Feature Stories

Top 13 Reader articles of 2013

A year of news and stories in order of popularity

1 ) Roman Abramovich yacht on San Diego’s Embarcadero — Two helicopter pads, pool, spa, hot tub... 2 ) San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers on indefinite hiatus following political endorsement — All-Pro quarterback's statement on ...

Holiday in South Africa, part 3

Black townships, like Soweto, represent the place where everything went wrong.

“The man was an informer.” Riggs and I are sharing daytime fun, a black guy and a white guy driving around black townships, at risk both from South African security forces and enraged blacks who, ...

Holiday in South Africa, part 2

Next morning I begin making the rounds, schedule interviews with a well-known activist who’s teaching at University of Witwatersrand (he has since been detained), with Brendon Berry, president of the National University Student Association, recently ...

Holiday in South Africa: Johannesburg in 1986, revisited

May 8, 1986. I am the only passenger on the 30-minute shuttle from Jans Smuts International Airport to Johannesburg’s city center. Joburg’s population is three million plus and its downtown bears an uncanny resemblance to ...

Geyser murders, part 4

The first person executed by the state of California — José Gabriel — might have been an innocent man.

Geyser murders, part 3

There was enough evidence to hang Indian Jose Gabriel for the killings of the Geyser family on Otay Mesa in 1892…at least by mob standards.

Geyser murders, part 2

The quivering mound of crimson-streaked grime would be the prisoner.

Attempted reconstruction of the scene of a double murder on Otay Mesa in the 1890s. They blamed the Indian, José Rafael.

Geyser murders, part 1

Double murder up on Otay Mesa, 1892. An old Indian laborer is blamed.

Sunday, October 16, 1892Thomas Smallcomb got the news around 11:00 p.m. Trouble up at the Geyser’s. A double murder. The deputy constable flicked the reins and steered his two-horse buckboard east on Otay Valley Road. ...

Bullfight fight

No blood, no big deal. Right?

California Academy of Tauromaquia, a San Diego bullfight-training school owned by Coleman Cooney, is under fire by animal-rights groups. But there is no slaughter or blood spilled (in California). That won’t slow down the signature gathering for a petition to shut the school down.

Thinking Flashes in the Sky (Part 4)

When normally responsible persons report UFOs.

After an announcement by Roswell Army Air Field commander Col. William Blanchard that a “flying saucer” had been “captured,” there was immediate rebuke by his superiors. The press followed in discrediting the existence of UFOs. Quickly, reports of UFOs dropped off; those that were reported were ridiculed.

Thinking Flashes in the Sky (Part 3)

UFO vapor trails in San Marcos

A look back on the Fourth of July weekend of 1947, when reports of UFOs went viral!

Thinking Flashes in the Sky (Part 2)

On 1947’s Fourth of July weekend, 500 people per day reported seeing UFOs…and we’re talking all over the country, not just flaky-nutty Southern California.

Arrest warrant issued for Kristin Rossum’s Australian lover

Alleged co-conspirator Michael Robertson in the spotlight.

Arrest warrant issued (quietly) for Michael Robertson, the former boss/lover of Kristin Rossum, the former San Diego toxicologist convicted of poisoning her husband in 2000.

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