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March 25, 2011


Rural residents will vote on $93 fire tax TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Property owners living in the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District will be asked to pay an additional $93 in property taxes to keep fire stations

open when a proposal to form a special Benefit Assessment District goes to voters this spring. The assessment is needed to close a $2.8 million budget deficit and to keep the Marsh Creek Sunshine Fire Station

open all year. ECCFPD provides fire and emergency services to the Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory rural areas that are outside that served by Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s Station 11 in Clayton.

The state of California operates and funds the Sunshine Station during fire season, from the first of May through October. During the non-fire season from November to May, ECCFPD pays CalFire to provide fire and emergency services.

ECCFPD, bleeding red ink, closed the Sunshine Station last October to save $377,000. Outraged at the move, residents formed a coalition and persuaded the district to draw on reserves to keep the station open one more year.

Current revenue from the 44,000 parcels in the ECCFPD is $8.4 million, but expenditures top $10.4 million. The district has been drawing on reserves to close the gap. If voters do not

See Fire Tax, page 4

After long wait, shoppers crowd Fresh & Easy TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer


MAYOR’S CORNER ‘David, clean up your room!’ I am channeling my childhood and I can remember when I use to hate to hear those words from my mother. “Come on, Mom, who cares what my room looks like? Besides, it’s fine!” Well, decades have passed and now it is my wife that tells me to clean my room. Go figure. Now, what in the wide, wide world of sports does this have to do with the city of Clayton you ask? It is just an opening to once again tell you that April 16

See Mayor, page 6 Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

Help mark Earth Day at Clayton Cleans Up More than a billion people in 192 countries will observe Earth Day this month. Individuals and organizations worldwide have shown their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability since its inception by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin who campaigned for an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. This year Earth Day is April 22. But this year, Clayton will observe the day early a week earlier on April 16 with Clayton Cleans Up. This is a great activity for

FRESH & EASY EMPLOYEE DEBBIE COOPER HELPS EAGER SHOPPERS AT THE MARKET’S GRAND OPENING on March 16. The store is one of 11 that will open in Northern California by the end of April. Surrounding merchants are hopeful that the increased traffic will help spur sales in the rest of the Center.

Neighbors keep friendly eye on emus and llamas DENISEN HARTLOVE Clayton Pioneer

Mention the phrase “angry birds” to some people and they immediately reach for their


See Cleans Up, page 8

Photo by Rhonda Parcesepe

FOR ALL THEIR FEROCIOUS appearance, the 6-foot tall emus are actually peaceful, curious birds. However, when threatened, they have a powerful kick, and can run up to 40 miles per hour.

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . .2 Ask the Doc . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Book Review . . . . . . . . . .13

iPhones and start chattering about canaries and catapults. For Albert Seeno Jr., the phrase brings to mind six foot tall birds that can weigh up to 120 pounds and run 40 miles an hour. (The fastest human on record runs 29 miles per hour; the average human is much slower.) Wandering the backyard of the Seeno mansion just outside of downtown Clayton, three emus keep company with 12 llamas, eight rare Barbados sheep, two miniature horses named Reno and Dolly and a dog. Emus are the world’s third largest birds. Not actually angry at all, the curious birds fascinate neighborhood parents and children alike as they placidly stroll the 50-plus acre fenced property. Asked why he collected the exotic animals, Seeno responded with a statement through a representative. “We love our animals. They are part of the family. We are so happy the

See Emus, page 9

Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Community Calendar . . . .15 Director of Advertisers . . . .5 Earth Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Estate Planning . . . . . . . . .8 Fit with Levity . . . . . . . . . .13

After a three-year wait, Fresh & Easy finally broke the suspense and opened in the Clayton Valley Center last week. Enthusiastic shoppers, looking for a close-to-home option to standard supermarket fare, lined up early for the 10 a.m. opening. Representatives from the Concord Chamber of Commerce, Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister and the city manager were all on hand to welcome the British-owned supermarket. After a few brief welcoming remarks, store manager Barbara Tinlin presented the local Meals on Wheels chapter with the store’s grand opening gift of $1,000. Inside, the store filled so quickly that management began limiting the number who could enter at one time. Checkout lines stretched almost completely

See Fresh & Easy, page 2

Commanding performance anchors Willows homecoming LOU FANCHER Clayton Pioneer

If Broadway star David Burnham’s March 12 appearance at the Willows Theatre Company’s gala was any indication, the forecast for the upcoming season is sunny, with blue skies ahead. Celebrating the company’s triumphant return to the main stage in Concord, Burnham wowed the crowd with a 90minute concert spanning the spectrum of musical theater history. Along the way, he included stories of his trajectory from California farm boy to star of stage and screen. After a cocktail hour hosted by managing director David Faustina and artistic director Eric Inman, the nearly sold-out audience settled into the renovated venue. Barbary Grant and Stu Klitsner, two actors closely

See Willows, page 3

Food for Thought . . . . . . .17 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . .18 Obituary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Pioneer Photo Album . . . . .3 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Photo by Charles Jarrett

BROADWAY STAR DAVID BURHAM GREETS STU KLITSNER and Diane Tierney in the theatre lobby after the gala opening concert celebrating the Willows Theatre return to the Concord mainstage.

Safety Zone . . . . . . . . . . .14 Senior Moments . . . . . . . .13 So Anyway . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Teen Speak . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Wilmetta Mann, Clayton native and member of one of Clayton’s oldest families, died last week at the age of 97. See obituary on page 6

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Around Town Clayton Pioneer •

Jasmyn Pangilinan and Jonathan Witcher compete for dream wedding

Clayton residents Jasmyn Pangilinan and Jonathan Witcher are getting married in October and hope Crate & Barrel will pay for their dream wedding. They are contestants in the retailer’s Ultimate Wedding

Contest with a prize of $100,000. Jasmyn and Jon met by chance at Mr. Lucky’s and discovered that they both came from the same hometown in Bakersfield, Calif. Jasmyn had just left UC Davis to work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab while Jon was just leaving Lawrence Livermore National Lab to go to graduate school at UC Davis. They both volunteer at the Contra Costa Food Bank, sorting food and setting up food drives during the holiday seasons. To help these two win their dream wedding, see their entry and vote for them online at Deadline for voting is April 30.

Fresh & Easy, from page 1

around the perimeter of the 10,000 sq. ft. store. “They move fast,” those in line would say, encouraging others to wait it out. Shopping carts were full of fresh produce and meat. Many were stacked with the individual prepared meals that define the store. “I don’t have to cook for days,” said Clayton resident Andie Shipman, whose husband

Brownies visit Red Cross

Twenty-one Brownies belonging to Troops 30432 and 30547 in Concord and Clayton recently got a first-hand look at American Red Cross Bay Area chapter operations in Concord, including a peek at the Emergency Response Vehicles often dispatched in disasters.

works for Safeway. Councilwoman Julie Pierce pushed a cart down the crowded produce aisle. “I knew it would be like this,” she said with a laugh. “But I had to come. We’ve waited too long.” The store was slated to open in 2008, but the company mothballed the project until signs that the economy was in recovery. The Concord store is one of 11 that will open in Northern California by the end of April. “This is a real thrill,” said Joyce Seitz of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. “This is going to revitalize the whole center.” Tinlin was equally enthusiastic about her staff. “We had 800 applicants for 40 jobs,” she said. “We have the best of the best.” Fresh & Easy employees are guaranteed a minimum of 20 hours per week and receive health, vision and dental insurance – with about 90 percent of the cost covered by the company. Fresh & Easy is at 5410 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord. For more information, call 672-2835.

Bob Hernandez and Kelly Shaefer, both Contra Costa volunteers with the American Red Cross Bay Area (ARCBA) chapter, were the girls’ special guides. The Brownies are part of the Diablo Shadows Service Unit of the Northern California Girl Scouts Council.


Windmill Canyon/Ironwood! Super Single Story “August” model!

March 25, 2011


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Clockwise from above: Grocery shopping is a family affair for Olympic Gold Medalist Don Bragg and family. From left, Theresa, Don, Tracey and Renee Bragg; Councilwoman Julie Pierce braves the crowds to be part of the grand opening excitement; Andie Shipman waits patiently in the long line; Dan Richardson was among the early arrivals on grand opening morning.

Scott Ramsey and Jill Watase to wed

Scott Ramsey of Clayton and Jill Watase of Concord will marry on September 17. The two became engaged during a February trip to Arnold, Calif, Scott proposed by placing red wooden letters that spelled out “will you marry me” in the snow outside their cabin. Jill is the daughter of Guy and Valerie Watase of Clayton. She graduated from CVHS in 2002 and from Sonoma State University in 2006. Scott is the son of Paula and Bernard Ramsey, also of Clayton and is a 2001 graduate of CVHS.



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March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Emily White marries Pablo Cela in outdoor ceremony

Emily White and Pablo Cela exchanged vows against a backdrop of the San Francisco skyline in an outdoor ceremony on Treasure Island on November 6, 2010. Emily is the daughter of Patti and the late Pat White of Clayton. She is an esthetician. Pablo is from Danville and is

Willows, from page 1 affiliated with the company, began the evening reminiscing about the many times they have appeared together. Their stories spoke to the company’s 35-year history and to the community’s investment in the arts. Local celebrities, including Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister and Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder, announced their support for the expansion. Schroder admitted the Willow’s move back to Concord initially caused dismay in his city, but he insisted that

from Inman, the night was all Burnham, accompanied by Mark Vogel, his intuitive, perfectly matched pianist. Beginning with “Moon River,” Burnham led the audience from classic tunes to selections from “Wicked,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Several songs from his recent CD release added humor, while a ballad he offered in remembrance of his mother brought his most tender performance. Burnham’s range – flirting

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April 8


10, 2011

employed in real estate. Dinner and dancing followed the wedding which was attended by Pablo’s father Miguel Cela and other family members who traveled from Argentina. The couple honeymooned in Barbados and makes their home in Walnut Creek. Photo by Charles Jarrett

Pioneer Photo Album Shelly Shuey took this photo on the Peacock Creek Trail above Clayton Community Park in early February.

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 hiresolution 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.

A SOLD OUT CROWD WELCOMED THE WILLOWS BACK to the Concord Mainstage on March 12. From left, Clayton Pioneer publishers Bob and Tamara Steiner, Willows board president Dennis Woodard, Concord mayor Laura Hoffmeister, Memory Woodard and Willows general manager David Faustina

success in Concord would shore up a strong presence at the company’s more intimate Campbell Theatre in Martinez. Faustina thanked volunteers, donors and patrons, then placed the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in the spotlight. “They pulled 14,000 feet of electrical wiring to get this ready for tonight,” he told the audience, giving a special nod to Virginia Thomas, president of the Todos Santos Business Association, for bringing local businesses on board to support the renovation. After a heartfelt invocation

with an audience member at one moment, barreling into a pounding rendition of “That’s Life” at the next – impressed the crowd, who gave the performer two standing ovations. A post-show reception, with flowing champagne and desserts, allowed the audience to mingle with Burnham and Vogel. The gala’s success relied on a simple formula: a stellar performer, an attitude of gratitude and a full house. Faustina and Inman can only hope to take a page from their own playbook and command repeat performances in Concord.

26th Annual

HOME & GARDEN Contra Costa Spring Show

April 8  9  10, 2011

Good for $2 ADMISSION

Clayton Pioneer Friday Noon-6  Saturday 10-6  Sunday 10-6 Sleep Train Pavilion-2000 Kirker Pass Road in Concord





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Clayton Pioneer •

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Two new Subways heading to town



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March 25, 2011

TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Two new Subway sandwich shops will open in Clayton by the first of June, says Subway’s regional general manager, Al Hibbard. The Clayton Station Subway will undergo a complete remodel and will reopen in April. The new owner is local and owns five other Subways in the area. The Clayton Station store closed several months ago when Subway corporate pulled former owner John Meza’s franchise. Meza and his wife were arrested in January for allegedly failing to pay $800,000 in state income taxes. Less than a mile away, a brand-new Subway will open in the Flora Square building at the west end of Oak Street.

