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IT’S YOUR PAPER www.claytonpioneer.com

February 11, 2011

925.672.0500

City, school district face off over gym use fees

Redevelopment funds a question, but other projects moving forward

DAVE SHUEY

MAYOR’S CORNER Thank you to all who have emailed me in response to my columns. Most have been positive and constructive, which is appreciated. Some have been negative and are now serving as kitty litter, but I do read and consider all so please keep sending. Please remember I have only 600 words or less in which to convey information to you, so by necessity I have to be general in nature. The point is to alert you to issues so that you can explore more if you want to on your own. So if you think I didn’t give you all the info or the entire story, you are probably right, but it is not with any intent to deceive or mislead. Finally, remember that sometimes I think I am funnier than I am so please read my column with a light heart – even if you don’t always get my humor. There is good news and bad news on our relationship with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. The good news is that the district has agreed to give the city the easement at Gym Court road that will allow us to

See Mayor, page 14

‘Survival’ tops Council’s 2011 goals

TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

THE CITY OF CLAYTON DONATED MORE THAN $1.5 MILLION IN LAND AND CASH to the Mt. Diablo School District to build the Clayton Community Gym which opened in 2003. In exchange, a joint use agreement with the district gave the city the right to use the gym during non-school hours. A dispute between the district and the city over custodian charges now threatens to derail that agreement. TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District will approve an easement needed for the city to add 100 spaces to the parking lot at the Clayton Community

Park ball fields, according to Mayor Dave Shuey. The ball fields are adjacent to the Clayton Community Gymnasium, which is owned by the school district. Plans for the expansion hit a snag last month when school district officials

threatened to withhold approval of the needed easement until the city paid $10,980 in disputed gymnasium operating charges. The two issues are unrelated and should not have been linked, says Shuey. The school district is

At the City Council’s goal setting meeting last week, the theme song could easily have been “Where Have All the Dollars Gone?” With the potential wipeout of Redevelopment Agencies and the economy still stuck in the mud, continued downtown revitalization faces an uncertain future. Several projects have been tabled or are simply dormant waiting for an economic turnaround. “This next year, I just want to survive and avoid layoffs if this RDA thing goes through,” Mayor Dave Shuey said of the governor’s plan to eradicate the Redevelopment Agencies.

demanding payment of the gym fees by Feb. 15 or it will consider the city in breach of agreement and “act accordingly.” To continue using the gym under the current joint use

LOOKING TO LANDSCAPING With money in short supply, the council short-listed a few projects and looked at ways to generate more revenue in 2011. Landscaping plans halted by the drought and water rationing are back in action for 2011. The city is working with designers to

See Gym, page 7

See Goals, page 8

At any age, love is a many-splendored thing

BOB AND JUNE CASE

PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID CLAYTON, CA PERMIT 190

Enjoy being together. Like each other. Obvious. Simple. Time-tested to be true. This is the answer to “What is your secret to a successful relationship?” posed to six delightful couples at Diamond Terrace, a retirement community, in the

WILMA STONE AND BILL ELLIS

ADRIENNE AND PHIL LAMOUREUX

BILL AND STELLA SHAHAN

GORDON AND CARMEN STEELE

DARRELL AND BARBARA SUTTON

spirit of Valentine’s Day. Through years together ranging from 7 to 74, these couples greet each day looking forward to time spent together. They share joys and losses, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, careers, hobbies and miles traveled together. The happiness of simply being together transcends all. Like scenes from “When Harry Met Sally,” the charming couples look to each other to tell their stories of love and romance. Wilma Stone and Bill Ellis have been together seven years. They are both from Oklahoma but met at Diamond Terrace. Wilma was asked to entertain Bill while he waited for an

appointment. “And he has been entertaining me ever since,” Wilma says with a laugh. “We miss each other when we are not together,” says Bill. After being widowed, Wilma spent time in solitude doing beading. She did not realize she was lonely until she received a postcard about Diamond Terrace. She visited with her daughter and rented an apartment on the spot. “I wasn’t looking for love,” reflects Wilma. But as she gazes at Bill and smiles, it is clear she is happy she found it. Adrienne and Phil Lamoureux have been married 52 years. They met on a blind date while he was on leave from the Army. His original marriage

proposal was a suggestion to get married sans ring. “She’s still waiting,” jokes Phil. With five children, enjoying being together was not enough to make it happen – so Adrienne and Phil made special time for each other each week. They continue the tradition with dinner by candlelight “every night,” emphasizes Adrienne. They volunteer together as well. Adrienne says they do not live by the philosophy “Never go to bed mad,” but they always show respect for each other to resolve disagreements. Carmen and Gordon Steele have been married 54 years. Their mothers thought they should go out. “I didn’t want to,” Carmen admits.

She traveled and just before she embarked on a trip to Japan, she decided to go on a date that started at Gordon’s bowling tournament and ended at the movie “Anastasia.” Carmen canceled Japan and the rest is history. They have since traveled together as far as New Zealand and Australia. Their most romantic memory is dancing at midnight on New Year’s Eve on a cruise ship off the coast of Florida. They very much enjoy their time together. But for those moments when not on even ground, they do believe in never going to bed mad. “Kiss good night and wake the next day with a kiss,” Gordon adds. Stella and Bill Shahan have

been married 62 years. They met at the White Fountain soda parlor in Antioch. “Bill pulls up in a convertible,” recalls Stella. He gave her and a friend a ride and picked Stella up the next day for their first date. They married later that year after she graduated from high school. Their most romantic memory is of a trip to England and France. Bill proudly showed Stella the countries he toured during his service in World War II. They like playing cards and going to the casino together. And the togetherness is not just for the fun times. They always offer to help each other with chores.

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Club News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Community Calendar . . . . . . . . . . .10 Directory of Advertisers . . . . . . . . . .5 DVMS Reporter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Financial Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Fit with Levity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

From the Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

See Love, page 17

Senior Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Teen Speak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16


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Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

February 11, 2011

Around Town Michael Cirami and Alana Moreno wed Michael Cirami of Clayton and Alana Moreno of Los Angeles exchanged vows in Fallbrook, Calif. on Dec. 12. Michael is the son of Michael and Karen Cirami of Clayton. He graduated from California State University Chico. He is a 1996 graduate of De La Salle High and own Ciramigraphics.com. Alana is the daughter of Marta Ward and Isidore Moreno, Jr., She holds a MA in architecture from New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego and is the design manager for an architectural firm in San Diego. The couple spent their honeymoon in Big Bear, Calif. and reside in Pacific Beach, Calif.

Museum visit wins Wolf Scout a yellow bead Owen Callison, 7, and his sister Gretta 5, spent an afternoon at the Clayton Museum

last week. Owen is a Wolf Scout (Pack 262) and the museum trip earned him a yellow bead. A favorite of both was the “children’s corner” where they could touch everything. An old-fashioned manual typewriter and an early calculating machine captured the interest of both kids. “I typed my name,” said an excited Owen as he pecked out the letters on the old typewriter. The museum at 6101 Main Street is open from 2-4 on Wednesdays and Sundays and by appointment. OWEN AND GRETTA CALLISON

ALANA MORENO AND MICHAEL CIRAMI

After a 16 year break, Book Buddy Gail Fitzgerald is back at the library When the Clayton Community Library first opened its doors nearly 16 years ago, Book Buddy, Gail Fitzgerald was there among several proud Clayton locals to read brand new books to eager young listeners. Now, 16 years later, Gail has returned to share her joy of reading to children from an even wider selection of books. “Tales Read by Gail” is on Wednesdays from 1-2 pm; Children’s area. Children can bring or select a book they would like to hear. Four to seven year olds or any child that enjoys being read to are welcome.

JT Wheeler (left), Chase Graves and Emma Jacobs join Gail Fitzgerald for “Tales Read by Gail” at the Library

For Lease: "Peacock Creek" 5 bed /2.5 bath, approx. 4100 sf, 3 car garage $3500/mo.

New Mazzei agent just returned from Iraq Concord resident Adam Johnson recently joined the staff at Mazzei Real Estate after returning from deployment to Iraq. He is in his last four months of active reserve duty in the Marine Corps. In Iraq he served as an infantryman, running daily patrols in the Al Anbar Province. “It’s probably the best time I had in my life,” he reflects. “I had a sense of purpose and adrenaline just staying alive.” Adam graduated from CVHS in 2004 where he was active in sports. He studied fire science before enlisting in the Marines. He joined Mazzei Realty last August after earning

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For more information, visit claytonhistory.org.

Local girl appears in Willy Wonka

BRIDGETTE KINSELLA AS CHARLIE AND WREN MONTIJO AS THE CANDYMAN

his real estate license and plans to continue in the business after his active duty is complete.

ADAM JOHNSON

Wren Montijo, 12, a student at DVMS, will tread the boards as The Candyman in the Brentwood Teen Theatre’s production of “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” on Feb. 18. Wren was cast after completing an intensive performing arts program. She comes by her talent naturally. Her mother, singer Nathalie Archangel, was an MCA recording artist, releasing her first album in 1987. She has a Platinum album hanging on her wall for her contribution to Bette Midler’s “Beaches” album. See the Community Calendar (page 10) for ticket information and performance dates.

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February 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 3

County Board of Education approves hybrid charter school over MDUSD objections DENISEN HARTLOVE AND SARAH ROSEN Clayton Pioneer

In the midst of news of budget cuts and school closures, a group of parents gathered recently at Skipolini’s Pizza in Concord to hear about a new high school that’s coming to town. Mark Kushner, executive director of Flex Academy, hopes to open the charter school this fall. With a school in San Francisco and two others planned to open in the next few years, Flex Academy offers students a hybrid of online and inperson education that promises the best of both traditional and 21st century learning. Students of Flex Academy’s San Francisco campus are

required to meet the a-g course requirements necessary to apply for admission to California State University and University of California systems. In addition, students are offered options many public schools are finding themselves forced to cut due to budget restrictions. Along with Advanced Placement classes, students can learn to speak Chinese, design video games and study fine art. Credentialed teachers roam the classrooms, looking over students’ shoulders to make sure they’re learning the online content and not playing solitaire. Unlike tony Athenian and Carondelet/De La Salle high schools that offer similarly varied curricula, Flex Academy is free. Kushner is reportedly exploring the Shadelands area of

Walnut Creek for the campus. DISTRICT QUESTIONS RELATIONSHIP

While many are looking forward to a new option for students, others wonder if there are bugs in the cyber education system. The Mt. Diablo Unified School District denied Flex Academy’s application to open a charter school in April 2010. In a 12-page Findings of Fact memo, district staff reported on an “unrealistic financial and operational plan,” an “unsound educational program” and raised questions about the relationship between the Flex Academy organization and K12 Inc., which would provide management and educational services for the school.

New playground a hit with the tot set Kendall Kessinger, 5, enthusiastically approves of the recently completed Tot Lot at the Lydia Lane Park. The $40,000 playground was paid for with developer mitigation fees from the Mitchell Creek Place development on Pine Hollow Road. The park was designed in 1988 to be improved in two phases. The first phase included the lawns, paths and picnic areas. The activity areas were to come later as funds were available. The city considered building volleyball courts near the parking lot, but lack of funds and resistance from nearby neigh-

bors set these plans on the back burner. Last month, Eagle Scout

James Van Wyck added a horseshoe pit to the north end of the park.

