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Stories written by maureenrobertson

Compromise opens door for resident ownership at Oak Tree Ranch

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A compromise between County of San Diego staff and the Caster family that owns Oak Tree Ranch will allow units to be converted to resident ownership.

San Diego County supervisors in May expressed support for converting 119 Oak Tree Ranch units off Black Canyon Road to resident ownership, but they were unwilling to override county counsel’s advice that approval of the proposal violates state law. Instead, they continued the hearing so Oak Tree representatives could provide a new map that covers only the 199 unit spaces and not the entire 255 spaces allowed in a 1965 zoning variance.

Fire closes Mission Trails Regional Park till Tuesday

Sunday, July 13—One firefighter suffered heat-related injuries today while fighting a brush fire in Mission Trails Regional Park that consumed nearly 100 acres before being largely contained, a fire official said.

Smoke from the fire is visible and the smell of smoke is evident in portions of Ramona, primarily San Diego Country Estates.

A total of 18 firefighting ground crews, four helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft were battling the blaze that was reported about 2:15 p.m. near the park’s visitor center along Father Junipero Serra Trail.

“Ground crews worked on the fire — which was on the side of Kwaay Paay

Mountain — in very difficult terrain that was hard to reach,” San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Lee Swanson said.

The fast-moving blaze was about 70 percent contained at 5:15 p.m., he said.

Because of high temperatures, there were fewer hikers in the park than on a normal Sunday. All of them were successfully alerted and evacuated after the fire began, Swanson said.

The extent of the injuries to the firefighter was not known.

Authorities said fire crews will remain overnight performing mop-up operations on the remnants of the blaze.

Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego will be closed to visitors Monday and will reopen on Tuesday, Swanson said.

True public servant is a rare treasure

Public service was once considered a noble path. Individuals in public service did their various jobs with the focus of making the lives of the citizen taxpayer (their acknowledged bosses) safer, freer, and less complicated. Public servants were generally held in high regard because they worked for the public good and, when paid, their compensation was less than what was typically offered for similar work in the private sector.

Manes & Trails: Cricket’s cloudy eye

Rope and Spurs

After pouring through pictures the night before searching for any evidence Cricket has had cataracts her entire life, Friday came and the appointment with the vet was late in the afternoon. First thing in the morning when it was just barely light enough to see outside, I grabbed my phone because it has a good camera on it and, if Cricket had a cloudy eye again, I was determined to get a picture of it. The day before she had a cloudy eye in the morning but it wasn’t present later in the day, so I needed proof if it happened again.

School trustee needs to resign

Upon reading another one of John Rajcic’s complaining, attacking opinions in the Sentinel, many of my fellow professional colleagues that work for RUSD got together to review his latest insult and attack on educators and RUSD in general. Yes, this is a school board member for RUSD who called educators, football coaches, and union rep leaders “parasites”….Yes “parasites”. (He may try to rationalize that his friend said what he wrote and had printed in the Sentinel­—Are you serious?)

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ opens Friday

New in Theaters — July 11

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes PG13 Genetically evolved apes battle the human survivors of a deadly virus to become the dominant species. Stars: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis

Ramona 4-H, FFA win big at San Diego County fair

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Ramona 4-H and Future Farmers of America members once again returned from San Diego County Fair with top awards. Among them are Kaylin vanTol, Christopher Wier, Brenna Alvarez, Jazmine Zwicker and Carney Flinn.

After two years of earning supreme reserve champion designation at the San Diego County Fair for a veal calf she raised, Kaylin vanTol settled for reserve champion dairy calf at the 2014 San Diego County Fair.

Creative Vine blends creativity with dining and wine

“Create, Dine and Wine with Friends!” is the slogan of a new business in town known as The Creative Vine, an enterprise that intertwines social gatherings with the sensory delights of food, drink and creativity.
Calling upon her 30 years of experience in event planning, Ramona resident and Creative Vine owner Barbara Blankenbaker coordinates with local chef Kitty Brisendine of Something Delicious and a variety of resident artisans to offer intimate get-togethers where guests participate in a creative activity while enjoying food and wine at one of Ramona’s wineries.
“This has been a wonderful experience, bringing together so many local resources as well as designing fun events,” commented Blankenbaker, who came up with the idea after being invited to “paint and sip” classes outside of Ramona. “The events were always down the hill, on a weeknight and usually just farther than I wanted to drive. Also, they were more like art classes where participants were invited to bring their own food and wine and everyone painted the same picture. I thought there has to be a way to do this closer to home and to provide a wider scope of activities.”
Part of Blankenbaker’s business plan is to keep things as local as possible. “Our venues are all in and around Ramona, many of the artisans are either from Ramona or a neighboring area, and even the food from Something Delicious always includes produce from local farm stands.”
The Creative Vine’s inaugural event was a sold out affair at Turtle Rock Ridge Winery and featured the creation of a small multimedia painting that could be turned into a greeting card. Subsequent events have included personalized wine glasses, home accent pieces from wine barrel staves, stamped jewelry making and customized barbeue rubs.
“The Barbecue rub event was a great idea,” shared participant Julie McCall, who has attended four other Creative Vine events. “It got the husbands or boyfriends involved and besides, who doesn’t like barbecue? The Highland Hills Winery was a beautiful backdrop for learning about different barbecue techniques, creating customized rubs, sipping wine, eating good food and watching the sun set.”
“The positive feedback after each event has been wonderful,” said Blankenbaker. “I have a handful of guests, men and women, who come every time. People enjoy getting together with friends old and new, sharing scrumptious food and incredible wines in new and beautiful settings.”
What has been her biggest challenge in getting this venture off the ground? “The weather,” laughed Blankenbaker. “Once the occasion is planned and calendared, it will go on.”
A spring event at the Vineyard Grant James began with a mad scramble to clean out a storage barn on the property when one of this year’s rare rainstorms blew through.
“It all worked out, though,” said Blankenbaker. “We were nice and cozy with heaters inside the barn, the food and wine were just as delicious as ever, and the activity, painting wine glasses led by Lorri and Candy, owners of Rusty Scraps located at Affordable Treasures was a wonderful way to spend a rainy day.”
Working for concert promoters most of her adult life and growing up in Connecticut with a mother who took her three daughters to visit the art world of New York City made the birth of The Creative Vine a perfect blending of Blankenbaker’s life experiences.
“My goal is to introduce others to exceptional local artists, delicious culinary treats and to the burgeoning wine business of the area,” she said. “We are a small community with a lot to offer!”

July 4 Parade in Country Estates

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Residents and visitors line both sides of the street to watch the annual Independence Day Parade staged by San Diego Country Estates. This year’s event featured 34 entries ranging from young Boy and Girl Scouts to members of the sheriff’s Volunteer Mounted Patrol.

Ramona Senior Center

Ramona Senior Center will cancel activities Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13-15, while new vinyl flooring is put in the main room of the center. Lunch those days will be served in the two smaller rooms.

The center at 434 Aqua Lane is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meals also are delivered to the homebound.

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