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Stories by Barbara Zaragoza

San Ysidro – America's last gasp

San Ysidro – the town that San Diego would like to forget San Ysidro’s Jack-in-the-Box sells more fast food than any other Jack-in-the-Box in California. Its Big Bear market alone sells more eggs than the ...

Eastlake – growing pains

Peace east of Eastlake It was inevitable that there would be development. The Olympic Training Center sits on land donated by Eastlake, the sprawling development to its immediate west. Every time I pass through Eastlake, ...

Imperial Beach is a food desert

Back in 2013 Wally’s Marketplace, located in Imperial Beach, carried outdated and expired food on their shelves. Two years later, the nearby Save-A-Lot—run by the same owner—sold a customer 90 pounds of spoiled chicken, sparking ...

September 4, 2018
National City candidates full of surprises

In a political bait and switch, National City council member Jerry Cano pulled papers for mayor on Tuesday, August 7 – exactly three days before the deadline to file to run as a candidate in ...

San Diego's nine hot spots for illegal dumping

At about 1:30 am on Saturday, April 28th Lizzie Rodriguez heard noises coming from outside her casita in Memorial Park. The next morning, she found an old couch and a bike dumped along the sidewalk ...

Bad air by the border peaks at night

Preliminary results of the year-long San Ysidro air pollution study came out on Thursday, March 29th. The monitoring program in this border community, which lasted from January 2017 to February 2018, showed an increase in ...

Anti-immigrant tweeter won’t change

Running on a platform of repealing the Welcoming City Proclamation, on Friday, March 8th Hector Gastelum filed papers with the city clerk to run for mayor of Chula Vista. His candidate’s statement read, “Hector Gastelum ...

Some in National City want Morrison again

Two National City initiatives will face off in the June elections. Both received the necessary signatures to be placed on the ballot. Both are so similar, they may confuse voters. The National City Citizens for ...

National City teachers protest the lack of supplies

“Your educators are falling apart,” Christina Benson, president of the National City Education Teachers Association, told district boardmembers this week. The union continues to protest an impasse in negotiations between the district and teachers. On ...

National City teachers turn up heat

The National City Education Teachers Association has not yet declared a strike, but negotiations with their district have hit an impasse. The union cites lack of materials and heavy workloads as the prime issues. Christina ...

February 2, 2018
Reddish-brown water not so sweet

“The people in Western Chula Vista and National City are getting ice age, prehistoric water that is incredibly good,” said Michael Garrod, the engineering manager at the Sweetwater Authority during a tour of the Richard ...

National City power grab suspected

“It’s a political power grab,” says Andrew McKercher, chairman of Citizens for Real Term Limits in National City. His grassroots group formed in October as a response to a proposed ballot initiative that would allow ...

December 21, 2017
Thanks for the food desert, Albertsons

Julie Lee, the owner of Beasley Cleaners, said when Albertsons shuttered its doors her revenue went down, even though her rent continued to increase each year. “I’m trying my best, whatever I can do to ...

December 8, 2017
San Ysidro's Gateway Inn demolished

A demolition crew razed the historic Gateway Inn last week. The property, located at 701 East San Ysidro Boulevard, one block from the U.S.-Mexico border, had been a single-room occupancy motel that provided shelter for ...

November 2, 2017
San Ysidro Port of Entry after Carmageddon

In December 2014, the federal General Services Administration completed Phase 1B of a three-phase San Ysidro Port of Entry makeover. The construction project opened 25 new northbound lanes and 46 new primary inspection booths at ...

September 15, 2017
Where will future Chula Vistans go to school?

Chula Vista expects up to 7397 new housing units by 2022, predominantly in the east, but the Sweetwater Union High School District still doesn’t have land or funding for a new high school. The district ...

September 11, 2017
Otay Ranch charter school could lose campus

More than 400 students attending Otay Ranch Academy of Arts, a charter school located on the Mater Dei property in eastern Chula Vista, might lose their campus if the Chula Vista Elementary School District refuses ...

