El Cajon Stories

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 ...

Gillespie, I Have to Return

I had just finished the engine run-up and instrument check in a Cessna 172 and pulled up to the hold line for Gillespie Field's runway 27R at about 10:30 this morning, June 2. I switched ...

Bad Owner

On May 24, a pitbull attacked a six-month-old puppy at the off-leash dog area at Wells Park. The puppy was badly injured; however, the owner of the pitbull refused to exchange information and declined to ...

Craigslist Tips Them Off

A suspected burglar was arrested after a random tandem bike ride in El Cajon on April 22. The 35-year-old parolee allegedly marketed the stolen bicycle on Craigslist after the owners reported it stolen from a ...

Phony Phone User

On March 26, an elderly woman living on Brockton Street in El Cajon allowed a stranger into her home and became the victim of a robbery. According to a Neighborhood Watch block captain, the perpetrator ...

Waiting in the Wings

The lights were dim and the stage was set. Fifty El Cajon residents sat inside council chambers waiting to address councilmembers and comment on what the city should do with the El Cajon Performing Arts ...

Who’s Minding the Store?

An El Cajon supermarket is irritating its customer base by allegedly scheduling staff below an acceptable standard. On March 20, shortly before 8 p.m., approximately 30 customers were lined up at the two checkstands open ...

She's a Lady

On Saturday and Sunday, February 27 and 28, up in the skies of East County, residents could see a WWII-era B-17 bomber soaring overhead. The nonprofit Liberty Foundation out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, brought its Liberty ...

Cable Underground

A pair of occupied vans parked on the corner of North Marshall Avenue and Fesler Street in El Cajon has caused some employees from nearby businesses to become uneasy. According to local workers, the vans ...

Elderly Scare

Mary Louise Wilson was sentenced to nearly 20 years in state prison on February 8. The 54-year-old admitted to setting fires at the two nursing homes she stayed at briefly during 2009. According to state ...

Wells Park to Fare Well

New improvements and enhancements may be in the works for Wells Park in El Cajon. The City of El Cajon recently announced that it is applying for a $5 million state grant to revitalize the ...

St. Ephrem Maronite Church

The circular interior of St. Ephrem’s church might serve as an eclectic museum of Catholic devotional art. So many styles, drawn from so many traditions: a golden mosaic rendering of the icon of Our Lady ...

Why jogging on El Cajon Boulevard keeps me centered

I wake up at 5.30, and I’m usually out the door by 6.15. I can fit in three or four jogs around my neighborhood a week; the other days I walk the dog for a ...

Citifyin'

The downtown area of El Cajon will continue its transformation with the approval of the Prescott Promenade project plans by the El Cajon City Council during their January 12 meeting. The promenade is a small ...

Teens 'n' Guns

On Tuesday, January 4, at about 11:00 p.m., El Cajon police took three young men into custody for felony vandalism. An officer reportedly became suspicious of the teens’ passenger-side window being rolled down on such ...

El Cajon Wesleyan Church

Sunday was assistant pastor Dave Holmquist’s last at El Cajon Wesleyan. After the opening worship — a singer/guitarist and a bongo player alone on the vast, spotlit, blue-green stage — he took his place down ...

The Clerk Smirked

The Department of Motor Vehicles has been forced to close every second Friday of the month in order to help ease the state budget. This month, the DMV is closed for three Fridays and a ...

Kitchen Knifed

At about 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, according to police radio traffic, two people were stabbed on the corner of Graves Avenue and East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. El Cajon PD stated that ...

The Real Middle East Deal

“Russ?” “Yup.” “It’s me. I’m in El Cajon.” I’m calling on my first-ever cell phone. Hate the end of freedom. But now I need this thing. “That Dubai restaurant you were crazy about? It’s closed! ...

Yay for American Cars

Give me good old American metal.

As I write this, Transformers 2 has just finished taking in over $200 million in five days. One of the main characters in that film is a robot who disguises himself as a 2009 Chevy ...

I Blow Smoke on Your Law

Sitting on a park bench at Prescott Promenade on a hot July afternoon, John stares at a brawny tattooed man in his 50s smoking a cigarette under a “No Smoking” sign. “Who knows what this ...

Jack and Duke and Tiffany

About a month ago, I drove to El Cajon for an annual horseshoe tournament in memory of Jack and Duke, two deceased friends of the organizers. When Chris called to tell me about it, he ...

A Scream in the Dark

At approximately 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3, residents of Bella Vista apartments in El Cajon awoke to the incoherent screams of a man in the parking lot. Before residents went to check on the ...

El Cajon Scam

Matthew “Beau” La Madrid, no longer a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), nonetheless convinced 300 people that he had a surefire way of beating the stock market. He said he ...

Bang Bang

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and monkeys do too (if they have a gun). — Eddie Izzard I exited the freeway 20 or so miles east of San Diego. Noting the prevalence of ...

A Green Threat to Our Groves

Should it appear in California, there might be no stopping it: citrus greening, or huanglongbing. The fearsome citrus-killing bacterium, first seen in China in the early 1900s, has spread steadily across the continents. It recently ...

Cold Clues, Hot Shaves

About a month ago, I went to the opening of a music store in El Cajon called Guitar and Bass Land. A guy was talking about how he plays bass in a Dio tribute band. ...

The Most Evil Drug

“Oh how I would love for the world to know who you really were.” So begins a mother’s letter to a son fatally shot by police three weeks ago. The letter is at the center ...

Raw, Dirty Records

Since the late ’90s, Mike Kamoo’s Earthling Studios has been a vital cog in the San Diego music scene. The studio, headquartered in a corporate park in El Cajon, has a well-worn path to it ...

El Cajon: We're no more redneck than Chula Vista, Oceanside, or Escondido

Another look at East County's Box

The Hell’s Angel takes me aside. It’s 10:00, Saturday night. A bunch of them stand around outside their headquarters by a row of angle-parked Harleys, here where Palm meets El Cajon Boulevard. ”Look, we’ve had ...

Night Prowler

In the early hours of Monday, March 2, two houses on Alderson and Andover streets in El Cajon were broken into and purses and small amounts of money were taken. These robberies were the two ...

Foothills Falls Flat

The Foothills Adult Education Center on Melody Lane in El Cajon will not be offering summer classes this year. Fall classes may not be available either. An education facility under the control of the Grossmont ...

Crash Utilities Vehicle

Shortly before 7 a.m. on Friday, February 13, a green sedan traveling on South Second Street veered off the asphalt, hopped the curb, and crashed into a number of utilities’ service facilities. A witness reported ...

Nine Sinking Cities

This month and in early February, city managers and finance directors in cities across San Diego County are appearing before their respective city councils to report significant budget deficits. Of the county’s 18 municipalities, 14 ...

To tell you something beautiful like Asphalt

Author: Joshua Rhome Neighborhood: El Cajon Age: 30 Occupation: Student I sit here in the little room I rent in a house off Magnolia Avenue and think about El Cajon and my past and how ...