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Alpine Mom Changes Her Life & Earns 2019 Live Your Dream Grant

Amanda Duffell rescued herself from a life filled with terror and is now living her dream…

Soroptimist International of Alpine made it official on Feb. 5 by awarding Duffell a major share of $2,700 handed out in the organization’s 2019 “Live Your Dream Awards” program.

Duffell’s three young children applauded their mom as she accepted flowers and praise in the Community Room of the Alpine Sheriff’s Station at 2751 Alpine Blvd. “When I sent in the application I didn’t think I had a chance,” said Duffell, 30, of Alpine.  “It’s amazing. It’s incredible.” Now working in an East San Diego County doughnut shop while attending San Diego City College, Duffel had earlier accepted her Soroptimist award grant so she could catch up on her bills.

The  “Live Your Dream Awards” help women who are the primary financial support for their families by giving them necessary resources to improve their education, skills and employment prospects. Every year Soroptimist International groups overall invest more than $2 million in education grants to almost 1,500 women.

Research shows that being a single mother without a college degree are two of the strongest indicators of poverty, according to the global organization. “All of the six women that applied (for Alpine awards) were very deserving and we tried to see that everybody got something,” said President Kiersten Pinard of the Alpine Soroptimst. ”But her story touched us the most.”

Duffell turned her life around, she’s working hard and she’s going to college while making sure her children are in a good school, Pinard said. “The award’s not just about her hardships,” she said. “It’s also about the fact that she has a very clear career goal and she’s on that path.” As her two sons and daughter ages 6, 8 and 9, finished their refreshments, Duffle briefly quietly talked about her troubled early years.

“It started when I was about their age,” she said. “I was taken away from my mom and put into the foster care system.” When she was 13, she continued, she moved to Mexico on her own to find her mother in Tijuana.  She was able to contact her mom, Duffell said, but life in Mexico turned “horrible.” “When I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease,” she said. “My oldest son was sick, too.  It was hard. I was pregnant. My daughter was in foster care. My son was in Mexico. I didn’t have any family or friends.” Duffell reached out to a medical social worker in San Diego. Social workers at the University of California San Diego then helped her  get into rehabilitation, she said. They “gave me faith that I was worth it,” Duffell said, adding that she never wants her children to go through what she did.

Working full time now while taking 24 units at college, she said she plans to transfer  to San Diego State University to continue her education.  Duffle said she fits her schedule around her children’s needs. She added that she’s trying to teach her youngsters to stay in school and to like it. “I hope my story does inspire women in domestic violence relationships or suffering from drug addiction,” Duffell said. “I want people to say ‘If she did it, I can do it, too.’”


Alpine Chamber of commerce Logo Alpine Ca 91901The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce

619. 445.2722

1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. #208, Alpine Ca 91901


County Moving Ahead on Proposed Alpine Park

By Alex Ward, Alpine Chamber of Commerce – February 13, 2019

The goal of a San Diego County Park in Alpine appeared to be closer to reality at the latest Hot Topics” breakfast of the Alpine Chamber of Commerce.

Guest speaker George Barnett of the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) outlined the history of the proposed park and what authorities are doing to move the project along during the Feb. 12 Chamber meeting. The county Board of Supervisors is expected to approve funding when they meet about the park acquisition on Feb. 27, Barnett told the crowd at Al Pancho’s Restaurant at 2139 Alpine Blvd. “By the end of April the county will have a good idea of how much of that (land) can be developed,” Barnett said. “The county will have a series of town hall meetings and workshops to determine what we want.”

He said the proposed park along South Grade Road is undergoing an environmental assessment for possible uses. The land abuts the Wright’s Field preserve owned by BCLT in the center of Alpine. A companion project is the development of playing fields at nearby Joan MacQueen Middle School at 2001 Tavern Road. “A benefactor in Alpine has agreed to fund a water well and irrigation infrastructure and on-going maintenance for the middle school playing fields,” Barnett said, That impressed the Chamber members and guests, who listened carefully as the speaker noted that the Alpine Education Foundation has applied for neighborhood reinvestment grants to help the middle school project.

Barnett said the $900,000 would come from the county’s parkland development account, funded by developers’ fees. Jon Green, BCLT’s program and outreach director, spoke in support of the proposed park.  Green also encouraged everyone to continue treating 230-acre Wright’s Field preserve —- which shares history with the Kumeyaay Indians, the Spaniards who came here and the homesteaders —- as precious ground. “We all value Wright’s Field,” Green said. “It is as close as we can get to having sacred ground in this county.” Noting that Wright’s Field has many kinds of animals and plants, Barnett said the park land assessment needs to be thorough “because this is a very rare environment.” “How many towns in the world are going to have 300 acres of park land right in their middle?” he added.

