Valley Center

Appreciating Escondido City Hall public art

As I walked around Escondido on Saturday, I happened upon some beautiful public art near City Hall. My first photos show an installation called Circle of Music. The four sculptures, fitted with speakers that play soft music, are part of the larger Monuments to Time in the Corridor of Life, Art and Culture, a series of interactive pieces created in 1998 that extend from the…


Fire up: Windy, getting windier through Friday

Look around and feel the wind. It’s a blowing, and along with it, raising local fire risk to what are called “extreme” levels — a first — by state fire officials. Strong Santa Ana winds are expected again in San Diego County beginning late Tuesday night, raising the threat of wildfires through Thursday evening. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that will be…


YOUR state senator Brian Jones opposes gun control and state assault weapons ban

Leave it to the poor suffering residents of the Duncan Hunter-Joel Anderson reign of Trumpist political terror, and corrupt behavior, to be saddled with their obvious successor at outrageous and dangerous political malpractice. Enter the gates of gun violence hell with state Sen. Brian Jones, (R-NRA), elected in California’s 38th Senate District, as the successor to ALEC’s favorite son, Anderson, who got term-limited out of…


People Behaving Badly — Summer Edition

Summer and its joys of passage are among us. People are frolicking. Pools are swimming. Snoballs and softballs are popping. Good stuff, but consider the fact that rust never sleeps. People are going to do what people are going to do. For your consideration then, the dark underbelly of the human condition. The Grapevine is, er, proud (?) to present the seasonal summer edition of…


Memories of Pikake Gardens

Its gates are forever locked. The koi have died. A lonesome breeze blows through faded gardens overgrown with weeds. The waterfalls have ceased falling and even the roses have faded into wilted dreams. Welcome to Pikake Botanical Gardens at 15515 Villa Sierra Road, once one of the wonders of the horticultural world, now reduced to ashes and memories. A private botanical garden on nine acres,…


Pastor hikes road to glory with heavy cross

Pastor Wes Mauch took a road less traveled through Valley Center, carrying a 38-pound wooden cross, a well-worn Bible and message all the way to Rancho Santa Fe. Mauch, 66, walked along the side of Cole Grade Road, wooden cross on his shoulder and all, “doing what Jesus asked me to do,” he said while vehicular traffic whizzed by as if he were invisible. When…



Milk, cow manure, and beer trucks

Lessons from the Last Surviving San Diego Dairy “My family has always been in the dairy business. It’s a…different sort of business,” laughs Frank Konyn of Frank Konyn Dairy. Established in 1962 by his father, Konyn’s 250-acre dairy farm is nestled on the San Pasqual Valley floor 35 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. With over 800 cows, he estimates his monthly feed bill to…


‘Round town: Hercules, low gas, and murder

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s at Valley Center History Museum The January birthdate of famed actor-bodybuilder Steve Reeves is being remembered at the Valley Center History Museum which has a collection of the late star’s memorabilia. Known internationally as the winner of every major bodybuilding competition as as the star of “Hercules” and 17 other motion pictures, Reeves is little-known as a rancher…


Climate change challenges San Diego farms

Facing the heat of global warming, farmers in San Diego are trying to survive and build resilience through practice—and are pushing policymakers to keep up. At Pauma Valley, a flat stretch of crop- and rangelands at the base of the Palomar Mountains in North San Diego County, July is usually a month of hot weather and raucous growth—with lemons, avocados, blackberries, and peppers all flourishing….