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Stories by Mike Madriaga

Doggone Game of Thrones...

TV show sparks popularity of dogs — and dog-nappings?

“Lily was last seen being taken from our yard on Thursday [February 15] by a caucasian male, medium build, [in his] late 20s to early 30s,” Ivan Kanzaki said. “He then led [our Siberian husky] ...

Comic-hoarder’s hell is a Poway picker’s heaven

“It’s hard for me to get excited, but I got excited with this comic deal.”

Recently, a Poway thrift-store owner made what’s being called the biggest score in local comics trading history when he bought the collection of a deceased L.A.-area hoarder. “The house is an extreme case [of a] ...

Homeless dwellings of some permanence

“The fire department knows about all of these guys."

Matt Armstrong and Cindi Lapio have been noticing more permanent structures being built in their neighborhood canyons and ridges. Armstrong is a 51-year-old martial arts instructor who cleaned out more than 2000 pounds of trash ...

Cyanide in my pasalubong

Gift of cigars from Philippines has dire warnings not everyone worries about

“Trip out on this, bro,” Ed said as he pulled out a Coronas Sumatra cigar box that was labeled with “stroke” on the front and “cyanide” on the side. On February 4, we were at ...

Club Iggy's burned on verge of 2018 season

"All we have are Polaroid pictures of the tequila poppers, the piña coladas."

On the morning of January 20th, Club Iggy’s, located at 11337 Avenida Coronado, Rosarito, was burned to the ground. “Maybe because the club was made pretty much of all with wood and logs,” said Carlos ...

Rusty perfect for Coronado

Phoenix high school girl comes once a month

Name: Kali Recker Age: 17 From: Coronado Shores and Phoenix Location: Coronado Beach Occupation: Junior in high school On New Year’s day, there were hundreds of people out in the water behind the Hotel Del ...

Seniors try to save old Adams Avenue cop shop

New one to be built on same block

John Hartley wants the San Diego Police Department to return to the Adams Avenue storefront that he helped create in 1993. On January 22nd, he received a letter from the office of councilmember Chris Ward ...

Worst wipe-out was in Peru

Immigrant likes Hospitals and Horseshoe best

Name: Benjamin Age: 46 From: La Jolla Occupation: Real estate agent I saw Benjamin by his vehicle at Hospitals in La Jolla. It was one of the last days of 2017 and it was 74 ...

Cat on a wet tile roof rescued 10 days later

Rotisserie chicken bait on edge, tuna water on ramp, fish feast in trap

Melaney and her sister heard a cat meowing atop their roof on Saturday, January 6th. “[My sister] looked up and saw the cat’s head peeking over the ledge.” The gray cat was stuck on the ...

IB is a good place for floaters

But Sunset Cliffs has nice easy channels

Name: Peter Ramseier Age: 47 From: Imperial Beach Occupation: Airplane mechanic Peter Ramseier rolled out to surf with his two sons and their friends just hours before the Christmas Eve festivities. They surfed by the ...

Without Villainous Lair, gamers adrift

Comic-store closure will leave some players with "nowhere to go"

“Deep crushedness is the general feel around here,” said Matt Bantelman. “I’ve gone out of the way to not mention it this evening because everyone’s trying to play [games] and have fun, and then inevitably ...

Future farmer helps fight fire, loses animal friends

"We would be greeted with Bella’s voice and the one sweet chicken."

At about 11:30 p.m. on January 8th, Layla, an 11-year-old girl who lives in Eucalyptus Hills (a couple miles northeast of Lakeside), smelled smoke and saw a yellow reflection on her window. She ran into ...

Manzanita Canyon rain hikers

“People were wanting to see how bad it gets down there."

“There were more than 24 [people] interested [in hiking] in the rain,” said Justin Boone of Azalea Park. On January 2nd he had announced on his coffee-business Facebook page that he would be leading hikes. ...

GoPro not pro enough, say drone pilots

“No manufacturer has really, in my opinion, gotten beyond a 15-minute job flight.”

“GoPro is known for cameras, not aviation,” said Sean Randle during an interview shortly after GoPro released a press release on January 8th announcing that it was dissolving its drone-manufacturing arm. “The [Karma drone] faces ...

Sew it goes in Normal Heights

Discount Fabrics building to be sold, business to close

"The reason we are closing is because they are selling the building," said Jack, an employee at Discount Fabrics (3325 Adams Avenue, between Felton and 33rd streets). “We are not moving, we are closing, and ...

Three concussions while surfing

"Couldn’t drive to work for the whole month”

Name:Stephanie Canepa Age: 37 From: Mission Beach Location: Ocean Beach Occupation: Administrative tech for finance company “There’s a lot of stuff to do here and the vibes are upbeat and family oriented — and we ...

