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Putting COMMUNITY First!
Shop Locally! When you use a local Real Estate member of The Valley Center Real Estate Professional Group, a portion of the commission goes to local High School Senior Scholarships and some goes to help those in need in our community. In the past 10 years, VCCAG members have given out over $115,000 to local high school graduates. In addition, they have given out over $30,000 to those in need in our community.
Local Real Estate Professionals attend local Real Estate Caravans and have extensive local knowledge of prices, trends, and local financing options. Look for the Valley Center Real Estate Professionals logo when you're looking for a Real Estate Professional. Valley Center Real Estate Professionals are proud of the changes they have made in our community.
Visit and LIKE our Facebook page Valley Center Community Aid Group to browse member profiles!

Keeping it Local - Our business is much more than just selling insurance, it is a way of life; which means long-term personal relationships being built with members of our community; it means supporting local businesses, events and sports teams; and it means making a difference in the lives of others.

Pauma/Valley Insurance Agency, Inc.  
"Valley Center's Most Trusted Independent Insurance Agency since 1978" 

As your personal Valley Center Insurance agent, anytime you walk in, call or email the agency you will always receive the same great hometown customer service that we have been providing for our community since 1978. Because we are a full service independent agency, appointed to represent over 30 insurance carriers including Mercury, Allstate, Progressive, MetLife, Travelers, Safeco, The Hartford, and more, you can be assured that we are going to provide the highest level of coverage at the most competitive rates for any of your insurance needs.

We are your neighbors, we understand your needs.
Pauma/Valley Insurance Agency, Inc. is dedicated to providing you with unparalleled policies and service. We are your neighbors so we truly understand your needs. We provide you with premium, tailored solutions for both personal and business insurance. We operate with the freedom to work for you, not the insurance companies, allowing us to help you design an insurance package that caters to your unique specifications. Whether you're a small business owner looking to fulfill your California Workers Comp. requirements or a homeowner trying to lower your monthly rates, we have you covered. 

"The PVI Pledge"

Pauma/Valley Insurance pledges to do everything we can to make your lives Safer, Simpler and more Secure. 


Pauma/Valley Insurance is proudly located in Valley Center at 27357 Valley Center Rd. 
(Right across the street from Napa Auto Parts and Papa Bear's restaurant.)

Give us a call today at 760-749-2383, or simply visit our website at and fill out the Quick Quote form to learn more about us and how we can service your insurance needs.



Valley Center 
Headlines & Happenings

VCMS Presents Disney's High School Musical, Jr.
By: Anita Barnanowski
The high school spirit will be center stage at Valley Center Middle School when the musical theater students present Disney's High School Musical, Jr., opening for four shows on two weekends starting Friday March 13, 2015.
Show times are Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. March 13, 15, 20 & 22.  Admission is just $7 and the performances are onstage in the VCMS Multi-Purpose Room. This musical marks the 19th season that Valley Center has presented a spring musical with this age group. Each year, the show is staged with the support of volunteers from the Valley Center Middle School Drama Boosters and is the key fundraiser for the program's growth and continuation.
Disney Channel's smash hit movie musical comes to life on the middle school stage in Disney's High School Musical JR.! This year about 35 talented actors, actresses, musicians and crew have invested more than a thousand hours to create a show full of surprises with familiar hits like "We're All in This Together", "Get'cha Head in the Game," and "Bop to the Top."
Troy, Gabriella, and the students of East High must deal with issues of first love, friends, and family while balancing their classes and extra-curricular activities. It's the first day after winter break at East High. The Jocks, Brainiacs, Thespians and Skater Dudes find their cliques, recount their vacations, and look forward to the new year. Basketball team captain and resident jock Troy discovers that the brainy Gabriella, a girl he met singing karaoke on his ski trip, has just enrolled at East High. They cause an upheaval when they decide to audition for the high school musical, led by Ms. Darbus. Although many students resent the threat posed to the "status quo," Troy and Gabriella's alliance might just open the door for others to shine as well.
Disney's High School Musical, Jr. is being presented by an extremely talented leadership team with Mr. Rich Horne as producer, Mrs. Toni Montross as director, Mrs. Valerie Nichols as choreographer, and Mrs. Laralee Beck as musical director.
"With the help of our Booster program, we have made some key improvements to the stage and lighting facilities here at  VCMS in order to continue to elevate the quality of the musical theater program," said Rich Horne, producer. "Disney's High School Musical, Jr. is a show loaded with great music, positive messages and very fun choreography that delivers high energy to the audience. The Jr. version is simply a slightly shortened show with content appropriate for all ages."
At the show, the Boosters will be selling flowers, raffles, candygrams, and meal items. Hot sandwiches, chips and a drink will be just $5, while they last. Bake sale items, drinks and snacks will be just $1.

The spring musical is a self-funded, after-school event each year so efforts at raising money each year seed the following year's musical.  Donations and support are greatly appreciated. For more information about the show or how to become involved in assisting the Drama Boosters with these annual Spring productions, please contact the Valley Center Middle School Drama Boosters at

The Rains Are Coming; Got Sandbags?

