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CV grads are killin’ it in LA July 19, 2019


Newacheck directs ‘Murder Mystery,’ featuring music by fellow alums BEV BRITTON The Pioneer

Concord and Clayton may seem a world away from Lake Como and Milan, Italy, but a peek behind the scenes of the new movie “Murder Mystery” leads to some highly local suspects. Clayton Valley High School grad Kyle Newacheck (Class of 2002) directed the film, and the soundtrack includes music from CV alums Jay Whitlatch (2003) and Jeremy Wells (1998). “Murder Mystery,” starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, debuted June 14 on Netflix. On June 18, Netflix reported that 30.9 million households watched it in the Former Concord resident Kyle Newacheck relaxes on the set of “Murder Mystery” in Italy with Adam Sandler and Jennifer first 72 hours – making it the Aniston. biggest opening weekend in

the company’s history. “It’s wild to have that many people watching the shots that I chose and the takes that I chose and the rhythms that I chose,” Newacheck says.

MAGICAL MOVIE MOMENTS In the film, Sandler plays a New York police officer who has lied to his wife (Aniston) about passing the detective’s test. Meanwhile, Aniston’s character is obsessed with reading murder mysteries. As they head to Italy on a delayed honeymoon, they run headlong into (spoiler alert) a murder mystery. Newacheck called his preparation for the movie “intense,” as he scoped out the area during three trips before shooting began in Italy. He particularily enjoyed directing the murder scene on the yacht – as one character repeatedly pulls a knife out of the corpse, then shoves it back in, to the shock of the other characters.

See Mystery, page 3

Community group works to increase voter turnout in 2020 LISA FULMER Correspondent

Neto Community Network, a nonprofit that promotes social equity, is getting ready to rock the vote with a grassroots, non-partisan campaign to increase Concord’s voter turnout in the 2020 election.

Voter Information

What: “How Local Government and Our Voting System Work,” a free event sponsored by Neto Who: Concord City Councilman Edi Birsan will be on hand for interactive Q&A, along with Paul Burgarino from the county Elections Department When: 10 a.m.noon Saturday, Aug. 3 Where: Concord Library

What’s Inside

Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .B6 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . .B5 Directory of Advertisers . . . .7 From the Desk of . . . . . . . . .8 Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . .5 Obituary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .B1 Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Next issue, Aug. 16, Deadline, Aug. 5

The percentage of registered voters who cast their ballots last November varied widely between Concord’s precincts, from about 50 percent in some neighborhoods to more than 80 percent in other areas. Neto’s Rock the Concord Vote (RTCV) team is targeting precincts with the lowest turnouts in Districts 2, 3 and 4 to try to close some of that gap. They’re collaborating with multiple organizations that have extensive voter engagement expertise, including the county Elections Office, League of Women Voters and ¡Vota Ya! California. “Based on social capital research, our theory is that people tend to vote more consistently when they’re part of a community that shares information and enjoys the social rewards of voting,” says Molly Clark, one of Neto’s co-founders. “Our first critical step is to listen to hundreds, maybe thousands, of Concord residents to see how they feel about voting. We need to learn more about the challenges they face, where they get information, how they

find the time to research the issues and whom they trust to help with making decisions,” Clark notes. “Which kinds of candidates and measures actually motivate people to exercise their right to vote – local, state, federal, or is it primarily issue-based?” After strategizing and fundraising for several months, RTCV launched a brief online survey for Concord residents. They’ve also mobilized “community listeners” to walk the precincts and organize casual neighborhood networking events. Upon taking the voter survey for a trial run and hosting its first neighborhood event, RTCV discovered a common thread. “Many people told us they don’t fully understand how our city government operates,” says Luz PalomeraSierra, another of Neto’s cofounders. “It’s difficult to relate to a candidate for City Council or figure out how a ballot measure impacts your life when you don’t really know how it all works together. Even though it’s sometimes hard to find the truth, I believe people here really do care about voting,”

Molly Clark, left, Harold Blair, Rosalia Ramos de Palomera and Luz Palomera-Sierra review Concord’s voting district map.

Palomera-Sierra says. “Our job will be to keep sharing resources and bringing people together to learn from each other and get excited about making their voices heard.” “As we build momentum

over the coming year, we’ll gradually reach out to more precincts across all five districts,” Clark adds. “We don’t intend to tell people how to vote. Our goal is to build a strong, diverse group of vot-

ers who are engaged in shaping the future of our local community and our democracy at large.”

After more than 20 years of community involvement, the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) accepted 2,216 acres of former Concord Naval Weapons Station land on July 13 from the Navy for a future regional park. An additional 327 acres are set to transfer to the park district later.“This is a proud moment for the park district and shows the great power of persistence and working together with the Stephen Joseph community,” said Beverly The view over the Diablo Valley from Concord Hills, the Lane, who has represented temporary name for the 2500-acre park planned for the Concord on the EBRPD board Concord Naval Weapons Station.

since 1994. “The U.S. Navy, National Park Service, city of Concord and Save Mount Diablo have been tremendous partners in this effort,” she added.On July 2, the park board authorized EBRPD to accept conveyance of the property and fee title ownership. Transfer of ownership should take six months.“Park development is expected to take several years and will require significant financial resources. There is no timetable on development,” said general manager Robert

Doyle. “The public will have access to great future park amenities, including a visitor center, staging areas, access points and miles of recreational trails for hiking, biking and nature viewing,” he noted. EBRPD is the largest regional park system in the nation, comprising 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning. More than 25 million people visit annually throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Visit netocn.org to take the RTCV voter survey.

Park district moves ahead with Concord Hills

Postal Customer ECRWSS


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July 19, 2019

50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival celebration features 10 days of music JAY BEDECARRÉ The Pioneer

A variety of jazz-themed events through Aug. 24 will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Concord Jazz Festival, highlighted by concerts at the Concord Pavilion and Todos Santos Plaza on the Aug. 3-4 weekend. The Concord Summer Festival was first held Aug. 26-31, 1969 at what is now Dave

Antonio Dixon photo courtesy Concord Jazz

Dave Koz (above) and Friends: Summer Horns featuring Esperanza Spalding, Kenny Latimore, Rick Braun and Gerald Albright are part of the 50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival concert at the Concord Pavilion, “The House That Jazz Built,” on Sat., Aug. 3. There will be over a dozen breweries and wineries offering tastings at pre-concert festivities from 4-6 p.m. along with arts and crafts booths. Tickets at livenation.com.


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Brubeck Park adjacent to Concord High School. The festival continued in the park through 1974, providing the impetus for the construction of the Pavilion, which opened the following May as “The House That Jazz Built.” Local auto dealer and jazz devotee Carl Jefferson developed the idea of the festival and guided it through its years in the park and then at the new Pavilion. While the festival was held in the park the programming was heavy on jazz but also included country (Chet Atkins and Boots Randolph), comedy (Bill Cosby), rock (Carlos Santana) and classical pops (conductor Arthur Fiedler with the San Francisco Symphony). From the festival’s success sprang the Concord Jazz record label in 1973 when Jefferson realized that many of

the legendary jazz musicians who came to the festival were unable to get their music recorded and released. Concord Jazz is now part of Concord Music (one of the largest music companies in the world with over 12,000 albums) and continues its commitment to presenting the finest jazz and live music with this year’s line-up in Concord, according to Concord Records President (and De La Salle High grad) John Burk. There will be anniversary events throughout the community, including two Jazz & Java presentations at the Concord Museum, concerts at Diablo Valley College, The Veranda and Todos Santos Plaza and jazz-themed events at Concord Tap House, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Puesto in The Veranda.

The 50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival concert on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Pavilion presented by Live Nation and Concord Jazz includes Dave Koz & Friends, Chick Corea, Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and much more. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with pre-concert music plus beer, wine and arts and crafts booths. The Sunday, Aug. 4, free concert at Todos Santos Plaza features the Mary Fettig Quartet, Steve Snyder’s Big Band, The John Santos Sextet, Soul Sauce and L.O.V.E. Music begins at 1 o’clock in the downtown Concord park. The festival was last held 15 years ago in 2004 at the Pavilion with Poncho Sanchez on the bill.

50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival Events

Java & Jazz at Concord Museum and Event Center to enjoy refreshments and Saturday morning filled with all things jazz from 10 a.m. – 12 noon. July 27 - Ellen Herdegen shares the history and tales of the Concord Jazz Festival. She worked on the inaugural 1969 Concord Summer Music Festival and continued to be part of the festival for 20 years. She will share her personal experiences, anecdotes and rare memorabilia. Aug. 24 - Dr. Matthew Zebley takes the stage to talk the history of jazz, background on Concord native Dave Brubeck and perform with his band. He is an educator, composer, jazz artist and multi-instrumentalist. He will provide an in-depth look at West Coast Jazz. Admission is $5 donation. All proceeds benefit Concord Historical Society. Tickets available at Eventbrite.com or at the door.

Take 10 Ten days of events inspired by jazz

Aug. 1 Concord’s Music & Market concert at Todos Santos Plaza features Steel ‘n’ Chicago, a Steely Dan and Chicago tribute band. Free event. 6:30-8 p.m.

Aug. 2 - Jazz with Dr. Matt Zebley’s DVC Jazz Ambassadors at The Veranda. Free event. 4-6 p.m.

Aug. 3 - 50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival at Concord Pavilion with Dave Koz & Friends: Summer Horns featuring Esperanza Spalding, Kenny Latimore, Rick Braun and Gerald Albright; Chick Corea: The Spanish Heart Band with Carlitos Del Puerto and Marcus Gilmore; Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band; The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra with Patti Austin, Jamison Ross and Carmen Bradford;

Jazzmeia Horn. Tickets at livenation.com. 4–10 p.m.

Aug. 4 Concert at Todos Santos Plaza with Mary Fettig Quartet, Steve Snyder’s Big Band, The John Santos Sextet, Soul Sauce and L.O.V.E. Free event. 1-6:30 p.m. Aug. 5 Tunes, Tacos & Tequila with Latin jazz and tequila tasting at Puesto in The Veranda. Ticketed tasting event. 6-8 p.m.

Aug. 8 - Music & Market concert in Todos Santos Plaza with David Laflamme’s “It’s a Beautiful Day,” late ‘60s rock legend. Free event. 6:30-8 p.m.

Aug. 9 – Mixer & Live Jazz at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor with Nick Phillips/Ariane Cap Group. Ticketed event. 7-10 p.m.

Aug. 10 – Blue Devils World Championship Finals viewing party at Todos Santos Plaza. Free event. 2-8 p.m.

Aug. 6 – Trivia, Beer and Latin Jazz by Cabanijazz ProjJazz Inspired Art by ect with team trivia and Cali- Wren Avenue ElemenMambo Latin music at Contary: School of the Arts cord Tap House. No cover. 5:30-8 p.m. 150+ pieces of jazzinspired student art from Aug. 7 - Jazz concert Concord magnet art and with Matt Zebley Organ Trio performing arts elementary featuring Brian Ho and school on display in August Hamir Atwal at The Forum, and September at Brenden Diablo Valley College. Ticket- Theatre, 1985 Willow Pass ed event. 7:30 p.m. Rd.

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July 19, 2019

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

Visit opens up new world for Ukrainian officials MICHAEL BARRINGTON Special to the Pioneer

Through Open World, an amazing international exchange program, the Rotary Club of Concord hosted six young civic officials from the Ukraine May 31-June 9. Open World brings current and future leaders from postSoviet countries to the United States, where delegates complete an intensive, short-term program that relates to their professional or civic work. By observing professional counterparts, they get a first-hand look at the American system of democracy and free enterprise. The program emphasizes accountability, transparency and citizen involvement in government. The goal is to develop a network of leaders who understand how American communities tackle contemporary issues. Yana Litvinova says she uses “openness, transparency and community unity” as the

foundation for her work as mayor of Starobilsk, a city of about 17,000. “I believe that this new experience will allow me to improve my skills as a manager, introduce new approaches in the work of the City Council and assist me in further development of democracy,” Litvinova wrote in her application essay. Pavlo Vandzhurak, head of the Kosiv Raion Council, said he was interested in learning about regional development between Ukrainian and American local governmental bodies. “I would like to establish partnerships with local government offices in the United States and participate in joint projects funded by the U.S. government,” he wrote. The delegates especially enjoyed in-depth visits with city officials from Concord and Clayton. In Concord, the Ukrainians attended a presentation by city manager Valerie Barone, City

Councilman Edi Birsan and Andrea Ouse, the city’s director of Community and Economic Development. Birsan said he described to them how the Concord council has open meetings, with public comment and discussion amongst the council members. “Apparently, they do things by party,” he said. “So they’ll have 10 people on the council from two or three different political parties. And then they have a meeting between the party leaders, so when it comes to the council meeting everything is basically decided. We don’t do that and, in fact, we have a law against it.” Birsan said the delegates appreciated the American political process. “But at the same time,” he noted, “this is a very entrenched system that they have over there.” Clayton Councilwoman Julie Pierce said the visitors had a short tour of downtown and City Hall. “We talked extensively about the job of a

Area teens help boys and girls play Junior Giants baseball

East Bay teens Dawson Mann and Nick Walker co-founded Headfirst Leadership: Beyond the Field, a non-profit helping underserved youth in the area play baseball during the summer. This is their third year of the Beyond the Field equipment drive and it allowed the group to donate over 1000 items (clothes, cleats, bats, mitts and helmets) to Concord Junior Giants at the league’s opening ceremony last month at the Concord American Little League fields. Walker will be attending Stanford University this fall while Mann will be attending University Nevada Reno. They intend on continuing this program while in college. Concord Junior giants commission Ana Villalobos joined, from left, Walker, volunteer Jake Coleman and Mann at the ceremony.

Photo courtesy Beyond the Field

Michael Barrington is president of the Rotary Club of Concord. clubs prepare an eight-day pro- Staff writer Bev Britton contributed gram that’s part professional to this story. and part cultural. Club members host the visitors in their

Concord OKs two raises for police BEV BRITTON The Pioneer



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Regency Meadows — Stunning views of Mt. Diablo from this gorgeous Mediterranean home with 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths. Beautiful entry with tile patio and fountain. Upgrades throughout. Located on a court perfect for entertaining with pool, built in BBQ, Fire pit area and large side yard access gate. Carol vanVaerenbergh, (925) 683-2568 CVanVaeren@aol.com

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Morgan Territory — Situated on nearly 5 acres, this property offers 2 pastures, a barn, a creek running through, a beautiful garden and fruit trees. Approx 2396 square feet on city water with 3 bed and 2 full baths plus a loft and a den. Custom kitchen with pantry and cherry wood cabinets. Separate work shop with electricity or easily convert back to large garage.



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Dana Hills — Located at the end of a quiet court, this property offers easy accessibility to hiking trails and the historic quaint downtown. Split level home including 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths. Huge .40 acre lot with deck and beautiful waterfall feature to relax. Detached workshop with cabinets and electricity. Amy Callahan (925) 699-1207





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tial funding into the biennial budget, with an additional budget appropriation of $832,000 from reserves. Representatives from the city and the Concord Police Association (POA) began meeting in early February to negotiate an updated Memorandum of Understanding. POA membership ratified the plan on June 20. According to Jasmin Loi, director of Human Resources for the city, it was a smooth process. “I would have to say we have full cooperation with the union. They are very understanding with the budget,” she said. “There was nothing controversial.”

