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July 25, 2008


City gets new wall, street repairs TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

A new 590-foot retaining wall is currently under construction along Marsh Creek Road across from Stranahan. A new stone-faced wall like the ones in the Vintage subdivision further up Marsh Creek Rd. will replace the decrepit, crumbling wood wall that has become an eyesore. Last week, crews tore out the old structure and dug out the hill a bit to make room for the new wall. The digging was a bit tricky, reports city engineer Rick Angrisani. A Huge Transpacific Communications pipeline filled with hundreds of pairs of wires runs along the base of the hill under the sidewalk. Cost of the project is $165,000.



Could you be the next member of the Clayton City Council? As I am writing this it is 7 a.m., on July 14, Bastille Day. While Bastille Day is a national holiday in France, where it commemorates the French revolution and the beginning of the modern French nation, in Clayton it is the first day you can register to be a candidate in the November election for Clayton City Council. This is not revolutionary, but it could constitute a sea change in Clayton politics and at the very least a generational change in the council majority. At the present moment, a majority of the councilmembers are at an age when they have a concern for grandchildren. All three of these councilmembers have a great number of years of service on the council. In fact, each of the three has more service on the council then the other two combined. One of the three, Bill Walcutt, has decided not to seek re-election. This means that

See Mayor page 6

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

A BACKHOE OPERATOR digs out the hill along Marsh Creek Rd. in preparation for a new stone-faced retaining wall. The wall is one of this summer’s projects that include the re-paving of Clayton’s arterial streets.

PAVING PROJECT BEGINS The city’s paving project begins this week with major repairs to the arterial streets. The $1.1 million project will cover new surfacing to Clayton Rd., Marsh Creek Rd., Oakhurst Blvd., Mitchell Canyon Rd. and Pine Hollow Rd. In order to improve the entry into the Town Center commercial area, crews will also repave the ramp between Clayton Road and Main St. Much of the work will be done at night to minimize the impact on traffic. As an added benefit, the walking trail that runs from Marsh Creek Rd. behind the Village Oaks building to Grenache gets a new surface. The old pavement was removed last week and replaced with a new 6-foot path.

Clayton PD promotes Tim Marchut to sergeant ment for almost 14 years—first as a Police Explorer, then a Reserve Officer, a Contract Officer, a full time uniClayton police officer Tim Marchut formed police officer and now, as a sernow sports a new uniform to go with his geant. The promotion to sergeant came promotion to sergeant. On July 14, as a complete surprise, Marchut says. Sergeant Marchut will added a superviThe interview process for promosory role to his job description. tions is conducted by a panel of high Marchut has been with the depart- ranking officers from other law enforcement agencies from around the area. Marchut was up against four outside candidates and one other from the department. “I put on the suit and sat in a room with all these high commanders from other agencies — people I didn’t know — and answered their questions,” Marchut laughs. He really had no idea how he’d stack up against the others. “The whole thing was really top secret,” he said. Chief Dan Lawrence is pleased with the outcome. “I am convinced that Tim will be an outstanding supervisor.” Marchut is looking forward to the new challenge. “I’ve received nothing but support from my family and friends and I’m very excited to begin my new position at Clayton PD.” The sergeant’s position opened up with the retirement this year of veteran officer, Tim O’Hara. O’Hara suffered a shoulder injury when he was rear-ended on the job on Memorial Day, 2007. He took disability retirement in June. Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer Marchut was raised in Clayton and CLAYTON PD’S NEWEST SERGEANT is attended CVHS. He is the son of Tim Marchut, who began his career Roberta Marchut of Clayton. with the department 14 years ago. ANDRÉ GENSBURGER Clayton Pioneer

Candidates announce intention to run in Nov. TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Three seats on the city council will be up for grabs this fall when the seats currently held by Julie Pierce, Gregg Manning and Bill Walcutt come up for election. Of the three, only Julie Pierce has officially announced her intention to run. Bill Walcutt will retire after this term and Gregg Manning is still undecided. Two others so far have signaled their intentions to enter the race. Joe Medrano and Howard Geller, both members of CBCA picked up their candidate’s papers at city hall last week. Both men are active in the community, co-chairing the Art and Wine Festival and serving in various capacities in the CBCA.

See Election page 4

What’s Inside All About You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Church News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18



will be faced with stone like this wall at Bridlewood.

Rattlesnake bite puts Dana Ridge 9-year-old in hospital TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

On the evening of June 17, 9-yearold Talia Bullock was doing what hundreds of Clayton kids do on hot summer evenings – playing outside her Mt. Dell Drive home with a friend. But unlike the hundreds of kids who went home to bed that night, Talia spent the night in the hospital. Barefoot, the little girl had taken a rattlesnake bite in her big toe. “We were playing in the grass and I saw something,” recalls the quiet child. “I thought it was a leaf.” But a leaf doesn’t bite. A rattlesnake does. “We had talked about snakes, and our neighbor showed her a dead one,” said her mother, Nancy Bullock. “She just didn’t see this one in the dark.” Bullock is a nurse at John Muir

See Bite, page 15 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Club News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Community Calendar . . . . . . . . . . .16 Concert Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 CVHS Reporter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Deal With It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Directory of Advertisers . . . . . . . . . .5 Financial Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 For the Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

Letter to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Movie Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Safety Zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Photo by Chett Bullock

Talia Bullock is treated at John Muir Hospital after rattlesnake bite

Senior Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Sharing History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 So Anyway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Tax Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

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Clayton Pioneer •

Around Town Holiday stories and crafts for children at the Community Library

Diamond Terrace makes cheery visit to Stonebrook

Concerts in The Grove 2008 Sponsored by the city of Clayton and the Clayton Business & Community Association

Saturdays 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free admission.

Gazebo at The Grove Park. Downtown Clayton.

Before each holiday, Marietta Leffner, staff librarian, offers stories and crafts to Clayton’s kids to celebrate the occasion. The latest celebrated the 4th of July, and was held on July 3 in the Community Room

THIS WEEKEND, July 26 Frankie G & the Convictions: Blues and Rock and Roll A GROUP OF DIAMOND TERRACE RESIDENTS recently delivered potted flower arrangements with “Get Well” wishes made in their Service Project Craft Class to the patients at Stonebrook HealthCare Center on Concord Blvd. Pictured from left: Diamond Terrace Activity Director, Beth Jensen, residents, Ginny Below, June Case, and Hazel Kersch, and Stonebrook Activity Director, Paige Bruzdowski.

Pioneer goes to Macedonia with Alicia Azevedo

of the library. Over 25 children sang songs, and listened to stories and poems with their parents close by. Each child cut and glued a red, white, and blue star onto a paint stick ready to wave at Clayton’s Fourth of July Parade or to share at their family picnic. All events are free of charge.

Alicia Azevedo, a pre-nursing student, traveled to Bitola, Macedonia to volunteer in a hospital for a few weeks. Alicia’s internship included learning their health care system and close observation of many surgeries, births, and outpatient care procedures. Alicia is the daughter of Matt and Theresa Azevedo.




Sept. 6

Diamond Dave Hosley: Variety, Keyboard

Sept. 13 Jambalaya Swing Band: Big Band and Swing Sept. 20 East Bay Mudd: R & B, Soul, Funk For more information go to





Clayton $759,980 Dana Hills – Updates galore in this 4BD/2.5BA home w/stylish backyard pool & spa & plenty of patio to entertain. Classy sitting areas flanked by pillars and arbors! Stained glass, crown molding, a fabulous family room wet bar & gas fireplace are features of the home that go unmatched! Mt. Diablo & greenbelt views are fantastic. 400 s.f. shop in back.


Concord $659,980 Turtle Creek – 4BD/2.5BA w/private cul-de-sac location backs to Turtle Rock Pond & green belt & offers great views! Updates include custom paint, upscale porcelain flooring & lighting to make this home show exceptionally. Well-maintained home has great landscaping & incl. sprinklers & proper drainage systems. .

Concord $950,000 Crystyl Ranch – Fabulous 5BD/3.5BA Bacarat-model home w/marble grand foyer, lower level B/B, grecian pool & waterfall + spa. Sophistication & style underscore the formal living & dining rooms and Chef ’s kitchen w/16” Travertine floors, island, GE Profile appliances & Cherry cabinets. Mastersuite w/ walk-ins & balcony w/ views.


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$729,000 Clayton Silvercreek II – Great curb appeal & fantastic neighborhood! This 4BD/2.5BA is a gardener’s paradise w/pool, patio and planting areas on one level & spa, decking and landscaping on the level adjacent to the family room. Tons of outdoor seating! Open kitchen/dining area & dining room with sliding door to pool.


$769,980 Clayton Dana Hills – Remodeled single story 4BD/2.5BA w/2,261 s.f. w/open & bright floor plan has gleaming hardwood floors, 2 fireplaces & wet bar w/temp-controlled wine cellar. Huge master suite has an updated bath w/custom tile! 3-car garage. Plush yard with pool, spa & patio areas backs to open space and offers sweeping views!

Aug. 23 In Disguise: Light Jazz and Show Tunes




PHDs: Santana and more

Aug. 16 Vintage: Rock and Roll and Oldies 40s-70s

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$829,980 Clayton Regency Meadows – Mt. Diablo views, pool & spa! 2,857 s.f. 5BD/3BA incl. one full B/B downstairs. Enjoy vaulted ceilings, w/w carpet & wood blinds throughout the main living areas. Family room has fireplace & bar. Master retreat w/wonderful views & fireplace. Roomy kitchen has hardwood floors, island & a great flow.

Aug. 9

What’s happening Around Town?



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July 25, 2008

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Walnut Creek $495,000 Walnut Creek Schools – Delightful home on quiet lane with 3BD/2BA is move-in ready! Spacious living room lies adjacent to galley-style kitchen. Wide-open floor plan allows for flexibility in your living arrangement. Inside laundry room is super convenient. 2 carport spaces and tons of under-home storage are a huge plus! Close to schools, BART & downtown Walnut Creek.

Clayton $425,000 Chaparral Springs Townhome – Lovely 2BD/2BA is freshly painted & has living/formal dining combo plus breakfast nook. Private backyard wraps around from deck down to patio area. Rare single-story end unit w/plenty of guest parking. Great walking, close to Clayton amenities and just down the block from the community pool!

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Clayton Resident & Broker Owner

July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

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Dogs doing what no medical device can do ANDRÉ GENSBURGER Clayton Pioneer

Of the roughly 24 million diabetics in the United States, more than 6 million have not been diagnosed, and of those who have, more than 5 million require insulin in order to regulate blood sugar. For these people, a regimen of constant monitoring, restrictive diets and closer medical supervision is a way of life. Meals without monitoring can be deadly as blood sugar levels drop, causing hypoglycemia, disorientation, dizziness and incoherence. Dogs4Diabetics founder Mark Ruefenacht discovered the usefulness of dogs for diabetics when a year-old puppy from Guide Dogs for the Blind, a group he volunteered for, woke him up frantically. Testing his blood, Ruefenacht realized that his blood sugar level was dangerously low. The dog had somehow known this. With a family business in precision calibration of equipment, Ruefenacht quickly made the connection that the dog had sensed something in order to

through a refinement to increase the effectiveness. “There’s a total cost of about $10,000,” Hendrix said. “It costs about $4,000 to train the dogs. “If the program can save just one life, then it’s all been worth it,” Ruefenacht said from the training facility on Solano Way in Concord. “The life-saving service the dogs provide local diabetics can only be provided through

See Diabetics, page 17

Walk or Run for the Dogs DATE CORRECTION

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

AS DOGS4DIABETES PRESIDENT, Mark Ruefenacht was readying Danielle (black Lab) and Armstrong (yellow Lab), for a photo shoot, the dogs sensed that his blood sugar was low and began to lick and nuzzle him. Danielle became more intense as Ruefenacht continued what he was doing. Danielle is also trained to alert another person of Ruefenacht were to lose consciousness.

alert him, and that involved the acute sense of smell dogs possess. Dogs4Diabetics was founded by Ruefenacht in 2004 and has

since trained 60 dogs. The organization depends solely on donations and corporate sponsors. “Dogs can detect scents one part per trillion,” said Ralph Hendrix, the volunteer business manager for Dogs4Diabetics. “Instruments can detect one part per million, and people can detect one part per hundred.” With continued testing, Ruefenacht realized that something in human breath and sweat contained traces of an as yet still unidentified compound that the body released with low blood sugar. “We use gauze and take a swab across the skin as a sample in order to train the dogs,” Hendrix said. “We are in the process of testing the compound to identify exactly what it is.” In the meantime, they know the

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

THESE TWO DOGS sit quietly as their trainer prepares for a session at the organization’s North Concord facility.

process works, and very well at that. “The dogs are a highly trained medical-alert,” said Hendrix. Most of the dogs come from Guide Dogs for the Blind, dogs that have not met the rigorous requirements as seeing eye dogs but could still have a useful service life for a diabetic. Dogs are trained off a chemical sample at first, allowing them to recognize the low levels of blood sugar in a hypoglycemic situation. Diabetic patients looking for a match, undergo a training period over 20 weeks where they are introduced to many dogs and learn to handle them under various situations that could arise. “Often you can see an affinity between the dog and the client,” Hendrix said, “and that’s a good clue about a possi-

ble match.” Hendrix has been doing this for two years, retiring from his job as a banking regulator. He is also a diabetic. Although he is a Type 2, a non-insulin dependent type, he fully understands the daily struggle of the Type 1 sufferer. “Our dogs help diabetics before they become symptomatic,” he said. Putting the scale of diabetes into perspective, Hendrix explained that Guide Dogs for the Blind serve 2 percent of the blind community. “If we tried to serve 1 percent of the 5 million diabetics needing insulin, we are talking about needing 50,000 dogs.” While a patent has been filed for the procedure, the company goal is to expand services

The date for the Dogs4Diabetics fundraising run/walk in the last issue was incorrectly listed as August 15. The correct date is August 16. Meet at the Gazebo in the Grove at 8 a.m. and choose from three shady routes between two and six miles in length. The walk is accessible and fun for people of all abilities. Ask friends and family to sponsor your participation in the walk and earn prizes for your efforts. Snacks and drinks will be provided. For more information or to pre-register, go to w w w . d o g s 4 Dogs4Diabetics is a non-profit organization that trains services dogs to detect hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in their human companions. For more information, call 916-704-7209.




