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Happy Mother’s Day IT’S YOUR PAPER

Assisted living center and retail proposed for Main Street lot

May 11, 2018


TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

KeiTH Haydon


May events beckon you to get outside

Welcome to one of my favorite times of the year in the Clayton area, because of the increased opportunity for outdoor activities. The rains have greened up our picturesque valley and hills, and the warming weather entices us to get outside. It’s a great time to enjoy our yards, gardens, parks, trails and sports like walking, biking, soccer and loads of baseball – with Little League, Clayton Valley Charter High School, the Giants and A’s. With our busy, sometimes stressful lives, it’s good to remember we have the relaxing, stress-reducing, low-cost exercise option of walking in our beautiful area. Clayton has been rated one of the top walking communities in the country due to our citywide trail system that connects neighborhoods with the downtown. It also extends to our two neighboring protected areas, Mt. Diablo State Park and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. I encourage you to walk, run or bike our trails, discovering new areas of interest. Trail maps available for $2 at City Hall provide descriptions of many of the area’s trails, as well as city information and a street map of Clayton. If you walk with your dog, please remember that Clayton’s leash law applies to dogs on the trails too. And help us keep our trails clean and natural by picking up after your dog, disposing of doggie bags in trash cans. A number of community activities will give you even more reasons to get outside, starting with the first Concert in The Grove on Saturday, May 12, followed by our second concert on Saturday, May 26. These free concerts are held at The Grove

See Mayor,

Rendering courtesy of Fulcrum development

Grand oaks, a 95-unit assisted living and memory care facility is proposed for the city-owned 1.66-acre parcel at the west end of Main Street. The entrance to Grand oaks will be off of oak Street just before Main St. an additional 5,000 square feet of retail space will front Main.

10 a.m. VFW Traditional service at the Flagpole, west end of Main Street.

What’s Inside

Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Community Calendar . . . . .17 Directory of Advertisers . . . .7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

See Grand Oaks, page 9

Art Expo wows onlookers and inspires greatness BRENDEN JIN & JOEY PHUNG Special to the Pioneer

Clayton Valley Charter High School held its 8th annual Art Expo on April 12, showcasing work that students created throughout the year. This successful event had more than 500 submissions. Katie Nolan, the art design and AP art history/AP studio teacher, said it was the highest amount of entries to date with “a lot more student participation.” Visual arts teacher Evan Hughes said the Art Expo also included a few pieces from other schools, such as Pine Hollow and Diablo View middle schools. Work falls into several categories, such as drawings, paintings, sculptures, digital page 3 art (graphic design, motion pictures, animation, video productions) and photography. In order to prevent bias, there were no parent or

Memorial Day May 28

A Sausalito real estate developer is proposing an assisted living and memory care facility for the cityowned parcel at the west end of town. The project will include 5,000 square feet of retail space fronting Main Street. David Ford of Fulcrum Development and Jason Reyes, owner of three Cornerstone Living Centers, and Transamerica Real Estate broker Ed Del Bacarro met with about two dozen Clayton residents at an informational meeting on April 4. While Claytonians have long hoped for a Trader Joe’s on the downtown site, it isn’t going to happen, Del Bacarro said. There simply aren’t enough people to support the grocery retailer. “Trader Joe’s wouldn’t even

teacher judges. The 17 judges were either professional artists or others within the art world. One of the judges was an animator for the new Scooby Doo movie. The Michelangelo D’Onofrio Arts Foundation and the Clayton Valley/Concord Rotary Club co-sponsored event with The Foundation awarding cash prices to 33 students who demonstrated outstanding skills in the visual and digital arts. The first-place winners from each category received $100, with $50 for second and $25 for third. Students get to keep their creations after showing them off at the Art Expo. However, one student sold his work and made a couple hundred dollars in addition to his prize money. The main reason for the Art Expo is to show off how students have improved and to highlight the skills they have been learning and practicing throughout the school

year. “It definitely benefits the student by showing the work that they are producing throughout the year,” noted Kelsey Thomas, the digital graphic arts and computer graphics teacher. It can also be beneficial for the students to have others admire and judge their work. ¨Every year we do this, there is a minimum of 10-15 teachers who come up to me and say, ‘I didn’t know so and so was so talented.’ So this is clearly a great way to showcase our students talent in a way that many other student artist may not be able to,” Hughes said. Before students could submit their art, they had to speak to one of the art teachers at Clayton Valley. Then they signed a form giving the school permission to display their creations. The works had to be completed and submitted to the teachers by the

See Art Expo, page 9

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

Huy Trans submitted a haunting mood piece that took first prize in the painting category.

Celebrating 15 years, and we’re ready for the future TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

Happy Birthday to us! This month, we begin our 16th year as Clayton’s (and now Concord’s) community newspaper, and it’s impossible not to crow just a bit. Our first issue was May 9, 2003 and the cover story was Art and Wine. There were three of us—me, Kim Rutledge and Jill Bedecarré—in a tiny office in Pleasant Hill. When the truck carrying Each of us knew a different 5,000 copies of that first piece of the newspaper busiissue rolled up in front of the ness and together we knew post office, Jill and I happy enough. danced down the middle of

Center St. “It feels like we just gave birth to the same baby,” Jill said. Now, 360 issues, 8,000 pages and more than 9,000,000 words later, we are still here—but different. At the end of that first year, Kim went on to an editor’s spot with the Oakland Tribune, then to graduate school and Sacramento. In 2007 Jill died of breast cancer. And I still miss her every day. Today our staff includes sports editor Jay Bedecarré, who jumped in to help right after Jill died. Pete Cruz took

over as graphic designer in 2003. Pamela Wiesendanger, our client support guru and calendar editor joined us in 2010. Our copy editor and staff writer, Bev Britton has been with us for more than five years. And we are lucky enough to have some of the best freelance journalists in the business always ready to help us out. Me? I put it all together twice a month and in between I sell the advertising that pays the bills. And it’s been (mostly) fun and always rewarding. The Pioneer has been called

everything from the “glue” of the community to a “dirty, commie liberal rag” (that was an honor). We’ve celebrated births and mourned deaths. We’ve covered the sad and the glorious. Now, after a week or so reflecting on the past, we’ve turned our faces to the future. We’re ready. For a look-back at the most important stories of the last 15 years, turn to pages 10-11

Postal Customer ECRWSS


Page 2

Clayton Pioneer •

May 11, 2018

Fundraisers for ALS, garden club, MDES

FaiTH BaRnidGe


Team Ferrari: May is ALS Month. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Clayton resident Lou Ferrari succumbed to ALS only seven months after diagnosis. Lou’s wife Margarita “Margy” Ferrari and her children Alyssa Ferrari, Stephen Ferrari and Seena Ferrari Curry, with sister-in-law Lisa Ferrari Benedict, formed the Lou Ferrari

Foundation to raise funds and awareness for victims of ALS, They will sponsor the Lou Ferrari Cornhole Tournament Saturday, May 19, at the Clayton Club Saloon, 6096 Main St., Clayton, hosted by Ron and Dan Stokes. Ticket sales begin at the door at 9 a.m., with the games at 10 a.m. The $50 donation per person include a lot of fun, great food, beer and a raffle. Single players will be paired for the doubles tournament. Corporate and private donations and volunteers are welcome to help Team Ferrari make this event a great success. Send email to or call 925-8998838. Garden Club plant sale: Clayton Valley Garden Club’s spring plant sale is timed perfectly for Mother’s Day giving, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Proceeds support club activities all year.

Color bowls, sachets, charming bird and butterfly houses, decorated rocks, whirlybirds and a selection of healthy plants grown by CVGC members will be for sale, along with free gardening advice by your neighbors with green thumbs. Visit

Diablo Women’s Chorale Concert: The Diablo Women’s Chorale Spring Concert, “The Rhythm of Life,” will celebrate the changing seasons of our heart through different musical genres and eras, 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Hillside Covenant Church, 2060 Magnolia Way, Walnut Creek. Advance tickets are $25/adults and $15/students, or $30 at the door. Call 1-800-838-3006 or visit Diablo Women’s Chorale volunteers present concerts in December and May. New members are welcomed in August and January.

Mt. Diablo Elementary field fundraiser: Gophers have made themselves at home for decades on the play field at Mt. Diablo Elementary School, but they will soon need to find new lodgings. The Clayton Valley Little League and the MDES Playfield Committee will hold the Caddyshack for a Cause Par-tee fundraiser, 5:3010:30 p.m. Friday, June 8, at Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Dr., Clayton. Cost is $100. Email for tickets. The project, slated to begin Photo courtesy of Margy Ferrari Aug. 1, will include a complete Margy and Lou Ferrari raised their family in Clayton before renovation of the large field Lou was stricken with aLS. The family welcomes friends and and track at the back of the neighbors to a Cornhole Tournament May 19 at the Clayschool. The baseball fields will ton Club to raise funds for a cure.

Photo courtesy of diablo Women’s Chorale

The diablo Women’s Chorale May 19 concert will feature the voices of Clayton and Concord members Leslie Holst, back left, diana Barkley, ann Bolen, Vivian Torres, Suzanne Salter, Sarah Koller, Carole Gardner and Sonja Wilkin, front left, Barbara Burkhardt, Kappy Lindquist, Cristill Cox and Gina Salzillo-McKeen.

have new infields, backstops and chain link dugouts. MDES principal Dawn Edwards and superintendent Nellie Meyer are collaborating on the project with MDES Playfield Improvement Project Committee cochairs Nancy Salmon and Pat Middendorf. The Mt. Diablo Unified School District has pledged $350,000 of Measure C funds, district staff time, expertise and materials toward the project. Supporters may also purchase personalized pavers. Visit Learn about CASA: Children in need of a stable home life are placed into foster care. Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers over age 21 who promise to devote

a few hours a week to act as an advocate in juvenile court, at school, and as a mentor and friend of a child in foster care. Learn more about this volunteer opportunity at free informational sessions, 12:30-2 p.m. Monday, May 21, or 6:308 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at CASA headquarters, 2151 Salvio St., Suite 295, Concord. Register at 925-256-7284 or visit Caring Hands info: Homebound seniors and their caregivers receive a welcome visit by a John Muir Health Caring Hands volunteer each week. Matched care receivers enjoy a little companionship and perhaps a ride to the hairdresser or pharmacy. Hundreds of Caring Hands volunteers are already matched

with seniors, including 13 active volunteers from Clayton. Clayton resident Richard Vargas, 87, volunteered a few years ago and has shared 200 hours with his Caring Hands match. Clayton resident Judy Pueringer, a retired John Muir Health nurse, and her husband Fred have been Caring Hands volunteers for 14 years. Homebound seniors are on a waiting list for a volunteer match. The next Caring Hands information session is 9 a.m.2:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, at John Muir Medical Center, 2540 East St., Concord. Volunteers must fill out a registration form in advance of training. Contact Stacy Appel at 925952-2999 or email

See Barnidge, page 3

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179 Brandywine Dr. . . . . . . . . . $1,350,000 1126 Peacock Creek Dr . . . . . . $1,125,000 5113 Keller Ridge Dr . . . . . . . . . . $775,000 110 Mt Shasta Ct. . . . . . . . . . . . . $750,000 1456 Indianhead Circle . . . . . . . . $627,000 1255 Easley Dr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $911,000


. .4076 . .3820 . .2313 . .2442 . .1709 . .2391

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Sharp Single Story in Peacock Creek at Oakhurst Country Club. 4 bedrooms, 2.baths, approx 2684sf with an attached 3 car garage. Fantastic views from family room, kitchen and master bedroom. Private approx. .32 acre lot overlooking gently rolling hills, Delta & city lights. $995,000

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402 Grenache Circle . . . . . . . . . . $860,000 115 Mt Trinity Ct . . . . . . . . . . . . . $925,000 1166 Moccasin Ct . . . . . . . . . . . . $721,000 1451 El Camino Dr . . . . . . . . . . . $721,400 612 Julpun Loop . . . . . . . . . . . . . $705,000 40 Mt Teton Ct. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $895,000


. .2116 . .2481 . .1710 . .1423 . .1939 . .2619

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May 11, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 3

Barnidge, from page 2 New name for Meals on Wheels: Meals on Wheels Diablo Region, formerly Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services, has a new name to reflect the full reach of services providing support for our senior citizens’ ability to age in place independently in their homes. Services include individualized care management, companionship by Friendly Visitor volunteers, and educational classes to keep seniors safe, healthy and active mentally and physically. There is also the option for a healthy lunch delivered to the home by a Meals on Wheels volunteer or in a social setting at six CC Cafe locations, including the Concord Senior Center, 2737 Parkside Circle. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m.

e Grove h T n i

Monday-Friday. Call 925-8251488 for reservations one day in advance or visit to volunteer. Mobility Matters: Mobility Matters connects Contra Costa seniors with transportation options to help them age in place. The Rides for Seniors program provides trained, licensed and insured volunteer drivers who offer door-to-door service for mobile seniors 60 and older who can walk with a cane, walker, knee scooter, crutches or elbow assistance. Mobility Matters trains volunteer drivers for Clayton Valley Village. Visit or call 925-284-2215 for information and to sign up for their email newsletter.

Photo courtesy of Clayton Valley Garden Club

The Clayton Valley Garden Club’s spring plant sale on May 12 at endeavor Hall will include color bowls created by elaine Billeter, back left, Peggy arundell, Fran Veal, Carin Kaplan, Toni Hegemier, diane Selmer, Marlene Kinney, debbie eistetter and Linda Cruz, front left, and Carolyn Whitmore.

Saturdays 6 to 8:30 p.m.

At the Gazebo in The Grove

Set up chairs and blankets on the lawn after 4 p.m.

May 12

Photo by Bill Clough/Captivating Photos

Clayton residents Fred and Judy Pueringer have volunteered with John Muir Health Caring Hands for 14 years.

Pioneers for HOPE and Change: Cal State East Bay students adopted the name “pioneers” during President John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier programs in the early ’60s, when it was Cal State Hayward. The Pioneers for H.O.P.E (Helping Our Pioneers Excel) and Pioneers for Change programs help students continue their educations and offer opportunities to perform community service for credit. Pioneers for H.O.P.E. helps at-risk students facing homelessness or food insecurity by providing meals, temporary housing assistance, emergency funds and referrals to local resources. The Concord campus offers a food pantry supported by the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. To learn how to receive services or help, visit, email or call 510-885-4673. Pioneers for Change is part of the school’s Center for Community Engagement learning leadership program, where students receive credit for providing unpaid nonprofit

community service. Freshman Day of Service is required for every first-year freshmen through their general studies course. Email to participate. For details, visit

Red Devil Golf Classic: Support Mount Diablo High School and enjoy a beautiful day on the links at the Red Devil Golf Classic Friday, June 22, at Diablo Creek Golf Course, 4050 Port Chicago, Concord. The $155 fee includes golf, cart, tee prizes, lunch, dinner and on-course refreshments. Dinner only is $40. Contact Lou Adamo at 925-212-9332 or send email to, or Ralph Vallis at 925-825-7593 before June 8. Visit

Plan B

Clayton’s 8-piece rock n’ roll band with diverse play list: Creedence, Stones, etc.

Big Band Beat

May 26

SF’s party band plays favorite songs of 70s on: Rock, pop, country, R&B & more.

June 9

8-piece variety dance band plays rock, blues and dance music of today.

Take 2 Dance Band

The Fundamentals

June 23

High-energy stage show: 3 dynamic lead vocalists, horns & 4-piece rhythm section.

July 7

Pop/Soul band sings sounds of Motown including the Temptations & Supremes.

Pride and Joy

Southern Comfort

July 21

Female-fronted southern rock band gives wild ride from ZZ Top to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Aug. 4

Bay Area favorite, covers classics of Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Timberlake, Lady Gaga and others

Aug. 18

This powerhouse band delivers dance & rock classics from 60s to today’s top 40.

Sept. 1

Best of Steely Dan and Chicago performed with love of harmonies and classic horns.

Sept. 15

East Bay Mudd

Diamond Dave Apple Z

Steel n’ Chicago

10-piece cover dance band with four-man horn section

Please, no glassware, BBQs, water balloons, beach balls or “silly-string.” Please clean up before leaving. This is your park - help keep it clean & safe! $$ THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS $$ Your donations are the primary source of funds for next year’s “Concerts in The Grove.” We thank Republic Services and CBCA for their on-going and generous support. Donations may be sent to Concerts in The Grove—Saturday concerts, c/o City of Clayton, 6000 Heritage Trail, Clayton, CA 94517

Hearts and Hands shares news, events and opportunities for all of us to learn more about our community, have some fun, and combine our resources and talents to help others. Send items to

For information go to



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Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

Around Town

Another stellar Art and Wine

May 11, 2018

Clayton Cleans Up

A few clouds and a brisk breeze were not enough to dampen The Clayton Business and Community Association sponsors Over 230 volunteers at the spirits for the annual Art and Wine Festival April 28 and 29. the event with the help of hundreds of volunteers. 11th annual Clayton Cleans Up Although Saturday got off to a slow start, Sunday made up for To join the CBCA or for more information, go to claytoncb- on April 21 left no trace of it with sunshine and record attendance. or call 925.672.2272 trash behind as they picked up litter and debris across the city to celebrate Earth Day. Families, scout troops, church groups, neighbors and new residents started the day at Clayton City Hall outfitting them-

selves for the dirty work with a volunteer shirt, garbage bag and gloves. Afterwards, they were treated to a barbecue lunch provided by Republic Services and Earth Daythemed displays from local organizations. The event is sponsored by the Clayton Pioneer and city of Clayton.

Claycord 4-H gets dirty at CCU

Clayton Valley Garden Club members work in shifts to keep the wine flowing at the two-day event.

Keeping things clean, CVCHS athlete volunteers head down Main Street, pickers and trash bags in hand.

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Angela Musiello and her two boys, Nick and Jacob McBride, along with 17 relatives took a Caribbean Cruise out of New York during the week of spring break. They visited ports in Orlando and the Bahamas where they went snorkeling. They cruised with 17 of their relatives, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. They went snorkeling in the Bahamas and explored the Atlantis Casino and Resort in Nassau and Disney Springs in Orlando.

Easter Basket Surprise

MATTHEW SUZUKI Special to the Pioneer

On April 21, Claycord 4-H members participated in Clayton Cleans Up to celebrate Earth Day. The 4-H group began setting up tables at 8 a.m. at City Hall. The club displayed environmentally friendly items made by Claycord 4-H members, such as goat milk soap, raw, home-raised honey, a pillow made of recycled fabric, a skirt and purse repurposed

from an old shirt, and a game set of Five Stones assembled from rice and scrap fabric. As the group was ready to embark on its “expedition,” each participant received a Clayton Cleans Up T-shirt, bright blue gloves and a neon orange trash bag to begin the dirty job of cleaning up. Afterward, participants were treated to a barbeque lunch at City Hall. This was a great opportunity to give back to the community by showing a little love.

