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March 5, 2010

925.672.0500

YMCA to close end of March TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

HANK STRATFORD

MAYOR’S CORNER

Faced with mounting debt and declining revenues, the Mt. Diablo YMCA announced last week that the Clayton Valley branch will close all operations at the end of March. The Delta

Family Fitness Center in Oakley will also close and the future is uncertain for the San Ramon Valley facility. Day care at the Delta facility has so far survived the cuts. The YMCA has functioned as the recreation department for the city of Clayton since 2003,

providing after-school programs, youth and adult sports and summer camps for Clayton residents for a fee. The income isn’t enough to support the program, and they can no longer draw from other resources to pay operating costs, says Jennifer Beck, program director for the

Clayton branch. Beck is hopeful that the YMCA will return to Clayton when the economy improves. While the Clayton branch has never been self-sustaining, city manager Gary Napper says that’s not unusual. Recreation programs typically don’t recover

more than about 70 percent of their operating cost. The loss of the YMCA will leave Clayton without a recreation program. “The reality is, this is the unfortunate, heartbreaking

See YMCA, page 9

City funds restrict recreation options The issue of recreation has been on my mind lately. We recently learned that the YMCA program at the Clayton community gym will be closing at the end of March. The YMCA had been operating in Clayton since 2003 and many people have benefited from its programs. The current economic environment was sited as the reason for its closure. I am sad to see them go. One may ask why the city doesn’t take on the role of running the various recreation programs. As far as I know, recreation departments in other cities

Clayton man goes where the sea takes him – including the South Pole HARRY STOLL Clayton Pioneer

Commander Scott Shackleton of the Navy Reserve isn’t fazed by the South Pole’s foggy, wind-beaten, gray-black landscape. “I went to sea when I was 18,” says Shackleton. Thirty years into his journeys, the Clayton resident looks seaworthy – of sturdy construction, his mostly gray hair closecut, glowing outdoor skin, the nails of his strong-looking fingers trimmed. Yes, everything is scrubbed down and shipshape. He grew up amidst the echoes of the exploits of his fifth cousin, Irishman Sir Ernest Shackleton, who went to sea at age 16. He was in the Robert Falcon Scott South Pole expedition of 1901 and led his own Nimrod Expedition in 1907 to within a record 97 miles of the pole. For this, he was knighted by King George V. The elder Shackleton led a return expedition in 1912 that ended with their ship, Endurance, stuck in the ice, crushed by the ice and sunk below the ice. He led his crew in open boats across an icy sea to land, then led them over treach-

See Mayor, page 9

Year after post office slaying, Casso family strives to heal TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

On a sunny Saturday morning last March, a Saturday not much different than any other, 73-year-old Ray Casso ran to the post office to get the mail. He never came home. At the same time Casso was picking up his mail, Shannon Bradley Moore, a 37-year-old Concord man with a history of mental illness, was at the counter trying to convince postal worker Tony Oliver to exchange some outdated postage stamps for cash. It was against regulations and Oliver suggested to Moore that he look for a collector on the Internet that would buy the stamps.

PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID CLAYTON, CA PERMIT 190

See Casso, page 8

Photo courtesy of Scott Shackleton

NAVY RESERVE COMMANDER SCOTT E. SHACKLETON stood at the South Pole last month, realizing a life-long goal set by his hero and ancestor Sir Ernest Shackleton, who tried and failed to reach the Pole during early 20th century.

See Shackleton, page 15

Creekside Arts Celebration gets down to earth BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer

Clayton artist Debbie DeSousa takes the theme of this year’s Creekside Arts Celebration to heart in her everyday life. The idea “A Community Comes Together … Arts, Culture and Nature” is reflected not only in her recycled art but also in her career – where she runs a trade exchange called Barter Bucks Banc. For her bold and bright floral arrangements, she utilizes

old water bottles, aluminum cans and glass along with paint picked up at the county toxic waste center. She’ll be among the artists selling their wares at the celebration this weekend at the Clayton Community Library. While acknowledging that she draws inspiration from gardens she sees while walking around town, the artist isn’t quite sure how her flower-making sprang to life a year ago. “I just know how to make stuff,” she says with a laugh. “I am very creative. I have these visions and I just make them

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Church News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

work.” In addition to life-size arrangements in vases, DeSousa concocts larger-than-life pieces using old golf clubs or rebar for stems. This weekend, festival visitors can find her six-foot creations popping out amongst the flowers in front of the library – with 7-Up bottles doubling as leaves and garage sale plates as blossoms. “I’m trying not to buy anything. Right now, I need green 7-Up bottles so I’ve been calling all my neighbors and anybody I

See Arts, page 17

Club News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Community Calendar . . . . . . . . . . .16 Directory of Advertisers . . . . . . . . . .5 DVMS Reporter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Fitness Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 From the Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

COLOR IS AT THE TOP OF ARTIST DEBBIE DESOUSA’S list when creating her floral arrangements from recycled materials. See her work this weekend at the Creekside Arts Celebration.

Movie Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 On the Net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Parenting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Pioneer Photo Album . . . . . . . . . . .18 Police Log . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Readers’s Forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 School news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Tech Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Teen Speak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Upcoming Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Weather Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17


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Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Around Town Leslie Krnich and Adam Pound engaged

Attendance cracks 400 at crab feed feed and a fall golf tournament raise the bulk of the funds. Chef Louis Zandonella prepared the food, and Diablo FC players were servers. A committee of 40 Diablo FC parents worked for two months to plan and produce the event.

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Photo by Jay Bedecarré

DIABLO FC CRAB FEED CHAIR RICK FOX, left, was joined by Leanna McLaughlin and coaches from Clayton: Jack Boeger, Mark Hines and Bob Maes.

The Diablo FC crab feed, held on the same night as the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics, served a crowd of more than 400 and raised nearly $20,000 to support financial aid efforts in the local competitive youth soccer club. According to Diablo FC treasurer Rick Fox, the club provides more than $50,000 in financial aid annually to needy families. The February crab

For more information, visit diablofc.org.

Pioneer hits Hawaiian beaches with the Dellingers

Stefanie Harris and Jeremy Kurtz to wed

ADAM POUND AND LESLIE KRNICH

Randy and Ann Welty of Clayton along with Nick and Florenza Krnich of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., recently announced the engagement of their daughter Leslie Ann Krnich to Adam Michael Pound, son of John and Eloise Pound of Clayton. Leslie is a 2001 graduate of CVHS and received her degree in nutrition from San Diego State University in 2005. Adam graduated from

CVHS in 2000 and received his degree in communication studies/digital media from California State University Sacramento in 2006. Adam and Leslie were high school sweethearts at Clayton Valley High School and after a long courtship will be married in the fall. The wedding and reception will take place at the home of the groom’s parents in Clayton.

Concord

Stefanie Harris of Clayton and Jeremy Kurtz, a native of Manassas, Va., will exchange vows on April 3 at Balboa Park in San Diego. Stefanie is a 1998 graduate of Clayton Valley High School. She completed an undergraduate degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego in music education. She works for Creative Support Alternatives, a nonprofit organization that supports people with developmental disabilities. Stefanie is working on a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management at the University of San Diego. Jeremy holds an undergraduate degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and a master’s degree from Rice University in Houston, both in music per-

formance. He is the principal bassist of the San Diego Symphony and is also on the music faculty of San Diego State University and Idyllwild Academy of the Arts. The bride’s parents, Stuart

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Tucked Away Lakewood Home! 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, approx. 2161sf. Beautifully upgraded featuring an open living room with vaulted beam ceiling, laminate floors, fireplace & slider to deck with gorgeous views! Gourmet slab granite kitchen with cherry cabinets & stainless steel appliances. Large master suite with slider to deck. Private park-like yard with meandering paths! $625,000

Clayton Market Update provided by George Vujnovich of Better Homes Realty ADDRESS

PRICE

1214 Bridlewood Court.............$825,000 216 Fleming Dr.........................$565,000 520 E Myrick Court...................$600,000 1378 Yosemite Circle ...............$425,000 353 Blue Oak Lane ..................$695,000 2 Pardi Lane.............................$899,000

SF . . . . .3213 . . . . .2046 . . . . .2324 . . . . .1592 . . . . .3373 . . . . .3035

BED/BATH

SALE DATE

. . . . .4/3 . . . . .2/18/10 . . . . .4/2.5 . . . .2/18/10 . . . . .4/2.5 . . . . .2/8/10 . . . . .2/3 . . . . . .2/8/10 . . . . .4/3.5 . . . . .2/5/10 . . . . .5/3 . . . . . .2/4/10

ADDRESS

PRICE

1410 Greystone Ln...................$385,000 1134 Peacock Creek Dr ...........$695,000 8041 Kelok Way .......................$629,000 90 Mount Rushmore Pl ............$662,000 506 Mount Dell Dr ....................$521,250 108 Mt. Whitney Way ...............$490,000

SF . . . . .1891 . . . . .2684 . . . . .2237 . . . . .2481 . . . . .2141 . . . . .2481

BED/BATH

SALE DATE

. . . . .4/2.5 . . . . .2/1/10 . . . . .4/2 . . . . .1/27/10 . . . . .4/2 . . . . .1/20/10 . . . . .5/3 . . . . .1/15/10 . . . . .4/2.5 . . . .1/14/10 . . . . .5/3 . . . . . .1/8/10


March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

Around Town Stones celebrate 50th Anniversary Leo and Teruko Stone of Clayton will be celebrating 50 years of marriage on March 10. Leo served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1960 and met Teruko while stationed at Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. After a longdistance, two-year courtship, Leo returned to Okinawa to wed his sweetheart. They settled in the United States and Teruko became a proud citizen of our country in 1970. Leo retired from Bank of America in 1998, after more than 30 years of service, including a four-year overseas assignment where they had the opportunity to travel to Okinawa, Hong Kong and the South Pacific. They raised their family in the Bay Area and are the parents of five grown children and the grandparents of 13 grandchildren.

Dameles welcome new granddaughter TERUKO AND LEO STONE

David and Nancy Damele of Clayton welcomed their new granddaughter, Camryn Siena Ryan, born on Jan. 18. Camryn and her parents, Nikki and Dave Ryan, make their home in San Francisco. Camryn weighed in at 8 lbs, and was 20 1/2 inches tall.

Romjue named to Dean’s List Kayla Michelle Romjue, daughter of John and Michelle Romjue of Clayton, Calif., has been named to the Fall 2009 Dean’s List at Evangel University, Springfield, Mo. Romjue is a senior majoring in psychology. KAYLA ROMJUE

CAMRYN SIENA RYAN

NE

$668,000 458 Grenache Circle, Clayton Easley Estates – Huge flat lot w/RV parking & Mt. Diablo views. 4BD/2.5BA has the perks you want inc. granite kitchen & master suite with balcony.

407 Grenache Circle, Clayton $659,000 Easley Estates – Walk to downtown from this updated 4BD+office/2.5BA home with Mt. Diablo views. Remodeled pool, spa & deck for entertaining.

Clayton Resident & Broker Owner

Community services officer brings wealth of experience TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

The newest employee at the Clayton Police Department has had her eye on the community services officer (CSO) spot for quite awhile. Clayton resident Wendy Roden first set her sights on the CSO position four years ago while accompanying her daughter’s kindergarten class on a tour of the police department. “I want your job,” she told then CSO Diana Errington, who was planning to retire the next year. Busy with her children’s school activities and other volunteer work, Roden put the thought aside until last December – when she saw the job posting on the city’s Website. “It wasn’t as if I was out looking for any job,” Roden said with a laugh. “I wanted this job.” “Roden was just one of 53 highly qualified applicants,” says Police Chief Dan Lawrence. “The others were almost all former CSOs and records clerks from surrounding cities who had been laid off because of the economy.” After a rigorous selection process that included interviews with a three-member panel from area cities and a written essay, Roden emerged as the panel’s top choice. “We’re extremely pleased to have a local resident come out as No. 1 on the list after the search,” says Lawrence. The job is a natural for Roden, whose first job was with the Contra Costa sherriff ’s department when she was 19.

“It’s an added bonus that I get to work with someone I already knew,” says Lawrence, who spent 33 years with the sherriff ’s department. Roden was on the sherriff ’s department support staff for 13

“At the sherriff ’s department, there were 1,000 employees and a lot of structure,” notes Roden. “Here, there are only four of us in the office all day and it’s all self-contained. Every day is different.”

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

CLAYTON

RESIDENT

WENDY RODEN is Clayton PD’s newest staffer.

years, working in records, dispatch and internal affairs. She left seven years ago to concentrate on raising daughters Haylee, 13, and Donna, 8. As community services officer, Roden supports the recordkeeping function of the police department, assisting with police reports, documentation, preparing cases for the district attorney and filling in wherever help is needed.

Getting back in the 9-5 swing has been fairly easy for Roden, who starts her day at 5 a.m. with a boot camp workout, then drops her girls off at school, does the grocery shopping and still gets to work early. Roden and her husband Wayne, who works for the sherriff ’s department, and their girls moved to Clayton nine years ago and live just a block from City Hall.

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Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

Two arrested in Keller Ridge burglary TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

A Walnut Creek woman and a Bay Point man were arrested early Sunday morning on multiple charges after police say they burglarized a garage in the 5100 block of Keller Ridge Drive. The victim was asleep around 3:45 a.m. when he heard his garage door open and heard voices in the garage. He called police. The burglars had apparently used the victim’s own garage door opener that was left inside his car. The unlocked car was parked in front of his house. Officer Rich Enea was on duty at the time, but was in route to the Concord jail with

two men in custody for public intoxication. He called Concord Police to respond. “I dropped my two guys at Concord and was back out in Oakhurst in just a few minutes.” The victim had watched the burglars’ red SUV drive away from his house and had gotten a good description. Concord police had the vehicle stopped at Keller Ridge and Golden Eagle. Several of the victim’s stolen belongings were inside the SUV. Anderson and Duvall were arrested and charged with burglary. Anderson was also charged with possession of methamphetamine. Duvall is a parolee with a long criminal history of burglary, drugs, vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.

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Installations – Repairs Toilets  Faucets  Water heaters Garbage disposals  Clogged drains

Belfast Plumbing

March 5, 2010

Obituaries

Run with Save Mount Diablo, then take time to clean up

Roger M. Salcedo May 23, 1964 – Feb. 20, 2010 Concord resident Roger Mario Salcedo, 45, died at home with his family by his side on Feb. 20. Roger, a native of San Francisco, was a 32-year resident of Concord and a 1982 graduate of Clayton Valley High School. Roger was an avid sports fan who enjoyed football, baseball and playing video games with his son. To many, he was known as “the Biggest California Pittsburgh Steelers Fan.” Roger is survived by his wife

Nicole; son Roger Salcedo Jr.; fathers and mothers-in-law Jim and Patti Baas and Judy and DuWayne Dzibinski; stepmother Theo Salcedo; and extended family members. He was the son of the late Juan and Virginia Salcedo. A funeral liturgy was held Feb. 25 at St. Bonaventure Church in Concord. Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma. Memorials may be made to Nicole Salcedo for Roger Salcedo’s Education Fund.

