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Stories by Susan Murphy

Emergency Rule Eases Process To Cut Down Drought-Stricken Trees

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With extreme drought and an infestation of bark beetles decimating California’s forests, the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has adopted an emergency regulation for removing dead trees.

Heal The Bay: Drought Means Good Grades For San Diego County Beaches

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The Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay gave 93 percent of the region's beaches an A grade for water quality for the dry periods last summer and winter — and there were a lot of dry times.

UC San Diego Cyber Archeologist Salvaging Destroyed Iraqi Artifacts

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A UC San Diego graduate student in archeology is building a virtual museum of Iraqi artifacts that were recently destroyed by terrorists.

Red Crab Invasion At San Diego Beaches May Signal Coming El Niño

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Massive numbers of small red crabs that normally inhabit the warm waters off of Baja California have invaded San Diego’s beaches — from Ocean Beach to La Jolla.

Women Make History At Camp Pendleton, Train For Combat Roles

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The yearlong experiment to determine whether women can serve in ground combat is wrapping up. "I think for the males they kind of expected us to be ... the moms, the sisters — kind of take care of us. But now they’re like, ‘OK, we’re a Marine, you’re a Marine. Let’s just get the job done,’" said Marine Sgt. Zarina Flemming.

West Nile Virus Off To Aggressive Start In San Diego County

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So far, 29 dead birds have tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease in San Diego County compared to one or two cases last year at this time.

Strengthening El Niño Raises Hope For Bone-Dry San Diego

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El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean are gaining strength. The latest forecast signals a moderate to strong event come fall or winter.

Neighbors Help Family Rebuild After Devastating Cocos Fire

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It was a year ago that a dozen wildfires whipped by Santa Ana winds roared through San Diego County. The fires devoured nearly 27,000 acres and destroyed 63 homes. Those who lost homes continue today to work to rebuild them.

Fire Officials Say San Diego Should Brace For 'Unprecedented' Fire Season

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Despite this week’s rain showers and cool temperatures, state and local fire officials are warning, come summer and fall, San Diego County could be poised for one of its worst fire seasons ever.

San Diego POWs Relive History At Greatest Generation Naval Museum

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The Greatest Generation Naval Museum in El Cajon recently hosted a special group of World War II veterans. The sights and sounds of the historic aircraft brought back vivid memories of the war from seven decades ago.

California Drought Killed 12 Million Forest Trees Since Last Year

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In San Diego County, 82,528 trees, mostly Jeffrey pines across Mount Laguna, have succumbed to a lack of rainfall, with many more struggling to survive.

Vietnam War Ended 40 Years Ago But Lives On For MIA Families

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Point Loma's Elaine Zimmer Davis lost her Marine pilot husband in 1969 when his plane was shot down over Vietnam. Capt. Jerry Zimmer is one of 1,600 U.S. service members who is still listed as missing in action from the Vietnam War.

Santa Ana Winds Bring High Fire Danger To San Diego County

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The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from 11 p.m. Wednesday until 5 p.m. Thursday for San Diego County's inland and mountain areas, where winds are expected to gust from 30 mph to 70 mph.

San Diego-Based Troops Return From Middle East

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The Marines and sailors were heavily involved in Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition campaign focused on combating the self-proclaimed Islamic State terror group.

Special Operations Marine To Receive Navy Cross At Camp Pendleton

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A special operations Marine will receive the Marine Corps' second-highest combat medal during a ceremony Thursday at Camp Pendleton.

San Diego County's Water Use Soars Amid Drought

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Despite long-standing calls for cutbacks, San Diego County’s overall water use in February soared 13 percent higher than for the same period in 2013.

San Diego Chaldean Leader Pushes For Iraq, Syria Refugee Bill

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"My message to Congress is clear," said Mark Arabo, advocate for Iraqi Christians. "If they do not pass this bill, then they’re sentencing my people to death."

San Diegans — Get Ready For Another Heat Wave

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Temperatures across San Diego County could reach 20 degrees above average on Thursday and Friday — from 90 degrees in the inland valleys to the upper 80s along the coast.

Another Heat Wave Takes Aim At San Diego County

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Temperatures along the coast could reach 20 to 25 degrees above average, soaring to the 90-degree mark or higher on Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

San Diego Veterans Invited To Voice Questions, Concerns At Town Hall

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The forum is one of many the Veterans Affairs is holding around the country to improve services and rebuild community trust.

San Diego-Based Troops Named On ISIS 'Hit List'

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Nearly three dozen U.S. troops, including some based on the USS Carl Vinson from San Diego, were named on a "hit list" by the self-proclaimed Islamic State terror group, according to the Marine Corps Times.

Some San Diego Farmers Shut Off Water In Prolonged Drought

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San Diego’s 4,000 farms have been hit hard from drought — not because they have run out of water, but because water is squeezing their budgets.

Drought Deepens But No New Water Restrictions For San Diego County

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California’s new water regulations that put limits on outdoor watering days will have little effect on San Diego County because similar conservation measures are already in place here.

Heat Wave Brings Record Temperatures To San Diego

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A heat wave that gripped San Diego from Friday through Sunday, the last weekend of winter, shattered previous daytime high temperatures by as much as 9 degrees.

Winter Heat Wave Hits San Diego County

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Record-breaking heat is expected to develop across San Diego County starting Friday and continuing through Monday.

