Thursday, April 30, 2009

A lost civilization in the Inland Empire

If you've driven on Interstate 15 between Barstow and Baker, you've probably noticed a water amusement park next to the freeway. A large facility, with all sorts of attractions - completely empty. Frankly, I've always wondered why someone built this park out in the middle of nowhere, rather than building it closer to Barstow, or in some populated area.

Like Redlands.

Both the Daily Bulletin and the Inland Empire Crime Blog have run stories about a nuisance abatement complaint that the city of Redlands has filed against Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom. But to me, the news wasn't that the complaint had been filed - the news was that the amusement park itself had been shut down, apparently for some time. Apparently the site has recently been used for all-night dance events, and police have had to deal with drug busts and noise complaints from neighbors.

I nosed around a bit more and found this:

In September 2006, Pharaoh's permanently closed the midway ride park and skycoaster.

Also see this:

Pharaohs is closed for some reason according to their website/ they recently tore down their midway rides. and the 5 star restaraunt casablanca. Now has a nigt club insid called 5150. This parks fate is a mystery.

Although frankly, I find it hard to believe that Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom had a five star restaurant.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Inland Empire Tourism Council

If you perform a Google search for the terms "inland empire" (and exclude the term "movie"), one of the first sites that you'll hit is

Southern California's Inland Empire offers both the vacationer and the conventioneer unparalleled beauty and recreation, history and culture, arts and entertainment, and, of course, shopping. In a sunny Mediterranean climate, Riverside and San Bernardino counties boast rolling hills, forested mountains, broad deserts, open valleys, and cosmopolitan cities.

In other words, the usual half-truths served up by the sunnily positive people. Try using the term "Mediterranean climate" when the temperature tops 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

This site is sponsored by the Inland Empire Tourism Council. They're kind of nooma about who they actually are, though.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A duel in Claremont (it's OK, it's just pianos)

Sid Robinson recently apologized for not doing much blogging, but he did drop this tidbit:

Thank you to everybody who joined us Saturday night at Piano Piano in Claremont. I’d never been to a dueling piano bar, but that was fun stuff. The best part, of course, was that so many people were there to share in the fun. Even Nick Salata, my old college roommate, and his wife Cathy drove out from Pasadena.

I didn't know there was a dueling piano place in Claremont, but if I had paid attention to this December 2008 Claremont Insider post I would have been properly educated:

f you're looking for something different to do, you might want to check out Claremont's new piano lounge, Piano Piano, at Foothill and Indian Hill Blvds. next to the DoubleTree Hotel Claremont....

Piano Piano is open Wednesdays through Saturdays and features dueling electronic pianos.

I couldn't find any reviews in Yelp. Heck, Yelp reviews jails, but they don't review piano bars?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Peter Pan at Bridges Auditorium, Claremont, Saturday April 25

I have been neglectful of one of my main duties as a blogger - namely, to promote things that advance my personal interests.

As long-time readers may know, my family has been actively involved with Theatre Experience of Southern California for the last several years. Therefore, it would be appropriate for me to state that a public performance by the group is coming up.


Talk about last-minute promotion, huh?

This is what Bridges Auditorium said (although they used the old name for TESoCAL):

April 25, 2pm

Children's Theatre Experience will present Peter Pan on Saturday, April 25th at 2pm. For information regarding the school performances, please call (800) 514-2787 or check out the Children's Theatre Experience website. Tickets for the general public are $20 for adults and $18 for children 12 and under. Every patron must have a ticket regardless of age. Tickets will go on sale Monday, March 30th at 10am. Bridges Auditorium box office is open Monday thru Friday from 10AM to 4PM. (909) 621-8032. Tickets are also available through or by phone at (213) 480-3232.

The school performances took place/will take place yesterday and today, and then the public show will take place tomorrow.

Another note for long-time readers, and an additional incentive that may persuade some of you to go - I AM NOT PERFORMING IN THIS PRODUCTION. Due to the timing uncertainties regarding the sale of my division from one company to another, I took a pass on this performance. (Just as well, since this week - rehearsal week - has been fairly busy with several post-sale items.) But there are some very talented people in the ensemble (can I brag about my daughter?), so I guarantee a good time if you can attend tomorrow. Bridges Auditorium is on the Claremont Colleges campus.

View Larger Map

Smogdance 2009 in Pomona

David Allen said some things about Smogdance, so I figured I'd better go to and find out what's going on.

The big news, of course, is that the event will be held at the new (old?) Fox Theater in Pomona. In fact, this will be the first public event at the newly-restored theater.