Save Mount Diablo will hold the Diablo Trails Challenge 50K/Half Marathon/10K/5K race on Saturday, March 20. The 50K ultra marathon is a point-to-point race starting from Round Valley Regional Preserve in Brentwood and finishing at Castle Rock in Walnut Creek. The Half Marathon, 10K and 5K begin and end at Castle Rock Park. For the races, the East Bay land conservation group is partnering with Brazen Racing. All courses meander through breathtaking scenery and are fully supported by volunteers, the Contra Costa Sherriff ’s Search and Rescue and HAM radio operators. The 50K has a time limit, but all other courses will be open long enough to accommodate walkers. Registration includes an event shirt, custom medal for all finishers, awards by race distance and age and a barbecue lunch. A portion of registration fees will go to help preserve Mt. Diablo’s peaks and surrounding foothills. Register for the marathon at active.com/running/walnut-creek-ca/diablo-trailschallenge-2010 or brazenracing.com. Meanwhile, Save Mount Diablo’s restoration team is working to restore Marsh Creek and remove non-native weeds off Marsh Creek Road at Aspara, a few miles east of Clayton. The goal is to restore and widen creekside woodland along Marsh Creek and to allow native species to reestablish and thrive. In December, volunteers planted 500 native plants along the creek. They will be following up by reducing competition from non-native weeds on Saturday, March 27. Volunteers are sought to participate hands-on in the restoration of the creek corridor to enhance the wildlife habitat. The event takes place 9 a.m.-noon at 3240 Aspara Dr., Clayton. Bring water and a hand trowel if you own one. The group will provide gloves. Wear layers and prepare for rain. Kids welcome.

Herta Henn Oct. 14, 1911 – Jan. 30, 2010 Herta Henn died Jan. 30 in Issaquah, Wash, at age 98. She was the wife of Otto W. Henn, pastor emeritus of Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. He was pastor there from 1968 to 1978. Her death came on their 72nd wedding anniversary. They’d known each other 82 years. Herta Erika Anna was born Oct. 14, 1911, in Heidelberg, Germany. It was there that she perfected her command of the piano and organ. Otto and Herta left Germany in 1938. After he attended seminary, they served churches in Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Daly City/Pacifica and San Francisco. In these churches, Herta served not only as pas-

tor’s wife, but as organist, accompanist, choir member,

youth choir director and Sunday School teacher. She also gave piano lessons, sharing her love of music wherever she lived. Following Otto’s retirement, they lived in Pittsburg and until 2004 at Quail Lodge in Antioch. Herta is survived by her husband, Otto; two sons, Werner (Carol) of Issaquah and Ralph of Minneapolis; four grandchildren, Mark (Thomasina), Brian, VerLaine and Clarke; five great grandchildren, Zachary, Tyler, Lauren, Alyssa and Aidan; and their extended families. A memorial service is planned at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church in late May. For more information, visit familyhenn.com.

Clayton Resident

(925) 457-5423 www.belfastplumbing.com

Upcoming Events

License. 906211

March 5-7 Creekside Arts Celebration

YMCA, city of Clayton, Alain Pinel Realty, Isagenix and Clayton Community Church.

Come celebrate the Library’s 15th birthday with local artists, artisans and performing artists. Begins Friday evening with a VIP Reception at 6 p.m. and continues through the weekend. See story on page 1 for more details.

March 28 Easter Egg Hunt Gather at the Clayton Community Gym at 12:30 for the annual Easter Egg Hunt and BBQ lunch. This free event with games, treats and photos with the Easter Bunny is sponsored by the

Tue.-Fri.: 10-5 Sat.: 10-5, Sun.: 11-5

A purveyor of unique gifts, home decor & pantry 1028 Diablo St., Clayton  925-672-2025

April 16-19 Clayton Library Used Book Sale Sale begins Fri. Apr 16, 4-7 p.m. with a Members’ Only Preview. Buy a Library Foundation membership at the door and get first pick at the more than 15,000 titles. Sale continues Sat. from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sun. Noon – 4 p.m. Half price on Sunday with a $3-a-bag wrap up from 2-4.

April 24 Clayton Cleans Up Bring family, friends and neighbors to City Hall at 9 a.m. to help spiff up the town before the Art and Wine Festival. Pick up trash on trails, in parks and around town. Great event for families, homeowner associations, scouting groups and service clubs to show their civic pride. Gloves, trash bags and small tools will be provided. BBQ lunch at 11:30. For more information, call the Clayton Pioneer, 672-0500.

RSVP for the volunteer cleaning at 947-3535 or gphillips@savemountdiablo.org

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March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

Michael B Home Services 

P.O. Box 1246 6200 Center Street, Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor R ANDY W ENGER , Display Advertising P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports C HRISTINA S CARLOTT , Administrative Assistant

House & Yard Waste Removal  Lawn Care & Landscaping  Window Cleaning  Home & Business Cleaning

FREE ESTIMATES Linda: 925-639-4093 Mike B. cell: 925-305-7716

Page 5

Directory of Advertisers Auto B & C Auto Care & Tire Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-4366 Clayton Valley Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3900 Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739 Children’s Services Music Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .946-2990 Construction and Trades Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423

S TAFF W RITERS : Denisen Hartlove, Lou Fancher, Nicci Shipstead, Pam Wiesendanger, Mike Dunn, Harry Stoll

Smith & Bernal Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0138 Tipperary Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-2679

We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse

Dentist

PIONEER INFO

Children's Dentistry of Walnut Creek . . . . . . . . . .938-2392

criminates on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, nationality, family status or disability. The Clayton Pioneer reserves the right to reject any advertising we believe is unsuitable.

CONTACT US Tel: (925) 672-0500 Fax: (925) 672-6580

Mason, Christina D.D.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1559 Renner, Jason D.D.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800 Rissel, Richard D.M.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800

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.

Tamara Steiner tamara@claytonpioneer.com Randy Wenger Randy@claytonpioneer.com Send ads to ads@claytonpioneer.com Send Sports News to sports@claytonpioneer.com Send Club News to clubnews@claytonpioneer.com Send Church News to churchnews@claytonpioneer.com

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Dining and Entertainment Art for Haiti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .588-5226 Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Willows Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .957-2500 Financial and Insurance Services Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 CD Federal Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-0900 Ferrante Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .674-1755 Littorno, Richard - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 Miller, Thomas C.P.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .354-1385 Van Wyck, Doug - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300 Fitness

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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 tamara@claytonpioneer.com. Letters MUST be submitted via E-mail.

To place your classified ad over the phone, call the office at (925) 6720500 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Or, you may fax your typewritten ad and credit card information to (925) 672-6580. All classifieds must be paid for in advance by credit card (Master Card or Visa) We will not accept any ad that dis-

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VOLUNTEERS WANTED Meals on Wheels Drivers 1 – 1 1/2 hours per week. Drivers and relief drivers needed for delivery of Meals on Wheels in East County. Call Jim at 673-0300 or e-mail hairbyjim@sbcglobal.net. Anna’s Attic Volunteers Hospice of the East Bay – Anna’s Program Seeking dedicated, caring volunteers to provide home companionship and practical support for women with recurrent breast cancer. To volunteer at the Hospice of the East Bay thrift store at 5350 Clayton Road. Call store manager, Debbie at 674-9072 or Lamont Campbell at (925) 766-5066. To apply for free training, call Hospice of the East Bay at (925) 887-5678 or email volunteers@hospiceeastbay.org. Clayton Historical Society Museum Greeter needed for two hours per month from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays or Sundays. No experience is necessary. Call the museum at 672-0240 and leave your name. Clayton Community Library Needs volunteers. Minimum age 13. Minimum commitment is 6 months. Some training provided. Shelver - to shelve and sensitize library materials. Various days/times. Tutors - no prior experience necessary! Contact: Arlene @ 673-9777 or email: akikkawa@ccclib.org

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Page 6

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Call us for a free preview class

CVHS Expo brings arts to the forefront LOU FANCHER Clayton Pioneer

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For a group of local parents, teachers, professional artists and students, art is the means by which they find their purpose and place in the world. The Clayton Valley Performing Arts Center Committee is shining the spotlight on the subject with the Eagle Arts Expo 2010, the first Clayton Valley High School juried art show and competition for students grade 6-12. “We are very excited to be hosting this event,” president Lori Brook notes. “The visual arts in our community schools are vibrant and exceedingly important in fostering creativity in our children.” The show has an impressive list of jurors, including Pixar animator Arik Ehle, well-

known painter Guy Diehl and documentary filmmaker and producer Jeff Crispi. The committee is sending a clear message: Creativity is alive and well in the community. Ellen Sachtschale, a Clayton resident and ceramic artist, also is on the jury. “I fell in love with art in high school,” she says. “I’m a kindred spirit of kids who are serious about art.” Discovering her place in the world wasn’t necessarily easy. “I went into interior design because it was more practical, but it didn’t work for me,” she admits. Now, as a professional artist and an instructor at Walnut Creek Civic Arts, she’s able to encourage teens and adults to pursue their passion. Sachtschale has thought deeply about her craft and speaks eloquently about learning styles

and strengths. She knows first-hand that kids, eager to “fit in,” must be given opportunities to find their own way. “If arts die, people will never know, will never do the work that comes naturally, creatively to them,” she says. The Arts Expo competition is open to entries in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and video and graphic arts. The broad sweep of categories demonstrates an awareness that artistic voices express themselves in a variety of forms. Kua Patten, a CVHS graduate and sculptor, brings a multi-disciplinary background to the competition. Trained in photography and involved in music and theater while in high school, he calls his work “neon-illuminated expressionistic figure sculpture.” It’s an impressive label,

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made understandable when he says: “What I do with my sculptures is try to tell a story – aspects of my life, of how I feel about the world.” He, too, has thought at length about his field. “Art is varied and nuanced,” he says. “I’ll assess each piece on its own merit.” The public will have their first opportunity to view the work at 6 p.m. Friday, March 12, in the multi-use room. The evening also includes a speaker program and screening of the video award films. On Saturday, March 13, the exhibit is open 1-4 p.m., with awards presentations at 2 p.m. First-place winners will attend a private lunch at Pixar Studios with Ehle, a special award as the animation studio no longer allows public tours. Admission to the art expo is free. For more information, call 673-1431.

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parking area behind the restaurant, severing both the gas and water meters shortly before 10 p.m. on Feb. 24. When police arrived, the car was lodged over the gas pipe against the back wall of the restaurant. Because of the proximity to the Shell Station next door, police ordered the station closed and the pumps turned off. Shop and Go, Cinco de Mayo and the Pavilion Bar and Grill were

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also evacuated. Other businesses in the area were already closed. The accident severed the valves that would have been used to turn off the gas creating a potentially deadly situation, said responding officer Cpl. Rich Enea. A PG&E digging crew was called in and the gas was finally shut off shortly before midnight. The Shell station reopened at 3 a.m.

When Shop and Go opened in the morning, the odor of gas was still very strong, said store owner Harry Dyal. The woman told police she thought she was on Willow Pass Road heading home. She refused to take a field sobriety test and was uncooperative, said Enea. She was booked at the Concord city jail on suspicion of drunk driving.

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March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

New superintendent striving for community approach

Page 7

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Superintendent Steven Lawrence says he will be running the Mt. Diablo Unified School District not just from the perspective of an administrator, but also as a concerned parent. He and his wife have two daughters, currently in sixth and ninth grades. They plan to have their daughters attend district schools starting in the coming school year. Lawrence, who took over on Feb. 1, spoke to about 70 people at Clayton Valley High School on Feb. 16. Wearing a navy suit and an easy smile, the former math teacher spoke to a group that included principals, teachers and parents from local schools. He measures if a school is functioning well by whether he would want his daughters to be

Hoffmeister tables plans to run for supervisor Clayton city staffer Laura Hoffmeister will not run for County Supervisor in November, opting instead to run for reelection to a fourth term on the Concord City Council. With Concord’s Naval Weapons Station Reuse Project ready to move to the next step, Hoffmeister says that her job on the City Council is too important to abandon it in favor of going to the Board of Supervisors. “It’s very important to have someone with environmental and city planning experience to work with the community on refining the reuse vision as the process goes forward over the next couple of years…my experience and background are put to the best use at this time to continue to serve the Concord community on the City Council.” The supervisor seat is a full time position and had Hoffmeister made a successful run, she would have had to leave her position as assistant to the city manager of Clayton. Hoffmeister has endorsed Pleasant Hill mayor Karen Mitchoff in her race for the county supervisor.

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NEW DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT Dr. Steven Lawrence took time following a recent community meeting at Clayton Valley High School to meet with CVHS Parent Faculty Club Chairperson Kelly Clough

taught in the various classrooms. “That’s the simple expectation I have for every principal I work with,” Lawrence said. “We need a core foundation and belief on what excellent instruction looks like in every classroom.” Attendees of the meeting, including CVHS Principal Gary Swanson and Parent Faculty Club president Kelly Clough, say Lawrence has his work cut out for him. “You go and adapt to cuts, and then another round of bad news comes and it’s worse,” Swanson said of past efforts by the district to keep up with a steady stream of budget cuts from the state. “It just keeps on getting worse.” According to Board of Education member Paul Strange, the state’s combined budget cuts and cost of living adjustment rollbacks will result in $51 million in reductions between now and the 2012-’13 school year. That’s $17 million more than the previous estimate of $34 million. Recent cuts have resulted in larger class sizes. Although with the exception of band and PE, classes are not up to the 45 students previously feared. There are also losses of district-funded high school sports and elementary level instrumental music programs. “Every time we’ve gotten more information from the state, it’s been worse,” Strange said. While the district’s money woes are a major source of frustrations, Clough noted that communication between district officials and parents has been problematic as well. “We were asked our opinion, but there wasn’t good followthrough,” she said. “We kind of feel like we’ve been fighting our own battles.” Lawrence named community

involvement as one of the reasons he was attracted to the superintendent’s job. “The fact that in these terrible times, you found ways to come together and grapple with those situations is encouraging,” he pointed out. “But we need to continue to do this. This is going to be ongoing.” At the meeting, he used a Power Point presentation to illustrate previously anticipated revenues vs. actual numbers, along with areas that may face future cuts. He then outlined a number of potential solutions for the district’s woes – including distance learning programs, a complex bond proposal and continuing to encourage the involvement of parents and community groups. At CVHS, audience comments ranged from complaints about the lack of resources for gifted students, to what parents are – and are not – allowed to do at the schools to help make up for cuts due to budget reductions, to the possibility of planned events to protest state budget cuts. Over the next several weeks, Lawrence plans to visit several other schools in the district to gather comments and suggestions before formulating a plan of action. He made no bones about the difficulty of the task that lies ahead. “I think every reduction from here on out will have an emotional response from people,” he warned. “Many of the things we’re having to look at (cutting) are key components to having growing, thriving schools. “Right now, I’m just focused on stopping the stem of the rise of the river and making sure it doesn’t breach the barrier,” he added.

