Page 1

Get Fit in 2010 See Page 19


January 22, 2010


Husband and wife Marines come home to warm Clayton reception HANK STRATFORD

MAYOR’S CORNER Mayor calls for citywide plan to build character First of all, thank you to all who shared their wish lists and/or suggestions for Clayton. The ideas ranged from an aquatic park with slides and an indoor pool for winter use to a citywide fitness challenge. More activities for seniors was suggested, along with a program to collect locally grown fruits and vegetables to give to the food bank. Another suggestion was to raise money for local schools through a fundraiser similar to the Primo’s Run for Education in Danville. Some of these suggestions could be implement by volunteers willing to take the lead (hint, hint). Several years ago, while I was

See Mayor, page 8

FBI warns against Haitian Earthquake Relief fraud The FBI today reminds Internet users who receive appeals to donate money in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to include the following: Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages. Be skeptical of individuals


See Fraud, page 6

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

JEFF EMMANUEL (LEFT) COMMANDER OF THE LIVERMORE VFW POST said all he wanted when he got out of the service was a cold beer. He happily presented Karie Mason Stephens and her husband Staff Sergeant Peter Stephens with two sixpacks of Blue Star Ale at their recent homecoming reception. The Stephens’ sons Michael (standing) and Mason joined opted for cookies instead. Emmanuel served in the Persian Gulf. JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

While a senior at Northgate High School in 2002, Clayton’s Karie Mason decided that college wasn’t for her. She believed she could use her musical talent

playing the flute as an entrée to the U.S. Marine Corps. On Jan. 5, she returned to her hometown after four years active duty and four years in the Marine Reserves. This wasn’t your ordinary homecoming to visit her family

home in downtown Clayton. Her proud parents Franklin and Christina Mason and siblings Annie, Frankie and Paul were there, of course, but so were about 100 others. The Lafayette Flag Brigade hastily organized a surprise for Clayton’s returning

vet that included a Warrior Husband Peter Stephens, a Watch Riders motorcycle escort, Marine Corps drill instructor, a majority of the Clayton City and their two sons, Michael and Council, the police chief, mem- Mason, were there too. It all took bers of Blue Star Moms and the Karie by surprise. Veterans of Foreign Wars and A giant American flag added more family, friends and local residents. See Homecoming, page 3

Clayton man wins Emmy for sound work LOU FANCHER Clayton Pioneer

It’s an unexpected pleasure to consider an accomplished man and see the child he once was. To sense not just the list of awards or years of employment, but the boy, mouth agape, captured by the wonder of sound. Clayton resident Jeff Riedmiller, director of the sound platform group at Dolby Laboratories, is like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to listening. “My mother still has pictures of me with a little stool next to an old record player,” he says. “I’m up on my tippy-toes with my head down in the stereo system.” Picking up a guitar in junior

high school increased his passion, and his dream of being a sound engineer is recorded for posterity in his high school yearbook. Riedmiller’s curiosity, the drive to explore how sound is created, captured, stored and played back, burns with youthful intensity. Decades later, he is exuberant not about winning awards, but about the human ear and the aspects of listening to language that unite us. In addition to owning patents and writing numerous trade articles, he is also an Emmy recipient. Riedmiller and his coworkers created the Dolby LM100 and DP600, intelligent loudness correction tools that measure and normalize audio

See Riedmiller, page 4

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Church News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

JEFF RIEDMILLER (RIGHT) WAS IN GOOD COMPANY at the last technical Emmy awards when he stood with Astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin. Riedmiller received an award for his audio work at Dolby Laboratories. Aldrin accepted an Emmy on behalf of NASA for their achievement in broadcasting the first live pictures from the moon.

Clayton History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Community Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Directory of Advertisers . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Financial Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Letters to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Movie Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Pioneer Photo Album (New) . . . . . . . . . .6 Police Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Safety Zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 School News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Senior Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Tech Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Teen Speak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

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Clayton Pioneer •

January 22, 2010

Around Town Clayton PD receives grant for motorcycle safety

CVHS scores with sports fundraiser More than 400 people attended the 16th annual Clayton Valley High School Athletic Boosters

Club crab feed and auction Jan. 9 at Centre Concord. The goal was to raise $18,000 for CVHS sports.

Mike Dunn/Clayton Pioneer

OUTGOING CV ATHLETIC BOOSTER CLUB BOARD PRESIDENT, BOB BANKS, receives recognition for his work with the club from new president Erik Fjellbo and board vice president, Linda Fjellbo.

“I like this event because it gives us a chance to represent ourselves well and to raise funds for sports,” says Clayton resident Mike Jayko, a senior basketball point guard. “I don’t know what I’d do without sports – I would probably transfer,” he adds. “It’s an outlet that gives me something to do and keeps me out of trouble.” According to CVHS athletic director Pat Middendorf, school board members have said the district is going forward with spring sports. “The United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation has projected that should spring sports pay their contribution fees like the fall and the winter did, we will be over the $1.2 million,” Middendorf reports of the funding level needed to maintain sports in the district. “With the economy not improving, we are still very, very worried about sports next year,” she notes.

CVHS alums and athletics supporters Deborah Gonsalves and Herc Pardi at the Boosters crabfeed.

“We really don’t know if families can maintain this level of giving. That’s what worries us the most. We know families really struggled to make their contributions and their transportation fees. It’s only going to get harder next year.” For more information or to donate to the Athletic Boosters Club, visit at or write them at P.O. Box 26, Clayton, CA 94517.

At the Jan. 5 Clayton City Council meeting, Mayor Hank Stratford accepted a check from Loni Haskins and Doug VanWyck of State Farm Insurance for a Motorcycle Public Safety Project. The $2,000 Motorcycle Public Safety Project grant to the Clayton Police Department will be used to upgrade Clayton Police Department’s motorcycles for use patroling Clayton’s trails and roadways. - Julie Pierce, City Council

- Mike Dunn

Pioneer cruises Spain with the Kosels

Travel and studies keep Matt Jonathan busy ‘down under’

Jerry and Gloria Kosel spent early December on a 17day trans-Atlantic cruise on the Celebrity Summit. The cruise began in Barcelona, Spain and ended in Puerto Rico. Along the way, they stopped to catch up on local news with their copy of the Pioneer.

Matt Jonathan is spending this semester “down under.” Matt is participating in a study abroad program through Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, where he is a senior majoring in English and philosophy. While in Australia, Matt plans to travel extensively and take liberal arts and architecture courses. Matt is the son of Tim and Rossana Jonathan of Clayton. He is an assistant music director of Linfield¹s studentrun radio station and a sports journalist for the athletic department.

MATT JONATHAN explored Ayers Rock in Australia’s Northern Territory.



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5206 Keller Ridge Drive ...........$610,000 184 El Molino Drive ..................$649,000 250 El Pueblo Pl.......................$630,000 1016 Pebble Beach Dr .............$725,000 112 Mount Etna Drive...............$440,000 1443 Indianhead Circle ............$395,000

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January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

Homecoming, from page 1

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

PROUD MOTHER, CHRISTINA MASON, SISTER ANNIE AND GRANDMOTHER JAN POTTER were all smiles at the warm welcome for Marine Sergeant, Karie Stephens’ return home on Jan. 5.

to the festive, patriotic mood that warmed the hearts of all in attendance despite the cold temperatures outside. Many carried their own flags to honor Karie and Peter for their service. Clayton’s Ed and Cecelia Hartley lost their son-in-law, Ben Tollefson, in Iraq almost a year earlier, but they were on hand for this more joyful occasion. MIDDLE SCHOOL BEGINNINGS You might say this journey began when Karie was at Ygnacio Valley Christian School and the band director, the late Dan Vigus, got the sixth-grader interested in the flute. “I liked how it sounded,” she recalls. She chose to go to

Northgate High because of its drama department. Before her freshman year, she went to the Northgate marching band camp and met Mahsa Meemari. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw Karie. She had long blonde hair, blue eyes and was wearing a dress. Who wears a dress to school?” Mahsa asks with a smile. “We both played the flute and immediately became friends.” When they were seniors, Karie and Mahsa were in a music class at Northgate when a recruiter came to talk about the Marine Corps Band. Karie was intrigued and eventually signed up to be a reservist. She auditioned for the USMC Band and

was accepted, which necessitated her switching to active duty status. Her boot camp was in Parris Island, S.C., followed by the twoweek Marine combat training camp at Camp Lejeune, N.C. MEETING MR. RIGHT From there she was off to Norfolk, Va., for the six-month Navy School of Music. The day she arrived along with others from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, there was a young Marine on hand to carry her bags up to her room. He was a trumpet player named Peter Stephens who had been at the school for three months. “We talked to each other at

breakfast a few days later and we got to be good friends. Within a couple months, we were dating and even talking about marriage,” she says. “I wanted to be smart about it and said we needed to wait two years.” Since Peter was halfway through his six months at the school, the young couple faced a rather quick separation as he was slated to be deployed to Okinawa, Japan. While Peter waited for his immunizations and paperwork to be completed, time slipped by and soon Karie was also done with her six months. “A fantastic platoon sergeant bent over backward to send us to the same place,” she says. The two teenage Marines were both sent to Twentynine Palms in California, where they would spend the next three years. As members of the Marine Corps Band, they performed all over the western United States. Peter remembers the time they were called at 4 a.m. to get ready to travel to Simi Valley to perform at former President Ronald Reagan’s funeral. Peter also was called on to play taps for victims of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. STARTING A FAMILY The couple married in December 2004 and rented a house from friends off the base. Peter reenlisted before his fouryear commitment expired in 2006. “I had seen a lot of Marines go to Iraq and Afghanistan and we hadn’t deployed. I had dreamed of ‘doing the drill instructor thing’ for some time,” Peter explains. He went to three months of boot camp at Parris Island, this

Page 3

time learning how to teach others. The young couple lived in family housing on the base with new arrival Michael, who was born in August 2006, a month before Karie completed active duty as a sergeant. Karie was in the reserves for four years without being called up and was able to be a stay-at-home mom. Son Mason arrived in July 2008. Peter’s final official day as a Marine is next week, but he is looking ahead to more public service as he’s trying to become a policeman in Santa Clara. Once Karie has their two sons in school, she wants to go to college and study physical therapy. For the time being, the Stephens family is in Clayton with Karie’s parents. Her mom Christina is a busy local dentist, while her father Franklin is a retired chemist. The Mason family has been in Clayton for nearly 20 years. Peter is glad “to have a little time away from John Philip Sousa,” but both plan to stay involved as musicians. She performed at a church Christmas performance last month before they came to Clayton. Peter was in on the planning of the welcome home reception, but he was unwittingly helping plan for his own welcome as well. Emceed by Bryan Weldon of the Lafayette Flag Brigade, the ceremony that followed the horn-blaring arrival of Karie honored both Stephens for their service to the country. Mayor Hank Stratford, council members Howard Geller and Julie Pierce and Police Chief Dan Lawrence were there from the city. Long-time friend Mahsa, now a science teacher at the Oakland Military Institute, summed it up: “We’re all so proud of her and she’s back where she belongs.”

