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Lennar Urban prevails in master developer saga IT’S YOUR PAPER

From the desk of...

May 27, 2016


PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer



Community input, research key to base project

As your mayor and council member, I’ve taken extraordinary efforts to study issues, ask important questions and make intelligent, reasonable and fair decisions for Concord. Selecting the right master developer for Phase 1 (10 percent of the site) of the Concord Naval Weapons Station is no exception. As a lifelong Concord resiArtist rendering courtesy of Lennar Urban dent, I have seen many LENNAR URBAN WILL TAKE THE FIRST STAB AT DEVELOPING THE VAST CONCORD NAVAL WEAPONS STATION after a unanichanges over the years. I too mous May 11 decision by the Concord City Council. The first phase will be developed in 40- to 60-acre See Mayor, page 6 parcels. For more information on Lennar’s proposal with the city, visit proposal/lennar.pdf.

‘Rent Strike’ fights back at increases

In a long, drawn-out civic process that resembled a soap opera or a bad reality show, the city of Concord unanimously selected Lennar Urban as the master developer for Phase 1 of the Concord Naval Weapons Station Base Reuse. Only three City Council members were eligible to vote. In statements to the press and the public, council members reiterated that the decision did not mean that Lennar had rights to development of the entire base. Even Phase 1 will be doled out 4060 acres at a time, depending on performance. Rather than transfer the entire 500 acres of the first phase to Lennar at one time, the city will turn over

See Lennar, page 14

Trees falls in right direction at Willow Pass Park

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series on rising rents in Concord. Next up: Affordable housing – where we are and where we are going. PEGGY SPEAR Concord Pioneer

For the last two months, a small but spunky contingent of Concord renters have been delivering their rent checks en masse to their landlord, the Pinza Group in Walnut Creek. They are paying rent, but not the total amount they are being charged – which over the past six months has been about a $500-700 increase. They aren’t being welcomed, and in one instance the Walnut Creek Police Department was called for “disturbing the peace.” Tenants Together and residents of some Virginia Lane apartments are orchestrating this “rent strike.” Tenants Together is a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of California tenants to safe, decent and affordable housing. Virginia Lane has turned into ground zero for the fight against rising rental rates in Concord. “It’s ridiculous,” says Olga Chan, who for six years has paid $1,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment at 1120 Virginia Lane. Since the beginning of 2016, she has seen her rent rise more than $500. And her requests and appeals to the management have not produced any relief.

Jay Bedecarre photo

Tamara Steiner/Concord Pioneer

BETTY GABALDON STRATEGIZES WITH ACTIVIST EDUARDO TORRES in front of her Virginia Lane apartment. Gabaldon and other Concord tenants have been hit hard by recent draconian rent increases.

AN ITALIAN STONE PINE TREE, estimated at 65 years old and 50 feet tall, fell over in front of Willow Pass Community Center one evening last week. Luckily, the tree was tilted away from the building and landed on the grassy slope right off the intersection of Salvio St. and E. Olivera Rd. City crews were in the process of cutting and removing the tree last week. Mickey Himsl, who was in charge of maintenance at Willow Pass Park for 28 years, said the only trees in the large 40-acre park that fell during his tenure were Eucalyptus and Italian pines. A casualty of the fallen pine was a tree planted and dedicated to former city employee Vicki Matheny Park.

Sailor recalls his personal day of infamy He’ll never forget May ’44 disaster at Pearl Harbor ROD PLAISTED Special to the Pioneer

Most people think of Dec. 7 as Pearl Harbor Day, but my memories are tied to May 21. That was the day in 1944, when an explosion rocked the deck of LST (landing ship, tank) 353 in Pearl Harbor’s West Loch at 3:08 p.m. A chain See Rent Strike, page 15 reaction of explosions and fire killed 163 men, with 396 wounded. Six LSTs sunk, and several more were severely damaged. It was Pearl Harbor’s second Inside greatest disaster, in terms of casualties. I thought I had long ago buried the Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . .17 event deep in my memory bank. Yet as Community . . . . . . . . . . .2 I think about it now, it comes back with From the desk of . . . . . .6 clarity of detail that surprises me. I was an 18-year-old sailor, S.2/c, School News . . . . . . . . .8 assigned to an outfit called Acorn 33. Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 We were housed on West Loch, waiting Performing Arts . . . . . .16 to be deployed (I later learned) to

Guam – which had yet to be invaded. Our job there was to occupy a captured Japanese airfield and convert it into a Naval base as quickly as possible. We did, and it became Naval Air Base, Guam.

CHAOTIC SCENE On May 21, eight fully loaded LSTs – the largest sea-going crafts ever built – were tied up on West Loch, ready to sail off for the invasion of Saipan. When fires broke out, every able-bodied man on West Loch was rushed to the dock adjacent to the burning ships to remove tons of various stacks of live ammunition that had been off-loaded from an ammo ship tied up nearby. We were working in teams of 10-20 guys, loading ammo into trucks to be taken somewhere safe for storage. This was a super-secret operation. We only talked about it among ourselves, and the incident was classified until 1960. We called it “the Second Pearl Harbor.” My group was loading a truck when

the first explosion hit. It was the loudest boom I ever heard. I watched, transfixed, as parts of the ship shot up high into the clear blue sky, twisting, turning, burning, smoking – like a cloud spreading out. Then, chunks of ship came raining down around us. We all took off to find shelter, but I was too late. I got down and curled up in a fetal position, covering my head with my hands and arms. I heard something hit the pavement, landing within arm’s reach of my head. It looked like an electric motor, about two feet long and a foot thick. The hot, smoking metal landed with a “thump” and sunk in a few inches, without ever bouncing back.

DANGEROUS RECOVERY EFFORT After things quieted down, we all went back to work – rushing to get the ammo safely onto trucks and out of the way. I spotted an air raid shelter and figured I could run fast enough to get See West Loch,

CONCORD RESIDENT ROD PLAISTED was stationed at West Loch in Pearl Harbor when an explosion and fire sunk six ships. He served in the U.S. Navy as a Photographer’s Mate Second Class from 1943-1946. He page 14 is shown here on Guam in 1946.


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Concord Pioneer •

In Brief...

Spray Park Opens

Memorial Day Observance

Meadow Homes Spray Park opens Sat., May 28 at noon. City Maintenance Director Justin Ezell is confident that the operational problems that plagued the park last year have been resolved. “You could say that it was a ‘fluid’ situation,” Ezell told the Pioneer. “We have made both mechanical and technological changes that will make the daily spray more consistent and reliable.” A phone line for reporting issues will be answered live during business hours 7:30 a.m.4 :30 p.m. An after-hours voicemail will forward problems to staff that can respond right away. The Spray Park is at 1351 Detroit. Park summer hours are noon-6 p.m., 7 days a week. To report problems, call the hotline 925-6713366.

The VFW and the Korean War Veterans Association will co-host a Memorial Day observance at the VFW flagpole on Main St., in Claytton, May 30 at 10 a.m. Each year more than 500 gather at the flagpole for talks, prayer and music. The ceremony is always a moving remembrance of those who lost their

lives in service of their country. This year’s celebration will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Memorial Day in 1866. The ceremony includes color guards from the local Scout units, JROTC and veteran service organizations, speakers and music by the local school choruses. A fly-over is scheduled and a small collection of military

Community members and friends celebrated Concord’s newest market at a Grand Opening on April 30. The Contra Costa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was on hand to welcome La Morenita owners Jose and Graciela Hernandez and to cut the ribbon on the market and taqueria at 1120 Meadow Lane. Businesses interested in connecting with other local small businesses in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, email the Director of Membership at

Art and Wine Walk

Convoy offers hope through goods and services

Tour the Masonic Temple with a Concord Historical Society docent. This classic 1928 meeting hall is undergoing renovation and will eventually be the Concord Museum and Cultural Center. Docentled walk-throughs will be June 11, Aug. 14 and Oct. 15. No reservations are required. It is a free event but donations are kindly requested. Tours will start on the hour at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Street parking is available.

Gordon Clarke, owner of Tower Grille, Eric Schultz, Elaine Groen and Carlyn Obringer dodge the rain at a Tower Grille tasting stop during the 4th Annual AAUW Art, Wine (and Beer) Walk on May 7. More than 30 downtown businesses participated in the event with tasting and noshing stops around Todos Santos Plaza. According to AAUW member and event organizer Obringer, attendees were undaunted by the rain with more than 300 turnContinued next page ing out for the event which raises money for scholarships for women.

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Convoy of Hope, a faithbased, international humanitarian relief organization, partnered with area churches and community leaders to bring a day of hope to our area last month. More than 4,590 people attended the event at Meadow Homes Park. It was just the beginning of a long-lasting movement that has the power to transform people’s lives, inspire compassion and service, and bring people and organizations together. The collaborative effort

ties for children and more. More than 2,000 children’s shoes were given out, as well as 8,500 bags of groceries and 15,000 healthy snacks. This all-volunteer movement mobilizes residents to serve and make a difference in their community. Strong participation by local businesses, churches, community agencies and individuals is crucial to its aims to bring hope to our city success. through free groceries, health screenings, job and career For more information, visit the services, family portraits, hair- convoy of hope concord Facebook cuts, prayer, games and activi- page or

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equipment will be on display. There will be seating for the first 500 to arrive, so plan to come early. The event is sponsored by the VFW Post 1525, its Auxiliary and the Korean War Veterans Association, Chapter 264. For more information, contact Paul Carroll, Commander, VFW Post 1525, 925-628-9508

La Morenita Market opens in Concord

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May 27, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Concord officers ride and remember

Unity ride. Left to right: Officer Amy Hendricks, Officer Adam Hart, Officer Ollie Sansen, Sgt Mike Roberts, Officer Kenny Trimble, Detective Krista Sansen.

for Those Who Died.” The officers on the Police Unity Tour ride to honor and remember law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, raising awareness and to raise money for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum. The six Concord officers joined approximately 120 other members of the Northern California Chapter including riders from the Contra Costa CHP Office and the Contra Costa Office of the Sheriff. When the Police Unity Tour arrived in Washington DC, more than 2000 riders from all over the nation presented a check to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for over $2.3 million dollars. These funds will help to build the National Law Enforcement Officers Museum at the memorial and maintain/update the memorial wall.

Earlier this month, six Concord police officers set out on a 280 mile bicycle journey from New Jersey to Wash-

ington D.C. to join thousands of officers from across the nation on the Police Unity Tour. Their motto: “We Ride



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Local cyclists were ‘Feelin’ the Bern’ last month when over 20 of them gathered in Walnut Creek, rode through Pleasant Hill and arrived in Concord for a campaign ‘Barnstorming’ event attended by over 100 people. The supporters met with their bicycles and endured a chilly, cloudy morning to demonstrate their enthusiasm

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The Bay Point Historical Society is hosting a two part event on Saturday, June 4, at the Ambrose Rec Center, 3105 Willow Pass Road in Bay Point. An historic tour of six sites will begin at the Center at 10am – 12pm. Driving directions will be given for each site, where a docent will be available. The second event will begin at 1 p.m. at the Ambrose Center. It will be the World Premier Docu-Drama of “Once There Was a Town: The Port Chicago Story” by Jeff McKinnon. This is a FREE event funded by a grant from Keller Canyon.

Front row: Tom and Rosamund Wentling, William Chan, Gary Glentzner, Memory Woodard, Tina Akins, Lety and Dave Nicolini; Back row: David Miller, Project Leader Al Kappadahl, Craig Nevin, Parmod Kumar, George Calhoun (front), Paul Allen, President Tyler Epting, Rick Ernst, Michael Barrington, and Eagle Scouts Bradford and Vance Prescott, Dr. Brad Prescott and Gerry Hoobler.



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The Rotary Club of Concord was hard at work on April 23, clearing space for a parking lot at the Galindo Home downtown Concord. The lot is needed for the new Concord Historical Society’s Museum and Community Center currently in progress. The group of 35 club members cleared the site of grass, debris, and trees to meet city requirements before grading and paving.

City Councilmember Tim Grayson met with Concord residents Leslie and Rosie Goins who recently used the local HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program to finance their new HVAC system. The PACE programs allow homeowners to finance energy- and water-efficiency and renewable energy investments with no upfront costs and to pay for the improvements over time through their property taxes. The Goins have now started on a HERO-financed solar project. For more information about the HERO Program, go to


In Brief...

The Sanders Campaign Pedals into Concord

Rotary Club clears site for Historical Society

Concord residents benefit from HERO program

Concord residents, Leslie and Rosie Goins with City Councilmember Tim Grayson.

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- Windermere Clayton!

Recycling is key part of the earth’s love triangle Page 4

Concord Pioneer •

HARRY STOLL Special to the Pioneer

Amber lights blinking, the behemoth roars and beeps, precisely traversing a narrow street. It stops with a ch-choo of air brakes, and its pincers clamp onto a blue curbside bin and dump the contents into its maw to feed the landfill. The state of California has a goal that by 2020, the amount of the “solid waste stream” going to landfills is no more that 25 percent. A rule of thumb for residents: The blue bin should hold no more than 25 percent of your curbside pickup. Similar rigs grab other bins: green for green waste, which goes to cover landfills, and a brown bin for recyclables. The bins are two sides of the love triangle of reusing, recycling and dispos-

ing of properly. For reusing, grocery bags are a start. Here’s more reuse information: • Take polystyrene (including styrofoam) to the Post Office Annex, 5433 Clayton Road, or UPS stores in Concord. • Return clothes hangers to Blessed Dry Cleaners, 4691 Clayton Road. Other dry cleaners may also accept them. • Drop off used eyeglasses at Site for Sore Eyes, 901 Sun Valley Boulevard, for reuse by the Lions Club. • Lightweight transparent plastic containers can be reused for shopping in the bulk foods section. • Use cereal box linings or closable plastic bags for produce. • Plastic bags are handy for walking the dog, and your

neighbors will thank you. • Donate unwanted garments to a thrift store. If the garments are too worn for resale, tear them into rags to use instead of paper towels.

“Plastics” was the portentous one-word advice to Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 movie “The Graduate.” Today, plastics are ubiquitous. An overwhelming amount of products are packaged in film plastic, including baked goods and paper products. Some wrappings are marked with a 2 or 4 recyclable triangle. Many other items are unmarked. “There are certain products that are always made of 100 percent recyclable polyethylene, from retail bags and dry cleaning bags to pallet wrap and bubble wrap,” Phil

Rozenski, spokesman for the industry group American Progressive Bag Alliance, said by email. However, Concord Curbside Disposal spokeswoman Adriana Medina said only film plastic with a No. 4 in a recyclable triangle can be recycled. That includes a very small part of film plastic used. According to Medina, Concord households can recycle bundled No. 4 film plastic in the curbside container. Clayton households can return film plastic to the recycling bin at CVS Pharmacy, 6190 Clayton Road. Your disposal company’s the former Mt. Diablo Health booklet has a long list of Care District and is past president of the Concord Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Concord-Diablo. On his LinkedIn page, Kasper is listed as president and chief innovation officer of Kasper Media. He is also a motivational speaker and “Northern California’s #1 Wedding Officiant,” according to his website. JAY BEDECARRÉ Arraignment is set for Aug. 8. If convicted, he faces up to Concord Pioneer three years in state prison. Mt. Diablo Unified School District went a full 360 degrees after a pair of recent board actions left in place the informal policy for eighth graders matriculating to high school since Clayton Valley High left the district and became a charter school in the fall of 2012. The board voted late last month that Northgate High School in Walnut Creek be designated as home high school for students from Diablo View and Pine Hollow middle schools, which has been the unwritten practice over the past four years. Following that action there was an outcry from Walnut Creek residents in the Northgate neighborhood focused on increased traffic coming from Concord and Clayton to the school plus a fear of overcrowding at Northgate facilities. MDUSD Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer acknowledged that the board action April 25 simply formalized a policy that has been in practice since the charter high

Civic leader charged in child pornography case Jeffrey Kasper, 53, of Concord has been charged with felony possession of child pornography and one misdemeanor count of internet impersonation, according to Contra Costa County deputy district attorney Paul Graves. Kasper was arrested in May 2015 after detectives found evidence of downloading and file sharing of child pornography from his home on Anita Court. He has been free on $20,000 bail since his arrest. Kasper, a well-known civic leader, once served as chair of

what is recyclable, such as glass and plastic bottles. It accepts some items for disposal, such as motor oil and computers, for a fee. But other items pose dangers to the environment. For extensive hazardous household waste, the county has a facility in Martinez serving Clayton and Concord residents. They accept batteries of all types, light bulbs, paint, motor oil and cleaners. It also has a Paint Give-AWay Program (for reuse). Call 800-646-1431. A free e-waste recycling and disposal site for computers, cell phones, etc., is at Rapid Recycling 5292

Pacheco Blvd., Pacheco. Put medications, including over the counter, in a sealable plastic bag and drop them off at the Clayton or Concord police stations. Liquids should be in their original containers and in a sealed bag. Bring needles and other sharps in an approved sharps container to Clayton City Hall, or Concord Disposal, 4080 Mallard Dr. You can buy the containers at CVS Pharmacy, 6490 Clayton Road, or Walgreens, 1800 Concord Ave. For more information, call Clayton curbside pickup at 925685-4211 or Concord curbside pickup at 925-682-1113.

school left the district. She said the district doesn’t anticipate the current capacity of Northgate (just under 1600) to increase due to the new policy. By the time the school board met two weeks later Trustee Brian Lawrence had requested a re-hearing be placed on the agenda and he introduced a motion to rescind the action, which passed and returned things to the status quo. In the wake of that May 9 action Meyer said, “We are continuing with the historical boundary patterns. We will continue to monitor enrollment patterns and trends to ensure stable enrollment at all schools. Should there be a need to revisit any boundary based on emerging trends, we will bring relevant data to the community to review in advance of proposing any changes.” Clayton Valley Charter supplied figures from the last two years showing that for the 2015-16 school year 169 Diablo View and 170 Pine Hollow students applied to CVCHS. For the coming fall term the figures are 184 and

167, respectively. The CVCHS charter says that students from former MDUSD feeder schools to Clayton Valley High (Diablo View and Pine Hollow) have first priority for admittance to the high school, which has admitted about 500 freshman annually. The CVCHS governing board recently voted to increase the school’s capacity by up to 250 students, with the majority of that increase coming with the incoming class of 2020. Since the charter school began in 2012 the absence of Clayton Valley meant its feeder middle schools weren’t officially designated with a home high school. Meyer acknowledges that those affected families wanting to remain in the district have a choice of any MDUSD school but her data shows that most chose Northgate. Ayers, Highlands, Mt. Diablo and Silverwood elementary schools feed into Diablo View in Clayton or Pine Hollow in Concord. Foothill Middle School in Walnut Creek has been the middle school feeder to Northgate.

