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September 25, 2009


Save Mount Diablo stakes its claim on Viera North Peak JULIE PIERCE

MAYOR’S CORNER Seeking feedback on Grove concerts The days are getting shorter and fall weather is on its way – we hope! The kids have settled in at school and we enjoyed our last Concert in The Grove last Saturday. It was another beautiful evening in Clayton. As I sat watching the sun set on Mt Diablo, I couldn’t help but think how lucky we all are to live in such a beautiful place and how the concerts have provided another opportunity to bring our community together. I’d like to thank everyone who worked so hard this year to present the Concerts in The Grove series. This year’s concert series cost of $22,000 was sponsored financially by the Clayton

See Mayor, page 6

Photo courtesy of Save Mt. Diablo

THE 165-ACRE VIERA FAMILY RANCH on Mt. Diablo’s North Peak has been purchased by Save Mt. Diablo for preservation as parkland. SMD will depend on private donations to fund the $800,000 needed to complete the acquisition, outlined in red in the photo. ANDRÉ GENSBURGER Clayton Pioneer

Save Mount Diablo fulfilled a 38-year-old wish by purchasing the 165-acre Viera North Peak parcel, formerly known as

the Viera Family Ranchland, on Sept. 4. Viera is located on the eastern slopes of North Peak and crossed by Perkins Canyon. The plot comes complete with two creeks that ultimately flow

into Marsh Creek. “We’re moving quickly in spite of the state’s budget crisis,” said Ron Brown, executive director for Save Mount Diablo (SMD). The property is described as

high elevation with views that stretch more than 200 miles. The selling price was $975,000. A down payment of $175,000 came from the Mary Bowerman Fund, SMD’s cofounder and botanist.

Redevelopment Agency reels under latest state grab TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

The state’s desperate grab of local tax monies to close their $26 billion budget gap will cost the city of Clayton over $2 million this year, severely crip-

pling the agency’s downtown revitalization plans. When the dust finally settled, the hit to the Redevelopment Agency was $1.9 million, with another $139,195 in property tax revenues “borrowed” from the

general fund. The final number was nearly four times what was expected, says city staffer, Laura Hoffmeister. The RDA collects $3.35 million in tax revenues and pays out $2.6 in debt service, leaving a little under $750,000 to spend

on economic development. The state seizure is 250 percent of that.. “This is outright theft,” says City Manager Gary Napper. “There is no constitutional basis for this seizure and no obligation to pay it back.”

To meet the obligation, the RDA will borrow $592,412 from the Affordable Housing Fund in a one-time loan that must be repaid in five years.

See Revenue, page 7

This amount, as well as the balance, needs to be paid by March 4. SMD plans a range of fundraising activities. “We are very excited about

See Viera Ranch, page 13

Rattlesnake bite seriously injures Clayton man JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Friends walk – and walk – for breast cancer awareness TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

SUPPORTING FAMILY AND FRIENDS both living with and lost to breast cancer motivates Stephanie Zukowski, Jeanne Emry and Patty Foster to keep going while they train for their 60 mile, three-day walk in November.

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Church News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

This year, an estimated 192,370 American women, roughly 1 in 8, will hear the dreaded diagnosis “you have breast cancer.” Of those, 40,170 women will die of the disease – leaving big holes in too many lives to count. In October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women and men will be walking and talking to increase awareness and raise money for breast cancer issues, especially the need for early detection. Breast cancer rates have been steadily declining since 1999, even in the Bay Area – where the rate is among the highest in the world. But ask anyone who has seen cancer slam into a mother, sister, daughter or friend and they will tell you that, declining or not,

it’s still too many. When she was 16, Jeanne Emry lost her mother to breast cancer. The loss still seems fresh for the 51-year-old Clayton woman. Every time the disease touches someone close to her, she feels the pain all over again. When a close friend was diagnosed in 2003, a desire to “do something” motivated Emry to sign up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. She walked 60 miles and raised $11,000 for research. She was hooked. “I cried when I crossed the finish line,” she recalls. “I just kept thinking, ‘Mom, I did it.’ ” This year, Emry will walk for the fifth time. She’ll be joined by Patty Foster of Clayton and Stephanie Zukowski of Concord. It will be the first 60-mile event for See Breast Cancer, page 12

The quick actions of a crew from Contra Costa Fire Protection District Engine 11 probably saved the life of 84year-old Lowell Hoelmer after he was bitten by a large rattlesnake in his Herriman Court garage Sept. 1 in Clayton. Hoelmer’s wife, LaVon, is quick to credit the emergency

See Snake Bite, page 6


Community Calendar . . . . . . . . .15

Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Tech Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Deal With It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Movie Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Safety Zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Theatre Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Directory of Advertisers . . . . . . . . .5

Obituary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

School News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Upcoming Events . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 25, 2009

Around Town ‘Lemon Lady’ receives garden club award When Clayton’s Anna Chan, “The Lemon Lady,” made the blissful discovery that a short auto trip would lull little daughter Ava to sleep, she had no idea that those daily “nap” drives were about to change her world. While cruising through local neighborhoods, Chan could see tree after tree, loaded with unharvested fruit going to waste. One day, she and Ava stopped and asked the owner if she could take the fruit to the local food bank and an idea was born. Volunteers soon began helping. Chan formed a network with the farmers market

Mike Dunn/Clayton Pioneer

ANNA CHAN, KGO-TV news anchor Dan Ashley and Maryanne Lucas, President of California Garden Clubs

and several hundred community members to donate fruits and vegetables to the Food Bank on a regular basis. A partnership with the Salvation Army and Share has resulted in over $60,000 in fresh produce donations to local food charities. On Sept. 11, the California Garden Clubs, Inc., recognized Chan for her community service.

Jamie Harlin and Matthew Pizzagoni wed Matthew Pizzagoni and Jamie Harlin exchanged vows in an evening ceremony at Marsh Creek Springs on July 30. Matthew has been a Clayton resident since birth and graduated from Clayton Valley High School. Jamie was born in Santa Barbara, and later moved to Pittsburg. She graduated from Berean Christian High School. Both are Diablo Valley College graduates and are employed by PF Chang’s in Walnut Creek. They live in Clayton.

For more information about Chan’s work or to find out how you can help, visit her blog at -Mike Dunn

Dana Hills Garage Sale biggest ever

“Pops” goes the Plaza

Dana Hills residents, Paul and Julie Mitchell pooled their goods with eight other families at the Dana Hills Garage Sale last weekend to benefit local stem cell transplant patient, Jessica Bucher.

















170 Brandywine Place Peacock Creek – Bainbridge model with over 3,000 s.f. in a single-story offering over $200,000 in upgrades.

$659,980 421 Diablo Creek Place Cardinet Trail/Diablo Creek – 3BD/3BA plus small office/craftsroom showplace! New decks & solar pool.

$325,000 3104 Coyote Circle Diablo Ridge – Updated & private 2BD/2BA town home w/bedroom & deck views and two garages.

1844 Yolanda Circle $629,000 Silvercreek II – 4BD/2.5BA has 2,398 s.f., a sparkling pool, patio & master veranda with great views.

1278 Shell Circle $459,000 Chaparral Springs – 3BD/3BA town home in Oakhurst – golf course, community amenities galore.

1347 Shell Lane $399,000 Chaparral Springs – 3BD/2.5BA town home is upgraded to please including kitchen & landscaped yard.

785 Bloching Circle $598,000 Regency Woods – 4BD/2.5BA and 2,011 s.f. with hiking & biking trails of Mt. Diablo out your door.

3564 Torino Way, Concord $599,980 Ygnacio Hills – Premium lot 3BD plus master bedroom w/ retreat, 2.5 bath, pool and updated kitchen.

THIS AREA’S #1 REALTOR® Assisting more buyers & sellers than anyone else* * Statistics based on Clayton closed transactions by listing/sales agent (1/08-12/08). Data by MaxEBRDI.

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Jeff, Meredith, Marjorie and Cole Edmonston of Clayton joined the two thousand people who attended the California Symphony’s “Pops in the Plaza” on Sept. 12. Emceed by ABC-7 news anchor Dan Ashley, the California Symphony drew a record crowd to the concert Todos Santos concert.

Last Saturday, more than 50 families participated in the annual Dana Hills Garage Sale. The event, organized by local Realtor Stephanie Lopez normally draws 25 or 30 families. “I don’t know if it’s the economy or what,” said Lopez, “but this one was the biggest ever.” The garage sale was an opportunity for the Mitchell family to raise money for Jessica Bucher, a Concord girl and family friend who recently underwent a stem cell transplant. The group of friends pooled their goods and will donate their proceeds of more than $1,000 to the Bucher family. For more information about Jessica or to donate, go to

September 25, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 3

Around Town Pioneer bridges the continents

Spalding Ashley opens home for Challenge Day fundraiser

 Owner operated  Years of experience!

Service Repairs Start-ups Inspections Residential & Commercial Estimates

One Month of Residential Service



Questions Welcomed CALL TODAY:

thru the end of October

10% off any other service

925-519-2013 Mike Dunn/Clayton Pioneer

Shawn Nelson, owner

C53 License #828134

Spalding Ashley, Northgate student Kevin Chinn and Deborah Ashley at the Challenge Day fundraiser.

The Cark family recently visited Turkey and Cyprus and took the Pioneer along for company. The three-week trip included stops in Istanbul, Sakarya, Ankara, Nicosia, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Munich and Frankfurt. Pictured are Ike and Nadire (standing) with Melissa, 8, and Melinda, 4. In the background is the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge on the Bosphorous in Istanbul. This is the second bridge connecting Europe and Asia.

With their usual generosity, Spalding Ashley and her husband Dan opened their home to 125 invited guests for a Taste for Change fundraiser for Northgate High School on Sept 19. Offering twenty one popular wineries and restaurant samplings to choose from including Prima, Bing Crosby’s Restaurants, Sterling Albert, Shadowbrook, and Alhambra Valley wineries to name just a few, the event raised money through silent auctions and sponsorships. Challenge Day founders Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St. John explained the function of Challenge Day to provide a safe outlet from bullying, violence and other forms of oppression. “We get to see miracles everyday,” Yvonne told the crowd. “We are all one big community.” The evening raised over $11,000. For more on Challenge Day visit the Website at

Upcoming Events OKTOBERFEST - SEPT. 26-27 The sixth annual Clayton Oktoberfest offers a weekend of entertainment for the entire family. The event will be held 11 a.m.8 p.m. Sept. 26 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 27. Enjoy the continuous live music in the Biergarten by the fabulous Internationals, the Bavarian Dance performances by the Nature Friends Schuhplatters on Saturday, street performers, and arts and crafts show and a kids’ carnival. The carnival will also

open at 6 p.m. Friday. Of course, it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without great German food and drink,

authentic Spaten beer and wine. Pre-sale carnival ride tickets offer a discount, at 25 tickets for $15. Purchase tickets until 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at La Veranda, Skipolini’s, Ed’s Mudville Grill, Hair by Jim and IMC in downtown Clayton as well as the Perfect Tan in the Safeway Shopping Center. For more information, call the Clayton Business and Community Association at 672-2272 or visit

Bird grooming – first Saturday each month. Appointments or walk-ins welcome

Quality cages for any bird at low, low prices

WE HAVE IN STOCK: Canaries Parrotlets Cockatoos Budgies

Lorikeets Macaws Amazons Conures

Eclectus Greys Finches Cockatiels

BIRD SEED SPECIALS Nyjer Thistle - 20 lbs. $


Small, Black Oil Sunflower Seed - 25 lbs. $ Western Delight Value Mix - 40 lbs. $



We have everything you need to attract wild birds to your back yard.

Feed High Quality  Feed Less  Save Money  Less Clean-up Rodie’s coupon



any large bag of any of these high quality dog or cat foods. With this coupon. Expires 10/15/09. P

Avoderm Blue Buffalo Breeders Choice Canidae Diamond Eagle Pack Eagle Holistic Select Evangers Felidae

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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

The UPS Store Independently owned and operated

We shred your past to protect your future. Stop by and try our new document shredding service.

Clayton’s Trails and Landscape Committee stays on track

Notary, Packaging, Fax and Copy Services are available too!

VIRGINIA SIEGEL Special to the Pioneer

Clayton/Concord Location:

Store Hours M-F 8-7 Sat 9-5

Vineyard Shopping Center

5100 Clayton Road Concord, CA 94523 ph: 925-689-6245




g n E i d t t ge u C

Knife Works Custom Sharpening Services  Knives  Scissors  Mower Blades  Garden Tools  Chipper Blades  Planer Blades  Jointer Blades

Louie Galvin Clayton Resident



1030 Diablo St., Clayton

Behind Cup O’Jo next to the Royal Rooster Celebrating 35 years in business

Encina / Clayton BICYCLE CENTERS

SWAP T MEE Located at 5411 Clayton Rd., Clayton, CA

Swap Meet to be held Oct. 4, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You may reserve your 12 x 12 space for $25. Hurry, space is Limited Hundreds of clearance items on sale from our warehouse! You can also take advantage of our full service shop. Free Hot Dog with purchase of any in shop item.

