Friday’s column reports on the comeback by Jasper the Picnic Ant, once a sort of cartoon mascot for Ontario in the All States Picnic days. After that comes more news from Ontario as well as from Pomona and Rancho Cucamonga.
Friday’s column breaks some news, as a close reading of this week’s Ontario council agenda, if not the actual proceedings, made clear that QVC is interested in leasing a giant warehouse soon to begin construction, for which the council offered a generous incentive. But QVC hasn’t formally agreed yet, meaning that either I got the jump on the news or we’ll all have to avert our eyes if the deal collapses.
I also have other news from the council meeting and two Culture Corner items, one about a Mexican cookbook, the other about a free screening of “Dr. Strangelove.”
Wednesday’s column rounds up six tidbits from Ontario, including news about the city’s volunteer of the year award, and two from Pomona.
Sunday’s column revisits the question of what Ontario will do regarding the Euclid Avenue median with the pending state ban on irrigation. Answer: The city will truck in recycled water five days a week and spray. Four parks will also get the spray treatment; the Mission median won’t.
By the way, I was stunned to open up Sunday’s paper and find my column is our lead story! That’s a first.
Wednesday’s column starts with a plug for a kung fu series at the Ontario library. If the movies are half as entertaining as the plot descriptions, hilarity awaits. Also, a follow-up to my column about a pre-fame concert in Pomona by Beck, with added details, and a few cultural notes.
These trash receptacles line Ontario’s Euclid Avenue downtown, and while they’re obviously needed based on their nearly full state, the plastic lids don’t seem very durable.
On a recent Sunday walk, Councilwoman Debra Dorst-Porada pointed them out to me. The trash pickup claw may be damaging the tops, she said. Some are either skewed, as in the example below, or missing entirely, such as at bottom.
Greg Lucas, the state librarian, visited Ontario this week and yours truly greeted him (with questions). He talked about libraries’ continued relevance and about some of our local libraries in specific. Read my Friday column for more. And do you like the library jokes in my headline?
Above, staffer Alysha Cisneros jokes with Lucas in the library’s Teen Alley section.
Wednesday’s column explores the history, maintenance and status of Euclid Avenue, whose grassy median, at least in Ontario, may run afoul of the governor’s April 1 order that cities stop watering ornamental turf median strips.
Downtown Ontario’s Chaffey Community Museum of Art has received two gifts, both of them as a result of a new parking structure next door.
The structure, on Transit Street (see bottom picture; view is from the structure’s southeast corner), serves the new San Bernardino County Health Department office building on the long-vacant southeast corner of Holt Boulevard and Euclid Avenue. The museum, housed since 2013 in a 1907-built power building at 217 S. Lemon St., is in the same block as the two-level parking structure.
First, a round concrete pad for sculptures near the museum entrance was added at the city’s request during the cement pours for the parking structure and curbing (see photo above).
Second, and more intriguingly, there’s a rock basket, made as a decorative element for the front lawn (see photo up top). How that came about is worth noting.
Fullmer Construction built the structure. Museum staffer Jenelle Lowry struck up a friendship with the work crew, watching over the site for them, while they kept the front of the museum clear of construction dust and debris, and with supervisor Gary Rue. She asked him to save her some scrap rebar for a future art project.
Rue got inspired, recalling the sight of rock baskets in Boulder City, Arizona, during a recent visit. He hit up some colleagues for materials and built the basket and rocks as a present for the museum.
“The entire project was made with scrap material from the construction of the parking structure,” marveled museum president Nancy DeDiemar Jones. “The rebar is fixed in a cement pad that has been partly sunk into the grass. Before the river rocks were added (and I think those came from the construction site too) the rebar and cement pad weighed 400 pounds, so it is unlikely someone will walk off with the rock basket.”
It’s certainly a novel addition to the museum. Rue will be honored June 14 at the museum’s artists reception. He should exchange his hard hat for a beret.
The artists who in 2014 restored the 64 figures in the Euclid Avenue Nativity display, an Ontario tradition that began in 1959, were feted Monday with lunch at the Ontario Convention Center. Some of the figures were there too for everyone to admire.
Above, from left, Milica Jelisavcic, Jaime Colindres, Kim Healy Pretti, Walt Wilkey and Christian Knox, plus a friend. (I hope he ate light to save room for the Last Supper.) Not pictured: Kristen Burton, Andy Doherty, Chris Cuzzetti, Nick Gavino and Susi Silvertre.
The NOEL (Nativity on Euclid Landmark) Committee is charged with raising funds to restore and preserve the creches and statues, which were carved by Rudolph Vargas from 1959 to 1968.
A $100,000 donation last year from an anonymous Ontario businessman allowed the committee to commission the above artists to bring the statues back to their original colors, repair the damaged fingers, wings, necks, arms and more, and replace the statues that had gone missing over the years. The backdrops were duplicated digitally by John Edwards or repainted by Rick Caughman to match the originals.
More detail about the restoration can be read on the Christmas on Euclid website.