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February 28, 2014


Ladybug love lights up Mt. Diablo Late winter is a great time to see swarms of colorful insects along the trails


Clayton resident Debbie McCarthy, a frequent Mount Diablo hiker, stumbled onto one of nature’s more risque shows recently. While hiking Falls Trail, she and her husband took a rest on a rock, and suddenly realized they were cocooned by swarms of ladybugs all over the branches of nearby trees. “I sat on the ground to shoot some pictures and a few started crawling on me,” she says. “Many of them were mating. We sat and watched them for about 20 minutes. It was one of the best ‘hike finds’ we’ve had.” During the late winter months, before the wildflowers bloom but after the December and January chills, hikers along


Mid-year numbers can be misleading At the last Clayton City Council meeting we received a mid-year budget report. For those who think it is odd to get a mid-year report early in the calendar year may not be aware that Clayton uses a fiscal year that begins on July 1 and goes to June 30. That means in the middle of the summer we are talking about year-end issues. As of the end of December (mid-year) our revenues were higher than they were the previous year and somewhat ahead of the budget. Whereas this is good news and hopefully a good indicator that we will finish the year with more revenue than budgeted, it can be misleading since our revenue doesn’t come in evenly throughout the year. Nevertheless, we are optimistic that revenue will come in on budget and possible a little above budget. However, our expenses at mid-year are also more than the budget. In fact, at mid-year our expenses are over-budget more than our revenue, resulting in a mid-year deficit. In the first half of the year we had a few onetime expenses that were not anticipated for in the budget. Like our revenues our expenses don’t come in evenly through the year, so hopefully we will have fewer expenses in the second half of the year. The mid-year deficit worries me but not quite to the point of losing sleep. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will end the fiscal year close to budget. New Finance Manager Kevin Mizuno is doing a great job and he will be hawkish as we continue through the rest of the fiscal year. Email your questions or comments to

See Ladybug page 14 Debbie McCarthy

SWARMS OF COLORFUL LADYBUGS ARE A COMMON SIGHT ON MOUNT DIABLO in the late winter as they keep themselves busy eating, mating and laying eggs. “Ladybug” is a misnomer, as these friendly little insects are actually beetles that are deadly to garden pests

Clayton welcomes new police officer PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

He calls himself a “people person,” and judging by the wall-to-wall crowd at his swearing in, David Payne is right on. Some say the turnout at his swearing-in ceremony at Clayton City Hall on Feb.18 was the largest in the city’s history. Many attending were Payne’s former colleagues from the Walnut Creek Police Department, where he worked as a police service officer for six years. “I wrote a lot of parking tickets,” Payne says. His role in public service evolved from working as a customer service representative

for County Connection transportation. Payne was considering several positions related to helping the public and using his strong communication skills when he saw the posting for the police service officer position and decided to get his feet wet in law enforcement. After rotating through various assignments, Payne was motivated and put himself through the police academy at Napa Valley College. “It was a tough first half,” Payne says. But then it started to click. “The challenges, learning and interaction helped me grow as a person.”

See New

Officer page 3

JOHN JACKSON Clayton Pioneer

OFFICER DAVID PAYNE SIGNS THE POLICE OFFICER’S oath before Chief Chris Thorsen pins on Payne’s badge, making him the newest member of the Clayton Police Department.

Five years after tragic loss, Casso family is slowly healing TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer


What’s Inside Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Five years ago on March 2, Ray Casso turned 73. He and his wife had lunch. Later, they gathered with the family to celebrate over dinner. It was a normal birthday. Five days later, on March 7, anything resembling normal for Community Calendar . . . . . .9 Concord City Beat . . . . . . . . .8 DVMS Reporter . . . . . . . . . .6 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Get Up and Go . . . . . . . . . .15 Performing Arts . . . . . . . . . .13

Northgate PFC defends payments to principal

the Casso family came to an end. In a random act still too hideous to understand, Shannon Bradley Moore stabbed Ray Casso to death in the Clayton Post Office and blew a hole in the family that nothing can fill. The murder sent shock waves through the community that are felt to this today, and the family still struggles to find footing on Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Pine Hollow Reporter . . . . . .6 The Pocket Parent . . . . . . . .7 Police Activity Report . . . . . .8 Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Spilled Ink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

ground that keeps moving. I met Jo Ann Casso and her family at the worst possible time in her life—in the wake of Ray’s murder. In the five years since, we have become friends, getting together every few months to touch base. Through her, I have come to know Ray.

See Casso page 6 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Sports Shorts . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Sports Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Teen Reads . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Teen Speak . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Underfoot (NEW) . . . . . . . .16

Parents at Northgate High School are throwing their support behind a popular administrator JOHN embroiled in a financial contro- MCMORRIS versy because of payments made to him by the school’s Parent Faculty Club. The Northgate PFC paid Principal John McMorris $40,000 over two years to strengthen Northgate’s Model United Nation’s program, which totaled about 15-20 students but which McMorris said he wanted to grow. Some teachers, parents and community members decried the move, claiming it was an excessive amount of money on top of McMorris’ $108,602 salary. But members of the PFC at their February meeting last week voiced their support for McMorris, and the program he oversees. Much of the frustration is directed at the PFC itself, which did not formally enter a contract with McMorris over the expenditure, and did not offer the

See Principal page 12

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Clayton Pioneer •

February 28, 2014

Around Town Pioneer Travels

History in real time at Camellia Tea The past and the present joined hands and took tea last week at the Clayton Historical Society’s 37th annual Camellia Tea. This year marks the 50th year of Clayton’s incorporation as a city and many of the town’s first officials were on hand to reminisce and pour tea for the nearly 100 guests who shared history and memories over tea and cookies. Many of the guests were descendants of Clayton’s founders, including members of the Mann, Frank and Joel Clayton’s families.

HAWAI’I We just got back from two weeks in Hawai’i with Ann and Bill Callahan. The first half of the trip we sat on the beach with little umbrella drinks while they attended their conference for pension plan trustees. The, we all headed over to Kaua’i for a week. Ann and Bill went diving. And, since we’re made of paper and don’t do well underwater, we had to watch from the shore at Poipu Beach Park. But, we did get to be in the photo when they came up for air.

CLAYTONIANS HELP WITH HAIYAN AID In January, Clayton’s Pacita Aducayen, MD and Lynn Farizell, RN and former Claytonian, Gerald Jeffry, DDS, all from Holy Rosary International Medical Mission in Antioch, traveled to the Philippines to help local doctors, nurses and other medical professional provide emergency medical care to the

victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The group spent two weeks treating over 1,900 patients in Culasi and the outlying barangays (villages). The group continues their support of relief efforts in the Philippines and may return on another mission there this year.

Photos, clockwise from top Clayton mayors, past and present: Standing, Gregg Manning, Julie Pierce, Howard Geller; Seated, Clayton’s first mayor, Bob Hoyer, Pete Laurence. Cousins, Charmetta Mann and Marie Frank Larsen are descendants of one of Clayton’s oldest families. Clayton’s first planning commissioner, Joe Swicegood with current planning commissioner, Keith Haydon. The tea table, with formal tea service and laden with cookies and home-baked pastries.

925 Douglas Court – Clayton

PACITA ADUCAYEN, MD, AND LYNN FARIZELL, RN, OF CLAYTON and Gerald Jeffry, DDS, formerly of Clayton (for whom Jeffry Ranch in Clayton is named), provided medical and dental care to the people of the Antique province.

3385 Aspara Dr. – Clayton

Helping friends, neighbors & newcomers buy and sell their homes since 1979 Each Office Is Independently Owned & Operated.

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Desirable Douglas Court! Stately Custom Home with separate cottage on a .56 acre lot! within walking distance to downtown! 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths plus a bonus room and a den, 5 car garage. Cottage features 1 bedroom, 1 bath, kitchen, living room & laundry closet. Magnificent wooded creek side setting with mature landscape and a putting green! A rare find! $979,000

Best of both Worlds! Country living yet close to town! Tucked away at the end of a private road and situated on 8 acres with spectacular Mt. Diablo views & meandering creek! 3 bedrooms, 3 baths + a loft, approx. 2800sf. Open floor plan features soaring ceilings, walls of windows and a distinctive two-way stone fireplace that is the focal point of the formal living areas. Coming Soon

Short Sale Specialists helping Homeowners SUCCESSFULLY close their short sale transactions since 2007.

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Clayton Market Update

P en di n g

325 Mount Palomar Pl. – Clayton

P e nd in g

Dana Hills Rancher with Rare Find Custom Builders Option featuring an In-Law unit! 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths, approx. 3211sf on a HUGE approx. 27 acre lot with pool! In-law set up features a bedroom, full bath, kitchen and family room with its own separate entrance. $669,000

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provided by Better Homes Realty ADDRESS

Peacock Creek at Oakhurst Country Club! Spacious "Belvedere" model features 4 bedrooms + a den, 3.5 baths, approx. 4100sf & 3 car garage! (Down bed & full bath) LR w/fireplace. Separate Formal DR. Gourmet eat-in kitchen with granite counters & island, new travertine floors & 2-way fireplace shared w/HUGE Great room! Large master suite with retreat + walk-in closet w/ extensive organizer! Private lot offers a trellis covered patio plus an elevated patio, multiple lawn areas, & mature landscape. Front porch features a cozy sitting area to view the hills. Neutral decor/carpet/tile floors & plantation shutters! $1,049,000

George Vujnovich

Jennifer Stojanovich



Clayton Resident

Lifelong Concord/Clayton Resident

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1800 Trail Ride Rd...............$530,000 5023 Keller Ridge Drive.......$590,000 1169 Shell Lane ...................$406,000 3022 Windmill Canyon Dr....$601,500 214 Mountaire Circle............$700,000 308 Mount Palomar Place ...$671,000 70 Weatherly Drive ..............$606,300 3 Long Creek Circle.............$309,000 856 Coachman ....................$763,000 59 El Portal Drive.................$665,000 7 Mount Eden Place ............$615,000 505 Condor Place ................$311,000 140 Mountaire Parkway .......$600,000 204 Falcon Place .................$664,500



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Don Howard Realtor-Associate

Clayton Resident

(925) 408-3184

Emily Howard


925-408-1871 Cal BRE #01846446 & Cal BRE#01938441

February 28, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Around Town Young and old celebrate love

Page 3

Clayton Club Chili Cook-Off PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

Belly up to the bar, but B.Y.O.B No, not bring your own beer. Bring your own Beano for the 14th Annual Clayton Club Chili Cook-Off on March 2. If family and friends say your chili is legendary, then sign up for the contest and see if the judges agree. Beans or no beans, meat or vegetarian, spicy or mild, the only rule is no canned chili. Up to 20 contestants can register for the contest. Hungry spectators are encouraged to attend also. After judges

THE CHILDREN OF CLAYTON CHILDREN’S CENTER walked from their school on Marsh Creek Road to Diamond Terrace on Feb. 10 to help the residents celebrate the day of love with good wishes and Valentine’s songs.

award $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place, the crowd gets to ladle up a bowl of hearty chili for themselves. Contestants must register in advance with the bartender on any shift. The registration fee is $15. Bring a full crock pot of chili on judging day between 10 and 11 a.m. Check in with the bartender by 11 a.m. Judging starts at noon and prizes are awarded at 1 p.m. The Clayton Club Saloon is located at 6096 Main St., Clayton. For more information, call 673-0440 or go to

Local teens take first at Theatre Awards Three teens from the Walnut Creek Civic Arts Youth Theatre Company’s Teen Theatre group were among the trophy winners earlier this month at the Musical Theatre Competitions of America in Anaheim, Calif. Anna Lyubinina and Soly Ramin from Concord and Andy Jacobson successfully auditioned for the final performance held at the Disneyland backstage. They performed with 37 others in “You’re the One that I Want” from “Grease” after just a few hours of rehearsal. The Youth Theatre Company is a program of Civic Arts Education in Walnut Creek. For more information, go to

STEVE BARTON, OWNER OF THE CLAYTON CLUB AND SPONSOR OF THE CHILI COOK-OFF, checks crock pots simmering with flavorful chili and trays of golden cornbread before the club filled with hungry judges and guests at last year’s Chili Cook-Off.

New Officer, from page 1

THE TEEN THEATRE WON FIRST PLACE OVERALL for Ensemble at the Musical Theatre Competitions in Anaheim. Soly Ramin and Anna Lyubinina of Concord (highlighted in photo) were two of the three students chosen for the final performance.

do well and he will.” Payne is on patrol with Officer Allen White for a few months of field training before being out on his own. He describes Clayton as charming and welcoming, noticing that everyone waves at Officer White. Payne did not see the connection between the community and the police growing up and is excited to see that bond in Clayton. “It’s supposed to be a partnership,” he says.




Payne grew up in San Francisco and now lives with his girlfriend in Moraga. He studied auto repair at the College of Marin before earning his bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts at the University of California Santa Barbara. Payne says he grew out of doing things for fun and started looking for a career path. “I’m really a patient person by nature. Working with the public is a good fit.” Chief Chris Thorsen agrees. “He’s very personable, a real sweetheart of a guy. He wants to


End of Court – Remodeled 4BD + bonus room and 3BA has a beautiful kitchen with cherry cabinets, breakfast bar, high end appliances, tile floor, and recessed lights. Pebbletech pool w/ample limestone decking. Lots of privacy.




Owners Dustin & Kim Waraner Contractors Lic #879423 Arborist Lic WE-7372A



Corner Lot – Classic 4BD/2BA rancher on a large lot with views of Mt. Diablo. Kitchen w/breakfast nook & garden window. Great room includes living & dining rooms with fireplace. Hardwood floors through most of living space. Walk to downtown and schools.






Centrally Located – Remodeled 3BD/2BA includes a master suite with updated bath; hall bath is also updated. Kitchen offers granite counters and stainless appliances. French doors lead to large backyard with grassy play areas. Adorable home!

Designed to Delight – Absolutely gorgeous 3BD/2BA home with decorator colors & fixtures and rich slate floors in an open 1,600 sq. ft. floor plan. Kitchen/family/dining combo has a fireplace and access out to back patio and huge pool.






Mitchell Canyon – Plambeck 3BD/2BA rancher has large lot with pool and panoramic views. Updated kitchen w/granite & recessed lights opens to family room w/shutters & slider to extensive deck. Separate guest house/ in-law unit has 1BD/1BA.



Morgan Territory – Built by student of Frank Lloyd Wright, this 3BD/3BA home sits on 5 acre creekside lot in the rolling foothills of Mt. Diablo. Fresh carpet & paint. Great decks & walls of windows surround you in nature. Fantastic potential in a very private home.


Black Diamond Duet – Wonderful curb appeal, privacy, and a large yard w/patio and mature trees. Largest model 3BD/2.5BA Presley home has an open floor plan and dual fireplace in living and family rooms. Master suite w/bay window & organized closet.


3BD/1.5BA townhome in a gated complex offers a central Concord location. Kitchen has newer cabinets and counters. Appreciate the updated bath and indoor laundry. Large patio in the backyard and storage.

Assisting More Buyers & Sellers than Anyone Else* *Statistics based on Clayton closed by sales volume (1/2012 – 12/2012). Data by Trendgraphix

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Clayton Resident & Broker Owner

Cal BRE#01122025

- Windermere Clayton!

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Clayton Pioneer •



Realtor®, DRE#01874255

Realtor®, DRE#01370548



February 28, 2014

New science building for DVMS Gorgeous Eagle Peak home! Wonderful 4 large bedrooms, 2.5 baths with chef-size kitchen, and huge master suite. Approximately 3,000 sf on a .50 acre premium lot. Live at the top with views, privacy, and trail access.

Offered exclusively at $875,000 Completely remodeled 4 bedroom 3 full bath home on a large premium serenity lot! Gorgeous stone counters, high amenity cabinets, stainless appliances in kitchen, updated baths, vaulted ceilings up and down, newer Trane heating/air, light bright and lovely windows that bring in the warm outdoors and upstairs. Mt. Diablo views. Gardener's dream yards.

Offered at $575,000

Beautiful Expansive Rancher on Clayton Border. 4 bedrooms 4 1/2 baths, 2 masters, 4080 square feet, possible in-law, or au pair set up. Beautifully landscaped lot 29,621 sq. ft. RV parking-Clayton Valley Charter High School!

Black Diamond Duet Stunning three bedroom 2 1/2 baths 1904 square foot home. Vaulted ceilings, updated kitchen and baths, fabulous yard with lush landscaping and decking.

Offered at $795,000

Offered at $535,000




Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

CONSTRUCTION ON A NEW SCIENCE BUILDING AT DIABLO VIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL is progressing rapidly, says principal, Patti Bannister. The project, financed from the $348 million Measure C bond passed in 2010, will connect to the library and include two classrooms and a prep room. The classrooms will be ready for the 2014 school year.

Clayton residents to receive more CERT training this spring HERB YONGE Special to the Pioneer

The Clayton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will conduct a two hour training class on emergency preparedness and Hands-only CPR at the Clayton Community Library on March 12. The class is free and will begin at 7p.m. Registration is not required. CERT continues to provide emergency preparedness and Hands-only CPR and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) training for all residents. Most of the classes have been held at the library, and on several occasions have been held at local Neighborhood Watch meetings, local businesses and National Night Out events.

For those wishing to take the 20-hour CERT training, the class will begin on Tuesday, April 1 at the Contra Costa Fire training facility on Treat Boulevard. Classes begin at 6:30 p.m. and are on six consecutive Tuesday evenings with a four-hour drill on Sat., May 31. These classes are with Concord CERT and several Clayton instructors will participate. To register for the class you may send an email to or visit or call 925-603-5933. In January the Clayton Business and Community Association approved a grant request from CERT to purchase two additional public access AEDs for the city. There are currently six AED’s in public access areas: 1) the library;

2) Clayton City Hall; 3) in the city’s maintenance vehicle; and 4) in three Clayton Police Department vehicles. With the grant from CBCA the two additional units will be placed in two local businesses in our downtown area. When the units are placed, employees of the businesses will be trained in Hands-only CPR and the use of the AED. The funds from CBCA will provide funds for the Clayton Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) to monitor and maintain the AEDs. Visit the CERT website at for information or call the CERT Hotline at 925-673-7355. Herb Yonge is a member of Clayton CERT and can be reached at

February 28, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Creekside Arts celebration still seeks participants 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 P EGGY S PEAR , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports PAMELA W IESENDANGER , Administration S TAFF W RITERS : Denisen Hartlove, Pam Wiesendanger, Peggy Spear

We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse


the office and we can scan it for you. Also on the website are forms for calendar items, events & press releases.


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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Clayton Pioneer welcomes letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 250 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print anonymous letters. E-mail your letter to Letters must be submitted via E-mail.

Tamara Steiner Send ads to Send Sports News to Send Club News to Send Church News to

Send School News to

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Celebration calls for artists, musicians, authors, poets, storytellers, environmental and community groups

tion at this fundraising benefit. Interactive entertainment for all ages is planned. Awards are presented to artists who creatively interpret this year’s theme.

The Clayton Community Library Foundation is still seeking participants for its 11th annual Creekside Arts Celebration as the library celebrates its 19th anniversary, March 21 through March 23. This year’s theme, “Mount Diablo...Rising from the Ashes,” highlights the Morgan Fire and regeneration on the mountain. The community celebrates recovery, renewal and restora-

Entry forms available at the Clayton Library or go to Fee for entries; deadline is March 1. For more information, contact Arlene KikkawaNielsen, event director, at 673-9777 or The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fri., March 21; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sat., March 22 and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sun., March 23 at the Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. Admission is free.


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

Classified SENIOR SERVICES Getting you out and about. Local mom, active in the community, offering non-medical and practical help: shopping, errands, salon, doctor visits. Transportation included. Seniors About Town, Terri Gerow at 330-5090.

Flower Gardening by Nicole Hackett. Perennial, ornamental, rose and container care. Keep your garden in flowers this year with monthly fertilizing and pruning visits. Email for consultation or details.

(925) 890-6004 20.3 Prime Acres, $650,000! 46 Acres for $1,275,000!

This parcel with hills overlooking a large, flat area is ideal for a custom home with views of Mt. Diablo. Great location for livestock, vineyards or orchards to thrive (think Livermore Valley). CC water is at the Marsh Creek frontage, ready for buyer to bring in. This spectacular land is priced at only $27,000 per acre.



Pete Laurence, Broker, Realtor, GRI

Cell: (925) 890-6004 Serving Clayton and ALL of C.C. County. Walnut Creek office DRE#00344166 


Upcoming Seminars IRA Beneficiary Trusts “How to Add Structure and Protection for IRA Beneficiaries.”

3100 Oak Road, #100 Walnut Creek CA 94597 (925) 937-4211

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

Thursday, March 6 6:30 - 8 PM Oakhurst Country Club, Clayton

Estate and Tax Planning 101 Thursday, April 17 6:30 - 8 PM Walnut Creek Office

Pet Services Cat Hospital of Clayton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2287 Monte Vista Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .276-5744 Pittsburg Pet Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432-7387 Rodie's Feed and Pet Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600

Office and retail space for lease in Historic Clayton City Center: Village Oaks Center, 6200 Center St., Clayton. Call Nick Adamson at (408) 371-8770, ext. 21.

HELP WANTED Computer Tech Growing business has position for onsite pro computer tech in Contra Costa County. Must have experience in Windows and Mac OS, network repair and troubleshooting. ComputersUSA! 672-9989. Sales Associate Retail feed and pet supply store, full or part time. Apply in person at Rodie's Feed, 8863 Marsh Creek Road, Clayton.

Come join Mazzei Realty! Currently interviewing and hiring new and experienced real estate agents. Call 693-0757 for details.

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

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Help Fight Hunger Anna Chan – AKA: The Lemon Lady needs your help! Weekly commitment appreciated. For more info and, go to Clayton Historical Society Museum Greeter for two hours per month from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays or Sundays. Call the museum at 672-0240.

Real Estate and Mortgage Services French, Lynne – Windermere Real Estate . . . . . .672-8787 Howard, Don – Better Homes Realty . . . . . . . . . .408-3184 Howard, Emily – Better Homes Realty . . . . . . . .408-1871 Klock, Leigh – Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212-5593 Landgraf, Linda – Prudential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .876-0311 Laurence, Pete – RE/MAX Realty . . . . . . . . . . . .890-6004 Lopez, Stephanie – Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . .932-7329 Mazzei, Matt – Mazzei Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0757 Stojanovich, Jennifer – Better Homes Realty . . .567-6170 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . . . .672-4433

Recreation and Fitness Earthquake Arabians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360-7454 Levity Fitness Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2995

Services, Other 1-800-Junkster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .800-586-5783 ComputersUSA! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9989 Net Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6029 Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . .473-0180

Travel Travel to Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9840

Clayton Community Library

Call to RSVP (925) 432-4211 Or send email to

Mailing Services The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245



Walnut Creek Office:

SPEECHCRAFT Word Weavers Toastmasters is offering a Speechcraft session designed to improve your communication, presentation and leadership skills in a friendly and entertaining environment. When: Mondays 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., from February 24 through March 31. Where: Montecito, 4756 Clayton Road, Concord. Cost: $36 (includes manual). For more information, email at or visit our club on Mondays at 7:00 p.m.

Home and Garden Clayton Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-2299 Diablo Lawnscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381-3757 Interiors Panache . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-7920 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 The Floor Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .969-9890 The Maids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-6243 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Waraner Bros. Tree Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .831-2323 Waraner Tree Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250-0334


Call PETE to discuss your options and to put Pete and his Years of Experience on YOUR Team. Let's put Your Home here, for all Clayton & Clayton Valley to know about!


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Clayton Pioneer •

Junior year toughest of all

Casso, from page 1

A MEMORIAL BENCH dedicated to the memory of Ray Casso sits in The Grove across from the Circle of Freedom statue

I’ve learned that he was always happy. That he was smart, very funny, a wonderful father, grandfather and uncle. He and Jo Ann were “inseparable.” No matter how low she might be feeling, he could always make her laugh. “Just a quick lunch would do it. He’s just tell me everything was going to be fine, and I believed him” They were married for 47 years. Last week, over coffee, I asked Jo Ann what she thought Ray would say to her if he could send a quick text. It took her a minute to answer. “Go on.” That’s what he’d say. “Just go on.” So, she goes on. Petite and attractive, she gets up every morning, does her makeup and dresses for the day. “I sleep a little later now,” she admits. She still works one day a week at the Marsh Creek Detention Center. She got a dog and occasionally travels a little with her sister. Financially, she’s “ok”, but there isn’t much left over when the bills are paid. She was forced to sell their Tahoe vacation home right after Ray died and the family still feels the loss of their holidays in the mountains. Just after last Christmas, granddaughter Shelby texted Jo Ann, “I’m feeling low. I miss the holidays in Tahoe.”