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Foreclosure surplus not likely to return soon

LYNNE FRENCH

REAL ANSWERS I am finally starting to get into the housing market to buy my first home. I am disappointed that I am not finding the foreclosure bargains I was expecting. Have I missed the boat? Your goal should be to find a good deal even if it isn’t a foreclosure. But you are right; there are definitely fewer foreclosures available for sale than in the recent past. The prices became so low that they were snapped up with

Q A

multiple offers well over the asking prices. Government help for sellers in distress is also delaying more foreclosures. There are still properties in the millions in some state of foreclosure, but they are not flooding the market because the banks that own them are slowly releasing them into the market. This is to preclude values from tumbling again. The banks will be better off if they can get a higher price for the properties they sell. Until all these properties are absorbed into the market, prices could still decline over the next couple of years. There probably won’t be any substantial appreciation for awhile. Short sales are becoming more popular. They typically sell for 91 percent of the listing price, making them a popular option for bargain-hunting buyers who aren’t in a hurry. There is work going on to make these

Casso, from page 1 Oliver said Moore gave him a “weird look” and walked away. Seconds later, Casso was on the floor in front of his mailbox, bleeding from stab wounds, and Oliver was chasing Moore down Center Street into Ed’s Mudville Grill where several off-duty cops were having lunch. They stopped Moore and held him until Clayton police arrived. Moore was arrested and charged with murder. That day, Jo Ann Casso began her life as a widow. Her family was forever changed, and a small town was knocked to its knees by a random, senseless act of violence. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES One year later, Moore sits in limbo in the county jail while the Casso family struggles with questions that will never have answers and Oliver fights demons that won’t be quieted. “Nothing prepared me for what happened that day,” says Oliver. “Not even nine years as a cop in Hawaii.” Oliver is sleeping a little better these days, but it has been a long year – one of angst, depression, high blood pressure and other stressrelated health problems. He is still plagued by selfdoubt and questions his split-

second decision that day. “Should I have chased Moore or stayed with Ray?” he asks. It doesn’t matter that the community honors him as a hero and everyone tells him he made the best decision he could. The tape continually plays – should, would, could. Oliver knew Ray Casso for more than 20 years. “I think about Jo Ann all the time,” he says, his voice barely audible. FRUSTRATING LEGAL PROCESS In December, a judge declared Moore incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to Napa State Hospital for treatment. There, doctors could force him to take the medications that he has reportedly been refusing. On Feb. 4, at what was supposed to be a hearing to review Moore’s treatment progress, Jo Ann Casso, daughter Robin, son-in-law Tim, grandson Nick and youngest son Rick sat quietly in a courtroom in Martinez waiting for word that the case was moving closer to a trial. Another son, Ray Jr., lives in Southern California and was not at the hearing. Moore appeared almost unnoticed amid the buzz of administrative chatter in the courtroom. He stood at the window of the small holding room at the front of the

smoother to close. We will see where that goes. The other, and I believe best, avenue to explore is a realistic seller who has equity but wants to sell. They will price their property competitive with what is on the market – whether it is a foreclosure, short sale or a regular sale. During negotiations, you will be dealing with a real person not a bank. There are also attractive tax credits if you are in escrow by April 30. Even if prices go down further, interest rates won’t stay down forever. There are many indicators that they could start to go up even this year. I was seriously considering putting an offer on a home I had looked at a few times. Then it showed up as pending, and I realized I waited too long. It is back on the market, but I have a funny feeling about it. Do you think I should jump on

Q

courtroom, across from the judge. With full beard and long hair, he looked disheveled and unkempt. This was in stark contrast to the clean-shaven, animated man Jo Ann had seen at the December hearing. Then, he sought out and made chilling eye contact with each family member. This day he was subdued and quiet, staring straight ahead at the floor, “zombie-like,” Rick says. Within minutes, the hearing was over – frustrating and fruitless. Moore was still at the county jail, where he was reportedly refusing to take his medications. The order sending him to Napa in December appeared to have fallen through the cracks and the case was no closer to trial. Another hearing was set for March 8 – one year and one day after Ray Casso died and three days after what would have been his 74th birthday. “Be prepared,” warned prosecuting attorney Mark Peterson. “The system is imperfect. It could take years for this case to conclude.” The family will see the process through, says Jo Ann, who plans to attend every hearing. “It’s not OK that my husband died. I don’t want this to just go away.” LEARNING TO COPE At breakfast following the hearing, the family recalled the husband, father, father-in-law

it this time or keep looking? It depends on why it fell out of escrow. Have your agent ask the listing agent and even the buyer’s agent if they will disclose the reason. You have probably been looking at other properties since you lost out on this house. If this one still appeals to you, definitely consider it. Maybe it was meant for you. If it was pending for awhile, there probably are disclosures and reports on the property. Most property defects can be repaired. See if there are any estimates for repairs, so you can base your offer on this information. There are other reasons that a deal could fall apart. It could be a defect in the buyer’s financing, the buyer could have lost their job or simply got “buyer’s remorse.” A seller in our area recently received multiple offers on a

A

property. One was quite a bit higher than the others and the buyer was well-qualified, so they accepted that one. Two days later, when reality set in, the buyer regretted being so ambitious. Rather than try to renegotiate the offer, the buyer simply backed out. Remember that homes that come back on the market usually sell again. I have always wanted to buy a brand-new home. I am starting to look and am very discouraged. Most of what I am seeing is leftover inventory on the least-desirable lots. Is this normal or just part of this weird market? I like your adjective for this market. It certainly is weird. You are also very perceptive. New home sales are at a record low. Sales of new homes declined 11 percent in January from December to the lowest level since the United States

Q

A

Photo courtesy of Jo Ann Casso

Ray and Jo Ann Casso at a family gathering in 2003.

and grandfather who had been at the center of their world. They spoke of a year of horror, anger, shock and unspeakable grief. A year of coping and healing. They laughed at some old jokes and scrambled for a foothold in new celebrations and traditions. “We go to the cemetery sometimes and have a beer with him,” says Tim, who was particularly close to his fatherin-law. Tim and Robin have three children, Nick, 20, Shelby, 18, and Samantha, 13. “The hardest thing is to see my kids in pain and I can’t do anything about it,” Tim notes.

At a private memorial service last year, Tim watched as Samantha peeled the petals, one at a time, off the rose she held. “She was remembering something special with each one,” his says, eyes brimming. “Maybe we should all go up to Tahoe for Dad’s birthday,” Rick suggests. Jo Ann shakes her head no. “I’m not ready,” she says in a tight voice. “Ray loved our Tahoe house,” she explains. “It was his dream.” The Tahoe house is gone – another casualty of a hellish year. “She’s the one who mat-

began keeping records in 1963 (Bloomberg). During “the boom,” about 4 million new homes were built per year. During normal times, our economy absorbs about 2 million homes per year. During the decline, builders stopped taking out building permits. Very few new homes have been built in the last two years and very few are being built now. This inventory should increase slowly. Meanwhile, not having this competing inventory should help resale home sales. Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email Lynne@LynneFrench.com. 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.

ters, now,” Rick says with a nod toward his mother. Rick is in the Air Force and was stationed with his wife and son in England when his father was killed. After the funeral, he applied for a humanitarian transfer and moved his family back to California. These days, Jo Ann Casso measures time in memories and special moments – her wedding day, a visit with her sister, a grandchild’s birthday party, a special song, quiet talks with a husband who could always “make me feel better.” On May 5, she and Ray would have been married 48 years. At 67, she is petite and extraordinarily attractive. She gets up early every morning, dressing for the day with attention to hair and makeup. She works part time at the Marsh Creek Detention Center. A new miniature Schnauzer puppy keeps her company and she draws strength from family and friends. “I am heartbroken,” she says, “but I will survive.” As March 5 approaches, the family heads into year two with resolve. Although united in grief and loss, they are defined not by an act of horror and violence but by love and courage; the legacy of the man still at the center of their world.

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March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

YMCA, from page 1 casualty of the current economic situation,” Napper laments. “But the city just can’t take it on.” The gym is owned by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and was built on land donated by the city of Clayton. A joint-use agreement gives the city the right to use the facility during nonschool hours. The cost just for utilities and custodian tops $60,000 a year, which the city has been passing through to the YMCA. As of Dec. 31, the Y was more than $83,000 in arrears and will owe another $15,000 for the first quarter of 2010. The YMCA has been behind

in payments before, but Napper isn’t worried. “We will get paid,” he says. “Every year, the auditors question this debt, but every year we have been paid.” Napper has tried unsuccessfully for years to negotiate with the school district to lower the use fees. “They have to slash $27 million from their own budget next year,” notes Napper. “They’re not open to lowering the fees.” The fees are only charged when the gym is used. With the withdrawal of the YMCA, the city will no longer be paying for custodian and utilities.

Many groups other than the YMCA use the gym. NorthCreek Church, Catholic Youth Organization sports, CV West Coast Eagles and a variety of league sports have scheduled time through the YMCA. After March 31, these groups will contract directly with the school district and pay the utility and custodial fees of several hundred dollars per event. Clayton resident Sean Boyle, who coaches one of the parentsupported programs at the gym, is devastated at the news. He is hoping volunteers will step up and form a non-profit to fill the breach. “We can’t let this happen. We have to take it over – $60,000 is nothing,” he says. “We can do that.”

Page 9

Councilwoman Julie Pierce, who was instrumental in raising the money to build the gym in 2001, says: “I am as pained as anyone about this. But if this is the worst hit our community has to take with the current economic crisis, then we’re getting off better than most. The gym isn’t going anywhere and we still have the joint-use agreement with the district that we can implement … when we can afford it.” It is expected that that the annual Easter Egg Hunt will go on as scheduled on March 28. See Upcoming Events (page 4) for more details.

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Readers’ Forum Residents need to rally to save our community gym BY SEAN BOYLE The YMCA of Clayton/Concord, located at Diablo View Middle School, is financially forced to pull out of Clayton at the end of March. That’s right – the YMCA will be closed. The Mt. Diablo Unified School District has a joint-use agreement with the city of Clayton that for $60,000 a year – the cost of a custodian and utilities for the gym – the city of Clayton can use the gym. The city rented the use of the gym to the YMCA, but it hasn’t worked. The end result is that MDUSD union contracts have priced our community out of using our own community gym. MDUSD has no money and has cut millions from our public

school system. No arts. No music. No sports. What will they do with the gym? They’re probably lock the doors while they figure out their mess and let our community gym sit idle. Maybe they’ll raise the rates for joint use of the gym to the first group that comes along after the YMCA pulls out. Most likely, they’ll chalk it up to a needed budget cut, save the custodian and utilities cost and close the gym after school hours. I am willing to donate half my office in downtown Clayton, a computer and telephone to start a Clayton Non-Profit Recreation Group in an effort to keep our community gym open after school hours. For the cost of about $10 per Clayton resident per year, we could own the gym in the after

Mayor, from page 1 always require city funding. The fees generated from the various recreation activities don’t cover the cost of the programs. Unfortunately, Clayton is not in the position of being able to take on more expenses by creating a recreation department. Speaking of city recreation, occasionally requests are made for various recreation facilities in town. There is a group of bocce ball players who have wanted bocce ball courts in town for the past several years. The city went so far as to designate some land for such use, with the understanding that the bocce ball group would raise the money to build and maintain the courts. However, we have not seen much action toward building these courts. A request for tennis courts has come up a few times. The

nearest public courts are off of Pine Hollow Road and Rolling Woods Way in Concord. There are more courts at Cowell Park in Concord and Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek. The only courts we have in Clayton are the private courts at Oakhurst Country Club. A couple of years ago, the city put together preliminary costs of building a couple of courts. At the time, we decided not to pursue it due to the cost to build and maintain them. Recently, some local kids have been working on getting a dirt bike park in town. Probably since the creation of the bicycle, kids have been making jumps and looking for ways to fully enjoy their bikes. Jumps pop up around town now and then. Sometimes it is just a jump or two; other times it is more elaborate. Whenever

hours and take control of our community gym. We could rent it at a reasonable rate to ourselves. Let’s start the Clayton Gym Foundation and donate $10 per person per year to save the community gym. All funds would go to the Clayton Non-Profit Recreation Group. Our city manager is interested in keeping the gym going, but the city is facing huge deficits. Let’s not let MDUSD ruin a place we have for youth and adult sports. Our gym is an important part of our community; it is a safe, clean place for our children to stay active. I am willing to write a check right now to the City Council for $5,000 to start the Clayton Gym Foundation, a Clayton Community Non-Profit Recreation Group, and save the

someone complains about the jumps and the city becomes aware of them, the city has to act and remove the jumps. No one at City Hall likes to tear down these jumps. However, ignoring the jumps greatly increases the city’s liability. These kids who want a bike park have attended City Council meetings to promote their idea. They wrote to Sen. Mark DeSaulnier asking about liability issues for this type of park. They have found other cities that have built bike parks. And they are confident they can raise the money to build the park. Now all they need is the land. I wish we could simply designate a piece of land and let them go to work building it. However, we have to consider the environmental impacts on neighbors, plants and animals. There are strict regulations for runoff and erosion control. It is a complicated world we

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gym for the month of April. Will anybody match me or help me start a non-profit foundation to keep our gym open? This is our community gym. We helped build it – remember the thermometer downtown? Let’s get together and save the gym for the community before it closes due to being owned and operated by a bankrupt state and its school districts. We do have the right to operate that gym. For more information, email sean@pacificadsp.com or call 672-3932.

The Readers’ Forum is an opportunity for Pioneer readers to sound off. The opinion expressed is solely that of the writer and does not necessarily reflect that of the publishers.

live in and I hope the complications are worthwhile. There are a few aspects of a bike park that seem to make it more plausible. The construction cost of moving dirt around is much less than putting in hardscape or a building. Whereas most projects require flat land, a bike park benefits by having a slope – making undesirable land more desirable. And if interests change in the future, the land could easily be restored or reused. In the meantime, I have to take a step back and recognize what we already have in Clayton – such as an extensive trail system, a great community library, the proximity of Mt. Diablo State Park, the Grove park and Clayton Community Park. Clayton is a pretty fun place to live.

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Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Clayton Sports CVHS Eagles soccer teams reach NCS quarterfinals sent on another forward and counter attacked but it was too late.

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

For the first time since 2004, the Clayton Valley High School boys and girls soccer teams both earned invitations to the North Coast Section playoffs. The local high school also hosted an NCS quarterfinals doubleheader at Gonsalves Stadium for the first time. However, those good vibes were overturned when both CV teams were bounced from the tournament on their home field, ending a season that saw the Eagles varsity teams win a combined 32 games and matching Diablo Valley Athletic League championships while losing only one of 24 DVAL games. The girls lost 1-0 to California and the boys were beaten 4-2 by San Ramon Valley as the two East Bay Athletic League teams ended local hopes for more NCS glory. A TEAM IN TRANSITION The Clayton Valley girls figured to be in transition this season after long-time coach Pat Middendorf handed off the reigns to Scott Booth, who had been assistant junior varsity coach the previous three seasons. Middendorf capped her 14 years in charge of the Eagles with a semi-final appearance at NCS last year, where they lost 10 to eventual champion San Ramon Valley. Booth and his varsity coaching staff of CVHS alumnus, Megan Swann and World Cup star Sissi seemed to barely miss a beat as their team went unbeaten through the DVAL season. They had 11 wins and a draw enroute to a 15-4-3 overall

Photo by Greg Wakida

IN A GAME AS TIGHTLY CONTESTED AS THIS INDIVIDUAL BATTLE FOR THE BALL, California scored in the final three minutes to eliminate Clayton Valley 1-0 in a North Coast Section quarterfinal match at Gonsalves Stadium. Eagles defender Melissa Del Bene (second from left in white) gets position on a Cal High player and teammate Breana Partida (7) is ready to assist.

mark. In the season-ending game, they faced EBAL power California, which had edged CVHS 2-1 in a pre-season game. The Eagles and Cal were scoreless until three minutes remained in regulation time and

Cal was finally able to put a ball past Eagles goalkeeper Morgan Nichols. Nichols, a University of Vermont signee, ended the game with 15 saves while facing more than 20 shots. “Morgan was on fire and kept us in the

game with some amazing saves,” Booth says. “Based on our earlier matchup, we knew they are physical and very dangerous on set pieces. During the match, we neutralized their set pieces but struggled with their pace and physical play in the first half.”

