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IT’S YOUR PAPER September 8, 2017


Heat cancels last week’s concert as 10th season nears the end BEV BRITTON Clayton Pioneer



New city engineer has key experience The City Council is pleased to announce the hiring of a new contract city engineer. Scott D. Alman, P.E., is the director of engineering services with the engineering firm of Harris & Associates, which has an office in Concord. The council approved Alman’s appointment and contract at a noticed special meeting on Aug. 14, and it’s effective immediately. For more than 30 years, Alman has helped ensure that civil engineering projects translate into improved living conditions for communities across A.J. Chippero California. He has served as The summer concert series has become a favorite of music lovers around the Bay Area, many who follow their city engineer for numerous favorite artist from venue to venue. Pictured above, Diamond Dave Hosley, a local entertainer with a large folSee Mayor, page 7 lowing, leads the audience in a rambunctious “Y.m.C.A.” at the July 8 concert.

Blistering heat and air thick with smoke from California wildfires forced the cancellation of The Fundamentals concert last Saturday. But there’s still one more concert left in the season. Crowd favorite East Bay Mudd will close out the 10th Annual Concerts in The Grove, Saturday, Sept. 16, 68:30 p.m. It seems every year the crowds get bigger and the bands get better. At the Aug. 19 concert, high-energy dance band, Busta Groove packed the park elbow to elbow, possibly setting a record for both attendance and enthusiasm. Even those in lawn chairs got into the groove – shoulders bopping and arms swaying – as Busta Groove performed “I Will Survive.” Dancers were everywhere, including moms in sundresses swinging with their kids.

See Concert, page 11

Possible hope for abandoned Bella Cerra ranch

Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer

Named Bella Cerra by its builder, the Tudor-style ranch has been vacant for seven years due to litigation arising out of original owner Victor Weber’s 2010 conviction for fraud.

Weber and his horses. Weber bought the property at the corner of RusselThere it sits, abandoned mann Rd. and Marsh Creek and empty—that ghostly, boarded up faux Tudor mansion on Marsh Creek Rd. just outside the city limits. Who owns it? And why on earth would they leave it to decay and rot for over seven years, home only to rats and graffiti-obsessed squatters? At one time, the six-acre ranch was home to Victor TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

in March of 2001. A mortgage of $999,000 was recorded in July of that year. He built the 5,700 square foot

house and 10-stall barn in 2002. In 2010, Weber, a shyster insurance agent was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors to the tune of $800,000. Weber sold life insurance to third party investors when the insured no longer needed the policy. For example, a parent outlives his kids and no longer needs the policy. The investor takes over the payments and eventually receives the payout when the insured dies. Problem was—Weber never bought the policies. He pocked the investors’ money and spent it on personal and business expenses. When the law caught up to him, Weber was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison. When he went to jail in 2011, the lender took posses-

sion of Bella Cerra—Weber’s name for the ranch, and listed it with real estate agent John Fink for $1,495,000. That was then. This is now. Loaded down with liens and litigation arising out of Weber’s conviction, the prop-

erty has been unsellable. And after seven years, the house, 7-car garage and barns are completely trashed inside and out. The buildings have been stripped of anything that

See Ranch, pg 3

We Remember

Roll out the barrel and tap the keg, here comes Oktoberfest

What’s Inside

Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Community Calendar . . . . .13 Directory of Advertisers . . . .7 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 School News . . . . . . . . . . .15 Postal Customer ECRWSS

Dance the polka to the music of The Internationals all weekend at CBCA’s Oktoberfest Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

CBCA’s celebration of all things German is back for another year. The annual Oktoberfest takes over Main Street in downtown Clayton from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1. There is no admission charge to attend. The Internationals, the biggest little German band in the West, will be onstage in the main tent. Outside, are the food court with Wiener schnitzel, sausages, German pretzels and sauerkraut and the traditional Biergarten with

See Oktoberfest, pg 3

Every year since 2002, the firefighters of Station 11 have set 343 small flags in the grass in front of the station to remember each of the firefighters and law enforcement officers lost in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The flags will be up through the 9/11weekend. The public is encouraged to visit the memorial and spend a few minutes in gratitude for the 343 firefighters who lost their lives that day.


Around Town

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 8, 2017

Clayton resident takes first place with Audi RS

Nayeem Qureshi shows off his 2014 Audi R8 at Legends of the Autobahn in monterey.

Longtime Clayton resident Nayeem Qureshi’s 2014 Audi R8 beat out all the other cars in his class at the Concours at Legends of the Autobahn in

Monterey last month. His car was in the Audi sports class, which consists of Audi’s high-performance race and track cars. There were

Unlike many people around the world in 2017, Clayton Valley High School grad Sam Ray figures to have many fond memories of this year. During the spring the Clayton native was honored by the San Diego Padres as their 2016 Scout of the Year for his work as the Northern California area scout. The Padres amateur scouting department has about 25 members and their farm system was recently rated ninth among the 30 Major League Baseball teams. Ray has been with San Diego for six years. He began his professional

baseball scouting career with the Boston Red Sox, where he spent three years right after his 2007 graduation from UCLA. Recently, Ray was promoted to the position of coordinator of amateur scouting for the Padres. The promotion means he will be packing up at the end of the year and moving south. The former CVHS football and baseball standout won’t be doing that alone however. He will marry fiancée Ashley Puskar Nov. 4. Ray credits her with “always pushing me to realize my baseball dreams.”

many beautiful and well-maintained cars, including currentyear models and even a 2018 Audi TTRS with less than 600 miles. The judges were impressed with how pristine Qureshi’s car was for being a daily driver with more than 22,000 miles. “Ultimately, it is the timeless design of the R8, pride in ownership and the love and care with which the car is cared for that helped me bring home the first place trophy for a second time,” Qureshi said. Held at the Nicklaus Club, the Legends of the Autobahn show features German automobiles. It began as a BMW Car Club of America event and grew to include all German cars. It formerly showed Porsches also, but a separate event, the Porsche Werks

Reunion, was established in 2014. Qureshi’s Audi R8 5.2L FSI V10 features Audi’s Suzuka grey matte metallic paint, carbon ceramic brakes and a diamond-stitched nappa leather interior. The car enthusiast cofounded Quattro Crew in early 2016 with the idea of building a community around a shared passion for Audis. The club has 623 members and has

grown beyond the Audi brand to include Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Aston Martin and others. Quattro Crew focuses on raising money for charities, family-oriented social activities, promoting women in motorsports and group drives.

Visit for more on Quattro Crew or email Qureshi at

KinderCare kids help out

Clayton’s Sam Ray has busy year-end with baseball job promotion, wedding


Helping friends, neighbors and newcomers buy and sell since 1979

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Preschool and kindergarten students from Clayton’s KinderCare wanted to do something to help others. So they collected pencils, tablets and other school supplies to fill backpacks for the Clayton Business and Community Association’s VESTIA program. The children delivered their donations to the CBCA office on Center Street.

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Coming Soon

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Oh Tannenbaum, Poor Tannenbaum

Spider mites may be pulling the switch on the town’s Christmas tree this year instead of the mayor. The destructive little bugs attacked the tree earlier this summer turning the needles brown and threatening its life. Hope for the tree rests with a chemical infusion administered by arborists in early July. “It’s showing signs of coming back,” said maintenance supervisor Mark Janney with measured optimism. “If you walk around the backside, there’s quite a bit of green coming through.” If the tree doesn’t survive, Janney says the city will replace it with a tree of comparable size.

What’s happening Around Town?

Send your news of births, engagements, weddings, special recognitions, parties, travels etc. to

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Alyssa Citero wins third World Championship September 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Alyssa Citero grew up as the daughter of a former Concord Blue Devils color guard member but mom Teresa Saunders didn’t see any interest from Alyssa to follow in her footsteps. That is until they attended the 2007 Blue Devils Family Day where Alyssa told her mom that she wanted to join the Corps. Alyssa began with the C Corps that year and competed with them for five years until she moved up to the Blue Devils B Corps from 20022014 and has been on the A Corps for the past three seasons. The Carondelet High 2015 grad has now won three world championships in the past four years. Now in her junior year at Riverside City College, Citero has been in a “very surreal” state since the Blue Devils were crowned DCI World

Champions for the 18th time last month before a record crowd of 23,342 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. “There is nothing in comparison to what the Blue Devils mean to me. It has shaped me into the extremely hardworking person I would consider myself today in every single aspect of my life,” she said. “After an undefeated season, something I imagined near impossible to accomplish, the Blue Devils meet the impossible to make it possible with hard work, grace and one goal for all 150 people. There is no other activity or place in the world that could make my heart as happy as the Blue Devils.” At Carondelet she sang in the choir all four years and ran varsity cross country and track for three years. She also did a lot of community service through the school. In the Blue Devils B Corps she was part of the 2014

could move – light fixtures, switch plates, wiring, appliances, doors, cabinets, moldings are all stolen, wrecked or broken. And everything that has a surface has been fair game for the spray paintwielding vandals. Gang tags, phone numbers, four-letter words and unintelligible writings cover the walls and ceilings. Broken glass, trash, old mattresses, butts and discarded syringes litter the floors. According to Fink, there have been several parties interested in the property over its six years on the mar-

ket. “Fortunately, the interested parties have stayed interested,” Fink said. Fink says it’s unlikely the property will be sold as a residence. “Initially, the property wasn’t constructed very well,” Fink noted. “But, I’m not a contractor, so I can’t say if it’s salvageable or not.” Local realtor, Pete Laurence recalls that there was standing water under the house at one time. Fink is optimistic that the legal issues holding up any Tamara Steiner/Clayton Pioneer potential sale may be resolved Graffiti, broken glass and trash litter the once grand family by the end of the year. room in the abandoned ranch house.

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Photo courtesy Teresa Saunders

Carondelet grad Alyssa Citero (left) was able to celebrate her third world championship with the Concord Blue Devils color guard last month in Indianapolis with her mother Teresa Jones Saunders, who was in the Blue Devils from 1987-89. Citero has progressed through the Blue Devils C, B and A Corps since she joined in 2007.

Ranch, from page 1

Oktoberfest, from page 1

German bier and premium wines and cider. The carnival opens at 6 p.m. on Friday before Oktoberfest. Tickets for the carnival rides will be presold, beginning Sept. 14, at Ed’s Mudville Grill, Hair’s the Place, Skipolini’s Pizza and The Royal Rooster, at $10 for 20 tickets. At the event, tickets will be $20 for 24 tickets.

Oktoberfest is sponsored by the Clayton Business and Community Association. Along with the Art & Wine Festival, Oktoberfest is CBCA’s major fundraiser. Proceeds from CBCA fundraisers go to support local community projects. For information on volunteering at the Oktoberfest event go to







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Dana Estates — Lovely 3bd/2ba rancher on almost ¼ of a beautifully landscaped acre with spacious, lightfilled studio and storage in back. The home has updated kitchen, baths, floors & windows with access to the expansive lawn from almost every room. No garage, but room for one and a huge, solid storage shed. Must see to appreciate! Inge Yarborough (925) 766-6896 Cal BRE# 01309306



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El Rancho Diablo — This property is loaded with potential. Single story 4 bedroom, 2 bath home with office. Great floor plan for privacy with master on opposite side of bedrooms. Approx 1884 square foot home in convenient location, near schools, easy freeway access and shopping.

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old sister Gabrielle Saunders wants to follow in her mom’s and big sister’s footsteps as she is now in the Blue Devils C Corps color guard. Adding a generational exclamation point this year was the induction of Blue Devils color guard instructor TJ Doucette in the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame during World Championship week in Indianapolis. Doucette was mom Teresa’s instructor in the late 1980s and has been Citero’s for three years so far. “This has made my relationship with TJ something special that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Having TJ as a mentor is being taught by the best of the best and she does everything and then some to make me a better person than the day before. She is absolutely amazing and induction into the DCI Hall of Fame is incredibly well deserved,” Citero adds.





World Open Class World Champions when the A Corps were World Class winners as well. Then in her rookie year with the A Corps in 2015 they were World Class champions, something they accomplished this year with an undefeated season. Citero is one of only three current Blue Devils who advanced from the C to the A Corps. As a 20-year-old she has one year left before she ages out at 21. “There is nothing more I am in love with than marching my ageout season with the Blue Devils in the upcoming year.” Her mom Teresa Jones Saunders was in the A Corps color guard in 1987-88 competing in the World Championship finals and finishing in the top four each year. Before joining the Blue Devils she was part of the Concord Shamrocks drill team and color guard for eight years. Now Alyssa’s seven-year-


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Dana Hills — Beautifully upgraded home offering 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Fresh interior and exterior paint, new gas cook top and hood, hardware, light fixtures, carpet and flooring in bathrooms. Large backyard with partial views of Mt Diablo, raised garden beds, and side yard access for boat/rv parking. A community pool and clubhouse are extra bonuses. Michelle Gittleman (925) 768-0352

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Morgan Territory — Fantastic property across from Mt Diablo State Park. Beautifully updated with great views. 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, bonus room and gourmet kitchen with Wolf stove, griddle and grill, double ovens and subzero refrigerator and wine fridge. 1.32 acre property with sparkling pool, spa, room for barn, patio and deck. Kelly McDougall (925) 787-0448

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Dana Hills — Stunning 4 bedroom, 2 bath home with breathtaking views of Mt Diablo from the backyard. Sparkling pool, spa, fruit trees and patio make the backyard perfect for entertaining. Approx 1,947 square foot with excellent lighting, plantation shutters and wood floors. Other features include formal dining, inside laundry and family room with fireplace



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Canyon Creek — Gorgeous, light filled home with custom travertine tile work throughout. Soaring ceilings, hardwood and tile flooring. Gourmet kitchen with 6 burner Viking stove, double oven and island. Marble fireplace in family room, inside laundry room and formal dining. Great location, across from park and tennis courts.

