A Community in Mourning

As you may have heard, Scripps Ranch resident Becky D'Aoust died in her home in late May. Her 14-year-old daughter, Heather, is charged with her death. As the family has said publicly, Heather suffers from mental illness.

Now, we mourn the loss of Becky, a friend to so many, who used her life for goodness. Many people have been touched by this tragedy, and much of the community has expressed a deep sadness. One thousand people packed St. Gregory the Great Church to celebrate Becky's life. With amazing courage, Becky's husband, Jim, wrote a loving eulogy--a love letter really--to his wife. He has graciously agreed to share an excerpt of it with the community.

I Am In Love With An Angel

I met her at our commencement ceremony at UC Santa Barbara, and the hour we sat together transformed my life. Becky had an incredible warmth and acceptance of others that radiated from her heart. Once when we were at the airport waiting for a flight, we had talked for a while and Becky left to go to the restroom. When she was gone, a woman with blue-gray hair leaned toward me and said: "You know son, you should marry that girl--they don't come like that very often." I knew then that Becky and I would be together. I know now that the blue-haired woman was an angel.

We married and started a wonderful life. We both loved the outdoors, family camping, exploring Mexico with friends, and a desire to raise a big family. However, after several years of trying without luck, Becky grew sad and so she sought out Sister Barbara Welliver, who was then establishing her Catholic Charities Adoption ministry. We were blessed with Kimberly and then Julie. Later, we were blessed with Heather. Heather's biological mother wanted her to have sisters and picked us because of Kimberly and Julie.

Becky was absolutely joyous as a mother. I would call her the "ultimate mother" because she drew so much pleasure from raising our girls.

In our walk with God, one of the toughest questions we confront is: How could God allow a parent to hurt their child, or a child their parent? I would like to offer you an answer that is helping me through these days. Perhaps once we make certain decisions in life, He can't intercede and must stand back. Then He works to help us cope with the outcome or tragedy and grow in our faith.

We are all born imperfect. For some, our defects are obvious, such as a cleft pallet. For others, their defects become apparent over time, such as a predisposition toward leukemia or mental illness. For Heather, her imperfection was the latter. Heather's biological parents both suffered from mental illness. When we were first informed of this prior to Heather's adoption, Becky and I felt that we had been so blessed with Kimmie and Julie that we could somehow care for Heather. Becky always said, "God never gives us more then we can handle."

I now believe that God couldn't stop the biological clock that Heather's biological father and mother put in motion. But what God did do was to put Heather in the best family to both cope with this tragedy and to be there for Heather, to see that she gets the help and forgiveness that she needs. Heather is not evil. She is ill and needs help, and our love.

I believe that Becky and God prepared us for this moment by teaching us love and forgiveness. She surrounded our family with so many angels, wonderful and loving people, who are surrounding me and my family with love and faith. Her angels helped me grow closer to God and they are carrying me along these days and have helped me make good decisions for the family and Heather.

Becky touched so many lives. She loved her work at Spreckles Elementary School where she counseled kids. Recently, one student sent her a note thanking her for helping him through a tragedy. She had restored his hope in life.

Becky had a lot of joy this past year. She loved taking care of her Aunt Paula, who lives at a senior care facility. Last month Becky threw a 95th birthday party for Paula at St. Paul's.

A few weeks back we went camping at San Elijo State Beach. She loved falling asleep and waking up with the sound of the waves breaking on the beach.

Most importantly this past year, Becky was happy Kimmie moved back home. And she grew much closer to Julie, who was experiencing stress from a difficult workload at UC Boulder. Becky and Julie talked two or three times each day. This filled Becky with joy.

Becky, you are my loving angel. Thank you for sharing your wonderful life with us. I will love you always. And I promise to take care of all our precious girls.



How You Can Help the D'Aoust Family

Dear Friends of Becky,

Our hearts are aching. We all want to do something to help and comfort the D'Aoust family. Becky was a sweet angel to all who knew her, and we have truly been blessed by her love and compassion. Her greatest love in life was her family, and she would want nothing more than for us to take care of them.

Here are some things you can do. Thank you and God bless you for caring.

  • Make a meal for Jim and the girls. We want to provide food every Monday and Thursday for the next seven months. Email Liz Thomas at [[email protected]] to sign up.
  • We are aware of the incredible legal expenses the family will incur. We have established an account called "For Love of Becky." To help, send a non-tax-deductible gift to "For Love of Becky" and mail it to the North Family at 11207 Lady Fern Ct., San Diego, CA 92131.
  • Another way to honor Becky's memory is to contribute to a "Becky's House," which we will build in Mexico for a very poor family. Becky always loved helping the people there and now she will have her own special family. If anyone would like to help build Becky's House this fall, you are welcome to come. More details to follow. To contribute to "Becky's House," make your tax-deductible check out to "Build a Miracle" and send it to the North Family, address above.
  • Many people may be moved to contribute to other causes they know are close to Becky's heart, and that is another beautiful way to honor her.
  • Pray: Pray that Heather finds comfort and the help she needs. Pray that Kim and Julie will know their mom will always be with them. Pray that Jim will have the strength and courage to continue with the knowledge Becky is at his side. Pray that each of us continue to love as Becky loved, and be comforted by the fact that we were blessed to know an angel.

Again, thank you for your compassion and all that you do "For Love of Becky."

