Page 1


August 26, 2011


Local family takes home grand prize in CBCA BBQ Rib Cookoff

For the sixth time, Clayton has landed on CNNMoney Magazine’s list of America’s Best Small Towns, moving to 83rd from 87th in 2009. “This picturesque Bay Area town is great for outdoor lovers,” reads the Money Magazine listing. “It’s right next to Mount Diablo State Park. Walkers, bicyclists and equestrians ply the Clayton Trail System, a bucolic 27 miles on 515 acres. The town makes efforts to preserve its Old West heritage – it recently renovated a 1885 winery which now houses City Hall – and its family friendly feel (the crime rate is low) . . . ” Clayton is one of only three California towns to make the list and the only one in Northern California. Walnut and La Palma in Southern California placed 57th and 64th. We asked several Claytonians what THEY think makes Clayton a great place to live.



Lawyering up As summer draws to a close there is lots going on in Clayton, so let’s get started. New attorney. Being one, I can say this on good authority, but no one (ok, maybe mom) likes an attorney unless he/she/it is their attorney. Well, after 47 years, the Council has just hired the second ever Clayton City Attorney. Please welcome Malathay “Mala”

See Mayor, page 6

New businesses set up shop despite rocky economy TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

WHAT RECESSION? Some entrepreneurs are thumbing their noses at the grim economy and following their hearts and heads into new ventures. Since spring, six new businesses have opened in the three business districts between downtown Clayton and Ygnacio Valley Road. DOWNTOWN The ground floor of the Flora Square building at the west end of town is fully leased up. Levity Fitness Studio and

Mike Dunn/Clayton Pioneer

A SURPRISED CLAYTON FAMILY GRILLED THEIR WAY TO A FIRST PLACE win at the CBCA Rib Cookoff on Aug. 20. From left Scott Baker, Jenny Baker, Keith Baker, Mike Baker and Gail Baker. TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Clayton can add another great party to its annual calendar. An estimated 1,500 turned out for barbeque, bands and beer at the 2nd annual Rib Cook-off hosted by the Clayton Club Saloon last Saturday –

more than twice as many as attended last year. By 8 a.m., 24 barbeque teams had their racks of ribs slow cooking on their grills. Mouths were beginning to water as the tantalizing aroma filled the air. A welcome breeze blew through every few minutes to clear the smoke. Four teams of judges waited

at roped off tables behind a sign that read “Please don’t feed the judges.” Local bands provided non stop country and rock. Despite the elbow-to-elbow crowds on the patio, a few determined dancers carved out a bit of space in front of the bandstand. CBCA member, Jim Frazier leaned into the smoke over his

See BBQ, page 2

Despite setbacks in China, Stanfordbound star is eying US Olympic team

City opts out of CalPERS for elected officials

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

See CalPERS, page 6

fire while his team, Frazier’s Angels, worked at tables behind him “It takes love and a long time to make good barbeque,” he says, brushing, turning and poking as the judging hour nears. Teammate Lola Alvarez agrees. “Patience, that’s the secret,” she says.

Kristian Ipsen rebounds from Worlds disappointment for national glory

See Business, page 16

Future city council members will not be treated as city employees for the purpose of participating in the California Public Employees Retirement System. The resolution passed at the August 16 meeting applies only to future councils. Current members who are already a part of the system may

Clayton makes ‘Best Places to Live’ list

AP Photo/Mark. J. Terrill






his Gold Medal at the AT&T National Diving Championships this month at UCLA. The Clayton diver can dream about emulating the feats of Louganis, who won four Olympic gold medals, a silver and missed a fourth Olympics due to the American boycott in 1980.

What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . .15

Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Community Calendar . . . .14

Concert Schedule . . . . . . . .3 Directory of Advertisers . . . .5 DVMS Reporter . . . . . . . . .17 Fit with Levity . . . . . . . . . .15 Food for Thought . . . . . . .18

Athletes at the highest levels need to have not only physical and technical skills but strong mental capabilities as well. No one wins all the time and thus athletes need to learn from setbacks and rebound even stronger in their next game or competition. Clayton’s diving phenom Kristian Ipsen is no different. He’s amassed amazing records and awards since winning his first national championship in 2003, taking at least one American title every year since. The recent De La Salle High School grad moved onto the international stage in a big way

See Ipsen, page 11

Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Letters to the Editor . . . . . .8 Obituary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

MARCELA HUNTINGTON “I love the downtown Grove Park. The community is kid-friendly. Great place to raise children.” GERRI BAKER “I love the sense of community. I am impressed by the planning the city had done; the park system and the downtown development. The crime rate is low and we feel very safe here.” ADELA OLDFORD “The small town flavor. I am a member of several local organizations and enjoy interacting with the members and supporting the community. I feel that I am really able to give back to the community and that is what makes Clayton special for me. JUDY HARVIE “The small town atmosphere. Dining at the local restaurants while the kids play in the park with the mountain in the background. And the fact that Clayton is quiet and not crowded, yet it is so close to San Francisco. It has everything.” HOWARD KECK “Because it has everything a small town should have; a library, a stream running through town and a community park. Both of my girls swam on the Dana Hills swim team and I was impressed with the amount of direct parent interaction that you only get in a small town.” So Anyway . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Sports Shorts . . . . . . . . . .12 Teen Speak . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15


Page 2

Clayton Pioneer •

August 26, 2011

Around Town BBQ, from page 1

Photo by Mike Dunn

Across the way, defending champion Greg Ferrell prepares a bed of greens for the containers that will transport his ribs to the judging tables. His UBO is a familiar sight around town. Ferrell cooks for the Little League and soccer teams and needed a big grill that he could move around. He constructed his “unidentified barbeque object” from two satellite dishes. It’s odd looking, but lightweight and portable. The tension builds. By 2 p.m., the ribs are done and the judges begin their work.

Through elimination, eight entries work their way to chief judge Ed Moresi, owner of Ed’s Mudville Grill and Moresi’s Chophouse, for a final decision. Moresi chews and ponders…and chews some more. Finally, a decision. The best ribs came from the grill of the Mike Baker family of Clayton. “This is amazing,” said a shocked Baker. “I’ve been cooking ribs my whole life and this is the first time I ever competed.” Baker dug out an old recipe that he’d been using for years. “People liked it…we’re going to keep cooking and practicing for next year.” Baker took home a trophy and a $300 cash prize. The Rib Cookoff is a membership drive for the Clayton Business and Community Association. “It’s a chance to reach out to the community and build interest,” says cookoff committee member, Keith Haydon. The CBCA holds three major fundraisers a year, The Art and Wine Festival, the Clayton Classic Golf Tournament and the Oktoberfest. The funds raised from these events are donated to the schools, individuals, local charities and scholarships. For membership information, call (925) 672-2272 or visit

Third: The Neely Family (Jeremy Neely with daughter Victoria and brother in law JJ Setchell and daughter Taylor Rae. Fourth: Lee and Russ Teicheira. Fifth The Debney Group Vaughn Sobajian, VK Sobajian and Gilbert Cerda. Peoples’ Choice: The Neely Family.

Baby boy for the Harrells Andrew Scott Harrell joined his parents, Tim and Catherine Harrell, in their Clayton home on Aug. 9. Andrew weighed in at a little over eight pounds and was 19 ½ inches tall. His grandparents are Toni and Doug Hegemier, also of Clayton.

Vacationing families don crazy hats to support friend in cancer treatment

Winners of the 2nd annual CBCA BBQ Rib Cookoff First: The Baker Family Group. Second:: Brothers Shan and Sam Ray.

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August 26, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Around Town

Benjamin Hudson achieves Eagle rank Benjamin Hudson Egle of Boy Scout Troop 484 celebrated his Eagle Scout rank in a Court of Honor ceremony at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on June 4. B e n j a m i n designed, planned and constructed an informational trailhead kiosk for Borges Ranch in Walnut Creek as his Eagle Scout project. Benjamin, son of Brent and Corinne Egle of Clayton, graduated in 2011 from Clayton Valley High School.

Casso plaque back in its rightful place Friends and fellow Rotarians of the late Ray Casso were dismayed last month to find the plaque on his memorial bench in The Grove had been pried off by vandals. Close friend Bill Selb took charge of replacing the plaque which was installed last week. “This has been quite an experience with one of our Rotarians actually offering to pay $1,000 to replace the bench if it was necessary,” said Selb. The small plaque had virtually no monetary value, but was an important remembrance of the well-liked man. Casso was murdered in a brutal slaying at the Clayton Post Office in March of 2009. Shannon Moore of Concord was arrested and is being held in Napa State Hospital.

Clayton community to come together for 9-11 remembrance To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, four area churches will unite with Clayton firefighters and police for a memorial remembrance and a Community Service Day as “We Move Forward from Sorrow to Strength.” The first event will begin at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the Clayton Fire Station and will end with a candlelight vigil walk to the flagpole at the end of Main Street. In between will be words of remembrance and hope, prayers and music. All attending are encouraged to wear patriotic colors and bring a lawn chair, a candle for the vigil walk and a can of food for the St. Bonaventure food pantry. The following weekend, the remembrance will continue with a 9-11 Community Service Day. Four teams of volunteers will spend three hours pulling

weeds at Diamond Terrace, sorting food at the St. Bonaventure food pantry, assembling picnic tables at Diablo View Middle School and washing Clayton police cars. To participate, sign up at the candlelight vigil on Sep. 11 or simply meet at The Grove on Sept. 17 at 9 a.m. for coffee and pastries. The churches involved in both events are St. Bonaventure Catholic Community, Clayton Community Church, Clayton Valley Presbyterian, and St. John’s Episcopal. For more information, email

8th Annual Clayton Community Labor Day Derby and Car Show The 8th Annual Clayton Community Labor Day Derby and Car Show is set for Sat., Sept. 3. This combined event is sponsored by the Clayton Community Church

and will be held in downtown Clayton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Derby is open to all children 7-14. No driving experience necessary! Come and join in the fun of racing down Main Street in the snazzy racing cars donated and decorated by local merchants and supporters. For more information, contact Doug LaVenture,, (510) 816-4221. Last year, the show featured over 300 cars from vintage and restored 1900s to 2012 showpieces. See Custom, Retros, Restored, Foreign, Muscle and Rods, Police and Trucks. Entries this year are expected to equal or top last year’s The cars will be on display from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a trophy parade following the judging. For more information and to enter, go to or email Dale Schell,

Page 3

Say ‘Opa!’ to the Greek Festival Get ready for great food, fine wines and the best music this side of the Adriatic as St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church prepares for the 33rd annual Greek Food and Wine Festival on Sept. 16, 17 and 18 on the church grounds on Kirker Pass Road in Concord. In addition to savory gyros, tasty kebobs and luscious desserts, the annual

s in t r e c n Co Grove the Saturdays 6 to 8:30 p.m.

At the Gazebo in The Grove Set up chairs and blankets on the lawn after 4 p.m.

