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You are not as thankful as you could be. Steal a moment and count your blessings.

"Give thanks to the Lord." Psalm 105


Hand Foot and Spine Center offers chiropractic and acupuncture in Valley Center, combining skill, experience, compassion, and dedication to the recovery and rehabilitation of our patients.  We can help you if you suffer from headaches, neck or back pain, pain in the shoulders or knees, etc.  We treat every patient as an individual by offering personalized care.  From the moment you visit our office, you will see, feel and understand the difference.


Dr. Dean A. Robinson has been evaluating and treating orthopedic conditions involving the spine and extremities for over 30 years.  He is highly trained and vastly experienced in evaluating and helping patients recover from injuries (including those caused in car accidents and on the job).  Dr. Robinson holds a post-graduate degree in Chiropractic Orthopedics, and has completed San Diego Spine Research Institute's post-graduate course "Whiplash: The Masters Certification Program."  He is also a Qualified Medical Evaluator for the State of California.


Susie Orenstein-Turner, L.Ac, MPA was licensed in acupuncture and Chinese Herbology by the California Acupuncture Board in November of 2003. She received her Master's in Oriental Medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, and began her course work at the New York PCOM campus. Susie specializes in a wide range of conditions including but not limited to: immune enhancement, pain relief/injuries, gynecology/pre-natal/menopause, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, digestive disorders, weight loss and chronic fatigue.


In July 2008, The Armstrong Family took over ownership of Valley Center's oldest feed store. We pride ourselves on animal education and superior customer service. Being a Purina Certified Expert Dealer means that we offer a complete line of quality Purina feed products and have knowledgeable associates who care first about our customers, and their animals. Training is a key element for our Certified Expert staff and you can depend on us for Certified Expert advice!


 No need to drive down the grade, we have everything you need for your dog, cat, horse, chicken, rabbit, wild birds and more. As a family, we have been involved in animal agriculture in Valley Center for over 50 years. We're dedicated to supporting the Valley Center community and are excited to share our animal knowledge with you. You can also pick up your favorite John Deere toy for the kids, a new American West purse for yourself, a wallet or knife for the guy in your life, or a special gift for a special family member.


There is always something FUN happening at Armstrong Feed. Don't miss out on our Chick Days event, Charity Dog Wash, Shot Clinics, Super Saturday Day Sales, Free Sample Days, Special Propane Sale Days, Roping Clinics and many more events to come. Stop by and meet our family!



click dates below for detailed report


Valley Center 
Headlines & Happenings

Halloween in Hellhole
By Bonnie Wheeler
The Friends of Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve will once again host a spooky family event for Halloween at the preserve on October 18 from 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM.
The child favorite Haunted Trail will be constructed to scare and delight those brave enough to dare to enter its bat and spider filled area.
Of course a costume contest, emphasizing look -a-likes to the Hermit of Hellhole will also be held.
Pumpkin carving, with the first 20 pumpkins provided, and the judging in various categories will also entertain participants.
The evening culminates in an outdoor movie from 6:30-8:00 PM.  Be sure to dress warmly, bring lawn chairs, a flashlight and maybe even a blanket for snuggling during the movie.
Hellhole Canyon in located on Paradise Mountain at 19324 Santee Lane.
For more information go to the Friends website at or contact
Click here for full flyer.  

Garden Club Talk October 14: Transition Existing Landscaping to Reduce Water Use


Dos Valles Garden Club's featured speaker in October will be Marilyn Guidroz, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
Her timely presentation will be on how to transition existing landscaping to reduce water use and will cover dry climate reality, water-saving principles -- permaculture, rainwater harvesting, irrigation renovation, placing the right plants in the right places, and inspiring design ideas. Ms. Guidroz will also provide a handout to attendees.
The public is welcome to attend the meetings of the Dos Valles Garden Club which are held the second Tuesday of most months at 10:00 a.m. at St. Stephen Church (31020 Cole Grade Road) in Valley Center.

Valley Center Trails Association's 4th Annual Open House & Annual Meeting 


The Valley Center Trails Association will be hosting their annual 4th Annual Open House and Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 18 from 3:00 to 6:00 PM at the Valley Center Library on Cole Grade Road.

All members of the Trails Association as well anyone else interested hiking, bicycling or horseback riding trails in Valley Center are invited to attend.  The event will feature live music by Heidi and the Hurricanes.  Businesses in Valley Center have donated the food as well as over thirty door prizes valued at over $2,000.

