Homegrown Wildfires

The Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council (SRFSC) received information from an observant resident that bonfires were burned on a hilltop near the SRCA Community Center on Cypress Canyon Road. It happens on Friday nights—sometimes Saturdays—for an hour or two about 7 to 9 pm.

We checked it out, and, sure enough, there is clear evidence of fires on that hilltop. The site is on city-owned open space. The hill is one of the highest points in Scripps Ranch and can be seen from miles around. The top is a cleared open area 100 feet in diameter surrounded by a dozen tall blue gum eucalyptus trees.

The fuel is being hauled in—bundled fireplace wood like you can buy at a convenience store. Bark from the trees also has served as fuel. It doesn’t appear that the fires are large bonfires, but more like campfires or signal fires. No other trash was found in the area.

The situation is potentially a homegrown wildfire. All sides of the hill are covered with six to eight feet of dense, dry chaparral. One ember on a dry breezy night could ignite a wildfire within a hundred yards of the nearest neighborhoods.

To compound the problem, inquiries of residents near Alderhill Terrace indicate there have been nighttime “events” in the canyon on the east side of the hill. Young adults park their cars in the neighborhoods disappearing into the canyon. That canyon, like most of our open space canyons in Scripps Ranch, is full of dense brush and highly flammable trees. A fire ignited there would race up the hillsides and into the neighborhoods above. Wind or no wind, in a situation like that, the fire makes its own wind and away it goes.

San Diego police have been notified, and they are stepping up patrols in that area. The Fire-Rescue Department also has been alerted.

The bottom line: it has been more than 10 years since the Cedar Fire swept through Scripps Ranch, destroying 312 homes and damaging dozens more. We must not forget or be careless. The residents who have reported these events are to be commended. They may well have saved homes, neighborhoods, and lives.

There have been unauthorized fires ignited in our open spaces in the past, but luckily none have yet turned into runaway wildfires. We love our unique community, but we all must be vigilant and proactive to preserve the beauty and charm of our “Country Living” environment.

If you see any activity that could result in an intentional or accidental fire in our open spaces, please report it to the police and fire departments immediately—calling 911 is justified in these cases. If you have any questions about fire safety in your neighborhood, please call the Fire Safe Council at 945-6303.

Jerry Mitchell, SRFSC Director

Neighborhood Watch: Are You an Easy Target?

The Scripps Ranch Civic Association Neighborhood Watch program (SRCANW) celebrates its fourth anniversary this month. Curious about what we do? We send crime “eblasts” to more than 2,400 email addresses whenever there is a residential burglary or other crime of high interest in Scripps Ranch. We help new block captains form Neighborhood Watch groups on their street. This month stop by our booth at the Community Fair on Sunday, May 18, and look at our crime map.

In August we will organize our fourth annual communitywide National Night Out, which grows in numbers every year. Many thanks to our Steering Committee members and block captains for making Neighborhood Watch such a success.

If you receive and read the SRCANW emails we send out, you will notice that most burglars are entering homes via open windows, unlocked doors, open garage doors, and so forth. There were two residential burglaries in January where the suspects gained entry by throwing rocks into and breaking backyard windows, but that is not the norm.

The thieves want to find an easy target so they can act quickly, quietly, and make a safe getaway before anyone notices. These are “crimes of opportunity,” and if you provide that opportunity, don’t be surprised if you become the next victim.

Reduce your chances of being a burglary victim. Use common sense and stay on guard. Form a Neighborhood Watch group on your street. Just get a group of neighbors together for a block party. We’ll provide the speaker and the handouts. All you need to do is pick a date and invite your neighbors. It’s easy to do and provides peace of mind. Please see our webpage at [www.scrippsranch.org/watch] for more information.

Call the SDPD non-emergency line at 858-484-3154 immediately if you see suspicious activity. Give as many details as possible. Call 911 if you see a crime in progress or if you fear for your safety.

To join SRCANW and receive our neighborhood crime emails, go to [www.scrippsranch.org/watch] and complete your registration. For questions, email us at [[email protected]].

