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"Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning."  - Psalm 30:5

As the rhythm of darkness and light accompany each day, so the rhythm of sorrow and joy accompany each life.

Step into the joy of a new morning.


Why Preschool?

School is back in session in Valley Center and I find that many parents are wondering what to do with their younger children at home. Preschool is a wonderful opportunity for children to socialize with other children and to get ready for Kindergarten. Moreover, studies show that early education improves not only a child's cognitive abilities, but also crucial behavior traits such as sociability, motivation and self-esteem. Studies that have followed children through their adult lives show enormous pay offs for early childhood investment, including improved success in college, higher incomes and lower incarceration rates.

A Great Local Preschool Option:

High Sierra Academy is a private preschool established in Valley Center in 1993. Essential to High Sierra Academy's success is a loving, well-educated staff. The educationally oriented curriculum prepares children to achieve their maximum potential in a safe environment. In particular, our Phonics/Reading Program and Pre-K curriculum enable our children to thrive later in Kindergarten.

High Sierra Academy accepts children from 2 - 5 years old. Children do not have to be potty trained to attend our school. Please call Emily at (760)749-4107 to take a tour of our facility!

High Sierra Academy
29235 Valley Center Road
Valley Center, CA 92082
Phone/Fax: (760) 749-4107



Insurance Company FAQs

Should my Insurance Company matter?

Yes, your Insurance Policy is only as good as the company that makes the promises.

Small Insurance Companies can cause a great deal of stress including:

A) Declining a claim that most companies would have covered.
B) Slow claims process, drawn out decision to pay, and delayed settlement.
C) Very poor customer service and claims service.
D) Third party claims adjustors.

Are all policies equal if coverage limits are the same?

No. Insurance policies are thick confusing contracts. While two policies might look the same on the Declarations Page (where it shows coverage limits), coverage gaps are everywhere. Some common coverage gaps include:

A) (Home) Pet bite coverage gaps.
B) (Home) Time limitations on relocation money after a total loss from a fire.
C) (Home) Medical payments for workers on your premise after an injury.
D) (Autos) Manufacturer replacement parts.

Our Mission Statement:

Our goal is to assist our community members in uncovering their insurance needs. We provide solutions by being exceptionally knowledgeable in the Insurance Contracts giving you the options and the power to protect you and your family.

Jeremy D Klem
13824 Woods Valley Rd.
Valley Center, CA 92082


click dates below for detailed report


Valley Center 
Headlines & Happenings

NEW! Catholic's Divorce Healing Program
St. Stephen's is pleased to announce the beginning of an exciting, new ministry to men and women who have suffered from divorce. The Catholic's Divorce Survival Guide  is a twelve-week program featuring thirty - minutes DVD sessions each week that cover topics of shock, denial, anger, grief, guilt, forgiveness, money, the courts, the kids, the ex-spouse, annulment, dating, sexuality, spirituality, remarriage or staying single, and much more.
Experts in the DVD series include some of the best and brightest teachers, counselors, and authors in Catholic media: Rose Sweet (series producer and author of Healing the Divorced Heart), Dr. Ray Guarendi (Catholic psychologist, author, and EWTN talk show host), Fr. Mitch Pacwa (EWTN host and child of divorce), Fr. Donald Calloway (Catholic priest, popular speaker, and child of divorce), Christopher West (theologian and teacher of Saint John Paul II's Theology of the Body), and Fr. Steve Porter (a Catholic priest and seasoned spiritual director). The DVD series also includes Catholic men and women who share their gut wrenching but inspiring stories of divorce and recovery. You will cry, laugh, and be encouraged. PLEASE JOIN US. 

This program is based on the teachings of the Catholic Church and open to anyone who needs comfort, counsel and clarity after a divorce. 
Whether you got divorced ten days ago or ten years ago, the program offers valuable insight for everyone. Call Dagmar Hoffmann at (760) 504-2693, or e-mail to for more information and to register.  

Trauma Intervention Program Seeks Valley Center Volunteers
Trauma Intervention Programs (TIP) of San Diego County, Inc., is a non-profit organization that partners with the Valley Center Fire and other surrounding Fire Departments, as well as the Sheriff's Department to assist citizens in crisis following a tragic event.
We are currently seeking committed citizens as crisis intervention program volunteers in the Valley Center region.  Volunteers will be trained to help fellow citizens who are in distress as a result of a traumatic event, such as an unexpected family death, victims of fire, crime, flood, suicide, homicide, or other traumatic incidents.  Volunteers will respond to 911 calls in the Valley Center area.  The first few hours after a traumatic event has occurred are very confusing for everyone involved and the TIP volunteers are trained to provide the necessary emotional first aid and other temporary support until the persons involved in the crisis are able to depend on family, friends, and others.  This allows the emergency responders to return to service more quickly and feel confident that the victim will receive the assistance needed.
TIP is holding a volunteer training academy beginning September 4 - September 18, 2014.  The academy costs $45 per person and is a 50-hour training on week nights and weekends.  No prior experience is necessary.  Interested citizens must be at least 16 years of age and have automobile transportation, insurance, and a cell phone.  We are looking for adults and teens that are available for either day or night shifts.  For a complete schedule of training times and further information regarding volunteer requirements call the TIP office at 855-TIPSD-HELP, or see our website:

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.