There will be a short business meeting at 4:00 PM to update the community on current activity surrounding new hiking trails, the bicycle "pump track" under construction and the proposed Vesper Park.  VCTA Board Members will be available to answer questions throughout the event. 

Come early, stay late and enjoy the music and food.  Please bring your friends and neighbors.


John Lallo Receives DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses


Sept. 26, 2014 - John Lallo, RN/Emergency Department at San Diego Healthcare System VA received the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, presented by The DAISY Foundation and UnitedHealthcare, at a special ceremony earlier this week in San Diego, Calif.  Lallo resides in Valley Center, Calif. 

Lallo received a certificate commending him for being an "Extraordinary Nurse" to his veteran patients.  The certificate reads: "In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people."  

The DAISY Foundation's unique recognition program is part of many hospitals' recruitment and retention programs, helping to offset the acute shortage of nurses nationwide. Each month, nurses are selected by their nursing administration and peers to receive the DAISY Award, established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died in 1999 at the age of 33 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.  

An excerpt from Lallo's nomination form reads:  "John takes time out of his busy schedule to mentor, support, and educate new graduate nurses.  He helps veterans navigate the veteran's administration system properly using the chain of command, and provides a supportive shoulder to lean on.  John spent many of his days off selflessly promoting the Care and Share Silent Auction, collecting money with a coin drive, and put together 34 Care and Share silent auction baskets in an effort to feed our veterans and their families."

Pictured (left to right): Tom Chohany, Southern California director, UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans; John Lallo, RN, VA San Diego Healthcare System; and, Melissa Barnes, vice president, The DAISY Foundation

(Photo Credit: Wally Nell)

"In My Opinion"
By Phyllis Knight"
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."
I'm sure we've all heard this saying, especially during childhood. If you're like me, you've even said it a few times yourself. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth! I know we all carry scars - some big, some small - from things that have been said to us through the years. For instance, I'm still hesitant, after all these years, to sing where anybody can hear me because, as a young teenager, someone maliciously told me I couldn't sing. And I love to sing! And that's just a small example.
The reason I bring this up is that, in many ways, Facebook, in particular, has become a breeding ground for those who want to use their tongues to lash out at others. They use their keyboards as substitute channels for their tongues, and thus are able to silently, yet loudly and widely, spew their vitriol, usually for the sole purpose of marginalizing, even humiliating, others with whom they disagree. I certainly am not saying this is true of all, or even most, Facebook users; however, I was involved in such an exchange by others recently, and have seen it in numerous other examples. 
Now, I am all for expressing your opinion (just ask anyone who knows me!), but when we digress to name calling and personal attacks, we have gone too far. (And, yes, sometimes I have to fight to keep my own tongue/keyboard in check so I don't succumb to the temptation, as well.) As a civilized society, we should be able to agree to disagree on some things, while at the same time fervently fighting for what we believe in, without sinking to the level of kids fighting on the playground (with my apologies to the kids).
Again, I agree that we are all entitled to express our opinion; however, an opinion can range anywhere from "I think you're wrong" to "I think you're a raving lunatic!" (and far worse!). Now, these are both opinions, but the former not only reflects restraint by the "Opinionee" and thus giving him/her far more credibility and stature, but also lends itself to a more cogent and productive discussion of the issue, assuming we are even interested in pursuing mature and pertinent discourse anymore.  
Even though we can modify, hide and even delete words that have been written through our keyboards, they still exist on our hard drives. In the same way, you cannot delete from the hearts and minds of others things that you have said to hurt them. Even if they forgive you, they still will carry some scars around forever. In other words, "You can't un-ring a bell."
I saw the following on a church sign recently: "The tongue weighs little but few can hold it." Are you one of the few? Something to think about...
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:5-10 (NIV)
©2014 Phyllis Knight 

"Fall Fun for All Ages"
By Phyllis Knight


Things are heating up at Bates Nut Farm. In fact, it was 95 degrees when I was there this afternoon checking out the action on Opening Day of Pumpkin Season, which runs through the end of October. Since school was still in session, the crowds hadn't started, yet, but based on those who were there, it's obvious Bates Pumpkin Patch isn't just for kids.

For instance, I had the pleasure of meeting Alex and Ruthie (soon-to-be) Eddington, and their dog, Arthur. This lovely, young couple were at Bates picking out pumpkins for their fall-themed wedding this weekend. The couple, who had driven up from Poway, said they had been to Bates in the past and thought it was the perfect pumpkin place! I agree, and who doesn't?

