Surprising and Strange

25 years ago, Heaven’s Gate couldn’t wait

Dateline Rancho Santa Fe. March 26, 1997. A 911 call came into the San Diego Sheriff’s Communications Center. It was treated as a prank call at first. From what turned out to be a nearby payphone, the caller said something so preposterous that dispatchers took their time in relaying the information to central command. “This is regarding a mass suicide. I can give you the address,” the…

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Blast from the past at Cal State San Marcos

One eyewitness said the blast “looked like an asteroid attack out of Star Wars.” The witness was referring to rocks from a regular quarry blast above Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) raining down on campus about 3:15 p.m. Monday, July 30, 2001, damaging cars and buildings, but causing no injuries. For Robert Stakes, who had just begun his tenure as dean of extended studies, the rocks…