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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

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July 25, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, in 700 words The family recently returned from a Mexican cruise aboard the Disney Magic. Now how do you cover all the happenings of a Disney cruise in one 700word column? We ate. The end. Seriously, that’s it. Move along, nothing more to see here. Maybe we did a FEW more things besides fill our pie holes. There was all that “family time,” bonding and basking in the glow of togetherness, but only long enough to get us to the next meal, because bonding over lobster, beef Wellington and crème brûlée is SO much more satisfying than your runof-the-mill bonding. OK, so I still have another six-hundred words or so to go. Let’s see… One of our stops was in Cabo San Lucas, where I had booked the girls on a horseback riding excursion. The boy, being only 10, was deemed too young by the Shore Excursion Nazis to ride a horse, so I signed the two of us up for a “Dune Buggy – Beach Adventure!” This was fine with me as I (and my manly bits) would rather drive a dune buggy than ride a horse. As with most “excursions,” the actual experience never

quite lives up to the advertisement. In the foreground of the brochure there was a tanned and muscular young man (OK, I fulfilled that facet of the advertisement) standing alongside a bright red, clean, wellmaintained, safety-harnessequipped dune buggy, while in the background sparkled the pristine blue waters of a powdered sugar-sanded beach. What we got was a functioning-looking silver and black dune buggy, which at least looked like a dune buggy, and thankfully wasn’t burro powered. It wasn’t exactly clean, but it had seatbelts, or parts of them anyway; it had harnesses but no buckles or clips. Noticing the boy and I fiddling around with our seatbelts, the joker running the show said, “They don’t work. Don’t worry though, we go slow.” Seatbelt laws? We don’t need no stinkin’ seatbelt laws. At least we got our own dune buggy. A young honeymooning couple had to ride in the back of someone else’s buggy. Personally, I would have gone back to the ship and demanded my money back, but they seemed fine with it. We had to do a quick jaunt through the streets of Cabo before getting out into the

desert. There were four cars in our group, with our fearless leader out front in the RED dune buggy. Before we left I think he said something about not going beyond third gear, but I’m not sure, and I didn’t listen anyway. The dune buggy was great fun to drive, and after a few miles we pulled off the paved road and shot into the desert. This is where it really got dangerously fun, and we did some serious off-roading. The dust was so thick that we actually lost site of the car in front of us on several occasions. In some stretches we came across huge sinkholes, one of which tried to swallow us, but we were able to bounce out of with a little punch of the accelerator. The landscape was very desolate, complete with several dead and rotting cows. I assume they simply wandered away from one of the little ranches we passed and eventually collapsed, left to the birds and the elements. The boy thought this was pretty cool and was quick to point them out to me. Eventually we came out of the desert and on to the highway, where we drove to the beach. Now our guide had really talked up this “beautiful, secluded beach,” where we were


SO ANYWAY to spend the afternoon. Here again I began to have doubts about all that truth in advertising mumbo jumbo. It was a public beach, so secluded it was not. Was it a nice beach? Sure, but hardly the powdered sugarsanded beach from the brochure; nor were there any brown-skinned, nubile native girls serving me piña coladas. That wasn’t part of the advertisement; it was simply wishful thinking on my part. Anyway, we swam and frolicked (What? I can frolic with the best of them) for an hour or so before driving back to town via the highway. (What a gyp. The boy and I were very disappointed.) Afterward, we walked around the port area of Cabo for half an hour, but the boy grew bored, so back to the ship we went. The rest of the day was spent eating. Clayton resident, Joe Romano, is a family man, a free-lance writer for hire and the Pioneer’s “all around funny guy.” E-mail him at

CSUEB to offer freshman pre-nursing program on Concord campus this fall In response to the nursing shortage in Contra Costa County and throughout the state, a prenursing education program for freshman college students will be offered for the first time at the Concord Campus of California State University, East Bay starting with the fall 2008 quarter that begins on Sept. 22. The pre-nursing program is

 Kind & Loving Care in Home Environment  Over 15 Years Experience  Quality, Individual attention  CPR & First Aid Certified

in addition to the Bachelor of Science Nursing program that was established at the Concord Campus several years ago. Students in the pre-nursing education program will attend all of their first-year classes with the same cohort of students at the Concord Campus, located at 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road. They will have a schedule that guaran-

Election, from page 1 Geller, a real estate broker and property manager, is the coordinator and concert master for the Concert in the Park series currently underway. This is his first run at elected office. Medrano, an insurance executive and businessman, made an unsuccessful run for the council in 2006, losing out to Hank Stratford and incumbent, Dave Shuey. Pierce has been on the city council since 1992. Also a member of the CBCA, Pierce serves

on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority With the current commercial development in the downtown and last year’s controversy over changes to the Town Center Specific Plan, land use in the Town Center is sure to be at the forefront this November. “Continued growth in our downtown commercial area is the main issue,” says Geller. Medrano also sees downtown development as the primary issue. “We still have a long

tees classes to fulfill all pre-nursing program requirements. The pre-nursing curriculum is part of the first two years of the university’s bachelor of nursing degree program in the College of Science and includes lower division and general education requirements. Classroom and laboratory facilities will be completed at the campus this

summer. Further information about the pre-nursing program at Cal State East Bay’s Concord Campus is available online at, by calling (925) 602-8638, or by contacting Annie Chandler, assistant director of Enrollment Development at

way to go in not only building out the downtown but making sure we are able to help attract businesses to fill those buildings, and that will thrive and benefit the community… It is important to keep to our roots, but we need to be open to new ideas and change that benefit Clayton’s residents.” In light of Sacramento’s recent stated intention to once again dip into local property and gas tax monies to balance the state budget, Pierce says “The city’s budget and economic development will again be an issue…The economic develop-

ment of our small downtown is critical to giving us a bit of a buffer from state raids,” she said. Deadline for filing papers is Aug. 8. Frequently, however, prospective candidates wait to file until they know if an incumbent will be running or not. For this reason, if an incumbent does not file by Aug. 8, the filing deadline will extend to Aug. 13 for non-incumbents only. As the election draws closer, the Pioneer will again give all of the candidates an opportunity to ask five questions of their opponents. Look for their answers in the Oct. 10 issue.

July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

Letter to the Editor P.O. Box 1246 6200 Center Street, Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor A NDRÉ G ENSBURGER , Reporter and Feature Writer J EANNA R OSS , Reporter and Feature Writer P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor R ANDY R OWLAND , Sports Writer B ETH N EUDELL , Administrative Assistant Jill Bedecarré, Her spirit is our muse

PIONEER INFO CONTACT US Tel: (925) 672-0500 Fax: (925) 672-6580 Tamara Steiner André Gensburger Beth Neudell Send ads to Send Sports News to Send Club News to Send Church News to

Send School News to

CLASSIFIEDS Classified rates per insertion: Non-profit: $12 for first 30 words, $.20 each additional word Individual/non-commercial: $18 for first 30 words, $.30 each additional word Commercial: $48 for first 30 words, $.40 each additional word To place your classified ad over the phone, call the office at (925) 6720500 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Or, you may fax your typewritten ad and credit card information to (925) 672-6580 All classifieds must be paid for in advance by credit card (Master Card or Visa)

We will not accept any ad that discriminates on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, nationality, family status or disability. The Clayton Pioneer reserves the right to reject any advertising we believe is unsuitable.

Recently, vandals jumped the fence at the Dana Hills pool and threw patio furniture and trash into the pool and broke the trophy case on the clubhouse wall. Mr. de Trinidad has this to say about the incident: I live across from Dana Hills pool and I got real angry when I saw the pool vandalized. The people that show up everyday to coach the youths in swim competition real early in the morning not only to prepare for that

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Clayton Pioneer welcomes letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be less than one double spaced page and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print letters from “anonymous.” E-mail your letter in a Word Document to Letters MUST be submitted via E-mail.

HELP WANTED Pet Groomer Clip n’ Clean has a position available for an experienced part time groomer. Position may become full time in the future. Please call 676-9355. Real Estate Agents Be Successful! Lynne French is expanding and interviewing for a few agents. Call her today (925) 6728787. Tai-Chi Teacher Seeking teacher to practice Tai-Chi or Qigong in Downtown Park – one morning a week to start. If you are interested in sharing this experience and can lead the practice, please call Stephanie 925-932-7329 or email

SERVICES House Sitter Going away this summer? Don’t feel like sending your pets to expensive kennels? Want some green left in your plants when you get home? Then what you need is a house sitter. Call Megan at 478-9931 or email so you can sit back and relax on your vacation. Pet Sitting Traveling for the summer? Pets staying at home? Daily visits available. Call

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- Ernie deTrinidad


LET US KNOW Weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births and deaths all weave together as part of the fabric of our community. Please let us know of these important events. We ask only that the announcement be for a Clayton resident. You will find the appropriate form for your announcement on our Website. Attach your photo to the form. Make sure the image size you are about to send is at least 3 MB but not bigger than 6MB. The only format we accept is JPG. You can also mail or bring your print to the office and we can scan it for you. Also on our Web site are forms for submitting Community Calendar items and press releases for your organization.

days workout now also have to clean up someone’s idea of having fun. It is incredible to know that someone actually spent time doing something so negative not only to the pool but to the coaches and especially to the large group of kids that make up the various teams. The amount of dedication the teams show is rewarding and a pleasure to see. To the person that is doing this damage we will be watching.

exp. 8/08/08

OIL CHANGE Includes free 30 point inspection

$29.95 (regularly $34.95) coupon valid for most cars

exp. 8/08/08

Linda at Peace of Mind Pet Services. 672-9781. Insured, bonded, licensed and PSI member. References upon request. Tutor/Educational Coach Experienced classroom teacher. Tutoring for grades 2-5 all subjects. Study skills/ Homework help. Professional, mature, and kind. Will come to your home or the local library. Please call Janet, 925-672-4360.

LOST AND FOUND Found Cat Young tabby with grey, black and white coloring. Chest and belly are white along with some white on her face. All four of her paws are white as well. She has a small black speck on her left nostril. Her eyes are light green-yellow and her tail is raccoonstriped. Please email Sue Fania Found Keys - set of keys found on trail near Samuel Court. Please call (925) 673-3853

VOLUNTEERS WANTED Meals on Wheels Drivers 1 – 1 1/2 per week. Drivers and relief drivers needed for delivery of Meals on Wheels in East County. People are on the waiting list due to lack of drivers. A small amount of your time can make a big difference in someone’s life. If you can help please call Jim at 673-0300 or e-mail

Anna’s Attic Volunteers Volunteers needed at the Hospice of the East Bay thrift store. The address of the store is 5350 Clayton Road. Call store manager, Debbie, at 674-9072 or Lamont Campbell at (925) 766-5066. Hospice of the East Bay Anna’s Program, (formerly Hospice and Palliative Care of Contra Costa), is seeking dedicated, caring volunteers to provide home companionship and practical support for women with recurrent breast cancer. Women served reside in Central or East Contra Costa. To apply for free training, call Hospice of the East Bay at (925) 8875678 and ask for the Volunteer Department, or email Anna’s Program is generously supported by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Anna’s Attic Thrift Shop, and other community donations. Clayton Historical Society Museum The Clayton Historical Society Museum needs a greeter for two hours per month from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays or Sundays. No experience or extensive knowledge of Clayton history is necessary. All you need is a cheerful smile and a “hello” as our guests come through the door. You’ll meet interesting people and learn a lot about our historic town. Call the museum at 672-0240 and leave your name. Clayton Community Library. We are seeking to fill the following volunteer positions: (All positions require a minimum age of 13 years and a 6 month commitment.) Lead Tutor - to help facilitate the request for tutors in our volunteer tutoring program. You will match the students needs with a corresponding tutor. Required good communication skills and a desire to help students in the community. Telephone and email work can mainly be done from home. Graphic Displays and Events Photographer - can be done by one or two people.Take photos at our many library events and put the photos on display in the library before it is eventually placed in our library scrapbook. Choice photos of library events can be used for submitting to newspapers. Contact: Arlene @ 673-9777 or email:

Page 5

Directory of Advertisers Auto Clayton Valley Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3900 Diablo Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288-0981 Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739 Construction and Trades Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423 Burkin Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1519 Butch’s Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(707) 718-5778 FS Construction/AFU Concrete . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4546 Insite Design and Build . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .980-0465 Ken Mitolo Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2460 Majestic Pools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-1545 Mt.Diablo Window Cleaning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-1545 Michael Dwyer & Sons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3980 Pavers by Howard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .766-2574 Schaefer’s Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-6065 Smith & Bernal Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0138 Straight Line Imports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .335-9801 Tipperary Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-2679 Tip Top Kitchen and Bath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .497-5699 Dining and Entertainment AJ’s Sports Pub & Grill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .459-0574 Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Cinco de Mayo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0517 La Veranda Restaurant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0011 Financial and Insurance Services Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 Carol Keane and Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .937-5200 CD Federal Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-0900 College Planning Specialists, CFS Inc. . . . .888-210-2606 Doug Van Wyck - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300 Richard Littorno - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 Travis Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .800-877-8328 We the People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .246-0370 Funerals Neptune Society of Northern California . . . . . . . .944-5100 Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242 Home and Garden Abbey Carpet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-9901 Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700 Clayton Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-2299 Clear Splash Pool Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-6245 Design Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4968 Floors to Go Danville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .820-8700 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Pans on Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .600-7267 Sparkle Pools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-5025 The Maids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-6243 Today Hauling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .497-4907 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Mailing and Shipping Postal Annex + . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-8900 The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Medical Services Children's Dentistry of Walnut Creek . . . . . . . . . .938-2392 Personal Products and Services Beautique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0405 Clayton Mind and Body Connections . . . . . . . . . .673-0686 Isagenix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .570-5187 Rosebud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-888-476-7328 Pet Services Aussie Pet Mobile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .800-738-6624 Cat Hospital of Clayton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2287 Clip n Clean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-9355 Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100 Real Estate and Mortgage Services Calkins, Bill - Charlotte Clifford Realtors . . . . . . .673-9164 Classic Real Estate and Mortgage Services . . . .932-3157 Flannery, Patty - Diablo Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0541 French, Lynne - Windermere Real Estate . . . . . .672-8787 Laurence, Pete - RE/MAX Realty . . . . . . . . . . . .937-0150 Lopez, Stephanie - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . .932-7329 Morucci, Kim - Intero Real Estate Services . . . . .280-8563 Rahimzadeh, Helen - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . .932-7375 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . . .672-4433 Recreation Clayton Community Church Car Show . . . . . . . .689-8759 Clayton Valley Bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-4631 Clayton Community Great Labor Day Derby . . . .673-5337 Leap of Faith Farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .938-9550 Mavericks Sports Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .602-5600 Oakhurst Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-9737 Senior Services Aegis of Concord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .692-5838 Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100 Services, Other Allied Waste Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .685-4711 Concord Disposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .943-0180 Roberta Claire Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .625-1123 Sho Sho’s Daycare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .207-1479 Sweet Beginnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408-7699 Vonage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .800-581-7152 Shopping Cegielski Jewelers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-2855 Clayton Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-3325 Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Donna's Quilting Loft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0401 Pacific coast Farmers Market . . . . . . . . . . .800-949-FARM Seasonal Reflections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4425 Sonset Flowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .685-8200 Sorelle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3500 The Royal Rooster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2025 Travel Cruise Adventures Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .935-7447 Travel to Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9840

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July 25, 2008

What happens after your offer is accepted? Finally, you and the seller strike a deal. You’ve agreed on the price, and the seller will turn the house over to you in 30 days. What happens next? Usually what occurs next is the buyer’s good faith deposit check (also called earnest money deposit) is deposited. The deposit money may be held in a trust account, an escrow account or by an attorney, depending on where you’re buying. The buyer’s deposit check is cashed, so make sure you have sufficient money in your account to cover the check. The buyer’s deposit money will apply to the purchase price if the sale goes through. If contract contingencies can’t be satisfied, the deposit is usually returned to the buyers. But if the buyers back out of the deal for a reason not provided for in the contract, the sellers might be entitled to the deposit. After dispensing with the deposit, the time period between acceptance and closing (30 days, in this case) is spent carrying out the terms of the purchase contract. The terms of every purchase contract differ. However, most contracts

include a financing contingency, an inspection contingency and a provision for the buyer to confirm that title to the property is free of defects.


