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June 27, 2014


League play began last week in bocce courts next to remodeled Skipolini’s HANK STRATFORD

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer


As banners around town proclaim, Clayton is celebrating a number of landmarks this year, not the least of which is the golden anniversary of cityhood. Last Friday, according to Clayton Business & Community Association immediate past president Ed Hartley, “the dynamic of downtown has changed forever.” Hartley was speaking to a crowd of city officials, donors and proud residents at the unofficial opening of the Ipsen Family Bocce Court at the corner of Main and Oak streets. The four bocce courts had their official grand opening the next morning but this was a time for all involved in the project to share in the accomplishment that Hartley says was first discussed more than a decade before. Skipolini’s Pizza founder Skip Ipsen and his son Kent,

City inks new 2014-15 budget The Clayton City Council recently adopted a budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. After a number of years of decline we are starting to see our revenue increasing. We are cautiously optimistic that 2014-2015 will result in a slight surplus of revenue over expenditures. Our new Finance Manager, Kevin Mizuno, worked hard putting together his first budget for our city. Kevin spent some long hours and did a lot of pencil sharpening as he looked at each account. We are grateful for his expertise and diligent work. The make-up of our police department is evolving and Chief Chris Thorsen has had his hands full managing the changes. With the return of one of our officers and the most recent new hire we are now completely staffed. Three of our new officers are still training and will begin covering shifts on their own in the next few months.

See Mayor, page 3

KENT IPSEN successfully navigated this year through the simultaneous downtown Clayton projects of a remodel of Skipolini’s Pizza for the first time in 40 years and the construction of the Ipsen Family Bocce Park. However last Friday when it came to throwing the ceremonial first pallino he failed to place it within the prescribed area and his family’s “rock,” wife Yvette, was needed to get it right during the festivities on the Gonsalves Family Court.

Steve Pierce

TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

FOUR DAYS AFTER MULTI-ORGAN TRANSPLANT, 11-YEAR-OLD KATIE GRACE GROEBNER is breathing on her own and manages a smile with encouragement from her dad, John Groebner. The heart and lungs replace organs badly damaged by a lifelong battle with Pulmonary Hypertension.

Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Captain Grammar Pants . . .15 Classified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

See Bocce page 9

July 4 in Clayton

Rare heart and double lung transplant brings promise of new life to Katie Grace

What’s Inside

who now run six restaurants that began in Clayton, were especially pleased as the unveiling of the courts on family property coincided with the first major remodel of the adjacent Skipolini’s Pizza since its opening May 3, 1974. The four bocce courts were christened by representatives of their sponsors — the Gonsalves Family, Mike Rose Auto Body, Republic Services and CBCA—culminating the festivities which included a light-hearted proclamation from the City of Clayton presented by Mayor Hank Stratford and more emotional talks by Skip and Kent Ipsen. Hartley was pleased to point out that 77 teams comprised of 770 players would begin league play last Sunday. Due to the overwhelming demand there will be Clayton Bocce Leagues held Sunday through Friday evenings plus Sunday afternoon.

Club News . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Community Calendar . . . . .14 Concord City Beat . . . . . . . . .5 Concord News . . . . . . . . . . .5 CVCHS Correspondent . . . . .8 Design and Décor . . . . . . . . .4 Directory of Advertisers . . . . .7

When the phone rang in the Groebner house at 3 a.m. on June 21, John Groebner was pretty sure he knew who was calling and why. He had been waiting for this call since last January, when his little girl, Katie Grace Groebner, 11, officially went on the transplant list at Stanford’s Lucille Packard Childrens Hospital. Still, when the call came, they were not ready. Despite the months of anticipation, training and consultations leading up to this moment, John and Kathy, Katie Grace and her sister, Savanha Hope, 15, say none of them were prepared for the fear — and the permanence — of what was about to happen. “I just went outside on the patio and sat alone for awhile,” Kathy Groebner said. “I felt empty. I just wasn’t ready.”

Celebrate with friends and neighbors Start early at the Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast from 7-10 at Endeavor Hall. Then go find a good watching spot on Main St. for the parade which starts at 10.

Photo Contest - Win Cash Capture the spirit of the day and share your favorite images of July 4 with our readers. Anyone who receives the Pioneer, either by mail or carrier, is eligible to enter. The contest is open to all, adults (over 12) and kids (12 and under.) The winning photos will be published in the July 11 issue of the Pioneer. Each individual may submit up to three photos, but only one photo can win a prize. Submit snapshot size prints (nothing bigger than 5” x 7”) AND DO NOT a CD with hi-resolution files. Please,D email entries. Photos must have been taken during this year’s July 4 Celebration, either in Clayton or Concord. On the back of each photo, put your name, address, phone number, email address and whether you are entering as an adult or child. For kids (12 and under), please include age. IMPORTANT: Drop off your prints AND the CD at the Clayton Pioneer office NO LATER THAN 5 p.m. Sat., July 5. Please do not e-mail entries. Photos will be judged on overall quality, composition and how well the image captures the spirit of the day.

Prizes: Adult, first $100, second $75, third $50. Kids, first place $50, second $35, third $25.

See Katie Grace page 9 Estate Planning . . . . . . . . . .16 Garden Girl . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Get Up and Get Out . . . . . .18 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Obituary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Police Report . . . . . . . . . . .12

Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Sports Shorts . . . . . . . . . . .12 Sports Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Teen Reads . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Performing Arts . . . . . . . . . .15 Pine Hollow Correspondent .8

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Clayton Pioneer •

June 27, 2014

Around Town Landscaping at Concord High completes Tony Thongurai’s Eagle Scout project

CHARLES WOLFKILL (SCHOOL DISTRICT OPERATIONS), DAVID KATES, John Carr, Tony Thongurai, Cissi Holgren-Kates, Dan Condon (scoutmaster) and (in front) William Kates represent most of the crew that worked on Tony Thongurai’s Eagle Scout project on the last day.

Pint-sized grads ready to take on kindergarten

3205 Coyote Circle – Clayton Diablo Ridge at Oakhurst Country Club! 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit, inside laundry, fireplace, plus 1 attached and 1 detached garage. $319,000

Justine Del Monte graduated from the eighth grade at Palmer School Walnut Creek in June and will attend Athenian School in JUSTINE DEL Danville in the MONTE fall. Justine received the Excellence in Leadership & Athletics Award, which is given to one graduate each year. Justine is the daughter of Charles and Jacqueline Del Monte of Clayton.


Sadie Downing awarded CBCA scholarship CVCHS senior, Sadie Downing was a deserving recipient of a $5,000 scholarship awarded by the Clayton Business and Community Association this year. She graduated with a 4.5 GPA after having received Academic Excellence Awards all four years of high school. Sadie is an accomplished musician as well as a scholar. She was a member of the CVCHS Jazz Ensemble and Full Orchestra Performance Ensem-

8045 Kelok Way – Clayton


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Lifelong Concord/Clayton Resident

(925) 672-4433 cell: (925) 348-5700

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275 Mountaire Circle............$615,900 4725 Morgan Territory..........$815,000 4 Clark Creek Circle ............$355,000 5859 Clayton Rd ..................$650,000 20 Regency Dr.....................$640,000 904 Deer Place ....................$850,000 321 Chardonnay Cir ............$745,000 3017 Windmill Canyon Dr....$735,000 1025 Feather Circle .............$470,000 5193 Keller Ridge Dr ...........$640,000 1853 Yolanda Circle.............$638,000 100 Mt. Etna Drive...............$680,000 216 Condor Way..................$636,000 25 Widmar Court..................$640,000

Jennifer Stojanovich

We want to know what’s happening in your families and in your neighborhoods. Send your news of births, engagements, weddings, special recognitions, etc. to Please attach your photos to the email as JPEG files between between 3MB and 6MB and include a caption to identify people in your photos.

Helping friends, neighbors & newcomers buy and sell their homes since 1979

George Vujnovich

Cal BRE #00711036

ble. She is active in her church and has been a consistent organizer and volunteer for community projects. She will attend UC SADIE DOWNING Santa Cruz in the fall where she will major in molecular biology and bioengineering.

Rarely available flat lot! Tucked away at the end of desirable Lydia Lane. Approximately 1.12 Acres $495,000

3385 Aspara Dr. – Clayton Best of both Worlds! Country living yet close to town! 8 acres! Views! & meandering creek! 3 bedrooms, 3 baths + a loft, approx. 2800sf. $669,000

What’s happening Around Town?

Each Office Is Independently Owned & Operated.

1179 Shell Lane - Clayton Chaparral Springs at Oakhurst Country Club! Beautifully updated 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath Manzanita model! Approx. 1355sf. Granite kitchen. Private backyard! $439,000


5718 Verna Way – Clayton

3043 Windmill Cyn. Dr. – Clayton

June 19 marked 60 years of marriage for Ancilla and Don McKenzie They were married in 1954 at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church in San Gabriel, Calif. after Don was discharged from the United States Marine Corps. The couple raised their family in San Gabriel. After Don retired from the B2 Division at the Northrup Corporation in 1997, they moved to Clayton. They live in Oakhurst, love golf and have a weekly tee time. Ancilla is active in the local chapter of PEO, a philanthropic organiziation for women. The pair is often seen in their convertible with the top down for jaunts to Napa or around the Bay Area. They have four children, six grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. The family will celebrate with a brunch this month and a full family reunion in July

Tony Thongurai, Boy Scout Troop 262, completed his Eagle Scout project earlier this month by landscaping a prime plot at Concord High School with the help of three crews of volunteers over three days. The school district installed water to the plot and volunteers installed subsurface irrigation, plants, ground cover and improved the logo. Tony has performed many hours of community service for Clayton over seven years in Troop 262. He will finish and submit his report before June 30, his 18th birthday. His project is then subject to the board of review.

Justine Del Monte leaves 8th grade with leadership award

INTRODUCING THE FIRST GRADUATING CLASS FROM THE NEW CLAYTON CHILDREN’S CENTER: (front row) Bardia Saffarian, Valenzia Espinoza, Patrick MacDonald, Quentin Crua, Marisa Reimer and Hunter Thomas; (back row) Justin Caponio, Benjamin Lingua, Mrs. Freddie, Wyatt Parker, Silas Wan and Adriene Rodgers.

Windmill Canyon at Oakhurst Country Club! 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, approx. 1877sf. Gorgeous hardwood floors. Backs to open space. Coming Soon

60th wedding anniversary for Clayton couple


. . . .2141 . . . .2917 . . . .1050 . . . .1964 . . . .1781 . . . .3079 . . . .2391 . . . .2313 . . . .1338 . . . .2237 . . . .1880 . . . .2619 . . . .1710 . . . .1715


. . . . .4/2.5 . . . . . .6/13/14 . . . . .4/3.5 . . . . . . .6/7/14 . . . . .2/2 . . . . . . . .6/6/14 . . . . .4/2.5 . . . . . . .6/6/14 . . . . .3/2.5 . . . . . .5/29/14 . . . . .5/3 . . . . . . .5/28/14 . . . . .4/2.5 . . . . . .5/23/14 . . . . .4/2.5 . . . . . .5/23/14 . . . . .2/2 . . . . . . .5/21/14 . . . . .3/2 . . . . . . .5/14/14 . . . . .4/2.5 . . . . . . .5/8/14 . . . . .5/2.5 . . . . . . .5/7/14 . . . . .3/2.5 . . . . . . .5/6/14 . . . . .3/2 . . . . . . . .5/6/14

Don Howard Realtor-Associate

Clayton Resident

(925) 408-3184

Emily Howard


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

June 27, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Around Town


rts e c n o C n o t y Cla eG

Ipsens, CBCA celebrate Bocce Park Grand Opening

Vince Moita will attend Hastings Law This fall, Vince Moita will be among the first year law students at UC Hastings Law

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rov e G e h T n i

See full story Page 1

Saturdays 6 to 8:30 p.m.

School in San Francisco where he will specialize in real estate and corporate law with an eye to an eventual career in politics. Vince received his undergraduate degree from Brown University last month where he majored in business entrepreneurship and operations. He graduated on his 22nd birthday with a 3.5 GPA. Vince credits his focus on eight years of wrestling; four at De La Salle where he won the NCS twice and placed third in the state, and four more as a varsity wrestler at Brown. Vince is the son of Jim and Julie Moita of Clayton.

At the Gazebo in The Grove Set up chairs and blankets on the lawn after 4 p.m.

July 5 The Fundamentals R&B, rock, pop and soul tunes.

July 19 Rachel Steele & Road 88 modern country and rock and roll High energy dance music.

Aug 2

Diamond Dave – sings the classics of Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Justin Timberlake and even Lady Gaga

Aug 16 AJA VU plays the music of Steely Dan and Chicago

Aug 30 Apple Z – high energy rock and roll spanning the decades from Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga

Local student joins West Point program Peter L. Zhu, a junior at De La Salle High School, was selected to be among 1,000 attendees at Point’s PETER L. ZHU West prestigious Summer Leaders Experience (SLE) in June. Peter is the son of Dr. Yongmin Zhu and Mrs. Monica Zhu. He currently lives with his parents in the Crystyl Ranch neighborhood in Concord. More than 5,000 juniors nationwide applied to SLE, which offers outstanding high school juniors the opportunity

to experience life at West Point. SLE attendees live in the cadet barracks (dormitories), eat in the Cadet Mess, and participate in academic, leadership, athletic and military workshops. All SLE attendees participate in virtualreality war simulation, and military and physical fitness training,. In addition, each student selects three of the 15 offered workshops to participate in. Peter says that West Point is his first choice for college. The United States Military Academy at West Point is a fouryear, co-educational, federally funded undergraduate college located 50 miles north of New York City.