Assisting More Buyers & Sellers than Anyone Else* *Statistics based on Clayton/Concord and Contra Costa County Closed sales by volume (1/2014-12/31/2014). Data by Maxebrdi

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- Windermere Clayton!

Page 4

Clayton Pioneer •

September 8, 2017

Clayton agents, Wendy Moore and Christine Geddes-Sinclaire open new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties office Sponsored Content

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties, the fastest-growing, full-service real estate brokerage in Northern California and Nevada, is pleased to welcome Wendy Moore and Christine Geddes-Sinclaire, REALTORS® with the Estates by Wendy team, to its new Concord office located at 1494 Washington Blvd, Suite E. Wendy brings over 25 years experience in residential and commercial sales, land surveying, and international relocation services. She joins the company from Alain Pinel Realtors and has earned a host of honors and designations, including: Certified


Residential Specialist, Graduate Realtor Institute, Accredited Buyers Representative, Seniors Real Estate Specialist,

and Accredited Staging Professional. She leads the way in marketing and technology and is a top producer in the


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! Offered at $849,000

Leigh Klock, Senior Real Estate Specialist Accredited Staging Professional CalBRE# 01874255

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helped over 225 families buy and sell homes throughout Contra Costa County. Christine is a Five Star Professional Award recipient and is a service-driven leader. “I am committed to enriching the lives of my clients through superior service with exceptional results,” said Christine. Personally, Christine enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids. They enjoy camping, outdoor adventures, going to the movies and any sporting

event. “I’m proud to welcome Wendy and Christine to our team. They are extraordinary agents who exemplify integrity, intelligence and profound skill in helping their clients succeed,” stated Jerry Kidd, Sales Manager.

Wendy Moore can be reached at 925.570.5187 (Cell) and email at Christine Geddes-Sinclaire can be reached at 925.286.7593 or email at

CVHS alum Daniel Zacapa in his prime with acting career going better than ever JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

700 Kelly Ave., Martinez


ing over askle ip lt u m offers

industry. “I believe in lifelong relationships. My main goal is to provide my clients with a level of service beyond their expectations,” said Wendy. Personally, Wendy enjoys camping, skiing, interior design, community involvement and spending time with her family. Christine Geddes-Sinclaire grew up in Concord and Clayton and earned her real estate license in 2002. She joined the Estates by Wendy team in 2013 and has

Coming Soon

Oakhurst Home. Call for details.

When 10-year-old Daniel Zacapa was at Woodside Elementary School he attended a parent teacher conference with his folks. The school counselor suggested that he do a skit for the school. He put together a little melodrama in the cafeteria that included seven hat changes and earned him cheers and laughter from parents and students alike. “That’s the first time I knew what I really wanted to do,” the 66-year-old Zacapa says. If a reader can’t place Zacapa from Woodside, Oak Grove and El Dorado middle schools or Clayton Valley High School that’s because he was born and raised as Gary Pearson, CVHS class of 1969. Since the mid-1990s he’s used his stage name Daniel Zacapa (Daniel for his favorite TV show “Daniel Boone” and Zacapa his mother’s maiden Photo courtesy Daniel zacapa name). The veteran character actor has never been busier Clayton Valley High School Class of 1969 graduate Gary with jobs coming to him with- Pearson (yearbook photo below) eventually changed his stage name to Daniel zacapa (shown above on set of “24: out the need to audition. CHICAGO FIRE ROLE On Sept. 28, he returns for his second season on NBC’s “Chicago Fire” in the recurring role of Ramon Dawson, father of paramedic Gabby (Monica Raymund). During his high school years, he spent a couple summers painting houses with classmate Tom White. At Clayton Valley, he performed in a number of student productions including “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Charley’s Aunt.” When he was 17 he went with another buddy, Frank DiTullio, to Bakersfield loading heavy bags of potatoes all day. Those jobs reinforced his dream of acting for a living. He attended San Francisco State “for a millisecond” after Clayton Valley, went to New York to study acting and backpacked through Europe. When he returned to the Bay Area he performed in Berkeley Stage Company and Kensington Players productions. And, to pay the bills, he painted houses! He got a recurring role as a reporter in 15 “Hill Street Blues” episodes, which kickstarted his TV career. Over the past four decades there’s hardly a TV drama series you can think of that he hasn’t appeared in. He also showed his comedy chops with parts in a couple “Seinfeld” episodes. He’s been in over three dozen movies, performing with Morgan Freeman, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (“I’d say the best experience I had in film”), Ed Harris, John Travolta, Brad Pitt (twice), Robert Redford and Drew Barrymore. As is the case with many

Legacy”). He is now one of the busiest character actors in TV and films.

character actors, his name may not ring a bell but just take a look at his photo here and you know you’ve seen him in many films and TV shows. All of that experience and success didn’t ensure Zacapa a smooth journey in life. “When I first moved to Los Angeles and throughout the ‘80s cocaine use was part of the Hollywood culture.” Zacapa always remained active in the industry. “I never stopped working. I maintained the 24hour rule,” which meant he’d abstain from use a day before auditions and key filming days. His mother, “who was my biggest fan” (school teaching was her passion and she encouraged Daniel and his four younger siblings “to follow our own path”), died about four years ago. That eventually proved the turning point for Zacapa, who still struggled with substance abuse. He went to his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Pacific Palisades “with my tail between my legs.” At the meeting was an Academy Award winning actor. “He came up to me after the meeting, gave me his phone number and said, ‘get out of your own head.’” On Oct. 27, Zacapa will celebrate four years sober. “[AA] changed my life. I’m on an amazing journey. I’m so blessed and humbled for this thriving chapter of my life.” He’s so busy now he has to choose between plum acting roles (“Madame Secretary” or “24 Legacy”). Even though he’s spent the majority of his adult life in

Southern California, Zacapa is still a rabid San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors fan. “I used to take the Greyhound bus by myself to Candlestick Park when I was barely a teenager.” He then rattled off the Giants 1962 World Series lineup and proudly said that he never became a Dodgers or Lakers fan. At the end of the interview, he said he had to get ready for a flight to Chicago to film more Chicago Fire episodes. But not before he told one more story. “As a kid, I thought I wanted to grow up to be a baseball player, fireman, policeman, actor or Greyhound bus driver. Now, I’ve been all those things, expect the bus driver.” When he turns 70 in a few years he wants to check off “my biggest dream yet unfulfilled” by playing Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” at A.C.T. in San Francisco and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. But what about the bus driver role?

September 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Club News

Page 5

Orangetheory understands the right level for each workout Sponsored Content


CVWC Fall Fundraiser set for Oct 21

Clayton Boy Scout Troop 262 members Charlie Pesmark, Andre Buckman and Garrett McGee completed a 65-mile backpacking trip in August that culminated on Mount Whitney. They are holding the troop’s neckerchief as a nod to the hikers who summit and leave flags at Mount Everest. The scouts earned their 50 Miler patch with the 10 service hours they completed along with the backpacking trip.

Creekside Artists Guild

Photo courtesy of Laurie Roldan

Save the date for the Clayton Valley Woman’s Club Fall Fundraiser from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Diamond Terrace in Clayton. Laurie and Dan Roldan will sing timeless Broadway and best-loved standards while guests enjoy wine, appetizers and desserts. Laurie is a professional singer, a loving wife and a devoted mother of three with great love of song. Laurie’s award-winning performances, combined with her passion for helping the community, earned her a noted reputation in the East Bay. Proceeds from the fundraiser go to selected community charities and a scholarship. Diamond Terrace is at 6401 Center St., Clayton. $25. Reservations are limited; call Aleta at (925) 672-9448.

Join the Creekside Artists Guild for their first Artists Trading Card Workshop at the monthly meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sept.13 in the Clayton Library Story Room. This latest creative collectors’ trend is a fun activity that is suitable for everyone. Make a mini creation and paint, draw, doodle or even paste a photo on 2.5” x 3.5” cards for a wonderful collection to swap For more information about the or keep. Free and open to the public. The library is at 6125 ClayClayton Valley Woman’s Club, go ton Road. For more information, contact Renaye Johnson to at or (925) 286-0716.

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workout burns an estimated 500-1,000 calories. “I’ve never worked harder than I do in an Orangetheory workout,” says member Micki W. “The coaches are amazing because they push me to new levels I never thought I could achieve.” Orangetheory Fitness is more than just a workout, it’s a community that pushes you each day to give it your all. Orangetheory is at 5100 Clayton Road, Concord. See ad this page for more information. Visit

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Page 6

Clayton Pioneer •

September 8, 2017

Fire District audit finds $6M windfall

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that the beginning general fund balance did not agree with the internally prepared budgets. East County Fire has been cash strapped for years and has been forced to close all but three of its nine stations. Three separate appeals to voters to increase taxes have failed. The rural areas in Marsh Creek and Morgan Territory are part of the ECCFPD, which contracts with CalFire to operate the Sunshine Fire Station on Marsh Creek Rd. from November to May. During the fire season May through November, CalFire covers the cost of operating the station. Assemblyman Joe Frazier

(D-Discovery Bay) has been working on legislation to identify additional funding sources for the District. “How did the District not know it had $6.2 million in surplus funds - especially when it had repeatedly asked residents to increase their taxes to pay for improved fire service?” he asked in a prepared statement. The flailing District has been understaffed and overworked for years, Interim Fire Chief Brian Helmick explained in a memo to the Board of Directors. “There was no single point of failure responsible for the error.” The savings accumulated over four years as stations closed

earlier than planned and staffing was reduced. These savings were not reflected in the internal statements used by the previous chief for budgeting purposes. The newly-discovered money is a one-time only windfall, cautions Helmick. It does nothing to address the long-term sustainability of the District. Frazier has suspended his efforts to find funding for the District. “I will remain open to helping ECCFPD any way I am able once we know more about what this audit found, and what future mandated audits may find, in order to evaluate and reassess the district’s financial situation.”

ting a crime. Officers are sworn to serve and protect, and they interact with individuals who unfortunately took a different path in life and have a different agenda. On May 13, a citizen advised of a suspicious subject looking into vehicles and then driving away in what was later determined to be a stolen vehicle. Officers performing their duty attempted a traffic stop of the suspected vehicle, but the subject ran through a red light and traveled at a high rate of speed to evade arrest. Despite emergency lights and sirens, the suspect failed to pull over. The Clayton officers determined that the suspect’s driving was becoming too dangerous, so they reduced their speed and pursuit of the suspect vehicle. Due to the wanton disregard to the safety of others and the goal of evading the officers, the suspect crashed her vehicle into a tree – killing the passenger. The entire incident is tragic. The driver is in custody and awaits trial for numerous felony crimes, including murder.

I appreciate the performance of my officers. Even though incidents such as these are rare, the officers performed to the best of their abilities to continue to keep the residents of Clayton safe. I would like to add that Sept. 11 is coming, so please take the time to remember

those who have given their live to protect others and those who continue to serve our country.

Today, there are several devices that act as a “computer” under the general definition of the term. There are so many computers in the world that the general definition isn’t specific enough to help you make a buying decision. According to Wikipedia, “A computer is a general-purpose device that can be programmed WILL CLANeY to carry out a set of arithmetic TECH TALK or logical operations automatically. Since a sequence of operaSeems simple enough. A tions can be readily changed, the slide-rule, abacus and adding computer can solve more than machine are all computers, howone kind of problem.” ever, not the ones that come to mind in the 21st century. Now we see tablets, smartphones and laptops all touted to be computers. Well, they are, but so were WWII math Rosies – the women recruited in a secret U.S. military program to work as “computers,” calculating weapons trajectories. While the Rosies were great at calculating trajectories for weapons, a person buying a computer today expects certain abilities, performance and flexibilities. For those disappointed when they find out the device they just purchased is as specialized as a round slide-rule, I have some advice. First, and foremost, the computer needs a brain and that’s an Intel CPU. If you want half a brain, get the AMD variA Name to Remember in a Time of Need ety. Second, it needs memory – Dignified Professional Services Michael Nicosia, Managing Partner at least 4 gigabytes. Four GB is John & Sharon Ouimet • Don & Bea Ouimet Complete Funeral Services enough for the average user, but Cremation & Memorialization Services nowhere near enough for a busiWorldwide Shipping Arrangements 925.682.4242 • fax 925.682.4281 ness user and not even a starter Pre-Need Planning for a server. 4125 Clayton Road, Concord, CA 94521 OUIMETBROTHERS.COM Third, it needs long-term

storage for documents, files, photos, music, games, correspondence, email, etc. No, not a “banker’s box” but an average hard drive or solid state drive. To claim that a product is a “computer” with 32GB of main storage is a bad joke. For example, let’s say I have 10 filing cabinets full of data. You offer me two banker boxes for storage. Well, it’s just not enough. The minimum for an average user is 250-500GB. The 250GB is good if it’s a solid state drive (SSD) and 500 if it’s a hard disk drive (HDD). Please quit buying Seagate drives. They fail, fail, fail. Ask the salesperson what’s inside the box. If they mumble or give the old shuck and jive, walk away. Better yet, ask them to open it and show you. Fourth, you need an operating system that accepts programs and apps, like Windows, Linux, UNIX or Apple OS. Get something real, not some goofynamed piece of wannabe software like Cupcake. Lastly, consider if the computer you’re considering purchasing can be upgraded. Major manufacturers save $2 if they don’t put in expansion slots for upgrades. If they sell a million computers, the suit who suggested eliminating the expansion slot gets a big fat bonus. It’s important if you consider what your time is worth. Buy the wrong device and you’ll have to do it over. I like Jack Bergman’s saw: “There’s never time to do it right, but always (enough) time to do it over.” Besides, doing it right actual-

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TAMARA STEINER Clayton Pioneer

A long-delayed audit of East Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s 2014-15 financial statements has uncovered $6.2 million surplus that was not included in the internal statements used for budgeting. The funds, which were sitting in county bank accounts, should have been transferred to the District in 2015 when it contracted with the city of Brentwood to provide accounting services. ECCFPD Director Joe Young discovered the error as he was reviewing a draft of the audited statements and noted

School lesson No. 1: Drive safely CHRIS WeNzeL




With school in session, we have seen increased traffic around the campuses. Please pay greater attention when driving around schools and plan accordingly so that you are not rushed. Patrol officers will be out around the schools during drop-off and pick-up times to help educate the public regarding driver safety. Meanwhile, you may have heard about a coroner inquest involving two Clayton police officers. Although Clayton is one of the safest cities in the state, we still have individuals who come into the city with the main purpose of commit-

Chris Wenzel is Chief of Police of Clayton. Send questions and comments to or call (925) 673-7350

A month of repairs on Marsh Creek Road The Contra Costa County Public Works Department is performing road repairs on Marsh Creek Road through Oct. 5. This work will take place on Marsh Creek Road from Deer Valley Road to the Clayton city limits, 8:30 a.m.4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The job includes shaping slopes, repairing shoulders and shoring up erosion along

the edge of the road. Work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. Traffic control will be on-site through the work area. Drivers can expect 10-15 minute delays. These are much-needed repairs for the safety of our traveling public, and we look forward to their completion.

