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Stories by Joe Deegan

Want to out your gun-toting neighbors? There's an app for that

Guns n’ privacy

An app developed by UCSD lecturer Brett Stalbaum allows users to pinpoint exact spots of irresponsible gun ownership, storage, and use. However, it has been criticized for being unreliable and a potential invasion of privacy.

Do you know how much trouble you can get in with a shotgun?

Big man, big problems

When 250-pound William Gruytch came to Jeff Burleson’s door to serve his wife papers, he knocked as though trying to beat the door down. Burleson didn’t know who he was (Gruytch didn’t identify himself), so he went for his shotgun, which he didn’t bother loading. He still got into a lot of trouble.

Eight-graders find their voices in photo program

Trained to use 35-millimeter cameras

In multilingual Linda Vista, schoolchildren are learning to write in English. It’s not always easy. Fifteen-year-old Jacqueline Garza admitted that only a few months ago she was failing her eighth-grade English class. But on the ...

Water independence at all costs

San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District continue to clash. UCSD political science professor Steve Erie says consumers are the losers.

Ben Hueso's taxi cab conflict

Before he became a congressman, Ben Hueso threw his taxi-business-owning brother a bone.

“Heartbreak Bob” Reisinger found after Normal Heights house fire

A Rosie O’Grady’s regular

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, according to neighbors, a man on Hawley Boulevard in Normal Heights called his girlfriend on the phone and told her, “I set myself on fire; call the ...

Cabrillo goes to Mexico

A statue’s sordid history

The statue’s trip occurred several days after Christmas, but for the previous two weeks, the Mexicans had been coming to the monument to prepare for loading. Workman had his doubts that the statue was stable ...

San Diego State's growing contempt for undergrads

Student groans

SDSU’s emphasis seems to be on fundraising; teaching comes second in priority, say some. The money is in research, not teaching.

On the Trail of a Complaint

Got a complaint against a taxi driver? It seems nobody cares.

Look Out for that Loophole

Prop 32’s loophole may hang and silence an important voice.

Rugby — Safer, Saner

When Poway Youth Rugby coach Phil Calio explains how he teaches the “cheek to cheek” technique, he’s only talking about tackling. “What we teach the kids,” he tells me, “is to attack right at the ...

Raccoon in the Attic!

A raccoon family comes to live with an Ocean Beach family. But the animals choose the attic and make a proper mess of it.

Caught in China's Net

Two local activists bring Tibetan woman Lhamo Tso to the U.S. as part of campaign to get her husband released from a Chinese jail.

The Meteoric Rise and Fall of a Local Wave-Rider

Anger and grace tame the waves

Rising San Diego surf star Chris O’Rourke died from cancer in 1981. He was so good, surfing photographer Kirk Lee Aeder recently wrote book about him.

No Fare? No Fair!

Last November, taxicab driver Joe Ciprian, 50, took a call from his dispatcher to pick up a passenger at UCSD hospital in Hillcrest. “I got there to find the security guard waving me down,” wrote ...

Paul People

Why San Diegans like Ron Paul.

Ron Paul, a 12-term congressman from Texas, is attracting an intense and dedicated cadre of voters in the 2012 primary election season. But, to date, at least, their numbers suggest he is not a viable ...

So San Diego

Deep-Fryed San Diego

“In the old days, you had kingmakers who would put in the people they wanted over the objections of those in the community,” says Donna Frye.The former city councilwoman is speaking of the two major ...

Push Me, Pull You, Arrest Me at California State University Headquarters

"Mostly all lies” is how San Diego State University graduate student and teaching assistant Ashley Wardle characterizes statements two California State University officials made during a joint legislative subcommittee hearing in Sacramento last month. The ...

Start at the Oceanside Pier. Stop in 3000 Miles.

Most of us onlookers conquered the mountain the easy way — by car — and had gathered for the big moment, trying at the same time to exploit the 10,857-foot elevation for an alpine vista. ...

Joe Bauguess's Last, Worst Wipeout

In the 1940s and early 1950s, when other surfboard shapers worked intuitively, legendary surfer Bob Simmons was applying mathematics and boat-building and aircraft technology to board designs. In 1954, he died in a surfing accident ...

Don’t Peek Over My Fence, Mr. Code Compliance Man

There is a multicolored slide, part of a jungle gym, in Robert Brians’s front yard on Delaware Street in Imperial Beach. But I am admiring his two large African turtles crawling along the dusty ground. ...

Anatomy of a Good Idea: the Water Man Check-In Center

Last December in federal court, Dan Bamberg was trying to figure out how homeless men and women could store their belongings safely and out of sight rather than carry them around everywhere. Transport containers of ...

Report Criticizes Reengineering at Health and Human Services

The worst thing about the job, Blanca tells me, is the chaos. “It’s not being able to control the influx of clients. It’s happening so fast that before I’m finished with one application I have ...

It Was Scary Up There on the Coronado Bay Bridge

What would you do at witnessing someone about to jump from the Coronado Bay Bridge? Consider the tale of real estate appraiser Bryan Knowlton, a 42-year-old resident of Kearny Mesa. On Thursday, May 12, Knowlton ...

Big History of Little Italy

Peter Corona, a veteran superintendent of numerous school districts in California, was born in 1928 in San Diego’s “Italian Colony,” as Little Italy was first known. He grew up during the Depression and World War ...

The Fall of Western Civilization at a North Park Coffeehouse

Meeting of the Minds, moderated by Gary Grine, meets Wednesdays at Filter Coffee House. Grine formed this group when he decided that the Thursday discussion group he had founded became “too political and too liberal.” ...

