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Happy Holidays

from the Clayton Pioneer


December 8, 2017

Let the season begin

JiM Diaz

Progress made on police chief, senior living plan

See Mayor, page 9

Despite heavy rains and heat, Clayton finds time to celebrate BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer


This article is my final Mayor’s Column. Prior to the Pioneer’s next publication, my term as mayor will be complete and the City Council will have elected a new mayor for a oneyear term. It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as your mayor for this past year. I trust that you have found the information about Clayton and the immediate community in these monthly columns to be interesting and informative. Thank you, again, for this wonderful opportunity.


Pete Barra

LOCAL KIDS PILED INTO THE GAZEBO TO GREET SANTA after the annual Tree Lighting last Saturday. The event was moved to The Grove this year after the city’s official tree at the west end of town succumbed to a spider mite attack. Plans for replacing the living tree are up in the air, says Councilwoman Julie Pierce. The official site for the tree is on the property where plans to build senior housing are underway. The council is looking at alternate sites for the official tree.

Morgan Territory slide repair complete TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Contributed photo

Morgan Territory Road residents celebrated the opening of their road at an unofficial ribbon cutting and neighborhood pot luck on Nov. 18. The residents were left without access for months after a major landslide closed the road in February.

A rebuilt Morgan Territory Rd. finally opened to through traffic on Nov. 18 after a huge landslide closed the road last February and residents celebrated with a pot-luck and unofficial ribbon cutting. Last winter’s brutal rains caused many mudslides along Morgan Territory and Marsh Creek, frequently closing those roads for a few hours or a day. But the severest damage was caused when a stretch of the hill one mile south of Marsh Creek began to slide, taking out water and power and most of the road. The landslide slide was more than

400 ft. long and 40 ft. deep. More than 400 residents living south of the slide were stranded with no way in or out except over a one-lane, storm-damaged mountain road to Livermore. To cope, most residents parked one vehicle on the north side of the slide and walked across the slide zone, schlepping groceries, water, supplies and kids. Volunteer veterans brought in golf carts and ferried neighbors across the slide for several hours every day. In June, Public Works and the property owners along privately-owned Leon Dr. reached an agreement which allowed a temporary access

See Slide, page 8

Downtown Clayton was a hub of activity in 2017, from the civic-minded Clayton Cleans Up and Relay for Life to always popular festivities like the Art and Wine Festival, Farmers Market, Classic Car Shows, Fourth of July Parade, Concerts in the Grove and Oktoberfest. But weather issues hampered Clayton residents’ plans over the year. Winter’s heavy rains led to a slide and extended road closure on Morgan Territory. Then summer hit with long heat waves and smoke-filled skies in September. Here’s a look at some of the year’s top stories, from a local vantage point.

JANUARY Field of Dreams. A fundraising group announced plans to renovate the playing field at Mt. Diablo Elementary School. “The field is dangerous,” said committee co-chair Nancy Salmon. “Between the lack of regular maintenance and watering over the years and the gopher population, the field just seems to worsen over time.” According to cochair Pat Middendorf, the school district is considering spending “a considerable sum” on the field. The MDES Playfield Project has almost $300,000 pledged and raised for the project. “Fundraising will continue soon, once we have the firm costs and commitment from the school district,” Middendorf told the Pioneer last week. A good soaking. During the first few weeks of 2017, our area was buffeted by a nearly continuous series of storms. As a result, the drought for the northern half of the state was downgraded from severe to either slight or drought-free. “We may grow weary of the

See Year-end, page 6

Healthy meals offer a lifeline to seniors KARA NAVOLIO Correspondent

What’s Inside

Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Community Calendar . . . . .15 Directory of Advertisers . . . .9 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

On Nov. 21, seniors who can no longer drive or cook received a Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie as well as meals to last through the holiday until the next week. Across Contra Costa County, more than 800 seniors get meals each weekday from Meals on Wheels – 150 in Concord and Clayton. Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services (MOWSOS) has been operating here since 1968. This year, nearly 1,500 volunteers made sure that homebound seniors receive healthy meals each weekday and get a friendly check-in. Concord resident Fred Pardella has been delivering meals for 10 years in

Concord and Clayton. “All the clients are so nice and appreciative of what we do. I’ve become friends with some of the people,” he says. “When they stop receiving meals because they may have to move into assisted living, I miss them.” “Our volunteers might be the only person some of our seniors see each day,” says Susannah Meyer, community engagement director for MOWSOS. “Our volunteers have saved lives on occasions when they might notice something amiss. Many seniors don’t have local support or family nearby.” The meals, designed by a registered dietician, are nutritionally balanced and tastetested. Each weekday, the staff at Bateman Community Living

in Antioch prepares nearly 1,200 meals. The majority are for Meals on Wheels, with the remaining for six C.C. Café locations where seniors can gather for a meal and a social activity. The Concord Senior Center, one of the C.C. Café locations, serves on average 58 seniors each Monday through Friday. Entrees are varied and include dishes like pork carñitas, roast beef, tuna casserole and stuffed peppers. Clayton resident Jane Peterson, 94, started getting Meals on Wheels when she broke her leg. “The meals are delicious and nutritious. There are always fruits and vegetables and quality meats,” says Peterson, who no longer drives. “I know that I will have a meal five days a week. I won’t have

to just fix beans and hot dogs” and the volunteer can’t reach She says the volunteers are me, they call my kids. They friendly and she appreciates See MOW, page 9 the staff checks. “If I’m gone

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

Meals on Wheels volunteer Fred Pardella delivers a hot meal to Clayton resident Jane Peterson, who is grateful to be part of the program.

Postal Customer ECRWSS


Around Town

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Clayton Pioneer •

CBCA Elves at Work

December 8, 2017

Andeavor grant for new C.E.R.T. trailer

Clayton recently received a $39,000 grant from the Andeavor Foundation to purchase an emergency operations trailer for the Clayton Community Emergency Response Team. The trailer will be equipped with emergency communications equipment, supplies and related gear to be used by the C.E.R.T. team when respoinding to an emergency. The trailer will be similar to the police department’s From left, andeavor Refinery Manager Tom Lu, C.E.R.T. vol- Mobile Command Center unteer Pat Russell, Clayton PD officer Jason Shaw, Mayor which is currently used at variJim Diaz, Chief Chris Wenzel and Nichol Carranza, ous civic events. andeavor’s Community Relations Manager.

Dennis Barbieri and Bob Steiner were among the dozen or so CBCa elves hard at work Nov. 18 getting the town ready for Christmas. The Clayton Business and Community association provides all the downtown decorations, treats the town to cider and doughnuts after the tree lighting and sponsors the annual visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mrs. Claus Dessert on Dec. 9. For membership information, go to or call 925.672.2272.

CVV elects new board

Clayton Valley Village held its first annual meeting at Hoyer Hall on Nov. 17 where they elected three new board members, Fiona Hughes, Peter Bardea and Diane Berger. This was the first annual meeting since CVV launched in May, 2017 after gaining its own non-profit 501c3 status. Clayton Valley Village serves Clayton and South Concord. Its mission is to provide services geared to seniors that will allow its members “to Live Carol Hansen-Grey Successfully in Their Own CVV board and officers for 2018. Front Row: Kathy Geddes, Homes.”  Sue Manning, Sonja Wilkin, Gary Carr; Back Row: Fiona For information, go to Hughes, Pete Bardea, Diane Berger, Jim Whitfield and Joanne Wasak.

DTRT kids honored for Respect

Four local students were recently recognized by the city council for being exceptionally respectful toward their teachers and fellow students. Preston Marks and Isabella Murillo from Mt. Diablo Elementary and Noelene Garcia and Domenic Vines were each presented with a certificate as part of the community-wide initiative Do The Right Thing. The program was started in 2010 by a committee of educators and civic leaders as a way to encourage good citizenship. The founders selected six character traits they felt were important in molding character. Respect, Kindness, Self-Discipline, Integrity, Courage and Responsibility rotate semi-monthly Julie Pierce throughout the year. Students DTRT kids for November: Back row: Noelene Garcia, are nominated by their teachers who submit their names Domenic Vines and Mayor Diaz; Front row: isabella Murillo and Preston Marks. to the city.

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December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

The First Tee honors Oakhurst Men’s Club, Clayton youth golfers Meyer, Tomaszewicz

Daisy Scouts make it a day about history

First Tee of Contra Costa held its fourth annual Character Builder Awards ceremony this year for the first time in Clayton and there were three award recipients from the host city. The Oakhurst Country Club Men’s Club and Clayton youths Scott Tomaszewicz and Logan Meyer were among the honorees. First Tee is a national nonprofit youth organization that teaches life skills through the

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 32379 of Clayton, Diablo Shadows Service Unit, visited the Clayton Historical Society’s museum on Nov. 6. The girls were very interested in hearing how different school was a century ago and were excited to write with the old fashioned writing tools. The girls commented on the old-fashioned egg beater. Some thought it would be good to bring it back in use because of how fun it would make cooking. To schedule a scout field trip to the museum, please call 925-672-0240.

Peyton Rae, a family first

Clayton’s population swelled by one on Nov. 13 when Nicholas and Shannon Gripe welcomed their first child Peyton Rae who weighed in at 7 lbs. 7 oz. Peyton is also a first for grandparents Colin and Doloris Brown and Tim and Robin Gripe and great-grandmothers Doloris Ensminger and JoAnn Casso, all from Clayton. Great grandmother Gerrye Gripe lives in Concord.


Logan Meyer and Scott Tomaszewicz

game of golf. The First Tee of Contra Costa runs their youth program at golf courses throughout the county. The Character Builder Awards ceremony is a way to recognize outstanding junior participants and community leaders who embody one of the nine core values and nine healthy habits  that form the core teachings of The First Tee. Of the nine junior participants in Contra Costa honored this year were Meyer, 12, and 13year-old Tomaszewicz. They were feted at the banquet with master of ceremonies Dan Ashley of KGO-TV and The First Tee of Contra Costa board chairman Gordon Gravelle, a Super Bowl champion and Ygnacio Valley High football star. Meyer received the award for the Core Value of Respect. Meyer is a seventh grader at Diablo View Middle School and has played in Clayton Valley Little League and

swam for Dana Hills Swim Team for many years in addition to his golf experience. Fellow participant Tomaszewicz was recognized for the Core Value of Sportsmanship. He plays at Boundary Oak in Walnut Creek along with Meyer. Clayton residents Al and

Martha Sardelich accepted The First Tee Vision award on behalf of the Oakhurst men’s Club. The Men’s club has participated in countless events to raise funds and awareness of The First Tee. To learn more about The First Tee of Contra Costa, you can visit

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is guaranteeing free parking at the Concord and Pleasant Hill BART stations for Scoop drivers who carpool from or within the county. Those using the Scoop app can park in the reserved parking spaces in the permit areas before or after 10 a.m. on weekdays. BART already offers this program at the Dublin/Pleasanton, Millbrae and San Bruno stations. “We’re excited for this rollout of our first two stations in Contra Costa County, where demand for BART parking is

particularly high,” said Nikki Foletta, principal planner at BART. “We’re hoping to shift some riders from driving alone to sharing a trip to BART.” To get guaranteed BART parking, download the app at Use promo code BARTLOVE05 to receive a $5 credit, type in the BART station name and schedule a ride either before 9 p.m. the night before the morning commute or by 3:30 p.m. for the evening commute. Shortly after the deadline, Scoop notifies commuters who have matched with one of their 65,000+ users.

Contra Costa residents are also eligible for discounts on the Scoop app through a partnership with 511 Contra Costa and CCTA. Scoop passengers who carpool will continue to receive a $2 discount – plus a $2 reimbursement for new drivers. All payments are handled inside the app, as well as directions and contact details for the trip. Brothers Jon and Rob Sadow founded Scoop Technologies in 2015 in San Francisco. It is currently available throughout the Bay Area and Seattle. “Scoop is proud to be selected by BART to provide this pro-

gram,” said David Clavens, head of marketing at Scoop. “Together with BART, we’re able to add convenient and enjoyable carpooling to the lifestyle of any BART commuter.” According to BART, most of the 48,000 parking spaces fill by 8 a.m. A 2016 passenger survey showed that 95 percent of those spots are taken by solo drivers. Meanwhile, Bay Area car commuters waste more than half a million empty seats each day – causing increased pollution, slower travel times and an enormous burden on the transportation network.


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Ruth Bancroft leaves stunning garden legacy Ruth Bancroft, founder of the world-renowned Ruth Bancroft Garden, died Nov. 26 at her home in Walnut Creek at the age of 109. Bancroft was a collector who created numerous gardens around her home, the most notable becoming a public garden and plant nursery. She quietly continued to manage and work in her gardens until age 97. Raised in Berkeley, she developed a love of plants that would last a lifetime. She studied architecture at UC Berkeley, but after the stock market crash she completed a home arts degree and became a high school teacher. She met Philip Bancroft Jr. on a blind date, and they married in 1939. She moved to the Bancroft family’s 400-acre pear and walnut farm in Walnut Creek. When her three children were young, she began collecting shells on family trips to Pescadero. She carefully documented each species with the date and location, then created striking displays to highlight the subtle differences between them. She donated a large part of her collection to the California Academy of Sciences. In the 1950s, Bancroft

Brad Rovenpera

Ruth Bancroft spent every day in her gardens well into her nineties. She died Nov. 26 at 109.

began amassing plants and creating the gardens that still exist around her home. Each garden was focused on a particular plant collection, and she spent countless hours recording the details of her gardens. In 1972, she began her final garden on the site of a former walnut orchard. Lester Hawkins, co-founder of Western Hills nursery in Occidental, designed a series of garden beds and paths for her to plant using her extensive collection of potted succulents. “Ruth had a great eye for garden design, the art of arranging plants to create unique compositions,” said

garden curator Brian Kemble. “But beyond this, she was awed by the plants themselves – thinking of each kind as a near-magical product of the creative expression of Mother Nature. There was a joy in the way she related to plants which will always stay with me.” Bancroft was predeceased by her husband Philip, sister Doris Dillon, brother Robert Torsten Petersson and grandson Joseph Dickerson. She is survived by her children Peter Bancroft and wife Barbara, Nina Dickerson and husband John, Kathy Hidalgo and husband Loreto, and four grandchildren.

