Page 1

July 10, 2009


Pancakes and parade bring community together for an old-fashioned Fourth JULIE PIERCE

MAYOR’S CORNER Think recycling even when you’re away from home We’re all enjoying the warm weather and summer activities. The Grove and community parks are full of concert fans, sports teams and families with picnics. We’ve had great turnouts at the summer Concerts in The Grove – what fun! As I watched everyone pack up their stuff to leave after the last concert, it was clear how much pride we all have in our community as folks made sure every bit of trash was picked up and put in the receptacles. Thank you! I also realized it’s a great time for a reminder about recycling. I’m impressed by how many of us are using reusable dishes and cutlery – what a classy bunch of picnickers. But those who choose a simpler way and use paper plates and plastic ware

See Mayor, page 18

Downtown landscaping saved by the well TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

This summer’s 45 percent cut to irrigation water mandated by the Contra Costa Water District sent city staff underground to find alternatives to metered water. Improvements to the existing well behind the library and renovation of the abandoned well on High Street will provide enough water to save the downtown landscaping and keep the lawns green in The Grove, maintenance supervisor John Johnston reported at the June 30 City Council meeting. A $5,600 pump upgrade to the city-owned well behind the library now adds 12,000 gallons a day to the city’s irrigation water supply, enough to irrigate the median landscaping between Mitchell Canyon Road and Oakhurst Drive. The abandoned well on High Street can be renovated for about $26,000, far less than

See Water, page 6

Once again, Claytonians set aside political affiliations and sports team rivalries as they gathered downtown on July 4 to celebrate the country’s birthday. A sense of community was the prevailing spirit. “Although people have differences politically, we can still get together to celebrate our commitment to democracy,” said Karen Amos, who rode in the parade on the Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church float with daughters Bess and Katie. Many started early at the Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary pancake breakfast before gathering shoulder to shoulder along Main Street for the parade. The Clayton Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars kicked off the parade with the presentation of the American flag. The color guard stood at attention at the grandstand as the emcee, ABC 7 News anchor Dan Ashley, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Local choir Yesterday’s Kids sang the national anthem. Then, came the kids – hundreds of them – on bikes and trikes, pedal cars and scooters; in wagons and strollers, all bedecked for the day in sparkly red, white and blue. Proud parents strolled alongside with sunscreen, waving and calling out to the spectators.

See July 4, page 3

A father-son outing turned deadly late last month when Richard Sachtschale, 49, died of heat stroke while hiking on Mt. Diablo with his son. Sachtschale and his son Andrew, 17, were both experienced hikers. But on June 27, they were caught unprepared for temperatures that reached well into the triple digits. They started out early and entered the park at the Regency Gate about 7 a.m., heading up Donner Canyon to Mt. Olympia. The single track trail is steep and the going was slow. They reached the 3,000 ft. summit a little before noon. After a short rest, they started down, taking the longer route over North Peak, dropping down through Prospector’s Gap and heading down the fire trail. At Murchio Gap, with about half the hike still ahead, they ran out of water. Andrew estimates they had been hiking about six hours.

See Sachtschale, page 12

TUIJA CATALANO’S PHOTO of son Eric, 2 1/2, was the winning entry in the Pioneer’s 4th of July Celebration Photo Contest. Turn to page 18 for complete results.

Photo by Pete Barra

THE LARWOOD FAMILY COLLECTIVELY VOLUNTEERED over 1,500 hours at the Clayton Library last year. From left Cathy Kuo, Janet Larwood, Mayor Pierce, John Larwood and David Larwood

What’s Inside Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Church News . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Clayton man succumbs to heat on Mt. Diablo hike TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

It’s all in the family for library volunteers

David Larwood began volunteering at the Clayton Community Library so he could lead by example.



And sure enough, his daughter Janet, son John and his wife, Cathy Kuo, joined him in community service. The Clayton

Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Community Calendar . . . . . . .14 Deal With It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Directory of Advertisers . . . . . .5 Financial Sense . . . . . . . . . . .12

family received the city’s Library Volunteer Award at the June 16 City Council meeting. “I just think it’s so neat that

Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . .17 From the Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Movie Review . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

the whole family volunteers,” said Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen, the library’s volunteer coordinator. “I wanted my daughter to have volunteer experience for college applications,” David said. “I thought I should ‘test the water’ and I guess that sort of inspired them.” Janet volunteered at the library for four years while attending Clayton Valley High School. She graduated from UC Berkeley this year. When David needed help on Saturdays as lead volunteer, son John picked up a shift. John graduated from CVHS this year and will attend Cal Poly in the fall. John acknowledges the experience was helpful on college applications. But he also learned how to manage his time with responsibilities and to ask questions. “I’ve been working at it since

See Volunteer, page 3

On the Net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Police Log . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Police continue to investigate molestation charges ANDRÉ GENSBURGER Clayton Pioneer

Following reports of an abduction/child molestation of a 10-year-old Clayton boy on June 19, the normally quiet Clayton community has been abuzz with speculation as to what happened. Clayton police are taking the charges seriously, but with network news coverage and local

See Investigation, page 4

Clayton Police Department

A FORENSIC INTERVIEW with the victim gave artists enough detail to compile a sketch of the suspect.

Student Reporter . . . . . . . . . .13 Upcoming Events . . . . . . . . . .3 Weather Words . . . . . . . . . . .15 What Really Matters . . . . . . . .7

Page 2

Clayton Pioneer •

July 10, 2009

From page 1 Mayor Julie Pierce, the city council members and Supervisor Susan Bonilla waved to the crowds from vintage convertibles, followed by 42 parade entries from local churches and organizations. The Clayton Community Church float, paying homage to Betsy Ross and the American flag, brought up the rear as the choir closed with “God Bless America.” “The annual Clayton Fourth of July parade is a wonderful tradition,” says Ashley, a former Clayton resident. “It’s an all-American event, and I’m so proud to be part of it every year.” Jeff and Catherine Scott were there with their 11-month old daughter, Bentley. Jeff grew up in Clayton, and the annual July Fourth celebration is part of his history. But this year was the first for Catherine and Bentley. “We’re continuing the family tradition,” said Catherine. The Clayton July Fourth celebration began in the early 1970s when a few neighborhood kids on decorated bikes paraded up and down their Cardinet Glen neighborhood. The kiddie parade progressed to Main Street, and the eucalyptus grove became the place to be on the Fourth of July. The July 4 Celebration is co-sponsored by the city of Clayton, Allied Waste, CBCA and Jim Webb. Denisen Hartlove Tamara Steiner




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July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

At last, the deli is open After many delays and much wrangling over final inspections, Johnny’s International Deli and Cafe opened for business on arguably the busiest sandwich day of the year. County inspectors signed off on Wednesday. On Thursday, Johnny ordered the food in preparation for a hungry July 4 crowd. With huge crowds downtown for the parade, the line was out the Johnny Sandhu door by noon. The deli is on the back side of the Village Market facing Center Street.

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July 25


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Aug 22

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Weekly/Monthly Maintenance Heaters, Pumps, Filters Automation Wireless Systems Ozone Sanitation Systems Green Pool Clean-up

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Skipolini’s Pizza 1035 Diablo St., 672 - 1111 Village Market 6104 Main St., 672 - 0188 Johnny’s Int’l Deli & Cafe’ 6101 Center St., 567-5065 Cup O’Jo 6054 Main St., 672-5105 Lic. 926085. Bonded & Insured

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Volunteer, from page 1

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I nter nat

August 8 In Disguise

18, to pick up your donation left outside your front door. If you did not receive a flier, donation bins are in the copy room at the Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road, and the office of the Clayton Pioneer, 6200 Center St. Please drop off your donation by July 18.

know of,” said Nielsen. Because David is an experienced volunteer, he is allowed to check-in books. “It requires more handling,” explains Nielsen. “We could always use more volunteers,” David notes. “There is a one-year backlog of tutoring requests, and there is always shelving of books.” For more information about volunteering at the library, call 6730659.

Mixed Nuts Country

Girl Scout backpack drive continues through July 18

seventh grade; it’s nice to be recognized,” John said of the award. Library Volunteer Award recipients are nominated and chosen by consensus of the Clayton Community Library Foundation board. David and Cathy work for Bank of America, which matches each of their volunteer hours with a financial donation. “It’s the only company-matching plan for volunteering that I

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Look for more on this new downtown business in the July 24 issue of the Pioneer.

In their continuing effort to collect new backpacks and school supplies for the children of the Bay Area Crisis Nursery, Cadette Troop 30285 has delivered fliers to 2,000 homes in Clayton. If you received a flier, the Girl Scouts will be in your neighborhood on Saturday, July

Page 3

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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

Police beef up safety on city trails, plan bicycle patrols



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July 10, 2009



The approximately 17 miles of trails that weave through town are one of the amenities that contribute to Clayton’s “greatness.” The Clayton Police Department is charged with providing for the public safety in our community, including safety along our trail system. After the recently reported sexual assault, we heard from several sources that the suspect must have been a homeless person living around or in the underbrush along the trails and creeks. Although we believe this is not the case, safety on our trail system is a high priority for the police department.

In order to facilitate our efforts in providing for a safe environment on the trails, we have reinstituted bicycle patrols along the trail system. In addition, we will conduct random foot patrols on the trail system. Currently, we have three police bicycles and only one trained and certified bicycle officer. I plan to send two more officers to a bicycle training and certification course. Until that happens, I am assigning our only certified patrol officer to spend at least 25 percent of his patrol time on a bicycle patrolling the trail system. Even though we will have regular police patrols on the trails, it is paramount that trail users help us out by participating in their safety. If possible, carry a cell phone when you

walk, run or ride on the trail. Be aware of your surroundings and try to know where you are in relationship to nearby roads and streets. Report to the police all suspicious activity – such as homeless encampments or suspicious persons, illegal impromptu bicycle jumping structures, alcoholic beverage usage, acts of vandalism or anything else that may constitute a crime. We do not expect or want trail users to take action – just become the best eyewitnesses you can be. Use your cell phone and report the activity, providing the dispatcher with a good location of the occurrence and physical description of the suspects. Homeless encampments along the trails and creeks are a rare occurrence. When they have been spotted and report-

ed in the past, the police department had an immediate response and the occupants of the illegal encampments were encouraged to move to other areas of the county where crisis intervention was available. This strategy has been successful in the past, and at present we know of no homeless encampments in Clayton. We are convinced that a strong police presence on the trails, coupled with trail users taking an active role in reporting suspicious activity, will deter bad behavior and problems. This joint effort by the police department and trail users will contribute to safe trails for all of our use. Call the Clayton Police Department at 673-7350, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, if you have questions or have other pertinent information about trail safety.

Investigation, from page 1 blog generating much discussion, the police have been careful about releasing any information that might impede the investigation. Chief Dan Lawrence stressed the determination of his department to make headway in the case as well as bring it to a conclusion. “This criminal incident was a very serious and damaging event, especially to the young minor in this case,” he said. “We are investing an incredible amount of police resources and investigation time in order to identify and catch

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the suspect.” According to the victim, he was riding his bike near City Hall when a man jumped out of the bushes, knocking him off his bike and forcing him into the culvert – where he was molested. He described his attacker as 6 feet tall, of African American heritage with a goatee, and dressed in teal medical scrubs complete with surgical mask and cap. An extensive area check was conducted by both Clayton and Concord PD with the help of a police K9 and motorcycle units, the Clayton police reported. STAR2, the Contra Costa County Sheriff ’s Department helicopter, also assisted with an area check for the suspect, but he was not located. The victim underwent a forensic interview by area specialists, resulting in a composite sketch of the suspect that was released to the public. Compared to larger cities with hundreds of offenders, Clayton has only six registered sex offenders listed in the Megan’s Law database. Clayton Police are investigating several leads. With the detailed description provided by the victim, police feel optimistic. “I am hopeful that we will catch this suspect and provide the district attorney with a good case in order to convict him,” Lawrence said.

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A 10-YEAR OLD BOY was reportedly assaulted and sexually molested in this culvert next to City Hall on June 19.

