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delta living JANUARY-MARCH 2015

Inspiring stories across 1700 miles


DARREN MCFADDEN Up Close with the Oakland Raider’s Running Back

Trust your Hustle

Inside Anthony Trucks’ Best Seller

Orphan Train A Moment with Christina Baker Kline 1

January – March 2015

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January – March 2015


in this issue

08 Two Friends Band 11 Words from Bubba 12 Teaching Begins at Home


Heather Found her Passion

14 Living the News we Want to Read 16 Letting Go 22 Delta Silver Linings

Thomas 18 Chet Spins his Wheels

34 4

30 Jonathon Knittel wins essay contest

Darren McFadden

Oakland Raider's running back, talks about his life on and off the football field. January – March 2015

24 Gender Bias

Dining: 28 Delta Midgley's Public House

32 Black Bear Diner Gives Back

delta living CONTACT US P.O. Box 395 Knightsen, CA 94548 925.383.3072 PUBLISHER Charleen Earley - GRAPHIC DESIGNER Conrad Borba - EDITOR IN CHIEF Rita Caruso - CREATIVE DIRECTOR Pati Gonsalves - WRITERS Rita Caruso • Vinny DiNicola • Beth Grossman Walter Ruehlig • William “Bubba” Paris • Nina Koch Kristine Cataldo • Charleen Earley PHOTOGRAPHERS Maria Tavares • Rita Caruso Charleen Earley • Walter Ruehlig COPY EDITORS John Hartmann • Rita Caruso Tammy Borba • Walter Ruehlig Leigh Shughrou DISTRIBUTION Barbara Ellison-Smith • Walter Ruehlig Natalie Newman MARKETING DIRECTOR Hillary Lupo SALES Senior Advertising Manager - Terry Thompson Sales Executive - Anne Noriega

SUBSCRIPTIONS $5 each issue or $15 annual (4 issues a year) Mail check to: P.O. Box 395 Knightsen, CA 94548 Make check payable to: Delta Living Magazine

letter from the editor First of all, Happy New Year! Second, I have to say that I am quite excited to take on this new role as editor of this amazing magazine! As I read through the many incredible articles you are about to read, I recommend getting a great cup of coffee and sit back - you are about to engage on a journey that is enlightening, inspiring and very enjoyable.You will get to learn about Darren McFadden on page 34, in a way you might not have imagined. His life off the football field is as impressive as his performance on the field.You will see he’s a Bay Area man with a love of God, his family as well as his career. You will learn about the important world of senior living by Vinny DiNicola on page 22. As adults, my sister Charleen and I trudged through the many

options without a compass or road map.We could have benefited from the resources Vinny has knowledge of and access to. You will really enjoy the essay by a local eighth grader Jonathan Knittel on page 30. He will draw you into his “five minutes spent” with President Abraham Lincoln. His award-winning prose is impressive and enjoyable to read. So sit back, enjoy your coffee and the great articles you are about to read.


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I want to thank you for your continued support of the East County communities. The Delta Living Magazine articles are vibrant with information, ideas and articles. This magazine clearly depicts the most wonderful places and people East County has to share.The photographs are amazing as they show the beauty of the landscape we share. Sharon Baugh Youth Development Services Specialist II, Contra Costa County of Education Delta Living Magazine is published quarterly on recycled paper. Copyright© 2012 by Charleen Earley. Single copy price $4 in U.S.A. on 100% recycled paper. $15 for annual subscription. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in the U.S.A. E-zine version available. Contact, 925.383.3072 or visit

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All rights reserved. No part of any issue of Delta Living Magazine, be it editorial content, photographs or advertising design, may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or any other format, without the prior permission of the publisher. All facts, opinions and statements appearing within this publication are those of the writers and editors themselves and are in no way to be construed as statements, positions, views or endorsements by the publisher of Delta Living Magazine. Accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed. Due to uncertain nature of U.S. Postal Service and third party freight services, Delta Living Magazine does not guarantee delivery of said publication by any specific date.

January – March 2015



Rita Caruso - Editor-in-Chief Rita, a Mortgage Loan Consultant for Guild Mortgage, has been in the mortgage industry for over 30 years. She served two terms as President of the Discovery Bay Chamber of Commerce. With a deep love for journalism and an avid reader, she brings a love to her new role as Editor-in-Chief. An avid runner, hiker, cycler and painter, Rita moonlights as a chef and caterer, and spends time with her three grown kids and two grandkids. Reach her at caruso_rita@

Vinny DiNicola - Writer Vinny is a Certified Senior Advisor® and owner of HomeLife Senior Care in Brentwood with wife Angela, a provider of professional, dependable in-home senior care. Vinny graduated with honors from Menlo College, Atherton, CA, earning a Bachelors degree in Management with a focus in International Management. Vinny’s passion is providing world-class home care for their elderly clients. Reach him at vinny@

Maria Tavares - Photographer/Writer


When she is not busy behind the lens or chasing after her toddler, Maria enjoys reading fiction, getting hooked on T.V. shows on Netflix, boating, swimming and socializing. She also visits her parents in Elk Grove, Ca. as often as she can. Maria also loves baseball, chocolate and a good bottle of wine. See her work at FiestaFlixPhotography.shutterfl Read her blog, “Life Through the Lens” at

Conrad Borba - Graphic Designer Conrad is a graphic and web designer, who spent much time in his youth drawing and creating, with his earliest memories of working on a computer as a kindergartner. He studied graphic and web design at Modesto Junior College and the Institute of Technology of Modesto. With over 10 years experience in graphic design and six years as a freelancer, Borba stays abreast industry standards in order to provide his clients with fresh and new ideas. Reach him at

Kristine R. Cataldo, MSCIS, MAed - Writer/Blogger Kristine is a proud mama of two, a college instructor and curriculum developer. Her passion as a blogger, author and speaker is etched on her heart. She uses her story to inspire, motivate and empower women to live healthy, happy lifestyles through mind, body and spirit. Kristine is an avid cyclist, hiker and adventurous free-spirit. Reach her at or www.

Walter Ruehlig - Writer Walter graduated cum laude with a degree in English from the State University of New York at Albany and career counsels adults with disabilities. He’s the former President of the Antioch School Board, founded the Antioch Music Foundation, and is the 2012 Antioch Citizen of the Year-Lifetime Achievement award recipient. He regularly contributes to three local newspapers. Email him at

Charleen Earely ~ Publisher/Owner/Writer Charleen is a mom, comedienne, freelance writer, humor columnist, speaker, wedding planner and now graduate student at San Jose State University. She’s studying Mass Communications/Journalism and hopes to one day teach at the community college level. Known as “Charlie” to most, she’s also founder and publisher of Delta Living Magazine. Reach her at

Beth Grossman - Writer/Artist Beth is an artist who uses art and participatory performance to raise awareness and encourage public involvement in environmental issues and interpretation of history. Based in Brisbane, CA, she has collaborated internationally with individuals, communities, corporations, non-profi ts and museums. Contact her at 415.467.1836, or

Nina Koch - Writer Nina, owner of East County Performing Arts Center for the last 12 years, has lived in Brentwood, CA for 14 years. When not running her business, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, writing and visiting fun and exciting places. You can reach Nina at 925.240.5556 or visit her at

Delta Living Magazine Vision Delta Living Magazine is an artery of hyper local and regional features, which shares information to promote improved lives to our families. It specifically focuses on inspiring, motivating, educating and entertaining our community to reach a bit higher in creating their ideal lives. January – March 2015