REAL ESTATE The inspection contingency, which allows the buyer to have the property professionally inspected, is usually completed soon after acceptance. Inspections can cause deals to fall apart. It’s in both the buyer’s and the seller’s best interest to get this contingency out of the way quickly. Thirty days isn’t a generous amount of time to secure mortgage approval. In a busy real estate market, it can take two weeks to get the property

Mayor, from page 1 come November, a new citizen representative will be elected. In Clayton, as in most places, incumbents usually win. Because of this, few people elect to run in what they view as a futile attempt to be elected. But when one of the incumbents decides not to run, then all of the potential candidates know one of them will be the victor. I have noted there will be a generational change on the council because I believe not only will the new victor be younger than Walcutt, but most if not all of the new candidates will be considerably younger. As reflected in its demographics, Clayton is a wealthy, aging community. Few of the children who grew up in Clayton are able or can afford to live here. The young people who do live here (and young is a relative term) are usually too “busy” to be active in politics. Clayton needs intelligent, competent and trustworthy leadership. As a city, we have always had exceptional people on the council. Because of this, I believe Clayton has a greater presence and influence on Contra Costa County than its size would indicate. We know Clayton residents have opinions and are not

afraid to express them. If you are intelligent, reasonable and willing to represent your community, Clayton needs you to run for City Council. It is best you do not have an agenda because if you do, you will not be representing the majority of the people. You would normally be able to pull papers up to Aug. 8, which is the start of the Olympics in China. The Chinese consider this date a “lucky” one. However, since an incumbent has decided not to run, the cutoff date has been extended into the next week. If you are interested, do not wait for the deadline. Draw papers today. I understand if no one from the “senior” group seeks election. You have endured life’s trials and have served the community in your own way; public representation may not be foremost in your mind. In my years of service, I have grown into “senior” representation. No matter who is elected, “seniors” will be represented if only because as a group they are the most likely to vote. The ideal candidate is out there. It may be you. Have you thought about what you can give back to the community? The generation best positioned to serve Clayton at this time in

appraisal report. After the lender has a complete financial package from the buyer, including the appraisal report, the package is sent to underwriting for review and final approval. So get to work lining up your financing as soon as your offer is accepted. Make sure that you and the seller agree on the contract contingency and closing dates. If there is a discrepancy, clear it up quickly. You don’t want to discover on the 26th day that you and the seller disagree on the closing date, and that it will be impossible for the seller to change his plans. At some point (the earlier, the better) you should carefully review the title report. It’s wise to have a professional – attorney or escrow officer - explain the report to you. You want to make sure that you will receive clear and marketable title to the property. You will also need to decide how you want to take title to the property when the property transfers into your name. How you hold the title has estate-planning ramifications. Consult with an attorney specializing in title issues if you

history is the so called “me” generation. The “me“ generation has been the focus of attention of their parents and society in general. Not all of this generation is so shallow as to only think of only themselves. Some of you would like to serve your community if only to try to give back a portion of what you have been given. I know you are out there. I know each of you has special talents that could serve the community. Some of you may think everything has been done which could be done. This is not true. We on the council think we are doing everything right because few people ever attend the council meetings. You may think differently. If you are interested in what is happening in Clayton, you must run for election to the Clayton City Council. It may be difficult work, but you were never one to shirk responsibility! Your city needs you. I have noted Bill Walcutt has decided not to seek re-election. But what about the other two up for re-election in November, Julie Pierce and myself ? Well, I would guess Julie Pierce would be the first to draw papers for re-election. As for me I am going to…

To be continued in the next issue.

have any questions. In addition, you’ll need to take care of the following details during the closing period: comply with any state or local ordinances that are required when a property transfers ownership, line up homeowner’s insurance, interview and hire movers, have mail forwarded, settle with utility companies and schedule a final walk-through inspection. The walk-through gives you the opportunity to make sure the house is as it should be, according to your contract. It’s also a time to pick the seller’s brain about the idiosyncrasies of the house and to get names and phone numbers of good handymen who have worked on the house. Your real estate transaction could be more complicated than this. The more contract contingencies there are, the more complicated the deal will probably be. Lynne French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. For any real estate needs or questions, contact her at 672-8787, or stop in at 6200 Center St. in Clayton.

Enter the CBCA’s Tshirt design contest for Oktoberfest Ever look at a t-shirt and think “I could design something better than that?” Well, here’s your chance to make tshirt history. The CBCA wants your design for this year’s Oktoberfest t-shirts. The annual event celebrates music, polka, fine food, wine and above all—beer. This year’s Oktoberfest is Sept. 27 and 28. The winning design will appear on the front of the souvenir t-shirts sold to the public. Kids or adults can participate. You may use up to five colors in your design. Submit your design on 8 ½” x 11” paper to the CBCA office, 6200 Center Street, Suite 210, upstairs in the Village Oaks building. Deadline for entries is August 30. For more information call the CBCA office at 672-2272 or email with questions.

We are THE area experts in the fabrication and installation of natural stone Owned and operated by Clayton residents, Rick Fox and Steve Neal

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Page 6

July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 7

Phishing finds many victims – avoid being one of them ANDRÉ GENSBURGER Clayton Pioneer

Phishing is a form of online identity theft that employs trickery to steal consumers’ personal identity data and financial account credentials. Using “spoofed” emails, consumers are led to counterfeit Websites designed to trick them into divulging financial data such as account usernames and passwords. The email appears to come from a financial institution, perhaps even your own bank. While you may be suspicious, you notice the complexity of the detail of the bank’s menu page, complete with disclaimer about the dangers of online fraud. The email might begin by informing you that new security measures have been put into place designed to strengthen your account. For your protection, you should click the link listed and update your personal information. Some of these even go so far as to encourage you to change your password in the process. Once you do so, you may believe that you are logged into your bank’s Website; however, you are merely at a false page. You have provided your login and password information and your financial security has been breached. MORE AND MORE PEOPLE FOOLED Phishing has become one of the major threats to users of the Internet, employing well-known names and genuine-looking email messages to fool victims. Not surprisingly, the United States is the No. 1 source of such attacks. Another variation are botnets, with home computer systems increasingly responsible for the rise in fraudulent or spammed email messages. Visiting Websites that are designed to obtain the rudiments of your email, domain or login information, they rely on using your computer to give the illusion that the messages have come from your machine.

While certainly not immune to the phishing scams, Clayton has seen a greater rise in old-fashioned fraud such as obtaining the checks of victims. “We get a lot of people who report that their credit cards have been used without their permission,” said Lynn

Christ, Clayton’s police office coordinator who also handles the department’s crime statistics. “But we aren’t always able to pin down how the information was obtained.” Christ explained that whitewashing is a more prevalent crime in Clayton. “There have been a couple of cases where checks are stolen from the mail and whitewashed. Once that is done, people rewrite the checks for different amounts to different places.” MORE USERS REMAIN UNAWARE A UC Berkeley study as to why phishing scams work discovered that 90 percent of victims were unable to identify the site as being fake. Nearly a quarter of participants in the research study didn’t look at the address bar, status bar or security indicators on the phishing sites. This makes it easy for phishing site operators to replace the legitimate domain name of a Website they do not control with one that looks close. For example, the word “Interstate” could be changed by replacing the letter I with the number 1 – making it “1nterstate.” At a glance, the name may appear legitimate. Likewise, domain names can be adjusted. If you are a Wells Fargo customer, you would expect to see as the legitimate site address for the bank. You may have seen variations such as The root domain is the part and nothing comes between it. Phishing sites might write it as, which appears to be a Wells Fargo address but in reality the domain root has been broken. This site would be as the domain. It has nothing to do with the bank but might be enough to trick you. The report showed that in 2003, more than 2 million users revealed their personal data, resulting in losses of $1.2 billion for banks and card issuers who often have fraud control loss limits for customers. CULPRITS AVOID THE LAW Prosecutions are few and far between. Tracking perpetrators of online fraud is difficult. Last year, Zachary Keith Hill, 20, was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding America Online and PayPal customers with a phishing

scheme. A report filed by the U.S. Department of Justice says his emails looked like official correspondence from the companies. During the time he was in operation, he obtained more than 471 credit card numbers, 152 bank account information, and 541 user names and passwords. In January 2007, Jeffrey Brett Goodin of California became the first defendant convicted by a jury. He was found guilty of sending thousands of emails to America Online users. Posing as AOL’s billing department, he prompted customers to submit personal and credit card information. He was sentenced to 70 months in jail. “Most Clayton cases that come in are people that have had their accounts used fraudulently and they only notice when they get their bills,” Christ said. “A lot of the time, they

have already contacted their credit card companies and the companies require them to make a police report for further investigative purposes.” Christ point out that most people who report this type of activity still have their physical cards in their possession. “It was just their numbers that were used,” she said. ‘If they don’t have their cards in their possession, many times the use can be tied back to a vehicle burglary or lost wallet that the cards were taken from, thus the importance of immediately canceling cards once something like this has occurred.” While Clayton may not yet be at the forefront of the phishing scams that are prevalent online, with a greater numbers of local online users, including senior citizens with less experience, residents run the risk of encountering these scams.

Additional information can be found online at /~rachna/papers/why_phishing_works.pdf.

Derby enthusiasts gear up for Labor Day Community sponsors are lining up to provide racecars for the fifth annual Clayton Great Labor Day Derby. Kids between 7 and 14 can register to take a thrilling ride down Main Street in Clayton on Saturday, Aug. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Official soapbox derby cars as well as homemade custom cars are provided to racers at no charge. This is a free event sponsored by Clayton Community Church, in association with Insurance Management Corporation, which is the presenting sponsor. The event started in 2004 after Pastor Shawn Robinson discovered a

city in Southern California hosted a similar event. It was a great way of giving people something to do on the holiday weekend. The event has grown each year, and more than 250 kids are expected try their hand at driving a soapbox derby car on a course that stretches along Main Street from the clock to the finish line in front of the church offices. Other derby day offerings include the Clayton Fire Truck and food from local restaurants. The derby coincides with the annual Antique and Classic car show, which is open to all classes of automobiles. “We have room for about 150 cars.

The show is free and includes a free car show t-shirt, goodie bag and dash plaque,” said organizer Don Holmes. Twenty-five trophies will be presented to the winning car owners. The show is sponsored by Longs Drugs, Concord Honda and Drive Magazine. For car show information, contact Don Holmes at (925) 689-8759. To participate as a sponsor, contact Doug LaVenture at 673-5337. To register as a racer, contact Peggy Bidondo at 6729708 or print out a registration form on the church Web site at See ads below

Free Family Fun Clayton Community Church presents the

Fifth Annual

In association with Insurance Management Corp.

Sat., Aug. 30, 2008 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is intended as an opportunity for family fun. Kids age 7-14 can register. There is NO fee to participate. Register by August 24 to get a free t-shirt and run in two races.

ee! r F e c a Kids R rovided! p e r ce car, a s r ur own ra Ca

build yo nture o t h s i w If you ug Lave o D t c a t n co For event info contact: Doug LaVenture (925) 673-5337

For registration info contact: Peggy Bidondo (925) 672-9708

Registration form available online at

Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

July 25, 2008

How to make the perfect hot dog, and why you might want to ously warranted his being hired. The food was excellent, and my wife and I enjoyed the experience – nice ambient atmosphere, subdued lighting, aromas wafting across the room from each new dish brought out and a slight musical background to soften the activity to and from the kitchen. Delightful. Except for the beach clad Australian big mouth sitting at the next table who brought his sassy daughter for a meal in a restaurant that was vastly overpriced for kids-fare, let alone the half-drunken conversation he was having about his girlfriends. It was so bad, I was tempted to complain. I like Australians, and this one was not indicative of the culture or the country by any means. I lived in Australia for quite a few years and know this as fact, just as the few Americans that bully their way


DEAL WITH IT I put on my best suit when my wife and I dined out at Lafayette’s Postino a few months back. She looked stunning in an elegant dress, and we walked in arm in arm and enjoyed a few gin martinis at the bar before being shown our table. The waiter, a young man in his early twenties, doted on us, smiled at the right moments and answered menu questions with a degree of complexity that obvi-

through Sydney demanding attention are hardly indicative of Americans. What did stand out was the stark contrast between my dining experience and his. This was a treat for my wife and I. For the Oz, it seemed that dinner with daughter was an excuse to impress his custodial-visitation daughter while indulging in too many beers. Objectively, I recognize that we were both wearing airs of pretension, mine in the dress-up one sees so little of these days, and he in his dress-down. And that is something we seem to have lost in our age of technology. Manners and style have become lost in the mix in the crass attempt to blend everybody into some form of peanut butter where no one is offended and anyone can drink at the fountain. In the 1920s, it was customary to dress for dinner, even at

Large, custom updated 5 bedroom! This 2,844 square foot 2-story home has new carpets, pergo and paint, a granite kitchen w/custom cherry cabinets and new microwave, a step-down huge family room with vaulted beam ceiling, wet-bar, fireplace and 2 sliders to yard & patios! 4 bedrooms plus a 5th or den, 3 full baths, indoor laundry room, mirrored closets, two balconies and a tile roof! Secluded court setting in nearby Concord, parklike yards, a view of Mt. Diablo.







9 61



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home. And going out required formal wear – pressed, sharp and everything in place. There was decorum, etiquette (no one can spell etiquette anymore, let alone know its meaning). There was Emily Post and place settings, forks for different parts of the meal, and a proper way to sip soup from a spoon. You never took the last of anything unless it was offered, and you certainly never asked. Your knife and fork were placed at the 5 o’clock position on the plate, neatly, with no food left because that was considered a sign of poor manners. At Postino, there was a mix of age groups, the elder diners more aligned with the old man-

ners and the younger group careless in their attempts. Women, young and older, wore clothing too flimsy to be justified, sitting at awkward angles allowing clumsy males to seek a visual thrill or two, as though somehow that made a difference. Talking and chewing seemed synonymous, and wasted food with carelessly strewn utensils and the occasional napkin placed dead-centered atop leftover gravy was far too commonplace and far too common. There is an element of magic lost in the dining experience. My wife and I like to dress up to go out. It removes the ordinary and mundane and elevates our adventure into a “spe-

cial” moment, our moment. We do not do it nearly enough. Nice restaurants are now fewer in number and higher in price. You go for the experience and you go for the food. You savor both. When you are done, for a time, if all went well, you have stepped out of the reality of a classless world and into a moment lost to time, where class, service, manners and culture can fuse together over an excellent meal and a fantastic glass of wine. It is a joy to deal with it.

André Gensburger is a staff reporter and feature writer for the Pioneer. His email address is

VFW supports education with scholarships, teachers’ awards Every year, hundreds of thousands of students participate in the Voice of Democracy and the Patriot’s Pen Essay contests, garnering more than $3.4 million in scholarships and incentives. The Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest is a nationwide competition that gives students in grades 6-8 an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy. Contestants write a 300-400 work essay based on an annual patriotic theme. This year theme is: “Why America’s Veterans should be honored.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship program is an audio-essay contest for students in grades 9-12. The VOD program is endorsed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and is designed to fos-

ter patriotism by allowing students the opportunity to voice their opinion in a three- to fiveminute essay based on the theme: Service and Sacrifice by America’s Veterans Benefit Today’s Youth by…” The VFW is proud to recognize outstanding teachers. With its Teacher Award for Grades K – 12, the VFW annually recognizes the nation’s top classroom elementary, junior high and high school teachers who teach citizenship education topics and promote America’s history, traditions and institutions effectively. Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals. Locally, the Lt. Jerry Novakovich VFW Post 1525 in Clayton will award a $600 scholarship to a high school graduate

that is the natural or adopted son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter of a current or deceased member in good standing of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.. The applicant must be a certified graduate of a public or private high school or home schooled in Contra Costa County. Applications must be completed and returned to Post 1525 by Oct. 1. For essay contest information, to nominate a teacher for the Teacher Award or for an application and the required scholastic requirements for the scholarship, contact Commander Richard P. Loechner, (925) 2553449 or Senior Vice Commander Thomas Baublitz (925) 6727188; or write to VFW Post 1525, Box 79, Clayton, CA 94517—0079.

July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 9

Movie Review

“Wall-E” delivers an important message with a touching love story “Wall-E” opened at the end of June, and, as expected, Pixar has once again hit it out of the park. For the ninth time. Seriously, can this company do no wrong? Apparently not. Just when we think they’ve reached the end of their tether with the culturally gorgeous “Ratatouille” or the touching “Monsters, Inc.,” they come out with “Wall-E,” a little story about a robot who wants to find love. It’s a simple premise - save the world, get the girl and discover happiness along the way. We’ve seen it a million times, usually starring Will Smith. But we’ve never seen it like this. Now, it’s more than 700 years in the future. This time, the robot is the only inhabitant on an Earth destroyed by human consumption. In order to save the world, he must compete against robots created by the same humans who created him. Wait, did we just enter the “Terminator” series? This isn’t a simple cartoon. “Wall-E,” written and directed by Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton, is a well-intentioned satire at heart, taking on issues that were simply topics of conversational debate when the writing began but that have

become major political platforms in the last few years. You see, Wall-E, short for “Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class,” is a trash-mover. His job is to package the trash that humans create into manageable little blocks and stack them where they need to go. Simple. But the world has become over-

Apathy. Laziness. Satellite communication. Internet chatting. Disinterest in human interaction. Computer domination. Big business. Super-sizing. Within a twohour period, Stanton clobbers our entire society, all (mostly) through R2D2-like chirps, bells and whistles. It is a testament to the brilliance of the Stanton’s

WALL-E IS THE ONLY INHABITANT on an Earth destroyed by humans in this cleverly animated satire produced by Pixar.

run by such trash. Entire cities are created from the trash. The atmosphere is so toxic that humans cannot survive, so they have vacated the planet on their gargantuan spaceship resort. Little solar-powered Wall-E is all that remains. Waste creation. Obesity.

script that absolutely nothing is lost on the audience, despite the lack of spoken English. The characters - at least the two most important ones - tell their stories through body language and eyes, a Pixar specialty. Yet despite all these heady issues, this isn’t a Swiftian lecture

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AT THE MOVIES - it is simply the backdrop against which the larger drama takes place. For, you see, Wall-E is lonely. He has learned, through watching an old VHS tape of the 1969 film musical “Hello Dolly” on a discarded iPod, that companionship is desirable. When a companion arrives, she is more than this poor little trash-compacting robot knows how to handle. According to Stanton, “WallE” was never intended to become a political platform. He simply took a logical future and created a delightful, touching love story. One last note: There is nothing after the credits, but the film is preceded by a new Pixar short, called “Presto,” about a magician and his hungry bunny, that might just be my favorite piece yet. Do NOT be late.


