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Downtown rallies after massive construction blaze

From the desk of...

May 25, 2018



Listening is one thing, agreeing is another

This story should be told in your best grandfather voice, while rocking back and forth and talking to a young one. “A long time ago in the Old Country, there was a little boy who did not watch when he crossed the road and was hit by a carriage – with his leg being crushed badly. He became lame. He went to the village’s new young priest and Tamara Steiner/Concord Pioneer said: ‘I prayed to God, but I Grateful Alpine Bakery owners Gabriela and Ernst Freitag watched from across the street as firefighters fought to save am still lame. He is not the family owned business from the massive April 25 construction fire that destroyed the adjoining Renaissance apart-

See Mayor, page 14 ments under construction. The business escaped the blaze with fairly minor water damage.

925.672.0500 TAMARA STEINER Concord Pioneer

One month after a massive fire torched a 180-unit apartment building under construction on Galindo Street, a grateful downtown is back to normal. Residents are back in their homes; all streets are open and a diminishing pile of scorched, smelly debris is all that remains of the April 24 blaze that destroyed Legacy Partners’ Renaissance Square Phase 2. The apartments were about 60 percent complete and due to open in late summer. The building is a total loss and damages were estimated at $55 million. The cause is still under investigation. The fast moving fire was first reported at 12:55 a.m. and spread quickly through the wood-framed building. Residents in the Renaissance Square apartments next door had less than 10-minutes to get out before a wall of scaffolding collapsed toward their building, crushing four cars below. With flames shooting more than 100 feet into the air and embers coming down like hailstones, the evacuated residents,

See Fire, page 8

Concord: From small farming town to largest city in county This story is part two of a threepart series leading up to Concord’s 150th birthday celebration.

fevered pace slowed and Concord slipped into a depression. Ship workers left the area, and fewer people were shopping downtown. Agriculture was still the main industry.

KARA NAVOLIO Special to the Pioneer

As Concord’s downtown flourished with new businesses in the early 1900s, the first signs of a real estate boom began in 1910. Robert Noble Burgess, a businessman from San Francisco, purchased 3,700 acres from Foskett & Elworthy’s holdings they had obtained as early settlers to the area. Then, 380 people purchased lots from the Burgess Tract at the eastern end of Concord Boulevard. With the beginning of WWI, the shipyard in Bay

Memorial Day May 28 10 a.m. VFW Traditional Service at the Flagpole, west end of Main St., Clayton


Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Hearts & Hands . . . . . . .2 Community . . . . . . . . . . .4 School News . . . . . . . .14

Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Performing Arts . . . . . .16

They came by bridge and Tunnel

Photo courtesy of Concord Historical Society

The Concord Library once sat in Todos Santos Plaza until moving to a new building at Parkside and Salvio in 1958. The original library was built in 1917 with a $2500 grant from the Carnegie Foundation

Point was in full swing building ships, and the workers were looking to build homes in the temperate climate of Concord. At 2 a.m. on April 25, 1917, a fire started at the Concord Inn and spread to adjoining buildings. The fire destroyed

two entire blocks, including Frederick Galindo’s Concord Mercantile Co. However, Concord residents showed their resiliency and rebuilding began. When WWI ended and ship building halted, the

Concord resident Harmesh Kumar envisioned the Diversity Spring Festival as a way to foster harmony, understanding and goodwill among different faith groups. Kumar collaborated with the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County and other faith organizations of the Bay Area to launch the festival. Now in its 15th year, the event was held April 28 at Todos Santos Plaza. The festival showcases the talents and culture of different faiths. “It is an attempt to promote goodness and serv-

ice for humanity without any expectations,” Kumar says. “We know that ignorance breeds misunderstanding and prejudice and it leads to acting out and violence against each other,” he adds. “This was our attempt to bring children and their parents together from different ethnic groups so that we can provide them a venue to get to know each other’s faith and positive contributions they make in making our human race more loving, caring and peaceful in years to come.”

Two events occurred in the Bay Area in the late 1930s that would change Concord forever. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Caldecott Tunnels were completed, making the East Bay more accessible to workers in other parts of the Bay Area. Lewis Lehmer saw an opportunity and opened the first auto sales agency in 1940. During the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, Concord transformed from a small farming town into an important commuter community. In 1940, the popula-

tion was 1,373. By 1970, it was the largest city in Contra Costa County – with more than 85,000 residents. People flocked to Concord for its central location, good climate and flat land near scenic Mt. Diablo. WWII had dramatic effects on Concord. Farmlands were taken for the Naval Weapons Station. In 1942, the Air Force took over land purchased for Buchanan Field. There was a need for housing, and subdivisions replaced orchards, wheat fields and grasslands at a frantic pace. Concord was one of the first cities to build a sewer system. In order to access it, home developers had to annex their property to the city. The city grew not just in population, but in area too – from 9 square miles in 1960 to 24

square miles by 1970. Wanting to preserve their own unique identities, neighboring communities like Pleasant Hill and Clayton voted to incorporate as separate cities so they wouldn’t be annexed by Concord. ciTy manager oversees growTh

As Concord grew, people needed places to shop, more schools, parks and things to do. Farrel A. “Bud” Stewart, city manager from 1960 to 1986, guided the city through this period of incredible growth. The library, which had been housed in Todos Santos Plaza since 1917, was moved to a new building at Parkside and Salvio in 1958. Park & Shop became the first

See History, page 14

Religious diversity on full display at spring fest Kumar notes that the current political situation makes the festival even more relevant. “We at the festival acknowledge and promote nurturing, caring and loving values inherent within all of us,” he says. “It also promotes the same principles of equality and social justice for all as enshrined in the Constitution.” The Sikh religion was founded in 1699 to eradicate discrimination based on religion and caste, race, and social and economic status.

See Festival, page 3

Harmesh Kumar stands with children in festive attire at the Diversity Spring Festival in Todos Santos Plaza.

Page 2

Concord Pioneer •

May 25, 2018

Fundraisers, volunteer opportunities abound



golfing for a cause: The Mount Diablo High School Alumni Red Devil Golf Classic will be Friday, June 22, at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord. Alumni and coaches established the golf classic in 1996 to financially assist athletics and promote student success. Over the last 22 years, the committee has raised more than $200,000. For more info visit Meanwhile, Lehmer’s Concord Buick will sponsor a holein-one prize to “Drive Out Hunger” at the Loaves and Fishes Golf Tournament on Monday, June 4, at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville. Sponsored by Green Escrow Services, the shotgun start is at 10:30 a.m. $200. Visit Pioneers for h.o.P.e. and change: Cal Statue East Bay students adopted the name “Pioneers” during President John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier programs. 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 you can receive services or help, visit You can also 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 all first-year freshmen through the general studies course, where they work on service projects with local non-profit agencies. The CalStateS4 online platform coordinates community partners or project with students. Send email to to participate. seniors love learning: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Cal State East Bay’s Concord campus offers lectures and non-credit courses for seniors in subjects including history, literature, psychology, sociology, art history, science, poetry, writing, music history, the environment, philosophy and religion. There are no exams, quizzes or papers to write. It’s just learning that’s fun. A four-week course is $66, and a five-week course is $84. Become a member for $40 and save more than 25 percent per course. Visit the website or call 925602-6776 to request a catalog.

the world who have settled in our area and seek to learn about their new home and improve their English to communicate efficiently at the grocery store, pharmacy, church and school. Volunteers are always welcome and needed. Visit or call 925685-3881 and leave a message for more information.

Ela newacheck

The Diablo Valley Literacy Council has new tutors ready to help residents improve their English skills. Standing from left, Concord resident Dan Plansky, Kathy Anderson, Darya Miller, Tom Peckenham-Hernandez and Martha Rosenberg. Seated from left, Graciela Porter, Concord resident Ramona Burton, Bruce Reeve, Concord resident Lanette Waters-Atwood, Clayton resident Christine Smith, Christine King of Concord and Farzaneh Pouransari.

meals on wheels outreach: Meals on Wheels Diablo Region, formerly Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services, has a new name to reflect the full range and reach of services providing support for our senior citizens ability to age in place independently in their own 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 of 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 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. Call 925-8251488 for reservations one day in advance or visit to volunteer your services.

helping at the monument crisis center: Volunteers are appreciated and more are needed to tutor English and help with food distribution for hungry families, at employment workshops to guide residents applying for area work and at monthly bingo tournaments for seniors. Volunteers are often from schools, service clubs and the faith community, as well as local business. Visit the center at 1990 Market St. in Concord or at www.monumentcrisiscenter.or g/volunteer or call 925-8257751. literacy for all: The Diablo Valley Literacy Council recently graduated newly trained volunteer tutors who are ready to help our neighbors improve their English skills, so they and their families may live full lives within our community. Tutors are placed with new English speakers from all over

casa helps foster children: After children in need of a stable home life are placed into foster care, volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates promise to devote a few hours a week to act as an advocate in juvenile court, at school, and as a mentor and friend. CASA matches volunteers over age 21 with foster children, who often move between foster homes, families and schools and through the juvenile court system. Learn more about this opportunity at free informa-

Bill Clough/Captivating Photos

John Muir Health Caring Hands volunteer Jasmin Capella-Ong, left, and her care receiver Mildred Graham represent only one of 46 happy matches in Concord. More are needed.

tional sessions 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, May 31, or 12:30-2 p.m. Monday, June 4, at CASA headquarters, 2151 Salvio St., Suite 295, Concord. Register in advance at 925-256-7284 or visit

art show and sale: The Concord Art Association has partnered with the Lamorinda Arts Alliance for a joint Art Show and Sale 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at Lafayette Christian Church, 584 Glenside Dr. The free show represents the work of 24 artists, including Olga Jusidman, ceramics and jewelry; Wenda Pyman, photography; and Sharon Petersen, watercolors. Pam McCauley will share ideas for painting like an impressionist, and jazz pianist Michael Granat will provide entertainment. Light refreshments will include samples from chocolatier Linda Hofmeister. The art groups seek to provide education and services promoting the appreciation and practice of the visual arts, as well as offering community outreach for art in our local schools. visits from caring hands: Homebound seniors and their caregivers receive a welcome visit from 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 46 volunteers in Concord. Volunteer Jasmin CapellaOng, who is matched with Mil-

See Barnidge, page 3

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May 25, 2018

Concord Pioneer •

Page 3

Barnidge, from page 2

dred Graham, heard about volunteering for Caring Hands from a bulletin at St. Agnes Church in Concord. Contact Stacy Appel at 925952-2999 for volunteer information or to request a match of your own.

demic, career and leadership development academy focuses on golfing, learning the impact of volunteerism and recognizing the importance of teamwork. A national committee reviewed candidates for the academy, scoring applications based on essays, involvement with the First Tee, other extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation. Mingming joined the First Tee program at age 6, at the encouragement of her grandfather. Her love of the program led her to volunteer in the First Tee Junior Council as an assistant coach and at chapter tournaments. The First Tee is a youth sports organization that introduces kids to the game of golf and nine core values: responsibility, courtesy, confidence, integrity, honesty, respect, judgment, perseverance and sportsmanship. For more information, visit their website:

First Tee scholarship: The First Tee of Contra Costa selected Northgate High School junior Genevieve “Skye” Mingming of Concord to attend the John Deere Drive Your Future Academy at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta June 25–29. The four-day aca-

concord business helps sTand: Steve Hoover, CEO and president of ConcordPhoto courtesy of the First Tee based Be. Workplace Design The First Tee of Contra (formerly Hoover’s CommerCosta selected northgate cial Interiors), donated office High School junior Genevieve “Skye” Mingming furniture to STAND! For Famof Concord to attend the na- ilies Free of Violence. The tional John Deere Drive Your nonprofit organization, also based in Concord, supports Future Academy in Atlanta survivors of domestic abuse. in June.

Festival, from page 1

“They were tortured and killed for creating awareness of human rights violations for the socially disadvantaged and powerless,” he says.

“Jesus had the same principles and fought for human dignity, human rights, equality and freedom for all.” Kumar is thankful that the

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Mount Diablo High School Alumni Freshman BBQ alumni volunteer committee members Theresa nelms, back left, Lou Adamo, Danny Brown, Dan Killips), Doug Schultz , and nathan Silva, front left, and Ralph Vallis, are looking forward to the Mt Diablo High School Alumni Red Devil Golf Classic June 22 at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord.


I welcome readers to share other collaborations between local businesses and nonprofit organizations with Hearts and Hands. Local philanthropy helps our residents, and we are here to salute companies who value the great work of our local nonprofits.

Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Drive, Clayton. $100. Visit “Rock Out Hunger,” a Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa gala, begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Dr., Danville. $150. save the date: The 2018 Visit MDES Playfield Improvement or call 925-293-4792. Project fundraiser will help Mt. Diablo Elementary School get Hearts and Hands shares news, a renovated play field, track events and opportunities for all of us and baseball fields. Sponsored to learn more about our community, by Clayton Valley Little League have some fun, and combine our and the MDES Playfield Com- resources and talents to help others. mittee, the event will be 5:30- Send items to faithbarnidge@pio10:30 p.m. Friday, June 8, at

Diversity Festival has support from city officials/staff and local businesses, including the Todos Santos Business Association. “We as a group look forward to providing meaning to social responsibility by sup-

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Concord Pioneer •

Women jazz it up at festival

BEV BRITTON Concord Pioneer

Contributed photo

The all-female S.H.E. performed at Todos Santos Plaza, from left, Kara Chung, Bella Hartman, Vanessa Bartling, Sophie Haney, Hanna Catalano and Breanna Kim.