Aug. 27 A Swingin’ Evening with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Rat Pack Orchestra

September 10 East Bay Mudd 10-piece dance band with a Powerful horn section

September 17 The Hot Rods Rock and roll from the 50s and 60s

event features a dining room serving Greek food cooked by the “Yia Yai Sisterhood” – the congregation’s “grandmas” who make Concord feel like the homeland. They are all dedicated to cooking the best Greek food with the freshest ingredients and authentic recipes, all prepared on the Church premises. Besides good food, the festival features artisans booths and children’s activities. This year the festival will also feature an assortment of Greek wines to taste. Be sure to pair them with favorite Greek dishes like Moussaka or Souvlaki. Throughout the festival, traditional Greek musicians and dancers will be on hand for entertainment. The festival runs Friday, Sept. 16 , from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday Sept. 17 from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 18 from noon to 8 p.m. The church is located at 1955 Kirker Pass Road in Concord. For more information, call 925-676-6967 or visit

Rained out band from June 4. Note Special time: 5 pm to 7:30 pm Sponsored by the city of Clayton, CBCA and Allied Waste Services

Local Food To Go

Support your local businesses and restaurants. Takeout or dine in before or after the concert. Moresi’s Chophouse 6115 Main St., 672-1333 Ed’s Mudville Grill 6200 Center St., 673-0333 La Veranda Cafe 6201 Center St., 524-0011 Canesa’s Brooklyn Deli 6054 Main St., 852-1650 Skipolini’s Pizza 1035 Diablo St., 672-1111 Village Market 6104 Main St., 672-0188 Johnny’s Int’l Deli & Café 6101 Center St., 672-1203 Cup O’Jo 6054 Main St., 6725105 Subway Sandwiches, 1026 Oak St., 693-0621




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5557 Alabama Drive, Concord $299,000 Clayton Valley Highlands – 3BD/1.5BA has 1,600 s.f. including living room & family room w/large windows to beautiful gardens. Open, eat-in kitchen. 6-panel doors, central HVAC and dual panes.

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23 Ceemar Court, Concord $398,000 Central Concord – With a great court location, this single-story 3BD/2BA home offers 1,628 s.f. and a sparkling pool on a large lot with well-water maintained landscaping & RV access. Features a large master with ample closets.

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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

August 26, 2011

MDUSD trustees hear support for Charter School petition

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Parents, teachers, and politicians alike sweated together, crowded shoulder-toshoulder on a recent evening into the non-air conditioned Monte Gardens Elementary School multi-purpose room. There, they met to show their support to the MDUSD Board of Education for the Clayton Valley High School charter petition. The vast majority of the 28 speakers were in favor of the petition. Tracy Moran was at the meeting with two of her three children currently attending public schools in the District. “I’m really hopeful for it,” she said of the petition. “We moved into the area because of the ratings of the schools. But in those years, we’ve watched [their] decline.” Congressional Representative George Miller also expressed his support. “It is my opinion that it is in the best interests of all MDUSD stakeholders to support this charter petition and allow CVCHS a chance to explore, develop and share their success,” he wrote in a

STEPHANIE LOPEZ Realtor®, DRE#01370548


letter to School Board President Gary Eberhart. Eberhart voiced concerns, however.

“My concern is that what’s lacking is a lot of the details,” he said. “It’s the detail that really tells us that things have

See Charter School, page 9

Clayton to host mayor’s cookoff What do mayors and markets have in common? Food. Healthy food. Mayor Dave Shuey has challenged the mayors of the county’s 18 other cities to a Healthy Brunch cook-off, hosted by the city of Clayton in The Grove on Sept. 10. This will be the third year for the Iron Chef-style competition designed to promote

healthier lifestyles for its citizens. Each mayor will be one of a three-person team, which includes a school principal and a local chef. The challenge is to prepare a healthy brunch that must include a salsa and an egg dish. ABC News anchor Dan Ashley will emcee the competition. Judges from Trader Vic’s, Whole Foods and Revolution

Foods will decide the winning dish. The Pacific Coast Farmers Market will donate locally-grown produce and Mark Hall and Sons are donating all of the cage-free eggs from their Napa farm. The cook-off begins at 8 a.m. Judging will take place at 10:30 a.m. and the event will wrap up by noon.

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FamilyFest coming to Heather Farm Park Labor Day Weekend Event benefits Food Bank and local non-profits GARY CARR Special to the Pioneer

The second annual Walnut Creek FamilyFest brings loads of low-cost family fun to treelined Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek for the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-5. The event runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. FamilyFest includes nonstop free entertainment along with dozens of family activities geared to kids, tweens and parents - Kid’s Town America, BMX Bike Stunt Team, Saving Wildlife show, SpongeBob SquarePants and other superheroes, face painting, balloon art, bounces and crawls, 100 arts and crafts and exhibitor booths and more.

Admission is $5 per person with the donation of a canned good for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, $6 without a can donation. Babies under 24 months and seniors 65 and older are free. In addition to the Food Bank, FamilyFest benefits local non-profit educational, health, sports, and youth organizations. Organizer of the event is Clayton resident Jay Bedecarré, whose Bay Area Festivals also produces the popular KidFest in Concord. A highlight of FamilyFest is the Saving Wildlife International show, designed to teach kids about the natural world through live animal presentations. Many of the animals in the show had been abandoned or displaced, but now have a permanent caring home and meaningful life in SWI educational programs. Among he “Wildlife Ambassadors” are monkeys,

tigers, exotic birds, and a host of kid-friendly reptiles. Also available at FamilyFest for an additional fee is a food court and nearly 20 rides including a Ferris wheel, petting zoo, Hamster Balls, Bobble Lagoon, pony rides, giant slide, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, and other kid-oriented rides. Heather Farm Park is located on North San Carlos Drive at Heather Drive, one block off Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. Parking in the park is $5. For more information and a complete schedule, please visit

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SARA KOMMER, CVHS SOPHOMORE (LEFT) and freshman Gaby Bacigalupo speak to the school board in support of the charter school conversion.

been thought about and considered.” He named as one example student assessments. “It’s not been well-articulated in the plan. Does that mean that they’re not going to have a strong assessment program to make sure that the things that they’re doing are working and that they’re moving kids forward and advancing them and that teachers and administrators are doing what they’re supposed to do?” Questions were raised by members of the community, as to the District’s silence regarding school budget numbers. “Is it because you don’t have it ready yet?” Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister theorized. “Is it because you don’t


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August 26, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

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

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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 discriminates 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.

Auto Economy Auto Painting and Body Work . . . . . . .757-2222 Mike's Auto Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-1739 Construction and Trades Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700 Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423 Bill Peck Home Improvements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-9786 Burkin Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212-3339 Contra Costa Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-8713 Diablo View Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .822-5144 J&J’s Final Coat Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .625-5849 LHI Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-9941 Tipperary Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-2679

Dining and Entertainment Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Memo’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .691-6200 Ravioli’s Italian Market Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-3819 Subway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0621 Willows Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .957-2500 Events Clayton Community Church Family Fest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pacific Coast Farmers Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-9090

City of Clayton is accepting applications for a Clayton resident to serve as the appointmented member on the

COUNTY ADVISORY COUNCIL ON AGING Office Term: July 2010 - June 2012 The Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Aging advises the County Area Agency on Aging on all matters related to the development and administration of senior programs throughout the County, in accordance with the mandates of the Older Americans Act. The Advisory Council meets monthly on the third Wed., from 9:30 a.m.- noon in Concord. Members choose one of four work groups on which to serve: Housing, Health, Transportation or Legislative Advocacy. Mileage expenses to and from meetings are reimbursable. Send a letter of interest to Mayor David Shuey, City of Clayton, 6000 Heritage Trail, Clayton, CA 94517, or by E-mail to The mayor will review applications, interview applicants, and recommend appointment to the City Council.

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Project Second Chance, Contra Costa County Library’s adult literacy program. Tutor training class begins Sept. 21. or 927-3250.

Low-interest financing on new or used vehicles.

Diablo Valley Literacy Council, English tutors. Tutor training class begins Sept. 24. Call Maureen 685-3881.

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


Since 1951, Travis Credit Union has put members behind the wheel of new and used vehicles of every make, size and model. From classic 1950s cars to today’s hybrid vehicles, we’ve helped generations get the auto loan they need for the cool vehicle that they want.

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Page 5

Clayton Valley: 5442 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite 10 Concord: 1257 Willow Pass Road Antioch–Slatten Ranch: 5819 Lone Tree Way Antioch–Terrace Center: 2721 Lone Tree Way Richmond–Hilltop Plaza: 3300-A Klose Way *APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is based on applicant’s credit history and other underwriting factors. This rate reflects the 0.25% discount for automatic payment and 1% discount for being a valued TCU member for more than six months. For example, at 2.98% APR for 60 months, payments are $17.96 per month per $1,000 financed, based on $0 down on a vehicle that is 2 years old or newer. Other rates and restrictions apply to older vehicle models. All loan rates are subject to change daily without notice. Please visit our Web site for current rates on vehicle loans. TCU vehicle loans are not eligible for refinancing. Everyone who lives, works, or attends school in Contra Costa or Alameda, part of our 12-county area, is eligible to join. Certain membership requirements may apply.

Real Estate Agents Be Successful! Lynne French is expanding and interviewing for a few agents. Call her today 6728787.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED 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 6749072. To learn more about volunteering for Hospice of the East Bay please contact 887-5678, or email

Financial and Insurance Services Benton, Mureleen - Ameriprise Financial . . . . . .685-4523 Held, Chris - Wells Fargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .609-9415 Kommer, Paul - Merrill Lynch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .988-2111 Littorno, Richard - Attorney at Law . . . . . . . . . . .672-6463 ProFit Business Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-1025 Snyder, Ken - Genworth Financial . . . . . . . . . . . .270-3617 Travis Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-800-877-8328 Van Wyck, Doug - State Farm Insurance . . . . . . .672-2300 Funerals Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242 Home and Garden Abbey Carpet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-9901 Clayton Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-2299 Clear Splash Pool Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-6245 Danmer Shutters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202-1220 Diablo Lawnscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381-3757 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Mailing and Shipping Postal Annex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-5246 The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Optometry Foresight Optometry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4100 Personal Services Hair Now Styling Salon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-5665 Pet Services Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1100 Pet Suites Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432-7387 Rodie’s Feed and Pet Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600 Real Estate and Mortgage Services 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 Earthquake Arabians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360-7454 Levity Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2995 Senior Services Diamond Terrace Senior Retirement Living . . . . .524-5100 Services, Other Computers USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Contra Costa Water District Rebates . . . . . . . . . .688-8320 Net Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6029 Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . .473-0180 Specialty Shops Blessed Brides by Sarah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1200 Step Into Comfort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2276 Travel Cruise Adventures Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .935-7447 Travel to Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9840 Worship Church of Jesus Christ of LDS . . . . . . . Clayton Valley Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-3397 St. Demetrios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-6967

Courage Do the Right Thing

Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •


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August 26, 2011


CalPERS, from page 1 not opt out, according to CalPERS rules. But, they should at least be required to cover the employee portion of their own pension payments, said Medrano. I do not believe any local city, county, state or federally elected official should receive a retirement plan on the backs of tax payers,” Medrano says. In a discussion that turned contentious, Councilmember Julie Pierce said the contribution should continue to be voluntary. “If you think you should pay it, then do the right thing and pay it,” Pierce told Medrano. Pierce and Hank Stratford have been voluntarily paying the employee portion. Medrano, Dave Shuey and Howard Geller have not. “The only reason Julie and Hank have been contributing is because of me,” says Medrano who first brought up the issue two years ago. “If you’ve wanted it mandatory for two years, then you should have (been paying it), Geller shot back.

Medrano’s motion failed in a 3-2 vote with Pierce, Shuey and Geller voting to leave the contribution voluntary and Medrano and Stratford voting to make it mandatory. “I don’t see any reason to burden an already overworked staff with writing a resolution that only applies to the five of us when we can accomplish the same thing by signing a simple form to have the contribution withheld from our checks,” said Pierce. Councilmembers receive a monthly stipend of $390. The 7 percent employee contribution amounts to $27.30 per month. Geller is the only council member that has health insurance through the CalPERS plan. He has been paying 100 percent of the cost. However, in researching the CalPERS issue, the city learned that they should have been paying the $108 employer portion of Geller’s health insurance. The city cannot require employees to pay this portion. Geller plans to cover this by donating the $108 back to the city.