Daisies help out


This year, Easter Sunday brought the Fahey family a much better surprise than a chocolate bunny. Clayton residents Padrig and Gina Fahey welcomed a new baby daughter. Aspen Rae joined her sisters Madison and Bailey and brother Braden as the newest member of the family. “The greatest Easter gift ever,” says mom Gina.

daisy Scouts Sydney Mills, alexis Schmidt, Kassie Menary and Logan Konemann have been learning about the earth, recycling and caring for the community. Clayton Cleans Up was the perfect opportunity to practice their new-found knowledge while earning a Caring for the Community badge.

May 11, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

Around Town Blue Star Moms dedicate fifth monument

TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

In a short and moving celebration at Clayton Valley Charter High School April 25, the Contra Costa Blue Star Moms placed a monument in remembrance of Major James. M Ahearn, a 1981 Clayton Valley graduate who was killed in action in Iraq July 5, 2007. Major Ahearn was on his third tour in Iraq when his vehicle hit an explosive device. He and one other soldier were killed. While in Iraq, he met and married his wife Lena. They had one daughter. On hand for the dedication were Clayton mayor and CBCA member Keith Haydon and Bob Steiner, CBCA past president. The CBCA donated

the cost of the monument. Major Ahearn’s monument is the fifth of 12 planned by the Contra Costa Blue Star Moms, one for each of the local high schools that lost a former student in the Global War on Terrorism. Other monuments stand at Concord High, Berean Christian, De La Salle and Ygnacio Valley. The Blue Star Moms is open to mothers and fathers who have or have had children serving in the armed forces. The Contra Costa Chapter is one of 200 chapters in the U.S. The cost for each memorial is $5,000, and the Blue Star Moms are seeking donations to fund remaining memorials and achieve their goal. To donate, see or contact Loretta Masnada at

A boost for youth baseball

The Junior optimist Baseball League’s opening day ceremonies on april 14 included inauguration of new batting cages near the Tesoro refinery in Concord. Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club funded the $26,000 project. With volunteers from Rotary district 5160 and the baseball league, members also poured concrete and erected the cages.

It’s the

Major ahearn’s sister, Kelly Kennedy (left) and his mother Connie ahearn unveil a monument placed by the Blue Star Moms to honor Major James ahearn, a Clayton Valley High alumni who was killed in iraq in 2007.

Mayor, from page 1

Park downtown, 6-8 p.m. every other Saturday through Sept. 16. The season schedule is available as an insert in the Clayton Pioneer and on the city’s website. Two other events are also scheduled for Saturday, May 12. The annual Clayton Valley Garden Club Plant Sale will be 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St. This is the club’s primary fund-raiser and proceeds are used for garden-related beautification and education of the Clayton community. The club maintains the public planters on Main Street and the flowerbeds at the Clayton Library and Museum, among other community projects. The second event on May 12 is the kick-off of the Clayton Community Farmers Market, held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in the KinderCare parking lot at 6095 Main St. This is an openair market with fresh fruit, vegetables and other food items from local growers. It’s a great way to obtain fresh, locally

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Page 5

grown and/or prepared food and further support our local farming community. The last community event scheduled in May is the annual Memorial Day Program sponsored by VFW Post 1525. It is held at the Veterans Memorial Flagpole Monument at Oak and Main streets in Clayton, starting at 10 a.m. May 28. It’s a moving memorial event honoring the fallen veteran heroes from our area. My initial thought was to continue describing how the city is organized in this month’s column, but I decided to share all these activities to help promote them and as an added incentive to push you out of the house to enjoy our beautiful, active community. I look forward to sharing more information about Clayton items and activities in upcoming months. See you out on the trails and, as always, feel free to send comments to me at

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65 Clayton OR Concord 100 Clayton AND Concord Send text and photo with contact information to Concord Pioneer — May 25 (Deadline May 16) Clayton Pioneer — June 8 (Deadline May 30) Concord Pioneer — June 22 (Deadline June 13) We will contact you for payment information.

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Clayton Pioneer • Sponsored Content

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On April 29, the Lafayette War Veterans hosted a special ceremony to unveil a new monument in front of the Veterans Memorial Center on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. At the dedication, the community honored 23 members of the armed forces from Contra Costa County who have died in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001. I was proud to participate in this moving dedication to military personnel, along with their families and members of our community.

care, patients receive multiple medical opinions from a group of specialists – helping them feel confident they have explored all of their options. Research shows that a multidisciplinary approach leads to better outcomes, with improved quality of life and higher survival rates. In a single appointment at our breast cancer clinic, patients meet with a breast surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, nurse navigator and patient care coordinator. After the physicians have examined each

patient, they come together to discuss the best treatment options. By the end of the appointment, each patient receives a comprehensive treatment plan and a list of the next steps. By reducing the time between diagnosis and treatment, our program will minimize the anxiety and uncertainty that patients experience while waiting days and weeks between individual appointments. This results in the best possible outcomes for each patient. We believe that the

Women’s Cancer Center of the East Bay integrates all of the essential components necessary for a comprehensive, world-class breast cancer program. All in one day – all in one place.

Gold Star Mom Yolanda Vega first envisioned the monument. Her son, Senior Airman Jonathan Vega Yelner, was killed in Afghanistan 10 years ago on April 29 when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb. Vega understands the importance of supporting other military families, especially Gold Star families. This memorial is a beautiful way to honor the sacrifice of those in our community like her son. This is the only monument of its kind to recognize service members post 9/11, and I am thankful to all who were part of this effort. Having a dedicated memorial site where residents can go to honor the fallen heroes of Contra Costa County is an important way we can show our support on Memorial Day and every day.

An anonymous donor gave $25,000 toward this project, which was estimated to cost $50,000. The Lafayette War Veterans have been fundraising as well. If you are interested in contributing toward this memorial, contact Mike Gilson at 925-766-6114 or send email to The Contra Costa Blue Star Moms has been working on the High School Memorials Project as another way to remember our fallen soldiers. The project will create a granite memorial at each of the 12 high schools in Contra Costa where a former student died in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. They have successfully created memorials at Berean Christian, Mt. Diablo, Ygnacio Valley,

De La Salle and Concord high schools. They are fundraising to install memorials at the remaining high schools: Clayton Valley Charter, Antioch, College Park, Las Lomas, Liberty, Olympic and Benicia. This is another way we can honor Gold Star families in our community so we can remember the sacrifices that were made, not just by the soldiers but also by their families. For more information on how you can help with the High School Memorial Project, visit

overhead and conceivably increase larger corporate sponsors. Concord, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek will join the city of Clayton for the Diablo Valley relay. It’s a bittersweet parting for many of the teams and participants who loved the small town feel of the Clayton Relay and who put in tireless effort year after year to make it become one of the most successful relays in California. Clayton tri-lead Nancy Salmon looked on the bright

side. “Joining the other cities gives us a better opportunity to achieve our goals to raise the money we need to find a cure for cancer, and that’s what matters the most to all of us,” she noted. Because of this change and other factors, the event team also decided to discontinue the Round Up for Relay at this time. This was a difficult decision, but the team believed it was a necessary step. Many in the community will miss this nostalgic event. “So many people have already

come to plan on this event to happen every year, they will be so disappointed,” said Pam Jeffress. Teams including Clayton Valley Concord Rotary Sunrise, Team Anu, St. John’s Cancer Crusade, Bella’s Team and Angels Among Us have switched to the new Diablo Valley Relay, which has 34 teams and has already raised close to $32,000. Clayton tri-lead Michele Hill encourages everyone to keep relaying. “You can join

Dr. Svahn is a medical oncologist and breast cancer specialist with Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group in Pleasant Hill and San Ramon. She can be reached at 925-677-5041.

Beautiful monuments for Contra Costa’s fallen soldiers

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

Clayton joins new, larger Relay for Life PAT MIDDENDORF Special to the Pioneer

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After seven amazing years and raising more than $520,000 to help eradicate cancer in our lifetime, Relay for Life of Clayton has morphed into a larger event called Relay for Life of Diablo Valley. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life organization is implementing a nationwide shift to help raise more money by merging smaller neighborhood relays into regional relays to cut

Club News

CBCA learns of pig hearts and a giant spud

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On the eve of the 2018 Art & Wine Festival, the Clayton Business and Community Association (CBCA) heard good news about past and future projects at the April 26 meeting at Oakhurst Country Club. The three young women who attended last June’s Tech Trek shared their experiences at the summer math and science camp at Sonoma State. Middle school students Jordan Tillman, Natalie Martinez and Giovanna Fielding reported on some of the things they learned at the week-long camp. Tillman, who is thinking of a career in medicine, said her key experience was dissecting a pig’s heart – “about as close to a human heart as you can get.” Martinez was not so keen on dissecting and preferred building cars powered by rat traps. Field-

ing, who may want to pursue engineering, liked constructing bridges out of styrofoam. Tech Trek provides opportunities for girls to get hands-on experience in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math). The CBCA and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) provided camp scholarships for these future scientists. The AAUW is asking CBCA for a grant for scholarships to Tech Trek for the upcoming summer. Meanwhile, Barbeque CookOff chair Rory Richards announced an exciting addition to this year’s event scheduled for downtown Clayton on July 14. The Idaho Potato Commission is sending its motorized “Big Spud” for display at the cookoff. The 53-foot-long potato features an interactive display inside. Adults and children will enjoy tip-toeing through the tuber, pushing buttons to learn

CBCa provides the funding for aaUW to send three girls to Tech Trek, a week-long STeM camp. at the april meeting, natalie Martinez, Giovanna Fielding and Jordan Tillman shared their experience at last year’s camp.

fun facts about spuds. CBCA members were probably resting up for Art & Wine, because the meeting didn’t have enough for a quorum. Therefore, no votes could be taken on grants for local groups, including the Clayton Historical Society, Clayton Valley Girls Little League Softball,

Support4Recovery, the Network of Care Foundation and Tech Trek. Members are urged to attend the next meeting, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at Oakhurst Country Club. Members who cannot stay for dinner will be allowed to cast ballots before the meal begins. For information, call 925-672-2272.

May 11, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

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



R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers


P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design

B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports

PAMELA W IESENDANGER , Administration, Calendar Editor

S TAFF W RITERS : Pamela Wiesendanger, Jay Bedecarré, Bev Britton

C ORRESPONDENTS : Kara Navolio, John T. Miller We remember Jill Bedecarré


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

Tamara Steiner Send ads to Send Sports News to Send Club News to Send School News to LET US KNOW Weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births and deaths all weave together as part of the fabric of our community. Please let us know of these important events. We ask only that the announcement be for a resident in our home delivery area. Submit on our website and be sure to attach a JPG photo that is at least 3 MB but not bigger than 6MB. You can also mail or bring your print to the office and we can scan it for you. Also on the website are forms for calendar items, events & press releases. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Both Pioneer newspapers welcome letters from our readers. As a general rule, letters should be 175 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have

priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print anonymous letters. E-mail your letter to Letters must be submitted via E-mail. CIRCULATION

Total circulation of the Clayton Pioneer is 5,500 to ZIP code 94517, all delivered by US Mail to homes and businesses. We cannot start or stop free delivery to individual addresses. This must be done directly through the Post Office. The Concord Pioneer is delivered monthly to 30,500 in Concord by carrier. Papers are delivered once a month on a Friday morning near the end of the month. To stop delivery for any reason, call the office at (925) 672-0500 or send an email to If you are NOT receiving the Pioneer, please check the distribution map on the website. If you live in the shaded area and are not receiving the paper, please call us or send an email to If you are not in the shaded area, please be patient. We will come to your neighborhood soon.

SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe, call the office at (925) 672-0500. Subscriptions are $35/year for each paper, $60/year for both.

Applications open for Clayton Planning Commission The city of Clayton is accepting applications for three members of the Planning Commission for July 2018-June 2020 terms. The Planning Commission is comprised of five members appointed by the City Council, normally for two-year terms. The Planning Commission advises the City Council on land use matters, including General Plan and Zoning Ordinance amendments. The commission also makes decisions on project developments, site plan reviews, use permits, subdivisions and variances. Planning Commission meetings are open to the public, and its decisions may be appealed to the City Council. The commission meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in Hoyer Hall at the Clayton Community Library. Commissioners receive a $120 monthly stipend.

All applicants must be at least 18, registered voters and residents of Clayton. Obtain an application at Clayton City Hall, 6000 Heritage Trail, or call 925-673-7300, email or visit Applications are subject to public disclosure.

Completed applications must be given to the city clerk by 5 p.m. Thursday, June 14. City Council interviews of applicants are tentatively scheduled for June 19; the interviews are open to the public. Appointments are expected to be made later that same evening. An appointed commissioner must file an annual Statement of Economic Interests required by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

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response. Information about pets in the home, vehicle details and emergency contacts can be included in a safety profile. All information is optional, and residents have the ability to choose what details to include. When a citizen makes an emergency call, the safety profile is automatically displayed to the 911 call taker. I encourage you all to visit the Smart 911 website to learn more about this service and register your information. Lastly, I want to introduce (or reintroduce) you to some of our staff. Clayton police is comprised of a chief, three sergeants, seven officers, a reserve officer and two administrative staff. Our three sergeants are Daryl England, Tim Marchut and Jason Shaw. England is our dayshift administrative sergeant and has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, including 28 years with the Contra Costa County Sheriff ’s Office. He has been with Clayton Police Department for 2½ years, and his expertise includes investigations, field training and emergency services. Marchut is one of our graveyard sergeants. He has been with the city since 1998, starting as a reserve officer. In addition to his daily patrol supervision duties, he is focused on helping people in crisis. He has attended specialized training for critical incident stress debriefing and peer support crisis from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, which is associated with the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Shaw is our other graveyard sergeant. He has been with the city since 2006. In addition to his regular duties, he is our firearms and Taser instructor. He has written a number of grants for equipment, including our motorcycle and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trailer. He is in charge of our traffic and volunteer programs.

My first few months here in Clayton flew by. Now that I am settled, I want to thank all who made this transition smooth and enjoyable. Clayton is a beautiful, safe city, and our police department strives to keep it that way. We value our partnership with the community. In addition to deterring crime, we are focused on addressing quality of life issues such as traffic, speeding and safety. Like all cities in California, Clayton has seen an increase in property thefts – mostly in the form of thefts from vehicles, both locked and unlocked. This is a good time to remind everyone to always lock vehicles and never leave valuables in cars overnight. On a positive note, technology has been assisting us and the automated license plate reader system that was installed last year has proven very valuable. Over the last six months, we have used the information gathered from the camera system to make a number of arrests of wanted felons and we have recovered several stolen vehicles that traveled through the city. Smart 911 is another new system that benefits our community. The free service allows individuals and families to sign up online to provide key information to 911 call takers during an emergency. At, residents can create a safety profile that includes any information they want 911 and response teams to have in an emergency. Residents can link home and work addresses to mobile phones, which can be passed Email comments and questions to on to responders in the field Elise for a more detailed, rapid

Page 7

Directory of Advertisers Area code 925 unless otherwise indicated

Business Services/Employment Rising Moon Marketing & Public Relations . . . .672-8717

Construction and Trades Appliance Repairs by Bruce, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . .672-2700 Diablo View Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .822-5144 Gary’s Home Repair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .787-2500 J.A. Ronco Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .872-3049 Dining and Entertainment Clayton Club Saloon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .673-0440

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Elections Karen Mitchoff . . . . . . . . . . . . . Events Concord United Methodist – Rummage Sale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pacific Coast Farmers Market . . . . . . . . . . . . .949-3276 Financial, Insurance and Legal Services Van Wyck, Doug – State Farm Insurance . . . .672-2300 Funerals Ouimet Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4242 Health and Wellness Yellowstone Spa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-7798

Home and Garden Clayton Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-2299 Diablo Lawnscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381-3757 Interiors Panache . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-7920 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955 Skim ‘n’ Dip – Pool Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .348-5609 Waraner Bros. Tree Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .831-2323 Waraner Tree Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250-0334 Mailing Services The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6245 Real Estate and Mortgage Services Bennett, Nancy – Keller Williams . . . . . . . . . . .606-8400 Clayton Fair Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .685-0324 French, Lynne – Windermere Real Estate . . . .672-8787 Klock, Leigh – Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . . . . . .212-5593 Lopez, Stephanie – Coldwell Banker . . . . . . . .305-9099 Mazzei, Matt – Mazzei Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . .693-0757 Stojanovich, Jennifer – Better Homes Realty . .567-6170 Vujnovich, George - Better Homes Realty . . . .672-4433

Recreation and Fitness De La Salle Summer Camps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Diablo FC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mt. Diablo Soccer Association . . . . . Terrapins Swim Team . . . . . . . . Senior Services Oakmont of Concord . . . .

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Do the Right Thing

Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

May 11, 2018

Andeavor priming students for the future According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93 percent of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) occupations had wages above the national average. And by 2024, the bureau predicts there will be one million new STEM jobs that need to be filled. Students in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) are getting ready to take on some of these positions. For the last three years, Andeavor has provided funding for after-school robotics classes in every MDUSD middle school. The company has also sponsored FIRST Robotics teams at College Park, Ygnacio Valley and Concord high schools. Tom Trowbridge, Concord High’s engineering and building trades teacher, led a team of 17 students, three teachers and four community mentors on a journey with FIRST Robotics this past school year. “Three days a week after school and all-day Saturdays, the students came together as a team to design and build a very complex robot,” Trowbridge

With no background in engineering, the Ygnacio Valley High students worked together to build a complex robot that won the Rookie All Star Award at San Francisco’s regional competition. “They learned technical skills but also communication, critical thinking, creative problem-solving and how to work as a team,” said Joseph Alvarico, an engineering teacher at Ygnacio Valley.

explained. “This was not a hypothetical classroom discussion; they had hard deadlines, long hours, learned to disagree but keep making progress and developed some necessary work-ready skills.”

