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Stories by Ken Harrison

The Joshua tree farm in Mission Beach

One way to save the national park

Three years ago, one of architect Bob Craig’s friends moved up to Joshua Tree in the high desert east of Palm Springs. Several hiking visits with his friend, into the Joshua Tree National Park, named ...

Bicyclists dominate Encinitas Caltrans meeting

Path from Cardiff to Leucadia

Encinitas locals had their first opportunity on October 7 to see an upcoming master plan for a mid-city bike lane to run east of I-5, the entire length of the city, from Manchester Avenue in ...

How Saudi Arabia affects San Diego gas prices

High-priced stations don't move much

It seems President Trump was correct in his assumption that the Saudi Arabia oil field bombing would not send the world’s gas prices into a tizzy. The U.S. is now the world’s largest exporter of ...

Julian – chock full of history

Hosking's Ranch, blessing box, badgers, Brian Kenner, Tom Nickel, volunteer fire dept., Mike Julian, windmills, logging, drought, Cauzza dairymen, orchards, poachers, Chariot Canyon Massacre

Appellate court turns back Hosking's fake cattle ranch Inhabitants of Julian who oppose the development of 1416 acres of local back country have a newfound victory to celebrate. An appellate court has reversed the decision ...

Why Encinitas wants to ditch Sunset High

"There is not a rush to do this"

As the campus of Sunset High School in Encinitas was scraped to the ground over the summer, the school board of the San Dieguito Union High School District is considering a name change when the ...

Cardiff's Torrey Pine comes down amid suspicions

“We’ve done everything we can"

“It wasn’t supposed to come down,” say Cardiff by the Sea activist opposing the August 26 removal of a 70-year-old, 65-foot Torrey Pine tree at Cardiff Elementary School. The tree was planted by school children ...

Jacumba – the far edge of San Diego

Across border in Jacume, De Anza nudists, In-Ko-Pah, Border Angels, hippie fest, flying saucers

A quiet street and an old hotel Jacumba is a kind of living ghost town out in southeast San Diego County, on the Mexican border, in what’s called, the Mountain Empire district. It has come ...

The China effect on San Diego's recycling

After rePlanet closes, EDCO sees 100 percent increase

When the Chinese government announced last month that they no longer want to buy mega-tons of America’s recycling waste, it may have been the final blow to a collapsing recycling industry, forcing the closing of ...

Ken Harrison and the Reader

Lifeguard towers replaced, Vandenburg Air Force base, carjacked cabbie, freeway panhandlers, Tom Schaar, kids steal Bob from Bob's Big Boy

Harrison has written freelance submissions for the Reader since 2009. Harrison's favorite stories he wrote for the Reader: Towers Land in North County Beachgoers are noticing the changes on the sand at Seaside, Cardiff Reef, ...

Bonsall – suburbia's edge

San Luis Rey Downs track and golf course, fossilized bison, Highway 76 widened, Vessels Ranch, the Hank Show

Lilac fire survivor comes to the races On December 7, 2017, horse trainer Joe Herrick said, “Hell came to town.” Herrick was was involved in trying to rescue 450 thoroughbred horses caught in the raging ...

2016 holds record for Del Mar Fair

Chicken Charlie’s served 8,000 deep-fried balls of crème brulée

Like the scarecrow without a brain, this year’s Oz-themed San Diego County Fair had individually cataloged hundreds of lost and found items. The most unusual lost item? “A gold grill with diamonds in it,” said ...

Gas tax bump sends 15 San Diego stations above $4.30/gallon

Calif. governor launches investigation

Gas prices in San Diego County were supposed to go up on 5.6 cents a gallon on July 1, due to a new gas tax. Some stations didn’t get the memo. As of midday July ...

Bed bugs in Leucadia?

Union protest at John Moores' Encinitas Beach Resort

Warning . . . Crime is coming to Leucadia. Robbery. Prostitution. And worse yet . . . an infestation of bed bugs. That’s according to a two-week-long protest by a construction union. Carpenters Local 619 ...

What Vons, Albertsons, Ralph's customers will do

So many non-union alternatives

Thousands of retail clerks in Southern California, workers for Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, and Ralph’s grocery stores, overwhelmingly approved their union to organize a strike, if needed, in the near future. Their union’s contract with the ...

Morena Blvd. on 1970 film footage

283 San Diego streets posted on line

Recent Facebook postings of old films shot on major San Diego streets take viewers on a trip into the 1970s. The films travel the entire length of a roadway; showing road alignments, classic cars, businesses, ...

Suspect in quadruple murder of Fallbrook family convicted

Did San Diego County Sheriffs bungle investigation?

After the mysterious 2010 disappearance of the McStay family of Fallbrook, Charles Ray Merritt, 62, was convicted of the quadruple murder on June 10 in a San Bernardino County court Joseph McStay, his wife Summer, ...

