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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sign Up for Adult Education Classes

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Have a yen for tai chi? Or perhaps you’d like to brush up on your watercolor skills.

These are among a variety of affordable classes being offered by Grossmont Adult School that are held at Santee City Hall.  Classes meet once per week for 12 weeks. Many range in cost from $10 to $20.

The time to register is now. Classes begin the week of September 6 and continue through the first week of December.

Classes held at Santee City Hall’s meeting rooms include:

  • Tai chi on Mondays from   to
  • Quilting on Wednesdays from to
  • Drawing and watercolors on Wednesdays from to
  • Drawing on Tuesdays from to
In addition to these classes at Santee City Hall , Grossmont Adult School offers more than 170 free and low cost classes at 45 locations in East County. To register online or to view the entire catalog of classes visit http://www.adultschool.guhsd.net/ .

Grossmont Adult School is headquartered at the Foothills Adult Center, 1550 Melody Lane, El Cajon (619) 588-3500.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Family Fest Wrap-up

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Despite heat that topped 90 degrees, former WNBA player Kristen Mann gave an enthusiastic performance at Santee’s Family Fest event on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Town Center Community Park.

Mann offered inspirational words and high energy as she paced participants through a series of drills during a fitness clinic aimed at increasing speed and agility.

Family Fest also featured live music by the Alley Cats, activity booths for kids, and free hot dog lunches for the public. Representatives for the Coca Cola Co. presented the city with a $10,000 grant that will be used for park and recreation improvements and equipment.

Family Fest was an opportunity to show off the city’s newest park and dedicate its special amenities, including a human sun dial and a walking path that was christened as a memorial to Santee’s two adopted U.S. Marine Corps units.

Development of the 55-acre park began in 2003 with the construction of the City of Santee Aquatics Center and Cameron Family YMCA. The second phase which included the sports complex, soccer and football fields, playground and other site amenities was completed at a total cost of $23.5 million.

Family Fest was presented with assistance from sponsors Western Rim Constructors, ACE electric, Area West Fence, MIG and Musco Lighting.

Monday, August 29, 2011

- In Memoriam - Ronald L. Ballard

Monday, August 29, 2011

Former Santee City Manager -
The community and Santee City family were saddened to learn of the loss of Ronald L. Ballard, who served as Santee City Manager for fourteen years, from 1983 to 1997. Ballard passed away Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at age 68, following a long bout with Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife Susan, sons Brent and Jason, and several grandchildren.

When Ballard was appointed as Santee’s second city manager in January of 1983, Santee was a fledgling community with just two years of cityhood under its belt. During his tenure, the City enjoyed major achievements such as the formation of the redevelopment agency, the development of Santee Town Center and the retail power center, acquisition of the 50,000 square foot Santee City Hall, three new parks, and construction of over $55 million in public improvements. Ballard’s public sector career spanned three decades, including fourteen years with National City serving as Assistant City Manager, and positions with the Cities of Torrance and Ventura.

A Memorial Service celebrating the life of Ronald Ballard will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., at Sonrise Church, located at 8805 Magnolia Avenue, Santee, CA 92071.

Park Walkway Dedicated to U.S. Marines

At a solemn ceremony Aug. 27, the city of Santee dedicated the walkway at Town Center Community Park in honor of two U.S. Marine units.

The paved path, which is two-thirds of a mile long, was dedicated in honor of the Camp Pendleton-based 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines Division, also known as “The Professionals,” and the “Heavy Haulers,” Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The Mayor and city council members presided over the ceremony, which was attended by other elected officials from the region, and several members of the two Marine units.

A Marine officer read the names of several Marines who have been killed during the two wars in the Middle East.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Mayor and city council members gave a signal allowing a Marine color guard to place the first “boots on the ground” along the memorial walkway.

U.S. Marine color guard took the first steps
on the
Town Center Park walkway
after it was dedicated Aug. 27
The city has “adopted” the two Marine units through the Americans Supporting Americans program.

The community has hosted "thank you" events for the Marines and their families. The Marines, in turn, have volunteered at special events put on by the city, including the annual Santee Salutes 4ty of July celebration.

