La Mesa News Briefs – Jan. 27, 2017

Streetscape project wins award

At their annual holiday mixer and Urban Forestry Awards banquet in December, The San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council (SDRUFC) recognized the city of La Mesa’s Downtown Streetscape Project.

The project received accolades for Best Innovative Urban Forest Project for its innovative use of silva-cells along La Mesa Boulevard. Silva-cells are the metal grates found around the tree trunks when they are planted in sidewalks or along any paved surface.

Other winners included the Tree San Diego Parks Plus event for Best Community Tree Planting Event or Arbor Day; Global Forest Link for Best Urban Forestry Education Project; Bruce Englebert and Cynthia Irmer for the Trees and Water Award; and Anne Fege for Best San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council Representative.

SDRUFC is a coalition of agencies, businesses and educators that work to improve and support urban forests and urban greening to make communities “cleaner, healthier and more prosperous,” according to a press statement from the organization.

San Diego Foundation offers scholarships

The San Diego Foundation has announced that hundreds of scholarship awards are available for San Diego students pursuing their dreams of higher education. The 2017-2018 Common Scholarship Application is available online now until Feb. 1, 2017 at 2 p.m.

The Community Scholarship Program, the largest in the region outside of the university system, provides a variety of scholarships to high school students, current college students, graduate students and adult re-entry students. Since 1997, the program has awarded more than $26 million to thousands of students.

“According to U.S. Census data, 35.7 percent of San Diegans 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher,” said Kathlyn Mead, president and CEO of The San Diego Foundation in a press statement. “While many individuals choose to enter the workforce immediately, we want to give everyone the opportunity to pursue higher education if they so choose. The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship Program strives to ensure the cost of college is not a limiting factor to academic success. Thanks to philanthropy, we are making higher education more accessible and attainable for all San Diegans.”

Using one online application, students can access more than 100 types of scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year, with awards generally ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Awards are granted to four-year universities, two-year colleges, graduate, or trade/vocational schools.

The Common Scholarship Application can be accessed at For more information about the scholarship process, please contact

Nominate a nurse

School nurses take care of children’s boo-boos and tummy aches while they are away from their parents during the day. And now there is a way to give back and take care of them for a change.

Pfizer, the maker of Children’s Advil, Children’s Robitussin and Children’s Dimetapp, recently launched a contest to find America’s Greatest School Nurse.

Until Feb. 23, parents can nominate their favorite school caregiver. One nurse form each 50 states and Washington D.C. will be chosen as finalists and each will receive $500. Then from March 27 to April 16, people from across the country will vote for their favorite of the 51 nurses who they think is most deserving the title.

The title winner will also be rewarded a trip for themselves and up to three guests to a continental U.S. destination of choice for eight days.

Emmerson tapped for Healthcare District board president

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) recently elected its board officers for the 2017 calendar year.

Michael Emerson

La Mesa resident Michael Emerson was elected as board president, Gloria Chadwick as vice president and Virginia Hall, GHD’s newest board member, as secretary. Board member Robert “Bob” Ayres, previous board president since July 2014, was selected by Emerson to serve as board treasurer.

Also serving on the five-member board is Randy Lenac, who also recently joined the board of directors for the Association of California Healthcare Districts as a GHD representative.

“I’m very excited and both honored and privileged as we look ahead and take advantage of opportunities to serve our community,” Emerson said in a press statement. “I have seen firsthand how seriously we take our role of addressing unmet health care needs and monitoring the health care services provided under contract at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Every constituent can feel confident that we are committed to doing our utmost to assure that patients’ needs are met and that reasonable expectations are exceeded.”

Emerson, who joined the GHD board in 2008, is serving for the first time as board president. Emerson also serves on the Grossmont Hospital Corporation (GHC) board of directors, the legal entity for the hospital lease agreement between Sharp HealthCare and GHD.

In addition to serving on the 15-member GHC board, Emerson serves on three GHC committees, including Finance, Facilities and Quality and Safety.

La Mesa Beautiful seeks new members

Following a year of successful events and projects — Annual Plant Sale, Awards Luncheon and clock installation at The Lookout in the Village — La Mesa Beautiful is looking to expand its membership in 2017.

In an email to current members, La Mesa Beautiful said 2016 was a “very successful membership year.” The email also thanked retiring board members Bob and Chloe Bradshaw and Beverly Horton “for investing countless hours over many years to further the goals” of the group.

For information on where to go to get a membership application, interested parties can call Angela Shaw at 619-792-4090 or email

La Mesa Palms under new ownership

The 80-unit La Mesa Palms multifamily community at 4300 Echo Court has new owners. Vista Investment Group LLC recently acquired the apartments for $18.97 million from a private family investor that had owned the property for more than 40 years.

The garden-style apartment complex consists of 20 four-plex buildings with spacious two- and three-bedroom units that average 1,100 square feet. The property was 92.5 percent occupied at the time of closing.

“The previous owner has been an excellent steward of the property, but little has been done to improve the asset to stay current with market trends. We believe we can add significant value with a thoughtful renovation and professional management, he said.”

Vista will implement a multimillion dollar capital improvement program that will begin with upgrading the buildings’ exteriors and grounds, as well as the interior renovation of vacant units. Unit upgrades will include quartz countertops, vinyl wood plank flooring, and stainless steel appliances. Other units will be renovated as turnover permits, according to Barach.

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