Bates employee, Tim Torlina, was on hand to, well, give them a hand in getting their pumpkins from wheel barrel, to priced and ready to be the guests of honor at this weekend's wedding. With such colorful decorations, you know it's going to be a beautiful wedding, and our congratulations and best wishes to Alex and Ruthie.  

This weekend, with cooler temperatures on the way, will find Bates Pumpkin Patch in full swing. You won't want to miss any of the fun which includes: pumpkins of all sizes, a straw maze, tractor hayrides and the farm zoo. (Please check-out their website @ for more info and pricing.)

Also, this Saturday is "Celebrating Farm Life Day" at Bates from 10 am - 4 pm. Special activities include a Harvest Talk and Tour - focusing on the history of Bates Nut Farm, as well as learning about nuts and pumpkins, two of my favorite things about fall! The kids also will enjoy the hayrides, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting and more.

So be like Alex and Ruthie this weekend and say "I do" want to join in the fun at Bates. You'd be nuts to miss it!


CCC Lawsuit Dismissed - Historians Find Buildings Never Used as Civilian Conservation Corps Barracks
By Trina West


Robert Mahlowitz, legal counsel for Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District (VCPUSD), presented an update to the School Board and public at large on September 10, 2014 regarding the status of the lawsuit brought against the district in April 2013 by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Interest Group.

The CCC Interest Group, led by President Jon Vick, accused the district of not complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as well as violating the Brown Act after they demolished the buildings located on Cole Grade Road in front of the Elementary School. Mr. Mahlowitz successfully defended the district, and on September 8, 2014, the decision by the Court of Appeals to dismiss the case became final.

The Court of Appeals returned the case to the Trial Court to work out the final details, including reimbursements charged to the CCC Interest Group for hard costs incurred by the district. While some have claimed that the district would be entitled to full compensation of the roughly $79,000 spent in defending the lawsuit and appeal, Superintendent Mary Gorsuch confirmed that the maximum the district would be reimbursed is only $2,000. The remaining $77,000 spent defending the erroneous charges brought by the CCC Interest Group will not be recouped.   

Mr. Mahlowitz also stated that as part of the public comment period of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), attorneys representing the CCC Interest Group filed two comment letters regarding the historical significance of the buildings. In response, Shelly Gunderman Castells, M.A., Registered Professional Archaeologist and Sarah Stringer-Bowsher, Registered Professional Historian, authored the Cultural and Historical Resources Survey and Evaluation Report (Appendix E of the final EIR). They researched the project site and concluded that while the buildings were constructed during that time period with funds from that federal program, they were not used as Civilian Conservation Corps barracks as the community believed.

Additionally, the historians searched for evidence that the buildings had ever been considered historically significant by any other public agency and found no such records. The authors concluded that "the Project site...does not present historically significant resources as defined by CEQA."

Following Mr. Mahlowitz's presentation, Superintendent Gorsuch presented diagrams of the proposed multiple-sports turf field measuring approximately 60 yards wide and 100 yards long. The plan calls for the maximum preservation of existing trees on the site. With the EIR complete, grading should begin shortly. Valley Center youth will soon be seen practicing and competing on their new sports field.