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delta culture

Two Friends One Band Many Songs the stereo that night. Some of the guests took notice and said how much they liked it and started asking ‘who is this playing?’ I over bands are a dime a dozen in the was surprised a little. You see all the other Contra Costa County area, but when bands we had been in were full bands with it comes to original music and style, Two electric guitars, rhythm sections and such. Friends band has got everyone beat – a nice This was just Sam and his harmonica and beat too with harmonica flavor. Paul Luci- me with my acoustic guitar. Nothing else. do of Discovery Bay (Paul Lucido Inspec- We weren’t even playing through a PA systion Services) and Sam Lage of Concord tem; it was so stripped down compared to (owner of Concord Locksmith) are one of anything else we had done before.That was the Bay Area’s leading acoustic duos who the first time I thought the acoustic thing have carved out their niche in the Acoustic we were doing might be something others might enjoy too. Shorty after we were Rock with Country Flair genre. playing a Halloween party. Sam: I was curHow and when did the band start? Paul: rently in a rock ‘n roll band called Cradle. Our first Two Friends gig was on Hallow- When that came to an end, Paul and I reeen, 2008. The band thing kind of just connected. happened. I had been retired from the music scene for about 10 years when in Born and raised? Paul: Born in San Ramid 2008, just for the fun of it, Sam and I fael, CA, raised in the SF Bay Area (East started jamming again. We wanted to play Bay), with short stints in Brookings, Orsongs we wrote and basically have a reason egon and Yakima, Washington. Sam: Born to hang out.Well I made a rough recording and raised in Concord, CA. Moved away of one of those nights and later played it in 1975 to Reno, Nevada, where I went back at some kind of get-together. I didn’t to junior high and graduated Reno High tell anyone who it was, just threw it in with School. Went into the U.S. Navy and went the mix of other music being played on around the world. Ended up right back in

By Charleen Earley



January – March 2015

Concord, where I currently live. How did you come up with your band name? Paul: It is an attempt to keep things simple. It fits. It is really what it is and what it is all about.“Two friends hanging out having fun making music and good times” was too long! Sam: Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better. What style of music to you play? Paul: Singer songwriter mostly, but we dabble in blues, ballads, rock, country and folk. If it is a good song and we like it, we might try it. If it fits in with the thing we're having fun with now, then great. Sam: I like to call it folk rock music. Kind of our own category.We love writing and singing original music. But we do covers too. When we’re playing out, we can sound very bluesy, funky, and even a little country. Are you a cover band? Paul: Not really. We are an original band.We play songs we have written, songs our friends have written and songs we like to play. It sounds kind of selfish, but after years of playing songs to sell beer and songs people could dance to, we

Photo by Pati Gonsalves Concord resident Sam Lage (left) and his best friend Paul Lucido (Discovery Bay) write and perform their own music with an Acoustic Rock with Country Flair genre. They perform throughout the Bay Area as "Two Friend's Band."

January – March 2015


To book Two Friends Band visit their website or message them on Facebook at finally are playing songs we want to play. Songs that have meaning for us. When we do play songs by other artist’s, we do them our own way, a different version of them. Sam: I would like to think we’re not a cover band. We do covers just so that we’re able to play out places and play some songs people know. Some of our originals that we’ve been playing are very good. We recorded them a couple times and they seem to just keep getting better and better each time we play them. And I think people like our originals. What do you love about your music? Paul: There is a lot I love about music. It gives hope. It is a light in dark. Right now music is making it possible to spend time with Sam. Sam: I love everything about our music. Our songwriting, I feel, is very good. Our melodies are super tasty. Feels great to be performing our original songs. It shows in our performances.

Duffy and Marc Day. These friends, these talented people have helped me to grow, to enjoy, to have fun and to get better at something I love. Sam: Ditto on Paul’s list. I would like to add Todd Heller, Frank Fabsits and Larry Barren. What inspires you or influences your lyrics? Paul: Life stories and experiences I have lived or witnessed. Thoughts and feelings I have had. Or a point of view I would like to express. Sam: Couldn't have said it better than Paul has said it.

Who have you played with over the years? Paul: There is a saying in the Bay Area that there is only one band and it has 500 members. I don’t know if that is true but I have had the luck to play with a number of amazing people and players. Again this list would be too big, but here is a short list: Sam Lage, Roald Sinopoli, Craig Batchelder, Todd Heller, Ronnie Munoz, Michael Duffy, Marc Day, Do you write your own music? Paul: Yes.That is what got Pat Mosca, Michael Hurwitz, Steve Sage, and Leonard me into playing guitar and recording. Sam: Paul and I co- Thompson. Sam: I too have played with a lot of talented wrote Rain, which turned out really good in my opinion. players in many bands, starting with the bands Bad Seed, I’ve been writing songs for many years for my band Cra- Johnny Blade Band, Escape and Cradle. As well as the dle, and past rock 'n roll bands that I've been in. Paul and many special guests that have joined us at our Two Friends I collaborate very well on our songwriting in this group. gigs. I’ve also been blessed while in the band Cradle to have opened for a whole bunch of my favorite bands I Who are your influences? Paul: I really like all styles and listened to while growing up in high school, Montrose, genres and in each style or genre there are so many artists Great White, Foghat, Sammy Hagar, and Molly Hatchet, that have influenced me. But mostly singer songwriters to name a few. Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp and Robert Johnson, to short-list a few. Sam: My major influences are from the Musical education/career? Paul: Lifetime of listening, clas70s like Journey and Paul Rogers is by far, one of my sical band and music theory in high school, Performance main influences. Stevie Ray Von is another one. The list class at Diablo Valley College (DVC) and doing live pergoes on and on! formances. Sam: Life has been my teacher. I believe I was born with some natural talent in my singing abilities. Who do you look up to in the music industry? Paul: Sam My main teacher has been my best friend Paul, who has Lage, Roald Sinopoli, Craig Batchelder, Pat Mosca, Mi- helped me to develop into a stronger and more intelligent chael Hurwitz, Steve Sage, Leonard Thompson, Michael singer. My Harmonica playing is also self-taught. I did 10

January – March 2015

take a DVC music class back in the early 90s though. What do you hope listeners get from your music? Paul: A good time. A break from the day-to-day. To enjoy the moment with us. To be taken somewhere they wish to go back to. To forget for a brief period in time that there is anything else. Sam: On our originals, I hope the songs take them away. We have a song we call Dreaming. It’s about Lake Tahoe. I love to take people on a journey with the song! When we do covers we like to put our own flair onto them. I think people appreciate hearing how well we do them. Does your family follow in your musical footsteps? Paul: My wife Lisa has just recently picked up playing percussion and has joined us on stage a couple of times. My brother and sister played in their high school marching band. I remember their funky uniforms. My mom can still play a mean accordion. My sister used to play the guitar and sing; in fact it was her guitar that I kept borrowing when I first started. Sam: My kids all dabble in singing. Some are blessed and some are not. Mostly all shower singers. My wife used to play piano back in high school, but currently does not dabble in music. My grandfathers and great-grandfathers were very talented.They were comedians, as well as major speakers, all very talented performers. My father was an unbelievable harmonica player. Website? Paul: We have an awesome website thanks to my sister Pati Gonsalves. Check it out Goals from here? Paul: To keep playing and hanging out with my best friend, have fun, and make lots of music. So far it has been an amazing journey. Who knows where it can lead or what the future holds? Sam: I hope to continue playing with my best friend, for as long as he and I can keep performing!