Level 2 Mandatory Water Use Restrictions for Valley Center
August 4, 2014 - Valley Center Municipal Water District Adopts Water Supply Shortage Response Level 2 Mandatory Water Use Restrictions.
Under direction of the Governor, the State Water Resources Control Board has ordered all retail water providers to implement Mandatory Water Use Restrictions to reduce water consumption. While we recognize that you have made great strides in reducing water use and investments in conservation, we are now being called on to increase our efforts.
Mandatory Water Use Restrictions: 
To be very clear, there are no mandatory percentage reductions against a monthly allocation, at this time. We are only asking that you conserve wherever possible and follow these mandatory water use restrictions:
1. Stop washing down paved surfaces, including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or patios, except when it is necessary to alleviate safety or sanitation hazards.
2. Stop water waste resulting from inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff or overspray, etc. Similarly, stop water flows onto non-targeted areas, such as adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, hardscape, roadways, or structures.
3. Irrigate residential and commercial landscape before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. only (does not apply to landscape with drip irrigation and non-nursery agricultural irrigation).
4. Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or bucket to water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs located on residential and commercial properties that are not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system.
5. Irrigate nursery and commercial grower's products before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. only. Watering is permitted at any time with a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle, a bucket, or when a drip/micro-irrigation system/equipment is used. Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time. Watering of livestock is permitted at any time.
6. Use re-circulated water to operate ornamental fountains.
7. Wash vehicles using a bucket and a hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle, mobile high pressure/low volume wash system, or at a commercial site that re-circulates (recycles) water on-site. Avoid washing during hot conditions when additional water is required due to evaporation.
8. Repair all water leaks within three (3) days of notification.
Transition Period to Formal Enforcement: 
Valley Center MWD customers have had an excellent track record over the years of responding appropriately to calls for conservation. However, the following formal enforcement plan is available for use in cases of willful and/or negligent noncompliance. There will be a transition period to allow our customers to become familiar with the new mandatory water use restrictions. As such, formal enforcement will not start until October 1, 2014, and will be as follows:
  • First Violation:  Citation
  • Second Violation:   Penalty of $100 placed on the water bill
  • Third Violation: Penalty of $250 placed on the water bill
  • Fourth Violation: Penalty of $500 placed on the water bill, and after a 15 day written notification, a flow restriction of 5 gallons per minute for 120 hours (5 days) and the customer will be charged for the installation and removal of the flow restrictor.
  • Fifth Violation: Penalty of $1,000 placed on water bill, and after a 15 day written notification, complaint filed with the County of San Diego District Attorney's office, flow restriction imposed and sustained to 5 gallons per minute until disposition of complaint and the customer will be charged for the installation and removal of the flow restrictor.  
Water Waste Hotline: To anonymously report observed water waste, please call 760-735-4508 and tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, and where you saw it. We will respond and make contact with the responsible party.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):  A list of "FAQs" has been developed for your review and can be accessed by clicking here.
New Development: A Level 2 "Alert" Condition also imposes restrictions on new development processing. The entire Water Supply Shortage Response Plan, including the development processing restrictions, can be accessed through the District's website
For more Information: Please visit for more drought and  conservation information.  The website also has links to other websites with more water savings tips and information about water conservation rebates, such as landscape irrigation evaluations and turf removal rebates. You can also call at 760-735-4500.

VC Happenings Welcomes Newest Team Member, Phyllis Knight


Valley Center Happenings is thrilled to announce Phyllis Knight as our newest team member.  Phyllis has come onboard as a feature journalist; however, her dedication to and passion for Valley Center will make her an all-around valuable member of the VC Happenings team.

Phyllis is a Texas transplant, having lived in Southern California for the past 26 years - Corona, Escondido and then Valley Center (or Paradise as she calls it) since February 2012.  She, her husband, parents and three dogs are thrilled to call themselves Valleyites!

Phyllis began writing her column, "So I Was Thinking..." for the local paper in 2013 and then expanded to writing articles and personal profiles for other venues.

"I am very excited about this new writing opportunity with Valley Center Happenings," says Phyllis. "I invite readers to contact me at with ideas and comments regarding future articles."

Safari Park Bench Dedicated to 9/11 Victim, Timothy Ray Ward
by Michael O'Connor 
Over the past 13 years many families have honored their loved ones in beautiful ways and wonderful places. Susan Ward Baker wanted a special place to remember her son Timothy Ray Ward. Timothy perished on September 11, 2001 aboard United Airlines Flight 175.
Susan Baker passed on July 20, 2014, before the dedication ceremony on August 22 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Family members honored Susan and her beloved son Timothy on August 22.  The evening began with an invite-only memorial of Susan's wonderful life, which was filled with wonderful and funny stories from her family and friends. Afterwards, the Bench Dedication was held in the Wings of the World Aviary for the "Timothy Ray Ward Bench of Remembrance."
The family asked if I would help with the unveiling and say a few words. I was honored to be given this task. We were all sadden that Susan, who worked so very hard with others to make the Remembrance Bench happen, could not be there; however, I am sure her spirit and soul were all around us. 
Timothy Ward, born and raised in California, loved cooking and choose that as his life work. I never met Timothy and only knew of him through Susan. Susan always attended the 9/11 events I put on, as well as those that I was invited to as a guest. I always made sure that we honored Timothy along with the many others.
Susan spoke with me about how we must continue to honor the loved ones we lost, as well as those left with the memories of their loved ones and friends. I believe that through our continued efforts this will happened. The Rememberance Bench dedicated to Timothy Ray Ward echoes Susan's words as we sit, reflect and honor those lost on Sept 11, 2001.
Timothy Ray Ward and Susan Ward Baker are re-united in heaven as mother and son. They will be forever missed but not fogotten.
I hope when visiting the San Diego Sarfari Park you sit for awhile and say a prayer for all of the families affected by Sept 11 ,2001. To the Ward Family I say, "Thank you for honoring me with this dedication moment in time." 

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

School Board Approves School District Security Improvements
By Jay West


At the August 7th meeting, the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District (VCPUSD) Board of Trustees received the much anticipated "School Safety" (Security) evaluation report from Mr. Bob Mueller, Senior Director of Student Support Services at the San Diego County Office of Education.  The evaluation was requested by the school district to evaluate multiple facets of school security to determine the current posture of the school district.  Although the title of the report was School Safety, the actual metrics evaluated where security-focused with a concentration on what provides a safe and orderly environment at schools.  To have a safe and orderly environment, the school must create a positive environment (climate) were students feel valuable and be conducive to learning free of hazards.  The climate must be equipped with physical deterrents, plans and staff prepared to protect and support the students (physical environment).

In his opening comments, Mr. Mueller gave examples of the security continuum using Prisons as the most secure environments and the wilderness (inhabited by hungry Grizzly Bears) as the most non-secure environments..  By using this continuum, Mr. Mueller wanted to show the audience that the school environment should be somewhere in between the extremes for effective learning, while protecting children and staff from possible threats.  Potential threats to schools include dumb-things-kids-do (DTKD), bullying, drugs, gangs, sexual exploitation, natural disasters, man-made disasters, criminal activities, targeted violence and terrorist acts.  The threat that most parents fear, and rightfully so, is the threat of targeted violence by an outsider that results in the maiming or killing of innocent children and staff.  Mr. Mueller displayed data in his presentation showing that the likelihood of a K-12 student getting shot at school is 1 in 7.8 million and that the chance of a K-12 student dying in an attack is 1 in 15 million.