In other business, Chamber Executive Director Alex Ward talked about new Chamber opportunities and activities.
A major new event is the free Spring Art & Music Festival on Saturday, April 13, at the Alpine Community Center at 1830 Alpine Blvd. Vendors will be welcome. “We’re hoping to have a lot of artists as well as musicians,” Ward said.

*Read past posts on this subject HERE


Alpine Chamber of commerce Logo Alpine Ca 91901The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce

619. 445.2722

1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. #208, Alpine Ca 91901


Alpine Chamber of Commerce Third Thursday Mixer – February 21, 2019

Please join the Alpine Chamber of Commerce “Third Thursday Mixer” on Feb. 21, 2019 at Mediterraneo’s Bistro Bar & Grill in Alpine! Greet old friends, make new ones, network and enjoy the fun from 6-8 p.m. in the Alpine Creek Town Center at 1347 Tavern Road. There’s a no-host bar. The monthly event is free for members who make the required reservations or $10 per person for walk-ins and non-Chamber members. Space is limited! Please e-mail or call the Chamber now at or (619) 445-2722.

Alpine Chamber of commerce Logo Alpine Ca 91901

Proposed Alpine Park is Subject of Next Chamber Hot Topic Breakfast – February 12, 2019

Find out more about the proposal for a 98-acre San Diego County park in Alpine during the Chamber’s next monthly “Hot Topics” business breakfast!

The friendly way to start the day at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, will be at Al Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant at 2139 Alpine Blvd.

Vice President George Barnett of the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) will talk about proposed plans for an Alpine County Community Park that would be adjacent to Wright’s Field. BCLT owns and maintains the field preserve.

Barnett’s talk is timely, because the next day on Feb. 13 the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing about buying the proposed park land and maintaining it. Chamber members and guests will get more news about the community as well as activities and opportunities as they enjoy the hot breakfast. The $20 cost  includes giveaways!

Reservations are requested. Call the Chamber at (619) 445-2722 or visit to get details and to reserve your spot!

Can’t make an early morning breakfast meeting?
Then come to the Alpine Chamber’s free Third Thursday Mixer from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Mediterraneo Italian Bistro & Bar! Known for its gorgeous views as well as delicious appetizers and beverages, Mediterraneo’s is in the Alpine Creek Town Center at 1347 Tavern Road. There will be networking and fun for Chamber members and guests as well as a no-host bar.

Make your reservation now by calling the Chamber at (619) 445-2722 or visiting!

​Alpine Revitalization Meeting Held in January 2019 Proves Informative & Energetic

The possibility of a high school as well as a county park kept interest high at the latest Alpine Community Revitalization Meeting

By Jo Moreland – Alpine Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Alpine’s leaders, business people, organization representatives, agencies, residents and county staff also discussed the latest news about road paving, local signage and other needs.
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob handed out praise as she led the Jan. 24 session in the Alpine Library at 1752 Alpine Blvd. “I think this was excellent,” Jacob said after the meeting. “It helps me and the other county people to know what the needs are and what we need to do.”
The county supervisor said the park proposal, which will be discussed at the county board’s Feb. 13 meeting, is “definitely a priority.” Final board approval is needed to buy 98 acres of land abutting the Wright’s Field preserve, which is owned and maintained by the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT).
BCLT Vice President George Barnett said it was “absolutely wonderful” to hear Jacob speak enthusiastically about the county buying the balance of Wright’s Field and intending to use it for community access. He said it was also good to hear her fully support the proposed upgrade of sports playing fields at Joan MacQueen Middle School, because both projects benefit Alpine.
Almost everyone leaned forward to hear Travis Lyon, an Alpine Union School District (AUSD) board member, talk about the latest effort to get a high school in Alpine.
It might be done by using Alpine Elementary School in some way, Lyon said. “We’re undergoing a process right now to identify options for the future,” AUSD Superintendent Dr. Rich Newman said in an interview. “They’ve identified nine options to date.” Newman said a Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force of parents, staff, community members and school site administrators are developing a proposal for the school board. “We’re really seeking community input,” so a number of public forums will be held, he said. “My goal is the board will hear the recommendations in February and in March the board will make a decision after the community forums.”
President Neville Connell of the Greater Alpine Fire Safe Council revealed that research after Alpine’s West Fire on July 6 shows that roads have an impact on fire prevention and safety. The blaze destroyed or damaged 38 homes and 36 other buildings. There was very little damage to buildings on east-west roads in the fire area, but defending structures on roads that “spread out like fingers” was more difficult and those buildings were more prone to damage, Connell said. “It provided us with some very interesting conclusions in how development should go forward in Alpine,” he said
A partnership between the Alpine Chamber of Commerce and BCLT to beautify Alpine Boulevard is trying to work with county permit and insurance requirements in order to pursue the project, Chamber Executive Director Alex Ward and Jon Green, BCLT outreach and program director, told Jacob.  “You’re doing great work,” she replied after encouraging them to work with county personnel and to contact her office if that didn’t work out.
Mary Kay Borchard, a volunteer community representative with the revitalization committee, said she thought the meeting was positive for Alpine’s development. “I would invite and encourage any interested resident to attend the next Alpine revitalization meeting on June 27, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Alpine Library,” Borchard said.
Jo Moreland, Communications
Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. 208
Alpine, CA 91901
(619) 445-2722