Wounded Warriors Helped At San Diego VA By Fellow Amputees

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Hundreds of military members lost arms and legs during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Amputees who come to the prosthetic department at the San Diego VA Medical Center find a special connection to those providing their care.

Free Windows, Doors Installed In 3,000 Homes Near San Diego Airport

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To lessen noise from Lindbergh Field, the Quieter Home Program offers new doors and windows for homes under airplane flight paths.

San Diego Congressman Vargas, Civic Leaders Speak Out Against Trade Proposal

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Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) and a dozen civic and religious leaders rallied Monday against President Barack Obama’s request to Congress for “fast track” trade authority.

Camp Pendleton Tests Ability To Deploy 50,000 Troops

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Some 1,700 Marines and sailors are participating in the training at the Camp Pendleton that will prepare military leaders for how to execute such a large operation should they be called to do so.

San Diego-Based Troops On USS Carl Vinson Launch Daily Airstrikes Against ISIS

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Thousands of troops on board the San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson are at the center of the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

San Diego Doctor Returns From Ebola Mission In Liberia

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It’s been nearly a year since the deadly Ebola crisis hit West Africa and sent a ripple of fear across the world. From the beginning, a San Diego-based humanitarian group, Project Concern International, has been on the front lines of the outbreak.

San Diego Remains In Drought's Grip

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An atmospheric river of rain drenched Northern California over the weekend, but San Diego remains in the grips of a historic drought — receiving less than half of an inch of precipitation since Jan. 1.

'SkySpire' Attraction Proposed For San Diego Waterfront

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“SkySpire San Diego” would be a 250-foot tall cylinder-shaped tower, topped with a restaurant that offers 360-degree views of San Diego Bay. Passengers would be lifted to the top in enclosed gondolas that spiral to and from the observation deck.

San Diego's NASSCO Experiencing A Shipbuilding Boom

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NASSCO’s third mobile landing platform ship will be christened on Saturday amid a building boom at the company's Barrio Logan shipyard.

Climate Change Threatens More Than 120 Native Bird Species In San Diego

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Every winter, San Diego’s lagoons and beaches attract thousands of migrating birds. The region is a crucial refueling spot along one of the world’s busiest bird flight paths. But climate change may leave a lot of birds looking for new place to land.

San Diego County Creates Task Force To Tackle Human Trafficking

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The San Diego Violent Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Task Force will bring together the collaborative force of local, state and federal law enforcement to investigate organized human trafficking operations.

San Diego-Based Marines Training Iraqis In Fight Against ISIS

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Three years after U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq, some San Diego-based Marines have returned to rebuild Iraq’s disintegrated army in the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

World War II POWs In San Diego Attend Private 'Unbroken' Screening

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World War II POWs in San Diego and their families were treated to a free private showing of the movie "Unbroken." Many of the veterans said they could relate to the harrowing war story.

Volunteers Needed For San Diego County's Homeless Count

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The annual count, which is on Jan. 23, enables San Diego County to qualify for federal funds that help pay for programs to help the homeless.

San Diego Records Warmest Year On Record

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Last year was San Diego’s warmest since record keeping began in 1872. The average combined high and low temperature at Lindbergh Field was 67.6 degrees — nearly 4 degrees above normal.

Snow Enthusiasts Flock To San Diego Mountains

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San Diego’s foothills and mountains are coated in a picturesque blanket of fluffy white snow. The rare winter wonderland has attracted thousands to Mt. Laguna and the historic town of Julian for sledding, snowball fights and apple pie.

San Diego's Nighttime Helicopters To Fly Countywide

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The city of San Diego’s two nighttime flying helicopters are available to the entire county for firefighting and rescues under a new deal between the two governments.

More Rain Takes Aim At San Diego County

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Another round of rainfall is expected to sweep through San Diego County on Tuesday and Wednesday. It could reap big benefits if residents capture and reuse it.

San Diego Approves $14 Million Security Contract To Protect Vulnerable Water Systems

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The contract, called for under federal Department of Homeland Security guidelines for water and wastewater infrastructure, is for one year at nearly $2.5 million, with four one-year options to renew.

'Big Corridor' Of Rainfall Expected To Douse San Diego County

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A significant rain storm moving into drought-parched San Diego County on Tuesday is expected to bring heavy downpours, mud and debris flows and widespread street flooding.

San Diego Families Adopt Marines For Thanksgiving

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Hundreds of families in San Diego County are adding extra place settings to their tables this Thanksgiving, inviting Marines over for a home-cooked turkey and all the fixings.

A Half-Million San Diegans Struggle To Put Food On Thanksgiving Table

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Thanksgiving is one day of the year when fewer poor people go hungry in San Diego County because charities overflow with volunteers to serve hot turkey dinners to those in need. But the rest of the year, a half-million people struggle to put food on the table.

San Diego's Wartime Women Vets Still Serving Their County Decades Later

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The veterans, some in their 90s, have taken on a new mission: making neck pillows by hand to bring comfort to today's generation of troops.

10 Years Later, Camp Pendleton Marines Remember The Battle For Fallujah

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Hundreds of Iraq War veterans are gathering Friday morning at Camp Pendleton to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the second Battle for Fallujah. This was the fiercest combat of the Iraq war and the deadliest urban battle for the Marines since Vietnam.

Longtime La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid Defeated In Landslide

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La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid, who has been on the City Council since 1981 and the mayor since 1990, lost to two-term City Councilman Mark Arapostathis.

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