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they naturally are, is how the world gets its countless different creative options. As your mind processes the world, your o fully grasp the concept of abilities, talents, strengths and weaknesses born with a purpose is to gain will manifest a finished product that rethe transforming knowledge that you flects the purposed uniqueness of you. Your physical, mental and emotional atBay’ are equipped with everything neces- tributes are purposed, given to you for a sary to accomplish your purpose in life. You are designed perfect in every way reason.They are your tools that you were to do what you were born to do. Your given to transform the world. They are se Homes existence is purposed, you are the archi- yours, perfect and precise, awaiting your rties tect of your creation. The embodiment acknowledgement and use. should be motivated, empowered work on together! of your existence and yourLet’s willingness to theseYou and#3 compelled (Well,will maybe at least!)to fulfill your purpose, to stay steadfast on your journey com-#2 & put in place your piece of creation’s puzplete a piece of creation’s puzzle. You are unique, one-of-a-kind, meant zle. Express your designed uniqueness, to be like no other. The camera of your because without it, the world is incommind’s eyes develops a picture of the plete. Be ever mindful, that you are born world that reflects the colors, the depth, “with” a purpose. the dimensions, the possibilities and the boundaries of your contribution. The world and all that exists in it, is seen as an UZZARDO incomplete canvas awaiting the manifesHOMES tation of your masterpiece. Through individuals perfecting who

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January – March 2015



January – March 2015

Teaching Begins at By Walter Ruehlig


ny parent worth their salt asks what they can do for their child’s educational success. After 46 years of teaching, one tip keeps recurring: Get involved! Education, after all, is like a three-legged stool with engagement of student, teacher and parent – all are crucial. Here then, are 10 practical tips to use the home environment as a motivational asset.


Be resourceful: There are websites like and that offer remedial help and even live, on-line answers to homework questions. Be a teacher: Every parent is, so try to be a good one. Be curious and let your enthusiasm for exploring the world rub off on your kids. Not all of us can afford extensive travel, but a family trip to museums, the Gold Country in towns such as Murphys, Angels Camp, Sutter Creek, Columbia, Auburn and Placerville, or Coit Tower in San Francisco, North Beach.

Be interested: Kids sense our priorities, be it Monday Night Football, a six-pack, or what they are doing in school. Take a sincere interest and don’t settle for ‘nuttin’ as Johnny’s Be a planner: Middle school, not the junior year, is when answer to ‘what did you do in school today?’ you start navigating college entry. Learn the requirements and start visiting schools early on to set the mind-set. Be an example: Read to a young child; have them read to you; or read separately together. Be a life-long learner who Be high in expectations: I have had two “Eureka’s” in has books or magazines around the house. For extra parental my life as to what effect culture has on securing high educredit, try making a habit of family visits to the library. cational achievement. Be connected: Meet the teacher(s) and get their preferred method of contact. Learn how to navigate School Loop to stay on top of attendance, homework, missing projects and grades. Be organized: Create a neat, quiet, study-friendly area and set homework times. Be sleep-conscious: On average, American teens have a two to three hour daily sleep deficit. That translates into health, attitude and attention concerns. Manage the clock. Be preventative: Catch-up football is always precarious. If your child starts falling behind, nip it in the bud with teacher and guidance counselor advice and tutoring interventions.

I grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, in a predominantly Jewish town where you faced tar and feathering if you didn’t attend college. It just wasn’t an option in that community. Expand horizons by introducing your kids to sports, clubs, religious instruction, or one of my all-time favorites, Scouts, where they learn outdoor survival, leadership skills and can get merit badges in anything from changing a flat tire to citizenship. Show appreciation for teachers and make sure school attendance is esteemed. Above all, teach your children well, for they are your legacy. Remember, when you teach your child, you teach your grandchild. January – March 2015



January – March 2015

Living the News We Want to Read By Beth Grossman


he U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) is the nation’s newest people-powered department, founded on the truth that art and culture are our most powerful resources for social change. It is not a government agency, but it should be. Playful and serious, using the methods of art and organizing, the USDAC aims to spark a grassroots creative change movement, engaging citizens in envisioning and enacting a world rooted in empathy, equity and social imagination. “In the summer of 2014, the USDAC hosted 11 large-scale public “Imaginings” in towns and cities across the country, involving more than 2,500 community members. These acts of imagination brought together diverse groups of artists, activists and community members to envision their communities in the year 2034, when the power of arts and culture has been integrated into the fabric of society. Once we have a vision, we can begin to strategize creative tactics for how to get there. I am the “Cultural Agent” for the Bay Area and have organized and hosted the first IMAGINING in Brisbane, CA this summer. The description of the Bay Area IMAGINING is: The IMAGINING Times: Living the news we want to read. All participants were invited to be citizen journalists and assembled to create the first issue of The IMAGINING Times. We had a three-hour press deadline to write and illustrate a newspaper filled with headlines, articles and collaged pages that

This is an act of collective imagination. Add yours! A USDAC Field Office will be opening soon in the Bay Area. If you would like to become involved, sign up as a Citizen Artist at The IMAGINING Times is posted online with photos of the event at www.imaginingtimes.

scribe our community 20 years from now, with art and culture at the core of all initiatives. Our USDAC Chief Policy Wonk, Arlene Goldbard, honored the opening of the first San Francisco Bay Area IMAGINING with a typewriter-ribbon cutting ceremony. As Cultural Agent, I encouraged everyone to take creative risks and be empowered to collaborate in enacting alternatives for a better world. I hope to nourish the artist in us all. The group of 50-plus citizen journalists assembled in editorial departments of Immigrant and Human Rights, the Natural World and Environment, Technology, Social Systems, Health, Public Space, Faith, Spirituality and Community Celebrations, Education and Anarchy. Directions were: Imagine that you are in the present moment 20 years from today and your job as a citizen journalist is to represent what our community and the world looks like to someone who knows nothing about it. Create a page for our IMAGINING Times filled with a headline, short article and collage/drawing that describes our community in 20 years. Write it in the present, as is it was happening when you wake up to read the newspaper in 2034. What do you hope to see, right here in our communities? What could this place look like if we brought our full creative selves to envisioning and building it? How can we make it real, using the power of art and culture? Following an hour of working together, the pages were shared among the editorial group and reported back to the large group. We all enjoyed seeing a picture of our creative vision. January – March 2015


By Kristine R. Cataldo, MSCIS, MAed


LETTING GO: A Key to Happiness

s we ring in 2015, I celebrate passing the two-year milemarker on my journey to a happy and healthy life. While the melody of Auld Lang Syne is still faintly tumbling around in my head, I pause and reflect upon my past. Let me shed a little light and perspective on my recent journey. In the not-so-distant past, I was an overworked, over-volunteered, unhealthy (body, mind, spirit) wife and mama. I was a project manager, or as some have said, a “professional nag” by trade. Born a perfectionist, I had a type-A personality. Let’s just say that I had a need to control absolutely everything in my life. When things did not go as planned or people did not live up to my expectations, I allowed it to consume me. In 2012, a life-changing event put life into perspective. I now live a balanced life where self-care, health, wellness, family, my spiritual connection and the personal connection with self and others are a priority. Many watching my journey have asked me, “Why this time?” and “What did you do differently to make the changes stick?” These are questions that, until recently, I could not answer. However, I recently discovered the answer… Letting go! It has been one of the most difficult concepts for this type-A person to grasp.When it was first suggested to me, I think I fainted. However, in retrospect, I realize it was the one element missing from my past failed attempts and is the key to all of my current blessings. Letting go is not about giving in, bowing out, or losing … quite the contrary. It is about freeing ourselves of people and situations we have no control over. It is about giving up stress, worry, anger and sadness, and allowing our life to play out as it is meant to. It is about not playing fast forward in situations, but instead, keeping our feet where our head is. It is the ability to walk away from an argument without the need to “be right.” For me, I need “it” [life] to be right, but “I” do not need to be right.When I find myself in a situation outside of my control, I stop, breathe, set the worry aside and just be. Now, I simply focus on letting go and controlling the one thing that I can control – me. Kristine R. Cataldo, MSCIS, MAed, is an Educational Consultant and Lead Instructional Designer, health and wellness author, motivational speaker and blogger.Visit her at


