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Friday, December 26, 2014

Santee Firefighters Make a Special Rescue

Friday, December 26, 2014

Jean Townsend (left) and Lora Morel

Every so often, a person’s entire world can change with just a tiny dose of kindness and compassion.

Such was the case recently when a group of Santee fire fighters decided they were in a position to help Jean Townsend, a severely disabled senior citizen who lives on a fixed income.

Townsend is unable to speak or walk because she suffers from an advanced case of cerebral palsy.  Ironically, before she became disabled, Townsend, who holds a master’s degree, worked for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. So, as her illness advanced, she knew what to expect.

“Jean worked for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation for many years and was a key player in our community helping others in similar circumstances,” said Laura Morel, who works for a nonprofit  company that helps folks like Townsend who live in low-income apartments. “She has never asked for a thing –ever. So I asked on her behalf.”

Morel  didn’t know exactly who would be able to help. On a hunch, she approached Santee firefighters  because last year they had rescued Townsend after she had fallen in her kitchen and injured her head.

Sure enough, a few firemen remembered Townsend, who was unable to tell her rescuers what had happened and ended up being transported to a local emergency room.  It was later learned that Townsend, who cannot use a telephone, had to lay on the floor for several hours in a pool of blood until being discovered by her landlady.

After being approached by Morel, the Santee Firefighters Assn. decided they could again come to the rescue, but in a different way.

 Each year, the association holds a pancake breakfast to raise funds for the Make a Wish Foundation.  They used a portion of their pancake proceeds to buy Townsend an I-Pad  so she can type out messages and communicate with the outside world. They also bought her a special backpack so she can carry the device with her on her mobility scooter.

Morel is ecstatic that Townsend can now peck away at the I-Pad when she needs to communicate with people. But just to be safe, she also got her an emergency necklace that can get her help if she falls again.

“Santee firefighters do a lot more than fighting fires,” she said. “They do things for the community and are taking care of people in need.”

Lora Morel can be reached at: loramorel@yahoo.com

Prospect Avenue Enhancement Update for December

It’s been nearly a year since the city began its major makeover of a mile-long section of Prospect Avenue between Cuyamaca Street and Magnolia Avenue, and there’s still  a bustle of construction activity.

The latest milestone was the replacement of the traffic signal at Cottonwood Avenue.

Construction crews are continuing to install concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks. They’re now making new pedestrian ramps at the intersection of Magnolia Avenue.

Next, construction will start on a center median in the middle section of the project near Gillespie Field.  The new median, which will be landscaped, will have a stamped concrete design pattern and pedestrian walkway lights.

In the next few weeks, new pavement will be installed on three side streets: Hacienda Drive, Fiona Way and Ian Way.  The city will notify the affected residents of the construction schedule.

Questions and concerns can be directed to Senior Civil Engineer Toby Espinola, 619-258-4100 ext. 174 or tobyespinola@cityofsanteeca.gov

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Closure of City Hall Counter Service

Thursday, December 18, 2014

For those of us at Santee City Hall, it has been a privilege to serve our residents, visitors and businesses during 2014.  

 Due to an anticipated decline in demand over the holidays, counter service at City Hall will not be available Friday, December 26 or Friday, Jan. 2.  This includes City Manager's office, Finance Dept.,  Fire Dept. administration, Clerk's office, Development Services and Community Services and Public Services.

City Hall will still be open and employees not on vacation will be at their posts to answer phones and emails. If you need to see a city employee on either of these Fridays, please call or email in advance to ensure they will be available.

Thanks, and happy holidays to all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Go Green With Your Christmas Tree

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Do your part to divert green waste from the landfill by recycling your Christmas tree.
It’s easy. Waste Management will pick up trees during residents’ normally scheduled collection day beginning Friday, Dec. 26, 2014 through Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.
Residents with curbside collection can recycle their Christmas trees by placing the trees in their yard waste (green) bins on their regular pick-up day. Trees must be cut into 4-ft sections and must fit into yard waste container. Ornaments, tinsel and tree stands must be removed before being recycling.
Flocked trees cannot be recycled, but will be collected if cut into four-foot sections and placed into the regular (gray or black) trash cart.
Santee residents without curbside collection, such those living in apartment complexes, can drop off trees from Dec. 26th through Jan. 9, 2014, at the Waste Management Recycle Center in El Cajon.  It’s located at 925 O’Connor Street, one block south of the West Bradley Avenue and Johnson Avenue intersection. There is no disposal fee. The recycling center will be open 7:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 7:00am to 12:00pm on Saturday.