September 7, 2017
Suzie’s Farm closes

On Monday, June 26th owner Lucila De Alejandro announced that Suzie’s Farm will close. Having started in 2009 with a mere three acres, the farm offered a CSA (community supported agriculture program) and sold produce ...

San Ysidro – where it's cheaper for kids to live in a motel

Veronica Medina sits in an office overflowing with blankets, shoes, and donated school supplies. A native of San Ysidro, she has a perennial smile and wears pink lipstick that accents her jolly laugh. She doesn’t ...

February 22, 2017
Sweetwater school district resolves boundary issue

For years, schools in the Sweetwater Union High School District have either been severely impacted or under-enrolled. To address the issue, the district held five "Long Range Facility Master Plan" meetings in 2015 and invited ...

San Ysidro will check its own dang air quality

San Ysidro has three freeways cutting through it. The approximately 29,000 residents also live next to the largest land port of entry in the world — an estimated 50,000 vehicles cross the border daily. It’s ...

August 29, 2016
Chula Vista too poor to fix women’s club

According to Denise Berrian, president of the Chula Vista Woman’s Club, “The City of Chula Vista signed a contract with the women’s club in 1991 indicating that they were going to take over the maintenance ...

San Ysidro’s new library to come in late 2019

Frank E. Beyer, a border baron who co-owned the Sunset Inn and Racetrack in Tijuana, lived in San Ysidro during the Prohibition days. He purportedly drank a bottle of whiskey a day and could be ...

Growing pains in the South Bay

The City of Chula Vista needs $600 million for infrastructure repairs, according to a report presented by a city employee to the Growth Management Oversight Commission on February 18th inside City Hall. Amanda Mills, the ...

February 22, 2016
Chula Vista schools' east side–west side divide

“I think there’s a perception out there that literally the majority of students from the west are going east,” Manuel Rubio, director of grants & communications for the Sweetwater Union High School District, explained in ...

November 2, 2015
Castle Park schools besieged by age

On Tuesday, October 20, the Sweetwater Union High School District held a community meeting at Castle Park Middle School to receive feedback about the condition of existing schools. Paul Woods, director of planning and construction, ...

October 22, 2015
San Ysidro border entry to get final touches

On Thursday, August 6, the General Services Administration (GSA) gave an update to about 20 community members at The Front art gallery about the ongoing reconfiguration of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry. Anthony ...

August 8, 2015
Endangered species holds up road construction

The nonprofit organization Casa Familiar held its 17th Safety Walk along the unpaved Otay Mesa Road on Friday, July 31, with about 20 protestors holding signs saying “Sidewalk Promised,” and “Safety For Our Children.” During ...

These trails are our trails

It was standing-room-only at the Thursday, June 4 Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve advisory council meeting, held to discuss the Tijuana River Valley trails located along the U.S.-Mexico border. The advisory council — a ...

Eastlakers don't eat what the suits serve up

Chula Vista city councilmember Patricia Aguilar held a town-hall meeting on Monday, May 4, at the Hub inside Otay Ranch Town Center. She wanted to hear public comments about the proposal by developer Baldwin & ...

600 more families for Otay Ranch?

On Wednesday, April 22, Chula Vista planning commissioners deadlocked 2-2 on approving Baldwin & Sons' application to create 600 multi-family units in the Otay Ranch area of Eastlake. At the meeting, held in council chambers, ...

Cheese dreams in Baja's Ojos Negros

It’s a holdover from Baja's Gold Fever days. A hideaway from the bustle of Ensenada. Drive an hour inland through curvy roads, past an ashram and a blue Madonna painted on a boulder, and eventually ...

The Mexican government lies

The small San Ysidro group known as Fuerza Amigo de Aztlán invited family members of the missing students from the Mexican state of Guerrero to speak at Mount Carmel Catholic Church on Monday, March 23. ...