The owner is local and owns the Subway store at Bailey and Clayton roads. Response to the news of the two new stores has been mixed, with many fearing that the two stores will undermine business at the two existing sandwich shops, Johnny’s and Canessa’s. Some have criticized the city for the approval. However, Councilwoman Julie Pierce is quick to point out that the city has nothing to do with which businesses come into Clayton. “As long as they meet the requirements of the Town Center Specific Plan, it is up to the business owner whether the market will support his business or not,” she says. Hibbard says it isn’t unusual to have two Subway franchises so close to each other. “People don’t travel very far to

Library cardholders get free passes to museums If you’re looking for something fun, educational and free to do with the family, take advantage of the Contra Costa County Library’s Discover & Go. The new service provides library cardholders with free passes to local museums and cultural institutions. Printable passes are available online on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers without Internet access can reserve a pass by telephone or in person and library staff can print the pass if requested. The passes are free and will expire automatically. Libraries and museums make great partners as they both seek to spark interest and to propel people to explore, challenge, ask and engage in new concepts, says Audrey

Yamamoto, executive director at Zeum, a children’s museum in San Francisco. “The Contra Costa County Library provides accessible programming and educational resources that are aligned with our mission to nurture the 3Cs of 21st century literacy – creativity, collaboration and communication – in all youth and families,” Yamamoto says. The Contra Costa County Library received a $45,000 Bay Area Library and Information Systems Technology Grant to help fund the project. The Alameda County Library will co-pilot the museum pass reservation system with the Contra Costa County Library. For more information, visit

Fire Tax, from page 1

Clayton Office:

Pittsburg Office:

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

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

approve the special assessment, ECCFPD will run out of money in 2013, says Chief Hugh Henderson. “I don’t think anyone believes we’re crying wolf,” says Henderson. “This has all been out there for over a year.” The $93 assessment will keep all fire stations in the district open, staffed with three personnel to each engine. The district will also be able to add a paramedic to each engine and replace needed communications equipment.

Without the special assessment, Henderson says the Marsh Creek Sunshine Station will be among stations in the district that will be closed. Closing the Sunshine Station puts the area at grave risk, says Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory coalition leader Cheryl Morgan. Emergency response would have to come from Antioch, Brentwood or Clayton – increasing response times up to 20 minutes, threatening lives and causing property insurance rates to skyrocket.

Canada & New England – scenic waterways and picturesque ports

grab a sandwich,” he notes. “Once people realize we have all new players, I think we’ll get a good reception,” Hibbard says. With more than 34,000 stores, Subway is the largest chain in the world. There are 229 Subway stores in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties.

Concord sales tax hike begins April 1 The half-cent sales tax increase approved by Concord voters as Measure Q last November will take effect on April 1. The sales and use tax will go from 9.25 percent to 9.5 percent. Of this, 1.25 percent will go to the city’s general fund to be used for municipal services. The increase is expected to close a $4.7 million budget gap, says Mayor Laura Hoffmeister. Anything in excess of that will go into replenishing the general fund reserve which is at 6 percent, down from 30 percent just a few years ago. Concord is one of 14 California cities to vote for a sales tax increase. The new tax will apply to retail taxable goods, including automobiles if they are registered in Concord. Groceries, utilities, medications and mortgages are exempt. The increase will expire in 2016. In April 2009, a one percent sales tax increase imposed by the state of California raised the sales tax to its current 9.25 percent. That increase is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2011

The measure could reach voters as early as April 20, but June is probably a more realistic timeline, says Henderson. If the measure passes, the Aug. 10 tax rolls will reflect the parcel tax and the district would see the new revenue on Dec. 10. ECCFPD will hear further comment on the benefit assessment district at the regular meeting, 6:30 p.m. April 4 at Oakley City Hall, 3231 Main St., Oakley. For more information, go to or call Henderson at 240-2131.

For reservations or information call

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March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Let Us

Directory of Advertisers

Light Up 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 S TAFF W RITERS : Denisen Hartlove, Jay Hartlove, Lou Fancher, Nicci Shipstead, Pam Wiesendanger, Mike Dunn

We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse

Page 5




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PIONEER INFO 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-

H&L Builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4046

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. 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.

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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 Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 Kommer, Paul - Merrill Lynch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .988-2111

Littorno, Richard - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 Miller, Tom, CPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .354-1385 ProFit Business Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-1025

Classified SERVICES Rooms for Rent Nice home near Morgan Territory Road. 5 acres with pool and spa. 4 rooms for rent. No pets. Beautiful view of Mt. Diablo. Call Paula: 250-2944.

Travis Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-800-877-8328 Van Wyck, Doug - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300

Math Tutor Available Need math/science tutor? Increase comprehension, boost grades and self-confidence. All grade levels. Wren Amos: BS Biology, MS Chemistry/ Biochemistry. Energetic and experienced. House calls. Reasonable individual and group rates. 864-2676. Girl Gardening Garden care, monthly pruning and fertilizing services. Plant suggestions and installation. Call or email Nicole Hackett 673-1746, or


Funerals Acacia Cremation and Burial Society . . . . . .877-916-4779 Moore’s Mission Funeral Home

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Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242 Home and Garden Abbey Carpet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-9901 Alexander KAT

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Clear Splash Pool Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-6245 Contra Costa Home and Garden Show . . .1-800-222-9351 Diablo Lawnscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381-3757 Lewis & Lewis Carpets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .939-2145 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Son Bright Window Cleaning Service . . . . . . . . .674-9455 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Mailing and Shipping

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

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


Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100

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

Other CBCA Art & Wine Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . Pet Services Peace of Mind Pet Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9781 Pet Suites Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432-7387 Rodie’s Feed and Pet Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600 Real Estate and Mortgage Services Flannery, Patty - Diablo Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0541 French, Lynne - Windermere Real Estate . . . . . .672-8787 Klock, Leigh - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212-5593 Laurence, Pete - RE/MAX Realty . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6004 Lopez, Stephanie - Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . .932-7329 Mazzei, Matt -Mazzei Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0757 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . . .672-4433 Recreation and Fitness All Out Sports League . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .203-5626 Clayton Valley Bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-4631 Diablo FC Soccer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-4625 Ghost Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521-1913 Retail East Bay Work Wear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-9900 Senior Services Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100 Services, Other Air Cloud Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-4119 x 2 Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Net Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6029 Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . .473-0180

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

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

Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •


Willmetta Frank Mann

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Willmetta Frank Mann, a native of Clayton, died in Santa Rosa at age 97. She was born in 1913 in Clayton to William and Metta Stockfleth Frank. Willmetta’s roots in Clayton date back to the 1870s. Her grandfather, John Stockfleth, was a sea captain. When ashore, he and his wife Isabell Wilkie resided on the Stockfleth ranch where Pine Hollow Middle School is today. Her Frank grandparents, Frederick and Elizabeth Bisber Frank, lived on the Frank farm near Mt. Diablo Elementary School, where Willmetta was born. Willmetta is predeceased by her husband Charles in 1996, her son Stuart Mann in 1972 and her daughter Doris Jean Mann Allen, wife of Michael, in 2006. Willmetta is survived by her daughter Charmetta, who resides on the original family farm, and daughter Alice Mann Stewart and her husband James of Santa Rosa, who lovingly cared for Willmetta for the past four years. Willmetta was grand-



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Q about the housing market, I

Clayton Resident


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ry to “out-sparkle” Willmetta. Unfortunately, her quest was fruitless. The next day, she reported back that Willmetta even had sparkles on the heels of her shoes. Her 1956 Lincoln Continential was custom painted turquoise, and her house was turquoise both inside and out. Among her affiliations were the Clayton Community Club, Rebekah Lodge, Clayton Historical Society, Concord Historical Society, Ladies of the Elks and Clayton Old Timers. At her request, there will be no funeral or memorial services. Private interment at Live Oak Cemetery will occur at a later date. clothing to be printed with flowers. Butterflies flocked to her. Out on the town, jewelry added extra pounds to Willmetta. Before one party, a cousin said in private that she was going to wear enough jewel-

The family requests memorial donations to Live Oak Cemetery Association, 1034 Pine Hollow Ct., Clayton CA 94517 or the Clayton Historical Society, Flower Fund, P.O. Box 94, Clayton, CA 94517.

improves in February,” “Pending home sales in California rise in January,” “Foreclosures sales rise in January” and “Home prices decline in fourth quarter.” We have very mixed news about the housing market because it is definitely an uneven recovery. What are some of the nega-

Q tive aspects of the current housing market? One thing slowing recovery is the “shadow inventory.” These are defined as outstanding properties where borrowers are (or recently were) 90 days or more delinquent on mortgage payments, properties currently or recently in foreclosure or properties that are bank owned. The pace of moving distressed properties through the foreclosure process continues to slow. Standard & Poor’s rating service estimates that the principal balance of these distressed homes amounts to about $450 billion, or one-third of mortgage-backed securities. S&P estimated it will take 49 months, or more than four years, to clear the supply of distressed homes on the market in the United States.


What are some positives?

Q The most important thing A right now is we are entering the spring market and interest rates are low. They were edging above 5 percent recently and are back down to 4.75 percent as of this writing. If you are an FHA buyer, you should consider an Energy Efficient Mortgage loan (EEM) to increase energy efficiency in your new home. They are fast, free and easy to get. They do not slow down your escrow. Buyers can tack on as much as 5 percent of the purchase price for almost any type of energy efficient improvement. This includes windows, furnaces, air conditioners, insulation, caulking, water heaters and even solar setups. The EEM loan funds are simply added to the purchase money FHA loan at the same rate and terms. They don’t consider it adding to your loan to value. What is new on the energy

Q front? How about a free energy A audit on your new home? Or a $250 rebate for doing the audit? It is called the Home

Energy Rating System (HERS) and it helps homeowners identify improvements they can make to their homes to reduce monthly utility bills. The funds for this program come from the California Association of Realtors Energy Audit Program (REAP). To qualify, homeowners must: 1. Purchase a single-family home in California between Oct. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011. 2. Use the home as a primary residence. 3. Conduct a HERS home energy audit of the home prior to close of escrow (as part of the Energy Efficient Mortgage mentioned above) or no later than 60 days after close of escrow. 4. Use a California Realtor in the transaction. Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. For any real estate needs or questions, contact her at 672-878 7or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

Broker, Realtor, GRI

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mother of four and great-grandmother of nine. She will be especially missed by her childhood friend and cousin, Marie Frank Larson of San Francisco and Concord, and her sisterin-law, Wilda Mann Farrar of El Sobrante. Willmetta and Charlie were married in the garden of the Frank family farm and spent 59 years happily married. Their lives together and hers after Charlie’s death were filled with good music, good dancing, good friends and many close relatives. She loved parties, flowers and bridge club. The Concord Senior Citizen’s Club provided a host of new friends and activities to partially fill the void left by Charlie’s absence. Willmetta never met a flower she didn’t like and adorned her hair and her hats with flowers and carried additional flowers to bedeck the flowerless. One could count on the fabric of her

