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Stories by Ken Harrison

June Lake's Open for Business

Twenty minutes and a world away from Mammoth.

Even with the unexpected winter closure of June Mountain*, skiers and snowboarders are finding June Lake village to be a welcome getaway – to get away from the crowds of nearby Mammoth. While Mammoth's skiing ...

Train collides with tow truck, kills driver in Cardiff

A tow-truck driver was killed in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon, December 8, when a southbound Amtrak plowed into his rig. At around 2:30 p.m., the tow-truck driver had just turned off of Coast Hwy. 101 ...

San Diego County’s final election results

Even though the general election was over a month ago, it took the past four weeks to count thousands of provisional and absentee ballots that were cast just prior to, or on, election day. When ...

Survey polls San Diego County residents on I-5 widening

Last week, North County coastal residents started receiving live telephone survey calls from the San Diego County Association of Governments (SANDAG) regarding questions on the upcoming I-5 expansion. Officially known as the North Coast Corridor ...

Oceanside Code Enforcement Fines Homeowner

Last month, Oceanside businessman Steve Amster bought a house at auction. The boarded-up house, in the 1400 block of Dubuque Street in Oceanside, had been gutted by the city before auction. A few days after ...

Three Days Later, San Diego County Ballots Remain Uncounted

Even though the 2012 general election was held almost a week ago, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office — as of 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 9 — still had not counted 27 ...

U-T Asks to Renegotiate Street Hawker Program

With the U-T’s purchase of the North County Times, the firing of 80 staff employees and writers, and the merging of the publications on October 15, one aspect of the transition has so far remained ...

San Diego Sheriff’s Dept. Tests Potential Patrol Cars

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is testing out three new patrol vehicles to replace the Ford Crown Victoria police squad car. Last week, one prototype — a Dodge Charger — could be seen driving ...

On Scene: Carlsbad Condo Fire

On October 24 around 4:00 p.m., a woman name Marsha heard a loud explosion near her second-floor condo in the 2300 block of Hosp Way, in Carlsbad's Grove condominiums. She went outside and saw black ...

Will Work for Food

Going undercover as a freeway off-ramp beggar.

I lost my job, my wife, my car, and I’m now homeless. I’m trying to stay sober. I’m hoping generous San Diegans will pass a few bucks my way to help me out until I ...

Media Coverage of Boy Scout Abuse Cases Unfair?

With the October 18 public release of thousands of possible child-abuse case files held by the national Boys Scouts of America, including some cases here in San Diego, local scout leaders are reacting. I talked ...

Park N Ride Pranksters in Cardiff?

Sometime prior to Labor Day weekend (September 1–3), orange safety pylons, connected with yellow caution tape, were placed in the Cardiff Park N Ride lot on Birmingham Drive at I-5. The pylons blocked off 11 ...

Carlsbad Residents See Yellow

Before summer began, Carlsbad installed five new pedestrian crosswalks on oceanfront Carlsbad Boulevard, between Tamarack and Sycamore avenues. Each crossing is well marked, with a pedestrian-safe, raised median in the middle of the busy four-lane ...

Mammoth Lakes Basin Bike Path

This paved downhill route through pine forest is fun for the whole family.

This summer marked the completion of 5.3 miles of paved bike path through forests above the town of Mammoth Lakes, California. The clearly marked, two-lane path starts at the top of Lake Mary Rd. at ...

Red-Light Cameras Go Nuts in Vista

In the busiest part of the day, the traffic lights at the intersection of Santa Fe Drive at Vista Village Drive in downtown Vista went off around 11:50 a.m. on September 14, due to the ...

Train Traffic Stopped to Build Pedestrian Undercrossing in Encinitas

After the passing of the last northbound Coaster train from downtown on Friday night, September 7, Amtrak, Coaster, and freight-train service was suspended between Oceanside and San Diego. Shortly after midnight, September 8, about 50 ...

Clear Channel vs. SPY in Encinitas

A billboard that created controversy along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas was taken down early Thursday morning, September 6, at around 6:20 a.m. The sign, advertising SPY sunglasses, read: “Happy to Sit On Your Face.” ...

