Content for Wednesday, December 24, 1997

News & Stories

San Diegans who do our dirty work

Dead-animal collector, embalmers, paramedics

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 ...

Reader letter writers pick heroes

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 ...

Junk left by sports junkies at Qualcomm stadium

Talking trash

“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 ...

A man in the women's bathroom on Fiesta Island

San Diego Parks and Recreation maintenance man has stories

“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 ...

Metro Vacuum in La Mesa cleans abused machines

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 ...

Reader writer undergoes colon hydrotherapy

Ten pounds of toxic waste

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 ...

Alan Jobe's pumps poop out of boats from Chula Vista to Shelter Island

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 – El Camino Mortuary in Sorrento Valley.

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 ...

San Diego's paramedics – 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 ...

Sarah Valdez at the Home of Guiding Hands

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 ...

When autistic kids don't make progress

Life lessons at San Diego center

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 ...

UCSD's Dr. Phillip Groves cuts up 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 ...

San Diego's dead-animal collector

Remains of the day .

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 deaths at San Diego County Animal Shelter

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 ...