Bank-card skimmers enjoy the high season

Thwart them with apps and vigilance

On Christmas morning, Rob Brand learned that his debit card had been skimmed and the card was used to try and purchase something from Amazon Prime. “I have not heard of this before,” said Brand, ...

No wetsuit in December

“I go in for like 15 minutes”

Name: Mark De Salas Age: 21 From: Imperial Beach Occupation: Fire watch department in shipyards On December 17, at about 4:30 p.m. there was only one person by the Imperial Beach Pier capitalizing on the ...

Amazon overload

Unidentifiable vans and overworked employees bruise the season

Lately there’s been a rash of theft in the Chula Vista neighborhoods, from home burglaries to Christmas-mail porch thieves. Although neighbors try to be vigilant, the recent use of unmarked vehicles by FedEx, UPS, and ...

At PB maybe I was getting in their way

Bought a Barry Snyder surfboard for $50

Name: Melissa Beach: Ocean Beach Melissa moved here from Guam two months ago. She’s a 20-year-old college student that frequents Ocean Beach because of the friendlier vibes. “At PB by the pier, it was different,” ...

Clocked by a GoPro stick at border protest

Blood proof belies sheriff's report of nonviolence

“My head was opened up with a hit from the GoPro holder,” says Rafael Bautista, one of the founders of Tenants United, a group seeking to implement rent control in San Diego. But Bautista's activist ...

City Heights humbugged by no Christmas lights

“Many residents have offered to provide electricity from their homes."

As holiday traffic makes the 805 freeway a little more congested, Christmas lights on the Market Street overpass contribute to the seasonal cheer. This is the fourth year since the lights went up, a collaboration ...

Coronado was like Tahiti

Firewire surfboard snapped in half

Name Chad : Age: 37 Occupation: Law student at the University of San Diego Where: Ocean Beach Pier I found Chad surfing with his seven-foot Catch Surf Odysea in support for the “Paddle for Clean ...

Great year for 7-Eleven beer-runners

Vigilant employees, cameras, locked coolers, barricades don't stop them

“Yesterday at 9:40 [p.m.] two Modelo 24 oz. cans fell out of his pants,” said Fredley. “I said, 'What the hell...what is this?' then he grabbed them and ran away…but his girlfriend is right behind ...

Border protesters demand release of Sunshine

Organizer of San Felipe fishermen arrested with meth — a setup?

On November 29, the Mexicali side of the Zona Centro border crossing was blocked by protesters demanding the jail release of Sunshine Antonio Rodríguez Peña, the organizer of the fishing communes in San Felipe. Rodríguez ...

Memes of mercy for two SD men jailed in Thailand

Because Instagram photos of their butts bared at Wat Arun temple

Memes are usually captioned photos or short repetitive videos that go viral and transform to amuse, inspire, humor, or mystify people. A meme can also be only text that convey how the meme-poster feels at ...

The washing machine treatment

Mangled by Playas' outer reef

Name: AF Age: 47 Location: Imperial Beach At about sunset, I spotted AF at the end of Date Avenue loading his 7’8″ Electric Duck surfboard into his van. “It’s shaped by Mike Richardson,” he said. ...

Matt hits Manzanita Canyon hard and often

Volunteer trash collector reducing number of homeless encampments?

Over the weekend (November 18–19), Matt Armstrong says he pulled out 350 pounds of trash from Manzanita Canyon — by himself. "I usually like to go out in the late morning/early afternoon, as there is ...

Ten years old, boogie-boarding since he was five

Wave flipped me over completely and I bumped my head in the sand

Name: Rio Beach: Ocean Beach Rio was named after the 1983 Duran Duran hit. He is 10 years old, and he’s been boogie-boarding since he was five. “When I catch a wave,” he said, “I ...

New: Mexican/Baja 1000 Off-Road Walk of Fame

Ensenada sidewalk inlaid with marble tiles

On November 8, at about 2 p.m, Diego Gomez admired the new marble tiles inlaid on Ensenada’s sidewalks. “They measure between half a meter and one square meter,” he said, “and three [tile] plates from ...

Shop cop questions immigration status of panhandler

Bystander verbally defends young mom begging in parking lot

On November 9, at about 1:15 p.m., shoppers making their way inside the Target located at 3424 College Avenue would have noticed a heated argument in the parking lot. Sonia Serrano Zavala, a 43-year-old mother ...

Sweetwater & Rohr Park Railroad days numbered?

Officials vow to spare Chula Vista Live Steamers from redevelopment plan

“We are concerned about the Chula Vista Golf Course and Rohr Park redevelopment [proposal],” Scott Lewis recently told Chula Vista mayor Mary Casillas Salas, councilmembers, and staff. “[We’ve] been in Rohr Park for 43 years ...

Baja 1000 racers, start your documentation

Vehicle importation permit issue remains clear as mud

As this story goes live and the Baja 1000 starts in less than a week (November 14–18), there still has been no official press release from the Mexican government regarding the new TIP (temporary import ...