SAFETY ZONE With the onset of summer, it’s time to head out to the water. Here are some boating safety tips to use not only this summer but year around. According to the United States Coast Guard Boating Accident Statistics 2007 Executive Summary, more than two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drown, and of this group 90 percent were not wearing lifejackets; 86 percent of the deaths occurred on boats where the operator had not taken water safety instruction; and 75 percent of those who drowned were in boats less than 21 feet long. The most common types of boats involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (44 percent) per-

Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron both offer a variety of public education classes. The classes cover topics from basic boating skills and safety practices to navigation and coastal piloting. In our area, these classes are offered by USCG AUX Flotilla 57 through Mt. Diablo Adult Education. Class schedule information can be found at When getting ready to put your boat in the water, you will want to have a Safety Check. This is a courtesy examination by a trained specialist and a member of the U.S. Power Squadron or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The examiner will make recommendations and discuss safety issues that will make you a safer boater. The U.S. Coast Guard asks all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage and health care costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking per-

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When recreational boating, safety always comes first sonal watercraft (24 percent) and cabin motorboats (15 percent). Also, 21 percent of boating accidents can be attributed to alcohol. Several rules should be followed when out on the water: All recreational boats must carry one wearable lifejacket for each person on board. The lifejackets needs to be U.S. Coast Guard approved and the appropriate size for the individual Children under 13 years of age must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket while on board an operating boat that is 26 feet or smaller. Anyone being towed behind a boat, such as a water skier, and anyone riding a personal watercraft, must wear a lifejacket. When you are out in a boat, wear your lifejacket, and set the example for your children. Just as we wear helmets when riding our bikes, we should do the same with lifejackets. The U.S. Coast Guard


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Leif Enger, the author of “Peace Like A River,” has finally published his second novel. My fellow readers, I am happy to report that it definitely was worth the wait. Enger’s story takes place in 1915, as the 20th Century is getting a toehold and the Old West is fading away. Those readers who already love westerns will be amply rewarded. Everyone else, you’ll regret it if you pass this one up. Enger has populated his novel with a cast of rich and satisfying characters, including an old guy, Glendon Hale, who builds fine river skiffs, but in his prior life he built a reputation as a train robber. That’s not all, because as sweet as he is, he still has a bounty on his head for murder. Hale’s mysterious past also includes a wife he abandoned shortly after their marriage many years ago and from whom he now seeks forgiveness. Then there’s Monte Becket, the protagonist, a Minnesota farmer turned postal worker who’s written a wildly successful shoot’em up novel but has lost, and is desperately seeking, his

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STUDENT REPORTER I am very pleased to announce this is my 12th column that I have written for the Pioneer. With several late nights and a great deal of luck, here I am. I have to admit that a good number of times I had no idea what I should write, what readers wanted me to write, and finally, what needed to be written. And although it was not always as easy as I thought it would be, I think they all turned out to be quite all right - a conclusion I hope most would agree with me on. I think that I’ve come a long way from my first column. After all, writing is supposed to be an art - one we’re supposed to improve on - an art that I still need many, many lifetimes

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Enger’s voice is pitch perfect, and his grace of redemption is as diverse and surprising as his characters. There are twists and turns, cruelty and kindness, honor and shame, and above all, hope. What intrigues me most about Enger’s writing is his near enchanting use of American mythology. Just as in “Peace Like A River,” “So Brave, Young, and Handsome” places his readers in some very familiar territory, and without quite recognizing why, we are right at home. Yet we still want to know, will Glendon Hale’s ex-wife forgive him? Does Siringo ever get his man? Can Beckett find his voice for his next novel? Sorry, but if I told you, it would spoil the fun, and trust me, this novel is a lot of fun. Sunny Solomon is the BookLady and bookseller emeritus of Clayton Books in the Clayton Station. She holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Sunny is a poet and loves to “talk books.” Reach her with questions or comments at 673-3325.

to even come close to mastering. But despite my amateurity (that’s not even a word), I would like to share with you a few of the things I’ve learned along the way. 1. When I was first asked to start writing these columns, I thought it would be fairly simple because my task was specific - write about things happening at Clayton Valley High School. I, however, was in for a very rude awakening. Certainly Clayton Valley, like any other high school, has its share of newsworthy events. But what I didn’t realize, unfortunately, was that most of these events happen around same time, leaving a terrible dry spell to follow. Of course, right now I could be writing about budget cuts or results of AP tests that leave much to be desired, but those seem to have been done before. Lesson No. 1: Not that much happens at Clayton Valley. 2. I really do enjoy small

things in life. Raspberry yogurt, really good books and the smell of new cars are just some of my personal favorites. But despite my love for all the above-mentioned things, not much can really compare to the immense pride and satisfaction I feel when I receive feedback, positive or negative, from readers. It is such a privilege to have the opportunity to be writing this column in the first place, and it’s even more of a privilege that people take the time to read it. Lesson No. 2: Readers make the trials and tribulations, and more trials and tribulations, worth it. 3. It’s impossible to please everyone. Instead of being caught up in what the consensus believes, I have to remind myself that the true purpose of this column is to allow students’ voices to be heard. And I’ve learned that even if I can’t represent all, or even most, students’ opinions, it’s important to raise questions, no mat-

ter whom I upset. When I wrote about how I think building a fence around Clayton Valley is a good idea, most of my classmates found the idea to be repugnant. Although students may not have agreed with me, at least the fence was discussed. Lesson No. 3: Sometimes you just have to call it like it is (through my eyes, of course). 4. Procrastination really isn’t the best policy. I’ve tried to go as far as convincing myself that the longer I wait, the more time I have to come up with a brilliant idea. And although this idea sounds great in theory, I’ve discovered that life doesn’t seem to work this way. Lesson No. 4: You still have to come up with something, even during the dog days of summer. Michelle Trosclair is a junior at CVHS and is a contributing writer for the Life In Perspective series for the Contra Costa Times.

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Hale asks him to accompany him to Mexico to find his exwife, Becket agrees to go, telling his wife and son that he will be home in six weeks. His wife, Susannah, moved by Hale’s goal of forgiveness, encourages him



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voice to write a second novel. And lastly, there’s aging exPinkerton guard Charles Siringo, who is now a rogue bounty hunter seeking none other than Glendon Hale. Becket has fallen under Glendon Hale’s spell. When

to go. Becket marvels at his wife’s generosity. “Love is a strange fact - it hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. It makes no sense at all.” Hale and Becket set out by train, continue by river skiff, and then, after an assault by a gang of no-good river rats, they travel on foot into a small town, where they depart by automobile. At this point, another character, Hood Roberts, a most beguiling young man who lacks good sense but has a heart filled with hope, becomes part of the journey. This is where we hear the strumming of a guitar and a haunting voice (could be Woody Guthrie?) singing the book’s title, “So, Brave, Young, and Handsome,” from the last verse of “The Cowboy’s Lament.” Enger has in fact, written a sort of “Canterbury Tales” for the Old West. There are tales aplenty, and no matter how many times Beckett vows to return home, he finds himself unable to break away from the next story: fire, flood, a wild west show, robbery, patient wives and crooked gamblers. This novel should be read around a campfire on a clear night with the lowing of cattle in the background and the glitter of stars overhead.

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July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 11

Overcoming the hard times and finding a new career heals this local author First, Tate only published 4 percent of the material it received. And the second, “My book was filled with bad language,” Carter admitted. “I can have a dirty mouth.” Not getting any response, she telephoned the company but didn’t expect to speak with anyone beyond a customer service representative. She connected with company president Richard Tate, who told her that while the book had promise, the language was off-putting. “I told him to take the language out, but the story was from the heart,” Carter said. “I asked him to take a closer look.”


Her first book, just published, is on the verge of a large, nationwide promotion campaign and for author Heather Carter, the future looks bright. “It’s crazy happiness,” she said, manning her boutique, Sorelle, in the Clayton Valley Shopping Center. A stack of author copies sits by the cash register. Written under maiden name Heather Hogan, “Can There Be More?” is an intensely personal account originally titled “In My Thirty-Seven Years.” Detailing the death of her mother at a young age, life with an alcoholic father and the fears and anxieties that these events injected into her life, the book culminates with her experiences as a twice divorced mother and business owner. With her divorce now final and custodial issues of the children set, Carter is free to explore her newfound passion – writing. “This all started last April,” she said. “It was on a whim, after the divorce, and I just started writing – never thinking about a book or publishing. It was just me trying to figure things out and so I started writing everything down.” Months later, after Halloween, she shared the news with her family. “They all laughed at me,” Carter said. “They told me things like, ‘Heather, there’s no way you

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HAVING TURNED LEMONS INTO LEMONADE,” Heather Carter relishes the good times that have come with family, her store and now her book.

can write a book’ and ‘Heather, there’s no way you’ll get published.’ ” SHOPPING FOR A PUBLISHER She was still riding an emotional roller-coaster, working on overdrive to get her store open and striving to stay sane enough to be a good parent.

When it was written, Carter researched publishers, wanting the best terms if she got accepted and wanting the best treatment as a new writer. “I sent it to Tate Publishing, a Christian publisher, because I liked the values they represented,” she said. There were two obstacles.

A SURREAL SURPRISE A few days later, a letter, now framed on her shop wall, arrived along with a publishing contract. “Few are chosen out of the tens of thousands each year who submit,” the letter from Tate stated. “You do not sound at all like a first-time writer.” Carter was ecstatic. Following a month-long editing session in February, a cover design session provided Carter yet another surprise. “They sent a sample of the cover with a rose superimposed,” she said. “In one of the last pictures before her death, my mother had me hold a rose, which was her favorite flower. I had not put that in the book and the publisher could not have known. I was totally in shock.”

See Author, page 18

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ALL ABOUT YOU Ever wonder what an antioxidant is? I have. I hear about antioxidants a lot. They are in the food we eat and in some of the skin care products we use. An antioxidant is a molecule that slows or prevents oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation describes the loss of an electron from an atom. This oxidation sometimes causes the produc-

So what does all this mean? It means that what everyone has been telling us for years is still important. You know, eat right, exercise and protect yourself from the sun are still the best ways to stay healthy. Most organizations say to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants. We have all heard it’s good to eat carrots, as they are rich in beta-carotene, which helps to boost our own antioxidant defenses. Lycopene from tomatoes and processed tomato products helps maintain prostrate health in men. Some good sources of antioxidants that help the brain are berries, cherries and red grapes. There are many Web sites that can give a more complete list of foods that provide helpful antioxidants. Vitamins and minerals are

also important antioxidants. Selenium is one that is found in meats. Vitamin A is in liver and dairy products. Vitamin C is from citrus fruits. Vitamin E, which can help in DNA repair, comes from oils, fortified cereals, sunflower seeds and mixed nuts. Skin products that help reduce the signs of aging and wrinkles include some vitaminfortified creams and lotions. Vitamins such as A, C, E and K may be applied topically in creams and have some benefits for the skin. So get your five servings of fruits and veggies, take your vitamins, and if you are really concerned, talk to your doctor and see a nutritionist.

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Antioxidants can do a body good tion of an atom with an unpaired electron known as a free radical. The production of these free radicals causes a chain reaction that damages cells. Antioxidants slow down or prevent this chain reaction. So what does it mean for us? We produce free radicals every breath we take. Usually, our natural defenses neutralize the free radicals produced. Sometimes though, due to other factors, we are unable to neutralize the free radicals. This can cause damage to the structure and function of the body’s cells, thus causing aging and many diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Something else that is noticeable is the aging of the skin and formation of wrinkles. Some of the factors that can cause our defenses not to work properly are exposure to UV rays, smoking, pollution and alcohol.

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Clayton Pioneer •

July 25, 2008

Clayton Sports Two Diablo FC teams score big at Boise regionals JAY BEDECARRÉ Special to the Pioneer

Diablo FC won its second and third prestigious regional soccer championships in less than a month when the Under 12 and Under 13 boys each scored 6-1 victories in their championship games of the US Club Soccer Region G Super Group finals this month in Boise, Idaho. Coach Marquis White’s Diablo FC 94 team defeated Northern California rival Napa Arsenal in the U13 finals, while Coach John Badger’s Diablo FC 95 boys were just as dominating in dispatching Washington’s Eastside Red 94 in the U12 title game. It has been quite a year already for both Badger and White. During CYSA State Cup, Badger’s DVSC Black 95 made it all the way to the U12 boys cup semi-finals before losing. In the quarterfinals, they edged MDSL Azzurri 1-0. Following the merger of DVSC and MDSL, those two teams combined forces to form Diablo FC 95. This new team raced through four opponents (three

See Soccer, page 15

Photo courtesy of Diablo FC

DIABLO FC 94 BOYS CELEBRATE THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP at the US Club Soccer Regionals in Boise, Idaho earlier this month. Clayton residents Kellen Simons, Austin Gamm and Sean Walker along with their teammates defeated five straight U13 opponents to earn the title for their coach Marquis White (far right), who is also the local soccer club’s Technical Director.

Would you ever consider “running with the bulls”? Each issue, a panel of Clayton sports enthusiasts will air their views on a current topic in the sporting world. If you would like to suggest a topic or question to our panels, email Would you ever consider “running with the bulls” in Pamplona, Spain, at the Festival of San Fermin? What do you think of those who do? STELZNER: I’m probably like a whole lot of people, who after reading Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” got carried away by the romantic images and descriptions of Spain and got pulled into the sheer possibilities

of running with the bulls in Pamplona. However, after the last couple of years of having seen the images on TV of people trampled or gored, and now being a bit older and have crested that hill, I’m better off running down to the local supermarket for a nice cold Red Bull to get that rush of energy. KIRMSSE: A true Hemingway fan, I have wanted to run with the bulls since “The Sun Also Rises.” There is something deep inside of us that enjoys the terror and camaraderie of participating in this ancient rite. The encierro attracts thousands of people a year, looking to test their courage by running alongside these magnificent and oh so dangerous animals. It’s flat out crazy, and I would love to do it.

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Leigh Kirmsse

HELENA: A trip to Spain would be great. Wearing those cool little outfits would maybe give me some sort of cultural revelation or something. But, running along side with wild animals in an exotic country is another story. Like sky diving and swimming with sharks, I’ve never considered terrorizing myself to death as being fun. But hey, more power to those who do. MERRIGAN: Because I am concerned about my health and general well-being, I don’t think I would ever consider “running with the bulls.” I think it would be interesting to be a spectator. I understand why the people who run with the bulls do it – it’s part of history and culture – but I don’t necessarily agree with it. Every time I see a part of it on TV, I feel bad for the confused, angry bull. I really have no sympathy for the people who get in his way.

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Chris Snyder

SNYDER: Right now I would love to be in Spain, but not for the bulls. Can you imagine the party they are having now that their soccer team has won the Eurocup? I am cancelling my Oktoberfest reservations and heading to Spain. Those guys that have the nerve to run in front of Bulls so they can be on Sportscenter are great. Some traditions should never go away even though it is no longer politically correct to tease bulls. I also think Chicago’s basketball team should change their team name to something less offensive to the people of Pamplona.

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Are you a sports “nut”? Do you read the Sports page first with your morning coffee? Are you a weekend warrior? If so, the Pioneer is searching for panelists for our Speaking of Sports section. If you have any interest in sharing your opinions with our friends and neighbors in Clayton, please send an e-mail with your name and contact information to Randy at



Ralph Stelzner

sure these guys that do it, have done or dreamed about doing it since they were little children. It gets so much attention nationally and worldwide, it’s their 15 minutes of fame. In a way I do admire the Spain’s ability to pull this off year after year. There’s no way we could ever do something like this in the U.S. Just think of the lawsuits.

RAFALLO: I guess you must get an adrenaline rush from this sort of thing. I can’t imagine doing anything like that. It seems that it’s more about the party and the atmosphere than the actual running itself. I don’t think bravery has anything to do with it. I’m


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July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 13

Clayton Sports

Clayton resident, Mike Rose, has been in business for over 35 years and has always provided quality repair with excellent customer service!