And they've got a ton of films over the three-day period. Here's what's on tap for Friday:

Pomona Queen (Rodriguez/Animation, 1 min.) - Shameless promo for local brew

Puppets of War (Keller/Animation, 7 min.) - Animation in hyper drive to the lyrics of Offspring

The Constant Process (Hunter/Documentary, 20 min.) - Vision of Community from the perspective of a Gay, Episcopalian, Woman priest

The Re-Bourne Identity (Hendry/Comedy, 7 min.) - Adventures of the lesser known Bourne

Holding Hands (Meyer/Open/Experimental, 15 min.) - Adverse consequences negate a playful prank for an inter-racial couple

Bresson & Adeline (Jarvis/Open/Experimental, 6 min.) - Visual poem of two children who would be

Timmy Wheels (Sandoval/Documentary, 5 min.) - Focus on a ULV student who overcomes his physical challenges

My Brother's Keeper (Richert/Comedy, 16 min.) - Detroit siblings learn the meaning of brotherly love

And that's BEFORE the intermission. See the rest of the Friday schedule, and the Saturday and Sunday schedules, here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Amy's Farm doesn't get height-faluting about gardening

While San Antonio Heights may have a poopy attitude about gardening, they're a little more receptive to the idea in Ontario.

Through its Community Supported Agriculture program, Amy's Farm on Eucalyptus Avenue will deliver freshly picked vegetables starting May 6 to prepaid customers on a weekly basis....

Vegetables, picked just hours earlier, will be delivered during Claremont's Green Market held at the Packing House on Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

More here.

Are you ready for Inland Idol?

I've never really gotten into the whole American Idol thingie, although there are a huge amount of fans at my work. But perhaps this local contest might interest me a bit more.

The last of the auditions in the Inland Idol 2009 competition has been completed, and the field of contestants has been narrowed to 225 young singers.

Inland Idol is an annual solo vocal competition open to Southern Californians ages 7-18.

More here. And according to the Inland Idol website, 2008 finalist Arianna Afsar made it to the top 36 on that more-famous "Idol" show.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dale Brothers Brewery in Upland, California

All Things Upland covers all things, including beer:

There's a brewery in Upland?

Damn right! Dale Bros. Brewery to be exact and you can order up a bottle over at Lamppost Pizza.

If you go to the post, you can see a video. (Best part: the t-shirt that says "As a matter of fact, I do smell like a brewery.")

If you want to see the list of beers they brew (including seasonal beers), go to

I checked the Dale Brothers Brewery customer list and found that Tequila Hoppers is one of their customers. I'll have to remember to try it out the next time I play NTN Buzztime trivia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Buca di Beppo - silencing political discussion in Claremont

There are people that believe that the expression of a diverse range of views is important. Witness this Inquisitr post that states that John Kerry objects to the closure of newspapers because this would have "serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount." The post also includes author Duncan Riley's reply, "Someone needs to send Kerry a laptop with a mobile broadband card, because anyone who has ever been on the internet knows that diversity of opinion and strong debate has never been stronger than at any time in human history."

But this devotion to listening to diverse views isn't shared by at least one business in Claremont, California, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:

An event headlined by Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist on Monday was canceled by the restaurant it was to be held at.

Gilchrist was set to speak at the Buca di Beppo restaurant in Claremont on Monday to the local Republican Club on protecting the Mexican border from illegal immigration....

The restaurant decided Gilcrest's views were not conducive with Buca Di Beppo's family atmosphere....

You will note that I did not refer to this as "censorship," because this was performed by a private party, not the government, and private parties have the right (within limits) to invite or disinvite anyone they choose.

But are limitations of political discussion truly "family-friendly"?

What a difference nine years make:

Thirteen community members representing a wide range of community interests have been appointed to serve on the City of Claremont's Community Dialogue Planning committee. The appointments, which were developed by an ad hoc committee of the City Council, were approved by the full council at its regular meeting last night.

The Dialogue Committee has been established to examine diversity and inclusiveness in Claremont. The primary objective of the committee, as outlined in a charge statement to the committee also approved by the council last night, is to: 1) identify any specific problems related to inclusiveness, and; 2) research and recommend a community dialogue process to address any problems identified.

If this committee were still constituted today, I'm sure that the committee would have a huge uproar over this silencing of political views within the city of Claremont.

Well, I think they'd have a huge uproar.

More tea in the IE

I haven't really examined the tea party movement all that much, other than hearing Bill Handel's comment that attempts of the (neo-conservative) Republicans to claim credit for it are ludicrous. Handel also noted that Obama, to date, has not raised any taxes.

Meanwhile, anti-tax protests continue, in this case motivated by the propositions on the forthcoming California ballot. I haven't really looked at the ballot measures yet, so for now I'll direct you to Matt Munson's post on Proposition 1A and let you know that another event has been scheduled:

Tea Party Street Rally - Ontario
May 18th, 2009, 5-7 p.m.
Milliken and 4th Street intersection

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are Inland Empire housing prices bottoming out?

Last Wednesday, the Press-Enterprise ran a story that discussed the March report on San Bernardino and Riverside County housing prices. Not that they're increasing, but the rate of decline is slowing. Let's all jump for joy:

DataQuick Information Systems...reported the median home price in Riverside County fell to $187,000 in March, and to $150,000 in San Bernardino County. The declines began to decelerate in Inland Southern California in February, leading economists to hope the region might be getting close to bottoming out.

More here.

But on the other hand Housing Kaboom documents the story of a home with an $865,000 price reduction. If all home prices go to $0, the market will bottom out by definition.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Was this Starbucks closure influenced by an indie competitor?