CVHS settled down in the second half and started to connect passes, resulting in more potent attacks. “This was our half and I felt confident that it was anyone’s game,” the coach adds. After the late score, Booth

PLAGUED WITH INJURIES The Eagles opening NCS game proved difficult for different reasons. “We played Mission San Jose, a team we knew little about,” Booth explains. “During the first half, we lost two players to knee injuries and one to a foot injury. All of the players are impact players, but to lose our four-year starting center defender Cherie Lapating was a blow both mentally and physically.” After the injuries, center defenders Breana Partida and Melissa Del Bene were left to fill the void and calm the team. “They did a fantastic job. We managed to settle down and hit our stride with junior Kelsey Booth finishing two sweet goals, each assisted by her classmate, Lindsey Parscal, for the final 2-0 margin of victory,” the coach reports. Besides Lapating and Nichols, departing seniors from the Eagles are Susan Antaki, Chelsea Fredenburgh, Katie Brown and Celeste Piper. “We were able to build off a solid foundation of returning players and capture some major wins,” Booth concludes. “We are the DVAL champions and will continue to strengthen the team for next year, as well as years to come.” A SEASON OF RECORDS Even after losing in NCS, Clayton Valley boys coach Rory Gentry looks at the glass as half full. “We set a slew of school records while winning

See Eagles, page 11

Clayton’s competitors crash at Olympics JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton’s members of the U.S. team at the Vancouver Olympics, bobsledder Chuck Berkeley and skier Daron Rahlves, came into the games with high hopes of winning medals. However, they saw those dreams erased in the blink of an eye as each was involved in a crash that eliminated them from contention. Rahlves grew up in Clayton and took part in his fourth

Olympics, the first three as the most decorated American downhill and Super G skier in history. This time, he was in the inaugural ski cross races, where four skiers race together over gaps and banked turns. Berkeley, 33, came from the East Coast to run track at Cal, where he discovered bobsledding one day in the training room. He has lived in and around Clayton in recent years as he burst onto the scene as a pusher for U.S. bobsled, earning a spot on the USA II fourman sled driven by budding

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star John Napier. Their team consistently has one of the fastest start times in the world. They sat seventh after the first of four runs in the Olympics. During their second run last Friday, they had the third fastest split time, but Napier struggled through the complicated 11-12-13 curve combination. As the sled was going 95 mph, he crashed at the exit of corner 13 – sliding across the finish line. “I was a little curious to see what would happen, because there’s b een a lot of hype about the track and the speed,” Berkeley had said after earlier training sessions. “I was curious, but I wasn’t worried. I’ve got John driving me and that’s always a good thing and a safe bet.” After the crash, the American medical team advised Napier against competing any further because limited mobility in his neck would be a safety hazard. Thus ended Berkeley’s Olympics, in which his girlfriend Melissa Hoar of Australia took 12th in the skeleton. “He is an amazing man who worked so hard to make it to the Olympics,” Hoar says of Berkeley. “He showed great determination, spirit, commitment and talent to achieve his goal. I am very proud of his achievements. He has a huge heart and should be very proud of how he conducted himself throughout his journey to the Olympics and outside of sport.” Rahlves, 36, injured his hip

Photo courtesy of Chuck Berkeley

THE USA II FOUR-MAN BOBSLED TEAM TOOK IN THE VANCOUVER OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONIES and then had to wait two full weeks before having a chance to compete. The team includes, from left, Steve Langton, Chris Fogt, Chuck Berkeley of Clayton and driver John Napier.

three weeks before the Olympics but declared himself fit. In the preliminaries to determine the 32 fastest skiers, Rahlves was much slower than anticipated putting him in the first heat of the next round. He spilled off the second-tolast jump as he was sitting second. A French skier squeezed by him on the outside, but Rahlves held his line and the two men were sideways in the air nearly entangled and Rahlves had nowhere to go.

He went down on his back, only to get back on his feet and make a photo finish of the race. He was on the wrong end of the photo so didn’t advance toward the medal round. In the end, Rahlves placed 28th. “I never have regrets. I’m out there having fun,” Rahlves says. “I still had fun today. The ultimate is just to love what you do and go out there and give it a shot. I felt ready to roll. “Today was the outcome I

didn’t really expect. I thought I was going to be moving through to the finals,” Rahlves adds. “I felt great. I’ve been skiing hard and, as of yesterday, I had zero pain in the hip. I was still doing physical therapy every morning. To be back this way three weeks after dislocating my hip was a pretty outstanding recovery.” For Rahlves, this Olympics was his final one. “I might give it up for the X Games, but we’ll see.”


March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 11

Clayton Sports

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

Local wrestlers earn NCS, league titles JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton Valley and De La Salle high school wrestlers enjoyed success in the past couple of weeks as North Coast Section and league meets took place, leading up to this weekend’s CIF state meet in Bakersfield. The Halick and Moita brothers of Clayton played key roles for De La Salle as they won the NCS dual meet championship with a narrow 37-33 win over James Logan of Union City in the finals. Spartan coach Mark Halvorson credited the Halicks for their instrumental parts in the final victory. “The match started off with the 160-pound match. Matt

Halick really gave us a boost by pinning his tough Logan opponent. Although I expected Matt to win, I didn’t think we’d get all six points for a pin,” says Halvorson, noting that the final margin of victory was four points. Sophomore Brendan Halick also was pivotal because he took the 135-pound slot, allowing Halvorson to move his No. 1 at 135, Tom Baldacci, up to 140 – where he was able to secure a key decision win. Sophomore Joey Moita and his senior brother Vince both won their matches via pin in the dual finals. A week later, each Moita came back to claim East Bay Athletic League meet championships. Vince Moita, headed to Brown University in the fall to continue his wrestling career,

Glasbergen Chuckles

Eagles,

from page 10

DVAL and making it to NCS quarterfinals,” he notes.

This is Gentry’s second year in charge of the Eagles. He

finished third in the CIF state meet as a junior and hopes to be on the podium again this year. “He’s in a very tough weight class, but he’s definitely in the mix,” Halvorson says of the state title. “Vince and Matt are team leaders as seniors. Matt has come a long way in four years,” the coach adds. According to Halvorson, Matt Halick’s result at the NCS dual meet finals was “a big performance for him.” A week later, he claimed third place at the EBAL meet – a day after Brendan was crowned EBAL junior varsity champ. Clayton Valley High took third at the Diablo Valley Athletic League meet with Troy Lakin at 103 pounds and Brian Gentry at 152 winning individual titles. The Eagles also qualified for the NCS dual meet championships, where they were narrowly beaten by John F. Kennedy High. Coach Kyle Behmlander’s Eagles finished behind Northgate and College Park at the league finals. Ben O’Connor (189), Logan Bangert (171) and heavyweight Zach Bangert all were DVAL finalists. Taking third for CVHS at the meet were Dylan Mitchell (130), Adam Lee (215), Matt McCoy (112), and Aaron Swift (160). Fourth-place finishers for Clayton Valley were Bobby Rodriquez (140), Kenta Caproni (119), Tanner Etterlein (140) and Josh Johnson (125).

inherited a team that won only one game in each of the previous two years. Among the standards established by the Eagles were most wins in school history with 17,

Sports Shorts

Moitas at State Meet this weekend Joe and Vince Moita of Clayton each won five consecutive matches last weekend to claim North Coast Section titles and qualify for the seasonending CIF State Wrestling Meet this Friday and Saturday at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. The Moita brothers helped De La Salle High to an overwhelming NCS team title as well, finishing over 100 points ahead of runnerup Granada. Senior Vince Moita will be trying to improve on last year’s third-place podium finish at State Meet as he concludes his high school career before heading off to Brown University this fall. He competed at 103 pounds last year but has moved up to 112 pounds, allowing sophomore brother Joey to earn his first NCS title at 103. Another Spartan wrestler from Clayton, Matt Halick, was eliminated at 160 pounds , ironically, in losses to both East Bay Athletic League grapplers who finished ahead of him at the league meet.

highest winning percentage of .771 (17-4-3 overall mark), most goals scored (73) and fewest goals allowed (22). Goalkeeper and senior team captain Dale Nelson was in the net for 11 shutouts, another school mark. This senior class of Eagles scored 31 goals and had 24 assists this season, with Zarel “Happy” Avila leading the way with 16 goals and eight assists.

DANA HILLS SWIM TEAM REGISTRATION, MARCH 14-24 Dana Hills Swim Team is holding sign-ups starting next weekend, Mar. 14, for the 2010 recreation swim season, which runs from April to August. Boys and girls 18 years and younger of all swim abilities are invited to register for the Otters, who won the 2009 Concord City and Contra Costa Swim League championships. Signups are on Sunday, Mar. 14, and Sunday, Mar. 21, from 12 noon-4 p.m. and on Wednesday, Mar. 24, from 7-9 p.m. at the Dana Hills Cabana on Mountaire Parkway. For more information contact Glen Kaplan by email at glenkap@yahoo.com or visit the team website www.DanaHillsOtters.com.

MT. DIABLO SOCCER FALL REGISTRATION AYSO Region 223 begins registration for its 30th fall league noon-2 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at Mt. Diablo Elementary School, 6880 Mt. Zion Dr., Clayton. Fall registration will continue March 16 and 30 and April 10. The area’s largest youth sports organization is for girls and boys 5-18, and everyone plays. The fall season begins with practice in August, followed by games through the season-ending Mt. Diablo World Cup in October for U10, U12 and U14 age groups. For more information on fees, locations and times, visit mdsoccer.org.

DIABLO FC COMPETITIVE TEAM TRYOUTS Tryouts for the 2010-’11 season will be in April for the older age groups. Boys and girls born between Aug. 1, 1991, and July 31, 1996, are invited to tryout for Under 15 through Under 19 Diablo FC teams. There is no charge to tryout. For specific dates, times and locations and to pre-register, visit diablofc.org. JOHN HALLETT MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT A benefit golf tournament is set for Friday, June, 25, at Boundary Oak Golf Course in Walnut Creek. It honors the memory of Capt. John Hallett, a Concord native killed last August in southern Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife, three young children, his parents and two brothers. Hallett was involved locally with youth soccer, basketball, swimming and Clayton Valley Little League. Proceeds from the tournament will go to the nonprofit Wounded Warriors, which provides programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life. For more information and to register or contribute, visit johnhallett.com.

His classmates in their final year were captains Nelson, Fernando Vesga and Nick Sharapata, Alejandro Chavez, Filomeno Ponce, Nelson Powell and Zachary Punty. The cupboard is anything but bare for Gentry and his assistants, Franco Brunamonti and Loran Davis, as they look ahead to next season. Elisama Padilla tied Avila for the team

lead in goals scored, while Kevin Sanchez was right behind with 13. Joshua Gomez had an incredible 21 assists and eight goals. Padilla, Gomes and Sanchez were the goal scorers in the opening-round 3-1 victory over Newark Memorial and Padilla came back to score both goals in the season-ending 4-2 NCS loss, assisted each time by Gomez.

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Page 12

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Teens approach council seeking bike park TAYLOR TOVREA Clayton Pioneer

Teens who have long outgrown the slides and swings of the jungle gym are forced to settle with chatting idly in groups around downtown. As Mayor Hank Stratford points out, Clayton is home to “an extensive trail system, a great community library, the Grove park and the Clayton Community Park.” Yet activities specifically designed for youth are relatively limited. Sawyer Crane, 14, and his friend Peter Lloyd are attempting to address this issue by going to the City Council seeking a bike park. The De La Salle freshman and his friends asked the

ON FEB. 2, LOCAL TEENS TOOK THEIR the City Council for a third time.

council for land on which they could execute their idea. They were turned away twice by the council, which cited cost and

CASE

for a bike jump park to

liability issues. “They were unresponsive,” said Crane. “I think that they didn’t take us seriously

Unrealistic expectations a recipe for disaster CADY LANG TEEN SPEAK “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” – T.S. Eliot Since early childhood, I’ve observed an over-inflated sense of self in some of my peers. From my preschool education to my current high school years, I am continually amazed that many of my contemporaries possess a false sense of reality concerning their capabilities – or lack thereof. I believe a certain element of self-confidence is necessary for success; however, that self-confidence should be firmly grounded within an acceptance of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Parents and other influential figures in a child’s life will shape how a child views herself; as such, they should not strive to “enable” the child by filling her head with empty compliments and reassurances. Although this may be done in a spirit of love, it may prove detrimental when the child must face the realization that what their parents claimed was untrue. Encouragement of a child’s personal “best” efforts and rational praise for a child’s achievements is both healthy and reasonable. However, telling a child that she is “the best, prettiest, smartest, etc ...” or that she “can do anything” is dishonest and unkind.

Not every child will become a mathematician, professional athlete or a politician, despite earnest efforts. Each individual is given talents and capabilities unique to them. For example, I struggled with piano lessons as a young girl. To be blunt, I have no musical gifts, and there was a certain point when my mother and piano teacher agreed that it would be advantageous for us all if I stopped my lessons. However, my little sister is a skilled musician who plays not only the piano, but also the flute, bells, guitar, harmonica and ukulele. No amount of encouragement could have enabled me to possess the same God-given musical talent with which she has been blessed. Furthermore, it is misleading to tell a child that she is the “smartest,” when in reality, there will always be someone who can surpass her intellectually – just as there will always be someone who is intellectually inferior. What will happen to the child when she discovers that she isn’t the smartest? Of course, this scenario can be applied to any flattery, beauty, athleticism, etc. An inability to acknowledge weaknesses can affect the quality and integrity of one’s work. It may cause the individual to compromise her standards in order to maintain the view of herself with which she has been presented. The thought that many of my generation, possessing this false sense of high self-esteem, will be inevitably leading and caring for our country disturbs

me. My hope is that I will be working alongside individuals who are trying their best but who are also aware of their limitations. A true acknowledgement of personal abilities firmly grounds an individual in reality. It is absolutely necessary that influential figures in a child’s life, such as parents, reinforce realistic ideals and affirm life’s actuality. As I applied to colleges this past fall, I knew that many of the schools were a reach and the chance of my acceptance was slim. However, I decided to apply to those schools with full knowledge that I was not necessarily the most qualified applicant. My mother supported my decision, but she did not reassure me that I would be accepted. This month, I’ll receive notifications from the various schools. As I obtain acceptance and rejection letters, I won’t be devastated if I am unable to attend a particular college. I know my strengths and limitations; if my limitations prevent my entrance into a certain college, then I can accept the fact that it is not the college for me and my abilities. I’d like to think I have a realistic awareness. And I know that what I possess is even better: a mother who loves me enough to keep me grounded in reality. Cady Lang is a senior at Berean Christian High School. She would like to major in English and eventually pursue a career in writing. Email her at cady_lang@claytonpioneer.com

because we’re kids and they thought that we would just go away.” The teens appeared in front of the council for a third time on Feb. 2. Yet again, they received no results. “The challenge, of course, is finding a place and finding the money, especially the money to maintain these facilities,” Stratford explained. “I wish we could simply identify some land and then let those interested build a bike park. Every piece of land we look at, we have to consider the environmental impact on neighbors and on existing plants and animals. We have to consider rain runoff and erosion.” Despite the reaction of the council, the teens are determined to keep working for what they say would be an excellent addition to the community. “A lot of kids like to bike,” Crane noted. The teens say that a bike park, unlike playgrounds, would appeal to kids of all ages. Another positive would be the exercise the kids would willingly participate in – instead of being plopped

down in front of a screen. Crane also spoke of how a bike park could have a positive effect on the use of drugs amongst Clayton youth. Many who participate in recreational drug use do so because they have nothing better to do, Crane says. If a bike park were to be built, the hope is that teens would be too busy enjoying themselves on wheels to indulge in illegal substances. It is for these reasons that Crane and Lloyd refuse to stop fighting. Between meetings, the boys have taken a proactive approach – contacting businesses that build bikes or sell bike parts about sponsoring the park. “I admire the boys’ perseverance,” said the mayor, who is giving their request much consideration. “I am still interested in pursuing the idea because I think a dirt bike park could be built for less money than other facilities and I am not aware of any other bike parks nearby.” “I think it will help many generations in the future,” Crane concluded.