Police Log ONE WEEK ENDING JUNE 25 ACCIDENTS June 25, 11:35 a.m., Heritage Trail. Traffic accident, no injuries. June 25, 9:19 p.m., Clayton Rd. Hit and run, property damage. ARRESTS June 19, 12:37 a.m., Kirker Pass Rd. and Olive Dr., a Antioch man, 20, was stopped for was arrested on a DUI after being stopped for erratic driving and expired tags. June 19, 2:50 a.m., Pine Hollow Rd. and Classic Wy., a Concord youth, 13 was stopped for a vehicle code violation and was released to the custody of his mother with a citation for driving without a license. A Concord youth, 15, a passenger in the car, was arrested for possessing a dangerous weapon and a controlled substance. June 20, 6:32 p.m., El Camino Dr., a Clayton youth, 15, and a Concord youth, 13, were issued citations for vandalizing homes

with paintballs. June 23, 6:35 p.m., Clayton Rd. and Mitchell Canyon Rd., a Clayton woman, 26, was stopped for a vehicle code violation and issued a citation for driving without a license. June 24, 1:32 a.m., Clayton Rd. and Heritage Trail, a Concord man, 39 was stopped for having an expired registration and issued a citation for driving with a suspended license. June 25, 12:54 a.m., Oak St. and Main St., a Walnut Creek woman, 26, was stopped for driving the wrong way on a one way ramp. She was arrested and charged with a DUI. June 19, 7:28 p.m., Joscolo View. Vehicle burglary June 19, 7:23 a.m., Blue Oak Ln. Vehicle burglary June 24, 11:21 a.m., Mt. Davidson Ct. Petty theft VANDALISM June 20, 6:32 p.m., El Camino Dr.

July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 5

Directory of Advertisers Auto Clayton Valley Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3900

P.O. Box 1246 6200 Center Street, Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517

Contra Costa Auto Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-1205 Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739

TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor A NDRÉ G ENSBURGER , Reporter and Feature Writer P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor R OBERT H ELENA , Sports B ETH N EUDELL , Advertising Sales C HRISTINA S CARLOTT , Administrative Assistant

Construction and Trades Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423 Insite Design and Build . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .980-0465 Michael Dwyer & Sons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3980 Olde World Mill & Cabinets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .915-0822 S&K Nellis Painting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-2233 Smith & Bernal Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0138

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Straight Line Imports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .335-9801

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

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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)

Tipperary Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-2679

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.


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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.

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Inser t

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Direct mailed to 8800 home s& businesses in Clayton & Co ncord.

The Clayton Pioneer welcomes letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 300 words or less 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.

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Aussie Pet Mobile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .800-738-6624

Found: Musical Instrument Found 5/25 after the parade. Call to identify 672-7252

Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100

RENTALS South Lake Tahoe Vacation Rental. Great location, sleeps 6 to 8 comfortably. Pictures and home details can be found at Still have questions, call Debbie Hansen at (925) 766-8961

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Clayton Pioneer •

Clayton estate home on 1.26 acres, only $1,375,000 3 fireplaces, a gourmet granite kitchen, beautiful formal dining room, to its Master Suite with his & hers walk-in closets, this home is filled with casual elegance. Located 3 doors from Mt. Diablo state park it has awesome views from there to over Clayton to the Sacramento River & Napa hills beyond. A 9-Hole putting green, it’s own regulation horseshoe pit, granite outdoor kitchen with Bar and BBQ, a 9’x12’ inground Spa, a burning pit, Barn, rose garden, room for a pool, and it’s own

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Richard Sachtschale 1959 – 2009 Rick Sachtschale, 49, passed away suddenly on June 27, 2009. The day he left us, he was doing what he loved, hiking the hills of Mt. Diablo with his son. Rick was born in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He was an accomplished musician and played the saxophone throughout his life. He worked for over twenty years as an electrical engineer and could explain his work on particle accelerators and magnetic cooling systems to the average person. Rick and his wife, Ellen, were married nineteen years and have lived in Clayton since 1998. Scouting was an integral part of Rick’s life. He was active with his son, Andrew, in Boy Scout Troop 484 of Clayton. Rick also serenaded many with his saxophone and was famous

for drinking imported and home brewed beer with his homemade Chicago style pizza. Rick is survived by his wife Ellen, and their beautiful children – son, Andrew and daughters, Eva and Rosie; parents Kathleen and Richard Sachtschale of Chicago, Illinois, brothers, Tim and John Sachtschale and sisters, Madonna Houser and Julie Esau. Rick was passionate about his family, jazz and blues music, the Grateful Dead, Boy Scouts and making his Chicago style pizza. He could play a wide variety of musical instruments and we will miss seeing him jammin’ on the sax on stage at music clubs. We will never forget the philosophical talks we had with him while backpacking in the Grand Canyon and up and down many mountains in the Sierras. Rick will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Robert Roman 1929 – 2009 Robert Alkire Roman, 80, of Las Vegas NV died July 2, 2009 in Las Vegas. Bob, a former longtime resident of Clayton, was a retired banker. He was a past president and charter member of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary. Bob was a longtime faithful Chicago Cubs fan who enjoyed his yearly trips to spring training with family. Bob is survived by his wife,

Magdalena (Leni); daughters, Krista Craigie (Keith), Gabrielle Barkley and Candace Roman; son, Robert Roman Jr.; sister Nancy Cunningham and brother Richard Roman. Memorials in Bob’s name may be made to Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary, P.O. Box 4, Clayton CA, 94517, for their various charities.

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Situated on a Quiet Cul-de-Sac, this beautiful home features tastefully remodeled kitchen with Granite Counters and a Stainless Steel Jenn-Aire Range. Spacious Backyard with Inviting Pool, and Views of Mt. Diablo. This Home Has 4 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms, and Plenty of Living Space. Offered at $674,950.

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The Rev. Linda Ellen Regan, a retired minister and member of the San Francisco Presbytery, died on June 13 at the age of 68. Born in 1940 in San Francisco, Linda earned her undergraduate degree at Occidental College in Los Angeles and a teaching certificate at San Francisco State. After several years as a home teacher for emotionally disturbed high school students, Linda was hired at her home church, First Presbyterian in Burlingame, as director of Christian education. She then attended the San Francisco Theological Seminary, graduated in 1983 and was ordained in 1984 to serve as an associate pastor at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. In 1988, she became pastor at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, where she served until retirement in 2002 and was honored as pastor emerita in 2005. Linda earned her pilot’s license at the age of 50 and was a member of the Ninety-Nines, an International Organization of Women Pilots. In 1994, she participated in the first Pilot’s Tour of

Israel (codename: operation peace flight). This was when Jordan’s King Hussein and Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a peace treaty ending 46 years of hostility. It marked the first time that any airplane had been allowed to fly from either of the neighboring countries to the other – opening the door for a free flow of general aviation traffic between Israel and Jordan. In 2002, Linda received a lifelong achievement award from the Concord Human Relations Commission as she was the driving force behind the development of Kirker Court, a 20-unit independent living apartment complex for people affected by mental illness. She also contributed to the health and medical community by volunteering since 1994 as a pastor of visitation at Mt. Diablo Hospital (John Muir at Concord) and served on the Pastoral Care Steering Committee that supported the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for interns and students. Her assistance directly enabled the certification of the CPE program at Mt. Diablo Hospital as a teaching program. Linda served in many ways throughout the San Francisco Presbytery and on behalf of the wider church. In recent years, she was vice moderator, moderator and council chair. Well into her retirement years, Linda continued to preach, teach, lead retreats and perform weddings. She was known for her empathy toward all, compassion for the wounded and joyful faith in any situation. Linda is survived by her sister Barbara, her nieces Erica and Anita, and nephew Arnold. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, 1578 Kirker Pass Road, Concord.

Water, from page 1 Why do you read the Pioneer? …we all love the Pioneer and absolutely feel that you guys provide the newsprint-glue that holds Clayton together. Keep up the good work! Best wishes from your local mutual admiration society member Linda Johnson, Executive Director Diamond Terrace Retirement Community

previous six-figure estimates. In recent testing, the well produced a constant 25 gallons per minute over several hours. A 5,000 gallon tank will store enough water to meet the daily irrigation needs of The Grove. Metered water would still be needed for the water play feature and the public restrooms. Johnston expects to have the well operational by mid-July. Operating costs for the wells are minimal. Estimated annual cost for electricity and maintenance to run the High Street well is less than $3,000 a year. Two city-owned wells in Westwood and Lydia Lane parks could provide additional irrigation water. The wells are not connected to existing mains, but water could be trucked to other areas. The wells, installed by the Oakhurst developers as part of the development agreement with the city, provide irrigation water for the parks and the Oakhurst golf course.

July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 7


Reflections on

The Great American Dream DAN ASHLEY

WHAT REALLY MATTERS I forgot to put up our American flag by the front door on Memorial Day and vowed not to make the same mistake come July 4. So, in addition to flying Old Glory, I’m throwing in a newspaper column to round out my acknowledgment of the holiday and the purpose behind it. There’s a man I met recently who understands full well what so many of us born here sometimes take for granted. His name is Santiago Gonzales. I met his son by chance on a recent trip to Las Vegas and he introduced me to his old man. We sat at a Vegas bar for half an hour on a Saturday night a few weeks ago and I heard his life story which is, in so many ways, a story that is uniquely American. Santiago immigrated to the United States from Cuba in December 1961. He came to these shores as a 20-year-old man with just 35 cents in his pocket to seek opportunity and the chance for a better life. He knew that there were no guarantees, but he also knew that he could get a shot, a fair shake, at earning a good living by leaving his parents and siblings and starting fresh in a foreign land. That is a fundamental part of the promise of America: Come,

work hard, live free and find happiness. It’s in this country’s Constitution and it’s in our DNA. I know of no other country that will make that same bargain. As so many immigrants who came before him and since, Santiago arrived in New York City with some spare change in his pocket and a dream in his heart. His English wasn’t great, but you didn’t need to be fluent to wash dishes so he was hired at a restaurant at 26th Street and 7th Avenue. From dishwasher came a promotion to bus boy --a small distinction, unless you’re the one getting it. If it’s you, it’s progress and that’s precisely what it was to Santiago. “You want to work, here is work. They didn’t care about my background,” Santiago told me over that Saturday night margarita. But Santiago knew from the beginning that he would need a trade to make a real living in the States, so he paid $50 to an agency to start him as a messenger and a janitor at an engraving company in New York. The pay wasn’t great, but the chance to learn a skill was huge. When Santiago punched out each day at 4:30, he would stay for hours into the evening to watch the engravers at work. He was off the clock but on the move. They taught him everything there was to know about

the craft and he soaked it up like a sponge. This was the opportunity he had left his homeland to find and it would not be squandered. Fast-forward a few years. Santiago was now a full-time engraver with enormous skill and his own business that would support his family comfortably and send his son, my friend, to college. “I love the freedom,” he says about his adopted country. For Santiago, and so many others like him, America had kept her promise. But it was not a one-sided arrangement. “Too many people come here to take and not to build,” Santiago says. This is a man with little patience for those who will not work, for those who think something is owed to them without earning it first. “It’s easy to complain here. If young people would only build on what has already been built,” Santiago insists, then they and the country would be that much better off. It is the perspective of a man who is an American by choice, not by birth. He tells me it hurts him to see how many people take what we have here for granted. It should hurt all of us. As nice as it is for a lot of people to get the day off from work, grill hot dogs and burgers and enjoy the fireworks on July 4th, What Really Matters is

that we pause, if even for a moment, to recognize our extreme good fortune in this country. It is a cliché that happens to be true; America is an idea, a nation formed around a piece of paper, a remarkable document that lays out what we stand for, what we believe in and what we strive to achieve. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not just glossy words, but the heart of what this country is meant to offer her people. It’s what America offered to an eager young man who came here 48 years ago from Cuba, practically penniless, to make a new life. Santiago Gonzales, the engraver who etched his own name into the continuing American story.

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Know what you can afford before looking Buying a home can be an enriching experience. But it can also be frustrating if you waste time looking at homes you can’t afford. Do yourself a favor and find out how much you can afford before you start looking. Three factors will determine your price range. The first is the amount of cash you have for a down payment and closing costs. The second is the size of the mortgage for which you can qualify. The final factor is how much you want to pay. Although some buyers can pay cash, most must borrow from a lender to finance their home purchase. To qualify you for a mortgage, a lender will analyze your financial situation, including your credit history, to make sure that you are a good credit risk. The easiest way to find out what size mortgage you qualify

for is to talk to a lender or mortgage broker. To find a good lender or mortgage broker, ask for recommendations from friends who purchased or refinanced a home recently. You may want to talk with several people before choosing one. Assemble the following information about your current financial situation before you make any calls: your gross income (before income taxes are subtracted), your outstanding debts (i.e. a car or student loan and unpaid credit card bills), any recurring obligations such as alimony or child support, and the amount of cash you have available for a down payment and closing costs. Based on this information, a lender or broker can tell you how much you can afford. This cursory review of your finances is called prequalifica-


30-year Clayton residents

Clayton Valley LYNNE FRENCH

REAL ESTATE tion. Once you’ve been prequalified, you can start looking at homes for sale. This will give you a sense for how much house you will get for the price you can afford. As soon as you are serious about buying, you should get formally approved for the mortgage you’ll need to complete a purchase. Preapproval is the process by which you are formally approved for a mortgage. You will need to submit a loan application, and the lender will check your credit history and verify all of your financial documentation.

