As the year comes to a close, I share some reader email on various recent topics: Vicente Fernandez, book and record shops, Upland’s Gus Grebe and two defunct tourist attractions in Riverside, plus news about a Claremont woman who won an unusual honor. That’s my Friday column.
What were the nuttiest, most out-there Inland Empire news stories of 2021? Brace yourselves for my Top 10 countdown, which I present in my Wednesday column. Some of these stories made state or national news. This is my 24th year-end roundup, but only my second since my coverage area expanded to the full IE. If you want a refresher, here’s the 2020 version.
Nearly a century of history — photos, news clippings, prize ribbons, brochures, cookbooks and more — from the LA County Fair has been donated to the University Library at Cal Poly Pomona for preservation. It’s 200 boxes and counting. I take a quick look for my Sunday column.
For my Christmas Eve column, I write about the holiday concert by the Pomona Concert Band from Sunday, the one at which I emceed for the first time (tingle!). If I’m any judge, a pleasant time was had by all. Also: the LA 101 restaurant list goes back to snubbing the IE, I ask readers to tell me a hope they hold for 2022 and Redlands is buying an unusual building for its new police HQ: a vacant Kmart.
Cassandra Peterson’s memoir has two mentions of Chino, one of them a childhood story about a road trip there that ended abruptly, not to mention humorously, the other about fan mail as an adult. Going from the profane to the sacred, other items are about a Redlands minister in 1907 who became a best-selling author and a screening in Claremont on Thursday of “Fiddler on the Roof.” All this in in my Wednesday column.
Ontario’s first designated city landmark, the Fallis house, was gutted by fire last month and may be a total loss. The family had occupied the house from 1906-41 and owned one of the city’s finest shops, Fallis’ department store, for decades. I write about the history of each in Sunday’s somewhat somber column.
I attend my second San Bernardino council meeting and am amply rewarded. And so is the city, because a tribe is donating to Seccombe Lake Park after reading my Sunday column about how it lost out on a grant. How about that! I write about the unusual meeting, which saw the mayor leave twice and the council discuss how to cut his salary, in my Friday column.
The death of Vicente Fernandez, the Mexican singer, may have had a cultural impact on par with the demise of Sinatra, but as Fernandez sang in Spanish, you could be forgiven for being only tangentially aware of him. I talk to three of his admirers, and recount the scene at the Ontario concert in 2012 where he kicked off his farewell tour, in my Wednesday column. The topic is a slight stretch for me, but I’m glad I wrote this and hope his fans forgive any fumbles on my part.
It could be the Central Park of San Bernardino, but Seccombe Lake Park, which occupies four square blocks of downtown, has had its ups and downs. After a nadir, the park is looking better as Public Works is tasked with cleaning it up and is going at it with gusto. I take a tour for my Sunday column.
I went back for a second City Council meeting in distant Moreno Valley and had another eye-opening time. Was it worth a long drive and a late night? You tell me after you read Friday’s column.