Page 1


May 21, 2010


Triple play launches summer in May

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

THREE BIG COMMUNITY EVENTS ON MAY 8 SIGNALED THE START OF THE SUMMER SEASON IN CLAYTON. Left: The Farmers Market opened with the season’s first fresh produce. Center: Bonus garden on the Garden’s Tour included the historical Frank Family Farm and home of Charmetta Mann who operated a daycare on the farm for many years. She is shown here with Max Marcil on the ship that Marcil and the other children built on the property. Right: Rain-weary Claytonians turned out in droves for the season’s first Concert in the Park. See the full story and more photos on page 2.

Time to recall wars’ heroes




In 1943, Oral Clark Lee (known as O.C. by many) left his young wife and baby daughter to serve in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Most of his military service was spent in Guam as an airplane mechanic. At the conclusion of the war, my grandfather was reunited with his young family. Many years later, while touring his hometown of Brigham City, Utah, I remember my grandfa-

ther pointing out the childhood homes of his friends who did not return from the war. As Memorial Day approaches, I can’t help but feel grateful for and indebted to those men and women who lost their lives in service to our country. Throughout our nation’s history, there have been times when peace was sacrificed in order to gain or ensure freedom. On May 31, the nation will celebrate Memorial Day. Each year, the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) puts on a ceremony at 10 a.m. in downtown Clayton. Each year, I get choked up when I see the veterans in attendance and remember those who died in our defense. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day – a day to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. After World War I, all fallen soldiers were honored. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday to be observed on the last Monday of May. I hope you take some time to

See Mayor, page 9

Horses small in stature but big on fun TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Just when you thought Clayton couldn’t get any more Norman Rockwellian, along comes a tiny horse and cart, clipclopping along the Cardinet trail. Look closely—it’s likely driven by Karen Farlow and pulled by one of the eight miniature horses from her Morgan Territory Road ranch. Farlow’s love affair with the minis began in the early 1980s, when she saw them marching in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. By 1985, she had found Sweet and Fancy, a black mare she dubbed Mama who came with high expectations. When she was 6 months old, Mama was stolen from her original owners and spent the next six months hiding inside the thieves’ house. When her captors were arrested, Mama was in the living room, asleep on the sofa. After coming to Farlow’s ranch, Mama quickly adjusted to the horse life and the great outdoors, eventually having two babies. “These guys make great companion pets,” says Farlow. “They live to play. They don’t bark and

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Church News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

their poop doesn’t stink. “They are so much fun,” she adds with a laugh. “They’re pranksters and won’t leave anything alone.” The most fun she has with the minis is out on the trail in the cart. The 300-pound miniature

horse can pull three times its weight, and the small carts fit just fine on the walking and bicycling trails around the county. The little horses are quite useful as draft horses, Farlow says. In Europe, they are used in the coal mines and as plow hors-

es. The miniature horse is extraordinarily gentle and calm, especially around children. “Little ones up to about 60 pounds can ride them,” Farlow

See Horses, page 6

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer


back to the barn at her Morgan Territory Road ranch. Farlow and “Mama” (left) will be at the Janet Read Memorial Miniature Horse Show on May 22 and 23 for hands-on demonstrations with the versatile companion horses.

Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Clayton History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Club News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Community Calendar . . . . . . . . . . .14 Directory of Advertisers . . . . . . . . . .5 Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18


Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Letters to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Safety Zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Senior Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

School News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Time to Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Upcoming Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Page 2

Clayton Pioneer •

May 21, 2010

Around Town Triple Play,

from page 1:

Market in the morning, gardens midday, music at night TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

1 1) Councilwoman Julie Pierce catches the first head of lettuce tossed out by Mayor Hank Stratford to open the 2010 Farmers Market; 2) Janet Easton takes a breather from Garden Tour docent duties at the Laurence home to catch up on local news; 3) Concert season got off to a rockin’ start with dancing to Aja Vu; 4) the band was a hit with all ages; 5) Sonja Parsons and Roy Halleybone; 6) Councilman Howard Geller passes the bottle for donations and helped collect over $900 for next year’s concert series; 7) San Francisco band Aja Vu opened the season with classic rock and R&B

It didn’t take a weather report or a look at the calendar to see that summer had arrived in Clayton on May 8. It only took a stroll down Main Street on a sunny morning that began early with the opening of the Pacific Coast Farmers Market, continued with the second day of the Historical Society’s annual Garden Tour and finished up with the first of the summer concerts in the Grove. Mayor Hank Stratford tossed out the first head of lettuce to kick off the opening of the Farmers Market. Shoppers looking for Mother’s Day gifts found armloads of fresh flowers and blooming orchids. California grown strawberries, cherries and veggies, local honey, and fresh baked breads and pastries all made their case for local and healthy eating. The six local gardens on the Garden Tour saw a steady and enthusiastic stream of visitors all day. During the two-day event, more than 300 toured the rich variety of gardens – which ranged from all California native

plantings in landscape designer Kelly Marshall’s Myrick Court home to the more formal grounds of Pete and Sheri Laurence’s Oakwood Circle hillside. The highlight of the tour was the 137-year-old Frank family farm on Mt. Zion. Cousins Charmetta Mann and Janet Easton, fourth- and fifth-generation descendants of a pioneering Clayton family, live in the “new” house built in 1921. Charmetta, 70, has lived on the property all of her life. The grounds are rich with history – an old Studebaker wheelbarrow, a 70-year-old tricycle and her grandmother’s wringer washer are among the artifacts studding the yard. A 1930 Model A truck that once belonged to Janet’s aunt is parked in the driveway next to Charmetta’s 1957 Chevy station wagon. The Garden Tour is the major fundraiser for the Clayton Historical Society and this year raised nearly $9,000 for the Clayton Museum In the late afternoon, blankets and chairs began to appear on the lawns at the park as families staked off their territory for the first of the summer concert

series. By the time the concert began at 6, a crowd of more than 1,000 had gathered to hear San Francisco band Aja Vu. Kids, singles and couples swayed to the classic rock sounds of Steely Dan, Sly and the Doobie Brothers. This is the third year for the free concert series, which is sponsored by the city of Clayton, the Clayton Business and Community Association, Allied Waste and donations from the public. More than $900 was collected at the first concert. To donate to the concerts, send your check to the City of Clayton, 6000 Heritage Trail, Clayton, CA 94517.


For a concert schedule, see Page 3




2 3



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May 21, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

Around Town Clayton’s Lemon Lady makes a difference Anna Chan received the “Woman Making a Difference” award from The City of Concord Human Relations Commission on May 3 in Concord. The HRC’s 23rd annual event recognized for her work in gathering over 40 tons of produce for local food pantries and food banks.

New grandson for Ingrid Hempell

Chan was nominated by Rotarian Patrick Berry who hopes to take her work nationwide. Chan also received commendations from Congressmen George Miller and John Garamendi, California Assemblyman Tom Torlakson and Contra Costa County Supervisor Susan Bonilla. “The whole motivation for this project is about picking fruit and getting it to the food pantries. They can’t serve it to the poor if they don’t get it. That’s the message. It really is that simple,” said Chan. For more information about Chan’s work, how you can help or how you can start a project visit her blog at: - Mike Dunn

Page 3

s t r e ConcThe Grov in


Saturdays 6 to 8:30 p.m.

At the Gazebo in The Grove May 22


June 5


Classic Rock Dance Band Alternative Party Band

June 19

Mixed Nuts Disco, Motown, Funk & Jazz

July 3

Harvey & The Wall Bangers All the Greatest Hits

July 17

The Michael Paul Band Country & Southern Rock

July 31 Mike Dunn/Clayton Pioneer

Anthony Peters, Commissioner City of Concord Human Relations Commission, with Anna and her daughter Ava.

Laurent Fourgo & His Orchestra The Big Band Sound

Aug. 14

Diamond Dave Oldies to today’s top hits

Aug. 28 East Bay Mudd

Gone tomorrow

Soul, Funk, R&B

Sept. 11

The Hit Waves All the Greatest Hits

Photo by Mike Dunn

Ingrid Hempell welcomed her first grandson, Gabriel Thomas Hempell on May 3. Gabriel was named for the archangel who delivered the news of Jesus to Mary and means “Man of God.” “Our desire is for Gabe to make a real and lasting difference in the world,” says mom Brooke. Gabe’s dad is Christian Hempell. He has one sister, Morgan, 3. Ingrid Hempell is the former owner of the La Cocotte Restaurant which was located in the building where Moresi’s Chophouse is on Main Street.

When Clayton resident Trevor Nolan learned from his mom, Rebecca, about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation haircut fundraiser, he knew he wanted to participate. On May 4, Trevor went bald for the cause at Civic Center Park in Walnut Creek. The fundraiser earned $32,000 for children’s cancer research.

“I saw it on and then he said he wanted to do it when I told him about it,” Rebecca said. “He kept asking when it was and he kept reminding me that it was coming up. “He just wanted to make everybody aware that there are kids out there who aren’t as fortunate,” she added. “It feels a lot breezier,” said a bald Trevor. Walnut Creek police Sgt. Lanny Edwards helped organized the event. “Three months ago, we saw that Children’s Hospital in Oakland was having a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser and couple of us were going to go down,” Edwards said. “We said, ‘Why not have one here?’ It took on a life of its own.” Sixty-one people made the big sacrifice. Four were women, including three Walnut Creek police dispatchers. For more information, visit - Mike Dunn

Sponsored by the city of Clayton, CBCA and Allied Waste Services

Local Food To Go Support your local businesses & Restaurants. Takeout or dine in before or after the concert. Moresi’s Chophouse 6115 Main St., 672 - 1333 Ed’s Mudville Grill 6200 Center St., 673-0333 La Veranda Cafe 6201 Center St., 524 - 0011 Canesa’s Brooklyn Deli 6054 Main St., 852 - 1650 Skipolini’s Pizza 1035 Diablo St., 672 - 1111 Village Market 6104 Main St., 672 - 0188 Johnny’s Int’l Deli & Cafe’ 6101 Center St., 672-1203 Cup O’Jo 6054 Main St., 672-5105


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$339,000 605 Condor Place, Clayton Diablo Ridge – Convenience is at an optimum in this 2BD/2.5BA condo featuring indoor laundry & two garages. Golf & community pool nearby.

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$569,000 4004 Hummingbird Way, Clayton Oakhurst “Ironwood” – Sought-after one-story “Augusta” model home offers 3BD/2BA & exquisite upgrades. Professionally landscaped for ultimate appeal.

144 Widmar Place, Clayton $669,000 Mitchell Canyon – 4BD+office/2.5BA offers fantastic location & perfect updates including expanded master suite w/deck & spa. Expansive yard.

5498 Michigan Boulevard, Concord $349,000 Clayton Valley Highlands – 3BD/1BA with large yard & potential RV parking. Bright, updated kitchen with ample storage & indoor laundry for great convenience.


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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

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May 21, 2010

Upcoming Events

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Save Mount Diablo and the East Bay Regional Park District are sponsoring a variety of hikes and events this month and next. Pittsburg Mine Trail Omnibus, 10 a.m.-noon May 22. Get the complete story on a trail that blends the best of Black Diamond’s natural and cultural history. Meet at Somersville Townsite, south end of Somersville Road, Antioch. $5 parking. RSVP with Bob Kanagaki at 510-544-2750. Vasco Caves Regional Preserve Tour, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 22. Behold Vasco’s spectacular rock outcrops and vernal pools that are home to endangered amphibians and fairy shrimp. Archaeological sites contain Indian rock art, part of a complex reaching back nearly 10,000 years. $30. Register at 888EBPARKS. Save Mount Diablo Restoration Team Workday, 9 a.m.-noon May 22. Help water native plants and remove nonnative weeds as part of a creekside habitat restoration project on Marsh Creek. Meet at 3240 Aspara Dr., Clayton. Bring water and a hand trowel. RSVP with George at 947-3535 or North Peak Trail from Devil’s Elbow to Prospectors Gap, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 22. Explore this trail packed with native plants in a tour sponsored by the California Native Plant

Society. Meet at Devil’s Elbow parking lot. Bring lunch and water. RSVP with Gregg Weber at 510- 223-3310. Young Canyon Hike, 911:30 a.m. May 23. Discover a remote area of the mountain and admire wildflowers on the serpentine meadow. Meet at the Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. RSVP with Burt Bogardus at 820-2347. Round the Mountain Hike, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 26. This loop provides views in all directions, plus late spring wildflowers. A 7.25-mile hike with nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Meet at the Juniper Camp trailhead in Mt. Diablo State Park. $10 park fee. RSVP with Jake Van Akkeren at 933-3486 or Birding/Raptor Baseline, 9-11:30 a.m. May 27. Help document the birds of prey. Meet at Round Valley Regional Preserve, 19450 Marsh Creek Road, Brentwood. Register at 888EBPARKS. Full Moon at Vasco Caves, 5:30-10 p.m. May 27. The sun’s last rays and the rising full moon will illuminate the natural and cultural wonders of the Vasco Caves during a 2-3 mile, moderate hike. Meet at Round Valley Staging Area, 19450 Marsh Creek Road, Brentwood. $30. Register at 888-EBPARKS. Shooting the Light, 8-11:30 a.m. May 29. Grab your camera

and explore the natural and cultural history of a valley in the eastern foothills of Mt. Diablo. Meet at Round Valley Staging Area, 19450 Marsh Creek Road, Brentwood. Register at 888EBPARKS. Heritage Tree Hike on Mangini Ranch, 9-11 a.m. May 30. Choose a Heritage Tree to honor a special person. The 207acre Concord property includes the headwaters of Galindo Creek, plus rolling grasslands covered in oaks, buckeyes and a rare desert olive grove. Contact David Ogden at or 947-3535. Trails Challenge: Diablo Foothills, 8 a.m.-noon June 5. Explore the rocky crags, rolling hills and soaring raptors of the Mt. Diablo foothills on a 5-mile hike over varied terrain. RSVP with Kevin Damstra at 510-5442750. Stingers, Fangs and Venom, 10-11:30 a.m. June 5. Learn the facts about the sometimes maligned local fauna. Meet at Los Vaqueros Visitor Center, 19 Walnut Blvd., Brentwood. 240-2440. Diablo Restoration Team Workday, 9 a.m.-noon June 6. Meet at 3240 Aspara Dr., Clayton. Bring water and a hand trowel. RSVP with George at 947-3535 or

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Craig and Colette Geibel opened their Clayton farm to Neigh Savers last summer for off-track rescues. The Geibels care for four Neigh Savers thoroughbreds, their own three horse rescues, a great Dane, an African parrot, eight cats, more than 10 chickens and 10 ducks (which Craig feeds a special homemade spaghetti). “Our lifelong passion to animals, particularly rescues, fueled our decision to open our home to Neigh Savers,” said Craig, known as “Dr. Doolittle.” Neigh Savers holds its first Open House 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 22, at its newest retired racehorse foster facility at the Geibel farm on Marsh Creek Road. The 3-year-old non-profit organization will offer pony rides for $5, a bake sale and raffle. Those who donate money or new and used

MAY 15 SPRING PLANT SALE The annual Clayton Valley Garden Club plant sale will feature vegetables, herb gardens, color bowls. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Endeavor Hall parking lot, 6008 Center Street.