It’s coyote time — guard the pets and tykes

“This is when the young leave to find new territories.”

“We started hearing barking from the neighbor’s dog and then right after that we heard one of their dogs start yelping frantically,” said Angie Lira, “I [then] saw three coyotes; two were walking towards Gables ...

Lincoln Park graffiti sanctuary to close

Plans for Writerz Block yard unknown

“After 15 years, the Writerz Blok facility is closing for redesign of the creative space,” said Reginald Jones, the president and CEO of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. The graffiti art yard is located ...

Citizens seek concert-traffic relief

"During the country concerts, it takes me 25 minutes to get home.”

Caroline Serrano is a 43-year-old housewife from the Vista Pacifica community of south San Diego, near the Otay Mesa border crossing and nearer to the Mattress Firm Amphitheatre. On Wednesday (October 25) she was concerned ...

North Park syringe swap site won't change soon

Planning group okayed library locale; time coincides with "Babies and Books"

Paul Tibbets and his neighbors want the Safe Point San Diego-Syringe Exchange Program recreational vehicle to move somewhere else. For the past 14 years, an RV has been parking across the street from the North ...

Likes walking the nose

Sliced her leg at Scripps

Name: Shane Age: 23 From: San Diego Location: Ocean Beach Shane and her buddy just got done surfing when the sun was setting at approximately 7:30 p.m. The 23-year-old San Diego native was trying to ...

Read before rolling into Baja

Cuidado — RV and towed-vehicle permits also new to Mexican officials

When the Baja 1000 races roll around next month (November 14–18), some Americans crossing into Mexico might be in for a big surprise. Recently, travelers crossing through the San Ysidro, Otay, Tecate, and Mexicali borders ...

Mass grooming in National City

"All the ladies kept talking about how handsome the barbers were."

“I do think the elderly [people here] are in need,” said Brooke Ortiz. “There were people that lived [at Southern Highland] that said this was the best day they have ever had.” Ortiz is a ...

Friday the 13th run on tats

"We never ask for a tip."

Tattoo shops across San Diego (and nationally) had lines outside their doors on Friday the 13th, the “Black Friday” for tattoo collectors because certain parlors discount their “flash” designs for $13. “We had about 200, ...

Wedding for 619 and 858 area codes imminent

"It’s an inconvenience, but it’s a side effect on our reliance of technology.”

On October 9, Tom Davis from Kensington received a letter from AT&T. It read: “Boundary Area Code Elimination Overlay Approved for the 619 and 858 Area Codes,” followed by an explanation and new procedures for ...

Calm down: South Bay IMAX won't be demo'ed

Commercial space will take over some regular theater space

JR has been working at the AMC theater on Dennery Road for almost six years. On Monday (October 9) he dispelled the rumor that the IMAX section of the AMC Classic Palm Promenade 24 theater ...

Chula Vista concert traffic horrific

Sold-out Depeche Mode show creates hourslong backups

Marcus has lived in the south San Diego and Chula Vista areas for the past 16 years. On Friday (October 6), he said he “never had a more serious traffic problem.” He and many others ...

Fast traffic near St. Augustine High chaps neighbors

“Can they not teach the boys to obey the laws [and] be courteous drivers?"

Ken Adelson has been a North Park resident for the past 32 years. He is a tech writer who lives by Palm Street on the north side of St. Augustine High School. Like many neighbors, ...

North Park glory at hand

Stevens-Hartley building entered in national restoration contest

The Stevens-Hartley Annex on University Avenue was built in 1926. If San Diego wins the #VoteYourMainStreet contest, the structure would be eligible to “a share of $2 million in American Express funding for preservation projects,” ...

Fight night in Paradise Hills

'40s flashback with cars, art, duds, food, and slugfest

Parked outside of the House of Boxing venue on September 30 was a 1935 San Diego police paddywagon with two guys holding faux tommy guns. One guy was wearing a classic zoot suit, the other, ...

Scuffle with box-cutter at murder memorial

"They got into a physical fight and were rolling around on the street.”

“I’m done — [Sonny] just died in our canyon [and] everybody liked him a lot,” Jane said, “and his girlfriend is expecting — he was going to be a father.” Twenty-nine-year-old Sonny Gonzalez was stabbed ...

Recycling thief caught up with in Lakeside

"I know it's only cans, but they are ours and on our property."

Last week, Jeff Cremeans caught a man lurking by his 1984 Toyota truck. The 39-year-old Lakeside resident can see his driveway even when he's at work — thanks to his Night Owl Extreme surveillance system. ...

Loiterers, crime at Adams rec center park

“Then where are we supposed to go?”

“Two months ago, while I was walking my two dogs by the Adams Recreation Center park,” Frank said. “A black homeless [looking] guy flicked his cigarette on the street. He [then] said, ‘What you lookin’ ...

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