La Mesa News Briefs – June 22, 2018

Photo contest to ‘Dine, Shop and Explore’ La Mesa

The city of La Mesa is inviting residents and businesses to participate in its first ever Dine, Shop, Explore Social Media Photo Contest, to be held July 6–8.

“La Mesa has always had a special charm, but recently we have seen an influx of new and trendy businesses which are mixing with the established ones to create an even more vibrant community,” said La Mesa City Manager, Yvonne Garrett in a press release. “This social media contest is a fun way to share your unique La Mesa experiences, whether it be familiar favorites or new memories.”

(Photo by Callie Morgan)

Taking place over three days, the contest will inspire participants to showcase their most creative La Mesa experiences. Participants will be asked to take three pictures showing how they dine, shop, and explore La Mesa. The six best and most creative entries will each receive gift cards ranging from $25–100. Businesses in turn will offer exclusive discounts, giveaways and special experiences, when feasible.

To enter, participants must select a social media platform — Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Then participants will take three creative photos — one while ding in la Mesa, one while shopping in La Mesa and one exploring the city. Photos must be uploaded using the appropriate hashtags — #DineLaMesa, #ShopLaMesa and #ExploreLaMesa. All photos must be shared.

Entries much be posted by 11:59 p.m. July 8. Posting all three photos is required for valid entry. Purchase not necessary. For more contest rules and prize information please visit

Nainsook hosts heART of Mt. Helix juried art show

Dan and Roz Oserin, owners of Nainsook Framing + Art, will once again host the juried art show for the heART of Mt. Helix event that benefits Mt. Helix Park. All winning artwork will be displayed at Nainsook Gallery July 14 through Aug. 25 and for sale at the heART of Mt. Helix event on Saturday, Aug. 11 from 5 to 11 p.m. They will also host the artists’ reception on July 14, 6–8 p.m. at Nainsook. The reception is free and open to the public.

This year’s judge for the juried art show is local, award-winning watercolor artist Elaine Harvey. Top honors include first place with a cash award of $350, second place with a cash award of $250, and third place with a cash award of $150, as well as two honorable mentions and one people’s choice award. All winners will receive one complimentary ticket to the heART event.

Last year’s contest drew 14 artists and 25 paintings and this year, organizers hope to draw even more. New to this year’s contest is the addition of photography.

The contest is open to all artists. Works must be related to Mt. Helix — either the park, people or events. Accepted mediums include oil, pastel, acrylic, watercolor, pencil, ink, charcoal and photography.

All entries are due to Nainsook Framing + Art, located at 8130 La Mesa Blvd. in downtown La Mesa, on Friday, July 6, 2018 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., with a completed entry form and entry fee. To download an entry form, visit the Mt. Helix Park website’s “heART of Mt. Helix” page at

Ms. Jessica and coach Kerry making pizza’s (Courtesy Ajenda Public Relations)

Papa John’s raises money for Harriet Tubman Village

Harriet Tubman Village Charter School teamed up with Papa John’s La Mesa store, 6925 El Cajon Blvd., to fundraise for important educational programs for the students on June 6. Students, parents and community members participated by ordering takeout or delivery from Papa John’s La Mesa.

After school, Ms. Jessica, Harriet Tubman Charter School’s classroom aide and reading specialist, and Coach Kerry were on location to toss some dough around and make pizzas for the students and families who came out to support the cause.

Ms. Jessica has worked at Harriet Tubman for two years and Coach Kerry has coached the basketball team for the past seven years. Papa John’s pledged to donate 20 percent of the store’s sales that day to the school’s Parent Teacher Committee, which funds programs for the students.

Summer food program feeds kids for free

This summer, free meals for children will be served at The Salvation Army Kroc Center Education Garden, 6845 University Ave. in San Diego. The program started June 18 and runs to Aug. 24, Mondays through Fridays, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There are no income requirements or registration. Any child under age 18 may come to eat. Lunch for adults is available for purchase.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites. For more information, contact 619-269-1540 or visit

Oasis recognized by Harrah’s Resort Southern California

On June 8, San Diego Oasis, an award-winning nonprofit organization that promotes successful and healthy aging, with office locations in Escondido and La Mesa, was awarded a $15,000 grant from Harrah’s Resort Southern California. The grant was part of Harrah’s All-In-4-Change event and was rewarded to Oasis for its intergenerational literacy tutoring program that encourages older adults to work with at-risk children to improve reading skills and self-esteem in Title 1-designated elementary schools throughout San Diego.

San Diego Oasis received a $15,000 grant from Harrah’s (Courtesy San Diego Oasis)

“We are so thankful to Harrah’s Southern California and the Rincon Tribal Council for their generosity,” said Simona Valanciute, president and CEO of San Diego Oasis in a press release. “Recognizing excellence at San Diego Oasis confirms the importance of programs for older adults that emphasize lifelong learning, healthy living and community engagement. We strongly believe in providing opportunities for our older adults to stay engaged, active and motivated to prevent isolation and sedentary behaviors. Our members socialize, learn, keep moving and give back to their communities.”

San Diego Oasis also offers over 1,800 classes and activities throughout the year including lectures and sessions in health and wellness, exercise and dance, arts and crafts, history and humanities, finance, technology, languages and personal development at over 35 partner locations.