Pioneer and LWV team up to register students

League of Women Voters volunteer, Suzan Requa helps a MDHS student complete a voter registration form.

The Pioneer along with volunteers from the League of Women voters were on Concord high school campuses during April and May to register seniors and pre-register 16and 17-year olds. Seniors are eligible to vote if they are or

will be 18 by Election Day in June or November. More than 100 students were registered or pre-registered with help of teachers and student leadership at Concord High, Clayton Valley Charter, Ygnacio High, Mt. Diablo High and Carondelet.

When the Sophie Haney Experience (S.H.E.) hit the stage at Todos Santos Plaza on May 12, it was an all-girl combo – a rarity in the male-dominated field of jazz. Haney, a senior at Northgate High School, created S.H.E. as part of her senior project on the lack of female jazz players. The group’s performance at the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation’s festival was a onetime gig. “I put this group together because I wanted to showcase a severely underrepresented part of the jazz community and to give female artists a comfortable place to shine,” Haney says. She says it can be intimidating for women when all of their band mates are male. “Even if I am confident in my musical abilities, it’s hard not to feel like I don’t belong. My goal with S.H.E. was to ensure that young women in jazz didn’t have to feel that way,” says Haney, who played congas and directed the six-person group. The combo also featured an alto sax, piano, bass, drums and Clayton resident Hanna Catalano on tenor sax. “While I have seen and heard many combos at jazz festivals, I have never seen any all-female combos,” Catalano says. “Even in my high school jazz band, there are only a handful of girls. To me, this was an opportunity to be part of something unique, and I had a lot of fun doing it.” Haney said the Concord performance was an inspiring moment. “I hope that they take that experience with them the next time they audition or play with a band, regardless of how many other women might be there.”

May 25, 2018

AAUW walk and sip for art

Combine a breezy, sunny May day with plenty of art, wine and craft beer and you have a recipe for a very good time. Top left, Concord vice-mayor Carlyn Obringer and husband Justin were joined by friends Shawn nichols and Avi Asherov from San Francisco for the 6th Annual AAUW Art and Wine Walk through downtown May 12. More than 400 attended the event. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser are used to fund scholarships for local girls and women. Top right, in the courtyard of Salvio Pacheco Square, sales were brisk for Clayton watercolor artist Sharon Peterson.

Blue Star Moms dedicate 5th monument

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 Clayton Business and Community Association member Keith Haydon and Bob Steiner, CBCA past president. The CBCA donated the cost of the monument. The 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

Photo courtesy of Blue Star Moms

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

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

For more information please contact

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Clayton Station Shopping Center, 5439 Clayton Road (Suite F), Clayton *Sample price is per person, based on double occupancy in a Club category room on select weeks at Ixtapa Pacific, Mexico. Discounts on other dates, room categories and/or at other resorts may vary. Blackout dates apply, including holidays and other dates. Offer requires a 3-night minimum stay (7-night minimum for Columbus Isle). Available at select resorts. Does not include airfare. +Restrictions apply per perk listed; please consult your travel agent before booking. General Conditions: Blackout dates apply, including holidays and other dates. Offer requires a 3-night minimum stay (7-night minimum for Columbus Isle). Available at select resorts. Valid for new individual bookings only for select travel dates with check-in on or after 05/02/2018 and check-out on or before 12/22/2018 and must be booked between 05/02/2018 and 06/19/2018. Offer is subject to capacity control and may increase or be withdrawn at any time. For Turkoise all guests must be 18 and older. Guests at Columbus Isle must be 2 and older. Club Med Membership fees of $60 per adult and $30 per child are additional. Other restrictions apply including brochure terms and cancellation/change fees. Not responsible for errors or omissions. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. CST#: 2020955-50.

May 25, 2018

Concord Pioneer •

Page 5

Jr. Giants ready for 6th season in Concord JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

A group of young Concord boys and girls will play baseball this summer in the sixth local season of Junior Giants baseball. Started by the San Francisco Giants major league baseball team, Junior Giants is a free, non-competitive and coed baseball program for youth ages 613. Community leader Ana Villalobos is Concord Junior Giants commissioner and she has announced a schedule for the local league, one of 90 Junior Giants programs. Players will meet their teammates and coaches on Sunday, June 10, at Willow Pass Community Center and team practices begin the next day at the Concord American Little League fields. Games commence on Saturday, June 30. Former SF Giant Rob Andrews says, “Some of the most memorable baseball moments were my early child-

We specialize in education to improve health and maintain your wellness Junior Giants offer opportunity for Concord girls and boys to take part in the national pastime.

hood days on the sandlot. Those times spent with my friends playing ‘pick-up’ games, would later prove crucial in my future development into a ‘big leaguer.’ “I learned some important lessons on interacting with my teammates and opponents.” He explains how fortunate he and

Supervisor rolls on Bike to Work Day

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, pictured at Pleasant Hill City Hall, traded four wheels for two when she challenged her constituents to Bike to Work May 8. The annual event, sponsored by Bike East Bay, encourages cycling as a healthy alternative to driving.

It’s the

his friends were to have a league offered to them but it’s not something all young people have today. There are many youth who have never experienced baseball due to economic barriers for them to afford the equipment and fees to play ball. That’s where the Junior Giants step in through the Concord PAL working together with local agencies, families and volunteers, reaching into the community and using baseball as a forum to encourage youth and their families to live healthy, productive lives. It offers youth a chance to learn the basics of baseball during the summer while also discovering the importance of essential life skills. The Junior Giants stress ‘Four Bases of Character Development’—confidence, integrity, leadership and teamwork— as well as the importance of health, education and bullying prevention to the 25,000 youth in the program. The nonprofit Giants Community Fund collaborates with the MLB Giants to help provide equipment for the 280 youth in the Concord Junior Giants. Contact Villalobos at or visit for more info.

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Concord Pioneer •

May 25, 2018

Charter school drama draws ire of CCCBOE TAMARA STEINER Concord Pioneer

Clayton Valley Charter High School Executive Director David Linzey and his wife Eileen Linzey, employed by the

school as chief program officer, abruptly resigned under pressure from the board on May 11, says a source close to the matter. In a hastily called special governance board meeting for May 14, the agenda listed

“Public Employee: Discipline/Dismissal/Release” followed by a separate item for “Conference with Legal Counsel” over two cases of anticipated litigation. After 90 minutes in closed session, the board took no action on the closed session items. They further tabled an open session item to approve a legal services agreement with a San Francisco law firm specializing in employment law. The Linzeys’ departure came three weeks after Ted Meriam, the school’s chief innovation officer since last September and former governing board chair, told the Pioneer he resigned voluntarily April 20 to take a position

Joe Ronco/Owner 925-872-3049




The East Bay Senior Resource Expo at the Crowne Plaza Hotel was a great opportunity for seniors to learn what options are available – before they need them. Sponsored by the Concord Chamber of Commerce, the event featured 40+ booths that provided information and resources for the senior community, baby boomers and caregivers on how to enhance the senior years. Representatives from a variety of senior living options came to the event, including Stonebrook Healthcare Center, a skilled nursing facility, and Carlton Senior Living, independent senior living apartments. In-home care is another option, and places like ResCare HomeCare and Best Ever Home Care can assist assists seniors in the comfort of their own homes. With technology surrounding us, AT&T was on hand to help seniors with their cell phones and tablets. ClearCaptions displayed a telephone that captures realtime phone conversation so you can see every word spoken on the call. This device is helpful for those who have lost their hearing or are hard of hearing. Jenny Lind, owner of the in-home service provider Senior Helpers, spoke for 20 minutes on ways to stay safe at home. She provided tips for seniors on a variety of areas, like using rug tape to secure mats outside the shower to prevent slipping and falling, and how to properly secure hand rails to the wall.

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The administrative and board level drama prompted quick action from the CCCBOE. In two letters dated May 16, two days after the special meeting, Associate Superintendent Bill Clark notified CVCHS that the CCCBOE planned to conduct a financial audit and a review and audit of the school’s hiring practices. The next day, in yet a third letter, Clark further noted the number of CVCHS administrators and teachers that could potentially leave for employment with the Antioch tech charters. CVCHS must tell the county by May 30 how it plans to fill  (or eliminate) current and potential administrative vacancies and a staffing plan

confirming how many teachers have indicated interest in teaching at the tech charters and how it plans to replace them. Clark further directed the board to show that all actions around the May 14 special meeting were transparent and in compliance with the Brown Act. The agenda for a special CVCHS governing board  meeting  May 21  (after press time), includes action items to approve a contract for an interim executive director and consider revisions to operating policies that would limit the executive director’s authority to enter into employment contracts without board approval.

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with Microsoft, his former employer. Meanwhile, top CVCHS administrators Megan Moilanen and Bill Morones are lead petitioners for two Antioch tech charter schools which were approved May 11 by the Antioch School Board. CVCHS Assistant Superintendent Ron Leone, who is currently running for superintendent of the Contra Costa County Board of Education and several CVCHS teachers are listed on the petitions as being “meaningfully interested” in teaching at the tech charters. According to Meriam, Leone was hired directly by Linzey and works only “a few hours here and there.”

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cation and the city of Concord both have a plethora of fun classes such as floral arrangement, art, exercise workouts and trips to keep seniors busy and their minds active. Representatives for Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Sen. Steve Glazer, Assemblyman Tim Grayson’s office and county Supervisor Karen Mitchoff provided contact details for more information on senior services from their offices. Next year, the chamber Contributed photo More than 40 booths in one place at the Chamber of Com- will celebrate its 10th annual merce Senior Expo, made it easy for seniors and caregivers East Bay Senior Resource to gather information on housing options, products and Expo. Help us mark 10 years services. of providing community Attendees were able to There are many ways for resources, and have some fun learn more about insurance seniors to keep active and ful- at the event too. from Becky Alcantar of New filled. Diablo Valley Bowl proFor more information about the York Life, financial informa- vided information on leagues Concord Chamber of Commerce or tion from Umberto Leone of for seniors and room rentals about members who specialize in Edward Jones and funeral for parties. They even offered senior services, visit concordchamdetails from Ouimet Bros. the seniors free lanes and or call 925-685-1181. Concord Funeral Chapel. pizza. Mt. Diablo Adult Edu-

Five-year plan helps put city streets on the road to recovery MIKE MCDERMOTT Special to the Pioneer

It has been 10 years since the start of the Great Recession, and 2008 and the years following were difficult for Concord. Sharp declines in revenue from sales and property taxes forced city staff layoffs. Most capital and maintenance projects – including road maintenance – were put on hold. Fast forward to 2018, and good times are here again. City revenues are at new highs, and there are signs of infrastructure work all around town. New sewers, fiber optic cable, park improvements, and road paving and maintenance projects are starting up once again. The April 24 Concord City Council meeting featured a detailed report on the status of the five-year plan for pavement repair and preservation. It was a bad news/good news/bad news kind of story. All roads face two major threat. The largest problem is damage from the heat and UV rays from the sun, which cause weathering and linear cracking due to expansion and contraction. The other major factor is traffic, particularly heavy truck traffic – which causes “alligator” cracking. A single trip by a UPS or FedEx two-axle delivery truck causes damage equivalent to 442 trips by a standard-size SUV. Garbage trucks cause damage equivalent to 9,343 trips by an SUV. Now for the bad news: The

disruption in road surface maintenance caused by the Great Recession resulted in widespread deterioration in city road surfaces. Without regular maintenance (crack seal, slurry seal, cape seal), Concord’s roads deteriorated to an overall Pavement Condition Index (PCI) of 60. On a scale of 0-100, a score of 51-70 is considered fair. By this measure, Concord has better roads than Martinez with a poor PCI rating of 48, but not as good as Clayton, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill, which have PCI values of 83, 72 and 66, respectively, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Just maintaining a rating of 60 in Concord will require about $17 million a year for the next five years. Millions more will be needed each year to actually improve overall pavement condition. The good news: Concord now has several sources of funding to help the city slow the rate of decline. That includes existing and new (SB1) gas tax money, Measure Q sales tax and general fund revenue. The city also has a solid plan to put those dollars to effective use. Joe Ririe, principal engineer at Pavement Engineering Inc., presented this new five-year plan, and the City Council unanimously approved it. The first step, which is already complete, was a technical evaluation of all 310 miles of

pavement. We now know the full extent of the damage caused by deferred maintenance. Roads with a PCI of 75-95 (like Concord Boulevard) are in good condition and will be targeted for ongoing maintenance. Roads at 50-65 (like Foskett Avenue) are targeted for more expensive levels of rehabilitation. Roads at 30 or below (like Denkinger Road) are in such poor condition they will require expensive reconstruction. The plan requires that roads in the ranges of 96-100, 66-74 and 31-49 be allowed to deteriorate further until they hit the “critical points” of 95, 65 or 30, respectively. According to Ririe, that is standard industry practice. With a database of all Concord road conditions and a plan for prioritization of maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction work, Concord is ready to start on the long road to recovery. One last bit of bad news: The city revenue stream targeted for road repair over the next five years, even with new money from SB1 and Measure Q, is not sufficient to raise the city’s overall PCI above 60. This five-year plan may be a good start, but without additional funding, Concord will struggle to keep roads from deteriorating further. Sustained improvement in road condition will require millions more in revenue each year to make up for the last 10 years of deferred maintenance.