Confession of one of my obsessive activities - for the last several years, I have been keeping notebooks that list places that I visit. Initially I was REALLY obsessive and also recorded lat-long locations, but I dropped that part of the exercise very quickly. For this reason, while I often can't remember your name, I can often remember the address of the place where I met you.

Therefore, when I was scanning this Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article about Starbucks' latest round of store closures (which follows its earlier round of store closures), this location immediately caught my eye:

8880 Foothill Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga

Now I can put that into context by noting that the location is in an Albertson's shopping center, or that "Foothill Blvd." is on the historical pathway of U.S. Route 66. But there's a more significant factoid associated with this location - 8880 Foothill Blvd. is just down the street from 8916 Foothill Blvd.

Which happens to be the location of a place called Coffee Klatch. I talked about Coffee Klatch in a post in my mrontemp blog last year - they were offering free coffee while all the Starbucks, including the one across the street, were closed for barista training.

Is it possible that the 8880 Starbucks closed because enough people chose to get their coffee at a place across the street?

Actually, in this case there's another explanation - because the aforementioned Albertson's has its own Starbucks. Unless you live in Seattle, there's little need to have two Starbucks separated by a one-minute walk.

But I wouldn't be surprised if there are some "slaying the corporate beast" parties at Coffee Klatch.

Incidentally, more information about the Rancho Cucamonga Coffee Klatch can be found at the URL.

Inland Empire locations celebrating Record Store Day this Saturday, April 18

David Allen is talking about Record Store Day this Saturday, and has mentioned four stores that will participate:

  • Rhino Records, Claremont

  • Mad Platter, Riverside

  • Dr. Strange Records, Alta Loma

  • Groovetime Music Brokers, San Bernardino
So what is Record Store Day? Allen links to the official website:

The original idea for Record Store Day was conceived by Chris Brown, and was founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally.

This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Franscisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm sorry, San Antonio Heights, but your reaction to Mary Petit is crappy

Our family has hosted exchange students over the years, and our German exchange student told us of the garden that her family maintains on a tract of land back in Germany.

While this is a natural thing for Europeans to do, and used to be a natural thing to do here in the United States, our continued moves toward antiseptic urbanization make even gardening a controversial issue.

Don't believe me? Look at the story of Mary Petit of San Antonio Heights (north of Upland, California), who only wanted to start a garden. The Daily Bulletin explains:

Petit's community garden is intended to be used by local gardeners and families to grow vegetables, herbs and edible flowers to be donated to families in need.

You'd think that this would bring the community together as they learned something and helped others, but it didn't:

"In my wildest dreams I never expected this type of reaction," Petit said. "I certainly expected questions and concerns and would have addressed them all or at least attempted to address them all."

The residents spoke at Monday evening's City Council meeting, citing concerns about possible increases in wildlife, people, traffic and noise from construction on the property.

Why did the neighbors raise such a big stink about the project? Well, because of the big stink:

The smell of recently dumped manure on the land was mentioned by every resident who spoke.

More here.

OK, I'll be the first to admit that manure isn't the most pleasant smell in the world (especially when concentrated), and when the wind blows toward the north, from the Chino dairy preserve to Ontario, I don't necessarily jump for joy.

But has our society reached the stage where natural animal smells are deemed to be offensive? Apparently that's the case in Upland:

In response, the council agreed to send city officials to the site at 7 a.m. Tuesday to prevent the project from moving forward.

However, I'm forced to admit that this wasn't just a simple little garden patch.

"They put in a big water main and have been doing grading without a grading permit," Mayor John Pomierski said. "You can't do something like that when you have all kinds of people on your property with traffic in and out without a conditional use permit. None of that was applied for."

Still, I hate to think that the official reaction of the city of Upland is that the only place where you can find vegetables is inside buildings such as Vons. What's next - outlawing sports in Upland because of the insurance and safety issues and requiring that sports only be watched on TV?

Don't cry over spilled milk - Stater Bros. selling Santee Dairies

From the Riverside Press-Enterprise:

Stater Bros. Holdings will sell its Santee Dairies Inc. operation to Dean Foods Inc., the nation's largest producer of dairy products, the San Bernardino-based supermarket chain said Monday in a statement.

More here, including the economics of a grocery chain owning a dairy that is trying to sell to other grocery chains. Guess what? It doesn't work.

Why you won't hear about Westland meat packing in Chino any more

This is a follow-up to a story that spread around the country a few months ago.

The Daily Bulletin reports what happened to the Westland meat packing plant after the meat recall:

The Chino meat slaughterhouse that was at the center of the nation's largest meat recall is up and running again, though under new management, a new name, and a whole lot more oversight.

The former Westland/Hallmark plant, on the corner of Yorba and Schaefer Avenues, is now under the ownership of American Beef Packers, Inc., led by two business partners Pat Carrigan and Marvin Roberts, both from Arizona.

The co-owners opened up the plant under their company last November....

Beef Packers knew it had to prove itself apart from Westland as its own company. They did so by establishing extensive training of their employees and hiring a company to analyze 24-hour surveillance video of all the live pen areas of the plant.

After nearly five months in business, Carrigan says the dark cloud left at the plant by the former company is finally lifting.