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Mayor, from page 1 is our annual Clayton Cleans Up from 9 a.m. to noon at City Hall. It is a great way to keep our city clean while postponing doing your own housecleaning chores. This is a great way to introduce your kids to public service and we will feed you afterwards, which if you have never had a City Hall hamburger or hotdog, is worth every piece of trash you pick up. So, keep procrastinating on your own home and come clean up our town! Do you remember that horrible phrase, “If it’s yellow let it mellow” from our drought years? (Sorry for being indelicate, but the phrase does resonate.) Well, there’s good news. EBMUD reports our reservoirs are at 101 percent of normal for the year, with the snowpack in the Sierras at 137 percent of normal. What does this mean? Well, in the age of ever increasing populations and buildings, we still need to conserve so you shouldn’t go back to the carefree

days of opening fire hydrants to play in the water on hot days, but the water police will probably not begrudge you an extra minute or two of that morning shower. It is nice to know we can have at least moderately green lawns this year. Speaking of population, the census reports are in and in Clayton gained 137 people from 2000 to 2010. With all the adoptions in the Shuey household, that still leaves at least a couple of newbies in town, so if you don’t recognize your neighbor, go say “Hi, welcome to Clayton.” Officially, our population is listed as 10,897. Further stats show our median age is 40.2 years which saddens me as I am now sliding down the other side of the bell curve. Sigh. Statewide, the Golden State grew from 33.8 million to 37.2 million residents. Statistics further show that while the countywide unemployment rate is at 11.2 percent, Clayton’s is at 2.8 percent, while

the state is at 9.8 percent. Incidentally, Concord is at 12.1 percent and Walnut Creek is at 7.6 percent. Once again, we rule! Now, I’m jumping on my soapbox to tell you all to “Do the right thing!” The trait of the month is Integrity, which is defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles and honesty. They are teaching this concept in our schools and I encourage all of us to live with integrity and show our kids and neighbors what it means. Billy Shakespeare (I know, a little familiar but I think the ol’ bard wouldn’t mind) once said, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Tommy (nope, can’t do that), I mean Thomas Jefferson also said, “I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man. Spring is almost here so smile and email me at

March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 7

Japanese family on Sabbatical in US watches – and waits to go home TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Last year, Renee Sawazaki took a sabbatical from her teaching position at a Japanese university near Tokyo. Accompanied by her husband, Motoyasu, and their two small children, Renee came to Contra Costa last March to spend a year conducting research. The family fully expected to return to their home in Annaka on March 24. Now they aren’t sure exactly when they can go home. Annaka is in Gunma Prefecture, about 200 kilometers and a mountain range away from the complete devastation wrought by the 9.0-magnitude, 5minute earthquake and tsunami that hit the Northeastern region of Japan on March 11. But, even that far west of the epicenter, the quake registered 6.1. Damage to their region in Gunma is considered moderate compared to the complete destruction in the city of Sendai and countless other cities and towns. "In the average person's

MOTOYASU, RENEE, SUZANNE AND ROKKI SAWAZAKi are waiting to find out how and when they can return to their home in Annaka, Japan. Travel to and within Japan is severely limited by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11.

house, dishes fell out of the cabinets and broke," she explained. Some buildings suffered structural damage. One person was killed and 24 injured. "But, following the earthquake, my friends have had trouble sleeping because of the constant aftershocks. They don't know when they will need to run outside." Transportation has been seriously affected, Renee explains. With daily rolling blackouts due to the shortage of electricity in northeastern Japan, the trains cannot run regularly– and most gas stations are closed. If they can find one open, drivers will wait for hours to buy their limit of 10 liters. They expect gas to become available by the end of next week. Food is scarce; people are hoarding bread, eggs and milk – even toilet paper. They are certainly afraid of the instability of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and are preparing for the worst until that situation comes under control.


Aid for Japan – from texting funds to benefit concert As we sit in our dry homes, thousands of people on the opposite side of the globe are fighting just to stay alive – let alone dry. On March 11, the north coast of Japan was hit by a devastating tsunami after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 80 miles offshore, changing the lives of an entire country in mere minutes. As students of Clayton Valley High absorb the devastating news, many have been wondering how they could help. With such a widespread disaster, it is difficult for individuals to imagine what can be done to aid the Japan relief effort. But it’s far easier to help than people may realize. For example, many cell phone service providers have set up specific numbers that people can text

Sarah Rosen is a junior at CVHS. You can e-mail her at

Girls lacrosse team shows support for Los Lomas students The heartbreaking deaths of teens Gavin Powell and Matthew Miller on Feb. 19 hit the Contra Costa community hard. Come Monday morning, absence of the two students was impossible to ignore. Schools across the area buzzed with shock, regret and despair at the drownings in a rainswollen creek. Area students received an unwanted wakeup call for mortality – and none more so than those at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, where the two boys attended. Despite mourning their lost peers, life went on. Classes commenced, clubs met and sports were played. A Clayton Valley/Las Lomas girls lacrosse game was scheduled shortly after the tragedy. Sympathizing with the Las Lomas team, casually referred to as CV’s sister team by coach Allen Raymond upon occasion, the varsity players were determined to make a statement of camaraderie. “I can’t even imagine what they must be going through,” said CV sophomore Lauren Valory, who proposed the idea of making a poster to express the team’s support. “We want-

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Exterior Spring Specials Lic. # 630408 925-625-5849 TAYLOR TOVREA TEEN SPEAK ed to show that we care and are there for them even though competition may prevent us from conveying it on the field.” In the days leading up to the game, the Clayton Valley girls created a banner that was stretched across the base of the home bleachers come game time, reading: “Las Lomas, you’re in our hearts.” “We felt that it was important for us to show our support,” said varsity captain Sami Healy. The poster was wellreceived, proving that sportsmanship is alive and well in the Clayton Valley.

Taylor Tovrea is a junior at Clayton Valley High School. She is a regular contributor to the Pioneer. You can Email her at taylor@


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Good thoughts flow to Japan on wings of cranes Two young American siblings are sending “hope” to the Japanese people – and they want others to join in their effort. After hearing about the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Akemi Takahashi, 10, began making origami cranes to send to victims in shelters. The origami crane is a symbol of peace in Japan, and legend says that anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will have their heart’s desire come true. “It’s good to empower kids to make an impact, even if it’s just letting the people in Japan know that people are remembering and hoping the best for them,” said Clayton resident

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CV students rally after tragedies near and far as a method of donating money. Depending on the carrier, an additional amount of money will be added to your bill – and that additional amount will go directly into the relief funds. As long as teens have our phones out, texting that friend across campus, we can all afford to take a second to send a quick text to our carriers and make a difference. Other students at CV are taking advantage of their creative sides and organizing benefits that will accept donations for the Japan relief effort. Ryan Dodge, a CV junior, planned a benefit concert through Clayton Community Church. He and other musicians will perform 7-8 p.m. Friday, April 8. “It’s a worship and prayer concert in support of the Japan relief effort. I feel led to help the people who have been affected by the horrible events,” Dodge said. “Those who attend are able to make donations, but admission will be free.” There are so many other small things that we can all do to help. Hundreds of Websites, such as, make donating quick and simple. You can also donate directly through the Red Cross and at Keep in mind that every small effort, every penny, will add up and make a huge difference.

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Kelly Tuohey, Akemi’s aunt. Tuohey’s sister, Kathy Takahashi of Bellevue, Wash., established Wings of Hope for Japan with encouragement from Akemi and her 7-year-old brother, Kai. Takahashi met her husband, Kyota, while she was living in Japan and the family still spends summers there. The goal is to have 500,000 cranes donated in the next month. For instructions on how to fold origami cranes, Tuohey suggests going to watch?v=-g-U06abgT4. “Please encourage your friends to share the project with their children,” Tuohey urges, “and get busy folding cranes.”

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

March 25, 2011

Spring turkey hunting season opens March 26 Kitchens Bathrooms Concrete Luigi Barberio

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It’s open season on wild turkeys beginning Saturday, March 26, but only if hunters have access to hunting grounds. It’s illegal to hunt in Mt. Diablo State Park, or on public streets and roads. So, for those looking for the next turkey dinner that pretty much leaves private property as the only option. “There’s a lotta turkeys out there,” says Department of Fish and Game biologist, Scott Gardner. “The only problem is getting to them. Assuming hunters can gain access to private property; it’s legal to hunt turkeys with a shotgun, an air rifle or archery equipment. Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland

game bird stamp are required. Apply for a hunting license at most sporting goods stores or DFG office. They are not available online. The bag limit is one male bearded turkey per day and no

more than a total of three turkeys during the season. Wild turkeys are a very popular game bird in California. “They make very good eating,” says Gardner, “very lean, very healthy.”

However, they can be dry, he warns, and suggest using a moist heat method of cooking. For places to hunt turkeys, DFG recommends that hunters refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on DFG’s website at ocs/turkeyguide.pdf. DFG also offers several special hunts for turkeys that are open to a limited number of hunters. Information and applications can be found in the California Hunting Digest at gest. Hunters are encouraged to check DFG’s special hunts website for more information at cialHunts/SpringTurkey.

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For many people, avoiding probate is an important estate planning objective. Probate can be a costly, time-consuming process, and its public nature raises privacy concerns. An effective tool for avoiding probate is a revocable trust – often referred to as a “living” trust. A living (or revocable) trust can also be used to manage your assets in the event you become incapacitated. For a living trust to work, you must transfer assets to it that would otherwise go through probate – a process known as “funding” the trust. Most people fund their trusts around the time they sign the trust documents. Once your estate plan is complete, however, it’s easy to overlook the need to transfer later-acquired assets to your trust. If you don’t transfer them, those assets may be subject to probate and will be outside the trust’s control in the event you become incapacitated. To avoid these problems,

consult your estate planning advisor periodically – and any time you acquire a major asset – to be sure your trust is properly funded. Procedures for transferring assets to a trust vary depending on the asset type. To transfer real estate, for example, you must execute and record a deed conveying title to the trust. Transferring bank and brokerage accounts typically involves providing forms or letters of instruction to the institution holding the accounts. Interests in closely held businesses usually require a simple assignment. Tangible personal property may require an assignment or bill of sale. Be aware that certain assets shouldn’t be transferred to a revocable trust, including IRAs and qualified retirement plan accounts, for which transfers are considered taxable withdrawals. Instead, name the trust as a primary or secondary beneficiary. For life insurance policies, name your revocable trust as a benefi-

RICHARD LITTORNO ESTATE PLANNING ciary or, if estate taxes are a concern, use an irrevocable life insurance trust. For registered vehicles, it’s often easier and cheaper to transfer them outside a trust. Richard A. Littorno is an attorney specializing in estate planning. He has offices in Clayton and Pittsburg. Send your questions to

clubs and organizations, school projects or just a family outing. Prevent pollution and ready the city for spring and summer activities by picking up trash and pulling weeds. Have fun and share in the community spirit. Volunteers should meet at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 16, at City Hall – rain or shine. The cleanup is followed by T-shirts and a barbecue at 11:30 a.m. The event is sponsored by the Clayton Pioneer and the city of Clayton, with a generous donation from Allied Waste. For more information, call the Pioneer at 672-0500 or the city offices at 673-7300.

© 2006 by Randy Glasbergen

(925) 354-1385 Local resident

‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!’ That gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach may not be due to the fact that tax day is approaching. You may actually be suffering from the symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux. A common disorder where part of the stomach’s contents travel into the esophagus--the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. Your stomach is built to hold the acid and bile that your gut produces, but your esophagus was not and your body will let you know when it can’t tolerate the caustic material any longer. While eating, acid reflux actually occurs in most normal people without symptoms. However, in those who suffer from GERD the contents contain more acid, stay in contact with the esophagus longer and occur more frequently. Normally, your body has a muscle that acts as a valve to prevent this reflux. However, the protective mechanism can fail and the muscle may weaken or relax at the wrong times. Also, if you have poor stomach emptying, as in diabetes or with certain medications, you will be more prone to GERD as the stomach may stay full longer. THAT BURNING FEELING The symptoms of GERD