Manhattan has its charms, both old and new

Christopher Casey

a pond in Central Park reflects Manhattan’s skyscrapers and the colors of fall.



Michael Nicosia, Managing Partner John & Sharon Ouimet • Don & Bea Ouimet

Ah, New York City. Central Park. Broadway. Great museums. Charming neighborhoods. And hideous traffic, befitting the city’s status as one of the world’s most visited destinations. After a long absence, I returned last month to visit my son, a recent UC Berkeley graduate doing post-doctoral studies at New York University. What I found was a city of contrasts: Many things had changed since the 9/11 attacks, but others were refreshingly familiar. Since my last visit, the new World Trade Center was completed and is a striking addition to the city’s famous skyline. In the shadow of the skyscraper sits the 9/11 museum and two massive square fountains, which were built in the footprints of the old twin towers. The day I visited, there were large crowds of somber visitors lined up for the museum. Others stood quietly at the twin fountains, which contain the names of the 2,996 victims who died Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists flew two passenger jets into the World Trade Center. The scene was evocative of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, with roses placed by many of the names inscribed in the marble panels. Next to the memorial is a

soaring white building, the Oculus, that houses a massive shopping mall as well as the closest subway stations to the 9/11 site. But there’s much more to New York City than the 9/11 memorial. No trip would be complete without a Broadway theater production. My son spotted tickets for “The Parisian Woman” with Uma Thurman at the Hudson Theatre. While we were able to score reasonably priced tickets, many New Yorkers advise heading to the TKTS booth under the red steps in Duffy Square at 47th Street and Broadway for deeply discounted same-day tickets. At still-glistening Times Square, the subway stop for Broadway theaters, is Gulliver’s Gate – a unique world of miniaturized cities around the world that was featured on “60 Minutes.” Another must-do is a walk through Central Park. The sites include Strawberry Fields, the John Lennon memorial, and locales for numerous films and TV shows, including “Ghostbusters” and “Friends.” New York’s famous Met and Guggenheim museums border Central Park on Museum Mile (5th Avenue). Anchoring the south end of the park is Wollman Rink. Now owned by Donald Trump, it was the site for the final scenes of the movie “Serendipity” with John Cusack. You can also visit the ice cream parlor and restaurant at 225 E. 60th St. Also new since my last visit was the High Line, a 1.45-mile elevated greenway created on a former New York Central Rail-

road spur on the west side with stunning views of the Hudson River. There was much more, but exhausted from the long-weekend visit, I headed back to California with memories of the sights and sounds of Manhattan. Casey is president of Fair Winds Cruises & Expeditions in Clayton. He can be reached at 925787-8252 or Or visit

If You Go

If you think the Bay Area has bad traffic, New York City’s is worse. The famous subway has stations everywhere and is the best way to get around Manhattan. But when you don’t want to be dragging luggage up and down steep, narrow stairways, take one of the city’s ubiquitous yellow taxis. From John F. Kennedy International Airport, for example, the rate to anywhere on Manhattan is a flat $52 each way, plus a $4.50 surcharge 4-8 p.m. during the week and a 1520 percent tip. Some hotels offer even better rates to and from JFK, a trip that generally takes 1-1.5 hours. There are numerous online guides to New York City. I liked Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s list of 15 things to do. Check it out at

December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

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Schools bringing holiday cheer to homeless students

Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s Homeless Outreach Program for Education has launched a HOPE for the Holidays campaign. The group is seeking donations for holiday gifts for homeless children and foster youth. According to James Wogan, administrator of School Linked Services, the district launched the program a few years ago at the request of some parents and guardians who wanted to shop for individual children.




In November, I participated in a press conference with Contra Costa County Public Works and Flood Control staff. We informed the community about current county projects, as well as sharing details on how people can protect their homes and property during the rainy season.

“We’re so fortunate to have dropped off at the Mt. DiaConcord, 94519. deadline for financial and gift a generous community that is blo Unified School District • Donate new hoodies or card contributions is Dec. 22. supporting homeless children,” Office, 1936 Carlotta Dr., sweatshirts for students. Mt. Diablo HOPE is comhe says. “Many families are Concord, or mailed or Drop off at Mt. Diablo Uni- mitted to addressing barriers to working two or three jobs to dropped off at Mt. Diablo fied School District Office, educational success for homemake ends meet, or they’ve HOPE, 2730 Salvio St., 1936 Carlotta Dr., Concord less students and foster youth. fallen on hard times.” Concord, 94519. or Willow Creek Education HOPE school social workers Donors can help in the fol- • Sponsor individual children Center,1026 Mohr Lane, and other staff work with lowing ways: who are homeless or in fosConcord. homeless families and foster • Buy gift cards that enable ter care. Personal wish lists • For online shopping, send youth caregivers to reduce parents and guardians to are posted at orders to Mt. Diablo stressors and connect families select their own items for HOPE, 2730 Salvio St., with needed resources. the children. This is the • Make a tax-deductible Concord 94519. “Often teachers and secregroup’s greatest need. donation by check and taries are the first to communiDepartment store and grodeliver or send to Mt. DiaGift items will be accepted cate with children, and they cery store gift cards can be blo HOPE, 2730 Salvio St., through Dec. 20, while the might notice that children are

crying or not clean or struggling in some way,” Wogan says. “Then the school social workers reach out to connect families with support and services.” Wogan says 338 students identified as homeless within MDUSD, which also has more than 130 foster youth. Donations of any amount are welcome year-round. For more information, contact Wogan at 925-682-8000, ext. 3054, or text at 925-250-5500.

Public Works crews are still managing repairs after torrential rains caused so much damage throughout the East Bay earlier this year. Last winter, large storms led to a landslide on Morgan Territory Road and the county ultimately closed the roadway. The county developed a temporary access, repaired the slide and reopened the roadway this past month. We encourage residents to prepare their properties by determining where they may have excess water and obtain sandbags, if needed. Clean gutters and ditches now to ensure water can flow with

see a downed tree blocking a road or another emergency, contact the maintenance division at 925- 313-7000.

With winter comes storm preparations no obstructions. Also look at the drainage inlets in the roadway in front of your property. We ask that residents take a proactive approach in keeping the inlets open and flowing if it is safe. County staff will clean these, but we cannot be at every inlet during a storm. Please assist by cleaning off leaves and trash that block the flow of storm water entering the inlets. This is a great opportunity for residents to take advantage of holiday time off, with both kids and parents making storm preparation a fun family project.

Ladybugs like aphids, but don’t count on them in your garden



A few years ago in late November, I was working in Mitchell Canyon when two young girls raced into the Visitor Center, breathless and so excited that they couldn’t stand still. In loud stereo, they told me that they’d seen “a gazillion ladybugs” on the trail. Their mothers were close on their heels, barely less excited. They showed me a cell phone video of a large rock along the Falls Trail completely thronged with glossy orange ladybugs. The annual fall convention had begun. California is home to at least 175 ladybug species, with 12 in the Bay Area. The best-known and recognized in the state is the convergent ladybug, named for a pair of bright white lines behind the head that almost converge in a V. That’s what entomologists say, anyway. For more people, they’re more memorable due to their convergence in enormous bunches in our foothills every fall. The total number of beetles involved is less than a gazillion, but not by much. Entomologists aren’t sure why they aggregate. Warmth? Mating? Protection from predators? Unlike most ladybugs, they winter in large groups. When the weather warms in spring, their favorite prey, aphids, begin to hatch and the ladybugs rise up in orange clouds on low-level breezes.

an autumn congregation of ladybugs in Deer Flat in Mt. Diablo State Park.

They float to the Central Valley and the Sierra foothills, where they gorge for the summer – downing up to 50 aphids per beetle per day. Bright colors have deep meaning in nature. The ladybug’s vivid markings and brilliant hue warn predators that despite the nice crunch, it doesn’t taste all that good. Nevertheless, almost every kind of critter bigger than a ladybug will grab a ladybug as a snack occasionally. So the beetle has a further defense: It bleeds at the joints. That would certainly put me off. It’s called reflex bleeding, and lots of bugs do it. Ladybug blood contains alkaloids – nasty, bitter stuff. Imagine the dregs of toostrong coffee, or quinine without the tonic and gin. The packets of ladybugs sold at local nurseries and online are typically this native beetle. Sellers simply scoop

Scott Hein

them up when the insects congregate in the autumn, then charge you a lot for what would be a great form of natural aphid control – if only it worked. It’s a noble idea. Ladybugs are voracious aphid eaters, but washing your plants with plain water works far better. Ladybugs will die within hours after their capture if they’re not kept moist, and those that survive will fly away promptly if you release them during the day or if they don’t find enough aphids in your garden. Even if everything is ladybug-perfect, a packet will clean up one or two of your plants at best. Then the ladybugs will fly away home – or at least away from yours. Hobbet is a docent for the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association;

Why advertise in the Pioneer? Since I started advertising in the Clayton and Concord Pioneers, my business has exploded. I can hardly keep up with the calls.

Kevin Schmidt, General Contractor Diablo View Construction

The county has six sandbag filling stations that are accessible to residents 24 hours a day/seven days a week. All cities also have sandbag locations. Locations for these sandbag stations can be found at You will need to bring a shovel, but bags and sand are free. You can find additional information at the Flood Control District’s website at 6/Flood-Control. There is a video that demonstrates how to properly fill a sandbag. One big mistake we see is people filling bags completely, thinking more is better. It is best to fill sandbags a third full, which is about three shovels of sand. Information regarding winter preparedness, rain and stream gauges, and flood forecasting is also available on Flood Control’s website.

Rainfall and stream flows information can be found at and the award-winning Flood Forecasting Tool and video at Our crews can respond to emergencies day and night. If you have flooding concerns,

Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to

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Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •

December 8, 2017


Students can say YES to the environment PEYTON BROOKS CVCHS Correspondent

It is easy to forget the amount of power Americans hold, compared to the rest of the world. With a touch of a fingertip, we can access light or clean water. The residents of the Bay Area are a powerful force that shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s why San Francisco’s Air Quality Management Dis-

trict and Metropolitan Transportation Commission is inviting students from nine Bay Area counties to join them at the YES Conference. YES stands for Youth for the Environment and Sustainability. Bay Area youth created, organized and lead the conference. YES believes in the power of teens when they are given access to share ideas and solutions. The conference is open to

Local schools end first semester in December




week break and the risk of losing some retention of instruction. This change has caused the second semester to be longer than the first. There is some balance with this, as the second semester typically has activities that compete with classroom lessons, including AP testing, statewide testing and assessments, and end-of-year traditions.  We continue to look at our calendar year to adjust our dates to balance out our academic semesters. In order to have a less-dramatic difference in instructional time, we are also planning to study the potential impacts of starting our school year a little earlier and ending our year a little earlier – something numerous districts in our area and throughout the country are considering.  We would like to hear your feedback on this topic. We can be reached at Stay tuned!

There has been quite a bit of discussion nationally about start times and calendar years in the news – with more and more research (and debate) about the best times to start and end semesters and school days. This year, for the first time, MDUSD is ending its first semester for high school at the winter break. It was something students and staff had been asking for and warmly welcomed, as it was a natural fit Dr. Nellie Meyer is Superintendent with ending units of study. It means high school students of Schools for MDUSD. Email or comments to will have finals December 18- questions 22 – rather than after a two-

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middle school and high school students who have a passion for making an impact on the world. YES is a free event that features studentled presentations focusing on issues like public transporta-

tion or over-fishing. The event includes a zerowaste breakfast and lunch for conference participants who decided to organize for climate action, showing the commitment of conference

organizers to many of the topics discussed at the event. The conference will be on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Laney College in Oakland. The conference is located next to the Lake Merritt BART Station

for easy accessibility. Register at to help create not just a better community, but a better world. Send your comments to

CV teacher wins elite education award PARSHY PHILLIPS Special to the Pioneer

Local teacher Sarah Lovick received a prestigious award for her exemplary efforts at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Mark DeSaulnier, Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister and Assemblyman Tim Grayson honored her at the Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust Foundation award ceremony. Each year, the Eukel Teacher Trust selects three Contra Costa County K-12 teachers who have exhibited extraordinary commitment to their students. “I feel so honored to be recognized for something that I truly love to do, and that’s teaching,” Lovick says. Principals, parents, colleagues and students can submit nominations for the

Contributed photo

Sarah Lovick shows off the letters from local dignitaries that were part of the Eukel teacher award.

awards, which aim to foster excellence in education by providing monetary grants. Since 1992, the trust has awarded $500,000 to 61 outstanding teachers. Lovick credits a strong “root system” of values that

Year-end, from page 1

wet weather,” wrote Pioneer weather columnist Woody Whitlatch, “but we really needed the rain.”

FEBRUARY More weather woes. Stories of flooding and mudslides dominated Bay Area headlines, with a rockslide on Morgan Territory Road bringing the disaster home to Clayton. The pavement was buckling and cracking and the water main broke three times before the road was closed on Feb. 24. Reconstruction got underway in July, and the road finally reopened on Nov. 18 Smile – you’re on camera. Police Chief Chris Wenzel outlined plans to install cameras at the four major entrances to the town. “These are not monitored surveillance cameras,” Wenzel told the City Council. “Nor will they be used to issue citations.” In August, Wenzel reported that the camera system was largely in place and being tested. During its initial setup, the system already acknowledged three stolen vehicles coming through Clayton, plus several reported lost or stolen vehicle plates. MARCH A tribute to Main Street. This year’s Creekside Arts event at the Clayton Library presented varying interpretations on the theme “Life on Main Street.” The fundraiser for the library’s creekside wildlife habitat included an ecological presentation entitled “Life on Main Stream.” Right on the money. Clayton finance manager Kevin Mizuno earned the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Mizuno was honored for his professionalism in elevating the city’s financial records and disclosures to national stature.

