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Benicia Editor-in-Chief

magazine Mary Hand


Art Director Margaret Bowles

Benicia Contributors

Genevieve Hand Joy Lundmagazine Jeannine Mendoza Adriene Rockwell Andrew Strawbridge Christina Strawbridge Scott Strawbridge Maura Sullivan Anne C. Willis

Administrative Assistant Solofo Evans

Website Specialist & Editorial Assistant Genevieve Hand

Photography Lisa Duncan

Social Media Specialist Maura Sullivan

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Scott and Christina Strawbridge Benicia Magazine is published monthly by Polygon Publishing, LLC. Copyright © 2019, all rights reserved. Contents of Benicia Magazine cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed in Benicia Magazine editorial or advertisements are those of the authors and advertisers, and may not reflect the opinion of Benicia Magazine’s management or publisher. Benicia Magazine, Downtown Benicia, CA 94510. 707.751.0100,

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January 2019




Features Wellness and joy There's more to wellness than exercise 18 Healthy for life How healthy is your lifestyle? 22 Benicia fitness centers A list of many of Benicia’s favorites 23

People and Places Healthy Living


Family Snow Adventures – Skiing, boarding or simply walking in the snow


Mandala- an oasis



Three tenors – The next generation


Yesteryears – look down the street and into the past


When life gives you lemons – A story of courage and perseverance



Tom Campbell – Committed to Benicia

Sportsmanship in High School Athletics – Builds character, and also reveals it


Chef Dame Julie Tan-Accomplished chef wins coveted Careme Award


In Every Issue


From the Editor 2020! Trends Calendar Music

Food and Drink

Comfort food – combining standard dietary rules with a love for eating well

Clean wine – locally produced, Organic and low sugar 17

6 • Benicia Magazine


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January 2020

Realistic Resolutions It’s a new year and a new decade. How did that happen? The past year, and indeed the past decade, went by so fast, it’s amazing we don’t all have whiplash! So, in the time honored tradition of reviewing the past year while looking forward to the new one, let’s look. The City of Benicia has reconfirmed the importance of art and culture in our city. Public art added in 2019 included Neptune’s Daughter, by Lisa Reinerston, new art on our traffic signal boxes by local artists, new murals on benches and other places in the city. The 2019 music calendar was plentiful and diverse, as were dance and theatre offerings, both professional and amateur. The city has a robust arts and culture department and is dedicated to the importance of art and culture in our community. The city also balanced the budget, including a reserve, for the next 2 years. It approved one cannabis dispensary, the location yet to be determined, but it must be in compliance with various ordinances. Also approved was the tobacco ordinance that provides more protections from second-hand smoke in outdoor places and in multi-family housing, as well as enhanced regulations pertaining to vaping and tobacco sales. In 2020 the city continues to work on improvements, including work on climate related issues, infrastructure, water rates, redistricting and more. As our city continues improving, so we strive to improve ourselves through our own New Years’ resolutions. The start of a new year seems to be the best time to reset the clock, to renew and resolve. In this issue we look at best practices to improve our health and wellbeing. We look at ways to improve our physical health through exercise and better eating habits in our article Healthy for Life. We take a look at healthy comfort food (is that an oxymoron?) and “healthy” wine. Also high on the list of resolutions this year is wellbeing, a term that has come to include calmness, peacefulness and inner joy which is explained beautifully in the story Wellness and Joy, by Anne Willis. For me, keeping a healthy mind and body must include the outdoors, and skiing is one of my favorite outdoor activities. A couple of trips to our gorgeous Sierra Nevada during the winter is refreshing, both physically and mentally. See our guide, Family Snow Adventures, for activities for every budget and every kind of snow enthusiast. 2020 will be an important year, it will forecast the coming decade in all ways; politically, socially, environmentally and technologically. As citizens of the world, of our country and our own beautiful city, let’s make resolutions not only to improve ourselves, but to improve our community and our world. Happy New Year to all!

Mary @beniciamagazine


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People and Places Healthy Living

Family Snow Adv Staff Soccer, baseball and football take a backseat during the winter months. But that doesn’t mean kids’ physical activity has to sit the winter season out. Here are some great winter sports kids — and their parents — can look to for fun and physical activity. Whether your crew is full of avid skiers or contented snowman-makers, Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area offers a variety of fun ways to spend a day, a weekend or an extended winter family vacation. Tubing — Along with sledding and tobogganing, tubing is an excellent way to have fun with family. There are many places in the Tahoe area, as well as the ski/snow park areas south of Tahoe, that are designated for sledding in the winter time. Kids love the thrill of racing down the hill as fast as they can then running back to the top of the hill. Tubes are lighter than a traditional sled, making them easier for little ones to manage. Ice skating — Many kids who enjoy roller skating in the summer may like to ice skate in the winter. Several Tahoe area resorts and recreation areas have great ice skating rinks: Northstar Village, Squaw Valley, Truckee Ice Rink, Heavenly Village to name a few. This a sport you can even do closer to home, at the ice rink in Walnut Creek or Vacaville. Whether they’re skating indoors or out, all children should wear a helmet approved for skating. Cross country skiing — The benefits of introducing kids to cross-country skiing early are clear. They learn balance and coordination, and they gain strength and endurance for other activities such as alpine skiing, hockey, ice-skating, and running. Plus, they learn a whole new way to experience nature. Skiing and snowboarding — So, should your child should snowboard or ski? If your child can walk and is interested, there is no reason they can’t be on a board. It may take them a few sessions to begin improving, but there’s gear and lessons out there to accommodate young children. While you can learn to ski at any age, kids have the advantage of being flexible, nimble and relatively fearless. Most ski schools will teach children as young as age 3. With good instruction, many kids can ski independently on a beginner slope in just a few days. Snowshoeing — For families who like to hike in the summertime, snowshoeing is a great winter alternative. Snowshoeing can take place on groomed trails or on fresh undisturbed snow. It is a great core workout and, if your child can walk, he can pretty much snowshoe. With just a little bit of special equipment (snowshoes, poles for balance and appropriate winter clothing), kids can experience a whole new perspective of the natural world while “hiking” on snow. No matter which winter sport your child wants to try, it’s important he dresses for the elements to stay warm and safe. Make sure he goes outside wearing appropriate clothing like water-proof and insulated footwear, helmets, gloves and, of course, outerwear rated for temperatures your child will be subjected to.