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Although Flex Academy is a non-profit, its relationship to for-profit K12.org, the company that provides the school’s learning modules, is murky. The school’s Website is run through K12, and all of its educational materials come from the company. In addition to serving as executive director of Flex Academy, Kushner is a vice president at K12. In fiscal year 2010, K12 brought in $21.5 million in profits. President Ronald Packard had a $2.6 million compensation package, including $1.4 million in stock option awards. The company has more than 65,000 students enrolled in its programs nationwide. K12 does have concerns about the budget, however. “If the demand for virtual public schools does not increase, if additional jurisdictions do not authorize new virtual schools, if enrollment caps are not removed or raised, or if the funding of such schools is inadequate (from public school budgets), our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected,” said K12’s most recent annual report. Despite MDUSD concerns, the Contra Costa County Board of Education approved the charter school’s appeal. The school is scheduled to open in either fall 2011 or 2012, depending on enrollment figures. “Based on the County Office of Education’s recommendation to the county board that the charter not be approved, I would say that many of the concerns raised by the district were

See Charter School, page

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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

‘Burning Veil’ author talks about the cultural mysteries surrounding the veil Much of what we think about the veiling of women in Saudi Arabia is myth, says author Jean Grant. “Most Muslim women want their faces and bodies to be fully covered,” Grant told a gathering at the Clayton Library. The women want the “abaya,” sometimes translated as “burqa,” to protect them – both from the desert sun and from the gaze of men who may “entertain impure thoughts about them.” Young women even see putting on their first

JACQUIE WHITEHURST finds the abaya less oppressive than she had expected. Cindy Molander helps Whitehurst don the Muslin garb.

abaya as a rite of passage. “It’s a momentous occasion,” she said. Grant was at the library last week to read from her book, “The Burning Veil,” a story of love struggling to survive across a cultural chasm. The former teacher and reporter lived in the Middle East for 20 years. She invited audience member Jacquie Whitehurst to don the abaya she brought with her. The black, almost gossamer weight garment has no buttons or zippers. “You just have to hold it in place,” said Whitehurst. “You look as beautiful as any Saudi lady is supposed to look,” Grant said. Whitehurst did not find it oppressive behind the veil. On the contrary, she said, “there is a certain amount of freedom. You can kind of do whatever you want. It’s just hard to see out.” Many woman wear two or three abayas to be even more pleasing in God’s eyes. “The more you cover up,” explained Grant, “the more God is pleased with you.” The complete veiling of woman is specific to Saudi Arabia, Grant explained. In the rest of the Middle East, women must simply be modestly dressed – with hair, arms and legs covered. In other parts of a post 9/11 world, full face covering is illegal. In some countries, there are stiff fines. According to Grant, “France will fine a woman $180 for covering her face and if a man is forcing her to wear the abaya, his fine is as high as $19,000.”

February 11, 2011

Pioneer Photo Album Charles Lindsay shot this photo on a recent hike in the Lime Ridge Open Space. “I love the contrast between the fog and the sky. The sun was setting giving the blanket of fog and mist that beautiful golden color. I also like how, just before I took the shot, my dog barked and all the birds left the tree.” In keeping with our motto, It’s Your Paper,” the Pioneer is proud to spotlight our reader’s photos. Send in your cute pets, funny kids, great landscapes, favorite sites in town or whatever makes your heart beat a little faster. Email your photo in a hi-resolution jpeg or tiff format to album@claytonpioneer.com with a description of the photo, where and when it was taken and a little about why you like it. Include your name and phone number. Then look for it in the next Pioneer.

City, schools on board for DTRT

For more information about Grant or to order her book, go to www.mishmishpress.com. “Do the Right Thing,” a character building program introduced last year by then mayor Hank Stratford is gaining traction as, one by

one, the city, local schools and the community sign on in support. Last month, Clayton police added the slogan to the rear windows of the police cars. A banner proclaiming the current core value of “self discipline” hangs at the entrance of DVMS. The community wide effort fosters strong individual values by focusing on one of six key character traits: Responsibility, respect, kindness, self-discipline, integrity and courage. Every two months a different core value is emphasized and supported by way of various activities complimenting the program.

CC Church to honor Jawad

Ham radio licensing classes begin March 23

On Feb. 12, the Clayton Community Church will place a plaque in the church offices to honor the memory of John Jawad who died on January 17. The church

A seven-week series of ham radio technician classes begins Mar. 23. An entry-level license is awarded after an applicant successfully completes a 35-question multiple choice written examination. The license grants full operating privileges on all amateur bands above 30 MHz and

is housed in the historic building on Main Street that was the home of John Jawad’s Pioneer Inn steakhouse from 1961 until an auto accident forced his

retirement in 1990. The public is invited to the presentation at 2 p.m., 6055 Main Street, downtown Clayton.

limited privileges in portions of the high frequency (HF) bands. The next level requires passage of the technician test, and a 35question multiple-choice exam. The top class requires the same tests as general plus a 50-question multi-

ple-choice theory exam.

Classes are from 7-9 p.m. Wednesdays in the Salvation Army Fireside Room, 3950 Clayton Road, Concord. The class is free, and book costs about $24. Send an email to hamradioclass@gmail.com for more information.

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February 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

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Auto Clayton Valley Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3900 Economy Auto Painting and Body Work . . . . . . .755-2447 Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739 Construction and Trades Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423 Burkin Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212-3339 H&L Builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4046 Handyman Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .639-4209 LHI Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-9941 Mitolo Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2460 Smith and Bernal Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0138 Tipperary Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-2679 Dentist Children’s Dentristy of Walnut Creek . . . . . . . . . .938-2392 Renner, Jason D.D.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800 Rissel, Richard D.M.D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-2800 Dining and Entertainment Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Diablo Theatre Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .943-7469 Moresi’s Chophouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1333 Ravioli’s Italian Market Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-3819 Willows Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .957-2500 Financial and Insurance Services Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 Hunhoff, Ashley - AAA Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . .287-7265 Kommer, Paul - Merrill Lynch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .988-2111

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

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

Directory of Advertisers

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SERVICES Girl Gardening Garden care, monthly pruning and fertilizing services. Plant suggestions and installation. Call or email Nicole Hackett 673-1746, or gardengirl94517@yahoo.com.

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Navlet’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .681-0550 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Son Bright Window Cleaning Service . . . . . . . . .674-9455 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Mailing and Shipping The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Personal Services Bella Mia Spa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .680-7792 Bridges Salon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-8700

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

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

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Help Fight Hunger Anna Chan – AKA: The Lemon Lady needs your help! Weekly commitment appreciated. Please contact Anna at 672-1988 or AnnaAndAva@gmail.com.

Pet Services Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100 Pet Suites Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432-7387 Rodie’s Feed and Pet Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600 Real Estate and Mortgage Services Flannery, Patty - Diablo Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0541 French, Lynne - Windermere Real Estate . . . . . .672-8787 Klock, Leigh - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212-5593 Laurence, Pete - RE/MAX Realty . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6004 Lopez, Stephanie - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . .932-7329 Mazzei, Matt -Mazzei Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0757 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . . .672-4433

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

Recreation and Fitness

Hospice of the East Bay – Anna’s Attic Volunteer at Anna’s Attic Thrift Shoppe, located at 5350 Clayton Road. For information call (925) 674-9072. To learn more about volunteering for Hospice of the East Bay please contact (925) 887-5678, or email volunteers@hospiceeatbay.org.

Ghost Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521-1913

All Out Sports League . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .203-5626 Clayton Valley Bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-4631 Diablo FC Soccer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-4625 Earthquake Arabians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360-7454 Oakhurst Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9737 Retail East Bay Work Wear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-9900 Sport Chalet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521-7009 Senior Services Aegis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .692-5838 Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100

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Clayton Historical Society Museum The Clayton Historical Society Museum needs a greeter for two hours per month from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays or Sundays. Call the museum at 672-0240 and leave your name.

The Chateaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-1700

Clayton Community Library Needs volunteers. Minimum age 13. Minimum commitment is 6 months. Some training provided. Contact: Arlene @ 673-9777 or email: nielsenjanc@aol.com.

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

Services, Other Air Cloud Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-4119 x 2 Butler Limousine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-5466 Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Net Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6029 Travel Cruise Adventures Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .935-7447


Page 6

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

February 11, 2011

After school essay class yields top notch talent

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The second semester at Diablo View Middle School has just finished, and the final phase of the school year has begun. With this transition comes many new and exciting changes. Eighth graders are talking about presentations and information on academies and electives. The school handed out course selections and held an informational night at Clayton Valley High School for eighth graders and their parents. I finally realized just how little time I have left in eighth grade. At the beginning of this school year, I didn’t feel nervous even though I knew that this would be my last year at DVMS. At the time, high school seemed so distant. I just didn’t pay it much thought. Now, I am faced with selecting my high school courses and it feels overwhelming. Just looking at the CVHS schedule makes me want to return to my safe haven at Diablo View for another year. While others share my concerns, many eighth-grade students are not nervous about going to high school. In fact, some are confident and positive. “I’m looking forward to going to high school,” said

Cassie Snyder, an eighth-grader heading to CVHS. “I want to meet the new teachers and start my new classes.” Gavin Hanratty expressed similar ideas. “I am very excited to head to high school; especially because some of my friends are coming from my old school,” said Gavin, who is happy he achieved good grades so he can take advanced classes. Most of those I talked with really like high school. They

“Always make sure you pick responsible friends that will stick with you through high school.” Nick Bazan, CVHS sophomore gave helpful suggestions, such as having two backpacks to keep things straight. They also said they are glad they kept their grades high so they could attend the classes or play the sports they wanted. “I was really nervous about starting high school, but I was also really excited too,” said

ROBBIE PARKER

DVMS REPORTER sophomore Nick Bazan. He explained that selecting the right friends and classes was vital. “Always make sure you pick responsible friends that will stick with you through high school.” He also expressed that striving to be a high-achiever was important if one wanted to take high level or fun classes. After hearing advice from older students, I have a better understanding of what to expect when I start high school. Even if transferring schools creates uneasiness, I know this is just another transition in my life. In another four years, I’m going to be thinking the same thing about college. It’s natural to want to hang on to the familiar yet be excited about what is to come. For the time being, I am going to let go of any apprehension and just enjoy the last few months of being an eighth grader. Robbie Parker is an eighthgrader at Diablo View. Send comments to Robbie@claytonpioneer.com

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For students at Clayton Valley High School, the first few weeks of the spring semester provided a much-needed break from finals and the pressure of academics. The school let out a collective sigh of relief as students turned in their last scantrons, surrendering with them the fate of their semester grades. After weeks of worrying and stressful studying and cramming, the much-anticipated end of “dead week” had finally come. However, the relief was shortlived. As I attempted to enjoy the one guaranteed homework-free weekend of the school year with my friends, finals began to nag at me once again. The doubts and paranoia I felt prior to taking the tests resurfaced. Had I done well enough? Would my grades be secure? The power and, well, finality of finals hit me as it has every semester since ninth grade. Rarely do I worry about tests during the semester. If I mess up then, I can always make it up next time. But with finals, it’s all or nothing. You have two hours to prove yourself and earn your

TAYLOR TOVREA TEEN SPEAK grade – one shot. Do poorly and an entire semester of work has been wasted; succeed and all will be forgiven. The mention of the pure percentage power wielded by final exams is enough to make a freshman hyperventilate and upperclassmen break out in a sweat. It doesn’t seem fair that something so hit or miss carries so much weight in deciding a student’s grade for the semester. Clayton Valley junior Allie Robison doesn’t believe it’s right to put so much weight on one performance. “I don’t think (finals) are a good measure of a student’s capabilities,” she said. “It’s not fair to people who

don’t do well on tests to have their entire grade marked down because they were panicked.” Students have long complained about the emphasis placed on this one stressful, allencompassing test. Now, the debate has reached the educator level; the question being to test or not to test. In May 2010, Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy that no final exam would be given for a course unless specified by the professor at the beginning of the term, basically reversing the default procedure for scheduling examinations. This decision was because the majority of the 1,137 courses offered, more than 75 percent, don’t include final exams. According to Harvard Magazine, “It appears that finals are going the way of the dodo.” However, this high-stress, high-pressure one shot method still exists in a variety of other formats – including tryouts for music or sports, interviews for jobs or college admittance and even first dates. So while they

See Speak, page 17

A small group of DVMS students recently signed up for an after school class in writing an effective essay. To reward their efforts and to encourage future Pioneer reporters, we are giving these young writers a chance to “be published.” Martin Fine, a parent volunteering to teach the class, is coauthor of “The Young Writers Toolkit (www.persepress.com). He asked his students “What one thing would you change about Clayton.” MONISHAA SURESH WANTS GREEN TRANSPORTATION TO BART

If I could change one thing about Clayton, I would create a shuttle system from Clayton to the BART Station. Many people in Clayton use BART to get to work. Unfortunately, since most people own big cars such as vans and SUVs, a lot of pollution is created just from driving from Clayton to BART and back. Also, people don’t want to use the bus because it makes too many stops and people need to get to work on time. If we created a shuttle system, we could use green and fuel-efficient cars to transport people from Clayton directly to the BART station, and we would be helping the environment. This might seem small but if you take, for example, a Prius, you can fit four people besides the driver. Your choices are a green Prius or four SUVs. If we create a shuttle system, we would be decreasing pollution and making Clayton a better and greener place to live. VINCENT TRAN WOULD CLEAN UP THE CREEK AND BUY LOCAL If I was the mayor of Clayton, I would change a few things. First of all, I would change the sign near CVS/pharmacy to “Oakhurst Drive” instead of “Oakhearst Drive.” Secondly, I would start a fundraiser to raise money for our elementary, middle, and high schools, so that the children and teens can get a good education for their future. Lastly, I would help clean up the park near the elementary school creek, and support the stores and restaurants around them (by advertising their products in the Clayton Pioneer, giving samples of the products in schools, etc.) so that the kids can buy food, toys, etc. at those stores. As a summary, all these changes (except for the first change, which was just an error in the sign) benefit the generation ahead of us, so that they can be in our footsteps and lead this world to greatness.