There could be some unfamiliar stuff falling out of the sky over the next few days in San Diego County. That's right - rain, and potentially, lots of it.

To help you prepare, the County of San Diego is once again offering free sand and bags to people in our unincorporated areas to help protect homes, neighborhoods and streets from flooding and soil erosion problems. Just bring your shovel to the fires stations listed below.

Current forecasts are suggesting the rain could last throughout the weekend and into early next week.

Because our region has been battling drought for several years, rains can cause soil erosion, especially in areas that are not covered by lawns, trees, shrubs and plants. Water runoff, and especially mud and debris flows, can damage homes and properties, flood roadways, and clog storm drains and culverts.

Valley Center locations to get sand and bags are:
  • Pauma Valley-Rincon, Cal Fire Station 70: 16971 Highway 76
  • VCFPD Station 2: 28205 N. Lake Wohlford Rd, Valley Center
County public works officials said several areas in the county are prone to roadway flooding. The three most frequent are the dips at Quarry Road, Sandia Creek in the North County, and Country Club Drive in Harmony Grove. Gates at the Quarry Road dip drop down automatically when activated by sensors in the stream. Public Works crews will post road closures at Country Club, Sandia Creek and any other areas where unsafe driving conditions exist. You can monitor the status of the dips by webcam and plan your trip accordingly. 

And here are some tips for when the heavier rains arrive: Never cross a flooded roadway if you cannot see the pavement. Even a few inches of water running at the right velocity can sweep a car, and even a truck, and its occupants off the roadway and downstream. You don't want a swift-water rescue as part of your travel plans.

During and immediately after heavy rainfall, do not go near storm channels, creeks or streams.

If you plan on taking a trip to the mountains, it's always a good idea to carry tire chains. Road condition updates, chain controls and other safety advisories are posted on Public Works' Facebook and Twitter.  County Department of Public Works road crews are expected to be plowing the mountain highway, so watch out for crews and equipment, and do not park in the roadway. If you're heading up to enjoy the expected snow, never let your children - or anyone - sled down hills and across roads or the highway. You never know when a snowplow may be coming around the bend.

During severe weather events, the Public Works Emergency page is activated with the latest information.

Search and Rescue Efforts Supported by Local Residents

Members of Civil Air Patrol Squadron 87 have been assisting in the search for the missing hiker in the Warner Springs area. Although the squadron is located in Fallbrook, many members are residents of Valley Center, including Squadron Commander, Major Roy Knight, pictured left. Other crew members are 2nd Lt. Steve Parker, right, and SM Jerry Camp, back. Their mission was to provide airborne radio repeater support and over-watch for Civil Air Patrol and Sheriff's Ground Teams. This support is what makes it possible for ground search teams to communicate with each other.

Squadron 87 was the first crew launched to initiate the search and aircraft from other Squadrons are continuing the search today, along with the ground teams. 

Click here for more information about the missing hiker.

VCPMB Announces Free Jazz Community Concert
By Anita Baranowski 

The Valley Center Pauma Music Boosters today announced plans to make this year's March jazz concert a free community event.

The concert is slated for Sunday, March 8 at the Valley Center High School gym which we will be transformed for the event.  Featured artists are the Valley Center High School and Middle School Jazz bands, along with the Valley Center High School choirs.  The headline group is the San Diego State University Jazz Band under the direction of Bill Yeager. Doors open at 1 p.m. with lunch for sale and dining style seating.  The show begins at 2 p.m. with food sales continuing throughout the show.
"We have seen the success and community support of the free concert series that we have been able to offer, starting with the traditional Veterans Day Concert and the now annual Christmas concert," said Diane Conaway, president of VCPMB. "After 17 years of offering this event as a weeknight benefit with a formal dinner option, we would like to open this fun jazz event up to more folks by offering the entertainment at no cost on a weekend."
Street tacos, burgers, nachos, and homemade desserts will be available in the gym courtyard.  The Len and Greg Beck Jazz Duo will kick things off with their smooth jazz in the HS gym lobby, all beginning at 1 p.m.
This jazz concert kicks off the competition season for the Valley Center Pauma bands and choirs. The musical performances by the middle and high school groups will be judged, festival style, by two prominent judges:  SDSU's own Bill Yeager and Jim Linahon, professor of music at Fullerton College.
This community event helps the VCP Music Boosters raise money toward their annual goal of $60,000 that this volunteer organization uses to supplement the VC area school music programs.  The non-profit helps purchase and keep hundreds of instruments tuned up and in good shape for hundreds of 5th-12th graders in the award-winning VC bands.  The boosters also fund the ability for both band and choirs to travel to and participate in competition events at the middle and high school levels. Tighter school budgets mean there is an ever important role of the boosters.
For more information about the Valley Center Pauma Music Boosters and how you can help, please email, visit, find Valley Center Pauma Music Boosters on Facebook or call 760-749-2888.

Jazz "All-Star" in Valley Center - Brendan Beck


The Southern California Band and Orchestra Association held auditions in L.A. looking for the best middle school jazz musicians in all of Southern California. Hundreds of students came to try out for the limited positions available in the "Middle School Jazz All Stars."  

