Honored citizen

July 2012


Working towards a sustainable future




COURIER photos/Steven Felschundneff

Claremont shows its true holiday colors

our C ier

Our lists and maps of Claremont Fourth of July events will guide you through everything from the 5k race to the fireworks show.


Parade grand marshal gives back






Claremont Celebrates America
Opening Ceremony & Flag Raising Ceremony
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 10 a.m.
COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff

Trumpet Call
Steve Collins

Welcome/Flag Dedication
Edmund “Ted” Fisher, Commander American Legion

Flag Raising
American Legion & Veterans of Foreign Wars

To the Colors
Steve Collins

Pledge of Allegiance
Favio Buis, Theme Contest Winner

Our Lady of the Assumption Church

National Anthem
Scotty Jacobson

Official Greeting
Mayor Larry Schroeder

“God Bless America”
Seraphina Oney

“America the Beautiful”
Alyssa Tepper

Mark Beckett, Chair and Charles Gale, Vice Chair Independence Day Committee



Grand Marshal

by Sarah Torribio

Claremont Club CEO reaches out

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Honored Citizen

by Brenda Bolinger

Local lawyer and advocate gives back

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Honored Group

by Beth Hartnett

Community organization envisions the future

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What’s offered at the park?

Check the list below for a rundown of this year’s booths and vendors

1 2 3 4 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 32 Fourth of July Committee City Council Committee on Aging (COA) Police Department Police Department American Legion Sustainable Claremont CHERP League of Women Voters Temple Beth Israel Community Friends of International Students Claremont Progressives Amnesty International Organizing for America Claremont Wildlands Conservancy Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Claremont Museum of Art Inland Valley Death Penalty Focus Revive Church Inc. Claremont United Methodist Church Peace with Justice Center of Pomona Valley NAMI Pomona Valley St. Ambrose Episcopal Church Sierra Club Mountain View Republican Club Claremont Presbyterian Church Fairplex OLA Church

33 34 35 37 6 7 17 31 36 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

OLA School & Parish Friends of the Bernard Biological Field Station Baha'is of Claremont Progressive Christians United Claremont High School Alumni Society Class of 2015 Democratic Club of Claremont Friends of the Claremont Pooch Park Claremont Heritage Job's Daughters El Roble Hip Hop Italian Catholic Federation Ladies of Columbus Knights of Columbus Ratanapanya Meditation Center Ratanapanya Meditation Center Granite Creek Community Church Friends of the Claremont Pooch Park Girl Scouts of Greater LA-Colorguard Boy Scout Troop 403 Claremont High School Theatre Foothill Storm Soccer Club Claremont Rotary Club






Map to fireworks and parking

Fireworks sky show


he city of Claremont and the 2012 Independence Day Committee invite the public to the annual Fireworks Sky Show at Pomona College’s Strehle Track. The gates open at 6:30 p.m., with a live concert featuring the classic rock band LCR beginning at 6:45 p.m. The fireworks sky show will begin at 9 p.m.
Tickets for the show are $8 pre-sale and $10 at the gate, if available. Tickets are now on sale at the Hughes Community Center, Chamber of Commerce, Rio de Ojas, Vons and Wolfe’s Market. Pre-sale tickets will also be available for purchase on Wednesday, July 4 at the festival at Memorial Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children 3 and under are free. Parking is available at the following locations: the Pomona College parking structure off of First Street, the CUC Administrative Campus Center at First Street and Mills Avenue, the Metrolink parking lot on First Street, as well as on streets and various parking lots throughout the Claremont Colleges. Handicapped parking is reserved at the parking lot on the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Mills Avenue. There are 3 gates from which to enter the show: • Mills – North (just below Sixth Street) - handicapped accessible • Mills – South (above First Street) • Rains Center Walkway (below Sixth Street, between Amherst and College Way) The city’s Fourth of July Celebration is a time-honored tradition in Claremont. The celebration consists of a 5K run, pancake breakfast, opening ceremonies, festival area with games, parades, and a fireworks sky show. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Claremont Community & Human Services at 399-5490. Additional information about the celebration can be found at the Claremont Fourth of July Celebration website at


Freedom 5000

njoy the beautiful, treelined streets of Claremont as you cheer on your friends or grab your own sneakers during the Freedom 5000 run.
The course begins in Memorial Park and winds through the scenic streets of Claremont’s Village, then on to the picturesque college campuses. Registration and bib pick-up begins at 6 a.m. and continues through 7:15 a.m. with the first 1K Kids Run race starting at 7:30 a.m. The 5K Run/Walk starts at 8 a.m. The day of the race, registration is $30 for adults; kids ages 12 and under are $20. Medals will be given to the first 3 in each age division, and all children (ages 12 and under) who participate in the 1K will receive a medal.