Mayor, from page 1 Subramanian and her firm, Best, Best & Kreiger for what we hope is another four of five decades of representation. And thanks to Maury Huguet and Dan Adams for all their years of service to Clayton. GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT. The Council has just renewed, for another 10 years, the franchise agreement with Allied Waste, our garbage hauler. Many of you may not know much about them other than seeing their trucks, but if you look carefully at the sponsors of almost every event put on in Clayton you will see them on the top of the list. Not only are they good neighbors, but they are the top of the customer service pyramid for trash haulers in our county and we get great service for among the lowest price in the County. Among the new perks of our contract is curbside battery, fluorescent bulb, and e-waste recycling. We got a great deal for the right price and apparently long relationships are the norm for us. New homes: By the time you read this, the building permit should have been issued for the Toll Brothers to build the 25home Diablo Estates project on the old seminary site. We look forward to this quality new project in town. Our parking lot expansion project is nearing completion, but is a wee bit behind and so will not be completed until approximately Sept. 15. This means there will be some school traffic issues at the middle school so just bear with us and please do not use your middle finger at the middle school. And how about the Supremes. The big news is the

Supreme Court granted the cities’ petition to hold a hearing on the merits of whether the killing off redevelopment agencies in the State Budget was a constitutional act under Proposition 22. So we shall see in the next few months whether this particular state raid on cities will stand. It means a lot of money to Clayton, so stay tuned. Church process. And finally, following up on my last column regarding the upcoming church project proposal downtown, I want to elaborate on the process. The gas station proposal that went to the public for a vote was done because the City owned the land and sought the public opinions regarding the best use of the proposal. In the current case, the applicant (the church) filed a land use application. Under the law they are entitled to have a decision made by the Council, which is what you elected us to do under our representative government system. However, to be clear, once the Council makes a decision the applicant or the public (you) is entitled to place the matter on the ballot as a referendum to overturn the Council’s decision, provided doing so does not violate applicable laws. That may or may not comfort some of you but I am just stating the facts. And in conclusion… in honor of our new City Attorney, and just poking fun at myself and others because we can’t take it too seriously, I pose the following question: “If a lawyer and a politician were both drowning and you could save only one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?” Email me at

30 minutes can impact your next 30 years

Andre Kim Wilkin 1935 – 2011

Andre Kim Wilkin, 76, a resident of Clayton passed away July 28, 2011 after a brief hospitalization. “Kim” as he was known to all was born in Berkeley, California to Ira King and Jean Andre Wilkin of Orinda. He attended Orinda Grammar School and Acalanes HS where he excelled in swimming. He received his degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at City College of SF and a business degree from Univ. of Denver. He served two years in the U.S. Army including a year in Seoul, Korea. His business career included employment with Dow Chemical, Bemis Co., and U.S. Envelope.


Patrick Kevin Smith Oct. 5, 1964 – Aug. 10, 2011 Clayton resident, Pat Smith, passed away unexpectedly this month at the young age of 46. An avid gardener, camper, fisherman, boater, home chef, youth sports coach, and sports fan, Pat’s greatest joy was his two sons. Pat was born in Oakland and grew up in Walnut Creek. A graduate of De la Salle High School and resident of Clayton, Pat is survived by his loving wife of 21 years Krista, sons sons, Joshua, 18, and Riley, 15. Pat leaves behind parents Brian and Jan Smith of Clayton, brothers Brian and Barney (Catherine), a niece, nephews and many other loving family members and friends. A celebration of his life was held on August 21 at Borges Ranch in Walnut Creek.

Memorial donations may be made to the Joshua and Riley Smith College Fund at Wells Fargo Bank, 1499 N. Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596, Attn: Deborah Upshaw.

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Kim had an engaging strong personality, great zest for life with a sharp wit and sense of humor remembered by all. He was a born entertainer and was happiest when he could make others laugh. He had a special gift for story telling and playing piano – especially with his brother Peter who predeceased him. He is survived by Sonja, his wife of 53 years, son Christopher King Wilkin (Mary) of Seaview, WA, daughter Karen Jean Atkinson (Jim) of Rocklin, California, grandchildren Camilla, Lily, Rainey, Jackson, and Madeleine. He also leaves behind his nephew Christian Wilkin and niece Tina Wilkin. Kim enjoyed golfing and fishing as well as dominos, especially during his 20 years as member of The Family in SF. He had strong convictions and broad knowledge in many fields including genealogy, and was proud of being the last descendent of Major John Andre. He felt a strong connection to Cal Berkeley through the affiliation of his parents and grandparents. A private celebration of his life was held August 20 at Endeavor Hall. Memorial contributions may be made to Save Mount Diablo, Hospice of East Bay, Loaves and Fishes or charity of choice.


Call me today at (925) 685-4523. Mureleen Benton, CFP , Financial Advisor ®

A financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. 5356 Clayton Rd., Suite 211 Concord, CA 94521 (925) 685-4523 CA License #0692378 Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Some products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions or to all clients. The initial consultation provides an overview of financial planning concepts. You will not receive written analysis and/or recommendations. © 2010 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

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August 26, 2011

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 7

How will U.S. credit rating affect mortgages? Q. I know you have heard that the United States’ credit rating has been downgraded by Standard & Poor. Do you think mortgage interest rates will go up due to this? A. Yes I definitely have heard this. This is the first time in history this has happened. It went from AAA to AA+. What if your own credit rating declined? The interest rate on your purchases would be higher. The lender would be less sure of your ability to pay your debt. It seems like the downgrade won’t affect mortgage rates immediately though. There is pressure to keep them down to help the housing recession. Homeowners who have a fixed rate mortgage won’t be affected as long as they keep that loan. Those with a fluctuating loan like an ARM (adjustable rate

will also downgrade the credit of the U.S. If so the outcome could be much worse.


REAL ANSWERS mortgage) may see a rise later on. Many mortgage loans are tied to the yield on the 10-year Treasury Bonds. The downgrade could increase the yield on these bonds and it would cost the government more to borrow the same amount of money. Rates would go up. We still don’t know if the other credit rating agencies

Q. My wife has much worse credit than mine from before we were together. Part of it is from student loans and consumer debt. We want to buy home together. Can we count her income but not her credit? Do we have to show her credit? My income is enough to afford a home but we could get a better one with her income. How should we approach this? A. One thing you didn’t mention is how much money you have for a down payment. If you have 20 percent down and you can do conventional financing both the credit and the debt of your wife can be completely

Customers are in the driver’s seat at Economy Auto Painting PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

He loves to joke, but takes customer satisfaction very seriously. Clayton resident Kevin Fitzgerald, owner of Economy Auto Painting and Body Work in Antioch, was born with a wry sense of humor and has ties to cars and paints jobs for nearly as long. Fitzgerald bought a paint franchise in Antioch in 2000 and took it independent earlier this year, allowing him to offer better pricing to the customer by eliminating the middleman. Three levels of paint packages give the customer a wide range of choices for budget and finish. “All of our work comes with a warranty,” Fitzgerald says and is inspected by him or a designate. It is not surprising to read on the company’s website that “Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority.” Kevin McLaughlin has owned an auto dealership and restoration business in Concord for 31 years. “We’ve had hundreds of cars done there,” McLaughlin says of Fitzgerald’s shop. “It’s worth the money and a good value.” Their work together also

includes the restoration of Clayton’s antique police car. Fitzgerald explains what makes Economy unique is that “most body shops are not referred to as production shops.” Economy is a production shop, offering full-body paint jobs in addition to the typical spot repairs and insurance work. Economy also does mini restorations. “We have a reputation for doing those.” True to their ad, Economy is “family owned and operated.” His father and Clayton fixture, Don Fitzgerald, helped run the business initially and Fitzgerald’s wife Dana is his business partner and manages the administrative work. His son Sean manages the store. (Their other son Tyler works for UPS.) Fitzgerald’s role is everything from “writing estimates to sweeping floors,” he says. He leaves the paint and body work to his professional staff. “Those are the people who make a living doing what they do. I manage the process.” But the close-knit relationship of the owners make sense to their clientele. “It’s a family operation that is proud of their work,” says customer Marc Felker. Fitzgerald moved with his

ignored. Of course you can’t count her income. She can go on the title to the property though but not on the loan. You can do a version of this with an FHA loan where you only have to put 3.5 percent down. The loan can be in your name only and they use your credit score but your wife’s debt can’t be ignored. You must include her debts for qualifying purposes even if she isn’t on the loan. So you would qualify for less than the conventional loan.

NEW men’s ore Wo

t S e Sho


f f o 5%

Send your question & look for your answer in a future column. E-mail: Lynne French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. For any real estate needs or questions contact her at 925- 672-8787 or stop in at 6200 Center Street in Clayton.


is ad n th 15/2011 o i t n e 9/ ou m expires y OPEN M-F, 10:30-6 n r whe Offe Sat 10:30-5 Sun 12-5

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4 Bedroom, 2 Bath single story Dana Hills rancher with a swimming pool is being fixed up to soon come on the Market! Located on a quiet court and backed up to the greenbelt, this home will have fresh paint, new carpets and some refinished hardwood flooring! Call PETE to get a quick look!

For a personal showing, call PETE at 890-6004 KNOWLEDGE




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Broker, Realtor, GRI 2950 Buskirk Avenue, Ste. 140, Walnut Creek Direct 940-2777  Cell 890-6004  Fax 937-0150

Kevin Fitzgerald (left) and dad Don. Kevin started Economy Auto Painting 11 years ago with Don’s help.

parents from New York to California in 1978. The move was determined by Don’s career with 3M selling printing supplies. Following in his dad’s footsteps, Fitzgerald joined 3M after graduating from Clayton Valley High School. “I was into cars. 3M was an excellent place to land,” Fitzgerald says. He was a sales rep for 3M in the automotive industry. Later, Fitzgerald was the regional director of business development for SherwinWilliams in their automotive paint manufacturing area before purchasing the franchise. Economy offers special deals to its Pioneer readers. For those that are deterred by the thought of driving to Antioch, Fitzgerald makes the drive daily and says it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to get to their shop. All jokes aside, “It takes just as long to get to downtown Walnut Creek.” For more information, go to


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Clayton Pioneer •

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Letters to the Editor Rebuts archeological significance of church site (I am responding to the) Clayton Historical Society’s objections to the EIR conclusions reported in the June 24 issue of the Clayton Pioneer. There have been many other studies since the 1983 study cited, including environmental studies (Negative Declarations) for the proposed gas station and Longs project site (two studies – same conclusions), the Creekside Terrace Project site, the DeMartini Winery/City Hall project and, in reference to the objections stated, similar studies for Endeavor Hall and the Keller

City should uphold TCSP Mayor Shuey makes a good point in his last Mayor’s Column (Clayton Pioneer, August 12), calling for civility as the Clayton Community Church land use application is deliberated. While we can debate the merits of what should occur on downtown’s largest remaining commercial parcel, we should remember that we have a Town Center Specific Plan that clearly defines what should be built in the town center. The Plan was created with many years of Council, Citizen, and professional input. The Plan clearly states that the objective is “to develop Main Street as a

August 26, 2011

House, that have either drawn contrary conclusions disputing the Historical Society’s opinions as to the Draft EIR’s consideration or the historical significance of the parcels and sites located in the downtown. As for observations during the many actual construction and excavations in the downtown area since the 1983 study none of the studies precluded their construction for historical significance reasons nor did they reveal massive finds of artifacts collected when built. As for the Pioneer Inn structure, it appears that the Draft EIR report accurately reflects the his-

torical significance of the building —at least in its current condition. It is also worth considering that the since the church’s purchase, subsequent ownership and use of the structure as far as the last fire, this represents a rather significant part of the structure’s historical timeline and the church’s stewardship and care of the facility should carry at least some significance in this discussion, at least reflective versus the stewardship of some of its previous owners. As to the fate of the Pioneer Inn, considerations should also reflect the points noted by the church in both their application and subsequent reported publications that the insistence on adherence to the Town’s Center