Refi on multimillion-dollar debt? Good idea

On February 12, the San Ysidro School District board announced a plan that could save property taxpayers $51 to $71 million over the next 35 years by refinancing the district’s Prop C bond. Trustees convened ...

February 18, 2015
O squeaky clean leader, where art thou?

Members of the San Ysidro teacher’s union held signs, “SYSD Needs Velasquez” at the district offices on Tuesday, January 27. Supporters were there before the San Ysidro Elementary School District board voted 3-2 to hire ...

January 30, 2015
Her hands and arms were covered with bluish-brownish pesticide

After more than two hours in closed session on Thursday, December 18, the San Ysidro School Board President, Antonio Martinez, announced “… by unanimous vote to authorize a substitution of counsel be filed in the ...

December 19, 2014
South Bay residents get health report

On October 23, SANDAG presented its “Border Health Equity Transportation Study” at the San Ysidro Civic Center. The study found that the South Bay has a 17.8% higher rate of asthma, a 25.1% higher rate ...

Voiceless children of San Ysidro

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 9th, the interim superintendent of the San Ysidro School District, George Cameron, asked picketers of the teachers’ strike who stood outside the office to leave behind their signs ...

October 10, 2014
Hardship south of I-8, cont'd

On Wednesday, October 1st, the nonprofit Hearts & Hands organized a town-hall meeting at San Ysidro Middle School and San Diego city councilman David Alvarez was asked to speak about the planned infrastructure projects for ...

October 3, 2014
Swell of support for border parking project

On Monday, September 8, Jason Wells, cofounder of the San Ysidro Border Coalition, will head to Washington D.C. to ask the federal government for UETA Duty Free Americas to retain three acres of land at ...

September 6, 2014
All about the parking spots

Simon Falic, chairman and chief operating officer of Duty Free Americas flew in from Miami on Monday, June 9, to unveil an architectural design for a multiuse structure at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. ...

Unimpressed by “road stop bathroom”

The San Ysidro Smart Border Coalition (SYSBC) held a forum on May 14 in the Willow Elementary School auditorium to discuss the anticipated spring 2016 opening of a new pedestrian border-crossing at Virginia Avenue. The ...

Port district holds SD Bay master-plan forum

The San Diego Unified Port District is embarking on the first phase of a comprehensive master plan for the San Diego Bay, which is expected to take a total of five to seven years to ...

February 20, 2014
Coachella Valley by jeep

Who would think that parts of the desert are full of water? Especially since the Coachella Valley gets only six to eight inches of rain every year. But when I took the Desert Adventures Red ...

South Bay mayoral candidate forum held in San Ysidro

Forty-eight people sat in the audience as mayoral candidates answered questions about the South Bay on Wednesday, October 16, at San Ysidro High School. The gathering, hosted jointly by the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce ...

October 18, 2013
New San Diego Central Library hosts first board meeting

A few days after its opening, the San Diego Central Library’s board of commissioners met on the ninth floor of the new building on October 2. The monthly meeting, always open to the public, was ...

Locke – CA's last Chinese town

The houses slant sideways and the opium dens are gone, but Locke, California, takes visitors back more than 90 years to a unique Chinese farming community. Thanks to the work of a few locals with ...

San Ysidrans object to aspects of proposed border design

The San Ysidro Community Planning Group held a special meeting on July 10 at the Colonel Irving Salomon Community Activity Center to receive input from residents and business owners about land-use plans for the border ...

Chula Vista Public Library raises fees, suspends photo requests

On July 1, the Chula Vista Public Library raised its fee for photo reproductions from its digitized photographic collection from $3 to $125. In June, photo reproductions were suspended until the implementation of the new ...

Heal the Bay releases annual report on San Diego beaches

On Thursday, May 23, Heal the Bay representatives met at the mouth of the Tijuana River to announce their annual “beach report card.” While the organization gave the majority of San Diego County high grades ...

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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