In his evaluation, Mr. Mueller visited the campuses of Lilac Elementary, the Primary School, the Lower Elementary and Pauma Elementary.  Resources used to conduct the evaluation included feedback from the public funded school insurance company, Joint Powers Authority (JPA); Fire Marshal and Sheriff reviews of school emergency plans, procedures and readiness; review of Safe & Orderly Environment Plans for all schools; and the review of crime and school discipline statistics for VCPUSD schools.  Mr. Mueller's findings were encouraging.  He specifically noted that the climate within the district is positive with lush, well-cared for and "welcoming" campuses that make the students feel cared about.  Additionally, he found that climate goals were on track, that the district is well-poised in emergency response planning /action, and that Valley Center has a very low incidence of crime.

As far as recommendations, Mr. Mueller made the following recommendations for district-wide improvements on the security climate: 

  • Expand opportunities for student voice in safety assessments and planning.
    • Safe School Ambassadors (Community Matters / JPA) or other peer support
    • Focus groups, councils, surveys
  • Incorporate Restorative Practices in discipline.
  • Continue to train staff and align practices to embrace Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support (PBIS).
  • Expand and promote opportunities for anonymous reporting.
  • Train staff to recognize mental health needs in students.
  • Train site teams on Threat Assessment procedures.
  • Expand counseling support for students in need.
  • Train site teams for Crisis Intervention support. 

His recommendations for district-wide improvements to the security environment (physical security) included the following: 

  • Restrict access to school campuses:
    • Create fence and gate plans to secure the perimeter of all school campuses (perimeter fences at 6 feet or higher).
    • Create secure reception areas. (Long Term Objective)
    • All gates and entrances locked during the day.
    • Campus access through reception area only.
    • Use a security door to permit authorized access.
  • Improve ability for people on and off campus to see trouble headed toward schools which provides time to take protective action and offers a deterrent effect:
    • Trim plants and move objects to improve sightlines through windows and from streets.
    • -Place fences where they are in plain view of people on campus.
    • Add interior fencing as necessary to restrict unauthorized entry.
  • Make video feeds for each campus available for key staff and administrators.

With the conclusion of his overall district-wide security recommendations, Mr. Mueller made his site specific recommendations for the four campuses that he had visited.  Among his recurring recommendations were installation of perimeter and interior fencing, removal of vegetation for increased security visibility, and the installation of additional security cameras. With these comments, Mr. Mueller then presented information on the employment of School Resource Officers.

School Resource Officers (SROs) are law enforcement officers that are assigned either by a local police force or in Valley Center's case, the Sheriff's Department.  The salary and benefits of the SRO is provided for by the school district they are assigned to.  Duties include preventing crime, reducing truancy, early intervention, and working with guidance counselors and administrators to improve student grades and performance.  The primary duty of the SRO is to provide law enforcement type services to the assigned school to ensure that everyone is obeying the rules to produce a conducive learning environment.  By their nature as law enforcement officers, SRO's have the ability to provide protection to students in cases of violent aggression by others.

Mr. Mueller presented information from the U.S. Department of Justice designed to assist school districts in answering questions as to whether hiring an SRO is the best course of action in protecting students.  The primary litmus test appears to be whether the district has a high incident of crime.  Are students involved in gang activity?  Are students committing crimes either at school or in the local vicinity?  Are there threats of violence at school?  By answering these questions, school boards and administrators can better gage the necessity of hiring an SRO.  Additionally, can the district afford the outlay of funds?  A first year Sherriff's Officer would cost the district $121,000 in salary plus labor related benefits.  The cost escalates from there with a 10-year officer costing an average of $204,000.  These funding outlays only account for one officer.  If VCPUSD was to hire an SRO for each campus, the costs would approach $1 million per year.  Would the financial outlay provide any extra protection for our students and staff?  According to U.S. Department of Justice guidelines, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of SRO's due to the lack of data.  Without this data, hiring an SRO is not a guarantee of future security.  Mr. Mueller stopped short of making a recommendation on the necessity of an SRO for the school district.  He did note that the crime level in Valley Center is low and does not fit the standard model of an SRO-staffed school district.

At the completion of the presentation, Superintendent Mary Gorsuch presented a district action plan to address improvements in district security climate and district security environment. 

The planned climate improvements and associated costs are as follows: 

  • Expand peer counseling and support through PLUS program and Student Ambassadors
    • Cost: None
  • Incorporate Restorative Justice in discipline - send staff to training at San Diego County of Education (SDCOE) and add to Other Means of Correction
    • Cost: $1,000 for staff training
  • Continue to implement Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support via grants and counselors
    • Cost: None
  • Increase Palomar Family Counselors at VCMS & VCHS by two days/week
    • Cost: $20K annually
  • KOGNITO training for school staffs to recognize, respond, and refer students in mental health risk or crisis to appropriate support
    • Cost: $4,000
  • Add SPRIGEO anonymous bullying reporting program online.
    • Cost: $3,300 annually

The planned security environment improvements and associated costs are as follows: 

  • Increase perimeter fencing & gates at VC Elementary, Lilac Elementary, Primary School and Pauma School
    • Cost: $48,400
  • Trim hedges and plants to allow improved visibility from school offices
    • Cost: None
  • Ensure video cameras at all sites can be viewed by designated staff
    • Cost: $11,000
  • Add an exit at the Pauma School office
    • Cost: $3,000

The grand total of all proposed climate and environment improvements is $90,700 with annual recurring costs of $23,300. 

A motion was made to approve the proposal and proceed with the improvements. The motion passed unanimously. 

It was refreshing to see the VCPUSD Board of Trustees take the time to assess and take action on improving the security posture of at least four campuses within the district.  Parents can rest assured that the district takes the security of their children very seriously and is working diligently to prevent violence at any school within the district.  Parents can expect changes to landscaping for better visibility and campus' appearance with the addition of new security fencing.  As more funding becomes available, changes will be coming to all schools in the district.

