A few stories you might have missed today or this weekend:

• Wall Street Journal reporter James R. Hagerty has a must-read story today on a major snag for people who lost their homes to foreclosure but face repercussions on their second mortgages.

Hagerty tracked down former San Diego condo owner Charissa Kolich, who last year lost her home to foreclosure. She suddenly learned recently she wasn’t out of the woods.

But Wells Fargo & Co., which holds a home-equity loan made five years ago to Ms. Kolich, last month filed a lawsuit against her in the Superior Court of California, San Diego County, seeking to collect the nearly $72,000 it said she still owed on that second mortgage. “This was all kind of a shock,” says Ms. Kolich, a food-service administrator recently diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.

Banks are coming under increasing political pressure to write off or at least write down second-lien and other junior mortgages as a way to help borrowers keep their homes or extract themselves from heavy debt. As the Wells Fargo suit shows, however, banks often are reluctant to give up on loans when they see a chance of recovering all or part of their money.

• The Urban Land Institute asked more than 660 student architects and planners from more than 100 universities to re-imagine a 73.5-acre section south of City College, which the U-T describes as “a mishmash of new housing, old warehouses, the police headquarters and parking lots.”

More from the U-T’s Roger Showley:

Harvard students proposed an arts district with squares named after Georgia O’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell and other painters. The University of Pennsylvania team chose a food theme, marked by an undulating “Eat Street” parallel to Park Boulevard.

But the winning entry came from a combined team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The five graduate students decided to be practical and proposed a family-oriented complex of housing, schools and parks.

We’ve written about the blight-and-condo mix in the newly reborn East Village, and about the neighborhood’s trouble with drugs.

• Some local hotels (likely not those wrapped up in the distress we described a couple of weeks ago) are using the recession as a chance to spruce things up. The U-T’s Lori Weisberg stopped in to see a few of those renovations or planned renovations in Mission Bay, Little Italy, Harbor Island, the Gaslamp and North Park.


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