Monday, February 20, 2017
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
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
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).
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 email@example.com 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
lrvine, CA 92612-2506
WL # 42-12
VIA UPS OVERNIGHT
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
Los Angeles District
Irvine, CA, 92612-2506
If you have questions regarding any issues in this letter, please contact Robert McNab, Compliance Officer at 949-608-4409.
Alonza E. Cruse, Director
Los Angeles District
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
Irvine, CA 92612-2506
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.
LCDR Steven Porter
Acting District Director
Los Angeles District
cc: Hohberg Poultry Ranches
P.O. Box 2466
Chino, CA 91708
Monday, January 30, 2017
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
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
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
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
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
(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.
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
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
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.
Monday, July 18, 2016
You're probably well aware that if you buy a product from someone, that product doesn't go from the manufacturer directly to you. There are a number of intermediate steps that are required to get that product to you. Even if you buy the product online, rather than in a brick and mortar store, those steps occur. Amazon, for example, has to secure warehouses all over the country - especially to fulfill orders for same day delivery.
According to PYMNTS, there's a problem with that:
The bad news for online brands that rely on same-day and express shipping came down this week from commercial real estate firm CBRE. In a report, Chief Economist for the Americas Jeffrey Havsy explained that, at the close of Q2 2016, available retail warehouse space had fallen to just 8.8 percent of overall capacity. Not only is that the 25th quarter in a row that retailers have been buying up floor space in fulfillment centers faster than contractors can build it, but out of the 57 major metropolitan markets Havsy and CBRE looked at, 37 posted net losses in retail warehouse availability.
Although PYMNTS didn't include a list of the 57 metropolitan areas, my guess is that the Inland Empire didn't post net losses in retail warehouse availability. Heck, we have warehouses all over the place, and there's the big fight in Moreno Valley over a proposed massive logistics center.
But to get the authoritative word on this, I went to the Inland Empire Economic Partnership website, and searched the site for warehouse information.
That was not the result I expected. Or perhaps those aren't really warehouses across our region; maybe they're something else.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Source: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1105372884103&ca=08972415-189d-486f-9904-511312a3d850, via https://www.facebook.com/OntarioOIAA/posts/1411270605566014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News Media Contact:
Federal legislation facilitating transfer of ONT
to local control wins final approval
FAA bill now goes to President for signing
ONTARIO, Calif. - July 13, 2016 -- Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) officials hailed final passage today of federal legislation facilitating the transfer of Ontario International Airport (ONT) to local control.
The legislation for ONT was included in a bill to extend the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) programs and policies beyond Friday. Leading the effort to include the ONT provision in the bill were Rep. Ken Calvert (D-CA42) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The bill passed in the House on a voice vote Monday and was approved in the Senate today on a 89-4 vote. It now goes to President Obama to be signed into law.
"This is a landmark day in Southern California aviation," said Alan D. Wapner, OIAA President and Ontario City Council Member. "We are grateful for the tremendous bipartisan support this legislation received from throughout the Southland. It completes the funding plan for the transfer of ONT from Los Angeles World Airports to the OIAA, which we continue to expect will be completed in the second half of this calendar year."
The legislation allows future passenger facility charges (PFCs) collected at ONT to be used at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as repayment for PFCs previously collected at LAX and used at ONT.
As one of the last steps before the airport transfer, the OIAA has already begun arrangements for issuance of bonds backed by airport revenues to replace existing airport debt of approximately $56 million.
The FAA continues to work closely with the OIAA and LAWA to provide a seamless transition of airport sponsors from LAWA to the OIAA. The FAA will issue a Part 139 Airport Operating Certificate to the OIAA concurrent with the transfer.
About the Ontario International Airport Authority
The City of Ontario and San Bernardino County formed the OIAA in August 2012 by enacting a Joint Powers Agreement. The OIAA provides overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of ONT for the benefit of the Southern California economy and the residents of the airport's four-county catchment area. Commissioners are Ontario Council Member Alan D. Wapner (President), Ontario Council Member Jim W. Bowman, San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman, Retired Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge (Vice President) and Orange County Business Council President/CEO and California Transportation Commission Chair Lucy Dunn (Secretary).
