This is the Alpine Al column for this week. . .
Old Al has had a lot to chew on these past several weeks. Kinda getting choked up wondering what ever happened to courtesy, common sense and maturity.
The Alpine School District is out of control on both sides. Teachers are putting signs on their cars about how much they care about student education. Then they go picket in the Lakeside District which has no dog in the fight and disrupt Lakeside students trying to get to school where their teachers are happy and ready to teach. We hear complaints about teachers losing homes due to the pay cut. Gee, if you only work 190 days a year, you might consider a summer job. Have you ever wondered why so much Alpine enrollments have dropped? Ponder that for a while. They sure seem happy over in Lakeside.
The school district has to share a great deal of the blame for this situation also. When a district spends money they don’t have because they think they will either get it later from the state or they will convince long suffering residents that they need to pass another bond, it makes you wonder just what caliber of administrators and elected officials we have. Al thinks maybe he will go out and by a Ferrari today. Maybe I will win the lottery next week.
Between union officials flashing the finger at a photographer and both the Alpine Teachers Association and the School administration requiring a news blackout on actual negotiations, Alpine residents are left with conflicting stories from both sides with no actual reason to believe either parties.
Teachers and District need to grow up, sit down and either get something worked out or simply quit. There are hundreds of qualified teachers that would love to teach here where they don’t have to wear a bullet proof vest to work and likewise, there are many qualified administrators and citizens who would be glad to step up and return our district to a system we can be proud of again.
What do you think???

Historically, Alpine Union School District has been a stellar district and a great choice for parents when looking for excellent education for their children. Our teachers here on a whole, have always put 110% in to their positions for the benefit of our Alpine students. I personally know many students who have gone from this district, graduated with honors at the high school level, and continued on to Universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and Notre Dame.
These children who have worked their way through our District and received a wonderful foundation for their education was in part due to teachers whose occupation was their calling in life.
However, I have to say that my whole vision of the caliber of person who now resides in the position of teacher and administrator at the Alpine School District has changed. I am angered and disgusted by what I see. I understand first hand, the feeling of despair and outrage when wages are cut, and benefits are erased. I understand first hand what it is to have your income slashed in half, and what it is to put everything you have out just to cover the bills, almost lose your home, and face the despair of losing everything you worked your entire life for. The economy has dropped to a level of near depression for everyone in this country as well as this little town. That, on top of the recent blows to our town, in the form of construction that obliterated businesses, and all but put franchise in the town on hold. There may be some still untouched by the poor financial atmosphere that looms everywhere, but honestly, I can’t name anyone who has not experienced a lowered lifestyle.
It makes me sad to see that the people of AUSD have disassociated themselves with Alpine for so long that they fail to see the people waiting in food lines at the local churches as they walk into their negotiating meetings. It makes me sad that Alpine teachers feel that their $72,000 a year positions that are earned for 9 months of work is tantamount to an underpaid position. It makes me sad to think that they feel that $8,000 a year towards benefits, is a measly sum.
Make no mistake, I understand that the $72,000 does not apply to everyone in the district, but I do know when someone complains of sustaining cuts to their salaries that equal more than what some of my own co-workers make, and not much less than what I myself make as a yearly income, it puts everything into a different perspective. There are people who are struggling with the task of getting health insurance just so they won’t have to face fines. They can’t afford the health insurance that is being forced on them because of Obamacare, and it will put a huge burden on their finances and when I say huge burden, I am not talking about a skipped vacation, I am talking about whether or not they can purchase food or make rent for that month with the added liability. There are people who are struggling just to exist here in Alpine, who have college degrees, master’s degrees and doctorates. I know some of these people personally.
Please do not insult the people of Alpine. Please do not cry about suffering in your positions while others would give anything just to have a position. Your district that you work in, is facing collapse and you, by picketing at the corner are encouraging parents to pull more of their children away from the district and by threatening to cut off communications to parents after your ‘contractual time’, you are showing a bitterness that is felt like one more slap in the face to this community.
In this community, the people who live here often pull together to make things better. This has been illustrated in the community actions regarding Kylie Rowand, and Vinnie Higgins. But, this community has been stretched far beyond comfort with the promise of a high school, by a district that has been going back on their word for over thirty years. This community passed bonds for GUHSD, with the promise that GUHSD would build a long awaited, and necessary high school, on lands that they used eminent domain to push people off their homelands that they had been occupying for over three generations. This community has felt a sharp pain as the blades of lies and broken promises have prodded the very trust that they have had in a school district, and while Alpine Union School District is not Grossmont Union High School District, they too have been teetering back and forth on the high school issue for years.
In the last bond initiative, if teachers had done their homework like they expect their students to do, they would have found a community that is bitterly opposed to passing any more bonds when a high school is promised but never to be delivered on. This includes a bond that was planned to bail out AUSD after poor financial decisions were made especially with the words ‘high school’ tagged onto the back of that bond language. These decisions include taking out loans because the interest rates were too good to pass up, even though the district had no foreseeable way to pay the loans back especially in a declining enrollment atmosphere that the district had been long aware of. This, on a much smaller scale is the same as somebody buying a new car they can’t afford and asking their parents who are retired and are barely eking out a living to make the payments that they also cannot afford.
With the education and brainpower that is employed by this district it is very difficult to believe that answers cannot be found before a strike occurs and the district falls only to be caught by the County who will not take anything into consideration except collecting the money that is owed. It used to be that education was the main concern of the AUSD, but now, the dollar has replaced the goals of this district.
Both sides need to put their personal preferences aside, forget the idea that a bond will save them, and come up with a budget that they can and will work with. In any healing situation, pain is often felt, hence the term, no pain, no gain. If everyone works together, our district can be a strong force in education that is generating enough funds for all to have a happy and prosperous lifestyle. But if everyone (including administration and teachers alike) keeps taking bigger and bigger pieces of a pie that has shrunk in size, there will not be enough for anyone.