Hundreds of young swimmers dive in for annual Devil Mountain Pentathlon

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The Devil Mountain Pentathlon is the brainchild of Dana Hills Swim Team parents Mike and Toni Biel. After the 1994 season, the local swim team wanted to create an annual event that the DHST could host in their new eight-lane pool with spectacular views of Mt. Diablo that would enable their swimmers and visiting teams to get strong competition at the midway point of the summer recreation swim season. The Biels, whose oldest son Matt was on the team, suggested a novel format where every swimmer would swim all the strokes on the same day with the cumulative best time declared the winner. Now fast-forward to the new millennium. Roughly 700 swimmers from 11 Contra Costa rec teams gathered on July 12-13 for the 14th annual Devil Mountain Pentathlon. In the week leading up to the meet, Clayton and the Bay Area suffered through record-breaking heat combined with very poor air quality due to the many wildfires in the state. “It was a great weekend for spectators to watch and swimmers to swim. The weather cooperated and the smoke from fires dissipated. The meet ran smoothly with the help of over 100 volunteers,” meet director Kathy

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FIVE-YEAR-OLD CAMYLLE CALLAHAN of the host Dana Hills Otters starts the 25-yard freestyle race at the Devil Mountain Pentathlon. Oakhurst Country Club’s Megan Morimoto (far right) is in lane 7 next to Callahan as they compete in the 6 and Under division of the meet which drew over 700 swimmers to Clayton.

Digital Thunder PLUS on the last 12 lanes eighth, respectively, yet won the freestyle and butterfly as he finished third overall in the 11-12 Boys A Division. Newton shaved a total of 20.34 seconds off his previous best times. Among the oldest swimmers in 15-18 age group, Ashley Jennings won the A Division and substantially dropped her times in all four strokes. Even more surprising was her very new 15-18 boys Otters teammate Mike Peevler. During the school year, he lives in Beijing, China, where his father works, and he had just come home to Dana Hills for the summer the week before the Pentathlon. “He was walking by the pool and saw the team working out. He asked if he could join since he was going to be here all summer. I checked with the board, and he started practice the Monday before the Pentathlon,” Zachan said. “He swam in the slowest heat since we added him in at the last minute, yet he had such great times he ended up second overall.” Zachan also pointed to 6 and under swimmers Madelyn Vines and John Parker for great performances. Vines had her best times in all five events, taking 9 seconds off her backstroke and 8 seconds off her breaststroke time. Parker had four best times, lowering his freestyle by 13 seconds and his backstroke by 12 seconds.

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Local college insiders denounce shocking “Student-Loan-Crisis,” Sean Connors and Alexis Alekna have devoted their lives to helping parents ‘Pay For College Without Going Broke.’ They are as upset as any parent out there now that the government has allowed the “Student Loan Crisis” to spiral out of control. However, they are determined to help as many parents as possible to weather this storm.

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Dana Hills and fellow Clayton team, Oakhurst Country Club, both had individual Pentathlon winners. Niklas Weigelt in the 7-8 boys division, Megan Schussman in the 11-12 girls division, Derek Anderson in the 13-14 boys group; and Ashley Jennings in the 15-18 group won A Division blue ribbons for DHST. Oakhurst claimed B Division titles by Terrell Murphy Hopson in the 6 and under boys and Julia Silverberg in the 13-14 girls. Dana Hills took first place in B Division with Jared Siegrist, 9-10 boys; Camille Cline, 7-8 girls; and Ross Gruen, 7-8 boys. The closest competition for first place was in the 9-10 Boys A Division. Jordan Fetterman of Pleasant Hill Aquatics finished with a total time of 3:58.85 for his five swims. Runner-up Liam Calkins for Dana Hills was just .2 of a second behind in 3:59.05. Dana Hills doesn’t take part in the team competition. That award also went right down to the wire with Ygnacio Wood of Concord edging the Pleasant Hill Dolphins by 3.5 points for the first-place team award. And what became of the meet’s founders, the Biels? They still live in Dana Hills. The week

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Williams said. The Pentathlon is a unique meet on the swim calendar, with each competitor swimming all four individual strokes — butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle — and then completing their one-day’s effort with the individual medley, a race that combines all four strokes. The 6 and under age group concludes with the 50-yard freestyle (double the normal distance the youngest age group swims) in place of the IM. The three younger age groups swim on Saturday, and the older three ages (plus the 9-10 boys) compete on Sunday. “We had many swimmers make incredible drops in their times. Some of them improved their personal bests in every single stroke,” said Matt Zachan, Dana Hills co-head coach. Zachan and his co-head coach, Kelly McCabe, started their list of top Otters performers Carter Photo by Scott Anderson w i t h DEREK ANDERSON of host Dana Hills Otters Newton, who was won 13-14 boys A Division at Pentathlon. seeded sixth and

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“It’s shocking that that so many parents won’t be able to borrow money for their kids to go to school in the next few years…so many students will be on the outside of college looking in or will be forced to drop out,” says Sean, the Bay Area’s leading expert on paying for college. “Unless these parents and students know the inside information that we see educated parents utilizing today to help save them thousands, this problem ultimately keeping their students college dreams alive.” Alexis Alekna feels that this crisis is

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deeper than the price to borrow money, “it’s not even a matter of getting the best interest rate…it’s getting any money at all. However, parents need to know that college can still be attainable, first by learning these strategies to obtaining as much free money as possible and second where to borrow the rest at an affordable rate.” Sean & Alexis are teaching many parents legal ways to double or triple their eligibility for free grant money, even if they make a six figure income; as well as how to determine in advance if a school will be the most affordable for them, regardless of its ‘sticker price.’ Sean & Alexis are founders of College Planning Specialists, CFS Inc. & Game Plan Connection (collegiate recruiting for high school athletes), and conduct periodical workshops on “Paying For College Without Going Broke” and “Unlocking The Truth About College Athletic Recruiting.”

Page 14

Clayton Pioneer •

July 25, 2008

Clayton Sports


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Clayton swimmer tops off competitive swimming career at 2008 Olympic Trials

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Clayton native and De La Salle graduate Matt Biel wrote the final chapter of his swimming career at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha earlier this month. Although a long shot to make Team USA and go the Olympic Games in Beijing, Biel had hoped to final in at least one event. “Being in the top eight at the Olympic Trials would be a nice way to end my career,” he said in an interview before the competition. In his second time at the Olympic Trials, he competed in three events: 200 meter free, 400 meter free and 1,500 meter free. He looked forward to competing one last time against many of the world’s top swimmers. In the end, he came up short of his goal – finishing 56th out of 82 in the 200 with a time of 1:52.34, 27th out of 70 in the 400 (3:56.00) and 28th out of 75 in the 1,500 (15:41.20). “In the 400, he was in the last heat and he swam against Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller,” said his mom, Toni Biel of Clayton. “They are both Olympians from 2004, so he was in a really, really fast heat.” Toni and her husband Mike were at the Olympic Trials for four days to watch their son. They missed his final swim in the 1,500 but have fond memories of the event – including Toni’s chats with other “swim moms.” “It was very exciting to be there and watch a lot of records being broken,” she said. “It was a fun time, an absolutely fun time.” Biel began competing 17 years ago on the Dana Hills Swim Team. He has enjoyed personal and team success at every level. His teams have won city and county championships, North Coast Section championships and NCAA titles. He now had the opportunity to close out his many years of dedication and commitment to the sport of swimming against the best the country has to offer. While on the Dana Hills swim team and Concord Terrapins as a youngster, Biel already exhibited the determination and competitiveness to compete at the highest level. “He was superior to others in that age group and displayed tremendous awareness in the water,” swim coach Serge Victor said. “You never know how they are going to turn out, but he was

tremendous.” Victor has been following Biel’s career at every level. He noted that Biel’s success could not happen without the backing of his family. “I remember his family was always very supportive and that is as important as anything,” Victor said.

ties that swimming has given me. I have been guided by some of the best coaches in the world,” Biel said. Although he may no longer swim competitively, he plans to keep swimming as part of his life. “I am happiest when I’m in the water,” he said.

freestyle against Stanford, Cal, Arizona State, Washington, USC and Northeastern. “Swimming for the University of Arizona was the best experience of my life,” he said. “The coaches and team are unbelievable.” Although Biel won’t be com-

Photo courtesy of Patty Busch.

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA (SENIORS) HOLDING THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY at the meet in Federal Way, Washington. From Left to Right: Elliot Dash, Darian Townsend, Ivan Barnes, Bart Steninger, Albert Subirates, Matt Biel and Matt Bisordi.

Biel was the first De La Salle swimmer to win an individual event at the NCS Championship Meet, winning two titles in 2004 and leading the team to back-toback NCS titles. Later that year, he competed in his first Olympic Trials – swimming the 1,500 meter freestyle at age 17. During his career, Biel traveled across the country and as far away as Sydney, Australia, as a member of the USA National Junior Team. “I feel very fortunate to have had the opportuni-

In March, Biel culminated his collegiate swimming career by winning an NCAA national championship as a member of the University of Arizona men’s swim team. After more second and third place finishes than any program, the perennial powerhouse out of the Pac 10 won its first national title. He helped the Wildcats complete an undefeated dual meet season. Biel also attained a mid-season No. 1 ranking with individual wins in the 1,000 yard

Mark Anderson

peting in the Olympics, he’s proud of his fellow Arizona athletes who will be on the team – including Matt Grevers, who trained in Tucson, and Lacey Nymeyer. Biel will graduate next spring with a degree in communications and business. He plans on returning to the Bay Area and begin a second successful career at the old age of 22. Staff writer Bev contributed to this story.


CORRECTION In the July 11 issue, we ran the story “Coakley named baseball coach at Los Medanos.” Unfortunately, the wrong photo ran with the story. The photo below is Casey Coakley.


July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

Swimmers, from page 13

Bite, from page 1

before the Pentathlon, their oldest son Matt, now swimming for Ford Tucson Aquatics and the University of Arizona, competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. The Clayton resident and alumnus of the Otters and Concord Terrapins qualified for the Trials in the 400m and 1500m freestyle, where he finished 27th

Hospital and had just taken care of a rattlesnake bite victim in ICU two weeks before. She knew that getting to the hospital quickly was critical. “We just jumped in the car and drove,” she said. “By the time we got to the hospital, she had numbness and tingling in her mouth. Her toe had turned black, and her foot was swelling.” While seldom fatal to humans, bites are extremely painful and can lead to severe medical trauma if not treated in a timely manner, often resulting in massive swelling of the bitten areas. Talia spent the next four days at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. It took seven vials of the anti-venom to clear the toxins from her body. Rattlesnakes are a common threat in the Clayton area. Scores of snakes are seen each year, and the Dana Hills/Dana Ridge development seems to be a particularly favorite hangout of the vipers. Much of that area backs up to the Mt. Diablo open space. The garden hoses and swimming pools of the

& 28th, respectively, against the fastest swimmers in the country. To make the story even better, his younger brother Garrett, also a Dana Hills alum, was preparing to go to Little Rock, Ark., with his Diablo FC Black Pearl 90 Under 17 soccer team to compete in the USYSA National Championships Final Four July 23-27.

Photo by Scott Anderson

TWELVE-YEAR-OLD SARA ABELE of Dana Hills Otters took second in the 11-12 A Division at 14th annual Devil Mountain Pentathlon. Her teammate Megan Schussman won the division.

TEAM SCORING Ygnacio Wood 78.5, Pleasant Hill Dolphins 75, Springwood 69, Pleasant Hill Aquatics 25, Forest Hills 23, Walnut Country 18, Vista Diablo Dolphins 12.5, Oakhurst and Bishop Estates 4, Martinez Community 1. Age 11-12

Age 6 & Under Girls A Division 1. Sarah Hamilton WC 5. Ali Bamberger DH 7. Julia Deely DH Girls B Division 1. Courtney Silva PHD 7. Logan Sherman DH Boys A Division 1. Anthony Vizental WC Boys B Division 1. Terrell Murphy Hopson OAK 3. Jason Woodling DH 4. Gavin Azevedo DH 7. Colby Newton DH 8. Jack Skow DH

Age 7-8 Girls A Division 1. Emily Farrell PHD 2. Lily Stagner DH Girls B Division 1. Camille Cline DH 2. Alyssa Dern DH 3. Maya Stellini DH Boys A Division 1. Niklas Weigelt DH Boys B Division 1. Ross Gruen DH 5. Dusty Mitchell DH 6. Ryan Roo OAK 7. David McNulty DH

Age 9-10 Girls A Division 1. Alexandra Humann YW 2. Alina Weigelt DH 4. Melissa Schoell DH 7. Ellie Ralston DH 8. Kimberly Dennis OAK Girls B Division 1. Kylie Alberts WC 3. Aubrie Russo DH Boys A Division 1. Jordan Fetterman PHA 2. Liam Calkins DH 6. Mitchell Longman OAK Boys B Division 1. Jared Siegrist DH 3. Masimius Watson DH 5. Jonathan Sullivan DH 6. Anthony Friedman DH

Girls A Division 1. Megan Schussman DH 2. Sara Abele DH 3. Justine Trimble DH 5. Taylor Ryle DH 7. Gabby Brown DH Girls B Division 1. Marisa Delizo WC 3. Rachel Shamblin OAK 5. Katie Goodshaw DH 6. Ashlynn Adams DH 8. Kristina Schoell DH Boys A Division 1. Tristan Tarpey PHA 3. Carter Newton DH Boys B Division 1. Mason Haymes WC 4. Ryan Calkins DH 7. Alex Jennings DH 8. Arthur Chiok DH

Age 13-14 Girls A Division 1. Allyson Hansen SP 2. Nikki Palmer DH 5. Jenna Stelzner DH 8. Katie Goodspeed DH Girls B Division 1. Julia Silverberg OAK 5. Cherilyn Brock DH Boys A Division 1. Derek Anderson DH 2. Josh Harmon DH 4. T.J. Brassil DH 5. Kenny Johnson DH 8. Jared Deely DH Boys B Division 1. Diego Tambazidis PHD 6. Michael Bare DH

Age 15-18 Girls A Division 1. Ashley Jennings DH 6. Dana Hill DH Girls B Division 1. Charlotte Scott SP 7. Ashley Richman DH Boys A Division 1. Brett Lowe SP 2. Mike Peevler DH Boys B Division 1. Ryan McConnell FH

Page 15

You don’t need an appointment.

suburban development provide welcome water and shade. They feed on small rodents, which are plentiful in suburban habitats. Rattlesnakes often move into a yard after the sun goes down and the temperatures drop, making them hard to see. They will frequently hide under trashcans, porches and lawn furniture. Discourage their visits by clearing brush and debris from your property and removing any potential hiding places. Talia is fully recovered, but her mother says she still has a bit of numbness in her toe. She isn’t sure if this will be permanent. Talia is vacationing with relatives in the South Bay, but we spoke to her by phone. Asked what she would tell her friends about rattlesnakes, she had this to say: “Stay away from them.” Oh yeah, “and wear shoes.”

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in May before losing the championship game. Diablo FC 94 is also a combination from tryouts of DVSC Black 94 and MDSL Azzurri, who each took part in U13 play this past season. Diablo FC 95’s roster for Regionals included Clayton residents Michael Guerrero in defense and midfielder John Ballard. The team faced two Washington and a hometown Boise team in pool play before beating Boise Nationals Premier in the semi-finals and meeting a fellow NorCal team in the finale. While the Diablo FC 94 boys are small and very skilled, White says his U13 players are strong and physical. The roster for Boise included defenders Kellen Simons, Sean Walker and Austin Gamm, all of Clayton. White explained his team’s title run as an “entire team effort, and every kid on the trip contributed to capturing the trophy. The biggest accomplish of the tournament was in the final game of pool play when we went down to 10 players just five minutes into the game because of a red card. The boys went on to dominate a very impressive Washington team, which was tied with us in points. We needed a result and, for me, this 2-0 victory showed the character of this team. I was very proud of the boys.”