MAY 31 MEMORIAL DAY Sponsored by the VFW, this annual service remembers those men and women who have lost their lives in defense of the nation. The one hour service with speakers, traditional observances and music by the DVMS and Pine Hollow Middle school bands and local choir Yesterday’s Kids begins at 9 a.m. at the VFW flagpole on Main Street. JUNE 5 TIP-A-COP Ed’s Mudville Grill in downtown Clayton is the place to be on Saturday, June 5, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a very special fundraiser. Clayton’s own police officers will be waiting on tables to raise money for the annual Special Olympics help June 2527 at UC Davis. Tip them generously as all proceeds benefit the Special Olympics of Contra Costa County. For information call Lynn Christ at 673-7350 or Ed’s Mudville Grill at 6200 Center Street, Clayton, 925673-0333. JUNE 14 CLAYTON CLASSIC GOLF TOURNAMENT CBCA’s 24th Annual Clayton Classic Golf Tournament will be held at the beautiful Oakhurst Country Club. Tee time (shotgun start) is 12 noon. Registration and a box lunch will be served beginning at 10 a.m, with a full sitdown dinner after the tournament. Application deadline is May 28. For a registration form, go to www. Hole sponsors needed.

CORRECTION MATERAZZI (MACHO) is recuperating well from surgery earlier this month. Craig Geibel sees a second career as a riding horse for the retired thoroughbred racehorse.

tack for the 27 retired racing thoroughbreds receive a Neigh Savers water bottle. According to Neigh Savers Foundation founder and CEO Karin Wagner, thoroughbreds need hands-on attention and

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care no matter their injury, along with a special diet. “They look so bedraggled when they first come in,” she

In the last issue of the Pioneer, the story on the Art and Wine Festival (front page) incorrectly stated that net proceeds from last year’s Art and Wine Festival were $25,000. The correct number is $60,000. This was a typo and we apologize.

See Racing, page 8

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May 21, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

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

The Pioneer is looking for customer service and advertising support. Part time position, 40 hours during production weeks (twice a month) and 8 hours in the “off ” weeks. Must be computer savvy (Word and Excel required-other programs useful), detail oriented, a fast thinker, and self-motivated. Must be able to work without supervision, take ownership of the job and have a car. A sense of humor is critical. Ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound helpful, but not necessary. Excellent verbal and written language skills. Flexible schedule, nice people to work with (most of the time, anyway). Lots of room to grow. Please send resume and cover letter specifically addressing our needs to or drop off at the Pioneer office 6200 Center St., Suite H. Clayton/Concord resident, please.

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 S TAFF W RITERS : Denisen Hartlove, Lou Fancher, Nicci Shipstead, Pam Wiesendanger, Mike Dunn, Harry Stoll We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse


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

Send School News to

CLASSIFIEDS Classified rates per insertion: Non-profit: $12 for first 30 words, $.20 each additional word Individual/non-commercial: $18 for first 30 words, $.30 each additional word Commercial: $48 for first 30 words, $.40 each additional word

LOST AUSTRALIAN SHEPARD Lost Wed. May 5 from Windmill Canyon Drive in Clayton. Cowboy is a 15 yrs. old, neutered male with Blue Merle markings. Full tail. Muzzle has grayed and walks slowly due to age. Poor eye sight and hearing. Rolled leather collar w/blue bowtie I.D. attached. Please call (925) 759-5389.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Clayton Pioneer welcomes letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 250 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print letters from “anonymous.” E-mail your letter in a Word document to Letters MUST be submitted via E-mail.

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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Dining and Entertainment Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Willows Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .957-2500 Events Contra Costa County Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .757-4400 KidFest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .671-3287 Pacific Coast Farmers Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-9090 Financial and Insurance Services Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 CD Federal Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-0900 College Track Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .287-8900 Littorno, Richard - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 Travis Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-800-877-8328 Van Wyck, Doug - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300 Fitness Jo Nash Dance Workout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .707-812-3863 Traveling Trainers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6931

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

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Page 5

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

City of Clayton now accepting applications for

PLANNING COMMISSION Term: July 2010June 2012 The Planning Commission is comprised of 5 members appointed by the City Council for two-year terms. The Planning Commission advises the City Council on land use matters, including General Plan amendments and Zoning Ordinance amendments. The Commission also makes decisions on Site Plan Reviews, Use Permits, Subdivisions, and Variances. Planning Commission meetings are open to the public and its decisions can be appealed to the City Council. The Planning Commission meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm, in Hoyer Hall of the Clayton Community Library. Planning Commissioners presently receive a monthly stipend of $120. An applicant must be 18 years of age, registered voter and a resident of Clayton. For applications and more information: In person: Clayton City Hall, 6000 Heritage Trail By mail: call City offices at 925-673-7300 E-mail: contact City’s web site: Please return a completed application to the city clerk by 5 p.m. June 4, 2010. Interviews will be held in mid-June. Appointments are expected to be made at the City Council meeting of June 15.

Funerals Moore’s Mission Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-1100 Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242 Gifts The Royal Rooster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2025 Home and Garden Abbey Carpet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-9901 California Aerating Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6539 Clear Splash Pool Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-6245 Diablo Lawnscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381-3757 Floors to Go Danville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .820-8700 Lewis & Lewis Carpets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .939-2145 Pacific Coast Flooring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .609-2151 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Pans on Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .600-7267 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Waraner Tree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250-0334 Mailing and Shipping The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Personal Products and Services A Perfect Tan & Body Wraps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-8261 Pet Services Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100 Peace Of Mind Pet Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9781 Pet Suites Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432-7387 Rodies Feed and Country Store . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600 Vet Tech Pet Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .899-7354 Real Estate and Mortgage Services Flannery, Patty - Diablo Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0541 French, Lynne - Windermere Real Estate . . . . . .672-8787 Kavanaugh, Mike - RE/MAX Town & Country . . .672-7800 Klock, Leigh - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212-5593 Laurence, Pete - RE/MAX Realty . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6004 Lopez, Stephanie - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . .932-7329 Morucci, Kim - Intero Real Estate Services . . . . .280-8563 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . . .672-4433 Recreation Castle Rock Arabians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .937-7661 Clayton Valley Bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-4631 Earthquake Arabians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360-7454 Oakhurst Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9737 Senior Services Aegis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .692-5853 Always Available Home Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .349-4854 Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100 Services, Other Air Cloud Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-4119 x 2 Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700 Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Contra Costa Water District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .688-8044 Household Hazardous Waste . . . . . . . . . 1-800-646-1431 Net Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6029 Next Energy Solar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-0600 Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . .473-0180 Travel Cruise Adventures Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .935-7447 Travel Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .305-4000 Travel to Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9840 Worship Bay Summit Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .609-5900

Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •



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Letters to the Editor Supports mayor’s character building plan Dear Editor: Reading several of the articles in last week’s Clayton Pioneer, I was reminded that we live in a special community. Cady Lang’s article honoring mothers was timely and refreshing. I also appreciate Mayor Hank Stratford continuing to promote character development which is sorely needed. It struck me that these two issues are deeply connected. Certainly schools and community leaders should teach, model, and reinforce positive character traits, but the ultimate development of character occurs in the home. As Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am I owe to my angel mother.” The strength of a community and nation lies in its families. Here’s to the parents (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) taking time to build the character of the rising generation. - Jason Griffin Concord

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Tax Day coverage fair Dear Editor: Your article on the TEA Party event in Clayton was newsworthy and your quote from me was accurate. As in other newspapers’ nationwide coverage of Tax Day, the various TEA Parties were front page news... Two letter writers criticized the Pioneer on items that weren’t even in your article and myself on things that I have never said. As to my writings in other papers —supporting our troops for victory, wanting government to stop wasting our tax dollars, opposing huge deficits and higher taxes or wanting our nation’s immigration laws enforced, these are not “rightwing.” These positions are “mainstream” which the polls show are supported by majorities of the American public, just not “the left-wing” fringe. As to taxation, the top one percent (which includes corporations) already pay 36 percent of federal income taxes, and the bottom 50 percent pay less than four percent. And looking it up, Chevron’s effective tax rate for 2009 was four percent, with each gallon of gas collecting more in state and federal taxes, than Chevron’s net profit! This is why most Americans understand that “Big Government” needs to reduce its runaway spending, not raise our taxes even higher. - Pete Laurence Clayton

Sad farewell to Clayton Books Dear Editor: It was sad news, indeed, to learn from your paper that Clayton Books will be closing its doors like so many other independent bookstores. Many of us remember and appreciate the fact that it was Joel and Christy Harris who were the fairy godmother who swooped in to rescue the store from closure when its predecessor, Bonanza Books, decided to close the doors. The Harris’ not only kept the store open but expanded the shelf space, held author’ reading and signing events, donated books and cooperated with many local organizations in fundraising and charitable events. The best news would be to learn that someone is stepping forward to be the next fairy godmother. Failing that, however, The City of Clayton should proclaim May 22, the day the doors are to close again, as Joel & Christy Harris Day in honor of the community service that they have given to our community for the last three years. I am sure others join me in saying thanks to them (and for Sunny Solomon) for all they have done for the community. - Gordon Ringenberg Clayton

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explains. “I put my grandkids on them and they are so sweet with them.” During the summer, Farlow participates in the Walnut Creek Adventure Camp. For one day during the camp, young children who might be frightened of a standard size horse can spend a day at her Blue Oaks Ranch with the minis – walking them, grooming and even riding them around the arena on a small, non-scary scale. “Children have to touch animals to keep their humanity,” says Farlow. A miniature horse is not the same as a pony. A miniature horse is a scaled-down version of the standard size horse and includes several body types, such as draft and Arabian. A miniature horse must not be taller than 38 inches. A pony refers to size only – any horse under 14.2 hands (58 inches) tall is considered a pony. Farlow and her husband Gehn bought their Blue Oaks Ranch in 1980 and raised four

children together. Along with the eight miniature horses, the ranch is home to several standard size horses, two goats, four dogs and half a dozen peacocks. To learn more about the miniature horse, visit the Janet Read Memorial Miniature Horse Show on May 22 and 23 at the Equestrian Center at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek. Show hours are 10 a.m.3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. See the little horses in action in hunter/jumper classes, pleasure driving and obstacle driving. Meet Farlow, Mama and Liberty Lord Jim – a national champion in roadster driving – at hands-on demonstrations 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Children can learn how to groom and lead a miniature horse. Cost is $1. For more information on Blue Oak Farms, the Walnut Creek Adventure Camp or the Janet Read Memorial Horse Show, email or call 6725672.

May 21, 2010

Teen jailed for setting fire to CVHS shed A 16-year-old Clayton boy has admitted to starting an early morning fire April 8 at a storage shed at Clayton Valley High School, officials report. Contra Costa County Fire Protection District investigator Geoff Spinner went to the scene the morning after the 2:16 a.m. fire and determined it was arson. Three weeks later, an anonymous tip on the district’s Arson Tip Line indicated a 16-year-old juvenile from Clayton bragged about starting the fire. On May 11, Spinner interviewed the suspected juvenile. Spinner said he confessed to setting the fire with barbecue

May 24 deadline for voter registration The deadline for eligible persons to register to vote for the June 8 Direct Primary Election is Monday, May 24. Any new voter, or anyone who has moved, changed their name or who wants to change their political party must register. Registration forms are available throughout the county at city halls, libraries, post offices, fire stations, DMVs, and most other government and public agencies and at the County Elections Office. After completing the form, it must either be delivered to the County Elections Office at 555 Escobar St, Martinez no later than 5 p.m. on May 24 or if mailed it must

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Seasonal Reflections in the Clayton Valley Shopping Center is the latest local business to turn out the lights and go home. May 31 will be the last day for the independently owned costume and party store. Clayton resident John Sharapata opened the store 3½ years ago with high hopes and great expectations. The PartyTime store on Clayton Road had recently closed and Sharapata expected to capture those customers as well as build on his already established Internet business. But with the one-two punch



have a postmark of May 24, 2010. To be eligible to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 by June 8 and not imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony. Anyone who becomes a newly naturalized citizen after the May 24 deadline to register may register and vote between May 25 and June 1 at the County Elections Office. Each person must bring their Certificate of Naturalization and declare that they have established residence in Contra Costa County. For questions on status or for more information, call the County Elections Office, (925) 335-7800.

