Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Drink of History in Beaumont

The old water fountain has refreshed many of us. But few know its history.

On Christmas Day, the drinking fountain dedicated by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union all the way back in 1910 will celebrate its 101st anniversary. The women’s temperance group was known for its fight for Prohibition, often kneeling and praying outside saloons. But whether the WCTU did that in Beaumont has been lost in the mists of time. About 10 percent of Beaumont’s 412 registered voters were Prohibitionists around the time the fountain was erected.

Hometown fountain

The drinking fountain sits in a tiny, triangle-shaped park at Egan Avenue and Seventh Street. It’s a sliver of grass with some lofty deodar trees for shade and a picnic table. Today, it’s called Veterans Park.

Over the decades, young and old have stopped at the fountain to wet their whistle. Some would take a break from playing ball to sip water at the fountain. Others would stop on their way to Beaumont Library for the waiting adventure of books. Many came to enjoy a moment of reflection in a quiet, peaceful setting.


Nine years after the fountain offered up its first drink, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banned the sale or manufacture of alcoholic beverages. That was 1919. But by 1933, the 21st Amended ended the failed experiment with Prohibition. But in our hometown, the echoes of Prohibition still reverberate from long ago when pioneering women fought for their beliefs. A plaque at the base of the stone fountain in town reads:

“WCTU Dec. 25, 1910”

Two more years would pass before Beaumont became a city.

Speakeasies and respite

The days of speakeasies, moonshine stills, and Al Capone faded long ago in America. But if we close our eyes and try real hard, in our mind’s eye we can still envision a hometown of long ago, when farms, orchards and a community were on the cusp of change, and a fountain offered fresh water to all comers just as it does today.

*The Beaumont Blogger would like to thank the San Gorgonio Pass Historical Society for this story idea.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Santa is coming to Beaumont

“You better watch out

You better not cry

You better not pout

I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town”

In November, 1934, this traditional Christmas standard aired on the radio and became a big hit. By Christmas, record buyers snapped up 400,000 copies.

More than 75 years later, the holiday favorite has been covered by dozens of artists, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, Bruce Springsteen and Justin Bieber.

On Monday, Dec. 12, the city of Beaumont will add its own refrain with “Operation Santa.”

On that night, jolly Old St. Nick will be in town for a quick visit to see the children of Beaumont and the Pass. And we know Santa is checking his list “twice” to see who’s been “naughty” and “nice.”

So, youngsters in the Pass must be on their best behavior as they await Santa’s arrival next Monday night (Dec. 12).

After his long trip from the North Pole, the City of Beaumont is giving Santa a VIP welcome and tour of the town. With their lights flashing and their sirens sounding, the Beaumont Fire and Police Departments will escort Santa to his two stops.

Be sure and have the whole family enjoy a cup of hot chocolate with old St. Nick while he listens to Christmas wishes of our youngsters.

Here’s Santa’s itinerary for his visit to Beaumont. (His arrival times are approximate.)

—Rite Aid Pharmacy at Golf Club Drive and Oak Valley Parkway between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

— Wal-Mart in the 2nd Street Marketplace (garden side) between 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

And then in a flash, his sleigh packed, his reindeer rested, and with Rudolph The Red-Nosed reindeer in the lead, Santa is off to the North Pole!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Diaper drive shows love to Childhelp youngsters

Miss Beaumont Brittany Ramos and her court are sponsoring a baby diaper drive to help youngsters at the Childhelp Foster Family Agency based in Redlands and Los Angeles.

There are currently 69 children in Childhelp foster homes.

Brittany and her princesses, Raina Mosley, Ria Reyes, Danielle Martinez and Leah Calvert, are encouraging Pass residents to donate disposable diapers to a worthy cause. The diaper drive ends on Nov. 11.

Packages of diapers may be dropped off weekdays at the Albert A. Chatigny Sr. Community Center, 1310 Oak Valley Parkway (Hours: Monday through Thursday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Diaper history

Maybe you’ve spotted the city’s cute “Baby Diaper Drive” logo on flyers showing a baby holding a pacifier and a rattle. It’s a throwback to a bygone era before disposable diapers became the norm.

In the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, diaper services with names like “Dy-Dee Wash” sent their trucks to homes and picked up soiled diapers in special five-gallon containers. They returned later with fresh clean diapers in a sterilized container.