To register for these classes or for more information, call 619-881-6262 or visit

La Mesa Woman’s Club announces scholarship winners

For the past 42 years, La Mesa Woman’s Club has awarded college scholarships to high school seniors from Grossmont Union High School District schools.

This year’s recipients of the $1,000 scholarships are: Natalie Harmer from Grossmont High School, Brandon Taing and Kimberly McAdams from Santana High School, Alina Leholm and Kaitlyn Medland from West Hills High School and Alexander Berg from Helix High School.

Winners were selected on the basis of grade point average, scholastic aptitude test (SAT) scores, quality of essay, class ranking, extracurricular activities, community involvement and counselor comments according to Marjoree Howard-Hartman, chair of the La Mesa Woman’s Club Education Committee.

For more information on La Mesa scholarships, visit

MTS launches new high-frequency bus schedules

Speed, efficiency and reliability are primary motives behind 26 bus route scheduling changes made by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) that took effect on June 10. The schedule changes are part of the agency’s Transit Optimization Plan (TOP).

“The changes … are the second phase of TOP, a plan that improves speed of service and better meets the market’s demand,” said MTS CEO Paul Jablonski in a press release. “People asked for better bus frequency. We are providing it.”

Key changes to some of the busiest routes in the MTS bus system include:

Route 7 (Downtown San Diego, Balboa Park, North Park, City Heights, Redwood Village):

Schedule is increased to operate every 10 minutes in both directions (instead of every 6 or 12 minutes, depending on direction).

Route 12 (East Village, Barrio Logan, Southcrest, Skyline Hills):

Saturday frequency increased from 30 minutes to 20 minutes.

Route 13 (National City, Lincoln Park, Chollas View, City Heights, Grantville, Allied Gardens):

Weekday frequency is increased from 15 minutes to 12 minutes. Morning and evening service added between 24th Street Transit Center and Euclid Transit Center.

Route 833 (El Cajon, Santee):

Early morning trips added.

Route 852 (Redwood Village, Rolando, La Mesa, Grossmont):

New route that operates every 30 minutes, seven days per week.

Route 962 (National City, Paradise Hills, Bay Terraces, Spring Valley):

Service increased to every 15 minutes on weekdays and 30 minutes on weekends

In January, MTS implemented the first phase of TOP scheduling changes, which included increased frequency on six routes. MTS is allocating an additional $2 million to fund the expanded service that will be paid partially by SB 1 gas tax funds.

Passengers are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and be aware of the changes. All the bus route changes can be found at:

La Mesa PD hosts youth leadership camp

Twenty-two students from Helix Charter and Grossmont High Schools participated in the La Mesa Police Department’s seventh annual Youth Leadership Camp June 18–21.

The camp is open to incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors. It is structured to provide leadership training and life-enhancing skills, personal development training, academic enrichment, team building, and to teach responsibility to one’s family and community.

Students take in a demonstration by La Mesa Police Department’s Special Response Team. (Courtesy GUHSD)

Students participated in activities that included classroom instruction and scenarios, athletic and academic challenges (team and individual), and field trips to volunteer and perform community service work.

La Mesa Police Department’s Special Response Team (SRT/SWAT) also staged a demonstration where students observed all of the equipment and how it is used. Additionally, students received a demonstration by a K9 officer and visited the Sheriff’s STREA helicopter base at Gillespie Field.

Students kayaked at La Jolla Cove and took a physical challenge on the high ropes course at the Kroc Center, along with other leadership activities led by SDSU’s Aztec Adventures.

The four-day camp culminated in a BBQ dinner for students and parents that included a slideshow of pictures taken during the week and graduation ceremony.

GUHSD sustainability initiatives help save money

For four years, Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) has ramped up efforts to reduce the consumption of energy and water at its 12 high schools and adult school facility by implementing energy and resource management strategies. By installing solar, battery storage and high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning units (HVAC), the District has cut electricity and gas utility costs by nearly $2 million annually, and forecasts saving more than $70 million over the next 25 years as planned energy conservation projects are completed.

A battery storage unit being installed at a GUHSD school (Courtesy GUHSD)

“Utility costs are generally the second-largest budget item after employee salaries. By reducing the energy use of our buildings, employing innovative technologies to help us be better stewards of our natural resources, and improving how we as employees can help conserve energy, we can effectively improve those bottom-line costs,” said Dr. Tim Glover, GUHSD superintendent in a press release. “By reducing utility and building management costs, we are able to direct more financial resources to instruction and the classroom.”

Annual district-wide utility costs typically top $5.5 million, including $4.6 million in electrical costs, approximately $714,000 in water and sewer fees, and approximately $253,000 in gas costs.

Since last year, GUHSD has completed installations of solar panel carports at eight campuses, including Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, bringing to date a total of nine campuses harnessing solar energy. An additional four systems scheduled for this summer could realize a total of $70.5 million in utility cost savings over the next 25 years.

Most recently, the district piloted the use of an advanced energy storage technology for walk-in coolers and freezers; a specially formulated gel pack that resulted in an 18 percent energy consumption reduction by the compressors used in the coolers. The data was so compelling that the district has purchased an additional 12 units for deployment.

The district has found one of the strongest allies for energy conservation and reduced consumption to be its students and employees. Its “Conserving and Reducing Energy” (CARE) program launched this year, framing messaging about conservation and utility management with a friendly, collaborative tone.

Learn more about GUHSD energy conservation at

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