By Allen David
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22
There’s a new fence in Hemet, and naturally it’s the talk of the town—confusing some residents, frustrating others, providing much-needed entertainment for still others . . . but, basically, just giving people something to talk about. The Riverside County Transportation Commission put up the fence, hoping to stop people from parking near the train tracks—or on them; don’t worry, the tracks are abandoned—during the Saturday morning farmers market. But the plan has somewhat backfired. The presence of the fence has led many people to believe the area is now a parking lot, and more are trying to park there. The real estate and jewelry businesses that share the small business park at one end of the fence note that there are two entrances and only one exit, causing confusion, and that the exit is too small for some delivery trucks, which have to turn around and go out the way they came in. Amber Schlieder, co-owner of Authority Real Estate, described a woman in a motor home who recently spent nearly 30 minutes trying to U-turn. Summarized Schlieder: “It’s provided hours of entertainment, personally.”
THURSDAY, JUNE 23
Once again under the control of its original owners and manager, University Village is apparently on the upswing after landing three new retail tenants this year. Unfortunately, that mostly indicates how far down the center had swung since it opened in 1996 envisioned as Riverside’s answer to Westwood in Los Angeles, an entertainment and shopping hub catering to the local student population. The new tenants are Sushi Ya, which plans to open near UltraStar Cinemas; Lollicup, a shaved ice and specialty drink shop near the T-Mobile store; and Japanese fast-foot chain Yoshinoya, which has signed on next to Flame Broiler. Hmmm. You know, come to think of it, that’s not too far from what Westwood has become.
FRIDAY, JUNE 24
A new bridge—not brand-new, as people keep saying, because it doesn’t have a brand—opens in Big Bear Lake, connecting Highways 18 and 39 just east of the old bridge that sat atop Big Bear Dam for more than a century. The new bridge cost $39 million and took 16 months to construct. The new bridge features two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane and will also include a pedestrian pathway, which is expected to open in October. The new bridge’s most significant impact on traffic flow likely won’t be realized until winter, when skiers and snowboarders venture up highways 18, 38 and 330 to the area’s ski resorts. The new bridge is considered more aesthetically pleasing than the old bridge, too. Driving on the new bridge is apparently an unbelievably great sensation. Or so says Dan McKernan, marketing director for the Big Bear Lake Resort Association. “It’s great!” he says. “I drove it the other day and thought, ‘I can’t believe I’m on the brand-new bridge!’” Of course, he meant the new bridge, because it doesn’t have a brand.
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
The Angels win.
SUNDAY, JUNE 26
The Dodgers win.
MONDAY, JUNE 27
A three-year-old boy falls out of a second-story window of his home and lands on a driveway. “The mother and child were sleeping in a bed that was positioned in front of an open window,” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Karen Hunt writes in a statement. “The child woke up and leaned against the screen, which . . . gave way.” The boy suffers only minor injuries.
TUESDAY, JUNE 28
The Corona-Norco Unified School District is considering the formation of a marketing committee that would tout the quality of its schools to parents who may be considering guinea-pigging their kids in other educational options—like home schooling, charter schools or private schools. Corona-Norco school board member tells Press-Enterprise reporter Dayna Straehley that Ontario Christian School is distributing brochures in Eastvale that badmouth its schools as overcrowded because they are on year-round schedules and that he recently spoke to about 30 people in Eastvale who didn’t know that one Corona school, Santiago High, was No. 188 on Newsweek’s recent list of best high schools in America. First of all . . . um . . . Eastvale? Second of all, if this is what it’s come to—if marketing is what it takes to maintain excellence in education—well, OK. Third of all, this isn’t what it’s come to. This is the same as it ever was—a fight for state revenue, which based on average daily attendance, is about $5,200 per student for Corona-Norco. That’s old-school.