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Stories by Shelli DeRobertis

Freedom of speech protest in Temecula

Girl's Christmas speech stopped by teacher due to religious content

In Temecula on January 21, about 50 people waved American flags and held up signs in front of Helen Hunt Jackson Elementary School in a rally to support the family of a first-grade girl who ...

Halt! Temecula Police Department! Just kidding.

Mostly teens order victims from cars, facedown onto pavement

A group of teenagers and a young adult who pretended to be police officers — ordering people out of their cars and onto the ground — were arrested December 27 after a tipster informed police ...

Temecula teens identified as arsonists

Molotov cocktails used as incendiary devices

The identities of two teenagers sought by police for lobbing molotov cocktails at a school during the summer have been turned over to the Riverside district attorney for prosecution, fire investigators announced November 7. The ...

Temecula maize maze amazes — er, is freaky

“All you can see is the sky and the corn” when in Coronas’ annual labyrinth

The exit is next to the entrance, but to get out of the largest corn maze in Southern California takes about 45 minutes of navigating through paths of circles and dead ends of gently swaying ...

Possible child predator visiting Temecula parks and schools

Red Hawk and Temecula Luiseño elementary schools about a mile apart

A letter sent to parents of students at Temecula’s Red Hawk Elementary School on October 21 included a sketch of a man who was reportedly lurking near school property three days earlier. But the sketch ...

Suspected drunk driver damages two Temecula houses

Six children and parents flee from burning homes

Just before 5 a.m. on October 21, two families were awakened when a suspected drunk driver slammed his car into the side of a house on the 43200 block of Corte Almonte in Temecula. Gerardo ...

Frivolous-lawsuit fighter wonders about handicap sign damage

Post recently bent twice…yeah, likely random vandalism

Days after Ann Kinner's October 7 online posting of a video — in which she spoke about being sued twice over wheelchair access at Seabreeze Nautical Books and Charts at 1254 Scott Street — the ...

Suspected thieves caught at Temecula’s Chaparral High School

Nocturnal foray doesn’t help escape effort

Two men were arrested and booked into jail on burglary and other charges after police responded to an alarm at Temecula's Chaparral High School at around 3:20 a.m. on September 30. Arrestees Adam Macciocchi, 22, ...

Ronald Reagan statue set on fire in Temecula

Repair costs already covered, thanks to donations

Citizens from around the nation have so far donated $5000 to repair Temecula’s Ronald Reagan statue, which was discovered charred by flames at the Ronald Reagan Sports Park on September 20. Fire officials and the ...

Bat ray caught at Oceanside Pier

Weighs in at 48 pounds

Roscoe Riddle, 18, of Murietta, fought for 30 minutes with a large bat ray before it was hoisted onto the planks of the Oceanside Pier on July 28. The catch drew a steady stream of ...

Temecula offers parking for Purple Heart recipients

Purple signs that designate parking spaces for wounded veterans have recently sprouted in Temecula's public parking lots. The city launched the campaign to honor Purple Heart recipients on June 21 by putting up signs at ...

Construction of San Marcos High School to last all year

Last phase projected for completion August 2014

About 2300 students have been housed in approximately 100 modular units at the “interim campus” of San Marcos High School for the past year and a half, since demolition and then construction began on their ...

Teenage boy crashes stolen car in Vista

Deputy saw it driving with headlights off

A 13-year-old boy led deputies on a short vehicle police chase that ended in a fiery crash at about 1:30 a.m. on June 24, according to authorities. No one was seriously hurt, and the boy ...

Escondido DMV closure impacts nearby offices

Poway, Temecula, but mostly Oceanside

The busy Escondido Department of Motor Vehicles field office permanently closed its doors at 725 North Escondido Boulevard on May 10. DMV spokeswoman Jan Mendoza said Escondido residents can expect to be without a DMV ...

Petitioner seeks to ban plastic bags from Oceanside

State bill fails; now citywide ban sought

An online petition to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in Oceanside had acquired 586 signatures by June 15. Several weeks ago, Belinda Martinez-Canez, who wrote the petition in late April, was surprised to ...

Patient-care workers strike at UC’s Thornton Hospital in La Jolla

Statewide protest to voice objections with management

Thirty minutes into a healthcare workers rally at UC San Diego Thornton Hospital, La Jolla, on May 21, a healthcare technician in blue scrubs approached the microphone and said a deal had been reached between ...

Carlsbad memorial for fallen cyclist Eric Ringdahl

Flowers gather under ghost bike

About 50 cyclists gathered in south Clairemont on May 15 for a ten-mile “ride of silence.” It was the second memorial ride held this month to honor Eric Ringdahl, 45, who was killed April 21 ...

Carlsbad Quality Inn to become Holiday Inn Express

Renovation to update ’80s design

A $4.3 million renovation is under way at the former Quality Inn at 751 Raintree Drive in Carlsbad. After the facelift is complete, the three-story, 125-room hotel will become a Holiday Inn Express. The construction ...