February 28, 2014

Shannon Bradley Moore and Ray Casso crossed paths at the post office that morning when Ray went to pick up the mail. Moore, then 37, was at the counter wanting to cash in some postage stamps. When Tony Oliver, who was on duty that day, told Moore he couldn’t do that, Moore flew into a rage. He ran for the side door where an unsuspecting Ray was getting mail from his post office box. Moore grabbed Ray and stabbed him to death. Moore ran down Center Street with Tony chase him. Police arrested Moore in front of Ed’s Mudville Grill. In the following years, Oliver suffered serious PTSD. He retired in 2012, still questioning whether he should have stayed with Ray at the post office instead of chasing Moore. Moore, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” in 2009 and sentenced to 16 years to life in Napa State Hospital. The sentence still haunts the family. Despite assurances by prosecutor Mark Peterson that Moore would “never get out,” there is still the remote possibility that someday, he could be found “fit to return to society.” “He’s breathing and my husband’s not,” says Jo Ann. “How is that right?”

The bulk of stress in 11th grade can be defined by three acronyms: SAT, ACT, and AP. To a teenager, the mention of these words is dreadful enough by itself, let alone the hours of preparation required for each. All around the United States, high school juniors are preparing for the most definitive tests and courses of their academic careers. With the availability of more Advanced Placement classes, and the profuse amount of testing, junior year is perhaps the most strenuous of high school. Supposedly, SAT stands for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, but for most juniors, it might as well stand for Stress, Anxiety and Toil. “Each year gets more challenging, but there is certainly a jump in complexity,” says Maureen Allan, an English teacher at Clayton Valley Charter High School. As the teacher of both honors and standard eleventh grade English III, Allan expresses that being a junior means more preparation and responsibility. “Teachers are more serious about teaching the subjects

they love, so the challenge continues,” she explains. “Our job as teachers is to equip 11th graders with the skill they need to prepare for the SAT and to assume more responsibility.” Responsibility is the primary source of stress for juniors; with so much to be accountable for, it is almost like drowning in a pool of undertakings and obligations. One way of describing the burden of that crucial 11th year of school is like plunging headfirst into a lake and expecting to hit the bottom. It is not long before you realize the lakebed is much too deep, and the only solution is to struggle to the surface. In school, this struggle is the overwhelming pressure to succeed, with the future in mind. “I knew eleventh grade was supposed to be hard, but reality hit me almost like a train,” says Sana Nawid, a junior at CVCHS. “There’s so much pressure for college.” Sana is active member of the Associated Student Body Leadership at CVCHS, and she dedicates the most of her academic

focus into her AP and honors classes. She expressed the sudden need to prioritize her work, and that, “AP U.S. History homework always comes before other classes.” Sana feels that 11th grade is particularly stressful because, “it is like testing season, because we are hit with so many important exams all at once. There’s a whole lot more competition for college, and college is always in the back of my mind.” Eleventh grade is also be the first year that academic athletic, and social events collide like never before. One student-athlete at Clayton Valley, Nathan Jaggers, expresses his recent struggle between picking up the books and the ball. “When you add in sports, it leads to a lot of chaos,” he says. “Sometimes an unrealistic amount of homework means missing practice—which is defeating, because you know everyone is out there getting better.” Nathan not only is a successful honors student, but he also plays football for the Ugly


TEENSPEAK Eagles Varsity, wrestles for CVCHS, and is a NCS competitor for the varsity track team. “Because of my involvement with sports, my time is limited. It forces more constraints on me,” he says. Although 11th grade may be the most difficult year of high school, each grade is challenging in its own respect. There are certainly more trials to come as the date draws near for SATs, ACTs, and AP tests. Nevertheless, there is certainly no substitute for hard work; and through preparation and perseverance, the juniors of CVCHS are working hard in school to secure their own future. Robbie Parker is a junior at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Send comments to

Talent Show should include everyone What is one thing all the students at Diablo View Middle School are buzzing about? The Talent Show, of course. It’s a show when those people with exceptional talents get to show off for a few minutes on stage. But what about those people who just don’t have their talent ranked up to the “standards” of the show? How do they feel? How should they feel? Is auditioning the students for their moment of fame fair? I spoke with Caitlin Reimer, the other DVMS writer, about the Talent Show. “I think that the auditions held were fair for the most part as long as they gave everyone a chance to have fun in the show,” she said. “However, I think it is rude and

ALISON EWING DVMS REPORTER unfair to judge and exclude an individual based upon their level of talent. The show should be showing your talent, not gloating about it.” I then asked her how she would improve the show. “I think that as long as everybody

can be included no matter what your level of ability is and everyone can have fun, then there is no other problem with the program. I think it should just be about having fun. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel bad about feeling like they aren’t good enough.” I couldn’t agree more with what Caitlin said. The show is all about having fun, and if the students and teachers in charge have to break up the show into different nights even, it could be worth it. It might be a pain to do more work than originally planned, but that’s what they sign up for. And what if everyone was amazing? Would they still cut somebody because “people can’t sit through that much”? If they only think

about the talent, they should think about the talent of courage, for those people that went up and showed their stuff at the auditions. If it’s not fun, it’s not working. If it’s not working, it’s not worth it. I think that the Talent Show is a wonderful opportunity for those who like having fun, and if somebody is excluded, it’s not too fun for them. So I think people need to start making it work, start making it fun, and start including everybody. Alison Ewing is a sixth-grader at DVMS. She loves to write and has a passion for “anything in the arts.” Email her at

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PINE HOLLOW REPORTER A longtime record was shattered recently at Pine Hollow Middle School when seventh grader, Paris Swenson-Ruiz ran

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time, I paced myself, still ran fast but not as fast as usual. Then I sprinted the entire last lap and tried as hard as PARIS I could.” SWENSONDamian RUIZ Vallis, the P.E. teacher, was timing him on the day of the mile, and was able to watch Paris break the mile record first-hand. While watching the timer, Mr. Vallis wasn’t sure if he would make it under the original time. He was very skeptical because the record hadn’t been broken in almost 10

years. “When Paris came around for his final time, I felt so proud of him,” Mr. Vallis said. We will have to wait and see if Paris can break the mile mark again before he graduates to high school; once there he will have another record to shoot for. Until then he will still be the fastest Pine Hollow Mustang ever. Carlie Beeson is an 8th grader at Pine Hollow Middle School. She enjoys reading, playing soccer, and singing. Questions or comments? Send her an Email at

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the mile at a time of 5:02, breaking the school record by four seconds. Everyone was amazed by what Paris was able to achieve, and was awestruck by how he was able to run as fast as he did. “When I was given my time I was so excited and happy,” Paris said afterward. “But after everyone began to congratulate me, the feeling quickly went away because it was overwhelming me.” Paris had been trying for awhile to break the record. He said he ran the mile differently this time. “I usually sprint as fast as I can at the beginning and slow down toward the end. This

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Stepping out of your comfort zone is defiantly a scary thing to do, but sometimes doing so can give you the ability to do something extraordinary. John Green’s book “Looking for Alaska” (Speak; Reprint edition, June 2006) has been labeled as one of the best books of recent years. It is about Florida high-school student Miles Halter and his adventure into what he calls “the great perhaps,” a reference to Francois Rabelais’s dying words (dying words is the only thing Miles has

any interest in). Miles abandons his dull high school life and escapes to Culver Creek, an exceptional boarding school in Alabama. Before he started attending Culver Creek, Miles’s life was flat out uneventful. No happiness or pleasure occurred into his days; no friends, frenimies, or enemies of any kind. Culver Creek tosses him into a completely different world, one with all that he didn’t have before. His first real friend is Chip, a

brilliant, trashy roommate also referred to as “the Colonel.” Chip is the “leader” of the group of kids that Miles falls in line with, including the most stunning and wonderful of the gang, the gorgeous, dangerous Alaska Young. And he never anticipates a girl like Alaska Young barging into his life and changing it forever. “Looking for Alaska” is one of those books that you’ll be able to talk to everyone about because there won’t be one person who hasn’t read it. John


TEEN READS Green strikes once again with this exhilarating novel. Emily York is a freshman at CVCHS.

February 28, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 7

When ‘as is’ really isn’t LYNNE FRENCH

REAL ANSWERS Q. Last year we put our house on the market and got an offer after three weeks. We accepted a price that was below market value because our home needed some repairs. We gave the buyer our disclosures that we filled out and after reading them they agreed to buy the house “as is.” After the buyers did their inspections, and when they removed their inspection

contingency, they asked for a huge price reduction based on the findings of their inspectors. This reduction included repairs they had agreed to accept “as-is.” I simply said no. The new price was ridiculous and I feel the buyer negotiated in bad faith. I took my house off the market. I am planning to put it back on this spring. Is there anything that I should have done or that I should do different now? A. The first thing I would say is that if you want to sell your home “as-is” you should provide complete inspections when you put it on the market. That would be a “Structural Pest Control” report (termite report), a general building

inspection and a roof inspection. If you feel there is structural damage you should provide an engineering report. That way the buyer knows exactly what they are buying. You can deal with issues at the offer stage. One thing you could have done before simply cancelling the contract is give the buyers a 24-notice to remove their contingency. This is provided for in the contract. If the buyer proves to be really unreasonable then it is best to cancel the contract. You could waste your time holding out hope for a buyer that may never perform. Sometimes it’s not easy to determine which party to the contract is behaving unreasonably. In an ever-changing market the gap between seller’s expecta-

tions and what buyers will be willing to pay could widen. Before giving a buyer an ultimatum, carefully consider the pros and cons of the transaction. Is the buyer financially able to close the sale in your time frame? Could you easily replace this buyer or will you need to wait for another one while the market softens? You could be stuck selling for a lesser amount. Though you might not approve of the buyer’s tactics, don’t let your emotions interfere with closing a sale that works to your advantage.

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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 672-878 7or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

Tools for more productive toddler time Most parents of young children face a similar challenge: “When will I ever be able to get through the day successfully and on time? Even the simplest tasks take forever with my child.” Unfortunately, there is a certain amount of unpredictability that is unavoidable, particularly with little ones. While you can’t predict exactly when “lovies” will suddenly go missing or potty accidents will require a change of clothes, there are a few basic ideas that can help to simplify the more consistent parts of the day – the things that you do all the time and have probably worked hard to establish as routines, like mornings, meal times, bath time and bedtime. What often eats up the most time is recovering from a fullblown, kicking and screaming tantrum. So, the first key to time-saving is to prevent the tantrum (in productive ways) whenever possible. Words are important. Even though your child may be able to process multiple-word phrases or follow multi-part directions fairly easily at times, there may be other times that trying to process complex language may


THE POCKET PARENT increase frustration or even lead to a major meltdown. If there are specific parts of the day that are difficult for your child (such as before nap or bedtime) or moments where you feel most pressed for time (such as getting out the door in the morning), try using these strategies to help things go more smoothly: Anticipate the regular challenges and prepare yourself with a reasonable plan going into it. If cleaning up toys is always a struggle, first try singing a clean-up song. If your child never helps at all, one plan could be leaving the last toy out of the box and telling the child

to “put in.” Sometimes, a task that feels overwhelming (like cleaning up a large mess) can also bring on a tantrum. Offer controlled choice-making opportunities as much as possible (you pick the two options). “Car or monkey shirt?” “Do you want apple or banana?” “Wash hair or tummy first?” Use short, clear phrases; avoid questions like “Now what do we do?” “What comes next?” For instance, say “First bath, then story.” Tell the child what you want him/her to do; have a clear expectation: “Sit down,” “Backpack on,” “Clean up,” “Put in.” Give warnings to help create a clear ending for preferred activities or transitioning to non-preferred activities. Count down to being “all done.” For instance, say “One more story and then all done,” or “Let’s count to five and then all done.” Use Barney the Dinosaur’s “Clean Up” song or make up your own songs to help your child. Set a digital timer/sand timer, ring a bell or establish other “triggers” that will indicate a transition.