May 25, 2018

Concord Pioneer •


Cannabis and political leadership: illusion or delusion? GREG KREMENLIEV Guest Editorial

The Contra County Board of Supervisors has joined the “wall of shame” of Contra Costa County government agencies that have created the illusion of taking a small step to end the countywide prohibition on cannabis. At a recent meeting, the board allowed dozens of comments from busloads of outsiders from the Pacific Justice Institute, which has been declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and was denounced by state Sen. Scott Wiener and San Francisco officials for its tactics in keeping dispensaries out of some neighborhoods in San Francisco. Once more, a local governing body thwarts the will of the 61 percent of voters in the county who voted for Prop. 64. Concord Mayor Edi Birsan has aptly talked about an illusion being when you fantasize something that’s not real and a delusion being when you believe the illusion is real. California voters were under the illusion that they voted to legalize adult use cannabis in 2016. As the regulatory disaster that threatens to destroy what once looked like a promising growth industry unfolds, local control has proved to be a nightmare.

Citizens who voted for Prop. 64 are no longer under the delusion that their local representatives care about how they voted. By enacting prohibition, two-thirds of the cities have done exactly the opposite of what their constituents demanded. Meanwhile, compassion programs are disappearing right and left, seniors and veterans are being deprived of their medication and a very real public health crisis is unfolding. And while Rome burns, our civic leaders fiddle. Despite Concord’s forwardthinking mayor, police chief and staff, the other four members of Concord’s City Council operate under the delusion of taking a small step forward by approving an ordinance that virtually kicks the largest cannabis company in the Bay Area in the teeth and says, “No thank you; we don’t want your business.” In November, the voters will decide if they want delusional leaders. At NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), we have been fighting since the 1970s to educate the public about the benefits of cannabis and the harm done by its criminalization. Reefer Madness – with its nearly a century of propaganda and misinformation – dies hard, especially on city councils and county boards.

We serve notice to those political leaders who are kowtowing to hate groups and Reefer Madness propaganda: If we can’t get our leaders to better represent our will, we will find new leaders. As part of our educational program, we will be submitting letters and/or op-eds relating to the 10 cannabis myths.

Greg Kremenliev, age 70, has owned a home in Concord for 35 years and raised his three sons and daughter here. He currently is helping raise his 4-year-old grandson. He serves as treasurer of Contra Costa NORML and has been a medical cannabis patient for 53 years. Contact him at


concord going to Pot?

On Tuesday, May 29  the city council will have a special study session on cannabis uses. This meeting will provide another opportunity for the cannabis lobby to attempt to sway members of the council in their direction. The meeting agenda will be posted on the   website on Friday, May 25. If you care about our city and our young people, please attend this meeting. Please continue to voice your opposition to recreational cannabis sales AND ask the city council to limit medicinal marijuana sales to non-THC products.  Mike McDermott

Concord City Council recently rejected the proposal to allow recreational marijuana manufacturing by a 4 to 1 vote. Council members Obringer, Hoffmeister, McGallian, and Leone deserve credit for rejecting the demands of the cannabis business lobby. Bravo! These four council members understand Concord is not Berkeley or Oakland. Our city is a family-friendly suburb trying to avoid the social pathologies found in so many urban areas. Why should Concord embrace cash-only businesses selling dangerous, intoxicating products when none of Send letters to the Editor to our neighboring cities are ing that bait?

Academy puts citizens in real-life scenarios JOHN T. MILLER Correspondent

As a first responder to a school shooting, you enter a hallway littered with dead students. An adult with his back to you is crouched near a door between two rows of lockers. In response to your command to stand and face you, the man turns and a metal object shines in his right hand. Do you pull the trigger on your police-issued handgun, becoming the hero who downed the madman? Or do you hold your fire for one critical second and find that the metal object is a cell phone and the man is a teacher calling 911? Twelve members of Concord Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) faced this scenario and other simulations on a recent Saturday. The CPA provides community members an inside look at local law enforcement and offers an overview of the police department’s function and operations. Students spent a portion of the day using the Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Training Center Use of Force Options Simulator at Buchanan Airfield. The system functions with simulated weapons equipped with lasers to help students recognize where they are aiming and shooting. The simulator is not for target practice – it is a decision-making and criticalthinking exercise that helps officers more effectively evaluate high-stress situations. Concord Sgt. Carl Cruz and Sgt. Dennis Curran of the sheriff ’s office led the fourhour morning session. In his introductory lecture, Cruz explained the stakes: “If you mess up, you’ll die. In real life, if I make a mistake, someone might not go home that night.” He urged CPA members to imagine themselves as real police officers on a call where Use of Force may have to be employed. “Sometimes calls don’t always appear to be what they

are,” said Cruz. “Common sense and verbal skills will take care of most problems.” The participants learned that officers must follow state and federal laws and department policy in cases involving Use of Force. If they don’t, they are liable and will find themselves facing homicide charges. Department policies can vary from one police force to another. After the introductory lecture and slide show, the citizens learned how to use the simulator with a simulated gun, Taser and pepper spray – their three choices in each exercise. Volunteers took turns with a simulated target practice using the gun before beginning the session. In one school-shooting scenario, participant Becky Huey was asked how many times she fired her gun. She had no idea. “It’s easy to see how in that stressful a situation, you would lose count,” she said. “The experience was harrowing. And after participating in the simulator, it profoundly changed my views regarding police Use of Force.” Cruz explained that Hollywood movies give a false impression of what happens when someone is shot. “A person doesn’t just go down,” he said. “Often they don’t even know they’ve been hit, or they might just be wounded and can still shoot a gun.” He also noted that a “warning shot” is a fallacy. “An officer’s aim when stressed is not always accurate, and the motive is to shoot to stop the threat.” Other simulations involved a disgruntled employee, a robbery, domestic abuse, a peeping tom, a drugged or mentally ill person and a suicidal individual with a knife. Each of the members role-played an officer at the scene. Not everyone would have gone home alive, as some situations turned violent quickly and unexpectedly. Donna Headley, a retired manager at Chevron, called the experience eye-opening

Page 7

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Use of the Force Options Simulator is a decision-making and critical-thinking exercise that helps officers more effectively evaluate high-stress situations.

and intense. “I’m not sure how a police officer could remember exactly what happened in a situation that emotionally charged,” she said. Curran, who runs training sessions for the county sheriff ’s office, says CPA is one of his favorites to teach. “It lets people get a hands-on feel for some of the calls we get and how it could quickly evolve into something unpredictable.” The city has run 31 of these sessions over the last 20 years. Cruz says the goal is to provide transparency and educate residents about the reality of police work. Participants attend six evening sessions for two hours each and then finish at

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All-Alaskan Racing Pigs hurdle into Kidfest Page 8

Jason Bedecarré and his wife Emily were with their infant son Ted enjoying an attraction at the 2015 Marin County Fair when the new father pulled out his cellphone and made a call. “You’ve got to book pig races for KidFest,” Jason told his dad and Bay Area KidFest producer Jay Bedecarré. Jump ahead to this Memorial Day weekend and the AllAlaskan Racing Pigs are one of the featured attractions at the 29th annual KidFest this Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Downtown Concord. “It took me two years of internet searches, calls, emails and visits to their Bay Area shows before we were able to secure this highly indemand family attraction for KidFest,” the elder Bedecarré explains. Besides the racing pigs, there are two other traveling attractions making their KidFest debuts. The Kidz Science Safari from the University of Texas is a

Concord Pioneer •

Photo courtesy of All-Alaskan

All-Alaskan Racing Pigs put on four shows a day at Bay Area Kidfest this Memorial Day Weekend at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord.

fully interactive traveling children’s museum with over a dozen hands-on, science-based educational exhibits. The 1880s Pioneer Experience and Variety Show comes from Arizona, allowing visitors to enjoy and participate in a storybook version of the true Old West.. The racing pigs have four shows a day while the other

Fire, from page 1

some still in pajamas and clutching terrified pets, headed to Todos Santos Plaza where Vinnie’s Bar and Grill opened their doors to the evacuees, providing a welcome refuge from the smoke and fear. The Red Cross set up a shelter at the First Presbyterian Church. Food donations from local restaurants began arriving almost immediately, said church elder David Stearns. “Maybe 40 people spent the night, but we were open for three days until all the evacuees returned home.” Down the street in the Park and Shop parking lot, Alpine Bakery owners Gabriela and Ernst Freitag sat in their car and watched as firefighters mounted

a heavy defense against the flames threatening to destroy their business. The bakery stood mere feet from the burning building. “It was not pretty, Gabriela said. “We bit our nails and prayed.” “It was our fear all during construction that it would catch fire and burn,” she said, “because of the fires in Oakland.” The recent Concord fire bears an eerie similarity to fires that destroyed two other construction projects in Oakland and Emeryville since 2016. The Oakland project burned twice within several months and no cause was ever determined. The Emeryville fire was arson.

attractions are open all day for KidFest attendees to experience. The first KidFest in Concord was held in 1990 and youngsters Jason and Justin Bedecarré were there, posing for a photo with Raphael of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ever since, the Bedecarré family has had a connection to KidFest. The family’s advertising

The firefighters were successful and the Alpine Bakery survived with only water damage. “They let us in to the building around 6 a.m.,” Gabriela said. “When we opened the door, the water was rushing like a river through the store.” “We’re really lucky, though,” she said. “There was no smoke or fire damage. We were closed for nine days, but we have really good insurance.” Debris removal from the fire continues. “It’s slow going because the builders are trying to save the foundation and anchor bolts,” said Ryan Pursley from the city’s Building Division. All the material was fire damaged and cannot be recycled, said Pursley. But because it is

agency did publicity and marketing for original KidFest producer Beth Clark. Once their three youngest—Justin, Julie and Jared—were old enough they became part of Clark’s staff, primarily performing as popular KidFest costume characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. After the 20th KidFest in Todos Santos Plaza the sponsoring city of Concord decided it had run its course and was a financial cost they weren’t able to bear in difficult economic times. Some Todos Santos merchants also complained that the three-day event resulted in their customers not being able to park and get to their businesses. Clark’s family had moved to the Midwest in 2001 and she felt the 20th KidFest was a good time to bring the curtain down on the annual event. During that festival weekend she had second thoughts and asked Jay Bede-

May 25, 2018

caré, who spent 25 years marketing the Concord Pavilion and producing events there and elsewhere, if he would take over KidFest. Although the City didn’t relent on keeping KidFest at Todos Santos, Bedecarré eventually worked out an arrangement to move the event four blocks down Grant St. to Mt. Diablo High School. At the new site KidFest has more space, enabling the longest-running family event in the East Bay to add large scale traveling attractions, 20 kid’s carnival rides and other activities that wouldn’t fit on the square block footprint at Todos Santos. KidFest has kept the popular activities that go back to its beginnings—free face painting, balloon animals, spin art, keepsake handprints, inflatable crawls and slides, and non-stop entertainment by local groups on the community stage. An eclectic food court, arts and

crafts and other exhibitors are still big parts of KidFest. Since the move nine years ago Bedecarré’s now adult children have worked at various KidFests, although none of them have been a costume character! This weekend, SpiderMan, Olivia the adorable pig and Olaf from “Frozen” will meet and greet their fans of all ages. Proceeds from KidFest benefit local educational, health and sports groups. Since the festival has been at Mt. Diablo nearly $80,000 cash has been donated to local non-profits. KidFest opens at 10 a.m. each morning this weekend. Admission is $6 with the donation of a canned good to the Food Bank or $7 without. On Saturday, two donated cans drop $2 off the low admission price. Babies under 24 months and seniors 65 and over are free. Visit for complete information and schedule of events.

new construction, there are no lead paint were used,” he noted. Mayor Edi Birsan. “But we are concerns about hazardous The fire is the largest in Con- Concord,” he said. “We will waste. “No asbestos, PBCs or cord in anyone’s memory, said rebuild.”

Two weeks after a major fire destroyed the Renaissance apartments under construction, efforts to salvage the foundation and anchor bolts make debris removal a slow process.