"Time to Meet Your Neighbors"
By Phyllis Knight
I'd like for you to meet my neighbor, "Chick" Koszis - Mild-mannered mechanical engineer by day; hot rod cruiser by night, or any time he can get away and cover some ground in his "Deuce Roadster." It's a chance for Chick to toss his pocket protector and let his hair down (figuratively speaking, of course) and feel the wind in his face as he hits the road. Most of us have heard My Little Deuce Coupe by the Beach Boys, but the difference between the Coupe and the Roadster is the Roadster is a little more daring - it goes topless!
Chick became interested in hot rods as a young child growing-up in south Chicago, with a neighbor playing a crucial role. He took Chick for a spin in his '57 T-Bird, and then later, when Chick was eleven, showed up with a '29 Ford Hot Rod to Chick's delight. For a boy who spent his spare time poring over Hot Rod Magazines, getting to experience a real, live hot rod was a dream come true. Chick has nurtured that love of hot rods throughout his life and has owned 20-25, so many, he has lost count.
Chick has had his current car (oops, sorry, hot rod) since 2011. He named it More Bones, in recognition of his previous hot rod, Bare Bones, which was stolen at a car show in Pomona in 2011. Chick, with the help of an Escondido hot rod shop, basically built More Bones from its '32 Ford frame to finish. He said it is his dream car and displays his own creative design throughout. Coming full circle, his Roadster will be profiled in the December issue of Hot Rod Magazine.
What we really need here is audio, as his 500hp Roadster has a very distinctive (and loud) rumble. Yes, Chick likes to rumble as he's rolling along on the back roads where he and his wife, Sue Ann, can really enjoy the scenery at their own pace. Chick said he loves to design and build hot rods, but his favorite part is to drive them. Last summer, they took the Roadster all the way to Victoria, British Columbia, to participate in the Northwest Deuce Days, the largest gathering of 1932 Fords anywhere, with over 450 Deuce entrants. Chick did himself, and Valley Center, proud when he walked, excuse me, drove away with the prestigious Malcolm's Pick Award, which honors the Deuce that most represents the pinnacle of Deuces.
Entering and winning car shows and rallies is not unusual for Chick. In fact, he recently entered the Good Guys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, CA, and, again, drove off with a recognition award. Although Chick entered the show alone, he didn't wind up that way. Their son and his family, who live in nearby San Jose, surprised him by showing up and the grandkids were able to ride along with him to receive the award. It was a doubly sweet victory.
Chick is very proud to represent Valley Center when he is traveling and has given out Valley Center ball caps to various individuals he has met.  In fact, one gentleman who received such a cap was captured in a picture published in a hot rod magazine sporting his new Valley Center ball cap.
But we need to back up a little here and return to south Chicago. After high school, it was Chick's desire to attend the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to pursue automotive design; however, for a talented, but not-well-off guy from south Chicago, it just wasn't a feasible option. Instead, he graduated from Purdue with a degree in mechanical engineering, interrupted for four-years by a stint in the Navy in the field of aviation. A side note: Although not able to attend the Art Center as a student, he was invited last year to show More Bones at their annual car show - quite an honor and even some validation for the young man from south Chicago.
Chick always dreamed of coming to southern California as it has been known as the mecca of hot rods since the 1930s. After college and the Navy tour, he moved to Los Angeles to work for (now) Northrop Grumman, and continues to work for them on unmanned-aircraft systems. When Chick was relocated to Rancho Bernardo in January 2000, he drew a circle with a 35-mile radius in which to move closer to his work and Valley Center was "right there." He said he had been in Valley Center twice before and admired the area and the Norman Rockwell feel, so the decision was made to call Valley Center home. Having had them as our neighbors since we moved here in 2012, I concur it was the right decision! Chick and Sue Ann both come from urban backgrounds, but quickly, and happily, adjusted to the "country" club of Valley Center.
Since I am a novice when it comes to hot rods, Chick informed me there are two types of classification: hot rods and customs. The former tends to focus more on speed (for the guys) and the latter more on looks (for the girls). When you can combine both, as Chick has, then you've got it made in the shade!
Although Chick takes his fun seriously, there is much more to him than cars. Chick, along with Sue Ann, epitomize what it means to be good neighbors - in other words, true Valleyites. They are the kind of people you can turn to when you need help, from checking your mail to dealing with a crisis; what my parents would call "salt-of-the-earth type of people."
Although this story has focused mostly on Chick, Sue Ann is quite an accomplished individual, as well. She is an RN with an advanced degree working in the medical records software industry. She has supported the local CERT and MRC (Medical Reserve Corps). Upon her retirement at the end of this year, she looks forward to pursuing her other interests, which include making ceramic dolls (she has a kiln in her garage) and her latest passion, oil painting. She and Chick are fellow dog lovers, and they have rescued several over the years. They currently are training their latest, Lacie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, to be a therapy dog.
Chick routinely makes appearances at Cruisin' Grand, and with only one more Friday night left before he drives off into the sunset on his way to another car show or just to travel the back roads of this beautiful country, look him up if you get the chance. He's the one with the big smile on his face. Godspeed.
Click here for more pictures of Chick and his hot rod More Bones.  
(If you have a neighbor you would like us to meet, please email me at

MCRD San Diego's Mascot Born in Valley Center
Private First Class Smedley Butler, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego mascot, graduated with Kilo Company on September 19 after three months of training.  Smedley will be carrrying on the long held tradition of English Bulldogs representing the Marines.

He is named after Major General Smedley Butler, a highly decorated Marine that commanded MCRD. Smedley has the distinguished honor of being one of only three official Marine Corps mascots.  

Smedley was born in Valley Center by breeder and Bulldog Club of Greater San Diego President, Janice Hochstetler. 

