Helix Helps at Clean El Cajon Day

Helix Helps at Clean El Cajon Day

This past Saturday, June 17, 2017, Helix Water District joined with community volunteers in the first ever Clean El Cajon Day at Wells Park.  Under the “Helix Helps” program, over 20 Helix employees, families and friends volunteered their Saturday morning to support one of the many communities that the district serves.

The clean-up was held in the well-shaded, 18 acre park that is surrounded by homes and businesses and is heavily used year round. The City partnered with Waste Management, which provided the necessary materials needed for the cleanup as well as free tee shirts for community members in attendance. See the YouTube video of Saturdays cleanup at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlwMJfp11NU

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the cities in which we both live and work,” said Carlos Lugo, General Manager of Helix Water District. Through Helix Helps and events like these, Helix employees volunteer to help the communities they serve to continue to be beautiful places to live.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for upcoming events in your neighborhood. Or if there is a future need for volunteers, feel free to let us know at publicaffairs@helixwater.org

Photographers capture moments of local beauty

Photographers capture moments of local beauty

Winners named in annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest.

Have you ever imagined the beauty of intense light sparkling from a rippled lake surface… or the majesty of birds in flight, riding a cool breeze just inches above a glass-smooth body of water?  Twenty-four photographers captured these images and many more and entered them in Helix Water District’s Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest.

Seventy images in two categories, adult and youth, competed for top spots in this year’s edition of the annual event that highlights the district’s reservoir and recreation area in San Diego’s East County.

Shutterbugs submitted images covering a wide range of angles and focal points, including scenic shots and portraits of wildlife that call the recreation area home.

Adult Winners

1st Place, Robert Rosenbaum (Eye to Eye)

2nd Place, Kurt Scherbaum (Jack)

3rd Place, Zan Just (Pelican Precision)

Honorable Mention, Jan Taylor (Family Fishing at Sunrise)

Honorable Mention, Billy Ortiz (Full Moon T-Dock)

Honorable Mention, Pat Rendon (Morning Poetry)

Honorable Mention, Mariecor Agravante (Brother & Sister on Boat)

Honorable Mention, Larry Cruikshank (Cactus Bee)

Honorable Mention, Bob Ryan (Full Moon Fishing)

Youth Winners

1st Place, Mary Tran, 17 (Duck)

2nd Place, Devona Kassab, 16 (Lake 2)

3rd Place, Destiny Kassab, 16 (Flower 2)

The Winning Photos

See the gallery of winning images at Facebook.com/LakeJenningsRecreation. Below is the first place photo taken by Robert Rosenbaum. At the top of the page is the second place photo taken by Devona Kassab.

Awards for first, second and third places are $100, $50 and $25, respectively, and honorable mentions receive certificates.

The Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest is a digital competition.  All images, entry forms and model releases are submitted as electronic files via email.

Helix hosting Water is Life art exhibit thru June 20

Helix hosting Water is Life art exhibit thru June 20

Image: Water is Life poster by 3rd grader Melody Yu.

Water is Life posters created by grade 3-11 students throughout Southern California are on exhibit in Helix’s lobby through June 20th. The posters were selected from hundreds of entries in the annual Water is Life poster contest, an educational program from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and Met will feature them in their 2018 Water is Life calendar. Helix and teachers in our service area participate each year.

Drop by if you’re in the neighborhood. Our Administration Office is at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.

Helix Helps at Clean El Cajon Day this Saturday

Helix Helps at Clean El Cajon Day this Saturday

Photo: Helix Helps employees at the city of Lemon Grove’s Community Cleanup on Earth Day.

Join Helix Water District employees and their families this Saturday, June 17, from 9am-11am as they volunteer to help clean up Wells Park for Clean El Cajon Day.

Clean El Cajon Day’s first event will be held at Wells Park at 1153 E Madison Avenue. Waste Management is partnering with the City of El Cajon for the event and will provide free shirts to the first 100 to RSVP.

View more information about the event, including instructions on how to RSVP, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tqsyAjZ6Ak.

Under the “Helix Helps” program, Helix employees, families and friends volunteer their time to help support the communities the district serves. Follow Helix on Facebook and Twitter to be notified of future events.

We hope to see you this Saturday!

 

Helix Awards Scholarships to SDSU-bound Students

Helix Awards Scholarships to SDSU-bound Students

Each year, Helix honors two high school seniors who share our commitment to service, integrity and continuous improvement, and we award them $1,000 scholarships for college.

The scholarships were endowed by Dr. Lillian Childs, who was on Helix’s Board of Directors from 1979 to 1999, and Bob Friedgen, Helix’s general manager from 1980 to 1998. Both were present at our Board meeting on May 24th to meet this year’s recipients.

Nanse Mansor, a senior at Valhalla High School, is the 2017 recipient of the Dr. Lillian M. Childs Scholarship. Mansor plans to major in biology, chemistry or physiology at San Diego State University and continue on to medical school.

