Escondido Stories

Where's my robot?

Random Gibberish puts the tunes back in 'toons

There are plenty of freaks and geeks at Comic-Con, but to Matt Sernaker, who has been to every Comic-Con since he was three, the fantasy convention always comes up short in one area. “I never ...

Views of San Pasqual Valley and its agricultural preserve

This section of the Coast to Crest Trail is the wildest and most interesting

San Dieguito River Park’s (SDRP) planned Coast to Crest Trail when completed will extend some 70 miles from the coast at Del Mar to Volcan Mountain near Julian. Part of the Coast to Crest Trail ...

Golfers left, nature right

Golfers provide the surreality on the Santa Fe Valley Trail.

A hike along a river and golf course for an overview of the San Dieguito River.

Stuck in the rough

They won their election battle with Michael Schlesinger, but residents around the former Escondido Country Club golf course where the controversial Beverly Hills developer wants to build condos now have to reckon with the state’s ...

Truck you, ethics commission!

Towing company won't give up documents to satisfy investigators

The owner of a towing company seems to be hampering a City of San Diego Ethics Commission investigation into an alleged campaign-fund-laundering scheme. The alleged improprieties occurred during 2012's mayoral election. During that time, according ...

Thirty lashes with a weed whacker

Suspected serial landscaper truck bandits apprehended

Three suspects were arrested Thursday morning (June 4) in connection with a rash of vehicle burglaries targeting landscape workers, sheriff's deputies are reporting. According to detective Mark Haynesworth, deputies were dispatched to the site of ...

Del Dios Gorge Trail, a small piece of the Coast to Crest Trail

Hike to the “Rattlesnake” Viewing Platform to view Lake Hodges Dam

This trail is part of the Coast to Crest Trail of the San Dieguito River Park. The 70-mile planned Coast to Crest Trail will extend one day from Volcan Mountain near Julian to the shore ...

Can't get enough of those guns and knives

Michael James Hemphill takes a shot at appealing his case

Michael James Hemphill was found guilty of first-degree murder at the end of a jury trial in February. Using a handgun, he killed a man in Escondido two years ago. Hemphill was sentenced to 75 ...

I live with dinosaurs

Home museum in Escondido ordered to shut down

The property rights of a longtime resident have come head-to-head with City of Escondido zoning laws. School buses bringing students and scouts to a local museum will no longer be allowed to park in the ...

Gas in the morning is best

Though we still pay the most, can we hope for a price drop on July 1?

On May 6, San Diegans may have seen the past 20-day gas price run-up come to an end. Gas prices began to rise sharply, for the second time this year, on April 16. In the ...

Highlights of darkness

Heartbreak and tragedy shape the best moments of an otherwise dull Cabaret at Welk Resort Theatre

“What would you do, my brave young friend?” Elderly Fraulein Schneider sings these haunting lyrics in Kander and Ebb’s iconic musical, and these words are at the heart of Ray Limon’s current production at the ...

Some seniors seek easy access to suds

Others are trying to quash Escondido gas-station liquor-license application

The rights of a private business came head-to-head with the state agency that regulates liquor sales last Wednesday, April 22, in San Marcos. Socal Gas & Car Wash, LLC, doing business as Arco AM/PM at ...

Release the Resident Alien repeat offender

On meth for half his life, Mexican national makes felony plea deal

A repeat offender from Escondido, Juan Mozo Roldan, 29, made a felony plea deal and is expected to be released from custody on April 8, 2015. In his most recent incident last December, Roldan evaded ...

New brewer a “Local” product

Taking a look at the homebrewer hired to man the Local’s brewpub project

Time flies when you’re covering a craft brewing scene that, in the past three years, has seen 78 brewery-owned hospitality venues come online within San Diego County. Of those, 55 were the products of completely ...

Feeling the burn, San Diego?

More people likely to pay state fire-prevention fees in backcountry

The controversial California Fire Prevention Fee may soon affect more property owners in San Diego. If proposed changes to the fire-zone map are approved, some rural county residents will have to start paying the annual ...

Greatness abounds

Two excellent and celebrated pieces will be played at two major venues this weekend

The Great Symphony — it's not the title that Schubert chose, or would have chosen, but it has stuck. The nickname was intended to differentiate this C major symphony from the Little C major Symphony ...

Mi casa no es su casa

Senior citizens in Escondido beat back liquor-license application…for now

Escondido is considered a “moratorium city” by the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the agency responsible for issuing new liquor licenses. Since 2011, a five-year plug has been placed on the issuance of any ...