Alpine Chamber of commerce Logo Alpine Ca 91901Jo Moreland, Communications
Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. 208
Alpine, CA 91901
(619) 445-2722


Alpine Chamber of Commerce HOT TOPICS Networking Breakfast – January 8, 2019

The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to join us at our first Hot Topics Networking Breakfast of 2019! We will be at the Greek Village Grill (1730 Alpine Blvd. Suite 117, Alpine, CA 91901) on January 8, 2019, at 7:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Cost is $20. Please come by to learn about what the Chamber is planning for 2019, including our Third Thursday Mixers, (the first one of 2019 will be at La Carreta Mexican Restaurant, on Jan. 17, at 6 p.m.) and our Wednesday Workshops! We will also be covering our 2019 calendar of events.

For more info please contact Lori Bledsoe at The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce at 619. 445.2722 or email Visit our website at The Alpine Chamber of Commerce is located at 1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. #208, Alpine Ca 91901.

Community Effort is Making Alpine Boulevard GREENER!

December 5, 2018 – By the alpine Chamber of Commerce

Twelve new native drought-tolerant plants, including two oak trees, are officially growing along Alpine Boulevard!

About 15 volunteers participated in the preparation, digging and watering on Dec. 1 to replace greenery outside The Alpine Sun newspaper at 2144 Alpine Blvd. and the nearby Alpine Woman’s Club headquarters at 2156 Alpine Blvd. As curious passersby turned to watch and business people came out to praise the beautification effort, five plants and one tree were placed at each location.

“We had a fantastic turnout,” said Jon Green, Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) program and outreach director. “We got a lot of kudos.” The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, BCLT and the Certified Community Wildlife Habitat organized the effort to replant the boulevard after construction damage.

A Lush Handmade Cosmetics grant to the land trust has provided 500 free plants for participating businesses and property owners. Watering arrangements can be made for the first year.   Counting two plants placed unofficially in November outside Alpine Motorsports & Equipment Repair at 2435 Alpine Blvd., 14 new plants are growing so far. More are due in December and January.

During the latest planting Green provided free seminars about native planting techniques, plant selection, watering needs, mulch and erosion control. “It was amazing,” said Jennifer Tschida, The Alpine Sun’s associate publisher and Alpine’s 2018 Honorary Mayor. “Jon was super organized, ready to go.”

Tschida, who is expecting a baby soon, said she was touched by the tree selection. Green said he chose a 2-foot-tall tree for the Alpine Woman’s Club and for the newspaper “a little baby oak so it will grow up with her son.” “Fifty years from now my son will be driving on Alpine Boulevard with his family, pointing and saying ‘That’s my tree,’” Tschida said.

For more information, to be a sponsor or to volunteer to water plants, call the Chamber at (619) 445-2722 or e-mail; or


Alpine Chamber of commerce Logo Alpine Ca 91901Jo Moreland, Communications
Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. 208
Alpine, CA 91901
(619) 445-2722

Alpine’s Annual Night Parade & Snow Festival Turn Out Spectacular! – December 2018

By The Alpine Chamber of Commerce

Merry Christmas!” That happy greeting throughout the “23rd Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival” on Dec. 7 brightened the season for several thousand people!

With more than 100 lighted entries, the hometown parade down west Alpine Boulevard was the longest, brightest one ever. The Snow Festival was a mix of relaxed entertainment, free snow sledding, dining and holiday shopping. “Thank you everyone who came out to enjoy this wonderful event!” Alex Ward, Executive Director of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, said later. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our sponsors, volunteers, and of course, our guests!”

The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber presents the holiday extravaganza every year with the help of many Chamber members, sponsors, businesses, organizations and individuals. Major sponsors this year were the Alpine Creek Town Center; Barons Market Alpine; Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.; San Diego Gas & Electric and Alpine Urgent Medicine/California Mobile Physicians and Waste Management.


Children, families and visitors from around San Diego County enjoyed the shining parade and the Snow Festival in the Alpine Creek Town Center at 1347 Tavern Road. “We love that there are more people entered in the parade,” said Marsha Do of Alpine. “Everybody really went all out this year.”

