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Stories by Ken Harrison

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 ...

PE class stacks riprap along Carlsbad's coast

A tale-tell sign that spring has arrived along the beaches of North County is the appearance of rock sculpture. Made by informal artisans, they’ll find various-sized riprap rock that has been added for erosion control. ...

Ki defied Cardiff’s jinx

Was it the smoking sage?

Cardiff by the Sea’s restaurant matriarch has passed away. Ki Holcomb, 88, founded the popular oceanfront Ki’s Restaurant along Cardiff by the Sea’s Restaurant Row, on Coast Highway 101. In 1980, at the age of ...

Documentary at La Paloma: Surfers travel to Aleutian island

Hunting season over, winter storms pending.

Playing to two shows at the La Paloma Theatre on March 22, Surfer magazine presented the San Diego County premier of its new film, The Cradle of Storms. The 25-minute documentary follows three West Coast ...

Scandia Motel sits nearly vacant

Carlsbad owner rents for $55 but is selective

What if you had a fairly well maintained, 23-unit motel, two blocks from the beach, and during the first week of spring break, nobody checked in? Such is the case of the Scandia Motel at ...

Maldonado family farm closes in Cardiff

Land owner sells parcel (zoned for 7 homes) to developer instead

Maldonado Farms, active in Cardiff by the Sea for over 40 years, is shutting down — at least at the location they’ve held. The large greenhouse at 1412 MacKinnon Road was torn down last week. ...

Bonsall’s length of Highway 76 to become four lanes

Widening to I-15 (promised decades ago) to take three years

Motorists along Highway 76 between Bonsall and I-15 are happy to see that the final six-mile phase of the Highway 76 widening project has begun. Last week, crews started clearing out heavy brush and trees ...

Auction on for Pacific View Elementary School

Board fails to postpone sale of historical property

Seen as the community’s last chance to postpone the auction of the old Pacific View Elementary School site, almost 100 people showed up at a meeting of the Encinitas Union School District on March 11. ...

Surfers learn wooden board building in Cardiff

Four-day workshop to teach near-lost art costs $1700

Trying to revive the art of 1930s hollow wooden surfboards and expand the “sustainable surfing” movement, seven surfers recently took a four-day board-building class. On March 7 — day two of the class — the ...

Florida surfer at Swami's unwelcome

Allegedly assaulted someone with a fin, deputies called

After two weeks of harassment by a man who was described as a bipolar transient from Florida, sheriff’s deputies were called to Swami’s beach parking lot on March 6 at around 9:30 a.m. Danny Knoblaugh ...

Auction looms for Encinitas' Pacific View school

Residents aim to stop sale of parcel that was donated in 1883

Recently, Leucadia resident Scott Chatfield woke up one morning at 3:00 a.m. and realized he had to do something to save the old Pacific View Elementary School. The 2.8-acre property comes up for public auction ...

Off-ramp improvements part of I-5 HOV lanes

Dangerous exit to be redesigned for safer traffic flow

On February 20, Caltrans began construction on the long awaited improvements at the I-5/Santa Fe Drive on and off ramps — on the west side of the freeway. The southbound I-5 off-ramp is one of ...

Winter skiing's finally on in the Eastern Sierras

The Pineapple Express has been dumping snow the past two weeks.

Just when SoCal skiers and snowboarders thought winter would never come, the Pineapple Express has opened up and is dumping tons of snow on Mammoth and June Mountain. The weather phenomenon picks up moisture-laden air ...

Oceanside's "Top Gun" house gets a coat of paint

Renovation and move of structure scheduled

Last week, the 125-year old Oceanside house in disrepair at 102 Pacific Street received a fresh coat of paint, its first since 1985. For all its problems — peeling paint, crumbling overhangs, and leaning porches ...

Cardiff School marks 100th year

Historic school bell rung once for each year

In 1913, Cardiff by the Sea’s founder, J. Frank Cullen, realized his growing town’s kids should probably have something better than a classroom in the MacKinnon farm’s barn. So he donated land and built Cardiff’s ...

Fletcher Cove Community Center open for partying

Voters overturn restrictive regulations with passage of Prop B

The San Diego mayoral race wasn’t the only special election on February 11. The majority of Solana Beach voters passed Proposition B — an initiative brought to the ballot box by citizens. It asked voters ...

Sunglasses company pays for new billboard message

Last time it was provocative; this time it's ambiguous…or is it not?

Spy, a sunglass company based in Carlsbad, has created controversy again, with their newest billboard on Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. Last week, a new (possibly provocative) billboard message was put up to promote the ...

