Category archives for: Local Spotlight

Bulldog auto team places second in nation

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Dylan Ballantyne and Brandon Arthur had never been to New York City, so they worked to get there. Their work as the two-man automotive team from Ramona High School resulted in a second-place finish in the nation at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in the National Automotive Technology Competition.
Ramona High’s retired automotive teacher, Mike Jordan, had to pinch-hit for automotives instructor Mike Saavedra as coach and chaperone, because Saavedra is recuperating from heart surgery.
Saavedra got Ballantyne and Arthur started and, when he went on sick leave, Jordan took over.
The trip was a four-day event. Day one was travel. Day two was a tour of New York City.
“It is an amazing city. It was fun to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there,” said Ballantyne.
Day three was competition day. The team had to rotate among 10 stations. Among them were engine diagnosis, electrical diagnosis, brake diagnosis, a safety test and a job interview.
The Ramona team aced the 10 stations and earned a trip to the finals.
At finals, they were given a car that did not run and had multiple problems. They had three hours to get it running.
They got the job done in two and a half hours, earning them second in the nation.
Arthur’s favorite part of the trip was the competition and finishing second in the nation. In addition to the competition, Ballantyne liked the experience of going to New York.
For their efforts, Arthur and Ballantyne each received $64,000 in scholarships, shirts, jackets, hats, a travel bag and a drill.
“We had trouble with TSA when we tried to take the drill on the plane,” joked Ballantyne.
TSA (Transportation Security Administration) didn’t think it was funny.
The San Diego New Car Dealership Association sponsored their trip.
“Dean Mansfield, the president and czar of the association, took great care of us,” said Jordan.
While the auto team was in New York City, Ramona High’s SkillsUSA adviser, Robert Grace, took a group of RHS students and graduates to the SkillsUSA competition in Mission Valley. There was no team format, but Ramona’s students did well as individuals:
•Kyle Rash earned the gold in collision repair,
•Mike Jones won the motor cycle technology competition,
•Ryan Hall took third place in the auto refinishing competition,
•Erick Leyva took third in automotive service technology,
•Ricky Jauregui came in third in collision repair, and
•Ramona High grad Adam Scull won the post secondary collision repair competition.

Seniors laud lifesaving pharmacist as ‘hometown hero’


John Robertson had a hunch something was wrong when an elderly customer didn’t return to pick up his prescriptions last week.

He was right.

The 30-year-old Ramona pharmacist was hailed last Thursday as a “Hometown Hero” for tracking down 88-year-old Murray Frankel with the help of sheriff’s deputies, who found the widower lying on his bathroom floor after a fall one or two days before. Frankel is now recuperating at a hospital. His family could not be reached for comment.

2014 Boston Marathon, a time for closure and healing

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Dr. Steven “Steve” Tally and his wife Kris witnessed the tragedy that was the 2013 Boston Marathon and returned this year, hoping for some closure and healing.

“Of all the races I’ve run — well over 100 triathlons and over 25 to 30 marathons, this is the most inspiring and memorable race of my life,” said Steve, who participated as a runner.

Steve and Kris are athletes who find Ramona’s San Diego Country Estates the perfect place to live, enjoy nature and train for the marathons and triathlons that they enjoy. Last April, the Sentinel told their story about

Main Street Parade entries due Monday

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Time is running out to sign up for Ramona’s Main Street Parade. The deadline for applications is Monday, May 5, at 5 p.m.

Everyone’s welcome: nonprofits, businesses, equestrians, bands, the military, public safety vehicles and organizations, dance troupes, political candidates and groups, families, individuals, youth groups — everyone.

Tollers to demonstrate dog agility when San Vicente Valley Club meets

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At their next luncheon meeting, San Vicente Valley Club members will learn about dog agility, a sport in which the handler directs the dog through an obstacle course in a race for time and accuracy.

The meeting on Wednesday, April 30, is open to the public.

Ramona resident Donna Murdoch will bring her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Blaze and Koty, who compete in dog agility, a fast-growing sport that demonstrates a dog’s willingness to work with handlers in a variety of situations. Blaze and her younger brother Koty will demonstrate the sport and Murdoch will show a video of recent competitions.

Ramona High Class of 1964 reminisces at 50th reunion


The first weekend in April held some special memories for a group of former — as well as a few current — Ramona residents. The Ramona High School Class of 1964 held its 50th reunion in the Rotunda in San Diego Country Estates.

There were 83 graduates. Of the 62 surviving graduates, 43 attended the events with their spouses and guests. The attendees traveled from throughout California as well as from Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. Eight graduates still live in Ramona.

County selects Ramona man Dispatcher of the Year

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When San Diego County Sheriff’s Department hired Benny Hernandez to answer emergency calls in 1979, they did things differently.

All information was handwritten on a card, time-stamped and then placed in racks to be given to U.S. Navy radio chiefs who would then dispatch the calls to deputies in the field.

Now, sheriff’s dispatchers use a computer-aided system.

Tour brings World War II planes to Ramona Airport


Residents will have a chance to see World War II aircraft up close at Ramona Airport April 23-25.

The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour will display and give tours of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” heavy bomber, a consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” heavy bomber, and a P-51 Mustang fighter from 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon Friday.

Easter egg hunts galore this weekend in Ramona


Youngsters have their choice of Easter egg hunts this weekend, including the Ramona Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary event that will feature 4,500 eggs filled with candy and toys on Sunday afternoon.

An added treat will be the VFW’s second annual Easter Bonnet and men’s Baseball Cap Contest scheduled after the egg hunt. The contests are open to all ages and there is no charge

Students find Ramona connection during East Coast trip


Ramona eighth-graders continue to explore the nation’s capital and Arlington, most recently the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial with the bronze sculpture of servicemen raising the U.S. flag during World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Smithsonian Institution.