Ducks to Help Open In-Line Rink in Corona, CA

The Anaheim Ducks and Anaheim Hockey Club (In-line) announced today that a new in-line rink will open in Corona, Calif., this January (2008). The rink, named the Anaheim Hockey Club of Corona, will serve as the Ducks’ official in-line facility and complement Anaheim ICE, the club’s official practice facility. Renovations are underway, which will make Anaheim Hockey Club the premiere in-line facility in Southern California.

“The expansion of both ice and in-line hockey at the youth level is critical to the future of our sport,” said Anaheim Ducks CEO Michael Schulman. “The Samuelis have made strong financial commitments in those areas over the last two years, including the renovation of the new Anaheim Hockey Club of Corona.”

Anaheim Hockey Club (AHC) will be operated by Ken Murchison, who has over 12 years experience in facility management. Murchison has 25 years tenure as a hockey player and coach and will serve as head coach to the roller hockey elite teams housed at the facility. With the Ducks support, AHC’s objective is to create a management template that will serve as a model for future in-line rinks across the region.

“We are extremely excited to venture into a partnership with the Samuelis and Anaheim Ducks that is committed to growing hockey in Southern California,” said Murchison. “This is the support our hockey community needs for long-term growth.”

AHC will assist in the growth and advancement of roller hockey in the United States, striving to provide the community with organized roller hockey in a healthy and safe environment.

AHC is now registering youth and adult players for their hockey programs. For registration information, visit The facility will serve as an extension of the Ducks’ on-going efforts to promote youth hockey in Southern California by developing fans and players at a young age.

“We’re happy to support and assist with the cross-promotion of in-line and ice hockey in order to build on the growing popularity of the sport in Southern California,” said Art Trottier, General Manager of Anaheim ICE.

AHC will be comprised of two standard sized rinks (180 x 80), housed in a completely enclosed building. In addition, the building will be fully air conditioned with various amenities, making AHC the only rink of its kind in the area. It’s conveniently located adjacent to the 91 and 71 freeways in Corona, giving the facility high visibility to over 232,000 passing cars each day. The Ducks will have signage and visibility in the rink. The elite travel program, the Anaheim Bulldogs, will change their name and colors to the Jr. Ducks, giving the club national recognition in the sport of in-line hockey.

With the rink set to re-open in January 2008, renovations will be on-going with a grand opening taking place later in the year. Anaheim Hockey Club is located at 4325 Prado Rd., #101, Corona, CA 92880.

January Symposium on Climate Change and Global Carbon Footprint

A day-long symposium consisting of multiple panel discussions involving key influential leaders in the areas of education, economic development, green technology, sustainability and government. Moderators and discussion leaders will be representing the Inland Empire’s U.S Green Building Council, WRCOG the Western Riverside Council of Governments and CINC, among others.

Richard Fedrizzi, founding Chairman of the U.S Green Building Council, will be the keynote speaker at the Green Institute for Village Empowerment’s January Symposium. He will address changes in the current climate and effective ways to help reduce our global carbon footprint.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

8:30 a.m. Registration
9:30 a.m. Welcome – Green Valley Initiative, Green Valley Strategic Plan
10:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker, Richard Fedrizzi
11:20 a.m. Panel Discussions
12:15 p.m. Developing Green Villages (Lunch Provided)
1:00 p.m. Green Action Plan

Panel Discussions
4:10 p.m. Green Idea Challenge YouTube Presentation
4:45 p.m. Networking Reception
6:00 p.m. Green Film Festival

Dos Lagos Media Center: Krikorian Premiere Theatres
2710 Lakeshore Drive, Corona
Web cast:
Reservations Required: (323) 350-5750 or

About Rick Fedrizzi:
Rick Fedrizzi, Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council and Vice Chairman of the World Green Building Council, is a frequent speaker on green marketing, industrial ecology and sustainable “green” building design. Mr. Fedrizzi is the founder and president of Green-Think, an environmentally focused marketing and communications consulting firm, which he established after his distinguished 25 year career at Carrier Corporation. His experience includes membership on the Greening of the White House feasibility study team that developed the environmental, energy audits and upgrade recommendations announced by President Clinton. He has worked with the U.S Department of Energy to advise them on manufacturing and green building technologies in the development of the National Energy Policy Plan.

About Green Institute for Village Empowerment (GIVE):
GIVE is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing philanthropic and educational efforts that expand sustainable communities and promote a better quality of life. Formed by SE Corporation, GIVE hosts monthly symposiums and special events in its mission to educate the public about issues related to sustainability. For more information, visit or

Random Blogs: Fender Guitar Factory and "I'm Engaged"!

Day 41 Fender Guitar Factory, Corona, CA

Since I checked out the Fender Museum, I was curious about the factory. The woman at the counter for the museum was nice when I asked her a couple of questions. I just wanted to know why would Fender put a museum in Corona. It turns out that one of their factories is in Corona. She said that she used to work there, and that it is a pity that they don't do tours since so many people would love to see that. She is right, I know that I would.

The Museum is a non profit that gets sponsorship from Fender. They do not own the museum, but they do have a factory in Corona. Weird to think that Clapton maybe playing a product of the Inland Empire. So I went to find the museum. They are on 311 Cessena Cir, Corona, CA 92880. I found them with a quick online yellow pages search. The other address that you may find if you do the same, 2621 Research Dr, Corona, CA 92882, is vacant. I think that they moved from the one to the other.

Now I am curious if I should be staking out the building for views of Stevie Vai or Avril Lavigne, maybe even Clapton himself has graced the IE....Thanks for looking.

I'm Engaged

okay, so I just got ENGAGED last night at 10:05 pm. Charles and I were walking around the lake at dos lagos and we sat on a bench that was familiar to us both. it was freezing that night and just as we were standing up to leave he got down on his knees and with the most nervous voice, he proposed!!!! I just wanted to laugh cuz Charlie sounded like he just went through puberty and had the LOWEST voice I've ever heard!! he's sooooo adorable! I haven't stopped smiling since and we are just incredibly happy. We are trying to figure out a good date, April 25th sounds good but nothing's set in stone!!! WE both have A LOT of work to do now.... it'll be an adventure!! love you all

Business Notes: Dos Lagos, Momotree and Office Growth!

