Bowling for Chino Hills

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Has the Chino Valley ever had a bowling alley? There’s certainly not one now in Chino or Chino Hills. Bowlers have to journey to Diamond Bar or Montclair for a game. But Chino Hills is getting a bowling alley. It’s under construction inside a vacant Vons at Chino Hills Parkway at Pipeline Avenue.

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Mes Amis, London


Photo by Peter Rogers

This shot was taken May 27 in London, England of James Elias in the kitchen of his restaurant, Mes Amis, by Peter Rogers, a Chino Hills councilman and professional photographer who was on vacation. (Thanks, Peter.)

The connection is that Mes Amis is also the name of a restaurant in Chino Hills owned and run by Sammy Elias, James’ brother. Rogers is among the few who have dined at both. More about that in my Friday column.

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Such a deal (?)


A friend wonders: “Is $10 too much to indulge in three hours of chicken nugget bacchanalia?” Your call.

(This offer is exclusive to the Chino Hills Chick-fil-A, 3640 Grand Ave., which frequently advertises deals on its Facebook page.)

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Reality coming to Chino Hills


Reality TV — the show “New York Goes to Work” — is due at the Archibald’s burger restaurant in Chino Hills on Wednesday. Here’s the Wikipedia page for the series.

My former colleague Joe Florkowski said he went to Archibald’s on Sunday with his grandfather (what a good grandson Joe is) and saw the accompanying sign on the door. I was confused by the sign until Joe explained that “New York” is the star’s nickname.

It’s unclear if Tiffany “New York” Pollard will be there or has already been there; the Wikipedia page indicates she’s already passed her fast food test. Well, drop in Wednesday and try to act natural.

Joe adds: “What do you think if I changed my name to ‘Chino Hills’ and visited New York? I think that would blow everyone’s minds!”

I told him he should change his name to Chino Hills even if he doesn’t visit NYC.

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Everything must go at Chino Hills Library!

Chino Hills’ new library opens Feb. 28 and with 60,000 books it sounds well-stocked. But this weekend, the old library is holding a moving sale, selling purged or donated material at fire sale prices. Everyone else is liquidating, so why not a library?

“We are selling the books, with a few exceptions, for $5 per bag,” says Geri Moore of Friends of the Library. She adds: “The bag is the size of a paper grocery bag and we supply the bags.”

Free bags too? This deal just got even better.

“We have a wide variety of books,” Moore says. “We have a large selection of children’s books. In addition, we have adult fiction and non-fiction (cookbooks, biographies, travel, crafts, and large coffee table books) in both hardcover and paperback.”

Various “antique” books, VHS tapes, DVDs and CDs will be priced individually. Maybe you still get a free bag. Shelving, display racks, carts and other odds and ends will also be sold.

C’mon, you know you’ve always wanted your very own library cart.

The sale will be held in the old library building at 2003 Grand Ave., in the old Civic Center complex, on Friday from noon to 8 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The Friends of the Library is hosting the sale, with proceeds to help fill gaps in funding at the new library. Friends, for instance, pays for some reading programs and bought children’s furniture for the new library.

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Competitive eating in Chino Hills

If you like wolfing your food, or like the idea of watching other people wolf their food, this could be for you. Jody Maroni’s Sausage Kingdom is opening a location at The Shoppes at Chino Hills — and marking the occasion with a sausage-eating contest.

It takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday on a stage in the Promenade area of the open-air mall. Anyone interested should show up at 1:30 to fill out forms and such. Unlike the famous Nathan’s hot dog contest at Coney Island, contestants only have to eat two “fully loaded” sausage sandwiches. Whoever finishes first, wins coupons for five free combos. Thankfully, they don’t have to be redeemed immediately.

And no, you won’t find me within miles of the place. I prefer to eat less, and more slowly.

Maroni’s will also give out free samples from noon to 4 p.m. and donate 15 percent of any proceeds to a Chino Hills charity, the Let It Be Foundation, which offers support for the families of Chino Valley children with life-threatening medical conditions. They’re calling the event Haut Dogs for Hope.

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Sunday column preview

While word was beginning to spread Tuesday afternoon about the Pomona police chief’s ouster, I was obliviously driving to Chino Hills for a tour of the city’s new City Hall.

Well, it needed to be seen at some point. Especially for me, as a critic of sorts of Council Chambers, having visited so many of them. The room is quite impressive, with plenty of seating and a dais that must be seen to be believed.

The press, by the way, is given a nook with a table and leather chairs. As a self-hating newspaperman, I couldn’t bring myself to sit there. It was too nice. I sat in the audience with the hoi polloi; maybe I can work myself up to the luxury seating next visit.

Behind the Council Chambers is a sophisticated audio-visual control room, with a sound mixing board, a recording booth and joystick controls of the chambers’ cameras. (Perplexingly, despite all the gear, meetings are still not broadcast live.)

Rather than the cameras on tripods, each trailing cords, that they had in the old Council Chambers, the new room has four hidden cameras. “They’re HD,” Cattern whispered.

I hope council members are ready for their closeup.

Look for more about my tour, and the novelty of a City Hall next to an outdoor mall, on Sunday.

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Your Chino Hills traffic report

Expect traffic backups in Chino Hills today and throughout the weekend at The Shoppes, which open this morning. (Imagine me in a traffic helicopter, or maybe beating my palms against my chest to sound as if I were in a traffic helicopter.) Peyton Drive is being widened to six lanes but in the meantime it’s squeezed to two or three because of construction. If you go, enter off Grand Avenue or you may regret it.

I had a tour of The Shoppes, which we here at the blog pronounce “Shoppies,” on Thursday morning. Workers swarmed the place, washing windows, sweeping sidewalks, laying tile, painting overhangs and finishing mosaics.

It was sprinkling rain during the tour, which didn’t augur well for an open-air shopping mall. I suspect today’s opening will be a little damp.

As temples of commerce go, The Shoppes isn’t bad. It’s akin to Victoria Gardens, if one-third the size — all outdoors, walkable, chockful o’ chains and, if not exactly a radical design, rather pleasant. Unlike the VG, it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not as far as a retro look goes. (Although when the architect told our group solemnly that “we weren’t building a project, we were building a community,” I had to suppress my gag reflex.)

Despite the economy, the center is almost completely leased. Only about half the shops and restaurants will open Friday, though, so if you want to skip the madness this weekend, visit in a week or two and more places will be open.

Here’s the flackage:

“The Shoppes at Chino Hills is a 400,000-square-foot open-air lifestyle center, built by Opus West Corporation … The lifestyle center will be home to more than 60 retail and restaurant merchants. Among the merchants that have already been announced are the first H&M in San Bernardino County, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Trader Joe’s, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Chipotle Mexican Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, Yard House Bar & Grill, Pinkberry, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Bath & Body Works.”

One tip: Don’t miss the mural inside P.F. Chang’s. Depicting a rural China scene of centuries ago involving a river, laborers and a cart, it’s six panels long — maybe 20 feet? — and handpainted. Check it out.

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