See French, page 17

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

% off 40 any service Donna Plavetzky, former owner of Clayton Hair Works, is serving you now at Lela’s Salon in the Clayton Station.

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We are born into families, but we choose our friends. This Pioneer series takes a look into how we choose them and why.

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Ask 12 people to define the word “friend,” and you’ll get a dozen different answers. Add the word “best” and the number of responses becomes exponential ranging from “I don’t have a ‘best’ because I don’t like the word,” to “I have four best friends, each in a different category.” It turns out that defining “friend,” a thing so common its meaning is often taken for granted, is a terrific puzzle. Exploring friendship is part mystery, part adventure and, thankfully, a journey whose reward is in the unfolding. Ward Steiner and Dave Olsen met 38 years ago at Clayton Valley High School. Despite differences in personality – Steiner was an exuberant, eager conversationalist while Olsen a selfproclaimed introvert – they shared common interests in cars, airplanes, camping and girls. The connection was immediate and tight. “It’s a guy thing. We just clicked,” Olsen says.

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At age 54 and 53 respectively, the two men enjoy a deep, easy friendship, enriched by years of flying, talking and riding life’s ups and downs. “Dave is unusual,” Steiner says. “His word is his bond and if something goes wrong, he doesn’t whine or moan, he just gets to it.” LESSONS IN SHARING Under the surface of shared interests and a general enthusiasm for life, it’s apparent how much they’ve learned from each other. Steiner relies on Olsen to strip the emotion away when things get too intense, helping him to be more realistic and reducing the drama of rough patches. Olsen, in turn, admires his friend’s open heart and casual comfort with strangers. He hasn’t become a bubbling fountain of words, but he has learned from Steiner the small things a man can do to make his wife feel special and how to be more trusting. Olsen attributes the longevity of their friendship to a lack of expectations, telling a short story whose title, if published, would be “Wheels Up.” In the past, the men often flew together, arranging to meet early in the morning. Their scheduled takeoff time, what they called “wheels up,”

was 5:30 a.m. One day, Olsen arrived five minutes late. Steiner had taken off, no waiting around. Olsen wasn’t angry or in a huff; he knew he was late and hadn’t expected Steiner to delay the departure. The absence of discord is notable between the two friends. Neither can recall ever being angry, although Steiner laughs and admits: “Both of us, in friendship, raise our voices to make our point.” FINDING THE RIGHT FIT One could assume that geography is what knits the men together. But they’ve been separated at various times during the 38 years and even now don’t see each other every day. “We can go months without talking, then pick it up and go,” says Olsen, supporting his lowexpectation theory of friendship. Common values are hardly the foundation, either. They spend a large portion of their time together discussing religion, a subject on which they are “diametrically opposed,” according to Steiner. Clearly, proximity, shared faith and consistency alone can’t determine the success or failure of a friendship. We also

shouldn’t rely on the expectation that male connections are based on punches on the shoulder and rough grunts. Given time and a nonjudgmental audience, Steiner and Olsen reveal a surprising vulnerability -- especially for two guys who hint at semi-wild escapades in the past and lean toward teasing more than tears. Studying any configuration of friends is like looking at a box and trying to guess what is inside. You notice the “handle with care!” and take into account how long it has sat in front of you. You look to see who sent it. And if the box is from a friend, you just know it’s going to be good. How do you describe that instinctive feeling? Olsen calls Steiner “my best friend on the planet.” Steiner says, “We are the best of friends.” Friendship, that thing we hold so dear but can’t completely define, may best be described using Olsen’s words: “A friend is someone who, even if you’re just having time together, is really a kick in the pants.” Do you have a friendship story you’d like to share? Email your idea to and we’ll take it from there.

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As the media storm surrounding the death of Michael Jackson evolved into a highly charged funeral service and as the truth about his demise became evident, it is difficult not to appreciate the magnitude of this performer’s rise and fall. For one thing, the span of Jackson’s career extended to all but a handful of his 50 years of life, complete with a firmly entrenched catalog of music that will forever be cemented to this moment in history. Despite the metamorphosis from the young African American kid who captured the hearts of many in this country with his energy and character into the enigmatic adult who left behind a checkered past of accusation and innuendo that all but destroyed him, Jackson was perhaps the most misunderstood of all performers. In reading the many post mortem write-ups on what could have happened and why, one quickly realizes that with fame came protection by those who

made their own careers from serving Jackson, and that he quickly lost any semblance of self-regulation. Amidst reports of prescription drugs and multiple surgeries that transformed his face into one that hardly resembled the one he started with, it became increasingly more difficult to see Jackson beyond the single layer that had become his trademark through the media: “Whacko Jacko.” Slowly now, a picture of a sheltered, lonely and insecure man has emerged, expressed in the loss of a childhood he could never have, riddled with medical and psychological issues that were treated with an ever increasing supply of money and medication. Worse still, his lifestyle weighed against his income as he fell into massive debt only to be manipulated by those around him to perform a final series of concerts that would alleviate some of his troubles. Scared that he could not succeed, physically and emotionally, he may have

tried to fake his way out of performing through a medical clause only to make a mistake and die. Another report says his frail body was no longer able to sustain lengthy dance moves and he had no voice from a lung disease that required even more medication. Whatever the truth may turn out to be, his is the tale of a shallow man who became his own worst enemy despite his amazing talent. In this country, we love – and hate – our celebrities, envious of their wealth, status and their elevation above the law, or so it appears. We suck up every piece of dirt through the dozen plus tabloids and television shows that exist solely to rifle through the celebrity trashcan to produce a sign that the person is no better than us, the lowly viewers. And it is the celebrity misbehaviors that seem to be the standard of conduct emulated by the youth of today. Is that why sagging sales for Jackson’s last few recording efforts have now resulted in an

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DEAL WITH IT Elvis-like collector obsession as everything bearing his name vanishes from stores? Certainly, in death, Elvis outperformed himself and continues to do so to the tune of $50 million per year – not shabby for a guy long gone. I look at the celebrities in the news, from Britney Spears to Michael Jackson, and I am thankful in my uncertain life that I can walk the street, shop at the store and speak my mind and, more importantly, that no one cares that much. No matter how much money I had, the celebrity life seems to me to be no life at all. And therein lies the sadness of Jackson, born with great talent but an inability to deal with it. André Gensburger is a staff reporter and feature writer for the Pioneer. His email address is

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July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 9

Hospice care eases transition for terminally ill pets and their owners






Over the last several years, the veterinary profession has realized the emerging need for providing compassionate home care for our terminally ill patients. With a team approach of veterinarian, family members and animal hospice professionals, provisions can be made for your pet’s final journey.

Veterinary Hospice Resources Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets: A national non-profit organization with local services in Vallejo. Offers support groups, resources and opportunities for volunteering hospice services. International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care:

After a terminal diagnosis, a comfortable quality of life can be extended for the period of time your pet has before natural death or euthanasia. With veterinary hospice, clients have the time to make decisions regarding their terminally ill pet and prepare for their pet’s death. The philosophy of veterinary hospice care addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of dying pets and the people who love them. Through organizations such as the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care and the Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets, lessons have been taken from human hospice care. The American Veterinary Medical Association also has developed guidelines for veterinary hospice. These organAVMA Veterinary Hospice Guidelines: hab/hospice.asp. Rainbow Bridge Veterinary Services: Anthony J. Smith, DVM, provides home care veterinary services that can be coordinated through your veterinarian. Pet Loss Support Group: Meets the first Tuesday of the month in Pleasant Hill and the third Tuesday in Berkeley. Sponsored by the Contra Costa Veterinary Medical Association and the Berkeley Humane

izations promote the use of palliative care and advanced veterinary pain control to allow for quality life in the pet’s remaining days. EASING THE TRANSITION As the patient declines to the end stage, the hospice team can provide expertise in palliative care, pain control and the grieving process. A veterinarian can counsel the family regarding the level of care the patient needs as well as the level of care the family is able to provide at home. Pet owners have more time for grieving in the comfort of their home. When death is near, the veterinarian is able to advise if and when euthanasia is needed. The veterinary staff can educate owners on techniques of injecSociety. Leaders are Ron Gesley, bereavement coordinator of the Hospice Department at Kaiser Oakland, and Jill Goodfriend, RN, LCSW. 510-393-1359.

tions, subcutaneous fluid administration, feeding methods and environmental comforts. Pain can be controlled with medications. The most comfortable form of drug and food administration can be chosen from oral pills, liquids, transdermal patches or injections. Esophageal or stomach tubes can also be used to simplify feeding and giving of medications. Veterinary hospice professionals can be hired to come to your home for examinations, blood draws and to assess the pet’s level of comfort. Mental health care professionals are available to counsel the family in coping with this emotional and stressful time. Afterward, local pet loss support groups and hotlines are available for bereavement counseling. LOOKING AT THE CRITERIA The decision to place a pet into veterinary hospice care comes after the attending veterinarian determines the patient has six months or less to live, a limited prognosis, a progressive

disease deteriorating life quality and evidence of declining health that requires multiple trips to the hospital. Hospice care can also be offered when the family does not wish to pursue curative measures, choosing a palliative approach. Functional decline is evident when pets no longer can handle self-grooming, feeding, locating, the ability to control urination and defecation, righting and abil-

ity to ambulate. Other symptoms seen as death approaches are impaired nutritional status, fluid retention or dehydration, weight loss, anemia, pain, trouble breathing at rest or inability to greet the caregiver. Illnesses that qualify for hospice care include terminal cancer, end-stage organ failure, severe arthritis and central

See Pets, page 13

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Farewell, My Good Friend: Jill Goodfriend, RN, LCSW, provides crisis and grief counseling, pet loss support groups and home visits. 510-393-1359. UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health Pet Loss Support Hotline: 800-565-1526 or ccah/petloss.cfm.

Chowder and Vaudeville are ARF’s Adoption Stars 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. 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 website,, or call 925.256.1ARF.

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Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

July 10, 2009

Clayton Sports Controversy at TOC ends Rays’ successful season ROBERT HELENA Clayton Pioneer

“Who’s on first? What’s on second?” Over the years, these famous punch lines by Abbott and Costello have brought joy to fans worldwide. For this year’s Clayton Valley Little League Minor A Rays, they may not be so amusing. The Rays won the first half of the season with an 8-2 record and had a 10-0 record for the second half. They had momentum and were wellschooled in the Little League rulebook as they headed to the District 4 Tournament of Champions (TOC). In their first two TOC games, the Rays beat the Martinez and Antioch representatives. Next up was a semi-final showdown with the traditional East Bay Little League powerhouse, Alameda. The game was tight and the Rays prevailed 7-6 – earning a trip to the championship game. However, on the way to the parking lot, Manager Chris Snyder was approached by league officials. Apparently, the rules state that all defensive substitutions must be relayed to the umpire before the players enter the game. The rule is in place so that all players play at least two innings and have at least one at bat. According to Snyder, all his players played at least four innings and had multiple at

Photo courtesy of the Rays

THE RAYS, Front row: Ryan Redmond, Kyle Connor, Kyle Dugan, Kevin Snyder, Jordy Robichaud, Cade Hermeston and coach Steve Bauer. Back row: Manager Chris Snyder, Josh Lunsford, Tyler Bryce, Jacob Kirkpatrick, Chris Bauer, Dylan Roach, Chris Kuhn and coach Greg Redmond.

bats – but he never relayed those substitutions to the umpire. League officials decided this violation constituted a forfeit, knocking the Rays out

of the championship game and giving the spot to Alameda. The Alameda team went on to win the District 4 championship.

Snyder appealed the decision, going so far as appealing directly to the Little League national offices in Williamsport, Penn., but the

Archery club targets families as ‘Lord of the Rings’ sparks new interest in the sport ROBERT HELENA Clayton Pioneer

Robert Helena/Clayton Pioneer

ARCHERY SCORED A BULLS-EYE with kids and adults at a recent Diablo Bowmen Archery Club open house.