MDUSD comes full circle on feeder high school issue


We didn’t change history only the way you see it.

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Bay Area KidFest has potpourri of entertainment, activities for families this weekend in Downtown Concord May 27, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

MICHELANGELO (right) was at the very first Bay Area KidFest in 1990 and this weekend he’s back in downtown Concord with fellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Raphael at the 27th annual KidFest. The two TMNT will be on hand this Saturday, Sunday and Monday to meet and greet attendees all day. Joining them will be Olaf from “Frozen.”

This weekend’s 27th annual Bay Area KidFest in Downtown Concord is one of the Bay Area’s longest-running family events and this year has three days of jam-packed entertainment, activities, food and fun. It was recently announced that after thousands of online votes, Bay Area KidFest, for the fifth consecutive Claycord reader’s poll, was voted Best Community Event. This category covers events in Clayton, Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Martinez. KidFest has won this category every time the poll has been held. In a spacious outdoor setting at Mt. Diablo High School for the seventh year, KidFest features free non-stop entertainment on the Main Stage, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Michelangelo & Raphael, Olaf from “Frozen,” Cirque Adventure aerial and acrobatic circus, America’s No. 1 family game show Kid’s Celebration, BMX Bike Stunt Team plus skateboard and scooter demos, Bike Rodeo (Sat. & Sun. 12 noon – 3 p.m.) and Spring Diversity Festival with dance performances from Southern Asia(Sat.

presents a special Memorial Day ceremony at noon Monday, May 30, with the Concord Blue Devils C Drum and Bugle Corps, Mt. Diablo High School Jr. ROTC color guard and patriotic music sung by young sensation JanElle Feraro. Thrilling rides including zip line, pony rides, Bobble Lagoon, Zippy Pet cars, Zorbs, Euro-Bungy trampoline, Spider Mountain, Ferris wheel, giant slide, Spider Mountain, Dragon Wheel roller coaster, petting zoo, two trains and 10 more rides. There’s an eclectic Food Court, arts and crafts and exhibitor booths. Admission is just $6 with a donation of canned food to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano or $7 without donation to the Food Bank. Babies under 24 months and seniors 65+ are free.

two canned goods to get $2 off an admission. For the first time ever wristbands will be sold on Saturday only allowing a person to use on the rides and attractions. There are also ticket packages that offer discounts for individuals and families on rides. The first 500 families Saturday will get a $5 gift card that is as good as cash

Page 5

for purchases at three local Bill’s Ace Hardware stores. Proceeds from Bay Area KidFest benefit local educational, health and sports groups. KidFest continues for the 21st year as one of the major annual donor events for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. KidFest is open 10 a.m. - 6

p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Memorial Day Monday. KidFest is held at Mt. Diablo High School, 2450 Grant St. in downtown Concord. Bike Concord will provide free bike valet parking every day. For more information visit

only 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on stage). There are dozens of free kid’s activities including Kid’s Town America, face painting, balloon hats, spin art, keepsake handprints, inflatable slides and crawls, kiddie golf and much more included in the low SATURDAY SPECIALS admission price. On Saturday, attendees can For the sixth year KidFest double the deal by bringing

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Concord Pioneer •

May 27, 2016

F r om the desk o f . . . Inspector seeks solutions for problems at multi-family units

“Hector” (not his real name) rents a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the Monument community. Recently his rent has increased by 30 percent, even though the landlord has ignored repeated requests to repair the ceiling exhaust fans that drip water onto both bathroom floors. Concord’s Multi-Family Unit Inspection Program can help remedy such cases of landlord neglect – and also help prevent them from happening in the first place. In effect since March 2000, the Multi-Family Rental Dwelling Unit Inspection and Maintenance Code aims to identify blighted and deteriorated housing and ensure the rehabilitation or elimination of housing that does not meet minimum Building Code and Housing Code standards. Cindy Turlington is Concord’s only multi-family unit building inspector. A part-time permit technician assists her. For the purposes of inspection, multi-family units include rental properties with four or more units on a parcel or site. Concord has about 400 prop-



erties and 10,000 units eligible for inspection. Each property is inspected during a three-year cycle. We are currently in Year 1. According to Turlington, a property with 30 units or less may be inspected in one day. It can take several months to complete inspection of an apartment complex with 300 units or more. Newly constructed multi-family residential buildings are exempt from inspection for the first five years of operation. During an inspection, the property manager and owner are invited to accompany the inspector on a walkthrough

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of each unit to ensure they have a clear understanding of any violations and the necessary corrective steps. The inspector uses the same criteria on each inspection to ensure consistency. On a recent tour, Turlington meticulously inspected the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, balcony railing, bathroom and kitchen sinks, bathroom and stove exhaust fans, sliding patio door and heater and air conditioner at each unit. She also looked at the electric room, laundry room, boiler room, pool area, parking lot, trash enclosure and exterior appearance of the apartment complex. She looked for signs of cockroaches and asked each




The high school graduation season is an exciting time of year for us. We take pride in how far our students have come and have faith in how far they will go. The opportunities for our students are limitless as they start new journeys as young adults. They are prepared to start careers and college, and they will grow to be contribut-

resident who was home at the time of inspection if their apartments had problems to be resolved. One man had a broken toilet seat; an order was placed immediately with a member of the building maintenance staff. The apartment building was in excellent shape, and only minor issues were found. For larger concerns, a Notice of Violation or a Notice and Order will be issued. Turlington provides specific code violations found in each unit, as well as any exterior code violations. The notices normally provide for a 60-day repair date, but for serious situations like Hector’s, the timeline would be significantly shortened. The

inspector returns on the stated repair date to re-inspect for compliance. Property owners who fail to comply may be issued a Notice of Sub-Standard Conditions, which is filed with the county Recorder’s Office. Additional enforcement action may include assessment of administration citations, assessment of re-inspection fees and/or abatement of the violations by a contractor hired by the city. All costs for abatement would be passed onto the property owner. While this Multi-Family Unit Inspection Program is certainly not the answer to Concord’s affordability challenges, Hector’s situation with his unresponsive landlord

could be remedied using this process even if his building is not scheduled to be inspected. A complaint by a resident or property manager to Turlington will trigger an inspection. “Give us a call if you have a problem,” she says. “We are here to help ensure a safe and high quality of life within Concord’s apartment complexes.”

ing, thoughtful, innovative members of our community. Mt. Diablo Unified works hard to prepare students for the future. We created a Graduate Profile to clearly communicate what we value, what skills we promise to deliver and what we want all of our students to aspire toward. We recognize the importance of core subjects like math, science, art, PE, history and English. Through our award-winning programs and initiatives, we integrate other important skills that enable students to reflect the following qualities:

• • • •

Effective communicator. Community contributor. Complex thinker. Effective and ethical user of technology. • Self-directed learner. • Global citizen and responsible worker. • Health and wellness advocate.

motes well-being, respectful communication skills, proficiency with modern technology and a sense of community. We are grateful to our families for entrusting their most precious gift – their child – to us. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” We believe in their dreams too, and it has been a privilege to be part of your family and community.

sufficient financial capital to undertake and will to provide open book accounting; provide a community benefit fund of $20 million over 10 years, with an additional $23 million potential; Willow Pass Road widening including the bridge; bus connector; $39 million minimum for schools mitigation; $26 million for community facilities; improvements to the tournament sports park recreational area; public park/facilities in each phase, pedestrian and bike trails, creekside enhancements and protections; local hiring program; limiting Phase 1 in even smaller increments of 4060 acres. I’ve read, listened and asked important questions to ensure we get the best for Concord. I always have and will represent you – not developer interests. As your voice on the council, it’s my responsibility to make sure Concord gets: a qualified

developer that the city selects, not a federal agency; offers our community the most benefits reasonably possible; creates good-paying local jobs, supports our businesses, protects open space, provides recreation and community amenities and plans for a four-year university. The Lennar proposal achieves these community-defined goals. We will ensure they engage openly with the community in public outreach and input processes and that they take all the risk and not the taxpayers. I thank all those who participated to date and look forward to your continued input. To those who have yet to participate, I look forward to your future involvement. Working together, we can achieve the best for Concord.

Carlyn Obringer is a member of the City of Concord Planning Commission. Professionally, she focuses on California education issues as an Education Policy Analyst. Carlyn resides in Concord with her husband, Justin, and dog Crystal. Contact her by email at

Graduation season puts core goals to the test

Mayor, from page 1

have a deep concern for our community. I studied and received my bachelor of science in city, regional and environmental planning from UC Davis. After graduation, I returned to my hometown to give back and participate in shaping its future to be the best that it can be. The Base Reuse Planning has been a slow and deliberate process. From 2006 to 2010, we prepared and approved a community-created plan called “Clustered Villages.” The plan has 69 percent open space/recreational facilities; 2,540 acres to East Bay Regional Park District for the Concord Hills Regional Park; residential, commercial and offices near North Concord BART with greenways connecting neighborhood villages;

Contact Turlington 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 925-671-3420.

buffers to existing development; and space for a four-year higher education facility, community recreation and library facility. From 2013 to May 2016, we focused on finding the right company, a master developer that would be responsible for all costs related to the next steps: preparing a specific plan, studies, cleanup, removal/installation of infrastructure, paying mitigation fees, providing community amenities and benefits. It will likely take 10 years to develop Phase 1 and several more decades for the remaining development area. After holding public meetings, the City Council recently selected Lennar for Phase 1, based on: reuse process experience, especially with the Navy;

These qualities were created through community, school and student participation. They underscore MDUSD’s focus on providing a rich, Dr. Nellie Meyer is Superintendent world-class academic environof Schools for MDUSD. Email ment, but also an overall eduquestions or comments to cational experience that

Please contact the mayor at

May 27, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

College, park and library all part of long-term base plan



I am looking forward to several key aspects of the base redevelopment over the next 10 years. We have reserved about 100 acres for a four-year university. Contra Costa is the only county with more than 1 million people that does not have a four-year state college. The UC system has been considering another Poly-tech school. With our location by the GoMentum Station for autonomous vehicle research and testing, Concord would be ideal. Tim Grayson is spearheading an effort to convince our legislators and UC leaders of the site, which would

come with free land. I grew up in New York City at a time when college was free to all residents who had the grades to get into the school. I went to City College of New York for a cost of $57 in my last semester. We never once had a discussion in my family about the cost of college; we only talked about which of the city universities’ requirements we could meet. I got my first choice. I dream about our residents having the same opportunity. While a Concord City College is beyond our means now, I hope that the city could sponsor a few students who graduated from the trifecta of our elementary, middle and high Schools to attend the hometown university. Meanwhile, I am excited about the expansion of Willow Pass Park as soon as possible. The plan calls for an echo of it

on the north side of East Olivera. The teams of soccer, baseball and pickleball that may compete in City Council for priority for their sports is normal of local government’s noise. I welcome it over the fights on fiscal crisis or the complicated issues of triple flip “gotcha” state sales tax non-revenue. The regional park is a great opportunity for all of us to enjoy. I hope that we can get a campsite development there and call it Camp Tahoe to complement the hosting that that city has done for Camp Concord for all these generations. The expansion of new housing stock will give residents an opportunity to upgrade and stay in the city. The affordable housing aspect may also allow for a shift from existing housing, which can be then refurbished to benefit all concerned. The Millenniums have been asking for a new combination

Africanized honeybees likely in Hitchcock Drive bee attack TAMARA STEINER Concord Pioneer

Neighbors on Hitchcock Drive in Concord were under siege recently when a beekeeper discovered his honeybee hive had been hijacked by a colony of what may be Africanized honeybees, more commonly called “killer” bees. Alex Janke, a hobbyist beekeeper, keeps two hives in his parents’ backyard. On Friday evening, May 13, Janke was moving the hives in preparation for some landscaping when the colony of bees began furiously stinging him through his bee suit. The bees went on a rampage, fanning out over the neighborhood, attacking neighbors, a mail carrier and two neighbor dachshunds. The dogs, Milo and Gunner, died from the stings. On Saturday, Janke killed as many bees as he could with soap and water and moved the hives to the family ranch in Clayton. Norman Lott, an expert beekeeper and member of the Mt. Diablo Beekeepers

Association, was on site over the weekend collecting samples to send to the labs for DNA testing. While it isn’t confirmed that the bees are the Africanized variety, Lott is fairly certain they are, or that they are a hybrid. “Normal honeybees would have given up in 20 minutes,” Lott said. “This (attack) was off the charts.” Four days after the initial attack, the neighborhood was still buzzing with the agitated bees. The Africanized honeybee is the same species as a normal honeybee. They pollinate and make honey. And the drones breed with the non-Africanized queen, creating a hybrid that carries the aggressive gene. When the Africanized honeybee stings, it leaves a pheromone behind which “marks” the victim, Lott explained. “This causes the rest of the bees to attack what they see as the enemy, the bad guy.” If the Hitchcock Drive colony proves to be the

of semi-urban housing with smaller lots and even smaller floor plans. I am curious to see how this will work and if any of the sub-developers will experiment with a few of the “tiny homes” featured on TV shows that my wife likes to watch. A tiny home may also be one of the solutions for boomerang kids. As the past president of the Friends of the Concord Library, I look forward to the potential for a new library. I would like it near the campus lands with a 21st century hallmark: the library as a research center. In addition to the classic bookshelves, 3D copiers and banks of computers, I want to see research tools – be it in genetics, robotics, media design or mechanical construction – as part of the library resources both in-house and as part of the lending “research library.” Yes, there is much to look forward to ... and much work to do.

Send comments to or 510-812-8180 or visit

Africanized honeybee, it will be the first in Contra Costa County, says Deborah Bass, spokesperson for Contra Costa Vector Control. In 2014, a survey done by UC San Diego tested three bees found at the Lafayette Reservoir. “One of those bees had the AHB gene,” Bass said. “But there was no colony. The author of the study provided a disclaimer.” The bees can colonize and form a hive of their own, or they can kill the queen and hijack an existing hive, which is what Lott believes happened on Hitchcock Drive. If you find yourself under attack by bees, run and keep running until you either outrun them or can get inside. Don’t swat them, it just makes them madder. Don’t jump in the water, however tempting. The bees will wait for you to come up for air. When you get inside, call 911 immediately if you have been stung more than 15 times or are having symptoms other than localized pain and swelling.


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Gloria Marie Garcia

April 5, 1931–April 3, 2016

Gloria died as she had lived, gently and peacefully in Walnut Creek, two days before she would turn 85. Born in Phoenix, Ariz., Gloria had been a resident of Concord for many years. She is survived by her loving sister, Anna Garcia Steiner of Concord and will be fondly remembered by the staff at the New Way long-term care facility; Karen, Vernice, Joanna, Sirita, Adriana, Deshayla, Ana, Jennifer and Trell. Private services were held.

