me, or like most of us,  they will never ask for anything.  Oh they might be in need of something,  but the likelihood of that friend picking up the phone and saying,  "I'm sorry to bother you, but ..."  is fairly remote.

So the other day I had a thought.  What if I just tried to be better at intuiting what my friends facing challenges  might need or want?  Maybe I could just gather some thoughtfully selected items, put them in a nice bag and leave them on the door step?   Maybe even do it when no one but me would know who the things are from.

Of course we know what happens next.  We start second guessing ourselves about the thing we're about to do... What if I bring the wrong things?  What if the snacks I bring are not appetizing right now?   What if the flowers just feel like something that have to be fussed with?   What if my friend isn't in the mood for sea salt brownies and fresh berries and cheese all tucked into a new Trader Joe's cloth bag?  What if she feels obligated to ask me to come in and visit and won't want to answer the door.  And on and on come the reasons that maybe this isn't such a good idea.

 But I decided to go with the bold heart's desire to get a few things, leave them on the door step, ring the…


Crime Watch

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 19, 2014 at 4:46am 1 Comment

Employees Flee, Foil Robbery Attempt

LA MESA -- Early Tuesday morning, just after midnight, La Mesa police were called to the site of an attempted robbery of a fast food establishment just off Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa.

Police said they received a 911 call from an employee of the Carl’s Jr. Restaurant at 8110 Parkway Drive. The caller reported to police a subject walked up to the drive through window just as the business was closing and the exterior lights were shut off. The suspect brandished a black colored semi-automatic handgun and demanded money from the assistant manager. The assistant manager fled from the suspect and told the other employees to go into the freezer and call the police. The suspect fled on foot in an unknown direction. Officers searched the area along with a San Diego County Sherriff’s Department helicopter, but were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect was described as:

Suspect #1: Black male unknown age, approximately 5’ 10”, thin, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with grey horizontal lines, and wearing a black mask. This subject was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the La Mesa Police Department.

You may also call Crime Stoppers’ anonymous toll-free tip line (888) 580-TIPS (or You can remain anonymous, and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information in this case.

La Mesa Arts

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 18, 2014 at 5:13am 0 Comments

Calling All Artists!

LA MESA -- The Foothills Art Association is soliciting entries for its 25th annual Wildlife In Art show. This year's exhibition is being judged by respected landscape artist Joe Garcia of Julian. There will be more than $1,500 in cash awards and prizes.
Artists can CLICK HERE to see the prospectus for entering this event. Deadline for submissions is Oct. 1. The show will run from Nov. 4 through Dec. 2 at the association's gallery on Memorial Drive.

HeART Of Mt. Helix

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 17, 2014 at 4:48am 1 Comment


Apple mobile device users can see these photos by clicking here.

Sharing The Heights And Arts Of East County

MT. HELIX -- One of the great things about the annual HeART of Mt. Helix fundraising event is that it can feel like two events.

It starts bathed in sunlight high above East County and has the feel of a community picnic with friends greeting friends and catching up after another busy year.

Then the stunning sunset eases through the party and the event shifts to a wonderful outdoor night club as food, music and a touch of libation changes the feel.

This year's event was captured by the lenses of resident photographer Gary Junker. If you couldn't be there, enjoy it vicariously…


Crime Watch

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 15, 2014 at 5:03am 1 Comment

Knife-Wielding Robber Hits Riviera

LA MESA -- Police are looking for a man who robbed the Riviera Supper Club while brandishing a knife early Friday morning.

Police said that at 1:20 a.m. the Riviera Supper Club located at 7777 University Avenue was preparing to close the register for the night when an unknown suspect approached him from behind and displayed a  knife. The suspect demanded cash and a physical altercation occurred between the employee and the suspect. The employee was pushed to the floor and the suspect took money from the cash register. The suspect fled out a back door of the business.

The employee sustained a minor laceration to his hand but did not require medical treatment. Officers searched the area with assistance from the San Diego Police Department’s helicopter but were unable to locate the suspect. The suspect is described as a white male adult, approximately 6’00” tall with a muscular build. The suspect was wearing all black clothing, including a black jacket, black pants, black shoes, and a black ski mask covering his face.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the La Mesa Police Department.

