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Holiday Homes Tour December 7, 2018 MAYOR’S CORNER

Dec. 9, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Buy tickets at

Clayton Edition

Clip clop, here comes Christmas


Retiring mayor says it’s time to hit the trail

By the time this is published, I will have completed my term as your mayor and the City Council will have selected a new mayor. It has been a real honor and privilege to be chosen by my colleagues on the council to serve Clayton as mayor. I represented the town this past year at many events and ceremonies, such as the Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day services, dedications of Blue Star Mom Memorial Monuments to local fallen heroes at our high schools, the Fourth of July parade, Eagle Scout Courts of Honor and the monthly Mayors Conferences in various Con-

See Mayor, page 7

A.J. Chippero

The Holiday Season officially rolled into town Saturday when the CBCA-sponsored carriage rides returned for the annual Tree Lighting celebration in The Grove. By late afternoon, hundreds of kids and parents were already waiting for their free ride in a line that snaked through the park and up Center St. The chorus from Mt. Diablo Elementary brought some lively holiday music to the Gazebo before Santa arrived to flip the switch on the gazebo tree. Clayton Community Church and the CBCA hosted hot cider and donuts By next year, the newly planted tree at the west end of Main St., should be tall enough to reclaim the official town tree title and it’s expected that Santa will once again lead the townsfolk down Main Street for the tree lighting ceremony.

Historic tractor finds new home at museum

The Clayton year in review from city, schools and beyond BEV BRITTON The Pioneer

If you were downtown last Thursday and thought you saw a flying tractor, you did. The tractor is one of the historical displays in the newly constructed Clayton Museum gardens. The tractor pictured is a steel wheeled version similar to those used on farms throughout the Clayton Valley in the early 1900s. It was being lifted by crane into the garden where it will be part of a permanent exhibit. The tractor is a key element in the ongoing tribute to the hearty families who settled in Clayton and worked the land. The tractor is one of two

purchased by the Clayton Business and Community Association and donated to the museum. A second tractor is stored at the quarry while the CBCA decides on another display location in town,.

As the weeks marched into the months of 2018, Clayton continued to evolve – welcoming a new police chief and executive director for charter school district , while adding new ordinances for public smoking and parolee housing.

JANUARY Preserving historic ranch: Save Mount Diablo purchased the 95-acre Anderson Ranch in Morgan Territory for $800,000, ending any pos-

demonstration garden. The Garden Committee revamped the 2,250 sq. ft. plot to the west of the Clayton Museum, bringing in more native plants, drought-tolerant options and ones that the Chupcan/Bay Miwok Indians would have used in daily life. Project designer/manager Stephen Lane calls it “an outdoor companion space” that will allow visitors to learn about local history during non-museum hours. FEBRUARY Hail to the chief: The city Museum garden upgrade: The welcomed Elise Warren as Clayton Historical Society the new chief of police at the broke ground Feb. 7 on a new Feb. 20 City Council meeting.

She served in the Sheriff ’s Department for more than 28 years before coming to Clayton. “Warren has extensive public safety experience and contacts in the county that we expect will be valuable assets in her new role leading our Police Department,” said Mayor Keith Haydon. Cutting through the smoke: After the American Lung Association gave Clayton a D rating, the city updated a 1993 smoking ordinance – passed before marijuana was

with 18.34 percent—824 votes behind Shuey. Propelled by the highoctane midterms and some contentious local issues, Clayton voters turned in a 76.46 percent turnout. Potential high-density development and the city-owned vacant lot on Main St. generated most of the campaign heat. Wan is opposed to high-density development downtown and does not want the city to sell the lot. “By campaigning (on these issues), voters were presented with a clear choice,” Wan said. Wolfe takes a more measured approach to downtown development, recognizing change is inevitable and favors “responsible” growth. He wants more community input before deciding to keep or sell the Main St. lot, but he is “open to looking at some-

thing that would fit in.” He suggests leaving it up to voters. The heated campaign over hot-button issues leaves the community with divides to bridge and wounds to heal. The Pioneer asked the two new council members how the council should meet the immediate challenge. “I’m ready to jump in with both feet,” Wolfe said. “I’ll be looking for common ground—seeking a new normal. That’s what the voters put us here for.” “Clayton should not be for sale,” Wan said. “The results of this election showed that there has been an unmet desire for openness that I hope to address. I look forward to working with the rest of the council to bring these ideas to fruition.”

See Wrap Up, page 6

Wan, Wolfe to City Council in close vote TAMARA STEINER The Pioneer

What’s Inside

Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .B7 Community Calendar . . . . .B6 Directory of Advertisers . . . .5 Hearts and Hands . . . . . . . .2 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Senior Living . . . . . . . . . . .B4 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .B1 Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

sibility of development on the land. The county had tentatively approved a few projects there, but access and environmental issues have discouraged development. “It has a remarkable plateau with incredible views, a park-like appearance and great natural values, including a beautiful section of Marsh Creek,” said Meredith Hendricks, director of land programs for Save Mount Diablo.



Clayton’s race this year for two slots on the City Council ended with a photo finish this week when the final results were posted 27 days after election day. Only 160 votes separated the top three candidates. A corporate accountant new to local politics, and a former planning commissioner won the two seats, defeating four-term incumbent and former mayor Dave “Shoe” Shuey. Jeff Wan claimed the first seat with 28.89 percent of the votes. CW Wolfe, just 47 votes behind with 28.28 percent, won the second open seat. Shuey finished in third with 26.34 percent, 113 votes behind Wolfe. Attorney Brian Buddell trailed a distant fourth,

Postal Customer ECRWSS


Events to highlight this season of giving Page 2

Clayton Pioneer •



Homes decked out for the holiday: There’s still time to attend the 8th annual Christmas Homes Tour sponsored by the Clayton Historical Society and Museum. The event is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, beginning at the Clayton Museum, 6101 Main St. Five homes beautifully decorated for the holidays will be featured on the selfguided tour. Tickets are $30 before Dec. 8 and $35 at the door on the day of the tour. Tickets for a special Christmas party from 5-7 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Susan Pace-Koch

Mrs. Claus, also known as Concord children’s author Susan Pace-Koch, will be visiting the Gingerbread House Boutique Dec. 8-9 at the Concord Museum and Event Center.

December 7, 2018

Join the ABC Singers and sing Christmas carols with residents of area assisted living homes this month. Lyrics will be provided. Children of all ages are welcome beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, at Willow Pass Health Care, 3318 Willow Pass Road, Concord; Tuesday, Dec. 11, Legacy Nursing & Rehab, 1790 Muir Road, Martinez; Thursday, Dec. 13, TreVista Living, 1081 Mohr Lane, Concord; Friday, Dec. 14, Carlton on Broadway 1700 Broadway, Concord; Monday, Dec. 17, Veterans Hospital, 150 Muir Road, Martinez; Wednesday, Dec. 19, Montecito Oakmont Senior Living, 4756 Clayton Road, Photo courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul Concord; and Thursday, Dec. The De La Salle lacrosse team raised funds to supply more than 150 families with free holiday turkeys and trimmings 20, Stonebrook Convalescent through the food pantry at the St. Vincent de Paul Branch of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Concord. 4367 Concord Blvd., Concord. The singing will continue with other holiday festivities after the event are available their families 24-hours a day, Gingerbread and more plus a raffle for a basket full and a free Christmas dinner at for an additional $25 per per- grief counseling and so much at boutique: Shop for gifts of boutique gifts. Admission Christmas For Everyone on son. All proceeds support the more. They depend on more and unique handcrafted holiis free. Clayton Historical Society. Call than 350 local volunteers who day items created by talented Guests are also welcome to Christmas Day at the Korean Presbyterian Church, 68 925-567-6079 or email muse- directly provide personal sup- local artisans, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. tour the adjacent Historic for port, work at Hospice Thrift Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Galindo Home, bedecked for Morello Ave., Martinez. Call details. Shoppes to raise funds for Dec. 9, at the Gingerbread the holidays. Free parking for 925-228-2233 by Dec. 20 for more details. Or visit Annual Tree of Lights: programs, bring their own cer- House Boutique at the Conboth locations is nearby at Honor cancer survivors, tified “Pet Pals” to visit cancer cord Museum and Event Cen- Amador Avenue and Marina remember friends and family patients, serve as Vigil Volun- ter, 1928 Clayton Road. Court. Visit www.concordhis- m or email Maxine Chan at members lost to cancer and teers at the end of life, as The event includes hot for details. Concord Historical Socihelp raise the funds necessary trained Bereavement Voluncider and gingerbread cookies, “Anybody Can” Sing: ety gala: The Concord Museto care for cancer patients at teers to help with grief counum and Event Center renovathe Tree of Lights lighting seling, administration, develtion fund will benefit from the and ceremony at 5 p.m. opment and more. more than $50,000 raised at Thursday, Dec. 13, at John Email volunteers@hosthe gala dinner and auction, Muir Medical Center in Con- or call 925recently held inside the beauticord. 887-5678 to offer your servicfully restored Betty Martin Since 1977, Hospice East es, or to request services. HosBarnes Hall. Renovations will Bay has served more than pice Thrift Shoppes picks up continue to transform this his26,000 patients and their fami- donated furniture for free; call toric building into a state-oflies. The group raises funds in 925-674-9072. The store is the-art, multi-use event center advance as donations made to open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondayfor local celebrations. The honor specific individuals in Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. building includes a modern lights and in the program. To Sunday at 5350 Clayton Road, make an online donation, visit Concord, and welcomes donaPhoto courtesy of Soroptimist of Diablo Vista catering kitchen and an tions during those hours. Sandra Scherer of the Monument Crisis Center, center left, tor leading to the second floor Concord Historical Museum Hospice team members Drop off your donation, shop received a generous donation from Soroptimist Internaand Archive. provide free end-of-life pallia- for affordable gifts and help tional Diablo Vista president Gloria Utley to honor the tive care and compassion to cancer patients at the same memory of Soroptimist and Monument Crisis Center foundSee Barnidge, page 3 ing board member Ginger Marsh. support cancer patients and time

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December 7, 2018

Barnidge, from page 2

Thanks to all Historical Society members who work so hard to make these fundraising events a success. These beautiful historic buildings will enable generations of area residents to learn about our local history, celebrate special occasions and create new memories. Get acquainted with Concord Diablo Rotary: Make new friends and learn about all the great activities Concord Diablo Rotary offers, plus enjoy a free lunch or dinner at the club’s regular gathering and meetings. Rotary meets for lunch at 12:15 p.m. on the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Wednesdays and at 6:15 p.m. the second Wednesday for dinner at the Clarion Hotel, 1050 Burnett Ave., Concord. Reserve your free lunch today by visiting The annual Rotary Lunch With Santa will be 12:15 p.m. Dec. 19 at Cambridge Child Development Center, 1146 Lacey Lane, Concord. Cambridge provides low-income families with child care for preschool children. Diablo Rotarians believe in sharing their talents in hands-on projects to serve our community, including mentoring youth in Interact Clubs at Concord, De La Salle and Carondelet high schools. Friendly members of the “Picker Squadron” glean unwanted fruit in your backyard and take it to Concord food pantries, including the Share Food Pantry at the First Christian Church, the Salvation Army Food Pantry at Concord Community Church, Monument Crisis Center and the Food Bank. Soroptimists pitch in for our community: Soroptimist



Clayton Pioneer • happen,” said Jane Streich, president of the St. Vincent de Paul branch. Recipient Betty Stephenson said: “It is so nice to see the young men of De La Salle helping the community like this. This gives us all hope for the future of our country.” Bowling for kids: The Century 21 MM-sponsored Bowling for Kids event raised $6,777 for the Bay Area Crisis Nursery in Concord. Century 21 representatives Sue St. Germain, Melinda Byrne, Kathy Sorensen, Diane Ramirez and and Melissa Lyster were on hand to have fun while raising funding for this hometown organization. The Crisis Nursery offers a temporary loving home for children whose parents are Photo courtesy of Concord Diablo Rotary experiencing a life crisis, to The “Picker Squadron” is ready to clear your fruit trees of avoid child neglect or abuse. delicious, but unwanted fruit for distribution to food banks The holidays are especially and pantries serving low-income families. For more inforhard for these children. If you mation, attend a Rotary meeting in December and enjoy a would like to help, please visit free lunch. International of Diablo Vista Sandra Scherer. The donation Tickets are on sale now chapter represents members will help fund holiday meals for the Bay Area Crisis Nursthroughout our area who are for disadvantaged clients. ery Crab Feed on Jan. 19. dedicated to improving the Soroptimist Diablo Vista Sponsor a table for your lives of women and girls chapter meets the 2nd, 3rd organization or business or through programs leading to and 4th Wednesdays of each donate a themed silent aucsocial and economic empow- month at noon at the Contion basket. erment. cord Senior Center, 2727 Honoring fallen warOne annual program, the Parkside Circle. Visit riors: Blue Star Moms Get Real Academy, is a to reg- recently dedicated a granite long seminar for high school ister to attend a meeting or memorial for Olympic High senior girls to learn real life for more information. alumni Army Pfc Scott G. skills, such as resume writing, Holiday turkey donaBarnett (11/10/1985job interviewing and career tion: The De La Salle 1/28/2010) and Army Pfc planning from volunteer pro- lacrosse team raised funds to Benjamin T. Zieske fessionals. The next academy supply more than 150 fami(5/23/1985-5/3/2006), both will take place Thursday, lies with free turkeys and casualties of Operation Iraqi March 7, at the Hilton Hotel trimmings for the holidays Freedom. Blue Star Moms in Concord. through the food pantry at welcome donations to fund The chapter recently the St. Vincent de Paul these granite memorials at raised $4,270 to honor the Branch of St. Francis of high schools throughout memory of beloved Soropti- Assisi Catholic Church in Contra Costa County. Visit mist Ginger Marsh, a found- Concord. ing member of Monument “We can’t raise all the Crisis Center in Concord. funds needed to purchase Hearts and Hands shares news, Chapter president Gloria the turkeys for the needy events and opportunities about our Utley presented this generous families, so without the help community. Send items to faithdonation to Monument Crisis from the lacrosse program Center executive director at De La Salle, this wouldn’t


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Assisting More Buyers & Sellers than Anyone Else* Lynne offers free staging on ALL LISTINGS

*Statistics based on Clayton/Concord and Contra Costa County Closed sales by volume (1/2014-12/31/2014). Data by Maxebrdi

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- Windermere Clayton!

Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •


Mayor for a Day Rhys Delaney

Mt. Diablo Elementary School student, Rhys Delaney served as Clayton’s Mayor for a Day Nov. 20. Supporters held a fundraiser auction and Rhys’ family won the honor. Rhys spent the day touring City Hall, meeting with department heads and visiting with the police chief before attending the City Council meeting where he pounded the gavel three times to call the meeting to order. From left, Council members Jim Diaz and Julie Pierce, Rhys, Mayor Keith Haydon and Council member Tujia Catalano.

Pioneer travels

Delmy Metrock and daughter, Melissa Metrock, recently spent ten days in San Salvador, El Salvador, visiting with an ill aunt. They also visited the city of Santa Isabel and the Ishuatan Beach where the photo was taken.

6160 Center St. Suite F, Clayton


Thank you for your patronage. We look forward to serving your design needs from consultations to full service, design, remodeling, project management, and window coverings in 2019. Cheers! –The Interiors Panache Staff

Use this holiday season as a selling point Q: Is this time of year a good or bad time to sell my house? A: It is a wonderful time to sell, especially this year, because it seems that we are starting a declining market. I have written my reasons to list during the holidays before, but I am going to repeat them this year: People who look for a home during the holidays are more serious buyers. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the holidays and less competition means more money for you. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home. Less demand means less money for you. Houses show better when decorated for the holidays. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays, so they are more likely to pay your price. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the holidays than they do during a regular work week. Some people must buy


“They learn how to make a difference globally and impact lives through various forms of art.” The academy promotes group work and activities such as the all-academy projects that require each grade level to participate. This gives students experience with the type of tasks and group situations JEFF ANDERSON they will encounter in college. Abbott can share countless CVCHS stories of students returning PRINCIPAL to campus long after graduation to tell how the academy Now in its 20th year, the prepared them for life after ClaytonArts Academy has high school. encouraged students to use Technology now plays a their creative abilities in art, vital role in the academy, and drama, photography and it’s likely one of the biggest video. changes from year 1 to year Elizabeth Abbott has been 20. CVCHS wants all students involved with Clayton Valley to be prepared for entry into Charter High School’s Claythe professional world, so the tonArts Academy for more ClaytonArts Academy teaches than eight years. As one of six students to find artistic uses in instructors, she joins a dediany career setting and to posicated team of teachers who tively engage their creative keep the academy relevant for side in problem-solving. These our inspired and artistic stuskills are an important part of dents. student success on and Abbott says art is also beyond the CVCHS campus. intertwined in core course offerings, which is critical to the academy. “Our students are in a cohesive environment where they learn to creatively solve problems,” Abbott said.

May your heart be filled with laughter Your soul with joy And your home with love this holiday season. Senior Real Estate Specialist Accredited Staging Professional CalBRE# 01874255


Q: Can you suggest any ways to offset rising interest rates? A: To keep monthly mortgage payments more affordable, more home buyers are reaching deeper into their pockets to Q: When I buy a car, I make larger down payments. A always pay cash. I can real- recent survey found 64 percent ly strike a great deal that of prospective home buyers say way. I am now going to they expect mortgage rates to begin to shop for a house. rise. That has prompted 57 perLYNNE FRENCH Does cash give me a comcent of respondents to say they REAL ANSWERS petitive advantage also? plan to make a down payment A: The Wall Street Journal of 15 percent or more on their before the end of the year for recently reported that 30 per- home purchase. Meanwhile, 44 tax reasons. cent of home purchases are percent say they will have a January is traditionally the “all cash” transactions. Buyers down payment of less than 15 month for employees to begin pay cash because they want to percent. new jobs. Since transferees avoid debt and don’t want to Also for affordability, the cannot wait until spring to go to the trouble of garnering majority of home buyers surbuy, you must be on the mar- financing. They also they want veyed said they prefer fixed-rate ket now to capture these buy- their offers to be more commortgages, particularly 30-year ers. petitive, relative to offers with fixed-rate mortgages (45 perEven if your home is on financing that require contin- cent), compared to 15-year the market, you have the gencies and slower closings. fixed rate mortgages (36 peroption to restrict showings For cash buyers that would cent) and adjustable-rate mortduring the six or seven days like financing in the end, gages (7 percent). during the holidays. “delayed financing” remains Send your question and look for You can sell now for more available. Cash buyers are your answer in a future column. Email money, and we will provide allowed to take cash out French is for a delayed closing or against a residential real prop- the broker/owner of Windermere extended occupancy until early erty immediately after close. Lynne French & Associates. Contact next year. her at 672-8787 or stop in at 6200 There is no “seasoning periBy selling now, you may Center St., Clayton. od” at most lending sources. have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money. This will allow you to sell high and buy low.

ClaytonArts Academy: 20 years in the making

Leigh Klock,

December 7, 2018


Merry Christmas from Leigh Klock Homes

The school will hold a celebration on Jan. 12 to honor the anniversary of the oldest academy at CVCHS, with academy leaders reaching out to all students, alumni, families and former teachers. If any group can throw a great party, one imagines the ClaytonArts Academy can. “We would love for all of the current and former students and teachers to get together to celebrate how they helped grow this academy,” Abbott said. “There have been a few curriculum changes over the years, but the overall emphasis has always been on art and that’s what makes this academy so special.” Like every year, the students of the ClaytonArts Academy have big plans in addition to the 20th anniversary party. They will be involved with the Arts Expo in the spring, and the drama team is busy working on a production led entirely by students. They do the acting, directing and all of the behind-the-scenes activities to

Sydney Skow


deliver an outstanding performance. The ClaytonArts Academy is a dynamic and longstanding tradition at CVCHS, and it is bound to have many anniversary celebrations to come. Send comments to

School district event looks at effects of social media Mt. Diablo Unified is thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with our community and parents as we celebrate the third year of our Speaker Series. The series has included topics such as parent-child communication, healthy lifestyles and ways to support your children with their academics. Mark your calendars for Jan. 22 as we present Thomas Dodson, founder of Above the Fray, who will be speaking about social media’s impact on young people’s selfimage. Self-esteem and self-image are closely linked and have a great impact on our children’s success. Please join us as we learn more about how to counteract the negative influences while recognizing that this form of communication is not going away. A student’s self-esteem has a significant impact on almost




everything they do – on the way they engage in activities, deal with challenges and interact with others. Self-esteem also can have a marked effect on academic performance. Low self-esteem can lessen a student’s desire to learn, their ability to focus and their willingness to take risks. Positive self-esteem, on the other hand, is one of the building blocks of school success; it

provides a firm foundation for learning. Our children are bombarded with images on social media and in the entertainment world that provide unhealthy examples of body image and behavior. Students often see the carefully curated images of friends and worry that their lives do not measure up. Our workshop will discuss ways to keep teens from falling into the social media trap, modeling healthy social media use and taking a social media break from time to time. Let’s tackle this topic as a community. The session begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at Mt. Diablo High School. Dr. Nellie Meyer is Superintendent of Schools for MDUSD. Email questions or comments to

December 7, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

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



R OBERT S TEInER , Publishers


P ETE C Ruz , Graphic Design

B Ev B RITTOn , Copy Editor

J Ay B EDECARRé, Sports Editor

PAMELA W IESEnDAnGER , Administration, Calendar Editor

S TAFF W RITERS : Pamela Wiesendanger, Jay Bedecarré, Bev Britton

C ORRESPONDENTS : Kara Navolio, John T. Miller Remembering Jill Bedecarré February 24, 1950 - June 17, 2007


Tel: (925) 672-0500 Fax: (925) 672-6580

Tamara Steiner Send ads to Send Sports News to Send Club News to Send School News to 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 resident in our home delivery area. Submit on our website and be sure to attach a JPG photo that is at least 3 MB but not bigger than 6MB. You can also mail or bring your print to the office and we can scan it for you. Also on the website are forms for calendar items, events & press releases. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Both Pioneer newspapers welcome letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 175 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have



The large cedar tree in front of Skipolini’s was planted in the 1940s, and Clayton postmistress Dolly Murchio Foubert lovingly decorated it when she lived in the building. In the past, residents adorned fireplace mantels and tables inside homes with mistletoe, red berries and greenery gathered in their farmyards or on mountain walks. Lit with candles or electric lights, the Christmas tree was the center of attention. Pots of poinsettias and bows of red crepe paper completed the festive look. Otto Schwartz’s band head-

priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print anonymous letters. E-mail your letter to Letters must be submitted via E-mail. CIRCULATION

Total circulation of the Clayton Pioneer is 5,500 to ZIP code 94517, all delivered by US Mail to homes and businesses. We cannot start or stop free delivery to individual addresses. This must be done directly through the Post Office. The Concord Pioneer is delivered monthly to 30,500 in Concord by carrier. Papers are delivered once a month on a Friday morning near the end of the month. To stop delivery for any reason, call the office at (925) 672-0500 or send an email to If you are NOT receiving the Pioneer, please check the distribution map on the website. If you live in the shaded area and are not receiving the paper, please call us or send an email to If you are not in the shaded area, please be patient. We will come to your neighborhood soon. SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe, call the office at (925) 672-0500. Subscriptions are $35/year for each paper, $60/year for both.


Rudiger Hempell

May 4, 1940 — Nov. 22, 2018

La Cocotte part of a long line of successes for Rudy Hempell

Rudiger Hempell, a previous co-owner of La Cocotte restaurant in Clayton, died Nov. 22. He was born in Minden, Germany, on May 4, 1940. Hempell had an early passion for cooking and at age 14 became an apprentice at the well-known hotel restaurant Detmolder Hof in Detmold, Westfalia/Germany. After successfully completing his chef training, he worked for several years in Switzerland and obtained his bartender license. He also worked in Finland, then two years for the Holland/America Cruise Line and for two fun years on the island of Bermuda. Along the way, he collected a large number of mostly German friends, all successful in the restaurant and hotel business. He arrived in New York City in 1965 and always worked at well-known establishments. In 1968, he met his future wife Ingrid and they married in 1970 at West Portal Lutheran Church in San Francisco. In 1972, Rudy and Ingrid opened their first restaurant. The Recovery Room served German cuisine on Judah Street, two blocks down from the UC Medical Center. All medical staff, out-patients and visitors needed “recovery,” and the restaurant was always busy. But the landlord was not



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willing to sell the premises and there was no way to enlarge the business. In 1974, son Christian was born and it was time to look for something else. In fall 1965, they saw an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle: French restaurant for sale; owners want to retire. The place was La Cocotte, owned by Josef and Marjory Salas. The Hempells’ ownership started in January 1966 and the restaurant became wellknown in the county. Claude Le Jeune, a French chef, and his wife Dominique also had a new baby and decided to leave San Francisco and work at the Clayton restaurant. In 1977, the Hempells had son Markus, and the family enjoyed life in rural Clayton – especially summertime and the swimming pool. The Hempells divorced in 2000 and Ingrid was the sole owner/operator of the restaurant until she leased it in December 2002. Rudy moved to Hawaii in 2006 and married Marishka in 2009.