Brendan Beck auditioned on electric bass and the acoustic stand up bass. Shortly after his audition, Brendan Beck was notified that he was the #1 bass player and that he would be performing with the "Middle School Jazz All Stars."

Brendan performed twice at the NAMM Show (National Association of Music Merchants) on January 24, 2015. He performed multiple jazz bass solos with the "Jazz All Stars" on the outdoor "Venue" stage and an evening performance on the California Ballroom stage in the Hilton Hotel. 

The next day Brendan performed with the "Jazz All Stars" at one of the premiere jazz clubs in L.A. called Spaghettini's.

Brendan's final performance with the 2015 "Jazz All Stars" was on February 23 at another well known jazz club in L.A. called "Don The Beach Comber's." At this performance, Brendan had the honor of performing with the world famous "Tom Kubis Big Band."

The people of the jazz scene in L.A. will remember the little town called Valley Center.

"The Doctor is In...and Never Goes out of Style"
By Phyllis Knight


February 26, 2015 - I didn't see any green eggs and ham, but I did see green icing decorating yummy cookies (and a few faces!) yesterday at the Dr. Seuss Pajama Party-Palooza at the Valley Center Library. The party was held in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2, 1904. Dr. Seuss' books have entertained and enthralled multiple generations of children through the years and are as popular now as ever. 

TAG (Teen Advisory Group), sponsored by the library, hosted today's activity. Marquita Sanchez, Library Tech and advisor to the group, told me the teens voted to have the pajama party for the kids as one of their scheduled activities. They obviously worked hard preparing for the party, and then continued to go all out during the party. It was nice to see their efforts rewarded by all the smiles on the faces of the party attendees.

Several "fun stations" had been set-up for the kids to rotate around. Activities included making paper hats, decorating (and eating!) cookies, games, story time and getting to wear custom-made balloon hats.

If you missed today's festivities, or just can't get enough of Dr. Seuss-related fun, check out Escondido Christian School's production of Seussical Jr. tonight through Saturday evening. Details can be found on the "Events" page at

Click here for more photos.  

Suspect Wanted in Valley Center Library Burglaries
Up to $1,000 Reward Offered

San Diego County Crime Stoppers and investigators from the Valley Center Sheriff's Substation want the public's help to identify and locate the suspect wanted in connection with two burglaries at the Valley Center Library.

Sometime between 8:00 p.m. on December 24, 2014 and 8:45 a.m. on December 26, 2014, an unknown suspect gained entry into the Valley Center Library located at 14147 Horse Creek Trail.

The suspect took the following items from inside the library: a mobile iPad charging station, a black digital Nikon DX camera, a red digital Canon camera, a dark gray Safeguard safe containing about $200 in cash and 10 white iPads with individual cases. The suspect also stole the keys to the library and to the Valley Center History Museum located adjacent to the library. The total loss is valued at about $6,600.

On January 27, 2015, a library employee noticed that the library had been burglarized again. The suspect gained access to a storage room and took the following items: a black Aspire laptop, a gray Dell Latitude laptop, a black Epson projector, a 42" Insignia television, an Insignia Blu-ray player, two PlayStation 2 game consoles, a white Xbox game console, a DVD/Disc player, several paintings, sculptures and art pieces. The total loss in the second burglary is about $8,000.
**Anyone with information on the identity and location of the suspect in this case is asked to call the Valley Center Sheriff's Substation at (760) 751-4400 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case. Anonymous email and text messages can be sent via 
  • Media inquiries about the case can be directed to Detective Joe Culver at(760) 751-4400. 
  • Media inquiries about Crime Stoppers can be directed to Deputy Adriana Uribe at (619) 531-1547 or Officer Mark Herring at (619) 531-1500.
For information leading to an arrest, you could receive up to a $1,000 reward and remain anonymous. The qualification of any person(s) for the reward and the amount of the reward for any person(s) so qualifying will be determined by San Diego County Crime Stoppers, Inc, in its sole discretion. The amount of all rewards given shall not exceed $1,000. Information must be received on the tip line, (888) 580-8477.

A Thank You Message from The Valley Center Pauma Unified School District

A Thank You Message from The Valley Center Pauma Unified School District: "Many thanks to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department deputies and Detective Jason Rouse for their support during the lockdown at Valley Center Middle School today. SD Sheriff's Department deputies acted quickly, directing us to lockdown the school to ensure that an incident in a nearby residence would not cause any harm to our students or staff.

"Staff and students worked together to make the best of the day, and many thanks to our food service staff who delivered lunches to classrooms. The lockdown was cancelled before the end of the school day and students returned to their regular classes and dismissal.

"Thanks, also, to Valley Center Happenings for helping us to get our messages out to the community.

"School and sports will resume as usual on Wednesday, February 25th." 


