Best Reader stories from 2008

Tijuana for suicide tourists, Craig Venter, treasure hunters, too many people in back country, Del Mar races, accident in Ramona

There are three types of hobbyist searchers: “coinshooters,” “prospectors,” and “relic/artifact hunters.”
  • There are three types of hobbyist searchers: “coinshooters,” “prospectors,” and “relic/artifact hunters.”
  • Tijuana is the first stop to suicide

  • Faye Girsh, vice president of the Hemlock Society of San Diego, knows that Exit International has been publicizing the Mexico option for its members. “But we do not send people to Tijuana, because it’s not a legal thing to do,” she explains. “We want people to be able to die peacefully, and quickly, and gently, and with certainty, and those drugs are a way to do it.
  • By Ernie Grimm, Aug. 20, 2008
  • UCSD homeboy to the bone

  • Craig Venter wants to lease the land for five decades and build a starkly modern, fortress-like headquarters for his J. Craig Venter Institute. Currently operating out of temporary quarters in a nondescript building in a Torrey Pines office park near the General Atomics building, the institute is home to a controversial plan to make new life employing artificial chromosomes.
  • By Matt Potter, Nov. 25, 2008
  • San Diego treasure hunters, not as nerdy as you think.

  • “Start over there, where the sand is shiny.” For wet-sand hunting, Russ recommends the area of the beach kept perpetually wet by the tide, so that’s where I go. I imitate Russ, who ambles along, passing his coil in an arc an inch above the sand. Back and forth, back and forth — there’s a precision, a consistency, so ingrained that it seems mechanical; by contrast, my sweeps seem forced and halting. “Keep the coil parallel to the ground.”
  • By Moss Gropen, Oct. 29, 2008
  • Way too many people live out here

  • Just outside downtown Ramona, a mile or two after Magnolia Avenue turns into Black Canyon Road, you turn left onto Stokes Road and head up into Rolling Hills Estates. “We’re in a subdivision that is one of the best and worst examples of how development is unfortunately occurring next to the Cleveland National Forest,” says David Hogan, 38.
  • By Geoff Bouvier, July 23, 2008
  • It’s three minutes to post before the 9th race at Del Mar, and my wallet is empty.

  • I just handed my last 90 bucks to a scowling man behind the counter, and if number five doesn’t finish in the top three in this $25,000 maiden claimer, I’ll go home broke, with only an expensive beer buzz and a bad sunburn to show for the experience. The man behind the counter couldn’t care less; he’s just hoping like hell his drawer isn’t short again at the end of the day.
  • By Moss Gropen, July 16, 2008
  • There's been an accident. Jadean didn't make it.

  • March 6 started out pretty much like any other day. Work was busy. I got off a little late, went home, got in the shower, and when I got out, my son Marshal told me that Jadean, my 15-year-old daughter, had been home. She’d dropped off her schoolbooks and left again. I asked Marshal if she had taken my work phone with her.
  • June 4, 2008

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