Friday, November 15, 2013

No new news regarding the 2008 murder of Santiago Contreras

As I caught up on all of the McStay news this morning, I began wondering about another unsolved murder - one that I blogged about way back in 2008, when I wrote an "mrontario" blog devoted solely to the city of Ontario.

In that blog, I wrote a post on Monday, February 18 about one Santiago Contreras.

Santiago Contreras was kidnapped in front of his family Monday afternoon at 2:20 pm. The family itself had been held hostage for several hours, awaiting Contreras' arrival.

A few days later, his body was found, amid reports of drug trafficking involvement by a brother-in-law.

However, I have found no mention of Contreras since February 2008, and even the 2008 mentions at the San Bernardino Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin web pages no longer exist.

It turns out that over 30 percent of all murders go unsolved. Will the McStay murders also fall into that category?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

After dark door-to-door fundraising?

It happened again.

Well after dark, two people showed up at our door, selling something or another (in this case coupons) to promote something wonderful (in this case tuition for a four-year college).

I had never heard of the organization that they said that they represented.

I told them that I wasn't interested.

Now I have given to door-to-door people in the past. When Howard Snider (former mayor of Ontario) sold Kiwanis tickets, I bought them. When the kid that I knew from down the street stopped by, I bought from him. If I actually recognize the institution, and if the person is appropriately dressed to represent that institution (Snider always wore official Kiwanis insignia), I may give.

But otherwise, I don't. And with good reason, since the door-to-door fundraisers - especially the ones that show up after dark - are probably fake:

We've all experienced those door-to-door fundraisers. Elementary school kids sell candy, wrapping paper, or magazine subscriptions. Shadier, pushier teens and adults sell candy bars for $5 apiece to supposedly raise money for leadership training, summer camp, and what have you. Not surprisingly, these aren't always legitimate. While you shouldn't necessarily call the cops on your neighbor's 4th grader, exercise caution. If you're suspicious, it's probably for good reason.

As of May 2011 "students" going door-to-door are asking for money for music programs. An article in The Enterprise reports that UC Davis and Sacramento State are warning people that no university-affiliated music program is doing anything of the sort. Chances are the con artists will be happy to switch their story up, so just because they're not claiming to be collecting for a music program doesn't mean you should let your guard down.

And it's not just in Davis.

Monday, November 4, 2013

There goes the San Bernardino

Attorney David Ricks is not happy:

The attorneys of the West Valley of the Inland Empire are fighting hard to protect the rights of the citizens of the Inland Empire. It was announced by the San Bernardino County Presiding Judge that the Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga will no longer provide civil and family law services as of May 2014. This move will deprive so many people of their access to local courts, protections from domestic abuse through easy access to the courts, lower cost legal services, etc.

More here, including a link to an Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article that details the specific changes:

The reorganization looks like this:

San Bernardino district criminal cases, both felonies and misdemeanors, will be heard in the new San Bernardino Justice Center.

Countywide civil cases, including those from Rancho Cucamonga, will be moved to the new San Bernardino Justice Center.

West Valley Superior Courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga will only hear West End criminal cases. Felony and misdemeanor cases in Fontana will be reviewed to determine which courthouse - San Bernardino or Rancho Cucamonga - is better equipped to hear them.

The Rancho Cucamonga courthouse will also have temporary hearings on both civil and domestic violence restraining order matters.

San Bernardino family law cases will stay in the historic San Bernardino building. Rancho Cucamonga family law cases will move to the historic courthouse in San Bernardino.

Family law cases in Victorville will stay where they are.

Cases of small claims, landlord tenants and traffic/non-traffic infractions from the San Bernardino, Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga districts will be heard in Fontana.

I live in the West End and am therefore affected by this, but it could be worse.

Slough said within the county court system, 86 judges are doing the work of 156, and 866 employees are doing the work of about 1,500.

And in the last year and a half, courthouses in Chino, Needles and Big Bear have closed due to budget cuts. And there is only one courtroom currently open in Barstow, which is scheduled to close July 1.

There are Omnitrans buses that run between the West End cities and San Bernardino. But what if you live in Needles?

Friday, November 1, 2013

If you doubt my claim that Walmart could close its new Ontario store in a few years... many of you remember the Sam's Club in Montclair? If you don't, then don't look for it; the building has long since been torn down.

If you missed my previous post that stated that the newly opened Ontario Walmart could conceivably close as soon as ten years from now, it's here.

After many delays,the Ontario Walmart is open - but for how long?

A follow-up to my October 14 post - the Ontario Walmart at 1333 North Mountain is now open.


The opening took a couple of weeks longer than expected - the first two Yelp reviews were from people who had been told that the Walmart was open when it wasn't.

But it was definitely open by October 31, when I made two visits to the store - one in the morning to get a Subway breakfast sandwich, and one in the evening to get last-minute Halloween candy. I haven't ventured far into the store yet, but so far things look good.

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

By the way, regarding Allen's concern about Walmart wiping out local businesses - as I've noted before (for example, here), the businesses that may be wiped out by Walmart have themselves wiped out businesses back in their day. My March 2008 post quoted from an article that is no longer online, but which stated the following:

Today's supermarket offers everything from fresh mangoes to muffin tins, from carnations to wedding cakes. Its configuration is based on people's demands; one-stop shopping for the time-starved consumer.

But the supermarket phenomenon has caused its share of casualties, including the neighborhood grocery stores where pantry staples were just a short bike ride away and you called the grocer by his first name. In retrospect, the independent store's decline seemed inevitable as society grew more mobile, fickle and deal-conscious, and less loyal to neighborhood businesses.

"The fittest is going to survive," says Roger Larson, second-generation owner of Larson's SuperValu in West Fargo. "I'm a small-town person at heart, and I hate to see that, but it's a matter of economics. The fact is you need volume to survive."

Five years after I wrote that post, SuperValu sold its Albertsons grocery stores after closing some of them. This proves the accuracy of Roger Larson's words - SuperValu and other supermarkets wiped out smaller markets in their day, and now SuperValu and these same supermarkets may be wiped out by Walmart.

And Walmart may be wiped out by Amazon. Yes, the Ontario Walmart itself will probably close down one day. That day may be 40 years from now, or perhaps that day may only be 10 years from now. I've only lived in this area for 30 years, but I've seen several stores come and go on Mountain Avenue between 5th and 6th. And it's quite possible that we may witness the closure of the Ontario Walmart as early as 2023, and people will lament the closure of their friendly neighborhood store.

The merry-go-round continues.