Tree Branch Falls at School

A Miramar Ranch Elementary (MRE) School kindergarten teacher is expected to make a full recovery after being hit by a large tree branch that fell on campus. On Wednesday, Mar. 9, at about 2 pm as students were about to be dismissed, Lana O’Shea was walking her class down the stairs to their parents. Mrs. O’Shea and her students were on the steps when the branch (above) broke off and hit her.

She suffered significant injuries and was taken to a hospital. No students were physically hurt during the accident. Counselors were on campus the following day to help students deal with the incident. Her class made “Get Well” cards for their beloved teacher. As of press time, MRE principal Peggy Crane tells us Mrs. O’Shea was resting at home and they did not have a return date for her yet.

Principal Crane adds that the district had a tree service at the school to trim, thin, and remove trees. An arborist and district landscapers have done a campus-wide inspection to identify trees that may need to be removed. They also are working with the school to develop a preventative maintenance plan as they move forward.

The SRCA Newsletter talked with kindergarten dad and Scripps Ranch resident Drew Goodwin (on cover with daughter), who immediately came to the aid of the teacher. Drew was waiting for his daughter, Giana, a student in Mrs. O’Shea’s class. Parents gather near the playground prior to dismissal. He was in front, he said, because he likes his daughter to see him as she rounds the corner.

Drew said he heard a massive noise and thought it was a Miramar jet overhead. Suddenly a huge branch fell and hit the teacher who was just steps ahead of the students. She fell and lost consciousness. He said it happened very quickly, and if the branch fell just a few seconds later, children would have been hurt.

Drew jumped into action. He bounded up the steps and told other adults to get the kids back immediately. He didn’t know if other branches would fall, and he didn’t want the kids to see the teacher, as he did not know her condition at that point.

He told another parent to call 911, then triaged Mrs. O’Shea. She was badly hurt but breathing. He secured her neck, and at some point she regained consciousness. He told her to squeeze his fingers and wiggle her toes, which she did. He also asked her questions to try to assess her injuries. By that time, the ambulance arrived.

This is not the first time Drew has helped others. In October 2015 he saw a car that had just gone over a cliff on Poway Road near Interstate 15. He pulled over, had someone call 911, threw on boots he keeps in his truck, grabbed his first aid kit, blankets, and water and jumped a fence to help the victim. She had serious injuries.

While he was evaluating her, she had a heart attack and stopped breathing. He was about to start CPR and was yelling at her to open her eyes and squeeze his hand. As he was getting ready to start compressions she took a deep breath and opened her eyes. She was confused, but Drew held her hand and spoke reassuringly to her until rescue crews arrived.

Drew is a San Diego EMT, has disaster medicine training, is a combat medic (private course), Red Cross health and safety instructor, and a Red Cross government liaison for disaster services. He is a defensive tactics instructor and Krav Maga expert—one of the top in the country. Krav Maga is a form of self-defense and physical training developed by the Israeli army.

Drew said many people wonder why he always carries gear in his vehicle. This is why. His daughter, Giana, was in the truck with him when he helped the car accident victim. Giana yelled, “Go Papa, you trained for this, you can do it.”

Drew says he knows to be prepared. He encourages people affected by what happened at MRE to think about learning first aid and CPR or volunteering with organizations such as the Red Cross.

Spotting Dangerous Trees

With the news of the branch that fell at Miramar Ranch Elementary, we wanted to provide you information about tree safety. First, here’s a brief history about trees—namely eucalyptus trees—in Scripps Ranch. Eucalyptus trees have been in our community for decades going back to E.W. Scripps in the late 1800s.

He was an entrepreneur, so he thought that he could harvest eucalyptus trees to make railroad tracks. When that didn’t work out, he loved their beauty so he continued planting them throughout what is now Scripps Ranch. Chauncy Jerabek, E.W.’s horticulturist, helped plant 25,000 eucalyptus trees over the family’s 700 acres. It is believed residential developers hydro-seeded hillsides with eucalyptus seeds to increase the value of homes.

What should you look for to see if a tree may be dangerous? We asked an expert tree arborist, Steve Hooker with One Tripp Tree Service. Steve’s company was our tree contractor for the Scripps Ranch Maintenance Assessment District (SRMAD) for more than 20 years. Here are some tips on what to look for. A tree that:

  • Leans more than usual and is raised where roots are pulling up
  • Dies from the roots up or from the ends of the branches toward the trunk—dieback—or has large dead branches
  • Is very heavy at its branch ends
  • Had had broken large limbs
  • If construction or trenching has been done around the base of the tree or in its root zone

Predicting tree hazards is best left to professionals. The SRMAD has a policy that a tree needs to be dead or dying and dangerous for it to be considered for removal. Trees that may fit that requirement are reviewed by the MAD supervisor and an arborist. There are tens of thousands of trees in Scripps Ranch and removing all dead trees is not possible or desired. Biologists believe the ecosystem needs a mix of trees for wildlife and soil erosion prevention.

