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2-5 year olds
Half day and full day available
(760) 751-9868

We have had an exciting year! We enjoyed eating lots of foods that start with every letter in the alphabet. We have studied our solar system, played with worms, bugs, tadpoles. We have learned about farm animals. We even took an adventure through the

We are starting to work on our float for the Western Day Parade. Look for us!

Please stop by for a tour and learn more about our hands-on curriculum. 

28094 N. Lake Wohlford Rd. Valley Center





click dates below for detailed report


Valley Center 
Headlines & Happenings

In Loving Memory of Jill Wauters-Ryback
January 8, 1966 - May 8, 2014


It has been a year and yet it seems like just yesterday you were here with us.

We miss your beautiful smile and will forever remember that you told us to "be happy and to live, laugh, and love."

We miss you so much and we will always treasure our memories.

We love you Jill!

Mom and Dad
Brad, Meghan and Milo
Trevor and Kelly
Tim and Maggie

CAL FIRE Encourages Wildfire Awareness During Drought 
By California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 

As drought conditions continue to significantly elevate California's fire danger, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. has declared May 3-9, 2015 as "Wildfire Awareness Week." During Wildfire Awareness Week, CAL FIRE is reminding all Californians of the role they play in preparing for and preventing wildfires.

"With a record dry and warm winter Californian's fire activity has been nearly double what it normally is for this time of year," said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. "Our firefighters continue to meet the challenges posed by California's historic drought, but we all must do our part to ensure our homes are prepared for wildfire and that residents and visitors to our state take extreme caution to avoid sparking a wildfire."

On May 1, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that California's snowpack water content was only 3 percent of normal. The lack of snow and overall rainfall has led to conditions being much drier than normal, lending themselves to the quick spread of wildfire. Between January 1 and May 2, CAL FIRE has responded to over 1,100 wildfires that have charred over 4,200 acres. In an average year for the same time period, CAL FIRE would typically respond to fewer than 650 wildfires burning approximately 1,500 acres. During Wildfire Awareness Week, CAL FIRE is reminding Californians that when it comes to wildfires, remember "Ready, Set, Go!". Being Ready for a wildfire starts by maintaining 100 feet of Defensible Space and hardening homes with fire resistant building materials. During this drought CAL FIRE is highly recommending residents landscape their yards with drought tolerant and fire resistant plants. Being Set includes have an evacuation plan and an emergency supply kit. Lastly, when a wildfires strikes, residents are urged to Go! and evacuate early.

CAL FIRE is also urging all Californians during Wildfire Awareness Week to learn the steps to prevent sparking a wildfire. Over 90 percent of the wildfires in California are sparked by the activity of people, so CAL FIRE has joined local and federal fire agencies in the "One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire" campaign in hopes of getting the public to practice fire safety outdoors and prevent sparking a wildfire.

Residents looking for additional information on how to prepare themselves, their families and their homes for wildfire can visit The site offers tips for residents to make their homes more resistant to wildfires and to ensure that their families are ready to evacuate early and safely when a wildfire strikes.

For more than two years, California has been dealing with the effects of drought. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at

Wildfire Awareness Proclamation

Valley Center Library Honors Volunteers
By Ray Flores
The San Diego County Library Valley Center Branch held its annual Valley Center Library Volunteer Recognition Event this past Friday, May 1, 2015.

It was announced that Valley Center resident Marian Klein was selected as one of the 2015 County Volunteers of the Year. The Annual Volunteer Recognition program is a prestigious event that honors volunteers from all county departments and Marian was one of six county library volunteers chosen from San Diego County's 33 branches and 2 bookmobiles.

Valley Center Branch Manager Laura Zuckerman and San Diego County Library Director, Jose Aponte made award presentations to 20 additional Valley Center resident library volunteers for outstanding and dedicated volunteer service to the Valley Center Branch. They were as follows:

Jeanette Brady, Linda Yeager, Joy Macari, Carol Gartner, Helen Ineke Burrie, Pat Downing, Tracy White, Jean Gorby, Dianne Baum, Lois Fopiano, Joe Rudoff, Ileana Paul, Denis O'Connor, Susan Draganov, Barbara Boyett, Janet Dancy, Gerry Block, Kathy Stech, Bonnie Wheeler John Philip Geddes, and Vaudis Pennell. Director Aponte thanked all the volunteers because without their contribution the San Diego County Library Department would not be as successful as they are.

Congratulations to all the awardees, and thank you.  
Click here for more pictures of the event. 

Practice Water Safety Now, Before a Child Drowns
By George E. Lucia Sr., Fire Marshal   
Statistics show that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in toddlers from 1 - 4 years of age in California.
It may not be a swimming pool or spa, but any standing water from recent heavy rains.
Please watch your young children, especially around standing water and swimming pools.
It just takes a few seconds for tragedy to strike.  Once the drowning occurred, it just takes a few seconds for tragedy to strike.  Once the drowning has occurred, it is just a few minutes and irreversible brain death can occur.
The recommended approach with drownings is prevention.Pool owners should us a designated pool watcher whenever children are present.  This should be an adult who is capable of swimming well, not participating in any other activities and remains by the pool side (not in the pool) to be able to see all the pool occupants clearly.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately and stay on the line with the dispatcher. (We advise installing a telephone or always having a cordless or cell phone in any pool area.)
  • If the victim is within throwing distance, throw a floatable object to them. This includes a life jacket, kick board or even an empty gallon jug.
  • If the victim is within reaching distance, assist them by extending something long, such as a rope, pole, ring buoy or a tree branch.If you must enter the water to assist someone, take a flotation device large enough to carry two adults safety. Keep the device between you and the person in distress; even a child can put an adult at risk in deep water.

Learn how simple safety steps save lives in and around pools and spas.

Parents and families can build on their current safety systems at pools and spas by adopting additional water safety steps. Adding as many proven water safety steps as possible is the best way to assure a safe and fun experience, because you can never know which one might save a child's life-until it does.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water.
  • Teach children basic water safety tips. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa.
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency.
  • Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and always use them. For additional protection, install window guards on windows facing pools or spas. 
  • Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water.
  • Ensure any pool and spas you use have compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know.
  • Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order.
  • Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.


"National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day" is May 2nd

Wildfire May Be Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon...
By George E. Lucia Sr., Fire Marshal

