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Oans, zwoa, drei, G’suffa!

October 13, 2017


TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer



Police chief resigns for personal reasons

Chris Wenzel, Clayton’s police chief for the past two years, has voluntarily resigned his position for family and personal reasons. His last day with us is Thursday, Nov. 9. The city family has been extremely pleased with the leadership and experience Wenzel brought to Clayton and the Police Department. We reluctantly understand his difficult decision to leave Clayton and the law enforcement profession. Wenzel introduced many Tamara Steiner innovative ideas and police Clayton’s annual Oktoberfest officially begins when the keg and the band make their way down Main St. to the biergarten. From left, co-chair Marilyn Schmidt and husband Charlie, kegmeister Larry Bohlig and Pal, and

See Mayor, page 6 the Internationals. Bohlig and Pal are regulars at the Oktoberfest, traveling from Sebastopol for the event.

Art show focuses on nostalgic Clayton BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer

From the horses in front of the Clayton Saloon to the girls in pioneer aprons playing at the old schoolhouse, Carlene Honeychurch’s artwork captures the spirit of historic Clayton. The locally themed watercolors always drew a crowd to

Join the Holiday Home Tour 2017

Do you love holiday decorating? Come November, does every surface in your home beg for pine boughs or angels? Then the Clayton Historical Society has the perfect excuse for you to drag out those Christmas boxes even before the Halloween candy is gone. The Society is looking for homes for this year’s Holiday Home Tour, Sunday, Dec. 3. Call the Clayton Museum, 672-0240 if you are interested in showing your decorated home this Christmas season, or if you can recommend a home.

her booth at the Clayton Art and Wine Festival, where she exhibited from 1995 until she moved to Grants Pass, Ore., several years ago. Honeychurch also used to display at her Marsh Creek Gallery, a collective of more than 20 artists. On a recent visit here, Honeychurch donated several boxes of prints to the Clayton Historical Society. In honor of the gift, the Historic Society is hosting an art show and sale 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St. Wine and appetizers will be served. “Her pictures are folk art watercolors of all kinds of different places in Clayton. She has tons and tons of them,” says JoAnn Caspar, a member of the art show committee. “They’re just adorable. And they were very, very popular.” Over the years, Caspar purchased three to hang in her own home. One features the town clock, and another highlights Main Street with the mountain as a backdrop. “There’s one I

really like that shows Skipolini’s with some people out front and a couple old cars. It’s really cute,” she adds. While the Skipolini’s image includes cars from the 1920s, a print in front of Ed’s Mudville Grill showcases cars from the 1940s. “The reason why I went with the old-style cars, besides them being so beautiful, was that downtown had the car shows all the time,” Honeychurch says. “I took many, many pictures of those cars, so I didn’t make those cars up. They had been on the streets at different times.” In her Clayton works, Honeychurch eliminated other modern features such as telephone poles. In addition to her large collection focusing on the historic downtown, she also contracted to paint residential home portraits. “I think I painted every building that was in town while I lived there,” the 25-year resident says with a laugh. Since moving, Honeychurch has created scenery backdrops

Carlene Honeychurch painted “The School on the Hill,” memorializing the school built in 1863.

for the local theater troupe and painted murals for her granddaughter’s nursery. “I’ve sort of retired as an artist – that’s why I donated so much of my work to Clayton’s Historical Society,” she says. “I’ve always enjoyed and supported the Historical Society. For the Nov. 9 show, all

prints are matted and signed and a few are framed. Sizes are 5 by 7 and 8 by 10, with prices ranging from $20 to $50. Proceeds benefit the Historical Society. “We want it to be kind of a dressy event,” Caspar says. “You can wear your formalwear or your cowboy outfit.

MDUSD board member Hansen eyes county superintendent post Clayton resident will run in 2018

Postal Customer ECRWSS


Clayton resident Cheryl Hansen says she will run for Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools next year. Hansen is finishing her second term on the Mt. Diablo Unified School District board and says she has accomplished what she set out to do. “It was important to me to change leadership and the district culture to a positive, forward-thinking organization,”

Hansen said. “I also wanted to ensure that the positive changes I worked for were rooted and sustainable. Clearly, that has transpired as Mt. Diablo is in great hands with Superintendent (Nellie) Meyer and will keep getting better and better with her leadership.” She said serving as a trustee for the Mt. Diablo district give her additional perspective and expertise that would allow her “to quickly and effectively step in as superintendent and lead the county Office of

Education forward.” In August, Superintendent Karen Sakata said she would not seek a second term. Hansen worked as a county Office of Education administrator for 10 years. She also served as the founding principal of Rodriguez High, Fairfield-Suisun’s third high school. Prior to that, she worked as an assistant principal at Alhambra High in Martinez and a vice principal at College Park High

See Hansen, page 3

For our German speaking readers, the headline needs no translation. For the rest of us, “One, Two, Three, Drink!” was the official call to action kicking off the 14th Annual Clayton Business and Community Association Oktoberfest Sept. 30 and Oct 1. By all accounts, this was the biggest year ever. “I’ve never seen so many people on Main St.,” said Councilwoman Julie Pierce, a veteran volunteer at all the town’s biggest events over more than two decades. “It was definitely the biggest Oktoberfest ever,” confirmed co-chair Maryann Lawrence. The event opened on Friday night with the carnival, the bright lights of the Ferris wheel dominating the downtown skyline. But the real fun began on Saturday when the main attractions – the beer keg and the band—made their way down Main St. past an eclectic array of vendors to the biergarten tent where revelers would eat, drink and polka all weekend to the music of the Internationals. Food vendors lined the food court with all the traditional German fare – wierschnitzel, sausages and pretzels the size of basketballs. CBCA mounts two major events each year, the Oktoberfest and the Art and Wine Festival in the spring and run the Clayton Bocce League with year-around play. The two festivals and the bocce league together raise upwards of $200,000 each year for community improvement grants, scholarships and charitable donations. Each festival requires more than 100 volunteers to run, says Oktoberfest co-chair Marilyn Schmidt. “It truly takes a village.” Next year will be the last for the two women who have run the event since the inception. They will train and pass the stein to new talent. The CBCA is a 501c3 organization. All donations are tax deductible. Membership is open to anyone who wants to work for “the betterment of the Clayton community.” For more information, go to or call (925) 285-8612.

See Inside

East Bay Regional Parks Activity Guide

What’s Inside

Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Community Calendar . . . . .19 Directory of Advertisers . . . .9 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10


Around Town

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Clayton Pioneer •

Animals were front and center when Clayton residents Karen and Kevin Cichurski toured Tanzania and Rwanda. “We saw all the big game animals plus more, including lion, cheetah, wildebeests, zebra, monkeys, baboons, elephant, giant ostriches, leopards, giraffes, warthogs, hippos, Nile crocs, hyenas, Cape buffalo and countless birds and reptiles,” Kevin said. “We took over 2,000 photos.” The trip consisted of a 10day safari through Tanzania, staying at six different tented camps. Along with children Lexi, 15, and Spencer, 13, they visited Tarangire National

October 13, 2017

African vacation an awe-inspiring trek

Park, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. “Our goal was to see big cats (our daughter’s passion) and we were thrilled to see them every day in Tanzania, including two days where we saw lion mothers and cubs,” Karen said. “We all agreed the cubs and witnessing a lion pride eating a recently killed Cape buffalo within yards of our jeep were safari highlights.” The family then embarked on a trip to Rwanda, where they met up with a family of silverback gorillas during a mountain trek at Volcanoes National Park.

“The gorillas literally brushed against us, including a silverback male,” Karen said, noting that the guide’s advice was “Just don’t run.” The Cichurskis said conservation efforts are strong in both countries. “Our Tanzanian guide has been at it for 15 years, and his enthusiasm for the sights was still palpable,” Karen said. “A takeaway is how simple life is in that part of the world and the people living among all these creatures that are free to roam without borders or fear as they are revered and protected,” Kevin added.

Old fashioned road trip

Karen, Lexi, Spencer and Kevin Cichurski brought a little piece of home along on their safari vacation to Tanzania this summer.

Kate Amos lauded for design work

Claytonians Sandy and Dale Brooks took a long trip back in time in August when they drove their 1933 Ford Sedan from Clayton to the NSRA Hot Rod Street Nationals in Louisville, Ky. While there, they visited the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.

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From left, Kelsey Thomas, CVCHS Digital Arts Instructor, Steve Sherwood, United States Postal Inspector, Kate Amos, Chief Chris Wenzel and Mayor Jim Diaz.

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Clayton Market Update

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CVCHS student Kate Amos was recognized by the City Council with a certificate of appreciation for her design work and assistance on creating a mailer for Clayton residents warning against mail theft. Kate designed the graphics and wrote the text for the piece which was developed jointly with the U.S. Postal Service. “Mail theft is a big problem in Clayton,” said Mayor Jim Diaz. “We truly value and appreciate our local partnerships,” said U.S. postal inspector Steve Sherwood


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S OL D Pristine single story on a court in Desirable Diablo Village within walking distance to downtown, library & trails! 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, approx. 1597sf. Great open floor plan! Gourmet kitchen with slab ite counters & re-configured island. SOLD OVER LIST –



1851 Yolanda Cir . . . . . . . . . $785,00 . . . . . .1890 102 Gold Rush Ct . . . . . . . . $635,000 . . . . .1889 258 Stranahan Cir . . . . . . . . $668,000 . . . . .1650 1268 Shell Cir . . . . . . . . . . . $630,000 . . . . .1709 120 Samuel Ct . . . . . . . . . . . $840,000 . . . . .2011



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October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

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Around Town Hansen, Responsible kids honored by council Teen earns Eagle Scout for from page 1 canine training project

Six local youths were recently honored by the city council for being highly responsible as part of the community-wide initiative Do The Right Thing. The students were presented by their teachers and principal and all were lauded for making good choices “even when no one is looking.” From Mt. Diablo Elementary, Jonah Cesarin and Logan Konemann were both commended by their teacher for being role models that other students look to for the right thing to do. Diablo View Middle School principal Patti Bannister presented Scott Tomaszewicz and Amaia Perez, both teaching assistants in the office. “And we are very particular about our TAs,” she said. From Clayton Valley Char-

in Pleasant Hill. Hansen was a middle and high school teacher at Ygnacio Valley High, Northgate High, Olympic High and Oak Grove Middle in the Mt. Diablo district. Hansen continues her work as a coach and mentor for school administrators. “Education has been both my career and my commitment. I am, passionately, a student and teacher for life,” she said. The Walnut Creek native holds a bachelor’s degree in English and French from Cal State Hayward, professional clear teaching and administrative services credentials, and a master’s degree in educational leadership. She says she is eager to bring her leadership skills and experience at all levels of public education to serve the county’s districts and students. “CCCOE needs to have leadership from someone with a breadth of experience who understands that one of the major functions of the county Office of Education is to be a true service provider to school districts, an organization that is responsive, relevant, current and supportive,” Hansen said. “I am confident I can serve effectively and with a focus on equity and excellence.”

Clayton resident Vincent Lehman received his Eagle Scout award after completing a service project at the U.S. Coast Guard Regional Canine Training Area in Alameda. Lehman is a member of Troop 484, with Scoutmaster Steve von Ehrenkrook. The ceremony was held Aug. 12 at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Concord. The Eagle Scout project involved repairing numerous canine training obstacles and replacing a swinging bridge used during K-9 training to Standing, from left, Sam Pearson, Logan Schoffstall, Scott simulate the boarding of a Tomaszewicz and Amaia Perez. In front are Jonah Cesarin ship. He also repaired and VINCENT LEHMAN and Logan Konemann. modernized a K-9 memorial area, installing solar lights for enjoyed small boat sailing and ter High School, Samuel Pear- are in the top 1 percent in the nighttime illumination. son and Logan Schoffstall, country. As a Scout, he earned 27 wilderness survival. He comboth National Merit Scholars, merit badges and particularly pleted 81 nights of camping and backpacking and hiked more than 274 miles in California and New Mexico. He was “Scout in Charge” for the Philmont Scout Ranch Trek in New Mexico. As a result of his accomvalidation for the Legion’s plishments, Clayton Mayor fundraising efforts over the Jim Diaz proclaimed Aug. 14, course of the year. 2017, as Vincent Lehman “These young people used Day. expressions like ‘life-changing’ Lehman is a 2017 graduor ‘direction and purpose’ in ate of Clayton Valley Charter their comments. Members and High School. parents always leave this event with very good feelings in general. We couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments.” The event also featured The Pioneer wants to know about your post member guest William anniversaries, weddings, engagements, Warren, who was a Boys’ State delegate in Texas in 1947. births, awards and milestones. Please “Having that meet and send a short description of your event, a greet was a sight to behold,” Byers added. “We could gen- David Bachofer of College Park High, left, Logan Schoffstall high-resolution photo and your contact uinely see that spark of con- of Clayton Valley Charter High School, American Legion nection as it bridged a genera- member Bill Warren, Pawan Paleja of Concord High and info to tion gap right before our eyes.” Aurora Miner of College Park met at a Legion celebration.

Students tell stories of Girls’/Boys’ Conferences

American Legion Post 331 in Pleasant Hill recognized their annual Girls’/Boys’ Conference delegates for 2017 at a dinner and speaking engagement on Sept. 12 at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Concord. The delegates shared their recent experience at the Boys’ State Conference at Sacramento State and Girls’ State Conference at Claremont McKenna College. “We are always excited to host these student delegates each year, and this was our largest turnout ever for the event,” said post Commander Curt Byers. “We were especially pleased to host a group of proud and grateful parents. Events such as these serve as







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Eagle Peak — Beautiful 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home including a spacious master retreat with fireplace. Large eat in kitchen, family room with gas fireplace and wet bar and living room with brick fireplace. Situated on approx 1/4 acre this home boasts 3,373 sq ft of light and bright living space. Awesome backyard with patio, deck and grass area.

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- Windermere Clayton!

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Clayton Pioneer •

October 13, 2017

This year, Clayton Reads goes to the dogs BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer

925-250-0334 FREE ESTIMATES

Owners Dustin & Kim Waraner

Contractors Lic #879423 Arborist Lic WE-7372A

373 Blue Oak Lane, Clayton

Most people wonder what their pets are thinking. Many even attempt to speak for their pets, leading to stilted but comforting conversations. In “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” Garth Stein lets Enzo the dog tell the story. The Clayton Community Library Foundation has selected the novel for its 10th annual Clayton Reads, part of the county library’s “One City, One Book” program. “I found it very moving,” says Clayton librarian Karen Hansen. “It’s a very accessible story and it speaks to a lot of people – anyone who has a love of dogs or pets in general.” In the popular novel pub-

925.212.5593 Comin g Soon

lished in 2008, Enzo believes he will be reincarnated as a human. According to Hansen, he has educated himself by watching television and listening closely to his master, Denny, an upand-coming race car driver. Hansen had read the book last year and suggested it to the library foundation board. “They thought it was a great choice,” she says. “Some of the members had already read the book, including (City Councilman) Keith Haydon, who had listened to it while commuting.”

Mary-Alice McKillenWright, who also works at the library, enjoyed the book’s clever premise. “The dog sees what happens but doesn’t necessarily know how to interpret what happens, so the reader is doing some of the work of figuring out what is happening based on our knowledge of how the world works,” she says. Clayton Reads features several events, including a book discussion led by Hansen and two movie screenings. McKillen-Wright plans to attend at least one of the movies and recalls watching a silent film tied to Clayton Reads a few years ago.

“That was really fun, thinking about how we were watching this movie made all those years ago – yet some of the feelings and situations were timeless,” she says, adding that people stayed after the movie and talked in groups. The library is also linking the book to its Paws to Read program, in which children practice reading to a therapy dog. Free copies of the book may be available at the library as people bring them back to redistribute. For more information, visit clayton2017.

