Enter the 2019 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Enter the 2019 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

We want to recognize your landscape – show off your water saving yard for a chance to win a $250 gift certificate to the nursery of your choice.

The 15 annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest seeks to recognize Helix Water District customers for their beautiful, colorful and water-efficient landscapes. Judging criteria for landscapes includes overall attractiveness, design, efficient use of irrigation methods, plant selection and maintenance.

Applying is easy – simply take photos of your water-wise landscaping, share a brief story about why you installed your WaterSmart landscape, and upload your story and pictures to landscapecontest.com   

The deadline to submit contest application and photos is Friday April 26, 2019.

For more information, visit the contest website:  landscapecontest.com or contact us at 619-667-6226.

Helix Helps at Lemon Grove Community Garden’s grand opening

Helix Helps at Lemon Grove Community Garden’s grand opening

This past Saturday, March 30, 2019, Helix Water District joined the Lemon Grove Community Garden for their grand opening celebration. Helix employees and their families volunteered early Saturday morning to help set-up chairs, spread mulch and prepare the site for the ribbon-cutting ceremony which began at 9:30 a.m.

The Lemon Grove Community Garden is located next to Civic Center Park at the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Olive Street and has 41 planting beds available for lease. The garden is run by the Lemon Grove Community Garden group, which leases land from the City of Lemon Grove and has partnered with the nonprofit Lemon Grove HEAL Zone and Thrive Lemon Grove.

Community gardens bring green spaces to urban areas. In addition to providing space for residents to grow organic fruits and vegetables, community gardens create neighborhood gathering spaces which can increase public safety and reduce blight. The district also hosted a community booth at the grand opening ceremony, providing drinking water and information on efficient watering to attendees.

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.

 

Helix awards mini-grant for rain barrels at local elementary school

Helix awards mini-grant for rain barrels at local elementary school

Helix Water District has awarded Lemon Avenue Elementary School a $250 mini-grant to purchase and install a rain barrel in their school garden. Helix Board of Director Kathleen Coates Hedberg presented the mini-grant check to Aimee Benson, lead teacher for the school’s garden, and her third-grade class on March 18, 2019.

Lemon Avenue Elementary is part of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District and serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Lemon Avenue Elementary students from all grade levels participate in the school’s award-winning garden program, which introduces students to healthy food choices and the importance of gardening, water conservation and sustainability. The mini-grant will be used to install a working rain barrel display, providing students first-hand experience with rainwater harvesting and alternative water supplies.

As part of its school education program, Helix awards up to three $250 mini-grants each year to schools within its service area for water-related projects or programs. Applications are sent out each fall to all schools within district boundaries.

Lemon Avenue Elementary School

Top of page: Aimee Benson, her third grade class and Helix director Kathleen Coates Hedberg. Below: The school’s garden. Bottom: One of the school’s new rain barrels.

Helix’s High School Photo Contest winners highlight water in everyday life

Helix’s High School Photo Contest winners highlight water in everyday life

Local high school students were honored for their winning photos at an awards ceremony during Helix Water District’s special board meeting on March 20, 2019.

Seventy-four students from four schools entered the annual high school photo contest, highlighting the importance and beauty of water in everyday life. The contest is open to any student living or attending school within the district’s service area. The following students took top honors:

Black & White Category:
First Place – Jeanette Chen, Monte Vista High School, Grade 12
Second Place – Brisa Rueda, Grossmont High School, Grade 10
Third Place – Neva Devine, Grossmont High School, Grade 10
Honorable Mention – Sabrina Lynn Boykin, Santana High School, Grade 10
Honorable Mention – Parker Rufener Simpson, Grossmont High School, Grade 11

Color Category:
First Place – Sunshine Astourian, Grossmont High School, Grade 10
Second Place – Joilee Luna, Grossmont High School, Grade 10
Third Place – Layla Burdett, Santana High School, Grade 10
Honorable Mention – Rylie Codiamat, Santana High School, Grade 11
Honorable Mention – Kristin Williams, Grossmont High School, Grade 11

The winning photos will be on display through mid-May at the district’s administration office located at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. They have also been posted on the district’s website at www.hwd.com and Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/helixwater/.