Bomb Threat at Valley Center Residence Causes VCMS Lockdown
On Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at approximately 10:16 AM, deputies from the Sheriff's Department Valley Center / Pauma Substation responded to a report of a domestic violence and bomb threat at 28084 North Lake Wohlford Road in Valley Center.
Deputies arrived at the residence and detained the male adult suspect. The suspect made additional bomb threats to responding law enforcement personnel at the scene. The suspect was transported out of the area, and the nearby Valley Center Middle School was placed on lockdown.
The San Diego Sheriff's Bomb and Arson Unit responded to the scene and checked the home and adjacent areas for explosive devices. No explosive devices were located.
Law enforcement and supporting personnel returned to their respective assignments and the Valley Center Middle School's lockdown was lifted and returned to their normal routine.
This investigation is ongoing and being handled by The San Diego Sheriff's Department Bomb and Arson Unit and Detectives from the Valley Center / Pauma Substation. Anyone with information about this case can call the Sheriff's Department non-emergency line at (858)565-5200. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Call Crime Stoppers at (888)580-8477.

VCPUSD February School Board Meeting Wrap Up
By Jay West

The Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District Board of Trustees held their monthly meeting on February 12th. During the recognition portion of the meeting, John O'Donnell was recognized as the Certificated Employee of the Month and Megan Anderson was recognized as the Classified Employee of the Month at Oak Glenn. Both employees were presented their awards by Mr. Mike Schaunze, the Principal of Oak Glen High School. Mr. Schaunze spoke highly of Mr. O'Donnell's leadership in the Credit Recovery Program and the After School Program. His colleagues stated that "he is kind and goes out of his way to help. He is consistent and takes on any task without complaint." Ms Anderson was recognized for her good spirits and pleasant smile when entering the office. She is fluent in Spanish which assists greatly in her interactions with students and parents and she was recognized as a valuable member of the Oak Glen Team.  

The Board then recognized CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Cristina Williamson for her support of student safety throughout the district. The presentation was given by Olivia Leschick. Chief Williamson, who has spent 15 of her 25 years with CAL FIRE in Valley Center, was applauded for her assistance in district safety drills, as well as her professional input into the Safety Plans of each school site in the district. Ms. Leschick reinforced what a great role model that Chief Williamson is for our children and that the district looks forward to many more years of collaboration with her.

Chief Business Officer Julie Kimball was recognized by District Superintendent Mary Gorsuch and School Board President Don Martin for being selected as the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Business Services Administrator for Region 18. This prestigious award covers all the school districts in both San Diego and Imperial Counties. Julie was recognized for her support of the district's unified team by providing resources and financial advice to ensure student success. Board President Don Martin added that due to Julie's financial insight, "our district didn't experience furlough days, salary reductions or layoffs [during financial down times]. We didn't do that because [Julie] kept the books right and let us know what to do." 
After board recognition of Edward and Carole Musgrove for their generous donation of a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer for the High School Auto Shop Class, Mike Schaunze and Sharon Trok presented the monthly curriculum report. The report was on the My Learning Academy program. My Learning Academy is the district's program that supports blended learning. The traditional brick and mortar school building is not always the best answer for every family so My Learning Academy allows students to conduct a majority of their learning at home and online while being overseen by trained certificated teachers. This program offers a variety of learning alternatives for a flexible, personalized educational environment that blends the best of independent study and the traditional classroom experience. It also allows parents to partner with teachers and their student in the educational process. 

Following the curriculum report, the board unanimously approved the multiple consent items consisting of routine "housekeeping" items. The multiple consent items were followed by the board's initial review of the updated board and superintendent protocols that were developed at the special board meetings in January 2015 with the guidance of a California School Board Association (CSBA) Advisory Associate. The board will vote on ratification of these policies in March.
Next on the agenda was the election of San Diego Regional delegates to the CSBA. Out of the eleven nominees submitted from districts around the county, the board approved six to serve two year terms. The delegates attend conferences at the state level to advocate for public education in California.
The next several agenda items under the "Education Services" category included an update to the school site safety plans throughout the district given by Olivia Leschick. A unanimous approval of a new online Advance Placement French Course, as well as the unanimous approval of a $115K budget for the online High School Summer School Program and the Extended School Year Program for eligible Special Education Students was next. The last item on the "Education Services" category was an updated schedule of events for the approval of the 2014-2015 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) briefed by Superintendent Gorsuch.  
Under the category "Human Resources" the The Valley Center-Pauma Teachers' Association/CTA/NEA in accordance with Government Code Section 3547 presented for information and consideration of their initial proposal for 2015-16 to the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District. The Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District in in accordance with Government Code Section 3547  presented information and consideration of their initial proposal for 2015-16 to the Valley Center-Pauma Teachers' Association CTA/NEA. The final two items under this category restructured the hours of two non-classified Child Nutrition positions and re-categorized positions within the Technology Department.
For the "Business Services" portion of the meeting, District Chief Business Officer Julie Kimball put forth a schedule to ensure next year's budget is passed in a timely manner, as well as briefing the board and audience on the governor's proposed budget for next year. At first glance, it appears that education will receive additional funding in the next budget cycle. In the final items of the "Business Services" section, two change orders were approved affecting the construction of the new sports fields located abeam the Elementary School on Cole Grade Road. One of the change orders recouped monies not needed for the project, while the second change order authorized a small expenditure of funds to shore up one side of the field project with additional landscaping for erosion control.
For Advanced Planning, the Board will hold a Special Meeting/Board Workshop on School District Finance on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. in the District Office, room P-17.
The next regular meeting is on Thursday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Valley Center High School Multi-Media Center. The public is encouraged to attend. 

