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Stories by Jeannette DeWyze

Best Reader stories from 2005

Slab City, Eleanor Widmer, UCSD and polyheme, J. David scandal, Reader writers write about school and about Mom

Salvation Mountain The Slabs are Slab City, three miles east of Niland, between the sultry Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountains. Years ago the concrete slabs supported the barracks of Camp Dunlap, where General George ...

Best Reader stories from 2001

9-11 reactions, Casey Gwinn vs. Don Bauder, people of color setting in San Diego, those who married rich, San Diego 100 years ago

How San Diegans reacted to 9-11 “Where were you when the World Trade Center was hit?” “At home.” “And you happened to have the TV on?” “No, my little sister called. She woke me up ...

Best Reader stories from 1999

Jesse Ventura, La Costa, amateur astronomers, beachside dwellers, TJ poets, father of jogging, Andrew Cunanan, Bompensiero, kidnapped at Coronado Cays

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 ...

Best Reader stories from 1997

Dr. Spock, Scammon's Lagoon, Bruce Henderson, Ed Fletcher III, Andrew Cunanan, beekeepers, Del Mar Terrace Rats, Kumeyaay language

Childhood's End: Dr. Spock at 94 53-year-old Morgan, Dr. Spock’s second wife, has been relentless and inventive in her search for ways to keep her husband youthful and healthy. For his 75th birthday, for example, ...

Best Reader stories from 1995

Prince of Peace Abbey, Perry Mason, Crawdaddy's daddy, Pat Welsh, Asian gangs, Eckankar, SEALS spy for Koch, Kate Sessions, Carlsbad flower fields

I've got Perry Mason on board! In early 1960, the man who created Perry Mason was introduced to an Imperial Beach resident named Francisco Muñoz. Erle Stanley Gardner had many friends, and he particularly liked ...

Best Reader stories from 1994

Santee creation museum, Swami's, flamenco, David Baze, San Diego bridges, hunting as it was, Spanish Village murder, Nixon-Copley, Ramona biography, Baja Chinese, Cambodians

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 ...

Best Reader stories from 1993

Mike Doyle, Tarawa, El Centro, Dahmer's Diner, Baja boom towns, Chinese refugees, Dale Akiki, San Diego tomatoes, Balboa Park violence, Mexican fighting bulls, Mother Teresa's TJ, Zeta

In time for the morning glass For a few years back in the '60s, Mike Doyle was the hottest surfer in the world. With an unusual combination of power on big waves and stylistic grace ...

Best Reader stories from 1991

Bicycle deaths, Madame Schumann-Heink, Marshall South, Karen Wilkening, paving of I-15, Helen and David Copley, Luis Urrea's Tijuana

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

Otay Mesa – so unsettled

Sewage, Salt Creek, Otay Mountain, Brown Field, Otay Park, border fence, tunnels, new border entry, Nestor High School

Feds plan to make pond of Tijuana sewage Just how smelly are thirteen acres of raw sewage? Soon, very soon, we shall find out. Next Monday a federal agency is planning to start building an ...

Best Reader stories from 1989

Betty Broderick, Padres' Eric Show, Lomas and Red Steps gangs, WWII POW, Don Zub, Jeff Weinstein, abortion and free will, mother killer

Till death do us part For so long, she wanted so badly to talk about her relationship with Daniel Broderick. Betty Broderick wanted to tell the their divorce and the awful injustice she felt she ...

Best Reader stories from 1987

Bennington explosion, Carl Rogers and Bill Coulson, Chocolate Mountains, U.S. border vet, undercover klansman, Dorman Owens, Avenida Revolucion, kelp forests, Jerry Schad

Explosion! The sighting of San Diego was a welcome event for the crew of the GSS Bennington on a sunny July 19,1905. The patrol gunboat had just completed a rough, seventeen-day journey from Hawaii, and ...

Best Reader stories from 1986

Borrego's wild horses, snakebite in Baja, bikini girls in Pacific Beach, Richard Meltzer's Navy, escape from Vietnam, Salton Sea, PSA pilot's day

Was James Gibson tortured by Mexican police? When two Mexican police officers and two FBI agents showed up at his beachfront Playas de Tijuana apartment on October 17, James Gibson had reason to suspect that ...

Best Reader stories from 1984

Blueback submarine, Hedgecock transcripts, climbing the Devil's Peak, aliens in canyons, the last vaquero, dirtbags in desert, dinosaurs, skateboarders, Randy Cunningham, NEL

Tight-lipped submariners aboard the Blueback open up Of course, all submariners are interested in naval history, and remain closer than even infantrymen to their dramatic and bloody heritage, and the Blueback crew seems to sense ...

Best Reader stories from 1983

San Diego in WWII, bodysurfers, Skip Frye, deep look at San Diego Zoo, Zane Parzen

From San Diego's 41st Street, Japan was a more odious enemy than Germany I may be the youngest San Diegan to remember the Second World War, especially the time immediately following the attack on Pearl ...