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Clayton Pioneer •

Letters to the Editor CERT donation On behalf of the City of Clayton Citizen Corps Council (C5) I would like to thank the person(s) who gave an anonymous donation to Clayton CERT. The donation is to be used to add needed supplies to our central cache. The funds are very much appreciated and will be used wisely. - Herb Yonge Chair

Riders give thanks for turnout I would like to thank the town of Clayton for coming out and participating in the Jan 5 Welcome Home of Marines Ssgt. Peter Stephens and his wife Sgt. Karie Stephens. A special thanks to Police Chief Lawrence for meeting the escort and escorting us into town lights flashing, siren blaring. Our website is If you know of ANY service member

coming home OR leaving, please contact us so we may give the proper respect to our service members. (925) 6282201 or send e-mail to - Spike Northern California State Coordinator for Warriors’ Watch Riders

The Ten Rules Since the ACLU has forced God and the Ten Commandments out of our schools, they and our society have become much worse. There is now more irreverence, more swearing, less respect for parents, more murders, more rapes, more cheating, stealing, lying, more destructive envy of other’s accomplishments or things, and less studying. Since our Founders acknowledged God in their writings and efforts (without a particular religion) why can’t we

Riedmiller, from page 1 programming levels. “A lot of loudness correction tools are destructive,” Riedmiller says, explaining that the Dolby products won Emmys because they are revolutionary. Prior to his team’s innovative solutions, correction meant a possible change in the artistic intent of a transmission and accepting a “lukewarm” listening experience. The key to breaking through with a unique product was focusing on normal human speech. “The best loudness estimator is our own ears,”

Riedmiller says. And the category of sound upon which people most agree is speech. Studies show that listeners evaluate acceptable loudness levels in dialogue with surprising, but consistent agreement. Sound effects and music do not yield the same results, so the Dolby products were designed to focus and extract spoken words from programs. Developed alongside proliferating digital transmission modes – which spread like dandelion seeds in midsummer as the world moved away from analog

do the same with a modern “Ten Commandments” which are basically just sensible rules? These rules would help make better students, better adults, and are endorsed by most Americans and religions anyway. The 2nd Commandment could instead become the Golden Rule. Suggested wording might be: 1. Respect God and human rights, 2. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, 3. Do not swear, 4. Respect the Sabbath to rest and worship, 5. Honor your Parents and Family, 6. Do not Murder, 7. Do not commit adultery, 8. Do not steal, 9. Do not lie, 10. Do not envy other people’s things. If these basic rules were put back in school and again memorized from a young age, schools and our society would be much better for it. - Pete Laurence Clayton

signals – the LM100 and DP600 transformed the wild weed of variable sound into the smooth, clear dialogue home users desired. This is the result that speaks to Riedmiller. “The award is an incredible moment, but the thing that hits home is when an end user calls me and says, ‘Jeff, this thing makes a big difference it saved me.’ ” He’s grateful for the recognition, but also for a life of working with people who share his passion. “Success is really a collective effort,” he says. “With a certain set of skills, some autonomy and the right environment, work is almost magical.”

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January 22, 2010

Local man Walks for the Cure in San Diego to support breast cancer research After crossing the Grand Canyon 18 times, Concord resident Albert Limberg decided it’s time to Walk for the Cure. This November, he’ll be participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in San Diego. He’ll also be crewing the San Francisco walk with his daughter, Eileen, in October. Limberg just started train-

ing for the 60-mile San Diego walk and plans to raise at least $2,300 to fund breast cancer research and community programs. “One person is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes in the United States. That’s why I’m walking so far – to do something bold about breast cancer,” Limberg says. “I hope that you’ll share this incredible adventure with me by supporting me in my

fundraising efforts.” Limberg will walk in memory of donors’ friends or family members who either succumbed to or survived breast cancer. “I’ll place their names on a Patrol Flag that I’ll carry,” he notes. To donate, visit and click on “Donate to a Participant” to find Limberg. Or call 800-996-3DAY.

New credit card rules provide consumer protection

MURELEEN BENTON FINANCIAL SENSE The economic recession has pushed many Americans deeper into credit card debt. Though most of the blame lies with individual consumers, certain dubious practices by credit card companies have exacerbated the problem. As a result, Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009. The legislation is intended to eliminate excessive fees, penalties and predatory lending practices. In the past, creditors reserved the freedom to shorten payment cycles at their discretion – which could result in late payments and stiff late fees for consumers. The CARD Act requires a monthly payment cycle of at least 21 days. It also bans the practice of calculating interest charges on a previous month’s higher balance, requires companies to apply payments to higher interest balances first and minimizes over-limit fees by requiring that consumers be notified before being allowed to go over their credit limit and trigger costly over-limit fees. The new rules are designed to help reduce confusion

regarding credit card rates and fees. Credit card terms must be clearly visible and legible to the consumer and disclosed in language that is easy to read and understand. The rules require creditors to provide crystal clear statements of account activity once a card is in use so consumers can easily see new charges and fees. Creditors are also required to show the financial consequences of paying less than the full balance due over a period of time. The goal is to educate consumers and encourage responsible use of credit. Going forward, credit card companies must publish their contracts in a public place and in plain language. Companies that do not adhere to these new regulations can be fined. Credit card regulators will continuously monitor credit card practices and introduce additional safeguards as needed. Credit card companies no longer will have the option to raise rates on a whim. Rather, they will be required to provide a notice of change in terms 45 days in advance. As a card holder, you will have the option to opt out of a new, higher rate and can repay your debt at your current rate. However, by opting out, your card will be canceled and you will no longer be able to use it. There are some exceptions to the opt-out rule worthy of note. Consumers cannot reject a higher rate if it results from a change in the prime rate (if a variable rate is attached to their card) or if they are more than 60 days late in making payments. More changes will be rolled

out in the coming months aimed at keeping a lid on interest rates, preventing card companies from targeting young adults and even regulating interest assessed on gift cards. Credit card issuers will be hammered with new requirements to protect consumers and ensure fair business practices. The changes to credit card rules will ultimately make the use of credit a more expensive proposition. Credit cards are convenient tools for purchasing plane tickets, reserving hotel rooms and renting a car, so it’s difficult to eliminate them from our lives altogether. The key is to pay your bill in full each month or as soon as possible. As soon as you carry a balance, your debt will grow rapidly under the weight of hefty interest rates assessed by most card companies. If you’re struggling under the burden of credit card debt, talk to a credit counselor or trusted financial advisor about your options. The sooner you can repay what you owe, the better.

Mureleen Benton is a Certified Financial Planner. Call her with questions at 685-4523 This column is for informational purposes only. The information may not be suitable for every situation and should not be relied on without the advice of your tax, legal and/or financial advisors. Neither Ameriprise Financial nor its financial advisors provide tax or legal advice. Consult with qualified tax and legal advisors about your tax and legal situation. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member NASD and SIPC, part of Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

P.O. Box 1246 6200 Center Street, Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor, Advertising Sales P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports C HRISTINA S CARLOTT , Administrative Assistant S TAFF W RITERS : Andre Gensburger, Denisen Hartlove, Lou Fancher, Nicci Shipstead We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse

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

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

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Auto Clayton Valley Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3900 Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739 Niello Infiniti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .866-443-1740 Children’s Services Music Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .946-2990 Construction and Trades Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423 Olde World Mill & Cabinets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .915-0822

Pick up your FREE copy at one of these local businesses: Bay Area Realty Beautique Bella Mia Spa Canesa's Brooklyn Deli Cat Hospital of Clayton CD Federal Credit Union Cegielski Jewelers Clayton Bicycles Clayton Books Clayton Community Church Clayton Dental Office on Main St. Clayton Furniture Clayton Valley Medical Group Clayton Valley Presbyterian Computers USA Concord Locksmith Concord Optometry CVS Pharmacy Diamond Terrace Dryclean USA Ed's Mudville Grill

Smith & Bernal Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0138 Tipperary Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-2679 Hair's the Place Lela's Hair Salon Lynne French Windemere Real Estate Perfect Tan Pet Suite Inn R&M Pool, Patio and Garden Re/Max Accord in Flora Square Rodie's Feed & Country Store Royal Image Day Spa Skipolini's Snap Fitness St. Bonaventure's Catholic Church St. John's Episcopal Church The Clayton Club The Cutting Edge Knife Works The Royal Rooster The UPS Store TLC Pet Grooming Travel to Go Window Works

or at the Clayton Pioneer, 6200 H Center St, Clayton.

Dentist Children's Dentistry of Walnut Creek . . . . . . . . . .938-2392 Renner, Jason D.D.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800 Rissel, Richard D.M.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800 Dining and Entertainment Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Willows Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .957-2500 Financial and Insurance Services Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 Capital Management Advisors Group . . . . .888-350-PLAN CD Federal Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-0900 Ferrante Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .674-1755 Littorno, Richard - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 Van Wyck, Doug - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300 Fitness Butterfly Clayton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4238

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Clayton Pioneer welcomes letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 250 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.

Page 5

Snap Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0110 Traveling Trainers for Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6931

Classified LESSONS Music & Voice Music lessons in your home or instructor’s Clayton studio. Professional voice, piano and guitar instruction taught in a fun and positive way. Ages 5 to 105. All styles: student choice,

Funerals Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242

Traditional, Pop, Jazz, etc. Exciting annual recitals. Mention code #1163 and receive a one time $10 discount for you and a friend. Call 1-800Melody1 (1-800-635-6391) or sign up at

Gifts Keenan Heinz Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288-0159 The Royal Rooster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2025 Health John Muir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .941-2244 Home and Garden Abbey Carpet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-9901

LOST & FOUND Lost I-Phone Christmas Eve in front of the Clayton Community Church offices on Main Street. Reward 672-3880

Clear Splash Pool Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-6245 Floors to Go Danville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .820-8700 Pacific Coast Flooring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .609-2151 Navlet’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .681-0550 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Pans on Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .600-7267 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055

RENTAL Looking to Rent Granny unit or small single story home in Clayton. Non smoker, no pets. Please call 672-5135

Mailing and Shipping The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Personal Products and Services Bella Mia Spa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .680-7792 Pet Services Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100


Vet Tech Pet Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .899-7354 Rodie’s Feed and Country Store . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600

Garden Girl Gardening Garden care for your roses, perennials and ornamentals. Monthly pruning and fertilizing services. Plant suggestions and installation. If you want more flowers this year, call or email Nicole Hackett 673-1746, or

Real Estate and Mortgage Services Flannery, Patty - Diablo Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0541 French, Lynne - Windermere Real Estate . . . . . .672-8787 Kavanaugh, Mike - RE/MAX Town & Country . . .383-6102 Laurence, Pete - RE/MAX Realty . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6004 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

Doggie Vacation Relief Looking for a good home for our dog while we are away. Sam is 9, Min Pin mix, 13 pounds. We travel several times per year and are searching for a safe environment for Sam during our absence. Please contact Brenda at 672-2381 for more information.

