Category archives for: Local Spotlight

County sees increase in flu cases over last season


The flu rate in San Diego County is up about 150 percent compared to last flu season, and infections might be peaking early, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported today.

Since July 1, 357 flu cases have been reported to the county agency, compared to 216 during the same period the previous year.

New Year move shapes life for ‘87 grad

200-CV-003 Todd is really here.WEBfeature

Little did Todd Hollingsworth know that when he arrived in Boise, Idaho, on New Year’s Eve 20 years ago, fresh out of college, he was embarking on a move that would shape his career and his personal life.

The 1987 Ramona High School graduate had just earned his degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder. The problem was, there weren’t many jobs available in the aerospace engineering field at that time.

Christmas tree drop-off sites in Ramona, Country Estates


Ramona Disposal will provide two drop-off sites for this year’s Christmas trees: Village Shopping Center, 23662 San Vicente Road, and Ramona High School, 1401 Hanson Lane.

Drop-off dates are Dec. 28 and 29 and Jan. 4 and 5, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Only clean green trees will be accepted — no plastic bags, ornaments or yard waste.

Where Are They Now? Christmas Eve baby realizes his dream

KL jumping.WEBfeature

K.L. Osborne is a fifth generation Ramonan who returned home after living in several places in California, New Mexico, Texas and Missouri.

He was born on Christmas Eve in 1965 with club feet, which defined his young life. He wore a brace on his left foot to straighten it. His right foot required surgery. As a child, K.L. was told he would probably never be able to wear boots, making his dream of being a cowboy difficult.

Filling their Ramona home with Christmas spirit


Walking into Dennis and Ellen Sargent’s home during the holidays is like entering a Christmas shop.

It’s not just the Ramona couple’s showpiece Christmas village that consumes nearly half their living room. There are also four decorated Christmas trees, collectibles such as San Francisco music boxes, doorways bedecked with greenery, lights and shiny colorful ornaments, and shelves of seasonal figures of which many are mechanical. Additional Christmas village pieces are set up on ledges above doorways and on kitchen counters.

Sharing a message across the country


With his “Love Life” sign displayed above his head, cross country walker Steve Fugate heads into Ramona Thursday afternoon, having left Santa Ysabel in the morning. The Vero Beach, Fla., resident is heading to Coronado, where he plans to meet with a friend, and then he will head up to Sacramento and make his way back east. His goal is to walk in all lower 48 states on this seventh trek across the country. The 67-year-old has logged 34,000 miles so far on his trips, spreading his message to love life. Having experienced tragedy in his family, Fugate said, “I want to mend the broken heart while it’s still beating.” More about his story and trip is on his website,

Ramona Food and Clothes Closet filled with Christmas spirit


Jae Marciano, Ramona Food and Clothes Closet manager, finds a good spot for another ornament on the Christmas tree near the front door of the nonprofit’s Thrift Store at 773 Main St.

The shelves are lined with Christmas decorations and gift ideas. Proceeds from sales at the thrift store benefit those in need in the community.

The Food and Clothes Closet is accepting cash donations as well as donations of canned food and unwrapped toys for its Share Your Holidays program.

Donations of clothing, furniture and household and miscellaneous items also are accepted at the thrift store.

For more information, call 760-789-4458.

Nation’s oldest pygmy hippo celebrates 40th birthday in Ramona


The nation’s oldest pygmy hippo celebrated its 40th birthday at its home in Ramona on Nov. 22.

Hannah Shirley, the pygmy hippo, lives at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, an animal sanctuary on Highland Valley Road. She arrived at the center in 2002 after she was discovered living in the backyard of a private home in Escondido.

Cosentino launches ‘Pride and Memory’ at Ramona book signing

Dante book signing.FEATURE

Friends surround Dante Cosentino, center wearing vest, in Unicorn Books and Gifts, where he held a book signing for his memoir, “Pride and Memory,” on Saturday. Cosentino, who retired as a Ramona High School teacher, tells his story of growing up as the son of a poor immigrant family and embarking on a quest for identity and a shot at the American Dream.

Michael Raher joins Ramona Sentinel as general manager


Ramona resident Michael Raher has been appointed general manager of the Ramona Sentinel. Phyllis Pfeiffer, vice president and general manager of U-T Community Press made the announcement on Monday. Raher replaces Rob Laverty, who left to pursue other interests.

“I am passionate about this town; I absolutely love Ramona,” Raher said. “I love the Ramona Sentinel and truly believe it is the best choice for any business wanting to advertise their products and services.”