Best Reader stories from 1982

Unwanted pregnancy, bad accident in Baja, alcohol and Indians, Sol Price, Fred Schnaubelt, Florence Chadwick, San Diego's version of Tarahumara runner

What on earth am I settling for “Goddamnit,” said Jane one evening about six months ago when I answered the door of our apartment in Golden Hill and found her on the stoop, Jeanne sliding ...

Best Reader stories from 1981

A San Diego bookie, Jacquelyn Littlefield, Fidel's and Prophet restaurants, Jerry Herrera, cystic fibrosis, Gustavo Romero, San Diego's biggest cattleman

Postcards From Western Civilization Some years ago at Christmastime, when I was a teller at a bank downtown, I came to know Wayne Boyer, who was then an apprentice bum. I met him in the ...

Best Reader stories from 1979

Ace Parking , San Diego Zoo, OMBAC, Burlingame, Carl Rogers, Hare Krishnas, Colorado River at Easter, local pelicans and DDT, Salton Sea, Maureen O'Connor, gringos who play for TJ's Potros

Park there, pay here On the afternoon of the All-Star baseball game in July, Evan Jones was standing on top of one of those pedestrian towers that corkscrew up the side of San Diego Stadium. ...

Best Reader stories from 1978

Camp Pendleton, kelp, Mike Stamm, Morey boogie boards, Michael Copley, Chris O'Rourke, bottom scratchers, Jacumba

From Spanish rancho to hard-core Marines In 1942, the Ninth Marine Division marched in and took over what had been the Santa Margarita y Las Flores Ranch. The Second World War had begun and the ...

Best Reader stories from 1977

Carmelite nuns, wobblies, San Diego Indians, downtown pool room, Pete Wilson, Hedgecock, skywriting

A separate peace What was I (a Jew — and a nonobservant one at that) doing with such a piece? I’d never spoken to a nun in my life. All I remembered of them from ...

Other San Diego summers

Phoenix, fat boy and bikini girl, fireworks, Black's Beach, metal finders, male swimsuits

Phoenix without apologies Traveler, consider our Phoenix. An hour away by air, this flat, posh suburb of Greater L.A. is your finest summer vacation bargain. For the price of a bad weekend in a tacky ...

Jeannette DeWyze and the Reader

Hare Krishnas, Bishop Maher, Chino's, Betty Broderick, Marshall South, Eleanor Widmer

How DeWyze came to the Reader: In the early ‘70s, my best friend at Northwestern University, Randy Barnett, got a job selling ads for the fledgling Chicago Reader. I was involved in campus life (including ...

Zane Parzen, Lee Grissom, Bill Mitchell, Dennis Connor, Dick Farson, Sam Fuller

Big names in a little town

The final analysis Shepherd suggested to the Walkers three names, including that of Parzen, from whom Shepherd had taken an advanced psychiatry class at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Institute. Not only did Parzen possess a ...

Pot smuggler's accident, Belmont Park, Willie Shoemaker, prostitution after Stingaree, truth serum, a family's letters

Stories hidden in the back pages of the Reader

The Zipper – near death at the Del Mar Fair The Zipper was a new wrinkle on the midway: this big, gleaming apparatus that looked like a gigantic fan belt, with body-hugging cages attached along ...

San Diego Zoo's rare bonobos

And the superfans devoted to the zoo's once forgotten apes

In late April of 1960, the San Diego Zoo’s curator of mammals, George Pournelle, traveled to one of the most inaccessible parts of the African rainforest on a collecting expedition. His goal was to acquire ...

Coast to Cactus: The genesis of San Diego's definitive hiking guide

Not meant to compete with Trailmaster Schad’s

Since Afoot and Afield in San Diego County first appeared in 1986, Jerry Schad’s comprehensive guide to local hiking trails has been considered the definitive resource. But Schad’s death from liver cancer in 2011 sent ...

Campout in the Sahara

Morocco's dunes offer a travel experience like no other.

Hassi Labied (population: 2,000) is one of the places you go in Morocco if you want to sleep in the Sahara. It's about 30 miles from the Algerian border; and its dunes (Erg Cheggi) are ...

Wine and dine in Baja's Guadalupe Valley

The culinary scene in this close-to-home wine region is taking off.

Recently I went back to northern Baja's Guadalupe Valley. I hadn’t been there since the late 1980s. Back then, it was just emerging as a serious wine-growing region, with two giant producers (Cetto and Pedro ...

Kenya's elephant orphanage

Safe haven in Nairobi National Park from black-market ivory trade.

Greater Nairobi, home to more than six million people, has a reputation for mayhem. Its international airport just burned; the Kenyan capital’s nickname is Nairobbery. But visitors can still find some extraordinary pleasures. Ranking high ...

Uganda's Batwa Trail

Pygmy tourism in Lonely Planet's "top country to visit" for 2012.

In Uganda, gorilla tourism is an economic engine. It benefits not only the mountain gorillas that the tourists track, but also the human communities in and around the forests in which the animals live. It's ...

Ethiopian Time Travel

The Omo River empties into Lake Turkana, not far from where Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya come together. The river valley is difficult to reach; from Addis Ababa the road trip takes the better part ...

Ricardo Loves Dinosaurs...