Surfaris Hit the Beach at Belly Up

The Surfaris celebrated the 50th anniversary of their iconic surf song “Wipe Out” at the Belly Up on July 17. Bob Berryhill, the co-writer of “Wipe Out” — at the age of 15! — is ...

Traffic Cop Questioned in Encinitas

Last week, Steve Amster, owner of Garden State Bagels in Encinitas, confronted a Sheriff's Dept. motorcycle traffic officer positioned in his store's parking lot at 191 N. El Camino Real. After seeing the officer point ...

New Airline to be Based at Carlsbad’s McClellan-Palomar Airport

Over 300 North County business people, community leaders, and government officials gathered on July 10 in a large hangar at McClellan-Palomar Airport. The crowd was there for the introduction of California Pacific Airlines, a new ...

Errant Drivers Worry Residents in Encinitas

On June 30, at around 11:00 a.m., a mom and grandmother rounded up several young children playing in the street on the 200 block of Cornflower Street in Encinitas. A neighbor, two doors down, was ...

First Hour at the San Diego County Fair

Margaret Austin of Escondido was the first person in line at the fair's front gate and said she has been for at least the past 25 years. She woke up at 3:00 a.m. to board ...

Media Men and News Babes Gather, Gobble, Report on San Diego County Fair

A preview of this year's San Diego County Fair in Del Mar was hosted Friday night, June 1, along the midway of the fairgrounds. The exclusive invitee list included hundreds of local members of the ...

False Alarms on Post Office Closures

Earlier this month, the United States Postal Service announced that it had withdrawn its plan to close hundreds of post offices around the country. Two San Diego County post offices were on the list, as ...

Pat & Oscar's Changes Name, Keeps Breadsticks

In November of last year, many San Diegans were disappointed when most of the popular Pat & Oscar's restaurants closed their doors and the chain filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But on May 22, the ...

Dunkin' Donuts’ First California Shop Opens on Camp Pendleton

Dunkin' Donuts, the well-established donut-and-coffee chain on the East Coast and in the Midwest — with 6700 store locations in the U.S. and 30 other countries — didn’t have a California location until earlier this ...

Encinitas Art Auction Backstory

Over 100 people turned out for Encinitas' 101 Artist Colony's banner auction on May 20. The annual art sale invited 97 local artists to submit original paintings, on white vinyl banners, that were then hung ...

An Oceanside Man’s Meditation for Peace

Once about every two weeks, around sunset, Oceanside's José Vasquez dons his tie-dyed, peace-sign T-shirt, parks along the busy Coast Highway in Carlsbad, climbs on top of his signage-laden truck, and meditates for unconditional love ...

Amtrak Police on Track Patrol in Carlsbad

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 10, two Amtrak police officers arrived on a bluff overlooking the Batiquitos Lagoon and railroad tracks near the corner of Carlsbad Boulevard and La Costa Avenue. Amtrak officers Robert ...

Surf Community Honors Junior Seau in Oceanside

Over 250 surfers joined the memorial paddle-out to honor Junior Seau on Sunday, May 6. The Oceanside beach, in front of the former San Diego Charger linebacker’s home, was packed with two to three thousand ...

Rival Gangs Spray-Paint Encinitas

Early in the morning on April 17, gang members reputedly from the Eden Gardens area of Solana Beach, using black spray-paint, tagged several walls in their rival gang's territory of Encinitas. By the time the ...

Three DUI Busts After High-Speed Chase and Crash in Leucadia

A high-speed chase that started in Oceanside on Thursday night, April 12, ended in a three-car collision on La Costa Avenue at the I-5 off ramp in Leucadia. Oceanside police observed a stolen vehicle at ...

Nessy Burger Relocates

A North County icon disappeared for a short time on Saturday, April 7. Named after the Loch Ness Monster, Nessy Burger has been around since 1989, contained in a little roadside trailer on the west ...