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Soccer, from page 13 from Washington and one from Oregon) in the USCS Regional in Boise, outscoring their opponents 15-1 to claim the championship. Badger also saw his Diablo FC Black Pearl 90 U17 boys win their third straight State Cup this spring. Recently, they went on to capture the club’s first ever USYSA Far West Regional championship in Hawaii. The U17 boys are in North Little Rock, Ark., this week for the USYSA National Final Four. “The players were exceptional,” said Badger in describing his team’s first tournament against their own age group. Diablo FC 95 has been playing against older teams in Super YLeague this spring and summer, in the same age group as Diablo FC 94. “Even though our team is small among its own age group, and many of the teams in Boise were much larger than us, the experience the boys have had playing up in Super Y helped tremendously at Regionals. I was very pleased with everyone’s play, and the team was successful because all the boys played positive soccer. The challenge will be to continue improving and not become satisfied.” For Marquis White, who serves as technical director of the local club, it’s been a busy and successful year. His Diablo FC Black Pearl 89 boys made it to the State Cup finals

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MEET THE AUTHORS AT CLAYTON BOOKS Schedule of Summer Events. 7/25

7 pm

If you cannot attend, we are happy to get books signed for you.

James Rollins, Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Last Oracle

Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn . . . . .American Girls Club . . . . .Robert D. San Souci children's event . . . . .Molly Dwyer, Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein . . . . .Kathryn Reiss suspense writing workshop for middle grade and YA readers Charles Adams, Murder by the Bay: Historical Homicide in and


Midnight . .Release event for


7 pm

8/11 4 pm 8/12 7 pm 8/13 4 pm 8/14 7 pm

around the City of SF 8/16 2 pm . . . . .Deb

Grabien, Rock & Roll Never Forgets Author Extravaganza . . . . .Author tea at La Veranda with Meg Clayton, The Wednesday Sisters . . . . .NY Yankee's Hall of Famer Jerry Coleman, An American Journey . . . . .Wona Miniati, Cooking with all Things Trader Joe's

8/17 2-4 pm . . . .Local 8/18 7 pm 8/23 6 pm 9/4

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Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

July 25, 2008

Clayton Community Calendar PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR CLAYTON COMMUNITY CALENDAR EVENTS BY 5 P.M. JULY 30 FOR THE AUGUST 8 ISSUE. FAX TO 672-6580 OR E-MAIL EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT AUG. 14 Picture Book Time @ Clayton Community Library Thursdays at 11 a.m. Story time for 3 - 5 year olds. Child may attend without caregiver. Drop in for stories, songs, and fun. Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road, 673-0659.


THROUGH AUG.18 Summer Reading 2008 @ Clayton Community Library Catch the reading bug at your library and transform reading into exciting prizes. For readers age two through adult and parents and caregivers of love bugs from birth to two years old can participate. To get started or for prize information please contact your community library or visit us online at Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road, 673-0659. THROUGH AUG. 19 Patty Cakes @ Clayton Community Library Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Story time for babies - 3 yr olds. Child attends with caregiver. Drop in for stories, songs, and fun. Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road, 673-0659. THROUGH AUG. 31 Local Voice: Defining Community Through Art, @ Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek 12 - 5 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday, 6 - 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday. This exhibition offers an overview of the best and most compelling art, in all media and genres being created by artists living in Contra Costa County. For additional information, visit online at or call 295-1417. Bedford Gallery, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. THROUGH OCTOBER Clayton Farmers Market, Downtown Clayton Every Saturday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. The Clayton Farmers Market, by Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association. The Clayton Farmers' Market brings the very best of California-grown fruits, vegetables, greens, and nuts to downtown Clayton. Treat right downtown! Diablo Street, Downtown Clayton. JULY 25 Field Trip to Benicia Capitol with Diamond Terrace Retirement Community 9:30 a.m. Join us on a bus outing to the Benicia Capitol. Please reserve your spot by Wednesday July 23rd. Cost is $2. 524-5100. Diamond Terrace Retirement Community, 6402 Center Street, Clayton. JULY 28 Practical Business Management Training @ Pleasant Hill Library 7 - 9 p.m. All about money- knowing how much you have and how to get more. Subjects include accounting basics for small business and getting the banker to “yes.” The Contra Costa Small Business Development Center and the Contra Costa County Library sponsor small business workshops to help small businesses and those planning start-ups succeed. Pleasant Hill Library. Please register by calling (925) 646-5377 or email JULY 28 Once upon a Time @ Clayton Community Library Mondays from 2-3 p.m. Storytelling, creative drama, and reader's theater. Kindergarten through second grade. No registration; drop in and enjoy! Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road, 673-0659. JULY 29 Adult Education Music Class @ Diamond Terrace Retirement Community 2:30 p.m. Music in Our Lives Adult Education Class on Tuesdays. 524-5100. Diamond Terrace Retirement Community, 6402 Center Street, Clayton. JULY 30 Insect Discovery Lab @ Clayton Community Library 7 p.m. Exotic bugs; live and up close! See (and maybe touch) some of the most interesting insects of the world. Drop in. For all ages. Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road, 673-0659. AUG. 2 Markham’s Saturday Plant Sale @ Markham Nature Park and Arboretum 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. In addition to a variety of plants, on hand will be Robin Parer with Pelargoniums, Troy McGregor with Australian and Californian natives, and Succulent vendors. (925)681-2968. Markham Nature Park and Arboretum, 1202 La Vista Ave., Concord. AUG. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 Poison Apple Productions Presents A Three Leaf Clover Looking for an entertaining evening for your entire family? A Three Leaf Clover, written and directed by local award-winning playwright Noelle Arms fits the bill. Experience the story of the O'Connor family on the shore of Ireland. They'll help you to fall in love, question what it means to have faith, and experience the magic that no one else can see. Tickets $15. For information contact Cindy Harris at 510-799-1627, Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, 2951400, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. AUG. 8 Go Buggy in August @ Clayton Community Library 2 p.m. Make bug crafts on Thursday. Best for ages 5-9, please register in advance. Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road, 673-0659.

AUG. 9, 10 Japanese Festival @ Japanese Cultural Center 1 – 9 p.m. on Aug. 9 and 12 – 8 p.m. on Aug. 10. Admission is free and there is free parking available at Ygnacio Valley High School with a free shuttle to the Festival. The festival features Japanese food, bonsai and Japanese flower arrangement exhibits; Judo, Kendo and calligraphy demonstrations; Japanese dance performances and Taiko drum performances by three different Taiko groups. For more information, individuals can email or leave a message at 925-682-5299. Japanese Cultural Center, 3165 Treat Boulevard, Concord. AUG. 18 Diablo Valley Masterworks Chorale Auditions 7 p.m. Contra Costa’s premiere classical chorus will host auditions for Andrew Lloyd Webbers "Requiem" and Waltons "Belshazzars Feast." Chorus meets Mondays at 7 p.m. Experience the exhilaration of singing with a full concert orchestra. For more info, contact us at or call 925 228-8690. Website: Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Music Dept. room 101, Pleasant Hill. AUG. 18 Clayton Valley High School Athletic Boosters Club Golf Tournament @ Oakhurst Country Club The 17th annual golf tournament is sponsored by Clayton Valley High School and benefits the football and golf programs as well as the Athletic Boosters Special appearance by the Oakland Raiderettes, lunch before teeing off, and fun contests are followed by a dinner / banquet, raffle prize drawing and silent auction. Entry forms and additional information can be found at or by contacting the Tournament Chairman, Dave Looney at 925-285-9903 or

CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS JULY 26, AUG. 9, 23 Scrabble Club @ Carl's Jr. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Club meets the second and fourth Saturday of the month. All ages and skill levels. Prizes and contests. We have grown from six players to a roster of sixty in a year's time. Just $2 to play for the day. Carl's Jr., 1530 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. JULY 27, AUG. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting @ Clayton Community Church 7-8 p.m. AA Big Book Study every Sunday night. 673-9060. Clayton Community Church, 6055 Main St., Clayton. JULY 28, AUG. 4, 11, 18, 25 Al-Anon Family Group Mtg. @ St .Bonaventure's Catholic Church 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Meetings are every Monday. If you are concerned about someone else's drinking, Al-Anon Family Groups can help. For further information, please call (925) 274-6770. St.Bonaventure's Catholic Church, 5562 Clayton Rd., Concord, in portable bldg. #1. JULY 28, AUG. 4, 11, 18, 25 Toastmasters Club @ Aegis of Concord 7 p.m. Meetings are held every Monday at Aegis of Concord. Visit to see what Toastmasters do that builds confident communicators and leaders. Membership is open to all adults. Bring a friend. Call Carie at 682-7211 or go to Aegis of Concord, 4756 Clayton Road, Concord. JULY 28 Blue Star Moms General Meeting @ Fuddruckers, Concord 6:30 p.m. Please come around 6 p.m. if you would like to eat before the meeting. After March, The Contra Costa Blue Star Moms will hold their general business meetings on the 4th Monday of each month at the same time and location. Fuddruckers, 1975 Diamond Blvd, Banquet Room, 2nd floor, Concord. JULY 29, AUG. 5, 12, 19, 26 Kiwanis Club of Walnut Creek 12-1:30 p.m. every Tuesday. All are invited to check us out and be our guest for lunch. Call Sam Totah at 941-1536. Massimo's Ristorante, 1604 Locust St., Walnut Creek. JULY 31, AUG. 7, 14, 21, 28 Rotary Club of Clayton Valley Concord Sunrise @ Oakhurst 7 a.m. every Thursday. Meeting includes breakfast and usually features a speaker. Visit www. or call Chuck Graham at 6897640. Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. JULY 31, AUG. 7, 14, 21, 28 Weights Watchers Meeting @ Contra Costa Farm Bureau Building 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursdays. Weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in and meetings. Call 800-326-8450, x 2023. Contra Costa Farm Bureau, 5554 Clayton Rd., Concord. JULY 31 Clayton Business & Community Association @ Oakhurst Country Club 6:30 p.m. Monthly dinner meeting the last non-holiday Thursday of the month. This is a great place to meet fellow Claytonites and become involved in some of the ongoing events that CBCA sponsors. Cost of the dinner is $24. RESERVATIONS ARE DUE BY FRIDAY NOON PRIOR, 672-2272. Mike Fossan, President. Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr. JULY 31, AUG. 7, 14, 21, 28 Contra Costa Chess Club @ Starbucks, Clayton 7:30 - 10:30 p.m. every Thursday. The Contra Costa Chess Club welcomes chess players of all ages and skill levels, and we provide instruction and

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AUG. 5, 19 Odd Fellow's Meeting @ Pacheco Lodge #117, Concord 3 p.m. Meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Odd Fellow’s are actively involved in civic and philanthropic efforts on the local and international levels. All are invited to come and be our guest for a meeting and dessert. For information call Herb Meeks at (925) 682-7358. Pacheco Lodge #117, 4349 Cowell Road, Concord. AUG 5 Knights of Columbus @ St. Agnes Church Hall 7:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month. We look forward to seeing our brother Knights at the general membership meeting of the Knights of Columbus Concord Council 6038 of Concord and Clayton. St. Agnes Church, 3478 Chestnut St., Concord. AUG. 7, 21 Rebekah's @ Mt. Diablo Lodge, Concord. 8 p.m. All are invited to come and be our guest for a meeting and dessert. Rebekahs are actively involved in civic and philanthropic efforts on the local and international levels. Meetings are the first and third Thursday of the month. Come check out our organization. For information call Carmen Frank at 925-672-5045. 4349 Cowell Road, Concord. AUG. 10 Concord Mystery Book Club @ Concord Library 2:30-4 p.m. All mystery readers are invited to participate and explore a different genre each month. Group meets the second Sunday of the month. Concord Library, 2900 Salvio Street, Concord, 646-5455. AUG. 10 VFW Breakfast @ Concord Veterans Memorial Hall 8 - 11 a.m. Breakfast is held on the second Sunday of each month. The menu includes eggs, pancakes, sausages, coffee, tea and orange juice. $4/adults and $2/children under 12. Concord Veterans Memorial Hall located at 2290 Willow Pass Road, Concord. AUG. 13TH Creekside Artists Guild - General Meeting @ Clayton Community Library 7p.m. Landscape photographer, Tom O'Connor will present his "journey" to Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Includes a brief video clipping of chanting by his Navajo guide. Come join this unique group of eclectic artists that meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month. S-T-R-E-T-C-H your own artistic boundaries and bring artwork that creatively expresses this months theme, "Journey's". All levels and art forms are welcome! "We provide an environment for all artists to inspire, create, educate and prosper"...Questions? Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen 673-9777, email: or visit our website: AUG. 13 NewComers Club @ Il Fornaio, Walnut Creek 1 a.m. The Walnut Creek Area Neighbors and Newcomers Club invites all prospective and present members to a summer coffee at Il Fornaio, 1430 Diablo Blvd. Walnut Creek. Please contact Carolyn Priest, 925-930-0129. August 19 Diablo Valley Macintosh Users Group (DVMUG) Film Festival @ Rossmoor 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month. Our General Meetings are open to the public and free of charge with question and answer help for all things Mac, followed by programs, demonstrations, and fun. We usually meet at Bancroft Elementary School in Walnut Creek, but this month we are hosting our annual film fest at the Peacock Theater in Rossmoor. Contact: Tom, 925689-1155. Details may be found at

BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT JULY 29 County Board of Supervisors @ County Administration Building 9 a.m. Tuesday mornings. or 335-1900. County Administration Building, 651 Pine St., Room 107, Martinez. AUG. 12, 26 Clayton Planning Commission @ Clayton Community Library 7 p.m. The coommission meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. or 673-7304. Clayton Library Meeting Room, 6125 Clayton Road. AUG. 5, 19 Clayton City Council @ Clayton Community Library 6 p.m. The council meets the first and third Tuesday of the month. Agendas posted at City Hall, 6000 Heritage Trail. Clayton Community Library Meeting Room, 6125 Clayton Road.

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July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 17

Get your furry friend ready for fun in the sun ELENA BICKER




Summer is time for venturing out in the great outdoors. And outdoor trips are always made more enjoyable by bringing along a canine companion. Kris Swanson, ARF’s Intake Technician, has some wonderful tips to keep your best friend happy and healthy on such excursions: Before traveling, make sure

your pet is up to date on flea, tick and heartworm preventative medication. Have a sturdy collar on your pal with an identification tag. If you will be staying overnight, have a cell phone number on the tag as well, and consider microchipping your dog. When hiking, bring along more than enough water for both of you. If taking your dog off its leash, be sure she always comes when called. It’s one thing if your dog will come to you in your backyard. It’s a whole dif-

ferent story out there on the trail where you will be competing with the distractions of other dogs, people and all the wonderful smells of nature. If you choose to hike a trail requiring dogs to be leashed, please abide by the rules. There are plenty of off-leash hikes for people who want to allow their dogs off leash. The leash rules serve a purpose (usually to protect wildlife habitat). If your canine companion is a weekend warrior, don’t assume she is in a physical condition to tackle a major hike. Just like

Lofty and Moonchild are ARF’s Adoption Stars Lofty is a smart and lively 11-month-old Corgi mix. He loves to play fetch, romp with other dogs, and learn new tricks. Lofty will benefit from plenty of mental and physical stimulation in an active home. The adoption fee for Lofty is $225 and includes the first six training courses. Moonchild is a little timid but warms up to a gentle hand and a kind voice. You can win her heart by gently scratching

her head. Moonchild was declawed by a previous owner before ARF rescued her, and would need to live indoors only. The adoption fee for Moonchild is $50. Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during adoption hours: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.



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the generous donations of individuals and organizations. Our organization is run primarily by volunteers, so we are able to channel the donations directly into our program of training dogs to assist diabetics.” The organization is in need of more foster families to house the dogs. “The dogs live with foster families while they undergo training four days a week,” Hendrix said. “The foster family brings them back and forth from the training center. It helps the dogs get socialized, and they even wear their service dog coat, so the fam-

The primary caretaker must be present to adopt. ARF also encourages kids 16 and younger and canine family members (dog adoptions only) to be present during the adoption process. Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? Can you share your talents to connect people and animals? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our Web site,, or call (925) 256-1ARF.

humans, dogs need to build up their physical strength and endurance before going on a long or difficult hike. They also need to condition their pads if they’ll be walking on rocky or rough terrain. Also, don’t assume your dog knows how to swim. At the lake, put her on a long leash and walk out into the water with her. It may take a few minutes before she realizes she can paddle to keep afloat. If your fun in the sun involves a boat or canoe, consider purchasing a doggie life vest. After a swim in the ocean, be sure to rinse the salt out of your dog’s coat. By taking the time to prepare for your outdoor excursions, you can be sure that you will have a safe and enjoyable summer.

