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Stories by Ken Harrison

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 ...

Justice sought for newspaper woman dead since 1965

Missing-persons HQ in Lakeside seeks Dorothy Kilgallen info

On November 8, 1965, TV star Dorothy Kilgallen was found dead in her five-story Manhattan brownstone. Conspiracy theorists have claimed over the years she was killed because she knew too much about President Kennedy’s assassination. ...

Free cell phones here

Subsidized phone service used to cover only landlines

There’s no excuse in California for low-income families not having a phone, as visitors to San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency offices on Union Plaza Court in Oceanside can attest. Monday through Friday, ...

Encinitas' facelift continues

Will elimination of smog shop end summertime car shows?

For the third time this year, another Coast Highway 101 building in Encinitas’ downtown is scheduled for demolition. Encinitas Smog, at 682 South Coast Highway, has lost its long-term lease, says owner Alex Stanton. He ...

Call them FAT. They don't care.

Undercover law-enforcement officers makes arrest in Cardiff

For the second time in as many weeks in Cardiff by the Sea, well-armed U.S. Marshals in unmarked vehicles pulled over and arrested a male driver. Both times the arrests occurred in front of San ...

Who cared? Hitler didn't surf

San Dieguito High alumni recall the World War II years

Last week’s homecoming was a big one at San Dieguito High School Academy. At the end of the accelerated first semester, the student body enjoyed homecoming activities and dress-up spirit days. Elsewhere on the 79-year-old ...

Cardiff train track safety barriers replaced

Yet, town council members would have preferred something less industrial

Cardiff by the Sea’s “unwelcomed wall of ugly” has almost come down. Earlier in February, the North County Transit District suddenly placed 54 orange construction barricades along San Elijo Avenue, overlooking Coast Highway 101 and ...

Opening day of Bing Crosby season includes costume contest

Marilyn, Clark, and Lucy show at Del Mar

Opening its second annual five-week-long Bing Crosby season, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on October 29 welcomed over 6000 fans — nowhere near the summer crowds of the regular meet, but lower attendance was reputedly ...

The parting out of Haggen

Smart & Final reputedly to bid on 10 of the 25 stores

With large “Store Closing” banners draped across the front of the La Costa Haggen Food and Drug, advertising 10 to 30 percent off, the much storied four-month expansion to bankruptcy of the Washington based-chain may ...

Absolutely malled in Carlsbad

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they tore the whole thing down and built condos.”

What’s going on with Carlsbad’s Plaza Camino Real…er…Westfield Carlsbad shopping center? Last year’s name change hasn’t seemed to help. Recently, rumors have been flying around the mall’s remaining merchants and their customers. In 2013, Westfield ...

Hwy 76: Pave it, stripe it, and let's drive it already!

At last, four lanes all the way from I-5 to I-15

Motorists driving the curvy, two-lane Highway 76 from Bonsall to I-15, with 20,000 fellow travelers per day, will soon see a light at the end of a traffic-nightmare tunnel. The old road, built in the ...

Encinitas styrofoam ban unwelcomed

"The solution is more trash cans on the beach.”

Steve Amster is fighting Encinitas city hall again. In his 30 years as owner of Garden State Bagels, he has won, and lost, several battles over sign ordinances and sheriff’s department traffic enforcement. This time ...

The birds win one in Oceanside

Audubon Society buys 3.5 acres once intended for development

The Buena Vista Audubon Society announced this week that they have reached their fundraising goal of $1.5 million to purchase a 3.5-acre parcel on the west side of Coast Highway, on the border of Oceanside ...

The sunglasses thing didn't work out

Arnette Eyewear closes shop, leaves Encinitas

Arnette Eyewear, a high-end sunglasses brand popular with surfers, skaters, and skiers, quietly closed down their Encinitas world headquarters last week. The building at 444 South Coast Highway, which also served as a sales and ...

Haggen, dogged by problems, closes

Some customers unaware of closures but aware of no donuts

Nine months after announcing the biggest move into the Southern California grocery business, Washington-based Haggen Foods is giving up, leaving 127 California, Nevada, and Arizona stores vacant and laying off thousands of workers. The closures ...

North County millionaires' buyers market

Slowdown or just a blip in normally robust real estate sales?

Are rising post-recession real estate prices starting to crack? Yes, for high-end properties, says inland North County realtor Suzan Isber. “Three weeks ago we started noticing sellers of million-dollar-plus properties not getting their asking price. ...

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