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Stories by Ken Harrison

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 ...

What a Dragmaster it is getting old

Historic Carlsbad auto shop gets retooled as drinking-and-dining center

A historic building, once the hub of drag racing in the U.S., is getting a facelift in the downtown village of Carlsbad. The old auto-mechanic shop and quonset hut in the 2700 block of State ...

The big guy wins another in Carlsbad

City council approves plan to develop 27 acres of strawberry fields

Over 350 people turned out for the Carlsbad City Council meeting on August 25. The hot-button issue was the proposed shopping center on 203 acres of the Ukagawa family's strawberry fields, above the Agua Hedionda ...

Grand Deli Mike won't slam greedy landlords

Carlsbad institution to close after 28 years

Mike Downs and his family have owned the Grand Deli, on the corner of Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Street in Carlsbad Village, for 28 years. On August 27, he will close the doors to the ...

Female Beholder chosen fave for Pacific Classic

Post positions drawn for $1,000,000 Del Mar horse race on Saturday

Even though there’s a one-in-ten chance of winning $1,000,000 on August 22, the ten owners of horses entered into the Pacific Classic at Del Mar had to wait on August 19 for the drawing for ...

Bookstore muscle prevails in Carlsbad

Lhooq Books reopens after challenges foisted by city

Opened earlier this year in a small, old garage just off Carlsbad Village Drive, Lhooq Books, a rare-books bookstore, was shuttered by the city for the past three weeks. But now, after much research, owner ...

Sin City send-off

Elvis turns up for Biz Air's inaugual flight from Carlsbad to Las Vegas

Elvis impersonator George Thomas was belting out "Viva Las Vegas" and other Elvis tunes as a crowd gathered in the terminal at Carlsbad’s Palomar-McClellan airport. On July 30, city and county leaders, media, and paying ...

San Salvador finally touches water

Finally, after almost six years and over 500 volunteers, the full-scale replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s ship, the San Salvador, touched water for the first time on July 29. It’s the same water that touched ...

More on the fake Uber drivers in Carlsbad

“When you call for a limo, you don’t expect to get picked up in a Prius.”

A story was published here on July 24, where a vacationing Uber driver from Augusta, Georgia, Rob Noel, outted a fake Uber driver in Carlsbad. Over the weekend of July 25, I attempted to find ...

New regulations for bluefin tuna

Must be filleted properly by deckhands

Beginning July 30, there are new Pacific bluefin tuna regulations for San Diego anglers, and rules on how fish can be filleted onboard boats. The regulations call for a reduction in bag limits, from ten ...

A pro-handicapper’s guide to betting at Del Mar

Sure bet? It’s always a horse race.

At the Del Mar track, there is a way to lose your money scientifically, rather than the way most of us do. So says Frank Scatoni, every day. Scatoni is a handicapper for the Thoroughbred ...

Fake Uber driver outed

A fake Uber driver has been outted in Carlsbad, thanks to the same social media that makes the driving service so popular. Rob Noel was recently visiting his Oceanside family for nine days. The 27-year-old ...

One hat picture, none of Caitlyn

Opening day of summer racing season at Del Mar

Highlighted by a new dirt track and Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club started its 76th meet on July 16 with a reported 45,000+ fans in attendance, many wearing big hats, tight dresses, ...

Showered with nothing

Freshwater rinse-offs at the beach are over until the drought is

On Wednesday, July 15, the outdoor showers at San Diego’s four state-park beaches were scheduled to be shut off, in compliance with the governor’s mandated 25 percent reduction in water usage. The cold-water shower towers ...

He's got horsinality

American Pharaoh mingles with the press in Del Mar

Even though he arrived at 4:00 a.m. today (July 14), so calm was the move down from the Santa Anita track that Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh got out on the track at Del Mar ...

Steal big, young thug

Oceanside burglary spree yields 109 calls to police and caught suspects

Here’s a tip to Oceanside criminals: Don’t try to rob numerous houses, in the same neighborhood, on the same day, in broad daylight. On the afternoon of July 7, Oceanside police started receiving 911 calls ...

Expect a gas-price hike of at least 30¢

Because “West Coast gasoline inventory declined..." blah blah blah yeah right

After weeks of lowering gas prices, on July 9 at 2:00 p.m., the gas-price website gasbuddy.com sent its San Diego subscribers a text alert: “Gas prices expected to rise 15–30 cents. Fill up now.” By ...

