Back to profile

Stories by Elizabeth Salaam

Point Loma is a drippy mess

Don't worry about that water leak

Chrissy Seigler noticed a leaky water main valve on the sidewalk in front of her Point Loma home. The water was seeping out from the lid and dribbling down the street. In early June, Seigler ...

From couch potato to Potato Chip Rock

Sunshine tax refund

Julian Duval is about to rock my world. The 68-year-old president of the San Diego Botanic Garden drives me around the garden in a golf cart talking my ear off and making me laugh with ...

Doula dilemma at Mary Birch

Baby-friendly isn’t necessarily mama-friendly

“I tried to figure out if I should suck it up and push through, because I really wanted to try and help these women.”

Water-leak warfare

Property owner contests readings from digital water meter

On February 14, 2015, the City of San Diego installed a new digital water meter at a University Avenue property belonging to Edwin Widjojo. The installation took place in the middle of a bill period, ...

Torrey pine down

Sadness among botanic garden staff over loss of historic tree

On Tuesday, June 30, the last of a 100-foot-tall Torrey pine was cut down at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. It took six workers 35 hours to remove the tree, one of four ...

Press 1 for Spanglish

English resistance

“The Desert at Night” is the Natural History Museum’s attempt to engage Spanish and English speakers at the same time.

Not that horrible woman from the Reader!

So scared to meet you.

Half of them have holes in their mouths where their teeth used to be, and the other half have sets of some-large-some-small teeth.

I could lose you forever

When I’m an old lady, this is the story I will tell about my mother.

When I am an old woman who repeats the same stories over and over again, the one I will tell of my mother will not be about the bread she baked some Saturday mornings, or ...

Give me the pills and nobody gets hurt

Pharmacy robberies on the rise

The downside of happy-pill nation.

The visionary behind the Help Neil Catch Fish Foundation

Keith Berkley, fisherman, construction guy, and big brother.

“This is it. My bones are here. San Diego is the best place on Earth.”

Meet Kleptomom

She’s strapped for cash and misses Mr. Moneybags.

"They never look at the bottom of my cart. But if they do, I'll just say, 'Oh my gosh. Sorry. Totally forgot."

And the arts cover contest winner is ... Sarah Stieber!

Sarah Stieber paints in what she calls “Electric Realism,” a style that projects the “amplification of real life,” and uses bright, vivid colors that suggest “wishful seeing.” Stieber created “Fierce” in 2014, originally intending the ...

Theater, out of the theater

Site-specific productions

Picture this: you spend the evening climbing in and out of cars where you experience a series of five-to-ten-minute plays that take place inside the cars (The Car Plays, La Jolla Playhouse, 2013–2014). Or you ...

Pennies an hour

Success, failure, and hope on the Great Sea of Apps

In April 2013, Ryan Grainger and Bobby Sullivan found themselves faced with a particular First World problem at Coachella. The then-20- and 19-year-old University of San Diego students could not see all 190 performances. Although ...

I’m Judo Math Dude

Sensei Dan Thoene’s got a black bracelet in arithmetic.

“A kid raised his hand in the back and said, ‘How long does it take to become a black belt?’”

Door-to-door fraudsters steal local nonprofit’s identity

If a Second Chance solicitor arrives at your door, they are an impostor.

Stolen chances.

Don your red suit

Why not teach the teen to cook? Fashion Valley Practice and prepare for your holiday meals with hands-on cooking classes featuring instruction on classic dishes and treats from prime rib to eggnog, and from snowflake ...

These people want to work, and nothing is beneath them

They say the smile is the hardest part.

The last couple of times Brenda Peterson had job openings in her court-reporting company, she filled the positions with members of an unlikely pool of candidates: ex-convicts, or more politely put, the formerly incarcerated. It ...

Terminal art

It makes San Diego look appealing.

I’m standing in Terminal 2 at the San Diego International Airport on a Monday morning in early July. My escort, Constance White, the airport art program manager, leads me through the new food-court atrium, past ...

Prepared for life, not for college

Highs and lows at High Tech High

Where most school websites are built for parents who need calendar information or want to check out next year’s fourth-grade teachers, High Tech High’s is a full-fledged marketing campaign. Many of the pages include statistics, ...

There is such a thing as a free ride

Flag them down, ride for free.

At a time when the taxi-versus-rideshare hubbub takes on momentum, a player slinks into San Diego and sets up shop downtown. The Free Ride offers a wave-us-down ride service in a coverage area between Little ...

Have you established your brand?

Social media and your job search.

Katie Wagner, president of Katie Wagner Social Media, explains the importance of social media in your job search. First, please tell me about your company and what you do. I own a social media and ...

Spellchecking for dollars

There’s money to be made editing copy

Teresa Poole, from UCSD Extension, explains how you can become a copyeditor. First, please tell me about yourself. I am the program manager for several certificate programs here at UC San Diego Extension, one of ...

Babes in boyland

Like Flashdance but with a hammer.

“When I first hired in, I would have people ask me all the time, ‘You want me to carry your tools for you?’”

Beyond the “follow your passion” rhetoric

Jobs that make money and do good

Dev Aujla, creator of, might be able to help with your job search. First, tell me about yourself and how your website came to be. I am a Canadian. I started a non-profit called ...

