La Mesa News Briefs – June 23, 2017

Local named Jewish Family Service chair

Marie Raftery, businesswoman and philanthropist from La Mesa, was named chair of the Jewish Family Service (JFS), Board of Directors during JFS’ Annual Meeting Luncheon on June 13.

JFS, located at 8804 Balboa Ave, is a nonprofit human service agency in San Diego that aims to provide services for community members.

Raftery previously served as director of the UCLA Dental Clinic and then opened her own Dental Practice Management Corp. After that, she opened and managed 10 offices spanning San Diego County. She has since then sold all but one of her offices, and was recently introduced to JFS by a friend.

Marie Raftery (Courtesy JFS)

“I saw how JFS served the whole community, from children and parents with its parenting programs and BigPals, all the way through to services for seniors with its nutrition and On the Go programs,” said Raftery in a press release. “I knew from my dental offices that when you serve the entire family, you can stay connected and that’s what JFS does.”

And so, she served as chair for the JFS Development Committee and its “Friends of the Family” campaign. Since joining JFS, Raftery also started the David Rubenstein Memorial Scholarship program with her partner Dr. Robert Rubenstein. The scholarship annually grants 15-20 scholarships of up to $2,500.

In addition to Raftery, Sheldon Derezin, CPA, CFP; Gregg Kornfeld and Joel Smith were also added to the board.

For more information about JFS, visit

City shuts down illegal dispensary

The La Mesa City Attorney’s’ office has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to shut down Herbal Trust, an illegal marijuana dispensary located at 6903 University Ave.

Judge Pollack, Judge of the Superior Court in San Diego, ordered that within 10 days, city officials like the La Mesa Police Department must be allowed to perform shutdown inspections in compliance with the La Mesa Municipal Code.

Herbal Trust has been under fire from La Mesa citizens and businesses for excessive noise, littering, public marijuana smoking, and drug paraphernalia found near a preschool according to La Mesa City Attorney Glenn Sabine.

The dispensary is the 15th illegal marijuana dispensary the La Mesa has shut in the past two years.

Rotary Club gives awards

On Wednesday, June 7, The Rotary Club of La Mesa located at 4975 Memorial Drive honored local groups and individuals during its lunch meeting.

President Steven Looser and Dani Womack honored Officer Tim Cook of the La Mesa Police Department as Officer of the Year with a check for $250, a plaque and gift certificates to local La Mesa Businesses.

(l to r) La Mesa Rotary president Steven Looser, LMPD officer Tim Cook and Dani Womack (Courtesy La Mesa Rotary)

Additionally, Jerry Troyes from Urban Street Angels was honored as part of the La Mesa Rotary Charitable Giving Campaign. At the event, Looser and Marsha Starr, club sponsor, presented Troyes with a $750 check.

Shannon Murphy, Camp Director of the Davis Family YMCA was at the event where the Davis YMCA was given $1,000 for their summer programs by Looser and Rotarian Rob Sauvajot.

The Rotary Club of La Mesa also donated $750 to La Mesa Parks and Rec.

Grossmont Union High School District saves money going green

Grossmont Union High School District has projected savings from conservation projects and utility management to reach around $1.2 million in annual utility cost savings.  The projects are funded through California’s Proposition 39 or The Clean Energy Act, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), and include photovoltaic installations, consolidation of the number of utility meters, lighting retrofit projects, and energy storage batteries to offset peak demand.

“The use of alternative energy resources helps contribute to a cleaner environment for our schools and community while also helping us to reduce utility costs,” said Robert Shield, president of the Governing Board for the Grossmont Union High School District in a press release. “Our energy conservation projects are in place for all the right reasons. It’s not just about saving money, it’s also about being good stewards of our natural resources.”

Grossmont Union High School District is also GUHSD is exploring several other strategies for resource conservation, including wireless thermostats, refrigeration energy monitors, computer energy monitors, sports lighting control and intelligent HVAC systems.

For more information on The Clean Energy Act, visit

La Mesa volunteers honored

The city of La Mesa celebrated 10 community members on May 25 for their volunteerism. Nine of the members have donated 1,000 hours to the city and one volunteered 5,000.

Barbara Allen, George Bartz, Dick Braun, John Flores, Alfred Mills, Rosemary Monroe, Henry Sidels, Michael Sparks, and Mary Rodgers have volunteered 1,000 hours to the city and Sandi Burnworth has volunteered 5,000.

Summit Transmission, a member of La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, gave gift certificates to the community volunteers and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce gave each volunteer a gift envelope.

Chick-fil-A opens on Parkway

The first Chick-fil-A in La Mesa was opened at 8200 Parkway Drive on June 22, bringing 100 jobs to the area.

The new 4,500-square-foot Grossmont Chick-fil-A restaurant has a two-story interactive indoor play area for children, free Wi-Fi, dual drive-thru ordering lanes with screens, a Chick-fil-A One App parking spot and pick-up area and a combined dining room and outdoor seating for 150 people.

Fans began lining up 24 hours before the opening in hopes of being one of the first 100 customers. As part of a 13-year-old tradition, the first 100 adults who walked in the door at 6 a.m. for its opening were given free Chick-Fil-A for a year.