Citywide Paving Project Update

Fanita Parkway
All paving work has been completed on Fanita Parkway. Street striping will be completed in conjunction with the street striping for Lake Canyon Road once completed. Striping is estimated to be completed on September 7.

Lake Canyon Road
Lake Canyon Road paving construction is scheduled for August 30 through September 2.  Lake Canyon Road will be a complete removal and replacement of 4" asphalt.  Speed bumps will be replaced as part of the project. One set of speed bumps will be relocated near Lake Canyon Court.

East Glendon Circle Neighborhood
Concrete replacement work was started today and is scheduled to be completed by September 2. Asphalt patching is scheduled for the week of September 7.

Rumson Drive
Concrete replacement work is scheduled during September 6-16. Asphalt patching is scheduled during September 6-9.

If you have any questions, please contact Toby Espinola, P.E., City Project Manager, at (619) 258-4100 x 174.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Early Bird Price Alert for Santee’s Wine & Bluegrass Festival

Friday, August 26, 2011

Be smart. Buy early. The $30 advance ticket price for the Second Annual Santee Wine & Bluegrass Festival expires on Sept. 12. After that, the price rises to $35.

Proceeds from the event will benefit municipal parks, community programs and the Recreation Scholarship Program which provides financial assistance to qualifying Santee families allowing children, teens and seniors to take part in the City's recreation programs.

The Wine & Bluegrass Festival offers adults an affordable evening of fun from to at Town Center Community Park. Admission entitles ticket holders to unlimited food from sponsoring local restaurants and several varieties of wine and micro-brewed beers. The music features two talented bluegrass bands, Box Canyon and The Tail Draggers.

The event also features a spectacular lineup of silent auction items, including an electric Taylor guitar, weekend getaways and other items that make great gifts.

Tickets can be purchased online or in person at Santee City Hall, 10601 Magnolia Avenue, Bldg. 6.  Need more information? Call the Special Events Hotline at (619) 258-4100 ext. 201, or visit the City's website.

Santee Sheriff’s Deputies Honored

Two deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff’s station in Santee have been honored for their exemplary performance as crime fighters.

Sgt. Tom Poulin, left, and deputy Karl Miller.
Tracking down a prolific thief who created havoc by stealing copper wire for its recycle value earned deputy Karl Miller the department’s nomination for the Alcatel-Lucent/IACP International Police Officer of the Year Award.

During a 2-month investigation, Miller compiled a solid case of evidence that led to the arrest in January of a Lakeside man and his accomplice. The primary suspect, who stole wire from cranes and other heavy equipment, caused $360,000 worth of damages and loss of materials from three construction-related businesses in East County.

Miller, who has been with the sheriff’s department for 20 years, was able to connect the perpetrator to 22 copper wire thefts. The suspect was convicted and sentenced to 22 months in state prison.

Another local sheriff’s deputy acknowledged for his record of accomplishments is Sgt. Tom Poulin.

On Aug. 23, El Cajon Elks Lodge No. 1812 presented its Deputy of the Year award to Poulin, who has supervised the 15-member detective division in Santee for the past 4.5 years.

Detectives under Poulin’s supervision were able to resolve 2,770 of the 5,500 criminal cases assigned to them over the past year.  

A hallmark of Poulin’s division has been its versatility. In the past year, his detectives nabbed a suspect responsible for passing 50 counterfeit checks at Home Depot stores, and broke a commercial burglary ring that targeted Ross stores. They participated in sweeps of registered sex offenders, and they conducted an enforcement operation at the Grossmont Center trolley station that resulted in the arrest of 22 people for warrants and drug-related offenses.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Traffic Alert: Fanita Parkway Closure on Aug. 25

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The northern half of Fanita Parkway between Mast Boulevard and Ganley Road will be closed Thursday, August 25 from to to allow for asphalt paving work.

Signs will be placed along Carlton Hills Boulevard marking a detour route that will provide access to the neighborhoods north of Mast Boulevard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aspiring Eagle Scouts Spruce Up Mast Park

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A key pedestrian corridor linking the two halves of Mast Park has been made more user friendly and attractive, thanks to the efforts of two Eagle Scout candidates from La Mesa Troop 51.