Seasonal Reflections cites economy in closing

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lighter fluid and a lighter after pouring the fluid over a golf cart belonging to the school. Officials said the teen admitted to being there with other juveniles and said alcohol was involved. The suspect was transported to Juvenile Hall and booked on felony arson. He will be held without bail pending a review by the district attorney’s office. The estimated loss to the structure and property at the school was $55,000. Parents and students are encouraged to report any criminal activity to authorities. The Arson Tip Line is 866-50-ARSON (866-502-7766).

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of the economic downturn and the closing of the Yardbirds store, foot traffic in his location has slowed to barely a trickle. “It’s frustrating,” says Sharapata. “I’ve poured everything into this store. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but it’s just a bad location.” In the Clayton Valley Center, Postal Connections, Verizon and Donna’s Gifts have all closed in the past few months. Across the street in the Clayton Station, Clayton Books will close May 22, joining the already shuttered Butterfly Fitness and Cookies by Design.

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It takes a village . . . Volunteer to help with July 4 celebration If you want Clayton’s downtown to come alive with the red, white and blue to celebrate our nation’s independence, please consider volunteering your time. A highlight of the day is the Fourth of July Parade. The increasingly popular Kiddie Parade features our community’s children and youth with their decorated wagons, strollers, scooters, bikes and trikes, and the faithful family dog. In addition, there are lots of floats, civic participants and master of ceremony Dan Ashley from ABC 7. Most of the help is needed the day of the parade in the following areas:  Barricade and street closure set-up (early morning).  Decorations.  Parking control.  Crowd control.  Parade line-up.  Parade flow control.  Clean-up. If you or your organization can help anytime between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, call Clayton city clerk Laci Jackson at 673- 7304 or email Tax-deductible donations may be made to the Clayton 4th of July Parade, City of Clayton, 6000 Heritage Trail, Clayton CA 94517. Anyone interested in being in the Main Parade (not the Kiddie Parade) as an entrant or organization must submit an application form by June 18. Due to the popularity of the parade and limited downtown space, the number of approved entrants may be limited.

The Parade Committee will review all applications and ensure a variety of entries. To provide a safe environment, all vehicles must have appropriate liability insurance and a licensed driver. All entrants are restricted from tossing candy or using water squirt devices. Applications and information

are available at Entrants for the Kiddie Parade do not need an application or pre-approval; merely show up in red, white and blue well before the parade begins at 10 a.m. to proudly walk Main Street USA. The Clayton Valley Sunrise

Rotary Club will hold the annual pre-parade Pancake Breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. at Endeavor Hall. The streets will be closed to traffic and parking, so park outside of the downtown area and walk in. Or better yet, leave the car at home and walk to the Town Center.


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Clayton police gear up for Click It or Ticket campaign If you’re planning to hit the road, be sure that everyone in the car wears a seat belt on every trip day and night. Law enforcement throughout the state, including the Clayton Police Department, will be looking for unbelted drivers and passengers as part of the 2010 Click It or Ticket program May 24June 6. “Keep your friends and family safe by buckling up no matter where you’re going,” said Chief Dan Lawrence. “We will be looking for motorists throughout the area who are not buckling up, day and night. It’s not just about avoiding a ticket; it’s about keeping the ones you care about alive.” Seat belt violators will receive citations – no warnings. The Click It or Ticket campaign relies on heavy enforcement and pub-

lic education as a means to help save lives on California’s roadways. “Wearing a seat belt is just simply the easiest and most effective thing you can do on the road to protect yourself and your family,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “That means buckling up day and night, on every trip.” Fines and fees have increased from $132 to $142 for first-time adult seat belt violations. For children under 16, the fine is now $445 for a first-time offense. More than 600 permanent Click It or Ticket highway signs, which have been up since 2005, will be updated to reflect the new “Minimum $142” in the coming months. California has a seat belt usage rate of 95.3 percent, but

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that still means more than half a million people are not buckling up. Properly restrained drivers, passengers and children have a 50 percent better chance of surviving a crash than unbelted occupants. Those ejected from vehicles in crashes or roll-overs are up to 35 times more likely to die than restrained occupants. More than 150 local law enforcement agencies statewide and the CHP will be participating in this year’s Click It or Ticket mobilization. Funding to support California’s Click It or Ticket campaign was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information, call the Clayton Police Department at 6737350.

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Clayton Pioneer •

May 21, 2010

Housing recovery programs still have a ways to go You have written about the Q new government programs to help distressed homeowners. How are they working to help the housing recovery? One program is the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Since its inception about two years ago, fewer than 2 million mortgages have been modified. That is a small percentage of troubled homeowners in a distressed property situation. Many of these modified mortgages have already failed and many are destined to fail. A big part of the reason is that the modifications are based on making the homeowner’s first lien debt affordable, which would be at 31 percent of their income. The modifications don’t take into account the bor-


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rower’s other debt, including second liens, student loans, credit card debt and car loans. Often the real debt to income rate is 60 percent. This is inadequate help to make a homeowner reach a sustainable financial position. To qualify for the assistance program, some homeowners are almost encouraged to default strategically on their first loan while paying all their other debts. This is backward from the way the contracts were designed for the investor. First lien holders are supposed to be the most protected class of investors. Under the HAMP program, they are the only ones being asked to accept lower returns in a modification. Barbara Novick, vice chair of a New York investment risk management firm, presented an

interesting idea to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Financing and Lending Committee. They envision a temporary bankruptcy procedure that recognizes the unique problems presented by the mortgage meltdown. Under the procedure, bankruptcy judges would look at which debts to write down and by how much. Creditors’ rights would be recognized and followed. Novick said the proposal is aimed at helping the public in general by reducing the hit to the federal government and the secondary mortgage market companies Fannie May and Freddie Mac, which are bearing the brunt of the first mortgage write-downs. The NAR committee said they will look at it, but the proposal raised concerns that a


REAL ANSWERS heavy burden would be placed on homeowners who would have to go through bankruptcy court rather than the far more targeted approach offered by HAMP. I will keep you informed of all the latest developments in the process of digging out of this mortgage mess. Send your question to and look for an answer in a future column. French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. For any real estate needs or questions, call 672-878 7or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

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Racing, from page 4 said, “but then they blossom; it’s like a re-birth.” Working with trainers and owners, Neigh Savers finds humane options for life after racing. “Whether a horse can go on to become a competition horse, riding horse or companion horse, every ex-racehorse should have the opportunity to find a second career,” Wagner said. “It is only with time, patience and knowledge that exracehorses can gradually transition into a new career. Our hope is that all ex-racehorses feel a loving caress, hear kind words and taste carrots from a person who truly loves them.” The Geibels’ Neigh Savers program caters to short-term rehabilitation, but Wagner said one of her all-time-favorites Ymustichasethecat, known as the Cat, will stay in Clayton throughout rehabilitation. His hooves are in bad shape, but through retraining he is expected to be a jumper awaiting adoption. Cat is directly ascended from Storm Cat on his male side, plus Mr. Prospector and Secretariat on his female side. The 16.2 hh chestnut gelding fell into the lower claiming ranks and was retired from racing. “The Cat is the most intelligent we’ve ever had on the farm,” said Wagner. “He makes eye contact and is dutiful to every command. If you show him something again, he looks at you like, ‘You showed me that already.’ ” Another Neigh Savers

ambassador on the Geibel farm is Materazzi (Macho), a gorgeous, giant 17.1 hh dark gray gelding straight off the track from Golden Gate Fields with bone chips in both knees. Macho had only six starts; he won one race and showed in another. Macho prefers to stand close and gently nuzzle when Craig cleans his stall. “It will take some time for Macho to come down from his track life and to recover, but we see a really nice prospect here as a riding horse in the future,” he said. Macho is recuperating well from surgery early this month. “The hardest part of the entire episode will be keeping Macho in the Mare Motel until about midJune,” Craig said. “He is constantly crying and begging to join his friends out in the pasture.” Horse foster care costs about $300 a month for feed, bedding, vaccinations, hoof care, trimming and shoes. Veterinary care is usually what “breaks the bank” of a rescue. “Even $25 a month is helpful,” Wagner noted. “Or committing to something like a bag of shavings for $5 or a bale of hay at $20 helps tremendously and allows us to sponsor an additional horse or two.” The Geibel farm is at 4297 Morgan Territory Road, Clayton. For more information on donating or adopting, visit or write to 1547 Palos Verdes Mall, Suite 259, Walnut Creek CA 94597.

Savvy female travelers keep safety in mind





If women intend to travel alone out of the country, they should become familiar with the laws and customs of that country beforehand. Certain cultures perceive single women very differently and you can easily find yourself in an uncomfortable or even dangerous situation. You might even consider wearing a faux wedding band for extra security. People in some cultures assume that if you aren’t “taken,” you are actively looking for a mate. Take the time to research potential travel warnings and consulate locations for your destinations. Keep the list with you as you travel. Whether you are boarding a plane, cruise ship, train or even checking into a hotel, make note of the emergency exit locations. In case of fire or a quick evacuation during the night, keep your valuables

in your purse and near the bed with a flashlight and your room key. Also keep your shoes and a coat handy. One night, I was at a lovely hotel in Scottsdale when a fire alarm sounded. All guests were evacuated. I was able to quickly pick up my valuables and put on my shoes and coat. It was a false alarm, but the outdoor fashion show of goofy pajamas made the inconvenience worth the trouble! When you register at a hotel, do not get a room on the ground floor as sliding doors and windows make for easy access. The second to fifth floors are usually a good choice in case you have to walk down flights of stairs in an emergency. If the clerk verbally announces your room number, ask for a different room. Do not give out a lot of personal information. Register with your first initial and last name only and do not use Ms. or Mrs. Use a business card on your luggage label; never put your home address. On the outward bound trip, you can put the hotel name and address where you will be going. On the way home, use

See Travel, page 20

May 21, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

As summer approaches, remember these bike safety rules

Page 9

Jo Nash is back!!! Classes begin Monday, April 12

Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center Street, Clayton As a competitive road cyclist, I see bike safety as second nature. Whether it’s a bike race or riding casually, it’s good to be aware of some basic rules which may be helpful to you and especially to keep your children safe. While bike riding is a fun and healthy activity for kids and adults, it can be dangerous without proper gear and training. One source states that about 300,000 kids end up in emergency rooms each year because of bike accidents; some are seriously or fatally injured. In fact, more children age 514 visit the emergency room for injuries due to bike riding than any other sport, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). Another NHTSA statistic showed that bicycle accidents account for 44,000 injuries and 2 percent of trafficrelated deaths each year. Learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage for children, and it’s an activity that families can certainly do together. However, there are some important things for you to consider before jumping on

Mayor, from page 1 remember and honor those who sacrificed their lives for our benefit. With all of the political rancor that we hear each day, it is easy to forget what a great country we live in. Sure, it is not perfect. But I do not know of any other country that offers the same level of freedom and opportunity. Memorial Day is often considered the start of summer. However this year, with the exception of the weather, it feels like summer started on May 8. This was the first day of the weekly Farmers Market and the first of the Concerts in the Grove. The Farmers Market will continue through the summer starting at 8 a.m. Saturdays. The next concert is 6 p.m. May 22, featuring Mamaluke. After 4 p.m., you can stake out your space for the concert, eat dinner downtown and then enjoy the music. Enjoy the start of summer and remember the sacrifices made on our behalf. Contact the mayor at

that bike or letting your kids get on theirs. Wear a helmet. There should be no exceptions to this rule for your family. California law requires all persons under 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bike. Make sure that your bicycle helmet fits snugly and doesn’t wobble. See and be seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, bad weather or at night, you need to be seen by others. Always wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding day or night. White isn’t the best color to wear. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you. Avoid riding at night as it is far more dangerous than during the day. If you have to ride at night, make sure to have reflectors on the front and rear of your bicycle and white lights on the front with red rear reflectors and light. Reflectors on your wheels are also a good idea.

Get the right size bike. Riding a bike that fits your body is an important factor in preventing accidents and keeping you safe. The NHTSA recommends 1-2 inches between your body and the top bar of a road bike and 3-4 inches between your body and the top of a mountain bike with your feet flat on the ground. The seat should be level and adjusted so that there is a slight bend at the knee when your legs are extended. The handlebar should be level with the seat. Do not ride bikes belonging to other people as they may not fit you properly. Reduce chain hazards. Before each ride, tuck in all shoelaces or strings and do the same with long, baggy clothing. An ankle strap or tucking in your sock is useful to keep pant legs from getting caught in the chain or stuck on the pedals. Maintain your bike. Make sure that everything on your bicycle is working correctly. Check your brakes and be sure there are no loose or broken parts on your bike. It’s a good

Class schedule: HARUN SIMBIRDI

SAFETY ZONE idea to occasionally take your bicycle to a bike shop for a professional tune-up. Obey all traffic laws. Remember, a bicycle is a vehicle and you’re a driver. When you ride in the street, do so with both hands on the handlebars. Obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings. When turning, use your hands to give signals. Remember to check for traffic when pulling onto a street, approaching a curb or reaching a stop sign. Cross only at intersections. Ride your bike in the same direction as traffic, use bike lanes when possible and ride single file when accompanied by other riders. The NHTSA recommends that kids less than 10 ride on the sidewalk when allowed by law. Try to be predictable by riding in a

See Safety, page 17

Heavy rains lead to more mosquitoes in county This year is going down on record as one of the wettest years in recent memory. However, the longer the rainy season, the more mosquitoes we are likely to see this year. “The late rains will extend the season for western treehole mosquitoes and create additional breeding habitats for the typical carriers of West Nile virus,” says Steve Schutz, entomologist for the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District. Mosquitoes must start their lives in standing water, and just two tablespoons of water can support up to 300 developing mosquitoes. The female western treehole mosquito, Aedes sierrensis, most commonly lays her eggs along the rim of the holes that develop in older trees. When rainwater fills the cavities, the eggs develop into young mosquitoes and fly away as the weather warms. With each subsequent period of rain followed by warm weather, the process repeats. This aggressive black and white, day-biting mosquito is a nuisance to humans but a health threat to animals because it is the primary carrier of canine heartworm disease. Due to this

year’s late rain, district inspectors expect to find these mosquitoes in Contra Costa County well into the summer and possibly early fall. The district recommends that pet owners take proper precautions to protect man’s best friend and reduce the likelihood of these mosquitoes by filling the tree holes with an absorbent material to soak up the water or work with an arborist to have the holes removed. While the western treehole mosquito typically stays very close to where it emerged as an adult, the mosquitoes most commonly associated with West Nile virus have a flight range as long as five miles. These mosquitoes, Culex pipiens and Culex tarsalis, can lay eggs in many different locations containing still water. This includes cans, buckets, sedentary fountains, unfiltered ponds, neglected swimming pools, discarded tires, the catch plate on flower pots and any other item that can hold about two tablespoons of water or more. Dumping or draining standing water is an important step in reducing the risk of West Nile virus. Anyone of any age is at risk of this mosquito-borne ill-

ness, especially those with a compromised immune system. The disease can leave people with low level infections, feeling as if they have a strong case of the flu. In more aggressive cases, it can create brain inflammation and can be fatal. Dumping standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs and wearing repellant when mosquitoes are present near sunrise and sunset are important ways to prevent the virus. Contra Costa County is home to 23 kinds of mosquitoes. Some pose a risk to animals; others pose a health threat to humans. But we all play an important role in reducing the risk by dumping out standing water where mosquitoes can develop, reporting neglected swimming pools to the district for inspection and contacting the district for more information on the free services available to fight mosquitoes and other disease-transmitting animals and insects. For more information, call 7716184. To schedule a free presentation for a community group, contact Nola Woods at 771-6158 or

Mondays 11:15am-12:10pm Zumba Mondays 12:15pm – 1:10 Yoga Stretch/Ab* Tuesdays 10am- 10:55 Zumba Gold Thursdays 12pm- 12: 55 Yoga Stretch/Ab* Fridays 10:30am-11:25am Zumba *Bring your own mat Classes must have a minimum of 3 people to start so please call to verify class is running. Fee $40 per four classes. Jo Discounts for multiple classes.

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Clayton Pioneer •

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Most families across the United States purchase new carpet every eight to ten years. Yet few of those really do their homework first. There are three basic fibers to choose – wool, polyester and nylon. Wool, a natural and luxurious fiber, wears like iron and is soft to the touch. The down side is that some of the fiber will be lost to your vacuum cleaner, because it is not a “continuous filament” fiber. Plus, it’s about 60 percent more expensive then manufactured fibers. A polyester fiber is made from recycled plastic, so it’s a “green” product. It’s resistant to stains and fading and is cheaper than most other fibers. It’s best to purchase one that’s short and dense as they have a tendency to crush easily. Nylon is the most popular fiber by far. It’s durable and resilient and takes a dye well, so there is an almost unending color selection. It is treated for stain resistance and tends to hold its texture better than other fibers. Make sure that any fiber you choose, other than wool, is a “continuous filament” fiber. When shopping for new car-

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pet, your fingers can tell you a lot about quality. Short and dense is always the most practical choice. The longer and looser cables will pack sooner in high-traffic areas. The most reasonably priced carpets are the traditional “cut piles.” Always get the largest sample possible from your dealer and remember that once your carpet is installed, it will generally appear lighter than the sample. Carpet cushion is another important consideration. Insist on a cushion that measures 8 “pounds of density” and no more than a half-inch thick. “Rebond rubber” cushion is the best buy. Last but not least, be sure that your carpet installers are competent and qualified. Ask the dealer for references. Check the warranty information on the back of the carpet sample. Make sure you are getting at least a seven-year warranty on stain resistance, texture retention and abrasive wear. Always ask for your warranty registration card from the dealer as well. Maintenance is important to long carpet life. The single most important thing that you can do for your carpet is to vacuum often. Be sure to keep the rotat-

Clayton History

DramaMama founder sadly leaves Clayton behind LOU FANCHER Clayton Pioneer


ing bristles adjusted high enough that they just touch your carpet fibers. Spot clean religiously with mild, non-petroleum based cleaner. Manufactures warranties require you to have your carpets professionally cleaned every 1218 months using the steam or hot water extraction cleaning method. After two of these cleanings, have the technician retreat your carpet for stain resistance. Clayton resident Mike Baker is owner and operator of Floors to Go Danville. Email your questions to or call 820-8700.

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When settlers first came to this area, they were in search of coal. They opened many mines and soon started a small town named Clayton. The first building erected was a tavern that was turned into the Clayton Hotel by Romero Mauvais in 1858. The Clayton Hotel gave shelter to many miners and travelers going to and from the Nortonville coal mines and neighboring major cities such as Oakland and

Stockton. It underwent many name and structural changes and survived two fires, one of which was believed to have originated within the hotel. The hotel soon became known as a steakhouse, Chubby Humble’s Pioneer Inn. It was common for celebrities to visit for the fine food and dining. A story states that in 1970, three armed men in masks robbed the inn by forc-

ing everyone inside to the ground and made them give up their valuables. At first, the diners thought that this was a new form of “Wild West Entertainment.” Little did they know that they were being robbed by potentially dangerous men. Currently, the building has a one-story structure and serves as the offices of the Clayton Community Church. - Sarah Minter, CVHS senior

DramaMama, a non-profit, after-school program started 13 years ago in the backyard of Patti Pratt, is experiencing the most climactic moment in its history. Pratt, the founder and creator, is moving to Texas. From the first production of “Cats,” with kids making their own tails as well as acting, DramaMama was a reflection of its creator. “It was handcrafted for our community,” Pratt says. “I had a vision, a big one, and decided to go for it.” The original vision involved giving high school and elementary school students a chance to experience theater while melding children of different ages into a cohesive group. DramaMama was an immediate success. Everyone got to participate and everyone got to “get messy” – an activity Pratt believes kids need in today’s push-to-be-first society. “With other drama programs, the goal is to make stars out of students,” says Kathy Groebner, whose two daughters participate in DramaMama. “Patti’s goal was to teach them self-esteem and that they can work through things.” Marena McGregor, a senior at Clayton Valley High School, is living proof that inclusiveness and mentoring are more than just program buzzwords. “Patti believes in giving second chances and has faith in kids that most other teachers have already given up on,” she says. “Patti inspired me to want to create my own drama program one day.” McGregor still volunteers in the productions, passing along the flame lit years ago by Pratt. In 2006, Pratt’s big vision got bigger when middle school kids were added. Gabriella Rowland came on board and DramaMama Productions moved from the backyard into area schools. “To be honest, the district wasn’t too open at first,” Pratt says, “but that just made us more determined.” Enrollment doubled, school sites were added, dance classes formed and audiences packed the houses. “She was a guide and our kids the engineers,” says Susanne Renner, the mother of

See Drama, page 17

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Military man’s poetry leads to ‘A Soldier’s Son’ JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

During the Civil War, an ancestor of Concord resident David Hotchkiss served under the command of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in the Union Army. In the 150 years since then, at least one member of his family has always had “Sherman” as a first or middle name. That heritage carried over to male members of the family serving in the military, and Hotchkiss is no exception. He completed more than 26 years in the Air Force and Army before entering the private sector 11 years ago. Those years in service of his country have not left Hotchkiss’ mind and soul, leading this year to the publication of “A Soldier’s Son” – a collection of his poems about all branches of the military as well as American history and life. Hotchkiss had written some poetry in high school and did work in public affairs for the Air

Force, including writing for the base newspaper, but it was a trip to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., to visit his parents’ graves that inspired him to take up poetry again after he turned 50. “I took a business trip to the Midwest in 2005. When my work was done, I paid my way to Washington, D.C. It was a very emotional time,” he recalls. “I was talking to my wife on the phone, sharing some of my thoughts from the cemetery. I can’t tell you why, but I started writing down my feelings on napkins during the five-hour flight back to San Francisco.” From that time on, he’s continued to write. “I’m a Type A personality,” Hotchkiss adds to explain how he jumps into something with both feet. “A Visit to Arlington” in his book begins: “I visited my Mom and Dad today. The weather was fresh as if it were May. I remember the last time I stood here, although it has been many a year.” He has written poems on a variety of subjects beyond his military experiences, including the bombing of the World Trade Center, the Iraq War, history of the Fort McHenry flag, Pearl Harbor and matters so American such as backyard barbecues, Christmas, family reunions and country fairs.

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His oldest daughter Katherine, a nurse, brought her dad home an autographed copy of a “The Golden Years are a Crock” by Richard Carter. “It was her way of encouraging me to publish my poems,” Hotchkiss says. That was in January of this year. The former miliDAVID A. HOTCHKISS tary man engaged in a campaign of which his former commanding officers would have been proud and on March 27 “A Soldier’s Son” was off the presses of Xlibris, a self-publishing provider. The book is available on and “We’ll soon have hard cover, paperback and e-books available on both sites,” the proud author says. The 56-year-old resident of Crystal Ranch is chief technology officer for the Fremont United School District, enjoying life with his wife of 35 years, Edith, his daughters Katherine and Kimberly and their five grandchildren. Grandson Ethan, Katherine’s youngest child, is photographed on the cover of “A Soldier’s Son.” Hotchkiss’ dad served in World War II and Korea, while his older brother Charles did a tour of duty in Vietnam. After turning down an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis two weeks before he was to report, Hotchkiss ended up with a very low 1972 lottery number – 3 – and joined the Air Force on the advice of his brother and dad “to get an education.” He became the youngest staff sergeant in the Tactical Air Command. He served four years in Hawaii and, while working at a part-time job off base, he met a co-worker who had come to Hawaii from her native Philippines. “It took me three months to get her to accept my invitation for a date. We went to a fancy hotel where they had disco and jazz. Edith thought we were going to the disco, but I took her to the jazz club. I proposed that night and we’ve been married 35 years,” Hotchkiss says. As for the education his brother and father encouraged him to get, Hotchkiss now has a Ph.D. in business administration. In 1980, he applied for an Army warrant officer position. “One day I was wearing the Air Force blue and white stripes and the next day I was in Army green and bars.” He was with the Army until his retirement in 1999. His military service took him to Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and around the United States. He spent 10 years in special operations in Panama, where he worked with members of all branches of the military. He didn’t realize it then, but they all provided grist for his poems. His second position in civilian life brought the family to the Bay Area and they first settled in Concord near the Pavilion. The title of the book comes from one of his poems, which starts: “I am a soldier’s son, My father is also one. His father and his father too. They all fought for the red, white and blue.” “A Soldier’s Son” is available on

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Clayton Pioneer •

May 21, 2010

Clayton Sports Anderson sets league mark in prep for NCS swimming JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Junior Derek Anderson set a meet record and was named outstanding boy swimmer at the recent Diablo Valley Athletic League meet at Diablo Valley College. This Friday and Saturday, Anderson and his Clayton Valley Eagles teammates will be facing the stiffest competition of the year at the North Coast Section swimming and diving meet at Concord Community Pool. At the NCS meet, Clayton’s Kristian Ipsen will be the overwhelming favorite for his third successive NCS diving title representing the De La Salle Spartans. Anderson set a DVAL meet record in the 100-yard backstroke, the only league mark on the boys side, with a time of 53.22, two-tenths faster than the previous mark. That is all the more impressive because swimmers are no longer able to wear the high-tech suits that were deemed responsible for many records at all levels of swimming over the past few years. The suits have been banned by the national federation. Besides his victory in the 100 back, Anderson earlier won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:45.37, 2½ seconds ahead of his nearest rival. He’ll be swimming the same two events he won at DVAL meet at NCS. After that, Anderson will be back with his Dana Hills Swim Team for the

summer recreation season. Sprinter Josh Harmon won the 50 freestyle in 22.05 and was second in the 100. On the girls side, Ashley

Jennings claimed the 100 back crown at league meet in 59.41 and she was third in the 200 individual medley. Allyson Hansen was second in the 200

free and third in the 100 free at DVALs. As a team, the Eagles were third at the league meet for both boys and girls. The boys fin-

ished second behind Northgate in the dual meet season, losing only to the league champs. CV’s girls were third in the dual season behind College Park and

Photo by Scott Anderson

DEREK ANDERSON seeks to cap a fine junior season at Clayton Valley at the NCS swimming and diving championships.

Northgate, which also swept the league meet in both genders. In addition to Anderson, Harmon, Hansen and Jennings, three more Clayton swimmers will compete at NCS in individual events. Jake Reynolds (100 butterfly), Colton Rogers (100 fly) and Bailey Rogers (100 fly) posted qualifying marks. Clayton Valley qualified all of its boys and girls relay teams for NCS, where it will be represented by 14 swimmers. The Eagle relays include Anderson, Reynolds, Harmon and Tommy Butler in the 200 medley after a second-place league showing; Harmon, Butler, Kevin Adams and Anderson in the 200 free relay; and Reynolds, Adams, Kenny Johnson and Rogers in the 400 free. The girls relays included Rogers, Jennings, Samantha Boeger and Hansen in 200 medley; Jennings, Boeger, Liz Tully and Hansen in 200 free, and Rogers, Tully, Olivia Chernyk and Jenna Stelzner in the 400 free. Other Clayton Valley swimmers placing at the league meet were Adams in 50 and 100 free, Butler in 50 free and 100 breast, Johnson in 100 back, Reynolds in 100 fly breast, Ben Silverberg 100 breast, Rogers in 100 fly and free and Michael Fryer in 500 free. From the girls team, Boeger in 50 and 100 free, Chernyk 200 IM, Rogers also in 100 back, Stelzner 100 breast and free, Alexandra Vance 100 breast, Tully 100 fly and free, and Cheyenne Colomb 500 free.

