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Stories by Liz Swain

La Mesa's Legacy Park nearly done

Loaded with symbols of city's history — time capsule to make more

People passing by the intersection of La Mesa Boulevard and Allison Avenue have seen a former traffic island transformed into a triangle now named Legacy Park. Eight mosaic-covered columns and a 450-pound bronze snail are ...

La Mesa dog-and-cat-friendlier than ever

A look at city's 2016-2017 fee schedule

When the fiscal year starts on July 1, La Mesa residents will see a decrease in some animal-related fees, a permit will be required for commercial haunted houses, and nonprofit groups and service clubs will ...

Everyone will be moving to La Mesa

Development plans on the books include lots of residential units

A reader's request for a follow-up on my February 2015 story about vacant land on El Cajon Boulevard that La Mesa resident Linda Johnson labeled an "eyesore" produced information about that location and details about ...

Hand-dredged history

“Built-up sediment puts more pressure on the dam than does water."

One sign of the dredging of Old Mission Dam in Mission Trails Regional Park is an approximately 435-cubic-yard mound of sediment in a Santee parking lot. Dredging started February 17, and the City of San ...

La Mesa mobilizes on trail plan

Pedestrians and bicyclists can look forward to 22.1 miles of routes

The La Mesa City Council on February 23 unanimously adopted a resolution approving the Urban Trails Mobility Action Plan, "a road map for expansion and improvements for urban trails." The plan created a 22.1-mile network ...

La Mesa council bans mobile dispensaries

"...powered or unpowered, licensed or unlicensed, manned or unmanned ..."

The La Mesa City Council on December 8 unanimously approved the first reading of two ordinances banning medical marijuana cultivation, deliveries, and mobile dispensaries. One ordinance includes a misdemeanor penalty for dispensing and delivery. In ...

Developer's traffic study challenged

“It’s far more than 1 percent. You don’t live here.”

At a December 2 Del Cerro Action Council meeting, a representative of a real estate developer said traffic wouldn’t increase much after the construction of 26 homes on a 5.6-acre site off College Avenue. ColRich ...

Homelessness problems for those with homes

"They give us the issue; we respond to the issue."

Homelessness was the subject of the November 24 Allied Gardens–Grantville Community Council town hall hosted by the council and the San Diego Police Department. Residents' questions were answered by three members of the SDPD’s Eastern ...

Giant, ugly storage facility okayed

It's zoned commercial, next to the freeway — what's the problem?

The La Mesa City Council on October 27 voted 3-1 to reject resident Christina Martin's appeal of the planning commission's September 16 approval of a conditional-use permit for StorQuest La Mesa, a three-story self-storage facility. ...

Time to forget about Streetscape debacle

Clock donated to La Mesa for installation at Lookout Park

The La Mesa City Council on October 27 voted 3-0 to accept the donation of a two-faced, 220-pound, 12-foot-tall street clock. The timepiece, valued at about $8400, is a gift from the nonprofit La Mesa ...

La Mesans' gripes with group homes

Residential treatment facilities on Wellesley Street scrutinized

La Mesa vice mayor Bill Baber on October 2 will vote in favor of a League of California Cities resolution "to preserve therapeutic environments for group homes and avoid impacts of concentration of alcohol and ...

English is the business at Conversation Café

San Carlos library makes a spot for melting pot

Between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. on Thursdays, the San Carlos Library community room becomes the English Conversation Café, a program that gives nonnative speakers the opportunity to practice English. The program led ...

It's a parking lot and (one day) San Carlos library

Community leaders aim to create $20 million, 25,000-sq-ft building

The 22,000-square-foot lot at the intersection of Jackson and Golfcrest drives is not a park-and-ride, a parking lot for apartments on Golfcrest, or a place for Cowles Mountain hikers to park on weekends. The lot ...

Pot dispensary moves closer to approval

No hash oil, no vending machines, yes armed guard

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on September 9 voted 9-7 to recommend that the City of San Diego approve a conditional use permit for applicants Ron Miller and Nick Hosig to operate Grantville Greens, a 623-square-foot ...

End of the line for Carl's Jewelers

After three generations, the family craft won't be passed on

Health issues led the late Carl Goldberg to move his family from New York to San Carlos, where he opened Carl's Jewelers in 1978. His daughter Adele (Goldberg) Garland's health issues prompted a "Going Out ...

New La Mesa library? Eh.

New city hall and 180-car parking garage, definitely

Although the La Mesa branch library wasn't included in the study unanimously authorized by the La Mesa City Council on August 11, La Mesa Friends of the Library president John Schmitz implored the council to ...

