Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ontario International Airport news - THIS performance evaluation apparently was better than a prior one

I haven't written a post about Ontario Airport since April, despite the fact that some big news occurred at the airport over the summer.

Seven months into locals controlling Ontario International Airport, its CEO, Kelly Fredericks, is stepping down, it was announced Wednesday.

Coming out of a closed-door session Wednesday morning, the Ontario International Airport Authority announced Fredericks’ departure is effective immediately. Mark Thorpe, who was hired in August as chief development officer, will serve as interim CEO....

But there were some hints to issues between Fredericks and commissioners leading up to the announcement. On June 17, the authority held a special Saturday meeting, the second time commissioners met that week. At that meeting, the commissioners had only one item on the agenda, a closed session to discuss a performance evaluation of Fredericks.


Well, it was just announced that Mark Thorpe is removing "interim" from his title.

The Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Commission on Oct. 7, named Mark Thorpe chief executive officer. Thorpe had been interim CEO since July....

The appointment was approved unanimously in a special Saturday session after the Commission conducted a performance evaluation for Thorpe.


Looks like OIAA takes the "performance evaluation" process seriously.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Going back to the years-long Walmart battle - the empty lot wasn't just an eyesore

I recently searched this blog to see my most recent use of the word "eyesore."

There was a reason for that, which is obvious when you look at my November 1, 2013 post.

I wrote it around the time that the Ontario Walmart finally opened. Yes, that Walmart has been open for almost four years now. Which means that Walmart will probably close it in six years. But I digress.

Back to the o-word.

And it's definitely better than the abandoned eyesore that some people seemed to prefer over the past few years. Even the co-owners of Ontario Bakery agree about that, something that David Allen (no fan of Walmart) noted.

Some of you may remember that the site used to contain three stores - a Target, a Toys R Us, and a Kroger-owned grocery (Giant at one point, Food 4 Less at another point). All three businesses shut down (Target relocated to Montclair), and the buildings that housed the stores were abandoned.

For years.

And while Walmart opponents complained that the store should be prohibited because it would attract an undesirable element, I worried about the "abandoned eyesore" that remained as the fight went on.

I was thinking about that years-ago fight as I read this article from the Harvard Business Review. It starts by talking about medical marijuana dispensaries - a group of businesses that are even more controversial than Walmart. The researchers, well aware that medical marijuana dispensaries were alleged to also attract an undesirable element, looked at a period in 2010 when Los Angeles County forcibly closed a number of dispensaries. Their question: as these undesirable businesses closed, how much did crime in the surrounding area decrease?

Well...

Surprisingly, we discovered that the closures were associated with a significant increase in crime in the blocks immediately surrounding a closed dispensary, compared with the blocks around dispensaries allowed to remain open. Our results demonstrated that the dispensaries were not the crime magnets that they were often described as, but instead reduced crime in their immediate vicinity. And when breaking down the effect by types of crime, we found that the increases in crime after dispensary closures were driven by the types of crime most plausibly deterred by bystanders: property crime and theft from vehicles.

Bystanders. We'll return to that word later.

The researchers then looked at another category of businesses - restaurants that were temporarily closed because of health care violations. Again, they saw a spike in crime when the businesses were closed, and a decrease when they reopened.

Now medical marijuana dispensaries and restaurants are much smaller than big box stores, but as the researchers delved into the "why" of their data, they began looking at one fact.

One key factor common to retail establishments, whether MMDs or restaurants, is that they generate foot traffic. And with foot traffic comes informal surveillance.

From the bystanders who are in the area when the establishment is open. Let's continue.

As Jane Jacobs described in her groundbreaking 1961 work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, people provide a natural form of incidental surveillance that can increase public safety. This idea, which Jacobs called “eyes upon the street,” has proven enormously influential, and is now a cornerstone of modern urban planning.

Some people enjoy mocking the people of Walmart - but they're actually performing a public service. We were just reminded of this by the tragedy in San Antonio.

On Monday, the driver of the semi-truck carrying at least 39 immigrants, James Matthew Bradley, Jr., was charged with one count of transporting illegal aliens.

A federal complaint filed Monday morning alleged that Bradley unlawfully transported undocumented immigrants in violation of law, resulting in the death of 10 of the people transported.

Upon conviction, the offense is punishable by life imprisonment or death, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.


Supervised release after life imprisonment. That makes sense.

The apparent smuggling operation involving undocumented immigrants came to a tragic conclusion early Sunday morning when emergency responders found dozens of people in distress inside a hot semi-trailer at a Walmart in southwest San Antonio.

The death toll has risen to 10. Eight people were dead at the scene early Sunday morning. One more died during the day at a San Antonio hospital....

Early Sunday morning, an employee at the Walmart encountered a person who was disoriented and asking for water, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. The person said that there were people who needed help inside the trailer outside the store, which is located at I-35 and Highway 16 on the city's southwest side.




What if that truck had been parked in a vacant lot? The death toll could have been much higher.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nestle hasn't sued the government...but its opponents have

Back in March, I speculated that if President Trump's "Make America Great Again" moves resulted in deteriorating water quality in the San Bernardino National Forest, Nestle could sue the government for reducing the value of its Arrowhead water.

Well, that hasn't happened yet, but according to Courthouse News Service, someone else is suing.

Environmentalists who want Nestle to stop pumping tens of millions of gallons from a California creek, virtually for free, to sell it as bottled water, have sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for records on the multinational corporation.

California groups Story of Stuff Project and Courage Campaign Institute sued the FDA in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, in a federal FOIA complaint. They say the agency failed to timely respond to their Freedom of Information Act request for the records, and did not indicate whether, or even if, it will deliver the records.


Story of Stuff's activist information is here. Courage Campaign Institute material is here (they say Sprouts is evil, but Whole Foods sells Arrowhead water also).

Nestle itself is not a party to the suit, and in a separate statement, it said that it has "cooperated with the State Water Resources Control Board’s requests for documents and information."

Of course, that's the State Water Resources Board, not Story of Stuff Project or Courage Campaign Institute.

Following up on other stuff, Nestle has moved its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia.