By the 1960s, disposable diapers quickly started replacing cloth diapers as many mothers began working outside the home and youngsters went to daycare.

Today, with Pampers and Huggies readily available, it’s easy to help with our diaper drive!

Community service

Brittany and some of her court recently had dinner at Childhelp and toured the facility. They saw all the deserving children and immediately wanted to get involved with Childhelp.

Miss Beaumont and her court represent the city at many local functions, including the Cherry Festival and the Summer Concert series.

“We hope to get more involved with Childhelp and build an even closer relationship,” said Community Services Manager Eileen Rodriguez. “We are looking for many ways to show our love for the children. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping these babies in need.”

Anyone with questions may call Rodriguez at 951-769-8524.

If you want to become a foster parent or adopt a child through Childhelp, you can contact Jennifer Quinn, director of Childhelp’s Foster Family Agency in Redlands at 909-335-1164 or at

Building character with basketball

It’s time to shoot some hoops in the Pass!

Registration is underway for the Beaumont Community Youth Basketball league.

The League, with 350 boys and girls ages five years old through high school, is signing up youngsters right now.

“Our motto is, `Leadership, integrity and community values,’ said League president Roy Mickles. “Basketball teaches teamwork on and off the court, how to overcome adversity and also helps develop a `winning spirit.’”

“You don’t win all the time, but if you do your best, you’ve succeeded.”

Registration details

Early registration can save you $20 per child, officials said.

The early registration fee is $70 per youngster through Friday, Nov. 4. The fee for late registration is $90 per child after the Friday, Nov. 4 deadline.

Registration forms, with a check or money order, should be turned into the Albert A. Chatigny Sr. Community Recreation Center, 1310 Oak Valley Parkway, Beaumont, or mailed to Beaumont Community Youth Basketball, P.O.B. 3126, Beaumont, CA., 92223.

The registration fee includes a full uniform, trophies, team pictures and medical insurance. Each youngster’s playing ability will be assessed at an evaluation before a player is drafted to a team. But all those registered ages 5 through high school are eligible to play, officials said.

Opening Day is Saturday Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with food and prizes. Practice starts the week of Nov. 14, and the season gets underway Saturday, Dec. 3.

Play ball!

The 10-game season is played at the Albert A. Chatigny Sr. Community Recreation Center on Saturdays from Dec. 3 to Feb. 25, except holidays. “March Madness” will take place on the third week of that month. During “March Madness,” Beaumont’s basketball League will choose an all-star team to compete against the best young players in Southern California. In all, 61 cities from the Southland will vie for the championship.

With the season about to start, BCYB is looking for volunteers and also to the future. Parents are being surveyed about the possibility of year-round basketball.

At the moment, the League needs coaches, assistant coaches, time keepers, referees, score keepers, help setting up games, running the snack bar, fundraising, web design and help with the All-Star tournament.

“Everyone can play a role in youth basketball,” Mickles said.

For information: http//:; League President Roy Mickles: 951-575-7172;

Friday, October 28, 2011

Playwriting contest spotlights community theater

Could there be another Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams among us?

Catch A Star Theatrical (CAST) Players wants to know, could it be you? To find out, the community theater group in the San Gorgonio Pass is sponsoring a one-act playwriting competition.

Cash prizes will be awarded and winning plays will be performed at a Pass drama festival next June. All styles, themes and genres are welcome and entries must be original, unpublished and unproduced works. A $10 entry/handling fee is required.

“Our lives are enriched by plays,” said CAST Players managing director Dick Meinhold. “Live theater gives us the opportunity to enjoy a performance, and to think about things a little differently.”

Lots of interest

CAST Players is excited to announce that so far, it already has received entries from nine states across the country. The deadline for submission is Dec. 31, 2011. Winners will be notified by March 15, 2012.

Authors of the top six plays will receive $100, and their work will be performed three times at next year’s festival. At the end of the festival, additional cash prizes will be awarded. Auditions, show times and other festival details will be announced later.

Entries should be mailed to:


One Act Play Competition

P.O. Box 125

Beaumont, Ca. 92223

For further details, see the CAST Players website:

If you have questions, please call 951-315-4253.

Into the spotlight

CAST Players was formed in 2010, and its first production highlighted the words and works of author Mark Twain. So far this year, CAST Players has presented four plays. If you’ve always been fascinated by the stage, there’s a spot just for you.