One of the finished mural panels under Carlton Hills Blvd.
The sandy footpath under the Carlton Hills Blvd. bridge used to be a grungy and uninviting route for folks crossing between Mast Park and a recently completed nature trail along the park’s western half. Not anymore.

Today, the underpass trail passes by a colorful mural depicting nature scenes that echo the park’s location along the San Diego River. Also, a new foot bridge crosses a dirt channel that used to be a barrier for some hikers, especially when it contained storm water.  Both improvements are the result of civic-minded Boy Scouts and the organizing talents of Sue Richardson, Santee’s Recreation Services Manager and committee member with Troop 51.

Chance Kawar, an aspiring Eagle Scout, orchestrated the mural project that transformed the concrete bridge supports underneath Carlton Hills Blvd.

Kawar solicited donations of paint and supplies from area businesses and recruited fellow scouts and volunteers from the Friends of Santee's River Park to help with the painting. The mural was conceived and sketched by El Cajon artist Thom Guerra.

Earlier in August, Life Scout Ryan Widiaja, who is also working towards the Eagle rank, gathered donations and organized a construction crew comprised of fellow scouts to build a foot bridge that connects to the nature trail at Mast Park West.

Earlier this year, scouts from Troop 51 installed information kiosks at Mast and Town Center Community Parks and San Diego River Trail markers throughout Mast Park. Additional projects are planned for the future.

Scouts from Troop and Pack 51. (Photo courtesy of Jay Renard)

Ryan Widjaja (center) and other
scouts from Troop 51
working on the foot bridge.
(Photo courtesy of Rob Hawk)

Carlton Hills Blvd. underpass before the project.


Cell Phone Use While Driving: A Big Hang-up

Vigilant enforcement by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. has made it risky for drivers in East County who text on their cell phones or talk without a hands-free device.

In the past year, Santee-based sheriff’s deputies issued 378 tickets for driving while texting or using a cell phone without a hands-free or wireless listening device or speaker phone function.  That’s roughly one ticket per day.

First-time offenders end up paying approximately $148. And the cost may be going up. A bill recently approved by the state Legislature, and now sitting on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, would increase the penalty for a first offense to about $310.

A statewide ban on driving while talking on a cell phone was enacted in mid-2008; the prohibition on texting went into effect a year later.

Current prohibitions:
  • Adult drivers (18 and older) banned from using cell phones unless they employ hands-free devices .
  • Drivers may not use wireless devices to “write, send, or read a text-based communication” -  as in text messaging.
  • Minors are prohibited from using wireless phones while driving - with or without hands-free accessories.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mast Park Master Plan Advances

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For the second time this year, the city reached out to the public to provide feedback on a series of proposed designs aimed at making Mast Park more enjoyable and safe for families.

A public workshop was held Aug. 17 at City Hall to review three design schemes developed by Schmidt Design Group, an award-winning landscape architectural firm hired by the city. (In photo: Glen Schmidt, landscape architect)

One alternative favored by attendees would increase parking, but still retain the rustic, open space character of the park. A paved loop trail nearly a mile long would circle the park. The off-leash dog park would be divided into two sections, one for small dogs and the other for big dogs. The public asked the city to consider a more stable surface, such as decomposed granite, for the dog park. A new restroom and additional picnic pavilions suitable for family gatherings would be constructed. Play areas for children would be improved and expanded. Exercise equipment for teens and adults would be added, and a walkway to connect the park to the San Diego River was proposed.

Funding for this project has been assisted by a Healthy Communities Planning Grant from the San Diego Association of Governments.  The grant is a component of Healthy WorksSM, a countywide initiative promoting wellness and addressing the nationwide obesity epidemic.

To view a video summary of the public workshop click HERE.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Santee to Hold Family Fest at Town Center Community Park

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The city of Santee is holding a special event to show off the city’s newest park and to dedicate some of the park’s special amenities, a walking path, stage, soccer fields and a human sun dial.

Family Fest, celebrating the long awaited completion of Town Center Community Park, is scheduled for on Saturday, August 27.

The event will include food, music and activities the whole family can enjoy, plus a special appearance by WNBA legend Kristen Mann.  Mann, who played for four WNBA teams as well as professionally overseas, will lead a clinic for boys and girls from ages 7 to 13 that will encourage them to get outside and play this summer. Clinic participants will receive a free T-shirt.