Missing Person: Unincorporated Escondido 

UPDATE 02/21/15: 81-year-old Thelma Meschke has been found safe in Westminster in Orange County.
On 2/20/2015 Manfried Meschke called the Sheriff's Department to report his wife as a missing person at risk. His wife is Thelma Margaret Meschke DOB: 11/29/1933. She is an 81 year old WFA, 5' 04", 152 lbs, shoulder length grey hair and brown eyes. Her current address is 1318 Nordhal Road, Unincorporated Escondido 92026. Thelma suffers from Alzheimer's disease and has the early stages of dementia. She currently takes medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Alzheimer's. Her husband does not know what type of medication she is prescribed. Thelma had her license revoked approximately one year ago by the Department of Motor Vehicles due to her condition. 

On 02/20/2015 Manfried had a dental appointment and left the house. He last saw his wife at approximately 08:45 am as he was leaving the residence. Thelma told him she wanted to have her nails done. When he returned at 10:00 am Thelma was gone. She left the residence with the family vehicle. Manfried has not seen or heard from her since he last saw her. Thelma does not own a cellular telephone nor does she have one currently with her.

Thelma has driven away from the residence in the past. She has usually returned on her own or she gets lost on her way to San Clemente to visit family. She has been found in shopping center parking lots when she has been lost. 

If she is located please call the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (858) 565-5200. 
REFER TO: San Diego Sheriff's Missing Person Case #15109129

DESCRIPTION: Thelma Margaret Meschke DOB: 11/29/1933. She is an 81 year old WFA, 5' 04", 152 lbs, shoulder length grey hair and brown eyes.

VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: She is driving a purple colored 4 door Honda Civic, California license plate #5YWL930.

EPD Sobriety Enforcement Results: 02/20/15
On February 20th, 2015 the Escondido Police Department conducted a DUI Sobriety/Driver's License Checkpoint in the area of Centre City Pkwy. and Decatur Way. 
Following are other results from this event: 
  • 1615 vehicles drove through the checkpoint.
  • 886 vehicles were screened in primary.
  • 1 FST's were conducted, resulting in 0 DUI arrests
  • 67 vehicles were sent to secondary screening (drivers who could not produce a driver's license or who  were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
  • 34 total citations were issued during the checkpoint. (7 for suspended license and 21 for unlicensed driver, 9 for no insurance.)
  • 8 vehicles were impounded
  • 15 vehicles were released to the owner or a designated driver
  • 1 driver cited for possession of marijuana
  • Educational material was distributed regarding DUI problems. 
Funding for this operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

VCFPD Pin Six New Fire Captains
By Donna Santana 

On February 19, six new Valley Center Fire Protection District (VCFPD) Fire Captains had their badges pinned at the VCFPD Board of Directors regular meeting with family, friends, colleagues and community members in attendance.

VCFPD Board Treasurer Phil Bell called the pinning "a birth of a fire department!"

The hiring of the new Captains was the final step for the VCFPD in creating an independent chain of command for the VCFPD. In a previous statement, Fire Chief Joe Napier said, "the average citizen who calls for service will receive the same great service they have always received from the Fire Department. The difference for the community will be the pride in knowing that they are no longer relying on contract services to meet their needs and a commitment from their Fire Chief for future expansion of services as both the department and community grow."

Valley Center Firefighter Dave Adler was also pinned during the meeting for completing his probationary period with the district. 

Click here for more pictures.


Vendors and Volunteers Needed for 2015 Western Days & Stampede Rodeo
By Trina West


For 65 years, local volunteers have worked hard at bringing our community together annually to celebrate Valley Center's western heritage. While the event name, dates and committee members have changed over the years, the spirit of community has remained the same.  Each year, Western Days and Stampede Rodeo organizers strive to make their rendition the best, and this year will be no exception.

For 2015, Valley Center's beloved Optimist Club has graciously taken on the task of being the official organizer of both the Western Days festivities and the Stampede Rodeo. Our town is extremely fortunate that this incredible organization has agreed to organize Western Days, in conjunction with the Stampede Rodeo that they have sponsored for several years.

According to VC Optimist Ron Johnson, "If you are a nonprofit in Valley Center and your organization assists with the event, you can have a vendor booth for free." Ron also stated that, "This year, anything we make at Western Days will go directly to the Community Center. We're trying to step in and help out the Community Center. We are not trying to make any money on Western Days."  The Optimists have been serving Valley Center since 1973 and certainly epitomize their creed, which in part reads, "To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best...To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future."