10 • Benicia Magazine

entures Mandala

Well-Being Spa By Genevieve Hand Imagine you are stepping into a tranquil spa. The aesthetics are clean and uncluttered, but comforting. You are here for a facial, but will leave with much more than clear pores. You are at Mandala Well-Being Spa and your relaxing facial comes with a side of crystal healing, to balance your chakras. Mandala, at 300 Military West #302, was opened recently by Julie Cuccia, a licensed esthetician who has been in the business for 15 years, but is now incorporating alternative wellness practices into her offerings, such as crystal healing and Reiki. If those terms were gibberish to you, here’s a quick study guide: Crystals are highly symmetrical geological structures that are thought by many ancient cultures to hold healing energy. Reiki is an energy healing technique using sacred geometry and involves the channeling of energy from the practitioner to the client through touch. Julie first became interested in Reiki when she underwent her own spiritual journey after a life-altering divorce. Julie says that after returning to work, “people would tell me they felt as though they had experienced a spiritual healing from a facial with me.” It was then that she realized she could be a conduit for healing energy. She sought out a Reiki certification from a master teacher at Angel Heart 4 You, here in Benicia. “At first, after my certification, I felt doubt about what I had just learned. Was there validity to it? My questioning led me to another piece of healing called crystals. Using the crystals with the Reiki helped blossom my healing power.” Some of Mandala’s most popular offerings are the Reiki Crystal Healing session and the Crystal Energy Signature Facial. “As people are becoming more awakened, more conscious, especially with a lot of the duality happening now in the world, they are looking for more than what’s on the surface. They want a sanctuary where they can recharge their energy.” Mandala also offers a suite of other services including Lira advanced skin care, Peels and Microdermabrasion, LED Light Therapy, Eyelash extensions, and Complete body waxing performed by both Julie and the other estheticians on staff there. Julie says Mandala is all about “expansion and community – going from ‘me’ to ‘we.’” To that end, she offers events like essential oils workshops and moon goddess circles, where those who are interested can join a community of healing. So, if you’re looking to bring some holistic healing and wellness to your beauty routine, look no further than Mandala WellBeing Spa. • 11

People and Places Culture

Towering Triumvirate of Tenor Artistry Commands Empress Theatre Stage

Vallejo Community Arts Foundation presents Three Tenors! — The Next Generation showcasing tenors Pene Pati, Alex Boyer and Christopher Oglesby accompanied by full symphony orchestra led by Grammy award-winning conductor Thomas Conlin Staff It has been over 25 years since Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras joined forces for a concert and in so doing, dramatically transformed the world opinion of classical music. Overnight, they became known as "the Three Tenors." Their concerts sold out and their albums sold millions of copies, something that had never happened in classical music. In the grand tradition of the popular 3 Tenors concerts, the Empress Theatre presents Three Tenors! – The Next Generation. Three brilliant, charismatic young tenors on the verge of major careers will perform on February 1, 2020. Will you hear the next Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras? One of the tenors, New Zealander Pene Pati, has been praised nationally and internationally as the most exceptional tenor discovery in the last decade. Tenor Alex Boyer gained recognition for his large, potent sound and dramatic portrayals, has performed 12 • Benicia Magazine

in myriad operas nationally and is principal resident artist with Opera San Jose. Christopher Oglesby, the third tenor in the triumvirate, praised for his beautifully sensitive singing, has joined the San Francisco Opera as an Adler fellow. Benicia, Vallejo and surrounding cities will be able to experience an extraordinary concert of passionate Italian opera arias along with sensuous and familiar Neapolitan songs. A full symphony orchestra led by Grammy award-winning conductor Thomas Conlin will accompany the three singers. Thomas Conlin has led performances at numerous American and international opera and ballet companies and symphony orchestras on five continents. Recent seasons have included performances in Germany with the Philharmonisches Orchester Augsburg and the Baden-Badener Philharmonic, in Italy with Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra

in Rio de Janeiro, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Egypt, the Calgary Philharmonic in Canada, the Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, Flemish Chamber Orchestra in Belgium, and with Ireland's RTE Symphony Orchestra in Dublin. This extraordinary one-night event will include a dozen of the most-loved tenor arias from the greatest composers of Italian opera: Verdi, Ponchielli, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Donizetti, including the aria made popular by Luciano Pavarotti, “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini's Turandot. Three Tenors! - The Next Generation will offer music-lovers an unprecedented opportunity to encounter the next generation of operatic superstars! On Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 7:30 p.m., Pene Pati, Photo by: Garth Badger Alexander Boyer, Photo by: Chris Ayers Christopher Oglesby, Photo by: Amy Livingston of “As You Like It” photography.