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Page 8

Concord Pioneer •

May 27, 2016

At Serendipity, diners can revel in students’ progress HARRY STOLL Special to the Pioneer

Maybe you’ve seen the sign, Restaurant & Bakery, on a plain utilitarian building on East Street opposite the hospital. If you entered, that would be serendipity. Serendipity Restaurant & Bakery is part of Mt. Diablo High School. Students learn all of the culinary arts – from cutting vegetables to waiting on

tables – to bringing customers freshly prepared meals. In the commodious clean kitchen, young men and women wear white chef coats and aprons. They mix, slice, carve, cut, dice, roll, cook, sauté, bake, baste and add spices. The kitchen has all the tools of the trade – stoves, refrigerators, mixers – and a lot of action. Teachers Debbie Allen and Kevin Fuller know when to

Concord High Aasim Yahya


observe and when to help. Allen concentrates on supervising the making of baked goods. Fuller is more involved with the meat and potatoes as well as overseeing the dining hall operation. They are calm, clear and knowledgeable. Evelyn Baldoza and Donovin Caldwell precisely cut vegetables. He wants to have his own restaurant. Victor Meneses is making crepes, gently whirling the pan to keep

CHS student captivates art community

Ryan Shu, a senior at Concord High School, won the Eleventh District Congressional Art Competition for his piece titled “The Golden Escape.” He was honored to receive recognition from the art community and Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier. His photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge is captivating and unique, showing a mastery of technical training combined with distinct creativity. While others sleep at night, Ryan is prepared with his camera for a spontaneous adventure in photography. This could include a 4 a.m. trip to San Francisco to catch the sunrise. Photography gives him a sense of fulfillment. However, he does recognize that the world is imperfect and often photographs the depressions of life, such as poverty. He’s primarily a landscape photographer, although he enjoys taking portraits of his friends. In addition, Ryan’s work consists of long exposure projects such as capturing the light trails of cars. For Ryan, photography is “a way to share my own per-

spective of this beautiful world through spontaneous exploration.” Ryan has been practicing photography for only a year and is extensively self-taught. He likes to capture a large collection of shots and carefully selects those he believes will make a cohesive piece. Allison Villars, Concord’s Photo Arts teacher, says Ryan sets the bar high for other students by encouraging them to improve their work and explore their creativity. He thinks like a mature landscape photographer but has the attitude of a spontaneous teenager exploring his environment. “It is clear that Ryan is dedicated to photography,” Villars says. “He practices everyday and the practice is evident through the quality of his work.” This summer, Ryan will be heading to Washington, D.C., where “The Golden Escape” will be featured in the U.S. Capitol Building. After the summer, Ryan will attend San Francisco State and plans to major in computer science. As he enters a new stage in life, photography will continue to help him recall the past, cap-

Congratulate your grad With a special message in the Clayton & Concord Pioneers Your Grad’s Name

Graduations and Promotions from • Pre-school • Elementary • Middle School, • High School College

50 word message and color photo . . . .$

Congratulations on an outstanding four years. You’ve been a joy and an inspiration to all who know you. We love you and can’t wait to see the next chapter.

Love, Mom and Dad


Send text and photo with contact information to Concord Pioneer — May 27 (Deadline May 18) Clayton Pioneer — June 10 (Deadline June 1) Concord Pioneer — June 24 (Deadline June 15)

We will contact you for payment information.


tivate minds and extend creativity to greater heights.

Visit to view Ryan’s work. Aasim Yahya is a sophomore and student body vice president. He has a passion for basketball and plays on the school team. Send comments to

everything moving. So is Angela Martinez, flipping the crepe in the air to turn it over. Anna Henderson and Janelle Manibusan prepare dough for biscotti and put the ingredients in the Hobart mixer. Allen sprinkles flour on the table to roll out the dough. Decorated cakes that won prizes in regional and statewide competitions are displayed in the dining room. Katia Hernandez won Best of Show for her “Welcome to San Francisco” cake depicting familiar city sights. A pineapple tops Crystal Ayala’s “Paradise.” Awards for the cakes amounted to $20,000 in scholarships. Tyler Cooks and Nathaly Balcazar won first and second place for their tortes (flourless cakes). The high point of this school year was Serendipity’s joint venture in the dining room with the Mt. Diablo High School Voice Ensemble. The dining room was filled with appreciative spectators and the joint was jumpin’ and goin’ round and round. (Students might need their smartphones for that phrase.) The menu features a duck brochette – grilled duck breast and portobello mushrooms with a strawberry, apple and balsamic glaze. A mushroom risotto accompanies it. Or a diner could choose poached salmon, tri-tip medallions, roasted breast of chicken, beef Stroganoff, fajitas, a 1/3-lb. hamburger or fettuccine Alfredo or marinara. These are elite eats without the fancy prices. The highest item is only $9.95.

tip in the jar at the cash register, with the tips going into a student enrichment fund. The dining room, with a capacity of 130, is open 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Stop by – it’s worth discovering.

Harry Stoll

Student Maria Amezcua preps for lunch in the Serendipity kitchen

Serendipity also offers three salads, a soup du jour and six sandwiches. One diner judged the BLT to be “an American classic, properly done.” When students wait on tables, Fuller advises them to greet diners with a firm handshake, a smile and eye contact. Student waiter Zebreon Wallace did just that, even properly pronouncing “biscotti.” The diner tried one. Molto bene! The café makes several coffee drinks, including latte, cappuccino and espresso. A freshtoday dessert cart rolls through to entice diners. Nicely set tables are widely spaced in this neat and clean place. Subdued music allows conversation. Diners Betty Hodge and Jerry Michaels come here often and marvel at the good food at bargain prices. Payment is by cash only. Diners are asked to put their

Talented CVCHS students receive Michelangelo D’Onofrio Art Awards Principal, Jeff Eben, presented 26 awards to the Clayton Valley Charter High School’s 2016 Eagle Arts Expo. Chairman of the art department, Katie Nolan, organized the April 21 event sponsored by the Michelangelo D’Onofrio Arts Foundation and Rotary Club of Clayton Valley/Concord. There were eight categories in the competition. First prize winners received $100, second prize $50, and third $25 along with certificates of achievement and medals. Arik Ehle from Pixar Animation Studios and CVHS alum Kua Patten were among the nine judges.

CVCHS ARTS EXPO D’ONOFRIO ART AWARDS First Place Winners: Kasey Kreske, Photography; Kimberly Rizon, Digital Arts; Polina Ozherelyeva, Painting; Back row: Huy Tran, Mixed Media; Chase Benham, Matt Pruitt, Video; Chad Treppa, 3D Modeling. Not pictured: Jordan Ballard, Sculpture and Ryan Molale, Video.

Mt. Diablo Hi gh Liane Cismowski MDHS PRINCIPAL

Mt. Diablo students paving way to their future

From cakes to immigration, Mount Diablo High School Academies students have found success in diverse fields this year. Fifty-seven Architecture, Construction, Manufacturing and Engineering (ACME) students attended a STEM Pathways program from Diablo Valley College. STEM targets science, technology, engineering and math students. Ted Walker, STEM Pathways direc-

tor at DVC, and colleagues Maitreyee Chandra and Servando Pineda-Carranza met with students. DVC has also brought academic excellence workshops to our campus, and ACME students have shadowed engineering students at DVC. This excellent partnership will continue in 2016-’17. In the Digital Safari Academy (DSA), 63 students are working on 15 internships with

non-profit organizations to create websites and promotional materials. Clients include other academies on campus, as well as CCTV, the Red Devil Golf Classic and the city of Concord. International Hospitality and Tourism (IHTA) students did well in the State FHAHERO competition in Riverside: Tyler Cooks, first place, tortes, $20,150 in scholarships; Nathlay Balcazar, second place, tortes, $14,000; Crystal Ayala, second place, advanced presentation cakes, $14,000; Katia Hernandez, first place, advanced presentation cakes, $20,250. Katia also won Best of Show in culinary art display. A group of Medical BioTechnical Academy (MBTA) seniors – Jesus Garcia, Destiny Sanchez, Daniela Figueroa, Ottmar Morales, Ricardo Gallardo, Stephanie Guardado, Allyza Gutierrez, Francis Pinson and Jasmine Villa – went with teacher Danny Prodoehl to Los Angeles for the St.

County recognizes six local CTE/ROP students

Two students from Clayton Valley Charter and four from Concord high schools were among those the Contra Costa County Office of Education honored on May 12. In all, 41 high school students received Students of Excellence Awards for outstanding achievement in their CTE/ROP (Career Technical Education/Regional Occupational Program) classes. Each received a certificate of merit and a $250 scholarship. CTE/ROP focuses on career preparation and exploration, hands-on experience and academic excellence to prepare students for success in college and future careers. It provides students with the newest equipment, rigorous academic standards and classes in emerging technologies. All CTE/ROP classes and programs are directed by and funded through the county Office of Education. Local students honored were: Miya Adolphson, game design, Clayton Valley Charter High School. (Evan Hughes, instructor.) Andrey Pristinsky, civil engineering and architecture, Clayton Valley Charter High School. (Scott Farquhar, instructor.) Jake Gorospe, computer applications, Concord High School. (Laurie Harris, instructor.) Zachary Ruiz, robotics engineering, Concord High School. (Tom Trowbridge, instructor.) Yoselin Tamayo, careers in teaching, Ygnacio Valley High School. (Thatcher Palmer, instructor.) Claire Rader, biotechnology, Ygnacio Valley High School. (Maria Fletcher, instructor.)

Francis High School Sports Medicine Competition. Our team finished sixth out of 45 teams and was the highest placing team from Northern California. Stephanie Guardado finished 30th out of 456 students. With the sixth-place finish, the students qualified for the AACI National Sports Medicine Competition. The World Academy recently held its first Immigration Fair. Presenters included La Clinca de la Raza, Bay Area Immigration Services, Diablo Community Center, Center for Human Development, Catholic Charities, the Contra Costa County Food Bank and our very own ELAC (English Learners Advisory Committee). The students and teachers are realizing our vision statement: We graduate students prepared for college, career and civic responsibility.

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May 27, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Pioneer’s Celine Herrera honored as top student journalist Celine Herrera was just 12 years old when someone asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She said she felt totally unsure, but there was one thing she knew she wanted: She wanted to write. “Whether it was writing down the metaphors that couldn’t escape my mind or completely immersing myself into the essays my English teachers assigned me, I couldn’t deny the fact that words flowed through my veins,” says Celine, one of the Pioneer’s teen correspondents. Words have stayed with Celine, and for that she was recently honored not only as the 2016 Lesher Award recipient for Outstanding CC Spin Editor, but also the Contra Costa County Student Journalist of the Year. In addition to her awards, Celine also received a $1,000 scholarship from the Lesher Foundation.


“Growing up, I was told that I didn’t have a voice,” she says. “People told me that what I had to say never mattered and that I was nothing but insignificant and worthless. There were times when I wanted to completely give up on myself. Even in the midst of it all, my inner voice told me to keep fighting, because if I don’t speak up now, who will? “Somehow, within all of the

nouns, verbs, and adjectives, I found my voice again and realized that I have a story to tell. When I became a journalist, I realized that not only I have a voice, but I could use it to help the people around me. For the rest of my life, I want to utilize it to be kind and to provide hope for the people I either come across in real life or just on paper.” CC Spin is a collaborative effort of the Lesher Foundation, Bay Area News Group, the county Office of Education, and the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative to promote high school journalism in Contra Costa County. It is run by local journalists in the Bay Area. Their goal is to connect with Contra Costa County high schools and aid students with their high school’s journalism program, whether it’s providing them with resources, brainstorming story ideas, or helping them launch a publication for the

very first time. “Celine is one of the very best student editors I have worked with in the last eight years with CC Spin,” says one of CC Spin’s editors, Jim Finefrock. “She certainly can make the trains run on time, but what I’m most impressed with is her enthusiasm and passion for journalism. One of my colleagues said the other day, ‘We need to clone her.’ She richly deserves her award as county high school Journalist of the Year and shared award as the best student editor for CC Spin.” Celine is also editor-in-chief of The Talon, the school newspaper at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Celine will graduate in a few weeks, and next fall pursue a double-major in journalism (concentration in print and online journalism) and English, with a minor in women’s studies at San Francisco State University. 

Clayton Valley Charter High Jeff Eben CVCHS PRINCIPAL

Reflections on momentous year at CVCHS

As we prepare for graduation on June 3, I have much to reflect on positively about my first year as principal at Clayton Valley Charter High School. As a conversion charter high school, CVCHS is fortunate to have the flexibility to develop and sustain traditional and innovative programs that promote student acceleration in all academic, social and civic areas. We are a unique community, reflected by the commitment of incredible teaching, counseling and coaching staff. CVCHS is dedicated to offering the highest academic standards, while sustaining a nur-


For families that are overwhelmed by the college admissions process, there are a variety of resources out there to help. Today, we will talk about the different types of counselors and what they can each do for students. First up are high school counselors. Many schools, especially public, have a college advisor who is responsible for serving the entire school. Typically, that person conducts informational workshops to help college bound students and their parents navigate the college planning process, deal with financial aid and understand the admissions process. Additionally, they put together college fairs and arrange for college reps to meet with students during the school day, provide information on local scholarships, make sure transcripts and letters of recommendation get to the right col-

turing and safe school environment for all the students. There are so many student achievements and school programs to highlight this year, and each is due their own recognition. However, here are my favorite moments: • Addressing bullying and embracing empathy at Challenge Day. • Public service and community engagement programs at Back to School Night. • Observing struggling students and their accomplishments at Saturday Bridge. • Our athletic teams competing at state championship, including cross-country,

wrestling, football and swimming. • Applauding individual students for academic awards and personal growth achievements. • Amazing musical and visual art performances from our bands, drama and dance students.

We have a lot to be proud of at CVCHS this year. The students reflect the best of our community. As the graduates go out into the real world, I am confident that we have diligently prepared them for success in the 21st century.

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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 : Peggy Spear, Pamela Wiesendanger, Jay Bedecarré

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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.

As a general rule, letters should be 175 words or less and submitted at least one week prior to publication date. Letters concerning current issues will have priority. We may edit letters for length and clarity. All letters will be published at the editor’s discretion. Please include name, address and daytime telephone number. We will not print anonymous letters. E-mail your letter to Letters must be submitted via E-mail. CIRCULATION 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. SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe to either the Clayton Pioneer or the Concord Pioneer, call the office at (925) 672-0500. Subscriptions are $35/year for each paper, $60/year for both.

CVCHS School Band Summer Camp CVCHS Instrumental Music Program is holding its annual band camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 20 to July 1, at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Camp ends with a concert at noon on July 1. Camp is open to incoming middle school students and freshmen with prior instrumental musical experience. Students will have 10 fun days of practice and performing in an ensemble, learning music theory and history, doing sectionals with local professional musicians and getting mentoring by high school musicians. Cost is $325 per student; sibling is $250. To register, go to For more information, email

Resources available to sort out college choices leges at the right time and meet one-to-one with juniors or seniors as needed. With so much on their plate, it is very difficult for them to give a single student an abundance of guidance. Students that start at a community college with plans to transfer have the option to meet with one of the many counselors or academic advisors at their college. These counselors also are responsible for serving a large student body and have limited time with each student. Their main focus is advising students on course selection and education plans based on the students’ goals. Problems arise when students are unclear on their goals or change their minds without realizing the ramifications of their decisions. It is often challenging for an advisor to help a student explore majors and career options and create an education plan in a 15-minute session. Both high school and college counselors are very familiar with their state’s public colleges and the transfer process to those schools, but they often have limited knowledge of private col-

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Concord Pioneer •

May 27, 2016

DVAL bows out after spring sports championships JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

With North Coast Section and State CIF playoffs and championship meets wrapping up in the next week the final Diablo Valley Athletic League season is quickly going into the history books and its seven schools will be in a whole different setup starting this fall in the new Diablo Athletic League. This week the NCS baseball and softball playoffs began with a quartet of DVAL teams in each. The track and field NCS Meet of Champions is this week, the State Meet June 3-4 and then the curtain will be drawn—at least for now—on the DVAL. Swimming & Diving— New league champion College Park and Clayton Valley Charter outscored defending NCS and State champion Northgate in an incredibly close DVAL boys championship meet at the new aquatic facility on the Northgate campus. On the girls side Northgate repeated as league champs with CVCHS second. The Broncos’ dominating win saw them place first in all but two events. The Eagles boys won both freestyle relays with the quarter of Ryan Levy, Anthony Vines, Cal Brown and Nikolas Weigelt. CVCHS boys were top local finishers at the NCS meet in Concord taking seventh place, followed immediately by De La Salle and Northgate. On the girls side

Sean Liming photo

CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER BOYS FREESTYLE RELAY TEAM of, from left, Anthony Vines, Niklas Weigelt, Ryan Levy and Cal Brown were first in the 200 and 400 free relays at the DVAL championships. They were then third in the 200 FR and fifth in 400 FR at the NCS meet and wrapped up their season with 10th place at the CIF State Championships last weekend in the 200 free relay.

Carondelet was third and Northgate 12th. At last weekend’s second CIF State Championships. DLS boys were 14th, the Broncos 38th and CVCHS 49th. The Eagles points were scored by their 200-meter freestyle relay. Forest White was fourth in the 100 backstroke and fifth in 200 free to help the Spartans, who also were 12th in the 400 free relay. Track & Field — The dynamic duo of Rayna Stanziano of Concord (triple win from 800-3200 for the freshman) and Ygnacio Val-

ley’s Jorge Velazquez (won the 1600 and 3200 and runner-up in the 800) were the DVAL meet standouts. Clayton Valley Charter won the boys and Northgate the girls DVAL regular-season and championship meet titles. Eagle throwers Jake King and Jack Fouts traded first and second place at DVAL in the shot put and discus while Kiersten Fouts won both events for the Eagles girls. CVCHS relays won all four events with 100-meter champ Jade Davis helping the girls and 100-200 double

Local teams earn Pacifica, Concord Cup 23 hardware

Photo courtesy MDSA

MDSA ARSENAL held four opponents to a total of two goals to win the under 12 boys division at Pacifica Fog Classic, stringing together wins over teams from Foster City, Mountain View and Davis. Arsenal includes, front row from left, Killian Pollock, Miles Davis, Jake Solis, Kyle Pacak, Titis Bishop, Alex Walker, Cristian Galvan; back row, coach Jason Bishop, Shawn Canada, Keegan Boustead, Alex Hockenbery, Daniel Calles, Garrett Alton, Austin Basinger and coach Jorge Calles.

champ Jordan Velasquez the boys. Sophomore Aidan Jackman won the 110 high hurdles and 300 intermediate hurdles and tied for second in the high jump. At last weekend’s Tri-Valley NCS meet De La Salle won the boys competition with CVCHS second. The Spartans had the winning 400-meter relay and double hurdles champ Jonathan Harvey to take the Tri-Valley crown. Clayton Valley Charter won the long jump with Brandon Abon, among their seven Meet of Champions boys qualifiers. Carondelet came up five points short of winning the Tri-Valley girls meet with workhorse Julianna Ruotolo taking top three finishes in three events and the Cougar s sweeping both relays. Baseball — This league season may have been the closest ever with defending DVAL and NCS champion College Park locked in a season-long battle with Clayton Valley Charter and Northgate. The Broncos (10-2) swept Concord in the final week of the season to take the DVAL crown with CV and CP tied for second one game behind. Northgate was seeded 9th and fourth-place finisher Concord 15th in the NCS Division II playoffs that began midweek. De La Salle is the No. 1 seed in DI with the Falcons 4th and the Eagles 7th in their 18th straight NCS appearance. The NCS playoffs run through the finals June 3-4.

