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March 11, 2011


Bike safety program brings ‘Peace on the Streets’ to DVMS TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer



City budget healthy at mid-year Nothing monumental going on so taking a stroll around a few items of interest to some, of no interest to others, and producing a “yawn” to most. We had our mid-year budget review meeting. Our Finance Director, Merry Pelletier, together with a Council subcommittee, reviewed, crunched numbers and adjusted as necessary, before giving a written and oral report to the Council at the March 1 meeting. All of the public who were at the meeting (“zero” without casting aspersions) know, but the rest of the 11,431 in the city

See Mayor, page 7

MDUSD grants easement for parking lot expansion MDUSD has agreed to grant Clayton an easement needed to expand the Clayton Community Park parking lot. The trustees approved the easement 4-1 at their board meeting last week, just days ahead of the deadline for the city to submit its application for the Measure WW money that will fund the project. Earlier, the school district staff had turned down Clayton’s request for the easement. City Manager Gary Napper believes the district was holding up the easement until the city paid some $11,000 in disputed custodian fees for the Clayton Community Gym. The two issues are unrelated says Napper, and should never have been linked. The city and MDUSD are currently negotiating the disputed charges. “We’re moving forward,” says Councilwoman Julie

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

A WEEK-LONG BICYCLE SAFETY PROGRAM SPONSORED BY 511 CONTRA COSTA received an enthusiastic reception at DVMS. Students learned to negotiate tricky road conditions on a short course that simulated the approach and intersection in front of the school. At the end of the week, they were rewarded with a BMX stunt show by the Clayton Bikes team.

See Bike Safety, page 6

Cal State East Bay anniversary Creekside Arts brings includes honor for Garaventa art and nature together JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Cal State University East Bay Concord Campus, “the best kept secret in Contra Costa County,” celebrated its 30th anniversary late last month. The ceremony drew nearly every elected official from the

area and included the conferring of an honorary doctorate to business and civic leader Sil Garaventa Jr. Cal State president Mohammad H. Qayoumi and a procession of two dozen faculty, staff and alumni in cap and gowns ascended a temporary stage at the Hilton Concord

See Easement, page 5


Kids at Diablo View Middle School are a whole lot more “road wise” this week after a 5day bike education program sponsored by 511 Contra Costa. “Peace on the Streets...Ride On” kicked off on Monday, Feb. 28, when students gathered on the basketball courts for some basic bike safety lessons. Students learned how to correctly don their helmets and how to do a quick bicycle safety check by bouncing their bikes on the ground before mounting. “You know your bikes better than anyone,” said instructor Diane Sarafine. “Listen for loose screws or rattles before you take off.” Students then climbed aboard imaginary bikes and followed instructor Matt Dove around a short course where they learned to enter the road from a driveway and to safely negotiate intersections and to move across three lanes of fast moving traffic.

Photo by Stephanie Secrest, CSUEB

CONCORD BUSINESS AND CIVIC MAINSTAY SIL GARAVENTA JR. (center) was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Cal State East Bay President Mohammad Qayoumi (left) and Robert Linscheid, vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the California State University. The recent ceremony at Hilton Concord Hotel was in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Concord Campus.

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Church News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Hotel for the stirring anniversary ceremony. The commemoration of the founding of the Concord campus included short commentaries and a performance by the Cal State East Bay Singers. The lunch’s highlight was when Robert Linscheid, vice chair of the Cal State board of trustees, and Qayoumi conferred the honorary doctor of humane letters degree to Garaventa. Linscheid, an Antioch native, recounted how he attended Diablo Valley College at the same time as his mother, but “my mom always got better grades than me.” He finally took to heart her admonition that he needed to “attend class and study” in order to do well in school. The honorary doctorate was fitting for the homegrown civic leader, who was also celebrating his personal victory over cancer. Cal State officials called Garaventa last spring when he was on a long-planned family vacation in Italy to accept the degree at the June 2010 commencement. He had recently

See Garaventa, page 8

Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Club News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Community Calendar . . . . . . . . . . .15 Director of Advertisers . . . . . . . . . . .5 DVMS Reporter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Financial Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

“Inspirations for a Better World…Past, Present, Future” was the theme for the 8th annual Creekside Arts Celebration, which also marks the 16th

anniversary of the Clayton Community Library. The festival drew more than 30 artists, See Creekside Arts, page


WATERCOLOR ARTIST LESLIE WILSON SET UP HER EASEL outside behind the Keller House for a Plein Air Painting demonstration. Plein Air simply means painting outdoors, she explained. She kept up a running discussion of color and light with spectators and soon the old barns began to materialize on her canvas. Wilson took both a first and a third place in the Mixed Media category of the juried art show and walked away with the award for Best Composition.

Fit with Levity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Food for Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 From the Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Letters to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Pioneer Photo Album . . . . . . . . . . .16 School News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Weather Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

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Clayton Pioneer •

March 11, 2011

Around Town Redneck Chili takes first at annual chili contest

Madison Simbirdi performs title role in “Annie”


Madison Simbirdi, daughter of Tamara and Harun Simbirdi. recently performed the lead in the musical “Annie” at the Del Valle Theater in Walnut Creek,

directed by Phyllis Gurnett. The show was part of an after school enrichment class held at Clayton Community Church. The DVMS 7thgrader has already garnered a host of performing credits including Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” at Mt. Diablo Elementary School and Esther in “The Story of Esther” at St. Bonaventure’s. Two years ago, Madison sang the National Anthem to open the Clayton July 4 parade. She currently sings with Broadway Kids Chorus in Pleasanton. Her goal is to someday perform on “American Idol.”


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The 10th annual Clayton Club chili cook-off on Feb. 27 bubbled with entries featuring all kinds of ingredients – including wild elk. Contest judges Police Chief Dan Lawrence, Bob Steiner, coowner of the Clayton Pioneer, and Vice Mayor Howard Geller were charged with finding the best chili among the 18 entries. They tasted and slurped and tasted again, finally whittling the entries down to three. After a half-hour of discussion, the esteemed judges revealed the three winners. Concord residents Clint and Missy White took first place, winning $300. Ryan and Jennifer Lowe of Clayton went home with second place and $200. The father-son team of Vaughn and V.K. Sobajian of Clayton came in third for $100. “I can’t believe I won,” said first place winner Clint White crediting his killer chili to his mother, who passed away five years ago. “We would all come runnin’ when Mom was making chili.”

Photo by Mike Dunn

CLINT WHITE ACCEPTS A $300 CHECK FOR HIS FIRST PLACE “REDNECK CHILI” in the Clayton Club’s annual chili contest. He is flanked by his wife Missy on the left and Vice Mayor Howard Geller and Clayton Club owner Steve Barton on the right.

White was reluctant to give up his mom’s recipe, but he did say the two secret ingredients were elk meat and ale. He also uses fresh jalapenos fried up with onions to “take the heat

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on aroma, color, taste and spiciness. After the judging, the audience finished off the chili pots with cheese and jalapeño flavored corn bread. -Mike Dunn

What’s happening Around Town?

On Feb. 20, we headed east to the Daytona 500 with Steve Walker and Susie Hodges. It was a “bucket list must see” says Steve and very exciting to watch 20-year-old Trevor Bayne eat up the track. Bayne is the youngest driver ever to win the Daytona 500.

Let us know what’s happening in your families and in your neighborhoods. Send your news of births, engagements weddings, anniversaries, celebrations, etc. to the Pioneer at Please attach your photos to the email as JPEG files between between 3MB and 6MB and include a caption to identify people in your photos.



out.” He always uses fresh elk or venison in his chili. “He’s a good hunter and good cooker,” says wife Missy. “I stirred the pot, but it’s all his doing.” The chili recipes were judged

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


276 Mountaire Circle ................$480,000 1130 Peacock Creek Dr ...........$738,000 997 Kenston Drive....................$445,000 1409 Indianhead Wy ................$325,000 10 Mount Lee Pl .......................$464,950 7004 Molluk Way......................$490,000

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1296 Easley Drive ....................$597,500 602 Julpun Loop.......................$370,000 3165 Bragdon Way...................$785,000 26 Mirango Ct...........................$360,000 415 Leon Ct..............................$883,000 226 Bigelow St .........................$539,900

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March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

City supports DtRT with banner signs

Drivers approaching Clayton last week were likely to have seen the word INTEGRITY on a banner at the city entrances at Oak Street and on Oakhurst Blvd. The banner is one element of the character building program, Do the Right Thing, a community-wide effort that

has been embraced by the local schools, the police department and the city of Clayton. The program emphasizes six key character traits throughout the year. Every couple of months, the trait changes and a banner supporting that trait will hang in the triangle for one week. In May, look for COURAGE. The banners were donated by the Clayton Business and Community Association.

Up from the ashes

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

A proud and exhausted Jim Frazier stands with his wife Tina and daughter Sydney in front his new Hair by Jim salon on Main Street. Frazier and crews worked all night to ready the new digs for the grand reopening on Saturday where friends and customers celebrated with a BBQ and live music. “This will be a good move for me,” says Frazier. “And probably not something I would have done without a fire under my seat, pardon the pun.” A Thanksgiving Day fire destroyed the historical building next door where his old shop was housed. Arson is suspected, but no arrests have been made.

Creekside Arts, from page 1 artisans, performing artists, wildlife experts and naturalists to the library.

The weekend opened with a juried art show on Friday evening. For results, see Sidebar.

Page 3

Creekside Arts Celebration Juried Art Show Results Judges: Carrie Brewster, Director of the Hearst Art Gallery at St. Mary’s College, Jacquelyn Smith of Presentation Art Concepts, Inc., and Christine Callahan of the Arts and Cultural Commission of Contra Costa County.


Photography First Place – Ted Arden Second Place – a tie between Leo Schindler and Ted Arden Third Place – Ted Arden

Best Composition – Leslie Wilson. Best Technique – Leo Schindler

3D Category First place – Brielle Napper Second Place – Carolyn Victoria Third Place – Tammy Slezak

Best Color – Ted Arden. Best Presentation and Best Theme – Sharon Tama

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

CONTRA COSTA WATERSHED COORDINATOR, MICHELLE LUEBKE, left, helps Milaad Nabi, 5, look for bugs in the water sample gathered earlier from the creek. What they found in the water helped them gauge the effects of pollution on Mt. Diablo Creek as they looked for “inspiration for a better world.”

Painting and Mixed Media First Place – a tie between Sharon Tama and Leslie Wilson Second Place – Sharon Tama Third Place – Leslie Wilson

Judges’ Choice category Christine Callahan – Sharon Tama Carrie Brewster – Ted Arden Jacquelyn Smith – Brielle Napper

After three year wait, Fresh & Easy is ready to go The Fresh & Easy store in the Clayton Valley Shopping Center is set to open March 16. Originally planned for a 2008 opening, the store has been mothballed during the recession. With signs that the economy is in recovery, the British owned company hit the pavement running this year with 11 new stores in Northern California set to open by the end of April. The San Jose store opened last month with record crowds, says Fresh & Easy assistant manager, Kyle Burke. “The lines were all the way down the aisles. It was a great reception.” Burke attributes the popularity to company’s core values of service and community. “You get back what you put in,” he says. At around 10,000 square feet, the stores are simple and small. The Fresh & Easy name signals the two things it wants shoppers to think of it for – freshness and convenience. All fresh food is dated and the

stores are easy to shop. Perhaps more important, however is price. With extreme energy efficiency, a “lean, green” operation help keep prices low. According to the company’s marketing material, the smaller stores will bring “big box prices without the big box store.” TNS Retail Forward, a research firm, reports Fresh & Easy prices are up to 30 percent cheaper than conventional market chains. Fresh & Easy store-brand goods account for about half the products on the shelves and contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives. All meats, cheeses and produce are delivered daily and everything is dated. The Clayton Valley store will open with 38 employees, all of them local and living within minutes of the store. Pet Food Express manager Peter Grubbs is looking to Fresh & Easy to increase foot traffic and help increase business for everyone. “They will definitely help the whole center,” Grubbs says.

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

TEAM LEADERS KYLE BURKE AND MIGUEL CASTILLO stock shelves in preparation for the store’s opening March 16.




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$249,000 4903 Keller Ridge Drive, Clayton Diablo Ridge – Adjacent the 7th hole at Oakhurst, this condo offers 2 master bedrooms & 2.5 baths. It’s easy living & low maintenance at a great price.

27 Mount Wilson Way, Clayton $209,888 Marsh Creek Villas – Appreciate affordability in this 2BD/2BA with charming patio & 2-car garage. Near to community pool & downtown Clayton.