More here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Inland Empire Makes Stereogum

As you may know, I wrote write the music blog Empoprise-MU, and I often find myself referencing posts in Stereogum. So I was surprised to see "Glass House" mentioned in one of those posts:

Fans turning up to Jenny Lewis's set at the Glass House [April 13] received a special treat. It was not that BF Jonathan Rice came out on stage, because when is he not onstage with her, and it was not that they covered "Love Hurts" together, because they do that a bunch, too....[T]he Glass House hosted sets from Dawes and of course Ms. Lewis, who dedicated "Under The Blacklight" to her friend Blake and charmed her way through forgotten verses on "Rabbit Fur Coat."

The Glass House website is at It is at 200 W 2nd St in Pomona.

View Larger Map

David Allen...front page

OK, so maybe David Allen didn't get a promotion at the Daily Bulletin, but he did recently enjoy a professional accomplishment.

Sunday's column made it above the fold on Page 1, a first for me.

If you haven't seen the article, entitled Arena perk just the ticket for Ontario council. And (although this technically isn't an AP article) in deference to the sensitivities of the owner of Allen's newspaper, I'll just quote four words from the article:

council members

That ought to convey the message. More here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An original movie theater showing...movies

Perhaps you've noticed the Granada Theater in downtown Ontario, which lately has been functioning as a church. But lately, according to the Daily Bulletin, they've been showing movies on Fridays and Saturdays. But they're really pulling out the stops later this month:

The Granada, on April 24, will entirely recreate the experience of coming to a theater in the late 1940s. The night will begin with a swing band performance followed by a re-enactment of a live radio show during that era, [Kurt] Berntsen said. The movie "Hell's Angels" will be shown.

"People love the nostalgia of the '30s and '40s," Berntsen said.

The event will give the community an opportunity to experience what it would have been like, he said.

Berntsen, by the way, is 16 years old. He, building manager Dave Perez, and Ronald Anderson have been sponsoring the movies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

We have met the chicken-keeper, and he is us

OK, perhaps this isn't the image that the local Chambers of Commerce want to promote, but you can find the occasional chicken in this urban area. I've seen them in south Ontario, and Student in Pomona has seen them also:

The other day...I found a chicken walking around my yard. It had actually been walking around quite often in my yard and figured it was a neighbors coming to hang out.

The student, being studious, became curious:

But the other day I decided to chase it around. It had three chicks following it and I wanted to see where it'd go. As it turns out, this chicken and her chicks have been LIVING in my yard without my knowledge!

More here. But I have the perfect club for Student:

Inland Empire Poultry Club
(Riverside, California)

We are a Riverside based Poultry Club. We meet once a month at various places and talk about poultry. This includes egg laying breeds, meat breeds, and pure bred.

Ducks, chickens, and turkeys are raised by our members for the sole enjoyment of having them. Some have been raising poultry for over 40 years. We meet, talk about breeding, feeding, raising, housing, showing, and caring for our beloved fancy. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact us via e-mail and we will send you out a newsletter with the current meeting place in it.

Poultry raising is a rewarding experience. Even if it is for your own personal enjoyment. We are here to help try and educated as well as provide a friendly atmosphere of poultry minded people.

And here is a list of places to avoid:

Welcome to the DiningGuide service for the Ontario - Inland Empire area. Please select one of the listings below for a profile of a place to eat in the "Chicken" category.

You don't want to be the honored guest at a dinner.

Oh, and by the way, Student in Pomona found a rampant case of sexism within Pomona's city limits.

Chickens ARE legal to keep in Pomona BUT Roosters are not.

Man - and I mean man - the barricades for freedom, people! First they came for the roosters...

Friday, April 10, 2009

19th century Christianity in the Inland Empire, a select portion

On this Good Friday, I was curious and wanted to find out about the oldest Christian church in the Inland Empire. I still haven't found it, so I quit and concentrated on the history of a church I knew - the First United Methodist Church in Upland, California. And although it's not the oldest, it's very old indeed:

Early in 1889, a few members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Ontario began a mission fellowship among the residents of North Ontario. By 1897, the community was named Upland, and property was obtained on the corner of Euclid Avenue and "C" Street to build a chapel. That chapel was dedicated in June of 1898, with Rev. Dr. Wright as the first pastor. Rev. W.L. Miller was appointed as pastor at the regular conference in 1899.

The cornerstone of the church was laid on June 9, 1905, when the church had a membership of 188.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Inland Empire Passover Seder tonight

It's not too late. Chabad of the Inland Empire informs us that they have celebrated one Passover Seder, but will celebrate another.

Passover Community Seder
Experience a true taste of freedom.

Seders will be held on:
Wednesday, April 8 at 7:45 PM
Thursday, April 9 at 7:45 PM
at the Upland Hills Country Club
1231 East 16th Street, Upland

Whether you are an old Seder veteran or have never been to one in your life, this Seder is for you. Meet new friends of like souls and minds, in a holiday atmosphere of extended family.

Enjoy, as the story of Exodus comes alive through mystical meanings and kabalistic insights, told and explained through humor and melody by Rabbi Harlig.

