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Stories by Ken Harrison

Cardiff founder's house "found"

“Our jaws dropped. We assumed it was long gone."

It took a guy coming from all the way in Cardiff, Wales, to identify the 1911 home of Cardiff by the Sea’s founder, J. Frank Cullen. Mark Gubb, from the Queen’s Cardiff, was visiting Cardiff ...

What's killing the crows of North County?

“It’s West Nile virus."

Dead crows are being found in Cardiff by the Sea and Encinitas. Over the past two weeks, neighbors and friends in the Poinsettia Heights and Park Place neighborhoods have found at least seven dead and ...

Gas prices jump but maybe not too high

World oil prices decline following Brexit vote

San Diego area gas prices jumped 10 to 15 cents per gallon last week, with many stations pushing their cash price for regular gas over the $3.00 threshold. Surprisingly, the oil companies are not offering ...

He who would steal from a dog

Older surfer type rips off humane society collections box, gets away on bike

On June 24 at 2:47 p.m., a Caucasian male walked into My Sister’s Closet resale and consignment clothing store in La Jolla and stole the cash donation box earmarked for the Rancho Coastal Humane Society. ...

Boy buried in sand at Cardiff's Seaside Beach

Tunnel collapsed while digging big holes

At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday (June 16), Cardiff by the Sea lifeguards at Tower 11 responded to a report of a boy buried in the sand on Seaside Beach. Two boys were digging big holes ...

Wood beach fires come to an end

Nails and leftover coals prompt state to institute new rule

Effective last week, the California State Park beaches at Carlsbad, Ponto, and Cardiff by the Sea outlawed wood fires on the sand. Banners advising of the new regulation have been posted on most lifeguard towers ...

San Dieguito trots out its old metal mustang

Original artist returns to give sign a new coat

On June 7, former Encinitas resident Susan LaForest Williams returned to San Diego from her home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, to repaint the San Dieguito High School mascot sign. As a sophomore in 1979, ...

Cardiff's "waterhouse" to face wrecking ball

Nobody's calling the former druggie hangout a historic structure yet

Recent Facebook posts on an old-school Cardiff by the Sea locals’ page wondered what was going on with the old Cardiff “waterhouse,” with its 16-sided top floor and unobstructed 360-degree view of the ocean and ...

Morning burglary interrupted in Cardiff

Three suspects jump backyard fence to get away, but...nope

Three burglary suspects were apprehended, caught almost red-handed, on May 25, in a Cardiff by the Sea neighborhood. Just after 9:00 a.m., “Allison” was driving east on Birmingham Drive when she noticed a sheriff’s deputy ...

Proposition 47 a culprit in increase of burglaries?

“It’s not just Encinitas. It's also Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carlsbad..."

On the morning of May 20, a home on Nolbey Street in Cardiff by the Sea was the second home burglarized on the same street in the past two weeks. Combined with an increase of ...

Old Ponto neighborhood soon to die?

Proposed adjacent development is one more piece of "vision plan"

The small coastal hamlet of Ponto in the area of South Carlsbad may be in its final days. A large townhome project, known as Ponto Beachfront East and Ponto Beachfront West, is slated for 11.3 ...

What’s that in the water?

Whales play in Cardiff

Around 5:15 p.m. on May 6, my wife called me from Cardiff beach. For the past 30 minutes, she’d been watching two whales off Seaside past the surf break, bobbing up and down and playing ...

Cardiff school board proposes $22 million bond measure

Expenditure prompts question, “What is the academic justification?”

The Cardiff Elementary School district presented a proposed $22 million bond measure at its monthly meeting on May 12; only 19 people showed up, mostly teachers and parents. All were in support, except for members ...

Objections to Encinitas Library renaming

“I hope our city is not for sale. Find another way to make money."

Steve Mizel, a wealthy investor and a philanthropist, wants to have the name of the Encinitas Library changed to honor his wife. He’s offered $2 million to the city to change the library’s name to ...