Strategies for buying a new computer

ly saves time and money. Now, go buy a real computer.

The Chromebook 32GB fails review for computers costing less than $200.

The Thinkpad PNG earns a minimum standard review for those less than $400.

The Lenovo Better i3 PNG gets an average review for computers less than $600.

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

September 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

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

TAMARA AND R OBERT S TEINER , Publishers TAMARA S TEINER , Editor P ETE C RUZ , Graphic Design B EV B RITTON , Copy Editor J AY B EDECARRÉ, Sports 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.

Please let our advertisers know you saw them in the Clayton Pioneer In Loving Memory

Weston Tanner

July 22, 1992–Sept. 27, 2013

“...and she loved a little boy very, very much – Even more than she loved herself. She calls him son.” Psalm 34:17-18

Wes, we love & miss you so much. Love You to the Moon & Back, Mom

Frank Thome

Frank Thome, 73, died on Aug. 18 at his Clayton home with his wife and daughter by his side. After five years battling cancer, he maintained a positive attitude that kept him independent until the end. Born in Tiffin, Ohio, he looked forward to visiting family there every summer. Frank and Marcia met at age 15 and married after his U.S. Army service. They raised two wonderful kids, Melinda and Derek. They moved to California in 1969 and he began work at PG&E, where he enjoyed his job and co-workers and retired after 41 years. Frank also coached baseball with Continental Little League, traveled, played golf, fostered kittens, played poker with the guys and did many home improvement projects. He will be missed by his wife of 53 years Marcia; daughter Melinda, son-in-law Steven and grandson Jaiden;

Page 7

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sister Nancy and brother Ger (Pat); Marcia’s sister Nancy (Mark) and many lifelong friends and neighbors. He was preceded in death by his son Derek He is fondly remembered for his warm hospitality, generosity and friendly smile. A gathering of family and friends will be held Sept. 24. Contact Marcia for details at 925-6722832 or

Mayor, from page 1

cities in California, including health records and old tax Los Gatos, East Palo Alto, information. Daly City and Half Moon Bay. Travis Credit Union will have experts on site to provide NET DENSITY ORDINANCE advice and resources for proINTRODUCED tecting personal information At the Aug. 1 meeting, the from identity thieves. City Council approved for This is yet another great introduction Ordinance No. example of the service provid476 designed to modify how ed to Clayton and surrounding the city defines gross acreage area by one of our valued comfor calculation of residential munity business partners. densities in land development proposals. The new local law, BART NEWS FOR COMMUTERS scheduled for adoption at the BART is 100 percent comSept. 19 meeting, will allow the city to preclude sensitive land mitted to transparency and comareas, such as creeks and highly munity-oriented policing as one sloped areas, from being used of the new initiatives by BART’s to determine the number of new police chief, Carlos Rojas. residential units that can be He has improved on the “crime placed on residential properties. log” emailed to about 300 peoAs one example of the ple, making it a public website community benefit of this city- that logs all crimes on the BART in real-time at initiated change, the developer- system proposed Silver Oak Estates This innovative technology project, located at the northern end of Lydia Lane, recently allows any user with an intersubmitted a revised prelimi- net connection to view crimes nary site plan to the city. It now where they occur, in context contains 32 single-family with other local incidents hapdetached homes with two pening in the cities surroundvehicular access points from ing stations. BART is following Oakhurst Drive. The main the lead of several large police egress/ingress is at Oakhurst departments in the Bay Area Drive and Yolanda Circle and a that already provide crime data right in/right out would be to, which located at the western edge of includes the police departthe property, about 850 feet ments in San Francisco, Oakfrom the main point of access. land, San Jose, Hayward, RichThe previous site plan mond and Berkeley. The webcalled for 59 units: seven sin- site is used by law enforcement gle-family detached homes agencies across the country to with the remaining 52 units provide local and updated being attached townhomes, crime data to constituents to with vehicular access to the raise awareness and encourage development from Lydia Lane. prevention. BART’s new budget dediThe new site plan has eliminated vehicular access to Lydia cates $671 million for system Lane by having two points of reinvestments that voters in access along Oakhurst Drive. Alameda, Contra Costa and Francisco counties While the plan is still sub- San ject to city staff review and approved in November. public meetings for comments Among the highlights: and input, the revised site plan • Acquisition of 775 new rail cars for the Fleet of the contains considerable less denFuture. sity due to the new ordinance. • Station modernization that FREE ON-SITE PAPER includes replacing escalators SHREDDING and installing canopies for Once again, Travis Credit station entrances along Union will be hosting its free Market Street in San Franon-site shredding event 10 cisco and upgrades to the a.m.-noon Saturday, Sept. 9., at Powell, 19th Street, Downthe Clayton branch, 5441 Claytown Berkeley, El Cerrito ton Road. del Norte and Concord staResidents are invited to tions. bring up to three boxes, or box • An Earthquake Safety Proequivalents, of personal and gram for the Transbay Tube business documents to be proseismic retrofit. fessionally shredded. • Adding four station cleanThis is a great opportunity ers to improve cleanliness at to properly and securely disthe Union City, Balboa Park pose of personal and financial and Concord stations. information you no longer want to keep. This includes old Send comments to the mayor at account statements, outdated

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Page 8

Clayton Pioneer •

September 8, 2017

Unusual 0-2 start to CVCHS football season JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

A month before this season started Clayton Valley Charter High School coach Tim Murphy assessed his team: “May take some games to get it where we want it to be but these guys will get better every week.” Murphy certainly hopes his prophecy comes to pass with the Ugly Eagles off to a 0-2 start following losses to Reed of Nevada 38-22 and Milani of Hawaii 49-30. Clayton Valley had not lost its first two games of a season since 2007 when they were 0-3. Since taking over in 2012 Murphy’s team have lost their opening game—usually against an outstanding Division I (now Open Division) team—five of six years. On the other hand, his Eagles have never lost a game in October and its only two losses in November were in playoff games. CVCHS travels back to Nevada this Friday to North Las Vegas, where they meet Canyon Springs in a rematch of a game last fall won 35-7 by the Eagles in Gonsalves Stadium. Clayton Valley concludes its preseason schedule the next two weeks facing Antioch’s two teams in Touchdown Against Cancer games. In both of its games this season CVCHS had an early 87 lead before giving up a slew of points to fall too far behind to rally for a victory. In the opener in Nevada,

Photo courtesy CVCHS football

If one play encapsulated the season opener in Nevada for Clayton Valley Charter football it was this one. Starting quarterback Kenny Gardner Jr. had been hurt and his backup Logan Sumter (14) was calling the signals. It looked like the play was setup with Brandon mello (77), Ben Acebo (36) and Dylan Chrisco (50) out in front to block as Sumter pitched the ball to makhi Gervais (21). Unfortunately, Gervais fumbled the ball in the end zone, it was recovered by Reed for a touchdown and Gervais was hurt on the play.

Last Friday in a sweltering Owen Owens Field it appeared De La Salle was headed to another loss against an out-ofstate team when the Spartans

trailed St. John’s of Washington, D.C. 31-14 late in the third quarter in a nationally-televised game. St. John’s, with numerous Division I prospects on their roster, totally controlled De La Salle, especially at the line of scrimmage, for the first two and half quarters. As DLS began its comeback the temperature was still hovering need 100 degrees and the St. John’s body clocks were well past midnight. Kairee Robinson had given the Spartans a boost with a 78yard TD burst early in the

quarter and George King then cut the deficit to 31-21 with a TD run. Quarterback Erich Storti, half of the two-headed Spartan junior quarterback tandem, engineered a pair of fourth quarter touchdown drives and capped each with a scoring run of his own, giving the home team its first lead at 35-31. With over nine minutes remaining DLS relied on the second-half turn around in its line play to grind out first downs and run down the clock. Eventually St. John’s had one last gasp with less than a

minute remaining but King got an interception to seal the win. The Spartans had opened the season with their 282nd consecutive win over Northern California teams with a 42-7 victory over Amador Valley. They host St. Francis (2-0) of Mountain View this Friday. On Sept. 16 they travel to Las Vegas for a touted game against Bishop Gorman, which has won the past couple mythical National Championships. Last Saturday the Gaels had their 55-game winning streak broken by No. 1 Mater Dei 3521 in Santa Ana.

semi-finals at the most prestigious soccer tournament in the Western United States. The Coach Richard Weismann’s local under 15 team lost to Diablo FC 2003 NPL boys eventual champions Star Acadteam reached the Surf Cup emy in the semis. Their only

other loss in San Diego was to the LA Galaxy San Diego Elite team 1-0. Diablo FC 00 girls are still No. 1 in US soccer rankings although they were lost on

penalty kicks in the Surf Cup U19 championship game to Washington’s top-ranked ISC Gunners after a 1-1 draw. Coach Zach Sullivan’s team had defeated Washington’s

Diablo FC 03 NPL includes, front row from left, elias Stimson, Cris Alfaro, marco Friio, Bryce Raizes, Jonathan Wence, Caden Crabtree; back row, Weiszmann, Gabe Perez, max Ramirez, Hari Stoyanov, Jack Nunn, Dani mendoza, Isaac morfin, Sebi Ramirez, Adrian Rodriguez and Jonathan montoya.

Diablo FC 07 Premier include, Aidan Cooper, Carlos Torres III, Tad Dresdow, enzo Valenzuela, matthew Rajecki, Hayden Hubbard, Dawson Weer, Brandon Hristov, Brett Van erp, eitan Romick, Ronan Rattigan and Josh Williams. Not pictured, Chris Arceta and Hamza Saeed.

third-ranked team Crossfire Premier ECNL, 3-0 in the semi-finals. The Diablo FC team was a finalist (2015) and semi-finalist (2016) in the past two years at Surf Cup. Sullivan’s Diablo FC 05 Pre-NPL girls drew with LA Galaxy South Bay among their U13 results while coach Scott Alexander’s U17 Diablo FC 01 NPL beat FC Dallas in bracket play. Overall, four Diablo FC boys teams competed at Surf Cup. Coach Brian Voltattorni’s Diablo FC 04 Premier were 31 in U14 and Diablo FC 05 Premier U13 boys were 2-1-1. Marquis White’s Diablo FC 9900 NPL were 3-1 at U19, losing only their opener 2-0 to Ciex Sports Academy from Panama, the eventual tournament winners. Those were the only goals the team gave up in four games. Diablo 07 Premier U11

boys won three tournament championships in three tries this summer. Their latest title came at the Davis Legacy Super Clasico summer Edition premier flight. Coached by Voltattorni, Arnol Arceta and Miguel Gonzales the team also won the Juventus Tournament of Champions in Redwood City and Santa Cruz Breakers Cup. Three of their four premier flight games in Davis were shutout victories plus a pivotal 3-2 win over host Davis Legacy in flight play. Diablo FC 03 Blue and Diablo FC NPL 01 boys teams each took third in the gold division at the Ballistic United Summer Classic. The 01 boys coached by White defeated Granite Bay Spartans in the third-place game. Daniel Rednic’s U15 Diablo FC 03 beat the host team 3-2 to win the third-place match at Ballistic.

Reed of Sparks scored 31 points in a row to lead 38-8 in the 4th quarter before the Eagles scored a pair of touchdowns to pull within 38-22. The 30-point deficit at 38-8 is the largest for CVCHS in the Murphy era, which includes a pair of games against De La Salle. Last Friday, the Eagles again had the early lead in the brutal heat that hit the area. Milani then stretched its advantage to 27-8 and 42-22 before prevailing 49-30, the most points allowed by CVCHS since 2011. In his pre-season analysis

Murphy said the team only had one returning starter on defense (three on offense) on a junior-laden team so the defensive stats may not be too much of a surprise to the coaching staff. Now they must hope Murphy’s expectations about constant improvement will also prove true. DE LA SALLE STAGES HISTORIC RALLY

Diablo FC teams excel at top summer tournaments JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Photos courtesy Diablo FC

September 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 9

He is a true student of running as well as a valuable member of the PSA.” White grew up playing soccer and basketball and has always enjoyed running. He says that “[running] brings a challenge...a lot of people don’t like running, but I enjoy it. I like breaking barriers.” He has continued playing soccer at CVCHS. Beyond being a threesport athlete he’s an extremely involved student as part of the Public Service Academy, along with numerous clubs on campus. He has a GPA of 4.17. White would love to continue running in college and study criminal justice for a job in law enforcement. He has also been considering the option of joining the Marine Corps.