May 2, 2015 - I know you may be tired of the constant reminders about wildfires in the Valley Center area but just look around you, the brush has grown higher and is turning browner. The memories of 2003 and 2007 are still vivid in our minds but is it possible some of our neighbors just don't get it?
"Predictable is Preventable" - Maintain 100 feet of defensible space around the structures on your property. Dead and dying (brown) vegetation has to go.
New Construction
Homeowners should build their home with fire-resistant building materials and away from ridge tops, canyons and areas between high points on a ridge. It is also required in Valley Center that a new home be built at least 30 feet from the property line. The underside of balconies and above-ground decks should be enclosed with fire-resistant materials. Install only dual-paned or triple-paned windows and limit the size and number of windows that face large areas of vegetation. Sprinkler systems within the house are required. They will protect the home while owners are away or prevent a house fire from spreading into the wildland. Homeowners should make sure that electric service lines, fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels are installed and maintained as prescribed by code. Did you know that circuit breakers need to be exercised according to the manufacturer? Always use a licensed and qualified contractor to perform electrical maintenance and repairs.
Roofing is one of the most important ways to protect a structure from wildfire. A home with a nonflammable roof (composition shingles, tile, metal, etc.) is many times more likely to survive a wildfire than those with flammable roofs (wood shakes or shingles). Homeowners should install a roof that meets the fire resistance classification of "Class A." Also remove dead branches hanging over a roof. Remove any branches within 15 feet of a chimney. Clean all dead leaves and needles from roof and gutters. Cover the chimney outlet and stovepipe with a nonflammable screen of 1/4 inch or smaller mesh.
Defensible space:
In the 1980s, the term "defensible space" was coined to describe vegetation management practices aimed at reducing wildfire threats to homes. Defensible space is the area between a house and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and to provide an opportunity for firefighters to effectively defend the house. The vegetation adjacent to homes can have considerable influence upon the survivability of the house. In the event of a wildfire, firefighters will likely select homes they can most safely and effectively protect. Even with adequate resources, some wildfires may be so intense that there may be little firefighters can do to prevent a house from burning.
The key is to reduce fire intensity as wildfire nears the house. This can be accomplished by reducing the amount of flammable vegetation surrounding a home. Consequently, the most important person in protecting a house from wildfire is not a firefighter, but you, the property owner. The action taken by the owner before the wildfire occurs (such as proper landscaping) is the most critical. For the most part, creating a defensible space employs routine gardening and landscape maintenance practices such as pruning, mowing, weeding, plant removal, appropriate plant selection, and irrigation. Defensible space size is not the same for everyone, but varies by slope and type of wildland vegetation growing near the house.
When a wildfire threatens, the first few minutes are the most critical for saving a home. Firefighting personnel must be able to immediately locate and safely travel to the property. At the same time that fire engines and other emergency equipment are trying to drive into an area, homeowners must be able to escape in a vehicle with their family and valuable personal possessions. Each of these steps will give firefighters a chance to find and protect a home: Make sure that your street is named or numbered, and a sign is visibly posted at each street intersection. Post your house address at the beginning of your driveway, or on the house if it is easily visible from the road. Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood. Construct driveways to allow large emergency equipment to reach your house. Make sure dead-end roads and long driveways have turnaround areas wide enough for emergency vehicles. Construct turnouts along one-way roads. Clear flammable vegetation at least 10 feet from roads and five feet from driveways. Cut back overhanging tree branches above roads.
What to do when wildfire approaches:
When a wildfire is immediately threatening an area, there are certain steps that give residents and their home a better chance of surviving. If you see a fire approaching your home, report it immediately by dialing 9-1-1. Stay on the phone to answer additional questions the emergency dispatcher may ask. Dress properly to prevent burns and lifelong scars. Wear long pants, cotton or wool long sleeve shirts or jackets. Gloves and a damp cloth provide added protection. Do not wear short sleeve shirts or clothing made of synthetic fabrics. Prepare to evacuate Park your car in the garage, facing out with windows closed and keys in the ignition. Close the garage door but leave it unlocked. Disconnect the automatic garage door opener in case of power failure. Place valuable documents, family mementos and pets inside the car in the garage ready for quick departure. 
What to do outside the house:
Move combustible yard furniture away from the house or store it in the garage (if it catches fire while outside, the added heat could ignite your house). Cover windows, attic openings, eave vents and sub-floor vents with fire-resistive material such as 1/2-inch or thicker plywood. This will eliminate the possibility of sparks blowing into hidden areas within the house. Close window shutters if they are fire resistive. Attach garden hoses to spigots and place them so they can reach any area of your house. Fill trash cans and buckets with water and place them where firefighters can find them. If you have an emergency generator or a portable gasoline-powered pump that will supply water from a swimming pool, pond, well or tank, clearly mark its location and make sure it is ready to operate. Place a ladder against the house on the side opposite the approaching fire to help firefighters in rapidly getting onto your roof.
What do inside the house
Close all windows and doors to prevent sparks from blowing inside. Close all doors inside the house to slow down fire spread from room to room. Turn on a light in each room of your house, on the porch and in the yard. This will make the house more visible in heavy smoke or darkness. Shut off liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas valves. Move furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors to keep it from igniting from the heat of fire radiating through windows. Remove your curtains and drapes. If you have metal blinds or special fire resistant window coverings, close them to block heat radiation.
If you do evacuate, travel away from the approaching fire front. Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you at all times. If you are trapped by fire while evacuating in your car, park in an area clear of vegetation, close all vehicle windows and vents, cover yourself with a blanket or jacket and lie on the floor. If you are trapped by fire while evacuating on foot, select an area clear of vegetation along a road, or lie in the road ditch. Cover any exposed skin with a jacket or blanket. Avoid canyons that can concentrate and channel fire. Always listen for fire evacuation orders and leave early, don't wait until it's too late! If you can't escape your home and are trapped by an approaching wildfire. Stay inside your house, away from outside walls. Call 911 and report that you are trapped. Close all doors, but leave them unlocked. Keep your entire family together and remain calm. Remember: if it gets hot in the house, it is many times hotter and more dangerous outside.
After the fire passes
After a fire passes, check inside the attic for hidden burning embers. Check the roof immediately, extinguishing all sparks and embers. If you must climb onto the roof, use caution, especially if it is wet. Check inside the attic for hidden burning embers. Check your yard for burning woodpiles, trees, fence posts or other materials. Keep the doors and windows closed. Continue rechecking your home and yard for burning embers for at least 12 hours. Call the Valley Center Fire Protection District at 760-751-7600 to report any neighborhood unsafe conditions. You may also call and request a free home safety (inside Andy outside) inspection.

Structure Fire in Valley Center
By George E. Lucia, Sr. Fire Marshal 


April 29, 2015 - A 9-1-1 call was received for a fire in an attached garage and a single family home in the 16000 block of Guejito Road in Valley Center just after midnight this morning.

A full first alarm dispatched the Valley Center Fire Protection District Fire Chief along with two engines, a Mercy medic unit, and an engine and a ladder truck from San Pasqual Reservation Fire Department. 

First arriving fire units found the attached two car garage fully involved in flames and spreading towards the attached house.

An additional dispatch added a water tender, an engine from Calfire and a Fire Investigator.

The home was occupied by 10 adults and 2 children, all who escaped unharmed.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from entering the home.

Damage is estimated at $50,000 in content damage and $50,000 in structural damage. 

There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.

The cause of the fire is currently under Investigation.

VCHS Bands & Choirs Earn Top Awards at 2015 Music in the Parks
By Trina West 


April 28, 2015 - The Valley Center High School Band and Choir students traveled to San Francisco last weekend to compete at the 2015 Music in the Parks. The performances took place at Milpitas High School in Milpitas, CA, with the awards ceremony held at Great America San Francisco.

The VCHS musicians were standing in recognition more than they were sitting as each group was announced as the 1st Place Winner for their category. The groups that competed were: Women's Choir, Advanced Choir, Jazz Choir, Jazz Band, Concert Band and Drumline. "Outstanding Accompanist" was awarded to Sydney Parks and Antonio Flores. "Outstanding Soloists" went to Jordan Beck and Alyda Montano. 

VCHS was also awarded the top two coveted trophies as the VCHS Jazz Choir was named "Overall Best Choir" and the VCHS Jazz Band was named "Overall Best Band."

The students were then treated to a day in San Francisco including a boat tour around Alcatraz, a tour of Fort Point, a hike to the Golden Gate Bridge, a stop at Ghirardelli Square and walk along Pier 39.