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When she was postmistress circa 1940s, Dolly Murchio planted a cedar tree in front of what was then the post office on Main Street and is now Skipolinis. She decorated the tree every Christmas. The stately tree still stands.

cardboard heaped with shredded paper or bran on the top. The family placed the pie in the center of a table or hung it from the ceiling. Each little present had ribbon attached that trailed outside the pie, and

when each person pulled a ribbon, out popped a surprise gift. As far as honest to goodness holiday food, the main items on the menu varied

See History, page 7

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Recalling Christmas past, from decor to fun and games lined many a merry party at the old Clayton Social Hall during the late 1800s, when the Virginia Reel was one of the favorite dances. Singing and games like Blind Man’s Bluff, charades and bobbing for apples were fun activities at parties held at churches and private homes. A holiday favorite of children living around 1860 was the Grab Bag, held by an adult, with each child taking a turn to reach in and lay claim to a small present inside. Another fun way to dispense small presents at a holiday party was the Jack Horner Pie. A December 1909 article in the San Francisco Call newspaper described it as a round, deep pan with sides decorated with colorful paper. It was filled with small wrapped toys or other favors, then covered with a round piece of

Page 5

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Clayton Pioneer •

December 7, 2018

Cancer Society lauds Svahn at annual ball Sponsored Content

The American Cancer Society honored Dr. Tiffany Svahn, the lead breast cancer specialist at Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group, at the 9th annual Jewel Ball at the Blackhawk Museum in October. The Jewel Ball is the society’s signature East Bay fundraising event. The inspiring evening brings the community together to DR. TIFFANY SVAHN celebrate patients and their caregivers, honor individuals who have raised more than impacted cancer care and $100,000 to help the recognize community investors. This year’s event sponsors included Chevron, John Muir Health, Kaiser, Sutter Health and Diablo Valley Oncology. The ball legal and e-cigarettes event existed. City staff recommended going further than state law and prohibit smoking and cannabis use in all indoor workplaces, public Independently owned and operated places and in apartments and condos where the units share Let us help you with a wall. The new rules also your holiday shipping established a smoke-free zone around the Grove park y Holida nday downtown. As of late : Su November, “No Smoking or Hours. 9 & 16 Dec -3pm Vaping” signs were on order 10am to be installed on applicable Clayton/Concord Location: street light poles in the Town Vineyard Shopping Center Store Hours Center. 5100 Clayton Road, B1 M-F 8-6:30 Concord, CA 94523 Sat 9-4:30 MARCH ph: 925-689-6245 Women of Distinction: Notary, Packaging, Fax and Copy Services are available too! Soroptimist International of Donation location for One Warm Coat® Diablo Vista honored LaTonya Watts and Roxanne Pardi for their work with Clayton Theatre Company and Clayton resident Linda Cruz for her myriad volunteer contributions at a March 21 celebration. The theater troupe also picked up awards in January at the Shellies, where Watts was named best director award and Teresa Grosserode won best actress Concord – Commercial Offices for Clayton’s production of Active business complex featuring “Moon Over Buffalo.” The a variety of commercial businesses. Well Soroptimists lauded Cruz for efforts on behalf of the Claymaintained with friendly atmosphere. Exton Valley Garden Club and cellent location including ample parking. the Clayton Historical Society, among other civic involveContact Maureen ment. “Where there is a need, I keep trying to help,” she said. Keeping schools on high alert: After the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Joe Ronco/Owner 925-872-3049 Florida, the Mt. Diablo fied School District instituted active shooter training to minimize damage in a crisis situation. In contrast to intruder drills conducted in the past, this training emphasizes strategies to reduce the chances of a school shooting in advance. Students are encouraged to say something if they see or hear anything 35 years Clayton/ that might be dangerous. Concord resident “This tragedy highlights the Lic#844344 critical importance of ensuring that our community stays vigilant in reporting concerns about suspicious or worrisome behaviors,” said Superintendent Nellie Meyer.

American Cancer Society remain an innovative leader in the cancer conversation throughout the Bay Area. Svahn has been in private practice since 2006 at Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group. She provides education on cancer awareness, prevention and early detection and has been active in cancer research throughout her career. She was instrumental in the development and design of the Women’s Cancer Center of the East

Wrap Up from page 1

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MAY 15 years and counting: The Clayton Pioneer marked 15 years as our community newspaper after launching on May 9, 2003. “The Pioneer has been called everything from the ‘glue’ of the community to a ‘dirty, Commie liberal rag.’ (That was an honor),” wrote editor Tamara Steiner. “We’ve celebrated births and mourned deaths. We’ve covered the sad and the glorious.”

JUNE A rosy projection: Clayton finance manager Kevin Mizuno reports that city finances are in tip-top shape. In his 2018-’19 budget presentation to the City Council on June 5, he projected plenty of revenue to keep the city afloat – without touching the reserves. “The city looks forward to a pretty successful year,” Mizuno said. Project withdrawn: Fulcrum Development Group has decided not to pursue a senior assisted living/memory care facility in downtown Clayton. The project also included 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The June 7 decision


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APRIL Honoring a fallen warrior : The Blue Star Moms dedicated a monument to Maj. James M. Ahearn at his high school, now Clayton Valley Charter. The 1981 CV graduate died in action in Iraq on July 5, 2007. His mother Connie and sister Kelly Kennedy attended the unveiling on April 25. It was the fifth of 12 monuments the group plans for local schools. From the chief: In her column in the Pioneer, new Police Chief Elise Warren talked about the Police Department’s partnership with the community. She encouraged residents to thwart property thefts by keeping vehicles locked and help emergency response teams by registering at “Clayton is a beautiful, safe city, and our Police Department strives to keep it that way,” she wrote.

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Bay. Backed by a team of passionate breast cancer specialists from Diablo Valley Oncology and West Coast Surgical Associates, this center coordinates a multi-disciplinary group of physicians to develop a customized treatment plan that results in the best possible outcomes for each patient. Svahn has participated in and supported the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for nearly 10 years. In conjunction with the Amer-

ican Cancer Society, Svahn facilitated the annual Many Faces of Breast Cancer at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Oct. 27. More than 100 people attend this special event that focuses on the unique needs and issues of breast cancer survivors. Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group provides comprehensive, coordinated and targeted cancer care in the East Bay. Contact the group or Svahn at 925677-5041.

came after Fulcrum held community meetings in April and May and further analyzed city staff ’s critique of initial plans. “This project never went beyond the concept stage,” Mayor Keith Haydon noted in his Pioneer column. “A full application was not formally filed with the city, and the City Council never pre-approved the project or examined the proposal’s specific details.”

limits such homes to General Plan designated areas of multi-family low density, multi-family medium density and multi-family high density. Each proposal would be subject to a public conditional use permit hearing. In addition, the city prescribed a 1,000-foot distance from any “sensitive sites” as defined within the ordinance. Many residents had voiced concerns about “welcoming” parolees to town, but the council maintains the ordinance was necessary to address state mandates and that it will serve to dissuade such housing. “No one wants parolee housing in Clayton,” said Councilwoman Julie Pierce. “The disagreement is on how to keep them out.” No applications have been submitted to the city, but the controversy flowed over into November’s contentious City Council race.

JULY The race against flames: While the Clayton area wasn’t the site of any massive wildfires this season, danger was ever-lurking. On July 25, 275 acres and one home was damaged in the Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory area – prompting the evacuation of 200 homes. Just a month earlier, a fast-moving grassfire on Ygnacio Valley Road charred close to 300 acres and led to evacuations in the Crystal Ranch and Montecito subdivisions. Then, as unhealthy air due to the Camp Fire further north weighed heavily, fire erupted out on Morgan Territory Road in November. However, crews were able to contain it to about 20 acres. AUGUST The littlest library: Not surprisingly, young Andrew Drynkin got the idea for his Little Free Library from a book – in this case a Jigsaw Jones Mystery. Neighbors, family and local businesses pitched in to help construct the Buckeye Terrace book nook, which abides by the policy of “Take a Book, Return a Book.” Changes at charter: Clayton Valley Charter High School began its seventh year with executive director, Jim Scheible in charge. “I’m here to serve the students and community of Clayton Valley Charter,” said Scheible, adding that he just moved into a Clayton condo. Board chair Kristy Downs said the school board was impressed with his “passion for student success and the enthusiasm he will bring to lead our staff and school community.” The school’s first executive director, Dave Linzey, left his position under a cloud in May. A forensic audit by the County Board of Education raised issues that have been referred to the District Attorney for investigation. The case is still pending.

SEPTEMBER Addressing parolee housing: After much public debate, the City Council adopted an ordinance to locally regulate parolee housing. The city’s moratorium on parolee group homes was set to expire Oct. 3, so the council voted Sept. 4 to adopt permanent regulations. The new ordinance

OCTOBER Field of Dreams on track: After raising $170,000, the Mount Diablo Elementary School Field of Dreams committee celebrated with a groundbreaking on Oct. 2. Renovations should be complete for a spring opening. “Picture a beautiful expansive green field, two new shiny backstops, dugouts and infields, surrounded by a smoothly lined track with the landscape blooming in the spring,” said organizer Pat Middendorf. “We will finally have a field to make the community proud.”

NOVEMBER A win for schools: The passage of Measure J in the Nov. 6 election means $150 million in repairs and improvements at schools in Mt. Diablo Unified, include Mt. Diablo Elementary, Pine Hollow Middle and Clayton Valley Charter High. “Providing a high-quality, 21st century education requires up-to-date science labs, classrooms and school facilities,” said Superintendent Nellie Meyer. Personal memories of WWI: This Nov. 11 marked 100 years since the signing of the Armistice ending World War I. To commemorate the war on a personal level, the Clayton Museum featured the exhibit “Remembering the Great War: A Community Event.” “We are not trying to educate the public about the history of World War I,” said curator Renee Wing. “We are merely presenting small snapshots in time – personal, yet universal.” The year wraps up with a contentious city council race which pitted long-term council member Dave Shuey and former planning commisssion CW Wolfe against newcomers, Jeff Wan and Brian Buddell with Wan and Wolfe claiming the two open seats.

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December 7, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •


Popular vet succumbs to cancer Concord veterinarian Larry Rothe, practicing veterinarian at Disney Pet Hospital lost his year-long battle with cancer Nov. 25. “The universe has lost a good man,” says Concord pet rescue advocate and friend, Kathy Gleason. “He made a difference.” Rothe bought the practice from Bob Disney in 1994. The hospital has been in the same Concord Blvd. location since Disney opened in 1974. Many friends attended last Friday’s service. “Once you were his friend, you were his best friend,” said long-time employee, Shara Davis. As word of his death spread, many current and former clients checked in on social media.

“He was such a good vet, but more than that, he was a dear man,” writes Beth Neudell from Arizona. “There was such a lightness about him,” said another. “No matter what I brought through the door, from an emaciated stray kitten to an injured feral cat to a shy rescue dog, he never hesitated to help,” Gleason said. Many of the hundreds of dogs and cats Gleason rescued were so sick they couldn’t be saved. Euthanizing an animal was never easy for him Gleason said. “Every time he had to do it, he said a prayer first.” Rothe is survived by his wife, Bonnie Claire and children Michael, Jordan and

History, from page 5

according to year and family. Turkey and goose figured prominently, but suckling pig and quail could also be featured. Many members of Clayton’s pioneering families, like the Murchios, had fond memories of homemade ravioli. It seems that this dish was not limited to Italian families, as Earl Duncan remembers his Swedish grandmother making them for holiday dinners as well. Plum pudding was another traditional favorite. John Jawad’s Pioneer Inn was open 1965-1990, and his holiday brunch menu included breast of chicken with creamed artichoke sauce, seafood crepes and Eggs Lafayette served with complimentary champagne. Newspapers in San FrancisLAWRENCE ROTHE, DVM co and the East Bay featured holiday poems and stories in Polly. and Elizabeth Pisanelli con- almost every December edition, Rothe recently sold the tinue to see patients at the along with numerous notificapractice. His two associate hospital which will remain at tions of charitable events hosted by churches and social veterinarians, Vicki Tillman the same location. groups to benefit the poor. One small article in the San Francisco Call dated December 1907 was labeled as a “special dispatch” and the headline read, “A Christmas Party of Drunkards.” Workers were searching the slums of Los Angeles for

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Mayor, from page 1

tra Costa communities – including hosting a Mayors Conference here in Clayton. I’m proud of our community and I love promoting its many benefits, which include our popular summer concert series in the Grove park, our award-winning trail system and our picturesque, quaint Main Street, which looks especially inviting during our very popular community events. As my term as mayor expires, I also voluntarily conclude my term of service on the City Council. I have truly enjoyed serving in a number of volunteer positions here in Clayton over the years, including on the original Clayton Trails Committee, the Planning Commission (for more than 16 years), the Clayton Business and Community Association executive board (as both president and VP twice), the Clayton Bocce League Committee, president of my homeowner’s association executive board (for 34 years) and the City Council. One of my favorite assignments as a City Council member has been serving as Clayton’s representative on the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy Governing Board, with this last year as chair. The conservancy gives participating jurisdictions control over endangered species permitting,

Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? Can you share your talents to connect people and animals? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our website, SAILOR MOON, or call (925) 256but she’s also quite a cuddler 1ARF. and enjoys being petted and held. She likes to settle into a cozy lap to rest after a busy day of playing and will purr contentedly. Sailor Moon would like to be your new best friend and she’ll provide all the companionship you could ask for. The adoption fee for kittens <6 months $125 and for

Page 7

“unfortunates” to be guests of a Dr. Yoakum for a week at his “benevolent refuge.” The inebriants were to be provided with baths, clean clothes and a feast “conducted as far as possible along the usual line of entertainment in an effort at reclaiming the unfortunates through their sense of selfrespect.” One favorite holiday theme that appeared in newspapers of the past and continues to the present day is a comparison of the winter holidays in California to those in the eastern United States. We boast of our sunny days and fresh, healthy produce. An author of an 1875 article wrote: “We do not believe that the festivities of the season are in any way dependent upon the magnitude of the snow banks, upon the jingling of sleigh bells, or upon the freezing of fingers and toes.” Warmest wishes from the Clayton Historical Society for a happy holiday season.

Debbie Eistetter is membership chair of the Clayton Historical Society. Visit or come to the museum on Main Street, open 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays. Admission is free. Call 925-6720240.

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sion and City Council levels and must adhere to local zoning and ordinance requirements, or obtain variances, which is also a very public process. Acquisition of property does not give an owner an unlimited right to develop. Property owners must often received approval from the city for a specific plan following a very public process. In closing, it has been a pleasure for me to serve our residents. I especially enjoyed working with the City Council and our excellent city staff. In particular, I thank City Manager Gary Napper, who is a real asset to the city and the City Council. He uses his excellent, extensive public experiences to manage our city with a very personal devotion to support the best interests of our community. I also thank all the volunteers that make Clayton the wonderful community it is, and I encourage others to volunteer and support our clubs, organizations and events so our community retains the friendly, smalltown feel that attracted so many of us here and fosters that same image and experience into the future. Best wishes for a good holiday season – and I’ll see you out and about on our trails and in our community.

providing appropriate protection for endangered species, wetlands and waters, habitat restoration projects and acquiring biologically rich habitat for the conservancy’s growing Preserve System. The conservancy works closely with the East Bay Regional Park District and Save Mount Diablo on land acquisition opportunities and management of Preserve System land. Upon retiring from my career as an attorney with AT&T in 2013, one of my goals was to complete my service to Clayton by being on the City Council. Now I’m now ready to move into a new phase in my life: trying to actually retire from both public service and business life to spend more time with family and friends, travel more and focus on personal and home projects that time has eluded. Before closing, I want to clarify an election-related issue. This past election generated interest, and some confusion, about Clayton’s planning process for private development, particularly in our downtown area. It is worth noting that all proposed land use developments in Clayton follow a very prescribed public process that Feel free to send comments to includes public hearings, disme at cussions and decisions at both the Planning Commis-

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Clayton Pioneer •

December 7, 2018

First Presbyterian Church Choir in Concert Dec. 9, 7 pm

With special guests Jessica McKenzie (soprano), Jeff Albright (tenor), James Hogan, Cheryl Albright, Jose Bodan.