However, the Optimists will need many volunteers (in a wide array of positions) to help make the 2015 Western Days & Stampede Rodeo a success.  The VC Optimists encourage the public to attend their monthly Western Days Planning Meetings, which are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at Community Hall (28246 Lilac Road, Valley Center). If you cannot attend the meetings, please contact the event organizers listed below and let them know you are interested in helping. Western Days does not happen without volunteers. Plus, you do not want to miss out on this fun and rewarding opportunity to serve Valley Center!

Do you have a business that you would like to showcase to thousands of people and have a great time too? Take advantage of promoting your business or organization with a vendor booth by completing the Vendor Application.  Local nonprofit organizations can have a vendor booth for FREE if they help with the event. For all others, vendor booths start as low as $100.00 and your business keeps 100% of any sales!

Another way to show community spirit, promote your business and ensure the success of Western Days is to become a Sponsor.  Western Days is the perfect opportunity for your business or organization to reach thousands of community members and show support of the largest Valley Center community event of the year. The Stampede Rodeo Committee also has several sponsorship levels to choose from, with each option providing high visibility for your business. For more information, visit their website at

The 2015 Western Days and Stampede Rodeo will once again be held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 22-24, 2015) at the VC Community Center and Mr. Belanich will allow his adjoining property to be used for the rodeo. With the event structure solidly in place, the Optimists now need the community's assistance to make it run smoothly and truly represent Valley Center's deeply rooted spirit of community!

Be sure to "like" the Valley Center Western Days & Rodeo and Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Facebook pages to receive up-to-date event information. If you want to be a Volunteer, Vendor, or Sponsor please contact:

Ron Johnson, VC Optimist Club
Phone: 760-419-7633

Joyce Holmes, Stampede Rodeo Chairwoman
Phone: (760) 445-1723


Loyal Sponsor Armstrong Feed & Supply Donates $3,500 to 2015 Stampede Rodeo

Armstrong Feed & Supply has been a loyal and valued sponsor of the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo for five years and their continued support is greatly appreciated by the Stampede Rodeo Committee. The committee would like to say "Thank You" to Armstrong Feed & Supply for their generous Gold Sponsor level donation of $3,500 to the 2015 Valley Center Stampede Rodeo.

"Without the generosity of our corporate sponsors, the Stampede Rodeo would cease to exist. We would not be able to do it without them," says Chairwoman Joyce Holmes, "Please be sure to thank the rodeo sponsors by supporting their businesses!"

Armstrong Feed & Supply is the proud recipient of the Valley Center Large Business of the Year for 2015. They carry all your pets' needs in one place, including dog and cat supplies, garden essentials, and livestock feeds. They carry horse feed as well as English and Western tack. Super Saturdays are held on the first Saturday of each month with $1 off all sack feed and hay. Armstrong Feed also hosts monthly events and seminars. Please be sure to "Like" the Armstrong Feed & Supply Facebook page for updates on promotions and events.

The Valley Center Stampede Rodeo committee, in partnership with the Valley Center Optimist Club, are working together to put on the 14th annual rodeo for 2015. Profits from the rodeo will be used to support the youth of Valley Center. All sponsorship donations are tax deductible and go to a great cause. 

If you would like to become a sponsor of the 2015 Valley Center Stampede Rodeo, please contact Joyce Holmes at (760) 445-1723 or email her at For more information, please visit our website at

Pictured (from left to right): Billy Wagner, Rodeo Committee Member; Joyce Holmes, Rodeo Chairwoman; Lacey Bainbridge, VC Rodeo Young Miss; Steve Green, Armstrong Feed & Supply; Madelyn Wagner, Rodeo Committee Member; Briana Garcia, VC Rodeo Junior Queen; and Pat Helly, Rodeo Committee Member

"Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
By Phyllis Knight


Whether you are new to Valley Center, or have lived here your entire life, you probably have discovered that Valley Center has all kinds of well-kept secrets. And not the "Shh! Don't tell anyone!" kind, but the "Hey, I didn't know that!" kind. One of the newest ones for me is Broken Rock Ranch.

Now, newest is a relative term because the Ranch has been around a long time; since 1924 in fact. But it didn't start out as Broken Rock Ranch. The original owners were the Hoertig family, who moved here from Los Angeles and planted almonds and grapes on the 40-acre property. The grape harvest was particularly successful, and during Prohibition in the 1930s, a basement full of 50-gallon barrels of wine occupied the space under the house. Whether this contributed to the original name of the ranch, I can't say, but it was deemed "Happyland Sanatorium" in the late 1930s. The family matriarch, Caroline Beran Hoertig, became a well-known charismatic faith healer of the time, and continued to receive guests at the Ranch until her death in 1960 at the age of 81.   

The original buildings on the Ranch included a lodge/kitchen, bunkhouse and dorms for guests to stay during their healing visits. These buildings continued to be well-used when the Ranch was bequeathed, at Mrs. Hoertig's death, to the Lutheran Laymen's League, an affiliate of the Lutheran Church, which used it as a church camp for the next 49 years. To honor Mrs. Hoertig, the League renamed the site "Camp Caroline" and placed a marker on the chapel, which had been erected on the property.