Castle Rock Arabians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .937-7661 Clayton Valley Bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-4631 Diablo FC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-GOAL Oakhurst Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9737 YMCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .889-1600 Senior Services Aegis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .692-5853 Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100

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

Scan Health Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-800-915-7226 Services, Other Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700 Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Contra Costa Water District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .688-8044


Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . .473-0180

Meals on Wheels Drivers 1 – 1 1/2 per week. Drivers and relief drivers needed for delivery of Meals on Wheels in East County. Call Jim at 673-0300 or e-mail

Clayton Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-3325

Shopping Travel Cruise Adventures Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .935-7447 Travel to Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9840

Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •

New ‘hand scraped’ hardwoods a popular choice MIKE BAKER Floors to Go

The new hand scraped hardwoods are a practical choice for homes with children and pets.

Fraud, from page 1 representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites. Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the

group’s existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site. Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments

For more than 30 years, small hardwood manufacturers in the eastern United States have been reclaiming lumber from old homes and buildings and even river beds and lakes. These reclaimed logs and lumber are then milled into beautiful hardwood flooring. Most of this material was rustic, with nail and worm holes. The softer part of the wood grain was destroyed during the milling process, leaving an uneven texture to the face of the planks. These “defects” and discolorations were referred to as “character” woods and became popular. Although these same hardwoods are still made today, U.S. manufacturers have started to produce new versions of the “hand scraped” hardwood planks, and their popularity has skyrocketed. These hand scraped hardwoods have much more personality than their more traditional smooth cousins, and they are a more practical choice for homes with busy families, children and pets. If these textured hardwoods become scratched, gouged or

from known senders. Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes. Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and

dented, the homeowner only has to touch them up with a matching stain. The “boo-boo” becomes part of the floor’s character. These textured hardwoods never need to be sanded for refinishing, as this would destroy the original texture. When these hardwoods begin to lose their luster, it is only necessary to abrade the floor with a ScotchBrite pad and apply a coat of fresh urethane to the surface. Because most manufacturers warrant their finishes for 15 to 20 years, it will be a long time before your textured hardwood floors will have to be refinished. Hand scraped hardwood floors are no more expensive than their smooth counterparts, and these “engineered” hardwood floor as less susceptible to problems related to water and ground moisture. Hardwood floors are easy to care for and are hypo allergenic. They will also add actual appraised value to your home, so they can be considered an investment in your home.

January 22, 2010

Pioneer Photo Album I woke up one morning and looked out on my back deck. This is the view I saw, and I thought, “Wow! Living in Clayton is like Heaven on Earth! So peaceful and beautiful.” Photo was taken in January 2010, from my back deck on Peacock Creek Drive Kim Zocchi

For more information on textured hardwoods or other flooring options, call Mike Baker at Floors to Go, (925) 820-8700.

make you vulnerable to identity theft. Anyone who has received an e-mail referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of this or a similar incident should notify the IC3 via For further information, please visit the FBI’s Web site: ssrel10/earthquake011310.htm

In keeping with our motto, “It’s Your Paper,” the Pioneer is proud to spotlight our reader’s photos. Send in your cute pets, funny kids, great landscapes. favorite sites in town or whatever makes your heart beat a little faster. Email your photo in a hi-resolution jpeg or tiff format to Include a description of the photo, where it was taken and when and a little about why you like it. Include your name and phone number. Then look for it in the next Pioneer.

January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 7

Understanding other cultures broadens world perspective SARAH ROSEN TEEN SPEAK This winter break, my family visited the Land Down Under. Although there wasn’t the same culture shock I experienced while traveling through France or Italy, much of Australia is different from here. Just as the United States was originally inhabited by Native Americans, Australia was originally occupied by people known as Indigenous Australians. In Australia, there’s still a huge amount of discrimination toward the aboriginal people. As we spoke to locals, we learned that these people are treated worse than AfricanAmericans were treated in our

country. The atrocities these people endured while white settlers moved to Australia is similar to what happened when white settlers took North American land from Native Americans. These people have been alienated because their beliefs and customs are different. Many Australians are ignorant of other cultures, and when one is uneducated, fear follows – leading people to label anything different as abhorrent. The Indigenous are a spiritual and cultural people. As people begin to see the beauty of their beliefs and way of life, the Aborigines are finally being treated with more respect by many Australians. Hatred among different religions is also common through-

out the country. Our shuttle driver from the airport received a call on his radio asking him to send a message to another driver. He explained that he sent messages between bus drivers who wouldn’t talk to one another. One was Jewish and the other was Sri Lankan, and they couldn’t speak without arguing. It was heart-wrenching to hear that even today, in a country as seemingly laid back as Australia, such discord is common. In America, we take for granted the tremendous strides we have made to overcome religious differences and become a more tolerant society. My parents have taught me that it’s critically important to learn about different cultures and to value them. They also


Patty Flannery

want me to understand how grateful I should be to have as easy a life as I do. Travel opens up new worlds of understanding and acceptance. It is impossible to accept anything in which we aren’t knowledgeable, and the only way to truly understand others is to experience culture for ourselves. To grow as a person, one must go out of his comfort zone and experience things entirely new. Rather than simply preaching “Peace on Earth,” we must think about what it would take to truly have peace. If we want to achieve peace, we cannot afford to be ignorant about other cultures. Sarah Rosen is a sophomore at CVHS. You can e-mail her at

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School News ST. AGNES SCHOOL The K-8 school is hosting an Open House and Book Fair after the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Jan. 31. Visitors can meet the teachers and tour the campus. Applications for the 2010-’11 school year will be available through February. Testing for new students takes place Feb. 27. The school is at 3886 Chestnut Ave., Concord. For more information, call 689-3990 or visit CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL The ClaytonArts Academy is accepting applications for the 2010’11 school year. Application deadline is Feb. 16. For more information and an application, visit

TRAVIS CREDIT UNION SCHOLARSHIPS The credit union invites all graduating seniors to apply for 20 $1,000 scholarships. Each applicant must be a high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, bound for a two- or four-year college or university and a member of Travis Credit Union in good standing. Students may join the credit union and apply for a scholarship at the same time. Scholarship applications are available at any branch location or online at Application requirements include a 250-word essay, a certified high school transcript and a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Applications must be received by March 15.

Submit your School News items from our Website at or email to

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

January 22, 2010

Sell this spring to take advantage of buyers’ credits You are smart to want to time your sale so the buyers can take advantage of these credits. This is a huge incentive for people to buy sooner rather than later. For the first-time buyer’s credit for $8,000 (one is considered a first-time buyer if they haven’t owned a property for three years), your maximum purchase price would be $800,000. The new, up to $6,500 credit is for people who have owned and occupied their property for five consecutive years out of the last eight.



REAL ANSWERS I am planning to put my Q home on the market in late February. It won’t be ready before that. I am worried that two months won’t be enough to get an offer and close by April 30 so the buyer can take advan-

Mayor, from page 1 stopped at the intersection of Cowell Road and Treat Boulevard, a school bus slowly passed me as it made a left turn onto Treat. As the bus passed, I heard something hit my back window – followed by the

sound of shattering glass. Knowing that the projectile came from the bus, I began following it down Treat. As I was driving behind the bus, I could see different heads pop up and look back. I knew

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I have no idea if these will be extended or if other incentives will be offered. You do, however, have more flexibility than you thought. The rule is that you must be under contract by April 30 and close no later than June 30. I am happy that you are taking the time to get it ready so it shows its best. Now if you price it correctly, you should meet the deadlines. I am thinking of buying a Q condo because I am a little bit priced out of the singlefamily home market. This is my first home purchase. What are the pros and cons of condominiums in the current market?

the kids in the bus were aware of what had happened. When we reached the elementary school, I got out and explained to the unknowing bus driver what had happened. One of the school administrators entered the bus and asked if the kid responsible would raise his or her hand and come forward. I was doubtful that we would get a ready confession, but to my surprise a small, trembling hand rose above the crowd. A young, visibly shaken boy came forward to take responsibility for his actions. I was so impressed by this boy’s courage that this incident has stayed with me as an example of character in action. We are fortunate to live in a community full of good people with good character. However, I believe we all can benefit, regardless of our age, by fostering good character traits. The city of Pleasanton began working on its Community of Character program about 10 years ago. The program is in the schools, business community and local government. I don’t believe that all of their kids have behaved appropriately and received good grades since the program started. Nor do I believe that there has been no divorce or contention at home and that all the neighbors get along. However, based on conversations with school administrators, a City Council member and residents, I see that Pleasanton has greatly benefited from having a character development program that stretches throughout its community. The program is based on six character traits that organizers believed were essential for the development of a good,

Fortunately, it is a great A time to purchase either a condominium or a single-family home. There are some unbelievable prices on most of the condos available. There is more inventory available in condos than in single-family homes right now, so that means more choices. It’s a great starting point for you for home ownership. There are some important things to consider before you make your selection. The first thing to do after you choose a Realtor is to connect with a good loan agent. For first-time buyers, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan product is the easiest to manage. You only need 3.5 percent for a

upstanding citizen – responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, honesty, respect and integrity. Each trait is emphasized throughout the community for a period of time each year. The character traits are woven into the culture of the schools and are emphasized at each City Council meeting. One of the key factors in the program’s success has been the involvement of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. For more information on Pleasanton’s program, visit or Diablo View Middle School started a Character in Action program that allows students to put good character traits into action. Robbie Parker has written about the program for The Pioneer. The principal, vice principal and a teacher expressed a clear desire to extend the program throughout the community. Clayton could put together an organizing committee of representatives from our schools, parent groups, the Clayton Business and Community Association, the police department, City Council and others as deemed appropriate and necessary. This committee could select which traits we wanted to develop and how they could be emphasized. A program would not need much money or other resources, but it would require a deliberate shift in focus.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts on a communitywide character program for Clayton. Email me at

down payment. You can ask the seller to give you a closing cost credit for up to 6 percent of the sales price. It also accepts lower credit scores than you would need on a conventional loan. Your down payment can be a gift from a family member and they will accept a cosigner with whom you have a family-like relationship. Of course, you can get the up to $8,000 tax credit discussed above. One thing you should know is that the condo complex must also qualify for the loan. Certain developments are FHA approved and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved. Have your loan agent

Make sure your kids can tell ‘good’ strangers from ‘bad’ likely to encounter different types of situations. BE AWARE OF STRANGER DANGER


SAFETY ZONE It seems no matter where we turn, there are reports of crime, immoral behavior and just bad news in general. A couple of weeks ago, I watched a report on TV regarding an assault on an 11-year-old at a school in our area. Unfortunately, we live in a world that has predators. Without a doubt, this is an important issue that all parents must address and one that requires constant communication with their children. When teaching your children about strangers and potential dangers, it’s best to instill confidence rather than fear. You should always arm your child with knowledge and strategies they will need to protect themselves in dangerous situations. When talking to your child, be sensitive to his/her age and maturity. These discussions about strangers should be ongoing; adjust the conversations as your child grows as he/she is

See Safety, page 9

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Children need to understand what you mean by a stranger and how to identify one. Not all people unknown to them are necessarily dangerous, and they need to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” strangers. Children need to know whom to approach if they are ever lost, feel scared, threatened or if they think someone may be following them. “Good” strangers include police officers, teachers, security guards and store clerks. “Bad” strangers include those who approach children in the park, on a residential street, at school, etc. In reality, there are mostly “good” people vs. the “bad” people and your child should be taught this. “Bad” strangers include someone who approaches your child and tries to lure him/her or physically pull them away. If this happens, the best thing the child can do is to get the attention of other adults by making loud noises that will be heard by others or running to the nearest home or classroom. Above all, make sure your child is aware of his/her surroundings and pays attention.