Connect with Jesus during the holidays through traditional carols, spirituals, contemporary anthems and readings

• For all ages • Free-will offering supports music at FPCC • Reception to follow

African Children’s Choir in Concert

African choir greets the new year in Concord, Oakland

Jan. 2, 7 pm

“Just as I Am” tour combining traditional hymns with African cultural sounds and a stunning visual story of God’s faithfulness

• For all ages • Free-will offering supports the Music for Life Institute

First Presbyterian Church of Concord 1965 Colfax St.

The African Children’s Choir melts the hearts of audiences with their charming smiles, beautiful voices and lively African songs and dances. The program features well-loved children’s songs, traditional spirituals and gospel favorites. The choir will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the First Presbyterian Church, 1965 Colfax St., Concord, and again at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at the First Covenant Church, 4000 Redwood Road, Oakland. No tickets are

The African Children’s Choir has performed for presidents, heads of state and, most recently, Queen Elizabeth II for her diamond jubilee. The choir has also sang alongside Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Michael W. Smith and other inspirational performers. For more information, visit

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required, but donations will support programs such as education, care and relief and development. Music for Life, the choir’s parent organization, works in the African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa. The group has educated more than 52,000 children and impacted the lives of more than 100,000 people through relief and development programs. By focusing on education, their goal is to help create new leadership for tomorrow’s Africa.

Sat, Dec. 8,

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visit with Mrs. Claus and Santa at the historic Endeavor Hall

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Children 12 & under: FREE, if accompanied by adult

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Clayton Business & Community Association Go to or call (925) for membership information


2018 CHRISTMAS MASS SCHEDULE St. Bonaventure Catholic Church

Monday, December 24

8 p.m. Christmas Vigil Mass Our Sunday 9 a.m. Choir will begin Christmas Prelude Music at 7:30 p.m.

11 p.m. Christmas Mass at Night Our Sunday 11 a.m. Quartet will present a Christmas Choral Prelude beginning at 10:30 p.m.

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December 7, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

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Clayton Pioneer •

December 7, 2018

Begin holiday shopping at the farmers market day recipes at J&M Farms of Gilroy or First Generation Farms from Brentwood with amazing organic vegetables. The days are becoming Discover freshly baked busier, and you’re probably breads, pies, cakes and pastries stressed about getting everyto make your holiday party thing ready for the holidays. At your local farmers mar- preparations a lot easier. Visit ket, you’ll find everything you Feel Good Bakery from need for preparing for a holi- Alameda and Sweet Mac’s day party or buying interesting Cakes from Martinez. Decorate your home with items for those on your list or gorgeous cut flowers in an as a hostess gift. array of colors from Sunrise The Tuesday Concord Nursery of Watsonville. Give farmers market offers an abundance of interesting food some as a hostess gift or to someone who needs a smile. gifts, party components, fun Bring a twinkle to the eye stocking stuffers and essential of a stressed mom or sister holiday meal ingredients. Find an array of winter cit- with a lovely collection of handmade soaps, lotions, rus from Diaz Farms of loofa soaps and lip balms Fowler to send to those who from Delta Moon Soapworks. aren’t lucky enough to live in They offer gift sets that California. Pick up all the ingredients you need for holi- include scented candles as well. These scented hand-

made delights give the gift of relaxation. Complete your holiday meals with amazing grass-fed beef from Divide Ranch of Elk Creek or lamb from Hanson Farms of Clayton. Their meats are of the highest quality and sure to impress your family and guests. Or visit Freshway Fish based in Roseville for the freshest catch. Enjoy the season at a slower pace this year and stroll the farmers market booths for the highest quality produce and other products grown or prepared by the purveyors themselves. Thank you for supporting your local farmers market and happy holidays from all of us at Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association. Some of the best gifts can be handmade by you. Gather

SLOW COOKER APPLE BUTTER 6 lbs. apples 2 c. white sugar 1 c. brown sugar 1 T. cinnamon ¼ tsp. ground cloves 4 T. real maple syrup ¼ tsp. teaspoon salt 2 T. apple cider vinegar Core and peel apples and place in large slow cooker. Pour in remaining ingredients. Cook on high for 1 hour; stir. Cook on low for about 9 hours or overnight. Cook on high with lid removed for 1 hour. Strain out 2 cups liquid. Return rest of mixture to cooker and blend until

smooth with hand blender. for 20 minutes. Fill sterilized jars, add lids and rings. Refrigerate for up to Recipe courtesy Cookin’ the two weeks or can them in a Market, PCFMA. For more great water bath canner and process recipes, visit

Here’s a long version of the short answer I provided then. Raindrops and snowflakes form in clouds when water vapor coagulates around WOODY WHITLATCH microscopic atmospheric dust WEATHER WORDS particles and small ice crystals. Meteorologists call them Now that the winter storm “condensation nuclei.” About a century ago, scidoor has finally opened, we entists discovered that silver can cease the rain dances. iodide, an inert insoluble In the dry weeks before chemical compound, has nearThanksgiving, local meteorolly the same crystalline strucogists fielded endless questure as ice-shaped condensations about drought, climate tion nuclei. Further studies change and wildfires. A senior indicated that silver iodide is softball teammate asked me: effective in attracting water “If cloud seeding increases vapor and producing rainprecipitation, how come it drops or snowflakes. isn’t used to lessen the effect The problem is that cloud of drought and the chance of seeding can’t create raindrops wildfire?”

or snowflakes in clear skies. It is only effective when clouds have already formed. That rules out cloud seeding as a method of producing precipitation during dry spells. Cloud seeding does have its uses. Since the 1950s, several of California’s electric utilities have used cloud seeding. Their goal is to increase snowpack in the watersheds that feed hydrogenation facilities in the Sierra Nevada. Electricity generated by falling water is considerably less polluting than the burning of fossil fuels. The economic rationale for cloud seeding is that a deeper snowpack will lengthen the snowmelt season. Hydrogenation will then continue further into the spring

and summer seasons. In California, electricity demands and fossil fuel prices peak during the hot seasons. Unfortunately, not every storm that crosses the state is a seeding candidate. Air mass temperature is the most important meteorological parameter. Meteorologists monitor current and forecasted weather conditions to determine which storms to seed. Warm winter storms are excluded from seeding consideration since snowfall is unlikely even at the highest portions of a watershed. On the other side of the temperature spectrum, storms that are too cold are not seedable. Snowflake pro-

duction is inefficient in extreme cold air, and extra condensation nuclei would have no positive effect. If weather conditions are conducive to seeding, silver iodine must somehow be injected into the clouds. Meteorologists have developed two effective ways of accomplishing this. The first involves direct dispersion into a storm using an airplane. The second method consists of heating silver iodide particles with propane in ground-based burners. The hot burner plume rises into the cloud and disperses the particles. One obvious question arises: Is operational cloud seeding an effective way of

DEBRA MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market

up a big bag of apples from Rainbow Orchards and make jars of apple butter. This recipe is easy because it’s made in the slow cooker.

Make a day of it at the Concord Farmers Market, open every Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 2 Todos Santos Plaza

Cloud seeding is useful – but it can’t stop a fire

increasing snowpack? Studies have shown that an overall increase of 5 to 15 percent in precipitation can be expected, although individual storm results vary. My short answer was that it is not possible for cloud seeding to produce precipitation during dry weather patterns that result in wildfires and droughts. However, it is a useful tool that can help lower electric generation costs and reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist retired from PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

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The Pioneer

Senior Living . . . . . . .B4 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . .B6 The Arts . . . . . . . . . . .B7

Clayton Edition, Section B

De La Salle seeks revenge in State title game December 7, 2018


Hall of Fame baseball player and manager Yogi Berra famously said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Putting aside the Yogism, the California State Open Division Bowl Game this Saturday night looks like something we’ve seen before in high school football. National No. 1 ranked Mater Dei of Santa Ana will attempt to go back-to-back for both State and National championships when they meet De La Salle under the lights at Cerritos College. The Spartans have made it to the State Bowl game every year since the series was inaugurated in 2006. No other school is close to that record. De La Salle won its 27th consecutive North Coast Section championship last Saturday, walloping undefeated Liberty 42-7 after falling behind 70 in the first quarter. The Brentwood school had eliminated Clayton Valley Charter 42-14 the previous week in the Open Division semi-finals. DLS has now won 298 straight games against California teams from north of Fresno since 1991 when the Herc Pardicoached Pittsburg Pirates defeated them at the NCS finals. The past two CIF Open finals have not been the legendary Spartan football program’s finest hours as John Bosco in 2016 and Mater Dei last December gave DLS two of their worst-ever defeats. Each team was rewarded with a No.1 national ranking for the season. In fact, the past six State Open champs (including DLS in 2012, 2014 and 2015) have been mythical national champions. If the Monarchs prevail Saturday they will make it seven straight. DLS is currently sixth nationally so a win by the 12-0 Spartans would most likely not result in them jumping five spots to No. 1. The Spartans will bring their highly-touted defense on the

Photo courtesy CVCHS football

Clayton Valley Charter all-DAL linebacker Dustin Mitchell (31) tried to block a placekick against Liberty in the North Coast Section Open Division football semi-finals as the Ugly Eagles lost 42-14 to the Lions in Brentwood. Liberty then fell last Saturday evening to De La Salle 42-7 in the NCS finals at Dublin High School.

field to try and combat the Mater Dei offense which is led by junior transfer quarterback Bryce Young, who has already committed to USC. It’s been said Mater Dei has over two dozen future Division I players on its roster. Last year’s team was loaded with college prospects and over a dozen starters then transferred in this spring and summer to reload the roster. Paperwork from all those transfers ran a little afoul of the rules when MD selfreported a transfer’s eligibility issue and forfeited its first game. They also lost a Trinity League showdown of the nation’s No. 1 and 2 teams to Bosco 41-18 in October. They reversed that result a couple weeks ago in the Southern California Regional Bowl game 17-13 to get a chance for a State repeat. They also handed

No. 3 ranked IMG Academy of Florida its only loss back in September. Due to the Butte County fire issue, De La Salle did not play from Nov. 9 (the day after the Camp Fire broke out) when it beat long-time rival Pitt 38-0 in the NCS semi-finals until Dec. 1 against Liberty. At first it appeared DLS had caught a break by getting the semi played before air quality turned worse. But as the fire aftermath greatly impacted NorCal air quality the Spartans ended up being off 22 days before facing Liberty. “It took us a little while to wake up,” De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh acknowledge after the game. Liberty scored the only points of the first quarter (after a DLS touchdown was called back for an illegal formation penalty). By halftime the Spar-

Carondelet golfer Carissa Wu wins NorCal golf title JAY BEDECARRÉ The Pioneer

The unhealthy air that enveloped a large portion of Northern California from the tragic Camp Fire last month in Butte County played havoc with North Coast Section and CIF State championships in several fall sports. Eventually, all the girls golf championships were held while cross country had to curtail some competitions before finally completing the State CIF meet at Woodward Park in Fresno. Carondelet junior Carissa Wu had quite a day at the Northern California golf tournament, scoring an ace during the round, shooting one under par 71 and winning a one-hole playoff for the individual championship. The Cougars were third overall, booking their place at the CIF State Championships. Maddie Gamble was fourth and sophomore Madison Wu 12th at NorCal. The State Championships a week later in Southern California saw the Cougars finish sixth. Gamble in 23rd was the only local golfer to finish in the top 30.

As one can imagine, cross country running was impacted as much as any fall sport with the air quality issues. Eventually NCS held its championship on the Monday of the State Meet in Fresno. Even with holding off the meet as long as possible, only five of the 10 schedule division races were held at Hayward High before officials called off the rest of the schedule due to air quality concerns. Qualifiers for State from the other divisions had to be determined based on season results. Senior Connor Livingston recovered from an injury to win the NCS Division II individual title as the Spartans finished second as a team. They were 11th at State with Livingston sixth in the season finale. Carondelet made it State for the first time in eight years and took 18th place in Division III.

tans had scored three TDs and had a fourth also called off due to a penalty. Three more third quarter touchdowns made the fourth quarter a running clock situation. The Spartans incepted highly-touted Liberty quarterback Jay Butterfield (currently the third rated Class of 2020 pro-style QB in America) four times. Sophomore Dorian Hale continued his improvement running the classic Spartan veer offense with a pair of scoring runs and one TD pass. The DLS defense took control of the game after an initial Butterfield TD pass.