Concord police officers and sergeants will get 4 percent raises in 2019 and 2020, along with increased dental benefits, in a new contract the City Council approved on June 25. The agreement also includes canine assignments in police specialty pay of 3 percent or 5 percent, depending on the circumstances. The net cost of the comprehensive compensation package is $3.1 million for fiscal years 2019-’20 and 2020-’21. That represents about 1.4 percent of the city’s two-year general fund budget. The city incorporated par-



homes, so the delegates experience American family and community life and the Rotarians broaden their international understanding. In addition to the time in Concord, the group also spent two days in Washington, D.C. Last year, the club hosted a delegation from Tajikistan. Delegates come from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. Men and women are equally represented, and the average age is 37.t

Yana Litvinova, mayor of Starobilsk, and Pavlo Vandzhurak, head of the Kosiv Raion Council, present Ukrainian travel guides to Concord Mayor Carlyn Obringer.

mayor in a town like Clayton in the U.S. vs. the job of a mayor in a like-sized town in the Ukraine,” she said. “Their job is not just as the head of the Town Council, but they also serve as the chief administrator or city manager.” For the exchanges, Rotary

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Briarwood — One of Clayton’s most sought after neighborhoods. Beautiful 4 bedroom, 2 bath single story on approximately 12,000 sq ft lot. Gorgeous engineered hardwood flooring, updated baths, newer gutters and fencing. Boat/RV Access on cul-de-sac






Cardinet Glen — 4 bedroom, 2 bath home loaded with potential. Detached garage with workshop through breezeway on approx. .36 acre lot in desirable community. Single story rancher with updated bathrooms, inside laundry, living and family rooms and central heat/air. Detached office/shed with electricity. Priced to sell quickly.

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

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

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The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

July 19, 2019

O b i tu a r y

Craig (CJ) Johnson June 1, 1964 – July 9, 2019

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Clayton resident, Craig Johnson “CJ” passed away after a short but courageous battle with brain cancer. He is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Sandy Johnson. He was a long standing & proud member of the Iron Workers Union Local 378 in Benicia and employed by Bigge Crane & Rigging as a rigger prior to his illness. Craig also served as a Minister of Hospitality at St. Bonaventure’s Church. Craig brought sunshine and laughter everywhere he went and will be remembered for his kindness to all and his zest for life. An avid “car junkie” and proud owner of a classic 1969 Camaro SS, his

spare time was spent with his buddies at various cars shows in the area or at the gym “pumping iron!” He was devoted to his wife, his faith and his Golden Retrievers, Chase and Sonny. Trips to Tahoe with Sandy and the dogs topped the cake. He is also survived by his parents, Rita and Stephan Johnson; his sisters Sherry (Dennis) Phillips and Kristy (Bob) Minka; his sisters-in-law Amy (Clarence) Wilhelm, Brenda (Rick) Ludowig, Carla LeMonier, and Doris (James) Willmer, and many nieces and nephews. Visitation will be Monday July 22 from 5-8 p.m., at Ouimet Brothers Funeral

Chapel, 4125 Clayton Rd., Concord. A memorial service will be Tuesday, July 23 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Bonaventure Church, 5562 Clayton Rd. in Concord. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the National Brain Tumor Society, or the Bruns House (Hospice East Bay) in Alamo.

Meteorology offers a variety of career paths er forecast models to predict day-to-day weather patterns. They need advanced computer skills not only for future model development, but also for graphical presentation of modeled and observed data. Meteorologists make up the front line of scientists studying climate change. They have developed global climate WOODY WHITLATCH models to estimate temperaWEATHER WORDS ture, rainfall and sea level rise patterns out to the end of the For students with math, century. Programming chalscience and computer skills, a lenges in the near future career in meteorology could include statistical and dynamic prove both challenging and downscaling of global model rewarding. output to local levels. Meteorology is the science I believe it is important for of the atmosphere. It takes its any student to find an internname from the Greek word ship while still in school. “meteoron,” meaning events Employers value good grades, in the sky. but real world work experiThe ancient Greeks under- ence will open many doors. stood that weather affected Government and universifarmers and sailors. We now ty research programs are a know that short- and longleading source of careers in term weather changes greatly meteorology. The National impact our environment and Weather Service, which is society. part of the Department of Education for meteorolo- Commerce, employs degreed gists has traditionally included meteorologists to provide course work in physics, chem- local weather forecasts and istry and mathematics. Knowl- weather safety messages to edge of statistics has become the public. increasingly more important There are also job opporas observational databases tunities in the private sector. have grown. For example, meteorological Strong computer-related consulting firms offer foreskills, like programming and cast services for railroad and data base management, have trucking companies as well as become a necessity. For sporting events. Meteorolodecades, meteorologists have gists also consult to comused complex dynamic weath- modities traders concerned

www.LeighKlockHomes.com 115 La Encinal

about the effects of weather on crop production and prices. The aviation, shipping and utility industries often have in-house meteorological staffs. Airlines and ocean shipping companies use weather forecasts to safely and economically route airplanes and cargo vessels. Utilities use temperature forecasts to estimate electric and gas demand and to predict storm-related outages. Forensic meteorology is another interesting branch. These professionals provide expert testimony by reconstructing conditions during a weather event that has resulted in court proceedings. Examples include weatherrelated auto accidents, train derailments and wildfires. Students with math, physics and computer science backgrounds may want to take a look at the field of atmospheric science. Several California universities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in meteorology, including San Jose State, UCLA and UC Davis. For more information on careers in meteorology, check out the American Meteorology Society’s website at ametsoc.org. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist retired from PG&E. Email your questions or comments to clayton_909@yahoo.com

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July 19, 2019

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

Guest Editorial

Page 5

Don’t leave blackout decisions to PG&E Sam Licardo

Mayor of San Jose

The millions of Californians warily eyeing the return of wildfire season this summer can be forgiven for feeling like the Duke of Wellington facing a looming battle. When asked how he expected his soldiers to fare against the opposing troops, Wellington remarked, “I don’t know what effect they will have on the enemy, but by God, they frighten me.” A May 30 California Public Utilities Commission decision has designated executives of California’s investor-owned utilities to be our “soldiers” against wildfire risk. The PUC’s guidelines give these companies full discretion to shut down their transmission and distribution lines whenever the utilities deem that weather conditions unduly increase wildfire risk. And we should worry. These forced blackouts — or “de-energization decisions,” in regulatory parlance — will have big impacts. Extended power outages — lasting five or seven days — bring a parade of horribles. Many res-

idents will not be able to call 911 from their cell phones. Senior care homes lacking backup generators may not be able to operate respirators and other life-sustaining equipment. Traffic signals and street lights will go dark, leaving frazzled motorists to fend for themselves, increasing accident risk and gridlock. Wells and gas station pumps lacking backup generators will cease operating, leaving rural residents without water and urban commuters without gasoline. While blackouts pose uncertain risks to life, they pose certain economic losses. Every supermarket, restaurant, and home will lose refrigerated food; offices will shut down, struggling small businesses will fail, and many families will flee their homes. A multiday blackout in 2003 cost Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York residents and businesses more than $4 billion and resulted in 100 fatalities. Most troubling, the responsibility for making this very weighty decision to cut the power lies solely in the hands of California’s utility companies. While the May PUC decision

instructs private utilities to coordinate transmission shut-offs with state and federal regulatory agencies, the companies retain full authority to decide whether and when to flip the switch. Notice to emergency responders and local governments may come with no warning. And yes, here in Northern California, the decision lies with none other than Pacific Gas & Electric. Yes, the same PG&E that just announced $11 million in bonuses to executives for their performance in a year in which the company filed for bankruptcy and racked up more than $30 billion in liabilities for wildfires caused by their own negligence. The same PG&E that — according to a December 2018 PUC report — falsified electric and gas infrastructure records for a half-decade. The same PG&E that issued debt to pay more than $7 billion in dividends to shareholders between 2009 and 2017, while cutting needed investment in infrastructure safety and maintenance. Beyond questions of PG&E’s competence and judgment, every electric utility has asymmetrical risk exposure —

“That’s the funniest joke. It made me laugh out loud when I read it,” he says. “To me that’s a fun, very energetic part of the movie.” The scene is crucial because it’s the first time all the characters meet. “We really understand the nuances of the characters. That was very magical for me,” he adds. “Everybody was in character, talking with each other, feeling the mystery. It was just awesome. It was so much fun.”

Serving Northern California for Over 30 Years

Clayton Valley grads Jeremy Wells, left, and Jay Whitlatch joined director Kyle Newacheck in Los Angeles for the premiere of “Murder Mystery.”

on, I started doing some Comcast commercials and different hype songs.” Pushing for a “three-peat” in the recent championship run, they created a “Bohemian Rhapsody” knock-off called “Bohemian Dubcity.” “It kinda took off,” Wells says. “It was all over 107.7 the Bone and got a lot of views on YouTube.” Whitlatch and Wells are hoping the film will bolster their status. “Just the fact that Adam Sandler’s people have our music is great,” Whitlatch says. “I grew up watching a lot of Adam Sandler movies and listening to his old-school comedy tapes,” Wells adds. “It still seems a bit surreal.”

FAR FROM ‘GAME OVER’ Netflix tapped Newacheck for “Murder Mystery” after he directed the action-comedy “Game Over, Man” for the streaming service in 2018. That film stars Anders Holm, Adam DeVine and CV grad Blake

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come too late for this summer’s blackouts. In the meantime, the state Legislature needs to take responsibility for grid safety out of PG&E’s hands, and put it into those of a public agency such as the California Independent System Operator, the Office of Emergency Services that will “flip the switch” only after full consideration of all of the impacts to Californians’ safety. For that, we need a decision maker accountable to the public, not merely to shareholders.

Sundtening Lis sic 4-7pm u

Mystery, from page 1

down. We used to do that once a week, all day Tuesday. That was the album that got picked up by the movie.” Their songs in the movie’s opening scene and title sequence are pop/R&B style, but Whitlatch says their music is “purposely all over the map” – including rap, indie rock and instrumentals. “It’s almost like a sampler platter.” When not at his day job as a history teacher at Antioch High, Whitlatch is preparing to release an album of his own FRIENDS MAKING MUSIC indie rock songs, with Wells Several years ago, producing. Newacheck formed the band Fade Up Fade Out Bye Bye, HIP HOP ON DOWN TO CLAYTON which features Clayton Valley Wells’ musical roots are in alums Whitlatch, Danny Webber, Josh Wolf, Peter Spryer hip hop, which he says was and Kayhan Ahmadi. Whit- “very ironic coming from Claylatch, who lives in the Bay ton.” Growing up, his friend Area, performs when he can Paul Beinfest had a drum with the L.A.-based band – machine. “We would always go most recently at South by to his house and just kind of create different rap songs,” Southwest in April 2018. Whitlatch and Wells were Wells says. Wells, a “jock” who played “friends of friends” at CV but started recording together as football, basketball and baseElectronic Hearsay after meet- ball at CV, gave up basketball ing while working at Skipolini’s his senior year to dive more in Walnut Creek. Wells, who deeply into music. He went on had a recording studio in to earn a music degree at Los Pacheco, invited Whitlatch Medanos College. Although he now lives in over to jam. “From the first day we L.A., he returned to his Bay worked together, I just knew Area roots to work with the that he had something – there Golden State Warriors after he was some sort of magic there,” and hip hop artist Ron Lennon came up with a fan song for Wells recalls. “I have perfect pitch, so I’m the 2015 playoffs. “It got back to the Wara really quick musical learner,” Whitlatch says. “He would be riors, and they contacted us behind the boards and I would and wanted to make a video,” lay guitar, bass and keyboards Wells says. “From that point

ties scramble furiously to protect their residents and critical facilities by installing backup and asymmetrical incentives — generators, building resilient when facing the decision to de- microgrids with battery storage and solar arrays, and deploying energize. PG&E clearly faces financial and reputational liabili- blackout-predicting software. These investments require time ty for wildfires, but will PUC and resources, however, along approval shield them from with a state willing to remove responsibility for lost lives and regulatory barriers to acceleratlivelihoods from a lengthy ing this work, particularly for power shutdown? Worse, can PG&E hedge against the wild- the many Bay Area cities that have formed Community fire risks created by its own poor safety practices by simply Choice Aggregators to serve de-energizing transmission lines local energy needs. Most of these efforts, moreover, will more frequently? PG&E’s ostensible exposure to only one side of the risk equation may put millions of Californians on the other side. Predictably, PG&E has submitted a public safety power shutoff plan to the PUC that will vastly broaden the geographic area subject to power shutdowns, expanding the circuit miles of targeted transmission lines from 370 miles last year to 5,500 miles today. The plan also reduces the threshold of de-energization decisions, guaranteeing that blackouts will happen more frequently. PG&E publicly asserts that it will opt to shut down electrical transmission only as a “last resort,” but the temptation to overcorrect is too great. sy Meanwhile, cities and counay Ea

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Anderson, who all previously worked together with Newacheck on the Comedy Central sitcom “Workaholics.” Newacheck, who attended the Los Angeles Film School, is “entertaining ideas” for his next project – with mom Pamela even reading a script from her home in Concord. Although he directed and acted in “Workaholics,” he has since turned his focus to directing. “I found it hard to direct and act at the same time, so I decided not to mix the two. I want to solidify my footing as a director.” Newacheck laughs as he admits that he still does act – “in projects that nobody will see, just experimenting with some of my friends.” In fact, he has been making videos with friends since his days at Clayton Valley, where he was also an everyman for the Drama Department. “I did crew for plays. I did the spotlight, worked backstage. I was in the ensemble in ‘Damn Yankees.’ ” He credits CV drama teacher Tom Wills for nurturing his love of show business. “He brought the art out in everybody. He challenged artists in a way that showed he was paying attention and that he cared about the art,” Newacheck says. “He was one of my biggest role models, artistically, and someone whom I think about on at least a monthly basis.”

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The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

July 19, 2019


New housing predictions give reason for optimism,



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depended on lower mortgage rates to offset prices. With the Fed holding off on raising rates this year and prices slowing – not to mention more options – their fighting odds today are up. Way up. After flirting with the 5 percent mark, mortgage rates sank at the start of the year and are closer to 4 percent or even lower today. According to the forecast, the magic number is now 4.3 percent. There’s a new outlook for prices, too. Appreciation is expected to land at 2.9 percent for the year, higher than the 2.2 percent originally predicted. By all accounts, 2.9 percent is soft but stable. The forecast is for 5.3 million homes sold this year, which isn’t better than 2018 but isn’t worse. Realtor.com’s

initial projection was for sales to slide 2 percent. “We believe 2019 will be characterized by lower, but still increasing mortgage rates that will buoy home prices and sales by boosting buyer’s purchasing power beyond what we initially projected,” says Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist. “This will create a slightly hotter, but still cooling housing market relative to the initial forecast eight months ago.”