They competed against 45 schools from California, Hawaii and Turkey. “It was quite simply Andeavor’s support and funding that made this all possible,” Trowbridge noted. But it’s not just students

new technologies and curriculum they can use in their classrooms. Shauna Hawes, a teacher from Valley View Middle School, has been the driver in creating programs throughout the district. “The partnership with Andeavor has fundamentally changed MDUSD students’ access to STEM programs,” Hawes said. “Utilizing the Andeavor Lending Library, teachers may bring into their classrooms 3D printers, Raspberry Pi kits and more to help them engage students and build STEM thinking. These middle school and high school robotics programs play a key role in supporting students in all the common core curriculum. Andeavor has made all

of this happen with their continued financial support.” Why would Andeavor — an oil refinery — do all this? Well, the company relies heavily on employees who are skilled in all the STEM topics — most importantly math. From entry-level process operating positions to petroleum engineers, from chemists in the lab to environmental scientists, from a port captain to a crane operator — every position requires competency in math. Andeavor has invested in STEM because those are the skills needed in the workforce. And, after all, if you’re going to inspire the kids, you have to inspire the teachers as well.

who are benefitting from Andeavor’s investments. For the past three years, Andeavor has funded a yearly STEM Ed/Tech symposium that now draws nearly 500 teachers from around the Bay Area to learn about

A Message from Andeavor’s Refinery Manager When I moved to the Bay Area three years ago to work for Tesoro Refining & Marketing at its Martinez refinery, I knew this was a special place. My wife and I settled in Clayton, and we love it here. We both enjoy the outdoors; biking and hiking around Mt. Diablo are some of our favorite things to do. Having moved from the Los Angeles area, we especially appreciate the clean air and change of seasons. Last August, Tesoro changed its name to Andeavor. It’s a growing company with a new name. But we have the same com-

Tom Lu mitment to the community, same commitment to safety and, most certainly, same commitment to making sure our air stays clean. In fact, with five refineries in the Bay Area, I am proud to

say we have the cleanest refineries in the world and produce the cleanest fuels in the world. There are several reasons for that. We have extremely high standards for air regulations, and we work closely with our communities to minimize noises, smells and pollution. But our employees are the most important reason we are able to deliver high-quality fuels. Like me, our employees live in the community. They raise their children here and enjoy the great outdoors – you can bet they want clean air. They come to work every

day with the mindset of “It’s going to be a great day.” That means no spills, no injuries, no impact on the community. If they succeed at that, then everyone goes home safely to their families at the end of the day. That’s a great day. My wife and I love this community — and so does Andeavor. The refinery has been here for more than 100 years. Chances are you probably know someone who has worked here over those many decades or worked for a company who serviced the refinery. I hope to see you around the community. – Thomas A. Lu VP, Andeavor Martinez Refinery

Meet our Community Advisors

The Community Advisory Panel members represent their communities and organizations at monthly meetings with Andeavor management.

Does anyone really know what goes on behind the refinery fence? Well, actually, yes. Thirteen members of the community that make up the Andeavor Community Advisory Panel (CAP) meet with

refinery leaders every month to hear about activities taking place in the refinery and relay thoughts and concerns from the community. Formed in 1993, the CAP reviews the site’s safety programs, learns about inci-

dents that might take place on site (and what the investigations show) and hears about the company’s community investments. Not only do refinery leaders learn more about the community, each CAP member becomes better educated on the refining industry, who regulates it and why the company has such a commitment to the environment and safety. Tim Carr has served on the CAP for three years. As a resident of Sun Terrace, he is very interested in how the refinery works. “I’ve been impressed to learn that safety is paramount to Andeavor – beyond anything else, including profit,” he said. “As a longtime believer in the importance of sustainable local industry, I’m excited to participate in the CAP and contribute to the open and transparent relationship between the refinery and my community in Concord,” noted Darrell Foote, who recently moved to North Concord from Martinez. The CAP members tend to be neighbors of the refinery or individuals who represent companies or entities that may be impacted by refinery activities. The Andeavor CAP is currently

comprised of the following: • Tim Carr – Concord resident • Paul Detjens – project manager, Contra Costa County Flood Control District • Jonathan Eagan – assistant superintendent, Mt. Diablo Unified School District • Darrell Foote – Concord resident • Danea Gemmell – Central Contra Costa Sanitary District • Jeanette Green – Concord resident • Ann Lindstrom – Clyde resident • Ryan Nichols – Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office • Paul O’Mary – Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office • Barbara Scoles – Bay Point resident and Heritage Soccer Club coach • Caitlin Sly – program director, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano • Curtis Swanson – retired, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District • Anne Marie Taylor – John Muir Health Foundation To learn more about the CAP, call Tom Stewart at 925-229-0440.

A young resident experiences what it’s like to wear the jacket of a firefighter from the Andeavor fire brigade.

Concord knows how to celebrate Concord does Independence Day justice — from the Fun Run and incredible parade in the morning to the fireworks and festival in the evening. Even people from outside the area come to Concord to celebrate our nation’s birthday. And Andeavor has been a key player in making the event a success since 2010, first providing funding for the parade and more recently funding the festival and fireworks as well. “Andeavor’s support of the city’s well-loved tradition became critical after the governor eliminated Redevelopment Agencies statewide,” noted Florence Weiss, Concord’s downtown program manager. “There would not have been the financial wherewithal to support this cherished community event without Andeavor’s financial and volunteer support.” Concord City Councilman Tim McGallian, who has been involved with the festivities for years, agrees that

the event would not be possible without Andeavor’s support. “Andeavor is a true community partner that committed every available resource to make this annual celebration possible, from being the title sponsor to devoting staff time on the organizing committee, providing volunteers for the event and even their own spectacular fire engine for the parade,” he said. Andeavor’s Community Advisory Panel (CAP) manages a booth every Fourth of July, educating the public about the refinery and the role the CAP members play as liaisons from the community to Andeavor refinery leadership. The refinery’s fire brigade is usually on hand as well, allowing kids (and adults) to climb aboard and check out the technology of its newest fire engine. The Fourth of July represents the true nature of coming together as a community and celebrating what makes our country — and our city — special.

July 4 Celebration Schedule Todos Santos Plaza

8 a.m. – 5K Fun Run 10 a.m. – Parade followed by unveiling of Don Pacheco Salvio statue Mt. Diablo High School

4 p.,m. – Festival Gates Open 9 p.m. – Fireworks For more details go to Content provided by Andeavor

Lynne FRenCH


My team and I want to congratulate Tamara and Bob Steiner and their staff on ownership of the Clayton Pioneer for 15 years. I began advertising and writing a column for the Pioneer years before Tamara took over. It was a fairly amateur rag by a fellow who had also owned the Brentwood Bee. He took a liking to me and was always coming up with promotional ideas for my relatively new real estate business. He was sweet, but unfortunately he got himself in some financial trouble. Then the Steiners came along and bought the paper

Clayton Pioneer •

Art Expo, from page 1 Time marches on and the Boomers head into retirement from him – turning it into a first-class local newspaper. I wish them continued success for many years to come. For every issue, I research interesting information pertaining to real estate. Over time, people from the community would call or submit email questions about current topics or trends. That is why I started the question and answer format. Over the years, the topics of interest have gone from modest home appreciation, price declines, staging pros and cons, how to get ready for an open house, foreclosures, short sales, easy to steep loan qualifications and, more recently, how fast prices are going up for both buyers and sellers. Lately, more seniors are asking about housing options after retirement.

Q. I am getting near my post-career phase of life or some might call it retirement. Beach communities and golf courses aren’t on my radar.  Is this unusual? A. About 4 million baby boomers are retiring each year now.  Options are expanding. Warm weather states like Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Florida are still top choices. California is not a top choice unfortunately because of home prices and higher taxes. Many Californians are deciding to “age in place” and find care services that will come to the home.  They downsize to a single story and stay in their charming community where they know people and people know them. Lately more retirees are opting for hardier climates with states like Colorado, Pennsylvania and Maine making the Forbes list of best

places to retire. But urban locations also are growing in popularity. Cities offer high walkability scores, boundless options for culture and entertainment, and quick access to quality healthcare and transportation. If this is what appeals to you do your homework and talk to local real estate professional to rate any city you’re considering. Factors to check out are safety, convenience, affordability, aging-friendly housing options, access to public transportation and cultural offerings. Also a strong local economy and pedestrian-friendly streets are important. Send your question and look for your answer in a future column. Email French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates. Contact her at 672-8787 or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

I’ll say it twice: Skunks get a bad rap



We all love to see bobcats. We fall into awed silence when we spot a peregrine falcon slicing overhead. We pull out the cameras when we come across a raccoon or even wild turkeys – an out-of-control, invasive species that does tremendous damage. But no one respects the skunk. Despite its extravagant markings, its haute couture plume of a tail and its mild, unassuming ways, the skunk garners words that likely aren’t printable here. Yes, they can carry rabies. But so can raccoons, foxes and coyotes. Yes, they have potent stink glands under that glamorous tail and can hit targets 10 feet away. But skunks are not aggressive and don’t deserve to

be judged so harshly. It’s highly unlikely you – or your dog – will be sprayed unless you force the issue. Physiologically, the sulfurous fluid is expensive to manufacture. So like rattlesnakes, which also have a special formula on board, skunks give fair warning. When they’re threatened, they stamp one or both forefeet – hard. It doesn’t resemble a temper tantrum so much as a seasoned poker player slapping down two aces. The third ace is held in reserve, but you know where it is. The skunks in residence around Diablo are called striped skunks. They’re mostly nocturnal, but they also trundle around during the day. They keep their nose to the ground, digging here and there as they search for grubs, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers and the like. They’re also known in American English as polecats. You can see the cat, but why the pole? The name derives from the Old French for weasels, which developed a passion for chicken eggs as soon as we humans domesticated poultry. In fact, chicken coops were developed

Grand Oaks, from page 1

consider coming into Clayton if the city gave them the land for $1,” Del Bacarro said. Nor did he have any success with Starbucks. “There isn’t enough density to support even a kiosk,” he said. Cornerstone is purchasing the 1.66-acre parcel from the city for $2 million. Early on,

they expressed an interest in also purchasing the adjacent Clayton Community Church property, but the church was not ready to sell. The proposed Grand Oaks Assisted Living Community will have 95 residents and 45 staff members, not all on duty at the same time.

beginning of March. All of the students who submitted works were ecstatic to see them being displayed for the Clayton Valley community. The Art Expo is a great way to show their friends, family and other teachers how hard they have been working and how talented they are. Aidan Jackson took home first place in the video category. “I almost didn’t enter my video and I didn’t expect to win,” the senior said. “But I’m glad people enjoyed my work.”

Page 9

Senior Ben Acebo said the Art Expo “was and always is really cool. It’s fun to see everyone’s art and even my own art up on the boards.” The Art Expo is extremely popular and will undoubtedly be back again next year. “It was a great way to be inspired by the artistic genius of others, and it was personally life changing for me,” said freshman Mia Pierce. Brenden Jin and Joey Phung are students at CVCHS.

CVCHS Art Expo Winners

The Michelangelo D’Onofrio Arts Foundation and the Clayton Valley/Concord Rotary Club sponsored the Art Expo. A panel of judges from the art world awarded the prizes. First place: Emma Ramirez, Aidan Jackson, Huy Tran (winner in two categories), Ben Acebo, Rebekah Shenouda, Zoe Zacharakis and Mia Pierce. Second place: Logan Snyder, Bailey Drenik, Chloe Pearson, Long Huynh, Ingrid Shipstead, Olivia Poggi and Penelope Ortiz. Third place: Kennedy Rizon, Cassidy Anderson, Miranda McGlasson, Thomas Cook, Nathaniel Nicolas, Penelope Vega, Floyd McCluhan and Taylor Savile. Honorable mention: Mursal Zubihuliah, Karla Herrera, Erica Cortez, Quintin Medawar, Ava Molina, Colin Moore, Olivia Poggi, Julissa Romero and Bailey Suggs.

Relay for Life, from pg 6

Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service


in part to keep weasels and chickens apart. Poule in French means hen, and poulet is a diminutive, like saying Annie instead of Ann. In America, poulet became pullet, and poule became pole. Thus, polecat. Though skunks are cousins of weasels, they aren’t a primary raider of chicken coops. Instead, they’re infamous for being expert dumpster divers, garbage can raiders and connoisseurs of kibble. But that’s not their fault, it’s ours. We’ve moved into their homeland with our rich buffet of garbage. You’d like someone else to fix all your meals for you too, especially if no bill ever showed up on the table. Even the skunk’s scientific

name shows deep prejudice against these timid mammals. Mephitis mephitis means “really foul stink” – twice. Most scientific names describe different aspects of a single species. Homo sapien means “wise man,” a moniker of doubtful truth. But a skunk is just noxious noxious. If you or your dog has had a smelly run-in with a skunk, you’re not likely to yield to the image of a beneficent little animal going about its justifiable business because you scared the bejesus out of it. But if you got skunked, you probably deserved it.

Because most of the residents don’t own cars, 37 parking spaces will be adequate, Ford said. Although much of the downtown commercial space is currently vacant, Ford says rents for the added 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space will be subsidized by Cornerstone, and will include “amenities” like a dry cleaners or a wine bar— none of which will be in

competition with existing businesses, assured Ford. “Grand Oaks will bring jobs and people to downtown,” he said. “This can only help existing businesses.” The owners are also willing to use their parking area and open space for the Art and Wine Festival, Oktoberfest and the Tree Lighting and will either replace or relocate the town’s Christmas tree, Ford told the Pioneer. Grand Oaks Assisted Living Community takes its name from the heritage oak on the property. The tree will become the “centerpiece” of the development, Ford said. Fulcrum and Cornerstone have met once with the city planners for a pre-application discussion and are seeking additional input from residents. “We won’t go forward with the project without community support,” says Ford. Clayton residents are invited to a second public meeting on May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Rd. For more information on Cornerstone and to see other facilities, go to

The 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space included in the project will front on Main Street and could include 4 or 5 bays. Possible tenants include a dry cleaners and a wine bar or cafe. Rents will be subsidized to avoid adding to the town’s already vacant commercial space.

our new Team Clayton, sign up on a previous team or start your own team,” Hill said. “We are really excited for the inauguration of this year’s new relay.” The event will again feature Terry Newberry on stage July 28-29 at Pleasant Hill Middle School. Go to and find out more about it. While most of the Clayton relay organizers have already begun working on the Diablo Valley Relay, many also continue to put concerted effort into the Mt. Diablo Elementary

School Playfield Project. Having raised 82 percent of their goal for a renovated track and field, they have one more innovative fundraiser to invite the community to enjoy. Put on your plaid pants and argyle sweaters to join us for Caddyshack for a Cause Par-tee on June 8 at Oakhurst Country Club. Go to oming-events for more information and to purchase tickets. Pat Middendorf is captain of Team Anu and co-chair of the Playfield Project.


Staci Hobbet is a docent with the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association;

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Page 10

Clayton Pioneer •

May 11, 2018


The Changing Clayton Landscape BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer

THE GROVE Downtown Clayton continues to evolve, but no other development has had more impact than The Grove park. The park changed the face of Clayton and touches almost every aspect of community living. Most significantly, it’s home to the wildly popular Concerts in the Grove launched by councilman Howard Geller in spring 2008. “From what people tell me, this was one of the best things that ever happened to the city,” Geller said of the summer concert series. The $2 million park opened under sunshine and blue skies in January 2008. “It’s as beautiful as anyone could have imagined,” Vice Mayor Julie Pierce said from the steps of the gazebo grandstand. Originally dubbed Clayton Central Park, the 1.148-acre downtown lot became known as The Grove in a nod to the eucalyptus trees that once stood there but had to be removed due to disease. The city bought the land in 1999 for $500,000 with Redevelopment Agency funds. A nine-member design committee began work on park plans in 2002 and the City Council unanimously voted for the design in January 2004. JFC Construction broke ground in April 2007, after voters had overwhelmingly approved a 10-year parcel tax for park operation and maintenance. In 2014, residents voted to extend the tax. The area includes a stateof-the-art play structure, a water feature and “Circle of Freedom,” a bronze sculpture of seven life-size children playing “Ring Around the Rosie.” Artist Gary Lee Price left a space for a “real-life” eighth child to join the circle. “I hope the piece continues to bring everyone together as it does today,” Price said on opening day. Here’s a look at other ways the downtown landscape has changed over the last 15 years: VILLAGE MARKET REDUx After a January 2004 fire caused $409,000 in damage, Village Market owner Sam

Sandhu promised the store would be back – “bigger, better and beautiful.” But his plan hit a roadblock when Farmers Insurance issued a formal denial of his claim, saying Sandhu and his attorney failed to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. After extended litigation, Sandhu accepted a settlement offer from Farmers in the fall of 2005. The cause of the fire was never determined. Long known as “the blue store” because of its vivid blue color, the Village Market featured earth tones when it Supporters held an impromptu picnic in the soon-to-be Grove Park in november 2006 to celebrate the passage of reopened in January 2008.

RETAIL VICTORy A 14,500 sq. ft. Long’s Drug Store gave residents a shopping boost in downtown Clayton in the fall of 2007. The store, now operated by CVS, sits on a long-vacant lot at the corner of Clayton Road and Center Street. In 2002, residents voted down a controversial ballot measure that would have allowed a gas station and mini-mart on the site. LITTLE RED HOUSE BURNS The tiny building on Main Street that was the first Clayton City Office burned on Thanksgiving day 2010. Originally owned by real estate broker Nan Wallace, at the time of the fire it housed a hair salon. Fire Capt. Terry Newberry said the fire was intentionally set on a bench next to the building. The land is the current site of the Ipsen Family Bocce Park.

FIRE STATION 11 With the failure of a parcel tax on the November 2012 ballot, the Contra Costa Fire Protection District made plans to close Clayton’s fire station in early 2013. The station, built in 1999, was never totally abandoned as firefighters from Concord’s Crystyl Ranch station staffed part time. On Jan. 31, 2015, Clayton residents joyfully gathered as the station once again opened with full staffing.

CHANGING CHURCH PLANS Clayton Community Church’s plans for a controversial downtown worship center ended in early 2013, as the city purchased the larger of the church’s two downtown parcels. The city also received a first right of refusal to pur-

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

Kent ipsen throws the ceremonial first pallino at the opening of the ipsen Family Bocce Park June 27, 2014.

Measure o to fund park maintenance. Standing, Jim Frazier of Hair by Jim, police Chief dan Lawrence and real estate broker Mike Williams. Seated, Clayton’s first mayor and first lady Bob and eldora Hoyer, Councilwoman Julie Pierce, real estate broker Lynne French, and the Clayton Pioneer’s Jill Bedecarré and Tamara Steiner.

chase the adjacent smaller parcel, which was once a stagecoach stop and became the landmark Pioneer Inn. The historic building still houses the church offices. The deal allowed the church to complete the purchase of a 4.5-acre building site on Pine Hollow Court. Church officials are currently working with the city on plans for a worship center on the Pine Hollow Court lot. Church members have been meeting in Clayton since 1996, first at the library and then at Diablo View Middle School. The church bought the smaller downtown parcel in 2003 and renovated the old Pioneer Inn building for administrative offices. They added the adjoining 1.66 acres in 2005, planning a four-building, 42,000 sq. ft. worship center. However, the city decided the use was not in compliance with the Town Center Specific Plan and an Environmental Impact Report detailed parking and traffic issues. Pastor Shawn Robinson said he hoped the hillside site would make the church the “blessing to the community” that he always envisioned.

