La Mesa News Briefs – March 25, 2016

Smart & Final opens on Avocado

On Wednesday, March 16, Smart & Final held a grand opening at its new La Mesa location at 3681 Avocado Ave. In addition to a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the store also presented $2,500 checks to La Mesa National League and to Journey Food Bank.

Smart & Final took over the space briefly occupied by a Haggen store, after that company shuttered all of the San Diego locations it had acquired as a result of the Vons and Albertsons merger.

S & FAccording to a press release from Smart & Final, the new La Mesa store and a new store in Chula Vista will “create more than 100 new jobs for the area.”

The new stores will feature full produce sections, organic and natural food products, high-quality perishables and meats, and a wide variety of Smart & Final’s First Street private label products. While supplies last, customers will receive free reusable bags with their purchases.

Normal business hours for the new Smart & Final are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

Police crack down on selling alcohol to minors

Last July, the La Mesa Police Department was awarded a $34,363 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol-related crime. The grant is one of 44 awarded throughout California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP). The grants allow local law enforcement efforts to combine the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents to arrest adults who furnish alcohol to minors, according to a press release from the La Mesa Police Department.

On March 12, a shoulder-tap operation was conducted in the city of La Mesa. During this operation, minor decoys were used to stand outside of convenience stores and solicit customers to buy them alcohol. If the customer agreed and furnished the minor decoy with alcohol, undercover officers would make an arrest.

During this operation, seven La Mesa convenience store locations were visited and 22 customer contacts were made by the minor decoys. Two arrests were made for furnishing alcohol to a minor.

In addition to the shoulder-tap operation, La Mesa detectives and ABC agents also made 31 inspections of La Mesa liquor stores and establishments that serve alcohol to ensure their compliance with California laws and safety regulations.

The La Mesa Police Department and ABC will continue these types of operations through July.

City seeks volunteer commissioners, board members 

The city of La Mesa is seeking La Mesa residents who are interested in serving their community by becoming a member of a city board or commission.

Applications are now being accepted for openings on the Aging and Veterans Commission, Building Codes Review Board, Community Services Commission, Design Review Board, Environmental Sustainability Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Human Relations Advisory Commission, Community Parking Commission, Personal Appeals Board, Planning Commission, Traffic Commission and Youth Advisory Commission.

Each advisory group has specific roles and responsibilities and most of the groups meet once a month for a couple of hours.

Some of these positions require specific residency, professional or other requirements.

Applications must be submitted the City Clerk’s office no later than 5:30 p.m. on June 2. Interviews for all board or commission positions are tentatively scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 28, except for the Youth Advisory Commission, which will be held sometime in September.

Applications and further information about each board or commission are available at on the Boards & Commissions page or by visiting the City Clerk’s office at City Hall, located at 8130 Allison Ave.

For more information, contact the City Clerk’s office at 619-667-1120. 

Local senior facility honored

Everyone at the Waterford Terrace works hard to provide a superior experience for residents and their family members, but often the hard work of caregiving in a senior living home goes unnoticed. Not so this year. just released their Best of 2016 Awards and Waterford Terrace was one of the few to make the list.

Earning a Best of Senior Living Award is an especially important honor because the awards aren’t arbitrarily chosen by some committee — they’re based on over 100,000 reviews and ratings provided by seniors and their loved ones. the ratings of actual residents and their loved ones.

That many ratings provide them with a lot of data on what people think. They put that data to good use each year by helping seniors and caregivers looking to find a good assisted living home, a quick snapshot of the country’s best options. To identify the best, they narrow the list of senior-care providers included on the website to those that have earned at least a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from reviewers.

The resulting winners are the best of the best. Only about 1 percent of the nation’s senior living facilities make the cut.


Miss La MesaNew Miss and Miss Teen La Mesa crowned

On March 5, the city of La Mesa held its annual pageant. This tradition allows young women to compete in various categories such as public speaking and written essays, and it also chooses Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and a new category, Facebook Fan Favorite.

The pageant is an excellent mentoring program for the young women chosen because they serve as ambassadors for a year and represent La Mesa and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce at many community and public events. This year’s Miss La Mesa is Susanna Wiggins who will serve with Miss Teen La Mesa, Jennifer Barillas.