Specific Plan’s two-story guidelines, program, use and architectural guideline requirements have forced the hand of the church in considering demolition of the current structure. From these reflections and observations the possibility still exists for an adaptive reuse of the Pioneer Inn that might be worth considering in brokering a consensus with the church’s application and aspirations and the concerns of the Historical Society that could potentially allow the saving of the current structure similar to that which was accomplished at City Hall and Endeavor Hall. Glenn Miller Clayton

shopping street, with as few breaks in the shopping frontage as possible” (parking to be in the rear). It describes the church’s parcels as “highly visible” and clearly notes their importance – what is built on them will be “the Town Center’s most important building.” Before this church bought the property, the city had denied a proposal from the previous owner because it underutilized the parcel – it didn’t provide for enough commercial space. So, the project didn’t fly. This church knew this but proceeded to buy the property anyway. Clayton already has enough assembly

areas in town. What we need is more shopping and retail commercial. So, as this application goes through the process, the dividing force comes from those who do not want the Town Center Specific Plan enforced – who want the city and citizens to abandon their goals for the downtown. Developers commonly propose changes to a city’s plans or zonings. Sometimes they are approved and sometimes they are rejected. This is the burden and risk that developers always take. Hopefully the Planning Commission and the City Council will carry out the Town Center Plan so when the econo-

my recovers that parcel will attract the two-story commercial structure needed to anchor that end of town and to encourage development of the remaining parcels in our quaint downtown, making Clayton the best that it can be. We hope the Planning Commission and the City Council will uphold the Town Center Specific Plan, so that Clayton’s citizens won’t have to go to the trouble of mounting a referendum to maintain the Plan’s zoning. Pete Laurence Former Clayton mayor

Make the call while you still can Last week, my neighbor took his own life. For the sake of privacy I won’t state his name. I was at the house with his father and the police shortly after they made the discovery. I sat in their hallway rubbing my face with my hands trying to absorb what I was seeing, not believing it, yet unable to deny what my own eyes were witnessing. Understand that I hesitate to write about certain things. I worry about my reasons for writing, the fallout of my words, the possible reactions. Will my words anger someone, or worse, cause pain? But writing is what I’ve always tried to do. It’s the only thing I’ve never totally lost interest in doing. It may be sporadic and with long sabbaticals, but I always come back to it, and when something happens I feel a need to write about it. Often I have no choice. I don’t know what I hope to gain but something inside clicks on, and my mind begins mulling how I might write about it. When I realized I had a column due my topic was clear. My neighbor and I actually graduated from the same high school together; a fact discov-


SO ANYWAY ered when our wives met during one of Lisa’s neighborhood visits to show the kids our new house. That was in July of 1999. We were not close friends in school. We knew of each other, had classes together and were friendly in the way that one is friendly with a lot of kids at school. But it wasn’t a friendship that extended beyond the school borders. When we became neighbors, geography dictated that we become friends. It wasn’t hard. Our time together spanned various activities over the years; the occasional meal, our annual block parties, the times out front throwing a ball

to our boys, conversations over our backyard fence, or just a well-timed trip to the mailbox. When our boys were little he used to take them all fishing at Heather Farm. My young son loved playing with his oldest boy and helping himself to ribs from their barbeque. I won’t profess to know why he did it. Physically, he’d been in poor health, the result of several debilitating injuries. He’d already endured multiple surgeries and still had more surgery in his future. I can only imagine the depression a young person feels when their body deteriorates well before its time. My own aches and pains are depressing enough, yet nowhere near what he experienced. As the years went by he began to isolate himself, finding it easier to deal with the pain and discomfort at home. The Saturday before he died, I had thought to call him. I knew his family was out of town – he chose to stay home as long car rides were very painful – and I was having another vacation bachelor over for a few beers and some dinner. I never made the call.

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I didn’t think he’d come but I never gave him the chance. I don’t know if he was still alive that night but maybe a phone call would have made the difference. I’ll never know. I feel terrible for him, for what he must have been feeling; for his family, particularly his children, having to deal with the loss of their father. There are no words that can ease the pain they must be going through. We get busy in this life and allow supposed important commitments and obligations to rule our days. We don’t spend enough time with friends, often times finding it easier not to make the effort. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. It’s too late for my friend but maybe there’s someone in your life that you haven’t seen or spoken to for awhile, someone you’ve thought about calling and haven’t. Make the call.

Clayton resident, Joe Romano, is a family man, a free-lance writer for hire and a regular contributor to the Pioneer. E-mail him at

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of players that are super motivated rather than coach a bunch of unmotivated players that really know the plan. Motivation goes a long way” he said. Regardless of whether the petition is approved, Eberhart hopes to direct future decision-making from the District level back into the hands of local school principals. “We need to give them the tools, and we need to get them the information they need to manage their school within the guidelines, and we need to let them make their own decisions,” he said. The District is scheduled to vote on the charter petition at its meeting on Sept. 13.

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know how to do it? Nobody seems to know.” Eberhart said the District’s lack of response in terms of budget numbers is due not to reticence, but because the District is running shortstaffed with respect to administrative personnel. Nevertheless, he noted budget numbers are one factor the District is not allowed to take into account in its decision to approve or deny the charter petition. The charter’s Steering Committee promises ownership and accountability, on-site management, academic rigor

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Clayton Pioneer •

August 26, 2011

Clayton Sports

Clayton’s Chris Mazza signs MLB contract during his three years as an Oak,” remarked Menlo Athletic Director Keith Spataro. “He made the program proud.” “I actually was scouted almost all season by Tampa Bay and thought they would draft me,” Mazza said. . When the draft came June 6-8 it “was a real roller coaster” for the young pitcher. He was playing for the Wilmington (NC) Sharks of the Coastal Plains League, a collegiate summer league featuring wooden bats. “We had heard I would be drafted in the 12th round or so. We kept checking but as time went by we weren’t sure what would happen.”

before the June Major League Draft. “It is so rare for an organization to draft someone they haven’t seen in person several times,” said Strankman, a Walnut Creek resident who played in the minors for the San Francisco Giants.

Minnesota Twins have high hopes for pitcher from CVHS JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Here’s one not-so-common way to get drafted and sign a professional contract as a pitcher with a Major League Baseball organization: Pitch 2 1/3 innings in high school, then go to a small college which has never had a baseball player sign a pro contract and set school batting records for triples and homeruns. Clayton’s Chris Mazza did exactly that, making his boyhood dreams come true Aug. 15 when he signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins organization as his family and Twins area scout Elliott Strankman looked on. To show that his journey was as odd as it sounds, the right-handed pitcher signed his contract left-handed (as he does all his writing). Not only did Mazza take an unusual route to the Twins he was also unique in that Strankman only saw him pitch once in a college game and the Twins scouting supervisor and director never saw him at all

CHANGING THE GAME AT MENLO COLLEGE Mazza was on the Clayton Valley High School varsity for head coach Casey Coakley in his junior and senior years as a third baseman and shortstop and helped the Eagles to the North Coast Section playoff semifinals both years. He made four brief pitching appearances in his senior year. Mazza then enrolled at Menlo College in Atherton, helping the Oaks change their program around and this past season qualified for NAIA postseason play for the first time. As a college junior this year Mazza started once among his 19 pitching appearances. That was the one time Strankman was able to see him pitch and the scout, who covers Northern California and Reno high school and college ball, came away impressed. “I liked his mechanics.” He made no other scouting visits. “Northern California is a baseball-rich area and I can’t

Photo courtesy of Mazza Family

CLAYTON’S CHRIS MAZZA (RIGHT) signed his professional baseball contract with the Minnesota Twins organization last week at El Charro restaurant in Lafayette. Area scout Elliott Strankman (left) scouted Mazza this year at Menlo College and is pleased the Twins had faith is his assessment of the right-handed pitcher after only one in person scouting visit to select Mazza in the 27th round of the Major League Draft in June. Mazza played summer ball in North Carolina and didn’t sign his contract until the deadline for draftees Aug. 15.

spend a day waiting for a possible chance that Chris would pitch in relief.” To re-affirm his impression, Strankman arranged for a bullpen session with Mazza

at Diablo Valley College. The Florida Marlins were also on hand for that workout. Mazza was 3-4 with nine saves and a 2.73 ERA for Menlo

while striking out 28 in 29 2/3 innings. He hit .337 with five homers and a team-best 41 RBI. “It was an honor and a privilege to see Chris grow and develop

THE PHONE CALL Mazza was on the field for the National Anthem before a Sharks game in Florence, SC when his cell phone rang in the dugout. After the anthem (the Sharks manager knew Mazza was expecting to be drafted and allowed him to have the phone with him) he found out the Twins picked him in the 27th round. “It’s an incredibly special moment for him and the rest of Menlo,” his college coach Matt Daily said. “It validates all the

See Mazza, page 12

Dana Hills caps summer of change with a flourish JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Photo by Joern Weigelt courtesy of Dana Hills Swim Team

THE DANA HILLS SWIM TEAM 9-10 GIRLS FREESTYLE QUARTET of, from left, Camille Cline, Sarah Hamilton, Gabi Mancini and Logan Sherman won the Outstanding Relay award at the Concord City Meet with a new record in the 200 free relay. The 9-10 DHST girls relays came back at county to set team records in both the 200 free (1:59.88) and 200 medley (2:19.29). Alex Brown swam in the county medley relay and Brooke Johnson in the free relay, joining Mancini, Hamilton and Sherman.

When the Dana Hills Swim Team announced last winter that it was bringing back Serge Victor as head coach for the first time since 1995 it signaled a new direction which was sure to impact every aspect of the successful Clayton recreation swim program. Now that the season has ended it is hard to argue with the results. The Otters won the Contra Costa Swim League and Concord City Meet championships in overwhelming fashion, took second at the Woodlands Invitational and then capped the effort in the pool with a runner-up spot at the 51st annual Contra Costa County Meet. That finish matched the best-ever DHST placement at County Meet in 1995 when Victor last led the team. What was so impressive

about the County Meet results besides the overall team ranking were the 12 individual DHST club records and seven relays who established all-time DHST marks for the club founded in 1977. “It has been a challenging season for the team for many reasons. New head coach, new overall team culture, training and competition philosophy. The team has successfully adopted elevated training standards and expectations,” Victor said after the County Meet and final team get together. “In addition, I am extremely proud of all swimmers unifying throughout the season because the team did have multiple families coming from other teams.” The head coach, who has been serving as Aquatics and Fitness Director of Oakhurst Country Club since 1998, added, “Most of our training and competition expectations and goals have been reached and

even been exceeded. Now, our team values the daily training process, which builds character, determination, work ethic and dedication, as much as actual results at meets. There is no doubt, that it has been a special and memorable year.” The laurels are spread throughout the roster from the youngest to oldest age groups for DHST. Ryan Iannaccone set a county meet record in the 9-10 boys 100 individual medley with a 1:07.84 while Derek Anderson capped another strong season with a 51.46 100 backstroke standard for 15-18 boys. Seven Otter swimmers placed first, second or third for individual high point placings at County Meet. Erick Iannaccone (11-12 boys), Justine Trimble (13-14 girls) and Ryan Iannaccone (9-10) were high point in their age group. Allie Klinger (11-12 girls) and Anderson were second in high point scoring while Niklas

Weigelt (9-10 boys) and Stephanie Iannaccone (6 and under girls) were third. Dana Hills scored 1136 points to finish second to Crow Canyon Country Club of Danville while the Otters we well ahead of third place Round Hill CC of Alamo at County. DHST was barely edged for the 1995 County Division I championship and the Otters won the County Division II (based on fewer swimmers entered in meet) title in 1998. Setting all-time Dana Hills team records at County Meet were Sarah Hamilton (31.77 910 girls 50 butterfly), R. Iannaccone (1:07.84 9-10 boys 100 IM first place in county), N. Weigelt (27.43 9-10 boys 50 freestyle second place), Klinger (1:04.53 11-12 girls 100 IM second place and 25.41 50 free first), E. Iannaccone (1:03.92 11-12 boys 100 IM first place

See Swim Team, page 13

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Clayton Sports Athlete Spotlight Name: Sam Protich Age: 16 Sport: Swimming Team: Dana Hills Swim Team Dana Hills Swim Team experienced a year that equaled any of its 34 previous seasons with resounding championships in the city and league meets, a second at the Woodlands Invitational and culminated with second at the 51st Contra Costa County Swim Meet this month.

