Susan Brunasso is spreading the news

by Steven Felschundneff |

On any given day there might be a warning about traffic congestion, a reminder that the city is looking for new commissioners or a link to local music group. Sounds pretty typical for a city’s community outreach department—however, this is the work of just one person: Claremont resident, Susan Brunasso.

Ms. Brunasso is no stranger in town, in fact before the pandemic hit she was everywhere. Or so it seemed. With her work as a volunteer for Claremont’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Red Cross and Our Lady of the Assumption Church, one might run into Susan at any number of events.

It may be due to COVID-19 times, but Ms. Brunasso’s online informational blasts really seem to stand out as her greatest contribution to the Claremont community—it’s like “Susan’s news service.”

“I love our city, our Claremont family members, and I think it is important that our neighbors find an easy place to get a quick, brief, ‘Cliff Note’ of the happenings in Claremont,” Ms. Brunasso said last Thursday.

She uses multiple platforms including Instagram and Nextdoor. However, most people connect with her through various Facebook groups including “Claremont 91711,” which Ms. Brunasso launched in connection with our “Zip Code day” September 17, 2011, aka 9-17-11.

Among her most popular posts is her daily early morning scene of natural beauty taken somewhere around town, often while Ms. Brunasso is out on a walk. She says she has received many compliments on these pictures, which are “a great way to start the day.”

“I wake in the morning, knowing that it’s a welcomed responsibility to share a photo of the sunrise, mountains, flowers, or some form of nature to start the day on the 91711 site,” Ms. Brunasso said. “I have received many private messages over the years from community members I have never met, expressing their gratitude for the morning photo and greeting.”

Ms. Brunasso posts news from the city of Claremont and the police department. But she also occasionally does her own reporting—for example, if an accident or a fire has not yet been posted. She also records live Facebook feeds from around town, including candidates’ forums, outdoor concerts, beautiful sunsets and the farmers market. She promotes businesses like Sanctuary Coffee “and the good work they do for those in need,” the OLA Fiesta and the annual Kiwanis Sees Candy sale each December. Of course, many of these posts were from before the pandemic, but presumably she will pick them back up once the virus has been vanquished.

“I feel it is my way of giving back to the community I love,” Ms Brunasso said. “I am beyond grateful for the many blessings that I have been so very fortunate to receive.” These include information or connections, and even items that have been gifted to her family via the local “buy nothing” sites.

Ms. Brunasso and her husband Mike have been married for 37 years, and the couple moved to Claremont shortly afterward in June of 1986. They have twin sons Jonathan and Christopher who will be 36 years old this year. They have attended Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church since they moved to Claremont.

“OLA has been our community of faith home for 36 years, but we have so appreciated the many extraordinary places of worship surrounding us—Claremont United Church of Christ, the Claremont Methodist and Presbyterian churches, Temple Beth and Holy Name of Mary in San Dimas.”

Ms. Brunasso’s business, Classic Elegance Photo, Video and Media Transfers, has taken a hit due to the impact of the prohibition on public gatherings including weddings, reunions, birthday and engagement parties. However, she has seen an uptick in demand for film and slide transfers of family films to DVD. “People want to watch these enjoyable films during these challenging times,” she said. “My business does supplement our household income, to pay the bills.”

If her business has slowed down, that only provided extra time to help keep the community informed, which has included helping the city publicize news about the coronavirus and its impact on Claremont.

“Given that I have been an American Red Cross volunteer for 17 years and a Claremont CERT member for the past 10 years, I think it’s very important to notify our community as quickly as possible in case of an emergency, a power outage or a local blood drive,” she said. “I have received private and public messages from community members thanking me for posting information about a job opening or a special event that they may have forgotten about. Knowing that I brighten someone’s day or help someone find a needed job keeps me doing what I do.”


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