Stories for February 2001

Thursday, February 22

Suspicion

A diet doctor is gunned down in an alley outside his storefront clinic, and it looks like the kind of murder case San Diego homicide cops loathe: the professional hit, with a lengthy list of ...

Should 7-Eleven change their freezer settings to save energy?

Hey, Matt: Good news! I may have solved the energy crisis in California. The temperature inside the freezer at a local 7-Eleven was minus 23 degrees Fahrenheit according to the thermometer mounted on the side ...

Why does "Mayday, Mayday!" mean "help?

Mayday! Mayday! Why the heck does this mean "help"? -- At Sea, at sea It's the English spelling of the pronunciation of the French "M'aider!" "Help me!" Of course, if you've just been mugged in ...

Why do we celebrate St. Valentine's Day?

Hey, Matt: Why do we celebrate St. Valentine's Day? In Mexico it is the Day of Friendship and Love. What did St. Valentine do? When did he live? -- Matias V. Garcia, the net I'm ...

Green Trap

Following the deregulation of the power utilities in California, a host of alternative providers began an advertising blitz; some promised environmentally conscious power generation, some offered lower rates, some both. Now, none of the companies ...

If You Don't Run You Don't Get Hit

Have you ever seen the men standing outside Home Depot looking for work? The Spanish-speaking men in baseball hats who are brave enough, or desperate enough, to get into any car that pulls up? Men ...

Religious experience

Toilet-to-tap, that less-than-appetizing plan to convert raw sewage into drinking water, was banished from the San Diego City Council's agenda after a storm of public controversy erupted more than two years ago. But this week ...

Get up-close and personal with boulder stacks in the southernmost reaches of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Drive an hour east on Interstate 8 from San Diego toward El Centro and you won't fail to be impressed by the enormous stacks of rounded boulders thrusting skyward over the high-desert landscape. How did ...

Thursday, February 15

Generations

My mother parked the truck on my foot three hours after my father told me that he loved me. It was March 1965, I was 20 years old, and that was the first time my ...

Is there a radio station that broadcasts commercial-free music for when you are on hold?

Matt: Today, knowing I would have to wait a while, I called two companies at the same time using two phones, one in each ear. When the hold music came on both phones, it was ...

Where did the term "pink slip" come from?

Question... My boss was not happy with my performance and went ahead and canned me. Apparently he didn't appreciate me rolling in late each day, but hey, sleep is important to me. The official notification ...

What is the deal with the imaginary friends that kids come up with?

Dear Matthew Alice: When my four-year-old gets in trouble for doing something he shouldn't, he usually responds, "Wasn't me. Ziggy did it." We don't know anyone called Ziggy. He's been talking about this Ziggy since ...

Big Ears for Freedom

In the hot frequencies, the 800 megahertz band, one can hear all kinds of terrible things. Good people and bad people alike victimized by neighbors, lovers, drunk drivers, dogs, drugs, alcohol. On a Monday night ...

The horse's mouth

With polls showing sagging public support for a taxpayer-funded downtown baseball stadium, the last thing ballpark backers would seem to need now is one of their own calling for higher taxes. Ever since 1998, when ...

Visit Palo Comado Canyon, China Flat, and Simi Peak in a circle tour of new parkland in the Simi Hills of Ventura County.

Leapfrog suburban growth has surrounded the once-remote Simi Hills of western Ventura County, but not before the National Park Service and local agencies succeeded in setting aside more than 5000 acres of contiguous public open ...

Thursday, February 8

Leave Me Alone: San Diego's Goths

She was tall, blond, and, like almost everyone there that night, dressed in jet black. What she shouted at &mdash to be heard over the music &mdash hurt, but only for a second, like a ...

Dopey

An alleged drug dealer from San Diego is acting as his own lawyer in a Providence, Rhode Island, federal court, where he's charged with moving thousands of pounds of marijuana from California to Rhode Island, ...

Which snake is the most poisonous?

Dear Matthew and Alice: After many hours of Animal Kingdom, Wild Planet, and all those other nature programs, I still have one unanswered question concerning poisonous snakes. According to certain televised sources, the black mamba ...

Why is hot water needed for a woman having a baby at home?

Matt: Whenever there's a movie about a woman having a baby at home, the person delivering the kid will say, "I need lots of hot water." For what? I never see them washing anything, and ...

Cures on the Fly

Once known as San Diego's "county hospital," UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest is now a teaching hospital for one of the nation's most prestigious medical schools. As the old county hospital, it was known as ...

At-Risk Ranch

In January of 1999, Alpine land developer Tom Dyke donated 627 acres on two parcels in East County's Campo area to St. Vincent de Paul. The charitable organization immediately announced plans to build a long-term ...

She said, he said

It's making news in Washington, New York, and on the Internet, but don't expect to see it in the Union-Tribune. It's the story of star U-T conservative political cartoonist Steve Kelley and his nasty court ...

Climb from Discovery Lake in San Marcos to the summit of Double Peak.

South of the spreading suburbs of San Marcos, a scruffy ridgeline scrapes the southern sky. Topographic maps note the obscure names of its various high points: Cerro de las Posas, Double Peak, Franks Peak, and ...

Saturday, February 3

Head for the rambling byways of Rancho Santa Fe.

If outdoor exercise is part of your New Year's resolution, perhaps it's time to pull your ten-speed or mountain bike out of cold storage in the garage and head for the rambling byways of Rancho ...

Thursday, February 1

Haves and Have-Nots

She stood amid the streaming rows of traffic at a congested intersection. Ripples of heat distorted my vision as I craned my neck out the window of my car. Bonnie held out her ragged cardboard ...

No Place for a Beer Party

A proposal to impose a 24-hour alcohol ban on San Diego beaches hit a temporary snag on January 24 when the city's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee postponed action until early April. Although the ...

Fins of Fury

City of Escondido park ranger John Flohr hops up from behind his desk when I enter the rangers' office -- really a temporary trailer -- next to the snack bar in the picnic area on ...

Political focus

The taxpayer-funded San Diego Association of Governments is spending $60,000 on a consultant who will arrange focus groups and conduct a poll regarding extension of the so-called "Transnet" sales tax. The half-percent sales-tax addition, earmarked ...

Climb Sitton Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains for views of the ocean and of toylike cars.

From below, 3273-foot Sitton Peak looks unimposing -- a bump atop the rambling Santa Ana Mountains, just north of the San Diego County line. On the summit, though, the feeling is decidedly "top of the ...

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