Category archives for: Local Spotlight

Local flier soars for Team USA


At the recent World Gliding Championships in Finland, a Ramona resident was one of seven on Team USA.

To qualify for the team, Garret Willat won the 2013 U.S. Club Class Nationals in Mifflin, Penn.

“That got me enough points to make it on the team,” he said.

Former crane operator, cantor who helped establish Etz Chaim congregation turns 100 this fall


Operating heavy equipment during the week and singing at a Jewish congregation on the weekends proved to be an unusually harmonious combination for Albert Wollner, who will turn 100 this fall.

“He worked outdoors for his job,” said his son, Shaun Wollner, 68. “But he’d come home every night and practice singing.”

Albert and his late wife, Marcia, moved to Ramona in 1976.

Life is full of surprises— at any age


Estelle Reckling said she never had a surprise In her long life like she had last week.

And there are a lot of years in her life — 100, as of July 6.

To honor her 100th birthday and show appreciation for the many years she has been a propane customer, Pro-Flame of Ramona gathered its employees and surprised Reckling with a birthday party on July 8.

Ramona/Julian Academy dance students reap awards at Nationals


Ramona/Julian Academy of Dance students brought home many awards from the Thunderstruck Nationals in Las Vegas July 7 through 10.

The dance competition was held at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Nev.

Those who received awards are:

Parade, fireworks on tap for July 4 in Ramona


Independence Day in Ramona will start with a morning parade in San Diego Country Estates and end with evening fireworks in town. In between are free hot dogs and hamburgers at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3783.

The parade will start at 10 a.m. at the Casey Tibbs Western Center at Pappas Road and Avenel Lane and continue along Pappas Road to Ramona Oaks Park. While the parade is open to the public and features entries from throughout Ramona and the region, festivities in the park after the parade are open only to Estates residents and their guests.

St. Louis Cardinals draft former RHS baseball player

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After three stellar seasons on Concordia University’s baseball team in Portland, Ore., Blake Drake decided to forgo his senior season and turned pro.

The 2011 Ramona High graduate was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned to their farm team in Johnson City, Tenn. Drake started playing baseball in Ramona at age 6 and signing with the Cardinals fulfills a lifelong ambition.

Ramona man wins Firefighters Destruction Derby at county fair

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Ramona resident Ehren Kahle won the Firefighters Destruction Derby at the San Diego County Fair on Saturday.

“It feels great,” said Kahle. “When you can raise money to send kids to camp, burn-injured children, and have a blast doing it, there’s nothing more rewarding than that.”

In 1995, the Cajon Speedway, the Burn Institute and local fire departments collaborated for an annual night that included fundraising and promotions for the Burn Institute, a pre-race parade of fire trucks, a U.S. flag raised from a fire engine ladder for the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and a Firefighters Destruction Derby.

Ramona deputies step up underage drinking patrols

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With Ramona high school graduations this week, the last article anyone wants to read is about graduates being severely injured or killed as a result of alcohol-related incidents.

For that reason, the Ramona Sheriff’s Substation has been doubling its enforcement level to focus on the Social Host Ordinance, underage drinking and minors in possession of alcohol during the two weeks surrounding high school graduations.

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.