Content for Wednesday, December 24, 1997

News & Stories

Unsung Heroes: They Do Our Dirty Work

Dead-animal collector, embalmers, paramedics, and more day-to-day "heroes" get the recognition they deserve.

Why we wrote these stories Happy holidays, holy-days; Merry Christmas, Christ-mas. Once again, a voice cries out in the wilderness, this time a wilderness of shopping malls and office parties, saying, “Make ready the way ...

End-of-year quiz: clove cigarettes and cancer, vegetarian vampire

And the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

’Tis the night before Christmas, and the elves are all hung by the chimney with care. Otherwise, they eat the tinsel. But at least they were easy to shop for—two dozen CDs, Hanson: The Early ...

Who you wrote about

8/10/97 Hello, Reader! Just wrote this letter complimenting Bonnie at the El Cajon/Lakeside Wal-Mart, and then I remembered you are looking for special people. She certainly qualifies, so I thought I would send you a ...

Talking Trash

Junk left by sports junkies

“When I started here in 1971 as a sweeper,” says building supervisor Rudy Corona, as his flatbed cart zips through the hallways of Qualcomm Stadium, “I made $2.65 an hour. Now I make almost $18.00 ...

Public Works

A man in the women's bathroom

“The thing I do first,” says John Thomas as he pulls a trash bag out of a can and ties it, “is I go around and grab the bags of trash because the seagulls will ...

The Abhorrent Nature of Vacuums

Who cleans the cleaner?

I would like to sing the praises of Lee Adams as one of “San Diego’s Best” at doing the dirty work. Daily, he cleans the dust, dirt, grime, gook, food, and feces (yes, feces, believe ...

Ten Pounds of Toxic Waste

(W)hole body health

I would like to enter Annalia Russell into your “San Diego’s Best" contest. Annalia is an exceptional individual in the field of colon hydrotherapy. She has made me feel very much at ease with the ...

Poop Pumper

It smells like money to him

On many boats, the toilet- or marine head, to be technical- empties into a holding tank which eventually fills up and must be emptied, but NOT into the bay. There are pump-out stations for this ...

Dead, But Not Buried

Where you go between death and the grave

“There are three events in a person’s life that are very significant: birth, weddings, and death. I think the people in this profession have an opportunity to be part of a very major event; we ...

Men Behind the Sirens

Who arrives when times are traumatic

Dear Reader, “Walkup...Walkup...Walkup," I said over and over again. “What are you saying?” he asked. “Your name." "Why?" he laughed. “So I’ll never forget how wonderful you are.... Walkup...Walk-up...Walkup." I was 19, and after the ...

The Patience of a Strong Heart

A labor of love in Lakeside

Dear Reader, The Best: Sarah E. Valdez Occupation: CNA/Direct Care Provider Reason: It would be easy to dismiss Sarah as just another paid-to-give-a-damn professional, but that would be doing her a great disservice. Over the ...

Life Lessons

Trials and triumphs with autistic kids

Dear Reader, Jennifer Carlisle was a behavioral aide (teacher’s aide) at the San Diego Center for Children School for Autism for 15 months. She started working at the school only a few months after its ...

Lord of the Rats

Needles, drugs, and thin slices of brain

“My work consists primarily of brain research,” says Dr. Phillip Groves, neuroscientist at UCSD. “The animals that I use mostly are experimental rats, laboratory rats, although I’ve done a number of experiments on different animals ...

The Remains of the Day

The smell of hot guts on asphalt

Mario Lopez, dead-animal collector for the City of San Diego, leads me to his white GMC pickup parked outside the City Environmental Services building in Kearny Mesa. It’s around 11:00 a.m. and he’s been working ...

17,000 Painless Deaths

Overpopulation solutions among the animals

“Last year, we dealt with over 31,000 animals in our department alone,” says Lieutenant Jim Wright from behind his desk at the Central County Animal Shelter. “But we don’t have 31,000 people knocking at our ...

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