ASK THE DOC are varied and include a burning sensation in your stomach region which typically begins 3060 minutes after a meal, or when you lie down. This symptom is well known by the name of heartburn. The burning may radiate to your jaw, back, or arms. As well, you can also develop sweatiness, chest pain, cough, wheezing, and a feeling that something is caught in your throat. These symptoms are bad enough when they occur, but if they happen frequently, they can lead to dental decay, hoarseness, ear infections, and even cancer of the esophagus There are many things that may make you more prone to GERD. The most significant of these is smoking as well as the ingestion of table salt. It is also felt that certain heart and blood

pressure medications, hiatus hernia, pregnancy, and obesity make individuals more susceptible to GERD. We used to say that caffeine and alcohol were major risk factors, but now that thinking is being re-thought. Though, it probably is beneficial to avoid these potential precipitants if you suffer from acid reflux MEDICATIONS CAN HELP The diagnosis of GERD and the initiation of treatment will usually be made based solely on your symptoms. However if the trial of initial medical therapy fails, your doctor will order a variety of tests in order to confirm this diagnose and to guide future treatments. There are a variety of medications to help treat the symptoms of GERD. They are generally geared to decrease the acid in your stomach as well as to help your stomach contents continue their wonderful journey through your digestive tract. If these medications fail, one may then need to see a surgeon for a surgical procedure. In order to lessen the frequency and severity of the symptoms of GERD, you can do certain things such as exercising and consuming a high fiber diet. Also, as the symptoms can occur more frequently

when you are prone, you should wait three hours after eating before lying down. Also, you should consider elevating the head of your bed 8 inches in order to allow gravity to facilitate the flow of liquid out of your esophagus and into your stomach. Other recommendations are to eat smaller more frequent meals, avoid tight clothing, alcohol, caffeine, and fatty or tomato based foods. As well, it is wise to avoid heavy lifting or straining as this can increase the pressure in you abdominal cavity and push your stomach contents upward. Well, that’s GERD in a nutshell. One big word of caution, though. Heart pain, at times, may manifest in the same way as GERD. So before you chalk up the symptoms to heartburn you should see your doctor and make sure we have the right diagnosis. Eat healthy, exercise, and I will see you down the road at Mt Diablo hospital. Dr. Birdsall is the Medical Director of the Emergency Department and Chief of Staff of John Muir Hospital in Concord. He lives in Walnut Creek with his wife, Dr. Marian Birdsall, and two children. Please email him at

March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Soothing a skittish kitty takes patience, love ELENA BICKER

PET PALS When people invite a new kitty into their lives, they’re eager to get home and start bonding. All cats have different personalities and characteristics. If your cat is on the shy side, he may feel frightened or overwhelmed and act out accordingly. Recognizing the signs and making a patient and caring introduction into your home will help a wallflower blossom into a confident, loving lap cat. Tell-tale signs of a frightened cat include hiding, hissing, striking and growling. Such fearful behavior can lead to aggression or stress displays such as inappropriate urination or destructiveness. Though we may not know the reason a

particular cat is afraid, common causes are lack of human interaction, a bad experience with humans, traumatizing events or mimicking the behavior of a fearful mother. Timid cats usually do better in quieter, low-traffic homes rather than bustling households with small children. Sudden movement and constant loud noise can quickly send your cat running for safety underneath the bed. Rather than letting him have the run of the house immediately, it’s best to confine your new cat to one room. This helps him adjust gradually to the new environment. Create a cozy atmosphere with all his belongings (bed, water, food, litter box, toys, etc.) to help him acclimate. As your cat begins to feel comfortable, slowly introduce him to the rest of the house. Some cats will show signs of

regression. If so, simply reintroduce him to the safe, oneroom sanctuary for a few days. Spending quality time with your cat in his safe room helps him associate you with the safety and warmth of the new environment. Speak in a soft and gentle voice and keep your movements slow. Sit on the floor or in a chair; being down at his level will make your cat feel more comfortable with you. After you’ve begun bonding with your pet, slowly introduce him to new people, making sure he doesn’t become overwhelmed. Humans love to cuddle with pets, and sometimes we believe they are in a snuggly mood when we are. It is essential to let your cat set the pace of your interactions. Don’t attempt to pull your cat from a hiding space, as this will only increase his fear and possibly

result in a warning swat or bite. Be patient and wait for your cat to come to you when he is ready. Sometimes the way to a cat’s heart is through food, so arm yourself with tasty treats when interacting with your feline friend. Make sure to have fun with your little buddy. Let your cat know you’re not a big scary person in his space. Woo him with interactive toys such as toy mice, cat dancers, feather wands and balls. Incorporating regular playtime into your cat’s routine helps him let go of fear and begin to enjoy your company, bonding with you for a lifetime.

Page 9

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SARDINE Sardine is a playful and fun loving little sprite. He will thrive in a home where he can be the center of attention and entertain all with his silly antics. Going to training class is a great way for little Sardine to bond with his new family members while meeting new people, socializing with other dogs and brushing up on his manners.

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O’MALLY Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during adoption hours: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The primary caretaker must be present to adopt. ARF also encourages kids 16 and younger and canine family members (dog

adoptions only) to be present during the adoption process. Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? Can you share your talents to connect people and animals? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our website,, or call 925.256.1ARF.

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Emus, from page 1 neighbors can enjoy the variety of animals. It shows you can live in suburbia and have a rural experience.” Property manager Tony Parcesepe and his team take care of the animals, feeding them daily, maintaining shelters and keeping the veterinarian’s number handy. Although social with each other, llamas are known for spitting at people with both impressive accuracy and enthusiasm,

and the public is advised to keep their distance. Seeno’s llama herd is presided over by two males (one a baby). Over the years, more than one baby llama has been born. Mama llamas, however, are more press shy than the preening emus. In 2009, the Seeno family rushed a newborn baby llama to UC Davis’ neonatal veterinary unit for emergency care after the mother was frightened off by

spectators before her “cria” could nurse. Days later, Parcesepe’s small dog had a new buddy in the form of a baby llama, whom Parcesepe’s family bottle fed every four hours until it could be weaned. “He became a pet, basically,” Parcesepe said with a laugh. “He followed my wife around with my dog.” In response to public inquiries about the cria’s health, the Seeno family gave assurances that the baby was fine and held a contest to name the

llama. Ness, Hebrew for “miracle,” now happily grazes Seeno’s hill with the rest of the herd. More than one parent has interrupted their children’s back-seat battles while driving by the property by calling out “Look – an emu!” But Parcesepe says the family is unable to accommodate the many people who have rung on Seeno’s front gate requesting tours or permission to hold birthday parties on site. “They’re strictly there for the community’s enjoyment,” he said.

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Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

March 25, 2011

Clayton Sports Clayton Bikes Stunt Team takes its show on the ramps JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Photo by Mike Dunn

CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE GERARDO REYES has found a place on the TGC/Clayton Bikes Stunt Team with his aerial talents. Some of the biggest names in BMX are joined by local up and comers like the 16-year-old Reyes and Mt. Diablo High freshman Zak Howerton, 14, on the team headquartered out of the Clayton Bikes shop.

John Kramer and James Brom have combined their years in the local BMX bike scene to develop the Clayton Bikes stunt team. After garnering local interest, they’re getting sponsors and plan to take the team on tour. Tim Kramer opened Clayton Bicycle Center in 1982 and only son John was born that May. John Clayton Kramer grew up in and around the family business and now runs the Clayton store. Bicycling has been his vocation but also his avocation as he not only enjoyed biking but his circle of friends has come from his love of bikes. The stunt team presented its first offsite performance at Diablo View Middle School early this month. Students lined a school parking lot to enjoy a 40-minute show featuring the team’s professional and amateur bikers. The stunt team of flatlanders and ramp jumpers has evolved over the past year since riders started having jams in the area behind the bike shop on Clayton Road. Soon 200 people were showing up to watch, and Brom and Kramer knew they were ready to take the next step. “We’re excited about the future,” Kramer says. “We’re getting sponsors and our goal is to rent a bus and trailer and take the team on the road.”

The centerpiece of the stunt team show is a 5-foot tall, 20-foot long ramp that the BMXers use to propel themselves 20 feet in the air. “Joel Hulsey is probably our lightest biker, so he gets 25 or 30 feet up there,” Kramer explains. FROM


According to Kramer, bicycle motocross racing was the rage in the 1970s and ’80s. But with the development of skate parks and kids building their own ramps, jumping and tricks are now popular. “Not as much about racing anymore. The summer X Games with BMX competitions brought lots of exposure,” Kramer adds. The X Games, televised annually on ESPN, began in 1995 and were held in 1999 and 2000 on Piers 30-32 in San Francisco – with more than a quarter million fans attending each year. X Games include four freestyle BMX disciplines: park, street, vert and big air. Summer X Games 17 is in Los Angeles for the ninth consecutive year this July. Part of the allure of BMX is that “kids” from 10 to 40 enjoy the activity, Kramer says. BMX bikes use 20-inch wheels and can be aluminum or steel frame. The stunt team, featuring riders 14 to 40, uses steel frames to withstand the force the bikes take from jumps and hard landings.

A CHILDHOOD PASSION Brom, nicknamed Trail Gypsy, says he and Kramer “are Clayton kids” of the same age who grew up around bikes and continue to enjoy them into adulthood. They met about 10 years ago, when Brom was working at the company warehouse in Concord. There, they make and assemble bikes sold at Clayton Bikes and the original Kramer store, Encina Bicycle Center in Walnut Creek. Kramer went to Highlands Elementary, Pine Hollow Intermediate and Clayton Valley High School. He was a Pine Hollow student when he began working in the store sweeping the floors at 14. After CVHS, “I tried college but felt I belonged in the store. It’s like the family farm and that’s where I belong.” HOMEGROWN STARS The stunt team features professional level bikers and “friends in the industry” whom Brom and Kramer have pulled together. Between shows, the riders practice at team manager Brom’s home. The unquestioned star of the flatlanders is Pete Brandt of San Francisco. “He’s one of the very best in the world,” Kramer says. He’s currently featured on the ESPN Website. Ryan O’Connell is from Concord, but his BMX talents

See Bikes, page 11

Clayton’s Joe Moita gains weight, defends NCS wrestling title JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Joe Moita of Clayton won his second successive North Coast Section wrestling title and then helped his De La Salle High team to a fourth-place finish in the CIF state finals, the highest state meet finish by an NCS school since 1996. Moita was 2010 NCS champion and fourth at state in the 103-pound division as a sophomore but grew quite a bit since last season and wrestled three weight classes higher this year. He still managed to win the Mission San Jose tournament and East Bay Athletic League titles before grabbing a second NCS crown to match older brother Vince’s pair of NCS championships for De La Salle.

The elder Moita is now wrestling at Brown University. Joe Moita was 38-4 this year at 125 pounds heading into state meet. He came down with strep throat right after NCS and was still not 100 percent entering the meet in Bakersfield. Moita won his first state match 2-1 to an opponent he beat 14-2 in January. He lost his next outing 8-0 to Micah Cruz from Bakersfield, who eventually took fourth. From Friday afternoon through 9:30 that evening, he won three matches – piling up valuable team points for the Spartans. Teammate Luke Sheridan, who took third in state at 189 pounds, said Moita was a key factor in gaining DLS its highestever state finish. “He really showed the heart of a champi-

on,” Sheridan said. “What people don’t see is all the points he scored for us. He didn’t take any time off and he still gave it his all.” On the morning of the second day at state, Moita lost 8-2 to Gilroy’s Nikko Villarreal, who ended up third. The Spartans believed they had a chance to make their mark on the state level this year. The week before, De La Salle set an NCS meet record with 309 points, six champions and eight finalists. Nine De La Salle wrestlers qualified for the state meet, where they ended up fourth out of a field of 269 schools. “It was a great accomplishment,” said DLS coach Mark Halvorson. “I hope when the team looks back, they realize just how great their accomplishments


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were at state.” Moita is hopeful he’ll be a senior leader next year when the Spartans move up further on the state level. He then wants to compete in Division I college wrestling, where the lightest weight class is 125. He’s already received athletic letters of interest from the Air Force Academy, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford. Clayton Valley High, state champion in 1977, had three wrestlers at Bakersfield. Ben O’Connor at 189 pounds split his four matches, while teammates Aaron Swift, 171, and Troy Lakin, 103, each lost two matches. All three were making their initial state meet appearances and were the first Eagle wrestlers in five years to reach state.

Photo courtesy of Moita family

JOE MOITA OF CLAYTON WAS AT THE TOP OF THE PODIUM as he repeated as North Coast Section wrestling champion. He moved up in weight to 125 pounds from 103 as a sophomore yet still won his second successive NCS title and the junior helped his De La Salle High team to a fourth-place finish in the CIF State finals, the highest state meet finish by a NCS school since 1996.