County Animal Services Rescues Neglected Livestock in Valley Center
More than 40 animals are now under the care of County Animal Services after being rescued from a property in Valley Center Saturday, Aug. 23.Animal Control Officers removed 31 horses, three llamas, four Dexter (miniature) cattle, five geese, and one dog from a property located in the 28300 block of Hell Creek Road.
County Animal Services had been trying to get the owner to provide the necessary care for the animals without success. A notice posted on the property on August 16 gave the owner the opportunity to request a hearing to contest the proposed seizure of the animals. When the owner failed to request the hearing, a search warrant was obtained to seize the animals.
"The primary issue with the majority of the livestock was a lack of hoof care," said Animal Services Deputy Director Dan DeSousa. "Although easy to remedy, prolonged lack of hoof care in livestock is a painful condition that can lead to permanent and severe damage."
All of the livestock was examined by a veterinarian specializing in large animals, and several horses were also found to be very underweight. One horse is pregnant.
County Animal Services was joined by its volunteer County Animal Response Team, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and their Animal Rescue Reserves, and the San Diego Sheriff's Department in rescuing the animals.
All of the horses are being cared for at the County's animal care facility in Bonita. The remaining animals are at a private ranch or the County's animal care facility in Carlsbad.   

 PUBLIC NOTICE: From Valley Center Parks & Recreation to the 2014 Western Days Vendors
August 22, 2014 - Dear Valley Center Parks and Recreation District Vendors:
The Valley Center Parks and Recreation District is pleased to announce that it has received the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Grant award ("Grant") on August 14, 2014. The Grant has a very specific purpose-it was to make one-time equipment and supply purchases for the Valley Center Western Days event on Saturday, May 24, 2014 such as breakable windows and bottles, trash cans, cups, napkins, banners, printing of magazines and programs, purchasing of sound equipment and tables and chairs, as well as ribbons for kids and t-shirts.
If you are a Vendor that provided such goods and you have not been paid and/or reimbursed please contact Valley Center Parks and Recreation at the above phone number to discuss eligibility of reimbursement. Under the County of San Diego Grant rules you will need to sign a County expenditure form and provide the following documentation so you may be reimbursed and/or paid:
· An invoice/receipt with description of expense and date paid
· A copy of the cancelled check (front and back)
· A copy of the bank statement showing check has cleared
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Doug Johnsen at (760) 749-8852.
Valley Center Parks and Recreation
28246 Lilac Road
PO Box 141
Valley Center, CA 9208
Phone (760) 749-8852 - Fax (760) 749-8893

Warrant Scam Alert from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department
It's a startling phone call you could receive: "There's a warrant out for your arrest." A scam going on right now in San Diego County hopes that fear will cause you to act without thinking. These scams are currently telling victims that a warrant for their arrest has been issued due to a failure to pay taxes or to appear for jury duty, but may entail other false threats.
The caller is very pushy and poses as an employee of the Sheriff's Department. To make the pitch very convincing, the scammer will:
• use the name of an actual Sheriff's Department employee
• give the actual telephone number of a Sheriff's Station or Substation
• have some of your personal information such as a former address or your date of birth
• threaten you with jail time or taking away your driver license
• ask for more personal information
• ASK FOR MONEY either with a credit, debit or prepaid card
Recent cases in the East County have involved the scammers using a technique called "Caller Spoofing." What this means is the scammer will call their intended victim and make the incoming call appear to be coming from a legitimate government agency such as the Sheriff's Department.
Impersonating a Sheriff's Deputy is a violation of state law. REMEMBER, no deputy or employee of the Sheriff's Department will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment. If you get this type of call, hang up IMMEDIATELY.
Since 2010, the Truth in Caller ID Act has prohibited caller ID spoofing with the intent to defraud or cause harm. If you receive one of these calls, go to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) website at to report the incident. If you are a victim of a scam, call the Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200.
People with outstanding warrants are encouraged to turn themselves in Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at any one of the Sheriff's Court Facilities. For a list of locations, visit:
For more information on warrants and bail notices, visit: To check if you have an outstanding warrant in the County of San Diego, visit:
To watch a Sheriff's safety video about warrant scams, follow us on VIMEO:
To learn more about the Sheriff's Financial Crimes Unit, visit:

PulsePoint Rollout and Smartphone Application
by George E. Lucia Sr., Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal  
Valley Center area residents along with others in San Diego County now have the technology available to provide assistance to a person experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) who may be in need of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The Valley Center Fire Protection District along with the San Pasqual Reservation Fire Department, County of San Diego, San Diego County Fire Chiefs' Association and other local agencies have joined forces to announce the availability of the revolutionary PulsePoint mobile phone application to all of San Diego County.
PulsePoint is a non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its mission is to make it much easier for citizens who are trained in CPR to use their life-saving skills to do just lives!
The free app uses location-based technology to alert CPR-trained citizens if someone in their immediate area is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The alerted citizen can then choose to spring into action, find the victim and begin resuscitation until official emergency responders arrive.
The PulsePoint software has been integrated with the 911 Dispatch computer aided dispatch systems in the cities of San Diego County. Upon receiving a call regarding a suspected sudden cardiac arrest victim, the 911/emergency communication center activates an alert to the location-based mobile app notifying CPR-trained citizens, who are in the immediate vicinity, of the critical need for CPR nearby. The app also directs these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This notification happens simultaneously with the dispatch of emergency service crews to alert bystander response while emergency services make their way to the scene.  While the app is available to all CPR-trained individuals, the real target audience is off-duty firefighters, nurses and other life-saving professionals. However, all CPR-trained individuals are valuable, and simply being aware of the app can stimulate awareness of CPR.

The PulsePoint app is available for iPhone and Android and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store and Google Play. For more information about the PulsePoint app, please visit: 
In closing, The PulsePoint app will allow citizens to partner with their local fire departments in providing immediate assistance to those in such need.  Please encourage everyone that is trained in CPR to download this app so that they can join us in our fight to combat the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.  We also hope that people will consider signing up for a CPR class if they are not yet trained.
All fire personnel, please notify Fire Marshal George Lucia and the on-duty Battalion Chief of all PulsePoint activated assistance.  We encourage all fire personnel to download the application and if you have any questions regarding the PulsePoint Application, please contact Fire Chief Harold Rodriguez.

Valley Center Actors Perform in the Historical Stage Production of "Passage Into Fear" 
The nonprofit group Art Animates Life is partnering with Cal State University San Marcos, the San Marcos Arts Council, and the San Marcos Community Foundation to bring the historical stage production, "Passage Into Fear," to San Marcos' Connors Hall this September. The show features several actors from VC including Marsi Carr, Betsy Toker, Julio C. Mas, and John Aviles.

