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La Mesa News

How Often were homes sold for more than the asking price?

Posted by Gina Garcia on April 24, 2014 at 10:30am 0 Comments

 Gina Garcia is a Realtor (CalBRE #01704251) and is publisher of To contact her, e-mail or call (619) 818-6982.

Friends of the La Mesa Library

Posted by La Mesa Today on April 23, 2014 at 9:04am 0 Comments

Crime Watch

Posted by La Mesa Today on April 23, 2014 at 10:00am 2 Comments

La Mesa Police Arrest San Diego Cop

LA MESA -- The La Mesa police issued a press release this morning saying yesterday's domestic violence incident led to the arrest of a San Diego police officer.

The release reads in part: On April 22, La Mesa Police investigators arrested a San Diego Police Officer for a domestic violence incident that occurred in the City of La Mesa. The San Diego Police Department is fully cooperating with the investigation.

San Diego Police Officer Gilbert Lorenzo was arrested and booked into county jail Tuesday afternoon by La Mesa police, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.

La Mesa City Council

Posted by La Mesa Today on April 23, 2014 at 5:30am 0 Comments

Centennial Installation Gets A Big Gift

LA MESA -- The effort to build a Centennial legacy project in La Mesa Village got a big boost Tuesday with the surprise announcement of a large gift.

Jerry Lester, a local retiree with an active philanthropic history, has agreed to give $40,000 toward the project, which will include a decorative gazebo and a large bronze replica of the Helix snail on a traffic island at Allison Avenue and La Mesa Boulevard.

Lester, who built his fortune in the pharmacy industry, is an active supporter of education and rehabilitation efforts in San Diego and Baja California, informed Mayor Art Madrid of his plans for the gift.

Organizers of this "Lookout" Legacy project estimate the gift will bring the fundraising effort within $15,000 to $20,000 of the $165,000 needed to build the installation.

"Mr. Lester has been absolutely generous and we thank him for his gift,'' Madrid said.

The Legacy Project organizers are planning a major fundraising event  on Saturday May 3 at Johnny B's Restaurant where raffles and live auctions will occur from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the restaurant also contributing a portion of sales and matching gifts toward the fundraising goal. Carol Lockwood of the La Mesa Arts Alliance gave the council a good overview of the event.

One of the items to be auctioned was cast this week at the San Diego…


La Mesa Arts

Posted by Gina Garcia on April 8, 2014 at 9:30am 0 Comments

Bringing 'Mike's Mountains' To La Mesa

LA MESA -- One of the joys of living in La Mesa is its proximity to so much.

Twelve minutes to the ocean. 15 minutes east and the landscape gives way to stark desert beauty.

Take a jog north on that eastern trip, follow a winding road up through forested hills and you find yourself in a completely different world. Lake Cuyamaca stretches out before you, quaint Julian with its apples, lilacs and pies beckoning from nearby.

Shannon O'Dunn, proprietor of O'Dunn Fine Arts on La Mesa Boulevard, lived with and loved a man for whom the outdoors and Lake Cuyamaca held a special place. Geologist Mike Bemis, her husband, loved fly fishing and the catch-and-release traditions of Mission Bay and Lake Cuyamaca.

To honor the first anniversary of Bemis' death, O'Dunn has called on some of the best artistic chroniclers of Lake Cuyamaca and Julian scenes to bring the mountains to La Mesa.

Mountain Gold, a show featuring the works of, among others Jack Jordan, Joe Garcia, Gary Johnson, Vanessa Rusczyk and Paul Strahm, will open Friday, April 25, with a reception from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at O'Dunn's stylish gallery at 8325 La Mesa Boulevard. The show will feature more than 30 paintings with a portion of all sales going to support the Lake Cuyamaca Foundation.

As one would expect, O'Dunn tears up as she describes Bemis' love for Lake Cuyamaca and the Julian area and it is clear…


Crime Watch

Posted by La Mesa Today on April 22, 2014 at 8:30am 0 Comments

Escaped Prisoner Found, Arrested

LA MESA -- A La Mesa prisoner being transported to jail made a run for an open gate and managed to elude police pursuers chasing him through downtown San Diego on Monday.

Police searched through Monday night for the man and eventually caught up with him on Tuesday morning.

La Mesa police said that just after noon Monday officers responded to the Burlington Coat Factory located at 7938 El Cajon Boulevard for a report of a shoplifter that had been apprehended by the stores loss prevention agents.

When  the police officers arrived they discovered that the suspect fought with the stores  security while they were attempting to detain him prior to the arrival of police. For  this reason the initial misdemeanor petty theft charge was upgraded to a felony  strong armed robbery. La Mesa Police took custody of the suspect and brought him back to the police station where he was booked and then transported to the San Diego County Central Jail in downtown San Diego.

When the La Mesa Police Officer  arrived at the jail he pulled his police car into the secured sally port/parking area. As cuffed prisoner from the police car to the jail intake  area, the exterior gate to the sally port/parking area opened up to allow another  police car to enter that area. At this point the suspect ran away from the officer and  escaped into the downtown San Diego area. The La Mesa Police Officer gave

chase and was assisted by Sheriff’s Deputies who were working at the jail as well as the San Diego Police Officers.