Random Power Outages Along South El Camino Real Street

Just after 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 2, the electricity went haywire in the 2100 block of South El Camino Real in Oceanside, affecting 200–500 customers. Tenants in the Villa Office building at 2103 first ...

Jefferson Street Closure Frustrates Carlsbad Drivers

Residents in Carlsbad's village area of town are miffed. One of their main thoroughfares, Jefferson Street, is closed to through traffic heading out of the downtown Carlsbad area, east over I-5 along the Buena Vista ...

Major Malfunction at Channel 8

Early morning TV news viewers may have noticed that KFMB/CBS 8's morning crew was not on the air on Friday, March 16. Normally starting at 4:30 a.m., news anchors Dan Cohen and Nichelle Medina were ...

Maryland Company Seeks to Privatize Oceanside Library

On January 13, the Oceanside Public Library's board of trustees held an unprecedented emergency meeting. The meeting was precipitated by an announcement by city manager Peter Weiss that a private library-operation firm had approached the ...

Oceanside Homecoming Queen Named Via Helicopter

Fans of Oceanside's El Camino High School football got a surprise at the game on October 14. During the homecoming celebration's halftime show, as the five queen nominees and their decorated floats were parading around ...

Fall in the Eastern Sierras, California

You don’t need to travel to New England to see fabulous fall colors – a tank-and-a-half of gas away, California's Eastern Sierras are on full autumn display. A very early snowfall, up to 19 inches ...

Encinitas Celebrates 25th Anniversary

On October 1, 1986, the City of Encinitas officially opened its doors for business. About three months earlier, in the June '86 state primary election, citizens of five communities (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Leucadia, ...

Walmart to Open in Encinitas, Despite Objections

Walmart has snuck in through the back door of Encinitas, almost unnoticed. The giant retailer has already pulled permits to start construction at a vacant 105,000-square-foot store on the corner of Leucadia Boulevard and Calle ...

Encinitas El Torito Closes Down

Recently, the Encinitas El Torito restaurant closed its doors. The restaurant at 1068 North El Camino Real removed the exterior signs and logos on September 15. A sign was posted apologizing for the inconvenience and ...

Cardiff to Get a New Fire Station on Birmingham Drive

Neighborhood groups have previously fought proposed developments on a large sloping parcel on the northwest corner of Birmingham Drive at I-5. So, there was much concern on Thursday, August 18, when a green-canvas-covered fence was ...

Vista and Marine Base Post Offices May Shut Down

Last month, the United States Postal Service published a list 3653 post offices to be studied for closure. In San Diego County, two offices are on the list: zip code 92140, located at the Marine ...

San Diego County Fair Worker Calls for Backup

Visiting the San Diego County Fair is always fun — an exception being Friday night, July 1, when my family and I were leaving the fairgrounds. As our van was parked up on Via de ...

Scouts Place Flags at Ft. Rosecrans

I had visited my father's gravesite at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery maybe only five times since he was interred in 1968. That was until my oldest son (now 13) took part in the Memorial Day ...

Flower Hill Cineplex to Close, Whole Foods to Open

With the recently announced closing of UltraStar Cinemas' Flower Hill four-plex in Del Mar, North County residents between south Carlsbad and Carmel Valley will be without a multiplex movie theater. The Flower Hill theater will ...

Funding Approved for Underground Pedestrian Tunnel in Encinitas

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the plan for an underground pedestrian tunnel at the western end of Santa Fe Drive at San Elijo Avenue/Vulcan Avenue. The $4.5 million project would allow foot ...

North County Times Paper Carriers Lose Jobs

Last week, all 15 newspaper carriers for the North County Times' circulation in Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Encinitas received 30-day termination notices. The Escondido-based daily paper gave no reason for the layoffs. The carriers where ...

Get Motivated Seminar Draws Crowds

At the Get Motivated Seminar held Tuesday, March 8, at the former Sports Arena (Valley View Casino Center), the crowd filled the center parking lot prior to the 8:00 a.m. start time. People gathered to ...