My Side: A missed opportunity to bring Claremont together

by Peter Weinberger |

It was a decision made well in advance of the holiday. The city announced months ago that it was canceling Fourth of July festivities due to the pandemic. At the time, it seemed like a good move as we were still caught in the middle of high infection rates throughout Los Angeles County. But as more and more people were vaccinated, the numbers dropped far more quickly than anyone predicted. That left cities scrambling to figure out what to do on the Fourth. Even though most realize these festivities take months of advance planning, many cities were able to proceed with some of the events associated with celebrating the holiday. La Verne held a parade and fireworks show, while Upland held a 5k and changed the location of their fireworks show to accommodate people staying at home or watching from their cars. It was a great move that was greatly appreciated by the people who watched the show. My hat’s off to Upland for being so creative. The city of Claremont, on the other hand, decided that even bringing back any part of the celebration was simply not possible. Why couldn’t they open Memorial Park for a pancake breakfast? Do you think Kiwanis would have stepped up to host? You bet. Even a small parade would have been great. It didn’t have to be the same size or scope, just something to honor our nation’s birthday. I fully realize changing course would have been difficult to pull off. Commitments were postponed for a year, staffing issues were a challenge everywhere, decisions had to be made early, and there were vendor contracts to consider. No easy task. But what we all missed was the sense of community any celebration brings. Especially this one! And especially now! Let’s face it, most of us are still living through over a year of hell. We needed a chance to forget about last year and enjoy the things we love about Claremont. I almost feel like La Verne and Upland beat us at our own game. We’ve always been the creative city that could get things done. Now, Claremont did offer two online community contests. And I am not saying the city ignored the Fourth. I know this was a hard decision. But judging from what I heard while at Memorial Park on the Fourth—where people celebrated watching a four-car renegade parade—residents couldn’t help but feel the city simply dropped the ball. I agree.

New website launching soon
Visit the COURIER website and you’ll think a new business took over—and in a way that’s what happened! Within just a few days of each other we are both finalizing the redesign of the website and have received the IRS paperwork to operate as a nonprofit. There will be more information coming on the change to ‘A local nonprofit newsroom. But right now, there are a few key things to know about the new website, which will offer more local news content, updated daily.

• There’s no need to log in…yet. We want the public to get used to the new website, so it will remain open with no paywall for the next several months. There will be a time when subscribers will need to register an account with a name and password again. Just not yet! We will let you know. But once the paywall is set, subscribers will need a login, or free access ends after three stories.
• We record excellent podcasts. Just scroll down the homepage and you will find our Podcast Hub. We’re producing two or more podcasts every week.
• We are connected directly to the city of Claremont website and have added their at-a-glance event calendar. It’s updated as soon as the city website creates the posts. You can see as much or as little as you want. The point is we want to spread the word about city events.
• I highly recommend using the black bar or Find it Fast links to get the news and information you need. We added City Government, Profile and Arts & Entertainment categories, among others, to help you find our new and expanded content.
• Now any small business can own a webpage after we downloaded the contact information for EVERY business in Claremont. In other words, there’s a web page(s) waiting for your business on the COURIER website free of charge. And right now you can add photos and text to your business page. Our Find a Business section does what it says. It helps your business rank higher on internet searches.
• Coming soon! We will be adding extra content over the next couple of weeks. There remains our enormously popular weekly poll at the bottom of the homepage, but we will also be adding word games with a Claremont angle. Another big focus is on our real estate content—the COURIER will be the first newspaper media company to carry the MLS live on our website. The content will include most of Southern California, with a Claremont twist.
All this would not have been possible without the huge support of COURIER readers everywhere. These upgrades have been planned for over a year and show the hard work of staff employees. But it’s also an exciting time of change to our new normal. This is COURIER 2.0. And all of it for less than $6 per month.


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