You may also call Crime Stoppers’ anonymous toll-free tip line (888) 580-TIPS (or You can remain anonymous, and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information in this case.L

La Mesa Schools

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 14, 2014 at 2:05pm 1 Comment

New Arts Academy Comes To Life

LA MESA -- The streets were busier. The school buildings were suddenly more full than they had been in years.

On Thursday, the new La Mesa Arts Academy at La Mesa Middle School opened for its first official day, bringing a new grade four through eight program to the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.

"We're proud of what we've accomplished at La Mesa Middle School the last few years,'' Principal Beth Thomas (pictured right) said recently. "But with the new Arts Academy we're adding a new element again.''

That may, in fact, be an understatement.

The new program is aimed at bringing the arts back to a more central role in children's education and it has already gotten the first signs of a big endorsement from the community. With an opening enrollment of more than 500 students, the student population at the La Mesa Middle campus has virtually doubled overnight. Among the new students starting school Thursday were a good number of students who chose this arts program from outside the district's regular attendance area, a good sign in a more competitive school environment.

Thursday's opening marks the second leg of a three-leg effort that is expected to bolster quality of education and life for young people on La Mesa's west side. The recent million dollar renovation of the Boys and Girls Club Teen center to the school's east is expected to be soon bolstered by the construction of a 25,000 square foot Boys and Girls Club on open land located between the current La Mesa Middle…


La Mesa People

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 13, 2014 at 5:30am 0 Comments

La Mesa Resident Wins Homeless Work Award

LA MESA -- Rosemary Johnston, former executive director of Interfaith Shelter Network (ISN) and resident of La Mesa will be honored with a Spirit of Service Award for her work in the field of homelessness at ISN’s fall fundraiser called Celestial Nights (formerly known as Sips for Shelter) on Saturday, September 27 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The gala will take place at the Chinese Community Church in Tierrasanta, announced Executive Director Trisha Brereton.

At this sixth annual event, numerous local congregational eaders and other heroes of homelessness in San Diego County will be honored for their years of service to the community. The Chinese Community Church of San Diego is located at 4998 Via Valarta, San Diego, CA 92124.

Johnston joined Interfaith Shelter Network in 1997 and held the positions of program director thenexecutive director until her retirement in 2013.

Additionally during the evening’s awards, Kirk Wood of United Church of Christ of La Mesa will accept ISN’s Local Hero Award.

The night’s awardees include the following:

Spirit of Service Awardees:

• Loretta Austin, Phillips Temple C.M.E.

• Jan Bailey, Lutheran Church of the Incarnation

• Rosemary Johnston, Past Executive Director, ISN

• Sister RayMonda DuVall, Marion Keller and Jorge Orozco, Catholic Charities

• Mary MacGillis, Pilgrim United Church of Christ

• Joan McCollom, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church

• Joyce Miller, Lutheran Church of the Incarnation

• Angie Moeller, Church of Jesus Christ of LDS – Del Mar Stake

• Joe & Lee Santen, St. James Catholic Church

• Johana Smith,…


La Mesa Business

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 12, 2014 at 6:38am 3 Comments

La Mesa Gets A New Brewery

LA MESA -- When city officials changed local zoning laws to allow a winery to open, it took just a few months until La Mesa's first vintage was in the barrels of the San Pasqual Winery on Center Street.

And now, just a few months later, the Jewel of the Hills is about to get its first commercial brewery. The Bolt Brewery will begin brewing Tuesday at its 8179 Center Street location.

Clint Stromberg (photo right), who began Bolt more than two decades ago before abandoning it for other brewing projects, most recently was brewing at the Mission Brewery on Washington Street. He sold his interests there and returned with his partners to his native La Mesa to restart the Bolt Brand.

"La Mesa has a special place in our hearts,'' said Molly Rust, one of the partners. "We plan on having 20 beers on tap by opening. With a nice variety of Pilsner, Stouts, IPA’s and Ale’s.''

Rust said Bolt doesn't plan on creating a food venue at its brewery, but will frequently have food trucks for special events as the brewery supplies its customers with La Mesa beers.