The escape occurred at approximately 3 p.m. The  suspect was last seen running southbound on Front Street to westbound C Street.  Officers searched…


On La Mesa: Boston's Finest

Posted by La Mesa Today on April 22, 2014 at 8:30am 0 Comments

Marathon Winner Touched La Mesa Too

LA MESA -- At La Mesa Today, we don't often wander too far afield of the Jewel of the Hills for our news. But once in a while, the news reaches out to La Mesa in ways we judge La Mesans will simply enjoy.

Back in the summer of 2010, Alexis Aceves Garcia, the daughter of La Mesa Today publisher Gina Garcia would rise every day to the delivery of a tape recorder.

Alexis would don her headphones, pick up her laptop and start typing -- for hours.

In a small room above a Mission Hills garage, writer Dick Patrick, a veteran track and field writer for USA Today was spending his days conducting interviews with a then little-known runner Meb Keflezighi.
Alexis would create a daily transcript of the interviews and, from them, the marvelous details of a dramatic life revealed themselves.

Son of an immigrant family that had suffered and survived so much, Keflezighi had shaped his life in the kind of dramatic, American story that in many ways fuels this country's place in the world.

When Meb, now an American citizen who calls San Diego home, shocked the running world in Boston by winning Monday's race at age 38, the event clearly resonated in special ways to some of us in the Jewel of the Hills and across San Diego.

CLICK HERE to enjoy Patrick's explanation of what this Boston win meant for Meb -- and us all.

La Mesa Politics

Posted by La Mesa Today on April 21, 2014 at 1:30pm 7 Comments

Madrid Officially Kicks Off Campaign

LA MESA -- Surrounded by 25 loyal supporters, some representing local groups, Mayor Art Madrid Monday morning officially kicked off his re-election campaign.

Speaking from the steps of a City Hall that he has frequented in one form or another for the last 44 years, Madrid made it clear he was going to emphasize his accomplishments and experience in taking on City Councilman Mark Arapostathis.

"Elections are about choices,'' Madrid said. "La Mesa voters will again have two very different and distinct candidates from which to choose as their next mayor. Those differences will be the single focus of my campaign with emphasis on the integrity, leadership, values and courage of each candidate.''

Madrid said that public safety -- police and fire -- as well as maintaining "all core services provided by the city" would drive his campaign.

Madrid listed a long list of accomplishments during his 24 years as mayor, dating back to the redevelopment of Fletcher Parkway to attracting the new apartment projects near Grossmont Center and the rebuilding of Allison Avenue as well as the looming redesign of La Mesa Boulevard. He attributed the city's successful applications for more than $12-million in grants to his active participation on regional, state and national organizations.

"The current fiscal challenges La Mesa faces today requires a mayor who is conversant with all aspects of the problem areas,'' Madrid said. "I am that person.''

Madrid did repeat his earlier promise that this election will be his last.

"I won't be done,'' he said. "I just won't be holding public office after this next term.''



Crime Watch

Posted by La Mesa Today on April 21, 2014 at 10:30am 4 Comments

Siege Ends With Suspect's Death 

LA MESA -– Traffic on Spring Street was cutoff this morning in both directions as La Mesa Police and Federal Marshals cordoned off the area around the Rodeway Inn where police tactical units were surrounding the hotel room in an attempt to make a warrant arrest.

By mid-afternoon, police reported the suspect, 40-year-old Robert de Leon, who had been barricaded in a room at the hotel, was found dead, the victim of an apparent suicide.

The siege began at about 10 a.m. today when there reports of shots fired as Federal Marshals attempted to serve a warrant at the motel. La Mesa Police Chief Ed Aceves said no police were injured by the shots at that time. The stand-off continued for five hours until a loud noise was heard in the room and SWAT officers went in. The suspect had apparently shot himself in the head, police said.

Fire units were called out to help set up barricades from the 125 and the 94 and also at High Street on the northern end of the perimeter near the Spring Street trolley station. Traffic was being diverted at both ends of Spring Street.

This is the second warrant event that has led to shots fired in the last two weeks. Sheriff’s deputies shot a man who had attacked a deputy at a warrant event near Jackson and Center Street. It wasn't…


Harp Fest 2014

Posted by Gina Garcia on April 19, 2014 at 4:22pm 0 Comments

Hot Times Again At Harp Fest

See video below.

LA MESA --Harp Fest is always a hot music day. On Saturday it was a hot day weather wise as well.

Crowds streamed in early, setting up camp with the most knowledgeable of this venue bringing their own shade canopies along with them.

But the music was great and the crowd was the usual eclectic mix of young and old, with a fair number of real young ones getting their first festival concert experience on the graceful sloped amphitheater at Harry Griffen Park.

Parking was the usual challenge at this venue, but even that made for a little of the "walk in the country experience'' that makes this organic, home-grown event one of the best every year.

To see this video in full screen/HD format click here.

Gina Garcia is a Realtor (Cal BRE #01704251) and is publisher of To contact her, e-mail…




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