Monday, June 25, 2012

Proposed sanitation spikes on city agenda

Claremont residents may soon see a hike in sanitation fees. The Claremont City Council Tuesday night will discuss raising the fees because of a 2 percent spike in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In October 2008, the council approved raising sanitation fees in accordance with CPI on July 1 every year, if approved by the community and human services commission as well as the council. This year is no exception. The commission found that “the revenue generated by the CPI is necessary to provide the cost for ongoing operation and maintenance, labor and insurance, equipment and capital, facilities and debt.” The public is invited to comment on the subject prior to a council vote at this Tuesday’s city council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chamber, 225 W. Second St.

Following the sanitation hearing, the council will also take a vote on adopting the city’s 2012-2014 city budget. The council and the public reviewed the proposed budget at the last city council meeting with little negative feedback.

Total expenditures assumed for 2012-2013 are estimated at about $40.3 million. A bulk of that amount, about 85 percent, makes up operating costs with a small portion allotted for debt service and capital improvement. 2013-2014 expenditure assumptions are about $39.5 million, with ratios remaining essentially the same as the previous year. Though the budget shows a 1.2 million deficit in 2012-2013, the city expects to end with a surplus of about 463,000 in fiscal year 2013-2014.

Discussing alternative pedestrian pathways to the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and the city’s policy on co-sponsoring community events are also up for discussion.

Prior to its regular meeting, council members will meet in closed session Tuesday, June 26, at 4 p.m.  to discuss details of a potential water acquisition, according to City Manager Tony Ramos. A report will be brought back to the public at the regular city council meeting at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to comment on the agenda item at 4 p.m. sharp before the council recesses into closed session. View the full agenda for both the closed and regular sessions of the Claremont City Council at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fire crew to host weekend BBQ fundraiser

Photo Courtesy Mt. Baldy Fire Department

The Mt. Baldy Volunteer Fire Department welcomes the public to join for some food and brews at its yearly Steak Fry and Raffle Benefit to be held Saturday, June 23. The BBQ takes place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Mt. Baldy trout pools.

Food, music, beer and prizes will help commemorate the annual fundraising event, now in its 55th year. One of the only all-volunteer fire departments in the area, the Mt. Baldy Volunteer Fire Department relies heavily on donations and money raised at its key BBQ fundraiser.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for vegetarians and $10 for children under 12. Raffle tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. This year’s grand prize is a trip for 2 to Hawaii.  There will also be over 100 additional raffle prizes. Call 982-1213 for further ticket information or to make a donation.

The Mt. Baldy Trout Pools are located at 6945 Mt. Baldy Road. Find out more by visiting

Monday, June 18, 2012

Claremont city officials are alerting residents of recent bear sightings at the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. 
Officials say the bears are not aggressive, but urge hikers and cyclists to avoid any contact. Here is the message posted by the city of Claremont:
"Please do not approach the bear or attempt to photograph them at close range. The warm summer weather brings other animals out in search of food and water especially in the early mornings and evenings. Hikers and cyclists may encounter snakes, coyotes, tarantulas, raccoons, and opposums in the Wilderness Park. Staying in groups and making noise will help minimize encounters."
If you see a wild animal behaving aggressively or attacking, contact the California Department of Fish and Game.  During regular office hours, call 310-590-5132 or contact their 24-hour dispatch at 916-445-0045.

Fifty-foot building for Planning Commission review

The Claremont Planning Commission will review an amendment to the Village Expansion Plan Tuesday night, June 19 that would allow the construction of a proposed 50-foot building at Oberlin Avenue and First Street in Village West.

The proposed mixed-use property is vying to take over the vacant Rich Products Corporation building, purchased by the Denley Investments and Management Company at the start of 2011.

The amendment would change the maximum height of buildings from 3 to 4 stories, or from 40 feet to a limit of 50-feet tall, not typically allowed in the city’s mixed-use zones.  Originally approved at 45 feet last July, the building to be brought before to the commission on Tuesday would cap the height limit, if approved, at 50 feet. Nearby Casa 425 stands an estimated 40 feet with the parking structure adjacent to The Packing House stands 4 stories, approximately 35-feet tall from the ground to the structure’s handrail. The garage’s elevator tower is 56 feet.

With a parking garage a part of the proposed building’s design, some residents were pleased with a solution to the Village West’s parking and traffic issues. Others voiced skepticism at a city council meeting held last July.

“It’s not entirely fair to ruin one person’s mountain view just to give another a mountain view, said Jason Ryan, a resident of the nearby Village Walk.

The Planning Commission meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at 225 W. Second St. Public comment is welcome. For the full agenda visit

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For Claremont Heritage there is no better way to honor Claremont’s past than to host an evening enjoying the trees, buildings and scenery that continue to keep Claremont a beacon of historical significance along the foothills.

Claremont Heritage is calling its patrons together for a night of dancing, merriment and celebrating preservation this Saturday, June 16, for its yearly summer gala. The party takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Pomona College Smith Fountain Courtyard.

This year’s event, Party in the Piazza, is an open air Italian affair that will include cocktails, Tuscan treats as well as silent and live auction items to benefit the organization’s continued mission of preservation. The $80 ticket, $85 for non-members, gains partygoers entry into the annual staple for the town preservation society. It also gives locals the chance to honor both town history and the works of organizations across the city working to continue to instill that same ideal.

“People don’t realize what we have here in Claremont in terms of architectural preservation. It’s an important part of our cultural fiber, it is why Claremont is so special,” said Executive Director David Shearer. “We could look to a number of cities not so far away that have not paid attention. You can drive through those cities and tell the difference.”