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search the areas you are interested in and check which ones are FHA approved. If a good development isn’t FHA approved, sometimes the lender can get a spot approval for this one sale. The units must be in good repair. The development must have a high rate of owner occupancy and a sound budget for the homeowners association. Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. For any real estate needs or questions, contact her at 672-878 7or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

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January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 9

Planning crucial for long-term care issues With a new year under way, most of us are thinking how can we improve ourselves and make our lives better in the future. It’s also a good time to consider long-term care planning. While you may feel fit and healthy today, you never know what health problems or disabilities will affect you down the road. Early planning for longterm care can help prevent anxiety for you and loved ones when and if help is needed for



health issues or personal care. There are many options available for long-term care. It could be in your home, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. The location will vary according to the level of care needed. Many seniors prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Home health care can help that happen. Medicare provides coverage for short-term, intermittent skilled care in the

home. Medicare does not cover the cost of “custodial” care, which is provided to help with dressing, meals, bathing, etc. If this type of care is needed, the patient would have to pay for it. Assisted living is a housing option for seniors who need help with dressing, bathing, eating and other functions of daily living. These individuals may no longer be able to continue living in their homes safely. Assisted living communities may be free-

Clayton’s Main Street, 1903

Clayton Historical Society

Safety, from page 8 KEEPING SAFE AT SCHOOL The great comfort we have living in Clayton is the fact we live in a small community and have phenomenal schools, teachers and involved parents. The flip side of that is it’s easy to take things for granted. Here are some quick tips that are worth talking about with your children regarding safety at school. Make sure your children know the school staff so they can be aware of who belongs at the school. As parents, you should do the same. Children should never talk to strangers – even at school. Before, during and after school, teach your children to stay in groups with friends to help avoid being bullied. If bullying occurs, it’s usually best dealt with sooner rather than later. There are many books and Internet resources to help you. Dealing with bullying quickly can only happen if you have regular communication with

your children. Restroom breaks should occur, when possible, during breaks or recess. Have your child avoid spending too much time in hallways or going to the restrooms. Know your children’s friends. It’s good to regularly talk with your kids about their friends. Encourage them to avoid conflict and other kids who may have issues dealing with anger. If your children observe things that include kids bringing weapons to school, drugs, alcohol or vandalism, have them report such incidents to school officials. Your kids need to know that reporting such incidents is not “tattling.” Doing so will help keep their friends, themselves and everyone safe. Other school safety issues to discuss include violence, gangs, disaster situations, playground safety and health issues such as H1N1.


1. Make sure you know your parents’ address and phone numbers. 2. Always use the buddy system and avoid walking, riding bikes, skateboarding, etc., alone. 3. If a stranger approaches, you do not have to speak to him or her. Keep walking or run away. 4. Never approach a stranger in a motor vehicle, no matter what he or she is requesting – even if they ask for help finding a lost animal or for directions. Just keep walking. 5. Do not accept candy or any other things from a stranger. Never walk off with a stranger no matter what he or she tells you. Just keep walking or run away. 6. If you sense or feel something isn’t right or think you are being followed, find help immediately. 7. If someone is following you, try to remember the

At one time, Main Street had four saloons. Businesses and some houses were also situated on Main Street. Center Street boasted churches and a slaughterhouse. The remaining areas in the downtown mapped by Joel Clayton were residential and agricultural. In 1903, when this photograph was taken, registered voters in the Clayton precinct numbered only 120. To learn more about this photo and local history, please contact the Clayton Historical Society at (925) 6720240 or online at

license plate of the vehicle and immediately tell a trusted adult. 8. If you are grabbed by a stranger, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away or dragging you into his or her car. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Scream as loud as you can and do whatever it takes to get the attention of others who can help you. If you are being dragged away, scream “This is not my dad” or “This is not my mom.” We live in a great community, but it’s easy to take what we have for granted. Be open with your children and aware of things within our community. The best way to keep our kids safe is to empower them, get them to be aware of their surroundings and communicate with them openly and regularly. Harun Simbirdi is a member of the city of Clayton Citizen Corp Council (C-5), part of the CERT and a resident of Clayton. His email is The Clayton CERT Website is


standing, or can be attached to retirement communities or skilled nursing facilities. They may also be referred to as residential care, personal care or board and care communities. Services may include assistance with bathing, dressing and food preparation. Laundry may be included, along with housekeeping, transportation and medication management. Most will offer activities for the residents. Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living. The resident is responsible for all costs, though long-term care insurance may cover some expenses. Be sure to visit any community or service you are considering. Make an appointment to visit but also just “drop in” to see how the community functions when not prepared for a visit. Have questions ready to ask, because being prepared


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Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

Don’t fall victim to ‘Personal Security’ scam

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January 22, 2010

As 2010 arrives, nasty viruses and malware are running roughshod on Windows XP computers. The newest malware, called “Personal Security,” is so insidious no antivirus scanner is capable of removing it – but one. I have been testing various removers, anti-malware solutions, scanners, cleaners and nothing – and I mean nothing – is doing the job, except one obscure company. I’m not telling you who that is, but I will tell you how not to get infected. I have attempted to defeat the “Personal Security” virus with the mighty McAfee Antivirus, challenged it with the bloated Norton 360, dared it with the colossal AVG, tested it against the puny Trend Micro, experimented with Goliath ComboFix, tried removing it with the sleepy Panda and defied the odds with almighty Kaspersky – all to no avail. But I did find a solution, the proverbial silver bullet that will kill the beast. Benjamin Franklin may have said it best: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In this case, we are talking about keeping the “Personal Security” virus out of your computer. It all starts when you’re

blissfully surfing the Internet, looking for the latest cool fashions or perhaps that special gismo. Up pops a warning advising that you may be infected with a virus. The warning looks official, so you take notice. It says you need to run a scan and you accept. Of course, when it runs the scan, infections are found. You take a moment and look at the results. Yes, you believe you’re infected. You are summoned to the button that will remove the threat. Just click it. Go ahead, click. (Not.) So, you click. The scanner runs and you feel relived as it purges your system of all those nasty viri. But wait. The “Personal Security” system now beckons. For just $59.95, it promises to wipe out the virus it has found and keep you protected. The name implies personal security. Go ahead; give the software maker a credit card number. So, you give your credit card number over the Internet to a stranger in South America. (No really, don’t do this.) If you handed over your credit card number, you’ve just been had. The Personal Security (PS) notification is a fake. The scan is fake, and the viri it detects are fake. Fake, fake, fake. By selecting the scan option, you have just imbedded the virus. You just infected yourself.

Senior, from page 9 makes the search for your future long-term care much easier. If the community does not feel right, keep looking. Paying for long-term care requires planning. Knowing what some of these costs may be makes planning for the future easier. It’s difficult to be running short on funds when this time comes. Another possible way to

start planning for your future is to look into a long-term care insurance policy. This insurance is more expensive as you get older but can be quite reasonable if you plan early and are fairly healthy when you acquire it. If you are a veteran, you may qualify for veterans’ benefits. Check with your local VA for information on this wonderful

Here’s what you need to know:  Do not allow the software to scan your computer. Do not accept an offer. Never input credit card information. Don’t click the “ X” to exit. And do not click cancel. All choices are wrong.  To properly exit the screen and avoid infection, locate your ALT key and the F4 key. Hold the ALT down (like a shift key), then press F4. Keep holding the ALT key down and keep pressing F4 until you have closed all browser windows and the browser itself has closed.  Do not turn off or reboot your computer. Do download Malwarebytes from (aka CNet), install the free version, update definitions and run it. Remove everything it finds. Then reboot.  Call a professional who possesses the magic bullet, buy the full version of Malwarebytes from them (hint: IP Blocking) and remember the lesson (ALT + F4).  If you fell for the scam and rebooted your computer, contact a professional. Ask them which antivirus they recommend. Keep this article handy and good luck. Oh, by the way, Windows 7 avoids this issue. Will Claney is the CEO of Computers USA! in the Clayton Station. Contact him at 925-6729989.

program. There are many veterans’ advocates ready to help with this process free of charge. Whatever place you are in your life, planning for the future is always a wise move. Be informed of the choices available to you and make the best decision for your needs. Your future is waiting make it the best it can be. Kelly Ferro is a marketing director for Aegis Living. Send comments or questions to

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Living Trusts


Jan 4, 11:30 a.m., Marsh Creek Rd./Diablo View Ln. Warrant, Concord man, 51


Jan 4, 12:50 p.m., Diablo View Ln. Possession of Tobacco, Clayton youths, 13 and 14.

Dec. 27, 8:41 a.m., Marsh Creek Rd./Samuel Ct. Traffic accident-No Injuries

Law Offices of

Police Report

Jan 2, 10:39 a.m., Condor Pl. Hit & Run- Property Damage Jan 6, 2:32 p.m., Marsh Creek/Center St. Traffic accident-No Injuries


Medi-Cal Planning Probate & Trust Administration Elder Law Creative Estate & Tax Planning Asset Protection & General Business Advance Health Care Directives

ARRESTS Jan 2, 1:21 a.m., Clayton Rd./Washington Blvd. DUI Alcohol/Drugs, Concord man, 39. Jan 2, 7:09 p.m., Mt. Whitney Wy. Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant/Etc., Clayton woman, 34.

Clayton Office:

Pittsburg Office:

6160 Center St., Suite D Clayton, CA 94517 Phone: (925) 672-6463

2211 Railroad Ave. Pittsburg, CA 94565 Phone: (925) 432-4211

Jan 3, 7:00 p.m., Clayton Rd. Warrant, Martinez man, 41. Jan 3, 11:09 p.m., Clayton Rd. Possession of a Controlled Substance; Driving Without a License, Concord man, 31.

Jan 6, 1:41 a.m., Mountaire Pkwy. Suspended License, Concord man, 28. Jan 6, 1:41 a.m., Mountaire Pkwy. Warrant, Richmond woman, 23. Jan 7, 1:52 a.m., Kirker Pass Rd./Clearbrook Dr. Suspended License, Pittsburg man, 40. Jan. 9, 7:20 p.m., Clayton Rd./Washington Blvd. Suspended License, Clayton woman, 22. Jan. 10, 2:17 a.m., Clayton Rd./Kirker Pass Rd. DUI Alcohol/Over .08 , Walnut Creek man, 24.

