TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30
Maybe you think that holding a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of a freeway overpass on Cypress Avenue across the I-10 in Fontana sounds . . . I don’t know . . . kinda ridiculous? You’re right. Unless you’ve ever been stuck, nearly motionless, for as much as a half-hour, in the traffic that frequently congeals around Sierra, Cherry and Citrus avenues. Then it makes perfect sense. And the four-lane project’s $30 million price tag? It sounds like a bargain. By the time they finish in mid-2009, you probably wouldn’t object to a national holiday. Then again, by that time, traffic will likely have increased so much that they’ll probably have to hold another groundbreaking ceremony to widen the thing.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31
Happy Birthday to my mother! Yes, this is Halloween. What are you insinuating?
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1
The possible penalty facing Redlands city treasurer Mike Reynolds—12 years in prison—seems kinda steep for allegedly misappropriating $37,880.96 in funds to cover shortages in his office’s petty cash drawer. Then you hear his voice in a secretly recorded conversation outlining how he was going to weasel out of things if he got caught, by spreading out the funny business to make it look like an honest mistake. “If we get our butts nailed, I want to be able to say, see ‘cause my thought was, it’s fine in June. We didn’t do one again until September.” A dozen years in the slammer for that kind of calculated crapola seems just about perfect.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Senator Barbara Boxer comes to Running Springs and does what politicians do in times of natural disaster—in this case, in the aftermath of the wildfires that charred the town’s Fredalba area: she puts on a yellow Forest Service fire jacket, surveys the carnage, pays tribute to the courage of the rescue workers and the resilience of the residents, and cites her efforts to lend a governmental hand. At one especially incredible scene of devastation, Boxer says, “Oh, my God”—because in situations like that, really, what else can anybody say?
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Big Bear High’s former star miler Ryan Hall confirms his amazing and sudden ascension to America’s superstar marathoner by winning the U.S. Olympic Trials in New York in a record time of two hours, nine minutes, two seconds—then almost immediately plunges from ecstasy into grief when he learns that close friend and fellow competitor Ryan Shay died during the race. A middle-distance specialist at Big Bear and at Stanford, Hall had been switching to longer and longer distances in an attempt to find international success, and finally found it in April in London, when he tried the marathon—and clocked 2:08:24, the fastest first marathon ever by an American. Today he breaks away from the pack at the 17th mile and was actually bellowing with joy during the final stages when he realized he would win. “It was really tough out there, and I’m proud to represent America,” Hall said after he crossed the line. “We have quite a team.” Moments later, however, Hall was sobbing when he learned that his training partner and friend—Hall’s wife was a bridesmaid at Shay’s wedding four months ago—had collapsed and died at the 5.5-mile point. “I can’t think about the race right now,” Hall said—a tragic epitaph for his greatest triumph.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Stores around the Inland Empire are deluged by a last-minute run for provisions—beer, soda, chips, chicken, pizza . . . maybe a carrots-and-celery tray, but only if the veggies surround a vat of ranch dressing—that makes it feel like Super Bowl Sunday. But today’s battle of NFL unbeatens, the New England Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts, was better than a Super Bowl. First, because these teams could never play each other in a Super Bowl since they are in the same conference. Second, because the game was closer and more entertaining than most Super Bowls, which rarely live up to the hype. The final score: New England 24, Indianapolis 20. And lots of indigestion.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5
A poll in the Riverside Press-Enterprise confirms that just about anybody who doesn’t regret voting to re-elect President George W. Bush three years ago this month is likely to be either a real nut or a pathetic sap. “I still like the Bushes,” says Kathryn Nutt, 64, of Rancho Cucamonga—where 70 percent of the residents voted to re-elect Bush—admitting she voted for Bush and proudly would do it again if given the opportunity. “I find that the man’s made mistakes—we all have—and it’s not worse than any other presidents.” Meanwhile, out in La Quinta—where 75.3 percent cast re-election votes for Bush—76-year-old Robert Sapp says a “major-league smear job” accounts for Bush’s poor reputation. “I just think he may not be the greatest president,” says Sapp, “but the guy is honest and is just trying to do his job.” What a Nutt. What a Sapp.