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5450 Kirkwood Drive #D2, Concord Kirkwood Oaks – Granite kitchen, marble floors, beautifully remodeled. Tahoe-style living! Front end unit with huge deck overlooking valley views! $249,000 Michelle Gittleman/ (925) 768-0352

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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

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Blockbuster Video in the Clayton Station will close April 10. According to a press release issued on Feb. 11, the debt-ridden, Dallas-based company failed in its efforts to reorganize under bankruptcy protection and has entered into a purchase agreement with Cobalt Video Holdco, LLC for $290 million. According to industry sources, the purchase agreement calls for the closing of 609 of its 3,400 stores by the end of April. The company currently has about half the stores it had in early 2010. “The trend toward kiosk and Netflix rentals is apparent compared to rental stores,” said Kurt Scherf, principal analyst with Dallas-based market research firm Parks Associates. “Blockbuster seemed to be particularly slow to

TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

react to mail-order DVD/Blu-ray rentals and the convenience and low-cost rental of kiosks.” Although the Clayton Station store will close on April 10, the Pleasant Hill and Concord stores will remain open. All merchandise in the Clayton Station store is for sale and many DVDs still line the shelves. Store rentals are no longer available, but previously-viewed DVDs are on sale for $9.99. Blue-

Police have arrested a Clayton man in connection with a string of pharmacy robberies that began last month and included a Feb. 25 hit at the CVS store in Clayton. According to the store’s surveillance video and eyewitness accounts, Taylor Hughes, 19, allegedly entered the store around 5 p.m., headed for the pharmacy where he jumped over the counter and grabbed five bottles of codeine cough syrup. The robbery was just one in a series of similar hits on Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies in Concord, Orinda and Pleasant Hill that began last month. Hughes was arrested after a traffic stop by Police Chief Dan Lawrence on March 3. According to Lawrence, officers were “working some promising leads” when they located the suspect on Clayton Road. A search of the vehicle yielded enough information to get search warrants for two residences, one in Concord and one in Clayton. A second suspect is sought in the string of robberies, although police say Huges acted alone in the Clayton CVHS hit. The second suspect is described as a black, male, 20-22 years old, 6’4”, 180 lbs with short black hair and last seen wearing a long sleeved dark shirt and dark pants. Anyone with information is asked to call the Concord PD at (925) 603-5867. According to Lawrence, a failed attempt to rob the pharmacy at the Safeway store at 3 a.m. the day before may be connected. Two suspects were scared off by employees. It appears they were trying to steal cough syrup.

ray discs are 15 percent off. Cobalt is funded by key Blockbuster creditors and is a “stalking horse” in the bankruptcy auction, designed to set the minimum bid in a bankruptcy auction. The deal still requires federal court approval and is expected to meet serious opposition from other key investors, including Disney Company and Paramount Studios.

Quick action by Clayton cop thwarts converter thieves After being alerted by Concord police about a possible burglary on Feb. 23, Clayton Officer Rich Enea tracked down the suspect’s vehicle and discovered eight catalytic converters on the back seat floor. Concord police reported that a “possibly silver Buick” was seen on Jefferson Drive, heading toward Concord Boulevard about 4 a.m. A short time later, Enea saw a gold Buick exit the Shell parking lot and go east on Clayton Road. Knowing that silver and gold look similar in the dark, Enea followed the car. The driver turned right onto Old Marsh

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Creek Road and pulled over before Enea activated his overhead lights. The occupants waved at Enea, and he approached. The driver said that he was lost and asked for directions to Stockton. Enea notified Concord officers that he had a possible matching vehicle stopped. After Clayton Sgt. Richard McEachin arrived, Enea searched the vehicle. He asked the driver, who is on parole, why he had the catalytic converters in the car. The driver was vague and did not have a good explanation. While Clayton and Concord officers were with the suspects, a

call came in about the theft of catalytic converters from two Toyota Tacomas parked near each other in Concord. According to Concord Officer James Roberts, one of the suspects admitted they stole the catalytic converters from vehicles throughout the night. “Because of his knowledge and keen observations, Enea was able to help Concord PD solve several grand thefts,” noted Clayton Chief Dan Lawrence. “He likely prevented similar crimes from being committed in Clayton as the suspects worked their way back toward Stockton,” McEachin added.



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March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Letter to the Editor This will refer to your issue of Feb 25, and relates to the travel article on Puerto Vallarta. Please make your readers aware that it is not a good idea to eat or drink from street vendors. The water is not safe and these vendors do not use bottled water

P.O. Box 1246 6200 Center Street, Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor R ANDY W ENGER , Display Advertising P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports PAMELA W IESENDANGER , Administration Nicci Shipstead, Pam Wiesendanger, Mike Dunn

We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse

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

CONTACT US Tel: (925) 672-0500 Fax: (925) 672-6580 Tamara Steiner Randy Wenger Send ads to Send Sports News to Send Club News to Send Church News to

Send School News to

CLASSIFIEDS Classified rates per insertion: Non-profit: $12 for first 30 words, $.20 each additional word Individual/non-commercial: $18 for first 30 words, $.30 each additional word Commercial: $48 for first 30 words, $.40 each additional word To place your classified ad over the phone, call the office at (925) 6720500 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Or, you may fax your typewritten ad and credit card information to (925) 672-6580. All classifieds must be paid for in advance by credit card (Master Card or Visa) We will not accept any ad that dis-

- Mariana Behdjet, CTC Clayton Valley Travel

Directory of Advertisers Auto Clayton Valley Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3900 Economy Auto Painting and Body Work . . . . . . .755-2447 Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739 Construction and Trades Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700

S TAFF W RITERS : Denisen Hartlove, Jay Hartlove, Lou Fancher,


for washing their fruits, preparing their food or drinks Travelers take the risk of getting sick

Page 5

LET US KNOW Weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births and deaths all weave together as part of the fabric of our community. Please let us know of these important events. We ask only that the announcement be for a Clayton resident. You will find the appropriate form for your announcement on our Website. Attach your photo to the form. Make sure the image size you are about to send is at least 3 MB but not bigger than 6MB. The only format we accept is JPG. You can also mail or bring your print to the office and we can scan it for you. Also on our Website are forms for submitting Community Calendar items and press releases for your organization. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Clayton Pioneer welcomes letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 250 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print letters from “anonymous.” E-mail your letter in a Word document to Letters MUST be submitted via E-mail.

Queen competition looks for ‘fair’-est

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

Every year the Contra Costa County Fair crowns one of the county’s lovely, poised, and energetic young women as the Fair Queen, to serve as hostess during the county fair. The Fair Queen competition is not a pageant; it is a panel interview process to determine which applicant will best represent the youth of the county. The contest is open to unmarried women between 18 and 25 who live in Contra Costa County. The Fair Queen will win cash and hold the title of

2011 Contra Costa County Fair Queen and reign over the fair events from June 2-5 and make special appearances at many community events. To enter, fill out the application on the Fair’s website at and return to the fairgrounds by 5 p.m. March 28. The interviews and judging will be March 31.

Smith and Bernal Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0138

Please contact Jennifer Burror at (925) 757-4400 or email for more information.

Contra Costa Musical Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .943-7469

Burkin Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212-3339 H&L Builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4046 Handyman Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .639-4209 LHI Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-9941 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 Ravioli’s Italian Market Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-3819 Willows Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .957-2500 Financial and Insurance Services

Easement, Classified from page 1


Pierce. “We’re negotiating in good faith and we have all agreed to keep the talks out of the media until the issue is resolved.” With the easement in place, the city can move ahead with the $400,000 parking lot expansion. The 100 new spaces will relieve parking and traffic congestion in the surrounding neighborhoods and is expected to ease Diablo View Middle School pick-up and drop-off congestion.

Vacation Rental Kings Beach, Calif. (North Shore, Tahoe). 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, sleeps 6. Three blocks from the Lake; 2 blocks from grocery. Call for rates: 8272587. Girl Gardening Garden care, monthly pruning and fertilizing services. Plant suggestions and installation. Call or email Nicole Hackett 673-1746, or

Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 Hunhoff, Ashley - AAA Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . .287-7265 Kommer, Paul - Merrill Lynch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .988-2111 Littorno, Richard - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 Miller, Tom, CPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .354-1385 ProFit Business Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-1025 Travis Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-800-877-8328 Van Wyck, Doug - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300 Funerals Acacia Cremation and Burial Society . . . . . .877-916-4779 Moore’s Mission Funeral Home

. . . . . . . . . . . . .682-1100

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

For Sale:

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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 City of Clayton Redevelopment Agency is accepting applications from qualified households interested in purchasing an affordable singlefamily home in the City of Clayton. This existing single-family residence is within the Agency’s Affordable Housing Program. This affordable home is being offered to a qualified low-income household. The home is located in the Stranahan Subdivision, an attractive planned unit development in Clayton. It is centrally-located and within easy walking distance of the Clayton Town Center. The home is approximately 15 years old. It is a single-story residence. The living space measures approximately 1,355 square feet in area, plus there is a two-car, attached garage. The residence has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Program restrictions require a minimum household size of 3 persons and that the successful applicant has not held a home ownership interest within the prior 36 months. The sale price would be approximately $200,000 (assuming a low-income household with 4 persons), with the final price based upon various factors including the following: income category, prevailing interest rate at the time of purchase, household size, and gross household income of the selected household.

The 2010 maximum qualifying household income limits for purchase of this affordable home are as follows: Persons in Household


Low Income Limits (Minimums) Low Income Limits (Maximums)

$40,651 $58,000

4 $45,151 $64,400



$48,801 $69,600

$52,401 $74,750


The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Other

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

Clayton Community Development Department . .673-7340 Pet Services Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100 Pet Suites Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432-7387 Rodie’s Feed and Pet Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600

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

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

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

Mazzei, Matt -Mazzei Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0757 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . . .672-4433 Recreation and Fitness Clayton Valley Bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-4631 Ghost Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521-1913 Retail East Bay Work Wear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-9900 Sport Chalet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521-7009

To ensure the long-term affordability of the residence, a deed restriction will be recorded at the time of sale. The deed restriction will establish a formula for the maximum resale price of the home, establish a cap on the maximum income of future buyers, and be in effect for 45 years. Applicants must meet the household income restrictions for the income category selected as described above as well as other applicable requirements listed in the application materials. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m., Fri., March 25, 2011, and extended, if necessary, until an eligible household has been identified for the purchase of this home. For an application visit the City’s website at or contact the Clayton Community Development Department at (925) 673-7340

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

Senior Services Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100 Services, Other Air Cloud Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-4119 x 2 Butler Limousine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-5466 Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Net Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6029 Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . .473-0180 Travel Cruise Adventures Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .935-7447

Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •

March 11, 2011

If you’ve got talent, don’t be afraid to let it shine

ROBBIE PARKER DVMS REPORTER Many people in the world possess great talent. Actors, musicians, singers and others use their gifts to become wellknown. However, others have great abilities and don’t show anyone because they are afraid of being ridiculed or don’t believe in themselves. For some students, it is almost impossible to perform in front of an audience of peers. They know others will take any chance to make a snide or derogatory comment. Imagine how destructive one negative comment could be to a talented student’s confidence.

Yet those who enjoy singing, playing music or performing will take that chance to show what they can do. On Feb. 24, Diablo View Middle School held its 7th annual Talent Show, and all of the acts were entertaining. Students sang, danced, played instruments and showed other creative talents. I enjoyed seeing their skills and felt proud. It takes a lot of guts to do something creative. Many people could never get on stage and perform in front of the entire student body. Just the mere thought of standing up in front of others can completely freak some people out. They are afraid of being embarrassed or messing up on stage. I know I couldn’t get up there and sing in front of 700 peers. Let’s face it, students in middle school can be critical. Queenie Chin was among those who had the confidence and poise to perform. She gave a great performance as she sang and played piano. “I wasn’t really afraid the

whole day, until it was my time to play,” Queenie said. “Right after the person before me was finished … I became nervous.” Queenie felt great after she completed her act and was pleased to show everyone her talent. Despite some students who have the audacity to ridicule others, I realize it is better to have had the chance to show your talents – no matter how nervous

or worried one can become about things that might happen. The truth is, most people probably wish they had what it takes to stand up in front of an audience and perform. Even if a student has mediocre talent, having the desire and determination to get up and show others is a real accomplishment. If you have a talent, don’t waste it – especially if you enjoy it. As Ben Franklin once said,

School News DIABLO VIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL The 7th annual Talent Show was a huge hit on Feb. 24. With the theme “Add Color to Your Life,” teacher Jennifer Ruff and the Leadership Class encour-

aged students to express themselves by showcasing their amazing talents. The student acts consisted of dancing, singing, playing the guitar or piano and ventriloquism.

CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL The school’s annual cleanup day was coordinated to bring the student and family community together to beautify the campus. The effort was supported by the Parent Faculty Club under the guidance of president Allison Bacigalupo, along with Campus Beautification co-chairs Micki Walls and Mary-Ellen Iwuc McGrane and Megan Mayhew, a CVHS junior and member of the

Leadership Class. Volunteers picked up trash, removed forgotten bike locks and added 85 drought-tolerant plants and black bark in empty planters. The Clayton Valley Garden Club donated plants, along with the gardening expertise of Nicole Hackett. Meanwhile, Carla McNeer continued her gum removal effort. Last year, 12 new benches were purchased for the school campus thanks to the Clayton

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“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” Following your passion and having the courage to perform can lead you to achieve your greatest dreams. See School News below for results of the talent show. Robbie Parker is an eighthgrader at Diablo View. Send comments to

The Most Creative Performance was by sixth-grader Garret Tong, who solved the Rubik’s cube in one minute and 25 seconds. The Best Dance went to Emma Keneipp, an eighth-grader who did a wonderful version of “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. Eighth-grader Jared Vance wrote and played his own song on the piano and won Best Instrumental Performance. Marcella Pittam, a seventh-grader, sang to “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele to take Best Singing Performance. Eighth-grade Leadership won Best Leadership Performance dancing to “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins against the seventh-grade Leadership Class dancing to “Cooler than Me” by Mike Posner. Business and Community Association. This year, the Campus Beautification committee would like to add more benches and picnic tables as well as a wheelchair accessible table. Donations can be made to the PFC. A spring cleanup day is planned for Saturday, March 26. For more information, email or

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Parents and students show their school spirit during a cleanup day at CVHS.