APRIL High marks for Clayton. Mayor Jim Diaz touted two national reports that spotlighted Clayton. LendEDU ranked Clayton No. 106 nationally among Cities with

the Smartest Residents and No. 124 as part of its Best Cities for a Teaching Career Report. “Such rankings are satisfying confirmations of what a distinct place we have managed to maintain amid the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area,” the mayor wrote in his Pioneer column. Spring has sprung. The skies cleared and the sun shone for the 22nd annual Art and Wine Festival, with more than 90 vendors lining Main Street. The event is the major fundraiser for the Clayton Business and Community Association. MAY Flowers, flowers, everywhere. The annual Clayton Historical Society Garden Tour celebrated the end of the drought with lush and colorful spring gardens. Each garden on the tour is an imaginative expression of the owner’s personality. Veggies and fruits take center stage. Clayton’s downtown Farmers Market opened with a ceremonial cabbage toss led by Mayor Jim Diaz. The Black Pack provided live music while residents browsed. Market manager Lynette Miscione said this year’s market will be “bigger and better.”

JUNE A day to honor Mangini. The City Council proclaimed June 18 as Father Richard Mangini Day upon his retirement after 21 years at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church. “One of the things I enjoy about being a priest in the community so many years later is still serving many of the same families with whom I grew up,” said the Concord native. The church’s new leader, Father Mat Vellankal, made headlines this fall when he launched a drive-through prayer service on weeknights. “At the end of the work or school day, people may be stressed out and/or face a crisis in their life,” Vellankal said. “We want them to share a short prayer of three minutes or less with the team before they continue home.” How hot was it? The Bay

were instilled as a child from a mom who had four generations of teachers in her family. “But my deepest root system that enables me to do what I do every day, to instill a love of learning in children and help build self-esteem in kids, came

Area endured a strong heat wave, with afternoon maximum temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees for several consecutive days. “It’s safe to say that our recent heat event was the most severe since 2006,” wrote Pioneer weather columnist Woody Whitlatch. “It’s also safe to say that it can get a lot hotter.” Limits on housing density. The City Council passed an amendment to the General Plan that will help preserve Clayton’s rural ambience. “This amendment is one more tool in the toolbox to allow us to build appropriately and not overbuild on sensitive areas,” said Councilwoman Julie Pierce. The council also approved a balanced budget for fiscal year 2017-’18. “If we had to, we could actually operate for a full year on reserves alone,” noted finance manager Kevin Mizuno.

JULY Old-fashioned American fun. As usual, the crowds came downtown for the Fourth of July Parade as well as the third annual Clayton Classic Car Shows from June to September. And more than 5,000 people attended the 8th annual Clayton BBQ Cook-Off, which featured 30 competitors. AUGUST A local hero. Clayton resident Michael Fossan didn’t hesitate when he saw three people in need. For his heroic rescue on the Russian River, the Boy Scouts of America presented him with the Honor Medal. On Memorial Day 2016, Fossan rescued a drowning man along with two people in a pool raft being pulled away by the current. “In the moment, it was just doing it. There wasn’t worry or excitement or anything. It was just getting it done,” Fossan recalled.

SEPTEMBER Heating things up. Although blistering heat and smoke forced the cancellation of the Sept. 2 Concert in the Grove, the 10th annual season ended on a high note with crowd favorite East Bay Mudd on Sept. 16. “The lineups get bet-

from my dad,” she says. “He just retired as a teacher of 38 years and has shown me how to make a student feel heard, respected and truly valued as a person.” She says her background is well-suited to work with at-risk youth in the school’s AVID program and at John Muir’s psychiatric hospital. She believes her family foundation ensured she could weather life’s storms. “Not all kids are so lucky, especially the kids that I teach on a daily basis,” she says. “That’s where teachers come in.” Lovick notes that the school staff enters each student’s life story midway. “If we don’t take the time to get their backstory and see them as a person not just a student, we’ll miss the chance to truly mentor and make an impact on their life, long after the school year.”

ter and better. It’s just a great experience,” said founder Howard Geller. “From what people tell me, this was one of the best things that ever happened to the city.” Holiday humbugs. Spider mites have infested the town’s Christmas tree near the corner of Main and Oak streets. Although it showed signs of growth after a chemical infusion over the summer, arborists say the tree will not recover. The decorated tree in the gazebo was used for this year’s Christmas tree lighting, and the city plans to find a suitable replacement tree for future celebrations.

OCTOBER Plenty of oom-pah. The 14th annual Oktoberfest was the biggest yet, says co-chair Maryann Lawrence. “I’ve never seen so many people on Main Street,” noted City Councilwoman Julie Pierce. The Clayton Business and Community Association hosts the fall event, which includes a carnival, polka music, traditional German food and, of course, a biergarten. Dog-gone good book. Clayton residents joined together for the 10th annual Clayton Reads, focusing on “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” Author Garth Stein tells the story from the viewpoint of Enzo the dog. “It’s a very accessible story and it speaks to a lot of people – anyone who has a love of dogs or pets in general,” said Clayton librarian Karen Hansen. NOVEMBER Changes at police department. Joseph Kreins is the interim police chief, after Chris Wenzel resigned for personal reasons. A new chief is expected to be appointed in the new year. In his farewell column in the Pioneer, Wenzel thanked the community as well as PD and city staff. “Many years ago, I learned that the success of any city involves partnerships with numerous people and organizations willing to spend the energy to make life better,” he wrote. “Current events have shown us that times are changing, and we must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and our community.”

December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 7

Hmong farmers add diversity to farmers markets DEBRA MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market

Since the influx of Southeast Asian immigrants to California in the 1970s, many have taken to farming – a familiar occupation in Vietnam, Laos and other Asian countries. They have introduced us to amazing and delicious Asian vegetables and herbs from their homelands. Many of these products were also grown by early 20th century Chinese and Japanese immigrants. The Hmong and Lao were among the immigrant groups that arrived here. These families left their homeland, where they had worked hard to sustain themselves as farmers, to start a new life. Settling in the prolific growing regions of the Central Valley, they discovered that their Asian greens, vegetables and herbs grew well in the fertile soil. With more than 2,000 Southeast Asian farmers in California and more than 100 varieties of specialty vegeta-

Contributed photo

Stop by and say hello to Chong Thao and pick up some of their wonderful asian specialty vegetables and greens.

bles and herbs, these small family farmers now bring a wide variety of produce to the farmers market. Chong Thao, one of the Concord Farmers Market’s managers, is Hmong. His family operates FT Fresh Produce at the market. Farming has been part of his family for generations, because growing your own food was

the only way to feed your family. They grew rice, mustard greens, cassava, sing qua, cabbages, bitter melon, lemongrass, sugar cane and many other necessities. With the war in Vietnam causing disruption and fear, the family struggled to survive for many years and finally migrated to the United States in 1990. “It was hard

work to find a job in a new land where we didn’t speak the language,” he noted. With little employment available, they decided to fall back on what they knew best: farming. They landed in Fresno, where the soil was good and the climate perfect for growing their products. Other Hmong immigrants had also settled there.

The family gradually learned the language and found local sources for selling their unusual products. A neighboring farmer told them how the farmers market system helps small farmers sell directly to customers. They have been selling their produce at many farmers markets for 20 years. At first, demand for their products was small and the Thaos sold mostly to those ethnicities familiar with their products. As time went on and more farmers sold their greens and vegetables to a wider, appreciative audience, they increased their acreage. “The impact that farmers markets have had on my family and others in this immigrant community has been amazing,” Thao said. “We probably wouldn’t have survived in a new country without them.” Peppery mustard greens are simple to prepare and offer great flavor. Try this easy recipe alongside some of your holiday favorites and we bet you’ll be back for a second helping.

Style tips for dressing up the holidays life of any party. Merlot merry: A shade of deep merlot feels festive without straying too far from your go-to black uniform. Leather and lace: Pair a lace blouse with a leather miniskirt for the ultimate naughty-meets-nice contrast. Deck the halls: When all else fails, go bold in sizzling

SAUTÉED MUSTARD GREENS ½ c. thinly sliced onions, red or yellow 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 T olive oil 1 lb. mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces 2-3 T chicken broth ¼ tsp. teaspoon dark sesame oil 1-1½ T rice wine vinegar Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, 5-10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant. Add the mustard greens and broth; cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil and rice vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Be aware that the sesame oil is very strong, so don’t overuse it. This recipe can also be adjusted for a Southern profile by adding cooked bacon or ham, leaving out the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.

red sequins. If you’re not on the level of rocking a fulllength gown, opt for a short cocktail version. Sappington is a personal stylist for men and women. If you need help with your style or gifts options for the men in your life, contact her at



4775 Morgan Territory Road, Clayton

Dressing up for holiday parties include metallic and sequined tops. Or take the pantsuit to a new level with red velvet. The tuxedo dress is a great riff on the “little black dress.”

A little black dress or black suit is always on par for the party scene, but holiday dressing doesn’t have to be so cut and dried. From velvet suits to silky slip dresses, here are some ideas for switching it up and looking festive this season. Gold rush: Metallics act as the ultimate neutral on the holiday party circuit. Take the hue to new heights with a pair of silky, wide-leg gold pants styled with a sheer metallic blouse. Naughty or nice: Mix a sheer metallic top with a deep burgundy skirt. Add an unexpected twist with a shade of deep blue or green lipstick. ’Tis the sequin: Skip the full-on sequin dress and work

festive beads into your look with one statement-making piece. Try a skirt or a beautiful pair of sequin pants. Tuxedo dressing: An offthe-shoulder tuxedo dress sets the bar high for your office holiday cocktail party. Men’s wear is the rage. All wrapped up: Go for green in a festive but sexy wrap dress that leaves way for some major accessorizing, such as a bold, chunky necklace. Little black dress: While you can never go wrong with a classic little black dress, give the staple wardrobe item a refresh with some feather or sheer detailing at the shoulders or hem. Santa baby: A deep red silk

dress feels equal parts sexy and festive for any party this season. Take the look to the next level with a pair of matching lace-up heels. Winter florals: Take fall and winter’s floral trend into the holiday season with a fulllength frock that’s timeless and festive. Florals are a great pattern for that special holiday look. The velvet suit: Trade in your classic velvet jacket for a full suit done in all velvet. Take the look the festive route by opting for a deep red or green. And, match your lipstick. All that glitters: From Christmas parties to New Year’s Eve, a full-on sequin dress instantly becomes the

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

December 8, 2017

How Millennials fit into the housing market Q. I know Millennials are a different breed. What is your opinion of them in relation to the housings market? A. You might be surprised to know that Millennials aged 18 to 35 associate owning a home with the American dream more than any other generation. They are still eager to buy homes, despite the current market, economic setbacks and the housing crisis. They are having a tough time making it happen, but they are not giving up. I found some interesting statistics to share about when Millennials believe they’ll buy a home: 9.2 percent say it will

be in one year; 23.7 percent say 1-2 years; 33.3 percent say 3-5 years; 1.8 percent say never and 7.6 percent are not sure. Today, 34.7 percent of people under 35 own homes. That is down about 50 percent from the mid 2000s. Millennials are postponing buying a home for several reasons, including a lack of affordable housing. After the meltdown of the real estate market, many homeowners were under water – owing more than the house is worth. So they stopped moving. Ever-escalating credit standards are also blocking Millennials from home buying. About one in three of



them don’t meet the minimum credit standard of 620, likely because they are drowning in student loans. They have record level debt, with an average of $37,173 per student. Meanwhile, marriage and parenthood – the traditional drivers of home ownership – are being delayed. There are really no starter homes for first-time buyers. wall is anchored by 30 piles Sixty-nine percent of Millendrilled 60 feet into bedrock. nials would rather wait to Almost all of the $4 million cost to repair will be covered by FEMA and OES. An official ribbon cutting hosted by Supervisor Diane Burgis last Saturday was attended by the county public works officials, the contractors The wet season has and others involved in the arrived in the Bay Area. One massive rebuilding project. of the many challenges for

Slide, from page 1

from Morgan Territory over a steep hill that connected to a fire trail terminating at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility on Marsh Creek Rd. Repairing the slide required constructing two retaining walls, one on the uphill side and one on the downhill side of Morgan Territory, rebuilding the road bed and relocating the power poles and water main. Each

save up and buy a longerterm home, and 21 percent prefer to purchase a home now that will meet future needs. Escalating rent is creating a down payment problem. High rent can make saving the recommended 20 percent down payment close to impossible in our area. Many Millennials believe they can’t afford to buy a home, but they are misinformed. More than 70 percent are unaware of low down payment programs of 3-5 percent. Veterans Administration loans are extremely attractive and can be zero down payment. For non-veterans, the most popular option for Millennials and other first-time buyers is a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured loan. The down payment can be as little as 3.5 percent, with low closing costs and easier credit

qualifying. The best place to start is with a good Realtor who can steer you in the right direction to get qualified and start your search. Even if you are computer savvy, don’t do it yourself. It costs a buyer nothing to work with a Realtor.