Concord Pioneer •


Concord businessman, philanthropist Ken Hofmann leaves lasting legacy JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Kenneth H. Hofmann, 95, died April 22, leaving behind a diverse legacy in Concord and Contra Costa that will continue for generations. The Hofmann Co. built more than 40,000 homes and apartments, as well as industrial and commercial properties throughout California. Hofmann started his career in 1948 as a plastering contractor and began building homes three years later. The success of his business ventures enabled Hofmann to become a major donor to local health, educational and athletic institutions. He branched out as a co-owner of both the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL and the Oakland A’s major league baseball team. Hofmann, his wife Jean and their family foundation have been major donors to Mt. Diablo Hospital (now John Muir Concord), De La Salle and Carondelet high schools, St. Mary’s College of Moraga, the Walnut Creek Regional Center for the Arts and many other area non-profits. In the past year, daughter Lisa Hofmann Morgan announced a $15 million foundation pledge to Carondelet. Half will support need-based financial scholarships for students and half will support

KEN HOFMANN 1923-2018

construction of a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math center on the Concord campus. In the early 1970s, he donated the land where the Concord Pavilion was built. Councilman Dan Helix was instrumental in working with city manager Bud Stewart and his fellow council members to make the land swap for the Pavilion site a reality. “His views and ideas were panoramic, possessed of a unique identity,” Helix said. “He made the dream of a Concord Pavilion come true.” The Community Youth Center and De La Salle Academy for fifth through eighth graders are both housed in former Hofmann Co. buildings in Concord, offering low-cost

sports and educational opportunities to area youth. Hofmann opened the Big C Athletic Club across the street from his corporate headquarters on Galaxy Way nearly 40 years ago as an upscale health and fitness club that is still open today. His homebuilding company was especially active in Contra Costa and Solano counties, with numerous subdivisions providing the American Dream to tens of thousands of families. Hofmann was a twotime president and member of the board of directors of the local Building Industry Association. He was also a life member of the National Association of Home Builders. Hofmann was installed in the California Homebuilding Foundation Hall of Fame in 1986. He was born Feb. 15, 1923, to Harry and Vita (Leone) Hofmann and raised in Oakland. He graduated from Fremont High School and attended St. Mary’s College for two years before graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. A World War II veteran, Hofmann served the Merchant Marines in various theaters and earned a rating of master mariner. In 1988, he became a partner with Blackhawk developer Ken Behring in the Seahawks, which he sold in 1996 after

acquiring a 50 percent ownership of the As during the exciting “moneyball” years. Under his ownership, the Athletics won three American League West Division titles (2000, 2002, 2003) and made the playoffs four times. During that four-year postseason stretch, the A’s won the second-most games in MLB with 392 – an average of 98 wins per season. In 2005, he and his partner Steve Schott sold the team. Besides his local philanthropic initiatives, he served on many boards, such as St. Mary’s College, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Ducks Unlimited Wetlands America Trust. The Hofmann Family Foundation has also contributed to UCSF, University of Notre Dame, Ducks Unlimited, California Waterfowl Association, the Wheelchair Foundation and Christ the Light Cathedral. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Jean, daughters, Lisa and Lori, eight grandchildren and sister Hope Hofmann. His daughter Linda preceded him in death. In lieu of flowers, the family requests consideration of a donation to De La Salle Academy, 1380 Galaxy Way, Concord CA 94520 or Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital/Cardiac Transplant, 725 Welch Road, Palo Alto CA 94304.

City reviews capital improvement projects MIKE MCDERMOTT Special to the Pioneer

The Concord City Council held a workshop last month to review completed, in progress and planned capital improvement projects for the 2018-’19 and 2019-‘20 fiscal years. Like most cities, Concord has a long list of infrastructure and improvement needs and wants. The approved projects reviewed included basic infrastructure needs like the replacement of leaking roofs, state-mandated storm water improvements, priority road maintenance, ADArequired improvements, and traffic safety and traffic flow improvements. The council

also plans some IT upgrades to make city operations more productive. The combined fiscal years 2018-’19 and 2019-‘20 capital budget totals $41.2 million, which includes grants funds, sewer enterprise, Measure Q capital funds, SB1 gas tax and Measure J local funds. Although this represents an increase from past years, it still leaves a long list of projects that will be deferred for lack of funding. One resident asked for storm drain improvements for his neighborhood near La Vista and Joan Avenue. Winter flooding has been a problem for him and his neighbors for a long time. In

response, city staff will complete additional research into the causes of the problem and possible solutions, as well as finance options for improvements – including the feasibility of an assessment district. Another resident who regularly attends council meetings criticized the executive summary prepared by staff, pointing out several projects he said were missing and others he said had incomplete or inaccurate details. Staff noted these concerns and can be expected to follow up. The overall capital improvement budget is composed of 15 different funding sources that include restric-

tions to specific categories of work. The city also must abide by mandates from other government entities. That’s why it seems like the city sometimes works on seemingly lower priority projects while more important items (like road repair and maintenance) are delayed. Most of these restrictions are beyond the control of city management and make the overall capital planning effort complicated. To see the complete capital improvement list, visit Go to the City Council agenda page and open the April 24 and May 8 meeting agenda and attachments.

Page 9

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

TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports Editor PAMELA W IESENDANGER , Administration, Calendar Editor S TAFF W RITERS : Pamela Wiesendanger, Jay Bedecarré, Bev Britton

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The Clayton Pioneer and the Concord Pioneer are monthly publications delivered free to homes and businesses in 94517, 94518, 94519 and 94521. ZIP code 94520 is currently served by drop site distribution. The papers are published by Clayton Pioneer, Inc., Tamara and Robert Steiner, PO 1246, Clayton, CA 94517. The offices are located at 6200 Center St. Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517

LET US KNOW Weddings, 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. Also on the website are forms for calendar items, events & press releases.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Both Pioneer newspapers welcome letters from our readers.

After hashing through ideas at an off-site workshop last month, the Concord City Council agreed on three priorities moving forward: • Understanding how to run city government with the new council districts • Expanding technology • Long-term financial stability. Although the workshop at the Senior Center was an open meeting, only a handful of residents attended. “It’s a way for us, as a council, to talk about just about anything without running afoul of the Brown Act,” Mayor Edi Birsan told the Pioneer, referring to the state’s open meetings law. “It’s not recorded, so there’s plenty of free-wheeling talking.” Prior to the workshop, Rod Gould of Management Partners met individually with the five council members to talk about their priorities. Then council members combed through the list of options at the meeting. Earlier this year, the council

voted to transition from atlarge council elections to selecting representatives by district. Birsan noted that the new council districts established within the city will lead to new issues. “We need to know how to deal with districts from an internal view and from a public view,” he said. The council also wants to continue to expand technology for better delivery of services to residents and as a staff multiplier. The city has already rolled out an interactive Webpage that allows people to look up information on Capital Improvement Projects and will develop a comparable page for land development projects. Meanwhile, a revised Base Reuse Webpage allows for more efficient content management and electronic dissemination of information. A staff report reviewed progress regarding fiscal stability and economic development. Working with Management Partners, the city has affirmed a long-range financial model and improved it to model 20 years. In addition, the council has adopted a

three-pronged Retail Revitalization Plan for increased code enforcement, strengthening of the vacant building ordinance and development of a vacant building registry. Other priorities council members noted in their interviews include: • Determine how to apply more resources to roads. • Coordinate homeless services. • Develop a strategy to maintain public safety in the face of growing population and

social issues. • Develop an inspection program for single-family home rentals. • Take infrastructure maintenance & cleaning up a notch. • Enhance safety along Willow Pass Road/Highway 4. Birsan noted that the workshop is also designed as a team-building effort. “I wouldn’t say that’s one of the big issues,” he said. “But it definitely allowed us to sort things out and talk about things we feel are important.”

CIRCULATION The Concord Pioneer is delivered monthly to 30,000 homes and businesses in 94518, 94519 and 94521. Papers are delivered by carriers for ABC Direct around the last Friday of the month. To stop delivery for any reason, call the office at (925) 672-0500 . If you are NOT receiving the Pioneer, please check the distribution map on the website. If you live in the shaded area and are not receiving the paper, please let us know. If you are not in the shaded area, please be patient. We will come to your neighborhood soon. The Clayton Pioneer is delivered by US Mail to 5,500 homes and businesses in 94517 around the second Friday of the month.

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Council sets priorities for coming year BEV BRITTON Concord Pioneer

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Concord Pioneer •

May 25, 2018

Local athletes make their mark at North Coast Section JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Junior Rayna Stanziano, Cameron Reynolds and Kelly Kern laid down their markers at last Saturday’s North Coast Section Tri-Valley Area track and field meet as they prepped for this weekend’s NCS Meet of Champions

where they hope to qualify for the State Meet the following weekend in Clovis. The end of May and beginning of June rings down the curtain on the 2017-18 high school sports season and local teams and athletes are seeking top placings in the competition. De La Salle has been seed-


ed No. 1 in baseball as they seek a third straight Section championship and fifth in seven years. The Spartans won the East Bay Athletic League regular season and playoff titles while posting a 22-4 overall record. Concord High softball is seeded second in NCS Division II, hoping to defend their 2017 championship. The team has won four of the past eight NCS titles. Track & Field – Kern has set and re-set the Carondelet school pole vault record previously held by her sister Katie Kern. Her top mark as a freshman was 12-2 and she’s bested that mark in seven meets this year. She won the Tri-Valley meet with a 12-6 mark. The sophomore’s recordsetting effort came last month in the Northern California Frosh/Soph Championships with a vault of 13-0, which tied for the best performance in the State this outdoor season. She has since been passed by two vaulters (the best mark just one inch higher). The local track and field season highs has been matched by one big low. Clayton Valley Charter senior Aidan Jackman was ranked No. 1 in California in both hurdle races before suffering a leg injury that has likely ended his season and eliminated him from both individual hurdles races. He is still first in the 300 and second in the 110 hurdles among Cali-

fornia preps. He even had the No. 1 USA mark in the 400 hurdles. There was an outside chance he could recover to run on a CVCHS relay. The Eagles 4x400 relay was first in the Tri-Valley meet, not surprising since Reynolds was the 400-meter champion and he had three teammates in the top eight. Reynolds also won the 200 at Tri-Valley. CV was fifth in the 4x100 relay, while De La Salle was second in the shorter relay and third in the 4x400. Austin Kresley of Northgate won the 100 as local sprinters dominated. Junior Daylon Hicks of CVCHS is still ranked fourth in the state in the high jump with a 6-10 mark. He won the Tri-Valley meet at 6-7. Teammates Kyree Williams (third, long jump) and Bryson Benjamin (fourth, triple jump) were also field event standouts. Reynold, Benjamin, Justin Lowe and Bryan Ruiz were the winning CVCHS 1600 relay. Concord’s junior distance runner Stanziano won the 1600 and was second in the 800 at Tri-Valley, the only local girls winner besides Kern. Pittsburg won the Tri-Valley boys team championship with Clayton Valley Charter second and DLS fifth. On the girls side, Carondelet was fifth.

See NCS, page 12



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.

Photos courtesy MDSA

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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Concord Pioneer • the Diablo Athletic League valley division. Harrod says, “He’s a great kid, fun-loving attitude and has turned it on mentally and physically his senior year. Josh leads us offensively in almost every category, as well as anchoring our defense in centerfield and on the mound. His GPA has seen a rise as well, from barely above a 2.0 to a 3.5 GPA!” So that fun-loving stuff might change a smidge this summer as Anders will be enlisting in the Marines and shipping off for duty in mid-June following graduation.

