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 All styles, themes and genres are welcome and entries must be original, unpublished and unproduced works.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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Water turns gold

For more than a century, the history of water in the Pass has been about epoch moments of innovation that have defined this region and heralded a bright future.
From hearty farmers who dammed up mountain creeks to flood their fields to gutsy drillers who punched the first wells, water visionaries have made their mark.

On the 50th anniversary of the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency, the Beaumont Blogger is honored to pay tribute to these pioneering forces in our region.

For decades, Pass Water Agency worked tirelessly to see that a state pipeline was built and extended to the Pass. That dream became a reality in 2003. Now a fresh supply of water gushes into a big pond in Cherry Valley and percolates beneath the surface to replenish our groundwater.

Big day

On Sept. 29th, Pass Water Agency held a golden anniversary celebration to mark decades of service to the region. Many were also honored for their pivotal role in bringing a state pipeline to the Pass.

“This is an historic moment,” said guest speaker Rich Atwater, executive director of the Southern California Water Committee. The nonprofit group educates millions of people about the importance of water.

The East Branch Extension in the Pass is the last link of the State Water Project, which is a series of dams, reservoirs, aqueducts, rivers, pumping stations and power plants that store and deliver water across a 600-mile swath of California.

The underground pipeline in the Pass runs for 13 miles between Redlands and Cherry Valley. So far, Pass Water Agency has sent 38,000-acre-feet of water from Northern California into our regional groundwater basins. It’s the equivalent of about 12 billion gallons or enough water for a year for about 50,000 homes in the Pass.

Honoring water pioneers

At the 50th anniversary event, speakers took turns recounting the Pass Water Agency’s historic contributions to our area. They praised the vision, foresight and can-do attitude of a 1960 committee of local businessmen and farmers that included Ted Silverwood, A.C. Dysart and Omar Barker. In those days, it was difficult for a sparsely populated and bucolic area to tax itself to bring in state water, but they rallied the community for a grand undertaking. Pass Water worked with the state to design and oversee construction of the pipeline.

During the celebration, Director Dave Dysart’s thoughts turned to his grandfather’s dream and the vision of others who longed to bring a reliable, new supply of water to the region. “It was quite an adventure, and we honor them today for their accomplishments.”