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La Mesa News Briefs – May 25, 2018

Blood donations needed

The American Red Cross is asking volunteers to donate blood for the upcoming summer. Around Memorial Day, the Red Cross often sees a steep decline in blood donations due to busy summer schedules, vacations and school breaks.

The public is asked to schedule an appointment to help ensure that hospitals and patients have the blood they need this summer. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Volunteers who come to donate blood or platelets now through June 10, will receive a $5 gift card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. (Restrictions apply; see More information and details are available at

Additionally, those who come to give on May 25–29 will receive an exclusive Red Cross-branded T-shirt, while supplies last.

There are two local places to donate in El Cajon: May 29, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Parkway Plaza, 415 Parkway Plaza; and June 13, 1–7 p.m. at El Cajon Heartland Masonic, 695 Ballantyne St.

Oasis receives grant for outstanding program

On April 23, NBC7 and KNSD, Telemundo 20 and the NBCUniversal Foundation announced that San Diego Oasis had been awarded an $18,000 grant as part of the first annual NBC Project Innovation challenge.

San Diego Oasis was selected, along with seven other local nonprofit organizations, for its outstanding program that leverages technology to solve everyday problems in the areas of civic engagement, skills for the digital economy, and STEM/STEAM youth programing.

San Diego Oasis received the grant for their annual “Get Connected: Technology Fair for 50+” that brings cutting edge technology learning to older adults with hands-on training, demonstrations, and an “ask the expert” area for one-on-one help with personal technology items. The fair is offered annually in November of each year and will be held on Nov. 12 of this year, in connection with Veteran’s Day at Grossmont Center Mall in La Mesa.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our tireless efforts to bring patient, age-friendly learning to older adults as part of our service to keep this population engaged, active and connected to the world,” said Simona Valanciute, President and CEO of San Diego Oasis in a press release. “Real-life solutions are important to bring to the older adult population to strengthen their communication skills so they can continue to learn and feel confident in their use of the newest, most convenient technology available to them. San Diego Oasis is grateful to NBC Universal Foundation, NBC7/Telemundo 20 for their recognition of an organization that serves the older adult population of San Diego.”

For more information about San Diego Oasis, call 619-881-6262 or visit

Sycuan ‘tops off’ hotel expansion

On May 22, Sycuan Casino hosted a “Topping Off Celebration” and placed the final beam on its new hotel tower.

During the celebration, chairman Cody Martinez and general manager John Dinius acknowledged the hard work of the team and gave the latest project milestones before raising the final beam into place. The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Tribal Council, Sycuan Casino executive team and Swinerton project management team were all in attendance for the event.

“Without the support of our people, we would have never been able to get this project off the ground,” Martinez said. “I want to thank the members of our Tribal Council, the casino executive team, Swinerton and everyone that is here bringing together the vision that is going to take Sycuan to the next level.”

Last March, Sycuan began construction on its $226 million hotel and resort expansion. The project includes a 12-story, 300-room hotel, meetings and event spaces, pool and gardens area, a lazy river and seven new restaurants

Additionally, the expansion project has created over 700 new casino and resort jobs. The organization is currently hiring for departmental leadership positions and will host a series of job fairs mid to late 2018.

“Seeing this project go from two-dimensional paper drawings to what we have now, is truly inspiring,” Dinius said. “It’s been a monumental task, but with the collaboration of every aspect of our organization, it’s a very rewarding process.”

The new hotel and resort is on schedule to open in March 2019.

Source: La Mesa Currier

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