Friday, July 31, 2009

Go to the museum!

It's free on Sunday.

Admission to the San Bernardino County Museum will be free on Sunday, August 2, 2009 from 9am to 5pm. Visitors will enjoy special exhibits along with displays of specimens and artifacts that interpret local history, anthropology, geology, paleontology, and biological sciences in regional context. Free admission is sponsored by San Bernardino County's Second District.

Read the full release here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Changing priorities in California

Technically this is a state issue rather than a local Inland Empire issue, but considering that the state is more than likely going to balance its budget on the backs of the cities, the discussion is valid.

Sid's Side usually talks about (in Sid's words) "a light-hearted view of sports, family and friends, the community and some of my life experiences." But the state budgetary problems are affecting everyone, as Sid said in this post:

...forgive me while I get sidetracked by real life.

After discussing recent fee increases at California State University, Sid shares this observation:

What’s happening is that the financial responsibility for public colleges and universities is falling more and more on the true users of the product, rather than on the general state population as a whole. This is actually more in line with what happens in other states, and not necessarily a bad thing, but is a contradiction to the California Master Plan for Higher Education, a 1960 roadmap for the state’s three college systems – the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges – to guarantee any qualified California resident who wanted a college education the opportunity to receive one. But in the past 49 years, it seems the CSU has gone from state-supported to state-assisted to now just being state-located, and that guarantee is becoming harder to promise. Access to higher education is more difficult. It’s not to the point where public universities are being privatized, but with fewer state funds from taxpayers, college students have to cover a larger slice of the pie. Geez, is it really that long ago that state university fees were around $75 a quarter when I was a student at Cal Poly Pomona? Nah, 30 years isn’t really that long ago.

This is actually related to an issue that I explored in my Reed College undergraduate thesis, which examined the efficiency and equity of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965. And it boils down to a question that affects every good or service that a government provides - is it better for the government to specifically charge users of the good or service in question, or are the benefits to society at large such that the costs should be allocated among a greater portion of the citizens?

Now we're never going to go to a completely "pay as you go" scheme, where you have to provide a credit card when reporting a burglary at your house, but it's easier to balance a budget by raising fees to service users than it is to raise taxes for everyone.

Whether this results in businesses saying, "I'm not going to go to California. They don't have educated workers" is open to question.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oppose Traffic Calming in BERKELEY California?

Dave Winer raised the following question (courtesy Mark Haas) on Scripting News:

Do Berkeley's infamous speed bumps, traffic diverters and other traffic-related policies, like politically-motivated, too-low speed limits raise the city's carbon footprint?

Now perhaps the good citizens of my hometown of Ontario are less concerned about carbon footprint - let's face it, the Ontario Mountain Village Association wants people to drive all the way to Chino to shop, which certainly increases the carbon footprint - but it's an interesting argument.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Award announced - Most Valuable Member at Inland Empire .NET User's Group

I apologize to getting to this late, but it's still newsworthy.

The Inland Empire .NET User's Group held its second annual Most Valuable Member event.

You'll recall that I blogged about the first annual event last year, in which Volkan Uzun was selected.

This year's recipient? Volkan Uzun, who outpolled Matt Penner and Dennis Palmer for the MVM award. But I'm sure they're all valuable.

More here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

People are peaceniks until jobs are lost

California has a reputation as the land of fruits, nuts, and flakes, so you'd think that Californians would be cheering the demobilization that occurred after the end of the Cold War.

Not exactly. Politicians are so addicted to keeping money in their districts that they not only opposed the post Cold War cuts, but they have (in the past and today) opposed the military on several projects - the military wants to cancel them, the politicians want to keep them going.

But there are times when there is a happy medium and everyone can agree to spend military money. Such is the case in Barstow - a town which, in addition to being the site of the Barstow Station, is also a town surrounded by several military facilities.

You see, there are jobs to be had:

The Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow is seeking to hire 400 to 600 welders, mechanics and painters to fix up ground combat equipment that has been in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Robert Jackson, base public affairs officer....

