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Stories by Bill Manson

Alison Tummond: preventing summer’s silent killer

Alison Tummond has devoted her swimming career to teaching babies not to drown. I met her tackling actual ocean waves here where she was cooling down after Arizona’s punishing heat. “Bode Miller’s daughter Emeline drowned, ...

August 5, 2020
Treetop Tutoring Center: Jeanne Volk‘s triple tutoring whammy

For Jeanne Volk, it was a triple whammy. “I had been teaching fourth graders for 20 years, out of the same classroom. I loved it, but I was thinking of change, about maybe starting a ...

August 5, 2020
Miramar – Naval air station and a trash dump

FAA okays 150 fixed wing and 115 helicopter flying from Miramar For the first time since the 1978 PSA plane disaster over North Park, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) is changing San Diego's air traffic ...

Sam Ash’s guitar therapy

Guitar therapy “I am so bored!” says my neighbor Ellen. Blame the virus. It has stopped her from doing the things she loves, mainly pop-up lunches at food trucks, and parties. Especially parties. Get a ...

July 22, 2020
Covid cluster

“I’ve just had Covid,” says Mary Jo. Mary Jo (not her real name) is 19, fit, gregarious, embarking on college life. But it’s been a rough couple of months. She, her mom, dad, sister, sister’s ...

July 22, 2020
The unsinkable Linda Broyles

Linda Broyles often goes to the beach, just to look. “I see the cruise ships anchored there just a mile out to sea,” she says. “It looks romantic, but I know what’s going on. On ...

July 8, 2020
Imperial Beach, town without pretense

Complete public sleeping ban Imperial Beach has banned camping or sleeping in public with an ordinance that reaches into every last corner, from pavement to median, "including but not limited to dirt or landscaped areas." ...

Chalking it up for George Floyd in Coronado

There’s something haunting about this sidewalk’s chalk portraits as they fade. Coronado student artists drew remarkable pictures on the concrete around the beachfront memorial for George Floyd, not far from the Hotel Del Coronado: the ...

June 24, 2020
Harbinson Canyon’s sweet gold

To bee, or not to bee? That is the question in bucolic Harbison Canyon. I have just made an eye-popping discovery about the Canyon — sandwiched between east El Cjaon and Alpine — and it ...

June 24, 2020
Joe Ditler’s great white shark encounter

“WARNING. Shark sighted. Enter at your own risk.” A silhouette of a shark drives home the point. It’s a yellow sign planted in the sand at Center Beach, Coronado, near the lifeguard tower. “Lifeguards decided ...

June 10, 2020
Electrocute the sewage with Dan Hendrickson

Dan Hendrickson wants to save IB, and TJ. If they’ll let him. He’s talking about the ages-old problem of Mexican sewage overwhelming treatment plants on both sides of the border. Politicians have been throwing money ...

June 10, 2020
Spanish civil war vets, harrowing escape from Vietnam, POWs of Japan, Prince of Wales tossed from Hotel Del Coronado

The Forgotten War I do not recall putting my foot on Korean soil for the first time. I only remember the cold rain, and running, and others running with me. By David Burge, June 20, ...

May 24, 2020
Jacinda Ardern’s no-touch greeting craze hits San Diego

Is San Diego opening up? Last week, it sure looked like it. The scene: 10th and Orange in Coronado, 7 am. Clayton’s has just reopened its coffee window with the $1 coffees. “I ran when ...

May 20, 2020
Jodi Cilley’s quarantine film contest

“I’m an optimist,” says Jodi Cilley. Right now, with the film industry gone dark, she’d have to be. Yet Cilley’s used to fighting above her weight. She runs Film Consortium San Diego. And right now, ...

May 20, 2020
Stories hiding in the corners of San Diego

The Ugly Trailer Park Across the Water Cityzella terrorizes humble trailer folk at De Anza Cove. By Ollie, Sept. 14, 2011 What am I doing in Eastlake? I'm telling you it's a trap. And we're ...