EAGLES SEASON ENDS 9-2 For the third successive year Clayton Valley Charter as picked as one of the four teams in the NCS open Division playoffs and once again the Eagles weren’t able to get past the semi-final game, which would assure them of moving on in the CIF playoffs. Unbeaten Liberty was made a large favorite in that semi after comparting the score of each team’s game against Antioch. The Eagles suffered their only loss of the regular season 35-34 in September to the Panthers while Antioch lost one month later to Liberty 52-0. CVCHS coach Tim Murphy said, “We knew going into the Liberty game speed was

going to be their greatest advantage. For the majority of the game our defense did a good job not giving up the big play with the exception of one touchdown near the end of the 1st half. In the 4th quarter (with the score 14-6 in favor of the Lions) the wheels fell off and we gave up three huge plays that put the game out of reach.” Both the Eagles and Lions had been off for 29 days

before they met after Thanksgiving and play early in their game showed the rust. “I have to give it to Liberty for making some really good open field tackles that stopped some big plays by us and kept us from scoring in some crucial situations. Overall, it was a great game and the crowd was into it. Win or lose those kinds of games are what football is all about,” Murphy added. His team won its seventh straight undefeated league title. “It was the most unique season I’ve ever had as a coach. Never before have I experienced so many injuries in the beginning of the season. Coupled with losing three other starters for various reasons going into game one we were down 10 starting positions from what we had three months earlier in spring ball. Defeating Pitt at Pitt with that sort of adversity I knew we had a really good and, more importantly, a tough group of kids. With the exception of the one-point loss to Antioch, which was my fault for working on our two-minute offense before it was ready, we played near flawless all season,” Murphy said about the season. He added, “I thought the character of our team was outstanding as well. With a team GPA of 3.2 and absolutely no off-the-field problems, this was a great team to coach.” He mentioned the wins over Pitt, three-time league champion Canyon Springs of North Las Vegas and league rival Campolindo as highlights for the Ugly Eagles.

Photo courtesy De La Salle High School

De La Salle came into the season with the ballyhooed senior duo of Isaiah Foskey (left) and Henry To’oto’o leading the way. The headlines were affirmed in the opening game 14-0 shutout of defending State champion Folsom and continued for 11 more victories, leading them to a rematch Saturday night against America’s No. 1 ranked Mater Dei of Santa Ana at Cerritos College as the Spartans seek revenge for their lopsided loss a year ago in the Open Division Bowl. Foskey and To’oto’o have been honored with invitations to the All-American Bowl in the Alamodome Jan. 5.


turns to 2019. All winter sports lead towards North Coast Section competition in February with NorCal and State competition to follow later in February or early March. Carondelet and De La Salle drew byes on the opening day of EBAL soccer next week before hosting Dougherty Valley in their league openers on Thursday. Like the DAL, their WINTER SPORTS UNDERWAY league will have four rounds of Diablo and East Bay athlet- games before the holiday break ic league soccer teams begin and continue on Tuesdays and league play this month while Thursdays from Jan. 8 to Feb. 7. the basketball and wrestling league schedules (almost all) See Wu, page B4 don’t begin until the calendar

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Clayton Pioneer •

Carondelet senior GK captains USA at U17 Women’s World Cup

December 7, 2018 in third season on varsity wrestling after he got the Bill Smith and JV MVP awards during his freshman season. He’s a team caption for the second year this winter. In the spring Behmlander plays baseball and is looking forward to his final sports season for the Eagles as a second and third baseman as well has handling all three outfield positions. “Nothing beats the thrill of competition and doing so alongside my friends makes it that much more satisfying to succeed,” says Behmlander. In the classroom, he maintains a high GPA while being an active student in the CVCHS Engineering Academy. CVCHS student journalist Sydney Skow wrote this Spotlight.

Athlete Spotlight

Cade Behmlander Grade: Senior School: CVCHS Sport: Football, Wrestling, Baseball

Roy K. Miller/ISI Photo courtesy US Soccer

Angie Anderson, a Carondelet High School senior, will probably never forget her November experiences. She was the starting goalkeeper in Uruguay for the United States under 17 Women’s World Cup team. In the tournament opener she was in goal for a shutout as the United States scored a 3-0 victory over Cameroon. That day she also formalized her commitment to continue her soccer career next fall at the University of California Berkeley by signing her National Letter of Intent. Anderson served as team captain in the American’s final game at the World Cup when they were eliminated by group winner Germany. She was one of 12 Cougar seniors to formalize their college choices that day. Anderson won the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper in the CONCACAF championships where the US qualified for the World Cup.

Captain Grammar Pants

FURTHER and FARTHER (from the same Indo-European root) are constantly messed up. Are you one of the guilty ones, or one of the few – the proud – who gets it right? Further means “more so” or “to a greater degree,” as in “I plan to persist in discussing this grammatical issue further.” Farther works for distance, as in “the shop you want is farther down the road.” Got that? Note that this distinction applies primarily in American English, not British English. You might wish to ponder further questions about how important it is to separate the meaning of words, even when they are separated by only one letter. Sean Williams is a professor of ethnomusicology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. She is currently working on a Captain Grammar Pants book. Follow her regular postings on Facebook.

The Ugly spirit runs in the Behmlander family. Cade Behmlander just finished his senior season of football and is now in his final season of wrestling for coach Kyle Behmlander, his dad and a Clayton Valley alumnus. The senior student athlete has enjoyed having his father as a coach. “My dad has been with me every step of the way, through all of my ups and downs. He

was always right there with me.” Cade Behmlander played football all four years and was on the league championship varsity the past two seasons as a cornerback and holder for placekicks. As a sophomore, he won the JV Defensive Back of the Year award. “Cade is the ultimate team player, extremely reliable and well rounded,” says CVCHS football coach Tim Murphy. He’s now

The Clayton Pioneer congratulates Cade and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for 25 years at Family Vision Care Optometry. Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to

28 senior athletes from local schools ink college commitments for next fall JAY BEDECARRÉ The Pioneer

Nov. 14 was a special day for 28 local high school athletes who signed their National Letters of Intent, committing to play their sport starting next fall in colleges large and small from coast to coast. Carondelet, Clayton Valley Charter, Northgate and De La Salle had student athletes formalize their college choices. There were 11 signees for swimming and diving, four for soccer and baseball, three basketball, two golf and one each for water polo, softball, lacrosse and wrestling among the 28 athletes headed to 25 different colleges. Four members of the highly-rated (top 15 in the State) Carondelet basketball team made their commitments, including Alex Brown of Clayton who will play water polo at Cal Poly SLO. Carondelet’s Angie Anderson missed the school’s NLI ceremony while she was the winning goalkeeper for the United States soccer team in the opening game of the under 17 Women’s World Cup in

Carondelet had a dozen girls sign their letters of intent. Angie Anderson (Soccer, UC Berkeley) and Courtney Gaoiran (Golf, Holy Names) were involved in competitions that day and did not take part in the school ceremony. The other Cougar student athletes were, from left, Kate Cilley (Diving, Boston College), Tatyana Modawar (Basketball, UTEP), Emma McLaughlin (Softball, Siena College), Christy Neufeld (Swimming, San Diego State), Courtney Klausen (Diving, North Carolina Wilmington), Emily Howie (Basketball, Johns Hopkins), Sarah Hamilton (Swimming, Pepperdine), Ella Collier (Soccer, UC Berkeley), Alex Brown (Water Polo, Michigan) and Ali Bamberger (Basketball, Washington).

Uruguay. Classmate Courtney Gaoiran was playing in the California High School golf championship that day in Southern California for the Cougars. The local Terrapins USA Swimming club was represented by Anthony Vizental and Niklas Weigelt from CVCHS, Ryan Iannaccone of De La Salle and three Northgate swimmers, Andrew Rodriguez, Robert Mitchell and Delanie Gearing. Vizental, Weigelt and

Four CVCHS students are headed for the colleges of their choice to pursue their athletic and academic careers. The Eagles making their commitments were, from left, Torin Neal (Lacrosse, Robert Morris University), Niklas Weigelt (Swimming, Maryland Baltimore County), Anthony Vizental (Swimming, Bentley University) and Cal Brown (Swimming, Cal Poly SLO).

Iannaccone all swam for the Dana Hills Swim Team of Clayton. Carondelet’s Angie Anderson missed the school’s NLI ceremony while she was the winning goalkeeper for the United States soccer team in the opening game of the under 17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay. Classmate Courtney Gaoiran was playing in the California High School golf championship that day in Southern California for the Cougars. The local Terrapins USA Swimming club was represented by Anthony Vizental and Niklas Weigelt from CVCHS, Ryan Iannaccone of De La Salle and three Northgate swimmers, Andrew Rodriguez, Robert Mitchell and Delanie Gearing. Vizental, Weigelt and Iannaccone all swam for the Dana Hills Swim Team of Clayton. The local Terrapins USA Swimming club was represented by Anthony Vizental and Niklas Weigelt from CVCHS, Ryan Iannaccone of De La Salle and three Northgate swimmers, Andrew Rodriguez, Robert Mitchell and Delanie Gearing. Vizental, Weigelt and Iannaccone all swam for the Dana Hills Swim

Team of Clayton. The other National Letter of Intent dates for 2019 grads are Dec. 19, Feb. 6 and April 17. NLI signees (sport and college): CARONDELET

Angie Anderson (Soccer, UC Berkeley) Ali Bamberger (Basketball, Washington) Alex Brown (Water polo, Michigan) Kate Cilley (Diving, Boston College) Ella Collier (Soccer, UC Berkeley) Courtney Gaoiran (Golf, Holy Names) Sarah Hamilton (Swimming, Pepperdine) Emily Howie (Basketball, Johns Hopkins) Courtney Klausen (Diving, North Carolina Wilmington) Emma McLaughlin (Softball, Siena College) Tatyana Modawar (Basketball, UTEP) Christy Neufeld (Swimming, San Diego State)


Cal Brown (Swimming, Cal Poly SLO) Anthony Vizental (Swimming, Bentley University) Niklas Weigelt (Swimming,

See College, page B4

Visit the New Clayton Valley High School Athletic Hall of Fame web site Inductees for the Class of 2019 have been announced — see our web site for the winners.

For questions, comments, recommendations about the web site OR to send a photo for the Gallery section, email:

Eight De La Salle athletes signed their NLI last Wednesday. The Spartans are, from left, Jared Amigh (Baseball, University of the Pacific), Cameron Cilley (Soccer, Stanford), Jack Gardner (Golf, Bucknell), Nick Fusari (Baseball, Loyola Marymount), Ryan Iannaccone (Swimming, Cal Poly SLO), Kyle Parco (Wrestling, Fresno State), Eric Reyzelman (Baseball, USF) and Chris Santiago (Baseball, Saint Mary’s College).

December 7, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

Page B3

MVP awards handed out to 8 local athletes for fall sports JAY BEDECARRÉ The Pioneer

Clayton Valley Charter’s running back Makhi Gervais and linebacker Cade Carter were tabbed as Diablo Athletic League Foothill Division football MVPs, two of eight local high school athletes getting most valuable player recognition for fall sports from the Diablo or East Bay athletic leagues. De La Salle standout Henry To’oto’o, headed back to his third straight State Open Division Bowl Game this Saturday evening, was the EBAL Mountain Division football MVP. To’oto’o made his mark primarily as a linebacker but also gave the Spartans offensive help when needed at runningback. Clayton Valley Charter junior goalie Jordan Frost was honored for the second year in a row as DAL Valley Division water polo MVP. Frost had 333 saves this season along with 52 steals and 20 assists. Twice this season she scored full pool goals from her goalie cage. She helped the Eagles to the second round of the North Coast Section playoffs where they lost to eventual champion Heritage.


Makhi Gervais (21) led Clayton Valley Charter football in rushing with 199 yards and 18 touchdowns to garner the Diablo Athletic League offensive MVP award for the undefeated league champions. The Ugly Eagles junior runningback averaged nearly a first down every time he carried the ball with 9.7 yards per carry.

Northgate’s Skylar Knoflick and Tanner Armas won DAL Valley Division water polo MVP honors. The Bronco’s Gia Feliciano was co-MVP of DAL Foothill golf. Goalkeeper Liam Ward of league champion De La Salle was the EBAL water polo MVP. Gervais followed in the line of outstanding runningbacks for CVCHS in the seven years Tim Murphy has coached the Ugly Eagles to unbeaten league championships. Gervais, a junior, ran for 1499 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 9.7 yards per carry. Carter was prolific on both sides of the ball. He had 94 tackles, including nine for a loss, four interceptions, one fumble recovery, two rushing TDs and six receiving scores.

Sports Shorts


The 2019 class for the Clayton Valley High School Hall of Fame includes three North Coast Section championship Eagles teams. Event organizers are reaching out to locate members of those teams. The honorees will be inducted Friday, May 3, at Shadelands Art Center in Walnut Creek. The teams are coach Bill Smith’s 1978 wrestling team, the 1999 boys swim team of coach Matt Chamberlain and coach Gary Gardner’s 1979 girls volleyball team. Players on those teams should email committee member Herc Pardi with their contact info to Visit the new Hall of Fame website for more info at


Registration for Clayton Valley Little League is now open for the spring 2019 season. Baseball programs for players ages four to 15 and softball for girls six to 16 are taking registrations. Tryouts are in January and the season runs from February to June. The CVLL program includes a Challenger Division for players with disabilities and special needs. Players must reside within the CVLL boundaries. Call Carin Musak at 705-2555 or visit for complete information and to register.


The 16th annual Diablo FC benefit crab feed, raffle and dance is set for Friday, Feb. 1, at Centre Concord. Tickets will be on sale shortly for the event that benefits programs for the local competitive youth soccer club affiliated with the San Jose Earthquakes. Visit for more details and to get information on event sponsoring and purchasing crab feed tickets.