Sept 13 East Bay Mudd 10-piece cover dance band with a powerful 4-man horn section

Top: Skipolini’s founder Skip Ipsen, CBCA bocce project co-chairs Keith Hayden and Ed Hartley and Skipolini owner, Kent Ipsen; Center: City Councilwoman Julie Pierce, CBCA vice-president Bob Steiner, CBCA member Theresa Bragg and CBCA bocce co-chair, Cecelia Hartley. Right: Steve Gonsalves rolls the first ball on the Gonsalves Family Court. Photos by Steve Pierce

Thursdays 7 to 8:30 p.m. LAST MINUTE

July 10

(Rock / R&B)

Mayor, from page 1 The Do the Right Thing focus is Courage. I sometimes associate courage with being fearless. But I don’t think that is correct. Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph

July 24,

over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Fear can be debilitating. I hope that we can recognize the fears that keep us from doing what is right and necessary for a good life and have the courage to conquer those fears. Feel free to contact me with questions and comments by email at

Plan B (Rock)

August 7


August 21 PHD’s (Latin Jazz / R&B )

For more band information, go to




Del Rio Condo – Great location for 2BD/1BA that is close to shopping, commute, and schools. End unit has privacy. Beautiful kitchen has upgrades. Fresh carpet and bright, open living and dining space. Updated bath. Nice tree views from each room.



Regency Woods – Single-story 3BD/2.5BA on a corner lot offers hardwood thru most of the 1,800+ sq. ft. floor plan. Sparkling kitchen has a garden window, granite & ample cabinetry. Master suite with garden views through bay window, 2 closets. Close to Mt. Diablo trails.



Crystyl Ranch – Exceptional home has 4BD/3BA within a 2,797 sq. ft. floor plan. Marvelous backyard offers patio, lovely gardens, & huge koi pond w/waterfall. 1BD/BA downstairs and up is a large loft for flexible use and a huge master suite with veranda & views.



Mira Vista Hills – 2-story 4BD/2.5BA offers 2,332 sq. ft. on a large lot with RV/Boat Parking. Formal living & dining rooms plus eat-in granite kitchen with breakfast bar. Huge landscaped park-like backyard with sparkling pool, covered patio, arbor.


242 El Pueblo Place, Clayton Discovery Bay


On Deep Water – Elegant custom home offers 4BD/4.5BA & 4,000+ sq. ft. Features include high ceilings, separate wet bar area, granite kitchen, breakfast bar & ample cabinets. Family room w/fireplace. office Master suite w/fireplace. Boat dock with cover & hydraulic lift. A Must See!

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Regency Meadows – Stunning views from this beautiful, updated 4BD/3BA Mediterranean home. 2,643 sq. ft. open floor plan could be easily converted back to 5BD Sought-after neighborhood close to Mt. Diablo trails. Cal BRE#01221965 Carol vanVaerenbergh, (925) 672-1772 Visit my home décor blog

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Clayton Valley Highlands – Stunning remodel of detached into duplex w/separate meters & yards! Main living space is1,500 s.f., 3BD/2BA; Income/In-Law unit is 680 s.f., 1BD/1BA. Spa-like bathCal BRE#01467993 rooms, dream kitchens, fantastic living spaces in both units! $588,000 Shelly Gwynn, (925) 207-3069

Clayton Valley Highlands – Fantastic 3BD/2BA home with a 1,232 sq. ft. updated floor plan includes a fabulous granite kitchen with high end stainless steel appliances & custom cabinetry. Cal BRE#01467993 Panoramic views out in back of the huge 12,000+ sq. ft. lot. $549,000 Shelly Gwynn, (925) 207-3069

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

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Clayton Resident & Broker Owner

Cal BRE#01122025

- Windermere Clayton!

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Clayton Pioneer •

June 27, 2014

Porcelain, Shmorcelain – Tile is Tile, Right?


DESIGN & DÉCOR It has come to our attention that some poor underprivileged people are unclear on the differences between porcelain and ceramic tile. We consider it our duty to put a stop to this, which we will now do, in alphabetical order. C IS FOR CERAMIC To make ceramic tiles, clay is pressed, cut into shapes, and fired in a kiln at extremely high temperatures. Finished tiles are available glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles are harder, easier to clean, and resist weather and moisture more effectively. Unglazed tiles are porous, so more susceptible to stains, but they are less slippery, and can be treated with a protective sealant. (Conversely, glazed tiles can be treated with an anti-slip coating.) Most ceramic tiles are rated by the Porcelain Enamel Institute on a hardness scale from 0 to 5. Tiles with a rating of 0 are strictly decorative and not suitable for floors, while tiles rated at 5 are very durable indeed. Ceramic tiles still exist that

were part of the floors and walls in Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Glazed tiles resist fading, chipping, and staining, and last for years with very little maintenance. Clean-up is usually as simple as a quick mop. And if a single tile chips or cracks, it can be replaced quickly and affordably. Ceramic tile is one of the most durable and cost-effective of all floorings. It offers the advantages of simple installation, a wide variety of styles, extreme durability, easy maintenance, and added value for your home. It should be noted that, once installed, ceramic tile can be quite difficult to remove, probably requiring a professional. You’ll notice that ceramic tiles are not the least expensive flooring you can buy. However, their beauty, quality, and durability can make them a rewarding investment. P IS FOR PORCELAIN This tile is made by combining natural products such as crushed China stone (a type of feldspar) and kaolinite with chemicals that give it strength. The rest of the process is essentially identical to that for ceramic tiles, except that porcelain is fired at even higher temperatures, resulting in hardness ratings of 6 or 7, literally off the ceramic scale. Compared to ceramic, porcelain tile is generally considered the more luxurious and valuable product. In fact, it has been the choice of royalty and


the privileged classes for centuries, prized for its hardness and wide range of finishes, including slightly translucent gem-like colors. However, porcelain tiles may not be perfectly uniform in size, due to distortion during firing. This can make installation rather challenging, and you would be well advised to hire a professional – which in turn means the cost of installation must be part of your buying decision. Cleaning a porcelain floor is usually as simple as a damp mop and all-purpose cleaner, especially if it’s been sealed after installation. Use warm water and a clean, nonabrasive cloth, mop, or sponge. With a good glaze, stains are rare, and porcelain’s very low moisture absorption rate makes it an excellent choice for bathrooms and kitchens. The low absorption rate also helps the air quality in your home, because the tile does not absorb chemicals and other unwanted substances. Got it? Larry Flick is president of the Floor Store. Email your questions or comments to


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June 27, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 5

Concord News

Four firms vie for CNWS development contract PEGGY SPEAR Clayton Pioneer

The long and arduous process of developing the shuttered Concord Naval Weapons Station took another step forward earlier this month when Concord officials picked four firms to vie for the position of master developer for the 5,050-

acre area northeast of downtown Concord. Local Reuse Authority Executive Director Michael Wright made the announcement to the city council on June 10. The four firms are Catellus Development Corporation, Five Point CommunitiesLennar, J.F. Shea Company, and SunCal Corporation.

“We are looking for a master developer for the site that shares the community’s vision,” said Wright. “The selection of the master developer … is clearly one of the most crucial steps in successfully transforming the former military base to civilian use.” For years the closed base has been at the heart of many com-

munity and regional planning meetings. Beginning in December, all four firms will be asked to present their proposals at public meetings before the city council. In January 2015, city staff will recommend two finalists, and after a series of negotiations, the council will select one firm sometime in 2015. The successful company will

New freeway ramps planned for Hwy 242 PEGGY SPEAR Clayton Pioneer

It may take four years, but relief is in sight to unclog congestion around Concord’s two downtown interchanges off – and on – Highway 242. The Contra Costa Transit Authority last week unveiled two final plans to construct off-

and on-ramps near the busy Willow Pass corridor, hoping to improve the flow of traffic on city streets and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The project includes adding a northbound on-ramp and a southbound off-ramp from Highway 242 at Clayton Road. Currently, there is an off-ramp at Clayton Road for traffic head-

Tourism initiative touts ‘Diablo Valley’


CONCORD CITY BEAT Late last month, Concord’s new Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID), the City of Concord, and the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce launched the “Diablo Valley – Defying Expectations” initiative. This fresh, new brand and marketing campaign was created by nine Concord hotels to showcase Concord and the surrounding Diablo Valley area as a conference and tourist destination. Funded via a 3 percent assessment per hotel room, the TBID was initiated and formed by the hotels themselves as a way to attract business from conventions, tour groups, association conferences, weddings, and tournaments to Concord and the wider Diablo Valley and to encourage visitors to spend their money at local hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions. “The beauty of the assessment is that it’s not an additional tax burden on Diablo Valley residents and employees at large,” says Matt Hohenstreet, district board member and director of Sales and Marketing at Hilton Concord. “It’s an assessment on out-of-town travelers that provides a new pool of financial resources to hotels in the TBID for advertising, sales and marketing.” A single hotel cannot afford a full-page ad in the San Francisco Business Times, magazines, BART signage, billboards, online banners and other advertising and promotions. With a new source of pooled funding, however, these advertising opportunities suddenly become a possibility. “We are stronger together than we

were individually,” says Hohenstreet. When asked about the name “Diablo Valley,” Hohenstreet says, “We branded the area with a fresh, new perspective for the geographical location where we play. We didn’t want to piggyback on anything that already exists. We wanted to find an inclusive way to unify the area as a destination.” The marketing campaign encompasses the entire Diablo Valley, which includes the communities of Bay Point, Clayton, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, as well as Concord, which is located in the heart of Diablo Valley. There are plans to invite hotels from surrounding cities within Diablo Valley to join the TBID in the future. Although the Diablo Valley initiative is only three weeks old, members of the TBID are already seeing results. According to Hohenstreet, overnight room reservations and requests for proposals from new professional meeting planners are on the rise. An end-of-summer girls’ basketball tournament has also been secured. “It’s a huge win for all nine hotels because any tourist or visitor is a win for the whole district due to basic supply and demand,” says Hohenstreet. For example, when the Crowne Plaza sells out, the Clarion and Hilton see an increase in reservations. “One of the reasons we launched during the Concord Music and Market series at Todos Santos Plaza is because we want our neighbors and coworkers to be advocates for Diablo Valley,” says Hohenstreet. “We want local residents to tell their families, friends and employers how Diablo Valley truly defies expectations and is the place to hold an event!” Carlyn Obringer chairs the City of Concord Planning Commission. Professionally, she focuses on California education issues as an Education Policy Analyst. Carlyn resides in Concord with her husband, Justin, and dog Crystal. Contact her at

ed north toward Highway 4, but there isn’t a corresponding onramp. Vehicles traveling south on Highway 242 exit at Concord Avenue to reach downtown businesses destinations, Todos Santos Plaza and the BART station. Costs for the project will range from $30 million to $43 million. The main difference between the two final plans is where ramp connections to the local streets are located, said Concord Transportation Manager Ray Kuzbari. One plan provides new onand off-ramps to southbound Highway 242 at Franquette Avenue, as well as the new onramp to northbound 242 from Clayton Road. The other plan provides new on- and off-ramps to southbound 242 and new on-ramp to northbound 242 at Willow Pass Road. Both alternatives provide a

new auxiliary lane on southbound 242 between the Concord Avenue and Clayton Road interchanges, to give drivers more room to speed up and slow down when getting on or off the freeway, Kuzbari said. They also include the same local street improvements with enhanced pedestrian and bicycle facilities. “The first alternative will help mitigate the congestion on Concord Avenue,” he said, since that area is particularly busy during rush hours. The plans are still in the early stage, as an EIR won’t be released until next fall or early 2015, said Susan Miller, director of projects for the CCTA. That will look at the plans impact on traffic, as well as the visual aesthetic and air quality, among other things, she said. The public will have time to give input, with a final design picked by 2016. Construction should begin in early 2018.

Concord plans a blast on July 4

be responsible for conducting more detailed planning/design and engineering studies, Wright said, providing all of the infrastructure for the site, including roads, sewer, water, power, as well the financing and successful phasing of the project over many years. After the site is improved, the master developer will likely partner with other companies to build the residential, retail, commercial and com-

munity facilities called for in the plan. While the city is selecting a master developer, the Navy, which still owns the property, is completing approval processes so it can begin to transfer the land to the ciy in late 2015 or early 2016. For more information about the project, visit or contact the Reuse Project office at 925-671-3001.