Bike Safety, from page 1 “What do you see when you look at people driving?” Dove asked the students. “What are they doing?” “Texting,” said one student. “Eating,” said another. “Right, they’re looking everywhere except at the road,” said Dove. “Students really don’t get any kind of road education until they get in a car to learn to drive,” says

511 event coordinator Munni Krishna. “We aim to change that.” The program also encourages kids to get off the couch and get outside. “Biking is good for brain health,” says Sarafine. Kids are smarter when they ride their bikes to school. Their brains have more neural connections. They get to school primed to learn.” Students were encouraged to bike, walk or carpool to school on Thursday and those participating were eligible to win a $200 gift certificate at Clayton Bikes. Homerooms with the highest participation were rewarded with Yogurt Shack gift certificates for each student. Clayton PD Officer Allen

White spoke to parents at a meeting on Wednesday with suggestions on how to improve the congestion during pick up and drop off times at the middle school. On Friday afternoon, the kids were rewarded with a BMX stunt show and safety presentation by the team from Clayton Bikes. Bike safety and healthier kids are just two of the goals of The program, which is funded by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management and by the Measure J half-cent sales also aims to reduce traffic congestion air pollution by encouraging bicycling, walking, car pooling and using public transportation. For more information on the Peace on the Streets program, go to

March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Mayor, from page 1 can see the report online at our website at The short version is this — despite the doom and gloom at higher levels, we remain “on budget.” This is notwithstanding having to, under vehement protest, remit over $400,000 to the state under their seizure of our local property taxes. This means we aren’t playing fast and loose with your (and our) money! We are doing what we can to ensure we don’t spend what we can’t pay. I only wish we could loan out (very briefly mind you as we need them) Merry and our staff to the state so we could fix their problems. Of course, we remain wary of further nightmares from Sacramento that may change our status, but I remain confident that if anyone can handle whatever comes next, it is our city! And speaking of how different we are from the state, did you know that all politicians, board and committee members in California have to take an ethics course and a test every few years? The difference with Clayton is that most state politicians fail this test their first time (ensuring reelection), while those of us in Clayton just can’t seem to fail no matter how many times we take it. Think about it before you email me. PLAY BALL “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!” Spring is just around the corner and Little League baseball is ramping up, so get ready to hear the “ping” of the metal bats soon. This is my favorite time of the year and this year is going to be extra special as my new son, Charlie is playing. Since they did not have baseball in his native Ukraine, this will be his first year. It should be fun for him and the other 650+ kids getting ready to play ball. Sorry for the personal digression, but it just makes me feel great, and it is my column. HAPPY TRAILS And speaking of pet peeves. (Was I?) Uh, anyway, you all know about our wonderful system of trails throughout the city that allow runners, walkers, bicyclists, dog-walkers, kid-walkers, catwalkers, and small-varmint walkers to enjoy our beautiful city. While I know 98 percent of you dog-walkers (and 37 percent of cat-walkers) pick up after your pets, it really irks a lot of people (not me as I am just a pretty spokesperson) when those scofflaws leave their pets’ presents scattered on the trail for others to enjoy. And just because your pet’s present is left “off ” the trail in the grass doesn’t mean my kids (uh, I mean those people I am speaking for) don’t leave the trail in their exuberance, only to find those presents and track them through someone’s house. Come on people — let’s not ruin our trails for others. And I am sorry if the feline coalition feels picked upon here, but I am just a spokesman. Remember, if you have nothing good to say, become a politician so everyone has to listen. No, that is not what I meant to say, is it? Oh, well, I am out. Email me at


Tucked in a corner of Concord near the Clayton border is a school that brings hope to 16 hard-working students and their families. Jesse Rule-Williams is one of the students at Hope Academy. At 12½ years old, his interests include drawing Transformers (Bumblebee is his favorite), learning about “blowing things up” in science class and reading the “Star Wars” series of books. In other words, he’s a normal kid. But like all of the students who attend Hope Academy, Jesse suffers from dyslexia. The language processing disorder plagues one out of every five people. People with dyslexia may have difficulty connecting sounds with letters and struggle with reading, writing or even pronouncing words correctly. Although some manage on their own, a smaller group needs extra help learning to “decode” language. Hope Academy is a small private school where students with dyslexia learn the language decoding skills that will help them succeed in life. Darien Rule, Jesse’s mom, described a conversation with a teacher at Jesse’s previous school. At the time, Jesse was 10 years old and struggling with reading even three-letter words. “One teacher said to me, ‘I tried four different reading programs this year. I just really don’t know what to do,’ ” said Rule. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my son’s life!’ ” Judy Davies founded Hope Academy in 2007 to help students like Jesse and her own daughter Emily. Emily was diagnosed with dyslexia after attending kindergarten at a highly rated local private school. Emily’s teachers said she wasn’t learning her letters, and unlike others in her class, she couldn’t rhyme words like “cat”


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SOPHIA GENOVESE (LEFT) AND JESSE RULE-WILLIAMS benefit from some one-on-one help from Hope Academy Founder Judy Davies (left) and teacher Debbie Booker. Davies founded the school specifically to help dyslexic students learn the de-coding skills needed to overcome the learning disorder. and “hat.” “She would read the word ‘cat’ on one page, very painstakingly slowly; then there was the word ‘cat’ again and it was brand new,” Davies said. Davies immediately pulled Emily from school and hired tutors who specialized in working with children with dyslexia. But Davies wasn’t ready to stop there. She surrounded herself with education experts and teachers, and shortly thereafter, a school was born. “My passion for my own kids turned into a compassion for all of the kids who were in a classroom, like (Emily), and not succeeding,” she said. Today, students from third through seventh grades attend Hope Academy full time. They are taught everything from the basics of reading and math to music and art using an approach proven to work with dyslexic learners. For instance, students being taught to recognize letters may make the sound of the letter “a” along with the teacher, while the teacher draws the letter in the air in front of them. They then write the letter on a sheet of

apartments for rent. In April, Montecito will unveil a new section called Traditions, which will feature 24 apartments to meet the growing need for care and support for memory-impaired individuals and their families. “Integral Senior Living is dedicated to the development and operation of successful residential living environments for the senior community,” says Polly Miller, chief marketing officer. “We are committed to working with companies like Oakmont Senior Living because they share our core values of dignity, autonomy and choice for senior residents.”

paper while saying the letter aloud once more. Davies said the school’s goal is having students re-enter mainstream academic environments equipped to learn. Perhaps as importantly as teaching the students to read and write, Hope’s faculty aims to rebuild self-confidence. Many children with dyslexia are bullied by other students, suffer anxiety and dread going to school each morning. But it has been proven that these students are every bit as capable of learning as anyone else. People with dyslexia have become politicians (Gavin Newsom), actors (Patrick Dempsey) and singers (Cher). Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers is reportedly ‘mildly’ dyslexic. Terri Lynn Genovese’s 10year old daughter Sophia started at Hope two years ago. Genovese described her daughter as essentially a “non-reader” when she started. Today, Sophia has a pile of books she reads from on a regular basis. “Going from not even wanting to look at a book because it is so fearful and laborious for her to not only picking it up but wanting to read out loud is huge for her,” said Genovese. “Huge!” Rule knew they were on the right track with Jesse shortly after his last birthday. “This year, (Jesse) read all of his birthday cards to me,” she said. “He could even read ‘Love Aunt Pat’ written in script. “It was the most amazing transformation. At that moment, I thought, ‘This is worth every single penny.’ ”

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

o Videur c i s Mu y Ho

March 11, 2011

Balance brings positive life changes

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Balance is essential to life. I find meaning in balance as physical joins spiritual to enrich the mind. That is why I believe so strongly in the benefits of selflove, which basically translates to self-care. Achieving balance is not easy. While it is a constant struggle, it is an enlightening journey that brings one closer to selfawareness and control. An enlightened teacher and compassionate soul, the Dali Lama, says: “In transforming the mind starts the journey for the soul. What becomes important in the understanding … is a genuine awareness of one’s own potentials and the need to utilize them to their fullest. Seen in this light, every human action becomes significant.” As a personal and rehabilitative trainer, I see how balance plays an important role in every human life – in the physical and





metaphysical senses. I have clients who literally need physical help restoring their equilibrium and physical balance, whether blind, suffering from cerebral or motor-interfering diseases such as multiple sclerosis or arthritis, continuous backhip-knee injuries, even amputees. Restoring their physical balance always transcends to restoring their metaphysical bal-

ance. They become increasing secure with the process to restore their physical balance. They feel stronger, even reinforced as they embark upon a journey that renews their comfort and their drive for life. As clients diligently manage careers, families and the neverending list of responsibilities, they lose their physical and metaphysical balance. They work to regain control over their physical body and begin to release tension and stress. They learn to refocus their extraneous energies in more active, positive ways. They begin to find that the physical transformation achieved through greater balance transcends to their metaphysical outlook and well-being. Folks who once limited themselves because they lacked physical balance eventually learn to fly. They encourage their families to exercise and partici-

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More than 170 local high school senior girls learned about the life skills necessary to “get real” about adulthood during a seminar on Feb. 28. “It definitely changed my perspective on how I want to dress, act and manage my money,” said Janelle Partida, a senior at Clayton Valley High School. Local Soroptimist International clubs organized the Get Real Academy held at Boundary Oaks in Walnut Creek. The day started with breakfast and keynote speaker Aimee Lohr, community relations representative at Conoco Phillips. The young women then broke into four groups for workshops: Managing Money and Credit, Getting a Job and Keeping It, Health Issues and Violence Awareness, and You Want to be a CEO/Mock Interviews. They discussed sensitive but essential issues such as sexual harassment, healthy relationships, women’s health and image – online as well as in person. FBI special agent Christine Loscalzo spoke at lunch about her life challenges and success-

es. Teens gave a fashion show in the afternoon, wearing proper and not-so-proper work attire for comparison. Alumni told their stories of success. One lucky young woman won a $500 scholarship. Nicole Adler of the Soroptimist of Diablo Vista participated in the mock interviews. The intention was to help the girls, but Adler found it inspirational as well. “Their dreams and aspirations absolutely touch your heart,” she said. The academy started eight years ago after Terry Comiskey, founder region fellowship director district II, attended a Soroptimist conference in Sonoma called Hit the Road Jane. That involved only one high school, so Comiskey evolved the program here. This year, the academy invited all senior women from the 37 high schools in their club areas. Attendance grew from 80 the first year to 173. Planning took six months, with two members from each of the seven clubs finalizing the day’s logistics, speakers, registration, materials and sponsors. Fifty club members kept all activity flowing smoothly the day of the event.

Soroptimist International’s mission is “to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world.” It began in 1921 in Oakland by Stuart Morrow. He was trying to organize an Optimist Club, which originated as a men’s club. He met with local businesswomen and formed the service club named Soroptimist for soror (sister) and optimus (best), otherwise known as what is “Best for Women.” Soroptimist International has 95,000 members in 120 countries and Soroptimist International of the Americas has 40,000 members. The clubs give time and donations to community and international projects that benefit women and girls. Leanne Rodriguez of the East County Soroptimists sums up the aim of the academy. “Our goal is that the girls will be better motivated, inspired and prepared to tackle life’s demands after high school, which in turn will help them to become successful and productive women in society.” For more information about Soroptimist International, go to

pate more actively in life. They join cycling clubs, run marathons, take salsa (Zumba) and some even learn to spin in the air on silk tissues. They happily find time to live more, love more, worry less and enjoy the wonders that balance has brought to their lives. I believe fitness is the best vehicle for self-empowerment and for uplifting the human spirit. A strong, fit, healthy body builds confidence and promotes other positive changes. Fitness is about how you use your body to achieve goals and restore balance. Ilima Heuerman holds multiple fitness certifications. Her new fitness center, Levity, will open in the spring in downtown Clayton. Email Ilima at

Junior Ranger program on Mt. Diablo begins April 30 The Spring Junior Ranger Program on Mt. Diablo will begin April 30. The program for kids 7-12 meets on Saturday afternoons at various locations around Mt. Diablo State Park. The sessions include presentations, hands on activities and a hike. This year’s topics include The Mountain in Prehistoric Times, California Indians, Wildlife Education and Geology. Each session is hosted by a park docent and meets from 1 – 4 p.m. Each child must be accompanied by an adult. There is no charge for the program, but participants must pay the Park’s entrance fee of $10 per car. For more information or to register, call Steve Elliott at (925) 362-8697 or email Advance registration is required and registration is limited to 15 children plus their parent or guardian. The program is sponsored by Mount Diablo State Park in cooperation with the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association. California State Parks does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. Prior to arrival, participants with disabilities who need assistance should contact Ranger Dan Stefanisko at (925) 855-1730.