Wiggins is a 20-year-old junior at San Diego State University where she is working on a degree in business hospitality. She is involved in her Delta Gamma Sorority as well as the La Mesa Rotary. Wiggins is also a San Diego Gulls Ice Girl, attending community events, promoting the San Diego Gulls, and interacting with fans during the game. Wiggins is a serious student and recently received a perfect score on her calculus final. She also enjoys photography, baking, hiking and yoga in her spare time. Wiggins will be an excellent representative for the business community and the city this coming year.

Barillas is a 16-year-old student at Helix High School. She has already made a mark on the world by creating a book drive for Ghana called the The Gold Coast Initiative and she aspires to become a human rights lawyer.

Involved in numerous organizations on campus at Helix High School, Barillas enjoys singing, swimming, playing golf and belly dancing. Her passion for service will serve her well as she represents the community this coming year.

La Mesa had five contestants running for the crown of Miss La Mesa between the ages of 19 and 22 and six young ladies wanting to serve as the Miss Teen La Mesa between the ages of 13 and 17.

In addition to being chosen to serve the community as Miss La Mesa or Miss Teen La Mesa, contestants competed in several other categories and took home special awards that were chosen by the judges, the official photographer and their peers. The winners in those categories from our La Mesa contestants are: Miss La Mesa Photogenic, Jasmine Lowery; Miss La Mesa Speech Award, Susanna Wiggins; and Miss Teen Speech Award, Victoria Chott.

Tiffany Hoffman, the outgoing Miss La Mesa, and Kaitilyn Mayhue, the outgoing Miss Teen, were presented gifts and a special “jewel” award from the La Mesa Chamber for their year of service; as well as flowers from the city of La Mesa as recognition for their year of commitment.

Grossmont, Cuyamaca eight-week courses

In a hurry to earn college credits at Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges?

Eight-week courses beginning the week of March 28 are a great way to pick up general education or subject-specialty classes in less time, but at the same affordable cost of regular semester-length classes. The classes ending May 21 offer from one to five credits at a cost of $46 per unit. They consist of traditional, online and hybrid classes, which require both in-classroom and online attendance.

For students looking to complete general education course requirements, classes offered include: Interpersonal Communication, U.S. History, Principles of Macroeconomics, Introductory Psychology, World Religions, Spanish, Public Speaking, History of Rock Music and more.

Other offerings focus on career technical education and specialty areas such as: Principles of Baking and Pastry Making, Perioperative Nursing, Introduction to Administration of Justice, and Introduction to Local Area Networks at Grossmont College; and Business Law, Cisco Networking Academy, Applied Hydraulics, and Advanced Wastewater Plant Operations at Cuyamaca College. Business office training is available in online, self-paced courses such as Essential PowerPoint, Keyboard/Document Processing, and Using Microsoft Outlook. Students can increase their learning power by enrolling in online courses in Career Decision Making, Study Skills, and Time Management.

Lists of class offerings at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are posted at

Grossmont College is located at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego. College applications and online registration are available at and

The deadline for registering is April 1.

Archeology weekend

The Colorado Desert Archaeology Society will be presenting its 13th annual Archaeology Weekend April 2-3 at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center. This event is open to the public, welcoming visitors of all ages and is free of charge.

The theme of this year’s event is “The Cultural Implications of Ancient Lake Cahuilla (The Who, What, When, Where and How of Ancient Lake Cahuilla).”

Most Southern Californians know about our man-made Salton Sea but few understand that intermittently, over thousands of years, there has been a vast natural fresh-water lake in the Salton Trough known as Lake Cahuilla. This valuable resource was utilized by the ancestors of the Cahuilla and Kumeyaay native peoples and others.

Join us and learn more about the ancient history of this area and the people who lived there. There will be activities for children and adults, presentations about the history of Lake Cahuilla, and field trips to fish traps and rock art.

Some of the featured activities include a Native American basket and pottery display and pottery making class; a demonstration of the uses of native plants for food and medicine; a pictograph activity where visitors attempt to decode pictograph stories; a guided tour of the Begole Archeology Lab; and an ice cream social.

For more information, visit the events page on the Anza-Borrego Foundations web site at and scroll down to April 1-2 for a schedule of events.

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