Dos Lagos showcases art, music

Greg Adamson is a local artist who creates paintings to live music on stage at the Dos Lagos Amphitheater. He will complete the second of two large paintings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Art@the Heart of Dos Lagos, a collaboration of art and live music hosted by the Corona Art Association. Admission is free.

Adamson, a member of the Corona Art Association, sees a close connection between visual art and music.

"I am often drawn to musicians as subjects because I identify with the zone they seem to occupy when performing," he said. "I find myself in that same zone when I'm painting to music."

In addition to Adamson painting with band Derrick Edmondson, several art association members will be displaying and creating art on the Plaza near the Dos Lagos Amphitheater.


Momotree coming to V.G.

Newly founded retailer Momotree will soon be joining the merchant lineup at Victoria Gardens.

The store, which will sell trendy apparel, accessories and collectibles and carry fashion lines such as Tokidoki, Harajuku Lovers, Tarina Tarantino and much more anime-based merchandise, is set to open in May.

"Momotree will bring an entirely new genre of products to Victoria Gardens, providing shoppers with even more choices," said Christine C. Pham, general manager of Victoria Gardens.

All the merchandise is hand-selected and meant to appeal to customers of all ages.

"Momotree was fortunate to find available space at Victoria Gardens," said store co-owner John Sugita. "It is the ideal conduit to bring these urban, pop-art inspired products to the Inland Empire."

Information: ,

G&E sees strong office growth

Grubb & Ellis Co. says the 2008 commercial real estate outlook is good for the Inland Empire.

The industrial market is expected to further solidify its position as Southern California's leading distribution hub. The office market will see an increase in vacancy as supply outpaces demand and white-collar job growth slows with the slowing economy.

In the retail market, the weak housing market may bruise consumer confidence, but the Inland Empire seems somewhat immune as much of the area's local population is underserved by retailers in all categories.

The office development boom, which began in 2005, will slow in 2008 as developers become more cautious. Fallout in the local housing market coupled with the shaky mortgage industry will affect tenants, some of which will downsize their operations and sublet space.

The Inland Empire will continue to be an industrial powerhouse in 2008, benefiting from its proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, competitive rents, Los Angeles' under 2 percent vacancy rate, and available space to accommodate large warehouse users.

The Inland Empire has not been immune to fallout from the subprime lending crisis and its impact on consumer confidence. Nonetheless, the retail market has continued to exhibit strength.


City struggles to define itself

Norco wants 'Western' buildings, but leaders disagree on specifics

How Western is Western? That's the question Norco has been asking lately.

Planning officials are a little torn about whether proposed new businesses, such as Bob's Big Boy, meet the city's Western design guidelines.

Those guidelines are in the form of a checklist the Planning Commission uses when reviewing architectural plans. The issue, despite the guidelines, is just exactly "Western" means.

"Everyone has a different idea of what they personally see as Western," said Mayor Frank Hall.

"There is not one uniform look. We want architects to use the Western motif as a guideline."

At the Dec. 19 council meeting, Hall asked that the City Council hold a joint meeting with the Planning Commission to "see if we can get on the same track."

As a commissioner, Pat Hedges said she uses the checklist as a guide to make sure buildings are up to the standards.

In the last year and a half she has been on the commission, Hedges said the council has supported the board's decisions.

Traditionally, Sixth Street has had the more Old Western feel, Hall said. He believes because Hamner has much more room for development, it should be left open for a more modern theme.

"Basically, there (is) a strong consensus that (on) Sixth Street we want a Western theme, but it's loosely defined. Even the checklist is subjective," said commissioner Mike Harris.

Hall said the city needs to be able to be lenient on the design guidelines to be able to attract a diversity of retailers.

"Our base is retail sales. We rely on that for the economy of the city," Hall said.

Harris understands the need for the design guidelines to be looser on Hamner especially when they are competing with Eastvale and Corona for economic development.

"The expenses (of buildings) go up, and the attractiveness goes down," Harris said.

Harris said one solution would be to put together a specific plan for Hamner.

Harris also said he thinks the Planning Commission comes in too late in the review process.

"Instead of working with the applicant, we're almost in the position of critiquing or judging," he said.

Harris believes the city should consider establishing an architectural review board, which would consist of a planning commissioner, city staff, as well as an architect who would meet to review early plans.

It would streamline the whole Western design issue, he said, because the architectural review board would determine if a project met guidelines early on.

Harris said he drew inspiration for the review board from cities such as Temecula and Brea that have similar systems in place.

The council will meet in late January for strategic planning and is expected to set a meeting with the Planning Commission.

The Green Valley Initiative: Opportunity Takes Root in the Inland Empire

Imagine the Inland Empire for what it could be: a progressive region, with people working together to bring about a higher quality of life.

Imagine a new standard of living that includes:
  • Shorter commutes, so that parents can come home to have dinner with their children
  • Cleaner air, to help reduce the asthma and allergy rates among our children\
  • Higher-paying jobs, to boost the affluence of the region and the career opportunities of the people who live here

The effort to get there has already begun. On October 22, the Green Valley Initiative put recommendations for a plan before the counties and the state to bring balanced housing and jobs so people can work closer to home, to encourage smart infrastructure to make getting around a lot easier and to educate the public - and best of all, our children - to be sensitive to the environment when making choices in their lives.

During this meeting Bridgett Luther, Director of the California Department of Conservation, announced that the Inland Empire has been chosen to host a pilot recycling program, giving proof that green practices will soon become a way of life for the region.

The dual-county economic development plan is designed to stimulate an economy built on green technologies. Similar to what happened with computers in California's Silicon Valley, the Green Valley Initiative has plans to establish the Inland Empire as the nation's leader in renewable energies, green building materials, alternative transportation options and alternative fuels.

Our region is the ideal place for this to happen. An unprecedented 2 million people will move into the area in the next 15 years, bringing with them a need for new buildings, new roads, new schools and a new perspective on our future.

We are located close to interstate freeways, rail, international airports and harbors that can support businesses here. We have the consumer base and workforce to feed a thriving green economy.

Some green companies already established in the Inland Empire include: Kramer Junction Solar Farms, Phoenix Electric Car company, the Palm Springs Wind Farms, and a waste-to-energy plant at Romoland, to name a few.

With the work of dozens of stakeholders: from mayors of cities to county supervisors, environmental groups, financial and economic development experts, representatives of the region's cultural and educational institutions, and community members, we can clean up our region and attract businesses with high-paying jobs, products and services related to environmentally based technologies.

