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January 11, 2013


Burning questions remain after CCFPD closes Clayton’s Station ll JULIE PIERCE

MAYOR’S CORNER More comings and goings at Clayton City Hall Our police department is finally back to full staff. Welcome to our newest police officer, Andre Charles, and to our new Community Services Officer, Sandy Johnson. We also welcome Jessica Boscacci as our new administrative assistant and Code Enforcement Officer, replacing retiring Rita Howe. After five years with Clayton, our Community Development Director, David Woltering, has accepted a similar position with the City of San Bruno. He has done a marvelous job providing leadership and expertise on land use, planning and housing. His thoughtful and methodical approach to community planning will be difficult to replace. While we wish him well, he will be sorely missed at city hall.

See Mayor, page 6

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

CLAYTON’S ONLY FIRE STATION WILL CLOSE ON JAN. 15. The station is one of four to go dark this year for lack of money. CCFPD chief Daryl Lauder will meet with city officials and residents on January 23 at 7 p.m. at the Clayton Library to address the closure and its impact on local emergency services. PEGGY SPEAR Clayton Pioneer

Many local officials and residents are steaming about plans to close Clayton’s only fire station on Jan. 15, one of four Contra Costa Fire Protection District stations in central Contra Costa County slated to be

Community mourns loss of “Radar”

shuttered this year to cut costs. The closures and subsequent firefighter layoffs will slice $3 million a year from its $102.4 million annual budget, according to CCFPD Chief Daryl Lauder, and are a result of the failure in the November election of Measure Q, a $75 per year parcel tax. “This is very frustrating, and

poses possible safety risks for our community,” Clayton Mayor Julie Pierce says. “We built this station so that it would provide adequate fire protection to Clayton, including up the hill into Oakhurst. Now, that will be impacted, and response times will increase.” Station 11, on Center Street, won’t be completely unmanned,

as firefighters from nearby Station 22 in Crystyl Ranch will staff it from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Lauder acknowledges that the closures of Station 11 and other stations will reduce service in the area, but hopes that the district’s plan to “allocate resources” from other stations and local agencies

will help alleviate any delays in response times. Still, Pierce says that even a five-minute delay in an emergency can be disastrous. “Even if firefighters are stationed in Clayton, they may be called upon to respond to fires and other

See Station 11, page 7

Medrano sentencing postponed for third time TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Sentencing for Joseph Medrano has been continued until Friday, Jan. 11. This is the third postponement for the former city councilman and insurance broker who was convicted of felony embezzlement in San Mateo County on Oct. 11 and first set for sentencing on Dec. 12.

The Dec. 12 sentencing was continued because Medrano’s attorney, Kenneth Moyal, was late, leaving Judge Jonathan JOE Karesh less than MEDRANO half an hour to hear arguments from both the prosecution and the defense. Karesh continued that hearing

until Dec. 31. Medrano is represented by two Concord attorneys, Matt Oliveri and Kenneth Moyal. On Dec. 21, Oliveri asked for a postponement of the Dec. 31 date because of a conflict with holiday plans. According to the DA’s office, Oliveri said a court clerk told him on Dec. 27 that the continuance was denied, but that the date had been “vacated,” a court term meaning

removed from the calendar. Oliveri told Medrano the hearing date would be reset, so Medrano turned off his cell phone and left town for a long weekend. On Friday, Dec. 28, the judge’s office notified Oliveri that the sentencing was still on the calendar for Monday. But by that time Medrano was gone and Oliveri was unable to

See Medrano, page 6

Teen driver crashes into funeral home TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

PHOTOGRAPHER MIKE “RADAR” DUNN at the Clayton Valley vs. Concord High “Claycord Cup” game in November 2012. TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Michael Dunn, the popular photographer for the Clayton Pioneer and local blog, died in his sleep Christmas Day after a year-long battle against liver cancer. Dunn, widely known in the area as “Radar,” had an uncanny

ability to be first on the scene of breaking news. A slideshow of his best work for with comments by the editor is posted at that website. Dunn, 59, was born March 27, 1953 in Oakland. He was raised in the Concord area and graduated from Clayton Valley

See Mike Dunn, page 2

Ouimet Brothers Funeral Home spent the New Year’s holiday boarding up and mopping up after a car crashed into the front of the building during a funeral service on Dec. 30. Mourners were seated inside the chapel for a 1 p.m. funeral and the lobby was fortunately empty when an out-of-control 1974 Chevrolet Nova careened across the sidewalk and crashed into the front entrance at 4125 Clayton Road. A 66-year-old man who was inside the chapel suffered a broken leg and the 16-year-old driver and his pas-

What’s Inside Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Club News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Community Calendar . . . . . .14 CVHS Reporter . . . . . . . . . . .9 Design and Décor . . . . . . . .14

senger were taken to local hospitals with serious injuries. Witnesses say the driver of the Nova was racing with another teen on Clayton Road when he lost control. Ouimet Managing Partner Michael Nicosia said the Nova hit the building so hard that the car’s battery was ejected and thrown to the south side of the building. The crash was “unbelievable,” said Nicosia. “It so easily could have been a real catastrophe, but thankfully no one was killed and the building can be fixed.” Although the crash caused

See Ouimet, page 3

Directory of Advertisers . . . . .5 DVMS Reporter . . . . . . . . . . .9 Fashion Over 50 . . . . . . . . .15 Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Photo credit:

A 16-YEAR-OLD DRIVER WHO WITNESSES SAY WAS RACING with another teen on Dec. 30 lost control of his 1974 Nova and crashed into the front of the Ouimet Brothers Funeral Home. The crash sent three people to the hospital.

Letter to the Editor . . . . . . . . .6 Obituary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Mind Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Police Activity Report . . . . . . .7 Protect and Serve . . . . . . . . .7

Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Sports Shorts . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Teen Speak . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Weather Words . . . . . . . . . . .8


Page 2

Clayton Pioneer •

January 11, 2013

Club News

Mike Dunn Many of the area’s clubs were very busy over the holidays and were eager to share the spirit of the season.

RON HANNAN OF SHARE accepts donations from Clayton Valley Woman’s Club Co-Presidents Priscilla Manlove and Becky Hanson.

The Clayton Valley Woman’s Club donated non-perishable food goods to SHARE Food Pantry at their annual winter luncheon. Ron Hannan, director of SHARE, said SHARE is the oldest independent, ecumenical, nonprofit organization that operates as an emergency food pantry in Central Contra Costa County. It was established in 1986 by Thomas Boyd, husband of club member Shirley Boyd, and continues to provide food items to 1200 people monthly. This year, many people are in need of food and donations are down.

THE UNITED STATES MARINES PICK UP THE TOYS FOR TOTS donations from Elaine Stephenson, 2012 Ygnacio Valley Republican Women president and Terri Di Loreto, fundraising chairman.

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from page 1

The Ygnacio Valley Republican Women donated 50 toys to the Toys for Tots program with the United States Marine Corps at the club’s Christmas party. Boy Scout Troop 444 donated toys to the Bay Area Crisis Nursery. AJ Visaya and his little sister (and Daisy Scout) Jasmine Bell wisely spent a $50 gift card on gifts to donate. Julian Rike coordinated and collected gifts along with his fellow scouts Patrick Murray and AJ. Over 400 families were in need this year, according to nursery staff member Lisa Heimbruch. These scouts were able to insure that many of those families had gifts for their children. Cub Scout Pack 444 collected and donated toys to Children’s Hospital Outpatient Surgery and Diagnostic Imaging Center in Walnut Creek. The toys were not just for children during the holiday season, but for children throughout the year to help comfort and reward them for being brave during their medical procedures at the center.

TIGER SCOUTS FROM CUB SCOUT TROOP 444 learn about procedures performed at Children’s Hospital Outpatient Surgery and Diagnostic Imaging Center in Walnut Creek after bringing in their toy donations.

JULIAN RIKE, AJ VISAYA AND PATRICK MURRAY OF BOY SCOUT TROOP 444 present their donations to Lisa Heimbruch of the Bay Area Crisis Nursery.

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High School in 1971. He attended Los Medanos College where he studied graphic arts and journalism. He was a familiar face around the CVCHS campus where he photographed reunions, student activities and sporting events and was on assignment there for the Pioneer on December 19 when he collapsed and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He died a few days later. A 5 p.m. visitation planned at Ouimet Brothers Funeral Chapel in Concord on Dec. 30 was abruptly relocated to the Concord Salvation Army church across the street after a car crashed at high-speed into the front of the building during an earlier service. The irony of the timing did not escape his friends. “As always, Radar was first on the scene,” commented Pioneer staffer Pam Wiesendanger. Dunn has been a part of the press world for most of his life, logging stints at the Contra Costa Times, The Concordian and in addition to photographing for the Pioneer and He is survived by his sister Paula Barrett of Vancouver Washington, a niece in Occidental California and a nephew in Washington.