About Ontario International Airport
ONT is located in the Inland Empire, approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. It is a medium-hub, full-service airport with direct commercial jet service to 14 U.S. and Mexico cities. There are 61 daily departures offered by seven air carriers. ONT's service area includes a population of six million in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and portions of Orange and Los Angeles counties. It currently is operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a City of Los Angeles agency also operating Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports. Beginning in the second half of 2016, subject to FAA approval, ONT will be owned and operated by the Ontario International Airport Authority under a Joint Powers Agreement enacted by the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
While I am not much of a sportsperson, our family has hosted several exchange students over the years, and between these exchange student daughters and our own American daughter, we've spent some time in sporting goods stores.
And years ago, I concluded that some stores were better than others.
I've always had good luck at Big 5, and Chick's Sporting Goods was...well, it was GOOD when it was around. But Chick's gave way to Dick's several years ago, and I still remember a not-so-fruitful visit to Dick's in the Colonies. At one point, the salesperson told us, "You're not going to get the same service at Dick's that you did at Chick's." On this point, the Dick's salesperson and I were in complete agreement.
But at least I found a salesperson at Dick's. One day about nine years ago, I took my Swiss daughter to the Sports Authority store east of Montclair Plaza. We started looking for some assistance...and couldn't find any. Eventually it became a game, in which I was roaming around the store trying to find SOMEBODY. Finally I gave up and walked out of the store; I think we went to Big 5 (this was before the Upland Mountain Avenue location closed).
Now I am the first to admit that this is anecdotal and not scientific, and I'm sure that there are people who have received wonderful service at both locations. But my experience was a little different.
Having not set foot in either location (or any of the locations of the two stores) for years, I certainly raised an eyebrow when I read this article:
Over the last several months, Sports Authority has experienced a long, painful and visible death — the likes of which the retail sector would rather not see so often. For the last few weeks, Sports Authority has been going through the process of auctioning off what storefronts and inventory it could to make a little scratch back, and though it was rumored that some buyers were sniffing around the brand itself for a possible resurrection down the line, Dick’s Sporting Goods put a stop to that Thursday (June 30).
While rosy-eyed people may talk of synergies and other wonderfulness, I have steadfastly been of the opinion that the merger of two weak companies does not result in a stronger company; more often than not, the resulting company is weaker than the first two. And no amount of fluffery will negate the inherent problems of the merged firm.
And in this case, Dick's isn't even getting stores; it's getting "intellectual property," a mailing list, and (maybe) a few stores. But when you consider the intellectual property of Sports Authority, it makes the intellectual property of "Late Night With David Letterman" seem like deep philosophy.
Sports Authority and Dick's could only dream of having this.
Monday, March 14, 2016
For many years, I have worked for MorphoTrak and its corporate predecessors. Starting with fingerprints, my responsibilities have grown to include palmprints, faces, irises, and other items. In essence, however, my professional life has centered on the question "Who?"
At various times during this professional career, I have interacted with ESRI out of Redlands. During the Printrak-Motorola days, ESRI provided software for our Computer Aided Dispatch product (which stayed with Motorola when MorphoTrak was formed). During my second stint in Proposals, I attended several monthly APMP webinars from a regional meeting point at ESRI's headquarters (before we started hosting our own regional meeting point at MorphoTrak, and obviously before APMP did away with the regional centers and just let everyone dial in to the webinar personally). ESRI, for those who don't know, concentrates on the question "Where?"
While "Who?" and "Where?" are different questions, there are overlaps at times. The U.S. Army has an intelligence system called the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (PM DCGS-A) which, according to Defense Systems, includes a lot of different types of intelligence:
DCGS-A is the Army’s common system for gathering, analyzing and sharing intelligence information from different echelons. It is capable of providing planning and direction, collection, processing/exploitation, analysis, prediction and production, battlespace awareness data dissemination, and relay capabilities. The system is able to integrate 600 sources of information.
For instance, DCGS-A is used to analyze imagery or map products, process collected cell phone data, report human intelligence, match biometrics and use NSA or aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data.
As you can see, DCGS-A includes information on "where" (map products, cell phone data) and "who" (biometrics, cell phone data). Think about that before you take your T-Mobile phone and run off to join ISIS.