Senior Women unite to help the community PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

“Survival of the Fittest” is just one of many events the Senior Women at Clayton Valley High School conduct to benefit the school and community. This service organization is run by a faculty advisor and a board of female seniors. Their mission is to “unite our community and school to make a better tomorrow,” says vice president Eden Mesfin. Senior Women, along with Senior Men, “are known as the hosts of CVHS,” reports Ashley Poston, fashion show publicity chair. If Clayton Valley students hold a community event, one or both of the Senior Clubs are involved by being directly responsible for the event or supporting another organization. Some examples of their efforts are Oktoberfest, a holiday drive benefiting the

See Sr. Women, page 13

Do you have what it takes to be a leader? In middle school, there are plenty of opportunities to be a leader. However, being a leader can be difficult. People may be afraid of failure or worry about what others will think of them. They may be embarrassed of standing out in a crowd. It can be difficult to get others to agree with you, and the pressure of responsibility can be overwhelming. Although leaders have to put up with challenging situations, just one person can have an impact on a school, a community or country. A leader believes things can happen and believes in him or herself and others. Great leaders influence and help propel people in directions they may or may not want to go. They help persuade others to see opportunities instead of obstacles. Leaders keep their focus,

act responsibly and remain positive. They seek solutions and are unafraid of failure. Leaders can’t be afraid of those who might not like their ideas. They have to allow others to disagree, yet at the same time believe in their causes. Leaders such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi shared similar qualities. They inspired others to work hard to achieve their goals. They embodied all the traits that spark movements and great achievements, such as perseverance, integrity and confidence. They had character. They were willing to stand out and work hard even though it can be challenging. Although middle school has its challenges, I believe the key is to remain focused on the goal – to set a path of checks and balances and

ROBBIE PARKER DVMS REPORTER remain true to your beliefs. Leaders must be willing to listen to others. They must embed their ideas toward an objective without losing the reasons for the movement. Great leaders don’t settle. They do not seek excuses when things go wrong. They stay confident and look for solutions and answers. Leaders persevere, dream big, work hard and don’t quit. They make decisions. Now ask yourself, do you choose to be a leader? Robbie Parker is a seventhgrader at Diablo View. Send comments to Robbie@claytonpioneer.com

School News MT. DIABLO MUSIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION The foundation presents a “Roaring ’20s Mystery” 6-10 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at Pyramid Alehouse, 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek. The fundraiser benefits music programs in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Guests will receive a packet with their character role and a little background information; dressup is optional. Those in attendance will complete tasks, a murder will be committed, evidence will be collected and a winner will be decided by the “Who Dunnit” sheets. “It will be a night full of suspense, fun and entertainment and there will be lots of food and drinks to help the party along,” says Nick Gizzarelli of Pyramid Alehouse. The event is designed for ages 14 and up. Tickets are $40, which includes food and drink. Purchase tickets at brownpapertickets.com. For information on the foundation, visit mdmusicfoundation.org. DIABLO VIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL The Parent Faculty Club is accepting nominations for positions on the Executive Board for the 2010-’11 school year. Positions include president, vice president of education, vice president of fundraising, recording secretary and corresponding secretary. Any position can be shared by two people.

Nominees will be voted in at the May meeting. For more information, contact Alison Bacigalupo at 408-7457 or abacigalupo@comcast.net. CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL The school’s first student art show and competition will also include entries from Diablo View and Pine Hollow middle schools. The event begins at 6 p.m. Friday, March 12, in the CVHS Multi-Use Room, 1101 Alberta Way. At 7 p.m., a speaker program will feature Arik Ehle, a CVHS alumnus and Pixar animator, and Joe Landon, policy director at the California Alliance for Arts Education. That will be followed by a screening of the video award winners. The gallery also will be open 1-4 p.m. Saturday, March 13, with a 2 p.m. awards presentation. Admission is free. For more information, call 682-7474. ST. AGNES SCHOOL The 2010 “Viva Las Vegas” auction will be held 5:30 p.m.-midnight Saturday, March 27, at the Garaventa Center at Carondelet High School, 1133 Winton Dr., Concord. The event includes dinner and silent and live auctions, plus casino-style gaming. Tickets are $35. For more information, call Sandra Bellafronte at 687-2917 or Laurie Mercurio at 671-7577.


March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

Movie Review

‘Island’ a thrilling mystery that fails to rise to greatness DON PEDRO CRUZ

AT

THE

MOVIES

Ever since the surprise endings of “The Sixth Sense” and “Memento,” I always go into any scary mystery movie looking for the twist. Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” is clearly going for the “gotcha!” moment from early on – with haunting flashbacks and dream sequences that slowly form the puzzle pieces of this mysterythriller. All the elements are there for a good scare: a wild storm, the old buildings of a 1950s mental hospital with creepy patients and creepier doctors, a forgotten cemetery and dangerous, windswept cliffs. Into this setting, two U.S. marshals become embroiled in the search for a murderous psycho mom who vanished from her room at the hospital for the criminally insane. Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) walks the line between macho, unshakable exsoldier and vulnerable widower battling his personal demons. Throughout the movie, Teddy wants only to be the hero and solve the mystery, unsure of

Paramount Pictures

U.S. MARSHALS CHUCK AULE (Mark Ruffalo) and Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) take refuge in an old mausoleum. One of many spooky locations they investigate on “Shutter Island.”

whom to trust. Unfortunately, he quickly finds his own grip on sanity unraveling with each bit of truth he reveals. The film does a good job of keeping up the suspense while moving the narrative forward. But I could have done with less of the bizarre dream sequences and more hard-boiled detective work to get to the end. There were enough dark corridors and deranged characters to keep

things sufficiently spooky without the ghostly special effects that fill Teddy’s nightmares constantly interrupting. Although there are some bloody scenes, “Shutter Island” keeps to more psychological scariness than the in-your-face gore and guts of less intelligent scare films. I can’t say I was completely surprised by the outcome, but “Shutter Island” does take a

step beyond the final revelation and briefly explores the bigger impact for Teddy. The point of the movie is not the mystery itself, but what it comes to mean for Teddy after that point, and I found that more satisfying. The last time that Scorsese and DiCaprio teamed up, they scored four Oscar wins – including Best Director and Best Picture – for “The Departed” in 2006. Although this film is well-crafted and includes a great supporting cast, I don’t see it rising to that level. Mark Ruffalo as Teddy’s partner Chuck and Max Von Sydow and Ben Kingsley as two of the doctors at the hospital have some great moments keeping you guessing whether they are good guys or bad guys. It’s a fun, though disturbing, mystery to sit through, but ultimately, the implausible premise will keep this movie from being memorable.

Page 13

Willows Theatre goes retro with ‘Sounds of the ’70s’ GARY CARR Special to the Pioneer

Face it: You feel good in polyester. So, put on your leisure suit, wrap-around skirt and platform shoes and boogie down to 10 years of ground-breaking music. Beginning March 15, the Willows Theatre Company brings back all the glitz and glamour of the go-go, disco, chest hair-andchains decade with the musical revue “8-Track: The Sounds of the ’70s.” Live and onstage, the Willows revives the biggest hits of the Bee Gees, the Carpenters, Marvin Gaye and more. The non-stop cascade of ’70s songs includes “Close to You,” “I Am Woman,” “Lady Marmalade,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “I Write the Songs,” “We Are Family” and “Shake Your Booty.”

“8-Track” plays March 15April 18 at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. For tickets, call 798-1300 or willowstheatre.org.

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“8-Track” was conceived by Rick Seeber and directed by Richard Elliott, with musical direction by Timothy Hanson. Denver-based Seeber started on his “Sounds of the ’70s” project by compiling a list of 300 songs, then honed it down to 50 tunes. “Everyone who grew up in the ’70s will get a trip back,” he says. “But people in their 20s and 30s will know it, too, because the music has never left us.” Notice to twentysomethings: If you want to understand your parents, this is the show to see. Listen closely to the Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight.” Maybe that’s how you got here.

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Book Review

History, religion blend well to tell Shira’s story

CYNTHIA GREGORY

FOR

THE

BOOKS

I used to think that historical novels were for sissies. But over the last couple of years, I’ve stumbled upon several books that have completely absorbed and fascinated me, and I have become a believer. “The Fruit of Her Hands, the Story of Shira of Ashkenaz,” by Michelle Cameron is one such novel. Medieval Europe was not a kind place. Oh sure, we like to attend Renaissance fairs and romanticize the lifestyles of the rich and historically infamous. Realistically, women died in childbirth. Most children born did not survive childhood. You baked your own bread, and grew

your own onions. If it was a bad growing season, you were hungry. Winters were brutal, transportation primitive and a day in the life of the ordinary citizen was an obstacle course to challenge the bravest heart. One such heart belonged to young Shira, the educated and independent daughter of a scholarly rabbi. Her mother died when Shira was very young, and the townsfolk were scandalized that her father let Shira sit in on seminary classes that he taught in their home. The temple elders paid a visit to Shira’s father. “This isn’t right,” they said. “You should marry,” they said. “Get a woman in the house who can take this girl in hand and teach her to be a proper daughter.” Shira was lucky. Her stepmother was a kind soul and they helped each other along. If you haven’t been exposed to the Jewish culture, as I hadn’t been, “The Fruit of Her Hands” will offer a lesson in a deeply spiritual community. The Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the Jewish communities settled along the Rhine in Germany. Grounded in tradition

and rooted in a deep and abiding faith, the Ashkenazi Jews knew their place in relation to their God, even when the world became a foreign place. Shira was raised in Falaise, France, and married to her life partner in Paris, but she eventually raised her family in Germany. Exposed to the rising anti-Semitism of the time, Shira

and Meir ben Baruch stood steadfast in their faith. Shira’s life was probably unexceptional in many ways from any other traditional

daughter, wife, mother, grandmother – except for being forced to whisper their prayers lest they fan the flames of hate, having to wear special garments that identified them as Jews, witnessing the burning of sacred texts in Paris, being arrested in London for the crime of a belief system and house arrest in Germany. Shira was able to withstand it all, with the extraordinary love she shared with her soulmate, Meir. A well-researched novel, “The Fruit of Her Hands” brings vividly to life the challenges women have faced historically. Not only was Shira a wife first and then a mother, but as the spouse of a respected scholar, she was responsible for his students, her family’s and her culture’s well-being – and the flame of her faith, as well. If you’re looking for an inspired read, this is it. Cynthia Gregory has won numerous awards for her short fiction. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train Press, the Red Rock Review, Writer’s Digest, Black River Review, Briarcliff Review, Chicago Tribune, Bon Appetit, and the Herb Quarterly. You can write her at ceegregory@aol.com.

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Sr. Women, from page 12 Volunteer Center of the East Bay, gift wrapping during Christmas at Clayton Books and most recently, Project Haiti. Senior Women supported the French Club in a two-day, classroom-to-classroom effort – raising more than $1,000 for earthquake relief in Haiti. The annual fashion show is the largest Senior Women’s fundraiser. This year’s program is “Survival of the Fittest.” Fashion show chair Laura Nguyen said the group solicited 30 retailers for donations of

current teen fashions for men and women. Fifteen stores are already on board and will donate six to eight outfits each. All models are CVHS students who audition for the program and are chosen based on their walk and confidence. They are allowed to create a dance skit to debut their outfits at the show. The proceeds, ranging from $1,800 to $2,500, go toward three scholarships. The faculty advisor selects winners who exemplify Senior Women’s mission.

Laura says planning the fashion show is “definitely not easy … but is very rewarding.” To join Senior Women, students have to fill out an application and be interviewed. The group is looking for students who genuinely want to help the community and expect the applicant to express a project that would do just that. For example, Ashley would like to be involved with a world organization for children. Laura wants to organize a mini-carnival. Ideal candidates have a high grade-point average, good attendance and participate in school and community events. Each

member has an opportunity to be in a leadership role as chair for a project, where she learns to take charge, identify details and delegate – skills critical to continued success in her education and career. English teacher Hosay Jamili, the club’s advisor, says she has not had to step in at all for this year’s Senior Women. It is “truly refreshing to see these young ladies be independent.”

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Page 14

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

Email scams continue to target unsuspecting

Police Log Two weeks ending February 25, 2010 ACCIDENTS Feb. 21, 12:32 a.m., Marsh Creek Rd. /Diablo View Ln. Hit & run, Property damage. Feb. 25, 10:58 a.m., Oakhurst Dr. /Clayton Rd. Accident, Non-injury.

Feb. 22, 11:16 p.m., Clayton Rd. /Oak St. Driving on a Suspended License, Clayton man, 47. Passenger in car; Warrant Arrest, Fremont woman, 44. Feb. 24, 9:46 p.m., Clayton Rd. DUI Alcohol; Non-Injury Accident, Concord woman, 39. BURGLARIES

ARRESTS Feb. 12, 12:06 a.m., Clayton Rd. /Allegro Ave. Driving on a Suspended License, Concord man, 51. Feb. 12, 11:23 p.m., Oak St. Public Intoxication, Clayton man, 45. Feb. 15, 1:07 p.m., Kenston Dr. Restraining Order Violation, Clayton woman, 32. Feb. 15, 9:00 a.m., Kirker Pass Rd. /Olive Dr. Driving on a Suspended License, Marin County man, 29. Feb. 15, 5:54 p.m., Marsh Creek Rd. /Regency Dr. Driving on a Suspended License, Pittsburg man, 38. Feb. 15, 11:14 p.m., Clayton Rd. /Atchinson Stage Rd. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol; Driving on a Suspended License, Concord woman, 27. Feb 16, 1:10 a.m., Joscolo View. Domestic Battery, Clayton man, 25 and a Clayton woman, 24. Feb. 17, 10:44 p.m., Clayton Rd. Possession of Marijuana, Alamo woman, 18. Feb. 18, 1:35 a.m., Clayton Rd. /Atchinson Stage Rd. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Concord man, 22. Feb 18, 5:47 p.m., Calistoga Way. Warrant, Clovis man, 25.

March 5, 2010

Feb. 15, 7:12 a.m., Rhine Ct. Residential burglary Feb. 18, 9:08 a.m., Petar Ct. Grand theft Feb. 18, 5:32 p.m., Petar Ct. Grand theft Feb. 18, 7:50 p.m., Petar Ct. Vehicle burglary Feb. 19, 6:48 a.m., Kirker Pass Rd. Vehicle burglary Feb. 19, 9:26 a.m., Silverado Ct. Grand theft Feb. 20, 8:32 a.m., Ahwanee Ln. Unauthorized use of a credit card Feb. 20, 11:56 a.m., Black Diamond Trail/Clayton Rd. Vehicle burglary Feb. 22, 9:30 a.m., Clark Creek Circle. Petty theft Feb. 22, 5:03 p.m., Shell Cir. Petty theft Feb. 23, 4:28 p.m., Kenston Dr. Residential burglary Feb. 25, 1:50 p.m., Feather Cir. Petty theft Feb 25, 6:10 p.m., Peacock Dr. Grand theft VANDALISM Feb. 12, morning hours, 14 incidents, car vandalism. Feb 17, 7:06 a.m., Pine Hollow Rd. Feb 25, 2:13 p.m., Roundhill Pl.

