El Cajon Stories

What’s in the hopper, part two

The best of the rest of San Diego’s upcoming breweries

Yesterday, I shared the top five most intriguing brewery projects on deck throughout San Diego County. Today, I’m disclosing the seven that round out my top 12 and why. 6 - Prodigy Brewing Company: When ...

DUI sting for the stung?

"It's just one bad decision after another,” says bicyclist who won’t drive.

El Cajon police set up a checkpoint in the parking lot of the El Cajon Superior Court on Thursday afternoon, April 17, checking drivers entering the lot for licenses, registration, and insurance. The checkpoint coincided ...

Kassim Alhimidi deemed a murderer

“This is bull***t!” yells son, sparking uproar in courtroom

The courtroom erupted into shouting after Kassim Alhimidi, 49, was declared guilty of first-degree murder in the beating death of his wife two years ago. This afternoon, April 17, judge William McGrath was confirming the ...

Who beat Shaima Alawadi to death?

Turmoil in household suggests all suspects not yet considered

According to testimony of a computer forensics expert, Shaima Alawadi was logging on to Yahoo Messenger at 10:41 a.m. on March 21, 2012, when she was attacked. The 32-year-old mother of five probably knew the ...

El Cajon murder case now with jury

Racist-charged note left at scene considered false evidence

Prosecutor Kurt Mechals failed to prove that Kassim Alhimidi beat his 32-year-old wife to death in their home in 2012, his defense attorney told jurors today, April 15. A note reading “This is my county ...

Campus Style: Cuyamaca College edition

It's difficult to find people on college campuses that aren’t wearing yoga or sweat pants with their hair swept up in unkempt, sloppy buns. Like most schools, comfort reins supreme on the campus of Cuyamaca ...

First Drafts: URBN St. Brewery

Former Stone brewer homebrewing eventual brewpub offerings

Just four guys sitting around the brewery drinking beer…and, yes, we all have beards. This was the Facebook post describing the first media tasting session for the beers of URBN St. Brewery (110 North Magnolia ...

El Cajon license scam attracted out-of-towners

FBI reveals more details of license bribery

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released more details of the El Cajon Department of Motor Vehicles driver's license scam. Thirty defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, and the investgation is ...

Guy in the sky: Drought no joke

Local reservoirs indicate water shortages

Flying over San Diego County's various reservoirs on the morning of February 14 at about 1500' above each, it's easy to see that the water levels are not where they should be at this time ...

El Cajon DMV employee pleads guilty to fraud

The last of 30 East County employees to accept felony charges

Jeffrey Bednarek, a former employee at the El Cajon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, pleaded guilty on January 28 to document fraud, bribery, and witness tampering. The case began in May of 2012, when ...

Hatchet attack on El Cajon jewelry shop owner

Credit card declined, perp gets mad, uses ax handle as weapon

Police in El Cajon are searching for a man accused of beating a jewelry store owner with the blunt end of a hatchet and stealing a gun on Wednesday afternoon (January 22). Around 3:30 p.m., ...

Pot political action committee forms

Will access to politicians thwart federal crackdowns?

In this age of political action committees, it's hard to fathom that there wasn't already a committee dedicated to fight for medical marijuana initiatives and boost pro-pot politicians. Well, now there is. On January 6, ...

Suspect sought in El Cajon fast-food holdups

Considered armed and dangerous

Police in El Cajon are asking for assistance in identifying a man they believe to be tied to at least two fast-food robberies in recent days. On Monday, December 30, a suspect described in a ...

Sidewalk Sicilian

Ed roots out the hidden meat at Nicolosi’s

Perfect night for sitting out. If you have a heater. And that makes it a perfect night to be in El Cajon. Because, by my reckoning, the City of the Valley has the best sidewalk ...

Boots, Boots, and More Boots

What San Diegans wear to keep their feet warm

My favorite part of the cold-weather season, if you call 65 degrees "cold," is not hot cocoa or crackling fires, it’s digging my boots out of storage. I’m kind of obsessed with shoes. My husband ...

All Things BBQ: the Wrangler Family Barbecue

In the wilds of East County, true pit barbecue awaits, ready to teach us all a thing or two about honest-to-goodness 'cue

After all that talk about barbecue without a legitimate smoking pit, meritorious as it may be, this is where shit gets real. Walk into the [Wrangler Family Barbecue]1, where a taxidermied bison overlooks the dining ...