College Park dethroned De La Salle in the NCS Division I finals last June and the teams could meet in the semifinals next week if they each win their first two playoff games. The Spartans are ranked No. 1 in the Bay Area this spring. Softball — Clayton Valley Charter swept a pair of onerun games from Concord in the first week of the season and it proved decisive as the two local rivals tied at 10-2 in the final DVAL standings with the Eagles winning the tie-breaker after CVCHS was upended by third-place College Park in their final league game, dropping them into the tie. CV is seeded ninth and College Park 10th in DI for the NCS playoffs. Carondelet is the top local seed in DII at fourth with Concord 8th and Northgate 12th. The Minute-

men were NCS DII champions in 2010-12-13. Boys Golf — De La Salle repeated as NCS champions and competed in Monday’s Northern California championship with Josh McCarthy, Ethan Atherstone, Nick Orecchia, Travis Mitchell, Jack Gardner and Cade Mayer teeing off the Spartans. Lacrosse — De La Salle was tied at six with Monte Vista in last weekend’s NCS championship game before getting outscored by the Mustangs 8-0 in the second half. Bishop O’Dowd boys and Piedmont girls were undefeated DVAL champions and each lost in the NCS championship game. Carondelet and College Park made the NCS girls playoffs while CVCHS and CP joined DLs in the boys tournament. Boys Tennis — College Park won the DVAL singles and doubles titles with the CVCHS duo of Dylan Kies and Daniel Castro second in the doubles. College Park won the DVAL singles and doubles titles with the CVCHS duo of Dylan Kies and Daniel Castro second in the doubles. The Falcons and DLS made it to the second round of the NCS team championship division tournaments. Boys Volleyball — De La Salle won its eight NCS boys volleyball title last weekend over Dougherty Valley in three straight sets in the finals. Spartan coach Steve Siegmann lauded his captains Bailey Militar, Ryan Byrne and Darius Monserrat-Ford for their efforts in the championship match. DLS lost last year’s NCS finals to Deer Valley but bounced back for a 32-2

See DVAL, page 11

Sean Liming photo

YGNACIO VALLEY’S JESIEL GUZMAN got off a jump of 18-7 to take third at the DVAL track and field championships. His performance at NCS Tri-Valley meet was good enough for him to earn a place is this week’s North Coast Section Meet of Champions. He also was eighth in the 200 meters at DVAL.

Photo courtesy Diablo FC

DIABLO FC 03 BLUE GIRLS lost 2-1 to NorCal league rivals Santa Rosa United in the championship game of the U14 red division at Concord Cup XXIII. Playing up one year the newly restructured team (due to new national age group rules) tied an older Impact 02G Black team 1-1, drew with West Valley Elite FC 0-0 and beat North Marin 6-0 in the lead up to the finale. Diablo FC 03 Blue includes, front row from left, Rylee Chilson, Grace Turner; middle row, Audrey Orr, Sophia Galicia, Annie Pauline, Alanis Alvarez, Lauren Wickham; back row, coach Brandon Enriquez, Annika Tuohey, Caitlyn Kluzek, Kylie Nielsen, Kira Baker, Leona Theunissen, Yazmin Ramos, Clarisa Granados, Taylor Davis, Lily Wilcox and coach Lyndy Enriquez. Not pictured Carly Urteaga.

See Concord Cup, page 13

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Concord Pioneer • club soccer for Diablo FC. One of her high school swim coaches, Sarah Mead, says, “Ally is a superb athlete who takes her sports seriously. She continued to be a leader this year on her team and inspires others to do their best.” This indicates why she was given the most dedicated award for CHS swimming. She received the National Language Arts Award by the United States Achievement Academy. After school, Roberts tutors El Dorado Middle School students and organized a fund raising bake sale benefiting Make-AWish Foundation. She is looking forward to attending college in the fall majoring in criminology and pursuing a career in criminal investigations/criminal psychology.

Athlete Spotlight

Ally Roberts

Grade: Senior School: Concord High Sports: Soccer, Water Polo, Swimming

Ally Roberts will cap her senior year receiving the Concord High white block letter C for performing on eight varsity teams during her career as a Minuteman athlete. This year she was on the soccer, water polo and swim teams. Despite the heavy sports load she maintained excellent grades in the classroom which led to multiple North Coast Section scholar athlete awards. In her three varsity soccer seasons she was

twice awarded second-team all-Diablo Valley Athletic League honors and helped her team to three straight NCS tournaments. She was captain of the team and offensive player MVP. Her Concord water polo team was also in NCS last fall and she was honorable mention all-league and team MVP. She swam on the Minuteman 200 freestyle and medley relays at the recent DVAL league swim meet. She also has played

The Concord Pioneer congratulates Ally Roberts 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

DVAL, from page 10

Page 11

Sean Liming photo

APRIL FRANTZ OF CONCORD HIGH was third in the high jump at the recent Diablo Valley Athletic League track and field championships. Her 4-10 jump was third behind teammate Rylie Pearson’s winning height of 5-2. Frantz then won the triple jump with fellow Minutemen Adelle Meyer second and Pearson fourth.

record this spring as they qualified for the Northern California tournament beginning this week as the fourth seed. Berean Christian were undefeated DVAL champions

(Clayton Valley Charter was second) and went all the way to the NCS DIII finals before dropping a three-set match to Bentley School. The Eagles were seeded seventh in the NorCal DII tournament.

World Rowing Cup II. Among her three teammates this week in Switzerland is Megan Kalmoe who was in the bronze medal-winning quad boat with Kohler four years ago. With Olympic team selection announcements scheduled for June 20, Kohler is one of 17 women from the USRowing Training Center in Princeton, NJ competing this Friday through Sunday trying to impress coaches for places in the women’s eight or quad. The team trained in Germany before the World Rowing Cup. Kohler continues her Olympic quest after recently being named to the Pacific 12 Conference All Century rowing team. The conference is celebrating 100 years and named its top performers over that time frame in every sport.

Ipsen was earlier named as a diver on the Pac 12 All-Century squad. A walk-on to Cal’s team as a freshman, Kohler was named Pac-10 newcomer of the year for the Bears in 2010. During her time in Berkeley she was named a Pac-12 all-conference selection in 2010, 2013 and 2014 and a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association first team allAmerica and all-region from 2010-2014 (she skipped the 2012 season to prep for London). Besides her bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games for Team USA in the 4+ she also won a gold medal at the 2010 U23 World Championships in the USA 8+ and a gold medal at the 2011 World Championships in the USA 8+.

Anticipation, anxiety grow for local Olympic athletes JAY BEDECARRÉ Concord Pioneer

In less than a month the United States diving and rowing teams for the Summer Olympics will be named and two graduates of Concord high schools are in the mix to compete for more Olympic glory after the torch is lit Aug. 5 at the 31st Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. One local athlete has already booked her place on the plane to Rio while two bronze medalists from the 2012 London Games are in the final stages of trying to earn another Olympic team berth. Diver Kristian Ipsen and rower Kara Kohler hope it’s déjà vu as they train in anticipation of each getting a second chance to represent America. Four years ago they earned their first Olympic team positions on the same day and then a short time later won bronze medals on a memorable Aug. 1, 2012. This year they have June 18-26 circled on the calendar when their fate this time around will be determined. For synchronized swimmer Mariya Koroleva of Concord and the Walnut Creek Aquanuts this year has been one of fine tuning her duet routine with partner Anita Alvarez from New York. The American duo was picked for their Olympic berth last September and this year they’ve enjoyed successful meets in China, Germany and France.

Photo courtesy Golden Bear Sports

KARA KOHLER was a walk-on to Cal’s crew as a freshman from Clayton Valley High with no rowing experience but has now been named to the Pacific 12 Conference All-Century rowing team following a distinguished career for the Golden Bears. During her time in Berkeley she was named conference newcomer of the year, a Pac-12 all-conference selection in 2010, 2013 and 2014 and a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association first team all-American and all region from 2010-2014. She was on the varsity eight each of her four seasons at Cal which concluded at the 2014 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis as the Bears finished second overall.

The 26-year-old Koroleva, like Ipsen a Stanford grad, is going to her second Olympics after pairing with Mary Killman for 11th in London. Ipsen has had an interesting journey since that magical August day in 2012 when he and partner Troy Dumais were third in the three-meter synchronized Olympic diving finals. Since then Ipsen completed his storied Stanford diving career, taken his first sabbatical from the grind of full-time diving since beginning as a

youngster in Clayton and then resumed his international career in the past year, including winning his first individual international senior medal in March. Now his training and plans for Rio have taken a dramatic turn as USA Diving recently broke up his fledgling synchro partnership with Sam Dorman. He was reunited with Dumais as a tandem just two months before the June 18-26 Olympic Trails in Indianapolis. American national team coaches evidently were not entirely satis-

fied with the scores Dorman and Ipsen racked up in recent international competitions and placed each with a different partner for the Trials. Ipsen cancelled his plans to compete in the final two FINA Diving World Series events in Canada and Russia last month to begin training with fourtime Olympian Dumais, who is 13 years older than the De La Salle High grad. The entire American national diving team recently began training at Stanford to replicate the outdoor diving conditions in Rio where the Olympics will be held. Ipsen will be in his home environment as he works out with Dumais in synchro as well as perfecting his 3M springboard dives as he hopes to also qualify as an individual for the Games. Ipsen earned his first-ever international senior diving medal in February at the site of the Summer Olympics. At the FINA Diving World Cup Ipsen took third in the threemeter springboard, earning the US its first World Cup medal in that event in 10 years.

KOHLER IN FINAL PUSH Cal and Clayton Valley High grad Kohler qualified for consideration as a member of the American eight or quad boats in Rio when she placed in the top six at the National Selection Regatta at the end of March. She is competing this week in Lucerne, Switzerland as part of USA1 women’s quad sculls at

KRISTIAN IPSEN, NOW 23, AND FOUR-TIME OLYMPIAN TROY DUMAIS, 36, hope to meld their different diving styles into a medal-winning performance at the Rio Games this summer. Four years ago in London they captured the first-ever medal—bronze—for the USA in the three-meter synchronized event.

Local spring sports athletes make college commitments

CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER RIGHTHANDER SCOTT MEYLAN committed to play baseball for San Francisco State. The senior recently signed a letter of intent with the Gators in the midst of the DVAL baseball race. Unfortunately Meylan couldn’t help his Eagles down the stretch after suffering an elbow injury that will most likely force him to take a redshirt year for SF State too. Meylan was league MVP in water polo last fall as he made allDVAL four consecutive years in polo. He was second-team all-league baseball last spring.

RYAN LEVY IS HEADED TO UC SANTA BARBARA after signing his commitment papers in the office of Clayton Valley Charter High School Jay Bedecarre photos principal Jeff Eben. The swimmer and water CARONDELET HIGH FINISHED A BUSY YEAR of honoring 19 senior athletes who committed to polo player (1st team all-DVAL) was joined four-year schools starting this fall. The school’s third lunchtime ceremony in front of parby his parents and fellow Eagles for cake to ents, relatives and the student body included, from left, Taylor Smallwood (Pacific Univercelebrate. He completed his high school sity, volleyball), Bianco Delfabro of Concord (Lindenwood University, trap shooting), swim career last weekend at the State CIF Makenna Zimmerman (Long Beach State, dance), Concord’s Hanna Eidson (Point Park Championships. The Eagles were the top University, dance), Katie Hoyt (Sonoma State, soccer), Katherine Kuptz (St. Mary’s College, local boys team at the North Coast Section lacrosse), Avery Avina (Point Loma Nazarene University, track & field) and Julianna Ruotolo meet in Concord with a seventh-place finish. (Cal Poly, track & field).

Page 12

Concord Pioneer •

Bob Ralston wins two coach of the year awards after leading Cal State East Bay back to NCAA baseball tournament Photo by Kelley Cox courtesy CSUEB Athletic Communications

Long-time former Clayton Valley High School baseball coach Bob Ralston is having quite a fifth season in charge of the Cal State East Bay baseball team, which is returning to the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time since 1977 after receiving at at-large berth. The Pioneers won 33 games for the first time in program history and Ralston has been named CCAA Coach of the Year and West Region Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, both of which are firsts for Pioneer baseball. CSUEB has now posted three 30win seasons in the past four years, the first time that’s happened in program history. Ralston coached Clayton Valley a total of 11 seasons over two stints in charge, winning the 2009 North Coast Section championship before taking over his college alma mater in 2012.

S ports Shorts


The Red Devil Golf Committee is holding its 21st annual Red Devils Golf Classic on Friday, June 24, at Diablo Creek Golf Course in Concord. Proceeds help athletic and academic programs at Mt. Diablo High School. Registration starts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch, golf, dinner and raffle/silent auction. For more information contact Lou Adamo (212-9332 or or Ralph Vallis (825-7593 or

Raiders and 49ers look to continue Bay Area dominance


What a time to be a Bay Area sports fan! The Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks both made it to the Western Conference Finals in their respective sports, the San Francisco Giants are leading the NL West and the Oakland Athletics are starting to ramp up after a slow start to their season. With so much success in other professional sports in the area, the Raiders and 49ers enter OTA’s looking to match the success of their peers. Raiders – This really feels like the year the Raiders finally return to the postseason. The Silver and Black added guard Kelechi Osemele, linebacker Bruce Irving, cornerback Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson via free agency. General manager Reggie

McKenzie was finally able to lure high-profile free agents to Oakland, in large part due to the already established core with Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. McKenzie continued to add young talent through the NFL draft. With their firstround pick, the Raiders selected bone-crushing safety Karl Joseph. The self-proclaimed “hitman” out of West Virginia has received comparisons to Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, due to his prowess in stopping the run and his ability to cover receivers as well as a slot corner. The Raiders also drafted heavily on the defensive line, adding Jihad Ward out of Illinois and Shilique Calhoun of Michigan State. Ward will most likely be utilized as a defensive tackle on passing downs, while Ward could be either a defensive end or a weakside linebacker. The Raiders are filled to the



De La Salle High School will host athletic camps in football, water polo, baseball, track and field, wrestling, volleyball, basketball, strength and conditioning, swimming, soccer and lacrosse. The camps are open to boys and girls in fourth through ninth grades. For complete information call (925) 288-8100 ext. 7090 or email Registration is open now at (athletic tab).

brim with talented football players. The last time someone could say that with a straight face was almost 14 years ago, but the Silver andBlack are back, baby. 49ers – The 49ers had a rough season last year, to put it mildly. Chip Kelly is the new head coach. General manager Trent Baalke hired him hoping Kelly learned from his mistakes in Philadelphia. The 49ers might not be a playoff team this coming season, but there is a good amount of young talent on the roster. The strongest part of the 49ers right now is their front seven and that’s in large part thanks to their first-round draft pick DeForest Buckner. As per usual with a Chip Kelly team, the 49ers selected an Oregon Duck, but make no mistake about it, Buckner is an absolute stud. The guy is a physical freak, standing at 6foot-7 and weighing 290 pounds. He can play a bit high

at times due to his height, but if he gets coached to use his pad level to his advantage he could be a pro bowler in the near future. Buckner will line up on the opposite side of college teammate and 2015 first-round pick Arik Armstead, who flashed a lot of potential last season. The 49ers will need to find an answer at quarterback though, before they can even think about competing in the NFC West. There is so much to be excited about as a Bay Area sports fan and now it’s time for the Raiders and 49ers to step up to the plate and try to make it to a conference championship game.

Tyler Lehman is a senior at San Francisco State University and a 2012 CVHS graduate. He is majoring in print/online journalism and wants to be a sports writer. Email your comments or questions to


Berean Christian High School is offering boys basketball, girls soccer and softball and FCA football camps featuring NFL and college players and coaches as instructors will be offered in June or July. Basketball, softball and football camps are open to third through ninth graders while the soccer camp is for all ages. Registration is taken online at under athletics/camps.