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The Clayton Police Department has recently seen a spike in the number of reports from Clayton residents about emails, phone calls and mailings that appear to be attempts to get their personal financial information, credit card information or money. If you receive these types of phone calls, especially from banks or credit card companies, you should never provide your personal information, credit card information, account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers or any other information to anyone who could gain access to your credit card or bank accounts. Valid companies already have your account information and will only ask you to verify a pre-arranged code before you conduct any business with them. These types of scams can take on many forms, limited only by the personality and ingenuity of the thief. Techno-savvy thieves can make all of us vic-

DAN LAWRENCE

FROM

THE

CHIEF

tims of identity theft by simply responding to their emails. For example, the email might ask you for your full name, account number, password, etc., and indicate that if you don’t provide the requested information, your account will be suspended or canceled. These emails will generally ask you to “click” on a link or open an attachment to provide that information. Do not open attachments or click onto links because you might be entering the thief ’s Website or introducing a virus.

In general, never click onto links or open attachments from unknown sources and be cautious when forwarding emails to friends. Other scams are similar to ones coming from Nigeria, where the criminal tells you that you have won a lottery for $200,000. They also tell you that the only way to receive the winnings is to send in a cashier’s check of $2,500 in order to pay the “required taxes.” Many people have fallen victim to this common criminal trick. Also be aware of scams that involve Mother Nature and disasters. Recent scams include those pertaining to the Haiti earthquake, politics, religion, investments and the list goes on and on. Some residents have received phone calls from criminals pretending to represent national magazine companies, requesting that you subscribe or extend your subscription for a particular magazine. I recom-

mend that you conduct your business with these magazine companies on their secured Internet sites or via mail. Victims also have been bamboozled and victimized utilizing Craig’s List or E Bay to sell or purchase items. If you use this type of venue, be cautious so you don’t purchase fake items such as paintings or jewelry. Or, a person with criminal intent may give you a fake check for the items you have for sale. Always be cautious when choosing to meet buyers or sellers. Try to arrange a meeting in very public locations when conducting your business. If you have additional questions, call the Clayton Police Department at 673-7350, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Dan Lawrence is Clayton’s Police Chief. Please send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to see covered to DanL@cpd.ci. concord.ca.us

New Intel CPUs are quicker – and more energy efficient Intel, the giant Silicon Valley chipmaker, has released a slew of new CPUs for notebook computers, and they are spectacular. The new series CPUs are named i3, i5 and i7s, with power ratcheting up with each number. The mobile chips follow the successful release of the i7 for desktops. These new processors give notebooks superb processing capabilities and extended battery life. The chip’s compact design allows it to run without much power, giving notebooks longer battery life. The chip delivers two to three times the throughput of the previous generation Core 2s. The architecture of the new CPU eliminates many of the bottlenecks associated with older models. This new standard allows many more processes to be running, feeding the

CPU with more information faster. Therefore, the “throughput,” or the total amount of work done in a second, is much greater than previous models. Notebook manufacturers are moving to this new CPU as fast as the chips become available. We have been fortunate to test various Acer, Toshiba and Lenovo (IBM) models of i3 and i5s notebooks and we have verified the hype. They are fast and sleek and take maximum advantage of Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system. If you’re into video editing, surfing the Internet or like collecting and playing music, this new breed of notebook is for you. The video is fast and sharp, especially if you get the new “back-light” with LEDs (lightemitting diodes) instead of the older florescent light. There are various technologies behind the speed increase

for the i3, i5 and i7. QPI, or quick path interconnect, is the most prevalent enhancement. QPI allows the processor better access to memory by going directly to the memory, bypassing a separate chip called the Northbridge. The speed of the front side bus (FSB) memory used to be 800-1,333 MHz. With QPI, that has been boosted 10-20 times. The QPI measure metric is different as it no longer uses FSB, but rather a “transactions” based speed so the comparison is not exact. Throughput is the measurement by which modern computers are judged. “In the day,” the clock cycle – or CPU megahertz was the gauge of computer power. Today, it is gig transactions per second or GT/s. The i7 CPU is capable of 6.4 GT/s. Intel has invested $7 billion in the fabrication plant that pro-

WILL CLANEY TECH TALK duces these tiny CPUs. The size of the mobile i3, i5 and i7 CPU has shrunk to 32 nm. To get some perspective, take a human hair and split it about 10,000 times. That is why it takes so little energy to power the chip. For more information about these amazing CPUs, visit a local expert. Let me know what interests you so I can make my articles relevant. Email will@shopcusa.com. Will Claney is the CEO of Computers USA! in the Clayton Station. Contact him at 925-6729989.

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Websites alert when disaster hits The recent tragedies in Haiti An emergency kit is essential and Chile remind us that we live for riding out a disaster. Because in a turbulent world and should local officials and relief workers be prepared if disaster strikes. can’t help everyone immediately, The Internet can help you pro- people should have enough suptect your family, plies to survive on make emergency their own up for preparations and to three days. The keep you updated site recommends on disaster coverpeople stock up age. on water, nonThe Websites I perishable food looked at were items and things mostly run by the like garbage bags government. and flashlights. Each site proReady.gov also MARK FREEMAN vides clear discusses the ON THE NET instructions on importance of what to do if the family emergency worst happens. plans, which Ready.gov is an all-purpose include out-of-town contacts site for those who want to plan and descriptions of each family for any disaster. It encourages member. The site allows you to people to follow a three-step generate a printable plan to process that can help them in an share with family members. emergency: Create an emerStaying informed is the final gency kit, make a family plan part of the emergency planning and stay informed. process. The site lists some The site gives detailed infor- emergency contact information, mation about each of these but I didn’t see numbers for steps and offers additional Contra Costa County. resources like important state Perhaps the best way to stay agency phone numbers. It informed is to subscribe to free shows how you can apply this emergency notifications. You three-step plan to disasters from can sign up for text-message earthquakes to flu pandemics. and email alerts from

California’s Emergency Digital Information Service (EDIS) at edis-by-email.net. EDIS can be customized to give you disaster alerts by county. You can also get information at a more detailed level. The county’s site lets you get emergency voice alerts in your zip code. Register your cell phone at cws.cccounty.us/register.html to receive the messages. That page also lets you receive free text alerts via Twitter. More importantly for California, you can get text and email notifications about earthquake activity from the U.S. Geological Survey at Earthquake.Usgs.gov. Like EDIS, the earthquake notifications can be customized to a particular area. The USGS site is also full of information for those living in earthquake country. It has free handbooks that you can download (in English and Spanish) that describe how to prepare for an earthquake and how to handle one. There are also links to resources that describe what to do before, during and after an earthquake. The site recommends that you check for hazards in your

home before a quake strikes, such as fastening cabinets to walls and securing toxic materials like pesticides. During a quake, it’s best to stay where you are; injuries are more likely to occur if you move. After a quake, you should check for gas leaks and expect aftershocks. If you want to prepare for disasters besides earthquakes, 72hours.org has a list of short tips on disaster-related topics. For one, it gives clear instructions on how to turn off gas valves or what to put in a “Go Bag” in case you have to leave quickly. It also gives suggestions on how to properly store water in a disaster and what kind of nonperishable foods are best. Disasters are difficult, tragic situations. But with the Internet, you can stay aware of what’s happening and be prepared to act if one strikes.

Mark Freeman is a student at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, studying economics and English. He enjoys creative writing and is a reporter for the school paper. Questions/comments can be sent to mfreeman543@gmail.com.


March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

Page 15

It’s not just child’s play — It’s critical to growing up EVA PORTLEY WE CARE CENTER

PARENTING TODAY Whether it was riding bikes, playing with a favorite toy or getting dirty in the mud, we often recall playing when we think of our fondest childhood memories. Play is what children do best and it’s an important part of every child’s development. Through play, children learn to develop cognitive, social, language and motor skills. Play allows children to be creative, problem solve, understand cause and effect, develop memory skills and discover the power of imagination. Most children 0-3 go through three main stages of play. Some may need assistance and to be taught these stages, depending on various factors and situations. One of the first stages is called Object Play. Young children learn to explore their world though the use of their senses -- sound, sight, touch, taste and smell. They learn hand-eye coordination, motor and verbal imitation, listening skills and cause and effect. Concurrently, children learn to interact with others through Social Play. This stage emerges when children play simple games with

parents and caregivers, such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. Later in development, children learn to interact with peers. This stage is critical for children to learn appropriate social interaction skills, how to express emotions, initiate play, sharing and turn-taking along with conversation skills. Children learn through exploration, watching and imitating others. This is why it is important for adults to be mindful of our actions so that children can imitate and model to their peers the positive things that we say and do. Pretend Play/Imaginative Play is a fun and creative stage for children. Here, children learn to pretend that objects are something other than what they really are. Examples of this include a child using a shoe as a phone, a stick as a spoon or a cup as a microphone. They learn role-playing skills and begin pretending to cook, feed a baby and drive a car. Parents are their child’s first teacher. Taking 30 minutes out of the day to read a story to children supports their future academic success. Parents can point to pictures in a book, label objects and ask open-ended questions about people, animals and objects. This stimulates expressive and receptive language and encourages memory and attention skills. With infants and toddlers, parents can encourage floor time and

Church News CLAYTON COMMUNITY CHURCH

LEXIE AND BRENT WAKEFIELD joined more than 180 dads and daughters at Clayton Community Church’s annual Daddy Daughter Dance at Oakhurst Country Club on Feb. 20.

exploration through toys and activities and can encourage siblings and other members of the family to join in the play. It’s important for parents to learn how to have fun with their children. Pretending to be an animal, playing dress-up, hide and seek, using imagination and creativity are all educational. Introduce your child to various

textures – soft, hard, squishy, bumpy, rough or smooth. Most importantly, the role of a parent is to create memories that will last your child a lifetime. Eva Portley is a child development specialist working with special needs children. She holds a BA from UC Davis and is currently working toward a Masters in teaching. Contact her eportley@wecarebmcc.org

Library creates commemorative ornament Join in the 15th birthday celebration for the Clayton Community Library by purchasing a new gold-toned ornament. The ornament, featuring an imprint of the library grounds, is being sold for the first time during the Creekside Arts Celebration on March 5, 6 and 7. Cost is $12, or two for $20. Festival visitors can also purchase T-shirts for $15 and book bags for $10. A special bird barn will be part of the silent auction at the arts celebration. It was crafted out of the wood from the

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antique barn that stood on the library site. During March’s membership drive, join the Clayton Community Library Foundation and receive a free Clayton Cooks cookbook as well as a chance to win a commemorative ornament. Membership is $15 for a family or $30 for contributing members. Funds go directly to buy books and supplies for the library.

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Shackleton, from page 1

CLAYTON VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH “Jesus Phreak,” a one-man comedic play portraying a very unlikely disciple, comes to the church at 7 p.m. March 13. R. Dale Smith portrays a church musician who becomes an outcast for wearing clothes made of two different materials, violating a Biblical prohibition in Leviticus. The play offers a perspective on Christianity and the phenomenon of feeling like an outsider and explores ancient Biblical prohibitions that may not be relevant to modern society, but in a humorous and entertaining manner. Tickets are available at the door, with a suggested donation of $12. The church is at 1578 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. For more information, contact Bill Galstan at 7547739, bnsgalstan@yahoo.com.

Club News CLAYTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY/ CLAYTON VALLEY GARDEN CLUB Volunteers from the Clayton Historical Society were joined by members of the Clayton Valley Garden Club in a recent cleanup of the Clayton Museum’s garden on Main Street. The workers weeded and cut back overgrowth. Another work party will follow shortly to complete the job. The garden is a natural extension of the museum, featuring California native plants, antique farm equipment and the original Clayton jailhouse. The museum is open 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays. Visit claytonhistory.org for details. The Clayton Valley Garden Club meets 7-9 p.m. the second Wednesdays of the month at Diamond Terrace. For more information, go to claytonvalleygardenclub.org.

treacherous, trackless terrain to a whaling station 800 miles away. BACK TO THE DEEP FREEZE In 1922, he once again led an expedition toward the Pole but died of a heart attack and was buried in an icy grave pointing south. His earlier 97-mile effort was the nearest to the pole a Shackleton would get until Scott’s recent duty in the re-supply of Operation Deep Freeze. This generation’s Shackleton touched every continent save Africa, perhaps most notably Antarctica. During Operation Desert Storm, he was deployed to Kuwait. As he maneuvered to get assigned to the re-supply of Operation Deep Freeze at the South Pole, he met with stiff resistance because he was a reserve. “We can’t fight these wars without reservists,” he notes. Scott won out, just as Sir Ernest did when he made a personal visit to the Admiralty to plead his case. From the log of his mind, Scott plays back the entries in a matter-of-fact manner stowing any emotion. “There’s a three-week window when you can enter McMurdo Sound,” Scott reports. Even then, an icebreaker must lead the way for a tanker and a container ship to tie up at the ice pier. This year, the Swedish icebreaker Oden led the way and during the re-supply plied the passageway back and forth, day and night, to keep the way clear. Scott was in charge of the unloading and loading. TEAMING UP WITH SCIENTISTS

Photo by Jesse Cruz

Those on cleanup duty, top row from left, Tami Pierce and Barbara Hill. Front, Dennis Kaump, Linda Cruz, Sue Fletcher, Dan Richardson and Dick Ellis.

To get to where the world turns, Scott flew from McMurdo Station in a C-130 cargo plane with a huge contingent of scientists, intent on studying the climate, the fauna (there is no flora) and Mt. Erebus, a continuously active volcano that is part of the Pacific Rim of Fire. It’s a beautifully menacing presence, breathing out a seething cloud of steam. Deep Freeze was once a Navy operation but was turned over to the National Science

Foundation. The scientists are from all over and half are women. There is, in fact, a pole at the South Pole. It’s candy-striped and topped by a mind reader’s shiny orb, eerily mirroring and distorting the surroundings. There, you could stand astride the earth, one insulated boot on the Greenwich Meridian, the other on the International Date Line. At last, Scott stood at the pole and paused. To push the camera shutter button, he took a glove off, “… for one minute and 20 seconds,” and it got frostbitten. MAKING MEMORIES Scott flew 10 American flags at the South Pole and they froze straight out. He handled them gently, brought them back, laid them across his pool table and folded them in the traditional triangle, a few white stars showing in a field of blue. To make the most of his experience, he changed tables for each meal at McMurdo Station. “Everybody has a South Pole story,” says Scott. He relates one told by an old hand about an expedition running out of food, forcing them to kill and eat their dogs. He said he had photos of a man eating and crying. Other signs of a weary existence can be found at Scott’s Hut. But it isn’t Shackleton’s; it belonged to explorer Robert Falconer Scott. All is preserved in ice – tins of biscuits, cartons of oatmeal, a seal outside the door and pigs’ heads inside. On a few blessed days, the wind relents, the fog lifts, the ocean is chill blue and the surrounding mountains are pure white in the crystalline air. Then, talk stops. The profound cliché has it that explorers go to a unique place “because it’s there.” Scott went there because his hero almost got there. The Pioneer welcomes Harry Stoll to the staff. Stoll has many years experience writing for local and independent publications. Email him at harry@claytonpioneer.com

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Page 16

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Clayton Community Calendar PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR CLAYTON COMMUNITY CALENDAR EVENTS BY 5 P.M. MAR. 8 FOR THE MARCH 19 ISSUE. ITEMS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL TO calendar@claytonpioneer.com

EVENTS/ENTERTAINMENT March 5-28 “Glorious Sunset” Onstage Theatre’s audience participation mystery by Lafayette resident David E. Harris. $15-$18. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943-SHOW. March 12-13 Clayton Valley High School Arts Expo Also includes entries from Diablo View and Pine Hollow middle schools. Gallery opens 6 p.m. March 12. Arik Ehle of Pixar and Joe Landon of the California Alliance for Arts Education will speak at 7 p.m. March 12. Gallery also open 1-4 p.m. March 13. Free admission. CVHS Multi Use Room, 1101 Alberta Way, Concord. 682-7474. March 12 Second Friday Concert Series Featuring harpist Dominique Piana and baritone Greg Allen Friedman. Donation is $10 per adult, $5 for children under 12 and $25 per family. Free childcare. 7:30 pm, Walnut Avenue United Methodist Church, 260 Walnut Ave., Walnut Creek. 2ndfridayconcertseries@walnutavenueumc.org. March 15-April 18 “8-Track: The Sounds of the ’70s” A non-stop cascade of ’70s song by the Willows Theatre Company. 636 Ward St., Martinez. 798-1300 or willowstheatre.org. March 18 Civic Arts Jazz Band Old favorites, forgotten gems and a new work, “Bill’s Riff” by Bill Ross and Mike Rose. $10. 7:30 p.m., Shadelands Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek. 943-5846.

