Briefly Speaking: News and notes from Escondido and Valley Center (Video)

Costco. Holidays. Stuff.

Sponsored by Oakwood Escrow.

Preparing for the winter worst

Back by popular demand and the demand of an El Nino season, a disaster readiness/winter weather workshop comes Escondido way from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. Get over to Police-Fire Headquarters community room at 1163 N. Centre City Parkway for the free, but limited seating, event.

“The workshop will provide valuable information related to water issues and emergency preparedness,” Escondido Fire emergency management coordinator Jeff Murdock said. “Greg Thomas of the Rincon del Diablo Water District will give an update on the drought. Alex Tardy from the National Weather Service will provide an update regarding El Nino and winter storms. Alicia Appel from the City of Escondido Utilities Department will speak about erosion protection, proper clearing of drainage structures and storm preparation.”

Oh, by the way, Murdock will discuss emergency preparedness, evacuations and information resources,” he said, noting that a similar workshop held in October “was so popular, this second meeting was scheduled.”

To reserve your seat, please call 760-745-5522. The workshop is co-sponsored by the City of Escondido’ Fire Department and Utilities Department, Rincon del Diablo Water District, and the National Weather Service.

Donations of food and toys for military families

Donations for military families continues.

Donations for military families continues.

The Escondido American Legion J.B. Clark’s Post 149 already has had an active holiday season and wants to do even more. The post will collect food toys and pajamas for military families though Dec. 11. The post is located at 230 E. Park Avenue.

Members have been collecting toys and food since before Thanksgiving. A recent drive brought in almost 540 pounds of food along with toys and pajamas headed to local military families. Much of the loot was given to Military Outreach Ministry (MOM) at Camp Pendleton.

For more information, call (760) 745-1159 or visit

Poinsettia and plant sale, Valley Center-style

Dos Valles does poinsettias.

Dos Valles does poinsettias.

It’s that time of the year, poinsettia time, as popularized by Ecke Ranch, Encinitas and “The Johnny Carson Show” oh so many years ago.

Select your holiday poinsettias and other plants and trade holiday ornaments at the Dos Valles Garden Club Plant Sale 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Martin Gang Ranch, 28933 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center.

Pre-ordered poinsettias will be held for their buyers. Walk-in customers can select from among seven varieties — Red, White, Burgundy, Monet, Shimmer Surprise, Ice Punch and Winter Rose — in 4-or-6-inch pots for $6 or $9 each. The Valley Center-grown plants come foil-wrapped and sleeved for gift giving

Planted bowls, evergreen and succulent wreaths, and outdoor and patio plants also will be offered at the sale. Additionally, customers are encouraged to bring no-longer-wanted holiday ornaments to swap. Proceeds from the DVGC sales are used to support community activities and scholarships for local students.

Speaking of Valley Center, holiday book sale time

The Friends of the Valley Center Library will hold their semi-annual Holiday Book Sale on rom 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m Saturday, Dec. 5. in the seminar room of the Valley Center Library.

Most books will be 50 cents to a dollar. Most of the books in the bookstore will be on sale as well. You may also renew your membership or join the Friends for the first time. Come, browse and shop for wonderful holiday gifts for everyone.

Valley Center Library is at 29200 Cole Grade Road. Call (760) 749-1305 or visit http://vcfol.orgl for more information.

Want to let off some steam?

Civilian men, women and teens are learning how to fight off intruders like a Navy SEAL at a training facility in Escondido.

This is not your average shooting range. It’s Escondido’s old police department, and it has been taken over by the Warfighter Academy.

The instructors, all retired Marines and Navy SEALs, are training men, women and children as young as 13 real-world gunfighting often associated with the military or law enforcement

The skills taught don’t only involve guns. Students learn to think strategically versus emotionally, using anything they have — even a flashlight.

The cost is similar to a monthly gym membership, which can be tailored to your needs.

For more information, visit, email or call (619) 768-3753.

Walking to Bethlehem

The First United Methodist Church of Escondido is putting on its 28th annual Bethlehem Walk on Dec. 11-to-13, recreating the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The event recreates the nativity story, giving a guided tour through a staged re-enactment of the streets of Bethlehem developed by members of various local congregations. Visitors meet re-enactors portraying artisans, merchants, prophets and Roman soldiers.

Guided tours are at the church, 341 S. Kalmia St. starting every five minutes during designated times: 5:30 to 8:55 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m. o 8:25 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 and 4 p.m. to 7:55 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13.

Reservations are recommended and give priority entrance. Preferred tour times can be requested by emailing

The event is free; visitors are encouraged to bring donations of nonperishable food items for Interfaith Community Services. Visit for more information.