La Mesa Stories

United Church of Christ La Mesa

“I didn’t stay for 30 years,” says pastor Felix Villanueva of his career as a Navy chaplain. “I only stayed for 21.” Because of Iraq. “That conflict was what prompted me to retire. I was ...

Central Congregational Church

Last week, I attended services at a church that broke away from the United Church of Christ in 1994. This week, without meaning to, I attended services at a church that broke away from the ...

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 ...

Playpendemonium

The secret of dealing successfully with a child is not to be its parent. — Mell Lazarus Had it not been for the unmistakable racket of a wailing child and the desperate, hushed tone of ...

Foothills United Methodist Church

“Welcome home!” read the handpainted banner in the vestibule of the half-saucer church. Inside, homemade signs rose up on coat-hanger posts from the pews: “Where we love is home.” “Home is not a place, it ...

La Mesa Goes Downtown

When the new Gio took over the space of the old Village Garden, the charming neighborhood of La Mesa Village acquired something like a “downtown-y” restaurant, a sophisticated but family-friendly indoor-outdoor bistro and wine bar. ...

Serious Drag

“We have no suspects and only very limited information,” reports Captain Ed Aceves with the La Mesa Police Department. There is a stabbing victim, though: he was treated early Sunday morning at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. ...

Thieving Trio Surprised

On Wednesday, April 22, at around 3:00 p.m., three would-be burglars attempted a residential robbery on Pasadena Drive in the Mt. Nebo neighborhood of La Mesa. According to the homeowner's son, Dave, two males and ...

"Help," Say Police

Recent commercial robberies, residential burglaries, and purse snatchings in San Carlos, Del Cerro, and La Mesa prompted a community meeting at the San Carlos Recreation Center on Wednesday, March 25. The hourlong meeting began at ...

Cheap Steak Serenade

What is Golden Hill’s edgy Turf Supper Club, along with its tattooed waitresses, doing out in the wilds of La Mesa? Same as it ever was: serving cook-it-yourself steaks. And now, beyond the basic green ...

Whither the Shine?

On the wall above the mayor’s chair, inside the La Mesa City Council chambers, is a mural of the city’s seal. At the top of the mural reads “City of La Mesa,” at the bottom: ...

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 ...

Christian Compassion Center

“It’s a family thing we got going,” said the man in the long, gray plaid jacket, the silver of his rings matching that of the religious medallion hanging outside his vest. “We’re concerned about each ...

Overflow of Emotions

Just before 6 o’clock, on October 28th, the Fire Marshal for the City of La Mesa stood outside City Council Chambers. The room was at capacity. No one would be allowed in unless seats became ...

Father's House Church International

Things I took away from Sunday’s service at Father’s House Church International: Israel and the Jews are important. An Israeli flag stood on one side of the stage. One of the hymns, in the midst ...

Breakfast with a Side of Fun

This restaurant is closed. “I’ve got troubles,” I say. I’m trying to explain why I’m half an hour late. “Trolley security. Hauled me off the damned train. Lemon Grove. Must have been 20 of them ...

La Mesa United Methodist Church

The 8:30 a.m. is the more contemplative of the Sunday services at La Mesa United Methodist. Throughout Lent, elements of Taizé spirituality have been incorporated into the service. The worship bulletin (church motto: “Open hearts. ...

The Italian Cooking of Joy

Attention, all New York expats and other lovers of indulgent, exuberant Italian food: That terrific “secret” Mulberry Street restaurant you loved and still miss has been found again — in a La Mesa strip mall. ...

New Life Presbyterian

And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. — Revelation 22:1 That was the line that came to mind upon ...

Anyone Can Dance

“I tell you, man, they were dancing.” “Dancing in a pizza place? Yeah, right. The pizzicato waltz?” Hank swears he saw it, last night, through the window in the eatery behind the Shell gas station ...

La Mesa's Anything-but-Normal Avenue

Normal Avenue in La Mesa doesn't have much in common with Normal Street in San Diego. That didn't stop the Hillcrest plumber that 1 called one year from phoning me back. He had a Russian ...

Christ Lutheran Church, La Mesa

"This is the liturgical service," said the usher as we stood in the entrance of the sanctuary, gazing over the scattering of congregants under the high, white ceiling. "Over in the gym is the contemporary ...

Like a Dinette That Grew

"The sausage patties were so big, my date brought one home and we made a pizza from it."

Long Hair Affair

I thought winter would be the perfect time to write about the "Summer of Love." That was the theme of a party that Pat and Gene hosted to celebrate their 40 years of marriage. They ...

Skyline Church, La Mesa

The craft show was housed in the building right at the top of the entrance steps, so that's where I ended up first, my oldest son towing me along. He admired the $8 handmade, one-of-a-kind ...

La Mesa Church of Christ, La Mesa

Denomination: Church of Christ Address: 5150 Jackson Drive, La Mesa, 619-465-5157 Founded locally: 1941; in current location since 1962 Senior pastor: Jim Hinton Congregation size: 150--175 Staff size: 3 Sunday school enrollment: about 80 Annual ...

The Right of Way Is the Wrong Place

Every election season, my father sinks a wire-framed campaign sign into the strip of grass between his sidewalk and the street. Every election season, an unseen enemy steals it. Dad replaces the sign. The enemy ...

Field of Screens

Drive-in theaters arose from swamps.

The first drive-in theater I snuck into in San Diego was also the first one built here, the Midway, on the northwest corner of Mission Bay Drive and Sports Arena Boulevard. It was December 1979, ...