Concord Concert Schedules July 15 Chris Cain Jazz-Tinged Virtuoso

July 29 Annie Sampson Concord’s Blues and Soul Diva

FREE Thursday Night Music in the Market

For more Concord concert info go to


July 3 The TuneRiders Hits of 60’s and 70’s Legendary Vocal Groups July 10 Puro Bandido Kings of Latin Rock July 17 The RaveUps A Live Tribute to the 1960’s Yardbirds July 24 Foreverland Michael Jackson Tribute Band

Buy tickets at Or the Pavilion Box Office, 2000 Kirker Pass Rd., Concord, (925) (925) 676-8742

July 31 PUSH with Dan Ashley

July 2, 7 p.m. Kiss and Def Leppard

Aug. 7 The Rubinoos Seminal Power Pop Quartet from the 1970s

July 10, 8 p.m. Steely Dan July 29, 6:45 p.m. Journey and Steve Miller Band

Aug. 14 James Garner’s Johnny Cash Tribute

July 31, 7:30 p.m. Chicago and REO Speedwagon Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m. Aerosmith and Slash Aug. 17, 7 p.m. Monumentour, Fall Out Boy, Paramore

Sept. 4 The Purple Ones 10-piece Tribute to Prince

Sept 7, 7 p.m. Marc Anthony

Sept. 11 Lafayette Studio Big Band; Count Basie-style 9/11 Memorial Show

tions. It’s diving into the spirit of Independence Day with a full day of activities, kicked off by the annual pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at Todos Santos Plaza. From there, the Concord Police Association will sponsor its Stars & Stripes 5K Run at 8 p.m., followed by a parade at 10 a.m. Music will wrap up the morning’s events with DVC Rock, Rhythm & Blues, teacher Steve Sage’s campus Showcase of Bands. At 4 p.m. the festivities move over to the nearby Mt. Diablo High School for the Home Town Picnic. A kids’ carnival, food booths, vendor exhibits, and live entertainment highlight the fun. Then, at 9 p.m., there will be a fireworks display. Mt. Diablo High is located at 2450 Grant Street. For more information, visit the website at


July 22 Jeffrey Marshall with the Delta Dogs and The Breedloves

Aug. 21 Zepparella All Female Led Zeppelin Tribute

It will be a rollicking Fourth of July in Concord, complete with a pancake breakfast, a 5K run, parade and the inaugural Home Town Picnic & Festival. And don’t forget the fireworks. The city is without its popular Singing Flag for the first time in 25 years. The three-day event at Dave Brubeck Park, sponsored by Calvary Temple in Concord, was made up of about 65 members of the church choir singing patriotic songs on a red, white and blue set that looked like a flag. It was a big draw on the Fourth of July – especially the fireworks afterward. When Calvary announced earlier this year that it would be putting its resources elsewhere, the Todos Santos Business Association quickly rallied to launch the Hometown Festival & Picnic, complete with fireworks. But the city hasn’t lost some of its other Fourth of July tradi-


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Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •

June 27, 2014

CVCHS board taps two new members Mercurio DUI case heads JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

There were far fewer fireworks at the June meeting of the Clayton Valley Charter High School governing board than at the May meeting, and by the end of the six-hour session the two vacant board positions had been filled and there was no action taken concerning the removal of board chair Tom Branich. Christine Reimer was named to fill the teacher board vacancy created with the resig-

nation in April of Jenn DeAngelis, while Patrick Gaffney, the school’s director of curriculum and guidance, was elected to the administrator position vacated with the termination of Pat Middendorf last month. The board was called to order before immediately moving into closed session that ran for about three and a half hours. When they re-adjourned in open session they announced to the 70 or so attendees that all agenda items relating to possible actions concerning board chair

Why advertise in the Pioneer? Here’s one reason: Local painting contractor, Bryan Schaefer, got four calls the first two weeks his ad was in the Pioneer. “The two things I hear most from [new customers] are ‘I wanted to use someone local,’ and ‘Nice ad in the Pioneer.’”

Branich and board elections had been removed from the agenda. Following some heated exchanges when those items would have come up on the agenda, about 20 speakers were given two minutes each to speak on those issues. Many had obviously planned to speak in support of Branich, who was the only eligible board member to vote against Middendorf ’s ouster. The former administrator was in attendance along with her husband and two sons. Middendorf did not speak but the other three family members did, all supporting Branich. Some speakers called out the motives of specific board members and Executive Director Dave Linzey in regards to Middendorf ’s firing and the possible removal of Branich. Branich was voted into the board chairman slot in February by a 5-4 vote over sitting chair Megan Kommer. Ted Meriam was then elected vice

chair over Amber Lineweaver by the same vote total with retired teacher representative Dick Ellis the swing vote in those two outcomes. The board did not vote on any bylaw changes in June but discussed bylaws “cleanup” from the original charter that had specific dates related to the initial years of the board, as well as better defining a timetable and process for filling board vacancies that come up before the end of terms. They plan on finalizing those at the July 9 meeting. The board also approved a 2014-15 charter school budget of $17.3 million which includes about a 10 percent surplus after removing associated student body revenues. The action was taken shortly before the State of California had approved its budget but was done to meet mandated deadlines. Subsequently the state legislature and governor compromised on a budget that is favorable to schools.

to trial a year after crash TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

A Clayton woman charged with felony drunk driving may finally get to a courtroom next month — more than a year after a Clayton Road crash that left a motorcyclist critically injured. Jessica Mercurio, 22, is charged with driving with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit on June 28, 2013, when she was heading northwest on Clayton Rd. and lost control of her Toyota Corolla. Her car jumped the center divide into the oncoming lane where she hit Mark Tomaszewski, then 51, head-on before crashing into a light pole in front of Clayton City Hall. Witnesses at the scene say they overheard her tell officers she was texting at the time of the crash. On July 1, the court will set a date for the preliminary hearing where a judge will determine if

there is enough evidence to hold her over for trial. The charges against Mercurio include special enhancements for DUI causing serious bodily injury. She could face up to eight years in state prison. Tomaszewski spent five months in the hospital before his release in October. Despite multiple broken bones, severe head trauma, internal injuries and the loss of sight in his right eye, Tomaszewski’s recovery has been remarkable, say friends and family. Last week, the surgical tech returned to work at the Sequoia Surgery Center in Walnut Creek and expects to regain his driver’s license later this month. He likely won’t be on a motorcycle soon, he says. A bicycle will suffice for now. He does not plan to attend the preliminary hearing next month. “That part really doesn’t involve me,” he said. “I’ve moved on.”

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Q. I have just passed my broker’s test for real estate. The reason I can get the broker’s license is because I passed the salesperson’s license test and I have the college courses to go directly for a broker’s license. My question is what would be the best career path for me? Would it be a good idea to open my own real estate brokerage like you did? Should I get experience working for a company for training? Would I get paid more because I have a broker’s license? A. These are very good questions. I am happy you are looking for guidance before you decide which path would be the most gratifying for you. I did open my own company but not until I had 15 years of experience selling real estate for a respected company. I was able to discover my passion during that time. The passion turned out to be both helping others to be successful with what I have learned and I

also realized that I still had a passion for helping my clients realize their real estate goals. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t put in the 15 years. Are you interested in running an office? Are you interested in making others successful? This is admirable but without the experience yourself you would have to hire a managing broker to mentor and supervise the agents that come to work for your company. It would also require a cash investment. Setting up your own company is not cheap. What would be the draw for agents to come to work for your company? To me this sounds like the hardest way to get started. I congratulate you on getting your credentials but they are only that. Credentials. You can now start the learning process by doing. I can tell you that it takes a long time to really get to know what you are doing. Each transaction is a learning experience. These are important transactions for your clients. Usually the largest financial transactions in their life. You must learn to be a professional to best serve them. I suggest that you interview with a few real estate companies. Any company worth joining will have training for both the administration of a contract and also will teach you the people skills so people will trust you with these important transactions. See if you are more comfortable with a large company or a smaller company where you might get more attention. Go with your gut where you are more comfortable.

This isn’t the time to be worried about negotiating the highest commission split you can get. Usually the higher your split, the less guidance the company will be able to give you. Keep your priorities straight and you will learn to be a top notch professional realtor. You will start to earn a good income if you have a good mentor. The answer to your question about whether you will make more money with a broker’s license, unfortunately, is no — when you are getting started. Even though you are a broker, your company broker is the broker of record on your transactions. You may, however, put the word broker on your business cards. For some potential clients this might give you more credibility. After learning the real estate business, then you can evaluate if you want to open your own company or keep becoming a better, more experienced realtor for yourself. These are two very different paths. A successful real estate business owner does it for more reasons than money. You have to get invested in and excited at others success. I find real estate to be a wonderful career. Take your time deciding what direction you want to take it. Good luck Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates. Contact her at 672-878 7or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

June 27, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •


Blane Glen Cook P.O. Box 1246 6200 Center Street, Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 TAMARA


December 8, 1961 – June 2, 2014

R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers

TAMARA S TEINER , Editor P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design P EGGY S PEAR , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports PAMELA W IESENDANGER , Administration S TAFF W RITERS : Denisen Hartlove, Lou Fancher, Nicci Shipstead, Pam Wiesendanger, Mike Dunn

We remember Jill Bedecarré - Her spirit is our muse

PIONEER INFO CONTACT US Tel: (925) 672-0500 Fax: (925) 672-6580 Tamara Steiner Send ads to Send Sports News to Send Club News to Send Church News to

Send School News to

Send Classified Ads to

CLASSIFIEDS Classified rates per insertion: $48 for first 30 words, $.40 each additional word Non-profit: $24 for first 30 words, $.20 each additional word To place your classified ad over the phone, call the office at (925) 6720500 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Or, you may fax your typewritten ad and credit card information to (925) 672-6580. All classifieds must be paid for in advance by credit card (Master Card or Visa) We will not accept any ad that discriminates on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, nationality, family status

or disability. The Clayton Pioneer reserves the right to reject any advertising we believe is unsuitable. LET US KNOW Weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births and deaths all weave together as part of the fabric of our community. Please let us know of these important events. You will find the appropriate form for your announcement on our Website. Attach your photo to the form. Make sure the image size you are about to send is at least 3 MB but not bigger than 6MB. The only format we accept is JPG. You can also mail or bring your print to the office and we can scan it for you. Also on our website are forms for submitting Community Calendar items and press releases for your organization. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Clayton Pioneer welcomes letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 250 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print letters from “anonymous.” E-mail your letter in a Word document to Letters MUST be submitted via E-mail.

Family and friends are mourning the death of Blane Glen Cook, who died June 2. Blane was born in Martinez to Georgia Cervenka and Carl Cook. During his elementary school years they moved to Arnold, CA, where he later attended Bret Harte High School and graduated in 1980. During the winters, he worked at Bear Valley Ski Resort, where he was a member of the ski team. He attended UTI in Phoenix and earned his degree in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration. In 1984, Blane returned from school and took a job with Sobotka Air Systems, where he met the love of his life, best friend and future wife, Sharon. In 1989, he took over the operation of his father’s business, Wally’s Rental Centers. Blane and Sharon were married on Valentine’s Day in 1987. They have two daughters, Katelyn Duncan (Jacob) and Courtney Cook. The Cook family moved to Clayton in 1998 so their daughters could attend Clayton Valley High School where Sharon graduated in 1979. Blane’s passing was an unexpected tragedy. He was a very active man who was always on the go. Whether it was an evening walk with his dog and wife, honing his archery skills at Diablo Bowman’s Club, hunting at Charter Farms Duck Club, preparing for a Sierra deer hunt, dirt bike riding, Jeeping, or hiking/backpacking with his wife on Mt. Diablo or in the eastern Sierras, Blane never allowed grass to grow under his feet. He was intelligent, inquisitive and was forever reading and researching topics of interest.

He gave advice freely and was willing to help a family member or friend in need. He was an excellent mechanic and had an uncanny ability to repair almost anything. He was humble, yet he demanded excellence not only from himself, but those around him. He encouraged those closest to him to be their best. He lived his life with honest integrity. He volunteered alongside his wife and taught both his daughters’ fourth grade classes to pan for gold, as mining had been a passion in his younger years. He also volunteered to barbecue at Clayton Valley High School football games to help raise funds for the Athletic Boosters and CVHS sports teams. Though he was a relatively private man, he took great joy in sharing his life with his daughters and wife. He derived his greatest pleasure from simply spending time with his family. He and Sharon spent nearly every free moment together and especially loved spending extended weekends at their cabin in the eastern Sierras. He was immensely proud of his daughters for becoming strong and determined women. He was also very proud of the fact that he and his wife, working by themselves, replaced all of the windows and siding on their cabin. He joked with his friends that he had taught his wife how to use a table saw and compound miter saw. In lieu of memorial donations or flowers, the family asks that you take a moment to think how you might lend a hand to a friend in need.

Page 7

Directory of Advertisers Business Services Rising Moon Marketing & Public Relations . . . . .672-8717 Construction and Trades Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700 Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423 Burkin Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-1519 Diablo View Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .822-5144 Gary’s Home Repair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .787-2500 Schaefer’s Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .260-6065 Tipperary Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216-2679 Dining and Entertainment Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440 Oakhurst Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9737 Subway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0621 Events City of Clayton – Concerts . . . . . . . . . . . Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market . . . . . . . . . . .800-949-3276 Financial, Insurance and Legal Services DuRee, Daniel – The Law Office of . . . . . . . . . . .210-1400 Littorno, Richard – The Law Office of . . . . . . . . .432-4211 SAFE Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . .800-733-7233, ext. 2772 Van Wyck, Doug – State Farm Insurance . . . . . .672-2300 Funerals Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242 Groceries Doorstep Farmers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .349-4568 Home and Garden Clayton Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-2299 Diablo Lawnscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381-3757 Interiors Panache . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-7920 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 The Floor Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .969-9890 The Maids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-6243 Utopic Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524-0055 Waraner Bros. Tree Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .831-2323 Waraner Tree Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250-0334 Mailing Services The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

June 27, 2014

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There is nothing quite like watching a film on the silver screen. No fancy home television setup can replicate the particular sensation of curious excitement felt only in the theater. For an amateur filmmaker, however, seeing a personal project on the big screen is more than exiting — it is a dream come true. For Clayton Valley Charter High School film students, and others from area high schools, the inaugural East Bay Student Film Festival provided an opportunity to fulfill that dream. A SENIOR PROJECT On Wednesday, May 28, the Brendan Theater of Concord opened its doors to the friends and family of student directors who scripted, shot and submitted their own original films. CVCHS students Alaina Campbell and Ashely Freeman singlehandedly presented the event as not only their high school senior project, but as a fundraising effort to support local high school arts and cinematography programs.