Then enjoy a full course sumptuous Seder feast, with all the traditional delicacies, and hand baked “Shmurah” Matzot from Israel.

More here. And for another view of local Chabad activities, see this 2004 post from Inland Empress (no relation).

Challenging trail stuff takes planning

The Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail are preparing for the 2009 Cucamonga Challenge (see my February 14 post). But this takes some planning:

This will be our final planning meeting prior to the 2009 Cucamonga Challenge....

The meeting is at [Lions] Center at 6pm on Tuesday, April 14th...

View Larger Map

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ontario-based company resurrects the biometric grocery store transaction concept

Here's a press release from AllTrust Networks:

AllTrust Networks Provides Biometric Check Cashing Service for Pro’s Ranch Markets

Paycheck Secure Brings Convenience and Security

HERNDON, VA AND ONTARIO, CA – (April 7, 2009) – AllTrust Networks, the leading provider of biometric check cashing solutions, and Pro’s Ranch Markets today announced that Paycheck Secure, a fingerprint check cashing service, is available at all 11 grocery store locations across 4 states in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

Paycheck Secure uses a simple finger scan to authenticate customers' identities in order to cash checks. The check cashing system was first implemented in their Delano, CA store in 2007, to streamline the manual check processes. Now they have an automated check cashing system that enables them to quickly and accurately identify customers and view individuals’ check cashing history in advance of the transaction.

"Paycheck Secure enabled us to more confidently cash checks," said Jeff Provenzano, Vice President of Technology and Advertising at Pro’s Ranch Markets. "The Paycheck Secure check cashing system provided us with the user friendly tools and critical technology we needed to make better informed decisions. The positive customer and employee feedback, combined with the high level of service we receive from AllTrust, made it an easy decision to expand the service to all our stores."

Signing up to cash checks using Paycheck Secure is quick and easy. Customers simply provide a photo ID; two finger scans, and a smile for a digital photograph. Pro’s Ranch shoppers enroll one time, and can then quickly and securely cash checks with a quick finger scan, at any store. This multi-store technology speeds transaction times; and combined with AllTrust’s national negative database allows for better fraud control.

"Paycheck Secure offers a unique way for Pro’s Ranch customers to cash their checks rapidly and securely," said Jon Dorsey, President and CEO, AllTrust Networks. "The service also helps merchants like Pro’s Ranch dramatically reduce fraud by leveraging biometric technology to verify customers’ identities."

About AllTrust Networks

With more than five million registered consumers, AllTrust Networks (formerly BioPay Paycheck Secure) is the most widely used biometric check cashing system in the nation. Thousands of retail locations across 46-states are using the Paycheck Secure® system to quickly, safely, and easily identify customers and process financial transactions. Paycheck Secure system is a complete payroll check cashing solution designed to stop fraud and speed check cashing transactions. With a proven record of preventing losses, the product offers retailers and banks full MSB compliance features as well as embedded Check 21 processing. For more information on AllTrust Networks, visit

About Pro's Ranch Markets

With eleven stores in four states, including five stores in Arizona, four stores in California, one store in Texas, one store in New Mexico, a restaurant, a gas station, an 80,000 square foot corporate office and warehouse in California and a 130,000 square foot warehouse in Phoenix, Pro's Ranch Markets is one of the fastest growing Hispanic Independent Grocery Retailers in the country. For more information on Pro's Ranch Markets, please visit

While Pro's Ranch does not have any locations in the Inland Empire, the company itself is headquartered in Ontario.

View Larger Map

You'll note that I said "resurrect" in the title. It turns out that the use of biometrics in grocery stores was formerly undertaken by Pay By Touch, which no longer exists. See this post by Hutch Carpenter, and this Minneapolis Star Tribune article about John Rogers. I also quoted an excerpt on Pay By Touch in an Ontario Technoblog post in 2005, and I've also discussed Pay By Touch in other forums (noting that there is a difference between the technical issues related to a biometric implementation, and the business issues discussed by the Star Tribune article).

Khottognae - Background on the Temecula shooting

In case you missed it, this story came out over...

Wait a minute, it came out over the AP. Now I could follow my usual practice and link to the story, provide a brief quote, and then link to the story again, but the AP has problems with that practice. So do I just quote five words or whatever their supposed definition of fair use is? OK, I'll try that:

TEMECULA, Calif. (AP) — A gunman

Wow, that provides real context and really encourages me to visit the story, doesn't it?

Ah, forget the AP. Let's go to the Los Angeles Times instead (note that this was the version of the story as of 11:46 pm yesterday:

Four people were shot and at least two hospitalized Tuesday night at a Korean retreat in the hills east of Temecula, and investigators were continuing to search the area for possible additional victims.

Details of the incident were sketchy, but a spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said investigators believe a suspected gunman may be among the injured.

More here. And if you dig down a bit, the Times provides more details on the group and the compound:

The Kkottongnae Retreat Camp, run by the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus, is in the 38700 block of Highway 79. Kkottongae means “flower village” in Korean and is a Christian social service organization founded in Korea. It offers help to orphans and the homeless and expanded to Los Angeles County in the late 1990s. It has branches in Lynwood, the Temecula area, Atlanta and New Jersey, according to its website.