Shining floats of all kinds, vehicles ablaze with lights and walking, dancing and gymnastic units that glowed brightened the boulevard. A big bulldozer with a red, white and blue flag made up of colored lights was a perfect backdrop for the traditional color guard from Alpine’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Bert Fuller Post 9578.


At the Snow Festival, carols professionally performed by the Alpine Christian Fellowship, organized by Brenden Prout, were an inspiration. While Santa Claus chatted with children, Mrs. Claus handed out free cookies at the Alpine Community Center booth. There were also other children’s activities. Vendors offered unique gift possibilities while restaurants and stores in the Alpine Creek Town Center enjoyed a business boost. Posing for free selfies with Rorie, the Alpine Historical Society’s well-known fiberglass gorilla, brought in donations for the local historical museum.

U.S. Border Patrol agents and Explorers carefully placed tots and older youngsters or the young in heart on sleds for endless free rides down the white, chilly Snow Hill. “It’s going very well,” said Agent Jonathan Munoz. “A little tiring, but well.”

View all 80 photos here!


Alpine Chamber of commerce Logo Alpine Ca 91901Jo Moreland, Communications
Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. 208
Alpine, CA 91901
(619) 445-2722

Alpine Chamber HOT TOPICS Breakfast – December 11, 2018

Alpine Chamber of Commerce Hot Topics Breakfast on December 11, 2018. Celebrate what the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce accomplished in 2018 and find out what is planned for next year!

The Chamber’s monthly breakfast meeting starts at 7:15 a.m. at the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd.
Chamber Executive Director Alex Ward will share the inside scoop during his review and preview of activities. ​Bring business cards, event flyers and brochures to share with Alpine and Mountain Empire movers and shakers so they know more about you, your business or organization.

The $20 cost includes breakfast, opportunity drawing tickets, networking and brief self-introductions.
Reservations are needed now. Call (619) 445-2722 or email Lori Bledsoe at  Visit

“Rorie” Alpine’s Historic Gorilla Will Be Available for SELFIES at the Snow Festival on December 7, 2018

“Rorie” the famous Alpine Gorilla, a big fiberglass critter that hangs out at the Alpine Historical Society’s museum, will be available for selfie photos at the Snow Festival this year as part of the 23rd Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival  in Alpine! About 8 feet tall and weighing about 40 pounds, Rorie has been a popular local landmark for years.


Where’s Rorie? Alpine’s historic ‘gorilla’ is snow bound!

Once upon a time a big gorilla lived in the eucalyptus trees near a history museum in Alpine.

Now the eucalyptus trees are gone and Rorie the Gorilla, a huge Fiber glass creature, will be at the 23rd Alpine Village Parade of Lights & Snow Festival at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening, Dec. 7.

Created in the 1960s and a long-time resident at the Alpine Historical Society’s museum, Rorie will be ready for selfie photos at the historical society’s booth during the Snow Festival in the Alpine Creek Town Center at 1347 Tavern Road. “We cut down six eucalyptus trees in early November,” Tom Myers, president of the Alpine Historical Society, said about Rorie’s current adventure. “We did that because they were a danger to the three historical houses on the site.”

In the past, Myers said, repairs have been required because of branches that fell on the John De Witt Historic Museum and Library at 2116 Tavern Road. He added that the wood from the tall trees was given away as free firewood. “We’re planning to replace the eucalyptus trees with some native oak trees,” said Myers. “They should be lower water demand and they should become good shade —- habitat friendly.”

Meanwhile, people have been asking what happened to Rorie, an area landmark.   “That’s the mystery question of today —- ‘Where’s Rorie?’” Myers said. “We’re going to give him a bath, brush his teeth and give him some cosmetics, treatment for his hair.  He’ll be back.”

That’s only one of the changes happening at the museum. This year the historical society received a $15,000 grant from the County of San Diego to remove the eucalyptus trees, replace the concrete floor of the carriage house and install a shipping container to store documents and artifacts.

Known as a great place to explore the county’s pioneer history, the museum is also designing a new exhibit about the Willows Resort, one of the earliest ones here, Myers said. “The 1906 buggy that’s been restored will be in the Willows exhibit,” he said. “We’ll have information about the Willows Resort and the multi-generation family (that started and ran it).” Descendants of resort owners S.B. Walker and his wife, Bevie, still live in the area, Myers said. The family came to Alpine in the 1890s.

It’s making that kind of history relevant today that museum docent Carol Morrison, former historical society president, loves to share with tourists, area residents and schoolchildren. “What type of life people led when they first moved here, the local beekeeping history and the farming equipment and more,” Morrison explained. “There’s a bathtub with a hand pump that the children really like. That’s so much more interesting than video games!”

The museum is always in need of docents, volunteers, members and donations. “I think being a docent is exciting, because people don’t know much about our history,” said Morrison.


Submitted by: Jo Moreland, Communications, Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce.