Friday, May 21, 2010

City staff gets creative in looking at budget deficit

As the July deadline approaches, the city council will take another look at the city's 2-year budget and consider ways to shore up the remaining budget deficit.

At the previous budget meeting in March, the council agreed to eliminate about 20 staff positions. They also pushed the discussion on the remaining $235,000 deficit for 2010-11 and $750,000 deficit in 2011-12 to tomorrow's meeting.

According to a staff report, some of the cuts being recommended are ones directly impacting city council members. The council is being asked to limit their yearly travel budget to $6000 per council member, leading to about $30,000 in savings.

Staff is also recommending the elimination of medical allowances for city council members beginning in 2011-12. Right now, only Peter Yao accepts medical coverage through his position on the council so it will be interesting to see how he reacts to the proposed cut. If approved, the benefits elimination will save the city $21,936.

The rest of the savings being proposed are not so clear.

A big chunk of the savings, about $286,000, comes from "anticipated benefit reductions" from city staff. However, since contract negotiations with staff union are still ongoing, there is no guarantee that these reductions will get approved by the unions.

Another $252,798 in savings comes from "shift of salaries from GF to RDA." This means a handful of employees will get their salary checks from the city's Redevelopment Agency rather than the General Fund. While this frees up money in the General Fund, there is no actual saving to the city in the grand scheme of things.

Other savings come from "revenue adjustments" and "overhead cost refinements" where staff anticipates greater revenue and reduced costs not previously accounted for. Those savings amount to about $351,000 over the next 2 years.

The council will meet Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the city council chamber. The COURIER will have a report on the meeting in our Wednesday paper.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Park closed due to fire training

The Claremont Wilderness Park will be closed for portions of today through Wednesday as the LA County Fire Department conducts its annual wildfire training exercise in the park.

The exercise runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. Mills Avenue north of Mt. Baldy Road will also be closed, except to residents.

LA County Fire, La Verne Fire, San Bernardino County Fire, the Forest Service and the Claremont Police Department will be participating in the training exercise.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New comedy club opens in Claremont

If you're searching for entertainment this weekend, you could check out the new comedy club opening in the Packing House. Comedian Bill Dwyer will headline the weekend's Grand Opening performances.

Seats are still available for Friday and Saturday night shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets purchased in advance cost $10 by visiting the Flappers website. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Here's a clip of Dwyer in action.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

4th of July winners

At last night's city council meeting, the Independence Day Committee announced this year's Grand Marshall, Honored Citizen, Honored Group and the 4th of July theme.

Here are the winners:

Grand Marshall - Paul & Kay Held
Honored Citizen - Rita Wodinsky
Honored Group - the Claremont After School Program (CLASP)
Theme - Star Spangled Claremont
(The theme was chosen among 95 entries from Claremont Kindergarten through 6th grade students. The idea came from Elizabeth Boyett of Western Christian School, who will take part in the parade.)

Congratulations to this year's winners!

Police arrest man twice in 4 days

In today's issue of the COURIER, we ran a story about a Claremont police officer who was injured while pursuing a burglar.

On Saturday, Officer Matt Hamill broke his ankle in 2 places after jumping from a 12-foot fence during the pursuit. Another officer eventually tracked the suspect down about 200 yards from the scene. He was hiding in some bushes.

Police arrested Robert Hunt, 19, of San Dimas for stealing alcohol from Vons and resisting arrest causing serious bodily injury.

During the booking process, Hunt's fingerprints were taken and entered into the Cal-ID print system. On Tuesday, a match was returned on the prints for a residential burglary that occurred in Claremont on April 24.

During that incident, a resident in the 400 block of Platt Boulevard woke to voices heard in his home and the sound of footsteps leaving through the front door. It was discovered that someone entered the home and stole a laptop.

Police were able to locate several latent fingerprints. Initially there was no match in Cal-ID to the prints and they were maintained pending a match.

Yesterday in court, Hunt pleaded guilty to misdemeanor petty theft for stealing alcohol from Vons and obstructing an officer. He was sentenced to probation.

As Hunt was leaving court, Claremont police detectives arrested him again for the residential burglary. Police are continuing to investigate if Hunt is responsible for additional thefts or burglaries.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Police nab prowler

Police arrested a 17-year-old Claremont resident involved in yesterday's hot prowl on Morningside Drive.

Yesterday around 2:15 a.m., a resident woke to the sound of noises in his home. He got up to inspect the cause of the noise and found a man in his 7-year-old daughter's bedroom.

He chased the suspect from the home and immediately called police. Police did an area check but were unable to immediately locate the suspect.

Based on forensic evidence found at the scene, police arrested the teenager at his home around 3:30 this afternoon. The 17-year-old lives less than a mile from the Morningside Drive home.

Police believe the juvenile entered the home on more than one occasion and are still trying to determine his motive. Nothing was ever reported stolen from the home.

He is currently being held at Los Padrinos juvenile detention center. Criminal charges should be filed by the DA's office soon.

Be sure to read Saturday's issue of the COURIER to learn more details of this unusual case.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Singleton sentenced to 6 months in jail

Tyler Singleton, a star athlete with the Claremont high school football team, earlier today was given a 6-month prison sentence for having unlawful sex with 2 underage girls.

Singleton, 18, and his family appeared at a Pomona courthouse this morning for the sentencing hearing.

He was arrested in February following allegations that he raped a 14-year-old classmate in a public bathroom in Cahuilla Park near the high school.

Singleton declined to give a statement during the proceedings. His mother, Rita Singleton, pleaded with the judge for leniency.

Prosecutor Lauren Guber read a statement from the 14-year-old victim, which stated that her "entire world had been turned upside down" as a result of the incident. The girl's mother also addressed the court.

Singleton's prison sentence will begin June 9, allowing him time to earn his high school diploma. Both he and the 14-year-old victim no longer attend Claremont High School.

Prowler enters home while residents sleep inside

An alarming piece of news about a "hot prowl" sent via the Claremont Police Department's E-Watch system today. The incident took place early this morning at a residence on Morningside Drive near Towne Avenue and Scripps Drive.

On Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 at approximately 2:15 am, an unknown suspect entered a residence in the 1100 block of Morningside Dr. by forcing open a window. A resident awoke to noises heard in the house and found an unknown suspect in his 7-year-old daughter's room. The resident chased the suspect out of the house and the suspect was last seen running eastbound on Morningside Dr. The suspect was described as a male with light skin, 5'4 to 5'7, approximately 145 pounds, and wearing black clothing and a mask.

If you believe you have information that may assist in the investigation, please call Claremont Police Department Detective Bureau at (909) 399-5411. As a reminder, if you observe any suspicious activity, contact the Claremont Police Department by calling 911 or (909) 626-1296.