This award-winning 5-day trip was made possible by the fundraising efforts of the Valley Center/Pauma Music Boosters, the dedicated instruction by Music Directors Jeff and Laralee Beck, support from the VCPUSD administration, and the many parents that chaperoned the trip.

Valley Center is blessed with an incredible music program and their talent and dedication were certainly evident at the 2015 Music in the Parks!

This Will Sound Like a Broken Record...
By Phyllis Knight


This will sound like a broken record...because it is! Grace Price, of Valley Center, and a sophomore at Calvin Christian in Escondido, was competing in the 1600 meter event (approximately one mile) on Saturday, April 18th, at the Jaguar Invitational at VCHS when she broke the twenty-eight-year record for her school in that event. Grace's time was 5.37.58. The previous record of 5.37.80 was set by Ingrid Ton in 1986. (See how important a fourth of a second can be?!)  

At a ceremony at Calvin Christian School, Grace was presented the plaque with her name and the new record, and got to climb the "ladder of success" to attach it to the gym wall. Ms. Ton had planned to present the plaque to Grace but, unfortunately, at the last minute was unable to attend.

Gracie (as her family calls her) is the daughter of John and Jeanne Price. Gracie's brother, fourteen-year-old Jarrett, also attends Calvin Christian, and he hopes to follow in her running footsteps by joining the Cross Country Team next fall. Gracie's family is very proud of her and her accomplishment, stating she is exceedingly dedicated and has trained extremely hard to accomplish this. Even during Spring Break vacation, she continued to train every day, pushing herself at 10,000 feet in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Although running and competing are very important to Grace, her first priority at school is academics, where she excels with a 4.0 GPA. Her ultimate goal, in whatever she does, is God's glory, and she knows when she puts Him first, she can't lose!

As a sophomore, Grace has many opportunities ahead of her to excel at running, and she definitely is not resting on her laurels. In fact, she will be competing this weekend at Del Norte High School's "Meet of Champions." As she continues to compete, as usual, she will be striving to improve her performance. After all, there are always more records to break...maybe even her own! 

She would say that the greatest blessing of Cross Country and Track is the team. No drama, just hard work and sweat and life-long friendships!

Rotary Students of the Month - April 

We would like to congratulate the Rotary Students of the Month for the month of April. Students in grades 7 through 12 are chosen based on: Academic Performance, Citizenship, Leadership and Service. The following special students have made a positive contribution to the school community and were selected by their teachers for this honor:   

Wenhao Ruan, 7th Grade: "Wenhao Ruan is one of those students that brightens my science class every day. I am reminded daily how fortunate and grateful I am to witness this young boy mature into an extraordinary student.

Wenhao is dedicated, conscientious, hard working, and kind. He has an amazing ability to remain focused on the task at hand despite any other disruptions in class.  He always submits work for science that goes above and beyond the expected. He asks pertinent questions during discussions, and he collaborates extremely well with other students.  

The Valley Center Middle School Thunderhawks are truly fortunate to have Wenhao as a member of their team, and I am the lucky science teacher that has this young boy as a member of my period 6 science class." - Patricia Franco, 7th Grade Science Teacher, Valley Center Middle School

Rachel Utter, 8th Grade: "I would like to nominate my student, Rachel Utter, for Rotary Student of the Month. My name is Ms. Molly Stermon and I am a Math Teacher at Valley Center Middle School. Rachel is an 8th grade student in my Algebra 1 class and she demonstrates exceptional abilities in leadership, academics, sportsmanship and community service.

Rachel is a natural born leader. In math class, she sets the example by demonstrating amazing personal discipline, time management, and work ethic. She helps the struggling students at her table and she won't hesitate to ask for help. Additionally, when we work on group word problems, I have witnessed her take charge and lead her table group discussions. Outside of the math classroom, Rachel is a leader on the Ag Farm with Mrs. Green. She serves as an aid on the farm helping other students learn how to tend to the animals.

Rachel's education is important to her. She aspires to go to college and continue to work with animals. She is an accomplished athlete and she is using her talents to continue her education. Rachel is part of the FC Heat Flight AAA Soccer Team in Escondido. This is the second most competitive team in the league. She plays against other teams that are 2-3 ages above her and she already has professional soccer coaches looking at her for scholarships.
Rachel is a wonderful student because she is selfless. In addition to helping students in math class, she volunteers for her community by taking care of the Ag farm on weekends. Rachel is also gifted in the fine arts. She is very talented at sketching and drawing animals. Additionally, she is working on writing her own fiction story on the computer.

In conclusion, I believe Rachel Utter is the ideal choice for the Rotary Club because she is an exceptional well-rounded student. She finds the balance between academics, Ag Farm responsibilities, sports, and family and friends. She will make a fine addition because she will bring all of her positive attributes to the club. Congratulations Rachel!" - Molly Stermon
Karina Munoz, 9th Grade: "Hi, my name is Karina Munoz and it's an honor for me to be here. I'm fifteen years old, I'm in ninth grade and I attend VCHS. I have lived in Valley Center for eleven years. I live with my parents and two sisters named Sharai that is in seventh grade and Liliana that is in fourth grade. My family enjoys going camping and likes having picnics. I love going to school and learning new things.
The classes I'm taking are: Spanish III, biology, Pre Ap English 9, College Readiness, and geometry. I really like all my classes and teachers, but my two favorite classes are Spanish III and Pre Ap English 9. During my first days of High School I thought it was impossible for me to adapt to a new school and to all my classes. I felt really scared because I thought I was not going to be able to succeed; half way through first semester I proposed myself to try my best and that I could only have A's or B's in all my classes and so far I've been able to keep it up.
At the moment I have not tried out for any sport, but I do participate in clubs. On Tuesdays I stay after school for Jags United ASE and I also participate in College Readiness Club. I'm looking forward to graduate from high school with really high grades that could hopefully help me to go to California State University, Los Angeles so I can receive a degree in medicine to become a pediatrician in the future. Lastly, I want to thank everybody that gave me the opportunity of being here." - Nominated by Randy Cowell

Amanda Baranowski, 10th Grade: "Good Afternoon, my name is Amanda Baranowski. I am 15 years old and a sophomore at Valley Center High School. I have lived in Valley Center for 5 years and I am involved in many programs including choir, color guard, and musical theater. I have one sister and two brothers. One of my brothers is my twin.

In school I am taking one AP class and one Honors class. My goal for my high school career is to make top 5 in my class. I plan to finish this semester with a 4.3 GPA and continue next year by taking four AP classes. I am currently in Advanced Choir and Jazz Choir. I have been in choir for 5 years now, and jazz choir for 2 years. I have recently participated in the San Diego County Honor Choir this year. In 2013, I earned the honor of being named Optimist Student of the Year out of all 8th grade students.

I am a founding member of the new color guard program at Valley Center High School. This program is in its second year since re-entering the marching band, and I have the amazing opportunity to be the captain of it. 

I have been in twelve musicals and plays. My roles have ranged from a villager in my first show, to Ariel in my 9th and Mrs. Potts in my 12th. Acting is a way for me to express myself through other characters and personalities.