We invite everyone to get involved. For more information visit

Weekend Events at The Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos.

Art @ The Heart of Dos LagosThe Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos presents Art @ The Heart of Dos Lagos hosted by the Corona Art Association. Join local artists for a special collaboration of the visual and performing arts. Artists will be painting and sculpting to live music at the beautiful Dos Lagos Amphitheater in Corona, CA. Join us on Friday, December 21 and 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM as we celebrate the arts. Admission is free. For additional information, call (951) 277-7601 or visit

Saturday Night "Flashback" Concerts Join KOLA 99.9 Saturday December 22 and 29 for a special "Flashback" Concert Series from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at the beautiful Dos Lagos Amphitheater. Groove to your favorite 60's, 70's and 80's music; and, test your knowledge of Classic Rock, Pop and Soul with KOLA's trivia contest. Stop by for your chance to win prizes and merchant gift cards from The Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos. Admission is free. Call (951) 277-7601 or visit for additional information.

Local Auction: Troy Lee Designs!!!

Occasionally we come across items we need to part with. Some of these items are sold with proceeds to benefit charity. Others we simply have no room for in our showroom. To give everyone a fair opportunity to purchase these items, we put them up for auction and the item goes to the highest bidder. Most of our auctions will be available on eBay, the leading online auction website.Items currently up for bid are listed below. Clicking on a link will take you to that item's auction on eBay. You are not obligated to purchase the item until placing a bid. Items up for bid will include spare bike parts from our race team, spare parts from SEMA cars, or one-of-a-kind collector's items like helmets and motorcycles. Auctions only last a short time, so be quick!

More flee state than move in

California's population continued to grow modestly in the last fiscal year despite a significant exodus of residents to other states, according to a state report released Wednesday.

The annual study by the Department of Finance showed that 89,000 more people moved out of California than moved here from elsewhere in the United States. California's population did grow in fiscal 2007 -- but the growth rested on births and the arrival of more than 200,000 immigrants from other countries.

The shift dovetails with the state's weakening economy and is most likely related, said Howard Roth, chief economist for the Department of Finance.

Those who left, Roth said, were fleeing an economy in which just 5,800 jobs per month were created -- down from more than 20,000 per month the previous year. Jobs were lost in housing, finance, construction and other sectors, and key indicators like the number of automobiles sold were also down, he said.

People who are leaving the state, he said, are probably doing so because they believe they'll do better elsewhere.

"If you're someone in finance and you haven't already been laid off . . . or if you've lost your job here and maybe your house, maybe you're thinking that there are better prospects out there in other states," he said.

The trend toward reduced "domestic migration" -- which began in 2005 and has increased dramatically since -- is a sharp turnaround from nearly a decade of sustained population growth.

While the state lost many residents during the economic downturn of the 1990s, people had been steadily moving to California from other states since 1999.

But once the housing bubble burst, the trend reversed.

The story was repeated in Southern California, where every county except Riverside and San Diego saw a decrease in "domestic migration.

"In Los Angeles County alone, nearly 115,000 fewer residents came from other states and California counties than moved to other states and counties. The county ended up with a total increase in population thanks to 91,000 births and an influx of 70,000 residents from foreign countries. (The county now has roughly 10,294,000 residents).

Since 2000, about 500,000 more people have left Los Angeles County than have moved here from other parts of the U.S. and California, the figures show.

Orange County also had a modest increase of about 23,000 people overall, though there was a deficit of about 22,000 residents among those who moved to or from other parts of the U.S. (Orange County's population is 3,098,000). The picture in Ventura County was similar: an increase of 7,700 people overall to a total population of 827,000, but a deficit of 3,100 among people who moved domestically.

Many of those who left Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties moved to the Inland Empire, according to economist Roth. Riverside County, for example, showed a net increase in the number of people moving in from other parts of the state or country, as well as an increase of 61,000 people overall. Still, the county's overall growth rate of 3.3% was slower than the year before, when the population climbed by 4.26%.

The slowdown in Inland Empire growth will probably get worse next year as regional housing sales continue to slow, said John Husing, an economist who studies Inland Empire counties.

The number of houses sold in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in the first quarter of 2007 was about half the number sold in the first quarter of 2006, he said.

"The slowdown in the housing market attacks the fundamental strength of the Inland economy," Husing said. "I personally think we're heading into a recession here.

"The report placed the state's population as of July 1 at 37,771,000 people. It added about 438,000 residents in the previous year.

Linda Gage, the state demographer who put together this year's report, said officials started with census figures, and then used such information as school registration, new birth certificates, driver's license applications and tax records to determine how many people have moved to the state and where they came from.

Gage said state's population has been boosted by births. There were 327,000 more births than deaths in California -- and that has helped mask those leaving the state.

The exodus is in some ways similar to the early 1990s, when a national recession, tumbling housing market and massive cutbacks in Southern California's defense industry at the end of the Cold War prompted 1.2 million people to move to other states.

But Roth said the trend should be less severe this time because the state's economic problems -- and image problems -- are not as great.

"It won't be the lasting problem we had in the 1990s," Roth said. "It will go away."

X Fest December 2007 in Riverside, CA

X Fest December 2007 in Riverside, CA

In the WTF File: Mother Arrested For Supplying Laughing Gas To Teen Son's Party

A mother was arrested for supplying nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to her 13-year-old son and his friends.

Maria Antonia Mendez, 28, allegedly gave the gas to the teenagers, who used it to get high. The teens were discovered after skipping school in Lake Elsinore, said Sgt. Evan Petersen of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities discovered the incident after being notified by school officials of the teenagers' repeated school absences. The AP reported that deputies armed with a search warrant discovered cans of nitrous oxide. The teens, investigators said, apparently filled balloons with the gas and inhaled it.

Mendez was also reported to have participated in the "ditch parties." She was charged with multiple counts of child endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

An ABC article said that Mendez's son was placed in protective custody.

T & A Lingerie the Plus Size Lingerie Superstore is Opening the Door for the 51% of Full Figured/ BBW Woman

T & A Lingerie a division of Klone Media, LLC. based in Mira Loma, CA is leading the way for the plus size intimate apparel retail industry. At T & A Lingerie they understand that women of all sizes are sexy and not just the entertainers portrayed on the big and small screen.