Track and field athletes must earn their laurels JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

More so than many other sports and athletic competitions, track and field affords a wide variety of athletes an opportunity to compete. Whether their ability lies in speed, strength, endurance or jumping, there are track races and field event disciplines that can bring out the best in a cross section of athletes. The world’s greatest track and field stars over the years have come in all sizes and shapes. Qualities they all must possess – like their brethren in other sports – are the desire and commitment to be the best in their craft. High school track and field puts its participants through a series of challenges to reach the pinnacle. Clayton Valley High runners, jumpers, hurdlers, sprinters,

vaulters and throwers have a four-week marathon of events to reach the top of their sport. Last week the Diablo Valley Athletic League meet was hosted at CVHS, this Saturday is the North Coast Section Tri-Valley Championships at Granada High in Livermore and next weekend is the NCS Meet of Champions at Cal Berkeley. This all leads up to the CIF State Meet in Clovis June 4-5. Competitors have to maintain a level of excellence to survive and thrive in a sequence like that. Eagle distance runner Nathanael Litwiller did just that a year ago, when he finished third in the 800 meters at the CIF state finals. At the beginning of the spring season, coach Les Garaventa made it a goal to have more athletes qualify for and go to the NCS Tri-Valley and Meet of Champions than in past years.

The top six finishers in each DVAL league meet event go to the Tri-Valley meet, along with athletes who previously met qualifying stands set at the beginning of the year in each event. The same process is in effect to reach the Meet of Champions, with the top seven from the Tri-Valley meet plus athletes who attained the time and distance standards during the season competing at MOC. Demonstrating how unforgiving the watch and tape measure can be is the case of Lauren Wells. Last year as a junior, she was MVP of the DVAL and won the league 100 and 200 meter sprints, long jump and anchored the winning 4X100 meter relay for the Eagles. This year, freshman Janelle Bandayrel has taken over as the team’s top sprinter and relay anchor. The frosh sensation has not lost a 100-meter race and lost only once at 200 meters this season

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and has also won the long jump in three meets. Adding Bandayrel to the mix with Wells has made for an outstanding 4x100 relay team, with sophomore Felicia Huddleston and senior Madreya Burton rounding out the quartet. Sophomore Victoria Darrow is as the alternate. The CVHS girls went undefeated in league competition for the second year in a row, while the boys were 4-2 in dual meets against DVAL schools. The Eagles girls dual meet champs have several other top performers, including Alex Tate in the 1600M and 3200M distance runs, high jumper Molly Kommer, Burton in the 200 and long jump, Huddleston and Darrow in the sprints and long jump, and Darrow and Melissa Del Bene in the 400M and 800M. Sophomore Tate and

See Track, page 13

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SENIOR LAUREN WELLS (LEFT) AND FRESHMAN JANELLE BANDAYREL have dominated the 100 and 200 meters in the DVAL over the past two seasons. Wells was league MVP a year ago and now the upstart Bandayrel has come on this spring to grab the #1 spot for Clayton Valley High. The two sprinters are half of the Eagles 4x100 relay team which hopes to advance through the league, North Coast and State meets.

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May 21, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

Clayton Sports Clayton Valley baseball wins close ones to fuel DVAL, NCS aspirations JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton Valley High School exorcised a spat of near misses by winning the North Coast Section baseball championship a year ago, and it was the offense of coach Bob Ralston’s team which proved the key as the Eagles had an incredible team batting average over .400. This year’s squad is preparing to find out who it will play in NCS playoffs as the pairings will be determined Sunday, with playoffs next Tuesday and Wednesday. Rather than slugging their way into this year’s NCS party, the Eagles have had to rely on pitching and defense to earn themselves a repeat Diablo Valley Athletic League championship and a high seed in NCS, where they will be part of a 16-team field looking for the year-end glory in Division II that the Eagles enjoyed in 2009.

Track, from page 12

Photo by Mike Dunn

CLAYTON RESIDENT JEREMY MCKILLIP has been a mainstay on the Eagles track team this year running in both hurdle events for coach Les Garaventa’s squad.

Del Bene were key performers on the CVHS cross country squad last fall, with Tate winning the DVAL championship. New to the girls squad this year and contributing to the team’s success were middle distance runner Jasmine Bandayrel, Nicole Simms in the shot put and discus and Gina Del Bene in the 400M and 800M. Hurdlers Jeremy McKillip and Ryan Fazzi (110M high hurdles and 300M intermediate) and sprinter Tino Abon led the way for returning boys to the Eagles squad. They’ve been joined by newcomers Floyd Williams in the long jump, shot putter Rudy Ellison and Brenden Eddy, who has an unusual double of high jump and discus. Garaventa calls his coaching staff the “best in the area” and credits them for their dedication to the team’s success. Monty Consani, Howard Janssen, Deborah Osteen, Jeremiah Niel, Darren Newell, Michelle Howisey, Randy Bone and Dan Sullivan work with athletes in their individual specialties, overseen by Garaventa. He has been the head coach the past four years, after spending the previous four years as an assistant on the staff at his alma mater.

“Winning close games shows the players believe in themselves,” says Ralston, after noting that half their wins have been by one or two runs and only one loss in a one-run game. “Pitching and defense have definitely been our signatures this year.” The team won 17 of its first 21 games with only one league defeat and were near or at the top of Bay Area High School baseball pools throughout the season. The first three batters in the Clayton Valley batting order have played big roles all season as the only returning starters for the league and section titlists. Junior right-handed pitcher Chaz Meadows has followed up on his storybook sophomore season, when he won every game on the mound for the Eagles in the NCS playoffs, with excellent pitching and timely hitting at the plate. The diminutive Meadows won his first nine decisions as a pitcher this season and was hitting .420 going into the final week of the season. “He pitches likes he’s 6-3,” his admiring coach says. Third baseman Johnny Bekakis is the team’s leadoff hitter and is batting in the high .300s. His senior classmate on the left side of the infield, shortstop Cody Stephens, has had equal success at the plate while batting third with Meadows between them in the order. When Meadows isn’t pitching, he’s at second base. This top of the order “has been very successful,” Ralston says with understatement. “They’ve shown ability in the field, good defense and, most importantly, lead-

The MDSA Mud Dogs were champions of the under 14 boys division of the Pacifica Fog Classic soccer tournament May 1-2. The team, coached by Clayton residents Andy Rosen and Robert Helena, capped a strong weekend of play by defeating the MV-LA Strikers 3-

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

Sports Shorts DANA HILLS HOSTS PIRATE EVENT The swim team is having its Pirate Event at 6 p.m. Friday, May 21, at the Dana Hills pool. Swimmers will meet their buddy and have great adventures. Pirate ships will be departing the dock promptly at 6 o’clock. There are treasures to be had and a stolen princess to save! Costumes are encouraged. The best dressed Pirate family will win a prize of Vintage Gold. This is an all-team event. For more information, call Stacie at 381-2028 or Marlene 363-9300.

MDUSD STUDENTS JOIN MILLENNIUM MILE Athletes from Mt. Diablo and Ayers elementary schools will be taking part in the 10th annual Millennium Mile for Mt. Diablo Unified School District students Saturday, May 22, at Ygnacio Valley High School. The first mile race begins at 8 a.m. Representing Mt. Diablo are fifth graders Brad Morucci and Molly Fitzsimmons and fourth graders Niklas Weigelt and Kelly Osterkamp. Ayers runners are Michael Cox and Natalie Ruzicka from fifth grade and Doug Olson and Amanda Zodikoff from fourth.


Photo by Mike Dunn

BOB RALSTON is in his second year of his second stint as coach of the Clayton Valley High School baseball team. Ralston, also a teacher at the school, guided the Eagles to a NCS tile in his return to the CVHS dugout last spring. He watches the swing of senior standout shortstop Cody Stephens at a recent practice session. ership qualities.” He says all three “represent the Clayton Valley High baseball program” in a strong fashion. The suspension of Peter Stoiber late in the season forced Ralston and pitching coach Herc Pardi to adjust their pitching rotation. Newcomer sophomore Domenic Mazza is a lefthander who joined righties Salomon Cazares and Rodrigo Morales behind Meadows in the pitching rotation. Mazza didn’t play baseball last spring as he was an all-DVAL golfer as a

freshman. But he decided to put down his clubs for a bat and glove this year. The outfield is all new from the NCS champs of a season ago. Christian Kaplan in leftfield, Jordan Burger in center and Morales in right have done a good job. Jeff Doran completes the Eagles infield at first base. Dan Hogan takes over the second base duties when Meadows pitches. Juniors Darrian Matthews and Brandyn Vandal handle the pitching staff behind the plate.

MDSA Mud Dogs U14 boys champs at Pacifica tourney SARAH ROSEN Clayton Pioneer

Page 13

2. Ryan Dudley and Jordan Tate staked the Mud Dogs to a 2-0 half-time lead and Dalton Heinz provided what would prove to be the winning goal in a thrilling finish Sunday. On Saturday, Kyle Metz provided all of the offense in a 1-0 victory over Palo Alto and a 2-0 win over local rival Pleasant Hill. On Sunday morning, Metz, Dudley and Heinz combined with Josh Rosen to score in a 6-

0 victory over Foster City before the exciting championship game in the afternoon. The team’s strong showing was the result of unselfish play all around, including midfielders Sergio Avila and Ricky Helena, defenders David Wali, Kenderson Garcia, Cole Hermeston, Brad Antonson and goalkeepers Chandler Wakefield and Shane Mann.

Mt. Diablo Soccer AYSO Region 223 will hold the final registration for its 30th fall season 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, at Skipolini’s Pizza in downtown Clayton. MDSA, the area’s largest youth sports organization where everyone plays, is for girls and boys 5-18. Fall season begins with practices 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, visit

EAGLES SET SUMMER BASEBALL ACADEMY Defending North Coast Section champion Clayton Valley High Eagles coaches and players will present the annual Summer Baseball Camp June 15-July 1 at the Concord school. The program is for boys and girls 7-15, from beginners to advanced players. Current college players and student coaches from Clayton Valley provide positive role models and give hands-on instruction. For more information, call 682-7474 ext. 3115 or visit

CLAYTON VALLEY YOUTH FOOTBALL CAMP The 10th annual camp runs 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 21-25 at Gonsalves Stadium on the Clayton Valley High School campus. It is for boys entering fifth-ninth grades. Head football coach Herc Pardi and his staff provide fundamental instruction and competition. There is a trainer on site. Each participant gets a camp shirt and a written evaluation. Cost is $125, plus a refundable $75 equipment fee. For more information, call 682-7474 ext. 3115, press 5, or pick up a brochure at the CVHS front office. Deadline to apply is June 9. DIABLO FUTBOL PRE-SEASON SOCCER CAMP Diablo Futbol Club professional coaches will present the first MDSA Pre-season Camp for AYSO players getting ready for fall soccer league the week of Aug. 9-13. The 9 a.m.-noon sessions will concentrate on a single skill each day. The camp is at the Boatwright Sports Complex in Concord. For more information, visit

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Clayton Pioneer •

May 21, 2010

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CLAYTON EVENTS Saturdays through October Farmers Market 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Diablo Street between Main and Center, downtown Clayton. No markets July 3, Sept. 4 and Oct. 2. or 800-949-3276. May 22; June 5, 19 Concerts in the Grove May 22: Mamaluke, classic rock dance band; June 5: Littledog2, classic rock/adult alternative party band; June 19: Mixed Nuts, dance music; 6 p.m., Grove Park, downtown Clayton. May 22 “Back to the Eighties” A nostalgic musical from Drama Mama Productions students at Diablo View Middle School. 7 p.m., DVMS multi-use room, 300 Diablo View Lane, Clayton. Contact Micki at 787-3183. May 31 Memorial Day Program Hosted by VFW Post 1525. 10 a.m.-noon, downtown Clayton flagpole. Contact Ming at 672-4911 or Pete at 682-6533. June 5 Clayton Dog Park Anniversary Party Marking 10 years of the park, plus grand opening for the small dog area. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Marsh Creek Road, across from Diablo View Middle School.

ENTERTAINMENT May 21-23 “Mulan Jr.” The Youth Theatre Company production features Giovy Webb of Clayton as Mulan. 7 p.m. May 21, 2 and 7 p.m. May 22 and 2 p.m. May 23. Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. $15-$17. 943-SHOW or May 23 Kenn Adams’ Adventure Theater An innovative theatrical experience for kids and teens where the audience helps create the show. 1 and 4 p.m., Under the Sun Studios, 2956 Treat Blvd., Suite B, Concord. $12. or 408-8540. May 23, 26 Tapestry The Bay Area’s only vocal and handbell ensemble, presents “Shall We Dance?” 4 p.m. May 23, Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, 1543 Sunnyvale Ave. 7:30 p.m. May 26, Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Ave., Livermore. Free-will donations for FESCO and the Food Pantry. Contact Cindy at 672-7751. Through May 23 “Betty’s Summer Vacation” A serio-comedy collaboration of Diablo Valley College students and faculty. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill. $10- $17. No one under 17 admitted without consent. 687-4445. May 23 Diablo Women’s Chorale Spring Concert Featuring Pergolesi, Mendelssohn and Gershwin. 3 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 2317 Buena Vista Ave., Walnut Creek. $10$12. Reception follows concert. Proceeds benefit the Mt. Diablo Music Education Foundation. Through June 6 “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” Willows Theatre Company presents the award-winning musical featuring the “Peanuts” gang. Willows Cabaret, 636 Ward St, Martinez. $22-$32. 798-1300 or June 11-26 “Godspell” Contra Costa Christian Theatre presents the musical based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew. Dell Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. $18, with group, student and senior discounts. 943-SHOW or June 21-Aug. 1 “Avenue Q” The Willows Theatre presents an adult-oriented musical featuring puppets and live actors, based on “Sesame Street.” Campbell Theatre, 626 Ward St., June 21-Aug. 1. or 798-1300. Through June 26 “The Noel Coward Celebration” The Bay Area premiere of an evening of song and sparkling repartee. Center REPertory Company, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $18-$45. or 943-7469.

