The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted March 1, 2012 in News

After parents, friends and members of the Big Bear High girls soccer team spend four days shoveling snow off the pitch so they can play against Rim of the World today, the Lady Bears lose, 2-1.


A survey shows that Norco businessmen want an even-greater western flavor to Horsetown, USA.  How about re-introducing diphtheria?


Or, maybe, typhoid?


Bad enough, the so-so season that the UC Riverside basketball team has slogged through, but now they must play their final game against a Long Beach State outfit that’s not only in first place, but undefeated in Big West Conference play. Knowing there was nothing tangible to be gained or lost, no matter the outcome, another team in the same situation might have just gone limp—getting through the season over with as little effort as possible by going through little more than the motions. And here’s hoping that another team, somewhere, did something like that . . . because . . . well . . . then at least Riverside’s miserable performance has company. Otherwise, what the Highlanders did—falling behind, 19-4, trailing by 23 points and never getting within 20 points the rest of the way—is historically sad.


Did you know West Side Story, the Broadway musical-turned-movie musical which 50 years ago won 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture, was called East Side Story while it was being written—until Aug. 22, 1955, when Leonard Bernstein saw a newspaper story about a gang fight in San Bernardino? Yep.


Best Picture? Billy Crystal’s opening movie mashup.


Something wonderful is coming to an end. We’ve known it for awhile, and as we’re reminded again today, we know all the feelings that go with it—the familiar dread and helplessness and acceptance of a decision that everyone agrees is terrible but keeps making, anyway, because nothing else makes sense . . . or profit. It’s all there in Press-Enterprise reporter Alicia Robinson’s story about the latest decision to turn an orange grove into a shopping center. Stories like this aren’t written very much, anymore, since nearly all of Riverside’s orange groves have already been turned into shopping centers or housing tracks or parking lots. That’s in Robinson’s story, too, of course, delivered in a tone of sensitivity and duty. She doesn’t overdo the drama, which after all is more internal now—the story of the end of the orange groves having mixed with the stories of our own slow transition into diminishing relevance into advancing age toward the end of our own days. It’s not something we like to think about, but more and more it’s something that never completely leaves our thoughts. It’s a mystery why these orange groves have to go—it’s not as though people don’t still need and love oranges. But these just don’t make sense, anymore, to the people who determine what does. Robinson seems to get all that . . . and suddenly we realize: it’s bad news for her, too. Newspapers are going the way of orange groves. We’ve known that for awhile, of course, and it’s sad and seems lame. Something else has come along, and something else will, and none of them will be the same, and neither will we, because newspapers are their own art and we are of our own time . . . which today Robinson reminds us is not yet over. Our daily paper is here, and this is the sad and beautiful story it tells this day:

“Residential street names such as Tangelo, Mandarin and Limecrest will remain, but the 40-acre citrus grove that abuts their subdivision in Riverside’s Orangecrest neighborhood soon will be turned into hundreds of parking spaces, a Target store and a dozen or more other shops.

The erosion of Southern California’s agricultural heritage is nothing new, but Gless Ranch is one of Riverside’s last remaining large commercial groves outside the city’s greenbelt.

The City Council last week gave final approval to the shopping center planned to replace Gless Ranch.

John Gless and his family will continue to operate a fruit stand next to the grove—as they have for more than three decades—and a few rows of orange trees will be kept around the perimeter of the property to buffer the shopping plaza. But most of the grove at Van Buren Boulevard and Barton Street, which Gless planted in the early 1960s, will be uprooted in a matter of months, a slow-dying victim of rising water


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