For questions and reservations contact Clayton Bikes at 925-672-2522 or email:

Bill Vineyard, a longtime member of the Trails and Landscaping Committee (TLC), formally presented the 2008-’09 annual report at the Sept. 1 City Council meeting. The report is a requirement of the Citizens’ Oversight Committee to the city’s Landscape Maintenance District, established in 2007 by Measure B. The report can be viewed at The TLC is a volunteer group of Clayton residents who have the privilege of advising managers of the district as they implement the services allowed by Measure B. That includes semiannual trimming of all shrubs and weed cutting along major trails, firebreaks in open space, tree trimming, and trail and irrigation inspection and repairs. The district’s specialized irrigation vehicle allows staff to address irrigation leaks within 72 hours, which was especially helpful this year considering the requirement to cut back use of landscape irrigation by 45 percent. Because of the required reduction, some of our thirstier landscaping, such as turf, was not watered. The TLC supported the priority water use plan for landscaping to stay within the requirements. The priorities are to maintain as many trees as possible, as they are the more expensive asset, while not watering lawns and allowing shrubs to stress. These last two are the easier and less costly items to replace. Things could be worse, but our district staff went the extra mile with well water, refurbishing the old abandoned well by the post office and adding a new pump to the one at the library, to help keep as much of our landscaping alive as possible. The wells cover the downtown and some Clayton Road landscaping near the library. The annual report includes a detailed budget for the landscape district. Residents of Clayton are strongly encouraged to view the information on the district’s budget. Measure B was approved by 83 percent of the voters in Clayton, and the TLC provides oversight for the tax dollars. It is important to note that the special tax revenues and the savings from the water cutbacks cannot be “stolen” by any entity, including the city’s General Fund or the state.

While the services budgeted from Measure B do not include everybody’s wish list, they certainly have allowed for our city roadsides and open space to be maintained as best we can with the funds available and the water restrictions. With that in mind, it is good to see that the district is managed in a fiscally responsible manner – as demonstrated by the annual report. Volunteers are still the heart of any healthy city, and ours is no exception. A key highlight in this year’s report includes the establishment and implementation of an Adopt a Trail program. By the end of July, there were five trail segments adopted by volunteers for quarterly maintenance activities and three of these segments had financial donors. Another financial sponsor and volunteer group were in process. The annual funds raised by the Adopt a Trail program will be able to be used to supplement the financing of Measure B and be used specifically for trails. In these difficult economic times, the TLC’s Adopt-a-Trail program has been remarkably successful. The conclusion of the Citizens’ Oversight Committee is that the landscape district is efficient and well-managed, but this city’s trail system is outstanding. This is due to a combination of good management, the hearts of volunteers and effective civic partnerships. Another highlight of the district was the completion of a trails inventory and evaluation report that documented and prioritized trail maintenance and repair needs. From this report, two popular trails were identified and repaved by combining the project with planned street repaving projects. In October, the TLC will start to look at design plans for re-landscaping the median noses surrounding signal intersections in the city and other areas that were selectively allowed to die because of mandated water reductions. The recommendations will be for landscaping that is more suitable for the locations and conditions. They will consider appropriate areas and uses of decorative hardscape. The committee meets at least quarterly and encourages input from the community at meetings. The next meeting is 7 p.m. Nov. 16. Virginia Siegel is the chairperson of the Trails and Landscape Committee.

September 25, 2009


Stan Abernathy 1938 – 2009 Stan Abernathy, 71, of Concord died peacefully on September 16. He was born July 10, 1938 in Vallejo to Earl and Sophie Abernathy. A 1957 graduate of Vallejo Senior High School, Mr. Abernathy was drafted into the Army during the Cuban crisis and received an Honorable Discharge. He and his wife Pat moved to Concord in 1967. They developed a passion for traveling and boating, including day trips to the Delta, waterskiing and cruises to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast, Panama Canal, Hawaii and Alaska. Mr. Abernathy retired after 35 years with Foster & Kleiser and was a member of the Teamsters Union. In retirement, he discovered golf and

enjoyed meeting with his good buddies at the Buchanan Golf Club. Mr. Abernathy was often found on the sidelines of his grandchildrens’ school and sporting events. He was also a 25year member of Walnut Creek Elks Lodge #1811. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Darrell and Gary. A beloved husband, father and grandfather, Mr. Abernathy is survived by Pat, his best friend and wife of 45 years, daughters Leslie Linderman, and Danielle Bartolomei and three grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Sept. 26 at Ouimet Brothers Chapel in Concord at 4125 Clayton Road, 682-4242.

Avoiding jet lag eases travel stress





One of the major complaints when traveling internationally is the dreaded jet lag. It is the curse of modern jet travel, resulting in loss of working efficiency and vacation enjoyment – often for days after arrival. Jet lag happens when the body’s inner clock falls out of sync with daily cycles of light, meals and rest. The most common symptoms include tiredness during the day, disorientation, lack of concentration and motivation, inability to sleep at night, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration and discomfort of legs and feet. It can take your body up to 24 hours to adjust for each time zone you cross in

your travels. Most travelers experience at least a couple of these symptoms. To minimize the effects of jet lag, try changing your behavior before, during and after you travel. In the days before your flight, adjust your sleeping and eating times an hour or two toward your destination (east forward, west backward). Change your watch to your destination time zone as soon as you board your plane. Try to eat and sleep according to the time of your destination. Don’t drink alcohol or sugary, caffeinated beverages on your flight, but do drink plenty of fluids such as water and juices. Sleep as much as you can during a long flight, even if you don’t feel tired. Eight hours of cinema might sound tempting, but sleep will undoubtedly prove more rewarding. Use earplugs and eye shades to help you sleep. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to slip into a new time zone. Using a sleep medication such as Ambien or Lunesta can help, but on a trip less than five

See Jet Lag, page 9

For reservations or information call

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*FREE Balcony Upgrades refer to reserving a Balcony stateroom for the price of an Oceanview stateroom. FREE upgrade must be confirmed at time of booking in preferred stateroom available and is based on a price reduction to applicable lead-in fares. Fares available as of 9/14/09 and are subject to change. Fares based on Emerald Princess 9/12/09, Diamond Princess 05/15/10, Cruisetour AB3 on Coral Princess 5/19/10 and Star Princess 5/12/10 saving only. Fares for other dates may vary. Fares apply to minimum lead-in category on a space-available basis at time of booking. Fares are per person, non-air, cruise-only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two passengers in a stateroom. These fares do not apply to singles or third/fourth-berth passengers. Fares may remain at discounted level after this promotion. Government fees and taxes of up to $138.78 per person are additional and subject to change and may be higher for Canadian residents. Princess reserves the right to impose a Fuel Supplement of up to $9 per person per day on all passengers if the MNYMEX oil price exceeds $70 per barrel, even if the fee has already been paid in full. This offer is capacity controlled and may not be combinable with any other public, group or past passenger discount, including shipboard credits. Fares quoted in U.S. dollar. Ask about our optional air add-on program. See the applicable Princess Cruise brochure or for terms, conditions and definitions that apply to all bookings. Please reference promotion code RGA.

September 25, 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

6096 Main Street, Clayton, 673-0440

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 J AY B EDECARRE , Sports B ETH N EUDELL , Advertising Sales C HRISTINA S CARLOTT , Administrative Assistant

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

Send School News to

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

Sept. 25, 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Relyks Oct. 2, 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bollinger Station Karaoke Wed. nights  Open Mic Thurs. nights

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Outback Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-1244 S&K Nellis Painting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-2233

Planning a group vacation next year?

Please call us to discuss group discounts.

Family Reunions  Graduations Retirement Parties  Birthdays Special Anniversaries Friends and Family Get Togethers

CHECK Pull codes only. $57 value

Clayton Valley Shell. May not be combined with other offers. Expires 10/10/09




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Children's Dentistry of Walnut Creek . . . . . . . . . .938-2392 Jason Renner, D.D.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800 Richard Rissel, D.M.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800 Dining and Entertainment Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Diablo Light Opera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .944-1565 La Veranda .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0011 Willows Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .957-2500 Educational Services Katherine Palau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510-207-7467 Financial and Insurance Services CD Federal Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-0900

2010 Alaska, Europe, Caribbean, Panama Canal and Mexico are now available for booking

Owners Valerie O’Connell (Clayton resident, 30 years) & daughter Colleen O’Connell

(925) 935-7447

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Doug Van Wyck - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300 Ferrante Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .674-1755 Richard Littorno - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 Fitness Snap Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0110 Traveling Trainers for Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6931 Funerals Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242

The Pioneer - It’s your paper!

$ 10 off SMOG


Clayton Valley Shell. May not be combined with other offers. Expires 10/10/09

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Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523



Michael Dwyer & Sons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3980 Olde World Mill & Cabinets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .915-0822

Cruise Adventures Unlimited Serving all cruise lines since 1987



Burkin Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212-3339

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


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.

Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423

Smith & Bernal Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0138

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. 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.

Construction and Trades

Beer only. Good anytime with original coupon. Exp. 10/10/09

Clayton Valley Shell

$ 10 off

Nemesis Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521-1001

All entertainment from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse


Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739

Clayton Valley Shell. May not be combined with other offers. Expires 10/10/09

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Mechanical repairs and computer diagnostics including 30K, 60K, 90K factory maintenance on all European, Imported and domestic vehicles.

Abbey Carpet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-9901 Blue Water Pools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .519-2013


Clear Splash Pool Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-6245 Floors to Go Danville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .820-8700

Clayton YMCA The Y is seeking donations of supplies and items for use in the summer day camps and the after-school programs. Please call Jennifer Beck at (925) 692-2364 if you have books for all ages, old movies (PG and G rated), all types of board and interactive games and anything else that would be appropriate for kids.

Just Floors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .681-4747 Keenan Heinz Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288-0159 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Pans on Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .600-7267 Sparkle Pools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-5025 The Cutting Edge Knife Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2723 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Mailing and Shipping

FOR SALE Washer/Electric Dryer Kenmore matching set. Color Bisque. 4 years old. Excellent Condition. $750 Cash Only. (925) 426-3308

SERVICES Senior Assistance Seniors About Town - Local mom providing assistance to Seniors. Help around the home, driving to appointments and activities and companionship. Starting at $15.00/hr, References available. Terri Gerow (925)330-5090.

The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Personal Products and Services Roberta Claire Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .625-1123 The Makeup Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408-8010 Pet Services Aussie Pet Mobile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .800-738-6624 Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100 O’Brien Family Pet Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .899-7354 Rodie’s Feed and Country Store . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600 Real Estate and Mortgage Services Flannery, Patty - Diablo Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0541 French, Lynne - Windermere Real Estate . . . . . .672-8787 Kavanaugh, Mike - RE/MAX Accord . . . . . . . . . .383-6102 Laurence, Pete - RE/MAX Realty . . . . . . . . . . . .937-0150

Computer Need help with you PC? I can troubleshoot, repair, or upgrade your current computer. In-home tutoring, wireless networks, virus/spyware checks. Clayton resident. (925) 206-9704.


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Lopez, Stephanie - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . .932-7329 Morucci, Kim - Intero Real Estate Services . . . . .280-8563 Rahimzadeh, Helen -Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . .932-7375 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . . .672-4433 Recreation Clayton Bicycles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2522 Clayton Valley Bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-4631

Survey Takers Door to Door for Home Improvement Company. $15 per hour. Work in the Clayton area. Call Dave at (925) 580-8609

Oakhurst Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9737

Real Estate Agents Be Successful! Lynne French is expanding and interviewing for a few agents. Call her today (925) 672-8787.

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Senior Services Aegis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .692-5853 Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100

Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700 Comcast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-877-634-4434 Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . .473-0180


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Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •

Snake Bite, from page 1 crew’s care at their house and in getting her husband to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where he was given anti-venom

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ding anniversary in August and if it hadn’t been for the work of the emergency crew, I don’t know if we’d be able to look forward to our 60th,” says LaVon, a retired nurse. The Hoelmers moved from Minnesota to Concord in 1963 and bought their Clayton home 10 years later. Lowell was a sheet metal worker and still carries medical coverage through his union. Herriman Court is a quiet cul de sac of nine single-story, ranchstyle homes off Mitchell Canyon Road. The court has the last homes on the west side of Mitchell Canyon. Immediately past the court is an agricultural soil trial growth area and then the entrance to the Cemex Clayton Aggregate quarry. The 1st of September was a hot day with temperatures in the 90s. As they often do, the Hoelmers were going to open their garage door to help cool the house about 9:30 p.m. They have a screen door between the garage and the interior of their house. “Lowell flipped on the light and took a step down into the garage. He let out a yell and we saw a large snake by the step,” says LaVon. “It freaked me out.” “He stepped back into the house, saying he felt a little woozy. At first, we didn’t realize he had been bitten. I called 911 and then a neighbor,” she relates. “The bite immediately affected Lowell. Our neighbor elevated his leg, waiting for the emergency workers to arrive. By the time they got there, Lowell was having trouble breathing, his eyes were rolled back, he couldn’t swallow and his leg was swollen.” Lowell was wearing moccasins and had been bitten on his left ankle. Fire Capt./paramedic Noel Luiz, fire engineer Ken Robb and firefighter/paramedic Brian DaValle responded to the 911 call. They assessed that their patient was “in shock, had an elevated heart rate, low blood pres-

Áegis of Concord invites you to “Pups & Pages”!

sure and was pale, cool and diaphoretic.” After Lowell was taken to John Muir, it was two hours before he was given the antivenom serum. The incident happened on a Tuesday evening and he was released that Friday. LaVon went around to all her neighbors, telling them what happened. Seven of the eight neighbors told her they have killed rattlesnakes on their property. One found a rattler that had come into their house through an open door. The snake in the Hoelmers’ garage was described as four to five feet in length with a significant girth. The emergency crew chopped off its head. LaVon Hoelmer was cautioned to be careful when she cleaned up the blood in the garage since it could still have venom in it. The smell of the dead snake in the hot weather was so bad that Waste Management agreed to make a special pickup to remove the carcass. The crew at Fire Station 11 says they respond to many calls about rattlesnakes, but treating humans with a snake bite is a rarity. Last year, a young girl was bitten as she played outside her Dana Hills home. Dan Barrett, deputy director of Contra Costa Animal Services in Martinez, said they are not apprised of many snake bites on humans. Snakes biting dog and dogs biting people are much bigger problems. “I think you’ll find that vets’ reports of snake bites on domestic animals are greater than incidents with humans. People would be surprised how many serious bites on humans there are with uncontrolled and unsocialized dogs that require emergency treatment.” Barrett added that the spring (March-April) and early fall (September-October) are the main months for rattlesnake sightings. “We get calls every month about rattlesnakes, but typically there’s a significant increase when the temperature changes.” He cites Clayton, Pittsburg and Hercules as cities backing up to open space with the most rattlesnakes. “We hear from every city within the county about snakes.” In the past week officials from Mt. Diablo Soccer Association reported that rattlesnakes were spotted on a field at Clayton Community Park next to Diablo View Middle School and in the restroom at Boatwright Sports Complex adjacent to Cal State East Bay Concord campus off Pine Hollow Rd.