I plan to go to a four-year university to study music and performing arts. I am truly honored to be the 10th grade April Student of the Month. Thank you very much for having us here." - Nominated by Laralee Beck

John Luna, 11th Grade: "Hi my name is John Luna, I am 16 years old. I am a junior at Valley Center High School, and this is the first time I have ever received an award as prestigious as this and I am very honored to receive it. I come from a moderately sized family, I have 2 brothers, 4 sisters, a mom and a dad. I am taking normal classes and I am on course for graduation. I play one sport at the moment, which is lacrosse however I am in the process of training for wrestling and football. My plans after high school are to go to college and then enroll in the army as an officer. Thank you." - Nominated by Randy Cowell

Bailey Gilmore, 12th Grade: "Hello my name is Bailey Gilmore, I am a senior at Valley Center High School. I have been living in Valley Center for 9 years ever since moving from San Diego in 2006. My family consists of my parents, Juanita and David, high school sweethearts, who have been happily married for 25 years, my 19 year-old sister Darin who is currently enrolled in her second year of college at UC Davis, and my white German Shepherd, Luna. I am very involved with Valley Center High School and all of its activities. I have been involved in Valley Center's music program since the 5th grade and have fallen in love with music because of this program. I have been playing the trumpet for 8 years, and the French horn for 3 years. I am the marching band's drum major this year, but have also held brass section leader and assistant drum major as my leadership roles in band.  I am involved in NHS and CSF, and have played sports all throughout high school.
I plan on going to The University of Nevada-Reno to major in nursing, but also plan to be involved in the university's prestigious marching band.From nursing I then plan to continue to graduate school to get my master's degree in nurse practitioner where I can specialize in the neonatal field. If possible I want to minor in music performance so that I can take my love for music wherever I go." - Nominated by Jeff Beck 

Valley Center WWII Vet Has Ties to Witchcraft
By Phyllis Knight

They say you can't go home again, but you can visit the past, especially when it involves "Witchcraft," and that's exactly what Valley Center resident, Wesley O. Means,  has had the opportunity to do over the last three years.

Witchcraft is one of the B-24 Liberator aircrafts on which Mr. Means served as ground crew as a member of the 467th Bomb Group (Heavy) at Rackheath Air Base in Norwich, England during WWII. Mr. Means has many fascinating stories about that time period, and he can tell you that not all the action and excitement happened in the air. In fact, the airfield was bombed two separate times by German airplanes, narrowly missing him in the process. 

Often, ground crews are the unsung heroes of flight operations, but Mr. Means is not negative about the lack of credit or attention he received. In fact, although he would not label his time in England as "magical" he is thankful for the opportunity to have served his country, and considers it a very important and meaningful part of his life. To this day, he recalls with clarity being taken, along with other ground crew, on a victory lap, if you will, aboard a B-24 from Rackheath to Berlin and back at the end of the war. 

Witchcraft, along with a B-17 Flying Fortress and P-51 Mustang, owned and operated by the Collings Foundation, were at Palomar Airport in Carlsbad this weekend as one stop on their annual "Wings of Freedom Tour." Since there are not many WWII vets left anymore, Mr. Means, who will turn 92 in August, found himself being treated like a rock star. Although he is a gentle, unassuming man, even he would have to admit he enjoyed the attention, especially from the children. Watching the interaction of the Old and the Young was very moving, especially to me. You see, I wasn't just a bystander writing a story; I was a very proud daughter watching her dad. Thanks for your service, Dad.

The Collings Foundation is a non-profit, Educational Foundation (501c-3), founded in 1979. The purpose of the Foundation is to organize and support "living history" events that enable Americans to learn more about their heritage through direct participation.

The following history of Witchcraft is copied from the Collings Foundation website. For more information on the B-24s and other WWII aircraft, as well as the Foundation, please check-out their website:

The history of "Witchcraft" is a story that legends are made from. The original "Witchcraft" was produced as a B-24H, built by Ford at the famous Willow Run, MI plant in 1944. It was delivered to the 467th in Wendover, Utah and initially assigned to Second Lieutenant George W. Reed and his crew who flew the aircraft to England. "Witchcraft" safely arrived with her crew at Station 145 in Rackheath, England on March 19th, 1944, after a 20-day flight over the Atlantic. The aircraft and crew began their combat service on April 10th, 1944, flying the first combat mission of the 467th Bomb Group. Over the next year "Witchcraft" flew an incredible 130 combat missions with various crews. "Witchcraft" was never once turned back while on a mission, and never had any crewmen injured or killed. Her last mission was flown on April 25th, 1945 which also was the last mission flown by the 467th Bomb Group. "...Witchcraft" was there at the beginning and at the end." After the war, she was returned to the United States and like many other B-24's, was scrapped on October 3rd, 1945 at the surplus depot in Altus, Oklahoma. 

One Small Step...Good News for Valley Center Farmers!
 By Assemblymember Marie Waldron 

As most of you know, Governor Brown recently mandated cutbacks in water use throughout the state, with agriculture exempted.  Unfortunately, the order was initially being interpreted in a way that would subject farmers receiving water from municipal or "urban" water districts to cuts not being imposed on famers served by "agricultural" water districts. 

This interpretation would have had a huge negative impact on farmers served by several major suppliers of agricultural water in the 75th Assembly District, including the Fallbrook Public Utilities District and the Rainbow and Valley Center Municipal Water Districts. On April 15 I sent a letter to the California State Water Resources Control Board asking that these inequitable cuts be rescinded.

Fortunately, on April 18 the Board agreed that the proposed regulations should be altered so that farmers in this region will not be subjected to cuts beyond those being imposed on farmers in other parts of California. 

Under the revised regulations, the Water Board will allow "urban" water districts that sell more than 20% of their water to commercial agriculture to subtract agricultural water sales from the amount being reported under the new regulations.

San Diego County is one of the largest agricultural counties in the state and the nation. Reminding people in the rest of California that agriculture exists south of the Grapevine, and that there is lots of it, is an ongoing battle I will continue to fight. Even in this drought, we have enough water. We just need to get smarter about how we use it.

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

Should You Report that Dead Bird You've Found?

OK, you've found a dead bird - and you know that birds can carry the potentially deadly West Nile virus. 

Should you report it by calling the County of San Diego's Vector Control - on our hotline (858-694-2888), email (, or our "Fight the Bite" mobile app?

Absolutely yes, if you suspect that the bird might have been killed by a disease like West Nile virus. You'll be helping everybody. Finding disease early, tracking its presence and fighting it makes our neighborhoods safer and healthier.

But how can you tell if you should report this particular dead bird?
Here are some things to look for:
  • What kind of bird is it? In San Diego County, the birds most likely to die from West Nile virus include crows, ravens, jays, hawks, falcons and owls.
  • Does it look like the bird died from disease? Truth is, if the bird looks like it's been injured, there's a good chance it wasn't killed by West Nile virus. (It might have been hit by a car or attacked by another animal.)
  • Does it look like the bird has been dead for a long time? If the bird's corpse is older than 24 hours, there's very little chance that it can be tested to determine if it had West Nile virus. So, how do you know if the bird's been dead longer than 24 hours? Here are some things to look for: It shouldn't be stiff; it shouldn't smell bad; and it shouldn't be covered by ants and flies.
  • The bird should be intact, meaning it's not missing any body parts and its eyeballs should be in one piece. Again, missing body parts likely means the bird wasn't killed by disease. The eyeballs? Disease testing requires having fluid from the bird's eye!
If you find a dead bird and you decide to try to handle it - remember to do it safely. Don't touch it with your bare hands; wear gloves or a shovel to pick it up; double-bag the dead bird carcass; and wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after handling the bird. If you don't want to handle it, don't - call County Vector Control instead.