T & A Lingerie is currently serving their client's needs by providing plus size intimate apparel from sizes 1X-6X including but not limited to Babydolls, Corsets, Camisoles, Teddies, Fantasy Costumes, Leather & Vinyl. T & A Lingerie understands that the media often portrays sexy as stick thin often gaunt, waif and underfed looking women strutting down a catwalk or on the cover of a fashion magazine. T & A Lingerie understands that all women need to look and feel sexy that is why they offer lingerie in sizes that fit the average woman. "Many full figured women just do not feel comfortable going into a store to search for intimate apparel. Clients can now discreetly go on our site preview and price out what they are looking for and order and receive their products right to their door 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said Gary Martin, Operations Manager of T & A Lingerie. To preview the great all plus size lingerie collection go to T & A Lingerie offers a $5.95 flat rate to all customers in United States, Alaska & Hawaii included. Stop by today to see what T & A has to offer you.

Supervisors won't back Jurupa district on seizing Calvert property (aka 'How Ken Calvert Stole Christmas')

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday dealt a setback to a Jurupa-area park district's efforts to gain ownership of 4 acres sold to Rep. Ken Calvert and his partners in a disputed transaction.

Supervisor John Tavaglione, whose Second District includes the Jurupa area, urged his board colleagues to vote down the request by the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District to allow the use of eminent domain to seize the land.

The vote was 5-0.

Tavaglione chastised the park district and the Jurupa Community Services District, which sold the land to the Calvert partnership without the state-required notification to other governmental agencies that the Limonite Avenue property was on the market. The park district has sought the land since at least 2001 as the site for a park or a youth sports field.

Tavaglione said he was unhappy that the long-feuding districts appeared to be trying to drag supervisors into the land dispute.

"The community deserves better," he said.

Eminent domain is the process by which a government agency can acquire private property for public use by paying fair market value. If negotiations with the property owner fail, the case goes to court and the owner can be forced to sell.

Dan Rodriguez, the park district's general manager, said he was poised to fill out a speaker's request form to address supervisors Tuesday when he noticed that the item was listed on the consent calendar, which is always approved as a block item.

"The supervisor pulled the item, he spoke, they voted on it and it was a done deal," Rodriguez said. "I was truly surprised."

Calvert, R-Corona, reached at his Washington D.C. office, said he shared Tavaglione's sense that he was being drawn into a local dispute against his will.

"I feel like I'm in the middle of a circular firing squad," Calvert said, adding that he hoped the two districts would be able to settle their differences.

Calvert and his partners want to build a ministorage facility on the property.

Rodriguez said the park district board will call a special meeting on Jan. 3 to weigh its options in closed session.

The Jurupa district provides parks, arenas and recreation services to the unincorporated west Riverside County communities of Mira Loma, Glen Avon, Pedley, Sunnyslope and Rubidoux.
The Riverside County grand jury concluded last summer that the community services district did not follow state law and recommended that the district turn over to the park district the $1.2 million it received from the sale.

The community services district has maintained all along that it did nothing improper.

Editor's opinion: Shame on you Ken Calvert! Self Storage over a Youth Sports really have your community, priorities and (apparently) pocketbook in check!

Monster Energy new Supercross sponsor

Live Nation Motor Sports, Inc., has announced that Monster Energy has signed on as the title sponsor of AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, effective immediately. This exceptional move designates the 2008 title as: Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship.

Monster Beverage Company, a Corona CA-based company that’s part of the Hansen Natural empire, has been dialed into action sports and supercross since the drink’s inception - sponsoring both individual athletes and supercross teams as well as numerous amateur motocross racers, teams and programs. The agreement to become the title sponsor of supercross marks Monster Energy’s initial venture into a title sponsorship of a major pro motorcycle racing championship.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce Monster Energy as the title sponsor of supercross,” said Charlie Mancuso, president of Live Nation Motor Sports, Inc. “It was challenging to find a title sponsor partner that is the right fit for supercross. As a company and brand Monster Energy has proven street credibility within supercross and throughout the action sports industry, while Monster Beverage Company is a cutting edge company that’s on the rise. Live Nation Motor Sports is certain Monster Energy will help elevate supercross to the next level given Monster Energy’s keen marketing sense, recognizable brand strength and powerful distribution system. Monster Energy is a perfect fit for supercross.”

Live Nation Motor Sports, Inc. together with the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) also announced the consolidation of the AMA Supercross Series and the FIM World Supercross GP into one unified championship. The 2008 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, will for the first time ever, crown one overall supercross champion.

“We appreciate the AMA and FIM working with us to merge the two series into one,” added Mancuso. “We have only scheduled one international race for 2008, in Toronto, Canada on March 29. The plan is to add a second international race to the schedule in future years. Building the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, into a strategic worldwide sports and entertainment brand will continue to be the focus of the AMA, the FIM, Monster Energy and Live Nation.”

PFF Bancorp CEO bullish on Inland Empire despite declining housing market

PFF Bancorp, the parent firm of PFF Bank & Trust, has a history dating to 1892 in the Pomona Valley, but it was not involved in the ill-fated financing trend of the current decade: subprime mortgage lending to borrowers with questionable credit.

However, like many financial companies nationwide with a stake in the homebuilding industry, said President and CEO Kevin McCarthy, PFF felt the fallout when borrowers began defaulting on home loans they couldn't afford when introductory rates expired.

Dropping demand and tightened credit standards left builders with a growing glut of newly constructed houses, and some are having difficulties paying back their construction loans from banks such as PFF.

PFF's finances remain sound, McCarthy said, but the company responded to the housing situation in October by placing $34 million in reserve to guard against expected losses from construction loans.
The 55-year-old McCarthy grew up in Claremont and has seen plenty of housing market ups and downs since joining PFF in 1978, when it was still called Pomona First Federal. He remains bullish on the Inland region's chances of bouncing back from the housing slump as long-term population growth continues.

"In the long run, the Inland Empire is going to be seen as still having some of the most affordable housing in California," said McCarthy, who is based at the company's headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga.

PFF Bank & Trust has 38 offices around Southern California, and its $4.5 billion in assets makes it the second-largest banking institution with Inland headquarters.

Q: How do you retain good employees?

A: We have a career (path) program. We help our workers pay tuition at two-year and four-year colleges to learn new skills. If they learn those skills, they move up in the company and they stay with us. The average tenure of many of our current employees is 15 to 20 years.

Q: How does being in the Inland Empire affect your company?