LET’S PLAy BOCCE For years, the Clayton Bocce Federation yearned to play the ancient game in their hometown. A plan kicked into high gear in spring 2004, after the Redevelopment Agency awarded the group $26,000 for bocce courts on the vacant property behind City Hall. Before the games could begin, the group had to overcome the neighborhood’s parking and noise concerns. Rising costs ultimately derailed plans for a seven-court park. The Clayton Business & Community Association renewed hopes in the summer of 2013, when Skipolini’s Pizza owners Skip and Kent Ipsen and CBCA member Ed Hartley shared their vision for four bocce courts on Ipsen family land downtown. The plan hinged on switching the taxexempt status of the CBCA, city planning approval and funding for the $250,000 project. “This is by far the biggest endeavor CBCA has ever done,” Hartley said. Under the proposal, the Ipsens would build the courts during a remodel of Skipolini’s. Skip Ipsen would also contribute $125,000 and the CBCA would pay $125,000 – along with operating and maintaining the courts. “I love the idea of having something that attracts people to downtown, where people can have fun,” Ipsen said.

“Bocce is ageless.” The city approved the courts in early 2014, and Skip Ipsen was able to see his dream realized before he died of cancer in 2016. When the Ipsen Family Bocce Park opened, Hartley declared: “The dynamic of downtown has changed forever.”

City Hall highlights

Clayton civic leaders take pride that the town retains many of the time-honored characteristics treasured by the founding fathers in 1857. The all-volunteer City Council relies on the partnerships among business leaders, community leaders and neighboring residents. The council rotates mayors annually. Here are some City Hall highlights over the last 15 years: LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE In a 2004 survey, more than 94 percent of residents said public landscaping reflected the city’s image and impacted property values. However, those numbers didn’t translate to the November 2005 election – where a special parcel tax failed by a narrow margin. City Manager Gary Napper said the results were not surprising in light of economic conditions. “Gas at the pumps went up, inflation went up and everything began to look more ominous,” he said of the six months leading up to the election. But the city had time, because the current landscape district didn’t sunset until November 2007. After further research, the city proposed a smaller tax in June 2007. Voters approved the tax for 10 years, along with the creation of the Trails and Landscape Committee. In 2016, voters OK’d a 10-year extension. “If any of these failed, then the district would not have funds to maintain the roadway landscape areas, the trails and the fire breaks in the open space areas,” Laura Hoffmeister, assistant to the city manager, told the Pioneer. CONTROVERSIAL VEGGIE STAND

The city became part of a media frenzy after shutting down the Lewis family’s roadside fruit and vegetable stand over zoning restrictions in the summer of 2008. Reporters from TV stations and print media filled the Aug. 26 Clayton Planning Commission meeting. All eyes were on young Katie Lewis as she presented a petition with 30 signatures and asked the board to allow the

stand. The city ruled, however, that the stand remain closed pursuant to any legal changes to the code. In January 2009, the City Council changed the municipal code that treats home vegetable stands and garage sales as outdoor personal property sales and allowed them up to six times a year. Mike Lewis called the plan “a good compromise for everyone.”

DO THE RIGHT THING In early 2010, Mayor Hank Stratford convened a community group to study implementing a character development program in local schools. Do the Right Thing focuses on character traits that exemplify the expected behavior of good citizens: responsibility, respect, kindness, self-discipline, integrity and courage. According to Pierce, the program is “alive and vigorous” today on both the city and school levels. Every two months, the city honors students exemplifying a key trait and the Pioneer publishes their photos. CITy APPOINTS FIRST FEMALE POLICE CHIEF

The city welcomed Elise Warren as its first female chief this February. Warren retired from a 28-year career with the County Sherriff ’s Department, most recently serving as Assistant Chief.

FROM DAIS TO PRISON Local insurance broker and civic leader Joseph Medrano was sentenced to three years in prison for felony embezzlement in January 2013. A San Mateo County jury found him guilty of embezzling $159,630 from a former client. Medrano claimed that a verbal contract entitled him to the funds as a commission. He resigned from the Clayton City Council after his October 2012 conviction, but his name remained on the November ballot. Medrano had been a major contributor to civic and school events and an outspoken proponent of the charter school conversion.

New Events

It’s astounding to think about all the volunteer hours that went into running these new, family-oriented festivals in the last 15 years.

CREEKSIDE ARTS Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen started the Community Arts Celebration in spring 2004 to celebrate the Clayton Community Library’s ninth birthday. The first two-day fundraiser featured indoor and outdoor

displays, demonstrations and entertainment. Later adopting the Creekside Arts name, the event celebrated its 15th anniversary this March with the theme “The Healing Power of Creativity.”

LABOR DAy DERBy About 75 kids participated in the first soap box car race on Main Street in 2004. Sponsored by Clayton Community Church, the event also included an antique car show, costume contest, play area and cake walk and grew to over 200 Derby participants and nearly that many cars. The Wraa family worked together for two months on their two entries. “I wanted the boys to learn how to use tools and have fun,” said dad Al. This year’s derby will be Sept. 1.

OKTOBERFEST Main Street was transformed into a German Volkfest, complete with German beer, great food and music from The Internationals in the fall of 2004. The band tent was packed two hours into the first festival. “Do we know how to throw a party or what?” enthused Geller, one of the event’s organizers from the Clayton Business & Community Association. This year’s Oktoberfest will be Oct. 6-7. CLAyTON CLEANS UP Residents pitch in each spring to clean up the downtown in preparation for the Art & Wine Festival. In 2009, the Clayton Pioneer joined with the city to sponsor the volunteer event, which wraps up with a BBQ lunch at City Hall.

BBQ COOK-OFF It started out as a modest membership drive for the Clayton Business & Community Association in the backyard of the Clayton Club in 2010. But the Clayton BBQ Cook-Off moved onto Main Street and into the big leagues in 2016 – with 3,500-4,000 people filling the streets. The event is held in conjunction with the Kansas City Barbeque Society. This year’s cook-off is July 14. CLAyTON THEATRE COMPANy Roxanne Pardi and La Tonya Watts launched the theater troupe in August 2012, running their first show, “Robber Bridegroom,” at Endeavor Hall the next fall. “Every city should have a theater company,” Pardi said. “It entertains, educates and elevates a community.” After the duo wrap up this summer’s three-week camp, they will focus on next fall’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

May 11, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

PIONEER MARKS 15 YEARS Athletes earn 3 Olympic medals JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

When the Pioneer began 15 years ago we didn’t have nearly the robust sports coverage we do today. However, by the time the paper was 11 issues old there were stories and photos of three local Clayton athletes named Erin Dobratz, Kara Kohler and Kristian Ipsen. What do they have in common? All three, with their deep Clayton roots, went on to win bronze medals in the Summer Olympics representing the United States on the biggest athletic stage in the world.

ERIN DOBRATz A sports roundup in the Pioneer in the summer of 2003 called the 20-year-old Dobratz “talented, athletic, smart and ambitious” as the 2000 Clayton Valley High grad competed for a spot on the 2004 American Olympic synchronized swimming team. She was a long-time member of the Walnut Creek Aquanuts and had been a record-setting swimmer for the Dana Hills Swim Team.


That summer she was in the final stages of the process for selection to the nine-member American Olympic team. Synchronized swimming was the first American team named for Athens, nearly a year in advance of the Summer Games, so that the members could train and practice together to develop their routines needed to earn high scores from international judges.

Dobratz was attending Stanford University and was taking a year off to try for a spot on the Olympic team. In December she was selected to the team (she was one of five girls competing for the final three team spots). That day an excited Dobratz called the late Pioneer writer (and Dobratz family friend) Jill Bedecarre to give her the news. When asked when she would start training with the team she said, “tomorrow!” The Americans won the Olympic bronze medal behind Russia and Japan, capping her career that had taken the Clayton resident around the world for junior, collegiate and senior international competitions. Dobratz returned to Stanford for her degree and has been living and working (in the tech industry doing product management consulting) in San Francisco with husband Chris. The couple welcomed daughter Rose last July to join their family with 15year-old rescue dog Lulu. She says she stays in touch with Olympic and Stanford teammates via social media and occasional reunions. “USA Synchro is really good about keeping alumni informed. I love to read about and follow the Olympic hopefuls every four years as they compete on the international stage. Watching the Olympics brings me right back to the medal podium in Athens every time.” KRISTIAN IPSEN Ipsen was just 10-years-old when he was on the front page of the Pioneer in October 2003. The skinny youth was pictured ready to make a dive from the 10-meter platform, having already made a name for himself as a junior diving prodigy. He went on to set records and earn all-America honors at De La Salle High School and Stanford. At both private schools he juggled diving practices and meets, often involving international travel, with his studies. Ipsen took fifth in the 2008 Olympic Trials when he was just 15.

Tragedies, losses and mother nature BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer

Despite Clayton’s bucolic setting, the town has also been the site of several tragedies in the last 15 years.

RAy CASSO SLAyING The community was rocked the morning of March 8, 2009, to learn that Ray Casso, 73, had been stabbed to death while picking up his mail at the Clayton Post Office. More than 200 mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil that Father Richard Mangini called “a spirit of profound solidarity.” In late 2011, Shannon Bradley Moore was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was committed to a Napa state mental hospital for a 16-year to life term, or until he could be deemed no longer a risk to society. A park bench in The Grove is dedicated to the memory of the man who “smiled so much his face must have hurt.” MORGAN TERRITORy FIRE Firefighters, residents and


He took a year off from Stanford competition to prepare for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The 19-year-old Ipsen was teamed with four-time Olympian Troy Dumais in the three-meter synchro event. Dumais and Ipsen competed together for three years but didn’t waltz to the lone 3M synchro Olympic Trials berth available to America. Despite a missed dive on their next-to-last effort they took first at the Trials. “When it was over and I looked up at my family and friends, it was finally like a dream come true,” said Ipsen. The duo went to London and took third in one-day, finals-only synchro competition to reach the podium and receive the bronze medal.


Four years later Ipsen qualified for the Rio Olympics in the three-meter springboard and was fifth. He stopped diving after Rio to finish up his Stanford degree. He’s now living and working in San Francisco in sales for Salesforce. “Many people told me sales was one way to keep a competitive element [after diving] in your life,” Ipsen said recently. He needs to decide soon if he wants to undertake training to compete for a third Olympic berth on the USA team in Tokyo 2020.

KARA KOHLER Kara Kohler first came to notice with Pioneer readers when she was pictured in the fall 2003. World-record holder and future Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin presented her the 11-12 girl’s co-high point award at the County Meet for her Dana Hills Swim Team. During her senior year at Clayton Valley High, where she was a four-year standout swimmer, she visited Cal Berkeley as a prospective freshman. A family friend encouraged her to visit the Cal crew office where she did a dry land exercise that impressed Golden Bear coaches. A year later Kohler was Pac 10 newcomer of the year and was an all-America rower for Cal, attracting the interest of US National team coaches. She was soon on US National teams traveling the world and winning world championships.

On the same day that Ipsen earned a berth on the American diving team for the 2012 Olympics Kohler was named a member of the women’s quadruple sculls boat in London, unseating a member of the team that won the 2011 World Rowing Championships silver medal. Kohler and her three American teammates won bronze in London, ironically again on the same day as Ipsen won his medal. Four years later Kohler, by now a Cal grad, barely missed selection to her second Olympics. After that disappointment she spent time deciding if she wanted to continue the grueling training required for elite level rowers. Last year she switched to single sculls and recently won the 2018 National Selection Regatta. The new event gives Kohler another avenue to reach the Olympics as an American rower for the second time, rowing solo in Tokyo.

Clayton Valley goes Charter

Clayton Valley High School opened in 1958 as the third high school in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, serving students from Clayton and Concord.

said there was no evidence the fire was intentionally set or that the use of the rifle was in violation of state law.

BATTLE FOR HER LIFE Katie Grace Groebner died on Christmas Day 2015, despite a heart and doublelung transplant in June 2014. More than 500 turned out for the 13-year-old’s funeral at Diablo View Middle School. Katie Grace was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension at age 5. The family sold their Mankato, Minn., home and headed west – to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. They eventually moved to Clayton and became part of the tight-knit community. After her surgery, she was swimming and playing without the cumbersome backpack that had contained her oxygen and life-sustaining drugs. But in the summer of 2015, she began having breathing problems and infections set in. Her body was rejecting the new lungs, and she was too sick to survive another transplant.

even Mother Nature helped curb the Morgan Fire, which started Sept. 8, 2013, in the dry brush land of Mt. Diablo. The fire scorched 3,111 acres, led to the evacuation of 100 homes and caused $5.3 million in damage. Jack Wessman reported a fire on his property at the abandoned mercury mines at Morgan Territory and Marsh Creek Roads. His grandson had sparked the brushfire while target shooting. Although firefighters quickly extinguished the halfacre blaze, a burning pine tree “exploded like a Roman candle,” spraying pinecones and embers up to about 800 feet away. Fire raced down the canyon and up the mountain in multiple directions. By the evening of Sept. 10, the fire was 60 percent contained and evacuation orders were lifted. Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Marcucci said it MORGAN TERRITORy was a “miracle” there was no LANDSLIDE loss of life or major structures. Mother Nature struck the Later that year, Contra Costa area again in February 2017, as District Attorney Mark Peterheavy rains lead to buckling and son announced that no crimicracking on Morgan Territory nals charges would be filed. He

Tamara Steiner/ Clayton Pioneer

Morgan Territory residents show gratitude when no homes were lost to the fire which burned almost 4000 acres.

Road. A fast-moving landslide closed the road on Feb. 24. Residents found themselves stranded without water on one side or the other of the massive slide, stretching more than 400 feet along Morgan Territory and another 400 feet upslope. The only vehicle access to the 256 homes on the south side of the slide was over a one-lane, storm-ravaged mountain road – 15 miles to Livermore. Some residents stationed a vehicle on each side of the slide, driving to the barricade and walking across the closure. Faced with a “new normal,” residents rallied together. “Everyone seems to be pulling together, picking up water for

us, offering rides and greeting each other with smiles and asking if we need anything,” said Tracy Hillery. A temporary road opened in June linking Marsh Creek with Morgan Territory over a fire trail from the Marsh Creek Detention Facility. After $4 million in repairs, residents celebrated with a potluck when the road opened to through traffic on Nov. 18, 2017.

OTHER NOTABLE PASSINGS John Jawad, owner of the Pioneer Inn Restaurant for almost 30 years, died Jan. 17, 2011. The Pioneer Inn put Clayton on the Bay Area’s dining map, hosting John Wayne,

Page 11

In the fall of 2010 the school’s staff senate began discussing making Clayton Valley a public charter school. Within several months the community, faculty, school parents and politicians were enthusiastic about the idea. In June 2011 a teacher-led petition to take the school charter was presented to the MDUSD and thus began a roller coaster ride of approvals, denials and finally approval by the Contra Costa Board of Education for Clayton Valley Charter High School to begin in the fall of 2012. The school hired David Linzey, a veteran of California charter schools, as its executive director. Linzey and holdover administrators and faculty opened CVCHS in August 2012 and a honeymoon period began for the school. In its second year as a charter, Clayton Valley Charter was celebrated for having one of the largest state test score improvements (62 API points) in California and received a maximum sixyear WASC certification. But all was not rosy. Linzey and charter petition-cosigner Pat Middendorf, the school’s director of operations and athletics, had a falling out. It soon erupted into a public spat that pitted long-time friends and colleagues on opposite sides and precipitated a long-running feud and public outbursts on social media and at school governing board meetings, lawsuits, large numbers of faculty and staff resignations and some controversial administrative hiring’s, including Linzey’s wife. On the other hand, the school had to hold annual lotteries to accommodate the public demand for students to enroll at CVCHS. Continuing high test scores and graduation rates followed. For the 2016-17 school year the freshman class was increased by 150 to somewhat satisfy the unfilled demand. Linzey served as principal of the school until the spring of 2016 before he stepped away to serve as executive director of the CVDHS district in a new off-campus office. Since then, four men have held the position with Jeff Anderson wrapping up his first year in charge this spring.

Gary Cooper, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman and Count Basie. Eldora Hoyer, one of the principal players in the incorporation of the city of Clayton in 1964, died May 22, 2011. Her husband Bob was Clayton’s first mayor. She was a founding member of the Clayton Historical Society and was instrumental in obtaining a grant to salvage, move and preserve the Joel Clayton home. It now houses the Clayton Museum on Main Street. “She was the quiet power and you just knew, that at any moment, she could take control if needed,” said thenMayor Dave Shuey. Donald Edward Fitzgerald, founder of the Clayton Art & Wine Festival, died Sept. 19, 2015. Ignoring an event consultant’s advice, he pushed forward with practically no money and a few volunteers. The first Art and Wine in 1996 netted $20,000. At his memorial, Father Richard Mangini called Fitzgerald “a man who showed us all how to do it.” Lester “Skip” Ipsen, community leader and founder of Skipolini’s Pizza, died March 18, 2016. He was one of the early founders of the Clayton Business and Professional Association, precursor to the current Clayton Business and Community Association.