The Army is currently preparing to procure Increment 2, and has noted:
There is an explosion of data that is occurring.
All of that who and where stuff can certainly put a strain on the tubes.
Monday, February 29, 2016
If the acronyms in the title of this post confuse you, LAWA stands for Los Angeles World Airports, the organization that oversees several airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Ontario International Airport (ONT). OIAA stands for the Ontario International Airport Authority, the organization that will eventually oversee Ontario International Airport.
I thought of LAWA when I recently read a piece in Airport Technology. It turns out that TBIT (this acronym stands for Tom Bradley International Terminal) isn't the only terminal that has been "modernized":
The second busiest international terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Terminal 2, is undergoing a major improvement to enhance the airport's level of service and its appearance.
It turns out that this is the same type of "modernization" that was carried out at TBIT - putting all sorts of dining and other services on the other side of the security checkpoint.
But this statement in the Airport Technology article puzzled me:
The terminal improvement programme is part of an $8.5bn modernisation project initiated by airport operator Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to upgrade all the five terminals at LAX.
Uh, Airport Technology, LAX has seven numbered terminals (1-7) plus TBIT, which adds up to 8 when I last checked. And I doubt that LAX is going to close three terminals any time soon.
Oh, and in case you missed the paragraph that I quoted above, a callout repeated the incorrect statistic later in the article.
It's easy to check such things, since LAWA has a website that presents the correct information.
But what if a future Airport Technology article has the wrong information about Ontario Airport? Where will people go to get authoritative OIAA information?
Sadly, we don't know yet. As of today, OIAA does not have an official website. To get OIAA information, you have to go to Set ONTario Free and to a page on the City of Ontario's website.
Presumably when Kelly J. Fredericks starts his new job as head hONTcho with the OIAA on March 7 (see PDF of 2/1 OIAA agenda), one of his action items will be to establish a true web presence for OIAA, in anticipation of the expected approval of the transfer of ONT from LAWA to OIAA.
But the new website had better be established quickly, before someone writes about a visit to ONT Terminal 3.
Friday, February 19, 2016
It used to be that "-gate" was the most popular suffix on record. Every scandal after Watergate ended up getting a name that also ended in "gate."
Well, there's a new suffix in town.
It started over on the West Side, when a multi-day closure of Interstate 405 was announced. Adapting the word "Armageddon," this closure was popularly referred to as "Carmageddon."
So now that we in the IE are getting our own weekend closure, the popular name that has emerged for the Corona closure is...Coronageddon.
And its effects will be felt well beyond Corona, because there will be no good way to get from Yorba Linda (and the eastern part of Orange County) to Corona (and the western part of Riverside County). For example, my home city of Ontario may feel the effects of people coming all the way north to State Route 60 to get from place to place.
But back to the name.
You know what this means. Now every Southern California freeway closure will be referred to as a Geddon. Maybe we'll have a Ramgeddon when the Inglewood stadium is built. In my case, a Diamondgeddon would be extremely disastrous.
And then the suffix, like our gangs, will spread out of southern California and infect the whole country. Arlington, Virginia - is a Shirleygeddon in your future?
But that's not the worst of it. One day, one of these freeway closures will result in some sort of scandal.
And you know what that means.
P.S. For the latest news on Coronageddon - whoops, the "91 Steer Clear" - visit http://www.sr91project.info/.
Monday, November 2, 2015
I get a perverse pleasure out of revisiting my many Jim Bakker moments, in which I said something that turned out to be completely and totally wrong.
About three years ago, I wrote a post on the adventures of one Glenn Campbell, who arrived at Ontario Airport late at night, with no flight out until the next morning.
He had only been to Ontario Airport once before, but he surmised (correctly) that he wouldn't be able to sleep at the airport itself.
This is how Campbell put it:
I had been to the Ontario airport only once before, when I flew in three days earlier. (I was heading to Vegas but chose Ontario for a cheaper rental car.) Ontario is a small airport where the secure area probably closes at night. If the baggage claim area remained open and I was allowed to stay there, I would be sleeping on relatively hard seats with fixed armrests, giving me no opportunity to lie down. Even if the floor was carpeted (which I can't recall), I knew from experience that it would be too hard to sleep on. I could “survive” in the baggage claim area if I had to, but I wouldn’t get a good night's sleep there.