The big thing to remember is, if you have any doubt about whether the dead bird you found might have died from West Nile virus, report it.

For more information, go to the County Vector Control's "Fight the Bite" West Nile VirusWeb page and its "Report Dead Birds" Web page.

VC Real Estate Professionals "Putt" the Community First
By Phyllis Knight

Don't you just love being able to have fun doing something you enjoy - and being able to support a great cause at the same time? (Actually, who doesn't?!) Well, the participants in the 11th Annual Valley Center Real Estate Professionals Scholarship Golf Tournament got to do just that!

On Friday, April 17th, 94 golfers had a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors at Woods Valley Golf Club, play a little golf, interact with fellow golfers, try for some prizes, bid on numerous nice gifts and enjoy a delicious lunch and dinner cooked by Larry McKenzie and Duane Conaway. They even had the chance to win fantastic Hole-in-One prizes: $15,000 from Pauma/Valley Insurance, a Gator from Powerland Equipment and a new car from Bob Baker Subaru. Alas, there were no takers, but there's always next year.   

I'm sure that all who participated, including the winning team from the Pala Band of Mission Indians with a score of -17, would say the best part of all, though, is the $20,000 they netted for scholarships for VCHS graduating seniors. This brings the total net proceeds from the golf tournaments to over $140,000 raised for scholarships over the last eleven years. 

The organizers of the golf tournament would like to thank all of their sponsors, especially their Platinum Level - Pala Band of Mission Indians; Gold Level - Valley Center Wireless, Carrington Real Estate, Greater San Diego Association of Realtors and Summit Mortgage/John Yeager; and Silver Level - The Broker Network, OB Realty, Valley View Casino, Heritage Escrow, and US Bank. They also appreciate the more than 60 hole sponsors. Last, but not least, a big shout-out to the Staff of Woods Valley Golf Club, and especially Annelise Frederiksen, for all their help.

The Valley Center Community Aid Group (VCCAG) is the non-profit entity established by the Valley Center Real Estate Professionals for the purpose of collecting and distributing monies raised by their personal donations and through their fundraising activities. In addition to their scholarship program, they also act as a safety net to assist community members in times of need. Thank you Valley Center Real Estate Professionals/VCCAG for all you do!

For more information on VCCAG, check-out their Facebook page:
All Photos courtesy of Armstrong Photography. (Thank you!)  

VCPUSD April School Board Meeting Wrap Up
By Jay West 


The Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District Board of Trustees held their monthly meeting on April 9th.  During the recognition portion of the meeting, Tami Striler was recognized as the Lilac Elementary School Certificated Employee of the Month and Anna Brinkley was recognized as the Lilac Elementary School Classified Employee of the Month. They were introduced by Rose Flowers, the Principal of Lilac Elementary School. 

Tami has been teaching for 24 years Fontana, New York City, Irvine and for the last five years at Lilac. Ms. Flowers said, "Tami is hard-working and dedicated to helping her students achieve their best," and "She is a model of professionalism and she is devoted to students and family."  Ms. Flowers went on to say that, "For igniting passion and purpose in her students and colleagues, Tami has earned Employee of the Month."

Ms. Brinkley has been with the district for the past 10 years, serving at nearly every school. At Lilac Elementary, she serves as the Noon Duty Supervisor and as a Special Education Instructional Assistant. "Anna does her job with genuine love and concern for our children and the Lilac Community," stated Flowers. She added, "Anna takes her responsibilities seriously and she truly wants to help students work hard to do their best."

The next person recognized was Carol Cultrera for receiving the California Association of Directors of Activities (CADA) Service Award. This recognition is given to Associated Student Body (ASB) directors who have been active in CADA and provide outstanding leadership both to the organization and to their respective regions and schools. Jon Petersen, Principal of the Middle School introduced Ms. Cultrera stating that, "Carol leads the best ASB Program in Southern California for Middle Schools." He went on to say,"She has transformed the middle school culture with all the great activities and leadership opportunities we have for the students." Of special note, the Middle School ASB program has won the California Association of Student Leaders (CASL) Outstanding Leadership Program Award three years in a row.

After the award presentations, the monthly curriculum report, "Fine Arts Volunteers in Education (FAVE)" was presented by Stephanie McEntire and Amy Copeland. FAVE is a volunteer run art program that is a synergistic community and school partnership that embeds art experience within course curriculum. The mission of FAVE is to assist teachers in providing all VCPUSD students with the fine arts using a variety of mediums through the use of standards-based lessons aligned to the state curriculum. The FAVE Program began in Escondido at Reidy Creek Elementary School and then was brought to Lilac Elementary in 2010-2011 by Amy Copeland who is a Lilac parent and teacher at the Valley Center Elementary School. The program grew at Lilac to become a self-supporting, volunteer-run program with a $4,000 budget. In addition to Lilac School, FAVE programs have started at VC Elementary, VC Primary, and Pauma. 

During the off-agenda public comment portion of the meeting, as well as during the IPAD Contract agenda item later, several people spoke before the board. Three of the speakers are teachers in the district and expressed support for the proposed lease of 1800 IPADs.  Seventh Grade student Kaitlin Kvitli gave a heartfelt statement to the board affirming her enthusiasm for the IPAD program and its positive effects on her education. After a short discussion concerning the IPAD agenda item, the board unanimously approved the three year lease at $277,000 per year. 

The board approved the Consent Items without much discussion, followed by the approval of the proposed District Goals and Objectives for 2015-2016 school year.  Next, the board conducted the first reading of proposed changes to Board Policies and Administrative Regulations. The three up for change are Board Bylaw 9323 - Meeting Conduct; Board Policy 1312.3 - Community Relations - Uniform Complaint Procedures and Administrative Regulation 1312.3 - Community Relations - Uniform Complaint Procedures. 

The next several agenda items included approval of a revised Suspension /Expulsion Policy, an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and approval of increasing the price of school lunch prices. The change to the meal prices brings the district into compliance with current law and equates to a $0.25 increase in student lunch prices. 

On the next item, the board unanimously approved the proposed Advanced Placement (AP) Physics course that was discussed at the March 2015 board meeting. The board then reviewed a proposal for a new High School course: Intro to Computer Science. The board will vote on this proposal in May. 

After a board approval to renew participation in a frozen food contract and approval to expel a student, the board president held a short public hearing on the California School Employees' Association Chapter #795 proposal for the 2015-2018 labor contract. This was followed by public disclosure and board ratification of the tentative collective bargaining agreement with the VCP Teacher's Association. The tentative agreement is for a 4% on-scheduled increase effective July 1, 2015 and a 2% off-schedule bonus effective June 30, 2015. Additionally, contract language was modified for clarity and life insurance was increased from $10,000 to $25,000. 

The agenda items wrapped up with information on revisions to job descriptions for TK-12 teachers (general education) and a presentation on Proposition 39 by Chief Business Officer Julie Kimball. Proposition 39 monies, generated by voter approval, will provide funding for district energy improvements. VCPUSD has been allocated $187,000 in 2013-14, and $166,000 in 2014-15. The final list of energy improvement projects has not been finalized. 

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is 6:00PM on May 14th in the High School Media Center. The public is encouraged to attend.


