By Allen David
For the past three years, Bob Frierson drove around Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville and North Fontana, finding vacant homes in foreclosure and “renting” them to unsuspecting people after forging fake grant deeds—oh, and writing Bible verses on the false documents to persuade his marks to trust him. The verses were about personal rights of staying on a property or giving property to other people. Those sounds you hear are extra logs being thrown on the fire down below, Frierson pleading guilty today to two counts of recording a false document and his cell door closing as he awaits sentencing July 10.
THURSDAY, MAY 9
It’s probably impossible for us to imagine the kind of grief that has been suffered by the 140-year-old naval orange tree that is said to be the parent to all the trees that filled all the groves that accounted for the agricultural boom that made Riverside rich. That is, all but a few of its kids are gone . . . dead . . . killed . . . replaced by the sprawl of housing tracts and retail developments and hop-scotching strip malls that have made Riverside . . . well, you pick the adjective. Meanwhile, this parent tree—one of two trees brought to Riverside and planted in 1873 by Eliza Tibbets—has been forced to live on a small plot at 7115 Magnolia Ave. in Riverside on the southwest corner of Arlington Ave. and Magnolia Ave., near the Riverside Freeway, where a plaque points out its significance to whoever happens to drive past. Now plant pathologists at UC Riverside are recommending that the city cut down one of two other trees that share the parent navel orange tree‘s plot of land and enclosing the parent navel in a structure that will screen out insects—specifically the citrus psyllid, which has helped spread tree-killing disease around the country and the world. The proposed enclosure would be about 15 to 20 feet high and made of a fine mesh supported by metal poles. Its proponents say the tree might be a little harder to see but should be effective at keeping most insects from landing on it. The structure could cost between
$37,000 and $55,000, and the city has about $10,000 set aside for tree maintenance. Riverside plans to hold public meetings about fundraising and for transparency. A UC Riverside scientist finally reaches the bottom line: “None of us wants to be the generation that lost the tree.”
FRIDAY, MAY 10
Is that a weekend heat wave I feel coming?
SATURDAY, MAY 11
Yep. Heading for higher ground.
SUNDAY, MAY 12
We’d like to welcome David Stone, Jr., to Big Bear Lake, except he’s been there for 13 years, collecting pieces of property across the San Bernardino Mountains town—including three old, decrepit lodges he has transformed into upscale facilities. Nice. Now he’s putting the finishing touches on a makeover of the Village Theater, from the former movie house where I once saw Ben, to a 400-capacity venue called The Cave, which has already booked 60 music and comedy acts through the summer. Nice! And which performer will be featured at the grand opening of The Cave, kicking off this new generation of entertainment in the long-starved nightlife of Big Bear Lake, letting us know what kind of fare we can expect as we anticipate our writhing in the dance pit, our views from the two balconies, our attempts to qualify for the VIP area? Ummmm . . . Jim Curry. Don’t feel bad . . . nobody knows who that is. In fact, you’d feel worse if you did know. He’s a John Denver impersonator. Don’t feel bad if you have to Google John Denver. You’d feel worse if you didn’t have to. Anyway, we’d like to welcome The Cave to Big Bear Lake, except, well . . . yeah.
MONDAY, MAY 13
I hate the heat. I hate the heat with a hot hate.
TUESDAY, MAY 14
If any of us are ever being chased by zombies, keep this name in mind: Jerimiah Hartline. If he is out of prison by whatever time the zombies begin tailing you, the 19-year-old from Tennessee is the man you’re gonna want to call. Hartline was a passenger in a semi truck loaded with strawberries and sitting in a weigh station off Interstate 15 south of Temecula last April 6 when he sensed pursuit. He immediately took action, sliding behind wheel and taking off like a strawberry truck out of a weigh station on Interstate 15 just south of Temecula. He had not gone far when he crashed the truck, but Hartline had a good explanation for the California Highway Patrol—he was trying to throw off the zombies. The crash injured seven people and blocked Interstate 15 for hours, and Hartline quite understandably was arrested. Today he pleads guilty to assault, hit-and-run and auto theft and at his sentencing hearing on June 24 he will face up to five years in prison. On the other hand, whatever Hartline did, none of the zombies who’d been chasing him were there when CHP officers arrived. Apparently, he’d thrown them off.