Here at The Alpine Sun, we have found several dogs who have lost their humans, but we have been very successful uniting pets and owners. One of the first things that we do, is visit Dr. Hackett’s office to see if these pets are chipped. This is a really great idea as it allows us to find you right away if you have become separated from your four legged friends.

Have you ever gone ice skating before? Viejas now has their outdoor ice skating rink open and it is available to all who wish to whirl around and celebrate the icy weather. Ice skating is different from roller skating in that one, it’s cold, two, the skates are blades instead of wheels, and directionally, the skating I think takes a little more practice. But it’s beautiful all the same. Take an afternoon and try it out!

The holiday season is coming up, and it’s a wonderful to share. Please share with The Alpine Sun your favorite recipes so that other’s can enjoy some of what makes you happy this holiday season. Cakes, cookies, pies, misc. desserts, main entrees, side dishes, what ever you would like to share please send them to

I love Halloween. I love the costumes, the food, the candy, and when the parties are done well, I think they are just the best. The thing I don’t love about Halloween is how gross, and overdone some of the interpretations have become, but to each his own. I hope all have a wonderful and safe holiday, and if you are going to carnivals, or dances, or parties, enjoy!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, because it’s great cooking weather. Last night I made a huge pot of Albondigus soup, and for those of you who may not know what that is. . .It is a tasty Mexican Vegetable Meatball soup with the best flavor, especially when you serve it with fresh quesadillas. Take a few minutes and pick your favorite recipe and on a cold night let it simmer on the stove. It’s the best feeling to have a cup of hot soup with fresh bread on a cold Autumn evening. Enjoy!

During this heat wave, remember to keep drinking fluids. Dehydration is a real concern, as we don’t realize the fluids we are loosing, even when we are indoors. Air conditioning, while it keeps us cool, one of it’s main functions is to remove the humidity in the air, and because of this, people who are in constant air conditioned rooms also need to remember to drink plenty of fluids. Signs of dehydration include: fatigue, headache, nausea, lethargy, lack of interest in food or drinks, bloating, dizziness, muscle cramping. Avoid this nasty side effect of the hot weather and make sure to drink enough fluids.

This weekend we are expecting severe storms in the form of thunder and lightning, crackling and sparking in the night skies. How exciting! But this is also a time to consider your pets. While I personally like to watch a lightning storm, my dog does not. It scares the living daylights out of him. He runs and tries to stuff his one-hundred pound body under my bed. It’s an exercise in futility. So in deference to my dog Flumpy, I have to remember to keep a closet door open for him to hide in, otherwise he may just run of the house into the storm and meet another county employee to save him, like last year. Poor Flumpy.

I’m saying this in the middle of August, and I think I will try to remember every month to give my felicitations for the anniversary of everyone’s birth. Yesterday was my birthday, and what a wonderful day, I had so many well wishers, and Happy Birthdays, that I realized that the simple act of remembering someone, spreads so much joy. So if you were one of those, who remembered my birthday, Thanks! And if you have a birthday that has happened recently, or will be happening soon. . . . Happy Birthday!