Welcome to San Antonio Heights

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There’s a new welcome sign in San Antonio Heights. It’s at Euclid Avenue and 24th Street, outside the fire station, and as impressed reader Martin Hildreth puts it, the sign gives the corner “presence and impact.” He sent me the above photo and writes:

“Rudy Esparza (Upland) took the photo this morning with the San Antonio Walkers and dogs in force: left to right, Barry Turner (SA Heights), Michael Liu (Ontario), Martin Hildreth (Upland), Stan Dolinski (Upland) and Rusty Cushing (Upland).”

He adds that Supervisor Janet Rutherford is responsible for the sign.

I hope sensitive Heights residents won’t mind that I’ve posted this photo in the “Around Upland” category. After all, the Heights are “around,” i.e., near Upland. Or should I create a new category, “Above Upland”?

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Column: Citrus grove, and way of life, uprooted in Rancho Cucamonga

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Sunday’s column is about the development of the Wilson ranch, a 7-acre property in Alta Loma. A video (with my first attempt at narration) is attached to the online version of my column and can also be seen here.

Above is the view on Friday from Ramona. Below is the nearly identical view from mid-January, when I first visited; below that is the view that same day from Archibald (the “disturbance in the Force” that I mention in the column). Wish I had some “before” pictures.

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Column: ‘Bar Rescue’ storms the Friar Tuck’s castle on Sunday

Friday’s column presents a series of items, starting with word of the long-awaited episode of “Bar Rescue” taped in Pomona. Also: “Criminal Minds” sets an episode in Diamond Bar, a 1920s airliner is in Chino, I’ll be signing my book Sunday in Upland, I made a cameo in a play in Claremont and a birthday will be celebrated (i.e., mine).

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Restaurant of the Week: Hoch-Shanahan, Harvey Mudd

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Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall, Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Blvd. (at Dartmouth), Claremont

I’ve dined and dished about the dining halls at Claremont McKenna, Scripps and Pitzer colleges in Claremont, but I’d never been to Mudd’s until last week, when I ventured there for lunch with a friend at the colleges.

Mudd evidently didn’t have a cafeteria until 2005, when Hoch-Shanahan opened. The LEED-certified Dining Commons, as it’s known, is 28,000 square feet and boasts “open exhibition kitchen areas, seating for nearly 500, a state-of-the-art pizza oven and a rotisserie oven,” according to the college; hours, pricing and more are on the same page.

Aesthetically, it’s among the best of the cafeterias, with a high ceiling, big windows and lots of natural light, similar to McKenna’s. Mudd may get the edge because its setup is so user-friendly. For one thing, there’s an electronic menu board above each food station, letting you decide quickly based on the offerings if you want to get in line.

Items this particular day included pizzas, flatbreads, rotisserie chicken and pho, the Vietnamese beef noodle soup. They also had burgers and other sandwiches, a salad bar and more.

I got flatbread, pizza, chicken with sauteed mushrooms, mushroom caps stuffed with spinach, and a salad; my friend had some of the above plus the soup, creamy potato green chile.

“On a consistent basis, the soups are really good,” my friend said. “At Pitzer they have two soups a day; here they have three.”

She pointed out two other features that may be unique to Mudd: an Icee machine and a Karl Benjamin painting. Both classy touches.

For dessert, they had fresh-baked cookies, three kinds of fancy ice cream, strawberry shortcake, chocolate pudding, brownies and more. Cost for lunch: $13 for guests like me. Pretty good for all you can eat, and the food is really good. They even have a rack of newspapers, including the New York Times, to read.

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Column: U.S. Grant’s ‘Personal Memoirs’ made for good reading, generally

Wednesday’s column, promised last week in my Reading Log post, is about General Grant’s autobiography. It’s also kind of about procrastination, obligation and guilt, as the book was assigned for a college class in 1986 but never read until now. And maybe it’s a little bit about favorite teachers.

By the way, for space reasons, I cut a couple of stories despite loving them both. This picks up after the paragraph about some of his asides involving his early schooling and his proposal of marriage:

He tells a funny story on himself at age 8. Following his father’s strict instructions, the future president offers a price for a neighbor’s horse: “Papa says I may offer you $20 for the colt, but if you won’t take that, I am to offer $22.50, and if you won’t take that, to offer $25.”