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Dr. Robert Martinez selected as finalist for superintendent JAY BEDECARRÉ The Pioneer

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District hopes it has concluded its nationwide search for a new superintenQ. I just bought a dent after offering the posihome with a very small tion to Dr. Robert A. Marbackyard. I’m an outdoor tinez following board interperson, and I would love views with four candidates to entertain in my yard. last Thursday. Do you have any suggesBoard president Joanne tions? Durkee says, “Dr. Martinez See French, page 10 emerged from the finalist A. Whether you want a interviews as the ideal candidate for this important leadership role.” She told The Pioneer that he “has the right temperament to work with our many stakeholder groups. He can establish rapport with each group while also being a strong decision maker.” Durkee added that Martinez was “so excited” when she called him to say he was “Why didn’t I think of this I am proud to present this the Board’s choice. Martinez before?” revelation. concept to you. It just thrills is currently the Assistant Sometimes one has to me to know you’ll be covered Superintendent of Fairfieldchange the narrative for oth- when nothing goes the way it Suisun Unified School Disers to recognize its worth. So was planned for the day. trict. Pending a site visit to I am laying the groundwork Let the Proxy techs put his district and final contract for what I believe will be a you back on track, back on negotiations, the Board is groundswell concept so your schedule, back to work. expected to approve Marunpretentious, so easy and so Prox to the rescue. tinez’ appointment at their simple you’ll want to do it It’s so wonderful, you’ll Aug. 12 meeting. forever. Well, maybe not for- want to give it a raise or take “Many highly-qualified ever, but for a long time any- it out for dinner. Prox, you’re educators applied for the way. my hero. (And a cheap date – superintendent position,” I’m talking about “Prox” just say’n.) said Durkee. “The Board of – my short name for proxy. Lest I forget, Prox has Education made its decision You know, a stand-in: someanother name we affectionwith input gathered from key one or something that takes ately call backup. We geeks stakeholder groups regarding over when you are unable, or have always believed in hard the qualities of our next busy with other details or drive backups, and now it’s superintendent. Based on the have been incapacitated. your turn to believe. feedback received from more Your proxy will be able to It’s that thing you never than 500 parents, staff and keep your social life and busi- have time to do. You want to community members, we ness running. It will even find do it, and even need to do it, sought someone who is a and replace lost items. If you but well, you know, it never collaborative, energetic give it the authority, it will gets done. leader, who values our schedule and perform duties What you have is a buddy accomplishments, and wants when you are not there or are you never appreciated, one to continue our efforts to busy with other things. It can that will restore your busiprovide the quality education even take the initiative when ness, re-introduce you to your our students deserve and our you forget. friends, restore your lot in life families expect.” Prox is quite the profesand give you back your hard “After a rigorous screensional, don’t you think? work. A Proxy is a backup ing and interview process, I suppose you could say plan that gets you back up Dr. Martinez was chosen as computer engineers have cre- and running, no matter the the best fit. He brings the ated artificial intelligence. circumstances. skills, intellect, heart and Prox is so smart it can autoSo go ahead, meet Prox at passion to lead our District matically replace you in ceryour favorite computer store into the future.” tain situations. Just think: You or site. Better yet, let a manMartinez has served the are ready to work on your aged service provider (MSP) FSUSD for 32 years. A computer and someone walks handle all the details, installa- native of Baldwin Park, he through the door wanting tions, setup and management holds a Bachelor of Arts in your product or service, or for you. It’s like an employee Psychology, a Master of Arts perhaps they are a visitor you that only costs a fast food in Education from UC haven’t seen in a long time lunch or two a month. Davis, and an Educational and you want to spend time Doctorate in Educational with them. That might mean Leadership and Management the job you had planned just William Claney is an independent from Drexel University. Pregot preempted, but it still tech writer and former owner of Com- vious to serving as an Assisneeds to be done. Prox will puters USA in the Clayton Station. tant Superintendent, he was take the initiative and step in Email questions or comments to will- a school psychologist, assisto do the job for you. claney@gmail.com. tant principal, principal and director. “I am honored that the Board of Education has selected me as the finalist for superintendent,” said Martinez.  “Mt. Diablo has shown a clear commitment to creating learning environments that are based in equity, to assisting each student 925-381-3757 with excelling academically and socially, and are focused on readying students for college readiness, careers and as citizens of their community.” Martinez appears to share one trait with his predecessor Nellie Meyer, who recently took over the same position at the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District. Meyer was Design/Build Experts Specializing in ever present on social media ü Landscape ü Pergolas ü Retaining Walls and looking at Martinez’s ü Hardscape ü Drainage ü Outdoor Kitchens Twitter account he is a reguü Irrigation ü Lighting ü Grading/Excavating lar poster as well. Lic.# 958849

Q. How is the market doing so far this year? A. The housing market is stronger than most of us thought. Late last year, the consensus was to expect interest rates to rise to 5-6 percent, appreciation to crawl and inventory to increase. Analysts were even betting on a break from the hot housing market, which began to breed concerns of instability. But that buyer’s market is not in the cards – yet. According to an amended forecast by Realtor.com, there’ll be better outcomes for prices, rates and sales than we thought. The Federal Reserve has a lot to do with that. Affordability’s been an issue for some time, and buyers have




It seems like school just recessed for summer, but the 2019-20 school year is now only weeks away. The first day of school is coming soon: • Carondelet and De La Salle begin Aug. 14 with freshman orientation Aug. 12 • Clayton Valley Charter starts Aug. 13 with freshman orientation Aug. 6-9. • Contra Costa School of Performing Arts begins its fourth school year Aug. 14 with new student orientation Aug. 6-9. • MDUSD begins Aug. 15 for its kindergarten through 12th grade sites. • Most parochial and private schools in the area begin the weeks of Aug. 12 and 19. CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER FACES UNIQUE DOUBLE TASK THIS YEAR

Clayton Valley Charter High School will seek renewal of its charter from the Contra Costa Board of Education and is also going through is WASC process during this school year. The WASC review is done every six years while most charter authorizations are for five years. CVCHS is beginning this upcoming school year with the biggest senior class—600 students—in the eight years it has been a charter. Executive Director Jim Scheible is starting his second year in charge of the Concord school with the task of guiding the 2200member student body while also overseeing the two major accreditation processes. He was hired by the school last August after the school’s first executive director Dave Linzey resigned that spring. Linzey had a contentious relationship with many stakeholders and was involved in multiple litigations and controversies. Among the charges against the school under Linzey was the high turnover of faculty and staff. Only a handful of faculty members are not returning this fall. Scheible says the school is using the dual accreditation processes to update and implement new programs. CVCHS had by-law changes approved 4-1 by the County last month. Those included a revamping of its board composition which addressed a concern by many stakeholders during Linzey’s tenure. The executive director adds that the charter is still trying to settle its longstanding financial issues with MDUSD over its annual payment to the district for use of the campus facilities that are owned by MDUSD.

July 19, 2019

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

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

TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor P ETE C Ruz , Graphic Design, Social Media B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor, Calendar Editor J Ay B EDECARRé, Sports and Schools Editor S TAFF W RITERS : Jay Bedecarré, Bev Britton

I may regret saying this, but you can’t live in the past

C ORRESPONDENTS : Kara Navolio, Peggy Spear, Lisa Fulmer


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

editor@pioneerpublishers.com (925) 285-8612

Send Ads to ads@pioneerpublishers.com Send Sports News to


The Pioneer is a monthly publication delivered free to homes and businesses in 94517, 94518, 94519 and 94521. ZIP code 94520 is currently served by drop site distribution. The papers are published by Clayton Pioneer, Inc., Tamara and Robert Steiner, PO 1246, Clayton, CA 94517. The offices are located at 6200 Center St. Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Both Pioneer newspapers welcome letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 175 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion.

Please include name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print anonymous letters. E-mail your letter to tamara@pioneerpublishers.com. Letters must be submitted via E-mail.

CIRCULATION The Pioneer is delivered monthly by the third Friday to 38,500 single-family homes and businesses in 94518, 94519 and 94521. Papers to Clayton are delivered by US mail. Concord zip codes are delivered by commercial carriers for ABC Direct. To stop delivery for any reason, call the office at (925) 672-0500 . If you are NOT receiving the Pioneer, please check the distribution map on the website. If you live in a single-family home within the shaded area and are not receiving the paper, please let us know. If you are not in the shaded area, please be patient. We will come to your neighborhood soon. SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe to The Pioneer call the office at (925) 672-0500. Subscriptions are $60/year. ADVERTISING Advertising rates and circulation maps arei posted at www.pioneerpublishers.com or call (925) 672-0500.

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der lines. Professor Noel Roese of the Kellogg School of Management found that women’s biggest regrets focused on relationships, while men’s were more career focused. Both sexes, however, expressed “regrets of omission.” What they hadn’t done was more painful for both genders. “Lost opportunities linger in our memory longer, and we have more time to see the different things we could have done,” says Roese. Many psychologists suggest attempting a “a do over” to come to terms with regret. They urge patients to try to recreate an experience now by getting an educational goal they missed or making an apology to estranged family members. But do overs are not always possible as we age and have more limited time. So how do we learn to live with those regretted roads not taken, missed opportunities and the one that got away? Journalist and author Kathryn Schulz believes that we can help heal deep, dark regrets by learning to laugh at ourselves. “That might sound glib, but sometimes laughter and black humor can help lighten our load,” she says. She also maintains that the adage “Time heals all wounds” really works. Schulz says we must learn to love our messy, “flawed selves,” as well as recognizing that we share a universality when it comes to regrets. The knowledge that others have regrets, that we are not alone in the loneliness of “if only” helps teach us to embrace our regrets and live with them.

Frank Sinatra famously crooned how he had regrets, but too few to mention, while French chanteuse Edith Piaf defiantly claimed that she regretted nothing. But for the rest of us mere mortals, regrets can sometimes come with a capital R – culminating as we age into a long list of woulda, coulda, shouldas. Our culture doesn’t always look kindly on regret. It’s seen as a waste of time and a step away from the “put one foot in front of the other” pioneering spirit of the country. “What’s done is done” and “No use crying over spilt milk” are just some of the cultural rallying cries. Yet according to research reported in an AARP newsletter, regrets can “impede the ability to recover from stressful life events by extending emotional reactions for months.” At some point, we have all likely suffered from what are considered the components of regret: Denial. Make it go away. Bewilderment. What was I thinking? How could I have done that? Punishment. I could just kick myself. Perseveration. A fancy word Maggie Lennon is a writer and for compulsive rumination of photographer who writes about navian event. gating the aging process. Check out her blog, “The Sensational Sixties. Most Americans’ top regrets center around educa- An everywoman’s guide to getting older.” Contact her at tion, career and marriage, with regrets falling along gen- maggielennon164@yahoo.com.

Page 7

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Page 8

F r om the desk o f . . .

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

July 19, 2019

Help kids in need by donating to backpack drives KAREN MITCHOFF



With summer in full swing, school seems so far away. But many parents in our community are already worrying about the costs of school supplies. The average family spends more than $700 each year on backpacks, school supplies and new clothes for their children. Thousands of children enter schools throughout Contra Costa County every year ready to learn, but without all the needed resources to help them get the most out of their educational experience. Therefore, I want to highlight community organizations

A colorful array of backpacks awaits their new owners at the Monument Crisis Center.

struggling financially. The backpack drive runs through Aug. 9. There are two ways to donate: online or doREADY-TO-LEARN it-yourself. Project Ready-to-Learn is a Through VESTIA’s partcollaboration between the nership with the Sydney Paige nonprofit VESTIA and the Foundation, donors can shop county Employment and online for a new backpack and Human Services Department. supplies from one source. The They provide more than 1,500 site allows you to choose the new backpacks filled with backpack and corresponding school supplies to students in supplies, listed by grade levels. need. This effort not only Visit helps them learn but provides sydneypaige.roonga.com/vesrelief for parents who are tia.

that are working to meet the needs of families in Contra Costa.

Community members can also shop, stuff and deliver a new, high-quality backpack filled with new school supplies. A supply list by grade level is available at vestiainc.org/project-ready-tolearn/. Drop off stuffed backpacks by Aug. 9 at: Diablo Valley Federal Credit Union, 1051 Detroit Ave., Suite A, Concord. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. County Employment and Human Services Department, 400 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. MondayThursday. Call to schedule delivery at 925-521-5064.

MONUMENT CRISIS CENTER Monument Crisis Center is having its Backpack Day on Aug. 3. Last year, they distributed about 1,500 backpacks to families. It is a fun day, where the students experience the excitement of back to school “shopping,” plus music, haircuts and treats. Monument Crisis Center is accepting backpack and school supply donations

Bill aims to protect California tenants Here in our corner of the Bay Area, we are bearing the brunt of California’s ongoing housing and affordability crisis. Right now in Sacramento, I’m fighting for policies to tackle some of California’s biggest issues through efforts to build more housing that’s affordable, to ensure that taxpayer money is used appropriately to fund road repairs and to support workforce development training to increase access to good paying jobs. A lot of these solutions will take time. Meanwhile, families are at immediate risk of losing the roofs over their heads. This is why I have joint-authored Assembly Bill 1482 to finally provide real stability and security to Californians through historic tenant protections. Last year, NBC Bay Area reported on a survey that found that in Concord, the largest city in my district, three-quarters of residents live in fear of being evicted from

lords could force even the best of tenants out of their homes and leave them without legal recourse to challenge the eviction in court. This was the case for a woman who lived nearly 20 years in Concord and recently shared her story. She and other tenants in her building organized to advocate for better conditions. TIM GRAYSON Shortly thereafter, her land14TH ASSEMBLY lord refused to continue her lease and offered no explanaDISTRICT tion for doing so. She had to move from the community their homes. When a family is where she had spent the last living paycheck to paycheck, a two decades in order to find a sudden, unexpected and new home that she could unjust eviction can drive them afford. into poverty, homelessness My bill, AB 1482, strikes and devastation. the right balance to ensure In California, you cannot that we are protecting both be evicted from your home the families who rent and the because of your marital status, families who are renting their the color of your skin or if properties out to them. Landyou are a victim of domestic lords will still be able to evict violence. However, there is a tenants who fail to pay rent, loophole in the law that allows conduct illegal business out of a landlord to evict you for no the property or otherwise reason at all. break the terms of a lease. By putting “no cause” on This is about the unscrupueviction paperwork, bad land-

Concord creates survey on commercial cannabis Time is running out to participate in a Concord survey on cannabis businesses within the city. On June 20, the city issued a 10-question survey on potential regulations for commercial cannabis retail (storefront and non-storefront) and microbusinesses (small-scale cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and/or retail). The Cannabis Survey is available on the Concord Community Town Hall platform through July 19. To participate and voice your opinion, please visit opentownhall.com/p/283. In 2016, California voters approved Prop. 64, which made adult-use (recreational) cannabis legal. As a result, the state began developing regulations related to both medicinal and adult-use cannabis. The state began issuing cannabis licenses on Jan. 2, 2018.

The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) created a state regulatory and licensing system governing the commercial cultivation, testing, manufacturing and distribution of adult-use cannabis. The AUMA permits local jurisdictions to regulate and/or ban adult-use cannabis related to the following: cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, microbusinesses, retail stores (both storefront and nonstorefront), testing laboratories and transportation. On Nov. 14, 2017, the Concord City Council adopted a ban on cannabis-related activities (except those noted below) within city limits to allow the community to express their desires further, and to allow staff and council to formulate regulations. Concord allows only the following uses:

Delivery of medicinal and adult-use cannabis from licensed cannabis retail businesses located outside of Concord. (No city cannabis license required, but city business license required.) Indoor cultivation of up to six cannabis plants per dwelling unit for personal use. (Medicinal and adult use; no city cannabis license required.) Medicinal and adult-use cannabis testing facilities. Medicinal cannabis distributors. (Two licenses granted; no further licenses currently available.) Medicinal cannabis manufacturers. (Two licenses granted; no further licenses currently available.) In August 2017, the city contracted with Godbe Research to conduct a statistically valid survey related to various marijuana uses to better understand the community’s

lous landlords – the ones we would all agree are acting immorally, such as those who would rather evict a family than deal with their complaints about dangerous mold. I’ve heard many stories like the ones above from friends and neighbors in our community who have taken the time to call my office and share their experiences. Just cause eviction protections are badly needed in this moment of crisis in our state, and for the first time in our state’s history, we are close to providing them. AB 1482 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it still has more hurdles ahead before becoming law. To voice your support of this bill or to discuss other legislation of interest of you, please call my Concord office at 925-5211511.

through July 25 at the center, 1990 Market St., Concord. Hours are 9 a.m.-noon and 1:30-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays. You can visit monumentcrisiscenter.org to see the backpack supply list. For more information, email development@monumentcrisiscenter.org. FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER The Family Justice Center, which serves families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elderly abuse and human trafficking, is working to help get the students of the families they



support or opposition to the types of uses and where they may be permitted. The survey results were presented to the public and the council on Oct. 24, 2017, and can be viewed at cityofconcord.org/DocumentCenter/View/1157. It is anticipated that the Planning Commission and City Council will consider and adopt regulations on cannabis-related uses and activities this fall. Jason Laub is Chief Operating Officer at RAD Urban and is a City of Concord Planning Commissioner. Email questions or comments to jlaub.concordplanning@gmail.com

Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Mitchoff at supervisormitchoff@bos.cccounty.us

A grateful city bids farewell as city manager retires



As a token of appreciation, the Clayton City Council issued a surprise proclamation to Gary Napper – declaring July 26 as Gary Napper Day in honor of his retirement as city manager. For the last 18 years, the city of Clayton has benefited from Gary Napper’s professional, diligent, humble and caring leadership. Being a city manager in a small city is a tough task, requiring a hands-on approach and the ability to manage a variety of challenges concurrently. Napper’s accomplishments and contributions to Clayton are too many to mention here. But without a doubt, Napper Reach Assemblyman Tim Grayson deserves a lot of credit and at (925) 521-1511. Visit or write the thanks for all of the positives in district office 2151 Salvio Street, Suite Clayton today. P, Concord, CA 94520 During his leadership, Clayton has maintained balanced budgets, increased our reserves, managed through the recession years, developed new neighborhoods in Rachel Ranch, Bridlewood and Diablo Estates, constructed the Grove Park, created a community recreation program at Diablo View Gym and so much more.


serve ready for school. You can drop off backpack and school supply donations until July 28 at the center, 2151 Salvio St., Suite 201, Concord. For a list of supplies needed, email cynthia@astound.net. They will hold a packing event at 1 p.m. July 28 at Cornerstone Ministry Center, 390 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 130, Walnut Creek. Distribution will be at 3 p.m. July 30 at the Family Justice Center.