Q. What is the real cost of home ownership? A. Anyone who has owned a home knows their expenses extend beyond insurance and a mortgage. I found some interesting statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau for median costs. Eighteen percent (the majority) of homeowners paid a 1129 percent down payment; 12.9 percent put down 6-10 percent; and 15.2 percent put down more than 20 percent. Ninety-five percent had one mortgage, and 5 percent had two mortgages. Of the nearly 40 percent who refi-

nanced their loan, 71.2 percent refinanced for a lower interest rate. Monthly, homeowners paid a median $133 for fuel oil, $117 for electricity, $53 for piped gas and $46 for water. They paid a median $500 on routine maintenance, such as painting and fixing leaks, and a median $1,200 on home improvement – including aging in place, accessibility and energy-efficient upgrades. Just more than 3 percent completed at least one project to prepare their home for sale. These statistics are for the country. Here in the Bay Area, they are much higher. Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates. Contact her at 672-8787 or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

Rain comes in many shapes and sizes

weather forecasters is to predict the type and intensity of precipitation that accompanies our winter storms. Precipitation is defined as any form of water that falls from the atmosphere and reaches the ground. The falling water can either be in a liquid or solid (frozen) form. There are two types of liquid precipitation, drizzle and rain. Frozen types include snow, sleet, freezing rain and hail. Let’s take a closer look at the liquid forms, which comprise the bulk of the precipiTamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer tation that falls in our area. Two massive retaining walls stabilize the hillside on Morgan Drizzle is made up of Territory Rd. small water droplets, with


ARF stars Spike and Tikka Masala


diameters of less than two one-hundredths of an inch (0.02). Drizzle is a fairly uniform type of rainfall composed exclusively of small water droplets that are very close together. Similar in size and shape to fog droplets, drizzle appears to float while following air currents. Unlike fog droplets, it falls to the ground. Quite often fog and drizzle occur together. Liquid droplets larger than 0.02 inches are classified as rain. Rain forms when small cloud droplets collide and stick together. Once the drops get large enough, grav-

ity draws them down to the ground. The common perception of the shape of a raindrop is that of a teardrop with a wide, rounded bottom and pointed top. In fact, the shape is dependent on its size. It seldom, if ever, looks like a teardrop. Drizzle and small raindrops are round to slightly oblong. Larger raindrops are curved at the top and flattened at the bottom by the drag forces in the air. Their shape is often compared to that of a hamburger bun. Once a raindrop reaches about a quarter inch, it will begin to break apart because of air resistance. We’ve all driven through a rainstorm with droplet sizes that seem much larger than a quarter of an inch. This illusion occurs because the bun-shaped droplets are flattened as they hit the windshield. The terminal velocity, or fall speed, of raindrops also depends on size. Smaller drops fall at a rate of about 2 mph. Drops that grow to the

quarter inch size fall at nearly 20 mph. Rainfall rates determine if the rain will soak into the soil or run off. According to the National Weather Service, light rain ranges from 0.01 to 0.1 inches per hour. Moderate rainfall is forecast if precipitation rates of 0.1-0.3 inches per hour are expected. Heavy rain is anything above 0.3 inches per hour. Long periods of heavy rain can cause flooding and erosion. This winter, Bay Area meteorologists will pay close attention to rainfall rates as the potential for mudslides is enhanced in areas affected by the recent wildfires. For the most part, everyone welcomes the wet winter season and raindrops of all sizes and shapes. With each storm, memories of the recent drought slowly melt away. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist retired from PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

Club News

CBCA shares the wealth this holiday season GARY CARR Special to the Pioneer


Seven-year-old Spike is a mature gentleman who loves to cuddle, so make sure you have plenty of room on the couch. Spike is proof that you CAN teach an older dog new tricks. He knows sit, down, shake and rollover. He is also wonderful with the other “big kids.” He is social, playful and tolerant with dogs his size. He


would love daily walks, playtime with other big dogs and a cozy lap to nuzzle into. The adoption fee for puppies <6 months is $300, for adult dogs is $250, and includes a discount on the first six-week session of a manners class. Four-month-old Tikka Masala is an affectionate and

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confident young lady who enjoys everything she does, whether it’s napping in a lap or playing with wands or other cat toys. She especially enjoys her surroundings and checking out every nook and cranny. What a fun companion she’ll be in her forever home! The adoption fee for kittens <6 months $125 and for adult cats is $75. Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during adoption hours: Noon to 6 pm Wednesday & Thursday, Noon to 7 pm Friday, and Noon to 6 pm Saturday & Sunday. Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? Can you share your talents to connect people and animals? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our website,, or call (925) 2561ARF.

The Clayton Business and Community Association (CBCA) got into the holiday spirit at the Nov. 6 meeting at Oakhurst Country Club. CBCA members packed the room to vote for donation requests for Clayton Valley Charter High School and the Christmas for Everyone program. The school received grants for the purchase of uniforms for the men’s lacrosse team,

batting tees for the baseball team and helmets for the football team. The new helmets will provide added protection in these days of concussion awareness. Santa also arrived early for the high school music program, which received grants for the marching band, orchestra and jazz programs. Pat Eileen Fisher, Soroptimist district director, was a special guest at the meeting. Fisher spoke about the Soroptimist-sponsored Get Real program, which advises high

school senior women, mostly non-college-bound, on life skill issues like handling money, self-esteem and women’s health. More than 200 young women attended last year’s one-day program, which will repeat on March 8 at the Concord Hilton. CBCA welcomes newcomers to get involved with a project that will help the community – our schools, our students and other charitable organizations. For more information, visit

Library Foundation a good stop for gifts Shop the Clayton Library for holiday gifts. Any library/book lover is sure to appreciate a membership in the Clayton Community Library Foundation starting at $10 for an individual. Buy a set of Clayton-themed note cards for $5 for a set of five. Other gift items for sale include new, lightweight book/grocery bags for $2 each, red, gusseted book bags for $10 each, gold tone Christmas ornaments for $10 and “Clayton Cooks…” a collec-

tion of favorite recipes, including some by local celebrities, and a brief history of Clayton and the library for $5. T-shirts are available for both children for $10 and adults for $14. Remember to stop by the library bookstore for gifts as well. It is stocked with many Christmas books and recent fiction and non-fiction. Adult books are $1 and children’s books are 50 cents. CCLF is the support group for the Clayton Community

Library. All proceeds go towards purchasing more library material. All items are available in the Library during open hours: Monday and Wednesday from 1 to 9 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Membership forms are available at the library or online at The library is at 6125 Clayton Rd., Clayton.

December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

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

TaMara aND r oberT S TeiNer , Publishers TaMara S TeiNer , Editor P eTe C ruz , Graphic Design b ev b riTToN , Copy Editor J ay b eDeCarré, Sports PaMeLa W ieSeNDaNGer , Administration, Calendar Editor S TAFF W RITERS : Pamela Wiesendanger, Jay Bedecarré, Bev Britton

C ORRESPONDENTS : Kara Navolio, John T. Miller I NTERN : Carina Romano

We remember Jill Bedecarré


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

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.

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Meals, from page 1

worry about me.” The program is designed to support older adults by allowing them to live independently and with dignity for as long as possible. Meals are served free, although donations are accepted. Eighty percent of the seniors are low or very low income, 75 percent are functionally impaired and 9 percent are veterans. Many have no other options for healthy meals. MOWSOS also provides other services for the senior population. Through Friendly Visitors, Fall Prevention and Care Management, they increased the number of seniors served in Contra Costa to more than 5,000 last year. Funding comes from federal, state and county tax dollars as well as grants and donations. However, Elaine Clark, CEO of the local MOWSOS, says funding for all these services has recently come under risk with potential federal cuts. “Thousands of lowincome, frail seniors are at risk under the proposed federal budget, which calls for drastic cuts to many senior programs, including health care, supplemental nutrition assistance, long-term supports and the entire safety net of services,” says Clark. “At a time when we should be honoring those who served our country, built our communities and raised ourselves and, in many cases, our children, Congress is making life more difficult. “Cuts to the SNAP (Sup-

plemental Nutrition Assistance Program) alone could cause a person to have to make the choice of eating or buying lifesaving medications, turning on the heat or eating cereal for dinner,” she adds. Clark cites a Kaiser Family Foundation study showing that more than 60 percent of a person’s health is a direct result of their living conditions. This includes fall safety, proper nutrition, transportation options and socialization. She urges everyone to call or write their Congress members about this topic. “When Congress cuts funding for these services – including Meals on Wheels, Friendly Visiting and Fall Prevention, the costs of health care and 911 emergency services skyrocket,” Clark says. “People become sick, they fall and need emergency services, and they become cut off from society, which can lead to depression and early death.” The national Meals on Wheels America organization states that billions of dollars are saved on expensive healthcare settings by keeping seniors in their homes. One year of meals equals roughly the cost of one day in the hospital. MOWSOS is always happy to accept new volunteers for weekly two-hour delivery shifts or as a substitute driver or office assistant. A 50th anniversary gala is also being planned for May 12. For more information, please visit

Mayor, from page 1

CITY COUNCIL NEWS The council approved an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Fulcrum Development Group to allow it to pursue, subject to public review and council approval, a senior-assisted living/memory care facility with some limited ground-floor commercial retail frontage on the city’s vacant property off Main Street. The purchase price would be $1.9 million; the city paid $1 million for the land in 2013. Approval of the ENA does not bind the City Council to approve the proposed project or sell the land, yet it does set the course for public consideration of Fulcrum’s proposal.

POLICE CHIEF UPDATE While interim and veteran Police Chief Joe Kreins is leading our Police Department, two groups recently interviewed four candidates for the permanent position. One was a professional panel of three police chiefs, and the other included four Clayton community individuals/professionals. City manager Gary Napper makes the final hiring selection, and he has interviewed the top two recommended finalists. He anticipates an announcement on the next chief of police will occur after the new year begins. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES ON THEIR WAY

first/last mile solution from a major retail location (the new Ikea site) to a transit hub (Dublin/Pleasanton BART station). The vehicle will travel at 35 mph max in a corridor shared with public traffic, transit buses, bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles, including crossing signalized intersections. The proposed one-mile loop starts on Arnold Road at Martinelli Way (bus stop 1) heading southbound. It makes a left onto the service road ending at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station parking lot. This is where future passengers will be dropped off (bus stop 2) before it returns down the service road to make a left onto Arnold Road (northbound). When the vehicle arrives at Arnold Road and Martinelli Way (northbound), it will make a U-turn back onto Arnold (southbound) and stop at the original bus stop to pick up passengers. For the first few months of testing, no passengers will be allowed to ride the vehicle. This is an exciting test for the transportation of the future.

FINAL THOUGHTS I wish to close this series of Clayton articles by recognizing and dedicating them to my college freshman English professor, Evelyn Bibb, Ph.D. She was an excellent and demanding professor. Bibb would have her class review a new topic she provided each week, then prepare a paper to describe and discuss it in writing. Little did I realize that more than 40 years later, this method would be so useful when writing this monthly column. Thank you, Dr. Evelyn Bibb. To everyone: Have a wonderful holiday season. And as always, thank you for your support of our Clayton community.

As your representative to the County Connection, I want to share the latest developments for an autonomous vehicle public transportation test. California AB 1444 (Baker) authorizes the Livermore-Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) to test autonomous vehicles within the city of Dublin. There will be an attendant present on the vehicle at all times for safety reasons. The main goal of this test is to prove that Send comments to the mayor at Shared Autonomous Vehicles (SAVs) can be a viable

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Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

December 8, 2017

Sophomore Jordan Frost earns water polo MVP award JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton Valley Charter sophomore goalie Jordan Frost was honored as Diablo Athletic League girls water polo most valuable player when fall sports athletes were honored after coaches votes in the DAL and East Bay Athletic League. Northgate quarterback Jack Fulp and his junior classmate golfer Skye also were tabbed as MVPs for their sports this fall. Frost made 216 saves, made 12 assists and had 31 steals during the season leading her team to their second straight undefeated DAL Valley Division championship. The team lost in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs. Teammates Sydney Skow, Brooke Johnson and Camylle Callahan were firstteam all-league picks. Eagles coach Kelsey Carrigan says, “Jordan is one of those student athletes that makes a coaches’ job easy. She


ter), Michael Wheeler (Northgate). Girls: 1st team- Samantha Schauman (CV); 2nd teamKelly Osterkamp (CV), Sarah Wheeler (NG). Girls Golf FOOTHILL MVP- Skye Mingming (NG); 1st teamDymphna Ueda, Gia Feliciano (NG); 2nd team-Serena Billeci (NG); Honorable MentionSam Ricafrente (NG). VALLEY 2nd team- Jenna Fassio, Kiana Fong (CV); HMReyna Khalileh, Audrey Vincent (CV). Girls Tennis FOOTHILL 1st team-Kate Lee, Sofia Zaprianov, Kylie Choi-Antonina Bazulin (NG); 2nd team-Jessie McCann, Jocy Wirfel-Raquel Aquilar (NG); HM-Kristin Indick (NG). VALLEY 1st team- Tracy Nguyen, Nelly Elahmadie (CV); 2nd team-Maya GonzaDIABLO ATHLETIC LEAGUE les, Emily Lyons (CV); HMCross County Rylie Velez, Victoria Skousen Boys: 1st team- Dylan (CV). White (Clayton Valley CharGirls Volleyball FOOTHILL 1st team-Ali Silva (NG); 2nd team-Aubrey Roberts, Chiara Gatto (NG); HM-Kinsey Anderson (NG). VALLEY 1st team- Alaysia Mitchell (CV); 2nd team- Brenna Dougan, Genna Love (CV); HM- Kylie Halliday (CV). Water Polo FOOTHILL Boys 2nd team-Ryan Henderson (NG); HM-Hunter Peeff (NG). FOOTHILL Girls 2nd team-Naomi Jenkins (NG); HM-Jordan Sibley (NG). VALLEY Boys: 1st teamJack Coppa, Cal Brown (CV); BEN ACEBO 2nd team-JD Williams, Teddy CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER comes to practices and games every day with a smile on her face, ready to work hard and is willing to do what is necessary to make her teammates better. “She came into the season ready to take on the challenge and pressure becoming the starting goalie as a sophomore. There were many games this season that she provided the opportunity for team success because of her efforts in the cage. Jordan had an amazing season and it is going to be fun watching her continue to grow and improve the next two years.” Seven CVCHS Ugly Eagles football players were first-team all-league as the team won its sixth straight unbeaten league championship. CVCHS, Northgate, DLS and Carondelet athletes on fall sports all-league teams:

Photo courtesy CVCHS water polo

Clayton Valley Charter sophomore goalie Jordan Frost makes one of her 216 saves during the season leading her team to their second straight undefeated DaL Valley Division championship. The team lost in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs.

Conger (CV); HM- Gabe Martin (CV). VALLEY Girls: MVP Goalie-Jordan Frost (CV); 1st team- Sydney Skow, Brooke Johnson, Camylle Callahan (CV); 2nd Team- Camille Cline, Margaret York (CV); HM- Madelyn Vines (CV). Football FOOTHILL Offense 1st team- Junior Alatini, James Teofilo, Brandon Mello, Ben Acebo (CV); 2nd team- KJ Gardner, Dylan Chrisco (CV). Defense 1st team-Dusty Mitchell, Kitione Tau, Gabriel Dobbins (CV); 2nd teamDuane Alatini, Matt Huffaker, Cade Carter, Ryan Wilson, Garrett Gonguet (CV). VALLEY Offense MVP – Jack Fulp (NG).