January – March 2015

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January – March 2015


Chet Thomas Spins His Wheels Real Fast - Legally By Charleen Earley


t age 69, you might say Chet Thomas has a lead foot and likes to break records – speed records, not vinyl’s – and every chance he gets he takes his roadster out for a spin at say over 200 mph. “I started following racing at about 13-years-old, reading hot rod magazines. At 16 I got a job after school working in the local speed shop, Champion Speed Shop, working the parts counter and running into the city to pick up parts. Champion had a dragster and a ‘61 Chevy super stock they raced. I worked on them and they would let me warm up the dragster and I drove the Chevy once before they sold it,” recalls Chet. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, raised in South San Francisco, moved to Pleasanton in 1972 where he married Shirley at age 25, making Grass Valley, CA their final home, Chet and his sons Rich and Greg are owners of Pleasanton Tool and Mfg. in Pleasanton since 1979, one of the longest running machine shops in the Bay Area. He went to San Mateo Junior College for three years taking machine tool technology and studying to be a tool and die maker and mechanical engineer. His love for speed is simple. 18

January – March 2015

“I guess it’s the challenge of trying to go faster than the current record. Trying to get every last mile-anhour out of the car. Driving it as fast as it will go,” admits Chet, father of four grown kids with Shirley. “I still hold a record from 1991 at Bonneville (salt flats in Utah) in the AA/Blown Street Roadster Class, with the Walsh Brothers as partners.We went 232.621 mph,” says Chet. “Last November I broke the record in AA Street Roadster Class at El Mirage (high desert in Southern California) from 190 to 194.659 mph; and in March I broke that record and pushed it to 202.935 mph. Last week I pushed the record even farther to 211.717 mph. We are through for the year, and next race is in May, 2015.” “When I broke the record over 200 mph, I was inducted into the 200 MPH Club at El Mirage for breaking a record over 200 mph.” he adds. Safety is always an issue. “Every sport has its dangers.All you can do is check everything out on your car to make sure it is in perfect condition,” says Chet. “I pack my own parachute. I want to know it’s going to open. I check every nut and bolt before I load the car in the trailer to go to a race, and run the motor, checking fuel, water and oil lines for leaks.You have to feel comfortable with the car if you are going to push it to the max.” “I spun a street roadster in 1992 at over 225 mph;

it went around about six times before coming out straight and turning off the course,” he adds. Breaking land speed records isn’t for everyone. Chet gives advice to wannabe racers before they invest a chunk of their money into a hunk of metal. “I think anyone who is interested in this sport needs to go to the salt flat and see the cars that are running, and go into the pits and talk to people who are running cars,” says Chet. “Most teams are very approachable and will answer questions. This will give them some kind of an idea of what they want to run.” Chet’s kind of racing is not about racing against other race cars. Land speed racing is about racing a record with no other cars on the track at the same time. Gravitational pull and surface areas are factors to reckon with. “There is some g-force in the first couple of gears, then it levels out. What you do feel is the car moving around. The faster you go, the wind starts to push the front of the roadster,” explains Chet, who belongs to Land Speed Racers, Southern, California. “I have a 1932 Ford street roadster – shaped like a brick – with a 600 cubic inch Ford motor, a 4-speed B&J air shifter transmission, and a quick change rear end. The motor has just under 1,100 horse power,” says Chet, who also owns a 1955 Chevy 210 with a late model LS7 corvette motor.

“The course I run has bumps and soft spots; you have to pedal the car down the course, on and off the throttle just a little bit, trying to keep it hooked up. When the car starts to get loose, you lift on the throttle just a little bit and it straightens right up, then you ease back on the throttle.” Chet remembers the ‘Happy Days’ of his teen life. “I grew up in the 50s and 60s. It seemed like if you were not racing at the drag strip, you were hanging out at a local gas station or burger joint,” recalls Chet. “There was always someone who wanted to race on the street, so we had streets marked off with a 1/4 mile span. Colma was the favorite between the cemeteries. No one was alive to complain!” The fast men Chet admires are many. “Jim McClennen; he was just a great racer and promoter, and he’s also in all the racing Hall of Fames. Al Teague; he was the first guy I saw go over 400 mph, and he gave me a lot of advice years ago. Dave Davidson; he is the nitro cowboy and has helped me with my roadster. He has gone over 300 mph in a blown fuel roadster. He is the only person to ever do that and he is 72! He is way up on my list,” says Chet. At the end of the ‘racing’ day, it’s not about money. “I have won several trophies over the years.There is no money, just bragging rights,” says Chet.“This is just about guys building cars out of their own garage or shop with their own idea of what it will take to make that car go faster than the record.” It’s also about the crew and the record-breaking feat. “My crew and the people I race with are such a great bunch to be around,” says Chet. “I love it when you leave the starting line, it’s just you and the car trying to go as fast as you can, making good shifts at the right rpm. Then hearing you broke the record, it makes you want to do the happy dance.”

Photo by Chet Thomas with his 1932 Ford street roadster in Nov. 2014 at El Mirage, a record-breaking weekend with a top speed of 211.717 mph. El Mirage is a dry lake bed located 30 miles east of Antelope Valley in Southern California.

January – March 2015


delta reads

From Foster Care to NFL Author Anthony Trucks trusts his hustle

memories, and therefore feelings, that I had ready moved through. It was like re-experiencing the situations all over again which resulted oday at age 30, Anthony Trucks is a mo- in a lot of stopping because my eyes were too tivator, trainer, author, father of three filled with tears to see. and husband, but odds were against him from the get-go. Discarded by his mother, How long did it take you to write it? It took me Anthony and his three siblings lived the Foster about one year. I started it and wrote the first Care life, hearing words such as “you’re noth- chapter. It was so hard to write, that I postponed ing, you’re worthless, no one loves you and you writing it for another eight months. I then took have no reason for living.” Anthony experienced a trip up to Sparks, Nevada and locked myself in physical and mental abuse, starvaa room for six days and wrote it all. tion, torture and more – all before age six, and that’s just the beginWhat is your mantra in life? I honning. Now living in Antioch, CA, estly live by “Trust Your Hustle.” his memoir, Trust Your Hustle,, spells Everything I do is trusting and havout what he endured and where ing faith in my abilities to succeed he ended up. I had the pleasure to when I put forth unwavering efinterview Anthony about his book, fort. I truly tackle life with reckless which published Nov. 3, 2014, on abandon sometimes. I am not afraid his son’s 10th birthday. of people’s perceived risk because I know that when ... WHEN ... life What were some of the challengknocks me down, I will ALWAYS es of writing this book? Honestly be strong enough to stand through the biggest challenge was revisiting it and keep moving. By Charleen Earley


Anthony Trucks, author of Trust Your Hustle, fi rmly believes, "My positive perspective on life is so vastly different than most, because I genuinely am thankful for every single day I am given on this earth."