Well, I found the group's website - - and read a little bit about them. And if you want to find out about them, you have to find out about Choi Gwi Dong:

Choi Gwi Dong was born to a rich family in Geumwang, Eumseong County in Chungbuk province. The Japanese colonialists had then conscripted him to work in Japan . Later after being tortured during the time of the war he returned from the battlefield to find his home destroyed and his family gone. At the same time he was ill and penniless.

This miserable situation led him to live with other beggars who were living under a bridge by the Moogeuk River.

From that time, for more that 40 years, he fed and looked after those other beggars who did not even have the strength to beg for food.

In 1986, Choi Gwi Dong was awarded the Grand Prize of the Korean Catholic Church. He was praised as "a little Jesus." His response was to give the prize money of the award, 1,200,000 Korean Won to Flower Village, in order to build a house for the homeless who were dying on the streets.

This generous gift was the motivation for building a sanatorium for the elderly that eventually cost around 120,000,000 Korean Won.

While Choi Gwi Dong provided the financial backing, the spiritual leader was Fr. Oh Woong Jin:

Having firmly decided to dedicate his life to the poor, Fr. Oh was ordained to the Catholic priesthood on 3rd May, 1976

His initial appointment as a priest was to be in charge of Moogeuk parish in Geumwang Eup, Eumseong Gun, Chungcheongbuk-do.

One day he decided to follow a beggar, who in fact was Mr. Choi Gwi Dong, who was passing the parish church. He discovered that the beggar was feeding other weak beggars in their sordid hut in Mt. Yong-dam, with the food that he had been begging for during the day.

Fr. Oh could not sleep that night but stayed awake realizing in the midst of his prayers that "It is a gift of God's grace if one only has enough strength to beg for food."

The next day, Fr Oh purchased some bags of cement with all the money he had in his pocket, 1300 Korean Won, and started building a house called "House of Love" which had five rooms, with five kitchens.

Eighteen of the beggars who lived under a bridge over Moogeuk river were eventually welcomed and came to live in the newly-built house in 1976.

As a result of this story of the priest and the beggars spreading to every corner of Korea, many people wanted to help the community. At the same time the number of new beggars coming to Flower Village increased. In addition, some young people who came to help the community even wanted to live permanently for the people in Flower Village.

Consequently, since more houses and facilities were needed for accommodating "those who did not even have the strength to beg for food" and a support group was established whose members donated at least 1000 Korean Won an every month to help Flower Village . This was followed by the founding of the religious congregations of brothers and sisters of Kkottongnae - Flower Village.

A committee of priests in Cheongju diocese officially ratified the foundation of Flower Village in 29, September 1980.

Starting on Easter Sunday in 1981, the community began to recruit members of flower village nationally.

And, eventually, internationally:

American Sacred Heart House for the Elderly

A sister was sent to Los Angeles 29 August 1998, and opened Flower Village in America with the permission of Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles Archdiocese on 12 May, 1999 Flower Village established in America. After the establishment of Lynwood, Temecula, New Jersey and currently Atlanta have also been opened.

And according to this 2006 entry from Jessi, the facility serves more than just the elderly:

Hey everyone. I hope you guys are all doing great. I can't wait till the conference. I haven't been to Korea for years I am looking forward to it. I am really looking forward to this conference. Currently I'm working on planning a bible camp here at Kkottongnae in Temecula. It is schedule on the 22nd of June so it is right before my trip to Korea. We have chosen the theme "Promises of God." Please pray for all the counselors, volunteers, and most of all the kids that will attend this camp. I looking forward to meeting everyone in July. May god always bless you, Jessica Lee

Inland Empire Cold Fusion User Group April Meeting

Or, if you prefer, the IECFUG. However you refer to them, they're meeting:

Next Thursday, April 8th, is the date of our next meeting, and the topic this time around will be an overview of the Sava content management system.

Sava is a free, open source CMS for ColdFusion created and supported by Blue River Interactive Group, and we are fortunate to have two of the partners of Blue River, Sean Schroeder and Matt Levine, as our presenters this month:

Go to the post and follow the link at the end to RSVP...unless you want to pay for your own parking at Cal Poly Pomona.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Let me reinforce an Inland Empire stereotype

For the benefit of people who happen to come across this feed, the Inland Empire of California is an area east of Los Angeles that is roughly coterminous with the old 909 area code (now split into the 909 and 951 area codes). And if you listen to the radio or watch television or listen to music (Chino is an Inland Empire city), you probably know that the Inland Empire is not exactly the place where trendy people aspire to dwell.

Yup, we have a bit of a reputation.

Now when South Central (Los Angeles) got a bit of a reputation, they decided to change their name to something else. It didn't work.

And even if the Inland Empire were to change its name ("Desert Gateway," anyone?), we'd still have to overcome the stereotypes about this area.

And it doesn't help that they're sometimes true:

Sheriff's deputies were at the residence in the 11500 Oakwood Drive about 9:20 a.m. Sunday to serve a felony warrant on Arturo Gaona, 37, who was found sleeping in his bedroom.