Offense 1st team- David Ma’ake, Christian Wonder, German Acosta (NG); 2nd team- Soren Peterson, Preston Schreck, Nate Moore (NG). Defense 1st team- Joey Marondola, Saluni Semisi, DiMarlo Ventura (NG); 2nd team- Skyler Morford, Nick Stark, Joey Giannini (NG).

EAST BAY ATHLETIC LEAGUE (DLS boys, Carondelet girls) Water Polo Boys: 1st team – Liam Ward, Tanner Mercer, Joey Grywczynski; 2nd team-JP Walsh. Girls: 1st team-Alex Brown; 2nd team – Samantha Mein; HM – Madi Ohrman.

Girls Golf 1st Team- Madelyn Gamble, Angela Bagasbas; 2nd team- Carissa Wu. Cross Country Boys: 1st team- Connor Livingston, Harrison Fisher. Girls: 2nd team-Clare Schumann. Girls Volleyball 2nd team- Catherine Helgeson; HM-Catherine Vaccaro. Football Offense 1st team- Kairee Robinson, Jack Powers, Luke Ogburn, John Deitchman, 2nd team- Josh Allan. Defense 1st team- Isaiah Foskey, Henry To’oto’o; 2nd team- Luke Freeman, Brandon Riso, Jhasi Wilson; HM- Jackson Walsh.

Pascoe among 10 local athletes inking college commitments JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Ten local high school senior student athletes signed their National Letters of Intent last month committing to play their sport in colleges from coast to coast. Carondelet, Clayton Valley Charter and De La Salle had student athletes formalize their college choices in front of fellow students at their schools. Garrett Pascoe will be looking for his fourth all-league honors this winter for the defending Diablo Athletic League Valley Division cham-


pion CVCHS Eagles basketball before he moves east to Boston University. He’s been all-league each year and was DAL co-MVP last season. He has a 4.2 GPA and is beginning his third season as team captain. Coach Eric Bamberger says Pascoe is listed as one of the top 25 senior players in Northern California this winter by NorCal Preps and he figures his Eagles should be competing with Las Lomas for first place in the Diablo Athletic League Foothill Division this winter and says CVCHS should be among the top eight Division I teams in North Coast Section. His sister Hailey Pascoe is a junior at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. She was injured at a pre-season basketball practice and will be sitting out this season. Carondelet had five young women sign on the first NLI day of the 2017-18 school year. Golfers Angela Bagasbas and Annika Borrelli, softball pitcher Sofia Earle, lacrosse player Lauren Zelnik and equestrian Sarah Finkle each made their college choices official. At De La Salle, baseball players Austin Elder and Trace

Tammaro, swimmer Daniel O’Connell and wrestler Peyton Omania completed the local signings. Elder and Tammaro have been part of back-toback North Coast Section Spartan championship teams. O’Connell was second in the NCS 100 butterfly last spring while Omania will be looking for his third straight NCS individual wrestling title this winter and another podium finish at State. Four-year varsity golfers Bagasbas and Borrelli are fresh off winning the NCS championship, their second in three years. Bagabas is going to UC Irvine and Borelli to the Uni-

versity of San Francisco. The duo has helped the Cougars advance to the CIF NorCal Championships three consecutive years and the CIF State Championships in 2015 and 2016. As a sophomore, Bagasbas was the NCS Division I individual champion, shooting even par in the tournament. As a junior golf player, she took home medalist honors at the 2016 AJGA Junior Championships in Michigan and in 2017 she won the California Photo courtesy De La Salle State Fair Championship. austin Elder, Daniel O’Connell, Peyton Omania and Trace Earle is a three-year varsity Tammaro from De La Salle. letter winner and starting pitcher for the Carondelet softball team who will be going most recently, with her horse down the road a bit to Saint Taco became the All-American Mary’s College in Moraga. She Quarter Horse Congress has earned all-East Bay Athlet- Champion in her division. ic League honors and in 80 Zelnik will be playing her innings pitched as a junior, she fourth varsity season for recorded 118 strikeouts, had Carondelet lacrosse in the six shutouts and a perfect spring before heading off to game.  Catholic University of AmeriFinkle will be going across ca in Washington, DC. She the county to the University of received the team’s Cougar Georgia to join their equestrian Award and was an all-EBAL team. She has been showing selection as a sophomore and horses since she was six-years- during her junior year was old, acquired multiple all- awarded the prestigious U.S. Jay Bedecarré photos around and circle champi- Marine Corps Distinguished onship finishes at major Athlete Award. angela Bagasbas, annika Borrelli, Lauren zelnik, Sofia national equestrian events and, Earle and Sarah Finkle of Carondelet.


December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 11


Athlete Spotlight

•Lawn & Plant Installation


Lizzie Annison, Cassie Biznicki and Sarah Cook Grade: Senior

School: Clayton Valley Charter High

A shared passion for the game has kept senior teammates Annison, Bizicki and Cook involved in the CVCHS girls soccer program throughout their high school years. Bizicki lettered on varsity her freshman year, while Annison and Cook were moved up their junior season. All three play defensive positions for new head coach Aaron Pomeroy. Annison is strictly a soccer player and enjoys “showcasing all the hours spent in practice and the gym to become the player I am today.” She began playing when she was young and during her time at CV has won team defensive MVP the past two seasons and was first team allleague last season. Annison plans to attend a four-year university and play college soccer. Bizicki also runs cross

country for the league champion Eagles varsity the past two years. “The people I’ve had the chance to play or run with at CV have been absolutely amazing and have become some of my best friends,” she says. She earned honorable mention all-DAL cross country this year and second team all-league last soccer season. Bizicki plans to attend college in the UC system. Cook is a three-sport athlete, running cross country in the fall, playing soccer in the winter and lacrosse in the spring. She joined cross country “to get in shape for soccer and because my brother Colin ran.” Lacrosse was “a new challenge and a way to stay fit and make new friends.” Cook also plans to attend a UC school and pursue a science major. All three athletes are involved in Califor-

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The Clayton Pioneer congratulates Lizzie, Cassie and Sarah 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

De La Salle wins its 26th straight NCS championship, now faces USA No. 1 JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Last year, De La Salle High went into the State CIF Open Division championship game as a decided underdog to Southern California powerhouse St. John Bosco and that projection was proven out when Bosco scored the most points ever given up by DLS to win the 2016 title. Now, the Spartans are basking in their 26th straight North Coast Section football title achieved last Saturday evening over rival Pittsburg High 24-7 and their reward is an unprecedented 12th consecutive berth in the State Bowl championship games. The only problem is that they will be facing the No. 1 team in America, undefeated Mater Dei of Santa Ana. MD won its first Southern Section title since 1999 last Saturday over Bosco and is led by junior quarterback JT Daniels and a slew of outstanding offensive stars. Justin Alumbaugh and his DLS staff have two weeks to put together a game plan and get key players healthy for their Dec. 16 showdown to try and slow down the Monarchs. Mater Dei coach Bruce

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it didn’t happen enough during their NCS semi-final but Clayton Valley Charter defenders bottled up De La Salle freshman ballcarrier Mekhi Norfleet on this play. Ugly Eagles stopping the Spartans are, from left, Leke Fashola (11), afu Tomasi (57), Josiah Dobbins and Chris Gonzalez (94). CVCHS coach Tim Murphy is pleased that all of those players except Gonzalez will be back on the team next fall when he expects to have about 15 returning starters.

Rollinson will be especially keen on winning a 16th straight game this season as he’s 0-4 against De La Salle. Mater Dei and De La Salle have one common 2017 opponent and the results don’t bode well for DLS. Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas had a 55-game winning streak and a couple

Photo by Dennis Lee courtesy SportStars Magazine

all-EBaL receiver Jack Powers (10) has over half the pass receptions for the De La Salle offense, which is still primarily run-oriented. His only catch in the NCS semi-finals went for 46 years and a touchdown against Concord rival Clayton Valley Charter. Last Saturday DLS won its 26th consecutive NCS title over Pittsburg and is prepping for the Dec 16 State Bowl Game against america’s No. 1 ranked Mater Dei of Santa ana.

National Championships in its trophy case when it visited Santa Ana Stadium in the second week of the season and Mater Dei ended that run with a 35-21 victory. Two weeks later Gorman hosted De La Salle and sprinted past the Spartans 34-7. De La Salle’s 26th consecutive NCS championship was as hard fought as any they’ve had since losing to Pitt in the 1991 Section finals. Since that evening the Spartans have won 290 straight games against California teams north of Fresno. Pitt and DLS have met in the NCS playoffs 14 times since that famous game in 1991 with DLS winning each time by an average of over 35 points per game. The only NCS championship game with De La Salle since then decided by less than 20 points until this year was in in 2005 when San Leandro and quarterback Dennis Dixon lost 14-0. This year’s finale saw De La Salle play without star runningback Kairee Robinson, injured in practice leading up to the game, so junior standout Henry To’oto’o took over on offense as well as his usual standout performance at linebacker. He scored two touch-

downs and sparked a defense that got five sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery from the Pirates. Pitt does get a consolation prize with a placement in the

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Clayton Pioneer •

December 8, 2017


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CVCHS basketball, soccer teams set lofty goals for league, season results JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Winter sports are well underway with non-league games and holiday tournaments beckoning. Clayton Valley Charter’s basketball and soccer teams are gearing up for runs at Diablo Athletic League division championships and season-ending berths in the North Coast Section playoffs. All Diablo and East Bay athletic leagues start their league seasons after New Year’s, except for EBAL soccer which kicks off its double-round robin schedule next Tuesday. The balance of DAL and EBAL wrestling, basketball and soccer league schedules begin between Jan. 2 and 12 leading towards NCS competition in February. For Clayton Valley Charter the new DAL alignment for basketball this season has moved both Ugly Eagles teams to the stronger Foothill Division. The boys basketball team of coach Eric Bamberger went undefeated in DAL Valley Division last year and they started off this season with four straight victories. Last year’s league coMVPs Nick Klarman and Garrett Pascoe have picked up where they left off. CVCHS holds wins over long-time league rivals College Park and Concord as well as San Leandro and Cornerstone Christian. The coach enters his fifth year at CVCHS saying, “We should have a good a year and make NCS. I think most are projecting us as the second-place DAL team behind Las Lomas and one of the top eight teams in Division 1 NCS.” Bamberger looks to senior forward JD Williams and junior guard Roman Merritt to play key roles for his team. He also has the expectation that varsity newcomers Zach Martinez, Sinjin Speer and sophomore Jayson Downs will contribute. In the new DAL alignment CVCHS will now play games


against a whole new set of opponents in Las Lomas, Campolindo, College Park, Acalanes and Miramonte. Paul Kommer has been coaching girls basketball for 12 years at CV and is now in his fifth season as varsity head coach. His team will most likely look up at perennial girls powerhouses Campolindo and Miramonte when the final DAL Foothill standings are settled. He says, “Although we are pretty young, I like our chances to do well with our overall record and make it again to NCS. Our players are gaining more experience each day; they work really hard, it’s a fun group to coach and I think they’ll improve significantly throughout the year.” When Kommer talks about gaining experience he’s alluding to a roster that has three freshmen and five sophomores on his varsity squad. To balance out that young group senior Kelly Osterkamp and junior Kat Segovia are team captains and their coach says, “Kelly and Kat are one of the best guard tandems we’ve had at CV. They’ve worked hard to improve individually; but play extremely well together on the court.” Sophomore Amy Barry and freshman Susie Kresch are key new pivot players.

Sports Shorts


EAGLES SOCCER HOPES HIGH New CVCHS girls varsity soccer coach Aaron Pomeroy says, “We have big expectations this year as we feel the team is the best in the last five years or so. We expect to compete for the DAL league championship (Valley Division) with defending champ Northgate and to make the NCS Division 1 playoffs.” He expects the Eagles to battle with Carondelet, Liberty, Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley to go deep into the Division I playoffs. “We feel that our program is very deep with solid JV and frosh teams this season. Due to our talent level and interest in women’s soccer, Clayton Valley Charter added a fourth team this season— a “true” freshman team which is competing in the same league as our frosh (froshsoph) team with teams from three counties (Contra Costa, Alameda and Napa). He’ll be calling on Lizzie Annison, Cassie Bizicki, Tina Heuerman Jr. and Olivia Kreamer to provide veteran leadership. His fifth returning player is senior forward Emily Kaleal who missed her entire junior year with a torn ACL after playing varsity her freshman and sophomore years. She has committed to San Francisco State to play soccer next fall. Top newcomers are Alexa


Avelar, Ally Liu and Jenna West, who each has top-level club soccer experience. Centerback West is on the U15 Olympic Development Program (ODP) NorCal Team, U15 Western Region 4 ODP Women’s team and was invited to the U15 US National Team Camp. Boys varsity coach Guillermo Jara says, “We expect to win league always.” After winning league two years ago his Eagles finished third in DAL and then lost a tough 2-1 game to Monte Vista in NCS in the 2016-17 season. Third-year varsity starter Kellen Dresdow, Jose Haro and Tyler Hanson will bring their talent and experience to anchor the Ugly Eagles defense. Jara says his team is “young in midfield and forwards” but counts on some returning players along with a group coming up from junior varsity to handle those slots. Jimmy Hernandez, Edgar Castenda, Justin Wolfe, Andres Rubio, Paris Ruiz and freshman Isaac Mofrin will need to provide playmaking and goal scoring for the Eagles to soar this season after they lost top goal scorers Pedro Hernandez, Taylor Heuerman and Jesus Martinez and defense power Angel Solis off last year’s playoff team. 