A: We're able to grow our business based on the natural growth of the Inland Empire. We don't have to acquire other banks to grow, and we don't have to go outside of our area to get new business. That's rare in banking -- you don't have many regions in the country where that is the case.

Q: Why did you choose this industry?

A: My original interest was in international banking and finance. I decided on community banking because it places a bigger emphasis on service. Your success is measured on how you provide service to your customers.

Q: What are the major changes you see for your industry in the next five years?

A: With the changes that are being made in management, and also some of the new (government) oversight, the banking industry is going to be stronger than it's ever been. When you raise the credit standards, that's going to ensure that the people who get loans for a house are the people who can afford to have a house. That's good for everyone.

Q: What is your advice for other executives?

A: The advice I would give is that the employees in your organization are the most important thing. Your success is going to be based on the quality of service that your employees are giving to your customers.

Q: What do you do to distinguish your company from others in the field?

A: For us it's our familiarity with the Inland Empire. We know the market, we know our customers, and they come back to us because of that knowledge.

Sports Briefs (Corona and Chino Hills)

Three of the top quarterbacks in the state of California, Santa Ana Mater Dei's Matt Barkley, Corona Centennial's Matt Scott and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's Dayne Crist have been announced as three of the seven finalists for the inaugural Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year Award, presented to the top high school quarterback in the country.

The award is presented by DeBartolo Sports University.

In seperate news...

The award for Offensive Player of the Year was shared by a pair of midfielders in Jackie Kaeding (Coralville, IA) and Kelsey Shaw (Chino Hills, CA). The tandem combined for five goals and three assists and both will return in 2008.


As business after small business shuts down here in Temecula (T-town), and homeowner after homeowner just walks away from the home they hoped would one leverage them into a higher tax bracket, Al Rattan’s favorite group of big spenders, the T-town city council, made one blacksmith’s Christmas bright. Budgeted at $180,000, the city council paid out the large sum for the ‘wall hanging’ that graces one side of the Overland Overpass. Long hailed as idiotic by the hoi polloi, the idea of hanging anything over the side of an overpass, illegal by the Highway Patrol but OK by the city, was always one that seemed to be half-baked at best. Kept off the front burner in the main stream (local) media, the grumbling which started when the scripture was first viewed, and only grew louder when the price tag was once again exposed to the public, who paid for what has lovingly been called a ‘turd salad’. When you think about the fact that on a good year, the TVIFF (Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival) only gets $30K to host it’s gala week long affair and the city just spent $87K for a report about the Youth Master Plan (not the master plan itself), it’s easy to see just where Big AL is getting his ‘political bedfellows cut up T-town pie’ talk to tell the Rescue Temecula townsfolk. In all honesty, you would think that all that money could have been used to help keep some of the small business open during this recession as well as stock some food pantries for the fire and layoff victims instead of buying a blacksmith a bigger bass boat. Still one wonders if all those kind Murr-ville folk who drained Cuppy’s Coffee cup are aware that T-town city is poised to take a bite out of Murrieta by glomming up French Valley and their 48,000 home tax base and including it in the land the T-town city council is annexing. Bet you thought only the Quarry land was up for grabs. Forty-eight thousand homes with families is not ‘chicken feed’ for the T-town forces.

Yard House Makes Its Riverside Debut at The Galleria at Tyler

Award-Winning Eatery Opens Its First Riverside Location; Dazzling Savvy Shoppers and Residents With Its American Fusion Fare and 130 Taps of Beer

Yard House, the popular eatery known for its great food, classic rock, and the world's largest selection of beer, opened its first Riverside location yesterday at The Galleria at Tyler. The 10,000-square-foot, freestanding restaurant, located beneath the center's new cinema complex, welcomed its first guests on Sunday for lunch, and crowds continued to pour in throughout the day for dinner and late-night dining.

"We're extremely excited to be part of the Riverside community," said Steele Platt, founder and CEO of the popular restaurant chain. "My partners and I are extremely fastidious when selecting a location. The Galleria at Tyler met all our needs. It's more than just a place to shop, it's a destination. We feel our concept will be a nice complement to the current tenant mix."

Yard House at The Galleria at Tyler boasts both indoor and outdoor dining with a guest capacity of nearly 450. The striking interior showcases a contrasting mix of warm woods, stainless steel accents, and original artwork by Southern California artist Jerome Gastaldi complete with a signature oval bar and fleet of 130 handles. The glass-enclosed keg room is essentially the pulse of the operation, and has the capability to house as much as 400 kegs and more than 1,000 gallons of beer at a time. More than three miles of steel beer lines stretch overhead from the keg room to the signature island bar, creating a rather intricate network in which to transport the chilled liquid. In addition, there is an assembly of individual pumps circulating as much as 2,000 gallons of coolant every hour in order to keep the beer consistently fresh and perfectly chilled.

Some two-dozen plasma screens are strategically placed throughout the restaurant so guests can enjoy the latest sporting or news events. The state-of-the-art sound system features a library of more than 5,000 hand-picked, digital titles of classic rock tunes with an eclectic mix of '70s disco hits and '80s new wave sounds. Original play lists are created daily from Platt's Newport Coast home then sent on to the restaurant via the Internet. The custom sound system is so sophisticated that Platt can instantly alter or reprogram the music to reflect the age and preference of guests.

"Music is as equally important as our food, beer and service," says Platt. "We take it very seriously. The one thing we don't want our guests to hear is the clatter of forks, knives and spoons, which is typical in other restaurants. We strive for our guests to have fun and truly enjoyable experience at Yard House." Platt added that a limited list of songs from Yard House's vast music selection can be downloaded and purchased at the company's website ( via iTunes.
Adding to the ambiance is a menu of American Fusion fare created by award-winning Executive Chef and Partner Carlito Jocson. With a nod to his Filipino heritage, many of Chef Jocson's dishes feature flavors of the Pacific Rim, which are then infused with more traditional fare. The menu, which boasts more than 100 items, includes a creative list of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, rice and pasta dishes, as well as steak and seafood. A prix fixe children's menu, printed on a 12-page activity book, features a selection of items found on the regular menu only served in age-appropriate portions and accompanied with a choice of side dishes, a Kustom Kooler and fresh fruit dessert bar.

Yard House will be closed on Christmas Day, but will welcome guests for a "come as you are" New Year's Eve where no reservations are needed and guests are served on a first come, first served basis. Guests can order a complete meal or stop in for drinks and appetizers on their way to or from another celebration. At midnight, complimentary hats, party favors and a glass of champagne will be given to all guests.