And, sadly, the Trevor Carpenter who was mentioned in that old Empoprise-BI post has passed away. I didn't intend to end the post with that, but once I saw the old post, it had to be acknowledged.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Maybe @NormaJTorres didn't appear at the Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium, but these people did

As I noted previously, there are multiple auditoriums at Chaffey High School in Ontario, the largest of which is the Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium.

If you're a Congressperson who wants to reach out to the people, you hold your event at one of the smaller auditoriums.

But if you're Roy Clark, you head to the Gardiner W. Spring.

Now I didn't see Roy Clark - the only name person I've seen at Chaffey was the (subsequently disgraced) Mike Warnke, and frankly I can't remember if he was at the Spring or the Hill. But according to this page, a number of name performers have appeared at the Gardiner W. Spring auditorium since the 1930s.

Clark himself, a well-known country/bluegrass artist, appeared on April 12, 1991, a little over a month before pianist Victor Borge returned (he had originally appeared in the 1960s).

A few others who have performed at the Gardiner W Spring:

Paul Robeson
The Trapp Family Singers
Marian Anderson
Bob Hope and the Desi Arnaz Orchestra
The Boston Pops Orchestra
Mahalia Jackson (multiple appearances)
The Smothers Brothers (in 1963, before the variety show)
Ricky Skaggs

The complete list (through 1996) is here.

It should be noted, though, that one esteemed performer has not graced the stage of the Spring - me. I have been onstage at the Bridges Auditorium in Claremont.

It should also be noted that the auditorium itself is a Communist plot. Many of the buildings on the Chaffey High School campus today were built during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as noted in several sources including the Los Angeles Times:

The 65-acre high school has several historical buildings, including the Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium. Built in the 1930s with help from the Works Progress Administration, the Mission Revival-style auditorium serves as a performing arts center for the community.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Amy's Farm, May 13, 2017

We visited Amy's Farm today. I had never even heard of the farm before yesterday, but it is a 501(c)(3) organization which allows school students and others to see a small working farm, and also to buy produce. There wasn't a lot of produce today - to see a wider variety, you'd have to go to a farmers' market that has offerings from many farmers. But we had a fun time seeing the crops and the animals.



Here are a few pictures (you can see an entire collection of pictures in an album on the Empoprise-IE Facebook page).

Saturday, April 29, 2017

I'm on a (record) mission from (name your favorite artist here)

I was driving up Euclid Avenue in downtown Ontario one evening when I thought that I spotted a record store.

Yes - a record store.

For my younger readers, imagine a CD that's - oh, wait, no one buys CDs any more either.

While vinyl records were once the dominant way in which people purchased music, they were already on the way out when Frank Zappa was testifying in front of Al Gore in 1985. The two were discussing the pros and cons of providing printed lyrics on the outside of shrink-wrapped record albums, but then-Senator Gore noted that any type of solution would also have to support cassettes, which are much smaller then long playing records.

But formats changed, and even cassettes and CDs began to fade away, as more people bought their albums online. (Was the shameless Ontario Emperor "Salad" plug subtle enough?)

Somewhere along the way vinyl was adopted by the hipsters, and there are enough hipsters and old people to support a few record stores here and there, something David Allen noted in an April 21 column that mentioned the opening of a record store in downtown Ontario.

That store - the one I saw - was The Record Mission.




I was in there this afternoon (Saturday afternoon), and the store definitely has an impressive collection of records. I didn't have the heart to tell the guys that I don't have a working record player, so most of the items they are selling wouldn't be good for me.

I say most of the items, because there were a few CDs in the back of the store, apparently from an indie artist (perhaps on consignment).

But if you're looking for records, and know the difference between an LP and a 45 (they have both), pay a visit to The Record Mission.

Bonus - Logan's Candies is just around the corner.

(Completely tangential - Hannah Rowley would be about 21 years old today, if she had lived. Time flies.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Make Canada great again...through snacking

I was preparing to submit an expense report and saw a $2.10 charge that I didn't recognize. So I called my credit card provider to ask about the charge, and was told that it was from USA Snacks of Ontario, Canada.

Then it came back to me.

I went on a one-day business trip to Las Vegas about a week ago...and it was a long day. My shuttle arrived at Ontario International Airport at around 3:15 in the morning - before anything in Terminal 4 had opened. TSA was closed, the Southwest ticket counter was closed, and even the new coffee stand was closed. The only thing that was open at that time was the vending machines. So I got a Pop Tart.

Technically, a package of two Pop Tarts. But just one package.

This was the purchase that the credit card support person thought was from "USA Snacks of Ontario, Canada." But once she said that, I remembered the purchase that I had made early in the morning in Ontario, California.

I can forgive the support person, who was probably based on the eastern side of the United States where "Ontario, CA" means "Ontario, Canada."

But I'm amused by the idea that a company called "USA Snacks" could be based in Canada.

After all, we all know that such companies are more often than not based in China.

P.S. In Canada "Pop Tarts" are referred to as Pop Slabs.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Why did U.S. Representative Norma Torres hold her town hall at the Merton E. Hill Auditorium, rather than the Gardiner Spring?

Do our politicians want to hear from us, or do they want to hide from us?

Over the last few months, there have been a number of instances in which Congresspeople have been accused of hiding from their political enemies. The general argument is that it is the duty of a Congressperson to listen to his or her constituents.

But is that standard universally applied?

On March 4, the Daily Bulletin ran an article about two upcoming Town Halls for Congresswoman Norma Torres.

The other town hall for residents of Torres’ district is scheduled for March 25.

Note the "residents" qualifier. We'll come back to that.

Torres herself announced the town hall a few days before the event.


The key part of the announcement is the following:

Please RSVP below. Space for the event is limited, and entry will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Of course space is going to be limited for something as important as a Congressional town hall, because many, many people are going to want to come to it. Therefore, the Torres office chose to hold the town hall in an auditorium - specifically, the Merton E. Hill Auditorium. We'll get back to this.

On the surface, the setup sound great. First come first serve, for people within the district. I even saw a bit of the event on Facebook Live.

But Facebook Live didn't show the whole story.

My suspicions were aroused when Matt Munson wrote this.

I think it should be illegal for elected officials to exclude people from their events in public facilities just because they are from the wrong political party if the event is paid for with tax money. Only way one should be legitimately excluded is (felony or they do not live in the district).