Cardiff’s Beach House Restaurant closed

Employees had no clue…neither did valet service or linens provider

Last Monday, February 3, employees arriving at the Beach House Restaurant in Cardiff were surprised to learn they no longer had a job. Servers Justin and Dylan arrived at 10:00 a.m. to find the owners ...

Say bye to 1927 railroad bridge near Camp Pendleton

Also, the end of the train-traffic logjam

Motorists traveling northbound on I-5 through Camp Pendleton have probably noticed the slow disappearance of the old, rusty, white railroad bridge over the Santa Margarita River. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company built ...

Bikers gather to pay tribute to one of their own

Oceanside man killed in unavoidable motorcycle accident

On February 1, close to 300 friends and family showed up at the Kraken on Coast Highway 101 for a remembrance and celebration of life of Oceanside resident Hugh Williams. Williams was killed on the ...

Korean War vet hoists first flag at Carlsbad restaurant

Colonial-themed Green Dragon Tavern includes museum

Korean War veteran Vic Caruana is known throughout coastal North County as “the flag guy.” He helps local businesses maintain their American flags and takes part in flag-raising ceremonies. On January 31, Caruana was asked ...

Undisclosed law-enforcement action on I-5

Multi-agencies stage at Las Pulgas Drive, “regular patrol” claimed

Some type of major law-enforcement action seemed to be taking place on the southbound I-5 through Camp Pendleton on January 29 at around 2:00 p.m. There were numerous law-enforcement agency vehicles parked at the Las ...

A roadside find: American Pickers in Iowa

Antiques shop made famous by the History Channel.

Driving from the upper Midwest through Illinois, immediately across the state line is the historic town of LeClaire, IA. We quickly pulled off the I-80 exit, but not to visit the quaint old buildings in ...

Encinitas man arrested for guns in Mono County

Sheriff Obenberger's deputies use sloppy tactics to make bust, says attorney

On January 13, Encinitas resident Youssef Boulaalam, through his attorney Allen Berrey, filed a 40-page claim of civil rights violations, illegal search, fabrication of evidence, false arrest, and imprisonment against Mono County and their sheriff’s ...

Drunk driver sideswipes two cars in Oceanside

Neighbors awakened at 1:00 a.m.

According to a resident of the fourplex community off South El Camino Real, behind the Target store, the whole neighborhood woke up to the sound of crashing cars around 1:00 a.m. on January 16. A ...

Panhandler turf battle at freeway exit

Duo tried to "Boss Hogg" two others away

On the eastbound off-ramp of Highway 78 at Jefferson Street — the location that inspired a 2012 panhandling article — a turf war developed on January 8, causing three California Highway Patrol units to respond. ...

Carlsbad pottery store closing after 66 years

A mainstay business in downtown Carlsbad since 1947, El Corral Pottery, is closing its doors. Located at 340 Carlsbad Boulevard (Coast Highway), the location is the last independent seller in Southern California of the colorful ...

Paddle-out for McStay family

Oddities of their vanishment and discovery anonymously discussed

After a memorial service in Laguna Nigel, about 100 family members, friends, and those who never knew Fallbrook’s McStay family, showed up at the San Clemente Pier for a memorial paddle-out on January 4. The ...

Off-track horse-race betting premieres in Oceanside

This year Del Mar to host first ever fall racing season

Coinciding with opening day of horse-racing season at the Santa Anita track in L.A., Ocean’s Eleven Casino in Oceanside premiered coastal North County’s only off-track betting lounge on December 26. Where once was the card ...

Paddle-out for Loren Nancarrow

“He taught us to accept the end with dignity and grace.”

I first met newscaster Loren Nancarrow in the early 1980s. I was a community activist in Encinitas, helping our unincorporated communities advance toward cityhood. When he would show up to one of our press conferences ...

Man down in Vista (then up, then gone)

Leaves behind belongings and warm food

At 1:00 p.m., on December 26, one engine and a paramedic unit from the Vista Fire Deptartment responded to a report of a “man down.” The homeless-looking man was said to be lying on the ...

Coffee with the Captain of Encinitas’ sheriff’s station

Crime rate and strategies discussed at Chick-fil-A

Captain Robert Haley, head of the Encinitas sheriff’s station, held a “Coffee with the Captain” public meeting on December 9. The 8 a.m. session was held at the Chick-fil-A across the street from the sheriff’s ...

