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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…Continue
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 -- 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.''
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…Continue
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 this show is more than…Continue
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 LaMesaToday.com. To contact her, e-mail…Continue
LA MESA -- The Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, a consumer health library in La Mesa, is now hosting its Spring Art Exhibit featuring 18 watercolor paintings by Ally Benbrook of El Cajon. The exhibit includes watercolor paintings of animals, especially dogs, cats and horses, as well as scenery. The show will run through the end of May.
Benbrook’s work, highlighting an intrinsic awareness of design and color and the flowing independent nature of water media, resonates with the power of the human connection to animals, nature, people and personal histories. She did not begin painting until after her 50th birthday. Since then, Benbrook has attended many workshops with nationally recognized artists.
She is a past president of the San Diego Watercolor Society, and has participated in many national and international exhibitions. In 2013, her work was juried into 12 national and international shows. She is a partner in Studio 16B at Spanish Village in Balboa Park, and she is a frequent exhibitor at ArtWalk San Diego, a two-day arts festival in Little Italy. Her work is included in private and corporate collections in the U.S., Canada, England, Sweden and Germany. Her website is www.allybenbrook.com.
Admission to the Herrick Community Health Care Library is free. The Fall Art Exhibit is open to the public during regular library hours, which are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. For more information, phone (619) 825-5010 or visit www.herricklibrary.org. …Continue
LA MESA -- Even as plans for the overhaul of La Mesa Village's streets begins, the struggle to keep retail alive along this historic avenue continues.
In recent months, the Candy Castle has ended its sweet run, but just across the street a new and unique retail shop is opening. Amethyst Moon, a spiritual, healing and gifts store that has enjoyed much popularity at a challenging El Cajon location is opening just across the street from The Regal and Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden. The owner's investment in re-doing the outside of the store is admirable and perhaps sets a bar for other retailers looking to make a go of it along the avenue.
While a new age store may not be everyone's cup of tea, on an avenue that has been gaining lower-traffic realtors and finance companies and losing higher traffic retail, all innovative retail endeavors are an encouraging sign.
The real test of retail's future viability along streets like La Mesa Boulevard, however, will come when the city's $5-million investment in new streets, sidewalks and amenities are in place a year from now.
If scenarios found in other, typical city investments in infrastructure play out here, you can expect the new streets to attract more traffic, rents to rise and, perhaps, the area will become more attractive to more and better retail.
The addition of Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden and shops like What A Dish! and now Amethyst Moon are hopeful signs, if they can attract and sustain sales.
There's something to hope for.
LA MESA -- Hungry travelers looking for a drive-thru burger on Jackson Drive have been a bit disappointed these days.
The Jack in the Box near La Mesa Boulevard is getting a face lift that will include better indoor and outdoor seating. Construction is fully underway and the restaurant should be up and running again soon.
In the meantime, you can park nearby and hit the new Hills Pub and restaurant just around the corner.
The Hills has been doing big business, attracting many of its loyal customers from Lakeside to celebrate this new tavern and its reasonably priced bar food. Noise from a full house has brought some kvetching from neighbors, but the windows are being closed in the evening to reduce the noise. You might say the neighbors want to be sure these Hills aren't alive with the sound of music -- at least not too late.
Bond Oversight Committee Issues Report
LA MESA -- The Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (ICBOC), a group of volunteers monitoring how the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is spending millions of dollars in taxpayer-approved bonds for new and improved patient care facilities at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, has issued its 2013 Annual Report to the Community.
“We are serving as the taxpayers’ eyes, ears and voices, with an attitude of thoroughness, inclusiveness and transparency,” said Kathleen Bute, 2014 ICBOC chairwoman. “Overall, we are pleased with the expenditure process, as confirmed by the audit that indicated no deficiencies or inconsistencies in internal controls or compliance.”
Annually, the ICBOC group requests an audit of bond fund expenditures by independent external auditors. In 2013, Bute said the auditors returned with an “unqualified” opinion, which is regarded as the best type of audit result, indicating a clean bill of financial health. “The audit results indicate meticulous management of taxpayer dollars and confidence of public trust,” she said.
Construction activity at the hospital is being financed by bonds voters approved in June 2006. The ballot measure, Proposition G, passed by more than 77 percent, well over the two-thirds required. Since then, the ICBOC has been overseeing how GHD is spending bond proceeds. The ICBOC group is responsible for reporting annually its oversight activities during the previous year.
The ICBOC’s seventh annual report says that 2013 was a year of milestone events, including the groundbreaking for the state-of-the-art Heart and Vascular Center (drawing above) in April and construction progress on the…Continue