Concord man, 47. Jan 12, 1:19 a.m., Kirker Pass Rd./Olive Rd. DUI Alcohol/Over .08, Concord woman, 21. Jan 12, 6:47 p.m., Clayton Rd./El Camino Dr. Suspended License, Concord man, 35. Jan 12, 11:02 p.m., Clayton Rd./Washington Blvd. Suspended License, Concord man 44. Jan 13, 9:00 a.m., Haviland Pl. Possession of a Controlled Substance; Use/Under Influence of a Controlled Substance, Clayton man, 20. Jan 13, 12:20 p.m., Main St. Suspended License, Concord man 23. Jan 14, 11:15 p.m., Clayton Rd./Lydia Ln. Warrant, Antioch man, 19. VANDALISM

Jan 11, 8:17 p.m., Clayton Rd. Warrant, Concord man 33. Jan 11, 11:34 p.m., Washington Blvd./Clayton Rd. Driving without a License.

Jan. 2, 7:09 p.m., Herriman Dr. Jan 10, 11:53 a.m., Keller Ridge Dr.

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 11

Training is part of getting to know your new companion ELENA BICKER




If a new pet was part of your holiday plans, both you and your new companion will have some adjusting to do. It may take some time for your new pet to be comfortable in his new environment, so it is important to be patient.

Dogs need consistent training in order to learn what is expected of them. Begin by teaching your new pet the rules of your home, such as where he is to sleep and eat and what areas are off-limits. Decide how much rowdiness is allowed at playtime and keep things at that level. Stress can be a roadblock to an animal’s learning abilities. It can take from several days to several weeks for your new pet

to settle in, so don’t expect too much too soon. Give him a chance to adjust to your family and home before introducing many new people or activities. This will allow you to observe him in a “normal” setting so you can begin to understand his usual behavior. Don’t forget to include housetraining routines. Puppies and kittens are generally considered more difficult to train, as the concepts are entirely new to

Dog Park now has small dog area TROY LEE Special to the Pioneer

Thanks to two industrious Eagle Scouts, little dogs now have a place to play. The small dog area at the Clayton Dog Park took shape over the Christmas holiday when Jacob Baldree and Brett Nebeker spent their time off from school installing fencing and gates and a shade arbor for Clayton’s pint-sized pooches. Costs were covered by corporate and private donations. The small dog area is for dogs 30 lbs. and under. We hope that little dogs that have been scared off from the dog park in the past will come back and give it a try. The Clayton Small Dog Fun Group will be meeting on

Leo, the pug and his diminutive friends now have their own small dog area at the Clayton Dog Park.

Saturday mornings around 9 a.m. For more info on this group, go to and enter “small dogs” and a Clayton zip code. The Clayton Dog Park is off of Marsh Creek Road across from

Diablo View Middle School. To access, park on Regency Drive and walk north a short ways on the walking trail. Watch the Pioneer for more on the two Eagle Scouts and for information on the grand opening.

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them, but don’t assume your adult animal is fully housetrained. Prepare yourself to find accidents in the house, and keep spot cleaner and paper towels on hand to minimize damage. Ongoing or frequent accidents may be signs of an underlying medical or behavioral issue; a trip to the veterinarian is in order. If you don’t already have a regular veterinarian, now is the time to start looking for one. Ask friends and family members for recommendations, or contact the American Veterinary Medical Association ( or VCA Animal Hospitals ( for a referral. All new pets should receive a checkup to identify their baseline health. A veterinarian can also provide information on general care, nutrition and behavior. This is particularly helpful if this is your first pet. Establishing a relationship with a veterinarian early in your pet’s life will keep him healthier and both of you happier. With a little patience and a lot of love, you and your new pet will be happy for many seasons to come.

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For additional resources on adjusting to life with your new pet, visit the Resources and Links page at or call 256-1273 for tips, advice and referrals.

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(925) 915-0822

Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 256-1ARF (1273)

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January 22, 2010

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MIRANDA Miranda is a happy and playful young gal – she may be missing an eye but that doesn’t slow her down one bit! She’s hoping to find adopters who’ll provide her with regular opportunities for both mental and physical exercise, and of course playtime too! Toys are top of her list of favorite things. Attending training classes will be a great way for her to learn the skills needed to become a well mannered companion. The adoption fee for adult dogs is $225 and includes 60 per-

cent off one 7-week dog training session. Apricot is a little cutie who is on the shy side. She needs a home that will give her time to feel comfortable. Once settled, she will be a great companion. 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 5

p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The primary caretaker must be present to adopt. ARF also encourages kids 16 and younger and canine family members (dog adoptions only) to be present during the adoption process. Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? Can you share your talents to connect people and animals? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our website,, or call 925.256.1ARF.

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Upcoming Events 1/23 Sat 11am


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

Clayton Books

Children's author,

Patricia Polacco, presents her new books.

2/11 Thur 7pm

Bill Yenne, author of “Aces High: The Heroic Saga of the Two Top-Scoring American Aces of World War II” and “Tommy Gun: How General Thompson's Submachine Gun Wrote History.”

3/12 Tues 7pm

Jeff Stone, young adult author of the “Five Ancestors” series, an adventure series set in ancient China that follows five young warrior monks. Practitioners of the martial arts, each monk is named after an animal for its particular fighting style.

3/26 Fri 4 & 7pm

Brandon Mull, author of “The Candy Shop War” and “Fablehaven” presents “Fablehaven Book 5: Keys to the Demon Prison,” the final book of the Fablehaven series.

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Page 12

Clayton Pioneer •

January 22, 2010

Clayton Sports Eagles expect to challenge for DVAL basketball title JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

“Our expectations coming into this season are to challenge for a league title and advance farther in the North Coast Section playoffs than we did last year” is the frank assessment from Clayton Valley High School head girls basketball coach Bernard Barnes about his Eagles squad, which features a quintet of Clayton players. The veteran team jumped off to a 2-0 start in Diablo Valley Athletic League play and will face defending league title holder Northgate in Walnut Creek Tuesday to complete the first half of the DVAL roundrobin schedule. While Barnes says the showdown won’t be quite like Duke vs. North Carolina, it’s going to be good. “It is the start of a nice rivalry.” CVHS has a core of established varsity players to lead the way. Top returners include Karley Menez, who was the Eagles’ leading scorer last year as a freshman and is leading scorer this year. Junior Gina Del Bene was team MVP last season, while classmate Sarah Nelson was first team AllDVAL. Barnes also points to senior Sarah Jonathan, who “does a lit-

tle bit of everything for us,” and freshman Ashley Allen – “our top newcomer. The sky’s the limit for her.” Sophomore Molly Kommer joins Jonathan, Del Bene, Nelson and Menez as Clayton residents on the Eagles. Barnes mentions that his squad has had to make up for the loss of departed players Kelsey Carrigan and Kaitlyn Markiewith from the 2009 team that was eliminated in the NCS first round. This season, the Eagles won 11 of their first 15 games. They took second at the Burlingame Tournament and captured consolation championships in the Stonebarger Tournament at Liberty High and the massive West Coast Jamboree during a busy December. The third-year varsity coach is excited about the progress his teams have made. “We were 818 the first year, 17-9 last season including making it back to NCS and this year we are on pace to win 20 games.” Barnes was junior varsity coach at the Concord school for three years before taking over the top spot. “The program, through the hard work of players and coaches, has come a long way,” he adds.

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

FIVE CLAYTON GIRLS ARE ON THE CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM as they attempt to gain a DVAL title and make a big impact in the NCS playoffs. Helping coach Bernard Barnes’s Eagles achieve its goals are, from left, Karley Menez, Molly Kommer, Sarah Nelson, Gina Del Bene and Sarah Jonathan.

Improvement key for inexperienced CV boys basketball squad JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Mike Dunn/Clayton Pioneer

TROY SULLIVAN IS IN HIS SEVENTH YEAR COACHING AT CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL and he’s counting on this quartet of players from Clayton to help his inexperienced Eagles team. The local hoopsters are, from left, Mike Jayko, Corbin Weller, Tyler Fjellbo and Tom Sprague.

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Since Clayton Valley High School lost its top seven players from last season’s boys basketball team, it’s a challenge to establish immediate success. Coach Troy Sullivan went to the North Coast Section playoffs second round last year with a veteran team featuring Clayton twins Kalle and Kingsley Pascal. “We graduated our top seven leaders in every statistical category from last season’s playoff team,” Sullivan says. “This means we are a very inexperienced squad that has suffered some growing pains adjusting to the speed and athleticism of varsity competition.” Those growing pains were evident in the pre-season as the Eagles were 3-11 with four

returning players. As the Clayton Valley team was feeling its way, 6-2 senior Tom Sprague from Clayton performed well enough to earn all-tournament honors at all three pre-season tourneys the Eagles entered. Sprague has been the team’s most consistent performer. “He has averaged 11 points and eight rebounds per game,” Sullivan reports. Junior Mike Jayko of Clayton has been a perimeter scorer with a high game of 14, while fellow Clayton resident Tyler Fjellbo works mainly inside with an 18-point, 11rebound performance in a win over Las Lomas highlighting his season. Julian Tiongson, a 5-8 junior, primarily acts as a ball handling guard. The rest of the roster is made up of first-time varsity players. “We’re looking for

large upside with our underclassmen. They have shown steady improvement so far, which should provide a boost for our league schedule and provide us with an experienced team next season,” Sullivan adds. The coach completed the roster with players from every class – including freshman R.J. Franco and sophomores Craig Ihle and Noel Russell. Upperclassmen new to the team are a trio of juniors, Corbin Weller of Clayton, Thomas Roccanova and Kunle Fashola, along with senior Alden Monroe-Foster. Winning its first two Diablo Valley Athletic League games gave the coaching staff and players an indication they’ve been learning on the fly and can look forward to a strong second-half of the season by performing well in league play.

January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

Clayton Sports

Page 13

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.

Two Diablo FC teams make seasonending Association Cup Sweet 16

Clayton resident, Mike Rose, has been in business for over 36 years and has always provided quality repair with excellent customer service!

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

A pair of Diablo FC girls teams advanced out of the opening round with impressive showings at the annual CYSA Association Cup, which is the culmination of the competitive season for Division 3 teams. Diablo FC 96 Fury in the Under 13 division and Diablo FC 95 Crossfire in U14 moved ahead in the cup. “It was a great job by the coaches and trainers of the teams,” notes Hugo La Torre, director of Diablo FC’s Division 3. “Everyone’s hard work is paying off for the teams. These girls are willing to give 100 percent effort every time and playing in the very competitive Al Caffodio Fall League has made it possible for them to achieve this success.” STAYING IN CONTROL The Crossfire faced a trio of strong opponents at the Morgan Hill Soccer Complex in their opening round bracket. Despite outstanding play, the team needed a last-second goal to advance. They had a rematch from a summer tournament game when they met Petaluma United Freeze in the first cup game. Crossfire scored a pair of goals in each half to secure a 4-1 victory. The team handed Petaluma its first defeat of the 2009 season last August. Sydney Mendez, Marina Arcaya, Jillian Sherlock and

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DIABLO FC 95 CROSSFIRE SCORED A LAST-SECOND VICTORY in their final game of the opening round to advance to the Sweet 16 of the CYSA Association Cup. The team includes, front row from left, Natalie Martinez, Julianna Cardinale, Lexie Varner, Bridgette Park, Sydney Mendez; middle row, Bianca Rubalcava (now on another Diablo FC team), Kate Fellner, Shelby Smith, Jordan Sanchez, Kasey Fitzsimmons, Marina Arcaya, Emma Carrico; back row, Sydney Carroll, Jillian Sherlock, Coach Nelson Arcaya, Jr., Allie Phillips and Megan Coppa.