September 25, 2009

FEMA stats show Americans are not prepared for disaster


SAFETY ZONE Last month, FEMA released a report from the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey that provides important information related to preparedness and community safety. The survey indicated that 30 percent of Americans are not prepared for a disaster because they believe that emergency responders will help them. Sixty percent expect to rely on emergency responders in the first 72 hours following a disaster, while 49 percent believe neighbors will help them. When we have a major disaster in the Bay Area that affects Clayton, we could be cut off from the first responders for a week or more. Can the personnel at the fire station handle all of our needs at the time of disaster? Probably not. Will the EMTs be able to enter Clayton via Clayton Road or Oakhurst? Maybe not. Only 41 percent of the survey participants had practiced a workplace evacuation drill and 14 percent had participated in a home evacuation drill. Of those in school and or with children in school, 23 percent had participated in a school evacuation drill. In Clayton our children are trained in emergency evacuation, but how about at home? Do you have an evacuation plan? Have you practiced your plan with your family? Where is your meeting place during or after a disaster? As to having the necessary emergency supplies; i.e. water, food, flashlight, batteries, etc., 56 percent have an appropriate cache. Thirty-five percent have supplies in their cars and 46 percent have supplies in their work-

Mayor, from page 1 Join us for our “Meet The Author” program sponsored by

Sunday, September 27th 12:00 p.m - 2:00 p.m. In attendance will be four notable authors available for book signings and a question and answer period. The authors: Annette Langer, Len Harris and special Mystery Authors will be donating $1 per book sold, to the Animal Rescue Foundation(ARF). They will also be accepting canned food donations for our furry friends and donating a book for our resident library. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Kelly Ferro, Marketing Director at (925) 692-5838. Áegis of Concord 4756 Clayton Road Concord, CA 94521

(925) 692-5838 RCFE #075600935

Redevelopment Agency (as economic development promotion of our Town Center), the Clayton Business and Community Association and a contribution from our refuse and recycling collector, Allied Waste Services. Since the state plans to steal all of the city’s available redevelopment funds this year and next, we are grateful for your generous donations toward next year’s concert series. Your donations, totaling more than $7,000 so far, are held in a dedicated fund that can only be used for the concerts next year and cannot be stolen by the state! It’s not too late to send a taxdeductible donation to next year’s series. Just send a check to “City of Clayton” and write “Concert Series” on the memo line. I’ll send you a personal thank you to document your donation. Councilman Howard Geller volunteered again this year as our concert promoter, selecting and booking the bands and serving as overall organizer. Jim Diaz, Dan DeSousa, Jim Lawrence, Mike Williams and Mike Fossan managed logistics.

Don Stone and his sound crew made sure we could all hear the great music. City staff members Laci Jackson and Laura Hoffmeister took care of the administrative details. As your mayor, I was head cheerleader and enthusiastic donation collector – also doubling as restocking staff for the restrooms. The great volunteers from Diablo Valley Ranch pitched in every concert with set-up and clean-up. I’d specially like to thank all of you who came and enjoyed the concerts. What a great town we have! Last week, we passed out surveys to those at the concert asking what we can do to improve the series for next year. In case you missed the final concert or didn’t get a chance to fill out the survey, it’s posted on our Website at We’d love to have your feedback on many aspects of the series. Some of our questions on the survey are:  Did you attend any of the 10 concerts this year? How many?  Are Saturday evenings the best time?

place. It was encouraging to read that 72 percent of the survey participants have their financial records in a safe place. Forty-four percent have household emergency plans in place, but only 23 percent have given time within the last 12 months to support emergency responder organizations. Just 13 percent have attended Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. In Clayton, we have only 141 people trained. Of our Clayton population over the age of 16, I am sure we are less than 13 percent. Our goal is to have all Clayton residents prepared for a disaster. Too few people have the necessary training to know what to do in a disaster. Here are some things to consider:  Do you have your emergency supplies?  Do you have evacuation plans and knowledge of community emergency procedures?  Do you have drills to practice your emergency preparedness skills? You should be commended if you are prepared for a disaster where we are cut off for 7-10 days, have your evacuation plans in place and feel confident in handling your family’s immediate first aid needs. If not, I strongly recommend you enroll in a CERT training session. Our six-week program begins 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Endeavor Hall. These classes address emergency preparedness, including recommended household supplies, fire suppression, light search and rescue and disaster psychology. To enroll in the CERT class, call 673-7355 and leave a message. Or visit For more on the FEMA report, go to Herb Yonge is a volunteer with the Clayton Police Department and a member of the city of Clayton Citizen Corps Council, CERT team. Contact him at 673-7355 or at

Would another day or time be better?  Do you like the variety of music? Would you like a different blend?  What was your favorite/least favorite concert? Why?  How was the volume?  Would you attend a special concert on the 4th of July? Best time?  Did you patronize any of our restaurants/downtown businesses for food or beverages? Why/why not?  Would you like to have food or beverage sales booths in The Grove during concerts?  Should we restrict how early people can “reserve” space with blankets and chairs?  Did you donate to the Concert Fund collections this year?  Would you be willing to volunteer to help the Concert Crew next year?  Do you have any suggestions for next year? Please help us plan for next year’s concerts by responding to the survey by Oct. 10. Your feedback will help us improve the series for next year. As always, you can contact me at Let me know what you think.

September 25, 2009

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Don’t take the eyes for granted – they can leave you in the dark Eyes are reportedly the windows to the soul, although depending on who the owner of the eyes may be, the soul may not be particularly deep. More importantly, the eyes are a marvelous creation: small and compact, flexible and able to coordinate with its twin with impeccable precision – well most of the time. I had 20-20 vision until I was in my mid-30s, a point I often touted with pride to those less ocularly enabled. Computer work, writing and television have made short work of this perfection to the point that without glasses, I will never see the wrinkles on your face, let alone be able to look into your soul. Computer monitors, in particular, with moving photons forever shifting the eyes ability to focus, ultimately weakened the eye-brain ability to remain focused. That old motherly nag to not sit so close to the television was not without merit. I received a good lesson in eye safety recently when my left eye-

ball turned Terminator red with a clear abrasion that resembled the shape of Florida. Being an allergy sufferer I am used to red eyes, so thought nothing of it until later in the day when the pain set in and the redness intensified. My ophthalmologist identified an abrasion of the conjunctiva from unknown cause. A cut was present, large enough that it had already started to scab over and, of course, had some infection. For this, there is no shortage of medications – from anti-inflammatory eyes drops to an antibiotic ointment applied twice daily. What I learned sitting at the ophthalmologist’s office and reading the charts on the wall is just how complicated a mechanism the eyeball is, let alone the brain power required to coordinate the movement of both and adjusting for focal length and aperture of the iris. Think about it – you move your focus from the car in front of you and, with precision, focus on the rear-view mirror and the car approaching you from behind.

All the while you are aware of movement as your peripheral vision sends information to your brain that not only rights what is an upside down image on your retinal wall, but adjusts for your own eye and head movements. If you think that is easy, close one eye, look at a wall and move your head from left to right. Normally you will not see the wall moving as your brain adjusts for the fact that the wall is still and your eyes/head are moving. With one eye only, it is more apparent that the wall moves in the opposite direction. Seeing is not always believing, however, as your brain can misinterpret information from your eyes. Losing your keys that wind up right in front of you is one example. Your brain processes so much visual information that it often acts as editor. A classic example is how your brain can fill in missing letters in a sentence to create comprehension. And magicians’ sleight of hand is really an optical illusion

Page 7


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

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REAL ESTATE For your protection, in any real estate transaction, you should pull a title report for the property. Title defects aren’t common, but when they occur, the consequences can be disastrous. One seller found out to his surprise that there was a “cloud” (title defect) affecting title to his property. The title search on his property showed that a deed had been recorded transferring title from the previous owner to himself. But, that deed was signed by only one of two owners. Due to an oversight, the wife’s signature was-

n’t on the deed. This meant that the wife could still make a claim to the property. In effect, she was still in title as an owner because she hadn’t transferred her interest in the property. Your real estate purchase contract should include a clause that requires the sellers to provide you with good title to the property at closing. If the sellers are unable to do this, you should be able to withdraw from the contract without penalty. In the example above, the buyer’s title insurance company was able to track down the wife’s heirs and get the signatures necessary to remove the cloud on title. The defect in the title report was corrected and the sale went through. Most buyers take out a mortgage when they purchase a home. But, before a lender will issue a mortgage, there will need to be evidence that the buyers will

Revenue, from page 1 The remaining $1,372,644 will come from accumulated capital improvement funds. The diversion comes despite a court decision in April ruling local redevelopment agency revenues off limits to state seizure. “The odds are good that the courts will again find this illegal,” said a disgruntled Mayor Julie Pierce. “But it won’t mat-

ter. The state will find another way to get their money.” In addition to the $1.9 million in redevelopment funds, the state will divert $139,195 from property tax revenues in a loan that must be paid back in three years. “The state is falling into bankruptcy and they are just grabbing at everything on the way down,” says Napper.


receive good title to the property. Also, the lender will require that a title insurance policy be purchased, usually at the buyer’s expense, guaranteeing the lender’s interest in the property. Title insurance is paid for on a onetime-only basis. It is not transferable from one party to another. A lender’s policy of title insurance won’t protect the buyers’ interest. But, buyers can get title insurance for their own protection. Even if you’re paying all cash for a property, and won’t need a mortgage, it’s wise to obtain a title insurance policy to protect yourself. Title insurance for the buyer can be paid for by either the buyer or seller. Around here the buyer usually pays. The cost is based on the purchase price: the higher the price, the higher the title insurance premium. Before issuing a policy of title insurance, title examiners search the public records for records that affect the property in question: such as liens, judgements and easements. An easement grants the right to use another’s property for a specific purpose. With the great run of home building as occurred a couple of years ago, be especially mindful of liens that have been placed on the property due to a builder filing bankruptcy – such homes are on the market. If a title defect is discovered during the course of a title search, the company insuring title will exclude this defect from its cover-

age. But, if the title examiner makes a mistake and misses a defect, the buyer is protected by the title insurance policy. For example, a buyer’s title examiner discovered that there was an underground storm drain on the property that passed underneath a corner of the house. This was listed as an exception from coverage on the buyer’s policy of title insurance. The seller was protected by a title insurance policy that he purchased when he bought the house. The seller’s title insurance company had not disclosed the existence of the underground drain and the drain wasn’t excluded from the seller’s title insurance coverage. The seller contacted his title insurance company and made a claim. The seller’s title insurance company missed the unrecorded easement for the storm drain so they paid the claim. Make sure you understand the kind of title insurance you’re buying. There are several kinds available. If you have a question about anything in your title search, ask your title insurer for an explanation and see it through to the close. Lynne French is the Broker/Owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. Send your real estate questions to Call (925) 672-8787, or stop in at 6200 Center Street in Clayton.

