El Cajon Stories

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 ...

$240 for Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Cleaning from Wax Man Industries

Regularly $480

http://readercity.com/buy/porcelain-and-ceramic-tile-cleaning-see-certificate-details

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

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.

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.

Rats…Everywhere!

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 ...

Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church

Membership: 310 Pastor: Kevin Womack Born: Melbourne, Florida Age: 40 Formation: Bethel Seminary, San Diego; Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada Ordained: 11 years San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to ...

El Cajon Wesleyan Church

Membership: 300 (and 130 Chaldean) Pastor: Steve Forsythe Age: 51 Born: Cape May, NJ Formation: New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, NJ; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena Years Ordained: 26 San Diego Reader: How long do ...

One Night, El Cajon Felt Like Baghdad

Chaldean Social Club Raid Is a Touchy Subject

"Look. Look! They took our money! Ten thousand dollars, from some. They came in with their shotguns raised. ‘Down on the ground!’ They cuffed me, hands behind my back, threw me on my face on ...

Turkish Treats

The missus had decided on the destination for our yearly vacation: it was to be Greece. From a little kernel of an idea in my wife’s head comes a locale, in this case Athens, along ...

The Gathering

Membership: 140 Pastor: Deron Higgins Age: 51 Born: San Diego Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University (Point Loma College), Point Loma; Bethel Seminary, Bethel University, San Diego Years Ordained: 25 years San Diego Reader: How long ...

East Valley Christian Fellowship

Denomination: nondenominational Bible-teaching Membership: 500 Pastor: Jack Forness Age: 64 Born: Olean, NY Formation: St. Bonaventure College, St. Bonaventure, NY; National University, San Diego Years Ordained: 15 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend ...

Russ Was Right

Russell, Russell. This was your idea. Now I’m here, but you’re not. Russ died last month, you may have read. Pretty young. He was the Reader’s chief proofreader, which means he was a cross between ...

Propane Starts House Fire in El Cajon

At approximately 11:10 p.m. on March 7, a fire tore through and destroyed a residence in the 100 block of North Westwind Drive. The El Cajon Fire Department responded with two full crews, which knocked ...

New York Bakery: Your Typical 1950s, Back-East, Back-Then Bakery

The cookie monster’s calling. You know me and my sweet tooth. Having apple-strudel dreams again. ’Specially now, as night comes on, and you feel like a little reward for having gotten through the day. Trouble ...

El Cajon Battles Billboards

De La Fuente Cadillac car dealership, located on Main Street in El Cajon, proposes to erect two 35-foot-tall, 12- by 24-foot billboards between Blackthorne Avenue and Hillside Way along Interstate 8. El Cajon, however, has ...

Breakfast in Baghdad at Sagmani's Restaurant

"Yoo-hoo! Hello?” I’m back behind the gas station here, next to the tire shop…in Mr. Sagmani’s place. Yes, his eatery takes a bit of finding. But, for me, it came just in time. Was getting ...

San Diego's Highwayman

Two years ago, Thomas Weller, San Diego's "Highwayman," decided not to get behind the wheel at night because he was worried he'd pose a danger on the road. Weller, who has spent the past 40 ...

Garage Fire

Shortly after 7:00 a.m. on July 12, flames erupted in the attached garage of a three-bedroom home in the 1000 block of South Mollison Avenue. Heartland Fire & Rescue (an association of El Cajon, La ...

Census

In the spirit of this census year, we offer this unofficial, informal, and unscientific census of daily life in San Diego. (No census workers were lynched or faked their own lynchings while gathering the following ...

St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Church

Membership: 80 Families Pastor: Father Simeon Corona Age: 45 Born: Los Angeles Formation: Lutheran Bible Institute, Seattle, WA; Concordia College, St. Paul, MN; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA; Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, ...

More Security, Please

A petition requesting increased security for El Cajon’s Westfield Parkway Shopping Center is circulating online. The petition had a slow start, with only a handful of signatures in its first few weeks, but the number ...