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People and People andPlaces Places Community Community

Sportsmanship in high school athletics By Andrew Strawbridge Some have claimed that athletics does not build character, but reveals it. There is no doubt that as a 15-year varsity basketball coach, the sport has brought out the best and worst in me. The emotion of the game and the pressure to win can be over-consuming. Through my work as a middle and high school athletic director, I have also seen what athletics has revealed in parents. I would love for parents to unveil their best characteristics as they support their athlete on the field or court. Here are my recommendations for all levels of sports. The first conversation between a parent and the coach needs to be positive and supportive. This can be as simple as a parent approaching a coach after practice and introducing themselves. Thank them for their commitment to coaching and offer any help you can extend to the team. Next, I recommend a parent gets involved. They can help with the concession stand, run the scoreboard, take on the scorebook, supply game treats, and help fundraise. These jobs help the coach in a big way so they can focus on their primary job, coaching. Getting involved is also an excellent way to meet other parents on the team and build camaraderie. Remember that a parent helping or not helping the team will not impact their player’s playing time or position. While in the stands, cheer for the entire team. Set an example

14 • Benicia Magazine

of sportsmanship. Parents and fans should avoid publicly criticizing or blaming a coach, player, or official. There are usually a high number of plays in a single competition. The team that makes the fewest mistakes usually wins. It might not feel like it, but one single play does not determine the game. Expect game officials to make mistakes. If you do so, you will not feel as bad when they make a call you do not like. A parent's role does not include offering game strategy or substitution advice. The coach makes those decisions. They practice with the team every day and have a handle on what is best for the team. Coaches make mistakes, and sometimes parents have to agree to disagree with a coach’s decision without an incident. If a parent has a problem with a coach, they should go to the coach directly. The best resolutions occur when the coach, parent, and player meet in a private setting that is not on a game day. Both sides need to express where they are coming from and listen to one another. If that meeting does not produce a solution, then bring an administrator into the discussion. Once again, playing time and game strategy should never be open to debate. For varsity parents, encourage your athlete to speak directly to the coach before you, as a parent, get involved. Juniors and Seniors are at the age where they need to be able to handle their situations and express their concerns on their own.

Baroness Dame Julie Tan is awarded The Careme Medal Staff Benicia Chef, Julie Tan, joins the ranks of Chef Julia Child in receiving a medal rarer than a Three Star Michelin award, The Careme Medal. Chef Dame Julie Tan received the prestigious Chef Careme award given by the American Culinary Federation on November 4, 2019. A long-time resident of Benicia, Julie is a Certified Master Chef, Sommelier, Taster and Culinary Educator. She received the Careme award because of her professionalism, broad range of experience and continued 3 Star Michelin excellence in the culinary field. She is only the 11th female chef ever to be awarded the International Careme Award in the historic existence of the Careme medal. Chef Julie has helped feed the poor and needy in the United States for decades and also rendered her services to the royal crowns of three continents (Europe, Africa, and Asia) performing humanitarian work. For her contribution, Julie was knighted by all three crowns and they bestowed upon her the title: Baroness Dame Julie Tan. Julie worked for several decades at Le Cordon Bleu, Academie d' Art Culinaire de Paris, as a Chef Instructor and helped mentor students. Some of those students went on to become 3 Star Michelin Chefs throughout the world.

She has also been the Executive Chef for Martin Yan, of the Yan Can Cook Television show. Presently, she works with her husband, Sir Roy Salazar as an instructor and consultant in their own business: A Sip & A Taste, R.Salazar & Co. They work with companies to develop, test, evaluate, and improve newly created foods and equipment prior to market release. Their future plans include providing 3 Star Michelin experiences, cooking lessons, and dining experiences at their residence and other locations. The Antonin Careme Medal honors those individuals who have made positive and substantial contributions to the culinary profession with a focus on education and the advancement of gastronomy and the culinary arts. These individuals embody the true spirit of a 3 Star Michelin Chef, which most Careme Medal holders are or were. The medal, bearing the likeness of Chef Careme (17341883, noted as the Chef of Kings and the King of Chefs, the first Celebrity Chef and what chefs conceive as the first 3 Star Michelin Chef), was designed by the late chef-artist Jean Joaquin (Medal #13). Other notable recipients include Chef Julia Child (Medal # 28) and Chef Martin Yan (Medal #77). Photo Chef Julie Tan • 15

People and Places Food and Drink

Eat Like You


Yourself By Jeannine Mendoza After the excesses of the holidays become apparent in our waistlines and our general lack of vigor, many people with a sigh and a shrug, reluctantly start on diets. ‘Tis the season to turn over a new leaf, make changes in what we eat, and keep some of those New Year resolutions. Recently I was inspired by a dear friend’s experience with an on-line dieting app. Ana had put forth her best effort and lost SIXTY pounds by making some important changes in her diet. First she kept a food diary and wrote down every morsel that she consumed. Then she planned her meals, aiming to eat more fruits, veggies, and lean meats and keep fats, sugars, and processed foods at bay. Ana had chosen a Weight Watchers app that keeps track of points and that worked for her, but a notebook would work as well. Ana’s key to successful dieting is to incorporate healthy choices in take-out menu items she loved. For example, she loves KFC’s bowls, but wants to avoid the 720 calories and high sodium. Instead of mashed potatoes she substitutes mashed cauliflower. She adds rinsed, canned corn, a sprinkle of low-fat cheese, chunks of baked chicken and ¼ cup gravy. These changes bring the total to a miserly 350 calories and can help a reluctant dieter stick to a healthy regimen. Rather than ice cream, when Ana wants something sweet, she tops cut fruit with plain Greek yogurt. She eschews creamers in her coffee and uses milk instead. These changes all contribute to her diet success. Ana also loves bagels and pizza. She concocted the following recipes so she can enjoy what she loves. 16 • Benicia Magazine

Protein Bagels 1 cup self-rising flour 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning Egg Wash: One beaten egg Mix the flour and yogurt until a dough forms. Shape the dough into four balls. Poke a hole in the balls of dough and shape them into a minibagel shape. Brush the unbaked bagels with egg wash and sprinkle with Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees on a non-stick baking sheet for 15 minutes or until golden. Spread with low fat cream cheese, little jam or sliced turkey and low fat cheese. Yield: Four small bagels Variation: For cinnamon and raisin bagels add two tablespoons of raisins and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon. Pizza Variation: After mixing the dough, sprinkle a little flour on your prep surface and roll out the dough to form a round pizza crust. Place on a baking sheet and spread the crust with some prepared pizza sauce. Place grated low fat cheese, turkey sausage or other toppings as desired. Bake at 350 degrees on a non-stick baking sheet for 15 minutes, or until golden. Makes four slices.