Clayton Reads Events

Paws to Read. Students in grades 1-5 read to pets. 4 and 4:35 p.m. Oct. 17, 24; Nov. 14, 28; Dec. 5. Register at 925-673-0659 or at the library. Make a Race Car. Craft program for all ages. 4 p.m. Oct. 26. “Hachi: a Dog’s Tale” screening. 2 p.m. Oct. 29. “Eight Below” screening. 2 p.m. Nov. 5. Book Discussion. 7 p.m. Nov. 6

WaterFix Plan won’t fix anything This Stunning Eagle Peak home in the Oakhurst Country Club development offers 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths with 2,981 square feet of living space. Enjoy the Chef's kitchen with island, granite counter tops, and open floor plan. The generous master bedroom boasts a fireplace and luxurious spa inspired en suite. Relax and entertain in the lush backyard with views of the Carquinez Strait. Call for Pricing

52 La Honda Ct., Clayton

Stunning Regency Meadows home with quiet court location. Light & bright, vaulted ceilings, over-sized sliders from both the formal dining and family rooms, designer paint, & plantation shutters throughout. Spacious gourmet kitchen opens to family room. Fabulous yard with Mt. Diablo view, sparkling pool, lush landscaping, decking, perfect for outdoor entertaining!

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As members of the Delta Counties Coalition (DCC), my colleagues and I have met with counterparts in Sacramento and rallied for a unified voice in the Bay Area to dispel the facade of the WaterFix Plan proposed by the state Department of Water Resources (DWR). The WaterFix Plan does not increase a single drop of H20 in our water supply. The plan, often referred to as the tunnels project, seeks to drill two, 35-mile long tunnels under the Delta to drive water to Southern California and is estimated to cost $17 billion. Supporters tout that it will strengthen our water infrastructure. I fully support the notion that our water infrastructure needs repair, but nature has gifted the Delta with an organic infrastructure and ecosystem that involves land and animals that we as consumers of water need to be grateful for and preserve. Instead of solely investing scarce funding and resources into one single project – that

being constructing structures that will only endanger the Delta – DCC has advocated a multipronged, “five buckets” approach that leads to revitalizing our water system, giving us more water and making it sustainable for the future. The state should explore alternatives that would capture and distribute more water throughout every sub-region of California. Alternatives to addressing our aging water infrastructure include these “buckets:” 1. Upgrade our existing water delivery systems and infrastructure. 2. Create surface and groundwater storage. 3. Make system-wide level improvements. 4. Impress upon the public the need for regional selfreliance/reuse, and restore environmental and economic frameworks in critical areas throughout the state based on the best available science. In August, Contra Costa joined other Delta counties, water agencies and water organizations in a lawsuit that challenges DWR over the Environmental Impact Report for the WaterFix because it does not examine the full impacts on our water supply and environment.

The timing and volume of the release of water in the Delta in the proposed tunnels plan would endanger the ecosystems of the Delta smelt and decrease the quality of water. In early September, the Inspector General’s office of the U.S. Department of Interior found that the Bureau of Reclamation spent $84 million planning for the tunnels. The funding was the responsibility of the participating water districts that support the WaterFix and not federal taxpayers. And then the water contractors wonder why we don’t trust them. On Sept. 19, the Westlands Water District (Central Valley) withdrew their participation in the WaterFix – a financial blow to the project. Thankfully, the egregious price tag of the WaterFix, without any addition of new water, is a deal breaker that is finally coming to light. Other water agencies/contractors are voting this month and next. DCC is hopeful that these agencies too will decide that WaterFix just doesn’t pencil out. You can count on me to continue the fight to protect our Delta.

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

October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

New chief for East County fire district

Fire Chief Brian Helmick, left, with his daughter stand with Sparky and Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Marcucci at the Marsh Creek Sunshine Station Open House in June. Cal Fire operates the Marsh Creek station in a contract with the East County fire district.

Brian Helmick is the new fire chief of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, which serves the Marsh Creek and Morgan Territory areas of rural Clayton.

“It has been gratifying and immensely encouraging to see Chief Helmick’s development over these last 15 years,” noted board president Joel Bryant. Helmick started with the district as a firefighter in 2002. He successfully worked through the ranks and was promoted to battalion chief in July 2006, serving as the district’s operations chief before becoming interim chief. “I am honored and privileged to assume this role, to serve the board and this community, and to lead and work

The fire board of directors voted unanimously Oct. 2 to offer the permanent position to Helmick, who has been interim chief since March 31.

alongside the firefighters and other hard-working professionals who provide fire and emergency response in this district every day and every night,” he said. “I look forward to working with the board and the community to develop and implement a plan to provide even better fire services to this community, which I, too, call my home,” he added. The economic terms the board approved in March for Helmick’s service will remain while the district and Helmick negotiate a new employment agreement.

Pioneer Photo Album

“After we have sex but before I bite your head off, I’m going to need your help hanging some shelves.”

5K run/walk for Blue Star Moms Diablo Valley Federal Credit Union is hosting the first Concord 5000 at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, at Newhall Park. The 5-kilometer run/walk will benefit Contra Costa Blue Star Moms, a non-partisan, non-political, non-discriminatory organization that provides support for members of the U.S. armed forces and veterans. “What a great way to kick off the holiday season, get some exercise and support a great organization all at the

same time,” said John Pamer, CEO of the credit union. Run participants will encounter a variety of terrains: park trails, grass fields, public streets, sidewalks and even a lap on a high school running track. The course will be open for 75 minutes. Electronic timing will be provided, and all finishers will receive a T-shirt and medal. For more information or to register, go to concord5000.

Kahni Horton grabbed this sexy shot in her Oakhurst backyard last month. Send your high resolution photos for the Pioneer Photo Album to

Coldwell Banker SF Bay Area Top 100 Agent International President's Circle Award Recipient 1328 Shell Lane


Absolutely fantastic 3 bedroom 2.5 bath townhouse in highly desirable Chaparral Springs neighborhood. Beautifully appointed kitchen and baths sparkle. Large family room and dining room and soaring vaulted ceilings throughout. Gorgeous back yard for entertaining. Extra large 2 car garage with built-ins. Community pool and walking trails. Primo location - walk to town, schools, trails, and more. Offered at $585,000

1333 Yosemite Circle


Are you looking for a fantastic sinSoon gle level home on a .30 acre lot with a sparkling pool? Look no further! This charming rancher is ready for you to move in and entertain for the holidays. Featuring 3 sizable bedrooms, 2.5 baths, living room, family room, dining room, updated kitchen with dining area. New flooring and paint add a fresh complement. The huge flat corner lot has plenty of room for all of your outdoor entertaining, gardening, “toys”, and features great view of the mountain. Offered at $775,000

Pure Elegance


This single level 4 bedSoon room 2 bath Crystl Ranch home features a complete upscale experience! Gorgeous chef enthusiast kitchen with loads of storage and surface space for all of your needs. Soaring ceilings throughout with large bedrooms, huge baths, and exceptional built ins and storage. This is a fantastic lot with stunning views. Beautifully and meticulously landscaped and includes a beautiful outdoor dining pavilion. Offered at $925,000

Country living downtown


Country living right within walking disSoon tance to downtown, schools, parks, and more! Spectacular Clayton country estate featuring large classic 4 bedroom 2 bath ranch style home all set on 6.68 stunning acres. Clayton’s original Christmas Tree Farm, this special property is like no other offering a very rare opportunity to live in town with acreage. Call me for more information and to make an appointment to show. Offered at $999,000

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Clayton Pioneer •

4th Annual cessfully “Helping seniors live suc ” es. hom n ow ir in the

Sunday Supper and Silent Auction

Sunday Oct. 22, 5-9 p.m.

Three-course dinner - Great Food, Great Fun

La Veranda 6201 Center St., Clayton Must reserve and pay by Oct. 18

Tickets $45

925-626-0411 or A portion of proceeds benefits further development of Clayton Valley Village, a 501(c )3 organization

We repair Over 35 years Experience all major Bruce & Holly Linsenmeyer appliances, Clayton residents most major Office: (925) 672-2700 brands, and Cell: (925) 672-2772 we’re local State of California B.E.A.R license #A44842

What’s brewing at Black Diamond BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE. Sat., Oct 14, 4 – 6 p.m. Journey back to 1876, when Somersville was a bustling coal town, to celebrate in the style of the era with crafts and games for kids of all ages, guided walks between historic bar locations, free beer courtesy of Drake’s Brewing, food for sale from Canasta Kitchen’s food truck, string trio music by Simple, horseshoes, bocce ball, sack races, and more! Event co-hosted by Regional Parks Foundation and East Bay Regional Park District. Must be 21+ years of age, with valid photo ID, to consume alcohol. Eligible participants may receive two coupons, each good for one 7-ounce serving of beer. Free lemonade available to all. Most activities take place in a

Joe Ronco/Owner 925-872-3049 WOODY WHITLATCH WEATHER WORDS



A Family Business since 1988

(925) 686-2299

3400 Clayton Rd. Concord, CA 94519

golden hills and cool, wooded canyons to celebrate the change of seasons. 10+yrs. Meet at Orchard Staging Area.

Visit EBRPD Black Diamond Mines Preserve for a piece of California history close to home.

flat, open, unpaved area. Guided walks follow paved and upaved trails over hilly terrain. Event takes place in corral adjacent to parking lot at end of Somersville Rd.  If nearby parking fills, you may park in the lot near entrance kiosk and

When Hurricane Harvey stalled over Texas, the media often compared the extent of the ensuing floods to mapped 100-year flood zones. However, the news reports seldom provided any background that explained how the flood zones are determined. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develops flood risk maps. These maps are available for nearly every county in the United States, including Contra Costa County. FEMA was created in 1979 and has a dual role relative to emergency situations. Once a devastating event occurs, FEMA coordinates the emergency response program. In preparation for an event, the agency develops programs that identify and quantify risks for events like floods. When FEMA was estab-

lished, flood risk mapping became its responsibility. Over the last decade, most flood maps, including those for Contra Costa County, have been updated and digitized. FEMA identifies a flood hazard zone as a Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). SFHA’s are defined as the area that will be inundated by a flood event having a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. This 1 percent annual chance flood is commonly referred to as a 100-year flood. The term 100-year flood is often incorrectly interpreted to mean “once every 100 years.” The reality is that any SFHA could experience a 100-year flood twice in the same year or multiple times over the course of 100 years. Conversely, an SFHA may not experience a 100-year flood over the course of several hundred years. FEMA evaluates two main flood types to draw SFHA zones. Inland floods occur when rivers overflow due to excessive rainfall. Coastal

Mayor, from page 1

perspectives he gained from his years with the Contra Costa County Sheriff ’s Office and as chief of the Danville Police Department. He was the leading force behind the installation of the four Incident and License Plate Reader camera systems that are now fully operational in Clayton. These cameras save many annual city personnel dollars as a law enforcement technological aid for the police staff. This stateof-the-art camera system, personnel training, mentoring and receipt of grants are just a few of the innovations Wenzel implemented during his stay. Thank you, Chief Wenzel. We wish you well in future endeavors.

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

Kevin Schmidt, General Contractor Diablo View Construction

walk one mile on the Railroad Bed Trail to reach the event.

AUTUMN FOOTHILLS TREKDIABLO FOOTHILLS REGIONAL PARK Sun., Oct. 22, a.m – 1 p.m. Lace up your boots and hike six rugged miles through crisp,

CREEPY CRITTERS BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE Sun., Oct. 29, Noon- 4 p.m. Learn why some of the “creepiest” critters of the park aren’t so creepy, and make a fun craft to take home. Meet at  end of Somersville Rd.  Wheelchair accessible.Black Diamond is located in Contra Costa County, south of Pittsburg and Antioch. Take Highway 4 to the Somersville Road exit in Antioch, then drive south (toward the hills) on Somersville Road to the Preserve entrance. Black Diamond Mines is an East Bay Regional Park.

Some background on 100-year flood zones

35 years Clayton/ Concord resident

October 13, 2017

CITY COUNCIL UPDATES The City Council recognized Kate Amos, a student at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Amos designed and assisted in developing a joint postal mailer for the Clayton Police Department and the U.S. Postal Service addressing the increasing issue of mail fraud and mail theft. Her mailer communi-

cates a simple, but straightforward message: “Don’t Be a Victim, Protect Your Mail.” This mailer will be delivered shortly throughout Clayton. Amos received a Certificate of Appreciation from Chief Wenzel and a Recognition Certificate from the U.S. Postal Service’s assistant inspector in charge, Steve Sherwood. The Contra Costa Water District’s (CCWD) Division 3 director, Ernesto Avila, presented an overview of CCWD’s operations and plans for the water supply that we enjoy in Clayton. Topics included information on the source of our water supply, news on our recovery from the recent drought, installation of a new water pipeline to repair and meet the needs of those living on Morgan Territory Road and how CCWD plans to meet the water supply challenges of the future. To receive additional details, Avila recommended checking or calling 925-688-8000. Our new city engineer, Scott Alman, presented a

floods are caused by ocean or bay water surges. On FEMA maps, inland SFHA areas are marked by the letter A, while a V denotes coastal flood zones. Contra Costa FEMA flood risk maps feature both inland and coastal analyses. Inland, or riverine, flood maps are constructed using the results of hydrological analyses and hydraulic modeling. The hydrological analysis includes rainfall, geological and geographical data to determine the amount of runoff that will reach a stream during a storm event. The hydraulic study determines the flow of floodwaters using a computer model developed by the Army Corps of Engineers. This model analyzes hydrological output from every recorded flood event along any river, stream or creek to determine 100-year events. The determination of flood zones along coastal and bay boundaries requires a somewhat different process. These flood events occur when strong storm winds cause seawater to surge inland.

As with riverine studies, a coastal hydraulic analysis determines how far inland the moving water goes. Model output statistics from both riverine and coastal hydraulic analyses include 100-year flood elevations by FEMA to draw coastal flood risk maps. To create the published FEMA 100-year flood maps, the riverine and coastal maps are merged. These maps are updated on a regular basis as additional data and improved modeling techniques become available. Hurricanes are not an issue here, but Contra Costa County does experience flooding due to excessive rainfall or coastal storm surges. Residents can determine how far their homes are from 100-year flood zones by viewing local FEMA maps at https://msc.fema.g ov/ portal.

plan which was approved by the City Council to amend the 2017-’18 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the insertion of rehabilitation and road maintenance of certain neighborhood streets beginning in 2018. The funds are made available to Clayton through the state’s recently enacted Senate Bill SB1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. These new state road monies, coupled with the city’s other street funds, will assist the city in its implementation of our 2018 Neighborhood Street Repaving Project. Additional SB1 monies each fiscal year will help augment our continuing maintenance of Clayton’s streets, which are tied as No. 1 in best condition for local roads in Contra Costa County.

pressure washer wand.” They are BART’s brightening crew, and they’re on a deep cleaning mission to blast away the dirt on the systems stairwells and escalators. As one who travels on BART to San Francisco to attend meetings, the brightening crews are welcome news. This is a job that needs to be done, and it is certainly appreciated. Thank you BART.


Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist retired from PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

ON-SITE SHREDDING EVENT Once again, Travis Credit Union hosted its free on-site shredding event on Sept. 9 at the Clayton branch. Travis public relations director Eric Maldonado and branch manager Brad Slaughter led the event, which was well-attended by Travis customers and local residents. The annual free service was a tremendous success. Thank you to Travis Credit Union, Eric and Brad. This is another example of the service provided to Clayton and surrounding area by one of our great community business partners.

For BART commuters, I have an update from Karen Basting of BART government relations. Karen notes that “we may have seen them before in downtown Oakland or San Francisco, covered head-to-toe in protective gear Send comments to the mayor at and wielding a heated high-

October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 7

Downieville, a mountain bike mecca

Deer Lake view from the 18-mile Sierra Buttes Trail near Downieville.

