/*added another slider news box below here*/

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Santee’s New Top Sheriff is Home Grown

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Santee’s new top law enforcement officer is pleased to be back on her home turf.
“I’ve grown up here my entire life,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Lisa Miller, a graduate of El Capitan High School who went on to earn a master’s degree in 1992.
She launched her law enforcement career while in high school as a cadet with the El Cajon Police Dept. explorer program.
Capt. Lisa Miller
Miller took over command of the Sheriff’s Dept. Santee Station on Sept. 7 , succeeding Capt. Ed Musgrove as the city’s de facto police chief.  The Santee station is the headquarters for 75 sheriff’s deputies who cover Santee, Lakeside and unincorporated areas of El Cajon.
Miller has worked for the sheriff’s department for 28 years and was previously stationed in Santee when she was a patrol sergeant.
While Santee’s reputation as a low-crime area is well deserved, the city has its share of burglaries and drug-related crimes, she said. Deputies, including officers on bicycles, also keep tabs on homeless encampments that spring up in the riparian zone along the San Diego River.
With three high schools in her jurisdiction, Miller intends to continue the department’s emphasis on juvenile intervention programs. One of the more popular of these is Start Smart, a seminar aimed at keeping young drivers from making fatal mistakes involving alcohol or texting while driving.
“The idea behind the intervention programs is to get juveniles straightened out before they get into the (criminal justice) system, ”said Miller, who is married and the mother of a teenage son.
Another priority is the ongoing public education program that focuses on the “social host” law that imposes criminal penalties on parents and other adults who are held responsible for providing alcohol to minors.
Modern crime fighting involves extensive use of analytics.
Using data from crime reports, local crime analysts create maps illustrating where clusters of burglaries and other crimes  are occurring.  The maps, which are updated every 45 days, are used by patrol deputies to focus on trouble spots, she said.
“We’re doing more crime fighting with intelligence and forecasting where (crimes) may occur,” she said.
Keeping the lines of communication open with the community are of utmost importance, she said.
“One of my strongest attributes is working with the community,” she said. “I’m approachable and open. I can’t solve all the problems, but together we can work on them.”  


Get Rid of Unwanted Prescription Drugs

You can safely dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs by taking them to a designated disposal site this Saturday,  Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It’s being done as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s  5th Annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
For Santee residents, the disposal site will be at Walgreen’s Drug Store, 10512 Mission Gorge Road.

A full list of the drop-off sites is available here. The disposal sites cannot accept needles or sharps.  The service is free and those disposing of pills will not be required to identify themselves, according to a press release from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
This is the preferable way to get rid of old prescription drugs, which, if flushed down the toilet, can contaminate wastewater and pose a threat to the environment.  It’s also advisable to get rid of unused prescription drugs to prevent them from being found or stolen by someone who shouldn’t be taking the medication.
If you can’t make the event this Saturday, you can always drop off your unwanted prescriptions at any San Diego County Sheriff’s Department station or substation during regular business hours from Monday through Friday.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Buzz Kill: Aerial Mosquito Abatement This Weds

Monday, September 24, 2012

A helicopter working for County Vector Control will be disbursing a granular mosquito larvicide this Wednesday, Sept. 26 at various wetlands in the county, including the San Diego River in Santee.
The larvicide contains bacteria which, while harmless to humans and wildlife, prevents mosquito larvae from reaching adulthood. The granules, which are about one-eighth of an inch long, “will not generate a fog, mist or cloud,” county officials said in a press release.

The larvicide drop is the seventh so far this year. The aerial drops are aimed at preventing the spread of the West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Santee Makes Appearance at Conference

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Clock Tower at Santee Trolley Square
The city of Santee is touting its assets this week at the International Council of Shopping Centers Western Division Conference, which concludes tomorrow at the San Diego Convention Center.
The city’s economic development expert, Pam White, has been staffing the city’s booth (Booth No. 424) and promoting Santee’s ability to sustain retail outlets.