Platt and his partners, Jocson and Harald Herrmann, president and chief operating officer, recently sold 70 percent of Yard House to a private equity firm in order to expand the concept in more markets at a brisker pace. Within the next year, Yard House will open in Las Vegas, and downtown Los Angeles, and a new bar and grill concept is being readied for nearby Chino Hills. Yard House is open daily from 11am and features lunch, dinner, a weekday happy hour, and late-night dining. For more information, call Yard House at The Galleria at Tyler at 951.688.YARD(9273) or visit

Mortgage-Relief Plan Divides Neighbors

A mortgage-relief plan being pushed by the government is supposed to help debt-laden homeowners across America. But it's creating dashed hopes and fresh tensions in this city that mushroomed during the subprime-lending boom.

Shannon Kelly was excited when she first heard about the plan, rushing to tape a TV news report about it. But her hope of escaping a sinkhole of debt was short-lived: Her adjustable-rate mortgage doesn't qualify for a bailout under the terms outlined by the Bush administration and the mortgage industry.

Across town, in a condominium development riddled with foreclosures, there was holiday cheer for Karey Kelly, who is no relation. With monthly payments on her $351,000 mortgage set for a punishing rise in January, the single mother already had applied for an extension of her rate when the government-backed initiative was unveiled. Her credit score is on the cusp of the limit, but "I'm pretty positive that I meet the plan's criteria," Ms. Kelly says.

The Bush administration has touted the plan, announced this month, as a potential lifeline for hundreds of thousands of subprime borrowers, as well as a means to cushion the economy from the mortgage meltdown. Supporters say the proposal to freeze interest rates for certain buyers and accelerate loan refinancing for others aims to target deserving debtors and avoid aiding those who really can't afford their homes. Congress joined the rescue effort last week, passing legislation to help borrowers with mortgages up to $417,000 to secure refinancing.

Yet Southern California, an epicenter of foreclosures, poses a particularly tough challenge because of the mix of adjustable-rate loans and high home prices that put many mortgages above the ceiling for government guarantees. The relief efforts so far have been met with skepticism.

The prospect of aid for some borrowers, but not others, brings another layer of discord to neighborhoods already racked by plummeting home values, rising bank repossessions and vacant houses whose owners simply up and left.

Surveying Calle Canon Road, a one-block street with five current or pending foreclosures, homeowner Josefina Navarro says, "It's very frustrating that people are going to be saved, but it's good for them, I suppose." In October, the interest rate on the mortgage she and her husband secured in 2004 rose nearly two percentage points. The Navarros recently refinanced into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, but she says they are struggling to make monthly payments that are $400 higher than those under their original loan.

Microcosm of Devastation

The bedroom community of Corona is a microcosm of the looming devastation for homeowners in California's so-called Inland Empire, the vast Riverside and San Bernardino counties east of Los Angeles. Nationwide, California is among the leaders in foreclosure filings this year. It notched state-record highs for default notices and homes lost to lenders in the June-to-September quarter, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla, Calif., real-estate research firm.
The state's highest number of foreclosures is in the Inland Empire, a region of 4.1 million people. The area might seem ripe for the mortgage-rescue plan, which would freeze interest rates for certain borrowers who have kept current on their loan payments but can't afford scheduled interest-rate increases over the next two years. The Inland Empire was a builder's delight in recent years as middle-class families increasingly were priced out of Los Angeles and Orange County. Giants such as Lennar Corp., KB Home and Beazer Homes USA Inc. uprooted citrus groves and paved over dairy farms to blanket the area with tract housing and upscale developments.

Incentives and adjustable-rate mortgages got first-timers into homes without any down payment and enabled refinancing. Many who refinanced drained their equity, betting that home values would keep soaring. Now tens of thousands of homeowners are exposed to unaffordable interest rates and a sluggish resale market.

Corona lawyer Nathan Fransen says he has nearly 100 clients trying to avoid foreclosure but none appear eligible for the rescue package. "The government has misread California. Most foreclosures here are on loans that haven't adjusted, meaning that people can't afford what they have now," says Mr. Fransen. He lives in a gated community where he says dozens of million-dollar homes face foreclosure. "The plan won't help much here, and the problem is going to get worse."

A Surge in Business

Locksmith Henry Almendarez, changing the lock one recent morning on a mobile home whose indebted owners had fled, says he expects a surge in eviction business once mortgages reset to higher rates. Shawnie Card, a Riverside County Sheriff's Department corporal presiding over this mobile-home lockout near Corona, says her department is mulling adding a fourth deputy to the eviction beat because of foreclosures. She isn't looking forward to the work. She recalls a heartbreaking eviction before Christmas a few years ago. "The family's little boy asked me: 'How is Santa going to find us?' " Ms. Card says.

The Inland Empire has suffered housing busts before. In the early 1990s, a recession triggered widespread foreclosures that turned 40% of San Bernardino city's housing stock into rental units. The question today is whether the subprime crisis here will spark a broader recession.

The Inland Empire has emerged as a hub of industry, warehousing and services and it has surpassed San Diego county in jobs. In Corona -- which grew rapidly in recent years to 145,000 residents -- and in surrounding areas, new shopping centers are opening, office buildings are rising and housing projects that were in the pipeline before the subprime crisis are being built.

Still, local governments expect lower growth in tax revenue because of the mortgage bust, and economist John Husing predicts the number of area jobs could decline next year as expansion slows. Mr. Husing is an authority on the Inland Empire, a term coined in the 1950s as the region evolved from an agriculture belt to a suburban sprawl of 48 cities, interlacing highways and grueling commutes. "My sense is that the [rescue] plan won't help," Mr. Husing says. "A lot of people made dumb decisions."

On Calle Canon Road, residents say they were drawn to the street by the two-story, 4,000-square-foot homes, built on some of the biggest lots in the area. Developer William Lyon Homes Inc. was selling stucco-and-stone-faced models in 2004, starting at around $500,000. Other than the high-tension power lines overhead, the mountainside setting is idyllic. The nearby highway to San Diego is hidden from view, and Calle Canon Road rises to a park with a baseball field bounded by an orange grove, a playground and grass-grazing wild rabbits.