Jacquelyn Scharff scored the Crossfire goals. Coach Nelson Arcaya Jr. credited strong defensive play of Shelby Smith, Sydney Carroll, Kate Fellner, Kasey Fitzsimmons, Bridgette Park and goalkeeper Julianna Cardinale to keep Petaluma at bay after they pulled within 2-1 in the second half. “A majority of the girls from the Petaluma team came up to tell me the Crossfire was the

Sports Shorts CLAYTON VALLEY LITTLE LEAGUE TRYOUTS Tryouts for CVLL teams begin this weekend, Jan. 23-24. The league includes baseball for 5- to 16-year-olds and softball for 6- to 15-year-olds. Late registration can still be done on the league’s Website. For more information, including residency requirements, fees and tryout schedules, visit DIABLO FC SOCCER CLINICS The soccer club is offering free skills clinic for boys and girls 714 on Mondays, Feb. 1 and 8, and Thursdays, Feb. 4 and 11, 6-7 p.m. at Willow Pass Park No. 5 in Concord. The professional coaching staff will teach dribbling and juggling skills, passing and receiving the ball and ball striking to assist players as they prepare for competitive team tryouts. Goalkeeping training is also offered. Youth of all skill levels are invited to attend the clinics. Register at by filling out the tryout form. CRAB FEED BENEFITS SOCCER CLUB Diablo Futbol Club will hold is seventh annual crab feed and auction on Friday, Feb. 12, at Centre Concord. Tickets are $50,

best team they had ever played,” Arcaya says. “The girls from Petaluma also said we had a great keeper.” Crossfire next met a big Fair Oaks Falcons team, holding on for a 3-2 win with goals from Arcaya, Scharff and Megan Coppa. Crossfire could advance to the Sweet 16 only if they defeated Palo Cedro Sting, which would move on simply by tying Diablo FC.

“This was a very exciting, intense and beautifully played game by both teams,” Arcaya says. “Both sides had equal control of the game as they both used the flanks to spread the game and make crosses into the box. Good defensive play by both teams and saves from the keepers kept the game scoreless.”

See Diablo FC, page 14

which includes dinner and dancing. The evening begins with a social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7. There will be live and silent auction items and a raffle, with all proceeds going to the Diablo FC financial aid program. For tickets or to make a raffle or auction donation, contact Rick Fox at Visit for more information. COMPETITIVE SOCCER TRYOUTS Diablo FC competitive team tryouts for the 2010-’11 season will be held Feb. 13-14 and Feb. 20-21 at Clayton Valley and Ygnacio Valley high schools in Concord. Boys and girls born between Aug. 1, 1996, and July 31, 2003, are invited to try out for Under 9 through Under 14 Diablo FC teams. There is no charge to tryout. For specific dates, times, locations and pre-registration, visit CVHS HALL OF FAME NOMINATIONS Clayton Valley High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame committee is accepting nominations for the 2010 induction class. Individuals can nominate student athletes and coaches to the Hall of Fame. The nominee must be a CVHS grad or coach in the years 1960-1989 who was all-league in at least one sport. Requests for a nomination form can be sent to Include a mailing address and an application form will be mailed to you.

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Page 14

Clayton Pioneer •

Installations – Repairs Toilets  Faucets  Water heaters Garbage disposals  Clogged drains

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12-day Mission in Belize ends after five years with new son, plan for boys’ home PAM WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

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Four years ago, Kristy Johnston did the extreme by selling all of her belongings and moving to Belize in Central America. She was asked to be the “mom” at the Millhollon Children’s Home of the Belize Faith Missions. Kristy first went to Belize on a 12-day mission for the Belize Faith Missions in 2004, which began the experience that changed the course of her life. Now back home in California, Kristy hopes to open a boys’ home and support her foster son, Collin. At the time of her first trip to Belize, Kristy was a youth leader at Clayton Community Church and was happy with her life here. Because of her “uncanny ability to connect with the kids and help them from a difficult place to one of hope and direction,” Pastor Shawn Robinson says. She was asked to return to the home in Belize in 2006. Kristy was ready to say no when she realized she had not prayed on the request. After contemplation, Kristy agreed. The signs were clear, but the challenges were great. The country was humid and full of bugs, plus she faced opposition from the Belize community. However, Kristy knew that the children were being abused by the cook and the groundskeeper – the only personnel on the premises because the founders had long since died. “The kids wanted me and needed someone to love them,” Kristy recalls. Her next step was to make plans to move. Friends and family helped her sell her home and all of her belongings, using the proceeds to keep the children’s home open. Kristy describes the conditions in Belize as those of a “full-blown, Third World country.” At one point, Kristy dislocated her shoulder. Without money for treatment, she had someone slam her shoulder into a wall to reset it. After a year, the cook died – leaving Kristy to care for the 28 children alone. The abuse instantly stopped when Kristy arrived, however, and things ran fairly smoothly until March 2009. Then, the new CEOs closed the church, the home and the high school, keeping only the primary school open. Not feeling safe, Kristy and the children left the home quickly. She sadly realized her

When Kristy Johnston’s five years at the children’s home in Belize ended in 2009, she was able to bring 18-year old Collin home with her. The two have formed a close bond. Johnston is currently formulating plans to open a boys’ home locally.

work in Belize was over. Social workers placed some children in homes while others were on their own. Eighteen-year-old Collin had a visa and returned home with Kristy. Collin is happy to be here with Kristy, whom he calls “Mom.” Kristy helped him through difficult times as well as sending him to trade school when he was idle in Belize. He feels a true mother/son bond and describes her as “an incredible lady.” Kristy visited Belize during the holidays to check on the remaining children. Some

were not in the best of situations, but all were being cared for and attending school. Collin just received his student visa and is earning his high school equivalency. Not willing to leave her mission behind, Kristy is moving ahead with plans to open a boys’ home locally. She is working through the paperwork and application process to obtain non-profit designation. The most important thing she has learned from her experience and from the people of Belize is the blessing of giving even when you have little to share.

Church News THE BAHA’IS All are invited to a talk and an evening of fellowship on Friday, Feb. 5. The subject of the talk is “Fundamentalism, Terrorism and Peace.” The speaker is Diane Hill, who grew up in California but has lived abroad for nearly a decade – in Zambia, Israel and Canada.

She earned a doctoral degree in history from UC Berkeley and has taught as a lecturer at UC Berkeley and Cal State Sacramento. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. with a period of interfaith devotions at the Toloui residence in Clayton. For more information and directions, call 672-6686.


Diablo FC, from page 13 

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off following the goal, the referee blew his whistle to end the game and Crossfire won 2-1. Arcaya also pointed to the contributions of Emma Carrico and Natalie Martinez as the team had only 13 or 14 players available for each game. Allie Phillips and Lexie Varner weren’t able to participate in the cup since they are playing high school soccer now. The team has an overall season record of 20-6-9 entering the advanced rounds of Association Cup. “I am proud of what they have accomplished this year because they have learned to trust each other, which has enabled them to come together as a team,” Arcaya adds.

controlled the ball three-quarters of the game. San Francisco SC Vikings were 2-0 victims to the Fury in the weekend’s final game as Zoe McAneney and Paige Farber scored. Strong play from right fullback Nicole Haley and a huge save by Katie Garaventa were keys to the victory, according to Rowland. Fury had only 13 players because of injuries. The Fury has an overall record of 24-10-7. “The girls worked hard and deserve this,” Rowland says. “I am most proud of their willingness to commit to each other and their effort to improve every week with a positive attitude and love of the game. The girls love to play and love being together.” Despite good performances, Diablo FC 95 Juventus in the U14 boys and Diablo FC 95 Dynamite in U14 girls were eliminated from the Association Cup.


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Scharff scored the only goal of the first half, assisted by Jordan Sanchez. The Sting tied the score, putting the pressure on Crossfire. With less than a minute to play, Scharff received a pass from Mendez just past midfield. She beat two defenders while taking the ball just outside the penalty box and shot it over the goalkeeper’s hands into the left corner of the net. As soon as the Sting kicked

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME The Diablo FC 96 Fury had a scoreless tie with Folsom Arsenal in its opening Association Cup game at Central Park in Fremont. “Defense ruled the day,” reports Fury coach Randy Rowland. “It was probably the most exciting game of the weekend.” He cited Allison Macaulay and Emily Gatchell on defense, Morgan Giacobazzi in goal and forward Rachel DeLong for their play. For the third time this season, the Fury edged San Ramon Rush – this time 2-1. Two firsthalf goals from forward Madison Nortune assisted by Megan Haley and Macaulay were the difference. Controlling play by Emily Rowland, Cristina Lopez, Sarah Williams and Sydney Purser gave San Ramon very little possession and Fury

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January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 15

All of me … Why not use all of me?





For more than a generation now, it’s all been about breasts… no legs, no thighs, no skin and no bones. I’m talking chicken, of course. Now, we consumers are rediscovering the joys of cooking with all of the chicken—not only to cope with shrinking budgets in these tough economic times but because we’ve found out the whole bird has tons of flavor! The domesticated chicken hails from Southeast Asia. Some claim it descends from a jungle fowl in Vietnam, or maybe Thailand, or even India. What is known is that chickens have been bred for meat and eggs for thousands and thousands of years. There’s evidence that some 4,000 years ago, Egyptians built brick incubators that could hold 10,000 chicks at a time. Americans consume almost 90 pounds of chicken each year (although our domestic production pales to that of China), and more than half of the chicken served in our restaurants is fried. If you’re looking

for a new food trend here on the West Coast, look for chicken and waffle houses. The Roscoe’s chain down in Southern California serves up this Southern specialty of early African-American origin to rave reviews. In the 1970s, on her TV show “The French Chef,” Julia Child did a segment on chicken. She had several stacked in front of her on the counter and as she progressed from the youngest (a broiler-fryer) on up, the birds began to tilt and slide all around as if they had a mind of their own. Ah, the joys of unrehearsed and unedited TV! As a rule, we only see

Cornish game hen (6-8 weeks old), broiler-fryers (2-4 months old) and roasters (4-6 months old) in supermarkets. When farmers could afford to bring chickens to market later, we could find capons and stewing hens (up to a year old). Younger chickens have very mild flavor and tender flesh. The meat of older chickens develops deeper flavors but can be tough if not well-prepared. Rich, saucy chicken dishes were considered tres elegant in

European and American cuisine. At the turn of the 20th Century, one dish, chicken a la King, became quite fashionable. Although it’s believed that a restaurant in New York City created it, our very own St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco took it over the top: “Take the breast of a boiled chicken or hen (fowl), and cut in very thin diamond-shape pieces. Put in pan and add three-quarters of a pint of cream, salt and Cayenne pepper. Boil from three to five minutes. Add a glass of best sherry or Madeira wine. Boil for a minute and thicken with the yolks of two eggs, mixed with one-quarter pint of cream. Put some sliced truffles on top.” From The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book, Victor Hirtzler, 1919. Two important things to remember when cooking chicken: be scrupulously clean in your work area to avoid cross-contamination to fresh foods, and cook chicken thoroughly — to 165° F (white meat) or 170° F (dark meat). I’m partial to thigh meat and think it’s more tender and flavorful (of course, it has a higher fat content, darn it). I think it makes a great palette for spicy cuisine— particularly Asian dishes. Panda Express must agree since their dishes use dark meat chicken (except for their new SweetFire Chicken Breast, which wasn’t half bad in a recent tasting). Boneless chicken cooks quickly, like this recipe using chicken thighs.

