Column: ‘Manzanar’ author recounts shameful chapter

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Wednesday’s column (read it here) is about last Friday’s appearance at Victoria Gardens of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of “Farewell to Manzanar,” a memoir about her childhood at the Manzanar internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. The Rancho Cucamonga Library brought her here. That’s Houston above, flanked by Robert Karatsu, library director.

Without my noticing, the library’s Michelle Perera snapped a couple of photos of me interviewing people, which she shared. What the heck, I’m including them here. At right, I’m chatting with Tayeko Hashitsume, a Manzanar internee. Below, I’m interviewing Wakatsuki Houston. Editors, please note the blur in my right arm as I hasten to scribble down a pithy comment!

Incidentally, my knees may never forgive me for all the squatting. With no chairs handy, I didn’t see any other way to conduct the interviews politely.

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I like Rancho Cucamonga’s directional signs to local sites of importance, but watch the arrows! This one, below Foothill on Archibald, facing motorists driving north, should be pointing up, as in “drive straight,” to get to the library and the winery.

Confusing matters further, reader Bob Terry, who took the photo, said the Chamber of Commerce is now on Arrow Highway, i.e., south of this sign rather than ahead or to the left.

Interestingly, a second directional sign on Archibald a few blocks south also had an arrow pointing in the wrong direction before it was corrected.

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Belcher Ranch, Cucamonga

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Jane Vath O’Connell of the whimsically named Alta Cucawanda Friends group forwarded the above image (click on it for a slightly larger view) and says it was done by member Marie Vecchio’s father in 1969 and depicts the Belcher Ranch.

The what? She doesn’t know either. She adds: “I’m not having any luck researching this. Do you think your readers could help?”

If I know them, they can. Incidentally, O’Connell says Alta Cucawanda Friends is up to 550 members, who share information and photos about the history of Rancho Cucamonga and environs.

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Column: In RC, completed trail also has sailboats

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Friday’s column (read it here) is about Wednesday’s dedication ceremony in Rancho Cucamonga for the completion of the Pacific Electric Trail. That was accomplished in part thanks to the new bridge over Foothill Boulevard, replacing the narrow, 1929 bridge that was removed last year.

The rendering above is what one side of the bridge will look like in a far future era when we’re all using jetpacks. Note the cutouts of the states through which Route 66 passes, a nice touch.

In the photo below, I’m on the dirt embankment on the south side of Foothill after crossing the bridge, looking at the Illinois-themed imagery imprinted on the abutment. I’m writing down “windmill, hills, oak tree.” Photographer Thomas Cordova snapped the picture because it looked like I was conducting an interview with empty air. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image of…nothing.

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Column: Methinks RC protest law is protested too much

I attended Wednesday’s Rancho Cucamonga City Council meeting because our RC reporter, Wendy Leung, is on vacation. Somebody ought to be there, I though.

Turned out to be pretty interesting, as the council passed the final version of rules regarding protests in the community (which happen now and then), over the protests of a few and to the confusion of many, including yours truly. Read the column here, and comment below if you like.

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RC’s Wii bowling champions

Sunday’s column (read it here) is about the national Wii bowling champions from Rancho Cucamonga’s James L. Brulte Senior Center.

I went to Wednesday’s RC council meeting because they would honor the team with plaques and I thought it would make a cute item. I interviewed three of the team members — first two, and later a third — in the lobby as they left the meeting. Also talked to two Senior Center employees who were also in the lobby. The fourth teammate seemed determined to stick it out in the meeting — he had more staying power than me, at least — so I left after an hour without speaking with him.

Anyway, the column item turned into a full-on essay, as sometimes happens. I wrote up some short items for the end but decided they would be anticlimactic and put ‘em aside for next week.

One item, though, will be too old by then. It’s probably too old now, for that matter. It won’t appear in print, but I’ll put it below.

* Two Pomona cops didn’t bat an eye Monday night when approached by a man in a domino mask. Could be because he was their server at Mix Bowl Cafe, they were on dinner break at the restaurant and it was Halloween.

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