Liquor-store owners sue the City of El Cajon

New alcohol-sales regulations are claimed to favor big-box retailers

The City of El Cajon will have to defend in federal court a newly adopted ordinance that places tougher regulations on liquor stores. Two liquor-store owners who own and operate three stores in El Cajon ...

Infighting among East County Chaldean community

Businessman Mark Paul Arabo accused of unfairly wielding his influence

Members of San Diego County's large Chaldean community are clashing with one another in hopes of gaining power, and naming rights, to a Chaldean business community. On November 27, a group of Iraqi Christians known ...

Organic juicin' in El Cajon

My Organic Place serves up the sweetest wheatgrass juice, along with other grasses and sprouts

Cruising down Los Coches Road in El Cajon, right off I-8, I would have never guessed there'd be an organic wheatgrass grower in the vicinity. There it was, though, their dirt driveway weaving past a ...

The trio helming El Cajon’s URBN St. Brewing Co.

URBN group has veteran beer industry team in place for upcoming brewpub

When El Cajon Brewing Company opened in 2011, there was some degree of professional brewing experience, but none where it came to operating a craft beer production business. Due mostly to that lack of experience, ...

Embattled Ex-Mayor of El Cajon insists incendiary statements were taken out of context

Lewis's lament

Mark Lewis resigned as Mayor of El Cajon last week, citing cancer, a stroke, a dislocated shoulder, severe halitosis, acid reflux, diabetes, a nasty hangnail, and mild indigestion as his reasons for leaving office. But ...

Chaldean businessman considers El Cajon mayorship

Ben Kalasho sought office before Mark Lewis resigned

Shortly after the October 17 East County Democratic Club meeting started, president Frank Tsimboukakis asked the El Cajon mayoral candidate to speak. "Not yet," replied 30-year-old Ben Kalasho, a 2012 El Cajon City Council candidate ...

El Cajon Foursquare Church

Foursquare’s belief system doesn’t depend on tradition

El Cajon Foursquare Church pastor Dennis Estill “didn’t want to be a minister. I wanted to be a cop.”

Time Warped

Ed damns the torpedoes, ups the cholesterol at Goody’s Café

Goody’s Café was Kozak’s Coffee Shop from 1964 till 2000. Briefly a Chaldean restaurant, now they’re serving up classic diner food again. Ed lets greed take over and orders an egg skillet…and biscuit and bacon and coffee and…

Looking for the 99-cent Shish kabob

At Sagmani's in El Cajon, Kabob prices start waay low

"Eat onion in the morning. Give it to friends at noon. Give it to your enemies at night." That's the ancient wisdom on the power of onions from my friend Mr. Sagmani. He's Chaldean, a ...

Days of hope for El Cajon’s Second Street

Chaldean gas stations and convenience stores targeted?

The El Cajon City Council on August 27 unanimously adopted an ordinance to regulate the sale of alcohol that is consumed offsite. The law established a system that starts with a warning, and could lead ...

El Cajon blackout goes on past schedule

In a letter dated August 16, 2013, San Diego Gas and Electric advised residents of a planned power outage scheduled to commence on August 24, 2013 at 10pm, and last until August 25, 2013 at ...

Fire moves from open space to El Cajon homes

Homeless camps the cause?

Fire broke out close to the 1300 block of Aurora Drive in El Cajon. The fire started on a open space preserve and burned close to homes. A 100-foot firebreak along the east edge of ...

Dog-washing world record claimed in El Cajon

250 dogs in an hour

Five four-person teams at the Barking Lot bathed 250 dogs in an hour during an August 11 “Dog Wash-a-thon” that raised more than $4500 in pledges for the nonprofit rescue organization. The fundraiser "shattered" the ...

Gillespie Field pilots prompted to become “good neighbors”

Fletcher Hills residents seek dialogue

Some Fletcher Hills residents want Gillespie Field airport to consider adopting the Scottsdale Airport pilots’ "Good Neighbor" pledge, a statement that pilots voluntarily sign to declare they are "sensitive" to community concerns such as noise. ...

Lester Bangs, El Cajon kid

The Lester Bangs film will be pirated, natch

Interview with Grossmont College’s Raul Sandelin, who is near completion of the film A Box Full of Rocks: The El Cajon Years of Lester Bangs. Sandlein: "I'm an El Cajon cheerleader."

Development coming for vacant land at Gillespie Field

October deadline for contractor proposals

The County of San Diego on July 19 published a request for proposals to develop 31.47 acres of industrial property at Gillespie Field, vacant land located at the northwest corner of Cuyamaca Street and Weld ...