Returning head coach Serge Victor lauded many swimmers for their County Meet efforts but pointed to Sam Protich for special recognition after the 16-year-old won the 15-18 individual medley after being seeded fifth. Protich started his junior year at De La Salle High School days after the county

Ipsen, from page 1 in 2009 when USA Diving paired him with three-time Olympian Troy Dumais as a 3-meter synchro diving tandem and within months they placed second at the World Championships in Rome. The duo had racked up eight consecutive national championship or trials titles in a row and looked set for another podium finish at this year’s FINA World Championships in China before

fate raised its hand. Dumais missed his last dive at the world finals and the team dropped from second to fourth in that one fateful dive. Making matters much worse for Ipsen on a personal level he was fourth after two rounds of the 3-meter individual competition before flubbing one dive badly and then missing another and plummeting all the way to 31st , nowhere near quali-

Photo courtesy of the Ipsen Family

Clayton’s Kristian Ipsen rallied with three straight high degree of difficulty dives to claim the Gold Medal at the AT&T National Diving Championships this month at UCLA in the 3-meter springboard .

meet but could still bask in the afterglow of his achievement in his first year with the Otters. Protich clocked 55.58 in the 100 IM, over a second below his entry time as he edged a field primarily made up of swimmers one or two years older. He also was fourth in the 15-18 breaststroke finals with a

fying for the final rounds – a very rare occurrence for the Stanfordbound athlete. There wasn’t much time to stew about those less-thandesired results as just a few weeks later Ipsen and Dumais were back at work competing against one another and together during the AT&T National Diving Championships this month at UCLA. LEARNING THROUGH SETBACKS Ipsen made good use of his time in China. “In Shanghai, I think eight or nine of the divers in the finals were doing dives with a 3.8 or 3.9 degree of difficulty, so I knew I had to test it out if I want to be competitive internationally,” Ipsen told USA Diving. “You have to be consistent, but even if you’re consistent, if you don’t have one of those big dives, I don’t know if that will get you on the medal stand.” At the National Championships Ipsen was sixth after the first two 3M springboard dives of the final round and still second before his final dive. It was then the work he did with coach Phil Tonne paid off. Trailing by .25 points heading into the last round, he earned 8s and 9s for 93.60 points, moving him into first place as he finished with 499.50 points. The final dive was a front 2½ with 3 twists that carries a 3.9 degree of difficulty. Ipsen has been working on the triple-out off and on for about a year and after watching his competitors at last month’s World Championships, he knew he needed to try it in a meet. To gain the gold medal he passed synchro partner Dumais, who led after five of the six final dives but finished third behind silver medalist Drew Livingston. Ipsen had the highest degree of difficulty among the top competitors in the final three rounds and that

1:00.7, a half second ahead of his previous best. Protich began swimming for Victor when he was seven-years-old with the East County Stingrays. After the family moved to Clayton from Oakley in 2008 they continued with the Stingrays until Victor returned to Dana Hills this spring and Protich liked the home cooking so much he won his firstever County Meet title. The Clayton Pioneer congratulates Sam Protich and rewards his achievement with a gift certificate to Rocco’s Ristorante & Pizzeria. Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Rocco’s Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to

paid off with national championship winning scores. He also earned loud cheers for his fourth dive, a reverse 1½ with 3½ twists that moved him from fourth to second. “I hadn’t done that dive since February,” Ipsen said. “I felt really comfortable with it.” “After Shanghai Kristian needed a little confidence boost and this was it. He had used the 2 ½ with 3 twists a year ago in the Junior Nationals but never at a meet of this calibre,” coach Tonne added. ON TRACK FOR OLYMPICS Ipsen has now won three individual senior national championships plus five senior synchro crowns with Dumais. The next day Ipsen and Dumais won their eighth consecutive title on the national level as a pair in easy fashion by almost 69 points over their nearest competitors, again helping to ease their disappointment from Shanghai. Ipsen is now in a strong position to secure individual and synchro spots on the U.S. Olympic Team which will compete next summer in London. The Trials will be held next June 18-24 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, WA, and the Olympic men’s competition begins with 3M synchro Aug. 1. Before then Ipsen will be starting at Stanford next month. To bring his Olympic dream into focus even more, America’s greatest diver ever, Greg Louganis, presented Ipsen with his Gold Medal in the 3M at UCLA. The Clayton diver will turn 19 in October and can dream about emulating the feats of Louganis, who won four Olympic gold medals, a silver and missed a fourth Olympics due to the American boycott in 1980. “That was certainly cool for Kristian to get his medal from Greg,” Tonne said.


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Clayton Pioneer •

August 26, 2011

Clayton Sports Kohler’s rowing career continues at World Championships Clayton native and Cal star is making a name for herself prepping for Olympics JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton’s Kara Kohler is competing in her third international rowing meet of the summer starting this weekend through Sept. 4 on glacial Lake Bled in Slovenia. The incoming Cal junior is representing the United States at the World Rowing Championships in the women’s four. She was selected for a berth in the World Championships earlier this month after she and

three other younger rowers who had been invited to the Princeton Training Center won the USRowing Senior World Championship Trials on Mercer Lake, N.J. in the Women’s 4(sweep rowing without a coxswain). Rowing News said, “The women’s four will also be a crew to watch, with some top up-andcoming talent in the crew. Cal sophomore Kara Kohler will join Sara Hendershot (Princeton 2010), Grand Valley State alum Sarah Zelenka and Emily Regan

(Michigan State) as the US women’s program continues to bring new rowers into the fold and develop a depth of talent that few other national teams can boast.” The trials race for the women’s four started out as a three-boat trial, with two crews entered from the Princeton Training Center group. One of those withdrew before the final but the other PTC crew won the two-boat final easily over a crew from the development group training in Oklahoma City. The W4 will be the third international boat of the season for Kohler, who won the Henley Regatta in

England in the quad and Lucerne in the women’s eight. The USA crews prepped for the Worlds by training on the Munich Olympic rowing curse until Monday when they went to Bled. The team returns to America Sept. 5 and Kohler will come home the next day through Sept. 17 before she returns to Princeton as an Olympic hopeful to continue the training and selection process for London Olympics 2012. The 2011 World Rowing Championships serve as the first opportunity for nations to qualify crews for the 2012 Games,

although specific athletes won’t be selected until next spring. A two-time All-American, Kohler currently rows on Cal’s varsity 8+ boat. She won the gold medal for the USA in the eight at the 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brest, Belarus. Kohler also garnered Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year honors in 2010.

Universal Sports (187 on Comcast and 515 on Astound) will be showing the World Rowing Championships over the next couple weeks on local cable. While Kohler is home “relaxing” in September she plans on doing an Olympic distance triathlon in Pacific Grove Sept. 10.

Spirited action marks new coed softball league at Clayton Park

St. Bonaventure begins grade school cross country program St. Bonaventure has called on veteran coach Joe Sullivan to get a cross country program going as a new element of its CYO sports program which has included basketball and track for boys and girls in second through eighth grades for many years. Sullivan headed the St. Bonaventure track and field program for 15 years before stepping aside following the 2008

season. He has also coached track at Clayton Valley and Concord high schools. Athletic Director Tim O’Hara turned to Sullivan when it was decided to add cross country as a fall sport. Last year, teams in the area with cross country programs were Christ the King, Queen of All Saints, St. Francis, Holy Rosary and St. John Vianney. Sullivan met earlier this week with

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assisting him. Clayton Valley High school coach Michelle Howisey will welcome the early running opportunity St. Bonaventure CYO provides youth in the area. “Cross country is different than the running done in the spring on a track. We’ll be practicing and competing on courses in parks and the kids will learn about running in a pack,” Sullivan stated while saying he’s still awaiting a list of courses and meet opponents. For more information visit

Mazza, from page 10

Commercial & Residential

Oakland Diocese CYO officials to see who is participating in this year’s cross country season. One-mile runs will be held each Friday from Sept. 23 through Oct. 14 culminating with the Diocese meet Oct. 21. Boys and girls in second through eighth grade can participate. Signups will be held on Wednesdays, Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, at St. Bonaventure in Classroom B-2. Sullivan is still formulating his coaching staff but his son Danny Sullivan will again be

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hard work put in by a remarkable player as well as the coaching staffs who helped along the way.” After the draft Mazza continued through the Coastal League season (about 15 players from the league were drafted) and helped the Sharks into the playoffs. He developed a changeup this summer and pitched in winning games of the first and second rounds of the playoffs. Although the Twins’ West Coast scouting supervisor Sean Johnson and Scouting Director Deron Johnson, didn’t see Mazza at Menlo they followed his summer progress with Wilmington. “It means a lot to me that Sean and Deron trusted

my report on Chris and drafted him without seeing him in person,” Strankman added. “Deron saw him pitch for Wilmington and I kept in touch all summer.” The Twins had three draft picks in the first round and none of them signed until the deadline Aug. 15. According to Mazza this meant the Twins weren’t able to commit financially to him or seven others who signed on deadline day until the first three inked their deals. ROOTS IN CVLL Mazza, who has grown from a 5-9, 145-pound junior at CVHS to 6-4, 180 pounds, threw his fastball 93 mph in the spring and his North Carolina

Photo by Mike Dunn

Six teams are participating in the new coed softball program introduced this month by All Out Sports League at Clayton Community Park. Jesse Schweiger of Clayton put a full effort making a throw to first base for his Mike’s Auto Body team in their debut game against Clayton Crew. Softball games are held Sunday afternoons through the four-team playoffs Oct. 23.

coaches said he lit up the radar gun at 97 while consistently throwing between 92 and 96. “Chris is a unique animal. He’s such a good athlete with body control, kinesthetic awareness and can repeat his delivery motion,” Strankman says. After the Wilmington season ended Mazza headed back to his Clayton home with parents Bob and Sherry and younger brother Nick. He is “hangin’ out” and hoping for an invite to the Twins fall instructional league in Fort Myers, Florida. There’s also a winter camp and then Mazza will be ready for his first spring training. The Twins have provided him with a workout regimen and with Strankman living so close the scout can “keep on top of his ‘project.’” Mazza, 22 in October, traces his baseball roots back to

Clayton Valley Little League and Clayton Valley Pony League. Although financial terms were not disclosed, the contract includes funds for Mazza to complete his college education once his baseball career ends. As a first-year minor leaguer Mazza will be paid the standard $1,100 a month. Neither Mazza nor Strankman would speculate on Mazza’s first destination in pro ball next season. “He can definitely put on weight and down the road develop into a starter or reliever at the highest level,” Strankman adds. Mazza says he’ll do “whatever fits best for the Twins.” “It is unbelievable because my dream is finally coming true,” said Mazza. “I am now a professional baseball player.”


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Sports Shorts CLAYTON GYM YOUTH BASKETBALL, VOLLEYBALL FALL PLAY COMING Clayton Community Gym is getting ready for fall basketball and volleyball starting Sept. 17 through Oct. 29. All Out Sports League is taking sign-ups now for both programs. Visit for more details.