The fishing license gap

Why your annual license won't last 12 months

Many San Diego area anglers seem to get ticked off this time of year. Often we wait until summertime to buy our annual fishing licenses, knowing that our $47.01 will only last until December 31. ...

Awesome and awful times at the fair

During last hour, workers are happy and ready to be done

The 2015 San Diego County Fair ended its almost four-week run at 11:00 p.m. of July 5. Just after the entry gates closed at 10:00 p.m., attendance for the 26 days was pegged at 1,503,538 ...

Welcome aboard, citizen

Swearing-in ceremony on U.S.S. Midway

Boniface Anoje was a proud dad when his son, Navy serviceman Nick Anoje, received his American citizenship on July 1. In the special citizenship ceremony, planned to coincide with Independence Day celebrations, the former Nigerian ...

Vet-clinic signage considered rude to some, funny to others

Just add funk

For the past several weeks, Coast Highway 101’s Coastal Animal Hospital, has created a brouhaha over its comedic signage. Currently, Dr. Brian Evans’s 4´ x 8´ highway frontage sign reads, “In Leucadia, stinky hippies are ...

Electronic billboard? No!

Oceanside council votes against 40-foot-tall sign

Going against its own staff recommendation, on June 24 the Oceanside City Council said no to the installation of a giant digital billboard on Highway 78. With all five councilmembers expressing some concern, the three-two ...

Babylon by airbus

Carlsbad's airline takes its maiden flight to L.A.

With 20 people onboard, Carlsbad’s only airline took off on its maiden flight on June 18 for the 25-minute ride to LAX. Biz Air’s owner, Dan Cretsinger, along with head flight attendant Robin Rossi, welcomed ...

Desert rats got a thing for Rancho Santa Fe

Gas station one of the few in county that sells 100-octane racing fuel

The highest priced regular gas in San Diego County on June17 was found at the 76 station in Coronado, at $4.59 a gallon — wait, one station in Rancho Santa Fe posts a much higher ...

It was like debtors' prison

Posting bail for minor traffic infractions amounts to "pay to play," says judge

San Diego County traffic violators who choose to fight their tickets were given a legal financial break this week. On June 8, the state’s Judicial Council ordered traffic courts statewide to stop collecting bail from ...

I-5 is for simps

Chicago-based airline sets up in Carlsbad

Beginning Thursday, June 18, North County air travelers will again be able to fly directly to Los Angeles from Carlsbad’s McClellan-Palomar Airport. The airport was left without a public airline when United Express pulled out ...

Swimming parallel to the shore is wrong

When the Willis brothers, Michael and Milton, show up on San Diego’s beaches, other surfers know who they are. The 59-year old twins have embodied the surfing lifestyle. By age 12, they were shaping boards ...

Thousands of fair people in one place

The first hour at the San Diego County Fair

The hour before the opening of the San Diego County Fair, on the I-5 exiting southbound at Via de la Valle, traffic was light. But by the time the gates opened at 4:00 p.m. on ...

Big box breakdown in San Marcos

Lowe's is out, WinCo and Hobby Lobby are coming in

When Lowe’s Home Improvement Center pulled out of San Marcos’ Creekside Marketplace shopping center last year, it left a huge building vacant. Now, major renovations are underway for two long-established chains with no stores in ...

Berry disconcerting

More shopping, less strawberry picking in Carlsbad's strawberry fields?

The future developer of the 203-acre California Strawberry Farm, east of I-5 on Cannon Road, may be trying an end-run around city hall and Carlsbad citizens. Last month, the owners of the land at the ...

Getting classy, Encinitas

Plans in motion for construction of two-story office building downtown

Another old downtown Encinitas building is soon to bite the dust. The 1950s-era building, at 860 South Coast Highway 101, was built as an auto-repair garage in the heyday of the pre–Interstate 5 route to ...

Slimy blue things die on Cardiff beach

What were the little, deep-blue slimy things that washed up on Cardiff by the Sea’s beaches last week? There were several hundred of them deposited on the sand above the low-tide line in front of ...

City dog blues

Near Idyllwild, Aslan of San Marcos gets caught between boulders

Sara Norris of San Marcos was camping at Thousand Trails in Pine Cove (near Idyllwild) on May 21 when her female golden retriever, Aslan, disappeared. After searching for hours, Norris called the emergency line at ...

Gladys was there

San Dieguito Heritage Museum opens doors to almost-finished Teten House

For the first time since they began its restoration nine years ago, on May 23 the San Dieguito Heritage Museum opened the doors to its almost-finished Teten House, perhaps Encinitas’ oldest original house remaining. Fred ...