Cheryl Shaw, SRCANW Chair

20 Years of Helping Our Community

To celebrate the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol’s (RSVP) 20 years of service to the community, St. Gregory the Great Catholic School saluted the RSVP. An all-school assembly was held with 19 RSVP members present for recognition of the importance of community volunteers who are an extra set of “eyes and ears” for police throughout our community.

The children were introduced to all the members, who told a little bit about themselves. These volunteers came from varied backgrounds. There were many Navy career veterans, retired businessmen, retired teachers, and more. What they had in common was their love of volunteering and helping. There were a few who had been with RSVP for six months, and one member who had been volunteering for 19 years! It’s a diverse and dedicated group of individuals caring for our community.

Mrs. O’Connell, St. Gregory’s principal, welcomed everyone and spoke of the importance of service. A certificate of appreciation was presented to the members, thanking them for driving by St. Gregory the Great Catholic School daily and for their commitment to help everyone.

After volunteer Vanessa Schumert spoke, the children asked excellent questions. They also met Julie Dragt, the Juvenile Services officer for Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa. This presentation was a wonderful display of caring and commitment to our community.

RSVP needs you to “serve” our community. For 20 years this important organization has raised awareness and visibility. We also check on senior citizens living alone through the You Are Not Alone (YANA) program, make vacation home checks, and drive by all the schools, shopping centers, banks, and parks.

How can you join? You must have a valid California driver’s license, be 50 years or older, retired or semiretired, complete a background check, spend one week at an academy learning the details of patrolling, and donate 3½ days a month.

We also are part of the Ambassador Program at Balboa Park. There, volunteers wear their uniforms but patrol the park in a golf cart. You get to interface with people from all over the world. This is not a huge commitment but a very worthwhile one!

Please contact Jim Schulte, RSVP administrator, at 538-8156 to join this important community organization. You can also ride along with one of our patrols one day to see if this might interest you. Are you ready to serve? We hope so! Just contact us to get started!

Pat Clark, RSVP Board Member

MMS Bus Program

Information about next year’s Marshall Middle School (MMS) Parent-Paid Bus Program is on the MMS website at [www.marshallmiddle.org]. Registration is open now and continues until Tuesday, May 13. Registration forms and documentation also are on the website. This popular program not only gets kids to school safely and on time, but also helps ease traffic on Pomerado Road during the busy morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times.

Symphony in the Park 2014: A Great Lineup

We’re ready for the concert season and, as always, it will be a fun year of music in the park. We will have four summer and one holiday concert. We rely on your contributions to keep this not-for-profit organization going, so if you would like to help by donating or becoming a concert host, please contact us through our website at [www.symphonyinthepark.org].

All concerts are on Sundays at 6 pm in Hoyt Park, except the holiday concert starts at 5 pm.

Concert Schedule

  • June 8—Caliber
  • July 13—The Heroes, with a 5:30 pm warm-up by another Scripps Ranch band Ballast
  • Aug. 10—Gary Seiler and the Coast Riders
  • Sept. 7—Rockola
  • Dec. 7—Holiday concert

We will keep an updated schedule on our website at [www.symphonyinthepark.org]. For real-time news, become a friend on Facebook. Just search for Scripps Ranch Symphony in the Park on [www.Facebook.com] and show your support.

For those new to the area or who have not heard of our concerts, we are a group that brings live music to the community and gives back to Scripps Ranch schools with donations to their music programs.

The concerts are a great time to get together with family and friends and enjoy the community atmosphere. Spread the word this season, invite someone who hasn’t been before, and perhaps consider donating. These concerts rely on your donations every year. Thanks.

Kate Northcote

Attention, Young Musicians in Scripps Ranch!

Scripps Ranch resident Elysse Tabornal is an 11th grader at Cathedral Catholic High School. She and her sisters, Erin, 12, and Lizzie, 9, are looking for performers who would like to participate with their music club. The girls play piano recreationally and have been members of the prestigious National Piano Guild for many years. All together, they have received numerous audition awards for achievement, including the Bach, Jazz, Sonatina, National/International, and High School certifications.

