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Stories by Ken Harrison

Almost all shopped out

Major remodel for Oceanside's Camino Town & Country center

During the past decade, the Camino Town & Country shopping center — at El Camino Real at Highway 78 in Oceanside, one of the busiest intersections in North County — has become dilapidated, with vacant ...

Tow-truck yard to lose ocean view

Time to beat it — arts center development takes priority

Encinitas’ AAA tow-truck operation, Leucadia Towing, is losing its tow yard at the closed Pacific View Elementary School, which will soon become a city-owned arts center. The City of Encinitas has a fairly unused storage ...

New beds and no neon

Former Scandia Motel comes to life as Hotel Surf

After floundering for years, what some locals referred to as Carlsbad's version of the Psycho horror film series' Bates Motel, the city’s last Old Highway 101 motor court–type motel has a new life. As reported ...

Charge the fence! — gas less than $2/gallon

Escondido station first in Southern California to cross the threshold

An Escondido gas station’s price drop yesterday (January 28) means San Diego motorists can join the rest of the country in buying gas under two dollars a gallon. On January 28, at 7:00 p.m., the ...

Marriott to take place of Surf Motel and Armenian Café in Carlsbad

Chain chain chain

Last week, chain-link construction fencing covered with green shade cloth was placed around the Armenian Café and the two-story Surf Motel on Carlsbad Village Drive. Both are scheduled to be demolished. When he signed his ...

Speedee's back (briefly)

Remodel exposes historically significant façade

While a restaurant remodel in Cardiff by the Sea was recently underway, residents witnessed a long-forgotten commercial artifact. Built in 1958, Cardiff’s first shopping center housed its anchor convenience store named Speedee Mart. The Southern ...

Delaware North to California: Drop dead

Forget the Ahwanee Hotel, Curry Village, Yosemite Lodge

Delaware North, the food and beverage concessionaire at both Qualcomm Stadium and Petco Park, is making waves again in California, in what is described as a loss of Yosemite National Park’s history. On January 14, ...

Point Loma neighbors warn CVS of boycott

Even the landlord prefers grocery store

When the Fresh & Easy grocery store on the corner of Cañon Street and Catalina Boulevard closed just before the holidays, the desirable storefront attracted the attention of other corporate retailers looking to expand into ...

Détente between PB McDonald’s and homeless

“I didn’t really want to start this again.”

A little peace was made on January 12 at the Pacific Beach McDonald’s. Nate Nicholson was protesting the way this McDonald’s location treats the area’s homeless, including him, even if they are paying customers. He ...

America’s Got Talent, but does San Diego?

Comedians, dog acts, dance troupes fall all over themselves

Felix the Fire Cat arrived at the San Diego Convention Center at 5:30 p.m. on January 11. When the doors opened early the next morning, he was #2 in line for the San Diego auditions ...

Quartzsite: Arizona's rock city

This colossal swap meet goes down November–March in western Arizona.

What do you get when you cross one million snowbirds and desert rats, and add blocks of swap-meet junk? You get Quartzsite, AZ, in January. Starting in the fall, tens of thousands of bargain hunters ...

For amateur seadogs

Deckhand classes on tall ships involve more than yelling “land ho!”

Have you ever wanted to be a deckhand and sail on one of the old tall ships wharfed at the Embarcadero? Hoist rigs, shiver me timbers, and yell “Land ho!” from a crow’s nest? The ...

Atop Station White

Leucadia lookout's plaque remains intact

Most coastal North County residents probably don’t know a piece of World War II history rests on a hilltop in Leucadia. But the residents of the Skyloft condominiums, east of I-5, do. A question to ...

Riprapped in the nick of time

“This beach has been changing every day,” said a patrolling lifeguard.

Repairs to the riprap rock protecting part of Cardiff State Beach’s parking lot came just in time. The project quickly went from planned maintenance to an emergency repair. After applying for California Coastal Commission permits, ...

Psych! Gas prices jumping

Say sayonara to Escondido's $2.31/gallon price of three days ago

As the Reader reported on December 14, gas prices in San Diego County reached a five-month low — $2.31/gallon at an Escondido station. But prices are turning upward. At around 3:00 p.m. on December 17, ...

Fishing season opens at Lake Wohlford

City of Escondido plans to stock 25,500 pounds of rainbow trout

Before first light, in the early-morning low-40s temperature, over 200 fishermen hit the opening day of trout season at Escondido’s Lake Wohlford. The December 12 opener was preceded a few days earlier with a 6000-pound ...

Let's fill some swimming pools!

Desalination plant opens in Carlsbad

“Now serving Pacific on Tap” was the slogan of the day December 14, when the San Diego County Water Authority announced the full operation of the largest desalination plant in the Western hemisphere. In actuality, ...

Escondido gas to cost less than $2/gallon?