Tickets issued for crossing train tracks

“Trains travel through at 35 to 73 miles per hour… Sometimes a ticket educates.”

The North County Transit District has started writing tickets for people who illegally cross their railroad tracks. The enforcement carried out by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. covers all train tracks from the Orange ...

The upscaling of North County

“It’s not like when the old Encinitas families used to own it," says business owner

Early in the morning on May 19, the 7-Eleven at 1446 Encinitas Boulevard closed permanently. It’s been a fixture near the El Camino Real corridor for decades — since the 1970s. According to 7-Eleven’s director ...

After the fires...

Good news and bad following last year's North County disasters

Last year, on the morning of May 14, humidity levels were down to 5 percent, morning beach temperatures already up into the high 80s, and strong Santa Ana winds were blowing from the east. Over ...

The word is totally bird

Western snowy plovers hop Coast Highway to set up on beach

The western snowy plover must not be able to read. For the first time in years, the federally endangered bird has jumped across its well-signed and protected nesting areas in the San Elijo Lagoon, on ...

Where are the trout in California?

Fishing-license revenue often raided by other state agencies

A 2015 fishing license will set you back $47.01, plus a $5.21 ocean fishing stamp. Out-of-state residents will shell out $126.36. Sportsmen active in the politics say the increasing cost of fishing licenses is due ...

Gas in the morning is best

Though we still pay the most, can we hope for a price drop on July 1?

On May 6, San Diegans may have seen the past 20-day gas price run-up come to an end. Gas prices began to rise sharply, for the second time this year, on April 16. In the ...

All that's missing is water

City of Oceanside completes fountain project, but it will remain dry

When is a public fountain not a fountain? That’s the dilemma facing the City of Oceanside, as it was prepared to turn on its civic center fountain after a seven-month, $378,000 refurbishing. The city’s water ...

American flag graffiti incident resolved

Vandalism victims reach end of ordeal that began last summer

Three victims of graffiti and vandalism that struck an Oceanside neighborhood have finally seen justice served, and their property — American flags — returned. Last July 17, neighbors in the Oceana community, Virgil Hardin, Michael ...

Secret sauce plus power bait win June Lake contest

Six inches of snow on opening day of trout season

The Eastern Sierra trout opener on April 25 turned out like last year — a predicted record opener, then a spring snowstorm dumped six inches, and seemingly ruined all the big fish hopes and expected ...

Pencils make a comeback at San Dieguito

Reintroduction of dispenser, discovery of Gimpy's graffiti

Little did Encinitas resident Norm Keith know that his 1953 act of high school hi-jinx would be discovered in 2015. Keith was a senior at San Dieguito High School in the early '50s when he ...

Overweight San Salvador launch sunk

Don’t want to use two competing cranes to launch San Salvador

The planned floating of the full-scale replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s 1542 ship, the San Salvador, was grounded prior to its highly anticipated April 19 launch date. Engineers discovered the 151-ton ship weighed too much. ...

Cartman, where are you?

Accumulation of shopping carts awaits pickup at Encinitas city yard

Residents along Encinitas’ Santa Fe Drive may be wondering what’s going on with all the shopping carts. The 19 carts have been sitting for weeks in front of a San Dieguito Water District’s maintenance yard ...

Big trout predicted for Eastern Sierra opener

Hundreds of San Diegans are getting ready for the Eastern Sierra trout season opener on April 25. The annual six-hour trek up Highway 395 turns out thousands of anglers from Southern California in search of ...

Where there's hope, there's a fire station

Encinitas community and businesses consider new use for empty building

For sale or lease: one used fire station. The City of Encinitas is looking for another use for the old Cardiff by the Sea fire station. Built in 1960, the 1600-square-foot, two-truck station was the ...

Spock lobster

Trekkies on Encinitas council unmask themselves, declare territory for Spock

No, it was not an April Fool’s joke or a Cardiff Kook prank. The City of Encinitas officially proclaimed a Vulcan Avenue block for its favorite Vulcan — Mr. Spock. “Spock Block” was proclaimed for ...

He lay in wait with packing tape

Solana Beach parents of attempted kidnap victim email urgent warning

The parents of a seven-year-old Solana Beach girl, who was the victim of an attempted kidnapping on March 23, are speaking out to area residents via an email plea. The botched abduction occurred at 3:30 ...