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Clayton Pioneer •

Page 3

Sunrise Rotary’s new thrift store to help ex-inmates NICCI SHIPSTEAD Clayton Pioneer

Just weeks after his release from San Quentin Prison, Vincent Russo was sitting around the fireplace with Collette Carroll and Gaylynn LaVenture, planning the next steps in a historymaking endeavor with Clayton Valley/ Concord Sunrise Rotary Club to open a Thrift Boutique. The club will partner with the successful California Re-entry Institute (CRI), headed by Carroll, which helps former inmates find jobs and success outside of prison walls. The shop will provide funds to assist men in successful transition from incarceration to society through jobs, a reentry facility, employment for at-risk youth, and to assist Rotary with their other projects. LaVenture will be the store manager for the as-yet undecided location. “We’re looking in Concord near public transportation, especially BART,” Carroll said. The shop will open as soon as they find workable space. The Sunrise Rotary’s thrift store is just a part of CRI’s vision to build an integrated and supportive service network comprised of communitybased organizations, government and public agencies and the broader community for the success of formerly incarcerated individuals back into the community. Specially chosen participants complete a twoyear process prior to release in conjunction with multiple other therapeutic programs available during incarceration. Russo is perhaps the poster child for CRI, and was even the institute’s “Executive Instructor”

Nicci Shipstead

VINCENT RUSSO (RIGHT) ENJOYS COMPANY AROUND THE FIREPLACE discussing bright dreams for the future during his first holiday after release from San Quentin State Prison. Gaylynn LaVenture, left, and Collette Carroll, center and Russo of California Reentry Institute begin a history-making endeavor with Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club to open a Thrift Boutique in Concord serving individuals reentering and reintegrating into the community after incarceration with employment opportunities, fundraising, at-risk youth programs, social networking and housing.

when he was still behind bars. He knows how difficult it is for many former inmates to reintegrate into society, and has seen many of his former fellow inmates fall back into the revolving door of the prison system. Russo said he is eager to employ the same type of service and support to recent parolees that he was so successful with among inmates at San Quentin. “He’s just amazing,” says CRI President and Executive Director Collette Carroll, offering up a laundry list of Russo’s accomplishments and service work. “All these (CRI) guys have done hard work on themselves.” CRI participants have 0 percent recidivism, which means nobody who has gone through

the program has gone back to jail. The Thrift Boutique will provide employment to participants, many of them highly skilled craftsmen who will also be able to sell their work. ROTARY WAS INSPIRED Mureleen Benton, president of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary, was inspired to join forces with CRI after meeting several “ex-cons” who softened her heart by breaking stereotypes with their inspired stories. Benton invited CRI to speak at a Rotary meeting, which led to this partnership, she said. The boutique will assist atrisk youth with work to keep them off the streets, build self-

worth and a sense of accomplishment and learn life skills through CRI’s Sharing the Truth with Youth program. “The youth aspect is really important to me,” said Benton. “I don’t have what these guys have to make a connection that will make a difference. A former offender can take away the glamour of what kids in our community think prison is. If we can save just one, if every Club could save just one, think of the difference that would make.” Sunrise Rotary has earmarked funds and started a collection drive for high-end, gently used or brand-new women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories for the Thrift Boutique as well as provide business advice if needed; the Rotary District is on

track to contribute financially later this year. Carroll and her late husband Roland Peck were founders and ran of one of the largest selfhelp programs in San Quentin for ten years. CRI was founded in 2008 when Carroll and business partner Sam Vaughn realized the need to take the lifechanging movement further towards helping the men reenter society. Carroll and Peck often funded the fledgling efforts out of their own pockets. “This is all from God,” said Carroll. “Ideas pop into my head; I used to yell to Roland from the shower, ‘Write this down!’”

placements to meet the needs of the reentry population. Many will seek housing with family or friends and others will be left to find housing on their own. Various laws restrict parolees housing options; certain convictions can prevent people from living in certain neighborhoods or in certain types of housing (e.g., public housing). Consequently, the county must provide the necessary resources to make sure all those reentering will not become homeless. CRI’s vision and five-step process toward reintegration is a highly successful, groundbreaking endeavor.


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The cards are stacked against an ex-offender upon release. Formerly incarcerated people experience extraordinarily high rates of unemployment, with research indicating unemployment among California parolees after one year can be as high as 90 percent. Formerly incarcerated people frequently face tremendous barriers in obtaining employment, including employer discrimination, lack of job history, skills, and education. However, employment is critical to successfully reintegrating into the community after incarceration. Down the line, through proceeds from the Thrift Boutique, CRI will open a house available to their men during reentry through reintegration. Russo is slated to use his abundant experience, education and training as House Manager. “Once a CRI, always a CRI,” Carroll and Russo said. It is estimated that the county will need 1,241-2,069 housing

Ouimet, from page 1 an estimated $50,000 damage and the entrance is boarded up, Nicosia said other churches and funeral homes have stepped up to offer their facilities while repairs are underway. A visitation and viewing for Clayton Pioneer photographer Michael Dunn, scheduled for 5 p.m. that day, was quickly relocated to the Salvation Army chapel across the street. “The community has been right there for us,” he said. Nicosia says the repairs will take about three weeks.

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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

January 11, 2013

Latest hire brings Clayton Police Dept. to full staff PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

KARIS CHARLES PINS HIS BADGE ON HUSBAND ANDRE, the newest addition to the Clayton Police Department. Charles was sworn in by City Clerk Laci Jackson on Jan 2 at City Hall.

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How do you program a robot to get through a maze? How do you create websites? How do you create cool computer-generated graphic designs? Questions such as these will be discussed by local high school students beginning Sunday, Jan. 13 as part of a free, weekly “introduction to computer science” club that will meet at the Clayton Community Library. Local high school students will have a chance to learn about computer science before Clayton Valley Charter High School officially offers a course in the subject. Clayton resident Mike Fine, a 25+ year veteran of the technology industry (Oracle, Informatica, and several dot-com startups) and a member of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee at CVCHS, will lead the group.

“I learned how to program in eighth grade, when my school got its first computer and was instantly hooked,” Fine says. “I got my first paying programming job when I was 14. I want to share my passion and enthusiasm I have for the subject with today’s students.” We live in an increasingly technological world and knowing how computer software works will be critical to success in the 21st century. Even students who do not intend to be “computer programmers” will still benefit from an understanding of how computer software works. And, on top of all that, the topic is fun, interesting and challenging. The group will meet Sundays from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Clayton Community Library Story Room, beginning Jan. 13. Contact for more information.


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The latest new face to join the Clayton PD loves small towns and hates two lane roads. Andre Charles, 51, a retiree from the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department says although he is “chicken” when it comes to commuting on Marsh Creek Road from his home in Brentwood, he’s not the least bit afraid of new challenges. Charles spent 25 years with the Sheriff’s Department and was outgoing police chief Dan Lawrence’s last hire before retiring. He got a taste of small town law enforcement when he spent several years in Orinda, a small town with a population of 18,000 and a police department about the same size as Clayton’s. Charles says his greatest interest is in investigations. “I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it,” he said. His most memorable case was one several years ago in Orinda that started out with the accidental death of a teen and ended up with the arrest of the kingpin of a fake identification card ring. Charles grew up in Alameda County where he graduated from Castlemont High School in Oakland. He went on to the police academy at Napa Community College before joining the Sheriff’s Department. He lives in Brentwood with his wife Karis and their two children, a daughter 7 and a son 19. When not on the job, he loves hanging out with his family and working on his vintage ’66 Chevrolet Caprice.

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Clayton Pioneer •

Obituary Obituary

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



R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers


P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design P EGGY S PEAR , Copy Editor



S TAFF W RITERS : Denisen Hartlove, Nicci Shipstead, Pam Wiesendanger, Mike Dunn

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To place your classified ad over the phone, call the office at (925) 6720500 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Or, you may fax your typewritten ad and credit card information to (925) 672-6580. All classifieds must be paid for in advance by credit card (Master Card or Visa) We will not accept any ad that discriminates on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, nationality, family status or disability. The Clayton Pioneer

reserves the right to reject any advertising we believe is unsuitable. LET US KNOW Weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births and deaths all weave together as part of the fabric of our community. Please let us know of these important events. We ask only that the announcement be for a Clayton resident. You will find the appropriate form for your announcement on our Website. Attach your photo to the form. Make sure the image size you are about to send is at least 3 MB but not bigger than 6MB. The only format we accept is JPG. You can also mail or bring your print to the office and we can scan it for you. Also on our Website are forms for submitting Community Calendar items and press releases for your organization.

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

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Harrison Scott Steven Scott

April April 29, 29, 1929 1929 – – December December 14, 14, 2012 2012

Steven Scott Harrison Scott of of Concord, Concord, better known as ”Scotty,” died better known as ”Scotty,” died on December 14 at Kaiser Hoson December 14 at Kaiser Hospital in in Walnut Walnut Creek. Creek. pital Scotty was born in in Los Los Scotty was born Angeles on April 29, 1929. He Angeles on April 29, 1929. He spent his early years there and spent his early years there and attended University University High High attended School. School. He served served in in the the U.S. U.S. Marine Marine He Corps from 1945 until 1947, Corps from 1945 until 1947, during which time he served during which time he served aboard the the USS USS Curtiss Curtiss during during aboard Operation Sandstone. After his Operation Sandstone. After his honorable discharge, he honorable discharge, he returned to Los Angeles and returned to Los Angeles and attended Occidental Occidental College, College, attended where he majored in geology. where he majored in geology. He worked as a mining geologist He worked as a mining geologist for 39 39 years, years, most most recently recently for for for Kaiser Steel Corp. in Oakland. Kaiser Steel Corp. in Oakland. Scotty was was aa dedicated dedicated father father Scotty and husband who enjoyed and husband who enjoyed aa myriad of of activities activities in in his his myriad younger days, including fishing, younger days, including fishing, boating, water water skiing, skiing, and and boating, exploring the remote reaches of exploring the remote reaches of the landscape as dictated by his the landscape as dictated by his career as as aa geologist geologist — — or or rock rock career hound, as he liked to say. He hound, as he liked to say. He enjoyed games of cards and enjoyed games of cards and could always always be be counted counted on on to to could participate in trivia or other participate in trivia or other board games games with with family family and and board friends. friends. Later in in life life he he took took up up golf, golf, Later and enjoyed regular rounds at and enjoyed regular rounds at

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Diablo Creek Creek and and other other local local Diablo courses, often often accompanied accompanied by by courses, his wife wife Neva. Neva. He He loved loved animals animals his and was was always always aa good good compancompanand ion to to the the family’s family’s pets pets over over the the ion years. He He was was preceded preceded in in death death years. by his his wife wife of of 50 50 years, years, Neva Neva by Gail and and daughter daughter Janine Janine Marie Marie Gail Coons. Coons. He is is survived survived by by daughter daughter He Laurie Gail Gail Dyke Dyke of of Marietta, Marietta, Laurie Georgia, son son Stanley Stanley Locken Locken Georgia, Scott of of Chico, Chico, Calif. Calif. and and son son Scott Steven Ross Ross Scott Scott of of Concord; Concord; Steven grandchildren Robert Robert and and Lisa Lisa grandchildren Arnold, Rachel Rachel and and Alicia Alicia Scott, Scott, Arnold, Jessica, Ashley Ashley and and Stephanie Stephanie Jessica, Dyke; and and great great grandchildren grandchildren Dyke; Cadence and and Sariana Sariana Arnold. Arnold. Cadence



Page 5


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Hospice of the East Bay Help needed at Hospice of the East Bay Concord Thrift Shoppe located at 5350 Clayton Road, Concord. 6749072. For information contact Carmen Siems, volunteer coordinator at 887-5678 or Clayton Historical Society Museum The Clayton Historical Society needs a greeter for two hours per month from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays or Sundays. Call the museum at 672-0240 and leave your name.

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

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Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •

January 11, 2013

Do short sellers still have tax forgiveness? Would I be taxed on the forgiven amount in a foreclosure? A. The measure you are referring to is called the “Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.” This measure could pertain to short sales, foreclosures, deeds in lieu of a foreclosure or modifications. Your tax professional would determine how this would affect you in each situation. Technically it did expire for 24 hours but then was extended for one year. I have no idea if it will be extended again. So you seem to


REAL ANSWERS Q. We are in the middle of a short sale. A tax forgiveness measure was supposed to expire on December 31, 2012. Did it expire? If so, I heard I will be taxed on the forgiven amount as ordinary income. If this is the case should I let the bank foreclose instead? Now


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Q. Our swimming pool is about 30 years old. It could use a facelift. We don’t use it much anymore and are considering filling it in and maybe planting a lawn there versus replastering. How would these alternatives affect our property value? We might sell our home in five to

10 years. A. A sparkling, inviting pool can add value to your property. If it is not spectacular an appraiser won’t add much value for it. Many buyers definitely want a house with a pool. Most of those want one that is in near-perfect shape. They might be willing to do some repairs, but those repairs will lower the amount they are willing to pay for the home. Then there is the other buyer who absolutely does not want a pool. Perhaps they had one in the past and don’t want to deal with the expense and the upkeep. And there is a third type of buyer who is ambivalent whether or not there is a pool, but who would not buy a house with a pool that needs a lot of work. How large is your lot? If the pool takes up most of the yard, it won’t be appealing to most buyers. People usually want the yard to be a recreation center. What I would suggest you do is compare the cost of filling in the pool and landscaping the area with the cost of replastering and repairing or replacing anything else that is needed. Also factor in the maintenance cost for each. If you are still going to live in your house for five to 10 years, which type of yard would you enjoy having? Your quality of life is very important. I have noticed one truth in real estate: If there are things about your home that you value

and enjoy, it is not hard to find a buyer who will also value and enjoy your improvements. Q. What is something new that makes an area desirable? A. The California Association of Realtors put out “One Cool Thing” which is the Walkability Index. It is a new measure of the desirability of an area. This is the proximity of amenities such as restaurants and shops, and community hubs such as schools, parks and libraries. Walk scores range from 0 to 100, and any rating above 70 is considered “very walkable.” You can check a walk score in a specific city or neighbor-

hood at I am proud to say that Clayton has been named “Most Walkable City” in the past. And it has been named in Money Magazine’s Top 100 “Best Places to Live” three times since 2007. Each time they cited the extensive walking trails. Lynne French is the Broker/Owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident. For any real estate needs or questions contact her at 925672-8787, email or stop in at 6200 Center Street in Clayton.

Letter to the Editor Home Tour The Clayton Historical Society’s third Christmas Home Tour, Sun., Dec. 16, was an overwhelming success. The five included homes were beautifully decorated and admired by over 200 people who took part in the tour. The committee wishes to thank the five homeowners who graciously opened their homes for the tour, the many volunteers who worked on the event, and especially the many people who purchased tickets

to support this very important fundraiser for the Clayton Museum garden. We hope to make this an annual event and are looking for homes for next year’s tour. If you either have a home or know of someone who would be interested in being on the 2013 tour, please contact JoAnn Caspar at 925-672-7680. Clayton Historical Society’s Christmas Home Tour Committee

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be safe for now, but please confer with your tax professional. Industry experts expected the bill to be extended. It had bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. Congress didn’t seem to feel it was a high priority within the “fiscal cliff ” negotiations so the extension actually was allowed to expire briefly, causing much anxiety for people like you. The National Association of Realtors and others lobbied hard to keep it in the forefront. Forty-one state attorneys general appealed to the House and Senate for the extension. Not to extend it at this point made no sense. It would have hurt the very people that the short sale or loan modification was supposed to help. How could people who can’t afford their mortgage be able to afford this huge tax bill? Some homeowners who are paying their mortgages on time have suggested this tax forgiveness is unfair to them. Perhaps it is, but anything that will help keep the housing market improving is good for the economy.


Medrano, from page 1 reach him before the hearing. When Oliveri showed up at the Monday morning hearing without his client, the judge issued a no-bail warrant for Medrano’s arrest. He recalled the warrant later that day when Oliveri reached Medrano and rescheduled the sentencing for Friday, Jan. 4. On Thursday, Jan. 3, Oliveri and Moyal informed the judge

that they were “unavailable” for the hearing the next day. Medrano showed up alone in court on Jan. 4, and the judge continued the hearing once more to Jan. 11. Medrano was convicted in October of stealing $159,630 from a former client. The prosecution is asking for the maximum four-year sentence, with two years to be served in prison.

Mayor, from page 1

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For her stellar performance, an acceptance of a variety of human resources tasks, and community event organizing, our city clerk/human resources manager Laci Jackson was honored with the 2012 Outstanding Employee award, which includes her name and year on the perpetual plaque hanging on the third floor wall

at city hall. Congrats to Laci for the great year. FIRE STATION CLOSURE UPDATE MEETING Clayton’s Fire Station 11 and three others in the fire district are officially closed. Coverage for Clayton is now supplied by the crews from Station 22 located in Crystyl

Assistant District Attorney Sharon Lee says Medrano has shown no remorse nor made any moves toward restitution. At the first sentencing hearing, the judge called Medrano’s statement asking for probation “troubling,” saying that “he still sees himself as the innocent victim.” The defense is arguing for probation since Medrano has no prior criminal record. Lee says the probation department has reviewed

Medrano’s statement and is also recommending prison time. When the judge continued the first sentencing hearing to Dec. 31, he told Medrano he would not be hearing any further testimony and would impose sentence on that day. Karesh told Medrano to “put his affairs in order and be prepared to surrender” on Dec. 31.

Ranch. Fire district staff will be holding an informational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Community Library meeting room. While Station 11 is among the first to close, the district anticipates additional station closures later this year which will stretch limited resources over an even larger area. Your city council and staff are actively gathering information

and reviewing options to ensure maximum safety for our residents. Please mark your calendars now, and plan to attend. Bring your questions and concerns and hear from the fire district about how these and future service cuts will impact the safety of our community.

For the results of Friday’s hearing, go to

As always, you can contact me by email at Let me know what you think.

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Clayton Pioneer •

Page 7

Scam alert: Look out for ‘free’ money As a young man, my father had many sayings. “There’s no free lunch” and “If it sounds too good to be true, it is” were two of his favorites. Lately, there’s been several “if it sounds too good to be true…” stories in the news. The scenario usually goes like this. You receive a call at your home and a wonderfully cheerful, friendly person explains you have won millions in a lottery, been awarded a huge insurance claim, or a long-lost wealthy relative (one you never even knew you had) has passed away, leaving you riches beyond your belief. You need only to send a small check, a few hundred dollars, or provide a credit card number to handle the processing and the money will be yours. Often, the nice person says, “we were at your home this morning and tried to drop off the check, but nobody was home.” They go on to describe your home in detail. At first you are convinced this is a scam. But





slowly your steely resolve begins to dwindle. You say to yourself, “this can’t be true, but what if…?” Greed begins to creep in, suddenly you find yourself with your wallet in hand giving a credit card number or writing a check. These scam artists often target elderly people. They are good at what they do; they’re charming and convincing. They have an answer for every question; even the most suspicious people can sometimes fall prey. Unfortunately, once a person has been victim-

ized, they are often so embarrassed they won’t call family or the police for help. A few things to remember: no legitimate business requires you to give them money so you can receive an award. The caller was never at your home to drop off a check. They viewed your house on the Internet and are able to describe your residence because they were looking at a picture of it when they called. The credit card number or checking account number you provided is probably being fraudulently used before you even finish the call. Often the scammer will provide a call-back number so you may contact them. The number is usually an 800 or similar number. When you call, the phone is answered and you may even talk to a legitimate sounding secretary or receptionist. The receptionist will answer your questions and often even connect you to the scammer you have been dealing with.

Be forewarned, the number you’re calling is typically not in the United States. The scammers in these cases are in the Bahamas, Eastern Europe or some other foreign land. Because the suspects are in another country, the cases are difficult, if not impossible, to investigate and prosecute. Technology has brought us many wonderful things. You can access the Library of Congress from your living room. Research can be conducted on any given topic in the comfort of our homes. Unfortunately there are those who use this technology for illegal purposes. This type of scam often succeeds because the caller has so much information about you it appears legitimate. The best advice I can give is the advice my father gave me: “If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!” Chris Thorsen is Clayton’s chief of police. For questions and comments, call him at (925) 673-7350.

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while license suspended for DUI after being stopped for a Vehicle Code violation.

Police Activity for three weeks ending Jan. 3, 2013 ACCIDENTS: None. ARRESTS: Dec. 14, 1:10 a.m. Clayton Rd./Peacock Creek Dr. A 33-yearold Antioch male was arrested for DUI; suspended license; driving

Dec. 14, 12:51 p.m. Clayton Rd./Lydia Ln. A 35-year-old Concord male was arrested for a suspended license after being stopped for a Vehicle Code violation. Dec. 16, 9:53 a.m. 5400 blk Clayton Rd. A 58-year-old Martinez

Station 11, from page 1 emergencies in Concord, Walnut Creek and even East County,” she says. “The whole fire district will be spread thin.” One of the mayor's top concerns, however, is that with less emergency resources available, Clayton police officers will be asked to respond to cardiac emergencies, since they carry automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in their vehicles. “That is not a position we want our officers to be in,” says Pierce, “having to chose between responding to a crime in progress or a medical emergency.” Clayton Police Chief Chris Thorsen shares her concern. “Our role is in law enforcement, and to protect the people and property of Clayton,” he says. “We've never been considered front-line medical responders. And as great as my guys are, they can't be two places at once. I hope it's a choice they don't have to make.” Some residents and local officials are angry that Clayton's one station has been designated for closure, while Station 22 in

Crystyl Ranch is to remain open, and its firefighters used to staff Station 11. However, both Lauder and Supervisor Karen Mitchoff say that data on calls – including the time and day of the emergency – helped make the decision. “Because of the traffic on Ygnacio Valley Road in the afternoons, it makes sense to have someone in Clayton, so they won't have to fight the gridlock,” Lauder says. Mitchoff says she is frustrated and angry over having to close any stations, and believes that the public's anger of high pensions paid out in neighboring fire districts helped fuel the defeat of Measure Q. “People are angry, they want pension reform,” she says. “But our fire district is not the one that has had those problems. And we're working hard to keep it that way.” Local residents will have an opportunity to hear details of the fire district's plan at a 7 p.m. meeting on Jan. 23, in the Library Community Room.

Dec. 27, 1:13 a.m. Clayton Rd./Mitchell Canyon Rd. A 22year-old Oakley female was arrested for DUI; driving on suspended license after being stopped for a Vehicle Code violation.

Dec. 18, 4:56 a.m. Clayton Rd./Washington Blvd. A 43-yearold Antioch male was arrested on warrant; probation violation after being contacted by officers during a traffic stop.

BURGLARIES/THEFTS: Dec. 16, Mt. Everest Ct. Petty Theft. Dec. 19, La Honda Ct. Petty Theft. Dec. 21, Wallace Dr. Petty Theft. Dec. 21, Clark Creek Cr. Petty Theft. Dec. 28, Main St. Petty Theft.

Dec. 24, 9:52 p.m. 1300 blk Shell Ln. A 35-year-old Clayton male was arrested for corporal injury to spouse/cohabitant after

VANDALISMS: Dec. 21, Kirker Pass Rd. Jan. 2, Falcon Pl.

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Clayton Pioneer •

‘Weather’ perfect or not, Clayton relies on stats from Buchanan Airport


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Meteorologists spend countless hours looking at weather data. In January most of our data crunching revolves around analyzing the previous year’s data and making comparisons to normal values. So how do we define normal? The National Weather Service (NWS) has defined climate normals of temperature and precipitation based on 30-year averages that are updated after the end of each decade. The most recent climate normal period includes data from the years 1981-2010. In previous years, calculating comparisons to 30-year normals for the Clayton area has been almost impossible to do because a weather station representative of our little corner of the planet did not exist. The closest long-term

weather station, Mt. Diablo, while seemingly in our backyard, is not representative since the weather station is at an elevation of 2,170 feet. The only other stations in our county, Antioch and Martinez, seem equally unrepresentative. The good news (for us weather geeks anyhow) is that 30-year weather data records now exist for Buchanan Field in Concord, and that data is listed in the 1981-2010 NWS publication. The Concord airport, while not a perfect match for Clayton, is better than anything else available. Here is how 2012 stacked up, with all temperatures measured in degrees Fahrenheit: The annual average temperature for 2012 was 60.2 degrees, 0.4 degrees cooler than normal. Six months were warmer than normal, and six cooler. Compared to normal, March was the coolest (-2.6 degrees) and November was the warmest (+1.8 degrees). August was the hottest month of 2012, with 14 days when maximum temperatures of at least at 90 degrees were reported. For the entire year there were 40 days when the afternoon temperature reached this threshold. On June 16, the warmest day of 2012, the temperature reached 103° F. This was well below the

record maximum of 112 recorded during the July 2006 heat wave. December was the coldest month of 2012. The coldest day of the year was Dec. 20 when the morning temperature dropped to 28 degrees. Concord Airport’s record low of 22 degrees was set during the December 1990 cold snap. Our Mediterranean-style climate features dry summers and wet winters. The past year was no exception since only one day of measurable rainfall was reported between April 26 and Oct. 10. In 2012 Concord reported 19.31 inches of rain, about 117 percent of the annual average. December was by far the wettest month of 2012 when 5.08 inches fell. Rainfall was recorded on 14 days during December, and the heaviest one-day rainfall total was 1.76 inches on Dec. 2. Because we have a dry summer season in California, rainfall normals have historically been calculated on a July to June basis. During the second half of last year 9.64 inches of rain was measured, which is 168 percent of normal for that period. The July 2012 to June 2013 water year is off to a good start. We don’t know what mother nature has is store for us in the

upcoming year but at least we have a measuring stick to use to evaluate local weather data. Weather-wise, the Buchanan Field site may not be a perfect match for Clayton, but it is much better than anything we’ve had before. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist with PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

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Many people may have made New Year’s resolutions this year, and perhaps already seen them thrown out the window. I’m not sure how many people resolved to be happier this year but I think that being happier could be a wonderful way to be in 2013; it not only benefits you, but also benefits everyone you are connected to. Your level of happiness in your daily life is more in your control than you think. Research has shown that 50 percent of our happiness is due to our genetics (which we cannot change) and only 10 percent is due to circumstances (i.e. if I purchase this/get that job/move somewhere, etc.). That means that 40 percent of our happiness is up to us. So, in honor of resolving to be happier in 2013, here are some helpful hints from Dr. Christine Carter, a sociologist and happiness expert from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Make a Plan: Our mind tends to focus on what has been left unfinished on our to-do task list. Rather than feel pressured to complete the task straightaway, know that you’ll feel better if you simply create a plan for how and when you’ll take the next

step to complete the task. Write a Love Letter: Let someone know in writing (email or text will do) that you’re thinking about them, which conveys just how much you love and care. Change your Mantra. When someone asks you how you are doing, instead of responding with the usual, “This is what has been going wrong…” or “This is how unbelievably busy I’ve been…”, talk about one thing that you are grateful for instead. Eight Hugs a Day: Science shows that your brain benefits from a boost in oxytocin (which is a feel-good neurotransmitter) when we give or get eight hugs a day. Make Gratitude Placecards: We feel happier, and raise happier kids, when we practice gratitude deliberately and consistently. At your next get-together, consider having table placecards that people can write on inside with messages of love and appreciation. Touch the Earth: Research has shown we need to have direct contact with the Earth’s surface electrons in order to reduce the number of damaging free radicals in our bodies. So, make a point to spend 30-40 minutes at a time working in the garden or walking barefoot.

STEPHANIE HO MIND MATTERS Commit to Kindness. Do something nice for someone else, even if they don’t know it was you. Cultivate Your Support Network. Happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of our social ties. Do something to strengthen your tie to others – invite someone to dinner, help out a neighbor, call someone having a hard time. Spend Some Time Alone. While we want to be connected to others, we also need our alone time to increase our inner peace and mindfulness. Make a date with yourself and do something that makes you feel at peace. Listen to Your Favorite Songs. Your favorite music can uplift your spirit and bring you joy. Make sure you keep it handy for a happiness boost. Stephanie T. Ho is a licensed psychologist. She has a private practice office in Walnut Creek and works at UC Berkeley. She can be reached at

As of Jan. 1, the state of California changed its smog program. The new STAR Certified Test and Repair system is a lot like the old Test-only system, but now smog stations that meet the state’s requirements and have a good score will be able to test all vehicles. What does this mean? If in the past you went to a test-only site, now you can go to a STAR Certified site. There will be more STAR stations than there were Test-only. The consumer will have a wider choice. California is also changing the Consumers Assistance Program (CAP). This program gives financial assistance to people that qualify. Under the new system, the STAR stations replace the GOLD Shield stations. Under the new program the state will pay $500 towards the emissions repairs of a vehicle that failed its smog test and meets the requirements. For more information please visit The state is still running the vehicle retirement program. This program is to get older cars off the road. You may retire your vehicle if you qualify. Go to the state website mentioned above to find out if you qualify for a state payment of $1,000 to $1,500 for your car. Gary Taylor is service manager at Clayton Valley Shell. Call him with questions at (925) 672-3900

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January 11, 2013

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 9

Best of charter conversion may be coming The 2012-2013 school year is halfway through, and so far Clayton Valley Charter High School has been a success. The school’s no-failure policy has students working hard to maintain their grades. The new discipline measures taken have

DVMS bands rocked their holiday concert

cleaned up most of the student misconduct. New quarterly benchmark tests provide teachers with more precise measurements of student progress, and allow them to zero-in on students who need extra support.

It seems that separation from the district has only been beneficial in some ways, such as tearing down the red tape that kept Clayton Valley from moving forward. But as the year progressed, many students were

wondering “where are all the magnificent building improvements?” Before Clayton Valley went charter, many of the charter advocates promised or suggested school improvements that


Jay Bedecarre

DVMS REPORTER The cadet and symphonic band at Diablo View Middle School had an amazing concert on Dec. 19, with both bands playing their hearts out. To start off the concert, the cadet band played a fun holiday song, “Jingle Bells.” The next song was “Anasazi,” which painted a picture of the ancient pueblo people in the audience’s mind. They then played a wonderful rendition of “O Come Little Children,” the German Christmas carol. The trumpets were featured in a great piece called “The Buglers.” Their final song as a band, “Old MacDonald’s Band,” was an entertaining combination of many classic songs, including several favorite children’s songs. To conclude their portion of the concert many students in concert band performed solos. Earlier in the week the symphonic band students had asked Mr. Thompson if they could play a song dedicated to the victims of Newtown, CT, so they started with “Amazing Grace.” Their next song was a classical arrangement of “Carol of the Bells.” “Regenesis (Song of the Planet),” was about the eruption of Mt. St. Helens and the rebirth of the surrounding ecosystem. The next songs that they played were “James Bond Returns,” followed by “Penvency Castle.” “Can You Name These Tunes” was another medley of popular songs. In preparation for the symphonic band’s trip to Disneyland, their final song was “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Mr. Thompson teaches four band classes. The cadet band includes sixth graders and students who are learning a new instrument. The concert band is primarily seventh graders. The jazz band meets before school and is made up of mostly eighth graders, but also includes many seventh graders. The symphonic band is again mostly eighth graders, but there are also many seventh graders. “The band program is great for kids, because they get to play pretty much any instrument they want to,” said Cecily Sotomayer, a symphonic band student. “It’s really fun and got me more into playing the flute.” All of the songs were fantastic. It was a great way to lead into the holiday break. Samantha Tuohey is in the seventh grade at Diablo View Middle School and plans to be a writer someday. Email your story ideas, comments and questions to

RUMORS THAT THE HIGH-POWERED CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL Football team’s offense wore out the turf this fall at the Concord school are simply not true. The turf was installed in 2004 and had actually exceeded its expected lifetime. During the holiday break over the past three weeks the green turf was rolled out and when students return from vacation they found brand new black turf with a large school logo at midfield and the new field lined for football, soccer and lacrosse. The project is funded by Mt. Diablo Unified School District Measure C. More projects at Gonsalves Stadium will happen this summer when additional bleachers, a new synthetic running track, snack shack and additional paved walkways will all be installed.

Hey, Washington – can’t you all just get along? I have a confession to make: I actually really like politics. I think that they are interesting and important, and do my best to keep up with issues, because I like feeling like a somewhat well-informed citizen. However, sometimes they frustrate me, and sometimes they upset me, which is how I have been feeling about this whole fiscal cliff business. I come from a middle class family with two expensive teenagers and two impending college tuitions looming. My brother and I are lucky enough to be able to participate in sports and extra-curriculars, and we are living comfortably, but we don’t have much extra. This is a situation that many families across the country are in, and the fiscal cliff can and will have an effect on all of us. However, it’s not the raise in taxes that frustrates me; it’s the way neither party wanted to let their opposition have their way. All politicians know that this affects the entire country, regardless of how much money they have or who they voted for. And I understand that

both sides are in a bit of a power struggle and relations are still tense so soon after the election. But is it really too much for both sides to just step back and do what is right for the people that they are representing? Maybe I’m looking at this from a naïve, why-can’t-we-alljust-get-along point of view, and maybe I’m just being biased toward my own opinions, but I don’t see why this must be so complicated. I certainly don’t think that it should be a quick decision, but if politicians are truly doing the right thing, I don’t believe it should be debated this much. I feel that a more nonpartisan approach should be considered for important decisions such as this, because perhaps then a more effective and efficient agreement could be reached. The way I see it, taxes are a part of life. And the more you have, the more you should give back. If I someday, miraculously, strike it rich, I will be happy to pay high taxes. I would feel obligated to give more because I would have

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New turf and track is also scheduled to be installed at the field, and new bleachers and restrooms will be added at the location. In addition, all classroom computers will be upgraded, and classrooms will be equipped with ceilingmounted LCD projectors. Large purchases such as copy machines for each wing, and all new weights and exercise equipment, are also on the list. Not mention the recently constructed Chemistry buildings, and the new soon-to-be-built weight room. It seems that many of the students who expected a radically improved Clayton Valley under the charter may see their expectations become a reality. The way things are transforming at CVCHS, maybe the “far-fetched dream” of replacing dusty old textbooks with shiny new iPads or similar gadgets is, in fact, a possibility. Still, I have no doubt that these school-wide improvements will allow CVCHS reach its vision statement of “fostering a culture of excellence.” Robbie Parker is a freshman at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Send comments to

TEEN SPEAK more. It makes much more sense than trying to take from those who already have nothing to give. For my family, taxes will be raised slightly. It’s not the best news in the world, since we don’t exactly have money to spare, but we are happy with it. A portion of the money will go to Social Security, meaning ideally it will go to my retired grandparents, who need the money more than us, because they don’t have the income that we do. That’s fine with me – in fact, I feel incredibly fortunate. Maybe the country should allow teenagers like me to make the laws.




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enticed students into jumping on board the conversion bandwagon. However, now that second semester looms, students can only ask where are all the glorious renovations and tech upgrades that persuaded many students to support the movement? Once winter break is over, many of our questions will be answered. CVCHS’s governing board has formed a detailed and comprehensive project list in order to improve student education, athletics, and ease of access; as well as beautify and improve campus efficiency. The entire project is funded by the Measure C dollars, and totals to a whopping $6.7 million in expenses. This includes improvements in technology, track and field renovations, physical education facility upgrades, school beautification and restoration, and even construction of new buildings and classrooms. Most importantly, this plan was approved months ago, and many of these improvements are already underway. While students and teachers were away enjoying the festivities of winter break, construction was underway at CVCHS. Lockers were completely repainted and sanitized – a long overdue improvement at the high school. According to the project plan, many buildings such as the Multi-Use Room, locker rooms, and the gymnasium had the much-needed air conditioning units installed.

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Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

January 11, 2013

Sports Medals were bronze but 2012 was golden sports year JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton sports in 2012 took on a decidedly international flavor with two local kids attaining Olympic glory and America’s biggest cycling race wheeling through town. There were many more local news and accomplishments that bear one more look at before we consign the 12th year of the new millennium (2000 was part of the 20th century they tell us) to our memory books. It was such a special sports year that half of the 24 issues of the Clayton Pioneer in 2012 featured sports stories on the front page! Our two local Olympians, Kara Kohler and Kristian Ipsen, each took third in the London Olympics and we feel we need three separate listings to do justice to their magical year. KARA KOHLER, KRISTIAN IPSEN QUALIFY FOR US OLYMPIC TEAM The process to determine the United States diving and rowing teams was entirely different however it turned out that on June 22 both rower Kara Kohler and diver Kristian Ipsen secured their tickets to London as part of the United States Olympic Team. For Kohler it was the end of an evaluation process of over a

Pete Barra photo




year where race results from major international meets in Europe were combined with testing and races among American hopefuls. Kohler took a year off from Cal Berkeley and lived at the training center in New Jersey to give herself the best chance of making an American


whizzes through Clayton May 15 after descending Mt. Diablo.

boat. She was selected along with three women who won silver at the 2011 World Championship in the quadruple sculls. For Ipsen it was essentially an all or nothing competition at the US Diving Trials in Washington. After becoming the first Stanford male diver to win an

NCAA title in 82 years in March Ipsen took off the spring quarter to concentrate on training, especially with his diving partner Troy Dumais. The pair dominated American competition since they were paired by USA Diving four years ago and were odd-son favorites in the 3M synchro. They lived up to their billing at the Trials on June 22. A couple days later Ipsen suffered a bitter disappointment as he was edged out on the final dive for a place in the individual 3M springboard, ironically being outscored 1.25 points by Dumais. IPSEN, KOHLER EARN BRONZE MEDALS IN LONDON

Mike Dunn photo

1960 OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST DON BRAGG celebrated with 2012 Clayton Olympians Kara Kohler and Kristian Ipsen and their bronze medals from London.

In London Ipsen and Dumais competed in a finalsonly 3M synchro against seven other international teams on Aug. 1. In a roller coast effort the Americans finished comfortably in third and thus on the medal podium behind Chinese and Russian teams. Ipsen at 19 was the youngest member of the surprising USA diving team that exceeded expectations in London. In our 2003 sports year in review a 10-year-old Ipsen was featured as he had begun to make a name for himself as an American diving prodigy. In 2003 Kohler was swimming for the Dana Hills Swim Team and was presented with her 11-12 age group high point award at the County Meet by Natalie Coughlin, who has etched her name in Olympic lore since then. At the London Games Kohler’s quad team had

Mike Dunn

CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL football team wins school’s first-ever section championship.

to race three times in five days culminating with the finals on Eton Donnery Rowing Centre on Aug. 1 in the morning before Ipsen’s diving finals. The Americans were within grasp of a silver medal before taking third as favored Ukraine took gold and Germany overtook the USA for silver. Kohler too was the youngest member of her Olympic rowing team, male or female. CLAYTON WELCOMES ITS HOMEGROWN OLYMPIANS The cherry on top of the sundae for Kohler and Ipsen came Sept. 15 when they were the star attractions of a parade and celebration in downtown Clayton, where both spent much of their childhood. An estimated 5000-6000 fans of all ages covered the Main St. parade route and then filled The Grove to overflowing as a number of civic dignitaries lauded and honored the two bronze medalists. Among those on the podium was Clayton’s adopted Olympian, Don Bragg, who won the 1960 Rome Olympics pole vault gold medal. Ipsen and Kohler repaid the attendees showing off their Olympic medals and giving short heartfelt speeches and then signing autographs for everyone who wanted one. Both athletes thrilled the crowd when they said they are looking ahead to Rio and the 2016 Olympics. PARDI STEPS DOWNS FROM CLAYTON VALLEY FOOTBALL, MURPHY TAKES THE REINS Clayton Valley High coach Herc Pardi stepped down after 16 years in charge of Eagles football in March a short time after his long-time defensive coordinator Jerry Coakley passed away. Pardi led his alma mater to three North Coast Section championship games and 12 playoff appearances in those 16 years. It is ironic that at the end of the year legendary De La Salle High coach Bob Ladouceur also coached his final game as the Spartans won a fourth straight State Bowl Game Open Division championship. “Lad” and Pardi will now forever be linked as it was Pardi’s 1991 Pittsburg team which defeated DLS 35-27 in the NCS finals in what turned out to be the last time (covering 236 games) De La Salle lost to a Northern California team. In 2004 Clayton Valley tied the Spartans 17-17 (actually DLS tied Clayton that evening), one of only three ties in Ladouceur’s 427 games in charge of the

Top: Herc Pardi Below: Tim Murphy

Concord school over 34 seasons. Pardi coached high school football 37 years. After Pardi stepped down Clayton Valley hired Tim Murphy as its new football coach. Murphy won an NCS championship in 1999 while at Ygnacio Valley and then embarked on a successful run at Clovis East. He returned to the Bay Area in 2012 and athletic director Pat Middendorf attracted him to the new charter high school after Murphy originally committed to return to Ygnacio Valley. AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA CYCLES THROUGH CLAYTON The Amgen Tour of California has established itself as America’s largest and most prestigious professional road cycling race. The tour changes its route each year and in 2012 for the first time setup a stage featuring a climb over Mt. Diablo. On the back end of that climb May 15 the 125 riders came through Clayton and out Marsh Creek Rd. towards the Stage 3 conclusion in Livermore. Ygnacio Valley, Clayton and Marsh Creek roads were lined by bicycle aficionados, interested first-time spectators and several classes of Mt. Diablo Elementary students as the racers whizzed through Clayton in two packs over a 15minute period. Regrettably, it doesn’t appear the 2013 Tour will be coming down this side of Mt. Diablo and thus Clayton won’t be on the race route.


Golden Year , page 12

January 11, 2013

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 11


Former Eagle earns WAC award, D.C. bowl game win for San Jose State JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Linebacker Vince Buhagiar (36) was a two-way standout for Clayton Valley High School in 2009 earning Diablo Valley Athletic League MVP honors as a senior while leading his team to the second round of the North Coast Section playoffs. A year later he made an immediate impact as a freshman standout at San Jose State and this year as a junior was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference linebacker. He was second on the Spartans with 89 tackles and fourth on the team with 9.5 tackles for loss. The former Eagle started every game during San Jose State’s 11-2 season. With temperatures nearing 20 degrees with a wind chill in Washington, D.C. #24-ranked San Jose State took a 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl last month. The Spartans finished 2012 with seven consecutive wins and can look forward to a possible top-20 finish in both national polls for the first time in school history.

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A fierce tackler ever since he stepped on the San Jose State University campus three years ago as a freshman, Vince Buhagiar had his best year to date this past fall. The former Clayton Valley High footballer was named to the all-Western Athletic Conference team and capped his junior year with plays like this in the Military Bowl against Bowling Green in Washington, D.C. as he was in on seven tackles.

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Eagles players, coach earn fall sports honors JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

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Clayton Valley lost a pair of DVAL girls basketball games last season after going undefeated in league in 20102011. At the beginning of the calendar year and league season the Eagles had their second and third games this past week against Berean Christian and Northgate, the teams to claim wins over the Eagles a year ago. Junior Kayla Taylor was surrounded by Ygnacio Valley players but managed a layup in the league opener. CV defeated Berean 68-37 in round two.

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Clayton Valley Charter High School water polo and football athletes have been receiving recognition for their outstanding performances during the fall season. From the girls water polo team four players got recognition on the all-North Coast Section teams while a pair of CVCHS boys were also honored. Seniors Taylor Ryle and Casey Adams were selected to the first team all-NCS squad. Junior teammates Sara Abele and Sara Johnson were picked to the second and third NCS teams, respectively. Juniors Jack Brown (second team) and Kenny Cuneo (third) were picked to NCS boys allsection teams. The NCS champion Clayton Valley Charter football team, as expected, also continues to garner post-season honors. The Eagles won the school’s firstever section football title and then met Oakdale in the inaugural Northern California Regional Division II Bowl Game.

New coach Tim Murphy won double honors after being selected Metro coach of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle and East Bay coach of the year by the Bay Area News Group. Murphy has also been nominated for State coach of the year consideration. The Eagles offensive workhorse and record-setting running back Joe Protheroe joined his coach for top award when he was named the East Bay offensive player of the year as well as being first-team all-East Bay along with lineman Logan Bangert. Their senior classmate Jesse Medrano was second team all-East Bay defense. Protheroe was a first-team all-Metro team pick while Bangert was second team. Receiving honorable mention all-Metro were Mike Protheroe and Curtis Grant. Medrano, Bangert and Dakohta Cramer played in the Holiday Classic post-season all-star game last month. Joe Protheroe was still out of commission from the ankle injury he sustained in the second half of the Bowl Game and did not play.

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January 11, 2013


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Dana Hills Swim Team was noticed for its 11th City Meet championship in our 2003 sports review. That championship came after a 2002 season when the Otters were third at City Meet, breaking a 10-year winning streak. The subsequent years have all been winning ones as DHST now has 20 City Meet championships in 21 years. The meet itself has seen some changes with teams from Pleasant Hill and Martinez also added to the competition that previously only featured Concord and Clayton teams. The Otters were second at county meet in 2011 and took fifth this past summer as many of their swimmers were in their “down year.” Oakhurst Country Club, the other local recreation swim team, made a splash before the 2012 season when Jasmine Millan was appointed head coach. The young Carondelet High School coach was put in charge of the Orcas beginning last summer. Serge Victor completed the second season of his second stint in charge of Dana Hills in 2012 continuing his outstanding results for the Otters. Recently the Dana Hills board announced the appointment of John Tsubota as new head coach after 16 years with the Walnut Creek Swim Club. EAGLES WIN FIRST-EVER SECTION FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Clayton Valley Charter football this fall featured a new coach in Tim Murphy and entirely new offensive and defensive systems. The Eagles lost their season opened to Division I power Pittsburg but then rolled off 12 consecutive lopsided victories including wins over DVAL contenders Concord (two-time NCS finalists) and resurgent Northgate to claim the schools DVAL crown since 2008. They then went into

the playoffs and vanquished three straight teams (including a repeat victory over Concord in the semifinals) capped by a 35-7 win over Rancho Cotate in the NCS Division II finals, the first section title in the 54 years of Clayton Valley football. Normally that would have been it for the season but California instituted a Regional Bowl Game prior to the CIF State Bowl Games and CVCHS was picked to meet Oakdale in the first ever DII Regional game. The back and forth game ended with Oakdale on top 2724. The contest may have ultimately been determined when CV star running back Joe Protheroe was injured in the third quarter and couldn’t finish out the game. Protheroe shattered numerous school records while rushing for 34 touchdowns and about 3,000 yards in Murphy’s wing-gun offense. What offensive records Protheroe didn’t break the Eagles as a team did as one of the highest scoring teams in California high school football. HIGH SCHOOL ADOPTS NEW NAME; CVCHS COACHING CHANGES FOLLOW

Clayton Valley High School added the word Charter to its name while its sports teams continue to play in the Diablo Valley Athletic League and compete for North Coast Section and state honors. Pat Middendorf had been in charge of the athletic department for several years but she moved into a new role at the school as Director of Operations and Special Education. Greg Fister was appointed as the new AD and by the time the school year at least half of the 24 varsity sports at CVCHS will have had a change in the head coach position. That transition began last summer when Casey Coakley returned to the Eagles coaching ranks as head baseball coach. Pardi had filled in for the 2012

Sports Shorts SPEAKERS, GUESTS ADDED FOR HOT STOVE LEAGUE BASEBALL DINNER THIS FRIDAY Head baseball coach Casey Coakley is reviving an old tradition with the first Clayton Valley Charter High School Hot Stove Dinner this Friday, Jan. 11. The evening’s festivities will whet the appetite of baseball fans, Clayton Valley alumni and current CVCHS families in the cold winter months before spring training starts again. There will be lots of baseball talk with Clayton Valley coaches past and present including Coakley, Herc Pardi, Joe Panella, Tom DiMercurio, Stan Ross, Bob Johnson and Bob Ralston and former Eagle players who went on to college and professional careers including Bud Beemer, Matt and Scott Gorgen, Sam Ray, Chris Mazza, Lance Daniels, Vince Bruno, Sam Carter and Adam Elliot. Door prizes, raffles and dinner all benefit CVCHS Baseball and its scholarship fund. The event is from 6-9:30 p.m. at Shadelands Civic Arts Center, 111 N. Wiget Ln. at Ygnacio Valley Rd. in Walnut Creek. For more information and to buy tickets at $40 each, send email to coach Coakley at


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Diablo FC’s renowned 12th annual Winter Soccer Academy now affiliated with the San Jose Earthquakes opened this week running on Mondays and Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. at Willow Pass Park in Concord through Feb. 14. Boys and girls 5-12 years of age in all skill levels can participate in Winter Academy getting professional coaching in a non-competitive environment. The year-round U8 San Jose Earthquakes-Diablo FC Academy also begins its 2013 sessions with the Winter Academy. St. Mary’s College head coach Adam Cooper runs the Winter Academy. For more information on the Winter Academy and U8 Soccer Academy visit

SPRING YOUTH PROGRAM SIGNUPS NOW AT CLAYTON GYM Spring youth basketball academy for boys and girls of all skill levels in first through ninth grades is returning to Clayton Community Gym for seven Fridays starting Mar. 15. Signups are also being taken for spring youth volleyball league, which will run on Saturdays from Mar. 2-April 20 for ages 8-16. Youth Tee-ball league for ages 3-5 is Mar. 16-Apr. 27. Registration deadline for these programs is Feb. 25. For more information or to register for any program offered by All Out Sports at the gym, visit

CV LITTLE LEAGUE REGISTRATION CLOSES JAN. 21 Registration for Clayton Valley Little League is open until Monday, Jan. 21, for the spring 2013 season. Baseball programs for players ages four to 14 and softball for girls four to 14 are both open for registration. The CVLL program began in 1964 and includes a Chal-

season as interim head coach after Bob Ralston left for the Cal State East Bay job. Pardi returns as the Eagles pitching coach, a slot he held for Ralston. The other varsity teams with new head coaches include football, boys water polo, girls golf, boys soccer, girls lacrosse, plus the boys and girls cross country, track and field and swim teams. The campus on Alberta Way is also having some immediate changes to the athletic facilities with new turf installed over the holiday break and plans for a new track, bleacher, snack shack all scheduled for next summer. Long-term plans include a potential swim complex, additional turf field and new softball diamond. LOCAL SOCCER TEAMS WIN TOURNAMENT TITLES; SWANN RETURNS TO COLLEGE Clayton resident Megan Swann, a former 27-year-old Clayton Valley High soccer standout and long-time club soccer coach with Diablo Futbol Club, was named the first women’s coach at UC Merced. She took her first-year team to the conference playoffs and is out on the recruiting trail finding new players for the Bobcats. Mt. Diablo Soccer Association teams enjoyed success in the annual series of spring tournaments claiming several championships and top finishes from Pacifica to Reno. Diablo FC was well represented with Clayton and Concord players on its competitive team who played all over the West Coast including in the prestigious Western College Development Association and National Premier League. The Diablo FC 94 under 17 girls earned a berth in the National Cup XI last summer in Chicago. LOCAL ATHLETES, TEAMS MAKE THEIR MARK

In addition to the aforementioned teams and athletes there were no shortage of others from our area who had memorable performances and events


during the past year. The Clayton Valley girls volleyball team held a Dig Pink cancer awareness game with Berean Christian in the fall. Two local wrestlers, Joe Moita of De La Salle (third place) and Troy Lakin of Clayton Valley (fifth), were on the podium at the state wrestling championships. Numerous Clayton Valley teams earned berths in the NCS playoffs and individual athletes were given all-DVAL awards and enjoyed placing in NCS competition. Both soccer teams, football and golf won league titles. Casey Adams of CVCHS was a state finalist in the Wendy’s High School Heisman program. Runner Alex Tate and tennis player Jonathan Kim were Clayton Valley High athletes of the year. Former local high school athletes Samantha Walker (Cal soccer), Garrett Biel (Trinity University football) and Matt Day (Westmont College cross country and track) concluded their collegiate careers while junior linebacker Vince Buhagiar started the Military Bowl for victorious San Jose State. Both St. Bonaventure CYO basketball (Oakland Diocese CYO playoffs) and Clayton Valley Falcons football teams (Turkey Bowl) enjoyed reaching the final championship games of their seasons.

lenger Division for players with physical and mental special needs. Players must reside within the CVLL boundaries. Tryouts being Jan. 26 and continue through Feb. 10. Opening day is Mar. 24. Go to for complete information and to register.

DIABLO FC U9-U12 SOCCER TRYOUTS JAN. 26-28 Diablo FC tryouts for the 2013 season for under 9 through under 12 boys competitive teams and U9-U11 girls will be held Jan. 26-2728 in Concord. Boys born between Aug. 1, 2001 and July 31, 2006 and girls born between Aug. 1, 2002 and July 31, 2006 are invited to try out. Tryouts for girls in the U12-U14 and boys U13-U14 age groups will be Feb. 2 and 4. There is no charge to try out and players can pre-register today at

CLAYTON VALLEY SEEKS HALL OF FAME NOMINATIONS Clayton Valley High School Athletic Hall of Fame committee is accepting nominations for the 2013 induction class. This will be the third class for the Hall, which began during the school’s 50th anniversary year in 2008. Individuals can nominate student athletes and coaches for the Hall of Fame. The requirement is that the nominee was a CVHS grad or coach in the years 1960-1999 who was allleague in at least one sport. Requests for a nomination form can be sent via e-mail to Dee Billeter at or Bill Nelson at Include a mailing address and an application form will be mailed to you. The induction takes place May 18 at Centre Concord.

10TH ANNUAL DIABLO FC CRAB FEED & AUCTION FEB. 8 The 10th annual Crab Feed and Auction to support Diablo FC youth soccer programs is Friday, Feb. 8, at Centre Concord. Besides the crab feed dinner and fund-raising live and silent auctions, there will be dancing. Tickets are $50. To get more info or to buy tickets visit

SPRING SIGNUPS FOR MT. DIABLO SOCCER TAKEN ONLINE Mt. Diablo Soccer is accepting applications for its spring program which begins in March. Players who participated in the fall season are charged only $50 for spring. Boys and girls 4 to 18 years of age can take part. Under 12 and older divisions in spring league are co-ed. Spring league ends in mid-May and is generally less formal than fall with players getting the opportunity to play soccer without any postseason playoff pressure. Email any questions to Register online at

19TH CVCHS CRAB FEED & AUCTION MAR. 16 Clayton Valley Charter High School Athletic Boosters will hold their 19th annual Crab Feed and Auction on Saturday, Mar. 16, at Centre Concord. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis and the popular event always sells out. Must be 21 or older to attend. For more info email or go to to order tickets.

January 11, 2013

Clayton Pioneer •

Book Review

An ordinary man’s extraordinary journey





Have you ever felt that the big events in our lives are sometimes the result of one small decision that, once made, shifts every event following it toward a slightly new trajectory? Yeah, Rachel Joyce’s debut novel, “The Unlike-

ly Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,” is like that. The morning that quietly retired Harold Fry begins his walk across England starts much as any other day in substance and form, except one thing. Harold receives a letter from Queenie Hennessy, from a hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Queenie is dying of cancer, and she has written Harold to say goodbye. Though he hasn’t seen or talked to Queenie in many years, Harold is staggered by the news and begins a series of steps that take him on a journey both across England and to the center of his heart. Harold doesn’t mean to hoof it across the country. What he

means to do was to mail a letter to Queenie, thanking her for her friendship all those years ago. Queenie’s friendship, as it turns out, is the most authentic relationship that Harold has had in decades. Maureen Fry, Harold’s wife, is as emotionally distant as the moon, and Harold cannot express to her the depth of his shock of the news about Queenie. In fact, when Harold mentions Queenie, Maureen blandly responds that she can’t be expected to remember everyone from his work, and could Harold please pass the jam?

Marietta Leffner finishes her chapter with Clayton Library LOUISE WALL Special to the Pioneer

After 24 years with the Contra Costa County Library system, longtime Clayton Community Library staffer Marietta Leffner is retiring. She began as a library assistant for the Mobile Library, and worked at the Walnut Creek , El Cerrito and Pinole libraries before joining the staff in Clayton in 1995. The youngest in a family of seven children, Leffner grew up in the Philippine Islands, and obtained her Master’s Degree in

are now college graduates. “She is our Martha Stewart of the library,” says Marnie Malcolm , a library volunteer and Library Foundation officer, of Leffner. “Whenever there is a party or event, it is Marietta who helps organize it. She brings delicious dishes and baked goods to potlucks, and often provides snacks for the workers who set up the book sales.” Leffner is also known to take care of the potted plants scattered throughout the library, and often brings cut flower arrangements for the circulation desk.

Photo by Marnie Malcolm


Library Science there. After graduating, she travelled to the United States “for a year.” She lived in Los Angeles for a time, but then moved to Chicago where she had friends. While working there, she met her future husband, Ray. They married, and moved to Pleasant Hill and Concord where they raised two daughters, both of whom

Still, it is her work with books – and those who to read them – that makes Leffner stand out. Her Picture Book Times and craft sessions for children are enthusiastically attended. “She is a caring teacher who always makes the times special with projects, seasonal displays or even finger puppets,” says Ted Holmsen, a library volunteer.

“The sounds of laughter or singing can be heard coming from the room. You can tell that she enjoys the time also.” Leffner’s co-workers are eager to sing her praises. “Marietta has an ability to connect with people of all ages,” says Diana Bauer, Library Foundation secretary. “She has a gift for hospitality, and yet she has a manner of quiet humility.” Joyce Atkinson and Jeanne Boyd, president and vice president of the Library Foundation , agree that Marietta makes patrons and volunteers feel welcome. She donates extra hours and materials to make the projects successful. Library volunteer Joan Chesterman remembers Marietta from the old Bookmobile that brought the library to the neighborhoods. “Marietta is a person who takes on whatever is asked of her. She puts 110 percent into anything she does. Every time I leave after my shift, she always thanks me for my help. It really makes a volunteer feel that his/her time is valuable to others. I will miss her cheerful smile.” Karen Hansen-Smith, Senior Clayton Community Library Manager, perhaps sums up Leffner’s contributions the best: “Marietta provides consistently good service to all patrons. Her professionalism and care will be greatly missed.” Her giving spirit and sense of community doesn’t stop at the library doors. Throughout their years in Concord, Marietta and Ray have given many hours to their church and community. They plan to continue their volunteering, but hope to have more time to devote to their hobbies and travel.

Harold is not a great man compelled to do great things, but he feels bound to do something, so he writes Queenie a note, telling her that he hopes she will get better. Then heading out in little more than a windbreaker, slacks, and a pair of loafers, he aims to mail his letter at the corner mailbox. But he gets to the corner and thinks that perhaps he will mail it at the next post box, then the next, and the next. Before he knows it, Harold is on the road, walking toward Berwick-upon-Tweed. He cannot even admit to himself that he would rather keep walking away from Maureen and the antiseptic sleepwalk that is their life, than dare to think of returning. Maureen would certainly not understand Harold’s need to do something to honor Queenie. So he walks. Harold reaches the outer borders of their village, and continues northward completely ill-prepared and quite without a plan. During his cross-country journey, Harold meets many people who, inspired by his pilgrimage, convince him to keep walking despite the obvious lunacy of doing so. Soon, the news stations catch wind of Harold’s story and he becomes a folk hero, walking to deliver a message to a dying friend. He attracts groupies and critics, and watches as his private pilgrimage become a reality news event with little actual resemblance to the facts. In the end, Harold loses his mind, finds his compass, and completes his big journey with little fanfare. In the end, Harold lets his heart break open, where he finds the love he had hidden away. Cynthia Gregory writes book reviews, award-winning short stories and a blog. Visit her at or write

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Clayton Pioneer •

January 11, 2013

Get your furniture moving this month, too The holidays have come and gone with a festive “whoosh!” and you’re feeling very organized, as you just stowed away the last box of holiday trimmings back in the attic. Taking a break with a cup of tea, you notice that your house is looking a little tired, very un-festive, drab, un-glittery and just plain boring. But no need to fret. This is the perfect time to assess furnishings in your home and start the new year off with an updated plan for your furniture. The easiest solution to bring new life to a living space that has become stale is to move your furniture. In fact, if you have the time (and patience), move all furnishings completely out of your living space and view the room empty. Sometimes it’s hard to see the positive attributes of a space when existing pieces of furniture, and the layer of accessories, are clouding your view. Clearing out a living space and starting from scratch, in


DESIGN & DÉCOR some respect, is a great opportunity to take inventory of the furnishings you really do need and love, versus the pieces that are taking up space and have no decorative, nor functional, purpose. This is called editing, and I’d like to share a little secret about creating a “perfect” floor plan: you don’t have to use every piece of furniture that you own in one space. Console tables, occasional chairs, chests of drawers – these pieces can go just about any-

where if you have the space. A console table can go in the entry, an occasional chair in the powder room, a chest of drawers in your dining room. Spreading out your furniture throughout your home will keep things balanced, and maybe even a little unexpected and fun. So how do you get started with a new furniture plan? Whether this is a post-holiday “remodel” or a new home, before moving one piece of furniture, ask yourself a few questions:  How do you want to use this living space? Do you have a new purpose in mind? Or will the usage stay the same?  What piece of furniture will anchor the room? Large sofas, pianos, entertainment cabinets; these are the pieces that may only have one or two practical locations.  Do you want to situate furniture towards an exterior view? TV and fireplace

combo? Or maybe another living space?  How many people does the living space need to accommodate? A private retreat for two? Or accommodations for several family members or friends?  Is it possible to create multiple conversational areas in this living space?  Do you have the right balance of functional and decorative pieces? There are a lot of questions, demanding a lot of functionaldecorative thinking. Basically, it takes a lot of work to get to the bottom of a great floor plan. But once this exercise is complete, you’ll have a fresh new look that only cost time and a good strong back … or two. Jennifer Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at


IN CLAYTON Jan. 23 Fire Station Closure Meeting The Fire Chief, members of the Board of Directors, members of City Council and the City Manager meet to discuss the closure of Clayton’s Station 11 with the public. 7 p.m. Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road. Jan. 28 Speaker from STAND! Scott Chavez, volunteer with STAND!, talks about their programs to stop domestic violence and child abuse. Sponsored by the American Association of University Women. 7:30 p.m. Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. Free.

