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Stories written by dondowell

Piano-playing swimmer earns scholarship to Fresno Pacific

   The most recent scholastic swim meet for Breann Stevens was the CIF
finals on May 22. Stevens, who graduated from Mountain Valley High
School in June but participated on the Ramona High School swim team,
placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth in the 50-yard
freestyle while participating on Ramona’s 200-yard freestyle relay,
which won its race and set a school record, and the 400-yard freestyle
relay team, which also set a school record.
   Her next planned scholastic swim competition will be as a
representative of Fresno Pacific University. 
   “I’m just really excited and thrilled to be getting a scholarship,”
Stevens said.  “I can’t wait to see how well I can do.”
   Stevens spent four years on Ramona’s varsity swim team. She earned
all-league honors as a freshman, and as a senior she was selected as the
team’s Most Valuable Player.

Shinnick to play water polo at Davis

   Taylor Shinnick spent four years on Ramona High School’s varsity
swim team and three years on the Bulldogs’ varsity water polo team. She
will continue her water polo career at the University of California,
   Shinnick will play for the Davis club team rather than the National Collegiate Athletic Association varsity team. 
   “I didn’t want to make that commitment,” she said.
   Playing club water polo also ensures that Shinnick will be playing
the sport if the university’s plans to drop aquatic sports due to
budget considerations become a reality. 
   “I love to play,” she said.
   Davis’ A-level club team members commit to four practices a week and
training while the B-level club has no practice commitment and is
primarily for fun rather than competitive. Shinnick will try out for
the A club. 

County awards $477K to youth groups

 The most recent allocation of county Neighborhood Reinvestment Program
grants for District 2 includes $300,000 for Ramona PONY Baseball,
$142,182 for Ramona Pop Warner Football and Cheer, and $34,975 for 
Ramona Junior Fair.
   Ramona PONY (Protect Our Nation’s Youths) Baseball League will use
the money to install lights and electrical upgrades at the PONY fields
portion of Ramona Community Park, Ramona Pop Warner will replace
uniforms and safety equipment and will help renovate Wilson Field, and
Ramona Junior Fair will get new bleachers.
   The funding was recommended by District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob
and approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote. Ramona
is among communities in District 2.
   Ramona PONY Baseball leaders have been working to acquire permits
and money to add lights, because a lighted field will provide more
flexibility for scheduling games and other events. In addition to
funding from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, the league also
expects money from Park Land Dedication Ordinance (PLDO) fees paid by
developers to fund parks facilities in the development’s community. An
allocation of PLDO funding will be considered by the county supervisors
at a later date.

Elston, Connelly qualify for national high school rodeo finals

 For the second consecutive year, Cameron Elston is the California High
School Rodeo Association state Tie-Down Roping champion.
   Elston, who graduated from Ramona High School in June, won both the
average (aggregate) and the overall first-place position at the CHSRA
state finals June 14-19 in Bishop and will close out his high school
rodeo career at the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA)
finals July 18-24 in Gilette, Wyo. 
   “They definitely didn’t give it to me. It was a pretty good roping,” Elston said of his state championship.
   Another 2010 Ramona High School graduate, Paige Connelly, qualified
for the NHSRA national finals in Pole Bending after a third-place state
showing. She qualified for the state competition in five events: Barrel
Racing, Pole Bending, Goat Tying, Breakaway Roping and Cutting.

Winery change goes to supervisors with no recommendation

 A proposed General Plan Amendment to exempt certain winery
classifications from restrictions on land with certain types zoning
will go to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors without the
support of the county’s planning commission.
   The commission’s June 25 hearing saw Commissioners Leon Brooks,
Peder Norby and David Pallinger vote to recommend the exemption while
Michael Beck and John Riess voted in opposition. Commissioners Adam Day
and Bryan Woods were not at the meeting and, without the necessary four
votes for support, the commission’s official recommendation is a denial.
   The county supervisors are expected to hear the proposed tiered
winery ordinance and the proposed General Plan Amendment this summer.
The supervisors have the option of invoking a statement of overriding
considerations to environmental impact report (EIR) findings, and Riess
said that option was a better alternative than the exemption. Beck said
that the unresolved issue of private road liability merited denial of
the exemption.