Through Sept. 16 Music and Market Series Concerts at noon Tuesdays through June 29, 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays July 6-Aug. 3 and 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 16, Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord. Also, Elvis tribute 2 p.m. Mother’s Day, May 9, and Motown music Father’s Day, June 20. or 671-3464.

FUNDRAISERS May 21-23 Clayton Valley High School Music Boosters Jamba Juice in the Clayton Valley Shopping Center will donate 20 percent of purchases May 21-23. Print flier at Instrumental music students will host a carwash 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 22, Mountain Mike’s, 5358 Clayton Road, Concord. $10. May 22, 29; June 5 Blue Star Moms Drive for the Troops The group will be collecting items for care packages for a July 4 mailing to our troops overseas. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May 22 and June 5, Wal-Mart, 1021 Arnold Dr., Martinez. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 29, Pittsburg Farmers Market, 515 Railroad Avenue. Donations most needed are tuna/chicken salad kits, small beef jerky and pop tarts. See for other needed items. Checks for postage of $12.50 per box may be sent to Contra Costa Blue Star Moms, P.O. Box 6379, Concord CA 94524. June 5 Tip-A-Cop Proceeds benefit the Special Olympics of Northern California. 5-9 p.m., Ed’s Mudville Grill, 6200 Center St., Clayton 6730333.

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Most programs are free. 673-0659 or June 5-6 Summer Reading Festival The county library kicks off Summer Reading with free events around the county. Captain Jack Spareribs will offer pirate humor, juggling and a talking monkey, 4 p.m. June 5, Clayton Library. Writer Dave Eggers will appear 1 p.m. June 6, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek. 943-SHOW or For more on Summer Reading, visit June 16 Writers’ Workshop “Sand, Sea and Suspense,” an interactive writing afternoon led by children’s authors Sarah Wilson and Elizabeth KoehlerPentacoff. For grades 6-12. 3-5 p.m. Registration requested. June 16 Personal Finances 101 David Green, president and CEO of the Contra Costa Federal Credit Union, presents experts who will introduce tools to help put your finances in order. 7 p.m. June 23 “Name That Tune” For grades 6-12. 4-5 p.m. June 26 Prenatal Yoga Candice Garrett talks about yoga, pregnancy, birth and her book, “Prenatal Yoga: Finding Movement in Fullness.” 2 p.m. RSVP for a 2:30 p.m. demonstration on breath awareness and yoga. Bring your own mat. or

MEETINGS May 25; June 8, 22 Clayton Planning Commission 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 6737304 or May 25; June 15, 22 Mt. Diablo Unified School District 7:30 p.m., 1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord. June 1, 15 Clayton City Council 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 6737304 or

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

Clayton Valley Garden Club Meets 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month, Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. Contact Nancy at 673-3522 or Clayton Valley Woman’s Club Meets 9:30 a.m. for coffee, 10 a.m. meetings, second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1090 Alberta Way, Concord. Call Joan at 672-2471. Clutch Busters Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Mt. Diablo Women’s Club, 1700 Farm Bureau Road, Concord. Contact Dorothy at 754-8117. Concord Stompers Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Mt. Diablo Women’s Club, 1700 Farm Bureau Road, Concord. Call Jennie at 672-9676 or Contra Costa 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 Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society Meets 7:30 p.m. second Monday of the month, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. 779-0698 or Creekside Artists Guild Meets 7-8:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month, Clayton Library Story Room, 6125 Clayton Road, Clayton. All artforms and both emerging and experienced artists welcome. Contact Arlene at 673-9777 or Diablo Valley Democratic Club Meets 7-9 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road., Walnut Creek. 9460469 or Diablo Valley Macintosh Users Group Meets 6:30-9 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month. Bancroft Elementary School, 2700 Parish Dr., Walnut Creek. 689-1155 or 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. 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 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. 5668166 or Scrabble Club Meets 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. second and fourth Saturdays of the month, Carl’s Jr. Restaurant, 1530 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. All ages and skill levels welcome. $3 fee. Call Mike at 6391987 or Sons In Retirement (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

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

May 21, 2010

Clayton Pioneer •

Dog park celebrates 10 years of enthusiastic community support BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer

Hard to believe it’s been 70 years since the Clayton dog park opened. Of course, that’s counting in “dog years.” To mark the occasion, the Clayton K-9 Coalition is hosting a 10th anniversary party as well as a grand opening for the new small dog area on Saturday, June 5. The 10 a.m.-2 p.m. event will include a raffle as well as an opportunity to sign up for escrip to help with park maintenance. According to K-9 Coalition treasurer Sherry Guthrie, the group needs funds to add a water line for the small dog area, along with paying for wood chips and twice yearly sprays for weed and pest control. “We are also hoping to be able to get some more play equipment for the animals,” she notes. “More things for the dogs to do, rather than just wander

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

“COLE” TAKES A BREATHER FROM PLAY at the Clayton Dog Park. The Park is the center of canine social life in town and is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

around, creates less aggression for the dogs.” After “inheriting” a pugglecavalier King Charles mix from

her son, Guthrie had been taking Charlie to Newhall Park in Concord but found that some of the dogs were too aggressive.

“I came upon the Clayton park, and I didn’t even know it was there,” she says. “The dogs are all really nice at this dog park, and the people I’ve come across are respectful of others.” Clayton resident Denise Coyne has also been pleased with the doggie interactions at the park. She and her husband having been bringing their golden retriever, Daisy, there for the last few years. “I’ve made great friends. It’s a good place to take the dog, of course, but I think it’s even better for the people,” she says with a laugh. The city-owned park opened off Marsh Creek Road in 2000, after a 1995 survey found 61 percent support for an off-leash park. The city agreed to install fencing, benches, a table and waste receptacles. Local residents established the Clayton K9 Coalition to raise funds to

See Dog Park, page 16

Page 15

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Teaching an old dog new tricks can be rewarding ELENA BICKER

PET PALS Many people think training is just for the ill-behaved hound. However, training is a great way to improve your relationship with your dog. It builds and maintains a dog’s skills, exercises his brain power and improves communication between dog and handler. With the right motivation, dogs of all ages have the ability to learn and benefit from new tricks. To get the most out of training, the experience should be enjoyable. Did you ever have a teacher or coach who berated

students or yelled? No one can learn like that. The same applies to dogs; they learn primarily by association. Connecting learning with an unpleasant experience lessens their enthusiasm about training. When dogs discover that training leads to fun and rewards, they become eager to learn and offer new behaviors freely. Remember to have fun, and you will build trust with your dog while making him an enthusiastic student. That’s not to say training is easy. It can be mentally exhausting for both you and your dog. Communication is the most difficult part. Humans and canines speak different languages, and people frequently ask their dogs to do very un-doglike things,

such as shaking or heeling. We rely mostly on verbal communication, whereas dogs are experts at reading body language. Our brains get exercise trying to break down a behavior into components dogs can understand; dog brains get a workout trying to understand what we want them to do. When the trick is accomplished, however, both you and your dog will share the satisfaction of achievement. The better we get at communication, the quicker our dogs learn. We can lure, shape or capture the behavior we want and then provide feedback, rewarding a job well done or re-teaching when our goal is not clear. Our dogs communicate with us as well, perking their ears when

Lulu and Lucy are ARF’s Adoption Stars

they are paying attention, panting when they are stressed or dropping their ears back when they are puzzled by our requests. But communication isn’t limited to the trick. Be on the lookout for signs of frustration in both yourself and your dog. When dogs yawn or turn their head away during training, it’s likely due to stress, not boredom or sleepiness. Keep training sessions to about five minutes long, a couple of times each day, to limit frustration. End on a successful note, even if it means going back to something as simple as “sit” to keep the experience positive. Classes offer an opportunity to learn something new as a team and spend quality time with your furry friend. A good instructor will improve how you communicate with your dog, providing an extra set of eyes to make sure that what you are teaching your dog is what you want him to learn. Classes will also allow your dog to see other dogs in an environment he associates with pleasant experiences. The Animal Rescue Foundation offers a variety of training classes through ARF U. Visit or call 296-3111 for more information. Training increases responsiveness through better communication and trust. By working with your dog, you can create a better-behaved friend, strengthen your bond and develop an understanding that enriches both your lives at any age. Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 2561ARF (1273)


LULU Lulu is the epitome of the word “companion”. She’s bright and affectionate and hopes to find adopters who’ll enjoy her company as much as she’ll enjoy theirs! Like all dogs, it’ll be important that she get regular opportunities for both mental and physical exercise on a daily basis. Attending training classes will be a great way for her to learn new skills and show off ones she already knows. The adoption fee for adult dogs is $225 and includes 60 percent off one 7-week dog training session.

Lucy is a darling little girl that is looking for a quiet home. She will need a little time to get used to her new home, as she is shy but sweet. Once Lucy is settled in, she will become your constant companion. Lucy must be an indoor only cat. Lucy is diabetic and will require a daily injection. Her adoption fee has been pre-paid by a generous sponsor. Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during

adoption hours: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The primary caretaker must be present to adopt. ARF also encourages kids 16 and younger and canine family members (dog adoptions only) to be present during the adoption process. Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? Can you share your talents to connect people and animals? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our website,, or call 925.256.1ARF.

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Clayton Pioneer •

May 21, 2010

Church News National Prayer Day honors first responders Doering, St. John’s pastor Peter Champion, Bay Summit Church pastor Scott Purkey and Clayton Community Church pastor Shawn Robinson, St. Bonaventure’s pastor Richard Mangini, Linda Manzeck, Janet Hogan, David Manzeck and Anne Hjelle.


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Community leaders gathered for breakfast at Centre Concord on May 6 in observance of the National Day of Prayer to honor firefighters, paramedics, police and other first responders to emergencies. Guest speakers included firefighter David Manzeck and mountain lion attack survivor Anne Hjelle.

Manzeck was instrumental in the rescue of 74-year-old Janet Hogan from the Walnut Creek Flood Channel on April 11. Mrs. Hogan was the sole survivor of a crash that took the lives of her son and husband. Hjelle seriously injured when a mountain lion attacked her while she was mountain biking in Southern California.

The breakfast was sponsored by Clayton Community Church, Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church and St. Bonaventure’s Catholic Church and Bay Summit Church. Pictured from left are St. Bonaventure’s Christa Fairfield, Supervisor Susan Bonilla, CV Presbyterian pastor Gail

CLAYTON VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH The 9 a.m. adult Sunday school class is on hiatus until June 6. At that time, the group will resume the current topic of study, “The New Testament: Its History and How it Came to be Written.” Everyone is invited to the lively and thought-provoking discussions in the Sacristy room of the Sanctuary building. Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church is at 1578 Kirker Pass Road. Clayton. For more information, call 672-4848.

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provide water and ongoing maintenance. Joanne Parsonage spearheaded the drive and worked diligently with the City Council to develop the park. Other longtime volunteers are Linda Pinder, Carlene and Gil Visperas, Troy Lee, Peggy Eyres, Micki McCabeWalls and Mary Buscaglia. “Also as part of the anniversary celebration, we want to thank the original board members because without them this park probably wouldn’t have come about,” says Guthrie, who joined the K-9 Coalition board earlier this year. Jacob Baldree and Brett Nebekerr contributed the new small dog area as an Eagle Scout project last fall. Jacob and his crew built an arbor, while Brett and company constructed the fence and gates. In 2005, Scout Trenton Wright created a shade structure over the picnic table in the original area. Buscaglia also credits John Burgh for keeping the park in pristine condition. “He has been invaluable to us in maintaining the park any type of repairs with the water line, signage, painting, etc. over the past few years,” she says. “The main thing is that the people have to maintain the park,” Buscaglia adds. “The city was very kind to donate the fencing and the land, but donations are needed to keep it going.” The dog park is adjacent to Marsh Creek Road, across from Diablo View Middle School. Hours are sunrise to sunset. To donate to the K-9 Coalition or find out more about the park, visit

Woman’s club donations strengthen community NICCI SHIPSTEAD Clayton Pioneer

The Clayton Valley Woman’s Club Donation Luncheon on May 11 honored Clayton and Concord’s historical societies, the Clayton Community Library Foundation and scholarship winner Joshua Tan. Kay Massone, past president of the Concord Historical Society, said the CVWC donation will help support the group’s new agreement with the city of Concord for the Galindo House property, which will be ready for an event this December. According to Ted Meriam, president of the Clayton Historical Society, CVWC is recognized throughout the community as “vibrant and strong” for providing financial contributions and volunteer support. Accepting for CCLF were self-dubbed co-founding “mothers,” president Joyce Atkinson and Jeanne Boyd, and senior librarian Karen Hansen-Smith. The library celebrated its 15th birthday, and the foundation’s book sale last month brought in $10,000. With Clayton Books closing this month, patrons are encouraged to drive “just a little bit farther down the road” and drop off book donations during library hours. Scholarship recipient Tan, a senior at Clayton Valley High School, heads to UC Davis this fall to study managerial economics with a goal to work in business management. “I plan to return to Manila to not only start a business, but to find ways to combat the poverty that I saw so much of,” Tan said.