Depending on the applicant's skill level, pay can range from $17 an hour to $30 an hour for the jobs that include electronic equipment repair, machinist and upholstery work, Jackson said.

Of course this raises the question - why hire outsiders? Why not have Marines do the work? Well, the Marines are needed to USE the ground combat equipment, so they need to get civilians to repair it.

I assume that any anti-war protesters in Barstow will not be treated kindly. They probably can't afford the gas to get out there anyway.

Friday, July 24, 2009

CSI San Bernardino - the real thing

I previously wrote about CSI work. Remember that the real CSIs don't get commercial breaks. Here's an excerpt from a report of recent coroner cases:

# Coroner case #700904544 — On July 10, 2009, at approximately 2:45 pm, Darrell Dykes, a 46 year old resident of Carlsbad, was driving a 2001 tan Chevrolet Silverado which left the roadway at a large asphalt turnout on State Route 18 at the 4000 foot altitude marker. When the Chevrolet reached the highway below, the vehicle impacted onto the northbound #2 lane of State Route 18. The driver was declared deceased at the scene by U.S. Forestry personnel at 3:11 PM. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident. [071309 0826 SY]

More here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Three Inland Empire business Twitter accounts

These businesses subscribed to me recently:
(Website: coming soon)

So you can have a burger and a cupcake, then do it in a teepee.

And yes, I wrote about the Wigwam Motel in June.

Why Claremont is so cool

It's tough. You want to keep your home habitable, but if you're at home during the middle of the day, and you're in the middle of a heat wave, it's tough. You turn the air on and you have to auction off your firstborn to pay the electric bill. Or you leave the air off and swelter.

In Claremont, there is another alternative:

If you need to get away from the hot temperatures we are facing, and even hotter ones in the next several weeks, you are in luck! Claremont's Human Services Department is setting up cooling centers immediately. Heck, they will even extend the service for a couple of hours longer if the temps exceed 100 for 2 days!

This is available at several locations:

* Hughes Community Center 1700 Danbury Road
* Joslyn Center, 660 North Mountain Avenue
* Blaisdell Center, 440 South College Avenue
* Claremont Library, 208 Harvard Avenue
* Youth Activity Center (YAC), 1717 North Indian Hill Blvd.
* Tracks Activity Center (TAC), El Roble 665 North Mountain Avenue
* Wading Pools (Memorial Park, Wheeler Park, El Barrio Park)

More info here at Original Skrip.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another way to use cash

I missed this the first time around, but obviously Josh Dulaney didn't:

A Carson woman who tried to use a phony $100 bill at a Fontana store Wednesday knew arrest was going to be a tough pill to swallow.

But trying to eat the counterfeit currency to avoid being put behind bars proved to be just as difficult.

Apparently she didn't swallow the bill quickly enough.

I'd love to see how the defense attorney gets around this one. While defendants have a presumption of innocence, one doubt that someone would have a valid reason to swallow a $100 bill.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fontana Arts Festival

A Fontana Arts Festival is coming up!

The public is invited to "An Evening of Art and Music" at the first Fontana Arts Festival on July 23, at the Miller Park Amphitheater, 17004 Arrow Blvd. The free event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

More here.

New hotel in Rancho Cucamonga

Inland Empire News recently ran a piece on a new hotel on Foothill Boulevard in Rancho Cucamonga. No teepees, but it does have some amenities:

Families will enjoy comfortable accommodations; in-room refrigerators and coffee makers; outdoor heated swimming pool; on-site restaurant; shopping and entertainment at nearby Victoria Gardens; and a 100% smoke-free environment. Business travelers will also appreciate free high-speed Internet; shuttle service from LA/Ontario International Airport; and on-site meeting facilities.

More here. The one that caught my attention was the free Internet. One oddity is that you usually find free Internet at the cheap family hotels, since the expensive business hotels figure business travelers will pay for Internet. Guess this is changing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CSI San Bernardino - no, not a TV show, a museum piece

I work in the biometrics industry, and my employer actually provides tools used by crime scene investigators - although said tools aren't quite as sexy as the TV shows make them out to be.