HAPPY RETIREMENT, MR. NAPPER. City management going forward. While the city is looking for the next city manager, Joe Sbranti will be the interim city manager. The City Council has engaged a recruitment firm and formed a subcommittee made

up of Vice Mayor Julie Pierce and myself to handle some of the practicalities. The full council will ultimately decide on the selection of the next city manager, with all five council members having a say. The recruiting firm will also be setting up a web-based survey that will allow residents to provide input on city manager qualities and skills that they feel are important in Clayton. Regency and Rialto pilot permit parking program. After several hearings and ongoing observations and discussions with Regency and Rialto drive residents, the council approved an 18-month residential parking pilot program in an attempt to alleviate the unique and extraordinary on-street parking concerns near the popular Mt. Diablo State Park Regency Gate trailhead. Planning Commission appointments. Each of the five members of the Clayton Planning Commission serves a two-year term. In alternating years, two or three of the positions are up for appointment by the council. In June, the council unanimously reappointed two incumbents, AJ Chippero and Peter Cloven, for additional two-year terms. Congrats and thank you. Making A Difference. This year, the council is doing a pilot program to expand the Do the Right Thing Program into adults. If you know of an exemplary community contributor, volunteer and/or fundraiser, please submit a nomination with a brief description by email to ClaytonMakingADifference@gmail.com. Mayor’s office hours. Stop by to chat 9-10 a.m. Saturday, July 27, at the Clayton Farmers Market downtown. Contact me at tcatalano@ci.clayton.ca.us and follow at www.facebook.com/CouncilmemberTuijaCatalano for more updates.

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Lessons learned at mayors’ conference I literally had a seat at the table where the nation’s mayors develop policy positions to be ultimately distributed to Congress and the president. I participated in roundtable discussions with fellow mayors on issues that challenge all cities, including crumbling roads and bridges, cyber security, economic development, homelessness, CARLYN OBRINGER public safety, the recycling criand the Federal CommuniCONCORD MAYOR sis cation Commission’s concerning role in potentially eliminatI’m honored and thankful ing all telecommunicationsto have had the opportunity related fees. to represent Concord at the I let my fellow mayors annual meeting of the U.S. know that GoMentum Station Conference of Mayors at the former Concord Naval (USCM) earlier this month. Weapons Station is shaping USCM is the official non- how people travel and that partisan organization of cities through the research and techwith populations of 30,000 or nology being developed there, more. Its primary roles are to we aim to reduce congestion promote the development of globally and create great jobs an effective national city and in Concord. I also enjoyed a metro area-focused policy, lively conversation on how strengthen federal-city relacities can best work with unitionships, ensure that federal versities to increase collaborapolicy meets urban needs, tion and improve outcomes provide mayors with leaderfrom successful partnerships, ship and management tools keeping Concord’s future enabling them to do their jobs campus district in mind. better and making them more Since grass and urban fires effective as leaders, and create have become a big concern a forum in which mayors can for our Concord community, I share ideas, information and thought it important to join in best practices. a “FIRE OPS 101 Program” This year, 224 U.S. mayors as a “firefighter for the mornconvened to exchange ideas ing.” After suiting up in full around the themes of “Inno- gear, I rotated through multivation, Inclusion and Infraple stations, learning how to structure.” Members represent use life-saving equipment, small towns and big cities, techniques for breaking down rural and urban areas, the a door and practicing how to coasts and the heartland. This properly administer CPR. I made the annual meeting an appreciated this unique, incredible opportunity to con- hands-on opportunity to get a nect with mayors from Kalabetter understanding of the mazoo, Mich., to Honolulu, resources needed for firefightfrom Redmond, Wash., to ers and emergency medical Gulf Shores, Ala.


personnel to safely and effectively respond to emergencies and keep the public safe. On the final day, I participated in a “Community, Permanent Housing and Hygiene Services Tour,” which included two cutting-edge programs that have been successfully serving the homeless community: Kahauiki Village and Punawai Rest Stop. Kahauiki Village is a permanent housing community for homeless families developed by a public-private partnership with the aio Foundation, the state of Hawaii and the city/county of Honolulu. I walked through three of the 30 completed units, viewed an additional 113 under construction and met several residents who both live and work in the village. The Punawai Rest Stop, located in a former pineapple processing plant, is a state-ofthe art hygiene center with free restrooms, showers and washers/dryers for the homeless community. I saw that health services, respite housing and permanent supportive housing units are also under construction on higher floors of the building. It was empowering to share common challenges and ideas to strengthen our cities with other mayors. I look forward to sharing what I learned with my City Council colleagues and city staff and to putting this knowledge to good use to make Concord an even better place to live, work, raise a family, do business, visit and retire.


961 Oak Street, Clayton

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One of Clayton’s preferred addresses, rarely available custom home. Beautiful open floorplan, great room w/hardwood floors throughout. Impressive foyer entrance, fireplace, gorgeous kitchen, very large dining room w/built-in custom cabinetry & wine storage. Enjoy 4 large bedrooms plus mudroom/office and 3 full baths (one full bedroom/bath downstairs) 1/3 acre lot w/2 storage, large outbuilding, lawn, chicken coup, raised beds COUNTRY right DOWNTOWN.




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Don’t forget pets in your emergency plans

Recent fires and earthquakes remind us it’s important to have plans for your furry family during emergencies. Post-Hurricane Katrina, many states – including California – now include planning for evacuation, rescue and recovery of animals. While this is a wonderful step forward, it still falls upon pet owners to make the best possible arrangements and preparations for pets should an evacuation be necessary. One of the most essential elements is actually one of the easiest: Microchip pets and make certain your information, including address and contact information, is updated. This can be done online or by mail.

242 Stranahan Circle, Clayton

During last year’s devastating Camp Fire, many joyful reunions were made possible quickly because of microchips. Others were forced to search for days at temporary shelters and animal hospitals for their beloved pets. A pet emergency kit is also crucial. This kit should include a few days’ worth of food, bottled water, litter or sanitation bags, two small or collapsible bowls for food and water, a spare leash or harness and medication. This is also a great location to keep a copy of veterinary records, microchip information and photos of your pet. Don’t forget to add some favorite treats, fun toys and a blanket or towel that smells like home. Transporting frightened

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August will be


Jazz Festival Concert

Part of Concord’s 50th Anniversary Jazz Festival, this special concert in Todos Santos Plaza honors the sounds of jazz featuring the Mary Fettig Quartet, Steve Snyder’s Big Band, John Santos and the Machete Ensemble, Soul Sauce and L.O.V.E. (Levels of Vocal Expression).

Concord Woodstock

Concerts 6:30-8 p.m.

Want to relive Woodstock or experience it for yourself? City of Concord presents Woodstock Aug. 15-17 at Todos Santo Plaza

Aug. 15 Caravanserai Santana Tribute

Aug. 16, Airship Jefferson Airplane Tribute

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1:30-6:30 p.m.

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See Pets, page 10

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animals in situations when your own stress is elevated can be a challenge, especially if a crate or carrier smells unfamiliar or is associated only with trips to the vet. Before faced with an emergency, try incorporating crates into a household area to build familiarity. This is especially helpful for cats, who form strong attachments to their environments and feel the most stress leaving their comfort zones. Ideally, find a spare room or unused corner where crates can be integrated without feel-


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petting while all the while purring up a storm. When the mood strikes her, she also enjoys settling into a warm lap to cuddle. The adoption fee for kittens under 6 months is $125 ($200 for 2) and for adult cats is $75 ($100 for 2). Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell SWEETIE Drive, Walnut Creek, during for adult dogs is $250, and adoption hours: 12 to 6 p.m. includes a discount on the Wed. and Thurs., 12 to 7 p.m first six-week session of a Fri., and 12 to 6 p.m .Sat. and manners class. Sun.. Three-year-old Sweetie is a Would you like to be part of loving and gentle girl who will the heroic team that saves the lives need some time and patience of rescued dogs and cats? Can you to develop her confidence in a share your talents to connect people new home. The effort will be and animals? ARF volunteers are well rewarded when she making a difference! For more warms up and shows her information see our website, affectionate personality. Once www.arflife.org, or call (925) 256she feels safe, she blossoms 1ARF. into a sweet kitty who enjoys


Wonderful Clayton beauty featuring 4 bedrooms PLUS bonus 5th bedroom/ office. Entertainer’s floorplan brings the light in from beautiful yards and VIEWS of Mt. Diablo. Remodeled kitchen, Viking commercial-style gas range, stone counters and kitchen island. Walk to top schools, trail system, downtown, farmer’s market, concerts in the park, libraries.


Meet ARF stars Everest and Sweetie

Eight-year-old Everest is kind, sweet gentlemen who really enjoys getting affection and simply hanging out with his favorite person. This guy would love to be in a great comfy bed all tucked in while he is being petted and loved on. He also enjoys sitting in laps and taking in his environSend questions and comments to ment with the occasional tasty Carlyn.Obringer@cityofconcord.org treat headed his way. The adoption fee for puppies under 6 months is $300,

1782 Indian Wells Way, Clayton PENDING SALE

Page 9

Jimi Hendrix tribute

Free to the community

• Festival seating • bring your own chair • Plenty of free parking, City Garages •No alcohol • no smoking • no dogs


Page 10

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

Survey looks at housing issues in Concord My latest survey showed some interesting perceptions on housing in Concord. The Pulse is an independent survey that I have been publishing for the last 9+ years in order to identify and discuss local issues. There were 250 respondents in the last survey. These are the responses to the statement: There should be no more housing construction in Concord because there is too much traffic.

27.76 percent, strongly agree. 15.51, agree. 15.10, neither agree nor disagree. 22.05, disagree. 19.59, strongly disagree. Wow. 43 percent want to stop housing construction because of traffic issues, while 41 percent do not. The housing crisis has been an ongoing and contentious topic lately, with people beating each other up

over rent stabilization vs. (mysterious) free market solutions. Yet here we have a lot of people who believe we should not do anything at all. At first I thought this might be because of the “location bias” of people living within our higher rental occupant zip codes (94519 and 94520), but further analysis did not indicate that this was the case. I then sorted the responses by looking at a second question – whether those who were against further construction also knew someone who was “underhoused,” that is, someone who is living ing prominent. Periodically should strike when you’re not in someone else’s home who feeding special treats in a car- at home. Determine who will would otherwise be homeless rier can also turn associated evacuate your pet in an emer- and on the street. Bingo. feelings of anxiety into excite- gency and don’t forget to dis- Thirty-eight percent said they knew someone who was ment. cuss where you can meet in Plan for how to load anicase communication channels underhoused, which caused mals and other essential items are inoperable. Also, consider the number of people who were opposed to new conin your vehicle so you’re not where you can stay or where frustrated if you’re forced to to board your pet in case you struction to drop from 43 percent to 35 percent, a sigleave your home quickly. cannot immediately return nificant decrease, while the Finally, make arrangements home. Contact Elena Bicker at (925) 256- number of people who wantfor your pet if a disaster ed housing construction to 1ARF (1273) continue rose to 47 percent. Still, I am stunned that people do not want homes built. Here are a couple of other interesting facts on the relationship between housing and traffic: 1. If you have lived in

Pets, from page 9

your home for 20 years and you take a look down your block, you will see many more cars than there were back then. That is because the kids have grown up and either stayed home or moved back since they can no longer afford to live on their own. Concord’s demographics show a big increase in those older than 18 and a decrease in those younger than 18. Hence, there are more drivers (and more cars) now. 2. A recent demographic study revealed that there are 51,000 employed people living in Concord. Of those, 7,000 are employed in the city, while 44,000 leave the city to go to work elsewhere. At the same time, 43,000 employees come into Concord from elsewhere. Concord is, in fact, a job center. We want economic development here, right? Of the top 10 categories of employment, four have significant overlap. So even if we could somehow get only 20 percent of those commuting out of Concord to work in Concord (and vice versa), it would have a massive positive impact on traffic congestion. That’s another reason for the city to support local hiring and provide incentives for doing business

French, from page 6

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within the community. The second question I asked was: What caused the housing crisis in Concord? 5 percent said there is no housing crisis in Concord. (The Ostrich Head in Sand Society.) 7 percent said rent regulations in Concord. (But there are no rent regulations in Concord.) 2 percent said that city building fees are much higher than surrounding cities. (Oh yeah? Look at Walnut Creek.) 2 percent blamed it on a lack of government subsidies to developers to build apartments. 25 percent blamed it on “the market.” 9 percent said there are simply too many poor people. (Wow, that is really a rich statement.) 32 percent blamed it on investors seeking short-term profits by imposing large rent increases and promoting high tenant turnover to facilitate higher rents. 13 percent did not know. 6 percent had no idea but nevertheless believe it has to be someone’s fault. Combining the market and the “bad boy” evicting landlord investors makes up 57 percent of the perceived

creative poolside seating arrangement. The focal point should lead to the center of your yard or wherever the Give your yard a focal most natural path threshold point. A beautiful statue, a occurs. grouping of plants, a water Utilize built-in furniture feature or a small, in-ground to save space. You can dress pool may take the attention up built-in furniture with away from the size of your colorful cushions tied to yard and allow guests to focus on the beauty instead. décor inside your home to expand the feeling of the Draw attention to the pool with a luxurious pool liner or space.

July 19, 2019



problem-makers. It upsets me that so many people blame the housing crisis on the hardest hit population, the poor. It also bothers me that so many people believe that Concord’s building and planning fees are higher than other cities and that we have rent control. And what upsets me the most is the belief that there is no housing crisis at all. Oy vey.

The statements, questions, information and opinions herein are those of Edi Birsan and do not purport to reflect any policies or opinions of the city of Concord, including without limitation the Concord City Council, city of Concord staff, or any other people, institutions or organizations associated with the city of Concord. To comment or suggest questions and topics, write to edibirsan@gmail.com.

Beautify your yard with flowers and plants. Consider vertical placements like hanging baskets, creeping vines and petite patio trees.

Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email Lynne@LynneFrench.com. French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates. Contact her at 672-8787 or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.


The Pioneer

July 19, 2019

Reviews . . . . . . . . .B4-B5 Calendar . . . . . . . . . . .B5 The Arts . . . . . . . . . . .B6

The Pioneer, Section B



Over 1100 local youth swimmers are in the final stages of training with the recreation swim season wrapping up over the next three weekends with the biggest meets of the year the 53rd Concord Swimming Championships July 26-28 and the 59th Contra Costa

County Championships in Lafayette Aug. 2-4. Unfortunately, the biggest story of the summer hasn’t been about the competition in local pools but rather the situation surrounding the Walnut Country Swim Team and its dispute with the Cowell Homeowners Association that has moved to evict the Concord team from its home pool of over 40 years.

Chris Mazza makes major league debut after eight years in the minors

Photo courtesy New York Mets


Chris Mazza played on the Clayton Valley High School varsity baseball team in 2007 and 2008, primarily as an infielder, and pitched a total of 2-1/3 innings. He made his Major League Baseball debut for the New York Mets on June 29 and threw four innings. The time between his graduation from CVHS 11 years ago and now has seen Mazza become an MLB-calibre pitcher after stops in Atherton for college, minor league professional teams in Tennessee, Iowa, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and New York and on independent league teams in Maryland and California. Before wearing the blue and orange of the New York Mets is his career summit so far, the 29-year-old from Clayton has also been on minor league teams with the monikers of the Baby Cakes, Travelers, Rumble Ponies, Hammerheads, Suns, Jumbo Shrimps, Kernels, Marlins, Twins, Blue Crabs and

See Mazza, page B4

Walnut Country Swim Team began in the 1970s and competed in its first City Meet during those years before taking a 10-year hiatus from the meet. The Stingrays returned for the 20th annual meet in 1986 and have taken part every year since. The Walnut Country Swim Team committee was blindsided May 28 when an attorney for the homeowners association board, which owns the pool the swim team has called home since the 1970s, informed them they would need to find a new pool in 2020 as the team would no longer would be able to use the pool behind the community center on South Larwin Ave. There have been more canceled and rescheduled dates than actual meetings between the two parties this year. The two sides finally met without lawyers on June 21. Residents of the subdivision have forced a recall election of CHOA president Mark Weinmann and VP Todd Peterson by mail ballot between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2. Results will be announced Sept. 12. There is a regularly scheduled election for other board positions this fall. Swim Committee chair Craig Louie says, “We’re kind of dumbfounded by the whole matter but the support of other swim teams in the area has been overwhelming. We’ve been trying to keep our swimmers out of the issue so they can enjoy a ‘regular’ season.” He has no indication what happens next as both sides have legal representatives. At the City Meet, Dana Hills Swim Team will be seeking its 27th Concord City Meet championship in the last 28 years since the Otters won their first A Division title in 1992. The City Meet includes 11 teams with Pleasant Hill Dolfins and Forest Hills Swim Team of Martinez joining nine Concord and Clayton teams in the competition—Bishop Estates, Dana Hills, Forest Park,

Jay Bedecarré

City swim meet approaches with cloud hanging over team

Walnut Country will have its usual large contingent of swimmers at next weekend’s 53rd annual Concord Swimming Championships at Concord Community Pool. The Stingrays team has been competing under a cloud this year of the potential that this will be their final season after over 40 years competing in the pool at The Crossings. Among the swimmers who will take part at City Meet for WCST are, from left, Colin Huckestein (11 years-old), Sofia Acevedo (9), Jacob Dobbs (11), Rebecca Green (10), Kai Sonoda (9) and Monica Warren (9).

Gehringer Gators, Oakhurst, Springwood, Vista Diablo Dolphins, Walnut Country and Ygnacio Wood. The City Meet begins next Friday, July 26, with individual medley races and then continues Saturday (butterfly, freestyle, medley relay) and Sunday (breaststroke, backstroke, free relay). Admission is free. DHST, Forest Park, Walnut Country and Ygnacio Wood were the top team finishers in A Division at last year’s City Meet. In B Division, Springwood, Dana Hills and Ygnacio Wood finished ahead of Forest Park, which had won the B meet for six straight years. A and B divisions are determined based on swimmer’s times during the season. DHST have been in the top five at County Meet Division I the past eight years. The Otters finished second to perennial champions Crow Canyon

Country Club of Danville after taking third in the team standings three consecutive summers. Divisions at County Meet at Acalanes High School are based on the number of entries for each participating team. Forest Park won the County Division II championship for the fifth time in 2015.

FOREST PARK FLYERS WIN DEVIL MOUNTAIN PENTATHLON The 25th Devil Mountain Pentathlon hosted by Dana Hills at the end of June saw Forest Park take first among the 15 teams joining the hosts at the unique meet in Clayton. Each boy and girl swims five races in a day with their cumulative time accounting for individual placings. Dana Hills doesn’t take part in the

See Swimming, page B3

Nancy E. Bennett 5509 Florida Dr. – Concord



4417 Sugarland Ct. – Concord

4411 Marsh Elder Ct. – Concord



Charming 3 bed, 2 bath State Streets home with pool – This Clayton Valley Highlands gem is beautifully updated and conveniently located close to schools, shops, and restaurants. This nicely landscaped home with pool is ready to be called home.

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Gorgeously appointed inside and out, home in The Crossings Community – 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 2053 sq. ft. on a .13 acre lot. Spacious living room boasts a vaulted ceiling and adjoining formal dining room with generous windows treated with plantation shutters and fireplaces.

Offered at $825,000


•Concord Crossings – Lovely 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2130 sq. ft.

•Concord Crossings – Updated 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1641 sq. ft. •Walnut Creek – Spacious 5 bedroom, 5.5 bath, 4306 sq. ft.



This spacious two story home with loft is perfect for entertaining. Roomy updated kitchen/family room combo with hardwood floors. 4 bedrooms + loft, 2.5 bathrooms, 2,130 sq. ft. on a .12 acre lot. Updated kitchen features quartz countertops, KitchenAid appliances large center island with breakfast bar.

Offered at $800,000

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The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

July 19, 2019

Concord golfer Yealimi Noh’s July magic continues with Top 6 LPGA finish JAY BEDECARRÉ The Pioneer


Last July was a magical month for Concord golfer Yealimi Noh when she won championships at major amateur tournaments on three successive weekends that thrust her firmly on to the national stage. July is also her birthday month and two weeks ago she had an early celebration, placing sixth in her first LPGA tournament as a pro. Noh turned down a full scholarship to UCLA and instead began her pro golf career in January, playing in Cactus and WAPT mini-tours while going to Monday qualifiers trying to get into the field for Symetra Tour and LPGA tournaments. Early this month she qual-

ified for the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Wisconsin in her fifth Monday qualifier. And, despite jitters in her first event on the premier women’s tour, her July magic touch took over. “I was actually really nervous on the first hole. I told myself I wasn’t nervous, but it was a little different playing my first LPGA as a pro,” said Noh, who opened with three consecutive birdies. “Throughout the round I got a little more comfortable.” She had eight birdies, one eagle and a bogey for a firstround 63 that left her one shot off the lead. She followed up with a 65 in the second round and ended up in the final group Saturday playing with Rolex No. 1 ranked Sung Hyun Park. “Just focus on my score and my game. I

don’t want to think too much,” Noh said. She ended up the 72 holes at 24 under par, tied with Park for sixth place. Park said Noh’s maturity at a young age surprised her. “She spoke very good Korean, so I had time to speak with her some. I asked her how old she was, and she said she was 17,” said Park, who later joked that she was not as good as Noh at age 17. “Even though she’s a young player, her swing is really good, her playing is really good.” “It was so fun watching her play,” said Noh of the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer. “She’s really friendly and just, man, I was like really impressed with her distance obviously.” The first thing Noh did

when she woke up the day after the tournament was check to see where she stood in the Rolex Rankings and she had moved up 220 spots to No. 338 in the world. Players ranked inside the top 400 can skip the first stage of LPGA Qualifying School, a summer desert experience Noh would love to miss. Noh was given a sponsor invite to last week’s Marathon Classic. Alas, she missed the cut by two strokes in another lesson for the Concord golfer during her first seven months as a pro. The 2018 Rolex Junior Player of the Year also has a spot in the upcoming Evian Championship. Noh earned $63,170 in unofficial money at Thornberry, which is a nice birthday present even before she turns 18 on July 26.

Concord Little Leagues name 17 all-star teams Photo courtesy Gabe Roux/LPGA


Concord’s three Little Leagues concluded the 2019 season naming a total of 17 allstars teams for District 4 competition. CLAYTON VALLEY ALL-STARS

Baseball 11-12 year-olds International: Michael Albert, Blayne Ballard, Jeremiah Chop, Luke Dress, Beau Freihofner, Jakob Jensen, Logan Knapp. Nicolas Martin, Parker Schreiner, Daniel Wanetick, Johnny Warrender, Brady Willis, Logan Remington and Jared Hubbard. 11 year-olds: Tyler Summers, Joaquin Hernandez, Thomas Borbely, Cole Edmonston, Brady Brigance, Nate Lauricella, Coy White, Everett Ward, Nate Dobbs, Jackson Mac-

Donald, Brady Frias and Michael Walton. 10 year-olds: Aiden Newberry, Nathan Allen, Cole Torrey, Brycen Syrovatka, Geno Coddington, Ryan Stice, Brennan Berger, Bryce Ballard, Nolan Trautner, Spencer Chop, Everett Flanagan, Troy Martinez and Jeremie Rodriguez. 8-10 Futures: Braden Fahey, Cole Wilson, Colton Willis, Ethan Garner, Hudson Grushen, James Knapp, Landon Trautner, Nicholas Harmon, Owen Wright, Peyton Karabel, Ryan Gentile, Ryan Kern, Samuel Botelho, Zachary Gourlay and Cooper Duffy. 9-11 Futures: Madix Grushen, Wade Leischer, Ben Chisholm, Jayden Miller, Tyler Foley, Bradyn Netz, Henry Cox, Ellis Brown, Samuel Sanchez, Noah Ajero, Joseph Lucia jr. and Jaden Dwiggins.

Photo courtesy Concord American Little League

Concord American Little League major division all-star team included, front row from left, Aidan Dowling, coach Mike Viano, Jacob Asselin, Darius Sanchez, Anthony Viano, Jameson Munoz; back row, coach Pete Asselin, Eligh Frank, Adrian Croce, Brandon King, Joey Patton, Brendan Donohoe, Austin Figueira and coach Ken Patton.

Softball Seniors: Cassidy Baker, Cecilia Barnett, Sofia Carmichael, Genevieve Dennis, Jasmine Hatanaka, Jenna Kissinger, Jessie Lovett, Gianna Orozco, Sunny Ray, Lexi Reeves, Jaqueline Sanchez, Isabella Scolini, Saraya Williams and Madison York. 10-12 year-olds: Ruby Bartholomew, Brooke Burns, Grace Butticci, Sophia Groce, Julia Pauline, Liana Pursche, Lily Ray, Emmalee Usedom, Elizabeth Wallace and Antoinette Wirth. 8-10 year-olds: Riley Barton, Julia Dent, Hannah Figueira, Rylie Hendricks, Alyssa Kiss, MaKenna Kissack, NaomiAnn Long, Madison Lowney, Hannah Muller, Michaela Pence, Valentina Picazo, Madison Terry and Natalie Wirth. CONCORD AMERICAN ALL-STARS

Baseball Juniors: Keoni Caban, Sean Murphy, Damik Van Fanos, Carter Voerg, Josh Hovland, Nico Roth, Zach Barazato, Angelo Valencia, Devin Cooper, Dalton Cooper and Justin Pelonio. 50/70: Zach Berg, Chance Brass, Javier Carrillo, Gavin Clements, Sean Cooke, Brett Larkin, Trevor Long, Miles Palafox, Sayan Saha, Josh Spake and Dominic Spencer. 10-12 year-olds International: Eligh Frank, Joey Patton, Adrian Croce, Kevin O’Connor, Darius Sanchez, Jameson Munoz, Adrian Machado, Jacob Asselin, Brandon King, Brendan Donohoe, Anthony Viano, Austin Figueira and Aidan Dowling.

9-11: Johnny Benkert, Shay Caban, Cameron Cooper, Blake DeBacker, Xavier Dro bick, Eamon Fahey, Anthony Hoshida, Michael Johnson, Ryder McCabe, Isaiah Mikkola, Jesse Raines, Matthew Sterrett, Justin Sullivan and Justin Tougeron. 8-10 Future Stars: Vincent Barosso, Omar Carrillo, Richie Cervi, Nolan Fahey, Ethan Graves, Taylor King, Jake McCabe, Eli Morton, Pascual Palafox, Baron Schultz, Jake Stein, Nicholas Viano and Daniel Zermeno. CONTINENTAL LITTLE LEAGUE ALL-STARS

Baseball 50/70: Caitlin Calero, Ryan Collins, Ryder Gailmard, David Harris, Noah Jennings, Garrett Kamita, Ben Krueger, Boston Molinelli, Christina Noonan, Patrick O’Connor, Rohan Sen and Tyler Staph. 11-12 year-olds International: Tanner Lustig, Cohen Garcia, Jake Jones, Peter Keefe, Jackson Jones, Jacob Reyes, John Boyles, Andre Buitrago, Roberto Soto-Maynez, Will Spicer and Owen Fruchtenicht. 8-10 year-olds: Roman Maddox, Lucas Schooler, Dylan Klintworth, Casey Kress, Grant Malakov, Harrison Malakov, Ryan Samander, Rush Spurlock, Owen SohTse, Andrew Dell and Troy Gould. 9-11 Future Stars: Caaden Roberts, Thoms Martin, Joey Walson, Nico Campopiano, Ethan Lindquist, Tyler Eby, Blake Ingersol, Liam Fruchtenicht, Jack Chlebicki, Joe Joe Ivankovich, Anthony Collins and Angelo Collins.

Photo courtesy Continental Little League

The Continental Little League major all-stars played two games at the District 4. The team chosen from the teams in the league’s major division, includes, front from left, Tanner Lustig, Cohen Garcia, Jake Jones; middle row, Peter Keefe, Jackson Jones, Jacob Reyes, John Boyles, Andre Buitrago, Roberto Soto-Maynez, Will Spicer; coaches, Jeff Luengo, Scott Jones and Dan Buitrago. Not pictured, Owen Fruchtenicht.

Photo courtesy Clayton Valley Little League

The Clayton Valley Little League major division all-stars competed in the District 4 tournament that is the first step towards the legendary Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. The CVLL stars won one of three games in the double-elimination tournament. The team includes, from left, Johnny Warrender, Beau Freihofner, coach Joe Knapp, Daniel Wanetick, Michael Albert, Jeremiah Chop, Logan Knapp, Parker Schreiner, coach Brad Jensen, catcher Jakob Jensen, Luke Dress (red helmet), Blayne Ballard, manager Ben Ballard and Brady Willis. Not pictured, Logan Remington, Jared Hubbard and Nicolas Martin.

