By Allen David
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27
What’s happening to the squirrels in the San Bernardino Mountains? Their population has been noticeably declining for about two years—spreading from the west end of mountain communities into Big Bear Valley—but biologist Jeff Villepique of the California Department of Fish & Game says no cause has been identified. A damn-sick squirrel that was discovered and captured in the Big Bear area on April 25 was sent to a San Bernardino animal health lab for testing, but Villepique doesn’t sound optimistic that this will crack the mystery. “One squirrel won’t tell the story,” he said, apparently referring to the fact that squirrels are naturally social animals and like to tell stories in groups, preferably around a fire while roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.
“So far, this is an unknown phenomenon.” Villepique said there is no indication that whatever it is causing the decline in the squirrel population will negatively affect pets or people—unless your pet happens to be a squirrel, and it dies, which would undoubtedly qualify as negative for you. In that case . . . well . . . bummer.
THURSDAY, APRIL 28
Only three months to go until the business district of Mission Boulevard in Rubidoux is beautiful again. The only question is whether or not any businesses will survive the beautification process and be able to benefit. The street has been so ripped-up ugly and so run-around inaccessible for so long—the $4.8 million construction project got under way on Oct. 12, 2010—that lots of drivers and pedestrians (read: customers) are taking alternate routes through the area or just avoiding it altogether. In other words, for many businesses, this beautification process isn’t adding up to a very pretty bottom line. Tom Freeman, spokesman for Riverside County’s Economic Development Agency, answers these concerns about the way you’d expect from someone who doesn’t have to worry about a bottom line. “There will be times when access to a driveway will be blocked,” he tells The Press-Enterprise. “But the long-term benefits of the project outweigh the short-term impacts.” And speaking long term, wouldn’t it figure that all the new sidewalks, streetlights and traffic signals, not to mention an upgraded median with hardscape and landscaping, will look a lot better for a lot longer without the wear and tear of all those businesses and customers?
FRIDAY, APRIL 29
Banning Adult School alumnus Anthony Nathan Hall is back at his mother’s house, and has it really been three months since he left to live in Canoga Park? Yes, but he assures everybody he’s just in town to visit while trying to raise money to make a movie out of his latest screenplay, Suburban Scoundrels. Actually, he hasn’t done any casting yet, either, and he’s still scouting ideas for location shoots. He pictures some of the newer housing tracts in Beaumont. “When I was writing this,” Hall tells the Record Gazette, “I was picturing my neighborhood near Coombs (Intermediate School) and other areas I used to hang out in when I was growing up.” Hall’s 10-minute short film, Open House, produced in 2009, has been submitted to the New York International Film Festival, the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival and Hollywood Short Fest. He also had a promising concept with a movie he started filming, Citizenship, and had shot several scenes with someone Hall said was “a CSI actor” who cancelled partway into shooting. There’s enough footage that he’s using it now to pitch it to “the bigs” such as Warner Bros. and Sony studios. “But they said, ‘We don’t know you, so we’re not going to buy from you,” Hall says. Not to worry, however, if there is any weight to the assessment of Jija (pronounced “Yeeyah”) Simkova, who Hall found working at Olive Garden and cast in Open House. “His comedy,” says Simkova, “makes me laugh.”
SATURDAY, APRIL 30
How was my Saturday night? Thanks for asking! I watched the White House Correspondents Dinner on CSPAN because I simply must watch a performance by Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers whenever I am feeling self loathing. Nothing else makes my suicidal tendencies seem more rational.
SUNDAY, MAY 1
Osama bin Laden is shot in the head and killed by U.S. Navy Seals who find him hiding in a mansion in Pakistan.
MONDAY, MAY 2
United States citizens react to the death of bin Laden as if it were a sporting event, complete with chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” The Lakers, apparently not caught up by the spirit, lose to the Dallas Mavericks.
TUESDAY, MAY 3
Here we go again.