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Stories by Moss Gropen

Mira Mesa – what there is to love

Mira Mesa braces for mega population growth The decades-old Vulcan mining operation on nearly 300 acres of Carroll Canyon will be a huge housing project if developers' lobbying efforts are successful. Bordered by Mira Mesa ...

Poway – city in the country

I Crawled Inside Brenda van Dam's Head and Tried to Guess What Went on in There Dad’s is probably the most famous barroom in America, at least this week, and what goes on here is ...

San Diego avocados – pretty much all Hass

"Find a good well.” That’s what Al Stehly, long-time North County avocado grower recommends, if you want to make a living nurturing what some folks call “green gold.” Stehly, who owns an 8-acre grove in ...

Julian – chock full of history

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 ...

Poway – why the rodeo still does well

It’s rodeo time: seven seconds of hell on an angry bull. That’s what many San Diegans picture when they think of Poway. But times have changed in the “City in the Country,” as old-time Kiwanistas ...

September 4, 2019
Joe Harper, CEO of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, eases up on PETA

‘Well, I know the headlines won’t be about big hats.” Joe Harper, longtime CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, is candid. It’s race time at Del Mar, where the humid days of summer usher ...

August 7, 2019
The Willis way to survive rip currents

‘Look for the bubbles; it’s all in the bubbles!” That’s Milton Willis preaching at the beach, extolling his approach to avoiding rip currents and surviving those you can’t evade. He calls it the Willis Way. ...

Scripps Ranch – starter homes

Good intentions behind paving of Scripps Trail Claudia Walker's family bought a home on the 10400 block of the street, a quiet, neatly manicured tract in Scripps Ranch near where the northeastern edge of the ...

Del Cerro – in the shadow of Adobe Falls

Adobe Falls lovers pin hopes on Sally Roush Frost spoke of a “battle against the internet,” which continues to draw people to the area. “As of this morning, there were 7132 Instagram pictures of Adobe ...

Such San Diego love stories

Gino lost and found My wife and I are sitting with Carol and Gino at Masters in Oceanside. “Upscale bar and grill,” I’d term it, with an extensive list of, as they used to say ...

February 13, 2019
Why do we keep building in Mission Valley?

I’m thinking that this parking lot, when it’s submerged under three feet of storm runoff, will make a great place for pick-up truck water skiing, drunken community college guys on boogie boards, and trash can ...

January 9, 2019
San Diego's new wine region

‘It’s all about the diurnal drop. It cools off a lot here at night, 30 degrees on average. That’s why we can make good whites,” says Sarah Babine, who, along with husband Grant Spotts, aims ...

October 24, 2018
San Diego bars for adults

This isn’t meant to be an comprehensive, exhaustive, or even representative sampling of the options available to the (relatively) mature San Diegan who seeks a copacetic watering hole. In a city with hundreds (if not ...

July 25, 2018
The voluble Carl DeMaio on his gas tax revolt

There’s a showdown looming down at the gas pump, and Carl DeMaio will be there on Election Day to confront the man he views as the chief bandit, Governor Jerry Brown. As for the preliminary ...

May 30, 2018
Someone's teed off in Coronado

“Roger Miller has run roughshod, and there’s no oversight.” No, not that Roger Miller, “King of the Road,” but Roger Miller, grifter of the greens, who calls the shots at Coronado Municipal Golf Course, where ...

March 28, 2018
Scripps Ranch — cows gone, rattlers remain

Nowadays, while the rattlers remain, steers have been replaced by SUVs, Bambi and his kin are in a witness protection program, and the ranchers have been plowed over by glad-handers who lasso real estate. If ...

November 8, 2017
Breeders’ Cup comes to Del Mar

I’m at my usual spot in the corner next to the winner’s circle, where the yellow fire hydrant sits against the rail, right across from the finish line. If I reach out, I can pet ...

October 4, 2017
San Diego's piano bars

Scott Skinner — the Godfather There’s an iron man caressing the ivories over on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, and if you miss his act this weekend, don’t worry; he may still be playing there 40 years ...

May 31, 2017
Not your dad’s youth group

Arms wave in the air, hands outstretched as if to grab something fleeting. It’s Friday night at MyCity Youth, fists and music pumping. Teenagers and preteens sway transfixed, all eyes on the stage, where a ...

February 8, 2017
San Diego lifeguards in winter – what do they do?