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Garaventa, from page 1 been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer but didn’t want to spoil the trip, so he delayed starting his treatment (and public acknowledgement of his condition) until after the vacation. Knowing he was in for a prolonged treatment and recovery period, he declined the offer and asked the school if he could defer the honor for a year. CSUEB officials said they had even a better idea: They would tie it to the 30th anniversary celebration planned for early 2011. Garaventa is now cancer free and done with an excruciating period of treatment, so his non-stop smile on the dais throughout the ceremony had double meaning. Garaventa has been CEO of his family’s Garaventa Enterprises since 1998 when his father, Silvio Garaventa, died. The younger Garaventa has served as president of the Concord Chamber of

Commerce and Rotary Club of Concord as well as chairing the CSUEB Concord Campus Advisory Board. “He has made important contributions to the economic vibrancy and the quality of life for citizens in both the city of Concord and Contra Costa County,” the college reported. In his acceptance comments, Garaventa said the need for community involvement instilled in him and his siblings came from their father and their grandfather, Andrea Moresco, who founded the disposal business now called Garaventa Enterprises. The senior Garaventa was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service in 1994 from the University of Portland, where Garaventa Jr., his brother Joe and sister Marie all attended. His mother Mary, wife Patty and sons Silvio and Robert were on hand for the Hilton ceremony along with

many of his siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins. The elected officials in attendance included state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, Supervisor Karen Mitchoff and three of her colleagues from the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister and three Concord councilmen including newly appointed councilman and former mayor Dan Helix, as well as former Concord mayors Guy Bjerke and Helen Allen. Garaventa will be able to line his office walls with all the proclamations he was presented at the luncheon following the ceremony. Executive director Emily Brizendine gave a capsule history of the Concord campus, which opened in 1992 after 11 years since the fall of 1981 on the former site of Pleasant Hill High School. It was through the vision of two-term CSU trustee Dean Lesher and the indefatigable efforts of state Assemblyman and Sen. Dan Boatwright that the land was

secured and the Concord campus took shape. Boatwright recalled after the ceremony how he twice had to defeat bills (once in the Assembly and another in the Senate) to sell the Concord property set aside for the campus. “We were the largest county in California without a fouryear college campus,” he noted. Garaventa Jr. led the fundraising drive which saw youth sports fields built on an undeveloped portion of the Cal State campus leased to the city of Concord. The area was named the Daniel E. Boatwright Youth Sports Complex and hosts play for thousands of youth baseball and soccer players annually. Today, the Concord campus offerings have grown to 11 bachelor’s and five master’s degrees, certificate programs and teaching credentials. Tomorrow, the Concord Naval Weapons Station redevelopment plan calls for a 150-acre, fouryear CSUEB campus.

March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 9

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With art and sauerkraut, wine and oom-pah bands, the revels will return to downtown Clayton. On the surface, it’s all fun and frivolity. But underneath there’s a serious purpose – it’s the way the Clayton Business and Community Association (CBCA) raises funds for a variety of community projects. The CBCA has set the dates for its major 2011 fundraising events. The Art & Wine Festival will run April 30-May 1 downtown. The 25th annual Clayton Classic golf tournament is set for June 13 at Oakhurst Country Club.

And, the 8th annual Oktoberfest will be held Sept. 23-25 downtown. The Art & Wine Festival features arts and crafts, rides and games, and a pleasant place to stroll and sample food and, of course, many varieties of beer and wine. This year, Oktoberfest gets a jump on the bier und wurst season with a September event. The dates for Oktoberfest can vary based on the availability of the popular band the Internationals, who have played at all seven previous Oktoberfests. “The Internationals are one of the premier Oktoberfest bands in the U.S. and consider Clayton’s Oktoberfest as one of their favorites,” notes CBCA

Club News CLAYTON VALLEY SUNRISE ROTARY Seven club members journeyed to San Felipe in Baja California, Mexico, in late February. They joined members of the San Felipe Rotary Club to complete projects paid for by a Rotary Foundation matching grant. The Rotarians constructed an emergency exit ramp and staircase at a school for children with mental and physical disabilities. They also restored and repainted hand rails at the school. In addition, the grant funds will equip a carpentry workshop and a kitchen classroom and provide scholarships for needy students. Club members then participated in the 5th annual Walk against Cancer sponsored by the San Felipe Rotary. The Clayton group contributed

Rotary members Larry Hutchings, left, Clay Gardner, Fred Nelson, Bob Sundberg, Richard Lueck and Clayton Worsdell present a $1,000 contribution to a cancer clinic in San Felipe, Mexico.

president Ed Hartley. Without the help of hundreds of volunteers, none of the fundraising events could happen, according to Keith Haydon, CBCA vice president for programs. Recent CBCA grants have included funding for uniforms for the Clayton Valley High School girls lacrosse team and scholarships for CVHS choir students to attend a national competition in New Orleans. CBCA also approved a request for scholarships to help needy CVHS choir members attend a national competition this spring in Seattle. Another donation will help the CVHS golf team with tournament fees and equipment, including 10 sets of rain gear.

$1,000 to the only local cancer clinic for the town of 15,000 residents. The Clayton Valley Rotarians were instrumental in starting the clinic by donating a mammography machine.

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CBCA’s support for CVHS sports, arts and academic activities is annually returned in the form of dedication to community service by these same groups, along with parents, teachers and coaches who volunteer to help with CBCA fundraising activities. In keeping with its motto “For the Good of the Clayton Community,” the CBCA encourages local non-profits to apply for a CBCA grant. The process begins with the filing of a Contribution Request Form available at

Anyone who lives in Clayton or on the border with Concord is eligible for CBCA membership, as well as any owner of a business located in Clayton or serving Clayton residents. Dues are $48 per year and monthly dinner meetings that are open to the public are held on the last business Thursday of the month. More information is available on the Website or by calling 672-2272.

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CLAYTON VALLEY GARDEN CLUB A group of hearty Clayton Valley Garden Club volunteers spruced up the butterfly bed at the back of the Clayton Library and transformed the bed to the right of the main entrance. Workers included Marsha Harris, Mary Ann Knets, Mitzi Schenke and Peggy Arundell, as well as Ingela Nielsen, Rory Richmond and Steve Lane.


Fourteen Clayton Valley Garden Club members came out in the rain to pot plants in preparation for the Spring Plant Sale, which will be May 14 next to the Farmers Market in downtown Clayton. Pictured are Ted Meriam, Ingela Nielson, Steve Lane, Mitzi Schenke and Debbie Eistetter.


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Clayton Pioneer •

March 11, 2011

Clayton Sports CV girls basketball flies into N. California playoffs JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Photo by Mike Dunn

CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL TEAMMATES ASHLEY ALLEN (LEFT) AND MOLLY KOMMER JUMP FOR JOY after beating DVAL rivals Northgate for the third time this season in the quarterfinals of the North Coast Section playoffs 64-58 at Dan Della Gym on the Concord campus. Kommer and Allen later combined for 29 points in the Eagles 46-45 loss in the NCS championship game.

Coach Bernard Barnes and his staff knew they had the makings of an excellent girls basketball team when Clayton Valley High School began the 2010-2011 season and even a pair of early-season losses didn’t deter those expectations. However it would have been quite the optimist among them who would think that after that second loss they would run off 20 consecutive victories to reach the North Coast Section Division 2 championship game and in the process qualify for the Northern California championships this week. This season’s Eagles team has carried the torch of a proud CVHS girls basketball program going back to the 1970s. The 1977 Eagles were third in NCS while coach Howard Marshall’s Hall of Fame teams dominated the DVAL in the mid to late 1980s, culminating with the 1988 team which took second in NCS and was the first Clayton Valley basketball team to reach the Northern California championships. Ten years later the Eagles won their first NCS hoops title and the next season, 1998-99, the Eagles last took a league crown before this year’s team broke through again. The Eagles lost a heartbreaker 46-45 for the NCS championship last Friday in the home gym of top seeded Dougherty Valley in San Ramon. Eagles senior center Sarah Nelson was a stalwart in the title game with 12 rebounds, eight points and four blocks. But she missed two free throws with .9 seconds remaining that could have tied or won the game as the Eagles nearly upset the No. 4 team in the East Bay. Of the 10 NCS championship basketball games only the girls Division 2 matchup was not held on a neutral court.

Dougherty Valley is a four-year-old school that made it to the NCS Division 3 basketball championship game a year ago and whose girls soccer team won the NCS title at the end of February for the school’s first-ever section title. The Wildcats had an identical 26-2 record to the Eagles entering the championship tilt, unbeaten since two December defeats at the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix and sporting an unbeaten home record. BOOKING NORCAL BERTH The top four D2 finishers at NCS automatically qualify for NorCal, so by defeating their DVAL rivals Northgate 64-56 in the quarterfinals Clayton Valley booked their place in NorCal for the first time since 1998 when they won the school’s only section title in the sport. Beating the Broncos for the third time in five weeks, the Eagles accomplished a trifecta over the team which rang up a 28game winning streak in DVAL play before the first of the Eagles wins snapped that run. The NCS quarterfinal between second seeded CVHS and No. 7 Northgate ended up being much closer than either of their league matchups. It didn’t seem like it would be any harder than the double-digit winning margins Clayton Valley had in league when the Eagles took a 5336 edge into the fourth quarter. Northgate, which reached the NCS finals in 2010, showed its character by rallying to within five points in the waning minutes before CVHS righted itself. Nelson had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds while sophomore flash Ashley Allen topped the scoring charts with 19 points as the Eagles, who were awarded a first-round bye, ended a two-year run of losing at the first step of NCS play.

TOUGH SANTA ROSA MATCHUP In the semis, Clayton got to host its second section game against North Bay League champion Santa Rosa, the third seed. Assistant coach Kris Pascoe said that Santa Rosa was a tough matchup for the Eagles. “They are very athletic and have two tough post players, something we haven’t seen too many times. It was a phenomenal matchup for our girls to face as they had strengths matching our strengths.” Junior Karley Menez took advantage of the non-stop defensive attention Santa Rosa paid to Allen and essentially took over the game. After a two-point game at halftime coach Barnes told his team they were mere minutes away from the NCS championship finals and they had to seize this opportunity. He had the Eagles go to a half-court trap defense to increase the pressure on Santa Rosa and get the home gym crowd, which was halffilled with Panther fans, into the game. Helped by Eagle post players Nelson and Molly Kommer, Menez led a third-quarter 12-2 blitz that gave Clayton a little breathing room. Santa Rosa answered back in the fourth quarter but Menez nailed her third three-point shot of the contest and two free throws in the last couple of minutes to seal the 52-46 win. Menez had 23 points, one less than her career high and nearly double her season average. “I’m so happy for Karley. She’s such a competitor and realized her dream of playing so well in a game that meant so much,” Pascoe said. DVAL MVP Allen had a dozen points, 10 in the first half, while Nelson grabbed seven rebounds and four blocks and Kommer added two steals, two blocks and three assists.