Two Oktoberfest weekends possible for La Mesa

Downtown permit conditional on payment of fees

People who enjoy October celebrations featuring a beer garden and entertainment could have two weekends for celebrating in La Mesa. The La Mesa City Council on July 28 voted 4-1 to approve the La Mesa ...

More '60s homes in Del Cerro

Future residents stuck going north on College Avenue

Traffic was the primary concern of residents attending a July 23 presentation about a proposal to build 26 single-family homes on a 5.6-acre vacant site located south of the Del Cerro Boulevard/College Avenue intersection and ...

Park Station plans on hold

The decisions of South Baltimore, LLC, to put on hold its plan for Park Station at the Crossroads of La Mesa means there will be no hearing at the July 28 La Mesa City Council ...

SANDAG to consider design modifications to Alvarado Creek

Vote comes on the heels of heavy flooding in the area

Today the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) board will consider whether to approve the City of San Diego's application for a $400,000 Smart-Growth grant to be used for design modifications to Alvarado Creek north ...

In pursuit of calm in La Mesa

Revamp of Harbinson Avenue after traffic circles fail

Three months after the La Mesa City Council voted to remove two traffic circles on Harbinson Avenue, lawmakers on July 14 unanimously approved a plan to slow traffic through an estimated $41,000 worth of traffic-calming ...

Theft a testament to soccer's popularity?

Crusaders' signs stolen — "This was not a prank"

Between the evening of June 23 and the morning of June 24, a Crusaders banner and 70 signs for the youth-soccer organization were stolen, primarily from locations on Navajo Road in San Carlos and Waring ...

Telecoiled around the Lord

Churches (and elsewhere) amp up cochlear implants to help hard-of-hearing

A new message greeted parishioners entering St. Dunstan Episcopal Church for the 8 a.m. service on June 28. A sign advised people to "Get in the Hearing Loop" by turning hearing aids and cochlear implants ...

Raise the deck, remove the heads

The definitive La Mesa water-conservation report

During the past year, the City of La Mesa's water-conservation efforts included removing 351 irrigation heads on Lake Murray Boulevard and Baltimore Drive medians and redirecting spray heads to trees on the medians, according to ...

Meanwhile, over at Canine Corners...

La Mesans discuss raising dogs-per-household limit from 2 to 4

About four hours before the La Mesa City Council's May 26 discussion of a proposal to raise the number of dogs allowed in a home from two to four, people in Canine Corners dog park ...

Six stories on Baltimore? No, no, no

And does anyone remember the Classic Cat in La Mesa?

The La Mesa Planning Commission on May 20 voted 4-2 against recommending that the city council approve the revised specific plan for Park Station at the Crossroads of La Mesa, a mixed-use development proposed for ...

Does the Junk House encourage junk art?

Adobe Falls residents seek action to stop spray-painters

In response to concerns about Adobe Falls that Del Cerro residents raised last month, representatives from District 7 city councilman Scott Sherman's office will meet May 13 with San Diego State University staff, Liz Saidkhanian ...

Allied Gardens gets lucky in produce department

Farmers' market on the way for residents who miss their grocery store

Last October 18, Allied Gardens residents celebrated their neighborhood's 60th birthday in the Waring Road parking lot where original shopping-center businesses included Food Basket. The grocery store became a Lucky store and was an Albertsons ...

La Mesa drug dog retires at age 49

With his partner, 2700 grams of narcotics detected in six years

The La Mesa City Council unanimously authorized the retirement of police narcotic-detection dog Maximus "Max" on April 14. His partner, officer Derek Cox, was allowed to adopt the seven-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever. During their six-year ...

Will trade my green for your brown

Citizens and companies reap what they throw away from Miramar Greenery

The Miramar Greenery in the Miramar Landfill offers free mulch and compost to San Diego residents, materials that could provide some relief during drought-tightened water restrictions. "Compost when incorporated into soil before planting helps reduce ...

Where's my green-waste container?

San Carlos resident (and others) wonder when their wheeled bin will arrive

San Diego's automated curbside yard-waste-recycling pilot program expanded to San Carlos in May 2013 when about 5500 green containers were delivered to residents. Last January 7, a woman at the San Carlos Area Council meeting ...

She didn't like Mondays, they don't want plaque moved

Some say "no" to relocation of memorial honoring victims of Brenda Spencer

A representative from the company that wants to develop the former Grover Cleveland Elementary School site said on March 24 that there are no plans for the property, which is in escrow. However, the bid ...

Get it all out now, park abusers

Fence project to protect Mission Trails soon to begin

Nearly nine months after a driver crashed through a guardrail at the end of Cowles Mountain Boulevard, residents of the Cottages condominium complex have a timeline from the City of San Diego for the installation ...