Friends of the D'Aoust Family

Fire Prevention--Worth the Cost

It is estimated that every dollar spent on fire prevention saves $10 in fire suppression and fire recovery. For Scripps Ranch, fire prevention means two things--removing wildfire fuel to provide defensible space, and fireproofing our homes as much as possible. The city, county, and state are working hard to improve our fire prevention capabilities. The city has taken three fire prevention initiatives that will greatly enhance our safety.

  • Bolstered by a FEMA grant, the city has identified $6 million for brush abatement and is conducting a citywide project to remove wildfire fuel from all the firebreak areas within city-owned open spaces. Beginning with the most dangerous areas, the project will last more than two years. Work has begun in Scripps.
  • The city promulgated a clarification to the municipal code regarding brush abatement and the creation of firebreaks. This enhancement removes many ambiguities and aligns our code with the recently updated state and county codes.
  • The fire department has bolstered its Fire Prevention Division by adding six deputy fire marshals to enforce fire regulations. Property owners who do not comply with the requirement to remove fire hazardous vegetation and materials from firebreak areas--within 100' of residences, including their neighbors--will be subject to citations, fines, and liens.

Longterm improvement and maintenance of our fire prevention status requires an acceptance of responsibility by homeowners. Homes with wood roofs, for example, not only greatly magnify the fire threat to that residence but to their neighbors as well.

Once a neighborhood has an established defensible space that meets fire code standards, residents must recognize that the city will not have the assets to maintain all their firebreak areas all the time. A few hundred dollars every couple of years can prevent the loss of millions. To reach the Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council, call 947-6303 or email [[email protected]].

Car Burglary Statistics

The following are the official 2007 and estimated 2008 reported crimes for car burglaries in Scripps Ranch:

  • May 2007: 33
  • Year-to-date 2007: 113
  • May 2008: 12
  • Year-to-date 2008: 61

The car burglary flyer distribution is complete, with well over 4,000 flyers having been distributed throughout Scripps Ranch. The first five months of 2008 have shown a significant drop in vehicle burglaries, but the summer has historically led to a rise in this crime.

For May 2008, the focus areas were Ironwood Road and Overlook Park. The targets continue to be purses and electronics left visible in the vehicle, whether it is for just a few minutes or overnight. If your neighborhood was not on our list to receive a flyer, I would be happy to email you one if you drop me a note at [[email protected]].

Sgt. Jeffrey Peterson, SDPD

Next Symphony in the Park Concert--July 13

Spend some time listening to The Shockwaves and Midnight Ramblers at the Symphony in the Park concert on Sunday, July 13. These bands will rock the park with good old rock `n roll, as well as an interpretation of my favorite British band, the Rolling Stones! This event is generously supported by Coldwell Banker. Below is our 2008 concert schedule. All concerts are on Sundays at 6 pm at Hoyt Park.

  • July 13: The Shockwaves and Midnight Ramblers, hosted by Coldwell Banker;
  • Aug. 10: Y3K, hosted by Cymer;
  • Sept. 7: Rockola, hosted by Marrokal Construction; and
  • Dec. 7: Holiday concert, hosted by Canyon Springs Church.

Your donation is very appreciated to keep this Scripps Ranch tradition alive. These concerts are possible through the generosity of our neighbors, the businesses, and the clubs. Thank you! Please visit [] for more ways to support this great family event. See you all on July 13!

Kate Northcote

SRHS Senior Exhibition to Help Kids with Cancer

My name is Suki Hoffman. I am 16 years old and will be a senior at Scripps Ranch High School in the fall. I run cross country and track. In addition to running, I have danced for seven years. At my dance studio, I was introduced to a little girl named Taylor Hay. Taylor is a young, bright girl, with boundless enthusiasm and a beautiful smile.

In March Taylor was diagnosed with Pre-Cursor B Non-Hodgkin Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. Her treatment is expected to last more than two years...if she makes it that long. This will cost more than $50,000, money her parents do not have just lying around.

At SRHS all seniors must complete a Senior Exhibition, a project that gives back to the community. It's always been assumed that I would pick a running- based function for my project...I just never knew what that would be. Then, Taylor's situation came up, and I knew what I needed to do.

For my project, I have chosen to organize a road race to raise funding for her medical bills and to further pediatric cancer research. This race will take place on Saturday Aug. 9, at Miramar Lake. There will be a five-mile run/walk starting at 4 pm, and a two-mile run/walk starting at 4:30 pm. I hope you join us.

If you are willing to run, walk, skip, dance around the lake for Taylor, please visit The Believe In Taylor Foundation at []. The race entry form is available through the website under the link that says "Fundraisers." Pray for her. Hold your own children tight. Taylor is an amazing little girl. Please help me help her. Thank you,

Suki Hoffman

Scripps Ranch People

Lending a Hand in Hard Times

With the price of gasoline racing skyward and the recent increases in food prices, more people are looking for help to make ends meet. In April Scripps Ranch residents Kris and Steven Berg held the First Annual Scripps Ranch Food Drive to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank for San Diego. They collected 1,682 pounds of food, which equates to 1,402 meals for hungry families in San Diego County.

We never know when we might be in a position of needing a little help. Sometimes all it takes is an accident or the loss of a job to send a family into a tailspin. With help from a food bank, often a family can save their home from foreclosure.

Food banks feed not just the homeless. Up to one-half of the families we assist have at least one working member. We also help our military feed their families. Special thanks to Kris and Steven for caring enough to help others. By the way, I am a Scripps Ranch resident too.

Gary J. McDonald, President/CEO Second Harvest Food Bank for SD

Special Family Tradition Ends