During a consent search of an upstairs bedroom, Sheriff's deputies discovered a full-scale clandestine methamphetamine lab....

More here.

Gee, a meth lab in the Inland Empire - who would have imagined it?

The complete police press release can be found here.

When an April Fool is not so foolish

The funny thing about fantastic April Fool's stories is that they sometimes become real.

I'll give you one example (I could give you two, but I can't). Back on April 1, the Claremont Insider ran a fake story that claimed that Bridget Healy had been named to the Board of Directors of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce. Here's an excerpt (hint: the Claremont Insider doesn't like Healy):

Failed City Council candidate Bridget Healy, who really hasn't lived in Claremont for four years, and who doesn't own or operate a business in town, has been nominated to the Board of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce. "Why not?" quipped Chamber president Barbara Jefferson, a middle manager at the Claremont University Consortium, "Heckfire, I'm not a business person, and David Cash, CUSD superintendent, certainly isn't. Nor is Ann Joslin of the Botanic Garden. Sometimes these real business people get kooky ideas like a Transient Occupancy Tax isn't for them, or maybe the crazy thought that the Village shouldn't have a 'Business Improvement District'. That's why we need Bridget: to keep these folks out of the leadership positions and toeing the Claremont Chamber Party Line."

Two days later, the Claremont Insider discovered that some of it was true:

Arrives now in the mail the April 2009 number of the Chamber newsletter, Business News, and right there on the front page is the notice of "Nominating Committees [sic] Recommendations for Board Members". Down towards the bottom of the first column is the following:

At the meeting in February the Board voted to increase its size to 20 members. The nominating committee suggested:

Ira Jackson, Drucker School of Business Management for a 3 year term expiring in 2012

Jeremy Cooper, Pay-Pro Services for a 2 year term expiring in 2011

Bridget Healy, Consultant for a 1 year term expiring in 2010

Oh boy.

What's Mike Brossard doing today?

Monday, April 6, 2009

When a Chamber of Commerce has problems of its own

Chambers of Commerce promote business - well, they're supposed to promote business. But what happens when the Chamber of Commerce itself is hurting?

In the nine months since the Ontario Chamber of Commerce made cost-cutting measures that included eliminating its president/CEO position, little has been said by the chamber's board about its future plans....

In June, Mark Smiley, who led the Ontario chamber for three years, quietly left.

Soon after, the board announced the six-person staff had been reduced as a cost-cutting measure.

The problem, of course, is that businesses are not renewing their memberships, which leads to a decrease in Chamber income. So the Chamber cut staff, and did other things:

Recently, the board decided to discontinue the printing of its business journal and make it online-based, he said. The move saves the chamber printing costs.

At the same time, the chamber has revamped its Web site to use "as an avenue and vehicle to promote events."...

Judge for yourself. Go to

Friday, April 3, 2009

Carlos Herrera and family have to tread very carefully in Rancho Cucamonga

You remember Carlos Herrera, the guy who did not play nicely with his neighbors in Rancho Cucamonga. As I previously noted, this guy and his family and friends would give death threats to neighbors, broke three ribs on one neighbor, race a car within inches of other neighbors, shatter the windows and slash the tires of a neighbor, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Normally, your neighborhood watch group doesn't have to watch people IN your neighborhood. The police were called, Herrera was arrested, restraining orders were filed against him, but nothing seemed to stop him and the others from threatening the community.

Well, last October, an administrative order barred Herrera, girlfriend Jennifer Mason, and other family members/friends of the couple not to

...intimidate neighbors, vandalize property, trespass, block access to public streets and sidewalks, or possess guns or other deadly weapons.

Herrera and Mason appealed the decision, and the Rancho Cucamonga City Council unanimously rejected the appeal.

Herrera and Mason have moved away, but mediator Glenn Gottlieb put a condition on their return to Rancho Cucamonga:

Gottlieb also ordered Herrera and Mason - who now live in St. George, Utah - to give the city at least five days' notice before crossing Rancho Cucamonga city limits.

And the City Attorney is prepared to take action if they violate the administrative order:

City Attorney Jim Markman said in an interview Thursday that if Herrera or other people subject to the administrative action disobey its orders, the city could pursue legal action resulting in fines or jail time for Herrera or other potential violators.

Well, the problem's theoretically solved. But I wonder what it's like in St. George, Utah these days.

Ivory Webb Jr. revisited - and no, it's not double jeopardy

Remember Ivory Webb Jr., the cop who was arrested for excessive use of force but was later acquitted? Well, he's still fighting the case on the civil end:

A federal judge has rejected a motion to dismiss former San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy Ivory Webb as a defendant in the civil case brought by Airman Elio Carrion against Webb and the county.

Carrion was unarmed and lying on his back when Webb shot him three times in January 2006 following a high-speed chase that ended in Chino.

Oddly enough, it was Carrion's attorneys that wanted to dismiss Webb from the case:

Carrion's attorneys moved to dismiss Webb from the civil case in January because Webb, who was fired from his position at the sheriff's department following the incident, declared bankruptcy last year.