CAST Players need performers, amateur directors, stagehands and ticket volunteers. Everybody is a star in community theater!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The “Monster Mash” comes alive in Beaumont

“I was working in the lab late one night

When my eyes beheld an eerie sight”

In 1962, the novelty record “Monster Mash” became a No. 1 hit, and it’s been playing this time of year ever since.

The song tells a late-night tale of a mad scientist whose monster gets up off the slab and starts doing a new dance that becomes “the hit of the land.”

On Saturday night, Oct. 29, Beaumont will bring out the ghosts and goblins for its very own “Monster Mash Halloween Party.” The whole family is invited for a scary, good time!

It’s a free Halloween bash at the Albert A. Chatigny Sr. Community Recreation Center, 1310 Oak Valley Parkway. The activities from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. will include a maze, games, Jumpers for kids, candy, food, dancing, and a costume contest at 6:30 p.m.

Embracing the ghoulish spirit, the city’s Community Services Department will sell “howl” dogs, “boo tato” chips, “swamp juice” (water) and “ghoulade” (sodas.)


On Monday night, Oct. 31, Beaumont will celebrate Halloween with a free, safe and supervised “Trunk-or-Treat” event from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Beaumont Sports Park at the corner of Brookside and Beaumont avenues. The Beaumont Police Department, churches and community groups will fill their car trunks with delicious treats for youngsters.

So rise from the slab with your fellow creatures and hit the dance floor Saturday, then take your costumed kids to the park for some neighborly trick-or-treating on Monday. Beaumont has just the family celebrations for you this Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Portrait of a columnist

For years, readers have awakened to his column in The Press-Enterprise and on

Dan Bernstein fans have grown accustomed to tales about wayward sheepdogs, his wife fixing everything around the house and the foibles of public officials.

On October 14th, readers got a chance to ask Bernstein about all the stories he has relayed in print and online for nearly three decades.

At a “Good Morning Beaumont” breakfast, the audience peppered Bernstein with questions about his craft, what inspires him, the watchdog role of a free press, and even how he became a champion “whistler.”

Beaumont Chamber president Lynn Bogh Baldi introduced Bernstein to those gathered in the dining room at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon.

“Four times a week, his talents as a writer, humorist and chronicler of life in the Inland Empire have made us laugh, made us cry, and made us think, and after all these years, he keeps us wondering—how in the heck can he be so clever?” Baldi said. “I could only be talking about the Inland Empire’s answer to the great, old-time newspaper columnists like Jimmy Breslin, Herb Caen and Jack Smith.”

Voice for the Inland Empire

Bernstein, who has been a P.E. columnist for almost 30 years, started by whistling the well-known tune, “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning!”

The columnist began whistling decades ago when his wife spotted an advertisement in the New Yorker about a contest. Bernstein and a buddy won the “novelty” portion of the competition, in which Bernstein whistled a song called “Blue Skies.”

When it comes to writing a column, Bernstein said he picks topics that he feels strongly about and can have an opinion on.

“I try to write with some intelligence, although that might be debatable, and some passion,” Bernstein remarked. “Readers are very smart and I respect their intelligence immensely.”

Remembering our soldiers

A question from the audience about a recent column titled “Portrait of a young man” showed how Bernstein can be very insightful.

Someone had written the newspaper upset about one in a series of “American Hero” banners that hang near Fairmount Park in Riverside. The 9-foot-high banners pay tribute to soldiers who died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan or after they left the service. Most are shown in their uniform. But a highly decorated sniper, Shaun Paul Raymond, was shown bare-chested, tattooed and with a large rifle over his shoulder.

On a recent weekend, Bernstein sat with Raymond’s family in their home for an hour and half. He came away touched by the excruciating pain of trying to summarize their child’s life in a single picture.

Bernstein wrote: “We like our wars smart and tidy, our soldiers crisp and clean.”

Then, he invited readers to take a drive out to see the banner.

“You’ll see a young man named Shaun Paul Raymond."

Columns like this one about a soldier and countless others that Bernstein has written, along with lighthearted tales and political satires and biting commentaries about government waste and corruption, are what makes the columnist almost a living legend among loyal readers. He has written thousands of columns, with many more just waiting for the telling … along with a whistle or two.