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July 19, 2019

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

Athlete Spotlight

Emma Meriam

Team: Ygnacio Wood Swim Age: 13 Sport: Swimming

Meriam has been swimming since she was five-years-old and was “very surprised” this summer when she posted her first-ever county qualifying time, in of all events, the breaststroke. She quickly lists butterfly and freestyle as her favorite events, but she is looking forward to her first Contra Costa County meet competing in the breast and individual medley. “I’ve been trying so hard [to make county]. It was a real

thrill,” Meriam said with a big smile. She still has the Concord Swimming Championships next weekend to clip off the .6 of a second she needs to get a county time in the fly. She began swimming for the Vista Diablo Dolphins and has been with Ygnacio Wood since the 7/8 age group. She recently turned 13 but has a good “swim birthday” and competes this summer in the 11/12 age group. Her head coach Mad-

Swimming, from page B1

team standings. Forest Park was first with Springwood third, Walnut Country fifth and Ygnacio Wood sixth for the top local finishers.

die King says, “Emma puts in effort in all aspects of her swimming-- at practice, at meets and even in just having fun and supporting those around her. It shows in her races and in the many friends she has made through the years on this team. She recently got county times in breaststroke and IM and with her friends in the medley relay.” Meriam is an incoming eighth grader at Foothill Middle School and is looking forward to going to Northgate High and hopes to be a member of the Broncos swim team. She takes part in fall and spring swimming clinics to supplement her summer rec team training. Her three siblings—Tommy, Mia and Max—also are part of the Ygnacio Wood Seahorses. The Concord Pioneer congratulates Emma and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for 25 years at Family Vision Care Optometry. www.laceyandruzicka.com Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to sports@concordpioneer.com.

Didenko (VDD), 2. Alyssa Nonaka (WC); 11-12- 1. Brooke Koller (DH); 13-14- 1. Julianna Colchico-Greeley (FP); 15-18LOCAL SWIMMERS TAKING 1ST OR 2ND IN A DIVISION: 1. Paige Landstrom (DH), 2. Girls: 6 & under- 1. Ava Enya Castaneda (SP). Cottam (DH), 2. Guilianna Boys: 7-8- 1. Raymond Lucia (FP); 7-8 – 1. Marina Lucia (FP), 2. Ramsey Lewis

S ports Shorts


Page B3

(WC); 9-10- 2. Vince Della Santina (DH); 11-12- 1. Dominick Maffei (DH), 2. Michael Albert (DH); 13-14 1. Kyle Hetherton (DH), 2. Colton Seastrand (DH); 15-18- Jacob Soderlund (SW), 2. Kai Welsh (YW).

of coaching Zach Sullivan at docdiablofc@gmail.com or visit diablofc.org to arrange a tryout.


Midfielder Gabby Riva of Clayton was one of 11 players awarded US Lacrosse All-America status for the North Coast/San Joaquin region for the recently completed spring high school season. The Carondelet High School junior had earned all-East Bay Athletic League honors for the Cougars. Three other EBAL players received the same all-America recognition from US Lacrosse including league MVP Bella Mayo of Amador Valley. Carondelet reached the quarterfinals of the NCS playoffs this spring before losing to eventual champion and No. 1 seed San Ramon Valley.

The Terrapins swam to a third-place team finish at the recent Arena Grand Challenge in Clovis earlier this month. The local USA Swimming team scored 1054 points behind the host Clovis Swim Club and Santa Maria SC. Terrapin swimmers posted over 75% best times with Serafina Celentano, Ryan Cesmat, Aden Li and Jasmine Kohlmeyer leading the effort. New Terrapin member Celentano (15) had best times in all six of her events, as did Jasmine Kohlmeyer (15) and Aden Li (12). The recent meet was interrupted by a 7.1 earthquake that shook the team hotel and MDSA FALL RECREATIONAL SOCCER PROGRAM put all swimmers on edge. The aftershocks continued strongly TAKING FINAL REGISTRATIONS throughout the meet and provided a very unusual backdrop to Registration for Mt. Diablo Soccer Association’s fall recrethe competition. The Terrapins are gearing up for the Pacific ation program for boys and girls born 2001-2015 is open. PracSwimming Far Western Championships the last weekend of July. tice starts after Aug. 1. Games and practices are held at Concord and Clayton fields. Email fall@mdsoccer.org or visit CHRIS SANTIAGO, ALEX BROWN mdsoccer.org for more info and to register. HONORS OMITTED IN JUNE ISSUE

Senior athletes from Carondelet and De La Salle high schools were not included in last months’ stories after their names were not included in the information provided to the Pioneer. Chris Santiago of North Coast Section champion De La Salle was named all East Bay Athletic League but the EBAL postings failed to also recognize him as Most Valuable Player to go along with his junior teammate Kyle Harrison, who was MVP Pitcher. The Saint Mary’s College-bound Santiago led the Spartans with 38 RBIs, 13 doubles and five saves on the mound and he had a .407 batting average. Alex Brown was honored as the Carondelet Senior Athlete of the Year. She was a two-time first-team all-EBAL goalie in water polo and a four-year varsity member of the four-time NCS champion Cougars. She is headed to the University of Michigan water polo team this fall.


De La Salle High School’s inductees to its Athletic Hall of Fame includes six student athletes, two teams and one longtime supporter of Spartan athletics. The Class of 2019 will be recognized during a halftime ceremony of the De La Salle football game against Buchanan on Sept. 20. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be Sunday, Sept. 22, 3 p.m., in the Kenneth H. Hofmann Student Center. Athlete inductees are Justin Alumbaugh (Class of 1998) football and baseball, Brian Bacharach (2002) water polo and swimming, Matthew Boelk (2000) volleyball, Parker Hanks (2004) baseball and football, Terrance (TK) Kelly (2004), Robert (Bam) Portis (1994) football and baseball. The other honorees are Brother Raymond Michael Saggau for contributions to the school in numerous capacities and the 2006 golf and 1995 football teams. The event is open to the public. For more information contact Lloyd Schine III at SchineL@dlshs.org or by phone at 288-8171.


Summer youth basketball and volleyball leagues begin this month while fall adult softball league starts in September. AOSL is taking registration online for all programs. For complete information on All Out Sports leagues, camps, clinics and other programs, visit alloutsportsleague.com.


Diablo FC is offering a completely free fall recreation soccer program for boys and girls born in 2005 to 2015. The program at Newhall Park in Concord runs 10 weeks from mid-August through October. There is one training session each week and Saturday morning games. Contact coach Chelsea Stewart at cstewart@diablofc.org or visit diablofc.org for complete info.

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Athletic director Megan Coddington has listed coaching vacancies for girls varsity and JV basketball, boys JV basketball, girls and boys varsity golf and also a stadium announcer for Minuteman football games. Interested people should submit a cover letter and resume to Megan Coddington at coddingtonm@mdusd.org.


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Walnut Creek Aquanuts are offering “Try It” days to introduce athletes 4-18-years-old to its synchronized swimming program. The 90-minute sessions are held Aug. 5 and 31 and Sept. 1. Registration is $10 for a session with top WCA coaching staff on hand. The world renowned Aquanuts also offer trainee sessions over the summer and fall, each running 4-5 weeks. The trainee sessions are for ages 4-18 who are new to the sport. CONCORD COBRAS FOOTBALL, CHEER Swimmers must be comfortable in deep water and able to swim SIGNUPS TAKEN ONLINE 25 yards. Registration is open for sessions through September at Concord Cobras tackle football and cheer programs are tak- Clark Memorial Swim Center in Walnut Creek. Registration for ing signups for the fall season online. The football and cheer both programs can be found at aquanuts.org. programs are open to youth six to 14 years of age. For more info on football email concordyouthfootball@yahoo.com or call 917- CONCORD AYSO TAKING FALL SOCCER REGISTRATIONS 0785 and for cheer email CYFcobrascheer@gmail.com or call Concord AYSO is accepting registrations for its fall soccer 383-1146. Visit concordyouthfootball.com for more info. program online. The fall season starts Aug. 3 through midNovember. Programs for boys and girls range from Playground TERRAPINS SWIM TEAM FALL TECHNIQUE PROGRAM (3-year-olds) through 18U. Practices and games are in Concord STARTS SEPT. 7 parks.  Registration fee includes a uniform, ball and The Terrapins fall technique development program will run insurance. Visit concordayso.org to register and get more info.  from Sept. 7-Dec. 13 at Concord Community Pool. The program is open to swimmers of all abilities, including those just FINAL FIRST TEE OF CONTRA COSTA concluding the summer recreation season. For additional inforSUMMER CAMP NEXT WEEK mation and to register visit terrapinswim.com. Registration is still open for The First Tee of Contra Costa at Diablo Creek summer camp that runs next week. The camp is NOT TOO LATE TO TRY OUT FOR open to boys and girls ages 5-14. Camp includes instruction in DIABLO FC COMPETITIVE TEAMS full swing, chipping, pitching and putting. Equipment can be Formal tryouts for Diablo Futbol Club boys and girls for provided to campers. For more information call 446-6701 or birth years 2001-2013 have concluded. However, the area’s pre- visit thefirstteecontracosta.org. mier youth school club has openings on teams. Contact director

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High school football leads off fall sports calendar JAY BEDECARRÉ The Pioneer

Athlete Spotlight

Rob Griffith

Team: Oakhurst Swim Team Age: 6 Sport: Swimming & Baseball

A year ago, Griffith was part of the Mighty Mini Orcas, learning and practicing in the Oakhurst Country Club pool but not competing in swim meets. This summer the six-year-old is not only competing but excelling. He finished sixth in the A Division of the recent Devil Mountain Pentathlon in Clayton. His favorite event is the backstroke and he’s posted county qualifying times in the back and freestyle. Head coach Jasmine Castillo says, “He has an enthusiastic, heartwarming and hardworking personality. Rob always has a smile on his face and his team spirit is infectious. The coaches are so proud of how far he has come in swimming.” In the spring, Griffith played in Clayton Valley Little League and will enter first grade at North Creek Academy next month. He will

cap his first season of swim meets at the Concord Swimming Championships next weekend and Contra Costa Swim Championships the following week.

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

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High school football begins with five games involving local teams on the Aug. 23-24 weekend, highlighted by the nationally-televised game with St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale visiting De La Salle in Concord on Friday, Aug. 23. MaxPreps has rated this as the eighth biggest game of the 2019 high school season. The schools met in 2011 with the Florida powerhouse beating the visiting Spartans 30-6 as defensive standout Joey Bosa (third draft pick in the 2016 NFL draft out of Ohio State) led the Raiders defense that stifled a DLS team which went on to win the California State championship and finish third in final national rankings. This season has seen a major reconfiguration of the North Coast Section playoff format. There are now seven football divisions with a maximum of eight teams making

Mazza, from page B1

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July 19, 2019

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Pacifics. Mazza had been having an excellent 2019 for the Mets International League team in Syracuse. In fact, he was twice named the International League Pitcher of the Week, the only player to get the league honor two times this season. Right after getting that second recognition he was watching a Mets-Phillies game on tv when his Triple-A Syracuse coach Tony DeFrancesco called him to say he was being sent to the big club. The righthander says the emotion of waiting eight years for such a call poured out. DeFrancesco was giving him instructions on what he needed to do in order to get to the Mets in Philadelphia but Mazza barely took it all in before hanging up and making an even more emotional call to his dad Bob.

“It’s something you dream of as a kid and to finally get here, it’s like an overwhelming excitement,” Mazza told the media in the Mets clubhouse on his first day as a big leaguer. “I’m just trying to take it one minute at a time.” When he was a junior infielder at Clayton Valley he was 5-9 and 145 pounds for coach Casey Coakley. He grew three inches by the next year. His CVHS teams made it to the North Coast Section playoff semifinals both years. He also played for Herc Pardi on the Ugly Eagles football team. The coach says Mazza “was a total team guy! Great kid. This couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Returns every spring to help coach Coakley with our players. Has never forgotten his roots.”

Yaa Gyasi’s novel “Homegoing” is hands-down the finest story I have read so far this year. Not since Alex Haley’s “Roots” have I been so taken by characters and their descendants spanning more than 300 years. It has taken me some time to put into words why this

story of half-sisters Effia and Esi, born in different villages in Ghana in the 18th century, is uniquely powerful. It is a story of Africa’s Gold Coast and the intrusive and overpowering effects of colonialism. It is the bifurcated tale of the sisters and their offspring as they live in colonized Ghana and under slavery and

the playoffs in each. DLS is the only local team in Division I while Clayton Valley Charter is the sole area team in D-II. The two Concord schools will play one another Nov. 1 in the final regular-season game for each after CVCHS was moved to the East Bay Athletic League after winning seven successive championships in the Diablo Valley and Diablo athletic leagues. The North Coast Section playoffs begin Nov. 8-9 and conclude Nov. 22-23 with the State Regional Bowl Games Dec. 6-7 and the finals Dec. 13-14. AREA SCHOOLS NON-LEAGUE SCHEDULES

Concord (Div. 4)- 8/23 at Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), 8/30 Arroyo (San Lorenzo), 9/13 at Rodriguez (Fairfield), 10/25 at Alhambra. De La Salle (Div. 1)- 8/23 St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, FL), 8/30 at Central Catholic (Modesto), 9/6 St. Francis (Mountain View), 9/13 at Folsom, 9/20 Buchanan (Clovis), 9/27 at St. Mary’s (Stockton). Mt. Diablo (Div. 4)- 8/23 at John Swett (Crockett), Elsie Allen (Santa Rosa), 9/6 at Harbor (Santa Cruz), at American (Fremont).

Northgate (Div. 3)- 8/23 at Berean Christian (Division 7)- 8/24 Skyline (Oakland), Hercules, 8/30 Alhambra, 8/31 at Salesian (Richmond), 9/6 at Hug (Reno), 11/1 Las 9/7 at El Molino (Forestville). Lomas. Clayton Valley Charter (Div. 2)- 8/30 Turlock, 9/7 Liberty (Honor Bowl @ James Logan), 9/20 at Canyon Springs (North Las Vegas), 9/27 at Berkeley.

Ygnacio Valley (Div. 6)8/30 John Swett (Crockett), 9/6 at Brookside Christian (Stockton), 9/14 at Galileo (San Francisco), 9/20 San Lorenzo.

Pardi was the pitching coach for the Eagles baseball team when Mazza would come by as he was preparing for his Menlo College seasons. “I was stunned by his growth spurt each spring [Mazza is now 6-4, 180 pounds] and I had him at 90 mph plus on the radar gun in an early season workout one year.” He went to Menlo to play shortstop but became a relief pitcher over this three years at the Atherton school, helping the Oaks change their program around and qualify for NAIA post-season play for the first time his junior year. He was then selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 27th round of the 2011 draft. The next spring, he began his eight seasons of the nomadic journey so many MLB dreamers travel in search of a call up to “the bigs.” “There was never a time that I wanted to quit,” Mazza told

reporters in his first clubhouse interview. “But there were times where [I thought] ‘Is this going to happen? When is it going to happen?’” He explained he had coaches along the way who reminded him that he needed to keep doing his thing, because his time would come. Mazza kept grinding. This year he had success for the Mets AA Binghamton and AAA Syracuse teams. In fact, Mazza was optioned back to Syracuse in order to be a part of the International League All-Star team that played the Pacific Coast League All-Stars in El Paso July 11. The next day he was back on the mound for the Mets to make his second appearance, this time in Florida against the Miami Marlins. During his minor league time Mazza pitched for four different teams in Florida. He says, “I’ve got the rest of my life for a real job. Just play the game as long as you can.”