I'll grant that this video is in some respects over the top (why would a MAGA person call someone a Communist? Aren't Communists good this month?), but it does appear that some people were let into the event without having to go through all of the "give your address" stuff (see 8:40 into the video), while other people were examined much more closely. Apparently the ones who were examined more closely were judged by the color of their (red) caps.


As the MAGA people claimed, Norma Torres' folks were setting up an un-Constitutional "border" to keep people out of the event. Why do you even need tickets to get into a town hall?

Well, you can't let everybody in, Torres supporters will argue. The Merton E. Hill Auditorium can only hold so many people.

Gosh, it's too bad that there isn't a larger facility that could provide the capacity to host a town hall. But even if there were such a facility, I'm sure that it would be a long distance away.

Oh, like two buildings over.


The smaller red box in the northeast corner is the Merton E. Hill Auditorium, where the town hall was held.

The larger red box is the Gardiner Spring Auditorium, the main auditorium on the Chaffey High School campus. As you can see, it is much larger.

It should be noted that when the high school itself has events with a lot of attendees, they hold them at the Gardiner Spring. Choir concert? Theater production? They're held at the Gardiner Spring.

So it makes absolutely no sense for a U.S. Representative to hold a town hall at a facility that is so small that it's unsuitable for a high school theater production.

Unless, of course, you don't want people to come to the event.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Inland Empire people, here's how @realdonaldtrump can get @NestleUSA out of our national forest

On Google Plus, Jason ON discussed the wild idea of the U.S. government selling water rights to private entities.

Jason may not have realized that this has already happened.

In the course of a post last month in my Empoprise-BI business blog, I discussed Nestle USA's headquarters move from California to Virginia and talked about our little Inland Empire issue with Nestle.

Speaking of organic, Nestle signed a sweetheart deal years ago with the U.S. Forest Service to take millions of dollars of water out of the San Bernardino National Forest at minimal charge. Now perhaps you haven't seen Nestle Water on your shelves, but you've seen Arrowhead water. Yup, that comes from my national forest.

Perhaps if I just agreed to let Nestle take all that water, and cut down all the trees (that's a joke - there are hardly any trees in the National Forest because of the elevation) in the National Forest to boot, they would have stayed here.

But then again, perhaps my friends in Arlington will have their own troubles when Nestle gets to their Rosslyn headquarters and starts draining water out of the Potomac.


Now Nestle gets its Arrowhead water from the forest because the water is pristine and wonderful and all that.

But what if that changes?

President Trump signed documents Tuesday directing the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the Obama administration's "Waters of the United States" rule. In doing so, Trump said he is "paving the way for the elimination" of the rule.

He asked for the reviewers to assess its consistency with "promoting economic growth" and "minimizing regulatory uncertainty," among other factors.


Now I have no idea if the Arrowhead springs are affected by this particular move, but it's no secret that certain government officials want to promote economic growth in a lot of areas. And that could very well include the San Bernardino National Forest.

Yeah, but what resources are present up there other than water and (a few) trees?

Plenty:

In 1855, gold was discovered in the San Bernardino mountains. Over the second half of the 19th century, mining, timber, and grazing grew quickly....

If you stop reading there, then you may quote from a famous Democrat - "It's the economy, stupid" - and realize that you can Make America Great Again by restoring our economic viability.

Just don't read the rest of the paragraph that I started quoting above.

In 1855, gold was discovered in the San Bernardino mountains. Over the second half of the 19th century, mining, timber, and grazing grew quickly, taking a heavy toll on the land. By the end of the 19th century, significant sectors of the forest had been felled and overgrazed. Streams and rivers were silting in and water quality was declining. Meanwhile a growing population and a thriving citrus industry made increasing demands for clean drinking and irrigation water.

Now let's say that economic growth proponents kinda sorta ignore that last part - and hey, the citrus industry has moved anyway! Now let's say that the San Bernardino National Forest is opened up to logging, gold mining, grazing, and other activities to restore our economic competitiveness.

Of course, a resurgence of such activities could result in "water quality...declining" again, affecting Nestle's pristine water.

Which brings up the possibility of Nestle suing the government for not being environmentally friendly, and reneging on its contract with Nestle. Only one problem - Nestle can't sue the government for reneging on a contract, because Nestle's permit expired a long time ago.

So Nestle will have to shut down its Arrowhead operation and start getting water from the Potomac River.

Or perhaps from Flint, Michigan.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

All about the Oranco Bowmen

So one day I was sitting in morning rush hour traffic on the 71, and noticed a sign near the archery area on Euclid.

The sign referred to the Oranco Bowmen.


A Club by Archers for Archers...

Welcome to Oranco Bowmen Archery Club.

We are a private, non-profit Archery Club not a business. All of our staff are Member-Volunteers not paid employees.

We are located at 17504 Pomona Rincon Rd. Chino CA. 91708 in the "Y" intersection of Euclid Av. and the 71 Expressway. Our club has been in this location since 1980.

Our Phone Number is (909) 597-7582 and is answered on Sundays from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. If you have a question go to our Contacts page and call or email a board member.

The range is open to our membership 7 days a week.

We are open to the public on Sundays (excluding major shoots, work parties and holidays) 8:30 am - 2:00 pm and costs is just $14.00 per archer.


For more information, visit their page, or check out their Facebook page.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bobcat Properties Farm at Graber Olive House

On Sunday afternoon, Graber House House in Ontario hosted an event with Lonnie and Mary Scott from the Bobcat Properties Farm (website, Facebook page).


The event was called the "Benefits of Honey Talk."


For more pictures taken by Graber Olive House itself, see the Event page. Graber sells the honey (and other products such as lip balm), and it can also be purchased at farmers' markets in Corona and East Hollywood.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Airport news - on the accounting side, #OIAA is proceeding Intuit-ively

I just got around to seeing Liset Marquez's article about the Ontario International Airport Authority. Her main message - transitions are hard.

So far, the biggest transition in which I participated was when Motorola sold its Biometric Business Unit to Safran. There were all sorts of pesky little details that had to be taken care of. One example - a couple of months after the intent to sell the division was announced, but before it had been approved, all of us had to complete employment agreements with a company called Sagem Morpho. We were instructed to leave those agreements undated, because no one knew when we would get the final government approvals for the sale. By the time the sale got its final final approval, the company Sagem Morpho had been renamed MorphoTrak, and presumably someone added dates to all of those employment agreements.