Jack Powell Chrysler Jeep Dodge Sponsors 2015 Stampede Rodeo
By Madelyn Wagner 
The Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Committee welcomes back Jack Powell Chrysler Jeep Dodge as a valued Bronze Sponsor and Official Truck of the 2015 Stampede Rodeo. 
"We would like to extend our sincere thank you to Jack Powell Chrysler Jeep Dodge for their continued rodeo sponsorship and for lending us such a beautiful truck to haul out the barrels at every rodeo," says Joyce Holmes, Chairwoman of the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo. 
Jack Powell  opened a new facility last year with over 3,000 square feet of expanded showroom and customer service areas, a children's play room, coffee and refreshment area, Mopar Speed Shop and much more. Stop by for a visit and they will show you around.
"Jack Powell Chrysler Jeep Dodge is a major contributor to many local and national charities and a member of various local, state and national associations dedicated to the automobile industry," says Vice President Jasmine Powell. "Spanning two generations of ownership, we are constantly striving for continuous improvement in all of the areas of this dealership." 
Please give our Presenting Sponsors an extra THANK YOU when you go into their place of business.
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  Many different sponsorship levels are offered.  For more information, please visit our website at
Pictured from left to right: Billy Wagner, VC Rodeo Committee; Bridgette LaHaye, VC Rodeo Queen; Jasmine Powell, Vice President; Samantha Picot, VC Rodeo Little Miss; and, Pat Helly, VC Rodeo Committee 

Graffiti Removal and Prevention
By Brandy Contreras

Graffiti is a nuisance and unsightly. It can also be costly when you are the person or property owner who is responsible for cleaning and removing it. More importantly, graffiti is a CRIME!

If your property is "tagged" with graffiti, the Valley Center Sheriff's Substation is asking that you report the incident before you remove it. We will send our Crime Prevention Specialist or a Deputy out to take photographs of the graffiti. Once photographs are taken, they will be entered into our Graffiti Tracker database. This helps us keep track of what type of graffiti is happening and where it is taking place. The database is also very helpful with prosecuting graffiti vandals. 

Here are some tips on preventing graffiti:
1. Keep your yard or business clean and neat. This lets would be vandals know you will not tolerate any type of graffiti or destruction to your property.
2. If you have surfaces that are targets (walls, fences, sheds, etc.), consider planting thorny plants and vines around the area to make access more difficult. 
3. Lighting is a deterrent to night time crime. Use a motion sensor on areas that may be used as a graffiti wall.
4. If you have an area that is chronically tagged, use graffiti resistant materials. Murals have also proven to be graffiti deterrents.
What to do if you are hit with graffiti:
1. Report the incident immediately! If you see graffiti on telephone poles, utility boxes, or other property call the Crime Prevention Specialist at the station directly at (760) 751-4408 or you can call the Sheriff's Department Non-emergency line at (858) 565-5200. If the graffiti is not on your property, we will contact the appropriate property owner and ensure the graffiti is removed. If you are elsewhere in the county and you see graffiti, you can call 2-1-1 to report it.

2. Document the incident with photographs. Photographs can be taken by our Crime Prevention Specialist, a Deputy, or you. If you need to remove the graffiti before Sheriff's personnel can take photographs that is okay. We will need a good photo to enter into our database. Please make sure all of the graffiti is visible in the photo. We will also need to know approximately how many square feet the graffiti covered.

3. Remove the graffiti. This should be done as quickly as possible to prevent any more graffiti. The longer it is visible, the more likely it will occur again.  If you are repeatedly hit with graffiti, please contact our Crime Prevention Specialist to learn about ways to prevent and deter graffiti specific to your location. 

If you have any questions or would like more information about graffiti in Valley Center, please contact Crime Prevention Specialist, Brandy Contreras, at the Valley Center Substation (760) 751-4408. 

Dos Valles Garden Club Flower Show
By: Sharon Grant
The Valley Center Library will host the 32nd Dos Valles Garden Club Flower Show, entitled A World of Learning. The show is free to the public and will be open Thursday, May 7, 6-7:30 P.m.; Friday, May 8, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, May 9, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The library, located at 29200 Cole Grade Road, will be transformed into exciting exhibits of locally grown plants, beautiful floral designs, youth projects, and educational exhibits including a working hydroponics station. On Saturday, May 9, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., a free workshop will be held for children ages 5 to 12 to make a Mother's Day floral bouquet. UC Master Gardener Volunteers will be available to answer your questions. This is a National Garden Club Standard Flower Show judged by accredited Flower Show judges from around San Diego County. 

The Dos Valley Garden Club has 125 members, whose mission is to create, promote and further interest in horticulture, gardening, and floral and landscape design. For more information visit or contact the show chairman, Connie Lee, 760-300-6932, The Master Gardener website is

So I Was Thinking..."Spoiler Alert"
By Phyllis Knight

If you are reading this column expecting a warm and fuzzy feeling, thinking we'll be standing around holding hands and singing "Kumbaya" by the end of it ***Spoiler Alert*** you might as well stop reading, because I can tell you that's probably not going to happen. You see, I'm not feeling particularly warm and fuzzy right now; in fact, I'm feeling a little frustrated and moseying my way towards miffed. Further, some of you who are reading this may want to drag out your steel-toed shoes, because as I'm moseying, I may step on a few toes.

What's got me a little riled up? Well, here it is, plain and simple: I'm a little tired of Christians being expected to check their beliefs at the door, and of Christians being so quick to comply. Certainly not all Christians, but many. Since when did being a Christian mean you should be subjected to a double standard by society; one set of rules for Christians and another set of rules for everybody else? Since when are religious leaders not allowed to be, well, religious leaders?
If you follow current events, you know that Christians are being beaten over the head with the bully club of "Love your neighbor" in order to silence us. If you dare to stand up for what you believe and thereby possibly offend someone, you are accused of being (gasp!) intolerant, the Holy Grail of political correctness. 

Don't get me wrong, I agree that we are supposed to love others, but since when did loving others mean you are not allowed to have any boundaries? If you are a parent, does loving your child mean that you give them everything they want, that you kowtow and capitulate to them on everything? Of course not! That's not love, that's taking the easy way out. Likewise, you love your spouse, but does that mean that anything goes and there's no accountability, no guidelines? Of course not! That's not love, that's abuse and martyrdom. So why should loving your neighbor mean caving in and forfeiting your strongly held religious beliefs? I certainly am not suggesting we beat others into submission with our beliefs, but I do, at the very least, expect tolerance to be a two-way street, and respect for each other to be the signpost. 

Yes, "love your neighbor as yourself" is one part of the greatest commandment, but don't forget what precedes that phrase: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind." I would assert to you, if we obey that, we would not be so quick to acquiesce our beliefs and allow ourselves to be silenced. 

So I was thinking... 

I mentioned at the beginning that I was frustrated and getting a little miffed, but there's one thing I'm not, and that is surprised. This is nothing new; in fact, Jesus said, "They hated me, they'll hate you." What is new, however, is the open hostility of the haters and the apparent acceptance by the masses. Unfortunately, we often care far more about pleasing others than we do about pleasing God.

The Declaration of Independence states we have unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, and one of those rights is defined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as free expression of religion. A heavy price has been paid by many patriots who have died to protect that freedom, including my father-in-law, so is it asking too much to claim it and live it? But even more important, Jesus died for us, and His words to us, as Believers (which I've included below) supersede even the Constitution. Remember what He said in Revelation 3:16, "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." In the words of Paul, "May it never be!" 