Startled trigger finger to blame

Michael James Hemphill pleads not guilty in killing of Brandon Sanchez

A man charged with murder for shooting an old friend at point-blank range did not intend to kill, according to opening statements made in court on February 18. Michael James Hemphill turned 60 years old ...

Cops and hops

Now read this if headed for malted barley along SR-78

“It’s not like we’re going to camp out in the parking lot of an establishment.” Lt. Eric Skaja, spokesman for the Escondido Police Department, maintains that the “Avoid the Eight on the 78” campaign isn’t ...

The case of the rotten gym rat

Suspect allegedly broke into lockers in the early morning

Deputies arrested a repeat felon who broke into lockers at a series of LA Fitness gyms around North County San Diego last spring, it was alleged in court on February 3. A woman named Meggan ...

Sigh… Remember lowering gas prices?

Better go fill up — that romance may be ending

Uh-oh! Gas prices are on the rise. Late Friday afternoon, January 30, gas prices at three Cardiff by the Sea stations — Valero, Chevron, and USA — shot up six cents a gallon more than ...

Gunman gets 100 years in prison — "overly harsh"?

Defense attorney unsuccessful at getting Jeffrey McCreary's sentence reduced

An Escondido man found guilty of shooting to death a young mother in the back of a car was sentenced to 100 years to life in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse on January 28. ...

Une delight du Escondido

North County thirst gives way to French hunger

Grand Avenue, downtown Escondido's de facto Main Street, has been (what I consider) blossoming in recent years, with the opening of a good coffee shop (Kettle Coffee & Tea) and a good brewery and taphouse ...

Between food and flood

Over 100 years of history at the Sikes family’s adobe

Hike through the colorful past in southern Escondido.

Suckling at the pump

Cheap gas day at Escondido station forces tanker truck to wait

On the morning of January 16, the Escondido Vons gas station at 469 W. Felicita Avenue, at the corner of South Centre City Parkway, posted a price of $2.09/gallon for regular — a price far ...

All that…and less

Stone debuts gluten-reduced India pale ale

Prior to my Lupus diagnosis, doctors attempted to determine the cause of my symptoms, which included severe stomach pains and other gastrointestinal distress. At one point, they speculated that I might be gluten-intolerant. My heart ...

Gas-price bloat

County's nine most expensive stations asked why they buck the trend

With gas prices falling every day in San Diego, averaging $2.63 a gallon on January 9 (according to gasbuddy.com), motorists may wonder why nine stations in the county seem to be bucking the declining-price trend. ...

"Pull over" interpreted as "speed up"

Escondido police collar alleged repeat offender

“I’ve arrested him in past,” Escondido police officer John Grohn said in court on January 8. “As soon as I saw him, I knew who it was.” Officer Grohn testified at a hearing for Juan ...

A North County hike into San Diego history

This segment of the San Dieguito River Park crosses an agricultural preserve.

The San Pasqual Valley has continuous, completed segments of the planned, 55-mile-long, Coast to Crest Trail of the San Dieguito River Park. When finally realized, the Coast to Crest Trail will extend from Volcan Mountain ...

The only small appliance fix-it shop left in the county

Marts Appliance Service set to close after 50 years of business.

Paul and Marlene Page have owned Marts Appliance Service, at 7423 East Valley Parkway, since 1964. Since 2002, they have been the only small appliance “fix-it” shop left in the county. December 31 will be ...

6,000 pounds of Nebraska Tailwalker

Lake Wohlford record opener planned for this Saturday.

With opening day for trout fishing at Lake Wolhford this Saturday, December 13, Escondido’s public works department is making sure it will be a record opener. Lake ranger George Scako reports that 6,000 pounds of ...

Life in prison? "I didn't plan this."

Destin Withers sentenced to life for murder of Mayorama Rodriguez

“There was never anything pre-meditated to murder this girl — I was driving the vehicle when this happened,” said Destin Lee Withers, 38, before he was sentenced to life in prison on November 18. The ...

Later, gangster

Thug guilty of killing a dad while young son tried pulling him away

Rene Sanchez, now 23 years old, was found guilty of shooting a man to death at a Halloween party in Escondido seven years ago; the verdict was announced late yesterday, November 19. Sanchez was 16 ...

Newt Gingrich honoree snared in Dumanis probe

Money-laundering donor to GOP district attorney pays $20,000 penalty

Of all the cities in the county of San Diego, one can boast the spottiest history for tow-truck operators. That informal honor has long gone to Escondido, and a recent action by the City of ...

No Central American teens in their backyard

"It doesn't fit with our schools, our gated communities, our upscale properties."