CVCHS CORRESPONDENT As both a Clayton Arts Academy student and a filmmaker herself, Alaina said she wanted to “create an opportunity for film production classes to have their art to be shown to an audience.” Although most of all, she wanted the amateur filmmakers to be given “positive feedback from working professionals in the film industry.” Even though the festival was a challenging personal project for the young women, both ensured that all the money raised the night of the event was to be directly awarded to the film production class of the

winning student filmmaker, as decided by a panel of judges. Because the time length for each video was limited to five minutes, the audience viewed only a taste of what each student filmmaker had to offer. Filmmakers had to construct shorts that packed a meaningful story or well-written humor into a brief time span. Even though they were shot on shoestring budgets, the entries wowed the audience and judges. The judging panel consisted of both film industry veterans and audio and visual effects experts who critiqued the videos at a professional level. FROM ZANY TO DRAMATIC The numerous videos were sorted into three categories: comedic short films, dramatic short films, and music videos. As expected, the zany and spontaneous comedic shorts, such as Northgate student Joe Carter’s “The Time Traveling Blender” and Max Renner’s “The WNBA Slide C Movie,” evoked roars of laughter among the audience. Sara Kommer’s

short film “Miss Interpretation” explored themes of sexism and women’s self-esteem with a smart and humorous twist. Jordan Bluth presented a true tear-jerker with her dramatic short, “Things Happen,” a touching story detailing the struggles of young boy coping with the loss of his father in firefighting accident. In the music video category however, Brianna Mungo gave the audience a much-needed laugh with her video “Salt-NPepa: Pushing it Too Far,” a parody of the 1987 hip-hop duo of the same name. Carter took home the top prize, with $400 going to Northgate’s cinematic arts program. “I really enjoyed the film festival,” said audience member Edwardo Wence. “It really showed that, behind the aesthetic of film, there are artists that pour all their time and creativity into making true art.” Robbie Parker is a senior at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Send comments to

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As the school year neared the end, the Leadership class at Pine Hollow Middle School held their annual fundraising jog/run. Each year the Leadership students pick a person, organization, or charity to receive money raised through a jog or run. This year the Leadership class chose to run for Jenna Betti, who was tragically struck and killed by a train earlier this year. Leadership students invited Jenna Betti’s family and a select group of students from Martinez Middle School to partici-

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pate in this special event. All the money raised went to the Jenna Betti Memorial Foundation. The director of the “Jog JENNA BETTI for Jenna,” seventh grader Reagan Bowerbank, said the jog “went off without a hitch,” and a lot of students participated. “The thing that surprised the administration and Leadership class the most was the fact

that Jenna Betti’s family really appreciated what we were doing for the Memorial Foundation, and how the fundraiser commemorated her,” Reagan said. Although it was difficult at times, and took a lot of work to plan the fundraiser, the Leadership class was able to keep everything organized and controlled throughout the process. The Jog for Jenna was a very special event and is something the school will remember for years. Although Jenna could not


PINE HOLLOW CORRESPONDENT be there with the students, she was there in spirit. Carlie Beeson is an 8th grader at Pine Hollow Middle School. She enjoys reading, playing soccer, and singing. Questions or comments? Send her an Email at

Frightening look into teenage suicide

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TEEN READS Life can be a little much sometimes. It’s a constant

game to find out what’s going to happen next and where it’s going to take you. In “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher, Clay Jenson is just one of the many suspects in pushing Hannah Baker to suicide. She recorded one passage for each person who she felt was somewhat responsible for her suicide. She records them all on cassette tapes and there is one story on each side resulting in seven cassettes with one blank side. Once you listen to all 13 stories, you

The Way We Were

must mail the tapes to whoever is followed by you, or else she will know and you will regret it. At first Clay had no idea why he had received the tapes. He had never done anything bad to Hannah or anything that could possibly hurt her, but as he gets closer and closer to his explanation, it all ties in and everything he was doubting starts falling into place. The story follows Clay on the night he listens to all 13 stories, a.k.a., the night that

changes his life. Tape by tape, Clay learns the real story of Hannah Baker, not the ones that have been whispered and passed around for so many years. The writing is impeccable. Asher goes in depth into the struggles and problems that, unfortunately, most women must face. Not only is it honest, but it shows how hard life can be for teenage girls. Emily York is a sophomore at CVCHS.

Nortonville, just up the hill

MAIN STREET of Nortonville, Calif., in 1875. The buildings housed two saloons, butcher and barber shops, a boarding house and assorted rooming houses and homes. Photo from the collection of Mrs. Thomas X. Davies.

159 years ago, in 1855, Noah Norton founded a little town in the hills five miles from Clayton. The population of Nortonville was almost exclusively the Welsh miners and their families that worked at the Black Diamond coal mines. The Black Diamond mine railroad connected Nortonville with the San Joaquin River. There was a post office in Nortonville from 1874-1910. Once the mines closed, the town died out. Hikers can still travel to Nortonville on the old road that begins at Black Diamond Plaza. Nortonville is now part of the East Bay Regional Park District. Courtesy Misty Bruns, Docent. Clayton Historical Society

June 27, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 9

CBCA celebrates thirty years of making Clayton better GLORIA UTLEY Special to the Pioneer

As the Clayton Business & Community Association celebrates its 30th birthday, it is interesting to see its evolution from a small merchants’ organization into a major community resource. At the heart of the organization is a desire to improve the quality of life in Clayton. Starting as the Clayton Business & Professional Association back in 1984, it changed its name to its current one in the mid-1990s. But the commitment to the community remained the same. Last fall the CBCA became a 501(c)(3) Corporation, with the goal to help make the greater Clayton community a place to be proud to live in. Throughout the years the CBCA has given well over $1 million to make that happen. Here is a look at the many projects the CBCA has had its hand in.

HELPING BUSINESS Certainly improving the downtown business district is front-and-center. Clayton is unusual in that Main Street is only three blocks long. Village Oaks (the building on the corner of Center and Marsh Creek Road) and Center Street are now home to several businesses, established with the help of CBCA. Early on the CBCA sponsored a “Shop Clayton First” campaign and encouraged a Farmer’s Market to open in the middle of Main Street. Unfortunately, the market did not thrive, as there were not enough residents to support it at the time. COMMUNITY PHILANTHROPY Besides business, the CBCA became a philanthropic force in the community. In April of 1999, the CBCA participated in the “Christmas in April” project. Volunteers helped remodel a home on Montana Drive in Concord. The project was postponed until September due to a medical emergency, but when it

Katie-Grace, from page 1

Photo courtesy of Kathy Groebner

THE GROEBNER FAMILY STOPS IN THE HALL for a photo as Katie Grace is wheeled toward the operating room. From left, John Groebner, sister Savanha, grandmother Janet Groebner and Kathy Groebner

Just 12 hours later, a frail Katie Grace would be on an operating table where a team of surgeons would remove a heart and lungs so badly damaged by pulmonary hypertension that there was no option except to replace them. The Groebner’s journey to Stanford began in Minnesota five years ago when Katie went in for what was supposed to be a fairly simple operation to repair a small hole in her heart. That was when doctors discovered that she had pulmonary hypertension (PH) — a rare disease that went undiagnosed throughout her early years. Doctors expected her to live maybe another year, at best. Katie was 6 years old. Knowing she would need medical care beyond what they could get in Minnesota, they sold their house, packed what they could into an RV and headed west to the Bay Area where John had a job waiting, and they would be close to the PH specialists and cutting edge care at Stanford. A ROUGH TRIP The road to California was bumpy — in every way. They blew tires, the brakes failed coming over Donner Pass and none of them knew what they would find when they finally got here. Their first days in California were beyond stressful, Kathy recalls. They were parked miles from town at the Regency Mobile Home Park on Marsh Creek Road. The refrigerator and the air conditioning in the RV were both failing, Savanha Hope then in fourth grade, was not excited about starting school where she feared she would be way ahead of the class. And Kathy’s cousin was having a baby back in Minnesota. Kathy, by nature confident and at her best in a crisis, was filled with self-doubt. She questioned her decision to uproot the family and leave what was already a well

established support group of friends and family in Minnesota. On a particularly stressful morning a few days after they arrived, Kathy went to Sonset Flowers on Clayton Road to send flowers to her cousin. The

finally took off, Clayton Valley High School’s football team provided muscle power to remove appliances from the home. Chuck Jordan, a former principal of Clayton Valley High School, was the captain of the project. Volunteers worked for two consecutive Saturdays. Safeway provided lunch and the local Soroptimists group provided dinner for the workers. “FUN”-RAISERS The CBCA is also about community fun. Nineteen years ago in May, the CBCA kicked off what is probably one of its most successful fundraisers, the annual Clayton Art & Wine Festival. In 2003 the CBCA planned the first Oktoberfest, which was was held in early October, 2004. It was well received by the community, and this year’s celebration will be Clayton’s 11th. In August 2010 the CBCA started the Clayton Rib Cook-Off, with the fifth annual cook-off scheduled for Aug. 9 at the Clayton Club.

shop was then owned by Clayton Community Church member, Donna Meisner. “I was sobbing,” Kathy said. “And when Donna asked me what was wrong, I just lost it and told her the whole story.” COMMUNITY STEPS UP The encounter weighed heavily on a deeply religious Donna. That night, she retrieved Kathy’s phone number from her credit card receipt and called her. “I’m not sure how,” she said. “But I know I’m supposed to help you.” Within days, church members had stepped forward, offering a place for the family to live, practical help, fundraising and moral support. The kids started school . Katie went for two hours a day and received tutoring at home. They bought a house and settled in. Trips to Stanford and hospital stays became routine. Katie, a spirited, sweet child, became a familiar face at every community event, even having her own car – “Katie’s Dream” – in the annual Labor Day Derby.

Bocce, from page 1

Tamara Steiner photo

SKIPOLINI’S PIZZA DEBUTED IN DOWNTOWN CLAYTON 40 YEARS AGO and since then the Ipsen family has opened five more stores in Northern California. When they decided to remodel Clayton for the first time since that 1964 opening they “took the kitchen down to the studs, the ground actually,” Kent Ipsen explains. Using lessons learned from five more stores they completely redid the kitchen with new equipment and ovens that allow them to add lasagna and other items to their menu. Kirk Eade puts a pizza into the new oven.

“We did not want to turn away 200 players so we added Friday night and Sunday afternoon divisions [to the original league plan],” Hartley explained. For 10 years the Clayton Bocce League operated out of Newhall Park in Concord. Hartley pointed out that his team won the league once while Gonsalves’ team is five-time champs. Neophyte Kent Ipsen promised

his rookie outfit will take down Hartley’s veteran squad this year. The league plans on having play run through late fall, starting up again in the spring. They will monitor how the courts hold up during inclement weather before having any formal winter play. The public is invited to use the courts for free play after 10 a.m. daily until league games start in the

These events are all volunteer-driven, and help raise funds that the CBCA can then put back into the community. These events take a lot of work to put on. We couldn’t do it without the help of volunteers from our community. Working together allows us to put a lot of proceeds back into our community.

NEW BANNERS ON THE LIGHT POLES IN THE TOWN CENTER mark three milestone birthdays in Clayton this year. The city celebrates 50 years since incorporation, the Clayton Historical Society is 40 and the CBCA is 30. The banners were donated by the CBCA in keeping with the club’s stated mission “for the good of the community.”

But, despite the cutting edge medications she wore in a backpack, Katie’s health continued to decline. The dark circles around her eyes got darker; she lost weight, smiled less and got weaker until finally, doctors said the only option Katie had for a future was a heart and lung transplant. She officially went on the list in January. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is an extremely rare disease. In Katie’s case, the disease is “idiopathic,” meaning they don’t know what causes it. Sometimes, if diagnosed early enough, the disease can be managed with medication. In Katie’s case, the damage was too great for an optimistic prognosis. The only possibility was a transplant. So, when Katie Grace was officially listed, it was a bitter-sweet “graduation.” NO TURNING BACK When the call came at 3 a.m., the day before Father’s Day, the Groebner family knew there was no turning back. The family arrived at Stanford early that morning. Katie’s surgery

late afternoon and all day on Saturday. Kent Ipsen calls the facility bearing his family’s name “drop dead gorgeous” and sees it benefitting all downtown businesses. “We’re the only bocce facility in the area located in the middle of a business district so that participants can park once and dine, play and shop without having to drive. Most courts (Martinez, Newhall and Baldwin parks in Concord) require participants to drive elsewhere for food and beverages after a game. Skipolini’s was closed for 10 weeks until mid-May for its first major remodel since opening 40 years ago. The new Skip’s includes an entirely new stainless steel kitchen with enhanced equipment allowing for menu additions such as lasagna. Higher end wines are now available as well. There are two televisions in the interior dining room and five large-screen TVs outside along with birdcage lights and new heaters from Italy. The revamped patio with a dualsided fireplace and new play structure will be completed by mid-July. Casual seating envisioned for adults will look out on the bocce courts, which will feature food and beverage service from Skipolini’s. Ipsen says Skip’s will open for lunch on weekends and says that the adjacent Canesa’s will be expanding their hours as well.

was scheduled for 10 a.m., but was pushed back several hours while the donor transplant teams were all assembled. At one point, after several hours of waiting, Kathy went down to the hospital cafeteria for a minute. On the ride back up, she shared the elevator with a medical team carrying two coolers. One said “heart”, one said “lungs.” That’s when she realized she was riding back up with Katie’s new organs. Katie Grace’s surgery took a little more than five hours; far less time than the 7-8 hours planned. Her surgery went “great, without a hitch and no complications,” John said. “Better than expected, and the best Father’s Day ever.” Katie’s recovery has also been remarkable, says the family. The second day after her surgery, she was off the ventilator and breathing on her own and despite the chest tubes and monitors, she sat up, smiled and

A BETTER-LOOKING CITY The CBCA is also about community improvement. The club provided the “Welcome” signs to the city and funded the beautification of Daffodil Hill. The club donated benches, garbage receptacles, and a gazebo in the Grove Park for the town center, a scoreboard in Clayton Community Park and the posting board in the courtyard of the Clayton City Office. It helped fund the Community Gym and co-sponsors the Saturday and Thursday night summer Concerts in the Grove.