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ilies can go anywhere they want.” “I never cease to be amazed by the incredible service the dogs can provide me and the Dogs4Diabetics clients,” Ruefenacht said. “No medical device has the ability to do what the dogs can do for a diabetic.” On Sat., Aug. 16, Dogs4Diabetes is holding its first fundraising walk in Clayton from 8 a.m. until noon. Meet at the Gazebo in The Grove. The walk will offer three shady routes through the city streets and trail system, each ranging from 2 to 6 miles in length, making the

s year

b Cele

fundraiser accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Participants are invited to set a fundraising goal of $200. “In addition to raising money,” Hendrix said, “our objective is to get the word out and raise awareness.” Ruefenacht agrees. “There is nothing more heartwarming,” he said, “than a telephone call from a mother of a diabetic child telling me the dog woke her up, for the first time, during the night to alert to low blood sugar.” For additional information about Dogs4Diabetics, call Ralph Hendrix at 672-8621 or visit the D4D Website at

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Clayton Pioneer •

Sister Roberta Carson honored by parish in touching farewell Mass JOHN MANZECK Special to the Pioneer

After 13 years of tireless service to the parish, the local community and the needy in El Salvador, Sister Roberta Carson is leaving St. Bonaventure’s Catholic Church. The beloved nun was honored by more than 750 parishioners and friends at a special Mass on June 21, where Father Richard Mangini presented her with a plaque and a statue in recognition of her years of service. Sister Roberta’s first love has always been serving the poor, and her selfless service was recognized by both the St. Vincent DePaul Society for her work in Contra Costa County and by Father Adrian Sanchez, who flew in from El Salvador especially for the Mass. Sanchez offered his personal thanks for Sister Roberta’s efforts in the collection of food, clothing and teaching aids for the people of El Salvador. During her remarks to the congregation, Sister Roberta recalled how God touched her early in her ministry, steering her towards feeding the poor.

Photo by Jeff Abram

SISTER ROBERTA CARSON was recently honored at St. Bonaventure’s for her service to the poor and to the parish.

One afternoon while she was reading the Bible, the doorbell rang. It was a homeless man who asked for food. Sister Roberta explained that they had no food prepared and sent him on his way. As she returned to her reading, the very next words were: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him,

and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20). She quickly ran down the street, found the man and invited him to return with her. With limited resources, she prepared a meal and sent him away with additional groceries. “When Christ comes to your door,” she said, “your life changes forever.” BUTTERFLIES CAME CALLING Becoming a nun was not always part of Sister Roberta’s plans. She had originally trained to be a nurse. However, while attending nursing school, she suffered a serious illness and could not continue her studies. “God had other plans for me,” she shared with the congregation, although she wasn’t yet sure what they were. After nursing school and

while wondering in what direction the future would take her, Sister Roberta helped to care for a nun who had been very seriously injured in an accident. The prognosis was bleak, and Sister Roberta was devastated by the woman’s suffering. She prayed for healing for the nun. At the same time, she asked God for a sign to tell her what to do with her own life. It was late October and very cold. As she walked along a garden path and prayed, a Monarch butterfly kept bumping into her. “What’s with this butterfly,” she wondered and “what’s it doing out in the cold?” That same day, the injured nun began to improve and was finally well enough to leave Sister Roberta’s care. As a going away present, a friend of the injured nun gave her a Monarch butterfly encased in plastic. Sister Roberta had never told anyone about the Monarch butterfly that kept bumping into her that cold autumn day. She believes this was a sign from God directing her to serve. Along with her work for the poor, Sister Roberta used her considerable artistic talents to create lively posters, banners and wall hangings to decorate for countless liturgies and served with dedication in the parish religious education program. While she did not work to heal broken bodies, she has been a much greater healer in the souls she has mended. To this day you will find cutouts and pictures of butterflies all over St. Bonaventure’s.

July 25, 2008

Church News ST BONAVENTURE’S CATHOLIC CHURCH The Women’s Christian Fellowship will present four opportunities for “Inspiration and Healing with Fr. Richard McAlear.” Fr. McAlear is a renowned author and international speaker who began his healing ministry in 1976. He is a member of the Oblates of Mary the Immaculate and has been involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for many years On Wed., Aug 13, he will preside at the 9 a.m. Mass with a talk following Mass. That evening he will give another talk at 7:30 p.m. On Thurs., Aug 14, he will give a talk at 10 a.m. That evening, Aug. 14, he will preside at a healing Mass at 7:30 p.m. in the main church. For further details, contact Patti Collyer (925) 672-5800 or Sharon Sangco (925) 408-2623. ***** Fall Retreat –“If Today You Hear His Voice, featuring Linda Schubert The 15th annual St. Bonaventure’s Women’s’ Retreat at San Damiano in Danville is set for Sept. 19-21 and will feature well known speaker, Linda Schubert. Shubert has spoken in over 26 countries and is best known for her international best seller, “Miracle Hour.” She is also a member of the Charismatic Renewal and the Association of Christian Therapists. The cost for the weekend is $195 for double occupancy or $225 single occupancy. Contact Martha Sardelich at (925) 825-9080 for details and registration.

DIAMOND TERRACE DEVOTIONS Please join us for prayers from various religious traditions followed by a talk and ending with discussion. The topic of the prerecorded talk for this month is “Education, Scholarship and Global Civilization,” by Peter Khan PhD, former professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan and the University of Queensland in Australia and presently a member of the Bahá’í International Council, The Universal House of Justice. Sun., Aug. 3, 11: a.m. at Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton, upstairs in the craft room. Feel free to bring your own favorite readings or prayer to share. Music and refreshments will be provided. For more information please call Guity (925) 6721095.

Club News CONCORD/CLAYTON SUNRISE ROTARY On July 19, Rotarians fulfill their annual Adopt-A-Block pledge to pick up litter along parts of Clayton Rd. Armed with reflective vests, gloves, grab sticks and trash bags supplied by the Adopt a Block program, the event provides a good service to the city while enhancing camaraderie within the club. For more information, call Chuck Graham, 689-7460.

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As an Ameriprise financial advisor, I’m pleased to offer our unique Dream > Plan > Track >® approach to financial planning. Using this comprehensive, customized process, I’ll work with you one-to-one, helping to make your dreams realities. To set up a conversation, call (925) 685-4523 today. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Mureleen Benton, CFP®, Financial Advisor 5356 Clayton Rd., Suite 211 Concord, CA 94521 (925) 685-4523

There are many worthwhile reasons to lend money to a relative. For example, you may want to help your children or siblings continue their education or start their own business. The IRS says you must charge interest. Lending money to relatives can have tax consequences. The IRS requires that a minimum rate of interest be charged on loans. The rates change every month, and can be found at If you do not charge at least the minimum rate, the IRS will still require you to pay tax on the difference between the interest you should have charged and what you

actually charged. If these excess amounts become large, or if the loan is forgiven, there may also be gift tax implications. There are some exceptions, though. Loans of up to $10,000 can be made at a lower (or zero) rate of interest, as long as the proceeds aren’t invested. Loans between $10,001 and $100,000 are exempt from the minimum interest requirement as well, as long as the borrower’s investment income is $1,000 or less. If the investment income exceeds $1,000, you’ll be taxed on the lesser of this income or the minimum IRS interest. Do the paperwork. For the

IRS to treat the transaction as a loan and not a gift subject to the gift tax rules, the transaction must look like a loan. The borrower should have the ability to repay the principal and interest. A contract should be prepared which specifies the loan amount, interest rate, the payment dates and amounts, any security or collateral, as well as late fees and steps to be taken if the borrower doesn’t pay. Have the document signed and dated by all the parties. Can you claim a deduction if you’re not repaid? If the borrower defaults, you may be eligible for a nonbusiness bad debt


TAX TIPS deduction. However, you must document your efforts to collect the unpaid balance. This may involve the unpleasant task of taking legal action against a family member. The preparation of a signed contract, though, may make the borrower think twice before attempting to evade his or her responsibilities. Carol Keane is a Certified Public Accountant in Walnut Creek. Email her at

CA License #0692378 Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. Financial planning services and investments available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2007 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

Preplanning means accommodating your wishes, your budget and your attitudes about death, dying and parting rituals. It means providing an environment where you can make choices based on your own personal values. It means dignity without an astronomical price tag. It means doing things your way, not someone else’s way.

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be her third child. “I’m so sorry,” Carter told the woman, giving her a reassuring hug and handing her a copy of the book. “I want you to have this, from me. I hope it will help you get through this. I know it’s hard. Believe me, I know.” For Carter, the next step will be in mid-September, when a nationwide book signing and marketing tour will take place. Carter is hoping that like some of Tate’s other clients, she might be fortunate enough to get some television attention. There are more books planned and she is already halfway through a second manuscript, this one on relationships and marriage. She sent out surveys to a hundred women, with questions ranging from how they felt about

fidelity and what they believe to be the secrets to a strong marriage. “I love writing,” Carter said. “This will be an awesome book. It’s about women being strong. It’s the kind of book Oprah would have.” A third book is planned on abuse. Tate Publishing has right of first look for both books. For now, Sorelle keeps Carter busy, although she wishes she would have more time to write. After teasing her at the start of her writing journey, her family now revels in her success. “I told them Oprah will be calling me, just you watch,” she said. “Now they tell me … ‘Maybe it will happen.’ ” Carter starts to laugh at the prospect. “Maybe it will happen.”

July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 19

Wilma Stone recalls the past, revels in the present COLLEEN ELWY

SHARING HISTORY Wilma Stone’s affectionate and colorful spirit sparkles not only in her personality, but also through her artistic handmade beaded jewelry that she takes great pride in making and selling. At 87, Wilma appreciates all that she has, a fact that is revealed also in the delightful paintings she has done that adorn her apartment. Wilma recalls her childhood in Oklahoma as a more simple time, when her family made things work. “When I was a child, we didn’t have an ice box to keep things cold. One day my mother and I walked two miles to get a block of ice,” she

reminisces. “It was bound in twine, and my mother wrapped it in blankets and we carried it home. We would chop a little off to use for our iced tea, too. It was a very depressing time.” But her strong family spirit and hard working values were what seem to have impacted Wilma most. “My dad took a job cutting sprouts that were

growing around trees that had been cut down. My mother and I worked with him for two weeks bending over and cutting those sprouts with an axe, and we got a total of $10 for all of that work,” she says. “But that was $10 more than others had.” Having enough to eat was never a problem, even in the hardest of times. “We would

“My mother and I worked...for two weeks bending over and cutting those sprouts with an axe, and we got a total of $10 for all of that work. But that was $10 more than others had.” Wilma Stone

Photo courtesy of Wilma Stone


dry peas on the vines and then put them in a cotton sack. I had to stomp on them so that the husks would come off of the peas,” she recalls. “I was petite and not as heavy as my sister, so that was my family job.” Wilma met her husband in school, and they moved to California during the Depression, when very few jobs were available in Oklahoma. The young couple moved to be with Wilma’s sister who lived on Maltby Ranch in Concord. A generous and publicly spirited A.W. Maltby was a wealthy man of his times and life seemed to take an uplifting turn for Wilma, her husband and her newborn son. “We lived in my sister’s house on the ranch for about a month,” she says. “And then the manager of the ranch moved a house from one area right next to hers so that we could move in it. The ranch stretched from Willow Pass Road to Port Chicago Highway and was a beautiful place to be raising children.” Stone’s husband of 63 years, Jesse Stone, worked on the ranch driving a tractor, along with planting and irrigating sugar beets. The Concord area ranch provided work for many and had barracks type housing for those that would dig up the sugar beets and load them. Thinking back on how much has changed, Wilma recalls, “My daughter was born in the

Concord Hospital when it was a house. The whole area around here was just farmland.” After living on the ranch, the Stones moved to various towns in the area. Work for Wilma included being involved in making glaucoma testing kits at Systron Donner, becoming a successful real estate agent and having her own ceramic business. Wilma has two children, two grandsons and a greatgrandchild, and since coming to Diamond Terrace has met her friend, Bill, also a resident and a very special companion in her life. When asked about the changes in the world that have had the most impact on her, Wilma laughs and says, “Everything! I didn’t have very many clothes, and I love to shop now. I am making up for the very little we had when I was a child and am really enjoying myself.”


And it’s the twinkle in her eyes that lets you know that even though things may have been rough at times, life has been good to her in so many ways. If you are a senior living in Clayton, or know of a senior that would like to share their life story with the Clayton Pioneer readers, please contact Colleen Elwy at 672-9565 or at Frien Reliab dly & le Ser vice

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The ABCs of retirement investing Before you take a vacation market is performing. But the overseas, it would be wise to Dow is comprised of just 30 learn the language. You don’t stocks, such as Wal-mart, necessarily need to become flu- McDonald’s, 3M, etc. So big ent, but you should at least know price movements in one or two a few common phrases to help stocks can have a significant you get around. If you don’t impact on how the index moves. know how to say “Which way to The Dow is a price-weighted the train station,” index, meaning you could become that stocks with lost in translation. the highest price The same have the biggest advice holds true impact on how during your savthe index perings journey forms. toward retirement. Standard & Gaining a basic Poor’s 500 understanding of stock index. the language of Like its name MURELEEN BENTON finance is an suggests, the important step FINANCIAL SENSE S&P 500 conbefore navigating sists of 500 Wall Street. Here are some com- stocks of mostly large-cap common financial terms: panies. Large-cap is a term used Stock indices. These are to define the size of the compaused to get a sense of what is ny, based on stock value. The happening in the stock market. S&P 500 is weighted by market Because it’s not possible to capitalization, an estimated total invest directly in an index, it is value of a company’s stock. important to remember that the Companies with the largest performance of an index is not market value get the largest repnecessarily reflective of individ- resentation on the S&P 500. ual investments in your own Despite the differences in samportfolio. Indices are generally ple size and measurement, the used to help identify trends and Dow and the S&P 500 have determine the overall health of tended to generally track in a the markets. similar direction over the long Dow Jones industrial aver- run. age. You’ve probably heard of Nasdaq Composite index. the Dow Jones in the news as a Nasdaq is an acronym for the yardstick of how the overall National Association of

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“Gaining a basic understanding of the language of finance is an important step before navigating Wall Street.” Mureleen Benton consists of more than 5,000 over-the-counter stocks, dominated by smaller technology companies. But there are also some big-name stocks in the index, like Apple and Microsoft. Because of its focus on tech stocks, the Nasdaq is not considered to be a good representation of the market as a whole. Wilshire 5000 Equity index. This is considered the broadest measure of overall stock market performance. It tracks the movements of all U.S. equity securities with readily available price data. The index now totals about 5,400 stocks that meet its qualifications. Russell 2000 index. The Russell 2000 index is designed to give investors information on the stock performance of smaller companies. It tracks the 2,000 smallest stocks out of 3,000

tracked by Russell Investments. The stocks in this index are considered more commonly traded, small-cap stocks, even though there are thousands of even smaller, publicly traded companies listed on the stock markets. MSCI EAFE Index. This is a well-known index for international investing. The full name is the Morgan Stanley Capital Europe Australasia Far East Index. It measures overall returns of non-U.S. stocks from equity markets in 21 developed countries. Key economic indicators. These statistics are released by the federal government on a regular basis. There are countless statistics that can be interpreted in many different ways, but here are some of the most common factors that economists watch. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is the primary measure of the nation’s economic health, but it only tells us where the U.S. economy has been – not where it is going. GDP represents the total value of goods and services produced in the U.S. economy and is reported by the government quarterly. Real GDP, on the other hand, is adjusted for inflation. If real GDP contracts, it may lead to a recession.