For more information contact Ed Ruiz, at (619) 258-4100 ext. 128.


Monday, December 8, 2014

A Way to Finance Water, Energy Saving Home Improvements

Monday, December 8, 2014

Santee residents interested in making home improvements that reduce water use or save energy can now enroll in a program to pay for those upgrades though their property tax bill.
It’s called the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, and it provides homeowners with a quick and affordable financing method to make retrofits that lower their water and power bills.
HERO offers a variety of products ranging from solar power panel installations to energy-saving windows, doors, roofing and insulation. It also has more than 50 product lines, including water-efficient toilets, faucets and showerheads; drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; artificial turf and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Homeowners who use the program to hire certified contractors to make the retrofits can repay the assessment for those improvements over five, 10, 15 or 20 years via their tax bill. The interest is tax deductible.
The program is available to homeowners in nine other cities in San Diego County as well as residents of unincorporated communities.

More information about the HERO Financing Program is available at www.HEROProgram.com or by calling 855-437-6411.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tips to Deter Holiday Package Theft

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's the peak season for holiday deliveries, and package thieves are on the prowl.

Here’s some tips for preventing theft of your holiday packages:

·         Choose a shipping option so you can sign for delivery.

·         Request friends and relatives sending you a package to do the same and ask for a tracking number.

·          Keep an eye on the package's delivery status. Sign up for email or text alerts.

·         Ship the package to another location such as your office if you won't be home to receive it.

·          Leave special instructions on where to deliver packages (behind bushes, side or back patio).

·         Choose delivery pickup.

·          Insure your packages.

·         Watch for strangers approaching your neighbor’s front door where packages have been left.

To report suspicious activity or vehicles, call the San Diego County Sheriff's Department at (858) 565‐5200. If your package is stolen, report the theft to the Sheriff's Department and the business where your order originated.

Monday, December 1, 2014

1st Phase Done on Street Improvement Project

Monday, December 1, 2014

A neighborhood north of State Route 52 that has had to endure bumpy cracked pavement and chronic flooding will be high and dry this winter.

City contractors have substantially completed the first phase of improvements along Railroad and Buena Vista Avenues. The project called for installing underground storm drain pipes, resurfacing asphalt pavement, and in some sections of the project area, widening the street.  New curbs, gutters and sidewalks also were installed within certain portion of the project site.

The project footprint includes Railroad Avenue, Buena Vista Avenue, and four adjacent cul de sac streets:  Summercrest Lane, Summertree Lane, Lind Vern Court, and  Buena Valley Drive.

So far, the city has spent about $2.4 million on the improvements. New asphalt pavement has been installed on Buena Vista Avenue from Buena Vista Drive west to Cuyamaca Street, and on Railroad Avenue from Mission Gorge Road south to Buena Vista Avenue.

A second phase of the project, which is expected to cost $1.5 million, involves connecting the new city storm drains to Caltrans’ drainage system along the freeway, and repaving portions of Buena Vista and Railroad avenues. Other improvements in with the second phase include new curbs, gutters and sidewalks. It should be completed by the fall of 2015.

The much-needed public improvements will not only increase traffic and pedestrian safety, but also will make the entire neighborhood more attractive and enhance property values.

The city was able to pay for the improvements under a financing plan that combines developer fees with federal Community Development Block Grant funding.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Traffic Alert: Prospect and Cottonwood

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Relocation of the traffic signal at Prospect and Cottonwood avenues beginning Monday, Nov. 24 will require motorists to be cautious at that intersection for the next few weeks.
While the new signal is being installed, the intersection will be controlled by three-way stop signs and flashing red beacons.  “Stop Ahead” signs also will be posted at the approaches to the intersection.

The new traffic signal is expected to be up and running by mid-December.
The existing traffic signal must be moved to make way for street improvements that have been underway on Prospect  Avenue since January.

Workers are currently installing conduit beneath the surface so the overhead electric wires can be placed underground. They’re also pouring curbs, gutters, sidewalks . The work is being done between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Motorists should be aware that the speed limit in the “cone zone” is 25 m.p.h. and traffic fines in that area are subject to being doubled.

Questions about the project can be directed to Senior Civil Engineer Toby Espinola at 619-258-4100 ext. 174.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Prospect Avenue Project Update

Friday, November 14, 2014

 The storm drain along the 10600 block and they're continuing the undergrounding of the overhead power lines.