Athlete Spotlight

Dylan White Grade: Senior School: CVCHS Sport: Cross Country, Soccer, Track

CVCHS student journalist Sydney Skow wrote this Spotlight.

Senior Dylan White is starting his third varsity cross country season and will complete his high school career next spring with his fourth year on the Ugly Eagles varsity track team. White was his team’s cross country MVP last season and made first team all-league for both teams. H’s earned all-NCS honors as a sophomore and junior, placing fifth overall at NCS cross country his sophomore year and qualified for the CIF State Championships. He was 75th that year and then 51st at State

last season. White is hoping he can finish in the top 20 this fall. He runs the 1600 and 3200 meters during track season. He clocked a 4.17 mile last year. The hard-working athlete explains “It feels great when you are successful in a race and you get to represent your school.” Cross country coach Anthony Munch says, “Dylan is an extremely hard worker both running and in the classroom. He has always led well with his work ethic and this year he has developed into an exceptional captain.

The Clayton Pioneer congratulates Dylan 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

Kara Kohler named to USA team for 2017 World Championships in Florida

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Tom DiMercurio spent over 30 years teaching and coaching at Clayton Valley High School and was inducted to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. He had been inducted into his Pittsburg High alma mater’s hall of fame in 1998. And now, former baseball player and coach DiMercurio is completing a hall of fame triple play when he is honored by his college, Humboldt State University, on Oct. 13. DiMercurio was a twosport standout with the Lumberjack football and baseball teams between 1959 and 1964. He was a first team allFar West Conference outfielder for HSU baseball in 1964. The Pittsburg native was the baseball MVP for three seasons. He played shortstop

the quad sculls along with Elizabeth Sonshine, Maureen McAuliffe and Emily Huelskamp. This is the first World Championship in the new quadrennium as Kohler and the other athletes build Dimercurio CVHS baseball towards the 2020 Olympic coach 1966-79 Games in Tokyo.

JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Clayton’s Kara Kohler is back on the water this year in a new event after a hiatus following the 2016 Rio Olympics Rowing Trials where she barely missed going to her second Olympics. And it’s already paid big dividends. She has taken up single sculls where she competed for a berth on the American team for the World Rowing Championships that are being held this month in the United States for the first time in over 20 years. Kohler missed out in the single sculls after finishing second in the US Trials finals. But all was not lost as Clayton Valley High grad Kohler was recently named to the American women’s quadruple sculls for the World Championships Sept. 24-Oct. 1 in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. “For three years I’ve tried and failed to get renamed to a World Championship or last year’s Olympic Team. I questioned many times whether or not I had already reached my potential in rowing and if it was foolish to keep trying. “Thankfully, I didn’t give up on myself and decided to take a slightly different path

Tom DiMercurio now honored with 3 Hall of Fame inductions

Photos courtesy Clayton Valley High

Tom Dimercurio accepting 2013 CVHS induction

for three seasons and spent one year in the outfield. He was the team’s leading hitter in 1962 (.347) and 1964 (.360) and served as team captain for two years. His team finished second in the conference during his senior season. DiMercurio played for the Green and Gold football team in 1959 and 1961. He coached at CVHS from 1966-79 and continued to teach at the school until 1997. His 1977 baseball team won league and North Coast Section championships and is in the CVHS Hall of Fame along with their coach.

Photo courtesy USRowing

Clayton’s Kara Kohler switched to the single sculls this year and that training has earned her a place on the 2017 United States team at the World Rowing Championships this month in Florida. Kohler had her best-ever 2000-meter performance in her new single sculls event in the Trials finals.

this last year and train at the California Rowing Club in Oakland in the 1X [single sculls]. Although I didn’t qualify in the 1X like I set out to do, I was fortunate to get a shot at selection for the women’s quadruple sculls

where I earned a spot on the World Championship Team,” the 26-year-old former Cal rower told her Facebook followers this week. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist will be taking part in her third senior worlds om

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Are you ready for some football?

Page 10

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It may not feel like football with Bay Area temperatures in the triple digits, but the calendar has turned to September, and you all know what that means: It’s time for us to enjoy the National Football League. And this could be a year to remember, at least for one Bay Area team. Unfortunately, the team that is staying is going to struggle to win games. We all know that the Oakland Raiders will be leaving for Las Vegas in two or three years. However, the 2017 Raiders are primed for a Super Bowl run, as long as the team’s most important player stays healthy. That, of course, is quarterback Derek Carr coming off a late-season injury which derailed not only the Raiders season but maybe a league MVP. This year he is joined by Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch, ending his brief retirement for a chance to play for his hometown Silver and Black. The Raiders once again


have to battle the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos for AFC West supremacy with the Los Angeles Chargers (yes, you read that correctly), also dangerous with Philip Rivers still slinging it. The goal for the Raiders has to be a division championship and No. 1 seed in the AFC if they want to make it to Minnesota and Super Bowl LII. Playing for the AFC Championship against New England, Pittsburgh or the survivor of the AFC West in Oakland

September 8, 2017

before a raucous Black Hole is the best path to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening this season. My prediction is the Raiders win the AFC West with a 12-4 record. However, they will have to travel to Foxboro to play the Patriots, who will probably lose no more than two games playing in the pathetic AFC East. I can’t see the Patriots losing a playoff game at home and will send the Raiders packing disappointed again. The 49ers, on the other hand, are in for another difficult season coming off a 2-14 year. There is hope, however, with new head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch running the show. Journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer is serviceable but doesn’t strike fear in opposing defenses. There is young talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Niners and hopefully they will continue to bring in talent through the draft. Staying com-

petitive this season will be difficult and I predict another lastplace finish with a 4-12 record. My NFL prediction: My faithful readers will recall that last season I picked the Patriots losing to the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl LI. I would have had half of it right had the Pats not shocked the world with that incredible comeback. I am picking a similar result with a different NFC team. I have the Patriots beating the Raiders in the AFC title game and the NY Giants getting upset in New York in the NFC Championship game in overtime against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers will win the regular season MVP en route to his second title. Green Bay will beat New England 31-29 in Super Bowl LII. And then immediately after, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will both announce their retirement. Jacob Samuels is a freshman at UCLA. Email comments or questions to

seconds in the 50 butterfly. He also won the 50 freestyle with teammate Kyle Hetherton second. Boland won both the individual medley and fly events to claim her highpoint award. Paige Landstrom was third and Caela Hetherton 10th in 13-14 girls individual scoring. Other Otter girls to finish in top 10 high point were Abbey Koller (7-8 eighth) and Summer Claibourne (11-12 10th). On the boys side, Gio Castaneda (6 and under) was sixth and Kyle Hetherton (11-12) ninth. Just as they did at City Meet, Dana Hills relay teams racked up a slew of points. Otter quartets placed in 17 of 24 finals including three firsts, three seconds and two third-place finishes.

The 9-10 and 13-14 girls teams each took one first and one second at county. The 910 girls were Abigail Adent, Zoe Lahanas, Claire Mohrland and Boland. The 13-14 Otter girls team was Caela Hetherton, Karlie Seastrand, Brenna Duggan and Landstrom. The 13-14 medley relay was third in the preliminaries but burst through to win finals. The six and under DHST boys won the free relay and were third in the medley. The 9-10 and 11-12 boys were top four in both relays.

Boland, Mohrland high points help Dana Hills to County Meet 3rd place JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

Dana Hills Swim Team had two high-point swimmers who helped the Otters to a third-place finish at the 57th annual Contra Costa County Swimming Championships in Lafayette last month. It was the third consecutive thirdplace showing by the local swim team at the season-ending meet. DHST has placed in the top five in Division I at County Meet for seven straight years. The team was fourth in 2014, fifth the two previous years and second in 2011, which matched 1995 as the Clayton team’s highest finish ever. Crow Canyon Country Club are county champions for the 13th consecutive time. There were 55

recreation swim teams who scored points at County this year. A week earlier, Dana Hills won its 25th Concord City Championship in the last 26 years. Clayton’s other team, Oakhurst Country Club, was eighth at county in Division III standings for the second year in a row. Orcas swimmers scored 153 points, most ever for Oakhurst. Forest Park, which was second to DHST at City Meet, was third in Division II at county. DANA HILLS SWIMMERS EXCEL

Molly Boland (9-10 girls) and Jacob Mohrland (11-12 boys) each won high point at county. Mohrland set one of the meet’s four individual records with a time of 24.92

Sports Shorts

OTTERS ON THE PODIUM Madison Bautista took third at county in the 7-8 free for the Orcas while 9-10 teammate Brook Koller was sixth in both the IM and breaststroke in 9-10 girls.

cut off nominations for the Class of 2018. Deadline is this Saturday, Sept. 10. The school’s Hall of Fame committee is seeking input for nominating athletes, coaches or a special individual by ST. BONAVENTURE CYO CROSS COUNTRY using the nomination form located at our website at yvathletiPRACTICE UNDERWAY The form there can be completed and forwarded to St. Bonaventure CYO cross country is open to boys and chair Jim Grace. girls in 2nd-8th grades in the St. Bonaventure attendance area. CLAYTON VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONS? Cross country practices are Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Newhall Park. Friday meets begin Sept. 22 with the WHO ELSE BUT DC…DEMOLITION CREW Oakland Diocese meet Oct. 20. Contact St. Bonaventure CYO The Clayton fall coed 5’s adult volleyball league champiathletic director Joe Sullivan at 969-0207, email johnmercu- onship went to perennial winners DC…demolition crew. The or visit for more info. team included Sergio Esquerre, Sandra Bohn, Rodolfo DuranChavez, Kim Buck and Jose Torres. Second place want to Crush SHUFFLE THE CARDS FOR CVCHS CASINO NIGHT with Spike Lightning third and Bumpin’ Baldwins fourth. FOOTBALL BENEFIT


Clayton Valley Charter football is hosting its sixth annual Casino Night Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament and dinner on Friday, Sept. 29, benefiting the Ugly Eagles football program. Prize money of up to $500 will be offered for the tournament. Tickets for poker and dinner or dinner only are available. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. with the poker tournament at 8 o’clock in Centre Concord. DJ Mike provides the music. Tickets available at Call 260-8304 or 787-3682 or email for more information.


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The new under 11 MDSA Spitfires boys team won the San Ramon Soccerfest Red Division at the end of August. They won the championship game over host San Ramon FC 5-1. The Spitfires won all four of their games outscoring their opponents 263. The team includes Cody Ross, Carlos Gonzales, Alex Friedman, Charlie Habermeyer, Collin Burkhardt, Wyatt Parker, Kalib Caldwell, Oliver Jarvis, Zuri Akoni, Dominic Celentano, Cooper Smith, Jacob Hilleshiem and Jared Hubbard.


Fall programs for youth basketball, volleyball and wiffle ball and adult softball and volleyball offered by All Out Sports Leagues in Clayton are still taking registration online. Adult softball begins this Saturday while the rest of the programs start late this month. For complete information on All Out Sports programs, visit


Concord High School is looking for 2017-18 coaches for boys teams in varsity tennis, JV head and assistant basketball 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.


Diablo FC under 8 through U19 competitive teams (birth DIABLO FC POKER NIGHT FUNDRAISER THIS FRIDAY years 1999-2011) hold ongoing player evaluations for new Local competitive soccer club Diablo FC will hold a fundrais- prospective players. Visit to get more information ing Poker Night on Friday, Sept. 8. There will be a 6:30 p.m. tri- on the club and signup for the appropriate age group evaluation. tip and chicken dinner and gaming starts at 7:30 at Pleasant Hill ST. BONAVENTURE CYO BASKETBALL Community Center. The poker tournament will have $300 Tiffany & Co. and Amazon gift card prizes plus Raiders-Dallas TAKING SIGNUPS ONLINE Cowboys Sunday night Football tickets. For more information or Late signups for boys and girls in second through eighth to sign up visit grades for the St. Bonaventure basketball CYO program are being taken online at Late registrants will YGNACIO VALLEY HIGH HALL OF FAME ACCEPTING be waitlisted. For more information call Tim O’Hara 672-5774, 2018 NOMINATIONS UNTIL SATURDAY Lance Brick 525-9853, Ferd Santos 270-9390 or email Ygnacio Valley High School will hold its sixth annual Hall of For more info visit stbonavenFame induction dinner on May 19, 2018 and is getting ready to

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Join Dr. Gigi Chen and other medical experts at “The Many Faces of Gynecologic Cancers,” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Lafayette Library, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd. For more information or to register, call 925-677-5041, ext. 260.