See Investing page 20

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Clayton Pioneer •

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Myths The Credit Bureaus Want You To Believe Continued from July 11, 2008 -By Kevin Roberts

Myth No. 2 – A negative item that is successfully removed from your credit report will simply reappear again. The reality is that a creditor has 30 days to verify a dispute. If the credit bureau has not heard from the creditor within that time frame, they must delete the item from your report. Sometimes the bureaus will perform a soft delete. This is where they delete the item from your report but, will reinsert the item if they hear from the creditor within a week or two of the 30 days. If this happens, the item can be disputed again. However, most of the time, once an item is deleted, it is gone for good. By using our preferred attorneys, you can be sure your item will be disputed over and over again until it is removed. We have experienced a 96 percent success rate with this. Myth No. 3 – Bankruptcies, foreclosures and tax liens can never be taken off your credit report. Approached correctly, any negative listing can be removed. That is why it is best to work with a professional. They have the experience and know how to remove these items. To get the rest of the article, contact Kevin Roberts, president of Classic Mortgage Company. He specializes in helping release his clients from the “credit prison” that too many people find themselves in. When you or one of your friends finds yourself needing real answers and real solutions to credit issues, you can confidentially contact him at 925-932-3157 or You can also get more information at

July 25, 2008

Welcoming cheers from AJ’s Sports Pub and Grill where ‘everybody knows your name’ ANDRÉ GENSBURGER Clayton Pioneer

Andy Steinberg tells the story about Mickey Mantle in a reserved and quiet voice as you pass the photograph of the original Yankee Stadium in the hall at AJ’s Sports Pub and Grill. The picture showed the original stadium, not the refurbished one from the seventies, or the new stadium that holds none of the history of the sport or the ghosts of the many legends who played there. “I was just this kid, standing outside Yankee Stadium and there was Mickey Mantle walking toward the press entrance where the players would go in,” Steinberg said. “And I ran beside him and asked, ‘Please Mr. Mantle, could I get your autograph?’ And Mantle just looked down at me, said nothing and kept on walking. I must have asked ten times and the whole time he just looked down at me and didn’t answer. And then he went in the stadium and I stood there. He was a hero. And at that moment I knew you had to choose your heroes carefully.” AJ’s, named by Andy’s son, Jordan, who works with his dad part of the week, had told his father that the name “Andy’s Sport’s Pub” wasn’t masculine enough. As AJ’s, it covers Andy’s middle name and his son’s name making the place a family business, something that Andy would like more prominently known in the community. Sure, there is a sports bar up front that Andy patterned after the Cheers bar, a place where regulars could gather and form friendships, a dining room midsection and a lounge area complete with mismatched chairs, couches, pool tables and a large 62 inch television. He took that

concept from the European Starbucks that, unlike their American counterparts, have large seating areas with clusters of chairs and couches. AJ’s has been in his Clayton Road location for twenty months, taking over where Pickwick’s Pub used to be.

André Gensburger/Clayton Pioneer

ANDY STEINBERG stands in front of a photo of Yankee Stadium as he remembers it as a kid, watching the giants of baseball playing games on lazy summer days. Before that, it was a popular Mexican restaurant. It was while Pickwick’s was open that Andy came across the place, looking for a setting that would meet his requirements; good location, good parking, good traffic. As it turned out the traffic was a bit too good. “People go very fast down this stretch of Clayton Road,” Andy said. “It’s easy to miss us. Coming the other way, island shrubbery blocks the view of the sign.” Originally from The Bronx, New York, Steinberg has had a colorful history. “I’ve been in this business for over 22 years,” he said. “I started as a dishwash-

Investing, from page 19 Typically, real GDP grows by 3 or 4 percent annually. If the number is close to zero or negative, it is a signal that the U.S. economy may be in a recession. Recession. There has been much debate about whether the economy is in a recession. The technical definition for recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth (which sounds like an oxymoron). When the Real GDP declines two consecutive quarters, the National Bureau of Economic Research will typically report a recession. The real GDP for the first three

er and worked up to a prep cook, cook, manager. I was a restaurant manager for 12 years including at the San Francisco Opera House as the Food and Beverage Manager and General Manager of the Golden Gate Yacht Club.” At that point, Steinberg

months of 2008 was 0.6 percent, very close to zero but not negative. Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI measures inflation. It’s a good gauge of how much more, or sometimes less, you are paying for the things you buy. The CPI is released by the Labor Department every month, and the statistics go back to 1913. The CPI tracks the prices of a fixed basket of goods and services that can be compared month to month and year after year. Core CPI. For a better indicator of the underlying trend in inflation, economists often

decided to “give back to society”, went to school to get a teaching credential and taught history in the Novato School District for the next five years. “I love history,” he said. “Look how much history there is in sports.” His European roots gave him a cultural influence and appreciation. “My grandfather was from Germany and when he immigrated it was to the lower East Side where he sold produce.” He grew up three miles from Yankee Stadium and from that came a love of sports. He recalls taking the subway for a few stops and getting to hangout at

exclude food and energy prices from the CPI. They do this not because food and energy prices are unimportant but because they are so volatile. This measure of inflation is called the core CPI. For example, the April CPI was up 3.9 percent from a year earlier, while the core CPI was up only 2.3 percent. At the moment, the underlying inflation trend still looks well contained. Employment and Unemployment numbers. The U.S. Department of Labor reports two measures of the job market every month. One of the most commonly watched, particularly in challenging economic times, is the unemployment rate. This typically sits at

the ballpark watching the giants of sports for a dollar. It was a paradise for kids. “I remember (Yankees Pitcher) Whitey Ford signing autographs for the kids,” he said. “All the games that revolved around that little ball called Spaulding.” Steinberg wants AJ’s to a family place where you can bring he kids and not worry about them running amok. “It’s about family,” he said, explaining how South American cultures have large groups at meals and the kids get to play around. That doesn’t bother him at all. For the last month the dining section and lounge have been out of commission due to the damage caused by a ruptured water main. Almost ready to be re-opened, Steinberg is glad that the bar has maintained a steady flow of customers able to adapt to eating up front and coping with the restoration going on in back. Steinberg is hoping his new “South of the Border” menu variety will strike a chord with the customers, everything from Cuban Sandwiches, Jamaican Pulled Pork, Tri-tip, Steak and more from John, his new chef. And then there are the events like the pool tournaments, and the Blues, Brews and BBQ’s held Sundays where friends show up spontaneously and play their music. “We’ve got the Olympics coming up and this is the place to be,” Steinberg adds. “It’s a family place where you can feel at home, where you can bring the kids and where everyone gets to know your name. What more could you want?”

AJ’s Sports Pub and Grill is located at 4633 Clayton Rd, Concord, phone 459-0574 or online at

4-5 percent, and historically, that has been considered to represent as close to full employment as the nation’s economy can typically achieve, though the rate has been lower than that from time to time. The U.S. unemployment rate for April was 5 percent.

Mureleen Benton is a Certified Financial Planner. Call her with questions at 685-4523 This information is provided for informational purposes only. The information is intended to be generic in nature and should not be applied or relied upon in any particular situation without the advice of your tax, legal and/or your financial advisor. The views expressed may not be suitable for every situation. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member NASD and SIPC, part of Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

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July 25, 2008

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 21

Stalking the Wild Celery southern Sweden, the British Isles, India, China, New Zealand, Tierra del Fuego in S o u t h

We Americans treat celery as somewhat of a lowly vegetable, mostly for snacking and as a diet food. This tradition undercuts its honorable history. Celery was originally recognized as “smallage,” a wild, bitter marsh plant. Recognized for its medicinal properties, the first mention of celery can be found in the “Odyssey,” Homer’s epic poem. While you may have thought the Greeks crowned their athletic victors with laurel leaves, celery leaves were commonly used too Celery probably originated in the Mediterranean, but lots of relatives are found around the world—in the marshes of

Seasoning. Celery seeds are revered in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, where they are used to treat a host of diseases and chronic conditions. Related to parsley, fennel, dill, carrots and parsnips, celery cookery

America, and even the Himalayas. Domesticated around 3,000 years ago, celery still required a couple of millennia to weed out some of its less desirable characteristics like hollow stalks and bitter flavors. These days, Europeans and much of the rest of the world prefer stalk celery that is self-blanching (white or yellow) while North Americans gravitate toward green (Pascal) celery. Celery is also grown for its seeds, which yield a valuable oil used these days in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. Celery seeds can be used as flavoring or spice either as whole seeds or as celery salt (ground seeds mixed with salt). You’ll find celery seeds in Bloody Mary cocktails, Chicago-style hot dogs and in Old Bay

evolved relatively late, appearing on French and Italian tables in the 17th century. Celery along with onions and carrots comprise mirepoix and sofrito—the aromatic vegetables employed as the basis of French and Italian sauce cookery. It’s also a component of “the Trinity” of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine (celery, green pepper and onions). Celery cultivation came late to the United States. In the mid1800’s a Scotsman named James Taylor planted some seeds in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A Dutch immigrant succeeded in marketing the crunchy vegetable soon thereafter and in short order,

Kalamazoo became known as “Celery City.” Here in Northern California we are blessed with a year-round supply of celery from parts of the Central Valley and Monterey Bay. It’s versatile either cooked or raw, so make it part of your “Five a Day” plan. Fill celery with peanut butter for a protein-packed crunchy snack. Braised celery makes a great vegetable side dish. Raw, it marries well in all sorts of stuffings, soups and stirfrys. Don’t overlook the leaves, which contain most of the vitamin C, calcium and potassium. Mince them as a garnish or incorporate them as I do in potato salad—which allows me to use celery three ways: SUMMER POTATO SALAD 2 ½ to 3 lbs Yukon Golds or red potatoes 1 Tbsp cider vinegar

¼ c red onion ¼ c chopped celery 2 Tbsp chopped celery leaves ½ c mayonnaise 2 Tbsp plain yogurt 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard ½ tsp salt (or more to taste) ½ tsp celery seed 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped Peel (if desired) potatoes and cut into ¾” pieces. Cook in simmering water for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and toss lightly with cider vinegar. Refrigerate until cool. Prepare dressing from mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, salt, and celery seed. Add celery and onions to cooled potatoes. Toss gently with dressing. Add more yogurt if desired for a creamier dressing. Fold in eggs just before serving. Celery seed takes center stage in coleslaw, another summertime salad favorite: COLESLAW ¼ c sugar ¼ c mayonnaise ¼ c plain yogurt 2 Tbsp cider vinegar





½ tsp salt ½ to 1 tsp celery seed ½ head cabbage, finely shredded Whisk together dressing ingredients. Dip a piece of cabbage in the dressing and add more sugar, salt or vinegar as necessary to balance out the bitterness of the cabbage. Toss the dressing with the cabbage and serve. For color variations, add ½ c grated carrot or substitute part of the white cabbage for red cabbage. Linda Wyner, a local attorney and foodie, owns Pans on Fire, a gourmet cookware store and cooking school in Pleasanton. Direct your suggestions or questions to

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be able to repair or replace just the damaged parts. When the entire joint is damaged, a total joint replacement is done. To replace a total hip or knee joint, a surgeon removes the diseased or damaged parts and inserts artificial parts called prostheses, or implants. These prostheses are considered medical devices, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. WHY JOINT REPLACEMENT? The most common reason for having a hip or knee replacement is osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint disease is not limited to older people, though it most commonly affects people over the age of 45. Younger men and woman may also get this disease. Some people are born with a deformed joint or defective cartilage. Excess weight, joint fracture, ligament tears or other injury can cause osteoarthritis. Loss of bone caused by poor blood supply (vascular necrosis) and bone tumors may be other reasons for joint replacement. Joint replacement is becoming more common. About 435,000 Americans have a hip or knee replaced each year. The benefits can be life changing for many who have lived with chronic pain. Any surgery has risks. Risks of joint surgery will depend on your health before surgery and the severity of your

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particular situation. A doctor specializing in joint replacement will work with you before, during and after surgery to guide you through this process. With hip or knee surgery, you may be able to go home in three to five days. Having additional problems may extend your hospital stay or require transferring to a care facility before going home. How long you stay in the hospital will be determined by you and your team of doctors. Physical therapy can usually begin the day after surgery to help strengthen the muscles around the new joint. Regaining a full range of motion is always the hopeful outcome. As you move your new joint and let your muscles grow strong again, pain will lesson and flexibility will increase. Joint replacement is usually a success in more than 90 percent of people who have it. Experiencing knee, hip or any other joint pain can be life altering. Not being able to do the things you enjoy or even the task of walking can become difficult. If you are experiencing joint pain that is making your life less enjoyable, consult your doctor with any questions you may have. Help is out there. Kelly Ferro is Marketing Director for Aegis of Concord. Send comments or questions to


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Clayton Pioneer •

July 25, 2008

Pamper your garden by repairing heat damage



time. The feedings that we applied in February and March have been used up, and signs of summer are definitely showing. First, it is time to cut back all blooming stems a third down, removing all the tired and woody stems. This is a good idea to do to all roses, hybrid teas to carpet roses. Cut them back and give them a reshaping. Pull off the inner leaves that are yellow or dis-

have been applied and worked into the soil, another watering session is needed. This is an important step, because watering the fertilizer makes it available to the plant sooner, before the soil becomes dry again. Take some additional rose time early in the morning before the sun and the heat, or late at night, to apply a dose of horticultural oil. This

applied at this time to help prevent leaf dehydration caused by late summer heat spells. Next season, we need to remember to use products like Cloud Cover earlier in the year to prevent summer stress on our plants. Our garden’s perennials need some tending as well. All of the spring bloomers should have a third of their growth removed. This may encourage a fall bloom display. Look around the garden for any African Daisies, English Lavender, neimesia, diascia corydalis, salvia greggi, spirea and monarda – then cut them back. Spiking perennials need to have former blossoms removed as well, like all the heuchera, salvias such as May night, the fox varieties of Veronica, the society garlic and agapantha. Once the pruning is finished, water, fertilize and water again. The acid lovers in the garden also are hungry. Feed your camellias, azaleas, gardenias, loropedalum, conifers, boxwood and hydrangeas with food designed for acidloving plants. At this time, add iron to the plant’s drip line. We eat our food and take our vitamins; our plants need to also. Read the directions on the label of your fertilizer. Avoid working the feed into the soil around the roots, because acid lovers have a shallow root system easily damaged by cultivation. Keep your lawn on the high side during summer months to help prevent dry-

Cloud cover can also be applied to your roses, especially on new installations. This will help prevent any foliage dehydration. Japanese maples definitely need some attention after the heat wave. To maximize our fall color enjoyment, our trees need good leaves. By stripping the damaged lateral leaf and stem away now, you free up the energy of the plant to

Nicole is on vacation. This article appeared in the August 4, 2006 issue of the Pioneer, but, she says, the information is worth repeating. The super hot temperatures during the last few weeks have wreaked havoc on our plants and gardens. Looking around the yard and nursery, you can see signs of sun damage everywhere. Young rose blossoms have scorched edges. Some plants have yellowish leaves due to too much water. The Japanese maples have perimeter leaf burn. The last remaining spring blooming perennials, such as the Bleeding Heart and the Siberian Bugloss, have almost been thrown into early dormancy, and lots of lawns round town are patchy yellowish brown. August is an important garden maintenance month. If we start doing our yard and garden work now, we will have three full months of garden enjoyment before the chill of fall steps in and quiets down our plants. Our garden’s roses are looking spent and tired at this

JAPANESE MAPLES may need some extra attention after the recent heat wave. If they have perimeter leaf burn, strip away any damaged leaf and stem. This will help the plant focus on new growth.

eased and discard all the remnants into your green waste container. Watering the roses is next on the list. It is a garden rule to only fertilize wet soil. After the fertilizer and minerals

will work as a pesticide as well as a preventative to rust and black spot. If using horticultural oil, you should apply every two to four weeks during the summer and never in the heat of the day.

focus on new leaf growth. Look closely at the stem. If the tree already has the bud of a new leaf trying to push out the damaged mature leaf, you are just helping nature along. Cloud cover should also be

A HEAT WAVE can be particularly hard on young rose blossoms. These show some serious scorching from the hot sun.

ing out. Water in the early morning. Feed with lawn food, following the bag’s directions for application. Apply iron to the lawn before August passes and spread some granular insecticide if hopping bugs or grubs are present. As you look around at your dry, cracking soil, consider spreading some mulch or bark around all your yard and plants. Not only will the overall look of the yard improve, the conditions for plant growth will improve as well. Covered soil stays moist longer, keeping plants happier. Happy plants also make the people who care for them happier. Take some extra time in your garden. Then, sit back and enjoy the rewards. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden Contact her with questions, comments or suggestions at

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JUL 25 Clayton Pioneer 2008.pdf  

See Election page 44 Clayton police officer Tim Marchut now sports a new uniform to go with his promotion to sergeant. On July 14, Sergeant...