Water lines are being installed at Prospect Avenue and Ian Way.

Concrete curbs, gutters, sidewalks and driveways will continue to be poured from Cottonwood Avenue east towards Railroad Avenue.  Please avoid driving and walking on the fresh concrete to allow the concrete to properly cure.

On Saturday, the north portion of asphalt on Prospect Avenue (Cottonwood to Railroad) will be ground out. Repaving will take place through Friday.  The same process will occur in the center section of the street between 10611 and 10728 Prospect Avenue.

Work days and hours will be Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m.to 6 p.m.

Please observe the 25 mph speed limit within the construction zones.  Traffic fines will be doubled within the construction zone. 

If you have any project related questions, please feel free to contact Toby Espinola, P.E., City of Santee, 619-258-4100 x 174.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bird of the Month: Rufous-sided towhee

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The rufous-sided towhee (also called the spotted towhee) is about seven inches in length. It has red-brown eyes, long black tail feathers and a small pointed black bill.

They can be found in Santee’s riparian areas and also in the coastal sage scrub on the hillsides. It prefers dense shrubs to nest and forage under. They also like oaks and tall shrubs to perch on.

They like to forage for insects and seeds in the leaf litter. During the breeding season birds eat mainly insects or other arthropods high in protein. The rest of the year they eat mostly seeds and berries. They even eat acorns.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Santee Named in Top 10 Best Cities for Families

Monday, October 6, 2014

A financial website has ranked Santee as the 10th best city in Southern California for raising a family.

The ranking is based on a study that considered the quality of schools, residents’ education levels, number of households with children 18 and younger, commute times to work and housing costs. The study considered cities with a population exceeding 25,000.

Cities with the highest percentage of adults with a high school diploma or better received higher rankings because that is a leading indicator of a higher quality of life, according to the study.

The top 10 cities named in the study were: 1. Poway 2. Manhattan Beach 3. South Pasadena 4. Lake Forest 5 Moorpark 6. Rancho Santa Margarita 7 Rancho Palos Verdes 8. Cypress 9. Walnut 10. Santee

The website article explaining the study is attached below:

Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California

Read more about Kids and Money

Southern California has the winning combo of superior schools, diversity, and safe neighborhoods for young families. Read on to find the 10 best cities to raise a family in Southern California
In our evaluation of the best cities to raise a family in Southern California, the largest cities didn’t crack the top 10, making way for smaller cities where you can actually get to know your neighbors, find a relatively decent commute and affordable housing (the standards are way different here than in other parts of the country). Pack up your family's things and start searching for your forever home, because you’re headed to SoCal.

Study Methodology

There are many cities in Southern California but for the purposes of our study, we've only included those with a population of 25,000 or more. To find the top 10 cities for our rankings, we looked at these five factors:
  1. Education
  2. Commute Time
  3. Household Type
  4. Residency
  5. Housing Costs

Southern California is home to some of the best schools in the state as well as several renowned universities, including USC and UCLA. If you're looking for an area where there's a strong emphasis on education, our rankings reflect the cities with the highest percentage of adults who earned a high school diploma or better. Generally, the more educated a city's residents are, the more it adds to the overall quality of life.
Los Angeles is notorious for traffic congestion. We know that you value your time so we chose only those cities with the best average commute for our list.
All kinds of people come to Southern California but families tend to gravitate toward certain cities. Moving is always tough but settling down in an area where there are lots of other families can make the transition easier for everyone. We considered the percentage of family households with children under 18 to pinpoint those areas with the largest kid population.
Countless people move in and out of California each year, especially around bigger cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. Getting to know the people in your neighborhood can be difficult if people are constantly moving in and out. Our study takes into account the percentage of residents still living in the same home they were a year ago to find those areas with the lowest turnover rate.
Southern California's housing market is exceptionally diverse and home prices vary widely from one city to another. We narrowed the field for our study based partly on the percentage of income residents spend on housing in each city.

10 Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California

10. Santee Share "Santee #10 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterSantee #10 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 90.6%
  • Commute Time: 23.9 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 35.6%
  • Residing in Same Home: 87.8%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 27.4%

Finding a quiet country setting in the midst of Southern California's hustle and bustle may seem impossible but Santee manages to pull it off. Just over 55,000 people live in this still growing city located less than 20 miles from San Diego. With plenty of green spaces, it's perfect for getting back to nature. If you're concerned about education, Santee's School District comes highly rated, earning local, station and national recognition for academic achievement.
Did You Know: Early settler George A. Cowles was responsible for introducing several new tree species to the area, including the magnolia and pomegranate.