Politically, Grant asserts that changing circumstances a century after the U.S. Constitution mean that one shouldn’t rely too much on the framers’ intent.

“The instantaneous transmission of messages around the world by means of electricity,” Grant writes concerning the telegraph, “would probably at that day have been attributed to witchcraft or a league with the Devil.”

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18 years

On March 10, 1997 I walked in the doors of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin to start my first day of work. Hey, that’s 18 years ago today!

I wasn’t new to journalism — I’d put in a decade at papers in Victorville and Sonoma County — yet Ontario and the Inland Valley seemed vast and mysterious, not to mention smoggy. Now it’s all like a small town to me.

There’s been a lot of changes in 18 years. The landscape is somewhat different, what with Victoria Gardens, the Colonies, the Shoppes and the 210 Freeway. Newspapers, including this one, are very different. At this point I can count my lucky stars to be among the dwindling number of people employed by a newspaper.

Thank you for your support. Onward to 19 years!

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Now is that neighborly?

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A reader alerts me that Walmart’s ads on the LA Times website for its new location in Pomona, a Walmart Neighborhood Market, shows the chain doesn’t know how to spell the neighborhood’s name. Click on the images for a larger view.

If it turns out the city’s name really is Ponoma, and I’ve been spelling it wrong all these years, my apologies.

(A different reader sent me the same ad a while back from its appearance on this very blog, but not knowing if we were responsible for the ad, I left that alone. Apparently it wasn’t us, which is a relief.)

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Minty!

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I’ve wanted to try the Thin Mint milkshake at Lazy Dog Cafe, a seasonal offering, but didn’t get to it last year. Last week, with the shake back on the menu, I went to the Rancho Cucamonga location (11560 E. Fourth St.) and ordered one with my lunch.

They’re $5, with $1 going to the Girl Scouts. It was as tasty as it looks, with a single Thin Mint cookie on top. The only slight disappointment is that the few crunchy bits at the bottom, which I’d assumed to be crushed cookies, were pieces of ice. Whaaaa? Whatever, I still recommend it. The shake is available through March 25.

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Column: News about Cucamonga and Chino, pie and Puccini

How’s that for range? Something for everyone! Here’s Wednesday’s column, made up of short items, some of which have been holding for a month. I’m glad to finally get these, and the ones from Sunday, out of my computer and into the paper.

As noted within, I’m off this week and won’t have columns Friday or Sunday. My column will return next Wednesday. I do have a blog post for Thursday, though, so check back then.

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Reading Log: February 2015

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Books acquired: “Funny Girl,” Nick Hornby.

Books read: “The Glass Teat,” Harlan Ellison; “Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant,” U.S. Grant.

February was a light month in some ways, only two books, but they totaled 900 pages. Also, February was light on days, with only 28. It all makes sense when you think about it.

My two books both date to my Illinois days but were never read until now.

Ellison’s “The Glass Teat” is a collection, the first of two, of columns he wrote from 1968 to 1971 for an underground weekly, the Los Angeles Free Press. He nominally critiqued TV, a medium for which he wrote. But they range far afield to talk about the tenor of the times. The results are very dated, dispatches from a moment in which society seemed on the brink and in which the Establishment seemed to be winning, but they’re of sociological interest for that reason. Also, he writes a lot about the Smothers Brothers.

Why I never read “The Glass Teat” or its sequel is just one of those things. I’ll get to the second book, “The Other Glass Teat,” in a few weeks.

I won’t say much about Grant’s “Personal Memoirs,” as I’ll have a column in the near future about them. Suffice it to say I was supposed to read the book for a college class but didn’t, and yet kept it all these years because I felt like I really should read it sometime. Now I have.

Have any of you read it? He’s a good writer, a sort of proto-Hemingway as far as direct, unadorned prose, although you have to be interested in the Civil War to slog through his descriptions of four years of battles and troop movements. I liked it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.

What did you read in February, if 28 days gave you time to finish anything?

Next month: lots of short books.

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