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Stories by Mike Madriaga

So much for the McDonald's double drive-thru

Entrance from Florida Street is flashpoint

On August 5, John saw a “silly” McDonald’s meme shared on his Facebook timeline “that actually, hit home.” It’s based on a photo of the fast-food restaurant on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. The meme’s ...

Barefoot lady caught stealing Costco lights from neighbor

IB Facebook tells all

On August 4, Bryna from Imperial Beach posted a Facebook video of her friend’s landscape lights getting stolen. “This happened on 14th Street,” she said, “This individual decided to go into my friend's yard and ...

Hand standers steal attention

Upper body strength displayed at Oceanside, OB, Santa Monica

On July 28 at 4 pm, the spectators surrounding the Oceanside Pier had a double-feature; the pro-surfers in the water and the hand-standers in the sand by the rocks. This was the second day of ...

Filner's name defaced on Ingraham St. bridge

Crown Point passers-by have their opinions

On the morning of August 8, I opened an email that linked me to a photo of the Fisherman's Channel Bridge plaque. The sender asked "if anyone knew the story of the scratched out Council ...

If you were slow to get beach volleyball

Be early on beach tennis

Claudia Chiossi plays beach tennis. The 35-year-old personal trainer used to play in her hometown of Garopaba, Brazil, but since she’s relocated to Pacific Beach, she’s found locals to play with by Tower 22, which ...

Mosquito Coast

County specialists attack larvae in I.B.

“You just got one [mosquito] that landed on your chest,” Sean Simmons said, “and there’s some flying around you.” “Ohhh man there’s another mosquito on my shoulder,” I said as I swatted it away. On ...

VW Bus caravan makes it to Border Field

Met by VW fans across the fence

On July 29 at noon, about 75 vintage Volkswagen owners rendezvoused at International Friendship Park in Imperial Beach. This was the last stop for the Treffen: “A traveling [rear-engine] Volkswagen carnival, complete with cruises, camp ...

Hot brush for homeless and City Heights houses

Fire across from the Arco

On July 24, at around 7:30 pm, Matt Armstrong exited I-805 to Home Avenue and saw smoke on the way to his City Heights home. “I saw like seven-eight fire engines,” Armstrong said, “the car ...

Comic-con not great for Uber and Lyft drivers

L.A. drivers moved in on the territory

Ava Valentine averages $1200 a week driving for Uber and Lyft; Comic-Con last week might’ve slowed down her bankroll. “There was a lot of short fares downtown that took up a lot of time,” she ...

Too bad for the cameramen

No press parking at Comic-con

Comic-Con International 2018 did not have special parking for media/press, as in the previous years. On July 18 (Wednesday), as I made a left from Harbor Drive to Park Boulevard in between the convention center’s ...

Floating celebrity

Comic-con yacht with Jumbotron

“Watch out San Diego Comic Con 2018 because Captain Kevin Smith is going to be onboard the IMDb boat,” Smith said on an online video. Smith is a 47-year-old actor and director of movies Mallrats ...

Comic-Con

It's that time of year again...

You don’t need no stinkin’ badges What’s a poor unlucky muggle to do now that Comic-Con passes have become more expensive than Batmobile rims, and harder to pick up than Thor’s hammer? Not to worry, ...

Penasquitos Village empties of Filipinos

Some go back home, some squeeze in with others

George Almanon was one of the last residents to remain in PQ Village. “I’m kind of sad and my wife doesn’t want to leave this place,” he said, “because it’s a nice area and quiet.” ...

Adams Ave. box artists mostly legit

Ward Canyon art-bombed

On July 14, about 20 utility boxes were painted along Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. “Each of the 16 artists, was assigned a box and given anywhere from $125 to $675,” said Selena from the ...

Shared bikes and scooters used for crimes

And are themselves subject to crime

Share bikes and scooters have been stolen and vandalized since day one; lately throughout San Diego it’s gotten worse. “Please, no pictures because they might attack me,” said Jane, “I’m scared and I just want ...

You won't get rich charging Bird scooters either

To catch a Bird

“I’m telling you as a resident over here [in Ocean Beach], that you are in my parking spot,” yelled a man captured on video. “I’m not the one that puts these [Bird motorized scooter] nests ...

Graffiti park on Market Street under new name

Writerz Blok becomes Arts Park @ Chollas Creek.

On June 23, the Writerz Blok on Market three blocks west of Euclid was reopened as Arts Park @ Chollas Creek. On July 3, I walked up Chollas Creekside Park, which is on the east ...