By Maura Sullivan It’s January, the kids are back in school, your mother in law has been shipped back to Florida, and you're back to your usual 7:30 AM commute. You’ve made a promise to yourself to try that new kick-boxing class. At the end of the day you’ve battled traffic, that last minute deadline, and the gym parking lot. As you bite into your bun-less Keto burger, you say to yourself, “I’ve earned a beverage” Of course you have, but the new healthy you is saying, “I think Vodka is sugar free?” And the Ghost of Christmas past whispers in your ear, “You still have a few bottles to make sangria...” We all want to find that happy medium. There is a way you can still enjoy your happy hour and not compromise the hard work you’ve been doing at the gym. Let me make this clear, this is not a guide to have 5 drinks with no calories. This is to guide for when you decide to treat yourself to that one (or two) drinks with your new diet. Most who start the diet journey are on a strict no carbohydrate and high protein regimen. So how does that glass of wine fit into your diet? Clean wine is the answer.

What is clean wine?

There are so many names for it. Most ways to describe clean wine is biodynamic, organic and low alcohol. There are wines out there that are highly processed and contain some questionable additives, and even pesticides/ herbicides. The FDA has approved 76 chemicals and additives to be used in the winemaking process. Most of these chemicals cause that familiar “wine hangover” we’ve all experienced after even one glass. Finding clean wine can seem challenging, especially when you don’t know what to look for. Here are a few simple rules you can remember when shopping for that “healthy bottle of wine.” tay away from very inexpensive wine. Most mass S produced wines contain a high amount of sugar and processed juice, the label may say “skinny,” but it may be the exact opposite. There are plenty of amazing mid-priced wines that don’t contain chemicals and additives. I always suggest that it’s best to purchase wines that are fairly local. Paso Robles has excellent red blends that are not over processed, low alcohol and pack a punch in the tannin department.

If you’re sensitive to sulfates, look for organic wines. Organic wines will state “organic” on the back label. It’s that simple! Sulfates are a natural element that some are sensitive to. It can cause a quick headache or inflammation. Wines containing high levels of sulfates are mostly the cheaper, larger quantity produced wines. Again, purchasing locally made wines, or organic wines is a good way of avoiding the over-processed. ­

I f you’re not into the reds and are looking for sparkling or white, use the same rules above and look for Extra Brut or Brut wines. My personal favorite, if you’re a really big fan of the drier whites, is Blanc de Noir. Of course there are great options in both categories of wines from other countries like Australia, New Zealand, France and Chile.

The big question after utilizing all these rules is how much sugar is in our wine? Wine Folly created a great guideline to really help you determine the sugar content. Bone Dry > 1 sugar calorie per glass Dry > 0-6 sugar calories per glass Off Dry > 6-21 sugar calories per glass Sweet > 21-72 sugar calories per glass Very Sweet > 72 - 130 sugar calories per glass As Wine Folly states, the terms above are unofficial but do show common ranges. Currently most countries, including the US, aren’t required to label actual sweetness levels in wine. Sometimes the description on the back can give you some clues. If you’re finding yourself still puzzled when picking your cheat day wine. A quick search online can always help you decide. Wine Searcher, Bevmo, and other retailers sometimes have a better description and reviews online. Soon you’ll be enjoying that cheat day beverage after a hard day of work. We don’t condone drinking on the treadmill.

Happy hunting! • 17

By Anne C. Willis Every New Year health gurus and wellness coaches start bullet pointing goals and creating lists on how best to achieve a healthy lifestyle. This prompts you to begin a mental dialogue with yourself about how you want to do better when it comes to your health and wellness in the New Year. The conversation begins with, “I am going to start eating more vegetables, but I don’t really like vegetables, but I want to be healthy, and the experts say you have to eat more vegetables, so I am going to change my diet, even though I hate vegetables.” The thing to ask yourself is, have you ever won this argument in your own mind? Now, you know this conversation never ends well. Someone on your mental committee always enters the conversation reminding you that you hate vegetables and after 2, maybe 3 weeks of healthy vegetables making their debut onto your plate, they lose the battle. My motto is, if it doesn’t feel right for you, it’s not right! Let’s be honest, achieving wellness can be confusing and wellness means various things to different people. Having the right wellness approach that you and your mental committee can agree on is even tougher. So what is the solution for deciding on the right formula for a healthy lifestyle in the New Year?