A celebration like none other; 2012 parade participants
he blankets and chairs have been laid out on Indian Hill Boulevard for days. This year’s parade will follow in the tradition of years past with hundreds of kids on bikes, dogs in carts and folks on horseback as they all jockey for position in what has become one of the most popular events of the day.
At 3 p.m., folks head en masse to Indian Hill with children in tow and cameras in hand to stake out the best place to sway with the tunes of the marching bands and enjoy the sights of the decorative floats and familiar faces. Officially kicking off at 4 p.m., the parade will wind west on 10th Street to Indian Hill Boulevard, south on Indian Hill Boulevard to Harrison Avenue, and west on Harrison Avenue to Mountain Avenue at Larkin Park where the parade disbands. This year’s parade participants include: Fire Department Kids on Bikes Girl Scouts Cub Scouts Pack 408 Theme Winner: Favio Buis Claremont Idol: Seraphina Oney House Decorating Contest Winners: Vazquez Family Grand Marshal: Mike Alpert


Honored Citizen: Sandy Baldonado Honored Community Group: Sustainable Claremont Claremont City Council Citrus College Trustee Sue Keith & Superintendent Dr. Geraldine M. Perri CUSD Board & Superintendent CUSD Teacher of the Year: Karen Corrette CUSD Classified Employee of the Year: Rosie Bister Claremont High School Marching Band Claremont High School Cheer Danbury School Pitzer College International Program Claremont McKenna College Keck Graduate Institute Claremont University Consortium Claremont Senior Bike Group Gary Goltz Judo Assembly Member Anthony Portantino Jerry James Claremont Rotary CLASP US Army American Legion, Keith Powell Post 78 Friends of the Bernard Biological Field Station Schlick Family Float Paul Wheeler California Youth Spirit Corps. American Association of University Women and League of Women Voters Habitat for Humanity-Pomona Valley

Claremont Symphony Claremont Youth Symphony Claremont Little League The Claremont Irregulars Karousel Kids Claremont Presbyterian Church Pilgrim Place Peace Vigil Committee, Pilgrim Place Occupy Claremont Mt. San Antonio Gardens Democratic Club of Claremont Claremont Manor Auxiliary of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Claremont School of Theatre Arts Granite Creek Community Church El Roble Hip Hop Team Claremont Fastpitch Claremont Fastpitch Board of Directors El Roble Marching Panthers Kevin Rothfus Claremont Ukulele Club Kevin Deal Mountain View Republican Club El Roble Intermediate Cheer CA Faith for Equality Taxed Enough Already Pedro Telarraja Middle Land Chan Monastery Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 2nd St. Sculpture Park



Memorial Park north of the circular driveway
11:00 a.m. 11:10 a.m. 11:20 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 11:40 a.m. 11:50 a.m. 12:00 p.m. 12:10 p.m. 12:20 p.m. 12:30 p.m. 12:40 p.m. 12:50 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 1:10 p.m. 1:20 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 1:40 p.m. 1:50 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 2:10 p.m. 2:20 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 2:40 p.m. 2:50 p.m. Colin Tudor Larry Schroeder, mayor Charlie Gale Butch Henderson Sam Pedroza, councilperson Helen Graziano Peter Weinberger Susan Allen Charles Doskow Daniel Davis Carolyn Gonzales Larry Ruotolo Michael Keenan Freeman Allen Merrill Ring Kris Meyers Linda Russell Dr. Marie Jo Kane Catherine Henley Erickson David Nemer Constance Waddell Joe Lyon, councilperson Kate Weisner Heidi Bonadie The Declaration of Independence Face to Face Your Fourth of July Committee The Lemon Test: Rites and Rights Your Call to Local Office is Your Call to Higher Office Feminist Mystique Impact of USPS Changes on Newspapers In Anno Domini 1758, We Dream'd of Your Times What Has the Court Done to Us? Gaps In Our Knowledge “Americanly” Correct Son of Prop 13 How To Walk Together Claremont’s Sustainable Future Money and Democracy TBA The American Trinity Importance of Classical Music Poetry of the Holiday American Political Phrases The Initiative That Sets Us Free Local Government: A Victim of Drowning The True Source of America’s Strength National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

