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Today’s Claremont news & upcoming reminders

by Kathryn Dunn | editor@claremont-courier.com

OUR LITTLE THEATER

A friend sent me a link to a commercial real estate ad this week—Claremont Laemmle theater is for sale. The disappointment sank in quickly.

The innumerable movie dates I have shared with my now 21-year-old son Garrett at his favorite theater (“Our little theater,” as he calls it) have been one of my greatest highlights of motherhood.

The real estate ad bills it as a “one of a kind ‘junior box’ building in the vibrant Claremont Village.” For my family, and me personally, it’s definitely been a one of a kind experience to see movies right here at home since the Harvard Square theater of my childhood closed. Funny how life repeats itself—Garrett will undoubtedly have a similar sense of nostalgia thinking back to our little theater.

Progressive Real Estate Partners got the listing, with a current asking price of $6.495 million for the 18,473 square foot building. The sales brochure promotes use of the space as a movie theater or for the new owner to “reinvent the building for alternative uses.” We’ll have more on this in the near future.

I know time marches on and things change, and despite the more serious suffering we have gone through recently, this one really stings.

PUBLIC COMMENT

The city announced that, beginning September 1, during city council meetings, the clerk’s office will no longer read aloud comments sent in from residents. I’m torn on the decision.

On the one hand, reading letters out loud certainly guarantees that your message is heard by each councilmember and city staff (as well as the public). But when an online Zoom meeting runs as long as five, six or seven hours, it’s pretty much a guarantee that folks are going to nod off while watching from home. A six-hour meeting on video certainly doesn’t promote public participation.

All comments are available for viewing online before the meeting and are entered into the record. Based on discussions among councilmembers during previous meetings, it seems clear to me they are giving a good effort to read through their agenda packets and to address public comment, when it’s appropriate.

We’re having to reinvent most everything we do because of COVID-19. Unfortunately, this might be one more situation where we have to remain flexible, at least temporarily.

STORIES TO TELL

Longtime Claremonter Charlene Leavell and her husband Ed had a request from their daughter Hillary: to read the book Me and White Supremacy. Ms. Leavell described it as a “very tough, painful truth.” After learning she unknowingly came from white privilege and was protected all her life, she committed to learn more about her biases and to tackle racism head-on through a series of interviews with people of color.

She wants to share her interviews with COURIER readers under the belief that through conversations and storytelling, we can identify racism in ourselves and take steps to become a more inclusive society.

Locals may recognize the Leavell family for many reasons—through Kiwanis, church activities or (like me) through their daughters Ashleigh and Hillary, who both worked as aides for the school district’s special education department.

I can’t say enough kind things about the Leavells. I hope you enjoy going on this journey with Charlene as much as I do. This week’s story is on page 12.

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