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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.


Don’t Miss BREAKFAST WITH SANTA at the Alpine Community Center – December 8, 2018

The Alpine Community Center Presents, BREAKFAST WITH SANTA – December 8, 2018 from 9am to 11am. Join us for a buffet style breakfast, and EVERY CHILD will receive a GIFT from SANTA! There will also be holiday crafts for the kids! All Proceeds benefit the Alpine Community Center!

Tickets are $15 for Adults and $5 for Children ages 4-9 (kids 3 & under are FREE!) Tickets are available at . Reservations are required so get your tickets early as they sell out fast and are not available at the door. The Alpine Community Center is located at 1830 Alpine Blvd., Alpine Ca 91901. For more info please call 619-445-7330

Alpine’s Community CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING! – November 24, 2018

Almost 100 entries have registered so far for the 23rd Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 in Alpine! Holiday lights are required for every entry and  for the first time every entry must be registered, as required now by the County of San Diego. PARADE REGISTRATION HERE

The evening is presented by the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, which in recent years has added a community holiday lighting contest, holiday decorations on Alpine Boulevard … and this year a holiday Community Christmas Tree Lighting! The tree lighting with live entertainment by Brenden Prout of Alpine Christian Fellowship will be from 6-7 p.m. on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Alpine Woman’s Club, Alpine’s historic Town Hall at 2156 Alpine Blvd.

For more Parade of Lights and Snow Festival information and registration, call the Chamber at (619) 445-2722 or visit


The Alpine Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival Wins Local Award

By the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce – October 2018

The “Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights” was the Gold Star Winner for “Community Event” in The Alpine Sun’s “2018 Best of Alpine & The Back Country” contest!

With the help of sponsors, members, volunteers and the community, the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce presents the annual glowing extravaganza down Alpine Boulevard.  Chamber Executive Director Alex Ward accepted the “Gold Star” readers’ poll award on Oct. 18 during the competition reception at The Alpine Sun at 2144 Alpine Blvd. “We are honored to receive this award and we see it as an amazing accomplishment to surpass with this year’s event,” Ward said.

Chamber Ambassadors Jeff Campbell of San Diego Estates and Roger Garay of On Line Bookkeeping & Tax Service, celebrated with Ward at the presentation. Garay also received a readers’ Gold Star as best “Bookkeeping / Accountant.”  This year’s “23rd Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival” will be on Friday, Dec. 7. The free festival will have a real snow hill with sleds for the young and young at heart!

Anyone can be in the parade or a vendor at the festival, but the County of San Diego now requires advance registration with the Chamber for both events. For everyone’s safety, candy and other treats can be tossed to spectators. Items may be personally handed to youngsters and adults.

The parade down Alpine Boulevard starts at 6:30 p.m. at West Victoria Drive. The march ends near the Snow Festival where Santa Claus, vendors and more fun will be in the Alpine Creek Town Center at 1347 Tavern Road. “I’d like to extend congratulations to Chamber members who have won the inaugural ‘Best of Alpine & The Back Country Awards,’” Ward said.

Chamber member Mediterraneo’s Italian Bistro & Bar earned six awards — three Gold Stars for best “Place for a First Date,” “ Happy Hour” and “Wine Selection” and three second-place Silver Stars for best “Date Night,” “Outdoor Dining” and “Restaurant!”

Wright’s Field, a natural preserve maintained by the Back Country Land Trust, also has many fans. Wright’s Field won Gold Stars for best “Place to Hike,” “Place to Walk a Dog” and “Prettiest Part of Alpine.”  The field also earned Silver Stars for best “Small Town Back Country Vibe” and for “Park”.

Other Gold Star winners were Alpine for best “Small Town Back Country Vibe;” Alpine Community Center, “Park,” and Viejas Casino & Resort, “Place for Date Night,”  “Teen Hangout” and “Casino.”

Dr. Jonar Bonifacio of Alpine Dentistry was voted best “Dentist;” Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, “Elected Official;” Laurie Hallihan of State Farm Insurance, “Insurance Agent;” Dawn August of Alpine Premier Properties, “Real Estate Agent;” Juan of Al Pancho’s Restaurant, “Server;” Shell Station, “Car Wash/Detailer;” and Darlene Newcomb of Shadow Hills Elementary School, “Teacher.”