What Does Health & W

18 • Benicia Magazine

What I know for sure is when one’s lifestyle is complicated, the approach to health & wellness needs to start by being uncomplicated. The ultimate goal would be to have wholeness in health, such that all systems support each other in development and healing without resistance. But you have to start with an aspect of your health and wellbeing you feel confident you can achieve. Instead of adding something healthy to your diet, maybe omitting foods or habits that you know don’t agree with you would be a better choice. Cooperating with your body’s ability to heal means staying connected to how you feel and identifying what triggers make you feel less than well. When collecting these signs you may trigger a feeling that wants to be avoided. Generally that is the area of health & wellness that needs your most urgent attention. Consider the following: 1. Processed foods at every meal 2. Refined sugar intake 3. Reactive stressful situations 4. Lack of adventures that bring you joy 5. Topical products that assault your skin 6. Contributors to chronic respiratory disturbances 7. Contributors to chronic bowel disturbances 8. Detachments from friends 9. Heightened frustration 10. Lacking acts of kindness in your life

Wellness Mean to You? Finally, having the willingness to cooperate with your health is essential, versus resisting the changes that could draw you closer to wholeness in health. Life would be much easier if, when we hit a snag, we would stop, address it, and move ahead smoothly. The truth is, in most cases, we could do just that. The reality is, we don’t do it! It’s really hard to stop that internal chatter and remove one’s self from the commitments of life. But that is actually where nature comes in! Now is the time more than ever to be connected to nature, which is in direct proportion with what we are looking for in life, wholeness in health. Whether it is taking a walk at one of the parks, sitting in your yard and enjoying a cool breeze, or sipping on a cup of herbal tea, nature’s grounding force has the great capacity to quiet the mind. There is no resistance when you immerse yourself in nature. Nature takes all the complicated decisions you make every day and makes them seem far less complicated. So my advice is that the best formula for health & wellness in the New Year is to be your own health guru by listening to the force of nature that lives within you. Tell your mental committee to take a walk in the park. Believe that you hold the answers to what small changes you can make that will enhance your health and wellbeing and use nature to fill the void. Give yourself the wholeness you are so deserving of. Anne Willis is the founder and formulator of De La Terre Skincare. After four decades of practicing clinical skincare, Ms. Willis gained a unique perspective on skin health and how modern lifestyles have altered its resistance. Her training in Germany, Thailand, India, and Ireland prepared her to be a leading formulator in natural skincare preparations and to develop some of the most sought after skin therapies in the world. • 19 • 19

DIRECTORY of Local Businesses COLL

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707.745.1004 1017 First St. Benicia, CA 94510 CA Insurance License OC24309

Michael Trahan • Interior Design 707.748.1080 707.745.0848

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20 • Benicia Magazine

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Personal Training Studio



Lisa McVeigh, Owner

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Benicia Chamber of Commerce 2017 Business of the Year

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Benicia Magazine


@beniciamagazine • 21

By Joy Lund How healthy is your lifestyle? Obtaining and maintaining good health does not just happen. It requires commitment, planning, time and wise choices. One of the most important things you can do to remain healthy is to be physically active. In addition to controlling weight, being physically active has been shown to reduce the risks of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breast and colon cancer as well as having a positive effect on mental health. Exercise can also improve your mood. Being physically active stimulates brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and less anxious. You will also find that the more active you are, the more energy you will have. It is important to maintain cardiovascular activity for heart health, strength training for muscle and bone mass and flexibility for range of motion as you age.

Cardiovascular Activity

Cardiovascular activity can include any activity that gets you moving, from walking, cycling, hiking, tennis, dancing or swimming to taking a class or using the cardio machines at your local gym. Even active housework and gardening count! The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of some type of moderate to high intensity exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. This can also be broken up into shorter periods across the day. Probably the most important thing when looking at ways to remain physically active is to find an activity that you enjoy. Also, don’t be afraid to try new activities and always make sure you have your physicians go ahead before starting something new.

Strength Training

In addition to cardiovascular training, it is important to do some form of strength training to maintain muscle and bone health. As we age, we lose approximately 5% of muscle mass every 10 years from the age of 30. This is totally preventable if you remain physically active and maintain a consistent strength training schedule. Strength training can be done using a variety of equipment either at home or at the gym. From machines to free weights to balls, bands and the TRX, there are many different ways to maintain strength. Strength training should be done at least twice a week per muscle group. If you have never done any type of strength training before, make sure you get some help with setting up a program, correct form and correct use of the equipment. 22 • Benicia Magazine

If one of your goals for the coming year is fitness, Benicia has many fitness centers to choose from. We have classic all in one gyms, fitness centers, personal training boutiques, mind/body specialized studios that may include Yoga or Pilates. We have studios that may focus on dance, weight training or pole dancing! Benicia has something for everyone. Below is a partial list of the health and fitness businesses in Benicia. BENICIA CROSSFIT

685 Stone Rd #17, Benicia, CA 94510 707.742.3095 |

Flexibility and Balance

Maintaining flexibility in the muscles and ligaments, balance and reducing stress levels are also a vital part of maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Yoga is currently one of the fastest growing health activities and is the top group exercise across all age groups. Yoga uses strengthening and stretching poses combined with deep breathing, in conjunction with relaxation and meditation. Studies have also shown that consistent yoga practice improves symptoms of depression. There are many different types of yoga and the intensity depends on the type of yoga you choose. For those trying yoga for the first time, there are many gentler options such as restorative and gentle or slow flow yoga. Anyone at any fitness level can benefit from yoga by choosing the type of class that fits their needs and abilities.


Diet also plays a huge role in maintaining health. Eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables and healthy fat sources, and avoiding highly refined grains, sugars and processed foods has been shown to be highly beneficial to overall health. The Mediterranean Diet, which is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish, is considered one of the healthiest. There are a number of factors other than diet and exercise that are also important for good health. Getting a good night’s sleep, staying hydrated and managing stress and a work/life balance all contribute to our general health and well being. As we enter a new year and New Year’s resolutions come to mind, take time to focus on your health. Set realistic, achievable health goals and then take the time and commitment to make them happen.