The Winning Images

A Rainy Day
Jeanette Chen, Monte Vista High School
1st Place / Black & White

Rain on Leaf
Sunshine Astourian, Grossmont High School
1st Place / Color

The Beauty in the Storm
Brisa Reuda, Grossmont High School
2nd Place / Black & White

Grasslands
Joilee Luna, Grossmont High School
2nd Place / Color

None
Neva Devine, Grossmont High School
3rd Place / Black & White

Leaf Splash
Layla Burdett, Santana High School
3rd Place / Color

Water Wheel
Sabrina Lynn Boykin, Santa High School
Honorable Mention / Black & White

Path of Light
Rylie Codiamat, Santana High School
Honorable Mention / Color

City of Stars
Parker Rufener Simpson, Grossmont High School
Honorable Mention / Black & White

Drops on a Bottlebrush
Kristin Williams, Grossmont High School
Honorable Mention / Color

Helix Helps plants trees at Arbor Day in El Cajon

Helix Helps plants trees at Arbor Day in El Cajon

This past Saturday, April 16, 2019, Helix Water District joined the City of El Cajon and community volunteers at Hillside Park for the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration.

Under the “Helix Helps” program, Helix employees, families and friends volunteer to support the many communities that the district serves. This past Saturday, Helix Help volunteers were trained on proper tree planting techniques before heading out to help plant 20 trees in the park surrounding Hillside Recreation Center, located at 840 Buena Terrace in El Cajon.

The district also provided information on selecting low-water trees and tree watering schedules at its informational booth, alongside San Diego Gas & Electric and West Coast Arborists who provided free tree seedlings. Visit our trees page for more information on selecting and caring for trees.

This is the 22nd year that the City of El Cajon has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Helix launches 2019 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

Helix launches 2019 Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest

Helix Water District has launched its eighth annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2019.

Contest participants can get a free day pass to explore and photograph the scenic reservoir located in Lakeside. The 2019 contest theme is Life at the Lake. Photos can capture any aspect of the lake including camping, fishing, lake vistas, wildlife and wildflowers.

The district will award monetary prizes in two divisions, adult and youth. First place winners in each division will receive $150, second place winners will receive $100 and third place winners will receive $50. Awards will be presented at a public board meeting in June.

Judging will be performed by a panel of Helix Water District staff and will be based on this year’s theme, visual appeal, technical quality and creativity.

Entries must be submitted digitally to lakejenningsphotocontest@helixwater.org by midnight on Friday, May 31. There is a limit of three photo submissions per photographer, and photos may not contain watermarks. The complete set of rules and entry and model release forms are available at http://www.lakejennings.org/photo-contest/.

Helix Helps at Lemon Grove Community Garden’s grand opening

Helix Helps at Lemon Grove Community Garden’s grand opening

This past Saturday, March 30, 2019, Helix Water District joined the Lemon Grove Community Garden for their grand opening celebration. Helix employees and their families volunteered early Saturday morning to help set-up chairs, spread mulch and prepare the site for the ribbon-cutting ceremony which began at 9:30 a.m.

The Lemon Grove Community Garden is located next to Civic Center Park at the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Olive Street and has 41 planting beds available for lease. The garden is run by the Lemon Grove Community Garden group, which leases land from the City of Lemon Grove and has partnered with the nonprofit Lemon Grove HEAL Zone and Thrive Lemon Grove.

Community gardens bring green spaces to urban areas. In addition to providing space for residents to grow organic fruits and vegetables, community gardens create neighborhood gathering spaces which can increase public safety and reduce blight. The district also hosted a community booth at the grand opening ceremony, providing drinking water and information on efficient watering to attendees.

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.

Small government – the 5 benefits of having your water provided by a Special District

Small government – the 5 benefits of having your water provided by a Special District

We know from the questions and comments we receive that some of our customers think Helix is a for-profit company and some have never considered what kind of entity Helix is.

In fact, Helix is a not-for profit special district, which is a form of local government that has the ability to levy taxes, issue bonds or collect fees in order to carry out a limited number of tasks for the benefit of the people it serves.

Special districts are local government agencies that serve a single purpose – such as water, fire protection, flood control, health care, wastewater treatment, air transportation or other public services. Helix is responsible for delivering a safe and reliable water supply to the 275,000 people within our service area.

Special districts offer several benefits to the people they serve and here are the top five.

The first is focus. Unlike cities and counties, which have competing demands to offer multiple services, special districts typically serve a single purpose which encourages expertise and efficiency. This allows us to focus on serving your water needs without administering  other services like traffic lights, street lighting or trash collection.  

The second benefit is that they allow more local control. They are governed by an elected board of directors who live in the divisions that they represent – chosen by registered voters within the district’s boundaries. This leads to the third benefit: special districts are accessible and accountable to the people they serve. Board meetings are open to the public and staff is available.

Special districts operate as not-for-profit entities, and this is the fourth benefit they offer. Water districts, specifically, cannot charge a penny more for their services than the actual cost of providing the service. We don’t have stockholders — only customers. 

Finally, special districts are subject to strict oversight. Assembly Bill 1234 requires all board members to attend ethics training, board members and staff must report any gifts or monies received to the Fair Political Practices Commission, and state law requires annual audits of special district finances.