See CBCA, page 13

waved and talked to nurses about what she wanted to do when she got out of the hospital – all days ahead of schedule. She will stay in the hospital as an in-patient for several weeks, maybe as long as three months. Then, Katie and the family will move to the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital, where she will continue her recovery. Katie Grace faces a lifelong regime of medications and vigilance. She will always be at risk for organ rejection and infection. Although the realist in Kathy says “we are really trading one disease for another,” the family is joyful, grateful to the donor and to the overwhelming community and worldwide support. “When God sends a miracle,” Kathy says. “He goes big.” To learn more about Katie Grace’s journey or to donate to Katie’s Dream for a Cure, go to

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Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

June 27, 2014

Sports Kahlil McKenzie transfers to CVCHS football as Eagles face loss of practice days and game JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Jason Rogers photo

KAHLIL MCKENZIE (77) played his first game for De La Salle High School football last August against Clayton Valley Charter in a matchup of 2012 North Coast Section champions. McKenzie and his younger brother Jalen transferred to CVCHS this month. The defensive end is a 5 Star college recruit and must await clearance from North Coast Section to determine his eligibility for this fall’s Eagle football team.

Clayton Valley Charter football is two months away from starting the 2014 high school season but the Eagles have already found themselves in the headlines locally and nationally. First, one of America’s top 50 high school players, 330pound senior defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie tweeted June 9 that he is now an Ugly Eagle. While speculation of possible reasons for the transfer were swirling around the internet without any comment from the McKenzie family, CVCHS was in the news again for apparently violating high school rules by holding practice sessions June 2-4. Those three practices were after Clayton Valley Charter ended its 2013-14 academic year but before the final CIF athletic event of that school year, the State Track Championships June 6-7 in Clovis. North Coast Section rules forbid any practices for the ensuing school year until the current year has concluded athletic competitions in all sports. It turns out Middletown and Moreau Catholic of Hayward football mistakenly also practiced before June 7. A panel of principals from College Park, Concord and Northgate high schools—ironically the major Diablo Valley Athletic League football competitors of the two-time champion Eagles---met June 13 with CVCHS officials and DVAL commissioner Craig Lee “to determine the punishment for the illegal football practices.”

Clayton Twin Power wins gold at NorCal Synchronized Swimming Championships JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Identical 10-year-old twins, Iris and Rose Ets-Hokin, have moved from backyard swim lessons to winning the duet completion at the 2014 Pacific Association and Central California Association Novice Synchronized Swimming Championships and Group Invitational early this month in San Francisco. The girls had never competed in any swim competition before their parents, Setsuko and Solomon, put them into the Walnut Creek Aquanuts summer trainee program last year. The girls liked it so much they ended up doing three consecutive three-week sessions. At the end of that program they were invited to join the Aquanuts’ novice 10 and under team. The 10U’s veteran coach Mary Butniwick recognized Iris and Rose’s unique connection and talent (what she calls “Twin Power”) and named them to the seven-member 10U squad and also made the girls the team’s duet competitors. That doubled the Mt. Diablo Elementary School girls’ training to about 10 hours a week. The Aquanuts are a worldrenowned synchronized swim team that attracts athletes locally, nationally and internationally. Clayton’s own Erin Dobratz

was an Aquanut standout when she qualified for the USA Team in the 2004 Olympics where she won a bronze medal. The Aquanuts are 12-time national champions and winners of over 200 national and world titles. The team is home to 17 Olympians (eight gold medalists), with four athletes chosen for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team. The Ets-Hokin twins and their 10U teammates competed in three meets during the 201314 regional synchronized swim season. The Aquanuts 10U team won duet and group at all three meets culminating at the Northern California championships against the stiffest competition. The Ets-Hokin family was further immersed in synchro as they hosted US National Team member Karensa Tjoa at their Clayton home for six months while she trained in the area. The senior swimmer trains eight hours a day, six days a week, a regimen that Dobratz is familiar with. She took a year off from Stanford to train for the 2004 Olympic Games. The Ets-Hokin twins will be entering fifth grade this fall but already have some experience as they were picked for the only MDES combo class (4th and 5th grades) last year. The twins were adopted from Kazakhstan when they

Photo courtesy Walnut Creek Aquanuts

IDENTICAL 10-YEAR-OLD TWINS, IRIS (LEFT) AND ROSE ETS-HOKIN, took gold in the duet completion at the Pacific Association and Central California Association Novice Synchronized Swimming Championships and Group Invitational early this month in San Francisco. The Clayton girls are completing their first season with the world-renowned Walnut Creek Aquanuts.

were 10 months-old. The family moved to Clayton when they were three “for the great schools and community.” The family doesn’t have any other

children but they do have two miniature schnauzers (Daisy and Buster) and three exotic birds.

Besides morning practices those three days, CVCHS had 7 on 7 passing scrimmages June 2 with Delta Warriors, a high school age team from Byron Boys Ranch, and June 4 with Diablo Valley College. Executive director Dave Linzey and athletic director Amber Lineweaver joined Eagles football coach Tim Murphy at the hearing. Murphy understood he could begin practicing after the school year concluded and had publicized those practice dates for months. The panel placed CVCHS on one-year’s NCS probation and took away six football practice days (four days for the illegal practices and two for the DVC scrimmage against a college team that requires permission of NCS Commissioner Gil Lemmon). The upshot is that CVCHS cannot start fall practice until Aug. 18. The elimination of the football practice days means the Eagles appearance in the US Armed Forces Honor Bowl

in Loomis Aug. 30 against Carson City of Nevada will be canceled since the team needs to have 14 days of practice before taking part in an official game. The school has 30 days to appeal the ruling but Murphy says any appeal will likely be made this week. The team is exploring its scheduling options while realizing it will be very difficult to fill a 10th game on Oct. 3, its only bye week. The son of Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil McKenzie transferred to De La Salle a year ago from the family’s Green Bay home, where the elder McKenzie had worked for the NFL Packers. Last year for the Spartans he had 12 sacks and helped the team to the CIF State championship game. Without explanation he announced his intention to transfer and he is now enrolled at CVCHS, as is his sophomore brother Jaren.

Kara Kohler nabs 4th crew All-America honors for Cal JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Kara Kohler has earned one more honor as a four-year member of Cal’s varsity eight crew. The Clayton woman was named first team All-America, the fourth time she’s been selected to the All-America team. She was also previously named first team All-America in 2013 and 2011 and was a second-team All-America in 2010. She did not compete for Cal in 2012 as she prepared for the London Olympics as a member of the USA bronze medal quad crew. Kohler, who rowed in the varsity eight that captured the 2013 NCAA title, was the five-seat in the Golden Bears’ varsity eight that placed third overall at the NCAA Championships this spring. Senior Paparangi Hipango was also a first team All-American, while fellow senior Agatha Nowinski was recognized on the second team. Clayton’s Kohler, who completed her outstanding career with the Golden Bears earlier this month, has rejoined training with the U.S. Senior National Team that will compete in the 2014 World Rowing Championships Aug. 24-31 in Amsterdam.

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Kara and see her develop into an Olympian and one of the best rowers we’ve had in our program,” California head women’s crew coach Dave O’Neill said. “Kara has always been a very hard worker. She has high expectations for herself and works very hard to achieve the goals she’s set for herself and, more importantly, those of the team. As great of an athlete as she is, she is an even better person, and I’m going to greatly miss working her.” The four Golden Bears guided Cal to a third-place finish in the varsity eight at the NCAA Championships earlier this month, leading the Bears to a second-place team finish at the NCAAs. Kohler, Nowinski and Kendall Chase each represented the United States in the Sydney World Cup in Australia in March. Kohler and Nowinski raced a pair, reaching the A Final and finishing sixth overall. The Golden Bears placed second overall as a team at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing Championships in Indianapolis earlier this month with the varsity four capturing the NCAA event title.

We’re looking for 1992-2003 De La Salle football players, fans With the major motion picture release of “When the Game Stands Tall” about De La Salle football coming in August the Pioneer would like to speak to former Spartan players from our area who were part of the 151-game winning streak (1992-2003) that forms the backdrop for the movie. Please email us at if you’d like to give us your input. Include your name and years on the team. We’d also like to hear from fans of the teams.

June 27, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 11

Sports Little League champs move on to season-ending tournaments

Photos courtesy Clayton Valley Little League




The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 10-6 in the Minor B final that was played in 95 degree temperatures and the action was just as hot. The champs finished with an 11-3-2 record and went on to the District 4 Tournament of Champions. They didn’t lose a league game after April 8. The team included, front row from left, Dominic Vines, Jess Fisi, Nick Ottoboni, Brandon Welker, Ivan Shapiro, Jayden Gould, Ajay Mendoza, Logan Meyer, Ryan Buddle, Chappie Lisle, Ryan Cuddy, Josiah Lo; back row, coaches Matt Buddle, Mike Cuddy, Derek Vines and Neal Meyer.



The Giants muddled through the regular season with a 5-6 record but turned it on during the CVLL Minor A tournament by going undefeated and beating every other team in the division to win the title. The championship game was a Battle of the Bay with the Giants blanking the A’s 3-0. The Giants also beat their arch-rival Dodgers three out of four times. The team included, front row from left, Jake Solis, James McCaffrey, David Seeno, Caleb Briscoe, Gabe Lauricella; middle row, Michael Boyle, Jack Skow, William Lingua, Christian White, Nick Uecker, Dylan Sarna, Matt Teale; back row, manager Mike Lauricella, coach Ken Solis and assistant coach Andy Lingua.





The final game of the Clayton Valley Little League Minor division softball season couldn’t have been any more exciting as it went down to the very last batter in the bottom of the last inning before the Magic pulled out a 15-14 win over the Storm to earn a TOC berth. The Magic had a 10-4 record before losing to Martinez in the TOC. The Magic were, front row from left, Clarice Reinwald, Emma Postlethwaite, Halle Cohen, Julia Pauline, Quincy Miller, Francesca Stolarz; middle row, Gabi Rivas, Allysa Butticci, Kaylee Sutton, Madeline Schmitt, Hannah Copenhaver, Kacey Rebstock; back row, coach John Postlethwaite, coach John Sutton and manager Jake Pauline. Not pictured, Raigen Vandiver.




The Marlins were 15-1 during the Clayton Valley Little League season and beat the Blue Jays 8-0 in the final game. All wasn’t smooth sailing as the team won four one-run, come-frombehind victories. The team moved on to the District 4 TOC and defeated Pittsburg and South Oakland before losing in the semi-finals to Walnut Creek. The team included, front row from left, Eric Zimmer, Jason Zimmer, Matthew Hubbard, Lucas Lauricella; middle row, Chris Hinkson, Andy Weber, Jackson Hubbard, Tristan Daly, Jayson Downs, Spencer Smith, Anthony Hughes, Mikey Wentworth; back row, manager Kevin Daly, coach Kevin Zimmer and assistant coach Mike Lauricella. Not pictured, assistant coach Mike Wentworth.






The CV Red junior softball team will be representing Clayton Valley Little League at the Northern California All-Star tournament in Chico starting July 19. The team includes, bottom row from left, Alison Harkness, Jordan Steinberg, Emma Ramirez, Mia Andrews, Maya Gonzalez, Alison Fosbery, Kelsey Rice, Savannah O’Connell; top row, manager Bill Perry, Sarah Mirabella , Amanda Perry, Rachael Thompson, coach Leonard Gonzalez and coach Josh Harkness.





CV Blue went all the way to the semifinals of the District 4 Tournament of Champions before falling to host team Martinez. The Major division softball team defeated Walnut Creek/Continental and Antioch in one-run games before the finale. CV Blue was 12-3 in the regular season with the key win a 14-4 verdict over the Martinez Wildcats. The Blue squad featured a potent offense that racked up large run totals in almost every game. The team included, front row from left, Amanda Roach, Savannah Vines, Hailey Rogers, Aliyah Sarna, Daniela Duenas, Mackenzie Fisher; back row, coach Ben Rogers, Ellie Hilderbrand, Isabel Collins, Katie Harkness, Mariella Moore, coach John Lyons, Emily Lyons, Grace Zodikoff, Owyn Elento, Olivia Linkhart and manager Steve Linkhart.

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The CVLL Thunder outscored Walnut Creek/Continental Purple Jaguars 16-12 to win the Mini Minor softball tournament featuring three teams from CVLL and five from WC/Continental. The Thunder included, front row from left, Jordan “Firecracker” Feeney, Sydney “Rocket Arm” Downs, Molly “Long Baller” Reynolds, Jacqalyn “Line Driver” Leidgen, Yoshiye “Tomahawk” Longley, Cali “Cow Pow” Leidgen, Madison “Mad Dog” Thys, Layla “4 Bagger” Soli, Addison “Wheels” Baxter, Katie “Crusher” Muller, Sophia “Softy” Tribendis, Mikayla “Beast Master” Agnew; back row, parent coaches and volunteers Steve Longley, Janet Thys, manager Matt Reynolds, Jenny Baxter and Kevin Baxter. Not pictured, player Savannah “Gamer” Talmadge, assistant coach Brett Agnew and Chris Feeney.


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Page 12

Clayton Pioneer •


June 27, 2014

Book Review

Escape into the thrilling ‘Untold’

Do Warriors need a little Love?

TYLER LEHMAN SPORTS TALK The NBA Finals have ended with King James being dethroned by the San Antonio Spurs and now the NBA offseason has begun. The NBA draft is this Thursday evening and the beginning of NBA free-agency is next Tuesday, two big dates for every team. Bringing some stability between the head coach and players is the primary goal this offseason for the Golden State Warriors. After the Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, Mark Jackson quickly found himself with-

out a head coaching job. To fill his role, the Warriors hired Steve Kerr, long-time NBA player and announcer. The firing of Jackson seemed a bit hasty, but Jackson’s bold and assertive personality tended to rub people in the Warriors front office the wrong way. His issues with management weren’t the only reason he was fired of course. There were numerous onthe-court factors that ultimately lead to the decision. One of these factors was the Warriors continual stagnating offense, which hurt them in the playoff series against the Clippers. The Warriors offense last season was not complicated. They relied heavily on the pick-and-roll, sprinkled in with deep perimeter shooting. The pick-and-roll can be fantastic, but at times ball movement can become stagnant with this type of offense. The Warriors are hoping that Kerr, a former point guard, can help expand the Warriors offense.

