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Stories by Leslie Ryland

San Diegans on love, marriage, and everything in between

How Bob and Amy and Chris and Samantha and Ted and Roy and Kurt and Becky Found Love on the World Wide Web BOB | Age: 35 Q Did she send you a photograph? A. ...

July 18, 2020
Southeast Locals – a well-educated, violent San Diego gang

Trigger Happy or Just Plain Happy? Who is David Medina? Dressed neatly in a white oxford cloth shirt with a blue pullover sweater, David Medina, a.k.a. “Happy,” pursed his lips and appeared to listen closely ...

June 27, 2020
San Marcos – still growing

Night people of San Marcos Miss Rincon said it was her habit to spend the night in the public bathrooms at Richmar Park, at the corner of Firebird Lane and Richmar Avenue, around the corner ...

Best Reader stories from 2003

The white mask On Saturday, September 6, 1958, Marilyn Monroe and the 175-person company of Some Like It Hot arrived at the Hotel del Coronado to begin location shots, after filming in Hollywood the previous ...

February 8, 2020
Pine Valley – way past suburbia

We didn't have a street address in Pine Valley I took my children on a trip to my past. Friday after Thanksgiving, I herded Rebecca, Angela, Johnny, and Ben into our van. Lucy, who had ...

La Costa, Del Mar, Valley Center, Talmadge, Ramona, San Ysidro, Lemon Grove, City Heights, University City, Mission Beach, Julian, Carmel Valley, Scripps Ranch, East Lake, Linda Vista, Serra Mesa

Where I live, no major high-volume road cuts apart the 'hood. People can cross the street without becoming dead. The amoeba-shaped Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course and grid-busting canyons have made a rabbit warren of the streets.

December 30, 2004
The Valley Center far away from Harrah’s casino

At the end of a winding asphalt road, past boulders and gated ranches, past riotous tumbles of magenta bougainvillea, past dirt roads that disappear into orange groves dappled with midday sun, you'll find Peter Schaner. ...

December 30, 2004
Michelle Taylor and Paul Galkoski

“We were dancing,” Mr. Galkoski says. “Things went so well, we drove down to La Jolla Shores.” “We sat on a bench talking and making out like a couple of high school kids,” Miss Taylor says .

October 21, 2004
Zach Starr and Sascha Clark

“I heard Sascha had broken up with her boyfriend. I went out to dinner with a bunch of my friends. Afterward, we went to the place where Sascha worked. I asked her for her number.”

October 14, 2004
Rich and Brooke Toscano

Just last week, Mr. and Mrs. Toscano celebrated their first anniversary. “Rich took me salsa dancing at Café Sevilla,” Mrs. Toscano says. “I had been browbeating him for a year to take me dancing."

October 7, 2004
John Beaver and Deanna Johnson

During their early college years, Miss Johnson and Mr. Beaver broke up for two years. “We had been together for so long. We both had growing up to do. We needed to go our separate ways.”

September 30, 2004
Corey Allen and Cheryl Abitria

Miss Abitria’s parents were less than thrilled. “My mom and dad are from the Philippines. They’re very traditional. They didn’t like the tattoos. My dad said, ‘This guy’s got a lot of baggage.’“

September 23, 2004
Dave Duncan and Sherry Eden

“We shopped all day in the Diamond District in downtown L.A.” Mr. Duncan says. “It took eight hours. We went into more than eight stores.” “We found the stone at one store and the band at another.”

September 16, 2004
Katie Kovacs and Josh Englefield

“I had dated other guys, I always had the sense that they wanted me for a trophy. Josh was different. It was as though he looked into me. He asked me questions and listened to the answers."

September 9, 2004
Kevin Leinum and Breanne Taylor

“We ended up playing volleyball that Sunday at South Mission Beach. I had told her on Friday that a group of us were going to play. A single woman wouldn’t show up. But there she was.”

September 2, 2004
Mimi Grifkin and Steve Rasky

Miss Grifkin, 42, shoots Mr. Rasky a teasing look. “He said he was 42. On our second date, I asked him for his ID.” “She actually asked to see my driver’s license. Can you believe it?”

August 24, 2004
Kathryn Stafford and Michael Strom

"They work you like used-car salesmen. It always comes down to a meeting in a little room. The salesperson is on one side of the table saying, ‘Do you want to make your girlfriend happy and buy today?’”

August 19, 2004
Gabriela Arroyo and Jose Luis Rojano

The couple went on their first date to Busalacchi’s about a month after they met. “He was so nervous when he asked me, he kept saying, ‘You can think about it if you want.’“

August 12, 2004
Melissa Ortaleza and Kenneth Cook

“We were talking. Melissa got distracted by a bug. I used that opportunity to take the ring out of my pocket. I got down on one knee and said, ‘I love you. Here’s the ring.’”