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 25, 2009

Students question value of new fence at CVHS


STUDENT REPORTER At the start of the school year, students noticed a new addition to the Clayton Valley High School campus. This summer, school officials put a huge black fence around the perimeter of the campus to “keep intruders and vandals out.” There has been much controversy over the fence and its true intent. I understand that our district relies on funding gained by students attending class, but is the school spending money to try to earn

money by confining students on campus? If students really want to ditch school, the fence isn’t much of a deterrent. Plus, students who attended class off and on may now decide to avoid school altogether. I talked to some students about the fence, and my peers all seemed to feel that our school has a prison-like atmosphere. “I believe that this fence that was meant to ‘protect’ us was a complete waste of money and resources,” said sophomore Joanna Fan. “I feel that Clayton Valley focuses more on trying to keep the students who don’t care about their education from leaving school and dropping out than focusing on inspiring and helping the more driven students at the school succeed. They really should have a balanced focus, but, unfortunately, this is not the case.” Junior Chase Johnson said the money wasn’t well-spent on a fence. “It would be much

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more beneficial if put into our sports programs.” Not only is the fence locked right after school starts, but CV employs a campus supervisor to “guard” the gate all day. Supervisors have a list with the names of students with an open fifth or sixth period to monitor that the students leaving campus truly have an open period. Wouldn’t CV benefit more from having this supervisor patrol the campus, stopping fights or kids

smoking? I have seen bigger problems than kids taking a “fried chicken run” off-campus. Recently, my mom came to school to give me a pizza as my birthday lunch. She saw the supervisor “guarding” the gate, so she joked with me, “Sweetie, I’ve hidden a nail file under the pizza. You can try to break free later!” This goes to show that the prison-like atmosphere is not only noticed by students.

I understand that the funds used for the fence were slated for campus improvements. But in addition to all the cuts made last year to sports teams, teachers and classes, we have two unusable bathrooms, no theater and antiquated science labs. This is one purchase that I will never understand. Sarah Rosen is a sophomore at CVHS. Email her at

Music camp a bonding experience for Clayton teens SARAH ROSEN Special to the Pioneer

In August, Clayton teens united with teens from all over the West Coast for a week of music-making, inspiration and bonding. Set on Alpine Lake, the Bear Valley Young Musicians Camp offers an unforgettable experience for 30 musically inclined teens. This year’s theme for the camp, “Music Island,” split the tents into “tribes.” The four tribes competed to be named the “Most Supremely Bodacious Tribe.” The tribe worthy of this honor was the Tortouga tribe, consisting of seven “bodacious” campers and one counselor. Four out of the seven attend Clayton Valley High School, and counselor Darcy Smith is a CV alumni. Joanna Fan, Heather Raymond, Maggie Keenan and Sarah Rosen are part of the CVHS music program under the musical direction of Mundy Viar. The bond that the campers

THE TORTUGAS SHOW OFF THEIR “MOST SUPREMELY BODACIOUS TRIBE” TROPHY WON AT THE BEAR VALLEY YOUNG MUSICIANS CAMP. Top row: Rebecca Streitz, Darcy Smith, Maggie Keenan, Kristin Butler and Cassidy Garrett. Bottom row: Heather Raymond, Sarah Rosen and Joanna Fan.

build each year is extraordinary. “BVYMC is one of the most indescribable events you could ever experience,” says Fan. “To

put the week of Bear Valley into words would be like explaining the meaning of life – it’s impossible.”

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DVMS picnic welcomes students back to school

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Diablo View Middle School held its Second Annual Welcome Back to School Picnic on Friday, Sept. 11 to welcome the students and families to

a new school year with fun, food, and entertainment. The warm evening was filled with families enjoying the food, the company, and mountain scenery. Kids were running, playing, and having fun while the jazz band played several tunes, led by band instructor, Mr. Kaiser. The songs went perfectly with the atmosphere. Lines for fresh BBQ snaked through the campus. Families, happy and content munched in the school’s amphitheatre, enjoying the entertainment. To the audience’s delight, Drama Mama performers, sang numbers from their recent production of “Suessical”, and families gathered around getting their fill of delicious BBQ; including Tritip, chicken and all the fix-ins. Robbie Parker DVMS Student Reporter

September 25, 2009

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Music foundation hopes to rescue music programs axed in last round of budget cuts





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BRUCE AND KATHY FARRELL (MDMEF VICE PRESIDENT) AND CINDY AND HOYT WELLER handed out a few hundred information fliers at the California Symphony event at Todos Santos Park in Concord.

unbelievable.” The initial effort of the MDMEF is to provide funding to restore the lost instrumental music programs to the district’s elementary schools, with medium- and long-term objectives of providing supplementary support to music programs at all levels of the district. As it is, schools are scrambling to raise funds at the local level with car washes and other creative ideas. Many schools are asking for participation in “a dollar a day” program, which equates to a yearly commitment of $180-300, depending how you define a year. At the California Symphony’s Pops in the Plaza in Concord Sept. 12, the MDMEF set up an information booth to

(brand name Pycnogenol) that is available at natural food stores and pharmacies. Your brain tissue swells slightly on long flights and this substance is an anti-edema, which cuts the swelling significantly. I just saw an ad in the Costco magazine advertising this as well. I once tried the Argonne National Laboratory Anti-Jet Lag Diet. It was developed and used by the military to help soldiers adjust across many time zones. It is a coordinated plan of feasting and fasting three days prior to travel. You can check it out at I found that it was successful, but involved a lot of effort. My favorite remedy, and the one that I use consistently, is the No-Jet-Lag chewable tablet. It was developed in New Zealand and has been available since 1990. It is a homeopathic and natural product that is safe for all ages, has no side effects and does not interfere with any other types of medication. The

hand out fliers as well as solicit donations. Manned by two families, the Farrells (Kathy Farrell is vice-president of MDMEF) and the Wellers, the booth attracted people who chatted about the state of the music program and found out ways to support it. “We handed out over 260 fliers,” said Hoyt Weller, who graduated from Clayton Valley High in 1974. “So far no one has donated, though.” And therein lies the dilemma faced by all the fundraising groups connected by the district. The Unified Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation also is out actively pursuing parent dollars to fund sports. Coupled with a

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chewable tablets are taken during flight, along with utilizing the other sensible measures mentioned above. They are used by business travelers, vacationers and athletes alike and can be found at travel stores or through It allows you to hit the ground running when you reach your destination. Travel Tip: If you are traveling with a companion, pack some clothing for each person in each suitcase or in your carryon. In the unlikely event that one of your bags doesn’t arrive, this will help reduce the stress of waiting for your luggage to catch up with you. I had a friend whose luggage didn’t arrive for four days and she figured out new ways to tie her scarf so it didn’t look like she was wearing the same outfit every day! Recently retired, Clayton resident Peggy Bidondo now has the time to indulge her passion in travel planning and writing. Send your questions and column ideas to Peggy Bidondo at

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Jet Lag, from page 4 hours long, it may make you feel worse when you land. If possible, book a flight that arrives in the late afternoon. After you land, get out in the sunlight or bright light as much as possible. Stay up until 10 p.m. local time. If you land earlier in the day, nap in the early afternoon – but not for more than two hours. Try to adopt a normal meal schedule as soon as you arrive. You may have heard that melatonin supplements can ward off jet lag, but many physicians do not recommend them. Melatonin is sometimes called “the hormone of darkness” because it is naturally produced in your brain at night. It helps control your body’s schedule for sleeping and waking. Despite the publicity, much remains unknown about melatonin and its effects on your body – especially when used with other medications. A recent article in Good Housekeeping mentioned a new remedy: pine bark extract

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The fledgling Mt. Diablo Music Education Foundation must raise $500,000 by February to save 5th grade instrumental music and restore 4th grade instrumental music lost to last spring’s budget cuts. Gary Coartney, one of the principals for the foundation’s push, knows that time is not an ally. “I ask every teacher to get this information to all of your parents and site administrators,” he said. “I ask the parent and community members to please ask people whom you know to become apart of this all-important effort. We have to mobilize now. Inaction will surely mean the end of music education as we currently know it.” Known for his dedication to students and drive in getting a decent music education program at Concord High School, Coartney has also seen the fruits of his labor in competition wins for his groups. The school’s Jazz Ensemble beat out 20 top high school bands at the Heritage Music Festival in Seattle last April. “There is great value in this current educational model, and the students reap the rewards of a quality music education,” Coartney said. “I’m not teaching music – I’m teaching life skills through music.” MDMEF committee member Lauren Sinz says the situation is dire. “Fourth grade music is cut. It’s out. Fifth is next, depending on cuts, and that is pretty imminent,” she said. “It’s

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 25, 2009

Clayton Sports League title within reach for CVHS volleyball JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton Valley High School girls volleyball coach Lisa Hobson enters her third season as head coach of the Eagles with confidence that her alma mater can challenge for the Diablo Valley Athletic League championship. And she’s counting on a quartet of Clayton players to help them achieve that goal. Hobson (nee Lisa Barbieri) graduated from Clayton Valley in 1989 after excelling in volleyball, basketball and track and accepted a full scholarship to volleyball power University of the Pacific in Stockton. The Tigers made it to the NCAA championship game in Maryland in 1990, losing to UCLA. She hopes her experience and love of the game – she still plays occasionally at the Clayton YMCA – transfers to the players as they battle Northgate, Concord and defending champion Berean Christian for DVAL honors this season. Senior Kelsey Rudd of Clayton is the team’s only fourth-year varsity player. The coach counts on the team captain and 5-9 middle blocker for strong net play, both blocking and hitting, as well as for providing leadership for the young team that has just four seniors. Rudd is also a CV basketball player. Her fellow seniors include Celeste Piper, who moved from opposite to outside hitter and has earned a starting spot. Hobson says she’s a “powerful server who will get a lot of aces.” Michelle Stiller is a setter and team captain who provides “great defense” as a returning starting setter. Lizzie Cotterell, at 5-10 one of the team’s tallest players, switched from outside hitter to opposite and “she has really shined. Lots of blocks and smart hitting,” Hobson adds. Junior Camille Condit is a returning first team all-DVAL outside hitter, a team captain and third-year varsity performer who played on the USA High Performance club team this summer. “She’s our best passer and go-to hitter, who also has a good serve and can really pound the ball,” the coach says. “Club is much stronger now than when I played in high school. I had two clubs to choose from, while we now have players on four different clubs,” Hobson notes. “It is almost impossible to have a strong high school team if you don’t have club players. “Playing almost year-round and at a higher level of competition really allows the girls to improve in the off season and

Mike Dunn/Clayton Pioneer

CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM IS LOOKING FOR SUCCESS IN DVAL THIS SEASON. Clayton residents, from left, Sierra Andrus, Taylor Boneberg, Kristina Duncan and Kelsey Rudd are filling key roles for coach Lisa Hobson’s Eagles.

work on their individual skills. Then we can focus more on team drills once high school practice starts in the fall.” Eagles’ varsity girls who play club include Rudd (Precision), Condit (Xceleration) and

Allison Palmer (Odyssey). Stiller, Cotterell, Piper, Sierra Andrus, Marissa Hobson and sophomore transfer Andi Lineweaver are all on Diablo Valley Volleyball Club teams. The Clayton contingent on

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton’s Garrett Biel didn’t take long to make an impression as the placekicker for Trinity University. In his second college game, the freshman booted a 34-yard field goal on the last play to give the Trinity Tigers a 22-21 win over Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. For his heroics, Biel was named Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Football Special Teams Player of the Week. Last fall, the 5-foot-8, 164-pound Biel was kicking footballs for De La Salle High School and soccer balls for his Diablo FC 90 club team. As Trinity played its second of four consecutive road games to open the season, Biel kicked a school-record-tying three field goals (on three attempts). That included a 25-yarder for the opening score and, with no time left at halftime, a 28-yard field goal. They were the only points

for Trinity, as they trailed 14-6 before rallying in the second half. Four other Trinity players have kicked three field goals in a game. In the second half, Trinity was down 21-12 before they scored a touchdown, tacked on Biel’s extra point (the team went for two points on its previous TD to try to tie the game at 14) and then drove 49 yards on 14 plays to set up Biel’s last-second effort. The team ran off most of the time remaining to set up the ball in the middle of the field on the next-to-last play of the game. The TV announcer said, “It’s all down to the foot of Garrett Biel, the freshman from Clayton, California.” The color commentator added, “Oh my God!” Texas Lutheran called a timeout trying to freeze Biel. After the game-winning boot went through the uprights, Biel was mobbed by his teammates. He played in the last two California state high school football championship games for De La Salle as well as three

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consecutive State Cup championship matches for Diablo FC. Biel scored the winning goal in the North Coast Section soccer championship game last February in overtime for De La Salle. In his opening game for Trinity, Biel converted a 43-yard field goal and four extra points (he missed one FG attempt) as the team won its season opener with a 31-26 victory over McMurry University in Abilene. Although he’s 1,700 miles from home, Biel is enjoying Trinity University in San Antonio. “The football team is very close. There is no separation between seniors and freshmen, so that makes the experience more fun and enjoyable. It is a lot like De La Salle football in the sense of brotherhood and being tight-knit.” He adds, “For example, I had a game-winning kick last weekend and before I kicked it some teammates gave me confidence and assured me that no matter miss or make ‘we still have your back.’”