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Combine soy sauce, honey and hoisin sauce. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch and chicken broth and stir until smooth. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil and swirl around the pan. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil, onion, carrot and ginger to the pan. Stir fry for a few minutes until onion just starts to look translucent. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir in the soy sauce mixture. Simmer chicken for 2 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce has thickened. Stir in sesame oil. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

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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

Winter’s Here!

New products target yard’s problem areas Every year, Clayton Valley Concentrated herbicides gardeners purchase products to need to be mixed with water aid in the quest for the perfect before applying. Read labels g a r d e n . carefully. It Insecticides, hershould take about bicides, snail-slug a week for a weed killers, gopherto show signs of mole-vole repeldying. Using too lents and baits, many products or fertilizers and iron using too fresupplements are quently will harm bought and used your immediate around our landenvironment, so scapes. resist the urge to Many new over-use. products become Two private NICOLE HACKETT available around label products GARDEN GIRL that are available the first of the year – improved locally are weed killers, safer insecticides Remuda by Monterey Lawn and and mightier repellents. But are Garden and Kleenup by Master the new selections as potent and Nursery Garden Centers. Both efficient as the originals? are extremely effective and can Herbicides are used to kill be combined when spraying with unwanted plants. People mostly a pre-emergent. use them to kill weeds in garPre-emergents stop weed dens, landscaped areas and open seeds from germination. They spaces. Weed control sections of can be safely applied while killing garden centers are crammed with weeds that are already present. many products, all labeled to give Weed Impede and Weed Stopper the same miraculous results. II have been developed to use with landscape herbicides. They TWO-PRONGED APPROACH Weeds need to be are sold in concentrated formuapproached two ways. First, you las. After a few applications, they must knock down the weeds. are eventually quite effective. You should apply both the Then, you need to stop the gerherbicide and pre-emergent mination of weeds to come. three times – now, in May and in Glyphosate is a widely used September. One new product is chemical for weed control. The a ready-to-use, two in one by key is to find a concentration Monterey Lawn and Garden. greater than 30 percent. This familiar shaped bottle is

HOISIN CHICKEN 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 2 Tbsp rice bran or other vegetable oil ¼ c low-sodium soy sauce ¼ c honey ¼ c hoisin sauce 2 tsp cornstarch ¼ c chicken broth 1 onion 2 carrots, sliced and cooked 2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger 3 green onions, sliced 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp sesame seeds Cut chicken into 1” chunks, removing all fat and connective tissue. Pat dry.

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great for smaller garden areas, patios and walkways. No mixing is necessary. Remuda Plus contains a diquat, which systemically moves through roots to kill bushy weeds like poison oak, wild blackberry and ivy. This product sounds great for our Morgan Territory gardeners. TACKLING INSECTS Insecticides are a touchy subject for any gardener trying to stay green. Horticultural oils have been available for some time and serve two purposes. They suffocate the intended insects rather than killing the insect after it feeds on the plants, and oils coat leaves to prevent fungus from hopping around your plants. Insects controlled by oils are aphids, mealy bug and spittlebug. These horticultural oils can be found ready-to-spray, hose-end or concentrated. Ready-to-spray is handy for homeowners who only need spot insect control. Petroleum oil, mineral oil, peppermint, clove and garlic oil are all available in ready-to-spray applicators. Neem and paraffin oils are found as hose-end applications. They are stronger concentrations of oil and are easily applied to large areas. If you have more then eight rose bushes or a

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Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

January 22, 2010


ENTERTAINMENT Jan. 22-Feb. 14 “Educating Rita”

Diablo Actors Ensemble presents the comedy by Willy Russell. 1345 Locust St., Walnut Creek. 482-5110 or Jan. 25-Feb. 28 “Brimstone”

Boot camp I: Beginner/intermediate class for ages 18 and up. Jump start your fitness with indoor/outdoor training focused on dropping body fat, strength training, toning and conditioning.

Concord Stompers Square Dance Club

Boot Camp II: Intermediate/advanced class for ages 18 and up. A diverse, results-driven strength and conditioning program in an indoor/outdoor environment.

Contra Costa Chess Club

Meets 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Mt. Diablo Women’s Club, 1700 Farm Bureau Road, Concord. Call Jennie at 6729676 or

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

An epic love story set in the angst of Northern Ireland and the IRA. Willows’ Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. 798-1300 or

Zumba: For ages 18 and up. Fusing hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a dynamic fitness program.

Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society

Jan. 25 Diablo Valley Masterworks Chorale auditions

Zumba Gold: For ages 50 and up. Enjoy the great music and hypnotic Latin rhythms at a slower pace. Great for beginners.

Creekside Artists Guild

The classical choir will hold spring auditions at 6 p.m., Music Building, Room 101, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill. 228-3293, or Jan. 28-Feb 27 “The Syringa Tree”

Center Rep offers the story of the love between two families, one black, one white, and the two children born into their shared household in 1960s South Africa. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 9437469 or Jan. 29-30 “Stinky Cheese Man”

Kolbe Hockel is Jack, Marin Davis is Foxy Loxy and Joel Herman is the Stinky Cheese Man in the Junior Theatre production Jan. 29-30 in Walnut Creek.

Junior Theatre presents the fractured fairytale. $15-$17. Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Road, Walnut Creek. 943SHOW or

Jan. 29, 31 Tapestry

The Bay Area’s only vocal and handbell ensemble presents “Fire and Ice: Love Songs to Warm Our Winter Hearts” under the direction of Clayton resident Cindy Krausgrill. Free, with donations accepted for the Food Bank. 8 p.m. Jan. 29, Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, 1578 Kirker Pass Road, Concord, followed by light dessert. 4 p.m. Jan. 31, Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, 1543 Sunnyvale Ave., followed by appetizers. 672-7751.

Yoga Stretch: For ages 18 and up. Improve flexibility, strength, range of motion and state of mind. Adult Basketball: Leagues starts Jan. 24 for individuals and teams.

SCHOOLS Jan. 27 College Admissions Workshop

For parents of middle school students. 7-9 p.m., Diablo View Middle School multi-use room, 300 Diablo View Lane, Clayton. RSVP by sending a check for $10 or $15 per couple payable to DVMS PFC to Tami Smith, 5213 Keller Ridge Dr., Clayton CA 94517.

Featuring Civic Arts Education’s Youth Theatre Company. $10. 7 p.m., Shadelands Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek. 943-5846. Feb. 21 Second Friday Concert Series

The jazz and blues piano of Sam Rudin. $10 or $25 per family. Free childcare. 7:30 p.m., Walnut Avenue United Methodist Church, 260 Walnut Ave., Walnut Creek. 9330888.

FUNDRAISERS Feb. 6 Serbian Sisters Club Crab Feed

Also features dancing with a DJ. $35. 1700 School St., Moraga. Contact Thea at 672-6799 or

YMCA For details, contact Jennifer Beck at 692-2364 or or Brittney Allan at 692-2362 or Or visit Sports Conditioning: For ages 13-18. Become quicker, stronger and more explosive while increasing agility and gaining flexibility.

Now more than ever, you deserve 110 years of strength and stability on your side.

CA License #0692378 Financial planning services and investments available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2009 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

Diablo Valley Democratic Club

Meets 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek. 9460469 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. 6891155 or East Bay Prospectors Club

Jan. 26 Clayton Planning Commission

7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or

Knights Of Columbus, Concord Council 6038

Jan. 26 Mt. Diablo Unified School District

7:30 p.m., 1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord.

Meets 7:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month, except holidays, Cauchi Hall, St. Agnes Catholic Church, 3966 Chestnut St, Concord. Contact George at 685-9547 or visit Rotary Club of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise

Feb. 2, 16 Clayton City Council

7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Most programs are free. 673-0659 or Through March 2 Patty Cakes

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 (SIRs)

Through March 4 Picture Book Time

Meets 11:15 a.m. the first Thursday of the month, Crown Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Dr., Concord. The chapter no longer meets at Oakhurst Country Club. 429-3777.

Story time for 3- to 5-year-olds. Child may attend without caregiver. Drop in 11 a.m. Thursdays.

Soroptimist International of Diablo Vista

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, Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. On Feb. 10, Joan Thisius of the Contra Costa Rose Society will speak. 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 Joan at 672-2471. 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.


Today’s economy gives us all cause for concern and we realize that one of the most important messages you can hear right now from Ameriprise Financial is this: we are strong, stable and committed to safeguarding our clients’ dreams. Call me today, I can help you understand your options and give you the guidance you need to weather turbulent times.

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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 artists welcome. Contact Arlene at 673-9777 or

Meets 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month, 1021 Detroit Ave., Unit D, Concord. Clayton resident Doug Junghans is president. or 6721863.


Story time for babies to 3-year-olds. Child attends with caregiver. Drop in 11 a.m. Tuesdays.

Feb. 5 “Godspell” Cabaret

Meets 7:30 p.m. second Monday of the month, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. 779-0698 or

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Meets 12:15 p.m. the first, second and third Wednesdays of the month, September-June, Sizzler, 1353 Willow Pass Road, Concord. Clayton resident Sue Manning is president. 672-2727. 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

Send your calendar announcements to Free listings must be from a non-profit, school, club or government agency. Business events are $25 for the first event and $10 for each additional. Call the office at (925) 672-0500 with your business event listings.