Oakhurst Orcas announce new 2011 coaching staff ing with children of all ages,” Victor says. “He is an excellent teacher as well as coach. He has always been a true example of being a hard worker with a great deal of focus, determination and dedication. In addition, he’s the most positive and kind person. He will definitely be an outstanding role model for our swimmers. “Zach will also provide necessary leadership to our team to achieve new goals and maintain continuous improvement,” Victor adds. “We feel extremely excited and fortunate to have him with us.” Bradley has worked the past several years at Oakhurst with head coach Jane Robinson and team manager Victor. She’s “very excited to be a part of the Oakhurst coaching staff and hoping to continue the success of our team by allowing the swimmers to have fun while teaching and improving important aspects of their swimming.” She’s been involved in the sport for many years as a swim-

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Aquatic director Serge Victor appointed Zach Harmon as head coach of the Oakhurst Country Club Orcas for this summer’s recreation swim season. Angela Bradley will be the associate head coach in her fifth year with the Clayton swim team. Rounding out the staff are first-year assistants Sam Protich and Allison Gargalikis. Harmon has been involved with swimming all his life, starting his career at Dana Farms Swim Team – where he helped young teammates with strokes from the time he was 15. He graduated from Clayton Valley High School, coached Oakhurst in 2009 and got his first head coaching opportunity last summer with the Vista Diablo Dolphins Swim Team. A junior, he swims the 200 and 400 individual medley and 100 freestyle for Principia College in Illinois. “Zach genuinely loves work-

mer and coach at East County Stingrays, where Victor was head coach from 1998-2010. In addition, she has been working with him at numerous stroke clinics at Oakhurst. First-year assistant Protich “has an abundance of energy, passion for the sport and true care for swimmers,” Victor reports. Protich also previously swam and coached at East County. In addition, he coached in the fall program at Oakhurst last year. Protich is a sophomore at De La Salle High School, where he’s looking to qualify for the North Coast Section meet late this spring. As a recreation swimmer, his accomplishments include numerous Contra Costa County championship finals. Gargalikis, also in her first year at Oakhurst, began swimming with Victor when she was 4 and continued for nine years with the Stingrays. As a recreational swimmer, she won numerous Contra Costa County championships while setting

meet records. Her 50-yard breaststroke time for 11-12 girls still stands. She joined year-round USA Swimming with the Terrapins in 2006. She’s been on the Terrapins National Team for four years and has participated at USA Junior National Championships for three years in a row. In 2009, she placed second in the 100-meter breast and sixth in the 200 breast. In 2010, she won the 100 breast. Gargalikis is a member of the USA Junior National Team, where the top two swimmers under 18 in each event in the nation qualify. She has competed in numerous international meets for the USA, including in Berlin, Stockholm and Barcelona. She already qualified to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. She is a senior at Carondelet High School. In 2010, along with three teammates, she broke the U.S. national high school record in the 200 medley relay. Swimming World magazine

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ZACH HARMON HAS BEEN NAMED HEAD COACH of the Oakhurst Orcas Swim Team for this summer’s recreation swim season. He is a Clayton Valley High grad now competing in the 200 and 400 individual medley and 100 freestyle for Principia College in Illinois.

named her 2010 national high school champion. This fall, she will be attending UCLA on a full-ride swimming scholarship and plans to study nursing. Sign-ups for the Orcas are ongoing. There will be a Meet

Team Coaches Night next Tuesday, Mar. 15, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Oakhurst and the final orientation/sign-up meeting there on Wednesday, Mar. 30, from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Clayton Sports YOUR LOGO

HERE of the

Athlete Week To sponsor this feature, call the Clayton Pioneer at (925) 672-0500 Name: Melissa Del Bene Age: 17 Sport: Cross Country, Soccer, Track Team: Clayton Valley Cross Country, Soccer, Track In an era when many high school athletes concentrate on a single sport the Athlete Spotlight nomination of Melissa Del Bene by Clayton Valley High School athletic director Pat Middendorf is special. “She is the third athlete in a decade to get a blue letter at CVHS for earning 10 varsity letters. This award is an anomaly as in the last 10 years it has been awarded only to Eric Petersen and Lindsey Vanderstraeten. Melissa could be the only athlete in the school’s history to receive 11 letters if she letters this spring in track. So far she

has four varsity letters in cross country and three each in soccer and track. She’s the definition of a self-made athlete. I coached her one year in soccer and she asked me what she needed to do to make the varsity team and how she could improve. I have never had a player respond like she did. She immediately became an impact player on the team. I watch her in awe as she has become a wellrounded team member and championship player.” Her cross country coach Michelle Howisey says, “I have coached Melissa since the sum-

mer before her freshman year and now will be coaching her for an eighth varsity season in track this spring. As an incoming freshman she immediately joined the varsity team in cross country and has remained one of the top runners throughout her time at CV, earning allleague honors four years. She has helped lead both the track and cross country teams to better finishes each year. She is an all-around fantastic athlete. Her natural athletic talent and ability are impressive. She is a team player, an integral part of the track and cross country

Sports Shorts teams and the only person I know to always run with a smile on her face.” Eagles soccer coach Scott Booth adds, “The first thing you notice about Mel is she is always smiling. However, do not let the smile fool you. She played almost every minute of every game at right defender and Mel is everything you want in a defender/player. She is calm on and off the ball. She wins balls in the air and on the ground. She finds her players with passes and she gets up on the attack when needed. I truly feel Mel was the best defender in the league and she made first team all-league. Mel is just a joy to coach and a great teammate to have.” The Clayton Pioneer congratulates Melissa Del Bene and rewards her achievement with a gift certificate to Ed’s Mudville Grill.

Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to

Concord high schools De La Salle and Carondelet claimed North Coast Section soccer

championships with local players providing key contributions to the respective East Bay Athletic League teams’ section titles runs. Rogan Dolan was the EBAL

MVP and continued her strong play through the playoffs for the Cougars. Dolan has committed to play soccer this fall at UC Davis after concluding her career with Carondelet and Diablo FC 92 club team. Sophomore Hilary Buchanan of Clayton, who also plays for Diablo FC and Carondelet, which won its first NCS soccer crown in 10 years. Carondelet won the title 1-0 in overtime over No. 2 and perennial NCS champs San Ramon Valley as the Cougars justified their top seed in the tournament. The close finale came after three straight NCS victories for Carondelet by a combined 15-2 margin with Dolan continuing her seasonlong scoring blitz. For De La Salle this was its third straight and fifth overall NCS title for coach Brian Voltattorni. Anthony DeCosta of Concord scored the winning Spartans goal in the championship game for the second year in a row. The Diablo FC 93 player was also a first-time all-EBAL choice. DLS took fourth in league play and had to defeat three EBAL foes to reach the NCS championship match as the

SPRING PROGRAMS STARTING AT CLAYTON GYM Youth tee ball and volleyball leagues offered by All Out Sports League are getting underway at Clayton Community Gym, running through April 23. Tee ball is for boys and girls 3-6 years of age, while volleyball is for youth 8-14. Men’s basketball league starts Mar. 13. The comprehensive Clayton Youth Summer Slam program is taking shape with indoor floor hockey league, junior golf camp, basketball league, summer day camp, cheer/dance/hip hop and flag football camp. For more information or to register for any program offered by All Out Sports at the gym, visit

CLAYTON VALLEY ATHLETIC BOOSTERS CRAB FEED MAR. 19 The largest fund raising event on the calendar for the Clayton Valley High School Athletic Boosters is the 17th annual Crab Feed and Auction on Saturday, Mar. 19, at Centre Concord. The evening features dinner, auction, raffles and dancing. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 7. Guests must be at least 21 years of age. All proceeds go directly to CVHS athletic programs. To order tickets visit Call (925) 672-5945 for more information.

CV LITTLE LEAGUE READY FOR MAR. 19-20 OPENING WEEKEND An annual rite of spring, the beginning of little league baseball, returns to the area as it has done every year since 1964 when Clayton Valley Little League has its opening ceremonies on Sunday, Mar. 20. The 10 a.m. ceremony will take place in Dan Della Gymnasium on the campus of Clayton Valley High School. On Saturday, Mar. 19, the majors baseball and softball jamboree will be on the fields at CVHS from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. For complete information visit

DANA HILLS SWIM TEAM TAKES SIGNUPS MAR. 13-23 The 18-time Concord City Champion Dana Hills Swim Team will hold signups for the upcoming summer season at the Dana Hills Cabana Club on Mountaire Parkway in Clayton Mar. 13 and 19 from noon-4 p.m. and Mar. 23, 7-9 p.m. For complete information visit

Carondelet, De La Salle sweep NCS soccer crowns aided by local players JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Page 11


eighth seed. The finale was a 2-0 win over No. 2 Newark Memorial. Earlier in the tournament DLS beat top seeded California on penalty kicks and they also had an overtime win en route to a season mark of 18-6-3 including four NCS victories. A year ago DeCosta scored the winning goal in a 1-0 win over California in the NCS finals when DLS was the No. 1 seed and defending champ. In the 2009 championship game Clayton’s Matt Biel put in a golden goal in overtime for the Spartans as they defeated San Ramon 1-0 for the title clincher. Both De Costa and Biel were coached by John Badger on Diablo FC teams. Numerous players from the local Diablo FC again dot the DLS roster. Anthony Martin, Dan DePolo, Bradley McNell, Conrad Rowling, Sullivan Tobin, Andrew Plumer, Carlo Eikani, Kyle Williams, Mike Guerrero, Sean Hart, Nic Bob, Tommy Lisiak, Isaiah Dargan and sophomore goalie Andrew Konstantino join DeCosta, named man of the match for his offensive and defensive work, from Diablo FC. Eikani got the second goal of DLS.

Diablo FC tryouts for the 2011 season for under 15 through under 19 competitive teams will be in Concord April 12-21. Boys and girls born between Aug. 1, 1992 and July 31, 1997 are invited to try out. There is no charge to try out; for a complete tryout schedule and to pre-register visit

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CARONDELET WON THE WINTER CLASSIC TOURNAMENT, East Bay Athletic League and North Coast Section titles this school year. The championship Cougars team included, from left, junior Meggi Fisher, league MVP Rogan Dolan and Clayton sophomore Hilary Buchanan.

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Clayton Pioneer •

March 11, 2011

Clayton Sports


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Clayton Valley High School enjoyed a banner winter sports season, and the Eagles team successes were reflected when Diablo Valley Athletic League post-season honors were doled out. League coaches selected Elisama Padilla Jr., Christian Pedraza, Kelsey Booth and Ashley Allen for DVAL MVP laurels. The MVP winners from boys soccer and girls basketball and soccer all represented Clayton Valley DVAL team champions as well. For Bernard Barnes’ girls basketball squad, all five starters were given post-season recognition. Sophomore Allen was the league most valuable player, while her junior teammates Molly Kommer and Karley Menez were first-team allDVAL. Seniors Sarah Nelson was second team and Gina Del Bene honorable mention. The Eagles survived two tough duels with two-time defending champion Northgate enroute to the first basketball league title since 1999 for the CVHS girls. The Eagles boys team missed out on the North Coast Section playoffs for the first time in three years, but coach Troy Sullivan’s team was honored with senior Kunle Fashola on first-team all-DVAL, Craig Ihle on the second team and Noel Russell honorable mention. Both Russell and Ihle

Photo courtesy of Clayton Valley High School Soccer

EAGLES SOCCER SUCCESS BUILT ON BACKS OF SENIOR DOZEN. CV High School has won three straight league championships in girls soccer, the last two years without losing a match. The team will start up next season missing 12 graduating senior girls. Bottom row, Jessie Goodrich, Taylor Price, Lindsey Parscal, Melissa Del Bene, Victoria Kobold; middle row, Alicia Roberts, Breana Partida, Kelsey Booth, Shayana Gois; top row, Bella Enriquez, Renee Roccanova and Kaila Wakida.

are juniors. Clayton Valley’s boys soccer team had its second straight 17win season and made it to the semi-finals of the NCS playoffs the first time in school history the boys made it that far, a feat the girls achieved in 2009. The league champs of coach Rory Gentry had both the offensive MVP in sophomore Padilla and defensive MVP Pedraza, a junior. One senior and seven more

underclassmen garnered allDVAL soccer notice. Playmaker Joshua Gomez, Kevin Sanchez and Yojay Basulto were on the first team, senior goalkeeper Christian Duenas, Adolfo Martinez and Zachary Jacobson were second team while Ryan Phillips and Moises Torres were honorable mention. Padilla established some school records this year season with 19 goals in DVAL play

(previous record was 14), 28 goals overall (previous mark 20) and five hat tricks (previous was three). He led all East Bay scorers. The team finished with 72 goals scored (down four from last year) and 25 allowed (three less than last year). Gomez led the team with 13 assists, second in the East Bay. Kevin Sanchez finished with 16 goals and nine assists. Booth, who recently signed to play soccer at San Diego State, and Tori Kobold were lauded as team captains and four-year varsity starters who helped shape the team culture in the past few years. Booth was named DVAL MVP while Kobold, Melissa Del Bene and Shayana Gois were first-team all-league. Marissa Merrigan, Megan Elms and Kaila Wakida were second team and Samantha Boeger honorable mention. The Eagles will have lots of holes to fill next year as 12 seniors leave the program. The team surrendered only 14 goals in 24 games and didn’t give up a single goal in league play. Coach Scott Booth said his team overcame many challenges as they strove all year to reach and succeed at NCS. His staff “learned what the girls were capable of and how they adapted to various situations. I have to say that I was impressed with this group of young ladies and their ability to step up when needed. We felt that with our record and accomplishments we

See MVP Honors, page 16

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At the beginning of the wrestling season, Clayton Valley High coach Kyle Behmlander was optimistic. “If everything goes right, I think we can push for top 20 at NCS,” he said, adding that he hoped to have four Eagle wrestlers qualify for the state meet. The coach missed the mark on both counts, but you can bet he still has a big smile on his face. His team finished seventh at the North Coast Section meet. In the process, three Eagles earned berths in the state meet, which was held last weekend in Bakersfield. Troy Lakin (103 pounds), Aaron Swift (171) and Ben O’Connor (189) came away from NCS with top four finishes, booking their places in the ultimate California wrestling meet of the year. Lakin was coming off a Diablo Valley Athletic League championship in the smallest weight class when he entered NCS. He lost in the semifinals in

sudden death overtime to Chris Caldwell of Las Lomas but rebounded to defeat John Eberle of Foothill 9-3 to claim third place. O’Connor also took third as he defeated Mick McElvogue of host Newark Memorial 17-1 on a technical fall. Earlier, O’Connor was bested by threetime NCS champion Luke Sheridan of De La Salle in the semi-finals. Swift was the third Eagle to gain a spot at state, coming in fourth at 171. He lost to Nico Larez of Northgate in the thirdplace match after earlier knocking off the third seed. The Eagles had not had a wrestler medal (1st-8th position) at NCS in the past three years and the last Eagle to reach state meet was in 2006, when Ronnie McCoy won the 171 NCS title. “Troy and Ben went 5-1, Aaron 7-2 and we had five others (Matt McCoy, Bryan Jimenez, Dakhota Cramer, Timmy Tran and Ethan Smith) each at 2-2,” Behmlander said. “We are very proud of our wrestlers.”