As many of you know, I maintain a Facebook "Author" page where I post my column and other devotional thoughts. I had one person write on my page, "Don't post religious crap on Facebook!" Really? On my own page? My response: The Word of God is like broccoli - it's good for you, but you don't have to eat it...even if someone puts it on your plate. And, yes, I will continue to "serve" Him.


"What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household.

"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:27-39 (NASB) 
©2015 Phyllis Knight

VC Stampede Rodeo Announces Novice Barrel Racing
By Madelyn Wagner


The Valley Center Stampede Rodeo is committed to the youth of our community and is offering a few rodeo events specifically tailored to young ones to get their feet wet in the sport of rodeo. Rodeo is not an adults-only sport; children enjoy rodeo competitions just as much.

We are proud to announce that there will be a Novice/Beginner Barrel Racing event this year for the less experienced riders. Novice Barrel Racing is generally the same as adult Barrel Racing, with a few "exceptions" for our young riders and their horses.

There are lots of kids in our community who own horses and would like to compete in a professional rodeo atmosphere; however, they may not have an experienced barrel horse and may possess little-to-no barrel racing and rodeo experience.  Our Novice Barrel Racing event is tailored specifically for them. 

Barrel Racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a clover leaf pattern around three barrels set up in a triangle pattern in the middle of an arena. At the Novice level, both boys and girls are allowed to compete. It combines the athletic ability of the horse and the horsemanship skills of a young cowboy or cowgirl.

Normally, riders compete to see who can run the barrel pattern the fastest without knocking over a barrel. While Barrel Racing is normally a highly competitive timed event, Novice Barrel Racing provides a less competitive atmosphere and allows riders to compete mostly against themselves. Trying to get a horse around the barrels and back across the finish line is a feat in-and-of-itself. 

The timer begins when the horse and rider cross the electronic eye and ends after the barrel pattern has been successfully executed and the horse and rider go back through the electronic eye. Novice Barrel Racing is a crowd favorite and the cheering from the fans certainly helps these young cowboys and cowgirls get their horses through the course. All riders will earn a belt buckle for their hard work.

The Valley Center Stampede Rodeo Novice Barrel Race competition is open to all contestants 13 years of age or younger. Contestants must be able to have full control of their horse throughout their barrel runs to perform in our rodeo performance.  

The entry fee is $30.00 and parents must sign a liability waiver to allow their children to participate. Helmets are required. Entry is limited to the first 20 riders who sign up. 

Entry forms are now available on the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo website: For entry to be accepted, send in:

1.     Completed and signed Release/Entry Form
2.     Proof of Medical Insurance
3.     Check or Money Order payable to: Valley Center Rodeo

Entries must be postmarked by May 12, 2015

For more information on this event, please contact Madelyn Wagner at

Are you or your business interested in sponsoring the Novice Barrel Racing event? If so, you will be rewarded with publicity as well as gratitude from the young cowboys and cowgirls as they show off their courage and talents. For more information on how to become a rodeo sponsor, contact Chairwoman Joyce Holmes at 760-445-1723 or email her at

VCHS Dance presents "Transformation" at the Maxine Theater
By Amy Archipov 
The Valley Center High School Dance program announced the theme of "Transformation" for their annual dance performance, with four dates for this year's benefit on May 28 through 30.

"Transformation - A Journey of Change" is an accumulation of the VCHS Dance classes: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Choreography & Production - with 24 dances performed by 140 9th to 12th graders. The performances will highlight a variety of styles like tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop. There are 10 senior pieces and a variety of song genres.

Performances are in the Maxine Theater at 6:30 pm on May 28th, 29th and 30th, Thursday through Saturday nights, with an additional 1:30 pm matinee on Saturday, May 30th. Lobby opens one hour before show times. All tickets are reserved seating; $6 pre-sale tickets are available April 18th until May 4th online at $12 tickets are available after May 4th online and at the Maxine Box Office one hour before all performances.

"Students have been working hard all year creating their own ideas and choreography, whether in a small group or contributing to their class piece. It's really neat to see my students who were Freshman when I first began teaching here now creating their own senior pieces," said Carli Morasco, VCHS Dance Director. "Their progress and ability amazes me and I'm very proud of them, so I hope the community will come and support these talented dancers." 

The students are finalizing their costumes soon and creating their special lighting and sound with the equipment at the Maxine. The dances come to life with the newer use of projections at the Maxine Theater, which projects any image as a backdrop, making the possibilities for creativity far more extensive.
The event program/souvenir book is being created now and advertising is available. Email Carli at to support this event with an ad in the program.
Click here to view flyer. 

VC LAST is Getting Ready for Summer - Are You?
By Donna Dyson 


We have been told that California is now into the fourth year of drought and the dry, hot summer months seem to be here already. The time to begin preparations for "fire season" is now!

The Valley Center Large Animal Safety Team (VC LAST) is an all-volunteer group organized under the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services. We exist to be an additional resource to assist in the evacuation and shelter of animals in danger. VC LAST members have been planning and training continuously to be ready for action if a disaster strikes Valley Center.

The fact is that response agencies will likely become overwhelmed in a catastrophe. They cannot possibly predict every scenario or be exactly where they are needed, especially in the early stages of an event. Therefore, you are your own best first line of defense. Maintain defensible space around your home, barn and corrals: remove brush, trim trees, and move wood piles and combustible materials away from your home and out-buildings. Have an evacuation plan for your family which includes the needs of your pets and livestock. Know at least two exit routes and destinations. Have a "go-kit" with water, a change of clothes, food/snacks, important papers, medications, contact information, and items to help pass time and entertain children. Don't forget to include supplies for your animals: crates or carriers, leashes, food, bowls, and medications. Keep your vehicles and trailers in good repair, and your gas tank topped off. Make a safety check of your trailer to be sure the brakes and lights are operable, the floor sound, and the tires full and in good condition.

If you do have to leave livestock behind, do not lock them in barns or stalls. Move them to a clear arena, round pen or corral if possible. Remove halters but leave them where they are readily available. Be sure they have water and food. Prepare an identification package in advance that contains your contact information, photos of the animals, and any special dietary or medical issues that will need to be addressed at a shelter. Place it where it may be found by responders. Leave gates to your property unlocked. If you need help evacuating your animals, or must leave them behind, call the Department of Animal Services 24-hour emergency line at 619-236-2341. DO NOT turn animals loose!

If you want to learn more about the Valley Center Large Animal Safety Team, please visit our website at Check out our recent and upcoming activities on Facebook - you'll like us! If you think you may want to join VC LAST, we would love to talk to you. VC LAST provides a wonderful opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, and volunteer to help within our Valley Center community.

The Valley Center Large Animal Safety Team depends upon public support. We are no longer associated with, and do not accept donations through, Rural Emergency Alliance, Inc. VC LAST can still accept non-tax deductible donations as a volunteer group under the Department of Animal Services. Please contact us directly ( if you would like to contribute to VC LAST.


35% Water Use Reduction Threatened for Valley Center
By Gary Arant, General Manager VCMWD 


Unless something changes between now and early May 2015, Governor Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board have mandated that: 

  • Effective June 1, 2015, all VCMWD water users, including domestic, commercial and agricultural, will be required to cut 35% compared to their usage in 2013. 