Encinitas surf writer covers (getting covered on) the waterfront

Chris Ahrens's greatest compliment: “It was just like that, man.”

In February of 1997, the Reader did a cover story featuring surf writer Chris Ahrens as one of San Diego’s leading “micro-publishers” in the then-growing field of authors self-publishing their books. Now, six books later, ...

Marine Safety Center greenlighted for Moonlight Beach

Don't call it a "lifeguard station" — it's got a pole, mini cop-shop, and animal-rescue pen

Eleven years in the making, a new Encinitas lifeguard tower at Moonlight Beach finally got the green light. The city’s planning commission unanimously approved it last week. The new “Marine Safety Center” was conceptually approved ...

June Lake trout scamper away from shore

Anglers fair better from boats during season opener

For the third year in a row, a snowfall sent the big trout away from the shoreline, on the opening day, April 30, of California’s premier trout fishery in the Eastern Sierra. Four inches fell ...

Armenians recall genocide in theater

“They survived by throwing themselves on piles of dead bodies."

On April 24, 1915, the government of the Turkish Ottoman Empire arrested 250 Armenian intellectual, community, and religious leaders. Most were later killed. It was the start of what would become the 20th Century’s first ...

Encinitas planning commission nixes Cardiff 8

Development on former flower grower's site seems to pack in too much

The developer of the former Maldonado Farm, next to I-5, has run into a bit of a snag. The City of Encinitas’ planning commission doesn’t like their plan for eight homes on the 1.25-acre parcel. ...

Merry Fishmas, Eastern Sierra anglers

What do big browns eat?

As hundreds of San Diegans prepare for the April 30 trout opener in the Eastern Sierra, expectations are running high. The annual six-hour drive for thousands of Southern Californian anglers up Highway 395 — to ...

You can’t run, but you can hide Papa Burger in Oceanside

Cover blown on Angelo Man’s previous life as family man

Since 1977, many Oceanside residents have passed by the Angelo’s Burgers at the south end of town, on Coast Highway. One can’t miss the statue of a big man holding a big hamburger. Most people ...

Still no showers at San Diego state beaches

Near-normal snow pack and water surplus won't change situation

Even though the California Department of Water Resources reports a near normal snow pack after four years of little snow, the governor’s office is not ready to turn on the rinse-off showers at local state ...

Last of Oceanside's Chinese buffets?

Building was once part of the local Jimmy’s Restaurant chain

The China Star Super Buffet may be going out of business soon. Until a few years ago, Oceanside had six Chinese buffets. All had gone out of business except for China Star, at the southeast ...

Small-scale storage war in San Marcos

“Now this guy has to rent a truck, get a crew to clean it out, store it somewhere…”

Every month or so, local storage-unit facilities play their own version of the TV show Storage Wars — past-due units auctioned off to the highest bidder. Such was the case last week with three San ...

$7300 parking fee at Lindbergh Field (keeps mounting)

Car left in same spot since last June

Visiting the San Diego airport on March 23, I parked next to a black Ford Ranger pickup truck at the Terminal 1 parking lot. The truck, dirty and weathered from the bay’s moist air and ...

Coke-Pepsi's discreet war in North County

“No one has ever walked in and asked for a glass of Pepsi. No one!"

“Is Pepsi okay?” are not the words serious Coca-Cola drinkers want to hear in restaurants. So when a Coke-themed diner switched to Pepsi, customers like Oceanside resident Cheri Noel were “not happy.” Last week Noel ...

Benghazi victim Glen Doherty was kind of a homemaker

Friends serve up his chili recipe at memorial foundation fundraiser

Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL who did contract work for the CIA, lived in Encinitas. He was one of four Americans killed on September 11, 2012, in an attack on the United States diplomatic ...

Swordfish dig California

But you'll rarely seen one caught on a rod and reel

Little do most anglers know there are scientists in Oceanside who provide fish resource information to agencies such as National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the state’s Department of Fish ...