Give visual cues when appropriate, such as pointing, gesturing or physically modeling the behavior yourself. Redirect the child to siblings/peer models of appropriate behavior when possible. Children will often respond better to suggestions or direction from other children rather than parents: “Your friends are sitting,” “Your sister is quiet.” In a perfect world, parents would all have the time to use every “teachable moment.” But, even without explicit teaching, every daily experience truly is a learning opportunity for your child. Home activities such as helping with cooking, laundry and gardening are wonderful opportunities for new vocabulary, counting, sorting same/ different, etc. Now that you have some tools to help make the stressful parts of your daily routine more successful, there should be even more time for fun with your child. Kathryn Bournazos Brodsky, MS, CCC-SLP is a speech pathologist at We Care in Concord. You can email parenting questions to her at




Book Review

Nuke-themed comics pack a punch





“Atomic Comics” by Ferenc Morton Szasz (University of Nevada Press; June 2012) is the 2013 winner of the ALAs Choice Outstanding Academic Title award. I read it in almost one sitting, and if this book is any indication of “academic” writing, then we’d all be reading nothing but academic titles. “Atomic Comics: Cartoonists Confront the Nuclear World” was written by the late Szasz, a Regents Professor of History at the University of New Mexico for 43 years. Although we’ve been living in the atomic age for more than 70 years, many of us are woefully lacking in any clear understanding of what the atom is all

about. Szasz is less interested in educating the reader about the atom than in telling us about the role comic books played in a dedicated effort to bring the atomic age, in both fiction and nonfiction, into the hands of the public – and he does a bangup job Szasz grew up with comic books, much to the chagrin of his mother, a high school English teacher. “How could the story of ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ (who was a complete prig) match the adventures of Batman, Green Arrow, SubMariner, or Uncle Scrooge and his nephews?” Children weren’t the only readers of comic books – in 1944, Time magazine estimated that “20 percent of adults were avid comic book readers and 25 million comic books were published monthly.” In America, and most of the world, the atomic age came to life with President Harry S. Truman’s announcement that the “allies” had dropped a “new type of weapon on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.” The offspring of the Manhattan Project, a closely guarded secret, was a secret no more. If a picture is worth a thou-

sand words, it is no wonder that comic books became the means through which the public was introduced to the bomb with all its atomic possibilities. Comic books often were two steps ahead of the times. Superman and other “comic book heroes began fighting Fascism almost two years before the American government.” Even after the war ended in 1945, “The ‘Commander Battle and the Atomic Sub’ series (1954) arrived on newsstands before the Nautilus, America’s first nuclear submarine, was commissioned.” As early as December 1945, “Atomic Man” hit the magazine racks, with the superhero’s promise to “dedicate my life to spread happiness throughout the world by means of atomic power.” Szasz writes with an atomic power all his own. This is not a big book (163 pages, text and notes), but he takes the history of the comic book all the way from its beginning to the 21st century with its atomic events, good and bad. The industry’s eagerness to educate and entertain in all things atomic will leave readers wishing Szasz had written more. Comic books, the bane of most parents, have a

real place in the world of letters. Your kids, if you let them read “Atomic Comics,” may have the last words: “I told you so!” Cynthia Gregory writes book reviews, award-winning short stories and a blog. Visit her blog at or send email to her at

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Clayton Pioneer •

February 28, 2014

New app creates ‘Civic Heroes’ Get Acquainted Offer

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CONCORD CITY BEAT Hit a pothole? There’s an app for that. See a burned out street light? There’s an app for that. Overgrown weeds? Abandoned cars or shopping carts? Animal nuisances, trash removal needed, unkempt property or other code violations? Graffiti? For all of these and more, there’s now an app for that. The city of Concord has signed up for a smart phone application that will allow citizens to snap a photo and immediately report it to city officials. “Civic Hero,” downloadable from app stores, works on all smart phones, and is easy to use, intuitive and fast.

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The app uses GPS to identify your location, and then automatically sends it to the correct city department. Users can enter comments and track the progress of the complaint to its conclusion. The best part: The app is free to both the user and to the city of Concord.

Last year when Mayor Tim Grayson and I were in Sacramento for the League of Cities Annual Conference, we happened upon a vendor’s booth named Accela. They we’re demonstrating the “Civic Hero” app and we were so impressed with the possibilities of this application that we asked our

Concord Chamber Offers $500 Scholarships New college freshmen from the Concord area will have the opportunity to win $500 scholarships through a program sponsored by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. Applications are available online at of from the Concord Chamber office at 2280 Diamond Blvd., Suite 200 in Concord. Applications are due at the Chamber office by March 28. Up to six scholarships will be

awarded. “The scholarships that the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce provide to students is an investment in our future leaders,” Larry sly, board chairman of the Chamber, said. “Helping make education accessible today is the key to having a strong society tomorrow.” For more information, contact the Chamber at 925-685-1181.

city manager to explore the possibility of using this in Concord. After some research, staff moved forward with a proposal to enter into a one-year agreement with Accela for “Civic Hero.” During this initial period, Concord will work with Accela in shaping the direction of this product.

So, get started, today. Download the app and help us to create an even better Concord. Ron Leone is vice mayor and a former mayor of Concord. Email comments or questions to, or call (925) 680-1776

Captain Grammar Pants To WREST (German, “twist”) is to take something out of someone’s hands (or possession). You can wrest a cookie from my grasp, though it will likely crumble before you can get your teeth into it. To WRESTLE (German, “twist”) has the same root, but its development through Old English has led it down a different path. Rather than simply meaning “take,” wrestle now means to engage in physical combat or difficult decision making. You and I may wrestle about fewer vs. less items at the grocer’s, but I will object strongly if you wrest my personal copy of The Chicago Manual of Style from my hands. 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.

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Two-year-old Beane is a sweet, shy girl who loves to cuddle and hang out quietly with her favorite people. She will do best in a quiet home where she can blossom into her happy, curious self. Beane is a smart dog who would enjoy mental stimulation such as work-to-eat “puzzle toys,” learning tricks, or low-key activities like noseworks. We suggest a Basic Manners for Wallflowers class to help her adjust to her new lifestyle. It is unknown whether


Beane has previous experience with children. She currently weighs 12 pounds. The adoption fee for adult dogs is $225 and includes 60% off one 7-week dog training session. Clark, 4, is one handsome boy who will fill your home with lots of love. Clark is FIV + and must be an indoor only kitty. He can live with other cats that are FIV +. Please ask an adoption counselor for more information

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and this sweet guy! It is unknown whether Clark has previous experience with children. He is suitable for a first time cat guardian. Clark’s adoption fee has been prepaid by a generous donor. Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during adoption hours: Noon to 5 pm. Wednesday, 3 to 7 pm. Thursday and Friday, Noon to 5 pm. Sat-

urday and Sunday. The primary caretaker must be present to adopt. ARF also encourages kids 16 and younger and canine family members (dog adoptions only) to be present during the adoption process. Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? Can you share your talents to connect people and animals? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our website,, or call 925.256.1ARF.

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Feb. 17, 2:03 p.m. Eagle Peak Ave./Keller Ridge Dr. A 49year-old Clayton female was arrested for DUI; trespassing: Refusing to leave. BURGLARIES/THEFTS: Feb. 10, 5400 Clayton Rd. Burglary – Commercial. Burglars forced entry during the night hours through the back door of Great Clips in the Clayton Station. The only item taken

Feb. 13, Panadero Ct. Grand Theft. An elderly man was the victim of a fraud/scam. A phone scammer told the victim he had won $2 million and a car if he could pay the fees associated. The victim sent money and later discovered it was a scam. Feb. 14, Mt. Dell Dr./Mt. Washington Wy. Petty Theft. VANDALISMS: Feb. 7, Roundhill Pl.

February 28, 2014 Now

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IN CLAYTON Mar. 2 Chili Cook-Off Contestants must register in advance. Public enjoys samples after judging is complete. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Prizes awarded at 1 p.m. Clayton Club Saloon, 6096 Main St., Clayton. 673-0440.

Mar. 18 Happy Birthday, Clayton Mark the date for a day-long celebration of Clayton’s 50th birthday as an incorporated city. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Watch the Clayton Pioneer for more details.

IN CONCORD Feb. 28 Healthy Lifestyle Expo

Mar. 1 – 2 “Hot ‘n’ Cole” A Cole Porter celebration by Brentwood Theater Company. 1700 Trilogy Parkway, Brentwood. $20-$35. 513-3863.

Proceeds from concert go directly to the free, annual Delta Blues Festival in September. 7 – 10 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $15-$40.

The California Symphony welcomes Kenneth Renshaw, an exciting, young violinist. 4 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $15-$65.

Mar. 1 Poker Tournament

Mar. 3 Concert

Held by Soroptimist International of Diablo Vista. 5:30 p.m. registration and instruction; 6:30 p.m. tournament. Concord Moose Lodge, 1805 Broadway St., Concord. $65. Call Sue Manning 672-2727.

Performed by Diablo Wind Symphony. 7:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $6-$10. 9437469.

Mar. 15 Crab Feed

Mar. 4 - 8 Percussion Discussion Join percussionist Ken Bergmann with his smashing spectacle of drums, cowbells, chairs and more. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14. 943-7469.

Tuesdays Farmers’ Market

Mar. 5 In the Mood

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

Mar. 8 Fire Recovery Hike Easy hike on Mary Bowerman Trail. Unique post-fire flowers expected. 10 – 11:30 a.m. Meet at Lower Summit Parking Lot. Reservations required.

Mar. 8 Fire Recovery Hike Moderate hike on North Peak Trail. Unique post-fire flowers expected. 12 – 2:30 p.m. Meet at Lower Summit Parking Lot. Reservations required.

Mar. 9 Oak Knoll and Summit Loop Hike Hike from Juniper Camp around the mountain to Oak Knoll and up to the summit before descending. Includes visit to museum. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Meet at Juniper Camp trailhead.

Mar. 16 Black Point Hike Hike to the summit of Black Point before returning to trailhead. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon trailhead.

Mar. 22 Butterfly Walk Walk up Mitchell Canyon Road to Red Road looking for flowers and butterflies. Ten to 15 different butterflies possible. Bring binoculars. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon trailhead. Registration required. Save Mount Diablo programs listed are free unless otherwise noted. Go to and click on Activities/Guided Hikes for more information. 947-3535.

Mar. 1 DiRT Day Assist the Diablo Restoration Team with weeding and watering activities and cleaning up restoration debris from initial plantings on the property. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at 3240 Aspara Drive, Clayton. Response required to Jim Cartan at or 947-3535.

EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT Thru Mar. 1 “Clybourne Park” Jokes fly and hidden agendas unfold as two different generations tip-toe the dance of social politics. Performed by Center REP. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $39-$57. 9437469.

Thru Mar. 1 “Guys and Dolls” Romantic comedy performed by Diablo Theatre Company. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $49-$53.

Thru Mar. 9 “Napoli!” An Italian comedy. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., San Francisco. (415) 749-2228.

Thru Mar. 9 “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” There’s a new tenant at Armadillo Acres and she’s wreaking havoc all over. Presented by “OMG, I Love that Show!” Productions. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $30-$35. 943-7469.

Thru Mar. 9 “The Maltese Falcon” A story about what it’s like to want something so badly until the chase itself means more than what you’re chasing. Cue Productions Live, 1835 Colfax St., Concord. $12-$18.

Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 “Jack and the Beanstalk” This classic play performed by the El Campanil Children’s Theatre is full of magic. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $8-$12.

Mar. 1 Benefit Concert

Mar. 2 “Catch a Rising Star”

Information about services, resources and products that benefit older adults, their families and caregivers. 9 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. Free. 671-3320, ext. 1.

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


Fully-staged tribute to all the big band greats of the 1940s. 2 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $34.

Crab feed and auction benefiting CVCHS Athletic Booster Club. Raffle, auction and dancing after dinner. Must be 21 years or older. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m. Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road, Concord. $50 before Mar. 7; $60 after. Tickets available from CVCHS teams or at

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. or 673-0659.

Tuesdays Thru Mar. 4 Patty Cakes

Mar. 6 20th Season Celebration

Story time for babies to 3-year-olds. Child attends with caregiver. 11 a.m.

Diablo Ballet performs stunning works from their 20-year history. 6:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $26-$52.

Wednesdays Book Buddies

Mar. 7- 16 “South Pacific” Enchanting tale of romance set on a tropical island during WWII. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $10-$20. 427-1611.

Mar. 9 James Ehnes

A volunteer will read stories for children 3 and older. 1 - 2 p.m. Call in advance.

Thursdays Thru Mar. 6 Picture Book Time Story time for 3- to 5-year-olds. Child may attend without caregiver. 11 a.m.

Mar. 4, 11, 18, 25 Paws to Read

Performs on the violin. Presented by Chamber Music San Francisco. 2:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25.50$51.

Learn to read by reading aloud to a dog. Grades 1 – 5. Registration required. 4 or 4:35 p.m.

Mar. 9 “Mountains and Canyons”

Mar. 6 Joy of Movement

Presented by Contra Costa Wind Symphony. 7:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $18-$25. Free to students.

Mar. 11 Centennial Celebration The Walnut Creek Concert Band pays tribute to the city’s 100th anniversary with a special program. 7:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14-$17.

Mar. 13 – 16 “Sleeping Beauty” Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble performs this family-friendly musical that encourages audience participation. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14.

Mar. 14 – 15 “Xxtremes” Performed by Smuin Ballet. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $70. 943-7469.

Mar. 14 – 23 “Wonderland!” A wonderful musical based on “Through the Looking Glass.” Presented by Center Stage Theatre and Contra Costa Christian Theatre. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14. 943-7469.