Mayor Sam Abed, feeling the pressure of the American Civil Liberties Union speaking in favor of an immigrant youth shelter in Escondido, accused the ACLU of discriminating against his city's residents. "They are here to ...

Abundant evidence of the Kumeyaay

Hike Kumeyaay Trail through oak woodlands and chaparral strewn with boulders and beautiful views of Lake Wohlford.

Hold on to that Fallbrook Hospital toe tag

Struggling facility to rely on Tri-City and Palomar Health for ER

With the Fallbrook Hospital facing a loss of $6 million that is growing at a clip of $500,000 a month, the directors of Fallbrook Healthcare District voted on Wednesday, October 8, to pull the plug ...

Who did it then, Frank?

Escondido man denies hammer and knife attack on wife last month

Frank Brauns, 43, denies hammering and stabbing his wife after an argument two weeks ago in Escondido. On October 7, he was listening to testimony against him at a preliminary hearing in San Diego Superior ...

It's still Verdi

The scale doesn't matter in Rigoletto.

Pacific Lyric Association Opera’s performance of Rigoletto on Saturday night was well worth seeing. Why? For one thing, this is an excellent example of how good opera can be when it is scaled down and ...

Not the best of times yet

Last year, San Diego's poverty rate rose to 15.8 %; El Cajon, 19.7%

Poverty statistics are going the opposite way in the city of San Diego and the United States. Today (September 18) San Diego's Center on Policy Initiatives reported that the San Diego poverty rate rose to ...

Drought on display

Bernardo Mountain, for views and illustrations of drought

Bernardo Mountain, with an elevation of 1150 feet, rises steeply from the north shore of Lake Hodges, southwest of Escondido. It offers a relatively short, vigorous hike to the peak for dramatic views of this ...

California Center for the Arts becomes a veritable Disneyland

A talk with documentarian Ted Thomas and Disneyana collector David Yaruss

Ted Thomas describes his latest work, the 30-minute documentary Growing Up with 9 Old Men, as “a road trip to catch up with my cohorts, the other children of the 9 Old Men.” The nonet ...

Happy 9 Old Men doc won’t leave you sleepy

To those familiar with the term, “9 Old Men” hearkens back to the Golden Age of studio animation. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Rescuers, this elite corps of Disney animations — ...

Session beer from Esco's OTHER brewery

Offbeat Brewing Company’s session IPA a nice diversion from core beers

The word Caticorn is thrown about quite a bit at my workplace. It’s a noun meaning “liquid stress reliever,” referring to the India pale ale served at nearby Offbeat Brewing Company, a favorite post-work hang ...

The most unique Stone IPA ever?

Stone’s 18th anniversary beer unlike any that have preceded it

Some things in life are given — death, taxes, and Stone Brewing Co. putting out an India pale ale (IPA) to celebrate its anniversary. To date, 11 of Stone’s 18 anniversary brews have been IPAs. ...

The birds around our home are losing their minds

Lessons of birds and seeds.

Post Title: A Box of Beaks Post Date: July 8, 2014 The birds around our home are losing their minds. I understand that the birds and the bees go bananas in the springtime, but this ...

Beer Touring: Plan 9 Alehouse

Downtown Escondido yields a beer of the week and Sriracha duck wings

At my Escondido-based day job, it’s not irregular to go looking for members of management only to learn they’ve headed out for an off-site powwow. Such meetings of the minds often involve craft beer — ...

A look down on Escondido from Dixon Lake

Dixon Loop Trail offers great views of the lake and city below.

Dixon Lake is a multipurpose recreation area adjacent to the Daley Ranch Open Space Preserve. Both are managed by the City of Escondido, but separately. Dixon Lake provides drinking water for Escondido, so swimming isn’t ...

Esco dijo "no" to kids' immigrant facility

Tuesday-night meeting had overflow crowd composed mainly of Latinos

On June 22, it took a panel of Escondido planning commissioners less than two minutes to decide against the Southwest Key project that would have turned a vacant nursing home into a federally funded residential ...

Hot dogs and holiness

Ed learns about the spirit of giving and makes an offering of a half-dog.

"Misery loves company, but holiness loves company more!” I can hear him across Petco Park’s parking lot. He’s standing, speechifying, holding forth. Something about “I was high on crystal meth. I got beat up by ...

One triggerman, two murderers

McCreary and Withers each claimed the other shot the woman

After a trial that lasted one month, a jury declared both Jeffrey McCreary and Destin Lee Withers guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Mayorama Denise Rodriguez, 20, more than two years ago. ...

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