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Yucaipa Thunderbirds Softball Off To Good Start In Citrus Belt League

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Sophomore, Kenzie Maxwell, has a 5-1 record, 0.78 ERA, and pitched 36 innings in helping the T-Birds to a 5-2 overall record, 2-0 in the Citrus Belt League. Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, CA – Each Spring like an annual pilgrimage the Yucaipa Thunderbirds travel to play in the tough Corona Stu Penter Softball Tournament March 5-11. The tournament features some of the strongest teams in California.

The T-Birds have played well in the tournament but never won it – and this year it was no exception. They finished with a respectable 3-2 record, and T-Birds coach Dave Kivett is OK with that.

Because for Kivett, the tournament serves as a Spring training and an evaluation of sorts that allows him to gauge just what kind of team he has to work with when the most important part of the season begins: The Citrus Belt League.

And if the T-Birds can finish in the top three, it assures an automatic berth into the CIF-Southern Section post-season playoffs.

That being said, Kivett’s T-Birds got off to a strong start in CBL play when they swept the visiting Fontana Steelers, 1-0, and 9-2, in games played on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We just didn’t hit the ball well in the first game,” Kivett said before the start of the second encounter.

But after the second game, he was pleased with the T-Birds offensive explosion – especially that of Courtney Brown, who was 4 for 4 including two doubles and four RBIs. Brown’s offensive outburst has now boasted her stats into the stratosphere: She has a .476 batting average, 8 RBIs, scored 7 runs, along with 2 doubles and 2 home runs.

Senior, Courtney Brown, has been a hitting dynamo for the Thunderbirds. Photo By BOB OTTO

“Courtney is seeing the ball well and she is making it happen for us,” Kivett said of his senior third baseman.

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Bargain Bob shops for the functionally fine and gently used

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Bargain Bob’s functionally fine and gently used footwear.

YUCAIPA, CA – About 20 years ago I paid $279.99 for an Ektelon racquetball racquet. And least you think I traveled the pro circuit and needed such a finely strung instrument let me assure you, I didn’t impress many with my play.

Back then I bought nothing but the best – regardless of the cost. Now I regret my squandering ways. That fancy racquet improved my game not one single point over what a $39.99 racquet would have done.

There was a time when I flashed my credit card and eagerly opened my wallet gobbling up new stuff like a ravenous pig slopping at the feed trough. New clothes, new shop tools, new (expensive) basketball, racquetball, dress, and running shoes, new Nikon cameras and lenses – I spent thousands. Let me rephrase. I wasted thousands.

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Extra pounds no problem for pleasingly plump runner

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Kirstie Anderson with sons, Cayden, 8, and Cavin, 5, after she won the Tinsel Triathlon 5-kilometer race.

YUCAIPA, CA – I pride myself in staying in good shape. I work out at a fitness club. I walk and jog with my dog about four miles, three times a week. So yeah, I think I’m pretty fit.

But I couldn’t imagine lugging around an extra 20 pounds while sweating and straining through the rigors of my workout. But that didn’t appear to be much of a problem for one pleasingly plump young woman in the Hemet, Central County United Way, Tinsel Triathlon 5-kilometer race, last Sunday.

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A glorious Chamber of Commerce Kind of day

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Photos By JOHN OTTO / Cannon Falls, MN

YUCAIPA, CA – Living in southern California has its perks. Topping the list and the envy of most folks living anywhere northeast of Arizona is our sun-drenched winter months.

Today I raked some leaves, talked leisurely over the fence with my neighbor, and took a walk smartly dressed for the occasion in T-shirt and shorts, soaking up the sun’s generous rays on our little corner of the planet at a perfect 76 degrees.

When I rounded the corner, heading back home, sweat dampened my brow and my dog was panting. Weather-wise, does it get any better anywhere else? Hard to imagine.

Today was perfect for the Chamber of Commerce to extol the virtues of living in Yucaipa. I’m surprised I didn’t spot the executive director snapping photos of the San Bernardino mountains in all their 3-D glory, or of moms and dads playing with their kids at the park – dressed just like me. With the little energized tykes panting from the heat.

My brother John lives in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. He emailed me some pictures of his new truck. But it was buried under so much snow that I couldn’t tell its make or model.

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Walk off home run sends Yucaipa to CIF championship

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Photos By BOB OTTO

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YUCAIPA, CA – Game ending dramatics don’t come any better than this.