Tanned bodies, shimmering sand, and a touch of glamour. That’s the life of the lifeguard, right? But as I stand in the lifeguard tower just south of Casa Beach in La Jolla, the images of ...

I wept for the lagoon

It’s a mild, breezy afternoon at Agua Hedionda Lagoon. From the vantage of the visitors center, I can see small boats and jet-skis carving whitewater trails off to the west. Right above me are massive ...

October 12, 2016
Civic San Diego and city council are so wrong about cars and bikes

Did you ride your bike to work today? If so, you’re part of the vaunted 1 percent. If, instead, you took the trolley or the bus, you’re still among the elite — the small minority ...

August 24, 2016
Off-duty El Cajon cop kills beer thief in Santee

The bloodstains have long since faded, courtesy of Scram, sun, and time. More than a decade ago, in the parking lot of a Vons in Santee, Christopher St. Louis, 18, lost his life in the ...

How eucalyptus has hurt San Diego

“Deport the eucalyptus back to Australia!” That’s Johnny Sevier, a certified arborist, on the tree he loves to hate but that many San Diegans revere, the ubiquitous eucalyptus. Long an arboreal staple in San Diego ...

How San Diego comedians got their start

Jocose journeymen offer counsel.

December 23, 2015
Green invasion

What exactly is an invasive plant, and why should we give a rotten rhizome if one crops up in our side yard? Dan Gluesenkamp answers: “One widely accepted definition includes two components: It’s not native ...

City bites doggie daycare for $100K

Wishful doggy daycare doyennes bedeviled by details.

August 19, 2015
Casa Mira View — city of villages or mecca for crime?

Will Mira Mesa mega-development become a slum?

July 29, 2015
Triple Crown dreams from $2000 to $230,000

Triple Crown dreams begin with two-year-olds, and some of those dreams were for sale in Del Mar on May 28. If you want to buy a horse, specifically a thoroughbred, the action’s at the auction, ...

July 8, 2015
Who's giving injections at Planned Parenthood?

There’s a showdown downtown scheduled for Friday, August 14, when the case of Murray v. Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest goes to trial in superior court. Carla M. Murray, a nurse practitioner, had worked ...

Coronado Bridge to eternity

If you want to die, the odds are in your favor if you’ve chosen the Coronado Bridge as your suicide site. And since the steel-and-concrete span opened in 1969, over 250 people have made the ...

June 17, 2015
Las Colinas is something to Yelp about

“For the only jail I’ve been to, I guess it’s okay. I slept well and wasn’t disturbed. The holding cell I was confined to had a phone and I was able to make unlimited phone ...

April 22, 2015
San Diego's wishful world of tiny houses

Tiny houses are great if you’re fresh from a divorce.

March 25, 2015
Hysterical complaints on the city of San Diego’s website

Yapping pooches, non-complying porches, and that fowl odor. Did your neighbor rat you out or not?

March 18, 2015
Now read this if headed for malted barley along San Diego County's SR-78

“It’s not like we’re going to camp out in the parking lot of an establishment.” Lt. Eric Skaja, spokesman for the Escondido Police Department, maintains that the “Avoid the Eight on the 78” campaign isn’t ...

San Diego grape growers don’t blame it all on the rain

When it comes to the California aggie scene, news headlines scream “drought,” conjuring up, at least in the minds of outsiders, sepia-toned images of impoverished farmers toiling in Dust Bowl grit. But whatever havoc has ...

October 1, 2014
San Diego checks on City Farmers’ recycling practices.

“When you’re running a small business and you get this stuff in the mail, you go, like, ‘Oh, crap.’” That was the initial reaction of Bill Tall in June when he received a letter from ...

September 3, 2014
Kill Devil, Twisted Manzanita, Ballast Point – pioneers of San Diego’s craft distilling movement

"Eventually there will be a face-off between distillers and the feds.”

August 13, 2014
San Diego's hustlers, jugglers, bottom-feeders

From bubble-making to the skid-row standbys, the buck must be turned.

May 21, 2014
Non-locals only at San Diego County fair

If you want to sniff an Encinitas-grown rose or pet a Ramona-bred goat, come on down to the San Diego County Fair. But if you yearn to grab an earful from the county’s best musicians, ...

May 21, 2014
Scripps Ranch to Walmart: Put it in Mira Mesa

This would substantially alter the character of Scripps Ranch,” fumes Jenny Marshall, whose 15-member Save Our Scripps (“SOS”) Ranch group is determined to stop a big-box project from crashing the gates of the “Ranch.” In ...

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