By Allen David
After about a month in the sewer, Eva Negrete’s engagement ring is back on her finger today, thanks to the work of the City of Redlands’ wastewater collections system supervisor Joe Sanchez and his crew. Sometime before Christmas, Negrete had dropped the ring and lost it down the sewer line at her Clay Street home. Although it only took 45 minutes to recover the symbol of forever love, the sewer pipe beneath Negrete’s street didn’t willingly surrender it. The crew had to use its hydrojet truck three times at three different places, pressure-washing the line, and then running the return flow though a screen small enough to catch the ring—before the sewer finally coughed up Negrete’s ring, which looked and smelled like an engagement ring that had spent nearly a month in the sewer. After a cleaning, it’s back on Negrete’s finger, awaiting a wedding scheduled for March.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10
A Murrieta hospital has donated 33 oxygen masks to the city’s fire department. The donor is a veterinary hospital. The masks are for pets. “The equipment has the potential to save the life of a four-legged family member in the event of a fire,” Chief Matt Shobert tells The Press-Enterprise. Actually, Shobert’s four-legged reference understates the life-saving potential of the animal oxygen masks. They work on birds, too, which must be a pisser for any canaries still doing duty in any coal mines. The masks, which come in three sizes, and are suitable for dogs, cats, birds and more, were donated by California Veterinary Specialists, a 24-hour emergency care and specialty clinic in Murrieta. Surprisingly, having a fire department equipped with pet oxygen masks, isn’t all that unusual, anymore. Among Inland Empire cities that use them are Riverside, San Bernardino, Corona and Redlands. And nice as it is to have a fire department stocked with this other-life-saving equipment, there’s a potential benefit for people, too. The masks might reduce the number of people who go back into the fires they’ve escaped in an attempt to rescue their pets.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11
Did you forget that the Riverside County Sheriff is a guy named Stanley Sniff? Don’t! Ever!
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12
A massive report—complete with official documentation—about a variety of abusive practices by a variety of teachers in the Rialto Unified School District has been splashed across the pages of the Sun all week. It’s must reading for anyone who doesn’t mind having their sense of justice and humanity destroyed. Today I read the story of an 8-year-old whose tearful resistance to attending Henry Elementary finally prompted his parents to meet with the teacher, who basically scared the shit out of them. When neither school nor district administrators would help, they put a voice recorder in their little boy’s backpack. That wasn’t very nice of them.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 13
No, not very nice at all. On the other hand . . . the recorder revealed the teacher saying this to one of his 10-year-old students: “Not very intelligent, are ya? Are ya? Why don’t you grow up?” And here’s what Mr. Teacher had to say—quite loudly—during a writing class: “How many times do I have to say to indent? Do you not get what ‘indent’ means . . . or not? What does ‘indent’ mean? It means move it in! Just like I did! Can you not see the pink line, that’s moved in? Yes or no? Can you see it? Then why can’t you copy it that way? What do you mean, you don’t know? Because you don’t pay attention! That’s why you can’t copy it. You people don’t pay attention. Right there on the board, in black and white, and you can’t copy it down. Is that indented like I told you to do? No, it is not.”
MONDAY, JANUARY 14
The City of Norco ratchets up its reputation for ridiculousness today when Rob Koziel, a former mayor and restaurant owner who is fond of going about his life wearing a cowboy costume—and whose toughness is probably best measured by the fact that he was once arrested for jaywalking, and whose savvy is probably best measured by the fact that he beat the rap—goes to trial charging that local government officials have violated his civil rights. And how civil is Koziel? His restaurant, which is called The Maverick Saloon—go ahead and giggle—was the site of a 2005 shooting that wounded a firefighter. And Koziel’s license to sell alcohol was once was suspended for offenses that included selling alcohol to a minor. Koziel’s lawsuit is based on the equivalent of “They don’t like me and are being mean to me.” Also, that the City of Norco wanted his property for redevelopment. City officials have responded with the equivalent of, “Nuh-uh, we don’t want your property. Your property sucks.” The official list of people who Koziel is suing includes the City Norco, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, former Sheriff’s Lt. Ross Cooper, then-city manager Jeff Allred, Riverside County, the Riverside Community College District and . . . Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15
Full of grace.