T. Willard Hunter



COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff

Celebrate America! 2012 Fourth of July festivities


he Annual Claremont Fourth of July Celebration has been a time-honored tradition in the city for more than 60 years. The celebration consists of a morning 5K run, pancake breakfast, opening ceremonies, festival and parade, and ends with a BANG at the Fireworks Spectacular. Memorial Park is transformed as performers rove the park, providing color and fun for people of all ages.

Stage entertainment will include a variety of bands and other groups, and there will be demonstrations throughout the park, including clowns, strolling bands, jugglers and even a very tall Uncle Sam. Pancake Breakfast – mmmmm good! Enjoy the tantalizing tastes of a good ol’ fashioned pancake breakfast sponsored by the Kiwanis Club from 7 to 10 a.m. Tickets—going for $4—may be purchased at the booth. The breakfast helps raise funds for a variety of organizations supported by Kiwanis, including AbilityFirst, the Claremont

American Red Cross, Monday Night Concerts in the Park, Best BET and other youth and community activities. If still available, fireworks tickets will be sold in conjunction with the breakfast and may still be available at the Information Booth at 10:30 a.m. Flag Raising and Opening Ceremonies After the pancake breakfast, gather around the flagpole in front of the Garner House at 10 a.m. and be inspired by the raising of the colors accompanied by a trumpet call and a rendition of “To the Colors” performed by Steven Collins. Join fellow Americans in the Pledge of Allegiance with Favio Buis, winner of the theme contest. Our Lady of the Assumption Church will lead the invocation followed by the singing of our national anthem, led by Scotty Jacobson. Claremont Mayor Larry Schroeder will provide the official greeting, and Edmund “Ted” Fisher will lead a flag raising with fellow American Legion members and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Patriotic songs will follow the flag dedication. Independence Day Committee chairman Mark

Beckett and vice chairman Charles Gale will close out the opening ceremonies. Handicapped parking is available Handicapped persons (with placards) may park on Eighth Street between Indian Hill Boulevard and Yale Avenue. Additional parking will be available on parts of Yale Avenue (signage will direct you). Those with a handicapped placard may also drop off family members using the circle drive in front of the Garner House and then park their vehicles on Eighth Street. Booths, tables, fun! Saunter through the 67 booths gathered on the grass at Memorial Park. You will find information, fun things to buy and games to play that will add excitement to an already festive day. To locate a vendor, peruse the Booth Vendor list on page 4 and locate their number and location on the Festival Area map. The Independence Day Committee information booth will be located just north of the Garner House (next to the Police Command Station). Should the need arise for first aid, a station will be set up next to the Police Command Station.





Claremont celebrates America with patriotic homes
laremont residents have never been known for a lack of enthusiasm when celebrating the Fourth of July. And the city’s house decorating contest has been a holiday staple for the past 11 years.
After organizing the contest for 10


years, Claremont residents Jim and Phyllis Brost have passed the star-spangled torch to Jim and Ellen Berke. This year’s contest theme, “Claremont Celebrates America,” attracted yet another batch of star-studded residences. Winners are decided by the appearance, creativity and patriotic spirit of their decorated homes.
COURIER photos/Steven Felschundneff The lawn of Jennifer Fordʼs third place-winning home has a spraypainted map of the United States and a giant USA.



A turtle and a cutout of grizzly bears are part of the Fourth of July decorations at the Gonzalez familyʼs Hendrix Avenue home, which was awarded first place in this yearʼs decorating contest. The Gonzalezes decorate their home to honor their son, Justin Verdeja, who died in Iraq in 2007.



COURIER photos/Cameron Barr The Mushrush home finished in second place this year in the annual Fourth of July Home Decorating Contest in Claremont. Seventeen-year-old Nathan Mushrush decorated his home with over 100 flags, including banners representing each of the 50 states. A row of American flags greets guests as they walk up to the home.

COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff LEFT: The Gonzalez familyʼs Hendrix Avenue home is adorned with a wide variety of red, white and blue decorations including flags, pinwheels and stuffed animals. Now in their third year entering the home decorating contest, the family won first place.