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Using every one of those results, the Eagles scored 114.5 points, one-half point ahead of two challengers to claim seventh place. Clayton Valley athletic director Pat Middendorf was at the NCS finals in Newark. “Amazing. It took my breath away. I was swept away by the dedication and intensity this team and athletes displayed throughout the weekend,” she said. “I was on the mat with the coaches for several of the matches. It was unbelievable. I doubt they even knew I was there as they were emotionally locked into have their best match.” According to Middendorf, there were thousands of fans watching hundreds of competitors. “Just think, we are a D2 school that took seventh place in championships that include all six NCS divisions. We beat perennial champs Foothill, Freedom, Antioch, Las Lomas and Monte Vista,” she said. “We have never had a more hardworking, dedicated wrestling

staff led by Kyle Behmlander in all the years I have been at Clayton Valley. Fourteen athletes contributed to this effort. And in the end, three great athletes will go on to the state championships.” Middendorf said the athletes worked for years to reach this moment. “I have never been more proud to be the athletic director at Clayton Valley,” she enthused. De La Salle won its third straight NCS team championship. Clayton junior Joey Moita won at 125 pounds for the Spartans, after he was 103 titlist a year ago. The previous weekend, Clayton Valley had four champions at the DVAL meet – Lakin, McCoy (125), Radcliff Humphrey (142) and O’Connor. Another quartet took second: Jimenez (137), Tran (162), Swift and Smith (287). Danny Condin (114), Skyler Kaplan (121), Jesse Davis (132), Bobby Rodriguez (147), Cramer (154) and Logan Bangert (217) finished third, qualifying for NCS.

March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 13

Book Review

‘Daughters’ an earnest portrayal of relationships CYNTHIA GREGORY




The relationship between a mother and a daughter is mysterious. In “Juno’s Daughters,” the magical San Juan Islands of Washington state provide a remote location that perfectly reflects the texture of Lise Saffran’s debut novel. Jenny Alexander was something of a wild child in her youth, running away from home

to follow a rock and roll musician. The lifestyle was all bohemian love and romance, until it wasn’t. When Jenny’s first love turned sour and then violent, she gathered up her courage and her girls and fled to Friday Harbor, a place both idyllic and secluded. The Alexander girls live on beautiful San Juan, a tourist’s paradise in the summer months but an isolated spot for the remainder of the year. It’s a place where Jenny can watch over her girls, protecting them from the outside world. Lilly is 17 and achingly street wise, having apparently inherited her mother’s wild side. She is eager to leave not just the nest,

but the entire Pacific Northwest, to live with her aunt in Marin County and really start her life. Sweet Frankie is just 13, inhabiting the murky waters between child and adult and content within the limits of island life. As summer begins, tourists predictably pour off the interisland ferry to populate their quaint world. Seemingly over night, the restaurants, cafes and B&Bs fill with strangers. Friday Harbor, like many small towns, is a place where the locals make their own entertainment. The island’s annual Shakespeare production lures actors from as near as Seattle and as far as New York to join the local free spirits for the sum-

mer theater. For many seasons, Jenny has been assistant costume designer,

but this year she, Lilly and Frankie are cast in “The Tempest” as the three spirits: Juno, Ceres and Isis. Trinculo is to be played by a handsome actor from New York, with a local aging hippie as Prospero. Fey Ariel alights from just across the Sound in Seattle. When the play is ready, the players will travel to Lopez and Shaw islands, after a performance on San Juan. The book’s plot leads to questions. Would Lilly have tried to seduce a man old enough to be her father if Trinculo had not been cast in the local production? Maybe. Would Trinculo have been scandalized to learn that the spirit he had a crush on

was the mother of the girl who was trying to shag him? Almost certainly. These complications are not required threads of a Shakespeare production, but they seem wholly organic. “Juno’s Daughters” is a quiet little book that steals your breath. Jenny is damaged, but she is a fighter. It is certain that Lilly will smash her mother’s heart, but the real surprise comes when tender Frankie runs away from home. It is then we see Jenny’s true character. Cynthia Gregory writes book reviews, award-winning short stories and a blog. Visit her at or write


‘Everyone’s Theatre’ returns to Concord with sprightly musical GARY CARR Special to the Pioneer

The Willows Theatre Company returns to its original location in the Willows Shopping center this month with the gloriously uplifting musical “Once on This Island,” the calypso-flavored retelling of the traditional “Little Mermaid” tale. Set on a Caribbean island divided by social prejudice, “Once on This Island” revolves around Ti Moune, a poor peasant girl, who falls in love with Daniel, an upper class boy whose life she saves after a car crash. A panoply of spirits controls the peasants’ lives, including the gods of Love, Earth, Water and Death. This charming musical adventure presents love triumphing over both poverty… and wealth. The Willows production, with a cast of 14, is directed by Eric Inman, with musical direction by Pat Parr and choreography by La Tonya Watts. The star-crossed lovers, Ti Moune and Daniel Beauxhomme, are played by Khalia Davis and Trevor Moppin, with Actors Equity stalwarts Kieleil-Deleon Frazier and Linda Dorsey taking on the roles of Tonton Julian and Asaka, Mother of the

Earth. Book and lyrics are by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. During its Broadway run, “Once on This Island” was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Musical Score. Inman, the Willows’ artistic

director, comes right off directing the Willows’ previous musical, the very successful “Rags” at the Campbell Theatre in Martinez. The Willows Theatre, now in its 38th year, was forced to close the Concord location last year when ticket sales and donations

were hard hit by the recession. It has continued to operate its Cabaret Theatre in Martinez. The company slashed costs, reducing staff from nine to two, and the city of Martinez forgave a $40,000 loan for costs related to the Cabaret operation. The combination has allowed the

“Once on This Island” previews March 21-23, opens on March 25, and runs through April 17 at the Willows Theatre, 1975 Diamond Boulevard in Concord. For ticket information, go to

LAMOND RIDGELL AS PAPA GE AND TREVOR MOPPIN AS DANIEL will open the new season in “Once on this Island” when the Willows Theatre returns to the Concord Mainstage.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to open at the Lesher Center on April 1 Bay Area veteran actor Dan Hiatt will take the leading role of Atticus Finch in the Center Repertory Company’s stage adaptation of the Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” opening April 1 at the Lesher Center for the Arts. The American Film Institute named Atticus the greatest hero in the history of American movies. And librarians have voted Lee’s original work the best American novel of the 20th century. “I pretty much cut a different figure than Gregory Peck,” Dan Hiatt explains, making it clear he’s not going to imitate the Academy Award-winning star’s performance. Hiatt, a veteran Bay Area actor, isn’t intimidated to play a role considered so heroic. He’s returning to Lee’s original 1960 novel to create a more detailed, maybe more subtle character. “I’m not even sure Atticus is really the central character of the story,” Hiatt says. “It’s all

company to reopen their theatre in the Willows Shopping Center in Concord. “We are thrilled to be coming home,” say managing director David Faustina. “We’ve always thought of the Willows as ‘everyone’s theatre’ and we are still committed to keeping ticket prices within everyone’s reach. The newly refurbished Concord theatre promises some exciting experiences for longtime Willows patrons, Inman says, including the show’s performers accompanied by a live band.

DAN HIATT WILL BRING ATTICUS FINCH to the Walnut Creek stage in CenterRep’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” opening April 1.

from the point of view of Scout, his daughter. It’s a powerful story, with important things to say about the history of race relations in this country. But it’s also a very sweet coming-of-age tale.” The play, adapted by Christopher Sergel, follows a white attorney who defends a black man, Tom Robbins, unjustly accused of rape.

“Atticus isn’t a saint, or a hero, or whatever you might want to call him,” Hiatt says. “You definitely want to see the flaws, the humanity. I think it comes out pretty well in the book. He’s not wild about defending Tom Robbins. It’s his code of ethics and honor that demand that he take on the job.” As he re-read the book,

Hiatt was struck “with how much Atticus seems kind of wounded.” It’s between the lines of Lee’s novel, the adult perspective beneath Scout’s point of view. “He lost his wife about four years before the story starts, and he’s trying to keep everything going for his family during the Depression,” Hiatt notes. “And he feels like an outsider in his own community to a certain extent.” While Hiatt loved the Peck movie, he’s staying away from that “indelible” performance for his own interpretation. “There’s a way in which you might want to see more of Atticus’ frustration. He’s not a man who’s a broad-shouldered pillar of the community from the beginning.” “To Kill a Mockingbird” plays April 1-30 at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Tickets start at $36. For more information, visit or call 943-SHOW.

David Burnham headlines gala celebration The Willows Theatre Company marks its return to Concord with a special gala re-opening event on Sat., March 12, featuring Broadway star David Burnham in concert. Burnham has won Big A p p l e acclaim for his starring roles in the musicals “Wicked,” “A Light in the Piazza,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Festivities begin at 7 p.m. with a cocktail reception. Tickets are $50 per person and include reception and show. Call (925) 798-1300 or buy online at

Page 14

Clayton Pioneer •

March 11, 2011

How to deal with your neighbor’s barking dog





Most dog owners take full responsibility for the proper care of their dogs. That includes, but is not limited to, insuring that pets are licensed, have the required shots, are fed on a regular basis, receive adequate hygiene care and exercise, along with appropriate shelter. Being a good neighbor is also important with respect to barking. Many dogs “nuisance bark” because they are lonely or bored while their owners are away from home. These problems are usually solved the moment the owner returns home. Although the owner never hears the nuisance barking, neighbors do. Many times, the continual barking leads to a frustrating situation for neighbors who may be trying to sleep, especially if it occurs at 3 a.m. Continual nuisance barking is a violation of County Animal Services Ordinance 416-12.202. The city of Clayton contracts with county animal servic-

es to investigate and resolve these issues. The police department is usually the first to receive a report of a barking dog and frequently responds to such complaints. We receive about three to five calls each week from frustrated residents who report a situation involving a continual barking dog while their neighbors are away. These calls are usually at night or on the weekends. Although these investigative calls take officers away from other duties, our goal and policy is to keep the peace and to assist citizens in maintaining good neighborhood relations. When the police dispatcher receives a call about a barking dog, a Clayton officer is typically dispatched to investigate. The officer will try to contact the dog’s owner and leave an informational card describing the owner’s responsibilities pursuant to the county dog barking ordinance. If the dog continues to bark, the victim is referred to the county animal services to address the issue. The process includes the following steps: First complaint. A strongly written letter is sent to the dog owner with information about the county dog barking ordinance and possible legal action if the barking continues. This step usually resolves most dog barking issues. Second complaint. An ani-

mal services officer will make personal contact with the dog owner in order to reinforce the county dog barking ordinance. The animal services officer will confirm if the victim is willing to pursue further legal action. Subsequent complaints. This

may result in mediation or a citation and referral to the district attorney’s office for possible further action. Although enforcement of barking dog laws may seem a trivial matter to some, I assure you that victims of nuisance dog

barking feel just the opposite. I hope this article is helpful for both dog owners and victims of continual nuisance barking. For more information or if you have other animal issues, please contact animal services at 335-8300 or

the Clayton Police Department at 673-7350.