Today, four of the 11 properties on one side of Calle Canon Road are abandoned, and some sport big foreclosure-auction notices. At least three foreclosed homes were originally bought by investors who never lived in them, and one was never occupied. A "Bank Owned" for-sale sign is visible at a house on a cross street. Of the scores of houses for sale in the area, about half are in default or foreclosure, real-estate agents say.

Jim Saffold traded up to this groomed hillside neighborhood from a nearby subdivision in 2004. He bought a house from a speculator and refinanced through his wife's hairdresser-turned-mortgage-broker. The new loan brought him current on various debts, but saddled him with unsustainable monthly payments that he hoped to reduce through another refinancing. But falling home values nixed that plan.

Now, more than $16,000 behind in mortgage payments and expecting a notice of default any day, the retired public-school-district employee has put the house up for sale. The asking price is $599,000, which is less than he owes on the mortgage. He can't qualify for the government-backed plan because he hasn't paid since August.

"It's not that we don't want to pay. It's that we can't pay," Mr. Saffold says. "I've kicked myself so many times."

Selene Lefranc was the first resident of Calle Canon Road, moving there in 2004. Today she has mixed feelings about the rescue plan. "It will help me in my job," says the mortgage-loan officer, whose husband is a Los Angeles policeman. "But it's unfair to responsible homeowners like us."
She says speculators hurt the neighborhood. But she says some neighbors refinanced at 100% of their home's value at the market peak and now face expensive interest-rate resets.

Her home is adorned with elaborate Christmas decorations. But dark houses sandwiching hers, and other vacant residences nearby, indicate some homeowners aren't waiting around for aid. In recent months, moving trucks have pulled up unexpectedly to homes on Calle Canon Road and neighbors have vanished.

"It's a sad situation. My kids keep asking me: Why is everyone moving out?" says Kevin Peterkin, who lives near one of the vacant homes. "They're wondering if we're going to move, too."

He initially thought nothing of it when the people living two houses away recently loaded motorcycles and other belongings into a truck. "I figured they were putting things in storage," he recalls. "Then all of a sudden, they were gone. They didn't say anything."

The case of Karenn and Steve Oropeza from down the street shows how Inland Empire buyers complicated their lives by overextending themselves.

'The New Orange County'

The Oropezas arrived at Calle Canon Road in 2004. Corona appealed to them because of its quality of life and regional cachet. "It was labeled as the new Orange County," Mrs. Oropeza says. Public records show they paid $557,000 for a four-bedroom house and took out a $500,000 mortgage. Her husband is an area manager for an auto-parts retailer and she is a purchasing manager for a firm that sells dietary supplements.

As property values skyrocketed, they refinanced three times, most recently in late 2006, for $835,000, Mr. Oropeza says.

The couple say they used some of the money they pulled out of the house for home improvement, such as a backyard waterfall. But Mr. Oropeza says the bulk was used to pay off credit-card arrears. "We were in a vicious cycle of refinancing our home to get out of debt," he says. "We banked on selling the house, but that's where we failed."

The couple listed the house several times, even before the final refinancing, which raised their monthly payments to about $6,300. Earlier this year, they were asking $839,000 for the house. But it just sat. Elsie Cambone, the Coldwell Banker agent who had the listing, says prospective buyers were put off by the vacant home next door.

Meanwhile, Mr. Oropeza expected to be transferred to Texas, so the couple began house hunting there in 2006. In June, they bought a 3,600-square-foot home for $283,000 in the Houston suburb of Katy, Mrs. Oropeza says. "It was easy. We had good credit. The deal was done in seven days."
In the run-up to their move, she says, the couple lived off credit cards to "make sure we had cash for the house payments" in Corona. They packed up in June, and then took their 9-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter on a long-planned Caribbean vacation. They returned to Calle Canon Road, "got in our cars and drove to Texas," Mrs. Oropeza says.

Neighbors Ms. Lefranc and Mr. Saffold are dismayed over the Oropezas' departure and note that shortly before leaving, the couple bought a new Lexus. "I think they took money out of their house and split," Ms. Lefranc says.

Mrs. Oropeza says that she and her husband recently bought a Lexus and a Chevrolet Suburban with no money down. She denies that the family intended to abandon the house. The choice was straightforward, she says: "It was easier to keep the house in Texas than the one in California."

Countdown to Foreclosure

The couple stopped making their Corona mortgage payments in June, triggering a notice of default 90 days later and starting the countdown to foreclosure. The family is now living in Texas. But Mr. Oropeza says he no longer expects a transfer, so every other week, sometimes more often, he says he flies west to make his usual rounds of retail locations in the Inland Empire. Mrs. Oropeza says she travels to Orange County every three weeks for her job.

"We're sad because there goes our credit, and because people think we are a bunch of flakes who walked away from the house and tried to make money," Mrs. Oropeza says. The property's for-sale listing has expired. "We have zero expectation that we can sell this house," she says. After the government-brokered mortgage plan was announced, Mr. Oropeza says he called the toll-free helpline and left a message, though he doubts he will qualify to get his Corona house back.

Next door is a vacant house. Pete Nyiri, the real-estate broker who handled that property before it went to auction, says he's been amassing bank-owned listings like never before. His Top Producers Realty business in Corona represents some 150 properties and works exclusively on foreclosures, giving his corporate motto an ironic ring: "Selling the American Dream since 1969."

Mr. Nyiri sends out four drivers daily to monitor properties, offer cash to coax people out of their homes and accompany sheriff's deputies on lockouts. Reflecting on his bountiful business, Mr. Nyiri says, "We'd like to see this end, to be honest. We're being worked to death."

A small glimmer of progress emerged on Calle Canon Road one recent afternoon. At a vacant home flanking Ms. Lefranc's, the front door -- normally sealed with a lockbox -- was open. Inside, Chris Jensen, an appraiser, was taking stock for a woman who bid on the house at an October foreclosure auction.

The hints of new life in the neighborhood -- and the prospect of a government-backed mortgage lifeline -- clash with warning signs. To the south, unfinished developments aggressively market new homes. Shaking her head, Ms. Lefranc sighs, "They keep building houses."

Shipping ports spring up inland

It's nowhere near an ocean, but plans are in the works to turn Prichard, an unincorporated crossroads in the mountains of West Virginia, into an international port.

Prichard, about 20 miles southwest of Huntington, is one of several locations nationwide where state and business leaders are building or planning inland ports — terminals away from the coasts where goods can be moved among trucks, trains and even planes.