Gold Stars also were awarded to Barons Market for best “Grocery Store;” Dana’s Boutique, “Boutique;” Chris Wiley of Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc., “Mortgage Company;” Kiwanis Club of Alpine, “Non-Profit/Charity;” Dr. John Hackett of Alpine Veterinary Clinic, “Veterinarian Office;” The Grove at Viejas, “Steakhouse;” John DeWitt Museum/Alpine Historical Society, “Museum,” and Viejas Outlet Center, “Family Attraction.”

Silver Star winners included Amber Yelton of the Casino Inn for best “Bartender;” Dr. Cynthia Jackson, Alpine Orthodontics, “Dentist;” Jan Morse, On Line Bookkeeping & Tax Service, “Bookkeeping/Accountant,” and Family Auto Service, “Automotive Shop.”

Albertsons earned a Silver Star for best “Grocery Store;” Café 99, “Coffee;” Wells Fargo Bank,  “Bank;” Alpine Womans Club, “Non-Profit/Charity;” Alpine Premier Properties, “Real Estate Company;” Country Pet Hospital, “Veterinarian Office;” and Barons Market, “Beer Selection” and “Wine Selection.”

More Silver Stars were awarded to Sycuan Casino & Resort for best “Casino;” Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, “Museum;” Concerts in the Park at Alpine Community Center, “Community Event,” and Lions, Tigers and Bears, “Family Attraction!”

For more Parade of Lights and Snow Festival information and registration, call the Chamber at (619) 445-2722 or visit


Meetings Encourage Alpine Boulevard Planting Movement, Volunteers Wanted for Adopt-A-Plot

By The Alpine Chamber of Commerce – October 2018

The process for creating a more attractive main street in Alpine moved ahead on two fronts on Oct. 10 during two Town Hall meetings about the project. The sessions to learn more about the mission to beautify Alpine Boulevard, the rural community’s main street, were at the Alpine Library at 1752 Alpine Blvd.

Between meetings, two more businesses agreed to join the project and another one volunteered to sign on, according to project organizers from the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT), Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and the Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. “We have to respect property rights,” Jon Green, BCLT program and outreach director, told those at the meetings.  “We have to respect what the people want.”

Lori Bledsoe, Chamber membership and events director, outlined the boulevard’s problems and history. She was also ready to help people fill out county permit applications for planting plots that are on county right-of-way “We’re making this as easy as possible,” Bledsoe said. “The county has to be careful because of all this diagonal parking on the boulevard.”

Carlette Anderson of the Certified Community Wildlife Habitat is signing up volunteers to help maintain the plantings installed starting Dec. 1. Green said it was hoped the planting will be done by April.

The county, which requires permits for any planting on its right-of-way property, has pre-approved two types of oak trees and four types of plants, all native and drought-tolerant, for its plots. Green reminded everyone that drought-tolerant doesn’t mean drought-resistant. BCLT has a grant from Lush Cosmetics that allows the land trust to donate 500 of those types of plants to the boulevard project. “We’re getting a lot of feedback from different folks who want other plants,” but the grant received doesn’t fit with those requests, Green said.

*These BCLT maps below show the sections of Alpine Blvd. that the replanting project will cover. The top photo is of the center of town. The bottom photo is west Alpine Boulevard to the Alpine Creek area. In both photos the colored areas are bare dirt spots on the boulevard. There are 35 highlighted areas with little or no vegetation along the street in the center of town and 26 such areas in the second photo. The orange areas need county easement permits.  The green areas are private properties ready for planting

As of the first meeting, four businesses and one organization were signed up —- The Alpine Sun, Alpine Tobacco Company, Alpine Woman’s Club/Historic Town Hall, Rustic Roots Salon and KC’s Closet. Alpine property owners and residents at the meetings had questions and concerns, but many seemed to be looking forward to a better look on the boulevard. “I think it’s encouraging,” said Ken Dawson, a 50-year Alpine resident. “The approach is well thought out.”

Water was a major concern. Green said  the plots will need about 2-1/2 gallons of water a week at first but that will quickly drop off to much less in the long run. He volunteered a water truck for once a year.  “We’re working on getting water in from Padre Dam Municipal Water District and/or other possible sources,” said Bledsoe.

Families, businesses, organizations and school children who volunteer to Adopt-A-Plot are also being sought, organizers said.  “My original vision was to have trees up and down the boulevard, but many owners didn’t want them to block businesses and signs,” Green said. He said others want low plants and the County of San Diego doesn’t want anything that would affect driving or the street.