With two out and the winning run on base, Matt Hardison belted a 390-foot walk-off home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the seventh inning to power the Yucaipa Thunderbirds to a 7-5 victory over the El Toro Chargers (23-7-1) in the semifinals of CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs, Tuesday, at Yucaipa.

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Yucaipa Valley’s fallen remembered on Memorial Day

Monday, May 31st, 2010

About 300 attended the Memorial Day Service at Desert Lawn Memorial Park in Calimesa.
Photos By BOB OTTO

“I feel fortunate to be alive while others have died,” – Ray Duncan, Marine Corps veteran

CALIMESA, CA – Some chose to spend Memorial Day barbequing in the back yard. Some spent the day at the beach. And some spent the day lounging in front of the television watching a baseball game.

But about 300 grateful and patriotic Calimesa and Yucaipa residents chose instead to spend about an hour at Desert Lawn Memorial Park for a Memorial Day Service to honor America’s veterans who died on the battlefield to safeguard our country’s freedoms.

Ray Duncan, 70, spent 10 years in the Marine Corps. He served in Korea and he served a tour of duty in Vietnam. He says he’s one of the lucky ones, who returned home to live the good life in Yucaipa.

“I feel fortunate to be alive while others have died,” Duncan said. And it irritates Duncan that despite the ultimate sacrifice American service men and women have made to protect America’s freedoms, there was just a modest turnout for the memorial service.

“It makes me mad at those that don’t appreciate what some gave for our country,” he said.

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I wish I could shake their hands and thank them

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Volunteers and loved ones placed flags and bouquets of flowers next to the gravestones of United States military veterans during a flag planting ceremony at Desert Lawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park on Sunday.
Photos By BOB OTTO

CALIMESA, CA – I’ve never met Kenneth S. Adams, Wendell D. Crandall, Jr., Edwin George Cowan, or James F. Kunze, Jr.

But I wish I could. I’d like to shake their hands and thank them.

All four men served in the United States Armed Forces. Adams in the Army, Crandall the Navy, Cowan in the Army Air Forces, and Kunze as a United States Marine.

On Sunday, about 75 volunteers gathered at Desert Lawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park. They came, young and old, from Yucaipa American Legion Post 426, VFW Post 7347, and a local Boy Scout troop, to plant flags at the grave sites of the veterans buried at Desert Lawn. Every veteran receives a flag.

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Taijuan Walker hurls Yucaipa into CIF baseball semifinals

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Story and Photos By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, CA – Senior, Taijuan Walker scattered five hits in leading the Yucaipa Thunderbirds to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Santa Barbara Dons in the semi-finals of the CIF-Southern Section Division II Playoffs, Friday.

The win improves Yucaipa’s record to 26-6 and continues its post-season run in the playoffs at 3-0. The Thunderbirds will host El Toro (23-6-1) on Tuesday, June 1, with the winner advancing to the division II championship on June 5th.

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Softball tragedy strikes Yucaipa Park

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

YUCAIPA, CA – I took my dog Tassie for a walk this morning at Yucaipa Community Park. And I saw something so terrible that I’m not sure I should even talk about it. But in the interest of preventing further tragedies and travesties of this kind, I feel I must.

So if you’re a little squeamish, quit reading right now. And if you’ve got a weak heart or high blood pressure, please consult with your doctor before reading any further.

As I said I was walking Tassie, and my friend Big “Q” Quiller Holt was walking along with us. We happened by the softball fields, when Big Q blurted out, “Bob! Look over there. I can’t believe what I’m seeing!”

At that same time, my dog fell to the ground. She covered her eyes with both paws and began whining, the like of which I’ve never heard from her before.

Big Q pointed again and commanded me to look, but he added, “make it quick and don’t look too long or you’re gonna be sick.”

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First Annual Yucaipa Adult Soccer League Kick-Off Karnival

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Get your kicks playing adult soccer! Sign up now, and don’t miss the Kick-Off Karnival.

By Melissa Huggins
(951) 330-1660.

YUCAIPA, CA – If you and your family love soccer, then you can’t miss this event! There’s something for the whole family to do at the First Annual Yucaipa Adult Soccer League (YASL) “Kick-Off Karnival”. The event is sponsored by the newly formed YASL in conjunction with the Yucaipa High School Girls Soccer team.

It will be held at Yucaipa High School on Sunday, June 27 from 2:00pm – 7:00pm.

Adults can play in full-field “pick-up” games, while children 10 and under can play in short-sided games. Individuals or teams can play on this day. The cost to play in a pick-up game is $5 per player which goes toward referee fees and field costs.

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