Athlete Spotlight

Josh Anders Grade: Senior School: Concord High Sport: Baseball

Midway through his sophomore year Josh Anders transferred to Concord High School and Minuteman varsity baseball coach Matt Harrod couldn’t be happier. Josh has spent three years on varsity and he really became a part of our baseball family quickly.” Anders is hoping to help his team to a third trip to the North Coast

Section playoffs in as many years. He has been tearing it up both offensively and on the pitching mound this spring. He has a .355 batting average with 13 RBI and 12 runs scored. He has four wins as a pitcher with a 2.20 earned run average and notched 40 strikeouts as Concord has finished a solid second in

The concord Pioneer congratulates Josh 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

4 more Concord high school athletes sign college National Letters of Intent JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Maaeva Dwiggins, Carondelet soccer

Ygnacio Valley, Carondelet and De La Salle athletes have signed national letters of intent, formalizing their college selections for the fall. Carondelet basketball player Maaeva Dwiggins of Concord will be attending California Baptist. Dwiggins played on the Carondelet varsity all four years, earning all-East Bay Athletic League three years. Her Cougars won the last three North Coast Section championships. Senior classmate Cassidy Tshimbalanga switched her soccer commitment across town in Los Angeles from USC to UCLA. De La Salle senior soccer

Rotary Club helps fund JOBL batting cages

The Junior Optimist Baseball League’s Opening Day ceremonies included inauguration of new batting cages near the Andeavor 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. JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary Club funded a batting cages project for the Jr. Optimist Baseball League that is now being used this spring season. The local Rotarians teamed up for construction with volunteers from Rotary District 5160 and JOBL, pouring concrete and erecting the cages at the JOBL ballfields near the Andeavor refinery in Concord. The project was conceived and managed by Clayton Valley Sunrise Rotary Club president Dr. Tommy Wolf, D.C. Club members joined Dr. Wolf in writing a grant pro-

posal, doing other fundraising, tying rebar and setting cages. They built four 55-foot batting cages. Nearly a thousand children all over Contra Costa County use the baseball fields, with programs for boys ages 4-18 affiliated with Babe Ruth Baseball and girls ages 5-16 affiliated with American Softball Association and Babe Ruth Softball. “This project demonstrates in a physical structure, Rotary’s commitment to our youth, both today in our future,” said Bob Hooy, past president of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise Rotary.  “This is important because baseball is a common ground for international cul-

tures. It gives children, kids, and teens, regardless of their socio-economic status, the chance to meet new friends that can broaden their culture.” Construction and installation costs totaled $26,000. Roto-Rooter supplied gravel and Central Concrete provided concrete for the foundation. provided the cages at discount. The all-volunteer JOBL was founded in 1963 and now operates 15 playing fields at the Andeavor site.  “Baseball got me into college, which led to my postgraduate doctorate degrees,” said Dr. Wolf.  “I’m pleased to give that same opportunity to the next generation.”

players Luke Guisto (UC Davis) and James Person (St. Mary’s College) have also committed. Guisto was MVP of the EBAL and part of the Spartan team that claimed the school’s 13th NCS championship this year and a berth in the first-ever Northern California Regionals. Person and Guisto were three-year varsity members for DLS. Person, a three-time all-EBAL honoree, is also a member of the Diablo FC 99 competitive team. Ygnacio Valley swimmer Adonis Thomas is going to Notre Dame College in South Euclid, OH

Page 11

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Page 12

Concord Pioneer •

NCS, from page 10

swimming – Moldovian Olympian Alexi Sancov of Northgate won the 200 freestyle at the CIF State Meet last weekend in Clovis and led off two Bronco freestyle relay teams that finished fifth. Northgate was eight in the boys standings. Clayton Valley Charter junior Niklas Weigelt was eighth in the 100 free. De La Salle’s Daniel O’Connell was sixth the 100 butterfly and ninth in the 50 free. Carondelet diver Courtney Klausen took sixth in the onemeter. Her freshman teammate

Jessica Davis was sixth in the 100 backstroke. At the NCS championships Carondelet was 5th in the girls standings while Northgate (5th), De La Salle (7th) and Clayton Valley (9th) were Top 10 on the boys side. Sancov won the 200 and 500 free NCS finals and his Bronco 400 free relay were also champions. Davis won the 100 back, as did Weigelt in the 100 free (he also took eighth in the 200 free). O’Connell won the 100 fly and was second in the 50 free.

Photo courtesy CVCHS swimming

Clayton Valley Charter’s 200-yard freestyle relay team set a school record at the Diablo Athletic League meet, breaking a mark set in 1994. That 1994 team held all three girls school relay marks until the quartet of, from left, Kaylie Walker, Paige Landstrom, Gia DuLong and Erica DuLong set the new 200 free relay record of 1:39.40.

S ports Shorts

23rd annual red devil golF classic reTurns June 22

The Mt. Diablo High School Red Devil golf committee is holding its 23rd annual golf tournament on Friday, June 22, at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord. Registration starts at 11 a.m., followed by lunch, golf, dinner and raffle/silent auction. Proceeds go to help academic and athletic programs at Mt. Diablo. Those interested in participating in the golf or dinner should contact Lou Adamo 212-9332 or or Ralph Vallis 825-7593 or For more information check

carondeleT girls sPorTs clinics in July include 4 aT new sPorTs comPlex

Carondelet High School is offering summer sports clinics in July for incoming middle school girls in basketball, dance, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball. The lacrosse, soccer, swimming 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 sport-specific fundamentals

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Carondelet’s Christy Neufeld was third in the NCS 500 free. Other NCS finalists were Cal Brown of CVCHS and Ryan Iannaccone of DLS. The Clayton Valley Charter girls 200-yard freestyle relay team was fifth in the DAL championship meet but more significantly broke a 24-year-old school record in the event with a time of 1:39.40. The foursome of Eric and Gianna DuLong, Paige Landstrom and Kaylie Walker cut more than a half second off the 1994 CV mark. The DuLong sisters both made an NCS individual finals. baseball – De La Salle (224) set a new school record for homeruns as they posted a 14game winning streak and have 17 wins in their last 18 games entering the NCS tournament this week against Castro Valley. Perennial NCS participant CVCHS (14-10) is seeded 12th in Division I and faces DLS rival Monte Vista in the opening round. Northgate (18-5) got a fifth seed and Concord (12-12) 12th in D-II while Berean Christian is seeded sixth in Division V. The Broncos tied College Park for first in the Diablo Athletic League Foothill Division while Concord was second in the Valley Division. boys golf – De La Salle

came up one shot short of firstplace Campolindo in the NCS tournament. Jack Gardner’s 70 led the Spartans team that included Justin Hopkins, Brendan Hopkins, Garret Colman, Mackade Mangels and Mitchell Huey. De La Salle qualified for this week’s Northern California Championships with its NCS runnerup finish. De La Salle had won the 2015 and 2016 NCS team championships and captured this year’s EBAL tournament championship. lacrosse – Defending Division I Section champion De La Salle (18-6) fell behind San Ramon Valley (22-2) 6-0 in the first quarter and lost 15-7 last weekend in the NCS championship game. softball – Concord won the DAL Foothill Division and is 16-6 overall entering NCS when they host Ukiah Wednesday in the opening round. Carondelet (16-8) tied for second behind Amador Valley in the EBAL and is fourth seed in D-II. boys volleyball – De La Salle was second seed in the NCS tournament and lost a four-set match to No. 3 Irvington in the semi-finals. Irvington then beat defending champ Amador Valley the finals.

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Dan Brauchli photo courtesy USRowing

Clayton Valley High grad and 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 CVHS 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 the U.S. national Team. By winning nSR 1, Kohler also won the first stage of the three-part U.S. Lotman Challenge.

berean chrisTian TraP Team seeKs Funds For us oPen Travel

regisTraTion oPen

Boys and girls of all skill levels in the 6U-19U (1999-2014) regisTraTion deadlines For age groups are invited to sign up for the Diablo FC fall rec socall ouT sPorTs leagues summer youTh cer program which runs from August through October. The basKeTball, volleyball aPProaching area’s premier soccer club is offering this new fall season proYouth basketball and volleyball leagues are scheduled by All gram that includes two practices per week and one game per Out Sports Leagues in Clayton. AOSL is taking registration weekend. Volunteer parent coaches get free registration for their online. For complete information on All Out Sports leagues, child. The 8-10 game season includes coaching education pro- clinics and other programs, visit vided by Diablo FC staff. Additional free clinics run by DFC coaches for rec players are offered in addition to team practices. concord cobras FooTball, cheer Fee is discounted to $145 if players register by June 1. Fee signuPs now TaKen online includes a uniform. Visit for details. Concord Cobras tackle football and cheer programs are taking signups for the fall season online. The football and cheer Freshman volleyball clinic PresenTed programs are open to youth six to 14 years of age. The Cobras aT carondeleT June 4-7 cheer program is returning this year. For more info on football Carondelet High School is offering a volleyball clinic for email or call 917-0785 and incoming high school freshman girls from June 4-7 on the Con- for cheer email or call 383-1146. cord campus. The sessions are from 5:30-8 p.m. Carondelet Visit for more info. coaches and athletes will work on skills and fundamentals for girls getting ready for high school volleyball. Visit de la salle hosTs summer camPs for details and to register. beginning in June De La Salle High School hosts summer camps to provide a concord ayso oFFers in-Person fun, skill-building week for boys and girls in June, July and Fall soccer regisTraTion August. Appealing to local youth with a variety of athletic interConcord AYSO has begun accepting registrations for their ests, De La Salle will offer sessions for football, basketball, track fall soccer program online. The fall season starts Aug. 1. There and field, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, baseball, water polo, socwill be in-person registration events on June 4 and June 21 from cer, swimming, theatre/broadcasting, rugby and strength and 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Concord Bible Church, 4975 Concord conditioning. DLS Camps are open to K through incoming Blvd.  The registration fee includes a uniform, ball and insur- ninth graders. For more info email or ance. Visit to register and get more info.  visit

TerraPins accePTing swimmers For summer session, year-round regisTraTion

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Kara Kohler wins National Selection Regatta in single sculls

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 Terrapins coaches Dan Cottam and Doug Reed will be teach- 9-14. The team includes 7 girls and 7 boys. The Open includes trap, ing four sessions of stroke and racing skills for the summer skeet and sporting clay competitions. Visit and recreational swimmer. The goal is to help all participants enter Berean Christian Trap Team to contribute. improve/refine strokes. In addition, the sessions will enhance racing skills like starts, breakouts, turns and finishes. Each sesclayTon valley Jr. eagles aPPlicaTions sion is two weeks, three days a week (Mondays, Tuesdays and For FooTball, cheer Thursdays). The sessions are June 11-21, June 25-July 5, July 9Boys and girls can register until July 15 for the fall Clayton 19 and July 23-Aug. 2. For more info and to register visit terrap- Valley Jr. Eagles football and cheer programs. Football is open to boys and girls born between July 30, 2003 and July 31, 2012. Online registration is underway at or email diablo Fc Fall rec soccer Program

TerraPins swim Team oFFering summer sTroKe and racing clinics aT new aquaTic comPlex

Terrapins summer session for Orange Group runs June 11Aug. 9 at Concord Community Pool. Two practice time options (morning or late afternoon) are available for the Monday to Thursday sessions. The USA Swimming competitive team is always open for new year-round membership. Visit the team website or call 680-8372 for more info.

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May 25, 2018

Team soccer TryouTs

Diablo FC 8 under through under 19 competitive soccer teams (birth years 2000-2011) are holding tryouts this month. Email director of coaching Zach Sullivan at with any questions about the club or tryouts for players in birth years 2000-2011. Visit to get more information on the area’s premier youth soccer club and to sign up for the appropriate age group tryout.

norThgaTe youTh FooTball Technique camP June 12-15 TaKing regisTraTions

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. Camp fee includes camp shirt, snacks, fundamentals and techniques, competition, offensive and defensive instruction, individual awards, personal written evaluation and professional trainer on site. Visit for more info and to register.

ugly eagles holding 2 basKeTball camPs in June

Head coach Eric Bamberger and his record-setting Clayton Valley Charter High School coaches and players are offering two Ugly Eagles Basketball Camps this month for boys and girls. The sessions for incoming second through eighth graders are June 11-15 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 camp includes offensive and defensive instruction and games. For more info and to register contact coach Bamberger by phone 726-9999 or email

mdsa Fall recreaTional Program now oPen

Registration for Mt. Diablo Soccer Association’s fall recreation program for boys and girls born 2000-2014 is open. Players must register by June 26 for guaranteed placement on a team for fall league. Games begin mid-August. See for more info and to register.

Concord Pioneer wants to publish your sports news

Please let us know about your sports news, special events, fund raisers, tryouts, signups and accomplishments. Youth leagues, clubs, schools and adult programs are all welcome to send us a rundown on what you’re doing. Include all the necessary details (too much information is better than too little!) and your contact information. It’s as simple as sending an email to

May 25, 2018

Concord Pioneer •

Page 13

Demolition reveals an old friend from the past CAROL LOnGSHORE


Old signs for Beede’s five and dime store revealed themselves a few weeks ago as developers tore down an old building to put up a new one downtown.

For me, it brings back memories of the little bottle of perfume called Blue Waltz. It was a heart-shaped bottle with a beautiful blue top, and the only place I could find it was Beede’s on the corner of Salvio and Galindo. The building goes back to 1919, when it was a drug store called the Yellow Canary Variety Store. Owner Carl Hepp named the store after his mother’s favorite bird. In 1930, Rita and Ed Porter purchased the store. Later, Rita owned and operated the store by herself. After remodeling the building, she joined the Ben Franklin chain.

Sweet blueberries are a spring treat

direct from the farmer. Fresh, sweet and eminently snackable, blueberries are a real treat Blueberries are a popular this time of year. fruit in May and June at the blueberry Jam Concord Farmers Market. 4½ c. blueberries You can find these plump (about ¾ lb.) little orbs of goodness from 1 c. honey Triple Delight of Caruthers, ½ c. water Vasquez Farms of Moss Land2 pinches salt ing and Rainbow Orchards of Four sprigs of lemon Camino. They grow what they thyme (optional) sell, so you know you’re get2 T. lemon juice ting the best blueberries available. Combine all ingredients Blueberries are packed except the lemon juice in a with powerful antioxidants, heavy-bottomed pot. Stirring potassium, and Vitamins C slowly, cook on low until the and K. They are low in calories honey is loose and fully incorand high in fiber. Berries porated with the liquid, 5-10 should be deep purple-blue to minutes. blue-black. Look for those Raise the heat to mediumthat are firm, dry, plump and high and bring to a rolling boil smooth-skinned with a silvery for 5 minutes, stirring consurface bloom – and no leaves stantly. Lower the heat to or mold. maintain a simmer, stirring Refrigerate them as soon as constantly to avoid scorching. possible, unwashed. They will As the liquid evaporates, you last three to four days. must lower the heat to mainHarvesting blueberries is tain a simmer. labor-intensive and accounts When the jam is thick, for the majority of the cost. remove lemon thyme sprigs. They are picked by hand to Cool completely, then add the avoid bruising and damage. lemon juice. Pour into small The shrubs are harvested five mason jars and lid. or six times throughout the This jam will keep for three season at the firm, ripe stage months in the refrigerator. because blueberries do not ripen once picked. Recipe from Marisa Ades, These little blue gems are PCFMA’s Cookin’ the Market well worth the cost when purchef. chased at the farmers market,

Ellsworth and Bessie Beede (not to be confused with the Beebe family) retired from a wholesale bakery business in Minnesota and came to Concord in December 1941. They purchased Rita’s Ben Franklin in 1943. Their son LeRoy and his wife


A quarter was serious money at Beede’s in 1945.