If you want to learn what CSI work is really like, go to the San Bernardino County Museum on Wednesday, July 22, at 7:30 pm.

How much of what you see about forensics on television is good science and how much is just entertainment? David Van Norman, a San Bernardino County Deputy Coroner Investigator and Unidentified-Missing Person Coordinator, will compare what we see on TV with reality in his lecture, “CSI San Bernardino: Myth vs Reality,” at the San Bernardino County Museum on Wednesday, July 22 at 7:30pm. This guest lecture is free to the public.

More here. Presumably this is not for people with sensitive stomachs.

The spray from the spray enforcement

Whenever you use someone to catch someone else in a crime, there's always the accusation of entrapment that can be floated. When the person you are using is a minor, things are potentially more troubling. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department was sensitive to the latter item in this recent press release:

As a result of numerous and ongoing complaints regarding graffiti, deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Jurupa Valley Station in conjunction with County Code Enforcement Officers conducted directed enforcement targeting locations that sell spray paint.

A minor under the age of 18 years old was sent into various locations throughout the Jurupa Valley area, under constant supervision...

Note the "under constant supervision" part. Let's continue.

to purchase spray paint. If the cashier sold the spray paint to the minor, they were issued a citation for selling spray paint to a minor.

But wait - there's more! Because if someone has committed one crime, then they most likely have committed others.

After the decoy left the premises, County Code Enforcement Officers entered the location to look for other violations regarding the proper storage of the paint and signs indicating the minimum age of 18 years to purchase paint. If the location selling the items was in violation, the business was cited for the violation(s).

Now some believe that this is an entirely proper thing to do, which reminds me of a Mike Royko story that I read years and years ago. When Royko wrote about civil liberties and privacy, he got a call from a person who said that criminals had no right to privacy. Royko, claiming that he needed to document information on people who called in with opinions, asked the caller for identification information, and continued to ask more personal information until the person objected.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Inland Empire banks seized, including Vineyard National Bank

The Press Enterprise ran this story:

Two long-struggling Inland banks -- Vineyard National Bank and Temecula Valley Bank -- were seized and closed late Friday by state and federal regulators.

Complete details here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another FriendFeed user in the Inland Empire

I'm used to running across Twitter users in the Inland Empire, but FriendFeed is a less popular service so I don't see a lot of FriendFeed IE'ers.

However, I've recently run across one -

Check him (Richard Bangert) out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The small grocers burrow along

In my Empoprise-BI business blog, I recently wrote about how stores tend to grow bigger, so that markets become supermarkets and supermarkets become warehouses. As the smaller real estate spaces open us, various stores move in to fill the gaps, thus creating smaller markets that will compete with the big boys.

Two recent stories illustrate this trend.

The competitive Inland grocery scene gets another player [July 10] when Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market opens its first Inland store in Riverside.

Now I have a different perspective than the Riverside folks, and am therefore well aware that Sprouts has a store in Claremont. also ran a story about a new distribution center in Fontana:

Trader Joe's has bought a 574,000-square-foot distribution center in Fontana and will eventually use it to supply its Southern California grocery locations....

Why expand? The Sprouts story indicates why:

The company in the past two years has gradually been building its Southern California presence, in many locations taking advantage of slumping commercial real estate prices.

If you have the money to expand and maintain, now's the time to establish your presence.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


You don't have to go to a casino, or even a church, to play Bingo. You can go to the Upland Women's Club:

The Upland Women's Club Evening Section is hosting their 10th Annual Bingo Party from Noon to 4 p.m. August 2 at the clubhouse, 590 N. Second Ave. in Upland.

More here. Sorry, no free cocktails.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some parts of which still exist today

I've been reading David Allen's blog posts on mid-20th century Upland (sourced from Shelby Garrett), but I didn't find anything recognizable until I got to the second post. I actually used to live a quarter-mile away from Foothill and Campus, but none of the places described in the first post appear to have been in existence by the time I moved there in the mid-1980s.

But I did see glimmers of things that I recognized in the second post.

Over on Foothill at Fifth Avenue was Booth's Market on the SE corner....