Underscoring the play's historical accuracy, area history and social science teachers are encouraged to assign attending the show as extra credit. A copy of the play is available to any teacher upon request. Students who submit a 300-500 word essay outlining what they learned about the War will be eligible to receive a $500 scholarship from Art Animates Life, the play's producer (complete details at

"Passage Into Fear" is a thriller inspired by noir classics like Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes" and "Strangers on a Train" and Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express."

The play, set in 1917 during the waning days of World War I is being presented in conjunction with a series of the 100-year observances of the Great War taking place not only in the San Diego area but across the globe.

The early twentieth century is further brought to life by period correct music, song, sets, and costumes, along with computer-controlled lighting and sound effects.

"Passage Into Fear" is set onboard a transcontinental passenger train in 1917 during the waning days of World War I. An elderly woman, Miss Lillian Merriweather, boards the train insisting she knows of a plot on an international scale, then promptly disappears. Other characters include a young American woman on a final fling in Venice before returning home to be unhappily married, a pugnacious 8-year-old war orphan, a Member of Parliament and his wife, an elderly Gypsy who has wandered the continent homeless for more than 50 years, a handsome young Swiss doctor hiding an immense secret, and a ruthless German countess bent on achieving her evil ends no matter who gets in her way. The solution to Miss Merriweather's disappearance ultimately has it roots in understanding the very causes and history of the War itself.

Thanks in large part to a generous grant from the San Marcos Community Foundation, 100% of ticket sales will benefit the San Marcos Historical Society.

There will be six performances of "Passage Into Fear": 7 p.m. Sept. 12, 13, 19, 20 and  2 p.m. Sept. 14 and 21. Tickets are $9 general, $5 for children 15 and under. Ask about special group pricing.

Shows take place at San Marcos' beautiful, historic Connors Hall, itself nearly 100 years old. Located in Heritage Park and nestled amongst picturesque Victorian homes, Connors Hall is a setting which perfectly embodies the Historical Society's motto: "Where History Meets Discovery."

For more information and tickets call (760) 706-0107 or visit


VCHS Graduate Publishes Western Novel, 25 Dead


Sandra M Kimball, (writing under the pen name Killion Sile) was still a junior in high school when she began work on 25 Dead. Killion became intensely passionate about writing a western novel while on a family road trip to Texas. She spent the next several months conducting in depth research into how people lived, spoke, dressed, and existed in Texas in the 1880s. By the time Killion graduated from high school in June of 2013, her 400+ page manuscript was complete and ready for editing. 

Killion first caught the attention of her 12th grade high school English teacher when her class was given an assignment to write a two page Canterbury tale that followed a rhyme scheme. Killion turned in an easy eight page story about a swamp man and three gangster trespassers. It was one of the finest tales her English teacher had ever received from one of his students. 

People who have read Killion's work have marveled at the level of talent found in her writing. Killion's editor commented, "It's blazingly obvious that she has phenomenal natural talent when it comes to writing and constructing a story--not something you typically see in a teenager. She should be very proud of this first novel." 

25 Dead is the story of Cora Gottschalk, a seventeen-year-old girl living in Waco, Texas in 1880. After her family is murdered by cattle thieves, Cora decides to take up bounty hunting as her form of vengeance. As she travels the Chisholm Trail, Cora faces down deadly towns, thugs, wild Indians, desolate planes and general lawlessness which stand between her and the villainous characters she stalks.

Killion is a student at Palomar College. Sile attends writing classes in the day while working on her next project, a steam punk miniseries titled The Order Ideology, on evenings and weekends. Killion generally shuns social media and shopping malls and instead spends her time writing, cooking, drawing, and sewing.

Visit Killion's Website for more information.

Fire Mitigation Fee Increase

Effective July 1, 2014, the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Diego increased the Fire Mitigation Fee to $0.52 per square foot of floor area for new construction in buildings (up from from $0.46 per square foot).

The increase affects construction projects within the Valley Center Fire Protection District.

More information can be found in the county ordinance or by contacting the Valley Center Fire Protection District office at 760-751-7600.

Hands-Only CPR  
A Public Safety Message from the Valley Center Fire Protection District
When someone suffers cardiac arrest, every second counts. The longer a patient goes without Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), the less likely their chance of survival.  Unfortunately, that is what happens all too often. According to the American Heart Association, 70% of Americans feel helpless during emergency situations and hesitate to act.
To help ease fears and increase the chances of patients getting the assistance they need, the AHA has developed Hands-Only CPR. Hands-Only CPR involves two simple steps: 1. Call 9-1-1 and 2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest. You can also download the Hands-Only CPR app from both Google and iTunes.
For additional information on public safety, call us at 760-751-7600

Landmark Legislation Passed - Potential Lake Wohlford Reservoir Expansion
by Assemblymember Marie Waldron
The California Legislature this week passed bi-partisan, landmark legislation that marks the largest investment in the state's water infrastructure we have seen in decades!  For us in inland San Diego and Riverside,  water storage, recycling, advanced treatment and groundwater recharge projects designed to help the region weather the drought could compete for funding from the $7.5 billion bond measure that will go before voters in November.
Successful negotiations between Democrats, Republicans, the Governor and stakeholders resulted in a much paired down cost and more equitable funding for projects around the state.  Positively, this bond will cost almost $4 billion less than what the 2009 Legislature agreed to.  It will also make available nearly $1 billion more for water storage than the governor proposed last week.   I fought hard to increase funding for water storage and recycling because that would best help our area.   
The benefits to us locally include whole new potential funding for storage expansion at the Lake Wohlford reservoir in Escondido/Valley Center and also increased resources for water recycling and advanced treatment technologies which the farm community here could greatly benefit from.  The bond includes $725 million which San Diego water suppliers could compete for water recycling efforts.
In Southwest Riverside, surface and underground water storage, including groundwater aquifer cleanup or recharge projects would be eligible for funding up to $480 million.  This is in addition for other funding in the bond for groundwater contamination prevention and remediation.
This measure will help to attain a reliable water supply for millions of Californians for generations to come.  
Marie Waldron represents Valley Center as our elected Assemblymember for the 75th District.  For more information visit: 


VC Museum Showcases Gems Desired by Chinese Empress
The last Empress of China never set foot in Valley Center or in the nearby community of Pala. However, after Tzu-Hsi died in 1908 it was revealed that her body was covered with hordes of gems and gemstones from local mines.