9. Walnut Share "Walnut #9 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterWalnut #9 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 92.4%
  • Commute Time: 35.4 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 39.8%
  • Residing in Same Home: 92.7%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 26.2%

Peace and quiet are among the top reasons why families choose to move to Walnut, and this charming little community offers a healthy portion of both. Nearly 40% of Walnut's family households include children and almost 93% of residents have been in the same home for at least a year, which is a sign of how stable the area is. The city's proximity to Los Angeles means home prices are on the higher end of the scale, but it's offset by the fact that residents earn a median income of over $102,000.
Did You Know: Walnut was originally called Rancho de Nogales (Ranch of the Walnut Trees).

8. Cypress Share "Cypress #8 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterCypress #8 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 91.9%
  • Commute Time: 28.5 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 35.4%
  • Residing in Same Home: 89.4%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 25.6%

Over the years, Cypress has had many names, including Waterville and Dairy City, but today it's best known as a safe and welcoming environment for families. Nearly 50,000 people live here and the wealth of job opportunities continues to attract new residents. The average commute takes less than 30 minutes, although if you work in L.A. you'll need to give yourself more time. Residents spend a quarter of their pay on housing and even though the market's heating up, there are still deals to be found.
Did You Know: Cypress is less than five miles from Knott's Berry Farm, one of SoCal's most frequented family attractions.

7. Rancho Palos Verdes Share "Rancho Palos Verdes #7 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterRancho Palos Verdes #7 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 98.1%
  • Commute Time: 31.8 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 32.7%
  • Residing in Same Home: 90%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 24.5%

Rancho Palos Verdes is the perfect spot for people who crave beachfront access and stunning views. This well-heeled community is home to more than 42,000 residents who come to enjoy the cool coastal breezes and soak up the Southern California sun. The local neighborhoods are extremely safe and feature gorgeous homes, many of which are valued at more than $1 million. Top-rated golf courses and the Terranea Resort bring in a lot of tourist traffic but it doesn't detract from the city's serene beauty.
Did You Know: The Palos Verdes Nature Preserve is the largest of its kind in the region.

6. Rancho Santa Margarita Share "Rancho Santa Margarita #6 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterRancho Santa Margarita #6 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 95.1%
  • Commute Time: 28.2 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 44.4%
  • Residing in Same Home: 88.3%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 28.3%

Rancho Santa Margarita sits nearly halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, close to Mission Viejo. There are almost 50,000 people who call the city home, including an overwhelming number of families with children. The city is primarily composed of planned residential neighborhoods, although there are plenty of places to work, shop and dine. Compared to some of our other cities, the amount you'll pay for housing is higher but you'll also earn more, since the median income exceeds $102,000.
Did You Know: If you're out and about, you may catch a glimpse of some of the Real Housewives of Orange County, who film parts of the show here.

5. Moorpark Share "Moorpark #5 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterMoorpark #5 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 88.9%
  • Commute Time: 26.8 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 41.6%
  • Residing in Same Home: 90.6%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 27.1%

If safety is at the top of your list when choosing a new city, Moorpark is just what you're looking for. The city, which has the lowest overall crime rate in Ventura County, also ranks well nationally compared to similarly sized areas. The schools here get an A+ for academics, and they offer extracurricular activities to fit just about every interest. There are a myriad of family-centric events held throughout the year, including the Country Days and the Apricot Festival. You're also close to the Happy Camp Canyon Park, which is ideal for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Did You Know: From 1961 until 1993, Moorpark was home to Egg City, the largest egg farm in the world.

4. Lake Forest Share "Lake Forest #4 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterLake Forest #4 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 92.6%
  • Commute Time: 25.7 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 36.8%
  • Residing in Same Home: 89.1%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 26.6%

Lake Forest is just down the road from Rancho Santa Margarita, but it scored a higher spot in our rankings based on the average commute and housing costs. The local housing market features an eclectic mix of upscale homes, sprawling ranches and luxury apartments, so you're sure to find something that fits your budget. If you're looking to have some weekend fun with the kids, the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park and Limestone Canyon Regional Parks are both close by.
Did You Know: The main campus of Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is located in Lake Forest and averages nearly 20,000 attendees each week.

