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Stories by Barbara Zaragoza

Sweetwater school district resolves boundary issue

Eight-month fight concludes in victory for students

For years, schools in the Sweetwater Union High School District have either been severely impacted or under-enrolled. To address the issue, the district held five "Long Range Facility Master Plan" meetings in 2015 and invited ...

San Ysidro will check its own dang air quality

Community leaders not satisfied with monitoring by government agencies

San Ysidro has three freeways cutting through it. The approximately 29,000 residents also live next to the largest land port of entry in the world — an estimated 50,000 vehicles cross the border daily. It’s ...

Chula Vista too poor to fix women’s club

"We have ladies who can’t be sweeping and mopping and keeping up the building."

According to Denise Berrian, president of the Chula Vista Woman’s Club, “The City of Chula Vista signed a contract with the women’s club in 1991 indicating that they were going to take over the maintenance ...

San Ysidro’s new library to come in late 2019

After derailment in 2002, councilman Alvarez gets project on track

Frank E. Beyer, a border baron who co-owned the Sunset Inn and Racetrack in Tijuana, lived in San Ysidro during the Prohibition days. He purportedly drank a bottle of whiskey a day and could be ...

Growing pains in the South Bay

Chula Vista's storm drains, fire trucks, and parks need financial attention

The City of Chula Vista needs $600 million for infrastructure repairs, according to a report presented by a city employee to the Growth Management Oversight Commission on February 18th inside City Hall. Amanda Mills, the ...

Chula Vista schools' east side–west side divide

Sweetwater district will need to spend $780M for modernization

“I think there’s a perception out there that literally the majority of students from the west are going east,” Manuel Rubio, director of grants & communications for the Sweetwater Union High School District, explained in ...

Castle Park schools besieged by age

But, “Our teachers will blow them out of the water on the east side.”

On Tuesday, October 20, the Sweetwater Union High School District held a community meeting at Castle Park Middle School to receive feedback about the condition of existing schools. Paul Woods, director of planning and construction, ...

San Ysidro border entry to get final touches

GSA promises ten booths for pedestrians — ready by summer 2016

On Thursday, August 6, the General Services Administration (GSA) gave an update to about 20 community members at The Front art gallery about the ongoing reconfiguration of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry. Anthony ...

Endangered species holds up road construction

Still no sidewalks for SY high school students

The nonprofit organization Casa Familiar held its 17th Safety Walk along the unpaved Otay Mesa Road on Friday, July 31, with about 20 protestors holding signs saying “Sidewalk Promised,” and “Safety For Our Children.” During ...

These trails are our trails

Mountain bikers and horse riders share concern over border trail plans

It was standing-room-only at the Thursday, June 4 Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve advisory council meeting, held to discuss the Tijuana River Valley trails located along the U.S.-Mexico border. The advisory council — a ...

Eastlakers don't eat what the suits serve up

Developer Baldwin & Sons called out for "bogus" traffic projections

Chula Vista city councilmember Patricia Aguilar held a town-hall meeting on Monday, May 4, at the Hub inside Otay Ranch Town Center. She wanted to hear public comments about the proposal by developer Baldwin & ...

600 more families for Otay Ranch?

Developer applies to revise plans to also include two hotels!

On Wednesday, April 22, Chula Vista planning commissioners deadlocked 2-2 on approving Baldwin & Sons' application to create 600 multi-family units in the Otay Ranch area of Eastlake. At the meeting, held in council chambers, ...

Cheese dreams in Baja's Ojos Negros

One-of-a-kind foodie escape just 40 minutes east of Ensenada.

It’s a holdover from Baja's Gold Fever days. A hideaway from the bustle of Ensenada. Drive an hour inland through curvy roads, past an ashram and a blue Madonna painted on a boulder, and eventually ...

The Mexican government lies

Parents speak out about their children who disappeared September 26

The small San Ysidro group known as Fuerza Amigo de Aztlán invited family members of the missing students from the Mexican state of Guerrero to speak at Mount Carmel Catholic Church on Monday, March 23. ...

Refi on multimillion-dollar debt? Good idea

New San Ysidro schools superintendent sniffing out money for district

On February 12, the San Ysidro School District board announced a plan that could save property taxpayers $51 to $71 million over the next 35 years by refinancing the district’s Prop C bond. Trustees convened ...

O squeaky clean leader, where art thou?

San Ysidro school board votes in a new superintendent

Members of the San Ysidro teacher’s union held signs, “SYSD Needs Velasquez” at the district offices on Tuesday, January 27. Supporters were there before the San Ysidro Elementary School District board voted 3-2 to hire ...

Her hands and arms were covered with bluish-brownish pesticide

School district switches lawyers

After more than two hours in closed session on Thursday, December 18, the San Ysidro School Board President, Antonio Martinez, announced “… by unanimous vote to authorize a substitution of counsel be filed in the ...

South Bay residents get health report

Asthma higher, cancer lower than SD region as a whole

On October 23, SANDAG presented its “Border Health Equity Transportation Study” at the San Ysidro Civic Center. The study found that the South Bay has a 17.8% higher rate of asthma, a 25.1% higher rate ...

Voiceless children of San Ysidro

District-wide school strike prompts superintendent to hold fruitless meeting

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 9th, the interim superintendent of the San Ysidro School District, George Cameron, asked picketers of the teachers’ strike who stood outside the office to leave behind their signs ...

Hardship south of I-8, cont'd

San Ysidro community unhappy with 22-month-long project

On Wednesday, October 1st, the nonprofit Hearts & Hands organized a town-hall meeting at San Ysidro Middle School and San Diego city councilman David Alvarez was asked to speak about the planned infrastructure projects for ...