May 10, 2020
Ron Wheeler’s Garage

“It’s very odd, being here playing alone in your house, with no audience, even though we know they’re out there,” says Ron Wheeler. Until the coronavirus, he led one of the best-loved cover bands in ...

Unemployment claims with Governor Newsom

Have you noticed how, at the governor’s COVID-19 press conferences, someone usually asks about how come unemployment benefits aren’t reaching all the people who have applied for them? The governor takes time to explain how ...

May 6, 2020
El Cajon – from rednecks to immigrants

The slow end of the Kalasho regime At a city council meeting in September Elia spoke publicly to Kalasho: “Ben, you need help. It hurts me to see fellow Chaldeans spiral like this. It might ...

East Village – built around a ballpark

Short-term rentals thrive in East Village Is the demand for housing suitable to fill the thousands of rental units that have sprung up in downtown's East Village since the mid-2000s, and enough to sustain even ...

Old Guys On Bikes: to the beaches and battlefields of Normandy

Stay in lockdown? Not these retired police captains. It’s 8:52 on a sunny Tuesday morning, and all five of them are sitting around outside Chase Bank at Tenth and Orange in downtown Coronado. They’ve just ...

April 22, 2020
Vons cashier blues

Tara has come out for a smoke. It’s nine at night. Break time. Her store, Vons, is about to close. She lights up, sitting in her car. All you can see is the red glow ...

April 22, 2020
The history of epidemiology

“It was surprising and very exciting,” says Professor Kimberly Brouwer, who teaches epidemiology at the UCSD School of Medicine. She’s talking about the brand-new graduate class she started last Tuesday, online. “I had 27 students ...

April 8, 2020
No shelter for San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine

Pity the poor editors. As March turned into April, Wendy Manwarren Generes, editor of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine (for which I have written) was trying to get the upcoming May issue to bed. “Last ...

April 8, 2020
Is the corona virus pushing us into the future?

Safety first. We decide to meet electronically. Three young San Diego entrepreneurs, developing a supplement they hope will palliate some effects of the coronavirus. I want to know how they’re facing the crisis. They sound ...

March 25, 2020
Pandemic generosity from Lombardy, Italy

Anna got out of Lombardy in the north of Italy just in time. She has business here as well as there. She doesn’t want to use her last name because she sees that some people ...

March 25, 2020
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 ...

Barrio Logan’s “gentefication” cart

Next month, April 25, Barrio Logan will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of Chicano Park. And the surprise question? Is success bringing about the demise of this most culturally cohesive neighborhood? It’s ...

March 12, 2020
Harry Ryan stirs up the coffee world

“As a customer,” says Harry Ryan, “what’s your concern when you go to buy a cup of coffee?” He answers his own question. “You want to have a fresh, hot, quality brew.” Harry is one ...

March 12, 2020
The sex lives of Fred Clarke’s black orchids

What is it about orchids that turns sane people into obsessed collectors and fanatics? Especially the legendary black orchid? If you look, black orchids are everywhere and nowhere. Movies such as Black Orchids — a ...

February 27, 2020
How to write a sex scene like Tom Barry’s When the Siren Calls

“Restless and neglected, Isabel is suffocating in a stagnant marriage. An invitation to visit Jay’s resort in the hills of Tuscany sparks Isabel to imagine a life of freedom and excitement. She abandons herself in ...

February 27, 2020
Barrio Logan: if you want color

Jack's island: jewel of Barrio Logan Sometime this year, the city council is expected to decide whether to accept a low-ball $30,000 offer for the nearest thing Barrio Logan has to a flat iron building, ...

Best Reader stories from 2007

Does Christmas offend you? Christmas has to start with the Jews, I guess, no matter where you start. It was Jews who were killed by Herod and Jews who were chased into Egypt by him, ...

February 22, 2020
Fear not, last-minute Lotharios

At least one flower stand will be open early St. Valentine’s Day: The Flower Lady on Isabella and Orange in downtown Coronado. Shanel Albert and her partner and husband, Steve, will be up and making ...

February 12, 2020
Climate change candidate John Brooks frozen out

It has been hard going for John Brooks, the environmentalist candidate for San Diego’s Congressional District 53 since we talked with him last October 19th. As the elections have been getting closer, he has become ...

