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Stories by Ken Harrison

Consolidation of traffic courts coming soon

Ticket in La Mesa? Then drive to Clairemont to take care of it

The San Diego County traffic courts in the East County’s and South Bay’s superior courts are scheduled for the chopping block. As a cost-saving measure, the San Diego Superior Court’s proposed budget for the 2014–15 ...

Goodbye, greenhouse buzz

Cordova Nursery closed, land sold

Another petal of the former Flower Capital of the World has withered away. The Cordova Nursery wholesale greenhouses, at 720 Balour Drive, in Encinitas, have closed. The property has been sold, and on September 9, ...

First-class gas for cheaper

North County station owner explains economics of local fuel biz

Gas prices along North County’s coastline — from Del Mar to Carlsbad — usually average 10 to 15 cents higher than most areas of San Diego. However a few days ago, the FOX5 morning news ...

Leucadia funk-removal machine to start up soon

City of Encinitas to remove 130-year-old eucalyptus for streetscape project

One of the last remaining tall, old, eucalyptus trees along Leucadia’s Coast Highway 101, at Leucadia Boulevard, is scheduled to come down soon. Planted in the 1880s, images on old postcards are all that remain ...

Catalina to mainland in 5 hours, 23 minutes

I remember sitting in the La Paloma Theatre watching the 2012 major release surf film Chasing Mavericks. The biopic of Jay Moriarity’s rise to world-class surfing depicted his mentor, Frosty Hesson, training the young Moriarity ...

Thanks, mule

San Diego woman rescued in Mono County

At 2:45 p.m., on August 26, the Mono County Sheriff’s Department received a call that a 77-year-old San Diego woman became quite ill and was unable to continue with her hiking group. She reportedly had ...

How was I-5 traffic this summer?

SANDAG plan moves forward to widen 27 miles of interstate

On August 13, with the unprecedented support of all six cities between San Diego and Oceanside, the California Coastal Commission gave the green light to SANDAG’s long-term plan to widen I-5. After the unanimous vote ...

Oceanside’s unusual side

Streetscape project includes back-in parking on now-one-way Mission Ave.

The Mission Avenue Improvement Project, started in October of 2013, was completed and open for vehicular and pedestrian traffic on August 19. Access to downtown has been beautified and improved for the better — almost. ...

New kid in town not so bad

Carlsbad surf shop owners don’t complain about Sun Diego

In June, Sun Diego (a surf shop Carlsbad locals describe as being for inlanders and tourists) opened its doors on Coast Highway in the historic Twin Inns building. The one square block Village Faire shopping ...

Boom. Just like that

Lightning threat prompts lifeguards to close beaches from Solana to O'side

With locals and tourists trying to grab in a few more days of summer, the beaches in North County were suddenly closed to all activity on August 20. Starting around 4:00 a.m., an incoming weather ...

Name shame

La Jollan continues challenge of changing title of “Christmas” parade

For the past ten years, La Jolla resident Howard Singer has been trying to bring a change to the town’s annual “Christmas Parade.” He doesn’t like the name. Singer spoke out again on August 14, ...

Liftoff on the Central Coast

Take the train or drive – here are tips for seeing a launch at Vandenberg AFB.

We older folks who remember the moon landing or seeing the space shuttle land at Edwards can check one more item off our bucket list – and do it just five hours north of San ...

No long lines, no security checkpoints

Surf Air promises membership airline to San Diegans.

A new airline is coming soon to San Diego. And in an industry where most major carriers have started making money for the first time in decades; traditional carriers based at Lindbergh Field may experience ...

Oceanside yarn-bombed

Detonation’s soft report means a late report

A “yarn bomb” went off in Oceanside on July 31: tree trunks, signposts, bike racks, and other road fixtures on Pier View Way, Artist Alley, and Coast Highway were blanketed with squares of yarn. Volunteers ...

Baseball for breakfast

Morning crowd gathers in Encinitas to root for all-star team

On August 6, the Encinitas Little League all-star team was playing another regional playoff game for the Western Region Championship in San Bernardino. The team had advanced through the ranks to represent all 600 Leagues ...

Biplane crash survivors!

Plane reportedly lost power while attempting to land in Oceanside

At 11:22 a.m. on August 5, a 1940s-era bi-winged light plane crashed and flipped over on approach to Oceanside Municipal Airport. Oceanside police officers arrived to find the pilot, Lance Murray, and his passenger Daniel ...