Encompassing 55 acres along the north side of the San Diego River, Town Center Community Park also includes the Cameron Family YMCA, the City of Santee Aquatics Center, and a 15-acre recreational sports complex with batting cages, and lighted baseball, softball, and arena soccer fields operated by Sportsplex USA.

During Family Fest, the park’s circular walking path, which is nearly two-thirds of a mile long, will be dedicated in honor of the U.S Marines 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division and Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462.

Free hot dogs, chips and beverages will be available while supplies last. There will be inflatable jumps, laser tag, crafts and interactive booths, along with fitness contests and games. The City of Santee Aquatics Center will be open for free swimming all day.

Live music will be performed by doo-wop a capella group The Alley Cats, a dance and percussion group named Jr. Crew, and singer Kelsie Martin, who starred in the MTV reality show Made.

The event is sponsored by Western Rim, ACE electric, Area West Fence, MIG, Musco Lighting, and Coca-Cola. Sponsor Coca-Cola will present the city of Santee with a $10,000 grant awarded as part of their America is Your Park campaign.  This is the second year that the Coca-Cola “Live Positively” initiative has launched the national America is Your Park contest that includes donating a series of recreation grants to help provide families with ways to get active outdoors. Town Center Community Park is currently vying for one of three grand prizes to be awarded through the program.

Town Center Community Park is located at 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA  92071. For more information, visit the city's website or call the Special Events hotline at 619-258-4100 ext. 201.

Padres Visit Santee for Special Baseball Camp

San Diego Padre pitcher Clayton Richard and third baseman Chase Headley visited Santee Wednesday (Aug. 16) to talk to kids about the importance of school and to consider police officers as their friends.

Headley, who was sporting a cast on his left arm from a recent on-the-field injury, also offered some sage advice on how to steal second base. “Don’t slide head first,” he said.

After delivering their inspirational talk, Headly and Richard signed autographs to a group of happy campers, who will be treated to a Padre game on Aug. 17.

The 60 kids attending the special baseball camp were paced through a series of skill drills coached by 19 volunteers from area law enforcement agencies, including the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police and the state Department of Corrections.

The special baseball camp was sponsored by the Police Athletic League’s Sports Training Academics and Recreation program (STAR/PAL), a nonprofit dedicated to teaching kids positive values and to build bridges between youth and law enforcement.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wrestling Superstars in Santee

Monday, August 15, 2011

Three World Wrestling Entertainment superstars were in Santee Monday to give an inspirational talk to children at the Boys & Girls Club. The wrestlers, twins Brie and Nikki Bella and Evan Bourne, received a proclamation declaring August 15 as WWE Day. After giving their talk to children attending the day camp, the three entertainers posed for pictures with some local kids, including Hailey and Tyler McNelis. Locals may remember Nikki Bella when she was named Nicole Garcia and played soccer for the Grossmont College Griffins. The three WWE superstars are in San Diego for a live broadcast of the television show Monday Night Raw at Valley View Casino.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Community Watchdogs Needed

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The city of Santee needs your help in stopping thieves from taking copper wiring from public lighting fixtures at our parks, schools and streets.

The copper is being stolen for its recycle value, but here’s the rub: a theft of just $100 worth of wiring can cost more than $1,000 to repair. Thousands of taxpayer dollars are being spent to repair the damages to public facilities.

In the past six months, copper wire thieves have struck repeatedly in Santee.

The latest theft occurred last week at Town Center Community Park, where wiring connected to some of the playing field lights was removed. The damage was difficult to repair and two adult football leagues were forced to find another field.

Last fall, sheriff’s detectives arrested a man posing as an electrical contractor for stealing copper wire from various public facilities in Santee. He later pleaded guilty to grand theft and was sentenced to a year in jail.

Please help us deter these thieves by keeping your eyes and ears open for anything suspicious. That loud repetitive “chink” in the middle of the night could be a crook using a hammer to chisel off a lock at a wiring box at the base of a street light.