There is still a market on that corner today, presumably the same one.

On the north side of Foothill from Third Avenue on over to Euclid there was nothing but orange groves. On the south side were groves too, from Second Avenue west to Euclid, until Bob & Dave's Chevron Station went in on the SW corner of Second and Foothill.

The name had changed by the mid 1980s, but there was still a Chevron Station at Second and Foothill, called by that time Mike Adam Chevron. I actually used Mike Adam Chevron for some of my car repair needs, as well as for gas, but eventually it closed and was replaced by the Baker's fast food place.

However, most of the places that Allen mentioned either had disappeared or were very well disguised, such as today's Pep Boys.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Well, that's a relief

As we turn over tea leaves to figure out whether the local economy will go up or down, we'll turn to anything. The Press-Enterprise noted this:

In a country searching for any signal it can find indicating the economy may be on the mend, there are more than a few eyes on the offices that recruit and supply temporary workers.

Temp agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties say business seems to be picking up slightly, and at least it isn't getting worse.

Not getting worse? That's a relief.

Actually, there's a reason to look at this segment of the economy:

Employers who believe business is picking up are likely to bring temporary workers on board while they wait for solid evidence that the demand for more production will be steady....

As the country emerges from the recession, it needs to look for three solid months of orders for new temp workers, according to American Staffing Association....

So watch your temp agencies!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Empoprise-IE News - 12 July 2009

Empoprise-IE News

The news letter for Empoprise-IE - An Empoprises vertical information service for Inland Empire (California) news.

Welcome to Empoprise-IE News

Even if I don't call myself the Ontario Emperor all that much any more, the Inland Empire still needs blog coverage, and I'm happy to provide it.

Behind the Scenes

Remember the Ontario July 4 parade that I attended, during which I took umpteen million pictures? Well, the picture that I failed to take was of one of my in-laws, who was on one of the floats in the parade. I didn't learn this until several days later.

Special Features

I don't really have anything for this slot of the newsletter, so I'll take the opportunity to remind you about Operation Light Exchange at Montclair Plaza on July 18 and 19, something I previously mentioned. Since at least one of our lamps no longer works (but has a plug), we'll definitely be taking advantage of this.


Back on June 22 I wrote a post about various grocery and other chains. Although the post concentrated on the Inland Empire, it was placed in my Empoprise-BI business blog. Well, I've written a follow-up, and the follow-up will appear in the Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog. Enjoy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We have a stereotype to uphold!

I sometimes wonder what outsiders think of the 909. We have a prison, we have endless tract housing, we don't have anything remotely cool, and we have meth labs. Well, to satisfy the outside world, I present evidence of the latter:

On Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 11:40 a.m. Deputies from the Multi Enforcement Team (MET) conducted a follow-up investigation reference a recent burglary and drug activity. Deputies made contact with Salvador Rodriguez Cabrera at his residence and he allowed deputies to walk through his residence. In plain view deputies found approximately 22 grams of methamphetamine and a digital scale. Cabrera also had over $500 in several denominations consistent with drug sales. Deputies booked into evidence the drugs, money and digital scale.

And if he ends up in prison in Chino, perhaps Cabrera can become a rapper.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We are civilized here.

Word comes from M-M-M-My Pomona, via this blog post, about a fundraiser for the Historical Society of the Pomona Valley. And no, they're not going to do something futuristic - they're a historical society.

On Sunday, July 12 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, The Historical Society of the Pomona Valley presents a Victorian Ice Cream Social fundraiser at the historic Phillips Mansion, 2640 Pomona Boulevard (near Temple).

More at M-M-M-My Pomona, and at Mass Historia.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Free outdoor concerts in Rancho Cucamonga

RC Now announced that a series of free outdoor concerts will be held at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center (don't laugh, Inland Empress) beginning on Wednesday, July 8.

Afro-Brazilian group Batuqueiros will perform on July 8.

West African Highlife Band will perform July 15.