Some sources in China claim that nearly one ton of tourmaline from North San Diego County may surround her in a palatial burial tomb near Beijing.  Her head rests on a tourmaline pillow.

To note this little-known past of the region's history, the Valley Center History Museum has expanded its "Gems of Pala" exhibit to tell the tale of a ruler who was obsessed with tourmaline and imported enormous quantities for her royal collection. She ruled China for nearly 50 years until her death at age 73.

Already one of the most popular exhibits at the local History Museum, the newly-explanded display showcases samples of Pala tourmaline that Empress Tzu-Hsi ordered during her reign.  For many years, Tiffany & Co. representatives were permanently based in the area to select the gems and many Tiffany sales records are part of the Valley Center collection.

Along with samples of local precious stones, visitors to the museum will also see vintage photos of miners at work along with a variety of equipment used by miners to secure the gems.

The Valley Center History Museum is located at 29200 Cole Grade Road and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Admission and parking are free.  For more information, visit or call (760) 749-2993.


Valley Center Schools Outperform County & State
by Superintendent Mary Gorsuch 


Our community has a lot to be proud of, particularly in the area of educating our children.  We have very successful students and staff, and highly effective schools.  Assistant Superintendent Wendy Heredia recently reported to the School Board on Key Indicators from the 2013 - 2014 school year, with these highlights: 

  • 91% of Valley Center - Pauma High School Students pass the California High School Exit English Exam as sophomores - a much higher rate than the county or state. 
  • 88% of Valley Center - Pauma High School students pass the California High School Exit Math Exam as sophomores - also a significantly higher rate than the county or state. 
  • Valley Center High School students have access either in classrooms or online to a wide range of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, giving students both high school and college credit. Valley Center High School students pass the AP tests at double the state average rate! 
  • Our high school graduation rate is 98.3% - the highest in San Diego County for school districts with comprehensive high schools! 
  • Students who are learning English as a Second Language are progressing well with 95% graduating on time and opportunities to complete high school through adult education as needed. 
  • 96% of American Indian students graduated on time, well above the state average of 72%. 
  • We focus on college and career readiness with 68% of our high school students participating in career pathway courses, such as Agriculture, Media, and Health Careers. 
  • Physical Fitness is an important component of our Pre-K through 12th grade program - our students outperform their peers at the county and state level in every area of physical fitness tested in grades 5, 7 & 9. 

We truly believe that these measures of student success at the high school level reflect the combined efforts of teachers, parents, students and community from preschool on up to high school.  

Together, we make Valley Center-Pauma a great place to live and learn!

Community Chipping Day on Saturday, September 6
The Valley Center Fire Safe Council (VCFSC) will be conducting another Chipping Day on Saturday, September 6. Local residents can bring in branches, brush and other debris for chipping and disposal. The chipped materials will also be available for residents to pick up. 
Last month over 150 pickup truck and trailer loads of material were processed. The VCFSC is hoping for an even larger turnout this month. 
Bring materials to be chipped to the Water District property on the corner of Lilac Road and Valley Center Road (across from the Community Center and Fire Station 72) from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 6.
For more information contact Community Emergency Response Team Coordinator Jim Courter at (760) 715-7523. 

Qualified Candidates for Valley Center Local Elections 
Friday, August 8 was the deadline for candidates to file to run for County School District and Special Districts. However, there was a five day extension period for incumbents to file (except Community Planning Groups). Incumbents had until 5:00 p.m. on August 13 to file the necessary papers to run.

The candidates listed below were updated on the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters listing as of 09/25/14 at 3:21 p.m. We will update the listing if any incumbent names are added or if there are any changes to a candidate's status.

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.


So I Was Thinking..."To Bee or Not to Bee"
By Phyllis Knight
Dear Readers: I have to inform you that you are getting Plan Bee, both figuratively and literally, for my column this time. You see, my husband told me the first one I wrote might be a little too risqué to use. What? Me? Well, I must admit that the subject matter could be described as PG13, but since I figure most of my readers are "tall enough to ride this ride" I'm not so sure that many would find it offensive, since I think the moral has merit. However, I will leave it to you, dear Readers, to decide if you want to read it next time. I will give you a hint: The premise has to do with a 1982 movie starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton at a "fowl" ranch in Texas. Email me (see below) and let me know what you think, and the majority rules.
Now, on to Plan Bee...
As I was floating in the pool this afternoon, wondering what I was going to write about to meet my deadline tonight, I noticed a bee in the deep end of the pool. (Since we are surrounded by flowers, finding a dead bee floating in the pool is not an unusual occurrence.) So, I swam over and scooped out the bee in a handful of water onto the deck.
Then, to my surprise, I saw the bee was still alive. Now, I am not a "bee hugger" (and have stepped on many a bee when they were on the ground in front of me), and, goodness knows, we have tons of bees around our property, but I noticed how hard this little guy was struggling in the small pool of water, and it got to me. So, I carefully nudged him onto the dry deck while gently blowing on his wings. As he started to come around, being eyelevel with him from the pool, I watched him as he made a "beeline" right back to the edge of the pool and promptly fell in! Hmmm.Okay...
I repeated step one above and as soon as he could maneuver again, he headed right back to the edge of the pool! This time, however, I was able to gently redirect him, but as soon as I stopped, he hung precariously on the edge, walking a fine line, and then fell in again! We did this dance no less than three times. Finally, after retrieving him, again, gently blowing on his wings and being patient, he started buzzing his wings and after several seconds, for the first time, he was able to become airborne! At which time he promptly kamikazed right back into the pool. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
The fifth time I scooped him out, I could tell he was in pretty bad shape, but I just couldn't give up. I admit, I can be pretty stubborn sometimes, but this was more than that. By this point, I had a personal connection, a relationship if you will, with that bee, and I was invested in him. I continued to try to help him, but as I watched the bee struggle no more, I am not ashamed to tell you I hung on the side of the pool and cried. Sure, he's just one bee. But I'm just one person - does that make me any less important than anyone else? Do I have less value because of all the other persons? As I mentioned above, majority does rule in most cases, and that's not inherently a bad thing; It's just that we all have value and are here for a reason. Even bees.
So I was thinking...How often are we rescued from our sinful ways, by God and those who care about us, only to make a beeline right back to danger? Why do we think we can walk on the edge and not fall in? Not only do we often destroy ourselves in the process, whom do we leave behind in tears?
Also, never forget that each person has value and is important to God. Although we can't control their actions, especially someone determined to destroy their life, we don't want to be too quick to give up on them either. If we can save just one person from destruction, then that is a "bee-utiful thing! 
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7 (NIV)
©2014 Phyllis Knightp

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.

