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Stories by Suzy Hagstrom

Forgotten Valor

Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one. -- Pete Seeger, 1961 James Francis Walter Ford's death was certain, but his life remained a mystery. After he was accidentally struck and killed ...

Class Warfare in City Heights

Julee Vaughan remembers the first installation of portable buildings at Central Elementary School during the 1960s, when she was a pupil there. That those temporary classrooms eventually became permanent reminds Vaughan that the San Diego ...

Farewell, Big Spender

As of Friday, December 8, an enormous portrait of Susan Golding still loomed over disembarking passengers at Lindbergh Field as they made their way across the pedestrian bridge to the parking lot. The tardy removal ...

Tide Turns for Shellfish Maverick

Most everyone who hears about Don Gilbert's proposal to replenish San Diego's coastal waters with abalone is captivated by the idea. Even officials for the California Department of Fish and Game and the City of ...

School for Dinosaurs

If the San Diego Unified School District were graded for bolstering mathematics and reading skills, the district might garner above-average marks. During the past two years, students in San Diego's public schools have significantly improved ...

Through the Air into Darkness

As San Diego police sergeant Boyd Long stopped on the Coronado bridge to check a stalled car, he immediately noticed something was amiss. The stranded motorist stepped away rather than beckon for assistance. "Then it ...

A Big Message

On concluding its December 6, 1999, session, San Diego City Council honored a community volunteer, but few people knew Janice Kay Loesel or how she died. Councilman Juan Vargas described her as a tireless member ...

Never Went to Padres Games

A client once remarked to Margarita Alvarez that all of San Diego's fruit and vegetable vendors would eventually move to the edge of downtown. That prediction, made in the 1970s, surprised Alvarez, the assistant board ...

Political Brush Country

On renting a home in Southeast San Diego last year, Tim Norris was delighted to live near a canyon. "When we first got here, we explored," Norris said, recalling he and his daughters hiked several ...

Speed Kills

The birthday card Sonia Wilson gave her son last summer contained an unusually prophetic message. One of the passages read, "Time passes, and your innocent little boy starts to test his limits. He lets go ...

Balboa Go-Around

When a new cast of characters auditions next week for the Centre City Development Corp., it aims to revive San Diego's longest-running empty stage. The Balboa Theatre, a national historic landmark in downtown San Diego, ...

Cider House Dreams

For some people, charity begins someplace else -- anywhere but home. As children, Joy Warren and Roberta Arredondo found it at San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency when their parents could not properly ...

Alex's Interlocutor

Timing is everything. For self-employed journalist Evan Weiner, it was good. For Chargers football team owner Alex Spanos, it was bad. Their chance encounter and brief conversation in the luxurious Breakers' hotel in Palm Beach, ...

Chicago Does L.A.

When Otis Chandler, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, agreed to speak at Point Loma Nazarene University, he didn't anticipate his appearance there last month would be noteworthy, much less newsworthy. But only days ...

No Drive-Through in My Driveway

The fast-food vendor that owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell is concocting a new recipe for San Diego's Golden Hill community. Tricon Global Restaurants Inc. proposes to rebuild its aging Kentucky Fried ...

Porno and the Piano Teacher

Jean Winslow, a retired elementary schoolteacher in San Diego, doesn't seem like the sort of person who would be even remotely involved with Internet pornography. Her greatest passion is music. Winslow spends time with her ...

Lap-Dancing on the Web

Notebooks and pens in hand, the students file into a nondescript meeting room at a Mission Valley hotel. They include retirees, business managers, college-age youths, middle-age men, and tall, thin blondes who look like models. ...

Web of Confusion

It's all in the eye of the beholder. San Diego public relations representative Vicki Garcia regards her client's plan to perform surgery on the Internet as a "news event -- because it's never been done ...

In the Doghouse

If animals could talk, they, too, might express opinions about recent changes at the San Diego Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which investigates complaints of abuse and serves ...

How to Lose a Library

When Charles Harrington Elster contemplates the task of building a new library in downtown San Diego, the Greek myth of Sisyphus comes to mind. For his crimes of murder, gossip, and greed, Sisyphus was condemned ...

A Ton of Bricks and Ten Pounds of Baloney

When La Jolla architect Jeffrey Shorn met with San Diego Gas & Electric Co., officials in downtown's East Village in early 1997 to discuss becoming a consultant, he was impressed by the utility's decades-old offices, ...

Downtown's Slow, Toxic Burn

As a biology student at the University of Colorado, Ken Rowland imagined becoming the next Jacques Cousteau, but a bout of seasickness on the way to Santa Catalina Island moored his career to land. Rowland ...

The Minister of Padres Politics

'Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees." That opening line of a recent newspaper advertisement was a plea to look beyond controversies surrounding the Padres' proposed baseball stadium and maintain "the vision" ...

Unrepentant Padres

Foot-stomping gospel music and earnest testimonials about religious conversion enliven the video, but most people in the audience are slumped in their chairs asleep, nodding off, or staring vacantly. Suddenly, at 6:15 a.m., the screen ...

Maximum Impact

Louise Torio doesn't expect to see the glare of stadium spotlights, hear the collective roar of thousands of baseball fans, or sit immobile in downtown traffic for almost three years. Yet she is already worried ...

Raising a Bar

Years ago, when a high school friend talked about wanting to become a lawyer, Susan Brandt-Hawley, an aspiring writer, thought, "How dull." Yet, after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from San Diego State University in 1974, ...

Smashed Heritage

Baseball versus history

When leaders of the National Trust for Historic Preservation met in San Diego in March, they were heartened by the city’s efforts to revitalize North Pork via the trust’s Main Street Center program. They also ...

Barney's Parting Toast

Kheder "Barney" Attisha gently refuses to sell a customer a pint of vodka. "You can't buy no alcohol. You drink it and sleep in the street," he explains. "I'm so cold. I'm so tired," the ...

Kingdom of the Padres

Like many merchants in downtown San Diego's East Village, former city councilman Tom Hom didn't know he was skating on such thin ice by doing business there. Hom thought he might benefit from the construction ...

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