February 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Two DUI checkpoints in Concord this month

Crime scene is key to burglary cases DAN LAWRENCE

Concord PD will conduct checkpoints to snag drinking drivers and those driving without a license on Feb. 12 and Feb 26. Between 7:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., motorists going through a checkpoint should be prepared to show a valid drivers license. The brief stop will give officers a chance to check for alcohol intoxication. The checkpoints are part of the department’s ongoing effort to reduce alcohol-related auto crashes. In the last three years, five people have been killed and another 177 injured in DUIrelated collisions in Concord According to information provided by the Concord PD, the last DUI checkpoint was on Monument Blvd. on Jan. 22 and netted six DUI arrests and 18 unlicensed drivers.

FROM

THE

CHIEF

Burglaries represent one of the more common types of crimes that most police officers respond to during their work shifts. Clayton officers respond to about 24 home burglaries per year, or two a month. Most of these are thefts from the garage while the garage door was open. There are several crime prevention practices that residents can employ to thwart burglaries. Some of these include: install and use an alarm, lock house doors, keep the garage door closed even while at home and report suspicious persons to the police. Residents also should request a Neighborhood Watch meeting by contacting the Clayton Police Department. A trained crime pre-

Gym, from page 1 agreement, the district says the city must pay for a part-time janitor, 3½ hours a day, seven days a week – whether the city is using the gym or not.

billing policy. Napper said he left the meeting believing that the district would bill for operating costs only for the hours that AOSL was using the gym. “We left that meeting thinking we had a verbal agreement,” says Napper. But when the bills started coming in, “the charges were inconsistent and outrageous,” Napper adds. “AOSL was getting billed for hours the gym wasn’t even in use.”

QUESTIONS ABOUT JOINT USE AGREEMENT

In 2001, the city donated land next to Diablo View Middle School and paid MDUSD $400,000 toward building the community gym. Additional payments brought the contribution in public and private donations from the Raise a Gym Foundation to an estimated $1.5 million. In exchange, a joint use agreement between the city and the school district gave the city the use and control of the gym during non-school hours. The district’s position is that the city must cover the cost of the janitor for all non-school hours, regardless of use, in order to keep control over that time. Otherwise, they must rent the gym by the hour and lose the control given by the joint use agreement. According to the agreement, the city is responsible for operating costs based on hours of use and to keep the facility “in a safe and sanitary condition … consistent with the district’s cleaning standards.” However, city officials say those standards aren’t defined. In June, the city contracted with All Out Sports League to run a recreation program at the gym. The school district bills the city for janitorial and utilities and the city passes those charges through to AOSL. On June 7, city manager Gary Napper and the city’s attorney met with the district’s legal counsel, Gregory Rolen, Superintendent Steven Lawrence and the district’s director of maintenance, Pete Peterson, to clarify the district’s

TIME USED VS. TIME BILLED According to AOSL president Casey Copeland, the district charged for janitorial services during hours that neither the city nor AOSL were using the gym and has overcharged for other times. He has been billed as many as 14 hours custodial time for a single event. “Come on,” Copeland says in a November memo to Napper. “There is NO possible way these janitors are doing 12+ hours of work.” He says AOSL used the gym for 153 hours between July 22 and Dec. 20, but the district billed him for 249 hours. He complained to the school district but was told that a janitor must be on campus and that if the employee isn’t around, the janitor is most likely cleaning the school. “Why should I be charged for cleaning the school when all I use is the gym?” Copeland asks. Copeland says that frequently he only sees the janitor while he is sitting with him “watching an event that I am having.” Not only is the district overcharging, says Councilwoman Julie Pierce, but the facilities aren’t clean. The gym’s kitchen was unusable for the Clayton Counts Down event. “It was filthy,” says Pierce. “The counters were gooey, greasy.

vention specialist will be happy to speak with members of your neighborhood. A burglary is simply defined as the unlawful entry into the premises of another with the intent to commit a theft or any other felony crime. Burglaries are sometimes referred to as home invasions, or breaking and entering. Some victims whose homes were burglarized have said: “I’ve been robbed!” However, a robbery is a crime where the suspect takes the property of another person, either by force or fear, or by using a weapon. Unless the burglary is known to be old (or cold) and obviously no one is still around, officers should be called to make certain that the suspect is still not in the house. In rare occurrences, the return of the homeowner may scare the suspects away. Officers should be on alert for suspicious persons as they make their way to the burglary scene. Once that issue is resolved, the

owners/residents who discover that their household was burglarized should avoid touching anything in the house. On many occasions, officers find that victims have already been through the entire household and have started cleaning up after the suspect. This activity can contaminate evidence. During the investigation, officers will interview the victim as they walk through the house and ask them to point out anything that appears to have been disturbed. Officers are looking for evidence or clues. A general rule of thumb for any crime scene is that the best place to find evidence is at the place where the most activity by the suspect occurred. At burglary scenes, this is often at the point where the suspect gained entry into the building. There are several types of evidence, such as tool marks,

Your feet stuck to the floor. There were sheets of cobwebs from the ceiling and ants everywhere.” Despite the fact that the district had been charging for custodial services, the city had to pay an outside service $150 to clean it before the event, said Pierce.

“They don’t get it,” says Pierce. It’s a community gym, not just a school gym. During non-school hours, that gym belongs to us to program as we see fit.” The excessive charges may have been a contributing factor in the failure of the Clayton YMCA program last year, Napper says. The YMCA ran a full time recreation program at the gym for six years and were billed a flat rate of $15,000 per quarter for custodial and operating costs. The YMCA paid the charges without question until it ran out of money. When they declared bankruptcy last year, they owed the city more than $100,000 in unpaid operating charges.

‘THEY DON’T GET IT’ The city has been trying for more than a year to get the district to provide clarification of the billing policy. “It’s inconsistent and random. There is no rhyme or reason,” says Pierce. “We want some clarity and the opportunity to sit down with top level staff for a reasonable, rational discussion to get the information they promised us over a year ago.” So far, the district has refused the city’s requests for dispute mediation. In an email to the Pioneer, school board president Gary Eberhart says: “The school district and the city have had the agreement in place for the use of the gym for about nine years. Until recently, the city has made the payments per the agreed upon terms. The agreement that is in place with Clayton is almost identical to agreements with other cities for the use of other gyms. “The city of Clayton is in breach and we will take the steps necessary to remedy that breach,” Eberhart adds. “If the city is unwilling to honor the agreement that is in place, we would be more than happy to work directly with those who wish to use the gym so that the community is able to continue the use the facility … The way the city is choosing to handle this issue is very unfortunate.” More than a third of the $4.8 million to build the gym came from the Clayton community, says Pierce. The city donated 967,000 in cash and the land– about an acre – and the community Raise a Gym Foundation donated another $524,000.

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Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

ideor ic VH s u M py oupm

February 11, 2011

Moving past fear brings ease to workouts

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Fear is a funny thing. It can prompt one to spring forward or draw back. Many people fear being weaker than “normal” or being weak in public. Vulnerability may be unavoidable if you injure or lose control of your body – such as with arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain syndrome. However, these same fears are shared by the average person trying to lose weight and get in shape. The extra pounds make it uncomfortable but also unforgettable when you lift your newly formed derriere into the air. You look silly, feel awkward sitting or standing and can barely breathe in that position – so why bother? As a personal trainer, I work

with a wide variety of people who come to me for many reasons. No matter what those reasons, their goals are simple: They just want to be on common ground. I believe fitness builds not just bodies but relationships. When you endeavor to have a successful relationship, finding common ground is essential. I have a client who suffers from chronic pain syndrome. During her workouts, we focus on the movement and completing the action, not the pain. She has discovered that the mere act of breathing slowly improves her capacity to manage negative emotions, decreasing her awareness of pain and her anxiety while increasing her muscles’ ability to flex and relax. She also increases her meta-

Goals, from page 1 come up with a landscaping plan for the gateway at Marsh Creek Road that will balance the maintenance department’s wishes for drought-tolerant, low-maintenance planting and the designer’s desire for color and flowers. The new monument sign and hardscape were funded by a grant from the Clayton Business and Community Association in 2009. The CBCA will pay for the plants and the city will provide the labor to complete the project this spring. The hillside, dubbed “Daffodil Hill” by locals, is not in the Landscape Maintenance District. With the lifting of water restrictions, the city can finish the landscaping in the medians on Clayton Road and along Oakhurst Boulevard. A $260,000 makeover of the grounds around the Clayton fountain will also be completed in 2011.

THE GREENING OF CLAYTON This will be the year for a new HVAC system in the city buildings. The antiquated system dates back to when the building was constructed in 1997 and was old technology then. The city will look to local and federal grants, utility rebates and tax credits to help finance LED streetlights on the main streets. Last year, federal money paid for LED lights on Clayton Road and Oakhurst Boulevard. In looking for ways to generate revenue, the city will work with local businesses to investigate the creation of a Business Improvement District as a means to finance downtown projects that would have qualified for redevelopment funds. A coffee stand and used book kiosks in the Community Library courtyard may provide a source of

bolic rate and blood flow, along with her strength and confidence. Strength helps relieve the pain and create the common ground needed for her to spring ahead. One young male client had excellent cardio capabilities and muscle tone from his extreme weightlifting regimen, but he had little core control and almost no flexibility. He cramped up regularly, was injury prone, slow to repair and sore consistently. He felt silly taking a Pilates or Flex class at the gym because they were filled with women, but he gave my Pilates Reformer training a try. He found common ground with an increased range of motion, longer and leaner muscles, and better core control. He is finally excited about being the

some income, suggested Councilman Julie Pierce. Low-cost tents could provide a temporary atrium while the idea is tested. PROJECTS ON THE HORIZON This will be a challenging year for the city, said Shuey, with three major projects coming before the council. A San Ramon developer has submitted an application for 24 luxury homes on Seminary Hill above Regency Woods. The project was first proposed by Lemke Construction in 2004. Lemke completed all the grading and demolition of the seminary building. Then the real estate market went into a tailspin and Lemke was unable to complete the development. The property went into foreclosure. Last year, Toll Brothers homebuilders, based in Dublin, bought the 24 acres from the bank. The Clayton Community

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Church’s application for development of their 3.2 acres on Main Street will come before the Planning Commission sometime in late spring or early summer. The 42,000 sq. ft. proposed project includes a 600-seat sanctuary, space for retail shops and church offices. The project will require amendments to the Town Center Specific Plan and a waiver of the parking requirements. A major amendment to the city’s General Plan to update the housing section required by the state is due Dec. 31. The amendment is needed to reflect the Affordable Housing Plan completed in June of last year. The housing element in the General Plan sets the city’s housing strategy including density and affordable housing needs. The Affordable Housing Plan approved in June brings the city into compliance with state requirements until 2014, when a new update will be due.

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Charter Schools, still not addressed,” MDUSD Superintendent Steven Lawrence wrote in an email. MIXED REACTION ABOUT PROGRAMS

Some students at Clayton Valley High School were enthusiastic about the prospect. “I wish that I would have had the opportunity to take part in something like a Flex Academy,” said Joanna Fan. “I wouldn’t have felt restricted by the level of my peers and expectations of the school like I have at Clayton Valley.” Student Laura Minorksy agreed. “It seems like it allows you to focus on what you want to learn and promotes independence, both of which would be good prep for college,” she added. Local parent Sherry

from page 3

Hamilton, however, is skeptical of the school’s programs. She said she probably wouldn’t consider sending her two sons there. “Not unless there was a really good reason to do it,” she said. “I would rather have my kid interacting with live people and learning some of those skills also.” CVHS principal Gary Swanson has concerns as well. “On the one hand, the idea of utilizing technology is something (students) need to master, obviously,” he said. But Swanson believes cyber learning doesn’t foster mentor relationships with teachers. He remained unimpressed by the prospect of teachers roaming a room full of plugged-in students to provide assistance. “A lot of kids work online already,” he said. “But they’re not developing the personal interac-

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tion skills that are necessary for success.” A QUESTION OF QUALITY Gene Glass, a senior researcher at the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, questions the growing trend toward wired education. “What is happening is the melding of the charter and the virtual,” he said. “I think it’s a scam. I think they’re a very low grade of education – a very low grade. And certainly they have problems on monitoring what the heck goes on.” He cited as examples classes in multiculturalism where students never actually met someone from another culture – the computer screen was as close as they came. Another school in Arizona was caught cutting costs by outsourcing its test scoring to what it termed “secondary teachers” – in India.