January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 17

County service helps keep Pepe and pals and other pesky pets off your property NOLA WOODS Special to the Pioneer

If mosquitoes are bugging you, skunks are stinking up the neighborhood or rats are running amok, it’s time to contact the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District. The public health agency offers free services to deal with animals and insects that can transmit disease to humans, including mosquitoes, rats, skunks, ticks and yellow jackets. The district uses an integrated pest management program to guarantee usage of the most efficient and effective state-ofthe art products and protocols. After a resident calls, a statecertified employee will typically contact the homeowner within one work week to make an appointment to inspect the property and to determine the reason the insect or animal is present. Then, the employee will provide information and advice on how to remove the vector

SKUNKS NOT ONLY SMELL BAD, they can transmit rabies. The county can help homeowners with skunk problems.

and prevent it from returning. The county is home to two types of skunks – striped and spotted – and both are capable

Glasbergen Chuckles

Garden, from page 15 couple of fruit or citrus trees, this type of product would be great. Any horticultural oil must be applied during early morning or after sundown. Oil on a plant is the same as if it were on your skin, so exposure to sunlight after application will burn leaves. If you have garden pests like scale, cucumber beetles, weevils and thrips, you will need a stronger insecticide such as Sevin. It in found in several ways, including granular, which is perfect to control grubs on lawns during the summer. Snail and slug killers are taboo for pet owners. Although this garden pest causes huge damage to our plants, we are fearful to use products that may poison our dogs and cats. Sluggo came out years ago and is

domestic animal safe. This does not mean you can pour a pile and not fear for Fido. You must follow package directions. The typical 2.5-pound container of Sluggo treats 2,500 sq. ft. That is a lot of killing in a small container, so sprinkle the bait, rather than pour. This year, an all-natural, ready-to-spray snail and slug killer is available. This product would be perfect as long as your dog or cat doesn’t eat your plants. Spray to foliage or on the snail and slug directly. GOPHERS, MOLES AND VOLES – OH, MY! Oh, how gardeners hate gophers, moles and voles. These pests undermine our walkways, lawns and decks. They destroy our shrubs and perennials. We wish we had the perfect

of transmitting rabies. The goal is to prevent the skunk from viewing your property as a safe haven. “Skunks are nocturnal mammals that look for food, water and a place to set up a den,” says vertebrate program supervisor Jonathan Rehana. “The key to discouraging skunks from moving in is to pick up fallen fruit and nuts, take in pet food at night and be sure your yard is treated to prevent the lawn pest known as grubs,” adds Rehana. Skunks are also attracted to uncovered garbage cans, fallen birdseed and water sources. Once food is denied, removing options for shelter is the next step. “Skunks do not climb. They will not climb a fence or wall. They stay at ground level, so it’s important to look under sheds, porches, decks and foun-

way to humanly ask these rodents to move out of our yards, but so far it hasn’t been working. Mole Repellent was introduced this year as a preventative control for all the above. This product takes a little work and some precious water. One quart of Mole Repellent will cover 16,000 sq. ft. It is 65 percent castor oil, with sodium lauryl sulfate. Water your ground in the suspicious area, apply the product and water again to move the oil to the depths where the rodents burrow. Nothing likes castor oil, so it maybe a great alternative to the highly effective poisoning of the pests. If you would rather just kill the problem, moles love Tomcat, a worm-shaped bait. Gophers die when they ingest Go-Die Gopher, made with strychnine. Vole Whacker is bait that kills not only voles, but also roof rats and house mice.

dations to make sure those areas are sealed off,” Rehana says. Installing half-inch galvanized hardware cloth can prevent skunks from entering those areas. Additionally, skunks can find shelter in wood piles and thick vegetation. Moving the wood piles at least 18 inches off of the ground and thinning thick vegetation will discourage skunks. And now is a key time to discourage them. “This time of the year, the female skunks spend most of their time in dens, preparing for the birth of their young.” Rehana points out. Young skunks are born during late spring and early summer. As they venture out of the den during the summer, they can become very aggressive – increasing skunk odor in neighborhoods. They can also be quite destructive, scratching, clawing and digging their way to create havoc. Through the fall, the young and mature skunks search for food and water until the mating season starts in winter and the whole process begins again. In addition to home inspections, the district also offers free mosquito-eating fish for backyard ponds and water features to prevent mosquitoes as well as free Lyme disease testing for ticks. Free mosquito-eating fish can be picked up 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays at 155 Mason Circle, Concord. To schedule an inspection, contact Mosquito & Vector Control at 771-6170 or visit

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Fertilizing your garden is a good idea, but nothing new has come out this year that interests me. There is a new iron supplement that is intriguing. This new concentrate, Liquid Dr. Iron, will correct iron deficiency while boosting plants with a slight touch of fertilizer. Dr. Iron works great for gardens watered with drip systems. Use on lawns to promote green grass without the extra nitrogen. Spray large citrus trees and established shrubs, too. Take care of your garden’s needs this year. Use products properly, read directions and don’t over-use. If the directions says one teaspoon per gallon, two is not better! 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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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

January 22, 2010

Movie Review Est.1972

‘Parnassus’ an imaginative, curious journey

Smith & Bernal

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Terry Gilliam exploded my brain almost 30 years ago with his twisted tale “Time Bandits” and has never ceased to amaze me with the depth of his imagination and his ability to bring it to life on film. Through the years, his oddball genius has produced such unparalleled films as “Brazil” and “The Twelve Monkeys,” although he may be most known for his off-the-wall work with the Monty Python Flying Circus crowd. His latest film, “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” bears his unmistakably stamp.

From beginning to end, it evokes a feeling of fable as you watch an anachronistic traveling sideshow stage unfold like a puzzle box that can only be filled with surprises. Although it seems to take place in modern London, the movie also has a timeless quality of the old world blending with the new and could take place anytime or anywhere. The fable mixes with reality, or rather kicks it in the teeth, when a real-world drunken bully stumbles, literally, through a magical looking-glass into a dreamland that can go from deadly beautiful to deadly frightening in the blink of an eye. Thus, the stage is set for another Gilliam experience. The story of the immortal Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and his duel with the devil (Tom Waits) takes a bit of a back seat to the final performance of the late Heath Ledger. It is nearly impossible not to dwell on the young actor’s death, as his character, Tony’s lifeless body is rescued by Parnassus’s crew and brought

Tony (Heath Ledger) charms Valentina (Lily Cole) in Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”

back to life. “Leave him be,” says Parnassus, “he’s dead.” Instead, through the magic of film, the actor finds one last bit of immortality. It’s a performance that was well worth rescuing. Even though several actors (Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Ferrell) step into the unfinished role here and there,

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Center REP offers ‘The Syringa Tree,’ a one-woman play with 28 characters “The Syringa Tree,” the 2001 Obie award winner for best play, will replace “Trying” in Center Rep’s 2009-’10 season. Pamela Gien’s play is a personal, evocative story of an abiding love between two families – one black, one white – and the two children who are born into their shared household in early 1960s South Africa. The play is first seen through the eyes of a child, 6-year-old Elizabeth Grace, as she tries with humor and sometimes palpable fear to make sense of the chaos, magic and darkness of Africa. The audience follows their destinies in a story that spans four generations, from early apartheid to the first democratic elections in 1994. In what the New Yorker called a “tour de force performance,” all 28 roles are played by one actress, Shannon Koob. “The Syringa Tree” runs Jan. 28-Feb. 27 at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. For tickets, visit or call 943-7469.

the switch is completely organic and the quirky story continues seamlessly. The mysterious Tony finds a place with the misfits in Parnassus’ traveling show, but it remains to be seen if he will help them or bring their destruction. Parnassus struggles to win a bet with the devil, a.k.a. Mr. Nick, with the life of his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) as the prize. Throw in a love triangle between Tony, Valentina and the idealistic young carny Anton (Andrew Garfield), then add the Russian Mafia and Verne Troyer (Mini-Me from “Austin Powers”) as a wise but cranky dwarf and you might as well unbuckle your seatbelt and let Gilliam’s unpredictable story take you where it will. It’s a fun ride, with landscapes every bit as breathtaking as those in “Avatar” (although on a much lower budget). At an incredible and even impossible mountain monastery, Parnassus relates how the monks believe telling stories keeps the universe going. Gilliam makes you believe this is true and his film definitely adds some fuel to the cosmic engine. Rated PG-13.

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

Book Review

‘English’ a worthy tale of middle age

SUNNY SOLOMON FOR THE BOOKS How can it be that I have reached this age without reading Jim Harrison’s fiction? All I can say is thank goodness I picked up “The English Major,” his latest book, now out in trade paper. What a romp. Harrison opens his novel with a loaded declarative sentence: “It used to be Cliff and Vivian and now it isn’t.” The story is told in Cliff ’s voice and it is a voice that is pitch perfect. Here’s a guy, married almost 38 years, whose wife leaves him for an old high school beau she reconnects with when she and Cliff attend their 40th high school reunion. Cliff is devastated and does not want a divorce. “I want Vivian back but it’s been made

clear to me that this is unlikely to happen.” Poor Cliff. Well, maybe. As the title tells us, Cliff was an English major and after he and Vivian marry they return to Mullet Lake, Mich., where he teaches high school English at their alma mater. But he quits teaching after 10 years, puts his English major personae on ice and takes up running the small family farm owned by Vivian’s parents. Cliff is a natural at farming. He loves the fruit trees, the cattle, the pigs, his dog Lola and Vivian. The years pass, the farm flourishes, their son graduates from college and finds a career in San Francisco. Cliff pulls at our heartstrings when he says, “The last thing I expected was that my 58-year-old wife would become wayward.” It is enough to know that Cliff loses it all: wife, farm and even Lola. He decides to travel across the United States, from Michigan to California – where he plans to visit his son in San Francisco. Along the way, Cliff stops to visit a favorite high school student he has kept in touch with for more than 20 years. She is no longer underage and Cliff is as ripe as the

orchard fruit he no longer owns. Marybelle joins Cliff on his travels, intending to leave him in Montana – where her archaeologist husband and son are working on a college dig. Cliff lives out the old adage, “be careful of what you wish for.” Harrison has written the perfect on-theroad book for those over 50. His mile by mile sexual exploits are not just funny, but also sweet, sad and filled with enough insight to keep the pages flying. Just when you think it can’t go any further, Harrison lets Chris out of Marybelle’s clutches long enough to look at the scenery, appreciate the local flora and fauna, commenting, “Rivers make my favorite sound.” We learn about state flowers, state birds and enough of Cliff ’s philosophy of renaming each that the whole thing begins to make sense. I won’t give away the ending, but Cliff reaches

San Francisco after depositing Marybelle in Montana. His son fills him in on Vivian and her relationship that is foundering. We travel with Cliff back across the states as he heads back to Michigan with Marybelle only a cell phone call away. Vivian is a character also worthy of our sympathy and understanding. Longterm relationships do not die easily. Early on in the story, Cliff listens to two ranchers swapping tales in a bar and thinks, “These fellows reminded me of the old days, my father’s generation, when stories were told slowly and savored.” How lucky for us that Jim Harrison remembers that generation. Indeed, “The English Major” should be read slowly and savored. Sunny Solomon holds a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She is a poet, published author and the reviewer-at-large for Clayton Books. Email her with questions or comments at

January 22, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

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Clayton Pioneer •

January 22, 2010

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