San Diego, Hawaii

Not like our Cali burritos

I not only saw lava from the Kilauea Volcano and Fissure 8; I realized how much of an impact San Diego is making 2,500 miles away. Our plane landed at Keāhole on June 20. One ...

Sports car racers fret next to Midway

Can they use North Island?

On June 12 at 7:30 p.m., about 30 European vehicle owners met by the USS Midway on North Harbor Drive south of Broadway, downtown. Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and other European-make vehicle owners have been congregating ...

Bird scooter smashes BMW on Mission Blvd.

Walk-away caught on video

On June 15, Seda Onek spoke to the Bird company in Santa Monica in hopes to square up on more than $1600 worth of damage done to her 2013 BMW 328i on Memorial Day weekend. ...

Hurricane Bud affects Rosarito

Buried whale surfaces

"Merchants and visitors had to leave the Rosarito beach because of the high tide that went up suddenly — avoid coming for now," read the caption underneath a video posted June 10. This appeared on ...

Meet your new neighbors

Elegant terns, Royal terns, Caspian terns, Gull-billed terns, Forster's terns, and Western Snowy Plovers

On June 6 at about 10:30 a.m., San Diegans and tourists might've seen the thousands of terns flying around at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Chula Vista. The refuge is located west ...

You have to look at this as an art form

A little house on Shelter Island

“OMG, what is that thing,” said a fisherman, as he walked towards Shelter Island Pier at 1 p.m. on May 10. Like the other fishermen, he was “trippin’-out” on the 1991 Toyota truck that was ...

Drone hits helicopter in Baja 500

Who had the right of way?

Casey Currie is a 34-year-old professional off-road racer from Norco. Last week he won the Hammer Truck Unlimited class with his #4422 Jeep in the Baja 500. A couple of days later he uploaded a ...

Wedding ring in Mission Beach sand found

Big metal detector

On May 29, Eric Pomroy, 32, was playing volleyball on the Mission Beach beachfront with his buddies. He gave his wedding ring to his buddy to safeguard, so he could spike the ball without worrying. ...

Bird traps out all weekend at Mission Beach

Mem Day scooter accidents and arrests

“A guy came into our store and said he got a $300 ticket,” Judy said. Her 18-year-old co-worker Corey Winkle confirmed. “Everything that’s motorized requires a helmet,” he said, “and another thing is that the ...

Ninja librarian

Bijan Nowroozian does preschool story time but trains at The Mountain and SDSU

On June 6 at about 8 p.m., some children and their parents that frequent the North Park Library, will be in for a big surprise if their television sets are tuned in to NBC 7. ...

Munched it at San Onofre

Split tooth top to bottom

Name: Rick Dyer From: Fallbrook Location: Imperial Beach Pier On May 20th, I saw Rick Dyer and his wife Lynne hanging out by their 1972 Volkswagen Combi van on Seacoast Drive. “The surf out at ...

Water polluted by tossed bikes

Sunset Cliffs and Chollas Creek pose tough retrieval

On May 21, Paul Proctor pulled up four dockless bikes that were strewn off the Ocean Beach cliffs into the waters. “That’s a reef shelf at Sunset Cliffs and Hill Street,” Proctor said. “The area ...

Birds vs. dogs

Imperial Beach not a small town any more

On May 20, Brandon and his buddy Raul, could’ve been fined $100 apiece, if they walked their two labrador-mix dogs past the jetties in Imperial Beach. “The fact that the sign is posted up there,” ...

Boat busted

Red Rooster iII fined $40K for September haul

On May 22, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife posted on their Facebook page that read in part that in September of 2017, their officers made a “significant over-limit bust on the captain of ...

Dead Baja whale headed for pit

“I felt like vomiting”

On May 20th at about noon, Adrian Urenda saw a dead whale on the beach by Las Olas Hotel in Calafia (about seven miles south of Rosarito). “There were about ten others around the carcass,” ...

Black's felt like being in a prism

But the Wedge almost killed him

Name: Johnny V. From: Pacific Beach Location: Mission Beach Jetty Occupation: Photographer/Videographer Johnny V. was coming out of the water by the Mission Beach Jetty when I saw him. He had the waves all to ...

Just a Lo Jack recovery at Michaels

The easy way to get your stolen car back

At about 5:20 p.m., on Mothers Day (May 13), four San Diego Police Department patrol vehicles pulled up in front of Michael’s at the Westfield Mission Valley mall. The police officers exited their vehicles, passed ...