March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 11

Clayton Sports

St. Bonaventure girls nearly perfect for two seasons JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Two seasons without a loss beckoned the St. Bonaventure Bulldogs fourth grade girls basketball team as the clock ticked down in the recent championship game of the Oakland Diocese East CYO basketball playoffs. The Bulldogs had a nice lead over St. Perpetua of Lafayette as they sought their 23rd successive victory and first place in the playoffs. St. Perpetua had been using a full-court press in the second half of the championship game, forcing several turnovers. St. Bonaventure was not used to the pressure defense since their East Diablo CYO League doesn’t allow full-court presses. The defensive adjustment – along with three clutch free throws near the end of the game – allowed the Lafayette team to overtake St. Bonaventure for a 17-16 victory at St. Francis School in Concord. St. Bonaventure coach Andrew Brown was rightly proud of his team. “The girls played a terrific season. They

Photo courtesy of St. Bonaventure CYO basketball

THE ST. BONAVENTURE GIRLS FOURTH GRADE BASKETBALL TEAM came within one point of its second straight undefeated season as they finished second in the East Diablo CYO basketball playoffs. The Bulldogs include, front row from left, Cassidy Anderson, Alyssa Dern, Hannah Macauly, Jessica Hevener, Emily Lyons, Gabi Mancini; back row, Alex Brown, Skylar Aldridge and Ali Bamberger. Andrew Brown and Eric Bamberger were the team coaches.

gave their best effort but came up a little short in the last game of the season. We are looking forward to next season and hope to capture the diocese championship for St.

Bonaventure.” The team came together a year ago in third grade and swept through 10 league games undefeated. There are no playoffs for third graders so the

team entered this season with an unbeaten record. They continued to roll through league play this year, dominating their opponents while winning another 10 con-

CVHS lacrosse teams rebuilding after losing 29 seniors after 2010 season JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton Valley was one of the first high schools in the area to start lacrosse programs, and the Eagles have reaped the benefits for its boys and girls teams. The boys have been undefeated the past two years in Diablo Valley Athletic League play, while the girls are still forced to play in a league stretching from Davis to Oakland in order to get appropriate competition. Both teams have been successful in sending players on to college lacrosse. However, this year’s teams are trying to fill a large number of holes on their rosters. The two-time DVAL champion boys graduated 15 seniors, while the girls lost 14 players after the 2010 season. SPOTS FOR PLAYERS OF ALL AGES

Coach Matt Hill’s boys carry an 18-game league winning streak into the season, but he was relying on eight new starters this year. And that was before

top defender Garrett Whisten sprained his MCL. Whisten hopes to be back for DVAL play, when CVHS goes against Berean Christian, College Park and Northgate. Ygnacio Valley will be starting a boy’s team next season. Brodrick Villamor and Zach Jacobson are returning first team all-DVAL defensive midfield players. But with only four returning varsity players, Hill looks to “some very strong junior players moving up.” He points to Josh Johnson at attack, Teigan Haft and Joey Clough in the midfield and faceoff position and Troy Carlson in goal as players who will make big contributions. “We are also very pleased with the play of four sophomores: midfielders Mike Kerr, Tyler Riessen and Travis Kohlmeyer and defender Jack Zuercher,” he adds. For Hill, is in his seventh year as Eagles coach, the brightest spot on the roster could be standout freshman Clayton Martin. “He came into our program with several years of club experience,” Hill says. “And if

he continues to work hard, he will be a top player in the area.” Even though it’s a young team, Hill says they stack up well in the DVAL and expect to defend their league title for the third time. “We have never lost a game in league play and feel confident about continuing that

winning streak,” the coach says. “We will face stiff competition from Northgate this season and will have to work hard to win those games.” Key games with Berkeley, Redwood and powerhouse

See Lacrosse, page 12

Photo by Mike Dunn

THE CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH BOYS LACROSSE TEAM is counting on contributions from all four classes this year to follow in the footsteps of the senior-laden DVAL champion Eagles of last season. Coach Matt Hill is calling on each grade to provide the drive needed for another league title run. His current crop of players includes, from left, freshman Clayton Martin, sophomore Michael Kerr, junior goalie Troy Carlson and senior Steven Kracke.

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secutive games. The fourth grade season ends with a playoff for the east portion of the Oakland Diocese. St. Bonnies opened against fourth seed St. Monica of Moraga, and the Bulldogs got the most competition they had ever faced before pulling out a 22-21 overtime win. Emily Lyons helped spark the offense while Alyssa Dern, Cassidy Anderson and Jessica Hevener played tough defense to help seal the win. Alex Brown led the scorers with seven points. After that close call, the semi-finals saw the local team beat the second seeded St. Mary team from Walnut Creek 26-14. Brown went off for 16 points and Skylar Aldridge added several more. Hannah Macaulay played tenacious defense while Gabi Mancini provided a key block to get the offense rolling. In the championship game, St. Bonaventure got out of the blocks fast. They took an early 6-0 lead and extended it to 8-2 at halftime. St. Bonnies maintained the lead with four minutes to go, but St. Perpetua rallied down the stretch. Macaulay with seven points and Brown with four topped the local’s scoresheet. Ali Bamberger played aggressive defense but in the end it wasn’t quite enough. Andrew Brown is in his eighth year as a CYO coach. His assistant coach the past two years has been former prep and St. Mary’s College standout Eric Bamberger.

Bikes, from page 10 have taken him around the world – including one of his favorite moments, performing to an NBA playoff audience with the Sacramento Kings. Ramp riders Hulsey and Ty Callais wow the stunt team crowds with their aerial prowess. The team’s “two young guys” are local high school kids, 14-year-old freshman Zak Howerton from Mt. Diablo High and sophomore Gerardo Reyes, 16, of Clayton Valley High. “Zak and Gerardo have been customers of the store and are becoming quite the ramp riders,” Kramer says. The Stunt team is giving its second school performance April 1 at Walnut Creek Intermediate and is making plans for daily performances on the Memorial Day Weekend at Bay Area KidFest in Concord. They’ve coordinated their shows so far with, promoting safety features such as wearing proper helmets as well as the environmental and health benefits of using a bike instead of a car. The team practices what it preaches: “safety, alcohol- and drug-free lifestyles. We want kids to get off the couch and participate,” Kramer says. Catch videos of the Clayton Bikes stunt team on YouTube and keep up with their activities at

Advertise in the Pioneer, 672-0500

Page 12

Clayton Pioneer •

March 25, 2011

Clayton Sports Lacrosse, from page 11

Dominic Garaventa at Cal State San Jose.

Stevenson School in Pebble Beach will determine the team’s seeding in the North Coast Section playoffs. The Eagles won three of their first five games of the pre-season.

MAKING PROGRESS Allen Raymond has been with the CVHS girls lacrosse program six years, four as head coach. He is realistic in saying it will be a rebuilding year for the varsity. “A large percentage of our roster is playing at this level for the first time, so the emphasis will really be on development much more than wins or losses,” Raymond says. Senior captains Samantha Healy and Kera Prell will carry the attack load for the Eagles. The midfield features two players who can transition the ball end to end in junior Kaylee Andrews and sophomore Megan Abcede. “Our defense is anchored by second-year starter Taylor Tovrea,” Raymond adds. Among the top newcomers expected to provide immediate help to the varsity are goalie

Hill also lauded the accomplishments of three Eagles now playing collegiate lacrosse as freshmen. Cory Callahan is at Sonoma State, Conrad Carlson at UC Santa Barbara and

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Maggie Trees-Keenan, Madison Cogo, Audrey Detmer, Megan Dwyer, Lauren Valory, Ashley Nelson and Alanna Bryant. Since the DVAL does not have enough girls lacrosse teams, Clayton Valley and Northgate play in the Bay Shore Athletic League with perennial powerhouses Davis and Berkeley, along with Piedmont and Bishop O’Dowd. “Ygnacio Valley just started a program at the JV level, so a DVAL is coming,” Raymond predicts. His team started off winless in its first four games, but Raymond “has been very pleased with the rate of improvement in our play.” Four recent Eagle grads are now playing at the next level: Celeste Piper at University of Oregon, Andrea Araujo at UC Davis, Sarah Jonathan of Lake Forest College and Kathryn Burton at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Boyce Nichols - Owner

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Sports Shorts YOUTH SUMMER RECREATION COMING TO CLAYTON GYM The comprehensive Clayton Youth Summer Slam program offered by All Out Sports League at Clayton Community Gym is accepting reservations now for junior golf clinic, basketball league, summer day camp, cheer camp, indoor floor hockey league and flag football camp. Summer programs run between June 13 and Aug. 20. For more information call (925) 203-5626 or to register for any program offered by All Out Sports at the gym, visit DANA HILLS SWIM TEAM TAKES LATE SIGNUPS

The 18-time Concord City Champion Dana Hills Swim Team is accepting late signups for the upcoming summer season. The Clayton-based team is open to swimmers of all abilities 18 years old and younger. Practice begins April 18. For complete information call (925) 360-1916 or go to to register online. DIABLO FC U15-U19 COMPETITIVE SOCCER TRYOUTS APRIL 12-21

Photo by Mike Dunn

Coach Allen Raymond says his Clayton Valley High School girls lacrosse team attack is lead by captains Kera Prell (left) and Samantha Healy. The two seniors will need to provide experience for a young team rebuilding after losing 14 players to graduation off last year’s squad.

Diablo FC tryouts for the 2011 season 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. Diablo FC boys U13-U18 teams will

play in Western College Development Association while both boys and girls U14U18 gold teams will be in the NorCal Regional Academy League. There is no charge to try out; for a complete tryout schedule and to pre-register visit ANNUAL CV YOUTH FOOTBALL CAMP


The 10th annual Clayton Valley youth football camp runs June 20-24 at Gonsalves Stadium on the Clayton Valley High School campus from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. It is for boys and girls entering third through ninth grades. Head football coach Herc Pardi, defensive coordinator Jerry Coakley and the Eagles coaching staff and players provide fundamental instruction and daily full contact competition. There is a trainer on site. Each participant gets a camp shirt and written evaluation. Cost is $125, plus a refundable $75 equipment fee. For more information, email, call (925) 682-7474 ext. 3115 or pick up a brochure at the CVHS front office. Deadline to apply is June 9. OAKHURST ORCAS SWIM TEAM SIGN-UPS MAR. 30 Sign-ups and orientation for the Oakhurst Orcas will be next Wednesday, Mar. 30, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Oakhurst Country Club in Clayton. The summer recreation swim team is for boys and girls 18 years and under.