“It’s our strategy to attract more business. We want more customers.”

As of 5:00 p.m. on December 12, the U.S. Gas station at 445 West 5th Avenue, at the corner of Centre City Parkway in Escondido, sold the lowest-priced regular gas in San Diego County. In ...

One-man McDonald's protest

“Yes, I’m homeless, but I’m respectful, and I clean up after myself.”

Pacific Beach resident Nate Nicholson is ticked at McDonald’s. On December 10, he was protesting out in front of the restaurant at 1121 Garnet Avenue, to the honking approval of several passersby. After returning to ...

San Diegans crash in Mammoth Lakes

Plane was taking off from airport in erratic winds

On December 3, San Diego residents Jerry Black, along with his passenger Larry Gallego, crashed in Black’s Piper Mirage airplane into a field at Mammoth Yosemite Airport (seven miles from Mammoth Lakes). According to police ...

Battle in Oceanside Harbor

Legal tussle between captain of longtime charter boat and landing owner

Since June 2014, fishing-boat captain Joe Cacciola has been fighting to keep his charter sportfishing boat’s slip at the Oceanside Harbor. And since this September, he wondered each day if U.S. Marshals would show up ...

Surf Cleaners sign saved

Detour from dump

Encinitas firefighter Bob Voorhees, a downtown Encinitas resident for many decades, recently took it upon himself to track down and save a piece of old Highway 101 architecture. Last month, Voorhees and several other residents ...

Cardiff flower farm is history

Acreage bought in 1948 to be split into plots for four homes

One of Cardiff-by-the-Sea’s last farms has been sold. The four-acre former Fugimoto flower farm at the corner of Lake Drive and Birmingham Drive has sat vacant for years, since Morizo Fugimoto retired. The Fugimoto family ...

Another one to remember from Vietnam

San Dieguito Academy memorializes student who died in 1971

It may have been 12 years in the making, but U.S. Army corporal Armando Diaz Ramos, killed in service during the Vietnam era, received a hero’s recognition on Veteran’s Day, November 11. “Mando” was not ...

Justice sought for newspaper woman dead since 1965

Missing-persons HQ in Lakeside seeks Dorothy Kilgallen info

On November 8, 1965, TV star Dorothy Kilgallen was found dead in her five-story Manhattan brownstone. Conspiracy theorists have claimed over the years she was killed because she knew too much about President Kennedy’s assassination. ...

Free cell phones here

Subsidized phone service used to cover only landlines

There’s no excuse in California for low-income families not having a phone, as visitors to San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency offices on Union Plaza Court in Oceanside can attest. Monday through Friday, ...

Encinitas' facelift continues

Will elimination of smog shop end summertime car shows?

For the third time this year, another Coast Highway 101 building in Encinitas’ downtown is scheduled for demolition. Encinitas Smog, at 682 South Coast Highway, has lost its long-term lease, says owner Alex Stanton. He ...

Call them FAT. They don't care.

Undercover law-enforcement officers makes arrest in Cardiff

For the second time in as many weeks in Cardiff by the Sea, well-armed U.S. Marshals in unmarked vehicles pulled over and arrested a male driver. Both times the arrests occurred in front of San ...

Who cared? Hitler didn't surf

San Dieguito High alumni recall the World War II years

Last week’s homecoming was a big one at San Dieguito High School Academy. At the end of the accelerated first semester, the student body enjoyed homecoming activities and dress-up spirit days. Elsewhere on the 79-year-old ...

Cardiff train track safety barriers replaced

Yet, town council members would have preferred something less industrial

Cardiff by the Sea’s “unwelcomed wall of ugly” has almost come down. Earlier in February, the North County Transit District suddenly placed 54 orange construction barricades along San Elijo Avenue, overlooking Coast Highway 101 and ...

Opening day of Bing Crosby season includes costume contest

Marilyn, Clark, and Lucy show at Del Mar

Opening its second annual five-week-long Bing Crosby season, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on October 29 welcomed over 6000 fans — nowhere near the summer crowds of the regular meet, but lower attendance was reputedly ...

The parting out of Haggen

Smart & Final reputedly to bid on 10 of the 25 stores

With large “Store Closing” banners draped across the front of the La Costa Haggen Food and Drug, advertising 10 to 30 percent off, the much storied four-month expansion to bankruptcy of the Washington based-chain may ...

Absolutely malled in Carlsbad

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they tore the whole thing down and built condos.”

What’s going on with Carlsbad’s Plaza Camino Real…er…Westfield Carlsbad shopping center? Last year’s name change hasn’t seemed to help. Recently, rumors have been flying around the mall’s remaining merchants and their customers. In 2013, Westfield ...

Hwy 76: Pave it, stripe it, and let's drive it already!