DEBRA MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market


In the famous song “Both Sides Now,” Joni Mitchell describes clouds as “rows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air.” These are wonderful images of one of the most interesting features of our atmosphere. In meteorology, a cloud is defined as a visible mass of tiny water droplets suspended in the air. These droplets form when water vapor condenses in the atmosphere. Water vapor, the gaseous form of water, is invisible to the human eye. Evaporation from water surfaces accounts for about 90 percent of the vapor in the atmosphere. Once created, vapor gas ascends into the air. Water vapor molecules are dispersed vertically and horizontally by local wind currents. Under favorable conditions, portions of the atmosphere will become saturated with moisture – allowing visible cloud droplets to form. In the earth’s lower atmosphere, temperature normally cools with height.

Betty moved here from North Hollywood to help manage the store. In 1945, they replaced the old store and doubled it in size. LeRoy bought his father’s interest in the store in 1958. He added a Clayton branch in 1962 and one in the Bel Air Center in 1963. After 35 years, Beede’s Variety Stores closed and Roy and Betty moved to Santa Rosa in 1976. It will be interesting to see what the site will house in our near future.

Carol Longshore has been a Concord resident since 1950. She is a community leader and current president of Marlowe Boyd the Concord Historical Society. Send Workers uncovered old signage from Beede’s Variety Store comments and suggestions for future topwhile clearing the downtown Concord site. ics to

This is called the lapse rate. If you lift a parcel of air, it will cool at a prescribed rate. Lifting and cooling an air parcel is the most efficient way to achieve saturation and cloud development. Before saturation occurs, there is a constant battle between evaporation and condensation inside an air parcel. As air is cooled, the evaporation rate decreases. When air cools to a certain point, called the dew point temperature, the condensation process rules. Small invisible droplets grow into cloud drops. There are several ways to lift parcels of air. Each process creates a different type of cloud structure. Some clouds form due to the heating of the ground by the sun. This warmed air is lighter and less dense than the surrounding air, so it begins to rise. Small, flat-bottomed cumulus clouds develop when the temperature of the rising air parcel lowers to the dew point temperature. The flat surface is called the lifting condensation level. We often observe these types of clouds in the Bay Area after the passage of a weather front. Another lifting mechanism involves geographic features. Wind-driven parcels of air rise when they encounter mountainous terrain. Along the hilly California coastline, moist air from the ocean is forced upward over

west-facing slopes. Cumulustype clouds form along the ridgelines when the lifted air temperature cools to equal the dew point temperature. On a larger scale, weather fronts often cause clouds to form. Fronts are the surface boundary points between two moving air masses. The two main types, cold fronts and warm fronts, lift air in a similar fashion but produce different types of clouds. Warm fronts produce clouds when warm air overtakes colder air and rides above it. The slope of the cool air is very narrow and the warm air lifts gradually. A solid sheet of cloud cover is typically associated with warm fronts.

Cold fronts occur when cool, dense air undercuts a mass of warmer air. The slope of a cold front is much steeper than a warm front and can provide strong vertical air currents. Towering cumulus clouds can develop along strong cold fronts. Mitchell ends her song with the line: “I really don’t know clouds at all.” But with a little information about water vapor and forces that cause air to rise, she wouldn’t be able to say that. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist retired from PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

Don’t Miss it!

The Concord United Methodist

Spring Concert is coming Sunday, June 3, 3 p.m.

FEATURING: The award-winning a cappella quartet

HouseBlend, the CUMC Choir, the Ashmolean Singers, and the CUMC Community Orchestra

Free admission There will be a free-will offering for the CUMC Music Program

Concord United Methodist Church 1645 West St., Concord (925) 685-5260


Page 14

Concord Pioneer •

May 25, 2018

No more talk – we need environmental action

There is an intimate relationship between humans and nature. Since the beginning of time, nature has fostered our survival. Like every other creature, we rely on the natural world for all the necessities of life: food, water, shelter,

warmth. Life exists on Earth only because our planet contains the resources to sustain it. Humans owe everything to the dirt that sits beneath our feet, the water that falls from the sky and the energy the sun provides.

Yet for generations, we have taken advantage of nature. We treat the finite resources provided by our planet like they exist only to satisfy our wants and needs. Rainforests produce 20 percent of our oxygen and are home to 50 percent of all liv-

District honors special ed teacher Kelly Perkins

Kelly Perkins, a 27-year special education teacher, is one of the Teachers of the Year for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD). “I became a teacher because I enjoy interacting with students and supporting social and intellectual development,” says Perkins. “I also enjoy challenging students and guiding them toward becoming independent thinkers and learners.” For the past 10 years, Perkins has been a special education teacher at Ygnacio Valley High. She previously taught special education classes for 17 years at other MDUSD schools, including Foothill Middle, Strandwood Elementary and Woodside Elementary. Since 1998, she has been an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s College, where she teaches a variety of special education-related courses for current and soon-to-be educators. Perkins says she chose special education because a summer school principal saw her potential and encouraged her to interview with MDUSD. “Now, 27 years later, I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she notes. Parent Shawn Garcia says Perkins deserves this recognition. “She was my son’s teacher for three years and was a wonderful partner in his education,” Garcia reports. “Her enthusiasm, passion for teaching, creativity and



need to start listening. The damage that has been done to this planet cannot be reversed, but we, and the generations of the future, must take steps to reduce our negative environmental impact as much as possible. And though we are a society accustomed to being able to bend the planet in our favor, there is no quick fix. Sure, you could turn away and ignore this issue; it’s likely that the current generation won’t live to face the worst of the consequences. But if you want the Earth to still be comfortably habitable for your children’s children, and their children, and all of the future’s children, then the change must start now – with us. What are we waiting for?

plastic pollution littering your city’s streets. Now take that and multiply it by the hundreds of thousands of cities in America and the rest of the planet, and try to comprehend just how much waste humans produce. So, what can we do? They’re all things you’ve heard before: sustainable developAlyssa Arino is a junior at ment, renewable energy, conCVCHS Send comments to servation. Environmentalists are a broken record, but we

Young student steps into principal’s job for a day Photo courtesy of MDUSD

Special education Teacher of the Year Kelly Perkins shops with one of her students as part of her Life Skills class.

endless energy motivates all who work with Kelly. Her belief that special education students should be fully included and embraced by everyone on campus is truly an inspiration,” Garcia adds. “Her excitement motivates others, including the general education students, teachers, principal and even the bus drivers, to fully embrace our special-education kids with openness and respect and ensures interac-

Mayor, from page 1

answering me.’ The priest gave him a prayer bead ritual and said the boy should be good and listen to his mother. Later that month, the boy returned with the same story: ‘He is not listening.’ So after another few months of variation on the theme, there happened to be a chance encounter with the pope. Bringing the boy to the pope, the priest explained the plight. The pope turned to the child and said: ‘No is also an answer.’ ” For politicians, the hardest thing is saying “no.” And for constituents, sometimes “no” is the hardest thing to hear. Politicians will try to delay, or obfuscate in some way or employ what is described as double speak – or as I put it:

ing things. Yet about 86,000 acres of rainforest are lost due to human interference every day, according to the Rainforest Foundation. In spite of how carelessly we waste it, water isn’t infinite. There is the same amount of fresh water on Earth as there was a million years ago, and the same as there will be in another million. So, as we continue to irreversibly contaminate our water, we are destroying portions of our eternal water sources. And not only do we take and take and take from nature, we also afflict it with our waste – most noxiously our nondegradable wastes. Currently, 150 million tons of plastic floats in our oceans, and the Ocean Conservancy says another 8 million tons are added annually. Next time you’re out in Concord, take a moment to look around and notice the

“Political Posturing-Big Spin, known more popularly as PPBS. As mayor, I try to respond to all messages coming into the office. Many times, staff will have already started outreach on the issue. At times, there is just one side of the issue presented in the message, since people aren’t often inclined to give a full scope of views on an issue about which they are passionate or infuriated. When I was a city constituent, I hated when there was never an answer. So I have tried to respond as openly as I can, while remembering that issues can have valid arguments on both sides. Most things are not simple. If they were, we would not need peo-

Why advertise in the Pioneer? Since I started advertising in the Clayton and Concord Pioneers, my business has exploded. I can hardly keep up with the calls.

Kevin Schmidt, General Contractor Diablo View Construction

tions are meaningful, rich and rewarding.” To celebrate the honor, county superintendent Karen Sakata visited Perkin’s life skills class. Throughout the school year, Sakata visits all the Teachers of the Year in their classrooms. Short videos recorded during the visits will be featured at the Sept. 27 gala at the Concord Hilton. Each will include a quote from a student about the revered teacher.

ple in government – we could have an algorithm resolve everything. This also brings about an interesting cultural/social aspect when there are supporting tidbits used to reinforce an argument. My mother used to say that when you went to a cocktail party, you do not talk about sex, politics or religion and if someone should bring it up, just listen and do not engage as a way to remain respectful. Dear Ol’ Dad, on the other hand, was a scientist and his view was that if you respected and liked someone, it was disrespectful not to engage if they presented an argument that was supported by something false. After all, wouldn’t you tell your friend that his fly was down? Having a false argument does not mean they are lying. The word “wrong” also exists in the English language. But you have to listen fairly. And even when “no” is the answer, you have to make use of a few more words than the Divine. There may be a reason Dad and I never got invited to a lot of cocktail parties. To sit down with the mayor and have him practice his listening skills, reach him at City Hall at 925-6713158 or run into him at Peet’s Coffee at Oak Grove and Treat.

Ygnacio Valley Christian School got a new principal on April 17 as student James Miller became the Principal for a Day. Miller won his title for raising the most funds in the YVCS Jog-A-Thon earlier this school year. Principal Dennis Snyder greeted Miller upon his arrival to school with a name badge that had his new title and his picture. Miller beamed from ear to ear as he strutted up the walkway to take his place in the office. He took care of morning announcements, worked on important paperwork – such as coloring on it, directed the classes through the loudspeaker during lunchtime and set up the cones for dismissal, along with other principal-type tasks throughout the day.

James Miller was all smiles during his day as principal at Ygnacio Valley Christian School.

Every time staff and students passed by Miller, they supportively waved and highfived as they said: “Hi Principal Miller.” Everyone at YVCS enjoyed having Miller as principal and looks forward to

History, from page 1

shopping center in the late 1950s, followed by many others located closer to the new housing developments. Twenty-six schools were built between 1949 and 1959. The city set aside land for parks and recreation areas, and Camp Concord in Lake Tahoe was established to give kids something to do in the summer. In this era, Concord was a friendly, family-oriented bedroom community. Boy and Girl Scout troops and Little League flourished. Major League Baseball player Tom Candiotti got his start in Concord’s American Little League. The Concord Blue Devils started in 1957 as an all-boys drum corps and all-girls marching team, achieving national attention. The PowWow Parade held in August drew as many as 30,000 people to see floats, the drum and bugle corps, horses and men in feathered headdresses. The Concord Horseman’s Parade was another annual event.

businessmen, city leaders saw the need to attract more businesses to sustain economic health and provide services that residents needed. One of the first large businesses to come to Concord was SystronDonner Corp., an electronics company, in 1965. In 1970, Standard Oil Co., which later became Chevron, was the largest employer in Concord. Sun Valley Mall opened in the late 1960s, establishing Concord as an important destination for shopping. With the growth in shopping areas, the original downtown began to deteriorate. Even so, in the heart of downtown, the plaza remained the pride of Concord. In the 1960s, the city council officially named the square Todos Santos Plaza. Redevelopment of the downtown area would become a priority in the decade to follow.

This series includes details from three books on Concord history: “Images of America: Concord” by Joel A. Harris, “History of Concord: Its Progress and Promise” by more business Edna May Andrews and “ConoPPorTuniTies cord’s Dynamic Half Century: The As Concord’s leadership Years Since World War II” by transitioned from farmers to Lura Dymond.

another new principal in June from the spring dinner fundraiser. Principal for a Day has become all the craze at YVCS, creating memories that won’t soon be forgotten.

The city will celebrate its 150th birthday on July 4 with a parade and the unveiling of a statue to honor founding father Salvio Pacheco in Todos Santos Plaza.