‘Homegoing’ a compelling tale of two sisters and two continents

beyond in the United States. Gyasi, an American citizen born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Ala., has written a most evenhanded story of enslavement from within and without. She does not shy away from warring tribes selling their captives to the slave traders or the squalid and inhuman conditions in which the English held the slaves before loading them onto the slave ships. She describes life in the tribal compounds with an honesty and cultural integrity not often found in stories about African natives. There are no stereotypes. Customs and traditions are played out with characters we care about deeply. Courtship, marriages and childbirth may be different from our customs, but Gyasi’s characters are as human, flawed and gifted as any you will find. The women especially stand out as tribal pillars. Edweso, a village whose men had gone off to fight the British, is a place where “the absence of the men felt like its own presence.” The American side of the story begins with Esi, who is sold into slavery and shipped to America. From that point until the end, the narrative travels between the Ghanaian and American settings. The European and Christian colonization of Africa in the areas around the Gold Coast never overshadow the families and generations



that follow the two sisters. The American side of the tale does not remain long in the years of slavery, but all the bitter years of Jim Crow follow emancipation. I can only speak of “Homegoing” as an American story. Gyasi reflects the influence of Africa on the two families on either continent when speaking of a son who returns to his mother in the village in which he was born: “Forgiveness was an act done after the fact, a piece of the bad deed’s future.” The families of both sisters eventually live in America. When a granddaughter returns to Ghana to visit her dying grandmother, we feel the bonds that tie their failures and successes to Africa – where the stories of their ancestors have been committed to an oral tradition that cannot be erased. “Homegoing” is Gyasi’s commitment to those ancestors.

Sunny Solomon is a freelance writer and head of the Clayton Book Club. Visit her website at bookinwithsunny.com for her latest recommendations or just to ‘talk books.’

July 19, 2019

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

The gang’s back for ‘Toy Story 4,’ but hardly at center stage Twenty-four years is a long time – roughly a third of the average human’s life expectancy. It’s also the amount of time between “Toy Story” (1995) and “Toy Story 4” (2019). Every viewer of the series began watching it at a completely different era of their existence. People who saw the first one in the theater in their 20s could very well be taking their grandchild to the fourth one. I watched the first one in a computer drawing class my senior year of high school. I saw “Toy Story 2” (1999) during a break between classes at UC Berkeley. In 2010, dreading my second of three moves that year, I got some relief seeing “Toy Story 3” with my swim team. With some of the same swimmers in attendance,

sally known as a tearjerker for parents. With “Toy Story 4,” the creators unfortunately do not jump ahead nine years in Bonnie’s life. Rather, she is just entering kindergarten. Bonnie recently demoted Woody (Tom Hanks, great as always) from his position as sheriff of the toys. JEFF MELLINGER Anxious to be played with again, Woody hides in her SCREEN SHOTS backpack to help her overwe now revisited Woody and come her fears on orientation the gang as a team nine years day. Instead of getting back in later. Bonnie’s good graces, Woody The toys don’t age, but and his entire gang must take they deal with the aging of the a backseat to the toy Bonnie humans around them. In the put together. first two films, Andy, the toys’ For the first time, the owner, is between 4 and 8 series explains that a child’s years old. In “Toy Story 3,” creation can take on life Andy is all grown up. Rather amongst other toys. Forky than box away his toys, he (Tony Hale) is born out of gives them to his neighbor things (including a spork) Bonnie. The ending is univer- other kids threw away. Thus,

July 23, 30 Blues Concerts

Forky spends a good deal of his early life trying desperately to get back to the trash. Woody, acting like Forky’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, does his best to keep his new friend from going back to the junk. When Bonnie’s family

6:30-8 p.m., Todos Santos Plaza. July 23: The Dylan Black Project. July 30: Ms. Taylor P. Collins. Free. cityofconcord.org.

Thursdays through Sept. 26 Music and Market

6:30-8 p.m., Todos Santos Plaza. July 25: Foreverland. Aug. 1: Steel ’n’ Chicago. Aug. 8: David Laflamme’s “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Aug. 15: Caravanserai. Aug. 22: Zepparella. Free. cityofconcord.org.

Aug. 15-17 Salute to Woodstock

6:30-8 p.m., Todos Santos Plaza. Aug. 15: Caravanserai (Santana tribute). Aug. 16: San Francisco Airship (Jefferson Airplane evolution). Aug. 17: Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix tribute). Free. cityofconcord.org.

Tuesdays and Thursdays Farmers Market

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays and 4-8 p.m. Thursdays, Todos Santos Plaza. pcfma.org.


Saturdays through Sept. 14 Concerts in the Grove

6-8:30 p.m., the Grove Park, downtown. July 20: Club 90. Aug. 3: Apple Z. Aug. 17: Night Moves/Creedence Classic Revival. Free. claytonconcerts.com.

Saturdays through Sept. 21 Farmers Market

9 a.m.-1 p.m., 10950 Main St., Clayton. pcfma.org.

July 23 Prostate Seminar



Highlighting newer approaches to treating enlarged prostate without medication or major surgery, plus a discussion about treating incontinence. Hosted by Pacific Urology. 6:30-8:30 p.m., Oak View Room, Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway. Free. RSVP at 925-677-5041, ext. 272.

Aug. 8 Advanced Health Care Directives for Seniors

Legal clinic to prepare and notarize directives for seniors 60 and older in Contra Costa County. 9:15-11:30 a.m., Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle. Free. Call for appointment at 925671-3320.


July 19, Aug. 16 Common Poorwill Bird Walk

Listen for birds and discover interesting wildlife. 7-10:30 p.m., Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center, 96 Mitchell Canyon Road, Clayton. $6 per car. RSVP at blkittiwake@yahoo.com.

July 20 “Bone Detectives”

Examine bones and skull replicas to discover their secrets. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Summit Museum, Mt. Diablo State Park. $10 per car.

July 20 Night Challenge Walk

This is an 8½-mile hike over steep, uneven terrain with at least 1,500 feet of elevation gain; for ages 12 and older. 5:30-10 p.m. July 20, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Antioch. RSVP at 888-327-2757; select option 2 and refer to program 25763.

July 23 Evening on the Mountain

July 20 Document Shredding Fundraiser

A Mount Diablo Interpretive Association slide presentation and talk about the critters and evening bloomers that shine brightly as darkness falls in Mitchell Canyon. 6:30 p.m., Pleasant Hill Library, 1750 Oak Park Blvd. Free. RSVP at mtdiablohiker@gmail.com.

July 27 “A Royal Tea Party”

The Hazel-Atlas Mine and Greathouse Visitor Center are closed for construction; no mine tours available. The Sidney Flat Visitor Center on Somersville Road in Antioch will be open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekends. 888-327-2757, ext. 2750 or ebparks.org.


Bring personal documents to be shred and make a donation to the Cancer Support Community. Sponsored by Diablo Valley Oncology. 10 a.m.-noon, back lot at 400 Taylor Blvd., Pleasant Hill. 925-677-5041, ext. 272.

Benefits the city of Concord’s scholarship fund for underprivileged senior citizens. Tea, scones and more, with entertainment by Special Blend Singers. Dress as your favorite royal or wear a crown/tiara. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle. $5-$29. concordcs@cityofconcord.org, cityofconcord.org/438/special-events or 925-671-3320.

Aug. 8 Diablo Ballet’s Gourmet Gallop

Sip, sample and stroll through 18 downtown Walnut Creek locations, to benefit the PEEK outreach program for kids. 6-9 p.m. $39; $45 after July 25. diabloballet.org or 925-943-1775.

2nd and 4th Sundays Pancake Breakfast

Eggs, pancakes, sausage, beverage. 8-11 a.m. VFW Post 1525, 2290 Willow Pass Road, Concord. $5, $3 children under 12. vfwpost1525.org.

Cars for the Camp Fire

Donate a running vehicle for victims of the fire in Paradise, sponsored by the Clayton Valley Concord Sunrise Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Paradise. cars4paradise.org or 925-326-5868.

Oct. 26 East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s

embarks on a road trip, Forky and Woody get lost and end up at a small-town antique shop. Forky falls in with Gabby Gabby, a doll from days’ past looking for a new voice box so she can finally find her way out of the store. Along with her freaky ventril-




Bo Peep, Woody and Buzz Lightyear return in Toy Story 4.

Three mile walk, with a one-mile shortcut. 8:30 a.m. registration, 9:30 a.m. ceremony, 10:30 a.m. walk. Bishop Ranch, San Ramon. Register at alz.org/walk or contact Brittany Harrit at 925284-7942 or eastbaywalk@alz.org.

Through Sept. 10 Black Diamond Mines


Through Aug. 10 “Two for the Show”

Ceramics from Gerry Wallace and painting by Phil Simon. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, Valley Art Gallery, 1660 Botehlo Dr., Suite 110, Walnut Creek. Free. 925-935-4311 or valleyartgallery.org.

July 25 “Schoolhouse Rock Live, Jr.”

Based on the 1970s cartoons, Summer Stage by Clayton Theatre Company. 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. claytontheatrecompany.com.

Through July 28 “Charlotte’s Web”

The endearing tale of a pig and a spider, Woman of Words. Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St., Martinez. campbelltheater.com or 925-350-9770.

Aug. 14-30 “Girl of My Dreams”

Joe keeps getting dumped by the same girl – in his dreams, Onstage Theatre. Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St., Martinez. campbelltheater.com or 925-350-9770.

Through Sept. 15 “Blow Up II”

A second exhibition of inflatable art. Bedford Gallery, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $3; children under 12 free. bedfordgallery.org or 925-295-1417.

Page B5

oquist dummies, she’ll do anything to get what she wants. Woody also comes across Bo Peep (Annie Potts) from the first film. Her story of being an independent toy is very relevant in today’s world of female empowerment. I’ve gotten to this point and haven’t even mentioned Buzz, Jessie, Rex, the Potato Heads and the rest of the toys. That’s because they have hardly anything to do other than worry about Woody. There is a lot going on in this film – most of it great. Just be aware that the focus is mostly on new and previously forgotten characters. B+

Jeff Mellinger is a screen writer and film buff. He holds a BA in Film Studies and an MFA in film production. He lives in Concord. Email comments to editor@pioneerpublishers.com.



Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. Full schedule at ccclib.org/locations/Concord.html. 925-646-5455.

Friends of the Library Book Sale, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 19-20; 1-3:30 p.m. July 21. Baby & Toddler Storytime, 10:15 a.m. Tuesdays. Ages 0-3. Preschool Storytime, 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Ages 3-5. Galaxy Glitter Paint Pour, 6 p.m. July 22. Registration required. Summer Crafting for Kids, 2 p.m. July 24 and 31, Aug. 7 and 14. Adventures in Coding, 4 p.m. July 25. Registration required. Movie Night for Adults, 6:30 p.m. July 25. “Shazam.” Concord Art Association Meeting and Demo, 1:30 p.m. July 27 Make a Recycled Robot, 7 p.m. July 29. ROAR: A Safari Party, 4 p.m. July 31. Talkfest, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 1. How Local Government and Voting Work, 10 a.m. Aug. 3. Concord Knitting & Crochet Group, 1:15 p.m. Aug. 4. National Night Out 2019, 6 p.m. Aug. 6. Mystery Book Club, 1 p.m. Aug. 11. Back to School Craft, 6 p.m. Aug. 12. I Loved It/A Book Sharing Event, 4 p.m. Aug. 14. Registration recommended. Medicare Information Session, 7 p.m. Aug. 15. Free Tax Aide, 10 a.m. Aug. 17. Healthcare for the Homeless, 2 p.m. Aug. 19. Coffee and Conversation, 2 p.m. Aug. 19. Family Movie Monday, 7 p.m. Aug. 19.

Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. Full schedule at ccclib.org/locations/Clayton.html. 925-673-0659.

Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. July 22, Aug. 12 and 26. Constituent Services with Assemblyman Tim Grayson’s staff, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. July 20, Aug. 17. Bubblesmith Space-Themed Hand-Blown Bubbles, 4 p.m. July 25. Harry Potter Birthday Celebration, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. July 31. For ages 8-18. Register at ccclib.org. Book Club, 7 p.m. Aug. 12. “Dictionary of Mutual Understanding.” Puppets and Judy Show, 4 p.m. Aug. 15. Recycled Robots Craft Program, 4 p.m. Aug. 29.


1st, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays Concord City Council

6:30 p.m., Council Chamber, Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Dr. cityofconcord.org.

1st and 3rd Wednesdays Concord Planning Commission

7 p.m. Council Chamber, Civic Center, 1950 Parkside Dr. cityofconcord.org.

1st and 3rd Tuesdays Clayton City Council

7 p.m. Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. ci.clayton.ca.us or 925-673-7304.

2nd and 4th Tuesdays Clayton Planning Commission

7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. ci.clayton.ca.us or 925-673-7304.

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

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The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

July 19, 2019

Quite the characters – from ‘Ladies’ to ‘Frankenstein’

and a little gray spider named Charlotte. It runs through July 28 in Martinez. Call 925-3509770 or visit campbelltheater.com. Kick up your heels and join the Disco-Divas, a convent of nuns in a newfound sisterhood, in the Pittsburg Community Theatre production of the hysterical musical “Sister Act,” KATHRYN G. MCCARTY Sept. 7-22. Call 925-427-1611 or visit pittsburgcaliforniatheON THE MARQUEE atre.com. Diablo Actors Ensemble Concord’s B8 Theatre presents the Neil Simon comeCompany celebrates 100 years Chris Finetti dy “Barefoot in the Park” Sept. of women having voting rights Ida is surrounded by her brood in the Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble production of 6-21 at the Lesher Center for with “Strange Ladies” by Susan “HONK!” in Brentwood through Saturday. the Arts in Walnut Creek. Sobeloff at the Concord HisSamantha Fryer and Austin torical Society Sept 27-Oct. 13. Pierce star as young newlyweds troupe will open its 8th season Peabody directs “InsignifiOrchard” Feb. 27-March 21, Artistic director JanLee Marwith the East Bay premiere of cance” Oct. 11-27. The reprise 2020, and “Violet” May 28-June who discover their apartment shall directs, assisted by Becky really isn’t all they hoped it “The Mel Brooks’ Musical of last year’s hit show “I am My 20, 2020. Visit Potter. Young Frankenstein.” With its Own Wife” by Doug Wright, townhalltheatre.com or call 925- would be. Call 925-943-SHOW Also, save the date for B8’s or visit lesherartscenter.org. silliness, sexual innuendo and featuring Randall Nott, plays 283-1557. annual Gala & Fundraiser on Since it hatched in 1993, physical comedy, this electrifyNov. 8-24, while I reprise my Dedrick Weathersby stars in Sept. 14. For more information, “HONK!” has winged its way ing adaptation runs Oct. 17comedy “(Not) A Christmas the musical “Remembering visit b8theatre.org. Nov. 2. Visit claytontheatrecom- Carol” Dec. 13-22. James” celebrating the story of around the world and now Clayton Theatre Compalands at Ghostlight Theatre in pany.com or call 925-222-9106. The 2020 portion of the the Godfather of Soul, James ny presents the Summer Stage Brentwood through July 20.This Onstage Theatre has season includes “Same Time Brown. An eight-piece band production “Schoolhouse Rock family musical celebrates the announced its 42nd season, Next Year” directed by Allison accompanies the show at the Live, Jr.” on July 25. Directed opening with company member Means March 27-April 11 and Campbell Theatre Sept. 7-22. acceptance of what’s different, by Roxanne Pardi and La Tonya offering a universal story for all John Allred’s “Girl of My “Quadrille” by Bay Area native Call 925-350-9770 or go to Watts, the show is based on of us. Directed by Chris Finetti. Dreams” Aug. 14-30. Following Melynda Kiring April 24-May campbelltheater.com. 1970s cartoons and features that is “Camping with Henry 10. Artistic director Helen Women of Words presents Visit ghostlightte.org or 925clever catchy tunes. 354-2117. and Tom” Sept. 13-29. Edwin Means rounds out the season the endearing “Charlotte’s Meanwhile, the Clayton Center REPertory’s Comwith “Steel Magnolias” May 22- Web,” based on E.B. White’s pany’s Young REPertory June 2. classic story of the friendship Theatre will host a performAll shows will be at the Mar- between a pig named Wilbur tinez Campbell Theatre, which will also host seasons by Plotline Theatre Company and Women of Words. Season packages and single tickets for all shows are available at 925350-9770 or campbelltheater.com. Town Hall Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary seaThe Art Institute of California son with a Masquerade Gala after high school. His style is Oct. 26. This season, the commostly abstract, with a focus on pany presents a wide fare, Ben Krantz including “The Legend of pop culture and somewhat dark Students in the Young REPertory Theatre program will be surrealism. “I had this romantiGeorgia McBride” Sept. 26part of a performance workshop at the Lesher Center in cized idea that I would grow up Oct. 19, “Cinderella” Dec. 5-21, Walnut Creek July 25-Aug. 1. to become a working artist and Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry paint all day,” he recalls. “But once I started taking classes for typography and Photoshop, I fell in love with digital art. I LISA FULMER shifted my studies from fine art graphic design when I realARTS IN MOTION to ized there would be more job As a marketing specialist for opportunities.” After designing a concept the Pacific Coast Farmer’s Marfor the same utility box his ket Association, Chris Ball first office was sponsoring, Ball heard through a sponsorship entered his work to the call for request about Concord Art artists. “I liked the shape of this Association’s pilot project with particular box and the fact that the City of Concord to paint it would be wrapped with printdowntown utility boxes. ed vinyl instead of painted, “The Farmer’s Market was which meant I could work in a among several local organizadigital format. After sketching tions who were asked to sponmy design in pencil, I scanned it sor a box. Since our summer into the computer to add color Music & Market series had already been chosen by the City and refine the layers.” Ball adds, “Even though the as a theme, we thought it would Music & Market theme wasn’t be a great idea to help with the in line with my personal artistic fundraising,” Ball explained. style, it was really fun to create “While discussing the opportuimagery that celebrates my job nity with my colleagues, I got at PCFMA. I may not live in really excited about the project Concord, but I’m here every and I couldn’t help but think day for work. I love our downabout throwing my hat in the town’s vibrancy and sense of ring to design a box myself,” he community. I’m proud that my said. work contributes to that.” Ball has always enjoyed The judging process for painting. He entered art conselecting the finalists for this tests as a child and he attended