Mar. 15 Almost Elton John One of the best Elton John tribute acts in the industry. 8 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $25-$27.

Mar. 16 Commanders Jazz Ensemble A newly-revived ensemble from the United States Air Force. 3 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. Free.

Join Liz Mac, dynamic movement instructor, as she guides fun dance and yoga movements to upbeat tunes. 4 p.m.

Mar. 10 Clayton Library Book Club Sunny Solomon leads the discussion of “Little Century” by Anna Keesey. Open to anyone who would like to join.7 p.m.

Mar. 12 Emergency Preparedness CERT trains hands-only CPR, plus the use of an Automatic External Defibrillator. 7 – 9 p.m. The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. or 646-5455.

Friday and Saturdays thru Apr. 14 Free income tax assistance from AARP to low and middle-income people. Appointment required.

Mar. 1 Computers and Technology If you need help with your mouse, come to our house. Drop-in assistance to learn how to use computers, smart phones and tablets. 12 - 2 p.m. Additional dates and times offered. Check library calendar.

Mar. 3 Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss Come celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 110th birthday with stories, activities and treats. Ages 11 and under. 6 p.m.

Mar. 12 All Ears Reading Adults with disabilities read to furry friends. Dogs and handlers from ARF. 1 – 2 p.m.

GOVERNMENT 1st and 3rd Tuesdays Clayton City Council

Starting Mar. 20 Ham Radio Licensing Course

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

Learn everything you need to upgrade your Amateur Radio License to General Class. Sponsored by The Salvation Army and Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club. 8 weeks. 7 – 9 p.m. The Salvation Army, 3950 Clayton Road, Concord. Materials and textbook fees. Registration required. 465-9554.

2nd and 4th Tuesdays Clayton Planning Commission

Mar. 21 – Apr. 20 “Les Miserables” Treasured tale about the survival of the human spirit. Performed by the Contra Costa Musical Theatre. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $44-$57. 943-7469.

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

1st, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays Concord City Council 6:30 p.m., Council Chamber, Concord Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Dr.

CHURCHES AND RELIGION Mar. 7 Baha’i, interaction, fellowship and discussion. Topic: Science and Religion – Disagree or in Harmony. Speaker: Dr. Stephen R. Friberg, physicist living in Silicon Valley. 7:30 p.m. Free. For directions, call 672-6686.

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

Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

February 28, 2014

Sports NorCal basketball playoffs packed with local teams JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

High school basketball playoffs are underway and local hoops fans find themselves with lots of options to enjoy the do-or-die North Coast Section action. Undefeated Diablo Valley Athletic League girls champion Clayton Valley Charter (20-6) was seeded third in Division II and hosted a first-round game Tuesday against No. 14 Livermore (10-16). A victory would give new head coach Paul Kommer’s squad a secondround match this Friday in Dan Della Gym against the winner of the College ParkCasa Grande opener. Clayton Valley is joined in the girls playoffs by perennial NCS Division II powers

Carondelet (23-3) and Northgate (20-6). The Cougars have won Division II section nine of the past 11 years. The other new basketball headman on the CVCHS campus, Eric Bamberger, got a 10th seed for his Eagles boys (16-10). They squared off Tuesday at No. 7 Maria Carrillo (19-9) in Santa Rosa. It was a matchup between the uptempo Eagles and slow-down Carrillo featuring Pepperdinebound 6-7 forward A.J. John, who made a name for himself with the Oakland Soldiers AAU team. Carrillo eliminated Northgate in the 2013 NCS tournament. Coach Skipper Yenchik’s Broncos (12-14) did not get an invite to NCS this year despite tying Clayton Valley for third in DVAL and beating the

HAILEY PASCOE (23) is averaging over 15 points a game for Clayton Valley Charter High girls basketball this season, sharing top team honors with Kayla Taylor. The Eagle junior verbally committed to play college basketball for Lehigh before the start of her junior season but that hasn’t slowed her down as CVCHS took its third undefeated league title in four years.

Eagles in both head-to-head games. This ended a run of seven straight section appearances by Northgate, including the 2009 championship game. Bamberger got the Eagles back to NCS, which they have made seven of the last 10 years but only once in past three years. High-scoring wing player Jon Allen has been backed on the scoring end by fellow junior Jacob Lunsford and senior forward Austin Cannedy. Point guard Alex Zavala is called the “field general” by his coach, who challenged the incoming senior last year to step up his game. Bamberger was out of the coaching ranks for five years before taking over the Eagles and installed a fast-paced attack. This particularly suits Allen, who combines slashing drives to the basket with threepoint shots to average about 20 points per game. The head coach says an overtime loss Jan. 17 to eventual league champ College Park was “the turning point” for his team, which has been playing with more confidence since then. CVCHS spoiled Falcons Senior Night earlier this month in the rematch. Last summer, when the players first got together with the new coaching staff, they set reaching NCS as their 2013-14 goal. “The team is excited. This [playing in NCS] is their bonus and reward for putting in the time and effort,” Bamberger said. The coach notes that not a single boy on CVCHS has been in a section playoff game. Kommer has a roster full of girls with playoff-hardened experience as the team enters its sixth successive NCS. Leading the way have been senior Kayla Taylor and junior Hailey Pascoe. The Eagles have been to two of the past three NCS championship games (in 2011 and 2013 after other undefeated DVAL seasons) and reached the NorCal Tournament those years. Last year CV lost the NCS finale to Carondelet. That would have a familiar ring to Northgate coach Dan Middleton. Carondelet eliminated Northgate from NCS every year from 2005 through 2012, except 2011 when CVCHS dumped the Broncos from the playoffs. From 200810 neighboring rivals NG and Carondelet met in the championship game three straight years. Northgate girls have been an NCS fixture since 2005.

Photos by Scott Anderson

SENIOR FRONTCOURT PLAYER KAYLA TAYLOR (15) is sharing the scoring load with Hailey Pascoe and leading her Clayton Valley Charter High girls basketball team in rebounding. The Eagles won their third undefeated league title in four years before entering the NCS playoffs this week.

Eagles exit soccer playoffs at hands of defending champs JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton Valley Charter’s girls soccer team used a second-place finish in the Diablo Valley Athletic League to slip into the North Coast Section playoffs as the 15th seed. The reward for coach Scott Booth’s team was a first-round matchup against San Ramon Val-

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ley, who are not only defending Division I section champions but are a team that hasn’t finished worse than second at NCS in the past nine years! After battling the host Wolves very tough in the first half, Clayton Valley surrendered two quick second-half goals and was eliminated 4-0 last week, finishing the season with a 9-10-

2 overall record. Having more success was Northgate’s girls team, which upset No. 5 St. Mary’s of Berkeley 1-0, earning a Division II second-round game at No. 3 Campolindo. The 11th seeded Broncos of coach Mike Kelley fell to the Cougars 2-1, ending the season 10-10-3.

See Soccer, page 11

February 28, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 11

Sports Northgate football coach Lowell leaves for new challenge at Valley Christian IVAR LAANEN Northgate Reporter

Northgate High School head football coach Justin Lowell is leaving the Walnut Creek campus at the end of the 2014 school year to take over at Valley Christian in Dublin. Lowell departs after taking the Broncos into the North Coast Section playoffs three of the past four years, falling in the second round each time. His final game was a 66-48 loss to Miramonte, the eventual NCS Division II champion. Miramonte also eliminated defending champion Clayton Valley Charter in the semi-finals. Lowell taught resource classes at Northgate for the past seven years and was head varsity coach for six. “It’s hard to see him leave,” Bronco senior DVAL MVP Jake Smith said. “Not only was he a great coach but he led us into the NCS playoffs.” Lowell came to Northgate seven years ago as an assistant for coach Darin Owens, who had replaced long-time Broncos coach Ted Tellian of Clayton. Lowell took over as head coach a year later for the 2008 season. He brought in defensive coordinator Ben Ballard, who he played college football with and coached high school ball at Martin Luther King High in Southern California. Together, they created a competitive DVAL team, although the first year was rocky at 1-9 after a 5-5 record under Owens. In 2010 the Broncos won nine games to become the first Northgate team to advance to the playoffs since 1994. They would make the playoffs three out of four years. The team’s best mark under Lowell was in

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SIX-YEAR HEAD FOOTBALL COACH JUSTIN LOWELL is leaving Northgate High for Valley Christian in Dublin after leading the Broncos to the NCS playoffs three of the past four years. Last November they were eliminated by eventual champion Miramonte in a wild 66-48 slugfest that ended up as his final game in charge.

2012 at 10-3. His team was 9-3 this year losing to Concord and Clayton Valley in DVAL play when they tied for second with Concord and College Park at 3-2. “It’s a huge hole missing him,” said Ballard, who is rumored to be the front runner to take over the varsity program. “He’s the head of our program, he brings all the ideas for our offense and he does great things on campus with the kids and the connection he has with his students. “He’s also a friend that I’ve worked and coached with for 14 years, so with all those things, it’s a huge hole to fill. You can’t put it in enough words to explain how much he means to this school.” Lowell not only made a difference on the field but in the classroom. He assists and teaches students of all grades. “Coach Lowell gets the class together,

checks on our grades and will help us fix them,” junior Mike Ijeheto said. “He was my offensive line coach and helped me on the field. We’ll all miss him.” Lowell is coming to Valley Christian one season after they fell to Tri-County League rival Salesian in the NCS Division 5 final. Valley Christian has about 1000 less students than Northgate. Jim Heal was the head coach in 2013, his only year there after replacing John Parrella. The school started its football program in 2008 and played varsity for the first time in 2009 under Parrella. The Vikings made the NCS playoffs a year later. “It’s a fairly new program,” Lowell said. “I plan to grow their program from where it is now, like Northgate several years ago when we just got a new stadium and a new field. That’s happening there now. It’s

a good opportunity for me to develop a new program, and for my family. It’s a kind of opportunity that’s hard to pass down.” Among the coaches at Valley Christian last year was former Oakland Raider and San Francisco 49er defensive back Rod Woodson, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Valley Christian will be Lowell’s new home, but his contribution to the Broncos will leave an impression at Northgate. “It’s been a great place for me,” Lowell said. “There is no ill will in this; it’s going to be sad to leave. It was easier knowing the remaining coaching staff will remain here to keep stability for the program.” Broncos athletic director Steve Chappell will be selecting the new head coach. Sports Editor Jay Bedecarre contributed to the story.

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TYLER LEHMAN SPORTS TALK Last season for the San Francisco Giants was more than a disappointment; it was an utter letdown. Going into the 2013 season riding two World Series victories in three years, the Giants were favorites to win the National League West. After numerous injuries and a number of underperforming stars, the Giants finished the season 10 games under .500 and tied for third place in the division.

They are eager to get off to a fast start in the 2014 season, but did they make enough moves in the off-season to become competitive again in the NL West? The front office of the Giants was not very aggressive in the off-season, signing only a couple of free agents and resigning some of their own players. They gave Tim Hudson, former Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics starting pitcher, a two-year contract. They also signed outfielder Michael Morse to a one-year deal. The signing of Hudson will help the starting rotation, but he won’t be much more than a fourth starter. He is 38-years-old and is coming off a major ankle injury, so not much should be expected from him. Morse was signed to help the ailing leftfield position of the Giants. Leftfield has been a huge hole for the team over the

Soccer, from page 10 Coach Steve Chappell’s Northgate boys lost 3-1 to St. Mary’s, completing an 11-10-1 season. Booth’s team had to battle to the end of the regular season to extend a streak of nine successive NCS appearances for the Eagles. The Eagles were 7-3-2 to take second behind unbeaten College Park and just ahead of Northgate (7-4-1) in the DVAL.

