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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Santee Fire Dept. Makes a Push for Tradition

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Most folks aren't aware that early hand-drawn fire apparatus - engines, ladder wagons and hose carts -  had to be pushed back into the station by hand.

The horse-drawn steam engines that followed could be backed up by the engineers, but it was difficult to align the steam connections on the engine with those in the station, so the horses were disconnected and the steamers were also often pushed back into the station by hand.


All of this backing in by hand became moot when motorized engines went into service. However, the fire service is deep into tradition and some fire engine crews make every effort to  pay homage to past and old-time members that had to push their engines into the station by hand. While doing this honors former and retired firefighters, it is also intended to display unity among the current generation. 

Last night, Santee firefighters honored this tradition by pushing our new red engine into the station for the first time. The new will be stationed at Fire Station 4 on Cottonwood Ave. All on-duty personnel, including our chief officers, were on hand to help push E4 into the station for the first time.

  A note from Fire Chief Richard Smith:
The new 2016 Pierce fire engine’s timely arrival is during the National Emergency Preparedness Month. Coupled with community education on wildfire and local disaster preparedness, the new engine is just one example of the City of Santee’s effort to maximize our service delivery to our community by utilizing the latest technology within our equipment.





Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Santee’s Landmark Antenna Farm on Braverman Drive Demolished

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A demolition crew today took down six radio antenna towers off Braverman Drive that were erected decades ago when Santee hosted a cluster of locally popular radio stations.

 The 160-foot steel towers came down around 9 a.m. after crews loosened the guy wires and nudged them over with the arm of a large excavator. Workers said only two of the six towers were still operable and powered by electricity. They said the steel structures are destined to be taken to a recycling yard.

A cinder block building at the site that once functioned as a radio station for KSDO-1130 AM will also be razed this week.

The site is being cleared to make way for the 82-home Willow Ridge development being built by KB Homes.

KSDO is still broadcasting as a Spanish language Christian radio station that is based in Chula Vista.

In the 1980s, the station was owned by the Gannett news organization and filled the airwaves with its new and talk format. A website of San Diego radio history identifies Perry Allen, Whitney Allen, Scotty Brink, Jon St. John and Greg Tantum as some of the notable voices of KSDO during its news and talk heyday.  In 1986, KSDO news anchor Ernie Myers was the San Diego region’s top-rated AM morning radio show, beating out longtime rivals Hudson and Bauer on KFMB-AM.

Web posts say the property was purchased for $3.5 million by Strata Equity from Citicasters, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, and resold to Watt for $10 million.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mast Park Redevelopment Moving Forward

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The redevelopment of Mast Park is moving forward, which explains the presence recently of a survey crew at the park and the arrival next week of a soils testing rig. 

The park redo has been in the works for nearly five years.  In 2012, landscape architects from Schmidt Design Group produced a new park master plan that included the public’s input from two workshops. The City Council also reviewed and approved the plan.

The resulting conceptual design called for extensive renovations: more parking spaces, a new restroom and playground, two additional picnic shelters, better drainage and walking paths.

The plan also recommends  improving the popular off-leash dog park by creating separate areas for large and small dogs, building of a 1-mile loop path and new safety features such as security cameras.  

Much of the park’s surface would be reshaped with a network of manufactured creek beds, bioswales and a retention pond to curb pollution from urban runoff.  The dry creek beds would serve as play areas for children during dry weather but deter erosion during storm events.

 Although the park’s boundary encompasses 136 acres on both sides of the San Diego River, nearly 75 percent must remain as undeveloped habitat preserve. Thus, the master plan focuses on the 26-acre developed portion north of the river and east of Carlton Hills Boulevard.

Using data from the recent survey work, the city will probably redesign the disc golf course to lessen the impact on other park users.  Over the next year, environmental studies will be done to identify site constraints and lay the groundwork for a final construction design.

With additional input from local residents and the council, the conceptual plan will be honed into a final design in early 2017. Construction is expected to start in the fall of 2018, followed by completion in mid-2019. The city has budgeted $7.2 million for the project under its Capital Improvement Program. A $1.23 million grant from the San Diego River Conservancy will pay for improvements that benefit the environment.

Redoing a park is a methodical process, and rightly so, because the final product will have to meet the community’s needs for decades to come.  The city wants to continue the tradition of excellence.

Mast Park’s original master plan, which created the park you see today, won an Orchid Award in 1985 from the San Diego Architectural Foundation.  In 2011, the city won a Merit Award from the California Trails Conference Foundation for its construction of the half-mile-long Mast Park West Trail.