February 12, 2020
Ambling with San Diego Beach Rides

Partly because it was International Wetlands Day last Saturday (February 1), I thought I’d do a hard-hitting investigation into how we are doing in San Diego. I got down to the Tijuana River Sloughs, famous ...

February 5, 2020
How California Gray whales make love

Dominic the crewman throws the hawser aboard. “Clear!” he calls out. The Legend is outward bound, whale watching, 20 souls aboard. Fifteen minutes, a coffee, and a blueberry muffin later, I am climbing up to ...

February 5, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1999

Was Jesse Ventura a SEAL or a UDT guy? Well, I thought, Jesse certainly looks and sounds like many SEALs I’d known during my 16 years in the Teams. But I’d never known or even ...

January 25, 2020
Marshall Saunders: creating an army of citizen lobbyists

In a couple of days they’ll be memorializing Marshall Saunders, the San Diego man who tried to save the world. I considered him a dear friend even though I knew he had hundreds, maybe thousands ...

January 22, 2020
Michael Connolly Miskwish’s history of wildfires

Fire, as in the monstrous mega fires we’re seeing in Australia, has been front page news for weeks. But it is also something the Kumeyaay people have been speaking out about for years. Michael Connolly ...

January 22, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1996

Mafia in San Diego before World War II (first in series of six stories) “The raids, all made with search warrants, started soon after noon and were not completed until early evening. All of the ...

January 12, 2020
Chancing the Coaster’s Del Mar cliffs

“How’s that cliff that fell away? I ask this train employee. I’m at the Santa Fe Depot, about to board the Coaster for Solana Beach. Feeling a touch queasy after reading about the piece of ...

January 8, 2020
The rise of remote workers in San Diego

The results are in: San Diego is a remote work city. How do I know? Kate Lister told me so. She’s a renowned tracker of how we work, and how many of us work without ...

January 8, 2020
Best Reader stories from 1994

A little bit east of Eden When I was living in Los Angeles years ago, a door-to-door solicitor pitching San Diego vacations and tours showed me a brochure of local attractions. Included on the list ...

January 5, 2020
Michael Schmid’s postmortem jokes

This is for you, Michael It’s Saturday night at the Comedy Palace, Kearny Mesa. “You’ve got it easy.” “Oh. Do you mean the wheelchair, or the diaper?” The audience laughs. They’re tuned in to what’s ...

December 26, 2019
Like a carpet of stingrays in David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash

Aggressive stingrays The morning beach looks pristine and empty, except for the white teeth of the waves, like David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash. But something has changed. Ah, yes. At the lifeguard tower, the purple ...

December 26, 2019
Riding a bike from Canada to Mexico in 27 days

“Whew,” says Dan Laster. He flops into a chair at the Cafe Madrid in Coronado. “Been walking?” I ask. “Riding. Bike riding.” “Around the island?” “From Canada.” “Riding a bike from...Canada? How long did that ...

December 11, 2019
John Drehner: the Christmas card man

You could call John Drehner a Luddite, a technophobe, or just a grumpy old man. Except he’s not grumpy. Ask him to imitate anyone from Bogart to Reagan to Trump. The guy has them nailed. ...

December 11, 2019
El Cajon’s parrot party

It is 4:30 on a Thursday afternoon. Sun’s rays climb slowly up the beautiful urban forest of downtown El Cajon’s 30-foot pine trees. I meander down East Main, really because I like to see the ...

November 28, 2019
Car accident attorney Eugene G. Bruno on “brake-checking”

Mary C. was in a bit of a hurry. She parked curbside and hurried in. Next morning she came out and found a used Social Security envelope under her driver’s side windshield wiper. Somebody had ...

November 28, 2019
Evel Knievel’s niece Cayla Croft is no shrinking violet

You might say Cayla Croft comes from an accident-prone family. “My uncle broke every bone in his body, some several times over,” she says. “His name was Evel Knievel.” Knievel was the most famous stunt ...

November 13, 2019

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