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Taylor Boneberg returns to varsity as an opposite who has been “improving her hitting and passing and fighting for court time.” Kristina Duncan is a varsity newcomer as a setter who will

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the Eagles includes three juniors. Andrus is a 6-0 middle blocker in her first year on varsity, sharing a starting position. Her coach likes “her good serving and defense and smart front row play.”

play some back row defense. “Kristina stepped up against Freedom when the starting setter was out and played well. Look for her to share setting duties in a 6-2 offense next year,” Hobson adds. The coach is a civil engineer with Engineered Soil Repairs, a construction company in Walnut Creek. “Fortunately, they let me work a more flexible schedule and bring work home during the season,” she says. She began at Clayton Valley in the 2006-’07 school year as volleyball coach for the freshman girls and varsity boys. She is married to another CVHS alumnus, Dave Hobson, a PE teacher at the school and the junior varsity girls volleyball coach. Lisa’s stepdaughter, Marissa, is the libero on the varsity. “We also have a 4-year-old daughter, Mia, who will be in the CVHS class of 2023,” the coach says with a smile. The Eagles opened the nonleague portion of their schedule with three straight wins before dropping a tight five-set match to Heritage last week. They begin DVAL play this week, aiming to finish at or near the top of the league and earn a berth in the North Coast Section playoffs in November. The Eagles last took part in NCS in the 2006 season. Last season, the team was 5-7 in league and 9-20 overall.

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GARRETT BIEL (49) BOOTS THE GAME-WINNING 34-YARD FIELD GOAL as time expires for Trinity University in their 22-21 victory over homestanding Texas Lutheran University. The Clayton native was named Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his clutch effort. William Matevia (85) was the holder.

September 25, 2009

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Please help the Pioneer cover the local sports scene. Send competition results, story ideas, announcements, sports shorts, etc. to Please attach a high-resolution photo whenever available.

Page 11

Clayton Sports

Diablo FC 96 Fury looks to move from third to first JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Some youth soccer tournaments emulate the FIFA World Cup and continue to offer a third-place or consolation game – and the Diablo FC 96 Fury girls are happy they do. The under 13 team, with eight Clayton girls, played in the third-place game at all four of its tournaments in the past six weeks. Coach Randy Rowland’s squad now hopes it can reach the championship game as a host team at the 13th annual Bob Fowler Memorial Tournament this weekend. Diablo FC hosts 64 girls and boys teams in the U13 through U19 age groups of the CYSA Division 3 tournament, which honors the memory of former club coaching director Fowler, who died suddenly in 1995. The local Diablo FC club has nine teams taking part, along with teams from 35 other Northern California youth soccer clubs. STAYING WITH THE PACK Playing in the consolation games brought a lot of satisfaction to the Fury coaches and players. Rowland said the team “wanted to challenge themselves more this season and entered tournaments where they would play some stronger teams.” They began tournament play for the 2009-’10 season in Morgan Hill at Central Valley Magic Cup III. A draw followed by a come-from-behind win on opening day earned Fury enough points to make the consolation game. There,

they defeated Rincon Valley Pumas 2-1 on the strength of Brianne Newell’s third goal of the tournament on an assist from team captain and central defender Ashley Carter and a goal from Megan Haley on a Rachel De Long assist. Allison Macaulay, Nicole Haley, Cristina Lopez and Zoe McAneney also provided offense during the weekend. In their second effort, they went to Sacramento for the Fair Oaks Festival – where they encountered temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The defense of Carter, Lopez, McAneney, Paige Farber, Emily Gatchell and Sarah Williams helped goalkeepers Morgan Giacobazzi and Katie Garaventa to a pair of opening-day shutouts. The first game ended scoreless, but a late Zoe Westwater goal after a brilliant cross from Newell earned the Fury a 1-0 win. On Sunday, the Fury were brought back to earth as they were defeated by a pair of Sacramento area teams. The only Fury goal came from forward Madison Nortune. “The Fury girls proved they could play with the best of District 6 teams,” Rowland said, “and they gained confidence from this tournament.” A KEY VICTORY Returning to the 680 corridor for the final two tournaments before the start of Al Caffodio Fall League, the Diablo FC 96 Fury played in the Pleasanton Soccer City Warm Up. Facing the host gold team in the opening game of the 20-team U13 bracket, the Fury girls may have played

Photo courtesy Diablo FC 96 Fury

DIABLO FC 96 FURY ARE HOPING TO REACH THEIR FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME OF THE SEASON as a host team in the 13th annual Bob Fowler Memorial Tournament. Front row: Madison Nortune, Megan Haley, Cristina Lopez, Brianne Newell, Sydney Purser; Middle row: Morgan Giacobazzi, Nicole Haley, Rachel De Long, Paige Farber, Emily Gatchell, Emily Rowland; Back row: Assistant Coach Chris Haley, Sarah Williams, Zoe Westwater, Zoe McAneney, Ashley Carter, Katie Garaventa, Allison Macaulay and Coach Randy Rowland.

their best match of the tournament. They dominated Pleasanton Rage Orange, winning 1-0 on a Rachel De Long goal with assists from Newell and Westwater. In a scorcher that afternoon, Fury tried to avenge the River City Spirit team that beat them two weeks earlier. In a “very spirited” game, Spirit scored the only goal but it was a much improved effort, Rowland noted. Fury came out Sunday and dominated from the start. They were determined to advance and did so with a 3-0 win against Redding Vandals. Garaventa got the scoring started for Fury on a De Long

assist. Second-half goals from Newell with Macaulay and Nortune assists rounded out the scoring. The Fury and Livermore Elite Storm battled through 80 minutes of regulation play and overtime without a goal, sending the consolation game to penalty kicks. Giacobazzi, Newell, Carter and Macaulay all hit their PK shots and the Fury won 4-3 to claim third place. Keeper Giacobazzi not only scored her penalty kick but also made a huge stop of a Livermore PK in goal for the final margin of victory. AN IMPOSING SHUTOUT Mustang Soccer is one of

the prime contenders with Diablo FC for Easy Bay soccer supremacy, and they hosted the Mustang Devil Mountain Invitational on Labor Day weekend to close out the summer tournament season. Kicking off against a Mustang Mavericks team that the Fury had never beaten or even tied, the Diablo FC girls played

inspired soccer to earn maximum points with a 3-0 shutout. Two goals from Newell on assists from Farber and Macaulay and a Nortune strike assisted by McAneney helped the Fury in a game the coach said was “perhaps their most complete game of the season.” The Elk Grove Vortex could not solve keeper Giacobazzi, and the Fury earned a 0-0 tie against the eventual tournament champions – the only blemish for the Vortex. Fury scored first in the consolation game against Santa Rosa Aftershocks on great combination play between Westwater, De Long and Newell, who netted the goal. After Santa Rosa tied the game, the Fury battled and was rewarded when Giacobazzi was brought down in the penalty area and Farber scored the winner from the penalty spot for the local girls to come away with their third medal of the summer. Emily Rowland and Sydney Purser contributed to the team’s tournament successes without ending up on the scoresheet. For more information on the Bob Fowler Memorial Tournament and Diablo FC, visit

Fall Leagues starting NOW Freaky Funday on Sundays 5pm to midnight - $6 cover charge gets you $1-games, shoes, hotdogs, sodas and small beers.

Sports Shorts SEPT. 25-NOV. 6 DIABLO FC SOCCER FALL SKILLS ACADEMY Diablo FC, in partnership with Mt. Diablo Soccer Association, is holding a Fall Skills Academy every Friday afternoon from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Boatwright Sports Complex in Concord. The renowned Diablo FC professional coaching staff will teach boys and girls 5-10 years old basic dribbling and juggling skills, passing and receiving the ball and ball striking. Youth of all skill levels from novice to those ready for competitive soccer are invited to attend. You can sign up at or come to the next session. OCT. 18 5K RUN & WALK TO BENEFIT HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation is holding its largest fundraiser, a 5K Fun Run and Walk at Newhall Park in Concord on Sunday, Oct. 18. Runners and those looking for a nice Sunday walk

Nifty $1.50 Nights for everyone are encouraged to sign up. All proceeds support high school athletic programs at the six Mt. Diablo Unified School District high schools, including Clayton Valley. Every participant over 8 years-old receives a commemorative t-shirt. The event is sponsored by Diablo FC. Register online at OCT. 9 DIABLO FC BENEFIT GOLF TOURNAMENT The 2nd Diablo FC Benefit Golf Tournament will be on Friday, Oct. 9, at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord. Tournament chairman Gene Dolan is accepting sponsors, raffle prize donations and golfers to sign up. The tournament provides funding for scholarships to needy families wishing to participate in Diablo FC’s programs and also helps support the drive to get additional facilities for the club. Information and registration forms are available at or email

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 25, 2009

Reflecting on the storied history of Pioneer Inn PAM WIESENDANGER Special to the Pioneer

A recent post to local blog has stirred up new interest in the old building at 6055 Main St. in Clayton. The post was a picture of a matchbook from Chubby Humble’s Pioneer Inn. Chubby Humble’s was just one of several businesses and organizations on the property over the years, but the Pioneer Inn (later John Jawad’s Pioneer Inn) was the most famous. Frenchman Romero Mauvais built a tavern on the site in 1858, the year after Clayton was founded. The tavern burned down in a fire that destroyed most of Clayton in 1864. The structure was rebuilt to be fireproof (with stone mortar and faced with wood) and named the Clayton Hotel. The hotel was a stagecoach stop and hostelry as it was on the main road from Stockton to the Bay Area.

The Atchinson Stage ran from 1898-1914 and carried mail, bank deposits and passengers from Clayton through Nortonville and Sommersville to Antioch and back. The rock and mortar rear wall collapsed in 1901 and was replaced with a frame construction. The building was still two stories. Sometime between then and 1946, it was no longer operated as a hotel but was Tat’s Place – owned by Francis “Tat” Murchio and serving “dinner and liquors.” The tavern also housed the Post Office. In 1946, Susan and Randall “Chubby” Humble bought Tat’s and renamed it Chubby Humble’s Pioneer Inn. A fire in 1951 wiped out the top floor. The Humbles rebuilt without the second story and added a larger dining room on the east end. A huge collection of big game trophies along the walls kept watch over the patrons. In 1960, the inn was featured

in the movie “The Wild Ride,” produced and directed by Harvey Berman – a familiar name in local theater. Jack Nicholson starred as a rebellious youth who brought his friends to Chubby’s to celebrate a win at a dirt track race (the Antioch Speedway). Anita and John Jawad bought the Pioneer Inn in 1961 and for the next 29 years, John Jawad’s Pioneer Inn was famous for steaks. Jawad was a cattle rancher and state brand inspector whose trademark 21-day aged beef was considered the best around. Patrons loved stopping at the meat counter to select the perfect cut for their meal. Many a wedding reception was held on the back patio and celebrities such as John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman and Count Basie were welcome guests. Jawad was ahead of his time by offering free transportation to locals to keep drinking drivers

off the road. He started a takeout service and set up tables and umbrellas on the front patio. In 1986, he remodeled, installing the glass overlay doors and windows that look like stained glass and still exist today. Jawad was in a serious accident with a garbage truck that same year, leading him to sell the

building in 1990. In 1992, Ed and Marion Mergy, who owned the Clayton Club, bought the Pioneer Inn and changed the name to the Stagecoach Inn. In the winter of 1993, a 100-year-old eucalyptus tree fell on the newly remodeled Victorian banquet room. Three eucalyptus trees next to the

Photo courtesy of The Clayton Historical Society and the Clayton Pioneer

Chubby Humble’s Pioneer circa 1946. A fire in 1951 destroyed the top floor. Today the building houses the Clayton Community Church offices.

Windows 7 upgrades sure to please WILL CLANEY TECH TALK The release of Windows 7 to manufacturing promises to make a large impact on our computing lives. Windows 7 is a replacement operating system for the ill-fated Microsoft Vista and should be in stores for the holidays. Windows 7 has done a marvelous job at fixing bugs, placing options where they belong and adding features that are not only cool

but useful. In addition, they have made a major concession to Windows XP users by including a “virtual” environment where XP can run in a native mode. This allows XP users to migrate to Windows 7 and still maintain and run critical XP code. If you just purchased a new computer, you may get a free upgrade. Buy a new computer before the official introduction of Windows 7 and Microsoft will provide a free upgrade from Windows XP Professional or Vista Home Premium or above to an appropriate Windows 7 product. According to TechARP, “Microsoft will allow resellers to purchase Windows 7 upgrade

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Vista desktop and other similarities exist, but the operating system seems to work much better than its predecessor. Some of the support screens are like Vista. However, gone are the glitches and annoyances that gave Vista a bad name. According to Preston Gralla of Computerworld, “Overall, Windows 7 is a more functional, more efficiently designed operating system than Windows Vista, with far more attention paid to the user experience. From revamped User Account Control (UAC) feature to better home networking, improved search and nice interface tweaks, the entire operating system has gotten an overall polishing. Even Windows Backup, one of the worst applications ever shipped with an

operating system, has been turned into something useful.” The operating system is at the heart of the computer, as it provides a place for applications to come alive and perform the functions users want most. For example, the operating system provides a link between your word processor and your printer. Whenever you command the application to print, the operating system takes over and moves information from the word processor to the printer – making printing appear seamless to the user. Integrating Windows 7 into your home life can be fun and interesting, because it provides several fun features like the “gadget” bar. Gadgets are little programs, or applets, that run on