Concord High School is seeking girls JV volleyball and water polo coaches. All coaching positions come with a stipend. Coaching requirements include MDUSD fingerprint, current TB and First Aid/CPR, coaching principles course, concussion course and sudden cardiac arrest course. Interested coaches can send resume to CHS athletic director Megan Coddington at


If you’ve ever thought you might want to learn more about football from the real inside the Contra Costa Football Officials Association can teach you. CCFOA provides officials for local high school and youth games along the I-680 and Hwy. 4 corridors. They are looking for new members for the upcoming fall season. Training is provided with new member evening sessions starting in mid-June. There is an all-day clinic on Aug. 14 in preparation for the new season. For more information visit


Gehringer Park is accepting online registration through June 13 for boys and girls 4-18 years for their summer swim Two-time State championship finalist and Northern Cali- season. For more info on the Gators email gehringergafornia Bowl winner Clayton Valley Charter High School hosts or go online Future Champions Youth Football Non-Contact Camp tors. June 13-16 from 5-8 p.m. at Gonsalves Stadium on the Concord school campus for players in second through eighth CONCORD HIGH WATER POLO grades. Camp Director Michael Dominquez and Eagles head GETTING READY FOR FALL SEASON coach Tim Murphy explain that the camp has individual and Concord High School water polo teams are holding an group instruction (including safer blocking and tackling techinformational meeting next Tuesday, May 31, in the school nique) and team competition with fundamentals and techlibrary at 6 p.m. to meet the coaches and learn about the niques of football taught by the CVCHS staff. To register, schedule for 2016 season. The Minutemen girls team reached email or visit claytonvalleyfootthe North Coast Section playoffs last year. Anyone having questions can email


May 27, 2016




Concord Cobras tackle football program is taking signups for its fall season online. The football program is currently open for youth five to 14 years of age. For more info email or visit


Boys and girls 4-18 years of age wanting to play in Mt. Diablo Soccer Association fall league can register for guaranteed placement until June 15. After that date players will be placed on wait-list. Fall league play begins in August when all registration closes. Families are requested to sign up for volunteer duties to help the organization offer its AYSO program. For complete information visit

Clayton Valley Charter has a pair of challenging games to open its fall season. They Ugly Eagles host Reed High of Carson City, NV in their Friday, Aug. 26, opener at Gonsalves Stadium. The game replaces a matchup with Monte Vista High. Reed has played for the Nevada State Championship three times. The following Saturday, Sept. 3, CVCHS will be in the Honor Bowl in Mission Viejo against San Diego area 2 BASEBALL CAMP SESSIONS AT powerhouse Helix Charter School at 4 p.m. Helix is ranked UGLY EAGLES BASKETBALL CAMPS COMING IN JUNE CLAYTON VALLEY THIS JUNE among the top 50 teams in the US with Clayton Valley CharHead coach Eric Bamberger and his Clayton Valley CharClayton Valley Charter High School coach Casey Coakley ter rated second to De La Salle in North Coast Section preter High School coaches and players are offering a pair of has put together a staff of current CVCHS coaches and play- season rankings. Ugly Eagles Basketball Camps in June for boys and girls. The ers as well as Eagle alumni to provide baseball instruction to two sessions for incoming third through ninth graders are youngsters 5-14 years of age. The summer baseball camp will CONCORD AYSO TAKING FALL REGISTRATIONS June 13-17 and 20-24. Sessions run from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. with consist of instruction in the fundamentals of hitting, throwConcord AYSO has two in-person registration days for ing, fielding, catch play and other aspects of the game. Sum- fall league on Wednesday, June 1, and Tuesday, June 14, at the gym open an hour before and after the formal camp for mer baseball school sessions will be held at the school June Sports Authority on Concord Ave. from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for pickup play. The camp includes offensive and defensive 13-17 and June 20-24. Each daily session runs 9 a.m.–1 p.m. boys and girls up to 18 years of age. Players can also register instruction and games. For more information and to register To reserve a baseball school spot or to get more information on line at For more information email contact coach Bamberger by phone (925) 726-9999 or email email or call (925) 603-3861.


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Baseball for All is an international organization promoting baseball for girls and its national tournament July 23-30 in San Francisco. Pat Noonan of Continental Little League is helping form East Bay teams in 8U and 10U. The teams will begin practicing after the Little League season ends. For more information contact Noonan or call (925) 708-0761. Baseball for All is on the web at


Athletic director Bryan Shaw has announced that Mt. Diablo High School has the head varsity coaching position open this fall for its girls volleyball team. If you are interested in either opening contact Shaw by email or phone (925) 682-4030 ext. 87428.


The free Ygnacio Valley Future Warriors football camp is open to students entering fifth through eighth grade. The free camp is geared to help educate and enhance the community with the basic knowledge to be prepared to be successful. Camp is held at Ygnacio Valley High June 6-9 from 5-7 p.m. and is run by the YVHS football program to provide a positive experience for all campers. For any questions, contact head coach Phillip Puentes at


CVAA Jr. has opened registration for its 2016 football and cheer squads. Two of their cheer teams won national championships in January at the JAMZ Nationals in Las Vegas. Visit their website for more information and to register.



Concord Parks & Recreation Department is offering a wide variety of youth sports camps, clinics and classes this summer including Gymnastics + More, Kidz Love Soccer, Make Me A Pro camps in cheerleading, flag football and basketball, Pee Wee Cheer, Skateboard Camp, many Skyhawk camps, Water Polo Camp and World Cup Soccer. Concord Rec has on-going sports classes like swim lessons, junior tennis, Taekwondo (Little Dragons) and more. For more information on any of these youth sports programs, visit


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. Tell us about local athletes who are competing in college or elsewhere out of the area. 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 27, 2016

Concord Cup, from page 10

Concord Pioneer •

Page 13

Photo courtesy Concord AYSO

Photo courtesy Diablo FC

DIABLO FC 98 BLUE didn’t lose a game but two ties dropped them to second place in a round robin under 19 boys bracket at Concord Cup XXIII. The local team defeated Concord United 3-1 and then had a pair of 2-2 draws. The team includes, from left, coach Elías Haddad, Abisai Padilla, Nicolas Krucker, Ángel Telleira, William Reutter, Moises Limon, Evan Bowman, Max Schmidtbauer, Bryden Connel, Jorge Becerra, Jacob Haddad, Byron Rodriguez, Milad Dehghan, Anthony Maytum and coach Eli Padilla.

CONCORD UNITED 03 UNDER 12 GIRLS were champions of the Red Division at Concord Cup XXIII beating Palo Alto Voltage in the finals 3-1after three earlier wins over local rivals. The team includes, front Julia Morgan; knelling from left, Isabella Burton, Chloe Hererra, Kylea Chapple, Issabella Lejano; standing, Blanca Avila, coach Steve Sherfey, Jenna Thompson, Alison Grisanti, Claire Colgan, Ember Knowles and coach Mario Avila.

Hackers are getting smarter every day



In the cyber world shrouded with data hijackers, the sad fact is you are already being hacked. Your only real protection against such threats isn’t so much a great antivirus, or malware killers, nor is it strict rules given to employees not to open suspicious emails. Your best chance at survival is a backup. Here’s the Catch-22: Backups can also be rendered useless because crypto-locker searches your network for backup devices. News feeds tell the tale of millions paid to data hijackers. Your mind and heart race at the thought of you being hit.

You need a backup, but you don’t have one or it is an attached external or network drive. That’s not good enough. So now you’re stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Is your backup safe? Likely, no as the bad guys just advanced the game. You need a secure backup. A local cable company was hit and nearly lost their business to a crypto Trojan. As you may know, the crypto Trojan encrypts and locks all your data then demands a ransom be paid by Bitcoins. You have three days to come up with $500 or else your files are gone. Crypto-locker and its copycat variants are hard. They scramble documents like Word and Excel files, photos, accounting and bookkeeping records — everything, including backups. Charles Lungren, a local representative for A‘n D Cables, got hit. All access to his

data was cut off. Lungren is a My first question to customer of ours so we know Charles, “do you have backwhen his company is down ups?” Charles, “I don’t know.” they are out of business. He This was the second such explains how he opened an crypto incident this week. The email from an attorney, one he thought was his. As soon as he opened it his computer, the server, and all other client computers were infected and all his files had been encrypted.

first victim a contractor who lost everything, a lifetime of memories, photos, projects he designed, a lifetime of work. Devastating. The good news we recovered from his secure backups. There is no way to recover encrypted data. For example, even in Apple’s dispute with the Feds over the terrorist iPhone data, it took a millions dollars and a genius to work around the issue, but the encryption was never cracked. Lungren is our customer. Preventative measures were put in place during one of our normal customer security checks that prevented the payload from activating. It blocked the cyber key from embedding itself. Files were

recovered manually.

Are you ready to risk it all? Or, will you pay the ransom? Pay and there’s no guarantee you get the key or they don’t hit you again. The attack starts with an attractive email that is hard to resist or looks legitimate. To safeguard yourself you need two things: a friend in the computer business and a secure backup. To discuss either or both contact your computer expert now. William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to

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Thanks in part to an official closure zone of the cliff area from Feb. 1-July 31, a Peregrine falcon pair nested and incubated normally in Castle Rock Park. But here’s the bad news: The eggs didn’t hatch. They were apparently infertile, not an uncommon result, and the birds must now scout for a second cavity in the rocks to try again. They have to give up on this first site, staying away from it entirely for two to three weeks, in order to reset their bodies to reproduction. They’ve just started this process, as it took them awhile to give up on those unhatched eggs. The Peregrine falcon has nested for time immemorial in Castle Rock Park, which now hosts close to 100,000 human visitors per year. As the birds enter another critical period when they’re not invested in a particular nest cavity and have no eggs or young to defend,



adult female in flight.

they’re especially vulnerable to disturbance from trespassers in the closure zone. Despite park patrols, there are a lot of trespassers in the area – which may result in the birds giving up for the season. This rare bird species is the fastest animal on earth, able to dive from great heights at more than 200 mile per hour to nab their main prey, other birds, in mid-air. It’s amazing they can keep their eyes open and focused. Try sticking your head out the window of your car at 40 mph, and you’ll see what I mean. Both male and female help incubate, changing the guard every one to four hours. Their success at raising babies over the last decade hasn’t been much above 30 percent. The failures are often due to hikers scrambling around in the cliffs in Castle Rock, which is on the west side of Mount Diablo State Park. The closure zone was enact-

Mary Malec

ed last year. However, the birds raised two youngsters, a male and a female, in 2015. Volunteers from Mount Diablo State Park, Save Mount Diablo and three regional Audubon groups have formed a Peregrine Patrol to help park staff keep trespassers out of the closure zone. Team members typically volunteer several hours each week to hike the canyon and talk to people along the trail, known as Stage Road, to inform them about the closure and the Peregrines. You can help by respecting the closure zone signs and talking to other visitors who have their hearts set on climbing the rocks regardless of the closure zone. As a community, we should take pride in these birds and help protect them by “owning the zone.” Staci Hobbet is a docent with the Mt. Diablo Interpretive Association. You can send email to her at

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May 27, 2016

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West Loch, from page 1

there if the ship blew again. The next big blow came soon enough, and I took off running full speed for the shelter. There were a bunch of guys running ahead of me, when I saw a large smoking chunk of ship come down, spinning around. I saw it hit one of the guys just ahead of me. I was pretty sure he was killed, but I didn’t stop to find out. I made it to the shelter and went in head first, behind about five other guys. Parts of the ship were still falling around us. When the noise stopped, we got up and looked around. One of the guys lit up, and offered me a smoke. I took it, but I couldn’t light it because my hand was shaking too much. I recall seeing a bunch of guys crawling out from under the truck we had been loading. Then, we went back to work. After about 18 hours, we were relieved. We went back to our housing on West Loch, where we were fed.

That night we watched a movie on a temporary screen. While watching the movie, another LST blew up with another enormous boom.

THE WAR MUST GO ON We all worked on the dock for the next few days. They had put out the fire on the ships that were still floating. Tugs had removed the ammo ship, so we helped off-load a supply ship. I was down in “the hold” stacking cases of Blatz beer onto platforms, to be pulled up and off onto the dock. And, we didn’t crack open a single beer. Though the incident could have caused a serious operational delay, replacements of ships and men were quickly rounded up. The LSTs got underway only one day late, and the invasion of Saipan took place on schedule. All that is left as a reminder of that fateful day is the rusted hull of LST 480, standing

Lennar, from page 1

individual parcels when Lennar is ready to begin development and if the company demonstrates that it has the funds to do the work, posts bonds and secures insurance. But the fact that a developer has finally been tapped closes one door on one of the more bizarre chapters in Concord’s history. “Perfection is not within the human repertoire,” council member Dan Helix said at the May 11 special meeting. “Given a project of this magnitude and complexity, it is to be expected that mistakes would be made, and they were. We forged ahead.”

LENNAR CONCESSIONS Helix is referring to the intense negotiations with Lennar after their chef rival, Catellus Development Corp., was allowed to pull out of the process in February. The term sheet of the project submitted by Catellus was seen as superior to that of Lennar’s, and the city’s base reuse staff worked with Lennar to finalize a broad agreement that satisfied Helix and the other two voting council members. Helix said that in some cases the term sheet exceeded the benefits provided in the Catellus term sheet, which he had originally supported. Mayor Laura Hoffmeister said that the recent negotiations with Lennar netted the city many benefits that were either in the Catellus term sheet or even better, including agreeing to spend nearly $16 million to widen Willow Pass Road to four lanes and rebuild Willow Pass bridge as a four-lane span. Lennar also agreed to spend $40 million for affordable housing that would help ensure that 810 units are built.

However, Lennar reduced the $30 million guaranteed payout Concord would receive to $20 million over 10 years. But once Lennar earns a 20 percent return on its investment, it will share the profits, which could amount to an additional $23 million for the city. “The city and Lennar have different goals,” Helix said. “Theirs is to make a profit. Ours is to serve competing and complex objectives of our diverse population. This has always meant to minimize the risks inherent in the project we are approving.” Helix was joined in his approval by Hoffmeister and council member Edi Birsan, the only three members of the fivemember board allowed to vote on the master developer selection. Council member Ron Leone lives too close to the base to participate in the voting, and council member Tim Grayson recused himself from voting last fall after allegations of improper lobbying by Lennar in the form of contributions to his campaign for state Assembly from businesses the company is associated. That sparked a controversy that delayed the developer selection for more than six months. ALLEGATIONS OF WRONGDOING

In September, city staff recommended the council select Catellus as the master developer, a move that was approved by the council in closed session. But then the alleged lobbying came to light, and Catellus wrote a letter asking the city to investigate. About the same time, when the final staff report became public on the master developer selection, the recommendation

THE REMAINS OF LST 480 OFF WAIPIO PENINSULA are the only visual reminder of the May 1944 incident.

silently off Waipio Peninsula. In 1994, the National Park Service, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, placed a wayside exhibit across from LST 480 to commemorate the event. A Naval inquiry couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause of the explosions. The accident, along with the Port Chicago disaster two months later, led the Navy to change weapon handling practices. Eventually, Acorn 33 left Pearl for Guam. I went over the side of our transport ship

and down a rope ladder onto a small landing craft. This was 20 days after the first Marines invaded Guam. I helped set up the Naval Air Base and became a striker (apprentice) in the photo lab, earning a Photographer’s Mate Second Class rating. If you ask what I did during World War II, I would tell you “not much, really.” I went where I was sent and did what I was told. I was never assigned to a ship, but I was still a sailor.

for Catellus had been pulled – a rare situation in civic decisions like this. The move led to accusations of Brown Act violations, since it was seen that several council members asked City Manager Valerie Barone to pull the recommendation in a “serial meeting,” unauthorized and unpublicized discussions and communications between council members and city staff. Several council members vehemently deny that it was a violation and say the city manager made the decision on her own. Meanwhile, in investigating the alleged lobbying on behalf of Lennar, former city attorney Mark Coon said that the terms of agreement did not constitute lobbying – a stance held by Lennar. However, things got grim after the Oct. 6 suicide of Coon. His interpretation was not made public, since it was incomplete at the time of his death. An interim attorney was brought in, and the city contracted with an independent counsel to examine the allegations of wrongdoing. The result was the Jenkins Report, put together by Michael Jenkins, an independent attorney of the law firm Jenkins & Hogin. Jenkins determined there were Brown Act violations by the city in its decision to pull the Catellus recommendation, and that the funds directed to thenMayor Grayson’s Assembly campaign did indeed constitute inappropriate lobbying on the part of Lennar. He suggested Lennar be disqualified from consideration. Once Grayson realized where the campaign contributions came from, he quickly returned them. But the damage had been done, and he chose to recuse himself from the process. The four companies that

contributed to the Grayson campaign all had ties to Lennar, but Lennar’s president, Kofi Bonner of Walnut Creek, did not make a contribution. The Pioneer tried to reach Bonner but was referred to his public relations firm. No one from that firm responded to the request. Some City Council members deny the contributions were inappropriate under the terms of understanding with the city. “One lawyer says one thing, another says something else,” said Birsan. “It’s up to interpretation.”

LAST DEVELOPER STANDING After the Jenkins report was released and digested by the council, city staff and the public, there was pressure to disqualify Lennar from the running. However, the City Council decided to keep Lennar in to have an opportunity to compare two qualified candidates. At that point, Catellus asked the city to change their term sheet in case the transfer of the land from the Navy took more than three years. It began a snowball of correspondence that had Catellus questioning the city’s commitment to them as a viable candidate, despite support by neighbors and at least one council member – Helix. After the city deemed the Catellus change was not in the city best interest, Catellus withdrew itself from the running, and only one master developer remained: the much maligned Lennar. Now the process begins on a plan that ultimately will see up to 12,272 housing units and 6.1 million sq. ft. of commercial space on about 2,300 acres of the former military base. The Navy is scheduled to begin transferring land to the city in the spring of 2017.