Car Show Sunday in San Marcos in its second year

Exotics, race cars, trucks, low-riders, classics

On the first Sunday of each month, from March to October, UPS drivers Steve Sherman and Frank Renteria put the brakes on delivering packages to North County residents and host Car Show Sundays in the ...

Car crasher destroys mailbox and signage in Carlsbad

Neighbors say high speeds not atypical

A young male driver uprooted two stop signs, a street sign, and a large collection mailbox before he crashed into a block wall of a neighborhood sign at the Mariners Point housing development in Carlsbad ...

Trespasser crackdown at Carlsbad Village Theatre

Kids and transients beware

The owner of the Carlsbad Village Theatre signed an agreement with Carlsbad police on April 2 to help resolve the problem of loitering teenagers and transients who trample on his roof and gather outside the ...

Courthouse sanitized for hard-to-treat bacteria

Possible colony on Broadway, downtown

Department 3 at the downtown San Diego Courthouse (220 Broadway) reopened April 3 after closing the previous day for a second-round of disinfecting. This followed a working sheriff’s deputy’s report she had a contagious “staph” ...

Garden of Innocence gets another angel

An abandoned-baby cemetery has another angel watching over its little ones at El Camino Memorial Park after a hand-sculpted bronze statue was permanently placed on the grounds March 25. Carole Lee, of Vista, is a ...

Puppy mill protests continue

A group of about 25 puppy mill protesters waved signs and chanted for two hours on March 16 in front of San Diego Puppy, a puppy shop at 5827 Mission Gorge Road. The next protest ...

Sleep cuts into Yani Tseng’s tee time at Carlsbad

Missed chance at defending title

The Ladies Professional Golf Association’s four-day tournament began March 21 at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad without one of its top players: defending champion Yani Tseng. The 24-year-old Taiwan native has earned more than $9 ...

Carlsbad Village to extend restaurants into the street

Reminiscent of European cafés?

Almost a dozen restaurants in the Carlsbad Village area now have permission to extend their dining areas into the street as part of the city’s newly adopted three-year program to introduce “curb cafés.” The parking-lot ...

Drop-boxes installed for worn flags in Carlsbad

Fire dept. to give dignified destruction

A mailbox-like disposal bin for worn American flags that are no longer fit to display is a new fixture at the Dove Library in Carlsbad, thanks to a donation from the city 's fire department. ...

Forced entry thwarted in Carlsbad

Neighbors help track perp

An 80-minute search for a man who tried to force his way into a Carlsbad home on the 800 block of Ginger Avenue ended with his arrest on February 25. The search began around 5 ...

Teacher Ned Walker arraigned on school-grounds weapons charges

He had a knife and pistol when arrested

At the downtown courthouse on February 19, a Jean Farb Middle School teacher pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of having a gun and a knife on the Tierrasanta school campus where he teaches ...

Sweetwater school board supporters and detractors show in court

Additional indictments brought by DA

“We love you Pearl!” shouted several people to Pearl Quiñones inside the lobby of the downtown courthouse on January 7. Handfuls of supporters and opponents in the alleged Sweetwater Union High School District “pay for ...

San Diego County’s post-office beeline

Two minutes or forty — you choose

Lori Ruedi of Carlsbad exited the long line at the Aviara Parkway post office on December 11 and said she would return in the morning. Then she decided to try a self-service kiosk that had ...

Carlsbad power outage prompts reminder

Last Friday, November 30, I was reminded of the dangers of electricity as I ignored orange safety cones and approached SDG&E workers at an open transformer box at Melrose Drive and Rancho Santa Fe Road. ...

Fried Chicken Sandwich Lovers Camp in Encinitas

On the morning of November 7, the Royce family from Oceanside lined up outside the Chick-fil-A on El Camino Real in Encinitas. By 10:30 a.m., a tent city had sprung up in the parking lot, ...

Meds Surrender

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last month to implement the placement of receptacles for safe disposal of prescription drugs. The drug-disposal boxes resemble post-office mailboxes, except they're not blue and are ...

Racoon of Near Doom

For nearly two weeks, my next-door neighbors had tried to get rid of a family of raccoons that were destroying their manicured backyard. At about 8 p.m. on July 21, the slider door to my ...

Swamp Thing

On May 25, a loss-prevention agent at the Marshall’s store on Marron Road confronted a 41-year-old Hispanic male suspect after he clipped security sensors with wire cutters and concealed merchandise on his person. According to ...

Lost Playground

A temporary fence was installed last month around the playground at Pier View South (south of the pier) to keep the kids off of the equipment. Winter storms resulted in lost sand and revealed the ...

Stolen Fashion Statement

A 20-year-old man was arrested for burglary after he was found sporting the clothes he allegedly stole from a dryer at about 9:30 a.m. on December 28. A 911 caller alerted police that the thief ...