3. South Pasadena Share "South Pasadena #3 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterSouth Pasadena #3 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 96.9%
  • Commute Time: 27.9 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 34.7%
  • Residing in Same Home: 86.4%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 22%

Once part of the much larger metropolitan area of Pasadena, South Pasadena is a modern city with a small town attitude. Although it's less than 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles, it truly is a world apart when it comes to safety, education and the general atmosphere. South Pasadena's fashionable neighborhoods are popular among the A-list crowd, but families won't have any trouble finding an affordable place to settle down.
Did You Know: South Pasadena is known for being the oldest self-builder of floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade.

2. Manhattan Beach Share "Manhattan Beach #2 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterManhattan Beach #2 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 98.1%
  • Commute Time: 27.5 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 31.7%
  • Residing in Same Home: 88.6%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 23.2%

Manhattan Beach is number two on our list and the most affluent city in our study overall. Residents are very well educated, earning a median income of nearly $135,000, and home prices are among the highest in the region. The Manhattan Beach Unified School District ranks third overall in the state and there are several private and public schools serving the community. The average commute is pretty decent, and you're not far from Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Malibu.
Did You Know: Manhattan Beach is a popular filming location for movies and TV, making it great spot for celebrity star-gazing.

1. Poway Share "Poway #1 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterPoway #1 - Study: Best Cities to Raise a Family in Southern California"

  • High School Graduate or Higher: 93.7%
  • Commute Time: 23.9 minutes
  • Households With Children Under 18: 38.4%
  • Residing in Same Home: 87.9%
  • Income Spent on Housing: 26.3%

While many of the cities on our list are located around the Los Angeles area, you have to head back towards San Diego to find our number one pick. Poway is just a little further north of Santee and its central location makes it convenient for exploring the beaches along the cost or hiking the trails of the Cleveland National Forest. You won't have to worry about making a slow crawl through traffic on the drive to work and while homes are more expensive, living here won't put you in the poorhouse.
Did You Know: Poway is called "The City in the Country" in honor of its rural roots.

With a combined population of nearly 5 million, Los Angeles and San Diego overshadow the 10 cities on our list in size. But, based on the criteria we used for our rankings, they don't quite measure up. While there's no denying the popularity of SoCal's largest cities, we think that as far as families go, the places we've profiled are a much better fit.

Top 10 Cities for Families in Southern California Share "Top 10 Cities for Families in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterTop 10 Cities for Families in Southern California"

RankCity% High School Graduate or HigherAverage Commute TimeHousehold with ChildrenResiding in Same House Last YearIncome Spent on Housing
2Manhattan Beach98.1%27.531.7%88.6%23.2%
3South Pasadena96.9%27.934.7%86.4%22%
4Lake Forest92.6%25.736.8%89.1%26.6%
6Rancho Santa Margarita95.1%28.244.4%88.3%28.3%
7Rancho Palos Verdes98.1%31.832.7%90.0%24.5%

Top 3 Small Cities for Families in Southern California Share "Top 3 Small Cities for Families in Southern California" on Facebook Tweet " on TwitterTop 3 Small Cities for Families in Southern California"

RankCity% High School Graduate or HigherAverage Commute TimeHousehold with ChildrenResiding in Same House Last YearIncome Spent on Housing
1San Marino96.2%25.337.7%90.4%24.7%
2La Cañada Flintridge97.3%27.743.1%94.8%27.4%
3El Segundo96.3%21.528.9%87.0%22.3%

Editor's Note: The minimum population requirement to be considered in this study was 25,000. San Marino, La Cañada Flintridge, and El Segundo fell below our study's official population requirement.

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Follow @CreditDonkey or write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com
Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)Updated September 21, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Santee Crime Rate is Falling

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Crime in the city of Santee is going in the right direction: Down.

Statistics compiled by the San Diego Association of Governments show that overall crime in the city has declined by 24 percent in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
The statistics pertain to the FBI Crime Index, which includes homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

Santee’s crime rate in the first half of the year was 19.52 crimes per 1,000 population, ranking it eighth among the county’s 18 cities.  The city’s crime rate rose slightly between 2010 and 2013, but it has dropped back down to the 2010 level during the first half of this year.
The statistics show that among the four cities in East County, Santee has the lowest crime rate.

What’s behind the recent success?
Criminal analysts with the County Sheriff’s Department examine crime reports, arrest histories of suspects and listen to information from the public to come up with recommendations for deploying personnel and resources. It’s called Information-Led Policing or ILP.

