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Stories by Mike Madriaga

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’ ...

Daughter of surf pro Michael, niece of Derek

Coco Ho had gnarliest wipeout in Western Australia

Name: Coco Ho Age: 26 Occupation: Professional Surfer From: Oahu, Hawaii Location: Oceanside Pier Coco Ho was competing in the SuperGirl Pro in Oceanside on July 29. At about 2:20 p.m., she won the round. ...

City Heights wire art must go

Installations distract drivers from traffic signals?

An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the art's removal to a decision by the city attorney. — Ed. At about 2:15 p.m. on Friday, September 22, Hani asked his customers if they ever ...

Oak Park neighbors discourage illegal activity

“It’s up to the city to take care of this problem."

“The broken glass in the concrete wall has gone too far,” Ted said. He was referring to a three-foot-wall in his neighborhood where people used to loiter and sit. It has a layer of uneven ...

Buses' stop signs ignored

"This, fortunately, scared the student to the point of shaking like crazy."

“Last week I was following my son’s bus home [and] the bus stopped on Valle Vista Road near Vista Camino,” said Miranda Niederle of Lakeside. “[Then the driver] turned on the [bus’s stop] lights and ...

Car shows are different in Tijuana

"You do not have to babysit the people from leaning or touching the cars.”

On September 15, about a hundred Tijuana street racers skipped the unadvertised drag races and met up with other crews in front of Déjà Vu’s Tijuana strip club (at Plaza Pueblo Amigo). “It’s not far ...

Kaaboo sound system should keep Del Martians quiet

"We created a ginormous version of a noise-canceling system."

“I can’t hear them,” said Del Mar Circle K worker Robert at about 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 15. “There is a lot of traffic, though.” The opening night of the three-day Kaaboo music festival ...

Community not happy with North Park park

"I’m not taking my kids back to that playground.”

“A really aggressive homeless dude” was witnessed yelling and disrespecting a female city employee with “f-bombs” as she was working in the baseball field on September 12, according to Jeff Ray, a 50-year-old North Park ...

Tat shops take issue with hepatitis flier

"It’s spreading ignorance about the situation."

“My mom saw that [flier],” said Matthew Manroe, “and then she hit me up and asked if it was something that I was worried about catching [hepatitis A] from doing tattoos.” Manroe, 34, has been ...

Hepatitis in them canyons

“I would never allow volunteers to do this type of cleaning.”

“I got my [hepatitis A] shot at Kaiser last Friday [September 1],” Linda Pennington said. “My arm was incredibly sore for about ten minutes from my bicep to my wrist.” She said that a day ...

Car theft the new "normal" in Normal Heights?

High-tech or low, residents endure the rash

In the past couple of weeks, there have been four autos stolen in Normal Heights, according to the Crimemapping.com website. An additional eight auto break-ins and thefts were also reported. “I woke up to find ...

City Heights' Fire Station 17 rehab near done

Construction cost about $11 million

“It will be beautiful,” said Sandra. “[It’s] another gem in the community, like the police station.” Sandra, 63, was referring to the almost-completed Fire Station 17 at 4206 Chamoune Avenue in City Heights. Like many ...

You want rent control in San Diego? Sign here.

Meeting draws only three, but hopes for movement are high

“I’m paying $950 [for rent per month] there, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed [that it doesn’t go up],” said Cat Mendoza on August 26. She lives off of 44th Street in City Heights, just ...

Lakeside Nextdoor monitor adrift after online kerfuffle

“The first thing I’m doing is dropping the ban-hammer on you for personal attacks.”

On August 4, Dawn Espedal needed to verify a Lakeside resident on the Nextdoor app. “Please help me verify a new neighbor. Jane Smith [name changed for the story] on Riverview would like to join ...

Homeless camp cleanup stymied by city

“We were never trying to eject the homeless.”

“I did get a fist put to my face [and] that was one of the motivating factors to leave the scene,” said Lashbrook. On August 18, at about 10:45 a.m., Worden “Tom” Lashbrook met with ...