Surfboard left a horseshoe flap

Mission Beach jetty ridiculously territorial

Name: Eric Elmore From: Clairemont Location: Mission Beach jetty Occupation: Water Resources Engineer Eric Elmore has been surfing at the Mission Beach jetty for about 20 years. “It’s ridiculously territorial here,” he said, “a guy ...

Beware fake Apple pop-ups

Normal Heights victims

“My husband got a pop-up on our Mac computer with a phone number to call about a virus on our computer,” said CZ. “The caller tried their best to convince him that the Mac was ...

Instagram — perfect medium for tattoos

Especially the 3D nipples

On Cinco de Mayo weekend, a handful of tattoo collectors from around the country received complimentary tattoos at the Golden Hall (inside the San Diego Concourse) on C Street downtown. “We had three winners,” said ...

We don't kiss and tell

Takes dog to “the reefs," somewhere south of OB pier

Name: RB Age: 56 From: Ocean Beach Location: Ocean Beach Occupation: Counselor for mental health and substance abuse I saw RB on the north side of the Ocean Beach Pier on Feb 3. He just ...

Luis Miguel caught in traffic for his own concert

MattressFirm attendees take it better than neighbors

On May 4th, the Chula Vista Police Department posted a warning-tweet on their Twitter account. “REMINDER concert @MattressFirmAmphitheatre this evening w/@LuisMiguel: starts at 8pm expect significant traffic delays well in advance! #StaySafeCV” Fans from both ...

Laguna always ready for power shut-off

Poised to fire up generators

“They are putting underground [cables] in, which means that they shut the power off periodically,” said John M. “Literally, like ten minutes ago, a guy from SDG&E was giving out handouts to everybody …. but ...

Comic dealers want C-notes and benjies

Don't go on the internet

On April 28, John purchased a Howard the Duck comic book at the San Diego Rocket-Con. For the month of April, this was the third comic book and toy show in San Diego County. Like ...

Secret surf spot in Ensenada

Similar to Trestles

Name: Alfredo Ramirez Age: 44 From: Mission Valley Location: Ocean Beach Occupation: Mortgage advisor Alfredo Ramirez was surfing out at Avalanche in Ocean Beach riding his 5’9″ Sub-Driver performance board made by Lost/Mayhem Surfboards. “It’s ...

They want IB to look good from the bike path

Seventh Street neighbors cited for back yards

“They want the neighborhood to look pretty from the back too,” said Pete Suarez, “now that’s a crock.” Suarez bikes from south San Diego through Imperial Beach to get to Coronado. On April 28, I ...

Church smuggles toys and clothes across border

To Central American migrants and others

El Día Del Niño came 4 days early to some of the Central American kids that were part of the caravan into Tijuana last Wednesday and Thursday. Ricardo, from Chula Vista, was outside of the ...

Cell phone towers where you'd least expect

Over 100 on the San Diego County map

“What are they doing there?” asked a driver that pulled over before I did. We were on the shoulder of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard before it turns into Regents Road. “I have no idea,” I responded, ...

My pastor gave me the boogie board

Two-four-footers south of IB pier

Name: Scott Age: 59 From: San Diego Location: Imperial Beach Pier Occupation: Staff at Sharp Grossmont Hospital “I went over a wave and I heard a crack,” said Scott, as he snapped his fingers and ...

Comic Fest in a 4/20 cloud

The weed connection with cos-play

“I’m burning one for George [Clayton Johnson],” said Storm, as she lit up her three-inch brass pipe filled with “Skywalker” weed. “Oh, snap,” I said, then motioned over to the security guard at the Frankenstein ...

Aggressive people and panhandlers move in on Eastlake

It's getting bad out here

Eastlake was considered by some San Diego residents to be refuge from the criminal activity that occurs elsewhere in our county. But in the last year, the would-be suburban utopia, which is about 12 miles ...

Toys 'R Us was too good to be true

San Diego collectors bemoan the loss

When Toys ‘R’ Us announced that they were closing 800 of their U.S. stores, a handful of San Diego grown-ups that hang out at the Chula Vista VFW, were bummed-out. “It’s the end of another ...

Shark fins at Black's Beach and Pacific Beach

“Did I freak out? Yes! Did I get out of the water? No.”

Name: Beth Colton Age: 34 From: National City Location: Ocean Beach Pier Occupation: Staff at the San Diego Humane Society Beth Colton just got done surfing with her nine-foot Sunova board inlaid with balsa wood ...

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