Teacher’s year in Clayton a stepping stone to success DeBBIe eISTeTTeR


Back-to-school is a good time to share more information about teacher Howell Aubrey Powell. The Clayton Historical Society was gifted with a memoir written by his granddaughter, Mary Powell Flanders (1921-2015). Her information came from conversations with her father and aunts as well as a diary written by her greatgrandfather dated 1853-1883. Powell’s story is part of the

Clayton Museum’s current exhibit on the history of local schools. In years past, Clayton had many teachers that came from faraway lands. They taught at the school on the hill only to leave one or two years later for other locations and, often, other professions. This was the case with Powell, who was born into a Welsh farming village in 1846 and eventually became a prominent San Francisco attorney. Howell’s family sailed to New York, then to Courtesy Clayton Historical Society Nicaragua. They took a steamboat up the San Juan River, HOWELL AUBREY POWELL crossed Lake Nicaragua and traveled 12 miles overland to for San Francisco. the Pacific Ocean – finally The Powell family estabboarding a steamship bound lished a successful farm on the

Concert, from page 1

“It brings the community together; it brings the families together,” says Howard Geller, who launched the Concerts in the Grove in 2008. “You’ll see groups of 15-20 people that sit in a circle, create a living room kind of situation and just have a ball.” Geller served eight years on the City Council and has been a long-time leader in the Clayton Business & Community Association (CBCA). He started booking bands when the city launched the Art and Wine Festival in 1995. “As The Grove park was being completed, I went to the city and I asked if it would be a good idea if I started a concert series in the park,” Geller recalls. “This all was done to bring more people downtown to help the local businesses.” The city pitched in $10,000 in redevelopment funds, with the CBCA adding $10,000. Republic Services and other sponsors helped fund the first 12-concert series. After feedback from neighbors, the series was pared down to 10 Saturday night shows. “After a couple years, we lost the redevelopment money,” Geller says. “A lot of the local businesses started to sponsor us.” Twelve banner sponsors contributed at the $500 or more level this year, and 14 patron donors gave $200 each – receiving hats, pins and a free beer at the Clayton Club dur-

ing each concert. The $20 club earns concert-goers a free beer for that night. Geller and City Councilwoman Julie Pierce also walk through the crowds with water jugs, collecting about $2,000 a concert. “All fundraising in 2017 is aimed at the 2018 concert season,” Pierce notes. Costing about $30,000 a year, the concert series now thrives without city funding. Geller still handles band bookings, Pierce recruits sponsors and Mayor Jim Diaz and his crew set up and tear down. “I greet the crowd and monitor any needs in the park

facilities – yes, including making sure there’s enough paper in the bathrooms,” says Pierce. “We all share the responsibility of gently shooing folks home after 9 p.m.” Sarah Rodenburg and her husband Bob attend most of the concerts, usually picking up food and wine to enjoy during the show. “It feels like a great sense of community. You see a lot of the same faces,” she says, adding: “You’ve got to get there early to get a decent seat.” To help with crowd control, concert rules don’t allow people to set up chairs before 4 p.m. Geller estimates 2,000 people attend each concert, drawing fans from as far as Marin County and San Francis-

north side of the Sierra Buttes. But one long and lonely night while herding sheep, Howell envisioned a different career path. It was not long before he was back in San Francisco and enrolled at the California State Normal School to become a teacher. The word “normal” comes from the French institution Ecole Normale, famous for educating teachers. It refers to setting a norm, or model, for other schools. He graduated in 1867 and eventually received his state life diploma, described in “The General Laws of the State of California from 1850-1864” as

Page 11

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co who otherwise might not know about Clayton. “Every time you have something downtown, it’s good. It brings more people in,” says Nicolas Maamari of La Veranda Café, one of the many downtown businesses that sponsor the concerts. Geller gets requests from about 70 bands a year. His top picks this year have been Pride and Joy – “a super-super band that does a lot of Motown” – and Boys of Summer, an Eagles tribute band. “The lineups get better and better. It’s just a great experience,” he says. “From what people tell me, this was one of the best things that ever happened to the city.”

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 8, 2017

Performing Arts

‘Hero’ may be the best thing since sliced bread



Onstage Theatre opened its season with something we could all use right now: an “American Hero.” Although this particular hero isn’t a defender of the weak or righter of wrongs. The darkly funny play by Bess Wohl extolls the virtues of the popular sandwich. It takes place in a toasted sub franchise, where three “sandwich artists” perfect their mustard to cheese ratio. Helen Means directs a cast comprised of Joseph Hirsch, Evelyn Owens, Umi Grant, Jene Bombardier and Remmington Stone. The show runs through Sept. 9. The Campbell Theatre is at 636 Ward St., Martinez. For tickets, call 925-518-3277. Concord’s B8 Theatre Company mixes it up with


Tristan Cunningham, Annie Worden, Patty Gallagher and Kevin matthew Reyes in Cal Shakes’ joint production with Santa Cruz Shakespeare of “measure for measure.” through Oct. 8.

“An Evening with Shakespeare and Sondheim” for a fundraiser celebrating the company’s first anniversary. Scheduled for 7-10 p.m. Sept. 9, the event includes hors d’oeuvres, fine wine, a silent and live auction, drawings and lots of entertainment. Members of the B8 ensemble and friends will perform scenes from Shakespeare as well as Sondheim’s great tunes. Pro-

Young students rehearse during a class at Contra Costa Ballet.

ceeds benefit the theater and its educational programs. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door. Go to Brown Paper Tickets at I’m always amazed with the incredible things ballet dancers do with their bodies. I was even more impressed when I attempted a class as a more “mature” performer. Contra Costa Ballet offers a glimpse into the world of classical ballet, complete with complimentary workshops for youth, activities and a performance by the company, at its Open Studio 2:30-5 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Ballet Centre, 2040 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek. Workshops are Bare to Stage for ages 4-7, 2:45 p.m.; Boys’ Ballet for ages 7-11, 2:45 p.m.; and Barre to Stage for ages 8-11, 3:30 p.m. The performance takes place at 4:30 p.m., with a variety of ballet-themed crafts and


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Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Full of satire, wit and comedy, the story follows a devious ruler’s order to close down all brothels and declare fornication punishable by death. But he then finds himself lusting after an aspiring nun and chaos reigns. Virtue wins out in the end – but not until the audience has lots to think about and even more to laugh about. The show runs Sept. 13Oct. 8 at the beautiful Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda. For tickets, call 510548-9666 or go to Woodminster Summer Musicals closes its season with Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” running through Sept. 10 at Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland. More than 50 cast members and musicians make this beloved musical come to life. For tickets, call 510-531-9597 or go to the website at

Jennifer mitchell plays the smart and beautiful Belle, Will Springhorn Jr. plays the buffoon Gaston, and John Tichenor is Gaston’s adoring sidekick, Lefou in Woodminster Summer musicals’ Beauty and The Beast through Sept. 10.

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

While engaging, ‘Wind River’ could have been so much more




Lic # 932306

interactive exhibits prior to the performance. For more information and to register for a workshop, go to Irish story-telling comes to Danville with the 18th annual Eugene O’Neill Festival. Sponsored by the O’Neill Foundation and Tao House, the festival takes place at the O’Neill National Historic Site in the Danville hills and at locations in downtown Danville through Sept. 30. O’Neill, the only American playwright to be honored with the Nobel Prize for literature, wrote his most celebrated plays at Tao House. The festival includes two plays: John Millington Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World” (through Sept. 17) and O’Neill’s “A Touch of the Poet” (Sept. 16-30). For a complete list of events, go to California Shakespeare Theater ends its season with a first-ever co-production of “Measure for Measure” with

Taylor Sheridan’s career is on a serious upswing. Once known only as bothersome Deputy Hale on “Sons of Anarchy,” Sheridan has moved off-camera to write “Sicario,” last year’s masterpiece “Hell or High Water” and now “Wind River.” This time, he took on the added responsibility of directing. As a first-time director, his inexperience shows through occasionally. However, his knack for whip-smart dialogue and his ability to capture remote locales shine brightly. The opening scene of “Wind River” is of a teenage girl running barefoot through the snow, finally collapsing. It is clear something awful happened, and sharpshooting game warden Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) knows it when he finds the body. He also knows this will be a tough case to solve. Each time Sheridan pulls back a layer of the mystery, the knot in your stom-

ach tightens. He is adept at writing tension into a scene with very little action. Because the death happened on an Indian reservation, the FBI must be called in. They send Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen). When we meet her, she is woefully underdressed for the weather. Within the first five minutes of screen time, she makes several professional and social gaffes. She is in way over her head, and Olsen plays it almost too well. As Banner settles in, Olsen’s performance is not as noticeable. Still, I wonder why they didn’t choose a more experienced actress or make her a veteran FBI agent. Perhaps Banner’s mistakes were necessary to the plot. Or maybe in a bit of social commentary, sending an underprepared agent speaks volumes about what the government thinks of an isolated Wyoming Indian reservation. Less likely is that Sheridan simply wanted to reunite Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye of the Avengers. The lengthy, superb conversations that were so prevalent in “Hell or High Water” and to a lesser extent in “Sicario” are missing here. When people do talk in “Wind River,” it’s mostly fascinating dialogue – although the bulk is about death. Because the pace is faster, the subject matter is darker and there is (literally) more ground to cover,

there just is no time for the kind of banter found in “Hell or High Water.” Both the occupants and the Wind River Reservation itself are far removed from society. Films featuring Native Americans are scarce. Sheridan had a great opportunity, so it is disappointing that both of his leads are white. Graham Greene, Gil Birmingham and the other Native Americans in the film are tremendous. Yet they exist mainly to deal with, or outwardly demonstrate, loss. Birmingham gives a devastating performance as the father of the missing girl. The crux of Sheridan’s films are the tense, heart-pounding confrontations. By the time of the climax – and the interjected, explanatory flashback – Sheridan has brought everything to a boil, even in the subzero snow. Sometimes his confrontations simmer down, sometimes they explode; it’s the not knowing that makes them all the more stressful. “Wind River” is not for everybody. However, those who enjoy seeing a rising star in the filmmaking ranks show off his skills will be thoroughly captivated. 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

September 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 13

Clayton Community Calendar



Thru Sept. 11 9/11 Remembrance

Flags for each firefighter and police officer lost in 9/11 are on the lawn at Clayton Fire Station 11. The public is welcome and encouraged to visit and pay their respects. 6500 Center St.

Saturdays thru Sept. 23 Farmers’ Market

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 6095 Main St.

Sept. 10 Evening Hike to Rose Hill Cemetery

Sept. 28 An Evening with Angel Anne

Sept. 24 Tarantula Tales

Oct. 6 – 15 “Wizard of Oz”

Take a twilight hike to the final resting place of 230 people from California’s largest coal mining communities. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines. Registration required. Meet Harry, the resident tarantula, and learn about him and his friends. 1 - 4 p.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines.

Sept. 16 Saturday Concerts in The Grove

Sept. 30 Round Valley Picnic Walk

Sept. 25 Live Stream Event

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.

East Bay Mudd. 6 – 8:30 p.m. The Grove Park, 6100 Main St. Free.

Bring lunch and explore the natural beauty of this peaceful valley. 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Meet at Round Valley Staging Area.

Atul Gawande presents “The Value of Community and Choice as We Grow Older.” 1 – 4 p.m. Clayton Library, 6125 Clayton Road. Sept. 9, 16, 23, 24, 30; Oct. 7, 8 Free. Register at or (925) 626-0411.

Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 Oktoberfest

Sponsored by the Clayton Business and Community Association. Music by The Internationals, biergarten, food, arts and crafts, carnival. 6 – 10 p.m. Fri., carnival only; 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sun. Downtown Clayton. Free admission.

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, Sept. 12 – Nov. 28 Active Living Every Day

New Concord Senior Center program for a healthy lifestyle. 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. 2727 Parkside Circle. $22. Contact Dario Sanchez at (925) 671-3017 or register at

Tuesdays Farmers’ Market

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

Thursdays Music and Market

Thursday night live music and farmers’ market. Music: Sept. 14, Annie Sampson. Market 4 – 8 p.m.; music 6:30 – 8 p.m. Todos Santos Plaza, downtown Concord. Free admission.

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: Sept. 15, Florida Georgia Line, 7 p.m. Sept. 28, Jason Aldean, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Janet Jackson, 8 p.m. Oct. 8, Maxwell, 7 p.m. Oct. 12, Luke Bryan, 7 p.m. Oct. 14, Punk in Drublic, 1 p.m.

Sept. 11 Stroke Support Group

Speaker: Rosanna Radding, stroke survivor. Topic: “One Hand Can Cook” demonstration. 7 – 9 p.m. Concord Room 1, John Muir Medical Center, Concord Campus, 2540 East St. Free. Contact Ann Dzuna (925) 376-6218.

Sept. 14, Oct. 12 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.

Sept. 16 Open House

See Dogs4Diabetics’ new home. 12 – 3 p.m. 1300 Willow Pass, B.

Sept. 23 Community Workshop

Third workshop on the Concord Community Reuse Plan for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station. 9 a.m. Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle. Free. Register by Sept. 19 at

Sept. 30, Oct. 7 English Tutors Needed

Diablo Valley Literacy Council teaches volunteers how to be English tutors. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 4000 Clayton Road. $20 fee; must attend both workshops. To register, call (925) 685-3881 or email


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.

Sept. 9 Evening in the Wild West End

Explore the west side of the Mount Diablo Coalfield. 6:30 – 10 p.m. Meet at Black Diamond Mines. Registration required.

Tarantula Hikes

Hike Mitchell Canyon in search of Mount Diablo’s famous spiders. Times vary. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Registration required.

Sept. 17 The California Tarantula

Experience a close encounter with these fascinating and harmless spiders. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Summit Museum. Save Mount Diablo’s Discover Diablo is a free public hike series. Go to for more information.

Sept. 10 Brushy Peak Regional Preserve

Take a leisurely ramble through this magical and diverse piece of open space. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at Laughlin Ranch Staging Area, Livermore. Reservations required.


Thru Sept. 9 “American Hero”

Performed by Onstage Theatre. 636 Ward St., Martinez. $10. (925) 518-3277.

Scotland’s finest mediumistic export. 7:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $45. (925) 943-7469. A delightful musical for the young and young at heart. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $16-$25. (925) 427-1611.

Oct. 12 – 14 “Hansel and Gretel”

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

Oct. 12 – 28 “Almost, Maine”

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

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.


2nd and 4th Sundays Pancake Breakfast

Thru Oct. 6 “Million Dollar Quartet”

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.

Sept. 9 Hip Hop and R & B Concert

Entertaining event to benefit B8 Theatre Company. 7 – 10 p.m. B8 Theater, 2292 Concord Blvd., Concord. $50. (925) 890-8877.

Musical of the incredible night Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash had a jam session. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $37-$72. Performed by Rainn Sciryl. 8 p.m. California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. $15. (925) 427-1611.

Sept. 9 Tribute to Johnny Cash

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

Sept. 10 “From Broadway to James Bond”

Presented by Music Repertoire. 3:15 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $10. (925) 943-7469.

