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The Best of East County

BATTY FOR BATS

 

Story by Barbara Loveless

Photos by Barbara Loveless and Cindy Myers

“De bat – he rat got wings – all de children know dat”

December 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - And so goes the chiroptera-phobic Carly Simon song from the 1970s. But all the half-dozen or so children – and about that many adults –who attended “Batty for Bats” at Lakeside River Park Conservancy  know that bats are not even closely related to rats and their ilk. They’re more closely related to … you might want to sit down … well, us!

JUDSON PARK AND THE WHITE GAZEBO

 

Story and photos by Robert Gehr © 2014

December 14, 2014 (El Cajon )--Judson Park (formerly known as Red Cross Park) is a small place to be sure, yet quite popular for the intimate wedding ceremonies held occasionally at the beautifully crafted white gazebo. The park is located at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Park Avenue near downtown El LCajon.

SD TRAILS: NIGHT LIFE ON COWLES MOUNTAIN

 

By Randy Zuniga

December 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - A mountain of a mere 1,594 ft. high borders three cities -- San Diego, Santee, and La Mesa. For some, it's an epic hike accompanied by packs filled with snacks and water. For others, it's a quick jog up and a small water bottle waiting for them back at their car. No matter who you are -- everyone seems to love this mountain.

A BEARY MERRY CHRISTMAS AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE

 

Bobbi Brink, founder of the rescue facility in Alpine (photo, left) works to save bears and other exotic animals from canned hunts and cub petting operations in U.S.

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 5, 2014 (Alpine) – East County Magazine stopped by  Lions, Tigers and Bears this week for a sneak-preview of the brand new bear enclosure that opens this Saturday, December 6th, at the rescue facility’s annual holiday party and fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m.. 

We also got some up-close-and-personal looks at some of the big cats and bears who will be celebrating too—with Christmas trees, holiday packages to rip open and special foods for these special rescued animals—including Cherry Bomb, Teddy, Albert and Baloo —grizzly and Himalayan black bears who will be turned loose into their new two-acre home (albeit a temporary home while an even bigger two-acre preserve is built.)

HEAVENLY VIEWS: MT. LAGUNA OBSERVATORY GETS NEW TELESCOPE

 

November 29, 2014 (Mount Laguna)--There’s a brand new, $1.5 million telescope at the observatory atop Mount Laguna in East County.  Astronomers from San Diego State University, which operates the observatory, will now be able to see farther into the universe than in the past.

CROWD FLOCKS TO MOTHER GOOSE PARADE ALONG NEW ROUTE

 

Story and photos by Robert Gehr © 2014

November 24, 2014 (El Cajon)--Traditionally held on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, this year’s Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon was exciting. The day was lightly overcast with a slight breeze, providing a little relief from the warm midday sun.

SANTEE LAKES FISH REPORT AND TROUT-IN-A-POUCH RECIPE

 

November 10, 2014 (Santee) –Santee Lakes reports that a week after its Trout Opener event, the lakes continue to provide some excellent trout fishing – and more trout stock will be added this Friday around mid-day.  Participants took home not only fish, but prizes including a BMX bike, fishing gear and gift certificates.

POMEGRANATE DAYS AT OASIS CAMEL DAIRY NOV. 22-23

 

November 6, 2014 (Ramona) – One of the most unusual holiday season traditions in East County is coming up: the fourth annual Pomegranate Days celebration at the Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona will be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23 from noon to 5 p.m.

The festivities include camel rides, bird and camel shows, shopping for holiday gifts such as camel’s milk soaps, and the highlight of the event, feeding pomegranates to the camels.

RED-CROWNED AMAZON PARROTS FLOCK TO OUR REGION

 

(Amazona Viridigenalis); also known as Green Cheeked Amazon, Mexican Red-Headed Parrot

By Robert Gehr

October 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Native to Northeastern Mexico, and well established in San Diego’s East County, the Red Crowned Parrot is a gorgeous, yet extremely “vocal” bird. Sadly it is also on the endangered species list. Only an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 are left, and the population appears to be declining even further. Causes which contribute to this are mainly illegal trapping and export, combined with loss of native habitat, caused by forest destruction.