Customers camp in front of new Chick-fil-A restaurants to be one of the hundred who get free sandwiches for a year. (Courtesy Chick-fil-A)

“It’s always been my desire to be a part of a community where I could create jobs, invest in youth, and be a positive influence to everyone I come in contact with,” said franchise owner Rick Preciado, who is now the first Hispanic Operator in the San Diego area, in a press release.

Also during the opening, 10,000 meals for Feeding Children Everywhere were packed to be delivered to local organizations and on Wednesday and Thursday of grand opening week, books were collected for a children’s book drive. The donated books will be placed in a 3-foot Book House as a free library exchange at a local organization. Since 2014, Chick-fil-A has collected at least 41,177 books that have all been donated to local organizations in 43 states and Washington, D.C.

Preciado will be working closely with his family: his daughter Rebecca will be the marketing director and his son, Ricky and daughter; Sophie will both be a team member.

Chick-fil-A will have a full-service menu with breakfast until 10:30 a.m., and will be open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will be closed on Sundays.

La Mesa student awarded scholarship

Back in May, Point Loma Credit Union awarded Meghana Reddy a $2,500 scholarship.

Reddy is a star student at Francis Parker School, a La Mesa resident, and founder of Limbs with Love which is a nonprofit that prints 3D limbs for children in third world countries. Reddy, who is interested in medicine and technology, plans to attend Stanford University and earn a double major in Computational Biology and Technology and a minor in business.

“My future lies in serving the community at large. I know that this passion will follow me throughout my life and manifest itself even during my undergraduate years. I intend to bring innovative solutions in science and technology to help people,” Reddy said for a press release.

Additionally, this scholarship allows Reddy to be eligible for additional rewards of $1,000 for her sophomore, junior and senior years if she maintains a full course load with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Reddy is one of three winners in Point Loma Credit Union’s 20th Annual Scholarship program.

Organist celebrates 50 years with church

La Mesa resident Valerie Victor is celebrating her 50th year as an organist and pianist for United Church of Christ of La Mesa (UCCLM) located at 5940 Kelton Ave.

Victor was born in National City and started playing piano there when she was 7. A year later she was told not to return to piano class because she was too good.

After that, Victor was her teacher’s private student for the next seven years. Then she began playing the organ for Lemon Grove Congregational church at age 14 and moving to East San Diego Presbyterian church when she was 18.

Valorie Victor (Courtesy UCCLM)

Victor began playing for UCCLM in June 1967 and also worked for the Grossmont and Cajon Valley School Districts, playing for high school glee clubs and choirs, as well as Greenfield Elementary’s musical theater group.

The people of UCCLM will celebrate Victor with a musical service at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 25 at the church, located at 5940 Kelton Ave.

Women’s Club awards scholarships

La Mesa Women’s Club awarded Grossmont Union High School District seniors scholarships as part of a 41-year tradition for the club.

The recipients of the five $1,000 scholarships were Jillian Dawson from Grossmont High School located at 1100 Murray Drive, Gabrielle Root from Helix High School located at 323 University Ave, Ellen Thompson from Mt. Miguel High School located at 8585 Blossom Lane, Jennifer Fox from Valhalla High School located at 1725 Hillsdale Road and Kalen Jennings from El Capitan High School located at 10410 Ashwood St.

Students were selected by their grade-point average, aptitude test scores, essay quality, class rank, extracurricular activities, community involvement, courses taken and future goals.

La Mesa Women’s Club awards scholarships every year. Application forms can be obtained from Grossmont Union High School District high school counseling departments in March and can be sent to Marjoree Howard-Hartman, chair of the La Mesa Women’s Club Education committee at P.O. Box 1061, El Cajon, CA 92022.

Local earns prestigious credential

Donna Chevalier, La Mesa resident and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, earned the prestigious Registered Play Therapist (RPT) credential conferred by the Association for Play Therapy (APT).

In order to become an RPT, Chevalier had to have earned a traditional master’s or higher mental health degree, 150 hours of play therapy training, two years and 2,000 hours of clinical experience, 500 hours of supervised play therapy experience and be licensed or certified by California state boards of practice.

Additional information about PAT can be found at

Hospital announces new director of Women’s Services

Shirley Gardner, RN, BSN, MBA and La Mesa Resident was appointed the new Director of Women’s Services for Sharp Grossmont Hospital located at 55 Grossmont Center Drive.

As director, Gardner will oversee the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Women’s Health Center, which was honored a Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s best hospitals for obstetrics in 2016 and delivers about 4,000 babies each year.

Gardner has 25 years of nursing experience, progressive leadership experience and expertise in labor and delivery, antepartum, mother/baby care, neonatal intensive care, gynecological surgery, pediatrics, lactation and nursing administration.

Shirley Gardner (Courtesy Sharp Grossmont Hospital)

“Ms. Gardner will be an outstanding asset to our hospital. Her sound leadership qualities, clinical experience and commitment to excellence demonstrated throughout her career will greatly benefit our patients and enhance the care for the women’s population in our community,” said Louise White, chief nursing officer/vice president of Patient Care Services at Sharp Grossmont for a press release.

Gardner previously worked at the Fountain Valley Medical Center as interim director for Labor and Delivery, Obstetrics, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatrics. Prior to that she was the director for Perinatal Services at Kaiser Permanente.

Additionally, Gardner has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winona State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Rockville University. Gardner is also a member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

For more information about Sharp Grossmont Hospital, visit or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277).

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