However, Kushner’s resume shows a proven history of starting highly performing schools. The Stanford professor and former high school English teacher founded and led highly regarded Leadership High School in San Francisco, along with Leadership Public Schools for low-income families in Oakland. Virtual schools may be adding another straw to an already tiring camel’s back. According to the California Department of Education, 154,873 California high school students were attending private schools in 2009. For whatever reason students eschew the system, MDUSD schools lose more than $5,000 in tax dollars per student who leaves. If the new charter attracts its hoped for 500 students, that could mean millions more lost in the already beleaguered district. However, some MDUSD staff believe that enrollment number is unrealistic


February 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Explaining the long and short of it I feel silly asking this quesQ tion because I hear about short sales and foreclosures all the time. I believe a foreclosure property is owned by the bank, but what is a short sale? I am sure many people are wondering the same thing. A property is “short” when a borrower (homeowner) owes an amount on the property that, when combined with closing costs and commission, is higher than current market value. A short sale occurs when a negotiation is entered into with the homeowner’s mortgage company or companies to accept less than the full balance of the loan at closing. A buyer closes on the property and the property is “sold short.” A short sale is a way to avoid foreclosure. A short sale is not a get out of my mortgage free card.

onds or foreclosures in some instances. In a short sale for the second, one would try to negotiate a complete release with no deficiency. Sometimes the seller has to contribute some money to get the complete release.

A

I am considering selling my Q home as a short sale. I am worried that after it is sold, the bank will come after me for the forgiven amount. Is there a way around that?

I spoke to a Realtor about a possible short sale and they said the first thing I would need is a “hardship” letter. What is that? You must qualify for a short sale for the bank to approve it. Just owing more on your mortgage than you can sell your home for is not considered a hardship to the bank. You must be unable to make payments or enduring a forced move without the means to cover the deficiency. Other examples of acceptable financial hardships are loss of employment, income reduction, business failure, extreme damage to property, death of spouse or wage earner, severe illness, inheriting a home that is short, divorce, relocation, military service, payment increase or mortgage adjustment, too

Q

LYNNE FRENCH

REAL ANSWERS I am happy to say that legislation went into effect Jan. 1 to protect homeowners and investors, whether the property is owner occupied or not. With a purchase money loan or a refinanced loan, the law bars a personal judgment against the homeowner for the difference between the debt and the amount of the sale. This is a big deal. Previously, the lender could obtain a “deficiency judgment” against the seller if it were a refinanced loan or an investment property. This doesn’t apply to sec-

A

A

much debt, incarceration or combination of any of these. It is best to have more than one reason. I like to call these “verifiable hardships.” You might have to prove what you say. You should write a letter to the lender detailing your situation, including the hardships that contributed to the problem. This will be submitted with your short sale package, which includes financial information and other things. Short sales are such a big topic in today’s real estate market, it is important to learn about them if you plan to buy or sell a home. I have received many more questions about short sales. I will go deeper into this subject in my next column. Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email Lynne@LynneFrench.com. French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. For any real estate needs or questions, contact her at 672-878 7or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

A realistic perspective on risk

MURELEEN BENTON FINANCIAL SENSE How much risk are you as an investor willing to accept? This is one of the most important factors that can affect the way you structure your portfolio and your overall financial plan. Yet it is also one of the most difficult to quantify. There is no universally accepted way of accurately measuring an investor’s risk tolerance. A number of factors come into play, including the investment and economic environment you are dealing with at the moment. For example, consider how you might have answered a question about your level of risk tolerance during the record bull market of the 1990s. Given that the market rarely experienced an extended down period during that decade, many investors were comfortable implementing an investment strategy that was quite aggressive. They were convinced there was little chance that the stock market would suffer a significant setback. THINGS LOOK A LOT DIFFERENT TODAY

We’ve had two notable bear markets in less than a decade. The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index (an unmanaged index of stocks) lost 49 percent from 2000 to 2002, and after recovering and reaching new

highs, lost another 57 percent from late 2007 to early 2009. This experience has likely caused you to reconsider how much risk you are willing to accept. Today’s investor truly understands what it means to deal with investment risk. It isn’t just a theory like it was during the 1990s, but a real possibility. Facing that reality, investors know they have to take risk more seriously, and try to determine their appropriate risk tolerance level.



ASSESSING YOUR OWN RISK PROFILE

Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you define your own views about investment risk:  Set proper expectations. It’s important to accept that stock investments will be subject to periodic volatility. The reward potential of investing in future growth of global businesses remains strong, but the path to wealth is not always smooth. Prepare yourself for the fact that it will get bumpy along the way.  Try to maintain a consistent investment behavior. Take an objective view of your investment goals. Combine that with an honest appraisal of how much fluctuation you are willing to accept with your portfolio. Invest accordingly and stick with that strategy. Don’t let shortterm swings and day-to-day headlines sway your longrange resolve as an investor.  Recognize that time is one of the biggest determinants of risk tolerance. Investors with a decade or more to reach their goal have the luxury of riding out market downturns or even extended flat or neg-



ative markets. Those who expect to reach their goals in the next few years need to take steps to protect against the impact of market volatility. Your risk tolerance level may need to be adjusted as you grow older. Trust your instincts. If you have trouble sleeping at night because of concerns about the safety of your investments, it may be time for a change. But be sure that any decisions you make align with your ultimate financial goals. Explore ways to stay invested in the market while mitigating some of the risk associated with it. Dollar-cost averaging into investments rather than investing lump sums at one time is one option. Maintaining proper diversification across a variety of asset classes is another. Products (such as variable annuities) that allow you to continue to participate in the market’s growth potential while locking in gains are also worth considering.

REMEMBER OTHER RISKS While the risk of losing money in an investment is always foremost in your mind, don’t overlook other potential risks. Among them:  Purchasing power risk – inflation is always a factor. Simply stated, your money won’t be worth as much in the future as it is today. It is important to own investments that can help your asset base at least keep pace with inflation, and hopefully grow faster than the cost of living.  Opportunity risk – missing out on potential profits in a specific investment by



choosing to have your money in a “safe” place or being unable to access money for a period of time in order to put it to work in a more effective way. Interest rate risk – fixed income instruments such as bonds carry their own risks, one of them being that if interest rates rise, bond values will decline. Given that yields are currently at historically low levels, this risk may be more significant today.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, an unmanaged index of common stocks, is frequently used as a general measure of market performance. The index reflects reinvestment of all distributions and changes in market prices, but excludes brokerage commissions or other fees. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Diversification helps you spread risk throughout your portfolio, so investments that do poorly may be balanced by others that do relatively better. Diversification and dollar-cost averaging do not assure a profit and do not protect against loss in declining markets. Variable annuities are insurance products that are complex long-term investment vehicles that are subject to market risk, including potential loss of principal invested. There are risks associated with fixed income investments, including credit risk, interest rate risk, and prepayment and extension risk. In general, bond prices rise when interest rates fall and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.

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Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

February 11, 2011

Clayton Community Calendar PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR CLAYTON COMMUNITY CALENDAR EVENTS BY 5 P.M. FEB. 16 FOR THE FEB. 25 ISSUE. ITEMS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL TO calendar@claytonpioneer.com

IN CLAYTON

Feb. 13 34th Annual Camellia Tea Descendants of Clayton’s early settlers will mingle and share memories. The museum exhibit, “Frankly Speaking,”

March 18-April 16 “Hairspray”

March 2 SAT Essay Writing

A young girl in 1960s Baltimore tries to win the affection of a TV heartthrob. Presented by Contra Costa Musical Theatre. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943-SHOW or www.ccmt.org.

Presented by Princeton Review, for grades 7-12. 7 p.m. Register at www.ccclib.org/programs.

FUNDRAISERS Feb. 11 Diablo FC Crab Feed/Auction With DJ Terry Newberry. 6 p.m., Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. diablofc.org.

Feb. 13, 27 Breakfast at the VFW

Feb. 25 Dana Hills Swim Team Fiesta Mexican dinner, auction and dancing. 6:30 p.m., Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. $50 per couple. danahillsotters.com.

March 2 Mt. Diablo Elementary School/Ravioli's features stories, pictures, maps and artifacts passed down through the Frank family since Frederick and Elizabeth settled here in the late 1890s. Free tea, coffee, cookies. 1-4 p.m., Clayton Museum, 6101 Main St. Contact Mary at 6727232 or www.claytonhistory.org.

Mention the school and Ravioli’s Italian Market Place will donate 20 percent of the sale to the PFC. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., 4375 Clayton Road, Suite G, Concord. 689-3819.

Feb. 19 Daddy/Daughter Dance

Food, cocktails and dancing with a Speakeasy theme, sponsored by Parent Faculty Club. 5 p.m., Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. Online auction March 4-13. mdusd.k12.ca.us/mountdiabloelementary.

March 4-6 Creekside Arts Celebration Artists can enter the juried show, with the theme “Inspirations for a Better World … Past, Present, Future.” Submission deadline is Feb. 12. The event opens 6-8:30 p.m. March 4 and continues 10 a.m.6 p.m. March 5 and 1-5 p.m. March 6, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. www.claytonlibrary.org or contact Arlene at 6739777 or akiksen@aol.com.

Feb. 15 Clayton City Council 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or ci.clayton.ca.us.

Feb. 22 Clayton Planning Commission 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or ci.clayton.ca.us.

8-11 a.m. second and fourth Sundays, 2290 Willow Pass Road, Concord. Eggs, pancakes, sausage plus a beverage. $4, $2 children under 12.

Sponsored by Clayton Community Church. 6:30-9 p.m., Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr. $20 per couple, $5 for each additional daughter. Age 3 and under free. Contact Debbie at 827-9090 or thebluthbunch@att.net.

CITY MEETINGS

March 18 Mt. Diablo Elementary School Auction

March 19 Athletic Booster Club Crab Feed/Auction Benefiting athletic programs at Clayton Valley High School. Must be 21 or older. $50; $60 after March 10. 5:30 p.m., Center Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. www.cvhsboosters.org or mail check to P.O. Box 26, Clayton, CA 94517.

SCHOOLS Feb. 16 Diablo View Middle School Parent Faculty Club

CLUBS Clayton Business and Community Association Meets 6:30 p.m. 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. second Wednesday of the month, Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. Contact Nancy at 673-3522 or claytonvalleygardenclub.org.

Clayton Valley Woman’s Club Meets 9:30 a.m. second Tuesday of the month except July and August, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1092 Alberta Way, Concord. 672-1163.

Clutch Busters Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Willow Pass Community Center Hall, 2748 East Olivera Road, Concord. Contact Karen at 686-3774.

Concord Stompers Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Willow Pass Community Center, 2748 East Olivera Road, Concord. Call Jennie at 672-9676 or angelfire.com/id/stompers.

Contra Costa Chess Club Meets 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursdays, Starbuck’s, 1536 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. Players of all ages and skill levels welcome. Contact Mike at 639-1987 or uschess.org.

Contra Costa Genealogical Society Meets 7 p.m. second Thursday of the month, LDS Church, 1360 Alberta Way, Concord. cccgs.ca@gmail.com.

7 p.m., school library, 300 Diablo View Lane, Clayton.

EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT Feb. 11 - Mar 5 “The Drowsy Chaperone” Diablo Theatre Company presents this hilarious musical, winner of the most Tony awards in 2006. Lesher Center for the Arts, Hoffman Theatre. Tickets $17-$48. Call (925) 943-7469 or go to www.diablotheatre.org

Feb. 11-March 6 “Heaven Can Wait” A young prizefighter’s soul is prematurely sent to heaven, leaving an angelic messenger to remedy the man’s untimely departure. Presented by Onstage Theatre. $10-$20. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943-SHOW.

Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society Feb. 22 Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board 7:30 p.m., 1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord. mdusd.org.

CHURCHES & RELIGION Feb. 16 Concord United Methodist Church Women Guests invited to hear Maureen De Garm and Sandy Blazer offer tax information, plus lunch by Abigail Circle. 11 a.m., 1645 West St., Concord. Contact Linda at 510-275-4003.

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. 673-0659 or claytonlibrary.org.

Feb. 11-12 “True Stories” The Youth Theatre Company production features Diablo View Middle School students Caroline Tarantino and Marin Davis. Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. 943-SHOW.

Feb. 12-13 Lindsay Wildlife Museum Valentine Programs For a $1 donation, children can present a valentine to their favorite animal. Also: “Outstanding Owls,” 11 a.m.-2 p.m. “Wildlife Families,” 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3 p.m. “Valentine Crafts,” 11 a.m.-noon and 2:30-3:30 p.m. Special programs free with museum admission, $5-$7. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. 627-2926 or www.wildlife-museum.org.

Through Feb. 26 “Boeing, Boeing” Don’t miss CenterRep’s high-flying Tony Award-winning comedy that had Broadway audiences airborne with laughter. Lesher Center for the Arts. For tickets, call (925)943-7469 or go to www.centerrep.org.

Through Feb. 27 “Rags” Willows Theatre Company presents the epic story of love and struggle. Campbell Theatre, 626 Ward St., Martinez. $22-$30. willowstheatre.com or 798-1300.

March 12 Contra Costa Wind Symphony An encore of Steven Reineke’s Symphony No. 1, “New Day Rising.” 8 p.m. Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek. www.ccwindsymphony.org.

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Through Feb. 14 Bookmark Design Contest Winning entries will be printed for giveaway at the library. This year’s theme is “I Love Books.” For ages 3-12. Pick up an entry form at the Information Desk.

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

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

Diablo Valley Democratic Club Meets 7-9 p.m. third Wednesday of the month, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road., Walnut Creek. On Feb. 16, foreign correspondent Reese Erlich and media critic/columnist Norman Solomon will discuss the occupation in Afghanistan. Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road., Walnut Creek. 946-0469 or www.dvdems.org.

East Bay Prospectors Meets 6:30 p.m. first Thursday of the month, Oasis Christian Fellowship, 2551 Pleasant Hill Road, Pleasant Hill. Clayton resident Douglas Junghans is president. 672-1863 or eastbaygpaa.webs.com.

Knights Of Columbus, Concord Council 6038 Feb. 14, March 14 Clayton Library Book Club Sunny Solomon leads a discussion at 7 p.m.. “Sag Harbor” by Colson Whitehead on Feb. 14. “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham on March 14.

Tuesdays through March 1 Patty Cakes Story time for babies to 3-year-olds. Child attends with caregiver. Drop in 11 a.m.

Thursdays through March 10 Picture Book Time Story time for 3- to 5-year-olds. Child may attend without caregiver. Drop in 11 a.m.

Meets 7:30 p.m. first Tuesday of the month, except holidays, Cauchi Hall, St. Agnes Catholic Church, 3966 Chestnut St, Concord. Contact Rayce at 683-9717 or rayce@aol.com.

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. 566-8166 or claytonvalleyrotary.org.

Scrabble Club Meets 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. second and fourth Saturdays of the month, Carl’s Jr. Restaurant, 1530 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. All ages and skill levels welcome. $3 fee. Call Mike at 639-1987 or scrabble-assoc.com.

Sons In Retirement (SIRs) Meets 11:15 a.m. first Thursday of the month, Crown Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Dr., Concord. 429-3777.

Feb. 26, March 19 “Winter Watercolors” Hands-on art program sponsored by the Creekside Artists Guild. 10 a.m. Feb. 26, “Plein Air Landscapes” with Leslie Wilson. 10 a.m. March 19, “A Study in Shadow and Light, Portraiture,” with Anne Sackman - experienced students only. For ages 17 and up. Register at http://ccclib.org/programs/index.html. Attendees must provide their own materials.

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Soroptimist International of Diablo Vista Meets 12:15 p.m. first, second and third Wednesdays of the month, September-June, Sizzler, 1353 Willow Pass Road, Concord. Contact Nicole at 692-2224.

Word Weavers Toastmasters Meets 7-8:15 p.m. Mondays, 4756 Clayton Road, Concord. Visitors welcome. Contact Marion at 686-1818 or marion48@live.com.

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February 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 11

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Symptoms of disease may be subtle in aging pets MARYBETH RYMER,

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PET PALS We all wish that our precious pets would be eternally young and healthy. But the sad truth is that their life span is only a small portion of our own. Our animal companions provide joy, entertainment and unconditional love. When they die, they leave a deep void in our lives. Subtle changes often go unseen when we live in constant contact with an individual. For example, you may be surprised upon returning home from a trip to see how fat Fluffy has become or how old and frail Fido looks. There are several early signs of disease to watch for in pets. By being aware of these symptoms, pet owners can institute care to help prevent a health crisis. One of these signs is

increased thirst. Owners may justify the increased drinking due to hot weather. But if you see your pet sitting at the water bowl more often for longer periods, take note. The average maintenance fluid need per day is 60 mls. per kg. body weight or 2 oz./kg. To measure consumption, supply only one water bowl and fill it with double your pet’s daily maintenance volume. After 24 hours, measure the amount drunk. Be sure to give your pet more water if needed to prevent dehydration, but measure the added amount. Do this for three or four days. If the measured amount is more than the maintenance level, contact your vet. Often coupled with increased thirst, or polydypsenia, is increased urination, or polyuria. Urinary problems are often realized when there are accidents in the house or Goldie wakes you more often during the night to go outside. Many diseases create metabolic changes within the body

that cause urine to dilute, thus more need to urinate and more accidents. In turn, the thirst reflex is stimulated. Causes are hormonal diseases such as diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, liver disease, urinary tract infections and Cushing’s syndrome (an overproduction of steroids in the body from tumors in the brain or adrenal glands). Changes in appetite also are early indicators of disease. Hypothyroidism, diabetes, Cushing’s and some forms of cancer will stimulate an increase in eating. Meanwhile, rising toxins from kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes and cancer can cause nausea, thus suppressing appetite, or anorexia. Painful teeth may prevent your pet from eating. Weight changes, whether subtle or dramatic, indicate underlying disease. Hypothyroid dogs can quickly gain large amounts of weight, while the hyperthyroid cat will lose weight

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Page 12

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

February 11, 2011

Clayton Sports Former Eagle soars to 500th coaching victory JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

When Steve Coccimiglio was a 17-year-old senior at Clayton Valley High School in the fall of 1974 he coached a flag football team at Pine Hollow Middle School. Coccimiglio had been a two-year starting point guard for Bruce Iversen’s CVHS Eagles basketball team and was anticipating a stellar senior season to impress a college and win a scholarship. “I still remember the kids on that Pine Hollow team. The parents were great too. I just loved doing it,” he recalls today. Coccimiglio doesn’t have the same vivid memories of his senior year of basketball as he injured his posterior ligament in the second game of the season and his prep career came to an abrupt end. But as they say, “When one door closes another opens.” Two weeks ago Coccimiglio racked up his 500th coaching victory on the community college level as his Diablo Valley College Vikings made their basketball coach the 12th in state history to reach that lofty plateau. Coccimiglio briefly resumed his basketball playing career after Clayton Valley. He received a scholarship to Hawaii, Hilo and played two years there. “I wore a knee brace but never really recovered. I had lost all my quickness.” He stopped playing following his sophomore year and got into coaching while he continued towards his degree. He was the junior varsity basketball coach for two years at St. Joseph’s High School in Hilo. He then returned to the mainland and got a job at his alma mater. “In 1979-80 I was the freshman basketball coach and the following year coached JVs” working on Iversen’s staff. He had “a huge impact” on

Coccimiglio as a player and then a boss. “He taught me about class. I’m much more excitable and demonstrative than Coach but he taught me sportsmanship and respect which I try to remember as I coach.” After two years with the Eagles Coccimiglio applied for the varsity coaching job at De La Salle. In those days the Spartans were a second-tier team in the Catholic Athletic League. The Spartans athletic director at the time, Chuck Lafferty, smiles to this day when he says, “The year before I had hired a 24-year-old to coach our football team so I thought Steve at 24 could handle the basketball program.” During his five years at DLS Coccimiglio’s teams were 101-41. The young football coach hired the year before Coccimiglio? His name is Bob Ladouceur. When Coccimiglio was growing up in Concord he and his younger brother Ron would play basketball in the backyard. The older brother would pretend he was Rick Barry, star of the Golden State Warriors. At De La Salle Coccimiglio coached Barry’s oldest two sons Scooter and John, both of whom went on to NBA careers. His other two key players were Clayton-area boys Jason Ricks and Mike Vontoure. The latter is in the DLS Hall of Fame as one of the school’s greatest allaround athletes. The initial itch that Coccimiglio got for coaching actually came in middle school at Loma Vista. His PE teacher, Dave Martin, coached the school’s flag football, basketball and track teams. Coccimiglio idolized Martin. “I wanted to be like him. The guy was my role model.” After his run at De La Salle Coccimiglio, who had aspirations of coaching on the Division I coaching level, took a job at St. Mary’s College under

Photo courtesy of Diablo Valley College

DIABLO VALLEY COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH STEVE COCCIMIGLIO recently won his 500th game at the local community college becoming only the 12th coach in California to achieve that landmark. Coccimiglio played for and then coached on the staff of legendary Clayton Valley High School Hall of Fame basketball coach Bruce Iversen.

Lynn Nance. The first year he was a volunteer assistant. The next two years his pay came in the form of attending SMC tuition-free to get his Master’s Degree. Nance and the Gaels were so successful (first conference title in over a quarter century) he was hired to coach the University of Washington in the Pac 10. Nance asked Coccimiglio to come with him but could offer only a NCAA restricted salary position. “We had three kids and I didn’t see us living on $16,500 a year,” Coccimiglio recalls. So he remained with his teaching job at De La Salle, which he kept after going to SMC to coach, and became the assistant basketball coach at DVC. After a year he became the Vikings headman in the 1991-92 season. That first year his team won only six games while losing 25. In the 20 seasons since the least his Vikings have won is 17 games, averaging

24 wins a season. While he was starting his college career in those two first years at DVC he was also teaching at De La Salle and working for the Concord Leisure Services Department officiating basketball, umpiring softball and running officiating programs. “It was the most hectic time of my life. My wife Glenda held the family together as our three kids were into all kinds of activities by then.” Steve and Glenda were high school sweethearts at Clayton Valley and went to Hawaii Hilo together. “I guarantee you I never would have got my degree if she wasn’t there with me!” They’ve been married 31 years. In his second year at DVC Coccimiglio got hired on the faculty full-time teaching physical education. The dream of coaching Division I still remained. “I thought I’d be at DVC three or four years and then get back into a four-year

school.” He would talk about his job with other community college coaches. One in particular, Percy Carr of San Jose City College, told him, “The longer you stay at your school the harder it will be to leave. You’ll enjoy the lifestyle and you will begin to think about your pension.” Coccimiglio adds, “We had a great run of success in the 90s and that’s exactly what happened.” Carr must know of what he speaks since he’s been at SJCC since 1975 and leads all California community college coaches with 796 victories. Over his 21 seasons Coccimiglio has the highest winning percentage, .722, among the dozen coaches who have attained 500 victories. His team this year features the trademark defense he preaches. They are number one in the state in fewest points allowed per game. The coach adds, “We’re also 86th out of 93 community colleges in offense. We need to

grind out games.” During this season not only did the Vikings take their coach above the 500win mark but earlier in the year they notched his 494th victory, one more than Coach Iversen got. Coccimiglio says that the thing that makes community college coaching unique is that “you’re recruiting kids to come play for you and then when they’re done you’re helping them get recruited to a four-year school.” Coccimiglio estimates that 80-85% of the players who have gone through his program for two years have moved on to a four-year school to play basketball. The Vikings play in the Big 8 Conference, the only Bay Area team to do so. “DVC has a comprehensive men’s and women’s sports program and we like competing against schools with similar programs.” His brother Ron was inducted in the CVHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008 and big brother Steve made the presentation. Following Clayton Valley Ron went on to star for the Cal Bears football team and was voted to the UC Berkeley all-century football squad. In that same induction class was coach Iversen, “a classy guy” who passed away just months later in 2009. With all the dedication and interest the Coccimiglio’s have in sports it didn’t always rub off on Steve and Glenda’s two daughters and son. When daughter Jordan was a teenager she once shouted to her dad, “All you think about is sports. I will never marry someone like you!” She’s now married to Los Medanos College basketball coach, Derek Domenichelli, DVC’s nearest rival. Three days before Steve Coccimiglio, 53, got his 500th coaching win be got a fabulous present. His daughter Jordan had a baby boy, her second child and Glenda and Steve’s first grandson.