Breast Cancer, from page 1

need them.” The Chi Chi Mama’s typically train together and have forged close bonds on their long walks. “We walk and laugh,” Emry says. “And talk,” chimes in Zukowski. Despite the seriousness of their purpose, their sense of fun is reflected in the team name. In Spanish, “chi-chis” is slang for breasts. “More like boobs or hooters,” Foster says with a laugh. “We wanted something cute and easy to remember.” Wearing the trademark breast cancer pink T-shirts, the women are easily spotted in the community. “We have people come up to us all the time saying, ‘I just lost my mother or best friend or wife to breast cancer,’ ” Zukowski says. “It’s very emo-

media, which they can then offer to customers who buy a Vista power system between July 1, 2009, and a date to be determined.” In my opinion, this is the bridge to the future missing from Vista. Business networks incorporating both XP and Vista encountered problems when trying to make XP computers talk or recognize Vista computers. This problem is fixed in the new release. You may now consider upgrades to your existing fleet of computers without fearing a network compatibility issue. At the same time, buying new computers to replace aging ones is no longer the problem it was under Vista. The 7 (short for Windows 7) desktop looks the same as the

Zukowski, 43, and Foster, 57. The three – dubbed “The Chi Chi Mama’s” – will walk Nov. 21-23 in San Diego. They will walk for a long list of friends and family who have both survived and lost their battles with cancer. Zukowski’s sister, Stacy Williams, who was diagnosed earlier this year, tops the list. The women follow a 24-week training program prepared by the Susan. G. Komen Foundation. “Anyone can do this,” says Emry. “If you follow the program, you can finish.” Training begins with daily walks, building distance until the week includes back-to-back 18-

mile walks, cross training and one day of rest. Participants in the San Diego event will walk 20 miles a day for three days, returning to a base camp each night to shower and sleep in tents. “You don’t walk the whole 60 miles in three days during training,” Emry notes. “You just build up strength with the cross-training and the back-to-backs.” The point is to build calluses as well as endurance, she explains. Creams, files and pumice are all off limits during training. “Don’t touch my calluses,” Zukowski says with a laugh. “I

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tional.” “I stopped in Starbuck’s one day,” Emry adds, “and a lady just walked up and handed me $40 for the walk.” Participants commit to raising $2,300 for the foundation. Emry and Zukowski have each reached their goal. The Chi Chi Mama’s will donate proceeds from a large weekend garage sale toward Foster’s goal and expect that to put her over the top. Since her first walk, Emry has raised more than $30,000 for breast cancer research. To support the Chi Chi Mama’s, go to Click on donate, then enter Jeanne Emry, Stephanie Zukowski or Patty Foster. Or call 800- 996-3DAY to donate over the phone.

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your desktop. The one I find most interesting is the stock market report. This little gadget displays stock market prices on your favorite stocks right on your desktop. Geeks like me may find the control panel improvements to their liking. Although the control panel does not convey the “classic” look and feel of Windows XP, it is well-organized. Microsoft has added new features to many familiar icons. I can say with confidence you’re going to like this product. It’s clean, polished, organized, compatible and useful. As always, seek the advice of a licensed professional before committing to such a sweeping change. Find out what’s best for you.

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building were removed to prevent further damage. Repairs were made, but the restaurant never reopened as the Stagecoach Inn. Friar Tuck’s Inn opened around 1995 for a short time, followed by an Italian restaurant. In 2002, the Clayton Community Church purchased the building and remodeled the inside for use as a meeting room and church offices, keeping a section of the original bar and preserving a segment of the siding where local ranch brands appear. Next time you are downtown, take a closer look at the old inn and feel the more than 150 years of history it holds. Stop by next door at the Clayton Historical Society Museum to see pictures of the hotel and inn and old postcards, wine lists and menus. It will surely make you hungry for more of Clayton’s history. The museum is open 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays.

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September 25, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 13

End of life comfort is Hospice mission Restaurant & Bar ANDRÉ GENSBURGER Clayton Pioneer

There comes a point in many lives when a doctor delivers a death sentence from a disease that will sooner or later end your life. For many people, treatment delays the end, often with pain and a hospital bed, far removed from the comforts of home and a familiar surrounding. Enter Hospice of the East Bay, a nonprofit organization devoted to easing the end of life for patient and family alike. This is not a group that simply drugs you up and holds your hand until you die; they strive to make your remaining time, however long that may be, as comfortable as possible. The focus is on pain relief, spiritual and emotional care as well as symptom relief when possible. “Nearly 1,400 people were served by Hospice of the East Bay in 2008,” said Robin Jones, the group’s media coordinator. “The need for hospice services will increase in the next decades as the baby boomer generation ages.” OFFERING EXTENSIVE CARE Elaine Shingleton of Clayton is an admissions nurse for Hospice and an oncology nurse by occupation. It is her job to meet with new patients and explain to them what Hospice can do for them, a job she takes seriously and discusses frankly. “There is a stigma,” she said. “People think that once Hospice comes in the patient will die tomorELAINE SHINGLETON row – that we stop their meds and they die. It’s not like that. We don’t take your hope and you can get all the meds you were on right up until the end of life and whatever else we can do to make you comfortable.” The patient usually has 24-hour care, generally by a family member or, if insurance permits, through a private nurse. Hospice nurses are not bedside nurses by your side until the end, but they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for whatever you need and will come on a schedule.

Church News ST. BONAVENTURE CATHOLIC CHURCH Healing Hearts Ministry is offering a six-week program to support those coping with the loss of a loved one. The sessions will be 7:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6,

They can obtain whatever items are needed, from hospital beds to wheelchairs, as well as help the patient and family with arrangements, insurance filing and spiritual counseling. They are an intermediary with the patient’s doctors, most of whom remain assigned to the patient until the end. Costs for care are largely covered by Medicare, MediCal or private insurance, SHIRLEY ELSBERRY WITH HUSBAND JIM, who died of cancer last however Shingleton April, appreciates the end of life care given by Hospice. They stresses that Hospice “let him do it his way,” says a grateful Shirley. has a foundation that covers extra costs so take care of him. It was as peaceful as can that the patient is relieved of that burden. be.” It was in March that the family learned IN-HOME CARE from their doctor that the treatments were The majority of care that Hospice of the not working. Jim had kidney cancer that had East Bay provides takes place in the home, spread to his liver and beyond. “The doctor where the patient can be comforted by fam- said we should go out and ‘do what’s on your ily, friends and the routines of daily life. bucket list,’ ’’ Shirley said, referring to the Sometimes patients cannot remain at home, movie about two terminally ill patients comso Hospice visits them in long-term care pleting the things they wished they had done facilities. in their lives. Other patients, with acute symptoms, “He suggested that we might call require care at Hospice’s Bruns House inpa- Hospice,” Shirley added. “They came out the tient facility in Alamo. next day, brought him some things that he “We’re with the patient as much as need- might find useful like a stool for the shower, ed,” Shingleton said, noting that the quantity a wheelchair and a walker with rubber feet.” will vary depending on the patient. “The Denise explained what would happen family gets the same services we provide our and assured them that she would be available patients – we’re there for them.” as they needed. Every so often when a patient gets closThree weeks later, as Jim’s energy level er to the end of life, unnecessary medica- crashed, Denise was with them. Within four tions are reduced. For example, vitamins days, surrounded by his family, he passed may be discontinued as will medications away. geared for longer term care. Sometimes the “(Hospice) was in touch with his doctor patient begins to improve, requiring less throughout,” Shirley noted. service from Hospice, Shingleton reported. “A lot of it is pain control,” Shingleton And every so often, “a patient gets better said. “Once it is under control, the patient and we have to discharge them from the pro- can function better.” gram,” she said. They are not cured, but they Shingleton is firmly convinced that the are no longer at a stage where they need strength of service lies in how it is presentHospice services. They can resume the serv- ed to patients. ices if the need arises again. “Nurses are special,” said Shirley. “They have to be special people to do what they do. A PEACEFUL EXPERIENCE I’ll never forget (Denise’s) kindness. Jim got Shirley Elsberry, whose husband Jim died what he wanted. He passed at home surin April, is thankful for the kindness and rounded by his family.” compassion that Hospice offered her. “Our nurse’s name was Denise,” Shirley said, “and For more information, contact Hospice of the she was kind, gentle and she let him do it his East Bay at 887-5678 or visit on the web at way. He wanted to be here; he wanted me to

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Viera Ranch, from page 1 this property,” said Julie Seelen, SMD’s development director. “Fundraising activities will include asking individuals for their support and writing grants to foundations. By letting county residents know about the property, we hope to get donations from both current and new supporters. We will be leading tours for potential major funders on the property as well.” Save Mount Diablo made its first formal offer to acquire the property in 1986, without success, noted Seth Adams, director of land programs. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this should be a part of the Mt. Diablo State Park,” he added. Owned by a longtime ranching family, the AzevedoVieras, the property was placed on the market in 2007 after family matriarch Lucy Viera died in 2002. The 2,300-foot elevation property, on the slopes of Diablo’s North Peak east of Clayton, is one of the two highest elevation private properties remaining on Mt. Diablo

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and one of three highest left in Contra Costa County. The property has views to Lassen Peak, the Sierra, Half Dome and Mt. Whitney. The Viera North Peak parcel is a hot spot for biodiversity, with as many as 50 rare plant species expected or recorded, in addition to a number of rare animal species. Diverse soil types exist due to the complicated geology of the area, along with elevation changes of 1,300 feet. Botanist Heath Bartosh of SMD’s Land Committee began a botanical survey in May to augment those done over the years. “It has some of the finest serpentine habitat yet to be protected,” he said. “High diversity and many transition zones all packed into 165 acres. I’m predicting we find 50 different rare plant species there.” The threatened Alameda whipsnake and mountain lions already have been sighted in the vicinity. According to Seelen, payments may be pledged over three years, 2009-’11.

will include food, raffles and arts and crafts, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17. “Liberty and Justice for All,” a discussion group of concerned citizens, will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the sacristy. A video will be shown, followed by reflections by the group. The church is at 1578 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. For more information, call 672-4848.

“The current economic climate means that we will not be able to receive any state funds at this time,” Seelen said. “We are confident that there are many individuals who love this area for the beautiful natural lands who are still able to donate, even if it is less than they were able to a year ago. Moreover, many small donations can make up the large amount needed to fund the acquisition.” Seelen also has a Plan B: “The Bowerman Fund can provide additional loans to pay for the property by March 2010. Those loans will be paid off once pledged donations and/or grants are received.” Save Mount Diablo is a non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization preserving land on and around Mt. Diablo since 1971, as well as providing education programs to the public. One of the recent purchases was the Irish Canyon plot in November 2007, part of the Mt. Diablo/Black Diamond Mines Open Space Corridor. Also in 2007, SMD published “Mount Diablo, Los Vaqueros & Surrounding Parks Featuring the Diablo Trail.” It’s the most accurate and up-to-date map of Mt.

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Do your homework on doggy day care ELENA BICKER

Clayton dogs are lucky. They live in nice houses, snuggle on soft sofas, eat well and gather for play dates in their own park. Millions of dogs around the world are not as lucky as Clayton pooches. They wander the streets, starve under bridges and die in shelters after producing dozens of puppies doomed to the same fate. The World Woof Tour is an international documentary group traveling the world to draw attention to the need for animal adoption and the importance of spaying or neutering to stop the wholesale euthanasia of unwanted animals. Clayton pooches will get a chance to bring their owners to The Grove on Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. to welcome the World Woof Tour on their way through the Bay Area. The 5 p.m. reception will follow the Tour’s afternoon appearance at ARF in Walnut Creek that afternoon. For more information on the World Woof Tour and to meet Oscar, the spokesdog, visit the website, or call Nancy Janes of the Romania Rescue Foundation at 672-5908.

September 25, 2009




Now that school is back in session and vacations are on hold, it is not unusual for dogs to suddenly “behave badly” by barking, chewing inappropriate objects and similar activities. It’s not that dogs are wreaking vengeance against their suddenly inattentive families. They are merely bored. All that energy previously spent on walks, trips to the dog park, hiking and playing ball is now bottled up in a house or yard. One possible solution is doggy day care a couple days a week. Unlike human day care, dog day care is not regulated; anyone can declare him or herself a dog day care service. Some investigation is required before dropping off Fido at the nearest facility. The Internet can be a great source of information, although comments – both positive and negative – should be evaluated with caution. Be sure to ask for references. The length of time the day care has been in business and how many workers have been employed for more than six months speaks to the stability and consistency of the day care. There should be a manageable ratio of handlers to dogs. Insurance is a necessity. Steps should be in place in case of an

emergency. As with any care provider, health and safety are primary issues. Facilities should require up-to-date vaccinations, or titers, and behavior evaluations before admitting dogs. Final acceptance to the day care should happen after an experienced evaluator has evaluated the dog on-site. Facilities should require that dogs over six months be spayed or neutered. While the potential consequences of an unspayed female dog are fairly obvious, intact males and their pheromones may trigger aggressive behavior in other dogs. Drop in and visit during the afternoon, rather than mornings and evenings when dogs are checking in and out. There should be no bad odors. Check the condition of the play equipment, enclosures and other areas where dogs may be in contact. Barking should be expected, but non-stop barking is a sign of stress or over-excitement. No barking at all in a facility that has play groups would be unusual and should also raise questions. Dog play areas/times should be divided by size and age, with enough space for dogs to be able to take a break from playing. Dogs should be introduced into a group, rather than randomly thrown together. Dogs in

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Miss Marti is a busy girl who is always on the move. She is looking for a home where she can receive a lot of physical and mental exercise. She is an intelligent dog who will be a star pupil in her training classes, and is a natural for dog sports like flyball or agility. The adoption fee for adult dogs is $225 and includes 60

percent off one 7-week dog training session. Suzuki is a gem, who’s looking for that special lap to warm. She is three years old, and would be a good pet for a first time cat owner. The adoption fee for adult cats is $50. Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during adoption hours: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Noon to

4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 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.

play groups should be monitored by people versed in dog body language and fight prevention. Playing dogs should be free of any training equipment, such as specialized collars or harnesses, to prevent the entanglement of limbs or jaws. There should be a plan in place should a fight break out. “Unlimited” playtime can over-excite dogs. Dogs need an opportunity to rest and quiet space should be provided. If the dogs are to be confined, ask how the dogs will be confined and how they will be trained to accept the confinement. There should be a qualified trainer onsite to help with adjustments and behavior modification. Be clear on the behaviors to be modified and the techniques to be used. Once a day care facility has been chosen, prepare the dog. It is always a pleasure to care for a dog trained in basic obedience (sit, down, stay, come, loose leash walking). For a detailed list of questions to ask, check out the dog behavior section under Resources and Links at To get your dog started on basic manners, check out ARF U at or call 296-3111. Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 256-1ARF (1273)

Music, from page 9 hefty parent paid per-sport fee, a successful drive guarantees that at least some sports get an added year of life. Having started later than the athletic foundation, the MDMEF until recently was still electing officers and getting organized as a non-profit. Officers stress that the loss of music is critical because of the manner in which students learn to play. “Students typically learn to play in elementary school,” said Sinz, whose daughter plays with the Concord High Jazz Ensemble. If programs are cut, the continuity across grade levels gets broken, she explained. Coupled with a redistribution of music teachers, it results in a stilted program with ramifications that last years. “Help us to give the students of Mt. Diablo Unified School District the education they deserve, not one determined by the state or federal government,” Coartney said.