Page 12

Clayton Pioneer •

May 11, 2018

Sophomore Kelly Kern vaults to top of state rankings JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Kelly Kern of Clayton recently pole vaulted 13 feet to tie for the best mark in California high school track this year. The Carondelet sophomore’s mark came when she won the Northern California Frosh/Soph meet last month at Dublin High. The spring sports seasons are racing towards a climax with league, Section and State championships coming fast before the end of the school year. Track & Field — Kern has already set and re-set the Carondelet school record previously held by her sister Katie Kern. Her top mark as a freshman was 12-2 and has bested that mark in six meet this year with three big meets still on tap. The Tri-Valley Area Championships are Saturday, May 19, in Dublin, the NCS Meet of Champions is May 25-26 at Cal Berkeley and the State Meet June 1-2 in Clovis at Buchanan High. Clayton Valley Charter, De La Salle and Carondelet hope their strong NCS showings continue in the final meets. Aidan Jackman and Daylon Hicks of CVCHS and Kern have the season’s best marks among all NCS athletes. CVCHS boys won the NCS Tri-Valley and Meet of Champions titles last year while Carondelet was first at Tri-Valley girls and third at the MOC. De La Salle won the Tri-Valley boys in 2015 and 2016 and the Meet of Champions in 2016. Jackman is ranked first in NCS for both hurdle events and second in the high jump to CVCHS teammate Hicks. The CVCHS boys 4x400 relay is third and the 4x100 quartet fifth ranked. The Ugly Eagles also have Cameron Reynolds is third in the 200 and 400 and Bryson Benjamin is top 10 in 400 and triple jump. De La Salle is No. 2 in both boys relays. Miles Duncan and

Sophomore Gianna DuLong was third in the girls 50 free with the fourth all-time best time for the school. Sophia Miller’s seventh place league 100 breaststroke time also moved her up to No. 4 in school history. The “March miracle” rains brought a certain relief to Californians, easing fears of a quick return to drought conditions. On the other hand, the downpours put a big wrench in niklas Weigelt (CVCHS) and the scheduled repairs to the alexei Sancov (northgate) deck at Concord Community Pool, which likely now won’t its last two weeks with Clayopen until next month. ton Valley Charter on a fourThat delay necessitated game losing streak. The Ugly moving this weekend’s North Eagles are 11-9 over overall Coast Section swimming and and 2-4 in league play with diving championships which four games remaining. were scheduled for the ConNorthgate and College cord pool to be moved to Park are tied atop the DAL Livermore at Las Positas Col- Foothill standings with lege. Acalanes third at 4-2. The $2.22 million project De La Salle is 10-1 in the entails replacing the entire East Bay Athletic League and pool deck along with some 19-3 for the season and are additional work at Concord currently ranked No. 1 in the Community Pool, which NCS. Last weekend the team opened in 1967 and has had set a new school record for several renovations over the homeruns in a season with past 51 years. 20. The Spartans won the The CIF State Meet is at Section title the last two years Kelly Kerns, Carondelet vaulter leads the state. the Clovis West Aquatics Com- and the Spartans have taken plex May 18-19. four of the last six Section Baseball — The Diablo crowns. junior distance runner Connor with a time of 1:39.40. The The NCS playoffs begin Livingston (1600, 3200) are foursome of Eric and Gianna Athletic League season is in top 10 in NCS. DuLong, Paige Landstrom and Northgate’s Austin Kresley Kaylie Walker cut more than a is top 7 in both the 100 and half second off the 1994 CV 200. mark. Mia Avila is ranked eighth The Eagles boys tied for in the 100 and 200. The fourth with College Park while Cougars 4x100 and 4x400 the girls were sixth in the team relays are both fourth in NCS. standings. Campolindo swept Ariya Chestnut-Lockett is sec- both the boys and girls DAL ond in the shot put and Kier- swim titles while Northgate sten Fouts is eighth in the shot was second in the boys and and fourth in the discus. fourth girls. Northgate’s Amy ChrisClayton Valley Charter juntensen is fifth in the pole vault ior Niklas Weigelt finished secand 110 hurdles. Clayton Val- ond to Olympian and his Terley Charter’s Kayla Turnage is rapins teammate Alexei Sancov third in the high jump. of Northgate in both the 100 Photo courtesy CVCHS swimming Swimming — The Clay- and 200 free races. His 200 free Clayton Valley Charter’s 200-yard freestyle relay team set ton Valley Charter girls 200- time was third best for the a school record at last Saturday’s diablo athletic League yard freestyle relay team was school and the 100 time was meet, breaking a mark set in 1994. That 1994 team held fifth in the DAL championship fourth best all-time. all three girls school relay marks until the quartet of, from meet last Saturday but more Another CVCHS junior, left, Kaylie Walker, Paige Landstrom, Gia duLong and erica significantly broke a 24-year- Cal Brown, was fourth in the duLong set the new 200 free relay record of 1:39.40. old school record in the event 50 free and sixth in the 100.

May 22-23 with the finals June 1-2. Boys Golf — The NCS Division I championship is May 14, one week before the NorCal championships. De La Salle won the 2015 and 2016 NCS team championships and recently captured the EBAL tournament championship. Lacrosse — NCS tournaments for boys and girls begin this week. CVCHS boys are seeded 13th and host No. 4 Granite Bay Tuesday evening. DLS is the defending Division I Section champion and seeded second this year. The Spartans begin play against EBAL rivals Dougherty Valley. In the girls tournament Northgate and Carondelet are competing in the DI championships as lower seeds. Softball — Concord is looking to defend its NCS Division II championship and seeks a fifth Section championship since 2010. The Minutemen are 6-0 in the DAL Foothill Division while Clayton Valley Charter is third. The Eagles are 7-7 overall, 3-3 in league and have scored 71 runs and given up 70 this season. Carondelet is 10-1, one game behind unbeaten Amador Valley, in the EBAL standings entering the final week of the season. NCS playoffs begin May 22-23 with the finals June 12. Boys Volleyball — Amador Valley defeated defending champion De La Salle in the Section championship match last spring and the teams are seeded 1-2 again this week with the tournament starting this week. The Spartans open against No. 13 Castro Valley in Concord. NCS playoffs run through May 19 and the NorCal championships are May 2226.

See Roundup, page 14

2 MDSA soccer teams win gold medals in Carson City

MdSa Spitfires 2007 boys elite team won the 25th annual Comstock Shootout 11U silver division last month in Carson City, nevada. The team won four consecutive games including a 6-1 victory in the finals. The team includes, from left, Kai Parker, dominic Celentano, Collin Burkhardt, Jared Hubbard, Zuri akoni, Cooper Smith, Kaleb Caldwell, Charlie Habermayer, Cody Ross, oliver Jarvis, Jacob Hillesheim, Wyatt Parker, alex Fridman and Carlos Gonzalez. Coach Joe Celentano is in back row. Coach Matt Jarvis isn’t pictured.

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MdSa X-Men 12U boys select also won their bronze division championship at the Shootout. The X-Men went to a shootout in the championship game before prevailing 5-4. The team includes, front row from left, bottom row left to right Tyler Louis, evan Howe, Kieran Schmitt, Mathew aragon, ethan davis, Jeremy oviedo; back row, coach Scott Gallagher, Semyon Kirnos, alex Bergmann, Grady Rose, Kingston younger, Gianni Ruiz Gonzalez, andrew Platt, Cole Gallagher and coach Joe davis.

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Clayton Pioneer •


Athlete Spotlight

Kelly Osterkamp Grade: Senior School: CVCHS Sports: Cross Country, Basketball, Track

Osterkamp is winding down her senior year with her final season of track and field, her 12th varsity season between CVCHS basketball, cross country and track these past four years. She was a captain this year on all three teams. Osterkamp was a four-year starter on the Ugly Eagles basketball team at point guard. During track season, she runs the 800, 1600 and 3200

meters. Running and basketball are staples in Osterkamp’s life, as she has been participating in both sports since elementary school. She enjoys being part of the running community and continued her family’s basketball legacy at CV. Osterkamp says, “My favorite part of being an athlete for CV is being a part of close, supportive teams. I enjoy being surrounded by teammates who

Page 13

CLAYTON FURNITURE INC. are willing to push each other.” In addition to her 12 varsity letters, Osterkamp has earned five team MVP awards and nine all-league honors. She also secured a spot in basketball’s 1,000-point club with a career total of 1,037. She was a NCS Scholar Athlete for all three sports every season and has been on three NCS Scholastic championship teams. Osterkamp is CSF vice president and a member of NHS and Senior Women. She is also a Junior Core Leader at St. Bonaventure Church. She maintains a 4.3 GPA while taking five AP classes this school year, which helped her earn a spot at San Diego State University this fall where over 93,000 undergrads applied this year. CVCHS student journalist Sydney Skow wrote this Spotlight. The Clayton Pioneer congratulates Kelly and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for 25 years at Family Vision Care Optometry. Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to


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Nine area high school athletes sign National Letters of Intent

cross country championships and both the 1600 and 3200 races. He won the Diablo Athletic League Valley Division cross country title as a junior and was second this past fall. He was fifth at NCS as a sophomore and senior and eighth as a junior. He finished in the top 25 at State cross country championships this year.

Carondelet: Santana Merryfield, Clare driscoll, Keeley Murphy, ariya Chestnut and Kiersten Fouts

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton Valley Charter, Carondelet and De La Salle recently held national letter of intent ceremonies at their schools with nine student athletes formalizing their college selections for the fall in the last of four NLI days in the 201818 school year. DLS basketball standout Justin Pratt signed with UC San Diego, joining a Division II basketball program that will be moving up to the NCAA’s top D-I tier in two years. Clayton Valley Charter had cross country-track distance runner Dylan White commit to Chico State and softball player Aislyn Schwartz is going to University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. Carondelet had six girls sign their NLI including Ariya Chestnut (UC Irvine, track and

field), Clare Driscoll (Chapman, tennis), Kiersten Fouts (Fresno State, track and field), Santana Merryfield (CSU Monterey Bay, soccer), Keeley Murphy (UC Santa Barbara, track and field) and Maaeva Dwiggins California Baptist, basketball). Fouts will join the track and field team at Fresno State. As a freshman at Clayton Valley Charter she was second in the DVAL discus and as a sophomore she won both weight events at the league meet. After transferring to Carondelet as a junior, she qualified for the NCS Meet of Champions in both the shot put and discus. At the MOC, her throw of 123-feet, 1-inch in the discus landed her a spot on the podium. Currently, Kiersten ranks 70th in the country in the discus and has the fourth longest throw in North Coast this spring. “During my official visit is

when I knew Fresno State was the school I wanted to attend for the next four years. Their athletic facilities and training room are amazing. Coach Smith and the team are great, and I knew I would be happy spending my collegiate career with them.” Schwartz has played outfield for the Ugly Eagles as they’ve reached the NCS playoffs the past two seasons. They were DVAL champions in 2016 with a 10-2 mark, the same as rivals Concord High. Her University of Mary Marauders play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. White is capping a distinguished running career this spring for CVCHS. Starting in his freshman year when he finished third in the 3200 at the DVAL track championships, White has been a regular on the podium. As a sophomore hew as second in the DVAL

Between 2015 and 2018, DFC has sent over 50 players to play soccer at the 4-year college level. To register for free tryouts go to:


2011-2008 Boys, 2007-2006 Girls ........5:30-6:30 p.m. 2011-2008 Girls, 2007-2006 Boys .......6:30-7:30 p.m. 2005 Boys.................7:30-8:30 p.m.

May 15, Hidden Lakes Park 2011-2008 Boys........6-7 p.m. 2005 Girls .................7-8:15 p.m.

May 16, Ygnacio Valley HS

2011-2008 Girls, 2007 Girls .................5:30-6:30 p.m. 2006 Girls .................6:30-7:30 p.m. 2005 Girls .................7:30-8:30 p.m.

May 17, Hidden Lakes Park De La Salle: Justin Pratt (left) and basket-

ball coach Justin argenal

Clayton Valley Charter: dylan White and

aislyn Schwartz

2007 Boys, 2006 Boys.................6-7 p.m. 2005 Boys.................7-8:15 p.m.

May 22, Mt. Diablo HS

2004-2003 Boys .......6-7:30 p.m. 2002-2000 Boys .......7:30-9 p.m.

May 22, Hidden Lakes Park

2002-2000 Girls ........6-7:15 p.m. 2004-2003 Girls ........7:15-8:30 p.m.

May 24, Mt. Diablo HS

2004-2003 Girls ........6-7:30 p.m. 2002-2000 Girls ........7:30-9 p.m.

May 24, Hidden Lakes Park

2002-2000 Boys .......6-7:15 p.m. 2004-2003 Boys .......7:15-8:30 p.m.

Page 14

Clayton Pioneer •

Olympian Kara Kohler wins US National Selection Regatta 1 in single sculls Clayton’s 2012 olympic bronze medalist Kara Kohler won the women’s single sculls finals last month at the 2018 national Selection Regatta 1/Spring Speed order 1 on Mercer Lake in new Jersey. Kohler held off Felice Mueller to earn a 1.53second victory. “it took a little bit for me to build my momentum going into this race,” the Clayton Valley high and Cal Berkeley grad said. “i had a lot of doubts about my skill, but i knew i had put in a lot of good training, side-by-side with some of the other girls. i knew that i had put in the work and had to trust that. i had a really good piece, and i’m happy.” The victory

earned her the opportunity to compete at any World Rowing Cup race this year, where a top-six finish would give her a spot on

dan Brauchli photo courtesy USRowing

the U.S. national Team. By winning nSR 1, Kohler also won the first stage of the three-part U.S. Lotman Challenge.

Clayton’s Marlena King qualifies for US synchronized swimming National Team

Marlena King will be a member of the United States National synchronized swimming team this summer as they compete internationally in the 13-15 age group. The Clayton Valley Charter High School freshman placed eighth in the solo competition at the U.S. Nationals last month in Louisville, Texas. Representing the Walnut Creek

Aquanuts, King competed in team, solo and duet events. In the team event, the WCA Juniors with King on the team took the silver medal with a score of 146.574, missing the gold by 3.6 points. In the 13-15 category, soloist King of Clayton placed eighth and her teammate Alexis McCracken of Walnut Creek was 12th. The

Sports Shorts

Aquanuts qualified two teams in the 13-15 category and, after a grueling week of preliminary rounds, WCA took the silver medal as well as sixth place in the team event. On the final day of competition, five members of WCA competed for spots on the U.S. National 13-15 team. Miko Begossi of Alamo and King will be members of the 2018 U.S. National Team.


Don Nelson has announced he is stepping down as commissioner of the EBAL after 24 years heading the league that includes Carondelet and De La Salle along with nine schools in the Tri-Valley area. The new commissioner is Rob Stockberger, a long-time coach, school administrator and recently district superintendent. Nelson is receiving plaudits from all corners for his long-time work on behalf of high school sports. “Don’s service to NCS is unparalleled and his guiding principle was always the best interest of the student-athletes he ultimately served,” the Section’s commissioner of athletics Gil Lemmon says. Carondelet’s third-year director of athletics Caitlin Lawson Main says, “Don has been such a pleasure to work with and I will be forever grateful for the time he spent with me as a new AD. Some of my favorite moments as an AD have been sitting with Don at games. After 24 years in the EBAL, he’s left some big shoes to fill!” Nelson integrated the two Concord parochial schools into the EBAL for the 200809 school year after a NCS realignment. Since then he also set the DLS football (2012) and Carondelet basketball (2017-18) programs on independent scheduling status due to their over-

ming and tennis clinics will be held at the new Carondelet Athletics Complex in Walnut Creek with the others on the school’s Concord campus. The advanced sports clinics are for experienced middle school athletes looking to improve their skills and prepare for high school competition. Carondelet coaches and athletes will work on 23RD ANNUAL RED DEVIL GOLF CLASSIC sport-specific fundamentals and skills. Sessions are in the afternoon RETURNS JUNE 22 The Mt. Diablo High School Red Devil golf committee is holding and early evening. Visit to register. its 23rd annual golf tournament on Friday, June 22, at Diablo Creek TERRAPINS SWIM TEAM OFFERING SUMMER STROKE Golf Course in Concord. Registration starts at 11 a.m., followed by AND RACING CLINICS AT NEW NATALIE COUGHLIN lunch, golf, dinner and raffle/silent auction. Proceeds go to help acaAQUATIC COMPLEx demic and athletic programs at Mt. Diablo. Those interested in parTerrapins coaches Dan Cottam and Doug Reed will be teaching ticipating in the golf or dinner should contact Lou Adamo 212-9332 or or Ralph Vallis 825-7593 or four sessions of stroke and racing skills for the summer recreational swimmer. The goal is to help all participants improve/refine For more info check strokes. In addition, the sessions will enhance racing skills like starts, breakouts, turns and finishes. Each session is two weeks, CONCORD CUP xxV ACCEPTING TEAM, three days a week (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays). The sesREFEREE REGISTRATIONS The area’s largest annual youth soccer tournament, Concord Cup, sions are June 11-21, June 25-July 5, July 9-19 and July 23-Aug. 2. returns for its landmark 25th season at a variety of Concord parks May For more info and to register visit 19-20. Boys and girls club and recreation teams from 9 under (2009) through 19U (1999) are eligible to participate. The tournament is also DIABLO FC FALL REC SOCCER PROGRAM accepting referees for paid assignments. Diablo FC, Mt. Diablo Soccer OPENS REGISTRATION and Concord AYSO co-sponsor the tournament. Visit Boys and girls of all skill levels in the 6U-19U (1999-2014) age for complete information and to register a team or referee. groups are invited to sign up for the Diablo FC fall rec soccer program which runs from August through October. The area’s premier CARONDELET GIRLS SPORTS CLINICS IN JULy soccer club is offering this new fall season program that includes two INCLUDE 4 AT NEW SPORTS COMPLEx practices per week and one game per weekend. Volunteer parent Carondelet High School is offering summer sports clinics in July coaches get free registration for their child. The 8-10 game season for incoming middle school girls in basketball, dance, lacrosse, soc- includes coaching education provided by Diablo FC staff. Additional cer, swimming, tennis and volleyball. The lacrosse, soccer, swim- free clinics run by DFC coaches for rec players are offered in addition to team practices. Fee is discounted to $145 if players register by June 1. Fee includes a uniform. Visit for details.

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May 11, 2018

the league’s hiring of Stockberger. “He’s organized, innovative and level-headed.” whelming successful league Coach Lad said he’s known Stockberger since the new records in those sports. De La Salle football commissioner was in high coaching legend Bob school. Ladouceur says Nelson is a “good man who did a good POST-SEASON BASKETBALL HONORS FOR LOCALS job for the EBAL.” Spartans Carondelet junior post athletic director Leo Lopoz player Ali Bamberger and a adds, “For me, Don is one of pair of Clayton Valley Charter the best in the business. His knowledge, support and pas- seniors coached by her father sion for educational athletes have received post-season honors from multiple sources. is unparalleled.” Lopoz began his tenure as Bamberger was a second team DLS athletics director in all-Metro selection by the San 2006 and he mirrored his Francisco Chronicle and was Carondelet counterpart’s also one of the top 20 Bay comments when he said, Area News Group girls players “Don was a great mentor for this season. Ysobelle Eustaquio of me. One of his major Clayton Valley Charter was an strengths is that he always honorable mention all-Metro looked out for what was best honoree. for the majority. He definitely Garrett Pascoe culminated left the EBAL better than he his four-year varsity career found it when he started.” setting several CVCHS Lopoz added that “Our school records and was given league is blessed that the timall-Bay Area recognition by ing of Don’s retirement BANG newspapers, was secmatched up with Rob’s availall-NCS by ability. No better person to ond-team Prep2Prep and was thirdcarry on what Don built. He will be a phenomenal next team all-Metro for the step for our league given his Chronicle. His teammate and knowledge of the EBAL and classmate Nick Klarman was his vast educational and ath- honorable mention all-Metro and all-NCS. letics experience” De La Salle’s Justin Pratt Stockberger is a former was second-team all-NCS Monte Vista High football while his teammate Thomas coach who helped the MusGregorios was honorable tangs to three league titles. mention. Other local all-NCS He has been a school adminhonorable mention selections istrator for many years and were Cole Arabian (Conmost recently served as cord), Alex Schaufler and superintendent of the John Alden Friedman (Northgate), Swett Unified School District AJ Lloyd (Ygnacio Valley) in West Contra Costa. “It’s a steal,” says and Rayvon Rodriguez (Mt. Ladouceur when describing Diablo).

(birth years 2000-2011) will begin tryouts next Monday, May 14. The younger age groups (birth years 2005-2011) are May 14-17. Older tryouts (2000-2004) are May 22-24. Email director of coaching Zach Sullivan at with any questions about the club or tryouts. Visit to get more information on the area’s premier youth soccer club and to sign up for the appropriate age group tryout.