June 27 was a beautiful, sunny Saturday – perfect for the drive down Marsh Creek Road. Veering off onto Morgan Territory Road, I gazed at horses and cattle lining each side of the country road. Nestled within this scenic beauty is the Diablo Bowmen Archery Club. It was the club’s open house for anyone interested in learning more about the sport. The Diablo Bowmen started in the spring of 1954 through a newspaper advertisement placed by a group interested in bow hunting. They were able to install a range in Martinez but moved

the club shortly thereafter. In 1966, an opportunity arose to lease 52 acres on the east side of Mt. Diablo, which the original group believed to be ideally suited for building an archery range. Thus the Diablo Bowmen Archery Club was born off Oak Hill Lane in Clayton. This is a privately owned, non-profit club that includes a private range for members. BRINGING ALONG THE FAMILY

The open house allowed the public access to the range for tours, lessons, information and

Freaky Funday

district upheld its decision and the forfeit stands. Ever the stand up-guy, Snyder admits: “It was my fault.” In CVLL play, coaches are required to report substitutions to the scorekeeper. In the TOC, the scorekeepers did not take on that role and the Rays’ coaching staff mistakenly relied on the “spirit” of the rule. Even though the season ended on a controversial note, the Rays were truly a dominating team. “Of the all the teams I’ve coached, this team was the most dynamic,” Snyder says of the boys aged 9-11. The Rays boasted seven CVLL All Stars, and all the athletes could play multiple positions. All Stars were Kevin Snyder, Ryan Redmond, Cade Hermeston, Kyle Connor, Chris Bauer, Jordy Robichaud and Dylan Roach. Helping the Rays to the league championship was the inspirational player of the year, Kyle Dugan, along with Tyler Bryce, Josh Lunsford and Jacob Kirkpatrick. Redmond was the standout

pitcher for the team. “He had a blowout year. Whenever we needed a win, we went with Ryan,” Snyder says. His success is based on his above average fastball and change-up. “I don’t believe in teaching kids to throw curveballs,” Snyder adds. Leadoff hitter Connor was the team’s offensive catalyst, carrying the team during the first half. “He was our most destructive hitter,” says Snyder. Hermeston and Kevin Snyder stepped up offensively in the second half as the Rays were dominant in league play. Their only CVLL losses were to the A’s and the second place Tigers. The Rays beat the Tigers three out of four times. Because the Rays won both the CVLL Minor A first and second halves, they were crowned league champions and received an automatic bid to the TOC. Many of the players on this year’s Rays will probably be moving up to the Majors next year, so they will have to wait to beat the Alameda league champion again.

See Bowmen, page 11


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Page 11

Clayton Sports

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Coach Jorge Cordova knew he had a good thing going with this year’s Mt. Diablo Soccer Association (MDSA) U11 select team. His U11 boys, the Strikers FC, had just completed a successful run in the American Youth Soccer Organization select season. With four boys from Clayton, the Strikers won the Pleasant Hill Soccer Fest and did well in the Concord Cup and the Carson City tournament. Even though the select season ended in May, Cordova put together a “younger boys” select team to compete in the June 20 6 vs. 6 Blowout Soccer Tournament hosted by the Pleasant Hill based Heritage Soccer Club (HSC). The tournament is unique because the teams consisted of U10, U11 and U12 boys combined and included club and non-club teams. Club teams are considered the top echelon in competitive youth soccer. They usually have paid coaches and trainers, play year-round, travel and require committed players and families. Some of the notable club teams in the area are Concord based Diablo FC, Danville’s Mustang Soccer, Walnut Creek Soccer Club and Heritage Soccer Club. Select teams are made up of the top players from the “house” or recreational leagues. “Select teams are a great experience for players who play multiple sports,” says Cordova. “Our boys have a lot of fun and they are very good at the same time.”

Matching club teams against select teams is a stretch in terms of competition, with the club teams usually prevailing handily. But Cordova, a three-year coach, reasoned that because so many good athletes play select, they earned an opportunity to compete against the elite club teams. To compete in the club tournament, Cordova recruited MDSA select players from all three age groups – U10, U11 and U12. In the 6 vs. 6 format, each team has five players and one goalkeeper. The field is smaller, with 40 by 50 dimensions, but with regular 11 vs. 11 sized goals. Games are only 30 minutes long.

Strikers ran out of time and ended up with a 3-2 loss and an impressive second place showing. Clayton resident Taylor Heuerman stood out in the tournament. Coming from the youngest select group – the U10, he more than held his own against older players. Cordova gushes over the play of his young striker. “He’s fast, aggressive, full of energy and likes to mix it up.” It was a challenging and rewarding tournament for the Strikers FC. “The new MDSA leadership really focuses on player development and it shows,” notes Cordova.

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Photo courtesy of the Strikers FC

THE STRIKERS FC SELECT TEAM, front row from left: Ryan Anchondo, Diego Cordova, Bryden Connel, Erik Ortiz and Dylan Gois. Back row from left: Ryan Hathaway, Michael Hathaway, Zachary Lamb, Jacob Hanson, Taylor Heuerman and coach Jorge Cordova.

Bowmen, from page 10 lunch. “The goal of the open house is to introduce archery to people who have never experienced it before,” says Diane Montanez, director of the Diablo Bowmen. “Our whole purpose of the club is to promote the sport of archery.” On this day, the range was full of shooters of all ages. Because the event was billed as a “family affair,” I brought my son. After registering, we were led to a classroom setting to learn the basics of archery and safety. Before reaching the range, we were fitted with archery equipment consisting of the bow, arrows and gloves. These bows and arrows weren’t your

“The game is very exciting,” says Cordova. “It’s faster, and it allows many players with many touches.” Although all the other teams in the tournament were club teams, the Strikers FC outscored their elite opponents 27-8. This propelled them into the tournament final against HSC Juventus. A tie against Juventus would have given the first place trophy to the Strikers. The Strikers went down early, falling 3-0 at half time. But they dug deep and started the strong second half, scoring two goals within eight minutes. Though they fought to get the equalizer, the tying goal could not find its way in the net. The

typical Toys R Us plastic variation. These were high-tech bows with fiberglass arrows. We marched over to the range to meet with our instructors. Memorizing what was told to us in our basic archery class, we aimed and fired. Sometimes we hit the mark; most times we hit something else. Either way, it was an exhilarating experience. Here we were, side by side, doing something “cool” together. “This is definitely a family sport,” says Montanez. “You can be a mom to shoot. You can be a dad to shoot. Families are looking for things to do together.”

HITTING THE MARK The club is open for those 5 to 85 years old. Membership is $80 per family, along with a $50 initiation fee and 20 hours of club upkeep a year. Montanez estimates that the club has about 158 families, with 40 families from Clayton. In addition to archery, there are plenty of picnic areas, campgrounds and hiking trails. Research shows that the sport is experiencing a revival. “Ever since ‘Lord of the Rings,’ there has been an uptick in children interested in archery,” says Montanez. She also credits Scouts for the renewed interest. “The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts earn merit badges in archery, and the Girl Scouts practice it


at their camps,” she notes. The test for successful family activities is to pass the dreaded “child boredom meter.” My son, Diablo View Middle School student Ricky Helena, concluded: “It passes, but it’s challenging and you have to grow into it.” The club is focused on setting up more 3-D animal and cartoon targets to handle the growth of youth interest in archery. The Diablo Bowmen also offer world-class competition, as former members have participated in the Olympics. Drive by and check it out. Legolas would be proud. For more information on the Diablo Bowmen Archery Club, visit

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Clayton Pioneer •

July 10, 2009

Fading pensions continue to challenge retirement planning

Need help navigating today’s market? I can help you stay on track. Market volatility raises many questions. How long will the recession last? Will I be able to refinance my mortgage? Will my retirement plans be impacted? As an Ameriprise financial advisor, I can provide you with solid strategies and tips to help you weather today’s market. Find out why more people come to Ameriprise for financial plan ning than any other company.* Call (925) 685-4523 today. Mureleen Benton, CFP®, Financial Advisor 5356 Clayton Rd., Suite 211 Concord, CA 94521 (925) 685-4523 CA License #0692378 Financial planning services and investments available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. *Based on the number of financial plans annually disclosed in Form ADV, Part 1A, items available at as of December 31, 2007. © 2009 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.


Employer-sponsored retirement benefits, along with other employee perks, are experiencing tough times. The traditional, defined benefit pension plan is facing extinction, leaving more workers to fend (and fund) for themselves to provide for their retirement. The decline can be blamed in part on the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which introduced tougher guidelines to strengthen pension funding rules and improve transparency and accountability. The PPA was created with good intentions, however, the new guidelines also put pressure on employers to build pension funding at a time when coffers have been dwindling. Pension plan retirement income, calculated based on years of service and attained earnings and adjusted to account for the cost of living, is simply too expensive for most businesses to maintain. The increased requirements around pension plan funding combined with a brutal stock market, shrinking profits and stockholder demand have created an extremely unfavorable environment for the continuation of employer-funded retirement plans. According to a recent study by Watson Wyatt, the majority of current Fortune 100 companies no longer provide a traditional pension plan to new

employees – opting instead to offer 401(k) plans to help employees save for retirement. And even 401(k) plans are shrinking. With the recent recession, many employers have discontinued the practice of providing a company match contribution for 401(k) plans they offer. However, some employees are concerned about putting all their retirement eggs in the stock market, given the recent depreciation of stock values. If your employer does offer a pension plan and you are concerned about your company’s future, you do have some protection. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. was created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to function as America’s pension insurance program. Funded by employer premiums, the PBGC helps to protect American workers by encouraging the continuation and maintenance of private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The question is, will the PBGC hold up under the weight of excessive claims? The PBGC covers almost 1.5 million Americans whose employers have gone out of business. The recent demise of Circuit City provides an example: 21,000 former workers and retirees of the nationwide electronics retailer based out of Richmond, Va., will receive

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“Dad was really tired so we stopped to rest for a minute; then it was 10 minutes and I knew we couldn’t just sit there and chill. It would only get worse,” Andrew said. So, they continued slowly down Back Creek Canyon until dehydration and exhaustion overtook Sachtschale and he collapsed on the trail. Andrew moved his dad to a shady spot, then ran down the trail looking for help.

Fellow hikers called 911 and rescue efforts began. Firefighters responded on foot and a helicopter hovered overhead, but by the time paramedics reached him, Sachtschale’s heart had stopped. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Andrew was airlifted to a waiting ambulance, where he was taken to John Muir Hospital and treated for dehydration and released.

their pension benefit even after the company’s bankruptcy and liquidation, thanks to the PBGC. According to current calculations, the PBGC can manage the current burden of claims, but it will have to address a projected shortfall in the future. There are limitations on PBGC guarantees. If you have a sizable pension, a good portion of it may not be protected. For plans terminating in 2009, the maximum guaranteed monthly benefit for a 65-yearold is $4,050 for a joint payout and 50 percent for a survivor payout. Jobs in the public sector are noted for their generous retirement plans, but PBGC does not cover state and local pension plans. Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee indicates most states have sufficient assets to fund their liabilities right now, and those that are struggling may still have sufficient time to recover and maintain their obligations for the future. If we can’t count on a pension plan or our 401(k), there’s always Social Security – for the time being, anyway. The Social Security Administration has reassured the public that it is funded sufficiently to provide full benefits through 2037. However, unless changes are made, Social Security benefits will be reduced by 24 percent or

“I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until about 20 or 30 minutes before he collapsed, “Andrew said. “He wasn’t moving as fast that day as he normally does. And he never complains, just keeps going. In the past, that was a good thing.” Andrew and his father were backpacking veterans and getting caught unprepared was out of character for them. “Everything went wrong that day,” Ellen Sachtschale said. “They left that morning not expecting it to get so hot, so they didn’t take enough

MURELEEN BENTON FINANCIAL SENSE more beginning in 2038, creating another compelling reason to take charge of your own retirement savings. To improve your financial position heading into retirement, consult an expert in money matters. A financial advisor can help you evaluate your personal financial situation and identify appropriate retirement strategies – including how to deal with disappearing pension funds. Another helpful step is to contribute to the retirement savings plan that is offered at work, even if your employer no longer offers a company match. The discipline of regular investing and the benefit from compounding savings can work in your favor. Look for ways to diversify your income, savings and investments and reduce your expenses so you are better prepared to live on less. As you continue to save, also consider insurance and investment products to help reduce risk. Market volatility is real, but history has shown us markets do rebound in time.

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water. And they forgot to take a cell phone.” “We should have had a first aid kit and we could have used an ice pack,” Andrew added. “Don’t underestimate nature. It’s indifferent, it doesn’t care what happens to you.” “They did a lot of things right that day,” noted Kevin Sullivan, Sachtschale’s close friend. “But it gets hot on that mountain.” Sachtschale is survived by his wife Ellen, son Andrew, and daughters Eva, 16, and Rose, 14.