Sports Shorts MDSA FALL SOCCER GUARANTEED PLACEMENT EXTENDED Boys and girls 4-18 years of age wanting to play in Mt. Diablo Soccer Association fall league can register for guaranteed placement until June 30. After that date players will be placed on wait-list until end of this month. Fall league play begins in August when registration closes. Families are requested to sign up for volunteer duties to help the organization offer its AYSO program. For complete info visit


Continuous, fluid ball movement is one of the best ways to find open looks in the NBA and Kerr can help revamp the Warriors offense into one that is better than it was last season. To improve the offense skilled coaching is needed, but some changes to the roster may be vital as well. It’s unlikely the Warriors will be aggressively trying to sign free agents—- they simply don’t have the salary cap space—- but trades are a possibility. Kevin Love, the power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves from UCLA, has been rumored to be a player the Warriors may trade for. Love is an elite player in the NBA, arguably the best power forward in the game, but he would come with a big price tag for the Warriors. Klay Thompson packaged with David Lee would be a logical asking price from the T-Wolves. The Warriors love Thompson, so it seems unlikely they would be willing to trade him for Love. The

Warriors ideal trading situation would be to package Lee, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green for Love. If Kevin Love, Steph Curry and Thompson all played on the same team, the offensive fire power would be insane. Defenses would have almost no way of covering that many outside shooters. The Warriors have some work to do over the next few months. Kerr needs to settle into his new role and quickly imprint his philosophies on this young Warriors team. The Warriors front office could make Kerr’s job a lot easier by trading for Love, but the asking price from the Timberwolves may be too steep to pay. Tyler Lehman is a sophomore at Diablo Valley College and a 2012 CVHS graduate. He plans to major in journalism and wants to be a sports writer. Email your comments or questions to

CARONDELET NAMES ELGIN LESLIE NEW BASKETBALL COACH Carondelet High School introduced Elgin Leslie as new varsity basketball coach. Leslie worked for much of the past 14 years as the school’s assistant coach and fills the position held by Margaret Gartner for 26 years. He also worked as head girls coach at Concord High (200506) and Campolindo (2011-13). Carondelet won 10 of the past 12 North Coast Section Division II titles, including this past season when the Cougars beat Clayton Valley Charter in the finals.

CLAYTON VALLEY FOOTBALL CAMP JULY 21-24 Two-time DVAL champion Clayton Valley Charter High School hosts its Future Champions Full-Pad Youth Football Camp July 21-24 from 1-5 p.m. at the Concord school for players in second through eighth grades. Camp Director Michael Dominquez and Eagles head coach Tim Murphy explain that the camp has individual and group instruction and team competition with fundamentals and techniques of football taught by the CVCHS staff. To register, email or call (925) 726-1503 for an application.



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Diablo FC is rolling out a youth soccer recreational league program starting in August that will focus on individual technical development, building confidence in young soccer players, improving cognitive development and increasing imagination by allowing players to learn the game gradually in a fun, engaged environment. Diablo FC is the area’s premier youth soccer program and is offering open registration to all players ages 4-10, regardless of ability or previous experience. A minicamp will be held Aug. 18-22 and the league runs through Oct. 11. Refer to for more details.


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Clayton Valley Charter High School coach Casey Coakley has put together a staff of current CVCHS coaches and players as well as Eagle alumni to provide baseball instruction to youngsters 6-13 years of age at the school. The final summer baseball school session is June 30-July 3. Each daily session runs 10 a.m.–1 p.m. To reserve a baseball school spot or to get more information email





The earth buckles with the stories it holds. . .” In her young life, Jessie must rely solely on herself. Everyone she has ever loved is little more than a memory. She survives as circus performer, thief, horse breaker and horse rustler. Bandy Arrow, a young boy she befriends in the circus, is taken away after a near fatal

It’s been a long time since I’ve opened a book and literally fallen into its story. Courtney Collins’s debut novel, “The Untold” (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam; First Edition, May, 2014), is such a book. It begins not with a preface, but a prelude, “Prelude to Death.” The year is 1910 and Houdini, handcuffed and chained, has jumped into the murky Yarra below Melbourne’s Queens Bridge. Entangled along with his own chains and handcuffs is the unexpected and bloated body of one who had already lost the chance to defeat death. That may be the only untold story in the book and I’m not entirely certain of that. We know three things: Houdini, stories (told or untold), and escape. This is Jessie’s story told in the voice accident and he, too, lives in of her prematurely born infant her memory, until memory whom she has just buried. “If folds back into the events the dirt could speak, whose tracking her ride to freedom. Jack Brown, the Aborigine story would it tell?” It is some time before the reader knows who, with Jessie, rustled for why Jessie is on the run and her husband, now searches for exactly how her child died, but her. Their relationship is withthe language of the narrator is out a future. “‘We cannot ever as direct and harsh as the land- speak of this,’ she said. He knew her words were true. scape of her unmarked grave. The first telling, of the There was only danger birth and death of Jessie’s between them.” The danger child, is followed by the sec- increases as Houdini takes her ond, of the child’s father, a as far as a horse can find footruthless man who removes ing. With a price on her head Jessie from prison with the for rustling and murder, her promise to care for her on his escape becomes legend. Jessie’s story is freedom homestead. Under his care she becomes a horse and cattle gained and lost and regained. rustler and is eventually forced Escaping finally, “. . . on her into marriage. She rides from stomach, snaking through the the grave, returning to the still long, dry grass. Jessie is my smoldering homestead to mother. Forward and back I make sure her husband is, have tracked her. I have heard indeed, dead. Weary from her like a song.” It is a song birthing and burying, she again most readers will also hear mounts Houdini the horse and long after they close this book. with rifle and knife rides for her life through the forest, Sunny Solomon is a freelance toward the highest mountains writer and head of the Clayton Book and her freedom. “And so Club. Visit her website at events seem to fold into one to ‘talk books.’ another, like burial and birth.

SUMMER CAMP REGISTRATION OPEN FOR ALL OUT SPORTS LEAGUES Signups are still available for some All Out Sports League summer programs at Clayton Gym. Weekly basketball camps (June 30-July 4 and July 7-11) and adult volleyball league (games on Wednesdays from July 2-Aug. 20) have registration deadlines upcoming. For complete information on all the Clayton programs including youth volleyball and basketball and adult co-ed softball this fall, visit

Police Activity Report

RED DEVIL GOLF CLASSIC JUNE 27 The 19th annual Red Devil Golf Classic benefiting Mt. Diablo High School athletic programs is this Friday at Diablo Creek Golf Course. Contact chairpersons Lou Adamo ( or Ralph Vallis ( for more information.

FOOTBALL, CHEER SIGNUPS ONLINE FOR CLAYTON VALLEY FALCONS Registration is open online for Clayton Valley Youth football and cheer. Football is for ages 7-14 while cheer accepts ages 5-14. The season starts July 28. All players and cheer members must attend the mandatory final registration “Falcon Day” on Saturday, July 19, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Clayton Valley Charter High School. For more information and online registration visit

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Police Activity for two weeks ending June 19, 2014 ACCIDENTS: June 12, 4:37 p.m. Marsh Creek Rd. June 12, 8 p.m. Oak Street. ARRESTS: June 7, 11:08 p.m. Oak St./Clayton Rd. A 51-year-old Concord female was arrested for DUI alcohol/over .08%; probation violation. June 14, 1:55 a.m. Pine Hollow Rd./Atchinson Stage Rd. A 55-year-old Clayton male was arrested for DUI. June 16, 5:19 p.m. Duncan Dr. A 30-year-old Concord male was arrested for resisting arrest; drunk in public; probation violation. June 16, 7:47 p.m. El Camino Dr. A 29-year-old Vallejo male was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

June 17, 4:33 a.m. 5400 Clayton Rd. A 29-year-old Pittsburg male was arrested for taking vehicle without owner’s consent/vehicle theft; receive known stolen property; possess burglary tools. June 17, 6:39 a.m. Clayton Rd./Peacock Creek Dr. A 20year-old Concord male was arrested for possession of a controlled substance; under influence of a controlled substance; possess controlled substance; possession of a hypodermic needle; possession controlled substance paraphernalia. June 18, 5:08 p.m. 5400 Ygnacio Valley Rd. A 38-yearold transient was arrested on a warrant. BURGLARIES/THEFTS: June 6, El Molino Dr. Petty Theft. VANDALISMS: None.

June 27, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 13

Interest growing in Clayton Valley Village GARY CARR Special to the Pioneer

Plans for a new Clayton Valley Village are getting some support from big regional names determined to improve retirement living in the area. Bob Kain, executive director of the Diablo Valley Foundation on Aging, spoke to about 40 people at the Village’s second informational meeting held June 4 at the Clayton Community Library. He explained how the countywide DVFA assists seniors in areas ranging from bill paying to health care management to endof-life decision-making. He said that DVFA was prepared to work with the CVV so that each could assist with the other’s programs. Tyson Moore, a representative from the office of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, attended and was recognized for the interest shown in the CVV by the Assemblywoman. But all of the attendees

Photo courtesy of Clayton Valley Village

CV VILLAGE ORGANIZERS: Front, Joe Aguilar, Marilyn Wollenweber, Jim Whitfield, Maria Xiaris, Kathy Carr. Back, Carol Riley, Sonja Wilkin, Christine Jeffers, Sue Manning, Nancy Hoffman, Gary Carr.

seemed interested in the concept of the Village, which allows seniors to age in place with help from local resources. The goal of the nationwide Village movement is to assist seniors in staying in their homes as long as possible. Villages are

member-driven and rely on volunteers, many of them members themselves, to provide an array of services in this “neighbor helping neighbor” program. CVV committee member Jim Whitfield said that according to the 2010 U.S. Census, 1,749 peo-

ple over 65 reside in Clayton. CVV considers this a large enough pool from which to draw members, he said. Membership varies village to village, Whitfield said. In the Bay Area, eight-year-old Ashby Village in Berkeley has 220 members. Soon-to-open Lamorinda Village is looking at 200 members at start-up. North Oakland has 54 members and prefers to remain small. CVV will limit its service to Clayton and to southern Concord as far west as Bailey Road and Treat Boulevard, including areas like Crystyl Ranch and Turtle Creek, said committee member Maria Xiaris. To help the CVV committee determine the needs of area seniors, it has posted a survey online at, and is asking potential members and volunteers to give input. For more information, call 925-6728717, or email

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CBCA, from page 9 The club also gave the Clayton Police Officer’s Association more than $11,000 for a Media Training Center, and has helped the Clayton Library and Historical Society fund projects. HELP FOR STUDENTS Children have been a big recipient of CBCA support. The club supplied funds for computers and technical equipment for Clayton Valley High School, Diablo View Middle School and Mt. Diablo Elementary School. It funded playground equipment for Mt. Diablo Elementary, and donated to the sports teams, musical programs and arts programs at Clayton Valley High School. The CBCA gave $25,000 to the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation with the stipulation that it go to fund sports at Clayton Valley High School. And the club has awarded approximately $200,000 in scholarships to high school students from Clayton Valley High School or residing in the 94517 zip code. COMMUNITY AT-LARGE The club helps out the community in other ways as well. It has donated funds to the Monument Crisis and We Care centers, St. Bonaventure’s Food Pantry and the Concord Childcare Center, which uses the funds to purchase turkeys to feed the children throughout the year. It gives annually to help with the Soapbox Derby, and last year the CBCA purchased and refurbished a car for the event. The CBCA also donated to the new Clayton Theater Company.

During the holiday season the CBCA adopts families and individuals who would do without. It provides gifts and holiday meals for clients of Meals on Wheels, warm items for the Veteran’s Hospital and gently used clothing and funds for Christmas for Everyone. CBCA also donated dressers and carpeting to Diablo Valley Ranch, who has proved a good partner over the year. Residents at DVR volunteer to set up and remove Christmas Decorations downtown, and help with the Art and Wine Festival and Oktober Fest. CBCA also sponsors Boy Scout Troop 484 and Cub Scout Pack 262. It supported Girl Scouts with an Adopt-a-Trail program and other projects and help AAUW with its Tech Trek program. For membership information, call (925) 672-2272 or go to

One-year-old Brie is an adorable girl with her one blue and one yellow eye. She enjoys exploring, but even more, she loves lots of petting and attention. She is suitable for a first time cat guardian. The adoption fee for adult cats is $50. Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during

Family and friends will be afoot again this summer walking for a cure for cancer in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in Concord on July 12 and 13 and in Clayton on Aug. 16 and 17. Organizers are seeking sponsors, teams and volunteers for this year’s event. “It is absolutely volunteer driven. [Volunteers] are the heart of our organization,” says Kealoha Pomerantz, Relay For Life specialist at the American Cancer Society. The Relay is a 24-hour community event to raise funds to fight cancer. Each location creates special experiences that make the Relay memorable, such as local entertainment, midnight movies, raffles and surprise guests. All Relays share these tributes: The Survivors Lap kicking off the event with those celebrating victory over cancer; the Luminaria Ceremony at dusk, remembering loved ones who

adoption hours: Noon to 5 pm. Wednesday, 3 to 7 pm. Thursday and Friday, Noon to 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday. The primary caretaker must be present to adopt. ARF also encourages kids 16 and younger and canine family members (dog adoptions only) to be present during the adoption process. Would you like to be part of the heroic team that saves the lives of rescued dogs and cats? ARF volunteers are making a difference! For more information see our website,, or call 925.256.1ARF.