EVENTS AND ENTERTAINMENT Jan. 12 34th Annual Shellie Awards Gala celebration honoring outstanding performing arts achievements in Central Contra Costa featuring numbers from nominated productions. 7:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $30. 943-7469. Jan. 14 Stroke Support Group Carol Howard-Wooten, MA, MFT and stroke survivor discusses Keeping Hope Alive, her nonprofit organization dedicated to helping reclaim meaningful lives after a stroke. 7 – 9 p.m. Concord Room, John Muir Medical Center, 2540 East St., Concord. Free. Contact Ann Dzuna 376-6218. Jan. 17 – 19 Company C Contemporary Ballet The Company’s winter program brims with innovation, represented by three world premieres. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $10-$45. 943-7469. Jan. 18 “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tongue-in-cheek coming of age story. 8 p.m. Cue Productions Live, 1835 Colfax St., Concord. $25.

Jan. 20 California Symphony The symphony performs Mozart and Tchaikovsky. 4 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $35-$65. 943-7469. Starting Jan. 24 Ham Radio Licensing Course Seven-week course to learn what you need to earn your Technician Class FCC Amateur Radio License. Held by Salvation Army and Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club. 7 – 9 p.m. Salvation Army, 3950 Clayton Road., Concord. Class is free. $5 materials fee plus textbook. Registration required. Jan. 25 – 27 “Princess Ida” Lamplighters Music Theatre’s performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Princess Ida.” Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., W.C. $25-$54. 943-7469. Jan. 25 – Feb. 9 “Down an Alley Filled with Cats” Australian thriller set in a rare used book shop in Sydney. Diablo Actors’ Ensemble Theatre, 1345 Locust St., Walnut Creek. $10$25. Jan. 26 Winds Across the Bay Premier Bay Area Youth Wind Ensemble encouraging the love and support of instrumental music. 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $12. 943-7469. Jan. 27 Vocal Gems of the Ragtime Era Sparkling sampler of songs from the ragtime era. 2:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25. 943-7469. Feb. 1-2 Smuin Ballet Winter program. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $54-$70. 943-7469. Feb. 1 – Mar. 2 “Old Wicked Songs” Center REP performs this inspirational journey of two very different men, with music as a common bond, who must find a way to break through their pasts. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $33-$51. 943-7469.

FUNDRAISERS Jan. 23 Chuck E. Cheese’s Organized by Mt. Diablo Elementary Parent Faculty Club. Mention Mt. Diablo Elementary and Chuck E. Cheese’s donates 15 percent. 12 - 9 p.m. Located at 1611 Willow Pass Road, Concord. 691-1200.

AT THE LIBRARY The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. or 673-0659. Wednesdays Book Buddies A volunteer will read stories for children 3 and older. 1-2 p.m. Jan. 14 Clayton Library Book Club Sunny Solomon leads the discussion of “Next to Love” by Ellen Feldman. Open to anyone who would like to join. 7 p.m. Jan. 16 Wills and Trusts Workshop conducted by attorney Ivette Santaella. Presentation and time for questions and answers. 6 – 8 p.m. Registration required. or 673-0659. Feb. 2 – Mar. 2 Chill Out and Read For K through 2nd graders. Pick up reading record, read 10 books and return for a prize. Dr. Seuss read-in on Mar. 2 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

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

For meetings of local clubs and associations, go to and click on Events.

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January 11, 2013

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 15

New digs for popular credit union makes cents PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

Travis Credit Union is banking that it’s new home in the Clayton Station Shopping Center

will only improve its service to the Clayton community. “The new branch will have ‘ample visibility’ and the same great service we believe members have come to expect,” says

TRAVIS CREDIT UNION’S CLAYTON BRANCH MANAGER, BRAD SLAUGHTER, enters their new location where he says the branch is more visible and more accessible. It also offers a well-lit night depository and walk-up ATM in addition to accounts, loans, investments and business services.

Executive Vice President Lila Dressen. Members “truly feel like our staff are family members and improve their financial life.” The credit union moved from the Clayton Valley Shopping Center to the former site of Blockbuster Video in November. Leading the charge is Branch Manager Brad Slaughter. Slaughter has been with Travis Credit Union’s Clayton Branch since June 2012. He worked for a bank for nine years prior to that. Slaughter noticed the bank often referred customers to credit unions for additional opportunities with their money. He decided to find out why and found Travis Credit Union. “I liked that the credit union was a part of the community,” Slaughter says. “Before, I saw

how much money was taken out of the community and not put back in. That was a drain on the community, not a partnership.” Slaughter has lived in Concord for the last five years with his wife and two children. “Travis believes in a good work/life balance,” he says. “They want you to try and be near where you live and part of the community you represent.” Slaughter was at the booth for Travis Credit Union at Oktoberfest. The credit union also reinvests in the Clayton community by partnering with the Clayton Business and Community Association for the Art and Wine Festival and the Classic Golf Tournament. Travis Credit Union previously helped the city sponsor Clayton Counts

Down, has year-round food barrels for Food Bank of Contra Costa and a Toys for Tots barrel at Christmas. Travis Credit Union also offers scholarships and holds financial literacy programs. Their Community Involvement Officer for Contra Costa County, Eric Maldonado, says, “It’s another way to let individuals know Travis Credit Union is there to help with their financial needs, member or not.” Slaughter and his staff of six are eager to help the community reach their monetary goals. Membership at the Clayton Branch of Travis Credit Union is open to anyone who lives or works in Contra Costa County. Slaughter says, “People do not know you don’t have to be mili-

tary (from Travis Air Force Base) to join.” Travis Credit Union was established in 1951. The notfor-profit cooperative financial institution is headquartered in Vacaville and is the 12th largest credit union in California. Since members, not stockholders, own it, Travis Credit Union is able to return any profits after reserves to members in the form of more branch locations and better values on products and services. The Clayton Branch of Travis Credit Union is located at 5441 Clayton Road. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 800-8778328 or go to

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Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

January 11, 2013

Winter help for spring and summer blooms Monterey Copper Fungicide spray, or Serenade Disease Control if you would rather use product that is registered organic. Spray when it isn’t too windy and there is no threat of rain within 24 hours of application. These applications are made to control leaf curl, blight, and mildew. Follow all the product directions. If scale has been a problem on your fruit trees it too should be sprayed now and every few weeks to get control. Apply applications Sevin, or Spinosad to the entire tree, including the trunk. As always follow all package directions. Apple tree growers that have suffered from worms in their apples will have to spray an insecticide once your apple tree is in full bloom, and the petals of your


GARDEN GIRL January is here, and its time to get back outside and get gardening. This is going to be the year that you resolve to do every thing your landscape needs to be the best it can be. Each month there are chores to do, and January is no exception. Deciduous fruit trees need to be sprayed to control fungus and insects, now and every couple of weeks until flower buds begin to swell. Spray your peaches, nectarines, plums, pears and apricots with

flowers have begun to fall. Hanging Coddling Moth traps will also help in insuring your apples will be hole free. Apply a layer of well-composted chicken manure around all your perennials, deciduous fruit trees, flowering shrubs and lawns. As we continue to get rain, the nutrients from the well-composted chicken manure will slowly be introduced into our soil. Blue-colored hydrangeas should have a hardy dose of aluminum sulfate at this time. This will help keep your blue hydrangeas blue. If you grow pinks, you should apply dolomite lime to acidify the soil, and keep your pinks pinker. Different products will suggest various application rates to achieve desired results.

Read the packaging, or ask questions of nursery professionals for guidance. If you are interested in planting some pops of color to brighten the next weeks of winter, nurseries have flowering choices for you to consider. The woodland-looking anemone plants are in bloom. They are found in colors of red, blue, lavender and bi-colors. This plant blooms in the winter and rests in the summer. It makes a great addition to containers and garden beds. Buds are beginning to form on the evergreen plants called hellebores. This is the type of perennial that appeals to the plant collector. Daphne shrubs and harden-

bergia vines both have buds on their stems. The Daphne is very picky in the landscape, and doesn’t always work out the first time you install it, but once happy the fragrant flower is quite a reward. Hardenbergia vines have been a standard in Clayton Valley gardens. This evergreen has lilac shaped purple f lowers, and

many refer to it as the lilac vine. Install in a partial sun location and prepare for its success. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. Contact her with questions or comments at

Broccoli’s versatile cousin spices up your table DEBRA J. MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market

veggie is really underused but loaded with lots of vitamins

Broccoli rabe is a non-heading variety of broccoli that’s also known as broccoletti di rape, brocoletto, rapini, choy sum or Chinese flowering cabbage. It has long, thin, leafy stalks topped with small florets that look like tiny broccoli florets. The florets or flowers are quite delicate; the leaves slightly bitter. The flavor of broccoli rabe has been described as nutty, bitter and pungent. This wonderfully versatile

and minerals. The dark coloring means it’s full of antioxidants

Broccoli rabe

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like Vitamin C and heavy on the fiber content, which is good for lowering your cholesterol. Pick up some rabe and try it for yourself. It’s delicious when steamed, in stir-frying, and added to salads and soups. Choose firm, green, small stems with compact heads. Like broccoli, the flower buds that make up the florets should be tightly closed and dark green, not open or yellow. Store broccoli rabe in your refrigerator crisper unwashed, either wrapped in a wet towel or in a plastic bag. It

will keep two or three days. For longer storage, blanch and freeze. EASY BROCCOLI RABE WITH GARLIC AND PARMESAN CHEESE 1 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut an X in the bottom of the stems of the broccoli rabe and place in the

boiling water. Cook until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes. Drain. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the broccoli rabe and sauté 10 minutes, or until desired doneness. Dust with parmesan cheese. If you want to turn this side dish into a full meal, toss in some cooked skinless chicken breast pieces and some cooked whole-wheat Chinese noodles.

JAN 11 Clayton_Pioneer_2013