Journey Community Church, La Mesa

"Lord Jesus," said worship leader Jason Denison after the opening set, "we come before you with all kinds of stuff going on in our lives.... Would you meet us where we're at, Lord Jesus? Would ...

Crosspointe Life Church, La Mesa

"Holy Spirit, we invite you into this place," intoned the singer from the stage of the plush green Sanctuary. "Have your way. We love you." Then he broke into buoyant song, his driving acoustic guitar ...

Skyline Wesleyan, La Mesa

Denomination: Wesleyan Address: 11330 Campo Road, Highway 94 at Jamacha Road, La Mesa Founded locally: 1954 Senior pastor: Dr. Jim Garlow Congregation size: about 2800 Staff size: 14 pastors Sunday school enrollment: about 1800, including ...

New Life Presbyterian Church, La Mesa

"Christians can't fight battles of sin alone. I failed miserably when I tried to deal with sin on my own. I felt alone. I was fearful of sharing my struggles with others," said Jim Allsop, ...

Survivor’s Second Season

A friend of mine took me to a party in La Mesa with the understanding that I wouldn't write about it. When I grabbed a pen from the car, she said, "What are you doing? ...

Coy Strummer

“I suggested that we stay on the raft and sing.”

We're Not Coming To Get Her

Tina Chamberlin of La Mesa was happy when her 82-year-old mother Rena Marseli decided to give up driving this past summer. Besides being 82 years old, Mrs. Marseli "had a vision problem," Chamberlin explains. "My ...

The Thrill of the Hill

Well, it's appropriate that I crashed an event where there can actually be crashing. It was the Soap Box Derby Races in La Mesa.The Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program that has been ...

La Mesa First United Methodist Church

In the 1960s, 1500 people attended La Mesa First United Methodist Church each week. Today, Reverend John Fanestil remarked, "a typical Sunday would be just over 200. There is a long-term demographic challenge that all ...

Circumnavigate Lake Murray on foot, utilizing the shortest practical and legal loop route.

Lake Murray's paved (closed to cars) perimeter path is near East County's most pleasant and most popular place to gulp some fresh air on a summer morning or late afternoon. Unfortunately, the recreation path ends ...

Concrete Comeback

Walkers get more room.

WE REALLY HAVE, from a pedestrian's point of view, two kinds of places in San Diego," said Stephan Vance of the San Diego Association of Governments. "There's the older urban core that was built around ...

What Insiders Eat

Restaurant staff gab and gobble.

Food = joy…guilt…anger…pain…nurturing… friendship…hatred…the way you look and feel.… Food = everything you can imagine. —Susan Powter Tim Klepeis, the chef at Adams Avenue Grill, spoke hesitatingly at first. “I think the greatest reward is ...

Best of 2003: Best Place To Throw Your Money Away In East County

Grossmont Center Fountains Last year, Grossmont Center teamed up with La Mesa Parks and Recreation to redevelop two parks. The mall collects change thrown into its fountains, and $50,000 has already been raised to benefit ...

Best of 2003: Best Place To Skip Rocks

Lake Murray Reservoir 5540 Kiowa Drive, La Mesa www.mtrp.org 619-668-2050 Yes, Lake Murray used to be a bleak place, half empty, full of hydrilla, and adjacent to a rutted and potholed perimeter road. No more. ...

Best of 2003: Best East County Caffeinated Evening

Zodiak CafŽ 9158-A Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa 619-466-9055 The eclectic living-room theme draws all ages, but especially teens and young adults. The Tuesday Open Mic Nights at 8 serve as public forums for musicians playing ...

Best of 2003: Best Religious Vittles

Shri Mandir Temple 9474 Black Mountain Road, Mira Mesa 858-566-5644 On Sunday mornings, the Journey Community Church in La Mesa serves up everything from tacos to pizza. And on Sunday mornings, the Buddhist Temple of ...

Best of 2003: Best New Ethnic Restaurant

Aswan African Restaurant Helix Center 7404 University Avenue, La Mesa 619-464-7100 How many restaurants offer Somalian sambussas (a "best" in their own right) for the first course, followed by one of the world's finest Creole ...

Best of 2003: Best Family "Early-Bird" Special

Village Garden Restaurant and Bakery 8384 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa 619-462-9100 This is a deal. For a Hamilton, you get a three-course dinner with soda included. The early-bird dinner specials last from 3 to ...

Best of 2003: Best Reproduction Vintage Stoves

The Warm Hearth 8748 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa 619-465-0890 Sales of wood stoves like the Danish Morso keep this business humming year-round. Because people want fireplaces with fires you can toss logs onto, these ...

Best of 2003: Best Photo Fixer-Uppers

Village Studio 8215 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa 619-466-6708 Owned by David and Sherry Gillespie, Village Studio repairs and restores antique photographs. The shop first opened in 1947 and has kept up with technology through ...

Best of 2003: Best Mental Health Program

Alvarado Parkway Institute 7050 Parkway Drive, La Mesa www.apibhs.com 800-766-4274 Here's a private behavioral (i.e. mental health) system that really seems to work. Three local psychiatrists -- David Bergman, Michael Lardon, and Brad Sanders -- ...

Best of 2003: Best Cheap Pedicure

Diva Nails 7354 University Avenue, La Mesa 619-460-4237 Pick up your nonfat mocha next door at the drive-through Cappuccino House and then settle into the black-leather "Human Touch Technology" chair for a pedicure at Diva ...

Best of 2003: Best Children's Resale

Cory's Closet 3745 Avocado Boulevard, La Mesa 619-660-1235 A gated play area stocked with toys and a playhouse entertain kids while parents check out the $3 and under clearance racks. Recent scores at Cory's: a ...

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