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Anza Civic Improvement League plants Christmas tree, installs 2018 board of directors


Last updated 1/20/2018 at Noon

Newly installed Anza Civic Improvement League Director Charles Cadwell, right and a hard-working helper dig the hole for the live Christmas tree at the southeast end of the park at the tree planting Saturday, Jan. 6. Diane Sieker photo

The Anza Civic Improvement League met in the Little Red School House in Anza Saturday, Jan. 6, to install their new board of directors.

The incoming board was elected at the ACIL annual meeting in December. The new board consists of Debbi Vesey as president; Sean Holmquist as vice president; Philip Canaday as treasurer; Kelly Clark as secretary and Bud Elmore, Tabitha Dawes and Charles Cadwell as directors.

“We would like to thank outgoing board members Ken Ogren, Carol Ann Smith and Patricia Whittle for their countless hours of service to ACIL,” Vesey said. “We want to begin 2018 by recapping what we accomplished last year and to let you know some of our plans for this year.”

ACIL began 2017 by planting the live Christmas tree purchased the previous year, she said.

They hosted a special Valentine’s Day craft event in February as attendees made cards with supplied materials such as foam hearts, paints, glitter and more.

In March, the organization held a “Build-a-Thingamajig” craft event for children to build and paint bird houses and garden stakes. Also in March, ACIL was honored to host the Billy Holcomb Chapter of E Clampus Vitus, more commonly known at the “Clampers,” a fun-loving men’s fraternity that builds and maintains historical monuments, among other charitable endeavors. The Clampers visited a monument at the corner of state Route 371 and Contreras Road and collected a small sum of money from the members of their ranks, presenting it to Vesey.

ACIL held several horseshoe tournaments throughout the summer on the refurbished horseshoe pits and hosted weekly “Movies in the Park” during July, August and September. These events were made possible by donations from Anza Electric Cooperative and Gehl Electric.

In July, Anza Days featured many vendors, a horseshoe tournament and music by a local favorite band, the Barnyard Boyz.

Russell Kitchen of The Soil Kitchen sponsored several “Anza Summer Nights” events with music, games and food for all, with the proceeds benefiting his nonprofit organization, Kids of Anza.

In October, ACIL held a Halloween event with pumpkin painting, a costume contest and a scarecrow building competition.

A bench was purchased and installed east of the schoolhouse in honor of Bud Wellman. New grass was planted on the east side of the schoolhouse and a raywood ash tree was placed near the bench to replace an old diseased tree that was dying.

On Veterans Day the local Veterans Foreign Wars color guard performed a flag-raising ceremony, and the Thimble Club sold baked goods inside the Little Red School House. Also, ACIL hosted a free coat giveaway. Coats, sweaters, jackets, hoodies and other cold weather clothing that had been collected were given away free to local residents.

The year saw important maintenance performed to the park and schoolhouse. The septic tank was excavated and pumped, and extensive roots that had found their way into it were removed by Lanik Enterprises. The barbecues in the gazebo were cleaned and repainted thanks to Lance Trigueiro. The organization also purchased a dozen matching new chairs and some new folding tables, and new blinds were purchased and installed in the schoolhouse.

“We also sponsored a Christmas event, featuring a visit from Santa, crafts for kids and tree-decorating activities,” Vesey said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the live Christmas tree used in the 2017 holiday festivities was planted at the park. It is located near the playground at the southeast corner of the park.

The Anza Civic Improvement League is a nonprofit corporation that owns and maintains Minor Park and the Little Red School House for the benefit of the community. As a nonprofit, they rely solely on donations, fundraisers and memberships to support events and activities and provide maintenance and improvements. The Little Red Schoolhouse and Minor Park are also available to rent for meetings and events.

The live Christmas tree used by the Anza Civic Improvement League in their 2017 Christmas festivities is ready to go into the ground at its new home in the park at the tree planting Saturday, Jan. 6. Diane Sieker photo

Residents are invited to join the Anza Civic Improvement League as a member. Membership forms are available at at or can be picked up at Lorraine’s Pet Supply or Whittle Business Service in Anza. Memberships come in individual, $15, family, $25, and business, $50, categories. During January and February, all new and existing members will receive a small gift of appreciation.

“During 2018 we will continue to make improvements to the schoolhouse and park, as funding allows,” Vesey said. “We are planning to continue our ‘Movies in the Park’ series this summer, and plans are in the works for several community events.”

linkACIL’s next event, Saturday, Feb. 10, is the second annual “I Love Anza” Day at Minor Park. The Little Red School House will be open to the public, and complimentary pizza will be served to all ACIL members. More details regarding the celebration will be provided as they become available.

“If you have suggestions, would like to volunteer or have any questions, please call us at (951) 330-4411,” Vesey said. “We are looking forward to a great 2018.”


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