The Ranch was threatened during the 2000's fires, and according to legend, the fire was so intense at one point that a large rock on the Ranch's perimeter actually cracked. The caretaker took a large cross and placed it in the crack as a talisman for protection as he continued to fight the fire by dousing the buildings with water. Thankfully, all buildings on the ranch survived.  

In 2009, the Ranch (now at 34 acres) was purchased by the Voertman family. Kami Voertman, and her husband, Will, who manage the property, are co-owners with her in-laws. The ranch was christened the Broken Rock Ranch in honor of its more recent history. The Ranch continues to be used as a campsite and meeting facility. Although they welcome all types of groups, organizations and private parties, their main focus is weddings. The Ranch is a popular place for weddings because of the outside venue, reasonable pricing and their policy of doing only one wedding per weekend, which allows the wedding party to have access to the property Friday through Sunday for all types of wedding-related activities. Brides also love the fact they can basically do it "their way" without a lot of restrictions with which they have to abide.

Although the Ranch, in particular the lodge, is undergoing some renovation, it is still open for business. Since many of the amenities are outside, such as picnic grounds, a large pool, amphitheater with bonfire pit, volleyball, etc., it is business-as-usual during this process. The large, commercial kitchen also is open and available for rent.

I started out talking about well-kept secrets, but there is one thing that definitely is not a secret and that is Kami's commitment to making Broken Rock Ranch the best it can be. She said she loves living in Valley Center and one of her favorite things about owning her own small business is that it compels her to get involved in the community. She loves meeting people and participating in local activities that benefit the members of our community.

After waitressing for 25 years, Kami said she loves being outside, not working a 9-5 job and not doing the same thing every day. She said every event is different and she enjoys ensuring that everyone involved has a good time and that everything runs smoothly. Maybe they should continue to call it "Happyland" after all...

To contact Broken Rock Ranch, please visit their website:

Sarah Lopez Epitomizes "Citizen of the Year"
By Trina West


It was an absolute honor for Donna and me to introduce Valley Center's Female Citizen of the Year for 2014 at the Valley Center Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner. Of course, we began by "apologizing" to Sarah for publicly recognizing the incredible woman she is as she certainly does not enjoy the limelight. However, sometimes you just have to "ask for forgiveness, rather than permission" and that old adage certainly applies here.

Sarah Lopez, or "Miss Sarah," and her husband Dan have lived in Valley Center for over 20 years. They have two wonderful children, Helen and Stephen.  Stephen is a graduate of Valley Center High School and Helen is currently a junior at VCHS.  Also noteworthy is Sarah's husband Dan is a San Diego County Sheriff and spent many years serving and protecting Valley Center.

Sarah has been the Director and a teacher at Ridgeview Preschool for 13 years. She is a highly qualified educator with a strong passion for preschool education and has greatly influenced many of our local youth through her creative and inspirational teaching style. In fact, she has been known to spend more on her programs than she earns. If you have ever seen her classrooms and witnessed her monthly "themes," you'll certainly know what I'm talking about.

Sarah welcomes her students and their families with open arms and will go out of her way to help any family in her program. Sarah is the epitome of selfless devotion to youth and those in need. She even expressed her love for our town by writing a book about Valley Center with the help of the beautiful drawings of her students.

In addition, Sarah is a well-known local philanthropist. She creates food baskets for families in need and raises money through her preschool recycling program to donate to worthy causes. Sarah encourages the preschool families to donate their recycling to the preschool. She then sorts the recycling with her students and turns it in for cash, which is donated to worthy programs. She has given thousands of dollars over the years to local programs like the Valley Center Middle School Thunderhawk Farm, Valley Center-Pauma Music Boosters, Valley Center History Museum, Valley Center Symphony and the Breast Cancer Walk.

Further, many youth have been "cheered on" by Sarah at the multitude of youth sporting events she attends and volunteers at.  For the last seven years, Sarah has been at every cross country meet at Kit Carson Park cheering on top of the big hill for the runners to make it up the long stretch. She is always the first to invite the sports teams to her house for dinner and she goes out of her way to make special gift bags for each of the athletes.

Sarah has impacted so many children over the years that she is regularly invited to youth programs that honor inspirational teachers. Every year she receives letters from former students stating that she is their "favorite teacher." She is so well loved that her former students routinely stop by the preschool just to give her a hug!

And as an aside, during this nomination process Donna and I realized that Miss Sarah can even be credited for the existence of Valley Center Happenings as it was through her incredible preschool environment that Donna and I met and our daughters became best friends. They are now sophomores at VCHS and still the best of friends.

While many of Sarah's contributions to Valley Center have necessarily been omitted or underrepresented in this article, we hope you get an overall "idea" of what an incredible woman Sarah Lopez is. We are grateful that the VC Chamber of Commerce agreed with us and selected Sarah Lopez as the Valley Center Female Citizen of the Year for 2014. We wish to publicly "thank her" for all she has done for our town, especially our local youth!

