Wednesday, Nov. 11, is the day all Americans should stop in their busy lives to honor the men and women of our armed services who have sacrificed so much as citizen soldiers so we can enjoy the pleasure of freedom. Servicemen and women and their families should be thanked for their services and, many times, their lives. As one statement said, "We ask not for conquest or acquiring foreign lands but only for the land in which we can bury and honor our dead."
Let's all remember Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH) recipient Ed Freeman. Ed was an unarmed helicopter pilot in Vietnam who landed no less than 13 times under small arms fire to evacuate 30 wounded First Cavalry Division soldiers from Ian Drang Valley, where my classmate from West Point--battalion commander Lt. Col. Hal Moore--fought them to a standstill. Ed Freeman's gallant effort saved the lives of the young men, and it remains a glorious page in helicopter history. Ed died at age 80; he is an honored and respected American.
The second one we should remember is a soldier who died recently, Darrel "Shifty" Powers. Shifty was a pioneer airborne soldier in l941 and participated in storied airborne campaigns as a member of "E" Company 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He was the character spelled out in the TV programs of brotherhood in arms as a typical infantry airborne soldier doing his duty. He died a respected individual in his community and nation.
Wow, what a show and what a fantastic crowd at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar Air Show. The weather cooperated and so did the people attending, an amazing feat considering the estimated attendance of 700,000! It made all very proud to be an American and to see our might for peace displayed. I love going to the Air Show and particularly seeing the skill of the personnel and nostalgia of the vintage aircraft for this vintage old soldier. I love the sounds and sights of the air ground assault, as I participated in so many in Vietnam.
For you residents, a lieutenant colonel came up to me, introduced himself, and said his children went to Dingeman Elementary School. When he was ordered back to San Diego, his wife said she wanted to live in only two places--Scripps Ranch and Scripps Ranch. Made me feel pretty good about our home. Congratulations to the Marines for another fine show.
The demolition of the flock basins continues with some noise from the jackhammers and the creation of some dust, which is expected to subside by the first week of November. The existing large mound of dirt will be used to fill the holes left by removing the old flock basins. The Advisory Planning Group, which has met to review this project for the past eight years, will continue to monitor it. This project has been noted for the fine continued city/Scripps Ranch cooperation and communication.
The new center island on Scripps Ranch Boulevard is almost completed, including irrigation using recycled water. However, the street requires a slurry coating to mitigate the significant trenching disruption to the asphalt. The city is working with the contractor on completing this necessary task.
With the announcement that the city faces a budget shortfall of about $180 million, our council member, Carl DeMaio, is holding town hall meetings within his district at which ideas for meeting this budget shortfall and actions that can be taken are discussed. Here in Scripps Ranch, our meeting was in October. If you were not able to attend the meeting, do not hesitate to provide Carl with your advice for proper solutions. The city needs good solutions other than further cuts in services or raising taxes.
A resident asked us to evaluate the notice in The San Diego Union-Tribune of the presence and use of hazardous material in some of the manufacturing of the L-3 communications products in the Business Park. I contacted the manager and Safety Committee chair onsite and he provided us with a written report of what products they use in very limited quantities, which were listed in the state of California lists of potential contaminants of our water supply.
Just a bit of Ranch history. Years ago a worker cleaning out a tank in the Business Park was overcome with toxic fumes. He could not be properly treated and died. We agitated for and secured the fire department's hazmat truck and crew, which are located at Engine Company 44 on Black Mountain Road, to service Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa.
Put our Holiday Celebration on your calendar for Sunday, Dec. 13, at 5 pm at Jerabek Park. Join your friends and neighbors and the local Marines for Toys for Tots. Bring a toy and celebrate the real meaning of the holiday season.
Also sing along with our carolers from the Girl Scouts and Marshall Middle School and light the community Christmas tree. It's a fine family event in the usual Scripps Ranch tradition. The Girl Scouts and the SRCA plan and conduct this event each year and, of course, we have Santa for the children. We hope to see you there.
