TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Rangers at Joshua Tree National Park reveal that the 3,000 golf balls—plus some tennis balls, along with assorted cans of food, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables—that have been found around the high desert natural refuge were scattered by 57-year-old Douglas Jones of La Quinta. He says he was paying tribute to deceased golfers. Jones works at a golf course, so that part checks out. But that doesn’t excuse the offense, which authorities decide is littering. Jones will face a magistrate later this month on charges his littering cost the park service about 370 employee hours and $9,000 to clean up. Fortunately for him, three counts of failing to take only photos, leave only footprints and replace all divots will be dropped. Jones’ stunt sounds kinda crazy, but you have to give him credit—it obviously took a lot of balls.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
Like budget-crunched communities all over California, the City of Hemet is reducing the size and number of delegations it is sending to out-of-town government conference—and when you’re from Hemet, all government conferences are out of town. For example, Hemet sent only four representatives to this year’s League of California Cities convention. To save money, they had to take advantage of free food offered by sponsors, reduced hotel rates and book their airfare early to get discounts. Worst, when it was over, they all had to come home.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
All the happy analysis by so-called experts notwithstanding, the evidence presented to Inland Empire trucking companies—that is, the number of calls they’re getting to transport goods—suggests that the economic recession is not ending. August and September are traditionally the months when items targeted for Christmas shopping season are shipped from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to distribution centers. Not this year. Offloads at the ports are down by double-digit percentages, and so are trucking trips. The result? According to the state Employment Development Department, there are more than 7,000 fewer goods-movement-related jobs in Riverside and San Bernardino counties than 12 months ago, when about 112,000 people were making their living that way. “This is supposed to be our busy season,” says Valerie Liese, president of the California Trucking Association and Ontario-based Jack Jones Trucking. “It’s dropped off so dramatically you wouldn’t believe it.” She’s right. Not because it’s so hard to believe the recession hasn’t receded. That’s obvious. But because traffic is still so damn bad.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Jordan Romero is back in Big Bear Lake after becoming the youngest person to scale Carstensz Pyramid in Papua-Irian Jaya, Indonesia, and before setting off in December to climb Mt. Vinson Massif on Antarctica. The 13-year-old is trying to become the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits of the world. As you might expect, this has gotten him a lot of publicity in the local paper, the Big Bear Grizzly, and the stories have provided a lot of insight into what such an undertaking—okay, bad choice of words for such death-defying endeavors—entails. “You can’t forget a single thing,” Jordan told editor Judi Bowers, “or you’re screwed.”
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
Go Bruins. Go away, Trojans. Go figure.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
For the 16th consecutive year, the Inland Empire Chapter of the Christian Rods and Custom Car Club leads a praise-and-worship service during the Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino. The club is a group of interdenominational Christian car enthusiasts who strive to be a positive witness and testimony to Jesus Christ through the sharing of God’s love and his gospel with fellow car worshipers. The praise-and-worship service is conducted on the Court Street Square concert stage, right in the heart of the Rendezvous, and for nearly an hour people trickle in to hear the message of God and songs of worship led by Joyful Noise. “We use our cars to spread the gospel everywhere we go,” says Doug Geer, local chapter president of the Christian Rods and Customs Car Club. “We like to hold church services at events like the Route and deliver the message of Jesus to those who wish to listen.” Amazing. I mean, that the head of a rods and custom car club has a name like Geer.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
They like their facts in Redlands, and they like them daily. Thus, the Redlands Daily Facts. But none of this means those facts are reported on the day they happen. Or the day after. For example, today comes a story reporting that police arrested a man on Sept. 17 in connection with a robbery that occurred on June 27. Not that the police have been working their asses off on this particular robbery, or anything. The victim found the stolen property himself—at Redlands Pawn Shop. Wow, a robber fencing stolen property at a pawn shop . . . isn’t that pretty much the oldest one in the books? Not in Redlands. They’ve got really old books. That’s a fact.