Leucadia – funky no more

La Costa Ave. time capsule, changing Hwy. 101, insults to hippies, battle over stairway, a eucalyptus logger

La Costa Ave. missing time capsule found In the 1970s, Encinitas sheriff’s deputies would make the Leucadia rest area one of their first stops in their morning patrols, to kick out squatting hippies and camping ...

Birthplace of skateboarding – Encinitas and Carlsbad

Forget about Santa Monica

It started in 1974 at the Bahne surfboard manufacturing shop on Westlake Drive in Encinitas, and quickly spread to a street known as Black Hill in La Costa. Within a few years, skateboarding was a ...

Rancho Santa Fe Democrats hear Gaspar opponents

Olga Diaz, Terra Lawson-Remer, Jeff Griffith

The County Board of Supervisors campaign gloves were formally taken off on May 9 when the Rancho Santa Fe Democratic Club hosted the expected three challengers to Supervisor Kristin Gaspar’s 3rd District supervisorial seat. Gasper, ...

Mary's Donuts in Santee got a little too generous

Joel Scalzitti uses her name in Lakeside and El Cajon

Touted as a third location of the regionally popular Mary’s Donuts, a new storefront opened on El Cajon’s Main Street on April 13, near city and county offices. Owner Joel Scalzitti proclaimed in the East ...

Cheapest San Diego County gas is Pauma Valley and Oceanside

Oil companies blame Phillips 66 refinery in Carson and Valero’s in Wilmington

Just as reported in the Reader’s February 11 article, the expected raise in gas prices has found San Diego motorist’s paying an average of $4.04 a gallon (regular gas, cash price). That’s the highest price ...

High Sierra search for Camp Pendleton Marine curtailed

Rescuers unable to make it into Kearsarge Pass

An all-out effort to find a Camp Pendleton Marine, missing in the snow packed wilderness of the Eastern Sierra is winding down. Other than his rental car, found on March 9 at his planned trailhead ...

Stop Water Tax goes after Maienschein and Horvath

Carl DeMaio never gives up

Twelve Democrat legislators have been targeted by Reform California’s Stop the Water Tax campaign. Two from San Diego, Assemblypersons Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego), and Tasha Horvath (D-Encinitas) have been identified as “Water Tax Weaklings,” being ...

Surf contests on Calif. public land will have to include females

And don't call them Surfer Girls

Former Encinitas city councilwoman, Tasha Boerner Horvath, has held her 76th District Assembly seat for just ten weeks. Usually freshmen legislators take up to six months to start legislating. However, on February 14, Boerner Horvath ...

Lights out at La Paloma for Valentine's film

Interrupts The Princess Bride

On Valentine's night, at the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas, about 75 people, couples and families, were two-thirds of the way through one of the greatest love stories ever filmed, when the power went out. ...

Escondido's most expensive gas

“What is he doing out there? Nothing!"

Since Escondido is one of the lowest areas in the county for gas prices, some motorists may be wondering what’s up with the OAAI station on the corner of Centre City Parkway at 9th Avenue. ...

San Diego gas prices edging up – want to drive to Pauma Valley?

Gasbuddy.com shows February as the pivot month

The chance for San Diegans to pay $2 a gallon for gas in 2019 appears to be over. Concern over trade tensions with China is the reason being given for the current rise in San ...

Pat Hahn, Jeff Gelder, John Van Zante, Kathie Berger, Sam Bass – real San Diego radio

"If you let DJs run the station, magic happens”

January 20 was National Radio DJ Day. I asked some of San Diego’s former radio voices to weigh in on past times in the local industry. Pat Hahn had a groupie at the old Vista ...

Encinitas rolls back ban on dancing at Peabody's

“What is this? Footloose?"

The Old Testament quotes, and the 1960s band, the Byrds, sang of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . . A ...

Hinze appointment shows Encinitas splits

Mayor Blakespear: “She turns residents into citizens”

The January 9 unanimous appointment to the Encinitas City Council of Kellie Shay Hinze, executive director of the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association completes a singular vote for Encinitas of what one longtime community activist ...

After gas tax loss, DeMaio targets union dues

"Our version of the France protests”

Two months after the loss of ballot measure Proposition 6, the gas and car tax repeal, San Diego radio talk show host Carl DeMaio and his Reform California group are pushing forward with new plans. ...

Hang back from the box if someone else is there

Julian's Blessing Box has its protocol

In the corner of the parking lot at Wynola Pizza and Bistro in Julian, is a reason local residents in the mountain community of 4,000 will never have to go hungry. Resident Heather Rowell learned ...

Oceanside Mohsen gas stations at war with G&M stations

Shell takes over from Chevron as most expensive

Southern Californians are driving more this holiday season, as evidenced by an unusual post-Christmas Day traffic jam on December 26 through Camp Pendleton south to Del Mar on I-5. It was bumper-to-bumper most of the ...