“This intelligence allows us to create strategies to target people involved in crime,” said Sheriff’s Captain L. James Bovet of the Santee Station. “It allows us to deploy deputy sheriffs in the right locations, at the right times when crime is occurring, to disrupt criminals and arrest them. Every deputy sheriff that is deployed in Santee has a mission outline for the day to decrease crime.”
The department also checks on parolees and those on probation from criminal offenses to ensure they are following the conditions of their release from jail or prison. In addition, much effort is placed on tracking illegal drug activities, which are a catalyst for crimes ranging from domestic violence to theft.

“When deputies arrest a drug user or seller, we can disrupt other future crimes like burglaries and assaults from ever occurring,” Capt. Bovet said.
The department has also launched a program to train managers of apartments and condominiums how to prevent crime and increase their communication with law enforcement.

“We also rely heavily on community involvement in combating crime,” Capt. Bovet said.
The department has active Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer and Volunteer Mounted Patrol programs to supplement efforts by regular patrol deputies.  Capt. Bovet also holds quarterly community meetings to hear the concerns of residents and business owners.

More information on community meetings is available at www.sdsheriff.net  


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prospect Avenue Update

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

There’s lots of activity and construction machinery on Prospect Avenue, as the street enhancement project completes its ninth month.
The mile-long project zone between Magnolia Avenue and Cuyamaca Street contains plenty of hazards for motorists and pedestrians, including open trenches and heavy machinery moving around.
The public should avoid contact with newly installed concrete driveways and sidewalks, as well as newly poured curbs and gutters.
Several open trenches are being dug to install electrical conduit that will allow overhead wires to be placed underground
Workers are also installing new water lines and moving fire hydrants and water meters.
There’s a new top layer of asphalt on the south side of Prospect Avenue between Cuyamaca Street and Ian Way.
Construction activity will continue from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Motorists should be aware of the 25 m.p.h. speed limit and enhanced traffic fines in the construction zone.
Questions about the project can be directed to Senior Civil Engineer Toby Espinola at (619) 258-4100 ext. 174

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SD River Conservancy Improving Sycamore Creek

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A worker removes arundo

A waterway clogged with the wrong type of non-native vegetation is a recipe for flooding, elevated risk for wildfire and diminished habitat value for wildlife.

That’s why the San Diego River Conservancy is spending $208,000 over the next few months to remove invasive plants from Sycamore Creek in the city of Santee.

The project, which started this week, requires heavy labor to remove the unwanted vegetation from several hundred feet of the creek bordering the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve.

“One of the main reasons we’re doing it is for flood alleviation,” said Conservancy Executive Officer Kevin McKernan.

Flooding triggered by record rainfall in the winter of 2010-11 overwhelmed a sewage station next to the creek, resulting in a spill of contaminated water into the San Diego River, he noted.

This April, a wildfire that began in the riverbed at Mast Park West was fueled in part by dense stands of non-native plants, including a bamboo-like plant called arundo donax, also known as giant reed.

This week, a small army of workers has been using chain saws and hand tools to remove the unwanted vegetation, including arundo, castor bean plants, pepper trees, and more than 90 mature non-native palm trees.
Oceanside-based ACS Habitat is doing the work

“We’ve notified homeowners whose back yards border Sycamore Creek of our activities, and so far we’ve had positive responses from many,” McKernan reported.

A second phase of the project to clear a portion of the creek north of Mast Boulevard is planned for the future.

The project calls for follow-up abatement actions over the next two to three years involving cutting and spraying the previously cut sites to ensure the invasive plants don’t return.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Beat the Heat at Santee’s Cool Zones

Monday, September 15, 2014

In response to the National Weather Service heat advisory, the city of Santee today set up cool rooms for residents without air conditioning.


A cool room at City Hall will operate from noon to 5 p.m.  Check in with Community Services in Building 6 or call 619) 258-4100 ext. 222.  A second cool room will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at San Diego Christian College, 200 Riverview Parkway across the street from Trolley Square Shopping Center.


Residents can also beat the heat by going to one of the “Cool Zones” set up by the County of San Diego.


The closest is at the Santee Library at  9225 Carlton Hills Blvd.


The library (619-448-1863) is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The county’s entire “Cool Zone” listing is here: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/ais/documents/coolzones.pdf


 Temperatures inland will be anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees above average through Tuesday with highs in the inland valleys reaching 104 degrees and desert areas 108.
To avoid heat-related problems, health officials recommend the following:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
  • Drink plenty of water (avoid alcohol and sugary drinks) and don't wait until you are thirsty
  • Take cool showers
  • Never leave a child, elderly person, or pet unattended in a car
  • Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities outside during the hottest part of the day
  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure and wear a wide-brim hat if you need to be in the sun
  • Avoid using the oven to cook

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Veterans, Volunteers Pitch In on Day of Service

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nearly 50 volunteers, including military veterans, provided the muscle power and sweat today to help rebuild lodge pole fencing that was destroyed  by a wildfire in April at Santee's Mast Park West.