She is an honor roll student, a Unity Leader who mentors incoming sophomores at Valhalla, and she dedicates about eight hours a week to community service, tutoring low-income and non-English speaking students, teaching first and second grade students at St. Michael’s Catholic Church and volunteering at the El Cajon Public Library.

Lamees Sharif, a senior at El Cajon Valley High School, is the 2017 recipient of the Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship. Lamees will also attend SDSU next fall, the first step on her path to becoming an oncologist.

In addition to her many extracurricular activities, Sharif is an intern in the office of State Senator Joel Anderson, assisting with research, public speaking and media relations. Sharif is also a bilingual peer tutor for new Syrian refugees.

Photo: Dr. Lillian Childs, Nanse Mansor and Board President Joel Scalzitti.

Photo: Bob Friedgen, Lamees Sharif and Board President Joel Scalzitti.

Eight Young Artists Meet the Board

Eight Young Artists Meet the Board

Parents, siblings, relatives and teachers crowded Helix’s boardroom on May 24th to honor the top artists in this year’s Water is Life Poster Contest.

The contest is an educational program for kindergarten through sixth grade students offered by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Met).  Helix likes the program and offers it to the elementary schools in our service area because it focuses students on the importance of water at a young age.

Students like the program because it’s fun and because their poster could be one of the 36 Met selects for their 2018 Water is Life Calendar, which is distributed throughout Southern California.

The posters created by the young artists in our boardroom on May 24th are on their way to Met for judging. If one is selected for Met’s calendar, we take the student and their parents to Los Angeles for Met’s ceremony.

Click through slideshow of winning posters.

Lake Jennings Up for a Golden Watchdog Award

Lake Jennings Up for a Golden Watchdog Award

Helix’s Lake Jennings is a nominee for a Golden Watchdog Award from the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

The SDCTA’s 22nd Annual Goldens Awards Dinner is Thursday at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego. The Golden Watchdog and Golden Fleece Awards, according to the association, “give the public the opportunity to voice both admiration and criticism of government programs.” This Times of San Diego story will tell you which agencies are nominated this year and why.

Lake Jennings earned a nomination for its financial turnaround over the last four years.

WHERE WE WERE

-$120,000

Campground Net Revenues in 2012

WHAT WE DID

2013

Formed Lake Jennings Board Committee to focus on lake operations.

2014

Completed Lake Jennings Improvement Study and hired new Reservoir Recreation Ranger to manage lake operations.

2015

Approved development of a Lake Jennings brand, website and marketing plan.

Kayak Rentals

We added kayaks to our navy of rental boats.

Tipi Rentals

We added a new and exciting way to camp: in a tipi (every kid’s dream).

Events

Over 400 kids and families came to Kids Day in 2016.

Best of Award

Best of East County voters chose Lake Jennings as Best Campground.

5,500 Likes

Likes on Facebook increased from 164 in 2014 to over 5,500 in 2017.

3,500 Followers

Instagram followers increased from zero in 2014 to over 3,500 in 2017.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

$88,000

Campground Net Revenues in 2016

If you haven’t been to Lake Jennings it’s time to visit or stay for a couple of days. It’s close enough to get there after work, but far enough from the city to see the night sky and count shooting stars. And we have kids’ activities, like Fishing University, all day long. Tipi rentals are $65 weeknights and $75 on weekends, and kayak rentals are $10 an hour and $30 for a partial-day.

For more information and to make an online reservation go to lakejennings.org.

Thank you, Helix Customers

Thank you, Helix Customers

If you didn’t come to Customer Appreciation Day, you should have.

Hundreds of people did — customers of Helix and Otay water districts, Sweetwater Authority and the City of San Diego — for guided tours of The Water Conservation Garden and presentations on soil testing, habitat gardening, water reclamation, arranging succulents and how to hire a landscape professional.

Helix customers received free hose nozzles and wildflower seeds for water efficient landscaping, dye tabs to check for toilet leaks, sponges and snacks. And Lake Jennings staff treated kids to face painting and balloon animals.

And, again this year, the complimentary Hawaiian Shave Ice was a big hit.

So, scroll ahead on your smartphone calendar to May 2018 and make an appointment for Customer Appreciation Day. We’ll post the actual date of the event on our website around March, and we’d love to meet you.

Sunday is Customer Appreciation Day

Sunday is Customer Appreciation Day

The Water Conservation Garden is pleased to host a special “appreciation day” for ratepayers of Helix and Otay Water Districts, Sweetwater Authority and the City of San Diego!  Visit The Garden this Sunday, May 21st and enjoy:

Kids' Activities

balloons, butterfly life-cycle coloring project and seed planting to grow your own butterfly plant!

FREE Shave Ice

Go to your water district’s booth and get your ticket for a FREE shave ice from Kona Ice (while supplies last). We’ll have a bake sale and popcorn, too.

Presentations

Learn how to plant a habitat garden that birds and butterflies will love!

You’ll also discover different varieties of drought-tolerant plants, learn how to “toss the turf” and get inspiration to incorporate water-wise gardening into their own gardens. Water agency representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide advice on sustainable water use methods and technology.