State championship nets 40 free pizzas

   Olive Peirce Middle School’s Performing Arts Center was the setting
for Ramona High School’s track and field teams’ post-season banquet.
   Because Tyler Jordan—who won the boys high jump championship at the
CIF San Diego Section meet in May and at the state meet this month—was
named Papa John’s Athlete of the Week, Papa John’s Pizza donated 40
pizzas for the banquet.
   “It was a lot of fun,” said Ramona head coach Steve Albanese.
   The banquet began with a dinner and slide show. 
   Jordan had a private coach, Steve Roberts, as well as Albanese, who
works with high jumpers and distance runners as well as is head coach.
Roberts presented Jordan with an award for his dedication to high
   Awards presented at the banquet also included boys and girls Most
Valuable Player (MVP). Senior Ryan Morgan, who won the open 400-meter
run and was on Ramona’s winning 4×400 relay team at the CIF section
meet, was the boys track MVP. Senior Chelsey Cortez, who had the top
Division II time in the 3,200-meter run at the CIF finals, was the
girls track MVP. 

Swimmers receive awards at post-season banquet

   Ramona High School’s girls swim team held its post-season banquet recently in the Lucas house.
   “It went really great,” said Ramona varsity coach Jolyn Yanez. “It was a great wrap-up to the season.”
   The awards presented at the banquet included the varsity Most Valuable Player Award, which went to senior Breann Stevens. 
   “Her contributions over the last four years earned her the award,” Yanez said.
Stevens joined Ramona’s varsity as a freshman in 2007 and earned
all-league honors. The experience of Ramona’s veterans helped Yanez,
who had been Ramona’s junior varsity coach prior to replacing Stacey
Dusseault as the Bulldogs’ varsity coach, during her first year
coaching Ramona’s varsity. 

SDG&E helicopter will help county fight fires

   San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a new agreement with
San Diego Gas & Electric that will allow the county to use an
SDG&E S-64E helicopter for firefighting purposes as necessary.
   The supervisors authorized a contract for up to 12 months to include
five option periods, which could extend the agreement until 2016, to
amend the contract as needed to reflect changes in services and
funding, and to execute any related agreements or documents. The
supervisors directed the county’s chief administrative officer to
integrate the S-64E helitanker into the county’s aerial fire protection
program and to take any additional actions necessary to award the
   “We’re coming into the heart of fire season here,” said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price. “We need every bit of help we can get.”

Commission considers amendment for wineries

   A proposed amendment to the winery ordinance the San Diego County
Planning Commission is sending to the County Board of Supervisors is
among items on the commission’s agenda for Friday, June 25.
   Also on the agenda is a proposed tentative map and site plan for the
Village Walk Townhomes at La Brea, Pala  and Robertson streets.
   On April 30, the commission voted 5-2 to recommend a new winery
ordinance to allow certain Wholesale Limited Winery and Boutique Winery
activities by-right on land with A70 and A72 agricultural zoning and to
allow Small Winery events with an administrative use permit.
   The associated environmental impact report (EIR) assumed a
worst-case scenario, since the location of future boutique wineries are
uncertain. Opponents said that the county’s General Plan prohibits
anything other than a single-family residence on parcels with Multiple
Rural Use (18) or Impact Sensitive Land Use (24) designations if
significant environmental impacts would occur.  The commission’s June
25 hearing will discuss a proposed amendment to the general plan to
allow exceptions for wineries.

Chamber wants $90,000 of county hotel/motel tax

 Ramona Chamber of Commerce and Ramona Pioneer Historical Society were
among the community groups seeking Community Enhancement funds from the
County of San Diego’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue.
   The groups offered reasons for their requests June 14 and 15 at a
San Diego County Board of Supervisors hearing. The Ramona chamber
requested $90,000 and the historical society, which operates the Guy B.
Woodward Musuem in Ramona, is seeking $20,000.
   Each county supervisor has a $500,000 Community Enhancement budget
and will decide how much of his or her budget will be given to each
group requesting funds. Although the revenue is only from TOT money
collected from lodging facilities in the unincorporated portion of the
county, organizations in incorporated cities are also eligible for