For more graduation photos visit: 

The Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch Opens September 24
The Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch opens Thursday, September 24 and will remain open through Friday, October 31.  
Pumpkin Patch Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. - weekdays
8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. - weekends
Bates Nut Farm is introducing "Friday Nights at the Farm" and will remain open until 8:00 p.m. on October 10 and October 17.

Oak Glen High School Vandalized
September 17, 2014 - Statement from VCPUSD Superintendent, Mary Gorsuch: When Oak Glen staff arrived at school this morning they found what appeared to be  bullet holes in the windows of two classrooms. Sheriff's Deputies were called, arrived quickly and are investigating the incident.  Video surveillance indicates that the incident occurred at approximately midnight last night. Four deputies and additional VCPUSD staff are on campus completing the investigation, repairing windows and assisting Oak Glen staff today.
Students were moved to VCHS for the day while the investigation and repairs are taking place. All parents were contacted and all students and staff are safe.
Student and staff safety are of the utmost importance to us.   We appreciate the prompt response and support of law enforcement and our staff. 

We live in a dangerous region: Be prepared


The summer is over and the fall fire season is rapidly approaching. We all had a taste of what can happen last May when a series of wildfires struck throughout San Diego County. Fires, earthquakes, floods and landslides, all occur with regularity in Southern California; it is only a matter of time until the next natural disaster strikes.

Consequently, we should prepare for disasters and emergency situations of all types. Creating a family disaster plan, including where to meet, how to keep in touch, how to secure your home and what to do with pets and livestock must be planned in advance. Once an emergency hits, it's too late.


More information about disaster preparedness is available at: 

While governments at all levels prepare for everyday emergencies, major disasters can overwhelm emergency services. For these reasons, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program has been established to assist first responders and to provide training and emergency assistance in areas impacted by natural or man-made disasters. To learn more about CERT programs in your area, please visit: 

The recent fires in this region have served as a wake-up call.  Now is the time to plan and prepare. The safety of our loved ones may depend on actions we take today.

Marie Waldron represents Valley Center as our elected Assemblymember for the 75th District.  For more information visit: 


Dos Valles Garden Club Celebrates 60th Anniversary
September 9th was a special day for the Dos Valles Garden Club as they celebrated their 60th Anniversary.  It was a time to acknowledge the Club's success in giving so much to the Valley Center community these many years.  Each year their five plant sales raise money for scholarships and donations to local schools, donating an average of $7000 to $8000 annually.
Dos Valles Garden Club meets monthly to present horticultural and floral design educational programs. The public is welcome to join this group of friendly gardeners at these meetings, held 10 AM the second Tuesday of each month, September through May, at St. Stephen Church, 28933 Cole Grade Road in Valley Center.
DVGC Board members (left to right) Dave Rylaarsdam, Anne Watkins, George Speer Jr., Kathy Lee, Joan Patten, Karen Burstein, Dianne Clark.  

Noisy Neighbors Keeping You Up at Night?
By Trina West


While most of us enjoy the peace and quiet that rural living affords, Valley Center Happenings has recently been contacted by several residents that are at their wits end over frequent and loud parties hosted by their neighbors.

As such, we reached out to San Diego Sheriff's Lieutenant Dan Brislin of the Valley Center Substation to better understand the noise complaint and resolution process.  Lt. Brislin explained that while there are measures that can be taken, local deputies must also be careful not to infringe on the rights of the residents to host parties.

Under California Penal Code Section 415.(2) "Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise" is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in jail and/or a fine of up to $400.00. So what can you do if you believe your rights as stated in Penal Code 415 are being violated? Follow the suggestions stated below, stay patient and be persistent. The process may not be cut and dry, but there are steps you can take to counteract a noise nuisance.

If your peace is being disrupted by a late-night and raucous party, call the Sheriffs' Department's non-emergency dispatch number at (858) 565-5200 while the noise is occurring. Ask the dispatch officer to send a deputy to your house so that he/she can better assess the noise intrusion you are experiencing at your home. Or, if you prefer, you may request that the dispatch officer have a local deputy contact you by phone to discuss your situation. Be specific in describing the noise disturbance. Keep in mind that a noise complaint is a low-priority call and response will be delayed if a higher-priority situation is in progress. The jurisdiction of Valley Center deputies is 335 square miles, with only a couple deputies assigned to the late night shift.

When Sheriff Deputies respond to a noise complaint resulting from a loud party, they will attempt to settle the issue by discussing the problem with the party host. If necessary, the deputy will issue a First Response Notice to the host which acts as a "first warning" that the deputy objectively finds the party to be unreasonably disruptive. Due to the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, unless there are exigent circumstances that give the deputies probable cause that a crime is taking place (social host violations, underage drinking, fighting, etc.), the deputy will have no further authority unless the complainant chooses to sign a Citizen's Arrest.

