Arachnophobes, beware!

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There seems to be a spider problem at 1496 Bibiana Way in Upland, where some 200 of the insects, small and large, are crawling around and hanging from the exterior. It’s been a tradition for Don and Kathy Kane for about 15 years, starting with a single fake-spider purchase at Target at the urging of a 2-year-old grandson.

“It kind of expanded from that point,” Don told me in an understatement. Some have been purchases or gifts, and he’s made many of the spiders himself out of PVC pipe, using reflectors from Pep Boys for the eyes and in some cases styrofoam and even medicine balls for heads and bodies.

I learned about them from reader Susan Winderman, who was at a yard sale nearby and stopped to gape at the house, as others did.

I visited one afternoon and left my business card in the door after fighting my way through the spider-festooned porch to the door. Don called me back the next day, too late for a pre-Halloween column, but not too late for a blog post.

“Some people think they’re real,” he admitted, especially when the breeze makes them move.

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He’s seen neighbors out for a walk on his side of the street who will get to the corner, cross to the other side for a half-block, then come back to his side of the street.

“A couple of years ago, we had a fellow work on our refrigerator. He was standing in the front yard when my wife answered the door. He said, ‘There’d better be another way into your house or I’m not coming in.’ Apparently he had arachnophobia.” Kathy let him in through the garage.

Most other people seem to like the spiders. The Kanes have been asked as early as August when the spiders would come out. “People thank us. People appreciate the effort,” Don said.

The spiders went up at the end of September and will come down probably Nov. 5 or so — unless they decide to crawl down on their own. Check ’em out on 15th Street (corner of Bibiana Way) halfway between Benson and Central avenues.

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Restaurant of the Week: Shoboo Kitchen

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Shoboo Kitchen, 3626 Grand Ave. (at the 71), Chino Hills; open daily until 11 p.m. except for Sunday, 9 p.m.

Chino Hills without a doubt is the best city for Japanese food from there to Rancho Cucamonga. I’ve tried three or four Japanese restaurants in Chino Hills over the years and all were good to excellent. (Ojiya was the best.) I’m quick to say I’m no expert on the cuisine.

Recently I met a friend at one of the others, Shoboo Kitchen, which is located off the 71 Freeway in a center with a Sprouts market, See’s Candies and a Chick-fil-A. Shoboo is relatively small, seating maybe 30, and while people talk about a line at lunch, there wasn’t one on the Monday we visited.

The menu is extensive, and even the number is lunch specials is large. There’s a Lunch Special A list of a dozen items (each $9.45) and a Lunch Special B list of another dozen or more (each $11.45). I was examining those when my friend pointed out the bento boxes on another page.

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We each got bento boxes ($10), a segmented tray with rice and salad. He ordered hot items: pork ribs and chicken; I ordered cool items: sushi and sashimi. (Between us, did we have the McDLT of Japanese food?) Anyway, I would rate the lunch good, not great, but certainly worth the money. The atmosphere was on the low-key side, a plus from my perspective. Just a nice, homey place.

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Column: On the trail, they’re campaigning doggedly

I tried something new by going out walking with the two candidates for mayor of Pomona as they went door to door asking for votes. It turned out to be fun and surprising. (And I have to say, campaigning seems like a lot of work.) Check the results in Wednesday’s column. There’s a theme, and it’s man’s best friend — which isn’t necessarily a candidate’s best friend.

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Green arches in Pomona

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Driving on an unfamiliar stretch of Pomona’s Orange Grove Avenue recently, I spotted this unusual feature on the south side of the street. On the way back, I pulled over for photos. The greenery is at the T-intersection with Casa Vista Drive. There are six arches, as seen above; from across the street, below, only five could be squeezed into one photo. I wonder what the story is on them and how they were formed.

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‘Mannix’ in Pomona

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This undated Progress-Bulletin clipping was scanned and sent to me by Ren. Actor Mike Connors was in Pomona one summer day to film a scene for a “Mannix” episode in which his private eye character Joe Mannix returns to his hometown, Sumner Grove, to help an old friend in trouble.

Filming was done in front of the old City Hall, since torn down. “Cries of ‘hey, there’s Mannix’ were common as secretaries left the office for an extended coffee break,” the story relates. The Prog office would have been only a block or two from the filming.

“Mannix” aired from 1967 to 1975 on CBS, lasting eight seasons. It looks likely that this was the third season episode¬†“Return to Sumner Grove,” which aired Oct. 11, 1969. Here’s the IMDB summary.

* Never mind: Microfilm research by the Pomona Public Library’s Allan Lagumbay pins the date of the article as June 16, 1971, which means the filming was for a fifth-season episode.

I don’t know that I ever watched the series; at one point it aired the same time as “The Night Gallery,” which I watched when allowed to. The AV Club wrote an appreciation of the series here.

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Column: In Pomona mayor’s race, competing calls for change, stability

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The campaign for mayor of Pomona is unexpectedly interesting this year, as it’s the first two-person race in years, and the challenger to the incumbent is putting in a strong effort. Sunday’s column delves into the race. And as noted at the end, there’ll be a fun follow-up column, probably Wednesday.

Above, Tim Sandoval, left, and Elliott Rothman speak to people after the Oct. 14 debate. This was the best I could do to get them both in one frame. I’m still kicking myself that I was seated too far back to catch what would have been a cute photo, as the debate ended with the flu-ridden Rothman not shaking hands with Sandoval, but bumping elbows. Heh.

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Column: Firehouse Inn: once elegant, now trashed

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I collected a bunch of history on the beloved Pomona restaurant, Firehouse Inn, last year with hopes of getting a tour of the place, which has been closed for decades and is at least theoretically on the market. But despite a promise, the tour never happened and neither did the column, although I did write a blog post.

Just when I was thinking, for the umpteenth time, that maybe I should try to get back to that idea, neighbors scheduled a protest last Saturday outside the property about its condition. (See above.) And then, driving past on Wednesday, I saw a cleanup. Finally, a reason to write this up! It’s Friday’s column.¬†Here’s the link.

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Restaurant of the Week: The Flinderstreet Cafe

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The Flinderstreet Cafe, 5483 Philadelphia St. (at Central), Chino; open weekdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Apparently named for a street in Melbourne, Flinderstreet Cafe is located within Chino Town Square shopping center just above the 60 Freeway. It has a Target, Burlington, laser tag and more, but also some empty storefronts.

It’s not where you would expect to find a cute, locally owned cafe, but there it is, open since November 2015. I wouldn’t have known Flinderstreet existed except for a friend. I invited her to meet me for lunch since she’s a regular.

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Inside, there are high-top and standard tables, plus a sofa under a sign reading “Relax.” The menu has sandwiches (grinders, paninis, wraps), pasta, salads and, reflecting the cafe’s Down Under inspiration, an Australian meat pie. They make coffees and teas, and a few bakery items, including macarons ($2). The pricing is simple: all pastas are $7.50, grinders $8.50, paninis $8.90, for instance.

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I got a chicken pesto panini. Side choices were housemade chips, salad or, with a small upgrade, soup; I went with the soup. (With iced tea, the tab was $14.47.) My sandwich was okay, my soup, Toscana, better. My friend got a vegetable panini with salad and liked both, and an iced latte ($3.50).

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You order at the counter, but after we sat down, an employee came by with a basket of cookies, for us to pick one each. I took ginger snap. “They always greet you with cookies,” my friend confided.

Now who wouldn’t like a place like that? It’s tough enough to get greeted in a restaurant, much less with cookies.

At this writing, the cafe has just more than 300 reviews on Yelp and a five-star rating, not an easy feat to pull off. Flinderstreet is worth the effort to find it.

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