Archive for May, 2015


Lakeside native serves with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41

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LOONEY-150514-N-YM440-210By Lt. Emily J. McCamy

A 2005 El Capitan High School graduate and Lakeside, Calif. native is serving with a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron that flies the Navy’s newest and most technologically-advanced helicopter, the MH-60R Sea Hawk.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jenniffer Looney is an aircrew survival equipmentman with the “Seahawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41, based out of San Diego.

“The squadron provides an opportunity to train aircrew and pilots to become the best they can be. It takes a team to train them and I like being part of that team,” said Looney.

The squadron deploys its helicopters and personnel around the world aboard a variety of Navy ships, including frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.

While aboard ships at sea, the squadron conducts a variety of missions.

“Our missions aboard ships include tracking and hunting enemy submarines, combatting enemy surface ships, search and rescue, communications relay, and ferrying supplies, cargo and personnel,” said Lt. Reagan Lauritzen, Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesperson.

As an aircrew survival equipmentman, Looney is responsible for maintaining survival equipment for the pilots and aircrew.

“If the aircraft were to fail, it’s our gear that saves them, we are the ‘last to let them down,’” said Looney. “My job is very hands-on and it’s up to us to meet perfection in our job at all times because in the end, someone is relying on me to remain alive.”

The MH-60R Sea Hawk is over 60 feet long, and can weigh up to 23,500 lbs. It is replacing the Navy’s older helicopters because of its greater versatility and more advanced weapon systems.

“The MH-60R features more sophisticated electronics, like a new low-frequency sonar and an advanced radar system,” said Lauritzen. “The Seahawk can also launch torpedoes, fire Hellfire missiles and laser guided rockets, and carry crew served weapons”

Looney said she is proud to be a part of the 433-member squadron that is ready to defend America at all times.

“Being in the Navy has been a growth experience for me,” said Looney. “I’ve excelled in every aspect of my career and I feel it’s the one thing I’ve truly been good at which is very fulfilling.”

Being a sailor assigned to a helicopter squadron and in a deployable status means spending a lot of time away from friends and family, but serving her country makes it worth it for Looney.

“I like deploying,” said Looney. “I’ve been to nearly 20 countries and have had vast experiences, like providing humanitarian aid in Haiti after the earthquake or dining with families in Hong Kong. It’s amazing to see these different cultures and do this while I’m working. I get paid to do this, that is rewarding.”

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Youth Rodeo comes back to Lakeside Rodeo Grounds after seven years

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DSC_0585Over the weekend, the California High School Rodeo District 8 competitions were held at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds. I have to hand it to these young competitors as they were fierce throughout the competitions. And CHSR is a great organization for these high schoolers. Although very competitive, it is much more than that. Within the organizations they hold leadership positions, are given opportunities for scholarships and take on roles as mentors. With young cowboys and cowgirls competing together and separately, these student come from all over Southern California, and from different schools.

In speaking with a few of them, Jr. Rodeo and the CHSR is giving them tools for the future, not only in rodeo competition, but life tools that they can take on through college and careers. And perform they did.

With bull riding, break and release, barrel racing, goat tying, steer wrestling, pole riding and more, this is an all out rodeo and just as entertaining. There were some great moments and some moments of disappointment for some, but they kept on trudging, doing the best they could in each event. It is my hope that they choose Lakeside again, as the El Capitan Association was extremely happy to have them there. It is wonderful to see this sporting event that has so much support and activity from the young generation, who will become the next generation of PRCA competitors.


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Lemon Grove City Manager Announces Resignation

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At the conclusion of the City Council meeting on May 5, 2015, Lemon Grove City Manager, Graham Mitchell, announced his resignation in a move to the Assistant City Manager position in the City of Escondido.

City Manager Graham Mitchell announced his resignation at the conclusion of last night’s City Council meeting.  Graham’s last day of employment will be Tuesday, June 16, 2015.  Graham has accepted the Assistant City Manager position with the City of Escondido.

Mitchell stated, “I am grateful for the City Councilmembers I have had the opportunity to serve, the amazingly dedicated staff that tirelessly work to make Lemon Grove a better place, and the Lemon Grove community for accepting me and my family.  I will miss working with all those in Lemon Grove.  Working in Lemon Grove has been the most enriching professional experience of my life.  I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work for the City of Lemon Grove.”

Mayor Mary Sessom added, “Graham Mitchell has been an excellent leader both at City Hall and in the community.  City Council recognizes the wonderful opportunity Escondido has presented to Graham. We wish him well.  But, what we really wish, is that he would stay in Lemon Grove as our City Manager.  Barring that, we wish that the City of Escondido treats Graham well for we know he will be good for them.”

The City Council will have an agenda item at the May 19, 2015 meeting to discuss transition issues.

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SANDAG today launched its new Walk, Ride, and Roll to School mini-grant program to help increase active transportation and safety education for students throughout the region.

In support of International Walk to School Day in October, mini-grants of up to $1,500 will be awarded to public or private K-12 schools or school districts to help develop programs or projects that educate and encourage active forms of transportation to and from school, or that promote pedestrian and bike safety around schools. Funded through the SANDAG iCommute program, a total of $30,000 in grant funding is available.

The mini-grants empower schools by giving them the resources and flexibility they need to organize events and programs that work best for their students.  Approved projects and programs will take place between September 1 and November 30, 2015. Funds may be used toward event expenses such as permits and supplies, marketing materials, and student incentives.

Examples of eligible programs and projects include events or fairs that promote and encourage students to walk, bike, skate, or ride a scooter to school. Other concepts could include: bike rodeos and safety obstacle courses for students; a walking school bus or bike train program; classes related to bike and pedestrian safety; and contests that challenge and reward students for using active transportation.

iCommute will accept applications through May 22, 2015. The request for grant applications, complete eligibility criteria, and application forms are available on the Walk, Ride, and Roll to School event web page. Completed applications should be submitted by email to iCommute consultant Maggie Li at Questions relating to the mini-grants may also be directed to Li.

iCommute, managed by SANDAG,  is the gateway to transportation choices in the San Diego region. Walk, Ride, and Roll to School is an annual awareness effort implemented through iCommute. The goals of the program are to increase the number of children who walk, bike, skate, or ride a scooter to school; raise awareness of the benefits of more active forms of transportation; and promote pedestrian and bike safety.

For more information, call 511and say “Schools” or email



The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.




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