Thursday, December 31, 2015

#SBStrong: Blogging About #InlandEmpire Places/Events in 2016?

My 2015 blogging experiment -- writing five to seven entries per month -- has been a success, mostly. I want to shift the direction of this blog a little bit in 2016, perhaps on more local matters -- relative to myself.

Earlier this month, there was a mass shooting at the San Bernardino County's health department holiday party in the City of San Bernardino. It was a doubly tragic mix of terrorism and workplace violence because one of the terrorists was a co-worker to most of the victims.

It was also such an odd target for the terrorists -- an office party that's about an hour away from any of the more "obvious," higher-profile targets for terrorism or any other violent crime. The mass shooting's location was in San Bernardino, the terrorists' home was nearby in Redlands, and the final confrontation between law enforcement and the terrorists happened in between. Geographically, this incident hit close to home.

Because of that, I plan to blog more about local matters, to be a small part of the San Bernardino Strong movement! The City of San Bernardino has been hit by hard times, and so has its namesake county. I just want to highlight what's good and positive in the area, including the surrounding communities like Loma Linda and Redlands. Perhaps these "local" posts will be as long as my usual ramblings; maybe they'll be shorter. In any case, here are two short blurbs about what's good in the Inland Empire:

LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER FAMILY HEALTH FAIR

The Loma Linda Family Health Fair usually takes place every year around Halloween, at the Loma Linda University's Drayson Center gym. They remove the gym equipment for the event, with information booths instead. Depending on the companies and sponsors, you might get some free, useless trinkets or useful coupons -- like any other community fair/festival.

There are basically four or five main draws to the event:

1. Free lunch, albeit vegan lunch. 2015 had vegan black bean burritos, and 2014 had vegan burgers. I don't think there were free lunches before 2014.

2. Free flu shots. In case you don't have a doctor's appointment before flu season, or if the local drug store flu shot doesn't accept your health insurance -- you can get a flu shot at this health fair. Or any other health fair. Or cultural festival with a flu shot booth.

3. Free or cheap blood screening/tests. With the passage of the ACA (Obamacare), you'd think low-cost preventative care at health fairs is unnecessary. Then again, there are flaws in any law (i.e., the incompetence of government), and no one should underestimate the greed of health insurance companies.

4. Free entry to a raffle for various prizes. The grand prize is usually Disneyland-related. There are usually other prize raffles in various booths. Long ago, there was a raffle booth at the kidney screening booth, with an awesome little kid as the exuberant raffle host. It's too bad he grew up; the kidney screening booth has never been the same since.

5. I suppose there are additional fun things for kids, like collecting stamps from booths to get a prize at the end ... or something like that. In any case, the Family Health Fair is a very good event in the Inland Empire.

FIREFIGHTER CHRISTMAS PARADE, FEATURING SANTA AND MRS. CLAUS

In the month of December, depending on the town in the Inland Empire, local firefighters (and sometimes police) drive through various neighborhoods on various nights, with a couple of firetrucks, one pulling some "reindeer" pulling Santa's sleigh. Mrs. Claus joins her husband, throwing candy canes to people watching the parade. The firetrucks (and sometimes police cars) have their lights and sirens joyously ringing out for the occasion!

2015's parade went through various neighborhoods in the cities of Colton and Loma Linda. The parade schedule is a bit complicated, so a resident in the area would have to look up the city's website and/or Facebook page for more information. In other words, check again around November 2016. The local Christmas parade (or Holiday parade, since these routes don't happen on the 24th or 25th) is another very good event in the Inland Empire.

We'll see if I'll have more I.E. things to write about in 2016. In the meanwhile, I hope you all have an absolutely fun and relatively safe New Year's Eve ... and a very prosperous New Year 2016 for all! Happy New Year! Cheers!

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