Column: Childhood pal recalls ‘sweet,’ ‘tough’ Ritchie Valens

When a Riverside County reader told me he grew up with rocker Ritchie Valens, and had photos, I thought this sounded promising and made an appointment to meet him. He was definitely worth talking to, a story I tell in Friday’s column. (I’m hoping I’m not testing the patience of those uninterested in Valens. Sometimes when it rains, it pours.)

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Column: Freed slave Biddy Mason to be focus of museum talk

A free, livestreamed talk Saturday morning will be devoted to the 19th century slave in San Bernardino who was freed by a judge in 1856 and went on to local fame in L.A. I’ll be asking the questions of two experts (but don’t let that stop you from watching!). Also: a little history concerning Pomona’s involvement with the L.A. County Health Department, and the LA County Fair is canceled again. All this in Wednesday’s column.

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Column: For famous orange tree, it’s nothin’ but net

Riverside’s claim to citrus fame comes from the parent Washington navel orange tree, the 1873 tree that launched a California industry. The tree continues to thrive despite a bacteria-carrying insect that could kill it if it got in striking range. That’s why a tent-like structure now shrouds the tree: to keep the insect out. I pay a visit for Friday’s column.

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