Three Clayton Valley teams seek home games for NCS playoffs JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Photo by Mike Dunn

SENIOR CENTER AND TRI-CAPTAIN SARAH NELSON (34) out jumps Greer Kleber (00) during the Eagles’ 75-60 win over Northgate last month as they ended the Bronco’s 28-game league winning streak. The teams have a rematch Friday night at 7 o’clock in Walnut Creek. Gina Del Bene (21) leads the Eagles in steals while junior Molly Kommer (5) is their top rebounder. Clayton Valley is seeking its first home game in the NCS playoffs since before the turn of the century.

The goal of each high school sports team or athlete is to reach post-season play. For team sports, that’s the North Coast Section playoffs. For three Clayton Valley High School winter sports teams, their expectations are a step higher – they want to host NCS playoff games at the Alberta Way campus. In order to do this, they have to finish off Diablo Valley Athletic League play with a strong record to receive a high seed for the playoffs. Last year, the boys and girls soccer teams hosted an unprecedented NCS doubleheader in Gonsalves Stadium but ended up losing both

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games. This year, coaches Rory Gentry and Scott Booth hope to be in the same position on their home field sidelines but come away with better results. For the Eagles girls basketball team, hosting a home playoff game would be an experience they haven’t had since before the turn of the millennium. Through last week’s DVAL play, the Eagles soccer teams had yet to lose a game in the league, a feat they nearly accomplished through the full 2009-’10 DVAL season – when they lost one of 24 combined games. Booth’s girls team won its first 10 games and finished off DVAL schedule this week against Ygnacio Valley and Northgate.

“Our goal is to finish strong in league play and get a high seeding for NCS. The girls are all working really hard toward that goal and playing well together,” Booth says. For the boys team, sophomore forward Elisama Padilla has already established a school single-season record with 21 goals, including 14 in league play which tied the school mark. He also has set a new record for hat-tricks with four. The Eagles are in first place with eight wins and a draw in their first nine games. Ygnacio Valley is second to the Eagles and they meet in the season’s final DVAL game. The NCS soccer seeding meeting is this Sunday, with playoffs beginning Wednesday.

Coach Bernard Barnes’ girls basketballers meet Northgate Friday night in Walnut Creek, hoping to duplicate their earlier 75-60 home victory over the Broncos that ended a 28-game league winning streak. CVHS figures to be 10-0 in league entering the Northgate game and then finish up next Tuesday against Berean Christian, also in Walnut Creek. The Eagles are ranked 12th in the Bay Area and second in the North Coast standings for Division 2. They will learn their NCS seeding and playoff schedule on Feb. 20. Playoffs begin Feb. 22 or 23. Unlike in soccer, basketball doesn’t end with the NCS, as there are Northern California and then state championship playoffs.


February 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Clayton Sports to maintain her ties to cheer so she’ll join some of her teammates assisting at next year’s CVHS cheer tryouts. She did sacrifice playing soccer to concentrate on cheer as well as be active in the Clayton Arts Academy for four years. She hopes to attend St. Mary’s College in the fall, study kinesiology and come back to coach the Eagles freshman cheer squad.

of the Athlete Week Name: Alexis Cenicola Age: 17 Sport: Cheerleading Team: Clayton Valley High School Cheer When Alexis Cenicola came to Clayton Valley High School as a freshman from a much smaller private school she was afraid that demands of school and cheerleading, which she captained at Tabernacle School, might be too much. In spite of those fears she tried out for cheerleading and made

the team, fueling her passion that still burns brightly as she enters her final semester of school. This is her third year on the varsity cheer squad and CVHS competition team. During her four years she’s only missed one basketball or football game after she broke her elbow during her junior

year when she did a back-flip on the football field during halftime. She missed one game before having her cast removed after only 10 days so she could be back on the field rooting for the Eagles, one of the examples of why she’s twice received the annual cheer Coaches Award. Alexis wants

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Page 13

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Paul Thompson has spent his entire adult life, plus some, in the bowling industry. At the time he started working at the Pleasant Hill Lanes while in high school, the majority of bowlers participated in leagues. The typical bowler was having a couple drinks and a smoke while competing in a league, often with colleagues from work. Today that stereotype is long gone and most of those bowling at his Clayton Valley Bowl would never fit that description. “Today we have programs for teens, families and even corporate parties. League play now accounts for only 40 percent of our business,” Thompson explains. A NEW GENERATION OF BOWLERS

Smoking left the building two decades ago and a couple years ago Clayton Valley Bowl installed a new scoring system and redid the lanes. It has brought a whole new look and feel to the bowling experience as Thompson and his colleagues in the industry introduce their sport to a new generation. The remaking of bowling alleys reminds one of the car slogan “It’s not your father’s Buick.” Part of the image makeover is that Clayton Valley Bowl is on Facebook and has a Website that contains everything you’d need to know about bowling there. And that “everything” ranges from programs for special needs people to a Friday afternoon elementary and middle school program with G-rated music in sync to videos on five flat screen TVs over the lanes to bowling classes through Clayton Valley and

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HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS RYAN PENLOALOZA, left, and Andrew Murray take advantage of special afternoon rates at Clayton Valley Bowl. The local center has Digital Thunder Glow Bowling every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. as well as Friday afternoons from 4-6.

Concord high schools to the popular teen-oriented Digital Thunder Glow bowling under black light on Friday and Saturday evenings. On recent Friday afternoon fifth grade friends from Mt. Diablo Elementary School, Courtney Lally and Matthew Lavezzoli, were going head-tohead with music accompanying videos on flat screen monitors and black light highlighting designs decorating each lane. “Whoever loses gets the food and drinks,” Courtney said, claiming she isn’t as good a bowler as Matthew. They both rent eight-pound balls with Matthew having a high score of 136 and Courtney 105. “We come here a lot, usually on Saturday,” Matthew added. Thompson serves on the Northern California Bowling Centers board of directors and marketing committee. “We share ideas and new programs.” More than 60 bowling centers in the north part of the state

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collaborate and brainstorm about how to keep their businesses vibrant and healthy. “In the 1960s through ’80s, if you weren’t jammed with leagues (two sessions each night) you were in trouble,” Thompson notes. Now he’s expanded to include an afternoon seniors group but mostly has just a single session of sanctioned leagues in the evening. “Once commute times became longer, people didn’t want to be at the bowling alley late on work nights,” he says. A ‘HIGH END’ EXPERIENCE A chunk of that business went away, but it has been replaced in the more familyfriendly centers of today with families and teens plus businesses which host parties in “The High End” at Clayton Bowl. The center’s 44 lanes are configured so that the final 12 lanes can be partitioned off for private parties of up to 60 people for bowling. The High End area includes a

service bar and catering can be provided. For birthday parties and young people (or special needs groups), bumper bowling can be set up on those lanes. Lulu Van Sickle of Concord was celebrating her 10th birthday with girl friends from Eagle Peak Montessori and Diablo View Middle School. “My brothers had birthday parties here so I thought I’d do it too.” Lulu said she bowls quite often with her grandparents. The center even has special ramps allowing small children too young to lift a bowling ball and handicapped people in wheelchairs to roll the ball down the lane and enjoy a game. Special needs groups from organizations such as Concord Recreation Department, the Bridge, Special Olympics and Concord High School use the center almost daily. At the same time, Clayton Valley Bowl still serves the more

See Bowling, page 14


Page 14

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

February 11, 2011

Clayton Sports

Mayor, from page 1

Bowling, from page 13 serious bowler. “We have the largest ‘scratch’ (no handicap) league in Northern California. The players carry 190 or above averages,” Thompson says. The center also hosts at least one tournament a month. When it comes to top-caliber bowling, Thompson knows of what he speaks. He has bowled two perfect 300 games righthanded and, for good measure, eight more left-handed, which he took up when he broke his right hand years ago. He was inducted in the Contra Costa County Bowling Hall of Fame in 1999. Steve Balente, who runs the Clayton Valley Bowl pro shop, was inducted three years later. The pro shop is open noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday selling balls, shoes, bags and other supplies as well as repairing and drilling balls. Balente also gives bowling lessons at the center.

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DRAWING IN THE KIDS Julie Cashman runs youth programs at Clayton Valley Bowl and they have continued to expand over the years. Cub Scouts can now earn an official patch by learning about the sport, taking a bowling lesson and bowling a game. A troop was at the center on the Martin Luther King holiday. For the past two years, Clayton Valley Bowl has given out a pass for a free daily game of bowling and shoes during summer vacation to every student at 14 local elementary and middle schools – an idea Thompson picked up from Harvest Park Bowl in Brentwood. More than 900 passes were used last summer and some of those kids also got involved in junior leagues. Kids (and older kids, aka adults) also enjoy the game room at the center. This program has helped the

CLAYTON VALLEY BOWL MANAGER PAUL THOMPSON, right, with staff members Robert Villasenor and Brittany Hansen oversees a variety of programs which has transformed the typical bowler at the local center.

40,000 sq. ft. center keep busy during its “down months” when the weather is warm and people tend to have outdoor activities. They even have a summer golfbowling league. For the past two holiday seasons from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Thompson offered a free game and shoes for each

Sports Shorts ERIC LAWSON DEFEATED IN STRIKEFORCE MATCH Local fighter Eric Lawson was considered a slight favorite in his Strikeforce match last month at HP Pavilion in San Jose against Ron Keslar from Pennsylvania. Their fight hit the mat early and in a scramble to gain position, Keslar worked for an armbar then a triangle off of his back that Lawson was forced to desperately defend. The referee saw a submission tap from Lawson and called the fight at 1:57 of the first round. This was Lawson’s second straight MMA loss after he had run off five wins in a row. VINCE BUHAGIAR NAMED FRESHMAN FOOTBALL ALL-AMERICA Linebacker Vince Buhagiar was named to the third-team freshman All-America football squad as his San Jose State Spartans had an unprecedented four frosh players earn post-season honors. The 2010 Clayton Valley High grad became the first San Jose State true freshman to start 13 games in a season and finished with 89 tackles. Oklahoma and Duke had three freshmen gain AllAmerica honors to trail the Spartans four. DIABLO FC ANNUAL CRAB FEED & AUCTION THIS FRIDAY The eighth annual Crab Feed and Auction to support the Diablo FC youth soccer program is slated for Friday, Feb. 11, at Centre Concord. Besides the crab feed dinner and fund-raising live and silent auctions, there will be dancing with DJ Terry Newberry, the voice of Clayton Valley High football. To get more info or to buy tickets visit diablofc.org. DIABLO FC U8-U14 COMPETITIVE TRYOUTS THIS MONTH

Diablo FC tryouts for the 2011 season for under 8 through under 14 competitive teams will be Feb. 20, 24 and 27. Boys and girls born between Aug. 1, 1997 and July 31, 2005 are invited to try out. The Thursday evening, Feb. 24, try-

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can of food donated at the center to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Clayton Valley Bowl, at 5300 Clayton Road, is open virtually every day of the year at 10 a.m. The center closes at midnight, except 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit claytonvalleybowl.com.