At last, four lanes all the way from I-5 to I-15

Motorists driving the curvy, two-lane Highway 76 from Bonsall to I-15, with 20,000 fellow travelers per day, will soon see a light at the end of a traffic-nightmare tunnel. The old road, built in the ...

Encinitas styrofoam ban unwelcomed

"The solution is more trash cans on the beach.”

Steve Amster is fighting Encinitas city hall again. In his 30 years as owner of Garden State Bagels, he has won, and lost, several battles over sign ordinances and sheriff’s department traffic enforcement. This time ...

The birds win one in Oceanside

Audubon Society buys 3.5 acres once intended for development

The Buena Vista Audubon Society announced this week that they have reached their fundraising goal of $1.5 million to purchase a 3.5-acre parcel on the west side of Coast Highway, on the border of Oceanside ...

The sunglasses thing didn't work out

Arnette Eyewear closes shop, leaves Encinitas

Arnette Eyewear, a high-end sunglasses brand popular with surfers, skaters, and skiers, quietly closed down their Encinitas world headquarters last week. The building at 444 South Coast Highway, which also served as a sales and ...

Haggen, dogged by problems, closes

Some customers unaware of closures but aware of no donuts

Nine months after announcing the biggest move into the Southern California grocery business, Washington-based Haggen Foods is giving up, leaving 127 California, Nevada, and Arizona stores vacant and laying off thousands of workers. The closures ...

North County millionaires' buyers market

Slowdown or just a blip in normally robust real estate sales?

Are rising post-recession real estate prices starting to crack? Yes, for high-end properties, says inland North County realtor Suzan Isber. “Three weeks ago we started noticing sellers of million-dollar-plus properties not getting their asking price. ...

Amateur poker player has decent payday

“The guy that finished first, I think he learned a few things from me."

After 18 years of playing Texas hold ’em poker in area casinos, David Scheunemann of Oceanside recently won the biggest pot of his life. Scheunemann placed fifth in the World Poker Tour Foundation’s three-day tournament ...

No favor done for western snowy plover

Endangered birds didn't survive despite protective effort in Cardiff

It’s been four months since a small strip of beach in Cardiff by the Sea became federally protected nesting grounds for the western snowy plover. The endangered birds had settled on the beachside of Coast ...

Back away from the water, Fallbrook

Rainbow water district survives takeover attempt

Water users in Rainbow and Bonsall finally feel like they’ve defeated a Goliath. A yearlong battle has ended, thwarting a takeover by the Fallbrook Public Utility District of the mostly agricultural Rainbow Municipal Water District. ...

For the love of skate in Del Mar

Wheeled street urchins and parents gather to grind and honor Jay Adams

Around 40 kids, teenagers, and parents showed up to the Del Mar Fairgrounds parking lot on September 12 to participate in “Surf the Pavement – A Resurrection of Style.” The event was held to celebrate ...

100 waves in 12 hours — a Mission Beach marathon

On Saturday, September 19, former touring pro surfer Damien Hobgood will be joining hundreds of surfers at Mission Beach in the Hundred Wave Challenge, where participants ride 100 waves over a 12-hour period. Similar to ...

Strawberry field developer's sign has got to go

That rush-hour audience was good while it lasted

A few months ago, Carlsbad residents were inundated by an L.A. developer’s two-million-dollar TV and PR campaign, asking voters to “Sign the Petition” to support his 27-acre shopping center on the strawberry fields east of ...

Elvis has left the terminal, the tarmac, the plane...

Carlsbad-based Biz Air stops flying, ceases operation

How does one blow through millions of dollars quickly? Start an airline. Such is the case of Chicago’s Dan Cretsinger and his family, who started Biz Air Shuttle in June. Based in Carlsbad, Biz Air ...

Oceanside Pier rehab

El Niño or not, rusted-out underside crossbeams need replacement

Perhaps in preparation for this year’s predicted El Niño weather pattern and its accompanying big waves and high tides, the Oceanside Pier is getting some extra support. Construction crews will be under the pier for ...

More marine-life protection from people like you

"...but surfers and water people are very environmentally conscious.”

For decades, kids and families have made recreational use of the front channel of San Elijo Lagoon’s mouth, between Coast Highway 101 and the railroad tracks, south to behind Restaurant Row. It’s less crowded than ...

Skateboard consumerism is not a crime

Black Friday for the skater set in Carlsbad lures campers

Saturday, August 29, was like Black Friday to the San Diego skateboarding world, as hundreds of teenagers lined up for hours for the annual Kayo sale. Kayo is the distributor of some of the industry’s ...

Jockey Victor Espinoza to dance with other stars

Program taps Triple Crown horseman who'll surely be light on his feet

It was announced August 25 that Del Mar’s own winning jockey, Victor Espinoza, will appear on ABC’s 21st season of Dancing with the Stars. It was Espinoza who rode American Pharaoh in the three races ...

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