Claremont Profiles

By 10:30 a.m. on a recent Friday, Rene Casas had already met rock star Billy Idol, celebrated National Cuddling Day with a consenting colleague, and namedropped his alma mater, La Verne’s Bonita High School, on live radio.

Walk by Lani Fox’s house on a typical day and you’ll likely find the south Claremont resident in her front yard harvesting fragrant basil from her garden beds, picking vibrantly colored pansies, or plucking passion fruit from fast-growing vines.

Sometimes to get ahead in life, a little momentum can make all the difference.

This time of year, many people reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving. For one man the answer encompasses the gift of narrowly escaping death, the opportunity to see his family grow and finally moving to Claremont.

While running Boon Companion Toys year-round, owner John Peltekci faces numerous issues.

The Claremont Packing House recently welcomed a tiny new tenant that is a throwback of sorts: the 48-square-foot kiosk Art and Bodega. The reimagined newsstand concept is the creation of graphic designer and Upland resident Rebecca Ustrell, who’s also the founder and creative director of the nonprofit publishing group, Curious Publishing. She along with her husband, store manager Sam Signer, hold down the fort Wednesday through Sunday.

How do they do it? By their own admission, Gabe Fondario and Robert Hargett’s success rate is in the single digits. So how do the duo, who make up the City of Montclair’s Homeless Outreach and Enforcement Unit, keep from becoming jaded in the face of that grim statistic? “I hope I never do get like that,” Fondario said. “And if I do, I hope somebody points it out to me, because then I don’t belong in this position anymore. Because you have to have that out here.”

In the mid-1980s Montclair was the murder capital of the Inland Empire. So brutal were the neighborhoods just above Holt Boulevard, along Bandera and Canoga streets and Kimberly Avenue, local NBC affiliate Channel 4 News dubbed them “the warzone.” Fed up, the City of Montclair tasked its code enforcement officers to begin working closely with police and apartment owners to eliminate problem tenants. The hope was to improve safety and overall quality of life for the law-abiding residents there.

Last week, Martha Gonzalez got the go-ahead to talk about what is perhaps the ultimate “one-up” story to tell this year around her holiday table. No, the associate professor of Chicanx/Latinx Studies at Scripps College and lead singer of Chicanx band Quetzal didn’t win another Grammy, but the educator did enter another exclusive club. On October 12 the MacArthur Foundation awarded Gonzalez a 2022 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as a “genius grant.” The prize comes with an $800,000 stipend.  

When Claremont native and local artist Alba Cisneros read the description of what she was to deliver to the winning bidder of her item at this year’s Claremont Heritage online auction, she was a bit taken aback.

Three years ago, owner of the kennel Papa Bear Bullies, Miguel Lopez made the 300-mile trek down the 10 Freeway from Los Angeles to Phoenix for a dog event hosted at The Pitbull Store, an Arizona-based dog supply and event store.

Angela Sadler Williamson, cousin to civil rights icon Rosa Parks, will be reading from and signing copies of her new children’s book, My Life with Rosie: a Bond Between Cousins from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, February 26 at Claremont’s Folk Music Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Sofia Dartnell is the one in her friend group who halts everyone during a trip to educate them about, and then photograph, whatever bug has caught her attention. The 23-year-old Pomona College senior loves the outdoors and knows her insects.

When Reggie Webb was 10, his mother and grandmother packed him a sack of fried chicken and pound cake and put him on a bus in South Bend, Indiana for a 30-hour ride to Madison, Arkansas, where he was to help his great-grandparents tend to their five-acre farm.

Despite being the daughter of a teacher, Vivian Webb School’s Dean of Students Sarah Lantz said she took a round about way to teaching. Photo by Scott Nichols/The Webb Schools

On the outskirts of the Claremont Village, near the Indian Hill Boulevard railroad crossing, residents once frequented a barbershop called The Statesman Barber Lounge.