Dan Lawrence is Clayton’s Police Chief. Please send your questions, comments or topics you’d like to see covered to

It may be time for Windows 7 upgrade Security concerns dominate the first major upgrade, or patch, for Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. The upgrade, available as a free download from the Website, is the first major update for Windows 7 since its release more than two years ago. There is no reason to wait to install this upgrade. Computers do not heal themselves and waiting to upgrade, patch or otherwise perform routine maintenance will cost you dearly in lost productivity, time and security. You could have a professional prepare the computer, remove potential roadblocks and glitches and download and install the service package (SP-1), or you could do it yourself. If you’re brave and want to install it yourself, there are a few things you need to know. The computer must run correctly before you attempt the update. If there are unresolved problems, slowness or quirky activity, resolve them before

WILL CLANEY TECH TALK attempting this process. Having an infected computer or one with incomparable software will cause an unrecoverable crash. It’s also important to make a backup copy of important data before attempting any upgrade, as this may be the only thing surviving if the update goes horribly wrong. Generally, the update works as advertised from Microsoft if nothing disturbs or interrupts the process. Certain programs

are known problems. If you have a virus protection program (anti-virus scanner) running, uninstall it. Completely remove the application and remove all traces (keys) from the registry and file system. Reinstall the anti-virus program after the update is successful. You also need to run a malware scan. AntiMalware by MalwareBytes, or your favorite brand, may do the trick and remove any trace of malware or cookies. Security programs such as BlackIce, ZoneAlarm, etc. should be removed or disabled. You should now be ready to proceed to the Website and download between 60Mb to more than 900Mb of software. The size of the download will depend upon your regular maintenance frequency. The more you have downloaded and installed prior to this service pack, the less time is needed to download. While updating, refrain from accessing the Internet for any

purpose other than downloading this update. Once the download completes, the Windows update will automatically begin. It takes about a half hour for the program in install and configure after the download is complete. This part works pretty neat if the computer is in good shape. If not – well … If you have old hardware drivers, update any Intel video drivers before the update is attempted. It appears that most other drivers can be successfully updated after the service pack is installed. This update release is still being evaluated by professionals, which means not all the problems are known. You could still run into problems even if you follow these hints. William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to

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Investors seeking a taxadvantaged source of income have long been attracted to municipal bonds. The appeal centers on the fact that municipal bonds offer income that is generally not subject to federal income tax and sometimes is free of state and local tax liabilities as well. Since the bonds are typically issued by state or local government entities (often supported by the authority to levy taxes to fulfill their debt obligations), they have always been considered a relatively safe haven for incomeoriented investors. In recent times, the perception of municipal bonds has changed. With governments across the country facing serious budget challenges at many levels, some analysts have suggested there is an increased risk of potential defaults by numerous municipal bond issuers in the coming months. Whether we will see defaults in significant numbers remains an open issue, but the threat has had an impact. Many are taking a more cautious approach to investments in municipal bonds and in some cases are actually selling positions in tax-free bonds and bond funds. A SOLID HISTORY Bonds are, in essence, “IOUs” from an issuer to the

investor. The issuer promises to pay interest and principal on a timely basis. Failure to do so results in the issuer defaulting on that promise. Some may make the assumption when this occurs that the bond’s underlying value becomes worthless, but that is not typically the case. The municipal bond market has seen some high-profile default cases in the past. In the 1990s, Orange County, California, a large bond issuer, defaulted on its bonds. However, courts ultimately required the county to fulfill its obligations to investors who held its debt. Municipal bond investors may benefit from the fact that many issuers have the authority to generate tax revenue to make good on their “IOUs.” In fact, investors should remember that default risk is just one factor that comes into play in municipal bond investing. OTHER RISKS WITH MUNICIPAL BONDS

While municipal bonds have a strong track record over time, there are a number of risks that must be factored in before investing. They include:  Interest rate risk – if rates in the market rise, the underlying market value of existing bonds with a lower yield can decline. If the investor

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decides to sell a bond before maturity, this could result in a loss of principal value. Revenue risk – bonds that are dependent on revenue streams from specific projects such as toll roads and bridges may be reliant on the ability of the project to meet revenue projections (note that many municipal bonds are backed by the taxing authority of the issuer, rather than a revenue source as outlined here). Inflation risk – investors typically are locked into the interest rate paid on municipal bonds. If inflation should rise dramatically, the afterinflation return on bonds can be negatively affected. As a result, the bond would likely lose value in the open market. Liquidity risk – the ability to sell a bond in the open market requires a buyer. Some bonds, from smaller issuers in particular, may not have broad appeal to investors, potentially driving down the price in the open market. MAINTAINING PROPER BALANCE

Regardless of market circumstances, investors are usually well advised to make sure their portfolios are effectively balanced to avoid significant risk in any sector, whether it be stocks, bonds or other types of investments. While some investors in higher income tax brackets may be inclined to put a large percentage of their money into municipal bonds to take advantage of taxfree income, the risks must be considered. Perhaps more than anything else, an investor who concentrates too much of a portfolio into bonds is subject to the risks of rising interest rates. This is of particular concern in the current environment, where rates are only modestly above historically low levels. In general, bond prices decline when interest rates rise, so current bondholders or bond mutual fund

MURELEEN BENTON FINANCIAL SENSE investors may face higher-thannormal risk in today’s market. STRATEGIES GOING FORWARD Each individual investor needs to assess his or her own objectives and circumstances to determine the best course of action. But some general recommendations may apply to most investors:  Review your current holdings to determine if bond positions are consistent with your risk tolerance level and investment objectives;  Consider owning well-managed municipal bond funds where professionals can assess the credit risk of specific issuers, rather than owning individual tax-free bonds where you must conduct your own research to determine the credit quality of the issuer; and  Protect yourself against the potential risks of owning bonds by maintaining a broadly-diversified portfolio. Even investors focused on generating income need to be careful not to put too much money to work in bonds. If interest rates should rise or credit defaults become more common, bond positions may be at risk of losing money over a short time period.

Mureleen Benton is a Certified Financial Planner. Call her with questions at 685-4523 This information is provided for informational purposes only. The information is intended to be generic in nature and should not be applied or relied upon in any particular situation without the advice of your tax, legal and/or your financial advisor. The views expressed may not be suitable for every situation. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member NASD and SIPC, part of Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 15


IN CLAYTON April 16 Clayton Cleans Up

Honor Earth Day with a town spring cleaning. Help pick up trash, pull weeds and share in community spirit. A great activity for clubs and organizations, school projects or just a family outing. Meet at City Hall at 9 am, rain or shine. Tshirts and barbeque at 11:30 a.m. for volunteers. Sponsored by the Clayton Pioneer and the city of Clayton, with donations from Allied Waste. 672-0500. April 30-May 1 Clayton Art & Wine Festival

Premium wine and beer, 125 arts and crafts exhibits, Kiddieland and live entertainment. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 30 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 1, Main Street. Free admission. Sponsored by the Clayton Business and Community Association, with proceeds supporting community groups and projects. 672-2272.

ENTERTAINMENT March 11-13 “Always … Patsy Cline”

The Vagabond Players present a show with down-home country humor and unforgettable songs. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 943-7469. March 12 Mike Wollenberg and Julian Smedley

Featuring jazz guitar and violion. 7:30 p.m., Walnut Avenue United Methodist Church, 260 Walnut Ave., Walnut Creek. $10 or $25 per family. Proceeds benefit Imagine No Malaria. Free child care. 933-0888. March 12 Contra Costa Wind Symphony

An encore of Steven Reineke’s “New Day Rising.” 8 p.m. Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave. $10.

March 19 Salvation Army Crab Feed

April 15-17 Library Foundation Used Book Sale

Crab or chicken, plus pasta, salad, bread and dessert. Proceeds benefit youth and social services programs. 6-9 p.m., Salvation Army Church Fireside Room, 3950 Clayton Road, Concord. $40 adults, $25 children, $20 pasta only. Contact Tina at or 676-6180, ext. 12, or

Most books $1. 4-7 p.m. April 15 for Library Foundation members. Join at door for $10. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 16 and noon-4 p.m. April 17. Half-price 2-4 p.m. April 17. 673-9009.

March 22 Clayton Valley Music Boosters/Fuddrucker’s

March 15 Clayton City Council

Print a flier at and the CVHS Music Boosters will receive 20 percent of the sale. 5-9 p.m., 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord.

Dinner/silent auction sponsored by the Clayton American Association of University Women to fund scholarships and Tech Trek sponsorships. 5:30-8 p.m., Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. $10, $5 for kids under 12, children under 6 free. Beer/wine for purchase. Call Judy at 6724620. April 2 Festival of Tables & Fashion

Sponsored by the Clayton Valley Woman’s Club, with fashions by Coldwater Creek. A benefit for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. 11 a.m., Concord United Methodist Church, 1645 West St. $35. Call Doris at 672-1696 before March April 9 Clayton Valley Music Boosters East Meets West

The Vagabond Players and El Campanil Children’s Theatre present the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. El Campanil Theatre, 602 West 2nd St., Antioch. 689-3368.

FUNDRAISERS March 12 Markham Nursery Plant Sale

Shrubs and perennials for spring and summer bloom, plus California natives and plants from outside vendors. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 1202 La Vista Ave., Concord. 681-2968 or

To raise money for all sports in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. 6-midnight, Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd.

7:30 p.m., 1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord. March 18 Eagle Arts Expo

CHURCHES & RELIGION March 16 Concord United Methodist Women

Pastor Sungho Lee’s wife, Hyesung Hong Lee, will speak. Lunch served by Lydia Circle. 11 a.m., 1645 West St., Concord. Guests welcome. RSVP to Laura at 458-3309. March 20-April 17 “Grief and Loss”

Lindsey Reed will lead a Lenten study group, 11:45 a.m. Sundays (after morning worship), Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, 1578 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. 6720882.

The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. 673-0659 or March 14 Clayton Library Book Club

“An Affair to Remember” with old Hollywood glamour. Silent/live auctions, gaming tables, dinner and dancing. 6 p.m., Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd. $65, or $600 for table of 10. Call Kimberly at 947-4459.

March 15, 22 “Paws to Read”

March 18 Mt. Diablo Elementary School Auction

Dinner/dancing with a Speakeasy theme, sponsored by the Parent Faculty Club. 5 p.m., Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. $50. Online auction through March 13. March 19-20 Clayton Valley Band/Orchestra Raffle Ticket Sales

Tickets are $5 or five for $20. Proceeds support instrumental music at CVHS. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Safeway, Clayton Station. March 19 Clayton Valley Athletic Boosters Crab Feed

Auction/dinner benefiting athletic programs at CVHS. Must be 21 or older. $60. 5:30 p.m., Center Concord, 5298 Clayton Road.

Meets 7 p.m. second Wednesday of the month, Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. On April 13, Kathy Echols from Diablo Valley College will talk about garden myths. Contact Nancy at 673-3522 or 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

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 Contra Costa Chess Club

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

Meets 7 p.m. second Thursday of the month, LDS Church, 1360 Alberta Way, Concord. Meets 7:30 p.m. second Monday of the month, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. 779-0698 or Creekside Artists Guild

Meets 7-8:30 p.m. 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 Diablo Valley Democratic Club

Meets 7-9 p.m. third Wednesday of the month, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road., Walnut Creek. 9460469 or East Bay Prospectors


March 12 Concord Rotary Spring Fling

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

Clayton Valley Garden Club

Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society

Sunny Solomon leads a discussion about “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham. 7 p.m.

March 13, 27 Breakfast at the VFW

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.

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

Drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video, digital/computer and mixed media. 6-9 p.m., Clayton Valley High School, 1101 Alberta Way, Concord.

May 13-22 “The King & I”

Clayton Business and Community Association

April 30 United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation Vegas Night

March 26 Diablo Symphony

Center Repertory presents the timeless classic about ignorance, prejudice and integrity. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $36-$42. 943-SHOW or


Clayton Valley Woman’s Club

March 15, 29 Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board

April 1-30 “To Kill a Mockingbird”

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

A dinner/auction catered by Panda Express, with entertainment by CVHS instrumental music students. 6-8:30 p.m, CVHS Multi-Use Room; 1101 Alberta Way, Concord. $15. RSVP by April 1 to or

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

British Isles music featuring cellist Jerry Liu. 2 p.m., Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $12$20. 943-7469 or

7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or March 22 Clayton Planning Commission

March 23 AAUW Spaghetti Feed


March 18-April 16 “Hairspray”


Children in grades 1-5 can read aloud to a therapy dog to improve reading skills. 4:30-5 p.m. Parent registration required.

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. 6721863 or Knights Of Columbus, Concord Council 6038

Meets 7:30 p.m. first Tuesday of the month, St. Bonaventure Church, 5562 Clayton Road, Concord. Officers meet third Wednesday at St. Agnes Church, 3966 Chestnut St., Concord. Contact Rayce at 683-9717 or Rotary Club of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise

Meets 7 a.m. Thursdays, Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. Includes breakfast and a speaker. 566-8166 or

March 19 “Winter Watercolors”

Scrabble Club

“A Study in Shadow and Light, Portraiture,” with Anne Sackman. 10 a.m. Attendees must provide materials. Experienced students 17 and up. Register at

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

March 24 Magician Alex Ramon

Sons In Retirement (SIRs)

The illusionist has been the ringmaster in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. 4 p.m. March 30 “Your Career Transition and Your Finances”

Hosted by financial advisor William Pollak. 2-3:30 p.m. Register at April 6 Author talk with “The Lady Killers”

Penny Warner and Diana Orgain talk about their new books, “How to Survive a Killer Seance” & “Formula for Murder.” 7pm

Branch 19 meets 11:15 a.m. first Thursday of the month, Crown Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Dr., Concord. 4293777. Branch 146 meets 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. second Thursday of the month. Boundary Oaks, 3800 Valley Vista Road, Walnut Creek. Call Jack at 933-7998 or Soroptimist International of Diablo Vista

Meets 12:15 p.m. second, third and fourth 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

Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

Pioneer Photo Album Mike Harms took this photo of the February snow on Mt. Diablo from downtown

It’s Your Paper, so 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 tif format to 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 Pioneer.

MVP Honors, from page 12 would be seeded fifth or sixth for NCS playoffs, only to be confused when they ranked us 10th. The girls used this as extra motivation and proved their position by beating the seventh seed, Liberty, in the first round.” CVHS faced San Ramon in the quarterfinals and no longer had Kobold, who tore her ACL late in the league season. “The girls were very nervous in the first half but settled in and attacked during the second half. In the end, we lost 2-0 but the team played extremely well against a top-notch opponent.” Carondelet ended up defeating San Ramon in the final minute of the NCS finals. “Overall, the girls met our expectations for the season and in many ways surpassed them,” Booth added. “All of the coaches are optimistic for the future with many young, talented players joining the team.”