Rooster gripes in City Heights

“I would argue that dogs barking are as loud or louder."

City Heights resident Jen said she is startled by two roosters at four o’clock almost every morning. “If they wake me up, sometimes it’s hard to fall back asleep,” she said. “I asked for suggestions ...

Tonnage report on Manzanita Canyon cleanup

"The meth addicts gather up the craziest stuff.”

“In your cleanup efforts, did you come across any evidence of the fatal Maddux Air Lines Ford Tri-Motor crash of 1929?” asked Mike Gerow. “Contemporary news accounts cited Lexington Park, which I understand is in ...

The new kindergarten next door in North Park

“Isn’t there a law that requires you to consult with your neighbors?"

On August 11, Ted received a letter from his next-door neighbor of eight years. He said that he rarely spoke to her until last month. “They sent me a letter,” said Ted, a 47-year-old videographer ...

Volvo technician gives middle finger to the rest of you

Extreme Autofest not that extreme

“I would never be caught dead in that car,” said Michelle Van Rooyen. She was referring to Mason Shipman’s 1984 Volvo 244 Turbo. On July 29, Shipman and Van Rooyen were both competing at the ...

Metallica fans debate Encanto in-filling

62nd Street trolley station lost its 206 parking spots.

On August 6, at about 3:30 p.m., Nancy parked her car at the Massachusetts Avenue trolley stop because the other parking lot at the 62nd Street trolley stop was closed down for construction. “We are ...

Caltrans signs in City Heights are backfiring

“People cheating red lights, blocking intersections, and no one doing any signaling”

On July 29 at noon, it took D.R. Peck six minutes to get on the 15 Freeway — from one block away. “Whoever created the new signage obviously does not live here, as now there ...

Bunny-mania at 36th and Landis

"The house on the corner had a lot full of free roaming Lionheads and Hotots."

“These are desirable rabbits,” Cindy said, “Lionheads are show bunnies that can go for $100 each, the other rabbits with black rings around their eyes; are Hotots.” On July 30, Cindy, a registered veterinary technician, ...

What they brought for Mark Hamill to sign

Empire Strikes Back VHS tape. Star Wars costumes, Yoda game, Return of the Jedi book, Star Wars Campbell’s Soup

“We don’t have a crowd size,” said Lt. D. Crubbs, “we normally do that [assessment] from a helicopter.” No Star Wars motif drones flew above either (at the Castleton Drive and Mount Abernathy Avenue cross ...

Comic-Con's black market

“I still sell foreign (bootleg) stuff, Japanese, Tagalog, and Italian spoken 1960s Spiderman cartoons."

Mister-X has been selling bootleg videos at the Comic-Con International for 22 years now. “I made about $2000 in [the last] five days (July 19-23),” he said, “I used to make that in one day ...

Comic-Con scanning scamming

“They never checked IDs before”

“We had people [trying to come inside Comic-Con] dressed as Elite security wearing black polo [shirts] that said Elite on the back,” said Paulina, “[but] we don’t hire Elite security and then there was one ...

Funko dolls cause crush on Market Street

Stuck on Saturday morning cartoons — Scooby Doo, Huckleberry Hound, Jetsons, Flintstones, Wacky Races

Ricky Franco and his two sons camped out on a downtown sidewalk for the last 31 hours – they had 18 more hours left. Franco, 40, and his two sons, were the first in line ...

$800K signs mounted at City College

Proposition N brightens up 16th Street and B and C

Many of the cosmetology students at City College were impressed with the new signage being installed on their Career Technology building. “OMG, $50,000 per sign?” Corinne said, ” I saw them installing it the day ...

Venezuelans join international vote

In San Diego the Yes tally was 859 to 1

Patricia Gomez moved to Encinitas from Caracas, Venezuela in 2012. “The reason why I left is because the government wasn’t doing what they were suppose to be doing.” On June 16, she, her husband and ...

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