Inspiration for studying the prefix “be-“

This is a follow-up to my post, Be-ing: The Bemusing, Busy Prefix be-

If you have read this far and are not bored out of your mind, then I would like to reward you by relating the newspaper articles that bewitched me into researching the prefix be-.

Burro crossing sign on Reche Canyon Road. Photo from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

The first story’s headline is “Burro deaths causing residents concern in Reche Canyon.

Burros are beloved in Reche Canyon,” reporter Stacia Glenn begins her story, “but residents worry about how frequently they are maimed or killed by cars speeding on the windy two-lane road that connects Colton and Moreno Valley.”

Animal control officers say there were 37 accidents involving burros between 2003 and 2006, with 17 of the small donkeys killed. A 21-year-old Rialto resident died when her car struck a burro in 2005. (2008 LA Times article on the burros of Reche Canyon).

I had no idea this was going on less than twenty miles from where I live.

Wild burros roaming around, getting hit by cars? I thought Southern California was relatively free of that sort of road hazard, of cars colliding with big animals.

Almost as startling to me is learning there’s a road directly connecting Colton in San Bernardino County with Moreno Valley in Riverside County.

Reche Canyon road must be a real time-saver for commuters, a picturesque way to avoid jammed freeways.

But the more people who learn about the Reche Canyon shortcut, the worse it is for the wild burros, and the canyon’s residents’ peaceful, rural lifestyle.

Reche Canyon residents probably moved here to escape traffic, noise and the thousand-and-one stresses of living in LA or Orange counties. Says one resident, living here is like having a freeway in your front yard.

Wild burros graze on a hill near Reche Canyon Road. Photo by Khai Le, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

How did the burros end up in Reche Canyon?  “Half a century ago,” the article explains, “a rancher freed a few burros into the canyon and their numbers have since grown to about 300, area residents say. With no natural predators, herds of wild donkeys are said to double in size every four years.”

What would their natural predators be? Mountain lions? Cougars?

[I just read a Time magazine article on the 2011 drought in Texas and may have discovered why that rancher fifty years ago introduced burros to Reche Canyon. The article said that many ranchers in Texas own donkeys to guard their herds — the pack animals chase away predators like coyotes. The prolonged and devastating drought has forced Texan ranchers to sell their cattle. Since donkeys have little value on the open market, ranchers simply abandoned hundreds of donkeys to the wild. ]

But what’s this about the burro population doubling every four years? Reche Canyon could be wall-to-wall burros by 2020, unless something drastic is done.

Local officials think they’ve found a solution to the burro population boom. And it’s bad news for the male burros.

After years of trying everything from posting burro crossing signs to putting reflective collars on those that could be corralled, Riverside County Animal Services is trying a new method.

Roughly 50 burros have been castrated in recent months in an attempt to control the population and lessen the likelihood of the donkeys wandering onto the road.

“Because there are so many of them and because traffic is so bad, it is a problem,” said longtime resident Rhonda Leavitt, who assists animal control officers with the neutering. “But I think it has cut down on the number being hit.”

Statistics on how many burros are hit each year were not immediately available but residents say they see it happen about once every other month.

I read the comments people posted to this story on the Daily Bulletin website. A couple of posters were Reche Canyon residents who tell about incredibly rude, obnoxious commuters whose carelessness and pedal-to-the-metal racing through the canyon not only endanger the wild burros but also the families who call the rustic canyon home.

One resident says you risk your life just pulling out of your driveway as commuters hurtle around the curves and routinely ignore a traffic light at the canyon’s main intersection.

A resident posted that drivers did not even slow for stopped school buses. She said that people careen by her home at 60 mph. It’s like having a freeway in your front yard.

The sheriff and highway patrol have a difficult time controlling speeders and scofflaws as there is no way on the narrow road to pull drivers safely off the road.

Plans call for Reche Canyon Road to be widened, which I think will only encourage more commuters, more speeding, more danger to burros and more stress to residents.

More concrete and asphalt is not always the right answer. “They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot,” as the song goes.

I wish the beloved burros and the beleaguered canyon residents the best of luck, and hope the benighted commuters back off the gas pedal and show some respect for others.

Read the running comments on the burros of Reche Canyon news story

Reche Canyon Burro Support website

Green Frog Lounge
The Cheers of Highland

At first I thought the second article with beloved in it hardly qualified as news.

I shook my head and laughed when I read it. I’ve heard of slow news days but this takes the prize:

Highland’s Green Frog bar moving

HIGHLAND – One of the city’s most beloved dives is moving.

Rusty Rutland, owner of The Green Frog Lounge, says his 900-square-foot bar on Base Line, sandwiched between a Dairy Queen and barbershop, is too small to support a growing customer base.

He hopes to be moved into a new, 2,650-square-foot site in a strip mall along Palm Avenue sometime in early March. The strip is also home to Cee Vee’s Liquor & Deli and Jenny’s Family Restaurant.

The bar is a well-known local hangout. Resident Craig Beeby, 27, says most people simply refer to it as “the Frog.”

This is news?

But I judged too quickly, because when I searched for this story on the Daily Bulletin website, I found that what I saw in my paper was a much condensed version–part of a weekly news wrap-up each Sunday–of a longer story that had appeared earlier in the week in the San Bernardino Sun, sister paper to the Daily Bulletin.

In the longer story you learn that Rusty Rutland is a retired San Bernardino County Sheriff and that he keeps the Frog jumpin’ with all sorts of events and attractions.

The Green Frog has grown so popular in Highland, a community that has the misfortune of having grimy San Bernardino’s as its neighbor, that it’s forced to seek larger quarters.