Hall pass, check. Camping gear, check. Bikes that cost more than some cars, check. Ten friends who bailed on reality to disconnect for three days, check. Throw all those ingredients into a pot, stir and whammo, you’ve got a recipe to thrill in some of the most pristine wilderness in Northern California. The mission was to jump on shuttles and ride some of the gnarliest and most techni-

cal bicycling terrain imaginable over an 18-mile, downhill thriller-coaster. But it goes beyond the trails, which were born from a partnership including Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, the U.S. Forest Service and the Sierra County Land Trust. Founded in 1849 during the California Gold Rush, Downieville sits on the Downie and North Fork of the Yuba Rivers. Named for Maj. William Downie, who struck


Kevin Parker photos

gold here, the town has a current population of 262 – a far cry from the 5,000 people who inhabited the town in 1851. Downieville is surrounded by the Tahoe National Forest and is part of the famed “Lost Sierra,” even though it’s a mere two-hour drive from Sacramento. This article focuses on Downieville, but the entire region – including Quincy, Graeagle and Lakes Basin – would require weeks to properly explore. Lodging choices range from B&Bs to rental cabins to tent camping (my preference). Camp at Indian Valley, which is about 10 miles outside of downtown on Highway 49. Sites 4 and 11 are ideal, putting you right on the river’s edge alongside endless serenity and solitude. The best way to bike Downieville is by using a shuttle service ($20 per trip) from town that drops you at Packer’s Saddle, a 45-minute drive that gains some 4,500 feet of elevation. Using Packer’s Saddle as a jump-off point gives you many trail choices that all lead back to downtown. Yuba Expedi-

tions, a local outfitter, puts all proceeds into maintaining and building trails. Shuttles typically run from Memorial Day through the end of October, weather permitting. Depending on ability level, plan for 2.5-3 hours of downhill ride time. Almost all of these trails are highly technical, require superior bike handling skills and have sections of trail with footbridges, creek crossings and potentially high-consequence falls. All trails are also multi-use for hiking, biking and moto. We rode three shuttles over the course of a weekend and biked the following trails: Sunrise, Butcher Ranch, Pauley Creek, Big Boulder, Third Divide and First Divide. This year we saw a new trail, Gold Valley Rim Trail, which has some of the most beautiful scenery in the area as you climb above Packer and Deer lakes. Time permitting, you can also climb to the Sierra Buttes Lookout Tower, perched on top of the Sierra Buttes. For local eats, check out pizza and brews at Two Rivers Cafe, street tacos at La Cocina De Oro and a double scoop at Smoothieville. The town is rich in history and really blasts you back to a different time. Mountain bik-

Destination: Downieville

Distance from Clayton: 178 miles (3.5 hours) Activities: Mountain biking, hiking, off-road vehicles, fishing, gold panning, river chilling, funky town loving Maps and info: and

Fall plantings to brighten even the cloudiest day NICOLE HACKETT


Embrace the fall planting season with nine great landscape suggestions that are heat- and frost-hardy. These plants, shrubs and groundcovers would make excellent introductions to any Clayton Valley landscape or garden. Teucrium majoricum is a part of the germander family. The fabulous evergreen groundcover is covered with purple clusters of flowers May through September. Expect the icy-gray foliage to reach 3 feet tall and spread 18 inches wide. Teucrium majoricum acts like a magnet to honey bees. Coleonema Sunset Gold in an evergreen shrub with fantastic, fern-like, yellow foliage that will dramatically contrast other shrubs in the landscape. Folks tend to underestimate the mature growth of this evergreen, which can be 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide. This shrub prefers being installed in the fall or early spring, when the weather is cool. Abelia Kaleidoscope has yellow and green variegation during the summer. As autumn begins to chill, the yellow portion of the leaves turn an intense salmon color. Abelia Kaleidoscope’s foliage color lends itself to many companion situations. It looks great with perennials, roses and purple-leafed trees. Some exceptional grass-like

selections to consider for a Clayton Valley yard or garden are phormium, lomandra and cordyline. Phormium is a huge family from Australia consisting of many brilliant members. Commonly called flax, this grasslike plant is good for pool sides, containers and borders. Black Rage, Maori Maiden and Jack Spratt are favorites to consider. Read labels and research considerations before installing. Cordyline Electric Pink thrives in our climate. This evergreen is also deer-resistant. Sword-like leaves are bright pink with thin strips of bronze. Expect growth to reach 4-5 feet tall and develop a short trunk. Lomandra longifolia Breeze is an exceptional grass-like evergreen. It has fine textured blades of rich green that create tons of movement in the landscape. Install this selection in a mass planting to cover a large area. It also looks great in kettle-shaped containers. Breeze can reach 2-3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Bulbine frutescens was definitely the succulent type perennial of the year. This exceptional plant has been blooming since the early days of spring and is still creating flower stalks. Succulent-like foliage will stand 9-12 inches high and spread 3 feet wide. Flower stalks can be 2 feet tall. The bloom is a candelabra of dime-sized blossoms that line each stem. If patches of Bulbine get too wide, divisions and transplanting are successful.

ing has helped Downieville recreate itself, when otherwise it would have remained a ghost town. It’s hard to believe that Downieville lost out to Sacramento as our state capital by 10 KEVIN PARKER votes. HIT THE TRAIL No matter what your pleasure, if you love the outdoors Contact Kevin Parker with comand want to get lost in an area of California visited by few, ments or questions by email at check it out and prepare to be dazzled.

Huge Plant Sale! Sponsored by:

Crescent Hill Nursery See them at booths 56-59


Little John Callistemon is a proven shrub with a unique growth and leaf pattern. This shrub gets lots of attention in the nursery or a landscape, even when not in bloom. During May, feathery clusters of bold red flowers cover the thick stems, beckoning hummingbirds to sample its nectar. Agastache Kudos Coral is a delightful perennial that is tolerant of every bit of the July and August heat. Commonly called mint hyssop, Agastache would make a nice introduction into any full-sun perennial bed. Great companions would be salvia, coreopsis, alstroemeria and dahlia. Autumn is a safe, successful time to install an entire landscape or a few new additions. Nurseries bulk up on stock for the fall, so get planting.

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


Your work is our sponsor

•Hauling •Pool Removal •Retaining Walls •Demolition •Grading and Excavation Invested in the community. We live where we work.

Home of the $75 singleitem curbside pickup

925.727.9109 Lic # 932306

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

Planning is key to maximize storage space LYNNE FRENCH


Q. I am planning to put the family house up for sale after 25 years. I need to clear out all my collections of things so it can be staged, so I decided to get a storage unit. Can you give me some tips for packing? A. Maximizing the space in your self-storage unit begins with having a plan in place. Be prepared. Even if it is a short-term solution, it’s important to come up with a

plan before you haphazardly shove items into the space. A plan will save time when you clear the unit out, or even put other items in or take something out. Use the space wisely. If you are storing bigger items or things that are awkwardly shaped, take the time to break them down (if possible) to get the most use out of the space. This means disassembling tables, workout equipment, kitchen islands, etc. Take inventory. Good memory or not, you’re bound to forget every last item stored in the unit. Even if it only makes an appearance once every few years, you’ll want to remember where your fine china from Grandma Sue is when she visits. Label everything. If you plan to fill your storage unit with boxes, label them so you can quickly and easily identify what’s inside. It’s also important to make sure all the

Club News

Clayton Valley Woman’s Club

labels are facing the same way. Map it out. In addition to making note of everything that’s stored in your storage unit, it’s a good idea to map out where everything is located. This way, you can easily grab something when needed. Place items strategically. Keeping items together or packing things according to which room or family member they belong to is a simple way to add a level of organization to the process. Leave a walkway. For those renting a large self-storage unit, don’t forget to leave a walkway down the middle when filling the space with your belongings. Not only will this make it easy to grab things when you need them, it will keep you from having

The Clayton Valley Woman’s Club is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community. Members meet at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month, except July and August, at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, 5555 Clayton Road, Clayton. New members are always welcome. For more information and meeting reservations, go to

Captain Grammar Pants

The differences between ABOUT and AROUND are quite clear in some ways, but not so clear in others. When you want to indicate an approximate time, “see you at around 6 p.m.” and “we met about five years ago” convey the same message of approximation. To “hang around” (American English, loiter) is the same as to “hang about” (British English, loiter). The problem arises when people start “talking around” an issue, rather than “talking about” an issue. “We’ve just had a discussion around grammar” usually means the discussion actually avoided grammar. Be direct when possible (unless you intend to be confusing)!

Sean Williams is a professor of ethnomusicology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. She is currently working on a Captain Grammar Pants book. Follow her regular postings on Facebook.

yours is not in the best shape, it may be better to rent while you work at building a better profile. What is your true financial picture? While your salary may seem more than sufficient to make your projected mortgage payments, keep in mind that homeownership involves many different costs – from property taxes to repairs. Run the numbers carefully before deciding to buy. The best way to decide whether to rent or buy is to consult a local real estate professional. 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.

Smit Farms offers organic fruit at its best at your local farmers market DEBRA MORRIS Pacific Coast Farmers Market

In Linden, rows of trees glisten in the sun – heavy with Gala, Pink Lady, Fuji and Pippin apples. Bright orange persimmons fill other trees, while grapes fall in bountiful bunches from their vines. It is fall, and Smit Farms is busy with family and workers harvesting fruit. The Smit family established the farm in 1969 about 30 minutes east of Stockton. John Smit emigrated from the Netherlands to Northern California in hopes of starting a dairy. In America, he met his bride, Clazien, also from the Netherlands and they established a dairy ranch. After primarily raising cows, John Smit got wind of a new apple that would grow well in the region: the Fuji. They proceeded to transform the property from pasture lands to rows and rows of fruit trees. The Smit family continPicture courtesy of Clayton Valley Woman’s Club. ued to add a wide variety of apples, table grapes, cherries, Clayton Valley Woman’s Club members Rita Freeman and stone fruit, blueberries, pomeSheila Driscoll assembled a display at the Clayton Library granates and kiwifruits to their giving insight into club activities. orchards. Smit Farms has been sucClayton Valley Woman’s Clayton. Meeting starts at 10 cessful by focusing on high Club activities are represented a.m. followed by class at 11:15 quality organic fruit. Going for in the display case at the Clay- a.m. Guests are welcome. Cost quality over quantity has ton Community Library during is $27. October. The display includes a list of service projects and pictures of board members, Spring Fundraiser tables and donation recipients. Oakhurst Head Chef John Evans is conducting a fall cooking class at the woman’s club monthly meeting on Nov. 14 at Oakhurst Country Club, 1001 Peacock Creek Drive,

to climb over boxes and other If you want to know if items when you need to grab buying is better than renting something from the back of for you, ask yourself the folthe unit.  lowing questions: How stable is my Q. I am looking for a employment situation? rental for my husband and Lenders will take the length me. Rents are so high that of time you’ve spent at your we are considering buying current job into considerainstead. We didn’t plan on tion, so if you’ve jumped buying our first home so around a lot or just started a soon. What are your new position, that may work thoughts? against you. A. In today’s market enviAre you ready to settle ronment of rising rents, the down for a while? Buying a difference in cost between home is an excellent longrenting and owning is actually term investment, not usually narrowing – making this a a quick flip. If you’re still favorable time to buy a home. testing different cities or However, between down pay- interested in seeing the world, ments and closing costs, buy- renting may be a better ing a home is a big financial option. commitment that may seem What shape is your out of reach for those who credit in? Your credit score ultimately choose to rent weighs heavily in securing a instead. favorable mortgage loan. If

October 13, 2017

helped create a reliable brand that is always in demand. The family still runs the farm, and it looks like they will be doing so for a very long time. Family is truly involved in every aspect of the business, from the basics of planting and harvesting to marketing and staffing the farmers markets they attend every week. The Smits are committed to sustainable farming practices that will allow the soils and those tilling them to coexist in the most natural environment possible. Most of their orchards have been certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers and registered with the California Department of Food and Agriculture as organic. Some of their apples available now are Summertime, Gala, Pink Lady, Aztec Fuji and a very nice September Wonder. They also have Fuyu persimmons and lovely grapes such as Autumn Royal, Thompson seedless and Royal Flame. Their juices are another favorite product among farmers market customers. Apple cider, apple cherry and other juices made from their organic fruits are quick sellers. Family members all say that they love the challenges of being farmers, of keeping their

Pacific Coast Farmers Market

The family owned and operated Smit Farms bring a bounty of fall harvest fruit to the Concord Farmers Market.

produce organic and navigating through all kinds of weather. Learning new technology along the way and keeping accurate documentation is important as well – especially with four generations working the farm together. Their philosophy is farming sustainably and organically. That they can make a living from it while contributing to the welfare of the land and of

their community makes it all worthwhile. Smit Farms can be found at several farmers markets in the Bay Area, such as Concord, Pleasanton and Alameda. Visit them and see how good their fruit is. By doing so, you are supporting our local small farmers. The Concord farmers market is open Tues. and Thurs in Todos Santos Plaza. See ad pg. 4 for hours.

computer keeps them safe, and that safety is monitored 24/7 365. Most importantly, if you have independent IT services, ensure that they have its own security measures in place. We’ve all heard the old saw, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Pay them a visit and check them out; it’s worth it. You should also do your best to comply with federal and local laws governing such things as security. Keep up to date by subscribing to a news feed such as Google’s news feed about federal cyber regulations. And consider insurance for cyber break-ins. Thacher suggests installing technology “not only for preventing the downloading of malicious software but also for detecting and alerting the organization to attempted breaches.” As I have chronicled before, most retail versions of antivirus, malware and cyber protection are not enough. Hire an IT company that is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that has such

software. Lastly, I recommend a special place for mom. If mom is a customer, she needs protection just like the rest of your valued customers. So don’t keep customer information sitting around on your laptop or desktop. Protect it with a secure server. A separate piece of equipment that specializes in data security can cost less than $1,000. Or rent time from an MSP for a cloud-based solution at about $50 a month. Microsoft has many server level software offerings that work great on a server. Here’s a tip: I don’t keep any credit card information on a computer. Our company uses a binder, and it is locked up. Old school, yes. However, no hacking is possible. It’s time for small businesses to fight cyber crime. Call me for more suggestions.

Create a plan to prevent data hacks Even if you’re not a large company with data facilities all over the world, your company data is valuable. It’s important to safeguard your customer data because you can be sued for data breaches and theft of your databases. Not to mention the nasty letters and bad-will that is generated by such a situation. When home or small business want to protect themselves, I suggest they think globally and act locally. This means being aware of the global cyber security threat and taking action to protect you and your customers from it. I will summarize a CNBC article by Corporate Solutions and Simpson Thacher for the Nasdaq that I thought would be a good guide as to what you can do to protect those you serve. First, it is a good idea to identify someone in your company who is responsible for leadership of your data security. The person should have a written breach response plan in case of attack and be able to



take independent action to guard your data. Include things like how to keep personal information safe, where it is stored and if it is backed up. Deny right of entry to anyone who doesn’t need access. Be sure employees have read the plan. Next, create a real budget for the IT department. If you don’t have an IT department, hire one. It’s not as expensive as you may think. These days, there are many automated tools to keep the cost of protection reasonable. For example, less than $7 a month per

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

October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •


Martin A. Easton

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

1927 – 2017

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 PAMELA W IESENDANGER , Administration, Calendar Editor S TAFF W RITERS : Pamela Wiesendanger, Jay Bedecarré, Bev Britton

C ORRESPONDENTS : Kara Navolio, John T. Miller I NTERN : Carina Romano

We remember Jill Bedecarré


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

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

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

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

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

Clayton resident Martin Easton died in August from complications of kidney failure. He was known for his “Letters to the Editor” stating his staunch support of the U.S. Constitution as it was written by our forefathers and his unwavering belief in the Second Amendment. A 1944 graduate of Mount Diablo High School, he earned “Block D” letters in football, baseball and swimming and excelled in any sport he attempted. Having grown up in “the village,” the company town of the oil refinery now known as Tesoro, he had access to the company’s recreational facilities and became proficient at bowling and billiards. His father, George Wilford Easton, was a superintendent at the refinery and his mother, Marjorie Matheson (famous locally as “the little girl who rode the cow”), was a secretary to the engineers. His maternal grandfather, John Matheson, operated the Diablo Walnut Nursery when walnuts were “king” in the Ygnacio Valley. His grandmother, Josephine “Josie” Finnessey Matheson, taught at the Clayton Grammar School in the late 1800s. At the age of 16 in 1944, Martin was chosen as one of four of the 400 applicants for the Naval Air program and sent to the College of the Pacific in Stockton to begin training. He continued to demonstrate his football prowess in college; it was not for “sissies” as the mili-

Clayton Fair Properties For Lease

Concord – Commercial Offices Active business complex featuring a variety of commercial businesses. Well maintained with friendly atmosphere. Excellent location including ample parking. Contact Maureen (925)


Clayton resident Martin Edward Lemons, known fondly as Marty, died on Sept. 17 in Alamo, holding hands with his loving wife Dee. Marty and Dee had a friendship for many years before they realized they were meant to spend the rest of their lives together. Their marriage on Valentine’s Day in 1987 brought together a family that grew strong and close. Marty was born in San Francisco and spent his early years in San Francisco and Walnut Creek. He graduated from Del Valle High School and attended Diablo Valley

Area code 925 unless otherwise indicated

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

Diablo View Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .822-5144

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tary bases near colleges allowed their recruits to play in the college leagues. He attended Cal Tech and fondly recalled playing football and marching in the Pasadena Rose Bowl parade. The day he was to report to the Navy for active duty, the atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, and WWII was over. UC Berkeley granted his degree in 1949. Martin is predeceased by his wife Phyllis (whose ancestry includes the Clayton families of Russelmann, Frank, Rasmussen and Sargent) and son Gordon. He is survived by daughters Janet Easton, Susan Ellison and Lois Henley; grandchildren Brett Easton, Sandy Tesch Wilkins and Paula Tesch; and two great grandchildren. No services were held. A private burial at Live Oak Cemetery is planned for a later date. Memorial donations can be made to Live Oak Cemetery Association, 1034 Pine Hollow Ct., Clayton 94517 or to the Clayton Historical Society, P.O. Box 94, Clayton CA 94517.

