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Stories by Ken Harrison

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 ...

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 ...

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