The gigantic art project unfolding on the unlikely canvas that is Borrego Springs appears to have reached completion. Sculptor Ricardo Breceda says, “That’s it.” There will be no more additions. But Dennis Avery, the man ...

End of San Diego police horse patrol

Worked at the PB Block Party

I asked Sergeant Bret Righthouse about the bad old days, back in 1994, before a cadre of mounted San Diego Police Department officers began routinely patrolling Balboa Park. Transients and illegal aliens had set up ...

Balboa Park plantsmen's vision for a green future

The fall of King Eucalyptus

On the morning after one of those record-breaking cold nights this past January, Mike Rasmusson checked on his charges. Rasmusson supervises the Kate O. Sessions Balboa Park Nursery -- the city facility where many of ...

San Diego bowlers have dropped from 66,000 to 8,000

Nobody in the local lanes has read Bowling Alone

At night, the exterior of Kearny Mesa Bowl is not inviting. Set toward the back of a big parking lot on the south side of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, about a block west of Convoy, the ...

San Diego surf idols: Ralph Noisat, George Freeth, Carl Ekstrom, Skip Frye, Gordon & Smith

90 years of curl

There's a good chance Ralph Noisat caught the first wave in San Diego. He died in 1980, and as he wasn't a man to brag, his pioneering role might have been lost were it not ...

A guide to San Diego's guided tours

We're on vacation, here to play. Don't let facts get in our way.

I had taken eight or nine guided tours of San Diego in two weeks when a friend asked if I was tired of sightseeing. I had to say no. Being out on buses and boats ...

Barry Martin – best animal tracker in San Diego County

They see you, Have you seen them?

Retired American Airlines pilot Barry Martin has been called the best animal tracker in San Diego County. I asked how he first came to be interested in this arcane discipline. A lanky athlete with probing ...

Project Wildlife looks for San Diego neighborhoods to re-locate our nocturnal marsupials.

Our friend the opossum

Shawn Powell and I are driving south on Jackson Drive, carrying three opossums in Powell's Hyundai Santa Fe. Our mission is to liberate them. We could stop and dump them out on the sidewalk, but ...

After 30 years, Reader writer revisits the Krishnas

Lion-shaped means wider in front

I first met Robert Morrill in 1979. He was 27 and had moved the year before to San Diego with his wife and two young children. The family had settled into a modest apartment on ...

UCSD med school hires actors to train doctors

It's the big "E" word — empathy

We're sitting in a room that's maybe 9 feet wide by 20 feet long, lined with countertops that hold 12 TV monitors. The screens let us spy upon what's normally one of the most private ...

A proposition for Salton Sea and its far ripples.

Funded in part by the construction of up to 200,000 new homes on the southwestern shore

I've flown over the Salton Sea many times. From the air, it doesn't look real. The blue expanse and the green fields of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys that butt up against the sea's northern ...

Reader writer Eleanor Widmer - life in food and literature remembered

The late long-time queen of the cafe critics

One of the ironies of Eleanor Widmer's life is what she ate in her last months. Widmer had become a restaurant critic in 1974, back when brunch at La Valencia featured molded Jell-O "Seafoam," made ...

Top dogs: San Diego's K9 unit

To serve, protect, and scare the hell out of crooks.

Bobby looks like a black Labrador, except that his ears stand upright, forming two stiff peaks. They're quivering now, as Bobby crouches, ready to lunge at me. He's not making a sound, but his body ...

Challenge X: how San Diego State may build your next car

War on the internal combustion engine.

The chassis that’s sitting in a workroom on the campus of San Diego State University is painted a shade of red you’d expect to see on the lips of an attention-starved woman. On a car, ...

San Diego's sunshine still a magnet for travel nurses

"There's no old buildings. There's no trash anywhere. And the weather..."

When Mariette Parsons, RN, tells her patients she's a traveler, she says they often look puzzled. "They're, like, 'You work for a travel agency or something?'" Parsons explains that travel nurses fill assignments all over ...

22 Reader writers on school experiences

When the loud bell rang

My first day in school was really my second day — Jangchup Phelygal The Radiators That Ticked Heat into the Room — Laura Rhoton McNeal Rear Rank Rudy — Jim Morris Forget-me-nots — Rosa Colwin ...

A Princess in the Domain of Mrs. Kerschke

I could learn almost anything the schools wanted me to learn.

If there were nursery schools on the northwest side of Chicago in the late 1950s, I knew nothing about them. The other preschoolers on my block and I negotiated our way through those years when ...

Reader writers honor Mom

The woman we never forget

"Careful, Ma; don't spill your soup," I warned. "First time you spill, that's it — you're going to the home.” Mom's reply was immediate. "I know. I've picked out what I want to take with me."

The Letter Writer

Tragedy came to happy family in 11 short years.

My mother died at the end of October. At her wake, Duyen Pham asked if my mother ever wrote me, back in 1975. That was the year Duyen (13 at the time) and her family ...

UCSD prof David Phillips thinks suicide may be contagious

Why do they die?

ON THE MORNING OF AUGUST 4, 1963, the front page of the New York Times carried the headline "Dr. Ward Is Dead; Suicide Note Calls His Foes Vultures." The story revealed that the 50-year-old Ward, ...

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