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Q: Instances of people with thyroid problems seems to be on the rise. Is there an environmental connection? M.S., Clayton, Calif. A: According to the American Cancer Society, thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers that has been on the rise in recent decades with cases increasing 6 percent annually since 1997. Many researchers attribute these increases to better detection. However, exposures to stress, radiation and pollutants have been known to increase a person’s risk of developing thyroid problems. Thyroid disease takes two primary forms. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much of the T3 and T4 hormones that regulate metabolism. This can cause a racing heart, weight loss, insomnia and other problems. In cases of hypothyroidism, the body produces too few hormones, so people feel fatigued and may gain weight, among other symptoms. According to the American

Thyroid Association, many people with thyroid problems don’t realize it because symptoms can be mistaken for other problems or attributed to lack of sleep. Thyroid problems in children can delay or impair neurological development. Doctors are not sure why some people are prone to thyroid disease, but genetics have much to do with it. One recent UCLA study found that genetic background accounts for about 70 percent of the risk. However, researchers have begun to find links between increased risk of thyroid disease and exposure to certain chemicals, especially among women. “Pesticide Use and Thyroid Disease among Women in the Agricultural Health Study,” published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2002, found that Iowa and North Carolina women married to men using such pesticides as aldrin, DDT and lindane were at much higher risk of devel-

oping thyroid disease than women in non-agricultural areas. According to Dr. Whitney S. Goldner, lead researcher on the study, 12.5 percent of the 16,500 wives evaluated developed thyroid disease compared to between 1 and 8 percent in the general population. Trace amounts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers most certainly end up in some of the food we eat. The nonprofit group Beyond Pesticides warns that some 60 percent of pesticides used today have been shown to affect the thyroid gland’s production of T3 and T4 hormones. Commercially available insecticides and fungicides have also been implicated. Likewise, some chemicals used in plastics and flame retardants contain toxins shown to trigger thyroid problems in those genetically predisposed. And a 2007 study at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio found that triclosan,

an anti-bacterial agent found in everything from hand soaps to facial tissues to toys, could be causing some mothers’ thyroid glands to send signals to fetuses that may, in turn, contribute to autism. Triclosan is present in the bloodstreams of three out of every four Americans. An increasing number of doctors believe that hypothyroidism could be precipitated by a dietary deficiency in iodine, a trace element found in the thyroid’s T3 and T4 hormones and essential in small amounts for good health. Besides eating more seafood, switching to iodized salt and/or taking iodine supplements can boost iodine intake without the need for medication. But too much iodine is not healthy, so always consult a doctor before embarking on any new health or diet regimen. E - The Environmental Magazine For more information, visit and


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March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 13

Researching family history a key to good health A family health history is a written record of a family’s health. It contains information about a family’s medical conditions, lifestyle habits such as smoking and where and how family members grew up. This is like a family tree for health. You can use a family health history to see if you, your children or grandchildren might face an increased risk of developing serious health problems. These problems might be common ones such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes or less common diseases passed from one generation to the next, such as hemophilia or sickle cell anemia. Many diseases result from a combination of a person’s genes, lifestyle and environ-


SENIOR MOMENTS ment. People can’t change the genes they inherit but they can change things like diet, physical activity and medical care to try to prevent diseases that run in the family. Common health problems that can run in a family include:

With TRX, training gets primitive again





Fitness innovations bring about many great things. As Levity prepares to open, my staff and I are working on our TRX suspension training programs and have found that TRX is fitness innovation at its finest. It brings caveman ways into the modern fitness world. The primitive caveman had no access to Nautilus machines and the weight stack had yet to be invented. He couldn’t find a fast and furious cardio machine or a programmable Wii Fit doohickey. The Ab Rocker and Bowflex would have meant something altogether different to him. The caveman had to make do with what was naturally at his disposal: an apt body attached to two feet, sticks and stones and lots of vines. Making do and using what you have is the definition of TRX. It makes training primitive again. With TRX, there are no sticks and stones, just you and the TRX strap. It’s simply a modern twist on the vine. Suspension training is bodyweight exercises performed in a formal or set manner. These exercises are supported by a single anchor point, while the opposite end of the body is in contact with the ground. The TRX strap attachment provides excellent support and adds mobility to train strength, endurance, balance, coordination, flexibility, power and core stability all at once and across a wide range of resistance. Suspension training workouts are safe and effective for people of all ages and fitness levels. Unique

programs can be designed to meet personal goals and objectives. Each workout significantly develops core strength using functional movements and dynamic positions. Gone are the days of lying supine on the floor preparing for traditional ab exercises. TRX training forces the body to be the machine, carry your weight and do 100 percent of the work. TRX allows people to train in 3D for better performance. Most people train on two planes of movement, the sagittal plane, which controls front and back movement, and the frontal plane, which controls side to side movement. Rarely do people train the transverse plane, which is essential to all oblique or twisting movements. Traditional training methods focus on dividing the body into several major muscles groups (chest, back, legs) in order to work. Though it yields good results, the system is somewhat faulted. Traditional training places too much importance on one-dimensional movement. It limits mobility and adds instability to the body’s overall imbalance. TRX suspension training is designed to fix the system, to reacquaint the body with all planes of movement. Integrated exercise that combines joint and muscles movement across various ranges of motion increases muscle mass proportionally and in balance, which reduces risk of injury and improves performance. Fundamental movements and daily activities can be recreated and enhanced through repetition. Suspension training allows people to engage the body’s movements into a single, coordinated system. Innovation brings integrated training alive and allows the human body to be grace in motion. Ilima Heuerman holds multiple fitness certifications. Her new fitness center, Levity, will open in the spring in downtown Clayton. Email Ilima at


Alzheimer’s disease/dementia. Arthritis. Asthma. Blood clots. Cancer. Depression. Diabetes. Heart disease. High cholesterol. High blood pressure. Pregnancy losses and birth defects. Stroke.

Some diseases are clearly genetic, which means the disease comes from a mutation, or harmful change, in a gene inherited from one or both parents. Genes are small structures in

your body’s cells that determine how you look and tell your body how to work. Examples of genetic diseases are Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. Genes are not the only things that cause disease; lifestyle habits and environment also play a major part. Diet, weight, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, occupation and where you live can increase or decrease risks. The first step in creating a family health history is to talk to your blood relatives. The most helpful information comes from “first-degree” relatives: parents, brothers, sisters and children. Information from “seconddegree” relatives, such as nieces,

nephews, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, can also be gathered. See if there are any existing family trees, charts or baby books to consult. Important questions to ask your blood relatives include:  Age/date of birth?  Do you have any chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure?  Have you had any other serious illnesses, such as cancer or stroke? If you know of a specific disease or illnesses in your family, ask about that too.  How old were you when you developed these illnesses?

Find the right time to talk about family health. Family gettogethers like holidays, vacations and reunions might be good opportunities. Some people may prefer to share health information privately, in person or by telephone. Knowing your family’s health history can be a valuable tool in determining what course of action you will take with your health care. Be proactive and start learning your family’s history. You’ll be glad you did.

Kelly Ferro is a marketing director for Aegis Living. Send comments or questions to

Book Review

‘Wife’ adds perspective to Hemingway’s life Paula McLain has written a spectacular piece of historical fiction in her rendering of Hadley Richardson’s marriage to American literary legend Ernest Hemingway. “The Paris Wife” is written in Hadley’s voice, and as much as the book takes in Hemingway and a huge cast of American and other expatriate writers in Paris, the story is always Hadley’s the voice of a young woman deeply in love. They meet in Chicago in October 1920 at a party given by a mutual friend. She has just buried her mother back in St. Louis and he (eight years her junior) is not long back as an ambulance driver in the “war to end all wars,” now numerically ordered as World War I. He is handsome in a dangerous way, a man of worldly assurance and small boy needs. She is a tentative, not quite shy, auburn-haired beauty with a hint of the birth of the modern. She is a most unlikely candidate for the heart of young Hemingway.





As the carpet is rolled back and the gramophone cranked, they step fatefully into the music of Nora Bayes singing “Make Believe.” It is a fitting beginning and the reader never looks back. After a brief courtship and a few typical missteps of the newly married, they sail to Europe to meet his destiny as a writer. They were not alone, and for the reader who is not familiar with this slice of American letters, it sounds more fictional than real. From the turn of the century to

Police Report ACCIDENTS 1:58 a.m. March 6, Mt. Wilson Way/Marsh Creek Rd. Non-injury. 2:25 p.m. March 10, Mt. Wilson Way/Marsh Creek Rd. Non-injury. 9:54 a.m. March 17, Clayton Rd. Non-injury. ARRESTS 2:41 a.m. March 6, Clayton Rd./Mitchell Canyon Rd. A 33-

year-old Concord woman arrested for DUI after stop for vehicle code violation. 4:33 p.m. March 8, Indian Wells/Feather Cir. A 16-year-old boy arrested for driving without a license after stop for vehicle code violation. 1:19 a.m. March 10, Clayton Rd./Peacock Creek Dr. A 22year-old Clayton man arrested for DUI after stop for vehicle code violation.

World War II, with the grand Eiffel Tower as a beacon, Paris became the watering hole of giants: Hemingway, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and T.S. Eliot, to name a few. Not only writers, but publishers, artists and composers all came to Paris the city where modernism was embraced, encouraged and, in the case of American writing, often engendered. They came with their dreams, their girlfriends, wives, boyfriends, lovers and appetites for excess. They lived believing the old rules no longer applied and the future, if there were to be one, was theirs to create. Stein was once asked why so many American writers left the States to live in Paris. She replied: “Your parents’ home is never a place to work. It is a nice place to be brought up in. Later on, there will be place enough to get away from home in the United States. It is a beginning, then there will be

creators who live at home.” But for the years of Hadley’s marriage to Hemingway and the birth of their son, there is no turning back; Paris is home. McLain shows us a devoted, but often questioning wife in Hadley. She is proud, but eventually fearful of the turn her marriage takes. As Hemingway’s writing career gains momentum, his personal life begins to spin out of control. The author’s ability to make the reader see Hemingway through Hadley’s eyes and heart gives this novel great power. “The Paris Wife” is a strong addition to the body of work illuminating the world of these American expatriates.

11:10 a.m. March 11, Marsh Creek Rd. A 25-year-old Clayton man arrested for outstanding warrants after stop for vehicle code violation. 2 a.m. March 16, Clayton Rd. A 19-year-old Concord woman arrested for DUI after stop for vehicle code violation. 2:06 a.m. March 17, Clayton Rd./Lydia Ln. A 22-year-old Concord man arrested for DUI

after stop for vehicle code violation.

Sunny Solomon is the “Book Lady” for the Clayton Community Library Book Club. She holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her poetry and prose has been published in literary journals and magazines. You can each her at

BURGLARIES/THEFTS 6:24 p.m. March 7, Zinfandel Cr. Residential burglary. 10:03 p.m. March 9, Kirker Pass Rd. Petty theft. 9:27 a.m. March 15, Blue Oak Ln. Petty theft.


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Clayton Pioneer •

March 25, 2011

Jump into spring cleaning safely


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Spring cleaning and do-ityourself (DIY) projects are common this time of year. According to the Home Safety Council, home injuries result in nearly 20,000 deaths and more than 21 million medical visits each year. It’s usually simple chores like lifting, climbing ladders, trimming, cleaning cabinets, reorganizing closets and window washing that causes most of the injuries. Before you begin cleaning or working on projects, put safety at the top of your list and follow these basic tips. CLEANING



Keep your area free of

ideor ic VH s u M py oupm

clutter, especially near stairs, steps, landings or floors, to reduce the risk of falling. This is important when cleaning out closets and reorganizing. Move telephone and electrical cords out of walkways. Make sure toys and other items are always put away when not in use. Never carry more than you can handle and make sure you can see over the items. Keep one hand free to hold banisters and railings. Use a stepladder or safety ladder for climbing. For both stepladder and ladders, always stand at or below the highest safe standing level usually the second rung from the top. If using an extension ladder, the safe level is the fourth rung from the top. Make sure the rungs are dry and the ladder is securely positioned on a flat surface. For all ladders, remember to keep your weight centered at all times. While cleaning out cabinets, keep anything dangerous up and out of the reach of children or locked up. It’s best to wear gloves, eye protection and/or masks when cleaning or handling chemicals. Be sure

not to mix products together. Buckets pose a drowning danger to infants and young children so be mindful to never leave a bucket or other standing water unattended. When you are finished using a bucket, store it empty and preferably upside down. Always use appropriate cleaning solvents. Never use gasoline as a cleaning solvent and always store it outside to prevent a serious fire. YARD


When mowing or trimming the yard, it’s best to keep children inside the house or well away from the area. Children should never ride on tractor mowers. It’s a good idea to make all power tools and mowers off limits to your children even when stored. Before mowing, check for and remove toys or other objects that can get stuck in the mower or cause a flying hazard. Always mow the lawn while wearing closed-toe shoes. When starting the mower for the first time, make sure the guards are all in place.