Sept. 16 19th Annual Delta Blues Festival

Music, arts and crafts, food. 12 – 7:30 p.m. Antioch’s Rivertown District. Free admission.

Sept. 16 History Talk and Book Signing

Dan Hanel talks about “In the Shadow of Diablo: Mystery of the Great Stone House.” 1 – 3 p.m. Contra Costa County Historical Society’s History Center, 724 Escobar St., Martinez. $10 suggested donation for admission. Response requested: or (925) 229-1042.

Sept. 16 Mike Amaral’s California Beach Boys Experience A true Beach Boys concert experience. 7:30 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $39-$49. (925) 943-7469.

Sept. 16 Open Studio

Glimpse the world of classical ballet with complimentary workshops, activities and a performance. 2:30 – 5 p.m. Contra Costa Ballet Centre, 2040 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek. Register at

Sept. 17 Diamonds of DanceSport Annual Showcase

Competitive dancesport. 6 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $30. (925) 9437469.

Sept. 19 Many Faces of Gynecologic Cancers

Medical experts discuss issues of ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Lafayette Library, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. Free. Register at (925) 677-5041, ext. 260.

Sept. 22 – 23 “Dance Series 01”

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

Sept. 22 – 24 “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Performed by El Campanil Children’s Theatre. El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St., Antioch. $8-$12. (925) 757-9500.

Sept. 23 Tribute to Billy Joel

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

Sept. 24 “Lyrical Dreams”

Season opener for California Symphony. 4 p.m. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. $42-$72. (925) 943-7469.

Sept. 9 “An Evening with Shakespeare and Sondheim” Sept. 9 Hawaiian Fusion Fundraiser

Entertainment by Daniel Ho. Proceeds go to scholarships for underprivileged senior citizens. 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. $50. Purchase tickets at, course #104592; email or call (925) 671-3320, ext. 1.

Sept. 16 Plant Sale

Annual overstock sale. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Markham Regional Arboretum Society Nursery. 1202 La Vista Ave., Concord. Free admission.

Sept. 17 5th Annual Wine Tasting at the Adobe

Sample local wines. Benefits Concord Museum and Event Center. 1 – 4 p.m. 1870 Adobe St., Concord. $35.

Sept. 22 – 23 Yard Sale

All proceeds benefit Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1525 Relief Fund. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. 1121 Peacock Creek Drive, Clayton. To donate small items, contact Mark Steinberg at

Sept. 28 “Men of Mystery”

A lively panel discussion with Bay Area mystery writers. Benefits Project Second Chance. 6 – 8 p.m. Walnut Creek Library, Oak View Room, 1644 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek. $25. (925) 927-3250.


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. Sept. 11: Clayton Library Book Club, 7 p.m. Sept. 18: Fall Family Story Time and Craft, 6:30 p.m.

The Concord Library is at 2900 Salvio St. Programs are free unless otherwise noted. See full schedule of events at or (925) 646-5455. Sept. 11, 18: STEAM, 7 p.m. Registration required. Sept. 12, Oct. 10: Art Association Meeting and Demo, 1 p.m. Sept. 14: Co-Active Coaching, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19: Youth Writing and Drawing Club begins, 4 p.m. Registration required. Sept. 22 – 24: Book Sale Sept. 25: The Magic of Timothy James, 7 p.m. Sept. 26: Teens Make n’ Take Station, 4 p.m. Oct. 2: Movie Monday, 7 p.m. Oct. 5: Origami, 4 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 14

Clayton Pioneer •

September 8, 2017

‘Kite’ becomes a metaphor for life – and death



It’s not often I find a book with as many laughs as tears, but Alex George has done it again with “Setting Free the Kites.” Other reviewers have called the novel a coming-of-age story about Robert Carter, whom we meet on his first day of junior high. He is being viciously bullied by a boy who has tormented him for all his elementary school years. Suddenly the new boy in school, Nathan Tilly, steps in to rescue him. Nothing particularly new here, you might say. The author, however, has included adults in the coming-of-age genre not just as parents of the young teens, but as adults who are also coming of age. If we are lucky, maturity has no finish line. The setting is Haverford, Maine, a coastal city nearly dependent on its summer tourist business since the closure of the paper mill. The year is 1976. A sub-setting is the Carter family business, a seasonal amusement

park started by Robert’s grandfather and now operated by his father. Mary and Sam Carter have two sons, Robert and Liam. Liam, 17 when the story opens, is wheelchair bound by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Liam’s path to his eventual death is traveled separately by each member of his family. As Robert and Nathan’s friendship grows, Nathan will walk it as well. Nathan and his parents have recently moved from Texas and live outside Haverford, within sight of the ocean. His mother spends lonely hours on the beach and at home at her typewriter as his father takes an old boat out fishing. He also builds and flies kites. The boys’ friendship grows quickly enough that when Mr. Tilly falls to his death while flying a kite from the roof of his house, the reader understands that more than death will draw them together. “Setting Free the Kites” is the story of Robert and Nathan and their life-changing friendship; the anticipation (and denial) of Liam’s approaching death by Robert and his parents; and the passing landmarks of a seaside town and how those landmarks can both challenge and seduce the youth who only want to leave town after they’ve

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finished school. George’s storytelling stands out in its ability to tenderly present life’s harsh realities. The enormous emotional chasm created by the death of a child, spouse or friend, and its effect on all those connected to those

If you’re a mature man (over 50), here are some fashion basics to consider. You might work in a place that has some dress requirements. But unless those rules include a paper hat, you’ll likely need to make some of your own decisions. It’s important to emphasize a basic principle of style for the mature man: It’s a million times better to be overdressed than underdressed. A younger man can get away with jeans and sockless topsiders in business casual settings, but mature men should err on the side of proper. Opt for classic, flat-front chinos and good-looking shoes. And wear socks. Trust me, my fine-vintage friends – you need to wear socks. I love Cole Hahn shoes for men. They’re sleek, stylish and match everything. They’re also amazingly comfortable, which makes them an excellent choice for work shoes that don’t make people think that you’ve given up on looking good. Aging doesn’t mean losing style, but it does mean making clear decisions about how you

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mately, powerful words by which to live. 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.’

Looking your age brings its own sense of style


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George’s first novel, “A Good American.” George has a unique talent for capturing the life of boys and men in ways I have not read before, and yet the women in his two novels are pivotal. “Setting Free the Kites” is both the title of the book and, ulti-



deaths, has seldom been written with such heartbreaking truth. The strengths and weaknesses exhibited by all the characters remind us that loss can also be another word for growth. American music is important in this novel – just as it is in

Back-to-school schedules can disrupt a household for everyone, including pets who don’t understand why their routines changed or their oncebusy house is suddenly empty. Whether your pet is dealing with someone leaving for college (pets can be empty-nesters too) or simply more alone time during the day, practice patience and understanding to help them adjust. Pets express signs of anxiety in many ways, including increased vocalization, barking or whining. Cats and some dogs may engage in excessive grooming – often to the point of bald spots. Others may venture into destructive behaviors, such as improper bathroom habits, uncharacteristic chewing or shredding items to communicate displeasure. Your quickest path to correcting this behavior is understanding. Punishment is counterproductive. To a pet, an exit routine is a promise that you’ll return. If you or your children leave the house at the same time each day, include your pet in this routine. Offering a treat or going on a walk every day before you depart helps them recognize consistent patterns. Make it fun, but don’t create an emotional scene. You can increase anxiety if your pet feels your own discomfort or guilt.

On the mature man, a casual look can easily become a sloppy look. even when choosing jeans and a sweater, aim for a well put-together look.

want to look. Mature men are best off choosing one general look and sticking to it. For example, if you feel good in a blazer and jeans, don’t ditch the look just because you’re getting a little older. But by all means, adapt it to fit your touch of gray. Fitted, slim jeans in colors other than blue will always look sharp with a tailored blazer. Avoid saggy, “full cut” slacks and skinny jeans. Select a solid-color, buttondown shirt. If you’re in the mood, a subtle patterned tie is always appropriate to pull your look together. Here are some questionable style choices for mature men: Skinny jeans: Even if you’re skinny, avoid them. Older men

just look silly wearing these things. Logo/graphic T-shirts: After age 50, anything emblazoned across your chest looks desperate – especially “funny” Threadless designs. Hoodies: Bad for Bill Belichick, bad for you all. Long hair: If you’re losing your hair, any style that’s more than a half inch long is a big no. A ponytail: Anything that ties in the back should not even be an option. Unless you own a yacht or produce pornos. Overalls: Don’t. Even if you’re a farmer. Blue jeans and running shoes: This is my personal pet peeve. If you’re going running, wear sweats. If you’re going to

work, wear grown-up shoes. Never wear white running shoes unless you’re running. And even then, consider black or dark gray Nikes. The most important thing about style for men past 50 is quality and neatness. It’s best to buy a few high-quality items and pair them in a variety of ways. It’s always possible to find ways to look better – if you think about it and, more importantly, care about it.

Sappington is a personal wardrobe stylist for J.Hilburn, clothier for men. She will be showing winter collections for men and women Sept. 15-24. For more information, visit

It’s easy to help your pet avoid a back-to-school meltdown

If a pet’s behavior has elevated to a level harmful to themselves or your home, consider creating a “safe space” that they enter when you’re gone. This should not be a gloomy laundry room but rather an area with plenty of light and space to move around. Include things they enjoy, such as toys that only come out when you’re gone. Many pets also find comfort in voices from radio or television. If a permanent or semipermanent absence causes pet stress, give your dog or cat

reminders of the person they miss. You won’t believe the power of a little dirty laundry. Your pet often gains comfort from simply recognizing the presence of the missing person’s scent. If your pet still shows signs of stress after engaging in some of these tips, call in assistance from your vet. After an examination for any unknown sources of physical stress, a vet can determine if your pet would benefit from anti-anxiety medication. They may also

provide additional strategies for coping with the specific factors causing your pet to be on edge. Start the school year right, by assisting everyone with the change. And, if you’re looking to expand your own “class size,” the Animal Rescue Foundation has lots of adorable adoptables waiting for a new loving home and new routine. Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 2561ARF (1273)

Nikko & Sally Carrera are ARF stars


Nine-month-old Nikko is a head-turner with his one blue eye and one brown eye. He is a leaner, a lover and a lap dog. This athletic but mellow boy likes to introduce himself with a raised paw. He plays with stuffies like they are his treasured friends or “loveys.” Nikko would like to go to a home with affectionate, active people who will supply him with a steady stream of stuffed

places, she becomes quite the social butterfly. She enjoys cuddling as well as playing with interactive wands and will make someone a great new friend. The adoption fee for kittens <6 months $125 and for adult cats is $75. Meet your forever friend at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, during SALLY CARRERA adoption hours: Noon to 6 pm Wednesday & Thursday, Noon pals. The adoption fee for pup- to 7 pm Friday, and Noon to 6 pies <6 months is $275, for pm Saturday & Sunday. adult dogs is $250, and Would you like to be part of the includes a discount on the first heroic team that saves the lives of six-week session of a manners rescued dogs and cats? Can you class. share your talents to connect people One-and-a-half-year-old and animals? ARF volunteers are Sally Carrera is a beautiful making a difference! For more inforand very affectionate girl lookmation see our website, ing for a loving home. She’s a, or call (925) 256bit shy in a new environment, 1ARF. but after warming up to new

September 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

Page 15

Schools Here’s what’s new at local high schools JAY BEDECARRÉ Clayton Pioneer

All the local high schools have now opened for the 201718 school year. Here’s a roundup of news about two key administrative hirings, longawaited County School Board decision, and facility construction updates.

CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER The longest serving member of the Clayton Valley Charter High School governing board, Ted Meriam, has been hired as Chief Innovation Officer as the second highest paid administrator for the charter school district. Meriam began his position last Friday following board approval of his $189,000 annual contract in July. He had worked for Microsoft Corp. since graduating from college a dozen years ago. He will be looking at ways to leverage technology to lead the charter organization, its staff and students through 21st Century challenges and opportunities. Among his CIO responsibilities he will be looking into ways of accommodating the several hundred students that are waitlisted each year at CVCHS. For the 2016-17 school year the charter increased its freshman class by approximately 200 students, something they can only do once every four years given the capacity of their Concord campus. Meriam says the CVCHS district is looking towards East Contra Costa where they hope they can re-start their plans for a public charter tech academy. “Studies show that 91% of parents want at least one computer science class in the child’s core academic program,” Meriam says. He adds that online, independent study might also be a partial solution to the



demand issue. A 2001 Clayton Valley High grad and newlywed, Meriam says he had been looking to do something professionally to realize his desire to get into education when he resigned from the governing board in June. The new CIO position was announced the following month. He hopes his Microsoft business, tech, recruiting and human resources experience will all work into his new position. Executive director Dave Linzey says of Meriam and other recent administrative hires, “I believe it is essential to select key leaders to begin taking over the [CVCHS] leadership and be mentored by me prior to my retirement.” He adds that “our highly innovative charter school” has received the 2017 Gold Ribbon Award by the State of California and 2017 National Model Schools Award (one of only 25 schools to receive this award).

voted 3-2 to turn down the petition to create a new school district. They further voted 5-0 to urge the State Board of Education that should the state choose to have a vote about the new district it be held within the full boundaries of the MDUSD. CCCOE board president Mike Maxwell told the Pioneer, “This has been a very long and difficult process for both sides. It is important to understand that our decision was a recommendation to the State Board of Education. The State Board is the final say in this matter and that process will most likely be a long one as well; could be years before they hear it. “The State Board also has the final say regarding the election area if the petition were to be approved to go before the voters. We recommended the entire District, as was pointed out by many, as it’s the same area that has been voting for and paying for District items and projects (including the Northgate) area for many years.” Maxwell, Fatima Alleyne and Vikki Chavez voted against the petition. Northgate principal Michael McAlister said he first heard of the new district movement soon after he arrived at the school, “My calculation was there were going to be some faculty members in favor of this.” He told the media at the nearly