The Northgate High School athletic department is hosting its annual Breakfast with Santa at Boundary Oak Golf Course on Sunday, Dec. 16. The event will include an all-you-can-eat breakfast, visit with Santa with free photo from 9-11 a.m. The breakfast is from 9 a.m.- 12 noon. Call 938-0900 or visit for more info.


Youth basketball and adult volleyball leagues offered by All Out Sports Leagues in Clayton are taking registrations online. Blaze club basketball tryouts for second through eighth graders will be held in Clayton Community Gym this Sunday, Dec. 9. For complete information on All Out Sports leagues, clinics, tryouts and other programs, visit

Clayton Valley Charter and Northgate (Diablo Athletic League), Carondelet and De La Salle (East Bay Athletic League) all-league honorees: DIABLO ATHLETIC LEAGUE

Cross County Boys: 2nd team- Nathan Butterfield (Clayton Valley Charter). Girls: 1st team- 2nd teamSierra Lofgren CV). Girls Golf FOOTHILL Co-MVP- Gia Feliciano (NG); 1st teamMaddie Starke, Skye Mingming (NG); 2nd team- Sam Ricafrente (NG). VALLEY 1st team- Kiana Fong (CV); 2nd team – Sydnie King (CV); HM- Grace Duke (CV.

Girls Tennis FOOTHILL 1st team-Kate Lee, Kylie Choi-Sarthika Chimmula (NG); 2nd teamJessie McCann (NG); HMElise Enos (NG). VALLEY 1st team- Sarisha Bhalla, Rylie Velez-Megan Otherdone (CV); 2nd teamNelly Elahmadie, Lauren Utne (CV); HM- Emily Lyons (CV). Girls Volleyball FOOTHILL 1st team Aubrey Roberts (NG); 2nd team – Ali Silva; HM - Lauren Brendt (NG). VALLEY 1st team- Alaysia Mitchell, Julianna Knipstein (CV); HM- Kylie Halliday (CV). Water Polo VALLEY Boys: MVP – Skylar Knoflick (NG), MVP Goalie – Tanner Armas (NG); 1st teamGabe Martin (CV), Adam Van Uden (NG); 2nd team- Teddy Conger (CV), John Finck, Nathan Stanley (NG); HMBryan Ruiz (CV), Cole Sanchez (NG). VALLEY Girls: MVP GoalieJordan Frost (CV); 1st teamSydney Skow (CV), Autumn Geckler, Ainsley McNulty, Jordan Sibley (NG); 2nd TeamMadelyn Vines, Michaela Ellis (CV), Katherine Stahl (NG); HM- Grace Pugh (CV), Mary Rosette (NG). Football FOOTHILL Offense MVPMakhi Gervais; 1st teamLogan Sumter, Jacob Sartario, Diyar Kudrat, Jason Cannedy (CV), Eric Prough (NG); 2nd team- Jacob Faleafine, Carson Sumter (CV). Defense MVP – Cade Carter; 1st team- Parker Allen, Dusty Mitchell, Leke Fashola (CV); 2nd team - Owen Pulver (NG), Priest Pulver, Steve Henry, Kyle Sparks, Kavika Baumgartner (CV).


(DLS boys, Carondelet girls) Water Polo Boys: MVP – Liam Ward; 1st team – Jagger Bender, Joey Grywczynski; 2nd teamShea Grosz, Tanner Mercer. Girls: 1st team-Alex Brown; 2nd team – Kiki Mein; HM – Sophia Riva. Girls Golf 1st team- Madelyn Gamble, Carissa Wu; 2nd teamCourtney Gaoiran; HMMadison Wu. Girls Volleyball 1st teamCatherine

Helgeson; 2nd team – Ava Merhten. Football MVP – Henry To’oto’o. Offense 1st team- Shamar Garrett, Grant Daley, Gunnar Rask, Mike Puckett; 2nd teamDorian Hale, Isaiah Foskey. Defense 1st team- Foskey, To’oto’o, Beaux Tagaloa, Jhasi Wilson, Amir Wallace; 2nd team- Rask, Richard Faihiua, Taveas Marshall. Cross Country Boys: 2nd team – Patrick Curulla, Derek O’Connor. Girls: 2nd team – Olivia Mazolewski.

Photos courtesy CVCHS

Senior Sydney Skow earned her third all-Diablo Athletic League Valley Division water polo award this fall. The Eagles got to the second round of the NCS playoffs after taking second in league. Skow is a two-time, first-team honoree and was second team all-DAL as a sophomore. She was team captain and the Eagles’ leading scorer this fall.

Christmas show Ho Ho Hoey Rockin’ Holiday Concert. Tickets to this family-friendly event are $35. The concert is at 8 p.m. with pre- and post-concert festivities planned. Visit for complete details on the fundraiser and also its youth golf program.


The Northgate Broncos are seeking a junior varsity coach for its boys volleyball team in the spring season. The coach will be in charge of the JV team and assist varsity coach Leanne De Bella as well. Practices are generally on campus in the afternoon with games on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Season runs from January to May. Contact athletic director Earle Paynton by email for more information and a link to the online application.


Continental Little League baseball and softball for boys and girls ages 4-14 has opened online registration for the 2019 season that runs from February to June. Fees range depending on age of the players. For the first time, the league is part of the Future A’s program that provides teams with special events and branded uniforms and hats. Players must live within league boundaries. Online registration and complete information are at


The annual Mt. Diablo High School Hall of Fame crab feed will be on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Zio Fraedo’s in Pleasant Hill. Tickets are available for the discount price of $55 until Dec. 31, before increasing to $60. The evening, which benefits the school’s Sports Hall of Fame, includes music, dancing, 50/50 raffle and lots of raffle prizes. For more information call Lou Adamo at 212-9332 or email


Diablo FC 8 under through under 19 competitive soccer teams (birth years 2000-2011) have held formal tryouts for the 2018-19 season. Players interested in joining Diablo FC should email director of coaching Zach Sullivan at with any questions about the club or to arrange a player evaluation for players in birth years 2000-2011. Visit to get more information on the area’s premier youth soccer club.


Concord American Little League is now accepting online registration for its 2019 spring baseball and softball seasons. The league’s website has complete information for t-ball through senior baseball and softball (4-14 years old) and Challenger (4-18 years) programs. There will also be an in-person registration on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 11 a.m. – 2p.m. at Round Table Pizza, THE FIRST TEE HOLDS ANNUAL FUNDRAISER DEC . 12 3375 Port Chicago Highway in Concord. Everyone registering WITH HO HO HOEY ROCKIN’ HOLIDAY CONCERT this year gets an early bird $20 discount on their fees. Register The First Tee of Contra Costa holds its biggest annual online anytime at fundraiser next Wednesday, Dec. 12, with a benefit concert at the Empress Theatre in Vallejo featuring guitarist Gary Hoey’s

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Page B4

Clayton Pioneer •

December 7, 2018

Houseplants–what’s old is new again Senior Living

Houseplants are experiencing a resurgence of popularity at the nursery. Fiddle leaf figs, Chinese money plants, string of pearls, rubber plants, eternity plants, prayer plants and piggy back plants are all on trend this year. Houseplants have become social media darlings, and their pics can regularly be appreciated on Instagram feeds and Pinterest searches. The houseplant trend has brought a younger group of garden lovers into the nursery with a new regard for indoor gardening. As with any category of plants, folks want to know what they need to do to keep them alive. Indoor gardening is a new concept for many, and no one wants to make a mistake. There are three important elements to consider when thinking of adding houseplants to your home: lighting, temperature and hydration. Lighting is as important in the home as it is in the garden. Some plants need more light, while other tolerate less. Your houseplant growing success starts with finding the right location for your chosen plant. Philodendrons love lots of bright light. Their large leaves will stretch out toward the brightness, so this will be the type of plant you’ll rotate to

defoliation. Home tempera- stems. As this plant grows, it ture can also play a large part resembles a fountain style in your houseplant’s success. party centerpiece. The Many houseplants like a money plant is sought after home kept in the comfortand makes a great gift for able 60s during the winter. any houseplant lover. Keep your eye on houseThe string of pearls plant plants that might be exposed is a succulent that will grow to cool drafts or are near both indoors and out. Its large windows when outdoor tiny, pearl-shaped leaves pertemperatures are cold. fectly line fragile stems. NICOLE HACKETT Fiddle leaf fig plants are String of pearls cascades and members of the ficus family. looks fresh in a small conGARDEN GIRL They have a large rounded tainer on an end table or balance the exposure the plant leaf with heavy veining. Fid- positioned on a shelf. receives. Philodendrons are dle leaf fig plants will grow Houseplants add life and proud plants that look amazlike small trees and can be color to a home. If you have ing elevated on a stand for a pruned in the spring to con- a corner that you don’t know pronounced placement. trol height. This popular how to accessorize, consider Rubber plants also need a houseplant will defoliate a houseplant this year. bright spot in the home. This toward the bottom, exposing Nicole is the Garden Girl at plant family has come a long its trunks. Large specimens R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. way since Frank Sinatra sang are very desirable but expenEmail questions or comments to about them in the ’40s. Now sive. Fiddle leaf figs like you can enjoy red leaves, near- medium to high light and ly pink variegated leaves and weekly watering. cream and green variegated Chinese money plants are leaves. very cute and easy to grow. The trailing pothos will Their pancake-shaped leaves thrive in medium light, as are held will Schefflera, commonly by tiny called dwarf umbrella trees. For those looking for a plant to enjoy in low light, you can’t beat a peace lily or snake plant. Both houseplants are easy to grow and tolerant of low to medium sun exposure. Houseplant watering is critical. Too much water and your houseplants will rot; too little and leaves can The Peace Lily loves low light, but won’t bloom in show stress patches and complete darkness.

Helping seniors ease into new living situations

The transition into late adulthood can carry with it both fear of the unknown and inevitable change. To help lessen the impact of leaving one’s home and moving into a community, people must understand the move itself. Then, we can learn to recognize the ways the senior must adapt. People can potentially encounter three phrases: the overwhelmed phase, the adjustment phase and the initial acceptance phase. The overwhelmed phase is categorized best as the feelings surrounding one’s self. During this phase, seniors often process the transition they are facing and realize the impact it will have on their lives. The majority of responses are emotionbased, which may include tears. The adjustment phase typically occurs when the individual has had a chance to process the move and adopt a sense of acceptance, usually positive. In the initial Have you ever noticed that fuzzy feeling of the snow flur- leather chairs with worn, acceptance phase, the resiyou feel right at home when ries outside while you’re inside antique nail heads and deep dents shift focus from themvisiting a mountain resort? enjoying a hot toddy. Perhaps tufting that feels like a big selves to their sense of wellIt could be the warm and it’s the generously sized bear hug or the rich colors JENNIFER LEISCHER being. At this time, the perfound in wool area rugs, with DESIGN & DÉCOR son is usually open to or sophisticated geometric or forming new social connecfree-form organic patterns. tions and can take control of low, magical dim light. All of Maybe it’s the warm infused their situation. these wonderful textures and lighting, heavy forged iron These phases are just a materials mixed together make accents topped with a whimsistructure for what could for an inviting living space. cal natural linen or glittery, happen. Some seniors may mineral mica drum shades. See Design, page B6 stay in a particular phase These design details are what makes mountain decor so comfortable and traditional, so approachable and, well, cozy. Lake Tahoe, Vail, Colo., Park City, Utah, Mt. Baker, Wash. … regardless of where DAL soccer got underway clude Feb. 22-23. The NorCal your favorite mountain resort this week and will complete playoffs run Feb. 26 – Mar. 5 is located, you’ll most definite- two games each this week and before the State champily find grand and elaborate next before taking a break onship games Mar. 8-9 at hotel lobbies and ski lodges until Jan. 9 when they have Golden 1 Center in Sacradecorated with amazing rustic Wednesday-Friday games until mento. accents, as well as quaint cofLast year, Carondelet on Feb 8. There is a new, single fee shops and restaurants 13-team schedule for boys and the girls side and Clayton filled with kitschy mountain girls soccer. Clayton Valley Valley Charter and De La decor and toasty, stone-clad Charter boys won their DAL Salle boys made it to NorCal fireplaces. division last year while the basketball tournament, but At its roots, mountain all made quick exits. CVCHS girls finished a close second. decor is a very collected, tradiNCS playoff games are on ended its historic season with tional aesthetic. Some of the Feb. 13-23. The second Nor- back-to-back losses in the antiques and eclectic pieces Cal soccer playoffs are Feb. CNS finals to Heritage and are from necessity – forged then at NorCals to Menlo 26-Mar. 2. iron racks holding firewood, School. DLS fell in its DiviDe La Salle won its 13th Bring that cozy mountain lodge feel right into your living animal hides that cover furni- NCS soccer crown last winter sion Norcal opener to Palo room with lots of wood, antiques and warm colors. ture and gas sconces with a and advanced to the inaugural Alto.

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NorCal tournament before losing in the first round. Carondelet was a loser for the third successive year in the NCS championship game and then advanced to the semifinals with an upset of unbeaten and nationallyranked Davis at NorCal before losing for a fourth time to league rival Monte Vista. Ygnacio Valley’s girls also got a NorCal tournament bid after reaching the semis of the NCS D-III playoffs.