The San Diego River Park Foundation organized the service project as a local contribution to the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, which was observed by tens of thousands of volunteers nationwide.

Volunteers braved  93-degree heat and high humidity as they extracted charred fence posts from the ground and replaced them.  About 300 feet of fencing was destroyed or damaged in the wildfire. Despite the hard, gritty work, the volunteers had no trouble smiling for our camera.

About half of the volunteers were from The Mission Continues, a  nonprofit group that recruits active duty  and retired military veterans for community service projects.

“Our mission is to engage in the community and make a significant impact,” said Al Lejarde, a volunteer platoon leader with the group.

The volunteers from The Mission Continues included active duty sailors from the USS Boxer and residents of Veterans Village of San Diego, a nonprofit group that helps homeless veterans.

The wooden fencing at Mast Park West  helps protect sensitive wildlife habitat along the river just east of the Carlton Oaks Golf Course.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pickleball Coming to Santee

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gather your wits, a paddle, and a Wiffle ball.  It’s time for some pickleball.
This fast-growing sport, which has been catching on with retirees, may soon be playable at Big Rock Park in the city of Santee.

The city is proposing to restripe one of its two tennis courts at Big Rock to accommodate four pickleball courts, which can be spread over a single tennis court. The newly striped “multi-use” court, which would still be available for tennis, would be reserved during certain blocks of time for pickleballers.
The public is invited to comment on the plan by emailing Recreation Services Manager Susan Richardson at srichardson@cityofsanteeca.gov by Sept. 3, or by attending the Sept. 4 meeting of the Santee Park and Recreation Committee (SPARC).  The committee meets at 6:30 p.m. at Building 8A at the Civic Center Complex, 10601 Magnolia Avenue.

The idea to introduce pickelball to Santee was initially brought to the Park and Recreation Committee in June by Mike Blaksley, a 62-year-old retiree from La Mesa.
“Pickleball’s time has come and we need your help and guidance to make this happen,” he told the committee. Pickleball courts, both indoors and outdoors, exist at several parks countywide including Lakeside, La Mesa, Pacific Beach, Coronado, Escondido and Poway.

Blaksley said it’s unfortunate there are so few pickleball courts in East County because the region has the perfect demographics ---an abundance of active seniors – who would enjoy trying the sport of they knew it was available.
“I think East County could become a central place for people to play pickleball,” he said.
The sport is attractive to active seniors because players rely more on quickness and strategy rather than the speed and agility that is required to play tennis, he said.

“There’s 8,000 Baby Boomers retiring across the U.S. every day, and this is a great sport for them to pick up,” he said.
And many have. In the past three years, membership in the U.S. Pickleball Association has doubled to 200,000.

Games are usually played as doubles on a badminton-sized court that is about one-third the size of a traditional tennis court.  Players use wood or composite paddles to hit a light plastic Whiffleball across a 36-inch lightweight net. Games are fast –moving and generally last from 10 to 20 minutes, which allows players to rotate onto a court without excessive waiting.

“It’s a great, active cardio sport. It’s not risk-free in terms of injuries but it’s a lot easier on your joints,” Blaksley said. “It’s a great social environment and it’s also an affordable sport for young and old to play.”

Blaksley said he’s only been playing for about a year, but he’s found it invigorating to the point of being addicting.

“It’s a game a sheer strategy and ball placement,” he said. “It’s just a heckuva lot of fun.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Work Started on Upgrades to Town Center Parkway and Woodside Avenue

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A city contractor this week began work on improvements to sections of two streets located in key commercial corridors.
The segments being upgraded are 1)Town Center Parkway between Mission Gorge Road and Cuyamaca Street; and 2) Woodside Avenue between the State Route 67 offramp  and Magnolia Avenue.

The improvements include new pedestrian ramps, replacing the concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks, asphalt patching and a new road surface.

The contractor will give advance notice to business owners when driveways replacements take place.  Asphalt work will be done at night to minimize impacts to businesses.
The work is expected to be completed Oct. 27.

