Lams and penguins


In November 2009, Jack Lam, the city manager of Rancho Cucamonga, and his wife, Linda, both enthusiastic travelers, vacationed in Antarctica.

Before they left, I suggested they pack a newspaper for our “Daily Bulletin on Vacation” feature. They did so, as this photo shows. Although the scene appears to be full daylight, the sun went down minutes later. Dig the crazy penguins!

This photo appeared in the newspaper after their return and I’m presenting it here to mark Lam’s retirement, effective today. (My column about Lam can be read here.)

When I saw Lam at the dedication of the Haven Avenue underpass shortly after his return, he quipped, “I was happy to go on assignment for you.” Since the Lams will next be traveling to Kenya and Rwanda, we await their next “Bulletin on Vacation” contribution.

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Young Gary Ovitt, 1963


Reader Chris Peterson found an Ontario Daily Report from Nov. 24, 1963 while cleaning a neighbor’s garage and brought it by our newsroom for me (along with a Sept. 15, 1941 San Francisco Examiner).

The Daily Report issue is dominated by stories about President Kennedy’s death two days earlier, among them a story with the prescient headline “Death Seen For Oswald.” There’s also an ad for “Lawrence of Arabia” at Ontario’s Ritz Theater.

But Peterson drew my attention to a photo in the Sports section. Future Chaffey teacher, Ontario mayor and county supervisor Gary Ovitt was honored as Chaffey’s junior varsity quarterback. He was described as “most inspirational.” I’m not sure if this was a taste of things to come or a career peak, but there it is.

I emailed the clipping to Ovitt, who commented: “Who do I look most like from the Addams Family?”

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Pomona City Council, 1911 version


What was the Pomona City Council doing 100 years ago this summer? Here’s a report from the Pomona Daily Review from the council’s “monthly” (!) meeting of June 6, 1911, scanned and sent to me practically that long ago by the Library’s Special Collections Dept.

“Col. Midgley,” by the way, owned Midgley Brothers haberdashers at 125 W. 2nd St., described in phone directories and advertisements of the day as being “just a whisper” off Garey Avenue. The 1911 City Directory gave the colonel’s home number, in full, as 319.

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Restaurant of the Week: Table to Farm

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Table to Farm Dinners, Fairplex, Pomona

This will be a little different. For one thing, it’s fine dining; for another, my meal was comped, i.e., free. I always pay for these Restaurant of the Week meals out of my own pocket, but $75 was a bit much to absorb, so I took the Fair up on the meal (on their third invitation) rather than not go and not write about it. Take this writeup with all that in mind.

McKinley’s Grille, the Sheraton’s restaurant at Pomona’s Fairplex, has been growing produce on an acre in the FairView Farms area of the fairgrounds for its own use and last year began hosting outdoor dinners there on roughly a monthly basis — bringing, as the name suggests, the dining tables into the farm area.

I attended Aug. 19. So did a lot of people. After a writeup in the Bulletin’s Home & Garden section, attendance was 102, more than double the usual number.

After taking a tram from the Sheraton, you walk past the garden plots, where hors d’oeuvres and wine are offered, and then are seated at communal tables. Food is prepared on a grill a few feet away and in an enclosed kitchen. The effect is pleasingly rustic and yet it’s also fine dining, which this night included wine pairings, as a jazz duo played.

Dishes, to quote from the menu card, were Santa Barbara spot prawn with chili-fermented tomatillo; farm tomato with dill pollen, extra virgin olive oil, tomato tarragon jam and crisp pappadam; Hoja Santa steamed king salmon with Thai basil fig compote (pictured); Duroc pork belly with farm muscat grapes (pictured); Colorado lamb loin, farm eggplant and toasted sesame; and, for dessert, a cheese plate, farm strawberry creme fraiche tart and creme fraiche ice cream with ginger mint syrup (the syrup was missing, by the way).

Most of this was good to very good, the tomato appetizer, pork belly and tart being the standouts; the bread assortment was also excellent. The salmon was unseasoned and boring, the shrimp soggy. Two people who had the clam fritter hors d’oeuvre said it was rubbery and unpleasant. In another demerit, the plates given to two of us were dusty and we had to wipe them off with our napkins.

As a non-drinker, the wine pairings weren’t of interest to me. My friend was of two minds: Because the wines all came from the same winery in Paso Robles, there wasn’t a wide range; on the other hand, everyone received the equivalent of a half-bottle or more, which made the $75 price fair. Service was attentive and friendly, although most of the food was presented family style, and the wine kept flowing.

A couple from Chino Hills sitting next to us were there for the first time and were enthusiastic about the food (except the salmon) and the uniqueness of the setting. “It was absolutely worth it,” the man said.

A dissenting view was heard from a man who’d been to previous dinners, saying the usual $50 price was a great deal but that $75 that night was too much, especially without the usual individual service.

It’s a lovely setting, a novelty night out and a rare chance for fine dining in the Inland Valley, but the experience wasn’t without problems. You’ll have to decide for yourself if that’s worth your $75. The last dinners for the year are planned for Oct. 7 (details are here) and Nov. 4. Contact McKinley’s Grill at 909-868-5915 for reservations.

Next week in this space we’ll be back to regular-folks food, where we’ll all feel more comfortable.

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No kidding

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A sign reading “Urgent Care” seems to point to one in a series of dilapidated, fenced-off stone buildings on Base Line Road near the 210 Freeway in Claremont. Rather than a political statement, the sign refers to a clinic on Monte Vista Avenue.

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51 cards left

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A year ago it was a doughnut upside down in the dirt by a curb at Towne and Arrow in Pomona that caught my eye. Now, at Garey and Grove in Pomona, it’s a playing card.

I was walking from my car toward Fatburger on Saturday when I noticed this lone card in the gutter. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

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Market on the market

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A few small, family-run convenience stores hang in there, sometimes in older residential neighborhoods where 7-Eleven can’t be bothered. Ontario’s D Street east of Euclid had two such stores within two blocks of each other, Ryan’s (at Campus) and Lisa’s (at Monterey). Ryan’s recently closed and is for lease. Lisa’s remains in business.

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