Swell of support for border parking project

San Ysidro rep heads to DC with 5000 signatures

On Monday, September 8, Jason Wells, cofounder of the San Ysidro Border Coalition, will head to Washington D.C. to ask the federal government for UETA Duty Free Americas to retain three acres of land at ...

All about the parking spots

Border businessman offers a deal that may be hard to refuse

Simon Falic, chairman and chief operating officer of Duty Free Americas flew in from Miami on Monday, June 9, to unveil an architectural design for a multiuse structure at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. ...

Unimpressed by “road stop bathroom”

Architectural design for pedestrian border-crossing criticized

The San Ysidro Smart Border Coalition (SYSBC) held a forum on May 14 in the Willow Elementary School auditorium to discuss the anticipated spring 2016 opening of a new pedestrian border-crossing at Virginia Avenue. The ...

Port district holds SD Bay master-plan forum

How about opening a southern entrance?

The San Diego Unified Port District is embarking on the first phase of a comprehensive master plan for the San Diego Bay, which is expected to take a total of five to seven years to ...

Coachella Valley by jeep

A new way to see the desert beauty of the Palm Springs area.

Who would think that parts of the desert are full of water? Especially since the Coachella Valley gets only six to eight inches of rain every year. But when I took the Desert Adventures Red ...

South Bay mayoral candidate forum held in San Ysidro

Disregarded candidates invited; Faulconer and Fletcher no-shows

Forty-eight people sat in the audience as mayoral candidates answered questions about the South Bay on Wednesday, October 16, at San Ysidro High School. The gathering, hosted jointly by the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce ...

New San Diego Central Library hosts first board meeting

Three new branch libraries in the works

A few days after its opening, the San Diego Central Library’s board of commissioners met on the ninth floor of the new building on October 2. The monthly meeting, always open to the public, was ...

Locke – CA's last Chinese town

This Central Valley community recalls the days of Steinbeck.

The houses slant sideways and the opium dens are gone, but Locke, California, takes visitors back more than 90 years to a unique Chinese farming community. Thanks to the work of a few locals with ...

San Ysidrans object to aspects of proposed border design

“It’s really a big glorified trolley station.”

The San Ysidro Community Planning Group held a special meeting on July 10 at the Colonel Irving Salomon Community Activity Center to receive input from residents and business owners about land-use plans for the border ...

Chula Vista Public Library raises fees, suspends photo requests

Budget cuts and a retirement strain level of service

On July 1, the Chula Vista Public Library raised its fee for photo reproductions from its digitized photographic collection from $3 to $125. In June, photo reproductions were suspended until the implementation of the new ...

Heal the Bay releases annual report on San Diego beaches

Tijuana River mouth clean as long as it doesn’t rain

On Thursday, May 23, Heal the Bay representatives met at the mouth of the Tijuana River to announce their annual “beach report card.” While the organization gave the majority of San Diego County high grades ...

The San Ysidro Port of Entry reconstruction plan

Entry lanes to nearly double

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) held a meeting at Casa Familiar’s arts and cultural center in San Ysidro on Thursday, May 9, to display plans for a massive reconstruction of the San Ysidro Port ...

New BMX track opens in Chula Vista

Most difficult in the U.S.?

This week a redesigned BMX track opened at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. Tyler Brown, manager of the track since October 2012, developed the new look. A pro racer for the past ten ...

San Ysidro soon to have transportation center?

Grand scale, hands-on, model-making meeting

Over 60 community members gathered at the San Ysidro Civic Center on Thursday, April 18, to let their voices be heard about the potential building of a world-class “intermodal transportation center” at the San Ysidro ...

Chula Vista librarian Donna Golden retires

City won’t appoint a new one

Chula Vista Public Library’s photographic archive may languish following Donna Golden’s retirement on February 23. After 39 years of serving as a reference librarian and as the local history librarian since 2005, her position will ...

Simi Valley's Skateboard Museum

Say the high-brow word “museum,” and I’ll generally shell out any price to visit, but when the Ventura Visitor’s Center handed me a brochure that suggested a museum collection of over 2,000 skateboards, I did ...

San Diego Public Library boosts local authors

Over 300 authors, over 400 titles recognizeed

For 47 years the downtown San Diego Public Library has invited local authors (both traditional and self-published) to submit their work and be recognized in a monthlong exhibit that kicks off with an authors’ reception. ...

The Battle of the Sunflower Maze

It was an organic farm in the Tijuana River Valley pitted against the United States Navy. They weren’t fighting over pesticides or aircraft noise pollution. Instead, what got Congressman Bob Filner involved was a fight ...

Searching for E.T.: Hat Creek Radio Observatory, CA

Far off the main road in northeastern California, follow the signs to Hat Creek Radio Observatory and you'll come to outer-space terrain, dotted with what my six-year-old calls "Dish Aliens." It's the Allen Telescope Array ...

San Francisco Hippie Tour

Ten minutes late (on time if you’re on “hippie time,” I suppose), a woman wearing sparkly orange tennis shoes and a long velvet coat walks up to the street corner, shouting to us in a ...

Dreaming with Freud in Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria, is a dreamlike city filled with two imperial palaces, one hundred art museums and countless Viennese cafes. So where do you begin for only a few days’ visit? If, like me, you’re married ...

Delphi, Greece: In Search of Sibyls

I have a confession: I’m crazed about the ancient fortune-telling sibyls. So crazed that I’ve raced through the Vatican to see Michelangelo’s depiction of the sibyls on the Sistine Chapel and I’ve even flown to ...

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