Patriotic music


ourth of July festivities are getting a kick-start this year with a patriotic musical event to take place tomorrow, Sunday, July 1 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Claremont Depot. The concert is free and open to the public.
The patriotic revue, presented by members of the Celebration Choir and Orchestra of Pomona First Baptist, presents a collection of spirited tunes proclaiming America both past and present. The public is invited to deck the Depot with picnic blankets and lawn chairs for the musical presentation. While the performance at the Depot, 200 W. First St., will have a more limited orchestral accompaniment, those unable to attend the Sunday evening production can view the regular event in its full glory that morning at the 8:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. services at Pomona First Baptist, 601 N. Garey Ave. They will also be streamed live at


COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff



Amateur fireworks are banned in Claremont but allowed in some cities


n July 4, starting at 9 o’clock, the sky above Pomona College will be alight with synchronized sparks during the city’s annual fireworks extravaganza.

While it’s sure to be a splendid display, some people are not content to leave things to the professionals. Fueled by a primal fascination with fire and a recollection of nostalgic summer moments, these amateur pyrotechnicians get a yearly hankering to put on their own show. They head for fireworks stands, raiding the temporary structures—which spring up each sum-

mer like wildflowers—for sputtering sparklers, colorful ground-flowers and other incendiaries. Getting your yearly fuse-fix is not as easy as it once was. Times have changed and many communities, Claremont included, have banned fireworks in the hopes of preventing accidents or fire. Claremonters, if you still succumb to the sulfur-scented lure of a struck match and pre-packaged whistles and kabooms, take heart. If you’re willing to take a short drive, you can find a haven in a nearby city where fireworks are still legal. Believe it or not, they still exist, to the tune of 209 California communities in all.

The following is a partial list of cities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties where state-approved fireworks are still available for purchase and their use is still allowed: Azusa, Baldwin Park, Duarte, El Monte, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, South El Monte, Chino, Colton and Fontana. For a more detailed list of cities and unincorporated areas in the state that permit fireworks, visit the California Fireworks Newswire at http://ca-fire tent-article.asp?ArticleID=508. We should mention that the fiery fun comes with some caveats. Some cities that allow fireworks have banned their use in particular areas. In Azusa, for instance, fireworks are illegal in all areas north of Sierra Madre Ave., in the Rosedale Neighborhood, in commercial parking lots and in parks and adjacent walkways. There may also be local time restric-

tions to heed. Using Azusa for an example again, fireworks may only be discharged in residential zones on July 4 between noon and midnight. The communities where fireworks are allowed emphasize that only “safe and sane” products should be used. Fireworks that explode, fly or dart— firecrackers, skyrockets, Roman candles, chasers and large sparklers—have been deemed unsafe and illegal by the state fire marshal. So have fireworks containing arsenic sulfide, magnesium and zirconium, among numerous banned chemicals, unless you’ve been “specially qualified or trained in the use of fireworks.” If you want to support the “booming” fireworks industry, you are advised to check the website of the city you hope to visit or place a call to officials. Learning about the local restrictions may save you from a hefty fine.
—Sarah Torribio