out is at Willow Pass Park in Concord and Sunday’s tryouts Feb. 20 and 27 are at Clayton Valley High School for girls and Ygnacio Valley High for boys. There is no charge to try out; for a complete tryout schedule and to pre-register visit diablofc.org. DANA HILLS SWIM TEAM’S FRIENDS & FAMILY FIESTA FEB. 25 Dana Hills Swim Team will hold its first Friends and Family Fiesta on Friday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m. at Centre Concord. Team members and supporters are welcome. Included in the festivities will be dinner, live and silent auctions, door prizes, live band and dancing. Enjoy catered Mexican cuisine, beer, wine and margaritas and dance the night away to support the DHST swimmers. Tickets at $50 per couple including dinner, two drink tickets and door prize entry. For more info or to RSVP visit danahillsotters.com. YOUTH TEE BALL, VOLLEYBALL, BASKETBALL AT CLAYTON GYM A winter youth basketball academy for boys and girls of all skill levels in first through ninth grades is being held two hours a week through March at Clayton Community Gym. Signups are being taken for youth tee ball and volleyball leagues, which will run on Saturdays from Mar. 5-April 23. Tee ball is for boys and girls 3-6 years of age, while volleyball is for ages 8-14. Adult leagues for basketball and volleyball are also gearing up. For more information or to register for any program offered by All Out Sports at the gym, visit alloutsportsleague-clayton.com. FREE SOCCER SKILLS CLINICS UNDER THE LIGHTS IN FEBRUARY Diablo FC is offering free soccer skills clinics this month with instruction from the professional coaching staff of Diablo FC at Willow Pass Park in Concord. Clinics are being held on Thursdays, Feb. 10 and 17, and Monday, Feb. 14. Girls 5-13 years of age will have their sessions from 6-7:15 p.m. with boys from 7:15-8:30 p.m. For more information or to pre-register visit diablofc.org.

move forward with expanding the parking at our community park. This easement was held up initially as the district tried to lump it with our gym dispute, about which we protested most vehemently. After we talked with several school board members and provided them with further information, we were informed that the easement would be granted this month. We will expand our parking spaces in the downtown lot to 100 spots, which should more than handle the overflow parking that has, until now, meant cars parking in the Regency neighborhood and all over the landscaping during little league and soccer games. Two government agencies working together in harmony warms your heart, doesn’t it? But wait, there’s a sour note to that harmony. When the YMCA went bankrupt, we had to find another vendor to supply our youth and adult activities. As part of bringing AOSL onboard, we have been trying to deal with the school district for over a year regarding the methodology by which they charge us to clean up the gym after our activities. This has to do with interpreting the contract we have with the district and, in a nutshell, we have vastly different interpretations of how this should be accomplished. We think we should only be charged for the actual time it takes to clean the gym after our use, which we generously believe is about an hour at most. The district, though, has some strange methodology that charges us significantly increased time and money. While the district obviously has bigger issues with budgets and school closures, we received no response to our requests to meet until they recently tried to force us to accept their charges – which amounts to almost five times what we believe is reasonable in order to get the parking lot easement. Long story short (see, I only have 600 words), it looks like the district is digging in and we are headed toward a showdown. We cannot accept their methodology as it would seriously imperil AOSL operations. Stay tuned. Closing thought: If a married man is walking alone in a park and expresses an opinion without anybody hearing him, is he still wrong? Send your questions or comments to the mayor at Shuey@rankinlaw.com.


January 28, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 15

Book Review

‘Alice’ a touching tale of a destructive disease CYNTHIA GREGORY

FOR

THE

BOOKS

Some stories are mildly frightening. They upset you in a way that is somehow menacing, yet they are silly or unreal enough to remain remote. Other books scare you because they play on fears that cut close to the bone – a little too close. “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova is such a book. It is disturbing, but like driving past a traffic crash, you just can’t look away. Alice Howland is a respected and highly intelligent professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard. She is a distinguished expert in her field, a lecturer renowned for her brilliant analysis. She is a wife and a mother and upstanding member of her community. Also, Alice has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. As Genova narrates the spiral of Professor Howland’s mental decline, “Still

Alice” becomes a positively harrowing read. We live in an age where we expect medical miracles, as do Alice and her husband John, also a respected Harvard scholar. When the diagnosis is made, Alice is stunned but also a little relieved. Suddenly, the string of seemingly random memory lapses begins to make sense. Finally, the loss of connectivity to very ordinary and familiar surroundings, lost items and forgotten details begin to form a pattern. Alice is just 50 years old, and so Alzheimer’s seems especially cruel because it arrived about 20 years too soon. The disease progresses quickly, and Genova’s adept observations of Alice’s daily losses fuel a growing dread. Certainly Alice is aware that she’s losing parts of herself, and the reader, too, can see a wreck coming and coming – yet nothing can be done to prevent it. The drugs that Alice takes don’t seem to slow the inevitable final result: the loss of Alice as Alice. Her BlackBerry becomes Alice’s anchor in the world; it

records her appointments, the names of colleagues, students, husband, children. Early on, rational Alice devises an escape hatch for her future self: She stockpiles sleeping pills for the day when her decline has become so extreme that she as her current, coherent, highly intelligent self would not wish to continue. She writes herself a note on her laptop computer, asking a series of questions: What month is it, where do you live, where is your office, when is Anna’s birthday, how many children do you

have? When future Alice can no longer answer these questions, the current Alice instructs the future Alice to follow the directions in another file, instructions that will, she believe, end her life with dignity. The trouble is Alice loses ground quickly. By the time she can no longer answer the questions, she doesn’t realize she doesn’t know the answers to her questions. She no longer works, has nowhere to go and no one to see. As Alice becomes untethered, the very things that make her Alice become irretrievably lost. I was afraid how “Still Alice” would conclude, where the narrative arc would take the reader, but I needn’t have worried. The book contains a somewhat hopeful ending, one that makes you feel that something good came out of the fall after all. Cynthia Gregory writes book reviews, award-winning short stories and a blog. Visit her at www.twogirlstakeonlove.com or write ceegregory@aol.com

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‘Rags’ brings strong performers, huge plot to Willows Campbell stage LOU FANCHER Clayton Pioneer

Eric Inman made his debut as artistic director of the Willows Theatre Company with the opening of “Rags” at the Campbell Theatre in Martinez. The musical, a behemoth tale of Russian immigrants in early 20th century New York, is ambitious in both its literary scope and its musical profile. Sweeping from the characters’ first ocean-crossing journey to the tightly knit community formed by Russian/Jewish newcomers in America, “Rags” taps into our country’s hidden hopes. Men dream of making fortunes, women dare to imagine equal rights to support their families, and children look to their parents for lessons on how to live with and love one another. Enormous plot and thematic elements – the birth of workers’ unions and the power of industry to shape and control America’s history – stretch the Willows production and the actors within it. Teressa Byrne is entirely up to the task as Rebecca Hershkowitz, the young mother of David, played by Trevor Gomez. Byrne has a voice for an opera house and the skill to deliver both massive and delicate tones with equal ease. She’s immensely comfortable on stage: the kind of actor an audience can trust not to adorn a character with excessive or empty gestures. Ten-year-old Gomez is vivacious and approaches his role with spirit and nuance beyond his years. Charged with narrating transitional moments in the production, Gomez speaks as if his lines are not simply learned, but owned. Nicole Frydman (Bella Cohen) exudes a youthful energy that brings to the age of these immigrants – many who suffered indescribable atrocities – and how their strength was partly a product of suffering. Following the 300volt delivery of the show’s signature song, “Children of the Wind,” Frydman is able to hold her own and show terrific range in both humorous and dramatic scenes. The remainder of the cast

BENJAMIN PITHER AS SAUL and Teressa Byrne as Rebecca Hershkowitz in “Rags” at Willows Theatre, Jan 31-Feb 27.

does a fine job, with Benjamin Pither (Saul) solidly handling the role of union leader and Rebecca’s romantic interest. Steve Waranietz shows off a nimble facility valuable to small theater groups: actors who appear in a number of roles, effectively changing not just

costumes, but characterization. The costumes, props and set design for “Rags” continue to demonstrate the Willow’s finesse by packing a large-scale production into a small space. Graytoned paintings of New York streets are the perfect backdrop

and a balcony allows Inman to isolate the production’s more intimate moments. At a preview performance, the number of lighting changes was distracting. A romantic balcony segment lost poignancy as the shadows, moving larger than life behind the characters, pulled the eye away. At a running time of 2½ hours, the show could benefit from tightening transitions, cutting repetitious dialogue or reducing the number of songs. Musical director Rachel Robinson has brought out the best in her performers, and it’s unfortunate the show’s ballast pulls the pace down, instead of forward. Inman, new to the position, but not to the Willows, has already made grand moves with the announcement of the company’s return to the mainstage in Concord. It will be a journey and an adventure, much like “Rags.” “Rags” plays through Feb. 27 at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. Tickets are $22-32. For more information, 798-1300 or visit www.willowstheatre.org.

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Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

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It began as a vision for a drive-through ravioli restaurant and materialized as Ravioli’s Italian Market Place. Ravioli’s opening in December was a delicious success. When Carol and Jim Rackel moved back to Clayton from Texas to be closer to family, they said, “Let’s go for it,” to turn the dream of some type of ravioli fare into a reality. Running Ravioli’s is truly a family affair. Co-owners Carol and Jim Rackel and son Ernie Campora and daughter-in-law Tami each have a specific role, but each can also jump in wherever needed. Even 4-yearold Peter and 2-year-old Molly help in the kitchen or greet customers. Typically, Carol prepares the soups and sauces. She taught Jim how to make ravioli and “now he makes them better than me,” Carol says with a laugh.

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

JIM AND CAROL RACKEL AND ERNIE AND TAMI CAMPORA make eating and working a family affair at their new eatery on Clayton Road. Butternut squash ravioli and Italian Pot Roast are among the traditional and specialty items on the menu.

Ernie cooks as well and Tami does all the baking. The ravioli recipes originated with Carol’s maternal grandmother, who migrated to the country from Italy.

Carol fondly recalls cooking as early as 10. Her parents worked and her mother would call her at home to tell her what and how to make dinner. Carol made notes on

envelopes. Recipes had no measurements; she cooked by taste. These days, Tami often takes on the role of preparing a dinner that the Rackels’ can pick up on their way home so the cooks can eat, too. “It’s a great family thing that’s happening,” says a beaming Carol. Carol’s parents owned Luigi’s in Tracy, then Trebino’s in Stockton for 15 years. Carol worked at Trebino’s for 10 years while her sons were young. Ernie started helping at the family business as a teen and years later opened A Little Trebino Ravioli Factory for a time. Carol opened Café on the Green for a year before leaving the business until now. The families plan to grow their business with special events, a beer and wine license and eventually by adding locations. Ravioli’s is at 4375 Clayton Road, Suite G, Concord. For more information, call 689-3819. See ad on page 17.

Packing up the right way In the last issue, I discussed ways to pack less and get the most out of your wardrobe. Ideas included planning ahead, prepping your luggage and picking your wardrobe carefully. Here are the last two ideas that will send you on your way to that perfect carefree vacation with a lighter weight bag that has everything you need to make it through security. K EEP TOILETRIES TO A MINIMUM. It’s surprising how many pounds beauty products

can add to a bag. Bring travelsize, not full-size items. If you can’t find a reduced size of an item and don’t want to use a lot of plastic containers, try www.minimus.biz for travelsize products from deodorant to light ranch dressing. Pack items in leak-proof, resealable bags so you can find items without unpacking everything. If you are headed someplace where replacement toiletries are not readily available, look for products that do double duty, such as a shampoo that is also

a body wash. PACK THOUGHTFULLY. The idea is to pack every inch of usable space without overpacking. Everyone has a favorite method and even experts disagree, so use the one with which you are most comfortable. Consider rolling as many clothes as possible, especially when you are living out of a suitcase and on the move every day or so. An alternative to rolling is bundling, where you place all items across the entire width of the suitcase. Once all items are

PEGGY BIDONDO

TIME

TO

GO

piled up, begin folding in the arms and legs. Log on to www.packinglight.net and click on “Video and Travel Tips” at the top of the page to view a short demonstration on this method. Some folks also like to use dry cleaning bags or individual zip-lock bags, which are easy to stack and can be removed without disturbing anything else. Stuff shoes with socks, rolled ties, underwear or small items. Compression bags work well for underwear and other items where wrinkles don’t matter. Books are dead weight. Instead of packing an entire library of guidebooks, photocopy the relevant pages or rip them out of the book. You could even purchase them at your destination, then leave them behind when you are done. Shoes are heavy and take up a lot of space, so bring no more than three pairs – walking shoes, dress shoes and sandals. I like to fill the bottom of my suitcase with miscellaneous items such as an umbrella, extra toiletries, first aid kit, sewing kit, etc., then cut a heavy piece of cardboard the shape of the suitcase to place over these items. Pack clothes on top of the cardboard. If you need anything from the bottom, you just lift out the cardboard, clothes and all, without disturbing anything on the top. Electronics, jewelry, prescription medication and important documents like your passport should always be carried with you. Put items you’ll need during the trip (such as a raincoat or warm jacket) in the easy-to-access outside pockets. Try to pack without using the expandable portion of your suitcase so that you can save space for souvenirs you pick up along the way. Travel Tip: Use the shower caps from the hotel room to cover the bottom of your dirty shoes before placing them in your suitcase. Recently retired, Clayton resident Peggy Bidondo is a tireless traveler with a passion for travel planning and writing. Send your questions and column ideas to Peggy Bidondo at timetogo@claytonpioneer.com.