4th of July




10am 4pm 9pm

5K/Kids Run Todos Santos Plaza

Parade Route starts at Mt. Diablo High Festival at Mt. Diablo High Fireworks at Mt. Diablo High

May 25, 2018

Concord Pioneer •

Page 15

New breast cancer clinic streamlines the medical process Sponsored Content

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, her life is turned upside down. Suddenly, she is consumed with appointments, tests and consultations with a variety of specialists – all at different locations. She may even seek second and third opinions. This process is overwhelming and exhausting and can take weeks to months. For these reasons, our team developed a program to make the process easier for breast cancer patients. I am excited to announce

that Diablo Valley Oncology and West Coast Surgical Associates have opened the Women’s Cancer Center of the East Bay in our new multidisciplinary cancer clinic in Pleasant Hill. This new program focuses on breast cancer patients and brings together physician expertise from breast surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology. Similar to multidisciplinary tumor boards at academic centers, our board-certified, highly trained and experienced physicians offer a multi-

disciplinary team approach to diagnosis and treatment planning. With multidisciplinary 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, radi-

ation 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, worldclass breast cancer program. All in one day – all in one place. 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.

I would like to provide you with an update regarding the county’s efforts to communicate about the new, non-franchise solid waste collection and transport permit. Adopted by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year, the waste hauler ordinance is a tool the county can utilize to help crack down on illegal dumping. KAREn MiTCHOFF This is an issue our office hears about regularly from the public. COUNTY The Environmental Health SUPERVISOR Division has taken a threefaceted approach to target consumers, waste haulers and affected by the new permit enforcement partners. A new requirement. The county also Website targets waste haulers developed an informational brochure to distribute to waste

haulers and the public in the following ways: Environmental Health staff distributes to waste haulers they encounter out in the field during regular work activities, such as leaving on a windshield of a parked truck filled with solid waste. Provided to Republic Services to be handed out to haulers when they come to the Keller Canyon Landfill or transfer stations they operate in the county. Provided to the Board of Supervisors offices to distribute to the public at various community meetings. Provided to Mt. Diablo

Resource and Recovery to distribute to haulers at their Pittsburg location. In addition, Environmental Health staff met with the Treasurer/Tax Collector’s Office that issue business licenses for the county and obtained a list of businesses that operate junk hauling services. These businesses have been sent the brochure to notify them of this new permit system. We have also added language to the Business License Application that will direct new haulers to Environmental Health for the permit. In February, Environmental

Health held a meeting with county sheriff ’s deputies representing patrol divisions throughout the county. They updated the deputies on the permit and vehicle requirements for nonfranchise solid waste haulers. The Sheriff ’s Office is a key partner in the enforcement of the non-franchise solid waste collection and transport permit. In March, we partnered with the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority (RecycleSmart), Rodeo Sanitary District, Mt. View Sanitary District and the Kensington Police & Community Services District to incorporate language for their spring publications, which inform residents in these service areas about the new permit require-

ment. Environmental Health is continuing to work with other waste authorities on sharing this information with their customers as well. By informing constituents about this new permit, we hope to encourage customers seeking private waste hauling services to inquire with the business about whether they have a permit to operate in the county.

Tiffany Svahn, M.D.

County spreading the word about illegal dumping

Summer’s the time for a ride and picnic Our family loves to go on summertime rides together and have picnics in the park. Concord and Contra Costa County offer so many places and opportunities for a fun summer picnic. Safe bike routes will increase as Bike Concord and residents like you encourage the city and county to build them. The first step before any ride is to have your cycling safety gear together. Check your bike and make sure that your tires are full of air, with the correct pressure or PSI (pound per square inch). You can find the PSI printed on the side of the tire. Since your tires are the main contact with the road, correct PSI is going to determine how safely you can control your bike.

If your tires are too low, you risk damaging your wheel rim and tire. If you’re ever unsure, bring your bike to the Bike Tent in Todos Santos Plaza on Thursday evenings. Having a well-fitting helmet and gloves are super important. Gloves aren’t for warmth. If something happens and you fall, gloves will protect your hands from being scraped or injured. Wear visible reflective gear or bright colors, like a yellow or white windbreaker or vest. Neon construction vests are great for making you easily visible to drivers. Fully charge the batteries for your bike lights in case you are riding home in the evening or after dark. If you think you might need to leave your bikes unattended, make sure to pack

MARYAM ROBERTS BIKE CONCORD your bike locks and cables. Here’s our family’s packing list for a picnic. You can scale up or down however you like. • Blanket for the park. • Layers for the evening chill. • A small cooler with favorite foods and drinks. You can

carry this in your backpack, on a bike trailer or mounted to a bike rack. • Portable chairs or an umbrella, if you have a bike trailer. • Favorite book. • Sun protection: sunscreen, glasses, hat. • Water bottles for the ride. It’s important to stay hydrated. Select a park that’s a good distance away, so you have a nice ride. We like to choose a bike-safe route that has bike lanes, prioritizing residential streets over main arterial roads. We take the Iron Horse Trail or one of the many Contra Costa Canal Trails when possible. Have fun out there this summer with your friends and fam. Roberts is a volunteer with Bike Concord.

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 in

Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service


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

If you have any questions about this permit or illegal dumping, visit https://cchealth.or g/eh/solidwaste/non-franchise-permit.php or call my office at 925-521-7100.

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

Time marches on and the Boomers head into retirement

Lately, more seniors are asking about housing options after retirement.



My team and I want to congratulate Tamara and Bob Steiner and their staff on ownership of the Clayton/Concord Pioneer for 15 years. I began advertising and writing a column for the Clayton 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 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.

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.

Page 16

Concord Pioneer •


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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 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, 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 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 per-

Jennifer Peabody

Diane Mcneely, left, Sheila Morrison, Siobhan O’Brien and Anne Baker are featured in Onstage’s “Funny Thing Called Love.”

formance 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 interac-

nathan Emley, Alan Coyne, Alisha Ehrlich and Heather Buck in “Sense and Sensibility” through June 23 at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette

tion 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 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 Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to

Characters are key to ‘How it All Began’



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 the author – Dame Penelope Lively – is the most important 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.” 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 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 25, 2018

Concord Pioneer •

Page 17

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 storyline of every superhero. The Russos smartly made the major

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

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 31, Rock, Rhythm & Blues Revue; June 7, The Purple Ones; June 14, Dakila; June 21, Lumberyard. 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 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 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.

June 14 Emergency Communications Class

Learn about HF or VHF/UHF portable operations. Held by Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club. 7 - 9 p.m. Salvation Army, 3950 Clayton Road. Free. Register at

June 16 Corvette Car Show

Hosted by Diablo Valley Corvettes. 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord. Free to spectators; $25 car entrants. For more information, contact Bill at or (510) 332-5669.


Saturdays Concerts in the Grove

May 26, Big Bang Beat; June 9, Take 2 Dance Band. 6 – 8:30 p.m. Grove Park. Free.

Saturdays Farmers’ Market

June 10 Mine Open House

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.

June 10 Round the Mountain Hike

Stunning views in all directions. 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Meet at Juniper Campground.

June 10 Snakes and Reptiles

June 22 Common Poorwill Bird Walk

Hike and listen to the birds of the early evening. 7 – 10:30 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Reservations required:

June 23 Solstice Evening Hike

Summer time hike. 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Reservations required:

Save Mount Diablo’s Discover Diablo is a free public hike series. Go to for more information.

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.

June 23 Castle Rock Family Hike

Leisurely stroll along Pine Creek. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area. Reservations required.


Thru May 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.

Thru May 27 “Funny Little Thing Called Love”

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

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.

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

June 2 “Giselle”

June 13 Wednesday Classic Car Show

Car show and DJ music. 6 – 8 p.m. 6099 Main St. Free.


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 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.

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+

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

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. lesherDrop in to meet several local snakes. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Summit (925) 943-7469. Museum.

May 30 Bebe Neuwirth

May 28 Memorial Day Observance


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

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 6095 Main St.

May 27 Miners and Their Tools

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




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

Presented by Feinstein’s Presents. 7 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $65-$100. (925) 943-7469. Presented by Soo Dance Company. 4 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25. (925) 943-7469.

June 3 Concert

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 15 – 16 “The Show 2018”

Presented by Dance Fusion Company. 7 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $25. (925) 943-7469.

June 17 Escher String Quartet

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

June 21 – 24 “Broadway and the Bard: An Evening of Shakespeare and Song”

Featuring Len Cariou. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $40. (925) 943-7469.

June 23 “Tribute to the Music of John Denver”

Starring Jim Curry. 2 and 8 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $12-$29. (925) 757-9500.


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.

June 16 Golf Tournament

Benefitting Ygnacio Valley Christian School. 11:30 a.m. Boundary Oak Golf Course, 3800 Valley Vista Road, Walnut Creek. $140 by June 4.


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 May 29: Library reopens June 3: Concord Knitting and Crotchet group, 1:15 p.m. June 4, 11: Family Program, 7 p.m. June 7: Bike Theft Prevention, 6:30 p.m. June 10: AARP Tax Help by appointment, (925) 405-5135 June 13: Tween Giftables, 4 p.m. Registration required. June 14: Write from the Heart, 6 p.m.

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.

June 11: Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. June 11: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 p.m. June 11: Road Scholar Ambassador Presentation, 7 p.m. June 21: Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea craft, 4 p.m.


