Friday, September 30, 2011

Suspected Pixie Donuts imposter in custody

Claremont Police have arrested Los Angeles resident Efren Arceo, 47, suspected of robbing Pixie Donuts in the 500 block of East Base Line Road last week. Mr. Arceo is suspected of committing at least 30 similar burglaries throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties, according to police.

On Monday, Sept. 19, a man entered Pixie Donuts posing as a health inspector sent to investigate animals being housed at the donut store. The employee let the subject walk behind the counter and when the employee wasn’t looking, stole $300 in U.S. currency.

Following the incident, Claremont detectives reviewed surveillance footage and were able to identify a car and license plate number in connection with the burglary. Police obtained a search warrant Thursday morning and arrested Mr. Arceo at his Los Angeles residence. Mr. Arceo is being held at the Claremont City Jail for $20,000 bail.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

City awards bid in solar panel project

Shorebreak Energy Developers, an Orange County-based solar design and
construction company, was awarded the bid to install 96 photovoltaic solar panels
at the City Yard. This marks the first time a city facility will be fitted with solar
panels, according to Chris Veirs, senior planner and sustainability coordinator with
the city of Claremont.

The new solar installations are being made possible through a $92,600 grant
received by the city last April. The panels will save the city about $4,000 a year
over the next 25 years, according to Mr. Veirs.

“Every incremental savings and investment in this kind of technology will pay
benefits in the future,” said Council Member Joe Lyons. “It will afford us the
opportunity to acquire other funds, working toward a day where we can anticipate
our city facilities coming ‘off the grid.’”

Installation of the panels may start as early as next month, according to Mr. Veirs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Healthcare costs take a climb in 2011, study says

Employer-sponsored health insurance costs have hit an all-time high for Americans.

The average annual premium for family coverage by employers reached $15,073 this year, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation released Tuesday. The increased rate, which is 9 percent higher than last year, marks the first time coverage has surpassed $15,000.

Single coverage has also risen within the last year, the study says, climbing 8 percent over 2010 rates. Kaiser officials credit insurer profits, the health care overhaul, and the continued rise in health care costs as factors in the increase.

The COURIER wants to know what you think of health insurance rates, and how it is affecting you and your family. Leave a comment or write us at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Claremont Day takes over the fair this week

The L.A. County Fair will host its annual Claremont Day this Thursday, Sept. 29.

Claremont residents are invited to join in on a community reception at the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at 4 p.m., followed by a Community Parade at 5 p.m. A business expo will also take place from noon to 7 p.m.

Residents Jack Shih and Marilee Scaff will be honored as this year’s Claremont Community Heroes for their dedication to volunteerism and leadership in and around the city. A special presentation of the 2 heroes will take place at 5:30 p.m. on the Building 4 Stage. The Claremont High School Band will serenade attendees following the salute.

Claremont residents will receive free admission to the fair from noon to 6 p.m. with the donation of a new or slightly used book to the fair’s book drive.

For more information, visit

Friday, September 16, 2011

Update: grocery strike may hit stores next week

Grocery unions called a 72-hour notice of canceling grocery contracts on Thursday morning, setting the path for a strike that may hit stores early next week.

A grocery strike, which was voted in favor by more than 90 percent of employees last month, comes on the heels of more than 8 months of failed contract negotiations between Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons and its nearly 62,000 employees.

“No one is getting rich working in a grocery store, but what has made the job workable is the health care benefits,” said Connie Leyva, president of Claremont’s local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). “They want to save money at the expense of their workers. It’s just greedy.”

Existing contracts expired last March, and despite months of negotiations and meetings with a federal mediator, the 2 groups have yet to come to a compromise. A major area of dispute involves proposed spikes in employees’ health care plans.

“[Grocery workers] just want to keep what we have. We aren’t asking for anything better or worse,” Ms. Leyva said. “They want to save money at the expense of their workers who are barely hanging on.”

The last time the 2 groups were unable to reach an agreement, in 2003-2004, a 141-day strike ensued at grocery chains throughout Southern California. Though employees are hoping for a solution over the weekend, the prospects seem bleak.