Photo courtesy of Park Place Photography
(Pictured from left to right is Sarah Lopez, Tom Stinson & Mary Gordon)

So I Was Thinking..."A Heart-to-Heart about Connections"
by Phyllis Knight
PhyllisKnightPhoto.jpgI have been thinking a lot about connections lately...or maybe it's more like disconnections. One of the things that triggered this line of thought is the other day I went to run a couple of errands and unintentionally left my cell phone at home. Realizing my husband wouldn't be able to reach me if he needed me, I thought, "No problem, I'll just call him from my car phone." Right? Wrong. I finally made the connection that my car phone system is completely useless without my cell phone, which connects it all together. It made me think of that little ditty, "The cell phone's connected to the - car phone, the car phone's connected to the - ..."

(It's sort of like when the electricity goes out, and you try to turn on the light, so you can find the flashlight...)

Anyway, this little incident reminded me of something that happened years ago. My husband had just gotten a new company car that came with the new-fangled key fob/remote control (I told you this was a long time ago!), and he gave me one to put on my key chain. This key fob also came with a new sense of security for me because it also had a panic button, which I thought might come in handy. At the time, I worked in downtown Riverside and often had evening meetings. Occasionally, I was the last one to leave, and had felt a little uneasy walking out to the parking lot alone. So, the next time that happened, I held the key fob in my hand with my "trigger finger" poised right above the red button as I confidently walked out to my car, primed to push it should anyone suddenly appear out of the darkness. (Picture Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story with his left arm raised and his right index finger poised on his laser button as he turned in circles ready to ward off any alien beings.) 

When I got home, I told my husband how safe I had felt as I walked to my car, ready to push the panic button should I need it. My husband just looked at me, shook his head, and told me the panic button was only connected to his car and was totally useless with mine. Huh?! Boy, did I feel foolish - and even more vulnerable than usual, as I had possessed a false sense of security walking to my car. I had put my faith in an unconnected panic button; I definitely had not made that connection in my head.

So I was thinking... 

How important real, as opposed to perceived, connections are. Many of us consider ourselves connected because we have tons of "friends" through social media, but how often do we really connect with others? When is the last time you sent a personal, handwritten note to someone? Called a relative or friend you haven't talked to in a long time, just to say "hi"? Sat down with someone who wanted to talk, and really listened to what they had to say, without thinking about what you were going to say next? Sometimes, it seems like we are so busy being connected - Facebook, emails, texts, Twitter, etc. - that we don't have (or I should say don't make) the time to personally connect with each other. 

This is even more important in our spiritual life. How many of us have a false sense of security because we carry a panic button (our faith) that we are ready to push should we encounter tough times, but all too often we are not connected to the Source? If we haven't made time to connect with Him through reading His Word, prayer, meditation or even just being with others who share the faith, how can we expect to have a real connection with Him?   

Several years ago, there was a woman in our church I didn't know, but I had heard she had lost a young grandchild. After a few weeks went by, knowing that once the initial attention is gone is often when you need someone the most, I sent her a card and told her how sorry I was and that I prayed for peace and comfort for her as she continued to deal with her loss. In return, I received one of the sweetest letters I've ever gotten, because she was so moved by my card. Over the years, we have become dear friends, which evolved out of that personal connection. As usual, when I try to bless someone else, I was blessed far more in return. 

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, wouldn't now be a good time to make a real love connection with our sweethearts, family members, friends or even someone we don't know? And don't forget, that when we truly give our hearts to Jesus, we make an eternal love connection that can never be broken. It doesn't get any sweeter than that. Happy Valentine's Day! 


Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:45 (NIV) 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last-and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:12-17 (NIV) 

©2015 Phyllis Knight

Financial Peace University Sponsored by Community Church
By Mike Adams 


Do your New Years resolutions for 2015 include getting your family finances in order? Tired each month of running out of money before the month is over? Looking for a proven way to manage your money in a way to honor God? You need a plan! 

Dave Ramseys Financial Peace University (FPU) is that plan. FPU teaches ways of handling money. Through video teaching, class discussions and interactive small group activities, FPU presents biblical, practical steps to get from where you are to where you dream you could be. 

Financial Peace University will show you how to get rid of debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and much more. 

Valley Center Community Church (VCCC) will be sponsoring two separate Financial Peace University classes starting this March in Valley Center. FPU classes meet once each week, for an hour and a half, for nine (9) weeks. 

Valley Center Community Church will begin one FPU class on Sunday morning, March 8, to be held at Valley Center High School, starting at 8:30 AM. Following the class, there is an opportunity to join in Sunday worship with at the Maxine Theater on the high school campus, starting at 10 AM.

Another FPU class will begin Monday evening, March 9, starting at 6 PM, at the Valley Center Community Church main campus, located on Valley Center Road. 

Cost for the Financial Peace University class is $95 (for a family or single) and includes nine (9) class sessions, class workbook, CDs of each class, monthly budgeting organizer, Dave Ramseys best selling book, and access to the FPU website with many budgeting and financial planning tools. 

Scholarships are available for class tuition based upon need and circumstances. 

If you are interested in more information about the class or wish to sign up, please contact Mike Adams at 760-715-5801, or email at
















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