If a complainant is unwilling to file a formal complaint or feels their complaint was not adequately addressed by the dispatch officer or responding deputy, they can contact the Valley Center Substation at 760-751-4400 and request to speak with a Patrol Sergeant or Lieutenant Brislin about their situation. One of the many advantages of living in Valley Center is our local Sheriff's Department welcomes calls from the community.  Lt. Brislin stated publicly that, "You can walk into my station and I will be more than happy to talk to you about any particular problems you are having or any ideas you have to address crime in your community. Information sharing is key."  If the information never reaches the substation, then corrective action cannot be taken.

Furthermore, the County of San Diego has a Noise Control Ordinance. According to Section 36.401 of the ordinance, "disturbing, excessive or offensive noise interferes with a person's right to enjoy life and property and is detrimental to the public health and safety. Every person is entitled to an environment free of annoying and harmful noise." Therefore, ongoing noise complaints should be filed with the County. Click here for more information on how to proceed with this process.

Finally, if you still cannot find a resolution to your problem, mediation may be necessary. In this case, forming a coalition with other neighbors is your best recourse. In mediation, a trained and impartial mediator will work with all parties to resolve the problem. One such mediation resource is the National Conflict Resolution Center, which can be reached at (619) 238-2400.

Fortunately, the vast majority of Valley Center residents are considerate of their neighbors and our town is a peaceful place to live. But it just takes one bad apple to ruin a bunch!

Additional resources:


County Adds New Firefighting Helicopter to Fleet 


Ahead of any Santa Ana winds, San Diego County emergency managers are reviewing emergency plans and resources to make sure the region is prepared for peak fire season. Part of the County's effort is a major awareness campaign that will launch later this month asking residents to "Get Fired Up" about preparing their homes and families.

 "While San Diego County in May was hit hard by a series of wildfires, this fall could be even tougher," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors. "Our fall fire season is often brutal, and experts say the risks are particularly high this year due to the drought conditions, so we must step up our game in our efforts to be prepared." 

Jacob made the comments at Sheriff's ASTREA helicopter base Wednesday, where she announced how the region is bolstering its aerial resources and provided details of the County's upcoming fire preparedness campaign. 

After the May fires, the County made a list of key recommendations to improve its response for the next regional wildfire. One of those improvement items was to secure an "exclusive-use" aerial firefighting contract for peak fire season, meaning a resource that would be dedicated to San Diego County and not be at risk of getting called away to fight fires elsewhere. 

The County accomplished this by leasing a firefighting helicopter that will remain in San Diego as an exclusive-use resource for the region. In the event of a wildfire, the UH-1H Huey helicopter based at Gillespie Field will deploy right alongside the Sheriff's Bell 205 firefighting helicopters, which are manned by a sheriff's pilot and CAL FIRE crews. 

The Huey is the same firefighting helicopter model used by CAL FIRE and has buckets that can carry from 324 to 375 gallons of water. 

County Supervisor Bill Horn also noted that, in a partnership spearheaded by County Supervisor Ron Roberts, San Diego Gas and Electric will make two firefighting helicopters available to the region for use in an extended firefighting response during peak fire season.  The Type 2 helicopters will be flown by the City of San Diego and operation costs will be shared by SDG&E, the County, and the ordering jurisdiction. 

"That means we have three contract helicopters on standby this fire season to bolster the region's permanent resources," said Horn. "In addition to our contract, Sheriff, City, SDG&E and CAL FIRE air resources, we have an agreement with the military to fight fires with their air resources in a prolonged firefight, just like they did in May." 

Indeed, firefighters throughout the state are on high alert for brushfires that could take hold in a drought-ravaged state. In San Diego, CAL FIRE crews went to peak staffing in March, which is the earliest in recent history, said San Diego County Fire Authority Chief and CAL FIRE Unit Chief Tony Mecham. 

"I am extremely concerned going into the fall that should we get the winds, we are going to get fires in San Diego County," Mecham said. 

To prepare, regional fire agencies and the County are recommending residents take a "Ready, Set, Go!" approach for peak fire season. 

Residents are asked  to get "ready" by creating or maintaining at least 100 feet  of defensible space - but to do so only early in the morning when the grasses are still dewy to prevent sparking a fire in the dry heat of the day. 

