Column: He’s retired, but he seems to be tireless

Friday’s column kicks off with an update about Ken McNeil, a former San Antonio Heights man who made our news pages now and then with his activism. After that, I have items about the past: the 1950s “Burns and Allen” show, visits to Pomona by foreign delegations in the 1950s and 1960s, and a local reference in the 1995 Disney movie “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court.”

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Column: Claremont film festival keeps it short and snappy

Friday’s column starts with news about the 5 Second Film Festival, now in its sixth year in Claremont. It takes place May 8. After that, I have items about three cultural events all taking place Saturday (Free Comic Book Day, California Bookstore Day and National Train Day/Union Station 75th anniversary), and an item about an inadvertently hilarious editorial in a Rancho Cucamonga newspaper.

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Back from Austin

Vacation went well, thanks, and I hope to write about that soon (although two of my three columns this week are already committed to time-sensitive topics, so this might be tricky). In short, though, good food, some culture, a lot of walking, a lot of transit, a visit to the LBJ Presidential Library and a fascinating boat tour to watch the bats leave the Congress Avenue bridge at dusk.

What did I miss around here?

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Former F & E’s need some R & D

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Most Fresh & Easy stores remain open after their September 2013 sale, but a handful closed, and some had closed last year as the chain struggled. Upland is home to one shuttered location, and Ontario to two.

The closed one in Upland — at Foothill and San Antonio, seen above — won’t come back as a grocery because a Sprouts market is going in next door into a former Office Max. (Upland also has an operating Fresh & Easy on Mountain and Eighth.)

The real-estate market has by and large turned empty Mervyns into Kohls, and Circuit Citys, Price Clubs and theaters into churches and gyms. It’s still trying to repurpose Borders stores (the one in Montclair now sells furniture) and closed Best Buys, like ones in Ontario and Chino Hills.

What to do with these empty 10,000-square-foot Fresh & Easy markets?

Suggesting I write about this, a friend came up with a list of potential uses that, coincidentally I’m sure, mirror my interests: “Used book stores, comic book shops, frozen custard joints, art house cinemas, pie shops, a lunch spot where all waitresses wear glasses, bowling alleys…” Be still my heart!

Any further ideas, fanciful or not, for these vacant spaces?

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Column: IE Weekly finds no alternative but to shut down

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Inland Empire Weekly, launched in 2006, has ceased publication. I pay tribute in Friday’s column. Above, the Glass House Record Shop in Pomona still has copies of recent issues.

(Wes Woods took the photo for me; when I visited the Arts Colony Thursday morning, any business that had copies wasn’t open yet. I could see copies through the windows at the record shop, New York Deli and dba 256. Sob!)

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