January – March 2015 are honestly STRONGER than most. We HAVE to be in order to endure what we do emotionally and still be standing at the end. So the base advice would be to realize there is HOPE when you apply the strength you have been forced to find to your life. When other kids with easier childhoods hit trials they break. Not us. We’ve sadly dealt with worse, so when we hit that wall it’s merely a speed bump. We may slow down, but it’s not big enough to stop us.

Photos courtesy of Anthony Trucks. Author Anthony Trucks with his wife Christina Ann and their three kids, eldest Anthony Mack, Taurean Diesel and their daughter Tatum Ann. Photo taken this year by Anthony in their home studio.

What reactions are you getting from the book so far? I have actually been getting great feedback from the book. Many people know “of ” the story, but don't know the story. They seem to find a greater respect for me once they've read it.

What do you hope this book will accomplish? To just give people a new perspective on life and how to pick themselves up and move forward when tough times hit. Then to get a movement of successful progress going so you can stack life wins and be able to establish a faith in your ability to do Where did you get your education? I earned my well and succeed. To “Trust Your Hustle.” degree from the University of Oregon. I’ve always valued my personal education and being What advice do you have for kids who are in the literate, so I try to convey it with all the work I foster care system now? That advice could never do. I'm kind of a grammar freak sometimes! be summed up in a short answer without doing it a grave injustice. All I know is that we Foster kids

What do you do for a living now? I have now closed the gym and started a career in personal development. I speak, consult, coach, write and create products and courses online for people to work through at home. That way they can make changes in their lives any time they choose to. Are you working on another book? I have two books actually. One is called Trust Your Hustle Pt.2, which is the first year of my life past the book, and honestly it’s been just as much of a roller coaster as the back half of the first. It also presents perspectives and tools that I have developed over the years to allow me to have the level of success that I have. It's the HOW to my life progress. The second book will be called – assuming a publisher doesn’t change it – Planning The Business Of Life. It’s a structure that mirrors life like a business. It allows anyone to see that they’re an entrepreneur of their own lives and how to set up the business of their life for ultimate success. January – March 2015


delta silver linings

Staying Put, Aging in Place, or Moving? By Vinny DiNicola


y dad had what’s known as a “drop foot” following an operation on his spine. As a result, he was a serious fall-risk at home. Even at age 88 he was fiercely independent and ultimately he suffered a fall at home from which he never recovered. If asked, most seniors will leave no doubt about their desire to age at home in spite of physical or cognitive impairments. Is there time to re-evaluate and consider moving from home? In the population of seniors who are generally “healthy” and ambulatory, the choice to move from home is a personal decision worthy of serious consideration when and if, it becomes unsafe to remain at home. For many seniors, more care and more support at home can make it safer. However, conditions like wandering, forgetting where home is, leaving the stove on, complete incontinence, frequent falls and resulting trips to the hospital can all be signs that it’s time to reevaluate care and where best to provide care. Professional home care is an option to provide more support at home; unfortunately medical plans or Medicare does not cover it. Long Term Care insurance covers all or a portion of home care, as does Veteran’s Aid & Attendance benefits. Being aware of FREE long-term supportive services offered through your county in conjunction with “informal support networks” composed of family members, friends and neighbors can reduce the cost of care at home and make the difference between a senior living at home and having to live in a nursing home. 22

January – March 2015

Seniors and families should become familiar with the Contra Costa County Area Agency on Aging (AAA): and the California Department on Aging: Both offer programs that stress partnership with the participant, the family and caregiver, the primary care physician, and the community, in working toward maintaining personal independence. Some programs and services offered have cost limi-

tations and eligibility limitations, but services are broad in scope offering things like; transportation assistance, meal programs, counseling services, legal assistance, adult day care, information and referral services, volunteer caregiver programs, health insurance counseling and family caregiver support. For more comprehensive information that may help to determine care needs and care options for yourself, a loved one, a family member or a friend, please feel free to contact me directly at

delta laughs

I don’t do Forwards Funny Side Up By Charleen Earley


t was fun at first, innocent and harmless, but now it’s gone too far, and I just can’t take it anymore. Call me the party-pooper here, but I have had it with all the “forwards” of e-mails I receive daily. Grant it, when I do read them, they're witty, lighthearted, R-rated, enlightening, and sometimes even thought provoking, but who has the time? My time is extremely limited as it is, but yes, I do cave to occasional self-indulgent activities here and there, such as eating and sleeping. I realize the senders have no ill intent in mind. I can’t imagine my friends scratching their heads thinking, “Okay, who needs e-mail today? Aha, Charleen can use another forward, I've seen her comedy routine, and it could use some help.” The fact that I write my own comic material could very well be the problem. But the bigger problem at stake here is the volume of forwards, just begging to be opened, read, printed, then forwarded to 80 of my close and personal friends within the next 24 hours, or my computer will self-destruct. Okay, I admit it. I played into this forwarding game once or twice. But I was sick then, and really looking “forward” to the free Gap clothes, because “I just can't get enough, no I just can’t get enough.”

Never a fan of chain letters, since I was usually the one who broke the link to everyone’s good fortune, I see these “chain-mails” if you will, no different.The only thing missing with these chains are the balls, prison bars and visiting hours. These forwards do nothing more than entrap my thoughts of guilt for sending them directly to the delete file, without even reading them first … “Yes I’m sure,” I answer my computer. I would jump with joy to come home just once and open all 500 e-mails of personal, endearing, “I wrote it myself,” even poetic love notes from family and friends. Instead, the only personal part in the forward is usually … “You’ve gotta read this.” What I’d love to do (but never would), is to forward that same e-mail to the hundreds of addresses I have to scroll down to before the message even begins, and say, “You’ve gotta delete this!” I already have books on quotes, quips, anecdotes and 50 ways to leave my lover - then get him back

again. And if I really want to know how crazy life can be, I just read the articles in the daily paper, or station a camcorder in my house – or Tim Biglow’s house! And can anyone tell me whom the original copywriter is, who gets the message started in the first place? Perhaps this person is tucked away somewhere in a dark office filled with books, magazines and the all the letters ever sent to Ann Landers. Maybe, just maybe the originator of these forwards doesn’t have a life; therefore no one else should either. Now I realize in writing this, I may burn a bridge with my dad, sister, brother, best friend, boss, boyfriend and even my dentist, but what am I really risking here? A larger phone bill, one-on-one verbal communication, root canal? So what if my incoming e-mails dwindle down to zero. At least I’ll have my sanity, the needed extra space of inbox storage, and my monthly internet service bill - who could ask for anything more? True - I thrive on communication, but live interaction, not cutesy forwards. I need to hear voice inflections and gut-wrenching laughter. I need to see tears and sweat coupled with expressive emotions. I need to smell fragrances and okay, delete the body odor part, but you get the picture. I don’t want Dolby or Memorex; I just want live communication, plain and simple. Secretly my car must have a bumper sticker on it with the words, “I’d rather be receiving forwards.” Or maybe it’s everyone’s way of getting even with me with the beatitude, “Blessed are those who make others laugh…for they shall get theirs.” My life would be a tad less cluttered if I didn't have all those frolicking, faithful forwards. But if you enjoyed this column, please forward it to all your family and friends! January – March 2015