Residents can also get "ready" by making an emergency plan and gathering emergency supplies. 

If a fire breaks out, San Diegans can get "set" to evacuate by: staying tuned to media; grabbing their emergency supply kit; leaving inside and outside lights on so firefighters can see their home through smoke; closing all windows and doors but leaving them unlocked for firefighters; turning off propane and gas tanks, pilot lights and air conditioning; moving furniture to the center of the room and bringing patio furniture inside. All these steps give your home a better chance if embers were to land on your property. 

And finally, if told to do so, or if they feel unsafe, residents should "go." Firefighters suggest residents pre-pack their vehicles and leave early to avoid congestion from others evacuating and emergency vehicles. Residents can "go" to a predetermined location outside of the area at risk or established temporary evacuation points or shelters. 

With so many residents opting out of home phone service and using just cell phone service, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore is reminding residents to register their cell phones with the County's free AlertSanDiego notification system to make sure they get any calls with evacuation instructions. 

"Our AlertSanDiego system wasn't as effective as it could be during the May 2014 fires because people didn't register their cell phones," Gore said. 

The County's Get Fired Up:  Ready, Set, Go! Campaign will be more prominent in the next few weeks with mailers to fire-prone communities, online advertisements, billboards and public safety announcements. 

To learn more about the Ready, Set, Go call to action, register for AlertSanDiego and download free planning templates and the SD Emergency app, visit

Lions Club Membership Drive for U.S. Veterans
Did you serve in the U.S. Armed Forces?
The Valley Center Lions Club is participating in a Lions Clubs International program called "Involve a U.S. Veteran". Through this program, qualifying U.S. Veterans can continue to support their community as a Lion and have their club entrance fees waved.
The Valley Center Lions Clubs returns raised funds to Valley Center residents through student grants, support of community projects, food cards to support needy families during the holidays, vision and hearing testing and equipment, etc. Our major fund raising is the ever popular pancake breakfast at Bates Nut Farm which we run about 13 weekends a year, supporting Bates and other local clubs and vendors at craft shows, car club shows, dog shows, etc. We are a multi-generation group filled with like-minded men and women who feel supporting our community and helping others through community-based events is not only fun, but also rewarding.
Whether you served in the armed forces or just want an opportunity to serve your community, now is the time to join Valley Center's Lions. Come out to our next event (See event calendar here: Or, come to one of our meetings for dinner and a chance to get to know your Lion neighbors.
Contact the Valley Center Lions through Facebook at or email Tim Craig at to request membership forms or to join us at a meeting to learn more about our club and meet the members.

Unanimous Vote In Favor of Independent Fire Department
By Trina West


August 21, 2014 - The Valley Center Fire Protection District (VCFPD) voted unanimously to establish an independent fire department by voting to approve "the proposal to replace the currently contracted outside operational staff with in house staff," as per Director Phil Bell's proposal and Director Smith's Risk Assessment findings.

The VCFPD currently contracts with San Pasqual Reservation Fire Department (SPRFD) to provide fire protection for Valley Center.  As part of that contract, Valley Center receives six contracted Captains and a half-time Fire Chief.  Eight months ago Director Phil Bell reviewed the operating expenses and discovered a savings of roughly $160,000 if Valley Center hired its own Fire Chief and Battalion Chief.  In addition to a significant cost savings, Director Bell's proposal stated that an independent chain of command would open up lines of communication and create a stronger foundation for the District.

Director Bell's Proposed Fire Department Services Delivery Options was presented at the February 20, 2014 board meeting. Directors Bell and Wold were in favor of moving forward with the proposal at that time; however, Directors Simonsen, Smith and Palmer expressed concerns about the risks involved with establishing an independent fire department.  As such, a Risk Assessment Committee was established to address possible risks.

The committee was led by Director Oliver Smith and included Mel Schuler, Mike O'Connor, Rick Restivo, Jon Landen, Steve Hutchison, Judge Buskuhl, Vic Reed and Paul Ducksworth.  The purpose of the VCFPD Risk Assessment Committee was "to evaluate the proposed operational staff alternative of in-house staff in place of the current contracted outside operational staff per the Proposed Fire Department Services Delivery Option dated February 20, 2014." Director Smith presented the committee's findings to the Board of Directors at the July 17, 2014 board meeting. Several incremental expenses were identified with worst case projections and cost mitigation alternatives.  Director Smith noted several benefits for in-house operational staff.  Links are provided below for Director Bell's Proposed Fire Department Services Delivery Options and Director Smith's Risk Assessment Committee Report.