(An aside: I'm going through a similar process right now.)

Well, similar things are happening now with the transfer of Ontario International Airport from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA). In fact, Marquez notes that the people working at the airport are still LAWA employees, although that is in the process of changing. And for the most part, all of the changes are going smoothly, or better than originally expected.

With one exception.

[T]he authority’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Reynolds learned LAWA did not transfer any of its accounting systems over to the authority, leaving him to start from scratch.

Now this can be a problem. When your operating budget is in the high tens of millions of dollars, a computerized accounting system is kinda sorta essential.

And Reynolds scrambled to find one.

“We didn’t have the time or the ability to review systems, so we decided to go with QuickBooks just so we could get up and running and at least print checks,” he told the authority at a Jan. 23 meeting.

I guess it's better than Lotus 1-2-3, but Reynolds is obviously prioritizing the acquisition of a comprehensive system, that he hopes to get up and running within four months.

I wonder if Intuit will list Ontario Airport as one of its satisfied QuickBooks customers.

And if the process gets delayed, the Radisson is offering QuickBooks training in June.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hohberg Poultry has been in trouble before

I think it was last night when I heard a mention of an Ontario egg farm that had been accused of animal cruelty. I ignored the mention, figuring that it was just a Canadian story - I mean, there aren't any egg farms in Ontario, California, are they?

Turns out we do have egg farms in the area.

The owner of Hohberg Poultry Ranches in Ontario was charged Tuesday with 39 counts of violating California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, the first time the act has been enforced since its passage in 2008.

If you go to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's site, you can find a press release about the charges. I have duplicated this press release at the end of this post.

But that isn't the only online material that I found. I found another item - a 2012 warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). I've reproduced that at the end of this post, also, as well as the 2014 letter that stated that the issues had been corrected.

Now I have no real knowledge of the poultry industry, so I can't tell you if this is outrageous, or if it's run of the mill. Do the big poultry outfits get such FDA warning letters every week?

OK, here we go.

First, here's the County DA's press release (without the pictures; go to the website to see the pictures if you care to do so).

Press Release
Feb. 7, 2017
Charges filed against Ontario egg ranch

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office charged Hohberg's Poultry Ranches in Ontario today with 39 counts of violating the state’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.

In 2008, California voters passed the act, also known as Proposition 2, with 63.5 percent support which requires that an egg-laying hen must be able to fully spread her wings without touching another animal or side of the enclosure.

In addition to the Proposition 2 violations, Hohberg's Poultry Ranches was charged with 16 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty under Penal Code 597(b).

According to Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus, who oversees the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit, the animal cruelty charges stem from a Jan. 2016 report to Inland Valley Humane Society that chickens at the location were being kept in “inhumane” and “deplorable” conditions.

As a result of an investigation conducted by Inland Valley Humane Society and Ontario Police Department a warrant was served and executed at Hohberg's Poultry Ranches on Feb. 20, 2016.

During the execution of the search warrant, investigators from the District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit, Ontario Police Department, The Humane Society of the United States, and Inland Valley Humane Society found birds in overcrowded cages in which the birds were not able to fully spread their wings.

“Upon serving the search warrant, we found approximately 28,800 hens in unsanitary conditions that clearly violated the Farm Animal Cruelty Act,” said Ploghaus. “In some instances, we found dead hens decaying in the same cages beside living hens laying eggs for human consumption.”

Robert Hohberg, the 70-year-old owner of Hohberg's Poultry Ranches, is scheduled to appear in court March 7, 2017. If convicted as charged, he faces up to a maximum of 180 days in County Jail for each cage size violation and a year for each animal cruelty count.

“While we are obviously concerned about the health of our citizens, at the end of the day, we also have a lawful obligation to ensure that animals in our county are being treated humanely,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “The overcrowded conditions these animals were forced to live in were cruel. It was a horrible existence.”

Contact: Christopher Lee, Public Affairs Officer (909) 382-3665 or via email at clee@sbcda.org or via text at (909) 782-5559

###


Second, here's the 2012 FDA warning letter:

Hohberg Poultry Ranch F1/F2 8/30/12

Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration

Los Angeles District
Pacific Region
19701 Fairchild
lrvine, CA 92612-2506
Telephone: 949-608-2900
FAX: 949-608-4415

WARNING LETTER
WL # 42-12
VIA UPS OVERNIGHT
SIGNATURE REQUIRED

August 30, 2012

Robert A. Hohberg, Owner
Hohberg Poultry Ranches
13814 S. Grove Avenue
Ontario, California 91761

Dear Mr. Hohberg:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected your shell egg production facilities located at:

• 7716 Chino Avenue, Ontario, California 91761 on April 3-6, 2012 (Inspection 1: Ranch #1 farm);
• 16493 Santa Ana Avenue, Fontana, California 92337 on April 24-30, 2012 (Inspection 2: F1/F2 farm); and
• 13814 S. Grove Avenue, Ontario, California 91761 on April 30-May 4, 2012 (Inspection 3: Grove Ranch 5 farm).