August 5, 2004
Jeff Klassen and Desiree Slane

They went on their first date at Chili’s off Mission Gorge Road near SDSU. “I knew he liked me because he wanted to take me to the movies after dinner even though we hadn’t planned on that.”

July 29, 2004
Matthew Lyons and Kristina McDonald

“He told me that he had a thing for Japanese girls. I grew up in Okinawa and moved here when I was 11. I told him, ‘I’m only half Japanese, so it wouldn’t work out.’”

July 22, 2004
Jeremy Pleso and Jocelyn Lee

Mr. Pleso told Ms. Lee to leave the room for a minute. When she came back, he was standing by the Christmas tree. He spoke to her in terms of endearment, asked her to marry him.

July 18, 2004
Bethany Skinner and Michael Burke

“It was cold, so Bethany had on my jacket. I got down on one knee and reached into the pocket of the jacket she was wearing and pulled out the ring box.”

July 8, 2004
Carolina Celaya and Wayne Morris

“I wanted the cheapest service. Wayne kept trying to sell me other things, like, did I want the car vacuumed? He was wearing his blue mechanic’s uniform. He was a little dirty. He looked hot."

July 1, 2004
Erwin Castillo and Brianne Stewart

Ms. Stewart gazes at Mr. Castillo. “Erwin is so loving and considerate all the time,” she says. “He has no bad qualities. Most everyone has things about them that get on your nerves. Not Erwin.”

June 24, 2004
Bree Henderson and Ryan Cornforth

He decided to stay with the baseball theme. “We had seen people get engaged at the stadium. But it was so cheesy. They just put your name on the big screen, ‘So-and-so, will you marry me?’”

June 17, 2004
Scott Weinpel and Leslie Smith

“I’m not interested in guys all that often,” Ms. Smith admits. By the time they went out on their first one-on-one date, she already knew she liked him. She even told him.

June 10, 2004
Neighborhood: small towns of San Diego

I see Asian gang cars some nights, in a long caravan down the Mira Mesa Boulevard. They meet at In-N-Out Burger before heading off for illegal street races on Kearny Villa Road or in Sorrento Valley.

San Marcos

Looking for a representative cross-section of San Marcos residents? Try the 24 Hour Fitness in the Vons center at San Marcos Boulevard and Rancho Santa Fe Road any weekday morning around 6:30. As you walk ...

100 grateful San Diegans

Diane Jones30Marketing DirectorMarriedCollege AreaInterviewed at the Natural History Museum, Balboa Park I’m grateful that my father — he’s 63 — is healthy and happy. He had an accident last year; he had a flesh-eating bacteria ...

November 26, 2003
San Marcos choreographed gymnastics

At 5:25 on an early summer afternoon, the sun still blazed outside the big metal roll-up doors at Stars and Stripes Gymnastics. Inside the San Marcos gym, coaches’ commands and the squeak of the parallel ...

October 9, 2003
31 San Diegans on California's death row

When Judge William Mudd sentenced David Westerfield to death on January 3 of this year, Westerfield joined a special subset of San Diegans. Of the 616 inmates on California’s death row, 31, including Westerfield, were ...

February 20, 2003
Six San Diego men take an imaginary leap across the gender divide

“Don’t be such a girl.” I hear the boys taunt each other at the playground near my house. “Don’t be such a girl.” Nothing could be worse. Most men agree. Sitting on the couch with ...

May 16, 2002
Judge Dick Murphy runs for mayor of San Diego

On a clear November morning, Judge Dick Murphy can see most of San Diego from the corner of his backyard. On a hillside in the saint-named streets behind St. Therese Catholic Church in San Carlos, ...

December 9, 1999
Dick Murphy announces San Diego mayor candidacy at Mission Trails

On the day Judge Dick Murphy officially announced his candidacy for mayor of San Diego, a lazy Santa Ana wind meandered through Mission Gorge. In the main parking lot at Mission Trails Regional Park, a ...

October 28, 1999
Judge Dick Murphy hosts mayor campaign party at Gaslamp Quarter art gallery

What do you do if you're a superior court judge and you want to be mayor of San Diego? You take an unpaid leave of absence and ask your friends for campaign money. On a ...

September 23, 1999
Pine Valley girl recalls the 1970 Laguna fire

In the fall of 1970, California caught fire. Between September 25 and October 3 that year, the U. S. Forest Service recorded 16 fires that consumed over 528,000 acres statewide. From Humboldt County in the ...

What San Diego lawyers wear to court

"You’ve got 12 people in the jury box, and all you need is 1 or 2 who don’t like you for some reason, and you may lose a case on that basis."

January 29, 1998
Welcome, GOP Convention Delegates, to San Diego, City of Shame

The maid had been referred to the Wilsons by Neil Morgan’s wife. The legality of her work status was still not known, said Davies. He said Wilson’s ex-wife Betty had handled all of the other details.

August 8, 1996
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