Each year a location is selected to reflect the city’s history. It was held at the Historic City Depot since the inaugural event in 1996 up until last year, when Padua Hills Theatre was selected. Both sites were chosen because of Claremont Heritage’s role in saving and preserving the buildings.

This year the venue will switch again, this time set along the backdrop of Pomona College. Pomona, the first of the 5Cs established in 1887, will be the recipient of the organization’s lauded Bess Garner Historic Preservation Award, recognizing the best of preservation by either an individual or an organization. The college was unaware it would be the recipient of the award at the time it agreed to host the event. Considering the exceptional contribution the college has made to maintaining historical integrity their award is not surprising, according to Mr. Shearer.

“We hold them as a shining example of what the other colleges should be looking at when thinking about expansions or master plans. Pomona College has been a steward in maintaining its original architecture,” Mr. Shearer said. “That is something that really does not get the attention or credit that is due.”

Guests will be able to appreciate the reasons the college is being honored, as the courtyard is surrounded by some of this standout architecture.

“We’re thrilled that Pomona’s sensitivity to our past and continuing efforts to maintain our campus’ architectural gems is being recognized,” said Pomona College’s Karen Sisson, vice president and treasurer. “Pomona College has a rich and distinguished architectural history that we are very proud of, and we are dedicated to preserving the architectural integrity and heritage of its buildings and landscaping.”

In addition to the preservation award, Claremont Heritage implemented the Cultural Heritage award 3 years ago to honor those embodying what sets Claremont apart beyond the architecture. This year’s recipient is the long-standing Folk Music Center, which draws in crowds from across the country to sample the local music scene. The music center’s offerings and cultural scope is vast, from a potpourri of musical instruments and a highly regarded concert series to workshops and educational classes.

“It brought a truly American art form to Claremont, and an outlet of teachers like Ben Harper who have gone on to make a major impact in the music scene internationally,” Mr. Shearer said. “People come from all over to visit it and not only to buy or restore instruments, but take classes. It has really become an institution.”

The store’s mission to spread an appreciation of music hits home for store manager Ellen Chase Harper, whose parents Charles and Dorothy Chase were the original owners, opening the store in the back of a real estate office in 1958.

“It’s certainly meant everything to us from family to friends,” Ms. Chase Harper said, reflecting back on fond memories of her mother teaching music classes in Memorial Park to students who have gone on to teach her style of music across the globe. “It’s had such a big influence.”

Furthering its desire to teach music to students ranging in ages and levels, the Folk Music Center opened its own museum in 1976 as an educational and cultural tool that continues today. In economic times that are challenging for most, being honored for what they continue to provide to the music scene is particularly gratifying for Ms. Chase Harper.

“I think validation is important, for every person and every institution,” she said.

While recognizing these organizations that further the Claremont Heritage aim, Heritage strives to raise the funds necessary to continue to update its archives, and a step further, bring those archived works of art into the homes of people across the globe. Heritage is working on creating a digital archive library of all its art pieces, photographs and more, which will be available on the group’s website and linked with other museum archives through a national database. Mr. Shearer hopes to further preservation efforts such as this through grant funding and gala proceeds.

Beyond looking for the necessary funds to continue its operations, Mr. Shearer looks forward to bringing together a group of people dedicated to Claremont’s history both now and for years to come.

“It is just a nice evening of music and dining with other Claremonters concerned about preserving our city,” Mr. Shearer said. “It is a wonderful time for a good cause.”

The Pomona College Smith Fountain Courtyard is located at 150 South College Avenue. Tickets to the gala can be purchased on the Heritage website at  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Suspect arrested for Claremont shooting

Image courtesy of the city

Claremont Police arrested George Warthan, 49, of Pomona yesterday evening, June 5,  in suspicion of shooting a Claremont man in the 100 block of Brown Drive. Though Mr. Warthan is in custody, police believe he is not the only one involved in the shooting, which took place around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

The attack sent a Claremont man to a nearby hospital with multiple gunshot wounds to the face, neck, chest and left shoulder. Despite the injuries, the man remains in stable condition. Information on Mr. Warthan’s connection with the victim could not be provided as police continue investigation, according to Claremont Detective David DeMetz. 

Calling all vendors for the 2012 Village Venture faire

The Claremont Chamber of Commerce is searching for vendors interested in taking part in the 48th Annual Village Venture, the city’s yearly arts and crafts faire held on the fourth Saturday of October.

Preparations are already underway for the fall event to be on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Jewelry, clothing and other crafty pieces lined the 494 booths that spanned across the closed streets of Claremont’s Village last year, a record breaking number that beat out 2010’s 452 vendors. The Claremont Chamber is looking to continue topping its numbers.

Applications have been mailed out to 2011 participants, but the Chamber is seeking new applicants to add to its ranks. Vendor applications will be available for download on the Chamber’s starting this Friday, June 8. Visit to access the form.

Find out more about the event by visiting the Chamber’s website or check out the Claremont Chamber Annual Village Venture Facebook page.
COURIER photo//Jonathan Gibby: Chef Miguel Chavez grills chicken skewers
 at his boot during the 47th Annual Village Venture. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Claremont Police search for mailbox bomber

Claremont Police are requesting residents’ help to find a man connected with blowing up mailboxes in the northeast portion of the city.

Three mailboxes have been destroyed since Saturday June 2 by handmade explosive devices, according to a recent police report. The targeted houses are in the 800 block of Alamosa Drive, the 100 block of Limestone Road and the 3700 block of Vincennes Court.

The man is described as an 18 to 20-year-old white male about 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds with red or blonde hair. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and blue shorts, believed to be driving a black Honda Civic.

Any suspicious person or activity should be reported to the Claremont Police immediately at 399-5411.