Never reach under the mower unless it is turned off and the blade has completely stopped turning. Refuel the mower after it has completely cooled down. Store pesticides and herbicides in original containers on high shelves or inside locked cabinets, out of the reach of children. When using them, never leave them unattended – especially if you have children. Properly store garden tools (rakes, spades, forks, pruning clippers, etc.) when not in use. It’s best to store these with sharp edges down. Always wear proper eye protection when using any power tool. Don’t forget to tuck in your shirt and never wear loose, dangly clothing that could be caught in moving parts. Enjoy the warm weather and remember to think safety this spring. Harun Simbirdi is a resident of Clayton and member of the city of Clayton Citizen Corps Council (C5CERT). He can be reached at

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If you’re looking to have a good time – and hey, who isn’t? – I suggest a visit to the pediatric ward at Kaiser on a Saturday morning. “Fun” is hardly descriptive enough to do it justice. For the past month, we’ve had a toxic mucous cloud hanging over our house like a …well, like a toxic cloud. No sooner does one person begin to feel better then another falls prey to the sickness. The boy recently spent the better part of a week camped out on the couch. He seemed to get better, or at least the fever went away, so we quickly took advantage of the opportunity to send him back to school. No sooner had he become the school’s problem again when yours truly is stricken with the scourge. In my case, the fever lasted less than 24 hours, but the mucousy fun remained, eventually developing into an ear infection. Really? An ear infection? I haven’t had an ear infection since I was a kid. What’s next? Is someone going to steal my

milk money and then tell Robin Shea that I LIKE like her and want to meet her after school behind the eucalyptus trees? Well, I don’t! Anyway, sick enough to whine but well enough to work, I soldiered on. Less than two weeks later, the boy and I are sitting in the pediatric waiting room, him running a temperature and crashed out on a bench, me surrounded by oozing, dripping children who have been taught that “Sharing is nice! It’s good to share. Do you want some of this pretty green stuff ? It’s slippery AND sticky all at the same time! No, it’s OK. You can have some. I’ve got lots more in my nose.” *shudder* As every parent knows, before every trip to the doctor, every kid asks the same question: “Am I going to get a shot?” My kid certainly qualifies as “every kid.” Boy: “Am I going to get a shot?” Me: “No.” Boy: “Really?” Me: “No.”

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Boy: “No I’m not going to get a shot, or no you didn’t mean it when you said no I wasn’t going to get a shot?” Me: “Huh?” Boy: “Am I going to get a shot?” Me: “I don’t know! No, probably not. Maybe. How do I know? Maybe you’ll get a doctor who hates kids and gives them all shots whether they need one or not.” Boy: “Really?” Me: “No.” Boy: “No I’m not going to get a doctor who hates kids and gives them all shots, or no …” It is normally at this point in the conversation that one of us begins crying. So no, he didn’t have to get a shot, though I was sorely tempted to give him one myself. And he doesn’t have strep, or bronchitis or any other form of illness for which they can actually do anything. It’s just a virus and it has to run its course. Awesome. SO worth the trip. Lisa is now suffering with


SO ANYWAY “the virus that shall not be cured” and, like all parents, she continues to do all that’s expected of her all the while wishing she could just crawl into bed for a few days and be left alone. Besides a slight cold during the Christmas holidays, the girl has remained surprisingly healthy. I’m beginning to wonder if she’s been bogarting the echinacea and vitamin C. Or, perhaps, it’s something more sinister, involving blood pacts and living sacrifices. But that’s unlikely, because blood pacts normally involve having to get a shot. Clayton resident, Joe Romano, is a family man, a free-lance writer for hire and the Pioneer’s “all around funny guy.” E-mail him at

March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 15


IN CLAYTON March 26 Galvin Ranch Hike Sponsored by Save Mt. Diablo. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Meet at Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. Contact Brad at 597-1025 or April 6-May 16 CERT Training A six-week, 20-hour Community Emergency Response Team training. Learn emergency preparedness, including fire suppression, light search and rescue techniques, emergency medical operations and disaster psychology. 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Endeavor Hall, 6000 Center St. Final class 6 p.m. May 16. Enroll at 673-7355 or 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. Gloves and garbage bags provided. T-shirts and barbecue at 11:30 a.m. 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. May 6-7 Clayton Gardens Tour Sponsored by the Clayton Historical Society. Self-guided tour of six gardens begins at the Clayton Museum, 6101 Main St. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. rain or shine. $25, or $30 at the door. Fifth ticket free. 672-0240.

FUNDRAISERS 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 28. April 6 Mt. Diablo Elementary School/Mary’s Pizza Shack Bring a flier and Mary’s will donate 20 percent of the sale to the Parent Faculty Club. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 2246 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek. Print a flier at April 9 Clayton Valley Music Boosters East Meets West 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 April 30 United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation Vegas Night To raise money for all sports in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. 6 p.m.-midnight, Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd. $50. May 14 Clayton Valley Garden Club Plant Sale 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Endeavor Hall, 6000 Center St., Clayton. 672-5079. May 15 Animals on Broadway A benefit for Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). One-mile pet walk, pet wellness fair, adoptions. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek. Free admission. or 296-3118.

SCHOOLS March 29 Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board 7:30 p.m., 1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord.

CHURCHES & RELIGION April 1 Lenten Evening of Reflection Sponsored by the Women’s Christian Fellowship of St. Bonaventure’s Catholic community. 7 p.m. Stations of the Cross. At 7:30 p.m., Bob Rice, nationally known speaker, author, musician and professor of Catechetics, speaks: “And the Word Became Flesh.” Free-will offering. St. Bonaventure Church, 5562 Clayton Road, Concord. 672-5800.

Through 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. 672-0882. April 5-May 10 “Healing the Heart” A six-week program for those who have experienced the death of a loved one. A safe place to express grief and begin healing. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, St. Bonaventure’s Church, 5562 Clayton Road, Concord. Register by calling Janie at 443-4630 by March 30. April 9 Evening of Fellowship Sponsored by the Baha’is of Clayton. Diane Hill will speak: “What is Human Nature? A Divine Reality Check.” Hill has a doctoral degree in history and has taught at UC Berkeley and Cal State Sacramento. 7:30 p.m., Toloui home in Clayton. 672-6686.

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. 673-0659 or March 29-May10 Patty Cakes Story time for babies to 3-year-olds. Child attends with caregiver. Drop in 11 a.m. Tuesdays.

CLUBS Breakfast with the Veterans of Foreign Wars 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 Business and Community Association Meets 6:30 p.m. last Thursday of the month, except holidays, Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. Call Sue at 672-2272. Clayton Valley Garden Club Meets 7 p.m. second Wednesday of the month, Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. On April 13, Kathy Echols from Diablo Valley College will talk about garden myths. Contact Nancy at 673-3522 or Clayton Valley Woman’s Club Meets 9:30 a.m. second Tuesday of the month except July and August, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1092 Alberta Way, Concord. 672-1163. Clutch Busters Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Willow Pass Community Center Hall, 2748 East Olivera Road, Concord. Contact Karen at 686-3774. Concord Stompers Square Dance Club Meets 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Willow Pass Community Center, 2748 East Olivera Road, Concord. Call Jennie at 672-9676 or

March 30 “Your Career Transition and Your Finances” Hosted by financial advisor William Pollak. 2-3:30 p.m. Register at

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

April 6 Author talk with “The Lady Killers” Penny Warner and Diana Orgain talk about their new books, “How to Survive a Killer Seance” and “Formula for Murder.” 7 p.m.

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

April 7-June 2 Picture Book Time Story time for 3- to 5-year-olds. Child may attend without caregiver. Drop in 11 am. Thursdays. April 12-May 17 Paws to Read Children in grades 1-5 who have trouble reading can read aloud to a therapy dog. 4-4:25 or 4:35-5 p.m. Tuesdays. Registration by a parent required. April 15-17 Library Foundation Used Book Sale 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 24 p.m. April 17. 673-9009.

ENTERTAINMENT Through April 16 “Hairspray” 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 March 26 Diablo Symphony 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 April 1-30 “To Kill a Mockingbird” Center Repertory presents the timeless classic about ignorance, prejudice and integrity. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $36-$42. 943SHOW or May 13-22 “The King & I” 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.

Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society Meets 7:30 p.m. second Monday of the month, Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. 779-0698 or Creekside Artists Guild Meets 7-8:30 p.m. 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. 946-0469 or East Bay Prospectors Meets 6:30 p.m. first Thursday of the month, Oasis Christian Fellowship, 2551 Pleasant Hill Road, Pleasant Hill. Clayton resident Douglas Junghans is president. 672-1863 or 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 6839717 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 Scrabble Club Meets 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. second and fourth Saturdays of the month, Carl’s Jr. Restaurant, 1530 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. All ages and skill levels welcome. $3 fee. Call Mike at 639-1987 or Sons In Retirement (SIRs) Branch 19 meets 11:15 a.m. first Thursday of the month, Crown Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Dr., Concord. 429-3777. 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

CITY MEETINGS April 5, 19 Clayton City Council 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 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.

April 12, 26 Clayton Planning Commission 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or

Word Weavers Toastmasters Meets 7-8:15 p.m. Mondays, 4756 Clayton Road, Concord. Visitors welcome. Contact Marion at 6861818 or

Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

March 25, 2011

Church, school benefit from Scout projects PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

Boy Scouts ready to earn their Eagle Scout rank can choose from a long list of projects around town. Kyle Bradbury, Troop 484, and Greg Fogg, Troop 363, completed Eagle Scout projects at Tabernacle School and Crossroads Covenant Church in Concord, respectively. Kyle’s former elementary school, Tabernacle, suggested he rejuvenate the southwest corner of campus for his Eagle Scout project. “I enjoyed my time at Tabernacle and liked the idea of creating more opportunity for outdoor learning,” Kyle said in a letter to the school on its Website.

Kyle enlisted 20 families from Troop 484 and five Tabernacle families to clear the unused area and added picnic benches and planter boxes. The area was previously used as storage for old playground sand, dirt, sod and broken materials. It was full of weeds and rocks. The team took three days to transform the corner. They cleared the debris and leveled the ground with shovels and rakes. The volunteers brought in 26 yards of crushed rock by wheel barrow. Bender board defined the border. Planter boxes were constructed and planted. Picnic tables purchased at Costco gave the final touch to entice staff and students to enjoy the area.

EAGLE SCOUT CANDIDATE GREG FOGG (seated, center) installed a contemplative path at Crossroads Church as his Eagle Scout project. Greg is shown here with (back row) Ben Chang, Trevor Murphy, John Huovinen, Bill Spalding, Fred Fogg. Behind Greg are Laura Spalding, Steven Soltero and Sandy Fogg

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The greatest challenge “was coordinating 20 people in a single work day,” Kyle said. He is working on one more merit badge before he can have his Eagle Scout Board of Review. Greg’s church, Crossroads Covenant Church, requested that he create a pathway to a gathering area by the creek on church grounds. He rallied 30 Scouts, church members, family and friends to complete the project in four days. In addition to church and Scout board approval, the project had to be approved by the Department of Fish and Game because it involved the creek area. Greg’s team dug out the hillside. They edged out the path with bender board. Weed mat created a foundation for crushed rock. The gathering place is now an inviting area for outdoor gatherings. Another Eagle Scout project may provide seating. “It is a beautiful start to have a nice, contemplative walk down by the creek,” Pastor Aaron Gonzenbach said. Greg’s Board of Review is still to come. He aged out of Scouts earlier this year and would like to pursue his musical interests. He wanted to combine his project with music by giving a benefit concert with his band, the Colony, but Eagle Scout projects are not allowed to be fundraising projects. Finding the right project was the biggest challenge for Greg. “I learned a lot of leadership and outdoor (skills) … good qualities I can use the rest of my life,” he noted.