2014 Cancer Relay for Life seeks sponsors, teams and volunteers PAMELA WIESENDANGER Clayton Pioneer

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did not survive cancer with custom-decorated bags illuminating a silent lap; and the Fight Back Ceremony where walkers commit with each step of the lap to a personal action against cancer. Teams often camp on-site and take turns to keep a member walking at all times during the 24 hours. Sign up now or get more information from walkers at Fourth of July events in both Concord and Clayton. Teams will be at their respective parades. Concord’s goal is to raise $27,000. Clayton is striving to reach or exceed last year’s total of $75,000. Pre-event celebrations contribute to the goals. See the Fundraiser section of the Community Calendar for more details.

The Concord Relay starts at 9 a.m. in Todos Santos Plaza, 2151 Salvio St., Concord. Clayton’s Relay starts at 10 a.m. in a new location, the Clayton Valley Charter High School, 1101 Alberta Way, Concord. For more information, go to or


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Clayton Pioneer •

June 27, 2014


IN CLAYTON Saturdays thru Oct. 25 Farmers’ Market Music: June 28, Scott Pullman. July 5, Angel the Harpist. 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Diablo Street between Main and Center streets, downtown Clayton.

July 3 Oakhurst Business Network Meets quarterly for social hour. Hosted hors d’oeuvres, cash bar. 6 – 7:30 p.m. Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Drive, Clayton.

July 4 Pancake Breakfast and Parade The day begins with the Clayton Valley Sunrise Rotary pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., followed by the parade down Main Street at 10 a.m. Breakfast: $6 adults; $4 kids. No registration for Kiddie Parade. Register for main parade at

July 5 Saturday Concerts in the Grove

July 12 Common Poorwill Bird Walk

cake breakfast. Relay parade walkers wear purple and go to staging area by 9:30 a.m.

Listen to the birds of the early evening along Red Road. 7 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Trailhead. Registration with Denise Wight required:

July 19 5K Run and Fitness Fair

Save Mount Diablo programs listed are free unless otherwise noted. Go to and click on Activities/Guided Hikes for more information. 947-3535.

July 10 Relay For Life Clayton Monthly Meeting

July 19 Ice Cream Social

June 28 Mangini Ranch Family Hike Visit a secret spring and look for bobcats, coyotes, owls, quail and other feathered friends. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at hiker gate on Crystal Ranch Drive between Autumn Oak Circle and Rolling Woods Way. Registration required:

Ice cream, games, raffle. Fundraiser honoring cancer survivors sponsored by Relay For Life Clayton. 2 – 4 p.m. Dana Hills Cabana, 296 Mountaire Circle, Clayton. Free to cancer survivors; $5 donation others.


July 5 Restoring Creek Habitat Enjoy the beauty of Marsh Creek while weeding and watering. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at 3240 Aspara Drive, Clayton. Registration required: or 947-3535.

6 – 8:30 p.m. Grove Park, downtown Clayton. Free. For a complete concert series list, see Page 3.

All ages welcome. Sarah Owen’s Girl Scout Gold Award project. 8 – 11 a.m. Clayton Community Park, Regency Drive, Clayton. No registration fee; canned food donation requested for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Register: or at event.


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

Thru July 31 Photo Contest Children grades 6 – 12: Snap a photo of your pet or an animal and enter the contest. Prizes for Best Looking, Grumpiest and Best Action Shot. Part of Summer Reading Festival. Entry forms available at library. Deadline: July 31. Judging by Creekside Artists Guild.

Thru July 6 “Ella the Musical”

Relay event captain meeting at 6 p.m. Committee meeting at 7 p.m. Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Parish Hall, 5555 Clayton Road, Clayton.

The story of one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $37-$65.

Tuesdays thru Aug. 12 Patty Cakes

July 10 Thursday Concerts in the Grove

June 28 Fallen Heroes, Rising Stars

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

Featuring local talent. 7 - 8:30 p.m. Grove Park, downtown Clayton. Free. For a complete concert series list, see Page 3.

July 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1 Moonlight Movies Bring a lawn chair, blankets, invite friends and neighbors and join us at sunset for a surround sound spectacular evening: July 11, “Frozen;” July 18, “Despicable Me;” July 25, “The Game Plan;” Aug. 1, “The Princess Bride.” Activities begin at 7:30 p.m. Movies start at dusk. Clayton Community Church, 6055 Main St. Free admission.

July 20 - 21 Clayton Theatre Company Auditions Auditions for fall production of Clayton Theatre Company performance, “A Trip Down Broadway.” Musical revue of songs from 15 Broadway shows. July 20: 12 – 6 p.m. July 21: 6:30 – 10 p.m. Call backs July 22: 6:30 - 10 p.m. at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Go to and click on Auditions for more information and audition form. If you attended general auditions in January 2014, no need to audition again. Call Beth Neudell at 381-1615 with questions.

IN CONCORD Tuesdays Farmers’ Market Tuesdays year round, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

Tuesday Nights in July Blues Series Some of the best blues in the Bay Area. July 1, Frank Bey and Anthony Paule. July 8, Frankie G and the Conviction. 6:30 – 8 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord. Free.

Music and Market Thursday night live music and farmers’ market. Music: July 10, Puro Bandido. Market 4 – 8 p.m.; music 6:30 – 8 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

July 4 Celebration Pancake breakfast, fun run, parade, festival, fireworks. Events start at 7 a.m. For more details, go to

July 12 - 13 Relay For Life American Cancer Society fundraiser. Activities for participants and spectators. 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

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

A Juneteenth Dance Celebration honors African American musical artists that have died since 2000, but will inspire for generations to come. 8 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $25 in advance; $30 at the door. 427-1611.

June 28 Speak No Weevil Presented by Ready or Not Improv. 8:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $15.

June 28 – 29 “On Golden Pond” Classic American comedy/drama. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $12-$15.

June 29 Concert

Over the creek beds and through the woods. 6:15 – 9:15 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Registration required at

July 9 Evening Hike Under the setting sun and rising moon. 6:15 – 9:15 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Registration required at



8 pm

Patriotic salute performed by Walnut Creek Concert Band. 6 p.m. Civic Park, 1375 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Free.

July 11 – 12 Chip and His Dog

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

June 27, 28 . . . . . . . . . . .The Relyks July 4, 5 . . . . . . . . . .Bollinger Station Karaoke Mon. & Wed. nights

Open Mic Thur. nights, 8-11 pm

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Beer only. Good anytime with original coupon. Exp. 7/10/14

Sample a wide selection of books and record your impression on the Book Bites Placemat. Grades 6 – 12. Refreshments served. 4 – 5 p.m. Registration required.

July 16 Craft Come create a yarn creature. Grades 6 – 12. 4 – 5 p.m.

Exciting double bill of opera and choral music for children and families. Presented by Solo Opera. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $22-$27.

July 12 Concert Performed by Walnut Creek Jazz. 5 and 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25-$40.

July 13 Great Piano Masterworks

The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. or 646-5455.

June 28 – 29 Book Sale Hardcovers $1. Paperbacks $.50. Children’s books $.25-$.50. Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun. 1 – 4 p.m. $3/bag.

June 30 Movie Monday Come see a rated G or PG movie. Ages 5 – 11. 7 – 8 p.m.

Performed by Taboloff. 4 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $40.

July 13 New Magic

July 9 All Ears Reading Adults with disabilities read to furry friends from ARF. 1 – 2 p.m.

Starring Alex Ramon. 3 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $35.

July 10 Immigration Law What you need to know about immigration law. Meet with an immigration attorney for free. 6 – 8 p.m.

CHURCHES AND RELIGION July 14 – 18 Weird Animals Adventure Camp

July 10 Paws and Claws

Open to preschoolers through incoming 5th graders. Leadership opportunities for junior and senior high school students. 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm, 1060 Pine Lane, Clayton. For more information, fee and registration, go to

Explore wildlife with this presentation by the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Ages 5 – 11. 1- 1:45 p.m.

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

June 30 Dine Out Support local theatre and a local eatery. Pavilion Bar and Grill will donate 20 percent of all receipts to the Clayton Theatre Company for its fall show. Good for dine in or carry out orders. Download flier from or mention Clayton Theatre Company. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Pavilion Bar and Grill, 1508 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton.

July 4 Bake Sale Information table and bake sale for Relay For Life Clayton at Rotary pan-

conducts the Midsummer Mozart Orchestra

in two different programs

First Congregational Church, Berkeley, at 2345 Channing Way

Sun., July 20 –– 7 p.m.

Sat., July 26 –– 8 p.m.

•Mezzo-Soprano Tania Mandzy Inala •Overture to The Marriage of Figaro •Symphony No. 40 in G Minor

•The San Francisco Boys Chorus, under the direction of Ian Robertson •Mezzo-Soprano Anna Yelizarova •Piano Concerto in D Minor, •Seymour Lipkin, pianist

Tickets $30-65. Student/Teacher discounts available

For tickets & full program info:

2nd and 4th Tuesdays Clayton Planning Commission 7 p.m., Hoyer Hall, Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. 673-7304 or

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

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July 9 Book Bites

Sunny Solomon leads the discussion of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers. Open to anyone who would like to join. 7 p.m.

Mozart Festival


Guess the number of pet treats in the jar. Closest guess wins a prize. All ages. One guess per person.

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July 14 Clayton Library Book Club


July 2 Evening Hike

Story time for 3- to 5-year-olds. Child may attend without caregiver. 11 a.m.

15th anniversary gala concert by Music Repertoire. 3 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $10.

June 28 Common Poorwill Bird Walk Listen to the birds of the early evening in White Canyon. 7 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Trailhead. Registration with Denise Wight required:

Thursdays thru Aug. 14 Picture Book Time

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Clayton Pioneer •

Performing Arts

Ella’s back at the Lesher Center

Photo by

YVETTE CASON RETURNS TO THE THE LESHER CENTER as Ella Fitzgerald in “Ella, the Musical,” playing through July 6.

Center REPertory Company Artistic Director, Michael Butler is pleased to announce that due to public demand and universal critical acclaim, “Ella, the Musical” will return to the Lesher stage in Walnut Creek for a two week limited engagement which ends July 6. “Yvette Cason’s performance of Ella Fitzgerald is one of the great theatre transformations I’ve seen,” says Center REP artistic director Michael Butler, “When she goes out on the high wire that is scat singing, we’re in awe not only of the great Miss Ella’s vocal innovations, but also of

Ms. Cason’s mind-boggling singing ability.” It’s only fitting, that after kicking off the 2013/14 season that Ella the Musical returns to the Lesher stage conclude it. It’s a life lived out loud in this exhilarating new musical that weaves myth, memory and music to tell the uplifting and poignant story of one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time. For performance times and ticket information, go to, call 925.943.SHOW (7469), or go to the LCA Ticket Office at 1601 Civic Drive.

Page 15

Mt. Diablo Recycling offers free environmental day camp for kids PEGGY SPEAR Clayton Pioneer

School may be out for the summer, but local youths can still learn about the environment at Mt. Diablo Recycling’s second annual free summer camp. MDR is offering four separate sessions that will each include a tour of their 90,000-square foot recycling facility and recycling trucks, recycling games, an interactive activity about the 5 R’s (Reduce-Reuse-RecycleRespect-Recover), and a takehome craft. The camp sessions will take place each Thursday in July from 9 to 11 a.m. at their facility located at 1300 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg. The camp is free, though reservations are limited to 25 children per session. “Respectful appreciation of our environment should be taking place year-round regardless of whether school is in,” MDR Chief Executive Officer Joseph Garaventa said. “Mt. Diablo Recycling is committed to offering fun educational opportunities to East Bay youth, who will be making contributions to our community for years to come.” Since 2013, MDR has been expanding its educational efforts in Contra Costa County through programs such as its Earth Day celebration, winter camp, and the

Photo courtesy Mt. Diablo Recycling

SPEND A DAY AT TRASH CAMP AND FIND OUT HOW garbage is recycled and reused. The summer camps begin in July and are free, but a reservation is required.

launch of the first ever recycling contest with cash prizes for students. After the success of last year’s inaugural summer camp, MDR is offering the program for the second year in a row. To sign up for camp sessions on either July 10, July 17, July 24 or July 31, contact MDR’s Adriana Medina by phone at 925-771-2721 or email at For more information about Mt. Diablo Recycling, go to


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Audition dates set for CTC’s fall Broadway review

Want to get in on the “act” of the hottest ticket in town? Audition for the Clayton Theatre Company’s next production, “A Trip Down Broadway,” on July 20, noon-6 p.m. July 21, 6:30 - 10 p.m at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center Street Clayton. The show is a musical revue of songs from 15 Broadway shows. The Clayton Theatre Company’s first two shows, “The Robber Bridegroom,” and “The Night of January 16th,” were big successes and CTC looks forward to casting this

show, which will open Oct. 8. No appointment necessary, auditions are first come first served. Please prepare 32 bars of a song from a Broadway show. An accompanist will be provided. You will also do a cold read from the script. Bring your own music, resume and headshot. Call backs will be July 22, 6:30 - 10 p.m. at Endeavor Hall. If you attended our General Auditions in January, 2014, there is no need to audition again. More information about the audition, as well as audition forms, can be found on the Audition tab at For more information, call Beth Neudell, 925.381.1615.

Captain Grammar Pants Long-suffering editors have noticed that the words THAT, WHICH, and WHO are a consistent problem in the writing of both native speakers and non-native speakers. “Who” is for people: people who need people. “That” is used for essential clauses - elements that identify the subject. “The paper he wrote was packed with misplaced modifiers that confused his readers.” “Which” is for nonessential clauses within sentences: “The paper, which was packed with misplaced modifiers, received a poor grade.” Notice the comma, which appears before the word “which.” Sorting these out will earn you points for clarity every time! Sean Williams is a professor of ethnomusicology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. She is currently working on a Captain Grammar Pants book. Follow her regular postings on Facebook.