THE KNOX HOUSE MUSEUM, PART II: A LOOK INSIDE

 

By Robert Gehr

 

Knox House Museum

280 N. Magnolia Ave. El Cajon, California

619-444-3800

Open Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (except the 5th Saturday of the month)

www.elcajonhistory.org

September 16, 2014 (El Cajon)--You may have read my last article about a unique place, and a part of El Cajon’s history: www.eastcountymagazine.org/knox-house-museum-offers-glimps-el-cajons-past.  Now, dear readers, I offer you part 2 - accompanied by some photos of the interior of this historic and beautiful building.

KNOX HOUSE MUSEUM OFFERS GLIMPSE INTO EL CAJON'S PAST

 

Story and photos by Robert Gehr

August 29, 2014 (El Cajon)--Built in 1876 by Amaziah Lord Knox, this structure was a hotel and residence combined. It was located near what is now Main St. & Magnolia Avenue in downtown El Cajon. The place provided a comfortable place for weary travelers to spend the night when traversing back and forth from the Julian gold mines to San Diego.

GIL AND NANCY RIEGLER: ANIMAL WHISPERERS IN RAMONA

 

By Mimi Pollack

August 28, 2014 (Ramona) -- Being an animal whisperer is not magic. It is a combination of common sense and tapping into an energy or even spiritual connection that a lucky few have with animals. Gil and Nancy Riegler, owners of the Oasis Dairy Camel Farm in Ramona, have had a special bond with animals since they were young, and it has grown over their many years of working and learning about them.

PRESCOTT PROMENADE PARK & OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN DOWNTOWN EL CAJON

 

 

201 East Main St. - El Cajon, California, www.ci.el-cajon.ca.us

 

Article & photographs by: Robert Gehr - Copyright Ó 2014 by Robert Gehr

 

August 21, 2014 (El Cajon)--Renovated from the ground up, this wonderful park is located in downtown El Cajon at Main St. & Sulzfeld and features plenty of seating - from benches to grassy areas - for a break from the hustle of life. Shade trees, such as the blue flowering Jacaranda, give relief from the hot sun while street noise fades into the background. Sit quietly long enough, and you may see a variety of birds, including ducks from the waterscape across the street, ravens, hummingbirds and an occasional hawk.

RAMONA FUND FOR ANIMALS CENTER IN RAMONA HELPS SAVE LOCAL WILDLIFE

 

 

 

 

Hear our interview at the Ramona Fund for Animals Wildlife Center: http://kiwi6.com/file/6sce6l835w

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 7, 2014 (Ramona) – The Ramona Fund for Animals Wildlife Center is one of only three facilities in San Diego County that rehabilitate injured or ill wildlife for release back into the wild. Currently the Center is nursing back to health two coyote pups found with burned feet during the May wildfires.

The Center, founded by Cleveland Amory, also has some permanent residents that cannot be rereleased, including  a hand-raised captive cougar in these photos (shot through the bars of its enclosure). This mountain lion was reported by a local veterinarian after its owner, who purchased it illegally from out of state, brought the cub in for a “well kitten” checkup.

ALL ABOARD! SOUTHWEST RAILWAY MUSEUM OPENS IN CAMPO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 17, 2014 (Campo) – After years of storage in temporary facilities, an extensive collection of memorabilia and research materials on San Diego’s own railroad history is now available to the public at the new Southwest Railway Library in Campo.

Last weekend, East County Magazine Radio show’s producers rode the rails and interviewed the museum’s archivist.  You can hear our story here:  http://kiwi6.com/file/yku4jfxvdz

At a private VIP party, supporters celebrated a ribbon-cutting at the new museum, toasted its success with champagne, and then road a vintage railway train through East County’s beautiful backcountry.

TOP TEN WAYS TO DELIGHT DAD ON FATHER’S DAY

 

 

 

 

By Jessica Richmond

 

June 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- June 15th  is Father’s Day--a once-a-year special day reserved to honor all of the hard work and love that our fathers have given to us. We at ECM have compiled a list of special activities sure to bring a smile to your father’s face. These fun family outings this weekend in San Diego and East County range from free to a hundred dollars or so, so you’ll find an ideal outing for minimal or a deluxe day with all the lavish trimmings.  