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A safe and friendly PV draws visitors back year after year





As soon as we mention that we are going to Mexico, many people cringe and question our sanity. Over the past couple of years, Mexico has received a great deal of negative press regarding the safety of foreigners traveling and retiring there. However, a large percentage of the violent crimes are connected to inner fighting of the drug cartels and drugrelated incidents. Less than one percent of crimes involve the general public. It could be said that living in Los Angeles, Detroit or New York is more dangerous than parts of Mexico. If you travel anywhere, in the United States or a foreign country, you should always educate yourself on areas to avoid. After my last article, I received an e-mail from Pioneer readers Carolyn and Michael Pauline. “We have been traveling to PV (Puerto Vallarta) since 1984 and six years ago took the plunge and became homeowners. Our whole family travels down there frequently, including

THIS ICE CREAM VENDOR IS A SYMBOL OF A FAMILY-FRIENDLY PUERTO VALLARTA, one of the safest and most popular vacation spots in Mexico.

grandchildren ages 16 to 3, and we never felt any danger at all in our surroundings.” Puerto Vallarta has always been rated one of the safest and friendliest places to live and visit and remains so. Every year, we go back to the same friendly elderly man who sells ice cream along the river. In my halting Spanish, we discovered that he has family in Hayward and comes to visit them every couple of years. We look forward to seeing him and his cart. He always greets

us with a smile and a hug. PV relies on most of its revenue coming from tourists and the rapidly growing number of retirees moving to the area. Therefore, the local government expends a great amount of effort and money to protect locals and foreigners alike. The fact that one sees a great deal of police force when visiting PV is not that crime is high; they are there to guarantee everyone’s safety. We have seen the federal police, the state police, the municipal police, the tourist police, the transit police and the traffic police downtown and along the streets and highways. In addition, the naval police are at the marina area. PV has a justly deserved reputation for safety and security. On Super Bowl Sunday, we noticed an unusual amount of federal police downtown and later discovered that Mexican President Phillipe Calderon was in town to promote tourism. He went ziplining, played golf and generally had a good time. We later discovered that he met with past Mexican president Vincente Fox, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim (the man who beat out Gates to become the wealthiest man in the world) to develop a resort called Litibu at Punta de Mita, an area just north of PV that houses the Four Seasons and St. Regis resorts and golf courses. We obtained this information because a tour

See Travel, page 17

March 25, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

For the love of butter LINDA WYNER




This week, I feel like I’m channeling Paula Deen, the selfstyled Queen of Butter. Every recipe I read or food show I’m looking at features tons of butter. Not that butter is a bad thing – as a matter of fact, it gets a bad rap from misinformation. Butter provides vitamins and minerals and supports a healthy immune system and hormone production. After World War II, however, butter was implicated in health problems. We now know that butter substitutes (margarine, shortening) and manmade transfats are the more likely health threat. Because it’s a fat, however, butter should be enjoyed in moderation. Humans have a close relationship to butter. Several thousand years ago, we domesticated cattle, water buffalo, camels, horses and yaks and started to milk those animals. Milk has a lot of fat in it, and when the cream portion is shaken, agitated or churned, the fat separates out and that’s butter. If you’ve not done so, you

should try making it so you can taste the joyous flavor of truly fresh butter. HOMEMADE BUTTER 1 pint heavy whipping cream (Choose one with no additives and avoid ultra-pasteurized. Try Trader Joes, Clover or Straus Creamery.) Let cream sit at room temperature until it is 60 degrees. Pour cream into a quart jar and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the jar until globules of butter appear and most of the liquid has turned to a soft solid, 15-30 minutes. Drain the liquid (this is buttermilk). Add cold water to the jar and shake gently. Drain. Repeat until the liquid poured off is clear. You don’t want any residue of buttermilk since this will promote spoilage. Transfer butter to a cool marble or wood surface and use paddles or a spoon to press the butter to extract more liquid. You can add up to ¼ tsp. salt during this process if you want salted butter. Once no more liquid comes out, shape the butter, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Butter browns and then burns at high temperatures, so its use in sautéing is somewhat limited. Lots of us add a little oil to butter to retard the browning, but it’s best to use clarified butter (a version of which is India’s ghee) for higher heat cooking. You can buy clarified butter, but it’s really easy to make. CLARIFIED BUTTER Gently melt unsalted butter over low heat until it breaks down into three layers. The top layer is a white foam, which contains the whey proteins. Skim this foam off with a spoon. The milk solids will drop to the bottom of the saucepan. In the middle is a golden-yellow liquid, which is the clarified butter. After skimming the foam, remove the pan from the heat and let the milk solids settle. Then strain the mixture through a double-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper towels. Discard the milk solids. Eggs benedicts, broccoli and asparagus are perfect with Hollandaise sauce. While traditionalists would have you make it on the stovetop, I like to make it in the blender. BLENDER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE Makes 1½ cups

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Travel, from page 16 guide we hired on Monday was the one who was hired to drive the president’s team of snipers and be part of the entourage. I’ve been asked whether it is safe to walk around the town at night. Yes, definitely. You should feel safer in most parts of Puerto Vallarta than in the United States. There is little crime there and it’s usually petty compared to in the United States. The tourist police are friendly and helpful. Use common sense and be careful. Leave fancy jewelry at home. After dark, stay on the main streets and do not wander on the beaches. Never flash large amounts of money. Another common question is, “Can I drink the water?” Puerto Vallarta has the clean-

est water in Mexico. The water is treated and purified, but the distribution system is not perfect. In most hotels and restaurants, you will get purified water. If in doubt – ask “Auga purificada?” I would not drink the water from a private home or condo unless you know there is a purification system installed and working. To be completely safe, buy bottled water. Don’t take the chance of ruining your vacation. Next time, I’ll talk about transportation as well as some of the food and restaurants to try. Recently retired, Clayton resident Peggy Bidondo is a tireless traveler with a passion for travel planning and writing. Send your questions and column ideas to Peggy Bidondo at

3 egg yolks ½ tsp salt Dash cayenne pepper 1 T. heavy cream 1 c. unsalted clarified butter, melted 1 T. lemon juice or white wine vinegar Place egg yolks, salt, pepper and cream in blender. Blend for a few seconds at high speed until you have a smooth, frothy


mixture. With blender running, add half of the hot butter in a thin, steady stream. Add lemon juice or vinegar and finish with the rest of the butter. Taste and add more salt, cayenne or white pepper to your preference. Browned butter or beurre noisette is a classic French sauce and should be part of your cooking repertoire. It couldn’t be simpler. Just melt butter and continue to cook it over medium to medium high heat until it browns. The milk solids in the butter will develop a beautiful nutty flavor. Here’s one use for filet of sole. SOLE AMANDINE 6 oz. sole, flounder or other flatfish per person Flour for dredging Salt and pepper 1 T. butter 1 T. olive oil 2 T. sliced almonds Season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in the seasoned flour and set aside. Preheat nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and olive oil. When butter has completely melted and is beginning to foam, add fish. Cook 23 minutes on one side. Turn over and repeat. Transfer fish to a serving plate. Add almonds to pan juices and sauté 30 seconds, allowing the butter to color to a rich brown shade. Spread evenly over fish. 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 25, 2011

Lavatera loves the heat – with flowers that add flair flowers. The outer edges of the petals are dusty, light lavender, while the center of the flower is a deeper, darker mauve that feathers the length of the petals. A fuzzy, long stamen reaches outward, adding extra interest. Lavatera bicolor is a favorite among butterflies and bees. This evergreen does shed, so you will see some solid yellow leaves at times. These old leaves are being forced out by new growth. When the bicolor Lavatera is young, you may need to cut back some of the wild stems to encourage more dense growth. Bicolor Lavatera makes a fantastic fence cover or privacy shrub, since it is such a fast grower. When it grows out of hand, severely cut it back. The color scheme of this evergreen is inspirational. It is easy to create a garden around the bicolor Lavatera. Some complementary plantings to consider are Moonshine Yarrow, Sedum Autumn Joy, Salvia Maynight,


GARDEN GIRL Lovely Lavatera does exceptionally well in Clayton Valley landscapes. This group of evergreen shrubs thrives in heat, needs little water once established and blooms for months at a time. Anyone with a full sun location should consider this shrub, which is commonly called mallow. Lavatera bicolor reaches 6-8 feet tall and wide. This selection has scalloped-shaped gray leaves and two-toned hibiscus-shaped

FROM WINE TO RUM Kew Rose Lavatera has a darker green leaf and a deep maroon colored stem. The flower is a rich, dark pink. This Lavatera will be just as tall as the bicolor but has a softer, less woody look and would also make a superb landscape addition. If you are planting a sunny side yard, mixing Lavatera shrubs with summer blooming Crape Myrtle trees would create a very floral, easy to care for, low water use environment. Pale pink blooming Lavatera ‘Barnsley’ is a perfect choice for those who desire a more pastel color scheme. Use it with the cool colors of Huntington Pink Penstomen, Blue Bird Nemesia and Weaverly Sage.

ing another aftershock.”

Sawazaki, from page 7 MYRIAD COMPLICATIONS Motoyasu's sister and her husband live in Fukushima and his niece works in Sendai. He has not been able to speak to any of them directly as they are still in the badly affected area, but knows through relatives that they survived. “Everything is so chaotic,” says Renee. The local train line into Annaka has been shut down and even trains in Tokyo are not running at full service. “If we tried to go back today, it would be difficult to get to our home.”

Mexican Sage, Veronica Sunny Border Blue and Arctotis Pink Sugar. Together, these plants would guarantee year-round flowers.

The cold weather and snow is making things worse for the aid and rescue of those in shelters. It was estimated at one point that about 500,000 were in shelters scattered around northeastern Japan, some even, in Gunma. Aftershocks continue to rock the area. On March 19, 100,000 people in Tokyo slept in shelters due to a 6.1 aftershock. All the trains were stopped and passengers evacuated. “I was finally able to talk to my best friend yesterday,” says Renee. “And while we were talking, she began to moan like a woman in labor. They were hav-

HUGE EMOTIONAL IMPACT Renee is fearful for the mental health of the Japanese who survive the devastation. She understands about post traumatic stress. She lived through the 6.9-magnitude Kobe quake in 1995 that lasted 20 seconds. “It took me five years to get past the trauma. In the weeks following the earthquake, every time we experienced an aftershock, I would look up to make sure the third and fourth floors were still on the buildings. The second floor of many had already been crushed. And that quake pales in comparison.” A week after the Sendai quake,

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Burgundy W i n e Lavatera has a winered flower and looks great installed with some of the dark purple leafed flax plants. Stagger Burgundy Wine with some Platt’s Black Phormium. The dark blossom will really offset the color of the Phormium’s foliage. Lavatera ‘Red Rum’ also has an interesting bloom color; it is a magenta red. This is another selection with burgundy stems, which become more dramatic when this shrub is blooming. LOW MAINTENANCE No variety of Lavatera has any special needs. They will appreciate water to become established and then eventually

Renee is still shaking. “I’m shell shocked. I haven’t slept much, I’m running on adrenalin.” She fears for the Japanese that are in the devastated area. “This is so enormous that I don’t think anyone, even the Japanese, can internalize the scale of the destruction just yet.” THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM She knows that there are 300 elderly people and their caregivers in a facility near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. “They can’t evacuate as many cannot walk and they are being exposed to radiation. They can’t get food. They are living in unbelievably horrible conditions. The situation is beyond our imagina-

become drought tolerant, so consider where you install this plant. It is probably not a good idea to plant Lavatera near the sprinklers that water your lawn. Lavatera will not need any additional fertilizer. In fact, you should skip over this shrub when feeding the rest of the

garden. The shrub is easy to grow and will thrive for any level of garden lover.

tion.” She worries about her husband. “I don’t think this has really hit him, yet. Until last night, he really didn’t know how badly our area was being affected by everything.” Renee has lived in Japan for the last 19 years. Earthquake preparedness has been a way of life – in the schools, the workplace and the home. But, she never really talked about the elephant in the living room – the nuclear power plants. "I don't think anyone ever thought something like this could happen." "Since we are staying past the 24th, there is a lot we have to do next week. My husband's visa and our family's health insurance

will expire. He is applying to the state department for a 30-day automatic visa extension. Our insurance company in Tokyo is closed until Sunday. We just hope it will open as planned. Beyond that, she doesn’t know what will happen. Renee is watching both the American and Japanese news constantly. "What Americans don't realize is that there have been numerous completely separate earthquakes that have been occurring almost daily since the great earthquake. Two have happened east of Annaka and one just happened yesterday south us our home." “Things are changing daily,” Renee says. “We will just stream the news from Japan and wait."

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

MAR 25 Clayton Pioneer 2011.pdf  
MAR 25 Clayton Pioneer 2011.pdf  

Clayton native and mem- ber of one of Clayton’s oldest families, died last week at the age of 97. See obituary on page 6 open all year. ECCF...