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1150 W 7th St, Benicia, CA 94510 707.751.0273


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425 Military E Ste F, Benicia, CA 94510 707.297.6769 | • 23

People and Places Art

Yesteryears: a mural in progress Artwork and adventure in one By Genevieve Hand If you’ve cruised First Street lately, you might have noticed a new piece of public art sprawling across the side of the Benicia Home Improvement Center at First and H. The new work is still in progress, but you’ll recognize the subject immediately: it’s the very same view you have of the shops and the water as you drive down First Street today… or is it? Look closer and you’ll notice a Safeway on the corner. A 76 station. The old Pastime Garage. In front of the shops, a ’57 Chevy. And in the distance – is that a horse and buggy? The title of the work is “Yesteryears,” and as the name might suggest, the project depicts Benicia’s First Street from the city’s founding in 1847 to the 1970s. It is a privately funded project, gifted to the city by multiple generations of Benicia natives, namely David and Annette Batchelor, David 24 • Benicia Magazine

and Kristine Passalacqua, Aaron and Sabrina Boone, and The Pastime Group. The mural’s canvas was donated by the Leary/Clyne family, who have been part of the Benicia community since its founding. According to David Batchelor, the idea for “Yesteryears” has been in the making for over 20 years. Born out of a desire to express an appreciation for the period in which he and his cohort of friends grew up, the first block of Firstt Street, as it’s depicted in the mural, pays tribute to the late ‘50s – ‘70s. From there, each block represents another period in Benicia’s history, with the second block representing the early ‘50s – ‘20s and the third block, at the waterfront, representing the ‘20s – late 1800s, with the Solano barge anchored just offshore.

Batchelor and his crew have worked hard to remain true to historical fact in their drafting of the mural (over 55 renderings in the making), painstakingly fact-checking which buildings occupied which block, during which years, and whose storefronts occupied them at that time. For those less familiar with Benicia’s storefront history, there will be other historical clues such as period appropriate vehicles depicted with each block, and period fashion on passersby to help orient the viewer. There are also plans in place for an informational plaque to appear alongside the mural once it is complete. For history buffs, or perhaps for those who enjoy a good scavenger hunt, be on the lookout for “Easter eggs” of historically significant events, figures, and dates hidden throughout the mural. As a nod to the contributors to the project, there are other “hidden gems” that may not be readily apparent (here’s a freebee: the ’57 Chevy depicted on the first block was David Batchelor’s first car in high school. Now, see if you can spot the real thing in town sometime). Though the mural is still in progress, the enterprising Batchelor is already dreaming up the next big thing to go with it, and the rest of Benicia. He imagines an augmented reality game app which would challenge the player to find historically significant places and famous landmarks throughout Benicia. The game would allow the player to enjoy the beauty of our city while learning about it and, perhaps, allow the player to earn rewards to use at various businesses in town as they go. For now, however, we have the mural’s completion to look forward to. According to collaborator and city liaison, Terry Scott, as Benicia continues “building a reputation as an ‘arts haven,’” the mural is about “communicating history in a way that fits into the art eco-sphere we are trying to create.” It’s about passing down the story of a place to the next generations; it’s also about the nostalgia of childhood homes, high school friends, and small-town camaraderie. It’s about the values that helped shape this city and that are still alive in its residents today. A list of those responsible for the mural, with thanks from David Batchelor: David and Annette Batchelor, David and Kristine Passalacqua, Aaron and Sabrina Boone, and The Pastime Group for funding. Leary/ Clyne family for the building. Terry Scott creative insights and effort to help ensure the project works within the city’s requirements. Jerry Hayes and Kerry Carney for historical insight. Paul Simonson and David Passalacqua for fact checking assistance. Jeff and Lauren Laugen for their cooperation in the painting process. Benicia Historical Society and the City of Benicia, including Suzanne Thorsen and Evan Gorman for expediting the permitting process and allowing this original Public Art Project. Special thanks to painter Vincent Concepcion for his amazing talent and flexibility as an artist.

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the year of the woman in Benicia By Christina Strawbridge Photo courtesy of Jasper Lyons Founded in 1847, Benicia was named after a woman (the wife of General Vallejo,) and in the second decade of the millennium, the city’s arts, government, science and commerce sectors are all being led by members of the female sex. If Dona Francesca Filipe Benicia Camilla Vallejo were here today, what would she think of her name sake town in 2020? Benicia has attracted women entrepreneurs who are using their talents and moxie to open and run businesses throughout town. From the 2012 census 38% of all firms in Benicia were owned by women. Nine years later there has been incredible growth in this sector. Downtown Benicia has capitalized on that growth with female entrepreneurs who have started their own business on First Street. One House Bakery, Fox and Fawn Bakehouse, The Daughter of Luna Floral Design, Collektive Boutique, Arata Fine Art Gallery, Pink Arrows Boutique, Happy Life Pottery, Zeppelin Comics, The Little Art Shop, Bella Sienna, Sepay Groves Olive Oil all have women involved in their operations as owners or partners. They join "Hall of Famers" Camellia Tea Room, Bookshop Benicia, Romancing the Home, Pups and Purzz, Sandoval's, Benicia Fitness, The Chill, and Sprankle's Village Deli in women owned businesses. The National Association of Women Business Owners NAWBO data shows that more than 11.6 million firms in the US are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017. Women-owned firms (51% or more) account for 39% of all privately held firms and contribute 8% of employment and 4.2% of revenues. 26 • Benicia Magazine