Drummers from Taikoproject will perform July 22.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Operation Light Exchange (from SCE) at Montclair Plaza July 18-19

H/T my father in law, who encouraged me to visit Excerpts:

Operation Light Exchange is an energy efficiency program that allows residential customers of Southern California Edison to exchange inefficient halogen and incandescent light fixtures for new, Energy Star labeled lamps....

Bring up to 10 plug-in lamp fixtures per exchange. Lamp fixtures do not have to be working but they must have a wall plug cord still attached....

We will accept the following fixtures for exchange: Halogen Torchiere Floor Lamps, Incandescent Table Lamps and Incandescent Desk Lamps. We cannot accept any fluorescent lamps of any kind.

And, as you've probably guessed, you get a fluorescent lamp in exchange. Available lamps are shown here.

Similar events have previously taken place in the City of Industry and Long Beach. Presumably they edit the website before each event, so if you're reading this blog post in 2010 and go to the website, it presumably won't refer to Montclair.

But then again, maybe things will to Montclair again by that time.

Super shuffle at Ontario International Airport

Ontario International Airport has revenue problems, and they're choosing some interesting ways to fix them. As I've previously discussed, the airport has raised the fees that it charges to airlines. As a result, airlines are reluctant to use the airport at all.

Now, in another cost-saving move, it's trying to save costs that it has to spend on shuttle coordinators - people that help get passengers to a shuttle service. So here's what the airport did:

Starting [July 1], the airport will require shuttle companies to have at least 15 shuttles in their fleet, pay the airport $50,000 up front and pay for their own shuttle coordinator to arrange for curbside pickups and shuttles in the holding lots....

Before [July 1], the airport had spent $600,000 annually to pay for shuttle coordinators stationed at terminal curbs and in a holding lot. Now the airport won't pay anything to coordinate the shuttles, and it will add at least $50,000 per shuttle company to the airport's revenue. Once a shuttle company makes 10,000 trips, they'll need to pay a $5 fee per pickup.

You know, this sounds like a wonderful way for the airport to pick up revenue. What could go wrong?

Well, what if only one shuttle service qualified?

So far Super Shuttle is the only company to qualify, leaving four others who have operated at the airport for several years to either combine forces or look elsewhere for shuttle work....

George Abugattas said he started Apollo Shuttle eight years ago in the Inland region after driving for Super Shuttle for 12 years. About 70 percent of his business is from Ontario Airport travelers. The rest is spent picking up or dropping off passengers to John Wayne Airport or LAX. He said he's preferred Ontario because there were only six companies vying for business. Now, he says, he's not sure what he'll do.

"I don't know how long I'm going to be in business," he said.

Abugattas uses 10 vans at Ontario airport, employing about 25 drivers. Discount Shuttles has five vans, New Express Transportation has three and Go Fly Shuttle has two.

So what do the new regulations mean economically?

Before, it cost each company about $3,000 per van in fees paid to the airport for pickups. Adding the $50,000 up front fee, plus the estimated cost to hire a coordinator for about $250,000 (Super Shuttle has said they would pay half if that happened), Abugattas said he and other owners would face costs of $14,000 per van.

In that case, "we go out of business within a week or so," he said.

So, let's see...fewer airlines are flying into the airport, fewer shuttles are going to the airport...what's next? I predict that an increase in parking fees is on its way.

Oh, and for the record, when I recently flew to Atlantic City, I went via LAX. There were no flights from Ontario to Atlantic City. And how did I get to LAX? Super Shuttle.

Monday, July 6, 2009

IECFUG meeters, stay tuned!

The Inland Empire Cold Fusion User Group is meeting as usual in July, or perhaps not quite as usual:

At this point we are intending to hold the meeting next Thursday, July 9th, at the regular time of 7:00 pm. It is possible that this may change, as our sponsor at Cal Poly will be on vacation, so we are currently trying to nail down the details of when a substitute will be available. For the same reason, the room location for the meeting is still undecided -- we will post the final details once they are available.

Details on the meeting are here. Stay tuned to for updates.

Whatever happened to Sarah Le Clear?