VOLLEYBALL CAMP AUG. 28 AT CLAYTON GYM Pass, set, spike! All Out Sports League is holding a three-hour volleyball clinic for all age groups and abilities this Sunday, Aug. 28, from 1:304:30 p.m. Learn skills from serving, rolls, digs, bumping, setting and the pancake. All Out Sports League is taking signups now for the clinic. Visit for more details.

FALL SWIM STROKE & SKILLS PROGRAM AT OAKHURST Local swim coach Serge Victor, who is in charge of the aquatics program at Oakhurst Country Club and head coach of the championship Dana Hills Swim Team, is offering the New Wave Fall Swim Stroke and Skill Development program. The fall session begins Sept. 1 and runs through Dec. 1 at Oakhurst. There are age groups for boys and girls 7-8, 9-11 and 12 and older teaching participants the basics of swimming as well as advanced skills and concepts. For more information email Victor at or call (925) 672-9737 ext. 207.

ST. BONAVENTURE CYO BASKETBALL SIGNUPS CONTINUE Boys and girls in second through eighth grades are invited to sign up for the 2011-2012 CYO basketball season at St. Bonaventure. There are sign ups on Wednesday evenings Aug. 31 and Sept. 7 from 7-8:30 p.m. in Classroom B-2 at St. Bonaventure Church on Clayton Rd. Basketball practice will begin in the middle of September with league play starting the first weekend in November. For more information visit

CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH FOOTBALL KICKS OFF SEPT. 2 Clayton Valley begins the 2011 prep football season on Friday, Sept. 2, in Brentwood against Liberty. The following Friday, Sept. 9, the Eagles have their home opener at Gonsalves Stadium in Concord versus another East County opponent, Antioch. Coach Herc Pardi’s varsity then hosts Vintage High of Napa on Sept. 16. For the schedules of all CVHS fall sports teams visit

DIABLO FC BENEFIT GOLF TOURNAMENT SEPT. 23 The 4th annual Diablo FC Benefit Golf Tournament will be on Friday, Sept. 23, at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord. Tournament chairman Gene Dolan is accepting sponsors, raffle prize donations and golfers to sign up. The tournament provides funding for scholarships to needy families wishing to participate in Diablo FC’s unique youth soccer programs and also helps support the drive to get additional facilities for the club. Information and registration forms are available at or email

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pate in an AYSO recreation program during the fall. For complete details and to register visit

DFC U8 ACADEMY FALL SOCCER PROGRAM STARTS SEPT. 9 A new comprehensive soccer program for girls and boys 6-8 years of age has been introduced this year with the Diablo FC U8 Academy. The next session is running on Wednesdays and Fridays starting Sept. 9 through Nov. 11 at Boatwright Sports Complex in Concord. Boys and girls 6-8 are invited to attend a session. Camp Director Brian Voltattorni says the Academy is a developmental soccer program that includes psycho-motor skills, coordination exercises, technical training with the ball and free play. The Academy is scheduled so that players can also partici-

NEW 10 UNDER BASEBALL TEAM FORMING IN CLAYTON All Out Sports League 10 Under travel baseball team based in Clayton is now taking signups. The team will play in tournaments throughout Northern California and Nevada and practice at Clayton Community Park. Tryouts for the 2012 season will be held Sept. 4 and Oct. 9 from 3–6 p.m. There is no fee to tryout. Players need to be born after April 30, 2001 in order to qualify for the 10U age group. For more information call (925) 203-5626 or visit

August 26, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Clayton’s Christine Coleman earns PacWest All-Academic honors again For the second year in a row senior Christine Coleman of Clayton was honored by the Pacific West Conference as a member of its Academic All-Conference team. Coleman was one of six Penguin women soccer players who were repeat winners of these All-Conference honors. PacWest student-athletes qualified for Academic AllConference this season by maintaining a minimum 3.0 grade point average. Dominican University was awarded the Pacific West Conference’s Academic Achievement Award, the first school in the current nineteam league to win the award

in its first two years as a PacWest member institution.

Photo courtesy Dominican University

Page 13

Swim Team, from page 10 and 29.92 50 back), Justine Trimble (1:03.27 13-14 girls 100 IM first place and 27.25 50 fly), Melissa Schoell (25.14 1314 girls 50 free), Jack Madigan (59.83 13-14 boys 100 IM) and Anderson (51.46 15-18 100 back second place). Dana Hills had a roster of about 250 swimmers this year and 55 individuals went to County Meet having attained qualifying times during the season. In addition, president Tony Mancini says, another 20 swimmers were on Otter relays at the county championships. The team’s depth was such that two 9-10 girls relays made the county final eight! The Dana Hills depth was

Diablo FC 97 girls take 1st, 2nd in tournaments

Photo courtesy Diablo FC

COACH LEWIS WOODWARD’S UNDER 14 GIRLS, Diablo FC 97, won its own 9th annual Diablo FC Summer Classic 2-0 over Heritage Dynamite, reversing a loss Aftershock suffered to Heritage in the 2010 Classic finals. Diablo FC then placed second in the prestigious Mustang Stampede including victories over Southern California powers San Diego Surf and North Huntington Beach before losing 1-0 in the championship game to West Coast Wild. The team includes, front row from left, Michaela McIntosh, Janis Gamboa, Devanne Zalewski, Isabella Reyes; middle row, Jamee Bullock, Katelyn Penner, Isabella Ivy, Meghan Willmes, Kayla Hohenstein, Kelly Hunt; back row, coach Woodward, Jade Rafallo, Emma Spears, Kimi Dennis, Caleigh Silva, Kyra Trowbridge and Ale Hinojosa.

demonstrated by its strong relays, some of which set and then bettered team records multiple times during the season. The 9-10 girls free quartet of Logan Sherman, Gabriella Mancini, Camille Cline and Sarah Hamilton won the Outstanding Relay award at the Concord City Meet with a meet record in the 200 free relay. The 9-10 DHST girls came back at county to set team records in both the 200 free (1:59.88) and 200 medley (2:19.29). Alex Brown swam in the county medley relay and Brooke Johnson in the free relay, joining Mancini, Hamilton and Sherman. Their 9-10 boys counterparts with Anthony Trimble, N. Weigelt, R. Iannaccone and Jackson Trimble set free (1:54.18) and medley (2:10.87) DHST marks at county after winning the boys Outstanding Relay honors at City Meet. Not to be outdone, the 1112 girls team of Katie O’Sullivan, Klinger, Erika Publico and Alina Weigelt set all-time club bests in the 200 medley (2:00.11) and 200 free (1:45.07). The other team relay record to fall at county was in the 7-8 girls 100 medley with Emily Hamilton, Ryanne Boland, Caela Hetherton and Rylie Velez going a lowest ever 1:12.59. Sam Protich won the 15-18 boys 100 IM in 55.58 while Sierra MacIntyre took second in the 15-18 girls 100 fly. O’Sullivan was third in the 1112 girls back, S. Iannaccone was second in the 6 and under 25 girls back and N. Weigelt was third in the 9-10 boys 100 IM.

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Clayton Pioneer •

o Videur c i s Mu y Ho

August 26, 2011

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IN CLAYTON August 27, September 10, 17, 24 Farmers Market 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Diablo Street between Main and Center streets, downtown. August 27 A Swingin’ Evening Concert With “Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the 16-piece Rat Pack Orchestra.” 6-8:30 p.m., Grove Park, downtown Clayton. Free. For a complete concert series list, see Page 3. September 3 Labor Day Derby & Car Show Starts 9 a.m. on Main Street. September 7 CERT Training Beginning of six-week CERT training course on disaster preparedness. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Free.

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September 10 Mayor’s Healthy Cook-off Cook-off from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Judging starts at 10:30 a.m. The Grove, Clayton. Free. September 24, 25 Oktoberfest CBCA hosts the Eighth Annual Oktoberfest. Music by The Internationals, biergarten, food, arts and crafts, carnival. Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Downtown Clayton. Free.

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August 26-28 A Wondrous Evening of Magic Starring RJ Owens and hosted by Matt Davis. Diablo Actors’ Ensemble Theatre, 1345 Locust St., Walnut Creek. $22-$25. Through August 28 “Pride and Prejudice” Jane Austen’s enduring tale of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage among the landed gentry of early 19th century England. Cue Productions Live, 1835 Colfax St., Concord. $10$18. Through September 4 “The Fantasticks” The Willows presents this story of a young man and the girl next door whose parents have built a wall to keep them apart. Willows Theatre Mainstage, 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord. $20-$32. 7981300 or Through September 10 “Evil Dead the Musical” What can go wrong when five college students break into an abandoned cabin in the woods? Willows Cabaret at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. $30-35. 798-1300 or Through September 11 “The Dixie Swim Club” Hilarious and touching comedy revolving around five southern women whose friendship began years earlier while on the college swim team together. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $22. 943-SHOW, September 2-9 “Smokey Joe’s Café” Tribute to legendary songwriters Leiber and Stoller. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $38-$47. 943-SHOW, September 3-5 Family Fest Walnut Creek FamilyFest. Dozens of family activities for kids, tweens and parents. Labor Day Weekend, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek. See article on page 4 for details. September 7 Inside the Dancer’s Life Diablo Ballet dancers talk about “Black Swan” and beyond. 6-7 p.m. Walnut Creek Main Library, 1644 N. Broadway. Free. September 8 SIRS Luncheon SIR Branch 146 luncheon open to men semi or fully retired. Jack Citrin, Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley, provides impartial analysis of the 2012 election. 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Boundary Oaks, 3800 Valley Vista Road, Walnut Creek. $24. Reservations required. Call Jack 933-7998. September 9 through October 1 “The Wizard of Oz” Follow Dorothy’s classic journey to Emerald City. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $17-$48. 943-SHOW,



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September 10 Plant Sale Markham Nursery sale of ornamental and native plants, bargain plants and gardening books. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Markham Regional Arboretum Society Nursery, 1202 La Vista Ave., Concord. 6812968. September 16 through 18 St. Demetrios Greek Festival Greek food, wine tasting, live music. St. Demetrios Church, 1955 Kirker Pass Road, Concord. $5. 676-6967, September 16 through October 1 “A Few Good Men” A courtroom powerhouse that questions if there exists a higher code than the Marine code and are there times when good soldiers must disobey orders. Diablo Actors’ Ensemble Theatre, 1345 Locust St., Walnut Creek. $22-$25. September 18 Bridal Faire Fashion show, gifts, sample floral arrangements and linens, giveaways. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Drive, Clayton. Free. RSVP 672-9737, ext. 217 or October 1 CVHS 20th Reunion Clayton Valley High School Class of 1991’s 20th reunion. Come renew friendships and reminisce about days gone by. 7 p.m. Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 N. Main St. $90. Call Kara Manning 408-0749.

CHURCHES & RELIGION September 9 Science and Religion Baha’i, Interaction, fellowship and discussion. Speaker: Dr. Layla Parker-Katiraee, Ph.D in Molecular Genetics. 7:30 p.m. Free. 6726686 for location information.

FUNDRAISERS September 17 MDE Stampede Mt. Diablo Elementary school fundraiser. One-mile and three-mile run/walk. Gates open at 7 a.m. Mt. Diablo Elementary School, 5880 Mt. Zion Drive, Clayton. $10. $15 includes T-shirt if register by Sept. 6.

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. 673-0659 or Wednesdays Book Buddies A volunteer will read stories for children of all ages. 1-2 p.m. August 31 Music Together Music and movement class for babies, toddlers, preschool children and their parents. 7 p.m. September 7 Top Insider Tips on How to Get a Job Rebecca Martin of dear jane Inc. shares tips and advice on job hunting. 1:15 p.m. Tuesdays September 13 through November 29 Patty Cakes Story time for babies to 3-year-olds. 11 a.m. Thursdays Sept. 15 to November 17 Picture Book Time Story time for ages 3-5. 11 a.m. September 21 - Meet Miss Delacourt A talk with author and entrepreneur Heidi Ashworth of the Miss Delacourt romantic comedies. 7 p.m.