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March 11, 2011

Watching the weather is now just a hobby In May 1978, a thin, ponytailed meteorology student from San Jose State began an internship at PG&E’s weather office in San Francisco. Almost 33 years later, plus a few pounds and minus a bit of hair, I’ve decided to take the weather forecasting dartboard off the wall and call it a career. Readers who have retired, especially those who spent a considerable amount of time at a single place of employment, know how surreal it is to walk out of the office for the last time. I had an overwhelming feeling that I was unbelievably lucky. The work was challenging and fun, but it’s time to move on and let others enjoy the ride. During the last half of my career, my main focus was predicting and analyzing weather events that caused power outages. The better we forecasted the strength and timing of a storm, the better prepared the utility was in restoring power. Post-storm analyses helped us forecast the amount and location of resources needed for future storms. In my 33-year tenure, we’ve had a variety of severe weather events. The first that comes to mind is the wind and rainstorm of December 1995. Earlier that year, two significant storms caused considerable damage. In the aftermath of those storms, our meteorology staff teamed up with the outage restoration group and developed a storm strength classification system combined with a pager-based warning component. The first time we used the system was December 1995, and the first storm we sent out advanced warning for was for one of the strongest wind events of the last 50 years. I remember driving into San Francisco during the height of the storm and seeing scaffolding get ripped off the side of a building under construction and fly through the air like a wounded kite. The storm was so destructive that more than a million customers lost power, and it took weeks to put the electric system back together. In the end, data from that storm and many other less destructive wind events helped us develop the more advanced storm outage forecast model that is used today. Another record-breaking weather event was the cold snap of December 1990. This event was caused by an abnormal jet stream pattern that pushed cold Arctic air from northern Canada into California. Overnight temperatures dipped into the teens

in many areas. Weather records indicate that Bay Area temperatures were the coldest since 1932. On the other end of the temperature spectrum was the heat wave of July 2006. This event was like no other heat wave event in more than a century for many reasons. Usually, the Bay Area is spared long-lived heat waves since the process of heating the land creates a strong temperature differential between the cool ocean coast and the hot interior. The pressure gradient force that develops pulls marine air toward the hot interior, and temperatures modify. In 2006, it took nearly a week for the sea breeze to develop. This resulted in several consecutive afternoons of well more than 100 degree heat and minimum temperatures that stayed in the 70s to low 80s. The combination of extreme heat and the amount of power needed to meet the air conditioning

WOODY WHITLATCH WEATHER WORDS load stressed power transformers to a point that many failed. My brief list doesn’t include the several droughts, El Ninos, La Ninas, floods and lightning storms that also made life as a PG&E meteorologist interesting. I was able to work with almost every department and made friendships that will last a lifetime. Now, I’ve got a full job jar at home, a rusty golf swing, trails that need to be hiked, family and friends to spend more time with and unseen places to explore. And whether I’m getting paid to do it or not, I’ll always be checking on the weather. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist with PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

BMX riders fly through the air

The Clayton Bikes BMX team delivered a thrilling stunt show on Feb. 27 at the store on Clayton Road. BMX team member and Clayton resident Ryan O’Connel does some extreme riding at the event which drew about 50 participants.

Church News KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS Concord Council 6038 is sponsoring the California Essay Contest for Catholic Youth. The contest is open to students in 4th-7th grades in public and private schools. Winners will receive $50 savings bonds at council and regional levels of competition. Topics are: 4th-6th grade, “How do you live a Christian life

in your school?” 7th grade, “What does the picture of the ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ tell us?” Entry forms and rules are available at the St. Bonaventure parish office, 5562 Clayton Road, Concord. Deadline is April 9. For more information, contact Claire Tryon at 6738564 or

March 11, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 17

PAINT SPECIAL! $ for Pioneer readers








Now through April, the sap in maple trees begins to flow up from the roots to the branches. North American Indians learned how to tap the sap and boil it down as a sugar source, and they transferred this knowledge of “sweetwater” to the European colonists. Much of the same technique is used today. A couple of taps collect the dripping sap in galvanized metal buckets, troughs and bags. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Canada produces about 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup, but Americans are duly proud of their million gallon production from Vermont, Maine, New York and Wisconsin. Although maple trees are found on other continents, such as Europe, the winter dormancy of the trees is not conducive to collecting the sap run. Derived from dehydrating the sap, maple syrup became an important sweetener during the Civil War when cane sugar and molasses, produced mostly by Southern slaves, was largely unavailable. It was also a sugar substitute during World War II when sugar supplies were quite low. Maple syrup has a unique flavor: silky smooth with a sweet caramel-toffee taste. There are various grades of maple syrup

that can help guide you in purchase decisions. Grade A is a light amber color with a mild, subtle flavor. Grade A Medium is a little darker with a mellow flavor. It is the most popular of syrups. Grade A Dark has a hearty flavor and deeper color. Grade B is very dark with a robust molasses-light flavor. Imitation maple flavor is derived from sotolon, a naturally occurring flavor and taste chemical that resembles maple in low concentrations and fenugreek and curry in higher amounts. It is sweetened with high fructose corn sweetener to make syrups like Mrs. Butterworth’s and Log Cabin. Products like this are far thicker than real maple syrup. As a topping, maple syrup is largely a breakfast staple for pancakes, French toast and waffles. Pancakes without real maple syrup are unheard of in my kitchen. As a sweetener, it’s found in baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, baked goods, tea and hot toddies. It’s even been used as a replacement for honey in the venerable wine known as mead. At Pans on Fire in Pleasanton, we carry a number of products from a local company – Gil’s Gourmet. A recent introduction, maple balsamic vinegar,

was featured in a cooking class. Maple syrup was used to round out the flavors of the dishes, including a surprisingly wonderful ice cream dessert. PORK TENDERLOIN Serves 2-3 1 pork tenderloin Salt and pepper Olive oil ¼ c. Gil’s Gourmet maple balsamic vinegar 1 T. pure maple syrup Trim silver skin from tenderloin. Rub with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Preheat an oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium high heat and preheat oven to 425. Add pork to the pan and sear on all sides until nicely browned, about 5-8 minutes. Place pan in oven and roast the pork until medium (145-150 F), about 12 minutes. Remove pan and transfer pork to a platter; keep warm with foil. Put pan over medium heat (be careful of the hot handle!) and add the vinegar. Stir to deglaze the pan, then stir in the syrup and simmer until the mixture thickens. Roll the tenderloin in the sauce to glaze and rewarm. Slice and drizzle with remaining glaze.

From cyberspace

Who reads newspapers? The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country. The New York Time is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor

job of it, thank you very much. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store. The Contra Costa Times is read by people who buy fish or own birds. The Clayton Pioneer is read by people who actually should be running the country.

8 oz. salad greens 1 shallot, minced 1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard, to taste 2 T. Gil’s Gourmet maple balsamic vinegar 1 T. pure maple syrup 3 T. olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Whisk together the shallot, mustard, vinegar and maple syrup. Continuing to whisk, drizzle in olive oil to form a smooth emulsion. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss dressing with the greens. CINNAMON ICE CREAM WITH GINGER COOKIE CRUMBS & MAPLE BALSAMIC DRIZZLE Serves 4 1 qt. vanilla ice cream 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 T. Gil’s Gourmet maple balsamic vinegar 1 T. pure maple syrup 4 crisp ginger cookies (try Trader Joe’s) Soften the ice cream and stir in cinnamon. Refreeze until solid. Stir together vinegar and maple syrup. Divide ice cream among four dishes. Crumble cookies on top and drizzle with vinegar-syrup mixture. Linda Wyner, a local attorney and foodie, owns Pans on Fire, a gourmet cookware store and cooking school in Pleasanton. Direct your suggestions or questions to

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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

March 11, 2011 CHOISYA TERNATA

Fragrant plants bring new dimension to garden will take you back to where you were the first time you can remember that smell. Here, we are lucky to enjoy the Daphne odora marginata during the winter months. This evergreen, once happy, will grow 3-4 feet tall and wide. During February and into March, clusters of pink flower buds open to white stars. Once opened, the flower has a thick, layered bouquet. It’s sweet like citrus, yet perfumed like a gardenia. You can smell this blossom from miles around. Sometime in March, the Sarcococca begins to bloom. This shade-loving evergreen is winter-hardy, deer-resistant and handsome. Its tiny white flowers become intensely fragrant. You’ll hardly notice


GARDEN GIRL Fragrance can be just as important in a garden as the flowers and leaves, and the Clayton Valley climate is perfect for many wonderfully fragrant shrubs and plants. Inhale the perfume of a cluster of Daphne blossoms and it

Sarcococca until it blooms. The plant itself doesn’t demand a lot of attention. SWEET SMELL OF ORANGES Those desiring fragrance in the garden could incorporate Choisya Ternata, which blooms from April into May. This shrub is commonly called Mexican orange blossom. You can enjoy this selection is an area that gets moderate morning sun, or 3-4 hours of the latest day sun. This shrub has dark green leaves that are divided into five round leaflets. It is very attractive. Eventually, the Mexican orange will reach 4-6 feet tall and wide. It makes a lovely fence cover or background plant. Choisya Ternata has a flower that resembles and smells like its common namesake. These flow-

Photo by Cliff Sumner

ers are born in masses and will cover this shrub. Flower blossoms last a solid four weeks. Once the bloom begins to fade, the white flowers will turn brown. Then it is time for a light pruning. Removing a couple inches from each stem will almost always ensure a nice secondary bloom later in the summer. TOUCHY – BUT WORTH IT Gardenias are among the most widely planted fragrant shrubs. However, they are needy and touchy. Gardenias choose when and where to be happy, but once you have found that place, they are the longest blooming fragrant shrubs available. Some gardenias are easier to keep looking good. Find selections with smaller leaves

because they look tidier longer and are easier to keep green. Gardenias need lots of care, too much to mention here. Ask questions of the nursery professionals. They will guide you back to green leaves and fantastic smelling blossoms. As the evenings stay warm during the summer months, the blossom of the Osmanthus fragrans takes center stage. Commonly called sweet olive, this tiny, insignificant flower smells of sweet apricots. It is unbelievable! Like with many of the bestsmelling shrubs, the Osmanthus will hardly be noticed until it flowers. You’ll have to inspect the shrub to see where the fragrance is lurking. Consider this when you install any of these shrubs. They are only shows-

Mangini Ranch hike March 13 honors Arbor Week Meet at 10 a.m., Sunday, March 13 at the hiker gate on Crystyl Ranch Dr. between Autumn Oak Circle and Rolling Woods Way. RSVP to David Ogden at

This month, the trees take center stage at Save Mount Diablo with two events scheduled to celebrate California’s Arbor Week.

SPRING HIKE THROUGH MANGINI RANCH On March 13, SMD’s John David Ogden will lead a spring hike through the spectacular Mangini Ranch in Concord. Expect to see green rolling grasslands, budding wildflowers, buckeyes and a rare desert olive grove. Bobcats and coyotes hunting for breakfast, burrowing owls and quail will likely be among the wildlife. This is a

Mangini Ranch photo by ScottHein

two-hour, four-mile hike with one moderately strenuous hill climb. The 268 property includes the headwaters of the Galindo Creek and is not open to the

public. The ranch is home to the Save Mount Diablo Heritage Tree program and hikers can see the trees that are available to commemorate a special person or event.

Family owned & operated since 1981

Our passion is pets.

WEED PULLING IN IRISH CANYON On March 17, join SMD in the beautiful Irish Canyon in Clayton for a day of weed pulling to remove the nonnative grasses and thistles that threaten the native oaks and buckeyes. Workers will inventory the recently planted trees, check out the creek for rare wildlife and watch for soaring

raptors. Depending on the weather and road conditions, workers may have to hike the three miles in to the restoration site. Bring water and lunch, wear hiking boots, long pants and sleeves. Dress in layers and bring a rain jacket. To RSVP and find out where to meet, call George at (925) 947-3535 or email Save Mount Diablo is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving open space on and around Mt. Diablo. For more information, visit their website,

toppers when you inhale their sweet perfumes. HARK, THE ANGELS SING

The Angel Trumpet, or Brugmansia, is another shrub that is fragrant during summer nights. This shrub may grow to become a small tree, but that will take some time. It is also very frost-tender and poisonous. With all that aside, this shrub is remarkable. The fragrance is thick and rich. It may hit your senses on a higher level. Unlike the other shrubs mentioned, the Angel Trumpet has a fantastic, dramatic flower. This large trumpet flower hangs down and looks like a bell. You can find Angel Trumpets in white, peach, lavender and pink. Occasionally, you can find a double flower. Incorporating fragrance into your yard or garden is a fun element to consider. It can be welcoming near the entry. Fragrant plants also are nice near sitting areas or spas and under bedroom windows. There is much more to plants than meets the eyes. Sometimes it’s our noses that enjoy the garden. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden Contact her with questions, comments or suggestions at

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MAR 11 Clayton Pioneer 2011.pdf  

See Bike Safety , page 6 area and included the conferring of an honorary doctorate to business and civic leader Sil Garaventa Jr. Cal State...

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