NORTHGATE The effort by Northgate Community Advocacy for our Public Schools (Northgate CAPS) to create a new school district of five Walnut Creek schools currently in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District has met another major stumbling block. Last week, the Contra Costa County Board of Education

CV band marching proudly into the future




The marching band at Clayton Valley Charter High School has made a few changes this year that will bring it to a new level and, ultimately, impact the program for years to come. The biggest transition for CV’s marching band and band students has been new director Lydia Lim. She received her bachelor’s of music at USC before deciding that she loved teaching music and stayed to earn her master’s of art in teaching music and her teaching credential. While student-teaching, Lim realized she most enjoyed teaching high school students. Lim worked for two years as one of three band directors at Foothill High School in Pleasanton, which has a big program. Her decision to come to Clayton Valley was “an easy one,” she says. “I was looking for a program that I could do all on my own, and CV worked out perfectly.” For the past few years, CV’s band directors have been more relaxed and focused on the fun aspect of marching band. Lim has brought a competitive feeling to the group. “The competitiveness


makes it more fun and rewarding for us when we see how much we really have improved as a band,” reports junior Sarah Kidd, the assistant drum major. Each summer, CV’s marching band has a two-week camp to prepare for the upcoming year and football season. The band’s Leadership group kicked off their duties on July 24, followed by multiple auditions over the next few days and the entire band gathering on July 27. Camp was held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, however, the sessions didn’t end until 8 p.m. a few nights. Though camp can be tiring and takes away a bit of summertime, this experience is crucial. Once school begins, rehearsals are cut into a quarter of the time they had over the summer. “Band camp for two weeks

sets a really strong foundation for the rest of the year,” Lim says. Another reason for summer camp is that the marching band’s first competition is a few weeks earlier than in the past. The group has five competitions scheduled instead of just three. Senior Eddy Solis, the woodwind captain, joined marching band at the urging of a close friend. “I love doing this,” he says. “I love music ... I realized that I had to keep doing it.” He has seen the band grow from about 50 kids to more than 70 and is looking forward to a different marching band experience this year. “The work that we put in now is double the amount of work that we used to put in,” he notes. Lim says her favorite part of directing CV’s band is the students’ passion. “I’m not sure if you can find another 70 kids that all still want to be somewhere when it’s 105 degrees outside and they still have six classes’ worth of homework to do.” For more information on CV’s marching band and music program, visit or stop by CV football games to watch them perform.

Sydney is a junior at CVCHS. Send comments to

nine-hour board meeting last week that wasn’t what he found. In fact, he says he thinks almost the entire faculty would leave in the case of a successful effort to create the new district. History teacher Meg Honey has been a prominent supporter of “MDUSD Proud” on Twitter and other social media. There are about 10 former Clayton Valley High teachers now at Northgate who are reportedly supporters of staying in MDUSD. School Services of California, an independent consultant retained by the Contra Costa County Committee on School District Organization to analyze the petition by Northgate Community Advocacy for our Public Schools (Northgate CAPS) to a new school district, had concluded that the petition does not meet all nine criteria required by California law to form a new school district. The report specifically said that Criterion #3 – Equitable Division of Property/Facilities – would not be “substantially met.” School Services determined the “reorganization petition specifies the proposed Northgate USD as encompassing all of the territory within the attendance boundaries of five MDUSD schools, which, although inadvertent, also includes Oak Grove Middle and Ygnacio Valley High. As drafted, the reorganization proposal would deprive MDUSD of two school sites which are needed to accommodate its current enrollment.” The report further stated the petition failed to meet Criterion #7 – No Substantial Increase in School Facilities Costs.  All nine criteria are required for approval. MDUSD superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer said, “The findings of School Services support our position that the separation of the Northgate-area schools from MDUSD is not, in any way, a benefit to the community. We believe these findings will be very compelling for the County Committee. And while we feel the consultant was conservative in its review, we believe our further study and data will show that the proponents of a new school district also fail to substantially meet several additional required criterion.” Northgate was also in a cliff hanger about the replacement of its artificial turf football-soccer field. Head football coach Ben Ballard reported the contractors got things done in order for the Broncos to hold their home opener game last Friday. By the way, the team defeated Deer Valley too.

CARONDELET The $10 million project at the former ClubSport Valley Vista tennis and swim club to turn its 6.5 acres into a state-ofthe-art athletics complex for Carondelet is well underway but fall sports teams will not be using facilities for competition this season. Athletic director Caitlin Main says the Cougars tennis team will be practicing on the existing courts on the site but no date for an official opening of the complex has been set.

SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS Executive director Neil McChesney says you “couldn’t match a year [like 2016] for hardness” when he describes getting his brainchild, the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts up and running for the 2016-17 school year. After starting its inaugural year in a gymnasium, the school eventually ended up in portable classrooms for its 300 students in the parking lot of a Walnut Creek office complex where they planned on transitioning this school year inside the adja-

cent buildings. It was determined that earthquake retrofitting was going to make that site too expensive so McChesney and crew began looking for another location. They found a nearby building at 2730 Mitchell Dr. that was built at a cost of $28 million for Varian, Inc. in 2009 but barely used. Former Clayton Valley High teacher and administrator McChesney says the School of Performing Arts has “our permanent site.” In spite of two delayed dates due to unfinished work and permit approvals, the tuition free public charter school opened last Monday for 450 stu-

dents in grades six through 11. The project on the new school site included subdividing the office space into about 24 classrooms, administrative offices, cafeteria, multi-use room and five large rooms that will serve as instructional and performance spaces for Black Box theatre, vocal and instrumental music rooms, dance studio and a production and design shop. In a couple years the school expects to fill out its full complement of 700 students. The first graduating class will be in June 2019.

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*Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 9/16/17—12/11/17 from participating dealers in the U.S. only. Rebate will be issued in the form of a prepaid reward card and mailed within 6 weeks of rebate claim receipt. Funds do not expire. Subject to applicable law, a $2.00 monthly fee will be assessed against card balance 6 months after card issuance and each month thereafter. Additional limitations may apply. Ask participating dealer for details and rebate form. ©2017 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owners. 17Q4NPPIRC1

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Clayton Pioneer •

September 8, 2017

Breezy ornamental grass a landscape charmer NICOLe HACKeTT


This time of year, landscapes surrender themselves to the swaying plums of ornamental grasses. Unlike with flowering shrubs, the slightest breeze brings an ornamental grass to life. These grasses can be seen throughout the city, providing texture, movement and grace. Installing ornamental grasses to a landscape, hillside or container will add interest to the overall look. Red Fountain grass may be the most popular ornamental grass installation for the area. Folks adore the reddish-brown foliage and rose-colored plumes. Pennisetum Setaceum ‘Rubrum’ is the botanical name for this fountain-like variety. At maturity, Red Fountain will reach 5 feet tall and wide. Red Fountain goes dormant during the winter, with blades becoming brown and dry, so

consider that when installing. Pennisetum has another family member worth mentioning: Pennisetum ‘Hameln.’ This dwarf fountain grass has green blades and blonde plumes. Use it along a border, to accent boulders or as a mass planting. Mexican Feather grass is a super-trendy ornamental grass with a silky, thread-like texture. It provides tons of movement in the landscape. Many use Mexican Feather grass to highlight walkways, a dry riverbed, oversized boulders or retaining walls. Stipa tenuissima is the botanical name for Mexican Feather grass. Expect clumps to grow almost 2 feet tall and 12-18 inch-

es wide. Mexican Feather grass is invasive and will readily seed throughout the garden, so use caution. Karl Foerster Calamagrostis is commonly called Feather Reed grass. This selection makes an awesome hedge or screen, reaching 6 feet tall in bloom. The purplish plumes pair nicely with the deep green foliage. This ornamental grass is both deer- and drought-tolerant. Karl Foerster grows from the center out and will need to be divided every few years to prevent the hole-in-thedoughnut effect. The results are worth the extra work. Blue Fescue and several selections of Carex grass have

Nestled in the Alhambra Valley/Briones Valley Agricultural Preserve near Martinez, Alhambra Valley Beef & Pears has been in the area for more than 100 years. The farm was made up of two neighboring ranches, coming together in 1941 when Emma Sindicich married Edward Pereira. The ranches, in a valley surrounded by rolling hills covered in old val-

ley oaks, have been in the family for generations. The refugees from the urban life are proud to be part of the “slow food” movement. They now have more than 500 pear trees, some as old as 80 years and still producing. When they started raising beef for their own consumption, they decided to also offer grass-fed beef for sale. Once they tasted it, friends became interested in the beef and the business was off and running. Their dry-land farm technique is an example of their respect for the land. Their efforts result in the best pears grown without water waste, while treating their grass-fed cattle humanely. “With both pears and beef, we are committed to the humane treatment of livestock and to growing great pears,” Darryl Pereira says. “We strive for the highest quality we can produce.”

become quite the rage as many homeowners remove lawns and opt for water-wise plants. Blue Fescue is a predictable ornamental grass. Depending on the selection, expect growth of 8-16 inches tall and wide. The color of the foliage is what sells Blue Fescue. The bluer the better. Look for selections such as Beyond Blue, which is metallic blue, or Elijah’s Blue, which is a true blue. Carex creates a waterfall effect in the landscape and is available in green, variegated, bronze and orange. Ornamental grasses incorporated in a landscape add interest and texture. They are readily

available, drought-tolerant and easy to grow. Read up on the mature sizes of your considerations to ensure you are happy with the results.

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

mexican Feather Grass

Alhambra Valley ranch committed to excellence

ARUGULA AND PEAR SALAD ½ lb. arugula 2 Bartlett pears, sliced 2 shallot cloves, sliced ¼ c. cup hazelnuts Parmesan cheese as garnish Dressing: 1 T. pomegranate vinegar 2 T. olive oil Honey to taste Salt and pepper to taste

Contributed photo

Farming in Alhambra Valley for more than 100 years, the Pereira family is committed to the “slow food” movement.

The family participates in all the farmers markets they attend. “We get to sell on a one-on-one basis,” Sally Pereira Cox says, “meeting the many wonderful people that are our neighbors. Their booth features different bins of pears, separated into ripeness categories.

Shoppers can find ones to eat as soon as they get home, those that will ripen in a couple of days and under-ripe pears that will last a bit longer. Whatever you pick, we bet they’ll be the best ones you’ve ever tasted. Stop by and say hello to them.

Preheat oven to 350. Roast hazelnuts 5-10 minutes, until toasted. Remove from oven and place in a towel; wrap up and set aside. Once cool, use the towel to rub off skins. Roughly chop nuts. Cover shallots with vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside to macerate for 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Combine all ingredients and toss. Using a zester, grate cheese on top. Recipe: PCFMA Cookin’ the Market

Harvey hits Texas coast hard, stalls and hits again WOODY WHITLATCH WEATHER WORDS

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Every hurricane is like a new breed of animal, and Hurricane Harvey was no exception. The DNA of each storm consists of components like peak wind speeds, storm surges and heavy rainfall. Environmental factors like sea surface temperatures, wind shear and jet stream steering play a major role in determining the timing, landfall location and severity of each storm. On Aug. 17, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) classified Harvey as a potential Tropical Cyclone 9 over the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. The NHC expected the storm to track easterly and strengthen as it approached the central American coast. Within 24 hours, wind speeds were strong enough to classify Cyclone 9 as Tropical Storm Harvey. Hurricanes strengthen over warm tropical waters when there is a minimum amount of wind change with height, known as wind shear. Harvey encountered abnormally strong wind shear as the storm tracked westward parallel to the Venezuela coastline. By Aug. 19, NHC determined that winds were decreasing and Harvey had degenerated to an open wave. NHC did state that it was possible for Harvey to regenerate if the wind shear subsided. In fact, that is what hap-

Jan Null/Golden Gate Weather Services

This graphic shows the looping path of Hurricane Harvey.

pened. On Aug. 23, Harvey strengthened as it crossed the Yucatan Peninsula and encountered the warm waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico. Harvey would grow up to be a hurricane. One feature common to all hurricanes is that the strongest storm surge and heaviest rains are in the northeastern quadrant of the storm. Harvey’s forecast track showed that the storm eye was headed to the Texas coastline about 100 miles south of Houston. That put the Houston area in the bull’s eye of Harvey’s potential wrath. There was a major complication with the projected path of Harvey. Models indicated that the eastward steering winds would be blocked by a large high pressure ridge located over the southwestern United States. Once it made landfall, Harvey would likely stall – possibly for several days. Hurricane-force winds would ease after landfall, but bands of moisture-laden subtropical air would pound the Houston area for days. Fore-

casts for up to 40 inches of rain were issued. Harvey became a beast, a Category 4 storm, at landfall early Saturday morning, Aug. 26. It stalled as forecasted. Newscasters used adjectives like “catastrophic” and “devastating” to describe the flooding potential. On Aug. 27, the National Weather Service forecast stated: “This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown.” Harvey wasn’t finished. The ridge that blocked its path inland now pushed it back to the warm gulf waters, where it could intensify once again. Storm rainfall estimates now exceeded the 50-inch mark in some areas. Harvey danced around

Ways to help

Houston for a couple more days, delivering waves of torrential rainfall. The hurricane made its second landfall along the Texas-Louisiana border on Aug. 30 and weakened as it paralleled the Mississippi River toward the eastern United States. Harvey began as a relatively tame storm but strengthened to become a beast. Harvey’s meandering path allowed it to produce historic flooding in the Houston area while inundating thousands of square miles of land in other parts of coastal Texas. Woody Whitlatch is a meteorologist retired from PG&E. Email your questions or comments to

You can’t turn on the TV or check your email without being asked to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. As with any situation, be wary of people who contact you soliciting a donation. Instead, seek out your own options – and steer clear of any charities that seem to pop up suddenly after a disaster. If you aren’t affiliated with a local church or charity, the American Red Cross is a good place to start. Visit them online at, call 800-435-7669 or text HARVEY to 90999. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has started a relief fund with the Greater Houston Community Foundation at And the United Way of Greater Houston will provide immediate help as well as long-term services. Contact them at or text UWFLOOD to 41444. To help rescued animals, visit the Human Society at or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at To donate blood, contact the Red Cross at 800-733-2767 or Authorities are overwhelmed with requests for help and are urging people to reconnect via social media. So check Facebook and Twitter if you are unable to reach friends or family in the flood areas. For storm updates, visit

Hike up from Clayton for heavenly views

September 8, 2017

Clayton Pioneer •

“up” followed by a lot of “down.” Mitchell Rock Trail kicks your butt right out of the gate, pushing you directly uphill. But you quickly find shady sections as you near Mitchell Rock. Take a detour and enjoy the views from the top of Mitchell Rock as you sit on ancient volcanic rock with

Clayton and the surrounding areas unfolding all around you. The section of trail between Mitchell Rock and Twin Peaks is one of my favorites on Mt. Diablo, with Uncle Sam, White and Mitchell canyons as your backdrop. This trail is extremely steep, rocky, uneven and unforgiving.