The city has already attracted such major retailers as Target, Costco, Home Depot and Lowes.
Santee’s relatively high median household income, easy freeway access and low sales tax rate has helped to attract new businesses such as BevMo!, Phil’s BBQ, Chick-fil-A.

Businesses that desire more information about what Santee can offer should contact Ms. White at pwhite@ci.santee.ca.us or at  (619) 258-4100 ext. 223.

Sustainability Effort Brings Savings to Santee

An in-house sustainability project launched three years ago by the city of Santee has saved taxpayers an estimated $200,000 annually by increasing energy efficiency and implementing other sustainable business practices.
“We view sustainability as a way to invest in improvements that will have long term benefits for Santee taxpayers and the environment through reduced energy and water use” said Kathy Valverde, who manages the project.

Using grant monies, the city was able to replace 1,783 street lights with energy efficient light fixtures and cut energy costs by 30 percent, resulting in savings of $110,000 and 900,000 kilowatt-hours each year.  In addition to annual savings, San Diego Gas & Electric awarded the City almost $73,000 in energy efficiency rebates for installing the new lights.

Moving from outdoors to indoors, the city upgraded 1,600 office lights with more energy efficient ones and installed motion-sensor devices to further reduce power usage when offices are unoccupied. The result was energy savings of 97,000 kilowatt hours per year at a cost savings of 25 percent or $19,000 annually. The project was fully funded by grants and rebates.

Additional savings were achieved last summer by switching to more economical utility rates available from SDG&E for outdoor lighting at several parks, playing fields and tennis courts. The lower power rates are expected to save the city 50 percent, or more than $60,000 annually.  The city anticipates saving another $10,000 to $30,000 this year as a result of switching to the lower rate for outdoor lighting at Town Center Community Park.
The road to sustainability doesn’t stop with increased energy efficiency.

Santee is currently exploring the use of recycled water for street sweeping to conserve more costly potable water. If the proposal is approved by state regulators, Santee will be one of the first cities in the region to implement such a program. The city also installed power-generating solar panels to provide electricity at the Sportsplex USA restaurant at Town Center Community Park.
Valverde said the city is currently looking at additional opportunities to conserve energy through lighting upgrades. She’s also working on programs to help residents and businesses cut costs through sustainability and energy efficiency.  Check the city’s website at www.ci.santee.ca.us and click on the sustainability project logo to learn more.

Bluegrass Festival Certain to Sell Out

The 3rd annual Santee Bluegrass Festival will be held this Saturday, Sept. 22. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your tickets because without a doubt, this event will sell out.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $35 until 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 at Santee City Hall, Building 6, 10601 Magnolia Avenue.

The final lot --approximately 100 tickets -- will be available at the gate for $40 beginning at 4:30 p.m.  A limited number of designated driver tickets will also be available for $25 at the door. Once the final few tickets are sold, you’ll be out of luck.

The event will take place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Drive (behind the Cameron Family YMCA/City of Santee Aquatics Center) and will feature live music from two renowned bluegrass bands along with 16 varieties of wine, 13 micro-breweries and 29 food vendors to sample. There will be 88 silent auction items, ranging from beach-cruiser bicycles to a Taylor guitar.
For a list of participating vendors, parking information and frequently asked questions visit http://www.ci.santee.ca.us/?page=8&recordid=1694&returnURL=%2findex.aspx.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Santee Turns San Diego River into a Classroom

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Santee city staffers pitched in today as guest teachers for a group of Rio Seco Elementary School 4th graders that made a science-oriented field trip along the San Diego River at Mast Park.
Two City Hall workers teamed up with Shannon Quigley of the San Diego River Park Foundation and Rio Seco 4th grade teacher Heather Glanz to offer facts and insights into the river’s ecology.

The students, in turn, took detailed notes that will come in handy for writing stories about their field trip. At one point, a duck unexpectedly blurted out a loud quack that interrupted the lesson, causing the children to bellow with laughter.