Entering the playoffs the Eagles were playing with a short roster as four impact players were out. Starting forwards Kiana Mason and Marjan Haydaree, the team’s top goal scorer, plus midfielder Kaci Trujillo and outside back Kimi Dennis were unavailable for the playoffs. “We had to face the returning NCS champs on their home field, which can be intimating to

past few years and it will be interesting to see if Morse can help remedy this problem. He had an amazing 2011 season when he hit 31 home runs, but besides that year his numbers have been average at best. He may provide some decent power in the Giants batting order, but he won’t be a game changer. Signing Morse and Hudson were good moves by the Giants; they just don’t seem to be enough. The Giants are a team who struggled greatly last year and adding an average outfielder and a 38-year-old pitcher isn’t going to be the answer to success. What the Giants are banking on this season is that their stars return to form. They gave Tim Lincecum a two-year, $35 million deal in the off-season. He has been steadily declining over the years, but the Giants are hoping he can re-invent his style of pitching. Lincecum has to

rely on locating his pitches well now, as he no longer has the velocity to overpower batters like he used to. The Giants are also expecting better seasons from pitchers Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong, both of whom had losing records last year. The Giants are also banking on the fact that Pablo Sandoval can keep his weight down and become an offensive force again. The Giants are taking a huge risk by relying on their stars to return to all-star form. In a division where the Los Angeles Dodgers are spending ridiculous amounts of money, the Giants simply can’t afford to be passive in free agency.

any player, however, our girls stepped up to the challenge and played with confidence and determination from the first minute of the game. We pressured every girl and dictated most of the play in first half,” Booth said. “I’m extremely proud of the effort and determination from every player on our team. I’m equally proud of the good sportsmanship and class our girls exhibit while representing CVCHS.” The playoff loss ended the

CVCHS soccer careers of seniors Jasmine Partida, Sydney Mendez, Marina Arcaya, Mason and Megan Coppa. Booth pointed to the experience many underclassmen gained this year as a positive note for future Eagle seasons. Clayton Valley’s boys team tied Northgate for third in the DVAL with a 5-6-1 league mark in coach Guillermo Jara’s first season working to rebuild the team to playoff-caliber.

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Tyler Lehman is a sophomore at Diablo Valley College and a 2012 CVHS graduate. He plans to major in journalism and wants to be a sports writer. Email your comments or questions to

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Page 12

Clayton Pioneer •

February 28, 2014

Sports Bobsledder Chuck Berkeley called Olympic selection “corrupt” Chuck Berkeley, who represented America at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on bobsled while living in Clayton, was a last-minute scratch from the 2014 team for Sochi. The UC Berkeley grad didn’t go quietly into the night ranting against the

long before that)...... It’s with a heavy heart that I inform you that I didn’t make the 2014 Olympic Team. The details are irrelevant, but I (along with a couple others) deserve to be there, Berkeley posted. “I have no regrets as I know

Photo courtesy USA Bobsled

IN HAPPIER TIMES CHUCK BERKELEY (second from right) represented America at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on bobsled while living in Clayton. Berkeley was a last-minute scratch from the 2014 team for Sochi and was part of the alternate athlete’s pool although he did not travel to Sochi. The UC Berkeley grad was with, from left, Steve Langton, Chris Fogt and driver John Napier in Vancouver. Langton and Fogt were in Sochi with the 2014 American team.

subjective final USA Olympic team selections which put him off the team . Berkeley went to his Facebook page on Jan. 20 to announce he hadn’t made the team as a bobsled slider seeking his second Olympic berth. “To all of my family and friends who followed and supported me over the last seven years of my bobsled career (and

I gave it everything I had. I leave the sport with phenomenal fitness and peace of mind that I helped a friend and teammate realize his Olympic dream. I finished my athletic career sharing a fifth place World Ranking in the 2-man event and I will always be an Olympian.” Ironically Berkeley was featured in both print and electronic stories and ads during the

Sports Shorts DANA HILLS SWIM TEAM REGISTRATION NIGHT, FRIDAY Dana Hills Swim Team kicks off the 2014 summer swim season with a Registration Night this Friday at Sports Basement in Walnut Creek from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Registration and swim season volunteer job preferences will be taken. Sports Basement will provide refreshments and 10% off all purchases. The DHST coaching staff will meet attendees and discuss the Otters program. New members will also be given the option to sign up for the team on a free, one-week “trial” basis. Online registration opens this Saturday. For additional info, please visit

DIABLO FC NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE GIRLS SOCCER TRAINING THIS WEEKEND AT CLAYTON VALLEY National Premier League girls teams in the U15-U18 age groups are having open training sessions this Saturday and Sunday at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Girls in those age groups for the 2014 season area invited to attend. Visit for specific times. Tryouts for girls and boys Diablo FC competitive teams in the under 15 through U19 age groups will be held this spring for high

Principal, from page 1 payment to any teacher. The agreement was a verbal one, with no official written contract, and did not appear as a line-item expense in the budget. McMorris has said he received approval for the $20,000 payments in 2012-13 and this year from former Mt. Diablo Unified School District superintendent Stephen Lawrence. New MDUSD Superintendent Nellie Meyer has said that she would change the policy regarding whether principals can accept extra funds on top of their salary. According to the Contra Costa Times, usual stipends to oversee Model U.N. programs at other high schools are around $1,000, but the Northgate PFC stresses that McMorris is helping align the program with curriculum goals that will benefit all students. This focus included making improvements in the areas of literacy, research and writing skills. PAYMENTS NOT RARE The payments from North-

gate’s PFC are privately funded by parents and other donors, according to Monica Fitzgerald, who spent four years as the president of the parent club. Fitzgerald strongly defends the payments, pointing out that the PFC often funds ”course releases,” programs with high academic potential similar to the MUN, and that stipends of this size are nothing new. She cited spending for the Arts & Engineering Program, the Focus on Learning Committee, and the Global Outlook Program at the school. “There’s a lot of money going to teachers,” she says. “We pay course releases all the time in the range of $15,000 to $20,000.” The annual budget of the club is about $450,000 and Fitzgerald believes that these donations allow the school to provide offerings to the students that would otherwise not be available. “We live in a tremendous community and our parents put a tremendous amount of money in, which allow us to have

Olympics as 2013-14 season performances seemed to foreshadow an Olympic team berth for the Walnut Creek resident. As the bobsled competition took place this month at Sochi Berkeley’s stance exploded as an international story. One wire service story from Russia began: “A U.S. bobsledder who was not chosen for the Sochi Games calls the selection process ‘corrupt’ and questions why Lolo Jones received a spot on the women’s Olympic roster. “Chuck Berkeley, who made the 2010 Vancouver Games team and was on the World Cup roster this season, said the teams for Sochi were chosen based largely on an athlete’s popularity. He added that some sliders were favored over others with better credentials and that the USA-3 women’s sled Jones is pushing at the Olympics would fare better with someone else in her spot. “I get that people want to latch on to a media sensation and run wild,” Berkeley told The Associated Press, referring to Jones. “But it comes down to this: There are athletes who deserve to be there who are not there, on the women’s and the men’s sides. And you have to ask yourself why is that the case? What is wrong with the selection process? Why is it flawed? Why is it corrupt?” After hearing of Berkeley’s remarks, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele told AP that he stands by the team selections. Berkeley then tweeted that he hoped the “marketing dollars” were worth the decision to

put Jones on the Olympic team, though later clarified to AP that he thinks the attention the twotime Summer Olympian has brought bobsledding is a good thing. Berkeley also had harsh words for U.S. coaches, calling them “complete idiots” without referring to any by name. He was in the replacement athlete’s pool for the American team but did not travel to Sochi. Berkeley, who has called Contra Costa home for several years, said he thought he should

meet all the criteria points ... but someone else is going to go over you. At what point is the USBSF held accountable?” Butner raced in the two-man competition at Sochi with Chris Fogt, the reigning U.S. push champion, in the back of his sled. They finished 12th. USA’s Steven Holcomb with Steven Langton brought home the bronze medal. On the women’s side, Jones’ USA-3 sled finished 11th with American teams also taking the silver and bronze medals.

Two Eagles win DVAL titles, Arteaga second at NCS wrestling Wrestling season is concluding with league and section tournaments and Clayton Valley Charter and Northgate have athletes are moving along towards post-season honors. Senior Kristina Arteaga wasn’t able to defend her North Coast Section title but did take second at 150 pounds to earn a return trip to the CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships this weekend in Visalia. Last week, no less than 16 Eagles and Bronco boys took top three places at the Diablo Valley Athletic League Championships to earn NCS berths this Friday and Saturday in Newark. Arteaga was top seed at NCS in Pittsburg and got a first-round

school age teams on the area’s premier competitive soccer program, which is affiliated with the San Jose Earthquakes. Players who missed U8-U14 tryouts can sign up for a player evaluation on the club website. There is no cost to try out and players can register online at

WALNUT COUNTRY OFFERING SPRING CLINIC FOR SWIMMERS Head coach Adrian Lohse is conducting a spring clinic to teach the foundation of proper stroke technique. The clinic is designed to get boys and girls ready for the Walnut Country recreational swim team season. Swimmers from the six and under age group to 15-18 are eligible to attend. The clinic runs weekdays from Mar. 3-Apr. 11. For info on the clinic and Walnut Country Swim Team contact Lohse by email at

20TH CVCHS ATHLETIC BOOSTERS CRAB FEED & AUCTION MAR. 15 Clayton Valley Charter High School Athletic Boosters will hold their 20th annual Crab Feed and Auction on Saturday, Mar. 15, at Centre Concord. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis and the popular event always sells out. You must be 21 or older to attend. For more info email or go to cvhs-

(some amazing programs),” she says. “So I think if you look in context, what we’re doing with Mr. McMorris is in line with the vision that our community has of moving forward.” However, Fitzgerald does understand that the amount of money given to McMorris may be a point of contention to many. “You know, there are people in our community who think we shouldn’t pay him that money, he’s a principal. I think that’s a great dialogue to have,” she adds. “If this brings in more people to participate in the process, that’s a good thing.” The Model U.N. program is a simulation of the authentic U.N. in which students act as ambassadors, debaters and speechwriters in the context of the international format. This model has become popular in recent years nationwide, as more than 400,000 students currently participate in the movement from middle school through college level. McMorris was selected to lead the group, which only runs 15-20 students, because he is seen as an expert of sorts in the field. Before coming to Northgate, he taught a course offering

have made the Sochi team, and he does not plan on sliding again for the U.S. unless the federation makes major changes in leadership and coaching. “I’ll just say this: Cory Butner has never won a World Cup medal in his entire career as a driver without me in the back of his two-man sled, ever,” Berkeley said. “So how does Chuck Berkeley stay home when that’s the case? It’s just weird. I’ve won medals before Cory Butner in two-man. It’s strange to me that certain individuals who don’t

at Brighton High School in Utah on the subject and since taking over, the MUN group at Northgate has placed third at the annual New York conference and has risen to number 25 in the west in MUN team rankings. ‘MISTAKES AND JUDGMENT ERRORS’ The directing of PFC funds directly to McMorris has not sat well with some parents in the school community. “I think it’s obvious that several mistakes and judgment errors were made,” says Karen Freed, a Northgate parent. “I was under the impression the money was for the MUN, not directly given to McMorris. The PFC is making changes to how future business is conducted. However, it makes me hesitant to donate. If I were a large donor, I would think twice about future contributions. Accountability is key and this crossed the line ethically and fiscally on so many levels.” Freed was quick to voice her positive thoughts for McMorris as a principal in her time at the school, “I’ve had the highest regard for Principal McMorris over the past couple of years

bye. Her first match was against Jennifer Garcia of San Leandro and the Eagle grappler pinned her foe at 1:30 of the first round. In her next match, the semifinals, Arteaga was nearly pinned in the second round but held on and took an 11-6 decision. This brought her to the finals against junior Nallely Patino of Albany. “She was strong and had a lot of wrestling experience,” Arteaga said. The Eagles wrestler was trailing 2-1 after the first round before Patino “did a three-quarter stack and pinned me.” At the boys DVAL meet, junior Mustafa Sherdil (112 pounds) and senior Michael Nocerino (145) won league titles

for Clayton Valley. Broncos on the top of the podium were Evan Carter (138) and junior Floyd Armenta took his second league crown at 195. Taking second for CVCHS were Kyle Tran (106), Lorenzo Yacarini (132), Jake Lynch (160) and freshman Andy DeLira (285). Runnerups for the Broncos were Henry Cursi (120), Angel Lease Marney (145), Ian Monford (152) and Will Bitner (170). Taking third in the DVAL finals at College Park and also qualifying for NCS were Alec Lindsey (152) for CV and Marc Casas (106), Cole Penick (126) and Alec O’Connor (132). The boys State Meet is March 7-8 in Bakersfield. to order tickets for a night of food, drink, dancing, exciting auctions and outstanding raffle prizes. The event is at Centre Concord. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 7 p.m.