June 3, 1949 – Sept. 17, 2017

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College, majoring in psychology. He spent many years doing construction and maintenance management for cellular communications infrastructure. He prided himself on mentoring many young protégés. He had a one-of-a-kind personality, with a beautiful bright smile and big bear hugs. He loved gatherings with family and friends, as well as travel and adventure. He and Dee enjoyed skiing, cycling, riding his Harley, camping and sightseeing. Some of his favorite destinations were Maui, Lake Tahoe and Paris. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Jonathan; stepdaughters Jacki Haven (Mark) and Christine Shannon; grandchildren Dominic, Carter, Gianna and Isabella; siblings Edward (Luz), Margaret, Dianne, Rick and John; and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Willow Pass Community Center, 2748 East Olivera Road, Concord. Memorial donations may be made to a favorite charity, Hospice of the East Bay, the American Cancer Society or John Muir Health Pulmonary Rehabilitation, 2720 Grant St., Bldg. 1, Suite 3, Concord, CA 94520. Please write Pulmonary Rehab on the check memo line.

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Clayton Pioneer •

October 13, 2017

Schools offereing information sessions for 2017-18


Clayton Valley Charter, De La Salle and Carondelet high schools have scheduled information days to introduce the schools to prospective students and families for the 2018-19 school year. CVCHS has its information night scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 6 p.m. in the school’s Dan Della Gymnasium. Now in its sixth year as a free public charter

school, Clayton Valley administrators, Board members, academic counselors, Academy teachers plus principal Jeff Anderson and Executive Director Dave Linzey will be on hand to provide enrollment information that night. The school has been holding an annual lottery to prioritize applicants as the number of freshman and other class applicants have exceeded

available openings. Students in the former Clayton Valley High feeder school system of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District get first priority for enrolling in the Charter. For more information on CVCHS visit The area’s two Catholic high schools in Concord, De La Salle and Carondelet will

It’s all in the family for Danish student

Sydney Skow



Is Denmark a country? Do you have polar bears in Denmark? Does everyone in Denmark write with their left hand? Victoria Skousen, a foreign exchange student staying in Clayton and attending CVCHS for the 2017-18 school year, has been asked all of these questions and more countless times since she arrived in August. The

Skousen is traveling with the organization EF Education First, which specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs, and cultural exchange. But, she wasn’t placed with just any family that is a part of the program. Thirty years ago, Skousen’s father was an exchange student staying in Minnesota. The family that he stayed with had a daughter that is now Skousen’s host mom, Jennifer Carrigan. Skousen has made the most of her time in the US, arriving in New York City in August, where she explored and went sight-seeing for a few days before her flight to Sydney Skow California. “I’ve gotten to Victoria Scousen, right, with her tennis partner, emily lyons see all of the places and things that I’d only ever 17-year-old student is from Peninsula. Vejle is the ninth heard about. It’s super cool Vejle, Denmark, located at largest city in Denmark with the southeast of the Jutland a population of about 55,000. See Exchange, page 11

hold their Open Houses on of readers of the East Bay Sunday, Nov. 5. Times. The girl’s school Carondelet High was Open House is being held named “Best Private School” in the East Bay in a 2017 poll See Schools, page 11

Numeracy just as important as literacy

nellie Meyer



Mathematical literacy – or “numeracy” – means having the confidence and skill to use numbers and mathematical approaches in virtually every aspect of daily life. It’s important for work, making decisions as consumers, managing household finances and helping our children learn. Being numerate is much more than adding up numbers. By developing a confidence in math, students improve their ability to solve problems, understand and explain solutions, process information, and make decisions based on logical, critical thinking and reasoning.

There is extensive research on the importance of math to a student’s future success in college and career endeavors. Parents may not realize how much they incorporate math into everyday life. Having kids help in the kitchen means opportunities to measure, estimate and sequence – while giving you an extra pair of hands. At the grocery store, kids can help estimate costs, look for the best price per ounce and weigh produce. On the road, the time-tested “license plate game” is a wonderful way to look for patterns; maps are great for calculating distance and travel time. If you are visiting a lake or beach, have the kids predict how many times a pebble can skip over the surface of the water. If you’ve not yet attended a Math Night at one of our schools, I hope you’ll do so this fall. And I’d love to hear how your family is “doing the math.” Send your story to Dr. Nellie Meyer is Superintendent of Schools for MDUSD. Email questions or comments to

October 13, 2017

National Merit achievement at Clayton Charter Six top students at Clayton Valley Charter High School received recognition from the National Merit Committee. Based on their PSAT tests, seniors Samuel Pearson and Logan Schoffstall qualified as National Merit semi-finalists. This is the first time since moving to charter status that the school has had semi-finalists. They are among the 16,000 highest scorers in the nation, which translates into the top 1 percent of students who took the PSAT. If Sam and Logan become one of 7,500 students to be designated Merit Scholar awardees,

they will be in line for three types of scholarships: National Merit $2,500 scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships and collegesponsored scholarships. Mariana Izon was named a National Hispanic Scholar because she had a top score among Hispanic students who took the PSAT. Mariana’s honor was also a first for CVCHS. Isabella Mercurio, Adam Pingatore and Henry Smith received letters of commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. While they will not continue in the competition for National Merit scholarships,

Schools, from page 10 from 2-4 p.m. on Nov. 5. More information can be found at De La Salle will preview its Lasallian education program Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon. The school’s website has information on its programs and financial assistance at DIABLO VIEW AND PINE HOLLOW


MDUSD reports its students continue to make gains on state assessments and remain slightly ahead of their peers at the state level, according to data released by the California Department of Education showing results from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Tests (CAASPP). The testing data also show the number of students who met or exceeded the state standards increased, while the number of students who nearly met or did not meet the standards went down. Nearly 17,000 students across the district took the computer-adaptive tests. Locally, Diablo View Middle School saw its English language arts score increase by 4% while Pine Hollow Middle School went up 5% in mathematics.

“We are pleased to see improvement and continue to applaud our students for working hard to build their skills and confidence in critical thinking, analytical writing and real-world problem solving as measured in these assessments,” said Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer. “And while there is improvement, we know there is much work to be done. Going into this school year, we built in greater supports and enhanced professional development in the area of mathematics, for example, in order to help students meet these more rigorous standards.” Across the district of 32,000 students at over 50 school sites the percentage of students who met or exceeded English language arts standards rose for the third year in a row, up 1.05% overall but with dramatic gains at specific grade levels with the percentage of sixth graders meeting or exceeding standards up 7%. In mathematics, overall gains went up slightly, with seventh graders seeing the greatest gain of 3%. The CAASPP tests changed from a fill-in-thebubble approach to a modern, online testing system that provides results quickly, and includes optional interim tests and a digital library of

Exchange, from page 10

to see it all in person!” she recalls. Skousen did not come to the U.S. just to have a good time; she has taken on a challenging school schedule. Her classes consist of Economics, Statistics, Marine Biology, English, Child Development, and Art. She often relaxes in Art class, painting pictures of Denmark; but every day she has to translate new words into Danish during Marine Biology, making it an even more difficult class for her. She has also had to transition to the school system; switching classes every hour or so instead of staying in the same classroom with the same people all day. “People here are more open-minded,” says Skousen of her peers in the U.S. compared to those in Denmark, “teenagers go out and spend time with friends outside of their homes more often. A lot of students have boyfriends and girlfriends here too...This school has a ton of spirit that schools in Denmark don’t have. I’m

really looking forward to Homecoming week.” Back at home, Skousen enjoys spending time with her friends and family; she lives with her parents and her older brother. When she came to the U.S., she decided to play tennis for Clayton Valley and has enjoyed it immensely. Varsity girls tennis coach Sayed Anwar says Skousen “is calm, mature, and very her personality is perfect for the sport of tennis. She is always working harder. Not only is she in a foreign land where she has to learn all of the new customs and high school culture, she is also dealing with a very different geographic environment. She has made a very positive impact on our team and school. I am proud of our team and school for being so welcoming and inclusive of someone from another country.”

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 11

Carondelet alum named as a Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 entrepreneur

JeFF AnderSon


they may be candidates for special scholarships provided by corporate sponsors. The school honored this distinguished group at a brunch ceremony Sept. 21. The two semi-finalists were also recognized at the Clayton City Council meeting as demonstrating “Responsibility” as part of Clayton’s “Do the Right Thing” campaign. Send comments to

resources to use throughout the year. CAASPP replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program and encompasses the assessments and alternative assessments for English language arts and literacy, mathematics and science. Clayton Pioneer wants to publish your school news

We are using this new School News Roundup to give all of our readers news of general interest from the schools Clayton children attend. We want to report on new programs and initiatives your school is undertaking; special awards, achievements and recognition your school, faculty or students earn. Include all the necessary details (too much information is better than too little!) and your contact information. Send an email to

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

When Forbes Magazine set about compiling this year’s list of 30 Under 30 young entrepreneurs in a number of fields they were looking for game-changers to follow in the footsteps of previous Forbes honorees Michael Phelps, Jennifer Lawrence, Adele and LeBron James. And, when the judges whittled down 15,000 nominees to 600 selections (30 each in 20 industries), a 29-year-old Carondelet High School Class of 2006 grad made the grade. Brittany Stich is spotlighted with cofounder Rachel Carlson in the Education category for their startup, Guild Education. The women met the first week of their freshman year at Stanford University in 2006 and began Guild in 2015 while Stich was in the final year of her MBA/Masters in Education program at Stanford. Recently, they wrapped up Series B funding of $21 million, bringing to $31.5 million the venture capital Guild has raised. Guild works with employers to offer education as a benefit to their employees, providing employees with online educational opportunities —- everything from completing high school to obtaining a Masters degree. Guild has a roster of participating colleges and universities around the country (“We’re in every time zone”). Chipotle, Taco Bell, Public Service Credit Union, KFC, DaVita and Denver Public Schools are among the companies working with Guild. The startup company is in Denver. Carlson, a Colorado native (her grandfather Roy Romer was a three-term governor), says, “My family has worked in education reform since I can remember. Brit is the first in her family to go to college. So, thinking about what allowed her to navigate that

Photo courtesy Guild education

Carondelet grad brittany Stich is co-founder and Head of Student experience of Guild education of Colorado. Stich and her cofounder rachel Carlson were spotlighted in Forbes Magazine as 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs in education.

path—-a lot of that is what we do at Guild.” Stich also knows what it means to be a working adult headed back to school. She commuted for a year, taking Stanford classes part of the week and flying to Denver to work at Guild the rest of the time. “I certainly have empathy for the schoolwork-family balancing act our Guild students live every day.” CARONDELET, STANFORD YEARS Stich was involved in student government and volunteerism at Carondelet. She was student body president and says she “learned incredible servant leadership from the late and beloved Sister James.” She was on the Cougars track and field team and played AAU basketball but admits, “I wasn’t good enough to play on our basketball team.” Stich says she’s able to put her Stanford studies to use at Guild to help “more than 36 million working Americans with some college and no degree who can’t afford to choose school over work.”

She was president of her Stanford sorority, studied abroad in Florence, spent summers working at Stanford Sierra Camp and was a volunteer literacy mentor for middle and high school students. Following graduation, she worked at the same charter school with low-income students and with Carlson at a Washington, D.C. company where they worked with community colleges around the country to help students find pathways to earn their bachelor degrees before she went back to Stanford for post graduate work. “I bleed Stanford cardinal.” For Stich, her work at Guild is personal. “As a first-generation college student myself, as a teacher in a low-income community and through my work in the community college space, I have come to understand that academic success is not just about aptitude or resiliency. I have watched many of my former students struggle to meet work demands with the demands of school, while needing to provide for their families. “Balancing work and school is hard to do alone,” Stich explains. Her dad, Jeff Stich, operated Clayton Valley Auto Service in Concord with Brittany’s grandparents Jerry and Nancy Stich. He was killed two years ago this month in a fluke accident while on a sprint car racing crew. She says her dad’s spirit and generosity were larger than life. “I think it is fitting that my dad worked with his hands, as they were the gateway to his heart. With every car he fixed, race car he crewed for and act of service he completed, his humility, work ethic and passion could be felt deeply.” Now his daughter is hoping she can continue her father’s legacy of service as she aims to increase economic mobility for Americans of all ages and backgrounds.