We found that the above-listed farms have serious violations of the Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in Shell During Production, Storage, and Transportation regulation (the shell egg regulation), Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 118 (21 CFR 118). The failure to adequately implement the requirements in 21 CFR 118 causes your shell eggs to be in violation of section 361(a) of the Public Health Service Act (the ''PHS Act"), Title 42, U.S.C. § 264(a). In addition, these violations render your shell eggs adulterated within the meaning of section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), 21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4), in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health. You may find the Act, the PHS Act, and the shell egg regulation through links on FDA's home page at www.fda.gov.
The significant violations, with references to each specific farm, are as follows:
1. Your SE prevention plan for your F1/F2 farm failed to include practices that will protect against cross contamination when equipment is moved among poultry houses, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(b)(2), and practices that will protect against cross contamination when persons move between poultry houses, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(b)(3). You also failed to maintain practices at your F1/F2 farm that will protect against cross contamination when persons and equipment move between poultry houses, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(b)(3) and 21 CFR 118.4(b)(2). Specifically, during Inspection 2 at the F1/F2 farm, our investigator observed a common corridor in which employees and equipment from each F1 poultry house traveled to reach the egg storage location. During the inspection your firm had not implemented practices for protecting against cross contamination when personnel and equipment move between poultry houses, such as removing any caked debris from boots, footwear, equipment, etc., or implementing the use of adequate foot dips, etc.
We note that during the close-out meeting for Inspection 2, Mr. Timothy Hohberg stated that your firm had placed (b)(4) disinfectant footbaths at each poultry house at the F1/F2 farm. However, your prevention plan for the F1/F2 farm has not been revised to include this measure or to include measures for protecting against cross contamination when equipment is moved between poultry houses at the F1/F2 farm. Additionally, your firm has not addressed what measures you have in place for protecting against cross contamination when equipment is moved between poultry houses at the F1/F2 farm.
2. Your SE prevention plans for all three farms failed to include practices that will protect against cross contamination when equipment is moved among poultry houses, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(b)(2). Specifically, during Inspection 1 at the Ranch #1 farm and Inspection 3 at the Grove - Ranch 5 farm, Mr. Timothy Hohberg informed our investigators that your firm uses the same manure scraper equipment at all three of your farms. Because your manure scraper equipment could transmit SE, your SE prevention plans should include practices to ensure that this equipment does not cross contaminate your farms. Additionally, although Mr. Timothy Hohberg informed our investigators that the manure scraper is cleaned and disinfected prior to being transported to a new farm, this practice is not sufficient to protect against cross contamination among poultry houses at the same farm. Your firm should clean and disinfect the manure scraper prior to its use at a poultry house, regardless of whether that poultry house is at a farm with multiple poultry houses or at a different farm. You also failed to provide records documenting any cleaning and disinfection of the manure scraper. Under 21 CFR 118.10(a)(3)(i), you must maintain records documenting compliance with SE prevention measures, including biosecurity measures.
3. Your SE prevention plans for all three farms failed to include measures to prevent stray poultry, wild birds, cats, and other animals from entering poultry houses, and you failed to prevent stray poultry, wild birds, cats, and other animals from entering poultry houses, as required by 21 CPR 118.4(b)(4). Specifically, our investigators observed wild birds, cats, or other animals in the poultry houses at the following locations:

a. During Inspection 1 at the Ranch #1 farm, we observed at least one cat on the ground inside the poultry house between rows of caged birds, several small birds on the ground between many rows of caged birds inside the poultry house, and several small birds perched along the supporting beams of the poultry house.
b. During Inspection 2 at the F1/F2 farm, we observed small birds entering the poultry houses through the roof.
c. During Inspection 3 at the Grove - Ranch 5 farm, we observed numerous small birds on the East and West walkways along the perimeter of the inside of house (b)(4).

We have reviewed your response to the FDA-483 received on April 17, 2012 after Inspection 1 at the Ranch # 1 farm. You stated that "in California, in open sided [poultry] houses, it is not possible to control all wild birds and same animals/pests." We find that this response is inadequate, and that at a minimum there must be measures in place to prevent stray animals from entering your poultry houses as required by 21 CFR 118.4(b)(4). Stray animals may be a source of SE that can be transmitted to your poultry flocks, and you must take measures to prevent this potential contamination from occurring.

4. Your SE prevention plans for all three farms failed to include procedures for removal of debris within a poultry house and vegetation and debris outside a poultry house which may provide harborage for pests, and you also failed to remove vegetation and debris outside a poultry house, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(c)(3). Specifically, during Inspection 2 at the F1/F2 farm, our investigator observed a buildup of cluttered debris along an outside wall of the F1 poultry houses including old equipment and cob webbing, and also found vegetation growing in outside areas between F1 poultry houses. In addition, during Inspection 1 at the Ranch # 1 farm, our investigators noted old fencing that was rolled-up and stacked along the outside perimeter of the west side near the poultry house providing a potential harborage area for pests. Our investigators also observed a leaking well water tank on the east side perimeter with pooled water and vegetation growth on the ground. Furthermore, during Inspection 3 at the Grove - Ranch 5 farm, our investigators observed leaking water between some poultry houses, causing extensive pooled water in some areas and vegetation growth. Investigators also observed large amounts of spilled feed on the walkways inside the Grove - Ranch 5 farm, house (b)(4), due to holes in the feeding trough that can serve to attract wild birds into the poultry house. These items were discussed with Mr. Timothy Hohberg during each of the inspections and corrective actions were promised. We will evaluate the adequacy of any proposed corrective action during our next inspection of your farms.
5. Your SE prevention plans for all three farms lacked cleaning and disinfection procedures for use when an environmental test or an egg test is positive for SE, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(d). Your SE prevention plans list general cleaning procedures (e.g. (b)(4)) that are not specific to the requirements of the shell egg regulation. We note that your response to the FDA-483 received on April 17, 2012 included a supplemental form titled "(b)(4)." Although this form lists some of the procedures required by 21 CFR 118.4(d), the form is inadequate because it does not address manure and feed removal, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(d)(1) and (2). In addition, the form does not include any details on how you will accomplish these cleaning and disinfection procedures in the event of an SE-positive environmental test. Such details are essential to ensure that adequate procedures are followed every time a poultry house requires cleaning and sanitizing.