Old-school weight-training gym in Cardiff to close

Some members plan to open their own facilities

In business for over ten years, CardifFit, a weight-training gym, has notified its hundreds of members that it will be closing on December 31. The announcement came five months early, according to some members, who ...

Pearl Harbor sidetracked Japanese American from Encinitas

But Taki Sugimoto went back to San Dieguito High before war’s end

On December 7, 1941, an Encinitas vegetable-farming family of Japanese descent had little idea how their lives would be impacted. In February of 1942, San Dieguito High School student Tak Sugimoto’s family received notice of ...

Encinitas’ tallest Christmas tree strung with lights

Tree so big, it has its own address…seriously

The first Monday after Thanksgiving, December 2, was a big day above Moonlight Beach. That’s when Encinitas local Louie Ortiz with his volunteer crew, Bob Joval and Surfer Mike, came together, as Louie has for ...

Cardiff's Masonic Lodge vacant

New housing development could take its place

Neighborhood residents have been wondering what’s up with the empty Cardiff by the Sea Masonic Lodge at 1401Windsor Road. The large building from the 1950s was used for decades as a social gathering spot for ...

Stolen purse leads to arrest

Thieves busted out the credit cards, made trail of charges

On Saturday, August 3, Joy Lomax (not her real name) was at her rental property in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. She was doing a final cleaning of the home on Lake Drive, preparing to turn over the keys ...

Solana Beach pastor received invite to the White House

Thought it was a joke, but it was the "real deal"

Late Sunday night, November 10, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church’s senior minister, Mike McClenahan, decided to check his email. He clicked on correspondence that claimed to be from the White House. It requested his presence at ...

Mustang hunter at Del Mar Fairgrounds

Thousands attend Good Guys Car Show

The largest custom-car show in Southern California, the Good Guys Fall Nationals, attracted thousands of car enthusiasts to the Del Mar Fairgrounds November 22–24. More than 1500 cars and trucks were on display, and the ...

New Walmart sets up in Oceanside

Liquor license and proximity to high school a concern

As Oceanside gets ready to welcome its fourth Walmart location, community opposition is growing over the chain’s application to sell alcohol. The new store, a smaller “Walmart Neighborhood Market” concept, will be located in the ...

Construction begins on Oceanside's grand entrance

Project will add restaurant patio space

After years of planning, Oceanside has finally begun its long-planned streetscape program for its main entrance into downtown. Mission Avenue, between Horne Street and Coast Highway, was closed to two-way traffic on November 12. K-rail ...

Little Leucadia post office to close?

Postage-stamp-sized building has been there since the 1940s

The United States Postal Service, in an effort to reduce continuing losses, has been looking to close, consolidate, or downsize several area post offices. While the possible closures of the La Jolla, Mission Valley, and ...

Cardiff by the Sea off ramp gets trashed

Recycling truck catches fire

On November 11, a motorist traveling northbound on I-5 through Solana Beach noticed smoke coming from the trailer of a semi truck. He reported it to the CHP at 3:45 p.m. When the truck finally ...

New emergency helicopter serves Encinitas

Reach Air Medical now competes with Mercy Air

Mercy Air, the longtime sole provider of emergency medical flights in San Diego, now has some competition. On the morning of November 6, Reach Air Medical Services debuted its new helicopter to Encinitas firefighters, lifeguards, ...

Cardiff’s Sandcastle Drive hosts no apparent ghosts

“Halloween street" pulls in over 1000 on spookiest night of the year

When one sells a house on the two-block-long Sandcastle Drive in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, perhaps it should be required to disclose that the home is on a “Halloween street." Five years ago, KNSD Channel 7 news listed ...

Trucker has heart attack while entering freeway in Encinitas

Jackknifed rig punctures fuel tank

The northbound I-5 on-ramp at Encinitas Boulevard was closed for almost four hours on October 30. The driver of a semi-truck, accelerating up the ramp, reportedly had a heart attack. As the driver tried to ...

Classes of ’39–’42 reunite at San Dieguito Academy

Lost school alma mater heard for the first time since '96

“I knew someday I’d be the last person from my class,” said 92-year-old Del Mar resident Henry Knorr. “I just didn’t expect it to be so soon.” Knorr was a member of San Dieguito High ...

Medical emergency aboard a North County Transit bus

Hostile passenger hogtied with help from eight deputies

A North County Transit District bus driver reported a medical emergency with a passenger aboard his bus at around 2:00 p.m. on October 4. Prior to the ambulance arriving, the driver pulled the bus into ...