Organizers made it clear that this is an effort to make Alpine more inviting now to visitors as well as residents, rather than wait any longer for someone else to maybe do it. “Right now we need to get started, because right now all anybody sees are old trees coming down,” Green said.  “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

For more information, call the Chamber at (619) 445-2722 or e-mail; or;


This Months Chamber “Hot Topic’s” Breakfast Reveals New Executive Director, VFW Expansion & SBA Info

By the Alpine Chamber of Commerce – October 2018

This month’s meeting of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce , known as the “Hot Topics Breakfast,” provided interesting information about:

— The Small Business Administration which also helps home-based businesses. (There are many of them in East San Diego County.)

—-The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber has a new executive director.

—-The Alpine VFW Post is going to double in size over the next two years

Small businesses in Alpine and the Mountain Empire can often find help through the U.S. Small Business Administration. That was the message on Oct. 9 at the monthly “Hot Topics Breakfast ‘“meeting of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce. “Start. Grow. Expand. Recover,” Jamye Pritchett Solorzano, economic development specialist administrative officer for the San Diego office, told Chamber members and guests at the Descanso Junction Restaurant in Descanso.  “That’s our motto.”

Every year, Solorzano said, the SBA provides billions of dollars to help businesses get started, grow, expand or recover from disasters. “Small business also includes working at home,” said Pritchett, who lives in Alpine and was raised in the area.   “We want to deliver quality service for East San Diego County.”

The SBA offers free or low-cost counseling and training to help businesses thrive and become government contractors. It also works with community development organizations and approved lenders to offer microloans and SBA-guaranteed loans.

In other business at the restaurant at 8306 Highway 79, Chamber Vice Chair Bob Ring announced that Alex Ward will be the new Chamber executive director. Ward starts on Monday, Oct. 15, said Ring, Alpine Barons Market manager. Ward is familiar with Alpine, the Mountain Empire and marketing. Most recently he has been director of operations for the Gaslamp Quarter Association in downtown San Diego.

The association creates major marketing programs for the thriving Gaslamp’s shopping, entertainment and dining district. “Alex, I think, is going to take it (Chamber) to a whole new level,” Ring said.

During self-introductions, Carl Silva, Quartermaster of VFW Bert Fuller Post 9578 in Alpine told the group that over the past five years the Post at 844 Tavern Road has grown and become a meeting place for the public as well as a popular venue for gatherings and events. “The post has voted to double in size over the next two years,” Silva announced.   It will be a very difficult project, he said, because —- among other things — the post is on top of a hill.

The Chamber will hold its annual Installation Dinner for its board members and Ambassadors at the VFW Post at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29.  The $40 cost per person includes appetizers, dinner and a spectacular sunset view.

To learn more about the Small Business Administration, visit

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

Harbison Canyon Lions Club Seek More Members to Help Community

By the Alpine Chamber of Commerce

Maggie Lutz shopped for free items for her grandchildren on Oct. 6, 2018 in a rural parking lot on the eastern edge of El Cajon. Lutz was among dozens of people needing new or gently used clothing and other useful things donated to the Harbison Canyon Lions club’s Community Swap N Shop.

Held at Old Ironsides Park at 326 Harbison Canyon Road, mounds of items were available. Carefully holding children’s winter pajamas and a toy for her grandchildren, Lutz methodically searched every large pile of donations. “I’m glad they do it,” Lutz said about the Harbison Canyon Lions Club. “It’s a beautiful thing to help the community.”

Formed after the 2003 Cedar Fire that destroyed 287 out of 388 homes at the time in Harbison Canyon, the organization helped the small canyon community recover and rebuild. Over the years the club began providing the Swap N Shops and Santa’s Lions for families in need at Christmas.

The club, a member of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, also holds an annual student speakers’ contest with scholarships for winners, community Easter egg hunts, Christmas parties and dinner events.

In addition, the Harbison Canyon Lions have provided medical shower handles, a wheelchair lift, eyeglasses and vision screenings, said Past President Mary Manning and current President Dorothy Stewart. The club needs more members to continue providing help for the community, the women said.   “We have 10 volunteers, including two high school students who are doing community service, to help today,” Stewart said. “Any items left over today will have to be packed up to go to the Crisis House in El Cajon for abused, battered or pregnant women, and other charities.”

Holding out a welcoming hand toward the latest Swap N Shop,  Manning cheerfully said club members call it “Nordstrom East.” Every Swap N Shop has a unique item and club members look for anything unusual as they screen the donations.  “One of the funny things we got was a chair with no legs,” Manning said. “Gosh darn it —- somebody took it!”

Anyone interested in being a Harbison Canyon Lion can call (619) 445-5044 or e-mail for information.


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