The 15th annual Diablo FC benefit crab feed, raffle and dance is set for Friday, Feb. 2, at Centre Concord. Tickets will be CLAYTON VALLEY HOLIDAY YOUTH BASEBALL CAMP on sale shortly for the event that benefits programs for the local ACCEPTING REGISTRATION competitive youth soccer club affiliated with the San Jose EarthClayton Valley Charter High School baseball coaching staff and quakes. Visit for more details and to get information players are offering a Christmas (Dec. 27-28) holiday baseball camp. on event sponsoring and purchasing crab feed tickets. The camp for ages 6-14 focuses on the skills necessary to be a successful player including batting, fielding, pitching and throwing. Ses- REGISTRATION OPEN FOR ALL OUT SPORTS LEAGUES sions are held from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Clayton Valley Varsity PROGRAMS , BASKETBALL TRYOUTS THIS SUNDAY Baseball Facility. Contact Eagles head coach Casey Coakley at Youth basketball and adult and youth volleyball leagues with questions or to register. offered by All Out Sports Leagues in Clayton are taking registration online. Blaze club basketball tryouts for youth 8-14 will be DE LA SALLE GRAD DYLAN WYNN WINS GREG CUP held in Clayton Community Gym this Sunday, Dec. 10. For comFormer De La Salle football defensive standout Dylan Wynn plete information on All Out Sports leagues, clinics and other was part of the 2017 Greg Cup champion Toronto Argonauts in programs, visit the Canadian Football League. Wynn last played for DLS in 2010 on a national championship 14-0 squad before he headed off to MT. DIABLO HIGH HALL OF FAME CRAB FEED JAN. 20 Oregon State where he made second team all-Pac 12 as a senior. The annual Mt. Diablo High School Hall of Fame crab feed is Saturday, Jan. 20, at Zio Fraedo’s in Pleasant Hill. At the crab CLAYTON VALLEY LITTLE LEAGUE feed Trippi Collaro will be inducted posthumously into the TAKING PLAYER REGISTRATIONS ONLINE MDHS Hall of Fame with his family and friends attending. TickRegistration for Clayton Valley Little League is now open for ets are available for the discount price of $55 until Dec. 31, the spring 2018 season. Baseball programs for players ages four before increasing to $60. For more information call Lou Adamo to 15 and softball for girls six to 16 are both open for registra- at 212-9332 or email tion. Tryouts are in January. The CVLL program includes a Challenger Division for players with disabilities and special needs. YGNACIO VALLEY HIGH ANNOUNCES Players must reside within the CVLL boundaries. Go to 2018 HALL OF FAME CLASS for complete information and to register. Ygnacio Valley High School will hold its sixth annual Hall of Fame induction dinner on May 19, 2018 to induct six athletes, DIABLO FC OFFERING PLAYER EVALUATIONS one coach and one team. The inductees include the 1971 footAFTER FALL LEAGUE ball team and swimming coach Gino Barsuglia. Athletes being Diablo FC under 8 through U19 competitive teams (birth honored are former NFL and Cal Bear player Dave Zawatson years 1999-2011) hold ongoing player evaluations for new (Class of 1984, football), Gary Schneider (1970, football and prospective players after the conclusion of fall leagues. Visit dia- track), Shanita Bryant Williams (2000, track, cross country and to get more information on the club and signup for the basketball), Rob Tomlinson (1986, football and baseball), Craig appropriate age group evaluation. Johnson (1975, baseball) and Alan Bell (1968, swimming). For more information and to purchase dinner tickets visit yvathletiBREAKFAST WITH SANTA DEC . 17 BENEFITING


The Northgate High School athletic department is hosting its annual Breakfast with Santa at Boundary Oak Golf Course on Sunday, Dec. 17. The event will include an all-you-can-eat breakfast, visit with Santa and hug one of Santa’s elves and take family or silly friends pictures with a beautiful winter holiday backdrop. The breakfast is from 9-11 a.m. Whole Foods is donating the food and there will be sports memorabilia raffled, including a signed Joe Montana jersey. Call 938-0900 or visit for more info.


The Northgate High School Athletic Boosters will host a crab feed, their largest annual fundraiser, at Centre Concord on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 6 – 11 p.m. The evening includes auction, games and dancing in addition to dinner. Tickets are $70 per person until Dec. 14 and increase to $80 after then. Visit for more information.

December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 13

Carondelet golf, water polo, volleyball teams reach NorCal playoffs JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Carondelet High’s water polo, golf and volleyball teams all advanced to the CIF Northern California Championships, finalizing a strong fall for Cougar teams after their golfers won North Coast Section for the second time in three years but missed State on a tiebreaker at NorCals.

Park course in Fresno by 10 seconds with a time of 15:55.3 and taking 23rd runner out of 193 runners in Division II. De La Salle junior Connor Livingston won the NCS Division II boys title, helping the Spartans to third place and a State Meet berth. Seniors Harrison Fisher, James Flanagan, Cameron Ross and Omar Khleif all finished in the top 25 to gain DLS its State Meet ticket. In Fresno the Spartans team took 11th and Livingston led the way 18th individually. Carondelet’s Claire Schumann got her state Meet invite by finishing 12th as the Cougars’ team was sixth and Northgate eighth in Division III.

CROSS COUNTRY Runners from De La Salle, Carondelet and Clayton Valley Charter earned spots in the CIF State cross country championship meet in Fresno after strong performances at the NCS Meet of Champions. Dylan White, a CVCHS WATER POLO senior, was second at DAL and At NCS, Carondelet won then took fifth at NCS DII to also earn a third straight State three consecutive matches to Meet berth where he had a per- reach the championship sonal best on the Woodward against Drake of San Anselmo

where they lost 8-4 after trailing by one goal entering the fourth period. The Cougars entered NCS off a runner-up finish at the Julian Szmidt Memorial Tournament in Napa. The NCS result earned Carondelet a berth in the NorCal DII tournament where they defeated Redwood in their opener 7-6 by breaking a 5-5 tie entering the last period before losing to Saint Francis 9-1 in the semis. In the game against Redwood junior goalie Alex Brown of Clayton, a firstteam all-EBAL honoree, made a length-of-the-pool goal as time expired to put the Cougars ahead 4-3 at halftime. GIRLS GOLF In 2016, Carondelet advanced to the State Championships by one stroke. This year the tables were turned and the Cougars lost a tiebreaker to

Carondelet volleyball was seeded sixth in the CiF Northern California Division iV tournament and the team defied that placement by going all the way to the NorCal Regional championship game before losing to Presentation in three sets. The Cougars included, front row from left, Catherine Vaccaro, angela atis, Catherine Helgeson, Helena Perez, imani Vontoure; back row, andrew Marchesano, Mike Hertel, Jessica Hodson, Lauren Sloan, Shelby Bryant, Kelly Ruff, ava Mehrten, Mackensie Hastings, Jessica Trinh, Julia Haggerty, Jackie Brown and head coach Jerry Mix.

DLS, from page 11

NorCal Regional Bowl 1-A doubly important. game this Saturday at Granite In the semi De La Salle ran Bay with a State bowl game only one play in the first quarberth on the line. ter but it was a 75-yard touchdown scamper by senior EAGLES GET TOUGH NCS Robinson. Aided by a muffed DRAW AGAIN punt by Robinson, the Ugly Concord rivals DLS and Eagles controlled the ball and Clayton Valley Charter have the clock the rest of the quarnow met in the Open Division ter, running 19 consecutive semi-finals two years running plays but failed to score. since the NCS started this new When the Spartans got the division for the best four teams ball for the first time in the secamong its 123 football-playing ond quarter sophomore schools. Shamar Garrett finished went CVCHS fell to top seed De on a 71-yard sprint to a TD. La Salle 45-7 in the NCS Open The next time the Spartans Division semi-final at Owen offense was on the field it took Owens field last month. Coach all of four plays for a third TD Tim Murphy’s Ugly Eagles as quarterback Andrew Jones have been seeded fourth both hit a wide-open Jack Powers years of the Open Division for a 46-yard TD pass and the which placed them against game quickly slipped away DLS in the semi-finals. Both from the Eagles, who were semi-final winners in the Open down 24-0 at halftime. Division eventually get to Eventually De La Salle built move on in the CIF playoffs a 45-0 lead with a running making those semi-final games clock before Kyree Williams

raced 80 yards for Clayton Valley Charter’s only score with 2:32 left to play. That long run brought CVCHS’s total yardage for the game to 191. DLS ended with 360 yards of offense, including 302 on the ground as Robinson gained 127 and Garrett 117. Each of the Spartan ball carriers scored two touchdowns. In the game of Concord rivals who both rely on rushing as their primary offense, DLS threw just three passes. Murphy’s six years in charge of Clayton Valley Charter has resulted in six successive undefeated league championships and an overall record of 68-12, with only five of those 12 losses to Bay Area teams, including three to DLS and one to Pitt. In 2015 CVCHS was playing in Division II where they made two straight CIF State championship games and now they have been in the Open Division playoffs two years running. The Ugly Eagles start-

MDSA Riptide wins Area 2C Cup title

Photos courtesy Carondelet High School athletics

Carondelet’s water polo team were North Coast Section Division ii finalists and then reached the semi-finals of the Northern California Division ii Regional tournament last week before losing to top seed and eventual champion Saint Francis. The team included, front row from left, Gigi Baldacci, Madi Ohrman, alex Brown, annika zapata, Makenzie Orr, Kaitlyn Sheffield; back row, head coach Eric Mein, Marissa Ennis, Kasey Madsen, Payton Martin, Jenna Klein, Kelsey Morris, Sophia Riva, Kiki Mein and assistant coach Sean Joy.

fall short of making their third consecutive State appearance as their season seems to revolve around five showdowns with EBAL rival Dougherty Valley. At NCS, Carondelet avenged a second-place East Bay Athletic League tournament championship loss by two strokes to Dougherty Valley after the teams traded wins in their regular season matches. Then in their final match this fall at NorCals the teams tied at 388 but the Wildcats won the tiebreaker to grad the third and final NorCal berth at the State tournament. Freshman Madelyn Gamble carded the Cougars lowest NorCal 18-hole score at even par 73.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL The Cougars were seeded sixth in the CIF Northern California Division IV tournament and the team responded by going all the way to the NorCal Regional championship game before losing to Presentation in three sets. During the CIF playoffs, Carondelet defeated Capital

Christian (3-0), West Valley (3-1) and Colfax (3-0) to advance to the regional final. Carondelet earlier got to the NCS DII semi-finals after 3-1 set wins over Casa Grande of Petaluma and Washington of Fremont. They were eliminated by top seed Bishop O’Dowd, which went on to win the championship.

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The Broncos rode the right arm of junior Jack Fulp, the Diablo Athletic League Valley Division Offensive MVP, to the third seed in the NCS Division II playoffs. The Broncos defeated Hayward 56-20 in their NCS opener but then fell behind Ukiah 3514 at halftime before rallying with a 20-6 second-half advantage but fell a single score short 41-34 in the quarterfinals. In the week before the Ukiah game head coach Ben Ballard was honored by the Oakland Raiders as high school coach of the week. The Raiders and NFL Foundation donated $1000 and $1000 in Gatorade products to the Broncos.

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Clayton Pioneer •

Christmas takes the stage in creative ways

Performing Arts



’Tis the time for lots of holiday shows, and Contra Costa certainly has its share of wonderful and unique entertainment options – beginning with Brentwood Community Theater’s “Calendar Girls.” Based on a true story, the play follows members of the stately Yorkshire County chapter of the Women’s Institute. Two members want a new idea to raise money for the local hospital after last year’s endeavor, featuring local bridges, only raised $98.35. The daring duo decide that a calendar featuring tasteful nude photographs of the middle-age members would do the trick. Needless to say, controversy and conflicts arise to make trouble for the members but lots of fun for the audience watching the comedy unfold. “Calendar Girls” runs

December 8, 2017

Contributed photo

Tom Reilly and Terrance Smith in “a Civil War Christmas” by Paula Vogel, Nov. 30-Dec. 16 at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette.

Dec. 8-17 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. Kal Berns directs. Call 925-943-SHOW or go to Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre also offers slightly different holiday entertain-

Contributed photo

Brentwood Community Theater’s “Calendar Girls” runs Dec. 8-17 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the arts

ment with “A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration,” running through Dec. 16 at 3535 School St. Written by Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Paula Vogel, the play takes place on a cold Christmas Eve in 1864 in Washington, D.C. The president and Mrs. Lincoln are planning their gift-giving, while a Union blacksmith captures a young rebel soldier on the banks of the Potomac. Nearby, John Wilkes Booth hatches his assassination plot. At the same time, an enslaved woman and her daughter become separated on their journey to freedom. Hymns and carols of the period weave the stories together, along with messages of compassion, good will and wishes for peace. Call 925283-1557 or go to

There’s still time to catch Diablo Actor Ensemble’s “An Appalachian Christmas,” running through Dec.16 at B8 Theatre, 2292 Concord Blvd., Concord. This original work by local director Scott Fryer takes place in the Appalachian Mountains in 1938 as a young boy living with his two spinster aunts learns the true meaning of Christmas. The cast includes local favorites Ann Kendrick, Beth Chastain, Campbell Zeigler and Beth Bemis. For tickets, call 925-305-6171 or go to Not to be forgotten is Center Repertory’s muchanticipated annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” Running through Dec. 17, this gorgeous telling of the story of the miserable Scrooge, adorable Tiny Tim and those lovable ghosts brims with music and dance.