Stay cool – and safe – on hot summer hikes Heat exhaustion: This condition often occurs when people exercise in a hot, humid place and body fluids are lost through sweating, causing the body to overheat. Body temperature may be elevated. Body temperature above 104 degrees indicates heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include rapid pulse, pale, moist skin, profuse sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, weakness and nausea. First Aid: Get the victim to a shady place. Have the victim lie down, and elevate the feet. Apply wet cloths and fan vigorously to cool down. Give water or watered-down electrolyte drinks every 15 minutes. Get medical help if symp-

toms don’t improve quickly. Heat stroke: This medical condition is life-threatening. The body’s cooling system, which is controlled by the brain, stops working, and the internal body temperature rises to the point where brain damage or damage to other internal organs may result. Body temperature can reach 105°F or higher. Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry skin, lack of sweating, a very fast pulse, confusion, seizures and coma. First Aid: Cool the victim. Move to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin, and fan to promote sweating and evaporation. Place ice packs under

Don’t plan under old rules Since 2001, Congress has passed at least one new tax law every year. These laws have been filled with provisions that phase in or out over several years and some that apply retroactively or take effect at some distant future date. To do your tax planning under the latest rules, call on us. We’re here to help. 700 Ygnacio Valley Rd., #360 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 937-5200 (925) 937-5202 fax

armpits and groin and call an ambulance immediately. Victims of heat stroke must receive immediate medical treatment to avoid permanent organ damage. Prepare for hot weather hiking: Hydrate early. Begin drinking lots of water the day before, and drink at least 20 ounces two hours before starting. Carry plenty of water. Drink enough to match sweat loss. In hot weather, this could be as much as 12 ounces or more every 15 minutes. Drink before you get thirsty. Thirst is not an accurate indicator of how much water you need. Many experts recom-

mend sports drinks to replace the electrolytes lost while sweating. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Carry a first aid kit that includes instant ice packs, available online at Check the forecast before you go. Keep in mind that the east side of Mt. Diablo is typically hotter than the west side. It will be hotter in the canyons than on the summit. Start your hike early in the morning and finish before the heat of mid-afternoon. Know your limits. Sources: and


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Student reporter takes criticism to heart – and to Boston As much as I consider it an absolute pleasure to write for the Clayton Pioneer, I have been dreading writing this particular column because it will be my last. A huge part of me wants to write through the summer, but deep down I know that I can only prolong the inevitable for so long. And besides, I feel like it really is someone else’s turn. When I was given the opportunity to commence writing this column two years ago, my assignment was to give my opinion on events and issues in Clayton or at Clayton Valley High School. That was all the instruction I was given. It was similar to being thrown into a pool knowing I had the choice to either sink or swim. Even though there is something incredibly empowering about not having distinct expectations, I want to leave my successor with a pointer or two. Whatever you choose to make of this column, these words of wisdom are for you. The absolute hardest part about writing a column for the Clayton Pioneer is coming up with a topic. When we finally

were given the awesome privilege of having liquid soap in the bathrooms at school, I thought to myself “Yes! Now I have something to write about if I’m desperate.” Luckily, I never had to resort to writing about liquid soap. I was at times criticized for being somewhat of a muckraker, but I never started a fire for the sake of watching it burn and I was always honest. Remember that if something is truly newsworthy, it will become apparent to you. You may have to do a little hunting and asking around, but you’ll always find your story. As much as I want to tell you I shrugged off every last shred of criticism I received from readers, that would be far from the truth. I sincerely wish I could prepare you for what it feels like to read a nasty letter to the editor about your column, see scores of Internet blog posts tearing apart your every word and get snide comments in the hallways. Criticism, however, should really be interpreted in a positive way and my skin is much thicker than it was a few years

ago. Instead of growing jaded by the opinion of another, I chose to view criticism as proof that I was writing about worthwhile topics. Don’t question your writing when someone throws an ill word your way, but question your writing when no one throws words at all. Criticism often times cut me down to size, but I learned never to believe my worst critics. That said, I still welcome criticism because it teaches me to cherish the kind words I receive. There were many times when someone passed a compliment my way and in response I gave a polite smile and said thanks, but I really wanted to hug and kiss the person because it meant so much to me. Although you can learn from both types of feedback, make sure that these are the indelible reviews that fill your heart. And finally, never underestimate the power of the written word even if Clayton is a small town. When I’m studying journalism at Boston University in the fall, I will always look for-

Page 13


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STUDENT REPORTER ward to reading your column because it will remind me of my time in high school and, most importantly, it will remind me of home. Know that you already have established your first faithful reader and I will always be cheering for you. In July of 2007, I wrote in my introductory column: “Although I certainly can’t promise that my column will be better, I can promise that it will be different.” Whether people loved my column, hated my column or barely read it at all, I leave the Clayton Pioneer with no regrets because I kept my promise. The Pioneer staff congratulates Ms. Trosclair on two years of thought-provoking columns. We send her off to Boston with full confidence that a successful future in journalism is a certainty.

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School District tries to recover from Measure D’s defeat with fund drive Parent rallies families, businesses, community to save Mt. Diablo schools from facing serious cuts. DENISEN HARTLOVE Clayton Pioneer

In early June, after the defeat of Measure D, which gained only 59 percent of the popular vote (two-thirds, or 66 percent was needed to pass), parents and administrators alike foretold doom for more than one beloved program in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Sports, music and class size reduction were just a few of the many areas cut. Today, district officials are asking parents to take part in an effort to raise at least some of the funds that would have been otherwise provided by the measure. Teresa Torbett sees the campaign as an opportunity to put her skills to work by raising support in the community. Her group, the Community Action Group, saw previous success improving the campus of Ygnacio Valley High School, where her son is a student. When her son was ready to start at the local high school, Torbett visited the campus. She was shocked by what she saw.

Trash littered the grounds. Student lockers had detritus left over from as early as the 1970s. District personnel had previously cleaned up after students at the end of the year, but budget money for their efforts had been cut years earlier. However, her complaints were met with sighs and shrugged shoulders at the lack of funding or energy for a clean-up campaign. Torbett took action. She gathered a group of students and parents to tour the campus to see what should be changed. Since then, Torbett’s group has grown and swung into action. Under her leadership, community members and businesses including Comcast, PG&E, Citibank and Kel-Tech Builders, along with the Parent Teacher Student Association and district employees, have made the campus a place students are proud to call their own. “I just sort of proposed a different idea,” said Torbett. “If we raised the bar ourselves as a gift to the students, they would begin to respond in kind.” She said that everyone – not just families with children – should be involved with solving the district’s problems. “Our schools are part of a larger community,” she said. “Our larger community needs to become involved and take

Pets, from page 9 nervous system dysfunctions. By placing a prognosis on the terminal level of the disease, life expectancy can be approximated and families can better prepare for the closing of a beloved companion’s life. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Within the past year, I have experienced hospice care with my father and most recently with my 17-year-old cat, Newby. My cat had abdominal cancer resulting in uncomfortable build up of abdominal fluid. With the help of local veterinary oncologists, I was able to relieve her discomfort and she had two

months of a very comfortable life before it was time to make the decision of euthanasia. Afterward, I attended a pet loss support group sponsored by the Contra Costa Veterinary Medical Association and the Berkeley Humane Society. The group offered a chance to heal and share my grief with others who understood. There is always hope for a peaceful, natural passing. But I have often found that the pain level becomes too great or the prolonged nursing care becomes too emotionally and physically draining for the caregivers, making euthanasia a kind alternative.

some responsibility for betterment of the whole organization.” Property values rise with the improvement in schools, as well, bettering the lives of everyone around them, she added. CALLING IN AN EXPERT After the failure of Measure D, the district tapped Torbett’s awareness raising expertise. She now runs the school district’s fundraising drive, where concerned families are being asked to donate $99 to the district. The amount is equal to the amount of property taxes that would have been raised had the measure passed. Other groups are suggesting parents give the donation directly to schools, citing a lack of a concrete plan by the district for where the money will be spent. School Board President Gary Eberhart said the district has a long way to go before some of the cut programs can be restored. He cited as one example the millions of dollars it would take to restore class size reduction in first through third grades. “We’re going to have to decide carefully how that money will be spent,” he said. Meanwhile, Torbett noted that parent involvement and monetary donation levels tend to be I have often said that you will know when the time has come. Along with the previously mentioned signs, there is the undeniable loss of that lifeaffirming sparkle in the eyes that confirms your decision. Our profession has always had the rare privilege of performing euthanasia, and it is not a task that is taken lightly. Our pets are unable to make this choice, so we must make this decision the best we can for them. While this should not be an option for curative diseases, it can be a welcomed relief of pain and suffering for those who are terminally ill. Perhaps euthanasia allows us to have some control of death. It allows us to choose a quiet

higher at the elementary schools, tapering off in middle school when some parents resume their full-time jobs and money becomes more scarce. Torbett suggests parents expand their donations beyond the schools their children currently attend. “If they have the foresight to get involved in the schools ahead of their children, they can make an impact before they get there and create an environment they want them to see,” she said. Efforts are currently geared toward attracting attention to the district’s plea. Since early June, both ABC-7 and CBS-5 television stations have interviewed Torbett about the campaign. So far, the campaign has brought in a little over $5,400. “I don’t know a lot of people who have a $7 million answer,” said Torbett. “But I know a lot of people who have a $100 answer.” To donate to the MDUSD Giving Campaign, send a check to the Fiscal Services Department at the District Office, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord, CA 94519. Or donte online at To volunteer time, please contact Teresa Torbettat Potential volunteers are also invited to an informational meeting on July 22 at 7 p.m. at Rocco's Ristorante Pizzeria, located at 2909 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. time for us to accompany our beloved pet in their last journey. Whether it is euthanasia or a pain-controlled, hospice-guided passage, these choices allow our companion to pass with dignity – alleviating the fear, pain and often struggles that come with the last minutes of life. When our aged animal companions reach their final days after giving us so much of their lives and unconditional love, it is a comfort to know we have options and there are professionals out there that can guide us through this most difficult time. Marybeth Rymer, DVM, can be reached at Monte Vista Animal Hospital, Concord. 672-1100.


e o th t New ntry Pa Grilled Brie, A great backyard party starter 1 wheel of Brie cheese 1 cup Pear Chipotle Grill Sauce Fresh ripe pears, thinly sliced in wedges Crackers Allow brie to sit at room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Place wheel of brie directly on grill over medium heat. DO NOT WALK AWAY. Grill for 3 – 5 minutes on each side until you see the sides begin to sag. Immediately remove from grill and place on a platter or plate. Drizzle Pear Chipotle Grill Sauce over top and serve with pears and crackers. You may wrap in a warm tortilla for a Pear Chipotle Brie Quesadilla.

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July 10, 2009

Page 14

Clayton Pioneer •

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In Clayton

July 11 Clayton Valley Cheerleaders’ Rummage Sale

July 10, 17, 24, 31 Moonlight Movies

Proceeds help pay for uniforms, megaphones, etc. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Clayton Valley High School parking lot, 1101 Alberta Way, Concord.

Summer Day Camp: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with extended care available. Fun activities, crafts, sports and weekly fieldtrips. $115/week for Clayton residents; $125/week for non-residents. Call Jennifer at 692-2364.

July 12, 26 Breakfast with the Veterans of Foreign Wars

Adult Basketball/Volleyball Leagues: Volleyball starts July 16 and basketball starts July 19. Call Jessica at 692-2362.

July 10: “Journey to the Center of the Earth” in 3D. July 17: “Bolt. July 24: “Madagascar 2.” July 31: “Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Clayton Community Church offers free movie nights at 8:45 p.m. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. 6055 Main St.

July 11, 25 Concerts in the Grove July 11: Mixed Nuts, ’50s music to present-day. July 25: Becca, country music. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket. Free. 6-8 p.m. The Grove Park in downtown Clayton.

July 15, 22, 29 Classic Cars and Rock & Roll

8-11 a.m. the second and fourth Sundays. $4 adults, $2 children under 12. Veterans Memorial Hall, 2290 Willow Pass Road, Concord.

Aug. 8 Clayton Valley High School Car Wash To support the instrumental music program. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Mountain Mike’s, 5358 Clayton Road, Concord. $10.


Classic cars on display, plus a DJ. 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. Main and Diablo streets, downtown Clayton.

The Clayton Community Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Most programs are free. 673-0659 or

Saturdays through October Clayton Farmers Market

July 13, 20, 27; Aug. 3 “Once Upon a Time”

8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Diablo Street in downtown Clayton. or 800-949-3276.

Close by

July 14, 21, 28; Aug. 4, 11, 18 Patty Cakes

July 10-11; Aug. 19-21 “Maids and Matrons”

Stories for babies to 3 year olds; child attends with caregiver. 11 a.m. Tuesdays.

July 10-Aug. 2 “Love Letters” A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play about a 50-year love affair. Willows Cabaret at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. $30. 798-1300 or

July 11-19 “Turandot” The largest and most lavish show in Festival Opera’s 18-year history. Hofmann Theatre, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $39-$100. 943-SHOW or

July 17-18 “Annie Jr.”

7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 6737304 or

Meets 6:30 p.m. the last Thursday of the month, except holidays, Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. Call Sue at 672-2272.