The Green Frog Lounge had been in the same location for 45 years, starting life as one of several bars along Base Line that served mostly military patrons. What used to be Norton Air Force Base is just a few miles away; it’s now San Bernardino International Airport.

Craig Beeby, quoted in the condensed version, expands on his comment in this longer news story: “Everybody knows about the Frog, everybody in Highland’s been there,” he said. “That’s the spot.”

It really is a beloved hangout for the people of Highland, which still has a small town feel. Years ago the town was surrounded by orange and lemon groves. The annual Citrus Harvest Festival, when the whole town celebrates its agricultural past, is one of the year’s biggest events, right after the Fourth of July.

The “Cheers of Highland,” according to the San Bernardino Sun story, always has something going on: dart tournaments, the requisite Karoke Night on Saturday, Comedy Night with professional comedians trying out their acts before they hit LA comedy clubs, and any excuse for a pot luck—birthdays to funerals, anniversaries to major sports events.

The new larger location has a kitchen. Rusty plans to offer patrons a full menu. I wonder what Jenny’s Family Restaurant next door thinks about that?

It’s said that among The Frog’s fans are the city’s elected officials. So maybe you can throw darts and toss back brews with the mayor and fantasize together on how great it would be for Highland if the city were to seal off its western border with San Bernardino. That might keep out the bums, panhandlers, gangbangers, tweakers, and assorted riff raff all too common in San Berdoo.

I love the landmarks mentioned in this story: the Dairy Queen and a barbershop on Base Line, CeeVee’s Liquor & Deli and Jenny’s Family Restaurant on Palm Avenue.

But actually, that really nails it down for local readers and is far more helpful than saying, “moving from 1879 E. Base Line to 1432 N. Palm Avenue.”

A Highland resident posted this comment to the Green Frog story on the San Bernardino Sun website: “this is sad, not the fact that it is moving but the fact that i have lived in highland all my life, I’ve gone to the dairy queen a few times, drive down baseline weekly, yet i did not know this place existed until right now.”

I always get frustrated when I see street addresses in a news story or ad. Unless there’s also a map, a street address number by itself means nothing. Just about everyone navigates by landmarks, such as Dairy Queens, not street numbers.

I have a feeling the Sun reporter spent more than a little time at The Green Frog getting this story. Obviously, with such a glowing report, he was taken in by The Frog and its friendly patrons.

Which is why I wouldn’t call The Green Frog a “dive.”

A dive is a dirty, run-down hole-in-the-wall with a dark and dreary interior, low-lifes slouched on the bar stools, the air thick with the stale smell of cigarettes, pungent odor of urine and the funereal whiff of wasted lives—don’t get me started. Been there, done that.

Places like The Green Frog are for meeting friends, sharing jokes, stories and heartache, and having a good time.

They’re an adult playground, a place where coworkers wind down after a hard day at work, where people can socialize (face-to-face, not Facebook-to-Facebbook).

We have so few opportunities to get away from our solitary existence staring at computer monitors, staring and poking at smart phones, staring at the big ass-end of the semi-truck ahead of you on the freeway, staring at big screen HD TV’s.

If only local government could run a neighborhood community center like The Green Frog… But the Park & Rec bureaucrats would just muck it up.

Some may also label a “dive” an establishment northwest of The Green Frog near the Cajon Pass in Devore, but this bar too has a loyal following among a certain group.

The Screaming Chicken Saloon is  a biker bar—I’m sure to its regular customers, like Psycho Francis quoted below, it’s a beloved biker bar.

Why it’s called the Screaming Chicken, I don’t know—but I bet there’s a story there. Any one know, please post a comment.

The Screaming Chicken saloon is in a former gas station near the Cajon Pass and I15 Freeway, the major route between LA and Las Vegas

Read this comment by one Psycho Francis defending the Screaming Chicken from detractors who had posted negative reviews of the bar’s ambiance, employees and clientele:

“Somebody wrote that this place give Bikers a bad name! I got news for ya- most of the people i know perfer that the general population consider us bad. It serves us well and them better, cut me off in traffic and you better hope i need to stop for gas- there are more than a few cars with my foot print in there door. As for the place being dirty, there is an old joke ‘What is the difference between a hoover and a harley?’ Answer ‘With the Hoover the Dirt Bag is on the inside.’ If i come back from Vegas after blasting down I-15 in hundred degree heat, i dont want anybody complaining about the smell or the fact that i got about 300 miles of dirt on my face. As far as comments about the patrons and staff, I find them to be very friendly and well mannered but then again i am not looking down my nose at anyone coming up from my suburban overprice McMansion. If you don like the place i can only say one thing DILLIGAF, and Moreover, “If I have to explain you would not understand.” If you don’t like the place to the point of writing a diatribe about its faults and how much you wish the patrons, staff and management should either be consumed by fire, otherwise die or move away, you have more problems than they have and quite frankly DCIYS.”

I like Psycho Francis’s joke: “What is the difference between a Hoover and a Harley?” Answer: “With the Hoover the Dirt Bag is on the inside.”

Maybe I’m just hopelessly naive or lack a scatological  imagination, but what does Psycho Francis mean by the acronyms DILLIGAF and DCIYS?

I’d tell that Hoover joke to select company at The Green Frog Lounge, but never at the Screaming Chicken Saloon. You have to be a biker to tell that joke to a biker.

I waited too long to finish writing this post. The original San Bernardino Sun story on The Green Frog, as well as the story about the burros of Reche Canyon, are now buried in the archive section of the newspaper’s website and not so easy to access.

Befuddled, I bewail being bereft of these beguiling articles to bedizen this post on the bemusing prefix be-. Don’t let your thoughts on be- be unbeknown: bestow your comments below!

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