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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Column: Brie(f) news about that newly opened cheese shop

Sunday’s column has an update on DTLA Cheese and seven items on various cultural events and general news, as well as a plug for this blog, which wasn’t aimed at you. You’re here already, aren’t you?

Incidentally, when I stopped by DTLA Cheese, I took a photo with my phone purely for Twitter purposes. It was only later in the week that I thought, “Huh, the shop could lead off an items column, and I do have a photo.” If I could do it over again, though, I would take a better picture…

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Column: Grab-bag of music and movies have subtle links to 909

Three random media products I enjoyed in a one-week span — a music DVD, a CD and a movie DVD — all turned out to have low-key links to the Inland Valley. I also present three culture corner items and cop to two mistaken word choices in previous columns — oops. All this is in Sunday’s column.

Many of these items, you might be curious to know, were written for last Sunday’s column but were crowded out due to news about the Big Boy train and the media’s confusion about precisely where Glendora is located. But they kept.

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Column: For political widow, a last chance to kick up her heels

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Mrs. Unruh, as she’s billed, owns Mount Baldy’s Buckhorn Lodge, where she performs with a band on weekends, doing torch songs, country songs and showtunes. She’s the widow of Jesse Unruh, who before his 1987 death was one of California’s most prominent legislators. The lodge will be closing soon. I sit in on a performance for Friday’s special-length column.

Watch 45-second videos of her here and here.

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Column: At year’s start, these items finally achieve their potential

In Wednesday’s column, in an annual ritual, I clean my desk, mostly, of accumulated newspaper clippings, press releases, reader mail and other items that piled up as I wondered what to do with them or thought I might need them later.

I wish I’d had more time, but I made a good dent in the time I had. My desk hasn’t looked this good since last Jan. 1, and maybe not even then. Confidentially, there’s still a two-inch high stack of items from 2008 to 2010. It’s too late to pick through those for column items, so I’ll essentially give up on them and file them with other correspondence. Still, 2014 will start with a neater desk, ready for the year ahead. Can’t wait.

Oh, and Happy New Year! Any particular resolutions or goals you’d care to share?

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