A recent story reminded me of something that I was discussing in this blog last summer. First, the story:

A resident who lives near Kenyon and Milliken e-mailed me about a recent coyote sighting. The frightening thing was that the coyote had an animal, either a cat or a dog, in its mouth.

This month, my boss, Joe Blackstock, was interviewed by Animal Planet for a series on wild animals in urban/suburban areas. Blackstock, an Upland resident, lost his cat to a hungry coyote last year.

It seems that residents, whether they're walking on the PE trail or going for a Starbucks run, are coming across coyotes more often.

But speaking of coming across coyotes...whatever happened to Rancho Cucamongan Sarah Le Clear? You'll recall that Le Clear was the winner of the televised search for someone to join the Traveling Coyotes. Only thing is, she never joined the Coyotes. Last I heard, she was on a cruise ship.

Not that she's necessarily missed anything by not joining the Traveling Coyotes. The Coyotes' blog hasn't been updated since last August.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Empoprise-IE News - 5 July 2009

Empoprise-IE News

The news letter for Empoprise-IE - An Empoprises vertical information service for Inland Empire (California) news.

Welcome to Empoprise-IE News

News for the Inland Empire. Hope you like it. As always, send comments to the empoprises account at gmail.

Behind the Scenes

I guess the most important thing to me personally was discovering the Wigwam Motel's Twitter account, as I noted in a post earlier this week. Since @WigwamMotel was nice enough to mention me on Follow Friday, I'll be nice enough to mention their 10% off deal for people who say they follow @WigwamMotel on Twitter.


A lot of posts are queued up for the coming week, ranging from new business policies at Ontario International Airport to...meth labs. And I also mention a person in this blog whom I haven't mentioned in a while; hint "Coyote."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Iwo Jima re-enactment picture DID turn out OK...

I didn't stay for the whole parade, but enjoyed what I did see.

Eat more chikin

This was followed by a live re-enactment of the flag hoisting at Iwo Jima. Unfortunately, my picture of the latter didn't come out.

Speaking of religious beliefs...

...what's a parade without the Shriner cars?

Tea Party

They then prayed to the flag - I mean, recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Party of Lincoln

Chaffey Community Republican Women feature a man...

Those danged bagpipes

I lived next to Upland High for several years. The novelty wears off quickly.

Crowds on Euclid

Under the balloons

4th of July, Ontario.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ontario parade tomorrow

As I was getting my hair cut this morning, my stylist was wondering what to do with her kids tomorrow morning. I urged her to check out the Ontario parade, then noted that I wasn't sure that it was happening this year.

I just confirmed that there will be a parade tomorrow, and that it will be televised - online:

2009 - The Parade is ON !

The Parade telecast will be shot on July 4th and be available for viewing on this website at Also, the show will be available on the Ontario City Channel....

Mariette Hartley will again be hosting with Tim Greenwood.

Jerry Sroka will be doing pre parade interviews and special things during the show.

See you at Euclid and I streets on July 4th ! Telecast from 8:30 to 10:30 am Parade starts at 9.

This lack of service is not directly attributable to the recession

I read something in M-M-M-My Pomona that talked about no Pomona AYSO soccer this fall, and initially assumed that this ties in with library cuts and other scale-backs in government services. But it's something else:

...due to a lack of volunteers the Pomona AYSO program has been put on hold.

Then again, could the recession be causing the lack of volunteers?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More on San Antonio Heights gardening

Wonder if Mary Petit will show up. Or her neighbors. From Upland Now:

The San Antonio Heights will start the Fourth of July off with their monthly produce exchange.

The exchange will be from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Life Bible Fellowship Church back parking lot, 2426 N. Euclid Ave.

I wonder if the people who live behind Life Bible Fellowship's back parking lot will raise a...stink.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hotel financing, foreclosed (all over)

We've certainly talked about the effects of the recession upon individual houses, but what about really big houses with lots of rooms and maid service? Yes, hotels are facing problems also:

In California, 175 hotels are in default -- the first stage in the foreclosure process -- according to a report from Atlas Hospitality Group, an Irvine-based brokerage firm. Another 31 have been foreclosed, nearly one third of them in the Inland region.

More here.