So what did Campbell do? He spent $15 on a sleeping bag and slept out in a field near the airport.
According to the people at "The Guide to Sleeping in Airports," he spent $15 too much. According to reports, you CAN sleep at Ontario Airport.
Or at least you could when Mahari wrote this in December 2005:
Was redirected to Ontario from a late flight leaving from Atlanta going into San Diego because of a thick fog that rolled and planes couldn't land there....Get to the terminal shortly after 11pm and all the stores were closed, amongst all the confusion, everyone was directed to report to the check-in counters for statuses about leaving the next morning. After receiving my information, I got comfortable in a set of chairs with arm rests and set my laptop up. Got bored with the laptop after 2 hours and tried to get some sleep. This at first was nearly impossible because of all the commotion of disgruntled passengers, but by four in the morning, I was able to fall asleep with my bags snug between my legs, laptop in my lap. The only background noise you really had to worry about were the constant security announcements, but other than that it was straight!
I can't tell if Mahari stayed on the lower level after receiving the information, or if Mahari went through security and slept upstairs. However, it sounds like it can be done.
Another reviewer, Lydia, stated that "the seats have armrests, but the airline employees are generally very nice, and the security will ignore you totally."
So if you ever need to try this out...it's better than a field. I guess.
(Of course, now I expect to hear from the hotel folks.)
Monday, October 5, 2015
Giving you the business - when that DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport worker isn't a Hilton worker
Yesterday, I posted an item in my Empoprise-BI business blog and called it The fiction of brands - how Apple, Hilton, McDonald's, Uber, and others are not single entities, but thousands of independent companies and contractors.
It was inspired by a local story from right here in Ontario, written by Neil Nisperos of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin last Friday. His story, entitled Fired Ontario hotel workers file unfair labor charges against DoubleTree, describes how four people working at the DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport, were not actually employed BY the DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport, but were fired by their real employer (Pro Clean). The DoubleTree made a point of saying that it treats its employees wonderfully, while kinda sorta leaving out the fact that those four people were NOT employees of the DoubleTree.
Oh, and by the way, that DoubleTree hotel is not owned by Hilton Worldwide. It's actually owned by a separate company, the Blackstone Group. As I noted in my post,
So do you deal with Pro Clean..., the Blackstone Group, or Hilton Worldwide if you have a problem with your room?
The Hilton, of course, is not the only brand that wants you to think of one company when in reality there are a bunch of subcontractors involved in providing you with the Hilton experience. Three other examples are Apple, McDonald's, and Uber. I talk about all four of them in my post here.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
So I saw the headline via a Facebook share - high speed rail from Los Angeles to Las Vegas!
What prompted the excitement? This announcement that "XpressWest, a private venture proposal backed by Las Vegas-based hotel and casino developer Marnell Companies," had secured a partner in China Railway International USA.
Who's proposing this latest version of a high speed railway to Las Vegas? The casino interests of Las Vegas.
Why? Because the casinos are in Las Vegas, and the people are in Los Angeles. So the casinos need a way to get the people to the casinos.
Who's going to pay for this?
That's the sticking point. While the casinos are extremely willing to suggest the idea of a rail system to Vegas, they can't actually pay to put it in.
XpressWest had been unable to secure a federal loan or investment from within the United States for the project.
I vaguely remember one of these proposals from a decade or two ago, in which the argument was made that since most of the rail line would go through California, and only a little itty bit of the line would go through Nevada, therefore California should pay for the bulk of the project. Never mind that the intent of the project was to suck money out of California.
One other comment: this version of the high speed rail project not only bypasses the Ontario area, but also bypasses the entertainment complex in Orange County. That airport that's coming under local control, and that brand spanking new rail station in Anaheim? Forget it.
Frankly, I can't quibble with the routing of the line (which, for the record, is Las Vegas to Victorville to Palmdale to Los Angeles). If we in the IE really really wanted a high speed rail line to come here, we'd pay for it - and frankly, we weren't even willing to pay for our own airport, trying to get it for free.