HOOPS, MATS ON TAP DAL basketball league play is Jan. 8 – Feb. 8 while the EBAL schedule goes from Jan. 2 to Feb. 7. Clayton Valley Charter is in the Football Division for DAL basketball. NCS basketball playoffs begin Feb. 12-13 and con-

Carondelet concluded its first season as a semi-independent school with a second straight NCS Division I title but forfeited its NorCal game

longer. Or they may experience a variation of emotions related to the move and may struggle between socializing and isolating. A social model focused on resident care allows for each individual to be seen and their needs to be identified. The approach must fit them specifically. Whether you are a professional or a family member who assumed the role of caregiver, it is important to understand the benefits of maintaining social connections for seniors. The advantages range from improved mental well-being to overall physical health and everything in between. Socialization enhances mental health by giving them a sense of belonging in their connection with others. This allows them the opportunity to share many experiences and opinions, including their life story, what brought them to the community and what they hold important in life. By connecting in this way and sharing with others, seniors can improve or work to regain their self-esteem. Social engagement in a peer setting also supports cognitive functioning for seniors. It allows them to work together for an end goal and showcase their ability to collaborate efficiently.

See Seniors, page B5

due to an off-campus incident by the team. The school hired a new head coach, Mike Morris, this fall and his seniorladen team is expected to battle for post-season honors again this year. DAL double dual wrestling meets for the Valley Division schools begin next Wednesday with two more double duals on Jan. 9 and 16. Final dual meets are Jan. 30. The DAL Foothill squad’s double duals are Jan. 9 and 16 with final dual matches Jan. 30. The league championship meet at Campolindo is Feb.9 The NCS dual team championships featuring heavilyfavored DLS are Feb. 2 at Dublin High with the NCS Championships in Union City at James Logan High on Feb. 15-16 and CIF State Feb. 2223 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

College, from page B2

Maryland Baltimore County) Kyle Parco (Wrestling, FresTorin Neal (Lacrosse, Robert no State) Morris University) Eric Reyzelman (Baseball, USF) Chris Santiago (Baseball, DE LA SALLE Jared Amigh (Baseball, Uni- Saint Mary’s College) Northgate versity of the Pacific) Carly Ortega (Soccer, San Cameron Cilley (Soccer, Francisco State) Stanford) Andrew Rodriguez (SwimJack Gardner (Golf, Buckming, Wyoming) nell) Robert Mitchell (Swimming, Nick Fusari (Baseball, LoyWyoming) ola Marymount) Delanie Gearing (SwimRyan Iannaccone (Swimming, Azusa Pacific) ming, Cal Poly SLO)

December 7, 2018

Clayton Pioneer â&#x20AC;˘

Page B5

What it means to age alone just want to check in on a daily basis,â&#x20AC;? says Marak. Zubrod was so busy with her life as a freelancer and For Carol Marak, an ediad executive that she never tor at, and gave being childless much Sheila Sullivan Zubrod, a thought, until she saw what New York executive, taking kind of care her parents care of their elderly parents needed as they aged. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They was a wake-up call. planned for an active retireChildless and spouseless, ment, but not for their old they realized that they would age,â&#x20AC;? she notes. not have the safety net of a Zubrod moved her 91spouse or child stepping up year-old mother from an to provide practical, physical expensive assisted living into and emotional support for her two-bedroom apartment them as they age. But instead to care for her. And she of feeling sorry for themdecided to face her own selves, Marak and Zubrod future head-on by creating started making plans. Aging Solo, a Website where There are a whopping 25 Solo Agers can â&#x20AC;&#x153;create a million Baby Boomers in the healthy future for themselves United States who are also with community and purchildless and spouseless. pose.â&#x20AC;? Dubbed Elder Orphans or Zubrod suggests planning Solo Agers, they are fending for care early, even in your for themselves while some50s or 60s. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve started times facing a precarious old small, using Skype dialogues age with no one to care for with my pals to research and them. download the legal papers Both Marak and Zubrod for wills, to end-of-life set about shining a light on instructions that we will the situation. Marak started a need sooner or later,â&#x20AC;? she Facebook group called Elder says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now were aiming Orphans that helps its now higher. Should we learn what 8,000 members with advice to look for in a nurseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and access to community. resume? Or should we hire a â&#x20AC;&#x153;We give support to people visionary architect to create a who are going into surgery high-end trailer park or a or who have had an emercluster of tiny homes built gency of some kind, or who around communal buildings?

Maggie Lennon

Our ideas are still all over the map.â&#x20AC;? Marak hopes her future community is filled with likeminded older adults who can look out for one another, and she is taking proactive steps to achieve that. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want to set up my life where Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not living alone and isolated,â&#x20AC;? she says. She moved from a suburban home into a highly urban area, â&#x20AC;&#x153;where there is a metro, you know, transportation, buses, public transit.â&#x20AC;? She lives in a high-rise because she wants to be surrounded by other people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to live in a home, isolated,â&#x20AC;? Marak says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, we have to think about those things â&#x20AC;&#x201C; how to plan for aging alone.â&#x20AC;? Zubrod concurs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need a manifesto on how to age without children.â&#x20AC;? She maintains that Boomers will succeed in redefining aging, because â&#x20AC;&#x153;reinvention is in our DNA.â&#x20AC;? These two offer a hopeful mantra for Elder Orphans as they navigate the aging solo terrain.

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Maggie Lennon is a columnist and is currently working on her blog. Contact her at

Seniors, from page B4

ing our life through purpose, in our personal or professional lives, gives us the conOften this engagement facili- allows the senior to gain the text to move forward and make decisions. For seniors, tates a constant drive to ability to socialize and propurposeful living provides a learn in their life journey by motes a positive experience familiar sense of routine in gaining or teaching wisdom in the community setting. on a new topic. Purposeful living is a cru- their years of leisure retireThis sense of accomcial aspect toward happiness ment. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Carlton Senior Living plishment and camaraderie in any part of our lives. Liv-

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Dec. 8 Dessert with Mrs. Claus

Refreshments, party favors. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Bring camera. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St. Donations appreciated. Clayton Business and Community Association. (925) 672-2272.

Dec. 9 Christmas Home Tour

Self-guided tour of homes decorated for the holidays. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Starts at Clayton Historical Society and Museum, 6101 Main St. $30; $35 day of tour. (925) 567-6079.


Tuesdays Farmers’ Market

Year round. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

Dec. 7 Beacon Lighting Ceremony

Mount Diablo’s beacon is lit to give tribute to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor and honor the survivors. Ceremony at 3:45 p.m.; lighting at 5 p.m. California State East Bay Concord Campus, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road. (925) 947-3535.

Dec. 13 Advance Health Care Directives

Legal clinic to prepare and notarize advance health care directives for seniors 60 and older in Contra Costa County. 9:15 11:30 a.m. Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle. Free. Call for appointment (925) 671-3320.


Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve programs are available for registration through Parking fees may apply. For additional information, contact Black Diamond Visitor Center at (510) 544-2750 or

Saturdays in December Nature Discoveries

Different topic every time. 10 – 11 a.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines parking lot.

Sundays in December Historic Somersville

Displays of miners’ tools or short walks to former mining town site. 1 – 2 p.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines parking lot.

Mount Diablo Interpretive Association programs listed are free with the exception of park entrance fee. Go to and click on Event Calendar for more information.

Dec. 29 Round the Mountain Hike

Stunning views in all directions. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Meet at Juniper Camp Trailhead.

Jan. 1 First Day Hike

Start off the new year with an outing on the north side of Mount Diablo. 9:15 a.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Trailhead.

Save Mount Diablo’s Discover Diablo is a free public hike series. Go to for more information.

Dec. 8 Lime Ridge Family Saunter

Discuss the natural and manmade history of Lime Ridge. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at Ohlone Trail Parking Area. Reservations required.


Thru Dec. 16 “A Christmas Carol”

Brimming with music, dance and spectacular effects. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $28-$50.

Dec. 7 Holiday Concert

Performed by the United States Air Force Band. 7 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. Free. (925) 757-9500.

Dec. 7 – 9 “Platinum”

Family-friendly magic show by Alex Ramon Magic. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $35. (925) 943-7469.

Dec. 8 “Aloha”

Annual Christmas recital by Mau Loa Ohana. 7:30 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $18. (925) 757-9500.

Dec. 8 California Native Plant Propagation

Workshops. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Walnut Creek. $35.

Dec. 9 “Bollywood Nights”

Presented by HipHop-Natyam Dance Academy. 4 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $18. (925) 757-9500.

Dec. 9 “Holiday Magic 2018”

Holiday-inspired dance performance presented by the DA Dance Center. 1 and 3:30 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $9-$17. (925) 4271611.

Dec. 13 - 16 “The Biggest Gift”

Original tale presented by Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14. (925) 943-7469.

Dec. 14 – 16 “The Nutcracker”

Presented by The Ballet Company of East County. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $16-$20. (925) 757-9500.

Dec. 15 – 16 “The Snowman”

Holiday favorites and a sing-along presented by Diablo Symphony Orchestra. 2 p.m. Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. $35.

Dec. 16 “Countdown to Christmas”

Pittsburg’s top 25 favorite holiday songs. 2 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $20-$25. (925) 427-1611.

Dec. 20 “A Very ‘Follies’ Holiday!”

Holiday revue presented by The Golden Follies. 2:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $38. (925) 943-7469.

Dec. 22 “’Tis the Symphony”

A winter celebration presented by California Symphony. 4 and 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $42-$82. (925) 943-7469.

Dec. 29 “Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XXVI” Presented by Worst of Durst. 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $33. (925) 943-7469.


Thru Dec. 8 “Ajax”

Presented by Los Medanos College. 7 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $10-$15. (925) 427-1611.

Thru Dec. 9 “The Bad Seed”

One of Broadway’s outstanding hits. Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. $16-$21.

Dec. 12 – 14 “Holiday Happenings”

Featuring the Choirs of Concord High School and the El Dorado Singers. 7 p.m. Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. $15. (925) 943-7469.


Dec. 8 Christmas Concert

Sing traditional carols and listen to the musical story of Christ’s birth. 8 p.m. Saint Bonaventure, 5562 Clayton Road, Concord. Freewill offering. (925) 672-5800.


2nd and 4th Sundays Pancake Breakfast

Veterans of Foreign Wars serve breakfast to the public: Eggs, pancakes, sausage, beverage. 8 – 11 a.m. VFW Post 1525, 2290 Willow Pass Road, Concord. $5, $3 children under 12.

Thru Dec. 21 Christmas Tree Lot

While supplies last. All proceeds benefit Boy Scout Troop 317. Mon. – Fri. 12 – 8 p.m. Weekends 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Dana Plaza at Concord Boulevard and Landana Drive, Concord.

Jan. 2 African Children’s Choir

Performing lively African songs and dances. Benefits Music for Life Institute. 7 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, 1965 Colfax St., Concord. Freewill offering.


The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or call (925) 673-0659. Dec. 10: Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 10: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 p.m. Dec. 20: Woodsy Winter Craft, 4 p.m.

The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or (925) 646-5455. Dec. 9: Concord Mystery Book Club, 1 p.m. Dec. 10: Fratello Marionettes, “The North Pole Review,” 7 p.m. Dec. 12: Holiday Crafternoon, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 18: Forever Young Book Club, 4 p.m. Dec. 20: Holiday Film Screening for ages 10 and up, 4 p.m.


1st and 3rd Tuesdays, except for Jan.1 Clayton City Council

7 p.m. Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. (925) 673-7304 or

2nd and 4th Tuesdays, except for Dec. 25 Clayton Planning Commission

7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. (925) 673-7304 or

Meeting dates and times for local clubs and organizations are listed at Click on ‘Links’

Design, from page B4

Not a lot of snow or horse-drawn carriages in these parts, but it might be nice to bring elements of this cozy, eclectic aesthetic down to our area. If you’re looking to infuse mountain decor into your home, start with the accessories. Antiques on your hearth or mantel, a wonderfully ornate or thick shag area rug to group your furniture and, if you’re feeling bold, a real or faux mounted rack over your fireplace will set the rustic tone immediately. Consider tracking down antique drink or occasional tables to flank your side chairs and finish off the setting with a heavy, oversized coffee table. If you already have oversized upholstered furniture, the key is to accessorize yet again. Well-sized, down accent pillows with animal hide slip covers or antique rug remnants are a perfect way to take a solid-colored upholstered chair and add a huge punch of mountain whimsy and color. If you’d like to incorporate a few new upholstered pieces, determine if a large wingback

or oversized lounge chair, or two, will work into your furniture setting. Ornate and carved bookcases, wine carts filled with crystal decanters and gilded distressed mirrors are also wonderful accessories to bring into your mountaininspired living space. Don’t forget the lighting. Add sconces, chandeliers, pendants, or table and floor lamps into your living space to set the tone for functional and ambient illumination, as well as a festive stylish accent that pulls the entire room together. Whether you’re envisioning a full mountain-inspired living space, from iron-forged chandelier to rustic wood plank floor, or simply looking to incorporate quiet elements of this unique aesthetic, embrace the style and find a happy balance that evokes comfort and home – and memories of snow flurries and a hot toddy, or two.

Jennifer Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at

December 7, 2018


Clayton Pioneer •

Have a Dickens’ of a time this Christmas





Center REPertory Company’s holiday play “A Christmas Carol” closes Dec. 16 at the Lesher Center of the Arts in Walnut Creek. Audiences have enjoyed the holiday show since Center REP’s first production of the classic in 1979. Brimming with music, dance, comedy, spectacular special effects and scary ghosts, it’s no wonder critics call Center REP’s “Carol” the one to see in the Bay Area. Michael Ray Wisely stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ story,

Page B7

Photo by Kevin Berne

Michael Ray Wisely jumps for joy in “A Christmas Carol” at the Lesher.

