Valley Center Stories

Rincon Band launches SR76 Beerworks at its casino

The house beer always wins

The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians has added a brewery component to its gambling interests. The sovereign tribe owns the Harrah's casino on its reservation near Valley Center, and on November 5th it opened a ...

Pauma Valley farmers rule

Votes still being counted, but water district board is changed already

Of San Diego's 153 county, city, school, and special district races on the November 8 ballot, Pauma Valley’s Yuima Municipal Water’s 2nd district seat had one of the highest voter turnouts in the county — ...

$1 million check cut in big-money sprawl war

Lilac Hills backers vow to crush enviros; Cushman kicks in $5000 against Chargers

Urban sprawl means big money these days in San Diego's North County, the once bucolic setting of pastoral ranches and organic food farms now set for uber-urbanization if voters approve proposition B on November's countywide ...

Is the farm-to-table movement over?

Unimpressive results with San Diego Grown 365 label

Of all the labels people look for when it comes to food, locally grown is number one, surveys find. But more than a decade after the county launched the San Diego Grown 365 label, few ...

Three-guitar Heart attack

The Wilson sisters cash in at Harrah's with a brief but rocking set

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2013 inductees Heart performed about a dozen of their own songs over an hour-long show, including hits such as "Kick It Out," "Heartless," "Straight on," "These Dreams," "Crazy on ...

Another mental competency hearing for David Lucero

Did he kill his mom? Is he crazy?

A young man arrested on suspicion of killing his mother more than five years ago and who has not yet heard any evidence presented against him is due in court on November 30. David Leroy ...

Mr. or Dr. Young?

Valley Center health practitioner administered IV bags of baking soda

“The defendant has gotten away with his phony persona for years,” a prosecutor told the jury yesterday, November 18, in her opening statements in the trial of Robert Oldham Young, who is accused of taking ...

Bill Horn and the life east of the 15

County supervisor advised to recuse himself from development vote

An environmental nonprofit has put San Diego County supervisor Bill Horn and his colleagues on the board on notice: follow the advice of the Fair Political Practices Commission and don't permit Horn's vote to weigh ...

Woody Guthrie called it music about folks

...and Valley Center's Joel Rafael agrees, finally plays a hometown show

In 1972, folkie Joel Rafael planted roots in Valley Center, where he built a home studio, Lilac Sound. In 2000, he signed to Jackson Browne’s Inside Recordings label, which in April of this year released ...

One San Diego bad boy sentenced, one released

Bobby Vassallo gets a year, B.J. Gallison freed on $1.8 million bond

Alfred Louis "Bobby" Vassallo, perpetrator of telecom scams, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison in federal court in the Central District of California on August 24. The onetime La Jollan had ...

Farm to table? How about farm to barrel?

So gosh darn cornpone beautiful

The scene at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard’s mid-June grand-opening party in Valley Center was something straight out of a Geico ad-exec’s wildest dreams. Cute-couple band the Dawsons played on a stage hosted by Grampadrew’s Flim ...

No guns — anger management for you

Valley Center man avoided jail time in bomb-threat case

A 76-year-old Valley Center man pleaded guilty to making a false bomb report and was sentenced earlier this month, on June 2. Frits Versteegh received probation, according to prosecutor Cal Logan, who said it was ...

Is there a naturopathic practitioner in the house?

And is Dr. Robert Oldham Young a doctor or not?

An attorney for the Valley Center man who is accused of practicing medicine without a license and defrauding cancer sufferers of thousands of dollars for fake cures asked a judge to suppress certain evidence at ...

Sneak peek for the Week

So Cal creators share their spring/summer designs in advance of fall venue change

Fashion Week San Diego hosted its spring showcase at Harrah’s Casino on Saturday, March 14. Attendees were given a sneak peek of styles from 25 different designers whose designs will walk the runway next fall ...