Oceanside Harbor facelift

Actually, more like a transplant, as 40-year-old sign gets replaced

“Don’t worry, we’re not changing the name of the town,” said a City of Oceanside maintenance worker. On April 4, workers were removing the large “OCEANSIDE” letters of the sign seen by boaters as they ...

Casting call in Oceanside for Animal Kingdom

“We want people from here to watch the show to say, ‘Hey, that’s my town!’”

For the possibility of fame and fortune, or just plain fun, over 1000 people showed up on April 1 for an open casting call for extras on a new TV show, Animal Kingdom, to be ...

Pro skate park opens in Vista

Pro Neal Mims says, “It’s about the kids and the community."

In a nondescript warehouse in Vista’s Business Park district, pro-skater Neal Mims opened his new indoor skatepark. The March 30 reservation-only session was a preview to the park’s public opening on April 2. About 40 ...

Traffic-signal experiment in Encinitas

“The study shows the new lights are more intuitive and lower crashes.”

Encinitas drivers are seeing a new type of traffic signal on South Vulcan Avenue, at the intersection of D Street — something not seen much in California. And some motorists have complained of dangerously making ...

Mom 'n' pop restaurant remodels — not closing — after 38 years

Roxy rumors

It blew up on Facebook this week: Encinitas’ longtime Roxy Restaurant is closing March 31st. Customers are calling with their condolences, the owners receive hugs from people passing by… But, “It’s not true,” said co-owner ...

Another Elvis has left the building

North County rock-roller Gary Ferritto passes

Back in the 1970s, it wasn’t until a 1950s dress-up day at San Dieguito High School that Encinitas resident Gary Ferritto felt vindicated. Ferritto was mocked and teased in school for being a “greaser” — ...

Missing Person Day could never be a happy one

County has found 153 deceased John and Jane Does since the year 2000

If you’re missing a loved one in San Diego County, March 19 is not a date you’ll look forward to marking on your calendar, but it may bring closure to your predicament. The San Diego ...

Cardiff State Beach lot tossed

Storm relocates sand, stone, picnic tables, parking stops...

The strong storm and big waves that hit on Sunday, March 6, have forced officials to shut down the parking lot at Cardiff State Beach. The beach’s sand has been washed away, and several inches ...

Cheapest 21-window VW bus you'll find

Dog validates Cardiff artist's work with a pee on the rear left tire

When graphic artist and illustrator Steve Burrows looks at a curbside utility box, he sees a blank canvas. A sign painter by trade (Burrito Art), he recently turned an SDG&E-owned box, on the northwest corner ...

Concrete concern in Leucadia

Barricades won't be used to eliminate free, informal parking

Recently, several stacks of concrete railroad ties appeared in Leucadia, at the north end of Coast Highway 101 at Avocado Street. The ties are the same industrial style as the ones used by the North ...

American Pickers may be coming to San Diego

First you have to call them and tell them what you have to offer

The American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, are coming to California, possibly San Diego, to film new episodes for their hit TV show for the History Channel. But unlike the previous eight seasons, the ...

Farm bought, Park and Ride going in

Caltrans project at Manchester Avenue doesn’t spell end for early strawberries

A longtime coastal farm has been sold, following the announcement that Caltrans has closed escrow on 21 acres needed for a freeway interchange on I-5. The farm, north of the San Elijo Lagoon, butts up ...

Frank and June return to San Elijo

A 50-year love affair with Cardiff by the Sea campground

In 1965, Frank and June Nuttall were camping throughout the desert Southwest with their kids in a tent trailer when they decided to travel west from Arizona on old U.S. Highway 80. After heading up ...

Grocery gamble or gold mine

Uppity-scale market from up north to compete with four other stores

In the shopping center at the northwest corner of I-5 and Encinitas Boulevard, Smart and Final vacated two years ago, and earlier this year, so did Petco. Both stores moved to larger space just east ...

Firemen’s empire

“We are treated as one district now — the closest fire truck goes.”

Residents of Encinitas, Del Mar, and Solana Beach may soon see a different name on the side of their fire trucks. The combined department’s name change is part of a management agreement reached a few ...

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, ...

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