6. Your SE prevention plans for all three farms failed to include procedures for holding and transporting at or below 45°F ambient temperature beginning 36 hours after time of lay, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(e). Additionally, your refrigeration records at the Ranch #1 farm and F1/F2 farm did not include the time at which refrigerator cooler temperatures were recorded. This practice caused you to violate 21 CFR 118.10(b)(2), which requires you to include the date and time of the activities reflected in your records.
We have reviewed your response to the FDA-483 received on April 17, 2012 after Inspection 1 at the Ranch #1 farm. You stated that the time eggs enter and leave the cooler will be recorded and attached a revised form for recording these times. Mr. Timothy Hohberg also informed our investigators that you will record the times at which refrigerator cooler temperatures are checked. However, your response is inadequate because you failed to provide any supporting documentation that you are using the revised form to record these times. You also failed to provide any supporting documentation that you revised your SE prevention plans to include these procedures. We will evaluate the adequacy of any proposed corrective action during our next inspection of your farms.
7. You failed to perform environmental testing for SE in a poultry house when any group of laying hens constituting the flock within the poultry house was 40 to 45 weeks of age, as required by 21 CFR 118.5(a). Specifically:

a. During Inspection 1 at the Ranch #1 farm, our investigators observed a flock of laying hens that was 77 weeks of age at the time of the inspection. No SE environmental testing had been performed on this poultry house.

b. During Inspection 2 at the F1/F2 farm, you were unable to provide records of any SE environmental testing for poultry houses (b)(4). In addition, testing records for poultry houses (b)(4) and (b)(4) show that SE environmental testing was performed when the laying hens were 55 weeks of age.

c. During Inspection 3 at the Grove - Ranch 5 farm, our investigators noted that no environmental testing had been conducted in poultry house (b)(4) where laying hens were 75 weeks of age at the time of the inspection. No environmental testing had been conducted in poultry house (b)(4) where laying hens were 123 weeks of age at the time of the inspection. Additionally, our investigators reviewed records showing that poultry house (b)(4) was tested when the laying hens were 51 weeks of age.

8. You induced a molt in a flock but then failed to perform environmental testing for SE in the poultry house at four to six weeks after the end of the molting process, as required by 21 CFR 118.5(b). Specifically, during Inspection 3 at the Grove- Ranch 5 farm, our investigators noted that you failed to environmentally test the poultry house (b)(4) four to six weeks after the end of the molting process. These birds were molted at 82 weeks of age, and were 90 weeks of age during the inspection.
9. You failed to conduct testing to detect SE in environmental samples using the method titled "Environmental Sampling and Detection of Salmonella in Poultry Houses," April 2008, or an equivalent method in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity in detecting SE, as required by 21 CFR 118.8(a). Specifically, your sampling scheme does not account for sampling of all manure piles with a separate drag swab. We do not consider using a drag swab to sample more than one manure bank to be an equivalent method in accuracy, precision and sensitivity in detecting SE. A different drag swab should be used for each manure bank to avoid saturation of the swab and potential masking of SE by other bacteria. Also, we note that your "SE Swab Flock Monitoring Procedures" document directs your personnel to swab (b)(4) "fertilizer," but the appropriate term is "manure."
10. You failed to implement appropriate rodent monitoring methods, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(c)(1). Specifically, during Inspection 3 at the Grove Ranch 5 farm, a review of your contracted pest control company rodent monitoring records from May 5, 2011 through April 10, 2012 showed that the pest control company was not recording the number live and/or dead rodents. The records document only whether rodent activity was present or not. Relying solely on this metric does not allow you to make a determination of whether rodent activity is unacceptable, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(c)(1). Your SE prevention plans for your F1/F2 farm, and Grove - Ranch 5 farm state that your contract pest control company will take appropriate actions when the rodent index is above ''1." However, it is not possible to calculate the rodent index without first determining the number of live and/or dead rodents.
11. Although you may store records documenting rodent and other pest control measures offsite, you must be able to retrieve and provide the records at your place of business within 24 hours of request for official review, as required by 21 CFR 118.10(d). Specifically, during Inspection 1 at the Ranch #1 farm, our investigators noted that you did not have records from July 9, 2010 to November 28, 2010 to document rodent monitoring and that you did not have records from July 9, 2010 to October 29, 2010 to document fly monitoring. We have reviewed your response to the FDA-483 received on April 17, 2012 after Inspection 1 at the Ranch #1 farm. You stated that your pest control contract company maintains these records off-site and that the company's "contact numbers are included in paper work." It is your responsibility to retrieve and provide these records within 24 hours of the request for official review, as required by 21 CFR 118.10(d).
12. You failed to include in your required records the signature or initials of the person performing the operation or creating the record, as required by 21 CFR 118.10(b)(3). Specifically, during Inspection 2 at the F1/F2 farm, refrigeration temperature monitoring logs did not have the signature or initials of the person performing the operation. In addition, during Inspection 1 at the Ranch # 1 farm, our investigators found that your written SE prevention plan was not signed or dated. Furthermore, during Inspection 3 at the Grove - Ranch 5 farm, we found that your written SE prevention plan was not dated. These items were discussed with you during each of the inspections and corrective actions were promised. We will evaluate the adequacy of any proposed corrective action during our next inspection of your farms.
This letter is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of violations at your farms. You are responsible for ensuring that your shell egg production farms operate in compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations, including the Act, the PHS Act, and the shell egg regulation. You also have a responsibility to use procedures to prevent further violations of these statutes and regulations.
You should take prompt action to correct the violations cited in this letter. Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in FDA taking regulatory action without further notice, such as seizure, injunction, or the initiation of administrative enforcement procedures under 21 CFR 118.12(a).
In addition to the above violations, we also have the following comments:

• Pullet procurement records collected during Inspection 1 at the Ranch #1 farm and during Inspection 3 at the Grove - Ranch 5 farm, show that the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) Form 9-3 for flocks shipped to Ranch #1 (b)(4) and to Grove Ranch 5 on (b)(4) do not have the "S. Enteritidis clean'' box checked off. The remarks section of some of the NPIP Forms 9-3 say "NPIP 42.250 AI-SE tested,'' but no additional documentation was provided to show that the pullets were in fact SE clean, as required by 21 CFR 118.4(a)(1).
• FDA environmental sampling conducted during Inspection 2 at the F1/F2 farm indicated the presence of Salmonella Enteritidis in poultry house (b)(4). We acknowledge that, upon being notified of these findings, you initiated egg testing in accordance with 21 CPR 118.6, the results of which have all been negative.
• FDA environmental sampling conducted during Inspection 3 at the Grove- Ranch 5 farm, indicated the presence of Salmonella Enteritidis in poultry house #1-5B. We acknowledge that, upon being notified of these findings, you initiated diversion of eggs from this house in accordance with 21 CFR 118.6(a)(2).

Within 15 working days from your receipt of this letter, please notify this office in writing of the specific steps you have taken to correct the above violations and prevent their recurrence. Include an explanation of each step being taken to correct the violations and prevent their recurrence, as well as copies of related documentation. If you cannot complete corrective action within 15 working days, state the reason for the delay and the time within which you will complete the corrections.

