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Best Reader stories from 2005

Slab City, Eleanor Widmer, UCSD and polyheme, J. David scandal, Reader writers write about school and about Mom

Eleanor Widmer on KNSD 7/39 news
  • Eleanor Widmer on KNSD 7/39 news
  • Salvation Mountain

  • The Slabs are Slab City, three miles east of Niland, between the sultry Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountains. Years ago the concrete slabs supported the barracks of Camp Dunlap, where General George Patton and his tanks rehearsed desert-warfare tactics fro the North African Campaign of 1942. Now the slabs are used by squatters who park their RVs and trailers on the crumbling concrete.
  • By Stephen Dobyns, Nov. 3, 2005
  • The late long-time queen of the cafe critics

  • One of the ironies of Eleanor Widmer's life is what she ate in her last months. Widmer had become a restaurant critic in 1974. In the following years, Widmer had dined on Japanese donburi and barbecue ribs, Peruvian anticuchos and French quenelles, Turkish baklava and Indian raitas, fresh pastas and moles and dumplings. But toward the end, confined to her bed in La Jolla, she wanted only chocolate.
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Nov. 23, 2005

The first thing I remember is sitting in my room with my three new roommates. They were 10- and 11-year-old boys, away from home for the first time, and two of them were crying.

The first thing I remember is sitting in my room with my three new roommates. They were 10- and 11-year-old boys, away from home for the first time, and two of them were crying.

  • When the loud bell rang – writers on the first day of school

  • By Jangchup Phelygal, Laura Rhoton McNeal, Jim Morris, Rosa Colwin Jurjevics, Jennifer Ball, Rachel Kempster, Matthew Lickona, Jeannette De Wyze, Ollie, Geoff Bouvier, Sue Greenberg, Ernie Grimm, Joe Deegan, Tim Klepeis, Mary Grimm, Patrick Daugherty, Deirdre Lickona, Barbarella, Abe Opincar, John Brizzolara, Jeff Smith
  • September 8, 2005
  • Bad blood

  • A small Illinois biotech company cuts a deal with UCSD. The university agrees to test a substitute for human blood on comatose patients — victims of gunshots and car crashes — without the patients' consent. Within the city of San Diego, the experiment is targeted at several neighborhoods south of I-8, where many poor and minority residents are unlikely to have heard of the study.
  • By Matt Potter, July 28, 2005

"What ambulances can do is give you saline to keep up your blood volume, but they can't actually provide you with blood."

"What ambulances can do is give you saline to keep up your blood volume, but they can't actually provide you with blood."

  • Tijuana gardens

  • "Things began to change in 1993, 1994," Rodríguez told me as we sat in his living room. "When we paved the streets, the government paid for two-thirds [of the materials]; we paid for the rest. The changes came very rapidly. Electricity. Water. Sewage. There are older neighborhoods in Tijuana that don't have what we have."
  • By Abe Opincar, June 23, 2005

"The big gardens are behind the homes."

"The big gardens are behind the homes."

  • Captain Money and the Golden Girl .

  • He had a passion to do well. She had a passion to do good. Together, they touted his investment scheme, which bilked a thousand investors of $80 million. He has confessed to planning and running the swindle; her involvement is under investigation. From conception to collapse the scam was pathetically mismanaged — yet it wound up being one of the largest frauds of its kind in U.S. history.
  • By Don Bauder, June 2, 2005

Nancy Hoover and J. David Dominelli

Nancy Hoover and J. David Dominelli

From Captain Money and the Golden Girl, photo by Jerry McClard

  • More or less sudden mountains

  • The rocks in and around San Diego have composed amazing, fiery stories for a very long time. An ancient ocean once covered this county; volcanoes used to spew here; and more or less sudden mountains rose and fell in San Diego more than once. This area is currently the most geologically active and diverse in the country.
  • By Geoff Bouvier, Jan. 13, 2005

In ten minutes of walking through Ocotillo's Fossil Canyon, we found dozens of fossils and boulders of limestones, sandstones, marbles, schist, gneiss, quartz, phyllite, and gypsum.

In ten minutes of walking through Ocotillo's Fossil Canyon, we found dozens of fossils and boulders of limestones, sandstones, marbles, schist, gneiss, quartz, phyllite, and gypsum.

Abe Opincar's mother. I pulled off the road. My mother ran from the car. I ran after her.

Abe Opincar's mother. I pulled off the road. My mother ran from the car. I ran after her.

  • The woman we never forget

  • By Abe Opincar, Amy Gerstler, Barbarella Fokos, Deirdre Lickona, Ernie Grimm, Geoff Bouvier, Jeannette DeWyze, Jeff Smith, Jennifer Ball, Jim Morris, Laura McNeal, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Patrick Daugherty, RF Jurjevics, Suzanne Finnamore, May 5, 2005

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