For more information, visit or contact Lauren Sinz at

September 25, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 15

Clayton Community Calendar

Advertise with the Pioneer 672-0500



Sept. 26-27 Clayton Oktoberfest Live music, Bavarian dances, street performers, arts and crafts show and kids’ carnival. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 26 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 27. Carnival also open Friday at 6 p.m. Pre-sale carnival ride tickets are 25 tickets for $15. Purchase until 5 p.m. Friday at La Veranda, Skipolini’s, Ed's Mudville Grill, Hair by Jim and IMC in downtown Clayton and The Perfect Tan in the Safeway Shopping Center. 672-2272 or Through October Clayton Farmers Market 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Diablo Street in downtown Clayton. or 800-949-3276.

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Sept. 26-Oct. 31 Youth Outdoor Soccer For ages 3-11.

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Sept. 26-Oct. 31 Junior Volleyball For beginning to intermediate players ages 11-14.

Through Sept. 27 “On the Town” Diablo Theatre Company presents Leonard Bernstein’s classic. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943-7469 or Through Sept. 27 “Hair” Return to the “Age of Aquarius” with the classic ’60s musical. Willows Theatre, 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord. 798-1300 or Oct. 9-Nov. 1 “Broadway Bound” The third part of Neil Simon’s autobiographical trilogy, with Onstage Theatre. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943-SHOW or Oct. 9-Nov. 7 “Oliver!” Contra Costa Musical Theatre presents Dickens’ classic tale. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943-SHOW or Oct. 11-13 California Symphony The season opens with visual motion artist Michael Moschen. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 280-2490 or

FUNDRAISERS Sept. 26 Civic Arts Auction Sponsored by the Friends of Civic Arts Education Foundation. 6:30 p.m., Shadelands Art Center Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek. 939-2787 or Sept. 27 Breakfast with the Veterans of Foreign Wars 8-11 a.m. the second and fourth Sundays. $4 adults, $2 children under 12. Veterans Memorial Hall, 2290 Willow Pass Rd, Concord. Oct. 1 Mt. Diablo Elementary Ice Cream Fundraiser Sponsored by the Parent Faculty Club. Bring in a flier available in the school office and on the school’s Website and 15 percent of your purchase will be donated to the school. 3-9 p.m., Cold Stone Creamery in Clayton Station. Oct. 3 Clayton Valley Garden Club Plant Sale Funds raised are put back into the community for special projects. One-gallon plants are $4. Buy five, get one free. 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Contact Neal at 6722624 or

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Community Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Most programs are free. 673-0659 or Through Dec. 1 Patty Cakes Story time for babies to 3-year-olds. Child attends with caregiver. Drop-in 11 a.m. Tuesdays. Through Dec. 3 Picture Book Time Story time for 3- to 5-year-olds. Child may attend without caregiver. Drop-in 11 a.m. Thursdays. Oct. 5 Book Club Forum Ron Shoop, a well-known inspiring speaker, will recommend new titles for book lovers and book clubs. Includes a free raffle of books. Sponsored by Project Second Chance, Clayton Community Library Foundation and Clayton Books. 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 8 Fratello Marionettes For all ages. 4 p.m. Oct. 16-18 Used Book Sale 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 17 and noon-4 p.m. Oct. 18. Preview for library foundation members, 4-7 p.m. Oct. 16. Most books $1. Half off most books Sunday.

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Sept. 29 Strong Kids Kickoff Hear about the future of the local YMCA. Includes entertainment and hors d’oeuvres. 6-8 p.m., Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. RSVP to Jennifer at or 692-2364.


Sept. 26, 30 Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra With jazz violinist Jeremy Cohen and KGO’s Scott Lettieri narrating “Peter and the Wolf.” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26, Los Medanos College Recital Hall, 2700 E. Leland Road, Pittsburg. 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $5-$18. 943-SHOW or

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Sept. 26 Lime Ridge Peak Hike Meet at 9 a.m. at the Lime Ridge access parking lot across from the Boundary Oaks clubhouse, 3800 Valley Vista Road, Walnut Creek. Learn about the plan to allow Nextel to use Lime Ridge for expanded communications facilities.

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Oct. 4 Mt. Diablo Challenge A 10.8-mile timed bike ride, climbing Southgate Road to the summit. Prizes in several categories, plus food and beverages. $55. Proceeds benefit Save Mount Diablo’s land conservation efforts. Register at or

CITY MEETINGS Oct. 6, 20 Clayton City Council 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or Oct. 13, 27 Clayton Planning Commission 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or

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CLUBS Clayton Business and Community Association 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. Clayton Valley Garden Club Meets 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month. Contact Dorothy at 672-2526 or visit Clayton Valley Woman’s Club Meets 9:30 a.m. for coffee, 10 a.m. meetings, second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1090 Alberta Way, Concord. Call Joyce at 672-3850. Clutch Busters Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Mt. Diablo Women’s Club, 1700 Farm Bureau Road, Concord. Contact Dorothy at 754-8117. Concord Stompers Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Mt. Diablo Women’s Club, 1700 Farm Bureau Road, Concord. Call Jennie at 672-9676 or Contra Costa Blue Star Moms Meets 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and Oct. 26, Countrywood Clubhouse, 1706 Countrywood Court, Walnut Creek. Members have sons and daughters in uniform. 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 Democratic Club Meets 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek. 946-0469 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 639-1987 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 grieving class - just a way to meet other people. Contact Lori at 998-8844 or

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 25, 2009

Theatre Review

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“On the Town” premiered on Broadway in 1944. Based on choreographer Jerome Robbins’ idea, it’s blessed with a sumptuous score by Leonard Bernstein. The centerpiece of the musical was always Robbins’ invigorating ballets and Bernstein’s stick-in-your-craw songs, especially “New York, New York” and “Lonely Town.” Sixty-five years later, Diablo Theatre Company’s production continues that tradition with style and substance. The pursuit of love – at least the 24-hour version – leads three sailors off the ship and through the streets of New York. Ozzie is all knowledge and desire, Chip is wrapped up in his father’s old map and agendas for sight-seeing and Gabey is looking for “Miss Turnstile,” whom he falls in love with after seeing her picture on the subway. The ensuing action, filled with hilarious supporting characters, provides a whirlwind tour of

the city – from subway rides to Carnegie Hall to Coney Island. As dawn breaks, the sailors find their hearts’ desire, but also the end of their leave. The three friends return to the ship just as a new crew of soldiers prepares for their big city adventure. Bounding from stage right to left with more spring than a super ball, Ryan Drummond’s Ozzie sets the pace for the evening. He’s a versatile actor, moving with the physical humor of John Cleese, and, in “Carried Away,” displaying a fine, warmtoned voice. Bryan McElroy as Gabey is solid and charmingly understated as the soldier whose pursuit of Miss Turnstile propels the action. Mark Farrell’s Chip rounds out the trio, managing to be both adorable and dimwitted – two characteristics that frequently slide into “annoying” when overplayed by less adept actors. Courtney Iventosch (Ivy/Miss Turnstile) is a director’s gem, with an expressive voice, willowy profile and surprising physical gumption. Hope

Mirlis’ Hildy is a knockout hit. Her growl and give-it-to-menow delivery – not to mention her cab driving – is nothing short of magical. Every musical has a sweet, sexy honey, and as Claire, Emma Goldin is blessed with a voice sent from the angels above and fits the role perfectly. Director Mindy Cooper, who shares choreographic credit with Company C’s Charles Anderson, packs the production with exhilarating movement. It’s not just dancers who dance; everything does: subway, taxi, ship, skyline, actors, briefcases, museum dioramas – all zipping in and out or spinning around and around to dizzying, brilliant effect. The actors don’t just stand up from a couch; they twirl off. Food and scarves aren’t passed hand to hand; they float or are flung through the air. It’s lively – alive – and exactly what makes musical theater satisfying. The sets by Robert Broadfoot are streamlined and effective. Costumer Carol Edlinger has clearly done her homework; the designs are accurate, stylish and never overpowering. If conductor Cheryl Yee Glass’ orchestra occasionally struggled on opening night to synchronize with the actors, it was a minor distraction and an indication of the dynamic edge live performance lends to a production. With a three-week run, the musicians and actors are sure to find a mutual groove. Editor’s Note: Fancher is ballet mistress for Company C Contemporary Ballet, one of the organizations involved in the production. “On the Town” plays through Sept. 27 at the Hofmann Theatre at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. For tickets, call 943-SHOW or visit


Movie Review

‘9’ fails to reach its potential





The trailer for “9” showed a lot of promise earlier this year, with its mysterious creatures and dark apocalyptic scenery. This animated film by fledgling director Shane Acker, started out as Acker’s graduate thesis project in film school and received an Oscar nomination in 2005 for Best Animated Short film. While gorgeous to look, “9” relies too much on its visual effects to carry you to the end. The fantastic, war-ruined landscape bursts off the screen in every detail – and without any 3-D wizardry that’s all the rage in animated movies these days. Unfortunately, the story of an idealistic but naïve little patchwork doll named 9 falls flat. The movie starts off intriguingly. A group of doll-like creatures, surviving among the ruins of a human war, finds another of their kind with the number 9 stamped on his back. Each of the creatures has a similar number, 1 through 8, and its own personality. With the voice of Elijah Wood, 9 tries to lead the others out from hiding on a quest to find some answers about who they are and where they belong. He is opposed by number 1,

Mysterious patchwork creatures try to survive in the ruins of a post-human world in the animated movie “9.”

the rigid and iron-fisted leader voiced by Christopher Plummer who wants everyone to stay hidden and, therefore, safe. Adventure ensues, monsters are battled, secrets are revealed. Take away the breathtaking animation and it is pretty standard fantasy fare. If Acker had dropped the violence down just a notch, to PG instead of PG-13, it would have been a fine kid’s movie. The violence may be a bit intense for youngsters but is neither gory nor mean-spirited. The script simply doesn’t rise to the level of the spectacular animation. The stock characters can’t grab the imagination and bring these bizarre creatures to life. The plucky idealist, the brave girl warrior, the distracted scientist and the fearful but loyal friend could have been grabbed from any number of fantasy adventures. Ultimately, it has a hopeful message and some exciting scenes as the dolls fight for their lives against monster machines, but it’s all visual. The big revelation toward the end is kind of

“ho-hum” and didn’t explain the mystery completely. Maybe there’s some kind of allegory buried in there, but it simply wasn’t engaging enough to make me want to think about it too much. After Acker’s Oscar nominated short film attracted the attention of bigwigs such as Tim Burton (“Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Edward Scissorhands”), he was able to develop “9” into this full-length feature with Burton as a producer. Expanding the short into a feature may have diluted its magic rather than expanded it. While “9” is worth seeing just for the top-notch animation, I hope Acker’s next film will pair him up with a good writer who can take advantage of his enormously creative mind. Then maybe we will get a movie that’s not so forgettable.

 Don Pedro Cruz is a local freelance writer and graphic designer. Send your comments to

‘Texas Chainsaw Musical’ creeps into Willows Cabaret GARY CARR Special to the Pioneer

NICK BAYNE is the very troubled Eddy and Carlye Pollack is his heartthrob, Lucretia, in The Texas Chainsaw Musical at the Willows Cabaret in Martinez.