Following the unanimous vote, President Weaver Simonsen appointed a committee led by Director Bill Palmer to draft the Fire Chief responsibilities, qualities desired in a Fire Chief, and a job announcement to be voted on at the September board meeting.  President Simonsen stressed that the transition needed to be worked around peak fire season. He also shared that he has been working closely with Chairman Lawson to maintain working relations with the SPRFD.  They are looking into sharing Battalion Chiefs-which would be a cost-savings to both departments-via a modified contract.

By all accounts, VCFPD and SPRFD are working together closely and both are committed to providing the best possible fire services to our community.  This has been a long and at times tedious process; however, the strong communication and community collaboration paid off.  Congratulations to all those that gave tirelessly and contributed to this momentous decision!

Proposed Fire Department Services Delivery Options

Risk Assessment Committee Report

Qualified Candidates for Valley Center Local Elections 
The candidates listed below were updated on the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters listing as of 08/25/14 at 3:21 p.m. 

Valley Center Pauma Unified School District - Three out of the five seats are up for re-election: Lori Johnson, Karen Burstein and Michael Robledo.  The following qualified candidates are listed as running for an open seat: Jerry Fenton, Jonathan R. Goodman, Jay West, Shannon M. Laird, Michael T. Robledo (incumbent), Gina Roberts and Julie Stroh.

Valley Center Municipal Water District - The Water District Board is divided into districts. You may only vote for a candidate in your district. To find out which district you live in call the VCMWD 760-749-1600. The seats that are up for re-election are Division 2, Randy Haskell; Division 3, Gary A. Broomell; and Division 5, Merle J. Aleshire. All three incumbents are listed as running: Division 2, Randy Haskell; Division 3, Gary A. Broomell: and Division 5, Merle J. Aleshire.

Valley Center Fire Protection District - Three out of the five seats are up for re-election: Jim Wold, Oliver Smith, and Phil Bell.  The following candidates are listed as qualified for the ballot: Steve Hutchison, Oliver Smith (incumbent), Jim Wold (incumbent) and Phil Bell (incumbent).

Valley Center Community Planning District - Seven out of the fifteen seats are up for re-election: Seat 2, Steve Hutchison, Incumbent; Seat 4, Larry Glavinic; Seat 6, Robert Franck; Seat 8, Jon Vick; Seat 10, LaVonne Norwood-Johnson; Seat 12, Mark Jackson; and Seat 14 which was already vacant. The following candidates are listed as qualified for the ballot: Steve Hutchison (incumbent), Mark Jackson (incumbent), Susan J. Fajardo, LaVonne Norwood (incumbent), Jon Vick (incumbent), Claire Plotner, Dorothy V. Stock, James Garritson and Michael O'Connor.

Valley Center Parks & Recreation District - Three out of the five seats are up for re-election: Marcia Townsend, Fran DeWilde and Tom Bumgardner. The following candidates are listed as qualified for the ballot: Tom Bumgardner (incumbent), Jon Vick, Carol Johnson, Marcia Townsend (incumbent) and Shannon M. Laird  .

Elections will be held on November 4, 2014.

More information is available at or you can call 858-505-7260.


The Valley Center Kiwanis Club 2nd Annual Golf Tournament
The Valley Center Kiwanis Club is sponsoring their second annual golf tournament on Friday, October 10th at Woods Valley Golf Course.
The golf tournament is the major fund raiser for the Valley Center Kiwanis Club and proceeds will be used for scholarships to help Valley Center students attend college and fund the Rachel's Challenge program to reduce bullying in our schools. Last year they provided five scholarships and money for Rachel's Challenge program.  Rachel's Challenge is a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating safe, connected school environments where learning and teaching are maximized.
In addition to the above, participants will get a $100 Value Gift Package including $25 Free Play at Harrah's Resort; wine and beer tasting coupons and much more.  There will be a silent auction, snacks, and Mulligan packages.
Tickets cost $99. The ticket includes golf and cart; range balls; prizes and an award dinner at the new refurbished Woods Valley Clubhouse.  Registration begins at 11:30 AM with a 1:00 PM Shotgun start.
Kiwanis is an international organization dedicated to helping children of the world and our local group sponsors local youth programs.  The Club meets at 7 a.m. Fridays at the Country Junction Deli. Anyone is welcome to come have breakfast with the group.
Friday afternoon will be a perfect time to get a foursome of friends together for fun, dinner and a chance to contribute to a worthy cause.  E-mail Marty at or 760-751-0103.






















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