Johnny wants to be a ballet dancer By Nina Koch

Gender bias is alive and well. As a dance teacher in Brentwood, CA, I see it on a regular basis and it may not be in the way you would expect. So often, mom walks into the dance studio to sign Sally up for dance lessons with brother in tow. I ask if brother will be taking lessons as well. Nine times out of 10 mom’s response is, “oh Dad would not be on board with that.” The response use to break my heart, but now after hearing it so often after so many years; it infuriates me. This may seem like a trivial problem, but really it is not about dance classes at all. It is about putting limits on these young boys and essentially teaching them there are still “girl things” and “boy things.” Growing up it was very clear that the world was wide open for me, I could do anything I wanted to do. My experience has been, most girls are raised that same way. As parents, we do a pretty good job raising our girls to know they are not limited to anything simply because they are girls. Does your daughter want to play baseball, be a fire fighter, join the military? Great, go for it. As far as I have experienced, no one says, “Now Sally, you can’t be a police officer … that’s a boy thing.” What about our boys? Does the conversation go the same way? If your son tells you he wants to take a ballet class, what do you say? Or better yet, do you offer a ballet class as an option for an extra- curricular activity? In order for women to achieve true gender equality, our society needs to be truly equal. That means men can be nannies, nurses, kindergarten teachers, dancers or stay-at-home-dads without being judged or labeled by others (specifically their 24

January – March 2015

male peers) as less masculine. Really, this change has to start at home, and it has to happen when boys are very young. Merriam-Webster defines sexism as, “attitudes, conditions or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender.” Last year at the studio, we produced a dance number to music from the Broadway play Newsies. It was so much fun and the kids were fantastic. I had over 40 girls dressed up as little newsboys; they were adorable. Not one parent, thankfully, raised concern about their little girl being dressed like a boy. I don’t think parents would have given that same support if I had dressed a group of boys as girl orphans for a number from Annie. Is this sexism? Is it gender bias? You bet. My hope is that all parents will raise their kids to know they can do anything or be anything. I want kids to grow up knowing they have no limitations, especially those based on their gender. I want my son to grow up knowing it is socially acceptable to be a stay-at-home-dad when he grows up. I want your son to feel that acceptance too. Maybe I will even see him in ballet class.


Bats or Ballet for Boys

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A moment with author Christina Baker Kline Book: Orphan Train By Charleen Earley


found Kline’s novel Orphan Train in a mom and pop coffee shop in San Ramon called, Has Beans Coffee and Teas, bought it, and couldn’t put it down. While it’s a “novel,” it’s based on a lost period of American history. Kline, author of Bird in Hand, 2009, has an amazing way of captivating her readers through meaningful and purposeful prose. Orphan Train does the same.

N.D., and orphans from those trains were adopted there, the Robertson clan came from Missouri. But my interest was piqued, and I knew I wanted to learn more about this little-known period in American history.

How does your novel of the Orphan Train differ from other books on the subject? I chose to contrast the story of the orphantrain rider with that of a teenager in the current-day foster care system, which to my knowledge hasn’t been done before. I have found that this book attracts a broad readership, from teens to octogenarians What motivated you to write this to history buffs (way beyond my usual book? About a decade ago, visit- “women 30-60” demographic). It aping my in-laws in North Dakota, peals to book clubs because there’s a lot I came across a nonfiction book to digest and discuss. People tell me they printed by the Fort Seward His- identify closely and strongly with one torical Society called Century of or the other of the main characters. This Stories, 1883-1983: Jamestown and book was more ambitious (a true historiStutsman County. In it was an ar- cal event, a broader canvas) than my preticle titled “They called it ‘Or- vious novels. phan Train’ – and it proved there was a home for many children What is the deepest thing you've taken on prairie.” My husband’s grand- away from writing this book? Most peofather, Frank Robertson, and his ple are remarkably resilient. Even those siblings featured prominently in who have been through war or great the story. This was news to me loss often find reservoirs of strength. But – I’d never heard of the orphan the legacy of trauma is a heavy burden trains. In the course of research- to bear. In Orphan Train, I wanted to ing this family lore I found out write about how traumatic events bethat though orphan trains did, yond our control can shape and define in fact, stop in Jamestown, our lives. “People who cross the thresh-


January – March 2015

old between the known world and that place where the impossible does happen discover the problem of how to convey that experience,” the novelist Kathryn Harrison wrote. Many train riders were ashamed of this part of their past, and carried the secret of it for decades, and sometimes until they died. Over the course of Orphan Train Vivian moves from shame about her past to acceptance, eventually coming to terms with what she's been through. In the process, she learns about the regenerative power of claiming and telling one's life story. Perhaps the main message of my novel is that shame and secrecy can keep us from becoming our full selves. It's not until we speak up that we can move past the pain and step forward. Advice to other writers taking on such a sensitive, historical and meaningful writing experience such as this one. I worked hard to avoid sentimentality.That meant ruthless editing. If given a time machine, what would you do in regards to the Orphan Trains? An impossible question, given that the orphan trains started when slavery was still legal.The world was completely different then, and required a complete overhaul. Do you have a newfound perspective on "orphans" today who are in foster care? The profound realization I came to when writing this book is

Christina Baker Kline

thoughts about the human experience that haven’t occurred to them before. I hope they learn something about this important piece of American history that has been hidden in plain sight for all these years. And I hope they are inspired to think about their own lives and relationships. Talk about finding the “sandpaper” in your writing process. When you write novels, you need to have your characters constantly saying “no” to each other. Most of us (myself included) tend to avoid conflict in our real lives, but conflict is crucial in fiction. It keeps the story interesting.

Do your sons want to become writers? How old are they? I have three boys, ages 14 to 20, and all are good writers. that the problem of unwanted, dis- So far, they haven’t expressed much enfranchised, neglected, and abused interest in writing novels. children will never go away, no matter how many social programs we You did a lot of research for this book. develop. Don’t get me wrong – it’s When do you call it quits with reimportant to have checks and bal- search and begin trusting your process ances, caring social workers, and laws and write? I dove into the research to protect children. But the pain of for several months, but eventually I abandonment that children in foster had to start writing. I continued to care experience today is the same research at every step of the way. pain that children felt when they rode the orphan trains. The emotions are How long did it take you to write this book? I stumbled on to the story of the same. the orphan trains a decade ago. I was What do you hope your readers will stunned to learn that 250,000 abantake away from your book? I hope doned, neglected, or orphaned chilreaders come away with some dren had been sent from the East Photo courtesy of Karin Diana

Coast to the Midwest on trains between 1854 and 1929. The idea of writing about this little-known part of American history percolated for years. About four years ago, I found the key: an appealingly irascible 17-year-old with nothing to lose who pries the story out of a 91-yearold with a hidden past as a train rider. I read more than 300 first-person accounts and dozens of books, attended train-rider reunions, and talked with half a dozen train riders (all between the ages of 90 and 100), and conducted research in Ireland, Minnesota, Maine, and New York City’s Lower East Side. Will this book become a movie? It’s been optioned, with two producers, an actress, and an A-list writer working on a script. But I’m not holding my breath! Stories like this are notoriously risky to make into movies. What are you working on next? The novel I’m working on now is inspired by the iconic and haunting American painting Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth, which hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Christina was a real person with an incredibly interesting life and history. The strange, forbidding house in the painting is on a remote point on the coast of Maine. I am telling Christina’s story: what was she doing in that field? What was she looking for? What did she find? January – March 2015


delta dining

New Restaurant Great Flavors Celebrity Chef Doesn’t Get Any Better Than That Story and Photos by Charleen Earley


