Otto Speaks Out

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Shun The Big Box Stores, Support Local Yucaipa Valley Merchants

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – Fifty-four hours and counting. That’s how close shoppers are to the most crazed shopping day of the year: Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that kicks off the traditional Christmas shopping season.

Recently, the Yucaipa Valley Chamber of Commerce and city officials started a campaign to encourage – no actually they’re imploring –

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The Fontana A.B. Miller and Redlands East Valley “Hit”

Monday, November 9th, 2009

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By BOB OTTO / Writer & Photographer

YUCAIPA, CA – I didn’t see it, but I heard it. That hard-hitting whack when body crashes into body, shoulder pad slams into shoulder pad, and helmet cracks helmet.

Friday night I covered a high school football game. It’s what I’ve been doing for the past 16 years.

And this game between the Fontana A.B. Miller Rebels and Redlands East Valley Wildcats had a lot at stake: The championship of the Citrus Belt League.

So kids were flying at each other. The intensity was at fever pitch. The hitting reached a ferocious level.

Quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers were hunted down by 220-pound linebackers and defensive backs with Gazelle-like speed. And when they caught them, they hurled them to the ground like Siberian Tigers stalking and ripping into wild boar.

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Far right Rush Limbaugh wants NFL team

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Rush Limbaugh

YUCAIPA, CA – Rush Limbaugh and the NFL. A marriage made in … Be my guest and fill in the rest.

By now you’ve heard the news that conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has his heart set on owning an NFL team – the St. Louis Rams.

Of course, if this comes about, Rush being Rush, he’s certain to make some changes. Some big changes. I believe Rush will make re-naming the team his top priority.

Rams? Way too liberal for Rush.

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Kobe’s pitches ritzy sports watches

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – I saw on the news that Lakers star, Kobe Bryant, has teamed up with Swiss watchmaker Nubeo to promote a limited edition line of sports watches ranging in price from $25,000 to nearly $300,000.

Was anyone else repulsed by the announcement?

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I’m sitting high on the Favre bandwagon

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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Brett Favre and Vikings success has fans daring to think Super Bowl.

YUCAIPA, CA – When Brett Favre began his flirtatious song and dance-like signing routine with the Vikings, “I’m available, no I’m not, yes I am” I admit that I wanted the former Packers great to stay retired.

I reasoned: At age 40, he’s too old and worn out to take the beatings quarterbacks in the NFL must endure.

But I admit, I’m now sitting high on the Favre bandwagon. I proudly wear my Vikings hat everywhere. And I’m giddy over Favre’s and the Vikings success. With a 5-0 record including a savory 30-23 victory over the Green Bay Packers, what’s not to feel giddy about?

Here’s how I have undergone a complete Favre metamorphosis week-by-week, win-by-win:

Week 1: Vikings 34, Cleveland Browns 20.

“OK, 110 yards passing is a decent start, but you’re going to wear out your old arm if you keep slinging the ball that hard. And can’t you run a little faster to avoid those sacks. Gee, you run like an old man. Oops.”

Week 2: Vikings 27, Detroit Lions 13.

“Brett, congratulations for getting the Vikings off to a 2-0 start. But after all these are the Lions, and beating them isn’t such a big deal. So you’re going to have to do better. Maybe you could ask coach (Brad) Childress for Monday’s and Tuesday’s off, so you can rest your tired old bones.”

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Twins say goodbye to the comfy Metrodome

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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Photo of Minnesota’s first 2009 snow fall by my sister Metta Marie Rogers of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN – The New York Yankees ousted the Twins from the American League Division Series with a 4-1 victory Sunday. And with the defeat, a 28-year run of playing “under cover” in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome comes to an end.

In 2010, the Twins will open their season on April 12 against the Boston Red Sox in their new Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. The Twins $412 million outdoor stadium.

Now, had the Twins won on Sunday, the playoffs would have continued today under miserable playing conditions “IF” the game had been played outdoors at Target Field.

About 4 inches of snow has fallen and the temperatures hover in the 30s. Just ideal for riding a snowmobile or ice fishing.

But outdoor baseball?

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Our government “mechanics” aren’t getting the job done

Friday, October 9th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – Finding good auto mechanics can be hard. But when we do, it’s like finding skilled doctors or dentists, they become the professionals we trust and turn to when the car, the body, and the teeth need fixing.

Superb mechanics, doctors and dentists, all have similar qualities. They’re intelligent, educated, and committed to their profession. But above all else they care about their customers: the people they serve.

I wish our elected politicians cared as much.

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King for a day

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

YUCAIPA – My wish has finally been granted. I’ve been anointed “King For A Day.”

The call came early yesterday morning. An official-sounding voice said, “you have 24 hours to enact all the decrees you wish. Then you must abdicate your throne.”

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Best of luck Joe

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – First, the newspaper headline caught my eye: “Inland poverty on the rise.” Then the plight of the 20-year-old in the story brought tears to my eyes.

Let’s call him, “Joe.”

Able bodied and willing to work, Joe is one of 35.1 million Americans nationwide receiving food stamps. Not that he wants to. But Joe has been homeless for two weeks, sleeping behind a store at night in Moreno Valley. To avoid going hungry, Joe applied for food stamps.

Joe, as with many others in the building trades in Southern California, lost his $15 an hour construction job in March 2008. Since then, he’s been able to subsist by finding enough part time work to avoid government assistance.

But even those types of jobs have dried up.

Joe was quoted as saying:

“It’s kind of embarrassing to ask the government for help when I know I’m very capable of working.”

What piqued my interest about Joe is that he said he wants to join the Marine Corps. Even though he knows he could very well be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, he said that beats going homeless and jobless.

To Joe, I say, “consider signing up.”

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Riding JFK’s Catholic coattails

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

WANAMINGO, MINN – As a kid growing up near Wanamingo, Minnesota, I looked upon my Lutheran friends with envy. They seemed rich and popular. The religious ‘in crowd’ in which anyone who was anybody belonged.

I on the other hand, through unlucky fate, or so I thought at the time, was born and baptized a Catholic. There weren’t many of us in the little village of about 400. I can count the families I knew on one hand: The Otto’s, the Swarthout’s, and the Gombert’s.

We didn’t even have a Catholic church to call our own in Wanamingo. Mom packed us up early on Sunday mornings for our drive to Zumbrota and St. Paul’s Catholic Church where just a hand full worshipped from the two villages and surrounding countryside.

But Lutheran churches popped up everywhere. Wanamingo had three – Aspelund, Trinity, and Wanamingo Lutheran. And there are ten – count them ten – Lutheran churches in and around Zumbrota, Wanamingo, and Kenyon. All within 20 to 30 miles of each other.

Lutherans dominated the religious landscape. We Catholics were out numbered. How did a lowly Catholic boy stand a chance?

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