Readers comments: January 28, 2022

Lessons to be learned
Dear editor:
The ferocious Santa Ana winds that ravaged Claremont on Friday night were incredibly destructive, but I believe there are lessons to be learned from the disaster.
First of all, deciduous trees were hardly touched. Almost exclusively, it was the evergreens that were damaged — especially pines, oaks, jacaranda, deodar and eucalyptus. While the fact that deciduous trees without leaves survived may seem intuitively obvious, it is a valuable lesson for the future selection of replacement trees: deciduous trees survive major wind events better than evergreen trees.
Oaks planted in turf are weakened by excessive water and their roots tend to rot. There are countless examples of this (Memorial Park, Oak Park Cemetery, the Pomona College campus — to name a few). Oaks rarely need suplemental water and should not be planted in irrigated landscapes!
Large trees planted in central medians and between the sidewalk and the street do not develop adequate root systems. They tend to blow down during extreme wind events. We should choose street trees that are moderate in size.
Trees planted out of 15-gallon containers are often root-bound. They never really recover and are prone to blowing down years later when they are quite large (lesson — don’t plant root-bound nursery stock. Choose the smallest tree — not the largest.)
The Santa Ana winds — especially the mid-winter variety, invariably come from the north. If you have a large tree just to the north of your house, you should be concerned. It is important to maintain large evergreen trees on a regular basis. Keep the foliage thinned out!
Just a handful of lessons if we allowed them to guide our future choices — would make a huge difference when the next Santa Ana strikes, as it invariably will.
Marc Merritt

The end of an era
Dear editor:
Spectrum internet back on! Day three-3/4. Who’s counting? Grateful no one was scathed. Boom, a flash, and a transformer went out. And this happened over and over again. Every time, the lights flickered back on, until the last — and they were out.
End of an era. At every half block in my neighborhood near downtown Claremont, there was a fleet of parked trucks, a crane, and a big, fallen giant — trees that had been growing maybe for a hundred years. Some car and house damage. I would call this a once in a 100-year event, but who knows with climate change? Mostly pines and eucalyptus. The sycamores who lose their leaves came through relatively unscathed. Palms survived. I’m taking reports on the oaks. I guess many oaks at the colleges fell. I saw some. One, a diseased one, at the Field Station got the top knocked off. They are struggling a bit due to drought. The grove of eucalyptus at the mouth of Webb Canyon was wiped out. I walked on Sixth St. from the colleges on Saturday, and it was one giant truck, after truck, after truck loading into the colleges — a very serious somber parade.
I just don’t know about the future of trees in Claremont. We will still have trees, but different ones maybe — smaller ones, younger ones. Climate change and old age. It’s sad for me — part of my heritage — though I know we will regroup.
Pamela Casey Nagler

Need more coverage of school board
Dear editor:
I appreciate the story in the January 21 COURIER by Mick Rhodes on the school board and its president, Steven Llanusa. It caught us up on school news in many areas from COVID response to the upcoming redistricting to the proposed sale of La Puerta. However, the story made me realize that there was a lot of catching up to do because the COURIER has no regular coverage of school board meetings.
The governance of the school district affects the lives of thousands of Claremont residents. Please assign a reporter to cover the board members’ decisions at their regular meetings as news rather than as an occasional feature story or articles that only present COVID statistics. The students deserve it, the whole community deserves it, and it is in the best tradition of the COURIER to do so.
Lissa Petersen

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