Hey, Craigslist, Where Did My Ad Go?

Last June, I wanted to sell a bicycle. Where else to unload it but on Craigslist, right? A potential buyer emailed me within hours asking for details beyond what I’d posted on the site. After ...

Some Opinions About Smoke Break Rules

Without complaining — audibly, at least — they leave the building to light up, even when it’s cold and raining. In some offices, that means taking a 15-floor elevator ride to the street. But remember ...

Tijuana's Monte Carlo

Burning bright for seven years, a Depression-era venture in Tijuana lit up the blueprint that Las Vegas would follow. The old Agua Caliente is the subject of Satan’s Playground: Mobsters and Movie Stars at America’s ...

Einstein, That Clown: Special Relativity Refuted at Bull's Smokin' BBQ

If he’d take it as a compliment, I’d call him the Einstein of West Morena Boulevard. That’s where Tony Iaquinta holds forth in his restaurant, Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ. It’s mighty good food, the barbecued ribs, ...

Carlton Oaks Golf Course, TY Investment, and the San Diego River Conservancy

A Santee company has been trying since 2008 to buy a chunk of land along the north bank of the San Diego River. The property is situated on a little finger of eastern San Diego ...

Young Men Cause Aggravation at Mission Valley YMCA

The San Diego planning catchword “infill” might sound nice in quiet hilltop homes. But daily life in the closer quarters below usually means ever noisier conditions. In the interest of more livable neighborhoods, those who ...

Linda Vista Landmark Skateworld Faces the Wrecking Ball of Redevelopment

Wayne Bamford knew more secrets about Linda Vista than anyone. It was the spring of 2007, and Bamford was helping me dig into the community’s ongoing squabbles. Two years later, in early May, I wanted ...

Under Pressure

Before dawn at SDSU on Tuesday, August 23, a "chill water" main ruptured under a large walkway on the east side of campus. One million gallons of water were released, flooding an area between between ...

A Quiet Senior Center with a Little Ramp

Should members of affluent communities blush when their leaders go scounging for federal assistance? Probably not in the view of Lynda Hunt, who was interviewed by the La Jolla Village News in May 2006. “San ...

SRO Pressures In Action

The 500 West Hotel located in the old Armed Services YMCA building in downtown San Diego, may only have several more years of life. In March 2013, the hotel operator, a company called 500 West ...

That Big Sinking Feeling

On April 4, Easter Sunday, Blanca Quintero was driving in Mexicali to visit her mother’s crypt when the magnitude 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake began rocking her SUV. Cracks opened in the street before her, and ...

No One Asked Us About It

Damon Lane County Park, two miles east of the Mount Helix summit, serves more than local residents’ needs for a peaceful commune with nature. “The park was put there,” says Jack Phillips, chair of the ...

A Low-Budget Way to Higher Education

Before dawn on the morning of SDSU’s commencement last May, James Ziegler-Kelly climbed out of his tent under a bridge in Mission Valley. He dressed, folded the tent and his sleeping bag, and loaded the ...

Surprise! A Present from Sempra

When the October 2007 Witch Creek fire, which began northeast of Ramona, advanced as far as Kim Crosser’s address in Rancho Santa Fe, there was a chance to save his home. It didn’t happen. Afterwards, ...

Scams on the Menu

Late last October, a man claiming to represent a deaf woman began calling the Saffron Thai restaurants on India Street near Washington. The lady wanted large amounts of food for her upcoming wedding. But Saffron ...

No Picture-Perfect Vote

American elections lore over the last 50 years is rife with tales of funny business, from charges of a Chicago graveyard vote in 1960 to the hanging chads count in 2000. But such anomalies in ...

Restoring Muriel

When Grace McGuire started taking flying lessons at 16, she had never heard of Amelia Earhart. So instructors teased the girl, especially because they thought she looked like Earhart. That was in the late 1960s, ...

The Best Cure

Rey Knight’s easygoing persona serves him well Sundays at the Hillcrest farmers’ market as customers linger to sample exotic spiced meats. In the prepared-foods section, Knight hawks sausage and salami. His white apron, stocky frame, ...

Hello? Hello? Can You Hear Me Now?

Suppose colleagues often call the house, even in the early hours. This morning you’re half dressed and still sipping coffee when the phone rings. It’s an important business call, but your ride to a sales ...

The Logic of a Landslide

Brian Burke was agonizing over whether to appeal the court’s decision in the Mount Soledad landslide case. “Have you ever been too close to something to decide wisely about it?” he asked. He raised the ...

Nowhere To Go

While San Diego’s homeless people wait for the City to provide winter shelter, they need, among other things, to go to the bathroom. And there are precious few places to do it. Anyone who meanders ...

Don't Tow My Home

"There will be no more predatory towing in the streets of San Diego," said district attorney Bonnie Dumanis at a news conference on August 21, 2006. Clark Waters shakes his head. He has now fired ...

If We're the Best, Imagine the Worst

Mark-Elliott Lugo, who is an energetic-looking 59 years old, might well be the poster child in the San Diego public transit system’s campaign to increase ridership. Lugo has been taking San Diego buses for over ...

An End to the Evil Euc

In 1909, newspaper magnate Edward Willis Scripps began planting eucalyptus on the San Diego ranch he’d bought 11 years earlier. Those trees and their descendents have become the signature emblem of today’s Scripps Ranch. So ...