May 27, 2016

Concord Pioneer •


Teaching dogs to say ‘please’ leads to better behavior



Did your parents ever tell you to say “please” when teaching you how to be polite with adults and peers. It turns out our dogs aren’t that different – they can also benefit from learning to say “please.” Some trainers call this the “No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” program, while others call it the “People Empowerment Program.” However you want to refer to it, it is widely used among dog trainers and

behaviorists to help set people and their dogs up for success. In any home, dogs are more appreciated as family members when they have good manners. Dogs are social creatures, but they live more successfully with us when they understand our rules and expectations. We can teach them by rewarding them with things they adore: affection, exercise, treats, toys – whatever makes your dog’s tail wag. To start, teach your dog a behavior or two that he can perform on cue. A simple “sit” or “down” will work. Or train the dog to look at you in response to calling his name.

Once your dog has learned a cue in a variety of conditions, you can begin to ask your dog to do this behavior on cue as a way of saying “please” before getting something he wants. Once you have given the cue, wait to give the dog what he wants until he performs the behavior. If he doesn’t do the behavior, ignore him and walk away. Then turn back toward him, be sure you have his attention and ask again. When your dog offers you the behavior, give him his reward. This way, your dog learns a polite way to interact with people. For pushy dogs who are always asking for attention, say

by nudging or barking, it allows you to use the desired attention as a reason for the dog to say “please.” Meanwhile, fearful dogs can create a sense of control of their environment, which translates to building confidence and trust in people. Start by making a list of the things your dog likes – eating meals, lying on the couch, walking through doors, opening the cookie jar, playing with a toy. From now on, ask him to say “please” for everything he wants. Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 2561ARF (1273)

Toby and Akira are ARF’s stars

little bit of time to come out of his shell, but once he does, he is a very curious little man. He would love to go home with one of his brothers or his sister so that they can learn together as they grow! He is suitable for a first time cat guardian. The adoption fee for a kitten less than 6 months $125.


4-year-old Toby is a very friendly, dashing boy who is a little shy at first. He loves walks around the neighborhood, going for errands with you and playing with his toys. Toby loves to cuddle and sleep with his humans so be ready for some big love. He will make some lucky person a best

buddy! Toby has a positive history with other dogs. We recommend Toby take a Basic Manners class where he can learn polite ways of seeking creature comforts in life. If you have small children, we recommend bringing them for a meet and greet before adopting Toby. He currently weighs

Rent Strike, from page 1 “It’s like we are living in the worst place in Concord,” she said. “But if we’re quiet, nothing will happen.” That’s why she and neighbors like Betty Gabaldon have joined with Eduardo Torres, the East Bay organizer of Tenants Together, as well as many other residents of the Virginia Lane apartments for the rent strike. PROBLEMS EXTEND BEYOND RENT HIKES

Page 15

Gabaldon is paying $1,300 for her two-bedroom, twobath apartment. At first, she saw her rent going up about $50 every other month, something she said wasn’t unreasonable. “My apartment is not bad,” she says. “Someone actually came and cleaned up some weeds around the front of the apartment. But some of my neighbors don’t have working refrigerators, they have broken toilets and pests. Even I’ve had to remove all my furniture because of bed bugs.” Steve Pinza of the Pinza Group did not return calls from the Pioneer. But Torres is listening. “We are building relationships with tenants so that they can stay in their homes,” he said. A coalition of local Catholic churches is supporting his efforts. “The conditions are pretty terrible,” he said. “We need to help them out.” He said there are four buildings on or near Virginia Lane that are part of the rent

strike: 1127 and 1120 Virginia Lane, 16 Diane Court and 1751 Diane Court. “These are owned by the Pinza Group, and there are broken windows, broken heaters … it’s intimidation by neglect.” Torres said the tenants were submitting $1,400 rent checks at the beginning of each month – an amount minus the recent rent hikes. COUNCILMAN CONFRONTS THE ISSUES

Concord City Council member Edi Birsan is also concerned about the situation. Residents say he has become a “savior” for his work trying to get the city to examine rent control and stabilization. “I’ve brought it up at council meetings, for this to go to a council committee on Housing and Economic Development Committee,” Birsan said. “At first, no one supported it. The next week, it was seconded by council member Ron Leone, but that was it.” He says that the problem, especially on Virginia Lane, is two-fold: the conditions of some of the units are “deplorable,” and the rent increases in some of those units are massive. “Some people have gone from a rent of $1,100 to $1,650-$1,750 in less than six months,” Birsan noted. He says that since many of the leases in the Virginia Lane area and other apartments in the Monument area are


9 pounds. The adoption fee for a dog is $250 and includes a discount on the first six-week session of a manners class. 10-week-old Akira is a beautiful boy who will make such a sweet companion for his lucky family. He takes just a

month-to-month, the prevailing attitude of the owners is “if you don’t like it, you can leave.” “The extra money that these people are being forced to pay could be used for groceries, school supplies for their kids, other necessities that are bought in the community,” he said. “That takes away from the economy of Concord and hurts the city. It’s a citywide problem.”

CITY TAKING SOME ACTION Birsan says he doesn’t understand his colleagues’ position on examining rent control, but some headway is being made. On May 10, the City Council decided to conduct a council-wide study session on the rents issue. A date has not been set. Mayor Laura Hoffmeister says rent control is a complex situation, with state regulations added in. She added that Oakland and San Francisco have various measures for rent control, but it hasn’t solved the problem of rent hikes there. Concord has begun a twoyear pilot program to encourage property owners to build small secondary units, or inlaw units, as an alternative to affordable housing. The program, which started earlier this month, offers a 50 percent reduction in “impact fees” charged by the city for these units. The units must be 640 sq. ft. or less. Besides the fee discount, the city did away with the requirement that the homeowner occupies one of the units on the property and

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provides amnesty from penalty fees for existing secondary units that were built without city permits. It’s a start for a city that has long been seen as an attractive and affordable alternative to its more expensive neighboring suburbs, Walnut Creek and Lamorinda. But as Torres pointed out, the proximity to four BART stations is making this part of central Contra Costa County even more desirable. For the Virginia Lane residents, however, desirable means a reasonable rent in apartments that aren’t buginfested with dilapidated appliances. That’s why Chan, Gabaldon, Torres and others will continue their rent strike this June 1.

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T H E ARTS Page 16



The Vagabond Players will kick up their heels with a special Fabulous Follies “Decades” show to celebrate the group’s first decade of performing.

Concord Pioneer •

May 27, 2016

‘Decades’ performance honors 10th anniversary

Songs, dances and comedy routines will highlight the performances, which take place in senior communities in May and June as well as public performances in June. “This is our fourth Fabulous Follies performance,” says founder and director Sharon Redmond. “We have a large cast of performers who are sure to please audiences with a wide variety of music from past decades. It’s really fitting

to do this special show during May, which is Older Americans Month.” The Vagabond Players highlights the creative talents of performers over 50 and make the arts more accessible to older audiences by performing in senior centers and retirement communities. Performers include Rita Hamlin, Sheilah Morrison, the Songsters, Heather Cannon, Amy Morganstein, Meghan Telles, Norm and Teddie Gilbert, Lance Millar, Bob Lanter, Therese and John Clenney, Hannah Fornier, Linda Revelli, Jenifer Peabody, Tap Kats, Curtis and Susan Stuteville and Greg Jacobs. Jennifer Miller, La Tonya Watts, Lettie Burns and Melissa Lozano choreograph the various numbers. “Decades” will perform at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez, 8 p.m. June 10-11 and 2:30 p.m. June 12. For tickets, go to The company will then travel to Sut-

ter Creek to perform 3 and 7 p.m. June 18 at the Sutter Creek Theater, 44 Main St. For tickets, visit the website at

Get ready for a high seas adventure complete with pirates, romance and a bit of adult humor as writers Gretchen Givens and Linda Gregg premiere their latest work “Esperanza! ... A Pirate Romance.” Givens, a Martinez resident, and Gregg, who now makes her home in England, have been working on the project for more than 11 years. “This has been truly a labor of love,” says Givens. “Our quirky characters really do exist now, and hearing the musical numbers performed for the first time has been a very moving experience,” adds Gregg. The story starts in the mind of “Maggie,” who is attending a romance writing class and soon bounces back and forth between

Photo Courtesy of Cal Shakes

STACY ROSS AND JAMES CARPENTER (shown here in Cal Shakes’ 2010 production of “Macbeth”) will change genders for their roles in “Much Ado About Nothing.”

romance in the fantasy world and romance in the real world. Rhonda Joy Taylor plays Maggie, and Mitchell Munroe is her writing instructor Jim. Other cast members include Jene’ Bombardier, Lisa Luttinger, Matthew Martin, Sal Russo, Martin Ashe, Linda Sciacqua and Remmington Stone. Mark Hinds and Helen Means direct, with

musical direction by Jene’ Bombardier and choreography by Anne Baker. The new musical takes place through June 5 at Onstage Repertory’s Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., Martinez. For reservations, call 925-518-3277.

See Stage Struck, pg 17

‘Years’ explores marriage in music and song TAMARA STEINER Concord Pioneer


Focus is on musical theater in preparation for the summer musical — “A Trip Down Broadway, Jr.”

Robert Brown, the Tony Award–winning composer of “Parade”  and “Honeymoon in Vegas”, has created a powerful and intimate musical about two twenty something New Yorkers who dive headfirst into a marriage fueled by the optimism that comes from finding “the one.” “The Last Five Years” follows the marriage of Cathy — a struggling actress and Jamie, a writer whose first novel is a blockbuster hit – as the marriage crumbles under the weight of needs unmet. From one of the most

Theater Program is for Children ages 6 — 16

Musical theater training and preparation instructed by CTC’s Artistic Director La Tonya Watts and Managing Director Roxanne Pardi




A group of fourteen artists, myself included, came together recently for an art show here in Concord. It wasn’t your average

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imaginative voices in musical theater, the entire story is told through song and features a unique structure in which Cathy’s journey is sung beginning at the end of the mar-

riage, and Jamie tells his from beginning to end. Although the two are often on stage at the same time, their stories are told through solos, only meeting once in the middle when they

retrospective or collection of recent works. The theme of this exhibit was exciting and even a bit intimidating – each artist had to create a new piece of art that expressed an aspect of her identity. Identity is a rather broad concept and the word itself has more than one definition. Our creative challenge was to reflect on what contributes to our individuality and how it is meaningful. Some of us explored this by way of our early memories, others via our ancestry, nationality or culture. From our forebears coming to America in search of a new life, to cherished family relationships and traditions, to stories of hope and social change, to challenges with self-esteem and childhood fears…each story of identity became a cathartic visual journey for all the artists. Emily Stepp added dimensional elements to her lifelike painting of fish and other creekdwelling creatures to illustrate her own conflicting feelings of blending in to mainstream culture, versus feeling like a fish out of water. “The sculptural elements are at home within the flat painting, but still noticeably separate. Creeks are important to my family’s culture. My father and I love to walk around creek beds looking for interesting stones and animals.” Michele Cicala painted a small portrait of her grandmother. “My granny was a strong woman of courage and faith who raised 12 children and was full of love and kindness. As a mother myself, I often call upon her for strength and guidance… to me she is a Goddess!” As Catherine Hensiek was

creating her altered book, she wrote a poem about her feelings as a child during a nuclear attack evacuation drill. “Her shadow races to keep up as she begins to run. Creek Culture by Emily Stepp She is chanting now, “yellow alert, yellow alert!” While in Concord Community of Artists’ the trees, birds cease their song blog at as sirens wail.” To learn more about all of Lisa Fulmer is a working artist the participating artists and see and art consultant. Email her pictures from the show, visit the

Exploring our identity through art

Performers will learn musical numbers from: “Annie,” “Mary Poppins,” “School of Rock” and “Seussical the Musical”

July 11-27, 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Final performance July 28, 2 p.m.

Kevin Berne

Margo Seibert as Cathy and Zak Resnick as Jamie in American Conservatory Theatre’s “The Last Five Years,” playing through June 5.

exchange their vows. With only two characters, minimal sets and an orchestra of just keyboard and strings, this is theatre at its most vulnerable. Alone on the stage, the stunningly talented Margo Seibert as Cathy and Zak Resnick as Jaimie are left to deliver their heartbreaking stories with truth and measure, simply and without flash or pyrotechnical distractions. The two create moments of pure magic in the 85-minuted show. “The Last Five Years,” plays through June 5 at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary St., San Francisco. Ticket prices range from $20 to $105 and are available at 415749-2228 or

Animals take center stage at new art show

M J Coleman’s lithograph print is from her animal selfies series.

aRt Cottage is calling artists to bring in artistic interpretations of animals for the next show, “All Creatures Great and Small.”

All mediums are welcome, as are artists of all ages and talent levels. This is not a juried show. The environment is friendly, and artists feel welcomed and comfortable at aRt Cottage. To enter, visit and fill out the registration form. A reception for participating artists will be 7-9 p.m. Thursday, June 9. The public is welcome to come meet the artists and enjoy refreshments and live music. The show runs June 7-30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays at 2238 Mt. Diablo St. Events at aRt Cottage are always free.

May 27, 2016

CALENDAR Concord Pioneer •

Page 17



Rotating lineup of food trucks. 5 – 9 p.m. 2151 Salvio Street.

Tuesdays Farmers’ Market

Tuesdays year round, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

Thursdays Music and Market

Thursday night live music and farmers’ market. Music: June 2, The Bird Dogs; June 9, Lumberyard; June 16, The David Correa Group; June 23, The Jean Genies David Bowie Tribute. Market 4 – 8 p.m.; music 6:30 – 8 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord.

3rd Sundays Antique Faire

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

On Sale Now Concerts

The Concord Pavilion is located at 2000 Kirker Pass Road. Concert schedule for 2016: May 29, KBLX Stone Soul Concert, 12 p.m. June 12, Spirit West Coast, 4 p.m. June 13, Slipknot, 6:30 p.m. July 9, Bryan Adams, 8 p.m. July 12, Taste of Chaos, 6:30 p.m. July 28, Sublime, 6:35 p.m. July 30, New Edition, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19, Disturbed, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27, Outcry Tour, 6 p.m. Aug. 28, Snoop Dogg, 7 p.m. Sept. 18, Daryl Hall and John Oates, 7 p.m.

May 28 – 30 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. 2450 Grant St., downtown Concord. $6 with canned food donation for Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano; $7 without.

June 11 Concord Museum and Event Center

Docent-led walk through of restoration progress on former Masonic Temple. 1, 2 and 3 p.m. 1928 Clayton Road, Concord. Free; donations requested.


Saturdays, thru Sept. 24, except Sept. 3 Farmers’ Market

8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Diablo Street between Main and Center streets, downtown Clayton.

May 30 Memorial Day Observance

Program to honor our lost heroes, sponsored by VFW Post 1525. Fly over scheduled and some military equipment on display. 10 – 11:30 a.m. Veterans Memorial flagpole monument, Main and Oak Streets, Clayton. Free.

June 4, 18 Saturday Concerts in the Grove

June 4, Garratt Wilkin & The Parrotheads; June 18, David Martin House Party. 6 – 8:30 p.m. Grove Park, downtown Clayton. Free.

June 8, 22 Wednesday Classic Car and Concerts in the Grove

June 8: Car show only. 6 – 8 p.m. June 22: Car show, 6 – 8 p.m. Jam Daddy, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Grove Park, downtown Clayton. Free.

June 13 Clayton Classic

Golf tournament sponsored by CBCA. 12 p.m. shotgun start. Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Drive, Clayton. 672-2272.

July 11 – 27 Summer Stage 2016

Clayton Theatre Company’s drama camp for children ages 6 – 16. Camp covers acting, singing and dancing and culminates in a performance of “A Trip Down Broadway, Jr.” 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. For fees and registration, go to


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

Tuesdays in June Docent Training

One of my favorite theater companies, Butterfield 8, has been on hiatus since April 2014, when founding artistic director John Butterfield returned to New Zealand to complete his MFA and pursue further training. While he will be staying in New Zealand for the foreseeable future, the company will once again be producing shows as B8. Butterfield asked long-time company member JanLee Marshall to step in as artistic direc-

tor, with Kerry Gudjohnsen as managing director, Ali Arman as production manager and Maureen Williams continuing her stellar leadership as company manager. B8 is looking for a new performance space in the downtown Concord area. For more information, go to California Shakespeare Theater opens its summer sea-

June 19 “The Trials of Alice in Wonderland”

Presented by Puppets of Praise with St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. 2:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $15. 943-7469.

Be a docent. Apply for a docent training session. Contact Kevin June 24 – 26 Dixon at or (510) 544-2751.

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 5 Circle the Mountain Hike

Views in all directions as we circle the mountain’s dominant peak. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Meet at Juniper Trailhead.

June 12 Snakes Alive

Meet and hold one of many beneficial and harmless snakes. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Summit Museum.

June 18 Summer Solstice Saunter

Evening hike on Mount Diablo. 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Reservations required: or

June 21 Night Hike Adventure

Look for nighttime critters like bats, owls and raccoons. 7:30 – 10 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center.

June 24 Common Poorwill Bird Walk

Hike near upper portion of White Canyon listening for the common poorwill and local owls. 7 – 10:30 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Reservations required:


Thru June 5 “Esperanza!”

“C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert”

Presented by Fellowship for Performing Arts. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $34-$94. 943-7469.

June 26 Concert

Performed by The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West. 3 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. Free; reserved seating.

June 26 “Reminisce”

A Bharatanatyam dance concert presented by Nava Dance Theatre. 5:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $17.75. 943-7469.


