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Stories by Ken Harrison

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, ...

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 ...

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