Marshaling hope: Claremont Club CEO gives back, then steps back
The strength of Mr. Alpert’s vision became clear 5 years ago when Mr. Hargrave’s 17-year-old son was involved in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Hal Hargrave, Jr., a “gym rat” who worked out at The Claremont Club 5 times a week, had just graduated from Claremont High School, where he lettered in football and baseball. He was planning to play college ball at Cal State Long Beach, where Mr. Alpert’s daughter, Justene, was also headed. Justene was heartbroken when she learned about her friend’s injuries. When the Alperts visited Hal Jr. at Casa Colina, where he spent 63 days in acute care, Mr. Alpert was moved to make a promise to the Hargraves. “I opened my big mouth and said, ‘When he gets out of here, come down to the Club and we’ll help him spiritually, emotionally and physically,’” Mr. Alpert recalls. Afterward, he was faced with a conundrum. “I asked myself, ‘What did I say? Where will I put him?’” Mr. Alpert co-opted a racquetball court, transforming it into a spinal cord rehabilitation studio. When he realized Claremont Club trainers were afraid to work with the injured teen, he sent a delegation to the Calabasasbased Project Walk, where they were trained in spinal cord rehabilitation. Hal Jr. also benefited from the rehabilitation services at Project Walk. It was there, at Christmastime, that he received inspiration for his nonprofit. When he told a fellow patient, “I’ll see you after the holidays,” his friend said he wouldn’t be coming back because his treatment coverage had run out. The man had already sold his car and house, and had to figure out how to provide for his family. Convinced that everyone with spinal cord injuries deserves the chance to recover and thrive, Hal Jr. used his accident settlement to create the Be Perfect Foundation, which—in partnership with Casa Colina and The Claremont Club—provides an exercise-based recovery service that currently serves 24 clients with spinal cord injuries. Participants work out with the help of Claremont Club trainers in a program that is completely funded for the first 3-6 months. Afterward, clients pay for half of their rehabilitation, which the Club offers at a deep discount. While someone is involved in the Community Fitness Program for Spinal Cord Injuries, their entire family is offered access to facilities at The Claremont Club. The same courtesy is extended to the families of people who have gone through the Club’s Living Well After Cancer Program. For people worried about their loved ones, access can make all the difference. “To be able to sit in the café and have coffee or lunch, or to get in the pool or take a group exercise class, is very meaningful,” Mr. Alpert said. “Why not treat the whole family in an atmosphere that is nurturing, electric and safe?” “Why not?” seems to be Mr. Alpert’s credo when it comes to finding ways to help financially underprivileged children and people devastated by illness. This summer, 150 students are attending The Claremont Club’s popular children’s summer camps on scholarship. In the fall, students from 4 school districts who are struggling with academics will be tutored through the Club in a program that asks kids for an hour of effort, then gives them an hour of playtime at the pool or on the courts. The Claremont Club will also provide Angels tickets to hundreds of local schoolchildren. The system is simple: a kid is spotted reaching out to a child who has trouble making friends, or making another kind choice, and they are called into the office. The Good Samaritan is then offered enough tickets to take his or her entire family to the game. The connections with neighboring school districts are indicative of the CEO’s genius for creating and sustaining strategic partnerships, says Doug Keeler, former superintendent of the Claremont Unified School District and a longtime friend of Mr. Alpert. “Mike sees a need and he jumps on it,” he marveled. Mr. Alpert is not perfect, said Mr. Keeler, who now makes his home in Florida. Among other foibles, the businessman and philanthropist is in last place in the fantasy baseball league in which both men participate. Nonetheless, Mr. Keeler has a great respect for Mr. Alpert. “He’s become an incredible icon in this town as far as his help for the young people and his willingness to do good deeds,” he said. “He’s just a wonderful human being.” Maggie Weeks, director of The Claremont Club’s Ambience Day Spa, and front desk manager Laura Van Dran say they appreciate the way Mr. Alpert
GRAND MARSHAL continues on the next page

hen Mike Alpert, president/ CEO of The Claremont Club, rides through the crowd during Claremont’s Fourth of July parade, he may feel a bit uncomfortable, and not just because of the summer heat.

While Mr. Alpert is honored by his selection as Grand Marshal for the annual event, he generally prefers anonymity to accolades. “Mike is great at initiating and great at the vision, and then he steps back and never wants to take credit for anything,” said Hal Hargrave, vice president of the Be Perfect Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to meeting the financial and rehabilitative needs of people with spinal cord injuries.



COURIER photos/Steven Felschundneff Claremont Club CEO Mike Alpert added a spinal cord injury exercise studio to the facilities at the Club following an auto accident that injured Claremont resident Hal Hargrave, Jr. Mr. Alpert will be the 2012 Grand Marshal in the Fourth of July celebration. GRAND MARSHAL continued from the previous page

encourages Claremont Club personnel to seek out community needs and fulfill them—things like shoes for kids who can’t afford them and exercise equipment for local schools. Ms. Weeks and her staff have been inspired to organize programs like one in which spa stylists and aestheticians give makeovers to the women and girls of House of Ruth, an organization assisting the victims of domestic violence. Ms. Van Dran notes that, in these tough economic times, staffers are empowered to suspend billing for longtime members who have lost their jobs or had their jobs cut. It’s done like many of Mr. Alpert’s endeavors: quietly and on a handshake.”

