del dios

Hodgee, the friendly Lake Hodges Monster: Fact or fiction?

Go down to Hernandez Hideaway at rural Lake Drive in Del Dios and people will swear up and down the long wooden bar that Hodgee, the friendly Lake Hodges monster, really truly — well, almost definitely exists. “The Lake Hodges Hodgee monster is kind of like the Loch Ness monster,” said Stan Smith, a long-time Del Dios resident. Smith, a cowboy poet and man about…


Missing Esco mom found dead in Del Dios

Escondido mom Christie Donehue left her westside home the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 29 for a North County doctor’s appointment. Donehue never got there. Nobody knew why the normally reliable 43-year-old woman missed the appointment or where she was although Escondido police initially said no signs of foul play were discovered.  Donehue’s family was puzzled, however, by the fact she left behind her purse, wallet and…


Remembering the 2007 Witch Creek Fire

Ten years ago next month the Witch Creek Fire devastated Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe and North County San Diego. This is part of my first-hand coverage done as editor of the Rancho Santa Fe Record. I won the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s first place prize for local news coverage for this, and the other 26 stories, numerous photos, and overall coverage I produced during, and…


Don’t expect Lake Hodges Dam overflow

In a rainy season, Lake Hodges Dam last overflowed in February-March 2011 — it also overflowed in February 2005 — but despite the record rains this season, it looks to be standing tall and holding firm. The lake was at 75 percent capacity as of last week, according to the  City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department that has owned and operated the reservoir and dam…


Hiking Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail

Escondido is quickly becoming my go-to hiking destination with dozens of easily accessible trails that offer sweeping views of mountain peaks, lakes, and rivers. Bernardo Mountain Summit is an easily accessible trail in Escondido that hovers above the calm waters of Lake Hodges. The peak and lake are the main attraction in this 7.2-mile roundtrip trek, which also features views of the eastern half of the county…


Three Escondido projects awarded $7.5 million in state water grants

Escondido farmers, habitat and conservation lovers and San Diego Zoo Safari Park visitors got some good news this week as the San Diego County Water Authority announced that $7.5 million in state water grants were awarded locally. “The city of Escondido received a $2 million grant for recycled water,” San Diego County Farm Bureau executive director Eric Larson said at the group’s E Valley Parkway…


Body found two months ago at Lake Hodges identified as San Diego woman

Her name was Marisol Lopez. She was 29 years old. She was from San Diego. She was the woman whose decomposed body was found nearly two months ago at the shore of Lake Hodges by some dogs accompanying a trail runner. Technically speaking, Lopez was found in the 19900 block of Lake Drive in the community of Del Dios. She was wearing a distinctive ring,…