“American Bandstand,” the California Theatre holiday revue runs down the top 25 favorite holiday songs voted for by the theater’s patrons. Louis Esposito II of the Foreverland band will host. The show will feature Vocal Ease, the Pittsburg High School choir, the Good Shepherd Ladies in Harmony, the PCT board of directors, the Edgewater Church band and cast members from recent PCT productions, including Chelsea Bardellini, Bobbie Barlow, Keith Barlow, Ted Bigornia, Kevin Burns, Donald Lang, Melissa Marie, Julie Rosch, Vicki Victoria, David Ward, Marlene Ward, Dianna Schepers and Peter Gothold. For tickets, call 925-427-1611 or visit Concord’s B8 Theatre struggles to keep afloat as it begins to search for a new performance venue. Despite

Stage Right Conservatory troupe rehearses the big battle scene in “the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center Theatre in Antioch, through Dec. 16.

adapted by Cynthia Caywood critically acclaimed work, the and Richard L. James and company will soon have to directed by Scott Denison. abandon their space of two For tickets, call 925-943years when redevelopment SHOW or visit begins. For information on how to help the company Town Hall Theatre hosts and its upcoming season feathe West Coast premiere of Gale Childs Daly’s adaptation of Dickens’ coming-of-age novel, “Great Expectations,” directed by Dennis Markam. On a bleak Christmas Eve in a marshy churchyard, an escaped convict kidnaps a young orphan named Pip in this rags to riches holiday treat. The production closes Dec. 16. For tickets, visit Join organist Dave Moreno playing the restored Stu Selland Robert Morgan pipe organ Kenneth Greenwell (left) and and more than 50 vocalists Salim Razawi in “Great Exfrom Pittsburg Community pectations,” Nov. 29 – Dec. Doug Duran Theatre for a “Countdown 16, at Town Hall Theatre in Organist Dave Moreno will play the restored Robert Morgan to Christmas” at 2 p.m. SatLafayette Pipe Organ at the Pittsburg Community Theatre, Dec. 16. urday, Dec. 16. Inspired by

turing “Fuddy Meers,” “Pinned Butterfly” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” call 925-890-8877 or visit Stage Right Conservatory Theatre presents “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the classic tale by C.S. Lewis dramatized by Joseph Robinette. The play recreates the mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch and the adventures of four children who wander from an old wardrobe into the exciting, never to be forgotten land of Narnia. This story of love, faith, courage and giving celebrates life. Directed by Lily Metcalf, the show runs for two weekends, Dec. 7-16, at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center Theatre in Antioch. For more information, call 925-

‘Creed 2’ shows that it’s all about family

The “Rocky” franchise is unique because it creates sequels a generation later. Getting past the fourth entry in a series usually means that they’ve run out of ideas. (See “Rocky V.”) At this point, it’s either reboot time (“Rocky Balboa” sort of qualifies) or continue ad nauseam (“Friday the 13th,” “Saw,” etc.).

Instead, this franchise chose to start a new era with the Creed stories. In Steven Caple Jr.’s “Creed 2,” Michael B. Jordan reprises his role as newly crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Creed. Throughout most of the first film, the name Creed evoked haunting memories of Apollo for the

What a pleasure to read M. Allen Cunningham’s “Perpetua’s Kin,” a most American novel. You may remember his first novel, “The Green Age of Asher Witherow,” which takes place in Clayton’s mining past. “Perpetua’s Kin” begins at the bedside of Benjamin Lorn’s mother, who is dying. The year is 1886, in the town of Perpetua, Ohio. Benjamin is the grandson of Thornton Hanson Lorn, who came to America with his immigrant parents from Germany in1822. His son, John Manfred Lorn, is Benjamin’s father. “Forgive your father,” Benjamin’s mother tells him. “Understand him.” She also tells him to do something after her death, but to tell no one. “He listened close and gave his promise to do it.” The things Benjamin will do to fulfill that promise are at the heart of this story covering five generations of one family and its secrets. The letters his mother has hidden away for Benjamin’s eyes only

discovers the telegraph. In his family of few words, Morse Code, with its ability to communicate by wire across a landscape beyond his dreams, becomes his passion. The deathbed secret of his grandfather finally drives Benjamin from Perpetua, leaving behind a father he cannot love and a young woman who is SUNNy SOLOMON willing to wait. Traveling away from Perpetua as a telegraphic BOOKIN’ WITH engineer, Benjamin continues SUNNY to broaden his understanding of the world. Yet he cannot bring him to an unimaginable out-distance his need to come family secret about his father to terms with his family’s J.M., a crippled Civil War vetsecrets. eran who fought alongside a “Perpetua’s Kin” is not a childhood friend who never fast read. Cunningham caremade it home. fully draws the reader into J.M. shares none of his each generation of the Lorn war experiences – how he family up to World War II, lost his leg or what hapwhen an elderly widowed Benpened to his friend. He jamin moves to San Francisco opens a harness and leather to live with his daughter and shop, expecting Benjamin to son-in-law. He sleeps in the one day take over. J.M. walks bedroom of his great-grandacross the wooden floors of son, his namesake, who is the store with the use of a underage and has run away crutch. “All through Benfrom home to enlist in his jamin’s boyhood, that crutchown generation’s war. noise sermonized.” The book is the story of When still a boy, Benjamin secrets outliving those who

characters and the audience alike. In the sequel, Adonis has fully adopted the moniker as he attempts to carry on his father’s legacy. When a new challenger steps on the scene, Creed feels he owes it to his father to take on the fight. The fighter is none other than Viktor Drago, son of Apollo’s killer

Ivan Drago. Memories of “Rocky IV” loom large in “Creed 2,” including role reprisals by Dolph Lundgren as Ivan and Brigitte Nielsen as his ex-wife. Ivan Drago lost everything after Rocky beat him; the only thing left to do for redemption is to have Viktor take down Creed.

‘Kin’ tells a moving generational tale

perpetuated them. We know what each generation discovers from letters describing the horrors of war and damning military records. Cunningham skillfully moves in and out of these generations with a narrative thread as strong and dependable as Morse’s telegraph wire. Sunny Solomon is a freelance writer and head of the Clayton Book Club. Visit her website at for her latest recommendations or just to ‘talk books.’

Lundgren brings an intense pain to the elder Drago. Reallife boxer Florian Munteanu does not say much as Viktor, yet his facial expressions reveal the weight he carries. Caple does an admirable job taking over from Ryan Coogler, director of “Creed.” The fights are a little less exciting, but still expertly staged. The script lacks focus here and there, with occasional dialogue that could have used some work. A few lines seem like they were written solely to become iconic and not as a function of natural conversation. Sylvester Stallone does not have as much to do as Rocky this time around. When Rocky deals with the return of Drago, the two veterans speak very little but still show us what the past 30 years have done to them. Stallone is at his best when faced with the decision of training Creed for his fight with the younger Drago. Rocky’s memories of losing his best friend are still painful; losing another member of the Creed line might be more than he can handle.

Ancient Mysteries of Andalusian Spain

33rd Annual Christmas Revels presents

216-4613 or visit the website Diablo Valley College Drama Department produces the chilling drama “The Bad Seed” through Dec. 9. Evan Cornelius directs this thriller about the Penmark family, who lives in a small Southern town with their daughter Rhoda, who charms everyone with her sweet graces. When one of the Rhoda’s classmates mysteriously drowns at a picnic, it seems the girl is not as sweet and innocent as everyone suspected. Maxwell Anderson wrote the play from William March’s novel. For tickets, call 925-969-2358 or visit Kathryn G. McCarty is wellknown around the Bay Area as an educator, playwright and journalist. Send comments to



In the end, “Creed 2” is about fathers and sons. What does a son need to do to escape a father’s shadow? To cement his own legacy? The film is about the Creed name, but it’s also about the Drago name, the Balboa name. Even Creed’s cornerman Little Duke (Wood Harris) worries about living up to his own father (Duke in the first six films). Caple’s film falls just a tad short of its predecessor. Yet it is a worthy addition to a franchise carving out its own name. B+ Jeff Mellinger is a screen writer and film buff. He holds a BA in Film Studies and an MFA in film production. He lives in Concord. Email comments to

Songs, Dances, and Magical Tales in the Holiday Spirit Saturday, 12/8 at 1 pm and 5 pm Sunday, 12/9 at 1 pm and 5 pm Friday, 12/14 at 8 pm Saturday, 12/15 at 1 pm and 5 pm Sunday, 12/16 at 1 pm and 5 pm

Scottish Rite Theater

1547 Lakeside Dr., Oakland

Tickets $10 -$65; Discounts for both Dec. 8 performances. Wheelchair accessible; ample garage parking nearby

(510) 452-9334

Page B8

Clayton Pioneer •

December 7, 2018

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve/Sibley Mazes

Intriguing mazes worth a trip to Sibley Preserve

Trailhead: Sibley Staging Area Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2-3 miles, depending on number of mazes viewed Getting there: Follow Highway 24 toward Oakland and exit Fish Ranch Road. Left on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, left on Skyline Boulevard, immediate left into Sibley Staging Area. For more information: 510-562-PARK or

Kevin Parker

Dedicated in 1936, the Robert Sibley Regional Preserve is one of EBRPD’s oldest parks. The area was once the center of vast quarrying operations, and today the preserve is best known for the mysterious labyrinths that have appeared at the bottom of the quarry canyons.

Robert Sibley Regional Preserve is a 660-acre park made up of volcanic dikes, lava flows, mudflows and many other examples of the extinct volcanoes that once dominated this area. This park provides a network of hiking trails, picture book views of the surrounding landscapes and even the extinct Round Top Volcano. However, it’s the Sibley Mazes that attract a steady flow of visitors from all over the state year-round. Some say witches and warlocks constructed the mazes, while others claim it was a local psychic and sculptor. Oddly enough, the fact remains that not even the East Bay Regional Park District knows who constructed them. Park policy actually forbids any rearranging of nature, but the mazes have been left undisturbed.

It’s said there are at least five mazes, however, many of them have been known to disappear and then reappear is various spots throughout the park. I was able to locate five mazes during our journey through the park, but I am certain that more lay hidden awaiting discovery. The mazes are gathering places for groups of hikers, bikers, curious folks, miracle seekers, spiritual groups, healers, psychics and even dogs. We did not witness any supernatural activities while in the park, but I will admit feeling a certain “energy” in the areas surrounding the mazes. The Sibley Mazes are simply made labyrinths, marked out with rocks less than one foot high and a single path that winds its way to the center and then out

again. Most range from 50 to 100 feet in diameter. Each maze is set up so that you have to walk the entire maze before you reach the center. You must also do the same when exiting the mazes. Each maze represents a tweaking of nature with beautiful and fantastic results. At the center of each is an altar space where many offerings have been left and periodically removed. To many, the mazes represent a spiritual or healing magnet that draws them back again and again. They silently navigate the rock mazes, paying special attention to never cross over the stone migraines. No one knows who tends to the mazes, but the rocky sculptures have clear paths with obvious care and attention to their boundaries. Most of the Sibley Mazes

are Cretan or classical type mazes, which trace their origins as far back as 1200 BC. The Chinese believed these mazes kept away evil spirits that supposedly only travel in a straight line. It has even been said that the maze is a symbol of life, death, rebirth and spiritual knowledge. I think one commonality holds true, and that is all maze designers like patterns. It is these patterns that delight the senses and prove that nature can take on so many types of beauty. The largest of the mazes is in an abandoned quarry pit. This is by far the most popular maze because it is one of the easiest to locate within the park. A second maze is set in the hill above and a third can be found with a little exploring. A fourth, heart-shaped maze is hidden deep in a ravine and can be discovered by hiking about 15 minutes from the abandoned quarry pit. On my last trip to Sibley, I hiked to a fifth maze between Round Top Trail and Round Top Peak (elevation 1,763). All five of these mazes represent a place where many go to pray, cleanse, purify, heal or just observe. Some may be on a walking pilgrimage, while others a

spiritual journey. Named for the former president of the East Bay Regional Park District, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is beautiful in itself. However, the mazes add a bit of unexpected joy that is not often found within the boundaries





of any East Bay Regional Park. So whether you go for a hike looking to enjoy nature or are headed on a spiritual journey, this place has something to offer for everyone. This article was reprinted from a prior issue. Kevin Parker is traveling this week but will be back on the trail for the next issue. Send comments or ideas to

925-250-0334 FREE ESTIMATES

Owners Dustin & Kim Waraner

Contractors Lic #879423 Arborist Lic WE-7372A

Nancy E. Bennett 1886 Chaparro Ct. – Walnut Creek



1384 Washington Blvd. – Concord


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Offered at $1,675,000

Beautifully updated single story with sunroom and a well-kept yard. Charming and sunny home, conveniently located within walking distance to shops and restaurants. Light and bright kitchen includes freshly painted cabinets with new door hardware, tile counters and flooring. This home boasts 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1144 sq ft on a .14 acre lot. Refinished hardwood floors, updated lighting, crown molding and new paint throughout make this space shine.


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Gracefully stylish, spacious and peaceful! Located in the desirable Sky Hy Ranch gated community with panoramic views of the Lafayette Hills and Mt. Diablo. Includes 5 bedrooms plus loft, 3.5 bathrooms, 3061 sq ft on a 0.72 acre lot with gorgeous hardwood flooring, plush carpeting, fresh paint, new lighting, updated baths and new chrome door hardware throughout.

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639 Sky Hy Cr. – Lafayette



Selling more than 8 times as many homes as the average realtor.

DEC 07 Clayton Pioneer 2018  

Local news from Clayton, CA with in-depth features, business, the local arts scene, sports, government, youth activities, great columnists,...

DEC 07 Clayton Pioneer 2018  

Local news from Clayton, CA with in-depth features, business, the local arts scene, sports, government, youth activities, great columnists,...