SCHOOLS CVHS Charter School - September 13 Decision meeting. 7:30 p.m. District Offices, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord.

GOVERNMENT 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, except 9/9 CANCELLED Clayton City Council 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or 2nd and 4th Tuesdays Clayton Planning Commission 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or

August 26, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 15



Local critics help make for ‘Fantastick’ summer theater September when life was tender and mellow. In between, Luisa longs for “Much More,” the fathers remind each other to “Never Say No,” Matt and Luisa take their chances on love with “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and all hell breaks loose when plans go awry in the “Abduction Ballet.” “The Fantasticks” plays through Sept. 4.

TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Theatre critics Pat Craig and Lou Fancher take their places on the other side of the procenium this summer in the Willows Theatre production of “The Fantasticks,” now playing at the Concord Mainstage. Fancher, critic for the Clayton Pioneer and other publications, directs the Tom JonesHarvey Schmidt show, which is the world’s longest-running musical. Craig, the former staff critic for the Contra Costa Times, takes on the role of Henry, The Old Actor, and clearly relishes being cast opposite his son, Sam Craig, who plays Mortimer, The Man Who Dies. “The Fantasticks” is a simple story, really. Boy and girl fall in love over the back fence. Their fathers – best friends – want the two to marry, but they know

f f O % 0 1for all Clanyttson

Photo credit: Judy Potter

Sam Craig as Mortimer, Zach Piser as The Boy, and Pat Craig as The Old Actor appear in “The Fantasticks” at the Willows Theatre through Sept. 4

that kids never do what their parents want. So, the two concoct an elaborate mock “abduction” in which the boy, Matt, will charge in and save the girl, Luisa. A grateful Luisa will fall into Matt’s arms and they will live happily ever. That’s the plan. But things

fall apart and people do unexpected things. That things don’t go according to the plan is what makes “The Fantasticks” so fantastic. The show opens and closes quietly with The Narrator, El Gallo, asking the audience to “Try to Remember” a


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MORE AT THE WILLOWS: Coming to the Concord Mainstage on Sept. 4, is J La Chic’s “Tribute to Motown,” featuring hit songs by Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops and Smokey Robinson. On Nov. 5, Cabaret and recording artist Lee Lessack will join TV and film star Linda Purl and The Winder Wondrettes in a Variety Show Gala. For more information and to order tickets online, go to or call 925-798-1300.

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Book Review

‘Tahoe Hijack’ goes deep for a fun mystery Todd Borg’s latest combines great locales with history Now I’m hooked. One mystery is never enough, literary or noir, look-out-here-comes-abullet or the forensics of a TV crime show, mysteries are fun, entertaining reading. Since it’s still summer, what could be better than a mystery with Lake Tahoe as its setting? Author Todd Borg, who lives and writes at Lake Tahoe, has written his tenth Owen McKenna mystery. “Tahoe

SUNNY SOLOMON FOR THE BOOKS Hijack” is a fast paced thriller that begins and ends aboard an expensive and expansive com-

mercial yacht. Borg knows his milieu; as I read, every time McKenna entered or mentioned a well known restaurant or bookstore I could almost hear every other reader familiar with Tahoe saying “Yes, great food,” or “Right, it’s got the best books.” McKenna is a nearly perfect private detective. Low-key and amiable, he’s an early retiree from SFPD who shares his cabin one thousand feet above the lake with Spot, a loveable Great Dane. He often shares his cabin with his girlfriend, Casey Street, a loving, but independent

woman who has her own condo at the bottom of the mountain. When Casey’s not in residence, Spot is there as man’s second best friend. Borg does not shy away from a complex storyline and “Tahoe Hijack” has everything necessary to keep his readers on their toes. An anonymous caller has chillingly brought McKenna back to an old murder he had investigated but never solved in

See Book Review, page 16

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maintain that warm summer flare long into the winter months. Try following these 10 basic guidelines to help your body achieve optimum performance. Used in conjunction with a great muscle building and fat burning training program, enjoy a high level of energy and enliven your body and mind in the months ahead. Tip 1: Eat six meals a day. According to scientists at Georgia State University, active folks who skimp on calories and eat infrequently (only three times a day) may be training their bodies to get by on less energy and therefore more readily storing unburned calories as body fat. Researchers advise people to eat frequently to accelerate metabolism and maintain

steady energy. Tip 2: Combine carbohydrates and protein at every meal. An adequate balance stabilizes insulin, promotes a strong immune system and builds healthy muscle. Tip 3: Choose “appropriate” portion sizes. Use the palm portion size and employ a common sense approach. Tip 4: Plan meals ahead whenever possible. This helps to keep the menu healthy but varied ensuring that the taste buds remain pleasantly surprised. Increase your odds of success with good eating. Tip 5: Drink 10 glasses of water every day. It is especially important to stay hydrated. The bodies’ processes are limited

See Nutrition, page 18

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Clayton Pioneer •

August 26, 2011

Concord Drum and Bugle Corp bedevils competition ANNE-MARIE STARK Special to the Pioneer




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award) for the 15th time. Clayton residents Olivia and Lucas Hansen, Emily Nunn and Kyle Peterson were there to bring home the gold and silver medals. Nunn, who started with the Blue Devils’ C Corp (ages 7-13) and graduated from Clayton Valley High School in June, says, “Winning high guard was one of the best moments of the season; I am part of the best color guards in the country.” Besides the A Corp winning 2nd place, the Color Guard won their division, “I am thankful that I have been able to grow up with this organization,” she said. The work that goes into winning the medals and the life lessons learned are not lost on the members. Ten years with the Blue Devils, Peterson understands this all too well. “Marching has taught me to be mentally engaged for school,” he says. “If you can practice all day, you can sit in a class and pay attention.” His mom Deb, who met her husband Doug while they were both in the Blue Devils, agrees that the Blue Devils add value to a student’s life. “This is a great organization, the kids really mature so much between the different units.” The Blue Devils offer young men and women between the ages of 7 and 21 quality educational and performance experiences in the areas of music and dance. Founded in 1957, The Blue Devils’ objective is to devel-

op personal character through challenging physical, emotional, mental, and social activities while promoting the values of dedication, hard work, and commitment to a team effort. “Think of us as a marching band, during a college football halftime show, on steroids,” jokes 2010 Individual saber gold medalist Olivia Hansen. Brother Lucas adds, “our instruments are all brass (no woodwinds such as flutes or clarinets) and percussion.” The color guard literally brings the color to the performance with flags, rifles, sabers and other props. For more information on the Concord Blue Devils, visit

Book Review, from page 15 his last year with the SFPD. The murder of Grace Sun becomes the catalyst for a hijacking, a series of murders, abductions and other high altitude mayhem. McKenna’s police background puts him good stead with the many law enforcement agencies located at Tahoe and in the surrounding area. Borg does not limit himself to Tahoe and readers will find themselves in the Bay Area as well, but the majority of the mystery unfolds in some very familiar waters. Grace Sun represents more than an unsolved murder. Her

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Subway both opened earlier this summer and plans for Clayton Produce are in the final stages. In 2009, the building went into receivership and the ground floor stood vacant until the new owners could finish construction. In May of this year, Clayton resident Ilima Heuerman opened Levity Fitness Studio, finding a permanent home for the personal training practice she had been running in her home gym. Despite the recession, Heuerman’s practice had maxed out for the one-woman operation. With classes in Pilates, Zumba, exotic dance and aerial arts, Heuerman hopes to bring in clients that are looking for a little more “zing” in their workouts. “We’re getting there,” she said last week. “Business is building. We’re seeing more and more drop-ins.” Naim Zalmaiyar and his wife Paulshak own the Subway sandwich shop on the Center Street side of the building. The shop has seen a steady stream of customers since opening in June and Zalmaiyar expects it to get busier once school starts. The family also owns the Subway on Clayton Road and two more Subways and a Mountain Mike’s Pizza in Oakley. Undaunted by economic naysayers, Zalmaiyar has plans to open another restaurant in the area later this year. He has no connection to

the Subway in Clayton Station. Last month, Concord resident Tom Payne moved his Prosperitas investment business to offices on the second floor. According to leasing agent Ben Smith, a family owned residential developer has also taken space on the second floor. There are still about 3,000 square feet available, all dividable into smaller spaces. For leasing information, call Smith 925-2836576. CLAYTON VALLEY SHOPPING CENTER In the Clayton Valley Shopping Center, the Fresh & Easy store, which opened in March, has brought more traffic

HIEN NGUYEN owner of Step Into Comfort is optimistic about business despite the economy.

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death is the key to some very scary paramilitary groups who are after her daughter for a document they believe Sun gave to her before her death. It is believed the document tells of the location of gold buried more than a hundred years ago by Sun’s Chinese ancestors during the Gold Rush. Borg not only offers a good mystery, but does a terrific job with some fascinating California history that is both enlightening and gripping. Details about Tahoe itself give the boat hijacking depth and character. Mystery readers tell me they love the ones that are hard to fig-

to the center, boosting sales in existing stores and encouraging new business. Hien Nguyen (pronounced “Hin Win”) found a niche for a women’s shoe store and opened Step Into Comfort next door to Yogurt Shack. Nguyen feels positive about the local business climate. With 20 years experience in women’s shoes, Nguyen chose boutique brands like Wolky and Rieker that are usually found only in specialty stores. He is the sole employee, working 10 hours a day, seven days a week. “It’s always tough when you start a new business, Nguyen says. “But shoes are a necessity and the locals have been very supportive.” Two doors down, Blessed Brides by Sarah, a mother and daughter enterprise, opened in April. Sarah Dottery and daughter Desiree Mortenson teamed up when Dottery lost her job in the human resources department at Chevron. She and Mortenson pooled their savings and set up shop. The store caters to “the average woman” with reasonably priced dresses for the full wedding party, mothers of the bride and prom dresses in sizes ranging from 0 to 26. On the Ygnacio Valley Road side of the center, Here I Grow consignment shop carries high quality, recycled children’s clothing, books and toys. The “preloved” clothing business seems relatively recession-proof, says owner Voytek Czarniecki. He says the key is keeping high standards. “We’re pretty picky,” he says. Says. Czarniecki moved here five years ago from his native Poland to marry his wife, Cela Barron, an RN at John Muir Hospital. The store opened three months ago and Czarniecki says they benefit from the traffic generated by Fresh and Easy. This fall, two new eateries are coming to the Clayton Valley Center. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will open Sept. 22 where Quiznos was on the Ygnacio Valley side of the center. In November, Five Guys Burgers and Fries will open in the old Burger Road location.

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RECENT CVHS GRADUATES Lucas and Olivia Hansen came in first and second at Drum Corp International.

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CLAYTON STATION In the Clayton Station, two Clayton women opened a custom bakery in the commercial kitchen space that once housed Cookies

ure out. I thought I had McKenna’s man early on, but then I had to rethink it several times. Good mystery writers should be a bit like magicians, “Now you see it, now you don’t.” Borg has the timing and imagination to weave a believable tale of history, family, mystery, greed, and murder with more than enough “ah hah” moments to satisfy the most demanding reader. My guess is that many readers will put Todd Borg’s Tahoe mysteries in their year round travel plans. Sunny Solomon is the former Book Lady from Clayton Books and currently heads up the Clayton Book Club. Visit her website for her latest recommendations or just to "talk books."

