The La Verne tar pits

At the University of La Verne, the Cultural and Natural History Collections staff is using four vitrines in the window of the Campus Center for a series of mini-exhibits.

“We wanted to provide a brief visual escape while also displaying some of the objects in the Collections,” said Felicia Beardsley, collections director. “But, the exhibit is only four vitrines long, so if you blink you might miss it.”

Previous exhibits were about birds and about masks (including a gas mask from World War I). The current one, through Monday, has items from ULV’s La Brea Tar Pits collection. Yes, ULV has a La Brea Tar Pits collection. That’s also the source of the sabre-tooth tiger skeleton that’s on permanent view inside the Campus Center.

“Our goal is to provide a different exhibit every two weeks for the summer,” Beardsley told me. “So, for this summer, please take a stroll by the Campus Center, peer in the window, leave a nose print and tell a friend!”

I’ve done all the above other than the nose print — so unhygienic! — and am now telling friends, i.e., readers of my blog. Beardsley submitted the photos above; the one below is mine. (My photos through the glass had too much reflection.)

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Column: Sweet! Local Girl Scout’s photo is on cookie boxes

A La Verne teen is one of six Girl Scouts nationwide chosen to appear on this year’s cookie boxes. Katelyn Roney is on the Trefoil shortbread cookie box. I attend this week’s La Verne City Council meeting to watch her be honored and meet her. Also: a Frank Zappa son performs in Montclair, a robust Culture Corner and a Valley Vignette, all in Friday’s column.

Note that I will be at Rancho Cucamonga’s Biane Library at Victoria Gardens at 7:30 p.m. Friday to ask questions of singer Claudia Lennear before an audience. Come out to watch!

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‘Nevertheless…they persisted’

This mural on the south side of University of La Verne’s Wilson Library caught my eye, and how could it not, on a recent stroll on campus. Titled “Nevertheless…they persisted,” by Kristy Sandoval, the mural contains photo reproductions of important women from ULV history. By the way, the windows up top? Those are painted on in trompe l’oeil style to look real.

Incidentally, the mural’s title is a play on the 2017 comment by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his rebuke of Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” It became a feminist rallying cry.

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Column: Some ‘tastee’ campus trivia on ULV tour

I took a modest walking tour of University of La Verne to hear about buildings that have been knocked down or repurposed over the decades, among them a former Tastee Freez and an Alpha Beta. That kicks off Wednesday’s column, followed by items about the TV mob scene at a Claremont Nativity display, upcoming Christmas concerts in Pomona and Ontario, and an Ontario man who’s on ABC’s “Great American Baking Show.”

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Bye bye, Bakers Square

I was in La Verne at Foothill Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue when I noticed the old Bakers Square fenced off. A later check from the parking lot side showed the property was getting more than a new roof or makeover.

“Yes, the building will be demolished soon with a new Taco Bell building replacing it,” Eric Scherer, the city’s community development director, told me.

After googling, I was reminded that my colleague Liset Marquez wrote in January about approval of a drive-thru restaurant there, but the tenant wasn’t named by the would-be developer at the time. So that it’s Taco Bell is still news of sorts.

Fascinating side note from that article: That rather sad shopping center — whose anchors are Dollar Tree, CVS and Crunch Fitness — is carved up among 13 owners. No wonder it’s “falling apart,” as one councilman put it.

Bakers Square — remember them? — closed at the end of 2008 and reopened at the start of 2009 as Garden Square. It wasn’t that great and closed the following year. The building has sat empty ever since.

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Stu-Han stairs, ULV

While in the University of La Verne’s storage facility last week to see the salvaged pew from the Interfaith Chapel, I eyeballed this stair to nowhere. It was taken from a former residence hall, Studebaker-Hanawalt, popularly known as Stu-Han, built in 1957 and demolished in 2018.

Anne Collier, the university’s curator, told me the philosophy of historical salvage: “If progress has to happen, save an iconic element.” Especially one that can be seen in period photographs, she said, because it’s no longer just an object: “people connect.”

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