People shouldn’t be present in city parks when they are closed. Big Rock, Mast, Santee Mini, Shadow Hill, Sky Ranch and Woodglen Vista parks are open every day from dawn to dusk. There are longer hours at West Hills and Town Center Community parks, which are open from dawn to Sportsplex USA is open until .

If you see a crime in progress, call 911. If you have information about any copper wire thefts contact the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in Santee at (619) 956-4000.

Second Public Workshop Scheduled for Mast Park Master Plan Effort

The city of Santee is seeking public comment on a draft master plan to guide the future redevelopment of Mast Park, the city's oldest and, at 95 acres, its largest park.

A public workshop to discuss three design alternatives developed for the park by Schmidt Design Group has been scheduled for 7 p.m. August 17 at the City Hall complex, Building 7, 10601 Magnolia Avenue, Santee, CA 92071.

The workshop will be the second public meeting held to gather the public's ideas and feedback on the new master plan, which is intended to ensure the park meets the long-term needs of the community.

One focus of the plan is to incorporate a health and wellness element into future improvements and to consider new amenities that promote physical activity and improved public health.

Residents who attended the initial public meeting on June 2 offered numerous suggestions for improving the park, including:
  • Installing additional picnic shelters to accommodate larger gatherings;
  • Retain the rustic feel of the park;
  • Add new features that appeal to adolescents and teens, such as a rock climbing wall;
  • Divide the 2.4 acre off-leash dog park into two zones, one for small dogs and another for big dogs; and
  • Consider alternative designs that would improve parking and safety.
Since that meeting, Schmidt Design Group has refind the ideas into three draft conceptual plans that, once narrowed to a preferred altnerative, would provide the city with a blueprint for redeveloping the park should funds become available.

The Santee City Council is expected to review and adopt a final master plan design later this year or in early 2012.

Funding for this project has been assisted by a Healthy Communities Planning Grant from the San Diego Association of Governments.  The grant is a component of Healthy WorksSM, a countywide initiative promoting wellness and addressing the nationwide obesity epidemic.

Healthy WorksSM is administered by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fanita Parkway Construction Update

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tree trimming and utility markouts have been completed on Fanita Parkway.  The next step in the project will be concrete replacement and pedestrian ramp construction.  This work will occur simultaneously on Fanita Parkway and Lake Canyon Road due to both streets receiving asphalt paving.  Drainage improvements and concrete replacements are scheduled for August 11 through August 19. 

Fanita Parkway will be closed to through traffic from August 22 through August 31 from to .  The detour route will be along Carlton Hills Blvd. to Lake Canyon Rd. to Settle Rd.  Full closure of the street is required during the asphalt patching and asphalt overlay portion of work for the safety of the public and for the workers.  Nearly 50% of the street will be patched with the entire street receiving a 2” asphalt overlay with paving reinforcing fabric.

If you have any questions, please contact Toby Espinola, P.E., City Project Manager, at (619) 258-4100 x 174.

Friday, August 5, 2011

River Cleanup Effort

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Friends of Santee's River Park were at it again this morning (Friday, Aug. 5), cleaning trash and debris from the San Diego River at Santee’s Mast Park.

The Friends were assisted by 6 military volunteers from the Navy’s submarine base at Point Loma and two staff members from Naval Medical Center, San Diego.

We salute the Friends and our military volunteers in helping Santee remain beautiful.

Since 2008, the Friends have removed more than 35,000 pounds of trash and junk along the San Diego River in the city of Santee.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

City Reduces Power Costs at Parks and Ball Fields

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Santee is among the first cities in the county to take advantage of new utility rates approved last year by San Diego Gas & Electric for outdoor lighting.

After switching to the lower rates in June, the city was able to reduce its costs for lighting at several parks, ball fields and tennis courts by almost $4,000 over the previous month’s billing cycle. That’s a decrease of 57 percent compared to billings for the same facilities last year.

A cost analysis by SDG&E estimates that Santee should save more than $60,000 over the next year as a result of the lower rates.

Operators of Sportsplex USA-Santee also have experienced a significant cost savings after switching to the new rates this summer.

The lower tariffs adopted by SDG&E are: OL-2 (Outdoor Area Lighting Service Metered – Customer–Owned Installations) and OL-TOU (Outdoor Lighting – Time Metered).