Helix is a special district. Residents formed the district over 100 years ago to provide the communities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of Lakeside with a safe, reliable and affordable water supply. Though we have grown, faced obstacles in every decade, and even changed our name a few times, our purpose and mission remains the same.

Our daily activities, annual budget and long-range planning all reflect this single mission, and that makes us very efficient at what we do. We are proud to be a special district and every employee, every day, is focused on the communities we serve.

For more information about us visit https://hwd.com/about-us

Tomorrow is Kids Day at Lake Jennings

Tomorrow is Kids Day at Lake Jennings

Tomorrow is Kids Day at Lake Jennings! We’re stocking the kids pond with trout and each kid under 10 will have a chance to catch one — until we run out.  And, kids under 10 fish for FREE!

We have something for big kids, too — we stocked the lake with 2,000 pounds of trout. The lake will be open for fishing today, but our T-dock will be closed while we prepare for Saturday.

KIDS DAY
At Lake Jennings
Saturday, March 2, 6:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

9535 Harritt Road in Lakeside

Fishing Permits
Under 10 years old: FREE
Children 10 to 15: $4.00
Over 16 years of age: $9

Non-Fishing Entrance Fee
Over 16 years: $2

Parking included in all permit fees

http://lakejennings.org/

http://camping.lakejennings.org/

Helix Helps creates Casa de Oro community garden

Helix Helps creates Casa de Oro community garden

This past Saturday, February 23, 2019, Helix Water District joined the California Native Plant Community Garden group to create a community garden in Casa de Oro. Helix employees and their families volunteered their Saturday morning to help clear weeds and prepare the soil for a future California native garden at the entrance to the Casa de Oro neighborhood.

The garden is a partnership between the Casa de Oro Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the Casa de Oro neighborhood, and the California Native Plant Society-San Diego Chapter. The garden will help beautify the Campo Road corridor in Spring Valley, which serves as the main entrance to the Casa de Oro community.

Once complete, the garden will be serve as a neighborhood demonstration garden filled with California native plants. Incorporating natives plants into local landscapes offer multiple benefits; they are water-wise, and also provide food, water and habitat for pollinators including butterflies, honey bees and hummingbirds.

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.

 

Deadline to Enter our Poster and Scholarship Contests Approaching

Deadline to Enter our Poster and Scholarship Contests Approaching

The deadline to enter two of Helix’s annual contests are approaching:

2019 Water is Life Poster Contest

Entries are due by Friday, March 15, 2019

The Water is Life Poster Contest is open to grades K-6 — to all schools located, or students living, within Helix Water District service boundaries. Our service area includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, El Cajon and parts of Lakeside.

The goal of the annual contest is to bring Water Awareness Month to the attention of students. Posters should depict water being used wisely at home or at school or in industry, agriculture, the environment, recreation, outdoor water conservation, or in the use of native plants, and all posters should include a short water conservation message.

See the contest flyer below for more details.

Poster Contest Flyer 2019

2019 Helix Scholarships Contest

Entries are due by Thursday, February 28, 2019

Our scholarship contest is for high school seniors who will graduate in spring 2019 and attend a four-year college or university in fall 2019.  Our Lillian M. Childs Scholarship and Robert D. Friedgen Scholarship are each worth $1,000 and applications are due by February 28, 2019. See the flyer and application form below.

2019 Helix Water District Scholarships Flyer

Helix Water District 2019 Scholarship Application

High School Video Contest Offering $1,500 First Prize

High School Video Contest Offering $1,500 First Prize

Create a one to two minute video answering the question, “What’s so special about special districts?” and you could win the 2019 High School Student Video Contest sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of the California Special Districts Association (CSDA).

The objective of the contest is for high school students to create four public service announcements for CSDA that raise awareness about special districts and the services they provide in San Diego County. Do the whole project — shooting and editing — on your smartphone. Or use a drone! And take advantage of all the free tutorials and tips on video production on the web.

The best place to begin learning about California’s special districts and what they do (Helix is a special district!) is the CSDA San Diego Chapter website.  And, if you’re wondering whether you should enter, take note — the winner of last year’s San Diego County contest, Heath Dunbar of La Costa Canyon High School, went on to win the statewide contest!

PRIZES

$1,500

1st Place

$1,000

2nd Place

$500

3rd Place

$250

To each winner’s school

DEADLINE TO ENTER

Entries are due by April 1, 2018 and you must attend a high school in San Diego County to enter. Winners are announced in May.

CONTEST FLYER

2019 San Diego Chapter CSDA Video Contest Flyer

 

Photo by Min An from Pexels