June 5 “This Land is Your Land”

Concert honoring the 100th anniversary of the National Parks. 3 p.m. Oglesby-Close Hall, Concord United Methodist Church, 1645 West St., Concord. Free.


2nd and 4th Sundays Pancake Breakfast

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

May 28 Baking for a Cure

Bake sale for Relay For Life Clayton. 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Starbucks, A pirate romance. Onstage Theatre at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Clayton Station. Ward St., Martinez. $18-$22. 518-3277.

Thru June 25 “Rock of Ages”

Musical featuring big bands, big egos and even bigger hair. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $37$65. 943-7469.

May 27 – 28 “Dance Series Two”

Presented by Smuin Ballet. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $56-$73. 943-7469.

June 3 – 4 “The Show 2016”

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

June 3 – 12 “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

Presented by Crosslight Theater. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $17. 943-7469.

June 11 “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Presented by Ligioso Ballet Studio. 6:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $17.50. 943-7469.

June 12 Demonstration

Classroom work from students of The Ballet School. 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $27. 943-7469.

June 12 – July 2 Showcase

Classical dance and music of South India presented by Kalanjali Dances of India. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Free. 943-7469.

June 18 Summer Piano Recital

Presented by The Ballet School. 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $12. 943-7469.

June 18 “The Songs and Stories of Neil Diamond”

Performed by Jack Wright and the Heartlight Band. 7 p.m. Cali-

Stage Struck, from pg 16

fornia Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $20-$25. 427-1611.

son with a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” According to co-adapter and director Jackson Gay, gender constraints are out the window in this streamlined version. “Our actors have an infectious sense of fun that will allow them to look past normal gender roles,” he says. Many in the cast will be doing some cross-dressing, including James Carpenter, who plays Beatrice, and Stacy Ross, who portrays Benedick. The show runs through June 19 at

the Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda. Come early and enjoy a picnic on the beautiful grounds. For tickets, call 510548-9666 or go to Here’s your chance to see an exhilarating musical performance by a cast of more than 200 performers and benefit Children’s Benioff Hospital in Oakland at the same time, thanks to the Peter Pan Foundation. “Wish Upon a Star” runs May 28-30 at Diablo Valley Col-

June 4 Plant Sale

Plants selected for summer-dry climate. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Markham Regional Arboretum Society Nursery. 1202 La Vista Ave., Concord. Free admission.

June 11 Round-Up For Relay

Barbecue, music, prizes. Sponsored by Relay For Life Clayton; benefiting the American Cancer Society. 6 – 10 p.m. Easley Ranch, 6995 Marsh Creek Road, Clayton. $50.


The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or 6465455. June June June June p.m. June June June June June

2: 2: 6: 9:

Origami, 4 p.m. International Film Series, 6 p.m. STEAM Project/Meteors, 6:30 p.m. U.S. Citizenship and Information Services, 6:30

14: 4th of July Crafts, 4 p.m. Registration required. 16: Concord Book Club, 6:30 p.m. 18, July 9: AARP Free Tax Assistance, 10 a.m. 20: Dungeons and Dragons, 5 p.m. 21, 23, 24: Lunch at the Library, 1 p.m.

The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or call 673-0659. June 1: Fossils, 7 p.m. June 13: Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. June 13: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 p.m. June 15: Living History Lessons with Vietnam Veterans, 6:30 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.

lege, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. This 10th anniversary production follows Peter Pan and friends on an enchanted musical journey featuring beloved fairytale characters. “The Peter Pan Foundation, inspired by our original Peter Pan, the late Steffen Ryge, was founded to help children of all ages find their inner talents and confidence, to reach their personal potential and find the best versions of themselves, on and off the stage,” says Leslie Noel, who founded the organization and directs the produc-

tion. “I think this show touches so many people because everyone has a little Peter Pan inside – a child who never truly grew up.” Full length performances take place 2 and 7 p.m. May 2830, with Shadow Cast performances 10 a.m. May 29-30. Tickets can be purchased at 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

Page 18

Concord Pioneer •

May 27, 2016

Do ‘green’ features enhance a home’s value to buyers?



Q. My family and I plan to sell our home. While we have lived here we have made many “green” upgrades. In researching comparable homes I can find very little in the marketing pieces about “energy efficient” features. Are

buyers not interested in these features? A. On a recent survey more than half of home shoppers report that green features, from energy efficient appliances to solar panels, are an important part of their purchasing decision, though a very small percentage of home listings market these features sufficiently. Buyers view green features as a priority because they help save money and allow them to help the environment. Other reasons  they find them important include occupant’s health, tax credit availability and the home’s resale value. Your green home features should be prominent in the

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marketing of your home. Be portion of the entire parcel sure that your realtor agrees that encompasses the entire with you on this point. complex. Many buyers avoid buying townhomes or PUD’s Q. I am buying my first unnecessarily because they place and a townhome are afraid they will not be seems like it could work for able to get financing. me. I am getting an FHA loan. I can’t afford a single Q. My fiancé and I are family home but I’m on the fence whether to scared that the complexes buy a place or continue to won’t take an FHA loan.  rent. We are 30 and 32 A. If it is a true townhome years old respectively. Can or a PUD (planned unit devel- you give us some input  on opment) you don’t need FHA this subject? approval. It qualifies for FHA A. A recent survey found financing like a single family that around 25 percent of home. You are buying the unit renters indicated that they do and the lot beneath it.   not plan to ever purchase a A condominium is where home while around 70 percent you don’t own the land. You said it would be more than two own an equal and undivided years before they do so.

Of the 70 percent nearly 80 percent of them said there are factors that could inspire them to purchase in the next 12 months. Factors cited included: Ability to save enough for a down payment; obtain a new job; interest rates stay low or get lower; decided that it makes more financial sense to buy versus rent. According to the study, 72 percent of American adults still believe homeownership is part of their personal American dream. One reason that it benefits people to buy versus rent is the tax deduction they receive from their income tax. If one is earning money

My intention isn’t to give the impression I’m a cockeyed optimist, but I believe there is a lot to be said for incorporating the Pollyanna principle into your life. I’ve had my share of heartache, sickness and tragedies, just like everyone else. But to stay mentally healthy, I think we must strive to maintain a positive attitude in spite of our trials and tribulations. Are you the type of person who views your glass as half empty or as half full? If you’re a glass half empty individual, please pour some more water into that glass. It is a scientific fact that we use 37-43 facial muscles to frown and only 16-17 facial muscles

Cheshire cat grin on his face every time I see him. Several of us meet at the C.C.Cafe at the Senior Center and before long, everyone at our table is in hysterics. Robert refuses to allow anything or anyone to steal his joy. His attitude is so cheerful that before he went into business for himself, his employer wanted to check his locker for drugs. They just couldn’t comprehend how he could be such a continually happy guy without the aid of pharmaceuticals. What a sad commentary. According to Leonard Louis Levinson, “a pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds; a philosopher sees both sides and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all because he is walking on them.” Philippians 4:8 states: “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,

Don’t worry, be happy – now that’s sound advice

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to smile. So smile, because frowning only creates more wrinkles. The consequences of exhibiting a propitious attitude can be far-reaching, like the ripples on the surface of a pond when you skip a stone. Your attitude can determine how people relate to you, and, more importantly, how your children relate to the world around them. If you weren’t born with a positive outlook, it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Maintaining an upbeat frame of mind is largely a learned behavior. Try smiling at your reflection in the mirror each morning and saying, “Today is going to be a great day.” Eventually, you’ll realize you’re having more good days than bad ones. I have a friend who is one of the happiest people I know. He has a fun, kooky sense of humor and a

and paying taxes the deduction is all of your interest on your loan plus recurring costs such as property taxes. People also can benefit from the gain in equity that comes automatically when the market appreciates. I would suggest that you talk to a mortgage broker and see if you can qualify to purchase a home. If you can then you have an educated decision to make. 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.



whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” It seems that understanding the benefits of a happy inclination has been with us for a long, long time. Christine Kogut is a marketing director for the Concord Senior Citizens Club. She has lived in the area for 40 years and formerly worked for the Contra Costa Times. To find out more about the Concord Senior Center, call (925) 6713320 or see the city’s website at

El Niño, coming to an end

If the amazing number of spring roses in my garden is any indicator, the El Niñorelated winter rains were very beneficial. It’s likely that Mt. Diablo’s drought-stressed trees would agree with that assessment. Local and regional weather statistics show that the drought-denting winter rains were abundant at times but last winter’s rainfall patterns were not quite like those predicted for strong El Niño events. In recent history, strong El Niño events have resulted in wetter than normal winter weather in the central and southern portions of California and below normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest. The National Weather Service winter outlook issued last fall mirrored that pattern. This winter’s rainfall pattern did not match the typical strong El Niño pattern that was forecast for the west coast. Fortunately for us, northern and central California did receive enough rainfall to ward off the dire consequences that would have resulted had drought conditions continued. Rainfall data from the three climatologically wettest winter months, December through February, tell the story. For those months, both the Pacific Northwest and northern California areas received greater than normal rainfall during those while southern California was drier


than normal. El Niño delivered the much needed rainfall, but not exactly in the pattern predicted. Rainfall statistics show that near normal rainfall was commonplace in the Bay Area. Between Oct. 1 and April 30, rainfall at Concord’s Buchanan Field was nearly 90 percent of normal. Rain measurements from other local stations ranged from 85 to 105 percent of normal for the same period. Bay Area rainfall events were not distributed evenly during the recent wet season. October was nearly bone dry. From November through January rain totals were pretty close to seasonal averages for the three-month period. Local rainfall totals for February were only about 25 percent of normal and the winter storm door seemed to close. Fortunately, several storms crossed through our area in March, followed by a few more in April. These late-season storms made up for the February deficits,

allowing the winter rainfall totals to end up near normal. Near normal precipitation and snowpack data from the Sierra Nevada mountains show that the El Niño-influenced winter weather will have a positive impact on our state’s water supply. As of May 1, northern Sierra rainfall was about 120 percent of normal, with the central Sierra showing nearly 105 percent and the southern Sierra nearly 95 percent. Water levels at northern California’s storage reservoirs have risen dramatically over the past winter. As of May 1 the state’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, are over 90 percent full. Unfortunately, El Niño won’t last forever. Equatorial sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific are beginning to cool, and long-range models hint that by next winter a complete reversal to La Niña conditions is possible. Since the correlation between La Niña events and California rainfall is weak, anything is possible next winter. The bottom line is that we should enjoy the flowers and forests that the El Niño rains nurtured, but continue to conserve water as if another dry winter lurks in the shadows. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist retired from PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

May 27, 2016

Concord Pioneer •

Page 19

Spring into action in your yard JENNIFER LEISCHER


Your red table umbrella is quietly closed, still standing in its designated hole in the dining table. The dining chairs are a little dusty, patiently waiting for the first party of the warm weather season. The beverage cooler needs to be cleaned, the outdoor area rug looks like it may be trying to grow a fuzzy layer of grass, and your battery-operated candles inside your lanterns have rusted. And, to top things off, every pillow, seat and back cushion were accidentally (and then lazily) left outside since your last summer soiree. To say things are a bit dusty is an understatement. So now what? Do you let the weeds have their way, turning your backyard into a suburban jungle, hiding all traces of furniture and decorative accents? No — like any living space, inside or out, you come up with a design plan and forge ahead.

Spring is when we all start to cautiously venture outside again. We get up the courage to take a peek at our outdoor living spaces with fresh, discerning eyes. Yes, we might see some weeds here and there, some sad little annuals that somehow made it through the cold winter, or a tree limb that fell during a rain storm, but, if you’re anything like me, you’re not overly concerned about the current state of your greenery. A few trips to the local nursery and your greenery is back in action. You may WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK Let’s be honest, outdoor be far more concerned with cleaning is no fun. But, if it your outdoor furnishings and means prolonging the life of how these pieces fared through upholstered items, solid wood, the winter. resin wicker or various types of

like wildflowers amongst your furniture, ceramic pots in the same family of color with fluffy, planted grasses, and even some new table top décor will add some new spring life to your backyard.

metal furniture, it’s worth your time. Local hardware stores carry all sorts of cleaning solutions that can bring most fabrics and furnishings back to life.

COLOR EXPLOSION Whether you’re out and about shopping or receiving retail catalogues though the mail, it’s pretty hard to miss all of the color: bright and cheerful patterns featuring stripes, polka dots, floral, whimsical sea creatures or birds of a feather. It’s amazing what new color can do to a living space. A handful of pillows sprinkled

NEW PROJECTS And of course, there’s nothing like the summer backyard (or front yard) project. Try out a new redwood gazebo with outdoor drapery, newly installed vintage string lights hung above your dining area, a limestone patio cut into your oversized lawn with a newly installed gas line run to your fire pit, a hot tub with a stone surround, a sports court for the kids, or an updated front walk between the sidewalk and your front porch. Whatever your design project may be this summer, take the time to organize, prepare and research all elements, just as you would an interior space. Jennifer Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at

Vietnam Memorial honors the fallen from Clayton and Concord Carol Longshore has been a Concord resident since 1950. She is a community leader and current president of the Concord Historical Society. Send comments and suggestions for future topics to



Those who walk, run and ride around Newhall Park know about the Vietnam Memorial. However, others may be unaware that Concord has the first outdoor Vietnam Memorial established in the United States. This memorial is the dream of a young man who wasn’t allowed to serve his country. He understood the pain the guys were feeling when they came home. His passion to honor them drove him to talk to a few people about a memorial. They looked around the city to find the perfect spot and discovered the hill in Newhall Park. It was decided that it was just like the view from the hills of Vietnam. They got approval from the City Council to plant 32 oak trees in honor of the 32 men Concord and Clayton lost in the war. In the late 1970s, approval was gained for a monument. As you walk up the 350-foot hill, you will find the memorial plaque adhered to a native

rock, overlooking the coun- tighter. Committee members tryside. The inscription reads disagreed and soon dissolved these inspiring words: the group, along with the celebrations. “Forgotten by some this may Clayton constructed its be true, own memorial. In 2010, the But for each one lost, we Concord plaque was stolen plant a tree and community members ralSo all who pass this land lied to raise money to replace may see it. Celebrations returned; These mighty oaks stand you’ll see them announced in Because this land is free.” the papers. The plaque lists the names In 1984, families of the and branch of service of fallen, local vets and commu- those who died – 22 from the nity leaders formed a com- Army, 9 Marines and 1 from mittee. Memorial Day and the Air Force. It is a beautiful Veterans Day ceremonies fea- tribute to our brave soldiers tured sing-alongs, prayers and and their families. Stop by speeches in honor of all vet- sometime to honor them. erans. But times started to get

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Know your shape; know your assets Concord Pioneer •

“Helping seniors live successfully in their own homes.” Join

Getting Closer to Helping You!

May 27, 2016

with baggy clothing. Wear a good bra and showcase your bust. Wear a belt at the waist to enhance your hourglass shape. Try wrap dresses. Go for high-waisted skirts. Wear skinny or straight leg jeans.

us for a Progress Report on Clayton Valley Village and its plan for helping Seniors in Clayton and South Concord. Stop by for Tea, Coffee and possibly a Crumpet.

Friday June 3, 4-6 p.m.

Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall 1578 Kirker Pass Road in Clayton



A year ago, I wrote an article regarding body shapes. I wanted to continue this subject to elaborate in more detail. DETERMInE AnD EMBRACE youR BoDy TyPE

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Your best assets: Your arms and legs Your fashion goals:  Create curves and show off slender legs and arms. Wear scoop neck and sweetheart tops to create curves. Wear long jackets to create a lean look. Wear tops with collars, ruffles and details to flatter your chest. Wear a good bra that will make the most of what you have.

Body shape is all about proportion, and fashion is all about dressing those proportions to look their very best. When you think about body types, don’t focus on height and weight. Focus on shape. It’s not about trying to look thin; it’s about accentuating WEDgE-SHAPE your shape and enhancing Wedge-shaped celebs: what you have so you feel your Naomi Campbell, Demi best in every outfit you own. Moore, Renee Zellweger, Teri Hatcher RECTAnglE-SHAPED Wedge body traits:  Also Rectangle-shaped celebs: known as the inverted triangle, Natalie Portman, Cameron this body shape features a Diaz, Kate Hudson, Hilary broad chest and wide shoulSwank ders with narrow waist and Rectangle body traits:  The hips. waist, hip and shoulder widths Your best asset: Your legs are similar.

Your fashion goals: Accentuate your lower body while softening your shoulders and upper body. Wear bright colors on bottom. Wear wide-leg pants. Wear full skirts. Wear spaghetti-strap tops. Don’t wear boat neckline tops. Experiment with highwaisted styles. Look for clothes that create the illusion of a waist.

PEAR BoDy SHAPE Pear-shaped celebrities: Kim Kardashian, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Katherine Heigl Pear body traits: Your lower body is wider than your upper body — in other words, your hips are wider than your shoulders. Your bottom is rounded and your waist is well-defined. Your best assets: Shoulders and torso Your fashion goals: Emphasize your waist and arms, add volume to your shoulders and upper body. Try A-line skirts. Keep hems of pants, skirts and dresses wide to balance the hips. Experiment with light-colored tops and dark-colored bottoms for contrast. Look for boat neck tops, square and cowl necklines. Wear jackets that hit right above the waist.