After the world wide women marches in 2017-2019, there was what might be described as payback, or a revolution as an unprecedented surge of first-time female candidates, running and being elected to offices from the U.S. Senate and Congress to State legislatures, local City Councils and School Boards. When the 116th Congress convened in 2018, women made up nearly a quarter of its voting membership which was the highest percentage in U.S. history. "Don't Mess with Me" Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has proven her ability to keep her caucus together during many historic legislative votes considered by the House, including impeachment. Locally, there are a majority of women on the Benicia School Board, however while the Benicia City Council has had only 7 women elected in its 173 year history. The arts community in Benicia is well represented by women who are known locally and in some cases internationally. The waterfront beauty of Benicia has inspired artists with different forms of art mediums for decades. The bronze work and permanent dedication of Lisa Reinertson Neptune's Daughter statue is the culmination of art and Benicia. Neptune's Daughter has become iconic in a short time as visitors and residents visit her permanent residence at the waterfront on a regular basis. Her protective hold of a pelican and determined facial expression relays to the observer a "Don't mess with me" attitude! As far as what our namesake Dona Francesca Filipe Benicia Camilla Vallejo might think of today's Benicia, I think she would be in awe of how far the city has come without losing its small town charm. Thanks to a woman's touch!


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Empress Theatre presents DW Edwards

January 25 08:00 pm - 11:00 pm Empress Theatre 330 Virginia St., Vallejo, CA 94590 Jazz Meets R&B Featuring: Recording Artist, Jazz Bassist, Tony Saunders World renowned Guitarist, Vernon "ICE" Black. DW Edwards (Darrell Edwards), Recording Artist and more to come! 707.552.4000 |

The Heart of a Community Reception

Friends of the Library Book Sale

January 11, 10:00am – 4:00pm Benicia Public Library, 150 E L St, Benicia, CA 94510 Each month there are over 50,000 volumes of donated items to choose from including books, DVDs magazines, paperbacks and more. A book sale is held the second Saturday of every month from 10 am to 4 pm at the Library in downtown Benicia. 707.746.4343 |

Downtown Benicia Restaurant Week

January 18 - January 25 Downtown Benicia Downtown celebrates California Restaurant Month with Restaurant Week in January. A dining passport offers a 15%-20% discount at participating eateries (conditions may apply). Benicia Main Street 707.745.9791 |

Golden Bough Celtic Trio LIVE in Benicia, CA!

January 24, 8:00pm – 10:30pm Benicia Historical Museum 2060 Camel Road, Benicia, CA 94510 Welcome to the 40th Anniversary Golden Bough season concert kickoff! That's a mouthful, but we are delighted to perform specifically in Benicia, as our friends and fans here continue to be the best! At the Benicia Historical Museum at the Camel Barns. 707.745.5435 |

Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat with Peppino D’Agostino

January 24-26, 3:30pm The Guard House Benicia, CA 94510 Players of all levels and styles are welcome at the Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat in sunny California, USA. Whether you’ve been playing for years, or you just know a couple of chords, you'll be able to immerse yourself in learning guitar at this three day guitar retreat with two of the world's leading acoustic guitarists; Martin Taylor and Peppino D'Agostino. 28 • Benicia Magazine

January 25, 4:00pm – 6:00pm Arts Benicia, 991 Tyler St # 114 Benicia, CA 94510 Celebrate the exhibition, the 'Art of a Community', by joining us at a opening reception on Saturday, January 25, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. The 'Art of a Community' opens our 33nd year showcasing the talents of our artist members. The exhibition opens on Saturday, January 25, 2020, and will be on view through Sunday, February 23, 2020. Exhibition hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Arts Benicia is wheelchair accessible from Jackson Street. 707.747.0131 |

Art of a Community 2020

January 25 - February 12 Wednesday – Sunday, 12:00pm – 5:00pm The Art of a Community opens our 33nd year showcasing the talents of our artist members. The exhibition opens on Saturday, January 25, 2020, and will be on view through Sunday, February 23, 2020. Celebrate this exhibition by joining us at the opening reception, The Heart of a Community, on Saturday, January 25, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. Exhibition hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Arts Benicia is wheelchair accessible from Jackson Street. 707.747.0131 |

2020 Great Decisions

January 27, 7:00 pm Benicia Public Library in the Dona Benicia Room 150 East L Street, Benicia 200 Marina Drive, Benicia, CA The League of Women Voters Benicia/Solano County will again co-sponsor The Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions program with the Benicia Public Library. Members and the public are welcome and encouraged to participate in this discussion program which focuses on international affairs. The group uses materials prepared by the Foreign Policy Association. We view a documentary on the topic of the week and participants are encouraged to read a chapter in the Great Decisions Briefing Book that covers material related to the video presentation and we discuss the issues presented. | /