OAKHURST ORCAS SIGNUPS FOR NEW SEASON MAR. 12 Oakhurst Orcas summer recreation swim team registration dates are Mar. 12 and Apr. 11 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Oakhurst Country Club. Early registration discounts are available before March 12. Information is available at

IPSEN PREPPING FOR BIG COLLEGE DIVING MEETS Kristian Ipsen is having an outstanding junior year at Stanford entering this weekend’s Pac-12 Diving Championships in a special place for him, Federal Way, Washington. That was the site of the 2012 US Olympic Diving Trials where he qualified for the London Games. The Cardinal swimming and diving team was undefeated in dual meets entering the finale against rivals Cal last Saturday. Ipsen will be the prohibitive favorite at the conference diving meet as the reigning NCAA diver of the year and two-time Pac-12 outstanding diver. The Clayton man won a pair of college titles last year and one as a freshman. He is also looking towards the NCAA Zone E meet Mar. 13-15 in Colorado Springs and the NCAA finals Mar. 27-29 in Austin, TX.

and have seen nothing but great leadership from him. He genuinely cares for Northgate and it is apparent.” The positive results and the extra work put in by McMorris are the reason why Fitzgerald sees no reason why this course release, and the payment for it, is a problem. She added that the MUN program is not a regular club at the high school. “(A club) doesn’t require the same kind of time commitment,” she says. “We paid out this stipend as a curricular development. People at Northgate understand it, because they’ve seen the curriculum John’s developed and the work the students put in. We’re not getting a lot of complaints in our community, because internally people know what’s happening.” CHANGES IN PFC POLICY Current PFC President Mary Phalon is frustrated that the firestorm has been stirred up now. The $20,000 annual stipend has been being paid for two years and she says that it was discussed in the PFC’s October meeting and that the group’s budget is handed out at

each meeting. Referring to the fact that McMorris’ stipend is not listed as a line item in the budget, Phalon and Fitzgerald argue that it would be a tedious process to add every stipend and line item to budgets that are handed out at their meetings. The controversy has spurred changes in how the PFC handles similar situations. In a letter to Northgate parents last week, Phalon stated that she is “committed to make procedural changes that will make our work and the funding we administer even more transparent.” She said she is committed to no longer entering into verbal contracts — all future contracts will be in writing. Also, all funding requests will go through a line item budget approval process. Regardless, Phalon wants to use this experience as a chance to get more people involved in the process going forward. She says that although public involvement is always encouraged, attendance at the PFC meetings is low. “I would invite [parents] to come make these decisions. As a board, we want input, we want discussion. I actually invite discourse and discussion on everything.”

February 28, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Performing Arts

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‘Napoli!’ and ‘Venus in Fur’ set to seduce A.C.T. audiences The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T) continues its 2013-14 season with two new compelling performances. Currently, A.C.T. is taking audiences to 1940s Italy with company favorite Marco Barricelli (the former artistic director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz; “Vigil” at A.C.T.) and Canada’s Stratford Festival star Seana McKenna (“Phèdre” at A.C.T.), who return to lead the cast of “Napoli!” The play is a vivid new translation of Eduardo De Filippo’s poignant Italian comedy. During the chaotic days of World War II in Naples, an enterprising woman sets up a small-time black market business in the middle of her home to keep her family afloat. She prospers, but maybe a bit too much — compelling her husband to ask hard questions about morality, civility and the state of their society.

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DE FILIPPO'S NAPOLI! IS A MASTERFUL BLEND OF HUMOR AND PATHOS—and a miraculous tale about a wildly entertaining family who is determined to survive at any cost. Napoli! is playing through March 9 at A.C.T. on Geary in San Francisco.

PCT dives into lush ‘South Pacific’

PITTSBURG COMMUNITY THEATRE brings the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, “South Pacific” to the California Theatre, opening March 7, in downtown Pittsburg.

“South Pacific,” one of movie version, Dianna Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Schepers’ direction of the greatest musicals comes to Rodgers and Hammerstein clasPittsburg Community Theatre sic stays true to the original 1949 (PCT) this March. script which did not sugar coat Co-written by Joshua Logan, the big issues of racial prejudice “South Pacific” is an enchanting and interracial marriage. tale of romance set on a tropical The tale focuses on the budisland during World War II. Rich ding romance of Navy Ensign in dramatic substance and song, Nellie Forbush, a nurse staand balanced with hilarity and tioned on a South Pacific island heartbreak, “South Pacific” also during the war, and Emile de addresses the dangers and sor- Becque, a French plantation rows of racism. Unlike the 1959 sanitized See South Pacific, page 14

CC Wind Symphony musically explores great heights and depths The majestic settings of the Grand Canyon, Mount Diablo, Machu Picchu and the Shenandoah River serve as the inspirational backdrop for Contra Costa Wind Symphony’s upcoming spring concert, “Mountains and Canyons,” at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek on March 9. The concert features the West Coast premier of a new transcription of Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” by Randol Alan Bass, as well as a reprise of Steven Reineke’s acclaimed “Mount Diablo: A Symphonic Portrait.” Ferde Grofé’s popular “Grand Canyon Suite” will be familiar to many, although they may not be able to place exactly where they heard the melody. The music has been popular since the suite first premiered in 1931. “If you have ridden through the Grand Canyon Diorama on the Disneyland Railroad, you have heard music from this piece,” says conductor Duane Carroll. Reineke composed the second piece in the concert, “Mount Diablo: A Symphonic Portrait,” in 2002, after many long hikes on the mountain. The piece, a symphonic portrait in four movements, was largely inspired by the Bay Miwok

Indians, who lived within sight of Mount Diablo for 5,000 years. “It was a very magical, spiritual place for them,” Reineke said. The performance is on March 9 at 7:30 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW (7469) or purchase online at

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‘Les Miz’ sweeps into Lesher police inspector named Javert. Along the way, he meets an array of colorful characters and is swept into the revolutionary group of young idealists who decide to make their last stand together. The sungthrough musical features many well known classics such as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Master of the House,” “One Day More” and “Do You Hear the People Sing?” The show premiered in London, where it has been running continuously since 1985, making it the longestrunning musical ever in the West End. It opened on Broadway in 1987 and ran for 6,680 performances, closing in 2003, making it the fifthlongest running show on Broadway. “Les Miserables”

won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. A Broadway revival ran from 2008 through 2010. A film version of the musical opened in 2012 and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning three statues. This will be the first locally produced professional production in the East Bay and will star Noel Anthony as Jean Valjean. Anthony is familiar to local audiences, and last appeared with CCMT as Corny Collins in “Hairspray.” “Les Miserables” runs March 21 through April 20. For performance times to purchase tickets, call (925) 943-SHOW (7469), or go to the box office, 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek, or online at

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Contra Costa Musical Theatre (CCMT) will close its 53rd season with the epic musical “Les Miserables” at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts. Based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, “Les Miserables” has music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Alain Boublil, JeanMarc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer and book by Schonberg, Boublil, Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Set in early 19th Century France, it follows the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his quest for redemption after serving 19 years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child. Deciding to break his parole, he is hunted relentlessly by a

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Clayton Pioneer •

ACT, from page 13 “Napoli!” “introduces a gallery of indelible characters each trying to find a way to survive a ravaged economy and fulfill their dreams,” says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. “As we contemplate the issue of income inequality in contemporary America, it is fascinating to watch what lengths a family will go to to make a living, even if it means profiteering off one’s neighbors and selling illegal goods.” The play runs through March 9. After “Napoli!,” A.C.T. is primed to seduce audiences later in March with a sexy new production of “Venus in Fur,” David Ives’ 2012 Tony Award–nominated play that electrified and titillated Broadway audiences. The New York Times called it, “90 min-

utes of good, kinky fun.” When a young actress auditions for a demanding playwright/director’s adaptation of a classic novel that explores sexual domination, their encounter explodes into a playful, witty and erotic game of cat and mouse, dangerously blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, and seduction and power. “Venus in Fur” was named one of the “year’s best” plays by more than a dozen major publications, and called “seriously smart and very funny . . . a suspense-packed study of the erotics of power.” “Venus in Fur” opens March 19 and runs through April 13. Both shows are performed at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary Street, San Francisco. Purchase tickets online at or by calling 415-7492228.

South Pacific, from page 13 owner. Their chance for happiness meets a grave impasse because of de Becque’s former relationship with a woman of color. The frustrations of bigotry are heartbreakingly realized when the love between a young Tonkinese girl and Lieutenant Cable comes to a tragic end, forcing Nellie to finally confront her deeply seeded racist views. Rousing island scenes such as “Nothing Like a Dame” and “Honey Bun” are delightfully choreographed by Mariah Heath. A cast of 37 sailors, nurses, islanders and nuns sing memorable classics such as “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair” and “Some Enchanted Evening” under the


musical direction of Carille Bruno-Thayer. A 22-piece orchestra sets the stage with a rich presentation of the legendary musical numbers. The all-volunteer PCT has been producing shows for more than 40 years, harnessing community talent to produce dramas, comedies, musicals and children’s’ theatrical shows. Performances are in the historic and recently renovated California Theatre, March 7-16. For performance time and ticket information, call 925- 427-1611, visit the box office at 351 Railroad Ave., Downtown Pittsburg, Tuesday thru Friday from 12 to 5 p.m., or go online at

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February 28, 2014

Flowering Chitalpa trees thrive in Clayton NICOLE HACKETT

GARDEN GIRL Many Clayton Valley plant and tree lovers all know and love the ornamental trees called Crape Myrtle. They line our streets and meridians, shade our patios and accent our driveways and slopes. They are beautiful and common. Have you been craving something different in the ornamental tree department? I would like to introduce you to the Chitalpa Tree, the other ornamental summer blooming tree in town. Any Clayton Valley landscape would be lucky to have a Chitalpa planted within its borders. This deciduous tree is fast growing, reaching 15- to 20-feet tall and 10- to 15-feet wide. The trunk and branches of the Chitalpa are modest in size. This tree is an ornamental, and won’t support a tree house or swing. There are two selections available of Chitalpa. Pink Dawn has a medium pink trumpet shaped flower. Morning Cloud has the same shaped blossom of white. The flowers

are one-inch long with a halfthroated opening. Either selection has a wonderful blooming season. You can expect your Chitalpa to flower from May through September. A nice thing about the trumpetshaped flowers is that they’re not that attractive to bees, making it a lovely choice for installing near a patio area. The Chitalpa Tree comes from very hardy parents. It is the hybrid of two superb trees, Chilopsis and Southern Catalpa. The Chilopsis was used for its desert hardiness and flower color; The Catalpa has a large flower, so it was used to make the Chitalpa a dramatic bloomer. A Chitalpa tree can be enjoyed wherever one of the more common ornamentals has been considered. Chitalpa trees heel right into our native soils. They need very little amending of the soil, and fertilizer isn’t needed. The Chitalpa tree is drought-tolerant. It can handle long periods of dryness without fail. In the summer, when the sun is relentless, the Chitalpa tree stands proud. DROUGHT TOLERANCE This deciduous tree would

Ladybugs, from page 1 Mount Diablo’s trails are treated to this colorful display: thousands of ladybugs converging on branches, eating, socializing and sometimes engaging in that natural Rrated activity, mating. It is ladybug season in the East Bay, and the lush hills of Mount Diablo are ground zero. In the fall the ladybugs move out of the valley lowlands into the surrounding hills and mountains, gathering in leaf litter, under logs or in rock crevices to hibernate. They can hibernate in groups of 50 to 100 million, to produce and conserve warmth. Most ladybugs only live for several months. They are attracted by pheromones and some species will mate in autumn before wintering in these huge groups; others mate in spring after coming out of the winter hibernation. As the weather warms and the beetles disperse the females look for plants on which to lay their eggs.