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Clayton Pioneer •

June 27, 2014

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GARDEN GIRL When the weather gets blazing hot and the sun pounds the landscape relentlessly, there is a common family of plants that thrives through every bit of it. It’s the family called lantana, and it is stupendous in our Clayton Valley climate. Lantana is a very common plant family in our area. Your neighbors probably grow it. You see it in public landscape areas and even along meridians. Some lantana grows as ground covers and others as shrubs. They all have globe-shaped clusters of tiny flower and hardy textured leaves. Lantana is both bee and butterfly attractive. It thrives in full sun, and is very drought tolerant. It is almost perfect from June through November. Once the weather chills for the winter, lantana typically goes deciduous, resting and storing up energy for another fabulous growing

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season next year. The groundcover selections of lantana are very sought-after. Lavender lantana was once the most favored. Then, about 10 years ago, the trailing white lantana hit the scene. They called it White Lightning, and sometimes, Silver Mound. Then everyone had to have that selection. These days, the New Gold variety seems to be the most desirable. The flowers are a deep, butter-yellow color. New Gold can seriously stand up to the sun, never fading as some color can do. New Gold Lantana can really pop out of the landscape, screaming “Look at me!” Shrub lantana can be slightly more frost-sensitive, yet their colors are so provocative that they are worth the risk, with multi-color clusters of flowers that open one color and mature to another. Shrub Lantana is very distinctive, and in the right spot, they will thrive for many years. Irene, Radiation, Dallas Red and Confetti are among the most desirable shrub lantana selection. Landscapes love lantana. Groups plants here and there to add bold color. Use lantana to accent a large boulder. Install beneath a spring blooming deciduous tree to extend the flower power in the area. Plant along the property line, or near a

fence to define the boundaries. If you are planting a large container, lantana makes an excellent container addition. Be careful, as lantana is toxic. It should not be consumed. We like to inform folks about toxic plants, in case any potential planters have samplers in their household. There is a positive note to planting this toxic plant: gophers, rabbits and deer will leave it alone. Warn the children not to eat it, and watch the dog. Planting lantana is simple. It hardly has any needs. Dig a hole

one-and-one-half times the depth and width of the container. Use a planting mix with installing. You do not need to plant with a fertilizer in the hole, or in the soil. Water thoroughly once planted, and keep your eyes on the new installation through the first summer in the ground. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. Contact her with questions or comments at

Nothing corny about summer’s favorite grain

Terry Mohr Johnson Real Estate Professional Cal BRE Lic #01899234

(925) 914-0061

DEBRA J. MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market 2005 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, CA

There’s nothing better than sitting down to a big crisp ear of sweet summer corn on the cob, dripping with butter. Grilled or boiled, corn on the cob is a real treat that’s hard to top for flavor, freshness and just plain delicious fun. Corn is now available at your local farmers’ market June through most of October. G&S Farms brings the famous sweet Brentwood corn to market. Corn has a long and varied history and it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for humans who developed it. Corn as we know it does not grow in the wild. It was developed from a grass called teosinte. (Most people think of corn as a vegetable, but it’s really a grain). Scientists believe that corn was developed by the native peoples living in central Mexico more than 7,000 years ago. Also known as maize, the natives throughout North and South America eventually depended on maize for most of their diet. Corn spread throughout the Americas and was discovered by explorers from

GRILLED CORN WITH CHIPOTLE LIME BUTTER 4 ears fresh corn, husked 2 Tbsp. butter, softened 1/4 tsp. freshly grated lime zest 1 tsp. lime juice 1/2 tsp. minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 1/4 tsp. adobo sauce, or 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle pepper 1/2 tsp. kosher salt


Europe who had never seen corn. Corn is best stored in a cool environment since warm temperatures will convert the sugar in the corn to starch. Your farmers’ market producer should be displaying their corn in cold or iced containers. When selecting individual ears, check the freshness of each one by gently peeling back the husk to examine it, being careful not to ruin it for the next customer. Ears should

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Oakhurst Country Club (925) 672-9737 ext. 205

PCFM is in Clayton on Saturday mornings from 8-noon through October; and every Tuesday and Thursday in Todos Santos Plaza in Concord. For market schedule and more info, go to

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have full, even straight rows with bright, shiny kernels. The husks should be bright green with the silk ends free from decay and obvious worm damage. Refrigerate your corn in the high humidity storage bin as soon as you get home. It is best to refrigerate corn with the husks attached to keep it moist, but if the corn has already been husked, partially or fully, refrigerate it in a perforated plastic bag.

Preheat grill to high. Wrap each ear in foil. Place on grill and cook, turning frequently for 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and let stand in foil while preparing butter. Combine butter, lime zest, lime juice and chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (or ground chipotle pepper) and salt. Carefully unwrap the corn and serve with the butter.

Funerals are expensive. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, average funeral costs in 2012 were nearly $8,000, excluding cemetery costs. To relieve their families of the burden of planning a funeral, many people plan their own and pay for them in advance. Unfortunately, prepaid funeral plans are fraught with potential traps. Some plans end up costing more than the benefits they pay out. And there may be a risk that you’ll lose your investment if the funeral provider goes out of business, or you want to change your plans. Some states offer

protection — such as requiring a funeral home or cemetery to place funds in a trust or to purchase a life insurance policy to fund funeral costs — but many do not. If you’re considering a prepaid plan, find out exactly what you’re paying for. Does the plan cover merchandise only (casket, vault, etc.) or are services included? Is the price locked in or is there a possibility that your family will have to pay additional amounts? In addition, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you ask the following questions: • What happens to the money you’ve prepaid? • What happens to the interest income on prepayments placed in a trust account? • Are you protected if the funeral provider goes out of business?

• Can you cancel the contract and get a full refund if you change your mind? • What happens if you move or die while away from home? Can the plan be transferred? Is there an additional cost? One alternative that avoids the pitfalls of prepaid plans is to let your family know your desired arrangements and set aside funds in a payable-ondeath (POD) bank account. Simply name the person who will handle your funeral arrangements as beneficiary. When you die, he or she will gain immediate access to the funds without the need for probate. Richard A. Littorno is an attorney specializing in estate planning. He has offices in Walnut Creek and Pittsburg. Send your questions to

June 27, 2014

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 17

Walnut Creek gives nod to The Orchards development

Re a neady for this w loo spri k ng?

Schaefer’s PAINTING

PEGGY SPEAR Clayton Pioneer

Residents in eastern Walnut Creek and southern Concord will soon have a new retail center, complete with a larger Safeway store, restaurants, new businesses, walking trails and even a children’s park. The Walnut Creek City Council last week gave its final stamp of approval on The Orchards at Walnut Creek, located on Safeway-owned property in the Shadelands Business Park at the corner of Oak Grove Road and Ygnacio Valley Blvd. The project will also feature a physical fitness center and a senior living center. The approval follows nearly three years of planning, including 25 public meetings and countless hours of public comment. “It creates an economic development opportunity out there, for people to work where they live and play where they live as well,” said Mayor Kristina Lawson. “Once it’s up and running, this is going to be a great asset to those neighborhoods.” The mixed-use development is expected to generate $82.7 million a year in sales revenue. Groundbreaking should be later this year with a grand opening planned for the fall of 2015. Still, many neighbors in the area are concerned, not only about increased traffic in the neighborhood, but also about the impact on the existing Citrus Marketplace shopping center, located across Oak Grove

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Road. Specifically, they cite the inevitable closing of Nob Hill Foods. Mayor Pro Tem Bob Simmons said he assumed from the beginning that allowing The Orchards would likely lead to the grocery store closure. But that is part of the revitalization the area needs, he said. Some neighbors and critics disagree. “The city has refused to explain why it is acceptable for Citrus Marketplace to lose its supermarket anchor tenant – Nob Hill – that the other existing businesses in Citrus Marketplace rely on to draw customers, but it is unacceptable for Safeway’s as-yet unbuilt shopping center to go without a supermarket anchor tenant,” said Woodlands resident Steve Elster. Elster has been a vocal critic of the Orchards project, and recently formed Friends of Walnut Creek, an association to represent the community’s con-

cerns regarding the development. He said Friends of Walnut Creek will file an appeal of the project’s approval under the city’s municipal code and is already consulting with a landuse attorney. Elster said that one significant issue is that, while the city’s environmental impact report is quite clear that Nob Hill will likely close if The Orchards includes a supermarket, “the city has refused to consider the impacts from the expected closure of Nob Hill. Among other things, these impacts include the diversion of more than 3,500 cars per day of former Nob Hill shoppers onto Ygnacio Valley and Oak Grove Road who will need to drive elsewhere for groceries after Nob Hill closes.” He also is concerned that the city council is allowing Safeway to replace trees with solar panels in the new Safeway parking lot. “Perhaps the City should replace its current logo of a walnut tree with a picture of a solar

panel, since the city council sees them as interchangeable,” he said. The Orchards is part of a larger effort to revitalize the Shadelands Business Park, and is causing a domino effect in other local businesses. For instance, the smaller Safeway in the Encina Grande shopping center across Ygnacio Valley Road will close, making way for a new Whole Foods grocery store. The nearby Walgreens will move to a larger location at the corner of the center, allowing for a drive-thru pharmacy window. Local restaurateur Rocco Biale, whose Ristorante and Pizzeria is located in Encina Grande, says he is looking forward to the new Orchards development, but says he hopes traffic concerns can be solved. “If done right, it’s an over-all plus for the neighborhood,” he said. For more information, visit

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Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

Club News

Rustic Steep Ravine features glorious sea views, beautiful hikes

CBCA hosts Rib Cook-Off at the Clayton Club Aug. 9 The Clayton Business and Community Association hosts their Annual Rib Cook-Off at the Clayton Club Saloon on Aug. 9. It is a community fellowship party and membership drive. Sign ups are now open to compete. The contest is limited to 28 contestants. Cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to the top three contestants and trophies go to all winners. Onlookers are welcome and can partici-

pate in a raffle to judge the “People’s Choice” winner. There will be ample ribs for sale at the food tent. The event is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with live music all day. Judging starts at 2 p.m. Winners will be announced afterwards. The Clayton Club is at 6096 Main St., Clayton. For more information, contest application and rules, go to

Creekside Artists learn about framing

FRAME DESIGN CONSULTANT CAROLYN VICTORIA FROM CLAYTON VALLEY FRAMEWORKS presented different matting and framing techniques at the Creekside Artists Guild meeting in June. The Guild meets the second Wednesdays of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Clayton Library Story Room. For the complete schedule of upcoming presentations, workshops, exhibits and field trips, contact Arlene Nielsen at 673-9777 or

June 27, 2014





There is nothing like getting to your destination fast to start having fun. Instead of a long drive east to the Sierras, I say go west. Rich in flora and fauna, with surf crashing below you, sunset views and a private beach to play on sits Steep Ravine Environmental Cabins and Campgrounds. I’ve enjoyed watching deer, foxes, raccoons and coyotes just out the cabin door. Whales are common passersby in the winter and spring, and on a clear day, the mysterious Farallones appear in the distance. Oh, did I mention that you’re right on the cliffs facing the bay? Outside the cabin doors, a set of wooden steps descends to a quiet cove, Redrock Beach, where sea stars lounge in the sand. Steep Ravine Environmental Cabins and Campgrounds, built in the 1940s at the base of Steep Ravine Canyon off Highway 1 in Mount Tamalpais State Park, provide one of the best oceanfront views around. Think of it more like camping but with a cabin instead of tent, with nine rustic cabins and seven primitive campsites. Each cabin has a small wood stove, picnic table and benches, sleeping platforms and an outdoor barbecue. The cabins do not have running water or electricity. Primitive toilets, water faucets

Sharon Anderson

HIKERS AND MOUNTAIN BIKERS ENJOY MORE THAN 50 MILES of trails in the park that connects to a 200-mile trail system over land managed by Marin Water District and Golden Gate National Recreation Area easily accessible from the campgrounds and cabins.

and firewood are nearby. The campsites are a few hundred yards from the parking area. Each site also has a fire pit, food locker and space for a tent. There are no showers at Steep Ravine Campground. Bring lamps, flashlights, candles, Scrabble, warm layers and anything else you would for tent camping. To protect the natural and scenic environment of these cabins and campsites, only one vehicle and five people are allowed per cabin or campsite. Pets are not allowed. Hikers and mountain bikers enjoy more than 50 miles of trails in the park that connect to a 200-mile trail system over land managed by the Marin Municipal Water District and

the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The only difficulty you may have is choosing a trail; there are so many options it can be mind boggling. And Pan Toll Ranger Station is at the center, with loop trails radiating in every direction. A favorite hike from Stinson Beach Trailhead is The MattDavis Steep Ravine Trail. It is a seven-mile Mount Tam loop from Stinson Beach to Pantoll and back, through gorgeous woods, high grassy slopes and a lush steep ravine. Matt Davis Trail is a Bay Area Ridge Trail segment. This hike is moderate, with about 1,600-feet in elevation change. Trailhead elevation is around 75 feet. The featured hike climbs to about 1,600 feet, and

then descends back to the trailhead. Some sections of Steep Ravine are, well, steep, but the other trails are moderate with long easy stretches. Except for the crowds, Mt. Tam is generally pleasant in summer, cooled by ocean breezes. Spring is a good time to hunt for wildflowers, both in the woods and grasslands. A winter hike is best if you’re a waterfall fanatic; there are lots of small falls all over the mountain, including the south slope trails accessed by Pantoll Trailhead. Reserve the Steep Ravine cabins at Sharon Anderson is a Clayton resident and lifelong hiker. This is the second of a four-part series on hiking in the Sierras.

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JUN 27 Clayton Pioneer 2014  
JUN 27 Clayton Pioneer 2014