“We say, ‘When times get better, you can come back and we’ll get you back into billing.’” Mr. Alpert said. “Our why is very simple: We save lives through exercise, activity and social-based therapy through this recession.” Things are good for Mr. Alpert, who has managed to keep The Claremont Club flourishing over the past 15 years while expanding his wellness and outreach projects. He also has a thriving family, which brings

him joy on a daily basis. (Mr. Alpert notes that his wife, Annie, is a dream come true: “I always wanted to marry an Annie.”) It all comes from what he calls “a very spiritual” model of success. “I’m not a genius, I’m not the best at what I do,” he said. “But what I’ve found is that if you’re guided that way and do things for the right reason, everything works out.” —Sarah Torribio




Claremont’s honored citizen: Sandy Baldonado
mitigates the fact that a modicum of enmity has reared its ugly head throughout the course of her career, a result, she believes, of her tendency to “call it as I see it and let the chips fall where they may.” “Doing things for the city and the people here has been my main motivation, and it’s nice to be honored. Everyone needs to have what they’re doing acknowledged and approved of,” said Ms. Baldonado. “When you have a life as active as mine, you make a considerable amount of enemies. I’m sure there are some thinking, ‘Her??’” But more so than adversaries, Ms. Baldonado has made countless friends and fans as she strives to empower youth and adults and champion causes that improve others’ quality of life whether wearing her politician, lawyer or board member hat. “I have so many irons in the fire,” she said. One of the first irons Ms. Baldonado put into the political fire was working on the campaign of then-Democratic Governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson in his run for the presidency, first doing so as a Smith College freshman in 1952 and then as a Smith graduate in 1956. Though raised by a very conservative Republican father, she knew early on her views radically differed, and her rich and varied political life has reflected this. After college, Ms. Baldonado wanted to go to law school, “But in the typical attitude of men in the 50s, my father said, ‘No, I’ve spent enough on you and your education. Go find a job or a man.’” So she did both, marrying in 1959 and gaining employment as an economics researcher with the CIA in Washington, DC. A brief stint with UNICEF in New York came next, followed by a return to DC to serve as an aide to Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), senate majority leader at the time. “I think he liked me because I was a Smith graduate, not a Texan, and I could say the right things in letters,” Ms. Baldonado said. Remaining with LBJ through his successful vice presidential candidacy, she and her husband were offered jobs in his administration after the election, but California beckoned. Next, while raising 2 sons (and soon 2 more children as well) and volunteering for Legal Aide in Pomona, Ms. Baldonado decided to return to work, wondering what exactly to pursue as she was fed up with “the humiliating job search.” “This was 1965, and the women’s movement had just begun,” she continued. “I graduated with honors from Smith but got offers for secretarial work.” She opted to complete Claremont Graduate University’s teaching internship program, which led to teaching at Vista Elementary School from 1966-72. “I was very fortunate to be scooped up by CUSD,” she said. Remaining heavily invested in political endeavors such as becoming the southern vice chairman of the Democratic Party and president of the League of Women Voters, Ms. Baldonado ultimately left teaching because the right time for law school had finally arrived: she was 46. “I thought, ‘I’m going to be 50 when I start practicing.’ But then I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to be 50 anyway,’” she recalled. In 1985, she began practicing with Claremont’s Bob Stafford before settling into her own Yale Avenue office in 1998. Practicing law—several different
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iding atop a fancy convertible in next week’s July 4th parade, Sandy Baldonado will make short work of perfecting the royal wave. After all, she’s had plenty of practice, having cruised down Indian Hill Boulevard and around town on numerous Independence Day holidays over the years, from the hoopla of the 1976 bicentennial celebration when she was running for state assembly to the years of her Claremont City Council service.

This year, the Claremont Independence Day Committee selected Ms. Baldonado as the city’s Honored Citizen. The recognition pleases “Claremont’s most ardent fan,” as she described herself, and



COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff Claremont attorney Sandra Baldanado has been selected as the Honored Citizen for this yearʼs Fourth of July celebration. In addition to her civic involvement Ms. Baldanado raised 4 children in Claremont and now has 6 grandchildren. HONORED CITIZEN continued from the previous page

kinds—has been extremely rewarding, especially in how it has enabled her to help the less fortunate. “I don’t want to be Pollyanna-ish, but I felt I could make a difference as a lawyer more easily than in

other professions,” she reflected on going into the profession. “I’m a do-gooder.” Helping others in another capacity, Ms. Baldonado served 2 terms on the Claremont City Council, holding the mayoral seat from 2004-06. Having previously served 3 terms on the San Gabriel Municipal Water Board, she brought expertise on the subject—and