For middle and high school students. 4-5 p.m.

July 15 “Hums, Strums and Worldwide Drums”

Clayton Valley Garden Club Meets 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month, Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. Call Dorothy at 672-2526 or

A participatory concert of songs and music games with children’s performer Bonnie Lockhart. Sponsored by the Clayton Community Library Foundation. 7 p.m.

July 16, 23, 30; Aug. 6, 13 Picture Book Time

Contra Costa Blue Star Moms BONNIE LOCKHART

Stories for 3-5 year olds; child may attend without caregiver. 11 a.m. Thursdays.

July 22 More Crafting

Licensed insurance agent Betty Lou Moglen will discuss life insurance coverage, plus a Q&A. 7 p.m.

Diablo Actors Ensemble’s musical revue of the hottest shows on Broadway. $10-$25. 1345 Locust St., Walnut Creek. 866-8114111 or

July 29 Writers’ Workshop

July 22 “Understanding Life Insurance”

Writing tips from published authors Sarah Wilson and Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. For middle and high school students. 3-5 p.m. Registration required.

Through Aug. 1 Student Art Contest Students entering middle or high school in the fall can enter a piece of original artwork based on the theme “free2create,” in conjunction with the Summer Reading Program. Each library will choose two finalists to compete for a $100 gift certificate. Winners will have their artwork posted on the county library Website and on

Through Aug. 17 Summer Reading Program

Part of the Willows Theatre’s SummerStage youth program. 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord. $10-$15. 798-1300 or

7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 6737304 or

Clayton Business and Community Association

July 17-Aug. 9 “Broadway Heat”

July 28-Aug. 2 “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”



July 15 Krafty Crafting

For middle and high school students. 4-5 p.m.

Presented by the Peter Pan Foundation. Featuring Clayton performers Cameron Bacigalupo, Aaron Calimlim, Jonathan Kim, Chris Lopez and Delaney Albright. $10-$20. Diablo Valley College Performing Arts Center, 321 Gold Club Road, Pleasant Hill. 687-4445.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the end of Regency Drive, Clayton. Experienced hikers only. About 9 miles, with a 2,500 foot elevation gain. Contact Helene at 415-974-2209 or

July 21 Clayton City Council

Part of the Willows Theatre’s SummerStage youth program. 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord. $5. 798-1300 or

July 23-26 "Seussical the Musical"

July 18 Mount Olympia Summit/Bruce Lee Spring Trail Loop

July 14, 28 Clayton Planning Commission

Storytelling, creative drama and reader’s theater for children in kindergarten through second grade. 2 p.m. Mondays.

A screwball comedy about a dysfunctional family’s preparation for the biggest wedding of the season. Cast includes Sue Beck of Clayton. Workshop performances July 10-11, Contra Costa College, San Pablo. 510-235-7800, ext. 4274. Aug. 19-21, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943SHOW.


For kids age 2 through 5th grade or 6th-12th graders. Includes prizes. Parents and caregivers of babies from birth to 2 years can earn prizes in the early literacy-building Baby Reading Program. Readers 18 and up can submit a book review at or at the Clayton library for a chance to win a Booklover’s Bag of goodies.

AT THE YMCA Clayton Community Gym is at 700 Gym Court. For more information on the YMCA call 692-2364.. Wizard Camp: 1-4 p.m. July 13-17, for those entering thirdeighth grade. Working with Mad Science, campers learn about chemistry in fun experiments. $195. 889-1600. Basketball Camp: 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 10-14, for those entering first-sixth grade. With Showtime Basketball, campers will

Meets 6 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month, Concord Police Station Community Room, 1350 Galindo St. Members have sons and daughters in uniform. Visit or call Becky at 286-1728.

Contra Costa Chess Club Meets 7-9:30 p.m. Thursdays, Starbuck’s, 1536 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. Players of all ages and skill levels welcome. Contact Mike at 639-1987 or

Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society Meets 7:30 p.m. second Monday of the month, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. 779-0698 or

Creekside Artists Guild Meets 7-8:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month, Clayton Library Story Room, 6125 Clayton Road, Clayton. All artforms and both emerging and experienced are welcome. Contact Arlene at 673-9777 or Or

Diablo Valley Macintosh Users Group Meets 6:30-9 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month. Bancroft Elementary School, 2700 Parish Dr., Walnut Creek. 689-1155 or

Rotary Club of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Meets 7 a.m. Thursdays, Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. Includes breakfast and a speaker. Contact Chuck at 689-7640 or

Scrabble Club Meets 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. second and fourth Saturdays of the month, Carl’s Jr. Restaurant, 1530 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. All ages and skill levels welcome. $3 fee. Call Mike at 6391987 or

Sons In Retirement (SIR) Meets 11:15 a.m. first Thursday of the month, Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. 429-3777.

Widows/Widowers Meets for dinner, brunch, theater, etc. This is not a dating service nor is it a greiving class - just a way to meet other people. Contact Lori at 998-8844 or

Send your calendar announcements to Free listings must be from a non-profit, school, club or government agency. Business events are $25 for the first event and $10 for each additional. Call the office at (925) 6720500 with your business event listings.

July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 15

Pediatric dentist puts young patients at ease NICCI SHIPSTEAD Clayton Pioneer

Nicci Shipstead/Clayton Pioneer

DR. JASON RENNER ASKS SISTERS AMANDA, 14, and Ashley Klekar, 16, about summer plans during a routine dental cleaning and check-up. The girls have been patients since 1995.

Cheerful, colorful, excited laughing voices and lots of animals … thinking dentist office? You’d be right. Concord pediatric dentist Jason Renner has designed a fun, friendly place for kids that’s a far cry from the scary, sterile rooms so many associate with the dentist. A 3-yearold patient, extremely nervous on her first visit, commented to her mother on the way out, “Can I have my birthday party here?” With a California desert tortoise in a park-like habitat, puppies, photographs and news clippings applauding milestones and adventures of staff and clients, this dentist office stands out as much for what’s not there as it does for what is. There is no medicinal smell, the staff is not covered eyeball to toe in sterile protective garments and the frightening suction sound of mouth vacuums is absent. Youngsters step to the sink to rinse. Lucky has been at the practice since it opened in the

1960s. “He’s male, as far as we know,” Renner said of the tortoise, who is estimated to be 50-80 years old. Lucky’s yard is beautifully rebuilt and children are invited to visit and interact. “Kids ask questions, feed him. It’s fun and friendly,” explains Renner, “less ‘dentallike.’ ” Renner purchased the office, along with Lucky the tortoise, from Dr. Richard Rissel – who continues to practice at the Concord location. Joining Lucky from time to time is “Rocky,” Dr. Renner’s 6-month old Lab. The practice has a base of Clayton and Concord children built largely through parent referral. Renner commends his staff for the friendly environment. “We have the most experienced staff in pediatric dentistry,” he noted. The four registered dental assistants each have more than 20 years experience; three of them are moms. “I think of us as a ‘boutique’ practice,” Renner said. “The chairs are nice and open; we give individual attention. We’re certainly not a ‘mill.’ ”

Renner suggests appointments begin at age 1, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. “It’s mostly parent education at that age. We do a quick look, notice any abnormalities or signs of cavities,” he said. “We give early orthodontic referrals for fairly significant bite problems; it’s never a wrong time for orthodontic referral.” Many patients continue through college, visiting during seasonal breaks. David Lapitan, a patient since age 5, returns early in the summer from studies at UC Santa Cruz to have an old filling replaced. Frequently, former patients, now grown-up, return and bring their own children. Dentistry for Infants, Children & Teenagers is at 2875 Willow Pass Road, Concord. For an appointment, call 689-2800.


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‘June Gloom’ and blistering heat tied to marine layer June turned out to be an interesting weather month for Clayton residents. Unseasonably cool weather dominated the first three weeks, as strong sea breeze winds appeared almost daily. During the last weekend of the month, the sea breeze disappeared and it seemed like we went from the

refrigerator to the oven. Afternoon temperatures soared well over the 100 degree mark for a few days before the cooling sea breeze winds reappeared. Our sea breeze is often referred to as “nature’s air conditioning,” but it doesn’t just magically appear and disappear.

Church News ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH The church will host a Women’s Quiet Day with the theme “Exploring Christian Contemplation,” 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, July 11. Participants will learn about the Christian contemplative tradition, including the method of prayer known as Centering Prayer as taught by Father Basil Pennington and Father Thomas Keating. There is no charge for this event. The church is at 5555 Clayton Road, Clayton. For more information, call 672-8855. CLAYTON VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH The church will host a memorial celebration of the life and ministry of the Rev. Linda Regan, who was pastor of the church 19842004. The event begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the church, 1578 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. Also, all are invited to “Make a Joyful Noise” by learning a gospel song written by Greg Murai at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 26, then stay for 10:30 a.m. worship. For more information, call 672-4848. HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN CHURCH The church is hosting Crocodile Dock Vacation Bible School, 9 a.m.-noon July 20-24, for kids 4 years old through grade 6. Activities include Sing and Play Swamp Stomp, Bible Bayou, Snack Shack, Gator Games, Crawfish Crafts and Missions, Dockside Drive-in and a Firefly Finale. The church is at 1092 Alberta Way, Concord. For information or to register, call 686-2000.

We are fortunate to have a unique combination of oceanographic, geographic and atmospheric forces at work that create summer’s sea breeze cycle. Anyone who has spent a summer afternoon walking along the ocean beaches of Northern California and put their toes in the water can attest to the fact that the ocean surface waters in this area are cold. A phenomenon called upwelling is responsible for keeping our coastal waters cool. Upwelling means that cold deep ocean water regularly replaces surface water. The current along the Northern California coast flows north to south and the Coriolis Force, which results from the earth’s rotation, tends to draw the surface waters away from shore. Cool sub-surface waters replace the departing surface water and maintain a sea surface temperature in the 50 to 60 degree range all summer. This upwelling affects the temperature and moisture content of the lowest layer of the atmosphere that is in contact with it. The layer of air that is directly influenced by the cool water is known as the marine layer. Geographically, Northern California has some unique features. The Central Valley, an oblong valley that stretches from Redding to Bakersfield, is separated from the Pacific Ocean by the Coastal Mountain Range. These mountains generally are 2,000-4,000 feet in elevation and create a natural barrier

“We do a dog gone good job” Bruce & Holly Linsenmeyer 30 year Clayton residents Office: (925) 672-2700 Cell: (925) 956-8605 State of California B.E.A.R license #A44842

WOODY WHITLATCH WEATHER WORDS that separates the cool marine air from the drier, hotter Central Valley air. During summer, the West Coast is under the influence of an upper level high pressure ridge. For California’s Central Valley, this results in clear skies and afternoon temperatures consistently above 90 degrees. Over the coastal waters, this ridge forms a lid on the marine layer. On most summer days, the marine layer depth is less than 2,000 feet. The cool marine air is heavier than the hot valley air, and a pressure difference, or pressure gradient, develops between the coast and interior valley – drawing the marine air inland. Since the marine layer depth is lower than the ridgeline of the coastal mountains, marine air can only enter the interior valley through the coastal gaps. Clayton benefits from its proximity to the Golden Gate coastal gap. When the coast-toinland pressure gradient is strong enough, cool marine air filters through the gap and provides our area with pleasant afternoon and evening temperatures. Occasionally, the upper level high pressure ridge is so strong that the marine layer becomes extremely shallow and the

See Weather, page 18

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Clayton Pioneer •

Tailgate Party all are invited

Microsoft scores big with Bing

CD Federal Credit Union is throwing a Tailgate Party on July 24, from 3-7. Join the fun at CDFCU. There will be free food provided by Digger’s Diner, music, games,raffle prizes, vendor booths and a job resource booth. Receive a $10 bonus deposit for opening a new youth account during the event. CD Federal is at 1855 Second Street, just behind Safeway on Willow Pass in Concord.