For trees on private property, have a professional prune your trees rather than “topping” them. Topping is the indiscriminate removal of branches to stubs. It injures a tree and results in its early failure or death. Topping will not make a tree easier to maintain. Trees can regain their height quickly, often in two years.

Topping exposes the tree to decay and invasion from insects and disease. Most importantly, a topped tree can become hazardous and cause property damage, making it a liability due to having multiple shoots joined together at a weak point.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected]

Neighborhood Watch: Increase in Car Break-ins

Scripps Ranch has experienced a large number of vehicle break-ins and thefts recently. It only takes seconds for a thief to open an unlocked door or smash a window to steal your property. Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Don’t leave valuables in your car, even if they are out of view. Thieves know where to look: under the seat, in the trunk, glove compartment, or under blankets.
  • Don’t pull into a parking space and then hide your purse in the trunk. Someone may be watching you. Put it in the trunk before you get there. That’s still no guarantee it won’t be taken, but your chances are better.
  • Don’t leave mail or financial papers in you car to avoid identity theft.
  • If you use a portable GPS, don’t leave the empty mount visible.
  • Don’t use your address on a GPS so thieves can’t find your home.
  • If you keep charging cables plugged in, be sure the end that connects to a device is visible or a thief may think you are hiding something.
  • Don’t leave a garage door opener in your car unless it’s in a garage.
  • Always lock your vehicle and set the alarm, even in your garage.

For emergencies, dial 911. For non-emergencies and to report suspicious behavior, dial 858-484-3154 or 619-531-2000. Visit the SRCA Neighborhood Watch website at to sign up for crime alert emails. For questions, email us at [email protected]

Cheryl Shaw, SRCANW Chair

New Police Captain

We welcome Captain Sandra Rapalee-Albrektsen (below) to lead the San Diego Police Department’s Northeastern Division, which serves Scripps Ranch. We want to introduce you to our new captain.

In her almost 30 years of law enforcement, she has held a number of jobs including patrol officer, detective, sergeant, and lieutenant. As a detective she worked in many areas including Child Abuse, Sex Crimes, and Internal Affairs. As a lieutenant she led the Internet Crimes against Children and Sex Registrants units.

Captain Albrektsen is pursuing a doctorate in education from the University of San Diego, and has a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice. Captain Albrektsen is also a Federal Emergency Management Administration instructor for Cal State Long Beach and has been a college professor for more than 25 years.

She cares about the people who work around her and for the community. Captain Albrektsen said, “I lead and motivate from a position of people being the most valuable asset to an organization and the community. Everything I do starts from that position, always.” Scripps Ranch welcomes Captain Albrektsen!

SRCA Garage Sale and Clean-Up Day

The popular annual SRCA Community Garage Sale, sponsored by Windermere Homes and Estates, is on Saturday, Apr. 16, from 7:30 am until noon. You can sign up and get maps at the Windermere office at 9989 Hibert Street, Suite 110, or online at Maps will be distributed in the Windermere parking lot on the morning of the Garage Sale from 7 until 8 am.

The following Saturday, Apr. 23, is SRCA Clean-Up Day, co-sponsored by the Torrey Pines Kiwanis. Clean-Up Day is from 8 am until noon or until the dumpers are full—last year they filled up before noon. The dumpsters will be in two locations: the Business Park on Meanley Drive; and the SRCA Community Center, 11885 Cypress Canyon Road. Please be prepared to unload your vehicle. The ONE CELL battery recycling program will have collection boxes for household batteries.

This is your chance to make the Ranch sparkle, so get out and pick up your property. Then, for the public good, clean up an open space or public area near you. Scripps Ranch is our home and we take great pride in its appearance.

Elissa Barber and Barbara Perkins, Co-chairs

Marshall Middle School Parent-Paid Bus Program

The Marshall Middle School (MMS) Parent-Paid Bus Program for 2016–2017 will hold a Parent Information Meeting on Wednesday, Apr. 27, from 6 to 7 pm in the MMS theater. The registration period is scheduled for Monday, May 2, through Friday, May 13. Additional information regarding the program, including registration forms and process documentation, can be found on the MMS website at

This popular program has been in existence since MMS opened at its current location. The program gets kids to school safely and helps ease traffic on Pomerado Road during the busy morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times.