You can take Dad (and the family) to East County’s new “America on Main Street” celebration for free. A family of four could enjoy a day of fishing for under $36 dollars, or savor wine tasting for two with just you and dad for about $15 dollars. Our list also includes free outdoor activities,  movies in the park, a Father’s Day “Man it Up Brunch,” a tour of an architectural treasure, night fishing and more at modest rates--all in East County. Or, if you’re feeling flush in the wallet and willing to venture farther afield to the shores of San Diego, you can treat your father to a once-in-a-life-time adventure of falconry flights, breakfast with Shamu, or a guided kayaking tour.

We hope these options give you some good ideas to delight dear ole’ Dad--and East County Magazine wishes you a safe and happy Father’s Day!

NIGHT FISHING AT SANTEE LAKES

 

May 28, 2014 (Santee Lakes) - If you’re angling for a fish dinner—or just enjoy catch and release, you may want to check out Santee Lakes, where night fishing kicks off on June 12th.   There are a total of six night fishing dates coming up: June 12th and 26th, July 20th and 24th, and August 7th from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Lakes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

KUMEYAAY CAMPGROUND AT MISSION TRAILS HAS REOPENED

 

 

May 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—After being closed or two years due to city budget cuts, Kumeyaay Campground at Mission Trails Regional Park is now open again to campers on Friday and Saturday nights.

The San Diego City Council authorized the funding at the request of Councilmember Scott Sherman, according to an article in the Mission Trails Regional Park newsletter.

WILD IN THE COUNTRY 2014 AT LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS MAY 10

 

May 8, 2014 (Alpine) - Lions, Tigers & Bears, the Alpine non-profit exotic animal sanctuary, invites guests to  “follow the yellow brick road” to its annual Wild in the Country Gala on May 10, from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. The event, held at the sanctuary and open to the public, features a silent and live auction, live entertainment and music, a catered dinner, visits with the big cats and bears, interactions with ranch and farm animals in Animal Encounters and fun for the whole family.

JACUMBA HIKERS ANNOUNCE APRIL HIKES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 10, 2014 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – The weather is warming up and the Jacumba Hikers are hitting the trail, with a trip to Blue Angel’s Peak  and Nopal Peak planned this weekend and more outings later in the month.  For a list of hikes, click here.  To read hiking safety tips, click here.

A MAGICAL MARDI GRAS: THANKS TO OUR READERS AND SPONSORS!

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2014 (Santee) -- Our Mardi Gras celebration at Pinnacle Peak in Santee was a hit - thanks to our wonderful readers, the fabulous Bayou Brothers Band, and our generous donors and sponsors!  Your support will help East County Magazine continue to provide award-winning coverage of important news that matters here in our region -- as well as providing wildfire and emergency alerts.  We're your community media!

Oh, and we do like to put the "fun" in fundraising, too!  Scroll down to see lots more photos of our readers enjoying the festivities -- and if you missed the best party in town, be sure to click "subscribe" (it's free!) at the top right side of our homepage to be added to our email list for future fabulous events.

 

JACUMBA HIKERS SATURDAY HIKE - VALLEY OF THE MOON

 

March 21, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The Jacumba Hikers will hit the trail on Saturday, March 22 to the Valley of the Moon. This trip may include:  Smuggler’s Cave, an old hideout of bandits and smugglers off  I-8 East just past the San Diego/Imperial County line in a high desert area near the Mexican border. We’ll also hike in through the Valley of the Moon, Elliot Mine and Blue Angels Peak Monument.

COUNTY OFFERS TIPS ON 10 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF WATCHING SUPERBOWL THIS SUNDAY

 

January 31, 2014 (San Diego)--If you're not a sports fan--or just can't bear to watch the SuperBowl after the Chargers were excluded, cheer up! While the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks duke it out on the (freezing cold) field in New Jersey this Sunday during Super Bowl XLVIII, San Diego County residents can soak up the sunny weather and take advantage of County activities that totally trump TV touchdowns.

Whether you love hiking, biking or just exploring San Diego, there’s plenty to do across the County this weekend instead of watching the Super Bowl. The County offers ten alternatives; all events take place on Sunday. Most of them are free--and most are in East County.

'TIS THE SEASON TO VISIT ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2014 (Anza Borrego) -- Late winter and early spring are the prime seasons to visit Anza-Borrego Desert State park, when the weather is mild enough for savoing outdoor hikes through rugged and  beautiful terrain.  There are also many activities coming up from hikes to cultural events -- and several organizations offering activities besides the Park itself.  