Kathy Hester, President CVWC, Jeanne Boyd, co-founder CCLF, and Karen Hansen-Smith, CCC Senior Community Library Manager, enjoy CCLF President Joyce Atkinson’s acceptance of CVWC donation at a luncheon on May 11.

“(My family) returned to Manila when I was in the second grade and I was exposed to the true poverty in the world that doesn’t exist in the U.S. I was told to simply look away; that there was no way to help the masses,” he wrote in an essay to the CVWC scholarship program. “I will use my American education to start a successful business and gain capital … to start several non-profit organizations that fight poverty in this extremely poor country,” Tan said. CVWC’s endeavors concentrate on international education and conservation, explains president Kathy Hester. Tan’s goals and extracurricular activities, including track and field and the Contra Costa Chinese School, establish a broad foundation for education and diversity, Hester said. “Many of us are delighted that you chose UC Davis. Many of our children went there,” Hester added. “Many of us went there!” interjected several CVWC members. CVWC meets 10 a.m. on the sec-

ond and fourth Tuesdays of the month at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1092 Alberta Way, Concord. The group only meets the second Tuesday in June and Dec. For information, call 672-1163.

CLAYTON VALLEY WOMAN’S CLUB On April 17, the club hosted its 5th annual Festival of Tables and Fashion Show. More than 160 people attended the event, coordinated by Merle Whitburn and her committee. Following lunch, Goodwill Bags presented a fashion show of authentic vintage wardrobe accompanied by piano music to fit the era. Clothing presented was from the mid-1800s to mid1900s, with expert descriptions from the commentator. All proceeds benefit club projects, which include the Concord and Clayton historical societies and the Clayton Community Library, as well as scholarships for Clayton Valley High School graduates and donations of time and money to other community organizations.

I can help you reach your milestones and all the mile-pebbles I will take the time to listen to you and understand your dreams, then find the appropriate financial solutions that can help you reach your individual goals. Because every dream is personal, and needs a personal plan.

To start a conversation, call me at (925) 685-4523 Mureleen Benton, CFP®, Financial Advisor 5356 Clayton Rd., Suite 211, Concord, CA 94521 (925) 685-4523 CA License #0692378

MORE WITHIN REACH SM Financial planning services and investments available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Your meeting will include a review of your existing financial situation and potential opportunities, gaps, or general strategies. You will not receive a comprehensive review or financial planning services for which fees are charged. © 2009 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

May 21, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 17


‘Charlie Brown’ an evening of classic fun LOU FANCHER Clayton Pioneer

Get ready for gushing, because there’s a lot to like in the Willows Theatre Company’s musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Brimming with talent, the cast, director Christine Marshall and musical director Kim Vetterli make audiences love the “Peanuts” gang all the more. Marshall sets the scene perfectly. The small stage is pumped with vibrant color and framed by familiar renderings of each character. Iconic fixtures – a desk, a doghouse, a bench – are placed to greatest advantage, establishing time, place and even mood. Add to that Robert Anderson’s ingenious lighting design and costume designer Julie Liu’s bold, but simple choices, and the production leaps from average to exceptional

Michael Scott Wells as Snoopy - with cast. L-R: Jenny Angel, Sean Fenton, Catherine Gloria (from Clayton), Trevor Moppin

before a single word is spoken or sung. The production, based on the book, music and lyrics of Clark Gesner, portrays a day in the life of Charlie Brown. Peppered with easy laughs and deliciously child-centric, it’s still a treat for adults in the audience. Marshall deserves recognition for striking

just the right balance of silly humor (rabbit chasing, oversized sandwiches) and pathos (yearning for red-haired companionship, relying on a blanket for security). The capable cast is clearly inspired by the material and the strong direction. As Charlie Brown, Eric Inman is convinc-

Like Mulan, Clayton girl strives to have it all LOU FANCHER Clayton Pioneer

Giovy Webb is a power hitter, whether it’s on the stage with the Youth Theatre Company (YTC) or on the field as pitcher and clean-up hitter with the Sorcerers, her championship fast-pitch softball team. The 12-year-old Clayton resident attends Diablo View Middle School, where she maintains a 4.0 grade point average, loves math and reading and has just completed a successful campaign for seventh-grade student body president. Recovering from a weekend tourney and six undefeated games to win the championship, Webb sounds bright and bold at 7 a.m. on a Monday morning. She’s also in rehearsals for “Mulan Jr.,” having landed the title role in the YTC production. “This is my first leading character,” she says. “It’s challenging because a lot of times, the spotlight is on me.” As Fa Mulan, the brave Chinese girl who broke with tradition to bring honor to her family, Webb focuses her considerable energy. “I take a deep breath and remind myself that most of the time in the theater they say, ‘If you mess up, mess up big!’ ” There’s little chance of that, according to Nina Meehan, director of “Mulan” and the Junior Theatre director at YTC. She describes Webb as “dedicated, sophisticated, effortless and a

team player.” Rachel Pergamit, YTC’s production coordinator, echoes Meehan’s description. “I remember thinking during her audition, ‘Where has this girl been hiding?’ ” Both praise her ability to take direction and her quiet leadership skills. It all started for Webb with singing in church, says her mother, Sandra. “We heard her voice develop and watched her interest grow from there.” A fifth-grade experience fanned Webb’s theatrical flames. “We had people come in and show what different classes were like in art, music and drama,” Webb recalls. Her interest piqued, she was disappointed to learn that middle school didn’t offer the courses. But YTC did, and she joined the summer theater program in 2009. “It’s like a big family,” Webb says. “Even though we just met a year ago, I feel so welcome.” The youth group, a part of Civic Arts Education in Walnut Creek, has been in existence for more than 30 years. They offer four levels of programming, Mini Kids though Teen Theatre. The professional staff teaches about 500 students. The expanding enrollment speaks volumes about the recent cuts to arts in schools. “We offer theater to kids who desperately need a creative outlet,” Pergamit says.

ingly earnest and gullible. Jenny Angell’s Sally has surprising kick. Like hot peppers, her lines hit the air lightly, then burn with lingering ferocity. Catherine Gloria (Lucy) and Sean Fenton (Linus) play the sister-brother game with finesse and match our expectations of loud and lovable, respectively. Trevor Moppin’s Schroeder is less grumpy than his comic strip character, and a darker portrayal might provide a stronger counterbalance to the boisterous cast. As Snoopy, Michael Scott Wells wins the blue ribbon for boundless energy as he springs from his dog house roof, dances across the stage and leaps for his supper. Choreographer Nicole Helfer must be a kindred spirit of Peanuts’ creator Charles M. Schultz. A slow-motion baseball scene and a terrific kite flying segment provide striking theatri-

cal physicality without resorting to stunts or tricks. Helfer’s tight editing and refined eye matches Schultz’s everyman characterizations. As if all of this talent gathered on one stage were not enough, Vetterli sweetens the pot with impeccable piano accompaniment. Positioned offstage, she plays with precision and sensitivity. Throughout, her musical direction is a joy. A Glee Club rehearsal song, deftly sung amidst an argument, is both brilliant and funny. “Charlie Brown” is visually appealing, delightfully nostalgic, musically satisfying and presented with artistry and flair. “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” runs through June 6 at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. For tickets, call 798-1300 or visit

Kristina Schoell heads ‘Into the Woods’

Photo Courtesy of YTC

Griffin Silva and Giovy Webb

YTC performs every two years in national competitions often receiving top honors – and Webb hopes to participate. In the meantime, the young singer/actor remains dialed to “on” 24/7 and plans to make true the well-worn adage, “art imitates life,” bringing honor to her family in “Mulan Jr.” “Mulan Jr.” plays 7 p.m. May 21, 2 and 7 p.m. May 22 and 2 p.m. May 23 at the Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. Tickets are $15-$17. For more information, call 943-SHOW or

She won the hearts of audiences in the Diablo Theatre Company’s production of “The Will Rogers Follies” and now Kristina Schoell is heading “Into the Woods.” Schoell, 14, will perform as an orphan in “Into the Woods,” the classic musical fairytale by composer Stephen Sondheim. The show opens June 4 and continues through June 20 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. Although “Into the Woods” is Schoell’s second show with the Diablo Theatre Company, having performed two years ago in “The Will Rogers Follies,” she’s no stranger to other stages. Her profile includes performances with Tri-Valley Rep, Vagabond Players, Center


Repertory Company, and Stage Troupe in Pleasant Hill. In addition to academic studies at Diablo Middle School in Clayton, Schoell continues training in ballet, tap and jazz and acting with Young Rep in Walnut Creek.

Safety, from page 9 straight line, not in and out of cars. Stay alert at all times. Keep an eye out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations so never listen to music or wear a headset when you ride. Watch for parked cars by riding

far enough out from the curb to avoid surprises, like doors opening or cars pulling out. Watch for vehicles coming out of or turning into driveways. Stop at corners of sidewalks and streets to look for cars and to make sure the drivers see you before crossing. It’s wise to give verbal alerts (“passing on your left,” “excuse me”) to pedestrians or other cyclists you may be approaching

School News CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL The CVHS Music Boosters are holding two fundraisers to help replace lost equipment and fund music programs. May 21-23, Jamba Juice in the Clayton Valley Shopping Center will give 20 percent of purchases to the music boosters. Print a flier at CVHS instrumental music students will hold a car wash 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 22 at Mountain Mike’s, 5358 Clayton Road, Concord. Cost is $10 per vehicle.

Drama, from page 10 Veronica and Max. “At DramaMama, we can be ourselves and no one teases us if we make a mistake,” notes 11year-old Savanha Groebner. “It’s great to work with the high school kids, because they encourage us and show us that it is OK to have fun.” Kathy Groebner struggles for words to describe the impact Pratt and her family have had on the Clayton community. “They take these kids and give them the desire to be a caring community,” she says. Pratt is alternately objective and emotional about her departure and is looking to people like Rowland and Groebner to keep the program stable. “This year has been so special because I have the young kids, I have the mentoring program and I have employment for graduates of DramaMama,” Pratt says. Suddenly, she’s too choked up to complete whole sentences but manages “like a family” and “… won’t ever really leave.” Finally, practicing the breathing exercises she teaches the students to calm their stage fears, she sums up her legacy. “It’s important to me that it continues as it was created. It’s not about making superstars, it’s about making community ties for these kids.”

or passing. If you have a bell or horn, don’t be afraid to use it. When you are on bike paths, stay under 15 mph and be considerate of others. Look out for other bikers, strollers, small children and animals. Most of all, enjoy the nice weather and be safe on your bikes this season. For more information, visit Simbirdi is a resident of Clayton and member of the Clayton Citizen Corps Council (CERT). He can be reached at

Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

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Beets me why people avoid this red gem For some, beets are at the top of the list of despised veggies. I’m really not sure why, because I find them beautifully sweet and versatile. It’s probably the only vegetable I know that has a distinct flavor yet blends so well with herbs, spices and wine. An example of the beet’s versatility is found in the consummate Eastern European soup, borscht. Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko once said, “Everything I do, I do on the principle of Russian borscht. You can throw everything into it: beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, everything you want. What’s important is the result, the taste of the borscht.” Try this recipe for yourself. Be creative with additions, if you wish. BORSCHT 1 T. olive oil 1 leek, light green and white parts only 1 stalk celery 1 c. diced raw beets, peeled and trimmed 1 c. diced raw Russet potato, peeled 1 carrot, finely grated 3 c. vegetable stock 2 tsp. red wine vinegar 1 tsp. sugar Salt and pepper to taste ¼ c. sour cream Finely chop the leek and celery. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, leek and celery and sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add beets, potato, carrot and stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the

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vegetables are tender and soup has thickened. Stir in the vinegar and sugar, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Puree the soup if desired. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream. While most of us recognize the “common beet” for its deep red color, there are golden beets (tender but less sweet), chioggias (known for their red and white color), sugar beets (used in sugar production and fermentation) and mangold (animal fodder). It’s not just the beet that’s tasty, the greens are good too. After all, beets are related to Swiss chard and spinach. Early-season beets are just making it to market. They are full of folic acid and potassium, while the greens have significant amounts of calcium and betacarotene. Beets are also low in calories. To preserve the red color while cooking, add a teaspoon or two of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. On the other hand, since beet juice is used as a fabric dye, you have to be diligent in removing stains. Try dabbing the spot with white bread soaked in water. You can try a commercial stain remover, but don’t throw the item in the dryer until you’ve

d o n e your best to get the stain out. When in doubt, use an apron! Beets were used in European pagan rituals as a symbol of love and beauty. In fact, it’s believed they originated in Europe – probably along the Mediterranean in the south of France. They established themselves as a culinary mainstay in Belgian, Dutch and Eastern European cuisines. They were foisted onto the main stage during the Napoleonic Wars in the 1800s. The Brits cut off France’s cane sugar supply in the Caribbean, so they turned to extracting sucrose from beets – a process invented by a German chemist several decades earlier. The sugar beet industry is wellestablished these days and produces about 30 percent of the world sugar supply. If your box or bag of sugar doesn’t say “cane sugar,” it probably is from beets. The Amish of eastern Pennsylvania have long included beets in their diet. One of the most popular forms is pickled beets and eggs. It’s simple, tasty and pretty on a plate of lettuce. Here’s one version of the recipe. PICKLED BEETS AND EGGS 6 hard-cooked eggs 1 can whole beets, juice preserved 1 c. cider vinegar 1/3 c. sugar 2 cinnamon sticks ½ tsp. ground ginger ½ tsp. whole peppercorns 3 whole cloves 1 bay leaf ¼ tsp. caraway seed

T o h a r d cook eggs, cover them with cold water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from the heat for 18 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath to cool. Older eggs peel better when cooked. Peel the eggs and set aside. Drain the juice from the can of beets into a small saucepan and add the vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a full boil; remove from heat. Layer the eggs and beets in a 1-quart, heat-proof jar and pour in the pickling liquid. Cover and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for one day. Serve with lettuce and a dollop of mayonnaise. Linda Wyner, a local attorney and foodie, owns Pans on Fire, a gourmet cookware store and cooking school in Pleasanton. Direct your suggestions or questions to

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SENIOR MOMENTS Fall-related injuries impose an enormous burden on individuals, society and the nation’s health care system. As the popu-

lation of the United States ages, the negative impact of falls continues to increase. More than one-third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. Twenty to 30 percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures or head traumas. These injuries can make it difficult to get around and limit independent living. They can also

increase the risk of early death. Many people who fall, even those who are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and physical fitness – actually increasing their risk of falling. Older adults can take several steps to protect their independence and reduce their risk of falling. Exercise is one of the most important ways to reduce your chances of falling. Exercises that improve balance and coordination are the most helpful. It’s also important to make

your home safer, because half of all falls happen at home. Keep items away from stairs and walkways to prevent tripping. Install handrails and lights on stairs. Remove throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping. Keep items you use often within easy reach. Avoid using step stools. Install grab bars next to your toilet, tub and shower. As you get older, brighter lights are needed to see well. Lamp shades or frosted bulbs can reduce glare.

