La Mesa News Briefs – April 22, 2016

Cops nab suspect in taxi heist

Thanks to swift action by La Mesa Police, a suspect in an armed robbery of a taxi driver has been apprehended.

In the early morning hours of April 13, police received a 911 call from a taxi driver who reported that a passenger pointed a gun at him because he didn’t want to pay the fare and then ran away.

La Mesa Police arrived in minutes and quickly found suspect Armando Rivera, age 26, hiding behind a utility box in the 5700 block of Lake Murray Boulevard.

Rivera was identified by the taxi driver and then arrested for robbery and booked into the San Diego County Central Jail.

The taxi driver was not injured during the stick-up, however the gun used is still outstanding, police report.

Training for babysitters

The city of La Mesa will host a Babysitting Training Class on May 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center.

The class is meant to be a fun, hands-on course for young people ages 11 to 16 to learn how to become better prepared babysitters.

Participants will learn and practice infant care skills using dolls. Topics covered in the class include: babysitter responsibilities, sitter safety, diapering procedures, how to recognize an emergency, CPR and basic first aid. The classes also include a booklet from the American Safety & Health Institute, a certificate of completion from the course and a starter first-aid kit.

Register online at For more information or assistance with registration, contact the Community Services Department at 619-667-1300 or

Excellence in performing and visual arts

La Mesa resident and UC San Diego Professor of Visual Arts Anya Gallaccio was one of six faculty members honored for excellence at the 42nd annual Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Awards on April 14.

“I applaud this year’s Faculty Excellence Award recipients for their unique vision and unwavering dedication to our campus and community,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. In a press statement prior to the awards ceremony. “These six faculty members are extending our realms of knowledge through their research, enriching the student learning experience and making significant strides toward equity and inclusion in our community.”

Anya Gallaccio is a world-renowned sculptor whose work transforms the nature of its medium. She emerged in London’s art scene in the 1990s, has taught around the world, and has earned more than 50 solo exhibitions.  Her work is represented in permanent collections from the United Kingdom to Australia. On campus she serves as a graduate advisor and is a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.

“Professor Gallaccio is one of the most gifted artists of her generation, and her work is acclaimed by museums, collectors, curators and critics throughout the world,” said Jack Greenstein, professor and chair of the Department of Visual Arts. “The fact that so many public art institutions support her work is a revealing indicator of the demand for the kind of experience her art inspires.”

Award candidates are nominated by their academic peers, with final selection by a committee comprising Chancellor’s Associates donors. Criteria for selection are based on faculty member achievements, reputation and impact on students and the academic community.

Career expo at Cuyamaca College

More than 50 employers from throughout the region will converge on Cuyamaca College May 4 to recruit applicants for an array of available jobs during the 2016 East County Career Expo.

Among those taking part in the Expo are Heaviland Landscape Management, Scantibodies Biologics, the Grossmont Union High School District, the YMCA of San Diego County, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

“Employers are looking to hire and there are plenty of opportunities for people to find jobs or move into a new career,” said Kate Miller, Cuyamaca College’s Career and Technical Education Support Specialist in a press release. “This is a wonderful opportunity to find out what is available and introduce yourself to company representatives.”

And that means leaving the T-shirts and shorts at home. Miller suggests dressing in business attire, even if the job you’re looking for calls for more casual clothing. “You want to make a good first impression,” she said.

Previous career expos at Cuyamaca College have attracted employers ranging from Taylor Guitars to Viejas Casino & Resort to Iron Workers Local 229. More than 100 interviews and job offers emanated from last year’s event.

This year’s event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is sponsored by Cuyamaca College and the East County Career Center. It will be held at Cuyamaca College’s Student Center, Room I-207, 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway, in Rancho San Diego.

A special College Hour presentation entitled “Success in the New Economy,” that will offer career tips and detail a forecast of jobs available in and around San Diego, will take place from noon to 1 p.m.

The 2016 East County Career Expo is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Kate Miller at 619-660-4695 or Companies interested in participating in the Career Expo can register at

Job seekers looking for tips in advance of the Career Expo will have ample opportunity during upcoming workshops at Cuyamaca College. Among them:

Interviewing Techniques, an April 18 session with career advisor and employment development specialist Erica Olmos.

Social Networking for Career Success, an April 28 session with Cuyamaca College Internship Developer Ali Mohareri.

Navigating the Career Expo, a May 2 session with Susan Roberts of the East County Career Center.

All sessions will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Room A-221 at Cuyamaca, and all are free and open to Cuyamaca College students and the public. Additional resources and tips can be found at .

East County Education Alliance wins innovation award

A partnership between a college district and high school district in San Diego’s East County to provide a smoother path to college and a career has received a national Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The East County Education Alliance (ECEA) is a joint venture between the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and the Grossmont Union High School District designed to encourage collaboration between the two institutions so high school students are better informed about their college and career options. A major initiative was announced last year to provide a free year of classes at Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges to qualifying high school graduates.

“The ECEA, with its collaborative teamwork-aligning curricula in English, math, English as a Second Language, and career pathways, is helping high school students be better prepared as they climb the educational ladder,” said Cindy Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District in a press statement.

The scholarship – the first of its kind in San Diego County – will be available starting with the class of 2019 to GUHSD graduates who have at least a 2.0 grade point average. Students must also have at least a two-year residency in the GUHSD territory; have completed a Higher Edge Action Plan; have completed a College Success course provided by the colleges’ counseling programs; have an introduction to college by completion of a college/high school dual enrollment course; have taken part in college engagement events; or completed a Higher Edge boot camp.

Students must start college within one year after high school graduation and enroll at least half time in college and remain academically eligible.

To get the word out, the ECEA will host presentations at the 12 Grossmont Union High School District schools this spring. Parent workshops, including those in Spanish and Arabic, will also be conducted. A notification will be sent to all current high school freshmen outlining the Higher Edge scholarship.

Future plans call for the program to be extended to all East County high schools. For more information about the Higher Edge scholarship and to get involved in the work of the ECEA, go to

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