Winter is a good time to try and spot elusive and endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep and other wildlife.  Soon, spring blooms will cover the desert floor and mountain passes, adding brilliant splashes of color to the landscape.

CELEBRATING THE SEASON: THANKS TO OUR READERS

 

December 19, 2013 (Mount Helix) -- Our "Feasting and Merrymaking" party was a rousing success.  Thanks to all of you who joined in celebrating the holiday season as we continued our tradition of giving back to our community of readers.  (Note: If you wish to receive invitations for our future events, including our upcoming Mardi Gras party, be sure to subscribe--free--to our newsletter at the top right side of the homepage.)

Miss San Diego and Miss San Diego East County greeted our guests and were welcome additions to our party this year.  We also had visits from several elected officials including Congresswoman Susan Davis,  La Mesa Councilwoman Christine Alessio, and Jacumba Planning Group member Howard Cook.

LAKE JENNINGS IS OPEN FOR THE HOLIDAYS

 

November 28, 2013 (Lakeside) – While your east coast relatives are shivering in snowstorms, you can savor the warmth of our California sunshine by enjoying the great outdoors over the holiday season.  Thankfully,  Lake Jennings will be open throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, including Thanksgiving Day. Heads up, students! The lake will also be open during winter break, closing only on Christmas Day, December 25.

Lake Jennings is a popular site for camping, fishing, hiking and picnicking. The campground is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  Camping reservations can be made online at www.lakejennings.org.  Now,  the lake is also available for rental for special events.

AUTUMN ADVENTURES IN THE ANZA BORREGO DESERT

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –Among East County’s best-kept secrets are the dramatic tours offered by Overland Adventures.

  Autumn nights are ideal for several special upcoming experiences ranging from a classical guitar concert by moonlight in the redrock Hawk Canyon area to two overnight camp-outs for stargazers –including a chance to view an upcoming meteor shower and the spectacular comet ISON.

For details on these autumn excursions, scroll down or visit http://www.californiaoverland.com/

50 RANCHERS GATHER TO "BRAND" DESCANSO JUNCTION REMODEL

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October  6, 2013 (Descanso) –The aroma of burning wood filled the air as ranchers pulled their iron brands out of a flaming pit at the Buckel Ranch in Descanso. Old-timers said it was the only time ever that ranchers from all of East County’s historic ranches gathered  in one place. The occasion?  Tammy Cooker, owner of the Descanso Junction Restaurant, invited these seasoned cowhands to burn their brands into tabletops for her popular eatery now undergoing a remodel. 

Cooker has earned the community’s loyalty, having opened her restaurant just before the Cedar Fire, then keeping it open to serve up firefighters, displaced residents and stranded motorists.  Located in a century-old building, her restaurant closes down tomorrow and will hold a grand reopening celebration October 10-12. The revamped interior will celebrate our region’s historic roots.

ART GONE WILD IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2013 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – “The  people of this town came together,”  said famed sculptor Ricardo Breceda after hoisting a 1200-pound metallic rattlesnake sculpture into place in front of the Jacumba Community Park.  

Best known for his larger-than-life sculptures of present and prehistoric wildlife in the Anza-Borrego desert, Breceda yesterday sold additional sculptures to Jacumba Hot Springs art fans – works that will soon grace rocks and roadways in this high desert community seeking to reinvent itself as an arts colony.

It all started with a winged dragon.

"TRACK TRAILS" SMARTPHONE APP FROM PARKS AND RECREATION TURNS ORDINARY HIKES INTO ADVENTURES FOR KIDS

 

September 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Combine kids’ love of electronics with the outdoors, throw in some prizes and an online nature journal and just like that, you have them outside discovering the beauty of nature.

That’s the concept behind TRACK Trails, a new system that County Parks and Recreation is bringing to California and the west coast for the first time.

The grand opening for the trails system took place at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Cardiff on Saturday.

“While we are celebrating the grand opening of this TRACK Trails system here in Cardiff, families can also take their children to Lindo Lake and Louis Stelzer County Parks in Lakeside to see this new way of discovering the outdoors,” said County Supervisor Dave Roberts. “They can use smart phones right on the trail to log on to a website and mark their progress in a nature journal to win prizes or wait until they get back home to get online.”

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