Champaign Media

Beth Chastain and William McNeil appear in “Barefoot in the Park” by Diablo Actor’s Ensemble at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek coming in Sept.

ance workshop featuring students July 25-Aug. 1 at the Lesher Center, directed by Kerri Shawn and Jeff Draper. According to Shawn, the company is process-oriented, and showcases grow out of classroom work and production workshops. Call 925-943SHOW or visit lesherartscenter.org. Kathryn G. McCarty is wellknown around the Bay Area as an educator, playwright and journalist. Send comments to KGMcCarty@gmail.com.

Graphic designer gets public forum to celebrate his day job

Farmers’ Market artist brings a whimsy to downtown utility boxes recognizing the Music and Market series.

project was conducted blind, so nobody on the jury knew who the artists were. As luck would have it, Ball’s submission was the winning design for the utility box sponsored by PCFMA. “I was thrilled to get the news! Plus my mother is very happy to see my art take on a brighter tone,” he chuckled. “I really enjoy creating graphics for the Farmer’s Market and this public art project feels like a culmination of all my work there.” Watch for artists working on the utility boxes around Todos Santos Plaza next month. Lisa Fulmer is a marketing consultant, published author and a community arts advocate.

July 19, 2019

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

Just stick with the plan for new design options

bors’ back yard, privacy can be an issue. Perhaps replacing the windows with textured glass is the ultimate goal, but for a temporary fix, try a textured window film that looks like seeded glass. Painted finishes, decorative wooden trim and moldings, wood paneling and upholstered walls are still tried-andtrue for blank walls and surfaces, but for a bit of immediate design gratification, and the excitement of implementing a new design technique, temporary adhesive papers and decals might be super apeeling.

sized pool around, drawing a lot of attention to the growing sport of competition swimming. In the early ’70s, pre-Olympic trials were held there and a couple local kids competed. “At the trials dinner, the Japanese swimmers refused to take a silver medal,” Helix recalls. “If it wasn’t gold, they didn’t want it.” That was a most exciting time for Concord and the surrounding area. The City Adam Pingatore Council wanted a larger, more splendid pool that could host Kids celebrated when the Cowell Pool reopened after renothe Olympics. The water aero- vations in May 2018. bic ladies, who used the pool Everyone understood that The pool has been recently all the time, stood up to the they could take better care of renovated, and the local high council and told them not to what they had rather than schools use it for water polo do it. So they didn’t. building anew. and swim team. The Terra-

pins, a year-round swim team, is nationally known, and swimmers come from all over for their summer workout program. The ladies, along with a few gentlemen, are still doing water aerobics and enjoying the sun and water. Now people seem to have backyard pools or belong to local swim clubs. But if you ever feel inclined for an oldfashioned afternoon, try a local watering hole.


Turn that blank wall into a window to nature with peel and stick wallpaper that’s easy to install and easy to change.

will evolve over time, or for an accent wall in a guest bedroom or powder room. It’s also great for a quick fix for an undesirable surface, any

rary wallpaper just like traditional wallpaper, by the yard or roll to cover a specific amount of square footage. Many manufacturers are also selling temporary murals that can cover an entire wall with a forest, ocean or space landscape or maybe in the shape of a single object. A simple online search will lead you to many retailers offering a wellrounded selection of colors, themes and patterns. The ease of installation makes this material a failsafe. You can remove and re-stick as many times as necessary until you have the perfect outcome. Temporary adhesives don’t stop at the blank wall. Stair riser decorations are a perfect way to add an accent and pop of color and pattern. The idea of a decorative stair riser is nothing new;

sometimes risers are painted or tiled. But until recently, if you wanted to add a decorative element to your risers, the solution most likely would have been a permanent design treatment. Now, decals for this surface come in all sorts of patterns and colors – adding just enough interest to create a unique focal point. Whether you’re looking for a festive temporary accent or considering a long-term design decision, stair riser decals may be your new favorite accessory. In Clayton and Concord, many residents have applied tinting to home windows for sun control. You can use a similar decorative film to create the illusion that the window has texture and depth, or even looks like stained glass. If your bathroom window looks directly into your neigh-


Stickers aren’t just for kids these days. There’s a wonderful world of temporary stickyness out there that you really should take the time to unpeel. From temporary wallpaper and murals to stair riser decals and even window décor, accentuating blank walls and surfaces has never been easier – or more fun. The traditional method of installing wallpaper is still the better way to go if you want a permanent design. But peel and stick wallpaper is genius for decorating kids rooms that

Page B7

design on a dime project or just determining if a permanent wallpaper install is truly what you want. You can purchase tempo-

Jennifer Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at jenna@j-designs.com.

Area’s first Olympic-sized pool still making a splash In the ’50s and ’60s, folks would pack the family in the car and head out for the local pool. There were many to choose from: the Mt. Diablo High School pool, Castle Rock, Mitchell Canyon, Curry Creek, Marsh Creek, Russelman Park and Turtle Creek. Some are still around, however, the largest is the still-thriving Cowell Pool. As the story goes, the Dave Ginochio and Tony Fregulia families sold 31 acres on Cowell Road to the city to build a community pool, park and tennis courts. The deed was recorded in 1963. According to longtime resident Dan Helix, Ginochio also donated



the house that stood on his land. The city did what it had to do to start developing one of the best parks and pools in the valley, and Cowell Road would forever change. It was the first Olympic-

Carol Longshore has been a Concord resident since 1950. She is a community leader and past president of the Concord Historical Society. Send comments and suggestions for future topics to editor@concordpioneer.com.

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General Disclaimer for All Offers. Unless otherwise indicated: rates quoted are accurate as of July 1, 2019, are per person, based on double occupancy and are for the lowest accommodation category. Gratuities, transfers & excursions are additional. Advertised rates are subject to additional taxes and surcharges, however, such amounts, if collected by Pleasant Holidays, are included in land-only and air-inclusive advertised rates. Daily resort or facility fees payable directly to the hotel at check-out may apply; such fee amounts are excluded from advertised rates and will be advised at the time of booking. Rates may not be available on all travel dates. Airline tickets may be nonrefundable. Additional restrictions may apply, including, but not limited to, baggage charges for first and/or second checked bag, advance purchase requirements, & blackout dates. Itinerary changes/cancellations are subject to Pleasant Holidays-imposed fees from $25 (for Canada or contiguous U.S. travel) or from $50 (for all other travel) per person, in addition to any applicable airline or other supplier-imposed change/cancellation penalties, plus applicable fare differentials (certain changes involve pre-notification deadlines). Airline fees & policies may vary; contact Pleasant Holidays for information. For baggage fees & other details, see www.iflybags.com. Rates involving roundtrip air transportation from other gateways may differ. Rates, terms, conditions, availability, itinerary, government taxes, surcharges, deposit, payment & cancellation terms & policies are subject to change without notice. Cruise rates capacity controlled. Not responsible for errors or omissions. Pleasant Holidays acts only as an agent for cruise & tour providers listed. CST# 1007939-10. Copyright©2019 Pleasant Holidays, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Prune, water, fertilize to beat summer heat Page B8

The Pioneer • www.pioneerpublishers.com

Summer in the garden always includes a list of chores. Spring’s flower displays and surging leaf growth leave lawns and landscapes in need of some tender-loving care. Many sun-loving flowers, including salvias, butterfly bushes and penstemon, have enjoyed their first round of blooms. Salvia Hot Lips, a popular perennial with bicolor red and white flowers, needs a healthy trimming after the spring rush. Prune to remove a third of the growth, shaping the plant into a sphere. This may feel too structured for this free-growing salvia, but it is the best way to renew the plant and get the maximum second floral display. Butterfly bushes have panicle-shaped flowers in jewel tones of red, rose, lavender

Wayside Gardens

Even if it’s still trickling bloom, now is the perfect time to prune your butterfly bush.


R&M is the place for

e My


and purple. They are fantastic, sun-loving, large shrubs that look great on Clayton Valley hillsides and fence lines. Even if it’s still trickling bloom, now it the perfect time to prune the canes back about a third. Make you cuts just above a leaf, then apply a dose of multi-purpose water-soluble fertilizer to the base of the shrubs. You will see the rewards of your effort soon. Penstemon is another excellent perennial selection for local landscapes, with trumpet-shaped flowers of red, pink, purple and bi-colors that bloom May through October. The trick is to prune after a rush of flowers. Remove faded flower stems clear down to the second round of new leaves, then fertilize to get the plant blooming. Hydrangeas should also be deadheaded at this time. Remove expiring heads and stems far into the shrub.



• Sales, repairs and supplies of all pool equipment • Extensive collections of perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, roses and houseplants • Premium potting soils and conditioners, decorative bark and mulch • Garden décor • Knowledgeable and experienced staff Like us on

Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. But once a stem has bloomed, it becomes underproductive and should be removed. Follow up with a dose of water-soluble fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Lawns can struggle in the summer months. Mowing too low or watering at the wrong times can cause burn and brownouts. Consider mowing every other week, or set the mower to the highest setting. Long lawn blades shade the roots and help prevent water loss from evaporation. Water in the very early morning hours, in five-minute cycles, so the water will have the chance to seep in rather than run off. Check your irrigation to make sure you are not watering the sidewalks or driveways. Boost your lawn during summer with a premium soil conditioner. Rake a thin layer into the lawn’s soil using a flexible tined rake, then water. This will make nutrients avail-

July 19, 2019



able to the lawn naturally, instead of using synthetic fertilizers. Another way to support your lawn is to apply a soil penetrate a few times a year. This helps break the barrier the soil surface creates and allows nutrients to penetrate deeper. You can apply soil penetrates when you use water-soluble fertilizers to assist the fertilizer in getting to the roots.

Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. You can contact her with questions or comments by email at gardengirl94517@yahoo.com

Yosemite Valley is nature at its most awesome

Pool, Patio, Gifts & Gardens 6780 Marsh Creek Road, Clayton


Hours: Tues-Sat 9-5, Sun 10-4, Closed Monday

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Kevin Parker

Hikers “feel the burn” on the aptly named Mist Trail as they climb over 1000 feet while getting drenched from the Vernal Falls spray.

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My legs were seemingly frozen from the knees down as I stood in the Merced River hoping to spot a climber on El Capitan – a massive 3,600-foot slab of granite and a cornerstone of the Yosemite Valley. With the recent popularity of the movie “Free Solo,” El Cap was a definite hot spot and a great way to celebrate July 4th. We had six days inside Yosemite National Park, with two families, 10 bicycles and a campsite near Happy Isles Trailhead. It had been 17 years since I last visited Yosemite, long before kids, climbing the cables up Half Dome and sleeping in the backcountry. That trip has always stood out in my mind, until I returned with my family and fell in love with this park again. With more than 90 species of mammals, 11 waterfalls, 90 foot bridges and 1,500 different types of flowering plants, why wouldn’t you visit – especially since it’s only about a four-hour car ride from the Bay? Moving around the valley via bike, hike or bus is the way to go (in that order). Park your car – and leave it. We spent much of our first day riding around the valley via a vast network of paved and dirt trails. We biked up to Mirror Lake and stood in awe as Half Dome towered above us.

The kiddos did some water jumps – almost ice baths as a heavy winter brought big-time river flows. The upper portion of the Merced River moves very fast and is extremely dangerous. It was much calmer below Stoneman Bridge, bringing out rafters and tubers alike. The day hike up Mist Trail to Vernal Falls (317 feet) was a trip highlight. This trail is one of the most popular in the world, so expect some foot traffic. The trail leaves from Happy Isles and quickly earns a leg burner classification, as you eat up more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain over a relatively short distance. The sheer amount of water coming off Vernal Falls shot a mist that drenched every hiker on the trail, making for slippery footing on the granite steps. Plan for a lunch stop at Emerald Pools. Most turn around at the top and hike back down, but we pushed on to Clark Point. It was worth every bit of effort, with views of Vernal Falls from above and Nevada Falls (594 feet). Hikers can also see Mt. Broderick, Liberty Cap and Half Dome along John Muir Trail. That trail has less foot traffic, extraordinary views and intermittent shade all the way down. Yosemite Falls (2,425 feet) is the tallest waterfall in North America and had the absolute maximum water flow on our visit. This trail is an easy, onemile trip that puts you literally right at the base of the falls. Head off piste and over a few rocks, and you’ve got an instant drenching on a hot summer day. Nighttime in Stoneman Meadow was another trip favorite. Late-night bike rides with headlamps would transform into stargazing adven-

Where to Stay in Yosemite Valley

Camping, recreation.gov Yosemite Lodge, Housekeeping Camp, Half Dome Village, Majestic Yosemite Hotel, travelyosemite.com Camp 4, lottery system

Park Statistics

Area: 748,436 acres Paved walking & bicycle paths: 20 miles Hiking trails: 800 miles Paved roads: 214 miles Park visitors: 4.1 million last year Overnight hikers: 51,000 last year Tallest point: Mt. Lyell, 13,114 feet Number of peaks above 12,000: 18+

Trip Tips

Valley Loop Trail Happy Isles Nature Center Store food in bear-proof lockers Bicycles (a must) Hiking and water shoes Half Dome Village Ice Cream Upper Pines Campground

tures. It’s an amazing feature of this park. But for me, it was the granite and the water – fully overwhelming at times and a miracle of nature. Beyond Yosemite Valley, there is so much more to see: Glacier Point, Wawona, Tuolumne Meadows and Hetch Hetchy to name a few. Whether you like naturalist programs, camping, walking, hiking, tours, rafting, sightseeing, films, stores or galleries, there is something for every type of person. If you want to reset your inner naturalistic being and become one with nature, try a small dose of Yosemite and go climb a rock.

Contact Kevin Parker with comments or questions by email at LukeHollywood@gmail.com

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JUL 19 The Pioneer 2019  

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

JUL 19 The Pioneer 2019  

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

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