City Arborist Annette Saul and Shannon Quigley
“The students really enjoyed the opportunity to step out of the classroom and step into nature, where they could do hands-on learning activities,” said City Arborist Annette Saul, who shared teaching duties with Stormwater Program Manager Helen Davies.
“The kids were engaged and excited about what they were learning, “ Ms. Saul noted. “They also got the chance to observe the ducks and other wildlife along the river.”

Escorted by a half-dozen volunteer parent chaperones, nearly 30 pupils walked about a quarter-mile from their school to the bridge at Mast Park that spans the river adjacent to the Mission Creek community.
Ms. Davies gave a lesson on how trash and pollutants carried by storm drains end up in the river and affect the water quality and wildlife.

“You can be a protector of the river just by being careful,” she said.
She explained how everyone can help safeguard the river by preventing trash, dirt, oil or household waste from getting into storm drain inlets and curb cuts. Storm drains are underground pipes that transport rain or excess irrigation water from city streets.

In her lesson, Ms. Saul focused on the effects that non-native invasive plant , such as the vine-like primrose, have on the river’s ecosystem.  These thick-growing vines crowd out native vegetation, slowing down the river’s flow. The stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and allows algae to bloom, depleting the dissolved oxygen level and making it difficult for fish and other aquatic creatures to survive.
Santee Stormwater Program Manager Helen Davies
Ms. Saul also showed students a tube-like device underneath the bridge that serves as a kind of trap that biologists use to detect the presence of non-native invasive mussel species.

Using water samples gathered from the river and testing kits, Ms. Quigley showed the students how to measure key water-quality indicators such as acidity or PH, dissolved oxygen and turbidity or cloudiness caused by sediment.  The water testing was being done in conjunction with World Water Monitoring Day, she said, a global event to raise awareness about clean water.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Santee Supports Coastal Cleanup Day

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grab your gumption, a bucket and a pair of gloves.
Volunteers of all ages are needed to help clean up the San Diego River in the city of Santee during Coastal Cleanup Day, from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Volunteers during last year's Coastal Cleanup Day
For the fifth consecutive year in Santee, volunteers will fan out along the river and pick up any trash or debris they can find.
“We also try to have some fun,” said Shannon Quigley-Raymond, who oversees the cleanup . “There are contests to see who can collect the most cigarette butts, and who can find the most unusual item.”

Some folks stay for an hour, while others stay for the duration of the event, she said. There’s no minimum time requirement.

At noon, everyone gathers to celebrate their achievement.  It’s a great way to meet other people who care about the environment and clean water. More than 90 people have signed up so far.

In recent years, volunteers have plucked from the riverbed such oddities as a “Finding Nemo” pillow and a plastic toy bow-and-arrow, she said.

"A lot of it is litter that was blown off the street or washed down storm drains during the rainy season," she said.

The search for trash is not entirely random. Debris piles created by transients or illegal dumping, which were identified earlier this year and mapped by volunteers for the San Diego River Park Foundation, also will be targeted by cleanup crews.
Kids who participate will get to toss balls containing wildflower seeds, which in the spring will produce native lupines and poppies along the river.

Volunteers in Santee will gather at Town Center Community Park East near Cuyamaca Street and River Park Drive just south of the ball fields

Please register in advance by clicking here so organizers can bring the right amount of supplies.
Please wear closed toed shoes and sun protection (sunscreen, hat, etc.)

Note: All participants are required to sign a liability waiver; persons under age of 18 require the signature of a parent or guardian to participate.

Hottest Ticket in Town: Santee Bluegrass Festival

Cherie and Bree with silent auction baskets
Word is spreading that the Santee Bluegrass Festival is one community fund-raising event you don’t want to miss.
Aside from live music from two renowned bluegrass bands, attendees will have their choice of 16 varieties of wine, 13 micro-breweries and 29 food vendors.  There will be 88 silent auction items, ranging from beach-cruiser bicycles to airline tickets.