Rhine family’s love lives hit the press

debbie eiStetter


Love was in the air in December 1897, and the daughters of Jacob Rhine, a Clayton hotel and saloon owner, were about to make the next three months a headache for the family – and provide a San Francisco newspaper with some juicy gossip. Fannie Rhine had left Clayton, telling her parents she would be gone for a few days visiting her sister Hilda in San Francisco. In reality, Fannie was meeting her beau, Roy Frazer Gilchrist. They were married on Christmas Eve and spent a few blissful days together before she returned to Clayton, acting as if nothing had happened. After a time, she revealed to her parents that she had married. According to a San Francisco Call article, “She succeeded in creating an impression that her brief married life had caused her to regard the venture as a failure.” Meanwhile, Hilda Rhine had been seeing Jack Atchinson, a Sydney is a junior at CVCHS. Clayton resident, for about a Send comments to editor@claytonyear. Father Jacob was dead-set

Jacob rhine surrounded by his children, circa 1898

against the relationship and was absolutely against their wishes to be married. The couple decided to take action without his consent, and they were married in San Francisco that February. Their honeymoon was rudely interrupted by a policeman banging on their apartment door, and they were subsequently hauled to the city prison because police were given the impression that Hilda was underage. Apparently her cousin, Abraham Rhine, had gotten wind of what was happening and alerted authorities in an attempt to prevent the marriage. Hilda said she acted in a fit of jealousy. The couple remained in prison for several hours, until a dispatch from Hilda’s father confirmed she was

indeed of marriageable age. In March 1898, Fannie’s husband had secretly arrived in Clayton to collect his wife. “A vehicle was procured,” and they hurried to Martinez. “As soon as the girl was missed, there was a hunt, but Mr. and Mrs. Gilchrist had obtained a good start and could not be overtaken,” the newspaper reported. “Mr. Gilchrist has caused it to be known that he and his wife are in a comfortable new home, but he does not intend to invite a possible abduction by letting everyone know where it is located.” Two years later, the Gilchrists were living in Martinez. Roy was a day laborer soon to become a railroad engineer, and the couple had wel-

Contributed photo

comed a baby boy. Hilda and Jack lived on the Atchinson ranch in Clayton with his parents. A few months into their marriage, Jack won a U.S. government contract for a stage run between Clayton and Martinez to deliver mail, passengers and money. The operation was known as the Atchinson Stage, which ran every day except Sunday for almost 16 years. Despite rocky beginnings, both marriages were long-lived and happy – and never again provided fodder for San Francisco Call gossip. The Clayton Historical Museum is at 6101 Main St. and is open 2-4 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays. Admission is free. Debbie Eistetter can be contacted at


Page 12

Clayton Pioneer •

October 13, 2017

Clayton Valley, De La Salle football winning ugly JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

On the surface looking at the Clayton Valley Charter and De La Salle high football team records you would assume things have gone pretty well for each local team. But behind the records entering the final three weeks of the regular season each team has been consistent in only one area—making mistakes. Each head coach has said their team effort has been good but mistakes are frustrating, especially so late into the season. UGLY EAGLES NEED TO WIN OUT

Clayton Valley Charter (42, 1-0) opened Diablo Athletic League play with a 41-21 victory over Miramonte last Friday at Gonsalves Stadium. The win was the ugly Eagles 28th consecutive league victory. Coach Tim Murphy says, “For having so many juniors starting I am really glad to see our progress throughout the season. Biggest issue is we continue to make the same mistakes and it’s going to kill us when we are in a close game like it did in Reno against Reed.” Penalties have been an ongoing problem this season, the coaches admit. The Eagles started the season with two losses. The season opener in Reno saw the Eagles make too many mistakes in a 38-22 loss, a game Murphy feels they could have won. The second loss was to Hawaiian power-

Christy Murphy photo courtesy CVCHS football

Clayton Valley defenders swarmed Miramonte in the diablo Athletic league football opener last Friday. eagles Cade Carter and kyle Sparks (2) made the tackle with Parker Allen (18) and dwayne Alatini (16) pursuing the play in a 41-21 victory at Gonsalves Stadium.

house Mililani, a team which is still undefeated at 8-0. Since those games CVCHS has rolled off four straight wins while scoring 144 points in the past three weeks. The team is still focused on its wing-T running game but senior quarterback KJ Gardner has had two

Christy Murphy photo courtesy CVCHS football

thomas Alatini (15) is half of the two-headed CVCHS running attack along with Jr. teofilo who have accounted for 16 touchdowns and over 1100 yards rushing in six games as the Ugly eagles have rebounded from an 0-2 start to win four in a row.

games of over 200 yards passing. Thomas Alatini and Jr. Teofilo have carried the rushing load while combining for 110 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. Assistant coach Dax Crabbe’s Facebook report after the Miramonte game, 10 Thoughts from last night’s victory over Miramonte spotlight the team’s defense against the Mats. Gabriel Dobbins had two rally-killing interceptions including a 90yard touchdown. Parker Allen also had an INT. He said Dusty Mitchell and Kitione Tau each had a pair of sacks and Dwayne Alatini one, the pressure he credited with leading to the interceptions. He added “special teams were outstanding last night. They did not allow Miramonte to start past the 25yard on any of the kickoffs. Not only that, the hands team did an excellent job fielding onside kicks.” He said Christian Seeley had five special team tackles. CVCHS Homecoming this Friday is against Concord High and first-year coach Paul Reynaud, a former CV player and coach. The Min-

utemen have struggled through a tough season with a 1-5 record but the crosstown rivalry usually brings out the best in both teams. The toughest two Diablo Athletic League games remaining for the Ugly Eagles appear to be Oct. 20 at Acalanes (6-0) in Lafayette and Nov. 3 vs. Campolindo (4-2) in Moraga. The Eagles are borderline to be among the four teams chosen for the North Coast Section Open Division playoffs. It appears De La Salle, San Ramon Valley and Pittsburg are near locks while Freedom is currently projected as the fourth team. CVCHS is currently ranked as the No. 1 Division I team in playoff projections but may still be selected for Open play if they win out as DAL champions with a strong non-league schedule and impressive victory over Antioch. DE LA SALLE WEATHERING INCONSISTENCY, SCHEDULE

De La Salle (6-1) has come through the toughest part of its independent schedule while facing seven

successive teams with winning records and coming up with six wins. Their final three games are also against teams with positive season marks. Listening to coach Justin Alumbaugh after each victory (and the sole defeat to twotime National Champion Bish-

op Gorman in Las Vegas) you hear essentially the same message. The fifth-year coach would laud the team’s effort while bemoaning too many mistakes (penalties, turnovers, missed assignments) that got the Spartans into trouble or didn’t allow them to pull away from their opponent. Last week’s 42-0 win over California was the first shutout of the season for DLS’s defense, which was touted in the pre-season as the strongest element of the team with top recruits such as junior Henry To’oto’o and senior lineman Tuli Letuligasenoa, a USC commit. Against Northern California’s toughest schedule, DLS has allowed over 30 points three times and 24 in another. Junior quarterbacks Erich Storti and Andrew Jones have been sharing signal-calling duties with neither taking charge of the position with consistent play. Jones is considered the better passer and Storti a stronger runner in the veer offense. Senior leaders Kairee Robinson and Letuligasenoa have battled injuries with To’oto’to filling in for Robinson in the key battle with Central of Fresno that ultimately was a 49-30 victory in a game that has implications for State Bowl Open Division game placement. In spite of the faltering play, the Spartans have remained ranked No. 1 all season and figure to be unbeaten Nov. 3 when they host San Ramon Valley, which is currently 6-0, at Owen Owens Field to conclude the regular season.

dennis lee photo courtesy SportStars magazine

Heavily recruited junior linebacker Henry to’oto’o (11) stepped in at runningback to cover for injured teammate kairee robinson when de la Salle hosted undefeated Central of Fresno and was a key figure in the Spartans 49-30 win that may have State bowl implications at seasons’ end.

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October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Athlete Spotlight

Brooke Johnson School: CVCHS Grade: Senior

Sport: Water polo, Swimming

Johnson is in her final water polo season at Clayton Valley Charter, her third year on the Lady Eagles varsity. She has been a key member of the team, playing as a skilled utility for the Eagles as they endeavor to defend their Diablo Athletic League Valley Division

championship from 2016. She leads the team with over 50 steals this season. As a junior, Johnson was second team allleague for the champion Eagles and was chosen as CVCHS defensive player of the year last season. She has played polo for five years, including club water polo

on the 680 Drivers. She also swims for CVCHS and plans to complete four years on varsity next spring. She has been swimming for 11 years, spending each summer on Dana Hills Swim Team in Clayton. Her favorite events are the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. Johnson has been in the ASB Leadership class for two years and the Public Service Academy since starting at CVCHS. She is now in Senior Women. Johnson has maintained a 4.3 GPA and hopes to attend college in southern California to major in child development and minor in psychology. CVCHS student journalist Sydney Skow wrote this Spotlight.

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

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Carondelet names new aquatics center for Alumna, Olympian Natalie Coughlin Hall JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Carondelet High School this month announced the naming of its state-of-the-art aquatics center for three-time swimming Olympic gold medalist and 2000 graduate of the school, Natalie Coughlin Hall. The Natalie Coughlin Aquatics Center is a featured part of the school’s new, six-acre Carondelet Athletics Complex, expected to open in early 2018.

“Natalie is an inspiration to countless young women around the globe and a role model to our students past and present,” said Carondelet President Bonnie Cotter. “Natalie is more than a world-class swimmer and athlete – she personifies values that go beyond sports. We are so proud to be able to honor her and recognize her accomplishments as an athlete and a humanitarian.” Coughlin has earned 12 Olympic medals in her career and her exploits will be featured prominently at the new athletics complex, including a larger-than-life image of her diving into the pool at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on the

wall adjacent to the entrance of the aquatics center. Her image and athletic accomplishments will also be displayed in Carondelet’s Hall of Fame to be unveiled next spring. “In her professional career and her personal endeavors, through her passion and determination, Natalie has demonstrated what it means to be a woman of heart, faith, courage and excellence – values that are central to everything we hold dear at Carondelet,” Cotter said. While a student at Carondelet between 1996 and 2000, Coughlin became the first swimmer to qualify for the US Swimming summer nationals in all 14 events. She broke two individual national high school records in the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.45) and 100 backstroke (52.86). She continued to set records while attending the University of California Berkeley. In 2002 she became the first woman ever to swim the 100-meter backstroke in less than one minute. “Carondelet’s new aquatics center and athletics complex will provide a place for Carondelet families to come

Photo courtesy kohler Family

natalie Coughlin (right) presents Clayton’s future olympian kara kohler with the high-point award at the 2003 County Swim meet when she was competing for the dana Hills Swim team and Coughlin was swimming for the Cal bears.

Photo courtesy Carondelet High School

natalie Coughlin became a competitor on the national and international stage when she swam for the Carondelet High Cougars from 1996-2000. Her exploits are being honored by the school with the naming of the new natalie Coughlin Aquatics Center, which is slated to open early next year.

together to celebrate their student athletes like never before,” said Coughlin, who became the first U.S. female athlete in modern Olympic history to win six medals in one Olympiad. “I applaud my alma mater for its commitment to creating greater equity for female athletes by investing in a second campus that will be home to seven teams and all 800 students.” Since its founding in 1965, Carondelet’s small Concord campus has had no room for outdoor athletic fields or competition aquatic facilities. As the number of girls playing sports has increased over the years, students have had to travel up to 35 minutes each way for daily practices and “home” games at fields in other cities. “I’m excited to have our very own pool. It’s a big step toward building our team and our reputation,” said junior competitive swimmer Christy Neufeld. “Natalie Coughlin has always been an inspiration to me. I love her approach to swimming and to life.” Located 2.5 miles from the Carondelet campus, the new athletics complex in Walnut Creek on the site of the former ClubSport Valley Vista tennis and swim club will feature a 10-lane competition pool and diving well, synthetic turf fields for soccer, lacrosse and softball, and six tennis courts. The new campus’ 6,000-square-foot student center includes stateof-the-art facilities for strength training and sports

medicine, as well as space for Carondelet students to study and socialize. To fund this project, Carondelet launched a capital campaign to raise $38 million, including $14.5 million for the Carondelet Athletics Complex. Other objectives of the campaign are the development of a new STEM Innovation Center to be completed in 2019, as well as a $7.5 million scholarship endowment. Carondelet has so far raised 78% of its $38 million goal, including a $15 million pledge from the Hofmann Family Foundation.

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Clayton Pioneer •

October 13, 2017


Six athletes including Pac-8 champion Pat Micco named in 2017 Mt. Diablo High School Hall of Fame class JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Committee co-president Lou Adamo says the six athlete honorees for the 2017 Mt. Diablo High School Hall of Fame compare to any of the previous 13 classes for the area’s oldest high school. They will be inducted at a dinner ceremony Nov. 3. Pat Micco (Class of 1971) went from Mt. Diablo to be a starting guard for the Joe Roth and Chuck Muncie-led Cal football team that was 1975 Pac-8 co-champion. He was joined on the Golden Bears offensive line that year by MDHS classmate Joe DeRosa, who was inducted posthumously to the high school’s Hall of Fame last year. Three-time baseball league champion Ron Lichti (Class of 1959) is already in the MDHS Hall of Fame as part of the undefeated 1959 team that was honored in 2010. That team is considered the best in school history and has Lichti and Lee Grichuhin (1959) named to the hall as athletes this year. The other new inductees made their mark on multiple sports teams at the Concord school. Ted Walsh (1971), Trippi Collara (1979) and Joe

Photo courtesy Mt. diablo High School

the Mt. diablo High football team in the fall of 1969 featured three junior linemen who would be named to the school’s athletic hall of fame nearly a half century later. Joe derosa (89) was honored posthumously last year while Pat Micco (96) and ted walsh (69) are inductees this year. Senior center ron Parker (58) also pictured.

Fejerang (1975) round out the outstanding class of 2017. To order tickets for the Friday, Nov. 3, Hall of Fame dinner at Zio Fraedo’s Continental Restaurant in Pleasant Hill contact Lou Adamo by phone 212-9332. Tickets for a prime rib or salmon dinner are $55 per person. Proceeds help fund girls and boys academic and athletic programs at the school.

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Trippi Collara (1979) – He played football, basketball and baseball at Diablo, capping his career by winning the P.J. Kramer Award as a senior. During that 1978-79 senior year Collara was starting quarterback and most courageous player on the Red Devils football team, captain of the basketball squad and leadoff hitter and centerfielder on the MDHS playoff baseball team. As a sophomore, he led the junior varsity to the league championship and was brought up to varsity for the Turkey Bowl. Later that school year he lost a finger in a woodshop accident and then his junior season was cut short by a football knee injury causing him to miss playing basketball and baseball as well. Note: Trippi Collara is being honored posthumously and, due to scheduling conflicts, he will be honored at the January boosters Crab Feed. Joe Fejerang (1975) – He made his mark in the fall on the football field and each spring in the weight events for the MDHS track and field team. Fejerang played varsity football for two years and as a senior was honored with allleague and all-Eastbay recognition. Those same two years he was a leading discus thrower, earning a spot in the 1975 CIF State Meet as the North Coast Section champion. His winning NCS toss was 163-9. He attended Diablo Valley College and Boise State. Lee Grichuhin (1959) – Playing for MDHS Hall of Fame coaches Hart Fairclough and Bruce Iversen, he was a DVAL champion in

football (1959) and baseball (1958-59). Grichuhin was named all-league as a pitcher and football quarterback. Like Lichti, he was previously inducted in the hall of fame with the 1959 baseball team. He played both sports at Diablo Valley College and at Eastern Washington University, where he got his masters. Grichuhin earned all-league honors at both DVC and EWU. He coached at Mira Loma High in Carmichael for 15 years. Ron Lichti (1959) – He was a member of a rare three-year championship team. Hall of Fame coaches Carl Anaclerio and Iversen led the Red Devils to 195758-59 DVAL baseball championships. Lichti was a threeyear letterman and was named second team all-league as a sophomore and then first team as a junior and senior. In the league championshipclinching game he came within one out of a no-hitter while striking out 17 Pacifica batters. He had a 6-0 pitching record with a 1.13 ERA, averaging two strikeouts an inning. He had one game where he threw just 63 pitches in seven inning complete game (only throwing nine balls). Twice he lost no-hitters with two outs in the seventh. An arm injury ended his baseball career as a Stanford University freshman but he stayed there to graduate in 1963. Pat Micco (1971) – He was a two-way starter for three years on the Red Devils football team, making allDiablo Valley Athletic League on offense and defense. He was selected to both the Contra Costa-Alameda and North-South Shrine all-star

football games. He was later honored as a member of the All-County Decade team. He threw the discus and shot put for three years. At Cal, he earned eight varsity letters between football and rugby. The legendary 1975 Cal football team finished in the top 15 rankings and led the

nation in total offense, incredibly gaining 2,522 yards passing and rushing. The offensive line only allowed six QB sacks all year. Micco also played rugby for a number of club teams who competed nationally and internationally. Ted Walsh (1971) – Another member of the 1970 football team with Micco and DeRosa, he was selected to the Contra Costa-Alameda allstar game and was an alternate for the North-South Shrine Game. He was a first team allleague and all-Eastbay linebacker. He was a three-year varsity football and baseball player and also was on varsity wrestling as a senior. He shared the P.J. Kramer Award with DeRosa. Walsh played two years of football at DVC, serving as team captain and named all-conference his second year. He played football at San Francisco State where he earned his teaching credential in 1976 and then taught for over 30 years. His brother, Ron Walsh, another Kramer Award winner, was named to MDHS Hall of Fame two years ago.

