Public notes changes to Fourth of July festivities

by Peter Weinberger |

Two weeks ago, the Courier helped Shirley Ayangbah raise tuition money to cover her final semester this fall for her master’s degree at Claremont Graduate University. Courier readers and the Rotary Club of Claremont were quite generous, donating more than $9,500 to reach $11,712 (as of press time) for her GoFundMe account. She will now be able to pay 75% of the balance needed to stay in school.

What Shirley did not do was list the total amount of her tuition, which is $15,143. So even though more people called after the July 31 deadline, they did not donate, thinking she met her goal. But she did not. She is still $3,431 short.

This is our final request for those still interested in helping Shirley graduate. We have updated her information on her GoFundMe, at, to further tell her story, and I have donated $500 to get the ball rolling. Shirley already has a part-time job (the most she can work as a student) with the Riverside County District Attorney’s office and plans to work there full time after graduation.

Rarely have I met such a fine human being with lofty goals for a career that includes helping others. Please consider donating. Thank you in advance for understanding.

Fourth of July round two

In my job you can recognize how important an issue or concern is by the number of people who share their opinion on a particular subject. That has clearly happened with Claremont’s Fourth of July festivities.

The issue came up without any prodding last Friday during my Courier presentation at the Rotary Club of Claremont. The initial takeaway is people who attended Claremont’s Fourth celebration this year noticed a drop in attendance across the board, from the parade to the fireworks show. They also felt the city was sending mixed messages because of talk on employee overtime issues from a budget that was said to be in good shape. There were also concerns of the impact on Village businesses open that day.

With the morning 5k race pushed to another day and the parade held earlier at 10 a.m., the synergy from one event to the other was gone. Fourth of July Committee volunteerism was down about 75%, which impacts not only the parade, but the contribution volunteers make to other events.

The solutions discussed were simple: return the 5k to the morning of Fourth of July and the parade to 4 p.m. so more people can participate and make it a family holiday, while including and promoting what volunteers can do to help.

I realize Claremont must make hard financial choices on occasion in order to keep our city financially sound. But these decisions have public consequences beyond simply hitting budget projections. Do we really want a crammed Claremont Club parking lot full of people who would rather watch Upland’s fireworks show? There’s nothing wrong with this at all, but does it say something about Claremont’s festivities?

No one wants to see interest in Fourth of July events spiral down out of control. But right now there are voices who believe that’s exactly where it’s going.


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