Column: Large reminder sign won’t let us forget Padua Avenue

Sunday’s column might have just been a blog post. Reader Ken Brock sent me a photo in November of the “Monte Vista Ave, Formerly Padua Ave” sign in Claremont and wondered why it was there. I dithered for a while on whether to use that as a simple blog post or to research his question for a column. I followed the latter course and am glad I did.

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Column: With Trayvon Martin, this Nativity gets edgy update

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For a Christmas Day column, I present a piece on Claremont United Methodist Church’s annual Nativity display, which in recent years updates the traditional scene to comment on homelessness, war, immigration or other themes. This year, a dying Trayvon Martin is the centerpiece.

You can view photos of the past scenes and watch my 1:50 video interview with artist John Zachary.

I’ll be more curious than usual to hear the reaction to this column.

Oh, and merry Christmas!

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Column: Laemmle theater owners love art films, sex kittens

A special screening of the classic French film “Contempt” in Claremont on Sunday drew not only cinema lovers, but the owners of the Laemmle theater chain, who reflected on the theater’s fortunes and the film’s star, Brigitte Bardot. That’s the first item in Friday’s column, which also works in items from Montclair, Chino, Chino Hills, Rancho Cucamonga and Pomona.

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Column: Fresher pastures as Claremont’s Cheese Cave expands to LA

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Reed Herrick and Lydia Clarke, seen at Grand Central Market.

The Cheese Cave, a Claremont gourmet food shop, is opening a second location, this one in downtown LA’s Grand Central Market. It’s a rare example of a business from the 909 expanding to LA rather than vice-versa. Wednesday’s column tells the story.

For careful readers, this is the interview in LA that I combined with a Metrolink trip to LA Opera last Wednesday, as mentioned in last Friday’s column.

Grand Central Market, founded in 1917, is one block north of the Pershing Square subway stop, making it easy to visit for Metrolink riders. The market is well worth a visit.

The Cheese Cave’s website is here, and a 2010 feature from this newspaper by my former colleague Wendy Leung offers a detailed, lyrical take on the shop.

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Column: Pomona College origin story leaves no cornerstone unturned

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What may be Claremont’s most obscure monument has stood at Fourth and College since 1895. It commemorates a new Pomona College headquarters that was started miles away in the foothills in 1888 and never completed. But the cornerstone was rescued seven years later and moved to the Claremont campus. The strange story is in my Wednesday column.

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Gabrielle Giffords, the Scripps years

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Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman, came to Scripps College in Claremont on Saturday to receive the Ellen Browning Scripps Medal. The 1993 alumnus, who was commencement speaker in 2009, later toured the campus and posted a couple of photos to her Instagram account of her name on the Scripps graffiti wall (evidently from 20 years ago) and of her and her husband in front of her old dormitory. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and Latin American history (!). Scripps sent us a few photos, including these two, from her 1993 yearbook. Her Wikipedia entry explains her career, including her near-fatal 2011 shooting and her 2012 resignation to concentrate on recovery.
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Claremont, the poster

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I saw this poster on an Expo Line train last weekend in L.A. The MTA has posters for many, maybe all, of the county’s cities, which are displayed at various subway and train stations. The one for Pomona is, or at least was, at the Civic Center stop. This Claremont poster, with art by Jessica Polzin McCoy, is relatively new, as is the Expo Line itself. (it currently runs from Seventh Street downtown to Culver City. A second phase, to Santa Monica, is due in 2015.)

“Delicate watercolors depict a college town that flourishes within the creative environment of The Claremont University Consortium,” the text reads, “and opens an informal invitation to visit a backyard, ride a bike, step into a shady grove and attend school.”

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Pie judges had plenty of wedge issues

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I was a judge, one of 16, at the Claremont Pie Festival on Saturday. I describe the experience in my Wednesday column.

Above, I’m hard at work, a moment captured by impish Claremont Councilman Sam Pedroza, who wasn’t a judge (Corey Calaycay was) but kibitzed with us. Below, a typical serving, of which we generally ate half, and below that, the scene afterward in which bakers served free tastes of their entries.

piefest2piefest3And you can watch a 45-second video — my first, and it shows — of a portion of the pie-eating contest here.

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