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The odyssey of the Byer/Nail Museum by Shirley L. McCall East Contra Costa Historical Society The East Contra Costa Historical Society’s Byer/Nail Museum, seen here in a 2008 photo, enjoys a long history of community involvement: not a penny of government money has been used for the museum or grounds. The society’s annual BBQ fundraiser will take place there on Sept. 9. Press file photo

ical Society. The house had been built around 1878, and John and Letitia Byer raised their family of six children in the house during the early 20th century. The property worked its way through the family in subsequent years, passing to the Nails in 1984 before being deeded to the ECCHS. Volunteers and local businesses soon established a rich tradition of involvement that has brought myriad improvements to the site without a penny of government see Museum page 15A

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wood’s original justice of the peace office on Oak Street; using the Brentwood Women’s Club building (the former Brentwood library); renting the second story of Veterans Hall for artifact storage; and accepting the donation of a house that had been moved to Brentwood from the Black Diamond coal mines in 1905. The house burned to the ground before a location could be found and the building moved. A solution finally surfaced in 1986. Clelland and Marge Nail were building a new house and offered their 1880s home and 1.3 acres on Sellers Avenue to the Histor-

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It all began in April of 1970. More than 40 of East Contra Costa’s most prominent citizens interested in local history met to organize a historical society. Their immediate mission was an attempt to save the John Marsh Stone House, which was crumbling before their eyes. And so was born the East Contra Costa Historical Society (ECCHS). But there was far more history in the area than just the Marsh House. In 1971 the ECCHS broadened its goals to include other projects, the most important of which was to secure a facility to house the ever-increasing donations of artifacts, photographs and other important documents. In 1974, the John Marsh Historical Trust was formed to secure government funds to restore the John Marsh House, and the ECCHS turned its main attention to finding a museum location. A 1972 request to the Southern Pacific Railroad to allow ECCHS to use the vacated Southern Pacific Depot building in Brentwood had been denied, but was revisited in 1975 when the railroad offered to sell it to the ECCHS for $5, with the proviso that it be moved. The project became part of the City of Brentwood’s preparations to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial, and assistance was requested to find a new location and pay for the move. Despite a petition drive that gathered more than 200 signatures, the city eventually decided not to help fund the project. Over the years, attempts to secure a location included: opening a restaurant on the ground floor of the depot and using the upper floor as a museum; moving the building to the John Marsh property; using Brent-

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Panthers pounce onto the Red Zone hoping that parents will get on board with the program and think before taking their child out of class or even scheduling appointments for after school when they can.â€? The erosion of the instructional day is nothing new. A study published by Louisiana Tech University in 2001 found that only 47 to 50 percent of a typical 6½-hour school day was spent on instructional activities. The study included concerns dating back to the 1990s, such as those of a veteran teacher describing her frustration with the amount of interrupted class time. “They create gaps in learning,â€? she said, and “diminish time on tasks, short-circuit important developmental time, particularly in skills subjects. They also mean teachers have to speed up to cover material because they have less time. Slower students get left behind. Also, there is no time to do any ‘fun’ stuff that keeps weaker students motivated.â€? Delta Vista math teacher Roger Tabel is all for the Panther Pride Red Zone. He believes the amount of time spent on nonlearning items can be consuming. “It’s not uncommon to have the students in and out of the classroom throughout the class period,â€? said Tabel. “Someone forgets their homework or someone leaves their backpack somewhere. And of course, everyone is distracted by whatever is happening around them, so yes, I think this has been great. My classroom phone hasn’t rung in weeks.â€? And although Delta Vista is the only

by Ruth Roberts Staff Writer In football, the Red Zone is the area between the 20-yard line and the goal – the place where strategies change and games can be won or lost. The Delta Vista Middle School Panthers have created a Red Zone of their own in the form of a renewed stratagem that makes education the game changer and success the scholastic touchdown. “Education today has never been more important,� said Delta Vista Principal Greg Hetrick. “And at a time when we need to take advantage of every teaching moment, we decided to try something new this year.� That something is called the Panther Pride Red Zone, a 30-minute interruptionfree period at the beginning of class when disruptions and distractions are prohibited in an effort to re-direct the focus on classroom instruction. So for those first 30 minutes of class, no messages will be brought in or taken out of the classroom, phone calls will be held, and students – Hetrick hopes – will not be taken out for appointments or non-essential activities. “The idea behind the Red Zone,� said Hetrick. “Is to re-establish the importance of class time, and we’re doing that by limiting the number of interruptions in the classroom. Of course, there are always going to be exceptions and emergencies, but we’re

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cation and minimizing interruptions.� So far, according to Hetrick, the response has been positive. “The reception has been great,� he said. “Parents have been very supportive and respectful of the program.� For additional information on the Panther Pride Red Zone, visit www. dvmspanthers.com or call 925-625-6840. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.

Lions to hit grand slam The Discovery Bay Lions Club is hosting four fun-filled events in town on Saturday, Sept. 15, featuring activities in the Boardwalk Grill parking lot; a concert at the yacht harbor; the Lions’ popular Motorcycle Poker Run, two stops of which head into the Sierra foothills (breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee); the annual Car Show, getting larger and drawing more attention every year; and the annual realtor home tour, featuring open houses in the Discovery Bay Country Club and Byron Unified School District. During the event, The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office will operate an informational booth offering fingerprinting for the kids. The Boardwalk

Grill parking lot will be hopping with more than 25 vendors, plenty of food and jumpy houses for kids plus activities for all ages. The afternoon climaxes with a free concert on the lawn at the Yacht Harbor beginning at 4:30 p.m. Bring your chair and get ready for more than three hours of good music, food, beer and wine. (Since profits from the concert go directly back into the community, no outside coolers will be allowed.) To sign up for the Motorcycle Poker Run, call Steve Gould at 925-382-1046. To sign up for the Lions’ Car Show, call Jeff Moore at 925-642-8679. For more information about the day’s events, visit www.discoverybaylions.com or call Jim Mattison at 925-513-9032.

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