2014 Giro di San Diego Bike Race to Go Through Valley Center
On Sunday September 7, the 2014 Giro di San Diego Bike Race will be travelling through Valley Center. There will be three courses: 38, 65 and 105 miles which all start in Solana Beach and are routed through Valley Center via Lake Wohlford Rd.
To accommodate the race, Lake Wohlford Rd will be closed to thru traffic from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. In addition, the routes will take them through Valley Center on Valley Center Road, Cole Grade Road, Woods Valley Road, Highway 76, and South Grade Road.
The routes through Valley Center vary with each course. Maps and course turn charts, with approximate time frames, are available on the Giro di San Diego website.
Event proceeds support the USO Wounded Warriors and Promises2Kids.
Click here for more information on the 2014 Giro di San Diego Bike Race.

A Warning from the Valley Center Fire Protection District
The Valley Center Fire Protection District is warning local businesses to watch out for bogus fire inspectors.
Adjacent jurisdictions are getting  reports of people who are claiming to be from the fire department and showing up at businesses to do an inspection. They walk around the premises and then give the business a bill on the spot.
The Valley Center Fire Marshal states that actual inspections are conducted by the fire district uniformed personnel and if there is a fee involved, an invoice will come from the fire district. 
If you think you've been hit by a bogus inspector, call the Valley Center Fire Protection District at (760) 751-7600. 

Longest Serving School Board Member Announces Retirement
At the August 7th School Board meeting Lori Johnson announced that she will be retiring from the Board of Trustees on August 31st after almost 23 years of service to the Pauma and Valley Center communities. She stated "It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from the Board of Trustees after almost 23 years of service to our wonderful communities. I am proud that I was part of the team leading the way to the formation of our Unified School District, which involved combining two K-8 Union School Districts into a "Unified" District at the same time working with the Escondido High School District on construction of our wonderful high school. I am very proud of our top notch administrative, teaching and classified staff.
"We sure have come a long way since my first day on the school board in 1991. The community's confidence in my abilities has allowed me for all these years to be part of the team that brought us to where we are today. I have had the great pleasure of working with 5 wonderful Superintendents (Lechick, Mulford, Jobe, Obermeyer and our current superstar Mary Gorsuch).
"Yesterday when I saw that Jerry Fenton, Jon Goodman and Jay West were the only ones that filed candidacy papers to serve on the school board, I felt really good being able to hand over the governance roll to those very capable folks knowing they will stay the course and keep our District fiscally sound and maintain a strong set of Educational District Policies.
"It has truly been a pleasure to serve our community and I look forward to "watching from the sidelines" all the great things still to come for our District. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve."


Bark For Life of Valley Center is on the lookout for this Year's Honarary Chair-Dog
Calling all canine companions! Are you or do you know of a cancer survivor whose canine companion has played a major role in their care and wellbeing while going through treatment? If so, we want to hear from you!
Cancer is indiscriminate and knows no boundaries. One in three people will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, and if they're lucky, they will have a furry, four-legged companion by their side on the road to recovery. Canine companions demonstrate unconditional love, joy, security, compassion, and no judgments of cancer survivor's abilities or appearances.
To honor the lifelong contributions of these wonderful caregivers, the American Cancer Society (ACS) sponsors Bark for Life. This year's winner will have the honor of starting off the walk at the Bark For Life of Valley Center, Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 8 am -12 pm at Bates Nut Farm, Valley Center CA.
Submit your story and photo, if available via email to: or Mail to: Bark For Life Valley Center Po Box 1822 Valley Center, CA 92082.
For more info on the walk, visit our
Winner will be chosen from submitted entries by the Relay For Life Valley Center Committee. All entries must be received by 9/16/14 to be judged. Winner will be notified on 9/17/14.

2nd Annual Bark for Life of Valley Center
Come out to the 2nd Annual Bark For Life in Valley Center and help us tell cancer it BARKED up the wrong tree!! The event will be held at Bates Nut Farm, Saturday, September 20th, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon.  Registration will open at 8:00 a.m. with the Opening Ceremony starting at 9:00 a.m.
The American Cancer Society Bark For Life is an irresistible way to partner with your canine best friend and make new friends - canine & human.  Families and their dogs come together for a few hours during the day and complete a 1 mile walk to honor the care giving qualities of their canine "Best Friends".
We are honoring our Canine Caregivers; Guide Dogs, Service Dogs, Rescue Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs and Cancer Survivor Dogs who with their owners are joining the American Cancer Society as Relay teams.  They participate to celebrate cancer survivorship, to honor people lost to cancer, and to fundraise in support of the American Cancer Society mission of eliminating cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.
The advantage of the BARK is that we have fun fundraising with our best buddies our dogs! There will also be Doggie games & a dress up contest, Doggie demos, Food & Vendors.So bring your best canine friend and join us for a fun-filled day starting with a walk, and then continuing with demonstrations, contests and games.
Please visit the webpage to register or learn more: 
If you would like to sponsor this event or be a vendor please send an email to Lori Lallo at

Western Days Controversy Continues Over $15,000 County Grant
By Trina West


The Valley Center Parks and Recreation District Board Meetings had all seats filled for both the June 18 and July 16 meetings. At each meeting, local residents expressed concern over the handling of $15,000 of taxpayer monies by this year's event coordinator Dana Chisholm.  

The Valley Center Parks and Recreation District was awarded $15,000 from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program (NRP) for the 2014 Western Days festival ("Western Days Grant"). The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program "provides grant funds to County departments, public agencies, and to non-profit community organizations for one-time community, social, environmental, educational, cultural or recreational needs." The program allows for public agencies to apply for funding for "programs and projects that benefit the community and enhance the region's quality of life." The program prohibits the use of grant funds for "private purposes or activities."

While Valley Center Parks & Recreation is listed on the County of San Diego website as the recipient of the $15,000, the grant was requested by Valley Center Press Publisher Dana Chisholm. As a for-profit business, Valley Center Press did not qualify to receive the funds directly and therefore needed to be sponsored by VC Parks and Recreation. While the grant does reference Ms. Chisholm's pending application for a 501(c)(3) under the name of Chisholm Family Foundation, the pending-status was not sufficient to qualify Ms. Chisholm for the grant.