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There’s a new search engine in town and it’s hoping to become the next Google. is Microsoft’s latest attempt to play catch-up in the Internet search market, and this time the software giant may have a winner. Bing, which replaced Microsoft Live Search, is especially useful for people who are not expert searchers and want to find something with little hassle. Bing’s search features are in some ways smarter than Google’s, because the site tries to guess what you need. For example, if you type in something general like “the Beatles,” Bing divides its search results into several different categories on the left side of the page. The categories include songs, lyrics and merchandise related to the Fab Four. A Google search will find similar results, but you will have to sift through a sea of links, what Microsoft calls “search

overload.” With Bing, you can filter your results by clicking on a category. Clicking on the lyrics category, for example, will take you one step closer to learning the words to “I Am the Walrus.” The categories change based upon your search. For instance, searching for India will give you categories on Indian culture, tourism, weather and vacations. A Bing search on Thomas Jefferson will find books, facts and a timeline about the founding father. Bing also lets you preview Websites before you click on them, another feature that Google lacks. Hovering by the right side of a link gives you a brief description of what’s on the page. In addition, Bing keeps track of your past searches and gives a list of related searches on the left side of the page. In contrast, Google makes you scroll to the bottom of the page before you can get to related searches. Despite these advantages, Bing will not be crowned the next Google overnight. The latter is more powerful when it comes to specific search requests. For instance, I was trying to

find out when my local DMV would be closed. I searched for “DMV close dates” on both Google and Bing. Google listed the California DMV site as its first result, while Bing found offices in Massachusetts and Wisconsin instead. Google searches are normally accurate because of the company’s advanced indexing technology that tracks Websites based upon their popularity. Google’s reputation makes it hard to top. One report says Google owns 82 percent of the international search market, while Bing at its launch only had 6 percent. Microsoft will have to convince people to give up Google’s normally reliable search engine for an untested newcomer. While Bing’s search engine could use some further improvement, it has some other minor features that make Internet surfing as a whole easier and perhaps more fun. For example, Bing takes a different approach to image and video searching. You can control how many images appear on the page and easily scroll through a list of pictures without clicking a “next” button. Similarly, when you search

for videos, Bing plays a small preview of the video when you hover over it. This feature particularly impressed me because not even YouTube has that option. Finally, Bing’s home page changes daily. The home page features a stunning, high-quality photo along with related links. Bing recently offered a close-up of a surfing competition along with links about the sport’s history, tandem surfing videos and where to find the next big wave. While Microsoft is marketing Bing’s ability to do everything from restaurant comparisons to picking out the best date to buy airline tickets, I suspect most people will use it when they want to do a simple search. On this front, Bing succeeds and may draw some people away from Google. But it will be hard to match Google’s popularity – after all, Google is now a verb. Mark Freeman is a student at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, studying economics and English. He enjoys creative writing and is a reporter for the school paper. Questions/comments can be sent to


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About 30 residents of Concord, Clayton and Walnut Creek gathered into Clayton Books on a recent Monday evening for a reading by acclaimed author Ayelet Waldman. Welcomed by store owner Joel Harris, readers munched on homemade strawberry-lemon squares and chocolate brownies and listened to Waldman read excerpts from her memoir, “Bad Mother, a Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and

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Occasional Moments of Grace.” Waldman then took questions from the audience, rewarding those who raised their hands with Twinkies, tossed to them from her spot in the front. She said that parents are overly concerned with boosting their children’s egos, insisting that each child on a sports team be given a trophy at the end of the season. Instead, she said, parents should work toward training their children to be kind to others, and mold them into productive members of society. “I’m as worried about my kids’ self-esteem as everybody else,” said Waldman, a Berkeley resident, mother of four and wife of Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael Chabon. “But shouldn’t we be more worried about their esteem for others?” Clayton resident Barbara Goldsmith baked the brownies and lemon squares for the audience. She has been a fan of Waldman’s for years, following her series of Mommy Track mystery novels and essays on about parenting. “To me, when I read Ayelet's books, it is often like talking to a great friend. Her words are easy and engaging, and her stories and


her essays are always informative and fulfilling,” she wrote in an email. Goldsmith described Clayton Books as more than a bookstore, but a place to meet new friends. “As an avid reader - and an aspiring author - I love being able to go into a smaller shop and know the employees, and know that they know me. They are not an impersonal conglomerate, and they are able to support smaller, newer authors and not just support those books and authors

that are predetermined by book lists,” she said. Harris, an author who owns Clayton Books with his wife, Christy, recently published “Images of America: Concord.” He has planned a series of author appearances throughout the summer. Expected guests include science-fiction writer Gregory Benford on July 9, a presentation by “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It” author Karen Soloman on July 19, and young-adult author Terri Farley on July 26.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see their dentist by their first birthday.





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

Clayton Books

Schedule of July events 07/12 Sunday 3pm . . . . . .Novella

Carpenter, author of “Farm City.”

07/13 Monday 7pm . . . . .Meredith 07/14 Tuesday 3 pm . . . . .Bob

Norton, author of “Lopsided.”

Adamski, author of “Inheritance Hijackers.”

07/19 Sunday 3pm . . . . . .Karen

Solomon, author of “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It.”

07/25 Saturday 4pm . . . . .John Del Monte, author of “Mud Blood: Murder in The Sacramento Delta.” 07/26 Sunday 3pm . . . . . .Terri 4820 Burgundy Drive

Farley, author of “The Phantom Stallion” series.

07/28 Tuesday 7pm . . . . .Tanya

Gibson, author of “How to Buy a Love of Reading.”

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July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 17


Keenan/Heinz company Really cool stuff for home & garden

I love my trips to Berkeley Researchers believe cultivaBowl and now their recently tion of taro began in Malaysia opened “west” store. The vast or southern India some 7,000 array of produce is almost years ago. It spread westward overwhelming. to Egypt, Greece and Rome I’m almost always running and was a principal food in into something new or long- Africa and widely used in the forgotten at “the slave trade, perBowl.” So it is haps accounting with taro, a tuber for its cultiva(called a “corm”) tion today popular in throughout the Polynesian cuiCaribbean. sine. While not a Taro also fan of poi, a spread eastward starchy accominto Indonesia paniment to and ancient most Hawaiian China. To me, luaus, I do recall taro’s greatest LINDA WYNER a fondness for culinary exprestaro sweetbread. FOOD FOR THOUGHT sion is in So I thought I’d Polynesia and, buy some of them and see more specifically, Hawaii. what I could whip up in the When Capt. Cook arrived in kitchen. 1778, he found native Before hauling out the Hawaiians living chiefly on cooking pot, I looked into the taro and sweet potatoes along background of this rather with fish. They believed that unsightly veggie. I discovered taro had been formed by the that it is a staple food of near- union of Daughter Earth and ly 10 percent of the world’s Father Sky long before man population. Taro’s popularity was born, so it was considered owes to its ability to flourish in superior to man and highly wet soils in the humid tropics, valued as a food crop. although it can adapt to drier Raw taro is inedible. It climates and some forms of must be cooked before being taro are grown in Nepal. pounded into a thick paste or There are so many similari- dried and ground into flour. ties between taro and the Irish Poi, a traditional luau dish, was potato (actually a variant of made by skinning the corm the South American potato) and pounding the white flesh that it is sometimes referred to with a stone to make a thick as the “potato of the tropics.” paste. This paste was then It is highly digestible and dried, diluted with water, largely hypoallergenic. kneaded and fermented.

Today, Hawaiian taro is far more versatile. It is made into chips and dried into flour for pancakes and other sweetbreads. If you visit the Big Island of Hawaii, don’t miss tasting the specialties at Punalu’u Bake Shop in Na’alehu on the southern tip of the island. The Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu prepares taro rolls, a delicious bread wellsuited to barbecued or pitroasted pork.

French, from page 7

what you can afford is to visit a financial Website like or a site like The mortgage calculator at is easy to use. From the homepage, select Finance Calculators in the Tools & Trends section. Then select Home Affordability. Enter your income, debt and down payment amounts in the home affordability calculator and click on the calculate button.

Preapproved buyers have an edge in home purchase negotiations because preapproval lessens the uncertainties the sellers might have about your financial capabilities. Buyers often find that they qualify for a higher price than they feel comfortable paying. Regardless of how large a mortgage you qualify for, you should review your personal financial goals to determine a realistic price range. It’s useful to tally your monthly expenditures to see if there are any expenses that can

be eliminated. Also, consider any major changes in your life that might affect your income and expenses, such as a baby on the way or a planned return to school. It’s important to consider the after-tax cost of home ownership. With certain limitations, homeowners who itemize deductions can deduct the costs of property taxes and mortgage interest paid on their principal residence in the year they are paid. This can amount to significant tax savings. Another way to find out

TARO ROLLS 1 1/3 c. warm water 1 egg 1 c. poi (see recipe below) ½ c. butter, softened 1 tsp. purple food coloring (optional) 1 c. sugar 2 lbs. flour ¼ tsp. salt 2½ tsp. yeast Using an electric stand mixer (if available), beat together water, egg, poi, butter and food coloring. At low speed using a dough hook, beat in sugar, flour, salt and yeast several minutes until smooth. Transfer the dough to the counter and divide into 18 portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place in a rectangular (9x13 or similar) pan. Allow the dough to rise 1520 minutes in a draft-free location. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 225. Bake the raised rolls for 20 minutes or until

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

lightly browned on top. Poi: Peel one taro root and steam until tender, about one hour. Transfer to a large bowl; add ¼ cup water and a good pinch of salt. Pound taro into a puree, adding more water if needed for consistency. Taste and add more salt if needed. (Note: You might be successful in using a food processor for this task. Chop up the cooked taro root before processing.) I recall a friendly argument with a St. Kitts’ vendor last year. I was asking about the taro she had for sale and she corrected me that it wasn’t “taro,” it was “da sheen.” I thought she was referring to something shiny, a description that doesn’t fit taro. What she was really saying was dasheen, a likely corruption of de Chine, which is French for “from China.” Not long ago, Martha Stewart offered a tasty recipe for dasheen gnocchi with marinara sauce. If you can’t find the recipe on the Internet, just email me and I’ll send you a copy. 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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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer’s 2009 July 4 Photo Contest Winners Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Seventh Annual Clayton Pioneer July 4 Photo Contest. Picking the “best” photo from nearly 150 entries challenged our judges. While composition and overall photo quality were primary considerations, it was the emotional tug that decided the top spots. We hope you agree. Our sincere thanks to all who entered. See page 2 for more photos of Clayton’s July 4 celebration.

First Place - Under 12 Makenna Peterson, 9

Second Place - Under 12 Spencer Rutledge, 10

Second Place, Adult Audie Raap

Third Place. Adult Cricket Hamilton

Honorable Mention Christiane Brinkerhoff

Honorable Mention Jessica Law

Honorable Mention Debbie McCarthy

Mayor, from page 1 should know that they’re recyclable. As long as the plates, etc., are scraped clean of food and aren’t saturated with oil, put them in the recycle bin instead of the trash. In addition to the glass and plastic bottles and metal cans, paper cups, lids, straws and clean aluminum foil products go there too. They don’t have to be licked completely clean, just reasonably scraped of remnants. Plastic (not foam) take-out containers and cardboard pizza boxes should also be recycled. Put the grease-liner paper in the trash and then stack the boxes next to the recycling bin if the lid can’t be opened. We’ll make sure they get recycled. By the way, the new permanent recycling containers in the park were paid for by a California beverage recycling grant. Speaking of the Concerts in The Grove, I’m going to make a shameless plug for your help. I want to thank the Clayton Business and Community Association (CBCA) and Allied Waste for being partners with the city in sponsoring this great series that is provided free to the community. The city’s portion of the funding comes from our economic development fund of the Redevelopment Agency budget. With continuing threats from the state to take any and all funds they can get their hands on – legally or not,

the city may not be able to continue that contribution next year. We have been asking for donations at the concerts. After four concerts, we collected $1,256 for next year’s concert series fund. If every person who enjoys the concerts would just put $1 in the jar every concert, we’d be assured of enough money to pay for next year’s series. Thanks in advance and I’ll see you there on Saturday for the Mixed Nuts – oldies and goodies to keep you dancing all night long. On another “green” note, the City Council decided to use “plastic” lumber products to replace the warped and damaged boards on the Black Diamond Bridge. The material is made from recycled plastic and will hold up much longer than wood. It looks just like the real thing but no splinters. Meanwhile, work has begun on the Town Center signage improvement and trail project on “Daffodil Hill” west of Longs/CVS at the entrance to downtown. This capital improvement project is cofunded by the city’s Redevelopment Agency in partnership with CBCA. The first two sycamore trees, the huge eucalyptus trees and the hillside sign are being removed to make way for new downtown directory signs and a new trail that will connect the Clayton Road side-

walk between Center Street and Marsh Creek Road. Completion of the hardscape is anticipated for Aug. 4. The newly connected city well at the library may be sufficient to irrigate the plants planned for the future on this hillside. Often, I get calls from residents who have questions or have heard something “odd” around town. Please feel free to call City Hall or any member of the City Council to ask for more information. I try to keep you up-to-date through this column, but you wouldn’t want me to include everything! We want you to be accurately informed and hope you will let us know when you have questions or have ideas to share. Lastly, I want to welcome our two new planning commissioners, Dan Richardson and Ted Meriam, to our city team. They each bring a lot of talent and enthusiasm and will be great additions to the Planning Commission. I also want to thank retiring commissioners Keith Haydon and Ed Hartley for the many years of service they have given to our community. After a combined service of more than 20 years, they will no longer be tied to twice-monthly meetings, but I’m sure they will remain active contributors to our community. If you see them around town, tell them thanks. As always, you can contact me by email at Let me know what you think.