Valley Center man pleads not guilty to making false bomb report

Frits Versteegh made first court appearance

An elderly Valley Center man accused of threatening to bomb SDG&E trucks was briefly in court this morning, December 12. Frits Versteegh, 75, pleaded not guilty to making a false bomb report, charged as a ...

Disgruntled and cooperative

Elderly Valley Center man allegedly threatened to bomb SDG&E

Deputies say they arrested 75-year-old Frits Versteegh late on December 4, after he reportedly sent a bomb threat by email to a news station’s website. In a press release, a San Diego County sheriff’s spokesman ...

Appeal to "illegal tax" every year

Hope lives to overturn Cal Fire's semi-rural "Fire Prevention Fee"

This month, property owners in the county’s semi-rural areas are receiving their annual $150 bill for the state’s “Fire Prevention Fee.” Since the per-parcel fee was enacted in 2011, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association has ...

No medical miracle in Valley Center

Robert Young, not a physician, accused of fake cancer cures

On November 5, Robert Oldham Young of Valley Center was ordered to face six felony charges, including practicing medicine without a license and grand theft by fraud at the end of a three-week preliminary hearing. ...

Abundant evidence of the Kumeyaay

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

Justice for mom found dead in bed

Conservatorship required for young man accused of matricide

After a court hearing on September 19, it was concluded that 29-year-old David Leroy Lucero, arrested on suspicion of killing his mother more than four years ago, should be confined to a psychiatric hospital. “The ...

Pumpkin patch blooms at Bates

Free family fun in Valley Center

There are many bright blooms and small, pale pumpkins underneath the broad leaves of the pumpkin plants on the 100-acre Bates Nut Farm in August. On a recent weekend, a man who identified himself as ...

Harrah’s flush with craft beer

Velvety local imperial stout unearthed at Valley Center resort’s new bar

Anybody entering a casino is taking their chances to some extent. This luck-pressing should not extend to patrons looking for a quality beverage. Such is the thinking behind Corked, a new bar at the recently ...

Valley Center Brewery finds home at home

Homegrown craft beer springing up in North County Inland burg

Last September, I introduced readers to Valley Center’s first brewery, Valley Center Brewery. At the time, the family-run operation was in the midst of its very humble beginnings, but they’ve been busy in their northerly ...

Inlaws and outlaws

Shots fired on the San Pascual Res

Michelle Ortega said Richard Murillo showed her the gun when he met her down by the front gate of her property on the San Pasqual Indian Reservation in Valley Center. It was after 11 o’clock ...

Meet Valley Center Brewery

Inland north county community poised to welcome its first brewery

Even locals with the slightest grasp of the craft beer movement can see how widespread it is within San Diego County. Breweries and brewpubs are opening up all over the place, pushing the geographic borders ...

Dharma Travel: California seeking

Third in a spiritual tourism series.

It doesn't take traveling to remote or exotic places to escape the distractions of the outside world, I've found. In California, regardless of denomination, dharma travel is big business. Whether 50-room or single-room hermitages, expansive ...

Palomar Mountain: Weir-French Valley Loop

This hike includes trails beneath an old oak canopy, morteros, open meadows, two creeks, and a small pond with a stone weir.

Can you find the big secret in this casino?

Reservation’s reservations

Interviews with Pala tribe members who are at odds since Indian gaming was made legal in California.

8 days. 750 miles.

Professional cycling’s uphill climb

Rundown of bicyclists who’ve been caught doping and the Tour of California bike race.

Red Neck Gardening

Spring is the season that warms the heart of any gardener. You hold hope and a dream in your hand with each seed you plant. Hope for tomatoes, red and juicy, fresh vegetables, fine herbs, ...

San Diego Sheriff’s New Car Reads License Plates Fast

On June 4, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department unveiled a new “automatic license plate reader car” that will be based out of the department’s Valley Center substation. “This car has the ability to read ...

Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve

A bubbling creek, shade, history, and changing ecology beckon

Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve east of Valley Center is a valuable resource for wildlife, hikers, and equestrians, with running water, a scenic canyon, and spring wildflowers. It is a place to learn about the ...