inning Cutthroat Kitchen on the Food Network (aired Jan. 12, 2014) and writing his own e-cookbook wasn’t enough for Chef Michael Midgley. He had to go and open his own restaurant too. “Grand opening was Dec. 2, last year. It was good, smooth and busy. We had over 300 people!” says Chef Midgley, owner of Midgley’s Public House in Stockton at the Lincoln Center. Cooking since age 14, it’s been his lifelong dream to open up a restaurant. Now that it’s finally here, his restaurant partners and longtime friends Shaun Gamma and Troy Clemons couldn’t be happier. It’s where Chef Midgley is creating high-end, mouth-watering dishes in a setting that feels more like an Irish pub – earthy, outback, and downright comfortable. He had his family’s history in mind when designing the restaurant ambiance. “My last name Midgley is the name of a thousand-year-old village in England, so I was going for old building, mid-evil, natural wood and earth tones,” says Chef Midgley, whose wife Laci works side-by-side with him as manager and server. Laci says customer service is the key to their business. Taking care of people is lacking these days,” says Laci, mother of three young kids with Michael. “I like to know I’m giving them 100%, an exceptional experience, because we have a celebrity chef and I want people to know that it’s not only in San Francisco.” 28

January – March 2015

“We want people to know there are great places to eat in their own backyard with a great ambiance, great custom cocktails in our full bar and our menu pleases all levels,” she adds. Lunch and dinner entrées include filets, rib eyes (14-ounce), Tomahawk rib eyes (38 ounce), Ahi burgers, lobster corndogs, chipotle chicken pesto, salmon glazed with spicy Korean veggies and white rice. Salads include poached apple, Carpaccio beet root, and a M.P.H. (Midgley’s Public House) specialty salad with grilled chicken, mixed greens, smoked gouda, bacon, pine nuts, egg, raisins, red onion, tomato and cucumber. Prices range from $8 appetizers up to $70 rib eyes and lobster, depending on season and market pricing. Be prepared to spend a little more than usual, however the food-coma and trance will be worth it all as you walk out the door, completely satisfied. Chef Midgley left Ernie’s Food & Spirits in Manteca as head Chef, where he created many of his own dishes. Running his own restaurant he says is similar, but different. “I managed Ernie’s like it was my own, so it’s almost the same. But now I’m watching dollars and numbers a lot more!” says Chef Midgley, who supports The First Tee, a children’s golf charity. “It feels good to be your own boss too!” Spending sometimes more than 18 hours a day as his own boss with very few days off, Chef Midgley says it’s all about his passion in life – create food that tastes great and makes people happy. Feedback from his customers so far, has been music to his ears. “They say they love it, it’s refreshing and fun and an exciting menu!” he says.

Laci and her husband Celebrity Chef Michael Midgley from Cutthroat Kitchen, opened up their restaurant on Dec. 2, 2014, with partners Shaun Gamma and Troy Clemons called Midgley’s Public House in Stockton.

296 Lincoln Center Stockton, CA

209.474.7700 The Twinkie dessert, one of the mouth-watering desserts created by Chef Michael Midgley at his new restaurant, Midgley's Public House in Stockton, CA at the Lincoln Center off Pacifi c Avenue.

January – March 2015


delta smiles

Jonathon Knittel gets five minutes with Abraham Lincoln T

he California Federation of Republican Women, Northern Division held their 2014 Americanism Essay Contest with the question, “If you could spend five minutes with Abraham Lincoln, what would you ask him and why?” Winner was Jonathon Knittel of Discovery Bay, an eighth grade student at Excelsior Middle School in Byron. Below is his winning essay, judged on originality, creativity, neatness, grammar, spelling and a well-developed topic. Thank you for meeting with me today Mr. Lincoln. In my time, you are the highest rated president of the United States for many reasons. You held the United States together during the Civil War, abolished slavery, and stood firm on your beliefs in the Declaration of Independence.You are an honest and compassionate man, as well as a respected and influential leader. I am currently in Boy Scouts and as a Senior Patrol Leader for my troop, I would like to ask you how I can become a better leader. As I walk through my life in the twenty first century and you walked through your life in the nineteenth century there are many differences, but I think great leadership can span the ages. Even before you became President you were 30

January – March 2015

a few months and yet it lasted four years. You went through many different commanders for the Union Army. How did you stay strong as a leader when things were not going smoothly? Did you ever want to give up being President and let someone else do the job? I praise your ability to get others to do things by suggesting and requesting. In scouting we have the Boy Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan. You had the Declaration of Independence. As our President, did you find it hard sometimes to abide by the Constitution, and if so what did you do? How did you handle your frustration when others do not follow the guidelines set before them? How did you know which was the right answer when there were differing opinions? How did you convince others to make the Jonathon Knittel of Discovery Bay, an eight grade student at Excelsior Middle School in Byron, won right choice? How did you decide if a the 2014 Americanism Essay Contest. His parents Kenn and Julie Knittel could not be more proud. current rule needed to be modified or a leader every day as a scholar, store of opinions. How did this help you changed? I admire your initiative and clerk, son, lawyer, and politician. You lead? Your greatest task as President you never relinquished. faced daily challenges both personally was keeping the United States togethMr. Lincoln, as we part ways I and publically. er but there was never a guarantee that would like to thank you for taking In scouting, I sometimes have it would stay together. Just days before the time to meet with me today. I also trouble leading scouts to accomplish you took the oath of office, the Con- want to thank you for all you did for our goals. There can be differences federate States of America were se- our country and for our people. You of opinion and bickering among pa- ceding from the Union.You were sad- have inspired me to be a better pertrols.Yet, as President you handpicked dened by this, especially with Virginia. son in my community, country, and Cabinet Members to have differences You thought the Civil War would last the world. Photo by Charleen Earley


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January – March 2015


delta giving

Black Bear Diner Gives Back

She said Juleen’s wish is to swim with dolphins. Her favorite color is dark purple and she is a “Frozen” fan just like every other little (and big) girl in the U.S. Brenda made her an afghan in dark purple with a picture of dolphins on it.

Now in their 7th year, Black Bear Diners, Inc. have raised and donated over $750,000 to Makea-Wish Foundation, granting wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. “Every donation helps,” said Jolisa Johnson of Black Bear Diners, Inc.

Jimmy and Brenda D’Amico, owners of Oakley’s Black Bear Diner, said they had no idea that this year’s young recipients, Juleen (9) and her brother Fabian (7) Cervantes were their cook Carlos’s children. “They both have Cystic Fibrosis. We honored them with a Make-A-Wish dinner on Dec. 14,” said Brenda D’Amico.


January – March 2015

Tami Doench, owner of Mama Got Cakes in Oakley, baked delightful cakes for both kids: Olaf (from “Frozen”) for Juleen, and a Minion for Fabian. “We decorated the table with candy and items that corresponded with their favorite colors and wishes and then threw in a Black Bear T-Shirt and a Little Bear. Fabian went right in and changed his shirt. The kids were so appreciative,” added Brenda.

Photos by Charleen Earley

Brenda said Fabian’s wish is to go on a shopping spree. “His favorite colors are silver and gold and he’s a fan of the Despicable Me movie, so I made him a blanket with a Minion on it,” she said.

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They’re great! We’ve known Cinda for 20 years and I love taking Sam and Wally there for grooming and boarding. When they are there, we know they’re safe. They do their teeth beautifully too!