February 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 17

Tempt Fate with the

Foods of With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a cook’s thoughts might turn to preparing just the right meal for the occasion. Why not incorporate some foods reputed to conjure up Cupid and his many charms. Humans have searched for love potions throughout the culinary ages. One ancient bridegroom supposedly gorged on truffles to enhance his masculinity on his wedding night. Even today, there are populations who search for deer musk and other herbs and extracts to fuel the flames of passion. Fortunately, there are foods more readily available that may have aphrodisiac qualities. Serve some wine. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, but overindulgence can be a powerful sedative – which might put a damper on your evening. Or opt for fruits and veggies. Bananas not only are of a suggestive shape, they contain bromelain – which is reputed to enhance male performance. Figs were a favored food at Greek orgies. Ancient Egyptian pharaohs thought radishes enhanced sexuality because of their spicy taste. Asparagus, or “love spears,” were particularly popular in the 1800s in dishes served to bridegrooms. I love to serve an asparagus frittata on Valentine’s morning.

ASPARAGUS FRITTATA Serves 2 ¼ to ½ c. asparagus, sliced in scant ½-inch pieces 1 shallot, minced 1-2 T. minced red bell pepper 2 T. non-fruity olive oil or rice bran oil 4 eggs ¼-½ c. grated Parmesan Preheat the broiler in your oven. Whisk eggs with 1 T. water and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside. Over medium-high heat, preheat a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Add the oil and the asparagus, shallot and bell pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is just turning tender. Test with the tip of a small knife. Carefully pour in the eggs, using a spoon to evenly distribute the veggies. Cook about 7 minutes, occasionally lifting the sides of the omelet and tilting the pan to allow uncooked egg to seep underneath. When the eggs are set, sprinkle with the cheese and transfer the pan to the preheated broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Allow the frittata to rest 1530 minutes before serving.

Love, from page 1 Barbara and Darrell Sutton have been married 67 years. They met in high school. “People said our marriage wouldn’t last because we were so young,” Darrell says with a chuckle. They both worked at Chevron: Darrell as accounting supervisor and Barbara agree-

Teen Speak, may give us high blood pressure and nightmares of ruined futures for a week, like most things in high school, enduring

ing to work in credit cards “only if I didn’t have to work with my husband,” Barbara says with a chuckle of her own. The two are quick to point out that the pleasure of each other’s company comes from being compatible. They spent many years as avid golfers and now focus on watching sports

from page 6 finals helps prepare us to face the many similarly stressful situations we will encounter later in our lives.

Love

Strawberries, goji berries and the new fad acai berries also are reported aphrodisiacs. Lisa Books-Williams, an instructor at Pans on Fire, offers a “love potion” smoothie in her “Foods of Love” cooking class. ROMANCE SHAKE FOR TWO 2 frozen bananas 1 c. frozen strawberries 1½ c. soy milk or rice milk 1 T. honey 1 fig 1 tsp. vanilla extract Sprinkle of nutmeg Process all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. For extra oomph, add a handful of goji or acai berries before blending. Here are a few other food thoughts on the subject: Serve some seafood. Caviar is high in zinc, a nutrient that stimulates the production of testosterone. Oysters, which can change their sex, are supposed to foster the ability to appreciate all aspects of human sexuality. Since aromas can sometimes be even more powerful than taste, consider wearing a little perfume or cologne with vanilla or almond notes. These are viewed as powerful pheromones effective in attracting the opposite sex. Lastly, don’t forget to serve some chocolate. It’s both a seda-

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tive that can lower inhibitions and a stimulant that can increase the desire for physical contact. This concerned the Roman Catholic church, which banned chocolate in some monasteries centuries ago. Happily, not all monasteries fall under this edict. The Brigittine Monks of Amity, Ore., produce some of the tastiest fudge and truffles I’ve enjoyed. Dedicated to lives of silent contemplation, the monks are self-supporting through sales of their confections. The candy is found in a few stores, or order at www.brigittine.org/ monks/or07161.htm. Happy Valentine’s Day! Linda Wyner, a local attorney and foodie, owns Pans on Fire, a gourmet cookware store and cooking school in Pleasanton. Send Email to lwyner@claytonpioneer.com

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4375 Clayton Road, Suite G, Concord In the Clayton Center with Starbucks

Photo courtesy of California Asparagus Commission © 2010

date was to see “Call of the Wild.” According to June, buying a boat was one of the highlights of their marriage. She and Bob then got involved with water safety and Bob joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary. They also shared many travels together, including Canada and Alaska. And on those days when they were at odds, Bob says, “Fight fair.”

Good preparation or not, it feels good to start anew, leaving the worries of first semester and finals behind. Our biggest concerns now are finding a date to prom or making the finishing touches on that book report.

Well, at least until June ... Taylor Tovrea is a junior at Clayton Valley High School. She is a regular contributor to the Pioneer. You can Email her at taylor@ claytonpioneer.com

925-680-7792 These three delicious treats will help unwind, relax and refresh the one you Love on Valentine’s Day.

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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer.com

Falls Trail captures essence of the season

A few more late winter chores and spring should be fabulous This time of year, cut off the faded blooms from last summer. I like to make my cuttings one to two leaf sections down the stem. I only remove the oldest canes, taking them all the way to the ground. Mophead hydrangeas bloom on old wood. Depending on the color, amend the soil with hydra-blue, which is aluminum sulfate, for bluer hydrangeas, or dolomite lime to keep them pretty in pink. Paniculata hydrangeas are the

The recent weather has been perfect for working in the yard and garden. We’re going be so far ahead of ourselves this year that our spring will surly be fabulous. With the roses tended and the fruit trees sprayed, there are still several chores that Clayton Valley residents can do in preparation for spring and summer foliage and flowers. Crape myrtle trees need to be deadheaded and have the small, woody stems removed from branches. Remove last year’s flower heads but don’t copy the butchering that you may see in commercial applications. Crape myrtles have a shapely skeleton that should be appreciated not controlled. If you are cutting into wood that is wider than a 50 cent piece, stop. Over-cutting causes the shrub to kick out spider-leg stems that can hardly support their own blooms. After pruning, feed with a granular multi-purpose fertilizer, then top with high-quality compost. Work it into the first couple inches of soil, followed by a sprinkling of water. After fertilizing, sprinkle water the soil around the drip line every 5-7 days if there is no rain.

shrubs that can become a tree, with conical-shaped flowers. You can cut these back as needed because they bloom or new wood. If yours are getting too tall, cut deeper. Paniculata hydrangeas are fairly easy to grow, so you probably won’t make a mistake. You will not need to feed these until the leaves begin to really grow. Oakleaf hydrangeas are less popular, but absolutely one of my favorite selections. This time of year, you should still be enjoying their fall color. I only prune the crazy hairs on this

HANDLING HYDRANGEAS Hydrangeas need some tending now as well. There are three main types commonly planted, with mophead hydrangeas the most popular. These are the selection with the big, ball-shaped flowers. You mostly see these as pink or blue shades, and occasionally white.

plant. If there’s a stem that is surging growth, that’s the one I remove. If there is a stem on the ground, remove that one also. I begin fertilizing in midMarch. Use a fertilizer with little nitrogen; look for labels to read 4-8-5, or close. Top-dress the soil at the base of all hydrangeas with a rich soil conditioner or compost to add nutrients naturally. Citrus can definitely use a little tending at this time of year.

Continue to feed with a 0-10-10 fertilizer. If yellow foliage is a problem, use an iron supplement. Different companies have various strengths in their iron products. Look for an iron and sulfur combination. If you are using something that is 10 percent iron, you should use more than someone who is using a product that is 22 percent. When using iron, apply to a wet plant, then water after application. OPT FOR LOVELY LILACS All of this sunshine is mak-

February 11, 2011

NICOLE HACKETT

GARDEN GIRL ing me, and many Clayton Valley residents, feel like planting. Lilacs are a perfect installation this time of year. Frosty nights will not harm this deciduous shrub. Within the next month or so, the buds will swell and become clusters of fragrant, colorful flowers. The botanical name for lilac is Syringa. The variety called Tinkerbell is an incredible, winered flower bud that will open to a deep single pink flower. The spicy fragrance of the Tinkerbell lilac is enchanting. Miss Ellen Willmott is an extremely fragrant double white blooming lilac. It’s wonderful for those who enjoy twilight garden. President Grevy will bloom a lilacblue flower, while President Lincoln has a Wedgwood blue, pinnacle-shaped flower. All lilacs enjoy full sun, and they make great cut flowers. You will need to allow 6-10 feet for the lilac to mature. They won’t grow that big the first year, but they will get there. It looks like we are going to be able to enjoy some excellent outdoor living this year. Work now and you’ll be rewarded.

Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden Contact her with questions, comments or suggestions at gardengirl@claytonpioneer.com

This month is the perfect time to enjoy the waterfalls and streams of the Diablo Valley as the fresh rain flows down the mountain. The Falls Trail hike through Donner Canyon on Mt. Diablo is a longtime favorite way to take in the beauty and tranquility of local waterfalls. A self-guided Falls Trail hike is available at www.savemountdiablo.org. For a bigger challenge and more views, the Mt. Diablo Group Sierra Club is leading an all-day guided Eagle Peak and Mt. Diablo Falls Hike on Feb. 12. Visit www.savemountdiablo.org for details. To learn about leading hikes, come to a meeting March 1, 6-8 p.m. at

11901 Olympic Blvd., Walnut Creek. RSVP to George Phillips at 947-3535 or gphillips@savemountdiablo.org.

Chief, from page 7 fibers, blood and footwear impressions. However, fingerprints are the best form of evidence at any crime scene, especially burglaries. Clayton officers have the training and the ability to collect latent fingerprints in an area where the suspect has likely touched. These areas are usually smooth surfaces such as glass, metal or areas at the point of entry. Collecting, or lifting, latent fingerprints is well worth the effort. Suspect identity is often made when the latent fingerprints are compared with millions of other suspect fingerprints collected and stored in a vast databank. This was the case in two recent Clayton burglary cases, where the investigating officers collected latent prints and com-

pared them against the fingerprints stored in the database. This effort led to the suspect’s identity in each case. The suspects were previously involved in burglaries in other locations. Unlike TV CSI shows, where evidence is collected and suspects are quickly identified, convicted and sent to prison within the length of the TV show, the process is very slow – but effective nonetheless. If you have questions about burglary investigations or other crime issues, please call us at 673-7350, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday..

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

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LOCAL ROTARY RECEIVES GRANT FOR INTERNATIONAL EFFORT

The Rotary Foundation has awarded a grant of $37,273.00 to the Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club and a Ugandan Rotary Club to “adopt” a village in rural Uganda. The matching grant, which was applied for jointly by the two clubs is designed to prevent malaria, provide clean water, improve village sanitation, and improve and sustain agriculture production. The Adopt-a-Village concept’s integrated approach will provide more than 2,000 residents of Nsawo Village with mosquito nets, construction of a new water borehole and large holding tanks and will aid disease prevention and protect the water supply by providing new pit latrines and hand washing stations in the village center. The grant will also finance the building of a primary school, improve nutrition by providing better breeds of beans and maize seeds, and by supplying piglets, chicks and feed for poultry farms. This will allow farmers not just to grow their own food,

CLAYTON VALLEY/SUNROISE ROTARY CLUB PRESIDENT KEN NISHIMORI (r) presents check for $9,175.00 to Past President Larry Hutchings for submission of the to The Rotary Foundation. International Service Director Torsten Jacobsen (l) looks on.

but will enable them to sell excess eggs and pigs to supplement their incomes.” The project will be overseen jointly by the local village council and members of the Muyenga Rotary Club, a suburb of Kampala. Local Rotarians plan on traveling to Uganda to dedicate the project.

FEB 11 Clayton Pioneer 2011.pdf  

D AVE S HUEY WILMA STONE AND BILL ELLIS See Mayor , page 14 See Love , page 17 threatened to withhold approval of the needed easement until...