On May 20, 2014 the County Supervisors voted to approve a $15,000 grant for the Western Days festival "to make one-time equipment and supply purchases for the Valley Center Western Days event on Saturday, May 24, 2014 such as breakable windows and bottles [for the Marshall's Posse], trash cans, cups, napkins, banners, printing of magazines and programs, purchasing of sound equipment and tables and chairs, as well as ribbons for kids and t-shirts."

On the agenda for the June 18, 2014 VC Parks and Recreation Board Meeting was the subject of Western Days to be presented by Ms. Chisholm. As such, a large number of concerned citizens, including local business owners and volunteers from local organizations, attended expecting to hear how Ms. Chisholm had spent the $15,000 of taxpayer money. Instead, Ms. Chisholm stated she was "sorry to disappoint" but would not be recapping Western Days 2014. She was there to request that the District waive the $3,000 facility rental fee she had contracted to pay for Western Days 2014, She stated she was told upfront that she would only be required to pay this fee if the event made any money. District General Manager Doug Johnsen confirmed that such a discussion had taken place; however, he said that was prior to her receiving the $15,000 grant and asked that the facility rental fee be paid with those funds. Ms. Chisholm replied, "We can't [pay the rental fee] out of this grant. The County NRP funds can only buy stuff." 

General Manager Johnsen then referenced the grant description of allowable expenditures and asked if tables and chairs had been purchased. Ms. Chisholm replied that she had in fact purchased tables and chairs and was storing them along with other Western Days items. General Manager Johnsen then stated that if Ms. Chisholm was not intending to pay the $3,000 facility rental fee, she should at least give the District the tables and chairs that were paid for by monies awarded to VC Parks and Recreation for public use and benefit. Ms. Chisholm laughed at this request and stated, "OK, so I'll tell you what, after the $15,000 is spent for everything we have...if we have anything left over I'll be happy to let you buy whatever you want."

When questioned directly by local residents about the handling of the 2014 Western Days festival, Ms. Chisholm's response was "put it in writing." The Western Days discussion ended with many unanswered questions.

The July 16, 2014 VC Parks and Recreation Board Meeting was once again packed with citizens concerned about the disbursement of the 2014 Western Days Grant. General Manager Doug Johnsen presented the General Manager's Report stating, "We have not received any money from the grant yet. It is supposed to come here first and then we will distribute it to the Valley Center Press." He also stated that in the process of finalizing the Western Days grant the County discovered that receipts for a 2012 Concert in the Park grant were still outstanding from the District. The County contacted the VC Parks and Recreation District on Thursday, June 19 and by Monday, June 23 the receipts, supporting documentation and a check for unused funds in the amount of $1,700 were sent to the County.

General Manager Johnsen told the board he remains in regular contact with County grant officials, Jake Enriques and Josh Ramirez. Both have agreed to work closely with General Manager Johnson throughout the payout process which typically takes an estimated 4-6 weeks. General Manager Johnsen informed the board that the County Supervisors are aware of what is going on in Valley Center and stated this could jeopardize future grant awards.

General Manager Johnsen then informed the board that several of the receipts submitted by Ms. Chisholm in justification of the $15,000 Western Days Grant did not appear compliant with the purpose of the Grant as stated by the County (referenced at the beginning of this article). Ms. Chisholm's receipts included $1,600 for Food Truck beer and wine supplies and equipment; $2,500 for postage to mail the Valley Center Press Magazine; $1,500 for an insurance policy; as well as a receipt for equipment rentals from Clairemont Equipment. As pointed out by General Manager Johnsen, the stated purpose of the grant does not specifically allow for any of these items. Ms. Chisholm herself made it clear at the June 18 meeting that the NRP grant does not cover rental fees when she explained why she could not pay VC Parks and Recreation their facility rental fee.

General Manager Johnsen stated that Ms. Chisholm demanded he issue her a Cashier's Check in the amount of $15,000 based on the receipts she had submitted by the end of that week even though VC Parks and Recreation had yet to receive the grant monies from the County. Unless otherwise directed by the board, General Manager Johnsen said he was not willing to front monies from the VC Parks and Recreation budget given the uncertainly of Ms. Chisholm's expenditure compliance.    

Board Director Tom Bumgardner then publicly chastised General Manager Johnsen saying, "You are ultimately responsible so we don't have to hear all of this.  You need to just do what you're supposed to be doing in your job." General Manager Johnsen was clearly taken aback and stated that he was being harassed daily by Ms. Chisholm for the $15,000, to which Board Director Bumgardner replied, "Call your attorney." When General Manager Johnsen asked Board Director Bumgardner why he needed an attorney for performing his job for the District, he received no response.

The board received questions from the community including: Why were checks written for Western Days in the name of Valley Center Press? Why was Valley Center Press allowed to comingle Western Days monies with their business revenue? What exactly is the process for receiving and disbursing grant funds?  Can VC Parks and Recreation wait to disburse funds until the Chisholm Family Foundation receives tax exempt status?  Will future grant awards be jeopardized if VC Parks and Recreation pays Ms. Chisholm the $15,000 and she does not reimburse the vendors with the grant monies as promised?  Will a complete income and expense report for the Western Days 2014 festival be reviewed prior to funding the Western Days Grant? Can Valley Center Press use grant monies to pay for the printing of the Valley Center Magazine while also selling advertising to pay for the printing? Where are the receipts for the tables and chairs that Ms. Chisholm stated she had purchased with the grant money?

While most of questions could not be answered by the board, General Manager Johnsen said he would address the specific concerns with the County grant officials. He stated that once the County goes through the receipts, they will issue a check for the approved amount and then General Manager Johnsen will cut a check to the Valley Center press.

Meanwhile, Ms. Chisholm continues to request immediate payment from the VC Parks and Recreation reserves and is now also demanding taxpayer monies be used to pay her interest charges that are now in excess of $3,000, The formula Ms. Chisholm is using to justify $3,000 of interest for a $15,000 grant that has yet to be funded by the County is unknown.

The July 16 meeting ended much the same as the June 18 meeting with many questions remaining unanswered. 

Grant Update: VC Parks & Rec Board Meeting - Wednesday, August 20 at 3:00 p.m. at Community Hall. 




















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