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

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

1st and 3rd Wednesdays Concord Planning Commission

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

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

Page 18

Concord Pioneer •

Joyous colors bring a swing to summer

May 25, 2018

slouchy boots and big-shoul- maximalist mood is major statedered printed dresses. You’ll also ment fringing, swishing across find strong, squared blouses in necklines, hemlines, bags – you “Working Girl”-worthy graphic name it. And these are no wishyprints, teamed with cowboy washy boho trims. The look isn’t boots. The Saint Laurent Paris so much haute-hippy as putSUSAn SAPPinGTOn fashion week brought all the through-a-shredder. CLOTHESUP “Dynasty” glamour for nightSummer fashion trends also time. The Power-Pouff – it’s a sees the rise of the Statement thing. Short. Normally so basic and without a sea of florals and pretAlthough checks are often boring, shorts just lurk in the ty dresses, and this season thought of as strictly winter back of the drawer – only to be doesn’t disappoint. If these trends aren’t for you wear, they’re making a convinc- pulled out on holiday when no (and I must say, most aren’t for ing case for being spring’s It one’s looking and all your sunme), let me help you with your print. I saw folksy ginghams, dresses are covered in ice cream. wardrobe needs. I work with sweet red and blue plaids, beau- But this year brings Louis Vuitmen and women to help build tiful bright shopper-bag checks, ton’s silky boxer style, Saint Lauconfidence in their personal even checked tights. rent’s high-waisted leathers and a styles. This season is all about a whole host of (are you ready) Break out of the fashion doldrums this spring with the short power suit, pale pink onegold brocade version, with white shorts suits. That’s right: Fashshoulder dress or folksy gingham shirt Susan Sappington is a personal feathers flying from the shoul- ion-forward summer tailoring wardrobe stylist. Contact her at ders. It’s not rain-friendly, will finish at the knee. I’ve researched some spring I’ve got two words for the almond pastels, some pretty Another iteration of the And it wouldn’t be summer and summer 2018 fashion craziest trend: Fashion Prozac. powerful ’80s power dressing trends, and I’d say it’s high time After an epically depressing and texture and fringing galore. for some next-season wardrobe year for politics (and just about The outlook might be a little plotting. everything else), designers react- gloomy right now, but at least we It’s never too early to start ed with uplifting, colorful, joy- can dress happy. that wish-list – especially if you ous clothes that take us off into Designers raided the Panwant more than a chance of get- another universe. You can tone color chart for pulsating ting your hands on that Gucci expect kaleidoscopes of rain- primary colors. Tomato red bum bag. bow color, yummy new sugared- made a strong showing, seen everywhere. There’s also cobalt, emerald green and bright yellow. And delicate sugared-almond shades have shaken off their Hyacinth Bucket connotations and turned themselves into a On safaris, travelers can see wildlife in their natural habitat – fashion statement – with onesuch as this giraffe in South Africa’s Kruger national Park shouldered dresses and draped shapes in delicate shades of elers in elaborate safari suits and One of Africa’s oldest and bestpalest pink and green. sun helmets. As officials desig- maintained parks, this South The big news is that lilac, that nate more national parks and African preserve is known as the most Queen Mums-y of shades, emphasize conservation, there easiest place to spot the Big Five: is set for a major comeback. Buy FREE are exciting new safari options – lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, a lilac bag now. Or have yourself ESTIMATES including “glamping,” sleeping leopards and rhinoceros. a scoop of Neapolitan. in luxurious tents set up in volcanoes national Park. Princess Di and her late ’80s remote areas for better views of This park features misty rainforheyday were a pervasive influ•Lawn & Plant Installation •Paver Patio & Walkway wildlife migrations. est, volcanoes, grasslands and ence on some of the season’s Here are some details of tranquil lakes over three nations: key shows. Clearly the 20th •Retaining Walls •Drainage •Low Voltage Lighting Africa’s 10 most popular safari Rwanda, Uganda and Congo, anniversary of her death got ROBERT CASEY destinations, according to where gorillas are the featured designers thinking, and many PLACES TO GO Fodor’s guides: attraction. dedicated an Off-White show to maasai mara national Zambezi valley. Zambia’s her. On May 19, Prince Harry reserve. Africa’s most popular national parks are a haven of Think puff-sleeved jackets, Boyce Nichols - Owner Lic. 542812 high-waisted jeans, pristine white and Meghan Markle will walk safari destination features dra- hippo, elephant and bird life. Fully Insured Clayton Resident down the aisle in the most antic- matic game viewing, including a Serengeti National Park. Peripated wedding of the year. And July-October migration of mil- haps the best-known park in their royal honeymoon on an lions of wildebeest that makes Africa, the Serengeti annually African safari illustrates a rising the ground vibrate. Safaris to hosts 1.5 million wildebeest and trend in travel. this Kenyan destination often 250,000 zebras migrating According to Travel + include neighboring Tanzania. through Tanzania. Lions are Leisure magazine, the royal coubwindi impenetrable For- abundant, and the Grumeti ple have reportedly chosen to est reserve. This Ugandan area River has some of the largest honeymoon in Namibia and go is home to about half of the Nile crocodiles in the world. on a safari, an experience that world’s mountain gorillas. The gorongosa national Park. has become a “bucket list” item landscape is spectacular, with This is Mozambique’s flagship for many travelers. A source tells volcanoes and waterfalls shroud- reserve, once attracting more the magazine that the couple will ed in mist. visitors than South Africa and be staying at the southwest etosha national Park. Zimbabwe combined. After African nation’s newest luxury Home to Africa’s tallest ele- years of war, the area is regaincamp, Hoanib Valley Camp. The phants, the endangered black ing its reputation as a gamecamp is described as “the world’s rhino and cheetahs, this Namib- viewing destination. only African-wide giraffe con- ian preserve features Onguma COMING SOON servation organization.” Robert Casey is president of Treetop Camp built on stilts in Decades of population the treetops. Fair Winds Cruises & Expeditions • 214 Falcon Pl., Clayton Call for more info growth, poaching and loss of chobe national Park. Situ- in Clayton. You can contact him at 3 bedroom 2 bathroom, approx. 1493 sq. ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei habitat have wreaked havoc in ated in the Okavango Delta of 925-787-8252 or by email at many areas of Africa, so conser- Botswana, Chobe is a major Or visit the • 2432 Sequoia Dr., Antioch Call for more info vation has become a prime focus location for spotting wild dog, website for leading safari outfitters, such cheetah and brown hyena. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei 3 bedroom 2 bathroom, approx. 1058 sq. ft. as Micato Safaris and Abercromhwange national Park. bie & Kent. You will find one of the world’s • 26 Lakeview Dr., Baypoint Call for more info Safaris have come a long way largest populations of elephants 4 bedroom 2 bathroom, approx. 1491 sq. ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei from the days of game-hunting here on the banks of ZimbabVa c c i n a t i o n s . expeditions in colonial Africa, we’s Zambezi River. While your safari locaPENDING when Hollywood depicted travKruger national Park. tion and personal health • 2527 Sycamore Ave., Concord history are factors, the World Health Organiza$430,000 tion generally recom2 bedroom 1 bathroom, approx. 864 sq. ft. mends vaccinations for yellow fever, typhoid, Listing agent: Matt Mazzei hepatitis A, hepatitis B and rabies. Malaria is • 25 Mozden Lane, Pleasant Hill $550,000 also a risk, so talk to 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathrooms, approx. 1488 sq. ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei your doctor about ways to avoid mosquito bites. PENDING: Buyer Representation Documentation. In addition to a U.S. pass• 1985 Holly Creek Pl., Concord $1,090,000 port valid for at least three months after your Listing agent: Rula Masannat 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom, approx. 3234 sq. ft. return, a number of countries, including Paula & Rod Matt Rula Kenya, require a visa. Johnstone Mazzei, Jr., Masannat Check the State DepartBroker Associate Broker/Owner Sales Agent ment’s website at DRE# 00797857 BRE# 01881269 DRE# 01923757 for more information. Paula 925-381-8810 925-766-6745 415-310-2905 Travel insurance. Rod 925-286-5765 This is a must for exotic adventures such as safaris. Select a policy that covers medical cancellation, illness, emergency evacuation and Clayton residents since 1959 associated hospital treatments. 925-693-0757 (Main) 925-693-0752 (Fax)

Get up and go – on a safari


If You Go l

6160 Center St. Suite #C, Clayton

May 25, 2018

Concord 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

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Page 20

Concord Pioneer •

May 25, 2018

Ageism in hiring: Illegal but real 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 like “new or recent s traditional pensions disappear and graduates” or even a graduating year preferlifespans get longer, older Americans ence in their job posts. Some seek applicants are worried about not being able to who are “digital natives,” a category that retire, or burning through their 401(k)s to 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 discriminathe job hunting process can be daunting for tion based on age for people 40 and older. But 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 discriminanetworking in new ways can be a steep learntion in the workplace, according to a study by AARP, 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 A large-scale study found that younger job That means posting jobs where older adults applicants were much more likely to get a call- will see them (like LinkedIn, where older back than people in their mid-60s with similar adults are well represented); being mindful of potential ageist wording in job posts; and experience, and that discrimination against older women, particularly, is rampant. Employ- ensuring that photos in their recruitment materials 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 disware,” 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 posMany companies say they want to hire


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

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

5100 Clayton Rd. Ste A19, Concord, CA 94521 Phone: 925-825-1130 Website:

May 25, 2018

Concord Pioneer •

Page 21

Enjoy the great outdoors as a campground host outdoors as much as I do, consider applying for one of these positions. A couple working as a team often take the positions, although the department also hires hat if there were a job that was singles. Host duties vary according to each dog friendly, rent-free and outpark, but generally include providing visitor doors? What if the air smelled of pine and reverberated with bird songs? What if information, staffing visitor centers and museums, maintenance projects and general housethe office had spectacular views like Half keeping. Dome or the Pinnacles? Most hosts work about 20 hours a week. In My husband and I were avid campers for exchange, the hosts receive a campsite during almost 30 years and I used to flirt with the idea that we would become campground hosts their stay. Most positions require a minimum hey say you can’t turn back the hands Other plus factors are that reverse mort- after we retired. I’m alone now and though my commitment of one to three months and a maximum of six months. of time. But seniors who qualify can gage money received as loan advances is not spirit would definitely be willing, my body Many parks have full hookups and are wouldn’t be able to comply. Consequently, I’ve turn back the terms of their morttaxable and that the borrower retains the equipped with restrooms and showers. For taken up quieter pursuits these days. gages so that lenders pay them instead of the home’s title. A government-backed reverse those who prefer a more rustic setting, there In my opinion, we live in one of the most other way around – a la a reserve mortgage. mortgage loan also will allow the borrower are parks with little or no hookups or commerpicturesque states in the country. According to A reverse mortgage is a special type of to live in a nursing home or other medical cial amenities. When applying as a campthe Department of Parks and Recreation, the loan for older owners whose home mortgage facility for up to one year before the loan ground host, make sure the location that interCalifornia state park system has 280 incredible typically is paid in full but they desire to with- becomes payable. ests you has the appropriate hookups for your state parks. Their miles of breathtaking coastdraw equity from their home for extra money. However, there are several disadvantages needs. line, remarkable wetlands, majestic redwood A reverse mortgage can be a smart choice for that accompany reverse mortgages. A key fact forests, beautiful deserts and colorful valleys seniors eager to reduce bills and improve qual- is that the interest owed compounds tremenFor a complete list of California state parks that ity of life. It may be a good idea for older dously because the loan generally is not repaid provide a diversity of parks found nowhere use volunteer hosts, visit To request a else in the world. homeowners who don’t work but don’t want until the homeowner dies or moves out of the volunteer information packet, call 916-653-9069 or Volunteer host positions are available in to sell their homes to downsize or aren’t eligi- home. Plus, the points, closing costs and other visit more than 100 of these parks. If you love the ble for a home-equity loan or line of credit. fees charged for this type of loan are considerReverse mortgages can be valuable tools ably more than the fees charged for a convenfor some seniors who are trying to supplement tional loan. retirement incomes, especially in an age when The loan comes due when the homeowner pensions and Social Security may not cover liv- sells the house, moves out for 12 consecutive ing expenses. months or dies. The home will not be left free But reserve mortgages aren’t only alluring and clear for heirs – they must repay the loan to house-rich, cash-poor homeowners looking if they wish to keep the home. to meet living expenses. They’re also attractive to wealthier seniors who may wish to avoid Understanding the terms capital gains taxes from the sale of stock portReverse mortgages can be complex. folios. 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 payResCare is committed to finding innovative solutions to help seniors and Have the home be the borrower’s primary ments only for a determined amount of individuals with disabilities stay in their own homes. 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 • Drop-in visits ResCare Home Care loan candidates must meet with a counselor term runs out. • Overnight care from an independent, government-approved Under a tenure plan, payments received 1850 Gateway Blvd., Suite 280, Concord • Medication reminder housing counseling agency that will review the may be very low. And with a term plan, the • Personal care & homemaking Johana Seminario, LVN, Branch Manager loan’s costs, financial fine print and alternatives homeowner may outlive the term. • Companionship 925.685.5577 with the potential borrower. Government-backed, home equity conver• Alzheimer’s and dementia care Applicants may be eligible for a reverse sion mortgages (HECMs), also known as • Respite Care mortgage even if they currently owe money on reverse annuity mortgages, represent 90 per• Transport to/from appointments/errands their homes. But the best candidates are sencent of all reverse mortgages. A conventional iors with significant equity in their homes who reverse mortgage is backed by a private lender Helping people live their best life are trying to supplement retirement incomes. or by Fannie Mae. They also should be planning on staying in Currently, the lending limit for HECMs is 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 continu3487 or visit ing care but who may be able to receive this Source: Content That Works care in their own homes.


CHRISTINE KOGUT Special to the Pioneer


Affordable care you can trust

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.


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Celebrating 60 years in Concord

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Concord Pioneer •

Eye on Concord

May 25, 2018

Rent increases, evictions dominate May Day rally GEORGE FULMORE Correspondent

It was a beautiful May 1st at Meadow Homes Park, where about 100 people attended an Immigration Rally put on by Tenants Together, Monument Impact, First 5 Regional Group, the Interfaith Coalition and others. The lively program featured speakers, a drumming group from Oakland and musical entertainment. Betty Gabaldon, vice president of the Monument Club, gave a dynamic speech – telling of her struggles with rent increases on Virginia Lane and the group’s successes

organizing to fight against unjust rent increases. It is difficult to stage such an event, so those involved deserve credit. At the same time, I wonder what effect the event would have on rents and the availability of affordable rental units in Concord. The implementation of the Concord Residential Rent Review Program marks the most progress on rent issues in the city over the past several years. The City Council passed it 5-0 about a year ago, after a great deal of behind-the-scenes discussions and work by city staff with Tenants Together and others. But speakers point-

ed out at the rally that there are currently no controls in the program to stop unjust evictions in Concord. As for the availability of affordable housing, it is important that there be more affordable rental complexes in Concord to provide subsidized rents so that individuals and families on limited incomes can continue to live here. Free-market rental housing has seen sharp increases in the past five years, yet some complexes and owners of condos/townhouses have not sought unreasonable increases. But the number of reasonably priced rental units in the free-

market segment – $1,400$1,600 per month for a two bedroom – are diminishing. Any new rental housing, by definition, will be relatively expensive: $3,500 per month or more for a two bedroom. These will not be any help to lowincome individuals or families. The city has about $14 million in affordable housing funds to be distributed to or for affordable housing complexes. There is a proposed new affordable development on Galindo near Laguna, and there are several non-profits looking for other opportunities to build new, subsidized, affordable Residents gathered to protest high rents and evictions at housing in Concord. Meadow Homes Park on May Day.

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 trumpet-

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-



shaped flower, or Lavender 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

Nancy E. Bennett 4486 Camstock Ct. – Concord

1248 Clover Ln. – Walnut Creek

3528 Halfmoon Ln. – Concord

4 bedroom, 2.5 bath 1842 sq. ft. Beautiful and spacious Crossings home is move in ready. Gorgeous laminate flooring, updated kitchen with granite counters, dual paned windows and a brand new roof. Spacious living room with vaulted ceiling, gas fireplace and a formal dining room. Fantastic backyard with shaded arbor perfect for enjoying the outdoors.

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.

4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2123 sq. ft. Trilevel 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.

Offered at $795,000


• Concord – 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1680 sq. ft. Single-story home • Concord – 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2159 sq. ft. Two-story home • Concord – 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1308 sq. ft. Single-story home


Offered at $800,000

Offered at $1,285,000

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”

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 25 Concord Pioneer 2018  

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

MAY 25 Concord Pioneer 2018  

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