Those who purchase designated driver tickets for $25 at the door will receive an engraved water bottle donated by Az U Wish.  Three local cab companies will also have drivers available beginning at 9 p.m. at the main parking lot.  Standard rates of $2.80 plus $3 per mile will apply.

Online ticket sales for the event will end at midnight on Monday, Sept. 17.
After that, tickets can be purchased for $35 per person at Santee City Hall, 10601 Magnolia Ave., Building 6, up to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21.

Tickets may be available at the door for $40 each, but the event is rapidly nearing capacity.
“Everything about the event is bigger and better this year, ” said Cherie Meek, the city’s special events supervisor.  “We’re expecting more than 700 people to turn out, have a fun time and help raise funds to support park improvement projects and the Santee Teen Center.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Search & Rescue Squad Trains at Mast Park

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mary Ann and Tom Bennett with Cody
What looked like a massive search and rescue operation this morning at Mast Park was actually a training exercise involving some 20 volunteers, nine rescue dogs, several uniformed deputies and a mobile command unit from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
The training allows the rescue volunteers and dog handlers to sharpen their skills and to qualify as expert witnesses for court cases, said Sgt. Don Parker, the team’s supervisor.

In one of the exercises, the specially trained dogs were given the scent from a pair of jogging shorts and were sent across the park to find the person. The dogs included beagles, bloodhounds, golden retrievers and border collies.

Three deputies and a rescue dog from Riverside County also participated. Observing it all as students were four members of the Polk County, Iowa Sheriff’s Department, who intend to create their own rescue team when they return home.

“We’re trying to show the Iowa folks how a real search and rescue operation will occur from top to bottom,” Parker said.
Among the cadre of orange-shirted rescue volunteers were Mary Ann Bennett, a part-time office aide at the Santee City Clerk’s Office, and her husband, Tom, a retired sheriff’s department captain, and their rescue dog-in-training, Cody.

The all-volunteer Sheriff’s Search & Rescue team includes some 190 people who perform wilderness and urban rescues and search for missing persons. Teams are available 24 hours a day to respond to local, state and federal agency requests.

To learn more, you can visit the team’s website at http://bit.ly/leuaZr

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Enroll Now for Fall Rec Classes

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Have a yen for yoga? Want to get your Kung fu on? Or how about having your kids learn basic engineering with Legos?
These classes and more are now open for enrollment though the city of Santee’s Community Services Department. There’s something of interest for every age group. Click here for the class listings.
New this fall is an after-school  enrichment program featuring classes in music, art, dance and more.  City sponsored classes will be offered at eight local elementary schools in partnership with the Santee School District Out of School Time Program.  Classes vary based on school location. Students in Project SAFE or YALE Preschool may register in enrichment classes, but only at the school where they are enrolled.
For more information, click on the Santee REC icon at www.ci.santee.ca.us or visit us at Santee City Hall, Building 6, 10601 Magnolia Ave., or give us a call at (619) 258-4100 ext. 222

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Santee Street Repair Update

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Carlton Hills Boulevard (North of Bridge)

All storm drain and asphalt patching work has been completed.  Minor concrete repairs are being performed this week.  The final asphalt overlay is scheduled to be completed from September 17-21, with the final striping to be completed the following week.

Carlton Hills Boulevard (South of Bridge)

Asphalt patching south of the bridge to Mission Gorge Road has been completed south of the bridge.  The final asphalt overlay will be completed in early 2013.

Mission Gorge Road

All work has been completed on Mission Gorge Road.

If you have any questions, please contact the project engineer, Toby Espinola, P.E., at (619) 258-4100 ext. 174

Santee's Bird of the Month


Here's a photo of a lesser goldfinch that we found frolicking in the wild flowers at Town Center Community Park last week. If you have sharp photo of a bird taken in the city of Santee, send it to the Community Services Department at trodgers@ci.santee.ca.us and we'll post the best photo at the end of the month along with your name in the Santee Review, our online newsletter.