Northgate High School’s Youth Football Technique Camp is June 12-15 for players entering second through ninth grades. Campers of all skill levels are invited to attend and learn proper football technique and develop individual confidence within a team philosophy. Campers will be instructed by head coach Ben Ballard and the Northgate football coaching staff with the most current football techniques. Visit for more info and to register.


Coach Richard Walshin of Clayton has setup a Go Fund Me effort to raise funds for his Berean Christian High School trap shooting team to go to Las Vegas for the US Open competition July 9-14. The team includes seven girls and seven boys. The Open includes trap, skeet and sporting clay competitions. Visit and enter Berean Christian Trap Team to contribute.


Boys and girls can register until July 15 for the fall Clayton Valley Jr. Eagles football and cheer programs. Football is open to boys and girls born between July 30, 2003 and July 31, 2012. Online registraOAKHURST ORCAS SWIM TEAM SIGNUPS WRAPPING UP tion is underway at or email Oakhurst Orcas swim team is still taking registrations for the summer rec season. Practices have now begun at Oakhurst Country Club pool. Registration forms are available at REGISTRATION DEADLINES FOR ALL OUT SPORTS under the forms tab. SUMMER yOUTH BASKETBALL, VOLLEyBALL NEAR Youth basketball and volleyball leagues are scheduled by All Out MDSA FALL RECREATIONAL PROGRAM NOW OPEN Sports Leagues in Clayton. AOSL is taking registration online. For Registration for Mt. Diablo Soccer Association’s fall recreation complete information on All Out Sports leagues, clinics and other program for boys and girls born 2000-2014 are open. Early Bird programs, visit registration discount of $30 off is available until Tuesday, May 22. Players must register by June 26 for guaranteed placement on a MDSA ELITE SOCCER TEAM TRyOUTS MAy 14-23 team for fall league. Games begin mid-August. See Mt. Diablo’s AYSO Elite program is embarking on its fifth season for more info and to register. of year round competitive soccer. Tryouts for Mt. Diablo’s elite teams are May 14-23. Boys (birth years 2003-2009) and girls (2000TERRAPINS ACCEPTING SWIMMERS FOR 2008) are invited to try out for the program’s competitive teams. There is no fee to try out. Visit to get more info. SUMMER SESSION, yEAR-ROUND REGISTRATION Terrapins summer session for Orange Group runs June 11-Aug. 9 at Concord Community Pool. Two practice time options (mornDE LA SALLE HOSTS SUMMER CAMPS ing or late afternoon) are available for the Monday to Thursday sesBEGINNING IN JUNE sions. The USA Swimming competitive team is always open for new De La Salle High School hosts summer camps to provide a fun, year-round membership. Visit the team website skill-building week for boys and girls in June, July and August. or call 680-8372 for more info. Appealing to local youth with a variety of athletic interests, De La Salle will offer sessions for football, basketball, track and field, FRESHMAN VOLLEyBALL CLINIC PRESENTED lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, baseball, water polo, soccer, swimming, theatre/broadcasting, rugby and strength and conditioning. AT CARONDELET JUNE 4-7 Carondelet High School is offering a volleyball clinic for incom- DLS Camps are open to K through incoming ninth graders. For ing high school freshman girls from June 4-7 on the Concord cam- more info email or visit The sessions are from 5:30-8 p.m. Carondelet coaches and ath- ics/camps-clinics. letes will work on skills and fundamentals for girls getting ready for high school volleyball. Visit to register. UGLy EAGLES HOLDING 2 JUNE BASKETBALL CAMPS Head coach Eric Bamberger and his record-setting Clayton ValDANA HILLS OTTERS SWIM TEAM SIGNUPS END MAy 18 ley Charter High School coaches and players are offering two Ugly Concord City champion Dana Hills Swim Team is accepting Eagles Basketball Camps this month for boys and girls. The sesregistration online. Practice has begun and the final day for swim- sions for incoming second through eighth graders are June 11-15 mer registration is next Friday, May 18. Boys and girls 3-18 years- and June 18-22. Sessions run from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. with the gym open an hour before and after the formal camp for pickup play. The old are welcome. For more info visit camp includes offensive and defensive instruction and games. For more information and to register contact coach Bamberger by DIABLO FC SOCCER TRyOUTS START MONDAy Diablo FC 8 under through under 19 competitive soccer teams phone 726-9999 or email

May 11, 2018

Characters are key to ‘How it All Began’

SUnny SoLoMon


I can’t say why it has taken me so long to read a Penelope Lively novel. Marj Cordova, the Clayton Community Library Book Club coordinator, wisely asked head librarian Karen Smith to pick a book for us to read in April. She chose Lively’s “How it All Began.” I find it difficult to explain

this story without immediately giving it away. So, I will begin with the cast of characters: Rose Donavon, married to Gerry, daughter of Charlotte, secretary to Lord Henry Peters. Henry Peters, retired academic, Rose’s boss and uncle to Marion. Marion, niece of Henry, interior decorator and lover of Jeremy. Jeremy, decorator of sorts, married to Stella and lover of Marion. Charlotte, retired teacher, widow, mother of Rose and reading tutor of Anton, a recent East European immigrant who only wants to find happiness and improve his life. There are a few others, but only on the periphery of the story. The omniscient voice of

See Books, page 16


Clayton Pioneer •

Page 15

CVCHS not financing proposed Antioch charters The proposed new charter schools petitioning to be established in Antioch, East Bay Tech Academy middle school and high school, are being led by current Clayton Valley Charter administrator Megan Moilanen and lists CVCHS executive director Dave Linzey as a senior advisor. However, that’s where the official ties end, according to Linzey. He told the Pioneer that “CVCHS has not given or loaned any funds to EBTA.” The East Bay Tech Academy curriculum is modeled after the failed 2016 attempt to start the Clayton Valley Charter Technology Academy in Concord when the County Board of Education voted 4-1 to reject the petition. The petitioners for East Bay Tech Academy made a presentation this spring to the Antioch Unified School District board on

behalf of both their proposed middle and high schools, which they project would open for grades six through 10 in the fall of 2019. The Antioch board will vote this Wednesday on the charter application. If they do not approve, the East Bay Tech leadership can appeal to the County Board of Education, as has happened in other recent Contra Costa charter applications. Linzey says, “The Board and administration of CVCHS fully supports East Bay Tech Academy and is extremely confident that EBTA will become an outstanding charter school due to its vision and due to the expert leadership of [current CVCHS administrators Megan] Moilanen and Bill Morones. The community of Antioch has been very interested in establishing high performance charter schools in their town. “Numerous parents and leaders have asked CVCHS to

The days have grown longer, the air has gotten warmer and students at Clayton Valley have summer in mind. But with the end of the school year comes decisions for next fall – especially college commitments. As the class of 2018 prepares to move on to the next chapter, they must make immense decisions about where they will spend the next four years. Many CVCHS students will be attending four-year universities throughout the country. Though the overwhelming majority of students attend college in California, a notable percentage leave the state. A number also join a branch of the military or attend a trading/vocational school. Many students found it difficult when it came down to choosing their future schools. Seniors Mariana Izon and Brooke Johnson are both in the ASB Leadership class. Izon’s top schools that she was admitted to were UC Berkeley, UCLA and Duke University.

Izon was left to decide among three wonderful options – with very different locations and potential college experiences. There was also a decision between career paths. Her applied major would be computational mathematics at both UCs or the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative at Duke. Ultimately, Izon chose Duke. The university provides a high-ranking education and offered Izon a 70 percent scholarship, which was something she says she could not refuse. “I am most excited to discover what I’m passionate about and where I want to pursue a career,” she says. Johnson was also extremely conflicted because she was admitted to many of her top schools as a sociology major: UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State. After she visited all three schools, she narrowed her choices to Berkeley and San Diego. With only a month left to make her final decision,

Johnson continuously changed her mind. She finally selected San Diego, because she “knew that the only way to get the best out of the college experience was to follow my heart regardless of what other people were telling me to do.” Johnson looks forward to studying abroad, meeting new people and enjoying new experiences. Although Ryan Burden wasn’t admitted to any of his Sydney is a junior at CVCHS. top schools, he was accepted to Send comments to editor@pioneerUC San Diego, UC Santa Bar- bara and UC Santa Cruz as an

ics. From mechanics to musicians, scientists to shopkeepers, we all need and use math in day-to-day life. (Even insects use it. Think about bees, with their hexagonal combs.) Maybe the persuading point to encourage some students to take more math classes is this: You’ll use it in every profession, and more doors will be open for you. A study by the RAND Corp. showed a direct correla-

tion between numeracy (a fancy word for math skills) and future wealth. When researchers gave a basic numeracy test to participants and matched scores to household wealth, the results were stunning. For households where both spouses scored zero correct answers on the test, the average wealth was $200,000. For households where both spouses got all the answers correct,

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

develop highly-effective secondary charter schools in their vicinity and we have not focused on making that a reality. Recently Megan, one of the finest secondary school administrators I have had the privilege of mentoring, expressed her passion for reaching the community of Antioch and establishing an awesome grades 6-12 charter network of a middle school and a high school.” Lead petitioner Moilanen says, “We have received a tremendous amount of interest from community members who are thrilled to have EBTA come to Antioch.” She adds about her current position, “It is a privilege to serve the students and families of Clayton Valley Charter. CVCHS is an incredible school with a fantastic community of teachers, students and administrators. High performing charter schools like CV are able to be innovative and be highly responsive to the needs of students.”

Long-time Clayton Valley science teacher Kipp Penovich, who now teaches at Northgate High along with other former CVCHS faculty, reacted to Linzey’s statement about funding the Antioch effort: “I think the language was carefully chosen. What about in the future? What about loans? They floated that idea in a couple of the past charter petitions.” Penovich spoke at the Antioch school board meeting in opposition to the charters and said that 70% of the Clayton Valley faculty at the beginning of the charter have left during the nearly six years of CVCHS. Clayton Valley Charter is a conversion public charter where a school converts to a charter as opposed to the proposed East Bay Tech Academy that will be new public schools, much like the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts started by another former CVCHS administrator Neil McChesney, in 2016.

Once the blacksmith was a hot property Students wrestle with making college choices

deBBie eiSTeTTeR


The face, the horn, the pritchel and hardy holes are areas of a blacksmith’s anvil, allowing him to flatten, twist, curve and pierce hot metal to make or repair wagon parts, weapons, hinges, nails and numerous other indispensible items. Today’s blacksmiths are largely limited to fabricating decorative metal in order to make a living, but in the past this occupation was essential and highly esteemed in every community. The typical blacksmith shop had a high-peaked roof and double doors on two or three walls to allow for proper ventilation, as well as space for wagons and horses. To prevent fires, the floor was compacted dirt and crushed rock surrounded the blazing, red-hot forge. A lucky smithy would have several windows for optimal lighting. The shop was often a popular gathering place for visitors and neighbors to exchange news and ideas. Clayton’s first blacksmith of note was a Welsh immigrant named Shadrach Jones. He had been working in Sacramento before he came to our town, and he set up shop in 1864 where the museum garden is located. Look at the garden today and you will notice items made and used by blacksmiths embedded in the concrete. The wagon wheel pattern of the bricks is a nod to our horsedrawn past. Jones left town in 1877 to work in Berkeley. Records show that John and George Washington Condie, father and son blacksmiths, plied their trade in the same location until the 1890s. The coal mines over the hill in Nortonville and Somersville were in full swing, and times were good for Clayton’s merchants, saloonkeepers and hoteliers. There was enough business to support more than one blacksmith. The same year Jones left town, Matthew Flournoy Nottingham purchased a lot and built his shop on the corner of Main and

"dutch" Trette in his Clayton blacksmith shop circa 1914.

Oak streets, currently the site of the bocce ball courts. The location was next door to Curry’s Livery Stables and in close proximity to two hotels. He operated until 1891, when he sold the business to Charles “Harry” Trette – a German immigrant who learned the trade while working at a ranch on Willow Pass Road. Trette trained his oldest son, Rudolph “Dutch,” to be a blacksmith even though Dutch had his hopes on becoming a plumber. In a 1968 interview, Dutch said that when his father lost an eye, there was no other option but to run the business. His dad deeded Dutch the business in 1914. His customers were farmers, cowboys and stockmen. He would shoe their working horses and their “driving” horses, but as the years went by “riding” horses replaced them. Automobiles and factorymade tools signaled the end of this noble occupation. Traditional blacksmith work was losing ground, and Dutch had to work additional jobs to support his family. In 1920, he was a blacksmith in a shipyard. In the census of 1930, he was listed as a “farmer in a vineyard.” And by 1942, he was working at the Cowell Portland Cement Co. His shop was eventually moved next to Endeavor Hall and became a car garage. In spite of the hard physical labor, he was proud to have been a blacksmith and laughed when he remembered a woman coming to his shop wanting to have her sewing needles straightened.

Debbie Eistetter is membership chair of the Clayton Historical Society and can be reached at The Clayton Museum is located at 6101 Main St. and is open 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays. Admission is free.

electrical engineering major, with cognitive science as his second choice major. He ultimately committed to UC San Diego and is looking forward to internship opportunities and getting involved in Greek life. “UCSD was great because La Jolla is an awesome place and has one of the best cognitive science programs in the country,” he says. “I also got a more professional, friendly vibe from UCSD.” Exchange student Victoria Skousen of Denmark offers a unique perspective on the end of the school year. She has enjoyed making new friends while attending CV and living in Clayton. She has learned that “your parents help you with a lot. You shouldn’t take anything for granted.” Skousen will be bringing that lesson back home as she attends college in Denmark this fall.

Sydney SKoW



It just adds up: Math classes make sense

neLLie MeyeR



Some of our high school counselors, college and career advisors and work-based learning coordinators recently took a “field trip” to visit regional building and trades councils to learn about skilled trade career opportunities for students. It was a great way to gain information about apprenticeship opportunities and the ideal skills a young person should have for entering the industry, which offers apprentices about $30 hourly pay to start. A big takeaway: Apprentice work involves math and you have to be pretty good at it. For our high school team, it provided a great response for students who may not always see the relevance of mathemat-

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the average wealth was $1.7 million. That’s an 850 percent increase for the highly numerate families, compared to the innumerate families. Learn more about the study at pubs/working_papers/2010/RA ND_WR785.pdf.

Dr. Nellie Meyer is Superintendent of Schools for MDUSD. Email questions or comments to

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Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble, Brentwood’s new theater company, has launched its Main Stage Patron program to help fund its initial season. For as little as $50 (of course, more is appreciated), you can help the company start providing entertainment in East Contra Costa County. Headed by artistic director Helen Moore Dixon, Ghostlight has announced an exciting and ambitious first season. It all begins in July with the musical “Man of La Mancha.” Also

Clayton Pioneer •

Help support East County’s new theater troupe in July, the group’s Performing Arts Youth Academy will present “Seussical Kids.” Ken Ludwig’s “The Fox on the Fairway” is scheduled for fall, with a surprise show slated for January. In July 2019, Ghostlight will present the touching musical “Honk!” For more on this energetic group, call 925-325-2876 or go to Onstage Repertory Theatre in Martinez presents a funny new romantic comedy by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Centered around love, the show is really four different tales that take you on an around-the-world journey full of hilarious twists and turns. Edwin Peabody directs a cast that includes Joseph Hirsch, Jennifer Lynn Brown Peabody, Randall Nott,

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Remington Stone, Sheilah Morrison, Anne Baker, Siobhan O’Brien and Diane McNeely. “Funny Little Thing Called Love” runs May 11-27 at the Martinez Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St. Call 925-5183277 or visit It’s “Freaky Friday” at Center Rep as the company presents the Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey musical from the book by Bridget Carpenter. Jeff Collister directs the tale of an overworked mother and her teen daughter, who magically

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to For those who prefer the performing arts from onstage rather than in the audience, it’s time to try out for B8’s upcoming season. Auditions are May 19-20 at 2292 Concord Blvd., Concord. Prepare two, contrasting one-minute monologues. If you want to be considered for the Shakespeare play, one of your selections should be from Shakespeare. The company’s season includes “ReproRights! (Oct. 11-27), “Fuddy Meers” (Feb. 14-March 2), “Pinned Butterfly” (April 4-20) and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 13-29, 2019). To get an idea of the fine work B8 does, catch their upcoming production of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” June 7-23. To set up an audition or get tickets, visit

storyline belong to the villain, Thanos. Played with a smug sense of entitlement by Josh Brolin, Thanos has been teased for years as presiding over a potentially massive upheaval in the MCU. “Infinity War” picks up right where “Ragnarok” left off: Thanos’ ship has descended on the ship of the Hulk, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the rest of the Asgardian survivors. Thanos has already found one of the Infinity Stones and is searching for the remaining five. Each has been featured in one or more of the previous MCU movies. If he obtains them all, Thanos will wield ultimate power over life and death across the universe. While he looks for the ones across space, Thanos sends four of his “children” to Earth to collect the stones carried by

Vision (Paul Bettany) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). This splits up our heroes into different groups and allows the introduction of the Guardians of the Galaxy into the world of the Avengers. Truth be told, there is probably a full movie to be made out of each storyline – even without Thanos in any of them. Each story tries to layer humor over what is clearly a dire and potentially sad situation. It certainly works in the case of the mix of Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spiderman. However, outside of their own movies, it is hit or miss with the Guardians’ brand of humor. Typical MCU mega-villains (Ultron, Ronan the Accuser, Malekith, etc.) are those with superpowers. They are pure evil – designed to be hated. Thanos is both a mega-villain

and pure evil … but he’s hard to hate. Maybe it’s the way Brolin imbues him with just the right amount of pathos to go with his genocidal mania. Thanos is a villain you almost want to see win. His quest leads him onto a path of selfdiscovery and sacrifice as he obtains each stone. “Infinity War” is the perfect collaboration film for fans of the MCU. Full of action, impressive effects and some shocking moments, it is the true definition of a blockbuster. Don’t wait until it comes to home screens; it needs to be seen on the big one. B+

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swap bodies. Adding to the craziness is mom’s big wedding, which takes place the next day – giving them just one day to put things right again. The wonderful Lynda DiVito stars as the mom, with Olivia Jane Mell as her daughter. “Freaky Friday” runs May 25-June 30 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. Call 925-943SHOW or go to Clayton Theatre company’s Summer Stage 2018 begins July 9. The three-week

musical theater camp for ages 6-16 concludes with a performance of “Seussical, the Musical Jr.” on July 26. For more information, call 925222-9106, email or go to The always entertaining Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble returns with its original musical “Robin Hood.” With King Richard gone, Prince John unjustly taxes the people and it’s left to Robin Hood and his band of merry men to outwit the Prince and the Sheriff. Fantasy Forum is the perfect way to introduce younger family members to live performance. Audience interaction is encouraged – with the costumed characters coming out before the show as well as asking young audience members to help during the show. Audience members also have the opportunity to meet the cast following the performances. The show runs May 10-13 at the Lesher Center. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW or go

diane Mcneely, left, Sheila Morrison, Siobhan o’Brien and anne Baker are featured in onstage’s “Funny Thing Called Love.”