Scheduled Activities Include:

9:30am

Ms. Smarty-Plants™ presentation about native butterflies to Southern California and how to attract them.

10:00am

Docent-led tour of The Garden

10:00am

Visit our succulent sale area to learn how to design, build and care for a succulent arrangement for your garden.

10:30am

Join Education Director Pam Meisner for an informative, common-sense approach to hiring a landscape professional. You’ll learn which questions to ask, how to properly plan and money-saving tips! Free class made possible by the San Diego County Watershed Protection Program.

11:00am

Clayton Tschudy, The Garden’s Director of Horticulture & Exhibits, leads a tour of the new Native Habitat Garden and a discussion of habitat gardening and water reclamation.

11:30am

Ms. Smarty-Plants™ presentation about native butterflies to Southern California and how to attract them.

12:00pm

Docent-led tour of The Garden

1:00pm

Soil testing demonstration by Harold Bailey, aka “Dirty Harry”

1:00pm

Clayton Tschudy, The Garden’s Director of Horticulture & Exhibits, leads a tour of the new Native Habitat Garden and a discussion of habitat gardening and water reclamation.

 

Customers toured treatment plant on Saturday

Customers toured treatment plant on Saturday

What a fantastic tour! Thanks for a great day and our clean water. What a wonderful group of people who work there!!

Helix Customer

Over 50 customers participated in Helix Water Talks on Saturday for a behind the scenes tour of Helix’s R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant.

After coffee and bagels, and a welcome from Helix’s general manager, Carlos Lugo, customers saw our water treatment process first hand and learned how we assure the safety and quality of the drinking water we provide. They also learned that:

  • We operate the plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet customer demand.
  • Our plant treats water for Otay, Padre Dam and Lakeside water districts in addition to Helix customers, and can treat up to 106 million gallons per day to meet future demand as East County’s population grows.
  • The plant includes two mixing basins, two sedimentation basins and two filter basins so that we can continue treating water while taking facilities offline for maintenance or repair.
  • We disinfect our water with ozone (ozone is comprised of three oxygen molecules) to produce high quality drinking water.
  • We have a chemist and biologist onsite at the plant and conduct 200 water quality tests per day.

Larry Lyford, Helix’s plant manager, explains to his tour group how plant operators monitor and manage the treatment process from the control room.

Michelle Berens, Helix’s system manager, and Cindy Ziernicki, our chemist, discuss how we identify the constituents in source water and manage treatment accordingly.

Francine Thompson, who coordinates tours of the treatment plant for about 2,000 local fifth grade students annually, walks customers through a short history of East County’s water supply and water quality.

Big crowd at Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival

Big crowd at Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival

The Water Conservation Garden and Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego celebrated their Spring Garden and Butterfly Festival on Saturday April 29th with hundreds in attendance. The pleasant, gardening-inspired event included over 75 artisan, horticulture and food vendors and exhibitors.

Children were encouraged to arrive as their favorite pollinator and were welcomed with a range of engaging activities that included Monarch butterfly releases, face paintings, tours of the Butterfly Pavilion, story time with Ms. Metamorphosis, and a Pollinator Party with Ms. Smarty Plants™.

Plant enthusiasts and other adults explored the garden through free docent led tours and gardening workshops, and signed up for landscape design consultations offered in advance for only $20! In addition to the vendors and children’s activities, dozens of different native, ornamental, and low water use plant species were on sale throughout the day.

This free event, bringing both The Garden and the Cuyamaca campus to full blossom, was put on to celebrate beautiful, low water use and native plants that create habitat for butterflies and other pollinators, which are helpful to our local ecosystems.

The Water Conservation Garden is located at 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West in El Cajon and is free to the public 9am to 4pm every day (excluding holidays).

Above: The Water Conservation Garden was packed for the festival.   Below: Helix Boardmember DeAna Verbeke in the bake sale booth.  Bottom: Jennifer Bryant, Helix’s Assistant Director of Administrative Services, and Vince Dambrose, our Water Conservation Technician.

Helix Helps Lemon Grove on Earth Day

Helix Helps Lemon Grove on Earth Day

This past Saturday, April 22, 2017, Helix Water District joined the City of Lemon Grove at their Earth Day Community Clean-up Event.

Under the “Helix Helps” program, over 25 Helix employees, families and friends volunteered their Saturday morning to support one of the many communities that the district serves.

This event gathered over 100 other Earth Day volunteers to help keep Lemon Grove beautiful by removing litter and other debris that had accumulated along streets and other public areas.

“This is just another way that we can serve the communities in the district’s service area. We were glad that we could lend a helping hand,” said Carlos Lugo, General Manager of Helix Water District.

With the launch of “Helix Helps,” we look forward to continue volunteering alongside our customers. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified of future events.

PHOTOS
Top: Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez with Helix employees.  Below: Lemon Grove Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Mendoza with Helix employees.

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