See Senior, page 19

May 21, 2010

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Biggest-ever KidFest returns to Concord with Clayton man at the helm TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

After a topsy-turvy 12 months when its status was touch and go, Bay Area KidFest returns to Concord on Memorial Day weekend “bigger and better than ever,” reports event producer and Clayton resident Jay Bedecarré. The 21st annual KidFest is not only going to be three funfilled days May 29-31, but also a fundraiser for the two foundations formed to save high school sports and elementary school music in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. KidFest’s new home is at Mt. Diablo High School, four blocks down Grant Street from its previous site at Todos Santos Plaza. “Our new location is at least 50 percent larger than the plaza, so we have room for many additional attractions and activities,” Bedecarré says. That includes an entire sec-

Senior, from page 18 Wear shoes with good support and non-slip soles. Avoid wearing slippers and athletic shoes with deep treads. Ask your health-care provider to review your medicines. Some combinations of medicines cause drowsiness, which can lead to a fall. Get your vision checked. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts that limit your vision. Falls can cause much despair for individuals and their families. A simple misstep can land you in the hospital or skilled nursing while you recover. Often these individuals are never truly the same. Make sure your loved ones use the proper equipment in order to help them function as independently as possible. Walkers and canes are often necessary. Many times, seniors do not want to use these devices for fear they will make them look less independent. Please encourage the use of these items as they can be a huge factor in keeping seniors as independent and safe as possible. Being aware of fall prevention is crucial to all of our well-being. Kelly Ferro is a marketing director for Aegis Living. Send comments or questions to

Photo by Ed Cardoza

Event organizer Jay Bedecarré gives a “pep talk” to two macaws from the Happy Birds Performing Parrot Show, who will appear at KidFest.

tion of rides and activities featuring a Ferris wheel, petting zoo, pony rides, climbing wall, giant slide, EuroBungy trampoline, go karts and another half dozen rides. There will also be an expanded food court and more room for arts and crafts, nonprofits and other exhibitors to display their wares. KidFest favorites from the past are back on stage, including the Happy Birds Performing Parrots Show, Circus Imagination under the big top and the Hipwaders –returning from New York performances. Singers, musicians, dancers, ethnic groups, martial artists and gymnasts will provide more than 100 hours of non-stop performances on five stages, including a stage devoted to student performances. Characters from movies, cartoons and books such as Mama of “The Berenstain Bears” will be on hand to surprise attendees and have their picture taken. The low admission price includes all the entertainment stages, face painting, balloon hats, carnival games, jumpers, inflatable bounces and crawls, KidArt, sports area and much more. WORKING OUT THE KINKS It was a long and winding road for Bedecarré to present KidFest this year. After the 20th KidFest last May, the city of Concord decided to discontinue its participation due to the retirement of long-time producer Beth Clark, city budgetary concerns and the feeling the event had outgrown the space around the plaza. Clark approached her friend Bedecarré about replacing her as KidFest producer. Bedecarré had assisted with KidFest marketing since Clark and her family moved to the Midwest eight years ago and he also worked with her on Holiday Lightfest at the Concord Pavilion nearly a decade ago. A Dana Hills resident for 22



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years, Bedecarré was marketing director of the Concord Pavilion for its first 12 season before purchasing a Concord advertising agency that he ran with his late wife, Jill, for 18 years. Seven months of seemingly non-stop meetings and discussions – including a spell when KidFest was rescheduled for Walnut Creek – passed before the indefatigable Bedecarré reached agreements with MDUSD, Mt. Diablo High and the city to move to a new location on the traditional Memorial Day weekend dates. Bedecarré has attended more than 40 festivals and events throughout the Bay Area seeking exhibitors and programming ideas, participated in more than 125 meetings and sent out several thousand emails about KidFest to pull together all the pieces in tough economic times. “I am so pleased that the KidFest tradition will continue with Jay as the producer. The KidFest staff is excited about working with Jay and the community to keep KidFest in Concord,” Clark says. “The new venue provides the opportunity to keep the same wonderful activities and entertainment that KidFest is known for as well as the space to expand and bring more excitement to the event. The partnership with the foundations makes the 21st KidFest something that shouldn’t be missed.” Concord Mayor Guy Bjerke adds: “KidFest exemplifies our theme ‘Concord, Where Families Come First,’ so we’re delighted it remains a key component of our downtown calendar this year. Jay and his staff will do a great job carrying on the KidFest tradition.”

dent Pat Middendorf and Mt. Diablo Music Education Foundation board member Michael McNally to see if the groups would like to collaborate on KidFest. The foundations will provide all of the volunteers – more than 125 positions each day and will receive the majority of the proceeds. “We are excited to participate at KidFest this year as partners with the athletic foundation,” says music foundation president Joan Miller. “This is a wonderful opportunity for foundation volunteers to participate in this community event, raise funds and awareness for our music foundation and have fun doing it. “We’re also excited about our students getting the opportunity to perform on stage at KidFest,” Miller adds. “It’s going to be a terrific weekend.” Middendorf, athletic director at Clayton Valley High School, said the athletic foundation was founded a year ago in response to the MDUSD board eliminating funding for high school sports to the tune of $1.2 million. “Since that time, the foundation has reached that goal for the 2009-2010 school year, an almost unbelievable accomplishment,” Middendorf says. “But before any one of us has had a chance to celebrate, we are immediately faced with the daunting tasking of starting over again and raising another $1.2 million for next school year – a very humbling thought.” She sees KidFest as the silver lining in the dark cloud. “When Jay approached us to jump in with KidFest to help with the event and share the proceeds with the music foundation, we saw it as a win-win for all of us, but surely a home run for this community. They get a great day with their family at KidFest and help out local sports and music at the same time – now that is a beautiful thing. Maybe all is not lost just yet.” For the 15th year in a row, KidFest and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano are partnering. Every patron donating a can of food gets $1 off the $6 admission. Kids under 24 months and seniors 65 and over are free. Food, rides and a limited number of booths charge an additional fee. Bay Area KidFest will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 29-31. There will be on-site parking at MDHS and Queen of All Saints School for $5 and free parking in the City Garage at Grant and Salvio streets.

Page 19

your neighborClayton Designer

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For more information, visit or call 671-3287. Produced by Bay Area Festivals, Inc. Attractions,, programss andd scheduless subjectt too change.


Page 20

Clayton Pioneer •

May 21, 2010

Help beneficial bugs thrive in your garden gardens. Many sell adults during the spring, and releasing them in the garden makes for a fun activity. Ladybugs are productive, beneficial insects almost throughout their entire lifecycle.

Clayton Valley landscapes and gardens have been invaded with beneficial insects. These insects actually help our plants and flowers by eating the pests that annoy gardeners the most, like aphids, thrips, scale and mealybugs. Ladybugs or ladybeetles are the most commonly recognized beneficial insect. The bug with the familiar, dome-shaped body and the red shell, sometimes spotted, sometimes not, has always been regarded highly among gardeners. We love to see them chomping on the aphids on our roses. Nurseries have made it easy to introduce ladybugs into our

THREE LIFE STAGES Adult ladybugs are very recognizable, and most know not to hurt or squish them. However, you may not realize that ladybugs come in a couple other colors orange and yellow. Green-looking ladybugs are not beneficial, though. These are cucumber beetles, and they need to be picked off and properly disposed. Ladybugs do not hatch looking like they do as adults. They actually have three life stages. Once hatched, they emerge looking like an alligator-type, spiny bug. The only thing familiar about this larvae stage is the coloring, which is black accented with red. During the larvae stage, the ladybug, or ladybeetle if you prefer, is an aggressive aphid eater. They can eat more than 50

Travel, from page 8 your business card or, if you don’t have one, get one from your travel agent that shows your name and their contact information. Anyone “casually observing” your luggage at the airport won’t be able to access your home address and pay it a visit while you are gone. In large cities and also in foreign countries, do not draw attention to yourself by wear-

ing fancy clothing or jewelry. Don’t take anything of sentimental or monetary value. Leave the good jewelry at home and take faux jewels or inexpensive costume jewelry. However, you can be mugged just as easily for a fake Rolex, gold plate or cubic zirconium as for the real thing. Most clothing made specifically for travel has hidden secu-


GARDEN GIRL aphids a day. The second stage of a ladybug’s life is an immobile pupae stage. Keep your eyes peeled for a curved ladybug-colored shell adhered to a leaf or stem of a plant. After this stage, the ladybug emerges in the form that is familiar to us. SOME HOVER; SOME PRAY Hoverflies are sometime referred to as syrphid flies. These beneficial insects look like smallish yellow and black bees that hover above your plants and flowers. Hoverflies are quite

rity pockets. Don’t carry all of your money in one place. Using a purse with a long strap that allows you to wear it across your body frees your hands to handle luggage and packages and yet keeps you in control of it. If you are traveling by train, consider a cable lock. They are made of a long, retractable wire cable that allows you to lock your suitcase to the overhead rack and make you feel secure when you visit the restroom, walk around the train or

common in Clayton Valley landscapes. In the adult flying stage, the hoverfly is a great flower pollinator. Before the hoverfly begins to fly, it is in a larvae stage. The larva resembles a very small, beige-white slug. Don’t squish this bug; it is a voracious pest eater – dining on aphids all day long. Praying mantis is recognizable, and the population of this beneficial insect have surged the past few years with more nurseries selling the egg sacks. When the praying mantis is young, it will mow through a garden – eating every living insect it can get its hands on, including other praying mantises. As the praying mantis matures, it becomes very smart and will perch itself on the blossoms of lantana and coreopsis, waiting to catch bees, butterflies and other larger insects. Snake flies look mean, so it’s hard to not want to get rid of this beneficial insect. They have long necks and strong jaws with fangs perfect for chewing garden

pests. You will see two different colors of this fly locally. One has a dark neck and dark body; the other is red-orange on the neck with a tan body. They are found in grassy, open areas. Lacewings are beneficial insects known by some gardeners for the good they do. Lacewing larvae are pointed at the head and tail. They are small and silver colored. While young, this beneficial insect will munch on garden pests as fast as they can find them. The adult lacewing is active during the night, so all the good it does is not really noticed. You may bump into this insect during the day, resting under leaves. Soldier beetles are sometimes called leatherwing beetles. They have somewhat soft, brownish wing covers and golden-tan bodies. They look like beetles, just more narrow then the ones you see on the ground. These insects are hungry, and they help keep the roses and fruit trees free of pests.

sleep. Even a casual trip like camping requires some safety measures. My friend Marianne likes to go camping alone or with another gal pal. Her favorite deterrent to an unwanted intruder is to put a large pair of men’s boots outside her tent. Travel Tip: Women who travel alone have a great online resource at The site offers general info on packing, hotel safety and health issues,

as well as place-specific advice about women-friendly hotels and restaurants, local customs and dealing with persistent men. You don’t have to be traveling alone to find the site useful. Recently retired, Clayton resident Peggy Bidondo now has the time to indulge her passion in travel planning and writing. Send your questions and column ideas to Peggy Bidondo at

With so many beneficial insects working in your Clayton Valley landscape and gardens, your plants should be almost pest free. However, the use of pesticides in the yard has taken its toll on the beneficial bugs. When gardeners try to control pests with sprays and systemic fertilizers, they are killing off the good as well. Products can not differentiate between a good and a bad bug; they just kill all the bugs. Allowing your gardens to go natural will allow the beneficial insects to do their jobs. Release some ladybugs or lacewings or hatch some praying mantis and watch your garden come back to life. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden Contact her with questions, comments or suggestions at

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June 3-6, 2010 in Antioch

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Exotic Birds in Stock Canaries Parrotlets Cockatiels Cockatoos Lorikeets Macaws Amazons Conures Eclectus Greys Finches Budgies

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If you compare these prices you’ll store with us! Unit size Per Month 5’ x 4’ . . . . . . . . . .$29 5’ x 8’ . . . . . . . . . .$39 5’ x 10’ . . . . . . . . .$59 10’ x 10’ . . . . . . .$115

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MAY 21 Clayton Pioneer 2010.pdf  

Territory Road ranch. Farlow and “Mama” (left) will be at the Janet Read Memorial Miniature Horse Show on May 22 and 23 for hands-on demonst...

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