The park service has done extensive work on the trail, but careful navigation will keep you out of trouble. The final push up to Twin Peaks tested my fitness level. A starting elevation of 500 feet quickly turned into 1,733 feet atop the highest point on this hike. I suggest a well-deserved break on Twin Peaks, as the scenery is truly some of the best in our area. With shaky legs from the strenuous ascent, I quickly linked up with Eagle Peak Trail and knew it was all downhill from here. Eagle Peak towered over me in the distance as I dove into a shady canopy that followed me all way to the bottom. Expect off-camber trail, loose dirt and rock on this trail, which is difficult to maneuver with the scenery of Meridian Ridge, North Peak (3,557 feet) and Mt. Olympia (2,946 feet). You also see Twin Peaks from a different angle, which magnifies the enormity of the rock formations in this part of the park. Pick up Coulter Pine Trail and follow it along the hill-

declined. About 76 percent of 1,514 respondents said they are unlikely to plan a trip to Cuba in 2017, compared to 70 percent in 2016. The slide in demand has led a number of airlines to reduce or eliminate flights to Cuba. Frontier said costs in Havana have “significantly exceeded our initial assumptions.” Confusion over the approved reasons to go to Cuba may be keeping average U.S. visitors away. The 12 categories include religious activities, humanitarian projects, “support for the Cuban people” and journalistic activities. “You can’t go to Cuba to sit on the beach and have fun, and that’s what Americans like to do on vacation,” said Brian Sumers, an airline analyst at the travel site Skift. Trump’s plan eliminates the “individual educational” category, which had quickly became a popular way to visit Cuba without booking a group tour. According to Monika Weinsoft of International Expeditions, a tour supplier, individual travel is no longer permitted, but organized group trips, such as cruises, are allowed. One of their ships, the Panorama, has Cuban guides who come aboard to lead tours ashore. Custom individual travel can only be done with a licensed guide, which she said “drives up costs quite a bit.” The uncertainty about travel to Cuba comes after a record year for tourism: 4 million tourists visited in 2016, a 13 percent increase from 2015. Of those, 615,000 were Americans, including 330,000 Cuban

Americans visiting relatives on the island. Trump’s rollback is expected to put a brake on that growth, but Americans who already have planned Cuba travel will not have to cancel their trips and new regulations will not go into effect until they are issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. By reinstating restrictions on independent travelers, the Trump administration’s new

policy will likely hurt Cuba’s emerging private sector that caters to U.S. visitors. “I think if you come here on a package tour, you see what the Cuban government ROBERT CASEY wants you to see,” Andrew Sleyko, a food scientist from PLACES TO GO Chicago, told the Washington Post on his first Cuban visit. “We’re talking to people Casey is president of Fair wherever we go,” he added. Winds Cruises & Expeditions in “Isn’t that the idea of people- Clayton. He can be reached at 925to-people?” 787-8252 or





During a summer when 100 degree temperatures seem like the norm, I needed to get lost in some shady canyon on Mt. Diablo. For this week’s hike, my dream partially came true – but escaping the heat proved difficult. Using the Dana Hills neighborhood as a springboard, you have easy park access via Mt. Tamalpais Drive. No facilities, so plan accordingly. You may also use Mitchell Canyon Staging Area as a start point, complete with all facilities. When you step foot inside the park gate, follow the No Name Trail through a sea of gold that surrounds the land-

Kevin Parker

The views from mitchell Rock are worth the butt-kicking climb. Rest at the top before finishing the 1,700+ foot steep climb to Twin Peaks, a true test of your fitness level.

scape this time of year. Continue past the pond, crossing over Bruce Lee Road until you meet up with Oak Road. This part of the hike reveals excellent views of Mitchell Rock and Twin Peaks as you approach Mitchell Rock Trail. Like all things on Mt. Diablo, be prepared for a lot of

side above the fields and through the trees as you junction back into Oak Road near Mitchell Rock Trail. Follow Oak Road to No Name Trail, and you are home free with another “after work hike-able adventure” in your own backyard. Get out there and enjoy Devil Mountain.

Mt. Diablo State Park

Where: No Name Trail, Oak Road, Mitchell Rock Trail, Eagle Peak Trail, Coulter Pine Trail Distance: 5.75 miles Duration: 2.5 hours Elevation gain: 2,257 feet Level: Strenuous Getting there: Park at end of Mt. Tamalpais Drive, Clayton (No restrooms or maps) Info: or

Contact Kevin Parker with comments or questions by email at

Sorting through new rules on travel to Cuba

Vintage autos, historic buildings and friendly people reward the traveller determined to see Cuba despite U.S. travel restrictions

American tourism in Cuba is again at the heart of a struggle over the island nation’s future. On June 16, President Donald Trump moved to reverse President Barack Obama’s historic rapprochement with Cuba. Trump signed an executive order that resulted in stiffer restrictions on travel for U.S. visitors to Cuba and a sweeping prohibition on transactions with companies run by the military, which controls much of the tourism and hotel sector. The changes are already hav-

If You Go...

ing a chilling effect on relations between the United States and Cuba. When Cuba was opened to Americans in 2015 after a halfcentury of isolation, there was a massive boost in travel interest. For example, Oceania reported all space for 2017 and 2018 cruises was reserved; the company was booking 2019. In the wake of Trump’s actions, however, a survey from industry insurance supplier Allianz Global Assistance found interest in traveling to Cuba has

Bring cash. U.S. credit and debit cards do not work in Cuba. The Cuban government requires that travelers declare cash amounts more than $5,000.

Get a visa. Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited and is regulated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. You must obtain a general license or your travel must fall into one of 12 categories of authorized travel. To apply for a visa, contact the Cuban Embassy in Washington at Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, 2630 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20009. Or email The tourism portal for Cuba is and contains information about things to see and do, as well as other topics.

History, from page 11

“granted to such persons only as shall have taught one year successfully …” That year was spent at the Clayton School. Flanders said Howell alternated teaching duties with his brother, David. Both young men undoubtedly lived with Clayton families during their tenure, as was the custom. But teaching was merely a stepping stone to other opportunities for these brothers: David became a Marysville physician and Howell became an attorney, admitted to the bar in 1870. “The Historical Sketch of the State Normal School” traced the careers of its grad-

uates, and it is interesting to note how many men went from teaching to becoming lawyers and how many women had “not taught since marriage.” In 1870, Howell rode horseback throughout Contra Costa County to collect data for the census (pop. 8,468) and established his law practice in San Francisco, specializing in real estate. The Powell family proudly boasted: “He would never take a divorce case.” Howell’s most famous legal case broke up the monopoly of the rail and steamship networks held by the Southern Pacific Railroad

Page 17

along the Oakland waterfront in the late 1800s. When Powell died in 1922, he was lauded by Superior Court Judge Graham as “… one of those men who was always cordial, genial and bright – always full of hope, looking toward the future with confidence as if it ever presented to his view the rainbow of promise.” Those are some of the qualities we treasure in our teachers to this day. Debhie Eistetter is membership chair of the Clayton Historical Society. For more information about becoming a member, visit The museum is open 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays; admission is free.


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Relay for Life a moving celebration of life Page 18

Clayton Pioneer •

SYDNEY ALCOCK Special to the Pioneer

Early Sunday morning on Aug. 13, 15 relay teams were finishing their 24-hour walk to raise funds for cancer research – while also signifying that cancer never sleeps. Sleepy walkers strolled in as others awoke from their short shifts of sleep. It was hard to believe that the 7th Clayton Relay for Life was coming to an end. The event began the day before with a Cancer Survivor Breakfast in the Grove sponsored by Center Street Deli in Clayton. Numerous Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs opened the ceremony as longtime Clayton resident Louie Gernhardt sang the national anthem. Clayton Mayor Jim Diaz welcomed teams, partici-

Co-chairs Pat middendorf, Nancy Salmon and michele Hill reveal the total raised at this year’s Clayton Relay for Life.

pants, caregivers and survivors. Clayton resident and Hero of Hope speaker Lacy Collero shared the story of her incredible struggle with cancer, praising the continuous support of her

family and community while she battled this terrible disease. Officials thanked sponsors and presented T-shirts and plaques. Tri-lead Pat Middendorf gave a special thanks to Canesa’s

With all this action, entries must be functional. They must contain specialty storage pieces to keep you organized, solid flooring to withstand the elements and good lighting to ensure your steps are safe and sound. The entry must also be utterly chic and fabulous and, of course, welcoming. Whether you have a dedicated coat closet or space for a cabinet, armoire or table, it’s nice to have a place to store things you need on your way out the door – the dog leash, reusable grocery bags or loose change for parking meters. Entries come in all shapes and sizes. So while it might be nice to have a generously sized armoire that contains all of your belongings, it just might not fit.

Consider a bench that works as both a place to sit and a place to store baskets underneath. Or perhaps the bench has built-in storage. Or you could opt for a narrow console table or narrow Tansu that has just enough space for a few decorative items and a place to leave your keys. If you have a dedicated closet, be thoughtful about how much space you really need for hanging items. Instead of simply going with the standard hanging closet rod and a single shelf, think about what might be a better solution for your storage needs. Consider a series of shelves, cubbies or drawers using various retail or customdesigned closet solutions. If you want inspiration or need to see your idea in color,

Brooklyn Heros, Skipolini’s Pizza, Moresi’s Chophouse, the Clayton Club and Center Street Deli for their contributions not only during the event, but also for their continuous donations throughout the years. DJ Magic host Terry Newberry kept the rest of the day lively with performances by the E-Regulars, Lumberyard and the Jesters. The relay teams offered games to play, face painting, root beer floats and other fun-filled activities. More than 40 overflowing baskets were raffled off, and the first Clayton Relay “Closest to the Pallino Fun-raiser” was held at the Ipsen Family Bocce Park. Jada Tillman, Tristan Fossan and Jane Wirth won their age group categories, each leaving with an armload of prizes. As evening turned to dusk and the luminaria bags were lit,

Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister whispered to those around her, “Look at all the trees – they have a purple glow. This is so very beautiful.” Luminaria speaker Kathy DeBoever moved the day from a celebration to a commemoration of those who lost their battles to cancer and to honor those who still fight. Mechele Fong and Don Richardson touched everyone in the crowd with songs of courage and remembrance. The night was then filled with shushed voices and glow-lit walking laps. The evening also included a movie for youngsters hunkering down in sleeping bags and make-shift shelters. Sunday morning’s Fight Back Ceremony featured Clayton resident Lindsay Clark, whose fight with cancer 30 years ago still affects her life today. She noted that organizations like Relay for

Life have greatly changed the horrible outlook of cancer. Many, many more birthdays are now celebrated, and hope for the future grows stronger every day. Grant Reeg took to the stage for a reading of the poem “I Walked Around a Track Today” to signify what the Relay for Life means to so many people. Event tri-lead Michele Hill then revealed that this year’s Clayton Relay for Life raised $73,900 for the American Cancer Society. In the past seven years, Relay for Life of Clayton has raised $524,313. Team captain Tamara Steiner declared it an “awesome relay,” adding that it was beautifully organized. “Love, love, love it in the Grove,” Steiner said. “An amazing experience.” Alcock is a support ambassador for Relay for Life.

Make home’s entrance inviting and functional



Your home entry is where you hang your coat and take off your shoes. It’s a convenient spot to throw down your work bag and put your keys in the bowl on a console table. A home entry can sometimes feel as busy as an airline terminal – with people and pets coming and going, food and coffee passing in and out, and backpacks, work bags, suitcases and strollers scuffing the floor.

Well lit with plenty of storage, this entry way is both welcoming and functional.

check online sources or interior design magazines. Your design idea is probably somewhere, pinned on a virtual board. Entry flooring should be

Nancy E. Bennett

Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW!

If you thought about selling your house this year, now more than ever may be the time to do it. The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction, including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.

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 CalBRE #01399870

September 8, 2017

durable. Porcelain tile, natural stone and hardwood are hardworking surfaces that will handle the outdoor elements with typical care and maintenance. A dec-

orative area rug not only catches dirt on the way in, but adds texture and color. If you have a naturally loud space, a rug may help with acoustics. Your entry also needs to be well-illuminated. It makes sense to have good exterior lighting on the garage, front walk and porch. Once inside, think about a decorative chandelier or pendant, a decorative lamp on a cabinet or table for ambient lighting or a series of recessed cans. Consider layering functional and decorative fixtures for a sparkly, welcoming look.

Jennifer 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.

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