March 24 Spaghetti Feed Sponsored by the Clayton American Association of University Women. 5-8 p.m., Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Contact Judy at 858-5223. Through April 15 Diablo View Middle School/H&R Block The Parent Faculty Club receives $25 for every return prepared through the program. Parents can receive $25 off tax returns. Faculty and staff are offered a flat rate, while student returns are free. Coupons at the school office, 300 Diablo View Lane. Or hrblock.com/cmpgn/office/schoolhouse.html.

EASTER March 28 Egg Hunt Free. 12:30 p.m., Clayton Community Gym, 700 Gym Court. 889-1600.

CLASSES/SEMINARS March 7 “Transforming Environments from the Inside” A DVD with Arthur Lyon Dahl, who will discuss how climate change and the financial crisis are symptoms of an unsustainable world economy hitting planetary limits. He sees the chaos as an opportunity to provide spiritual and intellectual leadership to transform the world from the inside out. Free. 11 a.m., Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. 672-1095. March 24 Emergency Preparedness Seminar An overview on emergency preparedness sponsored by the Clayton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Free. 7 p.m., Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. RSVP at 673-7355. Starts April 7 Community Emergency Response Team Training A six-week session on fire suppression, medical operations, light search and rescue and disaster psychology. 6:30 p.m., Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. 673-7355 or claytoncert.org.

MEETINGS March 9, 23 Clayton Planning Commission 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 6737304 or ci.clayton.ca.us. March 9, 23 Mt. Diablo Unified School District 7:30 p.m., 1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord. mdusd.org. March 10 DVMS Parent Faculty Club 7 p.m., Diablo View Middle School Library, 300 Diablo View Lane, Clayton. 672-4241 March 19-21 “The Vagina Monologues” V-Day Lafayette presents Eve Ensler’s play to benefit the Gretta Foundation. 8 p.m. March 19-20, $50. Soroptimist 2 p.m. matinee March 21, $40. Reception and open seating one hour prior to each performance. Lafayette Veterans Hall, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. grettafoundation.org/vday.htm. For tickets to Soroptimist event, contact Jay-Marie at 586-9132 or jmgins@pacbell.net.

March 16 Clayton City Council 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 6737304 or ci.clayton.ca.us.

March 20-21 Quilt Show Sponsored by the Guild of Quilters of Contra Costa. $6, or $10 for both days. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 20 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 21, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. 6839094 or contracostaquiltguild.org.

March 5-7 Creekside Arts Celebration With the theme “A Community Comes Together … Arts, Culture and Nature.” 6-8:30 p.m. March 5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 6 and 1-5 p.m. March 7. Creeksideartists.org.

April 1-May1 “Noises Off” Diabolically constructed, relentlessly clever and mercilessly hilarious. Center REPertory Company, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14.50-$41. CenterREP.org or 943-7469.

March 10 Elder Care Lecture How does a family evaluate when an elder is at risk living alone? Topics include what to consider when evaluating placement for an elder, caregiving options and trends in elder care. Presented by Vicki Bellingham of Eldercare Services. 7 p.m.

May 20-June 26 “The Noel Coward Celebration” The Bay Area premiere of an evening of song and sparkling repartee. $18-$45. Center REPertory Company, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. CenterREP.org or 943-7469.

FUNDRAISERS March 6 Mardi Gras Dinner To benefit the Clayton Valley High School Music Boosters. $15. 6-8:30 p.m., Multi-Use Room, 1101 Alberta Way, Concord. For dinner tickets, claytonbands.org or linminmailboxmusic@yahoo.com. For raffle tickets, cvhsmusic@gmail.com. March 6 “Roaring ’20s Mystery” A murder will be committed, evidence will be collected and a winner will be decided. Sponsored by the Mt. Diablo Music Education Foundation to support music programs in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. For ages 14 and up. $40. 6-10 p.m., Pyramid Alehouse, 1410 Locust St., Walnut Creek. brownpapertickets.com of mdmusicfoundation.org.

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Most programs are free. 673-0659 or clayton-library.org.

March 11 Storytelling With Laura Numeroff, author of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” Sponsored by the Clayton Community Library Foundation and Clayton Books. 10 a.m. March 11 “Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss” Tony Borders offers ventriloquism and magic to celebrate the author's birthday. For all ages. 4 p.m. March 15 “Behind the Barbed Wire” Author John Keibel gives an illustrated talk about the Concord Naval Weapons Station. 7 p.m.

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.

Special Museum Exhibit now through March 24 at the Clayton Museum, 6101 Main Street. Hours: Sunday and Wednesday from 2-4. Website: www.claytonhistory.org:

Dressing Up For Going Out Hats, Gloves and Accessories from the 1930s and 1940s From the Collection of Sue Fletcher Clayton Valley Garden Club Meets 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month, Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. The March 10 speaker is Penny Rose speaking on understanding plantings and their roots. Contact Nancy at 673-3522 or claytonvalleygardenclub.org. 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. At 10:30 a.m. March 23, Dan Ashley of ABC7 will speak on “Ratings and Responsibility: The Challenge of Television News.” 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. Concord Stompers Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Mt. Diablo Women’s Club, 1700 Farm Bureau Road, Concord. Call Jennie at 672-9676 or angelfire.com/id/stompers. Contra Costa Chess Club Meets 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursdays, Starbuck’s, 1536 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. Players of all ages and skill levels welcome. Contact Mike at 639-1987 or uschess.org. Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society Meets 7:30 p.m. second Monday of the month, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. 779-0698 or ccmgs.org. Creekside Artists Guild Meets 7-8:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month, Clayton Library Story Room, 6125 Clayton Road, Clayton. All artforms and both emerging and experienced artists welcome. Contact Arlene at 673-9777 or nielsenjanc@aol.com. Creeksideartists.org. 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 dvdems.org. Diablo Valley Macintosh Users Group Meets 6:30-9 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month. Bancroft Elementary School, 2700 Parish Dr., Walnut Creek. 689-1155 or dvmug.org. East Bay Prospectors Club Meets 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month, Gold Pan California, 1021 Detroit Ave., Unit D, Concord. Clayton resident Doug Junghans is president. eastbaygpaa.webs.com or 672-1863. Knights Of Columbus, Concord Council 6038 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 kofc6038.org. Rotary Club of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Meets 7 a.m. Thursdays, Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. Includes breakfast and a speaker. Contact Chuck at 689-7640 or claytonvalleyrotary.org. Scrabble Club Meets 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. second and fourth Saturdays of the month, Carl’s Jr. Restaurant, 1530 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. All ages and skill levels welcome. $3 fee. Call Mike at 6391987 or scrabble-assoc.com. Sons In Retirement (SIRs) 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. Soroptimist International of Diablo Vista 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. 6722727. 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 lori@lorihagge.com.


March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Arts, from page 1 know,” she reports. “And sometimes I trade for things.” That’s where her art and her career come together in the most natural of ways. For the last 10 years, she’s been striving to convince people that cold hard cash isn’t the only way to run a business. “Californians are so stuck on wanting cash because they don’t understand,” DeSousa says, noting that trading is common in Europe and South America and even in this country’s farm belt. For example, she’s traded for dental work and car repairs. “It’s 10 times easier to make a trade sale then a cash sale. You don’t have to get cash – you just have to get something you want,” she adds. “People love to trade for craft items, especially if they’re quality.” DeSousa’s involvement in the Clayton Creekside Artists Guild is another extension of her community philosophy. “As a group, we’re trying to help each other with resources and to

promote our work,” she says. Clayton photographer Leo Schindler’s vision of community is sometimes much more narrowly focused – as in being at one with nature. At this weekend’s show, he will display three photographic landscapes of Contra Costa hills. Most of his favorites, however, are Sierra scenics. “A lot of my photos are from solo backpacking trips in places that not too many people see,” he notes. While moving from slide film in the ’70s to today’s digital technology, he always strives to find a rhythm in his work. “There’s got to be a movement or flow to it – like the bend of the trees.” All the while, Schindler doesn’t dismiss the awe of the natural world. “I find it exhilarating and, at the same time, it’s intimidating because I’m by myself and three to five days from a trailhead.”

Demonstrations, entertainment round out arts celebration The seventh annual Creekside Arts Celebration will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, March 5; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 6; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, March 7; at the Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road. The free event explores cultural diversity through the arts and raise funds for environmental education programs in the library’s certified wildlife habitat. Highlights include interactive visual and performing arts and entertainment for all ages, art sales and workshops, cultural performances, storytelling, poetry, authors and environmental education groups. A juried art contest awards artists who creatively interpret this year’s theme, “A Community Comes Together … Arts, Culture and Nature.” Throughout the weekend, visitors can vote for the People’s Choice award. Here is a schedule of events:

Friday 6-8:30 p.m. Opening reception with appetizers. 6:30 p.m. Join a Creekside Artists Guild member and paint or sketch a Eurasian eagle owl. 7 p.m. Jazz music with Bonafide. 7:30 p.m. Awards presentation.

Page 17

Flirting with Iron Chef-style contest

LINDA WYNER

FOOD

FOR

THOUGHT

Almost all foodies know about “Iron Chef America,” a Japanese TV show adapted for American audiences by the Food Network five or six years ago. The concept is based on a cooking competition pitting a contender chef against one of the Iron Chef regulars on the show. For instance, John Besh, a New Orleans superstar chef, had an opportunity to test his chops (literally and figuratively) against his choice of Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora or Michael Symon. The competition focuses on a secret ingredient. Most viewers might think it’s a real surprise, but the chefs know they will be using one of five ingredients during the competition – they just won’t know which one until it is revealed during the show. To add tension, the contenders must create four, sometimes five, dishes featuring the secret ingredient within one hour. Their creations are judged by a panel of three celebrities from the TV, movie or food industry, who rated on plating, originality and taste.

I had my first opportunity to compete on a local (and far less prestigious and pretentious) level recently at a resort in Palm Springs. My fellow competitors and I were each given a can of black beans as the secret ingredient and we had one hour to prepare something using only the ingredients we had back in our respective timeshare units. I figured that my opponents would fix one, or possibly two items, with the beans, so I wanted to stretch to make a full, threecourse spread of appetizer, main dish and dessert. I immediately seized on the idea of a spicy dish or two. I’ve had black bean chili, so the main dish was a slam dunk, and I thought the beans would go well as part of a veggie salsa as the starter. Keeping in mind that I didn’t have the precise ingredients I might otherwise use in these dishes, this is what I created. BLACK BEAN SALSA ½ c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained 1 T. diced tomato 1 T. minced onion ½ Serrano pepper, minced 1 T. minced cilantro 1 T. minced celery Garlic salt to taste Cayenne pepper to taste Stir together all ingredients except garlic salt and cayenne. Add a few shakes of garlic salt and a dash or two of cayenne pepper and taste. Add more of either until the right balance of flavor and heat is reached to your preference. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and serve with tortilla chips.

BLACK BEAN CHILI 2 strips bacon 2 T. minced onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained 1 T. prepared chili sauce (egg. Heinz) ¼-½ c. beer ½ Serrano pepper, minced ½ tsp. ground cumin (optional) ½ oz. dark chocolate or cocoa (optional) Salt Cayenne pepper In a small skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels and crumble when cool. Add the onion and garlic to 1 T. reserved bacon fat and sauté for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Garnish with grated cheese. I put off thinking about dessert until I had about 20 minutes left to cook. I remembered Chinese sweet bean paste and wondered if 2 T. mashed

black beans would taste good mixed with 1-1 tsp. honey. I spooned the resulting sauce over pain perdu (French toast squares) and voila – dessert! I guess it wasn’t a fair fight, because I always travel with several kitchen tools and lots of spices and other ingredients. I mean, why not cook on vacation when you have a perfectly good kitchen available? In truth, we all compete in Iron Chef competitions to some extent every time we create a meal. We look to see what’s in the fridge or what’s fresh at the grocery store, and then try to figure out what to do with it. Success comes from knowing what flavors and textures you have to work with and what else you have on hand to make a tasty dish. Why not be your own Iron Chef this week!

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 lwyner@claytonpioneer.com

PG&E meteorologists read the weather, not meters

Saturday 10 a.m. Clayton Community Library Foundation annual meeting and cake for the library’s 15th birthday. 11 a.m. Cultural storytelling, crafts and face painting. 1-4 p.m. Rock painting. 2 p.m. Recyclable art demonstration. 2:30 p.m. Monoprint demonstration. 3 p.m. A presentation on the Miwok tribe, followed by an interpretive tour with photo opportunities. 4 p.m. Improv workshop with ClaytonArts Academy students. 4:30 p.m. Clayton Valley High School choir.

Sunday 1 p.m. Performance poetry. 2 p.m. Japanese drumming with Diablo Taiko. 2:30 p.m. The Brazilian percussion group Samba Na Chuva. 3 p.m. Keyboard and vocals with Jim Hudak. 3:30 p.m. Open jam session. 4 p.m. People’s Choice award. For more information, contact Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen at 673-9777 or visit claytonlibrary.org.

