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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Go Green at SanTree Fest

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It’s fun, it’s free and just six weeks away.

On Saturday, March 17, the city of Santee will host SanTree Fest, an annual event that echoes the nationwide Earth Day celebration and highlights both wellness and environmental awareness.

It started seven years ago as a way to rally the community together to plant trees and to celebrate Arbor Day and the city’s Tree City USA designation.

This year’s event will be held from to at Town Center Community Park in front of the City of Santee Aquatics Center and Cameron Family YMCA, 10123 Riverwalk Drive.

If you’re a Girl or Boy Scout leader, or a member of a club or service organization, SanTree Fest is an ideal opportunity to blend education with public service.

Volunteers will divide into groups and plant approximately 45 trees in the park’s newest new picnic area and around the YMCA. There will be a variety of booths and vendors showcasing green businesses and those that promote a healthy, nutritional lifestyle.

You can get a head start by filling out a liability waiver in advance. The waiver is on the Special Events page of the  city’s website.

For sponsorship opportunities and booth information, contact Special Events Supervisor Cherie Meek at 619-258-4100 ext 219 or by email at cmeek@ci.santee.ca.us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Capt. Richard Smith Promoted to Division Chief

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Capt. Richard Smith, a 21-year veteran with the Santee Fire Department, has been promoted to division chief beginning Jan. 19.

He replaces former division chief Brett Eldridge, who retired in September 2011 after 28 years with the department.

The promotion means Smith will give up handling emergency calls and pulling overnight shifts at the fire station and settle into a regular work schedule at City Hall.

“I’m ready for one chapter to close and a new chapter to open,” said Smith, who has been a fire captain since 2003.

For the past seven years, Smith has served as one of three training officers responsible for conducting an in-house academy that trains newly hired fire fighters. He was also an arson investigator until the late 1990s, when that duty was turned over to the sheriff’s department.

Smith will assume fire marshal responsibilities in the near future and will oversee business inspections and new construction projects to ensure they comply with fire codes. He will also be responsible for reviewing special event permits, and he’ll coordinate the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which conducts fire prevention inspections.

Fire Chief Robert Leigh said Smith “brings an organizational perspective with a willingness and desire to objectively evaluate new methods for providing service to the community.”

Before coming to Santee, Smith worked for a year as a reserve fire fighter for the San Miguel Fire Protection District and for 2.5 years as a bailiff for the county marshal’s office.

He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University and is a graduate of Valhalla High School.

Smith, 46, is married and has two school-aged daughters. In his off-duty hours, he enjoys mountain biking, off-road motorcycle riding and surfing.

For the past three years he has been a volunteer instructor training fire fighters in Tecate, Mexico for the nonprofit Firefighters Crossing Borders.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Santee to Host Olympic Trial Race Walk

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

America’s top race walkers will gather in Santee on Sunday, January 21 to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Photo by Jeff Salvage
Race organizers are expecting 13 athletes –12 men and one woman – to compete in the 50-kilometer (31-mile) race, which begins at

The competitors will walk a 1.25 kilometer loop course on Mast Boulevard between Magnolia Avenue and Jeremy Street, which is south of Santana High School. The event, which will feature a disc jockey playing music and performances by local cheerleaders, is intended to be festive and crowd-friendly.

The winner, who is expected to cross the finish line in just over four hours, will receive a $6,000 cash prize. It’s possible that up to three competitors could represent the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games this summer in London if they finish equal or faster than the minimum qualifying time of .

Two local racers, John Nunn of San Diego and Tim Seaman of Imperial Beach, both former Olympians in the 20-kilometer event, are among the favorites to win this weekend.

USA Track & Field chose Santee over other cities to host the race because of the likelihood for good weather, the fast course and support from city leaders, said Philip Dunn, the race director.

“We invite track and field fans and the rest of the community to come to Santee and cheer on these amazing athletes as they try to qualify for the Olympic Games,” Dunn said. “Spectators are guaranteed to see the best race walkers in the nation.”

Dunn, the lone 50-kilometer U.S. race walker at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, said he expects the course record, which he set in 2009, to be broken by Sunday’s winner.

Santee previously hosted the U.S. national championship race walk in 2009. The city of Miami hosted the previous Olympic qualifying race in 2008.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Only Rain in the Storm Drain

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Please help the city of Santee keep trash and other waste out of our municipal storm drains.

Many folks don't realize that our storm drains are not connected to sewage treatment plants, where solids are screened out and liquids are treated.

This means that everything that finds its way into a city storm drain ends up in a creek or drainage channel that flows into the San Diego River. Much of the material that gets into the river, including plastic bags, eventually finds its way to the ocean.

Harm can occur even if you use a blower to push leaves into the storm drain. Leaves can not only clog a storm drain, they also decompose and promote bacteria growth, which can affect water quality in the river. Instead of using a blower, rake your leaves and bag them for disposal on the green waste trash pickup days.

And of course, never dispose of used oils, paints or household cleaners by dumping them into a storm drain. Those are toxic substances that can harm wildlife. The city provides a free disposal service to residents with household hazardous waste. To learn more, visit the city's website.

Hey, it's easy if you remember this: Only rain in the storm drain.

This message is brought to you by the clean water folks at Santee City Hall.