"We think this is a great place to start a brewery,'' Rust…


La Mesa City Council

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 11, 2014 at 11:30am 9 Comments

Council May Mull Driveway Flyer Limits

LA MESA -- The City Council meets Tuesday afternoon, but the agenda suggests this could be a relatively short meeting.

Councilwoman Ruth Sterling has brought up a subject that should warm the hearts of many homeowners. She is asking that the city attorney investigate the city's authority to regulate the distribution of free and unsolicited flyers on the lawns and porches of private residences.

Sterling points out that such flyers can help burglars identify unattended homes and lead to litter in the neighborhoods. However, this issue has traditionally run up against First Amendment concerns as political and newspaper messaging occurs this way.

The council will also review a large list of applicants to fill a vacancy on the Planning Commission.

Also both Mayor Art Madrid and Councilman Ernie Ewin are asking council approval for their desired attendance at the League of California Cities Convention upcoming in Los Angeles. Nothing really special about that but all recent travel requests have been adventures as the council majority has regularly voted against Madrid's requests and with Ewin in limiting the mayor's travels. However, Madrid has often personally funded some of the trips the council has refused to pay for.

Ewin has announced he will be leaving the council at year's end.

The council will also hear a number of requests from City Manager Dave Witt for mid-budget adjustments, including establishing a $50,000 fund for future public relations efforts.

Council meets Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the City Hall Chambers on Allison Avenue.

La Mesa Business

Posted by La Mesa Today on August 7, 2014 at 10:00pm 5 Comments

Street Project Starts Taking Its Toll

LA MESA -- The first real impact of the downtown Village street scape project could be felt this week as barriers cut off one lane of westbound traffic just east of Palm Avenue.

Crews began preparing the sidewalks and streets outside merchants' properties and it was clear to several shop owners that the two months work goes on in front of their shops will be a business challenge.

The weekly Back to the '50s Car Show also took a hit with far fewer cars braving the increasingly chopped up streets.

"It was the project and it was the Charger game, I think,'' said Jumpin' Jack Flash, the car show's impresario. "Things are slower, but, in the end, we'll have beautiful streets here.''

Jack, like a number of merchants, wish the city could have started construction in January and avoided the summer events and Oktoberfest.

But this renovation is a massive project that will, step-by-step replace 50-year-old streets with a new tree-lined boulevard that will undoubtedly be vastly improved.

The merchants, however, are going to have to do some creative marketing to keep customers coming in when the heavy construction is occurring in front of their stores. There are always walkways available to every store.

With the barriers keeping cars away from stores like O'Dunn Fine Art, La Mesa Boulevard does have the airy feel of those '70s pedestrian malls that many cities thought were a good idea. It turned out they weren't and the empty feeling in the…


Regional News

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High housing costs are a drag on California's economy, report says

Source: L.A. Times

A shortage of housing – especially at affordable prices – is becoming a bigger drag on the state’s economy, according to a new report from forecasting firm Beacon Economics. That being said, the pace of home sales in California should pick up in the second half of this year and into next. The firm predicts annual price growth of 4 to 6 percent for the next two years, a more sustainable pace than the double-digit gains seen for much of the last two years.

Read the full story

Closing costs: States ranked

Source: Bankrate

States have been ranked by average closing costs, from most expensive to least expensive. To determine the rankings, Bankrate requested good faith estimates for a $200,000 mortgage loan from up to 10 lenders in each state. The hypothetical loan was for a purchase of a single-family house in the state's largest city, using a 20 percent down payment, with excellent credit. California ranked as the 22nd most expensive state for closing costs. Read the full story:

Homeownership at near 20-year low, but some bright spots
Source: HousingWire

Homeownership in the U.S. continues to fall, down to a low of 64.7 percent, a level not seen since 1995. Despite low interest rates and expanding credit availability, affordability has remained an issue. Also, first-time home purchasers are declining as a share of total home sales. Experts have expressed concerns that loosening of mortgage credit and a reduction in home price growth won’t be enough to reduce the trend of declining mortgage origination.

Read the full story


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