Girls in boots and hard hats

The industry needs women, says banker-turned-construction manager.

Dianne Koehle explains what it takes to get into construction. First, please tell me what you do. I’m a project coordinator. I work on jobsites maintaining submittals, drawings, correspondence, meeting minutes, material and equipment logs, ...

When the weather isn’t enough to keep you here

Can’t stay. Can’t stay away.

San Diego's income: 12.3% above the nation's average. San Diego's cost of living: 29.2% higher than the nation's average.

An eye (and a pen) for fashion

Rebekah Sager offers insight into what it takes to become a fashion writer. First, please tell me what you do. I currently work as the social media editor and a reporter at the U-T San ...

I've regained my confidence

Sherry Luft is a participant and founding member of the Job Seekers Club at South Metro Career Center. Let’s start with what line of work you’re in. How and when did you become unemployed? I ...

Chillin’ inside Paras with the man of 4000 titles

Paras Newsstand in North Park offers Soap Opera Digest, Cheetos, clove cigs, and a whole lot of this and that.

Things to do

What do you mean you’re bored?! An anti-ho-hum compendium.

Jetpack America Want to feel like Superman? After a training video and in-office instruction, strap on a jetpack and take to the air. During the 15- to 60-minute ride, the water-jetting pack can go as ...

The three traits of a successful real estate agent

The ups and downs as explained by a pro.

Joda Mize, founder of Girl’s Guide to Real Estate, discusses what it takes to get into the real estate business. First, please tell me a little bit about your background? Well, I moved to San ...

San Diego Made Better

Random acts of good citizenship.

The correlation between good works and big smiles.

People don’t buy what you do

They buy why you do it

Kim Mohiuddin, chief career storyteller at Movin’ On Up Résumés, compares the résumé to the curriculum vitae and offers tips for both. Let’s start with the brief answer to the difference between a résumé and ...

The nature of the swap meet

Need extra money? Anthony Pretto invites you to sell your wares at Kobey’s Swap Meet. Tell me about the swap meet. Kobey’s Swap Meet was founded in 1976 by my grandfather Monte. It started with ...

Put a pink mustache on your car

...and make a little money giving rides

Emily Moberly says you, too, can use your car to make a little extra money. What is Lyft? Lyft is a better alternative to a cab! It’s your “friend with a car” as they say ...

Ginn’s discomfort

Time to take a compliment, Samantha Ginn.

After meeting Samantha Ginn twice, I’m left with the impression that at the end of a long day, when the rest of us drink beer, snap at our children, or numb our brains on reruns ...

Active pursuit of happiness

Author Henry S. Miller explains why happiness may have everything to do with the success of your job search. How did you become so interested in happiness? When I read one of the very first ...

Noah Homes, an upside to Down syndrome

We should all live so well

The residents deserve to live as well as anyone else, not better.

Big hearts wanted

Eric Wray, human resources and operations manager at Noah Homes, might have a job for you. First, please tell me about Noah Homes. Noah Homes is a Catholic organization serving all faiths, whose mission is ...

Camp Lots-a-jobs

The YMCA is taking applications for summer camp jobs

Frank Kasunic explains how you can get work as a YMCA camp counselor. First, please tell me what you do. I’m the recruiter for the YMCA of San Diego County, which serves 390,000 members and ...

It's all free

An education. 100 percent off.

A couple of years ago, my friend Tina Frantz began taking a San Diego Continuing Education course to help develop her handbag business. All I knew for sure was that Tina was suddenly unavailable by ...

I recommend Purple Cow

To those who want to venture out on their own

Felena Hanson, founder of Hera Hub, offers five bold tips for success. Tell me about Hera Hub. Hera Hub is a shared, flexible work and meeting space where business women can create and collaborate in ...

Beyond Race

Stubborn, not subversive, Andrea Rushing.

In 1973, if you’d asked 15-year-old Andrea Rushing if he’d rather meet Salvador Dalí or Michael Jackson, he would have picked Salvador Dalí. “I was probably the only black boy in the South whose hero ...

No rules for pop-ups

Business for gypsies.

I stand on Kettner Boulevard experiencing a tinge of regret that I’m already married. Not because my eyes feast on some hunk of fine-ass man but because I’m witnessing the wedding I kinda wish I’d ...

Wear pants to your job interview

Even if it is on Skype

Megan Johnson of, explains that yes, you really should wear pants to your Skype interview. First, please tell me what you do? I’m going to avoid job titles here because those can be boring ...

2014 Guide to the Arts in San Diego

A palette of possibilities

Our affinity for artistic expression sets us humans apart from all other animals. We continue to find innovative ways to communicate our complex emotions and philosophical reflections. Though it is inarguably enriching to appreciate works ...

Corps values

Urban corps turns tough cases into success stories

Geneva Karwoski explains how Urban Corps can help you get work ready. What is Urban Corps? Urban Corps is a certified local conservation corps and WASC-accredited charter high school that offers young adults a chance ...

Meet the Dishcrawl Ambassador

On a Tuesday evening in late September, Lindsay Marks stands in the center of a group of people at Spike Africa’s Fresh Fish Grill and Bar on Broadway. She wears a cheek-stretcher of a smile ...

Win a $50 Gift Card to
Solare Ristorante

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!