Uber-talented performers bring this story to life every year, with sets and magic a delight to behold. Scott Denison directs, with fun choreography by Jennifer Perry. For more information call 925-943-SHOW or go to for tickets. Take a trip around the world, at least in song, as Pittsburg Community Theatre presents “Holiday Songs from Around the World” at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 at the beautiful California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. The show will take you on a journey of familiar and not so familiar holiday songs sung in native languages as Pittsburg’s diverse community shares a little piece of their heritages – from Mexico to the Philippines, from China to Ghana and across Europe before heading back to the good old USA. Sounds like a wonderful way to take a break from the often-hectic holiday schedule and celebrate the spirit of the season with family and friends. Call 925-427-1611 or go to Prepare for lots of laughs and more than a few “ahs” as Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble presents “The Biggest Gift” at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Dec. 14-17. It seems some nefarious character has stolen the children’s letters to Santa. No letters – no Christmas. But Tucker the elf and the toys set out to find the letters and save Christmas in this heartwarming original musical. Call 925-943-SHOW or go to for more information and tickets. You can also take a trip to

Oz this holiday with East Bay Children’s Theatre’s “Christmas in Oz.” This delightful new musical tells of a lonely Dorothy. With the help of Mr. Tinker, she builds a magical wish machine and returns to the Emerald City in time for the holidays. Of course, not all goes well, thanks to a sassy sorceress who kidnaps Santa Claus. But have no fear: Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion take off to rescue Saint Nick and save Christmas for the entire world. This world premiere runs through Dec. 17 at Chanticleers Theatre, 3683 Quail Ave., Castro Valley. Call 510SEE-LIVE or go to

Samantha Fryer

Campbell zeigler learns the true meaning of Christmas from his spinster aunts ann Kendrick and Beth Chastain Diablo actors Ensemble’s “an appalacian Christmas” running Dec. 1 – 16 in Concord.

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is also the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to

‘Thor’ handily defeats ‘Justice League’



The poor DC Extended Universe (DCEU) just can’t catch a break. Sure, “Wonder Woman” was fantastic, but it’s not the main part of their tent pole series. Theoretically, the solo films get made because of the successes of the major films. Although they made good money, audiences universally panned “Man of Steel” and “Batman vs. Superman.” After the unexpected triumph of “Wonder Woman,” people were excited about Zach Snyder’s “Justice League.” Besides, by movie 4, shouldn’t the DCEU be able to figure out just how Marvel does it? While “Justice League”

showed a marked improvement, Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok” is the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) can do no wrong. At least “Justice League” corrects some of DCEU’s failings with actually funny jokes and a more lighthearted tone. It appears there is light at the end of the tunnel after all. Ben Affleck gets a raw deal as Batman, mostly because he’s constantly compared to Christian Bale. Bale’s brooding, woebegone approach was refreshing after the Kilmer/Clooney debacles. It is, in turn, nice to see Affleck play Bruce Wayne as a straight, billionaire lush. “Justice League” gives Wayne a brief chance to reflect on his humanity. He regrets living less of a human existence than his alien counterpart, Superman. It is a nice moment, one of several

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which “Justice League” could have explored further. This is, after all, an introduction movie. Thus, 30-40 minutes is spent establishing the three newcomers. Ray Fisher plays the stoic Cyborg, Jason Momoa is fun as the snarky Aquaman and Ezra Miller provides the comic relief as a bumbling Flash. For the third film in a row, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) steals the show. Yet it feels like the intros should have just been done in a made-forTV prequel. The characters simply do not have the built-

See Movie, page 15



What fun to give Lenka Glassner’s “Czeching In, Adventures Beyond Prague” a whole-hearted thumbs up. I held off reviewing it until the December edition of the Pioneer so I could suggest it as a good read as well as a great gift. For those whose immigrant roots go back so many generations that we’ve lost that warm

“Thor: Ragnarok” takes itself less seriously than the Justice League movie, which struggles to introduce new characters and takes longer to get to the action.

‘Czeching In’ a delightful mix of history, travel guide fuzzy feeling for the land of our forefathers and mothers, “Czeching In” offers the reader a chance to become part of Glassner’s family and join her on a trip to her past. She’s not just talking about visiting areas of Czechoslovakia that were part of her youth, while Russia still planted its communist footprint on Czech soil. The author, who immigrated to the United States in the late 1970, takes us back thousands of years to when the Celts lived in what would become Czechoslovakia. She uncovers not just castles and forests of fairytale stature, but stories of wicked kings, marauding interlopers,

bad clergy folk and the tors carved up middle plague. All before the end of Europe and handed the World War II, when the vic- Czechs to Russia. Unlike previous visits to the Czech Republic to visit her parents and family, Glassner and her husband “were on a mission to explore the country” on this visit. What I found most appealing about “Czeching In” is Glassner’s almost intimate introduction of Czech history. She relates history through cultural roots that survived a range of characters and their politics, the comings and goings of those who ruled and then were dethroned or Clayton resident Lenka Glassner pens a tale of her native Czechoslovakia

See Books, page 15

December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Clayton Community Calendar PLeaSe SubMiT your CoMMuNiTy CaLeNDar eveNTS by 5 P.M. JaN. 3 For THe JaN. 12 iSSue. iTeMS MuST be SubMiTTeD by eMaiL To

Dec. 9 Dessert with Mrs. Claus

Prizes, 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.


Tuesdays Farmers’ Market

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

Dec. 9 – 10 Gingerbread House Boutique

Shop for holiday gifts created by local artists and vendors. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Concord Museum and Event Center and Galindo Home, 1721 Amador Ave.

Dec. 14 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 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle. Free. Call for appointment (925) 671-3320.

Dec. 19 Tree of Lights

Tree lighting for Clayton and Concord by Hospice East Bay. 5 – 7 p.m. John Muir Medical Center parking lot, East Street and Almond Avenue. Donations accepted. (925) 887-5678.

Starting Jan. 11 Ham Radio Technician License Class

License training starts. Held by Salvation Army and Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club. 7 p.m. Salvation Army, 3950 Clayton Road, Concord. Registration and some fees required.


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

Dec. 16 Around Round Valley

Explore the park on a moderately strenuous hike. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Meet at Round Valley Staging Area.

Dec. 17 Christmas Berry

Look for holly and other wintry foliage on this short nature hike. 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines.

Dec. 23 Mushroom Foray

Venture out to look for these marvelous fruiting bodies. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines.

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

Views in all directions. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Meet at Juniper Trailhead.

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

Dec. 17 North Peak Ranch Property Hike

Beautiful, heavily-wooded property rising from Marsh Creek Road onto the slopes of North Peak. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at Peacock Creek Park’n Ride Lot. Reservations required.


Thru Dec. 9 “Christmas Belles”

Presented by Onstage Theatre. Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St., Martinez. (925) 518-3277.

Thru Dec. 9 “Reality Check”

Hilarious night of fun destined to give you a Reality Check. 7 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $10-$15. (925) 427-1611.

Thru Dec. 16 “An Appalachian Christmas”

A young boy learns the meaning of Christmas. B8 Theatre Company, 2292 Concord Blvd., Concord. $25. (925) 890-8877.

Thru Dec. 17 “A Christmas Carol”

Brimming with music and dance, love and laughter and scary ghosts. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $28-$50.

Dec. 8 – 10 “VII”

Presented by Alex Ramon Magic. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $35. (925) 9437469.

Dec. 8 – 17 “Calendar Girls”

Based on a true story. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $35-$45.

Dec. 9 “Moe`uhane” The Dream

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

Dec. 11 Annual Holiday Party Potluck

Open to the public; hosted by Stroke Support Group. 7 – 9 p.m. Ball Auditorium, John Muir Medical Center, 1601 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. Free. Contact Ann Dzuna (925) 376-6218.

in camaraderie of seemingly every MCU character pairing. The previous two Thor Dec. 14 films were good but were for“Amerigeddon” ever destined to be seen as Comedy by Christopher Titus. 8 p.m. California Theatre, 351 substandard compared with Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $25-$45. the Iron Man and Captain (925) 427-1611. America franchises. The third installment’s snappy dialogue, Dec. 14 – 17 exceptional effects (except “The Biggest Gift” for unforgivably awful shots Original holiday tale presented by Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemof the Norwegian Sea) and ble. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14. (925) 943-7469. surprisingly fine acting put the Thor franchise on equal Dec. 15 – 17 footing. “The Nutcracker” The Goddess of Death Presented by The Ballet Company of East County. El Campanil (Cate Blanchett having too Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $16-$20. elcampanilthemuch fun) returns to take (925) 757-9500. control of Asgard, and Thor (a never-better Chris Dec. 16 Hemsworth) must work with “All Thru the Hale” Celebrating the holidays Hawaiian style. 2 and 8 p.m. California allies both new and old to Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $30. pittsburgcaliforniathe- thwart her. With these (925) 427-1611. tremendous stakes, one might expect a DCEU-level of Dec. 17 dourness to reign supreme. “A Christmas Fantasia” However, Marvel has never Presented by Diablo Symphony Orchestra. 3:30 p.m. Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek. $35.

Dec. 17 “Christmas Time is Here”

Journey around the world and learn some local holiday customs, too. 2 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $16$25. (925) 427-1611.

Dec. 19 “An Irish Christmas”

Take a journey through Christmas in Ireland. 7 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $25-$40. (925) 427-1611.

Dec. 23 “A Lemony Snicket Holiday”

Presented by California Symphony. 4 and 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $42-$72. (925) 943-7469.

Dec. 30 “Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XXV”

Presented by Worst of Durst. 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $32. (925) 943-7469.

Dec. 30 “Hamilton: An American Musical”

Presented by In the Light Voice Studio. 3 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $13. (925) 757-9500.

Jan. 6 “Winter Spectacular”

Presented by En Pointe Dance Studio. 2 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $10-$15. (925) 757-9500.


Thru Dec. 10 “The Farnsworth Invention”

Who will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century? Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. $16-$21.


Dec. 15 – 16 Live Drive-Thru Nativity

Celebrate the true reason for the season. 6 – 9 p.m. Bethel Baptist Church, 3578 Clayton Road, Concord. Free.


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.


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.

allowed extreme conflict and comedy to be mutually exclusive. I found myself consistently chuckling at the jokes, which were sometimes during times of strife yet they worked. Another thing the DCEU would do well to learn from the MCU is to not take itself so seriously. I thought it would be tough to top “Captain America: Civil War” but “Thor: Ragnarok” is a cut above. A dozen movies in, and Marvel is still improving. We should give DCEU the benefit of the doubt that they will do the same. “Justice League” C+ “Thor: Ragnarok” AJeff 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

Books, from page 14

decapitated. The history is interspersed with family reunions in a landscape of aged cottages, pubs and forest retreats. From ancient beginnings, Glassner often fast-forwards to her youth under the yoke of communism. Activities that most of us take for granted were pie-in-the-sky wishes for teen citizens of Czechoslovakia before the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Czeching In” is no modern Baedeker guide for the world traveler. Aside from Prague, most of the cities visited were unknown to this reader. They not only will be remembered for their detailed and often humorous descriptions but should be sought-after sites should readers choose to visit Eastern Europe in the near future. The second most appeal-

ing aspect of “Czeching In” is its ability to make us want to grab the nearest atlas and reacquaint ourselves with Eastern and Central Europe. Figure out which countries have had their borders moved and how very modern and important these boundaries are to us today. I left the history of Pilsner beer out of this review because it would take more words than I am allowed. To write about Czech food and drink would be a review of its own. Check out the author’s activities and sales information on Facebook at Egg Art by Lenka. 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.’

sy ay Ea Sundtening Lismusic 4-7pm ucing



6096 Main Street, Clayton, 673-0440

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entertainment from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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2 for the price of 1

Beer only. Good anytime with original coupon. Exp. 1/11/18

Joe Ronco/Owner 925-872-3049

Dec. 11, 18, Jan. 8: Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 13: Holiday Movie Night, 7 p.m. Jan. 8: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 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. Dec. Dec. Dec.

8, 9, 10: Friends of the Concord Library Book Sale 9: Holiday Saturday Social, 12 p.m. 11: Holiday Elf Program, 4 p.m. 11: Eating Healthy Workshop, 6 p.m. Registration required. Dec. 12: Teen Make n’ Take Station, 4 p.m. Dec. 13, 20: Tween Giftables, 4 p.m. Registration required. Dec. 14: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” 6 p.m. Dec. 16: Biking After Dark, 3 p.m. Registration required. Dec. 18: Create a Holiday Card, 7 p.m. Dec. 19: “Frozen” Sing-A-Long, 3:30 p.m. Jan. 9: Concord Art Association Meeting and Demo, 1 p.m.

35 years Clayton/ Concord resident Lic#844344


1st and 3rd Tuesdays Clayton City Council

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

2nd and 4th Tuesdays Clayton Planning Commission

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

License # 958849


Movie, from page 14

Page 15

Design • Installation • Maintenance Commercial & Residential • 925-381-3757

Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

Tips for taking stress off your holiday to-do list

Gift Certificates Available

Men • Women • Children Senior Discounts (925) 672-6180

6160 Center Street Suite F, Clayton


KARA NAVOLIO Correspondent

As the holidays approach, many people look forward to spending time with their families. Others, however, begin to feel the stress as their list of responsibilities increases. Here are some ways to reduce stress so you can enjoy the holiday season. Planning. “Planning is essential – the earlier, the better,” says Margie Reyerson, an Orinda-based marriage and family therapist. Thinking ahead and making lists can reduce stress. By writing it all down, you can release some of the thoughts that keep you from relaxing and sleeping. Shop early and organize your gift list by store so you don’t backtrack. Plan to shop right when the stores open, because crowds are smaller and parking is easier. Simplify. “It’s important to

remember that the purpose of the holiday is the joy, the celebration and family time,” Reyerson says. Consider using beautiful paper products instead of china to simplify cleanup. Or maybe just use paper plates for dessert. Opt for fewer, but meaningful gifts. Set a tone of serenity. Reyerson suggests lighting candles all around your home and add calming music. If your family enjoys football, try to negotiate in advance which one game you will watch – modeling moderation and family time for the children. Keep electronics and TV off during holiday meals. Get outside. If you are hosting, try to get in a walk or some exercise before guests arrive. Set the table in advance. Get the table ready two days early. This gives you time to make sure your infrequently used dishes and glassware are clean and eliminates another

Letter to the Editor 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 2018. Cheers!