many others—to council deliberations and is keenly interested in the water debate happening right now. That the council is currently comprised of all men dismays Ms. Baldonado: “I’m not at all happy about that,” she said. She is pleased, however, that Claremont seems to be out of what she called the “doldrums.” “The bad news is that you can’t find a parking spot. The good news is that you can’t find a parking spot!” she joked about the city’s bustle. As busy as ever, Ms. Baldonado, an avid art collector, currently serves as president of the Claremont Museum of Art, a post she is “living, breathing and sleeping,” she said, thrilled to be helping re-establish good relations with community members who supported the museum, now without walls, in its inception. She also continues to indulge her love of travel, looking forward to a trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Helsinki. Theatergoing is another passion, ignited during childhood when her mother would take her out of school and to a play in Manhattan every other Wednesday: “There were no ‘no-no’s’ about what I could see,” she said. “Talk about an education.” In a figurative embrace, Ms. Baldonado spoke of the beloveds—“my children”— that populate her life and heart right now: her 4 children, 6 grandchildren, the developmentally-disabled persons she legally represents and the American Indian youth she works with through the New Mexico-based Futures for Children. “It sounds self-serving and corny, but I believe that those who are given a lot, a lot should be expected of them. I’ve been blessed with a comfortable and good life, and I feel I have an obligation to do things for others who aren’t as blessed.”
—Brenda Bolinger



A group effort: Sustainable Claremont works for the city’s future


mong the assortment of dedicated service groups and nonprofits throughout the city, Sustainable Claremont’s tireless community advocacy has earned special recognition amid the fanfare at this year’s Independence Day Celebration.

Sustainable Claremont will proudly bear the event’s coveted title of 2012 Honored Group, recognition for outstanding service to the Claremont community. The local nonprofit, only in its third year, is already gaining widespread attention for its leadership in partnering with local government, schools

and others toward preserving the city’s charm and progressive nature. “Sustainable Claremont is a fantastic organization that wants to be able to educate people and show them how they can take action. That is really what all of our passion is about,” said board member Devon Hartman. “It is said that Claremont is the City of Trees and PhDs. Well, I think in some ways the trees help attract the PhDs, and now the PhDs are all trying to preserve the trees. Sustainable Claremont is an extraordinary group of people who want to educate and to act.” The group, completely comprised of volunteers, has worked enthusiastically since its implementation in 2008 to advocate that mission of environmental, economic and social sustainability in Claremont and

beyond. Their efforts seem almost endless, from monthly sustainability lectures to annual Earth Day events. Sustainable Claremont offers an internship program to students of the Claremont Colleges and participates in a variety of affiliate action groups and committees. One of the organization’s latest hefty undertakings includes helping to update the Claremont Sustainable City Plan, which will be reviewed for adoption in October. “None of this is planned, it just happens,” said cochair Freeman Allen of the group’s vast undertakings and achievements. But that is exactly what the organization intends. “When Sustainable Claremont was formed, one of the things we decided was that we didn’t have a particular goal. What we wanted to do was to provide information, give opportunities and see where people’s interests took us,” said fellow co-chair Susan Schenk. “We try not to direct people too much, but try and find out what people’s interests are and then move from that starting point.” The idea for a community group like Sustainable Claremont was introduced as part of the city’s general plan in 2006. “There are lots of things we [the city] want to do to make this a more sustainable community that aren’t necessarily within the role of government. It is not always appropriate,” said Chris Veirs, senior planner and sustainability coordinator with the city
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of Claremont. “It made sense to create a group of interested citizens that wanted to go out and do advocacy and involve the broader community.” The community-based nonprofit exceeded the expectations envisioned, according to Mr. Veirs. One of the group’s crowning achievements is the implementation of CHERP, or the Claremont Home Energy Retrofit Project. CHERP is dedicated to encouraging homeowners to perform cost-effective retrofits that cut back on utility bills and energy use. The city of Claremont liked the project so much that they actually partnered with CHERP, lending energy efficiency grant money from the government to the program. To date, Claremont has about 59 CHERP homes, resulting in an estimated $840,000 of investment in the local housing stock and nearly $275,000 in utility rebates. “It’s a success story and this group of people here has a lot to do with that,” Mr. Veirs said. However, the group is not restricted to energy. The organization’s programs and interests are as diverse as the members themselves, which number over 100. Bob Traer has led Pilgrim Place in the creation of its own sustainability plan. Ron Mittino

COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff Members of Sustainable Claremont gather outside city hall on Thursday morning in Claremont. Group members, from left, Susan Schenk, Bob Traer, Dave Laybourn, Chris Veirs, Devon Hartman, Sheila McCarthy and Freeman Allen meet there monthly at city hall.

remains a strong advocate for teaching sustainability to the schools. Ms. Schenk is passionate about preserving natural areas and shares a keen interest in plants, fostered in her childhood. Ms. Schenk felt it was important to leave no area of sustainability unturned in the implementation of a Sustainable Claremont action group. “I’ve always thought it was very important that Sustainable Claremont maintain a broad focus,” she said. “All of these things are connected. If you use sustainable methods of gardening, you reduce the environmental damage from pesticides and you reduce water.” Sustainable Claremont hopes the group and its vast endeavors and accomplishments will become a model

for other cities across the county and beyond. “A lot of what we are creating here, we are doing with the idea of prototyping so that not only are we creating the actual benefits, but we’re going back and trying to package that in a way that can be leveraged and reproduced throughout Los Angeles,” Mr. Hartman said. “That’s part of our mission: trying to educate and duplicate what we achieve here.” For more on Sustainable Claremont, visit their booth at this year’s Fourth of July celebration or check out their website,
—Beth Hartnett



New pyrotechnicians to inspire “oohs,” awe at community celebration
hen Claremont’s 64th annual Fourth of July celebration culminates in a burst of fireworks, some brand-new hands will be launching the pyrotechnics.
For the first time, Claremont has contracted with Bay Fireworks, a New York-based company that organizes July 4 fireworks displays for communities across the country. The Fourth and the preceding week-and-a-half is a busy time for the pyrotechnicians. CEO Dennis Brady Jr. estimates that by the time the red, white and


blue dust settles, Bay Fireworks will have produced 600 patriotic programs. Mr. Brady has a job that many would envy. Each year, he and other company representatives travel from Europe to Asia to South America, looking for “the newest and coolest fireworks effects.” The result is an eye-popping arsenal of fireworks, ranging from chrysanthemums and peonies to cascading waterfalls and kamuros (some refer to the latter as a weeping willow effect) to pattern shows that fill the night sky with fun figures like stars and smiley-faces. Mr. Brady assures Claremonters that the local show,

which kicks off at 9 p.m. at Pomona College’s Strehle Track, will be dazzling. Guests are invited to enter the gates of the college (340 N. College Ave.) at 6:30 p.m. A rock concert beginning at 6:45 p.m. will precede the fireworks. Bay Fireworks has worked with Claremont’s Independence Day Committee to develop a charismatic 23-minute program of pyrotechnics synchronized with a range of music, from patriotic marches to pop tunes to country hits. The show will end with the
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company’s signature finale, which “starts with a huge bouquet of color and finishes with a thundering amount of salutes.” “It’s very loud,” Mr. Brady said. Claremont’s newest source of showy sparks has been in business for 25 years. With Bay Fireworks providing pyrotechnics for rock shows, theme parks like Leogland and events like the Orange County Fair, the company is growing at a healthy pace. The US economy has taken some hard hits in recent years, but community fireworks displays seem to be an inelastic demand, Mr. Brady noted.

“It’s important no matter how difficult times are,” he said. “It’s like comfort food—something people look forward to every year.” Cities are making cuts across the board, but most seem to agree that maintaining Independence Day traditions helps foster community morale. “It’s the one day where everything’s okay,” Mr. Brady said. Tickets for Claremont’s Fireworks Spectacular are $10 at the gate and $8 pre-sale at locations like the Alexander Hughes Community Center (1700 Danbury Road) and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce (205 Yale Ave.). For information, call 607-2671.
COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff

—Sarah Torribio



Craig Ryan sports some stylish glasses and a hat as he escorts his children Evan and Brenna to the start of the Fourth of July parade last year in Claremont. All 3 Ryans participated in the traditional “kids on decorated bicycles” entry that starts the parade each year. COURIER photos/Steven Felschundneff American Legion Post 78 member Beatrice Nutt rides in a 1942 US military Jeep during last yearʼs Fourth of July parade.

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