Honorable Mention Sue Elliott

Weather, from page 15 face winds turn off shore. During these events warm Central Valley air blows into the Bay Area, eliminating the sea breeze and sending temperatures well above normal – similar to the recent heat wave. After about three days, the upper level high weakens enough to allow the marine

layer to deepen and restore the sea breeze air flow. The return of cooler air allows us to turn off air conditioners and open windows and the sea breeze cycle is completed. Understanding the delicate balance between the land, sea and air shows that much of our summer weather is explained by

variations in the strength of the sea breeze flow pattern. At this point, it is not possible to predict how the rest of the summer will turn out, but the ebb and flow of the sea breeze will dictate whether we are warm or cool in the months ahead. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist with PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

July 10, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 19

‘Foreign Tongue’ explores whether love is lost in translation





What is a smart young copywriter living in Los Angeles to do when the actor she’s been dating carelessly breaks her heart – and then, adding insult to misery, becomes the new “it” celebrity? To make matters much worse, exploits of the actor’s new dating life get plastered all over the tabloids so said young writer-woman can barely buy groceries without being reminded by screaming tabloid headlines about her broken heart and the cad who smashed it. So, she flies off to Paris. Nothing mends a broken heart like a prolonged trip to the most romantic city in the world. And that’s where the fun begins in Vanina Marsot’s debut novel, “Foreign Tongue.” Anna may not have won the romance lottery, but she has several things going in her favor. One, she is a talented copy writer with a knack for picking up lucrative writing jobs at the drop of a brioche. Two, she has dual citizenship in France and the United States. And three, she has an aunt who owns an apart-

ment in Paris that happens to be vacant when she needs to get out of town fast. Quelle chance! Mending a broken heart is not easy, but if you can pick your location, why not go for one with amazing cafes and sinful pastries, crazy genius museums and enough history to drown your sorrows good and thoroughly? In Paris, our hapless heroine meets up with old friends, hangs out, begins to forget about the evil boyfriend and even imagines that she could be happy living in Paris again, as she had been as a child. So far, so good. By luck and fate, A n n a stumbles upon a translation job perfectly suited to her skills. Being fluent in both French and English, she takes a job translating the erotic memoir of a famous person, writing anonymously. She is never given the identity of the memoirist and never more than a chapter of the manuscript at a time to complete. It may be a strange job, but it’s a paying one. Of course, not all is champagne and roses. Anna begins to realize that there is more than luck and guile to translation – there is intention and nuance, an actual science. Thus begins an

interesting theme of “Foreign Tongue”: the subtlety of language and cultural context of storytelling. More trouble ensues as Anna tumbles into love with the exact wrong guy, who, being French, totally doesn’t get why she’s angry about the artful twotiming he’s been able to finesse into their short romance. Ah, love! In “Foreign Tongue,” a generous dollop of French is thrown in as a matter of course. What is really cool is that not all of that fabulous French is translated into perfect English prose. And that’s the point, I think. Not all ideas are translatable, not all that makes a culture its own special species can be described or reduced to conjugating verbs. Some things just are as they are. So if you’re like many of us planning a staycation, pick up “Foreign Tongue” and take a delicious spin through Paris. Cynthia Gregory has won numerous awards for her short fiction. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train Press, the Red Rock Review, Writer’s Digest, The Sun, The Ear, Santa Barbara Review, Black River Review, Briarcliff Review, Chicago Tribune, Bon Appetit, and the Herb Quarterly. You can write her at

Movie Review

‘Public Enemies’ takes a shot at film noir style Stark sprays of light, shadows and silhouettes, even at night, makes ‘Public Enemies’ a visual delight with film noir aspirations although the script does not dig very deep. The movie follows infamous bank robber John Dillinger during his 1930s era career crime spree that helped spur the FBI to implement newer methods of crime fighting. The fledgling FBI of J. Edgar Hoover pits Gman Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) against Johnny Depp’s Dillinger in an ever escalating game of cat and mouse.

Marion Cotillard) Depp shines with a brutal chivalry that seems as natural to him as walking down the street. He doesn’t favor kidnapping because the public doesn’t like it. One minute he’s the perfect gentleman and the next he is beating up one of coat-check girl Billie’s customers for badgering her. Although violence is part of his job as a gangster, he uses it sparingly so that even the press treats him as a celebrity, even joking and laughing with him as he is hauled off to jail yet one more time. Dilling er’s n e m e s i s, Melvin Purvis, also blends calmly gunning down criminals like Pretty Boy Floyd with the more scientific crime fighting he prefers. His confidence is in the new criminology that includes phone taps and profiling, yet as the men Universal Pictures two square off BANK ROBBER JOHN DILLINGER (JOHNNY DEPP) each evades the FBI once again in “Public Enemies.” against other like two boys playing a Depp steps into the role of game of cops and robbers, the this clever and charismatic one-upmanship forces each to gangster as a man craving the turn their play into a more dannotoriety that his daring bank gerous game. robberies and jailbreaks bring Purvis realizes wits alone to his life, even more than the aren’t enough and is forced to amount of money he steals. admit to Hoover that he can’t Taking what he wants, from beat Dillinger without bringing cash to girlfriend Billie in some old-fashioned gunmen Frechette (Oscar winner from Texas who know how to

July 1 – July 19

FREE CONCERTS with paid Fair admission

JULY 1 The Charlie Daniels Band 2 Mandisa 3 Night Ranger 4 Bay Area Blues Festival 5 Carmen Jara 6 CLOSED – No Concert 7 Skynnyn Lynnyrd 8 Gregg Rolie Band 9 Salvador 10 Bowling For Soup 11 En Vogue 12 Bucky Covington 13 CLOSED – No Concert 14 Evolution 15 BJ Thomas 16 Ozomatli 17 Solange Knowles 18 Con Funk Shun 19 Aaron Tippin

Live Horse Racing 15 days Wednesdays thru Sundays Starts opening day of Fair!





hunt down a man. At the same time, Dillinger, whose gang members are pared away by Purvis’ relentless pursuit, is forced to ally himself with more savage men such as Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham). Director Michael Mann (creator of TVs Miami Vice) uses the faces of his actors to tell the story, more so than the dialogue or the action. Much of the film is shot in extreme close-ups – so close you can see every pore, blemish and hair. There is often a bright light coming from one side and Mann focuses on details such as the dark curl of Billie’s hair as it frames her eye while she flirts with her dangerous boyfriend. At other times, the dark baggy suits and long overcoats of the era hide the bodies and only their faces are definite. A furtive glance to the side or an uncertain smile that plays on Depp’s face tell much more than what he says. Despite the legendary nature of the story, the camera stays in close to try to tell a more personal tale of the love between John and feisty but faithful Billie, as well as Dillinger’s rivalry with the FBI. Public Enemies is rated R – expect some violence and blood but it is not gratuitously overdone.

Concerts at 6pm and 8pm nightly (except 4th of July)

Happenings! “Fiesta Hispaña” Celebrate The Spirit of Mexico, July 3 - July 5

“J a z z , G a t o r s a n d G u m b o ” New Orleans Style, July 10 - July 12 Seventh Annual Amateur Rib Cook-Off

"Jai Ho": Bollywood Dhamaka An Indian Celebration of Culture, July 17 - July 19

Page 20

Clayton Pioneer •

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Easy to grow, herbs are a tasteful addition to any garden Herb gardens have become an exciting element in today’s yard and garden. Sage, rosemary and thyme are some of the favorite herbs planted in yesterday’s herb gardens. Today’s gardens, however, are planted with not one but several different thymes; sage is no longer just gray but bi- and tricolored; and trailing Sage rosemary has been replaced with more compact, upright forms. Sage Berggarten is a superhardy, evergreen plant. You can incorporate sage into your landscape or install with other edible plants. Berggarten is the familiar sage that you buy at the produce counter or dried in the spice aisle. This plant will reach 2 feet tall and wide, with gray leaves and lavender flowers. Sage bi-color has green and yellow variegation. Tri-color has green, cream and pink variegation. Both of these are interesting to look at and are excellent performers in the yard or garden. Their uses are the same as the original Berggarten, yet their looks are unique. They also will

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reach 2 feet tall and wide, and they both bloom lavender flowers that bees adore.

ally used in cooking. This variety is taller than most thyme and will reach a foot tall. The bloom on this selection is bright pink and highly attractive for bees.

A TREAT FOR THE SENSES Incorporating rosemary in herb gardens is a natural. It’s valued for its aromatic abilities, blending nicely with potatoes and chicken. The variety called Barbecue is a perfect, upright-growing rosemary, successful planted in the ground as well as in containers. Rosemary Spice Island is another exceptional upright. Reaching only 2-3 feet tall and wide, this pungent rosemary would be a great centerpiece for a container herb garden. All rosemary has the common blue flower during the early spring. Thyme is a versatile herb that has many functions in a yard or garden. It can be used in a walkway, as a step-able plant, in the ground as a hardy groundcover or along the edge of a container to cascade over the side of the vessel. Thymus pulegioides oregano would be a unique addition to your herb garden. This thyme has a mild flavor and is a nice complement to veggies and vinaigrettes. In the ground, you can expect this thyme to reach only 3 inches tall. It will creep as far as the ground is wet. If installed to be walked on, you’ll reveal its fragrance with each step. The thyme called Dot Wells is a French culinary herb tradition-



BASIL BALKS AT THE SUN Basil is often planted in our spring. Each growing season, your Clayton Valley herb gardens. tarragon will grow to 2 feet tall Sweet basil is usually the herb of and wide. You can plant this choice for planting. This selecherb in full sun in the ground or tion is touchy and less hardy, in a container. Tarragon is a easily wilting in the sumgreat herb to include when mer’s heat. cooking chicken, shell fish A hybrid, basil or vegetables Pesto Perpetuo, was Herb gardens make introduced a couple great, inexpensive gifts. of years ago. This Planting a pot for a plant grows like a birthday or a hostsmall shrub, reaching ess gift is a person18 inches tall and a al gesture at a foot wide. It has an doable price. unusual branch sysGift-able contem, seeming bushtainers cost $10like. This basil can $12. Plant two be used in the same or three herbs way as you would and you will use your sweet basil. have an impresThe foliage of the sive gift. Pesto Perpetuo is a Give Pesto variegated cream and Perpetuo basil green, and it will not with a tri-color sage Rosemary bloom. You can expect to and a lime thyme for a use this basil through the layered container herb garden. month of October, until it finalPick up some Barbecue rosely succumbs to the cold. Basil Siam Queen is purple mary and Kent Beauty oregano leafed, with a fabulous flower. for an easy-to-grow, useful herb Siam Queen is often called Thai collection. Herbs are garden-ready. basil. This beautiful basil looks They are easy and do not need great planted in the ground much care. Cooking fresh is around outdoor dining areas. In healthy. Use your garden. a season, Siam Queen can grow to be almost 2 feet tall and about half as wide. Nicole is the Garden Girl at Artemisia dracunculus var. R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and sativa is simply called French tarGarden Contact her with questions, ragon. This is a perennial herb. comments or suggestions at After its winter dormancy, it will return and grow with each new

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ADDRESS 8 Donner Creek Ct 1043 Kenston Dr 1132 Peacock Creek Dr 112 Mount Etna Dr 359 Mount Washington Wy 5019 Keller Ridge Dr 115 Forest Hill Drive 1355 Shell Lane 159 Mt. Vernon Drive 1025 Pebble Beach Drive 216 Mountaire Circle 1816 Ohlone Heights 228 Stranahan Circle 1852 Yolanda Circle 2 London Court

PRICE $248,000 $575,000 $737,000 $260,000 $520,000 $465,000 $835,000 $403,000 $615,000 $800,000 $525,000 $360,000 $420,000 $595,000 $599,000




6/26/09 6/25/09 6/22/09 6/19/09 6/19/09 6/19/09 06/16/09 06/16/09 06/09/09 06/05/09 06/04/09 5/29/09 5/29/09 5/22/09 5/18/09

1457 1761 3268 1442 1959 1639 3307 1355 2324 3599 1919 1493 1650 2390 2032

3/2.5 4/2 5/3.5 3/2 4/2 3/2.5 4/2.5 3/2.5 4/2.5 4/3 4/2 3/2 3/2.5 4/2.5 3/2.5

JUL 10 Clayton Pioneer 2009.pdf  

Pioneer’s 4th of July Celebration Photo Contest. Turn to page 18 for complete results. A with the victim gave artists enough detail to compi...

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