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May 11, 2018



For better or worse, Thanos shines in ‘Infinity War’

As phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) draws to a close, the stakes grow ever higher for our cadre of superheroes. Most recently, Thor barely escaped the destruction of his home world in “Thor: Ragnarok.” In his debut film, newest addition Black Panther had to deal with the potential exposure of his powerful village to the rest of the world. Now comes the universe-altering “Avengers: Infinity War,” helmed by Joe and Anthony Russo – directors of the previous two Captain America films. The film never feels too long, and the Russos do their best to serve all of the many characters present. Comic book fans will enjoy the attempt to recreate what amounts to a major crossover series. It is readily known that in such comic series, it’s impossible to truly illuminate the sto- the author – Dame Penelope ryline of every superhero. The Lively – is the most important Russos smartly made the major character in this novel of family, finance, romance, friendship, disappointment and reality. The novel opens with the mugging of an unnamed woman. We witness the mugging, the ambulance taking her away and her arrival at hospital. We still do not know her name, but in the hospital, she wonders about the mugger. “Women muggers now, no doubt; this is the age of equal opportunities.”

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The first hint that the mugged woman is Rose’s mother, Charlotte, is on page 5 but she is not identified by name until page 7. Charlotte is the key to the story. The butterfly, if you will, of the Butterfly Effect, coined by Edward Lorenz in his Chaos Theory and amplified by Lively in “How It All Began.” Charlotte notes her age by the books she’s read at different stages of her life. “She read to discover how not to be Charlotte, how to escape the prison of her own mind, how

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to expand, and experience.” It is a novel about love, romantic and familial, its possibilities and ultimately its realities. It is also about books, from picture books to novels, and what those books can teach us. I especially appreciated the directions in which the story travels. Lively gives her characters room to fail, to struggle and grow. As they move through a thoroughly modern English landscape, her characters are a pure reading pleasure. They are believable – desirable and flawed. Love is found and lost and found anew, but I must be careful not to tell too much because it would be such a spoiler. I’m not entirely sure that being a mature reader didn’t add to my reading pleasure. Lively’s writing is exactly that, lively and immensely satisfying. Enough to say I not only had so much fun reading “How It All Began,” I am committed to reading more of Dame Lively’s work. Sunny Solomon is a freelance writer and head of the Clayton Book Club. Visit her website at for her latest recommendations or just to ‘talk books.’

May 11, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 17

Clayton Community Calendar



Saturdays, May 12 – Sep. 16 Concerts in the Grove

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

Saturdays, May 12 – Sep. 22 Farmers’ Market

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 6095 Main St.

May 23 Public Meeting

Fulcrum Real Estate Development shares the vision for the future senior community and retail development for downtown Clayton, 6005 Main St. 7 p.m. Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road.

May 28 Memorial Day Observance

Program to honor our lost heroes, sponsored by VFW Post 1525. 10 a.m. Veterans Memorial flagpole monument, Main and Oak Streets. Free.


Tuesdays Farmers’ Market

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

Thursdays Music and Market

Thursday night live music and farmers’ market. Music: May 17, Tom Rigney; May 24, Concord High Jazz Band; May 31, Rock, Rhythm & Blues Revue; June 7, The Purple Ones. Market 4 – 8 p.m.; music 6:30 – 8 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza.

Second Thursday of the Month Advance Health Care Directives

Legal clinic to prepare and notarize advance health care directives for seniors 60 and older in Contra Costa County. 9:15 11:30 a.m. Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle. Free. Call for appointment (925) 671-3320.

3rd Sundays Antique Faire

Antiques, collectibles, handmade arts and crafts. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord. Free admission.

May, June Concerts

The Concord Pavilion is located at 2000 Kirker Pass Road. See full concert schedule for 2018 at May and June shows: May 13: The New ALT 105.3 BFD 2018, 1 p.m. May 26 – 27: KBLX Stone Soul Concert, 12 p.m. June 1: Styx, Joan Jett, Tesla; 7 p.m. June 13: Chicago, REO Speedwagon, 7:30 p.m. June 21: Chris Brown, 7 p.m. June 22: Kevin Hart, 8 p.m.

May 12 MomDay

Celebrate Mom and enjoy the All Area Music Festival. Todos Santos Plaza.

May 14 Stroke Support Group

Speaker: Nancy Caldwell Walker. Topic: Celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month; Stroke Awareness Month. 7 – 9 p.m. Concord Room I, John Muir Medical Center, Concord Campus, 2540 East St. Free. Contact Ann Dzuna (925) 376-6218.

May 26 - 28 KidFest

Nonstop entertainment, plus free activities for kids. Food court and rides. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; closes at 5 p.m. on Memorial Day. Mount Diablo High School, 2450 Grant St. $6 with canned food donation for Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano; $7 without.


Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve programs are available for registration through Parking fees may apply. For additional information, contact Black Diamond Visitor Center at (510) 544-2750 or

May 12 Prospect Tunnel Loop

Celebrate spring with a strenuous seven-mile trek to Prospect Tunnel and back. 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Meet at Frederickson Lane entrance.

May 13, June 10 Mine Open House

Self-guided tours through newly expanded mine passageways. 12 – 4:30 p.m.

May 20 Old-Fashioned Cemetery Picnic

Picnic in Rose Hill cemetery and learn about the coal miners. 2 – 5 p.m. Meet at end of Somersville Road.

May 27 Miners and Their Tools

See tools miners used to light their way as they carved many miles beneath the hills in the 1800s. 1 – 2:30 p.m. Meet at end of Somersville Road.

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

May 13 Mother’s Day Wildflower Hike

Wildflower saunter following the footsteps of 19th century explorer David Douglas. 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Response required:

May 13 Sycamore Canyon Hike

Wildflowers should be abundant. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Meet at Curry Point Trailhead.

May 19 Wildflower Walk

June 2 “Giselle”

May 20 Butterflies and Insects

June 3 Concert

See a diverse multitude of flowering trees, shrubs, vines and Presented by Soo Dance Company. 4 p.m. Lesher Center for the flowers. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Meet at Mary Bowerman Trail. Reser- Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25. vations required. (925) 943-7469.

Drop in to see preserved examples and get questions answered. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Summit Museum. Save Mount Diablo’s Discover Diablo is a free public hike series. Go to for more information.

May 13 Mother’s Day Ramble

Leisurely stroll. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at Round Valley Regional Preserve Trailhead. Reservations required.

June 9 Mangini Ranch Evening Tour

Find out what wakes up once the sun goes down on the Mangini Ranch property. 7 – 10 p.m. Meet at Crystyl Ranch hiker gate. Reservations required.


Thru May 13 “Robin Hood”

Presented by Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14. (925) 943-7469.

May 11 – 12 “Dance Series 02”

Presented by Smuin Ballet. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $57-$73. (925) 9437469.

May 11 – 12 “The Little Mermaid JR”

Presented by DTC’s SingOut! Musical Theatre. Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. $20. (925) 943-7469.

May 11 – 13 “Oliver and the Fairies”

Presented by Music Repertoire. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $15. (925) 9437469.

May 11 – 27 “Funny Little Thing Called Love”

A Jones Hope Wooten comedy. Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St., Martinez. $12-$19. (925) 518-3277.

May 12 – 13 “American Idols”

Presented by the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. 2 p.m. May 12: El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $7-$15. May 13: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $10-$30.

May 13 May Concert

Presented by Diablo Wind Symphony. 7:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $12. (925) 943-7469.

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo perform. Presented by Chamber Music San Francisco. 3 p.m. Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. $50. (925) 943-7469.

June 3 “The Boys Next Door”

Presented by The Vagabond Players. 2 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $15-$20. (925) 757-9500.

June 7 – 23 “A Doll’s House”

Adapted for B8 Theatre Company by Annie Potter. 2292 Concord Blvd., Concord. $15-$25. (925) 890-8877.

June 9 Summer Cabaret Series

Spencer Day performs. 2 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $18-$20. (925) 7579500.

June 10 Concert

Sergey Khachatryan, violin. Presented by Chamber Music San Francisco. 3 p.m. Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. $50. (925) 943-7469.

June 10 June Demonstration

Presented by The Ballet School. 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $28. (925) 943-7469.

Thru May 20 “Godspell 2012”


Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. $16$21.

May 22 Spring Concert

Presented by Northgate High School. 7 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $20.


2nd and 4th Sundays Pancake Breakfast

Veterans of Foreign Wars serve breakfast to the public: Eggs, pancakes, sausage, beverage. 8 – 11 a.m. VFW Post 1525, 2290 Willow Pass Road, Concord. $5, $3 children under 12.

May 12 Plant Sale

By Clayton Valley Garden Club. 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton.

May 12 Swedish Pancake Breakfast

May 17 – 19 “Anything Goes JR”

Sveaborg Lodge serves a Swedish pancake breakfast to the public. 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Odd Fellows Hall, 4349 Cowell Road, Concord. $10; children 4 – 10, $5; under age 4, free.

May 19 “Coast to Coast”

Celebrating Sustainable Contra Costa’s 10th anniversary farmto-table style. 6 – 10 p.m. The Old Yellow House, 209 Moraga Way, Orinda. $96 by May 18.

A wacky shipboard farce presented by Poison Apple Productions. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $20. (925) 943-7469. Music from Broadway to Hollywood by The Blackhawk Chorus. 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25. (925) 943-7469.

May 19 Concert

Alexander Gavrylyuk, pianist. Presented by Chamber Music San Francisco. 2:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $55. (925) 943-7469.

May 20 “Give Us This Day”

May 19 Dine and Dance Under the Redwoods

May 24 Bingo Night

Sponsored by Clayton Valley Charter High School Parent Faculty Club. 6 – 9 p.m. The Greenery, 1551 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. $20 at Email for more information:

June 16 Golf Tournament

Benefitting Ygnacio Valley Christian School. 11:30 a.m. Boundary Oak Golf Course, 3800 Valley Vista Road, Walnut Creek. $140 Presented by Contra Costa Wind Symphony. 7 p.m. Lesher Center by June 4. for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $17. (925) 943-7469.

May 20 Spring Piano Recital

Presented by The Ballet School. 12:15, 3:15 and 6:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $14. (925) 943-7469.

May 20 “The World of Rachmaninoff”

Final concert of the season for Diablo Symphony Orchestra. 2 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $35. (925) 943-7469.

May 24 – 26 “The Sound of Music G2K”

Presented by Poison Apple Productions. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $20. (925) 943-7469.

May 25 – 26 “Alice in Wonderland”

Presented by Contra Costa Ballet. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $38. (925) 943-7469.

May 25 – June 30 “Freaky Friday”

An overworked mother and her teenager daughter magically swap bodies. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $38-$79. (925) 943-7469.


The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or call (925) 673-0659. May 14, 21, June 11: Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. May 14, June 11: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 p.m. June 11: Road Scholar Ambassador Presentation, 7 p.m.

The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or (925) 646-5455. Thru May 28: CLOSED for refurbishments.


1st and 3rd Tuesdays Clayton City Council

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

2nd and 4th Tuesdays Clayton Planning Commission

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

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

Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

May 11, 2018

When designing kitchen, think about proximity

JenniFeR LeiSCHeR



below the farmhouse sink in place of traditional wooden doors. This dainty little detail was priceless. Kitchen design has certainly changed over the years. Historically, this room’s sole purpose was to cook and store food. While we still cook and store food in this space, we also congregate and socialize with friends and family, do homework and projects with the kids, or just sit quietly and read the Sunday paper. And in my grandmother’s house, the kitchen was also a great place to iron. Today, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NBKA) and city building departments have put into place many important codes and clearances to make sure that the kitchen is safe for you and your family. When creating a new kitchen from scratch or revamping an existing kitchen, the working triangle guideline dictates function, but also the layout of your kitchen. The NBKA says: “The sum of the distances between the three primary work centers (cooking, cleanup/prep and refrigeration) should total no more

I remember my grandmother’s house vividly. It was a tiny, but comfortable house with an eclectic interior and a Mediterranean style exterior. There were creaky, oak hardwood floors throughout the house. And here and there, the light fixtures had pull strings instead of boring wall switches. As a Owners child, I envied those pull Dustin & Kim Waraner strings. My parents’ home Contractors Lic #879423 wasn’t nearly as fun. Arborist Lic WE-7372A The kitchen was my favorite room in her house. There were no recessed LED cans or LED tape lights to provide under-counter lighting. Instead, there was a series of small, wall-mount sconces, that according to today’s illumination standards would probably be compared to dim night lights. The kitchen cabinetry was simple: plain slab doors with ivory knobs, free of soft close and inconspicuous hinges. Her range was freestanding, with no counter space on either side. And behind one of the cabinet doors was a drop-down ironing board. My grandmother didn’t have a dishwasher, but she did have an authentic, wallmounted farmhouse sink with individual hot and cold water spouts. I remember trying to wash dishes with “warm” water – definitely a learned skill when operating two spouts. I’ve researched some But the icing on the cake spring and summer 2018 in this rustic little kitchen was fashion trends, and I’d say it’s the fabric skirt that hung high time for some next-season wardrobe plotting. It’s never too early to start that wish-list – especially if you want more than a chance of getting your hands on that Gucci bum bag. I’ve got two words for the craziest trend: Fashion Prozac. After an epically depressing year for politics (and just about everything else), designers reacted with uplifting, colorful, joyous clothes that take us off into another universe. You can expect kaleidoscopes of rainbow Active color, yummy new sugaredalmond pastels, some pretty • 2527 Sycamore Ave., Concord powerful ’80s power dressing and texture and fringing $430,000 galore. The outlook might be a little gloomy right now, but 2 bedroom 1 bathroom, approx. 864 sq. ft. at least we can dress happy. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei Designers raided the Pantone color chart for pulsating COMING SOON primary colors. Tomato red made a strong showing, seen • 26 Lakeview Dr., Baypoint Call for more info everywhere. There’s also cobalt, emerald green and 4 bedroom 2 bathroom, approx. 1491 sq. ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei bright yellow. And delicate sugared-almond shades have • 2432 Sequoia Dr., Antioch Call for more info shaken off their Hyacinth 3 bedroom 2 bathroom, approx. 1058 sq. ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei Bucket connotations and turned themselves into a fashion statement – with onePENDING shouldered dresses and draped shapes in delicate • 25 Mozden Lane, Pleasant Hill $550,000 shades of palest pink and Listing agent: Matt Mazzei 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathrooms, approx. 1488 sq. ft. green.


Grandma’s farmhouse sink finds a place in the 21st Century kitchen, designed for function and beauty.

than 26 feet. No leg of the work triangle should measure less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet.” The guideline asks you to consider the distance between your work centers. For example: You’re planning to cook a meal. You start at the refrigerator, removing a piece of meat. You take the meat to the prep center to mix with other ingredients. And finally, you cook at the station to complete your meal. Have you moved approximately 26 feet? Less, or more? If you feel like you’re doing

Joyous colors bring a swing to summer The big news is that lilac, that most Queen Mums-y of shades, is set for a major comeback. Buy a lilac bag now. Or have yourself a scoop of Neapolitan. Princess Di and her late ’80s heyday were a pervasive influence on some of the season’s key shows. Clearly the 20th anniversary of her death got designers thinking, and many dedicated an OffWhite show to her. Think puff-sleeved jackets, high-waisted jeans, pristine white slouchy boots and big-shouldered printed dresses. You’ll also find strong, squared blouses in “Working Girl”-worthy graphic prints, teamed with cowboy boots. The Saint Laurent Paris fashion week brought all the “Dynasty” glamour for nighttime. The Power-Pouff – it’s a thing. Although checks are often thought of as strictly winter wear, they’re making a convincing case for being spring’s It print. I saw folksy ginghams, sweet red and blue plaids, beautiful bright shopper-bag checks, even checked tights. This season is all about a gold brocade version, with white feathers flying from the shoulders. It’s not rainfriendly, Another iteration of the maximalist mood is major statement fringing, swishing

laps in your kitchen, it’s not a case of having an oversized kitchen. Rather, your stations just might be too far apart. There are many important guidelines to follow, and finding professionals who can help you make sense of these steps takes away the guesswork and leaves you with more time to find the perfect materials to make your kitchen beautiful. Jennifer Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at

SUSan SaPPinGTon


across necklines, hemlines, bags – you name it. And these are no wishy-washy boho trims. The look isn’t so much haute-hippy as put-througha-shredder. Summer fashion trends also sees the rise of the Statement Short. Normally so basic and boring, shorts just lurk in the back of the drawer – only to be pulled out on holiday when no one’s looking and all your sundresses are covered in ice cream. But this year brings Louis Vuitton’s silky boxer style, Saint Laurent’s high-waisted leathers and a whole host of (are you ready) shorts suits. That’s right: Fashion-forward summer tailoring will finish at the knee. And it wouldn’t be summer without a sea of florals and pretty dresses, and this season doesn’t disappoint. If these trends aren’t for you (and I must say, most aren’t for me), let me help you with your wardrobe needs. I work with men and women to help build confidence in their personal styles. Susan Sappington is a personal wardrobe stylist. Contact her at

PENDING: Buyer Representation

• 1985

Holly Creek Pl., Concord


5 bedroom, 4 bathroom, approx. 3234 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Rula Masannat

Matt Mazzei, Jr.,

Paula & Rod Johnstone

Rula Masannat

BRE# 01881269

DRE# 00797857

DRE# 01923757

Broker Associate

Broker/Owner 925-766-6745

Paula 925-381-8810 Rod 925-286-5765 Clayton residents since 1959

925-693-0757 (Main)


Sales Agent 415-310-2905

6160 Center St. Suite #C, Clayton

925-693-0752 (Fax)

Break out of the fashion doldrums this spring with the short power suit, pale pink oneshoulder dress or folksy gingham shirt

May 11, 2018

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 19

May/June 2018

Senior Living

Sex in the sixties “Well you can kiss me on a Friday, a Saturday in fact that would be best but never, never on a Sunday cause that’s my day of rest.”

his tongue-in-cheek song about sex and romance could have been the anthem for the Baby Boomer generation who spawned a cultural revolution. Beginning in the ’60s, new sexual freedoms meant casual sex became the norm. “Free love” was a popular adage, and gay and lesbian sex finally came out of the closet. Now that the pendulum has swung and the generation that created the Swingin’ Sixties is aging, I wonder if anyone still “swings” after 60. In our youth-obsessed culture, senior sex is often seen as taboo and even repulsive. Labels like “dirty old man” or “cougar” are attached to seniors with normal sexual activity. Advertisers focus on problems such as erectile dysfunction to sell products like Via-


gra, while all women seem to suffer from vaginal dryness and low libido. But a recent survey by Singles in America found that 51 percent of the 5,000 respondents said they enjoyed a healthy sex life, with couples enjoying sex well into their 80s. The documentary “Love and Sex When We’re over 60” made by the British Broadcasting Corp. reinforced the reality that seniors are very much active, reporting that seniors are even embracing the new media with online dating sites. “It’s the secret sex life of your parents and grandparents,” said a 70-year-old female participant. Meanwhile, a 69-year-old gay man said he was “hooking up” with three to four men per week on the online site Grindr. Jane Juska, a 60-something Berkeley teacher, was tired of being celibate and took online dating a step further. Juska unabashedly advertised for sexual encounters with men and chronicled it in a book, “A Round-

& beyond

Heeled Woman: My Late Life Adventures in Sex and Romance.” Unashamed and daring, she had sexual encounters with men of all varieties and ages – even landing herself a 32-year-old. But not everything is rosy. STDs are on the rise for 50- to 70-yearolds, particularly in retirement communities. Seniors seem to have reverted to the “anything goes” attitude about sex from their youth, leading to increased infections like syphilis and chlamydia. Recognizing this fact, Medicare now offers free STD screenings and provides low-cost treatment for seniors. So while the Baby Boomers are very much alive and kicking, the same generation that changed attitudes toward sex in the ’60s may be called on to change sexual attitudes again. So you can kiss me safely on a Friday, a Saturday but never, never on a Sunday … Maggie Lennon is a photographer and writer. Check out her blog. Fearless Aging, an Every Woman’s guide to getting older with spirit, style and passion.