–The Interiors Panache Staff

December 8, 2017

A Christmas Story

As I sit comfortably in my warm and cozy room watching television I am bombarded with news reports of starving refugees landing in flimsy rubber boats on the Greek coast, people fleeing for their lives from Myanmar, naked and starving children around the world, their huge eyes staring at the camera and asking us, “Don’t you care?” A deep sadness overwhelms me. It is now

Celebrate Christmas Eve at Concord United Methodist Church

72 years ago in the winter of 1945 in Germany and I still remember… A long and brutal war is finally over. Seven months of “peace” have not brought much relief to my part of the world. The Christmas Season has not been very joyful for the hungry and poorly clothed refugees standing in snow and sleet for hours to get a loaf of bread or bottle of milk. I was one of these people in one of those long, sober lines. It was

chore on the day of the event. Use simple table decorations like pine cones and branches arranged on a table runner, interspersed with votive candles. Let others prepare or bring food. Ask guests to bring a prepared dish. This keeps the kitchen free of too many people trying to use limited space. Or consider purchasing part of the meal or even the entire dinner. But be sure to order ahead. Enlist help. Kids can set the table and wrap gifts. Family members can take shifts with cleanup. If it’s too hard for you to ask for help, get your spouse or a sibling to ask for you. “It’s important for men and boys to help, too. Boys need to see men helping in the kitchen,” says Reyerson. Vent. If you need to vent your frustrations, find a trusted friend or family member and do it. “Get it off your chest; discharge it instead of keeping

it in,” Reyerson urges. “You don’t want it to come out later in another form.” Have a plan for dealing with conflict if it arises. “If you are concerned about divisive political opinions or a family member’s drinking issues, think of ways to change the subject and redirect the conversation. Remind your guests that we are all here to appreciate each other. Don’t give attention to bad behavior,” says Reyerson. You can also use place cards if you feel the need to keep certain family members separated. Remember to enjoy the day. Cherish the time with your family. Sit down and relax. It doesn’t send a good message to the children when they see mom stressed out or running around the entire day. See the day through the children’s eyes. Perfect gravy doesn’t matter – the relationships and the tone of the day do.

Christmas Eve and it was very cold. We were not welcome in the town in which our family found itself, but it had always been our tradition to attend Christmas Eve church services. For refugees with very few possessions, our memories and traditions were about all we had that year with which to celebrate Christmas. On this evening the church doors were open to all and we went in.. The church was full of people and candlelight. It had been a long time since I had felt so warm and safe. Singing wellknown carols and hearing the

familiar Christmas Story made me forget, for a short while, the desperate situation we were in and my despair was replaced by a feeling of Hope and Joy. During this Christmas Season when our thoughts and minds are filled with “us,” let us take some time to think of “them,” the homeless, the hungry, the outcasts, the refugees. Let us see the need and help. It is not the time to build a wall around our hearts or around our country. It is time to open our hearts and minds and help. Grete Ringenberg Clayton Resident

New Year’s Eve

Toast the new year at our 1920s Prohibition-themed party with and

Sunday, Dec. 24 10 a.m. Christmas Cantata in the Sanctuary 5 p.m. Family Service & Children’s Nativity 9 p.m. Traditional Candlelight & Communion

Visit the Christmas Store Tues. - Thurs., Noon to 3 p.m. • Gently-used Christmas items

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December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 17

Dreaming of a new desktop computer? Make your dreams come true with a customized computer built for you. Santa’s elves will help. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas

-The Elves 5433M Clayton Road, Clayton Station Center



Prize Party favors

Bring your camera

Sat, Dec. 9,

Check warranty, support service before buying computer gifts

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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

Center St., Clayton

Children 12 & under: FREE, if accompanied by adult

Donations appreciated

Sponsored by the

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




Even if you’re in a hurry to buy that special holiday gift, it’s important to follow some guidelines when picking out computer technology gifts. The first thing to keep in mind is not to rush when picking out a computer or peripheral components. Because computers are so specialized these days, take your time and learn what is actually inside the box. You should also know who is behind the warranty. Find out if they are big or small and if they have a history of standing behind the things they sell. Consider that you spent two days setting up your computer, and the darn thing fails. It simply quits working. Now you must return the product. Do you ship it back to the manufacturer or take it back

to the store for a replacement? Shipping the components back to the maker can be challenging, especially with a Chinese manufacturer. They want it in the original box, plus they require a return item authorization (RMA) and you pay the freight to China. So the solution is to take it back to the store. This is the easiest way to get a replacement, but now you are stuck with starting over. It’s best to buy your computer or computer component from a store that supports the product. That means they have the technical know-how to spot setup errors, fix, replace or warranty it for you. It is worth the few extra dollars to get support. Be aware that most thirdparty computer warranties you purchase with your com-

puter are nearly worthless and won’t perform as the salesperson promised. This holiday season, purchase from a company or store that you can trust to directly support your computer. Ask the salesperson to introduce you to the person who handles such problems; it only takes a minute to determine the sincerity of the warranty. My best wishes to you and yours this season and happy New Year. Oh by the way, Santa says a set of Bose desktop speakers are the best toys the elves have ever made. William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to

2017 CHRISTMAS MASS SCHEDULE St. Bonaventure Catholic Church

Christmas Eve Sunday, December 24

3 p.m.

5:30 p.m. 8 p.m. 10 p.m. 12 a.m.

Early Childhood Christmas Pageant & Mass Elementary Children’s Christmas Pageant & Mass Christmas Vigil Mass

Christmas Vigil Mass

Christmas Midnight Mass

5562 Clayton Rd. Concord

Christmas Day Monday, December 25

8 a.m. English 10 a.m. English 12:45 p.m. Spanish 672-5800

Best wishes for a joyful holiday season!

Leigh Klock, Realtor

Senior Real Estate Specialist, Accredited Staging Professional


CalBRE# 01874255

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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer â&#x20AC;¢

December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Hike back through history at Black Diamond

Page 19

Captain Grammar Pants

The words HOMOPHONE, HOMONYM, HOMOGRAPH, and HOMINEM can be hard to sort out. Homophone means “pronounced the same way but spelled differently,” as in to, too, and two. Homonyms and homographs are words spelled the same way but with different meanings (bark, left, wave, etc.); what separates the two words is that homographs are often pronounced differently (e.g., tear and tear). Hominem is attached to the word "ad," as in "ad hominem" (Latin, "to the person"). It means to focus on emotional content as opposed to logic or reason; it also means to associate something with a particular person. For example, this page was created ad hominem for language enthusiasts. 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 60 miles of trails in the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve cross rolling foothill terrain covered with grassland.





If you want to a hike close to home that will be a sure hit with the kids, look no further then Black Diamond Mines – just a 20-minute drive from Clayton. With a history rich in coal and sand mining, Black Diamond boasts more than 8,300 acres and 60+ miles of trails. There’s hiking, biking, a museum and mine tours, not to mention Rose Hill Cemetery and multiple visitor centers. So you can probably understand why one day is not enough to fully explore this park. Follow the paved road from the parking area onto Nortonville Trail. My kids preferred to run up a hardto-resist mountain of mining spoils and followed a trail that meandered into the trees, over a foot bridge and eventually intersected back to the main trail just below the beginning of Chaparral Loop Trail.

As my kids reminded me, “There are a lot of detours to cool things on this trail” and “a bunch of colors, rocks, trees and leaves.” These are definitely common themes in Black Diamond, which features dozens of side trails, secret sandstone formations and numerous caves. Chaparral Loop Trail begins as hard-packed sandstone with scattered boulders and ample footing as you pass through a mixture of evergreen forest and chaparral. Be sure to make a quick detour to the Stope, a large chamber blasted out by miners and, in modern times, nature’s playground for climbing and adventuring. Powder Magazine, a fort-like cave, is also worth a look. Continue on Chaparral Trail, which is reminiscent of a dry riverbed, up to the junction. Take a quick shade break at the wooden bench, then finish the final section of the trail as you hit the highest point of this hike – providing a great display of the geological history of this area and views of rocks bands cut through entire hillsides. The trail drops down into a canopy of Manzanitathatched brush and vegetation, where rocky trails turn to a moist and flowy hiker’s delight that is soft on the feet and easy to navigate. Twist, turn, jump and jive along the final stretch of trail and use the foot bridge to cross the

Photos Kevin Parker

creek (which was dry during my visit). At this point, the choice is yours. A left turn will put you onto Manhattan Canyon Trail, an excellent option if you like partial shade, portions of dense vegetation and a hillside exit. Or make a right turn and stay on Chaparral Loop Trail (my choice on this given day) and follow what I consider to be one of the best trails in this park. Arcing wooden steps, followed by a series of switchbacks and easy trail, cut through covered forests representing several species of trees introduced by early miners. My kids still had a bit of energy to burn and the hard rain hadn’t set in, so we picked up Lower Chaparral Loop Trail just above the visitor’s center. This allowed for another epic scramble up dry riverbed type conditions. We followed this trail up to the next junction and stopped for a snack, perched high on very large rock formations. Finally, we headed back to the trailhead by backtracking on Chaparral Loop Trail to our start point. This series of trails and associated loops represents just a small fraction of the many hiking opportunities to be found in Black Diamond, so get out there and explore.

Contact Kevin Parker with comments or questions by email at

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

arcing wooden steps and a series of switchbacks add interesting contrast to the Chaparral Loop Trail.

Where: Nortonville Trail, Chaparral Loop Trail and Lower Chaparral Trail Distance: 3 miles Duration: 1.75 hours Level: Moderate Elevation Gain: 861 feet Getting there: Trailhead at end of Somersville Road in antioch. Restrooms, maps and water. Fees apply when kiosk is open For more info:

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Page 20

Clayton Pioneer •

December 8, 2017

No dreary days when you plant for winter color



Seasonal color spots are just as necessary during the winter months as in the spring and summer. Install cyclamen, pansies, snapdragons, alyssum and violas now to replace flowerless petunias, leggy impatiens and browning begonias. Folks crave a different palette this time of year. Rather than the oranges, russets and golds we desired in autumn, we now seek white, blues, reds, wine and rose.

Cyclamen is an old-fashioned family of flowering plants with interesting leaves. The foliage is shades of green, shaped like a spade with different sizes and leaf patterns. The flowers are uniquely shaped, with a handful of petals that shoot down toward the foliage. The flowers can be white, pink, red and shades of purple. Each petal is thick, making the color long-lasting. Cyclamen can be contained and grown in the home. It also makes excellent border installations. Cyclamen prefers morning or filtered sun, loose soil and a top layer of mulch. Install the plant high in the soil to encourage better drainage. Fertilize monthly November-April for better flower production. Pansies and violas are some

of my favorite winter color spots. Their happy flowers stand just above their pillow-like leaves and are wonderfully pleasing to the eye. Pansy flowers are sometimes referred to as faces. They are bigger than the violas, which are often called Johnny Jump Ups. Both pansies and violas are available in a plethora of colors, almost any solid or combination that you desire. Install these spots of color in garden beds,

along walkways or in containers. With monthly fertilizing, they can bloom October-April Snapdragons are a color spot that I like to cram-plant. Usually found in six-pack containers, snapdragons are best installed with three or six plants in one hole for the maximum statement. Snapdragons can reach varied heights, so read the labels. Some can grow to 30 inches tall, which looks

amazing. Another good thing about snapdragons is that sometimes you can get a couple seasons out of them. With deadheading and monthly fertilizing, snapdragons should be productive from now through April. Alyssum is one of those plants that you either love or hate. Small clusters of white, lavender, pink or salmon flowers stand just above tiny green

Decorative items are also key to this design project. Consider pendants, chandeliers, recessed cans, or lighting above the island or under cabinets. Surfaces should not only be hardworking, but also interpret your aesthetic. With counters, backsplash and flooring, choose surfaces that can withstand splattered marinara without sending you into a major cleaning meltdown. Think about whether you want a visible apron sink or a traditional under-mount sink and talk about faucets as well. Don’t forget those blind corners, hidden in the lower cabinetry. And take time to research hardware inventions that wow and get the job done. If you’re diving this deep into a kitchen remodel, you’re probably also discussing appli-

ances. Spend a good amount of time on the differences of refrigerator depths, the benefits of gas or electric ranges and what their cooktop surfaces look like, and if the microwave should be placed in the island, on the counter or perhaps built-in and stacked with a wall oven. Also research what brand of appliances make the most sense for your culinary skills, your budget and your aesthetic. As you learn more about the cost of appliances, you may wonder if a personal, full-time chef is a complimentary add-on. Kitchen projects are intense; there’s no way around it. The kitchen is a fully functional living space in your home, so it needs to be tough for daily wear and tear. It needs appliances that function with

Research key to successful kitchen remodel Time to open a bottle of Cabernet, pull up the barstool and get out your notepad. Let’s talk kitchen remodel. It’s such a thrilling venture, with many detailed bullet points to address. Let’s begin with the big picture. For most, cabinetry layout and design is at the top of the to-do list. Cabinetry really makes a kitchen, from storage to aesthetics, so you need to be fully vested in these important areas. Storage is a major discussion point, from storing pots and pans, cookie sheets, appliances, spices and silverware to kid snacks. The storage list is personal, and where these items will reside is even more so. From the beginning, have a good sense of how you want to move within your workspace

When remodeling your kitchen, form and function should meet, not collide. Consider storage requirements and aesthetics and include plenty of lighting.

and where you want to keep the paper napkins, corn-on-the-cob prongs and KitchenAid mixer. Think about what your cabinetry will look like, from flat

panels to white paint or raised panels with contoured edges and inset details. The look and layout should be timeless and functional.

leaves. This plant is considered a trailing plant and looks amazing in containers. This time of year, white alyssum sells best. The stark white looks like winter snow in hanging baskets and container combinations. The sweet, subtle fragrance is a bonus. It’s best during the brisk morning hours. Monthly fertilizing is best with all flowering seasonal color spots. This time of year, fertilize with a water-soluble formula such as 3-20-20 or 10-52-8. The higher the second number in the formula, the more flowers you’ll encourage. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. You can contact her with questions or comments by email at



the way you live, along with basic and specialty storage. You need excellent lighting so you don’t loose a finger when you’re choppin’ broccoli. And, of course, you need a timeless design for a welcoming space for family and friends to congregate, cook and enjoy good food. Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at

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DEC 08 Clayton Pioneer 2017  
DEC 08 Clayton Pioneer 2017  

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