No Winnebagos here

Surreptitious storage facility opens for classic wheels

Let’s say you’re concerned that car thieves might steal your 2014 Lamborghini Veneno Roadster that you paid $4.5 million for…or you just want to hide your purchase of a $75,000 classic Chevy from your spouse… ...

Harrowing hike in Kings Canyon

Carlsbad teen spends a night and a day lost

On July 27, 13-year old Carlsbad resident Austin Shedd went missing on a hike into the Kings Canyon National Park. His father, Dr. Rick Shedd, an ER doctor at the Mammoth Lakes Hospital, along with ...

Encinitas to save the Arks

Historic boathouses drifting from foundations

Encinitas’ boathouses — two houses built in the shape of boats, are beginning to drift from their foundations. Not bad, really, for having been built in 1928. Easily one of the most photographed spots in ...

Note to world: People are tired of war

Small protest perseveres through “un-patriotic” period

On July 27, just as they have every weekend afternoon for the past five years, several Encinitas residents held protest signs at the corner of Coast Highway 101 at Encinitas Boulevard. The unaffiliated collection of ...

Serious as a heart attack

Ken Norton, "Ironman of Golf," approaches record

Little did 59-year old Rancho Bernardo resident Ken Norton know, when he had his fifth heart attack in 2008, and when the housing crisis was taking his construction business downhill fast, he would soon find ...

Tough bet

Opening day at Del Mar racetrack

Two hours before the 2:00 p.m. post time, traffic for opening day at the Del Mar racetrack was jammed in every direction; southbound I-5 crept down from La Costa Avenue. Northbound I-5 was very slow. ...

It’s not a bicycle — it’s an ad!

Orange ghost-bikes seen locked up around North County

North County folks from Carlsbad to Cardiff by the Sea may have been wondering what’s up with the bright orange bicycles seen around town. They are just sitting there all day, chained to sign posts. ...

Carlsbad drowning victim found

David Velasco went under after a wave overtook him on the shoreline

At around 6:00 a.m. on July 10, a body was discovered floating in the shallow water on an Oceanside beach. The 911 call came from two surfers as they prepared to go into the water ...

Atticus, where art thou?

Poway teen still unaccounted for three weeks after he missed graduation

It’s been three weeks since 18-year old Atticus VanArsdale went missing from his Poway home. The morning of high-school commencement day, the 12th grader at Poway High School failed to show up for graduation practice ...

Remember California?

Leucadia liquor store muralized

Royal Liquor, at 1496 North Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia, is the first site of a mural project by a new Encinitas area arts group named Paint Encinitas. Cardiff by the Sea artist Skye Walker ...

Agrarian’s lament

Encinitas farmer feels the suburban squeeze

Laurel Mehl has lived on her family’s farm since she was born in 1958. Starting with her grandfather, the family has farmed their land for over seven decades. Now her Coral Tree Farm, on two ...

No drunks drive through police checkpoint

Still, Oceanside police cite 16 motorists, seize 7 vehicles

Oceanside police officers were surprised on the evening of June 6, after they set up a DUI checkpoint and no derelict drivers showed. Over a four-hour period starting at 9:30 p.m., on Oceanside Boulevard at ...

North County’s prince of skate

Middle-schooler bests mentor, scores gold and $30K at X Games

On June 13, when most eighth-graders at Earl Warren Middle School in Solana Beach were sitting at their graduation ceremony thinking about summer and what high school might hold in store for them, student Tom ...

Baseball Street

Ball-biz bigwigs find a bastion in Cardiff

After his final two years playing outfield with the San Francisco Giants, current San Diego Padres bench coach Dave Roberts returned to his San Diego roots. (He graduated from Rancho Buena Vista High School in ...

Fair fanatic's guide

Don't be duped and save a buck

By Wednesday, June 11, the third day of its four-week run, the San Diego County Fair was in full swing. Traffic was backing up on northbound I-5 by 10:30 a.m. As a regular fair fanatic, ...

Who killed this boy?

Ryan Leitzke was hit by a car — likely a truck — 21 years ago

May 30 is a date that the Leitzke family of Vista can never forget. It was the day in 1993 that nine-year-old Ryan Leitzke was left to die on the roadside, hit by a driver ...

First hour of the San Diego County Fair

The Beatles were there — hurry, hurrayy...

For the 29th consecutive year, Escondido’s Margaret Austin, known as the “Pink Pig Lady” for her rolling collection of pink pig memorabilia, was the first to walk through the front gates on June 7 — ...

Vote-schmote. I’m going to the beach.

Election notes you might be interested in. Or not.

What if they held an election, and no one voted. That was almost the case in California’s June 3 gubernatorial primary election. Only around 20 percent of the state's eligible voters turned out to cast ...