Every year during winter, hikers walking up the canyons of Mount Diablo remark about finding large congregations, sometimes in the thousands, of brightly orange-red lady beetles. Over 180 species of lady beetles (the more accurate name for ladybugs) live in California. Worldwide there are more than 6,000 species and in many parts of the world, ladybugs are revered and thought to bring good luck. Certainly many of them are getting lucky in their winter home. Not bugs at all, they are VW-shaped beetles with hard, protective outer wings. Their coloration varies from region to region, but many ladybug species are predominantly redorange with black spots. There are several species in California; the most prominent on Mt. Diablo is Hippodamia convergens. Guided by some inner map, they mass in the same sheltered ravines year

make great vertical interest to other drought-friendly evergreens and perennials. Consider planting the Chitalpa with S a l v i a Clevandii, Winifred Gilman. This evergreen has f r a g r a n t foliage, summer flowers and is very butterfly- and hummingbird-friendly. CHITALPA TREE Variegated Rhamnus would make a tidy, contrasting flowers and interest. The Chitalpa tree is such a evergreen backdrop to the Chitalpa. The Variegated wonderful addition to any Rhamnus grows six- to eight- Clayton Valley garden or landfeet wide. It would be perfect scape. They are absolutely planted as a fence-cover and worth the hunt to find them can tolerate some harsh and the effort to install. Within a year or two, you’ll be very conditions. happy with your choice. HOW ABOUT PERENNIALS? Perennials to consider that Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M need infrequent to occasional Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. Contact watering are various sedum, her with questions or comments at penstemon, erigeron, iris and teucrium. Using perennials provides more changes for

after year, dispersing in the spring to search for food. However winsome they may seem to humans, ladybugs are rapacious armored tanks to their favorite prey, aphids. Because of the beneficial role they played in medieval Europe by ridding gardens and vineyards of aphids, they were reverentially dubbed “Our Lady” beetles, after the Virgin Mary; hence the derivation ladybug (“ladybird” in Britain). Look for swarms of adult ladybugs in dark, shaded ravines, especially on the Falls Trail. Surprisingly lady beetles are diverse in their habitat, food and coloration. The most familiar to children and adults alike are the oval-shaped red with black spots, the red seven-spotted lady beetle, the plain red California lady beetle or the two-spotted lady beetle. Adults and the black and orange larva that hatch from the tiny yellow eggs feed on aphids, scale insects, and mealy bugs that can be very destructive to plants. For this reason ladybugs are sometimes col-

lected in these huge colonies and sold as a control for pests in gardens and orchards. It should be noted that one imported variety, the multicolored Asian lady beetle, will congregate during the winter in yards and around homes sometimes causing large “infestations” in buildings. The bright colors of ladybugs warn predators that they contain a toxic chemical in their bodies that cause them to be distasteful and even unpalatable. A few species, as well as some other insects that do not contain the toxin, mimic the toxic varieties, therefore benefiting from these colors. Luckily, most hikers aren’t aphids, and are fairly safe from being devoured by the swarms of ladybugs nesting on the mountain. Besides, it seems as if the ladybugs have something better to do. Robert Smith and Mike Marchiano of the Mt. Diablo Interpretive Association, and Debbie McCarthy contributed to this article.

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February 28, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 15

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Few campgrounds are open in the foothills this time of year. But New Melones Lake at Glory Hole Recreation Area, just outside of Angel’s Camp, has some fantastic scenic single-tracks for mountain biking. You’ll travel over land where the Mi-Wok Indians lived and 49’ers tried to strike it rich with the gold rush. At one point in Angels Camp’s early history there were as many as 4,000 miners working the claims. And in the fall of 1865 a young Mark Twain, who was at the time living in a small cabin on “Jackass Hill,” overheard a story in a hotel bar, and later penned the now famous “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” You’ll strike gold on your bike here. Riding through open grasslands, chaparral and oak woodlands you will also have views of the lake. When the grasses green and wildflowers bloom, it looks like you’re riding through a colorful living canvas. Keep in mind you are traveling where evidence of human habitation has been estimated to be 9,600 years old. Although there has been some rain, enough sunny warm days in between showers can dry the rains just enough for riding.

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NEW MELONES LAKE, THE FOURTH LARGEST MAN-MADE LAKE IN CALIFORNIA, is one of the Gold Country’s best kept secrets. Cycling trails range from very easy to more difficult single track trails. Go just for the day or camp at Big Oak and fish for your dinner.

These fun trails are also great for hiking and running. Afterward, you can relax fishing, boating or swimming. And what’s best after a long ride? The nice warm showers are open during the winter months. It is a quick drive from here, just over two hours. Start your bike ride from Big Oak on the Goldrush Trail just before the campground entrance on your right next to the road. That will branch off to all the loops, avoiding the dreaded return route the same way you came. Angels Creek Trail, Buck Brush Loop, Carson Creek Trail, Frontier Trail and Gold Rush Trail all connect. If you’re just out for the day you can start at the Carson Creek Trailhead that is just past the entry gate on your left. Mileage is about 12-14 miles if you ride all the loops. For the

trail map Google New Melones Reservoir, click on Glory Hole recreation area for the Glory Hole Trail Map. There are other riches to be seen, as well. The bald eagle can be spied along the shoreline looking for fish. These birds use New Melones Lake primarily during the winter, although some are occasionally seen during the summer. Two pairs of nesting bald eagles have been seen recently on New Melones Lake. Their wingspan can reach eightfeet across. Osprey visit during the summer. I was fortunate enough to have a bobcat visit in the evening just yards away from where I sat. Don’t forget your camera. Big Oak Campground is open during winter months. Spaces can be reserved at or firstcome, first-serve. Camping is $22 a night and the showers take quarters. Honestly, the off-season is the best as this area is too crowded and hot during the peak months. New Melones Lake is located on Highway 49 six miles out of Angels Camp. Take Highway 4 toward Rio Vista, then right on Highway12 to Lodi. Go through Lodi, then left on 88 toward Jackson. Continue to Highway12 toward Valley Springs/ Angels Camp. Follow signs to New Melones Lake and Glory Hole Recreation Area. Sharon Anderson is a Clayton resident and lifelong hiker. This is the second of a four-part series on hiking in the Sierras.

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DEBRA J. MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market

Radicchio’s peak season lasts from January to April, although most specialty growers carry it year-round. It has a bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted. It’s delicious when mixed in a salad with mild sweet greens. This member of the chicory family comes in several varieties, with three types being most widely available in the United States: Radicchio di Chioggia, Treviso and Verona. Treviso leaves are oblong with pointed ends and grow in small, tightly packed heads. Verona radicchio grows in loosely packed round heads similar in shape to butter lettuce. All varieties have purple

leaves with white ribs. Choose radicchio with crisp leaves and no brown spots. Keep radicchio in a tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. RADICCHIO, GOAT CHEESE AND HAZELNUT SALAD Radicchio is matched with a perfectly balanced dressing made of extra-virgin olive oil,

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar 1 1/2 tsp. sugar Coarse salt and ground pepper 2 heads radicchio (about 1 pound total), torn 1/3 cup blanched hazelnuts or almonds, or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped 1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 ounces) In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add radicchio and hazelnuts and toss to combine. Serve salad topped with cheese.


4790 Matheson Ct. Concord


4 Bedroom, 2.5 bathroom Approx. 2212 sq.ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

2004 Alvarado Dr. Antioch


4 Bedroom, 2 bathroom Approx. 1794 sq.ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei 

13579 Marsh Creek Rd. Clayton

Doug Van Riper Broker Associate DRE# 01883875



Approx. 3.75 acres Listing agent: Matt Mazzei 

304 Ahwanee Lane Clayton


3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Approx. 2505 sq.ft. Listing agent: Diane Hayes

Swim Team Registration March 12 or April 11 6:30 -8 p.m. Early Registration before Mar. 12 receives $55 OFF TOTAL COST Practices begin the week of April 28 For more information please visit or Oakhurst Country Club For other questions please e-mail Head Coach Jasmine Millan at

Rula Masannat Broker Associate DRE# 01923757



213 Arabian Dr. Fairfield


4 bedroom, 3 bathroom approx. 2616 sq.ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei 

4903 Boxer Blvd. Concord


3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom approx. 1280 sq.ft. Listing agent: Paula Johnstone


PENDING: Buyer Representation 

67 Citron Knoll, Orinda

DRE# 01881269

$1,059,890 Listing agent: Matt Mazzei Clayton residents since 1959

925-693-0757 (Main)

Matt Mazzei, Jr.


6160 Center St. Suite #C, Clayton

925-693-0752 (Fax)

Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

February 28, 2014

Lost in the Bamboo Forest

We’ll Put the World at Your Feet. Exotic Hardwoods. Imported Tile & Stone. Wool From the Far Side of the Earth. Prices to Make You Feel at Home.





99 Per Sq. Ft.

Reg. $7.99

5" Handscraped Hickory

Classic Crema Marfil The ultra-premium polished marble from the quarries of Italy.

$ 79



Per Sq. Ft.

Reg. $2.99

Multi-Colored Slate


99 Per Sq. Ft.

99 Per Sq. Ft. Installed

Reg. $7.99


UNDERFOOT No variety of flooring has a better reputation among environmentalists than bamboo. Its potential renewability and sustainability are inarguable: it takes three to five years for most species to reach full maturity, compared to 20 – 120 years for traditional hardwood trees. Bamboo causes no soil erosion, and needs no irrigation, fertilizer, or pesticides. And a grove of bamboo can release 35 percent more oxygen and absorb four times as much carbon as an equivalent hardwood forest. Can this simple and common plant really be as green as all that? Well, yes. And no. Not surprisingly, most bamboo comes from China and other parts of Asia. This means it must be transported, first by ship and then by truck, to distributors and retailers around the world. One study comparing embodied energy (the total amount of energy required to produce a product, including transportation) found that shipping bamboo flooring from Hunan, China to Denver, Colorado would have a significantly higher environmental impact than using locally-sourced concrete. Also – and ironically – bamboo’s green reputation and resulting popularity has led to the clearing of existing trees to make room for bamboo plantations,

Photo courtesy of The Floor Store



faster than most trees and are classified as a rapidly renewable wood or timber source. This and its durability make a popular flooring choice. SIGNIFICANTLY

or formaldehyde, and contain at least one layer of a high-quality aluminum oxide for scratch resistance and durability. Some products have only one or two layers, while others have five or six. Again, look for flooring that passes CARB’s strict standards for indoor air quality. As for bamboo’s much-touted greenness, you will want to see documentation from a third party such as the Forest Stewardship Council, verifying that the floor meets its criteria for sustainability and responsibility. The caveats outlined above notwithstanding, there are many such bamboo products on the market. And there is the clearing we have been looking for in the bamboo forest. Larry Flick is president of the Floor Store. See ad page 16. Email your questions or comments to

Mohawk Silk

Variegated textures and natural colors created in the center of the earth.


Per Sq. Ft.

Reg. $13.99

As walked on by Ben Franklin et al. Made in the USA by Mohawk.



deforestation which results in soil erosion and loss of biodiversity in the growing regions. It is never advisable to underestimate human greed. Generally speaking, only 20 percent of a bamboo source should be harvested annually. And the harvested stalks should be four or fiveyear growths for optimum hardness. But since there is a lot more money to be made by harvesting 50 or 100 percent every two or three years, some growers do that. The result is immature bamboo which is much softer on the Janka hardness scale, so is easily scratched or gouged. Properly matured bamboo will have a hardness rating of at least 1400 psi, which is harder than oak. (Strand bamboo, made by compressing and binding together bamboo strips and pieces, is about twice as strong, with hardness ratings in the 2,500 to 3,000 psi range.) There are variations in manufacturing processes as well, and these make themselves felt not only environmentally, but in the quality and safety of the final product. It has been common to use urea-formaldehyde (a carcinogen) as the adhesive for bonding the bamboo strips. The California Air Resource Board (CARB) says there can be no more than 0.05 parts per million of out-gassed formaldehyde, and the Green Building Council will not qualify even that amount for its LowEmitting Products category, so many manufacturers now offer formaldehyde-free products. Look for bamboo flooring that has met the CARB standards, which are stringent. Other key qualities are moisture content (MC) and finishes. The MC should be 8 percent or less and consistent throughout the batch; the finish should have low – or preferably zero – VOCs

The softest carpet you’ve ever felt – and it’s virtually unstainable.



Reg. $7.99


Our passion is pets.

Per Sq. Ft. Installed

Reg. $11.99

Handscraped Maple

100% New Zealand Wool

Handstained maple with an antique look from Elegance Hardwood.

They keep trying, but no one has yet improved on pure wool.

Expert Hardwood Restoration.





44# bag

35# bag









Grain-Free Chicken 28# bag

Lamb & Rice



26.2# bag

Reg. Price $



Deep clean, scrub and recoat, or sand and refinish, The Floor Store’s Hardwood Restoration will make your floors like new again – or even better.

Scratch Grains Feather Fixer 50# bag

Layer Feed

40# bag

50# bag




Scratch & Forage Blocks 21# block

• Total containment system means no dust, period • No health hazard, no need to vacate your home • Superior finishes, low VOCs, no toxic fumes • EPA registered and Greenguard certified • The official hardwood finish of the NBA • Trained & certified professional craftsmen

Reg. Price $




Reg. Price $









Reg. Price $


Reg. Price $








Baby chicks in stock mid-March

Call 925.969.9890 for a Free In-Home Consultation. YOUR


Bird Grooming Sat. 10am - 3pm Dog Park Etiquette Sun. 10 - noon Parrot Training Workshop

Mar. 1 Mar. 30 Apr. 27

If we do not have your product, we can special order. C O N C O R D 1 4 6 0 C O N C O R D AV E N U E 9 2 5 . 9 6 9 . 9 8 9 0 PITTSBURG 2685 EAST LELAND RD. 925.473.1400 Plus four other locations in the Greater Bay Area. Go to for directions.

Open 7 days  Mon - Fri 10 to 6  Sat 9 to 6  Sun 10 to 4 (925) 672-4600


8863 Marsh Creek Rd. in Clayton

Feb 28 Clayton Pioneer 2014  
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