HouRglASS SHAPE Hourglass-shaped celebs: Beyonce, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry Hourglass body traits: Your shoulders and hips are similar in proportion and set off by a Declan Woods tiny waist. 925.216.2679 Your best assets:  Curves, Clayton Resident curves, curves! APPlE SHAPE Your fashion goals:  Show General Contractor, license# 783799, B, HIC Apple-shaped celebs: Drew off your curves Don’t hide your curves Barrymore, Queen Latifah, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Hudson Apple body traits: Most of your weight is above the hips, which are narrow. Your back, ribs and shoulders are broad. Your best asset: Those legs! Your fashion goals:  Elongate the torso and show off your legs Go for monochromatic looks. Go for v-neck tops to create the illusion of a longer torso. Wear a bra that offers good lift and support. Wear belts at the smallest part of your waist. This FREE, one-hour doctor presentation on what you can do to Wear boot cut and flared reestablish normal blood glucose levels NATURALLY, will be hosted at the jeans to create an even line from the shoulders down. Harvest House Health Food Store, Saturday afternoon @ 1 p.m. Wear shorter skirts to show off your legs and draw attention away from your midsection. l

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When it comes to your day or night clothing choices, picking cuts that work best with your figure can make a world of difference. Fabric choices and patterns matter too and can change the look and feel of an entire outfit. Be mindful of patterns and fabrics. Patterns can overwhelm or make the outfit, depending on the body type and age. For fabrics, jersey can be quite difficult to wear since it tends to show every curve, wrinkle or blemish when worn tightly. For all body types, It’s important to select a fabric that’s high-quality and hugs only the right places to create a streamlined silhouette. Susan Sappington is the Area Development Manager and Wardrobe Consultant for ETCETERA Clothing of New York. Send comments to

A Floral nce Experie

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Cycling can be your salvation in a complicated world

May 27, 2016

In this time of constant distractions, many people long for a sense of peace and wellbeing. If you wish to be more healthy, physically able and sound in body and mind, consider cycling. With cycling, you are the power behind your movement. You are willpower that says “I got this.” You, my fellow human in this very real life, are powerful beyond your belief. And biking can aid in actualizing that sense within yourself. It goes without saying that cycling is good for your physical health. Biking keeps my legs strong, my blood pumping and

Concord Pioneer •



my mind activated. But that’s just the start. Biking, especially in winter, often challenges my willpower and resolve. No less than 20

minutes after I purchased the last piece of my waterproof clothing arsenal, a pair of waterproof pants, did the sky open up and the wind began to howl – hard. I chugged on, riding my bike and embracing the worst Mother Nature hurled at us this season. I made it to my destination empowered, and dry, while also feeling a strong connection to nature. Energy was coursing through my veins. I felt alive. While riding, I’ve encountered sensuous gardens and hidden restaurants, art parties and amazing sunsets, friendly faces and a front row seat to

Page 21

real-life happenings, future exgirlfriends and long lost friends. I have helped abandoned kittens in boxes on the side of the road, and I’ve actually stopped to smell the roses. The list goes on and on. One thing is for certain: Biking is magical. In an age when the internet and television have a better marketing team than nature, we see more and more individuals seeking connection yet being spoon-fed a diet that lacks the nutritional value to sustain a healthy community. I find an instant camaraderie with others who bike.

Locally grown, bountiful blackberries are popping up at your farmers markets FRESH BERRy PoPS (from Marianna Zavala, PCFMA staff) 2 c. of your choice of berries 2 c. plain Greek yogurt A spoon or two of sugar or honey (optional) 8 small paper cups 8 popsicle sticks

DEBRA MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market

Many Bay Area residents will soon be making their annual pilgrimages to local wild blackberry sites along the back roads of Northern California. You can see the berries along the side of the road, with walls of bushy, prickly vines growing near Valley Ford, Bodega Bay and the Delta. With buckets, bags and cups in hand, fans search for these small, sweet berries. The wild blackberry is considered a pest plant. It’s an invasive weed that sends down strong suckering roots amongst garden hedges and shrubs or along bridges and waterways – anywhere where there is sun and a water source. Farmers and ranchers have always had difficulty eradicating them from their fields.

Place yogurt and berries in blender. Pulse once or twice, until desired texture is achieved. (You may leave the berries whole or chunked.) Fill paper cups three-quarters full with mix. Cover top of each cup with foil, then poke popsicle sticks through the center. (Or use a purchased mold.) Place in freezer for at least five hours. To serve, remove foil and peel off paper.

I find the best place to get plump, sweet cultivated blackberries is at a farmers market. The season generally lasts June to September. Rodriguez Farms in Watsonville, C&M Mondragon Farm from Brentwood, La Chiquita Farms from Castroville and others will be offering blackberries at local farmers markets.

Berries of any kind are highly perishable and sensitive to handling. Look for firm, shiny berries and use them as soon as possible. To store, place them in the refrigerator, unwashed. They should stay fresh for 3-4 days. Rinse carefully when ready to use and The Concord Farmers Market is in serve at room temperature for Todos Santos Plaza Tuesdays & Thursdays. optimal flavor.

otic support for Mexican goods. Tequila must be manufactured under strict standards, with no product less than 51 percent blue agave and top-ofthe-line tequilas being 100 percent blue agave. The piña, or core, of the agave (which, contrary to common belief, is not

others prefer the sharper, somewhat peppery flavor of middle-aged reposado. The smooth, woody aroma of an older añejo appeals to bourbon and whisky drinkers. Most everybody has a recipe for a margarita, but this tequila cocktail recently came onto my beverage radar.

How often do you smile and wave at a passing driver in a car? Yet I often share a warm smile and hello with a stranger who, on the surface, only shares two pedal-powered wheels in common. As biking becomes a more accepted mode of transportation, many innovations are accommodating the demand. Great lockers, such as BikeLink, are available at BART stations. Rock the Bike has created a bike-powered generator system that sends electricity to booming speakers. There are bike par-

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• 2678 Mayfair Ave., Concord


3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1192 sq.ft. Listing agent: Matt Mazzei


By the time you read this article, Cinco de Mayo (and your margarita hangover) will have passed. Now that you are of a more clear mind, let’s talk turkey about that tequila you enjoyed. It’s surrounded by stories and myths and legends. Tequila’s ancestor, pulque, was produced by fermenting the sap of the agave plant long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Europeans introduced distillation and mezcal and tequila became the first distilled drink and first commercially produced alcohol in North America. As a matter of law, tequila must be harvested from plants grown in and distilled in the Mexico state of Jalisco, and the plant itself must be the blue agave. The product from similar or even identical plants elsewhere in Mexico must be called mezcal. The first licensed manufacturer of tequila was José Antonio Cuervo, who received the rights to cultivate a parcel of land from the King of Spain in 1758. Tequila Herradura and La Preservancia Sauza were other major houses established in the 19th century still producing tequila today. Tequila didn’t achieve prominence until after Mexico attained independence in 1821 and the passion for French products was replaced by patri-

Peter Kerns is a Concord resident and Bike Concord member. Bike Concord is working for safe, convenient and enjoyable bicycling in our community. For more info, please visit


Tequila: The pride of Mexico


ties popping up, where participants ride around town in large groups of joyous bike pride. Oakland has recently led the charge by installing a protected bike lane on Telegraph Avenue. It’s a beautiful sight for those of us who have had too-close-for-comfort encounters with cars.


• 3799 Saint Peter Ct., Concord

• 5216 Valmar Dr., Concord

4 bedroom, 2 bathroom Approx. 1874 sq.ft. $639,000 Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Approx. 1100 sq.ft.


Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

• 3079 Peppermill Cir., Pittsburg

THE nuEVo yoRk (FROM PATRON) 2 oz. añejo tequila ¾ oz. each fresh lemon juice and simple syrup 0.5. oz. red wine Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously with ice of chill. Strain onto fresh ice cubes in a “rocks” glass and gently float the red wine on the surface. Enjoy with a popular toast: Arriba! Abajo! A Centro! Pa’Dentro! An historical footnote: Cinco de Mayo celebrates a small victory in the Battle of Puebla against the French. Mexican Independence Day, on the other hand, is celebrated in September. Linda Wyner owns Pans on Fire, a gourmet cookware store and cooking school in Pleasanton. Send suggestions or questions to

3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Approx. 1637 sq.ft.


Listing agents: Paula Johnstone & Rula Masannat

TEQUILA, DISTILLED FROM THE BLUE AGAVE PLANT, was the first commercially produced alcohol in North America.

a cactus) is baked or steamed to make tequila. Mezcal can be made similarly but more often is baked over charcoal under layers of fiber mats and earth, giving the resulting alcohol a strong, smoky flavor. The worm in the bottle myth is an urban legend… except that some Americanbottled brands put a worm in their bottles to impress gringos and boost sales. It was a marketing ploy of the 1940s, without any Mexican tradition. However, it must be said that the worm so used is a butterfly caterpillar that is often harvested and roasted for delicious snacking. It has no aphrodisiac or psychotropic properties, unlike mescaline, which is found in peyote. Taste is the ultimate decision in your choice of tequila. Some prefer the rougher edge of young blanco tequilas, while

• 959 Alla Ave., Concord

l l l



Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

PENDING: Buyer Representation 961 Mitchell Canyon Rd. Clayton 121 Mt. Shasta Ct. Clayton 1792 Elmhurst Ln. Concord

SOLD: Buyer Representation 5273 Grasswood Ct. Concord

$749,000 $839,000 $599,000

Matt Mazzei Matt Mazzei Rula Masannat


Rula Masannat

Matt Mazzei, Jr.,

Paula & Rod Johnstone

Rula Masannat

BRE# 01881269

DRE# 00797857

DRE# 01923757

Broker Associate

Broker/Owner 925-766-6745

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

925-693-0757 (Main)


Sales Agent 415-310-2905

6160 Center St. Suite #C, Clayton

925-693-0752 (Fax)

Sizzlers for summer gardens

Page 22

Concord Pioneer •



There is a fabulous succulent-like perennial that has hit the scene and has garden lovers in a frenzy for its hot magenta flowers and icy-gray colored foliage. This sun loving groundcover is called Calandrinia, and it’s a show stopper. Calandrinia spectabilis is commonly called Rock Purselane. This succulent like perennial comes our way from the mountains of Chile. This matters to Concord garden lovers since the mountains of Chile can get cold, and it is good to know that a succulent can tolerate cold temperatures. Calandrinia spectabilis can withstand temperatures as low

as 25 degrees, making it a fairly safe installation. From early spring through summer tall, thin stems stretch 24-36” above Calandrinia’s foliage; where 2” wide, fivelobed flowers of bright magenta dangle on small stems scattered along each stalk. A plant will produce dozens of flowering stems. Once in full bloom, Calandrinia creates a dramatic display worthy of any raised bed, rock wall or container. You can mix Calandrinia spectabilis with yellow blooming Calylophus for a striking combination along a rock wall. Calylophus Southern Bell is a hardy, long blooming Texas native that likes the weather hot. Butter yellow, cup-shaped flowers dance along wispy stems that are filled with tiny leaves. Calylophus Southern Bell is a perennial groundcover. From May through August you can expect piles of flowers. During the winter months, Calylophus will rest, as it stores up energy for another productive blooming season. If you are looking for great possibilities for raised beds in

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full sun, mix Calandrinia with Popsicle series kniphofia, Rudbeckia Autumn Shades, Salvia leucantha and Amazing Red Phormium. Together, these perennials would make your summer garden sizzle. The Popsicle series of Kniphofia are commonly called dwarf hot poker plants. Look for Mango Popsicle, Dreamsicle, and Papaya Popsicle. These introductions have been planted and enjoyed by folks for a handful of years. They’re repeat blooming and absolutely delightful. Rudbeckia Autumn Shade is a tall growing daisy shaped flower that

May 27, 2016

measures 4-5” wide. This Rudbeckia has lots of movement in the garden. Look for plants in 6-packs, and install 3-6 in each hole for maximum impact. Salvia Leucantha is commonly called Mexican Sage. Bushy gray colored foliage is topped with fuzzy purple spiking flowers from July through October. Amazing Red Phormium is an excellent choice to give an area structure. The reddish-bladed foliage will contrast nicely with the other hot colors in this garden bed. Calandrinia makes a great container installation. Install

in a large pot. Calandrinia will fill the exposed soil in the pot and run over the sides. Place large pots of Calandrinia within a poolscape for a cool look. Calandrinia might one day be too large for your area or pot. When this happens simply cut the plant back hard. It will regrow from the center.

Save some of the cut pieces and replant in other areas of the landscape, or share. They are very easy to propagate.

the fact that they know exactly what they are doing – as if they’ve done this many times. Whether by vicious attack dogs, guns or machetes, the violence in “Green Room” is always with purpose. The gore in the film is plenty, but it is never unwarranted. Each side knows the only way out of this is to kill the other. The skinheads cannot let the band get away but must also not allow them to go missing lest that bring more questions. The band knows both escape and negotiation are impossible. Somehow gaining the upper hand and killing all the skinheads is the only option. About half of the movie is spent inside the green room itself. The cinematography makes it seem like the walls are closing in. Saulnier also gives us time to get to know the band and the groupie stuck with them. When they try to enact their various plans, we really

root for them. At the same time, we hate the skinheads and what they’re doing. Even the actors with the smallest of roles have us believing in the direness of both sides. When one of the skinheads loses his leverage and panics with only two bullets left, it is hard not to be at least a little sympathetic. At one point, rooting for one of the attack dogs does not seem silly at all. Horror movies are designed to frighten and terrify. Typically it is through the use of a monster, demon or serial killer. “Green Room” does not need any of those things to be downright chilling. In only his third feature, Saulnier has crafted a taut, unnerving film worth seeking out. A 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 questions or comments to

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

No escaping the thrills in ‘Green Room’



Musicians could tell stories for days about the dives and dumps in which they’ve played. In “Green Room,” the punk foursome the Ain’t Rights could tell a tale to top them all. After playing their set at a backwoods neo-Nazi club, the group witnesses a murder backstage. In their fight to escape, they run into the club’s owner, Darcy, played by a menacing Patrick Stewart. In just a scant 90 minutes, the suspense constantly simmers and director

Jonathan Saulnier keeps the action claustrophobically tight. Once the Ain’t Rights realize they are not going to be allowed to leave, they frantically try to come up with any plan that will stick. They take a skinhead hostage, they try to barge out of their hiding place, they fashion weapons. Yet each time the band tries something new, Darcy is one step ahead. Whenever Capt. Jean-Luc Picard uttered his famous phrase, “Make it so,” everyone listened and went about their tasks. Stewart has such an authoritative onscreen presence, it would seem that no matter his character, everyone should stop and listen. In “Green Room,” Stewart is as commanding as ever. He whispers commands to his subordinates and his “red laces” brute squad and they immediately know what to do. It is hard to tell what is scarier, the skinheads themselves or

Nancy E. Bennett

THE REHAB IS COMPLETE! 4413 Arrowwood Ct., Concord

Our full remodel has been completed! The fantastic outdoor patio has a built in BBQ, sitting wall and new poured concrete. Just perfect for entertaining or relaxing! This 2 story home has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths at over 2,100 sq. ft. Gorgeous remodeled kitchen with marble counter tops and stainless steel appliances open to the family room with brick fireplace, bonus space upstairs, open living room/dining room, and master suite with remodeled bathroom. What a transformation! Call for price.

Nancy sells more than 8 times as many homes as the average realtor, call today to learn how. 4398 North Winterberry Ct, Concord

Single-level living in The Crossings at its best! 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,641 sq ft, open floor plan, dark wood floors, vaulted ceilings and lots of natural light. Enjoy outdoor living with garden landscaping & covered back deck. OFFERED AT $675,000

887 Litwin Dr., Concord

An entertainer’s dream! 3 bed/2 bath single story charmer with many updates including new bamboo floors, carpet, lighting and fresh paint through out. Enjoy the out door oasis complete with a sparkling pool, play house, and lush landscaping. OFFERED AT $562,000

15 Southampton Pl., Lafayette

Thinking Of Selling? Homeowners — we have dozens of buyers that want to purchase a new place before summer! If you are considering making a change please call us to learn how we can help you achieve maximum results from your home sale now and take advantage of today's market.

Coming Soon!

5312 Brookside Ct. Fantastic back yard in this renovated Concord Home — 4 beds/2 baths at over 1600sq'. Several updates in progress including new floors, fresh paint, bathroom updates etc. Spacious backyard with a gas fire pit!

Charlotte Ave., Concord Charming Concord single story — Updates are in progress in this 3 bed/2 bath single story home. New flooring, new appliances, fresh paint and lighting through out. Great size back yard!

A complete remodel and tons of privacy! This 4 bed/2.5 bath single-story beauty just underwent a gorgeous renovation. New flooring throughout and incredible master suite with a soaking tub and walk-in closet. Enjoy entertaining by the in ground pool and expansive patio! OFFERED AT $1,450,000

913 Getoun Dr., Concord

Mu Pen ltip din le g Off ers

Delightful single-story home Enjoy the aroma of roses as you walk up to this lovely property. 4 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, 1210 sq ft, updated lighting throughout. Fantastic neighborhood super close to BART & on the border of Walnut Creek. OFFERED AT $500,000

We helped over 41 families buy and sell homes again so far in 2016. How can we help you and your family today?

Nancy Bennett, Realtor @ Keller Williams Realty #1 Realtor in Concord, #1 Team, Keller Williams East Bay #5 Team Nationally (U.S. & Canada) Keller Williams Agent Leadership Council, Mentor, Faculty Member and Community Sponsor

CalBRE #01399870



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