In case of a shooter on the rampage…

Drill at Scripps Memorial preps staff, law enforcement, and rescue personnel

On June 6, Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas was the site of a mock training exercise in the emergency room: a “patient” with mental problems walked out of exam room #13. As he was trying ...

Old McDonald’s had some history

Oceanside burger joint to get facelift (and lipo?)

Demolition of one of the county’s oldest original McDonald’s sites began on June 3. Located at 137 Canyon Drive, near Mission Avenue, the restaurant was one of three McDonald’s locations that served the San Diego ...

For whom the vet extols...

Vic Caruana doesn’t skimp on Memorial Day recognitions

Each year Korean War vet, Vic Caruana, 85, decorates his home for Memorial Day weekend. It’s not hard to miss his house on Harding Street with the 66 American flags, five branches-of-service flags, and his ...

Suicide at Gopher Canyon

Man told witnesses what he was going to do

At around 3:30 p.m. on May 21, a gray-haired man in a white T-shirt stopped his pickup truck on the northbound on ramp of I-15 at Gopher Canyon Road. The man said to witnesses he ...

After the fire: return to Poinsettia Lane

No shrubs to hide dumping grounds; soil “purified” by intense heat

A May 19 visit to the 1700 block of Poinsettia Lane, site of Carlsbad’s “Poinsettia Fire,” revealed a much different scene than just one week ago: apparently, illegal dumpers have been throwing their trash in ...

Carlsbad fire official designates potential crime scene

But, “It could have been just one golfer’s stogie that started this whole thing.”

On the evening of May 13, most North County coastal residents breathed a sigh of relief that the “Bernardo“ fire in the Rancho Santa Fe area appeared to have not developed into a repeat of ...

Too much Grand Theft Auto?

Reckless driver in speeding truck knocks over tree, runs away

Encinitas sheriff’s deputies were on the lookout for a silver Nissan Titan truck with Mossy Nissan new-car plates on the evening of May 12. Shortly after 8:30 p.m. they found it, missing a large part ...

For God’s sake, man, save the puppies

Fires require evacuation of Helen Woodward Animal Center

When fire evacuations were ordered in the Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe areas the afternoon of May 13, the staff at the Helen Woodward Animal Center sprung into action. The center’s evacuation plan called ...

Eastern Sierra's big trout in hiding

An early-season report on Sierras fishing.

At 5:08 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, the Eastern Sierra trout season was on. Hundreds of San Diegans headed up Highway 395 to hit the ice-free lakes from Big Pine to Bridgeport, in what was ...

You want electricity or not?

Saturday traffic jam unexpected on Carlsbad surface streets

At around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, SDG&E started a construction project to get power across Olivenhain Road to a new, small development of condos off of Amargosa Drive. The construction required the reduction ...

Encinitas: Roundabout Capital of California

Traffic circles planned for off-ramps at Birmingham Drive

Caltrans has announced future improvements to the Birmingham Drive/Interstate 5 interchange in Cardiff by the Sea — roundabouts, rather than traffic signals. The Birmingham Drive exits are the last remaining I-5 interchanges that don’t have ...

Thanks for the full-scale train, Dad

Pullman car in Miramar was inheritance

While driving eastbound on Miramar Road, I spotted a classic train car sitting on an abandoned railroad spur. The 1948 Pullman car sits with 30 other industrial freight cars on an end-of-the-line track, fenced off ...

The Obama–La Jolla beat

"He has not supported America. We have too many laws and restrictions.”

Three hours before President Obama’s motorcade was scheduled to roll through La Jolla, protesters were shouting their slogans at passing motorists at the corner of Torrey Pines Road and Dunaway Drive. The $10,000-a-seat Democratic Party ...

Doggone! The dog’s back after 7 years

Buddy the black Lab returns to owners as owners return to county

A few weeks ago, Buddy, a ten-year old Lab, was reunited with his owners after having gone missing for seven years. During the San Diego County wildfires of October 2007, Buddy and his family were ...

Three Bettys recognized in Oceanside

Library honors longtime volunteers

Three women named Betty, with a combined age of 284 years, were honored at the Oceanside Library’s Volunteer Appreciation Day on April 11. While 11 other library volunteers were honored for as “Volunteers of the ...

Encinitas mayor keeps campaign promise

Teresa Arballo Barth won’t run for reelection

In an announcement that stunned many supporters, populist Encinitas mayor Teresa Arballo Barth recently announced that she will not run for reelection. In her April 5 email to constituents, she cited her original campaign pledge ...

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