Please send your written response to this letter to the Food and Drug Administration, Attention:

Blake Bevill, Director
Compliance Branch
Los Angeles District
19701 Fairchild
Irvine, CA, 92612-2506

If you have questions regarding any issues in this letter, please contact Robert McNab, Compliance Officer at 949-608-4409.

Sincerely,
/S/
Alonza E. Cruse, Director
Los Angeles District
Cc:
Ingeborg Small, Chief
California Department of Public Health
Food and Drug Branch
1500 Capitol Avenue, MS-7602
P.O. Box 997435
Sacramento, CA 95899-7435

Maurice Pitesky DVM, MPVM
California Dept of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health Branch
Attn: Maurice Pitesky
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814


Finally, here's the 2014 FDA letter:

Hohberg Poultry Ranch F1/F2 - Close Out Letter 4/28/14

Department of Health and Human Services

Food and Drug Administration
Los Angeles District
Pacific Region
19701 Fairchild
Irvine, CA 92612-2506

Telephone: 949-608-2900
FAX: 949-608-4415

Via UPS Overnight

April 28, 2014

Robert A. Hohberg, Owner
Hohberg Poultry Ranches
13814 So. Grove Avenue
Ontario, CA 91761

Dear Mr. Hohberg:

The Food and Drug Administration has completed an evaluation of your firm's corrective actions in response to our Warning Letter 42-12 dated August 30, 2012. Based on our evaluation, it appears that you have addressed the violation(s) contained in this Warning Letter. Future FDA inspections and regulatory activities will further assess the adequacy and sustainability of these corrections.
This letter does not relieve you or your firm from the responsibility of taking all necessary steps to assure sustained compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its implementing regulations or with other relevant legal authority. The Agency expects you and your firm to maintain compliance and will continue to monitor your state of compliance. This letter will not preclude any future regulatory action should violations be observed during a subsequent inspection or through other means.

Sincerely,
/S/
LCDR Steven Porter
Acting District Director
Los Angeles District

cc: Hohberg Poultry Ranches
P.O. Box 2466
Chino, CA 91708

Monday, January 30, 2017

Forward into the past at the Ontario Convention Center's Retro Gaming Expo

H/T to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which reported that the Retro Gaming Expo will take place at the Ontario Convention Center on February 4 (9 to 5) and February 5 (9 to 4).

The third annual event...will feature the largest collection to celebrate 30 years of “The Legend of Zelda,” a cosplay contest and panels, as well as vendors selling retro games, and arcade cabinets and pinball machines – all set to free play.

When I was growing up, the idea of pinball machines and arcade cabinets all set to free play would be a wild dream. Of course, when I was growing up, they didn't have cosplay contests at convention centers either.

The free play, however, isn't really free:

Pre-Sale Ticket Price:
$25 - for Sat Day Admssion
$18 - for Sun Day Admssion
$35 - for Two Day Admission (Saturday and Sunday)

Children 10 and under free, limit 2 children per paid ticket


At the Door Ticket Price:
$30 - for Sat Day Admssion
$20 - for Sun Day Admssion
$40 - for Two Day Admission (Saturday and Sunday)

Children 10 and under free, limit 2 children per paid ticket


That's a lot of quarters.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Other local blogs, the January 2017 edition

I recently conducted a semi-vanity search - I was searching for the phrase used in one of my recent posts, "My philosophy is color philosophy," and the search hit on a blogroll at the Original Skrip blog site.

I've lost track of a lot of these sites since Google Reader's demise, and I need to repopulate my feedly feed for local blogs.

Original Skrip itself last posted in November, writing about Pomona/Claremont Package Thieves. (Hope they caught the woman.)

Images of Pomona wrote about the Seashore Trolley Museum - which isn't in Pomona, but looks nice.

David Allen recently wrote about Gravity Hill in the north Upland area.

The Goddess of Garey Avenue had a winter-themed post that included the view from the Pomona Valley Mining Company.

Everything else in the blogroll is either out of area, or very old.

If you have an Inland Empire/Inland Valley/Pomona Valley/whatever blog, feel free to mention it in the comments.

P.S. For those who remember the Inland Empress, she now lives WAY inland - as in Arizona. She is now a teacher and is very happy.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

My philosophy is color philosophy (or, two views of a trade show booth)

This post was originally going to be placed into my Empoprise-BI business blog, until I did a little digging...

As many of you know, today - Saturday, January 21 - is the day that women are marching on...Phoenix. Specfically to the Phoenix Convention Center, where the Craft & Hobby Association is holding its Creativation show. And while I kinda sorta don't meet the monthly traffic volume required to get a media credential, I can certainly cover the show from afar. Afar being Ontario, California...

...which is northeast of a city called Chino, California, home of Prima Marketing. If you haven't heard about the company, it began by manufacturing artificial paper flowers, and has since expanded its line tremendously. Therefore Prima has a booth at Creativation, and is posting Facebook Live videos from this booth, which allow the Uncredentialed (not to be confused with the Deplorables or the Nasty Women) to see what they're selling.

So here's a video in which Prima Marketing is talking about its Color Philosophy product.



Meanwhile, all of the craft stores are flocking to Creativation to see all the products, and here's a video from one of these stores, Scrapbooking Made Simple in Santa Clarita, California. (Yes, Scrapbooking Made Simple also has an online business.)



And after watching the second video, you'll know where I got the title to this post. (Although if I'm a winner winner chicken dinner, I'll probably give the prize away to somebody.)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sometimes we in the IE overreact to weather...a bit

If you have friends from outside of southern California, they probably think that your reactions to bad weather are ridiculous. After all, while we DO have serious weather at times, there are many other times in which we launch into STORMWATCH mode when a few drips occur. Then we all turn to Los Angeles local news to see on the scene reporters pointing out...puddles.

Last Saturday, when the weather was a little less severe out here, I shared a Facebook Live video that demonstrated our love of overreactions.

And yes, I even pointed out a puddle.



P.S. If you're on Facebook, be sure to check out the Empoprise-IE Facebook page.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Riverside Kmart on Iowa Avenue to close

According to Business Insider, the Kmart at 3001 Iowa Avenue in Riverside, California is one of the Sears/Kmart stores that will be closing by April of this year.