Do you know your immediate neighbors? Do you have their phone numbers and family information so you can assist in case of a disaster? This is the time to go to your immediate neighbors--four to six--and share information as to family status, phone numbers, and such. Place this information with your emergency evacuation supplies.
You are better prepared for aiding yourself and your neighbors. Take the initiative and prepare a simple sheet with your name and particulars and a place for each of your neighbors to add theirs. Simple and direct. Consolidate the information, copy, and hand deliver. It takes just a few minutes and could save your lives. Try it. It will be easy to do. Scripps Ranch in action again.
The work of our fabulous Bus Committee has made possible the current bus system for Marshall Middle School students. It's the third year for this program that helps ease traffic in the area for all residents. Our sincere thanks goes to the committee and chairs Sharon Greener and Jennifer Madsen for all their detailed and successful work to bring this about.
An acting superintendent for the school district has been named, Bill Kowba. Luckily, he is a fairly old hand as interim superintendent. There is a movement afoot to focus the needs and attention of parents and others on the selection process for a replacement superintendent, so we do not have such a rapid and possibly disruptive turnover.
The new deputy superintendent has been named. Congratulations to Dr. Grenita Lathan. Grenita worked with the community on the selection and designation of Peggy Crane as the new Miramar Ranch Elementary School principal. Grenita appears to be focused on student achievement; we welcome her aboard.
If your interest is in better schools and helping the students enhance their educational opportunity, by all means, run for election to your school's designated position on the Scripps Ranch Schools Committee. You will be pleased to participate with so many fine parents and administrators in our action committee. All of the Scripps Ranch principals attend the meetings to exchange ideas and listen to reports, which is fabulous.
In late September an air conditioner on the roof of Miramar Ranch Elementary School's (MRE) building began discharging smoke into a classroom from the ceiling. A general fire alarm was immediately issued to evacuate the building. This was successfully done with no problems, and the children and teachers assembled in the large grassy area away from the buildings.
We had a tremendous and immediate response from Engine Company 37, as well as Engine Company 44. Both sent a fire rig and the large ladder truck to access the roof. Our Marine Corps neighbors from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar also sent a rig.
The school district repaired the air conditioner, which, unfortunately, had been previously reported as needing maintenance. We extend our thanks and appreciation to both the fire and police departments for their terrific and quick response when our children could have been in danger. Also, special thanks to new MRE principal Peggy Crane and her staff for the superior way they handled the orderly and rapid evacuation of all the children.
Our special thanks to Debbie Kutyla and Pat Calvert, chairs of the Miramar Ranch Elementary School annual Halloween Carnival, as well as to all the volunteers who worked so hard to put on this fantastic event. It is a major undertaking and a community tradition. It allows children to dress up in their favorite costumes and enjoy Halloween in a safe atmosphere near their homes.
Thanks a heap for those who have sent me the location--street address--of sidewalks needing patching or repairs. We submit these to the city, and as they are a low cost item, we generally get good responses for temporary repairs so they are not a danger.
Please do your share in keeping your block neat. The city has asked that when you put your cans out for garbage, recycling, or greenery, you remove them from the curb after they are emptied. The city crews will try to pick up the contents early in the day. You are asked to bring the cans into your yard in a timely manner to prevent them from being damaged or rolling down the street. Thanks.
Yes, we had our annual Clean-Up Day in October, conducted by the wonderful efforts of the Kiwanis Club. It showed our pride in our community and our willingness to step forward and take care of many things ourselves rather than waiting for someone to step in and offer a hand. Thanks to you all.
As mentioned above, we have our annual fall and spring Clean-Up Days when we make the Ranch sparkle. The city also holds a clean-up once a year. Volunteers from throughout the city go onto our beaches and open spaces and clean up the trash thrown by careless people. This year 9,587 San Diego residents joined together for the task and collected 65,000 pounds of trash and debris from no less than 80 sites. Wow! If you ever wondered what a few volunteers could do--they can do a lot.