As this nightmare scenario has been unfolding, water district staff has been: 

  • Involved in two conference calls, one with the San Diego County Water Authority and other San Diego County water agency GM's, and the other with SWRCB staff. 
  • The call with SDCWA and member agency GM's was about sharing information and perspectives on how to respond to the proposed SWRCB actions. The result of that meeting has been discussed extensively in both the print and electronic media - the SDCWA and its member agencies will "Push Back" on the proposal. The proposed SWRCB action is seen as punitive to the San Diego Region and not recognizing regional efforts at conservation and local supply development.
  • ACWA hosted a call with SWRCB staff to enable ACWA members to ask questions and get clarification on the proposed regulations. District staff had the opportunity to ask a question and make a point with regard to the impact on agriculture in North SD County and VCMWD. After pointing out the scope and relative value of SD agriculture ($1.9 billion farm gate value, 11th largest county in the state) the SWRCB staff committed to "look at that" this issue in finalizing the regulations. 

Without a change in the current approach, the SWRCB sees Valley Center's agricultural water usage the same as ornamental landscape irrigation, subject to the same level of cuts as domestic and commercial use, even though Governor Brown specifically stated that agriculture should be exempt from further reductions in water use. 

  • Staff has fielded numerous phone calls and inquiries from the public about what this really means, to which the answer has been it that it not really known at this point and ask them to standby.  

To make matters even more confusing surreal for the public to understand, the District is now informed that MWD will likely take action early next week to impose a 15% to 20% reduction in deliveries to its member agencies. It is also understood that the SDCWA will then apply its water supply allocation plan to the MWD reduction and pass that on to its member agencies. 

What this means is, that in the SDCWA service area, the actual water supply availability from the SDCWA to the certified agricultural customers in the Transitional Special Agricultural Water Rate Program (TSAWR) will be reduced by 15% to 20%, and the water supply availability to the domestic-commercial customers will likely be reduced between 8% and 10%. However, based upon the SWRCB's proposed regulations the mandated reductions to VCMWD will be 35%. 

The District will have the formidable task of explaining to its customers why it is enforcing a 35% reduction in use while the water supply availability has only been reduced 8% to 10% to domestic-commercial customers and 15% to 20% to TSAWR. This potential scenario underscores the serious problem with and contradictory nature of what is being pushed forward by the Governor and the SWRCB. 

Here is the sequence of events that will unfold over the next few weeks: 

April 13, 2015 - Deadline to submit the District's comments on the SWRCB Proposed Regulatory Framework in which it will be pointed out that this approach penalizes a rural, agricultural, warm inland community like Valley Center with a 35% cut-back while requiring as little as a 10% reduction in water use for other urban, high density, cooler/wetter north coastal areas of the state. 

April 14, 2015 - MWD will be taking action to reduce deliveries to its member agencies by 15% (possibly 20%) effective July 1, 2015; 

April 17, 2015 - SWRCB will be releasing its draft Emergency Drought Regulations for review and comment, on which the District will submit comments; 

April 20, 2015 - Proposed revisions for Article 230, reflecting the provisions mandated by the SWRCB in March of this year will be brought back for VCMWD Board consideration and adoption; 

May 5 and/or 6 - SWRCB will be holding the hearing to adopt the final regulations, which happens to be the same time period that the ACWA Conference is being held in Sacramento. District staff will be attending and testifying to express the objections to the method of water use reduction. 

May 14, 2015 - SDCWA will be adopting its pass through of the MWD reductions; 

May 18, 2015 - VCMWD Board will take action in response to the SWRCB action on May 5 or 6, 2015 and the SDCWA action on May 14, 2015. 

June 1, 2015 - Effective date of SWRCB actions. 

Through this period, VCMWD staff will be working to mitigate what must be seen as punitive action against Valley Center while it prepares for the implementation of whatever action is ultimately mandated by the SWRCB.  Once the final decision is made in Sacramento (where water meters are not used to calculate monthly charges), there will be a very short time frame to notify customers of what will be required of them if the district is to achieve compliance with the SWRCB orders and reduction amounts. 

If the District falls short of whatever target is finally established, it will be subject to fines from the state of up to $10,000 per day of violation. 

District customers are advised to begin thinking of developing ways to further reduce water usage wherever possible. Even if the District's efforts in amending the SWRCB regulations to bring more fairness to water usage reduction requirements, customers in the District service area will still be required to reduce usage at least 25% compared to usage in calendar year 2013. As soon as there is a final decision by the SWRCB, and the VCMWD Board takes action to implement the state directives, customer specific information about allocations and pricing mechanisms put in place to achieve the percentage of reduction required of the District forwarded to each and every customer. 

In the meantime, customers are also advised to monitor the print and electronic media as this process moves forward. When it is known exactly what will be required in District service area, each and every customer will be notified directly by mail.  The State Water Resources Control Board, in Sacramento, can be contacted through their website,, and comments on the SWRCB intended action can be sent to

VC Stampede Rodeo Mutton Bustin' Entry Forms Now Available
By Madelyn Wagner
The Valley Center Stampede Rodeo will again be offering the popular Mutton Bustin' event to kids. In a world of video games and computers, Valley Center Stampede Rodeo has geared up to get our kids off the couch and involved in the sport of rodeo by offering some good old fashioned outside fun.

Welcome to the world of Mutton Bustin', also known as "Wool Riding," where the brave rider gets astride a wooly sheep. As the roar of the crowd around them fades away they prepare themselves for a ride that will last only seconds, but will seem like an eternity and almost surely end with a roll in the dirt. On the other end of those seconds is a cherished belt buckle, an acknowledgement of their bravery and determination to stay on.

Just like in the rodeo, Mutton Bustin' allows kids to reenact the rodeo rituals of bull & bronc riding in miniature form. Imagine riding bulls & broncs with no ropes, spurs, or saddles and with riders under 50 pounds! The kids straddle the sheep and when they are ready, the gate is opened releasing sheep and rider into the arena with the rider hanging on as long as they can. Every rider earns a buckle and a permanent ear to ear grin.

There is little danger to the sheep or the child as the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo insists on safety for both. While there are no set national rules, a 50 pound weight limit is enforced to protect the sheep and safety helmets and vests are required to protect the riders. The sheep are provided by the livestock contractor, fed hay and rolled corn and get regular veterinary checkups.

How do they ride them? Well, many of them do not get beyond the chute; however, those who manage to stay on, ride lying down clinging tightly to the wool. Riders are more likely to slide off than fall with that riding style. No matter how long they stay on the unusual and exciting experience of riding a sheep (even for just a few seconds) is empowering and builds self-confidence along the way.

Falls and tumbles abound, but the cheers, shouts, smiles and encouragement from the crowd, family and guests make the pain of a tumble go away pretty quickly; especially when they receive their well-earned belt buckle!

Kids must be between the ages of 4 and 7 years old and 50 pounds or less. The Entry Fee is $30.00. Parents must sign a waiver to let their children participate. Helmets and protective vests are provided by the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo and riders will be required to wear both. Entry is limited to the first 40 riders who sign up.

The Mutton Bustin' Entry Form can be downloaded at For more information, contact Madelyn Wagner at

Are you, or your business, interested in sponsoring the Mutton Bustin' event? If so, you will be rewarded with publicity as well as gratitude from the young cowboys and cowgirls as they show off their courage and talents. For more information on how to become a rodeo sponsor, contact Chairwoman Joyce Holmes at 760-445-1723 or email her at

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






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