Man rescued from house fire in El Cajon

Deputies carry him to safety

On July 17 at about 11:30 p.m., the Santee sheriff’s station received a call of a house fire on Cajon Vista Court in the Winter Gardens neighborhood of El Cajon. The first deputy to arrive ...

“Aerotropolis” plan for Gillespie Field?

Or how about a Chargers stadium?

The East County Economic Development Council’s “strategic aerotropolis roadmap” for land surrounding Gillespie Field airport could include proposals for hotels and a facility for veterans to certify for civilian employment, development council president Jo Marie ...

URBN and co. taking over El Cajon Brewing Co.

East County brewpub reopening under coal-fired pizza giant and Stone chef.

Earlier this year, after roughly a year of mismanagement and passable but lackluster-by-San-Diego-standards beer, El Cajon Brewing Company closed its doors, leaving behind a rather appealing skeleton. With a good-sized dining room, serviceable kitchen, and ...

Big sendoff(s) for Monsignor Michael Gallagher at Our Lady of Grace

Hundreds show for services June 22 and 23

Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church parishioners spent two days saying goodbye to Monsignor Michael Gallagher, the priest retiring after serving for 27 years as pastor. Receptions followed weekend services, and 600 people attended the ...

Hidden gem: Gillespie Field Duck Pond

Once an eyesore, now look at it

The Gillespie Field Duck Pond? What is it? Where is it? Why? These are all good questions. Rumor has it, the pond was part of a golf course long, long ago, but for decades it ...

Odd robber meets success and failure in El Cajon

Asks employees to call the police

A man entered the Chase Bank on Avocado Boulevard in El Cajon shortly after 5:00 p.m. and demanded money from the tellers. The man left the bank carrying bundles of cash and went down the ...

Fletcher Hills’ mystery radio station

Heymatt: I grew up in Fletcher Hills. Ever since I was a kid, I have wondered what was going on at the corner of Hacienda Drive and Hacienda Circle. There is a fenced-off area with ...

From sheep to sweater in 12 hours

The idiot-proof alpaca

Interviews with alpaca owners, spinners, and weavers who live in San Diego’s East County mountain region.

The El Cajon Brewing Company closed its doors as of April 1

In spite of subsidies and loans

Despite the best efforts of many in the city of El Cajon and others to help the struggling business stay afloat, the brewing company folded. The Craft Brewing Business website noted "to get off the ...

Coyote explores Gillespie Field

Flights delayed 20 minutes

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12, the normal traffic pattern at Gillespie Field was interrupted when a coyote decided to take a tour of the field. Six aircraft were ordered by the control tower ...

Marine aircraft conduct training exercise at Gillespie Field

Two V-22 Ospreys delay our guy in the sky

I was sitting in the engine warm-up area at the end of Gillespie Field's runway 27R at 10 a.m. on February 26, getting ready for takeoff on a flight to Camarillo. Four other planes were ...

El Cajon pit bull attack goes unpunished, unpaid for

Little T-Bone saved but separated from owner

At 7:00 in the morning on November 6, on a quiet block of houses in Lemon Grove, three pit bulls escaped from their yard. They attacked a seven-year-old, tan "cha-weenie" mix named T-Bone, who was ...

Blood money

Thom Beebe, owner of Guitar and Bass Land/Skin City Drums in El Cajon won’t deal in used musical equipment anymore due to an increase in secondhand/pawnshop permit fees.


Just the other evening, my husband and I were walking through the business area of El Cajon, on our way to a steakhouse, when a rat ran right in front of us. Doesn't that just ...

More Than the Dish or the Deal

Restaurants you can take to heart.

There are some places that you kinda take to heart. They’re more than the dish or the deal. Something clicks about the people and the place, and you want to come back and be a part of it. These are just some.

Observation Hour

I thought it would take more than the promise of seeing a few dogs to incentivize making a trip to El Cajon in the middle of a heat wave. The temperature climbs one degree for ...

History and Myth

Valley Music shuts down after 60 years of business in El Cajon.

Mezzah — Arabic Tapas in El Cajon

“Iraqis love big entrées. It’s the Lebanese who like to snack on different small tapas.”

My Missed Fortune

Author: Jake Peterson Neighborhood: El Cajon Age: 26 Occupation: Student I awoke from my daily nap a little later than usual that fateless Wednesday evening. It was pushing 6:00 p.m., and my tummy was howling ...

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