This year the MMS Bus Committee is gauging interest for a bus from the Jerabek/south of Pomerado area—a result of interest from parents living in this part of Scripps Ranch. If you live in the Jerabek/south of Pomerado area and would like bus transportation to MMS, show your interest by submitting a registration form during the registration period. This information will be provided to the district’s transportation department, who will make the final decision regarding all buses for the MMS program.

Storm Drain Construction

 I am happy to report that we finally succeeded in getting the damaged storm drain on Rue Chantemar replaced (pictured above). Additional measures are being made to protect the slopes until revegetation occurs. City crews will monitor it.

I want to thank the homeowners in the area for their patience during construction and their persistence in advocating for the replacement. It will be critical to keep up with maintenance of this and other newly repaired storm drains. I will continue to press for maintenance funding.

Street Repairs: The city released a list of streets in District 5 to be slurry coated in the next few months. All 45 streets are in Scripps Ranch. Visit to see if your street is on the list. If not, that link has a way to check the city’s assessment of your street.

Slurry coat is a mix of asphalt that is applied to streets in fair condition or better. The slurry coat extends the life of the street for nearly seven years before either another slurry coat or repaving. Streets that are rated in “poor” condition need a much more expensive repaving. We do not have a list of the streets to be repaved this year. Once we know, we will disseminate that information to the community.

Opposition to Apartment Complex: I have sent a letter to the San Diego Unified School District Board opposing the development of the apartment complex that would displace Innovations Academy and requested the district reconsider its approval. In the letter and in meetings with the district and the developer, I expressed my disappointment in their community outreach process. You can read the full letter on the SRCA Facebook page.

Councilmember Mark Kersey

Join Our RSVP Team

The dedicated individuals pictured below are just a few of the people who patrol your neighborhood. We have retired engineers, teachers, military, and the list goes on. What do they have in common? They want to make a difference.

If you want to give back to your community, the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) may be for you! We not only patrol neighborhoods, we also check on elderly neighbors and do vacation home checks. You probably have seen our white patrol cars in Scripps Ranch.

It’s easy to join. You must be 50 years or older, retired or semiretired, and have a valid California driver’s license. For information or to volunteer, please contact Jim Schulte at 538-8120 or drop by the storefront at 8450-A Mira Mesa Boulevard, across from Mira Mesa High School. Volunteer now—it’s the thing to do!

Pat Clark, RSVP Board Member

Symphony in the Park

We started producing concerts in Hoyt Park in 1985. Originally we wanted to make a gathering place for families and neighbors to meet, picnic, and enjoy music. There have never been admission fees, tickets, or solicitations at our concerts. Additionally, the Symphony in the Park Committee is run completely by volunteers. Your donations, as well as funding from local businesses, pay our bills.

Speaking of meaningful donations, many thanks to Terra Firma and John Martin for reinforcing our stage and building a knee wall to help retain the bank. The committee and community are blessed by your talent and generosity.

The committee is hard at work and now we have concert dates! All concerts are on Sundays at 6 pm in Hoyt Park, except the December Holiday Concert starts at 5 pm.

  • June 12—Host: Marrokal
  • July 17—Host: Collins Family Jewelers
  • Aug. 14—Host: Cymer
  • Sept. 11—Host: Associa N.N. Jaeschke and Associa OnCall
  • Dec. 4—Host: Sharp

You still have time to show your support for music in the park. Please visit and donate. Oh, and start looking for a babysitter for Fido. Please leave pets at home. We look forward to seeing you all in Hoyt Park.

New Business: C2 Education

Scripps Ranch students can now access the nation’s top tutoring centers to reach their academic potential and get into the college of their dreams. Armed with elite tutors and effective test preparation for the new SAT, C2 Education has opened its first San Diego location in Scripps Ranch.

C2 Education began its journey as a private tutoring program out of a Harvard University dorm room in 1997. It is now the nation’s fastest-growing network of personal tutoring, subject tutoring, SAT/ACT test help, and educational support centers. The tutoring center offers students of all ages access to customized curricula, personalized attention, and a wide variety of enrichment services.

In addition to helping students, C2 says each of its centers will create between seven and 10 jobs. You can visit C2 Education’s Scripps Ranch location at 9872 Hibert Street, next to Trader Joe’s. Also, go to or call them at 619-800-3430.