“Our members are very reasonable, but nothing seems to be good enough,” Ms. Leyva said. “We are tired of them dragging their feet. They are taking advantage of the economy and of their employees. We need to show them that we have a bottom line.”

Five Cities Marathon canceled...again.

The Inaugural Five Cities Marathon, scheduled to come through Claremont on Saturday, October 9, has once again been canceled.

A lack of registered runners forced organizer Lori Calderon to call off the race. The marathon—which would include the neighboring cities of Glendora, La Verne, Pomona, and San Dimas—had previously been canceled in October 2010 for similar problems.

"We are quite disappointed, but do hope to return with a great event [next year]," Ms. Calderon said.

Those eager to start testing their racing skills can check out the San Dimas 5k and 1 mile Family Fun Run or Walk on Saturday, Sept. 24, or the Azusa for Clean Water 5k and 2k Family Fun Run on Sunday, Oct. 2. For a full list of local races, check out

Friday, September 9, 2011

Update to Fourth Street closures near Pomona College's Bridge's Auditorium

Locals worried about accessing Little Bridges this weekend for the opening of Pomona College's fall concert series can put their mind at ease.

Pomona College has announced that Fourth Street will be reopened to vehicular traffic, according to an E-mail sent Thursday.

The narrow roadway was closed off last month in an effort to make the campus more pedestrian friendly, the COURIER reported in Wednesday’s issue. The change raised questions from residents who worried that the closure would make it difficult to access.

“I love Pomona College, and I agree with the beautification of the campus, but I don’t think closing off Fourth Street is the smartest way to accomplish this,” said Georgia McManigal, Pomona College alumna and supporter of the music department. “It’s going to make it difficult to drop people in and out of that area, and presents challenges for those unable to walk long distances.”

In addition to vehicle access on Fourth Street, a drop-off zone will be created in front of Bridges Auditorium to give residents easier access. However, parking will still be prohibited.

Parking can be found on Bonita and College Avenues, or at the new south campus parking structure located at First Street and Columbia Avenue. Additional parking can also be found at the Sumner Hall lot located off College Way east of Bridges Hall of Music.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New community and human services director to be introduced to public tonight

An informal meet-and-greet event for Michele McNeill, the new community and human services director, will be held tonight at the Alexander Hughes Community Center from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Ms. McNeill officially started her position in Claremont yesterday, filling the spot after more than 2 months of its vacancy. Ms. McNeill will be the first to head Community and Human Services since the 2 previously separate departments were combined last May.

Having the opportunity to improve quality of life for others is at the core of continuing her career path here in Claremont, she said.

“I genuinely value serving other people,” Ms. McNeill said. “I enjoy the opportunity to have people come to me with problems, break them down, find elements that can be adjusted, and create something that we didn’t think possible.”

As the community and human services director, Ms. McNeill will oversee the City’s recreation, social services, sanitation, and fleet divisions, as well as special projects and community partnerships. Amid all of the job responsibilities Ms. McNeill will be responsible for, encouraging environmental responsibility is she is most looking forward to tacking in the months ahead.

“I want to help sustain Claremont’s small town atmosphere ensure its long-term presence,” Ms. McNeill said. “Claremont has such a long and beautiful history. Environmental responsibility is the only way to sustain what we have now to forever preserve what has been.”

The Alexander Hughes Community Center is located at 1700 Danbury Road. For more information on tonight's event, contact the center at 399-5490.

A full profile on Ms. McNeill will be published in a future issue of the COURIER.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wilderness Park citations receive city council approval

More than 300 wilderness park citations issued by Claremont police within the past 3 weeks for violating park hours will continue to be upheld despite recent proposals for dismissal.

At a special meeting held Thursday morning, Claremont police presented city council with a series of options to handle the onslaught of tickets, including an altogether waiving of the fines. Pomona court officials raised concerns over the large amount of citations and the backlog it would create for the court system.

The council voted unanimously to uphold citations, despite complaints against the ambiguity of park hours and confusion over court law changes, in order to set a precedent for the city, according to officials.

“Nobody likes getting a ticket, but as long as you have a law, you need to follow the law,” said Council Member Corey Calaycay. “That is the key issue here that we need to remember.”

Do you feel the increase in citations at the wilderness park are just or unfair?

Full story to be published in a future edition of the COURIER.