I can help you reach your milestones and all the mile-pebbles

When people hear that I am a meteorologist, they invariably ask: “On what channel?” When I tell them I work for PG&E, it begins another series of questions – starting with: “Why does PG&E need meteorologists?” Weather affects PG&E operations and planning in several ways, and the company has operated a weather forecast office at its headquarters in San Francisco since 1937. Knowledge of temperature trends, in both short-term and long-term time frames, is important for a company that delivers gas and electricity. During summer, the primary residential use of electricity is air conditioning. As temperatures climb, electric demand increases. Similarly, gas demand

increases as temperatures get colder in the winter. Company weather forecasters provide hourly temperature forecasts for various locations in the PG&E service area. The information is used by the electric and gas departments responsible for ensuring that there is an ample supply of energy available to customers every hour of every day. In addition to temperature forecasts for energy demand, rainfall and wind forecasts are also prepared by the forecast office staff. PG&E operates several generating stations that are fueled by hydro power. Rainfall forecasts allow water management staff to develop generation schedules. Wind forecasts are use to provide

energy procurement staff an estimate of wind power availability on an hourly basis. Strong winter wind storms can result in downed power lines. PG&E meteorologists use specially designed models to predict where and when power outages may occur. Emergency planning personnel use these forecasts to schedule resources so that restoration activities can be safely and quickly implemented. Weather analyses are used for many utility planning studies. For example, gas and electric planners use weather data to determine future energy needs. The design and location of future gas and electric distribution facilities are dependent on expected load growth, which is a

WOODY WHITLATCH WEATHER WORDS function of temperature and other variables. Over the years, I have answered questions about the role of meteorology and PG&E hundreds of times, but one chance encounter stands out. Many years ago, I was a student intern at PG&E and commuted to work on BART. One morning, I was doing some homework when a woman sat next to me and decided to strike up a conversation. She asked if I was commuting to school. I replied I was on my

See Weather, page 18

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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Minimizing water use key to this year’s gardens

NICOLE HACKETT

GARDEN GIRL Water-wise groundcovers and lawn substitutes will be all the rage this planting season. While Clayton Valley has had some nice rain, responsible planting is still important for our gardens today and in the future. Minimizing large lawn areas

with the installation of groundcover adds dimension and interest to landscapes. Groundcovers that are used as lawn substitutes will save many gallons of water, thus saving the homeowner money. It’s a simple fact: Plants use less water than lawns. Therefore, you will not have to skimp on curb appeal when saving water. Groundcovers and lawn substitutes have come a long way. Many great plants are easily available, and you can achieve a fabulous look without all the water and care. A GREVILLEA GEM Grevillea lanigera “Coastal Gem” is a clean, tidy form of grevillea. This evergreen loves full sun and takes very little water once established. Coastal

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Gem is unique because the branches have leaves covering the entire stem and it grows like wandering cones of leaves. Blossoms appear late summer and stay true during the winter and much of the spring. Hummingbirds love this bloom’s shape. Coastal Gem can reach 18 inches tall and almost 4 feet wide. This evergreen is exceptional. The leaves are soft, unlike other grevillea you may have experienced. Osteospermum is generically called African Daisy. This plant is truly a dime a dozen. You can find it anywhere, yet it is quite valuable in any Clayton Valley landscape. The flowers are familiar to anyone who takes a moment to stop and smell the roses. Dark green, oval, narrow leaves build small pillows in the yard. The daisy-shaped flowers can almost cover the entire plant, exposing not one leaf. Sparkler is a commonly seen selection of African Daisy. Deep purple centers contrast the crisp white petals. This groundcover will pile 12-18 inches tall and about 4 feet wide. Sunny Philip is a more unique selection of African Daisy. The color is the same as Sparkler, but the petals form a spoon at their tips. The white flowers add punch to a typical Clayton Valley garden, which is full of purples and blues. Plant along with Mexican Sage or Midnight Penstemon for a marvelous combination. There are other selections of Osteospermum, so choose one that fits your color palette. Ceanothus “Carmel Creeper” is for the garden that needs a wider plant. This hardy evergreen reaches 1 foot tall and may spread 5-6 feet. Woody by nature, this evergreen should be planted where you don’t have to prune. Those with sloping yards would benefit from this California native hybrid. Dark oval leaves are lush all season long, and the dark blue, lilac-shaped flowers are traffic stoppers during the spring. Carmel Creeper doesn’t look like much when you buy it in the one-gallon can, but don’t let the size fool you – you’ll need to space this plant out. Planted beneath “Natchez” Crape Myrtle, Carmel Creeper would be an interesting, easy,

very low water easement. LIKELY LAWN SUBSTITUTES Myoporum parvifolium is an excellent lawn substitute. The foliage of this evergreen is on the lighter side of green. During the summer, expect Myoporum to be covered with tiny white flowers. When you see this plant in the nursery, it doesn’t look like much, but once it gets going – look out. After a couple of years, that 4-inch pot you planted in full sun will be about 6 inches tall and 9 feet wide. Myoporum has small roots that wander as it grows, so drip systems will not be enough water. Keep your sprays and water every 3-4 days for about five minutes. This evergreen’s roots are very shallow, so it doesn’t take much to get the water where it needs to be. As another bonus, Myoporum attracts lots of honeybees when blooming. Dymondia margaretae is another excellent lawn substitute on a small scale. This evergreen loves the sun and needs well-drained soil. During long periods of rain, this evergreen may rot out in spots. But as soon as the weather dries, it easily repairs and thrives. The foliage of the Dymondia is icy, gray silver, and it’ll form a mat where it’s planted. You can also use it along stepping stones. Dymondia looks like small blades of gray grass and would be great planted with any of the fancy phormiums for an interesting contrast. CUTE AND CUDDLY Those who crave the cottage-style garden can still have water-wise groundcovers. Scaevola Mauve Clusters is a feminine and fabulous landscape selection for any sun to part-sun spot in your Clayton Valley landscape. Green leaves are lined with half fans of lilac-purple blooms. This evergreen can grow about 6 inches tall and 30 inches wide. It is a smaller scale groundcover, so you’ll have to buy a few to cover a spot. Install this plant every 3-4 feet for coverage. Geranium incanum “Sugar Plum” is another garden thriller. Sugar Plum has ferny, threadlike foliage that billows through any area. It is not picky about soil or sun expo-

sure and blooms its happy purple flowers everywhere. Once you have planted this perennial groundcover, you’ll have it forever. It will even pop up in places that you did not intend. Sugar Plum travels by underground runners. If you do not like where it plants itself, just rip it out. If you like the Mediterranean look of succulents, Senecio mandraliscae is your plant. Icy blue fingershaped leaves face toward the sun. This groundcover thrives with little summer water, and it will spread fast through beds. Plant alongside Leucadendron and lavender for great landscape interest. When Senecio tries to bloom, you should be the

judge if the flower is right for you. I remove the flower stems right before the buds open because I think the flowers look like dandelions. There are other plants to consider for groundcover and lawn substitute situations – the thyme family, dwarf morning glories and matting yarrow, for example. When shopping for groundcover, know your potential dimensions, your needs and the sun exposure. You’ll definitely find one that pleases you. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden Contact her with questions, comments or suggestions at gardengirl@claytonpioneer.com

Pioneer Photo Album This photo was taken by Ray Nilson in front of his home on Four Oaks Lane in Clayton as crews were completing the installation of cell phone equipment. “The project took about two years to complete,” notes Ray. “The base of the tower is about 100 feet from my front door.”

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 album@claytonpioneer.com with a description of the photo, where and when it was taken and a little about why you like it. Include your name and phone number. Then look for it in the next Pioneer.

Weather, from page 17 way to work in San Francisco, but I did attend school in San Jose. She wondered what kind of math problems I was working on, and I stated: “Calculus.” After I told her I worked in the meteorology department at PG&E, she exclaimed: “Wow! I didn’t realize you had to know that much math to read those meters.” I didn’t have the heart to explain that meteorologists don’t read meters. However, meteorologists do provide PG&E with information that insures there is a supply of power to make those meters function.

Sunday March 14

Your consideration to RSVP would be greatly appreciated 925-588-5226 (or) deborah@art4haiti.org

Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist with PG&E. Email your questions or comments to clayton_909@yahoo.com


March 5, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 19

Fleas less likely these days, but vigilance still required

MARYBETH RYMER,

PAWS

AND

DVM

CLAWS

Over the last decade, fleas have been on the decline. It is rare now days that I see a fleainfested animal. As a veterinarian in the ’80s, I spent the majority of my day reviewing the many levels of flea control – baths, dips, flea collars and powder as well as environmental treatment with household sprays, yard sprays, powders, flea bombs and lots of vacuuming. Most of these products were organophosphatebased pesticides, toxic to both humans and animals. With the advent of newer and safer products, veterinarians can spend our time on internal medicine and surgery issues. But there is still the risk of flea infestations and transmission of diseases to our pets and our families. PROBLEM CAN GROW QUICKLY Flea season starts early spring and hits its peak late in the summer to early fall. As our days become longer and start to warm up, flea eggs start to hatch. Within a couple weeks, these eggs will hatch into larvae

which pupate into adult fleas. These fleas are hungry and will seek out a warm body for a blood meal. Then, a female flea can lay 30-50 eggs per day. These eggs will fall off your pet onto your couch, bedding, carpets and yard. In a month, 25 fleas can become 250,000 or more fleas. Flea allergy dermatitis is the most obvious side effect of biting fleas. Allergic signs are inflamed skin with small red bumps at the site of the bite, itchiness and eventual infection, crusts and hair loss. Small black specks in the fur indicate flea infestation. This flea dirt, or feces, is what is left after digestion of a blood meal. As this dirt dissolves during a bath, it will turn the water red. When covered with blooddrawing fleas, an animal can become anemic and die from blood loss. If the pet has a healthy bone marrow, these red blood cells can regenerate quickly after elimination of the fleas. Often a blood transfusion is needed. FLEAS SPREAD DISEASE Fleas play an important part in the transmission of Bartonella, or cat scratch disease (CSD), in humans. Prevention of CSD begins with scrupulous and effective flea control. Human infection from cat scratches will not occur unless injuries are contaminated with flea feces. Bartonella is more likely to occur in free-roaming

cats, young cats and those from multiple-cat populations. Fleas are also suspected in the transmission of mycoplasma infections or Hemobartonellosis. These organisms invade red blood cells, creating severe anemia as the cells are

destroyed. Both diseases can be treated with antibiotics. Where there are fleas, there will also be tapeworms. Fleas are an intermediate host to tapeworms. Tapeworms are diagnosed by seeing the tell-tail “rice” segments around your pet’s anus or on the stool. These are egg sacks, which dry and release hundreds of eggs that are eaten by the fleas, restarting the cycle. Along with an injection or tablet for treatment, we now have a spot-on to administer to your pet to kill the worms. But the best treatment is to prevent the fleas. HOST OF NEW PRODUCTS In the ’90s, one of the first products to impact flea control was Program. This oral medica-

Franny and Sweet Potatoes are ARF’s Adoption Stars Sweet Potatoes is a social girl who loves to be wherever you are. She loves to chat and will meow for your love. Sweet Potatoes must live indoors only. 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)

blood stream, requiring that the flea take a blood meal to ingest the pesticide. Some have growth inhibitors for treating the environment as well. But remember, if you have a large flea infestation, you may still need to do some spraying for an initial immediate knockdown of the flea population. I prefer the topical nonabsorbed spot-ons with growth

inhibitors such as Frontline Plus for dogs and the absorbed spoton Revolution for cats because it will also prevent heartworm disease, ear mites and some intestinal parasites. Consult your veterinarian about which flea product best suits your pet’s lifestyle. Marybeth Rymer, DVM, can be reached at Monte Vista Animal Hospital, Concord. 672-1100.

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tion controls infestations by preventing the eggs from hatching. Initially, Program did wonders by dramatically reducing the flea population. But with time, we realized that since the adults were not killed and were still biting, pets were still itching – particularly flea-allergic pets. Two revolutionary products came on the market, the spot-ons Advantage and Frontline Top Spot. These products are applied directly on the skin from a small tube. They disperse through the coat within 24 hours, killing the fleas. They are not absorbed into the body. Both control fleas with a monthly application. Frontline will also control ticks. These products kill the fleas generally before they bite. Products of the last decade include an array of spot-ons and oral medications. Some are safe for dogs but toxic to cats so cannot be used in a household with cats. Some repel fleas, while others kill them. Some enter the

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Page 20

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

March 5, 2010

Time to Get Fit and Stay Fit

MIKE MONAHAN Snap Fitness One of the great things about working in a gym is the opportunity to see folks from all walks of life come together in one place with a common goal to look and feel better. We meet as many people who have never exercised regularly as those who have practiced fitness their entire lives. If

Start here for help Christina P. Mason D.D.S. A Friendly Dental Office is proud to serve patients in our community. Through continuing education and state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to offer you and your family the high level of care you’re looking for. Our team will give you a warm welcome and ongoing commitment to your dental health. Christina Mason DDS is firmly committed to providing extremely gentle and comfortable dentistry, especially to those who have had unfortunate dental experiences in the past. Call for an appointment (925) 672-1559

Bella Mia Spa Where Life is Beautiful Come let us pamper your mind, body and spirit in our

you’ve been thinking that you should start a fitness plan, here are a few ideas to get you started. Once you make the decision to begin an exercise routine, the key is to start slow. It’s easy to jump in with both feet with the intention of going allout on a new program, only to overdo it and feel sore and exhausted. More often than not, this will de-motivate you. At the most basic level,

luxurious day spa. Our massage therapy and spa treatments are of the highest quality and are customized to your personal needs. We specialize in professional skin care providing facials, manicures, pedicures waxing microdermabraision, cellulite treatments, air brush tanning and body wraps. Our friendly staff is waiting to guide you through a journey of total relaxation. (925) 680-7792.

Butterfly CLAYTON Women’s Fitness Center We are the only all women’s fitness center in the Concord/Clayton area that features weight resistant machines, free weights, personal training, weight loss and Yoga along with over 50 different exercise classes. C.A Reyner is our Yoga instructor; Beth Tomei is a personal trainer and also specializes in weight management. Coming soon, CarrieLeigh Schindley, known fitness

start with a stroll around the neighborhood or on one of our fantastic trails. Gradually increase the distance and pace of your steps. After the first few trips, you will start to feel the difference and the desire to do more will increase. Pick up an inexpensive pedometer to count your steps, then try to increase your count every time you go out. Finding an exercise partner is always a great way to stay motivated. It’s pretty easy to find a neighbor, family member or friend who would like to join you. Swimming, biking or anything else that gets your heart pumping is also a great way to get going. If you’re ready to join a gym, there are a lot of great options in our community – from small neighborhood gyms to large fitness centers. Take a quick tour of each one and see which feels right for you. You will want to find a place that you look forward to visiting. Most facilities will offer a free trial. Gyms are a great option for a number of reasons. They have a variety of machines and weight-training equipment, so you can mix up your workouts to make them more interesting. You folks with the old Nordic Track in the garage

know what I mean. Exercising in a place with others will provide a social element to your fitness routine and you can pick up some great ideas from fellow exercisers. Perhaps you are what I call a “gymtrovert” and prefer to work out alone when the gym is quiet. If you have some schedule flexibility, there are slow times at the gym where you can have a lot of space to yourself. Gyms have staff that can show you how to use equipment properly to avoid injury, as well as give you the occasional pep talk. Another benefit is that you don’t have to worry about the weather. Classes are another great way to get in shape. Aerobics, Pilates, yoga, martial arts – they’re all available near Clayton. Remember, a program of fitness and diet it not a prison sentence – it’s an exciting opportunity to make a positive change. It doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be expensive. And it’s something you can do to treat yourself to a life of feeling great. I am constantly inspired by the people I meet in our community who have made these changes over great obstacles. If they can do it, you can too.

instructor with over 10 years experience specializing in personal training and Group EX instruction. (925) 672-4238.

downtown Clayton! We’ll show you how to make feeling good a way of life. Whatever your fitness level, we have something for you in a safe, clean environment. Work out when YOU want to – we’re open 4 a.m. to midnight, 365 days a year! Stop by, meet our friendly staff, and take advantage of our anniversary offers! Be Well! (925) 693-0110.

GIA Wellness Gia’s bio-energetic wellness products empower personal health, reverse the effects of premature aging, and energetically safeguard us from day-to-day stress, and environmental toxins, especially electromagnetic radiation. Find out what it means to be optimally hydrated, positively energized and deeply nourished. Learn how to diversify your income and be part of this ground-floor growth opportunity, while at the same time making a real difference in the lives of others and living a life you truly love. Contact Michelle Ortiz (925) 383-1876.

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MAR 05 Clayton Pioneer 2010.pdf