If this would have happened, then San Bernardino County would have been the sole party on the opposing end of the case. And they didn't like that:

Attorneys for San Bernardino County opposed Carrion's motion on the grounds that Webb's bankruptcy does not necessitate his removal from the case.

The county also argued that Webb must remain on the case because he must be available to testify or give a deposition about his sheriff's department training.

You see, it's all about the money, which is why bringing the same incident up in both criminal and civil court does not constitutionally constitute double jeopardy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Don't run afoul of the business license folks

I had some European houseguests a couple of days ago, and they expressed a desire to go to Sizzler. (Hey, I was up for it.) Several Sizzlers in my area have closed, but the one at Mountain and Philadelphia in Ontario is still open. When I got there, I couldn't help but notice that their alcoholic beverage license had been suspended for violating the law with regard to the sale of alcoholic beverages. Presumably, Sizzler had been caught selling booze to underage people. While our party survived (the majority of us were under the age of 21 anyway), having big "suspended" signs all over the place probably doesn't do wonders for your business.

Especially if your business is a bar:

The Chronic Cantina sports bar may have a lot to prove to city officials in order to stay in business.

The Planning Commission last week approved a resolution to revoke the business' conditional use permit. The action may force the bar to close its doors.

In this case, however, it isn't a case of selling booze to 20 year olds. No, not quite:

There have been more than 70 police service calls since the Chronic Cantina opened in January 2008, with more than 25 people being arrested, according to the commission report.

The activities include two attempted murders, two carjackings, three felonious assaults, 14 other types of assaults, one discharging a firearm, four auto thefts, four vehicle burglaries, five thefts, three driving under the influence, five public intoxications and 33 disturbances.

Interestingly enough, things like attempted murder may not be the items that caused the Planning Commission to act.

A meeting was held in December between the owners of Chronic Cantina and city officials to discuss the crime issues, litter, posting of unpermitted advertising posters, weeds, as well as missing landscape, lack of parking lot striping and an unpermitted temporary sign....

You can try to kill anyone you want, but if you put up an unauthorized poster, we're gonna nail you...

I haven't been to the new King Taco, but Matt Munson has

If you've driven down Interstate 10 near Fairplex, you've seen the advertisements for the new King Taco that is opening in Ontario.

Well, it opened on March 30...and lines have been out the door, almost as long as the Denny's lines when they gave away free food after the Super Bowl.

I'm not a crowds person, so I'm avoiding the place until the hoopla dies down. But Matt Munson didn't:

The menu of King Taco is simple, we got no frills nachos that you can easily get at a movie theater or 7-11, burritos that are basically overpriced for what you pay for them, tacos that are not like the ones you see at Americanized Mexican fast food restaurants where you would need to order 2 or 3 to get satisfied.

Matt only gave the place a 3 out of 5. If you'd like to try the place, it's at Mountain & D.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Follow-up on the Empoprise-IE April Fool's post

No, no, no.

When I posted David Allen named Senior Editor of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, I was kidding. I think. Mike Brossart is still at the helm.

Ironically, Allen himself may not see my post, because he is on vacation. (Yes, a paid vacation.)

I'll be off all this week on a road trip to Arizona. (Road trip!!) Unless my motel has a computer room, which it probably won't, I'm unlikely to have Internet access, so don't freak out if your comments don't get posted for a few days.

He subsequently noted that his motel did have a computer room, but hey...he's on vacation.

Incidentally, I've searched for local April Foolishness, but haven't found any yet. If you know of something, share it in the comments.

David Allen named Senior Editor of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

I've previously blogged about David Allen.

I've previously blogged about his employer, the Los Angeles Newspaper Group (part of MediaNews Group).

Now I get to blog about both of them together, because MediaNews Group announced that, effective today - April 1, 2009 - David Allen will take charge of one of its properties, having been named Senior Editor of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Allen replaces Mike Brossart, who was named to this position a year ago. Brossart has accepted a new position that has not been identified at this time, but reading between the lines, it has something to do with Internet television.

Now I'm sure that some people wonder why David "show us the funny" Allen would be named to head the paper. However, it should be noted that Allen doesn't just write his column, but also does some general reporting for the paper.

Still, I suspect that things might change a little bit, based upon the press release.

April 1, 2009


David Allen Named Senior Editor of Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

DENVER, CO....David Allen, popular columnist at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA), today was named Senior Editor at the newspaper.

Allen replaces Mike Brossart, who has been named Executive Vice President of Broadband Properties for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

"I've been watching David Allen for a long time," said MediaNews Group Chairman Dean Singleton. "I believe that Allen possesses the unique combination of skills to bring the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin into the 21st century. As a columnist and blogger with a focus on local events, David can reposition our paper to provide the type of local coverage that the national online services couldn't dream of delivering."

Allen himself stated, "I look forward to the challenges ahead, and believe that a greater emphasis on local restaurants and City Council meetings will help distinguish us from the pack. The goings-on at City Council meetings, if reported properly, will cause people to abandon TV reality shows and read the paper."

Allen assumes his duties immediately today, April 1, 2009.


And it looks like the Daily Bulletin has already modified its website to reflect the change.