Christmas king tides ravage Cardiff by the Sea

South of Chart House sand from San Elijo Lagoon washed away

Christmas Day was not kind to the beaches of San Diego County. The strong wind and rainy day saw ravaging king tides, which washed away sand and flooded parking lots and low-lying areas. The National ...

Cardiff main drag cut off from I-5

Go up to Encinitas to get to 101 or the beach

Cardiff by the Sea residents must be getting a little fed up with all the construction and orange fencing around town; widening of I-5 to eight lanes at Manchester Avenue, I-5 interchange expansion at Santa ...

An unwanted December phone call

The man never asked for money

A new telephone scam may be circulating around San Diego. On December 19, 68-year-old Vickie Harjo, of Fallbrook, received a phone call from the "Medicare office" stating her Medicare coverage will expire on December 25. ...

The real story on Cardiff's mystery house

Once owned by the Pannikin's Bob Sinclair

Every few years, on an Encinitas Facebook page, someone will ask what’s up with the abandoned-looking home, which sits outside of Cardiff Elementary School’s northwest corner. The two-story brick house has been there since the ...

La Costa Ave. missing time capsule found

Open next year at Old Town museum

Back in 1966, a young Dave Naylor remembers he and his father attending a dedication of the new Interstate 5 rest area at the La Costa Avenue exit, in Leucadia. He clearly recalls a time ...

End of quaintness for San Elijo beach

How California Parks Co. ruined Idyllwild's Garner Valley

For the last twelve years, the Manganelli family has operated San Elijo State Beach’s camp store and little restaurant. But on December 13, their Cardiff by the Sea operation has started to come to an ...

Carlsbad, Cardiff dinging RVs

$10 charge for black water

Cheryl Brandstrom of Escondido recently made her annual camping trip to South Carlsbad State Beach campground. She had campsite on the bluff, great weather, good fishing, and yet came away miffed. Prior to the summer, ...

Finally a landing and take-off

CPAir starts service from Carlsbad

After a failed launch of California Pacific Airlines on November 1, due to a maintenance issue, the rescheduled maiden flights of a new Carlsbad-based airline took off on November 2. It’s been nine years in ...

Once more from Carlsbad

Trying to recreate the feel of PSA

One has to give credit for tenacity to 97-year-old Rancho Santa Fe millionaire Ted Vallas. Since 2013, he’s tried several attempts to get his Carlsbad-based California Pacific Airlines in the air. After two Federal Aviation ...

San Marcos carrying water for developers

Their Vallecitos water district ups rates for average user

Tom Scaglione was assistant general manager and CFO at San Marcos’ Vallecitos Water District. He retired in May and now teaches at Palomar College in their water/wastewater technology program. He’s become a critic on a ...

Oceanside's middle managers want a raise

If they can't strike, what will they do?

The city of Oceanside’s mid-range employees are in the middle of a wage dispute battle with city hall. They’ve been working without a contract since July 1. At the council meeting on October 3, their ...

Eastern Sierra not Eden

San Diego horse lover discovers bizarre crime

When former Allied Gardens resident, Shelly Snoderly, walked into the Big Pine Saddle Club early one morning, three months ago, she was upset to see the place had been ransacked. Saddles and tack were obviously ...

Our own trailer park talent

Barbolak poked fun of Oceanside neighbors

It’s been one month now since Oceanside comedian Vicki Barbolak appeared in the live final round of America’s Got Talent. Although she missed out on the one-million-dollar prize placing (she placed sixth out of the ...

Hippie fest near Jacumba – more to come

Reader writer moved by "Moonbeam's" work on Genesis

Over 300 San Diegans gathered in the boulder-strewn, high desert mountains near Jacumba, to celebrate Desert Rising; a three-day consciousness-raising festival held over the October 12 weekend. Though it is best described as a version ...

In-filling with 130 houses in South Carlsbad

If you thought I-5 traffic was bad now...

Pressure to develop a project on one of North County’s last, large coastal properties may be coming to a head, but not if the residents in the South Carlsbad community of Ponto have anything to ...

Trestles pulled down. No, not those Trestles.

Better tidal low for San Elijo Lagoon

A longtime beach fixture in Cardiff by the Sea is coming down after 80 years of use. The old wooden train trestle bridge over the San Elijo Lagoon, behind Restaurant Row, started to be dismantled ...

Lilac fire survivor comes to the races

Joe Herrick's horse Achieved finishes last, but that's not the point

On December 7, 2017, horse trainer Joe Herrick said, “Hell came to town.” Herrick was was involved in trying to rescue 450 thoroughbred horses caught in the raging Lilac fire through Bonsall’s San Luis Rey ...