In 2009 they informally began “Music to Cheer.” On a volunteer basis, they provide musical entertainment to individuals and groups who are open to listening to the beauty of music. They perform mainly to local convalescent facilities, where individuals need encouragement, auditory stimulation, and emotional uplift.

The club is open to all students who wish to share their musical talents. They give performances about once or twice a month on weekends, with special performances during holidays.

There are some Scripps Ranch families who regularly participate. Please email [[email protected]] if you would like to get involved. This is a wonderful way to receive service hours and to give back to our community. Feel free to visit our website at [www.musictocheer.com] for more information.

Relay for Life

Team Captain Meeting

The Relay for Life Scripps Ranch event is next month—Saturday, June 28—at the Scripps Ranch Community Park at 11454 Blue Cypress Drive. Each year Relay for Life events raise much-needed funds and awareness to help fight cancer and possibly save lives. In preparation for the Scripps Ranch event, we are meeting with our team captains in early June.

  • Saturday, June 7, 10:30–11:30 am
  • SRCA Community Center
  • 11885 Cypress Canyon Road

Team captains, co-captains, and potential team captains are invited to:

  • meet other team captains and committee members;
  • hear and share ideas on fundraising and team recruitment;
  • learn more about Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society;
  • get the latest information regarding the planning and execution of the Relay For Life event in Scripps Ranch; and,
  • be recognized for your service and accomplishments as a team captain.

For more information, contact Joy Schumacher, team development chair, at [[email protected]], or Prima Bernabe, event chair, at [[email protected]]. For more information about the Scripps Ranch event or to donate, please visit [www.RelayForLife.org/ScrippsRanchCA].

Miss Scripps Ranch and Miss Teen Scripps Ranch

For the first time, Scripps Ranch was involved in the Miss and Miss Teen San Diego Northeastern Communities Pageant. Congratulations to 19-year-old Miramar college student Alexandra “Allie” Kennedy, who was crowned Miss Scripps Ranch 2014. Sarina Jassy, a 13-year-old 8th grader at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, was named Miss Teen Scripps Ranch 2014. The event was held in February at the Country Inn and Suites Hotel.

Allie loves Scripps Ranch because of the “small community” feel and loves community activities like the 4th of July Parade and Celebration. She enjoys cheerleading, gymnastics, modeling, snowboarding, and motocross. She currently works at a store in the University Towne Center mall and would like to be a competitive cheer coach.

Sarina enjoys dancing, ice skating, hiking, playing violin and drum, singing, drawing, and public speaking. She loves Scripps Ranch because of the camaraderie, intimacy, and sense of community. Sarina wants to be an orthopedic surgeon.

The newly crowned “Misses” become Scripps Ranch ambassadors at events throughout the year. The Miss and Miss Teen San Diego Northeastern Communities Pageant also includes Mira Mesa and hopes to add Rancho Penasquitos next year. For more information about the event, see Miss–Miss Teen San Diego Northeastern Cities on Facebook. Also, email pageant director Maria Pankau at [[email protected]] or Scripps Ranch contact Jacqueline Kennedy at [[email protected]].

Scripps Ranch Girl Heads to National Pageant

Scripps Ranch resident Jessica Ebert was among 200 contestants who competed in the Miss Teen San Diego Pageant in March. Although this was Jessica’s first pageant, she placed fourth in the Miss Pre-Teen category. That means she won a guaranteed spot in the Miss Teen National Pageant that will be held in Orlando, Florida, in January 2015.

Jessica is 12 years old and a 6th grader at Marshall Middle School. She likes to sing, act in commercials and films, play soccer, design and sew clothes, and hang out with friends.

For the Miss Teen San Diego Pageant, Jessica had to pass multiple interviews with pageant officials prior to the pageant itself in order to be selected as a contestant. The Miss Teen San Diego Pageant consisted of being judged on multiple talents. The contestants were judged on interview skills, modeling of casual and formal wear, personality, and the ability to answer an impromptu question in front of an audience of more than 700 people.

After the pageant, Jessica said, “It was a lot of fun! I had the chance to make new friends. I look forward to representing San Diego in the Miss Teen National Pageant.” Congratulations, Jessica!