A facility opened near Dallas in September, and ground has been broken for one near San Antonio. Other ports are planned in California, North Carolina and Virginia.

Driving the push are the 50 million containers projected to go through U.S. seaports each year by 2020, up from 20 million in 2000 and a million in 1970, according to Scott Hercik, transportation adviser to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The inland port in Prichard, and another in Roanoke, Va. — both still in the developmental stages — are part of the five-year Heartland Corridor project that in 2005 won $143 million in federal funding, according to a report on inland ports by the Tioga Group, a freight transportation consulting firm.
Jim Booton, a Wayne County, W.Va., commissioner, says officials in Prichard hope a rail connection to the busy seaport of Norfolk, Va., nearly 500 miles away, could draw businesses in search of faster movement of goods. "People think of those facilities (as) needing to be on a large body of water," he said. "But they depend on rail and they depend on road."

The federal-state Appalachian Regional Commission sees a chance to create jobs in a poor region via a network of mountain ports, Hercik said. It is helping North Carolina pay for a $250,000 feasibility study.

The 34-employee Okuno International plant in Prichard is a possible client. It receives parts from its Japanese parent company by way of the West Coast, a journey of up to a month, operations manager Maria O'Reilly said. She said a new port would be worth considering.

Every major railroad company is building or considering versions of them, said Robert Harrison, deputy director of the Center for Transportation Research of the University of Texas at Austin.
The initiatives could help keep jobs in the country by allowing companies with U.S. facilities to better compete, Harrison said.

Some efforts to establish inland ports have not been successful.

North Carolina's Global TransPark was created in 1991 as a public-private partnership, but it fell short of predictions in attracting air cargo operations, according to the Tioga Group report. The report blames the facility's Kinston location, far from population centers, for its woes.

Despite threats from lawmakers to close the money-losing facility, the state has continued to pay $1.6 million a year to subsidize it, according to the report.

Still, businesses have flocked to the areas around terminals in Fort Worth and Front Royal, Va., both conceived in the 1980s.

"It has really driven economic growth," said Joe Harris, spokesman for the Virginia Port Authority. "Large distribution centers and warehouses have popped up literally next door (to Front Royal's Virginia Inland Port), because they can get their goods quicker."

Harris said the port has created 7,000 jobs nearby.

Others have taken notice.

In Texas, Union Pacific opened its $100 million, 360-acre terminal near Dallas in September, a month after the company broke ground on a 300-acre terminal on the outskirts of San Antonio, according to the company's website.

In a region that handles about 40% of U.S. imports, local officials with the Southern California Association of Governments are discussing potential sites for inland ports — in northern Los Angeles County and to the east in the Inland Empire region, association spokesman Jeff Lustgarten said.

Locations are increasingly moving away from major cities to reduce the environmental cost of the country's swelling transportation system, Harrison said.

"Efficiency means less engines idling, less queues," he said.

300 foot jump at Lake Elsinore MX Park

Rock Band Shipment Stolen at Gunpoint

A Michigan-bound shipment containing over 1,000 copies of Rock Band (PS2, PS3, X360) was hijacked at gunpoint earlier this week, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Developed by Harmonix and published by Electronic Arts, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 bundles of Rock Band--containing a guitar, drum kit, microphone, and the game itself--sell for $170. The software is also sold by itself for $60, with the PlayStation 2 version, due out December 18, $10 cheaper on both counts.

According to driver Nirmal Singh, a truck pulled up alongside his 18-wheeler while on California's Pomona Freeway and its occupants motioned for him to pull over for inspection. Singh complied, and was promptly held at gunpoint and blindfolded while the men drove the semi to an unknown location.
After unloading the cargo, the hijackers took the vehicle and Singh to a spot in Riverside, CA and left him with instructions not to emerge from it until 15 minutes had passed.

"We're glad no one got hurt," said EA spokesperson Bryce Baer. "We hope these guys end up forming a rock band in jail."

"Trucks and trailers do get stolen, but never in this way," A&N Truck Lines president Paul Sandhu, who noted the shipment was insured. "This is very rare."

Authorities believe the theft was an inside job due to the thieves' knowledge of the truck's contents, though they currently have no suspects. If arrested, those involved in the act could face life sentences due to Singh's kidnapping.

Bridal Shows for 2008

Are you getting married next year? Know someone who is? Well, then come out and see us on January 6th at the Ontario Doubletree Hotel. Brideworld is hosting their annual Ontario Convention Center Bridal Show showcasing the best of your Inland Empire vendors.

Can't make the Show in January? Visit us on March 30 at the Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona, Ca. for yet another show! This one is a little smaller, but worth it!

Call us for details! 877-373-9379

Another Solid OL Recruit... Paging Darrel Scott (and Katoa Update!)

Max Tuioti-Mariner, a Three or Four Star Lineman from Corona, CA committed to CU today. At about 6'3" and 300 pounds, this kid has a "mean streak" that people love to see in run blockers (Ahem, Darrel?). He picked CU over Oregon and Cal, among others. This gives CU a respectable two offensive linemen in the 2008 class. While not flashy (last year we had what, 8?), the number is one that builds depth and keeps runners happy. Max's signing puts CU's class rank currently around 22nd in the nation. The class is starting to fill up rapidly. CU is hoping to sign between 18 and 20 recruits, and this signing brings the total number of commitments to 15, including a Mr. Lynn Katoa. Oh yes, did you think we had forgotten about him?

Lynn Katoa is now being listed as a "soft verbal" by Scout and Rival. Frankly, I don't know how much stock to put into these rumors. They were started by, not Katoa, via a quote that the youngster acknowledges but says does not take mean he is decommitting. A nice little article helps sum this up for us. A quote:

"I'm still solidly committed to Colorado," he said, acknowledging he had heard about the Web site's report. "There's been a lot of mixed-up communication, back and forth. . . . The commitment to Colorado is still there."

Basically, when people hound you and won't stop until they get the answer they want *cough* Sooner website *Cough*, why wouldn't you say there is still a chance? It is called "pity". Isn't that what the girl told Lloyd in a certain movie?

As we all know, it is still early in the process. So many of these kids are going to be harassed that we will almost certainly lose a few of them.... But who knows who we will gain? There have been rumors on certain Defensive Linemen.

Life as a Buff is pretty good for a 6 and 6 team!