We're not the morality police, but...

Navajo Community Planners vote to not recommend medical pot facility

After nearly 90 minutes discussing the topic, Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on February 25, voted 14-2 against a motion to recommend that the City of San Diego approve a conditional use permit for SDUG, Inc., ...

Older than Hell

100 years later — the plan for La Mesa's Collier Park

By 9:30 a.m. on February 25, Collier Park tennis-court nets were lowered for the pickleball games that are played Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings in La Mesa's oldest park. As players with paddles concentrated on ...

La Mesa's ugly corner

Litter, graffiti, weeds, and rodents contribute to eyesore

La Mesa resident Linda Johnson walks frequently through her hometown and is on the board of La Mesa Beautiful. The nonprofit organization "works collectively to preserve and increase the beauty" of the city, according to ...

Something feral this way comes

With springtime's approach, the kitties are homeless again

La Mesa resident Tiffany heard the distinctive sounds of cat courtship in January and knew she would again face the issue of feral cats near her home. "We've been struggling [with it] since we moved ...

Fix the flooding, fix the roads

Grantville planners okay environmental report to make way for development

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., voted 10-2 last week to support the City of San Diego in certifying the draft environmental impact report for a Navajo community-plan amendment that would add 8275 residential units to Grantville. ...

Who crashed up Grantville's multi-thousand-dollar sign?

Investigation of December 15 hit-and-run incident continues

During the first week of February, more details emerged from the San Diego Police Department about the December 15 hit-and-run incident involving a driver who struck and demolished the cobblestone-and-mortar Grantville/Mission Valley community sign and ...

Grossmont Center History 101

And a little about its future, according to Stephen Cushman

With the January 10 expiration of Grossmont Center's 50-year lease, Cushman family members are "no longer passive owners" of the property, Stephen Cushman said at the January 27 La Mesa City Council meeting. Cushman said ...

Wildcats with weed —thanks, Reader and CityBeat

City attorney addresses pot-shop permitting at community meeting

City attorney Jan Goldsmith's January 27 talk about medical marijuana dispensaries in Grantville began with him referring to long-ago election results. He spoke to a capacity audience at the Allied Gardens-Grantville Community Council town hall. ...

What's new with the ole swimmin hole?

La Mesa pool to reopen soon

December rain delayed the reopening of the La Mesa municipal pool and spa until February 2. The weather caused a delay in work to replace a portion of the pool deck, according to a January ...

Kids, crayons, and cookies welcome

San Carlos library opens Chat Room

Forty-one years after the January 9, 1974, opening of the San Carlos branch library, patrons can eat, drink, and talk in the library. Those activities are allowed, and food and beverages are provided, in the ...

The fateful free cookie

Mission Gorge area to shed industrial zoning

Navajo Community Planners voted unanimously on December 15 to recommend denial of a conditional-use permit for Living Green, a medical marijuana cooperative currently operating in a 2844 square-foot, two-story building on the 4400 block of ...

Art was crucified

Amicable end to the La Mesa mayor’s era

While 38th District state senator Joel Anderson showed up at the December 9 La Mesa City Council meeting to honor outgoing lawmakers Art Madrid and Ernie Ewin, former San Diego mayor Dick Murphy (a retired ...

Chips truck and the chief to retire

La Mesa top cop Ed Aceves and converted Doritos police van to hit the road

The new year will bring the retirement of La Mesa police chief Ed Aceves as well as the 1995 Frito-Lay delivery truck purchased in 2002 and converted into a mobile command vehicle. Twelve years ago, ...

Social media has wrecked Cowles Mountain

Some say additional parking will bring more people to the area

A majority of Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on November 17 voted to recommend that the City of San Diego add 17 parallel-parking spaces near Cowles Mountain by removing the red curb on a portion of ...

This is not another weed ad in the Reader

La Mesa prepares to close illegal dispensaries after Prop J's failure

Since La Mesa voters on November 4 rejected a proposition to authorize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, the City of La Mesa will notify three dispensaries that they have ten days to "stop their business ...

Who is Greg Saska?

Carlsbad man who lost home in fire didn't leave neighborhood for long

In the six months since the May 14 Poinsettia Fire destroyed his two-bedroom adobe house, Greg Saska went from sleeping in his 1976 Mercedes 450 SE to living in a tent and then a 576-square-foot ...

SDSU students and parolees with intentions

Amount of Adobe Falls trespassers is down, but problems not over

The San Diego State University Police Department's efforts to keep trespassers out of Adobe Falls has resulted in "many fewer calls for service," corporal Mark Peterson told the Del Cerro Council on October 23. However, ...

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