Goodbye Albertsons, hello Haggen

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The Albertsons at Foothill and Vineyard in Rancho Cucamonga is among those transitioning to a new market, Haggen. Albertsons’ parent company had to sell off 83 of its Southern California supermarkets when it bought Vons as part of an antitrust deal, as my colleague Neil Nisperos reported. A Chino Hills store opened Wednesday and an Upland store in the Colonies will open Friday. The RC store will open at 4 p.m. Thursday.

I dropped by Tuesday evening and got farewell photos of the exterior sign and the ungrammatical banner that seems to praise its customer service ironically. Both are seen above. The store closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, I slipped inside and got a few photos mid-conversion, as seen below. Only the bank and pharmacy were open.

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I’m told all but two Albertsons employees are staying on. Other than the new aisle signs with the Haggen name, not much looked different in the portions of the store that were allowing customers, but employees were busy, and the deli and produce sections apparently will have the most dramatic changes. The product mix in the store will change in phases as Haggen gets in gear in a brand new market. Until now the company operated just 18 stores in the Pacific Northwest. Now it’s going to have 164.

The Upland store will reopen Friday, not Thursday as initially planned, and will gain a Starbucks.

The only Albertsons left in the immediate area will be at Milliken and 19th. So much for my Albertsons club card.

My recollection is that the Foothill and Vineyard market opened circa 2000. I’ve been shopping there that whole time, although less so after the infamous grocery store strike. I’ll give Haggen a try too.

Note the undersized Haggen sign and the ghost image of the Albertsons sign underneath. The curb sign was in the process of being changed.

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Column: Betsy-Tacy and Claremont are now bench friends

Revisiting a couple of columns from early 2014, Wednesday’s column provides an update on the worn bench outside the Claremont Public Library dedicated to children’s author and onetime Claremont resident Maud Hart Lovelace and her Betsy-Tacy books. The bench has been repainted and repaired and is back in place. Also, the library now has all 10 of the books on the shelves.

(I really didn’t think it would require 13 months to be able to follow up on this, but the wheels of government apparently turn slowly.)

In other news in my column, exhibits on comic books and Dr. Seuss are on view at the Pomona Public Library, and new county supervisor Hilda Solis makes a surprising comment that does not involve Pomona.

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Remembering the Poly Trolley

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Cal Poly Pomona’s Facebook page posted this circa 1990 image of the campus tram, which operated from 1975 to 2003 and was known as the Polywagen and the Poly Trolley, along with this witty caption:

“Twenty-five years ago, students could be seen walking around campus in strangely patterned grandpa cardigans and high-waisted jeans. Seems like not much has changed. Except the tram. RIP, tram.”

The post has more than 1,000 likes and many comments from alumni. Among them:

Melissa Oldenburg: “I miss the tram. I remember how the exhaust fumes kept me warm on chilly mornings when I sat directly behind its exhaust vent.”

Michael Nguyen: “I miss running and jumping on the tram. That was a fun memory.”

Laura Gomez Alvarado: “I miss getting soaked on rainy days.”

Micheal Fro Fro Huluf: “If CPP brings the trams back, that will be awesome.”

To which the university replied: “You say that, but you might not like it if it were raining when you tried to ride it. But who are we kidding? It doesn’t rain here anymore.”

(Whoever is in charge of this FB page deserves a pat on the back.)

Cal Poly now uses the name Poly Trolley for a lunch wagon and, rather than an open-air tram, uses buses, called the Bronco Shuttle, to ferry students, faculty and staff from parking lots to campus buildings on the commuter campus.

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Column: Film series designed to honor Ontario Oscar-winner

Sunday’s column previews my annual film series at the Ontario City Library. This time I’m showing four classics with little in common other than the production designer, Henry Bumstead — and their own greatness, of course. Bumstead was born and raised in Ontario. Hope some of you will consider coming out for the movies, which screen for free each Thursday in April at 6:30 p.m.

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Restaurant of the Week: Angela’s Italian Kitchen

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Angela’s Italian Kitchen, 130 E. Bonita Ave. (at San Dimas Ave.), San Dimas

Looking for somewhere to eat in San Dimas, I found Angela’s on Yelp and invited a friend to meet me for lunch. It’s on the main drag, only a block east of another Italian spot, Pozzetto, where he and I ate last year. Angela’s is in the Albertsons center, toward the west end.

It’s so small, your first sight as you walk in is the door to the women’s room. But after that, they’ve managed to make the dining room feel cozy, not small. The dark wainscoting and tan paint help, as do the plethora of decorations, which include many Sinatra posters.

Rather than salad, we each ordered Italian wedding soup as our side (pictured below); full of pasta, spinach and meatballs, it was very good. We each got pastas: pasta carbonara (“good consistency and flavor,” my friend opined; pictured second) and baked mostaccioli (maybe too much cheese, but good; pictured third); each was $16. I took home half of mine and got a second meal out of it.

Did we like Angela’s or Pozzetto better? Based on one meal at each, it’s Pozzetto by a nose, and note too that Pozzetto is larger and has a wine bar. But there’s nothing wrong with Angela’s.

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Wall of hot dog fame

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On a visit to Windy C’s Chicago Hot Dogs in Upland last year, owner Freddy Johnson insisted on taking my photo and adding it to his wall of celebrities, many of them Chicago-based. He printed out the photo and had me sign it on the spot.

Faced with a photo of myself that would be framed on a wall for all to see for some time to come, I was put in mind of the “Seinfeld” episode in which a coffee shop waitress asked Jerry to sign a photo of himself and he wrote “Nothing could be finer than eating in your diner”; after Elaine mocked him, he tried to grab the photo back. With trepidation, I wrote “Hot dog! This Illinois boy loves the Wrigley,” the name of the menu item I was eating: a dog with sauerkraut and cheese (pictured below).

I returned for lunch recently, the first time since the photo. Eyeballing the inscription, I didn’t feel the urge to grab it back or hide my head. But then, Elaine wasn’t there to shame me.

(My Restaurant of the Week post from 2011 on Windy C’s has particularly entertaining comments, by the way.)

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Column: Housewife was a leader in Pomona civic life

Sunday’s column is mostly about Beth Page, a volunteer active in Pomona from the 1940s until her recent death at 103. Also: cultural notes, a plug for this blog and an Inland Valley motorcycle chase that made news in LA, NYC and the UK.

About Beth, I knew her a little and interviewed her once, making a tribute item a natural. A photographer searched our archives for photos of her and came up with one, which looked familiar to me. Evidently I took it myself to accompany my December 2006 column on her, but it didn’t run with the column, probably for space reasons. It was satisfying to get it into print and online this time. It only took eight years.

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Column: Documentary paints picture of Claremont art scene

A documentary, “Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975,” has its world premiere Sunday in Claremont (where else?). Friday’s column gives the details on that and a quick primer on the theme. Also, there are two cultural notes, and an item about an Ontario walking tour Saturday. I’ll be there selling my book.

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