When life gives you lemons By Jeannine Mendoza “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade” This well-known adage encourages us to make something positive out of adversity or tragedy. Embodying this upbeat expression is local resident Nadina Riggsbee who established the Drowning Prevention Foundation after the accidental drowning of one child, and the near drowning of a second child in 1978. Nadina, who resides here in Benicia, turned personal heartbreak into a national movement. Motivated by the desire that no other family should have to endure such a similar avoidable calamity, Nadina researched how the accident could have been prevented. She came up with a three branched pool safety guideline for all pool owners as follows: 1. Install an Isolation Safety Fence around pools and hot tubs, and a secondary barrier such as a safety pool cover that meets ASTM standards, and in-ground pool alarms or home door alarms. 2. Take swimming lessons and make sure all pool users know how to swim as well. 3. Learn Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Nadina became known as “the fence lady” in Sacramento because she advocated that all pools have a safety fence. In 1996 she and her supporters pushed the state of California to pass AB3305 for stricter pool regulations. Originating in Contra Costa County, this legislation was the first pool fence law in the United States, setting a precedent that is now in place all over the world. Nadina faced backlash from the pool and spa industry. These builders opposed fencing because of the increased costs and the lessened aesthetic appeal of a fenced pool. Over the years as pool safety legislation passed throughout the United States, Nadina advocated to provide equal access to education for children with brain injuries. Her child, Jay, who survived the near drowning but was left severely brain damaged, had been denied entrance to a local school, and Nadina worked tirelessly so that Jay and other students in similar circumstances could attend public schools. Her efforts led to changes in school policies in Alameda and other counties. Most recently, Nadina, in her decades-long quest to reduce accidental drownings, received a grant from the Valero Refinery to provide free swimming lessons to underserved youth at the James Lemos Swim Center. This is a “pilot” project, and if all goes well, Valero might give more funds next year to pay for lessons in four other cities in need. Who knows how many drowning accidents and deaths have been averted, and how many families have been spared the accompanying grief and heartache because of Nadina Riggsbee’s efforts to improve pool safety. Our community is fortunate to have such a homegrown advocate working on behalf of our youngest and most defenseless citizens, and we salute her. For more information regarding pool safety please visit the website at For information on free swimming lessons at James Lemos Swim Center or to make contributions to the foundation, please call 707.747.0191.


Councilmember Tom Campbell By Scott Strawbridge Everyone in Benicia knows four term City Councilmember Dr. Tom Campbell, who prides himself as being a fiscal watchdog for the City. What you may not know is that Dr. Campbell has 7 college degrees which include Orthodontics, Dentistry, Law, Business (MBA) and Chemistry (BS and Masters). Tom also has a green thumb as he is responsible for maintaining the fantastic spring flowerbed in front of his office building. He has planted over 1500 tulip bulbs, creating a rainbow of color for patients and pedestrians. Tom's Family Dentistry Office has been located at 164 East H Street for the past 27 years and, prior to that, the office was located across the street in the Power House complex for 10 years. He easily has over 1000 active patients. There are currently four dentists in his office that include: the "love of his life" and wife Dr. Kerry Carney, Dr. Chris Vitakes (30 years), and former patient and Benicia resident Jacqueline Lim (4 years). Both Tom and Kerry are very involved in various dental societies. Kerry was President of the NapaSolano Dental Society in 1999 and Tom followed suit in 2009. Tom is the City Council representative for the Solano Economic Development Board, a Council alternate for MCE (Marin Clean Energy) and a member of the League of Women Voters. Kerry currently serves as the Editor of the California Dental Association monthly publication known as the Journal. As Editor she serves on the Association's Executive Committee. The Association represents over 30,000 California dentists and is responsible for setting the professional standards for their members. She is very involved with Benicia Soroptimist, the Benicia Historical Society and the Benicia Public Art Committee. Obviously, Tom and Kerry are a true power couple in Benicia and are committed to not only Benicia but also the dental profession. Tom runs and is seen around town wearing a hooded sweatshirt. He and Kerry frequent many Downtown Benicia restaurants and are regulars at the Camellia Tea Room for lunch. • 29

Live Music

music The Rellik Tavern 707-746-1137 726 1st Street, Benicia

Wednesday: Acoustic performers, Thursday: DJ and bands, Friday and Saturday: Live bands

Fri 3, 8:30-12:30PM CruiseTones Sat 4, 8:30-12:30PM 5 0’Clock Somewhere Wed 8, 6-9pm The Breedloves DJ AI3X Thurs 9, 9-1:30AM Fri 10, 8:30PM - 12:30AM Stephanie Teel Band Sat 11, 8:30PM - 12:30AM Dr. Tequila Thurs 16, 8:00PM - 12:00AM You Front the Band (Guest get to sing with a live band) Motel Drive Fri 17, 8:30PM - 12:30AM Sat 18, 8:00PM Sweet Hands Glen Lowe Wed 22, 6:00PM – 9PM Wed 29, 6:00PM – 9:00PM Chris Ahlman Thurs 30, 9PM-1:30AM Goth Night Sat 31, 8:30pm - 12:30am The Inflatables

Blue Note 1030 Main Street Napa, California 94559 707.880.2300 |

Feb 6, 7:30 PM Feb 7, 6:30-9:00PM Feb 8, 6:30-9:00PM Feb 9, 2:00 PM Feb 13, 6:30-8:30PM Feb 14, 6:30-9:00 PM Feb 27 - 7:30PM Feb 28, 6:30-9:00PM 30 • Benicia Magazine

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra Avery*Sunshine Avery*Sunshine Aubrey Logan Aubrey Logan

Empress Theatre 707.552.2400 330 Virginia Street, Vallejo

Ticketed events go to for more information

Thur 2, 7:30PM West Coast Songwriters – Opening Showcase Sun 12, 5PM Vallejo Jazz Society presents Kurt Ribak Quintet with vocalist Sheilani Alix Wed 15, 7:30PM Wednesday Night Live in the Lounge with Greg Rahn Trio Thur 16, 7:30PM Film Club – Pavarotti Sat 25, 8PM JAZZ meets R&B with Darrell Edwards, Tony Saunders and Vernon Black

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Thur 16, 8-10PM Fri 17, 8-10PM Sat 18, 8-10PM Thurs, 23, 8-10PM Fri 24, 8-10PM Sat 25, 8-10PM Sun 26, 4-7PM Fri 31, 8-10PM

3 Jay Way Dr. D Band Red Meat Duo Gadjo & Friends Felsen Barrio Manouche Soulful Security Garageland Rodeo

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Profile for Polygon Publishing

Benicia Magazine January 2020  

Benicia Magazine digital magazine

Benicia Magazine January 2020  

Benicia Magazine digital magazine