Doing the Deed on a Pig Farm

A few weeks ago, Hank, a businessman in his 50s, invited about 30 people out to his rural estate in Valley Center to take part in the slaughtering of two large pigs. “My conclusion from ...

Consider the Snake

If you listen, carefully, you can hear the rattles under the house, beneath the bathroom floor. You disturb that snake, every time you set foot in the bathroom. Unnerving, the babysitter called it. Rodent control ...

Ridgeview Church

Membership: 600 Denomination: Independent Christian Pastor: Bill Trok Age: 49 Born: Chicago Formation: Talbot School of Theology-Biola University, La Mirada Years Ordained: 20 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon? Pastor ...

Valley Center Teacher Who Allegedly Hosted Drunken Teen Party May Not Appear in Court

A 56-year-old schoolteacher accused of hosting a drunken teen party this month may not have to appear in court. Although Nancy Hildebrand was arrested just past midnight on June 12 on suspicion of supplying alcohol ...

Sidewalks and Barn Animals

I think delivery drivers cut their teeth in Valley Center. What better way to test a newbie driver’s mettle than to drop him, unceremoniously, in the outback of the county, in an area with a ...

Hot Guacamole: Avocado Theft in North County

Almost as surely as avocados grow, thieves steal them and turn the fruit into quick and untraceable cash. Over the past decade, San Diego County law enforcement agencies have stepped up patrols, pursuits, and prosecution ...

Valley Center Up in Arms: "Take Road 3A Off the Map"

Minutes after County Supervisor Bill Horn was sworn in as chairperson during the January 4 board of supervisors meeting, he opened the podium to the public. Two residents of Valley Center, located in Horn's district, ...

Packing Heat (and Granola)

After a year of San Diego pollution and traffic noise, I anxiously anticipated a week in the wilderness — the brilliant blue sky, the sound of the wind in the pine trees, the scent of ...

Home Invaders in Search of Past Tenant

On August 31, residents at a Valley Center home were accosted by two armed men who claimed to be law-enforcement agents. The victims, all of whom are in their 20s, complied with the perpetrators, who ...

Nightmare Over?

When Craig Johnson moved to Valley Center in 1978, he could see only seven lights from the ridge on Chaparral Terrace. "Now there are hundreds," he said. On March 5, he and about 100 other ...

Road Rage on Horseback

This is a true story of the male ego and road rage on horseback. I love the quiet solitude of a Saturday afternoon horseback ride. The clear blue skies in rural San Diego County. The ...

Bye-Bye, Luck

In the Vista court on Friday, October 2, a Los Angeles man pled not guilty to multiple counts of identity theft and grand theft stemming from his arrest at the Valley View Casino. Judge Hockett ...

Troubled Bridge

The County of San Diego's Department of Public Works has started work on Valley Center Road’s bridge over the San Luis Rey River, just west of Harrah's Rincon Casino. This year, the Federal Highway Administration ...

Valley Center Bike Ride

Resting high above the city of Escondido, Valley Center is well on its way to becoming a rural suburb. As houses and country estates pop up on spacious lots, the area is bit by bit ...

Deion Disses L.T.

When I learned Harrah’s Rincon was opening up a sports bar called the Sports Pit in late September, I decided to hit it. They offered lots of free food and drinks and two former NFL ...

The Guacamole Crisis

Throughout last winter and spring, one could put one’s ear to the wind almost anywhere in North County and hear the buzz of chainsaws as avocado farmers cut down their trees. While this tropical fruit ...

Crazy Dog People

While I was growing up in Valley Center, my dogs had the life. We lived on a five-acre ranch and the dogs were free to roam. We had a Collie, who was an adult, and ...

Coolio, Cool J, and Dee Ray

I saw an ad for a CD-release party for LL Cool J. It’s funny because when bands invite me to CD-release parties, they aren’t really parties. It’s usually the band playing a small venue for ...

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