CV freshman makes mark in French Pétanque tournament

Photo courtesy lamorinda Pétanque Club

Clayton Valley Charter High School freshman noah Sonet (left) was part of the first American youth team to compete in Marseille, France in the Mondial of Pétanque this summer. Pétanque is a pointing and shooting game with steel balls played on a dirt surface. A growing sport in the US, the American Pétanque Federation has about 50 clubs and over 2,000 licensed members. Sonet, 14, is part of the lamorinda Pétanque Club. Pétanque is a strategy game where teams have to adapt rapidly to offensive or defensive play until one team reaches 13 points. the event next to Marseille’s beaches is the largest international pétanque tournament in the world, bringing together more than 10,000 players of all levels. Sonet and teammate Parker edwards (right) of north Carolina were the first-ever American youth players to participate. they won the first game 13-7 before losing to the 2016 French Junior champions 13-10 and the belgian champs 13-9. Sonet says next year he will be wearing CVCHS colors at the tournament.

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Clayton Pioneer •


Page 15

Fall sports teams scramble to earn NCS berths JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Fall sports Diablo Athletic League seasons wrap up this month leading into North Coast Section action and Clayton Valley Charter is hoping to have some repeat champions from the inaugural DAL fall season in 2016. GIRLS TENNIS CVCHS tennis coach Sayed Anwar is pleased with his team’s status through five league wins as they hope to gain a second consecutive DAL Valley crown. Anwar says, “We beat Alhambra and Berean Christian and had a close victory over Concord last week.” Senior Tracy Nguyen is the No. 1 singles player with Nelly Elahmadie, Sarisha Bhalla and Emily Lyons following in the ladder. League tennis concludes next week. NCS team and individual tennis competitions run between Oct. 26 and Nov. 15.

leigh ellis photo courtesy CVCHS water polo

Clayton Valley Charter is hoping to repeat at diablo Athletic league Valley division water polo champs. the lady eagles include, front row from left, CROSS COUNTRY Camille Cline, brooke Johnson, Jordan Frost, emma Skow, Madelyn Vines, Michaela ellis, rachel Gittleman, Sydney Skow; back row, leanna Mazzuca, Seniors Dylan White and Margaret york, kaylie walker, Camylle Callahan and Julia deely. not pictured, Jenny Vonnegut and Alyssa dern.

Kelly Osterkamp provide leadership and talent to the CVCHS cross country teams who both seek repeat league championships this month for coach Anthony Munch. The senior-laden boys varsity also includes Branden Busby, Matt Hyland, Logan Schoffstall and Floyd McCluhan. Sophomore Ryan Rickard is also scoring points. On the girls’ side, fresh-

man Samantha Schauman and Osterkamp lead the varsity squad with Cassie Bizicki and sophomores Serena Connel and Alex Martinez. The second DAL cross country center meet is Oct. 25. All DAL schools take part in center meets. The DAL championships are on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Hidden Valley Park in Martinez. The NCS

Meet of Champions is Nov. 18.

WATER POLO CVCHS girls head coach Kelsey Carrigan expects her team to challenge for a repeat Valley Conference title this year. Junior Sydney Skow is the team’s top scorer and assistmaker while classmate Camille Cline and sophomores Camylle Callahan and Madi Vines are also making a lot of goals and assists. Senior Brooke Johnson with 60 steals and soph goalie Jordan Frost with 123 saves lead the defense that has won every DAL game to date. DAL water polo continues through Oct. 25. NCS tournament is Nov. 1-11. GIRLS GOLF The DAL golf tournament is next Monday, Oct. 16, following the double round-robin league schedule. NCS competition starts Oct. 23.

Senior kelly osterkamp is looking to earn all-league first-team honors for the fourth successive year as the eagles compete for a dAl Valley division girls cross country championship, as are the eagles boy runners.

Jason rogers photos

Senior tracy nguyen is the no. 1 singles player for Clayton Valley Charter girls tennis as the eagles attempt to repeat at dAl Valley Conference champs.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL DAL volleyball runs until Oct. 26 with NCS starting Halloween night, Oct. 31, through Nov. 11. Clayton Valley is still in search for its first win with three league matches remaining. The NCS playoffs run Nov. 2-12. The Northern California playoffs are Nov. 15-25 with the CIF State championships Dec. 1-2.

Jason rogers

Junior Alaysia Mitchell is among the team’s strongest hitters for CVCHS girls volleyball. Mitchell is in her second varsity season for the eagles.

Page 16

Clayton Pioneer •

October 13, 2017


It’s the GS Warriors all the way, again


This NBA season is a foregone conclusion. The Golden State Warriors are just a few days away from beginning their NBA title defense. They open the season

with a home date against the Rockets on Oct. 17 and play their last game in early April in Utah. One thing will be a constant in between: wins. The Warriors are once again stacked to a level unheard of in sports history. They have two-time MVP Stephen Curry, Finals MVP and arguably the best player in basketball Kevin Durant, NBA Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green and three-time all-star Klay

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Leonard, they have a lot of old stars. An aging team highlighted by Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Manu Ginobili seems in danger of a sudden decline. The Thunder may be the most compelling team to watch, since they now pair Russell Westbrook with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. That offensive talent goes toe-to-toe with Steve Kerr’s squad, but the difference lies in defense. If this big three hits every shot imaginable in a seven-game series, they stand a chance to pull off an

upset of GSW. The Celtics are a talented team, but aside from Kyrie Irving, they are largely inexperienced when it comes to important playoff games. The Cavs easily dismissed Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and getting that far is less impressive in the talentless East. If all goes to plan, the Celtics could be the best team in the NBA next year – but not yet. Any team with LeBron James is automatically dangerous, but losing Irving is huge. He has been just as

good, if not better, than Dwayne Wade when it comes to being LeBron’s sidekick. It remains to be seen if Isaiah Thomas can recreate that chemistry. To make a long story short, the Golden State Warriors will win their second straight NBA title – their third in four years – next June. It is just a matter of how they win, whom they will play and what records they will break.

Clayton’s Kara Kohler was back in the World Rowing Championships last month competing with three teammates in the women’s quadruple sculls as the US hosted its first Worlds in 23 years. The Netherlands rallied to win the gold medal in her race with the

favored Poles second. The Americans ended up fifth after winning the repechage earlier in the week to qualify for the finals. Kohler rowed with Maureen McAuliffe and Elizabeth Sonshine, both in their first World Championships, and Emily Huelskamp,

who matched Kohler with two previous Worlds appearances for the USA. This is the first World Championships in the new quadrennium as Kohler and the other athletes build towards the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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Kara Kohler, USA teammates take fifth at World Rowing Championships

Sports Shorts


The ninth annual MDSA World Cup runs over three weekends starting this Saturday—Oct. 14, 21 and 28-29—with 41 boys and girls teams taking part. The competition wraps up the fall rec season for under 10, U12 and U14 teams in AYSO Region 223. For complete World Cup schedule and more information visit The annual Area 2C Cup Tournament will take place Nov. 11-12 with top finishing teams from the World Cup competing.

and frosh basketball. Send resume and references to AD Megan Coddington at Stipends available. Coaching requirements include MDUSD Fingerprints, Current TB test,  First Aid/CPR, Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Concussion certification through NFHS.


The Concord Pavilion will host the inaugural International Functional Fitness Federation (iF3) World Championships on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21-22, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. Functional Fitness is a sport that tests how well-rounded athletes’ proficiencies are across a variety of movement patterns, activities and energy systems that require different skill sets. The event will bring athletes from the U.S., U.K., Sweden, WANT TO SCORE MORE GOALS? Mexico, Ireland, Canada and Puerto Rico. Tickets are on sale at JOIN DIABLO FC SHOOTING CLINIC The iF3 hopes for the sport to be in a posiFormer professional and college players are conducting tion to be considered for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los shooting/finishing sessions on Fridays, Oct. 13 and 20, at Angeles. For more information, visit functionalfitnessfederaTesoro Fields. The clinics are open to all players ages 7-12. Dia- blo FC is hosting the program from 5:15-6:30. Sessions will be split up based on age and skill level of the players. For more DIABLO FC OFFERING PLAYER EVALUATIONS information mail director of coaching Zach Sullivan docdiaDiablo FC under 8 through U19 competitive teams (birth or visit years 1999-2011) hold ongoing player evaluations for new prospective players. Visit to get more information REGISTRATION OPEN FOR on the club and signup for the appropriate age group evaluation.



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Thompson. The Warriors are so deep that they have bench players who would start on most other teams, such as Zaza Pachulia, Nick Young, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. That doesn’t even include reliable veterans David West, Omri Casspi and JaVale McGee plus stillyoung Patrick McCaw and Kevon Looney, who are only getting closer to their prime (they will be 22 come playoff time). There is a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The Warriors followed that guideline. They have more talent than last year’s team, which lost just one postseason game. The competitors the Warriors will have to ward off include Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City in the West, and Boston and, of course, Cleveland in the East. The Rockets acquired the talented Chris Paul, but they gave up their best on-ball defenders – something extremely important against Curry and Durant. The Spurs are consistently great, but outside of Kawhi

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Programs for youth basketball and adult wiffle ball offered by All Out Sports Leagues in Clayton are taking registration CLAYTON PIONEER WANTS TO PUBLISH online. An elite basketball skills clinic is running on Sundays YOUR SPORTS NEWS through Oct. 29. For complete information on All Out Sports Please let us know about your sports news, special events, programs, visit fund raisers, tryouts, signups and accomplishments. Youth leagues, clubs, schools and adult programs are all welcome to CONCORD HIGH LOOKING FOR send us a rundown on what you’re doing. Include all the neces2017-18 BOYS TEAM COACHES sary details (too much information is better than too little!) and Concord High School is looking for 2017-18 coaches for your contact information. It’s as simple as sending an email to boys teams in varsity tennis, JV head and assistant basketball


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Hurricanes decimate areas of Caribbean tourism October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 17

How to Help

The Center for International Disaster Information offers these useful tips on giving in the wake of disasters: Give money. While food, clothing and supplies are often the first things people think to donate, experts say these gifts divert volunteers from critical tasks to separate, distribute and store the goods. Cash donations allow relief agencies to purchase exactly what is needed. Deal with a reputable charity. GlobalGiving ( vets local organizations it helps fund and is well regarded by charity watchdogs. You can also check out Charity Navigator (, which evaluates individual charities.


This fall had an extraordinarily violent hurricane season, leaving officials throughout the Caribbean scrambling to assess the damage in a region that depends more on tourism than any other in the world. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s epic flooding of Texas and Louisiana, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean with catastrophic Category 5 winds of more than 160 mph. The devastation left many islands grappling with how long it will take to rebuild. The worst-hit islands were the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. John, as well as Anguilla, Barbuda, Dominica, St. Martin, Tortola and Puerto Rico. Official Daniel Gibb said St. Martin was “95 percent destroyed.” He called it “an enormous catastrophe” for the island, which is half French and half Dutch. Many of the 40,000 residents evacuated to Guadeloupe. Sonesta International Hotels Corp., which has three properties on the Dutch side of St. Martin, canceled all reservations through the end of the year. Officials were try-

StACi Hobbet


One of my friends counted 14 on a single morning hike; another saw them stacked like cordwood in the nest of a redtailed hawk; a third said that he’d trapped 400 over the summer while trying to protect his garden. Voles girdled young trees, wiped out some of the wildflowers, ate up every delicate garden plant they could find – and fed the food chain from the grasses up. Hikers in early and midsummer were awestruck by the numbers. The ground sometimes seemed alive with them as they waddled left and right to get out of your way. Last season’s heavy rains may be the reason for the population explosion. The timing was key, because the rains favored the grasses of our meadowlands. The blades grew fast and furiously, shading out competitors. You may have noticed, for

out. All we are hearing is the sound of galvanize flying. The sound of the fury of the wind. As we pray for its end,” he reported. Joe decourcey Then, his roof was torn Hurricane irma left devastating damage on St. John in the U.S. Virgin islands, including off. “I am at the complete these sailboats blown ashore. mercy of the hurricane,” he wrote. “House is flooding.” ing to limit cancellations in The island was cut off minute boat ride away. Afterward, he described the areas that didn’t sustain severe with no power, no WiFi and “We are working very hard damage as “devastating … damage, such as St. Lucia, no cell phone reception. to help Barbuda, but it will Aruba, Barbados and Antigua. There were reports of law- take a year for repairs to be Frank Comito, chief execu- lessness as shattered homes fully completed,” said Colin tive of the Caribbean Hotel and businesses were burglar- James of the Antigua and Barand Tourism Association, said ized, while entire ATM buda tourist board. the area is dealing with a “per- machines were stolen. On Anguilla, the British ception issue.” About 3,500 tourists were foreign office minister, Alan “More than 75 percent of rescued from St. John by two Duncan, said: “The initial the Caribbean was not severely massive cruise ships. Cruise assessment is that the damage impacted and is open for busi- Critic reported that 150,000 has been severe and in some ness,” he noted. vacationers on 51 cruises have places critical.” But the other 25 percent been affected by cancellations, Meanwhile, Hurricane suffered often-catastrophic delays and route changes as a Maria followed on the heels of damage. St. John was reduced result of Irma. Irma, decimating the island of to a battered wasteland. Once On Barbuda, officials esti- Dominica. lush, green mountains are bare mated 90 percent of the As the powerful hurricane and brown after Category 5 island’s buildings have been approached, Prime Minister winds stripped leaves from destroyed. Almost all of its Roosevelt Skerrit said people trees and coated them with salt 1,500 residents left for the sis- didn’t know what was happenwater. ter island of Antigua, a 90- ing outside. “We not dare look

indeed, mind-boggling.” In Puerto Rico, Maria knocked out power to the entire island while causing catastrophic flooding, which slowed relief efforts. Casey is president of Fair Winds Cruises & Expeditions in Clayton. He can be reached at 925787-8252 or

Civil War a backdrop for family drama in ‘Hockaday’

This season, voles are taking charge on the mountain instance, that we didn’t have whole fields of poppies this summer. They need sun, and the grasses got there first. In 2016, it was the other way around. The rain was meager and sporadic, and just when the grasses required a good dowsing, the rain gods said no. So it was poppy heaven. You could see the orange slopes on Mount Diablo from Highway 24. Verdant meadowlands provide voles a prosperous life. They love succulent grass. It acts as excellent cover, and the moisture retained in the soil by the heavy growth makes it easy for voles to burrow … and burrow … and burrow. In some areas, there was so much upheaval of the soil that it was difficult to tell whether wild pigs or voles were responsible. On the western flanks of the mountain, regular hikers pointed out what they came to call “Vole Park.” Furrowed and burrowed and busy with bumper to bumper vole traffic, it was its own grassy little world. Voles make the most of it. Females can manage 10 litters per year, averaging four babies per batch. Those babies

last winter brought more than heavy rains. Succulent, lush grasses in the meadowlands and front yards host millions of the seldom-seen before, tiny, mouse-like rodents.

mature sexually in about 35 days, so one female can be a great-great-great-great-great grandma in a single season. It seems a wonder that we’re not chased out of town altogether by voles. Fortunately, they’re a top menu item for every sort of meat-eating wildlife, including bobcats, coyotes, foxes, hawks and owls. But predators can only make a dent in a big year like this one, which may be the reason why a boom-and-bust life cycle works to keep voles around. Every year, a few survive to reproduce. And every

three to five years, their frenzied numbers keep them well distributed across the landscape. It could also be that predators just get sick of eating vole during the big years. Maybe it’s like eating fast food three times a day for weeks. At first, it’s not too bad; it’s quick and saves time and energy. But after a while, the nestlings begin complaining, “What? Vole for dinner again?” Hobbet is a docent at the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association; You can send email to her at

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Belonging to the Clayton Community Library Book Club has its perks. Members now spread the wealth by bringing in books they’ve read and want to share. That’s how I got a copy of Susan Rivers’ debut novel, “The Second Mrs. Hockaday.” Rivers has written one of the best epistolary novels I’ve ever read. A story told through letters can often be tiring, but Rivers keeps this Civil War narrative moving at an incredible pace. In between the letters are journals, newspaper articles and court documents. The tale is based on a true event involving a married woman who, while her husband is off fighting the war, gives birth to an illegitimate child who dies shortly thereafter. It is a love story, a war story and a morally confusing mystery relating to who fathered the child as well as the infant’s death. It begins with a letter written from a South Carolina courthouse in 1865. The letter is to Mildred, the beloved cousin of Placidia Fincher. Placidia writes of meeting Major Hockaday, hinting at how taken she was by his manner and bearing. She also shares the fact that her doctor has told her she is not likely to remain in jail for long. She then asks her cousin to send a dress and some writing paper. The reader, so taken with Placidia’s feelings for Major Hockaday, is almost jolted to remember she is in jail. What has she done? Whatever the crime, romance exists and it does so along with dark family secrets – all fodder for the staunchest mystery lover. After a whirlwind encounter with the much

older and widowed Major Hockaday, 17-year-old Placidia agrees to marry him and move to his farm, where his infant son is in the care of a house slave. Placidia, an atypical Southern belle, is animal smart (rides and probably breaks horses), articulate and believably aware of her sexual awakening. Two days into the marriage, her husband is called back to the front and she is left to deal with his infant son and to manage his farm and slaves. The story moves through the early part of her two-year separation from her husband. Her relationships with her sister, her father and her cousins give the reader an indepth look at a cast of characters fighting more than the Civil War. She has few letters from her husband and life on his farm is not easy. Weather, outlaws and family deception and avarice create years of chaos and doubt that she had married well. The reader is left guessing and re-guessing almost to the end. Who was the father of the child? Was the child’s death murder? When Hockaday returns at war’s end to find his wife in jail, will he divorce her? Or will there be a future for their marriage? Rivers writes a tight tale with believable characters and history to back up the depth of her narrative. Enslavement comes in all colors, and war casualties are not always found on the battlefields. Sunny Solomon is a freelance writer and head of the Clayton Book Club. Visit her website at for her latest recommendations or just to ‘talk books.’

Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

Performing Arts

October 13, 2017

Hilarity ensues during Clayton’s ‘Radio Hour’

SAlly HoGArty


Take a step back in time when radio was king, as Clayton Theatre Company presents “The 1940’s Radio Hour.” I love this show, which includes songs such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Although you may be shocked to hear that I wasn’t alive when these radio hours took place, it still makes me nostalgic for the big band era, swing dancing and Rita Hayworth’s classic up-do. The show follows a live radio broadcast, complete with sound effects, that takes place in 1942. It’s a year into the U.S. involvement in World War II, and this broadcast is for the

troops overseas. It becomes more interesting with a harassed producer, a leading singer who drinks too much and a trumpet player who chooses a fighter plane over Glenn Miller. “The 1940’s Radio Hour” runs Oct.19-Nov. 4 at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Director Roxanne Pardi encourages attendees on Friday nights to come “dressed in your best 1940s costume” to receive a free popcorn. For tickets, go to There’s no place like home – that is if home is Kansas and you’ve just had quite an adventure in the Land of Oz. Thanks to Pittsburg Community Theatre, we can all have that adventure as the company continues its production of “The Wizard of Oz!” through Oct. 15 at California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg.

Contributed photo

the Vagabond Players present “the odd Couple – Female Version” on oct. 22 in Antioch. Seated from left, Pam Abbey, deb Grainger and Cathy Ashland. Standing are Sheila Morrison and bill dietz.

A special “No Place Like Home” matinee on Saturday, Oct. 14, encourages kids of all ages to come in costume. Special drawings and opportunities to meet the cast on stage are planned. For tickets, call 925427-1611 or go to Pittsburg Theatre also announces auditions for the rest of the season: “Shrek, the Musical Jr.” for ages 6-18 on Oct. 17-19, “Next to Normal” on Nov. 13-16 and “Taming of the Shrew” on Nov. 28-29. For complete information on what to prepare and when shows run, go to That mismatched couple is back and funnier than ever as the Vagabond Players presents “The Odd Couple – Female Version.” Felix and Oscar may now be Florence and Olive, but it’s still classic Neil Simon with crazy characters and plenty of snappy dialogue. The comedy features Sheilah Morrison, Peggy Scalise, Deb Grainer, Pam Abbey, Cathy Ashland, Teddie Gilbert, Bill Dietz and Bob Lanter. In keeping with its mission, the Vagabond Players are presenting the comedy at senior centers throughout October with a public performance Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. at the El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. 2nd St., Antioch. For tickets, call 925-757-9500 or go to B8 Theatre offers John Cariani’s quirky comedy “Almost, Maine” to its Concord theater, 2292 Concord Blvd., through Oct. 28. In the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine, the Northern Lights seem to be creating havoc as residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often

Jonathan Mercer

Clayton theatre Company’s “1940’s radio Hour” opens oct. 19 at endeavor Hall in Clayton. the show features such musical favorites as “boogie woogie bugle boy.”

hilarious ways. Directed by JanLee Marshall, the comedy features Michael Craigen, Edwin Peabody, Samantha Rasler and Alyssa So. Call 925-890-8877 or go to Contra Costa Musical Theatre brings the 2015 Junior World Dance Champion, 14-year-old Braden King, to Walnut Creek to star in the powerful musical “Billy Elliot.” This poignant story of a northern England mining town and a young boy’s dream to dance has set record atten-

dance since it debuted on Broadway in 2009. It will run Oct. 13-Nov. 11 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. For tickets, call 925-943SHOW or go to What happens when you cannot tell the truth and your servant cannot tell a lie? Lots of confusion and anxiety for the characters and lots of fun for the audience as Center Repertory presents David Ives’ “The Liar.” Set in 17th century Paris, the comedy tells of the charm-

Contributed photo

edwin Peabody and Samantha rasler star in b8 theatre’s “Almost, Maine,” playing through oct. 28 in Concord.

ing and charismatic Dorante, who can’t seem to tell the truth, while Cliton, his manservant, cannot lie. Michael Butler directs Ives’ new, very modern adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s original comedy. The show runs Oct. 20-Nov. 18 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts. Call 925-943-SHOW or go to Town Hall Theatre continues its run of Min Kahng’s beautifully staged musical “The Song of the Nightingale” through Oct. 21. Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, the musical pays homage to such composers as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Alan Menken, who influenced the playwright/composer. The theater is at 3535 School St., Lafayette. For tickets, call 925-283-1557 or go to Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is also the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to

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We get it, adults are terrible. That is one of the underlying themes of Andy Muschietti’s telling of Stephen King’s “It.” In fact, there isn’t a redeemable character over the age of 15. The men, in particular, are at best, crooked, at worst …. well, the main antagonist is an evil clown. Coulrophobia, or fear of clowns, is something that affects millions of people of all ages. As children, all of us suffer from fears, both rational and irrational. Local kidnappings are some of the most terrifying. This story is truly all about kids and what scares them. “It” begins in 1988 with a superbly filmed sequence of young Georgie and his fateful introduction to Pennywise the Clown (a menacing Bill Skarsgard). Fast forward to 1989, the town and Georgie’s older brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) still have not gotten over the abduction. When Bill and his group of self-proclaimed “loser” friends start seeing horrific things that play on their worst fears, they begin to think

everything might be connected. Wanting to judge this film on its own merits, I went in without seeing the original miniseries or reading the book. From what I know, this version sticks pretty close to the source material. Films based on Stephen King have been hit or miss, with miss being the usual result. Typically, his short stories – like “Shawshank Redemption,” “The Mist” and “Stand By Me” – are the best. With the spectacular failure of “The Dark Tower” this past summer, hope was in short supply for “It.” No one could have predicted it would become the all-time highest grossing R-rated horror film in the U.S. in just three weeks. The novel takes places in the ’50s, but the film puts us square at the end of the go-go ’80s. Cinematographer Chunghoon Chung (behind the camera for most of South Korean wunderkind Chan-wook Park’s films) beautifully captures the look of small-town Maine in the decade of decadence. A child of the ’80s, Muschietti layers the film with homages. Movie theater marquees tell us exactly what month we are in, T-shirts reflect what was popular and the soundtrack sparkles with forgotten gems. If you are of fan of the ’80s-soaked “Stranger Things,” “The Goonies” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” this movie is a good combination of the three. The kids, seven in total, do a fine job. Finn Wolfhard

bill Skarsgård as the killer clown Pennywise from ‘it.’

(“Stranger Things”) is the only recognizable actor in the bunch. There is a bit of a reliance on his vulgar one-liners, but most of them work because yes, kids talk this way. As the only girl in the group, Bev (Sophia Lillis) provides a vulnerable strength. Bullied by the girls at school for perceived promiscuity and horribly mistreated by her dad, Bev unites the boys in their quest against Pennywise. Skarsgard’s performance is darkly funny while doing his best to frighten us. However, the film’s real scares lie in the images Pennywise forces the kids to see. Zombie-lepers, walking headless corpses and creepy paintings coming to life are the true stuff of nightmares. Overcoming our fears is one of the hardest things we face. We root for the kids in “It” to succeed, because if they can conquer the horrific things they encounter, then we can conquer anything. B+

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

October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 19

Clayton Community Calendar



Oct. 19 – Nov. 4 “The 1940’s Radio Hour”

Musical about a live radio broadcast from Dec. 21, 1942. Friday night, dress in 1940s costume and get a free popcorn. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St. $20-$25.

Mondays Off the Grid


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

Tuesdays and Thursdays Farmers’ Market

Tuesdays year round, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 26. 4 – 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. See full concert schedule for 2017 at Upcoming shows: Oct. 14, Punk in Drublic, 1 p.m. Nov. 2, Luke Bryan, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 – 15 “Masquerade Ball”

Contra Costa Cake and Sugar Art Society’s annual cake show. Open to anyone interested in entering or attending. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. First Lutheran Church, 4000 Concord Blvd. $8; $14 both days.

Nov. 4 - 5 Gem and Jewelry Show and Sale

Jewelry, gems, minerals, fossils. Sponsored by the Contra Costa Mineral and Gem Society. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Centre Concord, 5298 Clayton Road. $6. (925) 7790698.

Nov. 9 Advance Health Care Directives

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


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

Thru November Hazel-Atlas Mine Tours

Learn about the mining history and geology at Black Diamond Mines. Guided, 90-minute tour; Saturdays and Sundays. Must be age 7 or older with parent. $5 in advance online or day of at Sidney Flat Visitor Center.

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.

Oct. 15 The California Tarantula

Experience a close encounter with these fascinating and harmless spiders. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Summit Museum.

Oct. 28 Halloween Trek

Go in search of what lurks after dark. 5 – 7:30 p.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Reservations required:

Nov. 8 Bird and Nature Hike

Hike up the canyon in search of bird sights and sounds. 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center.

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

Oct. 22 Wright Canyon Family Walk

Oct. 13 “What Doo Wop is All About”

Street Corner Renaissance sings. 8 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $10-$27. (925) 757-9500.

Oct. 13 – Nov. 11 “Billy Elliot”

An inspiring celebration of the journey of one boy who hangs up his boxing gloves for ballet shoes. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $49-$65.

Oct. 15 “Romeo and Juliet”

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

Oct. 19 – 22 “Z is for … Zombie! An Improvised Zombie Apocalypse”

Presented by Synergy Theater. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $20. (925) 9437469.

Oct. 20 “The Durst Case Scenario”

Oct. 20 – Nov. 11 “Greetings by Tom Dudzick”

Presented by Onstage Repertory Theatre. Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St., Martinez. $12-$18. (925) 5183277.

Oct. 20 – Nov. 18 “The Liar”

The charming Dorante has but a single flaw: He cannot tell the truth. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $34-$56.

Oct. 21 “The Ultimate Huey Lewis Experience”

Performed by SuperHuey. 8 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $10-$27. (925) 757-9500.

Oct. 22 “The Odd Couple (Female Version)”

Presented by The Vagabond Players. 2 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $10-$15. (925) 757-9500.

Oct. 28 “Nunsense”

Presented by Broadway Repertory Theater. 2 and 7:30 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $12-$23. (925) 757-9500.

Oct. 29 “Dia de los Muertos”

Presented by Ballet Folklorico Costa de Oro. 3 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $10-$25. (925) 757-9500.

Nov. 3 – 5 “Alice @Wonderland: The Musical”

A present-day Alice encountering the Wonderland. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $15. (925) 943-7469.

Nov. 5 Concert

Motown music with Top Shelf. 3 p.m. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $15-$27. (925) 757-9500.

Nov. 10 - 12 “A Swingin’ Holiday and More”

Diablo Ballet’s season opener. Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. $25-$59. (925) 9437469.

Nov. 11 Veterans Day Ceremony

Featuring the Walnut Creek Concert Band. 11 a.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Free admission; reservations recommended. (925) 943-7469.

Nov. 12 “Cityscape and Symphony”

Learn about the fascinating history and natural resources on this 130-year-old ranch. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at 5755 Nortonville Road, Pittsburg. Reservations required.

Nov. 18 – 19 “Mozart Masterpieces”

Nov. 5 Borges Ranch Family Walk

Hike the historic buildings of this operational cattle ranch. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at 1035 Castle Rock Road, Walnut Creek. Reservations required.


Thru Oct. 14 “Hansel and Gretel”

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

Thru Oct. 15 “Wizard of Oz”

A delightful musical for the young and young at heart. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $16-$25. (925) 427-1611.

Thru Oct. 28 “Almost, Maine”

A delightful, mid-winter night’s dream. B8 Theatre Company, 2292 Concord Blvd., Concord. $15-$25. (925) 890-8877.

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.

Oct. 13 Comedy

Act II Improv is giving a benefit performance for White Pony Express. 7:45 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $15. (925) 943-7469.

Oct. 21 Fall Fundraiser

Laurie and Dan Roldan sing while guests enjoy wine, appetizers, dessert. Sponsored by Clayton Valley Woman’s Club to benefit local charities. 4 – 6 p.m. Diamond Terrace, 6401 Center St., Clayton. $25; call Aleta at (925) 672-9448.

Oct. 21 Plant Sale

Native and naturally drought-tolerant plants. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Markham Regional Arboretum Society Nursery. 1202 La Vista Hilarious exploration of how America is changing during the Time Ave., Concord. Free admission. of Trump. 8 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $20-$30. (925) 427-1611. Oct. 22

Hike on the east side of the mountain. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at 4390 Morgan Territory Road, Clayton. Reservations required.

Oct. 28 Thomas Home Ranch Property Tour


4th Annual Sunday Supper and Silent Auction

Benefits Clayton Valley Village. 5 - 9 p.m. La Veranda, 6201 Center St., Clayton. Reserve by Oct. 18; $45.

Oct. 22 Golf Tournament

Golf, dinner, raffle benefiting St. Agnes Development Fund. 10 a.m. Boundary Oaks Golf Course, 3800 Valley Vista Road, Walnut Creek. $175. Call Angie Blackmon at (925) 639-0814.

Nov. 3 “Kids: Investing in OUR Future”

County-wide program to keep kids in school. Dinner, auction, speaker Michael Pritchard. Benefits C.O.P.E. Family Support Center. 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4500 John Glenn Drive, Concord. $75.

Nov. 3 – 4 Comedy

Performed by Arsenio Hall to benefit the Pittsburg Arts and Community Foundation. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $30-$40. (925) 427-1611.

Nov. 3 - 4 Gala and Boutique

Friday night “Jingle Bells Boutique,” wine, appetizers, auction, wine pull, raffle and boutique; 6 – 8 p.m. Saturday Classy Crafters Boutique and Country Kitchen continues; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Proceeds benefit Saint Bonaventure Food Pantry. Saint Bonaventure Large Hall, 5562 Clayton Road, Concord. Free admission. 672-5800.

Nov. 9 Art Show and Sale

Showcasing Clayton folk art by Carlene Honeychurch. Wine, appetizers; dressy to formal attire. Proceeds benefit Clayton Historical Society and Museum. 4 – 8 p.m. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St. $5 admission.

Nov. 13 HomeAid LIVE 2017

HomeAid Northern California’s annual benefit show. 8 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $75$125. (925) 943-7469.