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January – March 2015


Oakland Raider Running Back Darren McFadden Plays for God’s Team Too Story and Photos by Charleen Earley


e’s number 20 on the field, but number 10 in his family of twelve kids from Little Rock, Arkansas, and spoiled was never a description Darren McFadden would ever give himself. “Spoiled? Not even close! You always get the clothes from the other kids,” chuckles Darren, Oakland Raider’s running back, now in his seventh season. At six-foot-one, 218 pounds, Darren credits his dad as his mentor in life. “I look up to my dad Gralon McFadden. He was always on me about football, making blocks and catching passes – always making me do my best. He developed me so much into the player and person I am today,” says Darren, age 27, married last year in April to Tanya, his love since 2008. Now living in the Oakland hills overlooking the Bay Area, Darren grew up in an inner city neighborhood in Arkansas with influences of drugs and violence around him – he played quarterback his sophomore year at Oak Grove High. His dream was to become a football player. “Getting drafted by the Raiders was a dream come true for me,” says Darren.“I grew up as a kid wanting to go to the NFL; it’s a great feeling to accomplish it.” He later played his junior year at the University of Arkansas, where he was studying kinesiology. He left that year for good reason. “I left because I was drafted,” says Darren, father of 34

January – March 2015

three young kids named Darreus, Diesel and Deuce and step-father to Rosie and Israel. “I love playing for the Raiders, hands-down. The camaraderie, the brotherhood – getting a bunch of guys together to play football and win games. Everyone has a common goal – it’s like a fraternity. It’s also like working and enjoying it at the same time!” Off the field, Darren’s priority is God and family. “I always put God first, family comes second and making a living comes third,” he said. “I always try to do my best in everything; I don’t do anything halfassed. If it’s cleaning up the yard or playing a game, I put in one hundred percent.”

Oakland Raider's running back, Darren McFadden with wife Tanya in their Oakland home, chillin' for the day.

The McFadden's ultra-friendly Savannah cat named Kitty, follows Darren and Tanya around all day.

When it comes to injuries, something most reporters latch onto, Darren doesn’t give it much attention. “It’s something I don’t put any mind to – I just do the best I can to help my team,” says Darren, who lifts weights year-round to keep his body in shape and trains at the Michael Johnson Performance Center in Texas during off season. Darren enjoys participating in the NFL Play 60 Challenge, a joint program with the Oakland Raiders, American Heart Association and the National Football League designed to inspire middle school students to be active an hour each day: 30 minutes at school and 30 minutes at home. “Just being able to meet a child and know that you can say something to influence them for the rest of their life, that’s a compliment to me,” says Darren. “Even saying something to a kid in the grocery store, to help them avoid street gangs or getting in trouble. I love being able to help someone else out.”

Growing up in an inner city neighborhood and facing addictions within his family, Darren has plans to work with kids after his football career ends. “I want to work with inner city kids and help influence them to stay away from drugs,” he says. In his down time, a self-proclaimed home-body, Darren enjoys lounging around the house, spending time with his wife and step-kids and watching his favorite shows on the History, A&E and Discovery channels with shows like Alaska: The Last Frontier and Gas Monkey Garage. At home with his wife and two young step-children, three pit bulls, a Savannah cat named Kitty, Darren prays every day, watches college football as often as possible and win or lose a game or season, he prefers to simply stay positive. “Losses are something you just have to deal with and move forward from,” says Darren.“We just move forward and come back stronger. Just keep it moving.” January – March 2015


She found her talent and now caters to it Story and photo by Charleen Earley Courtesy of San Joaquin Lifestyles Magazine


he most exciting thing about Heather DeBorba’s full-time job is that it isn’t a job. Catering is her hobby, her stress relief and passion in life, where the icing on the cake is a paycheck. “I was always in real estate and property management, until I found out that wasn’t my thing,” says DeBorba of Stockton, who started Elle’s Custom Catering 10 years ago, after her second child, Elle was born. “My passion and hobby was my cooking and entertaining.” “I was always afraid my passion would turn into a job,” she adds. “That’s one of the things that kept me from it for years – and how I could make a good living out of it.” Realizing that a catering business was completely different than entertaining at home, DeBorba earned her chops by working in a restaurant to gain front and back of the house experience. Fresh out of the gate, DeBorba landed her first two big accounts as a personal chef with fraternities at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, adding a third fraternity down the road. She catered their parties for five years until she and her staff began to focus on the public sector, which can reach up to as many as 250 guests. “It hasn’t turned into a job, because I do custom catering,” says DeBorba, who still entertains at home. “I’m not trapped into the three menus for clients to choose from – that’s the excitement of it all. Each event is different and unique than the previous one!” Using fresh ingredients and local produce, DeBorba 36

January – March 2015

says she never does cookie-cutter events. She interviews clients to get to know their personalities, tastes, history and style and creates from there. Her events include education as well. “I like to explain what they’re eating, why it’s paired with various wines, and the inspiration behind the process,” she says. “We try to one-up everything; I don’t want anything to be boring.” Absolutely nothing boring about a recent wedding she did on Tinsley Island with Sashimi salad, Ahi tuna, steak with chimichurri sauce, grilled vegetables and garlic tatertots for the kids. “People will go out of their way to tell me it was the best event ever!” adds DeBorba, who was born in Culver City, LA, and raised in Stockton. DeBorba believes the key to a happy life is doing what you love most. “I create these fusion menus and it’s so much fun. Life in my business is a fun adventure,” she says. “A lot of people live in that fear-bubble. Their job is their security with a 9-5 mentality. I think the key to a happy life is to find what you love and are good at and find a way to make a good living at it. It’s a totally different way of thinking and living!”

Facebook: Elle’s Custom Catering/iCandy events 209.202.7002

Heather DeBorba left unfulfi lling jobs to start her own business of cooking and catering - something she's loved doing since she was a teen. She strongly believes, "The key to a happy life is to fi nd what you love and are good at and fi nd a way to make a good living at it."

January – March 2015


delta market place

Beautiful Black Baby Grand Piano, Wurlitzer - $1200

Horse for partial lease ~ $150/mo

Currently in Concord. It’s a 1930s/40s, 4’ 10” - Comes with original black bench that stores music. Good condition, (always) needs tuning after moved to a new location. Full appraised upon request. Cost to move, around $150. Email

Wonderful western pleasure horse, safe and fun. $150 a month for 2 scheduled rides a week. 24-year-old Arabian-mix, gelding, 14.3 hands. Located at the beautiful Wild Rose Equestrian Center in Knighsten, CA. Leg and neck-reined, very responsive. Stout and sturdy with a calm temperament. Experienced riders preferred. Wintac saddle (medium), reins and hackamore available. Uses hackamore only, and is leg. Contact with questions or inquiries.

Samsung Chromebook - $100

Brand new, used a few times! 1.70GHz Exynos 5 Dual Processor/ 11.6" (1366x768) HD LED Backlit Display/ 2GB DDR3L Memory/ 16GB SSD/ 1MB Cache/ Bluetooth 4.0 (For Keyboard And Mouse Only)/ USIM/ USB 3.0/ HDMI/ 3-In-1 SD Card Slot/ 0.3 Megapixel HD Web Camera/ 802.11 a/b/g/n/ Google Chrome/ Silver Finish. Email


January – March 2015

January – March 2015



January – March 2015

delta living magazine jan 2015  

Happy New Year Readers! I hope you make the inspirational stories found in this issue YOUR story! Contact Publisher Charleen Earley if you h...

delta living magazine jan 2015  

Happy New Year Readers! I hope you make the inspirational stories found in this issue YOUR story! Contact Publisher Charleen Earley if you h...