 Mast Park is a special place treasured by many.  It’s home to some of the largest stately oak and sycamore trees in the entire city, and it’s location along the banks of the San Diego River offers scenic beauty.  The new design is intended to hit the sweet spot between preserving the park’s natural beauty  while adding sculpted landscaping and  new places for discovery within a familiar setting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anti-mosquito Treatment Scheduled for June 1

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The County of San Diego Vector Control Program (VCP) will conduct its second aerial mosquito larvicide application of the 2016 mosquito season at large waterbodies known to breed mosquitoes in Santee and elsewhere in the county on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

A helicopter will apply larvicide to reduce mosquito populations and reduce the risk of West Nile virus (WNV) transmission. The larvicide is made of naturally occurring bacteria which target mosquito larvae in the water and is not toxic to people, pets, fish or other insects. This reduces the number of mosquitoes that can spread diseases such as West Nile virus. VCP staff will be at the locations during the application to answer questions and monitor progress.

Additional larvicide applications will be conducted at three to four week intervals or as needed through the end of the mosquito season which is approximately October. Mosquito populations are monitored and tested for the presence of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases throughout the county.

Remember: the best protection against West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to prevent mosquito breeding and mosquito bites.

For more information on the aerial larvicide program, larvicides used, and WNV please visit the San Diego County West Nile virus home page: http://www.SDFightTheBite.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Potential Bus Driver Strike Could Halt MTS Paratransit Mini-bus Service

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Non-driving seniors, disabled persons and others who rely on min-bus paratransit services from MTS Access may need to find alternate forms of transportation beginning Wednesday due to a possible strike by bus drivers.
The drivers were scheduled to vote on a new labor contract today (May 24), but a work stoppage could result if the agreement is not approved.

First Transit, a firm that provides drivers for the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS),  said customers should call 888-517-9627 or 800-921-9664 for information on alternative transportation options.
The potential work stoppage by MTS Access drivers employed by First Transit will not affect MTS Trolley, Rapid and major bus routes.

For updated information, please visit the MTS website at www.sdmts.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Participate in Bike to Work Day this Friday

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bicyclists participating in Bike to Work Day this Friday, May 20 can receive free T-shirts, snacks and bike repair services at a sidewalk booth sponsored by the Community Services Department and Mission Trails Bike Shop.
The booth or “energizer station” will be staffed from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the intersection of Mast and Carlton Hills boulevards.

Participants who register with the iCommute program and report their bike-to-work mileage will be eligible for a gift-card drawing. Register here: http://icommutesd.com/bike/btwdregistrationform2016.aspx

Bike to Work Day is a national event celebrated annually on the third Friday in May as part of National Bike Month. It was started by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 to increase public interest in biking and promote it as an alternative for commuting to work.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Eddie's Last Hurrah

Thursday, May 12, 2016

There are at least 999,999 good reasons to attend Santee’s River Park Festival and River Run 5k event this Saturday at Town Center Community Park East.

But here’s the millionth and, to some, the best reason:  Eddie Vandiver, lead singer for the popular cover band Ramshackle, is giving his final performance.  The energetic 41-year-old Alpine resident is  putting his formidable vocal chords out to pasture.
Vandiver, who works full time as general manager of Sportsplex USA Santee , said he’s retiring from the band to spend more quality time with his wife and two young children.

“I want to spend time with my kids while they still want to hang out with me,” he joked, referring to his 4-year-old daughter and 6-month-old son.
Vandiver joined Ramshackle in October 2008 after answering a “lead vocalist wanted” ad on the online job site Craigslist. He auditioned, jammed with the band, and was immediately hired. He’d previously performed with a local blues band called Mudwolf.

The musical niche occupied Ramshackle is to produce easily recognizable hit songs from all genres that people can dance to. The band’s playlist ranges from Guns  N’ Roses to Bruno Mars to Johnny Cash.

The motto on the group's website self-proclaims them as “San Diego’s Best Rock Cover Band.”

Over the years, Ramshackle played every venue from the House of Blues to the Disneyland Hotel to weddings and the city of Santee’s summer concert series at the park.

The band has already hired a replacement lead singer, Carlos Martinez, who will perform the second half of the band’s set at the River Park Festival, which runs from 3:30 to 8 p.m.

Vandiver said the band members, whose own children are now adults, have been supportive of his decision. His tenure with the band didn't make him rich, but it slaked his thirst for authentic  rock n' roll.
“I did it for the passion and fun of the music -- and the camaraderie with all the guys in the band, “ Vandiver said.