Questions can be directed to Senior Civil Engineer Toby Espinola at (619) 258-4100 ext. 174 or email at tobyespinola@cityofsanteeca.gov

Monday, August 18, 2014

City to Host Meeting Tonight on Prospect Avenue Project

Monday, August 18, 2014

Santee city officials will host a public meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers to provide information to residents and business owners affected by the Prospect Avenue Corridor Enhancement Project.
The project, which is about 60 percent  finished, will now include grinding away and replacing the road surface.  Work will begin near Cuyamaca Street and continue east toward Magnolia Avenue. This work will require temporary closure of driveways to allow the roadway to be constructed.
Last Monday, the city notified property owners and tenants of the roadway construction work and of tonight’s public meeting.

To minimize the impact, Prospect Avenue will be reconstructed in increments. The city will give advance notice to business owners when their  particular driveways and frontage will be affected by the road work.
The $25 million project, which started in January and is expected to take a year to finish, calls for upgrading a mile-long section of  Prospect Avenue between Magnolia Avenue and Cuyamaca Street.
Improvements include adding sidewalks, curbs and gutters, along with attractive but water-wise landscaping. Overhead utility wires will be undergrounded and utility poles removed. New street lighting will be installed and storm drains will be upgraded. On-street parking and bicycle lanes will be provided on both sides of the street.
Questions or concerns can be directed to Senior Civil Engineer Toby Espinola at (619) 258-4100 ext. 174.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Volunteers Take a Walk in the Park

Monday, July 21, 2014

Laquita and Gary Strawn
A new volunteer-based program aimed at keeping Santee’s river trails and parks user friendly needs singles and couples, boomers and retirees, Gen Xers and millennials. 
Park Watch is for anyone who wants to put their best feet forward for their community.

Take, for instance, Gary and Laqueta Strawn.
Since February, the retired Santee couple have been walking each Thursday at Mast Park with a checklist, a trash grabber and sometimes friends and family members.

They check the park for vandalism and graffiti. They also chat with visitors and take a mental inventory of who’s using the park.
Park Watch volunteers are ambassadors who offer visitors assurance that locals care about Santee’s trails and public spaces. Their purpose is to add an extra set of eyes and ears, not to supplant the role of law enforcement.  If they see something illegal, they report it to authorities.
During one of their recent patrols, Gary hiked to the far edge of the park to retrieve an abandoned shopping cart, while Laqueta pecked at fluttering fast-food wrappers with her pick-up stick.

“It gets us out every Thursday morning for some fresh air and exercise,” Laqueta said. “But I also get the satisfaction of being a good Santee citizen.”
Park Watch volunteers aren’t required to pick up trash. Laqueta does it anyway because, for her, litter is simply too annoying to ignore.

Quite often, they are joined by friends and family members, including their grandkids.
“It’s one thing to talk to your grandchildren about being responsible to make things better, but it has more of an impact when they see what you do,” Laqueta said. “Part of it for me is setting a good example for them.”

Santee’s Park Watch program was created by the nonprofit San Diego River Park Foundation under a 2-year grant for $216,000 from the Transnet Program administered by the San Diego Association of Governments. The foundation operates a separate Park Watch program along the San Diego River in Mission Valley.
So far, seven Santee residents have completed the 1-hour training and picked a portion of the San Diego River Trail to patrol. During their training session, volunteers are coached on how to be observers only and not to confront people who are breaking laws. They also take note of how many people are using the parks and trails and record othe
r statistics, such as the number of bicycle riders and those playing sports.
For the Strawns, the most alarming thing they’ve encountered so far was the discovery of several discarded hypodermic needles left under an underpass.
The Strawns say they believe their presence as volunteers reinforces the perception that Santee’s parks are family friendly and safe.
“We want women who walk their babies down here on the trail to feel safe,” Laqueta  said.
“And they do,” Gary added. “They’re down here with their strollers and kids. It’s good to see that.”
To adequately cover the 10 river trail segments in Santee, the foundation needs another 15 to 25 volunteers, said Richie Aguilera, a volunteer coordinator for the River Park Foundation.
“We’d like to have a diverse group of people, but we’d love anyone’s help,” said Aguilera.
In addition to attending the brief orientation workshop, volunteers are asked to commit  to walk one or more sections of the San Diego River Trail one each week and to do it for at least three months.
“We want them to get something out of it,” he said. “We want it to be a fun experience as well as a way to get involved in the community.”

You can volunteer for Park Watch by contacting the San Diego River Park Foundation via email at volunteer @sandiegoriver.org or by calling them at (619) 297-7380.