I've blogged about Kmart's troubles before in my Empoprise-BI business blog, most recently in October. At the time, I said:

Let's see what happens after Christmas.

While this isn't the "retail apocalypse" that Infowars was talking about earlier in the year, we're not Making American Retail Great Again by any stretch.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Major computer breach allows Americans into Canadian health system

(DISCLAIMER: In accordance with emerging information practices, and because this story will be shared on Facebook, I am obliged to point out that this is fake news FAKE FAKE FAKE. In case you didn't get it, this is FAKE.)

I am proud of my unsurpassed ability to provide Empoprises readers with stories that they will not get ANYWHERE ELSE. (Hint, hint.) So on to my exclusive story, which is extensively referenced (check the links).

The Canadian Health Authority (in English; the French site is Autorité canadienne de la santé) allows Canadian citizens to manage their health information, schedule appointments with doctors...and order prescriptions - including mental health-related prescriptions. Canadian taxpayers support this health system, which is obviously only intended for Canadians.

Fair use, Link

On December 12, the Office of the Prime Minister revealed the existence of a major systems breach that allowed non-Canadians to access the site and obtain prescriptions at Canadian prices. While refusing to disclose the details of the breach, the Prime Minister's office revealed that that the breach was operated from within the United States - a country with notoriously high prescription prices.

A few days later, Wikileaks provided the extraordinary details of the breach. It appears that a legion of hackers discovered that if a person entered a home address of "Ontario, CA," the system would automatically assume that the person was a Canadian from the province of Ontario, and grant all the rights of Canadian citizens. So Americans in the city of Ontario, California (some distance from Canada, and with much less snow) could snap up prescription drugs at Canadian prices, and no one was the wiser - until now.

Unfortunately for Canadians, the hack didn't work in the other direction.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Traveling between the Inland Empire and Orange County

One disadvantage of living in a major metropolitan area is that sometimes, rather than going from the city center to the suburbs, you have to go from one suburb to another suburb.

When the major metropolitan area covers multiple counties, each with its own transportation agencies, the situation can get pretty complex.

I have spent a good portion of the last thirty years traveling from the Inland Empire suburbs of Los Angeles to the Orange County suburbs of Los Angeles. I spent five years at Cal State Fullerton, and I have spent over two decades working in Brea, Anaheim, and Irvine. Plus, I have had to visit Concordia University Irvine on occasion, as well as South Coast Plaza (and the nearby Hilton), Portillo's in Buena Park, and some mouse place in Anaheim.

This is difficult enough when you have to deal with the southern California freeways to get from place to place.

But what if you don't have a car?

If you happen to be near certain Metrolink stations, you're in luck. You can take Metrolink from Orange County to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and can then take another Metrolink to the Inland Empire. Or, if you're lucky and do it at the right time, you can take a Metrolink from Fullerton to Riverside County - and sometimes to San Bernardino County.

There is a more direct route, however. The Orange County Transportation Authority currently has two bus routes, the 757 and 758 - one of which goes from Orange County to Pomona, and the other of which goes from Orange County to Chino.

Did I say that the OCTA CURRENTLY has those two bus routes? That's right - the 757 and 758 are being discontinued next month. Happily, there is an alternative - Foothill Transit Route 286, which connects an Orange County transit station at Brea Mall with a Foothill Transit station in Pomona. And the 286 runs hourly - provided you can get to Brea Mall or Pomona.

So let's say that you live in Ontario, and want to get to a city in Orange County. Here's how you'd do it:

Take a bus, or walk, to Holt Boulevard.
Board Omnitrans Route 61 going westbound to Pomona.
Transfer to Foothill Transit Route 286, and take it to the Brea Mall.
Take an OCTA bus from the Brea Mall - for example, the 20 to Yorba Linda or La Habra, or the 57 to a number of cities, including Fullerton, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, and Newport Beach.


I'll grant that taking a trip on three different bus lines can be complex, and I'm not sure which of the lines honor transfers from the other lines, but at least a trip is possible.

And it's better than walking. Nobody walks. (Actually, they do.)

[EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Earlier this year, I completed an Orange County Transportation Authority survey on vanpools. This was one of those surveys in which a survey participant could win something - and I won. Specifically, I received a $100 Chevron gas card from OCTA.

For those who recall the Jeannine Schafer/Louis Gray FTC blogger disclosure artwork, here's the one that applies.]


Monday, August 22, 2016

Anecdotal observations about Kmart (and VHS)

Back in late July, I wrote a post in my Empoprise-BI business blog that speculated about Kmart's future. Specifically, the post cited Kmart employee speculation that an in-house "path to profitability" effort to move inventory on to the sales floor was just the first step in closing Kmart stores.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to visit a Kmart to see whether things were as dire as the selected employees were claiming. I went in there realizing that anecdotal evidence is not necessarily reliable, and that things that I observed on my visit may not be reflected in all Kmart stores. With that in mind, I approached the Kmart on East Fourth Street in Ontario a little after noon. The employees were nice enough, and the problems that one employee was having with a store computer may not necessarily mean anything. But after a few minutes of walking around this particular store, something struck me.


If I were to walk into a Costco or a Walmart on Sunday at noon, I would usually be fighting mobs of people. And while there were people in some sections of the Kmart, other sections were oddly empty and quiet. I was told later that traffic usually picked up in the afternoon, but it still seemed strange to be in a major store on a weekend afternoon and to see empty aisles in some places.

Another thing struck me. It did not appear that the stock rooms had been emptied to move everything on to the sales floor, although it seemed that there were an awful lot of mattresses in one section. On the other hand, going through electronics and other places, I was occasionally greeted with scenes like this:


However, it is possible to find certain items at Kmart.


(If you didn't see my July post in tymshft about VHS recorders and tapes, I speculated that even though VHS recorder manufacture ended this year, you'll probably still be able to buy the tapes for years to come.)

But the most troubling thing from my visit to Kmart wasn't something I saw, but something I heard. While in the electronics section, I heard the following scrap of conversation from a man:

Should we go over to Radio Shack?

When your business has a lower reputation than Radio Shack, things aren't looking good.