Just in time for Halloween season, the Willows Cabaret in Martinez is staging the world premiere of “The Texas Chainsaw Musical.” For fans of the Cabaret’s successful “Evil Dead: The Musical,” “Chainsaw” won’t disappoint. Penned by Marin composer/musician Cory Bytof and Christopher t. Minori, who now lives in Georgia, “Chainsaw” features all the fun, frivolity and body parts you remember from one of the most famous horror films ever made. “Think of it as ‘Love Story’ …with a chainsaw,” Bytof says. “Chainsaw” workshopped at this year’s San Francisco Fringe Festival, where Willows artistic director Rich Elliott saw it as perfect for Halloween at the Cabaret. The Willows will add the scenic elements that made “Evil Dead” so popular, including the notorious “Splatter Zone” in the front row of the theater. “It’s a hoot,” Elliott says, “and the show works because the songs are witty, while everything else is completely over the top.” Bytof and Minori use the 1974 horror film, directed by Tobe Hooper, as a jumping-off place. Their “Chainsaw” is more of a prequel, based on the true story of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein. “We wondered how this guy would have been like as a kid,” Minori says, “so we took a few things from his life and then completely made up everything else. It was easier than doing research.” For the “Splatter Zone,” the Willows Cabaret production of “Evil Dead” used 50 gallons of stage blood per performance – much of it cascading into the front row of the audience. People paid extra to sit there, and the “Zone” was sold out nearly every night. The Zone will return for “Chainsaw,” and plastic ponchos will once more be available in the lobby. For those who may be chainsaw-averse, Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” opens at the Willows Mainstage Oct. 12 and runs through Nov. 8. “Hats: The Musical,” about the hat ladies, follows “Chainsaw” into the Cabaret, Nov. 23-Dec. 20. The Willows continues to need your support. You can help “Save the Willows” at and click on Make a Donation. “The Texas Chainsaw Musical” plays Oct. 9-31, Willows Cabaret, 636 Ward St., Martinez. For tickets, visit or call 798-1300.

September 25, 2009

Clayton Pioneer •

Pick up a pack of cukes and get pickling

While cucumbers are always cool to the touch, the adage “cool as a cucumber” mostly refers to someone who is calm and unruffled in the face of chaos. I don’t think you can describe the Adelaide, Australia, police as “cool” these days, though. In more than a dozen robberies this year, some $10,000 worth of cucumbers have been stolen. “We’re having difficulty establishing where they (the cucumbers) are going,” says a police spokesman. If the police don’t crack the case soon and a shortage of cukes hits the markets, I guess everybody’s going to be in a pickle. Cucumbers, which originated in India, were highly regarded during the Roman Empire. Emperor Tiberius reportedly insisted on a daily cucumber regardless of the season. As a result, the emperor’s gardeners created the first rudimentary greenhouses to grow them yearround. The Romans also used cucumbers for medicinal purposes to treat scorpion bites and bad eyesight. In folklore, women wore cucumbers around their waists to ensure pregnancy. There are many varieties of cucumbers. American “slicers” have a tough skin, while most other countries prefer a more delicate skin. English cucumbers, which grow as long as 2 feet and

are nearly s e e d l e s s, are often referred to as “hothouse” cukes. Persian cucumbers are growing in popularity. They’re small, nearly seedless and are grown in Canada for the American market. Beit Alpha cucumbers are small, sweet fruits (yep, they’re not veggies) well-adapted to the climate of Middle East countries such as Israel. Kirby and Liberty are pickling cucumbers that constitute a large portion of the American crop. Bred for uniform length and diameter, picklers are soaked in brine (a salt solution) and sometimes brine mixed with vinegar and spices. Americans refer to pickling cucumbers merely as pickles, although they’re called gherkins in England. However, if you want a pickle with your fish and chips in the north of England, you’d better ask for a “Wallie.” It’s pretty easy to put up “refrigerator pickles,” which can be refrigerated for up to one week in an airtight container. REFRIGERATOR DILL PICKLES (Makes 1 quart) 1½ c. distilled white vinegar ¼ c. sugar 4 tsp. kosher salt 1 tsp. mustard seeds 1 tsp. coriander seeds ¾ tsp. dill seeds 2 lbs. Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, sliced ¼-inch thick ¾ c. fresh dill, coarsely chopped 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

Microwave one cup of water until hot in a large heat-proof measuring cup. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let the brine cool. In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers with the dill and garlic. Pour the brine over the cucumbers and turn to coat. Place a small plate or bowl on top of the cucumbers to keep them submerged in the brine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stirring the mixture once or twice. There’s still some warm weather ahead this year, so you might like to try a simple chilled soup. COLD CUCUMBER SOUP (Serves 6) 4 English (hothouse) cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped 2 green onions, sliced 1½ c. non-fat plain yogurt 1½ c. sour cream 2 T. fresh dill, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish 1 T. fresh mint 1 T. flat-leaf parsley 1 clove garlic, minced 1½ tsp. kosher salt White ground pepper to taste Fresh lemon juice to taste Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until pureed. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh dill sprigs. We like to use cucumbers as the base for appetizers at Pans on Fire. These cucumber cups with hummus make a deliciously

SUNNY SOLOMON FOR THE BOOKS For readers, both male and female, who are pre-boomers, Judith Marshall’s novel will resonate at some level. Finally, a book inhabited by real folk, not the slick, hip boomers who Botox their way into retirement. “Husbands May Come and Go – But Friends are Forever” won the 2008 Jack London Prize awarded by the California Writers Club. In the book, we meet Liz, a divorced mother of two adult children, as she experiences the downside of a company merger. The year is 2000 and the setting is generally Northern California and specifically, the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. Concurrently, her longtime lover is offered a much-deserved promotion that would require a move to New York City. How does our heroine cope? She does it like most of us, with a little help from her friends. And there is the heart of Marshall’s story – six women who have known each other since at least high school and

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healthy choice. RED PEPPER HUMMUS CUPS 6 medium cucumbers 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed ½ jar fire-roasted red peppers 2-4 cloves peeled garlic (to taste) 2 T. tahini (sesame seed paste) Salt Olive oil for processing Use a zester to remove long thin strips of skin from each cucumber. Slice the cucumbers into ¾-inch slices and use a melon baller to remove most of the center (seeded) area of each slice. Take care not to go all the way through the slice, because you want a little cup to hold the hummus. Puree remaining ingredients except olive oil. Slowly add enough olive oil to develop a thick, spoonable mixture. Place about ½ T. of hummus in each cuke cup (or use a pastry bag with a star tip). 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

Novel a loving look at enduring friendships slogged their way through divorce, alcoholism, infidelity, spousal abuse or any other aberrant behavior by trial and error, often leaving them with painful memories that wound never fade. Karen, the friend who died, lived at Lake Tahoe and it is there where the women meet again. It is there that long-held secrets are revealed, that ex-husbands and lovers come to mourn and adult children return to support their parents. The novel is told in Liz’s voice and it is definitely her story, but the group of eight women almost becomes a character in


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some go back as far as grammar school. Marshall has deftly crafted her story to fit within a onemonth period, March-April. Flashbacks provide funny and poignant memories, not only about how the girls met and are drawn together but also important biographical information that distinguishes each character. Not once does a reader mix up the friends, which occurs more often than not in novels of this kind. Marshall’s women stand out as individuals, and as the storyline begins to center around the sudden death of one of the friends, we are seamlessly drawn into the events. This is not a story wherein a protagonist is going to mature. After all, these women are all more than 65 years old. Then again, there is room for growth, which is heartening. And trust me, there is a lot of room for laughter. Marshall’s description of a surreal Tupperware-like party is pretty darned funny, and all matters sexual (both adolescent and adult) are treated with great honesty. Marshall’s depiction of a much earlier Lake Tahoe rings true for those of us who remember the all-day drive from the Bay Area to the lake. Her handling of what would eventually be known as dysfunctional families is also spot-on. These women did not have the vocabulary or resources their children would have. They

Page 17

itself. You will recognize a least a few of the women and possibly yourself, as well. Learning to accept one another, willingly or not, is a key to the longevity of their friendship. And in answer to the question asked in the Beatles’ great song, “When I’m 64,” yeah, I think at least some of these women will still find themselves loveable.

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September 25, 2009

Local gardeners share fascination with dahlias Clayton Valley Garden Club members Marcia and Barry Hart are absolutely infatuated with dahlias. Their home is a growing homage to the plants they adore, with both the front and back yard bursting with orange, pink, white, red and yellow dahlias. About four years ago, the Harts were biking through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco during September. While riding past the Conservatory of Flowers, they found themselves in Dahlia Dell. Marcia and Barry fell in love with these impressive, magnificent floras. Their excitement for these blossoms caught the attention of Deborah, an associate at the conservatory. She asked the couple if they would like to join the Dahlia Society of California, for a membership fee of only $10. This club was organized in 1917. The offer was a good one, and the Harts signed up. Being a part of the Dahlia Society, based in San Francisco, opened their eyes to how simple it would be to achieve such extraordinary blooms. They were told that anyone with the ability to grow a tomato can grow a dahlia. They began planning their own dahlia beds. The dahlia bug had bitten these two plant lovers, and their whole lives were about to be infected with beauty. A LEARNING EXPERIENCE Anyone who is a part of a club knows that you have to

volunteer your time for the benefit of the club. Marcia and Barry’s first experience with the club was with digging out the dahlia tubers. These awesome plants grow from tubers that resemble dirty bananas. During the last days of fall, dahlias aficionados cut down dry stems and remove the tubers from the soil. This is to prevent tuber rot, caused by saturated soil in the rainy months.

MARCIA HART at the San Leandro Dahlia Show.

Each tuber is marked in ink pencil with the name of the tuber and coding that tells the form, size and color of the dahlia. This was a big job, and Marcia and Barry learned a lot

that day. The hands-on experience was instrumental in the understanding of the end of the season of the dahlia. The separated tubers are marked and stored through the winter in peat moss. The divisions are sold in April at the Dahlia Society’s Tuber Sale. Marcia and Barry returned to the sale in April. They bought, they planted and they achieved success with their installations – lots of success. One by one, the Harts added dahlias through tuber sales and exchanges. That ride through Golden Gate Park turned into an addiction, and what started out as a few dahlias turned into about 80 dahlia plants today, with as many as 92 at one time. STUNNING SHOWCASE Marcia grows mostly the moderately sized B class dahlias, with blooms 6-8 inches in diameter or larger. Jim Dandy, a bi-color, and Aitara Caress, a light blend, do excellent in the Harts full-sun front yard. Rolf is a perfect golden yellow, streaked with a red variegation. This semi-cactus stunner is proud to be grown in our hot climate. Bode is an incurved, cactusshaped lavender dahlia. Magic Moment has the honor of being the Harts’ first dahlia. The white, semi-cactus shaped bloom stands out on summer evenings. With all the success of the dahlias and some encouragement from the Dahlia Society, Marcia decided to take her pas-


GARDEN GIRL sion to another level and began entering dahlia shows. Now, Marcia is collecting blue ribbons at almost every event. In the front yard garden alone, 19 blue ribbons hang above the winning dahlia. Marcia has received ribbons in the novice category and placed at the amateur table. Her novelty dahlia Hollyhill Spiderwoman has also placed at the open table. The Harts have been able to maintain this award-winning garden even with the current water restrictions. Drip system irrigation is used, along with mulch. In some very dry areas, newspaper is spread. Marcia adds water-soluble fertilizer about every four weeks and will disbud her plants regularly. Disbudding is the removal of buds to encourage larger, more dramatic blooms. The plant’s energy is focused on a handful of magnificent blooms, rather than many smaller, crammed flowers. Marcia and Barry’s dahlias are enjoyed all summer long. They admire every bloom and share them with friends and neighbors. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden Contact her with questions, comments or suggestions at

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Story “Moonlight” model backs to oak dotted open space! 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, approx. 2,237sf, fireplace & 3 car garage! Upgraded travertine tile floors, neutral carpet & décor! Gourmet kitchen features granite tile counters, island & maple cabinets. Spacious master suite looks out to open space/hill. Large lot offers a $619,000 custom patio, lawn area & an assortment of ornamentals.


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away in a private quiet setting in a cul-de-sac! 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, approx. 2,313sf, fireplace & 2 car garage! Upgraded baths boast slab granite counters, tile floors, lighting and hardware. Other upgrades include: laminate flooring, designer paint, wood & pleated blinds. Gourmet kitchen features upgraded stainless steel appliances. Private yard with custom Trex deck with trellis, lighting and wired for cable. Nice lawn area and lots of colorful flowers! $579,000

Clayton Market Update provided by George Vujnovich of Better Homes Realty ADDRESS 179 Mt. Vernon Dr 1519 N. Mitchell Canyon Rd 1349 Shell Lane 139 El Portal Pl 312 Mount Sierra Pl 260 Mountaire Parkway 953 Tiffin Dr 6022 Mitchell Creek Pl 93 El Portal Place 106 La Encinal Ct 3087 Windmill Canyon Dr 252 Stranahan Circle 6008 High Street 400 Chupcan Pl 5205 Keller Ridge Drive 705 Condor Place 5593 Coronado Court 145 Widmar Pl 30 Mount Hamilton Ct

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Better Homes DRE#00933393

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SEP 25 Clayton Pioneer 2009.pdf  
SEP 25 Clayton Pioneer 2009.pdf  

downtown revitalization plans. When the dust finally set- tled, the hit to the Redevelopment Agency was $1.9 million, with another $139,195...