Your ad here in the paper everyone reads

For rates, call or visit our websites


Page 20

Senior Living •

May 11, 2018

Ageism in hiring: Illegal but real Many companies say they want to hire older workers, but sometimes the language they use suggests otherwise. Laurie McCann, an attorney for AARP, told officials at a May 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hearing on diversity in the tech industry that job posts and applications are often riddled with age prejudice. Companies include phrases s traditional pensions disappear and like “new or recent graduates” or even a gradlifespans get longer, older Americans uating year preference in their job posts. Some are worried about not being able to seek applicants who are “digital natives,” a catretire, or burning through their 401(k)s to egory that excludes anyone over 50. make ends meet. More people 65 and over are AARP has developed a series of initiatives continuing to work: 18.8 percent, as opposed to counter the problem, including virtual job to 12.8 percent in 2000. Given the size of the fairs, a learning center where older adults can Baby Boomer generation, that’s a lot of people understand their digital skill sets, and online (almost 9 million), and the number will likely videos that teach the basics of software prokeep growing. grams and tech terms. Jean Setzfand, the senThe Age Discrimination in Employment ior vice president of programs at AARP, says Act of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination based on age for people 40 and older. But the job hunting process can be daunting for someone who has not had to look for work in that hasn’t stopped it from becoming pervathe past five years. Navigating digital applicasive. Nearly two-thirds of workers aged 45 to tions and job banks, using social media, and 74 say they have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, according to a study by networking in new ways can be a steep learnAARP, and 92 percent of those who did said it ing curve.   was common. And bad news, Millennials: One Marissa Evans expert believes it can kick in as young as 35. Companies are taking “more of a cookie cutter approach,” she says, when they should What’s next in workforce be intentional about recruiting older adults. development That means posting jobs where older adults A large-scale study found that younger job will see them (like LinkedIn, where older applicants were much more likely to get a call- adults are well represented); being mindful of back than people in their mid-60s with similar potential ageist wording in job posts; and experience, and that discrimination against ensuring that photos in their recruitment mateolder women, particularly, is rampant. Employ- rials show age diversity. ers value older workers’ knowledge, but may “What we want to do is for people to have view them as less flexible, less willing to learn non-intimidating interactions, and get them new things, and expensive, compared to down the path of exploring, so they’re not younger candidates. intimidated by any device, platform, or softIf older adults expect to encounter age dis- ware,” Setzfand says. crimination—a realistic attitude, unfortunateHirers shouldn’t write off the technology ly—this can leave them feeling defeated, setknow-how of older workers, but at the same ting off a vicious circle that results in longtime, it can be problematic when they assume term unemployment. a level of familiarity that applicants don’t pos-


sess. In an interview, “[employers] are not going to say, ‘How good are you at internet searching?’” says Laurie Orlov, principal analyst for the market research firm Aging in Place Technology Watch. She advises job seekers or new hires in this situation to find someone who works at the company and ask them about the tech skills the job would require, and learn them if they haven’t already.

Part of the problem, Orlov says, is the tech industry’s longstanding neglect of older adults. Tech companies are constantly launching new devices and user experiences, but “not helping people with staying current,” she says. That forces everyone to scramble to keep up—or fall behind. Source:, Feb. 2017

‘Just say no’ to computer scammers N ancy Reagan coined the phrase “Just say no” about drugs. Now I am pilfering the phrase to defend and protect you from fake computer techs and bogus messages that tell you your computer is infected with a virus. Outrageous scammers are calling you day and night because they think you’re gullible. Mature adults are too forgiving, especially when it comes to computers. Their lack of technical knowledge and their polite nature make them easy targets for scammers and hucksters. It’s my job to change that mindset and arm you with defenses. There is a simple reply to someone you haven’t met who is trying to sell you something. That defensive phrase is “No.” You can make it more definitive by saying: “No. Get lost,” then hanging up. Believe me, you are not going to offend them. There’s no need to be polite. If you’re bold, use the phrase: “No. Get lost, loser.” They deserve your vitriol; they are scum with no redeeming human qualities. A popular scam these days usually starts while you are on the Internet, but it could be an unsolicited call out of the blue. I call it the Harpy, because the message repeats, is annoying and is designed to frighten you. This is the time to remember your defensive phrase: “No.” The scam goes something like this: “Hello, this is Microsoft and we noticed your computer is infected and causing problems on our network. Call the number provided and get it fixed or we will have to disable your computer to prevent damage to our network.” Here’s

uccessfully in “Helping seniors live s their own homes.”

Will Claney

Computers USA

where you use your defensive phrase, “No,” and exit your browser. If it’s a caller, then the phrase gets even better: “No. Get lost, loser,” then hang up. It’s fun. Try it. Do not fear. Scammers have no real authority. They aren’t from Microsoft or the IRS; they’re just scum from scam-central. They cannot block you. However, they may lock their scam message into your browser. If so, simply delete your Internet history. If you are unable to remove the Harpy yourself, never call the number provided by them. You will be in big trouble if you let them into your computer. You should call a professional computer tech, someone in your local area. You can meet them and judge them in the real world. Or just call me for advice, that works. By now, you should have enough ammunition to protect yourself from scams. Just remember the magic bullet, the defensive phrase, the guardian of your privacy – “No.”

William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to

Monthly Mixer

Everyone Welcome –

Members, volunteers, and just plain curious. Your chance to join CVV and reap the benefits

Tuesday, May 15, 4-6 p.m.

Moresi’s Chophouse 6115 Main St., Clayton No Host Bar – No Host Food (Dutch Treat)

For more info

925-626-0411 or

Please join Matt and Monica Fraga with Travel to Go on our Blues and Jazz Lower Mississippi cruise.

For more information please contact

Ph: 925.672.9840 CST #2033054-40

Like us on

Clayton Station Shopping Center, 5439 Clayton Road (Suite F), Clayton

May 11, 2018

Senior Living •

Page 21


hey say you can’t turn back the hands of time. But seniors who qualify can turn back the terms of their mortgages so that lenders pay them instead of the other way around – a la a reserve mortgage. A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan for older owners whose home mortgage typically is paid in full but they desire to withdraw equity from their home for extra money. A reverse mortgage can be a smart choice for seniors eager to reduce bills and improve quality of life. It may be a good idea for older homeowners who don’t work but don’t want to sell their homes to downsize or aren’t eligible for a home-equity loan or line of credit. Reverse mortgages can be valuable tools for some seniors who are trying to supplement retirement incomes, especially in an age when pensions and Social Security may not cover living expenses. But reserve mortgages aren’t only alluring to house-rich, cash-poor homeowners looking to meet living expenses. They’re also attractive to wealthier seniors who may wish to avoid capital gains taxes from the sale of stock portfolios.


Other plus factors are that reverse mortgage money received as loan advances is not taxable and that the borrower retains the home’s title. A government-backed reverse mortgage loan also will allow the borrower to live in a nursing home or other medical facility for up to one year before the loan becomes payable. However, there are several disadvantages that accompany reverse mortgages. A key fact is that the interest owed compounds tremendously because the loan generally is not repaid until the homeowner dies or moves out of the home. Plus, the points, closing costs and other fees charged for this type of loan are considerably more than the fees charged for a conventional loan. The loan comes due when the homeowner sells the house, moves out for 12 consecutive months or dies. The home will not be left free and clear for heirs – they must repay the loan if they wish to keep the home.

Reverse mortgages can be complex. Andrew Housser, co-CEO of, a personal finance resource center based in San How to qualify Mateo, says it is critical for seniors to underTo qualify for a reserve mortgage, seniors stand the terms of the loan before signing – must: especially if the mortgage is a tenure or term Be at least 62. plan. Own the home and have enough equity A tenure plan pays fixed payments until built up. the person dies or moves from the premises. Occupy the home. A term plan provides fixed monthly payHave the home be the borrower’s primary ments only for a determined amount of residence. time. With the latter, the individual needs to There are no income requirements, but have a plan in place for what to do after the loan candidates must meet with a counselor term runs out. from an independent, government-approved Under a tenure plan, payments received housing counseling agency that will review the may be very low. And with a term plan, the loan’s costs, financial fine print and alternatives homeowner may outlive the term. with the potential borrower. Government-backed, home equity converApplicants may be eligible for a reverse sion mortgages (HECMs), also known as mortgage even if they currently owe money reverse annuity mortgages, represent 90 peron their homes. But the best candidates are cent of all reverse mortgages. A conventional seniors with significant equity in their homes reverse mortgage is backed by a private lender who are trying to supplement retirement or by Fannie Mae. incomes. They also should be planning on Currently, the lending limit for HECMs is staying in their homes. $362,790. Fannie Mae’s limit is $417,000, and private lenders often have no lending limit but can charge exorbitant loan fees. Research your options In general, the older your age, the more Reverse mortgages made for a fixed numvaluable your home, the less you owe on it and ber of years are useful for people who are parthe lower the current rate of interest is, the ticularly old, whose life expectancies are not more money you’re eligible to borrow. long and whose income needs are great. For more information on reverse mortClosed-end reverse mortgages also make sense gages, call the U.S. Department of Housing for “younger oldsters” who may have serious, and Urban Development toll-free at 888-466chronic medical problems that require contin3487 or visit uing care but who may be able to receive this Source: Content That Works care in their own homes.

Understanding the terms

Cutting out sugar a sweet idea I

love anything sweet, and so do a lot of seniors. In our prime, we have 10,00015,000 taste buds. By about age 70, people have lost as many as two out of three of their taste buds. Sweet is the first taste we’re exposed to as humans. Infants are instinctively programmed to prefer sweet flavors, including breast milk and formula. I’ve suspected for years I was addicted to sweets, but I didn’t take the warning signs seriously. I always hid a stash of candy somewhere in the house, reasoning it was to keep everyone else from eating my goodies. After all, I deserve a treat once in a while. Commercials for desserts make me immediately respond like one of Pavlov’s dog. But what finally woke me up, literally, was when I had no sweets in the house one night and the chocolate-flavored Ex-Lax was calling to me. Recent research estimates more than 8 percent of women ages 45 to 64 could be considered food addicts. “What we’ve been able to find is that food addiction is real,” said Dr. Pam Peeke, author of “The Hunger Fix.” “We now have credible science and it’s being published on a daily basis by the top universities, funded by the National Institutes of Health … showing a relationship that is so powerful between sugary, fatty, salty food combinations and their strong association

Christine Kogut Savvy Senior

with addiction. Sugar plays on the reward centers of the brain and causes the same highs and withdrawals as illegal drugs.” Sugar addiction is not currently listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, but some medical experts believe that it should be classified as an addiction. “It’s processed and boxed foods which are ‘laced’ with sugar that lead to addiction,” Peeke said. “I don’t see anybody going in the corner and doing apples or trying to score an apple. Instead what I see is the manufactured, refined, processed foods in the big boxes and bags that are causing the big problems.” Consumers are compelled to continue purchasing these products because of the added sugar. This is a successful marketing ploy at our expense, so be sure to read the labels. I am currently purging sugar from my diet. The first three days were tough, but I found the rewards were great. I feel sharper, have more energy, think more clearly and sleep better.

Christine Kogut has lived in the area for more than 40 years and is a former marketing director for the Concord Senior Citizens Club.

i ii

J h


1 5 9 5.









Celebrating 60 years in Concord

Page 22

Clayton Pioneer •

May 11, 2018

Set your garden ablaze with Moonshine and Hot Lips


Moonshine Yarrow has been a favorite perennial of garden lovers for many years. This classic is tried and true. Moonshine Yarrow is a former Perennial of the Year and has all the attributes that


one desires when gardening and landscaping in our Clayton Valley climate. Moonshine’s aromatic, fern-like, silvery-gray foliage is intriguing. The color adds a pop to any landscape, especial-

ly when surrounded by black micro bark for instant contrast. Once spring begins to warm, Moonshine Yarrow’s growth surges. Foliage expands, forming clumps that allow flower stalks to form. These stalks can reach 18-24 inches tall. Clusters of tiny, buttery-yellow flowers lay flat atop each stem. These flat flowers are alluring to both bees and butterflies. Moonshine Yarrow is relatively carefree to grow. It thrives in full, hot sun and is very drought-tolerant. Spent flowers will need to be deadheaded, and the entire plant should have a severe pruning in early summer to promote another glorious wave of flowers. This perennial is deer-resistant and makes a great cut flower. Unlike other yarrow,

Moonshine has sterile flowers. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about it running crazily throughout the garden. The Contra Costa Water Department has approved Moonshine Yarrow for waterwise plant installations. For those craving spring through summer color in a lawn replacement project, Moonshine Yarrow may just the perennial to consider. It is easy to find companion plants to accent Moonshine Yarrow. Planted together, Salvia Hot Lips and Moonshine Yarrow make a stunning floral display. Hot Lips has a tiny, two-lipped flower of red and white. It is also wildly attractive to hummingbirds. Add some dark purple from Penstemon Cha Cha Lavender, with its trumpetshaped flower, or Lavender

niCoLe HaCKeTT


Hidcote, a dwarf English selection, to cool down the display. Evergreen companion plants to consider with Moonshine Yarrow would be Rhaphiolepis Rubra Compacta and Grevillea Low Form. Rhaphiolepis Rubra Compacta has a dark pink, simply shaped flower and bronze new growth. Grevillea Low Form is

an excellent groundcover that blooms fall through winter. Its flower has a unique shape, and the hummingbirds can’t resist it. Moonshine Yarrow isn’t picky about how it’s installed. Make sure your hole is double the width of the container that the plant was purchased in, add a handful of planting mix to the hole, loosen roots of the plant before placing in the hole and cover with more planting mix. You will have to water to establish, but keep in mind that drought-tolerant plants need less water after they are established. Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. You can contact her with questions or comments by email at

Clayton Farmers Market opens with season’s first cherries DEBRA MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market

Farmers market shoppers know Jilma and Lucio Lujan for their sweet, juicy citrus in the winter. But this time of year, it’s all about stone fruit for Lujan Farms. And the first to appear are cherries – Bings, Burlats, Rainiers and a lovely variety called Coral Champagne. Lujan Farms grows more than 10 varieties of cherries in its Hughson orchards. Later in the year, you will see a huge variety of apricots, white and yellow peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots and apriums. The Lujans started by working for other farmers and

eral employees. They say their children will inherit the farm and continue the business they started. They began with peach trees, expanding to other fruit as their knowledge grew. They continue to implement farming practices that help provide better produce to customers. “We want to give our customers the best produce we can grow and the best service possible,” Jilma says. The Lujans also grow red and green grapes, apples, kiwifruit, pomegranates, tomaThe Clayton Farmer’s Market opens this Saturday and with toes and nuts. This diversity of it the season’s first cherries from Lujan Farms. products keeps them interested in what they do and offers a really enjoyed it. They began do so since 1988. They now wide range of produce to satisrenting land to grow orchard have more than 100 acres of fy their customers. crops and have continued to fruit and nut orchards and sev“We like to call our cus-

tomers our extended family and want to have them coming back for a long time,” Jilma says. “We want to grow the best fruit for them and offer good prices.” They attend more than 25 PCFMA farmers markets throughout the year, so you’re sure to find them nearby. LOW-SUGAR CHERRy JAM Makes 6 half-pints

Mix pectin with ¼ c. sugar, set aside. Heat cherries in a large pot until warm. Add tart cherry juice, if desired. Add pectin/sugar mixture and lemon juice. Bring to a full boil. Add remaining sugar and return to a full boil. Boil 1 minute. Check for gel testing with a cold spoon to see if it clings. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes to avoid fruit float. Skim foam. Fill sterilized jars, add lids and rings; process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Recipe courtesy Debra Morris, PCFMA

5 c. cherries, pitted, coarsely chopped 2½ cups sugar 1 package low-sugar pectin 1 T lemon juice The Clayton Farmers Market is at 2-3 T tart cherry juice, if 6095 Main St. in Clayton on Satdesired urdays. See ad page 4 for hours.

Nancy E. Bennett 1248 Clover Lane – Walnut Creek



3528 Halfmoon Lane – Concord

4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2643 sq. ft. Stunning single-story newly constructed craftsman home with hardwood floors throughout. Updated kitchen with custom cabinets, quartz counters, tile backsplash, and large island. Open concept living space with formal dining area and family room.

Listed at $1,400,000



4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2123 sq. ft. Tri-level home featuring a sparkling pool. Freshly painted throughout with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, and a cozy fireplace. Spacious master bedroom with en-suite bath and walk-in closet.

Recently Sold Homes by Nancy Bennett

• 1884 Andrews Dr., Concord – 3 bed, 2 bath, 1659 sq. ft. home listed at $650k.

• 1741 Humphrey Dr., Concord – 3 bed, 2 bath, 1538 sq. ft. home listed at $775k.

Listed at $800,000

Sold for $92k over asking Sold for $25k over asking

• 4417 Black Walnut Ct., Concord – 3 bed, 2 bath, 1367 sq. ft. home listed at $688k. Sold for $22k over asking • 4492 Sheepberry Ct., Concord – 4 bed, 2.5 bath, 1991 sq. ft. home listed at $825k. Sold for $15k over asking

What our clients say

“Just a note to tell you we appreciated your help and understanding with the sale of my Parents River Ash Ct home. We felt this project was in excellent hands at all times and we are very grateful. Sincerely Jim B. & Family”

925.606.8400 CEO, The Bennett Team #1 Agent in Concord for the last 6 years combined

CalBRE #01399870


Selling more than 8 times as many homes as the average realtor.

MAY 05 Clayton Pioneer 2018