The Clayton Library is at 6125 Clayton Road. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or call (925) 673-0659.

Thru Oct. 26: Guess the Weight of the Library Pumpkin Thru Nov. 6: Clayton Reads, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” Oct. 13 – 15: Book Sale Oct. 22: Speaking for Ourselves: A Panel of Your Muslim Neighbors, 2 p.m. Oct. 23, Nov. 13: Clayton Knits, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25: Celebrate Halloween, 6:30 p.m. Registration requested. Oct. 26: Crafts: Make a Race Car, 4 p.m. Oct. 29, Nov. 5: Family Movie Afternoon, 2 p.m. Oct. 30: Halloween Adventure, 4 p.m. Nov. 6: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” discussion, 7 p.m. Nov. 13: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 p.m.

Presented by Contra Costa Wind Symphony. 7 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $17. The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. Programs are free unless (925) 943-7469. otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or (925) 646-5455. Performed by the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. 2 p.m. Nov. 18: El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $7-$15. Nov. 19: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $10-$30.


Oct. 20 – Nov. 5 “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”

Hilarious, interactive, whodunit mystery musical. Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. $16-$21.

Oct. 15 Concert


Featuring jazz ensemble JaZ. 3 p.m. Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, 1578 Kirker Pass Road, Clayton. $15.

Oct. 28 Trunk or Treat

Safe place to trick or treat for kids. Come in costume. 5 – 7 p.m. Concord United Methodist Church, 1645 West St., Concord. Free.

Oct. 16: STEAM, 7 p.m. Oct. 23: Family Game Night, 7 p.m. Oct. 24: How to Use eBooks. Registration required. Oct. 30: Puppet Show, 7 p.m. Oct. 31: Halloween Crafternoon, 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2: Origami, 4 p.m. Nov. 4: Tai Chi Zen, 11 a.m. Registration required. Nov. 6: Movie Monday, 7 p.m.


1st and 3rd Tuesdays Clayton City Council

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

2nd and 4th Tuesdays Clayton Planning Commission

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

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

Page 20

Clayton Pioneer •

October 13, 2017

Special Section

For Central Countra Costa Homeowners & House Hunters

Celebrity Homes When Enough Isn’t Enough BY LYNNE FRENCH, WINDERMERE REAL ESTATE The priciest house for sale in the U.S. is a spec house. In real estate lingo that means the developer designs and builds a home without a buyer lined up. Bruce Makowsky of Bam Luxury Development is the builder. The 60-year old lives in a 27,000 square foot Beverly Park mansion once leased by the late pop icon Prince and made his fortune selling handbags on QVC before turning to real estate six years ago. He’s built nine homes so far and furnishes them to reflect his own extravagant travels, interests, and tastes. “I live the life,” he said. The estate is listed for $250 million. That is a quarter of a billion dollars. The home’s 38,000 square feet spread across four floors, 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, three kitchens, a 40-seat movie theater, infinity pool with a swimup bar, and 270-degree hilltop view from downtown to the ocean. Makowsky led a group through the Bel Air mansion, proudly showcasing the property’s lavish, whimsical elements, including a bedazzled sofa-sized camera sculpture and a $500,000 set of moving Seven Dwarfs images while Beyoncé’s concert footage blasted on screens throughout the house. The handbag tycoon said his vision for the property, which took four years and 250 workers to build, came from boats. Billionaires, he realized, spend eight weeks of the year on their hundred million dollar yachts, “but then they only live in a $30 million dollar home.” That discrepancy, he reasoned, didn’t make sense, so he created a home with finishes and furnishings reminiscent of a mega yacht, with a matching price to boot. Nautical themes are present, as are motifs that reflect Makowsky’s love of collectable cars, guns, and guitars.

Bam Luxury Development’s $250 million, 38,000 sq. ft., Bel Air spec house dining room with spectacular skyline views. For prospective buyers who might not share his taste for furniture, cars, and helicopters, he’s willing to negotiate. It’s about selling a glamorous lifestyle as much as the property. Average homebuyers might be able to get the fridge thrown in with the sale; the Bel-Air home is fully furnished and comes with a $30 million fleet of exotic cars and motorcycles parked in the foyer, including a custom Rolls Royce, a Bugatti, and a vintage Allard. The four-lane bowling alley has shoes in every size, and a candy room is filled with towering cylinders of sweets. Two wine cellars are stocked with hundreds of bottles of Champagne and wine. There are custom-built glass pingpong and billiard tables and 130 artworks collected from around the

world. There are more status symbols. A helicopter is parked on the roof— craned in because the house doesn’t have a permit for landings and takeoffs. A Hobie Cat Sailboat sits on a deck, ready for imaginary voyages. Stuck in the crocodile-embossed elevator? The house comes with seven full-time employees, who live in a separate wing.

Lynne French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates, CalBRE #01122025. Contact her at (925) 672-8787, Lynne@, or stop in at 6200 Center St., Clayton.

October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Prince's Estate Lack of a Will Could Mean Chaos By Jeffrey Hall, ESQ. The famed recording artist Prince died leaving an unknown fortune and possibly no will or estate plan to dictate what to do with that fortune. Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, told the probate court in the Minnesota county where Prince lived that her brother did not have a will, which means his estate could be in court for years and exhaust millions of dollars in court fees and unnecessary taxes. Ms. Nelson filed an emergency order for the appointment of a special administrator to protect Prince’s assets, even as those assets are swelling. Prince owned several properties at his death as well as the rights to hundreds of songs; estimates put his estate's value at between $100 million and $300 million. It is possible a will may still be found, but under state law, if there is no estate plan in place, Prince's six siblings – one sister and five half-siblings -- will share his estate. In Minnesota, half-siblings and full siblings are treated equally when it comes to inheritance. Ironically, for someone who was known for his privacy, Prince died intestate -- without a will – which means that his estate will be open to public scrutiny. In addition, if everything passes through probate, his estate will likely face a large estate tax bill that might have been at least partially avoided. Moreover, Prince's estate may not be distributed as he may have wished. For example, Prince was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. If he wanted to leave anything to the church or another charity, those distributions will not be made without a written estate plan. In the absence of clear instructions, there are likely to be lawsuits over the distribution and administration of his estate. Prince also left a number of unreleased songs that he may not have wanted made public, but without other guidance, those songs along with his entire music catalog will now be under the control of the estate administrator. You don't have to be worth millions to learn a lesson from Prince's apparent mistake. The only way to ensure that your assets get distributed the way you want is to create an estate plan. Not having an estate plan can similarly cost your heirs time and money in unwanted court battles and fees. Contact your attorney to make sure your estate plan is in place and up to date. “Prince was a major star and a cultural influencer, but he was a human being,” Kenneth J. Abdo, an entertainment lawyer in Minneapolis, told the New York Times. “It comes down to taking care of business. If you don’t take care of it, you’re leaving a mess to the family or the courts.”

For more information about estate planning, call Jeffrey Hall, Esq. at 925230-9002 for a free 30-minute phone consultation or visit his website at

Lending a Helping Hand 2300 Agents Traveled Across the Country to Offer Assistance It’s not all about selling houses with Keller Williams Realty. A group of agents from Keller Williams Realty put need ahead of profits and headed to Texas to provide aid for those who had flood damage in Houston and prepare essentials for both Texas and hurricane Irma Florida victims. Keller Williams CEO used the cancelled MEGA Camp Conference, to be held in Austin Texas, to springboard efforts to a massive MEGA Relief event instead. Over 2,300 Keller Williams agents from across the country reached out with their hands and hearts as they provided relief to disaster victims. It was an incredible experience to be in people’s homes demucking and stripping everything out, including furniture, personal belongings, sheet rock, insulation, and more. This was necessary so the victims could begin rebuilding their lives and recover as best as possible. This group of Mega Relief agents also went to various disaster relief centers and sorted through donated clothes, blankets, food, and supplies and prepared care kits for both Texas and Florida. It was incredibly profound to bring help, love, and support in the greatest way pos- Deborah Zacharatos-Reeg was one of more than two thousand Keller Williams agents who traveled to Houssible all the way from California. ton to assist with hurricane clean-up efforts.

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Clayton Pioneer â&#x20AC;¢

October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Fall is the Ideal Time to Plant This Season Isn’t Just for Pumpkins Fall is in full effect! In the midst of pumpkin-spiced everything, cooler weather, and the shedding of leaves, it’s easy to forget that autumn is one of the best times of year to establish plants in your garden or yard. Whether you let your grass die over summer or want to spruce up garden beds, the cooler weather and promise of pending rain gives new plants a much better shot at successful sustenance. Many people think spring is the best time of year to plant. This is the case for some varieties, but for the majority of California natives and drought tolerant plants, the moister soils of fall allow roots to establish and grow. Take advantage of the small timeframe that fall lends because soggy winter soils are not ideal for fresh plantings. While roots will take hold in fall, there won’t be much action above the ground, but come spring your plants will display their full gratitude. Planting in the fall is also beneficial for gardeners. You will have to water less frequently as opposed to spring plantings. The softer soil is also much easier to dig in and pull weeds from, saving your back from pain and consuming less of your time. Take advantage of this wonderful time of year by stocking up on water-wise plants at

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the Ruth Bancroft Garden’s Nursery. Staff will help you select plants that will work great with your landscape and thrive throughout the fall and seasons to come.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery is located at 1552 Bancroft Rd. in Walnut Creek.

August Home Statistics Source:


• 230 Riverside Pl., Bay Point $390,000

3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, approx. 1528 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

• 784 Barton Way, Benicia

$619,000 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, approx. 1900 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Rula Masannat

• 1235 Kenwal Rd., Concord

$370,000 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, approx. 780 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Rula Masannat


• 440 Powell Dr., Bay Point


3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, approx. 1426 sq. ft.

• 2562 Walnut Blvd. #79, Walnut Creek

2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, approx. 889 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Matt Mazzei


Listing agent: Rula Masannat

• 1901 Meredith Ct., Concord


3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, approx. 1548 sq. ft.

Listing agent: Matt Mazzei


• O’Hara Ave. vacant land, Brentwood 14.25 acres, Sub-Dividable

Call for details

Listing agent: Matt Mazzei

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)

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Clayton Pioneer •

Honor your special veteran Pioneer Clayton & Concord Veterans Day, Nov. 11 is set aside to honor those who are serving or have served to defend and protect our freedoms.

With our deepest gratitude for your honorable service.

The trick to making color work is to find colors that match or coordinate

in the

Cpl. Victor Thole

US Marine Corps. Served in the South Pacific January 1942-June 1946

Honor a special veteran with a personal 50 word greeting and photo (or request to use a flag)


for one run (either Concord Pioneer or Clayton Pioneer)

$ $


for two runs, once in each paper

Send text and photo with contact information to Concord Pioneer - Oct. 27 (deadline Oct. 18) Clayton Pioneer - Nov. 10 (deadline Nov. 1) We will contact you for payment information.

JenniFer leiSCHer


Our pink flip flops and blue cutoffs have been thoughtfully stored away until the long summer days return. Now cozy wool sweaters and leather boots, who have been waiting patiently in storage baskets, get to come out and play in the crunchy leaves that seem to have made piles on front lawns overnight. Fall has returned, and with it come the many autumn traditions we love to celebrate year after year: pumpkins, gourds and dried corn on the cob; pumpkin spiced coffee drinks, savory pies and cakes; and friendly ghosts and ghouls. It’s a perfect time to play with color, texture and pattern, turning your home into a cozy landscape of loveliness. Out with the sun-shiny colors of summer and in with the deep, earth tone hues that invite you inside for a cup of toasty apple cider, a savory slice of pumpkin bread or an aromatic glass of Cabernet. Some homes are very colorspecific, from classic, traditional color palettes to more trendy, statement colors. Some are shades of white, while others have shades of gray or darker. The trick is knowing how to festively and temporarily introduce fall colors without things looking

Nancy E. Bennett 1629 Chestnut Court – Concord




4 bed/2 bath 1270 sq.ft. Concord home. This beauty has a fully renovated kitchen with quartz counters, tile backsplash, new appliances and lots of cabinet space in an open kitchen. Freshly painted inside and out with updated lighting, new carpet, tile and laminate floors.

Offered at $600,000

999 Bridgecrossing Way – Concord




515 Sitka Court – Walnut Creek

Offered at $400,000



Gorgeous 4 bed/2 bath 2206 sq. ft. Woodlands home complete with newly renovated kitchen and family room. Freshly painted interior with custom maple cabinetry, granite counters and new flooring throughout. Schools include Northgate High and Foothill Middle School.

Offered at $1,068,000

4491 Deerberry Court – Concord




Beautifully updated 4 bed/2.5 bath 1841 sq.ft. Crossings home with renovated kitchen complete with custom cabinets, corian counters and subway tile backsplash. Fresh interior paint, newer laminate flooring and crown molding throughout. Home features living room with fireplace and vaulted ceiling, formal dining and family room. Front and back yards feature mature landscaping and custom pavers. Perfect for outdoor entertaining!

Offered at $755,000

Nancy Bennett, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty CEO, The Bennett Team #1 Agent in Concord #1 Team, Keller Williams East Bay #5 Team Nationally (U.S. & Canada) Keller Williams

Contributed photo

Say goodbye to the breezy colors of summer and create a richer, cozier look with deep colors and textures.

temporary and festive. The key is to find colors that either perfectly coordinate, or even match exactly, with existing colors or find a hip, stark contrast. Think of a living room with light gray walls, dark gray sofa, and ivory wool shag area rug, with hints of chrome here and there. To incorporate fall into this chic and quiet space, consider jewel tones. Perhaps a dark, almost wine-colored, purple or a rich mustard color. Maybe even an indigo blue or deep forest green. And of course, there’s always white. Funny enough, there is a difference between a spring/summer white and a fall/winter white. Most times, it has to do with fabric selection, texture and pattern. A spring/summer white is more of a cotton and linen look, while a fall/winter white is a more of a wool and velvet look. A neutral color palette paired with rich jewel tones may sound easy, but other living rooms may be more of a color challenge. Think about pairing with things

that are colorful already: a red sofa, a multicolored, floral area rug, wheat-colored walls, a brown plaid lounge chair, a blue striped lounge chair … the list and colors go on. To add fall touches, consider solid colors with unique textures and sizes, interesting glass bowls, baubles, urns or plant containers and eclectic accessories. Sometimes the best designs are those that are eclectic and free – items that look amazing together but were randomly collected. If you can’t seem to find any rhyme or reason to your existing colors, maybe the best direction to head is one where your fall accessories are just as unique as the day to day setting you’ve already created. Regardless of this accessory or that, the goal should always be a design aesthetic that makes you, your family and friends happy and content. Leischer is the owner of J. Designs Interior Design based in Clayton. Contact her with questions, comments and suggestions at

Nancy sells more than 8 times as many homes as the average realtor. Call today to learn how.



This bright and sunny 2 bed/2 bath 916 sq.ft. standalone condo is move-in ready! Located on the corner of a quiet complex, this home is its own separate structure with no common wall. Beautifully renovated kitchen with garden window features quartz counters, stainless steel appliances and plenty of cabinet space. Freshly painted inside and out with updated lighting, beautiful hardwood floors and gas fireplace. This is a real must see!

CalBRE #01399870

October 13, 2017


Call today to be the first to see.


5 bed/3 bath 2538 sq.ft. Charming Turtlecreek 2 story home. Freshly painted with new flooring and updated kitchen. Big backyard with large side yard and pool.


4 bed/2 bath 1709 sq.ft. Single story Turtlecreek home with hardwood floors, vaulted ceitings and spacious backyard.


4 bed/2 bath 1576 sq.ft. Freshly painted bright and sunny single story home with cozy fireplace and big backyard with an outside pool and deck. Also equipped with an electrical car outlet.


6 bed/3.5 bath 3061 sq.ft. gorgeous Lafayette home with vaulted wood beam ceilings. Spacious bedrooms and large dining area.

Last year we helped more than 100 families buy & sell homes.

How can we help you and your family today?


OCT 13 Clayton Pioneer 2017  

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