SARAH DOTTERY opened Blessed Brides with her daughter after losing her job with Chevron.

by Design. Lollipop Custom Bakery has no storefront – everything is by appointment – but they also don’t have high rent. Owner Meredith Muratori and her partner Peggy Amstein hope the low overhead will work in their favor as they build their business by word-of-mouth and referrals. Across the parking lot, a new Subway opened earlier this summer. This store owners are husband and wife team Nick and Anjali Gandhi who own 7 other Subways. Although the new businesses offer signs of life in the sluggish economy, ghosts of recent economic casualties linger. Several empty spaces in the Clayton Station still do not have tenants, says Chris Kretz of Las Trampas Investments, owner of the shopping center. A deal for the prime Blockbuster space that fronts Clayton Road was looking good, but fell apart before it could close. Something Special gift store moved out this month and, so far, there has been no interest in that space. And across the parking lot, an 1800-square-foot end unit still stands empty three years after the ReMax office moved. “I could rent the space tomorrow if I could rent it to a restaurant,” says Kretz. But restrictions put in place between Safeway and the original developer prevent a restaurant use that close. Efforts to get Safeway to lift the restriction have been unsuccessful. “It goes back to when Petco was there and Safeway was worried about the impact that a restaurant would have on their parking.” For Clayton Station leasing information call Las Trampas Investments, 925-837-1450.

August 26, 2011

Clayton Pioneer • www.claytonpioneer .com

Page 17

Rockin’ the road trip – with my mom The music is blaring, the car is stocked full of sugary sweets and snacks and we are en route to Colorado via Las Vegas. We can’t even hear one other laughing and squealing in hysterics over the telling of old and often embarrassing memories because Guns n’ Roses is blasting so loud. Yes, I am on a road trip, and yes, you guessed it, I am with my mother. With the pressures and excitement of my senior year and applying to colleges on the horizon, my mom and I thought we would take a short road trip to the most relaxing place we’ve ever been: Glenwood Springs in Colorado. The two city-block-long hot springs is world-renowned for being an excellent place for physical rehabilitation. Between finally starting to walk after my ankle surgery this June and preparing

for a surgery on my other ankle later this fall, we figured that there is no better place to rehabilitate my ankles than at the Mecca of physical rehab. That, and I’m sort of lacking in the tan department as I’ve spent my summer in a newsroom at UC Berkeley. From dancing to downright corny 80s throwback bands in Las Vegas to driving for 10 hours through the sporadic pouring rain (and when I say pouring, I mean torrential downpour), my mom and I have certainly had an interesting trip so far. But even through the ups and downs of getting lost while trying to navigate roundabouts (which is much more difficult than it would seem) and surviving the blistering heat of Nevada, Colorado and everywhere in between, I’ve had some of the most fun of my life, and yes, with my mom.

SARAH ROSEN TEEN SPEAK It seems as though whenever I log onto Facebook, there’s at least one status update that reads, “I hate my parents.” And while I certainly understand that it’s difficult to see eye-to-eye with parents, I’ve also come to realize how crucially important it is to spend time with your parents on a different level, without the craziness of day-to-day lives and siblings.

When you are able to let go of all of your differences and just enjoy yourself, it’s easier to remember how much fun your parents can be. While I spend the rest of my trip being spun on an inflatable floaty by my mother, who thoroughly enjoys watching me try to hang on for dear life, all while attempting to avoid a nasty sunburn, I know that I’ll be truly enjoying myself. That is, so long as we can figure out how to get back home. We don’t exactly have the best senses of direction even with directions. Try to remember that you don’t always have to be with your friends to have a really great time. Sarah Rosen is a junior at CVHS. You can e-mail her at

Savings from solar power should benefit students


Every school year brings with it interesting change — a new teacher, new lunches, new subjects. This year at DVMS, the change is big and bright. As you drive by the campus, you can see the new solar panels going in, a sight similar to what is happening on the other campuses around town. The solar panels will help the school in more ways than just saving electricity. “Solar panels and using solar energy, in my opinion, is a step in

Clayton’s journey to becoming a “green” town,” says DVMS 8th grader, Maris Degener. “More than likely, steps will be taken after this to continue creating an ecologically friendly town. Also, with the money being saved, the school will have more money to make changes, whether to enhance the educational experience of their students, or to do more earth-friendly things.” Since the school will be saving money, we also asked another DVMS 8th grade student, Eryn

Dudley, where she thinks the savings should be spent. “I believe it should go towards teachers and supplies- such as getting our textbooks restored,” said Eryn. The solar panel installation will generate more money, which can be used for more hands-on activities and eliminate the need for furlough days. And, with any luck, the teachers won’t have to pay for our extra supplies out of their own money. Celine Herrera is an eighthgrader at DVMS. Send comments to.

The right tools for the job white oak you’ll not have to worry as much about cracking the neck. This is a heck of a shovel.

From gloves to shovels, here are some handy suggestions Gardening is a labor of love. We love the results, and sometimes struggle with the process. Planting, digging, pruning, weeding, watering and fertilizing are labor intensive, and a struggle if you don’t have the proper tools for the job. Here are suggestions for some important tools of the trade. Gloves are very important when gardening. Wear gloves with any garden chore; watering, pruning or transplanting. Nitrile-Touch gloves are my glove of choice. They hug hands, snuggly. On hot summer days, wearing the Nitrile-Touch gloves is a pleasure. They keep the strong sun off my hands. Felco Pruners are a must have for those gardeners that do lots of pruning and deadheading. They are expensive and worth it. Felco Pruners are Swiss made, and built to last. The shears that I prefer are the Felco #2 Bypass Pruner. The cutting blade of these pruners is as sharp as a scalpel with solid forged handles that are super strong. They are great for trimming perennials and hardy enough to prune branches from ornamental bushes. As a gardener you’ll covet these pruners. Proper hand tools are very important to the home gardener. Hand fan rakes, cultivators and weeders are a must. Hand fan rakes are perfectly sized for working under your shrubs and perennials. They allow you to remove leaf debris, and clean up the look of the soil. Hand cultivators are needed to introduce fertilizers and oxygen to plant roots. When you apply fertilizer to the top of the soil, you must cultivate. Regular cultivation around roses and other blooming plants brings needed oxygen


GARDEN GIRL to the soil. Weeders are a good idea. They let you approach that poky, thorny weed more confidently, lessening your chances of getting stuck. TRANSPLANTING AND HOLEDIGGING

The right transplanting tools are also important. Hori-Hori is a knife/spade that will make transplanting less labor intensive. When removing an overgrown plant from a container, it is often hard to lift out the entire root ball. Use the serrated edge of the Hori-Hori knife and cut through the roots to free up the plant. It is also great when freeing up the roots of a rootbound plant. You can saw slits up the rootball to loosen the roots free. Hori-Hori knives are useful in digging small holes for plants or bulbs. Stab the soil to get the size hole that you need. You will find both carbon steel and stainless steel selections of the Hori-Hori knife. Digging large holes in our Clayton Valley clay is almost impossible sometimes. Long handled shovels don’t give me the leverage I need to dig out the sticky clumps of dirt. Short handled shovels work best for the home gardener. The Owl has a sharp, steel shovel face and solid white oak handle. You’ll find the handle lengths in 32” and 38 1/2”. The shorter handle allows you to really put your weight in to the dig. With the shorter handle made of solid

WATERING GADGETS Dramm makes wateringwands, revolvers and brass shutoff valves. Dramm wateringwands are the best in the industry. They make handles that last, and have a neck that makes watering containers, hanging baskets and gardens easy with a showerhead at the end of the which is the best method to deliver water to your plants. Dramm revolvers are gun shaped and serve many purposes. You can jet spray your outdoor furniture or clean filter cartages. The brass shut-off valves offered by Dramm will out last your hose. Add this shut-off to the hose before your watering-wand. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find a Dramm watering-wand with the brass shut included. This pricey purchase will delight any home gardener, and would make a great gift. Gilmour makes a reasonable hose-end sprayer. This sprayer makes applying water-soluble fertilizers simple. The container is easy read with graduated measurements in both ounces and gallons and it is easy to see the product being used and you’ll know when it’s empty. This is the best hose-end sprayer available, it is easy to find and sells for under $10. You’ll love it. We spend a lot of time and energy in our gardens. Shouldn’t we allow ourselves the best tools? Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden and the 2011 Clayton Valley Garden Club president. Contact her with questions, comments or suggestions at

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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

August 26, 2011

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This Scottish favorite may not be authentic, but it’s good The Scottish Games are coming to Pleasanton over Labor Day Weekend. They’re the largest in the U.S. and tons of fun. Watch them toss logs (cabers), speculate about what’s under all those kilts and taste the food. With all due respect, the Scots don’t have the most elegant cuisine in the world, but it’s tasty, nutritious and filling. Plus, it’s very imaginative, such as cock-a-leekie soup or Scotch eggs with mustard sauce. Of course, the most wellknown and disdained dish of Scotland is haggis. Contrary to popular belief, there is no haggis animal. It is instead a dish made of minced sheep offal (heart, liver, kidneys and often, lungs) mixed with suet (beef fat), onion, oatmeal and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of a sheep. If you’re cringing at the moment, know that Scottish poet Robert Burns waxed rhapsodic about haggis in a famous poem and the dish has help feed the poor for centuries. It isn’t possible to cook an authentic haggis these days unless you know a farmer that raises sheep for meat and is willing to give you lungs – the USDA bans the sale of animal lungs for consumption – but you can make a pretty tasty minced meat dinner to serve with the traditional

1 ½ sticks (12 Tbsp.) cold salted butter, cut into 1” pieces ¼ cup powdered sugar ¼ cup granulated sugar 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 275 °F. Have two ungreased 8x8 or 9x9 baking dishes available. Using a food processor, pulse together the sugars to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter disappears. Add the flour and pulse until mixture is moist and crumbly and no dry flour remains. Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface and knead the mixture until it holds together. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into one pan. Use fork tines to prick out six to eight wedge shapes in the dough then prick the dough all over (this will facilitate cutting the dough into wedges after baking and keep the dough even during baking).

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Place all of the meats in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour until meats are very tender. Drain and cool. (Reserve the strained boiling liquid for stock, if desired.) Meanwhile, place the oatmeal in a large shallow baking sheet and toast the oatmeal in the oven until lightly crisped. Trim the meats. Chop the kidneys and shoulder. Grate the beef liver. Mix the meats with the oatmeal and the balance of the ingredients. Pour mixture into an ovenproof bowl or 9x9 baking dish (grease or spray with nonstick spray). Cover the container with several layers of foil and place in a larger baking dish filled 1” deep with boiling water. Bake two hours, then remove from the oven, take off the foil and serve.




Bake for 60-70 minutes or until pale golden (do not brown). Cool for 10 minutes then invert the shortbread onto a plate then turn it facing up onto a cutting board. While still warm, cut the shortbread into the premarked wedges. Cool completely on a wire rack. 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

Nutrition, from page 15 during dehydration and all weight loss process are suspended and reversed. Tip 6: If using supplements, consider the quality. Supplements can help make up for any nutritional deficiencies and enhance performance; however they must be from researched companies distributing effective products. Tip 7: Get containers for food. Purchase reusable and microwaveable containers. Having nutritious meals within reach during a hectic day can keep you on track. Tip 8: Consume protein within 30 minutes of exercise.

SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD Remember Mary Poppins who said, “Just a spoonful of sugar….”? Well, bake up some of these shortbread beauties to reward yourself for eating all your haggis. 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces

Muscles need nutrients immediately after an intense workout. Tip 9: Find your “emotional reason” for staying with the program. “Emotional triggers” help clarify an individual’s need and desire to follow through. Such emotions like embarrassment, shame, fear, elation and joy can transform and inspire you to stay with your commitment. Tip 10: Aim for consistency, not perfection. Ilima Heuerman holds multiple fitness certifications. She currently trains at the newly opened Levity Fitness studio in Clayton. Email Ilima at

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AUG 26 Clayton Pioneer 2011.pdf  

H OWARD K ECK “Because it has everything a small town should have; a library, a stream running through town and a community park. Both of my...

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